The Marvel Zombies: A super infection (sort of)

Since I’m reading comic books because of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead (as if I really need an excuse to read comic books), I’ve decided to turn my attention to a different set of Kirkman’s zombie comics: the Marvel Zombies series.

I never really understood the whole Marvel Zombie craze when the outbreak first appeared. Writer Mark Millar of The Ultimate Fantastic Four created a “Marvel Zombie-verse,” with infected versions of the company’s most prominent characters, and the idea proved so wildly popular that Marvel hired Kirkman to spin the characters off into their own mini-series. That, in turn, spawned eight spin-offs and several other products, including omnibuses, action figures, and trading cards.

“I didn’t even really want to do this book,” Kirkman wrote in the introduction to volume one. Continue reading

The Walking Dead, part two: Comics, Creators, and Compelling Storytelling

It’s a common theme I’ve noticed running through a lot of zombie apoca-lit: Other people, not zombies, represent the real danger. That’s certainly true in The Walking Dead—in the comics and in real life.

Partway through the first hardcover volume of The Walking Dead, I notice that principle art duties shift from Tony Moore to Charlie Adlard. Writer Robert Kirman remains at the helm.

Turns out, in the midst of the zombie apocalypse, Moore and Kirkman—who had been friends since childhood before collaborating to co-create The Walking Deadturned on each otherContinue reading

Frank Miller's Holy Terror wholly disappoints

I suspect Frank Miller’s new graphic novel, Holy Terror, is supposed to be gritty and profound meditation on the evils of terrorism, set in a superhero milieu. “Holy Terror chronicles [the] desperate and brutal quest of a hero as he is forced to run down an army of murderous zealots in order to stop a crime against humanity,” the back cover says.

But coming ten years after 9/11, the book lacks any urgency and offers nothing new to ponder. Terrorist commit terrorism and, weeks later, people are still terrified. At the end, a wide-eyed character realizes one middle-of-the-sleepless-night, “No wonder we call it terror.”

It’s not the faux profundity that bothered me so much, though. No, it’s that Miller, one of the godfathers of the modern comic book, has cobbled together what might be the most derivative thing he has ever created.

Continue reading

Nota Bene #115: RIP No. 32

“If you’re really pro-life, do me a favor—don’t lock arms and block medical clinics. If you’re so pro-life, lock arms and block cemeteries.” Who said it? Continue reading

ArtSunday: Amalgam

Here follow many of my favorite painters, illustrators and photographers. This comprehensive list
was lovingly compiled—be sure to click on the images or names to see and learn more. Enjoy! ∞

Continue reading

Captain America reborn

Captain America is dead. Long live Cap!

He’s as Amer-iconic as Uncle Sam and the Lincoln Memorial. He’s bigger than life while still as down-home as hot dogs, apple pie, and baseball.

And for the past two years, he’s been dead.

As everyone knows, though, in the superhero world nobody stays dead forever. This month, Marvel Comics is bringing back the red-white-and-blue Avenger in a storyline called “Captain America Reborn.”

But that’s perhaps the best part about Captain America: He’s been reborn and reborn again, as the times dictate, ever since his creation back in 1941. Continue reading

Legacy: the perfect comic book-as-words


legacy-coverLegacy wants to be more than a novelized comic book: Packaged as a hardcover with a spiffy dust jacket and a promising premise, the novel suggests something that transcends stereotypical comic book shoot-em-up.

But it quickly becomes apparent that the book is not the general-audience thriller it appears to be. Instead, Legacy is the pitch-perfect comic book-as-words. There’s no genre-busting, no in-depth character study, no lyrical prose—nothing that would help it transcend the realm of fanboys. Instead, author Thomas E. Sniegoski writes with both knuckles bare, conjuring derring-do and all-out action on page after page.

At just over 200 pages, Legacy makes for a quick read, particularly since the text is light and the paragraphs are short. It’ll be an entertaining two hours, too—for readers who like comics. Continue reading

Understanding comics

understanding-comics-coverAs a lifelong comic book reader, I was curious to stumble across Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics at the bookstore one day. That was perhaps a year ago, but I never got around to reading it. Written as a comic book itself, I figured it wouldn’t take me too long to plow through it once I finally picked it up.

Well, confined to bed for a few days, trying to avoid anything that would tax my foggy and phlegm-filled head, I decided to tackle McCloud’s book.

Bad choice and good choice.

Bad choice because it looked deceptively light, but in fact, the book is a pretty heavy-duty, sophisticated look at comic book theory. Yeah, that’s right: “comic book theory.” Continue reading

Marvel: The best writing in comics

It’s been nearly ten years since a radioactive spider crept into the offices of Marvel Comics and bit everyone. Or maybe it was the burst of a gamma bomb. Or a shower of cosmic rays.

Marvel Comics EIC Joe Quesada (photo courtesy Marvel Comics)
Marvel Comics EIC Joe Quesada
(photo courtesy Marvel Comics)

At the time, puny Marvel was trying to steady its wobbly legs after a rough period of bankruptcy in the late nineties. Then, suddenly, the company found itself endowed with fantastic new super powers: It could seemingly make money at will.

Impressed by Marvel’s astonishing turnaround over the last ten years, Disney announced a month and a half ago that it was snatching up the comic book company for $4 billion.

But the secret origin of Marvel’s amazing success isn’t such a secret, says Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada.

In fact, it’s written on every page. Continue reading