This week marks the 200th installment of ComicsAlliance's weekly Ask Chris column, in which senior writer Chris Sims tackles reader questions that send him delving into comics history, the metaphors at the heart of his favorite characters that have developed over decades and, every now and then, straight up fan-fiction.
To mark the occasion, we've gone back through the archives (and taken a quick poll of readers) to sort out the absolute best of the past 200 columns, covering topics like the secular humanism at the heart of Scooby-Doo, the complicated chronology of Super Mario Bros., the 75-year competition between Marvel and DC, and more. And Batman. So, so much Batman.
You may have heard that this week sees the release of X-Men: Days of Future Past, which, as far as I can tell from the television advertisements, is largely about a school of mutants trained to use their innate super-abilities to eat bacon cheeseburgers. If this premise has tickled your fancy, but you have never yet dared to dip your toe into the X-Men comics due to the justified fear that it is a cesspool of continuity that comes from fifty years of time travel, clones, evil alternates, mind control, primordial cosmic space entities, and hacky/borderline racist international accents, don't worry: I am here to help. Here I have assembled for you, in roughly chronological order, a round number of X-Men eras and stories that should make things a little less intimidating should you choose to further introduce yourself to Marvel's merry mutants.
The new Godzilla film opening this weekend will be the 30th to star the worlds' most famous giant monster. Toho made 28 Godzilla films in Japan, divided by fans into three cycles, each with their own continuity—the Showa series, the Heisei series and the Millennium series—and then there was the ill-fated 1998 Roland Emmerich-directed film that served as a sort of How Not To Make a Godzilla Movie cautionary tale for the makers of the new film.
While the movies are undoubtedly Godzilla's source turf, he's expanded his territory into other media over the years, from cartoon series to prose novels to video games -- and, of course, comic books, which he's been starring in for nearly 40 years now. With that in mind, we present a helpful primer for the King of Monsters' adventures on the paneled page.
Hollywood has proved to be pretty great at superheroes. For the last few years the genre has provided some of the biggest tentpoles of the blockbuster season. Hollywood is less great at other things -- like, for example, providing leading roles for women.
Hollywood is especially not great at providing lead superhero roles for women, but maybe that's not entirely Hollywood's fault. Superhero comics aren't great at providing those roles either. In fact, there are plenty of actors in Hollywood who could play amazing superheroes -- if only the roles existed for them. For example...
On March 22, 2014, comics fans across the world celebrated Hellboy Day, a special day commemorating the release of the first issue of Seed of Destruction, the first Hellboy mini-series from Dark Horse Comics, twenty years ago in 1994. In those twenty years, creator Mike Mignola, together with a number of talented collaborators, has expanded his most famous character into one of the coolest and most satisfying franchises in comics, with stories branching out into such spin-off series as BPRD (aka the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense), Lobster Johnson, Abe Sapien, and Sledgehammer '44.
Although I am sure Mignola has many more years' worth of stories about Hellboy and his compatriots left in him, now seems as good a time as any to look back at what has come before. While this list is by no means exhaustive — a complete list of awesome Hellboy moments would easily be one hundred times this length; sorry if yours got left off, pancakes fans — here are ten moments that I believe are emblematic of what makes Hellboy one of the most enduringly excellent and exciting books on the shelf.
Tea parties. Spaceways. Rooftops. The best comic book covers of March 2014 take us to some strange and familiar places, and introduce us to new Fables cover artist Nimit Malavia, upcoming cover talents Pascal Campion and Emily Hu, and the latest striking creations by Francesco Francavilla, Mike Del Mundo and more.
With the wrap-up of writer Joe Keatinge's multi-artist "Strange Visitor" epic in Adventures of Superman last week, the series is nearing a full year of weekly, digital Superman stories. It's easily been the best, most daring Superman title DC Comics has been publishing in 2013 and 2014 (and not just because Superman gets to wear his real costume in it). Edited by Alex Antone, Adventures of Superman invites creators from all strata of comics to put their own stamps on Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's original American superhero, free from the aesthetic constraints of the publisher's main line of New 52 comics and continuity. We like it so much, Adventures of Superman ended up on our list of the best comic books published in 2013.
We thought it would be a good idea to look back at the series so far, so I've compiled the following list of stories that readers unfamiliar with the series should go back and catch up with if they want the high points of the past year. At a dollar a pop, they're all well worth it.
You might have heard that there's a new Captain Americamovie coming out on April 4. If Marvel's marketing department has gotten its way, this news may very well be tattooed on the inside of your eyelids in phosphorescent ink. Let's say, however, you've never read any Captain America comics before, but now that he's been legitimized as a multi-million dollar film franchise, you're suddenly very interested in that dude with little wings on his head carrying around one of Uncle Sam's rims.
Since being created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon all the way back in 1941, the hero also known as the Sentinel of Liberty has passed through the hands of some eminently talented writers, artists and editors. Some of these creative teams depicted Cap's adventures for a few months -- some of them for a few years -- before passing the torch to the next creators to keep the flame (or trademark) alive. In comic books, these tenures are called "runs," "series" or "eras," and they're the readers' way of distinguishing one era of a character's saga from the next. Chances are you're not sure where to dive into a a publishing legacy that's spanned more than 70 years, so here is a list, in chronological order, of the Sentinel of Liberty's 10 most interesting and influential comic book runs.
Redheads versus reptiles, long-legged ladies, and demons in both human and inhuman form grace the best comic book covers of February 2014. Check out great works of art from Jenny Frison, Andrew Robinson and Kevin Wada - and a double bill from Matteo Scalera.
Like any great medium, comics has a give-and-take relationship with the zeitgeist. Comics can shape fashion, culture, and even politics -- but the industry is always changed by those things as well. Sometimes that
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