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 new 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 Green Lantern.
Q: What is the lasting impact of Justice League International? Does it have one? -- @dagsly
A: Does Justice League International have a lasting impact?! Well let me ask you a question, Dags: Does Batman have pointy ears? Does Clark Kent wear glasses? Does Aquaman have pruney fingers and breath that smells like krill? Just so we're all on the same page here, the answer to all of these questions is "yes," especially in the case of JLI having a lasting impact. It's not just that it was a good book, but that it formed a foundation and a blueprint for the way pretty much every team book would work thirty years later.
I mean, I don't want to exaggerate any more than I usually do or anything, but after Lee and Kirby's Fantastic Four and Claremont, Byrne and Cockrum's X-Men, Keith Giffen, JM DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire's Justice League is arguably the most important team book in comics history.
Each week, ComicsAlliance’s Chris Sims and Matt Wilson host the War Rocket Ajax podcast, their online audio venue for interviews with comics creators, reviews of the books of the week, and whatever else they want to talk about. ComicsAlliance is offering clips of the comics-specific segments of the show several days before the full podcast goes up at WarRocketAjax.com on Mondays.
This week, Chris and Matt dig deep into talking about DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio as a businessman and as a comics creator in their discussion of his new series with Keith Giffen, Infinity Man and the Forever People. Then they pivot to talk about two great starting-point issues in the middle of series runs: Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson's Astro City #13, and Ian Flynn and Jamal Peppers' Mega Man #37.
This week, Chris and Matt are talking at length about Futures End #1 by Brian Azzarello, Keith Giffen, Dan Jurgens, Jeff Lemire and Patrick Zircher, which continues the killing trend set off by the Free Comic Book Day #0 issue. Then they talk about Rat Queens #6 by Kurtis Wiebe and Roc Upchurch and Moon Knight #3 by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire!
Put as succinctly as possible, the Forever People are a bunch of space hippies with individual powers and gimmicks, but when they're in trouble they can combine to form the Infinity Man, who is a gestalt organism. First introduced in 1971, they are part of Jack Kirby's expansive Fourth World tapestry of "New Gods" characters and comics, and the focus of a new collaboration between storyteller Keith Giffen and co-writer Dan DiDio, creators of the New 52's last major Kirby revival, the short-lived OMAC.
We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, as well as the special qualities of comic book storytelling, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great pinups, fan art and other illustrations on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt and seemingly infinite art blogs that we’ve created Best Art Ever (This Week), a weekly depository for just some of the pieces of especially compelling artwork that we come across in our regular travels across the Web. Some of it’s new, some of it’s old, some of it’s created by working professionals, some of it’s created by future stars, some of it’s created by talented fans, and some of it’s endearingly silly. All of it’s awesome.
Though weekly series were recently a major part of DC Comics' plans, the publisher took a few years off from them to focus on its New 52 initiative. Now, more than two years into the new DC Universe, the company is returning to the format with perhaps its most significant attempt at weekly comics yet. On the heels of the recently announced Batman: Eternal year long weekly series, this morning DC revealed plans for The New 52: Futures End, its second weekly book in 2014.
Were you looking forward to the team behind the classic 1980s Justice League International getting back together for Justice League 3000? Then skip this post if you don't want to have your hopes crushed. On Thursday, artist Kevin Maguire tweeted, "I think I was just fired," and today, DC Comics confirmed it, naming Howard Porter as the book's new artist.
Keith Giffen has had a long career, almost 40 years in the comics business. He's gone through several creative iterations, but one mode that was there at the beginning and keeps coming back is his all-out Jack Kirby drawing style. As a penciller, he's DC's equivalent to Marvel's John Romita Jr. Both are bold Kirbyesque stylists at companies that favor photoreference, whose work evokes a generation prior to their own. I wish DC utilized Giffen as well as Marvel utilizes Romita. Perhaps that's because DC values Giffen the writer more than Giffen the artist.
When the original He-Man and the Masters of the Universe animated series found its way to Netflix Instant not too long ago, I thought it would make perfect background noise for my work day; some nostalgic entertainment to help pass the time while working on the site. But as an adult, what I discovered in that early 1980s cartoon based on an action figure line was far more distracting and indeed more sophisticated than I ever realized as a little boy. While the animation itself is crude (and famously recyclable), the show expresses a palpable sense of otherworldly adventure and intrigue through its writing but even more so through it's surprisingly awesome art direction. I thought, this medieval-techno world of Eternia and its heroes, villains, magics and prophecies could really be great if someone wanted to really dig into it.
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