Archive | Comics 101

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Too Many Earths

With the CW DC television series embarking on a giant CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS crossover this season, I’ve been getting a lot of CRISIS-related questions lately. Which makes it the perfect time for a refresher course… “What’s the difference between the Justice League and the Justice Society? Who came first?” “If Superman and Batman were […]

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In Focus: Killers Come in All Sizes

When you’re a little kid, it’s hard to predict what’s going to scare you. I could read horror comics all the time, and they never did much for me one way or the other. But what scared the dickens out of Li’l Scott back in 1976? This issue of WORLD’S FINEST, for one thing. In […]

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In Focus: The Jury of Super-Enemies

I think I’ve mentioned in these pages before that one of my favorite things about the San Diego Comic-Con is the annual back-issue crawl that fellow C101 columnist Chris Ryall and I make on Sunday afternoon. Quickly filing through aisles and aisles of quarter and dollar longboxes, it’s the most prime example of comic-book Darwinism. […]

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Remembering Dave Stevens

This column first appeared March 19, 2008. This is a tough one. Not only is Dave Stevens’ creation THE ROCKETEER such a longtime favorite of mine, but I had the pleasure of meeting and talking with Dave many times over the last 20 years or so, and he was just a hell of a nice […]

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And Not One Punch Was Thrown

Flipping channels the other night, I happened across a film from a few years back that featured Superman and Batman grimacing and sneering at each other while a weirdly floppy-haired Luthor gads about the screen. Rather than subject myself to that, I climbed into the Wayback Machine and headed for June of 1952, when The […]

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It Ain’t Nohow Permanent: Walt Kelly’s Pogo

This piece is dedicated to the memory of artist Carolyn Kelly, daughter of POGO creator Walt Kelly, and guardian and custodian of his work and legacy. Carolyn Kelly had been spearheading the recent beautiful hardcover reprint collections of POGO from Fantagraphics, and even drew the strip herself during a brief revival. To learn more about […]

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Conventional Warfare

That’s what the San Diego Comic-Con can start to feel like in recent years: out-and-out war. It’s you against 124,999 other folks, all of whom are trying to get to the same places and buy the same things that you are, and you wish they’d just get out of your damn way. Stop. Take a […]

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Far From Bad

You’d think a great Spider-Man movie would have to take place mostly in New York. Au contraire. So many great Spidey stories have been travel stories, whether Spidey was in Florida confronting the Lizard, or the Savage Land working for JJJ, or off to London to try to win back Gwen Stacy. So even though […]

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Everybody’s All-American

By 1941, public opinion on whether or not the U.S. should get involved in the fighting in Europe was decidedly mixed. One place that wasn’t quite so conflicted was the comic books, particularly the comics published by Timely. Having already had a taste of success with Carl Burgos’ Human Torch feature and Bill Everett’s Sub-Mariner […]

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Celebrating Harlan

It was one year ago today that we lost the great Harlan Ellison. In a lot of ways, Harlan was kind of the patron saint of BLASTOFF, encouraging us and supporting us even before we had the store open, when Jud and I were just setting up the online business. And his trusting us to […]

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Marathoning the MCU

So about six weeks before AVENGERS: ENDGAME came out, I began re-watching the entire Marvel Studios filmography and commenting about it on social media. Just because, I guess. (Although truth be told, I didn’t finish until much after ENDGAME’s debut, for reasons not worth getting into here.) With ENDGAME poised to return to theatres with […]

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They Came From Inner Space

I’ve been thinking a lot about Bill Mantlo in recent days, the amazing cinematic success being enjoyed by his creation Rocket Raccoon, and the tragedy of Mantlo’s own medical condition. Mostly, though, I’ve been thinking about what a great writer Bill Mantlo was. Which made me want to go back and re-present this look at […]

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Forgotten Heroes: The Airfighters, Continued

Last week, we were talking about the forgotten heroes of World War II comics, Hillman’s Airfighters, and their star attraction, Airboy, a kid pilot with an amazing robot plane named Birdie. Let us continue: In time, Airboy becomes an authorized if unofficial member of the Air Force, often going out on missions at the behest […]

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Welcoming the Future, Treasuring the Past.