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

Objectionable treatment of comics in the Plain Dealer

Message from Plain Dealer describing Non Sequitor comic as "objectionable."I still read the print edition of the Plain Dealer, every day. Have had a subscription since I moved back to the Cleveland area in 2004. I read the sections in order and save the comics for last (my habit since I was in my teens). So I was taken aback yesterday when I found this on the comics page:

“Editor’s note: Today’s “Non Sequitur” strip was withheld because it was deemed objectionable by Plain Dealer editors. A replacement strip was unavailable by press time.”

I knew I was going to find that message–my husband had already seen it (and written a letter to the PD editor, Debra Adams Simmons). I asked what the problem was and I expected something about religious or political content. He described the cartoon: two men and a rabbit sitting at a table with a police line-up in progress. On the other side of the two-way mirror: a cat, a bear, a wolf, and a snake. The rabbit’s line, “OK, I know how bad it sounds, but they all really do look alike to me.” You can see the original here on the Seattlepi.com website.

The contents of the rest of the PD, including the comic section, make that bit of censorship seem ludicrous. Continue reading

Missing You, Metropolis finds the superhuman and humanity in all of us

I’m ferociously cramming contemporary poetry into my head this semester in an attempt to force-feed my brain. Ostensibly, I’m a poet—but only because I’m taking a graduate-level poetry-writing workshop. I’m trying to figure this shit out, trying to figure out what I am and what I’m not by reading lots of stuff by poets who are.

I’ve taken recommendations from friends and classmates. I’ve browsed random collections at the bookstore. I’ve looked up names I’ve heard once upon a time and barely remembered. I’ve returned to old favorites.

Gary Jackson’s Missing You, Metropolis (Graywolf Press, 2010) caught my eye because it was about comic books. Or so I thought. Continue reading

Nota Bene #120: Crazy Ivan

“If you can make a woman laugh, you’re seeing the most beautiful thing on God’s earth.” Who said it? Continue reading

Why is God telling so many Republicans to run for president?

As Wufnik noted in his post last night, God has apparently advised Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, and maybe Rick Perry to run for president. Which leads us to an obvious question: what the hell is God smoking?

I did a bit of archival research and I think I have figured out what’s going on. This whole sequence is instructive, but the relevant part kicks in at around the 2:25 mark.

Nota Bene #119: Think! It Ain't Illegal Yet

“My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.” Who said it? Continue reading

On Richard Pryor: It was something he said

Richard PryorThe great medieval poet Geoffrey Chaucer created timeless characters in his Canterbury Tales; archetypal personalities such as the Wife of Bath and the Miller endure to this day. Through them Chaucer could readily celebrate, criticize and satirize different aspects of the society of his time. Additionally, Chaucer, as a public servant and man of the people, preserved a vernacular that may otherwise have been lost.

The late Richard Pryor, often hailed as the greatest comic to ever take the stage, is the American Chaucer. A master storyteller in the grand tradition of West African griots, fired by passion and pain, possessed of keen insight, he was also a brilliant impersonator with amazing range, an intuitive actor who never got his due, a social critic, a writer, a folklorist, a philosopher, and, most importantly, one funny motherfucker… Continue reading

S&R's Harvey Pekar tribute propped at Westword

When we invited Denver cartooning legend Kenny Be of Westword to contribute to our Harvey Pekar series, we didn’t really anticipate return coverage in the Mile High City’s long-running alt-weekly. We just wanted to include as many talented people as we could, and Be is as essentially Denver as the Capitol Hill People’s Fair, South Broadway’s antique row, pool upstairs at the Wynkoop, the gold dome of the Capitol or the late great Barrel Man, Tim McKernan. Three S&R founders and several more current and past writers live in or near the 5280, so while we’re a national and international site, Denver is home base.

Kenny decided to feature the series in his weekly Latest Word blog, though, and we’re grateful for the hat-tip. Continue reading

Pekar Tribute 8: Aengus Cargo

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Pekar Tribute 7: Karl Christian

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Pekar Tribute 5: Mike Keefe

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Pekar Tribute 4: Mike Sheehan

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Nota Bene #118: VOTE!

“I am not fit for this office and should never have been here.” Who said it? Continue reading

Pekar Tribute 3: Aaron Williams

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Nota Bene #117: Wake Up!

“Hollywood is so crooked that Mafia gangsters are entirely outclassed and don’t stand a chance. People in Hollywood are smarter. They have more sophisticated knowledge of money and deals and how to steal legally rather than illegally.” Who said it? Continue reading

I Don’t Know, Man: A Tribute to Harvey Pekar

Harvey Pekar would have turned 71 today.

I imagine that in between a phone interview or two, he would’ve found time to write a bit, listen to some old music, write some more, tape up his favorite winter coat, misplace his keys, complain about something frivolous, write some more, flash a grin at some point and end a sentence with “man,” and pekarperhaps spend a few reflective moments looking out the window at the gray October sky of Cleveland Heights.

The esteemed chronicler of quotidian America passed away on July 12 of this year, surely having gained some measure of satisfaction that he contributed something worthwhile in life as he set out to do, and just as surely second-guessing that notion.

In tribute to Pekar, Scholars and Rogues invited cartoonists and artists—among them distinguished veterans, rising stars, and enigmas from dark corners of the underground—to illustrate panels accompanying text about events in his life, in the manner that Pekar produced his classic American Splendor series. Each week from October 2010 to January 2011, individual contributions were highlighted, but with the conclusion of the series they’re all now gathered on this page permanently. (Click on the images to see full posts.)

And bless you, Harvey, wherever you’re fretting… you gained much more than a footnote in history. Continue reading

Superhero

by Terry Hargrove

The new Batwoman is gay. Really. I don’t have an opinion about that, since I don’t read comic books anymore. Still, I can remember when she carried her crime fighting equipment in a purse.

When I was a kid, video games were called comic books. They were great because they were filled with superheroes who didn’t require an emotional investment, they were very cheap and they were full of advertisements. The ads were the second best part of the comic book. We all wanted some X-ray glasses, or free chameleons, or a Charles Atlas guide to beating the crap out of beach sand-kickers. Every guy in my neighborhood wanted to win the huge chest of plastic army men, over 288 pieces, that could be yours if you only sold a few Grit magazines or packs of seeds or boxes of Christmas cards. And when it came right down to it, who didn’t need magazines and seeds and Christmas cards?

But the best thing about comic books was the dream, intoxicating almost to madness, of being a superhero. I was hooked as were we all. More than that, we believed superpowers were attainable, and already enjoyed by a lucky few of us. Continue reading