Tom Scioli has good taste in comics. That should probably be obvious if you look at the influences that have filtered down through his work on titles like Transformers vs. GI Joe. While most of his favorites might seem pretty obvious, though, there are a couple of others that you wouldn't necessarily know about unless you happened to run into him at a con while he was whiling away some downtime reading through a back issue. Which is exactly what happened to me a few years ago when I saw him reading Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #115.
Despite my love of Silver Age Superman Family stories, I'd never read this Bronze Age classic, but when I heard the premise, I knew I had to go find it immediately. Because this is the story where Darkseid tries to kill Lois by giving her a magic typewriter that can predict the future.
Superhero comics were big business during wartime, with circulation numbers reaching six figures for popular titles like Captain Marvel, but in the following years their popularity began to wane until only a few were left standing. However, on this day in 1956 a new hero with a familiar name seemed to burst straight off the cover and reinvigorated the entire genre for a new generation.
Created by Robert Kanigher and Carmine Infantino, Barry Allen was a police scientist with a reputation for being slow and late, until one day a lightning strike doused him with chemicals and he gained the power of super-speed. Donning a red and gold costume with the iconic lightning bolt, Barry Allen took his name from the comic book hero he’d read as a child, and became The Flash.
You'd never have known the Black Canary was going to be so important. On June 11, 1941, a new character appeared in Flash Comics. She wasn't introduced in the "Flash" strip that gave the anthology it's name, or the co-headliner "Hawkman." She made her debut in a six-page "Johnny Thunder" story, by Robert Kanigher and Carmine Infantino.
Canary is introduced as a femme fatale to play off of the hapless Johnny. She's a criminal, but she only steals from other criminals, putting her in a morally gray area that makes Johnny a little uncomfortable, and for which his magical Thunderbolt genie (who was always smarter than Johnny himself) has even less patience.
It seems people are interested in Batman and Superman fighting, so I figured, why should there be just one movie about that? This week I decided to go back much farther than Dark Knight Returns to find a classic Batman versus Superman story to adapt for the big screen. I chose a two-parter from World's Finest Comics #186-187. "The Bat-Witch" and "The Demon Superman" were written by the legendary Bob Kanigher, with pencils by Ross Andru and inks by Mike Esposito.
The success of Jurassic World means that superhero movies are over! Forever! Why, we wouldn't be surprised if Fantastic Four and Ant-Man went straight to DVD and studios pulled the plug on the dozens of superhero movies already in production. Dinosaurs are the new superheroes, and in the future we expect all big-budget, would-be blockbuster films to be dinosaur movies.
Does this mean that comic books and graphic novels will lose their coveted place as the breeding ground for Hollywood's favorite source material? Not at all; there are plenty of dinosaur comics, ripe for film adaptation. Let's take a look at some of the more popular ones, and how likely it is that they may be coming to a theater near you... instead of Wonder Woman, Doctor Strange, or Justice League.
June 18 marks the birthday of Robert Kanigher, the man who wrote the book on how to make money writing comics. And I mean that literally.
Among his many accomplishments in a career that spanned four decades was the publication of How To Make Money Writing in 1943. At the time, Kanigher was already ten years into writing professionally, and in addition to sections on writing for radio shows, films and the stage, the book featured tips for aspiring creators who were looking to break into this brand-new medium called comics. Looking back, that book's a footnote, but I have to imagine that there were some good tips in there, considering that Kanigher would go on to co-create some of DC's greatest characters, including Poison Ivy, Sgt. Rock, and, in 1958, Barry Allen, the character who would launch the Silver Age of Comics as the Flash.
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 Wonder Woman.
I love Lois Lane so much. She's arguably the single greatest love interest in the history of comics, and like so many readers, I can't really get enough of her long-running love story with... uh, that guy. Jeez, it's on the tip of my tongue. What's his name. You know, he has the red cape, his name starts with an S, he's got powers far beyond those of mortal men? Oh! That's right: Satan.
While my favorite superheroes are pretty well-known, I've always had a soft spot for the weird, minor and exceptionally obscure comic book characters, too. There's something about those goofy little weirdos that only show up a few times that always grab my attention, and this week, as we head towards Valentine's Day, I think I have found a new favorite: Amy Ames, The Listening Heart!
Amy appeared in the mid-60s in the pages of DC's Secret Hearts as an advice columnist who would sort out her readers' heartbreaks and occasionally find a few herself, and I'll be honest with you, folks, those stories are not really that great. They do, however, feature scenes where Amy just tells a bunch of teenagers that their feelings are stupid, and that is a romance comic plot I can get behind.
Q: Let's say I know nothing about the Metal Men except some of their names. Should I care about those guys? -- @_lexifab
A: On the off chance that you're wondering why this is the week that people are asking about a relatively obscure team of disposable superhero robots now, I'm going to go ahead and guess that it has something to do with their return in the pages of the brand-new Justice League #28. That's a book that I approached with a whole lot of cautious optimism, because I've been a fan of those characters ever since I was a kid. One of the very first comics I ever read was that John Byrne issue where Chemo absorbed Superman and became a giant lime green Superman that shot toxic waste out of his eyes and straight up killed one of the heroes. When you see that at five years old, that's the imagery that's going to stick with you.
So yeah, I'd say you should definitely care about the Metal Men, even beyond just my childhood affection for 'em. Not only are they one of the most perfect concepts in superhero comics, but they're also one of the most interesting, on the page and behind the scenes.
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