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The Arkham Sessions: The Psychology Of Fanaticism In ‘Batman: Eternal Youth’

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Does Poison Ivy's strong dedication and ideology differ much from the Caped Crusader's mission to rid the city of criminals? (Crusader is his nickname, after all.)

In this episode of The Arkham Sessions, we delve deeper into Poison Ivy's psychology with her second appearance in Batman: The Animated Series by exploring her predilection for plants and her fanatic, destructive level of devotion to protect them.

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FunkyWatch: July’s Most Depressing ‘Funky Winkerbean’ And ‘Crankshaft’ Strips

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Over the past 40 years, Tom Batiuk’s Funky Winkerbean has transitioned from a gag-a-day comic strip about a high school to an ongoing chronicle of pure, abject misery. Thanks to the ongoing commentary on Josh Fruhlinger’s Comics Curmudgeon, I am now completely obsessed with it, which is why I spend a little time every month rounding up its finest examples of crushing despair.

After last month's strips involved an intervention from the Almighty Himself voicing his disapproval for even the slightest bit of happiness, you might think that Tommy B would take a few weeks to ease off the pressure a little bit, but you would be a fool. A fool. Things never actually get any better in the Batiukverse, and never is that more evident than this month, when the strip heads to that most nightmarish of all places: San Diego Comic-Con. Seriously.

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Gordon Ramsay In Limbo: Comics Alliance Reviews The ‘Constantine’ Television Pilot

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Constantine is not modelled on the disappointing 2005 Keanu Reeves movie, also called Constantine. Nor is it an adaptation of DC Comics' current superhero comic book, Constantine, set in the rebooted New 52 DC Universe. The TV show very clearly goes back to the source material, the 1980s DC/later-Vertigo comic series Hellblazer, written initially by Jamie Delano and based on the character John Constantine created by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette, and John Ridgway in the pages of Swamp Thing. The leading man looks just as he does in the comics, with his familiar trenchoat and tie, and he acts broadly the same way too. Just as crucially, his backstory draws heavily from Delano's Hellblazer run. This Constantine is riddled with guilt and fearful for his soul because he failed to save a girl named Astra in Newcastle from the demon Nergal.

This means that the the TV adaptation of the comic is actually more faithful to the source material than the current version of the comic -- but only in broad strokes. In actual execution, this TV show is not the mature affair that the Vertigo comic offered. This is not a cable television supernatural show. This is more like... a Supernatural show.

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Filed Under: , Category: DC, News, Opinion, Reviews, Vertigo

Why Marvel Studios Succeeds (And How It Will Fail If It Doesn’t Diversify)

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Guardians Of The Galaxy just enjoyed a very successful weekend at movie theaters, taking home around $94m, far in excess of expectations. The movie also stands at 92% positive reviews on aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes, joining all previous Marvel Studios movies in receiving predominantly favorable notices.

Marvel Studios is doing very well. In six years and ten movies, it has avoided both critical and commercial disasters, and frustrated naysayers who hailed the demise of the superhero movie at every step. Marvel's rivals at Fox, Sony Columbia, and Warner Bros, have enjoyed commercial success as well -- but not with the acclaim, consistency, or proliferation of Marvel. So how does Marvel do it, and can they keep doing it?

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Hire This Woman: Artist Nen

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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.”

Painter Nen has primarily worked on things like trading cards, gaming art, and character designs, but is currently working on her own fully painted graphic novel, Iscariot. Nen is also a graduate of Savannah's College of Art and Design with a degree in Sequential Art.

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Magic Omnibus: Embracing The Radical Weird In Grant Morrison’s ‘Doom Patrol’

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While at Comic Con, Grant Morrison dropped several enigmatic hints and subliminal messages to ComicsAlliance about his next mega-event, Multiversity, broke down the divisions between fictional universes, and even proclaimed that he thinks that he's made the world's first real superhero. He says things like that. Some people like him, many love him, and some people straight up hate him. With Multiversity starting up in August, you can be sure that there will soon be legions of detractors proclaiming that Morrison is the most overrated writer in comics, and nothing he's ever done has ever made any sense.

The release of DC's Doom Patrol Omnibus finally equips us to give these people the bludgeoning they deserve. (Metaphorical bludgeoning. ComicsAlliance does not condone actual bludgeoning.)

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The ‘Gotham’ Pilot Can’t Decide What It Is, And What It Is Is Not Very Good [Review]

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If you're the kind of person who looks at Batman's origin and thinks, "Hey, I wish this was more convoluted and made even less sense than it already does," then I have some good news for you. Gotham, the upcoming DC Entertainment television show on Fox that focuses on Jim Gordon as a young detective with the GCPD and definitely isn't a Batman show despite having Bruce Wayne, Catwoman, the Penguin and the Riddler in the first episode, made its debut last weekend at Comic-Con International when the pilot was screened for an audience of fans.

The short version is that it's not very good. The longer version is that while it tries to do a lot of interesting and engaging things with its roster of characters, the end result is a show that's not really sure whether it wants to be a stylish, gimmicky procedural about quirky characters in a city of comic book villainy, or a by-the-numbers TV cop drama. The end result is -- barring major improvements -- a project that doesn't do enough with either to be worth watching.

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Filed Under: , Category: DC, Opinion, Television

We Are Groot: ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Celebrates Heroes With Authentic Psychological Deficits

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Leagues and legions of superheroes are usually effective as a direct result of the union of each member's unique abilities, whether they include super-human strength, lightning-speed, telepathy, or other powers that individually define each of them as a deserved hero and collectively create an unstoppable force.

In Guardians of the Galaxy, we're introduced to a band of outlaws, outsiders and outcasts. With the exception of some sweet dance moves and decent marksmanship, we don't immediately get the traditional introduction to the colorful rainbow of superpowers we're accustomed to with superhero teams. There's no amazing, no fantastic, no spectacular. The Guardians themselves refer to themselves as "losers" and the "biggest idiots" in the galaxy. They underperform or fall below normative expectations. In fact, these space misfits offer something rarely seen in superhero films: the Guardians show emotional, neurological, developmental and communication deficits that 1) are not expected to be resolved or cured at the end of the film and 2) do not make them ineffective as heroes.

The following is a conceptualization of each character's below-average functioning across some psychological dimensions and why these deficits do not create significant limits for them.

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Thanos is Really Bad at Being a Supervillain

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We first met the cinematic version of Thanos in 2012 -- his face smiling at us during a mid-credits sequence of ‘The Avengers,’ there to let us know that this guy is the mastermind behind the whole operation. OK then! Eventually we learn that Thanos is trying to collect the Infinity Stones, because if he has those, he will become a god. Fair enough. Though, now, after ten movies in the Marvel cinematic universe – ten! – Thanos has a grand total of zero Infinity Stones. So far, Thanos is terrible at being a supervillain.

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Comics Alliance Roundtable: Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman Costume For ‘Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice’

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One of the most discussed news items from last month's Comic-Con International was the first look at Wonder Woman as she will appear in Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, the new DC Entertainment film by Zack Snyder. Played by Gal Gadot, this will be the first cinematic appearance of William Moulton Marston's Amazonian princess and feminist icon in her nearly 75-year history, and naturally fans have had a lot to say about the portrait debuted in San Diego. In reaction to the image, members of the ComicsAlliance staff assembled to discuss and critique Gadot's costume, depictions of super-women on film, and the current state of superheroine fashion in general.

Today's participants include CA's superheroic sartorialist Betty Felon; clinical psychologist and Arkham Sessions co-host Dr. Andrea Letamendi; comic book editor Janelle Asselin; journalist Juliet Kahn; comics writer/artist Kate Leth; and blogger/vlogger Angelina L.B. aka ALB, who makes her CA debut in this in-depth analysis. Join us for our roundtable discussion on Wonder Woman's newest live-action steez, high heels, and the balance between practicality/realism and style in superheroine costume design.

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