Steve McQueen and John Ridley may be feuding, but you can still buy Ridley’s The American Way

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As you may have recalled, Ridley is actually one those big comics fans in Hollywood and spent a while writing comics for Wildstorm, including a run on the Authority, the mini-series Razor’s Edge: Warblade, and The American Way. The latter is a book that really deserves to be on more comics reading lists—an 8 issue mini-series drawn by Georges Jeanty and Karl Story that has similar themes to Darwyn Cooke’s New Frontier about the cold war and superheroes, but treats them with a much harsher view. The book follows the government’s development of the Civil Defense Corps, a pr-driven team of superheroes introduced in the early 60s, and the turmoil that stem from the first African-American member in the Civil Rights era. A lot of comics mini-series have tried to be “the Next Watchmen” and The American Way is one of the few series that takes that tired “What if superheroes really existed???” idea and gives it a take based on the real world and not the imagined one.

Is a holding company acquiring what is left of Platinum Studios?

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Few stories have been as entertaining to cover from a financial skullduggery aspect as the saga of Platinum Studios, a long running con game of a company that cheated a bunch of creators out of their creations while coasting on the success of the first Men in Black film, which it had published in comics form. Founded in 1997, it developed a ton of comics for years without publishing anything while hoping for salvation from the Cowboys and Aliens. I wrote a long history of the company’s bizarre penny stock antics here but the short version is that this business plan never works:

Unassuming Barber Shop: The Batmobile

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In one of his last interviews, longtime Batman artist Jerry Robinson spoke with “BatmobileHistory.com” about the origin of the Batmobile:

BatmobileHistory: Starting with Detective Comics #27, when Batman started, the design of his car varied wildly…but then in Batman #5, the design with the bat mask and roof fin appeared . . . Was there a specific origin or inspiration for that design? It’s really the first superhero car…

RIP: Bhob Stewart

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Tweet Pioneering comics journalist Bhob Stewart has passed away after a lingering illness. His website is here, but tributes are piling up on his FB page. Stewart was one of the very first “fan” writers who was a writer first and a fan later, and was hugely influential in helping many people in the industry. […]

Unassuming Barber Shop: The Human Torch

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Tweet With the return of Jim Hammond in ​All-New Invaders ​#1 and casting rumors swirling around the new FF film reboot, the Human Torch (both versions) is being given another push. But where did he come from? In 1939, a year after Superman’s debut, Timely Comics responded with their own superhero, the original Human Torch. […]

Commentary: The Continuing Marvel of Miracleman

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Tweet by Sam Thielman [This article contains teeeeeeeny, tiny spoilers. Sooooooo small. Very little. Please read it anyway.] Eventually, in Alan Moore’s final story arc from Miracleman, our hero makes contact with an alien who, after a breakdown in communication, decides to literally take him to its leader. Before entering into the alien ruler’s chamber, […]

Gary Edson Arlington (1938-2014), Creator of the Comic Book Store

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Tweet by Bob Calhoun [Underground and retailing pioneer Gary Arlington died last week, and local writer Bob Calhoun penned this obituary for him. Above photo via Last Gasp.] Gary Arlington’s comic book store on 23rd Street in San Francisco’s Mission District seemed more like a feat of engineering than the truly historic place that it […]

Help Batman co-creator Bill FInger get his own Google Doodle

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Tweet February 8th will mark the 100th birthday of Bill Finger—the unsung writer who actually created most of the Batman mythology that we know and love. Although Bob Kane had the contract and the creative credit, as most comics scholars have been pointing out for years, it was Finger and artists like Jerry Robinson and […]

Stephen Bissette makes an important point about Miracleman

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Tweet The long LONG awaited arrival at long last of Marvel’s Miracleman reprint series has led to many conversations: on pricing, on censorship, on credits. But Steve Bissette, points out something very important about the reprints: the original creators who wish to do so are getting some money out of it: Read (though no real […]

It’s Martin Luther King Day

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Tweet It’s a holiday for many of us, and what better way to celebrate the birthday of Martin Luthor King than to suggest that if you haven’t already, you may purchase a digital copy of MARCH by Rep John Lewis, which comes bundled with a digital copy of MARTIN LUTHER KING AND THE MONTGOMERY STORY, […]

One year sub to The Comics Journal archives now available for $30

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TweetThat’s right for a mere thirty beans, you get access to The Comics Journals digital archives for one year. This was previously available as a bonus along with $75 (I think) three issue sub to the print edition—since the print edition comes out every 18 months or so this was a longer bargain, but is […]

2014 Happy New Year, Everyone!

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Tweet Well the minutes are ticking down in this timezone, and as is tradition we see out 2013 with the JC Leyendecker Saturday Evening Post cover from 100 years ago. While 2013 wasn’t as profoundly crappy a year as 2012, it had its…challenges. But The Beat sailed on through. And you all made it here. […]

RIP: Smithfield

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Well, another bar is closing in New York: Smithfield on 28th Street. This was mostly a soccer/sports bar, as the above photo of Six Alex Ferguson, legendary manager of Man United, hanging out with the owners shows. But as Ben and I knew these owners and much of the staff, this was also a little bit of a comic book bar.

Jenette Kahn Interviewed at the Chicago Humanities Festival

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Tweet Former DC publisher Jenette Kahn isn’t mentioned too much around comics these days, but was undoubtedly a pioneering force in comics, helping shepherd in royalties, creator owned comics, Vertigo, Watchmen and many other important things. These days she’s making movies, but here’s a hour long interview with her that was conducted recently at the […]

A new clip The Image Revolution: how it went down

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Tweet The Image Revolution is the latest documentary from Sequart/Patrick Meaney and it covers the whole story of how seven of the most popular Marvvel artists broke uot and started something crazy…and lasting. Latino Review has a new clip in which Rob Liefeld, Todd McFarlane and Marc Silvestri talk about the fateful days when they […]

Mark Evanier may have solved the Al Plastino/JFK/Superman mystery

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Tweet Just before he died a few days ago, Golden Age artist Al Plastino got a lot of ink for what seemed like a sad story: in 1963, he drew a comics story featuring JFK and Superman extolling fitness that was canceled when President Kennedy was shot. Although the story eventually ran, Plastino was told […]