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A Very American Apocalypse: The Politics of the End Times in ‘East of West’

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The United States has split into separate sovereign territories who uneasily co-exist side-by-side as population grows, food supplies decrease and the world slowly creaks towards death. Oh, and three of the four horsemen of the apocalypse have returned to usher in the end a whole lot sooner, and the one person that stands against them is their brother, Death.

That’s the premise of Jonathan Hickman, Nick Dragotta and Frank Martin’s East of West, published by Image, which has been running since 2013. It presents a very American apocalypse, as politicians plot and scheme their way through another day while the literal end of the world is right around the corner.

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Crisis Management: How Do You Solve A Problem Like Continuity?

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Superhero comics as we know them have been telling singular ongoing narratives for over seventy-five years, and they can be incredibly intimidating to new readers. Comics companies have been seeking fixes to the problems caused by continuity for almost as long as they’ve been releasing them, and the it seems like publishers are getting far more comfortable reaching for the big red button marked “reboot.”

Continuity isn’t necessarily a four letter word, but satisfying an existing fan-base while trying to appeal to new readers can be a tricky tightrope to walk. With Marvel’s not-a-reboot Secret Wars recently behind us, and DC’s not-a-reboot Rebirth event on the horizon, what can a company do to try and solve the problems caused by long-term continuity?

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Forgotten 15: The Lost Launch Titles Of The New 52

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With the announcement of the Rebirth event, DC Comics has unveiled another line-wide relaunch with new #1 issues across the board. Aside from some eyebrow raisers such as The Super Sons, DC looks to be playing it safe with a core set of books focused on recognizable characters, with many of them now published twice monthly.

DC’s last line-wide relaunch in 2011, The New 52, was a lot bolder in the chances it took with its ongoing series, and promoted a wide range of genre diversity and odd curiosities. With The New 52 nearly five years old, only a handful of those original books are still being published, and while some of the lost titles remain cult-favorites, a lot of them have already faded into obscurity. Here are 15 New 52 titles that were the first to fall.

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DC Rebirth: Is Geoff Johns Selling Out DC’s Future in Pursuit of its Past?

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There’s a lot we still don’t know about "DC Rebirth," despite what we learned from the official announcement of the publisher's latest linewide relaunch yesterday. To begin with, there are no creative teams announced. No matter how familiar you are with a character, it’s impossible to guess what a book will be like if you don’t know who will be writing, drawing, and coloring it.

We don’t even know if the relaunched books will keep the same creative teams, or if this is a total line-wide shake-up. There are books I’d love to see get new creators, like Wonder Woman. And likewise there are books where I’d be afraid to see a shake-up, like Batgirl. But DC Comics isn’t ready to tell us any of that. What we have is a list of titles, and a CBR interview with chief creative officer Geoff Johns. And in that interview, Johns made some telling and alarming remarks.

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Rob Liefeld, Deadpool and True Creator Credit

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With the Deadpool movie arriving in cinemas this week, media attention has turned to the character's co-creator Rob Liefeld, and it’s already caused a fair share of controversy. As part of an interview with the New York Times, Liefeld stated that he did “all the heavy lifting” in the creation of Deadpool, and even more bluntly, “I chose Fabian [Nicieza], and he got the benefit of the Rob Liefeld lottery ticket. Those are good coattails to ride.” Liefeld has called the article a "hit piece," but has made similar assertions on Twitter.

Liefeld’s words raise interesting questions about who gets to call themself the true creator of a character. Is it just the initial concept, idea, or design that warrants a creator credit, and does time spent defining a character count for anything?

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The Bleakness + The Delight in ‘Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl’

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Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie are probably now best known for their Image series The Wicked + The Divine, set in a world where popstars are gods. Their other Image sieres, Phonogram, is set in a world where music is magic. The two books have a similar premise, and deal with some of the same ideas and themes, but they attack them from completely different angles.

While The Wicked + The Divine is about making art, Phonogram is about consuming it. The former is about being young and deciding to give up your life to music, but Phonogram – and The Immaterial Girl in particular – is about living with the consequences of that deal. Not burning out in your early twenties, but fading away into middle age, with a great record collection instead of a family.

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It Will Never Love You Back: Marvel Entertainment, Ike Perlmutter, and Why the Corporation Cannot Be Your Friend

Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios

Late last week, word broke that the CEO of Marvel Entertainment donated $1 million to a charity connected to Donald Trump, a political figure of… some controversy. This is not the first time Perlmutter's name has arisen in a negative light — leaked e-mails implied he cautioned against female-led superhero movies, he's cited as the main reason Marvel Studios extricated itself from under the Marvel Entertainment umbrella, a famous story claims he was so cheap that Marvel Entertainment had to make do with one bathroom per gender for an entire floor, and he comes off especially poorly in Sean Howe's Marvel Comics: The Untold Story.

A number of fans are surprised that Marvel, in the midst of making an extended push for diversity in its line, would have someone sympathetic to a candidate as xenophobic as Donald Trump at the very top, but there are good reasons not to be. First, Marvel's diversity push has been pretty haphazard, and second, this is a corporation we’re talking about.

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Filed Under: , Category: Longform, Marvel, Opinion

A Long Time Ago: The Strange History Of Marvel’s Original ‘Star Wars’ Universe

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We’re more than three years into the Disney era of Star Wars. Since 2012, when Disney purchased Lucasfilm for $4 billion and change, we’ve seen a new canon take the place of the old Expanded Universe, with two seasons of the animated Star Wars: Rebels; the release of the most successful movie in the franchise, Star Wars: The Force Awakens; multiple new novels and short stories; and the launch of a new line of Star Wars comics from Marvel. But Jedi and Sith have tangled in the Mighty Marvel Manner before. Marvel was the original publisher of Star Wars comics.

Starting in April 1977 --- a month before the original film’s release --- and running until June 1986 for 107 issues and three annuals, the original Star Wars comic book was many things: zany comedy, thrilling adventure and, in its final years, a meditation on soldiers in peace time, all written and drawn by some of the greatest writers and artists in the industry. But before all that, it was a logistical problem.

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Lost in Transition: Grace is in the Details in ‘Wandering Son’

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Wandering Son is one of the best comics about being transgender that I’ve ever read.

Okay, so I do have a few nits to pick, and I should probably call it a manga instead of a comic, and I should probably make this column as long as it usually is instead of just telling everyone to go buy it, but essentially, I stand by that opening sentence. It’s a rare and great day when I read something that gets as much right about the place I’ve found myself in as Wandering Son does.

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Why Did ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ Drug One of Its Heroes Into Joining the Team?

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The CW

‘Legends of Tomorrow’ got off to a strong start with last night’s premiere, but one moment from the series debut seemed to stick out as especially ill-devised. Namely, why the hell did ‘Legends’ think it necessary for Victor Garber’s Professor Martin Stein to drug and kidnap his Firestorm partner into joining the mission, and how in the world did the others laugh that off?

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