Jun 27, 2013

Retrospective: Ron Marz and Ron Lim's Silver Surfer

I couldn't let Ben's retrospective series on the mid-2000s Marvel Cosmic comics end (which it's coming to soon) without talking about the first comic series I ever collected with my own money, Ron Marz and Ron Lim's Silver Surfer.

I genuinely don't remember my first comic. I have a big brother, and he read comics. He read them before I was even born, so I always had comics lying around the house. By the time I was 8, I definitely knew two things: I really, really liked the Flash, and at school, DC wasn't cool. In an effort to reconcile these two, I asked my brother who the Marvel equivalent of the Flash was. Thinking that I was asking who the fastest superhero in the Marvel Universe was, he answered "The Silver Surfer." And that was when I saw the cover to Infinity Gauntlet #3 at the grocery store, and had my mom buy it, because The Silver Surfer was prominently featured (although at the time I wondered if he could also possibly be Iceman), and because I just love crowd shots, especially when they're drawn by George Perez (I loved him even then).

A couple of weeks later, I was in the comics store, explicitly looking for more Surfer comics, when I saw Silver Surfer #51. Note not only that it says "An Infinity Gauntlet Crossover" on the upper righthand corner there, but also, look how shiny Surfer is on it.

And, at 50 pesos (around 2 dollars back then, 1 dollar now) that was the first comic I ever bought with my own money. I read the issue to pieces, and for many reasons. The story was mostly a flashback related by Nova, herald of the world-devouring Galactus. She remembers the last conversation she has with the Silver Surfer, and it involved traveling somewhere really, really fast.

Already, my obsession with superspeed was sated. Look, I was nine. I just wanted a character like the Flash for Marvel, so whenever my classmates and I would play "Marvel" during recess, I had someone to be. (I would like to thank my brother for not answering "Quicksilver," because I'd never have been able to live that down.) But even more, Surfer had taken Nova back in time to prehistoric France, to show her some cave paintings that she would later see as a teenage girl. You see, Nova up to this point had just been doing her job as herald in a nonchalant manner, leading Galactus to worlds without a second thought as to who or what were on those worlds. The Surfer gave her something to think about.

Jun 26, 2013

Pop Medicine: Responsibility in Emphasis

Pop Medicine is a "visiting" column by Travis Hedge Coke for the Comics Cube! Click here for the archive!

Responsibility in Emphasis
Pop Medicine
Travis Hedge Coke

Comics are made by people. We forget that. Every element of any comic you have ever enjoyed was the choice of one, if not many human beings. Accidents happen, or strange confluences, but if these arrive to the audience, it means that human beings, editors, marketing, printers, that human beings chose to allow those accidents to remain intact in the comic you received.

When exploitative objectification happens, we can count on someone to deflect responsibility onto “tradition” and not the individuals who made or released the comic. Unfortunate real-world correlations by using fantasy proxies for race, gender, or political relations? “It’s not reality. It’s just a comic.” Retrogressive representations? Orientalist representations based in precedent fictions and not any form of reality? “It’s a comic about comics, not about real life.” Poor art or barely serviceable lettering? “It does its job.” Peter is possessed by Doctor Octopus and Ock does villainous things? “WHERE’S THE GODDAMMED EDITOR RIGHT THE GODDAMN NOW? WHO SIGNED OFF ON THIS SHIT! BRING ME FUCKING HEADS!”

Whatever the circumstances, those human beings are responsible for the comic that the audience ultimately receives. As a collaborative media (once commerce is involved, all media are collaborative), commercial comics are no single individual’s responsibility, and “corporate responsibility” only works when we think corporations are autonomous sentient entities and not something made up of people and their interests. A writer may be given a plot as fait accompli, an artist may be ordered to draw in a particular style, a coloring aspect may be genuinely accidental yet not corrected as such by editors. Changes in the rolls of paper have affected the shape and quality of comic books and newspaper serialization.

This is not the article I set out to write, which was about Marjorie Liu and Dan Slott and really good control of phrasing in dialogue, jabbing the reader a little to keep them awake, and how I wish Astonishing X-Men covers looked more like Dirk and Steele covers. The shift is Ben Smith’s fault. He can figure out why, but I owe him a thanks for both inadvertently reminding me both of some negative things and to balance myself between passion and playing fair. Ben doesn’t get enough credit for keeping perspective, both in his work here, and as a commenter elsewhere, publicly and privately. And, I’ve seen him own up when he fucks up, which is more than I can say for too many people. (Duy also recently made me think of things and get angry. Fucking bastards.)

We all love a clown. We love a shit-talker. We love the hubris of a guy with a knife just stabbing the air and making people back up, long as he doesn’t cut into us. This is the problem with a lot of self-proclaimed “transgressive” entertainment, or guys who warn you ahead of time that their work will contain “balls” or “intelligence.” And, yeah, “guys,” because on the whole, in comics and other media, women tend to be a lot more sensible about this shit (as do men of varying disenfranchised statuses, to be fair). And we love when someone says something we feel comfortable with, especially if it rankles people who disagree with us, because someone putting our understanding of the world into fiction feels like vindication.

I love hubris. I am not saying everyone has to know what they’re doing at the moment they do it. You do not need to foresee all the consequences or connections. You cannot. But you should have a vague idea of what you’re wading into, and even if you don’t, take responsibility once you are in a situation. That goes for everyone putting work out, it goes for all of the audience, from readers who simply internalize their understanding to those who leap to a computer to comment on forums. We all like to throw mad shit out sometimes, every human being does this, and some do it publicly. C’est la and selah. Ain’t no sin. But once you’ve said the mad shit, you have to own up to it, and you should be able to do something with it. I’m not asking you to be Lenny Bruce or Malcolm X, here, just be responsible and own your statements, be they written, visual, contextual, live or on the reprinted page.

I was not thinking of Rick Remender, when I started this article. He’s not anywhere in my notes. Marjorie Liu was. Because I can talk ages about Liu’s work and what I like, what I don’t care for, what I wish was whatever I wish it was, but I stay interested. I forget Remender’s work or his online persona. I like some of his work, I’m cold on some, but Remender wrote the infamous “don’t call us mutants” speech in an X-Men comic, a comic where he also compares a man who’s family suffered an atomic bomb attack to, well, an atomic bomb. In the speech, Havok talks about how terms to divide people into groups are “divisive,” and sure, that’s true enough, but they’re also applied, usually, by outside groups when not nationalist, and especially with a disenfranchised group, they’re often unifying in a way that promotes safety and an ability to see others like you where it’s very much needed.

But, Remender could have a very good point there. He’s right on the money in a way, and it’s a ballsy statement to make. It’s a moment that would inevitably get attention and it did, with readers, with the comics press. But X-Men has a history of standing in for oppressed and disenfranchised groups in the real world. It’s been used often as metaphor for disenfranchised groups and individuals. And now Rick Remender appears to be saying we can’t let our freak flag fly, so to speak. No more X hats. No more Some People Are Gay shirts.

Remender’s responses to the annoyance some felt with this part of the comic included, “it [this comic] really upset you, it’s time to drown yourself in hobo piss.”

The last time I was with my grandpa, who’s in his nineties, someone told him, on the street, to take off his Native Pride hat, because “post-racial America” and “politically correct” blahblah. They were wearing, swear on a stack of comics, a Braves shirt and had a Confederate flag on their truck. (I could talk more about that flag, but I won’t.)

I cannot explain how important Tommy Lee Jones; “Not bad for a little Indian boy,” and “It’s not a tribe. It’s a nation,” are to me. Seeing Danny Trejo get up and out there like a badass, or even all the community work he does, you know? Because if you aren’t proud of that, you’re ashamed of it, you’re made to feel ashamed of it or that you should let it go, surrender it to the more important world of the majority. Women are men with tits added and maybe bows in the hair. Black men are men colored in with a fro slapped on. We default straight white dude’s from a small set of nations as the default, in the English-speaking global community.

Havok’s words would work a little better if the majority weren’t actively excluding them all the time. Any time there’s a significant population who will spraypaint a name for you and your kind over your windows? You get to claim that name and shove it back at them. But, see? That’s my bias he’s challenging. I didn’t flip when Grant Morrison pulled his “I’m not a white man, I’m a Scot,” though I did raise an eyebrow, because, hey, Scotland’s disenfranchised, too, he’s got a point about colonization and othering, and he sounds like a lot of us sound when we talk about Pine Ridge.

And, none of us knew where that speech was coming from or where it might lead to in the story. What if Remender’s point was that Havok was wrong? What if, as some speculated, he was mind-controlled? What if if if if if…

We don’t wait. Audiences do not wait. We react. You cannot tell someone “before I say this, promise you won’t get mad” and expect it to work out. They are going to get mad if they are going to get mad. They might clamp it down and not show the anger straight away, but it is there.

When David Liss and Francesco Francavilla designed American Panther for their Black Panther run, and the design was released, they let it lay as if it could be completely as it seemed. People were pissed off. I kind of freaked out, but I tried to keep mine internal. But I was completely suckered and it was awhile before I even touched the comic to see that they were baiting us. They set it up to seem the former king of a small African nation with better tech than the rest of the planet had gone hardcore pro-America and stars and striped his costume. Nationalist, jingoistic stuff. Was not the case at all.

But, I never saw either of them, when people complained about the design, the apparent idea, telling readers to drown in hobo piss or suck a fictional dick.

Jun 24, 2013

Back Issue Ben: Guarding the Galaxy, Part 18: Wars... Still, of Kings

Back Issue Ben is a column written by Ben Smith for the Comics Cube! See his archives here.

Part Eighteen: Wars... Still of Kings

Beginning with Annihilation and Annihilation: Conquest, and continuing into Nova and the Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel revitalized their cosmic characters for a new era. Now, there would be a War of Kings.

Previously, on Back Issue Ben: Vulcan, the younger brother of Cyclops, somehow has found a way to be even more annoying than his older brother. He does some things, becomes ruler of the Shi’ar, kills some aliens. The Inhumans get involved, things happen.

Look, just read last week’s recap. Let’s fry this bacon.

Jun 20, 2013

Gateway Comics: Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes

So, you've seen Man of Steel, and you want to give some Superman comics to a friend — presumably because that friend liked the movie, or because that friend hated the movie and you want to "save" Superman in his eyes — or you want them for yourself, because you've never read Superman comics and have somehow found your way to the Cube (and if so, welcome!). What comic should you get? Well, there are a lot of possibilities, but I wanted to really pick something that showed, pretty clearly, what Superman is all about, while at the same time being action-packed and exciting. I set two ground rules for myself:

(1) No comics before the turn of the millennium. The reason is, I'd think, obvious: new readers have a hard time getting into old comics (heck, old readers have a hard time getting into old comics). That gives me a nice out when it comes to talking about Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? because then I'd just repost this. (If we go prior to that, the comics might be considered too goofy by a new fan. I love goofy, but you gotta wean people onto goofy.)

(2) No origins. Just sick of them, I am. And I think it's better to show new readers Superman when he's already Superman. I don't think we need more stories of how he got there. Really.

(3) Nothing that has never worked for me as a gateway. A lot of Superman fans will argue that Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's All-Star Superman is the perfect Superman story, and the perfect gateway comic. It's still my favorite Superman story, but as a gateway comic, I've found that it doesn't work. It is almost universally loved by Superman fans, but most people I know who are not Superman fans find it boring. It very much is a love letter to Superman, and it doesn't work as well if you don't know what it's paying tribute to. No, it's got to be something I know works, at least on the people I've given it to.

The Superman comic I've found that works? Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes, by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank.

Okay, already it seems like a strange choice, because how could this be accessible, right? Who are all those guys? Well, I think people are smarter than we usually give them credit for. We don't always need to start at the beginning, and in fact, for serials, we very rarely need to start from the beginning. (Travis explains that here, better than I can.) How many of us got into a TV show at the very beginning? I got into Buffy in the middle of Season 4; my wife got into Avatar: The Last Airbender near the end of Season 1. I'd wager we've all at least feverishly watched one sitcom. Did you start at the beginning? I'm betting before the DVD age, these cases were very rare. So there. Not all comics present things in an accessible manner, but most do, if you're willing to put in a tiny bit of effort. In Superman and the Legion's case, all it takes is a willingness to jump into the middle of the action. And why not, I say! I'm a big proponent of starting off in the middle and filling in blanks from there, and if something's important, it'll fill you right in. Just like life, really, or starting work in a new place, or moving somewhere new. You get the point.

So Superman and the Legion starts off in the future, in the 31st century, where it's revealed that the Earth hates all aliens and demands that all aliens leave Earth or be executed. It starts with a parallel to Superman's own origin, where an alien baby is sent to Earth. Except this time, the "kindly couple" take a different approach to it.

It then goes back to the present day and establishes Clark Kent in the Daily Planet, and I believe this was actually a new direction for that aspect of the character (I hadn't read a Superman comic for a while before getting this, so I don't know for sure), so it's a pretty fresh slate. There's no Lois Lane, but we meet Perry White and Jimmy Olsen and we see how Clark acts in the workplace just enough before a robot sent by Brainiac 5 attacks the city to draw out Superman, talking to him and refreshing his memory. See, when Clark Kent was a kid, he used to hang out in the far future with a bunch of superkids. They called themselves the Legion of Super-Heroes.

So already, that's reason #1 for why this is a good gateway comic: it introduces you right from the get-go to a concept that is full of wonder and fantasy, and since everyone has some working knowledge of who Superman is and what he can do, it's not even far-fetched for a new reader.

Brainiac 5 says they need help in the future, and of course Superman, being Superman, is only too happy to oblige. He travels with the robot and gets to the future, where he quickly meets up with Colossal Boy, Dawnstar, and Wildfire. Each time a Legionnaire shows up, you get a little text box giving you a quick introduction, stating their name, powers, and home planet.

So there's reason #2: the introductions are quick, complete, and efficient. A new reader will not waste time going "Who is this and what can she do?" unless he really, really wants to. Everything you need to know about Dawnstar, for example, to get into the story is right there.

The Legionnaires fight the local authorities and Superman tries to break it up, only for a bullet to go right through his hand. It turns out in the future, the Earth's sun is red, so Superman's powers are completely negated.

Despite this, though, Superman doesn't hesitate in trying to figure out what's going on. Turns out that a group of Legion-wannabe rejects, all from Earth, grew bitter and banded together, and have successfully convinced the population of the Earth that Superman was a human who in fact hated all aliens. As such, it's a story about xenophobia, and not a particularly subtle one, but extrapolated enough into a larger scale (all humans vs. aliens, instead of your real-life humans vs. humans) that I wouldn't say it was a sledgehammer. It was pretty balanced, though your mileage may vary. These villains, led by Earth-Man, who has the power to absorb any set of superpowers and has been collecting Legionnaires as prisoners so he can be a one-man Legion, have called themselves the Justice League. Superman is unfazed by this, and still manages to fight despite having no powers. The aliens he's trying to help refuse to believe it is him, because "Superman doesn't bleed." But you can tell — they want it to really be him; and it would help a whole lot if it really was him.

There's reason #3: it shows why Superman is awesome, by omitting what we think makes Superman awesome. "Awesomeness by omission" is what I call it. By removing some elements, you can highlight what's left. In this case, by removing Superman's powers, it shows you that he's really a hero at the core and not just a guy coasting by on the fact that he's the most powerful person on the planet. It's a reversal of what they used in Captain America: The First Avenger, which showed that Cap was a hero before he even got the Super-Soldier Serum. And it's important. And it works. Even what happens to Earth once the legend of Superman is corrupted is awesomeness by omission — 1000 years later, Superman matters so much that changing his basic message throws the universe into a tailspin. Johns shows what he means to history in a counterintuitive fashion, and it works.

The rest of the story is Superman and the Legion mounting a comeback against Earth-Man and the Justice League, trying to free all their friends, and looking for a way to give Superman his powers back. When he finally does, in what I can only really describe as an awesome moment, he makes it very clear who he is.

Look at him saving people. What an alien concept.

And then he proceeds to kick ass.

Look at him showing concern for the citizens! How dare he.
There's reason #4: it shows why Superman is awesome, by showing Superman being awesome. There are few comics that top this one in the "So Perfectly Action-Packed and Paced Just Right that It's Like Taking a Shot of Adrenaline" scale. Your new reader will root for Superman, will cheer against Earth-Man, will go "Yes!" when the Legion is freed. It will make you feel the ride you're on. Because Superman is awesome.

And that's not even talking about the technical aspects of the story that's just going to hook your new reader. Gary Frank's art is really pretty, really evoking a "classic" feel for Superman and still making him (and the Legion) look modern. He has been praised and criticized in equal measure for drawing Superman look just like Christopher Reeve, so take that for what you will. For me, it wasn't a problem — Frank's Superman is the way I want Superman to look: lean but muscular (I use "lean" loosely; he'd been depicted as really really huge for a while before this), confident, and able to go from smiling to serious in a half second. Geoff Johns' story is structured in a blockbuster fashion; every entrance is grand; every hit is felt; and there are a bunch of quotable quotes once you're done with it.

And wait till your new reader sees the Legion of Substitute Heroes, one of whom can "breathe fire with moderate control at best" and another who is "able to transform his body to stone, albeit forced to remain inanimate." Right when things get serious, this story introduces a comedic element without sacrificing the gravity of the situation. And your new reader will most likely appreciate that, especially if they found Man of Steel humorless and dour.

I've given this story to several people who don't normally read comics, and they've all loved it. With the right mix of excitement, humor, and intensity, this story manages to successfully introduce the Legion of Super-Heroes to a new audience in an efficient and effective manner. More, by placing Superman in the middle of it and stripping him of his powers, it highlights Superman's character, and what he is without them. And once he gets it back, it highlights just how much he's capable of. Superman is awesome. And he has the best friends. They're awesome too. Long live the Legion!

Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes can be bought here:

Jun 19, 2013

Pop Medicine: Feels Right

Pop Medicine is a "visiting" column by Travis Hedge Coke for the Comics Cube! Click here for the archive!

Feels Right
Pop Medicine
Travis Hedge Coke

I was once, briefly, a Textile Design major. I’ve designed and sewn clothing for magazine shoots, movies, theater, and because I just felt like it. When I was a kid, I made a scale duster with little weapons loops for a Casey Jones action figure, because sometimes Casey clearly needs an impressive coat. If you went to my grandpa’s home right now, you could find boxes worth of superhero costume and casual wear designs I did in my teenage years, unless someone’s thrown them out. I like cloth. I love clothes.

And, possibly because I do nothing with mine, I love hairstyling. All hair is versatile, full of potential styles and twists. Anyone who thinks they have unmanageable or terrible hair is more than likely trying to force it to behave as a different kind of hair would, but the flaw there is in expectation, not in possibilities.

Somewhere between clothes and hair, in some weird I’m-not-a-serial-killer-honest way, is skin. Skin is great. It covers people, it has color, tone, variations, edges, elasticity, and can, in art and in life, communicate so much, so incredibly.

So, why do so many comics artists have a difficult time with these three things and either fake them shoddily or stick to a few tried and true types and styles?

First, let’s make sure they are having difficulty and not making conscious (if, perhaps, ill-conceived) choices. No matter what material a story may claim the average superhero longjohns are constructed from, what is drawn is a skin with fewer sexual characteristics and more pattern. That is a choice. When someone draws a tuxedo that fits so tight and smooth it looks like a tuxedo pattern painted onto a naked body, that is much more likely to be a sign of inability or, at least, shortsightedness. (Shortsighted, in this sense, meaning that it may be easy to assume that fudging something in one panel or one comic will not be brought up again and again on internet Top 10 Shitty Drawings of Artist X lists or in fans’ discussions. All things are now, legally or illegally, being scanned, cleaned up, excerpted, archived, and otherwise are subject to the internet and the internet age. The laziest professional work any of us have released is either visible on the internet or buyable through it.)

There’s a famous set of critical notes by Alex Toth on some Steve Rude pages, wherein Toth says many intelligent things, often harshly, and occasionally goes too far for most tastes. He criticizes Rude for faking setting and clothing, especially, or cheating on communication, and what he’s criticizing of Rude is essentially a comics version Naturalism, in that it’s designed to be inoffensive, mildly antiquated, and naturalistic without being as rough, bright, or unpredictable as reality can be. It’s true, Rude fakes the folds of the turban in those pages, and the tipis are silly and out of place, but they’re not real tipis, they’re a symbol that relates a feeling. Rude is not simulating, he is evoking. The turban isn’t a real turban, it is the symbol of a turban.

Most comics artists are cartoonists, not in a disparaging sense, nor am I implying they are animators somehow failing to animated, or working in an animated style, but because they must communicate not by thoroughness or inventiveness, but through what is understood a priori by the audience. They work from the engram out, the same way all young media must, from the concentrations of understood content. In Comics and Language (buy this book!), Hannah Miodrag says visual images may not be capably broken down into “pictemes” and “syntactemes” the way words can be parceled into at least semi-functionally into phonemes, and she backs this up with better examples than I can mirror, mostly from David Mazzucchelli’s Asterios Polyp.

For our purposes, no fold makes the turban a turban, no matter how true to life it may be, but no abstracted element of the turban symbol makes it one, either. It gains its meaning from context and piled up expectations, différance in play (if you want to be pretentious about it, and I do). And, because this use of implication in place of representation, this deferral to expectation over accuracy of representation, we may grow more frustrated the more significantly we understand the inaccuracy. I know I feel it in Darwyn Cooke’s much beloved by many The New Frontier, between the brick red skin he has given a Native American character to the general tone of his 1950s America and the elements thereof he chooses to focus on, in correlation and combat to those I anticipate by reflex.

For maybe forty to fifty years now, perhaps even since the birth of the Marvel Universe, English language comics have been bouncing uncomfortably between the ease and directness of playing to (unquestioned) expectations and trying for greater reflection of reality as it is seen, if not felt.

Veering towards graded shading has, unfortunately or not, long been prized by the English-language comics culture as superior to representation of intensity. This is especially notable in the realm of superheroes, where Alex Ross’ soft tones or Watchmen running a range of characters from morally-grey to morally repulsive continues to be seen as the heights of realism and artistic integrity. We tend to give props to accuracy in reproduction of the expected, not the actual, and to disregard potent evocation as didacticism or immaturity. Blunt statements are mature, pessimism is artsy, but melodrama is unrealistic when in fact tons of people are goddammed melodramatic especially in highly emotional situations.

Comics culture often feels retrogressive to me, probably because I do care a lot more about comics and comics culture than I do other mediums and their focused fans and critics. When I see us barely hitting cap-R Realism in the 80s (ten to twenty years after the just-as-young motion picture medium?) and still rolling around in that kind of pessimism and the defensively conservative Naturalism of the Earth X trilogy and Rick Remender comics, it bugs me. Not because those comics suck or how dare Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons have written something a bit depressing twenty-some years ago, but it’s so embraced, that even when Moore and Gibbons moved past it, we’re still stuck there and we can’t even enjoy, collectively, that along with the spills and stains Gibbons could put in Watchmen, there’s slick design and attention to pleasing detail as well.

The excellent dress sense of some Watchmen characters, or the collection of traits that are all unquestioningly understood from facial hair to shoulder pads, which Gibbons (and Moore, perhaps, as well) have put into play, are rarely noted, while many a critic and fan are still enthralled by the bean stains on Rorschach. Stains are real. Moustaches and shoulder pads, bare necks and cigarette holders aren’t what we are, often, prepped to take in as equally real. And, maybe that’s why Cooke portrays Watchmen’s Silhouette so differently than Gibbons, visually, as well as, apparently, in other senses. Silhouette’s dress, demeanor, and the way of visualizing her changes from Gibbons to Cooke. While Gibbons drew her with a straight back, sharp angles, bare neck and angled face, to compliment Moore’s caustic dialogue and sharp positioning, Cooke rounds out her face, covers the sharp angles of her clothes with a scarves and folds, and bedroom eyes. So much, in the examples I have seen, of the bedroom eyes. The loose-lidded look communicates an entirely different set of potential meanings and Cooke is smart enough to have, I presume, done this with every intent.

The hawk-nosed, brick red Indian of New Frontier, similarly, is not a genuine Native American person, but a symbol of a supposed past representation of such. It’s an homage to the idea of an older representation, which, in my experience, doesn’t even match up to how that character had been drawn or colored in era-specific comics in the first place, but then, my experience is both limited and filtered through me, as much as Cooke’s is filtered through his inner (and outer, projective) Cooke-ishness. And, included in all that, is simply that he may like certain visuals, certain styles or cuts more than I do. I must, functionally, accept this and defer to it, as I must with Liefeld’s refusal to draw consistent details into his otherwise often exploding with minutae and hatching work. I still know who Cooke is drawing, or what, if not by isolated images, by context, and so, too, I know perfectly well when Liefeld’s drawing Captain America, even if it’s a very silly version of Captain America who somehow stands two feet below ground level and is asymmetrical in continually different ways from panel to panel.

In Earth X, Alex Ross has designed Wyatt Wingfoot a costume and helmet that include a wooden bird-evoking helmet, because, presumably, wood bird-head carvings say “Native American” effectively, and because Wyatt is in this story teamed up with Captain America, who sometimes teams up with a guy called the Falcon. Ross favors ethnicized costumes and romantic parings, it seems, and sometimes this has a frisson beyond orientalizing, that really works, but again, I think it depends on what you anticipate to come, as well as what you anticipate the base elements to mean. In terms of pure design, I prefer Liefeld’s mix and match portentousness to what Ross’ costuming or hairstyle designs communicate (I like Liefeld’s tonal range better, too), even if Ross is, on most levels, the superior artist. This does not require me to particularly laud either.

Even the same basic design (of outfit or hair) is dependent on the method of illustrating it, in how it is altered to rest on a body, on how the entire frame is arranged, on what aspects are given emphasis. There are pencilers who can take a simple slacks and dress shirt ensemble, a little bracelet, some hoop earrings, and get the figure they adorn on their knees, ass up, back bent abnormally, helium balloon tits still projecting forward, and blushing, vacuous-stare face angled painfully forward on an obviously busted neck. That an artist or communicator may not fully appreciate how a fashion element affects all or any movement, is not a total condemnation.

Please reread that last sentence.

Thank you.

Mark Waid and Barry Kitson counter implicit criticism of Black Canary’s high heels in Justice League: Year One with a scene of her twisting the Flash’s wing-reminiscent ear decorations to screw up his mask. It’s a cute bit in a charming comic. It’s also dishonest as all hell. The basic argument, there, is that all these costumes are implausible and non-functional, but it’s using a false equivalence to make its point. Two false equivalencies, really, but firstly, that in-world, Flash’s head wings and Canary’s heels both serve a similar purpose. I wouldn’t even doubt that Year One’s Flash has tread on his boots, as that seemed to have first come in with Waid on the main Flash title (different Flash, but still a scarlet-garbed speedster of that name). High heels are never solely decorative. They have to be put into action just to stand up. Flash’s decorative elements are rarely, if ever, going to be put into action the way his boots are. But if you compare their foot gear, the scene isn’t as funny and it doesn’t appear to support Canary’s footwear.

The second false equivalency is that these elements serve the same function for us, the reader. Flash’s decorative elements, from the head-wings to his chest emblem are for us to identify his speed. Black Canary has high heels because they extend the legs and manipulate the butt in ways that are often visually pleasing to many readers. Elevated shoes can encourage a perception of tallness, but the elevation of the heel in exaggerated relation to the toe, is for reasons of sexualization first. You either take that head on, and make your case, or maybe it’s preferable to drop the debated element or avoid addressing it.

Canary’s heels and Flash’s mask are functional signs, allowing us to infer things about the characters, not physical tools for them to employ. They do not aid them, but us. They are as useful to the characters, in their world, as the Scarlet Witch’s lack of underwear, which is, itself, something that will never affect Wanda on-panel in anything like the continual fashion actual clothing, or lack of, by nature must.

Underwear and hairpins. Who wears them into the field? I’ve read comics where I flinched, because my anticipatory read of Catwoman’s cleavage is that she’s going to catch her zipper on her breasts. That’s not the anticipatory read the artist intended, surely, which is probably that there’ll be an unveiling shortly. I have seen it defended when an artist confirmed for us the color of Oracle’s panties but could not true-to-life illustrate a shower sequence, because well, many people wear underwear and was I a prude? But I have read so many more Superman comics than comics with Oracle, even though I like Oracle better, and the only trunks I know Superman wears for sure are the little red ones that go on the outside, and even those are now out of continuity.

Did Superman even have an extra layer under the blue and the red? With a belt, then, too, over that? If so, he throws another layer of work clothes, such as a heavy business suit over those layers. How can even a Kryptonian walk around in all that without losing mobility or tearing something? He doesn’t walk around with all that. Superman does not walk. He appears in static images and what is out of sight is, effectively, gone, until culled up again by the magic of storytelling. Like the Scarlet Witch’s lack of underwear, we know Superman’s costume is, sometimes, under his Clark Kent clothes, but until we see it, we are not invited to wonder how it functions there because it does not function.

Superman’s chest revealed beneath the shedding shirt of Clark Kent is a transformative cartoon, not a true to life reproduction. It may be Naturalist or Symbolist, but when photorealistic, or adapted over to movies, television, or even toys and statues, the nature of the materials and their use must be changed on basic levels. For the longest time, a spandex or nylon nature was supposed, when superhero costumes were brought over to video representations or photography. We know these materials do not function as superhero costumes usually do, but they approximate after a fashion.

When drawn, Superman’s costume, Green Lantern and Spider-Man’s costumes, these are bodies, they are forms with color, not spandex, which is clearly a layer over the form. Spandex heroes look wrapped, losing tone and texture that is implicit in the musculature delineation seen in almost every drawing of a superhero. In comics, this has been tackled by giving the materials costumes are made of different fancy names and properties, and ten years ago, with DC One Million, the future superheroes were intentionally designed with chest symbols and patterns that took advantage of what we can do with contemporary screening, printing, and pattern reproduction, to counter the designs that usually still privilege 1930s design capabilities in the form of solid colors and blocky, easily cut and sewn shapes.

In movies and television, we saw a rise in fake muscles and mimicry of biological aspects, from TV Flash’s molded six pack, to Batman and Robin’s rubber nipples.

Then, more recently, there’s been a fad of using exciting textures to distract from the relative simplicity and to avoid the semblance of the hero being wrapped in material. Even the homemade superhero costumes in recent movies are pebbled or airbrushed to look far from what our homemade superhero costumes, as children, or as adults, might look like.

I do not recall ever seeing the exact moment or mechanism for Superman attaching his cape and, truly, I don’t think I want to. Superman’s cape attaches by the power of Superman wears a cape. It is a fait accompli of symbolic power, of signatory potency, not functionality.

I really liked, no matter how silly, when Grant Morrison had Lex Luthor draw in his eyebrows, in All-Star Superman, because it is silly, it is vain and obvious, and people do that shit in real life. Lex Luthor’s drawn in eyebrows are both a sign, a symbol, and of real-life function to him in ways Superman’s cape really is not. Luthor needs those eyebrows to function, to be taken as Luthor by people he encounters, and are just as artificial, as hairless legs on the average American woman or me in shoes. When my colleagues envision me, if they do, I probably have shoes on. Finding a dude who just assumes women don’t have leg hair, even if they should know better, is not horribly difficult, because the forer effect is in full motion, always and in all ways. We focus on what is of concern to us, what rewards our anticipatory understanding. Superman’s cape helps readers understand, while Luthor’s eyebrows help him and the person next to him understand.

And, on the subject of Luthor… How does cartooning Telly Savalas as Lex Luthor turn into “he must be black”? Easily.

Black men without afros in comics are usually bald. And, indeed, fro or bald can be read, in terms of cartooning, as “black.” See recent TV cartoon Lex Luthor or the occasional pop-crit essay on Telly Savalas in television; that’s not optimal, it’s not even particularly sensible, but it is culturally and cross-culturally understood, at this point, it’s an expectation. The anticipation on encountering bald cartooned man, especially with prominent lips, is that he is black. You can cartoon Savalas-as-Luthor and have it read anticipatorily as “black man” the same way you cannot cartoon me and have it read “Native American” (True story: I was on a wushu TV series, recently, and to explain why my light skin still doesn’t match my fellow “British Navy”, they braided my hair back and had someone rumor that my character was half Chinese).

Are other to-be-read-as-black hairstyles, or the hairstyles of actual true life black men that hard to draw, so as to be avoided? Are cornrows ever as complicated or finger-achy to draw as the knots in Spider-Man’s webbing? Is a pattern shaved into closely cropped hair that hard to space accurately panel to panel, if we know intimately how Superman’s S-shield looks from any angle? Bald or fro are not the defaults because they are the true life most common hairstyles, they are default because they are dramatic and functional as cartoons of immediate anticipatory understanding.

Black Canary can run in her heels. We know, in-story, she can, and we know, outside of the comic, that some people can run pretty well in high heels, they can even, maybe, do a decent spin kick at least once without problem. But, it is perhaps just as significant that her high heels are not genuine high-heeled boots. They are a symbol of such boots. They signify what heels can signify, in their context, and they represent the idea of high-heeled boots, from femininity to sexualization, modernity, elevated step, and so on. They do not function as high-heeled boots in-story.

“These aren’t real people”, “these aren’t real clothes” are dodges, useful for avoiding certain criticisms or to defend against considering things within the bounds of real life boundaries and functions. Like any dodge, it’s often used to encourage sloth and indulgence, but within the dodge is the proof of the strength and attraction of this distinction between accurate representation and symbolizing or evoking.

Beyond doing what looks best, doing what feels right is both admirable and, by nature, suspect. Good looks and good feelings prove nothing, but stimulate so much.

Some of the books in this article are:

Jun 17, 2013

Back Issue Ben: Guarding the Galaxy, Part 17: Wars, of Kings

Back Issue Ben is a column written by Ben Smith for the Comics Cube! See his archives here.

Part Seventeen: Wars, of Kings

Beginning with Annihilation and Annihilation: Conquest, and continuing into Nova and the Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel revitalized their cosmic characters for a new era. Now, there would be a War of Kings.

First let’s get to know some of the major players a little bit better.

The Inhumans — created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the Inhumans first appeared in Fantastic Four #45. They came about from genetic experiments conducted on humans by the Kree, millions of years ago. The experiments were abandoned when the test subjects began to develop extraordinary abilities. The test subjects went on to form their own society, developing enhanced technology, and experimenting with the mutagenic Terrigen Mists, which granted the members of their society super-human powers.

The Inhumans are led by their king, Black Bolt (powers capable of mass destruction, triggered with merely a whisper), and the royal family, consisting of Medusa (super strong psychokinetic hair), Karnak (deadly martial artist with the keen ability to determine the weakness in anything), Gorgon (super strong, with the ability to generate intense shockwaves with his bull-like legs), Triton (aquatic powers), Crystal (ability to manipulate the four elements), Maximus the Mad (genius-level intellect and telepathy), and Lockjaw (giant teleporting dog).

Vulcan — created by Ed Brubaker and Trevor Hairsine, Vulcan first appeared in X-Men: Deadly Genesis #1. Vulcan is an Omega-level mutant, with the ability to manipulate vast amounts of energy. He is also the long-rumored third Summers brother, Gabriel, younger brother of Cyclops and Havok. Born artificially on the Shi’ar homeworld after his mother was killed, he eventually came into contact with Professor X on Earth. After nearly being killed on a mission for Professor X (which the Professor subsequently erased from everyone’s minds), Vulcan was revived by the mutant energies released during M-Day (House of M). He has a brief conflict with the X-Men, before fleeing the planet. Vulcan commandeers a Shi’ar warship, becomes a part of the Shi’ar royal family by marrying Deathbird, and declares himself Emperor of the Shi’ar. His first act is to kill his father Corsair. A civil war rages between Vulcan’s forces and the Empress Lilandra. Havok leads a new team of Starjammers (including Marvel Girl and Polaris) against his brother, but is ultimately captured and imprisoned by Vulcan. Marvel Girl and Lilandra flee while Vulcan’s power and influence continue to grow.

Empress Lilandra Neramani — created by Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum, Lilandra first appeared in Uncanny X-Men #97. Lilandra is the Empress of the Shi’ar Empire, and a love interest of Professor Xavier. Along with her Imperial Guard, Lilandra has played a key role in several events throughout the X-Men’s history.

With the formalities out of the way, let’s get started.

Jun 15, 2013

Man of Steel Pros and Cons (with Spoilers)

We saw Man of Steel today and walked out of it with mixed reactions. I came out of it.... confused, actually, not knowing what to think of it. And that was odd, because I went into it absolutely convinced that it was either knocking Superman 2 off of my favorite movies list or that the Three Comic Book Movies I Promise I Won't Mention would go to Four. I really didn't think there was going to be a middle ground. And yet, there I was, my reaction to the movie falling right flat in the middle. And the weird thing was, it wasn't even a case where I was in the middle throughout the movie — I constantly vacillated between loving what I was watching and hating it, almost scene for scene. And that's never happened, I think, to me. Movies have gotten better after a bad start, movies have fizzled after a good one, but I've never gone back and forth so much. So instead of posting a review of it, because I wouldn't be anywhere close to impartial with it, I figured I'd do a list of pros and cons to specify what I did and didn't like about it.

Spoilers follow.

Jun 13, 2013

Easter Eggs: Mxyzptlk and the Impossible Man!

Welcome to another installment of Easter Eggs in Comics! Click here for the archive!

Today's Easter Egg is submitted by Comics Cube reader Chad Halverson, and it comes from the 1990 Superman story, "Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite." In it, Mr. Mxyzptlk provides Lex Luthor with red kryptonite to remove Superman's powers.

As Mxyzptlk says, he'd be doing the job himself, but he's having way too much fun in another dimension.

Let's check in on what Mxy is doing in that other dimension.

And check out what Mxy ends up looking like in that "other dimension."

Yep, over here, Mr. Mxyzptlk is the Impossible Man, harassing the Fantastic Four!

Thanks, Chad! Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite can be purchased here:

Do you have a suggestion for Easter eggs in comics? Email it to me at comicscube@gmail.com!

Jun 12, 2013

Pop Medicine: Five Long Minutes

Pop Medicine is a "visiting" column by Travis Hedge Coke for the Comics Cube! Click here for the archive!

Fifteen in Fifteen
Pop Medicine
Travis Hedge Coke

I recently avoided reading any of an entire set of review copies I was sent for an imprint, read through a complete omnibus of the single worst comic (on all fronts) I can recall where the talent did seem to actually be trying genuinely and in earnest, and I still can’t quite work out how to get Amazon.cn and Amazon.com to sync up and behave for me. It’s not a great week in comics for me, outside of rereading Lazarus Churchyard and one of my students drawing Thor freaking out over Tony Stark kissing his brother.

I needed to avoid even potentially dealing with shitty comics or the shitty treatment, by publishers or fans, of comics talent.

I found Duy’s first go at laying down what fifteen pencilers stick in his taste the strongest (or the readiest; I don’t know – this isn’t a science), and I wanted to do something similar. But, the thing is, pencilers get talked about a lot, and there’s always eighty-three artists you could also list who just blip out of your mind at the critical moment. Which, maybe, is why Duy did a second list for the Cube, later on. In any case, I am going to try to do three lists, artists, colorists, and editors, because I talk too much about writers, don’t see enough pre-inked art to be sure on inkers, and lettering has always been the weakest aspect of the average comic, so my list would be really short and highly unfair.

To be clear, the lists were made in five minutes, no revisions, no reordering of names, and I then took some time to give a one or two sentence comment on each.

Fifteen Artists in Five Minutes

Leiji Matsumoto – Leiji Matsumoto has a small set of basic heads and bodies he sort of swaps around, but then, so too, does the world when you’re remembering. And, nobody draws the concept of machine or standing proud than this man.

Moto Hagio – She doesn’t make me feel emotion, so much as instantaneously ripping emotions out of the most private areas of my soul and making me look at them. And she’s really good with symbolism.

George Herriman – George Herriman is nutso good. I’d hate to ink or redraw Herriman, because it’s exactly as it all should be.

Jack Kirby – Jack Kirby will go down in history as this raw, unconsidered artist because of his speed and the apparently effortless nature of his comics. But every comic he did has innovations, experiments, and an ever-developing understanding of comics’ potential.

Jill Thompson – I’ve loved Jill Thompson’s work since my high school librarian said, “my friend’s drawing these five superheroes who fight oppression and boredom” and brought me back into The Invisibles. And she painted a chibi-looking Creature from the Black Lagoon once.

Sue Coe – Sue Coe should do more comics. But, only the comics she wants to do. And then everyone should read them.

Erik Larsen – Like Kirby, Larsen’s going to be remembered as a simple superheroics guy, but he is still the most competent artist of the Image founders and constantly trying and pulling off new things without ever really seeming like he’s out of his safe zone. His safe zone is, apparently, huge.

Charles Burns – Those thick lines! Those heady and often unrepresentative details! Swoon!

Walt Simonson – Walt Simonson is really smart. You can tell he’s smart just by the way he draws someone lugging a backpack or scratching their head.

Rumiko Takahashi – She draws really really cute aprons. Really cute. And sweaters. You have no idea.

Sanomi Matoh – I’m not entirely sure how she got on this list. But Dee is devilishly cute.

Duncan Fegredo – So much power in this guy’s linework. And nobody does an erotic or physical charge in comics like Fegredo.

Gene Colan – In the mid-90s, the then long past his heyday Colan was part of a jam comic called Heroes and Legends and in only maybe three pages, he trumped every other penciler who turned in work that year in all of comics. Maybe not quite, but he came so close you have to stand up and salute the guy.

Phil Jimenez – Phil Jimenez draws people who look like they fart and sweat, but they’re still more glamorous than flesh and blood folks. George Perez drawings through a Ken Russell mirror.

Frank Miller – Miller draws like a motherfucker.

Ten Colorists in Five Minutes

Tatjana Wood – Even in the days when coloring reproduction was dodgy as hell, Wood could turn those limitations in bursts of evocative strength. And she really is the part of a certain Swamp Thing run that has aged the best.

Laura Martin – There was a time when there were comics that Laura DePuy/Martin was coloring and the rest of comics. She really kidney-punched the coloring aspect of comics and then held it propped up until it could stand proper again.

Nathan Eyring – Putting the pop! in pop. A sheen, and a shine, and sweet glow in every page he’s done.

D’Israeli – Isn’t there egg in a page of Lazarus Churchyard? Where D’Israeli may have gone inaccurate in representing the world in color, the world should correct itself.

Kenichi Sonoda – Kenichi Sonoda’s color work looks like he just did it for fun. There’s a gloss of love coating, protecting, highlighting every color and shade.

Gregory Wright – Gregory Wright is the first colorist I can recall who seemed to get that there are gradations of color change as an object moves through a field and interacts with shadow, light, and distance.

Christie “Max” Scheele – Her paintings, today, are really sweet, too, but when she was a comics colorist, she always seemed just ahead of the curve enough to keep a constant energy going without losing competency or being distracting.

Whoever colored Gene Colan’s Daredevil run – The uncredited colorist(s) on his lengthy run not only enhanced the pencils in a way many Colan-coloring jobs fail to, but they were also progressive in their range of skin-tones and portrayal of depth and focus.

Lynn Varley – Varley’s work always seems completely tonally sound to me, and just exudes confidence. Astonishing.

Richmond Lewis – Year One was my first Batman comic and it’s solid-toned Bruce Wayne, little patterns, and all the swimming, roiling colors of the world did in my little brain. Still does.

Five Editors in Five Minutes

Karen Berger – My admiration for and interest in Karen Berger knows few bounds. No one did more for creator-owned mature comic books in the monthly and trade format than Karen Berger.

Stan Lee – I readily believe the artists did most of the writing on 60s Marvel books, but Marvel Comics is the House That Stan Built.

Mark Waid – Is it weird that I can’t imagine Mark Waid actively editing? He’s edited some great comics, but having seen video of him, having read his work, read interviews, etc, I cannot imagine what he might be like as an editor.

Annette Roman – The three manga collections right in front of me were all edited by Annette Roman. A ton of manga I am really happy was brought over to English was, in fact, edited or adapted by Annette Roman.

Trish Ledoux – Why is there no Wikipedia page for Trish Ledoux? (Now that there’s one for Marie Javins again, this is the absence from Wikipedia that bugs me the most.)

Jun 10, 2013

Back Issue Ben: Guarding the Galaxy, Part 16: Rescues and Resurrections

Back Issue Ben is a column written by Ben Smith for the Comics Cube! See his archives here.

Part Sixteen: Rescues and Resurrections

After thrilling readers in the pages of Annihilation and Annihilation: Conquest,Starlord,Adam Warlock, Drax, Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Mantis, and Phyla-Vell teamed up to form a new version of the Guardians of the Galaxy.  The result mixed high octane action with humor and a touch of humanity.

Following a betrayal by Starlord, the team broke up and went their separate ways.  Adam Warlock and Gamora are off investigating the Universal Church of Truth.  Drax and Phyla are searching for Moondragon.  Starlord is trapped in the Negative Zone.  The rest of the team continues the good fight, while time continues to unravel after the arrival of two mysterious heroes from the future.

Without further delay, let’s pancake this breakfast.

Jun 7, 2013

Comic Book Movies Week: The Comics Cube

So it's comic book movies week, where we list our favorite — not a technical and critical assessment of what's "best" — comic book movies, here at the Cube and I'm closing it off.


A Really Long, Rambling Rant About 11 Comic Book Movies
Because I Was an Idiot Who Intended to Write About 10 Movies
But Instead Wrote About My 11th One First
by Duy

Like everyone else, I'm going to be naming my favorite comic movies and saying why, and I'll also be laying out a rule as I write this, namely that I won't bring up or name the comic book movies I really hated (there are three of them).

There's in general been a dearth of comic book movies that I can really say I love, partly because of my general disappointment with them until 2011 and partly because of the fact that I really, really simply don't watch a lot of movies. Despite that, there are 11 comic book movies on this list, because I wrote about 10 movies and then I remembered one that should have been on the list, but I didn't want to waste what I wrote about Superman. So... there. That's why there are 11 movies. Don't get mad at me for arbitrarily breaking the arbitrary rules I arbitrarily set for myself.

Also, I go on longer than everyone else, because brevity isn't my strong suit. So here's a page break.  You've been warned. Let's get started.

Jun 6, 2013

Comic Book Movies Week: Matt's Mentionables

This week is Comic Book Movies Week here at the Cube, where we name our favorite movies based on comic book properties. Today, Matt makes a rare appearance and names his favorite comic book movies.

Note: I've decided for the purposes of this week to have the titles lead to their Amazon pages when applicable. So if you're interested in buying a movie, just click on their respective titles. -Duy

Comic Movies That Don't Suck
Matt's Mentionables

With Man of Steel soon to come out, the fearless leader has asked each of us to ruminate on movies based on comics that we’ve actually enjoyed. Given that crieteria, I am sad to say, few DC movies make the cut, actually none. I’ve discussed the translation of comics to movies before, and sadly, not much has changed. I racked my brain for a DC movie I enjoyed without reservation, but they were sadly deficient. I (shockingly) enjoy the Nolan Batman movies, but they aren’t great Batman or comic movies, so they don’t make the cut. I enjoyed films like V for Vendetta, but somehow, it seems to me that the novel and movie are just too different from the expectation I have when you say a movie about a comic, that they belong in a separate category.

My criteria for the movies was that they were major studio releases and not direct-to-video. Sadly, this last criterion cut out a lot of films. My list is also of fairly recent origin, but I also don’t think most of the historical comics movies were particularly well-done. Adam West’s Batman is a different animal and I’m sure there are other’s people like, so enjoy their posts!

Jun 5, 2013

Comic Book Movies Week: Pop Medicine

This week is Comic Book Movies Week here at the Cube, where we name our favorite movies based on comic book properties.  Today, Travis names his 10 favorites, or his 10 favorites today anyway.

Note: I've decided for the purposes of this week to have the titles lead to their Amazon pages when applicable. So if you're interested in buying a movie, just click on their respective titles. -Duy

My Ten Favorite Comics-Based Movies (With a Zillion Qualifiers)
Travis Hedge Coke

So, Duy asked me to do a Top Ten list of live action comics-based movies, and what you’re reading right now is the result. It’s a really inaccurate result, because I had to pare it down to ten and I like almost everything. Do I stick to superheroes? Do made for TV movies count? Foreign? Animated were already out of the question, so I made up several other limitations just to make it easy on myself and prevent this from being nine Blondie movies and Cutey Honey.

Extra Limitations:

1) Only one movie per character/universe. (No having nine Blondie movies.)
2) Movies I remember clearly. (Golgo 13, G-Men from Hell, or A History of Violence are out.)
3) Nothing that radically changed everything. (Men in Black.)
4) Nothing nostalgia prevents me from fairly gauging. (Supergirl, Batman Returns, or the Pyun Captain America.)
5) No trying to rank them past a top ten.

Which, in a deliberately scrambled order leaves me with the following as my current favorite ten comics-based live action movies. Some of these, I cannot even watch over and over, some I cannot swear are brilliantly executed on all fronts, but they are imprinted on my soul and memory as they stand right now, today.

Jun 4, 2013

Comic Book Movies Week: Cosmo Cube

This week is Comic Book Movies Week here at the Cube, where we name our favorite movies based on comic book properties.   Today, it's Kimberly's turn!

Note: I've decided for the purposes of this week to have the titles lead to their Amazon pages. So if you're interested in buying a movie, just click on their respective titles. -Duy

Favorite Comic Book Movies
Kimberly Smith

So, I was asked by the guy that runs this site to write about my favorite comic book movies. Now I figured everyone would write about the same ones. You don’t want to read the same thing over and over again right? Yes, we all know, Avengers and The Crow are beyond awesome…

So I decided to take a different approach. Some movies are so bad, they are good. Some movies are purposely bad, they are good. Some movies are purposely bad and are so bad at being bad they are good. And I love them. Entertainment at its finest.

So my favorite comic book movies, in no particular order, are as follows.

Jun 3, 2013

Comic Book Movies Week: Back Issue Ben

This week is Comic Book Movies Week here at the Cube, where we name our favorite movies based on comic book properties.  Today, Ben kicks it off!

Note: I've decided for the purposes of this week to have the titles lead to their Amazon pages. So if you're interested in buying a movie, just click on their respective titles. -Duy
The Ten Best Comic Book Movies of All Time
Ben Smith

I was presented with a question, nay, a challenge. A challenge that would reverberate throughout all time, eventually hitting the end of existence with the force of an atom bomb, and catapulting backwards through the time stream and smacking me square in the face, like a plate of old fish. That challenge… i’ve already forgotten. No, wait! Duy (editor-in-chief emeritus of the Comics Cube) wanted me to do a list of my ten favorite superhero movies, which will be a theme all week (so prepare yourself mentally for that). We then later decided on comic book movies, because he doesn’t have the fortitude to stick to his own criteria.

Let us begin!