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An Oral History of CAPTAIN MARVEL: The Fawcett Years, pt. 1

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We’re going to do something a little different here at Newsarama…

This past year marked the 70th anniversary of Captain Marvel’s first appearance in 1940. If you didn’t know…well, neither did we until the Captain Marvel spotlight panel at San Diego Comic-Con this part summer. So we decided to do something about that.

With the Big Red Cheese getting a new spotlight with the Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam animated DVD and Chip Kidd and Geoff Spear’s new book Shazam!: The Golden Age of the World’s Mightiest Mortal, we wanted to give Captain Marvel the birthday celebration he deserves.

So, for the next few weeks, we’re going to take you on a trip through Captain Marvel’s history from the 1940s to the present. But this isn’t just any trip – guiding you will be some of the names most associated with the character over the years, who’ll be sharing their thoughts on the character and some incredible anecdotes. Who all did we get? Read on to find out.


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But that’s not enough for us, so every installment will include a wide variety of original and rarely-seen art provided by some of the industry’s best comic artists and the generous collectors at Comic Art Fans. And what’s more, each installment will feature an all-new piece of art created exclusively for this series!

To start off, here’s a special piece from an idea by yours truly entitled “Captain Marvel’s 70th Anniversary.” It was penciled and inked by Rick Ellis (www.elliscomics.com) and colored by Grace Allison (www.gracifer.com). Click on the thumbnail for the full version.

All right, let’s get into the series we could only call…

An Oral History of SHAZAM, the World’s Mightiest Motal 
The Original Captain Marvel – The Fawcett Years: 1940-1954, Part One

The origins of Captain Marvel date back to the first World War, when a 16-year-old named Wilford Fawcett ran away to join the army. Fawcett rose to the rank of Captain, and after the war put out a publication of bawdy cartoons called Captain Billy’s Whiz-Bang, later referenced in the song “Trouble” in The Music Man as an example of something that could lead a youth astray (a reprint is available from About Comics).

By late 1939, Fawcett began expanding into a line of comics, which launched in February 1940, the same month “Captain Billy” passed away. As the story goes, in 1939 Roscoe Kent Fawcett commanded his crew to create a character like Superman, only with an identity of a boy aged 10 to 12. This wording would come back to haunt the company many times over.

Editor Ralph Daigh turned the project over to writer Bill Parker, who, legend has it, originally wanted to craft a team of six heroes, each with a different power, led by Captain Thunder. Daigh suggested turning them into one hero instead, and Parker complied.

Parker’s revised idea was given life by artist Clarence Charles “C.C.” Beck, who crafted a red-clad superhero Beck said was designed after the actor Fred MacMurray, though Roscoe Fawcett would sometimes claim he was actually based on Cary Grant.

“Captain Thunder” first appeared in a sample issue that ran under the titles of Flash Comics and Thrill Comics in 1939. Unfortunately, Fawcett found that they couldn’t trademark the titles “Captain Thunder,” “Thrill Comics” or even “Flash Comics,” due to other companies taking those names. A few rewrites were in order.





In February 1940, the book officially hit newsstands under the title Whiz Comics #2 , and its cover character officially renamed Captain Marvel. The cover, perhaps not coincidentally, mirrored Superman’s first appearance on the cover of Action Comics #1 . Even less of a coincidence were the echoes of Captain Billy’s book, both in the title and the name of its main character.

That initial story set up the legend comic fans know – orphan newsboy Billy Batson is summoned down a mysterious subway tunnel, past statues of the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man (Greed, Hate, Laziness, etc.) to meet the evil-battling wizard Shazam, who is about to die (he sticks around as a ghost). Asked to be the wizard’s new champion, Billy accepts the challenge.

By uttering the wizard’s name, Billy is able to summon the lightning that brings wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles and the speed of Mercury – The World’s Mightiest Mortal, Captain Marvel!

It was a concept no kid could resist. Whiz Comics #2  sold a half-million copies, and within a year, Captain Marvel had his own book, Captain Marvel Adventures.

Mark Waid (Kingdom Come, other Captain Marvel stories): “It was huge, such a big seller, and so much fun to read.”

Jerry Ordway (writer/artist, The Power of Shazam, others): “He’s probably one of the best-designed characters ever. People just recognize that red outfit and that lightning bold instantly.”

Mike Kunkel (writer/artist, Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam): “For me, Captain Marvel just represents a lot of that very core children’s wish-fulfillment. It’s what we all grew up enjoying in superheroes, and wanting to be the superhero. And I think that represented a very honest and tangible version of that.”

Jeff Smith (writer/artist, Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil): “It’s just such a great idea – you say a magic word, and suddenly you can fly, and bullets will bounce off you. Just a really, simple, great concept.

“I think the key is that magic word, ‘Shazam.’ Magic words are something that go back in fiction, back to myths and legends and The Arabian Nights. It’s just something that resonates for us, I think. And it’s such a good magic word – it sounds like ‘Alakazam.’

“Even Gomer Pyle was saying it. Dave Chappelle was saying it on his show. I’ve heard it in rap videos. Everyone knows what it means, it’s ‘Shazam!’ It’s the transformation into something else, like ‘Let’s go!’ It’s a call to action.

“And the costume – the red outfit with the lightning bolt. How many times in our lifetime have we seen generic parody superheroes, whether in an advertisement or anywhere, with a lightning bolt on their costume? The lightning bolt has almost become the generic symbol for a superhero, and it has its roots in Captain Marvel.”



Jackson Bostwick (TV’s Captain Marvel): “Captain Marvel, unlike the heroes of mythology, is a fictional superhero initially created in 1939 to entertain the imagination and sell comic books, but not to be believed as being real, or, even further, to be worshipped as a god. (C.C. Beck’s drawings of Cap and the gang plainly illustrate they were meant to be seen as whimsical with a healthy dash of morality thrown in to flavor the fun).

“Still, as a tribute to the Good Captain’s immense popularity as a fighter of the evils of man (the Seven Deadly Sins) and a colorful array of dastardly villains (Dr. Sivana, Mr. Mind, Captain Nazi, Black Adam, King Kull, etc.) he became a role model for generations of kids (and adults) both in the pages of those Golden Age comics and later in the media of film and television; and yes, I was one of those kids.

“The Big Red Cheese, along with The Phantom and Plastic Man, were my favorite comics to read because of the stories and the artwork. I also was fascinated with Classics Illustrated (the only comics my dear mother didn’t throw out while I was in the Army because as she said, ‘they have an educational value’).”

Mike Kunkel: “A lot of the fun of Captain Marvel came from C.C. Beck. There’s an honesty to the way he approached it – something that said ‘this is who Cap is.’ It was fun, but also honest.”

Roy Thomas (writer, Shazam: The New Beginning, others): “He was one of the original characters I discovered. As a kid, I loved that idea of a magic word that could turn you into a superhero.



“I think I was six or so when I discovered him. There was one that was the second-to-last chapter or so of the Mr. Mind serial, and there was another I found in a barbershop where he went into an anthill. Those books made me very enthusiastic about Captain Marvel, and I kept buying as many of those comics as I could until they went out of business, which was when I was about 12.”

Chip Kidd (author, Shazam!: The Golden Age of the World’s Mightiest Mortal): “They literally caught lightning in a bottle – this immersive world that kids could really be a part of. It’s a shame that from the get-go, they had the specter of the lawsuit hanging over them from the beginning.”

The first story in Whiz Comics also established other parts of Captain Marvel’s mythology, most notably his greatest enemy, Doctor Thaddeus Bodog Sivana, a disenfranchised scientist out for revenge against the world that had shunned his inventions by becoming “Rightful Ruler of the Universe.”

Sivana’s creepy look, petulant attitude (it was he who coined Captain Marvel’s nickname of “The Big Red Cheese”) and devious laugh of “Heh! Heh! Heh!” made him a character kids could love to hate, the ultimate adult trying to keep a kid down. Beck claimed he based Sivana’s bald, craggy look on a Long Island pharmacist.

Unlike many villains, Sivana figured out Billy’s duel identity quickly, and many stories involved him finding new ways to keep him from saying “Shazam!” He initially had two children, Beautia and Magnificus, who became Captain Marvel’s allies (and Beautia had an uncomfortable flirtation with the Captain), but later, his more deadly offspring were also introduced.



The first story also got Billy Batson a job as a boy newscaster for radio station WHIZ, giving him plenty of opportunities to find trouble, and address readers directly.

Though C.C. Beck’s cartoony style defined the look of Captain Marvel and his world, what many fans don’t know is that two other legendary comic creators also worked on those early stories.

Chip Kidd: “There was a brief time of about a month where Joe Simon and Jack Kirby where literally working on Captain America by day and Captain Marvel by night, to see what Captain they would throw their allegiance with.

“They did three stories total, and it looks like an amalgam of Jack Kirby and C.C. Beck. With Captain America, I think, they could do their own thing, own it more creatively from a design standpoint. It’s interesting, but you can see their hearts were really in Captain America, and I think they made the right decision.”

By 1941, Captain Marvel hit it big enough that he became the first official “superhero” to star in a motion picture. Republic Pictures, which had failed to secure the screen rights to Superman, turned to Fawcett for help crafting their own superhero project. In 1941, the serial The Adventures of Captain Marvel hit the screen with Tom Tyler as the Captain, and was a box-office smash, now regarded as one of the best adventure serials ever made.



The film had an unfortunate side effect – it put Fawcett on the radar of DC Comics. DC had been highly successful at shutting down comic book characters designed to imitate Superman. And Captain Marvel was even worse – he was outselling their books.

The result was a series of lawsuits that stretched on for years, and would change the character’s fate for decades to come.

Elliot Maggin (writer, 1970s Shazam series, Kingdom Come novelization): “There was no merit to that lawsuit, I’m convinced. It was just a way to keep a competitor occupied.”

Michael Uslan (Executive Producer of all Batman movies, forthcoming Shazam film): “When I was in law-school, I wrote a 104-page-paper that actually won an award, on copyright infringement and unfair competition in the comic book industry. And so I researched and studied not only the DC/Fawcett case, but everything that led up to it.

“There was an action against Fawcett by DC that stopped ‘Master Man’ before Captain Marvel, and many others. Otto and C.C. Beck certainly gave me all the dirt on it.

“Then, when I was working at DC Comics in college and law school and (DC VP, later President) Sol Harrison asked me to clean out the supply closet, which was the size of the closet at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, I found the official paperwork of DC Comics and the original scrapbooks that Louis Nizer and his team at DC had made to prove that Captain Marvel was imitating things that Superman was doing, and exhibits from Fawcett to indicate that Popeye and legendary before Superman did (the same) stuff.”



Chip Kidd: “The biggest difference is that idea of the boy turning into this superhero. That’s different enough that – and I’m biased, obviously – that if I were the judge, I’d throw this case out. It’s apples and oranges – to me, the lawsuit wasn’t necessarily baseless, but meaningless.

“Who knows? Maybe in 1940, the superhero concept was so new unto itself that it seemed like they had a case in retrospect.”

Even with the lawsuit, Captain Marvel remained a hit on the newsstands. By the mid-1940s, Captain Marvel Adventures sold 1.8 million copies – more than the top 10 books in today’s direct market combined – twice a month. Captain Marvel was the biggest superhero of them all – and his world was about to get much bigger…

Next: Alex Ross joins our discussion as creators like Otto Binder and Mac Raboy give Captain Marvel a family.

Art Acknowledgements

Cover to Whiz Comics, Action Comics, Jack Kirby Captain Marvel art, poster and still from The Adventures of Captain Marvel from Shazam!: The Golden Age of the World’s Mightiest Mortal, provided by Abrams ComicArts.

Strips from an unpublished Captain Marvel comic strip by Rod Reed and C.C. Beck provided by Eric Nolen-Weathington.

Original art from Captain Marvel Adventures #5 provided by Mike Jackson.

Special Thanks to Christopher Irving of Graphic NYC for information on the Captain Marvel movie serial – and be sure to check out his upcoming book on superhero serials, tentatively titled The First Movie Superheroes, out next year from Hermes Press.

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From: http://www.newsarama.com/comics/oral-history-captain-marvel-1-101224.html

December 23, 2010: From Crisis to Crisis: A Superman Podcast

From Crisis to Crisis
Welcome to the 78th episode of From Crisis to Crisis: A Superman Podcast! This podcast has a simple premise; examine just about every Superman comic published between Man of Steel #1 in 1986 to Adventures of Superman #649 in 2006 in an informative and hopefully entertaining format.

Part index. Part commentary. Part history lesson. All podcast.

July 1991 and what Mike and Jeff call THE RETURN OF THE KRYPTON MAN conclude this week as the new format of FROM CRISIS TO CRISIS continues. In ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #480 the battle between Superman and the Eradicator continues as the supporting cast takes more of a front seat story wise. Then in ACTION COMICS #667 it is the final faceoff between the Last Son of Krypton and the Last Artifact of Krypton. The two duke it out in the Fortress of Solitude with Emil Hamilton’s life hanging in the balance…sort of. After that the boys look at ADVENTURES OF SUPERBOY #18 and talk about the last two episodes of Season 3 of that fine show.

Next week: August 1991 begins with SUPERMAN: THE MAN OF STEEL #2, SUPERMAN #58 and FLASH #53.

You can subscribe to the show in two ways. First there is the RSS Feed and there is also the iTunes link. You can also download the episode directly.

If you want to comment on the show or contact the hosts you can always private message Mike and Jeff, leave comments here or email them at fromcrisistocrisis@gmail.com. All questions, concerns, fears, trepidations and cheap shots are welcome.

From: http://www.supermanhomepage.com/news.php?readmore=9031

How should Zack Snyder’s SUPERMAN Film be Scored?

Zack Snyder a well known comic book fan and filmmakerof such comic book films such as Watchmen and 300. Now announced as the Director of Superman there are many questions to adress:
Who will be cast?
What type of story is it?
Who is going produce it?
Will it be action packed?
Who’s doing concept art?
Who’s going to score?
and just as important: How will it be scored?

Well I’ll be adressing the last two. Mind you now, this isn’t any type of Fan Cast for the Score, this is more like a discussion on options and how i feel Scoring Should be approached. if you do want to see my Superman Fan Cast you can see it at: http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/robertgarlenoncmb/news/?a=26365


That’s a question I’ve often given thought to. We are all familier with John Williams Iconic and very very well known Film Score from the first Christopher Reeve/Richard Donner Superman Film. Too many of us the film and the score remains a classic, no doubt that I sure as heck feel that way. I for one love the original theme. It’s a personal theme, that gives me a great feeling, that I just can’t help but enjoy. The theme is a big, if not huge dilemma.

The John Williams theme was used in the Bryan Singer Directed Superman Returns. Scored by John Ottman, it was the best thing about the film hands down, the score was absolutly amazing. Now we’re facing the reboot, and questions lie on the Score of it alone.

Personally I have my own Answer, I doubt many would accept it, mainly because out of Love for the Film’s score and Other’s desire to trash it despite it’s long stance as Superman’s Theme. It’s perfectly fine to want something new, times have changed and people have changed. I understand the desire for a new Theme especially after hearing the Hans Zimmer James Newton Howard Scored Batman Theme trumping the Danny Elfman theme like it was the old 60’s theme. I also just as well understand the desire to keep the theme. It’s easier for some to replace Superman than it is the Superman Theme. It’s Superman’s theme, whenever many of us read an issue or graphic novel of Superman we hear this, we picture our own opening credit sequence and pretend it’s another Christopher Reeve outing. So I hope everyone knows that I understand the status quo on this I really do.

How I feel the score should be approached is basically catering to both groups. We do the O.C.(Opening Credit) Montage to the Classic, Well loved John Williams Theme and use it only there, Slowly transforming the music to the new modern Superman Theme. In this process we move from our beloved theme to the new theme to fit the Superman of this Generation.

The main point of doing this is to give John William’s score a last HOO-RA! And allow it to exit gracefully and with diginty, while allowing something new to enter.

There are the essential Pro’s and Con’s with my idea and I will adress the immediate and obvious of them.

Giving a last throwback to Reeves.
Giving us a chance to say goodbye to the theme.
Allowing old fans to feel more accepted.

New fans might be stupid enough to confuse this with Returns.
New fans or fans wanting to rescore completely would refuse to accept this idea.
Not something Zack Snyder might go for.

I am aware of all of this which is why I’m keeping this plainly my solution and not attempting to promote this idea beyond posting it on here. I also would like to adress the fact this is not a perfect idea and will not be adressed as such.

I understand need for new theme is neccessary, and at some point whether liked or not it will be re-scored with a new theme. Personally I like the idea of doing the John Williams theme at the Opening Credits and introducing new character themes and ending the film with a new score, and to continue all future Superman sequels with that theme.

I had got the idea for this while rewatching the J.J. Abrams Diredted Star Trek Reboot, while watching the ending Credits the theme over it was the 1960’s Star Trek Theme and had thought ‘What if they did something like this for Superman?’ And eventually ended up turning into this.

As I adressed that question I would like you to first Comment on this matter before Commenting on the Second Part.


Now this is apart of my fan cast that i had posted, but to retread with some youtube videos I feel would show you at what process my mind is in, in which I heard a particular theme in which I felt that particular composer would work for Superman.

1.JOHN WILLIAMS- He’s JOHN WILLIAMS, He is the Superman Score. JOHN WILLIAMS FTW. Of course it’s not going to happen this is more of me just saying that he could re-theme Superman. Thanks goes to youtube user: jayce79, for the video.

2.MICHAEL GIACCHINO- His Star Trek Score was beautiful and magnificent. His tones remembering it’s forfather in musical comparrison, and yet giving it a fresh feel. His themes fit the characters and situation making it an exceptional piece. many thanks to youtuber: rrud2, for the video

3.JOHN MURPHY- By now we’ve all hear his theme from the Sci-Fi Film Sunshine. It work so beautifully that it’s used for other films. No doubt he has the talent to compose a emotional beautiful alien score that would definitley fit inside the Superman Universe.Of course thanks goes to youtube videomaker: nvidia20082008, for the video

4.STEVE JABLONSKY- His score for the aweful Transformers film stands out as a positive thing from the franchise. His music is Heroic, emotional, and moves it’s scenes along better than the dialogue given in the scene. His work in a Superman film would be amazing. Thanks tributed to youtuber: GrantimusPrime90, for making the video.

5.JOHN OTTMAN- He did fine Scoring Superman Returns i see no reason to fix the unbroken. thank you youtube user: sanjuro4, for the video

6.TYLER BATES- Having minorally worked with Snyder on 300 and Watchmen, i’m sure both the fans and the filmmakers would love to reunite for a project such as this, takling it with such heart. thank you to youtube user: PAsandman, for this video.

7.BRAIN TYLER- His scores give the feeling of a great epic. Which match Superman in tone and status. with this said he would fit well working on a Superman film, the best work is often done by fans, an i would bet he is a Superman fan. I know no one here is a fan of DBE but you could at least admit this score is very well conducted, and the music in the video is very well conducted. Thank you youtube user: Biocarbs, for the video

8.HARRY GREGSON-WILLIAMS- He knows the boundries of Humanity and animality, his Wolverine score was very well composed and would be nice to see him design a Superman score using the themes of Humanity and Alienation. His Narnia work as showed in the video is the key theme that inspired the option. Thanks goes to youtube user: SoraTakenouchi93, for this video.

9.MARCO BELTRAMI- He gives comics a theme. his work is on the border to being legendary i feel he is by far on of the best Scorest in Modern Hollywood and his work on Superman could be great for a Modernization. Thanks tributed to youtuber: NinjaDoctor9, for the video.

10.CHRISTOPHER YOUNG- Having the misfortune of replacing Danny Elfman on Spider-Man 3, he had a great obstacle which he overcame with a great result, not only hitting the right strings for the brightness in the film, but also the self serving darkness, which is something required to score a Superman Film. Thanks to youtuber: luispachon007, for the video.

11.HANS ZIMMER JAMES NEWTON HOWARD- They’re work on Batman would serve as a nice comparison piece. They’re theme for Harvey is a beautiful happily orchestrated musical piece that until his transformation was part of the character. No doubt they could hit the right strings for a Superman Film. Thanks to youtuber: TheBatman777

12.BRUCE FAULCONER- I love his work on Dragonball Z his music is powerful and emotionally driven which leads me to wonder what his Superman theme would be. Thank you to youtube user: MrDBZgoku16, for the video.

13.MICHAEL WANDMACHER- He knows his way around character driven music and would fit well to do a modern, happy, “super” superman score. first to note, any comments about your opinion of the film Punisher War Zone will be deleted whether or not they regard Superman, I’m asking you to listen to the theme to see whether or not you feel this composer could in your opinion score Superman so in this guys case leave it at Yes or No, nothing about Punisher War Zone should appear. This is about Superman, i’m just using this video for reference on the subject nothing more. Thanks goes to youtuber: JARK86, for this video.

Please leave your comments below.

From: http://www.comicbookmovie.com/fansites/robertgarlenoncmb/news/?a=26834

Top 50 Comic Book Artists: #7-5

Top 50 Comic Book Artists: #7-5

Here are the next three artists that you voted as your favorites of all-time based on over one thousand ballots cast! Click here to see the writers #7-5 on the countdown. Click here to see a master list of all artists listed so far.

NOTE: Five notable works per creator

7 John Byrne – 1029 points (11 first place votes)

After beginning his career at Charlton Comics, John Byrne quickly made the move to Marvel and soon was working for Marvel on a variety of comics, including notable stints on Iron Fist and Marvel Team-Up (both with writer Chris Claremont) as well as other titles. His skills as an artist got him bigger and higher profile assignments, including Avengers and the Fantastic Four. Looking back, though, his stint on the X-Men is probably his best remembered run, art-wise. Byrne took over from Dave Cockrum as the series artist and stayed on for over 30 issues, eventually becoming a co-plotter of the series with writer Chris Claremont…

After leaving the book, Byrne began writing AND drawing the Fantastic Four…

He also launched Alpha Flight for Marvel (characters Byrne had created for an issue of X-Men)…

During the mid-80s, Byrne left Marvel to reboot the Superman line of comics for DC (longtime Byrne inker Terry Austin worked with Byrne on the Superman reboot, as well).

After a number of issues of Superman (Byrne was writing and drawing two Superman titles for quite awhile), Byrne left the series and returned to Marvel. Since then, Byrne has worked on various projects for both companies. He also worked on independent comics, such as the Next Men…

Recently, Byrne has done a number of projects for IDW, including some of the best Star Trek comic book art ever, and is now also bringing back his Next Men characters for a new series.

Here is a sample page by Byrne….

6 Jim Lee – 1270 points (40 first place votes)

Jim Lee first broke in at Marvel in the late 1980s on Alpha Flight before getting a lot more exposure on Punisher War Journal.

Pretty soon he was given a crack at Marvel’s crown jewel, Uncanny X-Men (still written by Chris Claremont)…

Lee became such a star artist drawing X-Men that Marvel let him launch a brand-new X-Men title that he would write AND draw (after Claremont did the first few issues)…

Lee’s X-Men #1 is likely the highest selling single issue of all-time.

Lee left Marvel soon after launching the new X-Men title to co-found Image Comics. For Image, he debuted WildC.A.T.S….

Lee helped create a number of new series while at Image, including Stormwatch and Gen 13 (two titles that took on a life of their own with different creative teams).

During the mid-90s, Lee’s Wildstorm studio was given Fantastic Four and Iron Man to do with as he pleased for a year (along with his writing partner, Brandon Choi, and his longtime inker, Scott Williams)…

In the late-90s, Lee split from Image and sold his studio to DC Comics. Soon afterwards, in 2002, Lee drew the year-long Batman epic, Hush, with writer Jeph Loeb…

It was a smash hit, leading to another year-long story by Lee for Superman (with writer Brian Azzarello). Lee has been working on All Star Batman and Robin with writer Frank Miller for a few years now.

Recently, Lee was named Co-Publisher of DC Comics, a great honor for a great comic book icon.

Here is a sample page by Lee….

5 Neal Adams – 1296 points (31 first place votes)

Neal Adams had a strong background in the field of comic strips before he made the move to comic books in the late 1960s. Unlike other artists of the previous generations, Adams took his talents to both Marvel and DC fairly equally. He started at DC doing Deadman…

before going to Marvel for a famous stint on the X-Men…

then to an even MORE famous stint on Green Lantern…

then to a famous run on the Avengers…

then to a famous series of Batman comics….

Suffice it to say that pretty much every extended run Adams had on a comic at the time is well-remembered to this day. He was also perhaps the most popular cover artist of the 1970s, spending most of his time working on covers.

Adams took a break from comics in the late 1970s (while still doing covers) to explore the wide world of art in his Continuity Studios, working in all sorts of different media (advertising, animation, magazines, album covers, etc.).

Recently, Adams returned to comics for a Batman mini-series called Batman: Odyssey.

Here is a sample page by Adams….

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December 20, 2010 at 9:02 am

I think Byrne and lee should be reverse at the very least but overall still a good list.


December 20, 2010 at 9:05 am

It is kind of cool that three creators who form such a clear lineage are bunched together. Adams was a huge early influence on Byrne. Byrne was the same thing Lee. That style visually defined the X-Men and (by extension) mainstream comics.

I love them all.


December 20, 2010 at 9:10 am

Damn, Adams was good.

I sought out anything Byrne drew when I was a kid in the late ’70s and early ’80s, and his FF run was a classic, much as I may have problems with a lot of his later stuff as a writer.

Jim Lee to me epitomizes the excesses of the ’90s, although his current style doesn’t bug me much (as long as he he steers clear of designing costumes).


December 20, 2010 at 9:18 am

All these artists are great, but I had to go with Byrne for my number one pick.

I started reading comics at around age seven, but it wasn’t until late in his Alpha Flight run that I took notice of the name John Byrne. I was around 12 by then, and enjoyed both Alpha Flight and Fantastic Four a good deal. But as I looked through back issues I couldn’t believe that almost every major comic story I loved had been drawn by this same guy. Avengers vs. Nefaria, Galactus vs. Sphinx, the best X-men run EVER and heck, even that Ant-Man two-parter in Marvel Premiere.

Basically Byrne’s name is in more of my comics than any other creator (besides some editors-in-chief and “Stan Lee Presents…”) His art got me hooked on the medium in those formative years and still represents to me what good comic book art should be: dynamic, imaginative, powerful. That’s why John Byrne’s my number one pick.

Pete Woodhouse

December 20, 2010 at 9:26 am

Great trio, but Adams at 5!!!! What ????!!! Repeat after me, internet: Jolly Jack #1, Nefarious Neal Jolly Jack #1, Nefarious Neal #2….

Still disapppointed that there was no top 50 spot for Marshall Rogers (who at least I managed to vote for), Mike Golden or Berni Wrightson, 3 great artists who followed Adams’ trailblazing. I guess they haven’t done recent high-profile stuff, and have been forgotten about for top placings.

Joe Rice

December 20, 2010 at 9:39 am

Three artists that don’t do much for me personally, but you cannot deny their skill or influence.

Jacob T. Levy

December 20, 2010 at 9:45 am

Woo Adams!!

I try hard not to lump Lee in with Macfarlane and Liefeld, and he’s a much more talented artist than either of them. But he’s still been responsible for a lot of (very pretty!) mediocrity.

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From: http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2010/12/20/top-50-comic-book-artists-7-5/

Superman/Batman: Night and Day Graphic Novel Review

TITLE: Superman/Batman: Night and Day
AUTHOR: Michael Green, Mike Johnson, Peter Johnson, Matt Cherniss, Scott Kolins.
ARTISTS: Francis Manapul, Rafael Albuquerque, Scott Kolins.
COLLECTS: Superman/Batman #60-63, 65-67
PRICE: $19.99
RELEASED: August 31

By Justin Polak
Co-founder, Ambassador to the Mushroom Kingdom

I’ve never been that big into comics. I have absolutely nothing against them and I grew up around them, as my father is a man who sinks hundreds of dollars a month at times into comic related merchandise. That being said, one of the reasons I don’t get into them is because the big two companies, DC and Marvel, feel the need to have every superhero be in one universe. I know that there are alternate universes or similar alternatives to that notion, but I just don’t have the patience to read multiple titles just to keep track of multiple story lines. That doesn’t mean I think they are bad stories, but it’s all just a bit too much for me.

I’ve always liked Batman, though. What draws me to him is what I imagine a lot of readers are drawn toward him for. He is scary, smart, dangerous, fun to watch, prepared for literally anything and accomplishes great tasks with no super powers. Superman? Well, I respect the guy, but I’m in the camp that thinks is character is boring unless he is put in unusual circumstances … and most of those stories are non-canon.

Despite my mixed feeling on more traditional comic books, I gave the graphic novel compilation of Superman/Batman Night and Day a read. Instead of going through my overall feelings of the collection, I’ve decided to summarize my thoughts on each story presented.

Image from livingbetweenwednesdays.com.

Mash-Up: I’m not sure if it was a good or bad thing that I ended up laughing at this. Though there is a plausible explanation for this set up, Mash-Up tells a story where Batman and Superman are suddenly in a combined universe where certain allies and certain foes are combined into one person. The city where this madness takes place? Gothamopolis. Our heroes run into the Justice Titans and help them fend off The Brotherhood of Injustice. Reading this story would be like if you dumped a bunch of broken action figures in front of a child and let him put them together and run with it. Some parts are entertaining and creative while others make you roll your eyes. I’ll just leave you with this thought: Lex Joker.

Sidekicked: Robin (Tim Drake) and Supergirl decide to meet up at a diner and recall the first time they were forced to work together. The very first thing that came to mind while flipping through this one was that it would have made a great filler episode in one of the DC animated series, minus the more graphic parts of course. While Superman and Batman are away, a riot at Arkham Asylum breaks out. Robin and Supergirl answer the call and clean up the mess. The only memorable part about this one is the shock Supergirl was put through when she saw firsthand what the Joker is capable of. At that point in her life, she was still learning about humanity and couldn’t comprehend how a person like the Joker acts the way he does.

Night Day: Batman is the last superhero remaining, as well as the last human that isn’t under Gorilla Grodd’s mental control. Where’s Superman? Forcibly exiled, as Grodd managed to put Kryptonite in the Earth’s atmosphere.  By far this was the most interesting story for me. I’m a person that likes to see how far the good guys can be pushed. The closer to the point of defeat, the better. With a superhero like Batman who improvises as much as he does, it was fun watching him work in such dire circumstances.

Sweet Dreams: What happens when Scarecrow gets sick of Superman, Batman, Lex Luthor and The Joker grabbing all the headlines? It’s simple, put all four of them in a perpetual nightmare. I couldn’t get into this story too much because, well, I don’t really buy Scarecrow taking out four powerful and resourceful characters for any reason. Plus, Superman and Lex Luthor’s nightmares were easy to see coming from a mile away. Batman’s was obvious as well, but the climax to his nightmare was very intense. The Joker’s nightmare was the most well written, and what haunts him the most is appropriately very funny.

Night of the Cure: Man-Bat is looking for a cure for his condition and Bizarro just wants to make a friend. All this comes together as an excuse for a plot for Black Lantern Solomon Grundy to come out and create chaos everywhere he goes. Although I never read the Blackest Night series, I am familiar with the overall plot. I’m sure there are those of you out there who love the concept of Solomon Grundy getting a Black Lantern ring, but I just can’t get behind it. I think Grundy is a boring, useless character that served nothing other than to annoy me. The dude just mopes around in the sewer saying that damn rhyme over and over again while attacking heroes just because he can. He always came off to me as an annoying random encounter in a RPG that slows down the next real plot point.

Image from dcu.blog.dccomics.com.

The only other aspect I wish to address is the art.  Although I liked the Night Day story itself with Grodd, I thought Batman looked a little funny.  His costume made sense for the scenario presented, and it did a great job conveying that he was working with extremely limited resources, but there were a couple of panels where I swear that Wolverine was donning the cowl.

Also, some of the art featured in Sweet Dreams didn’t thrill me.  The Superman drawn during his nightmare sequence looked like a bad combination between modern and 80?s artwork, and the end result is a foreign, awkward looking face.  It looked like something out of a rough storyboard, to be frank.  I also didn’t like Batman’s design towards the end of the story.  My main problem was the way his eyes looked in his costume, as it looked like his mask didn’t fit right on his face, much like Adam West’s costume in the classic TV show.  I know these artists have drawn wonderfully in the past, and that’s why I ended up scratching my head at several panels throughout the book.

Like any collection of this nature, Superman/Batman: Night and Day has it’s ups and downs. While I wasn’t impressed with this book overall, I’m sure it is better appreciated among fans who closely follow this series.

RATING: 5/10

Front page image from comicartcommunity.com.
For more
Superman/Batman, check out Superman/Batman: Finest Worlds and Superman/Batman: Apocalypse.


From: http://www.primaryignition.com/2010/12/19/supermanbatman-night-and-day-review/

Not Ajay but ‘Superman’ is Kajol’s favourite super hero

Spicezee Bureau

Mumbai: While promoting Ajay Devgn’s home production, ‘Toonpur Ka Superhero’ at an event, Kajol revealed that her favourite super hero is ‘Superman’. She surprised people present at the event by not taking Ajay Devgn’s name, who plays a superhero in the film.

Talking to reporters, the actress said that she loves Superman and that she loves reading his comics.
“I loved him; I read all his comics,” revealed the talented actress.
Kajol is very excited about her latest film as it is India’s first ever 3D animation combination feature film. Moreover, the actress will be seen sharing the screen-space with her actor husband almost after a gap of three years. The duo was last seen in ‘You, Me and Hum’.
The actress also revealed that she and Ajay have difference of opinion when it comes to agreeing upon a script. And that is why they are rarely seen working together in a film.

Talking to reporters, the actress said, “Ajay and I will always take years to be together on screen because we hardly ever agree on a script. We actually don`t agree on most scripts.”

‘Toonpur Ka Superhero’ slated to release this Christmas will see Ajay in a different avatar. Now will Kajol change her mind and make him her favourite superhero after the release of the film is something to wait and watch.

From: http://spicezee.zeenews.com/articles/story77928.htm

BOOM! Studios to publish Michael Moorcock’s Elric

BOOM! Studios to publish Michael Moorcock’s Elric

Elric: The Balance Lost #1

BOOM! Studios announced today via press release that they’ve tapped Superman and iZombie writer Chris Roberson to write a new series featuring Michael Moorcock’s Elric.

Elric: The Balance Lost kicks off in July, but will be preceded in May by an all-new Free Comic Book Day edition that serves as a prequel to the new series. The artist for the series wasn’t named.

“Elric is in inspired hands. I’m enthusiastically looking forward to his appearance from BOOM! Studios,” Elric creator Moorcock said in the release. “One of the best writers of his generation, Chris Roberson, will be writing a brilliantly conceived, entirely new Elric story in the grand manner! I can’t wait!”

Elric of Melniboné first appeared in The Dreaming City, a novella that appeared in Science Fantasy #47 in 1961, and has appeared in numerous stories and novels written by Moorcock ever since. Elric’s first comic book appearance was 1970?s Conan the Barbarian #14, and comics featuring the character have been published over the years by Marvel, First Comics, Pacific Comics, Dark Horse and DC Comics.

This is the second new licensed comic BOOM! has announced this week; on Monday they announced Clive Barker’s Hellraiser. It also looks like they’ll be offering two books now on Free Comic Book Day, as Elric joins the previously announced Darkwing Duck/Rescue Rangers flipbook.

You can find the complete press release after the jump.


December 16, 2010 – Los Angeles, CA – For 40 years, Elric has thrilled comic book fandom beginning with Marvel Comics’ CONAN THE BARBARIAN #15 in 1972. Neil Gaiman called Elric’s creator Michael Moorcock “my model for what a writer was” while Warren Ellis said he is one of the “eight core sites in my creative genome” — now, the godfather of the Multiverse concept brings one of the most critically acclaimed and most recognizable figures in the history of fantasy fiction back to sequential art with BOOM! Studios’ ELRIC: THE BALANCE LOST!

Written by SUPERMAN, iZOMBIE, and STAN LEE’S STARBORN New York Times bestselling scribe Chris Roberson, the adventure begins this May in an all-new, all-original FREE COMIC BOOK DAY edition that’s not simply a preview of the July series, but a prequel that will excite longtime Elric fans and serves an accessible entry point for the curious who have never experienced Moorcock’s saga.

Showcasing not just Elric, but Corum and Hawkmoon in a mammoth epic that uses Moorcock’s fascinating and intricate Multiverse as its tapestry, ELRIC: THE BALANCE LOST #1 follows the May prequel and premieres as a full-blown series this July with its first issue.

“Elric is in inspired hands. I’m enthusiastically looking forward to his appearance from BOOM! Studios,” said legendary Elric creator Michael Moorcock. “One of the best writers of his generation, Chris Roberson, will be writing a brilliantly conceived, entirely new Elric story in the grand manner! I can’t wait!”

“Publishing Michael Moorcock’s Elric feels like a dream come true,” said Editor-in-Chief Matt Gagnon. “Even more so when Michael is as enthused as we are about the revival of one of his most classic creations. This year will be 50 years since the creation of Elric and BOOM! Studios aims to live up to the standard and tradition that Michael Moorcock has set.”

ELRIC: THE BALANCE LOST features the return of Michael Moorcock’s legendary Multiverse, featuring some of the greatest fantasy characters of all time: Elric of Melniboné, Corum of the Scarlet Robe, and Dorian Hawkmoon in a brand-new story that will test the courage of the Eternal Champion! In this new series, the workings of Fate are being tampered with across the Multiverse, upsetting the Cosmic Balance. Elric of Melniboné must preserve the Balance and save the entire Multiverse from ruin. But no sooner has his journey begun than he is waylaid by dark forces and lost on the Moonbeam Roads. Elric finds himself stranded on a world where Chaos holds sway and where change is the only constant. Heroes are forced into action far and wide, but will they fight on the side of Law or Chaos?

ELRIC: THE BALANCE LOST FCBD EDITION ships this May for FREE COMIC BOOK DAY, featuring an original prequel story by New York Times bestseller and SUPERMAN writer Chris Roberson and cover art by Erik Jones that leads directly into the first issue of the new ELRIC: THE BALANCE LOST this July.

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I’m a bit surprised. While I knew Moorcock often allowed other writers to use his Cornelius characters, I wasn’t aware Moorcock allowed other writers to handle tales of Elric that weren’t adaptations of his own stories.

Love me some Elric. Whatever gets Moorcock some more money. I the two White Wolf Eternal Champion editions (still wish I had snagged the rest of them back then), and 4 SFBC omnibuses. Want to get the newer ones, but damn, man 2 copies is enough for me. If I win the lotto.

Wish there was a market for the other stuff, would love to have that Kane Of Old Mars thing, sounds real fun (Moorcock Doing Barsoom sounds fun)

Still whip out my copy of P Craig Russell’s beautiful Stormbringer adaptation. PCR’s Elric is definitive in my mind.

So this is who has the license Dark Horse thought they had. A shame they had to scrap that trade edition of the old Elric comics. Would still love to see that get published some day from BOOM! instead…

Moorcock has definitely moved the comic book end of the Elric franchise from publisher to publisher, I think it was with Vertigo most recently.

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From: http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2010/12/boom-studios-to-publish-michael-moorcocks-elric/

Los Angeles Events: Wendell Potter, DC Comics And Biergarten Pop-Up

Norfolk News, Norfolk Information, Norfolk Events – Examiner.com | Examiner.com

NBA Europe Live report: Regal FC Barcelona 92-88 Los Angeles Lakers – Main Page – Welcome to EUROLEAGUE BASKETBALL

Critically acclaimed sci-fi TV show “Heroes” Reunion happening at the Hollywood Xpo Oct 15th, 2010 – Los Angeles cultural events | Examiner.com

From: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/14/los-angeles-events-wendel_n_796564.html

Central York students create new skateboard designs

There’s an unlikely source of décor and inspiration displayed on a Central York High School classroom wall.

It’s not where most people would think to hang several skateboard decks — the boards without the wheels — but in the Graphic Designs classroom, the decks are more than potential sidewalk transportation.

The student-designed decks are a major project that has through the years become much more than just another design opportunity.

Students and teacher Jim Howard say it’s a much-anticipated part of the Graphic Design 3 curriculum, a service learning opportunity, a possible career endeavor, a portfolio builder, a dorm room decoration and, practically speaking, the most tangible project Howard could think of for his design students.

Senior Brandon Schofield said he has had his eyes on the decks on the walls since his days in Graphic Design 1, when he would look at the Mega Man cartoon design and the other decks designed by students before him.

He just wrapped up his own design that features scanned images of Superman comics both old and new, with his own hand-drawn Superman bursting out of the middle of the deck.

“I like having something out of it that’s not a piece of paper,” Brandon said of the project.

How it started: For several years now, Howard has had students design a pattern for the decks using computer software such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

Once the design is done, it’s sent to printers to be placed on vinyl laminate.

“The buy-in is always the hard part with high school students. Usually, an 8.5-by-11 (sheet of paper) is all I’ve got to offer. This gives them something tangible,” Howard said.

“Usually we do something with just pictures, and never go further than that,” said junior Katie Komar.

Katie went with a green-and-blue color scheme that features playing cards entwined with ribbon, as it reminded her of her days playing cards with her great-grandmother.

The deck and the printing cost about $30, Howard said, if students want to have a deck.

Beyond Central: The class project has been drawing acclaim beyond Central York walls.

A few students’ designs from last school year, plus Howard’s short essay, were recently featured in Concrete Wave Magazine, the second time the school has been in a skateboarding magazine.

And this year, a few students will donate their decks to Skateistan.org, a nonprofit organization that distributes the skateboards to children in Kabul, Afghanistan.

“How cool would that be?” Hoffman said of children in Kabul riding his students’ skateboards.

In the future, it’ll turn into a collaborative effort with students interacting with peers in Afghanistan on the design process.

The decks might be one of the best projects design students get to do, students said. They can walk into a college interview holding the deck.

Hoffman added that in the past there have been top people in the field who have taken the time to critique the students’ work, an invaluable tool.

Ironically, none of the students in Howard’s afternoon Graphic Designs 3 class said they skate.

Katie, who joked she’s a “natural klutz,” said designing, not riding, the skateboard is what students relish.

“Nobody actually rides the skateboards, but we’re all so into something tangible ,” Katie said.

From: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/ci_16846762?source=most_emailed

CONAN RETURNS: Local comic book writer pens new series

The name alone conjures the mental image of a sword-wielding
human behemoth who has become a classic icon of American

Many associate California Gov. and former actor Arnold
Schwarzenegger as the embodiment of Conan the Barbarian. But it was
comic book industry veteran and Calhoun County resident Roy Thomas
who originally wrote the series for Marvel Comics.

Thomas has recently undertaken a new venture – a 12-issue comic
book series, “Conan: Road of Kings,” published by Dark Horse

The project marks the 40th anniversary of the first “Conan”
comic book. Thomas said although he is writing the character using
different standards than when he first began, he has been given
“carte blanche” with the project.

“After (Dark Horse) took (‘Conan’) over, the publisher suggested
a year of comics,” Thomas said. “It is an episodic story, with the
first six issues being one story, about 120 pages or so.

“Why should that come to an end after 12 issues?”

Thomas said Conan, created by Robert Howard in the 1930s, was a
pulp-fiction hero who became more popular when the stories were
published in paperback in 1965 and 1966.

“The artwork was done by the same artist who had done art for
(Tarzan creator) Edgar Rice Burroughs,” Thomas said. “I collected
them because of the covers.

“I was associated with (Marvel Comics publisher) Stan Lee at the
time. Our readers were writing us and asking, ‘Why don’t you get
the rights to that?’ We didn’t do it at first because we thought it
would be too expensive.

“I was able to talk them into it because they liked the idea of
exposing the Conan character to a new audience. It worked out

Thomas, a Missouri native, began his career as an assistant to
Mort Weisinger, editor of the “Superman” series at DC Comics, in
1965. His body of work included writing for classic comic book hero
series, such as the “Justice League of America” and the “X-Men”

“Jack Kirby created the ‘Fantastic Four’ in 1961 with Stan Lee.
It was followed by ‘Spider-Man’ and ‘X-Men’ right before I got
there,” Thomas said. “These new heroes were a new breed. They were
noble but still human. They looked and talked like us.”

Thomas is still most recognized for the “Conan” series. Its
popularity led to the first movie based on the character, released
in 1982.

Although his original screenplay wasn’t used, the director used
Thomas’s co-written story for “Conan the Destroyer,” the 1984
sequel. The movies made Conan a household name.

“I wasn’t that wild about either movie. They were much less
faithful to the original story,” Thomas said. “I tried to be
faithful to the original Howard character.”

A resident of South Carolina since 1991, Thomas was
editor-in-chief at Marvel for two years. In 1974, he realized he
was not as interested in the business end as the creative work.

“I recall one meeting with a woman who sold ads for our comics,”
Thomas said. “She wanted to sell ads on the right hand side of
every page.

“I told her, ‘Do it if you can, but I will fight you to the
death on this.’ I said, ‘Six months later, when there is nothing
but ads, we will lose readers.'”

Comic books are now a niche market rather than aimed at a
general audience. Thomas said the average age for comic books is no
longer kids but adults in their 20s.

“In the past, comic books were a mass market that thrived in
dime and drug stores,” Thomas said. “In the 1990s, it collapsed due
to a speculative market.

“In the old days, we would cancel a series if it only sold a
couple of hundred thousand copies. Now they send up rockets if a
comic book produces those kinds of numbers.”

Now 70, Thomas isn’t slowing down. He still assists Lee with the
“Spider-Man” newspaper comic strip, as he has for the last decade.
He is also working on a book about Lee and exploring the
possibility of doing his own World War II superhero comic book.

“I’ve written several of them in the past and would like to do
that again,” Thomas said. “It’s hard to get people to invest money
to put out a comic book. We will get someone to do it.

“It keeps me out of the pool hall.”

Contact the writer: psarata@timesanddemocrat.com or


From: http://www.thetandd.com/news/local/article_b38e57d4-04d3-11e0-b279-001cc4c03286.html


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