Posts Tagged ‘Fantastic Four

14
Apr
13

2 in 1 Shot #7: Comics Kick Ass Week

showcase logo smallOur pal Adam from the Graphic Panels Podcast has declared the week before Free Comic Book Day, beginning April 29, to be Comics Kick Ass Week — a time to celebrate what we love about comics, and we here at the Showcase are going to tell you how to help spread the word. Blake talks about what’s got him excited about comics this week and tells you how to do the same. In the picks this week, it’s Batman and Robin #19. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!

Join the Comics Kick Ass Week event on Facebook!
Follow Comics Kick Ass Week on Tumblr!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

2 in 1 Shot #7: Comics Kick Ass Week

02
Dec
12

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 279: Wizard World New Orleans 2012 (II)

showcase logo small

It’s the second Wizard World New Orleans convention for 2012! Why? Blake and Kenny try to solve the mystery. The boys also talk convention shopping, cosplaying, Star Trek panel mayhem and close encounters in the Men’s Room. In the picks, Blake is reasonably impressed with Indestructible Hulk #1. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

Episode 279: Wizard World New Orleans 2012 (II)

11
Jul
12

Everything But Imaginary #454: Now! It’s Marvel’s Turn

It’s Marvel’s turn — in October the Marvel Universe will begin a relaunch. New characters! New costumes! New #1! More money! This week, I pick apart the Marvel Now! initiative to look at positives, negatives, hopes, and fears.

Everything But Imaginary #454: Now! It’s Marvel’s Turn

20
May
12

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 266: The Ultimate Villain Countdown

It’s time for another Showcase Countdown! This week, the boys each give their own top ten lists for the greatest villains of all time, then count down the ultimate list as voted on by the Showcase listeners. Tune in to find out whose villainy takes the top prize! In the picks, Mike goes with Superman #8, Kenny takes Aquaman #8, and Blake praises Fantastic Four #506.1. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

Episode 266: Ultimate Villain Countdown

10
May
12

Everything But Imaginary #447: Avengers Assembling a New Cinematic Landscape?

It’s a day late thanks to the great CX Server Malfunction of (Early May) 2012, but it’s time for this week’s Everything But Imaginary. With The Avengers outpacing everyone’s wildest expectations, it’s time to take a step back and think about what the film may mean for the future… the future of the Avengers franchise, of Marvel Studios, of superhero movies, and of Summer blockbusters in general.

Fair warning: although this is not a review of the film, there are spoiler herein. Read at your own risk.

Everything But Imaginary #447: Avengers Assembling a New Cinematic Landscape?

15
Apr
12

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 263: The 2012 Summer Movie Preview

Summer is going to be here before you know it, friends, and it’s time for the Showcase crew’s annual look ahead at the releases that will help you stay cool indoors during the baking summer months. Blake, Erin and Heather run down all of the big releases from May to August, including the ones you can’t wait for, the ones you’ve never heard of, and the ones you just wish you’ve never heard of. In the picks, Erin is enjoying the Rot and Ruin series, Heather is the last person on Earth who hasn’t read The Hunger Games, and Blake tells you why Fantastic Four #605 will make you sweat from your eyes and Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. #8 is just awesome. Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

Episode 263: The 2012 Summer Movie Preview

07
Dec
11

Classic EBI #143: Christmas Comics From Riverdale to Strange’s Sanctum

There’s been some buzz lately about the possibility of a sequel or prequel to the classic Watchmen series from DC Comics. And honestly, I don’t know if it’s that great an idea…

Everything But Imaginary #426: The Problem With Watchmen 2

But moving back in time, let’s look at one of my favorite columns from Christmas past. Every year, I do a column looking back at some of my favorite Christmas comics, as well as the new releases from that year. Let’s head back to 2005, and some Christmas comics from a year where they were sorely needed.

Classic EBI: #143: Christmas Comics From Riverdale to Strange’s Sanctum

Continuing last week’s in-depth examination of this year’s crop of Christmas Comics (including a focus on Disney comics), we’re going to start this time in Marvel Comics’ New York, with two offerings that took me by surprise – one in a good way, one not so much.

First up was the Marvel Holiday Special. Marvel put out an oversized collection of Christmas comics every year for a while in the 90s and just brought the tradition back last year. I kinda wish there were more than just three stories per issue, but you take what you can get. This year’s issue, sporting a great cover by Stuart Immonen, opens up with “Mole Man’s Christmas.” In this story, written by Shaenon Garrity with art by Roger Langridge and Al Gordon, the humble Moloids have launched yet another attack on the surface world, this time kidnapping Santa Clauses right from the streets. The Fantastic Four, naturally, begin plans to launch their assault on their underground kingdom, only to discover that they’re trying to find their ruler, the missing Mole Man. As the rest of the team plans for a more direct approach, the Thing takes a different tack – trying to hunt down his old enemy using a mysterious clue. This is a fairly entertaining story – any spotlight on Ben Grimm is a good thing, and it’s rare to see a Citizen Kane parody in a Christmas comic.

This story is followed up by the unsuspected gem of the collection, “Yes Virginia, There is a Santron” by Jeff Parker with art by Reilly Brown. It’s Christmas Eve and Dr. Strange is throwing a party at his inner sanctum for the Avengers and their friends, including the Marvel Universe’s newest would-be superstar, Gravity. As the heroes enjoy celebrations of various yuletide holidays, including a particularly funny bit with Spider-Woman finding herself unable to escape the mistletoe, across the city a young woman is working on her masterpiece – a Santa Claus android, but the robot seems to have some preliminary programming that threatens our heroes.

The punchline is predictable and the story is full of plot holes, such as how the robot Santa managed to find Strange’s mystically-shielded sanctum, but you know what? It doesn’t matter. This story is much better than it has any right to be. I really enjoyed it, and I can see myself reading this story every Christmas.

Finally, Mike Carey and Mike Perkins give us “Christmas Day in Manhattan,” in which an old supervillain heads out on one last mission to give his kids a Merry Christmas – only to run afoul of some of New York’s heroes. Carey gives us the requisite Christmas poem and Perkins does the story in an intriguing style that mirrors an old woodcutting. It’s not great, but it’s good.

Another Christmas offering from Marvel didn’t score quite so highly with me – Punisher: Silent Night from Andy Diggle and Kyle Hotz. I got this because of my stated purpose of snagging every Christmas comic I could, but this really didn’t work for me. It’s basically a Punisher story with an excuse to get him in a Santa suit to set up a hit. Diggle writes a decent old-fashioned Punisher story, but as the only version of the character I’ve ever really enjoyed is Garth Ennis’s dark comedy, this isn’t a book that’s really for me.

Now Archie Comics, like Gemstone last week, gives us a whole slew of Christmas offerings, starting with their annual Archie’s Holiday Fun Digest. Like all Archie digests, this is a fun mix of new and old stories – 100 pages worth for just $2.39, making these comics still the most bang for your buck out of any comic books being published. The issue opens up with Archie in “The Job” – a simple, sweet little tale of Riverdale’s favorite redhead serving as a department store Santa Claus.

My favorite tale in this book, however, is Dilton in “Scientific Santa.” When Dilton’s cousin Dexter refuses to believe not only in Santa Claus, but in any Christmas tradition whatsoever, the boy genius and his girlfriend Danni set up a super-scientific workshop to give the kid a dose of the real holiday spirit. I’m a longtime fan of Archie Comics, and I was really happy to see this story using some favorite characters from the short-lived Dilton’s Strange Science series from the early 90s. Plus in the follow up, “Computer Chip Shot,” as Dilton and Danni try to pack up their equipment from the previous tale things go a little haywire, resulting in another fun story.

The comic is full of stories with Sabrina, Betty and Veronica, Cheryl Blossom and the whole gang, and it’s a lot of fun.

But also like Gemstone, in addition to their annual Christmas special, holiday tales bled into many of their regular titles, such as Tales From Riverdale Digest #7. While not all of the stories in this issue where Christmas tales, enough were to include it in this rundown. In “Wait Right Here,” Veronica is stunned to discover that good-natured Betty, of all people, is feeling a case of the humbugs as she is ignored by snooty store clerks who think because of her less-than glamorous appearance that she doesn’t have anything to spend. The girls star in this issue’s other major Christmas contributions as well. In “Some Things Never Change” their old friend, the fairy Sugar Plum, spice up Veronica’s dull Christmas party, then in “A Dreamy Teen Christmas,” the girls first put together a Christmas Tree for a charity auction, then plan to try to win it themselves. Finally, Sugar Plum makes a return appearance in “Veronica’s Wonderful Life,” in which the richest girl in Riverdale gets a taste of what the world would be like if she had never been born. “It’s a Wonderful Life” parodies are nothing new, but this one had a really amusing punchline that makes it stand out.

Archie had even more Christmas offerings, such as Betty and Veronica #213 – in “Keeping Up Traditions,” Veronica blows off her annual Christmas outing with Betty for a date with the new guy in town, but then her conscience starts to plague her. Sugar Plum shows up again in “Treed!” to help the girls decorate the enormous lodge mansion – but the well-meaning fairy, as she usually does, takes things too far. Finally we have “Spending Spree,” in which Veronica sees Betty scrimping for Christmas presents for everyone else while she goes out on her usual selfish shopping sprees. Suddenly, she comes up with the greatest Christmas present of all.

Betty and Veronica Spectacular underwent an interesting metamorphosis this year, adding fashion pieces and advice columns to its comics in an attempt to make it more of a “teen magazine.” I actually think this is a clever idea that, hopefully, will bring in more female readers – or at least help retain more that otherwise would have “outgrown” the comics. But with issue #72, this comic too adds some Christmas offerings. “What a Card” shows Veronica going overboard on her own attempt at a Christmas Card after Betty’s handwritten poem becomes a smash hit. (For best friends, these girls are extremely competitive.) Also, “The Nite Before X-Mas!” is a twist on the old Clement Moore poem that kind of serves as a roll call for the kids of Riverdale High School. The comic also includes a page of “Holiday Glitz” and a Holiday Trivia Quiz – fun stuff for the girls.

Last but not least, there’s Veronica #166, but don’t let the title of the comic fool you, Betty is all over this one too. In “A Dickens of a Tale,” a flurry of shopping greed from Veronica brings her a visit from three spirits that show her how she abuses her best friend, worries her parents, and how her greed will leave poor Archie torn between her and Betty for many Christmases to come. Clearly, this is Veronica’s year for spectral manifestations with amusing punchlines. She comes back in “Party Time,” in which she gets the idea to throw a big Christmas party and asks her dad to pay for it. Mr. Lodge agrees, but is put off by her frivolousness – until he arrives at the party for a big surprise. Veronica is a really schizophrenic character – one minute she’s as greedy as Ebenezer Scrooge, then a few pages later she’s got a heart as big as Tiny Tim.

At any rate, these Archie comics are a blast and well worth sharing with your kids on Christmas morning. I’d actually hoped to cover two more Christmas specials this week – the Image Comics Holiday Special and Dan Slott’s GLX-Mas, but thanks to the intricacies of December shipping, I haven’t gotten either of those yet. But I think I’ve made my point – there are a lot of great Christmas comics out there.

And I hope that you’ve enjoyed this little foray into some of the wonderful offerings we’ve got this Christmas. May you all have a wonderful, Merry holiday with your friends and family – I know I will. Don’t forget to vote in the 2005 Everything But Imaginary Awards — for a full list of rules and categories, follow this link to the Everything But Imaginary Awards Thread. And come back next week for our special year-end EBI, in which I put on my prognosticator cap and tell everyone what the comic book industry needs to do to thrive in 2006. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!

Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People’s Heroes, the suspense novel The Beginner and the Christmas-themed eBook A Long November. He’s also the co-host, with whoever the hell is available that week, of the 2 in 1 Showcase Podcast. E-mail him at BlakeMPetit@gmail.com.

20
Nov
11

2 in 1 Showcase Episode 246: Marvel Implosion?

Layoffs are one thing. Cancelled comics are something else. But a snowball seems to be rolling down from Marvel Comics, and this week, Blake tries to stand against it. Apologies in advance: this gets a little ranty. But he does dig good comics, and he gives his pick this week to Avengers Academy #22 Contact us with comments, suggestions, or anything else at Showcase@CXPulp.com!

Music provided by Music Alley from Mevio.

Episode 246: Marvel Implosion?

21
Sep
11

Classic EBI #109: Going Once… Going Twice…

We comic book fans have a bad habit of creating problems where none exist. What if continuity scares off new readers? What if kids won’t read superheroes? Um… what if we just let them give it a try?

Everything But Imaginary #416: Creating Our Own Problems

Going back to 2005, though, I talk about something that I actually haven’t done in quite some time… using eBay to boost my comic collection. Ah, the good old days…

Everything But Imaginary #109: Going Once… Going Twice…

As a beloved and well-respected member of the comic book press, people are constantly asking me questions. “How do you spell that?” is one. “Hey Blake, you’ve got me blocked in, can you move your car?” is another. But one question I’ve heard with much greater frequency lately is this: “Where can I get comics online?”

Now I don’t mean web comics, I mean purchasing actual comic books printed on paper through that funky little box you’re staring into right now. I think most comic fans would agree that there’s a great feeling to going down to your local comic shop, browsing the racks, arguing with other fans about who’d win in a fight between Wolverine and Batman and being utterly astonished when a female walks into the joint. That’s good times.

But the fact is, friends, sometimes your local shop won’t be enough. You can only look through the same back issue bins so many times before it dawns on you that your local shop is never going to get that copy of Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew #1 that you so desperately crave. If you’ve got other shops in the area, you can check them out, but again, you can only look there so often. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to turn to an alternative supplier. Sooner or later, you’ve got to go to the internet.

Now for recent back-issues, it should be relatively simple to find what you’re looking for with an online retailer like our own X-World Comics. And in fact, anytime somebody is seeking an issue less than a year or so old, that’s the first place I’m going to send them. But what if you’re looking for something older? Something from the 70s or 80s? What if you’re not looking for anything in particular, but just want to browse?

Not to sound like a commercial, but eBay has really been a boon to comic readers.

Note I say comic readers. For comic collectors, it still has its positive points, but not as many. A really collectible comic will show up there and immediately vault in price as the bidding war ensues. If it’s a comic worth having for an investment purpose, you’ve got to be quick and crafty to get your hands on it, and it will still cost you an arm, a leg, and your first born child (which I understand will soon be a “Buy it Now” option).

If you’re a reader, though, than you can really do well at a site like this. Just log in and do a search for “comics.” I just did that very thing and I found 37,920 entries. And no, that’s not a typo, that’s not a misplaced decimal point. Thirty-seven thousand.

With that many, of course, it’s tough to find something specific. And if you’re looking for something specific (say Amazing Spider-Man #400), then be more specific in your search. Type Spider-Man or Amazing Spider-Man. You could even go so far as to type the issue number, but remember that each keystroke will limit the number of potential matches and may cause you to miss exactly what you’re looking for. The majority of comics sold on eBay are sold in lots of two or more: “Lot of 10 Spider-Man Comics” or “Assorted Marvel Comics: 1990-1995” are not uncommon as a listing, and either of those could have what you’re looking for. So if you don’t find what you want in your first search, think of some different terms that might result in a hit and try again.

But again, this is when you’re looking for something specific, which I rarely do these days. Online shopping has become a godsend for me in a very different way. I’ve entered a sort of phase where I’m looking for older comics – stuff I’ve never heard of, stuff I’ve heard of but never read, or stuff I read as a child that somehow I lost along the way. So I’ll browse the stuff that has a lot of different kinds of comics that I can get for a cheap price.

As a result, I’ve picked up on some really great stuff lately: kids comics I’d forgotten about like Richie Rich, Casper the Friendly Ghost and a lot of old Archie comics. Comics based on cartoons like The Flintstones, The Great Grape Ape, New Terrytoons and Popeye the Sailor Man. And out-there, obscure stuff like Charlton’s old Judomaster comic or Ace Comics’ revival of What is… The Face? by Steve Ditko and 70s attempts to resurrect horror comics like Marvel’s Journey Into Mystery revival.

Then there are the comics I’ve never heard of, like Dark Horse’s Atlas, and oddities like a Harlem Globetrotters comic from Gold Key. I’ve even found two issues of Charlton’s Abbott and Costello comic book, which is apparently based on the little-known cartoon series from the 1960s (which featured Bud Abbott doing his own voice, but replaced Lou Costello, who died in 1959).

Now I’ve got to stress here – these are reader’s copies of the comics. Most of them are in decent condition, but none are in mint. Some are pretty bad, with ragged edges, tears, holes… it’s not unusual for a lot of 15 comics to include three with no covers at all. (These don’t go into my collection, but I do read them.) A lot of the time you’re bidding on comics that somebody found in an attic or the bottom of a box of books their kids have outgrown or stuff from their own childhood they found when cleaning out their parent’s house. These are comics with writing on them, coupons clipped, covers dangling by a staple. These are comics that have lived.

But they’re cheap. And they’re readable. And if you’re just looking to find something interesting, then that’s as winning a combination as you can get.

It’s also obvious that sometimes the person doing the listing either doesn’t know much about comics or just isn’t paying attention. For instance, one package I saw when I did that search for this column labeled as a set of 9 Marvel comic books included such notable Marvel titles as Action Comics, Magnus: Robot Fighter and Armorines (that’s a DC and two Valiant titles, if you aren’t familiar). This is the reason I always read a listing carefully before I place a bid. I never bid on any lot that doesn’t at least list some of the titles (stuff that just says “50 assorted comics” isn’t going to get my money) and doesn’t have a photograph. But sometimes just one comic in a lot will be enough to interest me. I was looking at a lot with some seemingly ordinary Sad Sack and Thor comics and may have passed it up, until my eye caught one of the aforementioned Abbott and Costello comics in the photographs. That one comic was enough to get me to place the bid, and as a result I got that lot for less than nine bucks and it turned out to have some cool oddities as well, like several issues of Gold Key’s old The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor series.

And sometimes you’ll luck out and get something that’s worth something – I once dropped a ten-spot on a lot of old Dell Disney comics (mainly because I wanted the copy of Uncle Scrooge #16 that was in there), and wound up getting an issue of The Hardy Boys in very good condition that lists for $150. Not a bad return on my investment, even if I don’t intend to sell it.

Now these rules all apply when you’re buying comics. Selling them on eBay is a different matter entirely. I’ve done that too, and frankly, unless you’ve got something phenomenally in-demand that’ll spark a bidding war, you’re not going to make a lot of money. I’ve often sold lots where I barely recouped the cover price and almost wound up going into the hole once I shipped. (This is because I charge the actual shipping price and not the sky-high fees some sellers do.)

But if you’re looking to expand your collection and you’re not too particular about how you do it, if you’re just looking for something fun, if you’re just looking for something different… this kind of stuff can be a lot of fun. Heck, now that I’ve told you all this, I’ll probably have to fight half of you guys in bidding wars. But hey – where’s the fun with no competition?

FAVORITE OF THE WEEK: March 29, 2005
Let’s get a show of hands here, friends, who thought for sure I was going to go with DC Countdown? Anybody? Yeah, me too.

Until I read Fantastic Four #524. For the final story in their run, Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo tell a tale of an FF without their powers, trying to reclaim them as they bounce around New York City from person to person like cosmic superballs. And along the way, they manage to shed some real light on the members of the team, show what makes them tick, show what makes them heroes. It’s a perfect bookend, in fact, for the nine-cent issue that began their run nearly three years ago. This issue caps it for me, this is the best team ever to handle The Thing, and the best team to touch the Fantastic Four since John Byrne’s run in the 1980s. J. Michael Straczynski takes over in a couple of months (after a fill-in run by Karl Kesel), and I’m a big Straczynski fan… but man… does he have some enormous shoes to fill.

Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People’s Heroes, the suspense novel The Beginner, and the Christmas-themed eBook A Long November. He’s also the co-host, with whoever the hell is available that week, of the2 in 1 Showcase Podcast. E-mail him at BlakeMPetit@gmail.comand visit him on the web at Evertime Realms.Read past columns at the Everything But Imaginary Archive Page.

 

10
Aug
11

Classic EBI #103: Old Dogs, New Tricks

Boom! Studios, the publisher that has been turning out great comics based on various Disney-owned TV shows, cartoons, and movies since 2009, recently confirmed that their production of Disney comics will end in October with their Darkwing Duck/DuckTales crossover. This isn’t really a surprise, and the assumption seems to be that the characters will be folded into Marvel Comics, which Disney purchased about six months after the Boom! deal began. So the questions I ask in today’s Everything But Imaginary are simple: What is Marvel going to do with Disney Comics? And what should Marvel do with Disney Comics?

Everything But Imaginary #410: Marvel’s Mickey Mouse Outfit

In this week’s classic EBI, we’re rolling back to February 23, 2005, when I took a look at the legacy of the Golden Age, both in characters and creators.

Everything But Imaginary #103: Old Dogs, New Tricks

This weekend, I was sitting around reading the latest issue of Comics Buyer’s Guide (which, incidentally, is still the best publication out there about comics), and I was gratified to see an ad from Heroic Publications announcing an upcoming Alter Ego trade paperback. Most of you have never heard of Alter Ego, of course. A few of you may recognize it as being a fanzine published by comic writer and editor supreme Roy Thomas about the Golden and Silver Ages of comics. Three of you, based on our Everything But Imaginary Insta-Poll Technology, seem to think it’s some sort of Greek sandwich.

But it was also a four-issue miniseries written by Thomas and drawn by Ron Harris in the mid-80s, and it’s one of my favorite little-known gems of the comic book world. In this series, published by the now-defunct First Comics, a teenager named Rob Lindsay wound up with a box of Golden Age comics in mint condition, including some he’d never heard of, and with some really bizarre stories (like characters from one publisher showing up in another publisher’s book, which was rare in the 80s and unheard of in the 40s, although these days it happens with such frequency that they’re thinking of adding an inter-company crossover bell, not unlike an ice cream truck).

One of the comics was Alter Ego, a weird tale about a super-powered hero battling an evil tryant, the Crimson Claw. A mask fell out of the comic and, thinking it was a giveaway, Rob put it on, only to be transported to another dimension where World War II was still in high gear and all of the Golden Age characters he’d read about in his grandfather’s old comics were still alive and kicking. And he himself had been transformed to Alter Ego, their leader, and the only hope of saving his world and theirs from nuclear devastation.

I really don’t know how well-received the comic was when it was first published – I discovered it a few years later at a flea market, where I got all four issues for a quarter apiece. It looked interesting, and heck, it was only a buck for the whole miniseries. I’ve read those issues dozens of times over the years. It was one of the best single dollars I’ve ever spent. I even got Thomas to autograph the first issue for me at a convention a few years ago.

One of my favorite things about the title, though, was that Thomas didn’t whip up a bunch of “new” Golden Age heroes to plug into his tale – he secured the rights to several real characters who, not being published by Marvel or DC, had faded into obscurity: Captain Combat, the Holy Terror, Skyboy, Yankee Doodle and Camille the Jungle Queen. He even dug up Lev Gleason Publishing’s Daredevil, although with Marvel using the name these days, he called him Double-Dare in the comic.

At any rate, it was a great comic, and with a trade paperback scheduled for release this month, I’d recommend anyone who digs the Golden Age of comics try to find a copy. You know. Both of you. Which brings me around to where I was going in this column – so much of the time we, as comic fans, are looking for the next big thing. The next great writer, the next great artist, the next smash hit character. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m sure a great many of us hope to someday be the next great writer or the next great artist. But there’s still so much life in those classic creations that people are totally missing out on! Thomas was one of the kings of mining Golden Age material for new stuff – during the same period he published Alter Ego he also was doing great stuff at DC with the All-Star Squadron and Secret Origins, which were both steeped in the Golden Age.

These days, you don’t see a lot done with Golden Age properties, except for characters who were created in the Golden Age and have remained consistently popular, like Superman and Captain America. Marvel made an effort recently with New Invaders, but it fell flat pretty quickly. Really, the only one in comics really doing much with it at all at the moment is Geoff Johns in JSA. He’s using the original incarnations of perpetually popular characters like Green Lantern and the Flash, but he’s also brought back new or updated versions of classic, lesser known heroes like Mr. Terrific, Dr. Mid-Nite, Sand and (bless him for this one) the Red Tornado.

There are smatterings of respect to the Golden Age across the rest of the DCU. The Justice League keeps the original Crimson Avenger’s uniform on display in the Watchtower, a symbol of the first superhero in their universe. Lady Blackhawk has recently joined the Birds of Prey, and the Blackhawk name is kept alive by a new elite fighter squad. The Guardian will be part of Grant Morrison’s new Seven Soldiers of Victory. There’s even a new Manhunter, at least the fourth such incarnation of the character since the original one in the Golden Age.

Perhaps even more disturbing to me than the lack of screentime Golden Age properties seem to get these days, though, is the lack of respect Golden Age creators get. We’re talking about the guys who not only invented the medium and genres we all love, but most of them got royally screwed by the publishers in the process. So while Jim Lee has gotten richer off his work with Superman and Batman, the guys who created and defined those characters have struggled. I’m not downing Lee, mind you. I’m just sad that Jerry Siegel, Joe Schuster, Bob Kane and Bill Finger (who got the rawest deal of just about anybody in the Golden Age) didn’t get the recognition they deserved while they were with us.

I try to hit a major con every year or two, and I’ve noticed something that really disturbs me. People are willing to stand in line for up to two hours for an autograph by Michael Turner or Mark Silvestri. And that’s fine – they’re both great artists and I enjoy their work. But then I’ll wander on over to the Artist’s Alley section and I’ll see guys like Mart Nodell sitting there alone, with no one coming close to shake his hand and ask for his signature.

Even sadder, I’ll bet at least 75 percent of the people who just read that paragraph don’t even know who Mart Nodell is.

He was the co-creator (with the aforementioned royally screwed Bill Finger) of a fella by the name of Green Lantern. The first one, of course, Alan Scott, but without him there would have been no Hal Jordan, no Guy Gardner, no John Stewart, no Green Lantern Corps, and Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver wouldn’t currently be doing some of the best work of their careers.

If you ever see him at a con, go talk to him. He’s an interesting guy – I’ve met him twice now and I was amazed each time. He’s happy to sign anything you bring him. He even takes copies of Zero Hour #0, which prominently featured ol’ Hal and happened to have a blank white cover, and does a sketch of a Lantern in green ink. Man, how cool is that?

You see it happening to more recent creators that are getting past their prime too. You may hate what Chris Claremont is doing with X-Men these days, but the man at least deserves respect for having taken what was, at the time, a stagnant, b-list Marvel title and making it one of the flagship books of the entire industry. John Byrne’s Doom Patrol may not be your cup of tea, but he did a run on Fantastic Four that was unparalleled in its quality until Mark Waid and Mike Wieringo took over. Don’t get the new stuff if you don’t like it, but give credit where credit is due as well.

Every art form needs to be constantly looking forward, looking ahead, trying to remain interesting, exciting and revolutionary. You’ve got to be ready to make that journey in the future. But every journey needs fuel, and there’s still an awful lot of fuel to be found in the past, if only you know where to look for it.

FAVORITE OF THE WEEK: February 16, 2005

Damn you, Geoff Johns.

I didn’t want to like Green Lantern: Rebirth. In fact, I was fully prepared to hate it. I felt like the whole series was DC’s way of capitulating to a vocal minority of fans who have spent the past ten years whining about Hal Jordan like babies who had their bottles taken away from them. To be honest, I still feel that way. But the fact is, no matter why this comic was scheduled in the first place, Johns is telling a fantastic story that’s redeeming Hal and tying up decades of continuity into one tight, concise tale that appears well on the road to reestablishing the one thing I have really missed since the revamp: the Green Lantern Corps. Issue 4 of this series was the best yet, showing some great action scenes, a fantastic moment with Green Arrow that I want as a poster, and the best artwork of Ethan Van Sciver’s career. I’m loving this book.

Blake M. Petit is the author of the superhero comedy novel, Other People’s Heroes, the suspense novel The Beginner and the Christmas-themed eBook A Long November. He’s also the co-host, with whoever the hell is available that week, of the 2 in 1 Showcase Podcast. E-mail him at BlakeMPetit@gmail.com and visit him on the web at Evertime Realms. Read past columns at the Everything But Imaginary Archive Page.




Blake’s Twitter Feed

July 2020
S M T W T F S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  

Blog Stats

  • 312,635 hits

Blake's Flickr Photos

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.