Last week, one of the questions that came in for my Ask Chris column came from someone who was curious about how Batman celebrated New Year's Eve, and really, that's a pretty interesting question. I mean, we have plenty of comics, cartoons and even one goofy-ass movie about how he spends Christmas, but stories that address whether or not he watches the ball drop and toasts a cup of kindness are significantly harder to come by. Fortunately, we have Batman #247, a classic from the Bronze Age that addresses exactly this question.
As it turns out, Batman spends his New Year's Eve punching out criminals. What the hell did you think he was going to do?
Okay, so there's good news and bad news. The good news is that ComiXology is having a massive sale on Batman comics, and has knocked a bunch of them down to 99¢ each, which means that you can grab some great stories on the cheap. The bad news? Since this whole thing is in honor of Batman's 75th anniversary, they've put 750 comics on sale, plus a handful of graphic novel collections. All things considered, that's a pretty good problem to have, but still, that can be pretty overwhelming.
Fortunately, we're here to help. As the World's Foremost Batmanologist, I've sifted through the sale to bring you safe bets for what you should be grabbing during the sale. Assuming you've got the obvious ones -- like The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Year One and the recent runs by Morrison, Snyder, and Capullo -- here's what to grab next!
A good number of of the old comics which continue to influence the aesthetic interests of this website were first discovered by me in 2001, during an epic quest into the deepest, darkest parts of the convention floor at San Diego Comic-Con. I'd pledged to identify and purchase as many hardcover collections, paperbacks, graphic novels or other comics-with-spines as I could, so long as they were things I'd never heard of before (this was very easy to do for a child of the '90s, since Wizard was unlikely to devote any time to anything useful like that). I bought so many comics that year that even today, some remain in my "unread" pile.
One of the books I discovered was The Shadow: 1941, a hardcover graphic novel by the great Denny O'Neil and Michael Kaluta with Russ Heath and Mark Chiarello, published by Marvel. Despite the auspicious pedigree of its creators, I'd never heard of the book, had no idea Marvel ever published Shadow comics, and didn't really know anything about the character anyway. As such, it was exactly the sort of forgotten, out-of-print gem I was looking for.
Subtitled Hitler's Astrologer, this Shadow book is exactly the dark, globe-trotting adventure of war and mysticism that its title and cover suggest. It's a gorgeous pleasure of a comic book, and more than two decades since it was originally released, Dynamite Entertainment are reissuing it this week.
If you've been down to the comic book store over the past couple of weeks, you've probably noticed that for DC, it's Villains Month, where a tie-in to the big Forever Evil event has led to the bad guys headlining the monthly comics instead of the heroes. As a result, we're getting comics with names like Batman #23.1/Joker #1, which I think we can all agree makes things easy to follow. The thing is, while this definitely isn't the first time the villains have stepped into the spotlight, it's not even the first time we've gotten a comic called Joker #1.
That happened way back in 1975, when somebody at DC figured that it was a good idea to give the Clown Prince of Crime his own ongoing series that managed to last a mere nine issues -- and it's actually even stranger than it sounds.
With apologies to Batman, The Question is my favorite DC character. Originally created by Steve Ditko for Charlton Comics, the Question, a.k.a Vic Sage, started off as a determined investigative journalist by day and a ruthless crime fighter by night, his roots lying in the same philosophy of Objectivism that Ditko himself is an ardent supporter of. In the 1980s, DC Comics acquired the rights to the character and quickly incorporated him into the DC Universe, where Denny O'Neil and Denys Cowan would team up for a celebrated run on a monthly series starring the faceless vigilante that would see him adopt a Zen mindset. The character would take on a few more personae over the years: Rick Veitch and Tommy Lee Edwards' under appreciated miniseries painted him as an urban warrior/shaman, the Justice League Unlimited cartoon portrayed him as a paranoid and aggressive detective who served as the team's conscience, and in DC Comics' year long weekly series 52, Sage would die, passing down the identity of The Question to Renee Montoya. Currently in the publisher's New 52 initiative, he's been re-imagined as one of the three greatest sinners in Earth's history.
Various creators have offered their take on The Question over the years, and each interpretation has been unique. But what's caused his evolution over the years? In a new 12 minute documentary, Gary Lobstein sits down with creators who have worked on the character -- O'Neill, Greg Rucka, Rick Burchett and Jeffrey Combs -- and asks: Who is The Question? It's an interesting discussion, and you can check it out below.
Carmine Infantino, the legendary comic book creator who played an integral role in the American comic book business both as an artist and editor, passed away today. Regarded by many as one of the greatest pencillers the industry has ever known, he is perhaps most associated with his work in revitalizing the DC Comics character The Flash, a move that signaled a return of popularity for superheroes and ushered in what is fondly referred to even today as the Silver Age of American comics.Infantino was born in Brooklyn, N
Green Arrow is the latest DC Comics superhero being considered to star in a live-action television series of his own. According to Entertainment Weekly, The CW network is "close" to ordering a pilot for a series featuring the Emerald Archer, currently under development by Greg Berlanti, March Guggenheim and Andrew Kreisberg. Green Arrow joins a relatively long list of DC superheroes who may make the move to TV, a list that in
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