I think I speak for everyone when I say that the most anticipated new comics release this week is the paperback collection of Jack Kirby's Devil Dinosaur. It's one of my all-time favorite comics, and while there was a nice oversized hardcover put out a while back, it's been out of print for far too long. It's one of the most underrated and exciting comics that the King ever produced, and while it's not exactly hard to find -- most of Kirby's later work is shockingly cheap if you're willing to flip through quarter bins for it -- the convenience of being able to snag it in paperback is a great thing for the world of comics.
The early ’90s were spoiled for choice when it came to comic book adaptations. Not only was Batman: The Animated Series on the air, but X-Men led Marvel’s push to get on the small screen, diving right into the often convoluted continuity of everyone’s favorite mutants, luring in a generation of fans, and paving the way for cartoons to follow. That’s why we’ve set out to review every single episode of the ’90s X-Men animated series.
This week: The battle against Proteus continues, and we get some daddy issues that are way over the top, even by X-Men standards.
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.
So what have you been up to the ast three months? If you're penciller David Finch or inker Richard Friend, you were probably drawing liking a maniac, while avoiding daily, shouty phone calls from editors, as the seven-issue, "monthly" series Forever Evil finally shipped its final issue this Wednesday, a good three months after its sixth issue dropped. The delay has caused some trouble in DC's line, as it delayed the release of tie-in issues, and created some glitches in storytlines (Perhaps the most notable was that two issues of the series Justice League United, which picks up where Justice League of America ended, shipped before the final issue of JLoA).
DC Comics announced via its August solicitations the cancellation of six of its lowest-selling New 52 titles: All-Star Western, Batwing, Birds of Prey, Superboy, Trinity of Sin: Pandora, and Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger. The books' final issues ship in August, one month shy of the third anniversary of the New 52 initiative which rebooted the entire DC superhero line with fifty-two new or relaunched series.
The total number of New 52 titles cancelled or discontinued in that three year period now stands at 47, which means just five more cancellations will tip the company over into a new New 52; fifty-two books that didn't work out. Is that level of turnover unusual, and if so, what does it tell us about DC's strategy?
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.
Adam Warren's Empowered is one of the best superhero comics being made today. Sometimes I think Empowered might end up being one of the greatest superhero comics ever. The elements are all there: engaging characters, a plot that springs from them organically, an inventive setting, and scads of emotion. Its parodical beginnings -- based in the jokey premise of superpowered woman Empowered de-powering as her delicate, stereotypically skintight super suit gets shredded in battle -- has transitioned smoothly into a darker present, and it’s an evolution that’s been met with little in the way of fan whining for “the good old days.” Yes, Empowered is funny, surprising, moving, and original.
And it's softcore.
Shrinkwrapped, bondage-based, can't-read-it-on-the-bus softcore.
Q: This "Connections Theory of Comics" is like *literally* all you talk about on Twitter. Can you please just explain it? -- @bigredrobot
A: Hey man, I think you're exaggerating just a little. I mean, anyone who actually reads my Twitter account knows that the whole Connections thing comes in at a distant third to commentary on whatever Power Rangers shows I'm watching that week and arguments about the definition of the word "barbecue." That said, I'll admit that it's something I have been talking about a lot lately. Connections is, after all, my favorite television show of all time. Well, except or The Prisoner, and that one episode of Brave and the Bold where Batman becomes a Dracula and fights the JLI, but I don't think those have affected the ways that I think about comics like Connections has.
Q: What do you think is the essence of making a great iconic costume? -- @thenoirguy
A: With comics being a visual medium and all, especially one that's dominated by a genre marked by its own goofy language of symbolism and iconography, I think about superhero costumes pretty often. I mean, I cannot count the number of times I have written the words "Batman's Batman-Shaped Kneepads" over the past three years, but that said, I'll admit that I might not be the best person to answer this question. As Erica Henderson (artist of Subatomic Party Girls and the Ask Chris logo above) pointed out, I'm not an artist. Then she went ahead and answered the question, telling me that "It's pretty simple, iconic is something that's quick and easy to recognize. that's why nobody talks about Cable's costume."
Listen, Erica, I don't know what circles you run in, but I talk about Cable's costume a lot.
WARNING: While the following images have been censored, they remain fairly graphic and may disturb some readers and may also be considered NSFW.
I am so tired of writing about rape.
If you didn't catch the news, last Friday, the website Comic Book Resources posted a five-page preview of the latest issue of the Game of Thrones comic book adaptation. And the pages they published — the pages Dynamite Entertainment sent out as representative of the book, which is a standard practice for comic book publishers — included an incredibly graphic rape scene. Erect penis, front and center. Woman bent back nearly double, naked, arched like a porn star.
It just so happens that was also the week that HBO decided to add—and then vigorously defend — a graphic rape scene in the Game of Thrones TV series (a trend the network continued this week), and that both fall in the middle of Sexual Assault Awareness month — and yes, thanks, HBO, Dynamite and CBR, we are in fact extra aware of sexual assault now, so, well done, there. It's worth noting, too, that this is coming on the heels of an incident where a fellow comics editor and journalist got a slew of graphic rape threats for having the temerity to critique the portrayal of a teen girl in a piece of cover art (also published on CBR).
But it's also not just this week, or this month. It's this year. This decade. This lifetime. This is business as usual.