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Al Plastino’s “Superman’s Incredible Delusion”

Back in September 2011, I did a month-long spotlight on great Silver Age Comics. Two of the books spotlighted were Al Plastino Superman stories. I figured I’d re-post the two Plastino stories again in honor of the late, great Plastino, who passed away today at the age of 91.

Here is an unusual 1965 Superman story (#174, by Edmond Hamilton and Al Plastino) where Clark Kent is convinced that he is not actually Superman.

Enjoy!

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Al Plastino’s “Supergirl From Krypton”

Back in September 2011, I did a month-long spotlight on great Silver Age Comics. Two of the books spotlighted were Al Plastino Superman stories. I figured I’d re-post the two Plastino stories again in honor of the late, great Plastino, who passed away today at the age of 91.

First off, here is the 1959 introduction of Superman’s cousin, Supergirl, in Action Comics #252, by Otto Binder and Al Plastino!

Enjoy!
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Who Was That Mysterious Guy at the End of Thor?

I wrote an article for the main page yesterday giving some background on the mysterious character who made his debut at the end of Thor: The Dark World.

Check it out here.

Thor Top Five Lists!

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Here is a collection of all the Thor Top Five lists that we have done, just in time for the release of Thor: The Dark World in the United States.

Enjoy!

1. Top Five Non-Thor Wielders of Mjolnir

2. Top Five Walter Simonson Thor Covers

3. Top Five Thor Battles

4. Top Five Oddest Powers of Thor’s Hammer

5. Top Five Oddest Powers of Thor Himself

Comic Book Six Degrees: Astro to Vance Astro

I name two comic book characters. You then have to connect the two using only shared appearances in comic books (official appearances in comics only – no cameos like Terry Austin sneaking Popeye into the background of a panel and no outside comic book appearances, like cartoons and the like). You have to do so using less than six comics total. Covers and pin-ups do not count – only actual appearances in the same comic book story (so it doesn’t count if they each appeared in separate stories inside the same anthology). Mythological characters, public domain characters (other than public domain comic book characters, they’re free game) and real people (by the way, unless a fake name is used for a real person, like Ronald Raygun or whatever, you can use the person even if they are not officially named in the comic) are unique to their own comic book appearances (so DC’s Thor is different than Marvel’s Thor, DC’s Ronald Reagan is different from Marvel’s Ronald Reagan, etc.). But a licensed character is the same in all of their various comic book companies (so the Marvel Red Sonja is the same as the Dynamite Red Sonja) and approved appearances by a real person can go across comic book companies, as well (so, for instance, you can use Marv Wolfman from his Teen Titans appearance to connect with Marv Wolfman in his Fantastic Four appearance – you just can’t use modern appearances by Jack Kirby from one company to connect to Jack Kirby appearances from Marvel Comics, since obviously Kirby can no longer give approval for his appearance). Approval tends to be the key.

Every week, whoever connects the two characters in the least amount of turns gets to pick the next week’s match (in the event of a tie, the winner is chosen randomly). Last week was Lord C’thulu to Shuma-Gorath. George B. was one of a couple of people to get it in five moves. Here is how George connected the two…

Lord C’thulhu was in Those Annoying Post Bros. #63 with the Post Brothers
The Post Brothers were in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #41 with, let’s say Raphael
Raphael was in Gen 13 #13B with Grunge
Grunge was in Gen 13 #13C with Wolverine
Wolverine was in Wolverine: First Class #12 with Shuma-Gorath

George’s challenge is…

Astro to Vance Astro

E-mail me your answers at bcronin@comicbookresources.com. Do NOT post your answers in the comments section!

Whoever connects the two characters in the least amount of comics gets to pick the connection for next time around (I’ll pick a random winner in the event of a tie)!

Remember, only authorized appearances in comic books count (for instance, all the Marvel characters in Savage Dragon/Destroyer Duck do not count)!

Only a Week Left to Vote for the Top 100 Comic Book Storylines!

The turnout has been fine so far, but it can always be better! The more people who vote the better the results are, so please make sure to vote!

Here is the place where you cast your ballots.

Black Hole’s (Un)Healthy Bodies and Intersectionality

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I don’t really know how to talk about Black Hole. For a comic that feels like the unholy lovechild of Cronenberg’s Videodrome and Lynch’s Lost Highway, there’s a certain coherency in it with regards to basic human emotions, specifically love, fear, and hatred. Despite being focused around self-centered (and sometimes super obnoxious) high-schoolers, Black Hole really knows the human condition. But this isn’t a feel good story in any way. It dredges up the worst of humanity by illustrating the way we treat people who are marked as different than us. There are moments of amazing intimacy, but they are tinged with a very sharp pain.

Okay, so for those possibly uninitiated to Charles Burns’s Black Hole: it’s a story about teenagers who contract a certain disease whenever they have sex with somebody who is infected. So, essentially, it’s a story about STDs that manifest as elements of the grotesque: your skin can molt, you can grow a tail or extra mouths, or have your entire skin become reformed and unrecognizable. Just to name a few. And as comes as no surprise, people who are not afflicted with this disease reject and ostracize those who are known to be infected. At its core, Black Hole shows us the horror involved in our treatment of people we view as unhealthy (and immoral because of so).

As others have noted, the context for Black Hole’s original pub date of the mid-1990s is important to understanding what Burns’s grotesque tale is doing. (The original four issues are also missing from the collected edition but for the purposes of this article I’m just focusing on the elements that were included in the collection.) Set in the 70s, but written in the 90s, Black Hole’s context is one explicitly about our changing attitudes towards sexuality and STDs, specifically AIDS. So Black Hole effectively becomes a visual treatment of how we, as a society on a whole, view and treat those who are ill. We are not always compassionate. We are a species governed and motivated, in a large part, by fear.
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CSBG’s Complete Celebration of the X-Men’s 50th Anniversary!

The last couple of months we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the X-Men with a variety of features, such as a countdown of the 50 Greatest X-Men Stories of All-Time (based on YOUR votes) as well as a collection of Top Five Lists involving the X-Men (like the Top Five X-Men Battles) and a collection of Cool X-Men Moments (like the time Wolverine stabbed that guy or the other time Wolverine stabbed that other guy). I thought it would be nice to collect all of these features into one handy dandy spot for you all, rather than forcing you to flip through all of the Avengers features, as well (as we celebrated THEIR 50th Anniversary last month, as well).

Enjoy! Continue Reading »

CSBG’s Complete Celebration of the Avengers’ 50th Anniversary!

The last couple of months we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Avengers with a variety of features, such as a countdown of the 50 Greatest Avengers Stories of All-Time (based on YOUR votes) as well as a collection of Top Five Lists involving the Avengers (like the Top Five Avengers Battles Against Ultron) and a collection of Cool Avengers Moments (like the Avengers meeting Captain America for the first time). I thought it would be nice to collect all of these features into one handy dandy spot for you all, rather than forcing you to flip through all of the X-Men features, as well (as we celebrated THEIR 50th Anniversary last month, as well).

Enjoy! Continue Reading »

Month of Cool Avengers/X-Men Comic Book Moments – The Old Order Changeth!

All month long we will feature brand-new Cool Avengers and X-Men Comic Book Moments in celebration of their fiftieth anniversaries this month. Here is an archive of all the past cool comic moments that I’ve featured so far over the years.

We finish out the Avengers side of the month with the debut of the first new Avengers lineup in Avengers #16 by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers!
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Not-So-Great Moments in Avengers/X-Men History – Quicksilver’s Sole Star of Shame

This month is the 50th anniversaries of both the X-Men and the Avengers. Each day I’m spotlighting a cool comic book moment from either the Avengers or the X-Men but I thought it is only fair to spend a little time on the NOT so cool moments in each of their histories. So throughout the month I’ll occasionally spotlight some of the more embarrassing moments from Avengers and X-Men history.

Today, we look at the 1972 Marvel “measurement of importance” and see how Quicksilver was specifically pointed out in a negative fashion.

Enjoy!
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50 Greatest X-Family Stories: 9-7

In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the X-Men, we’re doing a poll of the greatest X-Family (spin-offs of the X-Men) stories of all-time (Here is our previous list of the 50 Greatest X-Men Stories)! You all voted, now here are the results of what you chose as the 50 Greatest X-Family stories! Here is a master list of every story featured so far.

We’ll do three each day from here on out.

Enjoy!
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John Trumbull on Ben Affleck as Batman

The Line it is Drawn’s John Trumbull whipped up the following piece after the news hit about Ben Affleck playing Batman in the upcoming Batman/Superman film.
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Caught In Between Good and Bad: Catwoman’s Feminism

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I often find myself in arguments about Catwoman: who played the best Selina Kyle in movies and who writes her the best in comics. I talk about her a lot. I mean, a lot. I’ve developed a really deep love for her as a character because she has never been easily pinned down or definable. She holds a special place for me because as a female character, she holds a lot of power for progressive and offensive representation and thought. She is not easily definable as good or bad, and this tension provides the room for her to become something more than just Batman’s love interest or Gotham’s ultimate femme fatale.

While I’ve felt this way about Catwoman in many different instances, Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s Catwoman: When In Rome  really hits the nail on the head for me. It raises — whether intentionally or not — all these questions about Selina’s identity, but also the role of Catwoman as a feminist character in a world rife with problems when it comes to writing and representing women. Warning, I’m absolutely going to be spoiling the heck out of this run.
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Boston Comic Con 2013, I could do this all day

I’m starting to feel like a stalker.  We’ve been waiting in line for about an hour, hovering beside Phil Jimenez’s table, and I’ve been cradling this stack of trades in my hand for so long that my arm is beginning to stiffen and ache.  But as the herd gathered by the surrounding tables begins to thin and I see the first of many incredible sketches Phil is doing for his fans, my resolve solidifies and I know the wait will be worth it.

Someone walks by and asks what he’s charging.  “Free,” I say.  They don’t believe me.  I can’t really believe it either.  A sketch from Phil is the only thing I really, desperately want from this year’s con.  After missing opportunities for commissions last year with Phil Noto and Cliff Chiang, I’m determined to not let myself miss getting something from Phil, whose Wonder Woman I love.  I had tweeted at him earlier in the week, asking if he was doing commissions.  He replied that he usually doesn’t, but that he “might be convinced in Boston.”  Hope!  My husband—who is quite the trooper throughout the day as I rant endlessly about the artists I want to meet—drives us into the city early to make sure I’m one of the first few in line for Phil.

Well, we thought it was early.
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