Contact Us

Ask Chris

Ask Chris #198: The Mass Media Influence On Comics Canon

AC02

Q: Is it ever worth it to change comics canon to match the canon from other media? -- @firehawk32

A: This is a really interesting question for me, because I always think of myself as someone who doesn't really get excited about superheroes showing up in movies or TV. I mean, obviously, that's not actually true -- I mean, I cowrote what was essentially a full-length novel about The Dark Knight, Batman: The Animated Series ranks alongside oxygen and pizza as my favorite thngs in the universe, I could not have been more stoked about seeing Arnim Zola The Bio Fanatic in two major Hollywood films, and there will never be a time when I'm not still mad about Man of Steel. But at the same time, and at the risk of sounding like even more of a hipster elitist than usual, those aren't the "real" versions of those charactesr to me. I like TV and movies just fine, but when it comes to the superhero genre, I'm in it for the comics. Everything else is just a bonus.

That said, what's considered "canon" in comics changes literally all the time, and often for a lot worse reasons than because there's something out there that's resonating with a mass audience.

Read More

Ask Chris #1,000,000: DC’s Greatest Crossover

Ask Chris art by Erica Henderson

Q: Why is DC One Million the best crossover ever? -- @SerialWordsmith

A: Whenever I'm asked about my favorite DC crossover, the one that I always go with is Invasion!, and I think there's a pretty good argument you can make. It's done in three oversized issues, so it's quick but still feels like an epic story since they're all 80-page giants, it has a great use of some often-neglected parts of DC's cosmic side, and there are pretty fantastic tie-ins from creators doing career-best work on books like Suicide Squad and Animal Man, and it really did add something interesting to the DC Universe.

Then someone mentions DC One Million and I realize that yeah, I'm wr-- I'm mista-- I'm misremembering things, because it's definitely the best. I mean, it's not just the best DC crossover, but it's probably the single best crossover in all of superhero comics.

Read More

Ask Chris #197: Judge Dredd And The Fashion Of The Future

Ask Chris art by Erica Henderson

 

Q: You said something a few days ago about the genius of Judge Dredd's design--can you talk more about this? -- @lifeinsuper8

A: Can I! Regular readers of Ask Chris might recalll that it was only a couple of weeks ago that I, along with artist Erica Henderson, got into a discussion of what makes a great "iconic" superhero costume. You can flip back through that one if you'd like, but the short version is that the best costumes in comics tend to be simple and well-defined, getting across a lot of information with a very streamlined look. Generally speaking, the more unnecessary gimmicks you add to a suit, the more distracting it gets, and the less it says about the character, and I think that holds true across the board when it comes to superheroes.

But then you get to Judge Dredd, and all those rules go flying straight into the Iso-Cubes, where they're locked up and never, ever let out.

Read More

Filed Under: , , Category: 2000 AD, Ask Chris, Opinion

Ask Chris #196: He Stood Alone At Gjallerbru

Ask Chris art by Erica Henderson

Q: What is the best redemption scene or storyline in comics? -- @yellfeat

A: It's funny, I was just talking about why there aren't a whole lot of stories where villains become heroes in the latest episode of Here's The Thing, and how they almost never work out the way you want them to. That might've been my pessimism creeping in, because there are certainly examples of it working really well -- one viewer on Twitter mentioned the Pied Piper from Flash -- but I blame the wording. A face turn and a redemption aren't quite the same thing, and if you're looking for the single best example of the latter, there's not even a question about which one it is.

Skurge stood alone at Gjallerbru, man. And that was enough.

Read More

Ask Chris #195: Making Connections In Comics History

Ask Chris art by Erica Henderson

Q: This "Connections Theory of Comics" is like *literally* all you talk about on Twitter. Can you please just explain it? -- @bigredrobot

A: Hey man, I think you're exaggerating just a little. I mean, anyone who actually reads my Twitter account knows that the whole Connections thing comes in at a distant third to commentary on whatever Power Rangers shows I'm watching that week and arguments about the definition of the word "barbecue." That said, I'll admit that it's something I have been talking about a lot lately. Connections is, after all, my favorite television show of all time. Well, except or The Prisoner, and that one episode of Brave and the Bold where Batman becomes a Dracula and fights the JLI, but I don't think those have affected the ways that I think about comics like Connections has.

Read More

Filed Under: , Category: Ask Chris, Longform

Ask Chris #194: Building A Better Superhero Costume

Ask Chris art by Erica Henderson

Q: What do you think is the essence of making a great iconic costume? -- @thenoirguy

A: With comics being a visual medium and all, especially one that's dominated by a genre marked by its own goofy language of symbolism and iconography, I think about superhero costumes pretty often. I mean, I cannot count the number of times I have written the words "Batman's Batman-Shaped Kneepads" over the past three years, but that said, I'll admit that I might not be the best person to answer this question. As Erica Henderson (artist of Subatomic Party Girls and the Ask Chris logo above) pointed out, I'm not an artist. Then she went ahead and answered the question, telling me that "It's pretty simple, iconic is something that's quick and easy to recognize. that's why nobody talks about Cable's costume."

Listen, Erica, I don't know what circles you run in, but I talk about Cable's costume a lot.

Read More

Ask Chris #193: Let’s Pitch A Wonder Woman Movie

Ask Chris art by Erica Henderson

Q: I am sick of hearing that a Wonder Woman movie is too hard. I know how I would do it, but what's your pitch for a Wonder Woman film? -- @Bibphile78

A: A few weeks ago, I probably would've backed off of this question, for two simple reasons. The first is that I was pretty sure my specific tastes don't really match up with what goes into a big-budget Hollywood film, but that was before we knew Marvel was spending a ton of money on a live-action arena show involving dirtbikes and skateboard tricks, and that they'd cast someone who once played Velma in a Scooby-Doo movie to play Aja in a big-budget Jem and the Holograms picture. At this point? I'm pretty sure I've somehow ended up being the target market for mass media, and believe me, I'm as surprised about that as you are. So what the hell, let's pitch a Wonder Woman movie.

Oh, right, the second reason. Well, that one's a little tougher to get around. As I've occasionally mentioned before, I don't actually like Wonder Woman. Like, at all. That might complicate things.

Read More

Ask Chris #192: ‘Power Rangers RPM’ Is The Darkest Timeline

Ask Chris art by Erica Henderson

Q: What was so good about Power Rangers RPM? -- @ykarps

A: That's right, everyone: After deciding on a whim last year to sit down and watch every single episode of Power Rangers ever produced, all seven hundred and seventy-five (and counting), and last week, I finally did it when I made it through 2009's Power Rangers RPM. I'd already seen Samurai, and I'd been watching Megaforce as it aired, so that was it. And I wept, for there were no more worlds to conquer.

But while I was watching it, I came to the conclusion that as much as I like Samurai and Jungle Fury and Ninja Storm -- in which a trio of teens give up on hiding their Kiwi accents about six episodes in -- there's not even a contest about which series is the best. RPM wins that argument hands down... and I kind of hate to say that.

Read More

Ask Chris #191: Dr. Doom, The Gold Standard Of Comic Book Villainy

Ask Chris art by Erica Henderson

Q: Why is Doctor Doom the gold standard of supervillains? -- @franzferdinand2

A: In case you missed it a few weeks back, I wrote a column about the differences between Lex Luthor and the Joker, and mentioned that while those are two characters I like an awful lot, Dr. Doom is far and away the gold standard of supervillainy. He's compelling, he's sinister, he's got a great design that's lasted, virtually unchanged, for 50 years, and he can be dropped into almost any type of story and work beautifully. In short, he's the single greatest villain in superhero comics history.

Well, unless you count Bob Kane, but that's a whole other thing.

Read More

Filed Under: Category: Ask Chris, Longform, Marvel, Opinion

Ask Chris #190: The Best First Three Comic Pages Ever

Ask Chris art by Erica Henderson

Q: Supposedly it takes three pages to hook a reader before they drop off, so what are the best opening three pages in a comic? -- @shutupadiran

A: Huh. I don't think it's going to surprise anyone to find out that I'm a dude who thinks a lot about how comic books are structured and what you can do within that structure, but I've never heard that bit about the first three pages being where you have to hook the reader. It makes sense, though -- when you look at it, those first three pages, along with the cover, form a distinct storytelling unit, and it's the first thing you see when you pick up and pop open a comic.

Thinking back on comics that I love, there's a really distinct pattern there. I like stuff that builds to a big last page just fine, but the ones that I tend to rave about when those first issues hit always open up strong. It's like the first five seconds of a song. Some of them might build to a crescendo as they go along, but when you have something like the famous beat from "Be My Baby" or the opening harmonics from "I Get Around," you know instantly that you've got something.

Read More

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://comicsalliance.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on Comics Alliance quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here

Please solve this simple math problem to prove that you are a real person.

Register on Comics Alliance quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!