Mainstream Comic Books Have a Critical Problem

Mainstream Comic Books Have a Critical Problem

Mainstream comic books may dominate sales charts, indie books are the darlings of critics. This week, independent and creator-owned titles claimed eleven of the top twenty slots on review aggregator site ComicBookRoundup.com. The remaining nine slots fell to DC and Vertigo titles, with Marvel left completely out of the rankings. The top reviewed titles of the week were Black Mask‘s The Dregs, Image’s God Country, and Valiant’s X-O Manowar. Each received close to a 9…

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BLACK PANTHER & THE CREW: Who’s to Blame? The Data Say Us.

BLACK PANTHER & THE CREW: Who’s to Blame?  The Data Say Us.

By now you’ve probably heard about the cancellation of Black Panther & the Crew.  A proliferation of thinkpieces and outrage followed the announcement of its cancellation, and rightly so.  That said, another refrain also rose up: “I only just heard about it now that it’s being cancelled!” Why is that? Realistically, we can’t expect every company to promote every book equally.  There isn’t enough time in the day.  But Black Panther & the Crew had some PR gold…

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Can Fandom Go Too Far? Nick Spencer, Secret Empire and Outrage

Can Fandom Go Too Far? Nick Spencer, Secret Empire and Outrage

As I write this, Marvel is a little under a week away from releasing Secret Empire #1, their big summer event series for 2017. The storyline for this event revolves around what may be the most controversial story Marvel has published in years; the revelation from last year that Steve Rogers, Captain America, is in actuality an agent of HYDRA, and he always has been. Secret Empire follows Rogers after he steps out of the…

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Philadelphia Organization Uses Comics to Help Immigrant Kids Face Their Fears

Philadelphia Organization Uses Comics to Help Immigrant Kids Face Their Fears

In today’s climate, children in immigrant families, documented or otherwise, are facing increased fears that someone in their family may be detained or deported. It’s a stressful and scary thing for these kids to face. But never fear! One Philadelphia organization is using a unique tool to help these children deal with their fears; comic books. According to a recent story on NewsWorks, the online presence of WHHY, the local group Mighty Writers is helping Philadelphia Latino…

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DISCOURSE DISH: On the Maintenance of Hope

DISCOURSE DISH: On the Maintenance of Hope

This week, it may feel silly, or trivial, or what have you, to focus on fiction.  The U.S. has elected Donald Trump as our next president, proving a whole multitude of American stereotypes correct.  Bigots countrywide now know that the new establishment stands with them.  People living in fear, too, because of the color of their skin, the nature of their religion, their relationships to others, and the relative strength or ability of their bodies….

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Captain America Says: Vote!

Captain America Says: Vote!

Today, for Election Day, we present a special guest editorial from Steve Rogers, Captain America.   My fellow Americans. Steve Rogers here. And before you ask, no I am not the Steve Rogers working for HYDRA. Not sure whose idea THAT was. No, I’m the Captain America who proudly socked Adolf Hitler on the jaw, defeated the Axis, and had absolutely no problem taking a twelve year old onto a WWII battlefield with me. So…

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DISCOURSE DISH: Marvel’s Mutants, Allegory, and the Anxiety of ‘X’

DISCOURSE DISH: Marvel’s Mutants, Allegory, and the Anxiety of ‘X’

This week, I’m taking a brief break from my usual Discourse Dish subject matter.  I know I’ve made my name with this column primarily in talking about DC Discourse, but this week, we’re hopping the aisle.  This week, with Death of X on the horizon, I want to talk about mutants. Specifically, I want to talk about being an X-Men fan in a climate of constant anxiety. X-Men fans pretty much operate in a constant state of ‘the…

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Mystique, Iceman, and Me: Bisexual Awareness Week as an XMCU Fan

Mystique, Iceman, and Me: Bisexual Awareness Week as an XMCU Fan

Bisexual Awareness Week comes to an end tomorrow.  As someone who identifies as somewhere between bi, gay, and queer, this marks a sort of bittersweet moment every year.  I spent a long time unable to find myself in stories I felt I could safely consume and wanted to. When I found out that comics!Mystique was bi, I was seventeen.  I had just seen the X-Men movies that had come out by then: X-Men, X2: X-Men United, X-Men: The…

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X-Men: Apocalypse Deleted Scenes – Verdicts and Criticism

X-Men: Apocalypse Deleted Scenes – Verdicts and Criticism

X-Men: Apocalypse came out in Digital HD last Friday.  Along with it came a selection of deleted scenes.  Here, I review and criticize the team’s choices. Mall Scene: “Safety Dance.” The whole montage is set to a cover of “Safety Dance.” I’m actually a little embarrassed, but in a good way. This sequence probably ranks as the scene fans were most disappointed to see cut.  For me, the hype outdid the actual scene, unfortunately. Kurt’s…

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LABOR DAY SPECIAL: Profile on the Hero Initiative

LABOR DAY SPECIAL: Profile on the Hero Initiative

Having a career in art can be deeply frustrating at times — most work is freelance, and that doesn’t translate well to job security or financial stability a lot of the time.  Even the best and most acclaimed artists and writers — especially in comics — often remain only a few steps away from financial ruin.  One illness, one accident, and you may have nothing left. That’s where Hero Initiative comes in.  HI is a…

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