Comics

Comic books and graphic novels

Thu
12
Jan

Ethan Van Sciver Secures Trademark for Comicsgate: What That Means Going Forward

Ethan Van Sciver Comicsgate Trademark

Ethan Van Sciver has long been regarded as the de facto head of the independent comics creation movement dubbed Comicsgate. Now that title becomes a little bit more official as Van Sciver has been awarded the commercial trademark for the Comicsgate brand, after a contentious legal battle for the claim against a filing made by Preston Poulter, another indie comics publisher of Pocket Jacks Comics.

The ruling in favor of Van Sciver, and his subsequent announcements of intent for use of the mark, has sent ripples throughout the various online communities, many of which lay claim to the ideologies of Comicsgate at some fundamental level. Questions arose as to how the use of the term may be regulated, if at all; who would be granted the approved use of the mark, and what sort of barriers might be in place to make that process difficult.

Mon
02
Jan

Vote for the Best of 2022

Best of 2022

Another year has come and gone, and it's time to look back once more to determine what the prior year brought us that was good. Critical Blast will be taking votes now through the end of January 2023 for you, our readers. to make your voice known as to what you thought was the best in movies, television, and comics. You're not limited to the nominations -- we leave an opening in every category for you to put in the title or name that you think is best suited to each category.

So make your selections. Share with your friends. Campaign for your favorites. We will tabulate the votes in February and place the order for the trophy medallions (yes, the winner in each catalog gets a physical trophy, not just online bragging rights, so your vote will actually mean something tangible).

Fri
09
Dec

Private American vs. Daily Kos: Anatomy of a Kickstarter Takedown

Private American vs. Daily Kos

Mike Baron's Private American has been fighting an uphill battle since the project first launched to be crowdfunded. From having the project'sTwitter account suspended to being silenced (along with other projects) on Indiegogo, the book's publisher, Chris Braly, finally brought the project to Kickstarter.

On that platform, he began to get messages from another creator on Kickstarter, 'Gavriel Discordia', who asked the loaded question, "Why is this book so racist?" When Braly countered that it wasn't, Discordia continued that "It's by far the most racist comic book since Flick by Frank Miller," following that Braly's published books by Baron, including Thin Blue LIne and Florida Man, would "sell well at a Klan rally."

Fri
25
Nov

Bringing Animal Friends to This Winter's Comic Cons

Sat
19
Nov

Remembering Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, with authors Bob Batchelor and Glenn B. Fleming

Bob and Glenn and Stan and Jack

Two of the most seminal figures in comic book culture are inarguably -- and yet, very arguably -- Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Individually, each made their contributions to the pop culture medium, but together they forged the stuff of legends.

Bob Batchelor has written two biographies on Stan Lee. Glenn B. Fleming has recently published and produced a book and DVD detailing his time spent with Jack Kirby. Critical Blast brings both these authors together to discuss their fascination with the topics of their work, and the unique intersection that existed between them.

Mon
07
Nov

Is the End Nigh for Indiegogo?

Buried on Indiegogo

For the past handful of years there have been two major players in the arena of crowdfunding projects: Kickstarter and Indiegogo. But over the past few weeks, the San Francisco based Indiegogo has gone eerily silent while its platform has been exhibiting nasty behavior.

Questions arose about the platform when graphic novel and comic book campaigns were apparently being shadowbanned -- a term for when a campaign on the site is not actively being promoted. However, in its elevated form, shadowbanning can also prevent a shopper from finding the campaign using Indiegogo's own search function. Two current examples of this are Private American by Mike Baron and Frog G: Voodoo, Gods, and Magic by Jason Bascom, two project which can only be reached on Indiegogo through having the direct link to the project.

Mon
31
Oct

ISOM: A Character Who Stands for Nothing

Isom #1

A few months ago, YouTube influencer Eric D. July, better known by his channel handle Young Rippa, announced his intention to launch his own Rippaverse line of comics- starting with a premiere title ISOM #1. This announcement got a lot of attention, as expected of a man who built a platform with some 500,000 subscribers, and when the campaign launched it was an unprecedented success, clearing millions of dollars within a matter of days and getting a national spotlight of praise and vitriol from both sides of the political debate through exposes on Fox News and the New York Times about the “Anti-Woke” comic book.

Thu
13
Oct

Twitter Suspends Marketing Account for Marvel Punisher Writer Mike Baron

Private American Cancelled by Twitter

Veteran comic book writer Mike Baron (Nexus, Punisher, The Flash) is no stranger to pushback when it comes to his creator-owned comics. His earlier graphic novel, Thin Blue Line, which followed police officers navigating a violent protest in their city, had ads on Facebook cancelled, and any mention of the book on Reddit's comic book forums summarily deleted.

Mon
10
Oct

Who are the Most Beloved X-Men Characters?

X-Men by John Byrne

image: John Byrne

The X-Men are one of Stan Lee’s and Jack Kirby’s most popular creations. Created as a metaphor for the civil rights movement of the 60s, a lot of the greatest X-Men stories deal with discrimination, racism, xenophobia, and fear of the other.

With a history spanning over 60 years, and an ever-changing team roster, the X-Men have produced some of Marvel Comics’ most popular and fan-favorite characters. In this article, we are going to take a look at just a few of the most popular X-Men ever to grace the pages of Marvel Comics.

Gambit

Remy LeBeau, aka Gambit, is a charming, gambling, wandering mutant, with the ability to manipulate kinetic energy. The way he most often utilizes this ability is by charging playing cards with kinetic energy, and throwing them as powerful explosives.

Mon
26
Sep

Mike Baron Spins New Vigilante Out of Thin Blue Line: Private American

Private American

Marvel Comics has emasculated their fan-favorite vigilante, taking away the Punisher’s guns and replacing his skull emblem to make him kinder and gentler for modern readers, but fans of writer Mike Baron’s acclaimed five year run on the street-level sentinel can revisit his no-nonsense, gritty take on vigilante justice with Baron’s newest hero, partially inspired by Gerry Conway’s creation.

Mike Baron’s upcoming graphic novel is Private American and it marks a return to form for the Eisner winning writer of brooding, complex, and often violent protagonists. Hot on the heels of his hilarious Florida Man comics (American Mythology), Private American is a Cuban American living on the US southern border, whose frustration with the migrant crisis turns to retributive violence when its consequences touch his family circle.

Mon
08
Aug

Why Adam West is Secretly Everyone's Favorite Batman

Adam West Batman

In 1939, the world was forever changed by the creation of the caped crusader. Batman debuted in the 27th issue of the comic book Detective Comics and soon evolved into the vigilante with a stringent moral code as well as a sense of justice.

The name Batman truly became a household name in 1966 with the creation of the live-action television series starring Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin. This series managed to bridge the gap between teenage and adult fans as the show gave something to everyone.

Despite only having three seasons and a few spin-off movies, Adam West’s portrayal of Batman is still beloved today with many people still claiming that he is their favourite Batman. Ultimately, this begs the question of why this campy version of Batman favoured over the darker portrayals.

Mon
25
Jul

Edison Crane Meets His Moriarty in Prodigy: The Icarus Society

Prodigy Icarus Society 1

Mark Millar is the living object lesson about throwing things against the wall and seeing what ultimately sticks. The differentiating factor here is that Millar seems to have an inexhaustible supply of ammunition and a target wall with uncanny adhesive properties.

Prodigy: The Icarus Society sees the return of Edison Crane, a man who processes information at an almost quantum level. The information flooding his brain would concievably drive someone insane, but no doubt Crane takes weekly therapy appointments with one of his subconscious selves to ensure he works out any and all psychological issues. Because he needs constant stimulation, the billionaire inventor, daredevil, and mystery solver routinely seeks out challenges to overcome -- and sets them up for himself if the world won't oblige.

Mon
20
Jun

The Radiant Sight a Modern Cinderella Korean Drama

The Radiant Sight #1

Mild-tempered Kim Bit-na is used to being overlooked. But her destiny is about to change in this modern Cinderella story from Martin Fisher, inspired by romantic Korean dramas.

Bit-na is a young girl who lives in the slums with her roommate, the strong and confident Chloe. Both struggle to make ends meet and pay the rent.

Their life is a stark contrast when compared to that of Thomas Gould, the young director of the Gould Foundation, who lives a life of modern royalty. When Thomas's parents decide to throw a formal party to celebrate his recent financial successes, he sees it for the trap that it is: a scheme for him to meet eligible women and settle down.

Mon
20
Jun

The Rabbit's Out of the Hat! Pocus Hocus Exposed in Issue 3

Pocus Hocus 3

Pocus Hocus made a deal with a demon: his soul in exchange for unlimited magical powers. But now his stage assistant, Emily, has uncovered his secret, as well as just what she's been assisting with!

In this world created by Allen Dunford and Will Radford, souls are currency for demons -- and demons use that currency to gamble. When the demon Pocus dealt with finds himself in debt to other demons, he strongarms Pocus into adding a new trick to his act, one in which he would deceive volunteers from the audience into signing over their souls. When Emily finds this out, she confronts Pocus -- and that brings us up to Pocus Hocus #3, the issue currently at hand.

At Emily's insistence, the two take a trip into Hell to win back the innocent souls she unwittingly helped send there. Naturally, upon arrival, the first thing they do is feed a cat -- and that gets the ball rolling toward wanton death and destruction!

Mon
30
May

Humor and Adventure Partner in Kesel and Hahn's Impossible Team-Up 2B

Impossible Team-Up 2B

Springing out of the Impossible Jones / Holly Daze collaboration that was the crux of Impossible Team-Up A comes the next chapter in the life of our favorite not-quite-a-superhero. Impossible Jones is still trying to figure out what happened to her to give her her amazing set of super abilities. But that's secondary to balancing the very tricky predicament of her life since she gained her powers -- being mistaken for a superhero when she is actually a thief!

Thu
26
May

Millar Gives Wizarding World a Kick-Ass Treatment with The Magic Order Volume 2

Magic Order Volume 2

The Magic Order protects the world from, not so much the things that go bump in the night, but the things that bump into the night and send it shrieking away in terror leaving a town or two full of dessicated bodies in its wake. It's as though writer Mark Millar does to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter what he did to the genre of superheroes: given it a "kick ass" boost.

Ever since Cordelia Moonstone became the head of The Order at the conclusion of the previous volume, things have been getting more hectic, possibly due to the way Cordelia rose to power. And Cordelia's leadership is about to be tested like never before.

Thu
26
May

Have Insurance? No Batman for You!

Batman: The Fortress 1

For over 80 years, Gotham City has been protected by The Batman, a crimefighter unique among a pantheon of superheroes because he's a human being. For decades he has patrolled his city stopping criminals large and small alike.

But that changes in the latest DC Comics release of Batman: Fortress. While the Earth is in chaos from an invasion, with Earth's greatest champion missing, Batman finds himself overwhelmed in his mission to defend the citizens of Gotham -- and save the world.

Wed
11
May

Marvel & DC Comics Writer Gives Proceeds from Comic to Help Police, Families

Thin Blue Line B

Thrilled By Outpouring of Police Support, Eisner Winner Mike Baron Donates Thousands to Law Enforcement Programs and Charities before National Police Week 

After quickly raising the needed funds to self-publish his latest comic 'Thin Blue Line,' a police-focused graphic novel coming out next month, Eisner-winning writer Mike Baron and his creative team wanted to give back to law enforcement and remind his readers about this week's National Police Week. 

Among comic book readers, Mike Baron is best known for writing The Flash, Nexus, Star Wars, and The Punisher for Marvel Comics, but this graphic novel is one of the only comics he's written that will not be available at comic shops, chiefly because every publisher Baron submitted it to responded that making street cops the heroes did not align with their business model. 

Wed
04
May

The Lucent a Bright Spot on the Indie Comics Scene

The Lucent, Michael Bancroft

The Lucent, written and drawn by Michael Bancroft, takes readers on a compelling journey not just into the life of the main character, Ella Forsythe, but also the invisible world around her. It's our world, and yet it's occupied by the otherworldly.

When we first meet Ella, she's a mere six-years-old. A fearsome hunter, seemingly human but perhaps much more, pursues her, but settles for her father when the girl is mystically hidden.

Thu
28
Apr

Pitt Returns: Creator Dale Keown Announces Phillip Diaz as New Series Writer

Pitt Returns

When the Image Revolution of the 90s took place, it spawned (pun fully intended) a plethora of titles, many of which were flashes in the pan or team books that were indistinguishable from each other, only to note they all vaguely looked like Marvel's X-Men. But there were a handful of standout characters that made a greater impact with readers and the entertainment industry: Todd McFarlane's Spawn, Erik Larsen's Savage Dragon, Sam Keith's The Maxx, and Dale Keown's Pitt. Pitt saw a 20 issue run which ended on a cliffhanger and right as all the series' foreshadowing seemed to be coming to a payoff.

When Keown came back to the independent comics scene, he joined up with Ethan Van Sciver's All Caps Comics to distribute a new run of the popular comic. But details of how that would happen were still kept under wraps.

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