Archive | Comics 101

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Journey into Mystery

The year was 1962, and Marvel editor Stan Lee was feeling the pressure. Stan had come out of the gate three for three: his first three new “Marvel Comics” had been met with unexpected success at the newsstands. THE FANTASTIC FOUR, the INCREDIBLE HULK and the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN were not only selling like hotcakes, but […]

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

April 10, 2017 – Word has reached us of the death 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. […]

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Buried Treasury

Your humble professor is freshly returned from this year’s WonderCon 2017, returned to its rightful home in Anaheim, California, across the street from the House of Mouse. And a great show it was, feeling much like what was to me the heyday of the San Diego Comic-Con, the late 1990s, when the scale was still […]

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Kirby Goes Kosmic

“There came a time when the old gods died…” So begins the first issue of Jack Kirby’s NEW GODS #1, the centerpiece of what many consider the crowning work of his career, the “Fourth World” saga of interconnecting titles for DC Comics. But in a way, that opening also served as notice to comics fans […]

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Li’l League

Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest. As we’ve discussed in these pages previously, the hottest thing going at DC Comics in the early 1960s was JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA. So hot, in fact, that a request to ape its success led to the creation of THE FANTASTIC FOUR by Lee and Kirby, which would […]

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Sometimes, the New Order Stinketh

As has been discussed many times in these pages, a large part of the strength of THE AVENGERS as a concept is its ever-rotating roster of teammates. However, that doesn’t mean that every now and then, a real lemon doesn’t somehow find his or her way on to the team. Let’s tale a look at […]

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Isn’t It Iron-ic?

Editor’s Note: The following piece was first published in 2003, long before Iron Man became the biggest box-office movie star in the world. Rather than update it, I thought it would be more interesting to look back at what I thought most people thought of Iron Man back before RDJ made him a household name. […]

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The Geek Shall Inherit the Earth

When I was little, I loved superheroes. I mean, I loved superheroes. And unlike today, pretty much the only place you could find them was in comic books. But in the 1970s, things began to change. Suddenly superheroes were coming to life, thanks mostly to two things: the CBS network and SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE.   […]

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Staying on Target, Part VII

For Those Who Came In Late: We’ve been continuing our jaunt through the storied history of one Clinton Francis Barton, perhaps better known by his nom de voyage: Hawkeye the Marksman. Last time we explored Hawkeye’s first solo effort, which left him with a new costume and a new bride. Let us continue, shall we? […]

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Staying on Target, Part VI

Previously: Our long-form look at Hawkeye the Marksman goes on unabated. When we left off, Hawkeye had just returned to the team after one of his lengthier absences, and big changes in his life were just around the corner… In September of 1983, after almost two decades of publication, ol’ Hawkeye finally got his own […]

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Staying on Target, Part V

For Those Who Came In Late: We’re hipdeep in our extended coverage of Hawkeye the Marksman, Marvel Comics’ resident archer and lovable loudmouth. When we left off last week, a frustrated Hawkeye had just quit the Avengers, and was jetting off to the West Coast in pursuit of a lost love, the Black Widow, who […]

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Staying on Target, Part IV

Last time: When last we convened we were in the midst of our discussion of Marvel’s Avenging Archer, Hawkeye the Marksman. When we left off, Hawkeye, in the grip of a long-building inferiority complex, had given up his bow and quiver in exchange of steady doses of Hank Pym’s growth serum, transforming him into the […]

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Dan Spiegle, 1920-2017

Legendary comic-book artist Dan Spiegle passed away yesterday at the age of 96. Over the course of his career, Spiegle worked at Dell, Gold Key, Eclipse, Marvel and DC, on everything from Maverick to Sea Hunt to Teen Titans, on dozens of different titles and characters. For me, though, there’s a quartet of series that […]

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Welcoming the Future, Treasuring the Past.