Archive | Comics 101

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Dead Man Walking

You know, some superheroes have it better than others when it comes to origins. Spider-Man was bitten by a radioactive spider; irritating, but hardly traumatic. Superman’s rocketship ride to Earth from Krypton? Maybe crippling emotionally, but hey, he was young – he adjusted. When it come to origins, nobody had it worse than the Spectre, […]

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Neil Gaiman and Vertigo

Neil Gaiman often tells a story familiar to many of us who grew up reading comics. As the story goes, young Neil Gaiman, in his school’s guidance counselor’s office in Great Britain, is asked the question we all remember getting asked: “What do you want to do when you grow up?” L’il Neil’s response? “I […]

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The Short Man’s Complex, Part IV

In my humble opinion, one of the best treatments of Hank Pym was in Kurt Busiek’s and George Perez’s late-‘90s run on AVENGERS, which correctly characterized Hank Pym (calling himself Goliath again by this time) as a deeply troubled man uncertain about his role as a superhero and the propriety of his recent reconciliation with […]

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The Short Man’s Complex, Part III

We continue our journey into the COMICS 101 Vault with part III of our Ant-Man coverage… By the late 1970s, and early 80s, Hank Pym as Yellowjacket had settled into a standard supporting role in AVENGERS and other Marvel books like DEFENDERS and MARVEL TEAM-UP. As time went on, Pym began to fall into periods […]

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This Is Halloween!

So we’re gonna take a departure from the usual fare this week, because this year is a dumpster fire and we’ve all got to do whatever it takes to make us happy and keep us sane, so why not? Instead, we’re going to focus on one of my favorite times of year, and specifically something […]

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The Short Man’s Complex, Part II

Five months after the Wasp’s debut,  Henry Pym underwent the first of his identity changes, utilizing his growth serum to grow beyond normal size as Giant-Man. At first, Pym was limited to a maximum height of 12 feet, but was later able to reach heights of 100 feet, although it proved too debilitating to be […]

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The Short Man’s Complex

Was spending some quarantine time yesterday re-watching Peyton Reed’s wonderful ANT-MAN movie, and it got me in the mood to talk about Ant-Man. Let’s get started! Here’s a question I get a lot: “Who’s your favorite super-hero?” It’s a question I usually dread, because it requires a lot of explaining, but here we go. It’s […]

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Caged Heat

One thing about Marvel Comics in the ’60s and ’70s: it had no compunctions about following the popular trends. After all, this was a company that survived the dark days of comics in the 1950s by pumping out tons of comics about whatever was succeeding elsewhere, not just in comics, but TV and film as […]

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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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Beetlemania

You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Me personally, I’ve always been a huge Blue Beetle fan, and am still missing Mr. Ted Kord. However, Ted Kord was not the first Blue Beetle to appear in comics. In fact, the Blue Beetle goes back a lot farther than you might expect? How far, […]

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Playing Fair, Part II

Previously, in Comics 101: Last time, we introduced you to the beginnings of one of DC Comics’ lesser lights: Terry Sloane, the Man of a Thousand Talents known as Mr. Terrific. With a less than memorable costume and not much in the way of superpowers, why did Mr. Terrific stand the test of time in […]

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Playing Fair

Some characters you like and you don’t even know why. There’s no good reason I should have liked Mr. Terrific as a kid. No super powers, a bad costume, a hopelessly old-fashioned name, and yet, for some reason, he’s always been a sentimental favorite, even though by the time I was first introduced to the […]

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The Avengers Movie They Haven’t Made Yet

The now seemingly endless wait for the next Marvel Cinematic Universe film has got me thinking about the larger Avengers property in the movies, and what Marvel Studios can do with it now that the long-simmering Thanos storyline has finally come to an end. And if you ask me, there’s only one choice: 1986’s “Under […]

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Welcoming the Future, Treasuring the Past.