Category Archives: dc
Today, this column is going to be something of an editorial. Don’t worry. I won’t be too overbearing in my rambling. I’ll still speak to a “must read” comic of the week, something you need to make a “Wednesday Run” for.
There are times that I wish I was reading coming books during the age when I first started reading them: the no-internet age. During that naïve time, I’d visit my local comic book shop, pick up my favourite books off the wooden rack of new issues, and happily bring them home, unaware of the politics, business decision-making, miscommunication and broken promises behind the art form I so happily read.
In this Internet age, we learn about the behind-the-curtain relationships of comic book creators: writers, artists, editors and publishers, all too easily. There are websites dedicated to that kind of gossip. Once in a while, those relationships turn sour, affecting everyone involved, including us, as readers. Batwoman #25, out today, is, unfortunately, the product of one of those relationships gone sour.
Come, take a walk down the trail of pontification.
Last month saw the release of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Deluxe Edition, a two and a half hour movie adaptation of the seminal Frank Miller/Klaus Janson series that was originally released in two haves beginning late last year. To me, splitting up the story just screamed of a cash grab, since most fans would immediately want both parts. I waited, though, rightly figuring that once both releases were in stores, we’d eventually see them combined in its proper way. Which it is now.
Check out a clip and find out my thoughts after the jump!
Every other week, Jason Shayer will highlight an issue or a run of issues pulled from the horde of comic book long boxes that occupy more room in his house than his wife can tolerate. Each of these reviews will delve into what made that issue or run significant as well as discuss the creative personalities behind the work. “Long Box” refers to the lengthy, white cardboard boxes most comics find themselves stored within – bagged, alphabetized and numerically ordered.
The creative team of Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan were no strangers to a “weird world of terror” as they had collaborated on their successful 70-issue run on Marvel Comics’ The Tomb of Dracula, which was the longest running comic book horror series of all time (although I believe that honour now falls on Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead).
I’ll admit from the start that I never read this series when it came out. My 11-year-old comic book budget didn’t allow me to push beyond my staples of the Amazing Spider-Man, the Uncanny X-Men, and the New Teen Titans.
What impressed me from a writing point-of-a-view was how Marv Wolfman, who was also writing the New Teen Titans book, could change gears and write a very different book that was not only a completely different genre, but a radically different cast of characters. What was also refreshing was that it was a clear shift from the superhero world. The cast of characters were everyday people who have had brushes with the supernatural or were gifted with paranormal abilities.
The story centered around the mysterious Baron Winters and his attempts to stave off an even more mysterious threat. From Wintergate Manor, Baron Winters would manipulate events and even use the time travelling powers of the manor to affect current events.
The cast of characters for their first outing was tabloid news reporter Jack Gold, granddaughter of Dracula’s nemesis Vanessa Van Helsing, and parapsychologist Donavan Cain. Cain worked for the United States government, trying to find a way to harness satanic forces for their own purposes which was a supernatural arms race with the Soviet Union. Vanessa turned out to a psychic focal point for these satanic forces and Donavan’s research quickly moved from helping the government to helping Vanessa and keeping her alive and sane. The stakes dramatically increase as Vanessa is abducted by the Soviets with their own designs of using her and kicks her teammates into motion to rescue her.
The idea behind the Night Force was that it would be rotating cast of characters the Baron would put together to deal with a supernatural threat. Unfortunately, the first story arc lasted 7.5 issues and was a bit too long as it didn’t allow the readers to see the concept they had in mind in action. Another significant problem was the lack of any kind of sympathy for Baron Winters. I felt his mysterious nature and master manipulator role worked against him. On the other hand, I did enjoy his side trips into the past as well as the hints at his immortality and the suggestion that there were other incarnations of the Night Force.
Night Force was cancelled due to falling sales with issue #14. In that issue’s letter column, Wolfman advertized that the series would continue as a four issue mini-series, published on a yearly basis. Unfortunately, Night Force wouldn’t get another chance until 1996 and despite that incarnation and one in 2012, the series just hasn’t been able to gain the foothold it needed to be successful. I can’t help but wonder if the title had started as a series of four issue story arcs, it would have fared better.
Jason Shayer has been trying his best not to grow up for that last 30 years and comics books are one of the best ways to keep him young at heart. He’s also known as the Marvel 1980s guy and has probably forgotten more than you’d ever want to know about that wonderfully creative era. Check out his blogs at: marvel1980s.blogspot.com and dc1980s.blogspot.com
It’s October, the scariest month of the year!
Leave it to Vertigo Comics, the mature and sophisticated publishing imprint of DC Comics, to help us celebrate the spooky season. And you don’t get to celebrate any better than when you’re holding the first issue of a new, ongoing monthly comic book in your hand called, affectionately, Coffin Hill.
That’s a freaking great, spooky title, isn’t it?
Here, let me tell you why…
Finally! It’s October – the favourite month of the year for us here at Biff Bam Pop!
Get ready for a wild ride over the coming days and weeks as we celebrate all manner of scariness, from film, to television to music to books. We’ve already kicked off the festive occasion yesterday, but this column is your first shot of comic book horror.
Quake with fear, for The Witching Hour is here!
Remember last Tuesday evening when you poured yourself that 7:59 PM cup of coffee and eagerly sat yourself down on the couch to watch the Joss Whedon created, produced, and directed pilot episode of the new Marvel Television series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D series on the ABC Network?
Sure you do. We all do. Everyone’s been waiting to see the continuing adventures of post-Avengers Agent Coulson, alive and in the flesh since, well, since he died in that very flick last year.
But just as you were sitting down, wide-eyed in front of the television screen, excitedly hoping on a brand new Tuesday night ritual, plans and machinations were afoot from rivals Warner Bros. TV and the Fox.
Follow me after the jump, Detective, and we’ll piece together the excitement surrounding one particular word: Gotham.
DC Comics has been making this column quite a bit the last few weeks. That’s not to say that other publishers haven’t been putting out great books – it’s just that DC has been regularly releasing fascinating comics of late.
And that’s the purpose of this column: to highlight that one book that, for a myriad of reasons, seems more fascinating than all others released on a particular Wednesday.
Today is no different. And DC Comics tops the list again. Why?
Because today, an old villain comes back for the first time!
Ever since DC Comics implemented their “New 52” initiative wherein they rebooted all of their monthly titles as new first issues, nearly two years ago (God, “New” is not so new anymore is it?), a select group of hard-core fans have patiently been waiting for only one thing:
The return of the DC Comics Fourth World.
It seems that the Fourth World has been teased, periodically, within the pages of the Wonder Woman title. But today, those teases triumphantly end. Today, the Fourth World is finally in the here and the now, an integral part of the new and ongoing Wonder Woman mythos and part and parcel with DC’s (somewhat) “New 52”!
But what is the Fourth World, you ask?
Oh, it’s something special. Something with lots of history…