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Dave Cockrum

My Favorite Monster: That Handsome Devil Nightcrawler [Fantasy Week]

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Ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?

That question, posed by Jack Nicholson's Joker in the 1989 Batman movie, comes across as an esoteric threat in that context; a destabilizing glimpse into the mind of a madman. Yet the exact same question asked by the X-Men character Nightcrawler would seem like an invitation to possibly the most romantic night of your life, and you'd probably be swept off your feet. If Nightcrawler is a devil, he makes it look good --- perhaps just as much as the Joker makes clowns look bad.

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To Boldly Go: A Comics History of Star Trek

Star Trek #4, Marvel Comics

It's Star Trek's 50th anniversary and between the well-received Star Trek Beyond, the fact that all of Trek is available streaming basically everywhere, a new TV show coming next year, and the continued release of new novels and comics, it's a good time to be a fan of the USS Enterprise and its brethren.

Comics have been a part of Trek lore from almost the very start. Beginning in 1967, when the original Trek was wrapping up its first season on NBC, Gold Key published a series that only had two consistent features: an irregular publishing schedule, and an almost total disregard for how the characters actually looked.

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The First Nightcrawler Solo Comic Is One Of The Funnest X-Books Ever [Mutant Week]

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In a universe brimming with unique superheroes, and a franchise full of cool looks, Nightcrawler stands out. Kurt Wagner was born looking like a monster, but he takes pride in his appearance and makes great use of his teleportation power to focus on being a Big Damn Hero.

I've always liked Nightcrawler, and was happy when my friends gifted me a print of the cover to the first issue of the 1985-1986 Nightcrawler miniseries, written and drawn by his co-creator Dave Cockrum. I'd heard good things about the series so I bought it on Comixology and wound up having a fun, funny ride that was a joy to be on.

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All-New All-Different Before It Was Cool: A Celebration of ‘Giant-Size X-Men’ #1

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On this day in 1975, comics were changed forever. The book that changed everything? Giant-Size X-Men #1 by Len Wein and Dave Cockrum. The reason this book is so important? It's the first appearance of the X-Men.

"But wait," you're saying, "the X-Men debuted in 1963's X-Men #1 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby!" That is also true, but here's the thing about those X-Men: Nobody liked them very much, and there was nothing particularly special about them. Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Angel, Iceman, and Beast were students a prep school for mutants who fought goofy supervillains in between training sessions. They were a second-string Lee/Kirby creation at best.

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41 Years Ago: The First Appearance of Wolverine, The Best There Is At What He Does

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On July 30th, 1974, Wolverine made his first full appearance in The Incredible Hulk #181, and comics history was forever changed. For some reason. Somehow, a funny-looking, funny-talking, pint-sized, hairy Canadian, who literally scratches people, became one of the most popular characters in comics. How did the guy with whiskers on his mask become the epitome of toughness?

Created by Len Wein and John Romita, and brought to life by Herb Trimpe, Wolverine could have easily become another throwaway character. With his bright yellow-and-blue costume, he looks at least as ridiculous as every other one-and-done character, save for the arresting hook of those razor-sharp claws.

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Gallery: Best Wonder Woman Art Ever

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Since her 1941 debut, Wonder Woman has been one of the cornerstones of DC Comics, and of superhero comics in general.

In her 74-year-history, scores of artists have put their spin on the character, from subtle changes to her classic red, white, blue and gold costume to the "new" Wonder Woman of the late 1960s to some far more maligned interpretations that featured jackets and long pants. We've compiled a gallery of some of the most iconic Wonder Woman artists of the past seven decades, along with some positively stunning modern designs.

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The Great Super-Costume Poll: Storms

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To kick off our second week of polls, we're looking at a character who has a rather unique costume history. The X-Man Storm has had several different looks over the years, and though they've often had unifying elements, they've also embraced very different styles. But does Storm have one iconic look that dominates all the others? And has she ever actually looked bad? We've picked out five of her famous looks for you to vote on.

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Bizarro Back Issues: The Haunting Of The Starship Enterprise (1980)

Star Trek #4, Marvel Comics

Around Halloween, there is nothing I like more than a comic where horror elements start to creep in when they clearly have no business being there. I mean, I'll gladly read eighty issues of Tomb of Dracula and I love plenty of comics that are just Hellboy grumping at werewolves, but if you give me a comic where all the spookums and haints show up out of nowhere and start hassling Spider-Man or somebody, I am delighted. That's why I was pretty interested when pal and occasional ComicsAlliance contributor Kevin Church suggested that I add Star Trek #4 to my annual scareathon, mostly because he sold me on it by telling me it was the comic where the starship Enterprise found a haunted house. In space.

He wasn't kidding: This is a Star Trek comic where the Enterprise finds a haunted house in space. And that's after Dracula shows up.

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Best Art Ever (This Week): Sin City, Tuxedo Mask, Zatanna, Daft Punk, David Bowie and More

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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, awnd some of it’s endearingly silly. All of it is awesome.

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Ask Chris #186: The Strange Rise Of The X-Men

Ask Chris art by Erica Henderson

Q: Why do you think the X-Men didn't find their audience until two decades after they were created? -- @godofthunder851

A: I've got a minor quibble with your timing in this question -- it was more like 12 or 15 years, really -- but you've got an interesting point there. I think most comics readers are well aware of that piece of trivia about how the X-Men were about to get the axe before Giant Size X-Men #1 breathed new life into the franchise and set them on the path of becoming what was probably the single most popular and influential franchise of the '80s and '90s, and that's not really how things usually work. In comics, you tend to either come out of the gate to massive, enduring popularity (like Batman or Spider-Man), come out strong and then fade away for whatever reason (like, sadly, Shazam!), or just sort of flounder in the midcard. It's rare that something sticks around on the edge of being canceled for a solid decade before it finds its footing, and nobody bounced back harder than Marvel's Merry Mutants.

But really, what you're asking here is two separate questions: Why didn't the X-Men take off in 1963, and why did they in 1975? So let's look at the history and see if we can't figure it out.

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