July 08, 2012 | 3:09 p.m.
These are days of silver and gold for Spider-Man. This week he returned to the silver screen in director Marc Webb’s “The Amazing Spider-Man” and next month he celebrates his golden anniversary — it will be 50 years since “Amazing Fantasy” No. 15 introduced a character who would become the gold-standard creation of the silver age. The new film takes its title from a slab of Marvel bedrock: “The Amazing Spider-Man” was the name of the series that began in 1963 with No. 1 and is now closing in on issue No. 700. But what was the deal with “Amazing Fantasy”? How did the 15th and final issue of a series with something of tin-bucket heritage end up with a holy grail character that would revolutionize comics and define the Marvel brand of melodrama? It’s an elusive question, in a way, […]
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 […]
Oct. 21, 2008 | 10:14 p.m.
What’s more interesting than a self-portrait drawn by an artist whose life reads like a riddle? Here on the right is Steve Ditko’s vision of himself, which was first published in 1966 in "Witzend" issue No. 1. A few years later, Ditko receded from the public eye and, to this day, remains the most elusive personality among the true icons of comics. Want to know more about the life behind this visage? Read the review I wrote in June of a Blake Bell’s new biography of Dirko, the co-creator of "Spider-Man" and "Dr. Strange." Now on with today’s heroic headlines … Comics writer Grant Morrison reflects on his landmark run on "All Star Superman" and tells Zack Smith the story about how a brawny but mellow fan dressed as Superman at the International Comic-Con in San Diego actually inspired the […]