The Justice League at 60, Part 6: Globetrotters

Take a look back at the “International” era of the Justice League that brought new faces, more titles and lots of laughs to the team.

Check out part one, part two, part three, part four and part five of this series.

Folks, we’ve got a lot to get through today, so I’m going to give it to you straight: Some of this stuff was just a mess. Much of it was good and some of that was great. Some of it we can look at as “the ’90s.” However, some of it was, again, just a mess. I’m going to start in the middle and end with the beginning, so we can go out on a not-so-bad note.

Now then: Among the random bits of weirdness in this extended Justice League International period of 1986-1996 are the not-insignificant contributions of Slave Labor Graphics publisher Dan Vado. Starting in Early August 1993 (after Dan Jurgens left), he wrote 14 issues of Justice League America and then wrote the first 8 issues of Extreme Justice. Vado and his artistic collaborators Mike Collins, Kevin West and Marc Campos presided over a two-year stretch of League history, which threatens to be overlooked between the Jurgens and Gerard Jones/Chuck Wojtkiewicz runs.

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The Justice League at 60, Part Five: The Experiment

You gotta lose your mind as Tom Bondurant dives into the infamous ‘Detroit League’ of the late 1980s.

Check out part one, part two, part three and part four of this series!

There’s a lot crammed into the 40-page story writer Gerry Conway, penciller Chuck Patton and inker Dave Hunt tell in 1984’s Justice League of America Annual #2. The issue charts the official end of the JLA (as Aquaman exercises his founding-member privilege to disband it) and the subsequent creation of a new, ostensibly more focused team. Along the way the Leaguers say goodbye to their ruined satellite headquarters and hello to “the Bunker,” a mall-sized fallout shelter in the middle of Detroit, built by an ex-superhero who apparently saw too many movies about NORAD. Everything that happens in the annual happens quickly: four experienced Leaguers decide to re-form the team moments after dissolving the original; the new League gains two new members who each saw the re-forming happen on live television; and the third and fourth new members basically break into the supposedly impregnable new headquarters. The issue ends with a block party, welcoming the Justice League to this particular run-down part of town.

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What Are You Reading? ‘Friday,’ Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel and more

See what the Smash Pages crew has checked off their “to read” list lately.

If you’re looking for something to read while sheltering in place, you’ve come to the right blog, as the Smash Pages crew has a whole mess of comics to talk about this week. So without further ado …

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Comics Lowdown: Abrams pulls ‘A Suicide Bomber Sits in the Library’ from its schedule

Plus: “Olivia Jaimes” speaks, Bill Maher doubles down on his comic book comments, a comic convention apologizes for giving ‘Saga’ to kids, and much more!

Abrams has abandoned plans to publish A Suicide Bomber Sits in the Library by Jack Gantos and Dave McKean following online criticism and controversy. The book is about a young boy who plans to blow up a library, but he changes his mind when he sees how captivated the people inside are with their reading.

An open letter to Abrams from the Asian Author Alliance, signed by more than 1,000 writers, teachers and readers, reads: “The simple fact is that today, the biggest terrorist threat in the United States is white supremacy. In publishing A Suicide Bomber Sits in the Library, Abrams is willfully fear-mongering and spreading harmful stereotypes in a failed attempt to show the power of story.”

McKean responded to some of the controversy on Twitter: “The premise of the book is that a boy uses his mind and faith to decide for himself that violence is not the right course or action.” The book was due to be published next May.

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Comics Lowdown: Remembering Stan ‘The Man’ Lee

Plus: ‘The Brotherhood’ writer revealed! Transformers’ growing female fan base! Plus Art Spiegelman, Stan Webb and the scariest comic panel in ages!

Following the death of Marvel legend Stan Lee on Monday, many outlets covered not only his death, but turned the focus on his wide-reaching life and legacy. Some of the mainstream coverage included:

  • The New York Times not only wrote a thorough obituary of “The Man,” but also featured a comic by Brian Michael Bendis, Bill Walko and Howie Noel.
  • Peter David, freelance comics writer and a former Marvel employee, wrote a remembrance of Lee for Vulture. “Still, there was a time where Stan became the incarnation of that line from The Dark Knight: You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become a villain. In the ’80s and ’90s, it became increasingly stylish to bash Stan, to accuse him of hogging attention for his creations from the artists. But the fact is that before Marvel Comics, comics writers and artists were anonymous. It was Stan who made the artists the centerpieces of the work, giving them snappy nicknames like ‘Stainless’ Steve Ditko, ‘Genial’ Gene Colan, ‘Larrupin’’ Larry Lieber (no, even his brother wasn’t immune), and many others. We would come to know the artists (and other writers) as well as, if not better than, members of our only families. DC editors were so disdainful of this practice that they referred to him as ‘Stan Brag,’ before eventually following suit and crediting people.”
  • Roy Thomas, a legendary comics writer in his own right, shares the memory of his last Saturday spent with Lee at the Hollywood Reporter.
  • Marvel dedicated a special section of their website to Lee, with a tribute video.

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‘The Girl in the Bay’ surfaces at Berger Books next year

J.M. DeMatteis and Corin Howell team up on a new comic coming from Karen Berger’s Dark Horse imprint.

The Berger Books line continues to grow, as the Dark Horse imprint announced a new title at the New York Comic Con this weekend — The Girl in the Bay by J.M. DeMatteis and Corin Howell.

This isn’t the first time the prolific DeMatteis has worked with editor Karen Berger, as Vertigo published The Last One and Mercy back in the day.

“The chance to work with Karen Berger again was too good to pass up,” said J.M. DeMatteis. “I was part of the launch of the Vertigo imprint 25 years ago, and I’m delighted to be a part of this exciting new chapter in Karen’s career. I’m equally delighted to have the amazing Corin Howell illustrating our project, The Girl in the Bay: a dark tale of mysticism, time-travel, cosmic identity theft, and murder.”

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DeMatteis + Cavallaro travel the cosmos and more in ‘Impossible, Incorporated’

The creative team behind ‘The Life And Times Of Savior 28’ returns with a new five-issue series this September.

A long-gestating project by J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Cavallaro will see the light of day in September, when IDW Publishing will release Impossible, Incorporated, a five-issue comic book miniseries about a 17-year-old and her train that can travel to “other worlds, new dimensions, parallel universes and through time itself.”

“I’ve been bouncing around the idea for Impossible, Inc. with Mike Cavallaro for five or six years now. We wanted to create something that had the innocence of Silver Age comics; the expansive imagination of Jack Kirby; a cosmic perspective on life; and – most of all – a big, beating heart at its core. A story that could explore the quantum corners of both the universe and the human soul. Now that dream is a reality and we’ve uncorked a tale that we hope meets our goals and delights our audience,” DeMatteis said in the press release. “I’ve been blown away by Mike’s art, which has a power and purity of vision that encompasses both infinity and intimacy. We hope comic book readers join us on this journey. We’re having a blast and we think that they will, too.”

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Kevin Maguire covers the ‘JLI Omnibus’

Old friends reunite in the cover image for the upcoming collection.

Artist Kevin Maguire brought his signature style to the Justice League in the late 1980s/early 1990s, and along with Keith Giffen and J.M DeMatteis, redefined the team in the Post-Crisis DC Universe. Now their humorous take on the team is getting the Omnibus treatment, and Maguire has shared the cover to the massive book:

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Comics Lowdown: Jack Kirby special edition

A roundup of some of the Jack Kirby 100th birthday news this week!

Not only is it “Kirby Week” here on Smash Pages, but the entire comic industry has come together to honor and remember one of the industry’s greatest and most influential creators, Jack Kirby, for what would have been his 100th birthday. Here’s a round-up of links related to “The King.”

The first place to check is Marvel.com, which has an entire section dedicated to Jack Kirby. The colorful articles have been posted throughout the month of August, with reading lists, character features and articles by Jim Zub, Carlos Pacheco, Mark Waid and Mike Allred. Plus there are several videos about the life of Jack Kirby.

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