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John Byrne

10 Essential Eras of Captain America Comic Books

Captain America 10 Essential Comic Book Runs

You might have heard that there's a new Captain America movie coming out on April 4. If Marvel's marketing department has gotten its way, this news may very well be tattooed on the inside of your eyelids in phosphorescent ink. Let's say, however, you've never read any Captain America comics before, but now that he's been legitimized as a multi-million dollar film franchise, you're suddenly very interested in that dude with little wings on his head carrying around one of Uncle Sam's rims.

Since being created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon all the way back in 1941, the hero also known as the Sentinel of Liberty has passed through the hands of some eminently talented writers, artists and editors. Some of these creative teams depicted Cap's adventures for a few months -- some of them for a few years -- before passing the torch to the next creators to keep the flame (or trademark) alive. In comic books, these tenures are called "runs," "series"  or "eras," and they're the readers' way of distinguishing one era of a character's saga from the next. Chances are you're not sure where to dive into a a publishing legacy that's spanned more than 70 years, so here is a list, in chronological order, of the Sentinel of Liberty's 10 most interesting and influential comic book runs.

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Ask Chris #186: The Strange Rise Of The X-Men

Ask Chris art by Erica Henderson

Q: Why do you think the X-Men didn't find their audience until two decades after they were created? -- @godofthunder851

A: I've got a minor quibble with your timing in this question -- it was more like 12 or 15 years, really -- but you've got an interesting point there. I think most comics readers are well aware of that piece of trivia about how the X-Men were about to get the axe before Giant Size X-Men #1 breathed new life into the franchise and set them on the path of becoming what was probably the single most popular and influential franchise of the '80s and '90s, and that's not really how things usually work. In comics, you tend to either come out of the gate to massive, enduring popularity (like Batman or Spider-Man), come out strong and then fade away for whatever reason (like, sadly, Shazam!), or just sort of flounder in the midcard. It's rare that something sticks around on the edge of being canceled for a solid decade before it finds its footing, and nobody bounced back harder than Marvel's Merry Mutants.

But really, what you're asking here is two separate questions: Why didn't the X-Men take off in 1963, and why did they in 1975? So let's look at the history and see if we can't figure it out.

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The X-Men Episode Guide 3×13: ‘Dark Phoenix Part II: The Inner Circle’

The X-Men Episode Guide 3x12

The early ’90s were spoiled for choice when it came to comic book adaptations. Not only was Batman: The Animated Series on the air, but X-Men led Marvel’s push to get on the small screen, diving right into the often convoluted continuity of everyone’s favorite mutants, luring in a generation of fans, and paving the way for cartoons to follow. That’s why we’ve set out to review every single episode of the ’90s X-Men animated series. This week, we finally tackle one of the cornerstones of the X-Men as we continue with the Dark Phoenix Saga!

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10 Surprising Comic Book Appearances by Santa Claus (et al.)

Santa Claus

Two of my greatest loves in life are Christmas and comics, and so it's always a treat for me when the two cross over in that most wonderful of things: the holiday special. Even when those things are bad, they're still kind of good, because it's Christmas, and you're feeling charitable. But sometimes the introduction of Christmas-themed elements are not what you expect. Here are ten appearances by Christmas folk that might confound you, and that's even without mentioning that time Aquaman saved the baby Jesus from pirates by mind-controlling a giant squid.

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Avengers #24.NOW Variant Covers Pay Homage To Famous Covers From The X-Men’s Past [Art]

Avengers 24 Acuña

Following the conclusion of the publisher's Infinity event, next month Marvel will release Avengers #24.NOW, from creators Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic. Meant in part to be a jumping on point for readers, the issue will also serve as the introduction to the publisher's All-New Marvel NOW launch -- Avengers #24.NOW is concurrently being billed as Avengers #1 under this new initiative.

But as part of it's push to promote the new, Marvel is also celebrating its past. Several variant covers to Avengers #24.NOW are being produced, and some are homages to famous past covers, including some of the more memorable cover art from the 50 year history of the X-Men. To that end, Marvel has enlisted artists Mike Deodato, Daniel Acuña, Lee Garbett,  and more to create images in homage to the cover work of Jack Kirby and John Byrne, and you can check out some examples below.

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Best Art Ever (This Week): Metropolis, Pacific Rim, Transformers, Venture Bros. & More

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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.

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Best Art Ever (This Week): Breaking Bad, Game Of Thrones, Julie Newmar, Powerpuff Girls & More

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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.

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A Navigational Guide To 45 Years Of ‘Star Trek’ Comics

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The hit film Star Trek Into Darkness is now available (as a digital download; the disc gets released in a couple of weeks), and you can stream the entirety of The Original Series, The Next Generation and more on Netflix and through other services. But what if you want more; what if you want the adventures of Captain James T. Kirk, Mister Spock, Doctor Leonard McCoy and that one redshirt who’s probably going to die before the cold open is over in your favorite four-color format?

The core storytelling element of Star Trek -- a group of heroes in brightly-colored costumes battle thinly-veiled analogues of Russia, China and other places while exploring the cosmos and teaching everyone lessons -- seems like it would be perfect for comics. And it is, and there are some good ones out there. Unfortunately, digging through the back-issue bins and the spotty collections that are available can be challenging, and that’s why I’m here to help you out with this navigation guide to 45 years of Star Trek comics.

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Filed Under: , , Category: DC, IDW, Lists, Marvel, Opinion, Wildstorm

Writer Chris Claremont Will Do ‘A Little Consultation’ On ‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past’

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Though he didn't have any real input in The Wolverine, writer Chris Claremont will get some say in the next movie based on one of his classic X-Men tales: Days of Future Past.

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First Posters For ‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past’ Spotlight New And Old Xavier And Magneto

X-Men "Days of Future Past" poster -- exclusive EW.com image

 

This weekend's X-Men: Days of Future Past panel at Comic-Con featured four actors who play two mutants: Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy, who have portrayed Professor Charles Xavier in four combined films, and Sir Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender, two actors who've starred as the mutant revolutionary Magneto. Following that, in a clever bit of advertising, 20th Century Fox has released the first two promotional posters for the upcoming X-Men: First Class sequel, with one being a split image of Stewart and McAvoy's respective Xaviers, and the other showcasing McKellen and Fassbender. You can check them both out below.

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