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1987 And All That: X-Factor #12-23

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.

XFactor1X-Factor #12-23 (Marvel) by Louise Simonson, Marc Silvestri (#12), Walter Simonson (#13-15, 17-19, 21, 23), David Mazzucchelli (#16), June Brigman (#20), Sal Buscema (#22), Bob Wiacek (#12, 14-15, 17-19, 21-23), Dan Green (#13), Joe Rubinstein (#16), Randy Emberlin (#20), Petra Scotese, Joe Rosen, Bob Harras

I tend to enjoy any comicbook that looks at the inescapable personal torments, damaged relationships, and psychological strains of the superhero lifestyle. Secret identities, an endless and self-feeding cycle of violence, taking on the impossible responsibility of keeping the rest of the world safe—it’s bound to take its toll on anyone, and it’s nice when a narrative acknowledges that. X-Factor #12-23 digs deep into these superhero problems and their consequences, then piles on several other whole sets of problems, too. There is, of course, the classic conundrum of humans fearing/hating mutants no matter what they do, which is amped up more than usual in this particular series because of its foundational concept of X-Factor pretending to be mutant hunters. Though less explicitly discussed, there’s also an argument embedded in these issues that the whole idea of gathering mutants together and training them to use their powers and fight evil mutants might be flawed, that Xavier did both harm and good with the original X-Men and now, as X-Factor, those same characters are repeating his mistakes with a new generation. Then again, there’s no better alternative offered here, because if not protected, nurtured, and taught control, the young mutants of the world could potentially do massive damage without even meaning to. So X-Factor presents a pretty dreary interpretation of the mutant-heavy reality of the 1980′s Marvel Universe, one where there may not be any truly good choices for mutantkind to make, especially because, in that world, superpowers almost always lead to superheroics (or supervillainy), which in turn lead to their own significant stresses, injuries, etc. Continue Reading »

Year of the Artist, Day 293: Joe Quesada, Part 5 – Amazing Spider-Man #544

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Joe Quesada, and the issue is Amazing Spider-Man #544, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated November 2007. Enjoy!
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Year of the Artist, Day 292: Joe Quesada, Part 4 – Daredevil #10

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Joe Quesada, and the issue is Daredevil #10, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated March 2000. Enjoy!
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Year of the Artist, Day 277: David Mazzucchelli, Part 2 – Daredevil #206

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is David Mazzucchelli, and the issue is Daredevil #206, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated May 1984. Enjoy!
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Year of the Artist, Day 276: David Mazzucchelli, Part 1 – Master of Kung Fu #121 and The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones #14

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is David Mazzucchelli, and the issues are Master of Kung Fu #121 and The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones #14, both of which were published by Marvel and are cover dated February 1983 and February 1984. Enjoy!
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Flippin’ through Previews – October 2014

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Wait, Damian might not be dead? The hell you say!!! All the answers can be found in Previews #313 … well, probably not, but it’s nice to think so!
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She Has No Head! – The October Five

The five comic things I’m most excited about for October? Glad you asked!

  Gotham Academy Cover 1#1. Number with a bullet is GOTHAM ACADEMY.

I’ve read it, it comes out this week (10/1) and it is AWESOME.

That’s right, written by Becky Cloonan and Brendan Fletcher and with some absolutely incredible art by Karl Kerschl (colors by Geyser/Dave McCaig) this is my pick of the week before I even read anything else. No way anything else is coming close to kicking it out of the #1 spot. It’s got some fantastic new female characters in Olive and Maps, the hottest Bruce Wayne this side of…well, anywhere quite frankly, and a rich beautiful take on telling stories in Gotham that only touch Batman lightly. Everything about this feels young and new and smart. It’s the exact breath of fresh air that DC desperately needs. And while I wouldn’t want ALL of the DC TMSGAbc_variantbooks to feel this way (the same way I don’t want them all to feel grim and gritty) I must say it’s a welcome change of pace from what we’ve been seeing from DC. Even though Gotham Academy is a pretty gothic book – it’s set in Gotham after all – it’s not going to be all roses and sunshine – it has a lightness hope about it that just sings.

BONUS: Gotham Academy wonderfully straddles several lines, the first being that it will be effortless for new readers unfamiliar with Gotham (or even cape comics) to jump into, and yet it’s filled with little details that hardcore Batman fans will love. It also straddles that often difficult line of being all-ages friendly – and it is – there isn’t anything worrisome for younger audiences but it’s plenty complex, layered, and nuanced for older audiences. Check out the Becky Cloonan variant cover (right), so pretty!

Hot Bruce

I submit this as the hottest Bruce Wayne in just about ever. All hail Karl Kerschl!

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Year of the Artist, Day 271: Al Williamson, Part 5 – Epic Illustrated #27 and 34

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Al Williamson, and the stories are “Relic” from Epic Illustrated #27 and “Out of Phase” from Epic Illustrated #34, both of which were published by Marvel and are cover dated December 1984 and February 1986. I found these stories on the blog Ragged Claws Network here and here. Enjoy! (Oh, and there’s some Not Safe For Work shenanigans below. Comics artists are just filthy old men, aren’t they????)
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Year of the Artist, Day 266: Marc Silvestri, Part 5 – Incredible Hulk #1

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Marc Silvestri, and the issue is Incredible Hulk #1, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated December 2011. These scans are from Hulk: Season One, which came out in August 2012. Enjoy!
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Year of the Artist, Day 265: Marc Silvestri, Part 4 – X-Men #154

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Marc Silvestri, and the issue is X-Men #154, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated May 2004. Enjoy!
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Year of the Artist, Day 264: Marc Silvestri, Part 3 – Uncanny X-Men #218 and #255 and Cyberforce #1

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Marc Silvestri, and the issues are Uncanny X-Men #218 and #255 and Cyberforce #1, the first two of which were published by Marvel and are cover dated June 1987 and December 1989, and the third of which was published by Image and is cover dated November 1993. Enjoy!
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Year of the Artist, Day 263: Marc Silvestri, Part 2 – Web of Spider-Man #22

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Marc Silvestri, and the issue is Web of Spider-Man #22, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated January 1987. Enjoy!
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Year of the Artist, Day 262: Marc Silvestri, Part 1 – House of Mystery #292 and King Conan #13

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Marc Silvestri, and the story is “… And Spoil the Child!” in House of Mystery #292 and the issue is King Conan #13, the first of which was published by DC and is cover dated May 1981 and the second of which was published by Marvel and is cover dated November 1982. Enjoy!
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Year of the Artist, Day 256: Stuart Immonen, Part 5 – Fear Itself #7

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Stuart Immonen, and the issue is Fear Itself #7, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated December 2011. Enjoy!
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Year of the Artist, Day 254: Stuart Immonen, Part 3 – Nextwave #10

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Every day this year, I will be examining the artwork on a single comic book story. Today’s artist is Stuart Immonen, and the issue is Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. #10, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated January 2007. Enjoy!
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