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Monday, Apr 26, 2010
Years before creating some of the strangest superheroes (Deadman and later the members of Doom Patrol), Arnold Drake penned what would arguably become the first graphic novel.

Before co-creating at least two of the strangest superhero comics in history, Arnold Drake co-wrote one of the leading contenders for the title of “first graphic novel”: 1949’s It Rhymes with Lust.


The tale of thoroughly corrupt Copper City, its competing criminal overlords, a cynical newspaper editor and the women who compete for his heart and soul, Lust brings to mind Dashiel Hammet’s Red Harvest and The Glass Key, and seems to share qualities with the 1952 movie Deadline USA. It isn’t on par with those classic crime stories, but Lust‘s non-stop seediness and garish immorality, combined with an almost Douglas Sirk-level of melodrama, make it a strange classic in its own right.


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Monday, Apr 26, 2010
Andy Smith continues his observations of the Pittsburgh Comicon. He has met the fans, gentlemen, and they are us.

I’m an hour and a half early.


A walk around the convention center finds scurrying vendors, convention center staff carrying a table between the same two spots and industry professionals strategically stacking original art with splash pages on top. And I, soon to be known as “the guy with the camera”, watch like an orphan on Thanksgiving.


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Sunday, Apr 25, 2010
Convention Confessional: Andy Smith begins his tour of Pittsburgh Comicon.

Who wouldn’t want to go to a Comicon?


Well, possibly a lot of people.


But that’s because there are only a few images that may come to mind, and nearly all of them feature an overweight man in a very, very undersized Captain America costume with a shield made out of a pizza box.


You see, I love that guy. But what I also love is the reality of a comicbook convention – the comraderie, the humility and the simple joys associated what that moment in which the doors open and the con-goers begin their assault.


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Wednesday, Apr 21, 2010
Is the search for the perfect superhero story trivializing or popularizing religions no longer part of the cultural mainstream?

You may be able to recall a few characters, like Kitty Pryde and The Thing, who are Jewish. Flagship heroes like Captain America and Superman have extensively been debated on being Protestant and Methodist, respectively. Nightcrawler and Daredevil are Marvel’s go-to Catholics, as well.


But have you ever heard of a superhero of the Aztec religion?


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Wednesday, Apr 21, 2010
All Cut Up: One disappointing element in the Avatar handling of the New Line horror-slashers, was the lack of structured story.

Back in 2006, WildStorm Comics acquired the licensing rights to New Line Cinema’s line of horror movies, including A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Before this, adaptations of these popular slasher flicks were handled by Avatar Press. Exactly why New Line switched over to WildStorm is not too clear. Perhaps it was because New Line and WildStorm are both under the umbrella of the Time/Warner Corporation. But that has been the case since the mid-‘90s. More likely, Avatar’s somewhat erratic publishing schedule was the deciding factor, although WildStorm has certainly been late on more than a few books.


The good news for comics fans was that those beloved homicidal scamps known as Freddy, Jason, and Leatherface would now be handled by top-drawer comics professionals. Not to impinge the name of Brian Pulido, the Chaos! Comics founder who led the charge for Avatar’s New Line books, but as anyone familiar with his Lady Death and Evil Ernie books would be able to tell you, Pulido was more about blood and guts than about story.


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