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Bob Haney

Ask Chris #324: Strong As Iron, Homely As Sin

Ask Chris #325, background art by Jack Sparling

Q: I've always felt like Metamorpho could be a much bigger star, but he's just too ugly. And not like The Thing, who's ugly in universe; Metamorpho is a truly awful design. Are there characters who you think could be better if they didn't look horrendous? — @EvilKeaton

A: Whoa whoa whoa, my dude. It's all well and good to ask a question about good ideas for characters that were held back by bad designs, but you can't just roll up in here and disrespect Rex Mason like this! It's certainly true that he's never quite caught on the way he probably should've for how good his original appearances were, and there are plenty of reasons for that, but to chalk it up to a "truly awful design?" I have to disagree.

It might not be the best design to ever hit the comics page, but that affable ugliness is only part of what makes it work --- not just for the character, but as a visual signifier of one of the most interesting eras in comics.

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Filed Under: , , Category: Ask Chris, DC, Opinion

Bizarro Back Issues: Body Swaps And Human Metal Men In ‘Silver Age!’ (2000)

The Silver Age: The Brave and the Bold, DC Comics

So let's talk about The Silver Age. No, not the period from 1954 to 1971 that was largely defined by rigid rules, bizarre transformations, and Superman constantly playing educational pranks on all of his friends and loved ones; the other Silver Age. The fifth-week event from 2000? That's the one I want to talk about today, largely because I'm not sure that anyone else ever has.

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Bizarro Back Issues: The Teen Titans Are The Secret Olympic Heroes! (1966)

Action Comics #409, DC Comics

But while the spirit of the Olympics is built on international friendship and good-natured competition, there are definitely villainous organizations out there trying to sabotage the games with the somewhat nebulous goal of turning us all against each other.

Or at least, that's what was going down in 1966, when the Teen Titans found themselves tasked with stopping a vaguely demonic criminal gang from destroying the Olympics --- something that was slightly less pressing than helping their pal Davey deal with his extremely grumpy dad.

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Cast Party: Who Should Star In A ‘Metamorpho’ Movie?

ElleCollins_CastParty

Welcome to Cast Party, the feature that imagines a world with even more live action comic book adaptations than we currently have, and comes up with arguably the best casting suggestions you’re ever going to find for the movies and shows we wish could exist. This week, I'm turning to the best DC comic of the SIlver Age, Metamorpho, created by Bob Haney and Ramona Fradon.

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Filed Under: , , Category: DC, Lists, Movies, Opinion

Ask Chris #300: The Undisputed High Point Of The Silver Age

Ask Chris #300, background art by Sal Trapiani

Q: What is your high water mark for DC's Silver Age? Mine is the publication of Atom #1 in 1961. --- @batmite1

A: When you get right down to it, it's pretty difficult to separate the Silver Age from the Superman. Even when Batman was translating the era's pop-art aesthetics and biff-pow sound effects to a mass media audience on television, it was the Superman titles that were defining the era in comics, and providing some of the true high points of the era. Chances are pretty good that when you think of the Silver Age, the image you get in your head is going to be from a Superman title, whether it's the time he was walking around with a lion head, a far-future adventure with the Legion of Super-Heroes, or even the very existence of Jimmy Olsen.

But while Superman provided most of the memorable highlights of the era, there was a lot going on beneath the surface in books like Doom Patrol or Metal Men that were stone cold classics. And pound for pound, the best comic of the Silver Age wasn't Superman. It was Metamorpho.

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Filed Under: , , , Category: DC, Opinion

Give ‘Em Elle: Classic Comics to Help You Escape the World

elle10_featured

Things are messed up right now, so let’s talk about comfort comics. Comics as escapism. There are a lot of current and recent comics that could work for this — All-Star Superman, Lumberjanes, and Squirrel Girl come to mind — but I want to go back a little farther.

Because here’s the cool thing about comics: They all used to be for kids. Which means that a lot of the classic comics, the influential ones that made the medium what it is, are also escapist fun. So when you want to read something that’s going to let you forget your problems and get lost in fantasy, you can also read something that will help you become well versed in comics canon. This is literally how I became who I am today.

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Embracing the Weird: On the Dawn of the Doom Patrol

doom_featured

On this day in 1963, a new kind of super-team was born. They weren't the clean-cut, respected heroes of the Justice League. They weren't a close-knit family unit like the Fantastic Four. They were a collection of misfits, shunned by the world at large, assembled by a wheelchair-using benefactor to protect the very citizenry that had rejected them. No, not the X-Men — they debuted later that year. We're talking about the Doom Patrol.

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World’s Finest: Five Memorable Supergirl Team-Ups

Supergirl-Team-Up-Featured

This week the fans of DC's TV shows finally get to see the live-action comic book crossover that we've all been waiting for, as Melissa Benoist's Supergirl on CBS gets a visit from a new friend from another reality when The CW's The Flash, played by Grant Gustin, makes his first appearance on her show.

We're beyond excited to see what happens when these two DC heroes team-up on the screen, because it looks like the story could capture all the joy of superheroics that sometimes gets lost in other adaptations of the genre. To mark the occasion, we've put together a list of some of Supergirl's best team-up stories in comics, featuring Egyptian queens, unrequited loves, and many, many Draculas.

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The Evolution of Green Arrow: Best Green Arrow Stories by Decade

evo-greenarrow

Many of comics’ most popular heroes have been around for decades, and in the case of the big names from the publisher now known as DC Comics, some have been around for a sizable chunk of a century. As these characters passed through the different historical eras known in comics as the Golden Age (the late 1930s through the early 1950s), the Silver Age (the mid 1950s through the late 1960s), the Bronze Age (the early 1970s through the mid 1980s) and on into modern times, they have experienced considerable changes in tone and portrayal that reflect the zeitgeist of the time.

With this feature we’ll help you navigate the very best stories of DC Comics’ most beloved characters decade by decade. This week, we’re taking a look at the best Green Arrow comics.

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Bizarro Back Issues: Kamandi Fights For The Mob! (1979)

Brave and the Bold #157

This week sees the start of DC Comics' big The Multiversity event series, and if the related books on sale over at ComiXology -- ostensibly to get everyone up to speed -- are anything to go by, then that thing's going to be chock full of weirdos. Seriously, I already knew they were going to be throwing Captain Carrot in there, and for some reason people can't get enough of that one story where Batman becomes a Dracula, but there are some deep cuts in there, like that one Chuck Dixon comic where the Justice League are all cowboys, and this weird thing from the '90s called Kingdom Come, where Superman fights Cable.

And then there's Kamandi.

But should Kamandi start crossing over into the main DC Universe, it won't be the first time. For that, you have to go back to Bob Haney and Jim Aparo's Brave and the Bold #157, for a story where Kamandi was sent back in time, and ended up being brainwashed, made invulnerable, poisoned with snake venom, joining up with the mob and punching Batman in the face. It... It's a weird one.

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