During the summer of 2008, as the credits scrolled past, and we sat giddily contemplating how much fun we’d just had watching Iron Man, Samuel L. Jackson sauntered out of the shadows to chat with Tony Stark about “the Avengers initiative.” This could have been a one-off appearance, but it was effectively the Big Bang of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the umbrella franchise and shared setting for a small battalion of Marvel superheroes which now spans nearly a dozen movies and at least one television series over the last six years.
Initially, the big pay-off promised by the MCU—after two Iron Man movies, The Incredible Hulk, Thor and [...]
Lifelong comic book man Carmine Infantino died yesterday at the age of 87. If you are even a casual nerd, you know Infantino as that guy that got to draw The Flash off and on for thirty years. And his pencils were immediately identifiable: square-jawed and kinetic, with characters constantly tilting into a run or skidding to a halt. But that’s not all Infantino did.
Born in Brooklyn in 1924, Infantino got into the business while still in school (at what is now the High School of Art and Design), freelancing for "packagers." (At the time, the early 40s, some comic books were sub-contracted to studios—"packagers"—who would write and draw [...]
Dear Paige, I'm thinking of expanding my horizons by going to teach English in Japan. But first, I want to know if it's true. Can an average-looking American white guy clean up over there? With the Japanese ladies, I mean.
Dear Reader, I'm glad I made up this question, because I've been wanting to talk about the demise of a cultural icon: the inexplicably popular white dude in Japan, a.k.a. the "Charisma Man."
When I first held it in my hands, I was afraid it was a trifle, the kind of published material you might pick up at Urban Outfitters: maybe pics of misplaced apostrophes, maybe something about hipsters. But Tim Leong’s Super Graphic, to be published tomorrow by Chronicle Books, is different. It’s a little bit longer and wider than a book that might be based on someone’s Tumblr, and there are at least half again as many pages. Also, it is not trifling at all, which is quite an accomplishment for a book of charts and graphs that each deal with some dataset derived from comic books and the [...]
If you saw any of the X-Men movies, was there any doubt that Erik Lensherr—the young man who goes all Uri Geller when the Nazis put his parents in Auschwitz—is a Jew? Followers of the 50-year-old X-Men comic books have different opinions. Some say "Magneto" (or Magnus or Erik, whatever you like to call him) is actually of Romany blood. (Nazis, you may recall, also massacred Gypsies, homosexuals, Communists, Poles, Czechs, Russians, Ukrainians and Freemasons.) But in the form of actors Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender, Magneto has a concentration-camp tattoo identifying him as Jewish. Does this matter? Aren't most comic-book heroes also of the Chosen People? Of [...]
Phonogram is a comic about how music is magic. Literally. There are two volumes now: the first, Rue Britannia, about the death of and nostalgia for Britpop, and, more recently, The Singles Club.
Set in a British nightclub, each single issue of The Singles Club focuses on one person, one experience of the same night, which is both an ordinary night in a club and somehow extraordinary for each of them. Each single issue here is a complete story, based loosely around a song-the "Singles" of the title-and what that song means. Each one is a slightly different capital-M Metaphor for what pop music really does to us. Music affects [...]
Last week, Susie Cagle went to Thomas L. Friedman's Next New World conference with "leaders drawn from the C-suite, government, education, think tanks and other fields for a "compelling forum on how growth is generated and how the workforce needs to be educated to acquire the skills necessary in the 21st century." This is what she saw.
Man of Steel hits theaters tonight, and Warner Brothers is hoping that it will bring out the inner 40-year-old in all of us, and that the inner 40-year-old will dig deep and fork over the twelve to twenty dollars it will cost to see the film. It’s a tough spot: historically, the Superman franchise is one for five when it comes to good movies, which puts Superman pretty far behind John McClane. The movies make money, sure, but the movies themselves (other than II, of course)? Not so super.
Any fanboy will tell you that the solution to the relative quality of this upcoming reboot of the franchise will [...]
This is either helping me or really messing me up. (Koreans: weigh in angrily below!)
Q. Let’s talk about the personnel change that many say redefined the X-men. The entire team left, except for you! A. Yes. I wanted them to stay, but they ignored me. Q. You had to rebuild the team from scratch. A. It was the hardest time for me as a leader. There was no one to lead. Q. What was your role in the recruitment of the new cast of international heroes? A. I mostly had to be patient while the Professor recruited them. It was very difficult.