A: I'm glad you asked! As a writer, long-term plotting has never really been one of my strong points --- I'm more a student of that Larry Hama "never more than three pages ahead" sort of school --- but as a reader, there's nothing I love more than seeing threads tie together after years of groundwork being laid. It's that Chris Claremont, Walt Simonson style of plotting where seemingly insignificant elements and offhand remarks can suddenly gain importance, and where the same imagery can weave itself in and out of the story to give everything a new meaning. And what Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely and Val Semeiks did in DC One Million and All-Star Superman is one of the best and most subtle examples of long-term plotting ever.
Well. Subtle by superhero comic standards, anyway. It still involves a time-traveling Superman who lives inside the sun.
In magical practice, the term magnum opus has a different meaning than in popular context. Latin for "the Great Work," its been used since the early alchemists, and taken on various shades of metaphorical meaning through different traditions, but they're all essentially referring to the same thing: the total actualization of one's will, and the creation of the idealized self. Grant Morrison, the most inventive writer in comics, has been at it for a while now.
Q: What are the best Die Hard tributes or knockoffs in comics? -- @chudleycannons
A: Considering how common it is for action movies to try to re-create the feeling of Die Hard, you'd probably be surprised at how little that actually happens in comics. I mean, it makes sense that it would be that way --- despite starting out life as a novel with the amazing title of Nothing Lasts Forever, Die Hard is pretty inextricably tied to being an action movie, and it's difficult to recreate what makes it work so well in another medium. The closest thing we'd have to that in comics is the massive number of characters that were created as homages or knockoffs of Superman.
But if you're looking for a story that operates on those same principles --- a single hero trapped in a confined space, dealing with limited resources and overwhelming odds --- then there are definitely a few stories that fit the bill.
Born on this day in 1968, Vincent Deighan isn't a name a lot of comics fans know, but few artists are as instantly identifiable by their work. Working under the pen name Frank Quitely (a not-as-obvious-as-it-seems play on "quite frankly") for the past quarter century, chiefly with writers Grant Morrison and Mark Millar, the Scottish artist's highly detailed, deeply stylized work has offered a fresh perspective on Superman, the X-Men, Batman and more, and brought personality and depth to a range of original characters.
It's the end of the year! We made it through 2015, a year that brought all kinds of new, weird and brilliant comics into our lives. It's been a huge year for the industry, with the arrival of several new publishers, multiple new digital publishing concepts, and a whole slew of creative talent pushing themselves into the spotlight. With so much going on during 2015, there's one question you might have not thought about yet: what's coming up in 2016?
So much. There are new graphic novels, new publishing lines, new digital initiatives; it's all going on. And so, as we reach the Yearender, it's time to look ahead, to see what comics' future will bring.
Back in March of 2015, a full-page advert appeared in the back of various DC comics, which asked; “Would you sacrifice another world so yours can live?” If you were following Jonathan Hickman's Avengers titles around the same time, you might have asked yourself, just for a moment: since when does Batgirl run ads for Marvel's next big event That question presents essentially the same set-up as Marvel's Secret Wars, which saw Reed Richards, Black Panther, and their Illuminati friends facing the threat of alternate Earths on a collision course with their own. Eventually, it all went wrong, and Dr Doom had to take the remnants of the multiverse and combine them into a single multi-dimensional world.
Turning the page, the ad was revealed to be promoting Convergence, DC's own big event for 2015, and an entirely different story. In Convergence, an omnipotent villain pitches characters from disparate realities against one another in a multiversal battle royale. Each reality co-exists on a planet apparently of the villain's creation, a kind of 'battle-world'. Oh, hang on...
Q: What Halloween-y monster fits into the second-most different narrative roles, behind Dracula? -- @crookedknight
A: First things first, you are right to put Dracula at the top of the list. I've been through this before, but for anyone just joining us who hasn't heard me go through it for five or six hours, Dracula is the best. He's been around long enough and often enough that everyone pretty much knows what his deal is just from hearing the name, and you can drop him into any story in virtually any role. He can be a villain, an uneasy ally, a shadowy figure manipulating things from behind the scenes, and even, occasionally, a globetrotting protagonist battling things even worse than he is. He can be bloodthirsty fiend, sophisticated devil, reluctant hero, or all of the above.
But given all that, it there's one choice for the spooky silver medal that seems so obvious that I was surprised I got this question. It has to be Frankenstein. Right?
Q: What's the best Halloween story starring a superhero that doesn't really fit Halloween? -- @krinsbez
A: As much as the two genres have been historically opposed to each other, there are an awful lot of superheroes that have pretty strong ties to horror. Characters like Batman, for example, have spookiness built right into the concept from the very beginning, right down to the devil-horns and the dark cape, whih are meant to terrorize a superstitious, cowardly lot of criminals. But when you get further away from horror elements, when you look at the characters that are rooted in sci-fi or pure superheroics, and you drop them into a spooky story, then you can get a pretty great story just on the virtue of taking someone out of their element.
So turn down the lights and let's talk about Halloween in the Fortress of Solitude.
This week, Comixology has a huge sale on Grant Morrison's work for DC and Vertigo, and as much as I like writing these columns and helping to turn people on to some good stuff, this is one time where I don't really feel like I can give a whole lot of direction. As you may already know, Morrison is pretty good at writing comic books, and his collaborations with artists like Frank Quitely, Howard Porter, Rags Morales and Richard Case has produced some of the best classics of the modern era.
But as tempting as it is to just say, "Hey, just because you love All Star Superman, that doesn't mean you'll really like The Invisibles" and call it a day, there is one thing that you should definitely be on the lookout for: the complete collection of Aztek: The Ultimate Man, one of the most underrated, under-appreciated superhero comics of the '90s, can be yours for five bucks.
Welcome to The Issue, a new feature examining some of the strangest, most interesting and most distinctive single issue comic stories ever to grace the medium. You know the ones; silent issues, sideways issues, backwards issues; the comics that try to do something different with the form, and stand out from the series they belong to.
As October is Villains Month here on ComicsAlliance, we're taking a look at an issue focusing on a character who is nominally one of the bad guys, though the story tries to unpack what that really means. The issue is The Invisibles #12, 'Best Man Fall', written by Grant Morrison and Steve Parkhouse.
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