Lucifer. Mephistopheles. Beelzebub. Auld Hornie. Satan. Nick. Clootie. Whatever you choose to call him, the devil has a long and storied (pun intended) history, from his humble beginnings as a nameless adversary in the book of Job to a tempter in the desert to the spokesmodel for canned ham.
The prince of the power of the air has been at the center of stories for thousands of years, canonical, deuterocanonical, and extracanonical alike. His status as an instantly recognizable symbol and a royalty-free denizen of the public domain have made him an irresistible go-to in stories where an ultimate evil is needed, including in comics.
Despite its important market share, huge visibility and ever-rising, record-breaking sales numbers, manga is still largely ignored or scorned by the Western comics community — a term that here means retailers, readers, publishers and some creators — while the critical press and general public thinks of manga as something separate from comics. But why?
Ron Wimberly has been working in mainstream comics for more than ten years, on projects like Metal Hurlant, Lucifer, and the Hellblazer Special: Papa Midnite; but it wasn't until his 2012 graphic novel Prince of Cats that he really exploded. Since then, he's worked on the interiors of books including She-Hulk and Prophet, and produced some exceptional cover work and character redesigns. More recently he announced two new creator-owned books with Image.
ComicsAlliance spoke to Wimberly to hear more about his plans for the near future, including his collaboration with Saul Williams, and the imminent return of Gratuitous Ninja.
Hi, I’m Charlotte Finn. I’m a lifelong comics fan and last year, I admitted to myself that I'm transgender. In this occasional series, I’m going to reassess comics that feature people like me, or close to being like me, and look them over with a fresh set of eyes. Are they good? Are they bad? Are they somehow both, at the same time?
Ranma 1/2 by Rumiko Takahashi is a good manga and deserves its status as a landmark of the medium. It's also not really a transgender manga.
Next month sees the launch of a new series over at Image from the husband-and-wife team of Shane Davis and Michelle Delecki, along with colorist Morry Hollowell. Axcend is the story of a group of eager gamers who, after signing up to beta-test a new game, find that the powers of their characters in-game starts reflecting their powers in the real world. The stronger their game, the stronger they become themselves.
The series marks Davis' move to creator-owned comics, where he'll be both writing and drawing the series. After years working as an artist over at DC, where he created a number of well-known characters (including beloved vom-spewing hate-moggy Dex-Starr), Axcend sees him take video games to a whole new, ahem, level. ComicsAlliance spoke to Davis and Delecki about the move to creator-owned, and what to expect from the series.
As someone who makes a living writing and editing for the internet, I've gathered quite a collection of terrible arguments from online commentators, ranging from the perennially awful, 'I don't care about this so you shouldn't either,' to the specifically ignorant, 'How would you feel if they made Black Panther white?' But there's one common argument that combines dull wit with frothy anger to such exhausting effect that it deserves special attention; 'If you don't like it, make your own.'
I write about comics, so I'm especially aware of how often the argument is made in response to comics criticism. But I know that it's also used in all other creative fields, from film-making to video game design, and it's an argument without merit in any field. There is the kernel of a good idea behind it; the comic form is open to anyone who wants to make a contribution. But that doesn't mean you have to make comics rather than criticize. If you don't like what you see, there are several good reasons to say so.
Last week there was a rumor going around that DC might pull the plug on its new 'DCYou' initiative before it had even had a chance to take root. DCYou aims to provide more diversity in content, characters, and creators, in an effort to reach new readers in a shifting market. The initiative stands in sharp contrast with the homogeneity of DC's last major relaunch, the traditional and conservative New 52, targeted squarely at long-time readers.
Of course, the New 52 performed very well for the publisher, and in some months it even pushed DC ahead of industry leader Marvel. The relaunch never achieved its major objective of permanently toppling Marvel, but it did provide strong numbers in direct market comic store sales. Compare those numbers to the sales for DCYou, and one can see a clear argument for going back to the old model. But that argument is grounded in a narrow understanding of the industry.
In 2014, Toronto publisher Alternate History Comics launched a Kickstarter for an anthology of indigenous comics, with the goal of “showcasing the rich heritage and identity of indigenous storytelling.” The resulting anthology, Moonshot: The Indigenous Comics Collection, Volume 1, is now available, and it presents a unique and much needed look into aboriginal storytelling in multiple aspects.
It’s easy, as an indigenous person, to slip into what sounds like hyperbole when discussing a project like this. This is one of the most important comics of the year! But it’s easy for the same reasons that make it hard for any statement to actually be that hyperbolic; the blunt reality of comics as a business and popular medium is that there really aren’t that many aboriginal stories being told, and what few aboriginal characters there are usually employ crude stereotypes. These stereotypes aren’t continued out of any real sense of hatred, but out of the almost complete lack of aboriginal people involved in the telling of these stories.
Goddess. Windrider. Queen. Leader. Storm has worn multiple hats during her existence; roles that have aided in her evolution as one of comics’ most significant and abiding heroes. Yet although Storm’s pop cultural significance is great, her characterization has seen glaring inconsistencies from comic book to screen. Fans of the '90s cartoons remember a majestic leader whose long winded monologues became part of her appeal, but fans of the films were subjected to an unimposing and rather useless version of the character.
But what was lost in translation? What is it about Storm that the movies' writers and producers failed to understand?
When it was announced last month that Heavy Metal magazine had signed Grant Morrison to serve as their new editor-in-chief, it seemed to be the exact real-world approximation of that comic cliche: a team-up that nobody anticipated, but that makes perfect sense when considered from the right angle.
Heavy Metal is a title that, in its '70s/'80s heyday, redefined the limits of comic book form and content, much as Morrison has eschewed conventional stylistic and genre constraints throughout his career. Today, the magazine's name is shorthand for a specific style of exploitative genre fiction --- usually involving some combination of sci-fi, sword & sorcery, swearing, and sex --- but owners Jeff Krelitz and David Boxenbaum have been vocal about their hopes to expand the Heavy Metal brand and reignite the revolutionary spirit that it originally embodied.
ComicsAlliance sat down with Morrison at this summer's San Diego Comic-Con to talk about his personal history with Heavy Metal, ask some questions about his plans, and get a glimpse into the approach he's bringing to his new role at the magazine.
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