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Putting The Sidekick In The Suit: Black Captain America, Female Thor, And The Illusion Of Progress

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I'm not excited for Sam Wilson as Captain America, and I'm not excited for a female Thor.

Now, I don't think these are totally wrongheaded things to do. I admire the impulse behind these changes, and I believe they come from a good place. In the abstract sense, I love the idea of Marvel featuring, in big, bold style, the adventures of a black man and a woman against the hordes of iniquity. I believe at least part of the motivation behind these changes is genuine in its altruism, and that it is not entirely invalidated by profit-seeking impulses. I want to believe in this initiative. I want to be excited. I do not want to be the curmudgeon in the corner, needlessly nitpicking everyone else's good time to pieces.

But it feels like a gimmick, and functions like a gimmick, and that’s because it is a gimmick. I give it perhaps two years — two years that only the most hard-core aficionados will end up able to recall, alongside their recollections of the foil covers era and that one time Doc Ock was Spider-Man.

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Cinder And Ashe: José Luis García-López’s Nearly Overlooked Masterwork

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Originally published by DC Comics in 1988, Cinder and Ashe is a comic by Gerry Conway, José Luis García-López, and Joe Orlando about two mercenary/detective friends who are unable to escape and reconcile with the horrors of their shared past in Vietnam -- a past which has become actualized with the returning of a mad killer who they both thought was long dead. The story takes place in New Orleans with flashbacks to Vietnam, and some stops in Washington, DC and Iowa.

Now available in a collected edition, the book is a well preserved testament to the artistry of one of comics' best storytellers.

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You Are Now Leaving Paradise Island: Brian Azzarello & Cliff Chiang Discuss Their Epic ‘Wonder Woman’ Work [Interview]

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Azzarello and Chiang's Wonder Woman has been praised for putting forth an epic, cohesive and narratively self-contained superhero drama with flourishes of the urban fantasy that once defined DC's Vertigo imprint, but has also been criticized for the changes it made to Wonder Woman's core myth. What's not in dispute is that the pair have created the most memorable and talked about Wonder Woman story in years -- maybe in decades -- and to mark the conclusion of their work, we caught up with Chiang and Azzarello to look back at their run and talk about their novel take on the feminist icon.

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Jiro Kuwata’s ‘Batmanga’ Is A Superhero Comic Unlike Any You Have Seen

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Readers demand a lot from superhero comics: consistency, continuity, adherence to the rules of the universe, compelling heroes, magnetic villains, satisfying endings, and the list goes on.

But those of us who have been reading for years (if not decades) are chiefly looking for one big thing above all else: novelty. We want to see something we’ve never seen before; characters we recognize as the heroes and villains we love being put into scenarios and settings wholly unlike what’s come in nearly 80 years of superhero comics.

That’s notoriously hard to do. Many times, stories end up being very similar to what’s come before, and when creators do try something new, they elicit complaints from readers who don’t like particular changes or decisions. But what if you could strip away those pressures and build a superhero comic that’s so strange and unique that it’s a must-read?

That’s what Jiro Kuwata’s 1960s Batman comics, currently being republished as the DC Digital Series Batman: The Jiro Kuwata Batmanga, are. A strange combination of classic Batman comics, the 1960s Batman TV-show, Marvel-Age science-based storytelling, mysticism, cartoon physics, Tokusatsu, and of all things, Scooby-Doo, it isn’t like any comic I’ve ever read. It’s endlessly surprising, and I love it.

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We’re Defining This New Wave Of Comics For Ourselves: A Conversation With Noelle Stevenson [Interview]

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Noelle Stevenson

Noelle Stevenson is the future. Nimona, her celebrated and fantastical webcomic about a villain's shapeshifting sidekick, will be published as a graphic novel by HarperCollins in 2015; Lumberjanes, the Boom Studios series about a group of girl adventurers that she co-writes with Grace Ellis, has been promoted from miniseries to ongoing; Marvel has just announced that she's writing a story for the upcoming Thor Annual #1; and she's a writer on Disney’s Wander Over Yonder cartoon.

You're going to see a lot of Noelle Stevenson in the coming year. She's an outspoken, accomplished, and driven talent, and it's no surprise that everyone is suddenly taking notice. To better understand one of the industry’s most promising talents, ComicsAlliance sat down with Stevenson to talk about the indie scene, going legit, and the trials of a changing industry.

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Why Are Christopher Nolan Fans So Intense?

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Warner Bros.

The last time Christopher Nolan released a movie, film critics got death threats. That was back in 2012, when Nolan released ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ and the first writers who dared to stray from the positive consensus about the film received waves of overwhelming backlash. After Marshall Fine published his pan, his site and his page on Rotten Tomatoes were both bombarded with angry comments politely requesting he “die in a fire” and hoping someone would beat him into a coma with a “thick rubber hose.”

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What NBC’s ‘Constantine’ is Getting Completely Wrong About Constantine

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NBC

The main character of this show, the one who goes by John Constantine, is an impostor. I know John Constantine, sir, and you are no John Constantine.

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Power And Anarchy: A Midseason Analysis Of ‘The Legend Of Korra’ Book Four

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The Legend of Korra has been about many things—generational divides, anarchy, teen romance—but mostly, it’s been about power. Where Korra saw divine talent, Amon saw an underclass maintained by the caprice of nature. Where Korra saw vengeful dark spirits, Unalaq saw a grave imbalance that had pained the world for thousands of years. Where Korra saw an inept, but inevitable monarchy, Zaheer saw a tyrant whose willful ignorance kept her people destitute. Where Korra was absent, Kuvira, in her own words, “stepped up.” Where Korra sees status quo, others see the cruelty of those in power—and the opportunity for change.

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Ann Nocenti And Trevor McCarthy Stake Out Their Dark Corner Of The DCU In ‘Klarion’ [Interview]

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In October, DC launched Klarion, Ann Nocenti and Trevor McCarthy's new series re-imagining Jack Kirby's cult-favorite "witch boy". Klarion, in this incarnation, is a magical being from a parallel earth who lands in New York City and proceeds to act in the manner one might expect from a hyper-powered juvenile with a taste for chaos.

Nocenti and McCarthy have big plans for their strange little boy. CpmicsAlliance caught up with the creative team at New York Comic-Con to talk about decoding Kirby, planting secret messages in art, and letting the character lead the weirdness.

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Clean Lines And Broken Glass: Why ‘The Batman Adventures’ Is The Best Bat Comic Of The Nineties

The Batman Adventures, DC Comics

Here's something that you already know: Batman: The Animated Series is arguably the single best representation of Batman in the Dark Knight's 75-year history. It boiled down the character to his essentials, creating a beautiful and thrilling version of Batman that was acessible to fans of all ages and still holds up as a high point over twenty years later. Now here's something you might not know: The comic book that was created to go along with the show, The Batman Adventures, was every bit as good as the show.

This week, DC Comics released a collection of the first ten issues by Kelly Puckett, Mike Parobeck, Ty Templeton, Brad Rader, Martin Pasko and Rick Burchett, and that means this is a great time to talk about how that comic is about as close to being perfect, and how it's essential for anyone who wants to read some of the greatest Batman comics ever printed -- including the single best Riddler story ever.

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