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Keeping the World Strange: A Planetary GuideKeeping the World Strange in Comics Stores Wednesday

Keeping the World Strange, our book on Warren Ellis and John Cassaday’s Planetary, hits comics stores Wednesday (14 September 2011).

Justice League International (2011) #1Justice League International #1 Review

It’s hard to put into words how silly Justice League International #1 is. On the one hand, it’s written in a style that’s a throwback to the very early 1990s. That shouldn’t be a total surprise:… [more]

Action Comics #1, top of page 9Not Your Daddy’s Superman: How Grant Morrison’s Action Comics #1 Works

Having slammed Justice League #1 so severely in the last week, I feel as if I’d be remiss not to point out how excellent Action Comics #1 is and how it gets right virtually everything… [more]

stormbreakerThe Heroic Struggle of Beta Ray Bill

This is a somewhat informal essay on a character that has fascinated me for a few years, Beta Ray Bill. While it echoes the work of folklorists and the hero narrative (Propp, Campbell, et al),… [more]

UA 2Mark Millar’s The Ultimates, Part 6: And Now for Something Completely Different

If Ultimate Comics Avengers was a departure from Millar’s previous Ultimates work, then its sequel goes completely off the rails.

Swear for foodSpider Jerusalem and Friedrich Nietzsche

“Spider Jerusalem is like Hunter S. Thompson in the 25th century.” That is how the lead character of Warren Ellis’s Transmetropolitan was first described to me.

Captain Picard facepalmHollow Spectacle (or How Super-Hero Comics Warped My Logic Circuit)

There’s nothing wrong with spectacle. Even, I’d argue, for its own sake. Hell, it used to be its own genre of Hollywood movie (e.g. Cleopatra and more recently Gladiator)! But there’s good and bad spectacle,… [more]

Hitchcock & Wertham Redbook interview page 1Diagram for Delinquents Update #18: Grimmness

In April 1963, two men sat down to discuss the controversial topic of violence in the media. One man had dedicated his life to the study and eradication of it. The other manipulated it to… [more]

Speedy on HeroinLoud Sounds and Bright Lights: Comic Books and the Addict

I hate the new Justice League. Let me be emphatic on this point: I loathe the new Justice League. I realize to a few this may seem a bit dramatic. After all, isn’t this book exactly what… [more]

Justice League #1, top of page 4How Not to Relaunch a Universe: A Negative Review of Justice League #1

How bad is Justice League #1, written by Geoff Johns and penciled by Jim Lee? It’s virtually a road map for how not to write super-hero comics.

Justice-League-1How to Launch a Universe in 52 Easy Steps: A Positive Review of Justice League #1

Though I typically skew toward hyperbole when I discuss anything, I will do my best to avoid such in this review. So let’s get this out of the way right now: is Justice League the best… [more]

Monkey KingFresh Off the Boat: Stories of the Americanization Process in Anya’s Ghost and American Born Chinese (Part Two)

While Anya’s Ghost subtly weaves the theme of the “FOB” and the struggle with Americanization into its story of coming of age and the supernatural, Gene Luen Yang’s award-winning American Born Chinese takes direct aim… [more]

IdentityCrisisCv1Defending Identity Crisis

In the past week, not only has my hero Grant Morrison said some pretty strong opinions over Brad Meltzer’s Identity Crisis, but Newsarama has listed the crossover as being their number 1 moment worth forgetting… [more]

08-23-2011 Page 4Reading Direction and the Story Experience

Comics are a strange thing. When you look at a comic page, if you’ve beheld a few of them before, you usually get right into reading it. Panel one first, then panel two, and so… [more]

The Walls of Samaris - final panelThe Walls of Samaris, Part 3: More Mysteries… and Some Possible Solutions

We’ve previously examined the story of The Walls of Samaris, a French masterpiece that deserves to be known among comics-literate Americans. In part two, we looked at several implications of its trompe-d’oeil device.

Diagram for Delinquents Promo 9Diagram for Delinquents Update #17: Testimony

1) This week’s Diagram for Delinquents promo card is greatly inspired. I like its eeriness, and I plan to use the handwritten font in at least one more promo. 2) I’m no different than anyone who… [more]

This retro movie poster by Paolo Rivera recreates the cover of the 1941 Captain America #1.O Captain, My Captain (Part 4)

I started this series three weeks ago to examine the suspicions of blogger Bosch Fawstin that director Joe Johnston’s movie, Captain America: The First Avenger, would reveal the filmmaker’s lack of pride in his country… [more]

front imageSuperman is a Sex-Crazed Nazi!

I’m astounded. We shouldn’t even be having this conversation. Yet here we are.  Racist tweets by comic shops, Glenn Beck talking about Spider-Man and the change of traditions, and a “radical” Superman. What the hell… [more]

american born chineseFresh Off the Boat: The Americanization Process in Anya’s Ghost and American Born Chinese (Part One)

One concept that often shows up in multiethnic literature is the “FOB”— Fresh Off the Boat—immigrant.

ultimate_avengers_2_020Mark Millar’s The Ultimates, Part 5: The Return

After Ultimates 2, Millar stepped away from the Ultimate universe for a couple of years. During his absence, Jeph Loeb took over forUltimates 3 and while it was a more traditional super-hero story, it still had… [more]

Moby DickThe Linking Myth

So why do I claim that “archetypal criticism” should be a principal (if not exclusive) means to understand the connections between mainstream and art comics?  

The Walls of Samaris, panel from the top of page 3The Walls of Samaris, Part 2: The Trompe-d’Oeil and You

Having introduced The Obscure Cities and walked through its first volume, The Walls of Samaris in some detail, I ended with that book’s conclusion. I’ll pick up there, so it’s necessary that you read part… [more]

DfD Promo 8Diagram for Delinquents Update #16: All Factors

I apologize for my anemic entries of late. Filming on the picture has been in full swing, and with the Fall semester is starting very soon, I have been busy preparing for that. (I’m teaching… [more]

mcmc-3-captain-america-332O Captain, My Captain (Part 3)

“There’s no patriotism like American patriotism, and there’s no patriotic superhero like Captain America.” So proclaims Bosch Fawstin in his recent post on the conservative blog site FrontPageMagazine.com. My only problem with Fawstin’s statement is… [more]

AC_Cv1_hiresx_02Further Defending the DC Relaunch — Superman

The air has been cleared a bit regarding Superman’s status in the DCnU, and (of course) it’s caused people to flip out a bit. Here is a quick rundown of the major changes: 1) A… [more]