Category Archives: 2017
The uncharted ether of imagination.
That’s what brings us to today.
Over the last month and a half, we’ve begun unofficially celebrating the year of comic book legend Jack Kirby’s birth here at Biff Bam Pop! The “King” as he’s affectionately called, would be 100 years young this year…and make no mistake, his many pop culture creations live long and strong.
You know many of them: Captain America, The Fantastic Four, Hulk, Silver Surfer, X-Men, etc., etc., etc.
Without Kirby, you could argue there would be no superhero comics, no Marvel Cinematic Universe, no Wednesday Run!
But beyond those characters listed, did you know about Kirby’s early 1970’s Fourth World creations: his “Cosmic Odyssey”? It was a series of interconnected titles that would tell one complete story, a publishing revelation, far ahead of its time!
Well, look no further than today release of the Kirby-inspired, late twentieth century release of, Cosmic Odyssey: The Deluxe Edition – and discover the King’s imagination run rampant across the universe!
They don’t come around all that often, but the movies love a charismatically gruff old man. From the goofy classic Grumpy Old Men with Jack Lemon and Walter Matthau to Clint Eastwood’s racist curmudgeon in Gran Turino, there’s a strange appeal to bitter old cranks. At least, when they discover they have a heart after all. Hannes Holm’s A Man Called Ove, from the novel by Fredrik Backman, follows in the genre’s creaky, recalcitrant footsteps. With a wonderful performance as the titular Ove from Rolf Lassgård, the film hits all the right irascible notes. Nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Foreign Film category, and another for Makeup and Hairstyling, A Man Called Ove has been an unlikely success.
Sometimes a talent is so oversized it’s like a bomb waiting to go off. One look at ballet’s enfant terrible Sergei Polunin and you can see the talent, his mesmerizing form crackling with electricity. You don’t need to know anything about ballet as Polunin launches his wiry frame impossibly high into the air to know that this kid’s got it. Dancer, the documentary from Steven Cantor (loudQUIETloud: A Film About the Pixies) follows Polunin’s evolution, from child prodigy to hard partying success to burnt-out superstar. It’s an interesting if conventional portrait of an artist with tremendous gifts, lacking the tools to sustain a career.
A likely story, right?
No one can escape their reputation. Michael Corleone famously reminded us of that fact in The Godfather Part III: “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”
Al Pacino is all kinds of awesome.
And Wilson Fisk, the “Kingpin” of crime in the Marvel Universe, is all kids of bad.
Can the arch-enemy of Daredevil (not to mention Spider-Man and the Punisher), go good? Can he change his disposition? Does he want to? Will the world let him?
A new series, appropriately titled Kingpin, aims to answer those questions, beginning with the first issue, out today!
In the middle of things.
Boy, the old Latin language can sure sound an interesting turn of phrase, here in the twentieth century, can’t it? It’s the past and the future, gloriously shaking hands whilst shedding some light of understanding on each other. Its comingling makes one feel smart, when uttered in a proper, and apt, context, of course.
And today, uttering “in medias res” is proper and apt.
It’s used to describe the eleventh chapter of one of the most entirely riveting (and fun!) comic book series being published these days.
If you’ve been with Paper Girls for the last year, you know what I’m talking about. If you’re new to the title, don’t let missing out on the previous ten chapters deter you for picking up the latest installment – I’ve got you covered at the end of this column.
Handshakes aside, in medias res, today sees the release of Paper Girls #11!
A couple of weeks ago, friend and compatriot Glenn Walker (he of @monsura and regular contributor to all things cool on this very website), came to visit my hometown city of Toronto for Biff Bam Pop!’s Editor-in-Chief, Andy Burns’ monumental birthday celebration.
It was a wonderful affair, full of frivolity, chatter and seemingly endless shot glasses of Jägermeister (many of us are still shuddering at the taste in our mouths).
At a breakfast get together the next morning, Glenn and I stated talking about our love of comic book industry-changing creator, “King” Jack Kirby (creator of so many of your favourite comic book heroes and villains), and his 1972 post-apocalyptic protagonist, Kamandi. He reminded me of the mid-eighties DC Comics series, the DC Challenge, on which today’s Wednesday Run column comic book pick is based.
And Kamandi, the beloved Last Boy On Earth: in a brand new, limited series, full of story and art and wonder and industry legends working on the creation of the industry’s all-time Legend.
Today sees the release of the hugely-anticipated The Kamandi Challenge #1!
In many ways, the comic book annual is a thing of the past – the last refuge of a special excitement for regular readers of an ongoing comic book series. For the most part, the “Annual” magic died out in the mid-1990’s. That makes for at least two generations of young comic book readers that have never really known the thrill of the double-sized, more experimental, stories that “Annuals” often produced.
Today, the “Annual” has generally been replaced by the one-shot issue, the miniseries, or completely wiped from existence in lieu of publishing multi-part stories within an ongoing comic book, that can be easily collected into trade paperbacks or hardcovers. With market-driven forces changed and thin margins and full workloads, there is no appetite for the back-end work needed to create a separate visual tale within the story of an ongoing series.
But there was a time when comic books were madcap fun – and the “Annual” was a staple and eagerly anticipated part of comic book lore.
One series aims to return to those glory days.
Today sees the release of the thrilling, multi-faceted, multi-part, Black Hammer Giant-Sized Annual!
And all of comic book fandom rejoices!
A hero comes to a King.
A monster needs to be slain.
And so begins the old English epic of Beowulf, a poem that has inspired so many writers and artists in so many different genres: from painting to film to television to fiction to music to even video and board games. Beowulf has touched all aspects of human creativity.
Today, the translation of that ages-old story gets the graphic novel treatment with the beautiful hardcover of Beowulf, published by Image Comics.
In the mid 1980’s, DC Comics bought up a number of Charlton Comics characters as assets to integrate into their own pantheon of superheroes. They included The Question, Blue Beetle and Nightshade. You might remember them.
You might also remember Captain Atom, another character bought up from Charlton. He was the original inspiration for the powerful Doctor Manhattan in Alan Moore’s seminal mid-80’s series, Watchmen.
Captain Atom went on to star in various monthly DC comic books over the decades, but of late, he’s been nowhere to be found.
Lost and forgotten.
But no more!
Today, Captain Atom returns in a band new, six-issue miniseries: The Fall And Rise Of Captain Atom – and it’ll be a rebirth, ushering the character into the new DC Universe proper!