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Matt D. Wilson

The Artist’s Spider-Man: Todd McFarlane’s Transformative Dynamism

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Ask anyone who was alive and reading comics in the late 1980s and early 1990s to name a Spider-Man artist, and nine times out of 10, you'll always get the same name: Todd McFarlane.

Plenty of artists in the 1970s and '80s did great work on the character, and the black costume put a new coat of paint on him, but nobody since John Romita transformed the character like McFarlane did. The character was still instantly recognizable as Spider-Man, but lots of the details changed to pull the character into the 1990s, and all the while, there was an undeniable, unmistakable energy to the art.

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The Artist’s Spider-Man: The Moody Atmosphere of Mike Zeck

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Like many other superheroes, the 1980s were the decade when Spider-Man went dark. In Spidey's case, it was a literal shift into darkness, as the new black costume, which Peter Parker got in 1984's Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #8, by Jim Shooter and Mike Zeck, signaled a tone change in a character known for bright colors, soap opera drama and clever quips.

Zeck is among the artists spotlighted in this series who drew the fewest total Spider-Man comics, yet his work on the definitive dark 1980s story, "Kraven's Last Hunt," marks him as Spider-Man artist of note. Much of the imagery from that story shaped Spider-Man stories for much of the next three decades.

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‘Investigating Lois Lane’ Digs Into Her History And The People Who Brought Her To Life [Review]

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In the conclusion of comics historian and author Tim Hanley's new book Investigating Lois Lane, he puts the character's nearly 80-year history into stark relief with this line: "Superman is the worst thing to ever happen to Lois Lane."

Hanley, whose previous work was 2014's Wonder Woman Unbound, offers a rundown of Lane's many incarnations and appearances in comics and other media since her 1938 debut in Investigating Lois Lane, but he doesn't simply focus on the character's fictional world. He digs into the stories of the real people who shaped the character. It's the stories of the editors, writers, actresses and fans who made Lois who she is that truly bring the book to life.

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The Artist’s Spider-Man: Ross Andru’s Kinetic Consistency

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Ross Andru didn't draw the most iconic Spider-Man story of the 1970s --- Gil Kane was the artist of 1973's "The Night Gwen Stacy Died" --- but in his five-year run as artist on The Amazing Spider-Man from 1973 to 1978, Andru served as an artistic foundation during a time when Marvel lost some footing with its flagship character.

In addition to co-creating The Punisher, Andru (born Rossolav Andruskevitch) brought many of the (admittedly uneven) ideas of the era to life in a way that has enabled many of the characters and concepts to endure, if even only as punchlines. Say what you will about Rocket Racer and Big Wheel --- two of Andru's other co-creations --- but you know them when you see them.

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The Artist’s Spider-Man: John Romita Sr.’s Muscular Melodrama

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Over the past half a century, many artists have put their own spin on the hero who came to be Marvel’s best known and best-loved character, Spider-Man. With this series, The Artist's Spider-Man, ComicsAlliance takes a look at the artists who made the character their own, and had the biggest influence on those that followed.

Steve Ditko co-created Spider-Man, but the artist who arguably made him a mainstream superhero was his successor, John Romita Sr. Working with writer Stan Lee, Romita polished many of the rough edges that Ditko intentionally made part of the Spider-Man's DNA, and in the process made him the highly adaptable character he is today.

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Until the End of the World: Celebrating The Beautiful Blasphemy of ‘Preacher’

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In a 2011 interview with The Irish Times, writer Garth Ennis described Preacher, his acclaimed Vertigo series with artist Steve Dillon, in two words: "It's blasphemy."

It's hard to find a more succinct summary of the series, which ran for 66 regular issues, plus a few specials and a Saint of Killers mini-series, all starting with the first issue on February 28, 1995. Yet there was a lot more to it: an enduring love story, a handful of shocking twists, John Wayne's words of wisdom, a takedown of entrenched power structures, and a very dark sense of humor.

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The Artist’s Spider-Man: The Foundational Weirdness of Steve Ditko

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Over the past half a century, many artists have put their own spin on the hero who came to be Marvel's best known and best-loved character, Spider-Man. With this series, ComicsAlliance takes a look at the artists who made the character their own, and had the biggest influence on those that followed.
It's not that hard to define co-creator Steve Ditko's contribution to the design of Spider-Man. Just look at any drawing of the character. Ditko is responsible for basically all of the basics: The luchador mask, the big eyes, the webbing motif in the red areas, the contortions, the webs under his arms, the movement within a panel, the whole deal.

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‘Arrow’ Post-Show Analysis: Season 4, Episode 14: ‘Code of Silence’

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It’s time for another installment of Pointed Commentary, the feature where grizzled Arrow watcher Matt D. Wilson and newcomer Chris Haley dig into the details of Team Arrow cleaning up the filthy, crime-ridden streets of Star City.

In this week’s episode, “Code of Silence,” Ollie’s campaign for mayor is going just great, and three bad people are really good at making buildings fall down one room at a time. There’s almost no debate! Someone throws a party! Can your heart handle the excitement? The episode was directed by James Bamford and written by Wendy Mericle and Oscar Balderrama.

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The Ghost Who Walks: An Anniversary Celebration of The Phantom

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Cartoonist Lee Falk debuted costumed hero The Phantom in his own newspaper strip on this day in 1936, two full years before Superman debuted in Action Comics #1. He isn't considered the first superhero, but Falk's pulp creation would establish quite a few tropes that would become hallmarks of the genre for decades to come. And like Superman, The Phantom has endured, with comic stories and re-imaginings continuing to this day.

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Filed Under: , Category: Anniversaries, Comic Strips

‘Legends of Tomorrow’ Post-Show Analysis: Season 1, Episode 4: ‘White Knights’

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After a half-season of set-up in both Arrow and The Flash, it’s finally here: the CW’s latest super-show, Legends of Tomorrow. Featuring Arrow’s Atom and White Canary, as well as Hawkgirl, both halves of Firestorm, and rogues Captain Cold and Heat Wave from The Flash, the show follows Rip Hunter and his team of misfits across time.

Our longest-serving Arrow and Flash recappers, Matt Wilson and Dylan Todd, have joined forces to deliver our Legends of Tomorrow post-show analysis, Stuff of Legends. In this week's "White Knights," the team heads off to "the height of the Cold War." No, not the Cuban Missile Crisis like the history books told you: 1986! They're here to uncover a fiendish plan to create a new weapon. The episode was written by Sarah Nicole Jones and Phil Klemmer, and was directed by Antonio Negret.

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