You may have heard that this week sees the release of X-Men: Days of Future Past, which, as far as I can tell from the television advertisements, is largely about a school of mutants trained to use their innate super-abilities to eat bacon cheeseburgers. If this premise has tickled your fancy, but you have never yet dared to dip your toe into the X-Men comics due to the justified fear that it is a cesspool of continuity that comes from fifty years of time travel, clones, evil alternates, mind control, primordial cosmic space entities, and hacky/borderline racist international accents, don't worry: I am here to help. Here I have assembled for you, in roughly chronological order, a round number of X-Men eras and stories that should make things a little less intimidating should you choose to further introduce yourself to Marvel's merry mutants.
On March 22, 2014, comics fans across the world celebrated Hellboy Day, a special day commemorating the release of the first issue of Seed of Destruction, the first Hellboy mini-series from Dark Horse Comics, twenty years ago in 1994. In those twenty years, creator Mike Mignola, together with a number of talented collaborators, has expanded his most famous character into one of the coolest and most satisfying franchises in comics, with stories branching out into such spin-off series as BPRD (aka the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense), Lobster Johnson, Abe Sapien, and Sledgehammer '44.
Although I am sure Mignola has many more years' worth of stories about Hellboy and his compatriots left in him, now seems as good a time as any to look back at what has come before. While this list is by no means exhaustive — a complete list of awesome Hellboy moments would easily be one hundred times this length; sorry if yours got left off, pancakes fans — here are ten moments that I believe are emblematic of what makes Hellboy one of the most enduringly excellent and exciting books on the shelf.
You might have heard that there's a new Captain America movie coming out on April 4. If Marvel's marketing department has gotten its way, this news may very well be tattooed on the inside of your eyelids in phosphorescent ink. Let's say, however, you've never read any Captain America comics before, but now that he's been legitimized as a multi-million dollar film franchise, you're suddenly very interested in that dude with little wings on his head carrying around one of Uncle Sam's rims.
Since being created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon all the way back in 1941, the hero also known as the Sentinel of Liberty has passed through the hands of some eminently talented writers, artists and editors. Some of these creative teams depicted Cap's adventures for a few months -- some of them for a few years -- before passing the torch to the next creators to keep the flame (or trademark) alive. In comic books, these tenures are called "runs," "series" or "eras," and they're the readers' way of distinguishing one era of a character's saga from the next. Chances are you're not sure where to dive into a a publishing legacy that's spanned more than 70 years, so here is a list, in chronological order, of the Sentinel of Liberty's 10 most interesting and influential comic book runs.
For many people, the end of a year and the start of a new one is a time of introspection and reflection, a time to look back at the things we have accomplished and the things we hope to accomplish in the coming days. Comics websites are no different. They like to reflect on the ending year's best and worst accomplishments as well as imagining what achievements there may be in the forthcoming year. And if they can format this year-in-review as a series of shameless link-bait listicles, all the better! Here's some articles of this type you might see on, you know, other websites.
In a recent essay, I posited that rather than being the villain of Christmas as he is popularly understood, the furry demon known as the Krampus is actually the Batman of Christmas. This got me thinking: who would play which role if we were to build an entire Justice League of Christmas? If you are wondering, yes, this is what it's like inside my brain all the time. And so, I propose to you this roster for the JLXmas.
Over the last few years, the centuries-old figure of Alpine Europe, the Krampus, has become increasingly well known in the United States, thanks to books (et al) by Monte Beauchamp, and appearances on The Venture Bros, some Anthony Bourdain show or other, and The Colbert Report. As a result, the Krampus has become the subject of popular merchandise, including t-shirts, greeting cards, stickers, and figurines, leading some to assert that the Krampus, perhaps like Christmas itself, has become too commercial.
Comics are no exception to this trend.
Two of my greatest loves in life are Christmas and comics, and so it's always a treat for me when the two cross over in that most wonderful of things: the holiday special. Even when those things are bad, they're still kind of good, because it's Christmas, and you're feeling charitable. But sometimes the introduction of Christmas-themed elements are not what you expect. Here are ten appearances by Christmas folk that might confound you, and that's even without mentioning that time Aquaman saved the baby Jesus from pirates by mind-controlling a giant squid.
The American version of Thanksgiving is this week, and whether you celebrate the holiday as a gathering of family or a get-together for friends, the day can always be a mixed bag in terms of the quality of people who show up. Sometimes they're family members you're obligated to invite, sometimes they're friends of friends, but somehow there's always someone who makes the day memorable, but not necessarily in a good way. Here are ten characters who might rain on your Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Toys are basically a no-brainer as pieces of ancillary merchandise for comic books: ideally, they help fire kids' creativity as they imagine themselves in the roles of their favorite heroes and villains, sculpting scenarios that could develop the minds that will one day shape the future of our favorite characters' fictional lives; more realistically, they look okay standing up on shelves in the basements of thirty-somethings, next to their 1/6 scale statue of Faye Valentine. But not everyone who pops up in a comic stands out as an obvious candidate for the translation to the medium of plastic. Here are ten characters, obscure or otherwise, who will make you scratch your head when you see them on the rack at Target.
In the Golden Age of Comics, which ran from roughly the late 1930s until the early 1950s, it was not unusual to see a superhero given either a kid sidekick or a bumbling adult friend, either so the hero had someone to talk to or as comic relief. While a few of these characters—Robin, Bucky, Speedy, Aqualad—have survived in comics readers' consciousness to the modern day, here are some characters whose names alone would make you feel sure you had accidentally hit the “random” button on Urban Dictionary.