Comic Book Review: Action Comics #900

Let’s just acknowledge the significance of the occasion. Action Comics – the book that introduced Superman and thus helped push comic books from a cheaply produced delivery system for reprint newspaper strips into something unique – has reached its 900th issue. To commemorate the occasion, DC has released the ish as a “96-page spectacular,” opening with a 51-page lead, followed by five shorter pieces examining facets of the Man of Steel’s life. Written by such familiar names as Damon Lindelof, David S. Goyer and director Richard Donner, it’s the latter half of the book that’ll most likely appeal to readers who haven’t been closely following the DC Universe.

The lead story, Paul Cornell and Pete Woods’ “The Black Ring/Reign of Doomsday,” proves a bit more dubious. Culling together plotlines from five different DC titles, it primarily features our hero in an extended debate with a god-like version of perpetual villain Lex Luthor. The chapter ends with a resurrection of the monster who once “killed” Superman, Doomsday, and whether that will warm your heart most likely depends on if you were the right age to fall for the original “Death of Superman” storyline when it was first published/publicized in the nineties.

The other tales examine our hero’s original and place in the superhero world. Lost‘s Damon Lindelof, aided by artist Ryan Sook, looks at Superman’s father Jor-El in the time before Krypton’s cataclysm, and while Sook’s art is typically moody, the story details themselves seem a bit too Earth-bound, not alien enough. In contrast, Paul Dini and R.B. Silva’s “Autobiography,” which also shows the Man of Steel’s home world, has an appealing visual strangeness typified by Silva’s depiction of a hippopotamus-y alien named Serva.

Geoff John and Gary Franks’ “Friday Night in the 21st Century” is a lightweight look at Lois and Clark’s relationship, while director Donner and Derek Hoffman’s “Only Human” uses a faux movie script/storyboard (sketchy graphics courtesy of Matt Camp) to tell the tale of a scientist who tries to artificially replicate Superman’s powers. Of all the back-of-the-book entries, this ‘un reads most like a story rather than a vignette.

The fourth entry, David S. Goyer and Miguel Sepulveor’s “The Incident,” is the one that’s been generating the most fannish comment, however. In it, the longtime icon for “Truth, Justice and the American Way” renounces his U.S. citizenship after witnessing a citizen demonstration in Iran. “I showed up in solidarity,” our hero says, a gesture which brings the president’s national security advisor out to determine if our hero has “gone rogue.” He hasn’t, of course, though judging from the contentious politicized responses from many fans, you might think otherwise.

Those of us with a longer view of the character, though, know that with an established figure like Superman, every major change is a reflection of the time in which it occurs (could you imagine DC’s editors trying something like this in the immediate wake of 9/11, for instance?) – and is something that can very easily be undone by subsequent editorial regimes.

You don’t last 900 issues without enduring a lot of editorial tweaks along the way. Remember when Superman had a mullet?

View the original article on blogcritics.org

From: http://www.seattlepi.com/default/article/Comic-Book-Review-Action-Comics-900-1358625.php

Boycott calls growing for DC Comics over new Superman issue

Calls for a Boycott of DC Comics are growing after news came out on April 27th that the newest issue of the Superman comic book will have the man of steel renounce his US citizenship.

In the Action Comics series number #900, Superman rebuffs his being used as a tool of US foreign policy and informs a National Security Advisor for the President that he is renouncing his US citizenship to become a citizen of the Universe.

He’s just so sick of being pigeon-holed as an instrument of U.S. policy. And “truth, justice, and the American way“ are ”not enough anymore.” That’s why Superman, in the latest Action Comic, has announced he is “renouncing” his U.S. citizenship.

Although he’s traditionally seen as an American hero (remember, though, he is an alien), Superman is fed up with being connected to the USA. According to the Comics Alliance blog (and reported by BoingBoing), in Action Comics #900 Superman tells the president‘s national security adviser that he’s had enough of the Red, White, and Blue: – The Blaze

Symbols have and always will be an important part of American society.  Whether it is the flag, the bible, or fictional characters such as Superman, removing them, or demeaning them in the public eye, will always bring forth a strong reaction from a large portion of society.

In this case, a boycott of DC Comics is growing and being discussed by many people.

This better be some one shot crap shoot or everyone will need to get to work on boycotting DC Comics and the new Superman movie. I am getting tired of these leftist writers taking characters to push their own twisted agenda on the guise of some greater cause. This is Goyer using an icon to slam America and its values. Nothing more. – nrbosa.com

Bleep Superman.  I urge a boycott of Warner Brothers, all DC franchises, and particularly Superman.  They intended this to be a political statement, but it is really a slap in the face of the American identity.  Show me any one country that has done more for the world than America.  We have fought for more people and sacrificed more treasure than any other country in history.

Superman’s real kryptonite is lack of comic sales.  Hit them where it hurts, and I bet they’ll be doing a special issue where he retakes the citizenship oaths. – Swamp Fox Press

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There is even a Facebook page that was created called Boycott DC Comics over the Dark Knight franchise, however its popularity never took off.

Comic books, and the characters they spawn have been a large part of American society going back to the early 20th century.  Their popularity has waxed and waned, and much of this has had to do with artists choosing to adapt the character to the societal changes of the time.  Characters such as Captain America and Superman were instrumental symbols during World War II, and the comic book industry led the way in the fight against Adolph Hitler and Nazi Germany.  During that time the industry experienced the golden age of comic books, and revenues soared all through the war years.

However, the same attempts to use comic book characters to show the disagreements of society with the Vietnam war led to a massive spike downward in sales and revenues, and the industry nearly closed as Americans don’t read comics to entrench their fears and anger, but instead to instill hope and a picture of the better side of man.

Whether a growing call to boycott DC Comics comes to fruition over the controversial move to have Superman renounce his citizenship has yet to be seen, most Americans know that the boycott is one of the greatest tools of protest we have to show our distaste of a product, industry, or company.

From: http://www.examiner.com/finance-examiner-in-national/boycott-calls-growing-for-dc-comics-over-new-superman-issue

Superman Renounces [SPOILER] in ‘Action Comics’ #900

After recently undertaking a journey to walk — not fly — across the United States in the “Grounded” storyline and reconnect with the country and everyday Americans, Superman appears to be taking another step that could have major implications for his national identity: in Action Comics #900…

…Superman announces that he is going to give up his U.S. citizenship. Despite very literally being an alien immigrant, Superman has long been seen as a patriotic symbol of “truth, justice, and the American way,” from his embrace of traditional American ideals to the iconic red and blue of his costume. What it means to stand for the “American way” is an increasingly complicated thing, however, both in the real world and in superhero comics, whose storylines have increasingly seemed to mirror current events and deal with moral and political complexities rather than simple black and white morality.

The key scene takes place in “The Incident,” a short story in Action Comics #900 written by David S. Goyer with art by Miguel Sepulveda. In it, Superman consults with the President’s national security advisor, who is incensed that Superman appeared in Tehran to non-violently support the protesters demonstrating against the Iranian regime, no doubt an analogue for the recent real-life protests in the Middle East. However, since Superman is viewed as an American icon in the DC Universe as well as our own, the Iranian government has construed his actions as the will of the American President, and indeed, an act of war.

Superman replies that it was foolish to think that his actions would not reflect politically on the American government, and that he therefore plans to renounce his American citizenship at the United Nations the next day — and to continue working as a superhero from a more global than national perspective. From a “realistic” standpoint it makes sense; it would indeed be impossible for a nigh-omnipotent being ideologically aligned with America to intercede against injustice beyond American borders without creating enormous political fallout for the U.S. government.

While this wouldn’t be this first time a profoundly American comic book icon disassociated himself from his national identity — remember when Captain America became Nomad? — this could be a very significant turning point for Superman if its implications carry over into other storylines. Indeed, simply saying that “truth, justice and the American way [is] not enough anymore” is a pretty startling statement from the one man who has always represented those values the most.

It doesn’t seem that he’s abandoning those values, however, only trying to implement them on a larger scale and divorce himself from the political complexities of nationalism. Superman also says that he believes he has been thinking “too small,” that the world is “too connected” for him to limit himself with a purely national identity. As an alien born on another planet, after all, he “can’t help but see the bigger picture.”

Do you think the shift to a more global role makes sense for Superman? If he really is going to renounce his U.S. citizenship in order to function as a more international figure, how do you think it will affect the character?

From: http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/04/27/superman-renounces-us-citizenship/

The 10 Most Memorable "Action Comics" Covers Ever

In 1938, Superman made his first appearance in the debut issue of Action Comics. Created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the Man of Steel was originally a crusader for social justice and his main adversaries were typically corrupt landlords and politicians.

Over the decades, the big blue boy scout has made the jump from a pulp hero fighting faceless corruption to a full fledged pop culture icon with a rogues gallery that stands out in the world of comics. Even though his powers and stories may have changed over the years, the one constant throughout Superman’s career has been his starring role in Action Comics. Even at over 70 years old, the book is one of DC’s most popular and important.

With the release of Action Comics #900 (above) this Wednesday, Superman is finally returning to the series after his archvillain, Lex Luthor, became the main character of the book last year. In celebration of the series’ nice round number, we’re counting down our list of The 10 Most Memorable Action Comics Covers!

From: http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2011/04/the-10-most-memorable-action-comics-covers-ever

Comic store owner has last laugh after 25-year success story

Brad Wilson has seen all the fads come and go.

Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Beanie Babies and pogs have each been the next big thing before fading away.

But, much like Superman, Batman and Captain America, comic books have found a way to survive and keep Wilson in business through it all.

Wilson remembers what some people thought when he opened Allstar Comics Games on April 1, 1986.

“It is easy to remember because it was April Fool’s Day,” he said. “And that is what people told me — that I was a fool.”

Twenty-five years later, when Wilson opens his store every morning and looks at the rare 9-foot Incredible Hulk statue, he has the last laugh.

“I can’t believe it has been 25 years,” Wilson said. “I have customers who shopped here as kids and are now bringing their kids in.”

Wilson has sold all the fads and even today sells a variety of items.

Sports cards and memorabilia were once a large part of his collection, even though now they are just a part. In addition to comics, the shop, located in Northeast El Paso at 4406 Dyer Street, also offers shoppers a variety of strategy games, T-shirts, graphic novels and action figures.

But comics are still the bread and butter.

“The customers, they like to have a comic in their hands,” Wilson said.

Wilson has kept and sold some rare comics in his time, including an Amazing Spider-Man No. 1 for $35,000. Currently he has an X-Men No. 1, which is valued at $4,000.

But the most valuable thing is the 9-foot Incredible

Hulk, one of 200 models built for the 2008 movie. Wilson was lucky enough to get hold of it.

“We had to take out the front window to get it in the store,” he said. “But you should have seen me — I had the sledgehammer ready to make the door wider. One way or another, we were getting it inside.”

Anthony Maese shopped at Allstar Comics for a year before Wilson offered him a job. Maese said it is a perfect match for him.

“It’s amazing that he has kept it open this whole time,” Maese said. “I

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guess it is because of all the faithful readers.

“I think it is because he has one of the best selections here.”

And Wilson has plenty of them, some of which have been with him all 25 years.

No matter the age, Wilson said, comics have mass appeal.

“I compare comics to TV shows,” Wilson said. “People like to see the story progress each week. Some of the best writers are in comics.”

The store and its loyal customers celebrated earlier this month with some sales and food. Then on May 7, Wilson is planning more for Free Comic Book Day.

He hopes he can get a new generation of kids hooked.

“I feel just very happy and fortunate that I’ve lasted this long,” Wilson said. “I think I can go another 25 years.”

From: http://www.elpasotimes.com/communities/ci_17920045?source=most_emailed

Comic Book Legends Revealed #310

Comic Book Legends Revealed #310

Welcome to the three hundredth and tenth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, we discuss how DC forced the Superman creators to make Lois Lane a “tasty dish,” how Daredevil #1 being late led to the Avengers being born and learning whether Howard the Duck made a dent in the 1976 United States Preisdential Election!

Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and nine.

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: DC forced Siegel and Shuster to “prettify” Lois Lane in the early 1940s.

STATUS: True

I have spoken in the past about how much more involved editorial got with the Superman books as time went by (and the character became more and more popular).

An interesting (and somewhat embarrassing) example of this is the following letter that Whitney Ellsworth wrote to Jerry Siegel in February of 1941 in reference to Lois Lane.

Murray and I have gone over the magazine stuff, and we find that a great deal hasn’t been done to make Lois look better. The roly-poly hair-do is still the same way we complained about, and why is it necessary to shade Lois’ breasts and the underside of her hair with vertical pen-lines we can’t understand. She looks pregnant. Murray [presumably Murray Boltinoff, longtime DC staffer – BC] suggests that you arrange for her to have an abortion or the baby and get it over with so that her figure can return to something a little more like the tasty dish she is supposed to be. She is much too stocky and much, MUCH too unpleasantly sexy. Please call it to the attention of Joe and his lads that the better artists in this field draw their heroines more or less by a certain formula that makes them look desirable and cute. This they do by having the hair prettily done instead of making it look like a rat’s nest. On top of this they make the face pretty – and they try to draw it in the same way every time. Then, by drawing the shoulders wider than the hips they give the girl a lisesome quality that is absent when the accent is on hips. Also, the waistline is drawn higher thant it would be in real life, and the legs are longer and slimmer. There is usually no attempt to prove pictorially that the female tummy has a certain roundness if not confinded within a girdle, nor that bosoms cast teriffic shadows by virtue of their outstanding quality. While the dames in SMILIN’ JACK may be very tasty and exciting, I certainly do not approve of them for exploitation in publications like ours. You know as well as I do what sort of censure we are always up against, and how careful we must be.

Since writing the first page of this, Mr. Jack Liebowitz has seen the artwork in question, and is extremely dissatisfied with Lois. He says that in addition to making Lois look like a witch, you have apparently dressed her out of a Montgomery Ward catalogue. He suggests Vogue, Vanity Fair and Harper’s Bazaar as likelier spots for dress-research.

Here are some samples of Lois Lane from the time period (from Superman #6)…

Ellsworth actually attached in his letter a depiction of what he thought Lois should look like (he notes that he is a better critic than he is an artist in the letter)…

And soon enough, here is what Lois began looking like (from Superman #19)…

Fascinating, eh?

Thanks to the Uncivil Society for hosting these intriguing historical documents (which came out during the case between DC and the Siegels).
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Check out the latest Baseball Legends Revealed to learn the strange tale of how Cy Young and Amos Rusie changed the life of Zane Grey, whether Deion Sanders played professional football and baseball on the same day and discover the time Rick Honeycutt oddly hurt his forehead in a game (thereby revealing that he was cheating).
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COMIC LEGEND: The Avengers came about because of a delay in getting Daredevil #1 ready for publication.

STATUS: Apparently True

Reader Greg Orzech wrote in with a very interesting piece Tom Brevoort wrote about on Brevoort’s Formspring account.

According to Brevoort (and honestly, that’s good enough for me), when X-Men #1 and Avengers #1 debuted together in 1963…

it was not initially going to be THOSE two books debuting together, but rather, Daredevil #1 and X-Men #1. You see, Marvel publisher Martin Goodman had tasked Lee with introducing “another Spider-Man” and “another Fantastic Four.”

X-Men was to be the “new Fantastic Four,” and as Tom notes, the cover of X-Men #1 even notes “in the sensational Fantastic Four style!” while Daredevil, naturally, was to be the “new Spider-Man” (and you might recall how much early Daredevil issues evoked Spider-Man stories). In fact, again, on the cover of Daredevil #1, it makes a point of bringing up Spider-Man…

That was all well and good, but Daredevil co-creator Bill Everett was way behind on his deadlines. So much so that it was not going to be ready for that September 1963 cover date. With this being clear, Lee quickly threw together the plot for Avengers #1 and had Jack Kirby pencil it and Dick Ayers ink it. The logic being that a book like the Avengers (where all the characters, including the villain, already exist) was pretty quick to put together.

When you think of the time constraints, it certainly does make this seem more understandable…

Six months later, Daredevil #1 finally came out, but Everett needed help to finish the artwork and by #2, Everett was off of the book.

Fascinating stuff. Thanks to Greg for the head’s up and thanks to Tom for providing such interesting information!
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Check out the latest Football Legends Revealed, which, in honor of the two teams that faced each other in Super Bowl XLV, involves us examining one legend from the Pittsburgh Steelers and two legends from the champion Green Bay Packers, including whether Mike Holmgren actually impersonated God to get Reggie White to sign with the Packers!
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COMIC LEGEND: Howard the Duck got enough write-in votes in the 1976 Presidential Election to appear on the national charts.

STATUS: I’m Going With False

Reader Matthew wrote in recently to ask:

I read a long time ago about Howard the Duck receiving a significant amount of write-in votes in the 1976 Presidential election. Significant to the point of national percentage points. True?

Matthew, of course, is referring to the time that Steve Gerber had his famed character, Howard the Duck, run for President in Howard the Duck #7 (cover-dated December 1976, so let’s say it came out in…I dunno…August 1976? September, maybe?).

It was a very cool storyline. But is the legend true?

This sort of legend is quite common. In fact, in the past, I’ve featured variations on it involving Dick Gregory (which you can find here) and Gracie Allen (which you can find here). In those cases, like here, the case is overstated.

I do not doubt at all that Howard the Duck did, in fact, receive write-in votes (as Superman and Mickey Mouse, to name two, get write-in votes pretty much every Presidential election) but I’ve looked pretty closely at the election results for the 1976 United States Presidential Election (thanks to Dave Leip’s excellent Presidential Results Atlas), and I just don’t see any way that Howard the Duck got more than 1,000 write-in votes total (if that much). There were 33,795 total write-in votes cast that year (0.04% of the Popular Vote), and the vast majority of those votes are accounted for (mostly by candidates that ran for parties that were not on the ballot in every state – most notably Margaret Wright for the People’s Party and Thomas Anderson for the American Party).

In any event, even if I’m somehow off and Howard got more than 1,000 write-in votes, I think we can agree that it was not “[s]ignificant to the point of national percentage points,” right?

Here’s a Howard campaign button…

Thanks to Matthew for the suggestion and thanks to Dave Leip for the awesome website!

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comics Database for this week’s covers! And thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!

Follow Comics Should Be Good on Twitter and on Facebook (also, feel free to share Comic Book Legends Revealed on our Facebook page!). If we hit 3,000 likes on Facebook or 3,000 followers on Twitter, you’ll have the option to get a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends the week after we hit 3,000 likes or 3,000 followers! So go like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to get that extra Comic Book Legends Revealed! Not only will you get updates when new blog posts show up on both Twitter and Facebook, but you’ll get original content from me, as well!

Also, be sure to check out my website, Legends Revealed, where I look into legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can find here, at legendsrevealed.com.

Here’s my book of Comic Book Legends (130 legends – half of them are re-worked classic legends I’ve featured on the blog and half of them are legends never published on the blog!).

The cover is by artist Mickey Duzyj. He did a great job on it…(click to enlarge)…

If you’d like to order it, you can use the following code if you’d like to send me a bit of a referral fee…

Was Superman a Spy?: And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed

See you all next week!

79 Comments

T.

April 22, 2011 at 9:07 am

The Lois Lane sketch by Ellsworth is awesome.

Wraith

April 22, 2011 at 9:13 am

Why have I never noticed the similarities between the cover layouts on X-Men and Avengers’ first issues. I must have seen this pointed out at some stage and forgotten it, I assume. Huh.

Anyway, great column this week.

Get down, America.

Old Bull Lee

April 22, 2011 at 9:21 am

“Stocky”? Reminds me of the “plus-size” models on American’s Next Top Model.

Tom Fitzpatrick

April 22, 2011 at 9:23 am

I’d vote for the Duck.

He’d be helluva better than any politicians (american or canadian) these days!

SNikt snakt

April 22, 2011 at 9:43 am

“Why have I never noticed the similarities between the cover layouts on X-Men and Avengers’ first issues. ”

The same thought crossed my mind! :-O

Bobb

April 22, 2011 at 9:58 am

My High School had a mock election in 1976. My best friend, and I did enough ‘campaigning” for Howard he actually received 30 votes out of the 1200 votes that were cast.

Maybe if we were there in the 1980 election Howard could have come in 2nd.

Bobb

buttler

April 22, 2011 at 10:08 am

Good lord, that Ellsworth letter is appalling.

Cass

April 22, 2011 at 10:16 am

That Ellsworth letter isn’t “somewhat” embarrassing, it’s a lot embarrassing. Also, and I think this every time I see the cover for Daredevil #1, that may be the worst drawing of Spider-Man in any Marvel comic, certainly the worst to appear on a cover.

Mr. M

April 22, 2011 at 10:22 am

“Too unpleasantly sexy” is now my phrase of the weekend.

With all due respect to the late Mr. Ellsworth, he would be turning in his grave if he could see what stocky, chunky and yes, fat, women and men stuff themselves into these days and consider themselves “sexy”. I see the point of his notes, but things like this helped create the even more ridiculous stick-figure-with-oversized-boobs trend in comics.

Mr. M

April 22, 2011 at 10:24 am

Also, that picture of clown-Hulk juggling is still one of my all-time favorite comic book panels.

Thomas Morrison

April 22, 2011 at 10:26 am

I have no clue what Ellsworth is talking about. Yes, Shuster’s style is a little stiff and rough, but it has a very appealing quality all it’s own, and was the style that made Supes the star that he is. I can understand the editors to ask Shuster to polish his style in general but I don’t see anything specifically wrong with Lois. In fact I rather like her and find it worth emulating. The “new” Lois looks closer to the “good girl” style of the late 40?s exemplified by Baker which is cool, but the 2 styles are just different, none being better than the other.

Predabot

April 22, 2011 at 10:47 am

HOWARD THE DUCK FOR PREZ’! ^^

Anybody notice the presidential candidate is a complete numb-skull from Alaska…? Wonder who the candidate would be in a modern Howard-book… Small world, eh??

I’d definitely vote for the duck instead tho’.

Fred10

April 22, 2011 at 10:50 am

I rather prefer lois with wider hips and narrow shoulders, and there is NOTHING “unpleasantly” sexy about a little buddah belly! Quite the opposite, actually.

I read these correspondences between Detective comics and Siegel and Shuster online several years ago. The original documents scanned into the public record. I forgot how I got to them, though. I do remember it was the product of an extended bout of surfing the web for something else (all the best things I come across on the internet I find that way!). Is there a direct link to the originals?

buttler

April 22, 2011 at 10:50 am

I’ve certainly seen worse Spideys on covers (just a quick browse brings up stuff like http://www.coverbrowser.com/image/spectacular-spider-man-1976/244-1.jpg and http://www.coverbrowser.com/image/amazing-spider-man/397-1.jpg), but that drawing does look a bit rough.

But man, every time I see Bobby’s original fluffy-snowman look, it brings a smile to my face.

michael

April 22, 2011 at 10:52 am

Ellsworth left out “She’s too intelligent and seems to possess the ability for independent thought. She needs to giggle more, ponder today’s dress sale constantly and clumsily fall into Clark’s lap, face first every issue. We don’t want to inspire females to be anything more than dumb and pretty.”

buttler

April 22, 2011 at 10:58 am

I love how they list ALL the Avengers up at the top of that cover and leave NO ONE out! And hey, they’re all pictured in the cover box, too! Yep, definitely not forgetting anybody. Oh, Jan, would you mind getting the boys some coffee?

Sue

April 22, 2011 at 11:00 am

“She looks pregnant. Murray suggests that you arrange for her to have an abortion or the baby and get it over with so that her figure can return to something a little more like the tasty dish she is supposed to be.”

That’s an amazing amount of fail in two sentences.

Snakeman99

April 22, 2011 at 11:00 am

Shoot, with all these classic Marve #1s, you’d think someone went rummaging through Son of Origins! Avengers #1 has to be the best team origin book ever. Stan’s “Oriign’s” essay points out that he made it a point of having their grouping be accidental, b/c having the super-heroes just say “hey let’s start a group!” is boring. Sadly, that seems to be how most team books are started these days (except of course when Cyclops needs somebody executed).

Also – I would have loved to have seen more DD done by Bill Everett. I always thought his shadow-work was really interesting and gritty (before gritty was cool).

ookerdookers

April 22, 2011 at 11:23 am

One of my favorite moments from the ’90s X-Men animated series is where Beast is shown wearing what is obviously a rough approximation of the Howard the Duck campaign logo:

http://drg4.wariocompany.com/howardphoenix.JPG

Fred10

April 22, 2011 at 11:24 am

It also seems Ellsworth is a little conflicted. He says early in the letter that Lois should get the pregnancy over with in order to return to being a “tasty dish”, but later in the letter he refers to the dames of “SMILIN JACK” as being tasty with their “rounded” tummies and “outstanding” bosoms.

As today, this seems to exemplify TWO standards of beauty. I believe Kate Hudson touches on it in an interview addressing the recent change in the size of her breasts: “Big breasts are fun for certain things and really not fun for other things”… i.e. breasts, hips and bellies are GREAT when you’re naked… but if you want to wear those really nice dresses featured in Vogue, Vanity Fair and Harper’s Bazaar, they can get in the way. ;p

Rene

April 22, 2011 at 11:50 am

At the risk of sounding homophobic as hell, I always thought that the squizophrenia in female standards of beauty is because the fashion industry has a lot of gay men working on it. And gay men favor skinny, ethereal women with an androginous quality. While straight men desire SEX, SEX and more SEX with women with lots of curves, good hips, big tits and asses.

So we have Carrie Bradshaw and every character ever portrayed by Julia Roberts, that women and gay men think is adorable and divine, but straight men just don’t see the appeal.

The gay theory also explains why male models aren’t skinny, like the ladies.

Old Bull Lee

April 22, 2011 at 12:06 pm

I almost mentioned that too Rene, but didn’t want to risk opening up some can of homophobia worms.

I will say this though, the women who do have power in the fashion industry aren’t helping, so the gay men in it can’t be blamed entirely. See my example with Tyra Banks.

Sue

April 22, 2011 at 12:07 pm

@Rene – no risk at all. You sound full on homophobic.

buttler

April 22, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Tyra Banks? Smize when you say that.

Fred10

April 22, 2011 at 12:17 pm

I think that it is the female influence in the fashion industry that has the greater impact on the often conflicting standards between fashion and sex appeal. I have spoken to my wife about this a few times, and she agrees that most of the cosmetic things that women do, they do for each other, and not for men.

maverick

April 22, 2011 at 12:23 pm

It’s official:

Erica Durance is the hottest Lois Lane in the history of Superman, living or drawn.

It just had to be said.

AS

April 22, 2011 at 12:26 pm

Rene, fashion industry favors skinny women because it’s easier to design good-looking clothes for women who look like clothes hangers already, and that’s what all the designers are doing. More curvaceous models just aren’t any good because those clothes don’t look as good on them.
This of course leads to beauty standards of people who follow those fashion shows, ie. women, to develop to certain direction (and another popular definer of beauty, ballet, doesn’t help). Gay men generally don’t give a damn how woman’s body should look like, though they might care how that costume one is wearing is fitting the model (though it is true that straight men tend to favor curvaceous women, and maybe the same is true for men in general, when it’s not the matter of being a fashion model).

There’s also a reason why both female and male models have optimum height, where large deviations to either direction gets rejected, why certain shape of shoulder is good and other is not…it’s a matter of uniformity, the model has to be able to go and put on whatever designer has designed and it should look good on her or him. There’s little possibility to start altering to accommodate models who deviate from the norm.

Old Bull Lee

April 22, 2011 at 12:36 pm

You said it Maverick. I actually think she’s acted the character the best too.

Fred10

April 22, 2011 at 12:42 pm

@ maverick

That is true.

The question is, would she still be the hottest Lois Lane ever (living or drawn) if she was wearing a bag, without make-up, her hair was a mess, and had a bit of a pooch instead of that tone belly she sports? I contend… YES!! I mean, that woman is, like… pa-POW!! ::drool, drool:: Talk about a tasty dish!!

buttler

April 22, 2011 at 12:58 pm

My favorite Lois Lane is Rosalind Russell.

Well, maybe second after Kate Beaton’s Lois Lane. http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=305

Lex

April 22, 2011 at 1:22 pm

I’m voting for Devil Dinosaur next election. Personally speaking

Rene

April 22, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Okay, Sue. I did have several posts in other threads about gay subjects, and I am a defender of gay marriage and full rights for GLBT people. I am uncomfortable bringing up the subject, but I gotta say what I have seen and heard.

AS, I’m not sure I’d say gay men don’t give a damn about a woman’s body. I do think gay men are capable of aesthetic admiration for women, just like anyone could admire a good painting, even if you don’t want to hump the painting.

I was watching the first episode of GAME OF THRONES with a friend of mine, who is gay. There are a couple of sex scenes (it’s a HBO show) and one of them has Daenerys, a character that gets nude and when she is entering her bath, she is shown from behind. And forgive my crudity, she has a nice ass, full and round.

My gay friend said she looked fat, and it’s awful for a girl so young to have such wide hips. I kid you not.

Now, maybe my theory that gay men are a big influence on feminine beauty standards is bullshit. Maybe it’s the other way around: since gay men are more interested and knowledgeable in fashion than straight males, maybe they’re as influenced as women as to what constitutes a beautiful woman. A cultural construct, while straight males are more driven by biology.

Cei-U!

April 22, 2011 at 2:58 pm

The Howard the Duck legend is almost certainly a reworking of similar stories surrounding Pogo’s candidacy in 1952. The possum too supposedly received a statistically significant amount of votes, especially on college campuses. I’ve never seen any evidence of this being true and I suspect that both stories amount to wishful thinking.

Zor-El of Argo

April 22, 2011 at 3:08 pm

I like the early Lois. She looked like a real woman. The kind of woman a real superman, i.e. a truly secure man, would want.

I agree with the theory that it’s the gay designers that are pushing these boyishly skinny female architypes on us. Look at magazines that straight men read such as Maxim and Playboy. Thier models are curvy, often very curvy. Even the centerfolds who have had breast augmentations still have natural-looking curves.

Zor-El of Argo

April 22, 2011 at 3:09 pm

I voted Etrigan in 1992. Just saying.

AS

April 22, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Possibly it’s that way around, though I have noted several people seem to have lost any kind of sense what kind of women can appear on TV shows and fashion spreads…Dove has sort of got in the groove of showing different body types, but at least in the beginning they got plenty of really vitriolic hate comments as if they had shown some 400-pound mountains and not women with rather reasonable body types…it’s a kind of thing that feeds itself but large part of the female beauty ideal shown in the media is indeed defined and upheld by women themselves, anorexia and all…

About female preferences of gay men, there is certain appeal of androgyny but also exaggerated drag queen types get their love. If I have a preference It’s probably the 50s movie star type, classic timeglass form with breasts, waist and hips. Neither Marilyn Monroe nor Jane Russell would have a chance of being supermodels today because their bodies are not uniform.

buttler

April 22, 2011 at 3:11 pm

The way I heard it, the skiier from that Charles Addams cartoon got a significant portion of the vote. Might be worth looking into for a future column.

Dean

April 22, 2011 at 3:11 pm

While his tone bullying tone and sexist comments are irredeemable, does it strike anyone else that Whitney Elsworth has a valid point buried in that letter?

By the standards of the time, Joe Shuster’s Lois Lane was pretty sexualized. Her breasts and pubic area were pretty regularly shaded. Her body language was sometimes suggestive. In a few short years, Shuster was using the exact same character design in some pretty lurid material. If DC had decided that their audience was children, then toning down Shuster’s Lois was not an unreasonable request.

In that context, the Famous Studios design of Lois from a few months later (http://tinyurl.com/45xo5nd) is sort of interesting. It is sort of a half-step between the Shuster’s sexier Lois and the utterly wholesome (but cute) Lois of Kurt Schaffenberger (http://tinyurl.com/4x3agub).

Bobb

April 22, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Since Howard is not running anymore, I’ve decided to vote for Cthulhu in the next election.
I’m tired of voting for the lesser evil.

Willie Everstop

April 22, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Where is Howard’s birth certificate? The duck-wing media shows its bias yet again.

Keith Bowden

April 22, 2011 at 4:40 pm

I agree with Thomas Morrison about the “look” of Lois simply being Shuster’s general style, and not at all unpleasant – she looked professional.

@ Predabot – that’s the Alaska delegation in that panel, not a sign for an Alaskan candidate.

HTD #7 indeed hit the stands in September 1976. Cover dates for monthly issues were 3 months in advance of the calendar at that time, and became 4 months ahead in the early years of the direct market (since the early direct market issues would be released a few weeks before the newstands). In the late ’80s there was a concerted effort to shorten that to 2 months (by either leaving the date off the cover or having “early Jan”/”late Jan” used for 4 issues while they shored that up (if I remember correctly I think it was actually the “March” and “April” issues).

I’m not saying that Tom Brevoort’s story is wrong, but skeptically speaking, that seems to be thin evidence. I can definitely see taking seven months to reschedule Daredevil considering Marvel’s distribution contract at the time. You’d think they wouldn’t have been so far behind on a bimonthly book that was more than half a year delayed already that they needed Vinnie Colletta to ruin, er, ink Bob Powell in the second issue.

Any truth to the legend that Howard was so hot that shipments of the first issue were hijacked? I remember hearing that in 6th or 7th grade (1976-7) – and I didn’t even have access to more than the occasional fanzine at the time. (Maybe this was mentioned in a Marvel Bullpen Bulletin? If so, there’s a stroke against the veracity of the legend…)

Cei-U!

April 22, 2011 at 5:17 pm

@Keith Bowden:

Joe Orlando, not Bob Powell, drew Daredevil #2-4. Powell didn’t come on board til the end of Wood’s run.

Mike

April 22, 2011 at 5:28 pm

I really like the Spider-Man on Daredevil #1, he looks like a goon. If I were a scrawny, picked-upon nerd, I wouldn’t be a wisecracking free-flyer if I gained powers, I’d be a hunch shouldered goon stalking the alleys.

@Bobb – funniest thing I’ve read all week.

Said

April 22, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Wow! Ellsworth was a dick!

Keith Bowden

April 22, 2011 at 8:07 pm

@Cei-U – Ooops, thanks. I knew I should have verified that!

Sijo

April 22, 2011 at 9:50 pm

@ Buttler: LOL! A this rate the darn ghost skier is going to become the column’s mascot.

I agree with Dean that we might be taking Ellsworth out of context. Though I’m pretty sure he would not have dared to say things like that to a woman’s face.

Lois’ biggest problem wasn’t her looks, it was her attitude. Way too feminist for the times. I’ve even heard that all the mockery she got in her own series was a way of showing her “getting knocked down a few pegs.” (There’s a Legend for Cronin!)

(And speaking of Legends, sorry but I *still* find the ads for your other columns inserted in this one annoying. Can’t you just list them at the bottom?)

Is it me, or were the older Howard stories more fun and less whiny (and obsessed with sex?) Just watching that page makes me smile.

Rob Schmidt

April 22, 2011 at 10:09 pm

I don’t see anything specifically wrong with Lois. In fact I rather like her and find it worth emulating. The “new” Lois looks closer to the “good girl” style of the late 40?s exemplified by Baker which is cool, but the 2 styles are just different, none being better than the other.

Agree.

Atomic Kommie Comics

April 23, 2011 at 1:38 am

SnakeMan99 sez,,,
Also – I would have loved to have seen more DD done by Bill Everett. I always thought his shadow-work was really interesting and gritty (before gritty was cool).

Bill had a beautiful, detailed inking style.
His run inking Kirby’s Hulk in Tales to Astonish was great, and when he took over for Colletta on Kirby’s Thor, I thought “Now THIS is how Asgardians are SUPPOSED to look!”
And, next to Wally Wood, he was THE best inker Gil Kane ever had!

Steve Orvis

April 23, 2011 at 7:20 am

The Lois Lane story is great…I’m not being terribly arrogant when I say I know ALMOST all of the stories surrounding the characters found within the pages of Superman comic books, but THIS was news to me. Interesting as always! Keep ‘Em Burnin’!

Keith Bowden

April 23, 2011 at 9:48 am

Everett’s work in the ’70s was spectacular, his best work – over 35 years his work constantly improved. Inks on The Cat and pencils/inks on Sub-Mariner… I was 9 when he died and was really sad about it even then.

Howard the Duck for President « Graphic Policy

April 23, 2011 at 10:01 am

[…] of my favorite weekly columns to read on other sites is Comic Book Legends over at Comic Book Resources.  This week’s column has a bit about the 1976 Presidential race […]

Power-2 most-the-Peoples

April 23, 2011 at 11:08 am

Ellsworth’s letter could have been writing in a more intellect way, but this just reflects his mentality.
And by that the way he addresses the issue.
He could have just said that he thought her figure was too provocative.
And thought Lois; figure should be more “good girl”,and less sultry and sexy.
But his choice of wording is embarrassing and reflects the times in which he lived.
The abortion remark was particularly insensitive and embarrassing, he could have a better choice of words.

Dean

April 23, 2011 at 11:55 am

@ P-2-MP:

(Whitney Ellsworth) could have just said that he thought her figure was too provocative. And thought Lois; figure should be more “good girl”,and less sultry and sexy.
But his choice of wording is embarrassing and reflects the times in which he lived.
The abortion remark was particularly insensitive and embarrassing, he could have a better choice of words.

Ellsworth phrased his letter in an utterly reprehensible manner.

However, I really do not think that it says anything in particular about the times in which he lived. The 21st Century is, if anything, coarser. You could easily imagine some Talk Radio guy (or blogger) saying the same thing today.

Moreover, the Ellsworth vs. Siegel positions are two sides of debate about comics that continues to this day. At its core, how different is what Ellsworth is saying about the Superman franchise than Roger Landridge said last week?

I think it’s insane that DC have spent 70 years making Superman as big as Mickey Mouse, and branding him to be understood by parents as being pretty much as kid-friendly as Mickey Mouse, only to piss that brand away in a decade. Nothing wrong with doing mature content in comics – in fact, it should be encouraged as often as possible – but doing it with characters who are on your kids’ lunchboxes is kind of moronic. Take a lesson from Watchmen and come up with new characters for that stuff. And then go back to Superman and Batman and put the same kind of love and effort and craft and intelligence you’ve been putting into all those rape scenes and body mutilations into something kids can read, and adults can also be proud to read because of all the love and effort and craft and intelligence you’ve put into it, and make those the “real” versions.

Siegel Shuster may not have wanted an R-Rated Superman, but Ellsworth was right that their version of the franchise was notably less than lunchbox friendly. Jerry Siegel was more innovative and more sympathetic than Geoff Johns and Eddie Berganza are, but they are on the same side of the debate. Conversely, Landridge is more well-spoken than Ellsworth, but they share the same principals.

Power-2 most-the-Peoples

April 23, 2011 at 12:18 pm

@ Dean
Oh I whole heartily agree with the idea of keeping the material kid-friendly, it’s just that whole exchange to me is tainted by the fact that Siegel and Shusters fates were sealed.
Cause we know they had signed away the rights to one of the greatest characters in history, and would never have the success they deserved.
Also I thought I’d read this article a few years ago, and found it here:http://www.newsarama.com/comics/080808-EarlySupermangay.html
Ironically August 8. 2008.
This article goes into further detail about the whole exchange.
I implore everyone should read it, it’s just that good!

Dean

April 23, 2011 at 1:02 pm

@ P-2-MP:

My point is that “kid-friendly” is not a simple black-or-white issue.

When I hear someone like Landridge, or Darwyn Cooke, argue against the current state of superhero comics, I tend to sympathize with them. However, seeing Ellsworth make essentially the same case in a more repellent form makes me second guess that impulse.

Ellsworth made Siegel Shuster’s Lois Lane more “kid friendly” by slowly removing her sexual identity. Likely in the same spirit, they subsequently stripped her of her professional ambitions. The character that remained had her charms, but conveyed a totally different value system. That begs the question: “what does ‘kid-friendly’ really mean?”

Isn’t it really about eliminating content that doesn’t conform to a given value system? If so, then whose value system are we talking about?

On the other end of the spectrum, both WATCHMEN and IDENTITY CRISIS were murder mysteries set in superhero settings that had a major secret related to a long ago sexual assault. Both are pretty R-Rated. Yet, I adore one and loathe the other. Why?

Well, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons were using their story to argue that human behavior is complex, mysterious and often wonderful in spite of our baser instincts. On the other hand, Brad Meltzer and Rags Morales seemed to be saying that even the best and happiest people are secretly horrible when no one is looking. (Oh .. and that DC can totally be as badass as Marvel, even without The Punisher and Wolverine, so suck it, fanboys! High five!)

In other words, they have vastly different value systems. To me, that indicates that the content issue is a bit of red herring.

Michael Powers

April 23, 2011 at 1:14 pm

Very interesting about the origin of “The Avengers” and the fact that Bill Everett took so long on “Daredevil” due to the day job and alcoholism, a deadly combination if ever there was one. What nobody, and I mean nobody, ever seems to mention is how shockingly fantastic Everett’s art is in that issue. Every moment of that six months was worth the wait; the criminals’ faces have a detail and look that never appeared in any other comic artist’s work during that period. The great Jack Kirby would begin with a series’ characters looking distinctly different from one another (look at the first issue of “Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos” or the first “Fantastic Four” but be sitting down when you do) but over time they’d all gradually morph into the same guy, with an Adonis physique and more or less exactly the same handsome face: an almost dreary sameness. Everett’s art on “Daredevil” is so different in its details that it’s stunning and somehow Everett has been almost entirely overlooked except for having created the “Sub-Mariner.”

Power-2 most-the-Peoples

April 23, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Well after all Watchmen is a wonderfully complex and fully realized work, but I’ve always felt that that Identity Crisis is another victim of the dark and nihilistic trend; that Watchmen, Dark Knight Returns and Marvel-man caused.
I.D. is just an excuse to drag these characters who were once consider beacons of hope and virtue, through the mud in a abysmal attempt to reflect modern times.
Raping and murdering a pregnant women for mere shock value and then having the “heroes” cover up the incident wasn’t a good story idea to me.

Poe

April 23, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Ellsworth’s job was to help shape the direction of the Superman franchise. His view of Lois Lane was different from what was being presented, so he had to address the issue, which he did. Remember, though, he is a product of his era, and using current social standards to condemn his statements is ridiculous. Of course it sounds bad now; in 70 years, what you’re saying might sound equally offensive. Just something to keep in mind.

As for Howard the Duck, if he would have run in the last presidential election, I have no doubt he would have garnered a significant number of votes, considering the jokers the Republicans and democrats ran out there. And if someone were to make a joke campaign commercial, I have no doubt that he would finish ahead of the guy currently in the White House in 2012.
Donald Duck picked up 120 votes in last year’s Swedish elections for instance, and about 3/4 of the votes cast for the current US president came from cartoon characters. That last part might be off by a vote or two, but cartoon characters are a popular protest write in candidate.

Richard

April 23, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I have read stories about Everett being late on DD, and how Ditko chipped in at the last minute to help get the book out.

I’m surprised at this Avengers swapped for DD revelation, as it implies that Goodman and Lee let Everett let it slide for 6 months. That doesn’t seem credible to me. I wonder if they simply sat on the completed book all that time until there was another opening in the schedule. During that period, Marvel had a restrictive distribution deal that only allowed them to put out a certain number of books a month.

Fraser

April 23, 2011 at 2:43 pm

I can’t help wondering how different Lois would have been if Siegel had gotten to do the story where Superman reveals his identity to her and accepts her as an ally.

Rene

April 23, 2011 at 2:43 pm

I think Dean’s point is that “kid-friendly” sometimes is a codeword for “conservative agenda.” And that is a reason that one should be suspicious of kid-friendly crusaders.

Removing or toning down sexual or violent content, okay that is fine. But there isn’t anything necessarily sexually explicit or violent about divorce and homosexuality. Yet, kid-friendly crusaders will often want to banish such subjects from kid’s entertainment.

Why?

In the world of today, it would be rare indeed for a kid to have no contact with at least one other kid born of divorced parents. That is a reality of life kids are already exposed to. And the rate gay people are coming out of the closet and demanding equality, the same will be true for gays before long.

“Kid-friendly” many times is a dishonest strategy, a façade for people who really want to promote a conservative view of family and society, but do not want to admit to their real objectives in so many words.

Fraser

April 23, 2011 at 2:48 pm

I remember Joe Quesada’s explanation for why Peter and MJ couldn’t just get a divorce was that he couldn’t stand to think of kids having to ask mom and dad what a divorce was. Which has nothing to do with family values, but did seem like a convenient excuse.

Zor-El of Argo

April 23, 2011 at 3:35 pm

We can’t “protect” children from learning about divorce as it is an unfortunate fact of our society. However, in most cases divorce is a bad thing that shouldn’t be glamourized, at least not in childrens entertainment. If Harry Osbourne were to go insane again and turn on his wife as well the rest of the world, a storyline addressing the Osbourne’s divorce would be okay. Peter and MJ getting divorced would be going to far. Spider-man is a hero and heroes are supposed to stick it out even when it is hard. To create a situation where such a divorce would be “okay” would require a major change in either Peter or MJ’s character. The kind that would piss off readers to no end. Quesada was right, the only way to end Peter and MJ’s marriage was to either erase it or kill Mary Jane.

Personally, I think the latter would have been better, if not cliche.

Rene

April 23, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Why?

Why should a “hero” remain in a loveless marriage?

I am old enough to remember a society where divorce was a lot more frowned upon than today, and it wasn’t a happier society. You often had unhappy houses where husband and wife fought all the time but had to stick it out on account of social pressure, and the kids would grow up more traumatized than any divorcee’s kids.

It’s not “glamourizing” divorce to show that even good people have divorces. It’s just reflecting what happens in our society.

The unfortunate fact in our society isn’t divorce, it’s the unrealistic idea that everyone (or even a majority) will have the maturity to know when to marry and whom to marry.

That is exactly what I was refering to when I said pushing a conservative agenda is the idea behind many “protect our kids” campaigns.

Rene

April 23, 2011 at 5:07 pm

“About female preferences of gay men, there is certain appeal of androgyny but also exaggerated drag queen types get their love”

That fits my theory too. Most gay men consider full-bodied women to be a little gauche, a little vulgar. Drag queens get this gauche quality and drive it up to eleven. Drag queens are parody.

Zor-El of Argo

April 23, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Many divorces are necessary. Most happen because we live in an increasingly selfish society where everything has to be our way right now or else we want out.

I’m not advocating forcing people, even parents, to stay in marriages. I simply believe that many marriages end that shouldn’t for no other reason than that it is too easy to get divorced. There is no longer any incentive to try and work things out, to try to meet each other eye to eye. If something requires effort without immediate payout the first instinct is to just bail out. What does that teach the children?

We expect more from our fictional superheroes. It’s okay when lesser characters like The Atom take the easy way out and get divorced, but the iconic ones like Spider-man should set a better example.

Dominic

April 23, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Still trying to get past Rene’s huge stereotypical assumptions… I mean, the Lois letter at least was written in another time…

Zor-El of Argo

April 23, 2011 at 5:41 pm

I’d like to see that Lois brought into the modern age. Not just the realistic figure, but the personality, as well. That Lois would not put herself in danger to force Superman to pay attention to her. That is a Lois whom a real superman would go out of his way to pay attention to and even show off for.

I truly believe that a real life Superman would go for the sort of woman that lesser men would want to put in “her place.” Clearly, Siegal and Shuster agreed. Unfortunately, it was the lesser men who were signing thier paychecks.

Rene

April 23, 2011 at 6:50 pm

You know zip about me, Dominic. The last birthday party I attended, I was one of only three straight men. I live in one of the gayest neighbourhoods here in São Paulo. I went to Gay Pride parade many years. GLBT people are flesh and blood people to me. They’re not any less or more than straight people, so they’re not above criticism.

That is my anecdotal observation, that may be wrong, incomplete, flawed, whatever, based on the gay men I associate with. Perhaps “most” is an exaggeration? Possibly. Let’s rephrase the whole thing: I have never heard one straight male say a bad thing about curvy women. Not one. But I have heard women and gay males do. More than once. I didn’t make a poll out of it, I confess.

Zor-El, I agree with you that people divorce too easily. But that is maybe because people marry too easily in the first place, without really considering what they’re getting into.

People divorce too easily, because people still marry too easily.

buttler

April 23, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Rene: Sounds like the generalizations are much more a site-specific cultural thing than anything really to do with sexual orientation, certainly nothing inherent. None of what you’re saying rings true to me based on the folks I know in San Francisco, for instance, but I imagine I’d find it very different in somewhere like, say, Los Angeles, where people have a very different (to my mind, unhealthy) sense of body consciousness.

Brian Cronin

April 23, 2011 at 7:26 pm

I’m surprised at this Avengers swapped for DD revelation, as it implies that Goodman and Lee let Everett let it slide for 6 months.

I should note that Brevoort addresses this by noting that Goldman was a fan of Everett (remember, Everett was one of the very first, if not THE first, comic book artists Goldman ever worked with), so he was willing to cut him some slack.

buttler

April 23, 2011 at 7:36 pm

I should note that Brevoort addresses this by noting that Goldman was a fan of Everett (remember, Everett was one of the very first, if not THE first, comic book artists Goldman ever worked with), so he was willing to cut him some slack.

That makes sense, but I’m glad they don’t do that sort of thing anymore.

Funny, I seem to have misplaced my copy of the final issue of The Twelve…

Zor-El of Argo

April 23, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Rene, you make a good point. However, we are talking about fictional characters here. Whether or not a superhero has a good marriage is entirely up to the writer, not all of the random variables that real life throws at us.

I’m not saying that the topic of divorce should be banned from comics, not even the top ones like Spider-man or Superman. I’m saying that that it shouldn’t be the heroes who are getting divorced. Write good marriages for them, and let thier supporting cast make poor choices. Let the superheroes be what the children aspire to, and the supporting characters be the slap of reality… at least where the more sensitive topics are concerned.

I think “Brand New Day” was a cop-out, but better than having Peter and MJ divorce.

Travis Pelkie

April 23, 2011 at 7:50 pm

So…

kids should be taught that making deals with the devil is preferable to divorce?

Zor-El of Argo

April 23, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Good point. Couldn’t she have just been whacked by Venom or something?

buttler

April 23, 2011 at 8:15 pm

I’m surprised they didn’t rename the comic Your Friendly Satanist Spider-Man.

Keith Bowden

April 23, 2011 at 8:47 pm

Wow, what an explosion of comments!

Throwing in my two cents, I think divorce in comics – for any audience – should be treated in the same way as any other aspect of a story: well-crafted, relevant and a natural evolution of the characters and situations as they’ve developed. It shouldn’t be a gimick or a bit of lazy writing to force a change in the status quo.

Ellsworth was a piece of work, and the old guard at National treated SS horribly (which continued with DC under Time-Warner); I’m really curious about what changes or negotiations are about to occur as the Superman elements get split (due to the heirs’ successful lawsuit). Frankly DC seems to be floundering with the character right now (did anyone see the mysoginistic abomination of Superman 704? Ellsworth would have approved the story, but I can’t imagine how that amateurish art passed anyone’s okay). Whatever happens, I hope Clark and Lois stay married.

Schnitzy Pretzelpants

April 23, 2011 at 9:14 pm

I’m not saying that the topic of divorce should be banned from comics, not even the top ones like Spider-man or Superman. I’m saying that that it shouldn’t be the heroes who are getting divorced. Write good marriages for them, and let thier supporting cast make poor choices. Let the superheroes be what the children aspire to, and the supporting characters be the slap of reality… at least where the more sensitive topics are concerned.

I think that you are letting your dislike/loathing of a particular story-arc influence or perhaps simply cloud your opinion on this issue.

You’re somehow equating a persons nobility and heroic virtue with something like having a perfect marriage – or even perfection itself.

I don’t want to read about perfect people. I want to read about people that are human beings. I would prefer to see a happily married MJ and Peter, and still think that we’ll have these two reunited soon somehow.

The problem I have with divorce in comics is the same issue I have with marriage, and with violence. I want to see something approximating reality, in terms of how the characters deal with it. So, I don’t want to see rosey, and all-sunshine and blossoms, marriage all the time. But had the decided to have Peter and MJ get a divorce, I would have been alright with that – PROVIDED, and only provided, the chose a nuanced and believable and heart-felt divorce. You ask me, as far as divorce being a creative option for a comic book couple goes, MJ and Peter would have been a great choice to show that very rare, though no-less heartfelt kind of divorce, where both parties are so very deeply in love with each other, but still realize that there is a certain something that just won’t ultimately work.

You ask me, if Marvel really wanted an opportunity for these two to split up, they missed a golden opportunity to actually write a hell of deep, and moving story, that could have had Marvel getting accolades and publicity for writing a realistic relationship tear-jerker about their breakup – and for once not being ‘news worthy’ because they are (yawn) killing another character.

I also think it really kind of hypocritical in this modern age, for anyone to have more of an issue with divorce than a common-law break-up. For those of us that may not marry, but still intend on staying together for as long as possible, I am willing to bet that break-ups hurt just as much, and affect friends, family, and children just as much as a married couple.

I also think that the real issue, is both the ease that one can be married, and the rather dated emphasis that society still places on marriage more, than divorce being the problem. Hell, it costs government agencies money and time to process marriages – I say, why not just up the cost? That would at least go some way for making people pause and think at least a bit more before tying the knot.

00gonzo

April 23, 2011 at 11:29 pm

Got to love Iron Man in a skirt. Glad that suit didn’t stick around.

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From: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=31997

9 Articles for Action Comics #900 — Part 3: Retailers in Action

For this installment of 9 Articles for Action Comics #900, I thought I would see what retailers from around the US and Canada had to say regarding the monumental milestone. See if you can spot your local comic shop below. Then leave a follow-up comment below.

Name: Michael Tierney

Store/Location: Collector’s Edition/N. Little Rock, AR; The Comic Book Store/Little Rock, AR

Website: http://www.thewildstars.com/

What can be said about Superman that hasn’t been said before? He’s such an iconic character, who’s inspired several generations with the dream of flight and super-human feats.

What I find most interesting about Superman are the contradictions, since he’s really a Man of Steel with Feet of Clay. It took him 50 years to pop the question of marriage to Lois Lane. After she said Yes, he subsequently faked his death as Superman and then again as Clark Kent, until Lois caught him in the arms of a topless island girl — which happened to be the precise moment when his amnesia miraculously vanished!

Superman has always had a unique, and very understanding, supporting cast!

Name: Richard Neal

Store/Location: Zeus Comics and Collectibles/Dallas, TX

Website: http://www.zeuscomics.com/

Poor Superman. He rarely lost a battle; but he never came out unscathed. The fate of the universe at stake and Superman’s sacrifice often was his cape, a leg, an arm or a boot. Rarely did he join forces with the rest of the Justice League. I couldn’t afford them. My small allowance was spent replacing the Superman toy that was the foundation of my imagination.

Name: Dan-o

Store/Location: Cashman’s Comics/Bay City, Michigan

Website: www.cashmanscomics.com

My first exposure to Superman was a Justice League of America comic bought for a long road trip. JLA led quickly to whatever I could find on the spinner rack at the Quick Trip. Action Comics staring Superman was a constant. Big giant stories and big giant guest stars, Action Comics had it all!

In today’s marketplace, where it is now common practice to relaunch a series several times with new #1 issues only to be “rebooted” back to the original numbering system (with issue #500 or #600 i.e. Daredevil, Iron Man, Amazing Spider-Man, Hulk, etc.) several months later, it is a true milestone for a comic book to reach issue #900 without any such gimmicks. For this fan, Action Comics #900 will be a much appreciated rarity in today’s market – a “real” issue #900!

Despite a few changes over the years, the common factor between Action Comics #1 and #900 is the Man of Steel himself – Superman. When asked why Kal-El is my personal favorite, my answer is simple, “Superman was the first larger than life ‘hero,’ and set the standard for everyone else to follow. Without Superman, there would be no Batman, and arguably, no Wolverine, Venom, or Deadpool.” Also, and this may sound corny, but in today’s “let’s ridicule, complain, and/or mock EVERYTHING” society, I’m glad to set an example for my kids by promoting the ideals Superman has represented for over 70 years. So bring on Action Comics #900, and #950, and I’m not going anywhere – and neither is Superman!

Name: Peter Carbonaro

Store/Location: Heroes’ Haven/Tampa, FL

Website: http://www.heroeshavencomics.com/

In the Chuck Austen/Ivan Reis Action Comics series, every page was exactly that – ACTION – even the transitions between panels had a bullet shaped Superman flying through the air. Austen, who can easily trend toward writing the tasteless mind-numbing issues exactly like Jeph Loeb always does, definably shows he’s better because this entire run was jamming from start to finish.

Name: Jay Bardyla

Store/Location: Happy Harbor Comics v1/Edmonton, AB

Website: www.happyharborcomics.com

Customers were unhappy when Superman comics didn’t contain Superman during the New Krypton storyline. But Action Comics featuring Lex Luthor was the best the title has ever sold for us during our store’s 12 year history. Thanks, Pete and Paul! As a fan, I have always dreamed of how great it would be to write a Superman comic and terrified of it at the same time. Who does he fight? How do you make the threat real? The obstacle of the character took the fun out of creating a story. But Paul Cornell showed me how you get around that sometimes. Thanks. That was fun!

Name: Ed

Store/Location: Collector’s Paradise

Website: http://comicsandcards.net/

Though Paul Cornell’s Action has not driven up sales of Action in a big way, there is definitely a buzz on the series. Cornell’s reputation as a writer is fantastic, he’s not the type that has “haters” and is generally considered a great writer that needs a break out hit. His Marvel stuff never caught on, but it was such a pleasure to read. Captain Britain and the MI13 was the first time I heard about him, and loved the book. It actually sold really well in our store because we hand-sold it so well, so we were quite surprised when it was cancelled due to low sales. I think the sales velocity of his Action Comics run suffers from the usual thing: No Superman. DC’s Superman titles will only sell when Superman is the main character in them. Cornell’s Luthor-centric issues are superb, but will not gain mass readership because Superman is not in them (well, until issue 900 when DC has announced they are bringing Supes back into the title).

Superman has not been one of my favorite characters because he’s tough to write. He’s a character with ultimate powers and very few flaws. His only flaws are Magic and Kryptonite. Well, there is only so many times you can do a Kryptonite villain of the week story or a magic-based villain story. All that’s been done to death. I think the idea of making Action Comics into a Luthor book was inspired, but unfortunately a typical DC reader is quite stuck in their need for Supes in the book.

My first experience with comics is also my first Superman book.  In 1992, working at Fairfax High School, I heard about the “Death of Superman” and was very intrigued. I had never read comics, but this caught my attention. During my lunch break, I went across the street to the original Golden Apple store, and got a copy of that issue and all the build up issues of Action Comics and Justice League. I loved the books, and started looking into other stuff. Two years later I was the owner of Collector’s Paradise. Now, 17 years later, I still very fondly remember my first comic book experience and its connection to Superman.

Name: Chris Brady

Store/Location: 4 Color Fantasies/Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Website: http://www.4colorfantasies.com/

I hear a lot of people complain that Superman is annoyingly moral and obnoxiously overpowered. What those people fail to realize is that those two opposing traits are what make him an engaging character. He can’t do whatever he wants because he’s a moral person and I’m glad he is a moral person because he can do anything. Superman is an ideal, one that a lot of people can’t handle.

Take Lex Luthor, the anti-Superman. He does whatever he wants and yet has no powers beyond a deep pocketbook. I have a vivid memory of Action Comics #795, wherein Lex Luthor has been elected president of the United States and has also discovered that Clark Kent is Superman. It is revealed that Lex, for all of his evil, has harbored a secret love for Lois Lane, which he says is the only thing that has so far protected Clark from his wrath.

In the ensuing momentary stalemate we see that the one thing Luthor wants – the love of a decent person – is something the repugnant narcissist can never have. This moment solidified in my mind the fact that Superman doesn’t always win because he’s more powerful, he wins because he’s the better person.

To be continued…

Well, that’s it for this go ’round. I would like to offer 900 thank you’s to comicshoplocator.com for providing such a valuable tool in finding so many awesome comic retailers. Be sure to check them out if you’re in need of your comic fix and don’t know where to get it.

Next up, we’ll have a few poll questions. Then, stay tuned for some stellar interviews from the creative team behind Action Comics #890 through #900.

You can find the previous posts in this series here and here.

From: http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2011/04/9-articles-for-action-comics-900-%E2%80%94-part-3-retailers-in-action/

9 Articles for Action Comics #900 — Part 3: Retailers In Action

For this installment of 9 Articles For Action Comics #900, I thought I would see what retailers from around the US and Canada had to say, regarding the monumental milestone. See if you can spot your local comic shop below. Then leave a follow-up comment below.

Name: Michael Tierney

Store/Location: Collector’s Edition/N. Little Rock, AR; The Comic Book Store/Little Rock, AR

Website: http://www.thewildstars.com/

What can be said about Superman that hasn’t been said before? He’s such an iconic character, who’s inspired several generations with the dream of flight and super-human feats.

What I find most interesting about Superman are the contradictions, since he’s really a Man of Steel with Feet of Clay. It took him 50 years to pop the question of marriage to Lois Lane. After she said Yes, he subsequently faked his death as Superman and then again as Clark Kent, until Lois caught him in the arms of a topless island girl –which happened to be the precise moment when his amnesia miraculously vanished!

Superman has always had a unique, and very understanding, supporting cast!

Name: Richard Neal

Store/Location: Zeus Comics And Collectibles/Dallas, TX

Website: http://www.zeuscomics.com/

Poor Superman. He rarely lost a battle; but he never came out unscathed. The fate of the universe at stake and Superman’s sacrifice often was his cape, a leg, an arm or a boot. Rarely did he join forces with the rest of the Justice League. I couldn’t afford them. My small allowance was spent replacing the Superman toy that was the foundation of my imagination.

Name: Dan-o

Store/Location: Cashman’s Comics/Bay City, Michigan

Website: www.cashmanscomics.com

My first exposure to Superman was a Justice League of America comic bought for a long road trip. JLA led quickly to whatever I could find on the spinner rack at the Quick Trip. Action Comics staring Superman was a constant. Big giant stories and big giant guest stars, Action Comics had it all!

In today’s marketplace, where it is now common practice to relaunch a series several times with new #1 issues only to “rebooted” back to the original numbering system (with issue #500 or #600 i.e. Daredevil, Iron Man, Amazing Spider-Man, Hulk, etc.) several months later, it is a true milestone for a comic book to reach issue #900 without any such gimmicks. For this fan, Action Comics #900 will be a much appreciated rarity in today’s market – a “real” issue #900!

Despite a few changes over the years, the common factor between Action Comics #1 and #900 is the Man of Steel himself – Superman. When asked why Kal-El is my personal favorite, my answer is simple, “Superman was the first larger than life ‘hero,’ and set the standard for everyone else to follow. Without Superman, there would be no Batman, and arguably, no Wolverine, Venom, or Deadpool.” Also, and this may sound corny, but in today’s “let’s ridicule, complain, and/or mock EVERYTHING” society, I’m glad to set an example for my kids by promoting the ideals Superman has represented for over 70 years. So bring on Action Comics #900, and #950, and I’m not going anywhere – and neither is Superman!

Name: Peter Carbonaro

Store/Location: Heroes’ Haven/Tampa, FL

Website: http://www.heroeshavencomics.com/

In the Chuck Austen/Ivan Reis Action Comics series, every page was exactly that – ACTION – even the transitions between panels had a bullet shaped Superman flying through the air. Austen, who can easily trend toward writing the tasteless mind-numbing issues exactly like Jeph Loeb always does, definably shows he’s better because this entire run was jamming from start to finish.

Name: Jay Bardyla

Store/Location: Happy Harbor Comics v1/Edmonton, AB

Website: www.happyharborcomics.com

Customers were unhappy when Superman comics didn’t contain Superman during the New Krypton storyline. But Action Comics featuring Lex Luthor was the best the title has ever sold for us during our store’s 12 year history. Thanks Pete and Paul! As a fan, I have always dreamed of how great it would be to write a Superman comic and terrified of it at the same time. Who does he fight? How do you make the threat real? The obstacle of the character took the fun out of creating a story. But Paul Cornell showed me how you get around that sometimes. Thanks. That was fun!

Name: Ed

Store/Location: Collector’s Paradise

Website: http://comicsandcards.net/

Though Paul Cornell’s Action has not driven up sales of Action in a big way, there is definitely a buzz on the series. Cornell’s reputation as a writer is fantastic, he’s not the type that has “haters” and is generally considered a great writer that needs a break out hit. His marvel stuff never caught on, but it was such a pleasure to read. Captain Britain and the MI13 was the first time I heard about him, and loved the book. It actually sold really well in our store because we hand-sold it so well, so we were quite surprised when it was cancelled due to low sales. I think the sales velocity of his Action Comics run suffers from the usual thing: No Superman. DC’s Superman titles will only sell when Superman is the main character in them. Cornell’s Luthor-centric issues are superb, but will not gain mass readership because Superman is not in them (well, until issue 900 when DC has announced they are bringing Sups back into the title).

Superman has not been one of my favorite characters because he’s tough to write. He’s a character with ultimate powers and very few flaws. His only flaws are Magic and Kryptonite. Well, there is only so many times you can do a Kryptonite villain of the week story or a magic-based villain story. All that’s been done to death. I think the idea of making Action Comics into a Luthor book was inspired, but unfortunately a typical DC reader is quite stuck in their need for Supes in the book.

My first experience with comics is also my first Superman book.  In 1992, working at Fairfax High School, I heard about the “Death of Superman” and was very intrigued. I had never read comics, but this caught my attention. During my lunch break, I went across the street to the original Golden Apple store, and got a copy of that issue and all the build up issues of Action Comics and Justice League. I loved the books, and started looking into other stuff. Two years later I was the owner of Collector’s Paradise. Now, 17 years later, I still very fondly remember my first comic book experience and it’s connection to Superman.

Name: Chris Brady

Store/Location: 4 Color Fantasies/Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Website: http://www.4colorfantasies.com/

I hear a lot of people complain that Superman is annoyingly moral and obnoxiously overpowered. What those people fail to realize is that those two opposing traits are what make him an engaging character. He can’t do whatever he wants because he’s a moral person and I’m glad he is a moral person because he can do anything. Superman is an ideal, one that a lot of people can’t handle.

Take Lex Luthor, the anti-Superman. He does whatever he wants and yet has no powers beyond a deep pocketbook. I have a vivid memory of Action Comics #795, wherein Lex Luthor has been elected president of the United States and has also discovered that Clark Kent is Superman. It is revealed that Lex, for all of his evil, has harbored a secret love for Lois Lane, which he says is the only thing that has so far protected Clark from his wrath.

In the ensuing momentary stalemate we see that the one thing Luthor wants – the love of a decent person – is something the repugnant narcissist can never have. This moment solidified in my mind the fact that Superman doesn’t always win because he’s more powerful, he wins because he’s the better person.

To be continued…

Well, that’s it for this go ’round. I would like to offer 900 thank you’s to comicshoplocator.com for providing such a valuable tool in finding so many awesome comic retailers. Be sure to check them out if you’re in need of your comic fix and don’t know where to get it.

Next up, we’ll have a few poll questions. Then, stay tuned for some stellar interviews from the creative team behind Action Comics #890 through #900.

You can find the previous posts in this series here and here.

From: http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2011/04/9-articles-for-action-comics-900-%E2%80%94-part-3-retailers-in-action/

9 Articles for Action Comics #900 — Part 2: Why So Valuable?

Image: Action Comics #1/DC Comics is still the Holy Grail of comic collectors.

In 2000, Nicholas Cage had an extremely rare copy of Action Comics #1 stolen from his extensive collection. Last week this gem turned up in a storage unit under somewhat questionable circumstances. The story was everywhere — in fact, if you do a search for “Nicholas Cage Action Comic,” it comes back with 1,010,000 results. Coincidentally, if you slap a dollar sign in front of that number, you’ll have a rough worth of the book itself.

Anytime the subject of comics pricing in the range of the first issues of Action Comics, Detective Comics, and the like comes up, I always get questioned on how much my own collection is worth. Mostly, this comes from non-comics persons. The dollar signs that flash in their eyes quickly fall to the floor, along with their jaws, when I reveal that my 6,000+ issue collection really isn’t worth anything.

“What? Why not?” they always ask, taking stock of the many long boxes cluttering my home. “But you have so many.” Believe me when I say, I wish they could all be so valuable. Alas, it is about as far from that as you can get.

Sure, I’ve had some excitement in the past two decades, don’t get me wrong. The Death of Superman sent a chunk of my budding collection skyrocketing faster than a speeding bullet. The Batman: Hush story arc did the same in later years. Excitement is one thing; however, a million-dollar comic is something else altogether.

Why aren’t comics today worth anything?

I’m being semi-facetious, here; but only semi. There are several reasons I can think of: The industry itself is not really sustaining the collector. Pricing for an individual floppy is around $4 per book, plus tax. Illegal pirating and the advent of the digital comic platform have cut down on hard copy consumption. The glossy paper, which comic companies have used for years, doesn’t decay and breakdown with age or the acids from our grubby little mitts. This was a major curse of early comics, which were often published on cheap paper, with pulps of wood visible in them. Plus, despite dwindling sales, the market is still saturated with comics (supply), when compared to the amount of present readers (demand).

When a hot story comes along, such as the more recent death of Captain America, the constant media attention and fan desire to own the first copy (or ten) to hit the stands can, indeed, drive initial sales up. Unfortunately, the aforementioned detracting factors add up to keep the perceived value in check, forcing the resale value back to cover price, if not lower.

Why do these older ones still hold value?

Why does the first issue of Action Comics, and its ancient comic cousins, still hold that fabled position in the top of comic charts? What is it about this issue in particular that looms larger than most? The short answer: it’s the first appearance of Superman. Moreover, it’s widely held as the beginning of the superhero revolution which has sustained the market for seven decades. Moments like that just do not come along often.

Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Spiderman, Hulk and The X-Men are all alpha characters in the superhero realm; you’ll find fans still seeking out their first appearance. What’s funny, though, is Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster had no idea when they introduced Superman to the public just how lasting and galvanizing the character would become. Since that time, editors have searched and searched for the next metaphorical Superman, a character able to take that evolutionary leap in a single bound. Only time will tell if they ever find one.

Who knows, maybe there’s already such a character in our midst. Perhaps, my son’s generation will be searching for that fabled copy of the first appearance of Batwoman or Steel.

Please, check back throughout the week for fun polls, quotes from your favorite local comic shops, and interviews with Paul Cornell and Pete Woods, the creative team behind Action Comics #900.

You may also want to check out part one of 9 Articles for Action Comics #900.

From: http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2011/04/9-articles-for-action-comics-900-%E2%80%94-part-2-why-so-valuable/

This Week IN Comics: Superman Visits SLC

By Bryan Young // bigshinyrobot.com

It’s not terribly often that much in the world of comics takes place in Utah. But a meeting of the two greatest heroes in history over the Salt Lake City skyline? That’s a once in a lifetime sort of thing.

This last week in Superman #710, Superman and Batman held palaver in the foothills of Salt Lake City to discuss many things. Sure, it’s only a frame for a much larger story that happens all over the world, but Ogden and Salt Lake City take the spotlight in the beginning and end of the issue and if you’re even mildly aware of the local news, you’ll recognize that the writers (J. Michael Straczynski and Chris Roberson) have done their homework. Superman is brought to a mountain where archaeologists have made an incredible discovery about the history of man, but a giant energy corporation owns the property and is evicting them for their nuclear waste disposal site. Mercifully for the Salt Lake of the DC Universe, Bruce Wayne purchases the waste disposal company and ends their reign of terror on our state. Too bad we don’t have a Bruce Wayne to do that in our version of Salt Lake.

Another recent appearance of Salt Lake City in comics occurred in Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s Wolverine: Old Man Logan. It’s a tale of the future where the bad guys have won and the Kingpin controls Utah (among other parts) and renames our area to Fisk Lake City. Wolverine then has to fight Utah Velicoraptors inside of Rice-Eccles Stadium. It’s quite a hoot.
You can hit any of the local comic book stores for copies of these books.

Bryan Young is the editor of Big Shiny Robot (bigshinyrobot.com).

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From: http://www.inthisweek.com/view.php?id=2467041

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