Welcome to The Issue, where we look at some of the strangest, most interesting and most distinctive single issue comic stories ever to grace the medium. You know the ones; silent issues, sideways issues, backwards issues... and issues that make you ask questions like 'When does a comic book stop being a comic book?'
Batman #663 is 22 pages of words and pictures --- the former courtesy of Grant Morrison, just a few issues into his landmark run on the title, the latter by digital artist John Van Fleet --- but the two elements are mixed into something that's closer to an illustrated storybook. Look at any given page, and you'll be faced with as many words as an average issue of traditional comics, interspersed with Van Fleet's posed CG characters resembling a gritty reimagining of '90s animated series ReBoot.
There have been two Hawkeyes for years. Now there are two Spider-Men, and soon there will be two Captains America. There’s officially only one Thor, but there’s also this guy named Odinson who readers still like to call Thor, while referring to the real Thor as Lady Thor or similar. But there’s only one Wolverine, and her name is Laura Kinney.
No disrespect to James “Logan” Howlett, the original Wolverine. He was a great character, but he lived a long life and then died. His elderly counterpart from another world is hanging around, but that guy has no interest in being Wolverine. So that leaves us with a new Wolverine, with countless stories ahead and lots of room to grow. Which is why I hope Logan never comes back. I don’t say that with animosity. I grew up with Logan as Wolverine, but his story is over, and I genuinely think that’s for the best.
When DC announced its slate for the upcoming Rebirth line of comics, it played a relatively safe hand with its announcements. The line seems to head in the opposite direction of the risk-taking DCYou initiative, with many of the publisher's most interesting books, such as Midnighter, Starfire and Martian Manhunter, no longer on the docket.
Yet there are three announced books that seem curiously out of place in their line-up: The Super-Man, Superwoman, and The Super Sons. They're all new titles, but they're also titles and concepts that have a long and rich history in the DC Universe. We’re diving back into DC’s archives to see what clues the past might offer us about the future of these books.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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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