Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

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Tuesday, Jul 23, 2013
Previously in the pages of “To Be Continued...” we explored the earliest innovations that brought Superman to the gridded page and changed pop culture forever.

After his two previous fanzine appearances, Superman shot to the top of the pops when Action Comics #1, debuted in the year of 1938. The high-jumping strongman could run fast and hear extremely well, but wasn’t quite as powerful as the character we know today. He wore a triangular (as opposed to the now-iconic pentagonal) S-Shield on his chest couldn’t fly until the early 1940s, nor did he have X-Ray or Heat Vision.

In his initial DC version Superman could leap an eighth of a mile, jump over a twenty story, lift tremendous weights, run faster than an express train and nothing less than a bursting shell could penetrate his flesh. Impressive and envious traits, all, but by the end of the 1940s, he was outrunning speeding bullets, not just trains, breaking the sound barrier with his speed, flying around the world, able to melt just about anything with his heat vision, see through about anything except lead with his x-ray vision and beyond and even surviving a nuclear blast (and capturing it on film). Thus the ordinary criminals he once punched and fought were no longer much of a threat to this “Man of Tomorrow”... who could stand up to such a powerful hero with no Achilles heel?

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Tuesday, Jul 16, 2013
Gothic-styled heartbreak figures into Becky Cloonan's self-published trilogy, but that ain't the half of it.

When the DC Universe-spanning “Court of Owls” event concluded in late 2012, award-winning comics creator Becky Cloonan helmed art duties on most of Batman Vol. 2, #12, the issue that immediately followed the Dark Knight’s face-off with Lincoln March. Scott Snyder, the writer behind the sprawling behemoth’s relaunch of their most popular character’s primary book, wrote a standalone story that Cloonan worked on. Inexplicably, it marked the first time that a woman’s name snatched the “Artist” credit in Batman. “The club of women who have written Batman books (as opposed to the broader set Batbooks which includes titles like Nightwing and Birds of Prey) is very small,” observed DC Women Kicking Ass back then.

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Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013
To Be Continued...” returns now with the exciting evolution of the world's first Superhero, who couldn't always fly, didn't always wear a cape… and wasn't always a hero.

Superman changed the face of comics upon his debut in 1938’s Action #1, combining the costumed strongman, the impossibly powerful hero of legend and Nietzsche’s concept of the Übermensch with the burgeoning popularity of astounding science fiction. Superman not only spawned more imitators than the Beatles, he launched DC Comics (then National Periodical Publications) into the top of the charts and eventually made legends of his creators, two Jewish kids named Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

While DC’s Action was Superman’s first mass-media home, this was not his initial appearance, even if it was the first time in the form we recognize. Big Blue with the stylized S on his chest was the result of what Siegel eventually called a “process of evolution” that started not at the giant company now known as DC, but in a small-time mimeographed fanzine that Siegel and Shuster published themselves, simply called Science Fiction, which saw self-publication in January of 1933.

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Monday, Jul 1, 2013
"Fight Fire with Fire" is the first collection of the Team 7 title. It is an important book, because it answers two questions still lingering from the 90s, an era that saw a genuine revolution in comics publishing.


Who is Justin Jordan? Comic Vine can tell you. But you won’t need Comic Vine, you’ll discover him as the mind behind his creator-owned property the Luther Strode books, and more recently on writing detail for Deathstroke and Green Lantern: New Guardians, and of course, on the pages of Team 7. Justin is a good writer, but he is a young writer. And not yet having had a long career, is one of the crucial challenges for a book like Team 7.

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Wednesday, Jun 26, 2013
Last time in the pages of “To Be Continued...” we discussed the connections with and contrasts between The Space Family Robinson and Lost in Space. So what rescued any part of these sagas from “Danger, Will Robinson”?

Gold Key’s 1962 Space Family Robinson comicbook predated the Lost in Space TV show by three years and in spite of the similarities in theme and source (both are spacefaring revisions of the Swiss Family Robinson), neither were derivative of the other (at least according to the courts), so the pre-existing series settled for a licensing of the name “Lost in Space” from Irwin Allen to promote their smaller, yet still groundbreaking sci-fi comicbook.

The TV show lasted three interesting seasons, though, like its contemporary Star Trek it had its fair share of “cheesy” episodes toward the end. Also like Star Trek, Lost in Space found new life in syndication, the big screen and in comicbooks. The Space Family Robinson comicbook (initially unrelated) continued until the early 1980s (burgeoned by the resurrected success of Star Trek in Syndication). Much as the American Captain Marvel Comics series was continued after the fold of Fawcett comics in the form of Marvelman, the characters created for Space Family Robinson were continued in the UK’s Lady Penelope. Still, Lady Penelope didn’t last into the 1970s, while Space Family Robinson lasted until 1982.

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