Zak Sally will be at Wizard World Minneapolis

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Author and historian Danny Fingeroth sent along his panel programming for this weekend’s Wizard World Minneapolis, and whatever the ongoing controversy, it is fair to say that WizWorld programming has improved quite a bit. While looking through the programs, we noticed that one participant is indie comics stalwart Zak Sally</a> of La Mano Press, Sammy the Mouse and more. Let’s just say that if there is one person we never expected to see at a Wizard World show it’s Zak Sally. Maybe he will hang out with “social media sensations” Nash and Hayes Grier and Nathan Fillion, and then the circle will be complete.

Here’s Danny’s programming line-up:

FRIDAY, MAY 2:

6:00 – 6:45PM
ONE-ON ONE WITH DAN JURGENS
Dan Jurgens is an accomplished creator who both writes and draws the adventures of the comic book industry’s most legendary characters including Superman and Spider-Man. His storytelling talents have breathed life into the most noteworthy properties from DC Comics, Marvel Comics and more. Dan has also created numerous characters that have become enduring staples in their fictional universes while stretching to other media as well. Dan speaks about his work and career with comics writer and editor Danny Fingeroth (Superman on the Couch). (M100 E)
 
 
SATURDAY, MAY 3: 

11:00 – 11:45AM
1939: THE YEAR THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING (BATMAN WAS JUST THE BEGINNING!)
75 years ago, as fateful events that would lead to the outbreak of World War II in September 1939 were coming together in Europe, the U.S.A. was experiencing an explosion of popular culture. In 1939, Batman debuted in Detective Comics #27; Timely (later Marvel) Comics released Marvel Comics #1, showcasing the first Marvel superheroes, Sub-Mariner and the Human Torch; and Hollywood produced classic films including The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind and Stagecoach. Discussing historical and cultural factors that made that year so important is a panel including Dr. Alex Lubet (University of Minnesota), pop culture expert Aaron Sagers, and Danny Fingeroth (Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews, Comics, and the Creation of the Superhero.) (M100 B)
 
 
1:00 – 1:45PM
THE COMIC BOOK AND ME: BOB DYLAN AND COMICS
As he has profoundly affected creators in all media, Bob Dylan has influenced comics and graphic novel writers and artists for the past five decades. Showing and discussing Dylan homages and references in comics through the years (including Moore and Gibbons’ Watchmen) are Dr. Alex Lubet (a Dylan expert who teaches Bob-courses at the University of Minnesota) and Danny Fingeroth (The Stan Lee Universe.) (M100 I)
 
3:00 – 3:45PM
SUPERSTAR ARTISTS ROUNDTABLE WITH KEVIN MAGUIRE, BARRY KITSON, CHAZ TRUOG AND DOUG WHEATLEY
Five of the top artists in comics talk about their careers, their craft, the comics business and whatever else might come up. Join Kevin Maguire (Justice League; Captain America,) Barry Kitson (Thor; X-Force,) Chaz Truog (Coyote; Animal Man) and Doug Wheatley (Star Wars; Batman) for this pencil-powered panel. Danny Fingeroth (How to Draw Comics from Script to Print DVD) moderates. (M100 I)
 
5:00 – 5:45PM
INDEPENDENT COMICS CREATORS ROUNDTABLE WITH: ZANDER CANNON, ZAK SALLY, VINCENT STALL, AND URSULA MURRAY HUSTED
The model of comics creators tethered to one or two major publishers, working on adventures of corporately-owned characters is no longer the only game in town. Many of the top talents in comics work either exclusively on their own material, while others work both sides of the street, alternating independent work with mainstream assignments done in their own distinctive styles. Here, speaking about how they have forged their own paths, are some of the most distinctive creators in comics today: Zander Cannon (Double Barrel; Heck,) Zak Sally (Sammy the Mouse; Recidivist,) Vincent Stall (5M The Busline Diary; Jetsom) and Ursula Murray Husted (Drawing on Yourself; The Lions of Valletta.) Danny Fingeroth (How to Draw Comics from Script to Print) moderates. (M100 I)
 
6:30 – 7:15PM
CAPTAIN AMERICA VS. SUPERMAN: THE BATTLE OF THE SUPER PATRIOTS
One started as a car crushing super human before fighting for “Truth, Justice and the American Way.” The other began as a flag-clad symbol of propaganda before breaking with the government. And in 2016, sequels to their movies will go head to head on the same weekend. Join pop culture expert and TV personality Aaron Sagers, along with other geeky pundits, as they talk Cap vs. Supes in a discussion about the icons have crossed paths, evolved, stayed similar or became radically different. (M100 E)
 
 
SUNDAY, MAY 4:                            

12:00 – 12:45PM
GETTING RESPECT: COMICS GO TO COLLEGE
Comics and graphic novels have come into their own as subjects worthy of—indeed, demanding—attention from academia. Historians and cultural theorists teach courses, hold conferences, and publish books on various aspects of sequential art colleges and universities teach courses in comics as literature and social history as well as how to make them. Here, to give an overview of various ideas about and approaches to comics studies are a cross-section of comics scholars and teachers, including Barbara Schulz (Minneapolis College of Art and Design—MCAD—Comic Art Degree Program), Ursula Murray Husted (University of Wisconsin Stout), and Dr. Alex Lubet (University of Minnesota). The panel is moderated by Danny Fingeroth (The Rough Guide to Graphic Novels.) (M100 I)
 

2:00 – 2:45PM
HOW TO WRITE COMICS WITH ZANDER CANNON, ZAK SALLY AND DANNY FINGEROTH
Accomplished comics writers Zander Cannon (Top Ten; The Tick,) Zak Sally (Sammy the Mouse; Recidivist) and Danny Fingeroth (Deadly Foes of Spider-Man; How to Create Comics from Script to Print) show and tell you how to write comics and graphic novels, going from initial idea to outline to script to finished story. Plus, the panelists will answer your questions about both the creative and business sides of the comics writing profession, including how to find an artist to work with (hint: a comics convention is the number one place!) and how to write exciting dialogue! (M100 I)

INTERVIEW: 2000AD’s Arthur Wyatt Explores The Streets of Dan Francisco

Starting this week, Arthur Wyatt will be the writer for a new series in Judge Dredd Megazine which focuses on Dan Francisco, the former Chief Judge. Francisco has been one of the most prominent Judge Dredd characters for several years now, having started out as the star of his own reality TV series which proved to be so popular that he rapidly ascended to become the public face of the Judges, and eventually was elected as Chief Judge. But once there, he was unfortunate enough to be in charge during the ‘Day of Chaos’ event in which hundreds of millions of citizens were killed by a plague.

After resigning the post, the character will be returning to his role as a Judge, looking for a way to redeem himself. Wyatt, a writer who himself has been rising through the ranks of 2000AD (but has yet to preside over a Soviet attack, to my knowledge), was kind enough to walk me through the series – who is Dan Francisco, and where does he go next?

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Steve: Your new series will be focusing on Dan Francisco, the public face of the Justice Department, who was unfortunately in charge of the MegaCity One when the recent ‘Day of Chaos’ event hit. What do you think lies behind the character? How do you approach him as a person?

Arthur: He’s someone who didn’t particularly want to rise to a position of power, but did anyway when others were pushing him, and while he was in that position the absolute worst happened – bad even for the standards of a city which suffers a robot rebellion, Sov invasion or visit by the Dark Judges every couple of years. And unlike those other crises, where the Judges stepped up to the challenge and though it was bad it could have been worse, in this case EVERYTHING fell apart, and EVERYONE failed, and 350 million people died. That might have happened without Francisco, but there were decisions that he made along the way that ensured it happened, and so he stood down and is back on the streets.

So he has a sense of duty, he wants to be useful, he wants to do the right thing, but now he’s burdened by crushing guilt.

Steve: Following Day of Chaos, how does his role in the city change? What brings him back into action, and what motivates him? And how do the citizens view him?

Arthur: He very much wants to go back to the way things were before he had the Chief Judge’s job, when he was a relatively carefree media figure. By going back to the streets he’s also trying to get back to what he was good at, operating at a level where he had a proven record. But every inch of the city is now a reminder of his failures, the life of a Street Judge is now stalking through ruins trying to keep starving citizens from killing each other for food.

He’s different too, more isolated, a little more grim. He now just has a camera drone instead of a crew – he’s more of a loner. Face to face conversations with citizens are different too now – he’s the guy who was Chief Judge while Mega-City One ate itself, that’s a little different from the friendly guy from the TV he once was.

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Steve: You mention the media, and obviously the character was first known as the star of an in-universe reality TV show, which was used as cheap publicity for the Judges. How do you find the element of satire in 2000AD? How easy is it to juggle satire with action?

Arthur: Satire is so inherent and ingrained to 2000AD that it’s difficult to imagine a story not having an element of it even if it’s intended as straight ahead no-laughs drama.

That said if the story were all grimness all the time it would stop being fun rather quickly, so it’s nice that Francisco has this media element built in as it can always be fallen back on for a bit of a laugh. It’s a neat expository tool too – having a TV host commentary and Francisco’s constant commentary to his camera drone saves us from having too many captions just telling you what’s going on.

Steve: Do you think it’s important for characters like Dan Francisco to offer a different perspective for readers? He comes from a very different place to characters like Dredd, or Anderson.

Arthur: Dredd is the grim face of authority, telling everybody to obey the law or else because without that society will fall apart. Anderson is his anti-authoritarian balance – somehow she’s remained a part of Justice Dept but really she hates the system, doesn’t give a damn about the law, she just wants to save people. That contrast has made for a great dynamic between them in their stories over the year, not least in the recent Dredd movie which pretty much had it as its core.

Francisco is different again. He’s absolutely a part of the system, his show exists to shore up the establishment by reassuring the citizens that the judges know best. At the same time he’s a people person, he earnestly wants to be nice even if he’s sending perps to resyk with a running commentary for the viewers at home. So he’s a believer that wants everyone bar the odd criminal to be happy – even before Day of Chaos Mega-City One was not set up for that to work out well…

Steve: This story reteams you with artist Paul Marshall, who you’ve worked with before. What does his art bring to a story like this?

Arthur: Well, for me it brings a great sense of confidence! Paul knows Mega-City One inside and out, so you can throw anything at him – Judges, ruined City-Blocks, roving street gangs with automatic weapons, and he knows just how to draw it. He’s great with action scenes too, really knowing how to convey the right pace with a pages layout, so it’s possible to give him a very lean script and let him make it into something wonderful. He’s good with faces too – something that’s maybe less flashy than explosions or techno-gizmos, but vitally important if you want to tell a story with emotional depth. Being able to tell a story with facial expressions is one of those things that I think separates OK comics artists from great ones.

dan2

Steve: Which writers have inspired you when writing for 2000AD? Do you think you’ve seen your writing develop and try more experimental storytelling styles?

Arthur: For this story I think it’s pretty obvious that I’ve been hitting 80s Frank Miller pretty hard – with the media panels in particular I really wanted to get that Dark Knight Returns feel. I also wanted to emulate what he does in terms of having lots of very dense pages with small panels and then opening up to very big splashy panels for major beats.

I’ve not gone quite as crazy as I could have and tried to get one of his 16 panel grids in – artists seem horrified when I tell them I want to tell a story that way someday, for some reason. Weirdly the last place I saw a 16 panel grid, completely in the style of Miller complete with the panels being little TV screens with the dialogue underneath, was in a My Little Pony comic about Rainbow Dash. You see, artists? Kids dig it! It’s absolutely a viable way to tell stories!

Oh, and I got a big Will Eisner style double page spread in! That; I’m very pleased by.

In terms of other writers, Alan Moore looms over everyone in British comics of course, to the point where I started out copying the very verbose way he scripted things and had to unlearn a lot of stuff there. John Wagner, who is absolutely THE quintessential Dredd writer and the target you aim for despite inevitably falling short when you write for that world, is the polar opposite, with panel descriptions like “Dredd, grim” or “Dredd on a bike”.

The writers that excite me at the moment are the younger(ish) contemporary crowd like Matt Fraction, Kieron Gillen and Al Ewing. I’ve no idea what unites them except maybe a certain lightness of touch and willingness to have fun with the medium. Really I’d hope to try and be as good as those guys, have fun and experiment with storytelling along the way.

Steve: You’re perhaps most well-known for your Future Shocks – notoriously the test for writers who want to pitch for 2000AD. What do you think marks a good Future Shocks story?

Arthur: A shocking twist at the end would be the obvious, and hardest to come up with ingredient. Readers have been seeing these things for years, they know you’re building up to something – it’s going to have to be bloody amazing for them not to have outguessed you.

And then on top of that it has to be a real story – you can’t just be building up to that twist, you have an engaging world and relatable characters and action driven by the needs and desires of those characters – all of this in four to five pages!

One great tip I’ve heard, and I forget who this is, is to take that great idea you had for a twist and put it at the beginning or middle of your story, so now it’s a premise or a development along the way, and now you have to come up with something new that’s a natural development of that as an ending to work towards.

Steve: How have you found working for 2000AD as a whole – from writing the Future Shocks to now being fully involved in Judge Dredd?

Arthur: There’s an idea that there’s some kind of 2000ad career path – that you go from Future Shocks to doing a slightly longer story in the Prog (as the main 2000SD title is often called) or the Megazine and then you get your first Dredd story in the Meg and then, when you’ve really hit the big time, longer stories and maybe a Dredd story in the Prog itself.

That’s a gross oversimplification of course, and there’s plenty of writers who’ve come in on a different path, but really over the years it is roughly the path I’ve taken, and each time I hit a major point in it there’s a rather gratifying feel of “levelling up” – with achievements along the way like “first use of Drokk!” and “first comedy block name”.

I think the biggest transition has been going from writing the self-contained one-offs to multi part stories – there’s a lot of compression you need to unlearn otherwise everything ends up terribly cramped, and moving the plot along becomes less of a primary driver.

The thing I would have expected to be the biggest leap, writing stories in a shared universe rather than one I’ve invented entirely myself and using other people’s characters, was actually pretty easy.  Part of that is just familiarity with 2000AD over the years – I’ve been reading on it on and off  since I was a kid with the only big pause in the 90s when the discovery of music and girls intersected with a temporary dip in quality. Part of it is that the stories I first wrote in the Judge Dredd universe were Tales from The Black Museum, one-offs with a twist that were very close to the Future Shock format. It’s also a very flexible universe for storytelling, so you can do something very street level like Dan Francisco but also more obviously sci-fi stories with robots or aliens of dimension-hoping, or creepy horror like the Dark Judges or The Haunting of Sector House Nine.

So, all in all, it’s been pretty Zarjaz.

Many thanks to Arthur for his time! The Streets of Dan Francisco starts this week in Judge Dredd Megazine, which is available online as well as in stores. And Arthur himself can be found on the Twitters right here

Surviving the Mayan Apocalypse…or did we?

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A few comics style images to close the day.
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FIRST LOOK: Juan Doe’s Cover for The End Times of Bram and Ben #3

Lovely James Asmus has shared with us an exclusive first look at the cover for issue #3 of his upcoming Image miniseries The End Times of Bram and Ben, created by Juan Doe. It is LUSH.

[Read more…]

Marvel’s 2013 Event will be Age of Ultron

Their first event, at any rate. Today’s conference call was with Brian Michael Bendis, who will be writing a 10-issue event story for Marvel Now in March 2013. Age of Ultron will be split in half, with the first five issues drawn by Bryan Hitch, and the back five by Carlos Pacheco and Brandon Peterson.

[Read more…]

Vertigo Cancel Hellblazer; DC Announce Constantine

Hellblazer, one of the longest-running books in mainstream comics history and one of Vertigo’s launch titles, will be cancelled in February 2013, with issue #300.

Although… cancelled may be the wrong word,  as DC say this will be the finale for the book, which has been overseen by an incredible range of writers and artists over the year. Current creative team Peter Milligan, Giuseppi Camuncoli and Stefano Landini will usher in the end for John Constantine this February, with a landmark issue #300.

[Read more…]

How to be powerless

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Last Monday night, as Hurricane Sandy howled outside, we had just finished watching last night’s episode of The Walking Dead when there was a flash in the sky and the power went out. The vicarious glee of the Zombie Apocalypse—with its owl eating, gas hunting and lack of hot showers—was quickly replaced by living an actual lite version of it. I was semi-prepared to rough it for a few days—the lack of a battery radio being my great downfall—but what I wasn’t prepared for was the demonstration of how wedded to our electronic life we’ve become, as least if by “we” you mean Manhattanites of 2012. By now you’re all familiar with last week’s photos of anxious New Yorkers crowded around electrical outlets to charge their gadgets. A power strip became the soup canteen of the blacked out blocks, a resource to be shared and guarded. [Read more…]

Hurricane Sandy: Jack Kirby foresaw it!

Jack Kirby had some imagination, as the first issue of KAMANDI shows. Some of it even came true!

Wonder Woman and Superman Have Some Sex

By Steve Morris

What happens whan an immovable lesbian object hits an unstoppable asexual force? As revealed by Entertainment Weekly today, they apparently have unconvincing heterosexual sky sex. [Read more…]

Marvel Cancel NINE Titles!

Marvel Now! was always going to claim some victims before relaunching, and now it’s made revealed (through that most sneaky of revealers, the solicitations listing) that nine of their current books will die in order for Marvel Now! to live.

Those nine titles are: Captain AmericaFantastic FourFFIncredible HulkInvincible Iron ManNew MutantsThe Mighty ThorUncanny X-Men and X-Men Legacy.

This isn’t completely surprising in every case, because Brian Michael Bendis already said that Uncanny would end and several of the other books were winding up long-standing runs with big name creators. Matt Fraction was already set to leave Invincible Iron Man, while Jonathan Hickman and Ed Brubaker were both already known to be leaving the Fantastic Four titles and Captain America, respectively.

What does this mean for the characters? Well, Captain America, Thor and X-Men Legacy’s Rogue are all in a team together anyway, while Iron Man will surely find a place in one of the Avengers titles. But what of the Fantastic Four? They’ve completely dropped off the map, apparently, and the World’s Greatest Superhero Family look set to pack up their bags for a one-way trip to the one place they’ve never been before: comic-book limbo.

It’s interesting to note that most of these books were handled by the ‘Architects’ of Marvel, and that some low-selling titles like the beloved Journey Into Mystery have survived this new purge. Dan Slott’s Amazing Spider-Man also escapes the destruction, so that much-teased ‘big change’ in issue #700 isn’t going to see the book cancelled, thankfully.

Three X-Men books are chopped, including flagship Uncanny X-Men. Which is a massive surprise, because most were predicting that the pointless titles – adjectiveless X-Men and Astonishing X-Men – would be the two to go. New Mutants was expected to go, and does. But it’s still surprising to see just how big a change Marvel seem to be making. What new books are going to replace these ones, which surely were the backbone of the Marvel Universe?

Andrew WK outed as a Brony

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Wild party man Andrew W.K. is known for his high energy rockin’ anthems, his white attire…and now that he is a Brony. It seems that he has signed on as a speaker for Canterlot Gardens, an Ohio convention for My Little Pony Fans, where he’ll deliver an inspirational speech.

The singer – who, in the single ‘Party Hard’, paid tribute to the benefits of debauchery – will feature on a panel answering the question “What Would Pinkie Pie Do?” Pinkie Pie is a party-planning pink horse who features in the My Little Pony animated show Friendship Is Magic, of course.

According to Pitchfork, a press statement says that Andrew WK is the “the real life embodiment” of the party pony. He’ll give motivational tips on how to “make your job as fun as your party, and your party as important as your job.”

The event, entitled Canterlot Gardens, will be held in Strongville, Ohio, September 28-30.


Bronies are male fans of the Friendship is Magic Ponies, a strange gender-crossing cult whose purpose, meaning and ultimate goals have never truly been analyzed, That WK has been revealed as one of them is…disturbing.

2012, people, 2012. The Mayans must have had a name for it.
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Not Comics: Hurricane Irene

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With a massive hurricane forecast to hit much of the Eastern seaboard this weekend, we here at Stately Beat Manor offer the following information to help our readers survive the coming storm.

1010 WINS reports that:

  • Gasoline, ATMs, and batteries are hard to find in New Jersey.
  • The Metropolitan Transit Authority may suspend service system wide due to possible flooding and extreme winds.
  • The City has ordered that all hospitals, nursing homes, and senior citizen homes in low-lying areas must evacuate by 8 PM Friday.

The National Hurricane Center has updates, warnings, and forecasts here.

The National Weather Service also has local conditions and radar, along with regional warnings.

FEMA also has an excellent site for preparedness.  (They even have  comics for kids!)

(via)

For those living in New York City, the following is a helpful site.  Of great concern is the storm surge, the mass of water propelled in front of the storm.  Some may recall Hurrican Gloria of 1985, which followed a similar track.  However, that storm occurred at low tide, while Irene will arrive at a high tide caused by an almost Full Moon.  The surge can destroy large buildings, and can occur before and after the storm has passed.

The city has created a Hurricane Evacuation Zone Finder. Residents can also call 311, although that system has delays even during normal times.  A detailed PDF map can be downloaded, which also shows public shelters.

Hurricane brochures and maps in various languages are also available here.

Given the “new normal”, everyone should maintain a “go bag” for emergencies.  From the above brochure:

A GO BAG SHOULD INCLUDE
Copies of your important documents in a waterproof and portable container (insurance cards, photo IDs, proof of address, etc.)
Extra set of car and house keys
Copies of credit/ATM cards and $50-$100 cash in small denominations
Bottled water and nonperishable food such as energy or granola bars
Flashlight
Battery-operated AM/FM radio and extra batteries
Up-to-date medication information and other essential personal items. Keep a list of the medications each member of your household takes, why they take them, and their dosages.
Also include all doctors’ names and phone numbers
First aid kit
Contact and meeting place information for your household and a small regional map
Child care supplies or other special care items

AN EMERGENCY SUPPLY KIT SHOULD INCLUDE
One gallon of drinking water per person per day
Nonperishable, ready-to-eat canned foods and manual can opener
First-aid kit
Flashlight
Battery-operated AM/FM radio and extra batteries
Whistle
Iodine tablets or one quart of unscented bleach (for disinfecting water ONLY if directed to do so by health officials) and eyedropper (for adding bleach to water)
Personal hygiene items: soap, feminine hygiene products, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.
Phone that does not rely on electricity
Child care supplies or other special care items

I would also recommend keeping a change of clothes packed along with these two bags. With a possible evacuation, evacuees should call family and friends to arrange for shelter and accommodation, so that city shelters are not overwhelmed.

I hope everyone stays safe this weekend.  Please post any updates below.

Xeric Award Winding Down

BY JEN VAUGHN – Trolling the internet while on vacation, I was chilled down to the bone (impressive given the 100+ temperatures in Texas) to see on the announcement on the Center for Cartoon Studies website that the Xeric Award would be no more. Since 1992, Peter Laird of the amazeballs black and white comic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (self-published in 1984) has granted two awards a year to a cartoonist or project for its excellence.

This grant has been an important, even pivotal, part of the mini-comic and self-publishing movement. Try walking through the Small Press Expo, Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Festival or the Alternative Press Expo (our Sundances as Douglas Wolk puts it) without seeing a sign boasting “Xeric Award Winner 1998″ “Printed thanks to a Xeric Grant 2004!” So many projects have seen the light of day with the monetary help to publish them, some of your favorite indie cartoonists like Adrian Tomine, Jessica Abel, Lauren Weinstein and Farel Dalrymple have received the Xeric Award. I mentioned CCS because the school has averaged one award recipient a year since the school started in 2005 (like Alexis Frederick-Frost, Sam Gaskin and most recently, Melissa Mendes) and because Laird was so giving of his time when the school would visit the former Mirage Studios in Massachusetts.

Peter Laird signs my TMNT notebook while Mark Bilokur waits with his action figures.

Fear not, for there is ONE cycle left for the Xeric Grant, May 2012; the Fall 2011 award was canceled to give cartoonists extra prep time. Go to the Xeric Foundation website for details and I can guaran-damn-tee that this last round of comics will be the best the Xeric Committee has ever seen. I know I am applying! Good luck to you all.

We leave you with one final image: a Turkish Teenage Mutant Ninja Poster! For more photos from the former Mirage Studios, click here!

Jen Vaughn is a nib-friendly cartoonist and curses on Sundays. She is catching up on drawing unicorns in the woods of Texas.

Comics, Crisis and You: A Disrespectful Guide to Comics Events

Flashpoint logo

Insert obvious what-if here.

Flashpoint is going to end in new #1 issues across the board and new origin issues for everyone, that much is clear. Will it be the earth shattering annihilation of Crisis on Infinite Earths, or the long-forgotten supposed reboot of Zero Hour?

There have been a lot of Crisis and Crisis-esque event comics since Crisis on Infinite Earths, but in DC fandom there’s Pre-Crisis and Post-Crisis and everyone knows which crisis you mean. This isn’t the first time DC has promised to change everything. Will they deliver this time? What does change everything even mean?

The World Is Changed Forever! Again.

There are three general types of comics event and/or crisis that get billed as changing everything - Stuff Happens, Retcons (retroactive continuity), and Reboots.

In a Stuff Happens event, at the end of the story, the past remains the same, even if a favorite hero has died, the planet has exploded, there’s a new character who appeared from another dimension or everyone remembers an alternate universe where they were mutants. All the comics that you’ve already read still happened. Arguably, Stuff Happens events are just as popular with fans and far easier to plan and write – successes include Blackest Night, The Death of Superman and No Man’s Land. Unfortunately, they don’t allow creators to remake the entire past and future of a comics universe in their own image. Bummer.

In a retcon, the past changes. Sometimes due to something monkeying with reality, sometimes due to the writers revealing a “secret history”, sometimes just because. The present remains largely the same, the characters remain mostly the same and so does the rest of the past, meaning most of the comics you’ve already read still happened. It’s just that now, everyone always knew a hero named Jessica Jones or Batman never caught his parents’ killer. Most of the time, you won’t even notice that a retcon has happened in a comic written after such an event.

A reboot changes – or attempts to change – everything. Think the 2009 Star Trek movie. Think Batman Begins vs. Batman and Robin. These aren’t the characters you knew. These are very similar characters with the same name. A lot – or possibly even all – of the stories you remember never happened, at least, not to the characters you’re reading about now. Starbuck is a girl. We have always been at war with Eastasia.

With renumbering and new origin issues for everybody, Stuff Happens is probably ruled out in the case of Flashpoint. The DCU is either in for some retcons or a reboot. But renumbering and new origin issues alone don’t necessarily require a full hard reboot – both have happened to individual comics numerous times in the last twenty six years, generally without much lasting impact.

Personally, and perhaps this is cowardly of me, I’m hoping to avoid a Crisis on Infinite Earths-level reboot. Even as some part of me wants an event series to live up to the hype, I love the characters as they are, and seeing them entirely wiped out for new versions, no matter how wonderful, would sadden me.

So what will happen? Here’s a short, somewhat disrespectful guide to some selected events that were labeled as crisis or played with reality, from which you may draw your own conclusions.

Comics, Crisis and You

An asterisk is has been added to every world-shattering death that “got better” later.

Crisis on Infinite Earths

Superman cradling a dead Supergirl

Gee, do you think this will be a happy story?

The Anti-Monitor decides to fix confusing DC continuity. Did I say that? I meant, the Anti-Monitor decides to destroy everything ever.

Previous to this, DC was made up of a bunch of different universes (Earth-1, Earth-2, Earth-3 etc), each with a different history, confusing new readers everywhere.

Reality is saved but hugely changed by merging all the universe into one. The Flash (Barry Allen)* and Supergirl die.

What changes about reality?

  • EVERYTHING. No, seriously, everything. Complete hard reboot.
  • No Multiverse

PR line:
“Worlds lived. Worlds died. And the DC Universe was never the same!”

Crisis Level:***** They don’t get any bigger.

Zero Hour: Crisis in Time

Zero Hour issue one

I'm melting!

Hal Jordan goes bonkers, tries to rewrite the universe, then dies*

Billed as a “warm reboot” of the DC Universe, most DC comics got a flashback issue restating their origin story, but in practice were totally unchanged. Today remembered for Hal Jordan’s meltdown and not much else.

What actually changes about reality?

  • The future, including the Legion of Superheroes era
  • Catwoman was never a prostitute

PR line:
“This book is currently out of print.”

Crisis level: ***

JLA / Avengers

JLA Avengers trade cover

Too many cooks? Impossible!

O hey look! A crossover!

What actually changes about reality?

  • Nothing, in the end. Reality only temporarily bends so that characters from DC and Marvel can meet.

PR line:

“It’s an event that will never be forgotten.  …the once-in-a-lifetime crossover event that brought these two historic super-teams together and rocked the comics world!”

Crisis level: *

Identity Crisis

Identity Crisis issue 1

Serious business! Comics are serious business, people!

A bunch of JLA superheroes get Zatanna to mindwipe some supervillains, forcing amnesia on them.Tim Drake’s inconvenient father gets killed. Ladies get raped and/or murdered and/or revealed to be evil and crazy. FUN.

What actually changes about reality?

  • Nothing. Reality remains the same, except in the minds of the people who got mindwiped.

PR line:
“…The story that has created ripple effects throughout the DC Universe for many years to come.”

Crisis level: 1/2 *

Infinite Crisis

Infinite Crisis Collected cover

This is the song that ne-ver ennnds....

Some villains from Crisis on Infinite Earths escape and decide to rewrite reality their way.

Superboy (Kon-El / Connor Kent) dies*, Kid Flash gets speed-aged to adulthood*. Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman go on vacation for a year. (No it didn’t make any sense to us either)

What actually changes about reality?

  • Guess what, there’s a multiverse again!
  • Not much else, really.

PR line:
“… Dictating the direction of the universe for the next generation! Years in the making, the greatest event to hit the DCU in over two decades is about to explode!”

Crisis level: ***

Final Crisis

Final Crisis Issue 1

Gosh, I wonder what happened to Batman?

Clearly not very final. Darkseid tries to destroy reality, fails. Darkseid dies, Batman is presumed dead*.

What actually changes about reality?

  • Nothing worth mentioning.

PR line:
“…this event defined the DCU and the New Gods for the 21st century and beyond!”

Crisis level: *


Honorable Mention :

52 / One Year Later

52 issue 1

How will we survive with only the several hundred superheroes that are left?

Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman go on vacation! An actual year of Comics Time passes.

No, really, that’s it. That’s the event.

PR line:
“It’s One Year Later…and Aquaman has totally changed!”

Where did that Macho Man/Jesus/Rapture painting come from anyway?

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By now you have all seen the above image, which swept through social media yesterday with the tagline “Macho Man prevented the Rapture.” In a world seemingly without order, connecting the senseless (and very sad) death of Randy “Macho Man” Savage, and the impending Rapture predicting by Harold Camping (inexplicably still alive) would seem to give us some joy.

But where did it come from? Such viral images come and go so quickly on the internet, we thought it would be informative to see what we could come up with as an origin story.

Unsurprisingly, the image first surfaced on Reddit, and it seems to be the work of cartoonist Bobby Campbell, aided by Photoshop and Google Image search. Campbell has some other unusual stuff on his site, like the below image of Alan Moore reading the Illuminati, but nothing to match the grandeur of this mash-up. Campbell even made some desktop-sized versions of the image, here and here.

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Macho Man himself has been the subject of a few works of fine art, such as Suzanne with the Macho Man by Suzanne Marie Leclair. Prints are available for purchase in the link. We predict a healthy afterlife for the Macho Man as an iconic figure.

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We couldn’t find the original of the Macho Man part of the picture, but the Jesus part seems to be this uncredited image.

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UPDATE: The Macho Man component has been identified as a promo image from THQ’s recent WWE All-Stars video game.

So there you have it: video games + religious art + the internet = folk art!

While we were poking around, we found lots of amazing apocalyptic Christian art, all sadly uncredited. Come on people, don’t be shy, like the Master of the St George Altarpiece! They didn’t have Reddit in the Middle Ages but they do now. It’s called progress.

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We especially liked his one, of Jesus and the Devil arm wrestling for our souls.

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…and this holy Unicorn horse stampede. Has no one set up a tumblr of Warcraft/religious iconography yet?

As for the Rapture itself, and what it will look like, we’ll go with an oldie but a goodie, courtesy of Hieronymus Bosch.

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BONUS: Thanks to reader M.S., here’s a painting that wraps up all the kitsch in one glorious image! Cheeseball cover artist/Frazetta-tributer Boris Vallejo painted this view of a muscular Jesus dying for our sins all the way back in 1969, but clearly he was channeling the apotheosis of the Macho Man even then.

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A little more about that guy who says the world is going to end tomorrow, Harold Camping


What is Satan's real Name!!! by bigjohnusanj
Many people probably have only heard of Biblical scholar Harold Camping now that his readings of the Scripture have revealed that the Rapture is coming tomorrow, Saturday May 21st, and we all have only a few hours to say our goodbyes. Since we’ll be somewhere at the Big Apple Con tomorrow when the big event occurs, you can bet we’ll be ready for the end to be nigh.

However, we’ve actually been Camping “fans” for years! He’s a staple of late night religious cable TV and no one who has been channel surfing can have failed to be enraptured by one of his stentorious “sermons” as he goes through the Bible letter by letter, explaining what each one means in terms of the Second Coming–all the while seemingly about to keel over, so old and decrepit is he. Late night TV at its finest! While his apocalyptic pronouncements are everywhere here’s some older, non-Rapture focused talks. What’s up with that tabernacle, anyway?


As others have said, if the Rapture is here, we’d rather be with Fab 5 Freddie anyway.