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Best Art Ever (This Week)

Andy Khouri's weekly compilation of the best comics, games, film and TV covers, pinups, maships, fan art and other illustrations discovered in the past week.

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The Strange Saga Of Cassandra Cain

Chris Sims explores the twisty history of Cassandra Cain, one of the women also known as Batgirl and later Black Bat, and a brilliant hero in her own right.

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Great Superhero Costume Design

From Moon Knight to Batgirl to Spider-Gwen, superhero comics are experiencing a great leap forward in understanding just what a good costume can do.

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Busiek And The Phoenix Retcon

Special guest Kurt Busiek joins Rachel & MIles to talk about the Silver Age, Cyclops getting a job, Bernard the Poet's fall from grace, and to recite poetry.

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Evan Dahm On Art And Webcomics

Evan Dahm, co-founder of Benign Kingdom and creator of the webcomic Rice Boy, talks about how self-publishing and webcomics are building a better industry.

Lemire, Kindt And Rivera Go Big In ‘The Valiant’ #1 [Preview]

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When I talked to writers Matt Kindt and Jeff Lemire about their new Valiant Comics miniseries The Valiant at San Diego Comic-Con this year, they said that the kernel of the story, the real heart of it, was something small and personal.

It's not that I don't believe them -- the new, nine-page preview of the series released by Valiant this week includes one page in which Geomancer has a conversation with an unseen person in a library, and it's fairly quiet -- but the eight other pages are full of historical battles, prehistoric battles, future battles, and mythical battles. There are a lot of battles, with Eternal Warrior in the center of some, and Bloodshot in a few others. Artist Paolo Rivera makes it all seem gigantic.

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Jack Kirby: A ‘King-Sized’ 97th Birthday Tribute Spectacular, Part Two!

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Jack Kirby is very probably the single most influential figure in the history of American comics. He produced countless stories in a career that spanned seven decades, inventing and re-inventing genres and styles every step of the way. He inspired generations of artists and writers; created and co-created thousands of characters; defined the visual vocabulary of superheroes; and believed in the potential of comics to be both entertainment and art, long before most people imagined these stories would be remembered past the four weeks that they sat on newsstands.

This week would have been Kirby’s 97th birthday, so to celebrate, we asked some of our favorite creators and other comic pros to contribute their impressions of his characters, life, and legacy – and the response has been overwhelming. Yesterday, we posted the first set of these all-star tributes, and here's the second, even more expansive selection!

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Ask Chris #210: The Strange Saga Of Batgirl Cassandra Cain

Ask Chris art by Erica Henderson

Q: Cassandra Cain: WTF happened? -- @IamMedellin

A: Here's the least shocking thing you're going to read this week: I love Cassandra Cain. That probably goes without saying, given that she's a relatively obscure member of the Batman family that made her debut when I was a teenager, but really, it goes deeper than that. She came out of the gate with a compelling edge, some phenomenally solid storytelling, and a hook for drama that put her in contrast to the rest of Gotham's assorted heroes and hangers-on, while still feeling like a natural compliment to the other characters. And then, less than a decade later, she'd gone from being a new character with an incredible amount of potential to an also-ran who only really shows up to fill space in crossovers -- something that almost never happens to characters in the Batman family, especially when they've got 70+ solo issues under their utility belts.

So what happened? Man, I can't even tell you, I just read the darn things. But folks, it got really weird there at the end.

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Best Art Ever (This Week): Star-Lord, Cornetto Trilogy, Robin Williams, Lupin III And More

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We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, as well as the special qualities of comic book storytelling, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great pinups, fan art and other illustrations on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt and seemingly infinite art blogs that we’ve created Best Art Ever (This Week), a weekly depository for just some of the pieces of especially compelling artwork that we come across in our regular travels across the Web. Some of it’s new, some of it’s old, some of it’s created by working professionals, some of it’s created by future stars, some of it’s created by talented fans, awnd some of it’s endearingly silly. All of it is awesome.

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Spider-Man Gets (A Little) More Serious In New Clips From ‘Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors’ [Video]

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Marvel's Ultimate Spider-Man is kicking off a new season on Disney XD Sunday with a slightly modified title--it's now Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors--and, from the looks of these clips, a somewhat modified tone.

The two-part season opener, titled "The Avenging Spider-Man," will follow Spidey as he joins up with the Avengers to take on a whole bunch of villains including Loki, Doctor Octopus, Fin Fang Foom, and Attuma. Things go awry when Loki takes control of Spider-Man's body, and the whole affair simply seems less goofy than the show's previous efforts.

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The Uncertainty Of Change: A Closer Look At The ‘Legend of Korra’ Book 3 Finale

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Avatar: The Last Airbender's four-episode finale starts with a beach party. Sokka cracks jokes as he scrambles across a crumbling airship. The last spoken line is a blind joke. It is clear to me, in a way that it wasn't when I first watched it, that these characters are young teens. Young teens dealing with genocidal dictatorships, Orwellian city-states and the general mayhem of war, absolutely, but their age lends the whole affair a constant, underlying levity. The adults that exist are kept at arm's length from the action—present, but unmistakably marked as “grown-ups,” and thus distant. Youth, and all its connotations of hope and humor, are the engine of the show.

Legend of Korra, in contrast, is downright grim.

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The Plot Thickens, Adorably: Hello Kitty Actually Is A Cat, Ownership Of Charmmy Is Once Again Very Disturbing

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This week the world was rocked by the reveal that Hello Kitty, global icon of cuteness, was not a cat. After being revealed during Sanrio's corrections of a museum exhibit celebrating Kitty's 40th anniversary, the news quickly went global, shocking the world and causing people to question everything they had ever been taught, abandoning the laws of God and man in order to tear down a society built entirely on lies.

Well, it turns out that the hours we spent laying on the floor questioning our own existence might've been a little premature. Following up on that initial correction, Kotaku got in touch with Sanrio's Tokyo headquarters, whereupon they were informed that "It's going too far to say that Hello Kitty is not a cat. Hello Kitty is the personification of a cat."

So.. that should clear everything up. Except for the part where Kitty definitely still owns a cat of her own, I mean. That's still weird as all heck.

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Revival, Reinvention, Resurrection: The Power Of Great Superhero Costume Design

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We live in a time of awesome superhero costumes in comics. The rise and rise of cosplay culture, the emergence of comic artists with a savvy understanding of fashion, and the slow diversification that's making heroes palatable to a broader audience, have all contributed to a costuming culture with more to offer than capes and pants.

Superhero costumes have always been an asset to the industry, because iconography helps establish character and create a brand. But the value of costumes in reaching audiences and reinventing characters seems to be recognized now as never before, leading to the rise of artist-designers like Jamie McKelvie and Kris Anka, who don't even need to be on a particular book in order to be called in to make-over the characters. This is a great leap forward in understanding just what a good costume can do -- and the special skills required to do it.

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Link Ink: ‘Arrow’ Gets A Different Katana, New Justice League Six Flags Ride And Hawkeye’s New Movie Costume

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Each weekday, ComicsAlliance brings you a carefully selected variety of links from around the web about comics and comics-related media, including movies, video games, toys, and whatever else might be worth noting. Quite frankly, these are items you may just need to know about to have a productive day. Take a look at today's hand-picked links after the jump.

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Rachel & Miles X-Plain The X-Men: Special Guest Kurt Busiek Answers For ‘The Phoenix Retcon’

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Welcome back to Rachel and Miles X-Plain the X-Men, a weekly podcast in which X-Perts Rachel Edidin and Miles Stokes explore the ins, outs, and retcons of fifty years of Marvel’s greatest superhero soap opera!

This week: Special guest Kurt Busiek is the J. Rober Oppenheimer of X-Men, Rachel and Miles learn to love the Silver Age, Cyclops gets a job, Bernard the Poet falls from grace, we really wish X-Men: The Secret Years was a real book, everyone recites poetry, and we still don’t get around to Marvels.

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