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Wednesday, Oct 16, 2013
“To Be Continued...” has yet to cover Marvel Comics in any significant way. That changes today as we take on one of Marvel's biggest icons... well... sort of.

Captain America is one of the true icons of comicbooks and one of the most immediately recognizable characters of all time. As a symbol of Marvel Comics, he is barely behind Spider-Man and Wolverine and is at least up there with Iron Man and Thor in that Holy Avengers Triumverate, but Cap is made moreso by the fact that his existence actually predates Marvel Comics itself by twenty full years. Yes, Steve Rogers debuted in 1941 way back when “Marvel” was known as “Timely”.


You know the story. Scrawny soldier undergoes supersoldier serum to become the sentinel of lieberty alongside his youthful sidekick James “Bucky” Barnes before their plane goes down in icy waters and Bucky is killed and Captain America frozen and preserved in a big honkin’ block of ice until his thaw-out to just in time to join the Avengers.


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Monday, Oct 7, 2013
Most of the action in Brendan Leach's graphic novel, 'Iron Bound, boils over with smashed car fenders and swollen knuckles in Newark, New Jersey.

Set in switchblade-sharp, scratchy line work and brash dialogue, Iron Bound is a breathless run through Garden State dive bars and half-empty bowling alleys. Brooklyn comics artist Brendan Leach has a New Jersey suburbs background that he ties into mangled knots with this bulky black and white pulp for NYC publisher Secret Acres, name-dropping favorite shore-town watering holes and working-in affectionate renderings of classic boardwalk landmarks where possible. He winds the clock back to 1961 and follows a pair of biker jacket-clad hoods out for a quick buck as they advance up and down the Jersey turnpike in city buses or stolen cars.


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Monday, Sep 30, 2013
It's really only the power of Grant Morrison's writing that can force you into the counterintuitively simultaneous directions of Will Eisner and H.I.M.

There’s a piece of example art, a small cartoon about a man leaving work then entering into his daily commute home (but the plot twist comes as, that commute is via rocket-pack), that Will Eisner uses to make a point in his book on comics pedagogics, Graphic Storytelling. It’s a piece from Eisner’s own illustrious body of work, but I can’t get to the name right now. I could get at the name if I wanted, and writing as little as one generation ago, I probably would have needed to. And the ref is real easy to come by. The piece is more than likely referenced in Graphic Storytelling itself, and not even in the notes at the back of the book, but right there where the cartoon is excerpted. And it’s not like Eisner’s book isn’t on the shelf right beside where I write. But after Google, after Napster, after Facebook and Twitter, after everything these last few years, that’s not the way the world works anymore. Not when anyone can reach out discover the title for themselves. Not when we’re all at an equal distance to every kind of information conceivable, even if that distance is as close as “only a click away.” In this world, after everything we’ve been thru digitally, culturally, it just doesn’t work like that anymore. After everything we’ve been thru, it’s better for me to just kick back and turn up H.I.M.‘s Uneasy Listening.


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Monday, Sep 23, 2013
Coming a week after the release of the first Unwritten standalone graphic novel, Unwritten #53 proves that there's always something magic.

Think of what it must have been like for those creators taking the very first steps into the brave new format of the graphic novel. Not Will Eisner who’s generally acknowledged as the progenitor of the format, but a little later on, think of Chris Claremont and Brett Anderson, writer and artist respectively on the X-Men graphic novel, God Loves, Man Kills which would eventually become the basis for the 2003 hit, X2: X-Men United.


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Monday, Sep 16, 2013
Brother Lono takes the core of the original 100 Bullets, that sense of the panopticon for human interest, arising from the margins of society, and elevates it beyond what seemed possible.

Maybe NYPD Blue did it best, in those days Back When. At least Blue did it better than Homicide: Life on the Streets, when the two seemed in competition for the gritty-realism-brought-to-TV crown. It was that sense of the panoramic, but a panorama forced outwards to the edge of the scene. Each crime scene the intrepid detectives from the 15th found themselves investigating would be subjected to a panning shot, and usually thereafter a tracking shot or two to follow the detectives thru the same scene. Certain things would always hit. The old lady in her robe and slippers smoking, or maybe the Korean bodega owner, or maybe the homeless guy with the shiny, new watch.


It was a visually evocative, and ultimately, a beautiful way to tell a story. And in the Fall of 92, and for nearly every year later for a decade, it became a wonderfully elegiac way to shot New York, one that infused the TV show with that quintessential urban energy of the place itself. In the thousands of scenes that comprise the entire 12 seasons of NYPD Blue, the map and the territory become one.


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