Listen: Michel Fiffe's Copra is great. If you've been reading ComicsAlliance for any significant amount of time -- or even if you've just been listening to the Every Story Ever segments on the War Rocket Ajax podcast where we've ranked it above stuff like "Robin Dies At Dawn," JLA: Year One and Grant Morrison's first arc on New X-Men -- then you already know that.
But at the same time, you could be forgiven for thinking that maybe, after that first run of twelve amazing DIY comics, Fiffe might've slipped a bit. After all, it's pretty rare for something to stay that good forever, and now that Fiffe's picking up mainstream work from Marvel in the pages of All New Ultimates and Dynamite with Captain Victory, you'd have a good reason to think that Copra would be on the back burner. But if you did, you would be wrong.
If, for whatever reason, you haven't been reading the second act of Copra, where Fiffe turns his attention to spotlighting individual members of the team, then you're missing out on some of the most amazing comics of the year -- and the latest issue, where Fiffe drops a treatise on and rejection of Randian objectivisim in the form of a story about a superhero sent to an interdimensional prison, is the best of the bunch by far.
Q: We know your favorite anti-heroes, sidekicks, and villains, but who's your favorite minor villain, and why? -- @fizzbang
A: Y'know, the way you phrase that question makes it sound like I've written about everything except who my favorite superhero is, and... that doesn't sound right. I'm a little too lazy to go and look, but it feels like surely at some point in the last 210 columns, I probably would've mentioned that. Oh well, I'm sure I'll probably get to talking about Batman at some point.
Anyway, back to the question. Favorite minor villains? OH MY GOD, IT'S THE ENFORCERS I LOVE THE ENFORCERS SO MUCH LET'S TALK ABOUT FANCY DAN FOR THE NEXT THREE HOURS OH MY GOD.
Describing Stan Lee as "the original genius behind Marvel Comics and most of the superheroes you've ever loved or watched on the big screen" probably isn't doing the 91-year-old comic book veteran any favors as he tries, seemingly, to rehabilitate his reputation for glory-hogging in a wide-ranging conversation to be published in this Friday's new issue of Playboy. Indeed, the (in)famously self-promoting Lee uses the interview to deliberately undermine the public perception -- one he worked hard to create, as recently as last year with his reality show Fangasm -- that he's a tremendously wealthy comic book mogul primarily responsible for the success of some of Marvel Comics' most iconic -- and profitable -- superhero characters.
Q: What is Stan Lee's actual legacy? -- @TheMikeLawrence
A: I don't think there could be a more complicated subject to tackle in a single column than this one, because as an industry and as an art form, I think we all have a lot of complicated feelings about Stan Lee. Depending on who you ask, when you ask them and what he's been up to lately, he's a conniving credit-stealer, a shameless self-promotion machine, a "driven little man who dreams of having it all!!!" and got it by coasting on the hard work of others, or he's a charismatic innovator who got put into that spotlight because he's a natural showman, a smiling ambassador of the medium and everybody's friendly comics grandpa. And it's further complicated because you can't really talk about him without talking about collaborators like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, either.
That's what makes him hard to talk about, even if you've spent nearly your entire life being aware of him. There's just so much to get through that's filtered through so many angles, and as a result, I genuinely think that he's simultaneously the most overrated and underrated creator of all time.
He is one of the original Marvel architects. He is a legend of American horror comics. His works directly inspired one of the most enduring products of the graphic novel era. He was present for the birth of the indie superhero comic. He was among the first generation of comic book fans to become comic book professionals. He is revered, he is despised, and he would be glanced upon askance, frequently, were he agreeable to public exhibition of himself, which he is not.
He is Steve Ditko, aged 85. He has been drawing comics for over half a century.
And in the past five years alone, he has written, drawn, lettered and co-published eighteen issues of original comic books -- over 500 pages of completely new art -- which almost nobody has read.
We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great images 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. In honor of this year's 75th anniversary of the first appearance of Superman and this weekend's release of Man of Steel, we present for the second time a compilation of some of the coolest portraits of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster's brilliant creation that we've highlighted in this feature over the last few years. We know it's cheating but we didn't count on going away for a month and then coming back in the middle of a big media event. All-new next week evermore.
Most fans know Steve Ditko as the artist who co-created Spider-Man with Stan Lee, but his career in comics and the wider world of illustration not only could fill dozens of tomes, but, well, totally does fill several tomes...
The Creeper isn't the greatest Steve Ditko creation, and it's not even the most Ditko-esque. (Maybe those are the same things.) But one thing the Creeper comics have going for them is that they follow their own unsettling dream logic, and Ditko commits to the mania that powers the title character...
Famously reclusive and unwilling to do interviews, Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko has nonetheless long shared his side of the story concerning the creation of Marvel's friendly-neighborhood wall-crawler in a series of essays appeared in small-press comics and zines...
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