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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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Swamp Thing 140 by Morrison, Millar, Hester, DeMulder et al“Make Him a Monster Again, Make Him Dangerous”: The American Superhero Comics of Mark Millar, Part 21

Continued from last week. Morrison later made a point of emphasising how central his contributions to Millar’s Swamp Thing had been; “I worked out a large scale thematic structure based on a journey through the… [more]

Bugged 13Bugged Out!: Scarab Reconsidered 20 Years On, Part Thirteen

And so the big wind-up (or wind-down, depending on how you look at things) begins — I have no idea how much tinkering John Smith had to do with “The Power And The Glory,” his… [more]

Neil Gaiman and Hayley CampbellThe Lion, the Witch, and The Art of Neil Gaiman

Does Neil Gaiman ever get into your dreams?  I don’t mean literal dreams where you toss and turn in the middle of the night and wake up convinced that the Goodyear Blimp is being piloted… [more]

Captain America #20 cover artCapital Thoughts: Captain America #20

Steve Rogers wakes in a hospital bed.  He’s been dreaming of his mother, whether she made the right decision to stay with her worthless husband. Maybe it was a mistake; maybe she just should have… [more]

George R.R. Martin's fifth installment of his "A Song of Ice and Fire" seriesGame of Thrones and True Blood: I Read the Audiobooks!

Eric Northman describes Oklahoma as empty, economically exploitable territory containing nothing but oilrigs and Indian casinos in Charlaine Harris’s final Sookie Stackhouse novel, Dead Ever After. While not all of Oklahoma matches this description, the… [more]

The World of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle EarthWhy Worldbuilding Matters

A staple in genre fiction is the act of worldbuilding; when a creator crafts a mythology of certain fantastic elements and illustrates how they interact within the setting of the story. It is not just… [more]

Uncanny X-Men #235 - coverX-Men: To the Outback & Beyond… Part 7

Writer: Chris Claremont Penciler: Rick Leonardi Inker: P. Craig Russell Colorist: Glynis Oliver Letter: Tom Orzechowski Editor: Bob Harras When we left our mutants last, the team had returned to their Outback home following a… [more]

Agent Coulson“I Spent Time with Coulson. He’s a Good Man.”

I trusted Phil Coulson from the first moment he appeared onscreen, because he reminded me of someone I knew, a good man, who had a good heart. He was self-effacing and simple, with a sharp,… [more]

Superboy_Vol_4_35Brian’s Comic Book Grab Bag: Superboy Volume 4 #35

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 1994's Swamp Thing #150, by Millar, Hester & DeMulder. Here Millar pointedly has the Traveller described in a way that (1) evokes Barry Allen's defining tardiness while (2) reminding us that the second Flash's funeral took place in the absence of his corpse.Sneaking Barry Allen Back: The American Superhero Comics of Mark Millar, Part 20

Continued from last week. Millar’s habit of writing Swamp Thing tales, which demanded the presence of off-limits DCU characters, never entirely faded. Even at the climax of his run, and despite almost three years of… [more]

Uh...Zombie Tramp: Exactly What it Sounds Like

One of my favorite features of comics is that, unlike prose fiction, you can judge a visual book by its cover.  Covers can mislead you by juxtaposing compelling external art with mediocre artistic guts (shout-out… [more]

Falstaff and ShallowIf a Bell Chimes at Midnight, Does it Make a Sound?: Orson Welles’s Chimes at Midnight

It’s my favorite picture.  If I wanted to get into Heaven on the basis of one movie, that’s the one I would offer up. [1] –Orson Welles This week Marvel releases the first collected volume… [more]

monsters posterGareth Edwards’s Other Giant Monster Movie

A year ago I took a gamble with the cable in my hotel room after a long day of travel and tuned in to what I discovered to be Gareth Edwards’s 2010 film Monsters, and… [more]

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 027.cbr - Page 1Buffy: Retreat

After six issues that were essentially standalone stories, some of which were very experimental one-off character or thematic explorations, Jane Espenson’s five-part “Retreat” arc is a vital turning point in Buffy Season 8. In fact,… [more]

Uncanny X-Men #234 - coverX-Men: To the Outback & Beyond… Part 6

Writer: Chris Claremont Penciler: Marc Silvestri Inker: Josef Rubinstein Colorist: Glynis Oliver Letter: Tom Orzechowski Editor: Bob Harras That is without a doubt one of my favorite X-Men covers of not just this portion of… [more]

New X-Men #132Grant Morrison’s 9/11: New X-Men’s “Ambient Magnetic Fields”

Grant Morrison’s New X-Men debuted in 2001, about five months before 9/11. New X-Men came at an interesting time in American comics history. Marvel was being reinvigorated under Joe Quesada, radically upping its storytelling and… [more]

Bugged 12 imageBugged Out!: Scarab Reconsidered 20 Years On, Part Twelve

So here’s my theory: sometime between submitting his final scripts for Scarab #5 and #6, John Smith got word — probably via editor Stuart Moore — that DC wouldn’t be going ahead with his project… [more]

X-Men Figure 25What Should Be Done with the Mutant Menace? Part 5: The Special Case of Professor X

…continued from yesterday. In the previous four parts, we’ve seen how a very particular plot line structures the X-Men comics: the losing and regaining of control over one’s powers (and the comics are based on the… [more]

All New X-Men hard coverYour Homework Before Seeing Days of Future Past: Read All New X-Men and Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men

When comic book movies come out, it’s sometimes hard to tell what storylines they’re pulling from. Based on the trailers, X-Men: Days of Future Past focuses on a future where Sentinels have taken over, no… [more]

X-Men Figure 19What Should Be Done with the Mutant Menace? Part 4: The Evolution of Iceman

…continued from yesterday. We’ve been looking at the underlying structure of the X-Men comics: how mutants pose an existential threat to themselves and others, necessitating that they either control themselves (Xavier’s dream) or be controlled (the… [more]

71UGPKASQtL._SL1247_Maps to the Stars, Running to Paradise: Analyzing the Wild Palms Comic

If it’s even remembered at all anymore, Wild Palms is mostly known as the basis for an ABC network miniseries that attempted to combine the surrealism of Twin Peaks with the cyberpunk subculture, with decidedly… [more]

X-Men: The Last Stand screenshot (Phoenix with Wolverine)Why I Dig X-Men: The Last Stand

It’s widely believed that 2006′s X-Men: The Last Stand was a poor ending to the original X-Men trilogy. The film and 2009′s X-Men Origins: Wolverine seem to be regarded as the weak links in the X-Men movie… [more]

X-Men Figure 11What Should Be Done with the Mutant Menace? Part 3: Losing (and Regaining) Control

In Part 1 and Part 2, we’ve seen how Prof. Xavier’s dream for the peaceful coexistence of humans and mutants depends upon mutants being able to control their special powers. To this end, mutants must… [more]

X-Men Figure 09What Should Be Done with the Mutant Menace? Part 2: The Need for Self-Control

…continued from yesterday. Given that mutants exist, what is to be done with them? That question drives the narrative of the X-Books. The book’s villains—Dr. Bolivar Trask and his Sentinels, the Genoshan Magistrates, Apocalypse, Mr.… [more]

Black Box, from 1995's Swamp Thing #151, by Millar, Hester, DeMulder et al“Try Telling That to a 23-Year-Old Who Just Wanted to Play with the Toys”: The American Superhero Comics of Mark Millar, Part 19

Continued from last week. That “bloody big shadow” of Alan Moore’s extended far beyond the pages of Swamp Thing. Trying to compete with his achievements on the title was a daunting enough prospect.  But Moore’s… [more]