There are few cartoonists more admired than Jeff Smith. Inspired himself by the serialized newspaper strips he read as a child, Smith went on to create a string of acclaimed, inspirational comics works that have not only proved evergreen in terms of story, but have brought in generation after generation of new excited cartoonists to make their own comics.
Five Stars spoke to Smith about his career in comics through five milestone works, tracing a career through self-publishing, work-for-hire, and webcomics, and exploring the inspirations that inform his work.
Obviously Jack Kirby is the greatest comic book artist of all time, but most will agree he's also one of the medium's greatest writers. He wrote the way he drew: Big and loud and primal, but with a surprising amount of intricacy and nuance waiting to be discovered amid the crackling explosions. We've put together a list of the ten essential stories that you should read if you want to get more familiar with the King.
Who is Shade, and where does she come from? We already knew she was originally a birdlike alien from the planet Meta, but it's always seemed like there might be more to the story. Especially since most Metans, like the original male Shade, look like humans, instead of having feathers and beaks. Now, in Shade the Changing Girl #7, by Cecil Castellucci and Marguerite Sauvage, we finally learn a lot more of the story. Check out an exclusive preview!
Black superheroes have undergone a necessary evolution over the last 50 years. Luke Cage was originally a jive-talking hero-for-hire, but he's become an altruistic mainstay of the Marvel heroes. Storm leads the X-Men, while Black Panther makes decisions that gravely affect the state of the universe. The growth and variation of black superheroes has brought them out of the shadows.
But we're still lacking the same sort of evolution and diversification for great black supervillains. Off the top of your head how many can you name? And of those, how many are iconic?
With Neil Gaiman’s American Gods coming to television soon, what better time to explore his work? While his writing career is extensive, including short stories, novels, movies, kids' books, and more, we’re going to focus on his work in the field of comics.
Gaiman is considered to be part of the British Invasion, a group a British writers of American comics who rose to prominence in the late 1980s. They tended to move away from traditional superhero tales or, like Gaiman, repurposed old comic characters to tell new stories. Since then, Gaiman has been sharing his delightfully dreamy but creepy sensibility with comic readers, for which we are very grateful.
Recently, the subject of rotating art teams in superhero comics reached a tipping point, and people have started to wonder if the concept does more harm than good in the long run. With double-shipping in superhero comics becoming more prevalent and artists’ contributions are becoming seen as interchangeable, it’s important to stop and ask: Are rotating artistic creative teams good for comics in the long-run, or does it start us down a path of recognizing the writer’s contributions as inherently more important to the finished product?
Warren Ellis and Jon Davis-Hunt's The Wild Storm has so far lived up to its promise of reinventing the familiar through the most modern and forward thinking of lenses, creating a global spy conspiracy that brings together fan-favorite characters like Grifter, Voodoo and The Engineer. Next week sees the release of The Wild Storm #3, which features the return of one of Ellis' most popular creations, Jenny Sparks, radically re-imagined for a millennial age, and we have a preview of Jenny's new powers in action.
We’re hard-pressed to imagine The CW adding yet a fifth DC superhero to its airwaves, but the FOX-transplanted Black Lightning is nonetheless ready to strike. See for yourself in the first official production photo, as Hart of Dixie alum Cress Wiliams suits up in an electrifying costume.
Now that Arrow has confirmed one of its most enduring players will be back for Season 6 full-time, it’s worth wondering whether the main cast is untouchable. Every season has its deaths, but according to executive producer Marc Guggenheim, there’s at least one member of Team Arrow who gets a lifetime pass, and it isn’t Oliver Queen.
So you've decided to read about Batman! I would definitely applaud this decision, as I have spent the majority of the past thirty years doing exactly that, but I also know that it can be pretty daunting to figure out where to get started. There have, after all, been thousands of Batman stories published since he first debuted from Bill Finger and Bob Kane in 1939, and despite a few missteps along the way, he probably has more classic and definitive stories in print than any other superhero.
But don't worry, ComicsAlliance is here to help with a list of ten essential Batman stories. Read these, and you'll (hopefully) come away with a solid foundation for understanding the Dark Knight and how he works.
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