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Here’s The Thing Episode 16: Why Do We Love Super Mario? [Video]

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If our weekly Ask Chris column isn't enough of definitive comic book (and pro wrestling) opinions for you, good news: ComicsAlliance is proud to present Here's The Thing, a series of videos where you can join our own extremely opinionated senior writer, Chris Sims, as he dives into comics history to explain why you're wrong and he's right.

This week, Chris takes a look at one of his favorite characters: Mario, the high-jumping, kart racing, princess-rescuing plumber from Nintendo's enduringly popular Super Mario Bros. games and spinoffs. ! He loves that guy, and odds are pretty good that you do too. But why? And how much of a character does Mario really have?

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Seconds: Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Story About Second Chances Sets Up His Own Second Act [Review]

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Bryan Lee O'Malley's first graphic novel since he concluded the Scott Pilgrim series in 2010, Seconds is a book about second thoughts, second chances and second helpings. It's also the book in which O'Malley is setting up his second act as a cartoonist. The first Scott Pilgrim book came out almost exactly ten years ago; six volumes and a movie later, that franchise has defined O'Malley's public image. That kind of early, extended success can be a trap for an artist, especially when it's with a project as self-consciously game-changing as Scott Pilgrim. The bigger the audience, the more it demands more of the same.

Seconds is unmistakably the work of O'Malley's singular voice: it's a romantic comedy with magical elements and some witty fourth-wall breaking, drawn in a manga-derived style with big-headed chibi characters. But it's also a very different sort of book than he's drawn before: not a bildungsroman like Scott Pilgrim (or his earlier Lost at Sea), but a fable about a woman who's pretty much got her life together already, trying to undo her mature errors. It's virtuosic in a lot of ways, but one of its many charms is how casual and low-key it seems.

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Hire This Woman: Writer Erica Schultz

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In the overwhelmingly male comic book industry, it has been a challenge for some editors and readers to see the ever growing number of talented women currently trying to make a name for themselves. With that in mind, ComicsAlliance offers Hire This Woman, a recurring feature designed for comics readers as well as editors and other professionals, where we shine the spotlight on a female comics pro on the ascendance. Some of these women will be at the very beginning of their careers, while others will be more experienced but not yet “household names.”

Writer Erica Schultz has worked on her creator-owned crime comic, M3, as well as The Unauthorized Biography of Winston Churchill: A Documentary with previous Hire This Woman featured artist Claire Connelly. Next up she has Revenge: The Secret Origin of Emily Thorne coming out for Marvel and ABC Studios, which readers can see a preview of at San Diego Comic-Con next week.

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This Is What Ultron Will Look Like In The ‘Avengers’ Movie Sequel

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This week's issue of Entertainment Weekly goes behind the scenes on the set of the Avengers movie sequel Age of Ultron, directed by Joss Whedon -- and the cover offers a first glimpse of the movie version of the tin-plated villain who'll be giving the Avengers so much trouble. Or, technically, versions.

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The Arkham Sessions: The Psychology of Stalking In ‘Batman: Mad As A Hatter’

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How far would you go to earn the affection of someone you love? Send them a roomful of gifts? Surprise them at their doorstep? Advance the science of neurotechnology to a whole new level by developing mind-controlling head accessories?

Through the practice of animal experimentation (of course), scientist Jervis Tetch has found a way to manipulate neuronal connections of brains in order to "control another creature's mind." But rather than use this new power to increase his wealth or destroy the Batman like most of Gotham's Rogues would do, Jervis decides to use mind control to manipulate his office assistant, Alice, into falling in love with him. As he heads further and further down the experimental rabbit hole, however, Jervis realizes more drastic measures are required to win Alice’s love.

Home invasion, kidnapping, and mind control take this episode of Batman: The Animated Series to a new level of creepy; writer Paul Dini ingeniously entertains the imagination of young viewers with Alice in Wonderland themes while also suggesting levels of subversion -- possessiveness, coercion, stalking -- that adult viewers find unshakably disturbing.

In this episode of The Arkham Sessions, we explore the delusions and dangers of obsessive, unrequited love as only personified by the Mad Hatter.

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The Economics of Digital Comics: Journalist And Educator Todd Allen On His Important New Book [Interview]

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Digital comics sales are a huge area of growth for the American comic book industry, rising faster than even ebook sales for traditional publishing. Digital accounted for $90 million dollars worth of sales in 2013 and as an increasingly accessible distribution platform for comics creators, is sure to become more and more integrated into the business of making comics.

Journalist, educator and digital media expert Todd Allen is currently running a Kickstarter for his ebook The Economics of Digital Comics, which helps explain the intricacies of the digital comics landscape for fans and creators alike. Also the author of The Economics of Webcomics, Allen's already well exceeded his modest funding goal. ComicsAlliance sat down with Allen to discuss his work and the digital business of comics.

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Marvel Announces New Female Thor From Jason Aaron And Russell Dauterman On The View

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Marvel chose daytime talk show The View as the venue to reveal its latest female-led solo title; a new Thor ongoing series from current Thor writer Jason Aaron and current Cyclops artist Russell Dauterman. If you're wondering how Thor can be a female-led solo title, well, grab a seat chum. Thor is a lady now.

This is not the first time a son of Odin has become the old man's daughter, but when Loki spent time as a woman it was because he stole the body of the warrior Sif, and as a shapeshifting trickster he can probably do it whenever he wants. Not so Thor; Marvel says that this is "a brand new female hero" rather than the old Thor after a magical (or even non-magical) transformation.

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Lady Killer: Joëlle Jones’ New Project Finds The Happy Medium Between Homemaking and Homicide

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Some of the stories Americans love most are those that put the lie to our prevailing visions of ourselves. The work of David Lynch, who peels back the the saccharine layers of suburbia to reveal unspeakable horrors within; Mad Men, with its systematic deconstruction of everything we think we believe about success in this country; and Breaking Bad, which shows us how even the most seemingly wholesome members of society can be monsters waiting to break free.

If you think all that sounds well and good but probably a little too stuffy, Josie Schuller would probably agree with you. Josie is a young housewife living post-war America. She sells makeup door-to-door, she takes care of her twin kids and the family dog, she makes dinner for her husband, and she suffers her endlessly disapproving mother-in-law. That is, when she's not murdering people in astonishingly violent ways.

Josie's a highly trained assassin, and the paradox that is her life comes courtesy of cartoonist Joélle Jones and co-writer Jamie S. Rich, whose new Dark Horse series Lady Killer invites readers into a weirdly alluring story that follows a grand tradition of subverting Americana, but with a uniquely wicked, black comedy twist and what Josie might even say is a woman's touch.

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Comics Alliance Presents ‘Kate Or Die’ In ‘Girl Power’

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Welcome to the latest episode of ComicsAlliance Presents “Kate or Die,” a series of exclusive comic strips created by one of our favorite cartoonists, Kate Leth! In this episode, Kate offers some words of encouragement to the creators and publishers putting forth new women-friendly superhero comics, including Ms. Marvel, Captain Marvel, and the ferociously well received news of a Batgirl revamp by Cameron Stewart, Babs Tarr and Brendan Fletcher.

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Nostalgia As A Weapon: The Sailor Moon Renaissance Is A Feminist Mission Behind The Lines Of Pop Culture

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Sailor Moon is inescapable. There’s the new anime of course, and the new musicals, the merchandise, and the retranslation of the manga. But it’s the emblem of a wider renaissance as well, a resurgence of love for mahou shoujo, or magical girl anime and manga — a movement led by women well out of their childhood years. A quick stroll through Tumblr reveals Sailor Moon cupcakes, punky Sailor Moon jackets, heartfelt essays about what the portrayal of lesbianism in Sailor Moon meant to the reader, dozens of artists working together to reanimate an episode of the anime, Sailor Moon nail art tutorials, cats named Luna, Beryl, Haruka and everything in between, hand-sculpted figurines, ornate embroidery projects, and an endless avalanche of fanart. Sailor Moon as an Adventure Time character. Sailor Moon cheekily clutching a Hitachi Magic Wand. Sailor Moon as a vicious biker chick. Sailor Moon protesting the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling.

Sailor Moon fans have not so much rediscovered their love for Naoko Takeuchi’s sword-and-sparkle epic as they have elected her queen mother of their imaginations and ultimate aspirational self. She is, simultaneously, symbol, cause, and leader.

This resurgence is animated by more than typical fannish passion. This is a need to return to a world where young women are in charge. This is an anger at the pabulum of Good Role Models for Girls, at boob windows and “fridging" and “tits or gtfo.” This is 15-year-olds covering their notebooks in “MERMAIDS AGAINST MISOGYNY” stickers, yet also gravely serious grad students applying bell hooks to Takeuchi’s use of Greco-Roman myth. This is a collective invoking of spirits, made more potent in their absence — Usagi Tsukino and all her friends as saints and saviors, carrying the light of childhood optimism to an adulthood in sore need of it. This is nostalgia as a weapon. “Pretty soldiers” indeed.

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