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Month of African-American Comics – R.R.H. #1

All this month I’ll be reviewing different comic books by African-American creators, based on submissions from the actual creators of the comic books themselves. Check out the archive to see what books have been spotlighted so far.

Today we look at R.R.H. #1 by Orlando Harding (creator/writer), Andres Esparza (penciler), Ulises Curiel (inker) and Kyle David Ritter and Steve Cobb (colorists)…

RRH_COVER_1024x1024

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Knowledge Waits: Fifty Shades of Spider-Man

This is the latest in a feature where I just share some bit of comic book history that interests me.

When Peter Parker married Mary Jane Watson in 1987, the Spider-Man titles followed that story up with the classic Kraven’s Last Hunt and then followed THAT up with the less classic Life in the Mad Dog Ward. So it wasn’t until the books cover dated January 1988 that the Spider-titles really started dealing with the newlywed couple and a big part of the early treatment of the marriage was through Peter and Mary Jane’s sex life, presumably to highlight that these were still young, happy-go-lucky kids and not a boring married couple. Still, whatever the reason, it ended up being an interesting time in the Spider-books where every other issue for a couple of months seemed to involve Peter and Mary Jane pursuing different sexual situations, some kinkier than others. Here are some of them…

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1987 And All That: The Question #1-4

A column in which Matt Derman (Comics Matter) reads & reviews comics from 1987, because that’s the year he was born. Click here for an archive of all the previous posts in the series.

Question1The Question #1-4 (DC) by Dennis O’Neil, Denys Cowan, Rick Magyar, Tatjana Wood, Gaspar (#1, 3-4), Albert de Guzman (#2), Mike Gold

At the level of the most basic concept and plot, the opening few issues of 1987’s The Question seem almost too simple to work. A guy who wants to improve his hometown accomplishes it by creating a superhero persona for himself, not based on any special powers or skills he has, nor even really because of any personal vendetta, but simply because with a mask and a codename he can get away with stuff that would be harder to pull off otherwise. His opponents are agents of the corrupt local government, which is officially run by a drunk and inept mayor, though in reality the mayor himself is controlled from the shadows by an insane reverend. None of this is inherently bad, but it doesn’t scream originality, either, at least not on the surface. The creative team behind The Question uses the series’ core simplicity to their advantage, though, producing something rich and nuanced despite the relatively straightforward foundation. Every villain, including several of the smalltime minions, has a full and distinct personality. The titular hero has a fascinating, somewhat tormented, and often contradictory internal life, so following his thought processes is always an interesting experience. The action sequences are gorgeous and well-choreographed, easy to follow but still visually gripping and unique. And all of this is made possible by the clean, clear narrative—because the larger story isn’t all that complex, all of the players and individual scenes can be. It makes for some mighty fine reading, the sort of comic where every line of text and every new image pulls you in all over again. The ultimate destination of the narrative might be obvious up front, but the route it takes to get there, and the stops made along the way, are as surprising and exciting as anything I’ve read, from 1987 or any year. Continue Reading »

Cover Theme Game for 2/18

The cover theme game works like this: I’ll show you three covers. They all have something in common, whether it be a character, a trait all three characters share, a connection between all three characters, a locale, a trait all three creators share, SOMEthing. And it isn’t something obvious like “They all have prices!” “They all have logos!” “They all feature a man!” “They are all Avengers (who ISN’T?)!” “They’re all dead (who HASN’T been killed off?)!” “They’ve all been cloned (who HASN’T been cloned?)!” “They’re all mutants!” (who ISN’T a mutant?) “They’re all orphans!” (who ISN’T an orphan?) “They’re all legacy heroes” (who ISN’T a legacy hero nowadays?)! “They’re all by the same artist!” (too obvious) etc.

In addition, please note that you must have some familiarity with comic book history to correctly guess these themes. You cannot guess the connective theme just by looking at the covers solely, you must have some knowledge beyond the covers. The connections will ONLY have to do with connections in the actual comic books (so no incidental connections like “they share the same last names of Vice Presidents,” etc. Now, if the three characters were each named Gerald Ford, that’d be another story, as that’d no longer be incidental).

If you come up with an answer that works outside of what I intended, I’ll give you credit (well, provided I think it fits, of course).

One more thing – if there are floating heads on the cover, ignore them! They don’t mean anything! Same thing with corner boxes!

If you think you know the answer, e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com. Don’t answer in the comments. This way, people who check in at different times of the day can still get credit for answering it correctly!

Here is an archive of all the past cover theme games, plus their answers. Before each new installment, I’ll post the answers to the previous week’s game.

Good luck and enjoy! Continue Reading »

Month of African-American Comics – Spirit Bear #0

All this month I’ll be reviewing different comic books by African-American creators, based on submissions from the actual creators of the comic books themselves. Check out the archive to see what books have been spotlighted so far.

Today we look at Spirit Bear #0 by Tristan Roach (creator/artist/colorist/story), Nigel Lynch (script assist/editor) and Julian Moseley (color assist)…

SPiRiTBEAR_Issue#0_Cover-01 copy

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The Great Comic Book Cover Homage Streak: Week 125

It occurs to me that it seems like many comic book covers are homages. Which is fine with me. I have no problem with it. It just made me think, though, how long could I go before I hit a week where NO new comic book was released that had a cover that was an homage to something? Let’s find out! Here is an archive of all the cover homages featured in the streak so far!

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Month of African-American Comics – Offset #1

All this month I’ll be reviewing different comic books by African-American creators, based on submissions from the actual creators of the comic books themselves. Check out the archive to see what books have been spotlighted so far.

Today we look at Offset #1 by Delvin Howell (writer), Tristan Roach (artist) and Jenny Chiu and Ludwig Olimba (colorists)…

Offset_Issue_1_Cover

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Foggy Ruins of Time – Spider-Man Unbound!

This is the latest in a series giving you the cultural context behind certain comic book characters/behaviors. You know, the sort of then-topical references that have faded into the “foggy ruins of time.” To wit, twenty years from now, a college senior watching episodes of Seinfeld will likely miss a lot of the then-topical pop culture humor (like the very specific references in “The Understudy” to the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding scandal). Here is an archive of all the Foggy Ruins of Time installments so far.

Today, we take a look at a reference to Steve Reeves in an old Lee/Ditko Spider-man issue!
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Lookin’ to Connect: Justice League Edition! Justice League of America #7a/7b, Justice League of America #8-10 and Justice League #22/Justice League of America #6/Justice League Dark #22

This is the latest installment of a feature where I spotlight interconnecting covers. I will feature three selections each installment, with my current plan being to feature one diptych, one triptych and one tetraptych (or larger). Here is an archive of all of the covers listed so far. I am sure you have suggestions for future editions, so feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com with your suggestions for future installments. Don’t post suggestions in the comments section!

This edition is all Justice League covers! This time around I’m going with one diptychs and two triptychs.

Enjoy!

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If I Pass This Way Again – Jean Grey and FORGE?!

Every installment of this feature is about odd plot points that were never addressed again after they were first introduced.

We continue with a suggestion from reader Michael F., the odd thing between Forge and Jean Grey.
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Comic Book Six Degrees: Crossfire to Deadshot

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 installment, whoever connects the two characters in the least amount of turns gets to pick the next match (in the event of a tie, the winner is chosen randomly among the people who sent in challenges for the next match. Last time was X-O Manowar to Man-At-Arms. Larry G. was one of three people who used the same exact three move connection. Here is how Larry connected the two…

NOTE: Before I begin, let me again request that when you folks send in your answers to please include your suggestion for the next match if your answer is chosen. Oh, and it would be nice if you demonstrate that it IS possible to connect your two suggested choices. Thanks!

Elvira was in a number of House of Mystery comics with Cain
Can was in Brave and the Bold #93 with Commissioner Gordon
Gordon was in Catwoman/Vampirella with Vampirella

buttler’s challenge is…

Crossfire to Deadshot

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)!

Month of African-American Comics – Wandering Vagrants Volume 1

All this month I’ll be reviewing different comic books by African-American creators, based on submissions from the actual creators of the comic books themselves. Check out the archive to see what books have been spotlighted so far.

Today we look at the first volume of Wandering Vagrants by Marc Adona (writer/artist).

MarcAdonaWanderingpg00

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Knowledge Waits: Comic Book Appearances by Every U.S. President Since the Golden Age

This is the latest in a feature where I just share some bit of comic book history that interests me.

Today, in honor of Presidents Day, I will share one comic book appearance by every U.S. President since the start of the Golden Age of Comics, essentially eighty years of comics. Here’s the (slight) twist, though – I’ll only be using examples that came out when that president was in office.

Enjoy! Continue Reading »

Review time! with Scarlett Couture #1 and Surface Tension #1

Surface-Tension_01PROMO (2)

“I’m a model, you know what I mean, and I do my little turn on the catwalk”
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She Has No Head! – 6 Sci-Fi Comics That Would Be Better Movies Than Jupiter Ascending

This weekend my boyfriend and I went to see Jupiter Ascending. Going in knowing it was not going to be good Jupiter-Ascending-Movie-PosterI sort of vaguely hoped that my lowered expectations would make for a better viewing experience. Nope. It was basically awful.

Why did I go knowing it would be bad? Well, for starters I do like to try to support original sci-fi. Especially stuff that isn’t a reboot, remake, or sequel. But mostly my boyfriend was interested (even though he had the same fears and reservations) and relationships are about compromise, folks. So, Jupiter Ascending it was.

Still, though I was prepared to be underwhelmed, I was not prepared with how frustrated and even angry the film would make me. Seeing 176 million wasted on a sci-fi story that just bathed in the broadest and most cliché of concepts, and offered not one single surprise…not even an attempt to surprise. It offered nothing smart, or charming or funny, and it didn’t try to subvert expectations even once and for all of these reasons it was just epically disappointing.

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