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Best Comic Book Covers Ever (This Month): September 2014

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A great comic book cover is an advertisement, a work of art, a statement, and an invitation. A great comic book cover is a glimpse of another world through a canvas no bigger than a window pane. In Best Comic Book Covers Ever (This Month), we look back over some of the most eye-catching, original and exceptional covers of the past month.

September's covers include masterclass composition from Genndy Tarkakovsky and Noelle Stevenson, some beautiful uses of light, color, and contrast, and some very different portraits of gods, old and new.

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Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 Recap, Episode 2: ‘Heavy Is The Head’

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Last week, Agents of SHIELD came back strong, and not, "oh, it's better than it was" strong, but "oh, it might actually be good" strong, with the new ragtag outsider premise making for much more interesting dynamic -- and the use of the Absorbing Man pushing all the right nerd buttons.

This week's episode, 'Heavy Is The Head', directed by Jesse Bochco and written by Paul Zbyszewski, picks up where last week's ended -- but can it keep up the pace, the energy, and the quality? Has Agents of SHIELD ever had two good episodes in a row? Could this be that blessed day? Find out, thanks to our ComicsAlliance-exclusive S.H.L.E.I.D. recap system.

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Thor Or Less: Aaron & Dauterman’s New ‘Thor’ #1 Has Lots Of Thor, But Not Enough Thor [Review]

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If you're picking up Thor #1 this week, by Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman, to see the much-hyped new Thor in action, you're going to be a little disappointed. While it's a very good comic that promises great stories to come, the new Thor only appears in two pages that you might already have seen floating around online.

Rather than launch straight in to the new Thor's adventures, this first issue teases her arrival, leaving the action for next month -- presumably in an effort to hold as much of the first issue readership as possible. As a result this issue feels more like the end of the last Thor title than the start of a new one.

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Best Abs Ever (This Week): An Appreciation Of Male Comic Book Eye Candy

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In the process of writing my article about muscles vs curves, and how the big dudes of superhero comics typically fail to represent the tastes of most androphile women, I gathered a collection of images and recommended artists from my correspondents that illustrate the sort of art they'd love to see more of -- but which there's sadly very little of compared to all the T&A fan-service targeted at straight men.

I had far too many recommendations to put in the article, so I've compiled the collection (and a few personal favorites) into a very special one-off post. The collection includes pin-ups, fan art, sketches, and some traditional superhero art from artists who aren't afraid to put a little male eye candy in their work!

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Why Big Superhero Muscles Aren’t ‘The Same Thing’ As Sexy Curves

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As a man who reads superhero comics, I confess that I share a commonly-held prurient interest in big-chested, long-legged heroes in skin-baring costumes that barely cover their naughty bits -- or as I like to call him, Namor.

Sadly, Namor is pretty much alone in his category. Contrary to the perception that male heroes in comics are frequently sexually objectified, it's my experience that even Namor is only rarely presented as someone to lust over. Yet I'm fortunate that my tastes run towards the Hemsworth end of the scale. Like many straight men, I admire the kind of buff dudes that are the staple of superhero comics, even though they are rarely sexualized. If I shared the tastes of most of the women I know, I think I'd find superhero comics an even more frustratingly sexless wasteland.

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Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 2 Recap, Episode 1: ‘Shadows’

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Hello, friends. How was your summer? Good, I hope. But all that is behind us now; it's time to get back to work. Deflate the beach balls; put away the flip-flops; unpack the waterproof poncho. Agents of SHIELD is back, and I'm back to recap it. (Inexplicably, I was not fired for my recaps last season. I was actually promoted. Sorry, everyone.)

Long-time readers will recall that my major objection to Marvel's Agents of SHIELD is that it just didn't make enough use of its Marvel Universe playground. It didn't need Chris Evans pouting beautifully in every episode; it just needed to exploit the assets it had. Season one never did; yet everything I've heard about season two makes me want to give the show another chance. Because, like Doctor Doom, I'm very smart but I never learn.

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Where Are Superhero Comics’ Big Name Bisexual Characters?

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It's Celebrate Bisexuality Day today, also called Bisexual Visibility Day -- a day to celebrate and promote recognition of those who are sexually attracted to people of more than one gender. The day exists because people with non-monosexual queer identities face unusual challenges in being recognized by both mainstream and queer cultures, yet visibility helps break down barriers and encourage acceptance.

In superhero comics, the problem of bisexual invisibility is as ingrained as anywhere; the medium struggles to acknowledge the existence of anything that didn't exist in The Honeymooners or The Andy Griffith Show, unless it's a space god, a shapeshifter, or a parasitic psychic monster. Having a character say, "I'm bisexual" is apparently more implausible than any of those things. There are signs that the industry is changing in this regard -- but slowly, and rather half-heartedly.

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Supergirl TV Show Leaps To Series In A Single Bound At CBS – What Does It Mean?

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Last week there was talk that a Supergirl TV show was in development from Arrow and Flash executive producer Greg Berlanti. This week CBS has jumped straight to a series order for the show, meaning Supergirl is just about guaranteed to make it to air (or else the network pay a hefty kill fee) -- and we can all start wildly speculating about who they'll cast as the lead and which version of the character will make it to the screen.

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‘Deadpool’ Movie Gets Go-Ahead At Fox; Will Ryan Reynolds Finally Make A Decent Comics Movie?

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Deadpool lives. Marvel's Merc with the Mouth will finally get his own solo movie after years in production limbo according to an announcement by Twentieth Century Fox, which has scheduled the picture for a February 2016 release -- on Valentine's Day weekend, no less. Deadpool is love.

Tim Miller is attached to direct, and Ryan Reynolds is expected to reprise his role from X-Men Origins: Wolverine, though no official deal has been announced. Fox also pushed back its Josh Trank-directed Fantastic Four movie from June 19th 2015 to August 7th, to cover for a Michael Fassbender Assassin's Creed movie that's been bumped off the calendar due to production delays.

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Official Genius Alison Bechdel’s Next Memoir To Focus On Her Fitness Obsession

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Hot on the heels of being named a recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant, cartoonist Alison Bechdel has revealed through her publisher the subject of her third comics memoir; her lifelong obsession with health and fitness.

The Secret To Superhuman Strength does not mark a radical career switch for Bechdel into superhero comics. According to an announcement in the New York Times, the book will focus instead on both Bechdel's personal relationship with exercise and the history of fitness fads in America.

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