Tag Archives | Comics 101

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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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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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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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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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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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In With the Tide, Part V

Previously, in COMICS 101: It’s been non-stop Aquaman around these parts in recent weeks, as we’ve been exploring the past of one of DC Comics’ ironically both most famous and least respected superhero characters. Last week we took a look at Aquaman the family man, with his surprising (for comics) marriage to Mera and the […]

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Welcoming the Future, Treasuring the Past.