Say My Name: The Pleasures Of The Spoken Superhero Logo
There are a lot of ways that a comic book can reinforce the iconography of the superhero. A snappy costume; signature powers; an artist that defined the look of the book for a generation. But part of the iconography of the superhero is a good logo, and part of establishing that iconography is that hoary old comics tradition: saying the logo out loud.
How Pacheco and Busiek’s ‘Arrowsmith’ Keeps a Familiar Story Fresh [Fantasy Week]
We all know the story: a young soldier marches proudly off to war, his or her (usually his) uniform pressed and tidy, chest puffed out, only to learn that war is Hell. It’s one of the first narrative deconstructions we encounter growing up in Western culture, so much so that it in some ways becomes the new narrative. But any story can be kept fresh with the right elements, and by knowing how those elements are going to interact with the narrative. Kurt Busiek and Carlos Pacheco’s Arrowsmith is a fine example of this genre, set in a world full of magic and fantasy where the equivalent of the first World War is underway, grinding many an inexperienced soldier-mage like Fletcher Arrowsmith under its wheels.
Lost in Transition: ‘Demon Knights’, Shining Knight, And the Power of Clarity [Fantasy Week]
A few weeks back, my colleague Elle Collins wrote about Wonder Woman, specifically an interview Greg Rucka gave about her sexuality. The article was about how having an explicit statement of sexuality in an interview, and an implicit statement in the comic, were two ends of a rope that are infuriatingly close to meeting, but remain unspliced. Gender identity and sexuality aren’t the same thing, but they’re often treated the same along one critical vector: treating one mode of gender or sexuality as the default, and others as exceptions to that rule. So I couldn’t help but think of it as I reflected on the character of Sir Ystin, from 2011’s Demon Knights.
My Favorite Monster: Horror, Humor, And The Brilliance Of Bizarro [Fantasy Week]
There are a lot, and I mean a lot, of duplicate knock-off Supermen serving as his villains, since once you’re defined as the top dog of the universe, the only way to match you is to literally match you. My favorite isn’t Zod, or Cyborg Superman, or the Eradicator; my favorite will always be Bizarro.
The Storyteller: Remembering Steve Dillon (1962-2016)
Steve Dillon, well known to comics fans the world over for his work on two continents and across many decades, passed away on October 22, 2016. Writer Charlotte Finn pays tribute to an extraordinary artist.
Preacher Ma’am: How Does ‘Alamo’ Hold Up Today?
As someone who thought she was a dude in the late 1990s, Preacher was the comic I looked forward to every month more than any other. As someone who knows she isn’t a dude in the mid-2010s, I’m looking back on this series and examining what still works, what doesn’t work, and what its lasting legacy is. This week: it's all over. Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon --- with Pamela Rambo on colors, Clem Robbins doing the lettering, and Alex Alonso editing the whole deal --- set their pencils down with "Alamo," and their final word on the series asks us: who deserves salvation, who has earned damnation, and does it even make a difference in the end?
The Cats and the Furriest: Fun And Fetish In ‘Angel Catbird’ [Sci-Fi Week]
Angel Catbird Vol. 1 tackles one of life’s most pressing dilemmas, one we must all grapple with in spirit if not necessarily in flesh: what do you do when an accident turns you into a half-man, half-owl, half-human, and the co-worker you’re sweet on is really into it? The result is a colorful, old-school, pulpy, and none-too-serious comic from writer Margaret Atwood, artist Johnnie Christmas, colorist Tamra Bonvillain, and letterer Nate Piekos, with a lot of jokes and a pleasing number of facts about cats.
The Science Experiment: How Graham & Roy’s ‘Prophet’ Revival Smashes Expectations [Sci-Fi Week]
If you’d told me a few years ago that outstanding science fiction could be spun out of a reboot of an old Rob Liefeld comic with that one guy with the swords who grimaces a lot and has padding glued to his face, the first question I’d have to ask is, "Which one guy with the swords was that? There were a couple." The answer would be Prophet, one of the most fruitful experiments to come out of the 2012 retooling of the defunct Extreme Studios line, and one of the most genuinely enthralling sci-fi comics of the past decade.
Preacher Ma’am: How Does ‘All Hell’s A-Coming’ Hold Up Today?
In the eighth Preacher collection, All Hell's A-Coming, Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon --- with colors by Pamela Rambo and Patricia Mulvilhill, and letters by Clem Robbins --- start gathering their plot threads together; we finally get some backstory that helps illuminate a divisive major character, and we explore the dark side of the American dream of the second chance.
Preacher Ma’am: How Does ‘Salvation’ Hold Up Today?
In this installment, Preacher faces controversy, and not for the usual reasons – but rather, because everyone argues over whether this arc truly serves the story. Salvation, by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, with colors by Pamela Rambo and letters by Clem Robbins, is often considered the runt of the Preacher litter of trade paperbacks. Is it a misstep for the series, a needed divergence, or something else entirely?