Recent Features
The Storm: Exclusive with MAD Editor John Ficarra on “50 Worst Cartoons”

"Yeah, we're waiting for a blizzard this weekend," John Ficarra says, bending my ear in that way he usually does as a lead-in to saying something profound, "And it's going to be a big one…"

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Why Is It Like That Here? Comics As a Medium for Exploring Our Varying Senses of Place

Comics give writers and artists a unique kind of freedom to make and remake places for their stories.

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Greater Than, or Equal To?: “New Avengers” vs New Journalism

Jonathan Hickman's New Avengers offers a profound meditation on the ideals underpinning the advent of New Journalism…

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The Villain We Deserve, Not the Villain We Need: Batman, Joker, Peter Pan and Hook

It takes courage to write iconic heroes, almost as much courage as it does to write their villains. And an even greater dose of courage is required when iconic villains are reinterpreted in works like Batman #17 and Peter Panzerfaust #9

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I Regret Nothing: Examing ‘Dia de los Muertos Uno’

Can comics be literature? The debate reaches a crisis point for Michael D. Stewart with Image/Shadowline's gorgeous Dia de los Muertos, a book that simply breaks all established conventions of format and genre…

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The Beats, The Li’l Depressed Boy and Populist Literature

I’m reminded of the Beats’ desire to bring common language to fiction and poetry thanks to a few recently read comics including Ethan Rilly’s Pope Hats, Adrian Tomine’s Optic Nerve and especially S. Steven Struble and Sina Grace’s The Li’l Depressed Boy #15

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Rethinking the Narrative: An Exclusive Conversation with Dr. Walter Greason

The debate over sexism and Eurocentrism in superhero comics simmers constantly, an easy charge for cultural critics and fans alike. Yet, the fact that superhero comicbook struggles with questions of race and gender bias should not be a surprise.

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No Reason to End: “Star Wars” and Perpetual Fiction

What's the value of Brian Wood writing an interstitial Star Wars tale (between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back), nearly 40 years on? Perhaps more than we can realize…

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The Long Game: Exclusive Interview with “Fables” Creator Bill Willingham

Legendary Fables creator Bill Willingham rarely grants interviews, but in this exclusive he wrestles with the Long Game of comics after Watchmen and with his own creation…

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Horror, Pro Wrestling and Batman, Revisited

The Joker, as written by Snyder, is much more of a horror character. His methods and mayhem far more influenced by recent horror movies than his previous pulp villain roots. It’s a trend. A trend that as Batman #16 illustrates, shows a “torture porn” influence that we’ve seen in the Saw movies and other imitators.

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The Conscious Materiality of Chris Ware’s Building Stories

If the digital ereader has made anything clear, it's that the physicality of the book is, for most practical purposes, incidental, an accident of time and place. Building Stories, by contrast, is deliberately material in a way that most books are not.

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In the Chained Melody of Spider-Man

What’s lost in the circus atmosphere of the new Superior Spider-Man is what critics should be picking up on: is this a good direction for the Wall-crawler, are the comics in question good, and what does this all mean in the larger picture of comics and popculture?

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Clown Behind the Cowl, Wind Beneath My Wings: The Scott Snyder Exclusive

"For a moment I imagine that scary Go-To-Bed Clown that used to appear at your window, each night as you tried to fall sleep. But talking about the sheer masterfulness of the Joker's creation isn't the scary thing in this interview. The scary thing is Scott himself…"

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The Chain of Damocles

Django Unchained is quite possibly the finest example of an adapted-from-film comicbook, except of course, it's really not, not entirely…

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Second Star to the Right… The Contextual Usage of “Fan Fiction”

Earlier on in the Batman storyarc "Death of the Family", we were introduced to the idea of the Joker as court jester, but this obfuscates seeing him for what he is: Peter Pan…

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The Best Comic Book Moments in 2012 Movies

The comic book movie boom we've been riding for a little over a decade now has shown no signs of going bust. If anything, the boom is only getting bigger and more comic-bookish.

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Doomsday Island Discs: The PopMatters Comics 2012 Wrap

PopMatters Comics Editor Shathley Q and Associate Editor Michael D. Stewart didn't get to talking about everything…only the things they connected with emotionally, and the ideas that these things brought them into…Here it is, your view of comics, superheroes and transmedia…Enjoy it in good health, this Mayan Doomsday…

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Dream a Little Dream: Amazing Spider-Man and ‘Dying Wish’

It's not right on the cusp of Amazing Spider-Man #700, writer Dan Slott takes us back to 80s body-swap comedies, or even that those comedies have a pedigree in Gilded Age satire…it's what pushing Spidey into those genre do to the hero's characterization…

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Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Finally: A Hard Look at “Avengers #1”

After the success of Joss Whedon's summer blockbuster the Avengers, there needs to be a title that captures the essence of the movies while retaining the force and the intricacies of the comicbooks. Jonathan Hickman's Avengers is that series.

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Humble Beginnings: Ed Brubaker’s “Scene of the Crime”

In some sense, Scene of the Crime birthed the universe of grifters, drug runners, and unlucky bar flies that help make Ed Brubaker's books what they are…

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

Culture Belongs to the Alien in 'Spirits of Xanadu'

// Moving Pixels

"The symbols that the artifact in Spirits of Xanadu uses are esoteric -- at least for the average Western gamer. It is Chinese culture reflected back at us through the lens of alien understanding.

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