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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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That’s Not Funny: Alan Moore’s Tragic Joker

The ’80s for comics is something akin to the British Invasion. American Rock-and-Roll saw a exponential boost in popularity when British acts invaded the already well-established scene, bringing with them unique stylistic influences that would… [more]

“Bogeymen”: Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing Issue #44

Swamp Thing #44 “Bogeymen” Cover date: January 1986. Writer: Alan Moore. Artists: Stephen Bissette, Ron Randall & John Totleben. Colorist: Tatjana Wood. Letters: John Costanza. Editor: Karen Berger. The issue opens with a scene in… [more]

From Shazam to the Devil, from Brother Power the Geek to Jesus?: Shameless? Part 8

Continued from last week. It’s impossible to say how much the young Millar wrote or how often he sent off his work to publishers in the years before he landed the Trident Comics contract. His… [more]

On Armageddon 2001 and the Annual-Based Crossover

Armageddon 2001 was the first DC universe-wide crossover to run through the company’s annuals. The central mini-series of Armageddon 2001 was only two issues long, acting as “bookends” to the tie-ins, which ran exclusively through… [more]

Humanity, Heroism, and Action: Grant Morrison’s Action Comics #3

Gene Ha takes over on art duties for the first seven pages of issue #3 in order to show what Krypton was like. The first page of issue #3 depicts Krypton as a colorful utopia… [more]

Ascending the Throne: Dream’s Return to Dominance in Sandman #25-28

Obligation to duty is an odd way of exacting revenge for a condemned archangel. Thus far in Season of Mists, Gaiman’s philosophy of duty and right work ethic encircles the conundrum of Lucifer’s Miltonian Hell,… [more]

1986: The British Invasion, Part 1 — Grant Morrison in 1986: Batman

As shown in previous installments, in the mid-1980s there were notable late works by two of the leading members of the founding generation of comic book professionals, Will Eisner and Jack Kirby. This period is… [more]

What if Superman was Really the Antichrist!?!: Shameless? Part 7

Continued from last week. The Saviour #1-6 (December 1989 to January 1991) Trident #5 (April 1990) The Saviour TPB Volume 1, Trident, 1990 (reprints all of the above except issue 6, with a Neil Gaiman… [more]

Neil Gaiman: The Early Years, Black Orchid’s Passive and Impassive Universe Part 1

Neil Gaiman, like Alan Moore, is someone working in comics who seems to need no introduction. Their influence and impact is so pervasive that they’ve practically become a household name. But there’s a danger to… [more]

Superior Spider-Man Memories

The premise of one of Marvel Now’s flagship titles, The Superior Spider-Man, may initially come across as a classic sci-fi plot: two characters having their minds magically “switched” to create fish-out-of-water scenarios. But within the… [more]

“Windfall”: Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing Issue #43

Swamp Thing #43 “Windfall” Cover date: December 1985. Writer: Alan Moore. Artists: Stan Woch & Ron Randall. Colorist: Tatjana Wood. Letters: John Costanza. Editor: Karen Berger This issue is aptly entitled ‘Windfall’, both for its… [more]

“That Wicked Tongue Will Land You in Trouble Some Day”: Shameless? Part 6

Continued from last week. Shameless? will inevitably reference the way in which Mark Millar has discussed his own work. As such, it’s worth noting that his distinctive public persona turns out not to have been… [more]

On Warren Ellis’s Super-Hero Work at Avatar

We’ve previously looked at Warren Ellis’s realistic worldview, at his much-celebrated 1999-2003 period, and at his work for Marvel from 2004-2010. One of the more interesting developments of Ellis’s career, especially given his professed distaste… [more]

“Don’t Tell Me What to Do”: Looking at Hellboy Refusing Fate by Pushing Freewill

Hellboy is the intellectual demon child of comic book writer Mike Mignola. It’s been published by Dark Horse Comics off and on since 1993. Hellboy’s origin is simple, during WWII in 1944 an occultist by… [more]

Humanity, Heroism, and Action: Grant Morrison’s Action Comics #2

In the supplemental material in the issue, Grant Morrison writes, “Superman is mankind at its best, and Lex Luthor is us at our worst . . . but they’re both us.” It’s a sentiment that… [more]

Sandman #21-24: Expanding Cosmologies and Dream’s Spiritual Subjugation

In the forward to The Absolute Sandman, Volume One Paul Levitz quipped that Sandman was an unfolding dialectic that narrowed the lines between folk tale and myth. Since the beginning of this  narrative, Levitz speculated… [more]

1986: Strikeforce: Morituri, Part 2: No Way Out

In Strikeforce: Morituri, the Marvel Comics series created by writer Peter B. Gillis and artist Brent Anderson, which debuted towards the end of 1986, the Earth of the late 21st century is under attack by… [more]

The Adolescent High Conceptualist: Shameless? Part 5

Continued from last week. It would take Millar almost a decade to develop a style that was as controlled and effective as his ideas were consistently intriguing. The first substantial evidence of this would appear… [more]

Warren Ellis at Marvel, 2004-2010

We’ve previously looked at Warren Ellis’s overall realistic worldview and how this is reflected in the revisionism of his much-celebrated 1999-2003 period. We now turn to his work at Marvel from 2004-2010.

DC Nation: The Final Days of Great Programming

If there was ever a time more confusing in relation to comic books it was the ’90s. I was born in 1988 and grew up a child of the ’90s, a product of a pop… [more]

Humanity, Heroism, and Action: Grant Morrison’s Action Comics #1

On page 1, panel 1, the first dialogue in the comic goes to real estate developer Glen Glenmorgan says, “and it’s a done deal! How about a drink to celebrate this turning point?” to a… [more]

First World Problems: Imperialism and Noncombatant Casualty in Saga Volume One

Comics are analogues of reality, and paint in fantasy tales more compelling than the real world conflicts they are based on. Saga overwhelms the reader with a terrible level of detail, capturing conflicts ranging from… [more]

“Strange Fruit”: Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing Issue #42

Swamp Thing #42 “Strange Fruit” Cover Date: November 1985. Writer: Alan Moore. Artists: Stephen Bissette, John Totleben and Ron Randall. Colorist: Tatjana Wood. Letters: John Costanza. Editor: Karen Berger. This issue serves to conclude the… [more]

Why are People so Frightened of Change?: Shameless? Part 4

Continued from last week. “Why are they so obsessed with continuity? A story is a story – nothing more, and yet people want to know which Earth Watchmen takes place on.” (*1) The adolescent Millar… [more]

Warren Ellis, Revisionism, and Reconstructionism

Last time, we discussed how Warren Ellis is a realist, and we contrasted this with the views of Grant Morrison. These two modes correlate strongly with two different modes of super-hero stories.  Revisionism, most frequently… [more]