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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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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BACK ISSUES: Sequential Dissent – Protest in Comic Books

BACK ISSUES: Sequential Dissent – Protest in Comic Books

Welcome to another edition of “Back Issues”, the weekly column where I examine a character, concept or theme making waves in comics today through issues from the past. In the aftermath of November 8th’s presidential election, which saw Donald Trump emerge victorious, dozens of protests erupted across cities and communities across the United States. Protestors were reacting not just to their preferred candidate losing, but to Trump’s platform, which had been built upon what they saw as…

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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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GRUDGE MATCH: A Challenge for Benedict Cumberbatch

GRUDGE MATCH: A Challenge for Benedict Cumberbatch

In this feature, GRUDGE MATCH, I or another writer on the Capeless Team will issue a satirical challenge to duel someone in the comics/adaptations industry.  The challenge is delivered in old-school epistolary format.  Basically, this is “Your Obedient Servant” meets the comics industry. This week, I challenge Benedict Cumberbatch. My Dear Mr. Benedict Cumberbatch: No one in my life has ever bothered to call me ‘slow to anger’ or some such nonsense.  However, this grievance…

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Powers Real Women Need in the World Today

Powers Real Women Need in the World Today

Women are starting to get their due when it comes to comics, and frankly it’s about time. Strong female characters like Captain Marvel, She-Hulk (now just Hulk), Batwoman, Spider-Gwen, and RiRi Williams (set to be the new Iron Man) are hopefully just the beginning of what will be a trend of women taking a greater role in the superhero universe, outside of occupying refrigerators. But there are still plenty of powerful women in the real…

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DISCOURSE DISH: Peter David and Fallen Idols — a Personal Narrative

DISCOURSE DISH: Peter David and Fallen Idols — a Personal Narrative

This week, I wasn’t sure I would get a Discourse Dish out.  I have an interview to do today with Steve Orlando, after all.  And I hoped that I would have nothing to report on, no discourse to get involved in. And then I had to face the fall of an old idol. By now many people have heard about the antiziganist (anti-Romani) rant that Peter David went on on Friday.  For those who haven’t:…

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DISCOURSE DISH: Greg Rucka, Wonder Woman and the Fine Line

DISCOURSE DISH: Greg Rucka, Wonder Woman and the Fine Line

After last week’s brief discussion of X-Men fandom, I return to DC dishing.  Because man, DC can’t go two weeks without some kind of discursive nonsense cropping up.  This week, I want to talk about Greg Rucka‘s interview-reveal that Wonder Woman likes women as well as men. Matt Santori-Griffith conducted the interview in question, and I recommend people try and read the whole thing.  The interview focuses on trying to create a balance.  In telling it, they…

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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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