Tag Archives: Image Comics

Werewolves and Vampires and Zombies. Oh My!

It’s October. Which means one of my favorite holidays is right around the corner, Halloween. I love Halloween. The costumes, the candy, and a little good old fashioned scariness all come together to make for a great season (because seriously it’s more than just one day). With spookiness and supernatural roots being part of the core of the season, what better time to highlight some of the greater supernatural characters in comics. I tried to steer clear of characters that dealt specifically with magic (John Constantine, Dr. Strange, Zatanna, etc.) and those who are the product of science experiments gone wrong (Swamp Thing, Morbius the Living Vampire), and instead focused on those that have more true supernatural origins and abilities. Let’s take a look at some of the characters that go bump in the night.

 

Spawn (Image)

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Arguably the most popular character on the list, especially at his peak. When Al Simmons dies and is sent to Hell for his sins, he was granted powers from Malebolgia (essentially Satan) with the intent on him becoming his greatest weapon against Heaven. Simmons rebels against Malebolgia and becomes a very violent anti-hero instead.

 

Blade (Marvel)

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Marvel’s half-human/half-vampire. After his pregnant mother was bitten by a vampire, he was gifted with the strength, speed, and stamina of a vampire (but also the hunger for human blood), without the weaknesses against daylight, garlic, and holy water. Blade decides to use his abilities to rid the world of vampires.

 

The Spectre (DC)

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Chosen as the Spirit of Vengeance after his brutal death during a robbery, Jim Corrigan is one of the more powerful beings in all of DC Comics. He is for all intents and purposes omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent with the ability to change reality. One of the few characters uneffected by DC’s multiple continuity resets, retaining knowledge of all of the realities that existed before.

 

Werewolf By Night (Marvel)

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As the name would suggest, Jack Russell, due to a family curse, transforms into a mindless werewolf during a full moon. However, he can also voluntarily transform outside of the full moon, and during these times he retains his human intellect. Much like Blade, Werewolf By Night uses his abilities to defend mankind by fighting against the forces of darkness.

 

Solomon Grundy (DC)

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DC Comic’s resident zombie. When Cyrus Gold was murdered in a swamp, he was reborn as a monstrous, almost mindless undead creature. Taking on the name Solomon Grundy after the nursery rhyme, he returns to the life of crime he had lived before his death. Mostly an enemy to the Green Lantern, he has also been a major villain in the Batman comics as well.

 

Ghost Rider (Marvel)

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Stunt-rider Johnny Blaze is fused with the demon Zarathos after a deal with hell dimension ruler Mephisto goes wrong. Blaze transforms into a skeleton wreathed in flame when in the presence of evil. Cursed to punish the wicked, he is one of the more violent and merciless anti-heroes Marvel Comics has to offer.

 

Deadman (DC)

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When trapeze artist Boston Brand is murdered during a performance, his spirit is imparted the ability to possess the body of any sentient being by the Hindu god Rama Kushna in order to seek justice. After doing so, he continues on as a force for good among the dark. When in ghost form he is able to become invisible, intangible, and can fly.

 

Moon Knight (Marvel)

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After being betrayed and left for dead in the Egyptian desert by his parter, mercenary Marc Spector is given the chance to survive from the Egyptian god Knoshu by becoming his avatar on Earth. He takes the opportunity, avenges his attempted murder, and begins fighting crime as the vigilante Moon Knight. With his sanity connected inseparably to the moon and its phases, the fuller the moon, the more violent and erratic he becomes.

 

 

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Top 10 Favorite Heroines

So often in comics, woman are relegated to supporting roles. Whether they are the love interest of the male hero, the damsel in distress, a plucky sidekick or subordinante team member, or, worst of all, simply a plot device that is used as a way of motivating a hero’s vengeance against his enemy, known colloquially as “the woman in the refrigerator.” There are, however, many strong, well-written, and straight up badass females out there in comics. These ladies all have several things in common. They are independent, compelling, and all have a healthy dose of sex appeal. While they may seem like a misogynistic thing to say, for all of these characters, they own their sexuality, using it to futher empower them, rather than jsut be eye candy. I feel like I’m doing a disservice by only listing the top 10. But for the sake of time and not wanting to risk reader burn out with another multi-part countdown, 10 is what I’m doing. Here we go.

10. Voodoo (Wildstorm)

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9. Zatanna (DC)

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8. Elektra (Marvel)

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7. Emma Frost (Marvel)

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6. Captain Marvel (Marvel)

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5. Wonder Woman (DC)

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4. Michonne (Image)

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3. Psylocke (Marvel)

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2. Harley Quinn (DC)

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1. Catwoman (DC)

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Quick Shots from Comic-Con – Part 1

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Comic-Con International took place in San Diego over the weekend. The annual geek convergence is always a hotbed of trailer debuts, logo/information reveals, and cast panels. Marvel gave us a new, much longer trailer for Doctor Strange, showed off the logos for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Black Panther, and dropped a bombshell in the casting of titular Captain Marvel. DC debuted a full-length trailer for Wonder Woman and dropped a sizzle reel for the upcoming Justice League. And just as importantly, first trailer for Season 7 of The Walking Dead debuted as well. With so much to cover, I’m just going to hit the highlights and give my condensed opinion on each.

 

The Walking Dead trailer 

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We’re only 3 months away from finally finding out who lost their life at the hands of new big bad Negan. The trailer is brilliantly constructed with the first half running down the potential victims and giving us a very brief history of each characters, and the second half showing us the few characters that didn’t find themselves at Negan’s mercy and giving us some huge reveals: The Kingdom, Ezekiel, and Shiva! Forget Negan; King Ezekiel’s pet tiger is going to be in the show this season! Just kidding (mostly), because I can’t wait to see Jeffrey Dean Morgan tear it up this season.

 

Doctor Strange trailer

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Finally opening the doors to the supernatural corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this movie looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun. Benedict Cumberbatch is genius casting and I can’t wait to see his take on Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme. We also finally got a good look at the films villain (potentially villains, but I won’t spoil that for those not familiar with the comics). Boy does the trailer get trippy. Like Inception on acid.

 

Daredevil Season 3 announcement

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I was pleasantly surprised to hear that Daredevil had officially been renewed for its third season. I had assumed that with the upcoming Defenders cross-over on horizon that the Man Without Fear’s solo series would be put on hold temporarily. I’m very glad to see that that isn’t the case. The greatest superhero television show ever produced will be gracing us with a new installment soon.

 

Wonder Woman trailer

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As big of dumpster fire as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was, this movie looks incredible. For many, Wonder Woman was one of the few bright spots in BvS, and it appears that that bright spot is ready to shine on her own. Being set in World War II, this movie appears to be in a lot of ways what I had hoped the Captain America: The First Avenger would have been: a gritty, realistic war movie with a superhero dropped in the middle of it. My only real issue is the continued overly-dark cinematography that is apparently going to be the signature of the DCEU. Aside from Batman and some of their imprints, I’ve never seen DC as a particularly dark comic brand. So why are the movies so dark?

Greatest Comic Artists – Part 1

Comic books have given us some incredible stories…stories that we remember for the rest of our lives. But regardless of how great a comic writer may be (and there are some truly great ones out there), it would just be a story without great artwork to go with it. The art in a comic sets the tone, conveys the emotions the characters are feeling, and helps fill in the gaps of the story that dialogue can’t. Here’s the first installment of some of the best:

Jack Kirby – (Fantastic Four, The Avengers, Captain America)

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Where else to start on a list of the greatest comic artists than with The Godfather of comic artists himself? There is a reason one of the comic book halls of fame is name after this man. He was the artist behind some of comics most iconic characters, having co-created Captain America, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, and the Avengers. He helped usher in the modern era of comics, where characters stopped looking like cartoons, and took on more realistic qualities

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Charlie Adlard – (The Walking Dead, Savage, Judge Dredd)

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No one makes use of shadow quite like Charlie Adlard. Which is useful considering the work he’s most known for, The Walking Dead, is published in black-and-white. He also does a fantastic job giving each character a realness that few artists can.

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Neal Adams – (Green Arrow, Batman, Deadman)

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Possibly the greatest cover artist in the history of comics. But while he is prolific at creating cover art, he is still an incredible talent drawing panel-to-panel. Arguably the quintessential Batman artist, and most definitely the definitive artist for Green Arrow.

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John Byrne – (X-Men, Fantastic Four, Superman)

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While he was the artist (and writer) behind the Fantastic Four’s “Second Golden Age”, he is most known for his extensive work with Chris Claremont on The Uncanny X-Men during the late 70’s into the early 80’s. He was the pencil behind benchmark X-Men stories like “The Dark Phoenix Saga” and “Days of Future Past.” There is no artist more widely associated with the X-men…except maybe the next guy…

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Jim Lee – (X-Men, WildC.A.T.s, Batman)

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Hands down my all-time favorite comic artist. When I think of the X-Men from the comics, the 90’s versions of the characters are what immediately come to mind. Jim Lee’s fantastic art and stories are the major reasons for that. He also helped start Image Comics with his WildC.A.T.s and Gen13 franchises. He has also had long, impressive runs drawing for Batman and Superman as well. He is also a current co-publisher for DC Comics.

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Free Comic Day 2016

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Tomorrow is the first Saturday in May. Which means two things: it’s Kentucky Derby Day, and, more importantly, it’s also Free Comic Book Day. Millions of comic fans, and hopefully more than a few people that aren’t, across the country will be herding into their local comic store to take advantage of free comics, and special deals on back issues and graphic novels.

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I guess it technically means three things, because for the third year in a row Marvel has released a movie the day before Free Comic Book Day. Using their extremely popular film franchises to help improve their sagging comic sales is brilliant marketing. This year’s movie is the highly anticipated Captain America: Civil War. Due to a very busy schedule , sadly I won’t be able to see the MCU face-off until next weekend at the earliest. As soon as I’ve had the chance to go see it, I will post a review.

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But anyway…back to the topic at hand. I encourage anyone reading this to head to your local comic shop, pick up some comics for free, and maybe buy a comic, graphic novel, or action figure or two to help support local business. In particular, if you’re in the Paducah, KY area head over to Crash Comics and bring some items for their canned food drive for the pantry for Paducah Cooperative Ministry. See you there!

100 Greatest Comic Characters of All Time – Part 12

The countdown continues, with more cigars than a walk-in humidor.

45. Hellboy

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A Nazi-hating, monster fighting demon with a love for cigars and a right hand that is the key to the end of the world. Summoned as a baby during a thwarted Nazi occult ritual, he was discovered and raised like a son by the British Professor Broom. His power is matched only by his wit and a sense of responsibility instilled in him by his father.

 

44. Rick Grimes

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The primary protagonist in Robert Kirkman’s zombie epic The Walking Dead. In a world of terrible violence and brutality, few have suffered as much as Rick Grimes. He lost his wife and newborn daughter and had his right hand cut off (all by psychopath The Governor), had to cut off his girlfriend’s hand and allow her to be eaten to protect his son, and has seen person after person who’s safety he was responsible for die often gruesome deaths. All the while he has shown himself to be a master strategist, a tremendous leader, and a bonafide badass.

 

43. Lucifer Morningstar

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DC Comics’ version of the Devil. Modeled heavily after the Satan in Paradise Lost with the face of David Bowie (may he rest in peace). Originally appearing in the pages of Sandman, he eventually went on to star in his own series. As one would expect from a character based on Satan, he is silver-tongued, charming, and seductive, but can be extremely violent and unforgiving.

42. Nick Fury

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The long-time director of spy agency S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury has stories dating all the way back to the second World War, where he was the leader of the special ops team the Howling Commandos. Upon suffering fatal wounds from a mine shortly after the war ended, he was healed using the experimental Infinity Formula which essentially stopped him from aging. Known for his ability to always think 2 steps ahead of his enemies and his devotion to secrecy (sometimes even from those he trusts most). While, in recent history, Nick Fury has rarely been the central figure of any particular story, he has been on the periphery of many of Marvel’s biggest story arcs, many times being a key figure in setting them into motion.

 

41. Jim Gordon

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The police commissioner of Gotham City, and arguably Batman’s greatest ally in his fight for justice. With a history as long and developed as the Dark Knight’s, Jim Gordon is the greatest supporting character in all of comics. He is as complex as a non-primary character can be: willing to bend the rules to get things done in a city as dark and corrupt as Gotham, yet has a strict moral code when it comes to right and wrong (something the writers of the TV series Gotham seem to have missed)… is a paragon of virtue among the police force, yet hasn’t been an angel in his personal life.

 

100 Greatest Comic Characters of All-Time – Part 8

65. Colossus

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The Russian mutant with skin of living steel. When Colossus was first introduced into the X-Men universe, he definitely had one of the more interesting powers. Piotr Rasputin has been in the middle of some of the biggest storylines throughout the X-Comics run. While he has spent of most of his time as a member of the X-Men, he has also been one of Magneto’s Acolytes. One of the more intriguing stories with Colossus was in the Age of Apocalypse mini-series, where, fearing for the life of his sister, he goes on a rampage and kills his friend Iceman and Shadowcat (his future wife in the proper timeline) in the process.

64. Ra’s al Ghul

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One of Batman’s greatest foes. The leader of the ancient criminal organization The League of Assassins, Ra’s is an extremely skilled hand-to-hand combatant, has a genius level intellect, is a master strategist, and with the help of his Lazarus Pit, is ,for all intents and purposes, immortal. They can heal him of any wound and slow his aging down to a crawl. The downside of the use of those Pits is that once he emerges, it throws him into fits of utter madness that last a little longer each time. He has had many storied run-ins with the Dark Knight, but he has great respect for Batman and the work he is trying to do. Ra’s al Ghul is also the grandfather of Bruce Wayne’s son Damian.

63. Spawn

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Probably Todd McFarlane’s most popular creation and the character that blew the doors open for the creator-owned properties movement of the early 90’s After CIA operative Al Simmons dies and is sent to Hell for the deaths of innocents caused by his work, he cuts a deal with Hell lord Malebolgia to get his soul back. In doing so, he becomes Spawn. Intended to be a weapon against the forces of Heaven, Simmons refuses and commits to use his abilities to help others. His intentions may be pure (mostly), but his methods are brutal and gruesome. This dichotomy paired with the off-the-charts cool factor of his costume has made Spawn one of the most popular characters in all of comics.

62. Marv

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Another brutal anti-hero with noble intent. After spending a night with a prostitute (unpaid), and waking to find her lying dead next to him in the morning with police already outside the door, he escapes and on goes on a hunt for the people responsible. His search leaves a trail of blood and bodies. His sense of justice for those that were kind to him in a cruel, unforgiving town like Basin City, and his willingness to take any amount of abuse and punishment to make sure that that justice is served has turned Marv into one of the most compelling and endearing characters to come of Frank Miller’s noir series, Sin City.

61. Iron Fist

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The resident Kung Fu master of Marvel Comics. Aside from being a nearly unmatched martial artist, Danny Rand also possesses the ability to “focus his chi” into his fists making them hard as iron and impervious to pain or inward to heal himself. While he has never been quite as popular with the mainstream as some of Marvel’s other properties, Iron Fist has been an integral part of some of the company’s biggest stories, most notably the Marvel Civil War, where he served as Captain America’s second-in-command. Look for that popularity to spike in the near future with a Netflix series of his own right around the corner.