Category Archives: comics
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!
This is it, the finale of Civil War II for better or worse. The war of the superheroes over an Inhuman who can supposedly predict the future and how that knowledge should be used is finally at an end. Will the combat between Iron Man and Captain Marvel end in death? Will there be rift in the Avengers forever? Will we get a story as well as an anticlimactic event? The answers are here, with my review of Civil War II #8, after the jump.
Today brings the release of what has to be considered one of the most anticlimactic event series in years, as Marvel’s Civil War II comes to its conclusion.
Civil War II #8
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Illustrated by: David Marquez
There’s no question that Civil War II has had a lot to live up. The first series, crafted by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven, is a classic piece of sequential storytelling, and its repercussions were felt for the decade that followed it. Anything that would follow would certainly have to deliver something memorable and groundbreaking. Read the rest of this entry
What makes an Avenger? It has nothing to do really with the heroes themselves, but it has to do with perception. You can say I’m an old man or a traditionalist or just stubborn, but when I think Avengers, I have some very specific heroes in mind, and lately, I’m not getting them in any of the comics out there at the moment calling themselves Avengers.
You could say I’m resistant to change. You could throw the Silver Age example of Cap’s Kooky Quartet at me, and say that I accepted that change without bitching, but that’s not quite true. Captain America and that trio of ex-villains still had to prove themselves in combat against Doctor Doom, Kang, Attuma, and the Masters of Evil, before anyone really believed they were the Avengers.
Here’s the bottom line. When Ultron and an army of Ultroids are incinerating your neighborhood and threatening the human race with extinction, do you want to see the Falcon with Captain America’s shield, a woman dressed like Thor, and Spider-Man, who for years the Daily Bugle has told us was a menace – or do you want Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man? What’s your confidence level?
Meet me after the jump, and we’ll see how the newest heroes to call themselves Avengers, and Champions, are working out, are they worthy?
Well. It’s been some year, hasn’t it? Vilified and maligned, 2016 has been the honey badger of years. But even as we give it the award for zero caring, speeding onto the charts with a bullet is young 2017. Watch that one. It’s gonna be a doozy. In the disjointed reality of gleeful holiday cheer as the world breaks an axle and goes careening into the ditch, I give you a Christmas list for surviving troubled times. Give these to friends, or give ’em to yourself. Santa doesn’t care either. He’s hiding in a bunker, sweating as the ice melts, wondering if Trump’s tax break will finally enable him to install A/C. At least now he can bust that pesky elf union.
America, it’s time to embrace Russia’s favorite drink. Your President’s about to hop into bed with Vladimir Putin, and that’s some shipping no one needs to picture. So have an ice cold drink to steel your resolve. There’s a billion different flavors of vodka now, and the easiest part is they’re pretty much all horrible. So pick anything. You couldn’t do worse than, oh I don’t know, an election.
Legendary windmill tilter, director, and Monty Python alum Terry Gilliam dropped Brazil on the world in 1985, one year after the fateful arrival of 1984. He doubtless wanted it to come out a year earlier, for the sheer Orwellian synchronicity of it all, but Gilliam being Gilliam, he was late to his own party. The movie is stunning, visually brilliant and a scathing satire which blends eighties society with the dystopian bureaucracy of 1940s fascism. It’s George Orwell’s prophetic totalitarian novel 1984 in a funhouse mirror. Jonathan Pryce (superb as the High Sparrow in the last season of Game of Thrones) stars as Sam Lowry, a hapless bureaucrat trying to sort out a paperwork snafu that led to the execution of the wrong man. He runs afoul of the bureaucracy himself and falls in with the rebels, led by handyman Harry Tuttle (a hilarious Robert De Niro, over a decade before Analyze This). There’s two cuts of the film, a studio edit dubbed Love Conquers All, and Gilliam’s cut, running over 40 minutes longer at two hours and 20 minutes. In Gilliam’s superior version, love conquers considerably less.
Speaking of Orwell, his other classic novel is a fine pick to mull as we enter the uncharted waters of countless conflicts of interest and gobbling at the trough. Written as an allegory for Stalinism in Russia, there are plenty of parallels to be found in the animals’ struggle to run their own farm. Napoleon and his fellow pigs stage a revolution over the human farmer Mr. Jones with the help of all the farm animals, but soon they’re enriching themselves and putting down the other beasts. A great short read, and the 1954 animated version packs a punch, too (better than the more recent 1999 version).
Cuz you’ll get tired of vodka. And also, once Donald engages in a full-on trade war with Mexico, as the wall (fence) goes up from sea to sadly bemused sea, tequila could be a fabulous investment. Cash in your retirement savings and buy Patron. Even if the market skyrockets and Trump is the best president ever, you’ll still be able to sit in your underfunded nursing home with no drug plan and liquidate your portfolio. And tequila just erases everything.
DR. STRANGELOVE OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB
Lest you worry, it’s a non-stop love-in with Russia for the next four years, Trump’s explicitly said he wants to start a new nuclear arms race to bolster American power. He could be full of it, or we could be entering a new phase of multilateral rearmament with China, North Korea and the Saudis joining the fun along with Europe, Russia and hey, maybe Japan can join, too! Kubrick’s early farcical masterpiece is a hilariously bleak and wacky take on an out of control military-industrial complex, bent on global immolation through bureaucratic stubbornness and insanity. Peter Sellers is brilliant, playing three separate roles as a British colonel, the American president and an ill-disguised former Nazi rocket scientist. As an added bonus, it’s black and white, just like everything in contemporary life!
A BOMB SHELTER
Art Spiegelman’s classic comic allegory of the Holocaust is equal parts touching and terrifying. In this surreal story, the Nazis are cats and the Jews are mice. But the narrative is deeply personal, a young comic artist describing his fraught relationship with his survivor father, as it delves into their history and his father’s darker experiences. It’s truly an outstanding story.
THE HANDMAID’S TALE
Margaret Atwood’s speculative sci-fi masterpiece might yet prove eerily prescient. Especially if Vice-President Mike Pence ever gets to sit in the big chair. American society’s freedoms are dissolved by an authoritarian coup, and before you know it, Christian fundamentalists have taken over the government. Women basically become chattel for marriage and procreation. It’s a dark and unsettling vision, told with cool precision. The book is receiving a new adaptation which will appear on Hulu next year, so that’s gonna be one to watch for sure.
The latest book from James Gleick delves into the cultural history of the twistiest of wishful scientific endeavors. The author of Chaos (another mind-bending field of sciencey pursuit) returns with a playful look at time travel in literature, pop culture and philosophy. But how’s it dystopian, you ask? Figure out the mysteries of time travel and you could be the hero of our age, going back in time and shooting, well, someone. Several someones? Time travel’s tricky stuff. Maybe stick to the tequila portfolio.
If you want to dig further into our dysfunctional maybe future, you might dig all the way to China. There’s The Hunger Games and the now-on-Netflix Brazilian mashup 3% (which is quite good). Children of Men will really bring you down, and I haven’t even gotten into the vast swathes of zombie metaphor for modern collapse.
Maybe everything’s gonna be hunky dory. Or even great again. But I wouldn’t bet on it. So enjoy your egg nog and the folks around you. Next year the American government goes full gonzo reality show, and you won’t like the guys producing the scripts. Merry Christmas!
You can find the first part of our trilogy of lists here, which showcases a number of more affordable trade paperback collections.
Last week, the second installment focused on hardcover collections, although slightly more expensive. You can find that list right here.
Today, we’re getting into the crème-de-la-crème of comic book collections. Save these for someone you really care for…or for even someone like yourself! Who wouldn’t want these tomes wrapped up?
With only a few days to go before Christmas, and without further ado, here is the final installment of our list of comic book collections for the 201 6holiday season!
One of the things we love here at Biff Bam Pop! is books, probably because we’re all writers as well as readers. Therefore I’d like to suggest some books here that folks who regularly read our website might also enjoy reading, perhaps because some are by us, and some by friends, and some we just really dig. Meet me after the jump for the Gift of Reading.
Read the rest of this entry
Sure, Marvel had been knocking it out of the park, both critically and monetarily, with their series of interconnected film franchises. I mean… Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Avengers… how could you second-guess the brain trust that was making those kinds of studio decisions?
But Guardians of the Galaxy?
A gun-toting raccoon and a giant walking, somewhat talking, tree? In space?
Admittedly, I thought it would be a hot mess, singlehandedly signaling the demise of the superhero film franchise.
Boy, was I wrong.
Boy, was that an awesome film.
Boy, I can’t wait for the sequel next year!
To tide us over until then, today, Marvel Comics launches two new monthly series’ starring the coolest characters from the Guardians franchise: Gamora #1 and Star-Lord #1.
It’s the best kind of comic book reading, believe me.
Now, you might be getting comics given to you as gifts. (Maybe there’s one or two from this list or this list.) But you might still want to pick up something to read that signifies the season. Something featuring the greatest superheroes and villains the world has ever known.
Lucky for you, both DC Comics and Marvel Comics are publishing their own holiday specials today… you might want to consider getting in on the zany, wintry, heroic fun!
Follow me after the jump for the low down on the DC Rebirth Holiday Special #1 and the Gwenpool Holiday Special: Merry Mix-Up #1!