Fifty years ago.
That’s when Strange Adventures #205 hit newsstands across North America.
It was DC Comics’ first science fiction monthly comic book and it told tales featuring all sorts of weird and arcane…well, adventures, starring some of DC’s more obscure characters (as well as their more famous ones). It was a place for readers to see their heroes in unfamiliar settings as well as a proving ground for new characters. Captain Comet first appeared here. As did Star Hawkins, the Atomic Knights, Enchantress and Animal Man. You may know their names.
And then there was Deadman, created by comic book luminaries, Arnold Drake and Carmine Infantino and later written and drawn by the legendary Neal Adams, who honed his pencil and ink chops on the character.
Biff Bam Pop! has featured the character of Deadman in a number of articles over the years. We begged for a film series here. We pleaded for a television series starring the beloved character here. And we featured him in this very column here and here among other pieces.
So, what is it that makes Deadman, the crime-fighting, supernatural ghost, who inhabits the bodies of the living so appealing?
Look no further than today’s risen-from-the-grave release of Deadman #1!
31 Days Of Horror: The Wednesday Run Goes Criminal With “Sherlock Frankenstein & The Legion Of Evil #1”
Here is the tale of Spiral City’s greatest heroes, condemned to an idyllic farmland existence in rural America, a prison from which they can never escape!
That series, Black Hammer, published by Dark Horse Comics, has been a favorite of this particular reader since it began. Biff Bam Pop! has written about it both here and here and its following in the comic book community has only grown with each passing month.
The Black Hammer universe has developed exponentially, it seems, as Lemire and Ormston have been busy world-building by laying storytelling foundations of important, historic events in and around the main characters in each and every issue. It’s actually reminiscent of Mike Mignola’s work on Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. in its early days. Not only has this creative expenditure ripened the main Black Hammer story, but it’s provided colourful jumping-off points, for other, ancillary stories set in the same universe.
Today sees the first fruit of that endeavour with the publication of the first issue of the first Black Hammer spin-off series: Sherlock Frankenstein & The Legion of Evil!
Fill up your flask, sharpen your knives, and give that mustache one last brushing. It’s time for murder and mystery with history’s most famous authors. It’s Edgar Allan Poe’s Mystery Dinner Party.
Here in Toronto, Canada, the sun is shining and the clock excitedly ticks down to quitting time when many of us make our weekly pilgrimage to the local comic book shop to grab our fill of the world’s best pop culture, visual storytelling, medium.
While some might be excited about today’s release of the ninth – and concluding chapter of DKIII (finally!), others might be looking for a new read. One that won’t be hampered by regular delays (hopefully!) but is also backed up by a proven artistic team.
And you know that we here at Biff Bam Pop! like our horror.
We like it psychological, and dreadful, and full of monsters, and covens, and secrets, and nasty things that play in the dark.
It just so happens that’s what we get today with the release of the first issue of…The Unsound.
How’s that for inspiring dread?!?
And by “official” I mean something on social media – from the sitting President of the United States. If anyone were to read government classified material and leak it at 2 a.m. via Twitter, it would be Trump, don’t you think?
But that hasn’t happened. Yet.
Maybe he’s been too busy hiring and firing.
Maybe he’s been too busy with his own office shenanigans.
Then again, maybe that classified material we all think exists – doesn’t after all. And what a major disappointment that would be.
Still, while waiting for that late-night tweet, there’s a government-alien-conspiracy comic book we should all be reading…and the first issue of a brand new volume drops today with Saucer State #1!
Remember the days when Vertigo Comics was regularly publishing comic book fiction that pushed the boundaries of the art form, giving voice to dozens of burgeoning writers and artists each month that would never have been heard from in mainstream publications?
It was probably the mid to late 1990’s or early 2000’s.
And you were probably in high school or college at the time – and my, oh my, weren’t those the glory days of comic book reading?
It’s a little strange then, that with all the great comics that Vertigo was publishing at the time, a title such as the 2001 three-issue miniseries, User, flew a bit under the radar, even though it won industry awards.
It’s stranger then, that the same title is compiled in a handsome hardcover format by an entirely different publisher (one who has taken up the philosophical mantle that Vertigo Comics once owned), over fifteen years later.
And that the story of User, released (again) today, still resonates!
Status, ruling class, and sub species.
And “King” Jack Kirby.
The theme of social status was the starting point of Kirby’s New Gods comic book title when he strode across the publishing divide, walking away from Marvel Comics and turning his talents and ideas to rival DC Comics.
And boy did he bring ideas and characters that still reverberate nearly five decades later: Darkseid, the Anti-Life Equation, New Genesis, Apokolips, gods, monsters, destiny… and politics.
Not to mention the visionary publishing invention of interlocking titles that constitute one, finite story.
Still, social status was only one of the themes of Jack Kirby’s “Fourth World” series of those interlocking comic book titles that included New Gods, Mister Miracle, The Forever People and Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olson.
That story of social status continues, with a new generation of great creators in this week’s release of Bug!: The Adventures Of A Forager #1!
They leave a lasting effect in the mind, don’t they?
Why, just last week, this very column highlighted the highly anticipated release of the new Aliens: Dead Orbit series, published by Dark Horse Comics. That one starred, arguably, the greatest and most horrific alien to ever chest-burst its way on to the silver scree. The comic book release happily coincided with #AlienDay and you can catch that particular column here, if you missed it the first time around.
But there’s another cinematic alien every bit as popular as the double-mawed creature of our nightmares.
And today, Dark Horse Comics is once again behind the furthering of that creature’s pop culture legend.
Today sees the release of the universe’s biggest and baddest big-game hunter with Predator: Hunters #1!
Here on planet earth, it’s a different story! Screams of fright, horror and joy abound when we’re talking about the Alien film franchise. You know, the one made famous by directors Ridley Scott and James Cameron: Alien in 1979 and Aliens in 1986. They were the first R-rated films that an under-age me needed to see. Well, those two and Canadian classic, Porky’s.
Those two highlight films have spun-off a flurry of pop culture gold that includes five other Alien-centered films of varying quality (two of which enthusiastically co-star the sci-fi classic Predator creature) with a new and eagerly-anticipated film in the horror franchise only a month away from release.
There’s even a day of the year dedicated to the Alien franchise, an unofficial holiday for fans around this planet: #AlienDay is today, April 26! Tweet out those chest-busters!
With pop culture supremacy, of course, come loads of comic books. Appropriately, then, today sees the release of the first issue of a new mini-series…Aliens: Dead Orbit #1, the perfect accompaniment to a day dedicated to everyone’s favourite xenomorph!
The bombs bursting in air!
OK. We’re talking about comic books, not the star-spangles banner of the United States of America – although the two, seemingly disparate elements, intermingle today.
We’ve all talked about his before: one of the great things about comic books is that they are ever-malleable in terms of art, design and story. Regardless of distribution method, or frequency, or shape, or size (all great aspects inherent to comics) there’s also no effects budget to hinder the artistic look of an individual issue. There’s no defined wall, no genre that a writer can’t hurdle a story over – or gloriously crash one through!
There’s proof through the night (and day) of this belief every time we pick up and read a comic book.
Today is Wednesday. It’s new comic book arrival day, a day all comic book readers eagerly look forward to. Let’s celebrate the first issue of a new volume of stories set in America’s nascent past that proves this point – again.
Let’s celebrate Rebels: These Free And Independent States #1