Archive | Comics 101

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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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Forgotten Heroes

First: a disclaimer: We’ll be discussing comics published during a particularly incendiary period in our nation’s history. It’s no secret that the portrayal of minorities in all forms of American media in the 1940s was often stereotypical and demeaning, and the fervor of wartime patriotism during World War II ratcheted the rhetoric up even further. […]

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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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You Didn’t See That Coming?

Okay, it’s been three and a half weeks or so since the release of AVENGERS: ENDGAME, and if you haven’t seen it by now, I’m sorry, but it’s on you. So, since spoilers can safely be dispensed with, we can talk about something I’ve been wanting to discuss since opening night: The Top 10 Biggest […]

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Driven by Rage

Excited at the appearance of Professor Hulk in AVENGERS: ENDGAME? I know I was. So what better time to get to know everyone’s favorite Green Goliath a little better? Our story begins, as many of these columns seem to, with Marvel Editor-in-Chief Stan Lee. It was 1962 and Stan was looking to follow up the […]

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Avengers Assembled

In a lot of ways, AVENGERS: ENDGAME, directed by the Russo Brothers and starring pretty much everyone who has ever been in a Marvel Cinematic Universe film, is kind of review-proof, in the sense that it’s less a single film and more of a grand finale to the entire Marvel Studios experiment. Can a new […]

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All Good Things

So I got a call from a friend a couple of weeks ago. He’s not much of a pop-culture guy, more of an academic who sticks to his studies and rarely looks up. But he’d begun hearing about something a lot and it had piqued his interest. So he asked me: “What the hell is […]

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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 take a look at […]

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The World’s Mightiest Movie

Shazam! (or the original Captain Marvel, as has been discussed ad nauseum all around the Internet, including many times here in these pages) has, for as long as I can remember, been one of my all-time favorite comic-book characters. One of my earliest memories is my dad telling me about the Shazam! comics he bought […]

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In Focus: With Friends Like These…

Let’s take a trip back to the heady days of the Silver Age of Comics, when the most important thing was how ludicrously attention-getting the cover of your comic book could be, and figuring out how to make sense of it on the inside was clearly secondary. Case in point? SUPERBOY #96 (April 1962), “The […]

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And Harry’s Wild About Me

I caught Sam Raimi’s SPIDER-MAN on TV the other night, and enjoyed once more the way Willem DaFoe and James Franco perfectly captured the fractured relationship between Norman Osborn (secretly Spider-Man’s arch-enemy the Green Goblin) and his son Harry, Peter Parker’s best friend and roommate. I was recently inspired to go back and take a […]

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Terror of “Hidden Island Lake”

Recently, while browsing the video offerings at the DC Universe streaming service, I was delighted/horrified to discover that this infamous special was available. Read this first, then check it out if you’re able, and brave enough. Originally published June 8, 2005. As the superhero movies come and go faster and faster these days, your humble […]

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A Marvelous Debut

As the Marvel Cinematic Universe spins endlessly on, one of my favorite things to observe has been watching these films take really obscure characters from the Marvel pantheon and turn them into household names. We saw it with the Guardians of the Galaxy, we saw it with Ant-Man, and now, in a big, big, way, […]

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Welcoming the Future, Treasuring the Past.