Superdads — Fatherhood in Superhero Comics

The 1st of September is Father’s Day in Australia. While I find it weird that we placed it so far away from the rest of the world’s usual date, it is what it is. So, in honour of Father’s Day, I want to take a look at fatherhood in superhero comics.

The idea of characters being “aged” by younger characters around them is a concern of the comics industry. Indeed, a lot has been done to ensure that characters like Spider-Man and Batman remain at a vague age where they can be considered at least somewhat young. Many in the industry have spoken out against allowing characters to grow and age, in fear that this would also age their paternal figures — the most recent example I can recall would be X-Men editor Jordan D. White mentioning that the younger X-Men cannot be allowed to age, as this would make the core group of Cyclops, Wolverine, Rogue and the like older. I think this fundamentally misunderstands superhero comics and their appeal, the stories they can tell and some of the best works in the superhero genre, and how children are vehicles for further development of characters. While comics like Saga and Birthright have excellent portrayals of parenthood, superhero comics lend a greater weight to everyday struggles, to everyday emotions and relationships.

For the purposes of this post, I’ll be looking at specific characters and specific runs on those characters (to a degree). This is just meant to look at the different kinds of fatherhood presented in superhero comics, while focusing on specific works where possible. Anyway, let’s have a look at our superdads. Continue reading “Superdads — Fatherhood in Superhero Comics”

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Gateway Comics — Batman

Gateway Comics is a recommendation thing I do where I list works in a franchise that are good for new readers, that hopefully make them want to check out more of the franchise or character. It features franchises/characters that I am personally familiar with, although I will be using others’ opinions at times. The key point is that these are recommendations for new readers.

With Detective Comics #1000 only a few weeks away, I decided work on this ahead of Superman (sorry, Big Blue) for the people who will inevitably buy Detective Comics #1000 but not actually be Batman readers, but who do want to read comics. Along with the X-Men, who I covered here, the Batman franchise helped get me into comics. Unlike many, who came into comics from The Dark Knight, I got into the franchise through a combination of Batman: Arkham Asylum (the video game) and Batman: Under the Red Hood (which came bundled with Arkham Asylum) before watching The Dark Knight. I started with a few titles here and there, got big into Scott Snyder’s Batman run, then jumped around a lot. I have a lot of experience with the franchise, so this is something that I’m comfortable talking about.

Anyway, without further delay, here are the comics I recommend to those who want an introduction to the world of the Bat.

Continue reading “Gateway Comics — Batman”

Worst Comics of 2018

I wasn’t going to do this. I like to celebrate the good in comics, not lampoon the bad. Comic readers already have an image of being overly negative and I don’t want to be that guy. But… some of the comics this year truly did it for me. They managed to take my goodwill and optimism and grind it into the dirt. Yes, some of these series may recover, or may even have already. But that doesn’t take away from how terrible these particular comics are. With that in mind, here are the worst comics of 2018. Continue reading “Worst Comics of 2018”

Best Comic Issues of 2018

2018 was an uneven year in terms of comics. A lot of series that were good took a nosedive, while others that were terrible managed to crawl their way to readability and sometimes even quality. But sometimes, there’s an outlier. Sometimes a single issue manages to say more than a series, or manages to elevate itself above the others. This is about those, the issues that stand as the best of the year. Continue reading “Best Comic Issues of 2018”

Best Continuing Comic Series of 2017

Last year was a good year for comics. DC’s Rebirth relaunch settled in, allowing creators to tell some truly amazing stories with strong reimaginings of the company’s characters. The Young Animal imprint mostly stayed strong throughout, really coming into its own. Marvel took a page from DC’s book and is trying to recapture what it thinks fans miss from their universe (something I have mixed opinions on, but here’s not the place for that). And during all this you have some excellent series not from the Big Two either maintaining their excellence or just coming out of nowhere and surprising everyone. 2017 was a good year for comics.

I’ve been away from blogging for a long time, but that little sidebar ranking current ongoing series I’m reading? That is completely up to date. I’ve just fallen really behind on monthly ongoing comics, which made me question whether or not I should do this list. However, I think that this list has been determined for a while now. Nothing that I haven’t read will likely really make a difference to this list. To qualify for this list, the series had to have had at least one issue released in 2016, and one in 2017. Anyway, let’s get on with it. These are the best continuing series of 2017.

Warning: mild spoilers.

Note: Please forgive the weird formatting on some entries when it comes to art. Comixology is bad about this and is where I get my information. Continue reading “Best Continuing Comic Series of 2017”

Predicting Brian Michael Bendis’ DC Comics

News has broke broke a while ago (yeah, I’ve been procrastinating finishing this post for a while) that Brian Michael Bendis — acclaimed for his runs on Ultimate Spider-Man, Daredevil and Alias, not so acclaimed for his work on Avengers, X-Men and Iron Man — will be writing exclusively for DC Comics, after years of writing for Marvel. This is a big surprise, to say the least, and is something I have… mixed opinions on. But before I list the projects I both think Bendis will be good for and those I think he may get anyway, I’m just going to preface this post with a warning when it comes to Bendis’ writing.

Bendis is a writer who always starts strong, but his lack of long-term planning always rears its head. You have things like the mystery of Ronin’s identity: obviously meant to be Daredevil, Ronin was revealed to be Maya Lopez in the end, because she was just using a muscle suit! And just ignore that she’s deaf and could never have read Iron Man or Spider-Man’s lips! Or how Moon Knight didn’t end up affecting Age of Ultron at all despite that being most of its point! Or how the Skrull reveals in Secret Invasion were extremely (for the most part) disappointing! Because of his general lack of follow through, whatever Bendis ends up cannot be judged immediately. Because it will be a good comic at first. They always are. So before we shout that he’s the second coming, let’s give it a year or two. Let’s wait to see if his likely amazing premise is actually delivered on.

Without further adieu, these are the projects I think Bendis will get, and my opinions on his possible work on them. Continue reading “Predicting Brian Michael Bendis’ DC Comics”

Ongoings for the New Comic Reader – DC Comics (2017, Q1)

Ongoings for the New Comic Reader is exactly what it sounds like — the posts where I recommend current ongoing comics to new readers, mostly based on the current or most recent arc. I focus heavily on the series being new reader friendly, so if the latest masterpiece of Grant Morrison’s isn’t here, you know why. I’m mainly concerned with what I myself am reading, but will occasionally recommend something people have told me or I’ve heard is good, if I feel it bits (these recommendations will be clearly labeled).

DC’s output has finally levelled out a bit, with the Rebirth titles being frequent enough that I can now determine quality more accurately, so quite a few things have dropped off this list. At the same time, both the Young Animal imprint and the rebooted Wildstorm universe have been establishing themselves, and have been mostly excellent, so they easily fill in for the series that I wouldn’t recommend. Join me after the break for my comic recommendations for new readers based on Q1 of 2017.

Continue reading “Ongoings for the New Comic Reader – DC Comics (2017, Q1)”