Showing 1 - 10 of 263 posts found matching keyword: comic books

2020 has done it again. Alex Trebek has died from pancreatic cancer at age 80.

In the year 2014 BC (Before COVID), Trebek appeared on the final episode of The Colbert Report to reassure its departing host:

"So I guess I’ll be gone forever?" Colbert asked.

"No, Stephen," answered Trebek. "We'll always be there for the American people, whenever they need us the most."

All of life’s important answers must be in the form of a question

May he live forever in reruns.

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Has 2020 pushed you to the brink? Thankfully, there's a Superman for that!

Superman: a one-man suicide hotline since 1937!
Superman #361 (1981)

Saving 21st-century balcony leapers is the least bonkers thing in this story. It turns out that Superman III has 2 secret identities: computer-traffic controller Jon Hudson and tennis professional Lewis "Lew" Parker (and he's kind of bad at both jobs).

2020 is a strange year, even in the comics.

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This month saw the release of Detective Comics #1027. That's right, it's been one thousand issues since the first appearance of Batman!

If you do the math, you'll see that DC cheated a little. It should take 83 years and four months to publish 1000 monthly issues, but Detective Comics #27 was released in March 1939, so it's really only been 978 months (81 years, 6 months). That's nearly 2 years ahead of schedule. Knowing DC, its probably just so that they have an excuse to sell us another $10 "anniversary" issue in 2022.

Oddly, time in comic books generally tends to move the other direction. I doubt Batman has aged even 10 years in the past 1000 comics. Some say they would prefer something closer to real-time aging in comic books, but who really wants to read the adventures of an octogenarian Batman? Could he still be the World's Greatest Detective if he can't remember to take his pills?

Batman #119 (October 1958)
"They're called drones, grandpa!"

Obviously not.

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According to DC Comics, tomorrow is Batman Day 2020. This marks the seventh different day of the year for Batman Day in the past seven years. You'd think from the 365 available, they could find one a date that didn't already have a holiday. As everyone knows, September 19 is always International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Put the two events together, and there's only one way to celebrate. With a...

Blood bath bingo!
from Detective Comics Annual #7 (1994)

Yar welcome.

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In late 2011, DC transitioned to "The New 52," a publishing initiative intended to attract new readers to comics by reimagining the DC Comics universe of characters for 21st-century audiences. In that regard, it was a big success. New readers did flock to DC's titles, but at the cost of many longtime readers who had supported the publisher for decades and now felt betrayed. When the new readers moved on to the next fad, DC was left without any readers at all.

Four-and-a-half years later, in 2016, the company predictably responded to the failures of the New 52 with a return to the characters and stories the New 52 had discarded. They called this event "Rebirth," and it was in some ways good and in other ways more of the same poorly thought-out, short-term behavior that had doomed the New 52. For example, it was promoted from the beginning that the famously enigmatic Batman villain Joker would finally get an origin story. Fans loved that idea, so, naturally DC didn't follow through on it for four more years as they instead focused on revisiting stores from the 1980s. And they wonder why their market share keeps shrinking.

Which brings us to the year 2020 and The Three Jokers, its name alone an overt reference to the self-inflicted damage that decades of navel-gazing reboots have done to what passes for history in the lives of DC superheros like Batman. As so much else from DC these days, the story of The Three Jokers is woven around some of the biggest Joker stories ever told, most of them more than thirty years old.

Why should any young reader be interested in returning yet again to stories written when their fathers were children? Why should their fathers buy the same old story a third, fourth, or fifth time? Nostalgia is a game of diminishing returns, and all this navel gazing only continues to alienate readers already concerned that DC has nothing new to offer in exchange for the $5 cover price cost of a modern comic book.

Clearly DC learned the wrongest of lessons from their New 52 debacle a decade ago and have reverted to repeating the same mistakes that got them into that mess to begin with. Something tells me that if the Joker was a real person, he'd get a kick out of that.

Haven't I seen you somewhere before?
This page was published in 2010. The more things change....

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The following strip is as on-the-nose today as it was when the fantastically talented Coleen Coover created it in 2010 — because Batman is timeless.

There were 2 Robins in the the first 50 years of Batman. There have been 3 Robins in the 30 years since.

Frederic Wertham only scratched the surface
colleencoover.net

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An actual quote from the sitting President of the United States at the outset of the worst health crisis of the past century

Peter David?

Faster than a politically hamstrung letter carrier!

If Superman asks for a hand, give it to him
First panel: @PresVillain via Twitter.com
all other panels: Action Comics Annual #3 (1991)

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Yes, of course the ™ is in the official title of the book
The Adventures of Kool-Aid Man™* #1 (1983)

Cherry-flavored armpits. Oh, yeah.

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Watchmen, published in 1986, is arguably the greatest comic book ever made. At its heart is a hero so driven by the horrible inevitability of global nuclear war that he willingly becomes history's worst villain in order to force the nations of the world to unite against him. It's brilliant storytelling.

The real villain here is DC Comics

As recent events have proven, it's also total bullshit.

It's become obvious to everyone in the past four months of the ever-escalating COVID-19 pandemic that there is a portion of the human population that is too selfish to give a shit about their own well-being even when a crisis is upon us and the path leading to solution has been well marked.

Most of this group refuses to take action merely because it would be inconvenient to do so. Others would rather see civilization crumble than face any potential loss of face or influence. Sadly, too many of these are the ones we've allowed to become our leaders as we have increasingly mistaken stubbornness for wisdom.

See, the world doesn't need another villain. It's already got plenty.

Tears of a clown

Fuck you, Watchmen.

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Too cheap to buy a ticket, Batman?

John Adams: once a dick, always a dick
from Justice League of America #113 (1974)

Three things.

Thing 1: The Freedom Train was a real thing designed to unite America against the dawning Cold War. Ironically, the train was forced to bypass several cities because they refused to allow black and white people on the train at the same time. (In this comic, the train will be hijacked by the villainous Wizard, who only wants it to prove to his Injustice League pals that he's good at stealing trains.)

Thing 2: That's some weird perspective in the second panel. John Adams was 5 feet 7 inches tall. Thomas Jefferson was 6' 2". Adams must have been standing on his soap box.

Thing 3: It's funny to think that the self-righteous John Adams is just being a dick, but the "improvement" he's talking about is the phrase "with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence," which was added after that first comma as one of many revisions the Continental Congress made to the declaration draft that Thomas Jefferson unveiled on June 28, 1776.

The daily minutes of the first Continental Congress for June 28-July 4 do not indicate who was responsible for adding the phrase. Popular opinion points to New Jersey delegate John Witherspoon, the only clergyman to sign the Declaration. Witherspoon was at the time the president of Princeton, and just before joining the Congress, he made a big splash with a sermon titled "The Dominion of Providence over the Passions of Men." The movie 1776 gives him credit, which is good enough for me.

For the record, since this seems to be that kind of year, Witherspoon owned slaves. So did both good ol' Tom Jefferson (who often took his to bed) and, believe it or not, Benjamin Franklin (who did eventually change his mind and argue for universal emancipation). Of the four Founding Fathers mentioned in this post, the only one who never owned slaves was the self-righteous dick, John Adams. Give 'em hell, Johnny!

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To be continued...

 

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