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Monday, Oct 17, 2011
In Red Hood & the Outlaws #2, released this Wednesday, creators Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort explore the elusive idea of genius, but not without reconstructing a populist users-guide for the concept itself. Download your PopMatters exclusive preview here.

If Beethoven was ever red in the face, it was most likely the result of a backhand from his father. Beethoven Senior would beat his young son for a reason unimaginable in our time—the lack of greatness. Senior believed, deeply believed, that his young son was every bit the equal of Mozart who enthralled and delighted the courts of Europe less than a generation earlier. All that was required for the young Beethoven to equal and eventually surpass Mozart was the proper encouragement. Physical encouragement as far as Senior was concerned.


But Mozart had demonstrated his musical talent as early as age seven. So here was Beethoven Senior, claiming his 12 year old son was in fact nine, pleading the aristocracy of Europe to listen. And in his private time beating his son into genius.


The pettiness and mediocrity and myopia of Senior illustrates at least one point clearly—that genius has always been a problem. In our time, the problem of genius is slightly reversed. We’ve awoken in an age when genius is über-fashionable; it’s not the scarcity of genius that drives society, but its overabundance. It’s strange then, that in “Shot through the heart and who’s to blame?”, issue two of Red Hood & the Outlaws, creators Scott Lobdell and Kenneth Rocafort choose to tackle the problem of genius not only from our own historical perspective of overabundance, but from the point of view of scarcity as well.


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Wednesday, Sep 14, 2011
With just three hours before the launch of the highly anticipated Demon Knights, we probe the mind of series writer Paul Cornell.

“The DC relaunch means that the history of the character becomes kind of moot. I don’t mind at all if the new audience don’t recognize him, as long as they think he’s interesting. We’ve added a couple of new things to him. New readers start here!”


Paul Cornell, writer on the runaway hit Stormwatch shares his thoughts on today’s forthcoming Demon Knights. The “he” that Cornell speaks about is longstanding DC character, The Demon Etrigan, protagonist for Demon Knights. Originally created by Jack Kirby, the Demon is traditionally the story of Jason Blood who because of unspecified wrongdoings, becomes a human cage for Etrigan. A simple spoken incantation allows Etrigan to arise from and return to Blood. DC has long struggled with finding the right voice and the right audience for a character as psychologically-layered as Etrigan/Blood. But Cornell has some crucial shifts in the story’s high concept and characterization that will keep audiences enthralled.


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Thursday, Mar 31, 2011
by Charlie Moss
With March marking the 70th anniversary of the first appearance of Captain America in comic books and Joe Johnston’s highly anticipated movie, Captain America: The First Avenger appearing in theaters this summer, PopMatters presents a three-part exclusive interview with Joe Simon, the character’s co-creator. Today, Part 3.

“I cannot represent the American Government: the President does that. I must represent the American people. I represent the American Dream, the freedom to strive, to become all that you dream of being. Being Captain America has been my dream.”
—Steve Rogers


 
As America’s new president Gerald R. Ford takes office and the last U.S. troops leave Vietnam, it doesn’t take Steve Rogers long to return to his calling as Captain America. During his time as Nomad, he realizes that the Captain America identity could be a symbol of American ideals, not its government. It wouldn’t be until 1987 that Steve Rogers would again be forced to make the choice between his government and his principles.


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Wednesday, Mar 30, 2011
by Charlie Moss
With March marking the 70th anniversary of the first appearance of Captain America in comic books and Joe Johnston’s highly anticipated movie, Captain America: The First Avenger appearing in theaters this summer, PopMatters presents a three-part exclusive interview with Joe Simon, the character’s co-creator. Today, Part 2.

“The release of atom power has changed everything except our way of thinking… the solution to this problem lies in the heart of mankind.  If only I had known, I should have become a watchmaker.”
- Albert Einstein


In the early and mid-1950s, comic book sales dropped more than 50 percent. Superheroes became passé, and under pressure from the U.S. government, comicbook publishers essentially abandoned violence and made their superheroes pacifists, all thanks to a German-American psychiatrist named Dr. Fredric Wertham. His now infamous book, Seduction of the Innocent, blamed the rise of juvenile delinquency in America on comic books, in part, because of the mentor/ward relationship between popular costumed heroes such as Batman and Robin, Captain America and Bucky, and Green Arrow and Speedy. His assertion was that these pairings were really homosexual in nature, as well as pedophiliac. Of course, there were other accusations but this was a big one in the superhero genre. He felt, and convinced millions of parents that, comicbooks were poisoning America’s children, almost single-handedly destroying the comic book industry.


By 1956 Superhero comics were on the rise once again, thanks, in part, to Showcase #4 from DC Comics, which reintroduced the Flash, a character popular in the 1940s. Significant changes were made to modernize the character, including his persona, his name, costume and origin. After The Flash’s success, DC began bringing back other members of the Golden Age, including Hawkman and the Green Lantern, making similar changes to compliment the optimism of the Atomic Age.


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Tuesday, Mar 29, 2011
by Charlie Moss
With March marking the 70th anniversary of the first appearance of Captain America in comicbooks and Joe Johnston’s highly anticipated movie, Captain America: The First Avenger appearing in theaters this summer, PopMatters presents a three-part exclusive interview with Joe Simon, the character’s co-creator. Today, Part 1.

“A man’s country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers, and woods, but it is a principle; and patriotism is loyalty to that principle.”
—George William Curtis


Steve Rogers, like many other Americans during World War II, wanted to join the Army to defend his country. Rail thin and malnourished, the military would not let him join. Instead, the U.S. Government invited Rogers to join a top secret military initiative, Project: Rebirth. Intended to enhance U.S. Soldiers to the peak of human perfection, he was given a serum and exposed to vita-rays, transforming him into a super soldier.


During the process, the inventor of the serum, Dr. Josef Reinstein, was murdered by a Nazi operative, leaving Rogers the only successful test subject. The U.S. Government used him as a special agent meant to inspire and rally fellow U.S. troops to combat.


Wearing a costume made with the colors, stars and stripes of the American flag, and bearing an indestructible shield, he was known as Captain America.


“I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people.”
—Franklin D. Roosevelt


The 1930s were a turbulent time as the Great Depression left many Americans in despair. In response, President Franklin Roosevelt created the New Deal, a series of expansive government programs focused on relief for the unemployed, recovery of the economy and reform of America’s financial system. By the late 1930s, the country had begun to slowly recover.


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