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Analytic articles, whether historical or literary, scholarly or popular. Views expressed are not necessarily those of Sequart.

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from Transformers #36When the Good Guys Deserted: On the Blaster Saga, Part 4

Continued from yesterday. Issue #36 (Jan 1988) doesn’t only mark the conclusion (such as it was) of the Blaster saga. It also marked the one-year anniversary of the death of Optimus Prime — a year… [more]

Warheads_Vol_1_5Brian’s Comic Book Grab Bag: Warheads Volume 1 #5

Last Christmas my brother gave me a booster pack of random, non-sequential issues from a variety of popular comic book titles that syndicated in the late eighties to mid nineties. The nineties was a time… [more]

Headmasters #1Transformers: Headmasters and Cycles of Violence

When the Headmasters toys debuted, Marvel’s Transformers comic was selling well, in part due to the excitement surrounding 1986′s Transformers: The Movie. And so the Headmasters got to debut not in the monthly Transformers comic but… [more]

the first page of Transformers #35When the Good Guys Deserted: On the Blaster Saga, Part 3

Continued from yesterday. You might think that, after issue #32, Blaster would reconnect with the Throttlebots. But that never happens — at least not on-panel. When the story picks up again in issue #35 (Dec… [more]

from "Man of Iron," page 13Why “Man of Iron” May Be the Best Transformers Story Ever Told, Part 2

Continued from Monday. As the second chapter begins, Sammy wakes from a dream and walks onto his roof, where he sees an extraterrestrial craft pass overhead. It’s a creepy sequence, and it has far more… [more]

Preacher ArsefaceSouthern Bastards Starts with a Bang (and a Plop)

Southern Bastards #1, from Jason Latour and Jason Aaron, is the most recent high point in the barrage of high-profile releases coming from Image Comics over the last couple years. Insider fans like myself have… [more]

the end of Transformers #32When the Good Guys Deserted: On the Blaster Saga, Part 2

Continued from yesterday. Issue #30 (July 1987) — also by Budiansky, Perlin, Akin, and Garvey — continues the story, but begins in an unorthodox fashion: by introducing the Throttlebots on Cybertron. The Throttlebots were small… [more]

UnicronUnicron Vs. Galactus: Battle of the Planet-Eaters!

When coming up with villains, you usually want someone who poses a real threat to the story’s heroes. Few things are as important to a story as making the conflict seem like something’s at stake.… [more]

from Swamp Thing #150 by Millar, Swan, DeMulder et al.“A Martyr for All Mankind”: The American Superhero Comics of Mark Millar, Part 24

Continued from last week. At first, Morrison and Millar’s scripts were religious only in the very broadest sense of the term.  With the former’s influence clearly dominant, Swamp Thing’s series-opening crisis of identity is clearly framed… [more]

Transformers: The Movie posterWhen the Transformers Got Religion (in Transformers: The Movie)

There are a lot of reasons why Transformers: The Movie was revolutionary, when it was released in 1986. Its level of animation was spectacular for anything but a Disney film. Akira hadn’t yet been released,… [more]

Transformers #29When the Good Guys Deserted: On the Blaster Saga

In 1986′s Transformers: The Movie, set in 2005, both the Autobots and Decepticons got new leaders. Marvel Comics adapted the movie as a three-issue mini-series, but the main comic book didn’t leap forward to 2006,… [more]

from "Man of Iron," page 6Why “Man of Iron” May Be the Best Transformers Story Ever Told

When Transformers debuted from Marvel Comics in the U.S., it was originally a bimonthly four-issue mini-series, but it was so successful that it got extended. After a three-month pause between issues #4 (Mar 1985) and… [more]

Optimus PrimeThe Transformed Man: Close Encounters of the Optimal Kind

One day, just another day of organized happiness Like all the others I closed all the doors behind me. –all quotes from William Shatner’s “The Transformed Man,” words by Frank Devenport About a month ago… [more]

from Transformers Annual 1986When “Tales of Cybertron” Explored the Transformers’ Backstory

The original Transformers comic in the U.K. was augmented by hardcover annuals, beginning with Transformers Annual 1986 (published in late 1985). These annuals generally included several short stories, some in the comics format and others… [more]

Lee Horsley saves the damsel in distress, fights the tyrannical ruler and evil magician, and rallies the good guys in The Sword and the Sorcerer.Sword-and-Sorcery Movies: They Just Don’t Make Them Like That Anymore

Remember films like Conan the Barbarian, Labyrinth, and The Sword and the Sorcerer? Fantasy movies of the late 1970s and early 80s with lots of swords and sorcery, where the good guys always won? Remember… [more]

SherlockSherlock’s Women: The Good and the Bad

I was continuing my journey through my imposing edition of The Complete Sherlock Holmes when I realized my mind could not stop making links between the original texts and BBC’s hit series Sherlock. While I… [more]

fear and loathing00220Fear and Loathing in a Dead Guy’s House

I recently read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Then I watched the movie, which is a great adaptation. This is about those things, and also some time I spent in an abandoned house. [more]

indigo_prime_completeBugged Out!: Scarab Reconsidered 20 Years On, Part Fourteen: Indigo Primer

Before delving into the eighth and final issue of John Smith, Scot Eaton and Mike Barreiro’s Scarab, we need to take a brief side-step and examine an earlier Smith creation, the trans-dimensional troubleshooting way-above-top-secret agency… [more]

Uncanny X-Men #238 - coverX-Men: To the Outback & Beyond… Part 10

We left off last issue with Rogue / Ace and Wolverine rescuing Phillip Moreau from the Mutant Train with promises to “…bring this flamin’ country down” while their teammates finally arrived in Genosha on their… [more]

detailCapital Thoughts: Captain America #21

“The law of sacrifice is uniform throughout the world. To be effective it demands the sacrifice of the bravest and the most spotless.” —Mahatma Gandhi. So reads the penultimate panel of Captain America #21.  The… [more]

Hulk Poster copyAng Lee’s Hulk and Seriousness in Comics Movies

I came across a quote from Ang Lee made in 2012. It was during press for the film Life of Pi. Lee said he wouldn’t have been able to do the film without learning about… [more]

$_57Brian’s Comic Book Grab Bag: Cage #15 Volume 1

Last Christmas my brother gave me a booster pack of random, non-sequential issues from a variety of popular comic book titles that syndicated in the late eighties to mid nineties. The nineties was a time… [more]

from Swamp Thing 165 by Millar, Swan, DeMulder et al“[The] Most Morally Objectionable Comic DC Has Ever Published”: The American Superhero Comics of Mark Millar, Part 23

Continued from last week. As ever, it’s impossible to precisely disentangle Morrison’s influence from Millar’s. Yet Swamp Thing’s storylines and themes certainly bear the stamp of many of the former’s recurrent passions; magic and folklore,… [more]

f-for-fake-DI-2F for Fake: Orson Welles’ Last Movie

Years later, reflecting back on his life and work, Orson Welles would say, “I thought I was onto something,” in reference to his last completed film, 1973’s F for Fake. The relative lack of impact… [more]

MaleficentA Father’s Day Post-Mortem: Maleficent, Gender, and Fairy Tale Romance

Down with eyes romantic and stupid Down with sighs and down with Cupid Brother, let’s stuff that dove Down with love. –Bobby Darin, “Down With Love” Whenever someone asks me what’s the best part of… [more]