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1987 And All That: D.P. 7 #3-14

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.

CoverD.P. 7 #3-14 (Marvel) by Mark Greunwald, Paul Ryan, Romeo Tanghal, Al Williamson, Danny Bulanadi, Paul Becton, Phil Felix

Realism in superhero comics is an interesting struggle. Because there is an inherently fantastical element to any story involving people with impossible powers, finding a way to keep them grounded is not always an easy or obvious task. Typically, these are narratives about grown men and women who make up secret names for themselves and throw on outlandish, bright, skintight costumes every time there’s someone evil to punch. This is not exactly a genre that lends itself to a believable narrative.  And it’s not that every superhero story needs realism, but those that do strive for it often go the “grim and gritty” route, seeing brutality and depression as the only means of bringing their demigod-like characters back down to Earth. To keep things exciting and intense without always relying on larger-than-life, city-block-devastating action, creators will turn to the ugliest, darkest aspects of human nature and heighten them to superheroic levels. And certainly many great things have come from this strategy, but more and more often it feels like current creators are piling on the darkness without any rhyme or reason, and the results are just as unrealistic as anything, only bleaker and more violent. D.P. 7 offers a different approach, realistic not because of any darkness in tone but because of its pacing, telling its story in as close to real time as it can. At its best, this tactic makes the series better and smarter than your average comic book by far. But at its worst, it’s incredibly boring. As boring as real life. Continue Reading »

I Love Ya But You’re Strange – “Superman Says He Loves Me…So What’s the Catch?”

Every installment of I Love Ya But You’re Strange I spotlight strange but ultimately endearing comic stories. Here is the archive of all the installments of this feature. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have a suggestion for a future installment!

Today, we take a look at a hilarious case of Lois being genre-savvy enough to figure out that something must be wrong if Superman decides to marry her…
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Who Won the Fred Van Lente Day Presents?

So here are the entries for the two Fred Van Lente Day Presents (first prize is hardcovers of Archer and Armstrong Vol. 1 and 2 and second prize is a trade of Timewalker Volume 1). At the end, I’ll reveal which two were randomly selected as the winners. To enter, people had to name their favorite Valiant comic by Fred Van Lente.
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My Top Ten Comics of 2015

Here is my list for the top ten comics for 2015. No honorable mentions this year, but suffice it to say that there were TONS of honorable mentions, just like there are every year, as I read a whoooole lot of good comics. I actually didn’t get CBR’s call for the top 100 comics list until the last minute, so I had to throw this list together pretty quickly, so I might be missing deserving candidates, but once I sent it in, I figured, hey, close enough! So my write-ups are pretty short.
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The Great Comic Book Cover Homage Streak: Week 172

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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Wrap it Up – Spider-Man Gives Ghost Rider a Blank Slate

This feature is a lot like my Provide Some Answers feature, which is about long-running comic book plots finally being resolved. This, though, is a more specific comic book occurrence where the plotlines of a canceled comic book are wrapped up in the pages of another comic book series. This would happen most frequently in Marvel Comics, but other companies did it, as well.

Today, we look at how former Ghost Rider writer, Howard Mackie, wrapped up the plot on the then-canceled Ghost Rider series, in the pages of Peter Parker: Spider-Man…
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The Guide to the Guide to Comics – WIZARD #37 (September 1994)

37-bannerYoungblood receives its first rebranding, Event Comics is still preparing to take over the comics industry, and Brute & Babe escape the pages of Wizard and star in their own comic.  All in today’s Guide to the Guide to Comics!

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Annual Inventory 2016: The Pull List Vs. the Pile

Traditionally, around the first of the year I’ve looked at what’s on my pull list and decided what stays and what goes, and for the last few years, I’ve said I’m going to go trades-only and just dump the list entirely. I say this every January, but then I cave and decide to hang on a little longer.

However, this is the first year where it looks like it might actually be happening. Continue Reading »

Top Five Worst Justice League Members

Here is an archive of all the past top five lists I’ve done over the years.

For this top five, I’m only counting superheroes who were meant as legitimate members of the Justice League, not joke members like Ambush Bug or G’Nort or the members of Justice League Antarctica. So no INTENTIONALLY bad Justice League members.
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The Wrong Side: Harley Quinn vs. Wonder Woman

In this feature, I examine comic book fights that were particularly notable in the wrong side winning (or at least that the fight wasn’t won the “right” way). This really isn’t a big deal, of course, as it doesn’t really matter if the “wrong” person won a fight. But it’s fun to talk about!

If you want to suggest a fight for future inclusion in this feature, drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com. Don’t suggest a fight in the comments!

Based on a suggestion from reader Eric H., we take a look at Harley Quinn taking out Wonder Woman!
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Meta-Messages: A Heartfelt Bat-Tribute to a Legendary Comic Book Editor

In this feature I explore the context behind (using reader danjack’s term) “meta-messages.” A meta-message is where a comic book creator comments on/references the work of another comic book/comic book creator (or sometimes even themselves) in their comic. Each time around, I’ll give you the context behind one such “meta-message.” Here is an archive of the past installments!

This time around, based on a suggestion from reader David B., we take a look at a heartfelt sendoff to one of Batman’s greatest writers and editors…
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I Love Ya But You’re Strange – That Time Wolverine “Fought” a Little Lisping Girl Robot Bomb

Every installment of I Love Ya But You’re Strange I spotlight strange but ultimately endearing comic stories. Here is the archive of all the installments of this feature. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have a suggestion for a future installment!

Today, in response to folks asking to see her on the Top Five Wolverine Female Friends list, I figured I’d spotlight the utterly bizarre (but awesome) character, Elsie Dee!
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Foundationed Deep – Banshee Helped Create Omega Red?!

This is the latest in a series (of indefinite length and regularity) of pieces looking at particular odd/strange/interesting instances of retroactively connecting different comic book characters (for instance, Uncanny X-Men #268 retroactively established that Wolverine knew both Captain America and the Black Widow from World War II). Here is an archive of all of the past pieces.

Today, based on a suggestion by reader Rene, we look at the revelation that Banshee has history with not only Magneto but the creation of Omega Red, as well!
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Wolverine, Namor and Watcher Debate the Merits of Remaining Dead

This Nick Butch piece was sent in too late to iniitally appear with this week’s Line it is Drawn, but I’ve now added it to the post, but I figured I’d share it here, too.

Based on the therealAstrozac suggestion of

Wolverine and other dead characters promise to return

, Nick drew the following…
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Comic Book Legends Revealed #557

Welcome to the five hundred and fifty-seventh in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the first five hundred (I actually haven’t been able to update it in a while). This week, learn why an episode of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends only aired once! Did Jim Starlin nearly kill off Shang-Chi? And finally, did Mark Waid originally intend to use Impulse at another comic book company before bringing him over to the pages of the Flash?

Let’s begin!
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