What a week! I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to sit back and read some comics. The weekend is finally here, and the world can relax and rest once more — but the comics industry has been busy too, you know, and the last seven days have seen a flurry of comics-based news and announcements fly past at high speed.
ComicsAlliance have got your back, though: when it comes to comics, we never slow down, and so here’s a look back and just what’s been going on. New comics, new stories, new podcasts, new art being made — it’s all part of the ComicsAlliance Weekender!
That was Jerry Ordway's solution to the problem that the creative teams behind Superman were facing in the early '90s. After building for years to a wedding between Lois Lane and Clark Kent --- something that had been brewing in comics since 1938 --- plans were put on hold so that the storyline could coincide with the upcoming wedding on TV's Lois and Clark.
The idea was that timing the two versions of the wedding to run at the same time would lead the show's audience into comic book stores and boost sales, but it left the comics with a year of space to fill, and finding something that would take up time and keep readers interested while the TV storyline caught up proved to be difficult. It was so frustrating, in fact, that Ordway's solution ended up being the best idea, and on this day in 1992, DC published 'The Death Of Superman'.
Many of comics’ most popular heroes have been around for decades, and in the case of the big names from the publisher now known as DC Comics, some have been around for a sizable chunk of a century. As these characters passed through the different historical eras known in comics as the Golden Age (the late 1930s through the early 1950s), the Silver Age (the mid 1950s through the late 1960s), the Bronze Age (the early 1970s through the mid 1980s) and on into modern times, they have experienced considerable changes in tone and portrayal that reflect the zeitgeist of the time.
With this feature we’ll help you navigate the very best stories of DC Comics’ most beloved characters decade by decade. This week, we’re taking a look at the best Captain Marvel comics.
As you may have heard, Archie is relaunching their flagship title in July, bringing an end to what has been the longest continuously published American comic that has never been rebooted, after 666 issues. In addition to a new direction from Mark Waid and Fiona Staples, the relaunch is getting a whole slew of variant covers focusing on the revamped design for everyone's favorite two-timing redheaded high schooler, from artists like J. Scott Campbell, Dean Haspiel, and more.
Now we've got seven of those variant covers to reveal, bringing the total number of Archie #1 variants to approximately one hundred million (and all of them awesome). Check them out below, from Tania Del Rio, Genevieve F.T., legendary Superman and Shazam artist Jerry Ordway, and more!
A more appropriate name for DC Comics' Convergence event, at least the miniseries that will accompany the main series for two months next spring, may be "Nostalgia Trip."
DC has been rolling out titles and creative teams for the 40 planned series week by week. The first batch focused on the publisher's pre-New 52 continuity. The second focused on the 1990s (including WildStorm), and the third seemed to center on the 1980s.
The fourth and final group of miniseries, which DC announced Tuesday, covers a much wider time period: All of DC's pre-Crisis On Infinite Earths continuity. And there's another twist: They all take place on defined and listed alternate Earths which existed before the company's last line-wide reboot in the 1980s.
As part of the marketing blitz for the movie, the comic version of Batman naturally sold batloads [Editor's note: we apologize for nothing] and is a fixture of many a 30-something's comics collection. In an effort to extort as much as they could from the fanbase, DC Comics made the book available in two formats: a newsstand-friendly comic that set readers back a mere $2.50 and a prestige format version) with a painted cover and spine) that retailed for $4.95. Personally, the cheaper version’s cover has always appealed to me more, but I’ll admit that Batman kicking a clown has a visceral appeal to me than Batman standing on a gargoyle, even if it's nicely rendered. No matter what version you bought though, the interiors were the same, and they were among the best drawings of Jerry Ordway's already distinguished career.
Unfortunately, even with scripter Denny O'Neil's bonafides as one of the people behind the 1980s version of the caped crusader that inspired the film and Ordway's extraordinary ability to render likenesses, the comic is inert and suffers from a complete inability to be compelling on its own. That's something that can't be said about Burton's movie, as scattershot and disorderly as the final product is. Even if you're not a fan of the movie (and I'm not), if it's on a screen, you're going to watch its weirdness unfold — you can't say that about the comic version, no matter how pretty it is.
The Batmania of 1989 affected all of commercial entertainment, but perhaps nowhere was the impact felt more than in comic shops and bookstores. The wild success of Tim Burton's movie drove fans to seek out anything Bat-related, and DC Comics was prepared. The publisher had tasked two of its finest creators with producing a comic book adaptation of the film, and Jerry Ordway and Dennis O'Neill's comic became a sensation in its own right. The book was released in two editions (a 'floppy' for newsstands, and a squarebound edition for the book and comic shop market), and both became instant best-sellers.
For reasons explained below, the project was not altogether successful in creative terms, but Batman '89 is nevertheless one of if not the most proliferated comics of its type, occupying space in the collections of a whole generation of readers and fondly remembered as featuring some of Ordway's most exquisite artwork in an already very distinguished career. As part of ComicsAlliance's exhaustive remembrance of of all things Batman '89, we spoke with Ordway about his fascinating and uniquely challenging experience adapting the silver-screen superhero epic back into uncommonly beautiful book form.
The Marvel Unlimited app is a gigantic, messy cache of awesome and terrible old comic books: a library of 13,000 or so back issues of Marvel titles, available on demand for subscribers with tablets or mobile phones. Like any good back-room longbox, it’s disorganized and riddled with gaps, but it’s also full of forgotten and overlooked jewels, as well as a few stone classics. In Marvel Unlimited Edition, Eisner-winning critic Douglas Wolk dives into the Unlimited archive to find its best, oddest and most intriguing comics.
Ego the Living Planet is one of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's trippier creations: introduced in 1966 in Thor #132, he is literally a planet who is also a dude. With a face. (His first appearance was one of the photo-collages that Kirby was occasionally doing in those days; the gaunt, bearded face that Kirby pasted onto a planet shape was significantly different from most of the characters he designed.) Understandably, it's a little bit hard to do much with a planet-sized character who has to interact with humans, but nearly every artist who's gotten to work with Ego over the years has clearly relished the chance to draw his massive, scowling visage.
C.C. Beck was born on June 8, 1910, attended art school in Chicago, and started his career in pulp magazines with Fawcett Publications in the early 1930s. When the popularity of pulps began to fade, he moved over work on Fawcett's line of comics – and in 1939 he co-created a character that originally bore the name "Captain Thunder", but was re-dubbed Captain Marvel shortly before the release of his first adventure. In that initial story, young newsboy Billy Batson meets a great wizard, and is given the power to transform into "The World's Mightiest Mortal" when he says one magic word...Shazam!
Today, one day after what would have been his 104th birthday, w've reached out to a few of today's best comics creators to ask for their thoughts and impressions on Beck and his creations.
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