Wednesday, September 28, 2011
As most of you may know by now, DC Comics is relaunching their entire line of comics this Fall alongside a day and date digital comics initiative. What you might not know, however, is that it all started three weeks ago with the releases of the last issue of DC’s summer event Flashpoint, and the beginning of the new universe with Justice League #1. This Wednesday is the last big week of releases and I’m picking up a lot of these book, and there are still a lot of books to look forward to in these upcoming weeks, as well as plenty that you and I will probably want to stay away from for varying reasons. So, in the order of kindness and assignments from my editor, I will be breaking down each title with their creators, what they’re about, and what you can expect from each of the new books. And, guess what? I’m not in love with a lot of the decisions that they’ve made! So, this should be fun…
DC relaunched Action Comics,
a series that began way back in 1938, with a nod to Superman’s roots. A
hotheaded champion of the working class, the new Man of Steel dangles
corporate bad guys off buildings and wears jeans with his cape. He’s a
(Super)man of the people! Reminiscent of the Superman from the original
Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster issues of Action, the new Clark Kent has just arrived in Metropolis and isn’t married to Lois Lane. (He also leaps tall buildings in a single bound as he hasn’t been exposed to Earth’s sun long enough to fly.) Over in the Superman comic, which is set a few years after Action,
Clark is older and sports unnecessary red and blue armor. De-ageing
Clark Kent and undoing his marriage to Lois is clearly a way to make the
character closer to the version we’ll soon see in 2013’s big screen
Superman reboot Man of Steel.
Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s Wonder Woman
#1 is the most exciting comic to feature the Amazonian princess in
years. It also settles the debate that has been raging throughout fandom: pants or no pants? The new Wonder Woman ditches the jeans
jacket and hotpants of her recent Jim Lee redesign in favor of the
classic star-spangled underwear and tiara look. So far, the new Wonder Woman series
gets back to basics with a healthy mix of mythology and superheroics.
(She protects a woman with ties to Zeus from
centaurs and other mythological creatures.) Even better, artist Cliff
Chiang gives us the best-looking Wonder Woman in years. Hopefully Warner
Bros. will take notice and jumpstart the movie (preferably starring Christina Hendricks.)
turning over the cape and cowl to former Robin Dick Grayson for a time,
Bruce Wayne is back as Batman. Dick has gone back to his post-Robin
persona Nightwing, while Damien Wayne (Bruce’s son) is still Robin and
Tim Drake (Robin number three) goes by the (dumb) moniker Red Robin.
(Robin number two Jason Todd is back from the dead and running around as
the antihero Red Hood. Comics, where no one ever really
dies.) Not surprisingly, Bruce Wayne is back as Batman in time for next
summer’s The Dark Knight Rises. Otherwise it’s business as usual
in the Batman universe, with far too many ancillary characters. (DC
should have taken this opportunity to clean house at Wayne Manor.) It
will be interesting to see if the rumors of Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Robin turn out to be true. If so, will he be Dick Grayson or Tim Drake?
The new Catwoman
#1 adds one huge wrinkle to the character: She has occasional
one-night stands with Batman. Yes, the dreams of many a fan-fiction
writer came true when Batman and Catwoman engaged in a racy (and controversial)
costumed sex scene at the end of issue one. Visually, the new
Catwoman’s sleek black leather bodysuit and mask are pretty similar to
the outfit Anne Hathaway sports in the just-released Dark Knight Rises set
photos. (Though movie Catwoman remembers to zip up.) So will Bruce
Wayne and Selina Kyle be as intimate onscreen as they are in the DC
Universe? With fans speculating that Selina Kyle makes her mask from pieces of Batman’s cowl, it’s a good bet that they’ll be more than friends.
he’s a C-lister in the DC hero ranks, Animal Man has long been a cult
favorite thanks to writer Grant Morrison’s acclaimed take on the
character from the late ’80s. The new Animal Man series, by
writer Jeff Lemire and artist Travel Foreman, catapults Buddy Baker into
the big leagues thanks to a creepy first issue that mixes domestic
drama with supernatural chills. If Warner Bros. is smart, it will
watch how this series progresses for screenplay fodder. If nothing else,
Animal Man could be an excellent addition to Warner Bros.’ growing
lineup of DC Comics being developed for television. (TV shows for The
Spectre and Deadman are reportedly in the works.)
failing to make much of an impression at the box office, it’s no
surprise that Hal Jordan is no longer wearing the green tights and mask
in his own comic. (Though he does star in Justice League #1, set prior to the events of the new Green Lantern series.)
In his new series, Hal Jordan has been stripped of his Green Lantern
status and is back to being a regular guy. Meanwhile, his arch-rival
Sinestro is part of the Green Lantern Corps. With the recent focus on
Sinestro in the comics (he’s become a complex villain thanks to writer
Geoff Johns) and Mark Strong’s excellent performance, it’s safe to say
that he will be a major part of the next Green Lantern movie. And with
Warner Bros. promising a “darker” and “edgier” sequel,
we’re likely to see Sinestro fully embrace his evil side. For now,
it’ll be interesting to see how he evolves from hero to villain in the
pages of Green Lantern.
Perhaps the most controversial change of the new DC Universe occurs in the pages of Batgirl
#1. Original Batgirl Barbara Gordon is back in the costume and, even
more surprising, is no longer in a wheelchair. Fans of Alan Moore’s
classic 1988 Batman graphic novel The Killing Joke remember that
Barbara Gordon (daughter of Commissioner Gordon) was confined to
a wheelchair after being shot and crippled by Joker. In one of the few
changes in comics that actually took, Barbara remained in a wheelchair
and took on the persona of tech-guru Oracle for more than two decades. Now
she’s cured and swinging around Gotham. While it makes sense to restore
Barbara Gordon to Batgirl in the event of a future movie appearance (she’s the most well-known Batgirl thanks to the 1960s Batman TV series and Batman the Animated Series),
fans are mixed on such a major change to a character who has become a
positive role model for physically challenged comic-book readers.
years of changing rosters, DC’s premiere superhero team is back to a
(mostly) classic lineup. Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern,
Aquaman, and Batman are all present, with Cyborg (a fan favorite from
the old Superfriends cartoon) representing the Teen Titans. The
first issue, by comic book giants Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, sets up a
team of new heroes slowly coming together in a world that fears them.
(Sounds a bit like the X-Men, no?) After several false starts on its way
to the big screen (remember when Common was going to play Green
Lantern?), the sold-out Justice League #1 just might reignite
interest in a DC superhero team-up movie. The strong sales and fresh-start story sends a clear message to Warner Bros. — put the heavy
hitters together, and the fans will come.
PANAMA CITY — Don’t call it a comeback, Batman’s been here for years – lots of years.
The hero and his compatriots, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash and The Green Lantern were all created in comic books in the 1930s and 1940s. DC, the home of hundreds of heroes and villains, has been publishing their adventures continuously ever since.
However, this month DC, acknowledging that it can be confusing to jump into comic book fandom when the newest issue of Batman is number 713, relaunched their entire line with 52 number 1 issues.
They dubbed it “The New 52!”
“It’s a great jumping-on point for new readers,” said Greg Ray, the co-owner of Comic Emporium in Panama City. “You don’t have to read 60 years of Superman to know what’s going on.”
That’s a solid selling point for 22-year-old Trey Williams, who started reading comics two weeks ago because he saw the media campaign about the changes.
“I’m kind of new to it since all the movies,” Williams said as he gazed at the large rack of comics in Ray’s shop. Williams said his favorite hero was Batman.
“He’s the man,” he added. “It’s a good time to get into comic books. I’m definitely enjoying it so far.”
It’s also a good time to sell comic books. Along with Comic Emporium on U.S. 231, Panama City comic shops include Arena Comics on U.S. 98 and New Force Comics on State 77.
“The demand has been incredible,” said Rick Whitelock, the owner of New Force. “I didn’t anticipate all the new readers.”
He added that retailers across the country and in Panama City have been selling out of first printings of the new comics. DC has already gone back to second and third printings. The company is also launching a digital distribution plan that offers the comics for sale online on the same day they are for sale in stores. While fans may be moving in that direction they also still seem to want the physical versions of the new comics, retailers said.
“The titles that have sold out the quickest are Justice League, Action Comics, Detective Comics. Batman and Robin and of course, Green Lantern and Red Lantern,” Ray said. “My pick so far has been Swamp Thing, which is reminiscent of classic Alan Moore style stories.”
Making a mark in comics and selling a bunch of them hasn’t been hard for DC. The company killed off Superman … for a while, and broke Batman’s back … for a while. Both events sent readers and the general public into a buying frenzy.
But the question now will be, with all eyes on them, can DC keep the new readers the company has attracted. Whitelock says yes.
“Not only is it successful, but they’ve actually written some really great stories,” Whitelock said. “Every one has left me wanting to read the next issue.”
We’re 3/4 of the way into the release of the 52 new comics relaunched at #1 by DC Comics, a move designed not only to refresh the books but to invite new readers into the superhero comics audience. But are the books really accessible to new readers?
If you’re a long-time reader of superhero comics, it can be difficult to look at the books without the baggage — and knowledge — you’ve acquired over the years, which is why ComicsAlliance reached out to Carolyn Main, a cartoonist and the creator of the extremely NSFW comic Sex Wizards, for her impressions. As someone who works in the world of comics but is largely unfamiliar with superhero titles, we were curious about what Main would take away from some of the new 52. She sent us back her impressions as a new reader, complete with original cartoons that expressed her thoughts about the debut issues of Action Comics, Batwoman, and Suicide Squad.
As Main explained:
I am mostly a cartoonist for a living, and yet, I am rather terribly read in my field. I’ve read the emotional graphic novels, all the classic Sunday Funnies, and stared deeply into many an “Art.” But I’ve read very few mainstream super-hero comics, and never new ones that had just hit the shelves.
It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Superman! And he’s spent the entirety of his Abercrombie and Fitch gift card. Superman is all about helping the poors now. He even stumbles into squats where a hipster Scooby gang is squatting and manages to save them. Lex Luthor is still all bald and ruthless, so he’s pretty much directly The Man now. And Superman takes a tank right in his chest like it’s all Tiananmen Square, kaboom! Laser Eyes Superman steals lines about nightmares from Rambo, and holds fancy businessmen over buildings, as if it’s soon to be raining men. (hallelujah) Seriously, though, I thought that was American Batman’s job.
Jimmy Olsen feels like Clark Kent texts him too much about trains that will probably blow up while he’s too busy being on a train that will probably blow up. Indeed, that train blows up for a while, goes through some office buildings, and pins Superman against a train and a hard place. Reminds me of prom night. No it doesn’t. Then Lex Luthor says that’s good enough for the capturing. Even though there’s probably still another step of tossing a net on him, he’s just done.
The drawings were fun Americana, with a tendency toward slack-jawed pointing and wall-eyed gaping. It’s interesting that Superman is fighting political corruption and poverty, because those are like, intangible enemies that are hard to punch, which is what Superman can do super hard. He could also set up free breakfasts for children like the Black Panthers did, and go join the protest on Wall Street right now, while he’s at it. Or you know, just continue to fight poverty by throwing a wrecking ball into a police tank, which is what his universe seems more able to accommodate. Whatever gets us to peace fastest.
Verdict: If I was rich with my trust fund burning in my pocket I would buy it for 3 real dollars.
Batwomen. They are just like us. They have tattoos and might be lesbians. They reminisce about all the times they changed clothes with a blonde lady, and then went to go out and punch some guys. They chase down Mexican spooky ghosts that kidnap and sometimes drown local children. They mourn their long-lost sister who was into shooting guns and hanging out with wolf and squid men. They put on a wig, the same color as their real hair, but longer, when they go out, to be official Batwomen. Meanwhile, this spooky skeleton is smoking a cigar and being real mad about the aforementioned activities of Batwomen.
Seriously though. She wears a wig of longer, redder, hair when she’s out ‘batting. That would get all itchy. And she wears the wig hair down instead of up — WTF, it would be in her face, obscuring her vision, and easy for an assailant to grab. At least it’s a wig so it would come off easily, but that makes me wonder why it doesn’t fall off when she’s doing backflips and sh*t.
Non-African Batman shows up at the end. I guess spooky ghosts and kiddie pools are in the feminine Bat-jurisdiction, so he can only talk about footprints, and cough awkwardly about how women lie about being on birth control when you are a millionaire. He didn’t say that but it was implied in the silence.
The art had some fun color and shape, and liked to sometimes abandon panels and get all Art Nouveau with hair and stained glass. The story made some kind of sense if you like to absorb abrupt flashbacks in sets, and take your supernatural spooky ghost murders alongside your maybe lesbian bat detectives.
Verdict: I would click “Like” on this on Facebook if I had a friend who was paid to make it. I would also pay one real dollar or 50 online cents for it.
This delightful tableau opens to some hawt goblin applying rat-to-nipple torture porn. Which is what I’ve always wanted but have been too ashamed to hope for, so it was a strange moment for me. And a bunch of other guys are all getting water boarded and sliced and electrocuted and stung and being forced to listen to Rebecca Black’s “Friday” over and over on a Thursday.
And a bunch of guys in burlap sack masks, which I think they made themselves during a craft night, are all like, “Hey, tell us the name of your secret clubhouse!” And all the guys are all, like, “No, we won’t, so kill us or fart on us or whatever.” This squad totally keeps the secret until King Shark cunningly eats a guy’s arm, which was thereupon played 50 times in slow motion during Shark Week. That was too much for the guy getting attacked by mosquitos and butterflies, so he done spilt the beans on the name of his super secret clubhouse. King Shark is cool.
This secret club, Suicide Squad, has Harley Quinn, who I really enjoyed in Batman: The Animated Series, but this time Quinn is pretty terrible and likes to dress like she’s working the pole for Faygo at the Juggalo Gathering. She is often traced directly from screengrabs of Maggie Gyllenhaal in Secretary, and that’s very handy for all bondage shots of her relishing being in bondage. I’m obligated to point out that her costume is an irrationally slutty take on the neck ruffle.
Reading this comic felt like peering into the creepy guy’s sketchbook in art class. The art was either way too specific and obviously traced, or way too generic and obviously not traced enough. The writing failed to grab me, and I don’t know why anybody would be interested in this wacky group of D-list super villains who are good at withstanding torture, except King Shark, who’s cool. I felt kinda bad about reading this, and was glad that I was alone and nobody would notice me reading it and want talk to me about it.
Verdict: I really really would not buy this with real or online dollars, in a boat, or with a goat. I would buy the King Shark book, though, or look at it, at least.
Here I am pictured with the last comic book I bought with real dollars, The Pro.
Comic Book Legends Revealed #333
Welcome to the three hundredth and thirty-third in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, discover the amazing story of the #1 Women’s Tennis Player in the World who became a writer and editor for Wonder Woman! And that’s not even close to the craziest job she had in the 1940s! Plus, legends about Deadpool and the artistic excellence of Jimmy Cheung!
Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and thirty-two.
COMIC LEGEND: The number one women’s tennis player in the world retired from amateur competition and then became a writer and editor on Wonder Woman’s comic book.
Between 1936 and 1940, Alice Marble was one of the world’s greatest female tennis players.
The California native (who overcame a sickness early in her amateur career that was originally mis-diagnosed as tuberculosis!!) won a whopping EIGHTEEN different Grand Slam championships during her amateur career. In 1939, she was the #1 women’s tennis player in the world.
She retired from amateur competition in 1940 and became a professional tennis player. Playing tennis professionally back then was a lot different than it is now and it was a whole lot less lucrative. Plus, with World War II raging on in Europe, there were no international competitions, so Marble had to find other work.
Meanwhile, in 1941, Max Gaines and his All American Comics comic book company (which was at the time not an official part of DC Comics/National Publications) debuted a brand-new comic book character created by William Moulton Marston called Wonder Woman. Marston’s hook with the character was always that she was different from your standard superhero – she was meant to be a bit of a symbol for female readers.
Gaines took an unusual approach for the promotion of this new character – he gained testimonials from famous athletes of the day.
Here are endorsements of Wonder Woman from boxing champions Gene Tunney and Jack Dempsey…
Almost certainly while pursuing Marble for an endorsement, Gaines and Marble decided to come to a different arrangement. Marble would come WORK for Gaines on the comic book!! She became an associate editor on the comic.
Here is Marble in a promotional photo for the book…
Marble then decided to take Gaines’ idea and go even further by sending letters to notable women in the United States for endorsements of the character. Here is a sample letter (written to a high-ranking women in the Internal Revenue Service)…
Marble took this inspired approach of celebrating strong women into the pages of the comic itself. For the first 20 issues of Wonder Woman, Marble would write four-page stories about notable women in history…
Pretty awesome, right?
Marble’s tenure as associate editor was a lot shorter, though. She had married a U.S. pilot who was killed in World War II in 1944. Around the same time, Marble miscarried what would have been their only child. She was so despondent that she attempted to take her own life. She had stopped editing for Wonder Woman at the end of 1943. I presume she stopped writing, as well, and they just used stories she had already written to keep the feature going until Wonder Woman #20 in 1946, but I could be mistaken. The feature was continued by other writers for another six years or so before being discontinued.
Things get even crazier for Marble, though!
Once she recovered from her suicide attempt, she claimed that she SPIED for the United States government, through the Office of Strategic Services (OSS)! As a famous celebrity, Marble could go places others could not. She was sent to Switzerland to do some celebrity tournaments. Her real mission, though, was to come into contact with a Swiss banker that she had been involved with in the past that the U.S. thought was doing business with the Nazis. Marble’s job was to acquire Nazi financial data. She claimed that she did but was SHOT IN THE BACK by an enemy agent in the process!!! Luckily, she recovered, and went on to live a long life.
She passed away in 1990.
Again, that’s pretty damned awesome, no? Admittedly, the spy stuff seems a bit fishy and I don’t believe it has ever been confirmed by the government, but hey, it is interesting either way – if it happened, wow. If it didn’t, it is interesting that she would be bold enough to make up a story that crazy!
Thanks to Diamond International Galleries for the Marble letter.
COMIC LEGEND: Joe Kelly’s last issue of Deadpool was originally the last issue of the series period.
Reader Leonel wrote in awhile back:
At the end of Joe Kelly´s run on Deadpool (Deadpool #33, 1997 series) the last page has Deadpool walking into the sunset hand i hand with Death. The image suggests that it was going to be the last issue of the series, instead the dialogue states that Deadpool is only “99%” dead and that he will be back to life in 30 days, just in time for the next issue. So was this a cop out due to Marvel not canceling the series as planned?
Here are the pages in question from Deadpool #33, Joe Kelly’s last issue on the series…
And yes, what Leonel wrote is basically what happened.
You see, as soon as Joe Kelly began writing Deadpool, he expected the book to be canceled quickly. Surprisingly, though, it held on for quite awhile (it lasted three more years even after Kelly left!). However, the word came down that #25 was going to be the last issue. Kelly then crafted that issue to be a final issue. However, due to fan outcry, Marvel decided to keep the book going.
Fair enough. That’s good, so Kelly was certainly okay with it.
A few months pass and then word comes down again, now #33 would be the last issue of the series. Once again, Kelly crafted a farewell issue (only this time, he figured it had to be for good, as you don’t uncancel a book TWICE, right?). However, once again, the book WAS un-canceled.
This time, though, Kelly decided not to return with the comic. Between him already preparing to move on and the fact that, again, he had come up with AN ENDING (so he’d have to quickly come up with new plots, etc.) he just decided he had had enough.
So yes, the issue WAS originally written as a final issue.
Thanks to Leonel for the question!
COMIC LEGEND: Jimmy Cheung did collages of old artwork for the backgrounds of his Young Avengers Presents covers.
It reminded me of a story that was going around when those Young Avengers Presents covers originally came out a few years ago. As you can see from the Hawkeye cover, the background is a collage of moments of the Avenger who inspired the Young Avenger. In this case, it is Hawkeye. Here are all of the covers (click on each cover to enlarge them).
Well, the presumption at the time was that Jimmy Cheung naturally enough used Photoshop or something like that to create a collage of panels from old comics. I had some healthy debate with a number of commenters over the topic (with me suggesting that he did them himself)
Well, amazingly enough, those WEREN’T panels from old comics, those were BRAND-NEW drawings by Jimmy Cheung just drawn in the style of the old panels!
I confirmed it the other day with Marvel Executive Editor Tom Brevoort. Tom recalled:
Yes, in his mania, Jim didn’t merely use clip art for all of those assorted background images on those covers, he meticulously recreated each one by hand, matching the style of the original artist. A great deal of work for very little return save personal artistic satisfaction.
How cool is that? Jimmy Cheung, you rule!!
Thanks for the confirmation, Tom!
Okay, that’s it for this week!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!
Follow Comics Should Be Good on Twitter and on Facebook (also, feel free to share Comic Book Legends Revealed on our Facebook page!). If we hit 3,000 likes on Facebook you’ll get a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends the week after we hit 3,000 likes! So go like us on Facebook to get that extra Comic Book Legends Revealed! Not only will you get updates when new blog posts show up on both Twitter and Facebook, but you’ll get original content from me, as well!
Here’s my book of Comic Book Legends (130 legends – half of them are re-worked classic legends I’ve featured on the blog and half of them are legends never published on the blog!).
The cover is by artist Mickey Duzyj. He did a great job on it…(click to enlarge)…
If you’d like to order it, you can use the following code if you’d like to send me a bit of a referral fee…
See you all next week!
September 23, 2011 at 9:21 am
I am so impressed, I had always thought the images on the covers were just taken from the original sources. I dare anyone to compare them to the original drawings and see if you can tell the difference. Most impressed with the Gil Kane Captain Marvel, Jack Kirby Captain America, Don Heck Hawkeye and Neal Adams Antman!
September 23, 2011 at 9:25 am
The spy side of Marble’s story sounds a lot like the Hitchcock movie “Notorious” with Clark Gable and Ingrid Bergman.
some stupid japanese name
September 23, 2011 at 9:30 am
Your column header is from last week’s legends… you had me all excited to read about broken tiger teeth again!
September 23, 2011 at 9:34 am
September 23, 2011 at 9:35 am
Alice Marble is awesome!!
September 23, 2011 at 9:35 am
Notorious was Cary Grant not Clark Gable.
September 23, 2011 at 9:37 am
My respect for the talents of Jim Cheung, already high, just soared even higher.
September 23, 2011 at 9:38 am
Excellent batch of Legends this week, truly highlighting some great unsung moments in comic book history. Only knew about Alice Marble’s WW connections… had no idea that was just one interesting point in a distinctive life. Interesting to hear about Kelly’s challenges of writing a character and a good departure point… only to have to do that again a few months later… and maybe being asked to do it again in the future. Reminds me of the true Spider-Girl’s 100+ issues and the multiple ending and re-starting points due to fan support. Hadn’t really thought of how that can be a creative challenge that, after awhile, might be a drain on the writer’s personal investment. And OMG. Had no clue that Cheung was that talented of an artist. My already healthy respect for his abilities jumped a few notches finding out he could emulate other styles so convincingly.
September 23, 2011 at 9:44 am
Alice Marble seems awesome. Her life would make for a great biography (in fact I’m going to check Amazon to see if she has one) or feature movie. Also, the art in her feature is really great. I wonder who that artist is.
That Deadpool dialogue seems like its trying too hard and is cringeworthy. Maybe I’d find it funnier if I knew the songs he was parodying.
Jimmy Cheung is a great artist, but not only that he has a great work ethic. Compare that to Brett Booth, he can’t even be bothered to take 2 minutes to do a Google image search and pull up an image of how to use a bow and arrow:
September 23, 2011 at 9:46 am
She does have an autobiography (which is where the spying story first showed up).
September 23, 2011 at 9:47 am
So when do we get the Alice Marble biopic, and who will star? I imagine Clint Eastwood will direct.
September 23, 2011 at 9:48 am
Long Live Alice Marble’s Legacy!
September 23, 2011 at 9:56 am
So when do we get the Alice Marble biopic, and who will star? I imagine Clint Eastwood will direct.
I want a rousing montage of her typing out hundreds of different letters and filling out the envelopes and mailing them!
September 23, 2011 at 10:05 am
Great piece on Alice Marble, Brian!! Marble was last credited for writing “Wonder Women of History” in Wonder Woman #16 from Winter 1945, but the feature continued for almost a decade after that. However, it got shorter and more sporadic over the years, especially once Kanigher took over as editor of Wonder Woman, and it ended in 1954 after profiling over 50 women. It was, somewhat ironically, replaced by “Marriage a la Mode”. And yeah, a biopic would be fantastic… especially the letter writing montage
September 23, 2011 at 10:32 am
God, Kelly’s run on Deadpool was so good.
September 23, 2011 at 10:50 am
That’s pretty damn impressive work on those YA covers, even if I enjoy his mimickry a bit more than I do his own style.
September 23, 2011 at 11:18 am
T, I can understand not recognizing the Loveboat theme, but “I Will Survive?” Do you just not get out much?
September 23, 2011 at 11:28 am
I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to call BS on the Young Avengers one. It looks to me like they cooked up the idea that Cheung drew those montages so that they could avoid paying royalties for the artwork.
September 23, 2011 at 12:37 pm
I sure did enjoy Christopher Priest’s run on Deadpool.
And, really, on everything.
@G: Marvel doesn’t pay royalties to artists from that time period anyway.
September 23, 2011 at 12:48 pm
September 23, 2011 at 1:26 pm
Thank you for using my question Brian!
September 23, 2011 at 1:41 pm
“The spy side of Marble’s story sounds a lot like the Hitchcock movie “Notorious” with Clark Gable and Ingrid Bergman.”
Just being me here, but it was Cary Grant – NOT Clark Gable, that was in Notorious.
September 23, 2011 at 2:42 pm
Michael P, I know the Love Boat theme. I just didn’t realize that’s what that was supposed to be. I guess the clue was the name Gavin McLeod. I looked him up and recognized him as the Captain. By the time I got down to I Will Survive I reached the point where I was skimming with my eyes glazed over, so that’s how I missed that one.
September 23, 2011 at 2:57 pm
“So when do we get the Alice Marble biopic, and who will star?”
That sounds like the kind of thing that Cate Blanchett would be all over. I think she would do an aweosme job, too.
Did anyone else tear up a little bit at that Nightingale story? I’ve heard the story of Florence Nightingale before, but never in so much detail and with such reverence. That last panel, where she imagines her soul being carried to heaven by the spirit of an Amazon, is a killer.
September 23, 2011 at 3:01 pm
I can’t get into golden age Wonder Woman. She seems like such a fetish character. I have a reprint of a golden age story where WW travels to a planet named “Eros” ruled by women, where the inhabitants all want to be sentenced to prison. The story is filled with bondage and there is even some whipping going on in the prison once the planet’s men take over.
September 23, 2011 at 5:21 pm
Marble might be telling the truth- crazier things happened during World War 2. Moe Berg was sent to kill Heisenberg.
September 23, 2011 at 5:49 pm
“That Deadpool dialogue seems like its trying too hard and is cringeworthy. Maybe I’d find it funnier if I knew the songs he was parodying.”
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that characters singing in comic books never ever works. This especially includes parody bits like this, but the other examples I can think of — the Thing rap that Waid wrote, the multiple attempts by Alan Moore — are also really bad. It’s just a bad idea.
Are there any counter-arguments? I’d love to hear a good example.
September 23, 2011 at 7:12 pm
Marble might be telling the truth- crazier things happened during World War 2. Moe Berg was sent to kill Heisenberg.
It’s not that it is too outrageous, it is that I have never seen confirmation from the government about it (which we DO have for Moe Berg and pretty much everyone else during the war due to their missions eventually becoming declassified after X amount of years).
September 23, 2011 at 8:22 pm
The only time I think music parody worked for me in a comic was the all-singing issue of The Demon from the nineties. Though I have to admit it didn’t work for me on first read but when I tracked down the songs and refamiliarized myself with them I thought it worked really well. Probably too much extra work though.
September 23, 2011 at 8:37 pm
Compare that early WW stuff with how female characters are treated by DC now!
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DC’s grand experiment, “The New 52” titles starting over at issue No. 1, launched with 13 of them on Sept. 7, with augurs and portents of success — especially for Superman, whose “Action Comics” No. 1 seems to be the biggest seller.
There are no official numbers yet, but shop owners and customers reported sellouts nationwide, especially “Batgirl” No. 1, “Swamp Thing” No. 1 and the surprise hit, “Animal Man” No. 1.
These anecdotal reports are encouraging. But comic-book readers in this country total less than 1 percent of the population, and it’s not only current and lapsed readers that DC is hoping to reach, but new ones. The bitter irony is that there’s a huge superhero revival on the big screen, but that success is leaving the comics market, from whence those characters leaped and flew, untouched.
That’s DC’s true grand experiment: the hunt for new readers. Part of the calculus is the same-day release of all DC comics digitally at ComiXology (www.comixology.com).
But DC is definitely putting its best foot forward.
In “Action Comics” No. 1, writer Grant Morrison has a lot to say about Superman. He has written a lot of critically successful and often controversial comics, and there’s probably no one who has thought as much, or as well, about superheroes. He’s especially philosophical about Superman, the first and greatest superhero, the one who created the genre and gave his name to it.
The Man of Tomorrow’s early incarnation “was a hero of the people,” Morrison wrote. “The original Superman was a bold humanist response to Depression-era fears of runaway scientific advance and soulless industrialism.”
While it’s a lot to read into a single issue, it appears that Morrison’s Superman in “Action” will return to those roots. After forcing a confession from a ruthless corporate CEO, the new/old Superman announces: “You know the deal — treat people right, or expect a visit from me!” To blue-collar workers being forced from their homes: “If you need me, I’ll be there!” Even his Clark Kent persona — working for one of the Daily Planet’s competitors — is a crusader for the little guy.
Superman’s power levels also hark back to his past: He only leaps instead of flies, and he isn’t invulnerable. There are hints that his power levels are increasing by leaps and bounds, though, so we might not have long to enjoy this Man of Steel 1.0.
This is a huge departure from decades of the character’s role as invincible protector of the status quo. And to tell you the truth, it’s fresh air. The rich and powerful don’t need a champion, but the rest of us do. I like this all-too-human Superman, and I think you will, too.
At one point or another, everyone has wanted to be someone else for a day, whether it is a real celebrity, or a fictional character. If I could be anyone I wanted for a day, I would choose to become the fictional DC Comics character Superman. Most people would assume this is due to his superhuman abilities and powers, such as flight. While they are nice, the real reason I want to become Superman is because of the impact he can make on the world. As a boy I was always drawn to Superman because he was the ideal superhero, strong, saving lives, and down to earth, but as I grew older I understood more and more about Superman as a character. The reason he is considered the greatest superhero is not because of his powers. It is because Superman is a symbol of hope.
Superman is that icon that little children, and even adults, look to if they are sad, frightened, or just in need of inspiration. That is a prime example of why I would want to be Superman. If I could become Superman, I would keep the world safe. I would be able to help thousands of people within a matter of minutes. People wouldn’t have to worry about crimes, or having to look over their shoulders out of fear of being robbed or attacked. War would be non-existent, and people would be able to feel safe and wouldn’t have to worry about murders and crimes anymore.
Superman has an aura of reassurance about him, it’s as though his presence alone can make the direst situation seem safer, as though you know everything will be alright. One of the best things about being Superman is his effect on other people. He is a prime example of the expression “Truth, Justice, and the American Way”, living out the life that every American should. A life of honesty, morality, and integrity. Superman makes people strive to be the very best they can be, and that is something greater than any super power. For all these reasons, that is why I would choose to become superman.
RESPONDING to years of declining readership, DC Comics — the publisher behind Superman, Batman and other superheroes — recently reintroduced itself with 52 new titles, featuring characters and story lines that better reflect today’s diverse sensibilities.
But it remains to be seen whether that diversity will include more accurate portrayals of mental illnesses. Although the reintroduction is in full swing, it’s not too late for DC to use its unique and influential position in American pop culture to combat harmful stereotypes.
Comic books have long relied on mental disorders to drive their most memorable villains. Consider the Batman line, in which the Joker, Harley Quinn and other “criminally insane” rogues are residents of Gotham City’s forensic psychiatric hospital, Arkham Asylum.
Introduced in 1974, Arkham grossly confuses the concepts of psychiatric hospital and prison. Patients are called “inmates,” decked out in shackles and orange jumpsuits, while a mental health professional doubles as the “warden.” Even the antiquated word “asylum” implies that the patients are locked away with no treatment and little hope of rejoining society.
Contrast that with real-world forensic psychiatric hospitals, where patients are typically incompetent to stand trial or judged not guilty by reason of insanity. These individuals are not inmates, since they have not been convicted of crimes and are not incarcerated.
Or consider the promotional material for a recent Batman comic featuring “Le Jardin Noir,” France’s own Arkham, which reads, “Someone has freed the lunatics, and unless they can be stopped, they’ll turn Paris into a surreal Hell on Earth!” If “lunatics” were replaced with an epithet for another minority group, would we consider it acceptable?
What’s more, when contemporary psychiatric terms or disorders have been used in stories, they have been misapplied to explain villainy. As Grant Morrison, a well-known comic author, wrote recently, “The rest of Batman’s rogues’ gallery personified various psychiatric disorders to great effect: Two-Face was schizophrenia.” But Two-Face’s central quality, a split personality, isn’t characteristic of schizophrenia. Similarly, the Joker is often called “psychotic,” despite a lack of hallucinations or other symptoms of a psychotic disorder.
True, some say, “these are just comic books.” But such inaccuracies perpetuate harmful stereotypes. The 2006 National Stigma Study-Replication found that 60 percent of people believed a person with schizophrenia, as described in a vignette, would be likely to be violent toward others — despite the fact that, according to the Surgeon General’s office, “There is very little risk of violence or harm to a stranger from casual contact with an individual who has a mental disorder.” Such stereotypes can in turn lead to discrimination and cause those with mental disorders to avoid treatment for fear of being labeled “lunatics.”
Of course, DC Comics, and comic books in general, are hardly the only source of these stereotypes or the only contributors to discrimination. At the same time, they are widely consumed, whether in the original form or as story lines for movies, TV shows and video games. Modernized mental health depictions in the Batman titles alone would reach millions of people worldwide through its billion-dollar-grossing films and blockbuster video games.
That’s why DC Comics should seize the opportunity with The New 52 to move to the forefront in transforming mental health depictions in comics. To start, writers should stop overemphasizing a link between violence and mental disorders to explain criminal behavior.
Moreover, accurate portrayals of symptoms should be paired with correct terminology to describe them. For example, writers might refer to the Joker, frequently depicted as lacking empathy and being a pathological liar, as “psychopathic,” rather than “psychotic.” In comics, these and other psychiatric terms are casually interchanged; in psychiatry, they are drastically different.
And disorders should not always define the character. For DC’s Starman, schizophrenia was just one aspect of this superhero’s life. More balanced depictions should show characters with mental illness coping with concerns common to us all, hero or villain.
In a post on the DC Comics blog, its co-publishers, Jim Lee and Dan DiDio, wrote that “we want these adventures to resonate in the real world, reflecting the experiences of our diverse readership.” To truly resonate in today’s inclusive culture, they should start by reintroducing their depictions of mental health.
H. Eric Bender, Praveen R. Kambam and Vasilis K. Pozios are forensic psychiatrists and the co-founders of the consulting group Broadcast Thought.
Several reports are coming in stating that the new Zack Snyder Superman film will be filming in Vancouver from September through January 2012. Third Act Productions Inc., a production company for the film has already been in Vancouver preparing the locations to achieve a “desolate” and “farflung” aesthetic. Here’s what the Vancouver Sun reports:
According to the movie’s location manager, scenes will be filmed in various locations, including Helen Road and Main Street. Crew will be prepping Helen Road from Sept. 26 onwards, dressing the site with signage and props, and filming will likely take place the week of Oct. 3.
Set locations are hush-hush, although interior filming will likely be held at Mammoth Studios in Burnaby, at 2880 Underhill Ave.
As any Superman fan knows, if the “big blue boy scout” is in Alaska then he’s probably on his way to the Fortress of Solitude. There’s been much speculation among the fan base as to whether we will finally see a departure from the crystallized version of the Fortress of Solitude that has been dominate in Superman depictions ever since the Richard Donner films. Personally, I hope Snyder harks back to the very earliest of Superman history and we get “The Secret Citadel” but that looks unlikely with filming now shifting to Vancouver/Alaska. This revelation all but confirms that we’ll be seeing the Fortress but this time, I sincerely hope we get a new take.
Sincerely hoping we don’t see the crystal version, yet again.
Would really like to see the Secret Citadel but looks unlikely with filming headed to the “Artic”.
Perhaps the South American Fortress of Solitude? Unlikely.
I like this version, although it’s a bit similar to the Batcave.
Again, similar to the Batcave. But maybe that’s a good idea.
The Fortress of Solitude is the occasional headquarters of Superman in DC Comics. Its predecessor, Superman’s “Secret Citadel”, first appeared in Superman #17, where it was said to be built into a mountain on the outskirts of Metropolis. However, the formal introduction of the Fortress took place in the story “The Super-Key to Fort Superman”, published in Action Comics #241 (June 1958).
Traditionally, the Fortress of Solitude is located in the Arctic, though more recent versions of the Superman comics have placed the Fortress in other locations, including the Antarctic, the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The general public in Superman’s world is either unaware or at best only vaguely aware of the existence of the Fortress, with its location kept secret from all but Superman’s closest friends and allies (such as Lois Lane and Batman). A trademark of the Fortress is that it contains a memorial statue of Jor-El and Lara, Superman’s Kryptonian parents, holding a large globe of Krypton. Although Superman has living quarters at the Fortress, his main residence is still Clark Kent’s apartment in Metropolis. The arctic Fortress of Solitude concept was first created for pulp hero Doc Savage during the 1930s.