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Ask Chris #313: The Devilish Deals Of ‘Underworld Unleashed’

Ask Chris #313, background art by Howard Porter

Q: Did anyone actually come out improved from DC's Underworld Unleashed crossover? — @JordanLevells

A: Huh, Underworld Unleashed. There's one I haven't thought about in a while.

This week, though, I actually got a few questions about DC's neon-green, diabolical deal-making crossover, and I think I know the reason why. With Neron showing back up in the pages of Midnighter and Apollo, and with Halloween on the horizon bringing devils and haints to mind, there's no better time to look back on the series where a bunch of heroes and villains literally sold their souls, and nobody actually got what they wanted out of it.

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Ask Chris #312: Don’t Quit Your Day Job, Superman

Ask Chris #312, background art by Jon Bogdanove and Dennis Janke

Q: Are superheroes inextricably tied to their alter-ego day jobs? For example, does Clark Kent have to be a journalist, or Hal Jordan a pilot? — @Chan_180

A:For all the questions about whether the Secret Identity is a concept that can still provide drama within the superhero genre or something that just sticks around as an outdated trope from the Golden Age that was handed down to comics by Emma Orczy and the Scarlet Pimpernel, the idea of getting rid of the day job is something that's rarely discussed, probably because it hasn't actually happened all that often. Let's face it: If you're a superhero, you're a whole lot more likely to literally come back from the dead than you are to start a new career once you're in your thirties.

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Filed Under: , , Category: Ask Chris, Opinion

Ask Chris #311: The Many Deaths Of The DC Universe

Ask Chris #311, background art by Pop Mhan

Q: Can you explain the difference between the Black Racer and the Black Flash and why DC needs both? - @CoreyInformin

A: Oh, this one's easy. Black Racer has skis. All right, cool, see y'all next week!

Okay, fine, it's a little more complicated than that. Despite the obvious difference in appearance and the fact that one of those characters tends to only show up around the Flash, they're actually pretty similar characters, both in terms of powers and in terms of what they represent. In the DC Universe, they're both aspects of capital-D Death, and I don't just think DC needs both of them, I think it could probably use a whole lot more.

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Ask Chris #310: Starting The Silver Age

Ask Chris #310, background art by  Carmine Infantino

Q: Since the Silver Age is now defined mostly by aesthetics, not superhero popularity, is Showcase #4 still a good starting point? -- @morganwick

A: Dividing the history of comic books into a series of ages is a pretty easy thing to do, but picking out one single issue that serves as the hard, immutable dividing line can be a tricky proposition. Showcase #4, the first appearance of Barry Allen as the Flash, is the one that everyone seems to have always agreed on as the "Official Start Date of the Silver Age," and it's about as good a dividing line as you're likely to find outside of Action Comics #1.

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Ask Chris #309: The Nuclear Ravaged World Needed A Hero, But What It Got Was ‘Hex’ [Sci-Fi Week]

Ask Chris #308, background art by Mark Texeira

Q: Remember Hex, where Jonah Hex was DC's Mad Max, and where Batman lives in the Statue of Liberty? What are your thoughts on that? -- @jomomma75

A: Hex is legitimately one of the most interesting comics of all time, largely because it's one of the greatest examples of how weird comics can get when they're built on the laws of the superhero genre. It's also not very good.

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Ask Chris #308: Silent Interlude

Ask Chris #308, background art by Larry Hama

Q: What makes a good silent issue? -- @XavierFiles

A: Listen: I don't know if you meant for me to interpret this question as, "Can you talk about GI Joe #21 for a couple thousand words," but I do think we all knew that was exactly what was going to happen.

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Ask Chris #307: The Evolution (Or Lack Thereof) Of Tim Drake

Ask Chris #307, background art by Tom Grummett

Q: How do you feel about Tim Drake’s evolution over time? Will he ever be his own man, like Nightwing? — @DarthFraga

A: Okay, first things first: Tim Drake is the best Robin, and it's not even a competition. It's not just that he's a great character, and believe it or not, it's not just that he was Robin when I as a kid and will always be my Robin because of it. More than any other character who has held that title over the past 75 years, he works in that role better than in any other, and because of that, he's always going to have a place in the larger Batman family.

But if you're talking about evolution, especially in the context of how Batman's other sidekicks, that might be the only thing that really works against him.

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Filed Under: , , Category: Ask Chris, DC, Opinion

Ask Chris #306: In Praise Of Jughead Jones

Ask Chris #306, background art by Derek Charm

Q: Why do you think Jughead is such a great character? -- @hurgling

A: Every now and then, I'll bring up the idea that I have a definite, immutable, and 100% official list of the five greatest characters in comic book history. When I do, people are usually pretty understanding of the characters you'd expect to be there --- you know, Batman and Scrooge McDuck --- but Forsythe Pendleton Jones III is always the one that throws people off. I stand by it, though: Jughead's great. And the reason why goes far beyond just the hamburgers, the crown, and the sleepy eyes that all come to mind when you think of the character.

I'm not gonna lie, though: The crown is a pretty big part of it.

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Filed Under: Category: Archie, Ask Chris, Opinion

Ask Chris #305: Death Of The Sidekick

Ask Chris #305, background art by Frank Quitely

Q: There's hasn't been a new sidekick in years. What happened to the concept of the sidekick? -- @RedEarth18

A: I'm not sure that sidekicks are really all that in danger of extinct, but I do think you're right to say that sidekicks aren't as prominent as they used to be, and I think there's a reason for that. And a lot of it has to do with how you define the term.

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Ask Chris #304: Make Gotham City Great Again

Ask Chris #304, background art from Batman '66

Q: Has Batman ever been overtly political? Was there a time Batman ran for office? If so, would you vote Batman? - @ShaneMBailey

A: To answer your last question first, yes: I consider myself a staunch Batocrat on virtually all of the most important issues, like crime, child labor laws, funding for the development of personal rocket cars, and batarang control. But even though I would happily cast my vote for the Caped Crusader if I had the chance, the occasions where Batman chooses to take a political office are pretty few and far between, especially if you don't count the time he was secretly President of the United States for a weekend.

Of course, there was that time Batman ran for Mayor to keep the Penguin from gaining control of Gotham City.

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