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Showing posts from February, 2011

Dwayne McDuffie, Gone But Never Forgotten

There is no question Dwayne McDuffie was an important figure in modern comics. With his sudden death, fans and professionals alike will be considering his loss.

As a comic fan and a scholar, I try to be reflective when I consider the medium and what it represents. I will sit down and try to place his career in perspective, but at this moment I want to say I hope he knew.

He was a great writer, a great editor, and great businessman, but like many people, he probably spent more time doing than thinking about his place in the universe. You do that when you are old. Granted forty-nine was old fifty year ago, but thanks to baby-boomer cultural weight, forty is the new thirty. So he died really young (He would have appreciated that one).

I can talk about how he is dead and horrible people somehow manage to live and this calls into question the whole "merciful" god thing, but that would be pointless (it would be true, but pointless). Looking at McDuffie's excellent websit…

Blank Panther?: Jack Kirby, Blackness and the American Dream

Jack Kirby was a legendary comic innovator. While known for his superhero creations, he made his mark in numerous genre, including the Romance comics genre which he pioneered in the late 1940s.


Blank Panther?: Jack Kirby, Blackness and the American Dream

As you know, I am aware it is Black History Month. I wrote a short piece exploring Jack Kirby's take on race and identity for the good people at PopMatters.com. The short written assignment is the most difficult. Still, I think there is some merit in an honest reflective piece consider Jack Kirby take on race and identity. Perhaps no creator was as prolific creating black characters and unlike other creators, I don't think Kirby's intention was tokenism. Indeed, characters he created remain central to Marvel. The Black Panther's recent centrality is a testament to the character symbolic important and the lack of substantive new characters created since Kirby's actions in the 1960s and 1970s.

Killing In the Name Of....?

David Gabriel, VP Sales at Marvel Comics announced at the ComicsPro retailer summit, Marvel's intention to kill a character every quarter. As I mentioned before, the value of killing any character in comic is not about that character's death, but about the aftermath for those left behind. This is why some comic deaths are sacred and others not. Gabriel insisted that plan to kill characters is not a cheap ploy to sell comics. This, despite the fact, that Fantastic Four #587 was the highest selling comic in the last six month. No, Gabriel insisted, as I suggested, that the point is to established a new status quo like the one we are seeing coming out of the dissolution of the Fantastic Four and the creation of the Future Foundation. Still, the timing is suspect. Marvel has committed to the 3.99 price point (versus DC holding the line at 2.99) and they are also gearing up for a new major event-FEAR ITSELF.

In concept this could be a creative tool to move the collective uni…

Comic Insight: The Future Foundation and Us

The Fantastic Four is coming to an end to be replaced with....The Future Foundation! The recent death of Johnny Storm sets up a new direction for Reed Richards and the other former members of the Fantastic Four. The Future Foundation seem to be a larger group. In addition, the roster has some superstar characters. I think the new title will bring a lot of attention to classic and new characters alike.

I know that many people questioned the value of killing Johnny Storm. Fantastic Four 587 was the best selling comic in the last six month, so Marvel got exactly what it wanted. Still, fans and critics had every right to gripe. The value of any death (whether the character stays dead or not) is reflected in those characters left behind and the where the story goes in the future. I was curious how FF writer Jonathan Hickman would set up the death and who would die. Anyone familiar with Hickman's work knows that he is a careful plotter with fantastic scope that draws on art, lite…