Comics

Comic books and graphic novels

Mon
29
Aug

Geoff Johns, Engineer of Destruction: On Crisis, Continuity, and Consistency of Character

If you're not familiar with the impending Crisis occurring within the continuity of DC Comics... well, you probably aren't reading this article. For those of you who are, you're very likely aware of the role one of the main architects, Geoff Johns, plays in the current restructuring.

Plans for the future of DC have been kept Top Secret. And while we tried to worm as much out of Geoff as we could without resorting to violating the Geneva Convention, we were only able to glean a few nuggets of information -- not enough to inspire a Sutter's Mill rush, but enough to keep us panning away until Infinite Crisis debuts in just a few short weeks.

You've recently been appointed the official "Keeper of the Continuity" for DC. Can you elaborate on what this entails?

I'm a Consultant Editor along with Grant Morrison and Mark Waid. It's not just about continuity -- it's about "One Year Later" and all the stuff going on during Crisis.

Wed
05
May

Geoff Johns: Man out of Time

Geoff Johns is, by many accounts, one of the more prolific writers in comics today. Following a fan-favorite run on Marvel's AVENGERS, he currently writes TEEN TITANS, JSA, FLASH and, recently, HAWKMAN. He also has another hot project up his sleeve planned for later this year. One assumes Mr. Johns must have perfected a time machine--or at least a method of making it stand still long enough for him to keep apace with his current rate of output.

We were able to coax Geoff away from his scripting for a precious few minutes to get some of his insights into the characters he's currently working with.

Thu
03
Jul

Stan Lee: On Green Brutes and Blonde Strippers

Stan Lee 2003 Critical Blast

Stan Lee. If you want to talk about comic book creators with your non-comic friends, his name is one of a select few you can bring up with a good chance he'll be someone they've heard of. He's not the father of the modern comic book--that title goes to men who came before him. He's more the favorite uncle, the one your mother isn't crazy about, but who never forgets to bring you a surprise whenever he comes to visit and who always has a treasure trove of amazing, incredible, and uncanny stories to tell, some of which might even be fantastic enough to be true.

We spoke with Stan "The Man" Lee a little over a week after HULK--another one of his marvelous brainchildren--debuted on the big screen, and even snuck in a question or two about PUNISHER and STRIPPERELLA.

Wed
18
Sep

All I Ever Needed to Know, I Learned From Comic Books

I sat down the other day and began the process of sorting and rummaging through the comics I've amassed over my many years. It's a task I always take great pleasure in, as I invariably have to open one up every five minutes or so and once again read a favorite story. But this time, as I looked around at the boxes of four-color funny books, I began to reflect on myself as a person.

I'm not an idiot. I know what people think of someone over twelve years old who still reads comic books. I've endured many of those labels over the years:

Slow. I've a Masters Degree in Computer Science, and at last testing my IQ was measured at around 150.

Different. The definition of "normal" is still up for debate.

Geek. I treat this one is my personal badge of honor.

Pedophile.

Wed
28
Aug

"...And Death Be All That We Can Rightly Depend On."

“It can’t be! Not you! You’re… you’re dead!”

This exclamation has been plastered across more comic book covers than you probably care to count. Superman’s death was announced on CNN, before his inevitable return a few months later. Reed Richards and Doctor Doom have been resurrected enough times to give Christ an inferiority complex. The Green Goblin’s death was a milestone in Marvel history, undone in recent years by his return to power. Even perennial nonagenarian Aunt May has surrendered to the icy grip of death, only to return.

Why does death in comics lack finality? Does the industry cheapen the characters they’ve developed by not allowing them to expire when the time is right? And do the publishers cheat the readers by largely using unpopular or easily replaced characters when writing a death that sticks? (“Someone on this cover DIES in this story!” I wonder: Will it be Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, or the Stupendous Toad-Boy?)

Mon
26
Aug

The Superhero Fetish

Have you done it?

Entertained impure thoughts about your favorite super character? Had masturbatory fantasies about 'doing it' with a costumed partner? Composed a story -- even if you never wrote it down -- where the superheroine is captured and subjected to debauchery; or where the superhero rescues you and then stares longingly into your eyes?

Have you done it?

Well? Have you?

It all began innocently enough. (Honest!) In an earnest attempt to keep my ear to the ground of comicdom, I found myself wandering into the world of Yahoo Groups, wherein I entered a simple query: SUPERHEROES.

I expected the bulk, if not all, of what I would get back to be fan sites and wish lists, with perhaps a few hits worth exploring.

What I didn't expect was sixty-seven entries under the heading SEX & ROMANCE -> ADULT -> FETISHES -> SUPERHEROES.

Mon
12
Aug

David vs. Goliath, Round 2: WildStar vs. the Wild Stars

"You can’t fight city hall, we’re told. The folks with the bucks get all the breaks.

But sometimes -- just sometimes, mind you -- the little guy wins.

(LEGAL DISCLAIMER: ALL QUOTES IN THIS ARTICLE WERE GIVEN IN AN INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL TIERNEY ON AUGUST 12, 2000.)

In 1984, Michael Tierney did something that many comic fans would like to do: he created and published his own comic book, Wild Stars. By doing so, he created more than just a book--he birthed a trademark.

"You have a ‘common law’ trademark if you show use," explains Tierney. "I did the comic in ’84. I did the portfolio in ’86. I did another comic book in ’88. I was getting ready to start publishing again in the early ‘90s -- because the industry was really booming right then. My timing was bad in ’84 and ’88, because I was right in front of the black and white boom, and I was right after the black and white bust. So I was waiting for a right time."

Tue
01
Jan

Budd Root: Rooting Around the Basement with Cavewoman

He's the creative force behind Basement Comic's flagship title, Cavewoman. But who is Budd Root, really? While investigating another story (stay tuned, folks), I had the opportunity to speak with Budd about comics, Cavewoman, and... the Marine Corps?

What made a U.S. Marine want to become a comic book writer?

Tue
01
Jan

Dan DeCarlo: Archie, Josie and Dan

When discussing the Grand Old men that made the comics industry what it is today, you can't go too long without bringing up Dan DeCarlo, one of the originals of the Timely bullpen and a mainstay at Archie for decades. His creation of Josie for Archie Comics, and the Josie and the Pussycats movie, stirred up a controversy that once again brought creator's rights to the forefront of industry headlines.

Dan isn't with us any longer. Sadly, he passed on, too short a time after this phone conversation. But I learned more about the golden age of comics from Dan than I ever did from any book or magazine article.

Godspeed, Dan DeCarlo.


Your first work in the comics industry was with Timely Comics (which later became Marvel). What were you working on with them?

I started working with Timely in 1946. Stan Lee hired me.

Tue
01
Jan

Greg Rucka: A Good Enough Man For Any World

He's killed one person, crippled a second, and forced a third into retirement (after shooting him in the back three times!) With that kind of a track record, how do people feel about him?

They love him!

Of course, we're talking about Greg Rucka, the new creative talent in the Batman stables at DC. Having made his comic book writing debut during the controversial "No Man's Land" (in which he killed Jim Gordon's wife, Sarah), Rucka, an experienced mystery novelist with several books to his credit, has continued to rock Batman's world with unexpected events and some darn fine writing.

I had an opportunity to speak with Greg as he was coming off his latest shakeup of the Batman universe: the retirement of Police Commissioner, James Gordon.

You've written crime novels about cops and bodyguards. Is writing Batman a natural extension of what you've done before?

Tue
01
Jan

Scott Adams: A Phone Conversation From My Cubicle With Dilbert's Creator

Scott Adams and Dilbert

Nine hours a day, I stare at a computer monitor. I'm surrounded on three sides by cloth-covered panels that are nearly as tall as I am. My doorway cannot be closed. My neighbors' conversations (and, indeed, my neighbors themselves) drift in and out throughout the day.

Stuck to the walls with thumbtacks are the office worker's one sine qua non: Dilbert cartoons. Culled from newspapers, Internet printouts, and calendar pages, these business environment cartoons are sometimes the only anchors of sanity in an otherwise insane setting. They help us to laugh, lest we should cry.

It's the perfect place from which to call Scott Adams, creator of the funny pages phenomenon known as Dilbert, and wrest away a few precious minutes of his time. Hey, anything to break the monotony of creating yet another way to look at the same sales figures, right?

Mon
07
May

Neil Gaiman: American God (By Way Of Britain)

Neil Gaiman

An introduction of sorts will go here, for which I am completely and utterly far too immersed in Gaiman-speak to get into right now, for fear I'll present the whole thing up as some sort of unintentional parody. Suffice it to say, I'll give it the short introduction, something a bit longer than "Ladies and Gentlemen: Winston Churchill." And I'll probably be rather emphatic that the interview was conducted over the phone on May 5, 2001, for purposes of putting into perspective certain things like where the writers' strike talks were, and how this all fits into events surrounding the recent Miracleman brouhaha, and so forth. It will be a dandy introduction once it's finished, and it will actually mention, at least once, that the whole thing was done largely to talk about Neil's new novel, American Gods, which will be released on June 19th. So there's nothing really left but for the writing of it.

Which, oddly enough, it seems I have now done.

Mon
01
Jan

Running Comics Like a Business: Mark Alessi and Crossgen

Crossgen Logo

After having a conversation with Mark Alessi, it's not uncommon to come away feeling as though you've just attended a Tony Robbins' seminar. Throughout the halls of CrossGen Comics, everyone--from the receptionist through the top management--exudes a confidence and enthusiasm generally seen in small town crowds after a tent revival or traveling medicine show.

But these aren't yokels, and it's no snake oil salesman's spiel they're buying into. They're veterans of the comic book industry, and what's drawing them into the CrossGen fold is the time-proven business principles for achievement, principles Alessi practices with as much conviction as he preaches them.

Wed
09
Feb

Bob Ingersoll: Taking the Stand For Comics

Bob Ingersoll Attorney Comics

Wouldn't it be nice if, whenever your friends gave you the usual line about how comic books are "less than literary," you could point to some comic-reading role model? A doctor, maybe, or perhaps a minister?

How about an attorney?

Bob Ingersoll is the writer of the weekly column The Law is a Ass. If your friends point out the poor grammar of the title, you can confidently 'pooh-pooh' their lack of literary education. According to Bob: "The phrase 'the law is a ass' is from Charles Dickens' 'Oliver Twist' -- chapter 51 to be exact. In said words, Mr. Bumble, an ungrammatical and vulgar character, is told that he is legally responsible for the wrongs of his wife, because the law presumes a husband can control her actions. Mr. Bumble's ungrammatical and vulgar response was, 'If the law supposes that, the law is a ass -- a idiot. If that's the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor.'"

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