Ever since I wrote that Ask Chris a few weeks back about how I'd rebuild the Legion of Super-Heoroes, I've been seized with the desire to go back and re-read some of the classic Legion stories from the Silver Age, but when I sat down to do just that, I was really surprised. Not because the stories are weird, mind you -- I knew they were pretty bonkers from the first time I read them, and they certainly haven't gotten any less weird since -- but because they threw the light on one of the most grievous oversights of my writing career. See, as happy as I was with the lineup I came up with for that column, I left out the character who is unquestionably the most powerful member, the actual, official "King of the Legion." I speak, of course, of Bouncing Boy.
When Gotham Bay is plagued by a mysterious toxin, boatloads of fish are turning up with a grotesque disfigurement: The trademarked Joker perma-smile. Batman -- working alone again -- is energized to be back on the Joker's trail, and soon learns that a binary compound of the toxin can affect humans, too. Written by Paul Dini and based on comic book stories by Dennis O'Neil and Steve Englehart, this episode of Batman: The Animated Series packs the kind of action and adventure the show is known for. How can you not love a shark wrestling scene?
If you asked me who my favorite writers were in comics today, Scott Snyder's name would be right up there at the top of the list, but I'll be honest with you: That's entirely because of his work on Batman. There's very little of his work outside of my favorite superhero that I've read, including American Vampire -- and that alone is pretty weird when you consider that it's got Dracula in it, and he's a solid #2 on my personal list of the best bat-themed characters in fiction. As a result, I've ben looking forward to checking out some of his other work for a while, and Wytches, the new book coming out from Image, felt like a pretty good place to start trying.
It is, after all written by Snyder and drawn by his Batman: The Black Mirror collaborator Jock, and if there are two creators that I like enough to give a new book a try sight unseen, it's them. Having read the first issue, though, I can tell you that it is very good, but very, very dark.
September 8--14 is National Suicide Prevention Week, an annual campaign sponsored by the American Association of Suicidology that recognizes suicide as a major public health concern and promotes the message that suicide deaths can be preventable. In the U.S. alone, nearly 40,000 people take their own lives each year. That's an average of 105 deaths per day. Yet, unlike the campaigns focused on the 9 other leading causes of death, suicide prevention isn't just about raising funds and improving treatment. Suicide is associated with stigma and misconceptions that often close the dialogue and prevent us from learning how we can overcome this epidemic. We don't talk about it. We are scared to ask about it. We simply don't know what to do.
It is undeniable that all of us are thinking about suicide. We thought about it when Hank Pym (Ant-Man) contemplated ending his life after years of stress on his constantly-morphing body. We thought about it when Roy Harper (Red Arrow) was tormented by his phantom limb pain and overdosed on painkillers. We thought about it when Bruce Banner confessed that he could no longer withstand the internal destruction caused by the Hulk, but when he put a bullet in his mouth, "the other guy spit it out." Everyone who's read Neil Gaiman's The Sandman can stand up. You've thought about it, too. Constantine. Deadshot. Mr. Terrific. Rorschach. Nearly every character in The Walking Dead. The list of narratives goes on, some more explicit than others.
Fiction is one of the most common ways we openly explore suicidality and connect with feelings of hopelessness, despair, and depression. Comics allow us to participate in the subversive in a way that is culturally acceptable. We break that rule and seem to enter a place of insecurity and isolation when we begin admitting our own feelings of anguish and thoughts of self-harm.
Here's the thing about reviewing Teen Dog, the new comic from cartoonist Jake Lawrence: Doing so is almost completely unnecessary. Not only is it one of those beautiful high concept books where the entire premise is summed up in the title, but let's be honest here. If you are the kind of person who doesn't already want to buy a comic called "Teen Dog," then I doubt there's anything anyone could say that would make you change your mind. You already know, deep in your heart of hearts, whether Teen Dog is for you.
That said, if you are the kind of person who's going to pick up Teen Dog when it hits comic shop shelves this week, you are in for a treat, because it is every bit as radical as the title makes it sound.
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.”
Cecil Castellucci is a creator of comics, novels, music and film who's probably best known to ComicsAlliance readers for her work with Jim Rugg on The PLAIN Janes graphic novels. Commissioned by DC Comics for its young adult comics line Minx, Castellucci's work earned her the Joe Shuster award for Outstanding Canadian Comic Book Writer. She collaborated with March artist Nate Powell on The Year Of The Beasts, a hybrid prose/graphic novel; her book Odd Duck, with Sara Varon, was nominated for an Eisner award for Best Publication for Early Readers; and is a contributor to DC's new Wonder Woman anthology, Sensation Comics.
It's over. Original Sin, by Jason Aaron, Mike Deodato, and Frank Martin, is finished. Everyone go home and hug your children.
But not before one last pulse-pounding Original Spin recap -- the only comic event recap that digs through the trash and uses the really long lens to find out what's really going on the comics.
Previously: The Watcher died; a truth bomb detonated; Nick Fury picked out random entries from the Official Handbook to investigate; they investigated; they found out Nick Fury killed a lot of E.T. dudes. Now: Everyone is on the moon, which sounds like a party, but it's seriously lacking in atmosphere. (Um, actually, it's well-established that the Blue Area of the Moon has its own atmosphere in Marvel comics continuity, thankyou.) This report exclusive to ComicsAlliance. Spoilers follow.
In my experience, the best comics are the ones that answer questions that you didn't even know you were asking until you saw them, and Wild's End #1 does that pretty beautifully. The question: Wouldn't War of The Worlds have been better if it was about a sleepy English hamlet populated entirely by friendly anthropomorphic animals? The answer: Yes. Yes it would be.
As weird as that premise sounds, it's not that shocking that the book would turn out great. It's the product of writer Dan Abnett (Guardians of the Galaxy) and artist INJ Culbard (Brass Sun), and if there's one thing I've learned from previous experience with those creators, it's that they're more than capable of taking strange sci-fi premises and running with them to create something incredible -- which is exactly what they've done here.
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, it's a Cyclops solo story! What have I done to deserve this?
Here's the thing about Boulet: As amazing as that guy's comics are, and stories like "The Long Journey" and "Darkness," the most incredible thing about them is how suddenly they appear. You're just minding your own business one day and then boom, there's a new forty-page Boulet masterpiece out there, and whatever you thought you were going to do that day becomes "read this new Boulet comic and then probably also all the others that I've already read." They're that good.
And that, my friends, is exactly what happened this week when the French cartoonist dropped "Kingdom Lost," a story that starts out with classic high fantasy and turns into something completely different.