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J. Caleb Mozzocco

Well, They Can’t All Be Batman: Jon Morris on His ‘League of Regrettable Superheroes’

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The Justice League of America and The Avengers are the top teams in comics, super-groups composed of the most popular, most powerful and most iconic superheroes in their respective publisher's fictional universes. Jon Morris' League is... not that kind of league.

Morris, a graphic designer, cartoonist and writer, has devoted himself to compiling and chronicling the weirdest superheroes from throughout comics history on his blog Gone & Forgotten, which he's maintained since the late 1990s. Those efforts have lead to a new book, The League of Regrettable Superheroes: Half-Baked Heroes From Comic Book History, which features a full 100 of the most spectacular misfires of the 20th century comics industry, from 1939's Bozo The Iron Man to 1997's Maggot, from shoe shill AAU Shuperstar to the compressed air-powered speedster Zippo. We spoke to Morris about his selection process and what it really means to be "regrettable."

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‘Section Eight’ Shows Ennis and McCrea Will Still Lovingly Bite the Hand That Feeds Them

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Anyone can make fun of DC comics. Don't believe me? Go ahead and look around the Internet. I'll wait. The publisher's long life, huge catalog of characters and hundreds of thousands of pages of material have certainly provided a target-rich environment.

But it takes a very special mindset and skill set to make fun of DC comics within the pages of a DC comic – and I'm not just talking gentle ribbing or affectionate teasing, but fairly scathing satire. That Garth Ennis and John McCrea were able to do so on such a regular basis for so long in the pages of their 1997-2001 Hitman is pretty remarkable; almost as remarkable as the fact that DC invited them back for All Star Section Eight, a series that necessarily focuses on and amps up the superhero parody of the pair's Hitman series.

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Penelope Bagieu’s ‘Exquisite Corpse’ is an Exquisite Comic

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Exquisite Corpse is the English language debut of French cartoonist and hyphenate Pénélope Bagieu, a blogger, editorial illustrator, rock and roll drummer and honest-to-goodness knight (Well, a Chevalier des arts et des lettre; I don't think she carries a sword or anything).

Originally published in 2010 as Cadavre exquis, it's come to America courtesy First Second. It tells the story of Zoe, a twenty-something product rep at sales shows --- which mainly entails dressing up and posing in photos with handsy jerks in front of cars and suchlike --- who goes home to an unemployed loser boyfriend. A chance encounter with an older, reclusive author with a very weird secret (and even weirder publishing plan) introduces her to an odd new lifestyle that's better in many respects, although a loser boyfriend is a loser boyfriend, whether he's an uneducated, uncouth soccer fan or a wealthy narcissist.

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This One Summer School: Cartoonist Jillian Tamaki on ‘SuperMutant Magic Academy’

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This One Summer's artist Jillian Tamaki's next book was just released, and it's very different to her collaborations with her cousin Mariko, which also include 2008's Skim. The Drawn and Quarterly-published SuperMutant Magic Academy collects Tamaki's webcomic of the same name, featuring a cast of characters of unusual abilities, backgrounds and appearances, who all attend the same private school. What is perhaps most extraordinary about the characters --- who include fox spirit Wendy, immortal Everlasting Boy, and aggressive performance artist Frances --- is just how familiar they all are under their unfamiliar surfaces.

SMMA is a comic about a special school full of special kids, but it focuses on the parts of them that aren't special... or at least, the parts that they have in common with us. Which, of course, helps makes the comic special. Tamaki is currently touring to promote SMMA. We took the opportunity to talk to her about her work.

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Swords, Sorcery and Subversions: Noelle Stevenson’s ‘Nimona’

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Noelle Stevenson's Nimona is not your typical fantasy comic heroine. I say that not because of her style, which includes a partially shaved head, with dyed hair and piercings; and not because of the way she dresses, which is in practical chain mail and leather adventuring gear; and not because of her build, which is short and stocky, in sharp contrast to the tall willowy male characters.
No, Nimona is not your typical fantasy comic heroine because Nimona is not a hero period. She's a villain.

At least, that's what she keeps telling the reader, and herself, and anyone who will listen in Stevenson's Nimona, the Lumberjanes co-creator's webcomic, which has recently been collected and published as an extremely charming, remarkably cerebral graphic novel.

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Gallery: ‘Popeye Classic Comics’ Variant Covers Are Always Strong to the Finich

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IDW has made excellent, if limited, use of Popeye after they acquired the license for E.C. Segar's iconic comic strip character. They published the excellent 12-issue series featuring original material by Roger Langridge and a handful of other artists that managed to capture some of the raucous spirit of the original Segar comedy adventures. They published a very weird Mars Attacks Popeye one-shot crossover by Martin Powell and Terry Beatty. And, since 2012, they've been publishing Popeye Classic Comics, which reprints the comic book work of long-time Popeye cartoonist Bud Sagendorf.

While the content may be classic, the marketing has been decidedly modern. The series has often featured variant covers, a popular tactic for claiming rack space in comic book shops. Unlike most comics, however, Popeye Classic — a product of IDW's relationship with Yoe Books — rather exclusively features excellent, often oddball artwork from some unlikely artists.

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The Most Strange-erous Game: Predator’s Weirdest Hunting Trips

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Aside from their first initial, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Archie Andrews have never had all that much in common. That changed this week, when Dark Horse Comics released Archie Vs. Predator, and the alien big game hunter that menaced a dirty, sweaty, well-muscled cast lead by Schwarzenneger in the 1987 film Predator set his sites on Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead and their quite killable gang.

In film, Predators have been mostly content to hunt humans, and aliens from the Aliens franchise, across a series of five films — Predator, Predator 2, AVP: Alien Vs. Predator, Alien Vs. Predator: Requiem and Predators — but in comics, they've pursued and usually failed to obtain some pretty exotic skulls.

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Get Ur Freak On: Waid and Haspiel’s ‘The Fox’ Returns in ‘Fox Hunt’ #1 [Review]

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Before Archie Comics announced their intentions to relaunch a handful of their old superhero properties in a new line called "Dark Circle" — but not too long before — Dean Haspiel, Mark Waid and company revived one of those characters in their five-part Fox miniseries that ran from 2013-2014. An all-around excellent series from one of the most reliable writers in the field and an amazing artist who just doesn't get enough opportunities to prove how good he is at drawing superheroes, that first Fox series proved that Archie superhero comics could be just as good — or even far better — than many of those produced by the genre's two leading publishers.

There's every reason to believe that the overall quality of The Fox, and its rather warm reception by readers and critics, had more than a little to do with the creation of Dark Circle. For further, more concrete proof, look no further than the fact that a new Haspiel and Waid ongoing Fox series is part of the new line.

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New ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Does The Impossible: Makes Other TMNT Movies Look Good [Review]

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It takes almost toxic levels of suspension of disbelief to make it through the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, the fifth and worst entry in the film franchise based on the pop culture phenomenon originally created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. That suspension of disbelief has nothing to do with mutant turtles in the sewers who learned kung fu from a mutant rat to fight a villain wearing a suit of knives. No, the TMNT are as ingrained in our imagination as any other 20th century commercial institution at this point, and if we're seeing the film at all, they've already got us in the theater—we've bought the premise like we've bought our ticket. Rather, this new TMNT suffers from the other, worse kind of suspension of disbelief: Filmgoers are asked to turn off their brain, ignore all logic and just accept the fact that every action taken by every character makes no sense at all.

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The Awesome Scooby-Doo/Wonder Woman Crossover We Didn’t Ask For But Are Glad Exists

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Wonder Woman has been quite the topic of conversation of late, thanks to the news that the popular and critically-acclaimed Brian Azzarello/Cliff Chiang creative team would soon be leaving her title after a three-year run to be replaced by the already controversial team of Meredith Finch/David Finch -- who have already made some troubling statements in simply trying to promote their run -- and the news that Gilbert Hernandez will bring his talents to the character for Sensation Comics.

While we were all talking about the Finch family, feminism, and the premier female superhero in comics history last week, we may have missed the fact that DC Comics just published an excellent Wonder Woman comic, one that cherry-picked elements from her most popular iterations (her weird-but-awesome Golden Age persona under the guidance of her creators, the Lynda Carter TV show, Super Friends) and presented them in dismemberment-free, all-ages comic that could be enjoyed by anyone from the littlest girl to the oldest old man. A comic book that was both fun and funny, and had just a touch of good old comic book insanity.

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