Archive | Comics 101

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Enter Diana, Part II

With the death of William Moulton Marston in 1947, the WONDER WOMAN strip was entering into a new phase of its publication. No longer singlemindedly focused on issues of gender equality and submission, WONDER WOMAN instead took on a more straightforward adventure style, being handled primarily by writer Robert Kanigher and artist Ross Andru. Andru’s […]

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Enter Diana

By all accounts, M.C. Gaines was no dummy. The publisher of All-American Comics (publisher of FLASH, GREEN LANTERN, HAWKMAN and many others, and sister company to DC Comics before the two merged in 1944) had read an article in a recent issue of FAMILY CIRCLE, which, while it wasn’t outright attacking comic books, seemed to […]

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Daddy Issues

It’s awfully hard to capture lightning in a bottle twice. Writer/director James Gunn’s first outing in the world of Marvel Studios, 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, was the first true breath of fresh air in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, which was by no means stale, but had by then settled into a relatively safe-feeling pattern of […]

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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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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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Welcoming the Future, Treasuring the Past.