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Galaxy stellar in local comic-book universe

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World photo/Kathryn Stevens

Dean Ball, owner of Galaxy Comics in Wenatchee, looks at a Deadpool comic and talks about the character in his shop Tuesday afternoon.

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Photo provided

The latest Man of Steel comic — Superman No. 711 — was released earlier this month.

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Photo provided

Superman first battled visitors from his home planet, Krypton, in Superman issue No. 65 from 1950.

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Photo provided

The Green Lantern appeared on the cover of Showcase No. 23 in 1959, when comic books were still 10 cents. A movie version of The Green Lantern opens in theaters June 17.

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World photo/Kathryn Stevens

Dean Ball, owner of Galaxy Comics in Wenatchee, has been reading comic books since he was 4.

Super powers have their price

Aren’t comic books supposed to be Everyman’s cheap distraction?

Well, sort of, said Dean Ball, owner of Galaxy Comics in Wenatchee.

But here’s the hitch: the rise of comic books as prime collectibles, improved comic art and printing processes, along with the rising costs of everything over the last two decades have pushed prices higher and higher.

Ball said he remembers buying used comics as a kid in The Dalles, Ore., for 5 cents each. Back then, the price for new issues was 10 cents and had been for two decades. When the price leaped to 12 cents, “there was a huge outcry,” said Ball, “with people predicting all kinds of doom and gloom for the industry.”

When Galaxy opened in 1986, the price of a new comic was 75 cents. Now it’s generally $2.99 or $3.99, with some special issues priced a dollar or two more. Multiple issues collected in larger volumes can run $15 to $50.

In 1966, a copy of the first Superman comic — 1938’s Action Comics No. 1 — sold for about $100. In 2010, it sold for $1 million, while a comic featuring the first appearance of Batman sold that year for even more.

Believe it or not, the ultra-camp TV series “Batman” in the 1960s helped transform comic books into valued collectibles, said Ball.

“That show was part of growing up as a baby boomer,” he said. “And, later, when they became nostalgic for their youth, Batman and other superheroes were favorite memories.”

So a surge in comic book sales came in the 1980s and ’90s when boomers began yearning for the superheroes of their youth. That demand has fallen off slightly in the last few years, said Hall, as boomers have matured, the scramble for vintage issues has slowed and collectible prices have soared.

— Mike Irwin, World staff

Galaxy Comics

Where: 1720 Fifth St., Suite D

Phone: 663-4330

Web: zcomics.net/galaxy.htm

Open: noon to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to Friday; noon to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Related story

Self-appointed superhero watches over Wenatchee

WENATCHEE — Dean Ball, the region’s comic book king, has pretty much seen it all: Superman’s death. Batman’s rebirth. Spider-Man’s wedding. Even Archie’s lame, fantasy marriage proposals to both Betty and Veronica.

“All those twists and turns and big suprises have kept generations of people interested in the characters,” said Ball, who — at age 58 — has been fascinated with comic books for about 54 years. “You get hooked, and you keep reading, issue after issue. Even years later, it’s hard to stop.”

Ball’s Galaxy Comics, now celebrating 25 years as the center for superheroes in North Central Washington, has drawn thousands of local comic fans desperate for the next installment of the Green Lantern, the Green Hornet, the Green Arrow, the Green Goblin and every other shade of champion and evildoer the industry has churned out.

Shelves in the compact shop are lined with hundreds of recent issues — Thor, Batgirl, Justice League, Captain America, you name it — and bins on the opposite wall are filled with back issues. Publishers include the industry leaders of DC, Marvel, Dark Horse and Disney, along with a smattering of smaller presses.

Also, a sprinkling of action figures, posters and other comic book spin-offs dot the store.

“We try to carry a little bit of everything,” said Ball, “but there’s so much stuff out there now — movies, video games, figurines, lots of other collectibles — that it’s hard to keep up. Thankfully, the comic book is still where it all begins.”

Ball got his own comic book beginnings in The Dalles, Ore., where he and his brother, John, sat in the family’s backyard absorbed in the adventures of Superman and Batman. Ball was only 4 years old at the time.

Since then, Galaxy’s owner has closely followed the Man of Steel’s storyline, collecting every single Superman issue without a break since 1970 — 41 years of Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, Krypton and last-minute, planet-saving heroics. In 1979, he even published a Superman fan magazine, authorized by DC, that indexed the cultural icon’s adventures from 1970 to 1980.

“He was the first real superhero, and he just caught my imagination,” said Ball. “He embodies all the right qualities — he’s good, brave, strong — to make the perfect hero.”

But, said Ball, his comic book interests are wide-ranging.

He’s also collected most of the first 100 issues of the Fantastic Four, one of Marvel Comics’ signature series, along with key issues of Thor, Spider-Man and many others.

In the 1970s, Ball studied journalism at Wenatchee Valley College and earned a degree at The Evergreen State College, where he syndicated his own comic strip to about half a dozen college newspapers. After graduation, he returned to Wenatchee to work in radio for 13 years.

But his fascination with superheroes led him in the mid-1980s to begin visiting comic book stores to see how they operated, made money and stayed in business. “The more I investigated, the more I realized that this could work.”

In 1986, he bought inventory and fixtures from a comic book dealer who ran a home-based business in East Wenatchee. From there, Galaxy Comics — zcomics.net/galaxy.htm — spiraled into existence in a strip mall at the corner of Fifth Street and Western Avenue and has been there ever since.

And, like many situations in the comic world, business at Galaxy has had its ups and downs, victories and defeats.

For instance, the ages of comics’ buyers also have shifted in the last quarter century, noted Ball.

In 1987, Ball estimated that only one-third of his customers were over the age of 20. Now, more than two-thirds are over the age of 30, and the largest traditional segment of buyers — high school males — has dwindled in the face of competition from video games and online entertainment.

The best news in the last 25 years has been the computerization of the industry, said Ball, who bought his first computer in 1990 and hasn’t looked back. “It’s greatly simplified ordering, tracking inventory and improving customer service, particularly the search for specific issues for collectors and dealers.”

He laughed. “That seemed so futuristic then — working on computers — like something right out of a comic book.”

And speaking of the future … how are comic books surviving in this digital age?

“I’m always optimistic about this industry,” he said. “Every year, we hear all kinds of dire predictions about the end of comics. But the truth is that good writers and artists continue to bring new things to the medium.”

He glanced over at a new graphic novel of the Green Lantern, a tie-in to the movie that opens June 17. “These new things keep readers excited,” he said. “There’s a ‘wow’ factor to it that keeps them coming back.”

Mike Irwin: 665-1179

irwin@wenatcheeworld.com

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From: http://www.wenatcheeworld.com/news/2011/may/25/galaxy-stellar-in-local-comic-book-universe-store/

Why Superman’s Costume Does Not Need Major Changes For The Reboot

With Man of Steel reboot coming out in 2012, people wonder what Superman’s costume is going to look like. Some people want to see changes like the red trunks being removed from the costume while some want the costume to follow the comics like myself. I have to say that after looking at the concept arts of Superman’s costume from previous attempts and how they completely different from the superman we know love, I believe that the costume does not need major changes at all. Superman’s costume should be left alone.

The reason being that Superman’s costume is icon and has been around for 73 years. Plus the whole red trunks got to go is stupid and the people who say that it looks ridiculous on him need to get over it. Getting rid of the trunks would be like making Lex Luthor a CIA Agent who is secretly a kryptonian. Has anyone even learned from Superman Returns when they made changes Superman’s costume with the tight coller, burgundy cape, and the small “s” on his chest? When I first saw the image of Brandon Routh in costume, I was very disappointed in Singer for what he has done and felt like I was being Punked.

The other reason is that Superman is not like Batman. I know people use the excuse that Batman’s costume change in the movies but that’s Batman. With Superman, you cannot think that messing with his costume just because it looks old fashioned. If the costume was changed drastically then fans will not recognize him as Superman which why I love the sayings “Don’t mess with the basics” and “Don’t fix it if it isn’t broke”. Personally, I prefer the classic costume or the costume from “Earth One”. I have faith that Snyder will do the right thing.

From: http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/UltimateSuperman/news/?a=37831

‘Justice League’ Film Official Announcement Coming Soon?

iFanboy.com (by way of HeroComplex) is reporting that next month at the HeroComplex Film Festival. Geoff Johns Jim Lee will be attending will be at the screening of Richard Donner’s ‘Superman’ ‘Superman II’ (Donner Cut? who knows) but they will be making a ‘HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT” concerning Superman and/or the DC Universe on film.

Superstar comics creators Geoff Johns and Jim Lee say they are bringing bombshell announcements about the future of Superman and the entire DC Universe to the Hero Complex Film Festival on June 11.

Could it just be about the comic event FLASHPOINT the rumored renumbering of all the titles after the event is over? Being as Johns Lee are involved it’s likely..but the site also mentions this:

On the film festival website it says of the panel: “…special appearance by DC Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, discussing the big-screen future of the DC Universe.”

What do you guys think? Could it be an official announcment for a ‘Justice League’ movie? Or maybe an official green light for ‘The Flash’? Or maybe…well we’ll have to wait till June (unless the news leaks) to find out what DC has up their sleeves.

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From: http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/42/news/?a=37852

Download: The Green Lantern on your Nokia E7

The Green Lantern is set to be launched in June and is the latest super-hero movie based on a DC Comics character, the same people who brought us Superman and Batman. If you’re not too sure who The Green Lantern then check out the movie trailer on your Nokia E7 and give yourself a crash course in intergalactic super-heroics. Find out how to download The Green Lantern on your Nokia E7 for free…

Just like Marvel has recently been experimenting with its second string characters, yes we’re thinking Iron Man and Thor here, so rival DC Comics is trying to broaden its movie fan base by looking to no lesser iconic names like The Green Lantern.

Download: Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon on your Nokia E7

Movie fans won’t readily know who Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern is, but once you’ve checked out the movie starring Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively from Gossip Girls as the love interest, you’re bound to want to know more about the comic.

Hal Jordan is a test pilot who is granted a mystical green ring that bestows him with otherworldly powers. That’s not the only thing, as it also grants him membership into an intergalactic squadron tasked with keeping peace within the universe.

OK, so the premise isn’t as clear cut as Batman or as heroic as Superman but The Green Lantern is well worth checking out on your Nokia E7. This second trailer shows us what we can expect from the movie, as well as highlight many of the otherworldy characters. On the Nokia E7 4-inch screen, The Green Lantern looks amazing and the CGI really pops on the screen. Sure, the movie is shot in 3D but you can’t really tell from the Nokia E7 trailer.

We’d suggest getting The Green Lantern movie trailer on your Nokia E7 using the built-in Wi-Fi as it’s a hefty file to download.

DOWNLOAD: Green Lantern Trailer 2
Size: 6.55MB
Price: Free

Check out our Green Lantern on your Nokia E7 photo gallery:

Download: The Green Lantern on your Nokia E7

Download: The Green Lantern on your Nokia E7

Download: The Green Lantern on your Nokia E7

Download: The Green Lantern on your Nokia E7

Download: The Green Lantern on your Nokia E7

Download: The Green Lantern on your Nokia E7

Download: The Green Lantern on your Nokia E7

Download: The Green Lantern on your Nokia E7

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From: http://noknok.tv/2011/05/23/download-the-green-lantern-on-your-nokia-e7/

Superman Renounces U.S. Citizenship in Latest Comic Book

(AP/DC Comics)

(AP/DC Comics)

Truth, justice and not just the American way — Superman decides it’s time to become a global citizen in the 900th issue of Action Comics.

“I’m tired of having my actions construed as instruments of U.S. policy,” says the man of steel after both U.S. and Iranian officials criticize him for attending a peaceful anti-Ahmadinejad protest in Tehran.

“I stayed in Azadi Square for 24 hours. I didn’t move. I didn’t speak. I just stayed there,” Superman tells a U.S. national security adviser, who fears the hero has gone rogue. Iran’s government, meanwhile accuses him of acting on behalf of the U.S. President, and calls his protection of the million-strong protestors an act of war.

“This is why I intend to speak before the United Nations tomorrow and inform them that I am renouncing my U.S. citizenship,” he announces to a stunned-looking agent.

(More on TIME.com: Superman’s story)

The man of steel has long been an American icon, and the shift drew ire from purists and even gave presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee the heebie-jeebies. Huckabee said on Fox News: “Well, it is a comic book, but, you know it’s disturbing that Superman who has always been an American icon is now saying ‘I’m not going to be a citizen,'” he said. “I think it’s a part of a bigger trend of Americans almost apologizing for being Americans.”

But while the man of steel wants to be unaffiliated from any government, DC’s publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio say he remains as American as ever.

“Superman is a visitor from a distant planet who has long embraced American values,” DC’s they said Thursday in a statement to the NY Post. “As a character and an icon, he embodies the best of the American Way.” He is, they say, like his alter-ego Clark Kent who remains a U.S. citizen, “committed to his adopted home and his roots as a Kansas farm boy from Smallville.”

The 900th issue is available in stands this week. (via AP)

(More on TIME.com: See pictures of how superheroes fly)

From: http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/05/03/superman-renounces-u-s-citizenship-in-latest-comic-book/

Ask Chris #57: Uncle Scrooge vs. Superman: The Greatest American Icon

Here at ComicsAlliance, we value our readership and are always open to what the masses of Internet readers have to say. That’s every week, Senior Writer Chris Sims puts his comics culture knowledge to the test as he responds to your reader questions!


Q: Who’s the better American icon: Superman or Scrooge McDuck?

A: While my pick for the best American icon in comics would probably go to Wild Dog — who drives a pick-up truck, wears a football jersey and camo pants, carries an uzi and fights terrorists in Iowa — it’s hard to argue that both Superman and Scrooge McDuck probably have a better objective claim to the title. After all, despite all their differences, the Last Son of Krypton and the Last of Clan McDuck are both quintessentially American characters.



There’s one obvious aspect of their characters that makes them so uniquely American: They’re both immigrants who came to America for a better life. For Scrooge, it was to escape the poverty that was hanging over his family’s head from a nobility that had fallen into irrelevance, while Superman was escaping the literal destruction of his home, with his parents making a sacrifice so that he could grow up somewhere where he’d have more advantages, like, you know, not being exploded. They’re both trying to escape the past by coming to what’s often been referred to — at least in the country’s mythology — as a land of new beginnings.

But even that points to a difference between them that leads to two sides of the American story. While the reasoning behind their journey may be similar, the details are vastly and significantly different, most specifically in when they arrived.

Superman came to Earth as a baby, and while the height of excess that was his Silver Age power set granted him a “total recall” memory so that he could remember his brief time on Krypton, he is for all intents and purposes an American. He grew up here, and that means that while he’s certainly an optimistic idealist, he knew firsthand the realities of growing up in America — or at least, the realities of growing up in an America that has stuff like cosmic rods and Green Lantern rings.

But at the same time, in most versions of the Superman story, he’s also aware while he’s growing up that there was something different about him, that in coming from somewhere else, he was different from everyone else. Of course, the mitigating factor there was that his differences involved flying around and bench pressing tractors, which certainly helps to build a young man’s confidence, but I think it’s a significant element that his parents — his Earth parents — are often portrayed as encouraging him to keep those differences a secret so that he can better assimilate into American society.

Which leads to something that’s even more significant: When he finally does start operating as Superman, he tells everyone straight up what his entire deal is. He doesn’t go out there and say that he’s just a super-strong flying guy from Kansas, everyone in the DC Universe knows that despite appearances, Superman is an alien from the planet Krypton. And for bonus points, he does this through that distinctly American practice of manipulating the mass media by interviewing himself as Clark Kent.

Point being, in doing this, Superman represents one of the core ideals of America: No matter where you came from or what’s different about you, if you’re willing to pitch in and do your part, America will accept you for who you are. Now whether or not this is actually true in practice, that’s a whole other column.



Scrooge, on the other hand, comes to America for the first time at the age of 13. That’s certainly a young age, but the important factor here is that unlike Superman, he decides to come to America.

And he does so to seek out his fortune, because he’s heard — as we all have — that America is the land of opportunity, where a man (or duck) can start with nothing and become rich through hard work and perseverance. In other words, he’s sold on the idea of America, but when he gets here he’s faced with the fact that “hard work and perseverance” translates to years upon years of backbreaking labor with crooks and liars around every corner looking to part a fool from his money.

Scrooge may have fulfilled the American rags-to-riches story, but he did so only through a great deal of hardship and suffering, and even when he finally gains his incredible wealth, it’s a precarious position that leaves him only one disaster — man-made or natural — away from being wiped out.

That all leads to a very strong awareness of just what having that money means in American society. Unlike the loathsome Richie Rich, who inherited his impossible fortune and has so little regard for what money means that he has a safe made out of diamonds and gold and will never live like common people, Scrooge has a keen understanding of the value of a dollar.

It’s also worth noting that Superman and Scrooge are both defined by the characters around them, though once again in opposing ways. Superman’s greatest value isn’t in his powers or in the physical act of saving a nosy reporter from falling out of a helicopter; his greatest value comes through inspiration.



By his very existence, both in the comics and as a fictional character, Superman inspires people around him to be better people. His message — related in several stories, my favorite of which is 1962’s “The Last Days of Superman” — is that it’s not the powers that make him a Superman, it’s choosing to do the right thing.

With Scrooge, he’s made a better person by those around him. His first appearance in 1947’s “Christmas on Bear Mountain” finds him as a bitter old miser who has completely given up on other people:



It’s not until he meets Donald and the Nephews — after testing their courage with an elaborate trick that involves bears — that he comes to remember that he doesn’t have to be apart from others. Instead, he finally recognizes something of himself, the endless curiosity, the fearlessness, the hunger for triumph, and it’s only then that he becomes something greater.

They’re both interesting takes on the idea of community, and how uniting with others can completely change us, just shown from completely opposite angles.

Which brings us around to the next difference that’s also a key point in their American identity: The ideals they represent.



When you get right down to it, Superman is essentially a being of pure altruism. He has the power to do anything he wants. If he wanted to conquer the world and rule as a dictator, either benevolent or iron-fisted, that’s completely doable. If he wanted to do nothing but lay around in bed all day playing XBox and eating pizza, he could do that too. But he doesn’t.

Instead, Superman puts his powers to work helping those who can’t help themselves, and while that might smack of socialism to some, it’s a very important part of my understanding of America. It’s certainly not unique to this country, but the idea of one person using his abilities for the good of everyone is extremely egalitarian, and equality is a pretty big deal around here.

Despite the fact that he’s obviously tougher and stronger then everyone else, not to mention able to fly and see molecules, Superman doesn’t declare himself king (except that one time). He uses his powers to help everyone, because in his mind, that’s the fair thing to do.



Scrooge, on the other hand, is motivated entirely by greed. Admittedly, it’s a greed that’s expressed as a desire for adventure that comes with a specific moral code that I’ll get to in a second. He’s even often shown to value every coin, bill and treasure as much for the memory of how he got it than for its actual monetary value, suggesting that it’s the challenge and thrill of overcoming adversity that he truly values. And also having enough of it to swim in like a porpoise.

Either way, the root of it is an all-consuming drive for acquisition, which I don’t think anyone could possibly argue isn’t an intrinsic part of American society.

But at the same time, he has that moral code I mentioned earlier, and once again it’s all based on the idea of playing fair.



But even with that code in place, The Life Times of Scrooge McDuck shows that there was a time when he was so consumed by greed that he broke his own golden rule, and even the Scrooge of the Barks strips wasn’t above exploiting his relatives for cheap labor and trying to weasel his way out of paying them. Even in the story with the famous “tougher than the toughies” panel above — the classic “Only a Poor Old Man” — sees him trying to con the nephews out of the 30 cents an hour he promises to pay them through some stone cold trickery.

In fact, in a lot of ways, his often ruthless tactics in clawing his way up from nothing to one of the most powerful people in the world — financially speaking — makes him less like Superman and more like Lex Luthor.

In other words, Scrooge is a character with regrets, who very clearly is shown to have his priorities wrong while traveling the world anywhere there’s a resource to be exploited, from gold to diamonds to oil. Sound like anyone you know?

In the end, they’re both great American icons, but oddly enough, it’s the talking duck who lives in a world with Mickey Mouse whose exploits are more tempered with reality. Superman is a far better example of what we should be…



…but Uncle $crooge is a little bit closer to what we are.



Q: I’m a huge H.P. Lovecraft fan and I’ve always wondered if there is a connection between Lovecraft’s Arkham Batman’s Arkham, and if there is, is it more than just a shared and/or inspired name?Jill, via email

A: Batman’s Arkham Asylum is indeed named for Lovecraft’s Arkham and its notably high population of crazies. In fact, when Arkham first appeared in 1974, it wasn’t even written as being part of Gotham City, but rather just “a New England Institution,” which makes the connection even clearer:



I imagine that this was originally just intended to be a throwaway reference, but by 1980, writer Len Wein used it as the basis for a story where Batman had to break into a mental hospital that featured a bunch of his villains as patients, and the rest, as they say, is history. For the record, that story — in Batman #326 and 327 — also features the idea that the staff at Arkham gives the Joker a mannequin wearing a fully functional Batman costume that he could use as a “target dummy,” thus setting the standard for extremely questionable treatments that we know and love today.

Q: What is the Flashpoint Chris Sims like?

A: A lot like Age of Apocalypse Chris Sims, but newer.

Q: How do you feel about the term “brony” being applied to adult males who watch My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic?

A: I actually think it’s pretty clever, but then again, I am a sucker for a good portmanteau. In fact, I guess you could call me… a portmanbreau.

Q: What is the most awesome Hulk panel of all time?

A:

That’s all we have for this week, but if you’ve got a question you’d like to see Chris tackle in a future column, just put it on Twitter with the hashtag #AskChris, or send an email to comicsalliance@gmail.com with [Ask Chris] in the subject line!

From: http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/05/20/ask-chris-57-uncle-scrooge-vs-superman-the-greatest-american/

Top 5 Superman Artists

One of the interesting things that separates Superman from other classic literary characters is that the medium he stems from is double edged. It’s not just writers that continue the icon’s legacy, it’s artists as well. Many artists have interpreted the Man of Steel of the years, here I list my top 5 favorite…

1. Joe Shuster

Not only was Joe Shuster the original, but I honestly consider him the best. He struck a perfect balance between strength and believability, fantasy with realism. His framing is uncluttered and easy to follow. I love his subtle use of facial expressions, adding importance to those that are more exaggerated (usually reserved for people’s reactions to seeing Superman for the first time.) Call me old fashioned, but if comics were still drawn like this I’d probably read them a lot more often.

2. Alex Ross

The most skilled, beautiful work in comics continually comes from Alex Ross. His paintings elevate the entire art form, giving us panel after panel of images to gaze at for hours. All of his work deserves recognition, but his Superman is especially wonderful. He gives us a real man, imperfections and all, and makes us feel his size and presence without giving him unbelievable muscles or too chiseled of a face. You believe everything in Alex Ross’s paintings and it makes the stories that much more heartfelt.

3. Max Fleischer

His Superman cartoons are the straight up coolest cartoons on earth. He took a darker approach to comic art 50 years before it became “cool,” and gave us a Superman that you wanted to cheer for. It fits in perfectly with the Shuster era and adds such great physics to the character as he battles lasers, robots, and bullets.

4. Gary Frank

I can’t help but love the fact that Gary Frank draws Superman to look like Christopher Reeve. For that reason alone, it makes his comics the ones that feel the most right in my mind. On top of his take on the character, he’s also probably the most skilled at facial expressions I’ve ever seen. He could tell a whole story without text, and keep the characters multi dimensional.

5. Curt Swan

His Superman is probably the most famous in the comic books. I think he did an exceptional job with faces, making them defined characters, but I also think Curt Swan was the transition point into the type of comic art that I can’t stand. I feel like most artists after Swan, building on what he did, drew overly muscular heroes in overly crowded frames. That is, they tried to out-do each other and impresses artists rather than tell a story. Curt Swan shouldn’t be to blame though, I believe he struck the perfect balance between the two and his work can be enjoyed on many layers by many readers.

What do you think? Who drew YOUR Superman?

From: http://www.comicbookmovie.com/superman_movies/news/?a=37572

Homegrown superheroes take flight

A team of Canadian superheroes is about to become the next big thing in the comic book world, brought to you by a creative team that includes Dale Eaglesham, a soft-spoken, animal-loving artist who lives in Vankleek Hill.

After 25 years as a comic-book artist, Eaglesham is one of the biz’s renowned superstars. He has drawn everyone from Conan the Barbarian to the Incredible Hulk, but the new Marvel Comics project, Alpha Flight, is unusual because of the Canadian content.

“It’s an all-Canadian team of superheroes that takes place in Canada, which makes it totally unique in the superhero world,” explains Eaglesham, taking a break from drawing in a home studio that contains vintage knives on the table and an electric guitar on the wall. “This is the biggest comic company in the world putting this in the mainstream, and that’s what makes it unique. It’s unabashedly Canadian in every sense.”

Originally created by comic artist and author John Byrne, the Alpha Flight team made its first appearance in a 1979 edition of the X-Men series. The eightperson Alpha Flight team, which included a furry creature named Sasquatch, an amphibious female character named Marrina, a pair of mutant Québécois twins Aurora and Northstar, a Nordic goddess Snowbird, and team leader Guardian, went on to follow their own storyline until the early ’90s, but eventually met their demise.

ALPHA FLIGHT TAKES WING

What: ? ? A new Marvel comic book starring a team of Canadian superheroes

When: ? ? Issue No. 1 is due June 15. Pre-order at your local comic shop by May 23.

In person: ? ? Eaglesham appears at the May Show Festival on Main Street, in Vankleek Hill, May 21-23. In case of rain, the arts festival will be held in the community centre, 36 Mill St.

Watch a video: ? ? Artist Dale Eaglesham talks about Alpha Flight, and how he got into the business. Find it at:

The new eight-part series of the comic will revive the entire team, and put them back to work for the ultrasecret Department H, a division of the Department of National Defence based in Ottawa. The superheroes are called into action to battle a fascist government takeover. Their ship flies out of a hangar beneath the Parliament Buildings to various destinations across the country.

Eaglesham’s job will be to crank out one page of adventures a day, working with American comic writers Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente. He still draws with pencil and paper, his old-school style reflecting the golden age of comics in the 1930s and ’40s.

“It’s classic drawing with realism but not the same as today’s hyperstylized comics,” says Eaglesham. “It’s a lot more labour intensive, and doesn’t rely on slick Photoshop colouring. You’re doing all your own rendering.”

Eaglesham grew up in Chateauguay, Que., and studied commercial art at Montreal’s Dawson College. A talented artist from childhood, he remembers drawing his first comic when he was nine years old. But it never occurred to him that there might be a career in it until after college. In the 1980s, he started submitting Conan the Barbarian samples to comics giant Marvel.

From: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Homegrown+superheroes+take+flight/4806743/story.html

Happy Miracle Monday: The Day Superman Defeated Satan



If you’ve been feeling a little happier than usual today, or didn’t want to go into work because you were filled with a sense of contentment and relief and you just don’t know why, there’s a reason for that: It’s the Third Monday in May, or as it’s known in the DC Universe, Miracle Monday!

If you’ve never heard of one of ComicsAlliance’s favorite holidays, however, there’s a reason for that. It’s a pretty obscure bit of Superman lore that even in the comics isn’t widely celebrated until the far future — which is one of the reasons I like it so much, since “a holiday from the future” is automatically better than any tother day that doesn’t involve getting presents. As to why we celebrate it, well, it’s something that no one in the story actually remembers. Pretty surprising, considering that it commemorates the time that Superman saved the world by conquering a demon.

Miracle Monday first appeared in a 1981 novel of the same name by the legendary comic book writer Elliot S! Maggin, and is one of the few credits where his middle initial isn’t followed by his signature exclamation point. It’s the second of two Superman novels — a follow-up to 1978’s also-awesome Last Son of Krypton — that were ostensibly released to capitalize on the popularity of the Superman movies. Really though, despite the presence of 8 pages of black and white photos of Christopher Reeve, Margot Kidder and Terence Stamp, Miracle Monday doesn’t really have much to do with the movies.

Instead, it’s a prose version of Superman at his Bronze Age best, and stands as one of the all-time best Superman stories ever printed in any medium.

The plot focuses on a character named Kristen Wells, a historian from the 29th Century — the year 2857, to be exact — who travels back in time and goes undercover at the Daily Planet in order to discover the origins of Miracle Monday.

Of course, in true comic book time travel fashion, Wells ends up becoming a critical part of the holiday herself. A demon named C.W. Saturn — released by Lex Luthor when he dabbles in magic and acting on the orders of the Ruler of Hell — possesses Wells and unleashes hellish power all across the world, pushing Superman to the limit with threats that are both outlandish and genuinely sinister…



….culminating in forcing Superman to physically stop a nuclear war, and then exposing his identity as Clark Kent to the world.

His goal is to force Superman to stop him by killing Wells, taking an innocent life and destroying everything he stands for. But the beautify of Miracle Monday as a story is that Superman is never for a second conflicted about whether or not he should take this action. The idea of Superman killing someone is, as the man himself says, nonsense:



Superman explaining that he’ll always be there to stop evil to a living embodiment of evil, and doing it like he’s trying to break down the simplest fact for a child, is an amazing bit of writing. And of course, in the story, when faced with someone who is truly unshakable in his convictions and willing to to sacrifice his life to do nothing but wage that never-ending battle, Saturn’s hold on Wells is broken, and Superman is granted a wish.

As you might expect, Superman’s wish is to make everything like it was, undoing all the suffering Saturn caused, restoring the lives he took, and (conveniently) getting his secret identity back. As a result, no one other than Superman and Wells remember exactly what happened. Everyone just remembers how relieved and happy they are on the third Monday in May, and they commemorate it every year.

It’s an amazing character study of how Superman works, and it also introduces some great ideas into they larger mythos of the character — like time traveling historians crowding into the woods, shushing each other and trying not to be seen when the Kents find the rocket from Krypton, which is hilarious.



The holiday itself was very rarely mentioned in the actual comics — it shows up as a celebration in the future in Superman #400 — and while the book is long out of print, I’ve seen boxes full of copies selling for a dollar each at conventions, so it’s not hard at all to find. It’s well worth picking up.

Happy Miracle Monday, everybody!

From: http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/05/16/miracle-monday-superman/

Superman comic, suffering, salvation

Superman comic, suffering, salvation

Published 9:13am Monday, May 16, 2011

 

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Did you see recently were Superman renounced his American citizenship? In Action Comics issue 900 Superman is quoted as saying, “I am tired of having my actions construed as instruments of US policy. Truth, justice and the American way aren’t enough anymore. The world is too small, too connected.” The publishers in and effort to do some damage control made this statement: “As a character and an icon, he embodies the best of the American Way. Superman will put a global focus on his never ending battle.”

My initial reaction was that Superman isn’t a citizen anyway; he is a fictional character. As a fictional character from Krypton, he blended in well with the surroundings, but he lived a different kind of life.

He embodies some good qualities that are like or should be like most Christians. We, who are following Jesus, are strangers, aliens, living as foreigners, in exile, or sojourners (temporary stay). Sometimes I find that hard to wrap my mind around. I am only here on earth on a temporary visa. My permanent home isn’t here but in a future kingdom. Within us there is a desire or a longing for something more, a sense that we are not fully satisfied in this life. That is because we are not home yet. This feeling is especially pronounced when the reality and experience of suffering and trials that tests our faith. We pray Lord your kingdom come, end all of this and usher in your kingdom.

Not everyone has that outlook, but we all can and those who belong to Christ should. Why? We have this expectation of a future hope grounded in God’s power. 1 Peter 1:3, “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.” The Christian faith is based on God’s power. Over and over in this chapter Peter refers to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. While his blood paid the price for our sin on the cross through his death, the deal wasn’t done until Jesus defeated death when he rose from the dead. Because Jesus rose from the dead, so do we when we place our faith in him. Before we knew Christ we were “dead in our trespasses and sins.” (Eph 2) Through our faith in Jesus God’s power continues to protect us and guarantees our inheritance the hope of heaven and a future kingdom on earth one day. All of this is by God’s power that is always protecting us. That let’s me know that my performance isn’t required to guarantee anything. This promise changes my perspective on how I live now.

We can be joyful in Christ. “6 So be truly glad.[b] There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. 8 You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. 9 The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.” Our current experience can pull the joy from us. Trials and suffering can get us down, but I can possess a walking around deep inside joy. Kind of like I am walking around with this awesome secret that nothing can harm me here. Just as Jesus provided all I needed to know him, He continues to provide all I need for the future. This current world will not be the final word and one day we will live in his presence. Just thinking about all that God’s power has already done should make us want to rejoice.

We should obey Christ. 13 So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. 14 So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. 15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” The word holy means “set apart”. Our lives should be set apart or different than the world we live. This will happen as we grow in faith and become more obedient to God. We don’t obey to earn God’s favor, but we obey because we already have it! I know that being obedient can be difficult, we naturally don’t want to, but think of it this way. God knows the best way to live, and when he says to live it a certain way he is not trying to take something away from you. He wants you to have even more joy that comes through living life his way. That as we obey we will experience the way life is supposed to live, and to quote a famous commercial, “Life doesn’t get any better than this!”

We must love each other. “22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters.[d] Love each other deeply with all your heart.[ 23 For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God. 25. And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.” Peter says we “must show love.” This is not an option. Remember the command will lead us into greater joy! We love and serve our fellow Christians. If you really want to be weird in our world today, love your enemies. When we do love we live out the gospel, the Good News that we believed. The gospel is what Jesus has done for us. He lived a life we could not live to die a death we should have died, but rose again to give to all a new life. He did it because he loves us. He loved us and died for us even though we didn’t love him and when we love like that and not just loving ourselves, the world will notice. We will show others, believers and non-believers alike that we may be citizens of America, but we are from another kingdom serving the greatest King that ever walked this planet, and will again.

Mike McMorris is the pastor for Robinsonville Baptist Church.

 

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From: http://www.atmoreadvance.com/2011/05/16/superman-comic-suffering-salvation/

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