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Where To Start Reading: Wolverine

Where To Start Reading Wolverine

Our “Where to Start” articles act as a guide, giving you our best suggestions on where to start on a certain character or creators work. Every article lists several books, each in the character’s or creator’s chronological order despite it’s publication date (so the first choice is at the beginning of a characters career, the last is the furthest along). While in order each book was specifically picked as a good individual starting point; so feel free to start at the beginning, in the middle, or towards the end if you want to get caught up quickly. And if you have any more suggestions or questions just leave a comment.

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Where To Start Reading: The DC Comics Relaunch

On August 31st DC Comics will relaunch their entire fictional universe (the “DC Universe”) with 52 new #1 comic issues, all of which will be ongoing books that are released once a month. No matter if your a die-hard fan or new to comics 52 new books of an entirely relaunched universe can be a lot to process.

Our “Where to Start” for the DC Comics relaunch is a streamlined list to help you with all of DC’s new books; 10 titles that we think are the most essential and cover the many pockets of the whole DC Universe. The list is written in order of their release date, so you can plan accordingly, we’ll explain why we think each book is important along with a related suggestion for another #1 that you might enjoy.

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Where To Start Reading: X-Men

Where To Start Reading X-Men

Our “Where to Start” articles act as a guide, giving you our best suggestions on where to start on a certain character or creators work. Every article lists several books, each in the character’s or creator’s chronological order despite it’s publication date (so the first choice is at the beginning of a characters career, the last is the furthest along). While in order each book was specifically picked as a good individual starting point; so feel free to start at the beginning, in the middle, or towards the end if you want to get caught up quickly. And if you have any more suggestions or questions just leave a comment.

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Where To Start Reading: Captain America

  • July 23, 2011 10:50 am
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Where To Start Reading Captain America

Our “Where to Start” articles act as a guide, giving you our best suggestions on where to start on a certain character or creators work. Every article lists several books, each in the character’s or creator’s chronological order despite it’s publication date (so the first choice is at the beginning of a characters career, the last is the furthest along). While in order each book was specifically picked as a good individual starting point; so feel free to start at the beginning, in the middle, or towards the end if you want to get caught up quickly. And if you have any more suggestions or questions just leave a comment.

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Where To Start Reading: Green Arrow

Where To Start Reading Green Arrow

Our “Where to Start” articles act as a guide, giving you our best suggestions on where to start on a certain character or creators work. Every article lists several books, each in the character’s or creator’s chronological order despite it’s publication date (so the first choice is at the beginning of a characters career, the last is the furthest along). While in order each book was specifically picked as a good individual starting point; so feel free to start at the beginning, in the middle, or towards the end if you want to get caught up quickly. And if you have any more suggestions or questions just leave a comment.

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Where To Start Reading: The Avengers

Where To Start Reading The Avengers

Our “Where to Start” articles act as a guide, giving you our best suggestions on where to start on a certain character or creators work. Every article lists several books, each in the character’s or creator’s chronological order despite it’s publication date (so the first choice is at the beginning of a characters career, the last is the furthest along). While in order each book was specifically picked as a good individual starting point; so feel free to start at the beginning, in the middle, or towards the end if you want to get caught up quickly. And if you have any more suggestions or questions just leave a comment.

(Click titles for links to purchase)

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Who Is… The Huntress?

  • May 10, 2011 8:21 pm
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Like any DC character who’s been around for more than, say, ten years, there’s no simple answer to that question. Characters get complicated when reality folds and bends around them semi-regularly. Never the less, I will try and muddle through what should have been a simple history.

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Where To Start Reading: Thor

Where To Start Reading Thor

Our “Where to Start” articles act as a guide, giving you our best suggestions on where to start on a certain character or creators work. Every article lists several books, each in the character’s or creator’s chronological order despite it’s publication date (so the first choice is at the beginning of a characters career, the last is the furthest along). While in order each book was specifically picked as a good individual starting point; so feel free to start at the beginning, in the middle, or towards the end if you want to get caught up quickly. And if you have any more suggestions or questions just leave a comment.

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Where To Start Reading: Dick Grayson [The First Robin]

Where To Start Reading Dick Grayson

Our “Where to Start” articles act as a guide, giving you our best suggestions on where to start on a certain character or creators work. Every article lists several books, each in the character’s or creator’s chronological order despite it’s publication date (so the first choice is at the beginning of a characters career, the last is the furthest along). While in order each book was specifically picked as a good individual starting point; so feel free to start at the beginning, in the middle, or towards the end if you want to get caught up quickly. And if you have any more suggestions or questions just leave a comment.

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Where To Start Reading: Batman

Where To Start Reading Batman

Our Where To Start Reading Batman guide lists several books, each in the character’s fictional chronological order despite it’s publication date – so the first book is at the beginning of Batman’s career and we go from there. Each book was specifically picked as a good individual starting point; so feel free to start at the beginning, in the middle, or towards the end if you want to get caught up quickly. And if you have any more suggestions or questions just leave a comment.

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Who Is… James W. Gordon?

  • January 26, 2011 12:01 am
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Who Is James Gordon

As with any comic book character who has been around for decades (first appearance was in Detective Comics 27, which also featured the debut of a certain Dark Knight), Jim Gordon has gone through many retcons. I will do my best to make as much sense as possible out of them here.

There is very little detail available about Jim Gordon’s early life. The only two cities that come up repeatedly in his history are Gotham and Chicago, so it’s entirely possible he was born in one of those two places, but it has never been stated for certain, nor is anything known about his childhood or family. At some point, he joined the Army, and worked his way into the Green Berets, where he learned a lot about weapons, tactics, and hand to hand fighting. Eventually, he left the military and joined the Gotham City Police Department.

Gordon and his famed signal

As a rookie officer in Gotham, he was disgusted by the rampant corruption in the city in general and police in particular, but he couldn’t do anything about it. Matters came to a head for the young Gordon when he was involved in an ugly line of duty shooting. A corrupt cop and his wife were stealing from a warehouse when Gordon ran across them. They started shooting, and Gordon fired back. Gordon killed them both in the fight, but their son, acting as a lookout, survived. He would later return to Gotham as the supervillain Wrath, a kind of twisted mirror of the Batman. To cover up for the corrupt cops, Captain Gillian Loeb arranged for Gordon to be transferred to Chicago.

Jim Gordon served with distinction in the Chicago PD. While living here, he met and married Barbara Kean-Gordon (also sometimes identified as Barbara Eileen Gordon). The two had a son, James Gordon, Jr. Also at some point in this period of time, Jim had an affair with his sister-in-law, which would eventually result in the birth of a young girl who would also be named Barbara. Possibly in part because of this affair, Jim moved his family back to Gotham City while his son was still a toddler (Pre-Crisis, Gordon had a son named Tony who was eventually killed, but there has been no mention of him since, and it is commonly believed he was retconned out).

The most recent live action version of Gordon

Gordon was now a detective, and his time in Gotham was far from boring. Gordon met a detective sergeant named Sarah Essen, and began an affair with her. Gordon also encountered a man who had just embarked upon his own campaign to clean up Gotham — a vigilante who was called the Batman. Initially somewhat mistrustful of the masked man, Gordon would eventually become one of Batman’s most trusted allies. Gordon broke off his affair with Essen, and later, his wife left him, taking their son back to Chicago. Little to nothing is known of them after that point. Driven and largely alone now, Gordon fought his way up through the ranks of the GCPD, overcoming resistance from corrupt police and politicians, as well as dealing with entrenched gangsters like the Falcones, as well as the emerging super-criminal element. While still early in his career, Jim’s brother and sister-in-law died, and Jim adopted Barbara, who would later become the first Batgirl, then Oracle. Barbara was crippled, assaulted, and kidnapped by the Joker in an attempt to drive Jim Gordon insane, but he resisted, proving stronger than the madman had believed.

Years later, after Gordon had become Commissioner and married his former lover Sarah Essen, Gotham was wracked by a series of natural disasters and abandoned by the federal government, becoming a No Man’s Land. Gordon and a few dedicated cops stayed on, fighting for what was right. Towards the end of this time, the Joker struck at Gordon once more, murdering Gordon’s wife Sarah. Batman stepped aside and allowed Gordon the chance to take his revenge- Gordon shot the criminal in the leg, refusing even then to commit murder. Gotham was eventually rebuilt, Batman’s war on crime has continued, and James W. Gordon has remained one of his staunchest allies. Gordon has lost and regained his position as Commissioner, but always managed to regain his rightful place.

More “Who Is…” articles HERE

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Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics Review

Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics

So, back at SDCC in August, attendees of a certain panel got an early look at Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics. In fact, it was peoples opinions on that footage that made me anticipate this documentary so much. I have waited, and waited, and waited for a documentary like this. The closest thing I have ever seen is Comic Book Superheroes Unmasked on The History Channel, and the Justice League documentary that was a special feature on the Justice League: The New Frontier DVD. The second I got the chance to, I was watching this amazing film. Enough worship, let’s get to the review:

The film begins with Neal Adams talking about how comics represent peoples dreams and aspirations. Then, creators Neil Gaiman, Jim Lee, and Mark Waid talk about their love for the DC characters and how they’re so unique and how they relate to them, and narrator Ryan Reynolds talks about how DC came from the outside of society, but it would grow into something much, much more. Paul Levitz opens the segment on DC’s beginnings, but many creators way in on Harry Donenfeld and Jack Liebowitz and the creation of National Allied Publications, and Donenfeld’s mob connections, among other topics, like how they began with spicy pulp comics, which if you didn’t know, were considered racy by 1937 standards, but they’re like today’s Victoria’s Secret catalogues. There is a lot of information I never knew in this segment, which is presented wonderfully with amazing original images in still good condition that are incredibly rare and many creators share their thoughts on DC at the time.

The film also explores the government hearings on comic books, The Death of Superman storyline (which brings Louise Simonson to tears), Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams Green Lantern/Green Arrow run from the ’70′s,  and the imprints that DC would acquire or create over time. There is a lot about the Batman and Superman film franchises, and they go into great detail about many circumstances that would shape DC Comics over the years. The creators featured are the best part of the film, they provide inside views and personal views on characters, events, people and more, and all of their opinions are educated and rooted in their love for the characters and the stories about them. One of the most interesting subjects is the creation of the Silver Age, and how the need for new ideas after the comics code implementation sparked it’s birth. Something that really amazed me is the huge amount of respect the creators have for Julius Schwartz, who brought the comics industry back from the brink of death by creating the silver age.

The film has an underlying theme that focuses on how much the world around us has influenced the comics, and how they really are a byproduct of their environment. The one thing I knew for sure going into this film was that I would come out with more information and opinions on DC Comics than you could find anywhere else. DC knew that this documentary had to be unique and be able to teach even the die-hard comic fans new and interesting facts. So overall, this film is amazing, and definitely worth picking up. The only thing I wish would have been featured more is the evolution of the art over time, because after all the images we see are the truest representation of the characters we know. Here’s my overall rating:

A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING

Pros Cons
Amazing creator input, loads of new, interesting information, good range of subjects. No focus on the evolution of the art side of the comics and it’s importance in the industry.
Rating
95%

–moyermason@yahoo.com

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