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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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.

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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.

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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
For more
Superman/Batman, check out Superman/Batman: Finest Worlds and Superman/Batman: Apocalypse.



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.


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

Norfolk News, Norfolk Information, Norfolk Events – |

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 |


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, 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.


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: or



New SUPERMAN Writer Fills JMS’ Shoes But Walks Own Path

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While Superman fans may have been shocked by the news that star writer J. Michael Straczynski was leaving the character’s flagship title, nobody was more surprised than writer Chris Roberson.

Of course, that’s because he was asked to take over writing the series.

Roberson is jumping right into the big league of superheroes thanks to the unexpected departure of Straczynski, who announced a one-to-five year sabbatical from monthly comics. Straczynski, known as “JMS,” will leave his highly publicized runs on both Superman and Wonder Woman as he concentrates instead on writing the sequel to his hugely successful DC book, Superman: Earth One.


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DC readers may not be familiar with Roberson’s writing, but he’s a rising star in the Vertigo and indy worlds, breaking into comics after previously establishing himself as a science fiction novelist. Thanks to a friendship with Fables writer Bill Willingham, Roberson wrote the tie-in mini-series Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love, which was so popular with fans that Vertigo gave him another comic for the character, next year’s Cinderella: Fables are Forever.

Then earlier this year, Vertigo launched Roberson’s series iZombie, and the sales figures have made it one of this year’s success stories. After landing a few projects at Boom! Studios and an upcoming two-issue Superman/Batman story, Roberson’s now jumping feet-first into the DCU as writer on Superman.

How did Roberson get the gig? And how will he approach writing Superman after JMS leaves? Newsarama asked.



Newsarama: Chris, I know we talked in detail about the story you did for Superman/Batman that’s coming out now. Did the opportunity to write Superman spin out of your work on Superman/Batman?

Chris Roberson: It did indeed. Matt Idelson and Wil Moss, the editors on the Superman titles, had offered me the chance to do a fill-in for Superman/Batman a couple of months ago, and I jumped at the opportunity. They apparently liked my first script enough that, when it came time to find a replacement for JMS, they gave me a call.

Nrama: How did you hear about the opportunity to work on Superman, and what did you think of it? And why were you attracted to it?

Roberson: It was October 22, 2010, a date I’ll remember for a long, long time. Matt and Wil gave me a call, and asked if I would be interested in taking over Superman from JMS with Issue #707. As a Superman fanatic since I was six years old, I didn’t have to think about it for a single second, but immediately took the job.

Nrama: This is quite a change from the Vertigo and Boom! titles where we’ve seen your work, and most Fables fans don’t think of you as a superhero guy. It sounds like you’re actually a closet Superman fan?

Roberson: Readers of my novels and of my work for Vertigo and Boom! Studios might not be able to figure out my leanings, but anyone who visits my blog or reads my Twitter feed or meets me in person will realize right away that I am a huge superhero fan, and a fanatic about Superman in particular. Superman has been my favorite character since I was six years old, and I have more comics featuring Superman than any other single character.

Nrama: Had you been reading Straczynski’s Superman? What did you think of it?

Roberson: I’d been following “Grounded” since the beginning, and right away I realized that it shared the same central idea as one of my favorite Superman stories of all time: Elliot S. Maggin’s “Must There Be A Superman.” The question of what Superman’s role in society should be has always been a crucial one, and is itself a reflection of a problem that religions have always struggled with: “If there is a merciful god, why is there suffering?” And it makes perfect sense that it is a question that Superman would be asking himself, in the wake of his father’s death and the destruction of New Krypton.

Nrama: What is it about your skill set that you think made DC want you for this project?



Roberson: I have no idea! You’d have to ask the “powers that be” at DC. I’m just glad that I’ve been given the opportunity to put my encyclopedic knowledge of the DCU to good use! I can finally justify the countless thousands of hours I’ve spent reading DC comics as “research.”

Nrama: Have you viewed notes from JMS yet? How do you plan to utilize that guidance? How restrictive is it?

Roberson: When I signed onto the book, Matt and Wil sent me JMS’ outline for the remainder of “Grounded.” It maps out the places that Superman will visit on his cross-country journey, and in terms of story, spells out a very definite end-point that he needs to reach. But along the way, there’s lots of room for side-trips and improvisation.

Nrama: How do you hope to approach Superman’s character?

Roberson: I hope to do the best job I can! Seriously, Superman is the archetype. He is the superhero. And I honestly view the job of writing the flagship Superman title as a sacred trust.

Nrama: What’s Superman’s status as you start your run? Where is he as a character and how has he grown — and what are his next steps as a character?



Roberson: At this point in the “Grounded” storyline, Superman has pretty much completely lost faith in the things he’s always stood for: Truth, Justice, and the American Way. Physically, he’s just as powerful as he’s always been, but after the death of his adoptive father and the destruction of New Krypton, he’s an emotional wreck.

The way I see it, what he’s really doing in this walk across America is revisiting the kinds of places where he had his earliest formative experiences, and trying to answer one crucial question: “Must there be a Superman?”

Nrama: Wil your run extend beyond the initial story arc planned by JMS?

Roberson: That’s for the “powers that be” at DC to decide. For the moment, I’m just delighted to be writing this story.

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Alexis E. Fajardo talks of ‘Kid Beowulf’ stories

Like many of his own boyhood comic book heroes – Superman and Batman, for example – Alexis E. Fajardo leads two very different lives.

During the day, as a mild-mannered employee at the Charles Schulz Studio in Santa Rosa, he oversees the production of the ever-popular Peanuts comic books. At night, ensconced in his own cave-like work space, he hunkers down and follows his own creative spirit, turning out graphic novels about the Anglo-Saxon epic hero Beowulf, who battles hideous monsters, including his own twin brother.

“These days, I don’t have much time for a social life,” he says, shrugging. “But when inspiration arrives, you’ve got to follow along. It helps that I live across the street from the Schulz Studio so I don’t have to travel far to go from one identity to another.”

Two books in the saga – “Kid Beowulf and the Blood-Bound Oath,” and “Kid Beowulf and the Song of Roland” – have already been published by Bowler Hat Comics in Portland, Ore., and they’ve found a cult following among college students and post-grads too. Now, late at night, Fajardo is at work on the third in his bloody, gutsy series: “Kid Beowulf vs. El Cid.”

Ten more books are up his imaginative sleeve; they’ll take his hero around the world and into the ancient legends of Russia, Persia, India and Japan. Brave, battle-weary Beowulf has never found himself in so many different cultures, and so timely too. Indeed, he’s a sword-wielding hero for today’s text-messaging kids and laptop adults eager for adventure.

‘Kids of all ages’

Bo Johnson, Fajardo’s publisher at Bowler Hat, says that the books “appeal to kids of all ages” and that many dads explain that they wish the Beowulf series had been around when they were young.

“I don’t mean to leave out girls,” Johnson adds. “They identify with the female characters – Gertrude and Yrs in the first book and Bradamont, Belisande and Brammimond in the second. The books are not just boy-centric, which is a feat in itself, given the fact that the old myths are so male.”

A long journey

Fajardo’s own epic journey began in 1976 in New Hampshire, where he was born and raised on comics and cartoons: “Looney Tunes” on Saturday-morning TV, and during the week Pogo, and Calvin and Hobbes in the daily newspaper that was delivered to the front door. In his advance-placement English class in high school, he read “Beowulf,” and it’s fair to say that he hasn’t been the same person since.

“I think I was the only student who actually enjoyed reading ‘Beowulf’ as a poem in the translation by Burton Raffel,” he says. ” ‘Beowulf’ lit my brain on fire.”

As a classics major at Earlham College in Indiana, he read “The Odyssey” and “The Iliad” and was inspired by Homer’s warriors and wanderers.

“Right from the start, I could see how visual those two epics were, and how striking the language was,” he says.

When teachers asked him to translate ancient Greek into modern English, there was no holding him back. Had he been born in another era, he’d probably have gone on to write a doctoral thesis about Homer and then to teach the classics at a college.

“I loved all that Greek stuff,” he says. “I couldn’t get enough of it.”

But the comics hit him so hard there was just no way to resist their call. While he was an undergraduate at Earlham, he created his own weekly strip, Plato’s Republic, that was inspired by Doonesbury and that ran in the college paper, the Word. The four-panel strip featured a platypus named Plato, of course, along with friends both human and animal, and it became an instant classic on campus.

Fajardo didn’t know it at the time, but he had already found his talent for taking something old and turning it into something new. While he has always been enamored of the classics, he has never allowed himself to become a prisoner of them; he can even laugh at the ancient Greeks, including Plato, and at the ancient Anglo-Saxons, along with iconic Beowulf and his evil foe, Grendel.

Daily comic strip


Copyright Comics: The swindling of Siegel and Shuster

I like that they can recognize that downloading copies of an artist’s work is far from a victimless crime while also recognizing that copyright itself has become a tool for corporations to use at the expense of authors, artists, and the general public. A very well rounded assessment of the situation.



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