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sdfgA Sandman Miscellany: Sandman Overture #5 Review

One of the difficult aspects of reviewing Neil Gaiman’s bookend of his long developed Sandman conceptual universe is making heads and tails of the myriad pathways that intertwine in the grand narrative. [more]

Watchmen-1986Who Will Save Us Now?: Dirty Realistic Fiction, Grim and Gritty Superhero Comic Books, and the Legacy of 1986—Part 3

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility! In the quarter of a century since these books came out, the American comic book landscape has changed dramatically.  Whereas once upon a time, superhero comic books were made… [more]

Dark Knight ReturnsWho Will Save Us Now?: Dirty Realistic Fiction, Grim and Gritty Superhero Comic Books, and the Legacy of 1986—Part 2

All the reasons which made the initiation of physical force evil, make the retaliatory use of physical force a moral imperative! I read—and loved—The Dark Knight Returns when I was in the 7th grade, about three… [more]

Action 595-01Who Will Save Us Now?: Dirty Realistic Fiction, Grim and Gritty Superhero Comic Books, and the Legacy of 1986—Part 1

Great Krypton! In the fall of 1987, my father gave me 75 cents to purchase issue 595 of Action Comics, the comic book that started my collection.  I had read comic books before, but hadn’t… [more]

walking-dead-zombieEating Brains: Zombies and Dystopianism

In 2013 I was at SDCC meeting Julian Darius for the first time. After a long, harrowing comic-con experience we both went to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund after party. There were famous people… [more]

Batman Earth One Vol 2“If it Ain’t Broke …”: Revisionist Missteps in Batman: Earth One

Three weeks ago, while discussing the Superman: Earth One series of graphic novels, I mentioned in passing that I “didn’t care” for the Earth One Batman series.  Now as far as Internet critiques go, saying… [more]

5645J.M. DeMatteis and His Neglected Contribution to the Revival of DC

“Has our world become so twisted, so violent, that this is the kind of hero we produce?” Lois Lane, in a different world, types on her computer a new story and reveals to the world… [more]

When Manga Came to America: Super-Hero Revisionism in Mai, the Psychic GirlSequart Releases When Manga Came to America: Super-Hero Revisionism in Mai, the Psychic Girl

Sequart Organization is proud to announce the release of When Manga Came to America: Super-Hero Revisionism in Mai, the Psychic Girl, by Julian Darius. The first manga widely available in English, Mai, the Psychic Girl — written… [more]

Dark Knight Returns 2, cover“‘Cause It’s Witchcraft, Wicked Witchcraft”: Wicked, Broadway, and Revisionist Super-Heroes

When you write a weekly column, it doesn’t take long before you find yourself talking about something you don’t know anything about.  For me, that moment is now, and I just want to get that… [more]

From 1997’s JLA Secret Files #1, by Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Howard Porter et alA Thousand Batmen Blooming: The American Superhero Comics of Mark Millar, Part 8

Continued from last week. The superhero genre had become more and more susceptible to the myth of the definitive version. It was a fan-consuming fallacy which presumed that each character possessed an irreducible core of utterly… [more]

Legion of Super-Heroes #31On “The Elements of Heartbreak”: A Special Valentine’s Day Post

Legion of Super-Heroes #31 (July 1992), co-written by Giffen and Tom & Mary Bierbaum, would go down in history as one of the most controversial Legion stories of all time. Taking a break from the… [more]

Santa Claus Conquers the MartiansAlan Moore and Super-Heroes, Part 4: But Alan Moore’s Not Wrong

Continued from Wednesday. When talking about how super-heroes have changed, we always have to beware of nostalgia. The good old days weren’t all that good, and we tend to remember the comics, television, and movies… [more]

The Man of Steel (2013)Why Opposing “Dark Realism” is a Straw Man Argument

For years now, I’ve heard people complain about how it’s time that super-heroes weren’t so dark and realistic. I’ve heard this relentlessly about super-hero comics, but I’ve also heard it about super-hero movies. Most recently,… [more]

Man of Steel posterZack Snyder’s Revisionist The Man of Steel

The Man of Steel is very much Zack Snyder’s. But that doesn’t mean what we thought it did. (As usual, here there be spoilers.) Prior to the film’s release, super-hero fans had a lot of… [more]

Warren Ellis's SupergodOn 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]

Ultimate Galactus TrilogyWarren 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.

Stormwatch imageWarren 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]

Kingdom Come SupermanOn Kingdom Come, by Mark Waid and Alex Ross

1996’s Kingdom Come — a self-contained, fully-painted series by writer Mark Waid and artist Alex Ross — was first published as a four-issue, prestige-format mini-series, designated as an Elseworlds (i.e. out-of-continuity) tale.  The story was… [more]

9 khOn Hawkworld, by Timothy Truman and Alcatena (1989)

In the shadows of the planet Thanagar’s great High Towers, where the three billion souls of the Empire’s alien underclass are segregated away in the most squalid and soul-butchering of conditions, there’s a statue of… [more]

from Miracleman, chapter 3, page 2 (Eclipse version)Miracleman, Chapter 3: “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”

We’ve introduced Miracleman and discussed its first and second episodes, plus the first page of chapter three. We now continue our look at that third chapter of Alan Moore and Garry Leach’s Miracleman stories, which… [more]

Miracleman #16 side viewWhy Miracleman Matters

Everybody talks about Miracleman, but few have read it. Far more people know of Miracleman’s importance than understand why it occupies such a crucial role in the history of super-hero comics.

Comic Book Guy from The SimpsonsWhy Comics Have Failed to Achieve Real Respect

It might superficially seem as if comics have finally achieved respect. They’re covered by the mainstream press. They’re increasingly taught in colleges. Their adaptations account for a huge percentage of Hollywood blockbusters. Hey, even nerd… [more]

Superman Annual #11 (1985)Sex and “The Man who Has Everything”

Long before Alan Moore delved into literary pornography with Lost Girls, he was infusing his work with a broad understanding of human sexuality as natural. And this wasn’t limited to auteur projects like Lost Girls… [more]

Showcase #17 (Nov-Dec 1958)Your Guide to Infinite Crisis: A Brief History of Adam Strange

It’s hard to claim that Adam Strange has a particularly glorious history, but he remains one of the DC’s most beloved science fiction characters.