Well my friends... I think my pull list is about to get a big hit in terms of how many print books I get on a monthly basis. Here's the thing, last Christmas my wife gave me a NOOK from Barnes & Nobles as a present and, even though I loved it, I was kinda ignoring it because I felt that if I read too many digital comics I'd be turning my back on this medium that I love so much. As it turns out, prices on comics keep going up, page count keeps going down, plot lines are being dragged on way too long in order to sell trades and my bank account keeps suffering because of it I feel I have to support the comic book industry. So, last night I got my NOOK, charged it and I said to myself: "the heck with it"! Today i took my NOOK out at lunchtime, downloaded Thor: The Mighty Avenger Vol. 1, read it, took it all in and... I LOVED IT!!! The colors were as vibrant as they were intended to be, the pages moved just like a comic would, the prices are far less than the print versions and more importantly; I can carry 100+ books anywhere and everywhere I go without a problem. I absolutely love my NOOK. So, from this day on I solemnly swear that I'll cut my "pull list" at least in half and I'll be reading the trade version on my NOOK. Thanks Barnes & Nobles and thank you NOOK! (This read like a paid advertisement for NOOk and/or Barnes & Nobles but I swear it wasn't!) LOL!
Sometimes I wish everyone had my same moral compass and I'll tell you why. I say this because in this day and age, it seems that wanting fairness for everyone makes you naive or an idiot in society's eyes. I feel we should treat others the way we want to be treated no matter who we are or what we do, that's how I was brought up; that's how I live my life. I say this and the example I want to present to you is how unfair the comic book industry has been, is and if we don't act on it; always will.
One of my biggest gripes is the fact that the comic book industry was built on the backs of a few, very talented artists and writers like Jack Kirby, Bill Finger, Steve Ditko, Gary Friedrich and many more that simply got taken advantage of by greedy individuals who only cared about dollar signs. But this is not exclusive to the comics industry, I'm just expressing my disgust with the industry as whole due to this important fact. The thing is, corporations made, and are still making millions upon millions of dollars while those people who actually put in the work and created these characters got nothing in comparison. It's sickening really!
I understand they signed those contracts, I understand they had a choice (if you can call it that) and I know that the "Big Two" aren't doing anything "illegal", but just because something is legal, doesn't necessarily mean it's right. Like the great Dr. Martin luther King Jr. once said: "Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal". Now I'm not comparing these corporations to Hitler, my point is that wrong is wrong, it doesn't matter if the law covers your heinous acts, if you treat someone unfairly; you're still wrong!
I do know, without a shadow of doubt, that those creators who started this medium we love so much should've had a far better compensation and recognition than what they got; regardless of what the the law stipulates. I wish I woke up tomorrow and when I checked the news I find out that the "Big Two" were announcing that their golden age creators were going to get a % of the sales from those characters they created, that the Kirby heirs would be getting a piece of the pie, that Bill Finger would be credited with being the co-creator of Batman and all those characters he created and his heirs would be getting a retroactive payment of what he should've had in the first place if it weren't for scumbag lawyers taking advantage of honest
and hard working creators. Now THAT would be super heroic.!
-Manuel A. Carmona
Here are some links so you can understand what I'm talking about and why I'm so angry about all this.
Why boycott Marvel?
Jim Starlin on Cosporate comics
Jack Kirby Documentary
In Search of Steve Ditko Documentary
-Manuel A. Carmona
Today we celebrated Tabernacle Church's Harvest Festival 2013 and I can only described it by saying... it ROCKED! There were plenty of kids from all over Norfolk, dressed in their Halloween costumes and having a grand ol' time. There were tons of games for the kids to play, there were clowns, balloon animals, tons of candy and of course; FREE COMIC BOOKS!!! That's where we come in. Through our non-profit organization Comics For Christmas, we gave away more than 400 comic books to at least 80 kids; completely FREE of charge!
We had an absolute blast handing out those comic books and what a reward it was to see all those kids' smiles when we handed those comics to them... priceless! There were a few kids that we've come to know because they follow us from event to event, which makes us feel good for two reasons: 1.They know what were about and 2. They like comic books and in some way it's because we gave them their first comics; which makes me feel pretty darn good! As if handing out free comic books wasn't enough, we also handed out candy to the kids so everyone left our table with a big smile; and that makes me very happy.
We want to help Tabernacle Church of Norfolk for organizing such a wonderful event for the kids around the community and for allowing us to be a part of it for the second straight year, we hope to be there next year and every year after that. It was truly a blessing!
-Manuel A. Carmona
If Jack Kirby was alive and in his prime today, would his books sell and/or would he be relevant in the comic book world? Before we go in depth on my thoughts on this matter, I feel is extremely important to give everyone a brief history on who was Jack Kirby and why he's consider by everyone in the comic book field as the "king" of comics.
Jack Kirby (August 28, 1917 – February 6, 1994), born Jacob Kurtzberg, was an American comic book artist, writer and editor regarded by historians and fans as one of the major innovators and most influential creators in the comic book medium. Growing up poor in New York City, Kurtzberg entered the nascent comics industry in the 1930s. He drew various comics features under different pen names, including Jack Curtiss, ultimately settling on Jack Kirby. In 1940, he and writer-editor Joe Simon created the highly successful superhero character Captain America for Timely Comics, predecessor of Marvel Comics. During the 1940s, Kirby, generally teamed with Simon, created numerous characters for that company and for National Comics, the company that later became DC Comics.
After serving in World War II, Kirby returned to comics and worked in a variety of genres. He produced work for a number of publishers, including DC, Harvey Comics,Hillman Periodicals and Crestwood Publications, where he and Simon created the genre of romance comics. He and Simon also launched their own short-lived comic company, Mainline Publications. Kirby ultimately found himself at Timely's 1950s iteration, Atlas Comics, soon to become Marvel. There, in the 1960s, he and writer-editor Stan Lee co-created many of Marvel's major characters, including the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and the Hulk. Despite the high sales and critical acclaim of the Lee-Kirby titles, however, Kirby felt treated unfairly, and left the company in 1970 for rival DC. There Kirby created his Fourth World saga, which spanned several comics titles. While these series proved commercially unsuccessful and were canceled, the Fourth World's New Gods have continued as a significant part of the DC Universe. Kirby returned to Marvel briefly in the mid-to-late 1970s, then ventured into television animation and independent comics. In his later years, Kirby, who has been called "the William Blake of comics", began receiving great recognition in the mainstream press for his career accomplishments, and in 1987 he was one of the three inaugural inductees of the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame. The Jack Kirby Awards and Jack Kirby Hall of Fame were named in his honor.
Recently, there have been conversations in a forum I frequent on a daily basis about the impact Jack Kirby would have, if any, if he was alive and in his prime in today's comics. Some comic book fans think that his books wouldn't sell and basically he wouldn't be relevant in any real way; to which I say thee nay! :) Now, if you look at Kirby's art for the first time it would be kind of jarring and off quilter, but to say that the books wouldn't sell or that the art in comics has gotten better... than Kirby's art, again... I SAY THEE NAY!!!
Let's look at the facts, Jack Kirby was, and still is to this day, the most creative person in the comic book world, and quite possibly any media. Look at the hundreds, if not thousands of characters, concepts and stories that he came up with, the amount of work he produced, the quality or his work, any way you look at it; he's known as the king for a reason. Another important fact that we cannot overlook is the amount of creators who've been directly influenced by Kirby. You can literally see and feel Kirby's influence in some of these creators' art style and they're some of the most respected professionals in the comics field today; to think that they're relevant, on top of their game and moving the comics world forward and think that Kirby wouldn't be relevant in today's comics is plain stupid.
Let's look at some of the creators who've been so heavily influenced by Jack Kirby shall we?
Bruce Walter Timm (born on February 8, 1961) is an American character designer, animator and producer. He is also a writer and artist working in comics, and is known for his contributions building the modern DC Comics animated franchise, the DC animated universe. Timm is known primarily for his work in animation, his first ambition was to become a comic-book artist. Although this dream did not materialize, leading him to a life in animation, nevertheless produced several one-shots and miniseries, mostly for DC Comics. In the 1980s, he made some mini-comics for Masters Of The Universe.In 1994, Timm and writer Paul Dini won the Eisner Award for Best Single Story for Batman Adventures: Mad Love. Timm won the same prize the next year as well, for Batman Adventures Holiday Special with Dini, Ronnie del Carmen and others. Later, Timm was involved with Batman Adventures and has also worked on Avengers and Vampirella. He is also a popular cover and pin-up artist.
Erik J. Larsen (born December 8, 1962) is an American comic book writer, artist and publisher. He is known for his work on Savage Dragon, as one of the founders of Image Comics, and for his work on Spider-Man for Marvel Comics. In 1992, seeking greater control and profit over the work they created, Larsen and six other illustrators left Marvel to form Image Comics, where Larsen launched a series featuring a reworked version of Savage Dragon. This time, the Dragon was a massively muscled green amnesiac, who joined the Chicago police department after being discovered in a burning field. Initially debuting in a three-issue miniseries, the series met with enough success to justify a monthly series, launched in 1993. To this day, Larsen continues to write and illustrate the series entirely by himself, and has maintained a reasonably consistent monthly schedule (save for occasional lapses) in comparison with the other original Image Comics titles.
Darwyn Cooke is a comic book writer, artist, cartoonist and animator, known for his work on the comic books Catwoman, DC: The New Frontier, The Spirit and Richard Stark's Parker: The Hunter.
With just these three names alone it should be understood that Kirby is, and always will be the most important creator in comics, but the list doesn't end there, there are hundreds of creators who specifically point to Jack Kirby for their inspiration and view him as a teacher of the medium, and to say that a book drawn by Kirby wouldn't sell in this day and age is not only ridiculous, but also incredibly disrespectful. Another ridiculous statement is that art has gotten better with the years, to which I say not really. The art in comics specifically has gotten flashier and more colorful, but not necessarily better.
If you claim that the art has gotten better, how can you explain that some of the most coveted artwork, and most impressive I might add, is none other than George Perez's work from the 80's and early 90's. His art hasn't changed much in the last 30 years, but is it not at the top of the game still to this day? It absolutely is! Same goes with artists like Phil Jimenez, Howard Chaykin, Walt Simmonson or even Neal Adams. The same rule applies to Jack Kirby's work. In this day and age, inkers and colorists are much more talented and have more freedom to take the artwork and make it much better than what it originally was, and if Kirby would've had an inker like, oh let's say Danny Miki (Spawn, Batman) or Jonathan Glapion (Batman), or a colorist like Brian Haberlin (Spawn) or Nathan Eyring (Earth 2) and you'll see somthing you've never seen before, you'll see Kirby's pencils in a whole new light because they'll have that little "extra" push to it that will bring it to the current era of comics. But, this is all and educated guess knowing what I know about art and how comic book artwork gets done, others that might not have the knowledge or the art education might see Kirby's work as "old" or "dated" but all I see when I flip through a comic drawn by Jack Kirby is... genius!
If you recall, last week I wrote a blog entry here on the website regarding the importance of strong female characters in comic books (http://www.truthfulcomics.com/1/post/2013/07/the-importance-of-strong-female-lead-characters-in-comics.html), the importance of good role models in movies and comics for young ladies and I wanted to hear feedback from as many people as possible. So far I've received good feedback on that last blog, I've seen many people sharing the link on Facebook and I've also seen a very positive reaction to the blog entry which means I might be unto something.
One of the many who gave me feedback on the blog was our
good friend Mr. Tom Harris, host of the Radio Free Asgard Podcast. He actually dedicated the first half of his latest episode to our blog and gave us his honest opinions on the matter and I couldn't be more happy about it. Here's the link to the latest Radio Free Asgard Podcast episode: http://www.comicspodcasts.com/2013/07/18/radio-free-asgard-112/
Tom had some good points regarding my article and he mentioned that at least two of the characters I mentioned as good role models (Power Girl and Witchblade) are very much in the "T&A" style of making comics. While that is a valid point, Sara Pezzini (Witchblade) was a police officer and is now a detective and a single mother; which makes her a compelling character and in my opinion, a good role model. Kara (Power Girl) has a running joke about her ginormous boobs, but besides that, she's a self-made multi-millionaire business owner/entrepreneur, she's a single woman and she's powerful, beautiful and fun; all great qualities to find in any woman. The big boobs is something that's made to attract male readers, but many women have big breasts too, so as long as the characters are well written, big boobs shouldn't come into the equation. Regardless, I'd like to thank Mr. Tom Harris for dedicating half the episode to my blog and hopefully in the future we can do another episode of Radio Free Asgard and talk about my favorite character: The Mighty Thor! FOR ASGARD!!!!!!!!!
With all this buzz around the upcoming Superman/Wonder Woman book being published by DC Comics and the Man of Steel's Superman/Lois Lane "relationship" made me think about the comic book relationships I consider "the best". Now let me be clear, there might be others that are just as valid, but this is just a list of the relationships that I can think of without having to investigate too much, these are the most relevant in my mind. If you have other choices feel free to post them on the comments section. Enjoy!
Kal-El (Superman) and Diana (Wonder Woman)
Wonder Woman and Superman have long seemed like they’d make a nice match — they both have blue eyes and blue-black hair, they’re both superheroes with similar powers, they wear matching costumes. But maybe they look a little toomuch alike to work? In any case, since one or both of them are usually romantically entangled elsewhere, any dalliances between Superman and Wonder Woman have been very brief and occurred in their pasts or in alternate timelines where Lois Lane is dead. These include Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Strikes Again and All-Star Batman and Robin, The Boy Wonder (with Jim Lee), and Mark Waid and Alex Ross’ influential Kingdom Come, in which the pair actually have a child together. Superman and Wonder Woman have always remained just really good friends, even when put in the most dire and tempting circumstances.
As previously mentioned, romances between Kal-El of Krypton and Diana of Themyscira have until recently been non-canonical, but they have happened. In 1998′s Superman: Distant Fires, Howard Chaykin, Gil Kane and Kevin Nowlan depicted a post-apocalyptic Earth where Superman and Wonder Woman were among the only survivors, and where they had a son who, like Kal-El, was eventually rocketed to another planet to save him from his homeworld’s destruction. In Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again, which also takes place in the future, Clark and Diana had a superpowered daughter called Lara, after Superman’s Kryptonian mother, whom they protected from the government. In typical Miller style, the relationship was memorably… intense. Perhaps most famously, the Kingdom Come graphic novel by Mark Waid and Alex Ross introduced a reality where Superman and Wonder Woman coupled after Lois was killed by the Joker, and where Kal-El and Diana eventually started a family. Indeed, there have been quite a few occurrences of this match, but October’s Justice League #12 by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee will be the first time the love between Superman and Wonder Woman will be presented as canon. In honor of the event, DC partnered with popular online dating site Match.com to create profiles for both superheroes. Here’s Superman’s, along with an analysis by Dr. Helen Fisher, Chief Scientific Officer for Match:
Superman and Wonder Woman are a classic match, as a very high testosterone male and a very high estrogen female. They also have many cultural and biological traits that will fuel their romance. People also tend to fall in love with those of the same background. Although Superman comes from a different planet, while Wonder Woman harks from an isolated island, both are aliens to our modern world. More important, Superman and Wonder Woman share the same values and goals: They are both dedicated to truth and justice and both fight evil to save the good — traits shared by both the high testosterone and high estrogen type. Lastly, both value independence.
The Joker and Harley Quinn
The 1994 graphic novel Mad Love recounts Harley's origin, told in the style and continuity of Batman: The Animated Series and written and drawn by Dini and Timm, the comic book describes Dr. Harleen Quinzel, M.D. (her real name) as an Arkham Asylum psychiatrist who falls for the Joker and becomes his accomplice and on-off sidekick. The story received wide praise and won the Eisner and Harvey Awards for Best Single Issue Comic of the Year. The New Batman Adventures series adapted Mad Love as the episode of the same name in 1999, making it the second "animated style" comic book adapted for the series. (The other was Holiday Knights.) She becomes fascinated with the Joker while interning at Arkham, and volunteers to analyze him. She falls hopelessly in love nearly instantly with the Joker during their sessions, and she helps him escape from the asylum more than once. When the Joker is returned to Arkham after a battle with Batman, the sight of her badly injured patient drives Harleen insane, leading her to quit her psychiatrist job and don a jester costume to become Harley Quinn, the Joker's sidekick. She later becomes fast friends with Poison Ivy, who injects her with an antitoxin which gives her super-normal strength, agility, and immunity to toxins.
In The New 52 event, Harley Quinn's costume and appearance is fully revamped, with a skimpier costume, bleached skin and altered hair color, consistent with her new origin. After a falling out with the Joker, she goes into a murderous frenzy, directed towards people responsible for the Joker's imprisonment. Captured by Black Canary, she is forcibly inducted into the Suicide Squad by Amanda Waller. However, when she discovers that the Joker is rumored to be dead, it takes a further toll in her already addled mind, and betraying the Suicide Squad, she puts their safety and secrecy at risk by turning herself into the Gotham Police Department in a plot to gain access to the skinned face of the Joker. Her plan apparently pays off, and she manages to recover the face, though in a further psychotic episode, Harley captures and ties up Deadshot and places the skinned face of the Joker over Deadshot's face, so that she can carry on a "conversation" with her dead lover. Deadshot lures Harley in close, shooting and severely injuring her during the conversation. After the Joker returns to Gotham, he forces her to disguise herself in his old Red Hood costume and trick Batman into coming to the chemical plant where they first met. Batman then falls into a tank and demands Harley to tell him where Joker is. But she only replies, in tears, that he's not "her Joker" anymore. Since then, Quinn has seemingly entered a relationship with her fellow Suicide Squad member, Deadshot.
Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) and Sue Storm (Invisible Woman)
While living with her aunt, Susan, at the young age of 17, met her future husband, Reed Richards, a house guest who was attending college. When she graduated from high school she moved to California to attend college, where she pursued an acting career and encountered Richards again. They became romantically involved with each other. Reed Richards, was designing a spacecraft for interstellar travel. Everything was going well until the government stopped the funding of his project. Richards, wanting to see his project through, decided to make an unscheduled test flight. Originally, it was only going to be Reed and his best friend, Ben Grimm, involved, but Susan was instrumental in persuading Reed in letting her brother and herself join them on the dangerous space mission. In space, the quartet was exposed to massive amounts of cosmic radiation. As a result, they had to abort the mission and return to Earth. After the crash landing, they realized that they gained superhuman powers; hers was the ability to become invisible at will. Realizing the potential use of their abilities, the four of them became the Fantastic Four, for the benefit of mankind. Susan adopted the code name "Invisible Girl".
Reed and Sue's relationship progressed, with the two of them deciding to get married. The wedding was the event of the century, with several of New York City's preeminent superheroes in attendance. Not long after that, Susan and the Fantastic Four encountered Galactus and the Silver Surfer for the first time. Sue later became pregnant with her first child. As a result, she took time off as an active member of the team. Johnny's then-girlfriend, the Inhuman elementalist known simply as Crystal, joined the team, taking over Susan's roster spot. Susan's cosmic ray irradiated blood cells served as an obstacle for her in carrying the unborn child to term. Knowing this, Reed, Johnny, and Ben journeyed into the Negative Zone to acquire the Cosmic Control Rod from Annihilus. Effectively utilizing the device, the baby was safely delivered and was named Franklin, in memory of Susan's father. Due to the genetically altered structure of his parents, Franklin was born a mutant, possessing vast powers of the highest possible potential. Seeking to use the boy's talents for his own sadistic purposes, Annihilus returned and successfully triggered a premature full release of Franklin's latent abilities, which were already in the process of gradual emergence. Fearing that his son could very well release enough psionic energy to eliminate all life on Earth, Reed was forced to shut Franklin's mind down, feeling there was no immediate alternative. Angry with Reed for not seeking her input in the matter, Susan left the Fantastic Four and had a marital separation from Reed.
Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) and Dayna Laurel Lance (Black Canary)
When Dinah met Green Arrow (Oliver Queen). While Dinah at first detested him, they later became romantically involved, despite the difference in their ages. (In the Modern Age Oliver was substantially older than Dinah, the reverse of the earlier depiction. However, the character later died, and later still was resurrected, at which point he was de-aged by an unspecified amount.) Dinah remained a member of the League for roughly six years, including a brief stint with Justice League International (JLI), of which she was a founding member. During that time her mother died due to radiation poisoning experienced during a battle with the villain Aquarius. Her mother's death affected Dinah deeply, and led her to accept that her time in the JLA was over. After the breakup of the Justice League, Dinah moved to Seattle with Green Arrow, opening her own florist shop named "Sherwood Florist". The move to Seattle brought a string of bad luck for her.
During this period, she took part in a failed operation to bust a drug ring. Kidnapped, Black Canary was tortured before being rescued by Green Arrow. The effect was severe: Dinah's vocal cords were mutilated, she lost her Canary Cry, and she became unable to bear children. She required extensive counseling afterward, as did Oliver Queen. Simultaneously, she and Green Arrow had major conflicts in their relationship. She learned that Green Arrow had fathered a son, Robert, with the villainess Shado (albeit against his will), and was taking money from the florist business (Black Canary #1). The relationship ended when Dinah walked in on Green Arrow kissing her shop assistant, Marianne. Later, she learned from Connor Hawke that Oliver had been killed (Green Arrow #101), and that Connor was yet another of his offspring. Although Dinah and Connor later developed a close friendship, the knowledge that Oliver had kept his existence from her remained painful. Though Black Canary continued to fight crime off and on (she became a pen friend of the youthful hero The Ray, who had a crush on her, participating in some of his adventures and even having a brief romance), the effects of her misfortunes took their toll.
The Mighty Thor and Lady Sif
As an Asgardian warrior and lover of Thor, Sif often accompanies Thor into battle and spends much of her time worrying about and searching for him. She has also battled alongside Balder, who has developed an unrequited attraction to her, as she never shows affection for anyone but Thor and certain individuals who have proved worthy to wield his hammer, Mjolnir, such as the noble alien warrior, Beta Ray Bill and the mortal Eric Masterson. Sif and Thor are separated when he is banished from Asgard by his father Odin and begins a life as a superhero on Earth. Many years later Thor becomes romantically involved with Jane Foster. Thor brings Jane to Asgard to be wed, where she is granted immortality but after she fails a final test Odin sends her back to Earth, stripped of her newly acquired powers and without memories of the event. Odin then arranges an encounter with Sif while Thor is battling the monstrous super-strong Unknown, and the two fall in love again.
Reunited with Thor, Sif accompanies him into battle against many of his most formidable enemies. After Hogun the Grim attempts a physical attack, Sif puts herself in the line of fire and convinces Loki if he dies, he would have to kill her too. Loki declines to murder anyone at that point. Thor's attachment for Earth frequently came between them. Sif much preferred the world of the gods to the mundane world of mortals, and, after attempting to adjust to Earth life on more than one occasion, returned to Asgard to live without Thor. Once, when Thor's mortal paramour Jane Foster was dying, Sif lent her, life force to revive the woman, "merging" with her in the process. She did this apparently in an attempt to understand Thor's attraction for this mortal. Jane Foster was separated from Sif shortly thereafter, and sent to the limbo realm of the Runestaff of the Possessor. Sif and Thor have since rescued Foster. Sif and Beta Ray Bill found themselves increasingly drawn to each other emotionally. Sif's relationship with Thor was greatly worsened when Thor, who was forced by enchantment to fall in love with the Asgardian Lorelei, struck Sif in anger. Sif even decided to leave Asgard and accompany Beta Ray Bill back to his people. However, Sif came to realize how deeply sorry Thor, who had been freed of Lorelei's enchantment, was for having struck her. Moreover, Sif finally fully realized that Lorelei was really to blame for Thor's striking her and Sif was also greatly impressed by Thor's heroism in descending into the realm of the death goddess Hela to rescue the souls of Earth mortals. As a result, Sif finally accepted Thor's role as guardian of both Asgard and Earth, and decided to stay behind in Asgard. Sif and Thor once again linked by strong bonds of affection, but what path their relationship will next take remains to be seen.
Dick Grayson (Nightwing) and Barbara Gordon (Batgirl/Oracle)
Babara Gordon first outing in Detective Comics 359. She was introduced as Dr. Barbara Gordon PhD holder... and later became a Congresswoman... yet DC keeps on trying to de-age her and taking away the awesomeness stuff like a Doctorate and former Congress status. Dick Grayson shows some affection but we don't really see too many hints as the age different was thought to be much bigger at the time.
Moving into the 70's Babara went to Washington, became a Congresswoman and she and Dick had a starring feature in the "Batman Family" title. DC came out and said a few times that it was meant as a joke and way to shut Robin up, but lots of fans hated it....then they got some letters from fans who loved it....and Batman Family continued with the slight flirtations over time. It's worth noting that at the time Dick was in an on again off again relationship with Lori Eton. Hmmm maybe all his adultry isn't out of character after all. Many fans suspected Babs was faking and it took them Nightwing Annual 2 (shudder) to be proved right.
After the Batman Family title ended the Dick/Babs romantic stuff cooled it somewhat. We didn't really see much hints of it and Babs was busy with her on again off again Jason Bard and Dick had Dala the vampire to contend with. It was in the 90's when it all came together... Dick and Babs were shown as a couple in "Subzero" and the Batman Animated series, the comics then followed suit. The Dixon/Mcdaniel run on Nightwing is classic and a half and every comic book reader should read those at least once in your life.
Clark Kent (Superman) and Lois Lane
Clark Kent and Lois Lane are among the best known fictional couples. The characters—including Clark's alter ego, Superman—debuted in the DC Comics publication Action Comics #1 (June 1938), and have remained in a complicated relationship ever since. The couple's relationship was based for a long time in a love triangle, in which Clark was interested in Lois, who was taken with Superman. Clark, unable to reveal to Lois that his mild-mannered demeanor was a ruse, was unable to compete for Lois' affection, the irony being he was his own rival seeing that Clark and Superman are the same person.
Following John Byrne's The Man of Steel re-boot, Clark's character became not only the more dominant personality of the Clark Kent/Superman character, but also more outgoing, aggressive, and assertive (more in line with George Reeves' portrayal on Adventures of Superman). This allowed a more natural romance to develop between Lois and Clark. Finally, Clark proposes to Lois and decides to reveal his identity as Superman to Lois, and so they began a long engagement which was complicated by the death of Superman, a breakup and several problems. At last, in 1996 Lois and Clark got married and Superman: The Wedding Album was released. The event was also made to coincide with the wedding of Clark and Lois on the television series Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.
In 2011, DC Comics main continuity was rebooted for The New 52 initiative. In the relaunch, it is revealed that Clark and Lois are not married. Lois views Clark as a friend and respects him as a journalist, but regards him as a loner who has difficulty letting people get close to him, and displays no existing knowledge of his dual identity. Clark and Lois' friendship becomes strained after Clark quits the Daily Planet. Superman Unchained, the new book by Scott Snyder and Jim Lee, will explore Clark's connection with Lois in the new DC Universe.
Tim Drake (Robin/Red Robin) and Stephanie Brown (Spoiler/Batgirl)
Stephanie Brown is the love interest of Tim Drake, the third Robin, the third Batman and later, Red Robin from the Batman comics. She started out as Spoiler. She first met Robin in the Batman comics from the 90s. She later becomes the new Robin, and then Batgirl until the New 52 era where Barbara Gordon finally went back to walking and became Batgirl once again. Sigh... yep. During the No Man's Land event, following Gotham's destruction during the earthquake, Tim begins to realize his growing feelings for Stephanie Brown. This causes him to to break up with his girlfriend Ari, and begin a relationship with Stephanie. Tim began a romantic relationship as Robin with the daughter of a criminal named Cluemaster. Stephanie was secretly "Spoiler". This was quite complicated for Tim by not being able to reveal his true identity to her.
Batman would not allow Robin to reveal his identity to Stephanie. During this time, he and Spoiler frequently work together on cases, until she reveals her pregnancy which spurs him to forbid her to be Spoiler as he assumes the alias Alvin Drapper to take her to Lamaze classes.
However, Jack Drake decides it's time for his family to leave Gotham, forcing Tim to move to Keystone city, during which he works with the The Flash to battle The Riddler and Captain Boomerang. While in Keystone, Stephanie goes into labor while Tim is rushed back to Gotham by The Flash in time for the delivery. Tim helps her through childbirth but eventually the child was given up for adoption.
Peter Parker (Spider-Man) and Mary Jane Watson
Peter meeting MJ or Anna Watson's niece was an ongoing gag in the early Lee stories with Peter looking for excuses not to meet her. He meets Gwen in college and she becomes his first girlfriend although he also eventually meets MJ and goes out on a date with her. MJ was originally supposed to be the third wheel and a rival for Peter's affection in order to create drama with Gwen being the primary love interest because of how well the fans took to her. Howvever, Gwen is killed by the Green Goblin in 1973 and he marries MJ in 1987 and has since become Peter's "Lois Lane" although Gwen was originally supposed to take up that mantle according to Stan Lee (his accounts have changed over the years). Because of MJ being much more synonomous with Spider-Man than Gwen, in the movies they made her the primary love interest with Gwen taking MJ's original place in the comics in SM3. I kind of wished that they acknowledged that Peter had another love besides MJ in Gwen, he also dated Betty Brant before Gwen. For his first three years, Peter dealt with other problems besides love and relationships. He was pretty much a loner with zero confidence and trying to help his Aunt make ends meet while also balancing school with his superhero activities. It'd be awesome to see that on the big screen for at least one movie.
In spite of Peter and Mary Jane's mutual worry that they were marrying too early, Peter's concern for her safety, and her unwillingness to give up her "party girl" lifestyle, they married. She attached Peter's surname to her own, making her Mary Jane Watson-Parker. Spider-Man wore his black costume around this time, but after Mary Jane was frightened by a stalking Venom, she convinced him to change back to his old costume. Due to this stress, the recent death of Harry Osborn, and the seeming return of her husband's parents, Mary Jane began smoking (a habit she had quit in high school), only increasing the tension between her and Peter. Peter ultimately convinced her to stop smoking when he tricked her into visiting Nick Katzenberg suffering heavily from lung cancer (he presumably died; Peter encountered his ghost in an out-of-body experience). When his parents were discovered to be fakes, Peter was unable to cope with the knowledge and disappeared for a time. Mary Jane visited her sister Gayle and her father for the first time in years, and finally reconciled with them. Meanwhile, Peter overcame his problems on his own. When she and Peter reunited, both were happier than they had been in a long time.
Cliff Secord (The Rocketeer) and Betty (Page)
The Rocketeer is Cliff Secord, a stunt pilot who discovers a mysterious jetpack that allows him to fly. His adventures are set in 1938 Los Angeles and New York, and Stevens gives them a retro, nostalgic feel influenced by the King of the Rocket Men movie serial, the syndicated Commando Cody TV series (both from Republic Pictures), and pinup diva Bettie Page. With the aid of his airplane mechanic buddy Peavy, he debuts an air show stunt act as the Rocketeer to make enough money to keep his bombshell "art model" girlfriend Betty (as in Betty Page!) happy, but soon runs afoul of mobsters and Nazi agents who want to steal the rocket pack. Oh, the Feds and Doc Savage (along with Savage's assistant Monk and Ham) want the rocket pack, too. Cliff, headstrong and passionate, doesn't always make the wisest of choices. Mayhem ensues. And that's just the first story arc. The second, "Cliff's New York Adventure," follows up immediately on the first with Cliff chasing his now-estranged girlfriend to New York City, where he runs into that other great pulp character, the Shadow, who enlists Cliff's
help in thwarting a serial killer.
Stevens was careful never to name or overtly identify any of these trademarked characters, but the homage is clear enough to anyone with even a passing familiarity with the genre. In 1991 a well-regarded movie version was put out by Disney, which combined elements of both storylines to craft a more cohesive plot. The "Betty" character was changed to "Jenny" and her overt sexuality toned down, while Cliff was somewhat less of a lunkhead in the film, but other than that, the spirit of the film is remarkably faithful to the comic, evidence of Stevens' close involvement with the project (one thing that surprised me is that there is not Neville Sinclair/Errol Flynn analogue in the comics. I'd heard the Errol Flynn connection for years, obviously from people who'd never actually read Stevens' original).
Bruce Wayne (Batman) and Selina Kyle (Catwoman)
Batman and Catwoman became strongly romantically involved during the Batman: Hush story arc. Batman ended their romantic relationship because he was unsure if Catwoman had been a willing participant in Hush's plot. Even when their romance rekindled later, Batman still suspected that Selina's reformation could be a result of a personality-altering mindwipe by Zatanna. In pre-Crisis continuity, the Earth-Two versions of Batman and Catwoman were shown to have married in the 1950s, and later Selina gave birth to a daughter, Helena Wayne (Huntress) in 1957. In Batman: The Animated Series, Bruce Wayne regularly dates Selina Kyle. In Batman Beyond, Bruce hints at a relationship with Selina in his past, as well as comparing that relationship with Terry's and the current 10 of the Royal Flush Gang.
As in the comic books, sexual tension between their costumed characters is a major story point in Batman: The Animated Series. In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, the two regularly flirt, which others notice. Alfred even goes so far as writing a story about them where they marry.
In The Dark Knight Rises, Selina (played by Anne Hathaway) does not develop a romantic interest in Bruce until later on in the film. In the end the two are shown to have developed a relationship when Alfred sees them sitting at a table nearby him at a cafe in Florence. -__-
Hawkman and Hawkgirl
Hawkman and Hawkgirl are cursed to find each other, fall in love, and then get murdered or killed. Rinse and repeat every generation via reincarnation or something. Thousands of years of this nonsense. As we reach modern day, Hawkman lies dead. Hawkgirl, now Kendra Saunders, has recently taken over the superhero mantle from her great-aunt. It's the love without end, although that's part of the problem. Hawkman and Hawkgirl are a couple of superheroes in a state of permanent rebirth. But knowing that's your destiny is one thing, and feeling it is another, especially when you don't necessarily like the other person. DC's most recent incarnation of Hawkman and Hawkgirl ignored the pressure and expectations of fate and brought new meaning to "on-again, off-again" romances (Mostly by ignoring that "on-again" part), only managing to admit their love seconds before being killed in Blackest Night. Ouch..
Aliens from Thanagar (the planet where their wings and maces come from) figures now’s as good as time as any to bring back Hawkman. This is love at it's most insanely passionate and indescribable, they know they'll die and be born again, and yet they still run towards each other with a passion unparalleled. Sometimes superheroes show us how we should do things and I think that Hawkman and Hawkgirl are showing us how we should love our partners... passionately!
The X-Men's dream couple are proof that sometimes love isn't enough. Teenage sweethearts, Scott Summers and Jean Grey kept getting separated for various reasons that included her being replaced by a cosmic entity, his getting married to someone who turned out to be a clone of her, his having a telepathic affair with another woman and her death. Even in alternate realities, it doesn't work out; parallel reality series X-Men Forever showed that Grey cheated on Summers with Wolverine and, following Wolverine's death, then hooked up with the Beast. Maybe they simply got together too young. The relationship between Scott Summers and Jean Grey was complicated and caring. In the beginning the two truly cared for the other, and it all started to unravel when James Logan (Wolverine) joined the X-Men, Jean had an immediate attraction to him, which caused big problems for her and Scott, they eventually reconciled, but that didn't last long. Jean's powers started going out of control, and during this period, she gradually drifted away from Scott, leaning to Logan more often than Scott, while dealing with her problems.
And things continued to get worse, when former Hellions leader Emma Frost was taken into the X-Men, and was appointed to help Scott better control his powers, and in the process the two began having an affair. Shortly after the two ended their relationship. Though the breakup was messy, the two acknowledged they were both drifting apart, and were better off as friends..
For a long time I've been trying to find comic books that are, not only appropriate for kids, but also challenge and provide good role models for them. As I embarked on this journey I came to the realization that most cartoons and movies are directed towards boys and that young girls are in dire need of strong role models, especially in comic books, cartoons and movies. So, I made it a point to look for, study and expose young girls to these strong independent female characters that they should be following on a regular basis.
The reality is that there are far too many female characters that simply don't get the exposure or the respect they deserve as legitimate characters with an established history, and it simply boggles the mind as to why exactly this happens. I can name many strong, independent female character in comics that could be great role models for young girls but simply don't get the push from their respective publishers, or at least I don't feel they do enough to promote their books to the masses like they do their male counterparts such as Batman, Green Lantern, Superman, etc. I feel it is my duty as a comic book fan to give a little PR to those characters that I feel are deserving of the public's money and attention; especially young girls! Now, if you ask me to name a few of these strong female characters I keep talking about, off the top of my head, my list would look a little something like this... in no particular order:
I truly believe that young girls need positive role models now more than ever. Think about it, what role models do they have? Beyonce, who only performs in skimpy outfits and all she does is shake her ass for the camera? Rihanna, who grabs her crotch more than Michael Jackson used to do? Or maybe Lady Gaga? Well, you get the idea. Young girls need to read about strong, positive and independent female characters and in my opinion, there's no better character suited for that task than the beautiful Asgardian Goddes of War known in the Nine Realms as Lady Sif!
Journey Into Mystery #646 ------------------->
Lady Sif was created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, and her first appearance was in Journey Into Mystery #102 (March 1964). As a supporting character of Thor, Sif was featured predominately through the pages of The Mighty Thor, beginning with issue #136 (January 1967). The character went on to make guest appearances in several series including The Avengers, Fantastic Four, The New Mutants, Silver Surfer and Thunderstrike. In June 2010, Sif starred in a self titled one-shot by writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and artist Ryan Stegman. The issue deals with the aftermath of Loki having taken control of her body and her consciousness being forced into the frame of a dying elderly woman. Deconnick said, "Well, this is pretty much the story of how she deals with that. She was a bit cowed at first and, for a woman as fierce and proud as Sif, that's insult added to injury. This is the story of how she comes to own that fury and rises to her full stature once again."
Beginning with issue #646 (November 2012), Journey into Mystery by Kathryn Immonen and Valerio Schiti shifted focus from Loki to Lady Sif. Editor Lauren Sankovitch said, "We had it Loki-centric... going forward with #646 we wanted to mix it up a little bit. Lady Sif’s been in the thick of it, she’s a born warrior, she’s got a lot of fight and verve and fire to her!." You're damn right Lady Sif's been in the thick of it Lauren, and this journey is just getting started. I have to say though, what Kathryn Immonen and Valerio Schiti are doing with Journey into Mystery book could only be described with one word; MAGICAL!!!
With this current Journey into Mystery run, they've taken Lady Sif in a bold new direction that even I couldn't have predicted; and how sweet it is! Each story is lovingly crafted by every member of this creative team, and it absolutely shows. The new storyline involves Asgardian Berzerker warriors fighting giant mythical monsters, traveling to Midgard (Earth) through some sort of wormhole, Lady Sif being overwhelmed by blood lust after receiving Arnid's Berzerker spell, following the Berzerkers and the creatures to Midgard and encountering a familiar web crawler who happens to be curious as to why these Asgardians are destrying "his city". I mean seriously, how is this book not on everyone's pull list???
In this new Journey into Mystery run Lady Sif is portrayed as funny, courageous, independent, powerful and she's sexy without being slutty or without having to resort to any gratuitous T&A, talk about a breath of fresh air! Another thing I really enjoy about Sif is that, even though she loves Thor and she respects him as a man, she's outspoken, she demands respect and she's her own woman; something that The Mighty Thor truly admires of her.
For the record, young ladies... real men admire women who are like that. It's a great thing that you love your man (or woman for that matter), but you should love yourselves first and foremost, you should demand respect and you should do your own thing, make your own money if possible because real men love strong and independent women; just like Thor loves and respects Lady Sif!
I think young ladies could learn a great deal from a powerful female character like Lady Sif and many others throughout the comic book world, but it's our duty to introduce girls to such amazing characters and stories; our duty!!!
So, if you have a young lady in your life and you want to provide good reading material for her, good strong female role models to follow and have fun with, introduce her to Journey into Mystery #646 and up! Or maybe, you can browse your comic shop for these titles: Batgirl, Batwoman, World's Finest, Birds of Prey, Fearless Defenders, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Witchblade, Danger Girl, X-Men and many more.
If you hve any thoughts on this article please leave your comments below. Thanks for reading!
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