Things are messed up right now, so let’s talk about comfort comics. Comics as escapism. There are a lot of current and recent comics that could work for this — All-Star Superman, Lumberjanes, and Squirrel Girl come to mind — but I want to go back a little farther.
Because here’s the cool thing about comics: They all used to be for kids. Which means that a lot of the classic comics, the influential ones that made the medium what it is, are also escapist fun. So when you want to read something that’s going to let you forget your problems and get lost in fantasy, you can also read something that will help you become well versed in comics canon. This is literally how I became who I am today.
On June 5, 1962, with a crack of thunder, a new hero burst on the scene. Well, not a new hero exactly. A very, very old hero who'd been reimagined for a modern world. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby at the height of their (dubiously balanced) creative powers, with scripting help from Stan's brother Larry Lieber, took a millennia-old Norse god and made him into a superhero in Journey into Mystery #83, the debut of the Mighty Thor.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from our years on the Internet, it’s that there’s no aspect of comics that can’t be broken down and quantified in a single definitive list, preferably in amounts of five or ten. And since there’s no more definitive authority than ComicsAlliance, we’re taking it upon ourselves to compile Top Five lists of everything you could ever want to know about comics and pop culture.
This week we're looking at some of the most bizarre licensed properties that have ever made their way to your local comic shop!
Welcome to Cast Party, the feature that imagines a world with even more live action comic book adaptations than we currently have, and comes up with arguably the best casting suggestions you’re ever going to find for the movies and shows we wish could exist. This week we’re returning to Jack Kirby‘s Fourth World, for the next chapter in my imaginary film series, The Forever People.
On this day in 1966, in the pages of Fantastic Four #52, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced the world to Wakanda, the most technologically advanced civilzation in the world, hidden in the heart of the African continent. At the head of this great nation was its king, T’Challa, who had recently assumed the throne from his father, and with it the title of the Black Panther.
Doctor Doom first appeared in Fantastic Four #5 by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Joe Sinnott and Stan Goldberg, published on April 10 1961. One of the most iconic villains in comic book history, Victor Von Doom has always remained steadfast in his goals: Take over the world for its own benefit, and kill Reed Richards along the way, if there's time.
Q: Aside from laying groundwork, most Golden Age stuff I've read is not very good. Are there any must-reads from the era? -- @TheKize
A: Listen, if you're having trouble getting into Golden Age books, I do not blame you. I've read my fair share of them over the years, and while I definitely think it's worth tracking down some of those early superhero comics if you're looking to broaden your horizons a little bit, I'll be the first to tell you that they can be hard to get into for a variety of reasons --- and as you said, chief among them is the fact that a lot of those old comics are just not very good.
Of course, you could say that about pretty much any era of comics and you wouldn't be far off from the truth. More than that, though, I think there's a big barrier that keeps the average reader from getting into those comics, and it has a lot to do with when, how, and why those comics were being made.
War hero. Secret agent. Government stooge. Machiavellian mastermind. Washed-up antique. Ageless warrior. Man out of time. Roughneck brawler. Unyielding patriot. Intergalactic assassin.
Nick Fury has been all these things, and many more, since his first appearance on March 5th 1963. He's a universal plot device, a character that can be adjusted and adapted to fit whatever a given story needs. He's been young, he's been old, he's been dead, he's been everywhere at once, he's been in hiding, he's been blindsided by corruption, he's been dead again, and he's been secretly behind the scenes the whole time. He's even been replaced by robot duplicates more times than anyone can remember.
This week, we're taking a look at Jack "King" Kirby, the greatest there ever was or ever will be. Arguably no single individual has contributed more to both the genre of superheroes and the medium of comics as a whole in terms of the creation of memorable and exciting characters, the development of the language and tools of the page, and pushing comics forward in terms of impact, power, and dynamism.
This video follows Kirby from his childhood in the Lower East Side to his time in the military, from his time at Marvel to his time at DC and back again and back again, as well as revealing his connection to Ben Affleck and his beef with Johnny Carson.
On this day in 1962, the world was asked the question “Is he man or monster or... both?” as Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced the world to The Incredible Hulk. The Hulk has remained one of Marvel’s most reliable franchises throughout the decades due to his relatability and perhaps above all else, his adaptability.
Since the beginning, The Hulk has been a character in flux. Originally The Incredible Hulk was colored grey, but printing logistics forced the change to the classic green. Bruce Banner’s transformation was originally triggered when day transitioned to night, and Hulk was much more verbose in his early incarnations and spoke in the flowery and dramatic tone typical of Stan Lee.
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