Nov. 06, 2013 | 6:00 p.m.

New Ms. Marvel isn’t the first Muslim — or religious — superhero

Marvel has announced that the heroine in a new “Ms. Marvel” series will be a 16-year-old Muslim girl from New Jersey. In the new title, Kamala Khan, a Pakistani American teenager living in Jersey City, discovers she has superhuman powers, including shape-shifting abilities. A lifelong devotee of Carol Danvers, a.k.a. Captain Marvel, Kamala decides to take the name Carol used early in her superhero career — Ms. Marvel. The series will be written by novelist and multi-Eisner nominee G. Willow Wilson (“Air,” “Alif the Unseen“) and illustrated by Adrian Alphona (“Runaways,” “Uncanny X-Force”). “The inspiration for the new ‘Ms. Marvel’ series stemmed out of a desire to explore the Muslim-American diaspora from an authentic perspective and yet, this story isn’t about what it means to be a Muslim, Pakistani or American,” said series editor Sana Amanat in a news release. […]
March 13, 2013 | 6:26 p.m.

‘Battle Pope’: When Robert Kirkman took on the pontificate

With Wednesday’s announcement of the new Roman Catholic Pope and “The Walking Dead’s” recent record-breaking ratings, now might be the best time to revisit one of “Walking Dead” comic creator Robert Kirkman’s earlier (though not holier) enterprises: “Battle Pope.” Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, may have been named the 266th pontiff, but in the pages of Kirkman’s “Battle Pope,” the leader of the Roman Catholic church was Oswald Leopold II, a cigar-smoking, demon-slaying sinner tasked with saving humankind after the Rapture. “Battle Pope” was written by Kirkman and co-created and illustrated by Tony Moore, the “Walking Dead” comic artist who later sued Kirkman, alleging the writer tricked him into surrendering his rights to the franchise. (They settled out of court in September.) In 2000, the pair independently published the 14-issue series before it was picked up and reprinted […]
April 22, 2011 | 5:18 p.m.

‘Tron’ team reflects on ‘Legacy,’ technology and spirituality

When it comes to “Tron” and the digital world it led to both on- and off-screen, there’s no bigger expert than Jay West, a guest writer over the past year for Hero Complex on all things considering the Grid. He checks in once again on a pair of L.A. events that illuminated the growing (and glowing) legacy of the 1982 film. In the month prior to its debut on Blu-ray, the original 1982 “Tron” movie was explored at two landmark Los Angeles events. First was a sold-out 70mm showing at the Aero Theatre on March 5 where its filmmakers discussed the challenges of the film’s production and the development of its pioneering visual effects and techniques. That was followed by the Directors Guild of America on March 12 — where the same group of filmmakers regrouped and further expounded upon the film, there […]
Nov. 02, 2009 | 2:00 p.m.

Durga, Rama and the heroic roots of Indian comics comes to L.A.

Scott Timberg takes a look at an exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art that focuses on comics in the Indian culture from a fine-art perspective.  — Jevon Phillips If you want to understand the meaning of comics in India, one place to start is a battered, chipped piece of sandstone from the 9th century. “Durga Slaying the Buffalo Demon,” in which an eight-armed goddess impales a part-man, part-animal monster, doesn’t bear any obvious resemblance to the X-Men or even the hipster graphic novels of Dan Clowes. But this sculpture carved out of stone for purposes of worship represents an image that echoes through Indian culture — and fuels some of the work created today on computer tablets by companies like Bangalore, India-based Liquid Comics. “You’re going to see visions of Durga all over the place,” says Julie […]
Oct. 12, 2009 | 3:00 p.m.

LAT REVIEW: R. Crumb and the miracle of his ‘Book of Genesis Illustrated’

I always enjoy chatting with David S. Ulin, the books editor of the Los Angeles Times, who has lots of insight into graphic novels, underground comix and all the provocative new voices in the wonderfully messy mash-up of prose and illustration. This weekend, Ulin weighed in on one of the most intriguing bookshelf notions of 2009 — cartooning icon R. Crumb‘s decision to get biblical. Here’s an excerpt from the review below (with links added by me) and do check back here at the Hero Complex for more coverage of this project with Crumb coming to town to speak at UCLA and loaning his new artwork out for an exhibit at the Hammer Museum.    How do we read R. Crumb’s “The Book of Genesis Illustrated“? It seems a contradiction: a sober reconstruction by a man who admits he “[does] not believe that the Bible is ‘the word of God.’ […]
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