Category: slider

Everything We Read Special: Marvel Comics #1000

Everything We Read Special: Marvel Comics #1000

MAIN COVER BY ALEX ROSS

Normally we use this space to do quick spoiler-free reviews of all the comics we read for the current week. Today we are bringing you a special review of just one book. It is the 80-page giant publication of Marvel Comics #1000.

I know what you are thinking. There haven’t been one thousand issues of Marvel Comics. Yeah. You are right. In an effort to celebrate the eightieth anniversary of Marvel Comics, Marvel has put together a special book. The folks at Marvel did not even try to engage in the creative accounting that their counterparts at DC Comics did in terms of getting to the number that they did with Action Comics #1000 and Detective Comics #1000. They have said that the number is merely “symbolic”.

The narrative idea behind the book, which is the brainchild of writer Al Ewing, is interesting. The book is a collection of one-page stories. Each story is produced by a different creative team and is meant to highlight or recall a particular event from Marvel Comics history for a particular year in the past eighty. While there are plenty of interesting one offs in the homages, what really makes the book interesting is a narrative thread that Ewing ties through several pages to explore the history of the Marvel Universe. Continue reading “Everything We Read Special: Marvel Comics #1000”

Working Title #020: The Usefulness of Memory Lapses

Working Title #020: The Usefulness of Memory Lapses

I have now coasted past my 70th birthday and have acquired the rights of geezerhood, one of which is a variable memory. I forget things. Not everything nor am I making claims to senility (yet). But sometimes some things drop out and that isn’t necessarily bad.

I suspect I acquired both this trait and outlook from my mother. Every year she would re-read Death Comes For the Archbishop by Willa Cather and at the time I didn’t understand that. Why re-read a book when there are so many out there she had not yet opened? She told me that, due to lapsing memory, she didn’t always remember the plot and so had the pleasure of discovering the story anew. I have since discovered that pleasure for myself. It’s not simply re-reading books that I like but forgetting some the plot details. Mysteries work well with this; for example, I have read every Nero Wolfe mystery that Rex Stout ever wrote (and a few that he didn’t) and I am currently re-reading them. With some (not all), I have forgotten who-dun-it and that’s okay. The real pleasure is not in the unravelling of the mystery but in time spent with the characters, especially Nero Wolfe and his assistant, Archie Goodwin. I’ve really come back for the interplay between them. The resolution to the mystery – indeed, of most mysteries – is very secondary for me compared to that interplay. I would argue that’s true for most mysteries; when Arthur Conan Doyle introduced us to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in A Study In Scarlet, we’re not deeply interested in who the killer is but in how Holmes catches him. I would argue that Doyle’s deepest interest also is not in the killer although he spends a great deal of time in the killer’s backstory. The identity of the murderer and the workings of the plot are there to drive the story and to give us an excuse to visit with our friends, the main characters.  Continue reading “Working Title #020: The Usefulness of Memory Lapses”

Who Are BTS? A Crash Course on the World’s Biggest K-Pop Phenoms

Who Are BTS? A Crash Course on the World’s Biggest K-Pop Phenoms

Two months ago, I would have asked the same question – “Who are BTS?” And yet a short while later, I am a huge fan, and well down the rabbit-hole of listening to, viewing, reading about, and absorbing the many, many facets of this powerhouse group – from music; to music videos with complex choreographies; to live vlogs, interviews, and fan videos; to fictional universe storylines and the connected webcomic; to reality TV shows; to solo projects; to unique cultural aspects; to live performances; to merchandise; to social media interactions and the online presence of their devoted fans, affectionately known as A.R.M.Y. 

What. The Heck. Happened??

 Simply put, I saw videos of their live performances on Saturday Night Live, and that was all it took. On April 13, 2019, BTS made history as SNL’s first K-pop musical guest. They performed two of their songs live: “Boy with Luv (feat. Halsey)”

[the peppy-sweet pop single from their latest album, Map of the Soul: Persona; and “MIC Drop”

 a more driven and aggressive hip-hop number that came out in 2017. For both acts, while singing they danced in crisply coordinated and charismatic choreographies. The performances exuded a mesmerizing group energy and yet also showcased individual talent strengths and personalities of each member, a magnetic combination that (along with their stunning K-pop idol good looks) is one of the many reasons this group has an insanely large and dedicated fan group.

Immediately after seeing SNL, I found myself seeking out and listening to their music, and somehow discovering that they were going to be doing a live performance very soon and conveniently close to my childhood home in New Jersey, a reasonable distance to travel from D.C. – and one of only three U.S. appearance locations on a limited six-date U.S. tour. Of course, I recognized that this opportunity might not come around so easily again and curiosity got the better of me – were there any tickets left? Oh look, there were – and they were hella expensive; but not quite expensive enough to deter me from purchasing – which I did. But hey – if I spend that much money to attend a concert, let me tell you, when I get there I want to know the music and what to expect well enough to enjoy it.  Continue reading “Who Are BTS? A Crash Course on the World’s Biggest K-Pop Phenoms”

Webcomics: They Are Out There, Now Go Read Them!!!

Webcomics: They Are Out There, Now Go Read Them!!!

Comics are changing. You can’t find single issues of comics at the newsstand or in the convenience store anymore. On the plus side, there are multiple outlets for creative talent to deliver amazing comics to the public.

While traditional single issue comic books continue to be a great source of visual narrative no matter if the delivery platform is physical or digital, there are other formats that have evolved into some incredible comic material. With the advent of internet comic platforms, creative talent can deliver their stories in strip form without having to rely on newspaper syndication.

Webcomics have sprung up pretty much since the dawn of the internet. You can find comics in narrative form, slice of life strip form, individual single panels, and pretty much anything else you can think of. Most are even designed for mobile delivery and can be read on phones and tablets using apps.

There are many webcomics that we look forward to updates from on a regular basis. We want to bring you some of the most amazing webcomics that we have found and think people should be reading.

Click on the images or the website listings below to check out each of these wonderful comics. Also we recommend thenib.com for fantastic satire comics.

Continue reading “Webcomics: They Are Out There, Now Go Read Them!!!”

Steve Ditko: Inside His Studio Sanctum Sanctorum

I wrote my first letter to Steve Ditko in early 1973, while I was still in high school. It was the typical letter, the type a budding fan-artist back then might send to a seasoned professional comics artist — full of effusive praise, capped with a request for some secret kernel of artistic knowledge that would magically transform overnight a fan’s crude artistic efforts into professional-level artwork. Ditko did his best to answer, giving what was, in retrospect, a solid list of advice.

Two years later, I wrote Ditko again, and this time, I asked if I could stop by his studio for a visit when I was in New York City later that year. He politely declined, and I pushed that idea into the dustbin of history – not realizing that 28 years later my request would become a reality.

More than two decades passed before I wrote Ditko again in 1997. In the interim, I joined the Air Force, learned to be an aircraft avionics technician, got married, had kids, opted to be a career Airman, traveled and lived abroad for nearly a decade, earned a bachelor’s degree, retrained into public affairs during the early 1990s military drawdown, kept drawing, and kept publishing my fanzine, “Maelstrom.” In fact, my third letter to Ditko was a request for what I knew was an extreme long shot: An interview for an upcoming issue of my ‘zine. Again, he politely declined.

I wrote a few more letters during the next two years about nothing in particular – including a couple while I was stationed in the Republic of Korea in 1998. In one of them, I included some terrifically supple Korean-made brushes that were ridiculously cheap, but feathered ink like a Winsor & Newton brush costing 30 times as much.

I retired from the Air Force in 1999 and published “Maelstrom” #7, and dutifully sent Ditko a copy. Our correspondence continued off-and-on until 2002, when I started preparing a Steve Ditko article for “Maelstrom” #8 – along with a cover I drew featuring many of Ditko’s more notable characters. When the issue was published, I sent him a copy, and something about it obviously struck a chord as he sent me several letters of comment. Suddenly, the correspondence was a regular back-and-forth, and as my letters got longer, so did his. Some of Steve’s letters were 10, 12, or even 16 pages long.  Continue reading “Steve Ditko: Inside His Studio Sanctum Sanctorum”

What Comic Have You Owned the Longest

What Comic Have You Owned the Longest

Everyone has a part of their collection that is special to them. It might be something that you paid a lot of money for, or it could be something that you searched a long time for. It might be something that just touched you in an emotional way.

How about that piece that you have owned longer than anything else?

For me I have owned New Teen Titans #1 longer than any other comic in my collection. I wrote a long form piece about it here.

What about you?

Share in the comments what comic you have owned the longest. We would love to hear from you.