June 11, 2013 | 1:30 p.m.
When Superman first leaped onto the scene 75 years ago in “Action Comics” No. 1, he was the only game in town. The now-iconic character was the world’s first comic book superhero, created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster when they were still high school students in Cleveland in the early 1930s. Superman eventually landed his own comic title, movie serial, TV series, Broadway musical and several blockbuster movies, including this weekend’s “Man of Steel,” which stars Henry Cavill as Supes. In the comics, the cape-wearing, crime-fighting Kryptonian paved the way for the likes of Batman, Wonder Woman and Spider-Man. From 1938’s “Action Comics” No. 1 to 2013’s “Superman Unchained” No. 1, here are 10 covers that tell the story of a constant but changing superhero. Click through the gallery above for a look at the covers, courtesy of […]
Aug. 31, 2012 | 4:05 p.m.
Neal Adams’ oversized 1978 comic book “Superman vs. Muhammad Ali” pitted the Man of Steel against the world’s greatest fighter. To the shock of young DC fans, the brawl left the Last Son of Krypton bruised and bloody. Adams talks about his knockout comic in the newest episode of “Hero Complex: The Show” in the second segment of a two-part interview conducted on the floor of Comic-Con International in San Diego this summer. In a nutshell, some nasty aliens called the Scrubb arrive on Earth and threaten to invade unless the planet’s greatest champion will fight their massive, snarling gladiator, Hun’Ya. Superman steps forward as the obvious choice, but then Ali cries foul; Superman is an alien himself and if Earth needs a champion, shouldn’t it be a human? Superman and Ali then fight for the right to go, and since the Man of Steel is stripped […]
Aug. 20, 2012 | 5:12 p.m.
For comic book fans of the 1960s and 1970s, the name Neal Adams was an especially electrifying signature to see on a cover — there was no artist in the era that was more distinctive or dynamic than the man who brought an especially evocative commercial art sensibility to Batman, Green Lantern and the X-Men. For the newest episode of “Hero Complex: The Show,” we talked to Adams about some of his most memorable covers and the unpredictable art of superhero iconography. The interview, the first of two parts, was conducted on the floor of Comic-Con International in San Diego – it was on the convention’s second day in the hour before the show opened, in case you were wondering why the crowd was so thin. – Geoff Boucher RECENT AND RELATED Women in comics and the tricky art of equality Joe Kubert, the good soldier […]
July 18, 2012 | 6:02 p.m.
Neal Adams is a legendary name to comic-book collectors, but he holds an especially exalted place in the hearts of Batman fans — it was the vivid, muscular and irony-free art of Adams that tugged the character back toward the serious shadows and away from the campy 1966-1968 television series that made Gotham City a joke. With writer Denny O’Neil, Adams also introduced the evil mastermind Ra’s al Ghul and steered the Joker’s persona into a truly bizarre brand of lunacy — key contributions that would echo years later in the Batcave films of Christopher Nolan. Adams was one of the special guests at the New York premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” and he agreed to do a guest review of the film. THIS REVIEW is 100% SPOILER-FREE I listened to the vibes out there, and they said, “How […]
Feb. 22, 2012 | 8:32 a.m.
SPIDER-MAN at 50: It’s the 50th anniversary of Marvel’s greatest icon, and all year Hero Complex will talk to notable names about the character’s success and singular appeal. Today: A guest essay by Neal Adams, one of the most influential comic-book artists of the modern era and one of the industry’s leading voices for artists’ rights. Spider-Man is the epitome of the difference between DC Comics and that eruption of creation that became Marvel Comics. It’s a difference that has been clouded by time. Comics historians (of which there are too many – don’t ruin comics, comic historians, remember what happened to jazz and rock ‘n’ roll) will remember Jerry and Joe’s Superman was intended to be a bad guy. At first, that is. Then before he appeared, he became a good guy. That was the beginning of superhero comics; a guy gets super powers and “decides to […]
Nov. 25, 2010 | 2:17 p.m.
A comic book store can be a vast and wonderful landscape, but sometimes it’s nice to have a compass to help you as you wander those aisles. With that in mind, the Hero Complex and the mighty G4TV.com have teamed up for a new weekly series of video recommendations — Geoff Boucher of the Hero Complex will select and celebrate a new release from the vivid world of superheroes and more traditonal -minded fare, while the always insightful Blair Butler of G4′s Fresh Ink blog will recommend a worthy new release from the “non-spandex” side of comics, those graphic novels and alternative press titles that use their comics panels in the name of memoir, literary experimentation or underground voice. RECENT AND RELATED CAPES/NO CAPES: “Earth 1″ & “Acme Library” Charles Burns and “X’ed Out” seeks dark edge Brad Meltzer: Why ‘Superman vs Muhammad Ali’ is still the greatest Darywn Cooke reloads with “The Outfit”
Nov. 15, 2010 | 9:47 a.m.
Readers of this blog may remember our obsession with the 1978 comic book “Superman vs. Muhammad Ali” but it turns out we are not alone. Today, a guest essay by bestselling author Brad Meltzer (who is well-known to comics fans for his landmark work on ”Identity Crisis”) who believes that the old champ still holds up as a classic in comic book publishing. You can judge fpor yourself, too — this week DC is releasing a new hardcover reprint of the sublime 1970s artifact. Our subject today: My Heroes…Trying To Kill Each Other (or ‘”Why Superman vs. Muhammad Ali may just be the greatest comic…of all time”) Don’t roll your eyes. This is about Muhammad Ali, and in that man’s honor, I make no apologies for hyperbole. So let’s take a peek at the Polaroid. I was eight. I didn’t watch the Thriller In […]
July 22, 2010 | 7:52 p.m.
Some sights and sounds from the first few hours of Comic-Con International, Day One… BEST T-SHIRT: “Team Edward” but with a picture of Edward Scissorhands, Johnny Depp old-school version of a brooding, cinematic heartthrob with blood splatter issues. MOST UNEXPECTED REVELATION: John Stevenson, director of “Kung Fu Panda,” stopped a panel discussion on imagination and creativity to launch into a long ode to Mike Mignola, the creator of “Hellboy,” who looked both flattered and then a bit uncomfortable at the lengthy valentine. Stevenson said his office wall was adorned with “Hellboy” images during the making of “Panda,” each of them a reminder of artistic integrity and attention to craft. At the end of it all, the droll Mignola waited a beat and then muttered, “Well I’m glad the movie wasn’t bad then because I’d feel responsible.” MOST DISAPPOINTED GROUP:Paparazzi who spent […]
May 11, 2010 | 11:47 a.m.
Guillermo del Toro, Neal Adams and John Milius remember Frank Frazetta in this longer version of the obituary I wrote for Tuesday’s edition of the Los Angeles Times. Frank Frazetta, the fantasy painter and illustrator whose images of sinewy warriors and lush vixens graced paperback novels, album covers and comic books for decades and became something close to the contemporary visual definition of the sword-and-sorcery genres, died Monday after suffering a stroke the night before. He was 82. Frazetta had gone out to dinner with his daughters Sunday and then had a stroke at his home in Boca Grande, Fla. He died at Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers, Fla., his manager Rob Pistella told the Associated Press. “He’s going to be remembered as the most renowned fantasy illustrator of the 20th century,” Pistella said. Frazetta’s most famous works were […]
March 22, 2010 | 7:11 p.m.
FIRST LOOK I own about 9,000 comic books but ask me to pick my single favorite and I don’t need to think twice. It’s “Superman vs. Muhammad Ali,” which (despite the smirk-inducing title) was a world-class knockout when it arrived in the fall of 1978 and remains an enduring classic all these years later. Above, you can see a new nod to the legacy of the Neal Adams masterpiece, a statue due this fall from DC Direct and Ali’s licensing team that re-creates the cover clash between the titans of the sports world and comics. This is the first time the images of the statue are being seen anywhere. The first time I met Adams, I had to profess my love for this giant, tabloid-sized book that still looms so large in my fanboy heart. “I always tell people that ‘Superman vs. Muhammad […]