(Sources will be cited at the end of the article) I've mentioned Andrew Rev in passing a couple times. It has been mainly in how he bought Elementals from Bill Willingham when he bought Comico in the early 1990s. Andrew Rev disappeared from the face of the Earth after the collapse of the 90s collapse of the comic book industry. Word has it that every time someone inquired about buying Elementals from him, he immediately would ask an exorbitant amount for the property and negotiations would collapse.
I was going through a review of a comic and a thought occurred to me. What if these decades-long stories had been planned in advance so major events could be properly foreshadowed? Think of it, from the moment Gwen Stacy is introduced, her death is constantly hinted at. She's afraid of heights, we keep seeing the George Washington bridge showing up. How about bird imagery constantly popping up from the moment Jean Grey joins the X-Men?
As I write this, it's a slow news day. I'm already a week ahead on these columns, so it doesn't seem like too much of a stretch to put in yet another one. It seems like forever since I did one of these for an independent comic. Of course, in my mind, Phantom Lady doesn't count. The first thing that came to mind was one of my favorite independent series, Elementals by Bill Willingham, better known for Fables. A lot of what other writers did in the later 1990s and 2000s was done before by Bill Willingham. Do you want a sinister government agency interacting with super-heroes? Willingham did it in Elementals. Do you want super-heroes cursing? Willingham did it in Elementals. Do you want graphic violence in your super-hero comics? Willingham did it in Elementals. Do you want your super-heroes deciding not to act like they're in a comic book? Well, I've got an issue for you.
I've wanted to review a Golden Age comic for some time. The problem comes in the fact that during the Golden Age, much of the language of comics, and the techniques that we take for granted were being formed. This was also before the rise of the Comics Code Authority, so creators were trying things out to see what would sell. This is probably where the salacious aspect of Phantom Lady comes into play. Her costume reveals a lot of skin, especially for the 1940s. No doubt this was part of her appeal. Artist Matt Baker was very skilled at designing a cover that emphasized the visual appeal of the character. However, somewhere along the way, her effectiveness as a character came through. She's one of those public domain heroes that always gets noticed, and always has someone bring her back to use, despite DC Comics making use of the character and enforcing their version of the character. Erik Larsen might have been the most recent creator to incorporate her into his comics, but he did so only briefly.
It was a history-making list of nominees this year. The history comes from Image Comics who swept the Best New Series category. Bitter Root, Crowded, Gideon Falls, Isola, Man-Eaters, and Skyward took all six spots in the category. Overall, Image Comics took 30 nominations, including 11 shared nominations. DC Comics took second place with 24 total nominations, including 7 shared nominations. The comic with the most nominations is Tom King's Mister Miracle with 4 nominations.
I always strive to review old comics that you may not have thought about. Heck, you may not even know that they even exist. This is sometimes hard to do, especially in these days when some of the most obscure titles are available with a membership. Many creators got their start in unlikely places. Some have their careers go into areas that may seem unlikely given their past. Bill Willingham is one of those writers that became very popular with his Vertigo series Fables, and it reached into other works for DC and of late, has been working for independent publishers. This is not uncommon ground for him. Bill Willingham first rose to prominence on his creator owned series for Comico, Elementals. Eventually, as the comic market saw the publisher fall, Willingham sold the rights to Andrew Rev,who had bought Comico. After putting together a bible for the direction he had been taking the series, Willingham saw it ignored and eventually used as a doorstop, according to an editorial in an issue of Ironwood. Word has it that Willingham retooled many of those ideas and put them together for a mini-series that saw itself published, albeit irregularly, by Lone Star Press.
We field through a lot of press releases. It would be easy to just copy and paste every one of them, but that wouldn't be fair to you guys. However, if one passes our inbox that looks interesting, then we'll pass it along. Today, that happened with a new book about Hellboy. Sequart has released The Mignolaverse: Hellboy and the Comics Art of Mike Mignola which looks pretty good.
Oni Press is merging with Lion Forge. The announcement makes it seem that Lion Forge's parent company, Polarity, is purchasing Oni Press, but the move is being marketed as a merger. I'm still trying to determine what this news means.
Comic book legend George Pérez announced his retirement from comic book work yesterday. In recent years, health issues such as diabetes, heart problems and failing eyesight have scaled back his work and convention appearances. With this announcement, the career of one of the most recognizable and influential creators in comics has come to an end.
Comic Book Inking is an artform in and of itself. If you don't believe me look at the Machine Man limited series that Barry Windsor-Smith inked and any other comic that Herb Trimpe ever drew. Inkers have long fought for recognition as the artists they are ever since Jason Lee's character was called "a tracer" in Chasing Amy. Inkers can make a bad artist look good and a great artist look bad. The Inkwell Awards take an opportunity every year to educate fans about the art of comic book inking.
In the 1990s, there was a trend of "bad girls." These were female characters that were usually violent and almost always had costumes that showed more skin than they covered. Lady Death (and most of Chaos! Comics' female characters), Razor, Shi, Glory, and Witchblade were just some of the characters that were the prime examples of this disturbing trend. There may not have been a publisher of super-hero comics in the 1990s that didn't try to ride this trend. Topps Comics, short-lived as it was, even got into the act with Lady Rawhide, spinning off the character into her own title. There were different degrees of the bad girl trend and Lady Rawhide was definitely on the tamer end of the spectrum. However, right there on the cover of her first appearance, Topps looks tobe trying to get in on the trend.
It’s true. My five year old daughter knows more about comic books than I do, and I have been married to a former comic book broker and all around comics encyclopedia for almost a decade now. My husband has been grooming our little girl to be a next gen comic book geek since birth. It