John Byrne is a controversial figure in comics, all the more so as he's moved to disavow his work with mainstream publishers, yet his legacy within the industry is undeniable, and his contributions to iconic franchise properties and to early creator-owned independent work are worthy of celebration.
Born on this day in 1950, John Byrne moved from England to Canada at the age of eight, and it was here that he first encountered American superhero comics. He enrolled in --- but dropped out of --- the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary, and began contributing to Roger Stern and Bob Layton’s Contemporary Pictoral Literature. Their character Rog-2000 was spotted by Charlton Comics, and the team began contributing back-up stories in the pages of E-Man.
Let's be real about something for a second: This is the third Captain Marvel #1 in 3.5 years (fourth if you count Secret Wars: Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps), and that can feel a little tiring. Especially from Marvel Comics, in this current strange period of comics publishing. I love Captain Marvel, and even I felt a little cynical about yet another relaunch.
But at the same time, it was impossible not be excited about a Captain Marvel written by Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters, the showrunners on my favorite Marvel TV show, Agent Carter, and drawn by Kris Anka, who became one of my very favorite superhero artists during his time on Uncanny X-Men.
My earliest encounters with transgender characters came in Vertigo comics in the mid-90’s, especially Wanda in Sandman and Coagula in Doom Patrol. Wanda dresses a bit like a drag queen (and dies a tragic death), and Coagula is a sex worker, but they both felt like real people, which is not how I’d ever previously been encouraged to view trans people in any medium. Growing up, reading comics has always played a role in my understanding of my own identity and worldview. I certainly wouldn’t say comics had an effect on my gender, but they definitely affected my understanding of gender.
Recently, I’ve been wanting to look back farther than Wanda and Coagula and the mid-90’s. Amidst recent discussions of trans representation in comics, I’ve found myself thinking about what preceded trans characters in comics, before there was any chance of them existing.
DC's recent announcement of a new post-Convergence lineup of titles offered promising signs of diversification at the publisher, with Gene Luen Yang, securing a high profile assignment on Superman with John Romita, Jr., and fellow Asian-American creators Sonny Liew, Ming Doyle, and Annie Wu picking up new titles, plus several LGBT creators on titles, including Steve Orlando on Midnighter and James Tynion IV on Constantine; and black author David F. Walker taking over Cyborg. It was great to see so many non-cis-straight-white-male demographic groups represented, both in characters and creative teams.
These announcements go some way towards correcting ongoing imbalances in the mainstream comic industry, but as ComicsAlliance editor Andrew Wheeler noted in his coverage; "this is the superhero comic version of diversity, where ‘any’ feels like a victory; any non-white creators, any women, any queer representation. Any is not enough.” Thinking about that statement, a question occurred to me;
“Are there any indigenous characters or creators?”
Canada is comics’ secret super-power. As far back as 1938, when Toronto-born Joe Shuster created Superman with Cleveland’s Jerry Siegel, Canada has been a vital partner -- a Wild Child to America's Sabtretooth. (Age of Apocalypse version.)
”We have so many great artists and writers to choose from, it’s such an embarrassment of riches,” says Ty Templeton, a writer and artist who has worked for most major publishers and on most big name characters, and who knows just about everyone in the business. When he says Canada's creative community boasts an embarrassment of riches, he knows what he's talking about. So on this beautiful and proud Canada Day, we at Comics Alliance have to ask; why hasn't a Canadian creative team ever taken on Canada's best-known superhero team, Alpha Flight?
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 animatedseries. This week: "Repo Man," in which Wolverine gets into a tussle with a dude who is definitely his ex-boyfriend.
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