When Batman Killed The Joker At The End Of The Killing Joke

(Video and image via BleedingCool) On Kevin Smith’s radio show, Grant Morrison discusses why Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke is important… because Batman kills the Joker at the end. (unnecessary foul language… because it’s Kevin Smith, I guess) Like many guys my age into comic books, I got this way back when it was first printed and even met Brian Bolland and got him to sign the thing. But I never interpreted the last few panels as Batman killing the Joker. Apparently this discussion was going on back in the day but via word of mouth rather than on the non-existent internet chat rooms and in blogs (like this one).

When it was first printed, it was clear that this was not a story set within continuity. The level of violence and disturbing imagery was so outside of the norm that it was clear how this was a story that could not exist in the same world as the Batman monthly books. However, since the events have been enveloped into continuity such as the Joker crippling Barbara Gordon, that line has become blurred. Of course the tone of the monthly DC comics has also changed so that questioning this story’s placement in continuity seems absurd. Therefore, Batman could not have killed the Joker, right?

But look at the evidence…

joker-600x941 There has been much fuss over this since the story took over the net yesterday. Then the script was shared which has gotten a healthy amount of notice and puts an end to this debate over the ‘Did Batman kill the Joker?’ question. As can be seen in the actual script, Batman does not kill the Joker… so where did Grant get this from or is it just a situation in which he misinterpreted the source material?

Or was this just a simple publicity stunt?

KillingJoke Thoughts?

Annihilator by Morrison and Irving

Since the days of ‘The New Adventures of Hitler’ through the Doom Patrol, JLA, X-Men, Superman and beyond, Grant Morrison has developed a cult following and for good reason. By blending psychedelic  visuals with the every day, Morrison’s writing have tapped into a unique corner of the comic book medium and his choice of collaborators has always been impressive,

In his latest project, Annihilator, Grant Morrison and Frazer Irving have reunited for possibly one of the most bizarre adventure stories. Combining creatures from black holes, fictional realities and the pressure of writing under deadline… this creator-owned book belongs on your radar.

Annilhator-Cover

Via Newsarama: Wednesday Legendary Comics released the first image by artist Frazer Irving from writer Grant Morrison’s upcoming all-new comic book projected called Annihilator.

Legendary reports more information including a release date will be forthcoming. Until then, here’s an in-depth interview with Morrison along with his editor Bob Schreck (and a video interview below) about the project from last fall’s New York Comic Con.

Hellraising screenwriter Ray Spass has one last chance to restore himself to former glory as he struggles to write a new studio tent-pole movie, Annihilator. The film centers around the adventures of Max Nomax, a sci-fi anti-hero caught in an epic struggle against the authoritarian artificial life form Vada and it’s chief assassin, Jet Makro.

But when Max Nomax appears in real-life, Ray thinks it’s a side effect of the brain tumor he was recently diagnosed with. Despite all logic, Nomax is real, having escaped from an impossible prison with no memory. Ray’s tumor is the key—it contains all Nomax’s adventures, downloaded into Ray’s head before Nomax escaped.

Ray needs to finish his screenplay in order to get the information out of his head and shrink the tumor. Nomax needs Ray to finish his screenplay so he can remember who he is, what ultimate crime he has committed, how to defeat Vada and save the universe from annihilation – if the unstoppable Jet Makro doesn’t reach Nomax and Ray first.

Grant Morrison, Batman writer no more

The pop sensational author Grant Morrison is nearing the end of his run on Batman. A writer who created a groundbreaking new kind of experience in comics while paying homage to his childhood fantasies and adult fascinations, Morrison embraced his cult of followers who saw him progress from anti-establishment apocalyptic drama to mainstream superhero comics. His Batman run has been a fusion of the two approaches with an added element of intensity and reinvention.

But it all comes down in just four issues.

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Via DC Comics

Little did I suspect when I accepted the BATMAN writing assignment back in 2006 that I’d wind up spending the next six years writing the longest continued comic story I’ve ever attempted. I thought I’d said most of what I had to say about the character with Arkham Asylum, Gothic, and Batman’s appearances in JLA. Clearly, I was wrong.

The original pitch was for 15 issues winding up with BATMAN R.I.P. but something happened along the way and, as I was researching his rich history, I became fascinated by the idea that every Batman story was in some way true and biographical – from the savage, young, pulp-flavored “weird figure of the dark” of his early years, through the smiling, paternal figure of the 1940s and the proto-psychedelic crusader of the ‘50s, the superhero detective of the ‘60s, the hairy-chested globetrotting adventurer of the ‘70s, to the brutally physical vigilante of the ‘80s and snarling, paranoid soldier of the ‘90s.

By taking his entire publishing history as the story of his life, I was able to approach Batman from a different angle and the multifaceted character that was revealed became the subject of my story.

What would such a man be like, realistically? This was a man who had saved countless lives, faced innumerable perils, and even prevented the destruction of the world itself. This was a master of martial arts, meditation, deduction, yoga and big business. This was a man who had tamed and mastered his demons and turned personal tragedy into a relentless humanitarian crusade.

Taking that man seriously meant I had to throw out a few of the accepted ideas about Batman as a semi-unhinged, essentially humorless loner struggling with rage and guilt. The totality of his history and accomplishments made that portrayal seem limited and unconvincing, so instead, my Batman was a true superhero at the height of his powers and the peak of his abilities, surrounded by a network of friends and associates, all of whom had been inspired by his lead.

I chose to build my story around the basic trauma, the murder of his parents, that lies at the heart of Batman’s genesis. It seemed to me there would be a part of Bruce Wayne that resented his parents for leaving him and especially resented his father for not being Batman that night, so the principal villains were an archetypal bad father figure in the form of Dr. Hurt and a dark mother in the form of Talia, our villain for the concluding chapters of the story.
batman-inc-grant-morrison
This master theme of damaged and ruined families was nowhere more in evidence than in the creation of Damian, the first “Son of Batman” to be acknowledged in the canon. In many ways this has been Damian’s story as much as it has been the story of Bruce Wayne and it’s a story that had its end planned a long time ago – for what son could ever hope to replace a father like Batman, who never dies?

And so, via Batman, Batman and Robin, Return of Bruce Wayne and Batman Inc. this epic tale has finally reached its finale.
batman-bat
Thanks to all the artists who helped realise the story – Andy Kubert, JH Williams, John Van Fleet, Tony Daniel, Ryan Benjamin, Lee Garbett, Frank Quitely, Philip Tan, Cameron Stewart, Andy Clarke, Frazer Irving, Scott Kolins, Chris Sprouse, Ryan Sook, Yanick Paquette, Georges Jeanty, David Finch, Scott Clark and of course, Chris Burnham.

Thanks to the inkers, colorists and letters and to my indefatigable editors.

Thanks to the readers who joined in the fun and contributed to the thought-provoking debates and analyses online.

robin-batman-inc-8-variantThe conclusion is finally here, with only four more issues to go. Four issues which take Batman to dark places he has never had to visit before. Four issues and I’m done, while Batman himself continues into as yet unimagined future adventures. He’ll still be here long after I’m dead and forgotten; long after all of us have come and gone, there will be Batman. It’s been a joy and a privilege to spend so much time in the company of pop culture’s greatest character but it’s going to feel weird waking up and not having Bruce Wayne’s calm, commanding, ever-so-slightly cynical voice in my head.

Batman forever…

- Grant

Scotland, December 2012

Batman and Son

Batman: The Black Glove

Batman R.I.P.

Batman & Robin, Vol. 1: Batman Reborn

Batman & Robin, Vol. 2: Batman vs. Robin

Batman & Robin, Vol. 3: Batman & Robin Must Die

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne

Batman Incorporated, Vol. 1

Grant Morrison’s Multiversity reintroduces The Question, Blue Beetle and more


A project in the works since 2009, Grant Morrison’s Multiverse-spanning project is finally underway. The most epic of all epic superhero fisticuff-slinging comic book events, Multiversity has hung in the air alongside Infinite Crisis, 52, Final Crisis and the recent New 52 relaunch as the next big thing since comic strips got foil covers.

From the details spilled over at TheHollywoodReporter, it sounds a helluva lot like his cult hit Seven Soldiers of Victory… which ain’t exactly a bad thing, is it?… or is it?

Grant Morrison’s Pax Americana

The story is an eight-issue series comprised of six one-shots and a two-part story, featuring different titles but working under the rubric of Multiversity. Each issue features a 38-page lead story and an eight-page back-up. They are set for release in late 2013.

Additionally, each issue will be drawn by a different artist, and while DC is keeping most names under wraps, it is confirming Frank Quitely as the artist for the fourth book, Pax Americana. Morrison worked with Quitely on landmark runs of All-Star Superman, Uncanny X-Men and We3, among others and Heat Vision presents an exclusive first-look from the book here.

Multiversity presents alternate realities and parallel worlds, something that DC was on the forefront comics-wise when, in 1961, it had the original Flash from the 1940s meet his more modern counterpart.

Morrison has been working on the comic for the past six years and he says he has never approached writing a comic the way he is writing Multiversity. Nor has he ever spent so much time on a project.

“Most comics are done in a improvisational way,” he explains. “Deadlines make it so you don’t have a lot of time to really work it and do a lot of revisions, so most of what you see is first draft. But for this one, I wanted to do a proper book about superheroes. So I’ve been writing this more like a screenplay, where you write drafts and then redraft and redraft again. And basically polish things down to as much as a sheen as I can possibly manage.”

Each issue will feature comics about the adventures of the previous story’s heroes, an idea introduced in that historic issue of Flash.

“If you’re having a war across multiple parallel realities, one way they can contact each other is to publish comic books that others can read and know what’s going on,” says Morrison. “So in each parallel reality you’ll see one of them is reading the comic that you just read the month before and finding out what happened to the good guys, giving them a chance to defeat the bad guys in the next one. They are kind of passing on, in a chain, their own adventures.”

Pax Americana, being unveiled at MorrisonCon, features heroes such as the Blue Beetle, The Question and Captain Atom, part of the group of characters known as the Charlton heroes, named after the company bought by DC in 1983. The heroes were supposed to be used by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons in the mid-1980s, but after the company saw Moore’s controversial plans, it balked and made him create new heroes, which led to the groundbreaking Watchmen.

The Pax story revolves around the assassination of a president and how the Charleston characters failed him. “We’re taking the characters and applying it back to Watchmen and seeing what we could get. Nobody has really used those Alan Moore tricks in 25 years so it seemed right to take that very tight, controlled, self-reflecting storytelling and seeing if we can do something new with it.”

He adds, “It’s not trying to be Watchmen, it’s more of an echo of a storytelling technique of Watchmen.”

Quick review: Batman Incorporated #1 (2012)


Batman Incorporated #1 is an extension of the previous series of the same name that Grant Morrison started. The basic premise is that Bruce Wayne has taken the concept of Batman and sold it as a franchise. Bat-signals across the globe inform villains that there is no escaping justice.

Initially the series had a rotating roster of art teams, but Chris Burnham stood out as the strongest of them. The look and feel of Batman Incorporated has been like the 1966 Adam West TV series on acid. All of the madcap ideas and unusual criminal masterminds are there and Gotham is an oddball city-scape that is more dream-like than real, but the violence is over the top, the one-liners are brutal and the logic is almost out the window.

If you can dig Morrison’s view of Batman and roll with it, this series is a lot of fun. Burnham’s artwork is also phenomenal and his page layouts are gorgeous. The free-flowing nature and eye-popping visuals attract me to this series, but the only real drawback for me is Morrison’s determination to out-weird the audience or at least throw in as many characters as humanly possible.

In this one issue of Batman Incorporated, Batman and Robin fight a gang of goat-mask-wearing crooks in a slaughter house. One of the gang members is a sniper waiting for the opportunity to bump off Robin. We gain insight into the life of this character, Goat Boy, that nearly takes over the narrative.

It feels very reminiscent of ‘Best Man’s Fall’ from the Invisibles. That’s a good thing, though and makes the issue stand out a lot. Morrison is a very emotive writer and can tap into the most forgettable of background characters and make them as interesting as the star.

The problem for me comes when this plot thread gets cast aside and we are suddenly in a sex shop watching a character try on an Azrael costume. He refers to it as a fetish and is taken down to a secret HQ where other people are dressed as obscure Batman-characters. Are these fans? Are they really who they appear to be? It’s very confusing because Morrison is attracted to the notion of the superhero lifestyle as a fetish and these could just be background characters acting out fantasies. But when Wingman if the International Club of Batmen appears it seems that this really is a gathering of crime fighters.

It was very distracting for me and kinda took me out of the comic.

The central premise seems to be that Robin’s mother Talia al Ghul has put out a contract on her son. Strangely, Batman welcomes it because it means that Gotham will play host to some of the most dangerous and daring killers all over the world… and he can beat them up.

Despite any negative criticisms, the issue was very entertaining and the artwork is absolutely astounding. If you are a fan of Morrison’s Batman, this is your lucky day. Even if you are not, you may want to flip through it in the shop.

Yes, there is a Bat-Cow

Robin the boy wonder, in all his acrobatic glory

This week at your comic shop – 5/16/2012

For the complete list of this week’s comics, click here.

Not sure where your local comic shop is? Try comicshoplocator.com!

(note: all information including ad copy is from the publisher)


If you can’t make it to the shop, just click on any of the images below to be taken to an online retailer. I don’t get any referrals for these sales, I’m just doing my bit to spread the word on some neat products.

Incredible Hulk #7.1

Incredible Hulk #7.1
By: Jason Aaron, Jefte Palo, Michael Komarck
Whatever happened to Bruce Banner? RED SHE-HULK knows, and she is NONE TOO PLEASED. ________________________________________________________

Grant Morrison Talking With Gods Spec Ed DVD

Grant Morrison Talking With Gods Spec Ed DVD
The first-ever feature-length documentary on the mysterious and iconic Grant Morrison, one of the most critically-acclaimed and best-selling writers in the history of comics. This 2-disc deluxe Special Edition inludes over 3 and a half hours of new material, including Grant blueprinting his creative process from concept to completion, and Grant teaching viewers how to summon the News Gods at home.________________________________________________________

Back Issue #56

Back Issue #56
Back Issue lets the ‘Avengers Assemble,’ starring Marvel Comics’ mightiest super-team! This issue features: Writer Roger Stern’s acclaimed 1980s Avengers run, West Coast Avengers, early Avengers toys, and histories of Hawkeye, Mockingbird, and Wonder Man. Featuring art by and/or commentary from John and Sal Buscema, John Byrne, Brett Breeding, Tom Defalco, Steve Englehart, Bob Hall, Al Milgrom, Tom Morgan, Tom Palmer, Joe Sinnott, and more. With a George Pérez cover spotlighting the Avengers’ ‘Big Three.’
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Nightwing #9

Nightwing #9
By: Kyle Higgins, Eddy Barrows
‘NIGHT OF THE OWLS’ continues here!

Nightwing faces another villain claiming to be The Talon at City Hall as the Court of Owls’ plans go into action – but will he be able to figure out what’s going on before it’s too late?
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Who’s The Boosk T-Shirt

Who’s The Boosk T-Shirt
Show your love for the galaxy’s most terrible Trandoshan. He never had a line, but his scornful gurgling spoke volumes! He’s the strong, silent type of bounty hunter that eats Wookies and smugglers for breakfast (and lunch and dinner, to be honest)! He’s here to kick glutes and receive recompense, so he’s gonna need your names and aliases. Why? Simple. ‘Cause HE’S THE BOSSK.
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Saga #3

Saga #3
By: Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples
BKV’s and FIONA STAPLES’ controversial epic continues! Stranded on a mystical alien world, new parents Marko and Alana encounter their greatest fear.
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Amazing Spider-Man Ends Of Earth #1

Amazing Spider-Man Ends Of Earth #1
By: Brian Clevinger, Rob Williams, Thony Silas, Sebastian Fiumara
From one “Ends of the Earth” to the other, Spider-Man isn’t the only hero fighting free the globe from Doctor Octopus’s treacherous tentacles in this extra sized story!

And the dying doctor has some wicked worldly associates of his own.

Guest starring: Big Hero Six and Union Jack
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Conan the Barbarian #4

Conan the Barbarian #4
By: Brian Wood, James Harren, Dave Stewart, Massimo Carnevale
Conan’s adventures in Messantia ended with the Cimmerian nearly losing his head, but now that he has an entire pirate crew backing him up, returning to take a city’s worth of gold is just too tempting-and pirate queen Bêlit has a plan!

* Writer Brian Wood begins a new story arc with artist James Harren!

“James Harren’s art echoes the old EC horror masters while still managing to be current. The motion of the action is superb on every page and it is ably matched by the character moments in between.”-Comic Book Resources
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Avengers Black Widow Perfume

Avengers Black Widow Perfume
Like changing clothes in the back of a chauffeured car, strip away the facade and live the life of a Russian Spy, Trained Assassin, and World Class Ballerina as you walk with the subtle scent of this Avengers Black Widow Perfume. A clear shot of citrus creates a bold statement, slowly giving way to a sensual caramel and honey note; kept too sweet by a pairing of dry sandalwood. Like a spider spindling silently from above, Black Widow dries down to a desirous gourmand delight of bitter chocolate and praline. This is a fragrance for those who can navigate the high-tension tightrope of love and duty – and who knows what it takes to be called a Black Widow. Ages 14 and up.
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Shadow #2

Shadow #2
By: Garth Ennis, Aaron Campbell, Alex Ross
Lamont Cranston and Margo Lane fly west on Pan Am’s fabulous China Clipper- but the golden age of air travel might just mean fiery death above the clouds for our heroes. In Shanghai, Major Tateo Kondo of Japanese military intelligence puts his own plans in motion, while his American counterparts struggle to catch up. The Shadow battles aerial assassins and worse, in part two of the six-part The Fire Of Creation.
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Deadenders TPB

Deadenders TPB
By: Ed Brubaker, Warren Pleece, Philip Bond
In this stylish science fiction epic from award-winning writer Ed Brubaker, a drug-dealing car thief must discover the secret behind his visions to save the world.

Twenty years after the devastating Cataclysm, society has been separated into sectors in which the rich are able to enjoy machine-generated weather and sunlight while the poor are forced to live an eternally dank and dark existence.

Banished to the dismal Sector 5, the angst-ridden Beezer discovers that the corrupt city police are hunting him because of his experiential visions of a pre-apocalyptic world. Now Earth’s reluctant savior must learn his true origin and the meaning of his visions before he is captured and killed.

For the first time, Vertigo collects the entire sixteen-issue run of DEADENDERS, along with a tale from WINTER’S EDGE #3.

This title collects
Deadenders #1-16, material from Winter’s Edge #3

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Star Trek Enterprise Ship Cufflinks

Star Trek Enterprise Ship Cufflinks
Dress for success or a night on the town with the Star Trek Cufflinks from Cufflinks, Inc.! Trekkies can choose from the USS Enterprise Cufflinks, which bring to life the classic starship; the Red Squadron Cufflinks, featuring the logo of Starfleet Academy’s elite pilot squadron; and the Starfleet Command Cufflinks, which feature the logo of Starfleet.

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Green Lantern HC Vol. 01 Sinestro

Green Lantern HC Vol. 01 Sinestro
The first six issues of the star-spanning series from DC COMICS – THE NEW 52 are collected in hardcover, with stories by superstar writer Geoff Johns and artist Doug Mahnke!

There’s an unexpected new Green Lantern in town: Sinestro. And now, this renegade GL has set a course for Korugar with one purpose: To free his homeworld from the scourge of his own Sinestro Corps – with the not-so-willing help of Hal Jordan!

This title collects
Green Lantern (2011) #1-6

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Doctor Who Lost Tv Episodes Audio CD Coll 04

Doctor Who Lost Tv Episodes Audio CD Coll 04
Doctor Who: The Lost TV Episodes Collection 4 presents in chronological order of transmission, the original audio soundtracks to the 1967 TV episodes to which the video no longer exists. Stories in this collection include: ‘The Macra Terror’ (remastered with a brand new linking narration by Anneke Wills), ‘The Faceless Ones’, ‘Evil of the Daleks’, ‘The Abominable Snowmen’, and ‘The Ice Warriors’, all starring Patrick Troughton as the second Doctor.
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Last Unicorn HC Deluxe Ed

Last Unicorn HC Deluxe Ed
Whimsical. Lyrical. Poignant. Adapted for the first time from the acclaimed and beloved novel by Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn is a tale for any age about the wonders of magic, the power of love, and the tragedy of loss.

The unicorn, alone in her enchanted wood, discovers that she may be the last of her kind. Reluctant at first, she sets out on a journey to find her fellow unicorns, even if it means facing the terrifying anger of the Red Bull and malignant evil of the king who wields his power.

Adapted by Peter B. Gillis and lushly illustrated by Renae DeLiz and Ray Dillon.
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Planet Of The Apes #14

Planet Of The Apes #14
By: Daryl Gregory, Carlos Magno, Damian Couceiro
As Sully struggles to sustain the fragile alliance between man and ape, Alaya must root out the traitor in the midst of her closest confidants! Writer Daryl Gregory and artist Carlos Magno continue their critically acclaimed run that Comics Alliance calls ‘…a wonderful world, not just worthy of the Planet of the Apes name, but better than it.’
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Pop Amazing Spider Man Movie Vinyl Figure

Pop Amazing Spider Man Movie Vinyl Figure
Inspired by the urban and stylized character designs of today’s designer toys, Funko presents a new take on one of comic’s top characters, Spider-Man, with their new POP! Marvel: The Amazing Spider-Man Vinyl Figure, based on this summer’s new movie! This 3 3/4″ tall figures of Spider-Man features Spider-Man’s movie costume plus all the unique design, bobbing heads, and articulation that collectors expect from Funko! Window box packaging.
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Adventure Time #4

Adventure Time #4
By: Ryan North, Shelli Paroline, Chris Houghton
Oh My Glob! The Latest Super-Cool Issue of the Hit Series! Finn, Jake, Marceline, Princess Bubblegum and even Lumpy Space Princess have banded together to stop that jerk the Lich from throwing all of Ooo into the sun! It’s gonna take a lot more than a sweet punch to knock this guy out – luckily, Finn and Jake are on it! The Cartoon Network cartoon’s brand-new comic book series is a huge hit! Don’t miss this arc-ending issue!
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Star Trek The Gorn 1/6 Scale Statue

Star Trek The Gorn 1/6 Scale Statue
The Gorn are among the most popular alien species ever to appear on Star Trek, due to their memorable appearance in the classic episode ‘Arena. The Gorn are an intelligent, bipedal reptilian species whose Captain fought with Captain Kirk on stardate 3045.6, under the assumption that the Federation was threatening the Gorn claim to the planet Cestus III. This incredible piece of art is constructed from heavyweight polystone and then hand painted to the finest detail. Sculpted in 1/6-scale, The Gorn stands roughly 13″ tall and is limited to just 500 individually numbered pieces.

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Thunderbolts #174

Thunderbolts #174
By: Jeff Parker, Declan Shalvey, Mark Bagley
The Clash of the Bolts concludes! In their most dire hour, the Fixer makes a devastating decision! Will Zemo’s legacy of evil destroy our present, or can the Thunderbolts pull the world back from oblivion?!
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Legion of Super Heroes #9

Legion of Super Heroes #9
By: Paul Levitz, Francis Portela, Steve Lightle
Kicking off an all-new storyline! Great jumping-on point for new readers!

Brainiac 5 and Dream Girl have been abducted by the Dominators…so why is the Legion refusing to rescue them? One of the greatest Legionnaires quits!
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Voltron #5

Voltron #5
By: Brandon Thomas, Ariel Padilla, Alex Ross
The Voltron Force is back where they belong…in the cockpits of their formidable robot lions. Zarkon’s final desperate play has failed and all that’s left now for the team is to break the blockade Planet Doom has erected around the Earth. The first arc of Generation Voltron comes to an explosive conclusion as the Voltron Force takes on any and everything Doom can throw at them…but can even they survive the secret weapon buried beneath the surface of Moon-2? For twenty-two pages, the action never stops in the story that could only be called ‘Interlock’…

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DC Superhero Chess Figure Coll Mag #2 Robin White Bishop

DC Superhero Chess Figure Coll Mag #2 Robin White Bishop
The DC Superhero Chess Figure Collector Magazine brings your favorite DC Comics characters to life in a stunning chess-piece collection, complete with a 16-page magazine providing detail on the character as well as instructions on how the piece operates on the chess board! Each official figurine is cast in metallic resin and individually hand-painted.

Get your collection started this month with the first four figures of this amazing set: Batman White King (#1), Robin White Bishop (#2), Joker Black King (#3), and Commissioner Gordon White Pawn (#4)!
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Walt Kelly The Life and Art of the Creator of Pogo HC

Walt Kelly The Life and Art of the Creator of Pogo HC
By: Thomas Andre, Carsten Laqua, Walt Kelly
For the first time an exhaustive look at the art and career of Walt Kelly, from his days at Disney working on such films as Snow White, Fantasia, and Dumbo to his work for Dell comics culminating with his work on Pogo, this full-color artbook has it all! Full of original never-before-seen artwork, Disney artwork, beautiful examples of Kelly’s comic book and book covers, and animation art. This definitive survey of Kelly’s career presents essays by Walt Kelly scholars Tom Andrae, Carsten Laqua, and Mark Burstein together with an appreciation by Kelly’s stepson, Scott Daley. Also featured is the complete never-before-printed interview with Ward Kimball, one of Disney’s ‘Nine Old Me,’ sharing an inside look at Walt Kelly and the Disney Studio. Also featured is a full-color Pogo Sunday sequence.

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Godzilla Fire-breathing Olive Zip-up Hoodie

Godzilla Fire-breathing Olive Zip-up Hoodie
Gozdilla lets you on his secret affection for Tokyo with this black hoodie!
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Steed And Mrs Peel #5 (of 6)

‘The Deadly Rainbow’ continues! Emma Peel has been reunited with her husband – but if they aren’t careful, they’ll both be gone forever! Who – or what – followed Emma’s husband back from the jungle? Anne Caufield and Ian Gibson bring swinging spy action back – you don’t want to miss it!
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Marvel Classic Characters – The Fantastic Four #5: Dr. Doom

Marvel Classic Characters – The Fantastic Four #5: Dr. Doom
Victor von Doom, aka Dr. Doom, is the true archenemy of the Fantastic Four and is one of the most recognizable villains in the Marvel universe. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, he first appeared in Fantastic Four #5.

A fellow student and intellectual peer of Reed Richards, von Doom’s face is severely disfigured in an experiment gone wrong. Doom forges a suit of armor and a mask that only he can remove and sets out to menace those he feels are responsible for his accident, including Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four.

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Kult TPB

Kult TPB
By: Jeremy Barlow, Iwan Nazif, Michael Atiyeh, Jake Murray
Fondly remembered for its philosophical complexity and controversial content, Kult has achieved legendary status amongst role-playing gamers.
The Kult graphic novel introduces this setting anew with parole officer Tomas Zenk, one of the few who can pierce the illusion. As he overcomes monsters sent to kill him, Zenk discovers the true extent of his powers, including the ability to exert control over the machinery of humanity’s enslavement. But will he aid the forces attempting to bring down the illusion . . . or succumb to the temptations of power? Collects the four-issue miniseries.

* The legendary RPG comes to comics!

* For fans of The Matrix and Hellraiser!
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Green Lantern Corps #9

Green Lantern Corps #9
By: Peter J. Tomasi, Fernando Pasarin
‘ALPHA WAR’ part one. Great jumping-on point for new readers! John Stewart is put on trial for the murder of a fellow Green Lantern by the Alpha Lanterns!
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Dazzler Statue

Dazzler Statue
Alison Blaire, the so-called ‘Disco Dazzler’ made her Marvel Comics debut in February 1980′s Uncanny X-Men #130, and went on to a solo series and team affiliations with the X-Men and Excalibur. A mutant with the ability to channel sonic vibrations into light and energy beams, her career lasted much, much longer than the disco craze from which she was born. Sculpted by Mike Cusanelli, the 14.5″ tall Dazzler statue features a genuine crystal pendant and stands atop a chromed disco ball display base.
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Complete Chester Goulds Dick Tracy HC Vol. 13

Complete Chester Goulds Dick Tracy HC Vol. 13
Dick and Tess’s house fire bombed! B.O. Plenty riddled with bullets! Sam Catchum apparently crushed to death! This volume’s villains include Blowtop, T.V. Wiggles, Dr. Plain, and Empty Williams. Plus a baby named Bonnie Braids is born, Vitamin Flintheart returns, and who’s the mysterious woman named Crewy Lou? Contains all strips from March 26, 1950 – September 15, 1951.
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Avengers #26

Avengers #26
By: Brian Michael Bendis, Walter Simonson
An AVX TIE-IN!

One of the Avengers must betray the team to fulfill their destiny with the Phoenix. A game-changer for the Avengers franchise…and it is not who you think! Comics legend Walt Simonson is back!!
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Avengers vs. X-Men #4 (of 12)

Avengers vs. X-Men #4 (of 12)
By: Jason Aaron, Jonathan Hickman, Jim Cheung
All across the globe-in the Savage Land, in Wakanda, in Tabula Rasa and more-Avenger battles X-Man for the fate of the world! Hope has a suicide mission to propose to Wolverine! While in space, the Avengers’ away team meets the Phoenix head on
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Avx vs. #2 (of 6)

Avx vs. #2 (of 6)
By: Kieron Gillen, Salvador Larroca
The premier tie-in to Avengers Vs. X-Men! Read all about Spider-Man Vs. Colossus and Captain America Vs. Gambit.
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James Bond 50th Ann Trading Card Collector Album

James Bond 50th Ann Trading Card Collector Album
Fifty years ago Sean Connery picked up his gun and entered cinematic history as James Bond in Dr. No, the first of EON Productions’ films based on Ian Fleming’s Cold War spy thrillers. Rittenhouse Archives’ James Bond 50th-Anniversary Trading Cards draws upon the history of the films for a 100-card base series that features gold foil stamping/embossing on every card matched to imagery from the films from Dr. No through Quantum of Solace. In addition, ther are bonus sets including Parallel Card, Dr. No, Dr. No Gold Foil, ‘Bond… James Bond,’ Commemorative Gold Foil, 007 Gold Gallery, and Shadowbox cards. Collectors will want to store these cards in the official Collector’s Album, custom-designed to store the entire collection plus a bonus promo card. 5 cards per pack, 24 packs per box.
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Alter Ego #109

Alter Ego #109
Alter Ego focuses this month on the Golden Age Justice Society of America, behind a fabulous cover by George Pérez, never before printed full-size! There’s a spotlight on Spectre/Hour-Man creator Bernard Baily and Johnny Thunder creator John B. Wentworth, startling additions to the 4 volumes of The All-Star Companion, the JSA-style 1940s super-groups that might have been, a gorgeous JSA Color Section, and many surprise features!
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Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde HC Vol. 01 New Printing

Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde HC Vol. 01 New Printing
Russell’s Harvey and Eisner awards winning first volume adapting Wilde’s lyrically worded tales presents two stories.

The Selfish Giant will not share anything of his until a little boy manages to open his heart. The Star Child is full of vanity, cruelty and haughtiness…until he meets his beggar woman mother.

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Daredevil #13

Daredevil #13
By: Mark Waid, Khoi Pham
THIS IS IT: “Megacrime and Punishment.” Be here as Megacrime strikes back at Daredevil, and Matt’s “happy go lucky” veneer begins to peel back at last, revealing . . . darker truths that may end his career as Daredevil.

Artist Khoi Pham returns!
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Fantastic Four #605.1

Fantastic Four #605.1
By: Jonathan Hickman, Mike Choi
Fantastic Four #605.1 reveals the secret history of the Fantastic Four. Everything starts just like you remember . . . but it ends completely differently.
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Hulk Smash Avengers #3 (of 5)

Hulk Smash Avengers #3 (of 5)
By: Roger Stern, Karl Moline, Lee Weeks
A five-part, weekly punch-fest that explores the ever-evolving relationship between the Gamma Goliath and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!

Hulk vs. the ’80s-era Avengers: Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Wasp, Captain Marvel and Thor!
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Winter Soldier #5

Winter Soldier #5
By: Ed Brubaker, Butch Guice, Lee Bermajo
Ed Brubaker and Butch Guice bring the Winter Soldier’s first arc to a dramatic ending! Can Bucky and the Black Widow prevent war with Latveria? Can Bucky stop the Sleepers he himself trained? Can this series get any cooler?
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Alter Ego #108

Alter Ego #108
Behind a ‘Sub-Mariner vs. Human Torch’ cover by Bill Everett & Carl Burgos, 1970s Bullpenner Warren Reece talks about Marvel Comics and his encounters with legends Everett, Burgos, John Romita, Stan Lee, Marie Severin, Neal Adams, Gary Friedrich, Roy Thomas, and more with rare and never-seen art and artifacts! Plus Dewey Cassell throws a biographical spotight on Standard/Nedor Golden Age artist Mike Peppe, featuring art by Alex Toth, Ross Andru, George Tuska, John Celardo, Bob Lubbers, and others!
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Venom #18

Venom #18
By: Rick Remender, Lan Medina, Michael Del Mundo
Venom faces a gauntlet of doom as the Crime-Master unites Jack O’Lantern, The Human Fly, Toxin and more to destroy Flash Thompson!

The Crime-Master’s plan is so diabolical, so vile, that it forces Eddie Brock to become a symbiote’s host once more – and takes the war to Flash Thompson’s family, Betty Brant, and even Peter Parker!

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New Mutants #42

New Mutants #42
By: Dan Abnett, Carmine Di Giandomenico, Stephanie Hans
Exiled part 3 of 5!

Gods made mortal, with mutants their only hope for survival! Undead cannibals on the loose, San Francisco turned inside out by forbidden magic!

A thrilling mythological mystery adventure in the Mighty Marvel manner, the most epic crossover of 2012! (Not counting that one where As fight Xs)
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Moon Knight By Bendis And Maleev Prem HC Vol. 02

Moon Knight By Bendis And Maleev Prem HC Vol. 02
By: Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev
Moon Knight throws down with the Kingpin of Los Angeles! But the battle for LA’s soul claims a life – one that will be felt throughout the Marvel Universe! And once LA’s Kingpin pushes him over the edge, Moon Knight succumbs to the abyss of his new multiple personalities.

What force on Earth can bring him back from the brink? Enter: the Avengers! But after all he’s been through, will there be anything left of the one-man Avenger to save?

Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev continue the adventures of Marvel’s psyche-splitting superstar!

This title collects
Moon Knight (2011) #8-12

Is Batman Gay? Grant Morrison says ‘Yes’

A rare Bob Kane Batman collage

DC Comics writer Grant Morrison’s words are making the rounds in the news in various places that Batman is gay.

“Gayness is built into Batman. I’m not using gay in the pejorative sense, but Batman is very, very gay. There’s just no denying it. Obviously as a fictional character he’s intended to be heterosexual, but the basis of the whole concept is utterly gay.”

What’s obviously happening here is a modern interpretation of a late 1930′s creation. There’s an uncomfortable feeling that some adults have when viewing Batman running around with a little kid and they jump to the conclusion that not only is Batman gay, but he’s a pedophile as well. Not only is that incorrect, it’s an insult to the character, Bob Kane and the gay community come to think of it.

In a radio interview, Bob Kane gleefully spoke of how initial ideas for Batman came from his own experience as a young gang member. He would put on a mask and run around in the junkyard. He especially liked climbing up high and looking down at the others, planning his next moves like a certain caped crusader.

Robin not only softened the grim detective image of Batman but in effect he WAS Bob Kane as a young boy, living out the non-stop adventure fantasy. There was no real threat from the villains, just swashbuckling adventure.

To insinuate that Batman dresses up as a fetish is a modern interpretation built on a pre-occupation of the reader or critic with deviant behavior (I find that most people who assume that Batman and Robin are gay do not actually read the comics and have no real interest in them). While this may intriguing to a modern audience, it was threatening to psychologist Fredric Wertham who used the argument against Batman comics, saying that they were perverting the minds of children. “Batman stories are psychologically homosexual.”

Wertham’s and Morrison’s words seem all too similar and I’d like to believe that’s a misinterpretation on my part.

Morrison is a very intelligent guy and mild-mannered in person. He has also written several forward-thinking comics such as the Invisibles, We3 and Doom Patrol. His assertion that Batman is patently gay is likely an attempt to drum up some press rather than a statement driven by his own opinion.

The need to mask his identity, something that many comic book superheroes on the page and in film have done away with, seems to stick with Batman. He avoids helping anyone or using his abilities when he can clearly help others simply because he must maintain his secret life. But that’s more of an indicator of deep psychological trauma than a secret sexual identity. If Batman were gay, he’d just accept it. He knows what he is.

If you want to look for proof that Batman is gay, just take a glance at Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever and follow-up Batman and Robin. Both films feature Batman and Robin separated by about a decade at best. Dick Grayson loses his parents and instead of moving on, starts living with Bruce Wayne, the creepy bachelor who lives far away from the city (never mind that he is also hunted by the alluring psychologist Nicole Kidman… because it jars with the Bruce/Dick relationship that dominates the rest of the film… maybe he’s bi-sexual and not ready to settle?).

Their rippling costumes festooned with rock-hard abs and nipples that stand to attention… it’s just too easy to point out that this is a fetishistic sexual fantasy of two young fit men. It also fits the rave party fantasy that Morrison’s argument eludes to.

But Schumacher’s Batman has little to nothing to do with the actual comic book.

Robin in the comics was a child with nowhere to go after his parents were killed, so Bruce took him on as his ward. The father/son relationship gets fuzzy as Dick Grayson, Jason Todd and the other Robins have aged while Bruce remains in his mid-30′s. The current Robin is the nine year-old child of Bruce Wayne, possibly to help remove any thought of a sexual relationship from the minds of readers.

In line with the wild and swashbuckling fantasy of Bib Kane’s Batman, the theme of the man that got away is played out in several superhero comics. In Batman, he shies away from the embrace of many ladies, but is caught by a few as well such as Batwoman.

To a modern reader the endless scenarios in which Superman, Batman and Captain America actively avoid women are hilarious, especially in the case of Superman escaping Lois Lane’s advances. In the case of Captain America, it often seems as if Steve Rogers is trying to keep Bucky from experiencing a woman’s company. So great is this that it’s laughable, but again built on a comment juvenile male conceit that girls are ‘icky’ rather than an intention of the creators to present gay superheroes. Simon and Kirby were NOT that ahead of their time.

And just as others have pointed to the goofy 1940′s comics for proof that Batman is gay, let me just do the same as Robin supports my argument on the printed page.

Quick review: Action Comics #8

Action Comics #8

By Grant Morrison, Rags Morales, Brad Walker, Rick Bryant and Bob McLeod

Metropolis has been shrunken into part of Brainiac’s collection. In a bar, Lex Luthor attempts to convince Lois Lane that he is not the villain here and that Superman is still a threat. Multimillionaire Glen Glenmorgan, CEO of Galaxy Communications, is a shattered mess as his mind drivels away, realizing that it was all the Devil’s doing. Meanwhile Superman discovers his Kryptonian legacy and begins the first real conflict in what promises to be a never-ending battle with the forces of evil.

If the above sounds quite massive, a bit scatter-shot and muddled while attempting to bridge the gap between Superman’s early years and his present status as the man of steel and guardian of the planet… that’s because it is. When I initially reviews Grant Morrison’s first issue on Action Comics, I gave it high accolades for its bold new direction and alternate stance on the character. Seven issues later (two of them being very awkward fill-ins with the Legion of Super Heroes of the future) and I change my plea to guilty.

The story so far…

The first eight issues form a very rickety arc with the hated and feared alien masquerading as a socialist reporter at one end and the shiny hero with a high profile job at the Daily Planet at the other. In between Lex Luthor and the military hunt Superman like the menace that he has shown himself to be. As a reporter, Clark Kent lives the life of a recluse in a shoddy apartment, writing stories that threaten the establishment and put him in danger. His friend Jimmy Olsen has a cushy job at the Daily Planet with star reporter Lois Lane, but they fail to really get along. Both are interested in the truth and common good, it’s just that Clark’s tactics are more dangerous.

Behind the scenes, Luthor is in touch with an alien entity that is later revealed to be Brainiac. Brainiac promises power to Luthor who is understandably out-classed by the rabble-rousing superhuman dynamo that refuses to be categorized and studied. A flabby genius and egomaniac, Luthor jumps at the first chance to assist the military in defending the planet from alien threats using alien tech, leading to the creation of Metal 0 (geddit?), which of course turns out to be a rampaging monster hell-bent on killing Superman and anyone who gets in his way.

There are some back-up stories with John Henry Irons (AKA Steel) that kinda fail to come together and mainly serve to beef up the page count and justify the $3.99 price point. When Metropolis is finally taken by Brainiac (having merged with Metal 0), Superman literally sheds his street clothes and bad boy persona for the regal attire of a Kryptonian, conveniently on display aboard Brainiac’s ship.

Thus, does Superman move from menace to savior and all of the toys are in their respective slots… how boring.

In addition to the comic being drawn by three separate art teams, it is narratively and logically all over the place. I mean, exactly why are all the major characters hanging out in the SAME BAR? Isn’t most of Metropolis in the bottle? Is that the ONLY bar in the bottle? Oh, and another character has actually found himself in a bottle and is trying to figuratively climb into one, the unlikely-named Glen Glenmorgan. That has to be the laziest of ironic twists I have ever seen.

Lois, Lex and Jimmy.... in a bar

Why has Glenmorgan suddenly lost his mind and why should we care? The ‘little man’ that he refers to is the stuff of internet forum discussion, but I wager that it could relate to the leader of the Superman Revenge Squad seen in the two filler issues. Unfortunately, the art styles are so different and that story takes place in the future making it nearly impossible to guess or understand why this could be an accurate guess. Also, how is anyone responsible for granting Glenmorgan anything? It’s obvious that all of this will be addressed in (much) later issues, but seeing as how the character has barely featured in the series it’s just annoyingly obtuse.

Glenmorgan ruminates on his rise and fall

Did he just say 'Join the collection pie?'

Superman is challenged by Brainiac to choose between his alien background and his connection to Earth, with Metropolis and the bottled city of Kandor hanging in the balance. Brainiac is a confusingly designed multiple-brained spider-thing with John Corben grafted into its middle, like some kids toy from the 80′s gone horribly wrong. Superman attempts to connect with what’s left of Corben with limited success, but it’s unclear how direct the connection is between Corben and Brainiac, so I was never sure how important this was.

In the end, Superman just shoots the miniaturized rocket that took him to Earth into Brainiac which over-rides its programming. This could be the only part of the story that I enjoyed and it ties into Morrison’s credo of making friends with your enemies, but it’s also so awkwardly crafted that I can’t bring myself to praise it.

The issue ends with Superman getting the key to the city, making a joke related to the Silver Age Fortress of Solitude and visiting his parents’ grave site. There he realizes his mission to use his powers to make a positive difference, and that his work has just begun.

The never-ending battle

I’ve been going through something of a Superman run the past year or so, re-reading some old Bronze Age material, the Geoff Johns stuff leading up to War of the Supermen, Secret Origin an Mark Waid’s series Birthright. I’ve really enjoyed all of the comics and even with the muddied mess that War of the Supermen became due to the multiple crossovers and loss of Johns as head writer, it tells a compelling story that challenges what makes the character work while refusing to twist his personality. I like that a lot.

The journey through pre-52-land has taught me a very important lesson, that there’s a lot of love for this character and hardly any editorial direction. It seems that DC Comics is just madly stabbing away at a dart board of ideas, desperate to sell a superhero that sells himself, and in the process stands to ruin him.

This kind of decision making leads to the introduction of  a controversial socialist Superman in the first issue of the new action comics only to resolve him into the iconic hero at the end of the eighth. In effect (unless subsequent issues prove me wrong), DC has messed with one of their most renowned creations then reverted him back to type. The fact that the Superman series is set after the events of the first eight issues of Action Comics and is duller than dull makes me almost certain that the ‘new Superman’ is just the old Superman with a red belt and wearing his underwear inside of his pants.

I’m not so down on the New 52 Superman, but Action Comics has been, at best, a mixed affair and the Superman monthly book a largely disappointing dud which is already onto its second creative team (I really want that series and this one to work, is it too much to ask for at least one good Superman title?).

Joe Quesada said it best when he pointed out that if DC knew what they were doing, Marvel would not be in business (I’m paraphrasing) because they own the best characters. Superman and Batman are easily the most recognizable properties worldwide. Their images sell everything from video games to band aids.

The stories of Superman and Batman touch nearly every human being, as a story of hope and determination in the face of insurmountable odds. However, the comics themselves are nearly unapproachable except for a select few. Based on the sales figures, the remaining readers are hooked and enjoying what DC is doing, but the publisher could be reaching so many more readers if they simply allowed the characters to be what they are, and not attempt to modernize and alter them so much that they bear little resemblance to their iconic identities. It’s possible to have both, All-Star Superman showed that for one thing, but why not use a similar approach in a monthly series rather than a specialty book?

With a major motion picture for Superman (yet another reboot) on its way and the DC Universe ramping up a block of programming on the Cartoon Network, you’d think this would all be streamlined and well crafted, but if this issue is any indication (and as a major showcase character it should set the standard), then there’s a lot of work still to be done.

Rant concludes… back to your business…

Quick review: Action Comics #1

Action Comics #1

By Grant Morrison and Rags Morales
Superman is an institution. What is regarded by many as the gold standard by which all other superheroes are judged, Superman is the alpha and omega of the man on tights ideal. You don’t mess with Superman… unless he’s not selling and you have no idea what he’s about. In that case you release several comics that show your best character in various stages of his life and you rebuild it from the ground up. That’s what DC Entertainment has done with Superman by handing him to the man with a plan, Scots mastermind Grant Morrison.

As he pointed out in a Rolling Stone interview, times are tough for the comics industry:

There’s always going to be a bit of that because comics sales are so low, people are willing to try anything these days. It’s just plummeting. It’s really bad from month to month. May was the first time in a long time that no comic sold over 100,000 copies, so there’s a decline.

Morrison is really the latest in a very long line of creators who think they can remake the most successful comic book character for a modern audience. I remember reading John Byrne’s run back in the day which was heavily influenced by the old TV and radio shows. Byrne wanted to bring the fantasy back into the stories but place the hero in science fiction rather than making him an all-powerful magical being. It remains a very appealing take on Superman for me. Morrison dug deeper back into the recesses of Superman’s past to when he was a crazy angry young man with super strength who would juggle crooks in the air while laughing.

He also decided that a skin tight costume was far too absurd and came up with the street clothes concept. It certainly reeks of ‘trying to keep up with the cool kids’ by placing Superman in torn jeans and combat boots, but it has gotten people talking about Superman again… and they didn’t have to kill him or electrify him to accomplish that.

Morrison went into detail on the costume when he was interviewed by CBR.com:

Sometimes, I think the costume just kind of gets thrown into the story. Or his mother made it. I started with that and had Superman developing the costume while he’s developing into a superhero. He would start, before he had his Kryptonian suit, with some kind of variant of the suit he’d create for himself. I figured, you know, coming from Kansas, he’d be wearing kind of work clothes — a pair of boots, some rolled-up jeans and a t-shirt. We’ve got a scene later where Superman goes into a store and is basically ordering up a whole bunch of Superman t-shirts, [Laughs] with Superman logos in all different colors. So that’s what he wears. I kind of liked that. To start “Action Comics” again, to take it away from the superhero concept and take it back to slightly more of a folk tale-ish type of a thing.

That’s why Superman looks a little bit like Li’l Abner, a little bit more Americana. We also have the cape that he wears, which is the one piece of material that he has from the planet Krypton. It’s indestructible, so it’s almost been his best pal or his security blanket as I’ve called it. I’ve been adding different meanings to some of the things we take for granted with him, hoping it might help people see Superman in a new light; a completely fresh light.

A rockstar of the comic book world, Grant Morrison has already worked miracles with Batman and All-Star Superman and brings with him a cult of followers from his creator-owned series the Invisibles and more. As it happens I disagree greatly with Morrison’s take on Batman (far too many ideas, not enough story) and have reservations on All-Star Superman (it’s a sweet story, but it’s been done before) so I fully expected that I would also dislike his latest take on Superman.

Color me surprised, but I like it a lot.

The issue does not feel like Superman… at all. Superman attacks a party of socialites and badgers a man until he admits that he’s crooked. The police that were bought off to protect the party arrive too late to stop Superman from dragging out an admission in public. Not content to stop there, Supes gives a warning to everyone around him.

As Morrison has explained in interviews, Action Comics is about Kal El’s journey to becoming the greatest superhero ever. Anyone can say that is their gameplan and just draft out an origin story or road trip of discovery, but Morrison has crafted something very different here. It is disturbing to see a Superman who so flagrantly uses his abilities on the weak and swings his ego around because might makes right, but it’s also quite provocative. It has gotten people talking about Superman again and that’s a good thing in the end.

Retreating to his decrepit apartment, Superman takes on the persona of weaselly but brave Clark Kent, a reporter who digs deep into the criminal underworld to expose their activities for the common good. Some have compared this Kent to Peter Parker, but I don’t see it personally. We don’t get to see Clark for long as he realizes all too late that his friend Jimmy Olsen and reporter rival Lois Lane are in danger. Lois has ignored Clark’s warning and gotten too close to some mob muscle on a commuter rail. Driving the train out of control, Superman must speed to the scene in time to save the futuristic speeding rail runner from destruction.

Lex Luthor makes an unexpected appearance as an adviser to the military. Using what appear to be explosive tactics, a number of tanks mount the streets to destroy the man of steel. The military are shocked to see that not only can Superman survive the attacks, he can give just as much damage in return. However, the tanks were just a softening up and Luthor uses Superman’s own morality against him. Attacking a building designated for demolition, Superman is trapped the rubble while helping the residents escape.

An astounding talent from Hawkman and Identity Crisis (just to name two) artist Rags Morales is in fine form in this issue. While I always enjoy his layouts, action sequences and such, it is his skill at depicting facial expressions that stands out to me. There really is no other artist like him. I hope that he plans to stay on Action Comics for some time as I cannot imagine who could follow him.

This was the most interesting and exciting Superman comic I had read in ages. There was no origin, no confusing off-panel continuity, no excessive violence or nudity (which plague many of DC’s other books this month). Morrison’s ‘Socialist Superman’ may seem out of left field (no pun intended), but it is actually very close to the core concept of the character. Parts of the issue do feel like pandering to the reader or trying extra hard to be cool, but if you can look past this and roll with it it’s actually a very progressive comic book.

Action Comics #1 is exactly what I feared when I heard of DC’s ‘New 52′ line. It pushes aside everything that came before and drops a character that is almost entirely new at the reader’s feet. But… and I’m just as shocked as anyone… I quite like it.

While the second print of Action Comics #1 was just released this week, it has already sold out at comic shops. Fortunately, it can be purchased as a download at Comixology.

Superman returns (again)


The premiere superhero, Superman is the most iconic character in print in my opinion. A failed comic strip character , Superman has been firmly established in just about all other mediums including comic books, animation, radio, television and film. Everyone knows who he is and what he can do. I wager that the ‘man on the street’ could even hum the theme tune from the Richard Donner movie. So why is he such a difficult comic book character?

I really dig Superman. I mean, one of the first articles I wrote for this blog (‘Superman, Superman, Superman’) in which I looked at separate runs from the Bronze and Modern Ages. I was a fan of Superman as a kid and have dabbled with his monthly comic book adventures as an adult but the quality of the monthly books wavers so randomly that I have dropped the titles each and every time. The best run to date (in my opinion) was after the Crisis on Infinite Earths when Marv Wolfman, Jerry Ordway and John Byrne united to create the most exciting collaboration in Adventures of Superman, Superman and Action Comics (the team-up book). In 1985, DC Editorial had the unique opportunity to recreate their heroes to meet a different audience. To accomplish this, they modernized the concept, design and back-story of the series, relaunching Superman as a science fantasy adventure book that would appeal to a more sophisticated readership.

As the comic book market has changed in recent years, DC has lagged behind their competition Marvel Comics, despite having far more famous and popular heroes in their stable. Seeing continuity as the main problem, they wiped the slate clean (more or less) and restarted over 52 comic books in number one issues. Two weeks back, Grant Morrison re-introduced readers to a young Clark Kent just starting out in Metropolis. This week, George Perez and Jesus Merino will launch Superman to the skies once more.

To date, the approach to modernizing superheroes has been to give them some ‘edge’ and make them harder and less kind than their vanilla past history would present them. In the past five years alone there have been numerous revisions of Superman from Birthright to All-Star Superman to Superman: Year One, each one drastically different from the other.

The new Superman of 2011 has been described a socialist, fighting for the common man against corrupt big corporations, a far cry from the way most people view the man of steel but actually far closer to the Kryptonian as he first appeared back in his early days. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s Superman fought crafty businessmen more than mobsters and giant robots from space. While Morrison and Morales chronicle the early days of a Superman rough around the edges dressed in a T-shirt, blue jeans and combat boots, however, Perez and Marino will be rocketing the man of tomorrow into explosive high adventure, clad in what appears to be a slick futuristic suit of armor.

In 1985, Perez wrote and drew the best run on Wonder Woman, recreating the Amazonian Princess in a monthly book. The issues are so amazing that comic book industry professionals and fans of Wonder Woman site Perez’s run as a defining period of the superheroine’s career. Can he accomplish a similar feat with Superman? In the 1980′s, George Perez was one of the finest modern cartoonists in the industry. Drawing the Avengers and Justice League of America concurrently, he also created the New Teen Titans with Marv Wolfman, a title so successful that it challenged the sales of Claremont and Byrne’s Uncanny X-Men over at Marvel. Since that time he has become recognized as one of the modern masters of comics.

With Perez at the helm (and with the assistance of stellar inker Jesus Merino), this could be the best Superman comic book ever.

(Preview via CBR.com)

By George Perez and Jesus Merino
RELEASE DATE: Wed, September 28th, 2011

The new adventures of Superman begin here! What is The Man of Steel’s startling new status quo? How does it affect Lois Lane and The Daily Planet? There’s no time for answers now, because Superman must stop a monstrous threat to Metropolis – one that he somehow is the cause of!