James Baldwin once described America as a "country devoted to the death of the paradox." He was right, of course. We're more comfortable seeing things in extremes, in black and white. A person from one culture or background can be instantly labeled as an upstanding citizen, exemplifying everything good about "real America." Superman is from Kansas, not San Francisco.
But if you're from another background, you can be instantly labeled as something else entirely: lazy, entitled, a thug, "Un-American." To many, there are those who fit into a certain label based on where they grew up, what school they went to, what church they attend. To think otherwise, to consider that there is more to us than blanket, largely basely assumptions, isn't as easy. And for many, it's too uncomfortable. It's too much work.
Ms. Marvel #1 stands in stark contrast to that sentiment. Written by G. Willow Wilson and illustrated by Adrian Alphona, each major character introduced in this first issue is a celebration and exploration of the paradox. It is a book full of characters who remind you of people you know, or people you knew. It's a book that's unique, but nonetheless familiar. It is also, by almost any measure, one of the best first issues of a superhero comic in years. And, if we're being honest, it probably needed to be.
Following a run of single issue releases this past spring and summer, Archaia's modern adaptation of Shotaro Ishinomori'sclassic Cyborg 009is set to get collected hardcover style on September 11. Written by F.J. DeSanto (The Spirit, Immortals: Gods and Heroes) and Bradley Cramp (Gattaca, Lord of War) and featuring the artwork of illustrator Marcus To (Batwing,Red Robin) and colorist Ian Herring (Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand), the 120 page hardcover works to retain the spirit and central concepts of Ishinomori's original narrative about a team of humans turned into agents of war against their will, with contemporary touches. The HC itself even comes dressed with an acetate dust jacket and layered cover art to let readers peel their way through its titular hero to (literally) see just what makes the character tick.
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.
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