Fillmore the sea turtle makes up for Sherman's lack of intellect. Hawthorne the hermit crab resides in a beer can and is always in a "crabby" mood. Ernest the fish is a computer whiz, and Thornton the polar bear stumbled upon the island while floating by on an iceberg.
Captain Quigley is the only human or "beach ape" who resides in Sherman's Lagoon. He lost his leg to Sherman and is now out for revenge, but never quite gets close enough. To round out the cast there's Bob the bottom dweller. Enough said. Written by Guillermo Ortego. Art and cover by Mariano Krasmanski. The misadventures of a shipwrecked guy abandoned to his fate in the middle of the ocean are told in this illustrated narrative.
Clinging to a wooden box floating adrift, the protagonist reflects on his life: his past experiences as well as his slim chances of survival. Helpless and unable to do anything to improve his condition, he is consumed in his constant daydreams, alternating between absolute despair and quiet abandonment, while suffering from hunger and thirst amidst treacherous weather.
His thoughts are related in a stream of consciousness style as he navigates both the physical challenge of the seas and the solitary existence of his mind. Softcover Horizontal Format , 9-in. By Lynn Johnston.
The Dark Age (1980-1993)
This volume celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the beloved and sometimes controversial strip. Softcover, 8. Doonesbury Classic: Book 17 - 1st printing. By GB Trudeau. Collects classic Doonesbury comic strips. Softcover, 6-in. By Bill Amend. That's the sound heard often from the the Fox siblings as only sister Paige discovers Quincy the iguana has eaten her homework, older brother Peter applies permanent marker on his face drawing a fake goatee, and younger brother and expert video gamer Jason loses to Paige. Throw in the AAAAs as mother Andy exclaims while dodging thrown balls in the house and backyard-grilling disaster dad Roger blows up another grill, and you have the perfect equation for a family that every kid can relate to.
Including cartoons from previously published Foxtrot books, this kid-targeted book portrays a not so typical look at how a year unfolds in the Fox family. Story and art by Aaron Warner. Reprints the "Adventures of Aaron" newspaper strips. Flip-Book with Year of the Monkey 1. Cover by Joe Musial. Edited by Ruth Plumly Thompson. Stories and art by Robert L.
Ripley, Feg Murray, Clarence D.
Russell, H. Pioneering comics publisher David McKay presents an anthology series featuring reprints of King Features Syndicate comic strips. Also featuring the famous weird-facts strip Ripley's Believe It Or Not and the longest-running comic strip in history, the Katzenjammer Kids. Cover features a wide array of characters at odds with Pete the Tramp. Comedy legends Laurel and Hardy are featured in celebrity strip Seein' Stars.
Cover art by Joe Musial. Untitled Jungle Jim story, art by Alex Raymond. Untitled Seein' Stars story, art by Feg Murray. Untitled Pete the Tramp story, art by Clarence D. Untitled Katzenjammer Kids story, art by H. Untitled Elmer story, art by Doc Winner.
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Untitled Tillie the Toiler story, art by Russ Westover. Untitled Blondie story, art by Chic Young. Untitled Krazy Kat story. The Phantom replaces Tex Thorne as the lead dramatic feature with his costume miscolored brown , as he battles the all-female air pirates known as the Sky Band. Lil sends Jungle Jim a message from her undercover mission with the killer Bhutan, while Jim gains an unexpected ally; a white pygmy elephant saves Tim Tyler's life. Jungle Jim strips, script and art by Alex Raymond. Katzenjammer Kids strips, script and art by Harold Knerr. Curley Harper at Lakespur strips, script and art by Lyman Young.
Elmer strips, script and art by Doc Winner. Etta Kett strips, script and art by Paul Robinson. Barney Google strips, script and art by Billy DeBeck. Tim Tyler's Luck strips, script and art by Lyman Young. Blondie strips by Murat Young [as Chic Young]. Krazy Kat strips by George Herriman. Jungle Jim strips by Alex Raymond. Seein' Stars strips, art by Feg Murray. Katzenjammer Kids strips, art by H. Curley Harper at Lakespur, art by Lyman Young. Elmer strips, art by Doc Winner. Etta Kitt strips, art by Paul Robinson.
Barney Google strips, art by Billy DeBeck. Tim Tyler's Luck strips, art by Lyman Young. Pete the Tramp strips, art by Clarence D. Blondie strips, art by Chic Young. Tillie the Toiler strips, art by Russ Westover. Krazy Kat strips, art by George Herriman. Teddy and Sitting Bull strips, art by Joe Musial. Room and Board strips, art by Gene Ahern. Jungle Jim strips, art by Alex Raymond. Seein' Stars strips by Feg Murray. Curley Harper at Lakespur strips, art by Lyman Young.
The Pussycat Princess strips, script by E. Anthony, art by R. Jungle Jim strip, art by Alex Raymond. Katzenjammer Kids strips by H. Sports in Pictures--Famous Athletes. Curley Harper strips by Lyman Young. Elmer strips by Doc Winner. Etta Kett strips by Paul Robinson. Barney Google strips by Billy De Beck. Tim Tyler's Luck strips by Lyman Young. Blondie strips by Chic Young. Tillie the Toiler strips by Russ Westover. Teddy and Sitting Bull strips by Joe Musial. Room and Board strips by Gene Ahern. Edited by Ruth Plumly Thompson sometimes credited as Ace. The conclusion of the Phantom's first encounter with the all-female air pirates called the Sky Band; Jungle Jim throws down against Ibor in the middle of the siege on the lamasery.
Prince Valiant strips, art by Hal Foster. Curley Harper strips, art by Lyman Young. Pete the Tramp strips by Clarence D. Dollar Bin Codeword. Date This week Last week Past month 2 months 3 months 6 months 1 year 2 years Pre Pre Pre Pre Pre s s s s s s Search Advanced. Sort by A-Z Price. Issue ST. Published Nov by Andrews McMeel. Available Stock Add to want list This item is not in stock. Published by Metropolis Publishing.
Issue ST No image available. Published by Ed Temple. Published Jan by Ed Temple. All are interesting on their own and integral parts of the tomes from which they were plucked. We conclude on what we think is a high note, with a few recent comics that have already made an impact and portend a richer and more diverse future. Strung together, these pages are a megacomic of their own, documenting the evolution of an art form in constant flux. You can click on the title of each page to open a window with a full-sized version. Writer, penciler, and inker: Lynd Ward. Eventually, Eastern Color, a successful comic-strip printer, realized that the popularity of comic strips could be used to attract customers.
After a few attempts, Dell backed out of the project. Eastern Color went on alone and launched the ongoing series, Famous Funnies , in May The major distinction of New Fun Comics was that, right from the first story of cowboy Jack Woods which appeared on the cover — an approach largely eschewed by future comics , these comics were entirely original material rather than reprinted comic strips. Famous Funnies had the occasional original material, but it was rare and typically used as filler. With its declaration that these flimsy products could provide exciting, new content, New Fun No.
In which we learn that superheroes were social-justice warriors from the start. The first true superhero was forged in the crucible of progressive social politics. Shuster cut up his comic strips and pasted the panels onto a board in the new comic book format. It was the start of not just a genre, but an entire industry. Writer and colorist: Bill Parker; Penciler and inker: C. It had been out for barely a year since the release of Action Comics No.
The blend of Superman-style adventures with the wish fulfillment of a kid led to Captain Marvel becoming the most popular superhero of the s, selling better than even his Kryptonian inspiration and leading to an array of Marvel-themed spinoffs such as Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Jr. Naturally, National sued Fawcett, and the case went on for years until National seemingly won in Rather than appeal further, Fawcett just stopped publishing superhero comics sales had already been declining , and eventually sold Captain Marvel to National.
He remains a DC property to this day, with a feature film on the way next year. The notion of giving kids a character they could identify with proved to be massively influential. National quickly looked to expand their burgeoning superhero empire. Every freelancer knew that National was looking for new superheroes.
The problem for Kane was that his ideas for the character were not particularly strong and he knew it. Finger teamed up with Kane for one of the most important Batman stories ever, the origin of the character in Detective Comics No. At this point in comic-book history, most superheroes had no underlying motivation for being heroes other than a desire to do good. Writer, penciler, inker, and letterer: Bill Everett. One early company that tried to cash in on the superhero craze was Centaur Publications, a pulp publisher that had recently purchased two failed comic-book companies, Comic Magazine Company and Ultem Publications.
Jacquet saw that demand for new superhero content was so great that he left Centaur to form the comic-book packager Funnies Inc. Funnies Inc. The issue, Marvel Comics No. He was unrelated to the later Fantastic Four character of the same name. The issue sold so well that Goodman hired away some Funnies Inc. It was the first superhero crossover and introduced the idea of a shared comic-book universe, concepts that became key parts of superhero-comics history.
They had formed their company in , so they were well positioned when the superhero boom following Action Comics No. By the end of , they had 15 writers and artists working for them, but Eisner himself remained their greatest asset. He was a brilliant writer and artist, able to produce comic-book features in a variety of formats. Eisner and Iger were making a great deal of money in the late s. However, Eisner wanted more from his career. He came up with the idea of doing a comic-book series that would be appear as a supplement to the weekly Sunday color comic-strip pages in local newspapers.
The supplement would open with a story starring the Spirit, a new costumed detective character Eisner created, with backup stories featuring other Eisner creations. When it launched on June 2, , the series looked like most other Sunday comic strips. Eventually, once the series was clearly a success, Eisner began to experiment. Soon, The Spirit would be most known for the way that the title was brilliantly worked into the opening splash page. In , All-American launched a comic-book series called All Star Comics , which would feature short stories starring heroes from both All-American and National Allied.
With the third issue, however, they tried something novel. Writer Gardner Fox wrote a framing sequence that connected the disparate stories in the issue. Said framing sequence revealed that all of the various heroes in the book were actually part of a single superhero team known as the Justice Society of America.
For years, the Justice Society parts of the book only worked as a framing sequence to set up the solo stories, but eventually the book began telling full-length Justice Society stories. Since All-American was technically its own company Gaines would sell his interest in the company to National Allied in and then form EC Comics , this was not only the first superhero team but also the first intercompany crossover, two ideas that have subsequently been used to death and beyond.
But they became best known for their spectacular double-page spreads, which, if they did not invent, they certainly perfected, beginning with this tale in Captain America Comics No. Two-page spreads are now not only commonplace, but de rigueur. Writer, penciler, and inker: Walt Kelly. Kelly and Pogo would enjoy even greater success in newspaper funnies pages, the rare instance of a comic- book character that became more popular in comic- strip form. William Moulton Marston, co-creator of Wonder Woman.
A psychologist and contributor to the invention of the lie detector, Marston was, to put it mildly, an interesting individual. This was the result: Wonder Woman, written by Marston under a pseudonym and drawn by veteran illustrator Harry Peter. Here we have no less than three forms of bondage on one page: wrist and ankle shackles, chained to the wall by the neck, and, most imaginatively, getting sewn up inside a punching bag. Lest you think we picked this page for pure sensationalism, rest assured that this was a pretty typical early Wonder Woman adventure.
One later Marston tale had no less than 75 bondage panels in it. After Marston died of cancer in , the creators who inherited Wonder Woman would scrub out all the kink. It all started because fashion illustrator and cartoonist June Mills broke her foot. While laid up, Mills doodled out ideas for an adventure comic strip with a heroine modeled on herself, who had a cat sidekick very much like her own pet Peri Purr. Our hero, Marla Drake, is a socialite turned nocturnal ass-kicker when she apprehends a gangster while en route to a costume party. Writer, penciler, and inker: John Terrell.
This was the sort of thing that was on Orrin C. Evans had been working at the Philadelphia Record since the early s, where he had made history by becoming the first African-American reporter to be on staff as a general reporter at a mainstream white-run newspaper. The outlet went out of business in , following a strike, so Evans teamed up with a few of his Record co-workers to address what he felt was missing in the comic-book world: strong, positive depictions of African-Americans.
While each of the artists likely wrote their own strips, Evans oversaw the whole endeavor and made sure that all of the heroes be depicted non-stereotypically. Sadly, when Evans went to produce a second issue, the company that sold him the paper for the first issue was no longer willing to sell to him — nor would any other paper company.
He spent the rest of his life working in journalism. Today, Jack Kirby is known best as a superhero artist. It gave Kirby and his business partner Joe Simon a life raft at a moment when superheroes were languishing and everything was up for grabs — a moment when comic-book sales were soaring but books about costumed derring-do were old hat. Romance comics, introduced by Simon and Kirby with this story in , became more than a genre — they were a sensation.
Romance enabled Simon and Kirby to buy houses in the suburbs, and for a decade kept Kirby busier than all the other genres he worked in combined. The story is punchy and exhilarating. Simon and Kirby so liked the protagonist that they brought her back for a sequel in issue No. Though endlessly mocked see the arch Pop Art paintings by Roy Lichtenstein and other spoofs , the best of the romance comics, like Young Romance No.
Writer, penciler, and inker: Jack Cole. It was a best seller written by psychiatrist Fredric Wertham, who argued that the admittedly lurid crime comics clogging the newsstands of America were the direct cause of a spike in juvenile crime. The book reprinted countless panels of mayhem and extremely male-gaze-y women. It has no counterpart in any other literature of the world, for children or adults. Or Oedipus Rex? Dozens of publishers went out of business and the onerous Comics Code was established. Cole, after becoming one of the original Playboy cartoonists, committed suicide in , and he left a legacy of dynamic pencils and layouts that could delight as well as terrify.
Arnold Drake is best known for co-creating the original Guardians of the Galaxy for Marvel and Doom Patrol and Deadman for DC, but in he was going to college thanks to the GI Bill and picking up extra cash writing comics scripts. Basically, he had come up with the graphic novel as we know it today.
Rust masterminds Dallas- style shenanigans in fictitious Copper City, playing her myriad rivals and pawns off of each other and slapping around her goody-two-shoes stepdaughter. A sharp dresser — here he is with Lust publisher Archer St. It helped that the story was also utterly hilarious. The subtext showed that by rejecting girls and women, the boys were cutting off an essential part of their own humanity. Crumb to Daniel Clowes and beyond. He used that gift dramatically in his war comics for EC, and humorously, with sudden, absurd gags to break up the rhythms, in his greatest gift to EC, the satirical Mad.
It reduces the genre of the war story to an elemental hand-to-hand fight between two unnamed soldiers, one American, one North Korean. The tale starts with the American musing about how remote and clinical warfare has become, but he is proven wrong when the North Korean, hungry and desperate, attacks. Remarkably, this harsh fable was published during the Korean War itself; this issue would have been released in about September or October of , during a protracted and bloody stalemate in the War.
Yet his thematic content also made waves: the underground comix generation, notably R. Writer and penciler: Carl Barks. McDuck was the creation of Carl Barks, an immensely imaginative cartoonist whose young adulthood spent working in various 19th-century professions — including cowboy and mule driver — left him with an appreciation for adventure and a firsthand knowledge of greed and stupidity. After becoming an animator at Disney, Barks discovered his greatest talent was as a cartoonist, and for 24 years he chronicled the Duck family and the world of Duckburg with shrewd characterizations that played up the foibles of human nature.
Scrooge evolved from a penny-pinching miser befitting his Dickensian name to a more comedic and occasionally even good-hearted uncle to that shiftless slacker, Donald. Crumb names him as a major influence. By , Harvey Kurtzman and Wally Wood had been working for EC Comics for a few years, turning out serious war epics, thought-provoking science-fiction stories, and satirical and gory horror morality plays.source site
The 100 Pages That Shaped Comics
Then came issue No. After a wild battle with Captain Marbles who has become a villain , the triumphant Superduperman figures he can use his newfound glory to woo Lois. It also parodies the copyright-infringement lawsuit that the publishers of Superman, National, filed and won against the publishers of Captain Marvel a few years earlier.
National threatened to file a lawsuit against EC Comics for the parody, but they never went through with it. Mad continues to this day, outlasting its many imitators and still making fun of everything. When Maxwell C. Gaines, founder of Educational Comics, died in a boating accident in , his college-student son William M. Gaines inherited the company.
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Max was reportedly abusive toward Bill, and in a bit of posthumous revenge, Bill took EC in a new direction with violent, irreverent titles like Tales from the Crypt, in which abusers get their comeuppance in spectacularly gory fashion. Stephen King featured the story in his terrific survey of the horror genre, Danse Macabre , and infamous anti-comics crusader of the s Dr. Fredric Wertham gave the page you see here a no less prominent, albeit less flattering, position in his best-selling Seduction of the Innocent. Note how Severin chooses to paint the goriest scenes in only two colors, to lessen the visceral shock while simultaneously allowing for all the gruesome details fans craved.
The page, powerful but perhaps unremarkable to the modern comics reader, may be the single most analyzed page in comics history. It had a strong influence on Art Spiegelman — who wrote about it for the New Yorker — and Frank Miller, who frequently mentions it in interviews. The story involves Reissman, a former concentration-camp guard, who sees one of his victims on a New York subway and falls to his death trying to escape him.
Although today these devices are established comics vocabulary, they were utterly revolutionary in their time and inspired countless artists who came after to experiment with their own storytelling. When the comic-book industry banded together to form the Comics Code Authority in September , EC Comics publisher William Gaines believed that the new rules were effectually designed to hurt his company. So it was replaced with a reprint of a classic Weird Fantasy story. He has to turn them down because blue robots were treated worse than orange robots for no reason.
As he flies away in his ship, he takes his helmet off and we see that he is black. The Comics Code would not allow the story unless the astronaut was recolored to be white. Writer Al Feldstein was outraged and so was Gaines. They threatened a lawsuit. Eventually, the Code relented and the story was published as originally drawn.
However, this was the clear sign that EC Comics could not work within the parameters set by the Code, so Gaines ceased his comic-book production, concentrating instead on his popular humor magazine, Mad , which skirted regulations because it was technically a magazine. EC are sometimes accused of being shock merchants, but this page reminds us that they were also idealists.
The Fellowship of Reconciliation was formed in England in early in a failed attempt to prevent the outbreak of World War I. The following year, they opened up their American branch of the organization and have been serving the public good ever since. In the s, they were directly involved with Martin Luther King Jr. It was while working with Dr. He pitched the idea of producing a comic book that could serve to spread the message of the boycott. Essentially, he wanted to create a guidebook for nonviolent protesting. Hassler worked with Toby Press to produce the comic book.
Legendary cartoonist Al Capp lent a few artists, including one named Sy Barry , from his studio to draw it. King gave his own feedback on the comic book as well. The success of the comic led to countless other political groups using comic books to express their message to the masses. Recently, in honor of The Montgomery Story , Representative John Lewis used comics to tell his autobiography in the award-winning and best-selling graphic memoir series, March. In , MLJ Magazines launched a teen humor feature based on a popular series of films starring Mickey Rooney as an everyteen.
When comic sales took a drop in the late s, DeCarlo began taking more freelance assignments for Archie. Around , they successfully got him to commit to them full time by letting him draw in his own style. This pinup from Betty and Veronica No. Soon, every other artist at Archie had to draw like DeCarlo.
It was almost certainly through a collaboration between Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, but both men claimed it was their sole creation that they then brought to the other. Either way, there is no doubt about why this story changed comics for good. These were superheroes who acted like actual people. They had genuine reactions to each other and their situation. Within a year or so, Lee and Kirby as well as others, perhaps most notably Steve Ditko were applying this formula to all their new heroes and the Marvel Age of Comics was born.
One can only read her blank-faced silence as benumbed shock at the arcane exposition of superhero continuity being performed by two men in her living room. So, in a way, Barry Allen is the first fan-turned-pro.
50. SPAWN (Spawn)
This was the very first of many, many long-winded continuity explanations in comics history. We selected this page for its final panel, which Roy Lichtenstein appropriated for one of his most famous Pop Art paintings, Whaam! Lichtenstein made millions from these and similar paintings, but the artists who did the original comics? Not so much. The Pop Art movement occupies a strange place in comics history.
On the other hand, it reinforced the almost entirely American stereotype that comics were dumb crap made by hacks for morons. Since the launch of Fantastic Four No. Working with Ditko on Spider-Man, however, Lee advanced the idea to a gut-wrenching new level. He instead decides to use his powers to make money and become famous. In the early s, a superhero revival brought back their three major Golden Age superheroes: Captain America, the Human Torch, and Namor. The effort flopped, but that revival was on the mind of publisher Martin Goodman when he directed Stan Lee to start writing superheros again.
However, perhaps due to Captain America being so associated with the Golden Age, they held back on reviving him too. The Avengers discovered Captain America had been in suspended animation for two decades. In a stunning artistic sequence from penciler Jack Kirby and inker George Roussos, Captain America wakes up, realizes his partner Bucky is dead, sees he is surrounded by strangers, but then quickly gathers himself.
By late , Ditko had kicked Lee off co-plotting duties for the series they co-created, The Amazing Spider-Man , meaning Lee only added his distinctive dialogue flourishes after the comics pages themselves had already been completed. While Ditko seemed to lose interest in Spidey at the end of his run, his love of Doctor Strange just got stronger, climaxing in an epic serialized battle between the Master of the Mystic Arts and his two main adversaries, Baron Mordo and the Dread Dormammu.
The fight took place in a string of cliff-hanger tales for over a year, from No.
On this page, a highlight of the tale, Strange makes his way to the embodiment of the cosmos, Eternity, across one of the gonzo trans-dimensional vistas Ditko was known for concocting. Superheroes perform amazing feats of strength, speed, and skill seven times before breakfast. Super-scientist Reed Richards discovers what will come to be known as the Negative Zone, an other-dimensional realm rendered in photo-collage and delirious abstraction.
Fantastic Four No. At the same time, he was pushing his art into areas where even his drawing could not go. This seminal page not only proved a watershed for Marvel continuity by introducing the oft-used Negative Zone, but also by suggesting a kinship between Kirby and fine-art collage in Surrealism and Pop Art. Further, it anticipates the mixed-media work of such later comics artists on this list, such as Jim Steranko, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Dave McKean. The moniker was unrelated to the political party of the same name, which had yet to officially form the name had already been in use in African-American political circles, so Kirby and Lee did not coin it.
They did not simply want to introduce a new black superhero; it was important to make him stand out from the crowd. The success of the Black Panther paved the way for all other black superheroes who followed, as well as for the astounding success of his feature-film adaptation.
After working on his co-creation for almost four years, Steve Ditko ultimately had enough with Marvel Comics and decided to leave the company. Romita must have passed muster, as he moved over to take over Amazing Spider-Man from the departing Ditko with issue No.
You could barely tell that Ditko was gone. One of the ways that Romita put his stamp on the title early on was visible in Amazing Spider-Man No. In subsequent years, the notion of Spidey hanging up the tights has become just about as commonplace as lectures about great power and great responsibility, but Lee and Romita did it best. Writer, penciler, inker, and letterer: Robert Crumb.
His older brother made him draw their own Dell-style comics, forcing him to develop cartooning skills that served him well after high school, when he got a job as a staff artist at the American Greetings card company in Cleveland. Nevertheless, when the opportunity arose for him to go to New York and work for Kurtzman at one of his post- Mad comedy magazines, Crumb leapt at the chance, only to arrive and find that that magazine, Help!
Broke and stuck in New York, Crumb began dropping LSD, still legal then and prescribed to his then-wife by her psychiatrist. Psychedelic drugs twisted the cartoon images instilled in his brain since childhood into new and exotic forms. That was never something Marvel had to worry about, though, with Jim Steranko. However, Steranko soon took off in his own direction: He merged comic-book art with Pop Art, the psychedelic with the surreal. As often happens, a major innovation arrived in something that was on its last legs and thus had nothing to lose.
He teams up with newly woke archer Green Arrow, who introduces his fellow Justice Leaguer to an old man on a ghetto rooftop who delivers this famous speech. The emerald duo then embarked on a series of social-issue-of-the-month adventures, tackling various ills like overpopulation, drug addiction , and pollution the only way superheroes have known how since Action Comics No. Their efforts seem a little cringeworthy today, like your dad trying to be cool while wielding an extraterrestrial ring of power; indeed, the ultraestablishment New York Times featured this rooftop scene in a typically condescending survey of superhero wokeness.
The Arrow-co-starring run on Green Lantern wound up not selling very well, but was hugely influential among creators young enough to be hippies themselves and ushered in a new generation of socially aware heroics. Writer, penciler, inker, and letterer: Meredith Kurtzman. A perfect confluence of events made the underground comix movement financially viable. It was a great time to be in the underground … if you were a man, that is. The underground comix business model was built on group efforts.
A fellow decides to put out a new comic and he asks Friends A, B, and C to work on it. The issue was that it was only guys asking other guys. Robbins and Mendes decided that their only way of breaking into underground comix was by forming their own female-only group effort. The book was a major success, selling 40, copies over three printings, proving that there was a market for female-created and female-driven underground comix.
His so-called Fourth World saga , a cluster of four interwoven titles, and in particular New Gods , brought a Biblical sense of scale to the genre. Orion, warlike, tormented, is the linchpin of New Gods ; raised in New Genesis, he will fight the evil of Apokolips. Superheroes ever since, on page and screen, have sought to inhabit this same outsize sense of grandeur and threat. Writer, penciler, inker, and letterer: Justin Green.
At once sacrilegious, comic, and scary, this introductory page by cartoonist Justin Green imagines the work of making his autobiographical comic, Binky Brown Meets the Holy Virgin Mary, as an act of penance and a form of torture. The threat of castration — so apt for a book about sexual guilt — hovers over Green as he seeks to explain, or excuse, this story about adolescence, religious mania, and what Green has since recognized as his OCD. From there, Binky Brown depicts a full-on plunge into hyperscrupulous overcompensation and self-torment, as filtered through an unsettled visual imagination.
Based on its topic, you might think that this pioneering confessional comic would be a drag. Binky is at once shameful and shameless, appalling and thrilling, embarrassing, excruciating, and hilarious. The confessional vein of underground and alternative autobiographical comics begins here. Crumb, have declared their debt as well. Binky, wellspring of one of the key genres in 21st-century comics, is a scabrous and irreverent masterpiece. Writer, penciler, inker, and letterer: Trina Robbins as Trina. That said, most of the stories tended to tell stories concerning feminist issues of the day.
That the first non-pornographic comic-book story about an out lesbian character was written by a heterosexual woman caused some controversy at the time, but as Robbins later noted, it inspired one critic, artist Mary Wings, to create her own comic, Come Out Comix. Writer, penciler, inker, and letterer: Bobby London. Writer, penciler, inker, and letterer: Aline Kominsky.
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Kominsky quickly seized the power of first-person cartooning, and her scratchily drawn horror vacui style demonstrated the potential of comics rendered in defiance of narrow standards of illustrative slickness. Underground comix had their share of slickness, sure, but they also helped broaden the range of acceptable styles into the comix brut. With his promotion, Lee, who had already scaled back his comic-book writing, officially dropped his last two series, the two that meant the most to him: Fantastic Four and Amazing Spider-Man.
Since Lee had already been cutting back, Marvel had gone through an influx of new, mostly very young writing talent. One of these writers, Gerry Conway, was named the successor to Lee on Amazing Spider-Man when he was just 19 years old. In the fateful issue, the Green Goblin throws Gwen off of a bridge and Spider-Man catches her with his webbing — but in the process, her neck snaps. Gwen Stacy was by far the most famous character killed off in a superhero comic at this point and fans were outraged: Stan Lee was so irritated at the fan outcry that he insist that Conway bring her back.
So Conway introduced a clone of Gwen, leading to the first of many Spider-Man clone sagas. Thus, the first issue of Howard the Duck opens with a talking duck contemplating suicide by jumping into the Cuyahoga River. Gerber was one of a new breed of comics writers who excelled at emotionally charged stories dealing with abuse, identity, and low self-esteem disguised as superhero or horror comics. This ought to be as dull as dirt, but thanks to the comic timing of writer Harvey Pekar and subtle graphic variations of cartoonist R.
Crumb, the story exerts an undeniable pull. Comics have the ability to transform tedium — humdrum repetition, subtle changes, the ticking of a clock — into fascinating, even hypnotic sequences, and there are few better examples than this page. Laying out strips in stick figures, Pekar, a self-taught, working-class literary intellectual, urged his artists toward minute observation, insisting on a standard of unexaggerated realism even as he bared his hard-knock life and curmudgeonly persona.
Though Pekar would sometimes welcome the comics stylizations of Crumb and others, in general his comics avoided the grotesque heightening of a Justin Green or Aline Kominsky-Crumb other great comics memoirists in favor of a studied naturalism. Pekar also wrote several book-length comics, but his longer tales cannot match the knack for structure and payoff that he shows in the American Splendor shorts. Daily life in Cleveland was never so vividly captured, nor Crumb ever so well partnered with a writer.
Writer, penciler, inker, and letterer: Will Eisner. He spent the following decades in commercial and advertising work, primarily for the United States military. But Eisner never gave up his dream of legitimizing comics as a serious literary form. Eisner bundled this tale, along with three others about working-class Jews in the Bronx of the s, into a single volume, A Contract with God and Other Tenement Stories. So, as these things go, the phrase finally stuck, and Eisner was heralded as the father of the form. Since the s, countless legions of superheroes have been created. But only a select few have become iconic, household names.
Wolverine — a. Logan — is one of those names. The book hit legendary status when the new team — writer Chris Claremont and artists John Byrne and Terry Austin — took over the book. And under the magical pencils and inks of Byrne and Austin, the character was a short, solid, scruffy, cigar-smoking powerhouse. Early in the story, Wolverine is taken down by members of the Hellfire Club, seemingly left for dead in a sewer. As we find out, though, Wolverine can take a beating like no one else: The last panel, with a grimy and gritty, utterly determined Wolverine swearing revenge in the rushing waters of the sewer, established the template for his future visual and narrative depictions.
But in , there was no instantaneous mass mode of communication. The readers who picked up Uncanny X-Men No. No one was prepared for the page where Jean sacrifices herself to prevent the Phoenix Force from taking more lives. Writer Chris Claremont and artist John Byrne had been telling the tale of Phoenix for months, a hugely popular and addictive soap opera with a colorful cast and space-opera vistas, but had no choice but to scrap their planned ending although Claremont would later kvetch when a different writer brought Phoenix back.
The death of Dark Phoenix has had an impact through comics history, spinning into many subsequent story lines about Jean, and inspiring myriad attempts to craft a shocking superhero death. Writer, penciler, inker, and letterer: Dave Sim. An unexpected but welcome side effect of this retail specialization was that an entire independent comics scene began to spring up within it. Cutting-edge material could thrive in the comics shops that would not have been accepted by either the Comics Code or by mainstream news vendors.
The real reason this issue is a standout, though, is the spectacular and highly influential artwork of Michael Golden. Golden, who started his career in commercial art, started doing comics in the late s. By the time he drew and colored the issue, ably inked by Armando Gil, Golden was at the height of his powers. With most artists, you can tell what their influences are. Maybe a little Kirby here, a bit of Buscema there, or some resemblance to Ditko in the face. Golden was different. His quirky, highly detailed style had the feel and energy of Japanese manga, the elegance of the great European comics auteurs, and the in-your-face excitement of American comics, all put together into a blender and coming out looking like nothing that had been seen before.
You can see the influence in artists like Arthur Adams, Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Todd McFarlane and many others, some of whom would go off and form the blockbuster Image Comics a little over a decade later. When Daredevil No. Under Miller, Daredevil had gone from swashbuckling superhero to moody crime epic; the preternaturally talented Miller, along with Klaus Janson, began to casually blow up everything the world thought a Marvel comic could be. And it culminates here, in one of the most dramatic pages in Marvel Comics history: Elektra Natchios, killed at the hands of Daredevil foe Bullseye with her own sai.
Even now, the page is striking: entirely wordless, but full of artistic choices by Miller and Janson that wring every ounce of drama from the scene. The two panels of her staggering away, followed by five panels that draw out her falling to the ground and struggling back up. Miller would go on to tell many more acclaimed and memorable Daredevil stories. But this page will always stand out as the moment he forged the culmination of his influences — a bit of Raymond Chandler, a healthy dose of Will Eisner, and a lot of Japanese manga — into something distinct, something that made superhero comics feel brand new all over again.
Superhero comics, for better or worse, have never fully stopped chasing Elektra, bleeding out into the street, as the man who killed her indifferently puts on his jacket and walks away into the night. Artist Wendy Pini, who had already made a name for herself as one of the first cosplay celebrities , conceived of her fantasy epic about competing tribes of elves in the early s, and enlisted her husband Richard to help her write it. The couple shopped the series around to all the major publishers with nothing but rejection to show for it, so they founded their own company, one of the first of the indie comics publishers, WaRP Graphics.
The series made no bones about being a high fantasy tale for adults. This is from one of the more notorious sequences, when the elves basically have an orgy before a big battle. Evolving attitudes about what comics were supposed to be — and who they supposed to be were for — clashed greatly with unevolved attitudes in the s. The book, a graphic-design orgy, showed writer-artist Chaykin at his densest but also most elegant, with pages enhanced by the lettering of the brilliant Ken Bruzenak.
Flagg was the first U. Flagg was media savvy, exploring postmodernity and artifice including its own. It also experimented with the remediation of other media through comics: more than two years before Frank Miller exploited the technique in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns , Chaykin was configuring panels as television screens, and commenting acidly on how TV could drive events. Watchmen also picked up on this idea. It was a mind-blowing revelation, handled so well by Moore and new series artists Stephen Bissette and John Totleben that no one could complain.
This was the first sign that Moore was going to take the series into some disturbing new directions, showing Swamp Thing adjusting to his newly revealed status quo. Many of them have faltered, but all owe a debt to this game-changing page of revelation. This page shows the full quartet of Renaissance-painter-named turtles for the first time. Unfortunately, there was a dark side to all of this, too: As back issues of TMNT climbed ridiculously high in value, publishers and retailers smelled easy money. In the hopes of discovering the next Turtles, speculators started buying up all the sudden surge of black-and-white indie titles.
An economic bubble was created, and it quickly burst, wiping out innumerable publishers and many retailers in what became known as the Great Black-and-White Boom and Bust. It was the worst thing to happen to the comics direct market, but far from its last catastrophe. In the end, the heroes were able to defeat him, but not before the Multiverse was condensed to simply one Earth. This allowed DC to then reboot a few of their titles with new continuity. As a way of making the crossover feel like it was important beyond the reboot, DC decided to kill off a few major characters.
One was Supergirl; the other was Barry Allen, the Flash. It was highly symbolic of the superhero who launched the Silver Age of comics dying in a comic that eliminated the multiverse entirely. Subsequently, a new, darker age was born. Writer, penciler, inker, and letterer: Peter Bagge. They just had a need to get their stories out there. One of these creators was Peter Bagge, who spent the s honing his artistic style. His first series for publisher Fantagraphics was Neat Stuff. In , after ending Neat Stuff , Bagge aged his Buddy Bradley character and moved him to Seattle as a something for the follow-up series Hate , which became a major hit and defined the boom in alternative comics in the s and perfected the image of the slacker in popular culture.
The ending of Neat Stuff No. His family sucks. Life sucks. Everything sucks. In , the Macintosh computer was an ugly beige slab that was slightly bigger than a bread box and weighed and-a-half pounds. However, it was the most advanced computer for graphics yet available for the home user, and computer art was becoming more common. None of that mattered much.
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