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Cosplay and Color: Skin Tone and Character Portrayals

Among my other duties for A-Kon is administering the social media pages, the Facebook group in particular. Recently there was an interesting debate on the use of cosmetics and other techniques to alter one’s skin… [more]

The Room

The Room is clearly establishing itself as the current cult classic in the vein of Plan 9 From Outer Space. I first watched it with two friends during a day when we were deliberately seeking… [more]

Why Ravi Thornton’s Graphic Memoir is an Early Candidate for the Year’s Best

At a recent conference I attended for English educators, a panel of writers was discussing the phenomenon of the memoir, and debating what the popularity of the form has to say about today’s readership. The… [more]

Sturm und Drang: Germanic Influence on Shingeki no Kyojin

Seid ihr das Essen? Nein wir sind die Jäger Spoilers to follow: The bestselling manga Shingeki no Kyojin by Hajime Isayama has been adapted to television, inspired several video games, and a commercially successful English… [more]

Bugged Out! Scarab Reconsidered 20 Years On, Part Fifteen

All good things, as they say, must come to an end. As must all bad things, and all mediocre things… and all truncated, confused, ambitious, intriguing, but ultimately, hopeless things.  And so it was that… [more]

Indian Culture in Black Butler (Kuroshitsuji)

I will warn you now: this article has spoilers. What I have in mind would be impossible without them. So, that said, allons-y! In the anime series Black Butler, episodes 13 – 15 introduce us… [more]

“The War Between the Super-Freemasons”: The American Superhero Comics of Mark Millar, Part 25

Continued  from last week. Millar’s command of his craft wouldn’t significantly improve over the remainder of his time on Swamp Thing, though progress would undeniably occur. He’d dial back on the degree of redundant dialogue… [more]

Hanging Ten: A Review of Silver Surfer #3

Of all of Marvel’s cadre of cosmic characters, none are more misunderstood or have as rich a history as the Silver Surfer. Introduced in 1966 in the pages of Fantastic Four #48 by Stan Lee… [more]

Zenescope’s Joe Brusha and the Problem with Provocative Covers

Founded in 2005 by Joe Brusha and Ralph Tedesco, Zenescope’s notorious covers have been a topic of intense conversation within the comic community for the entirety of the company’s history.  From souped-up, sexy Dorothy and… [more]

Larry Gonick, Thomas Jefferson, and the Fourth of July

The first time I proposed teaching a comics class, someone asked me what I wanted to call it.  “Um … Comics?  Comic Books?  Something like that,” I said, thinking it should’ve been pretty obvious.  The… [more]

X-Men: To the Outback & Beyond… Prelude to Inferno

Genosha was now in the rearview mirror but for the last several issues, ever since her dream sequence with S’ym, something had been building with Madelyne Pryor.  The demon “stabbed” her in the heart with… [more]

Review of Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert

In her award-winning novel, Mostert blends alchemy, the art of memory, high magic, and murder to create a highly original psychological thriller. Gabriel Blackstone is a cool, hip, thoroughly twenty-first century Londoner with an unusual… [more]

Alan Turing in Context

If you are reading this on a computer, and you almost certainly are, you owe a small debt to Alan Turing. He was the genius code breaker in WWII who theorized and created the first… [more]

Transformers: Age of Extinction Review

The fourth Transformers movie, Transformers: Age of Extinction, is pretty terrible. It’s not really going to have its critical defenders, so piling on the bandwagon and expressing my many problems with the film doesn’t seem… [more]

Optimus Prime Died So The Transformers Could Live

In 1986, Optimus Prime died. And I cried. Not big, wracking sobs or anything, mind you. But it’s entirely possible a single tear rolled down my cheek. I feel comfortable admitting that in a public… [more]

Roll Out! A Review of Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye #30

Since the beginning, the Transformers have had a long and distinguished history in comics that have included stories that have been both revered and fondly remembered over the years. From the concept’s earliest days at… [more]

Optimus Prime, Pedophile

Did you know that the beloved leader of the Autobots had a fetish for underage girls? Or that a Megatron look-alike not only shared the same fetish, but repeatedly tried to rape those girls? Or that… [more]

Reinventing the Cog: A Conversation with The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye’s James Roberts

Many might think Transformers comics are glorified toy catalogues at best. However, to Transformers fans old and young, the toys are but one facet or tool for the indulgence of the imagination in creative and… [more]

When the Good Guys Deserted: On the Blaster Saga, Conclusion

Continued from yesterday. The following American issue — #37 (Feb 1988), also by Budiansky, Delbo, Akin, and Garvey — follows up on the Throttlebots plot. It also features Ratbat and the Earth-bound Decepticons, who haven’t… [more]

Why “Man of Iron” May Be the Best Transformers Story Ever Told, Conclusion

Continued from Wednesday. As the final chapter of “Man of Iron” begins, the British military has unearthed a portion of the side of the buried spacecraft. It’s now clear that the hill in question formed… [more]

Why I Dig the Transformers Movies, Part 3: Dark of the Moon (2011)

Continued from yesterday. Despite its strange title, Dark of the Moon represented a return to form for the series and managed to push both its human and Transformers plots into brave new territory. We’ve looked… [more]

They Made Me Watch Transformers: Dark of the Moon

So please God read this so it’s not in vain. I even tried to find something interesting and maybe even educational to say about it. That took effort! [more]

When 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]

Brian’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]

Transformers: 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]