Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Mister Crimson: The Leader Bio Page
See it here .:
Monday, March 30, 2009
Free Comics Monday: Kid Eternity
Hit Comics, prior to issue #25, had a series of rotating cover features, including Hercules, the Red Bee, Stormy Foster and Neon the Unknown. However, December 1942 saw the entire line-up of comics at Quality change their features (if not always the cover feature). Kid Eternity was brought in from the start as the new cover feature for Hit.
The character proved to be popular enough that when Quality Comics began expanding their post-war line, the Kid got his own self-titled comic book, Kid Eternity, in the Spring of 1946. Further illustrating the popularity of the character, his antagonists, Her Highness and Silk were given their own strip in Hit Comics #29 through #57.
[ download Kid Eternity 06 ]
More from Wikipedia -
The Kid was originally a nameless boy (who only ever remembered being called 'Kid' by his 'Gran'pa') who was killed when a U-Boat sank his grandfather's fishing boat during World War II. Due to a supernatural mix-up, however, he was killed seventy-five years too soon (similar to the plot of the 1941 film Here Comes Mr. Jordan) at the time.
To rectify the error, the Kid was brought back to life for another seventy-five years with the mission of upholding good in the world. He was given the power to summon any good historical or mythological figure by saying the word "Eternity" as well as to use the same word to make himself material or immaterial. Kid Eternity was further assisted on his duties by the clerk who'd made the error, Mr. Keeper.
[ download Kid Eternity 07 ]
Have a great day!
Friday, March 27, 2009
Bronze Age Spotlight Presents: Bronze Age Two-in-One: “If this be Bronze…”
Because no one demanded it, in this installment of Bronze Age Spotlight, we’ll turn our analysis to defining the elements and innovations of that bygone era. A topic of such importance demanded not one, but two pundits to opine. So for the first time in the Spotlight, Jim Shelley, Flashback overmind and editor-in-chief, joins forces with me in one epic column.
Follow us back now, to a time—scant months ago, wherein Jim and I first began to wrestle with the eternal question: Just what is the deal with the Bronze Age?
Part 1: The Argument is Posed
October 21 2008. In the subterranean fastness of the Flashback Bunker, Jim Shelley types furiously, the satisified “clak-clak” of his vintage keyboard mixing with Iron Maiden played at a low, but incessant volume. What he types is this:
This morning I was thinking about Deadman [ This is not, in and of itself, unusual, as Jim is forever thinking of Deadman] and whether or not I thought that series/arc reflected any of the traits I think define a Bronze age comic. I've never tried to specifically distinguish between Silver age and Bronze Age before, (always relying on my own gut feelings) so I found the exercise sort of interesting... Here's what I came up with...
- Use of 70's counter culture ideology or symbolism/style.
- Advanced use of continuing storylines/ongoing plots.
- Greater exploration of anti-heroic type of characters.
Think I'm missing anything or wrong about any of these?
Then Jim leans back in his egg-chair, tents his fingers, and waits. For reasons now obscure, he will have to wait until 7:58 AM the following morning for my reply:
I think that's about right.
I don't think the ideology is so much 70s counter-culture though, as it’s 60s ideology filtered through the 70s disappointment that the 60s had failed. Sixties ideas of equality took a while to get into comics, but when they did they jumped immediately to 70s conceptions thereof.
While there are more anti-heroes in the Bronze Age, I think the number is still fairly small (though I suppose it depends on exactly how you define anti-hero). Dracula, Satana, and Jonah Hex are the anti-heroes I can think of. Compared to standard superhero comics, the Punisher might be called one, but I think he's actually a hero, just not one of the standard comic book variety. I suppose comics with a villain as the star (The Joker, Super-villain Team-Up, Secret Society of Super-Villains) might qualify.
Part 2: Riposte
Now Jim has hooked me…as he knew he would. Having laid that groundwork now was the time to advance my own theories:
This is how I would define the Bronze Age:
1) Longer arcs and more moves to completely serial storytelling;
2) Increasing numbers of minority characters;
3) Concern with social relevance (race issues, drug issues, environmentalism)--and a recognition that superheroic violence is not a viable solution to when problems, and sometimes may worsen them;
4) More horror elements;
5) More common use of a sardonic or tongue-in-cheek tone (though not camp mostly);
6) More influence of film storytelling conventions and style;
7) Fewer "pat" endings and a move to more ambiguity;
8) Early exploration of more "adult" versions of concepts, i.e. Marvel's black and white magazines.
And then there are all those superheroes suddenly deciding to sleep in the nude… Seriously, what was that about?
Jim takes all of this in. It crawls through the labyrinthine recesses of his mind. One solitary point emerges from those unknowable depths, and he replies at 10:25 AM :
Good point about the nudes! :D
Part 3: Denouncement
So there you have it, gentle reader. It turns out the Bronze Age was about superhero nudity. All that other stuff was just filler, window-dressing, white noise. Sleeping Naked.
Who’d have thought, huh?
[ I’d like to point out that Deathlok never once slept in the nude, and Woodgod was, in fact, always nude. – Jim ]
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Pierre Speaks: The Cinar Scandal
Imagine my surprise one Saturday morning when I checked the newspaper and saw in HUGE bold lettering on the front page how CINAR (one of the 3 biggest animation studio in Canada, and one of the 10 biggest in the world…. Not sure about that last part…. But so I have been told) was involved in some sort of financial scandal.
The timing was pretty strange since the following Monday morning I was coming back to work at CINAR on the Arthur Christmas Special.
What was the CINAR scandal?
I don’t pretend to know all the details… and heck I might be mistaken about a detail or two. But this is as best as I came to understand about what happened. I got my info from various newspapers, but also from the inside since I was back working at CINAR when the scandal broke out. From the various company meetings we had during the crisis itself, but also from many discussions that I had with various people in the company while I was there (producers, directors, accountants, lawyers, heck even the receptionist or various office clerks).
From what I came to understand…. It started with somebody who submitted a project to CINAR and was turned down. And some time later, CINAR had a project on TV that was strangely not unlike the project that was submitted to them and rejected. Heck even the name of the project was wayyyyy too similar for it to me some sort of coincidences.
No that was not the scandal itself…. It was just the first step leading to the scandal.
So of course, the creator who was not a happy guy sued CINAR for stealing his project.
So while the authorities were investigating CINAR over this…. They realized that something was wrong at CINAR.
CINAR were getting some sort of tax break/subventions for giving some work to people living in Quebec. It is one of the ways to keep all the jobs from being sent overseas. By offering some sort of tax break/subvention for hiring a certain quota of local people.
But apparently…. CINAR had a tough time finding enough good writers to work on their projects.
Or I should say enough good English speaking writers.
Here in Quebec, there is a big part of the population that is French speaking. Not French…. French speaking. There is a difference. A French speaking Canadian is as different from a French person from France, as an English speaking American is from an English person from England.
Although at CINAR, we were working using mostly the English language. So the scripts were written in English.
It seems that CINAR had a tough time finding enough good English speaking writers here in Quebec and had no choice…. Or so it was said…. But to hire some writers in the United States.
But to still get their tax break/subventions, they would pretend that they were still using some writers from Quebec. So they would hire a US writer, but they would use the name of someone from Quebec to pretend that they were hiring someone from Quebec.
The shockwave when that news came out was pretty devastating in the animation industry in Montreal.
Once the CINAR scandal broke out…. Not only CINAR, but every animation studios in Montreal were investigated, in case some other studios were using the same trick as CINAR.
So what happened is that pretty much every private investors took their money out of the animation industry for fear of having some problems not unlike what was happening at CINAR…. Although nothing wrong was ever found in other studios…. Still the investors did not want to invest anymore in animation just in case.
Also there was no way to get any public financing anymore since in the political arena…. Some politicians tried to use the CINAR scandals to gain some points in the political arena.
So the ENTIRE animation industry in Montreal... not just CINAR… was soiled by this whole affair. Animation became something “very dirty” that no one wanted to invest in anymore.
So no private investors wanted to put a single red cent in animation…. And it was extremely difficult to get some public funding for any animation studio in Montreal.
I was pretty pissed about this.
Well first….. It made no sense to me.
Because ONE studio did something wrong….. EVERY studios were penalized??
A lot of people lost their job who had nothing to do with the CINAR scandal. Heck a lot of them never even worked at CINAR. But still…. They lost their job because most studios did not have any financing to make new projects after the CINAR scandal. They still had the financing for the projects they were already making while the scandal broke out. But after that… many could not get any more financing.
A lot of people who had a good job in animation ended up with very crappy jobs. Some earning minimum wages…. And heck some even ended up collecting welfare checks.
But most studios went out of business. Some moved out of the province…. Since they could no longer get any financing in Montreal or in Quebec, some moved lets say to Ottawa or Toronto since there was no problem getting any financing over there.
Although some studios… for example Cine-Groupe… are now little more then the owner of the company alone in his basement trying to rebuild the studio…. Or so I heard.
Also all my career plans were pretty much out the window.
Most if not all the contacts I had made, all the networking I had done, all that ended up being almost for nothing.
I will discuss life after the CINAR scandal in another blog.
Until next time.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Mister Crimson: Ace of Spades Bio Page
Read it here .:
Monday, March 23, 2009
Free Comics Monday: The Blue Bolt
The Blue Bolt is a sort of interesting case study in comics in of himself in that like Daredevil, the comic named after him stopped featuring him on the cover. Also, as the popularity of superheroes began to fade in the post-World War II era, Blue Bolt was transformed from a superhero into a plainclothes type of hero.
[ download Blue Bolt Vol 3 No 4 ]
Pierre also colored his version of the Blue Bolt with a yellow costume to change things up a bit, but I think we'll most likely go with the blue costume.
[ download Blue Bolt Vol 3 No 7 ]
Have a great day!
Friday, March 20, 2009
Paper Comic DeathWatch: Format Wars?
Look at video in the mid to late 70's. When it was decided to market video for home viewing, two formats sprung up in the public market place. Both released very close to one another: VHS  & BETA .
We all know what happened and if you so desire you can read more about its history here .
In the music industry, particularly since the development of .mp3's there have been duels of "Digital Rights" that continue today, even into the superior courts.
The most recent "Format Duel" to my mind would reside with video again, that being between HD DVD and BLUERAY. I don't know if there's been a clear winner declared quite yet [but don't sell your stock in BLUERAY].
I believe that the next big "Format Duel" that we'll see explode all over the internet has all ready begun...with comics.
Now, we all know that there is an element of traditional "Comic Collecting/Reading" that can't be duplicated quite as well [at least not in the foreseable future] with fully digital comics read on a device.
Some of those more traditional "perks" if you will would be having a passionate live conversation with other passionate individuals in a comic book store. Getting the opinion of the Comic Shop owner or their employee of a book before you pick one up. You can ask them what they think and what other consumers have thought, commented on, and ultimately purchased. I've read, in the past comments of this very blog I believe, that the commenter wouldn't want to take a cold machine into the bathroom with them over a paper comic book.
We haven't even touched on the topic of collectability of fully digital comics sold/consumed on a hand held device [and were not going too].
The fact is, comic book fans are split, some won't quit buying paper comic books until the last one is printed, shipped, and placed on a comic shop shelf for the last time. Truthfully, I don't see that happening in our lifetimes. Since no one really comments on this blog anyway, I don't have to worry about catering to that group of comic book fans.
For the rest of us, we have a "Digital Comic Book Format Duel" in our near future.
It was announced recently on JOYSTIQ and then NEWSARAMA "That Sony Computer Entertainment Europe is testing the waters on a major new addition to their online store: a dedicated section for Comics." the article goes on to talk about "A panel by panel system, similar to how many comics have been presented on the iPhone already, which gives an easier way for readers to view the comic on such a small screen."
Check out this video presentation...
And for those of you who don't own a PSP, there are several different iPhone/iPod Touch apps to read/view comics on those devices. We've covered some here and here on this blog in the past. A new one to us is PULL LISTS.
There are other formats, and there will still be more formats to come. Is any one format thats been demonstrated to the public a perfect solution? Has MARVEL, DC, DARKHORSE, or IMAGE endorsed any one format? The answer to all of these are a resounding: NOT YET.
Is there one format that will work on all "smart" devices with a big enough screen?
FLEPia, world's first color e-book reader
After years of teasing -- FLEPia was first announced in April of 2007, and first proven in 2006 -- Fujitsu has at last released its color e-book (or e-paper mobile terminal, as they'd like you to call it) to the masses. Featuring an 8-inch XGA screen capable of displaying 260,000 colors, along with Bluetooth, WiFi and up to 4GB of storage via SD card, and measuring less than half an inch thick, FLEPia's not just getting by on color alone.
Fujitsu promises 40 hours of continuos use, and the unit can be operated by its touchscreen or the assortment of function buttons. Naturally you can do the regular e-book thing, but the Japanese version of the device also includes full-on Windows CE 5.0, which would probably be a bit of a chore to use with the relatively slow screen refresh times of e-ink (1.8 seconds for a single wipe), but undeniably retrofuturistic. FLEPia ships on April 20th in Japan for 99,750 Yen (about $1,010 US). ~Engadget
Meanwhile...back at Apple...
The iTablet rumors continue to gain momentum as more and more details of some form of touchscreen netbook or tablet device leak out of the many various vendors Apple is using for whatever their next, gotta have it device may be.
This of course is resulting in quite a number of beautifully rendered models of such a device. Like this...
The iTablet will likely follow the evolving design themes emerging from Cupertino, continuing the convergence toward aluminum and black that characterize recent Apple machines. The critical acclaim and hotcakes-like acceptance of the MacBook Air guarantees that slimness and lightness will be a priority, and by their omission, optical drives will be given another small push toward obsolescence. ~THE READER
Those are just a hand full of devices and formats that will be dueling for digital comics supremacy as paper comics die. I'm sure were in for lots more to come, particularly if the SXSW #ComicsonHandheld panel was any indication....
The SXSW INTERACTIVE FESTIVAL celebrates the creativity and passion behind the coolest new media technologies. In addition to panel sessions that cover everything from web design to
bootstrapping to social networks, attendees make new business connections at the three-day Trade Show & Exhibition.
The newest element of the event is ScreenBurn at SXSW, which adds specific gaming industry programming as well as a three-day Arcade to the mix, as well as a panel titled #ComicsonHandhelds. I couldn't be there unfortunately. Even more unfortunate than that was the condition of the old standby in this type of situation: twitter.com which didn't seem to handle all of the extra traffic using it during the conference [in my opinion].
I did check in from time to time to test twitter and what I could find about the panel and here are some snippets or tweets that I was able to pick up...
4. Dave of Clan Bortdeadbug I stand firmly behind the facts that I made up during the #comicsonhandhelds panel. #sxsw4:23 PM Mar 17th from twidroid
5. AdriAdriAny panelists have websites for mobile browsers? uClick does (gocomics.com), @rstevens said he looked into it, but hasnt #comicsonhandhelds4:07 PM Mar 17th from web
6. AdriAdri@csven probably should have said the handheld market. No platform was specified, but all panelist recs were on iphone. #comicsonhandhelds4:04 PM Mar 17th from web
7. AdriAdriPeople are starting to create workds to go seamlessly from web to mobile to print (lanscape mode again)
8. AdriAdriiPhone comics suggested: Keenspot's adaptations of web comics, Murderdrone & Eye Candy #comicsonhandhelds 4:00 PM Mar 17th from web
9. AdriAdriAudience member, Recommend a comic that uses the handheld platform effectively. Panelists sort of stumped. #comicsonhandhelds3:59 PM Mar 17th from web
10. prometheaprometheaAwesome audience comment/question in #comicsonhandhelds panel: GPS enabled comics!! #sx09-5233:57 PM
11. AdriAdri"Because desktop computers have gotten so powerful, people have stopped optimizes things" -- @deadbug Ugh, so true. #comicsonhandhelds3:56 PM Mar 17th from web
12. Pete AshtonpeteashtonAsked my first question at a #SXSW panel, about whether GPS, etc would affect #comicsonhandhelds or not.3:55 PM Mar 17th from twhirl
13. AdriAdriPanelists excited about the idea of using GPS data to influence comics (language included, @csven). Lots of fun ideas. #comicsonhandhelds3:54 PM Mar 17th from web
14. David EarnestaustindaveYeah - small visual to indicate bubble. Drag finger on to magnify. Also replicate experience of sound as moment in time. #comicsonhandhelds3:54 PM Mar 17th from web
15. rosscottrosscottHmm. If you could hide the words from the art they could overlap more and be more readable. #comicsonhandhelds3:51 PM Mar 17th from Tweetie
16. AdriAdri@csven I think it might have to do with publishing rights more than stylistic issues. Old media paradigm. #comicsonhandhelds3:49 PM Mar 17th from web
17. rosscottrosscottOoh I'd love to see sketches superimposed on finals as a feature #comicsonhandhelds and audio commentary.3:48 PM Mar 17th from Tweetie
18. Laura P ThomasLPTRT @kimhaynes: OMy! What happens to your digital life if you believe in reincarnation?! This session could last for hours! #SXSW-Die #SXSW3:37 PM Mar 17th from TweetDeck
19. rosscottrosscottKindle breakage rate: "higher than babies." Thanks, @rstevens #comicsonhandhelds3:35 PM Mar 17th from Tweetie
20. Matt JohnstoncimotaRT @PhilipOrr #comicsonhandhelds Anyone want to see Murderdrome Its here. Guy with bowler hat. Way was it rejected? Take a look. #sxsw3:33 PM Mar 17th from twitterrific
21. AdriAdriPanelists hope that micropayments for comics will work on the mobile platform better than on the web. #comicsonhandhelds3:31 PM Mar 17th from web
22. AdriAdriChallenges of the medium include reformatting traditional or web comics. Ideally comics will be designed for mobile. #comicsonhandhelds3:31 PM Mar 17th from web
23. rosscottrosscott@jaydeflix wow that's not twitter frriendly.turns out you can ask yourself thru #comicsonhandhelds if they use it I'll let you know.3:03 PM Mar 17th from Tweetie
24. AdriAdriSpeakers: Dan Goldman, Molly Crabapple, Douglas Edwards, Dave Bort, Rantz Hoseley, Richard Stevens #comicsonhandhelds3:02 PM Mar 17th from web
25. Justin Grimesjustgrimes@rosscott maybe ask if comics on handheld reopens the door to scott mcclouds ideas surrounding webcomics & micropayments #comicsonhandhelds3:01 PM Mar 17th from TweetDeck
Have a great weekend,
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Mister Crimson Bio Page
However, to make up for that, today we have an awesome Mister Crimson Bio page made by Seth and Diego.
This is one of many such pages we hope to present to you as time goes by.
Check it out here .:
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Pierre Speaks: Kharon… Part 02
What made us start developing this project?
Eons ago, I was reading/contributing to a thread on the Image board about how to present an idea in a single sentence (or something like that).
For the heck of it I came up with some sort of example to see if I understood how to do such an exercise, and I kind of liked the idea I came up with. Some of the other posters did seem to see some potential in such an idea.
So once in a while I would come up with some notes sketches thinking about that idea.
Then later, during the summer of 2007, I finally met Jim at HeroesCon where we had our Flashback Universe booth.
While Jim and I were at Heroes Con, we started to discuss possible projects for Flashback Universe.
I told Jim about the idea that I had after reading/contributing to the Image board
Although Jim made some changes (Jim hates Vampire for some reason ;) ), Jim took what we discussed and came up with not only one proposal, but two based on the idea I had to begin with.
Heck if I had let him….. he was ready to come up with no less then 6 different proposals..
But I told him he was crazy.
Already developing one project is a lot of work…. developing 6 was nothing short of madness.
Luckily… Jim listened to me and agreed not to develop all them 6 projects.
So we started developing the first project (no I won’t tell you what it is, although we decided to do the Kharon project first, we WILL make the other project at some point).
But after some time….. Jim decided to put that project aside and sent me a small flash movie to sell me the idea of making Kharon: Scourge of Atlantis instead.
I can’t recall when or why we finally decided to submit our project to Zuda.
I seem to recall that we had various possible options on what to do with that project…. But I can’t recall why Zuda won us over in the end over the other options that we had (or still have in some cases). I guess Jim will have to fill you in on that one. ;)
That’s all for now.
Until next time.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
No Mister Crimson this Tuesday
We will let you know as soon as it's up and ready. :)
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Free Comics Monday: The Human Bomb
Roy Lincoln, aka The Human Bomb, was originally a scientist working with his father on a special explosive chemical called "27-QRX." However, when Nazi spies invaded his lab and killed his father, he resorted to ingesting the chemical to prevent it from falling into their hands. As a result, Lincoln gained the ability to cause explosions in any object he came into contact with, particularly through his hands; the only way to control it was to always wear special asbestos gloves (which were subsequently retconned into "fibro-wax" gloves after the human health hazards of asbestos were discovered).
Donning a containment suit to prevent any accidental explosions, Lincoln became the "Human Bomb," removing his gloves only to expose his explosive powers against Nazi and Japanese enemies, as well as ordinary criminals. He later gained enough control over his powers to be able to remove the containment suit, though the gloves were always necessary.
The Human Bomb appeared as regular feature in Police Comics.
[ download Police Comics 25 ]
A Human Bomb feature continued in Police Comics through issue 58, published in September, 1946. During that run, he was given a comic relief sidekick named "Hustace Throckmorton," who acquired a power like the Human Bomb's (though instead centered in his feet) after receiving an emergency blood transfusion from the superhero. Throckmorton was then briefly replaced by three youngsters who were collectively called "the Bombardiers."
[ download Police Comics 26 ]
Have a great day!
Friday, March 13, 2009
Bronze Age Spotlight: Sympathy for the Devil
- Mark Twain
The Bronze Age offers us very little support for William James' proposal that "the Devil is a gentleman," but gives us a plenty of reason to applaud his work ethic. The Comic's Code exorcised him quicker than you could say "vade retro satana," but its liberalization brought him roaring back, hell-bent on acquiring souls by any (and every) nightmarish means available to the imaginations of 70s comic writers. And he brought his kids along.
So raise those devil-horns high, and give a hearty "Ave Satanas!" as we embark to chart new maps of (Bronze Age) hell, and attempt to give the devil, at long last, his due...
"My subjects' deeds are mild in comparison to the plans I hold for you!"
- Satan, Mystic Comics #4 (August 1940)
Before we delve into Bronze Age Satanism, let’s wax (even more) nostalgic and look back at devilish doings of the Golden Age. 1940s Timely Comcs brought us the Black Widow, “a human tool of Satan whose very touch means death,” debuting in Mystic Comics #4. Veronica Lake stand-in Claire Voyant (no, really!) is given magical superpowers by a nude Satan so she can kill evildoers, enabling hell to more quickly collect its souls. After a hiatus of over half a century, Black Widow is back on the job in the pages of J. Michael Staczynski’s The Twelve.
Not content with waiting for men to turn evil on their own, the Prince of Darkness upped the ante with MLJ (Archie) Comcs’ vamp, Madame Satan, who posed suggestively for the first time in Pep Comics #16 (1941). At His Satanic Majesty’s request, Madame Satan seduced men into evil acts--and then killed them.
Alas, all this soul-harvesting fun was not to last. Nineteen fifty-four brought the Comics Code, and while it didn’t specifically prohibit depictions of the devil, it sure took a lot of fun out of them. For years, Hot Stuff was about as devilish as comics got.
The comics code didn’t stay strict forever. By the late sixties, the way was being paved for horror, terror, vampirism, and even “werewolfism” to return to the American comic book. Around the time Rosemary’s baby boy would’ve been turning one (well, in the film version anyway), the devil was making his way back.
“I use to study these books on Satanism as a boy…Now if only I can make the spell work!”
- Johnny Blaze, Marvel Spotlight #6 (1972)
Two things are apparent from the above quote. One is that Johnny Blaze probably lacked appropriate parental involvement as a kid. The other is that Satan was back in comics.
House of Mystery #182 (Sep.-Oct. 1969) is a harbinger of what’s to come. In a story called “The Devil’s Doorway” an occultist and his family buy a house that use to belong to a cult. After their daughter disappears into the mirror, then later returns with a story of meeting “Mr. Belial,” and presents dear ol’ dad with a diabolic looking statuette, Mister Occultist, goes investigating. What follows is vintage House of Mystery, involving a twist ending that really ain’t much of a twist, but what matters is our oh-so smart occultist protagonist goes to hell and meets Belial, which he informs us is another name for the Devil.
There were going to be a lot of cults, and a lot of smart-guys learning they weren’t so smart when they tried to go head to horns with the Prince of Lies over the next ten years. Who’d of thought one of Satan’s most successful antagonists would be a young carnival performer on a motorcycle?
Anyone familiar with the Suicide song is aware that Ghost Rider is a motorcycle hero. What this two minute thirty-three second primer doesn’t say is that he became one as a result of a deal with the devil. This all goes down in Marvel Spotlight vol. 1 #5 by Gary Friedrich and Mike Ploog.
It’s the classic story, really: orphan boy becomes carnival stunt rider. Surrogate father is dying of cancer, so boy turns to his trusty Carny’s Library ™ of occult and satanic books, and summons up Satan to do a deal. Boy doesn’t read the fine print, and loses his mentor’s life and his own soul. Girl’s pure love saves boy’s soul, so angry Satan binds a demon to boy and forces him to punish evil with a flaming skull head and hellfire powers. See what I mean? It’s like it’s right out of the Bard, himself.
It should be noted that Marvel eventually retcons “Satan” of the early Ghost Rider stories into Mephisto. Marvel prefers to have “devils” rather than “a Devil.” I think its safe to say that's splitting hairs. In a New Testament scripture the Devil would surely quote for you: “My name is Legion: for we are many” (Mark 5:9).
The Bronze Age shows Satan still preferring to sub-contract out as much soul collecting as possible. Ghost Rider winds up in sort of a modified Black Widow plan. Atlas-Seaboard’s Grim Ghost is a full return to form.
In Grim Ghost #1 (January 1975) Michael Fleischer spins the tale of Matthew Dunsinane, highwayman in colonial America. After being hanged, Dunsinane is given a “Get Out of Hell (not-so) Free” card by Satan, who’s going to arm him and send him to the 20th Century to hasten evildoers into Perdition’s flame. The 20th Century, one supposes, has so much evil, Satan needs multiple sub-contractors running around.
Or maybe the reason Satan decided to start farming out so much of his work in the 20th Century might be a shift in his priorities. It seems like the original rebel finally decided settle down and have a family.
"...and suddenly the screams of a baby born in Hell!"
poster for To The Devil…A Daughter (Hammer Films, 1976)
Ghost Rider #1 (Sep. 1973) introduced us to a guy with a very suggestive name--Daimon Hellstrom. He spends most of his first two appearances getting folks to tie him up in an isolated shack to prevent something bad from happening. It wasn't until his third appearance, Marvel Spotlight #13, that we came to know Daimon Hellstrom as the Son of Satan (and got to see that he evidentally visits the same hair-stylist as Magneto and Quicksilver).
This title's literal. Hellstrom's mother was a well-meaning, and apparently fairly oblivous, woman that married a man of wealth and taste after a whirlwind romance, and eventually bore him two kids--a son and a daughter. Ultimately, she discovers that her husband is Satan, which drives her crazy. Mom goes off to an institution, Dad goes back to hell with sis, and little Daimon (mama's boy) goes to an orphanage.
Stan Lee orginally suggested a series called Mark of Satan, which Roy Thomas apparently altered to Son of Satan. Probably Rosemary's Baby was something of an influence. Certainly, The Omen, another tale of a son of Satan was not--it came after Marvel's version. Whatever the inspirations, writer Gary Friedrich gave it the Mighty Marvel mythological spin. Hellstorm gets a trident made from magical metal netheranium mined from Hell, and a flying chariot drawn by two hellspawn horse-things. In other words, Hellstorm is more Journey into Mystery than he is New Testament, or even Dante's Inferno.
It would be the grim and gritty 90s before horror elements began to outshine superhero ones in the portrayal of the Son of Satan. And that era lies outside protective chalk circle of our Bronze Age summoning.
Stan Lee's inexorable commerical reasoning demanded that the devil have a daughter as well as a son. Naturally, she was to be given the alliterative (if somewhat unimaginative) sobriquet of The Devil's Daughter. The comics buying public would come to know her better as Satana.
Satan was more pleased with his little girl than with number one son, Daimon. She got to go with him to hell. When was makes her teaser debut in Vampire Tales #2 , not only has she filled out nicely, but she's become a succubus.
For those of you not fully versed in the works of Gary Gygax, a succubus is an attractive female demon who seduces men. The creature originated in European folklore, and has a name ultimately derived from the late Latin succubare meaning "to lie under."
Roy Thomas and John Romita brought Satana into the world, but Esteban Maroto went on the draw her next appearance and create her definitive look. Maroto's cutaway costume seems to have been inspired by another slinky succubus played by Euro-temptress Erika Blanc in a 1971 slice of Italian-Belgian psychotronica called The Devil's Nightmare (amongst other things).
Satana is a bad girl, though occasionally shows a glimmer of compassion. Mostly, she goes around consuming men's souls and generally playing the anti-hero--that is, until her death in Marvel Team-Up where she inexplicably shows up to helpout Dr. Strange.
Ultimately, given the relatively low-key nature of Satana's evil, maybe Daddy Devil was disappointed in both his kids. Strangely, he's mostly absent from his kids' adventures, just showing up occasionally to rant at that screw-up Daimon.
As the Bronze Age drew to a close, Satan's profile got a little lower in mainstream comics; the giddy thrill of a laxened Comics Code possibly fading. Swamp Thing would get to meet Hell's ruling Triumvirate in the 80s, but the real Satanic second wave would come in the 90s, when Constantine would bedevil (heh) the First of the Fallen, and Dream would verbally spar with Lucifer Morningstar.
He's been around for a long, long year, and finally got his own title, Lucifer, from Vertigo in 2000. From plot device to protagonist on a highway to hell through the weird and wild Bronze Age.
Hot stuff indeed.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Evolution of a Zuda Project
Trying to figure out what would be the perfect Zuda pitch is constant source of inspiration. A while back, after a conversation about The Secret Saturdays and Challengers of the Unknown, I got an embryonic idea for a zuda pitch...here's what I came up with.
Our story begins in the 1950's where a Santanic Cult in New Mexico opened up a portal to another dimension. The portal grew to about a mile in diameter and then stopped.
For the most part, the portal is dormant, but occaisionally, horrible creatures emerged to terrorize neighboring towns. The government's response was two fold. They controlled rumors of such creatures by funding the sci-fi monster movies of the 50's like the The Wasp Woman or Them. Then they also used a specialized strike team to dispatch the creatures.
The government funded strike team consisted of seven WW 2 vets (5 guys and 2 girls) who had fought together during WWII. The media dubbed them the Destroyers of the Demonic.
The vibe of the series was intended to be sort of Ultimate Challengers of the Unknown with the 70's pychedelic flair.
At this point, I wasn't really sure what direction to take, so I sent the idea to Trey (Planet X, Bronze Age Spotlight) to see what he thought of it...
Trey: That was in late October, sort of timely, with Halloween approaching. Anyway, I liked a lot of thing's about Jim's idea, and they spurred me to think on two different (intially unrelated) tracks. I emailed Jim back:
The whole concept just screams to be Wild Bunch/Dirty Dozen/Inglorious Bastards - inspired comic done by Atlas-Seaboard in the '70s. I see there being a team archetypes: the Leader (a George Peppard-ish cigarillo smoker), the Black Guy (Jim Brown, of course), the Ladies' Man,and the Woman, and the Crazy.
One could always be dropped in favor of splitting the Woman into The Smart Woman and the Badass Chick. Think of things like The Professionals...or The A-Team.
The other thing was setting it in another time period. I felt sort of like the fifties and the seventies had been overplayed lately in comics. Having already thought of the Wild Bunch, and recently having been on a Spaghetti Western kick, I suggested it be set during the Mexican Revolution--probably 1913 or 1914.
Jim: As you might guess, Trey's A-Team analogues really appealed to my old school aesthetics, so I was sold on that suggestion right off the bat. I also liked the idea of goosing the concept in a more Wild Bunch direction. Like most people, the level of violence in your average Stephen J. Cannell produced television show feels a little quaint in this age of 24 and Sopranos.
What I wasn't sold on was the time period. Trey, why did that time period appeal you versus a more established western period like post-civil war era wild west?
Like I said, its the era of the Wild Bunch--but also its the era of the so-called Zapata westerns--Companeros, A Bullet for the General, and Duck, You Sucker! A somewhat lawless era perhaps (at least in Mexico), and perhaps a more idealistically charge one than the traditional West.
More importantly for the purposes of this story, it was a place where you could really see the old west becoming the modern world. There are still bandits on horseback, but the Great War looms. The southwest still beckons, but to oil barons and foreign spies, not ranchers and cowpunchers. The iconic pistol is still a Colt, but its the .45 automatic, not the Peacemaker.
And did I mention it was a place of extreme violence? Watch The Wild Bunch, or for extra credit, read James Carlos Blake's novel, The Friends of Pancho Villa.
Jim: So at this point, we had a setting, a premise and a cast of characters. We decided to call the project hell-bent.
The next thing we needed to do was look for an artist. Pierre was tied up with Kharon, so we went to digital webbing and placed an ad for an artist interested in working on a Western/Horror title.
We got a ton of great responses which left with the task of finding one out of the bunch. How we did that was an interesting process in of itselft.
We'll cover that in another post.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Pierre Speaks: Kharon: SOA part 1
Jim already showed some rough designs of Kharon a while back… now it’s my turn. ;)
Let’s start with Kharon himself.
This is what we finally decided that Kharon would look like.
But what you guys don’t know is that he almost looked like this;
Although we kind of liked that color scheme…. We decided not to go in that direction. I guess for my part I felt that it made him look too much like some sort of druid-like/nature lover kind of character or something.
Although this was not the only version, here are a few variation attempts made.
When we started developing the project…. What I had in mind from the various talk I had with Jim, was Elric of Melniborne. Not sure why… but that is the image that I had in mind at the time for some reason.
I was not trying to copy the Elric character… but try to capture the feeling that the Elric character evokes.
Other then keeping him somewhat thin…. I think I moved away from Elric enough to make Kharon visually distinctive.
In the very early process, I gave him 2 shoulder pads and a sword, but as we started tweaking the character, we gave him only one shoulder pad and replaced the traditional sword with some sort of club.
What made us start developing this project?....
You will have to wait for another Blog for the answer to that one. ;)
Yes I am EEEEVIL!!
Until next time.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Mister Crimson Episode 29
In which the Mayor plots against our hero...
Read it here .:
Monday, March 9, 2009
Free Comics Monday:The Ray
Friday, March 6, 2009
PCDW: Wanna make a comic book?
But with Marvel's joining DC in no longer accepting outside submissions, who is going to publish that awesome Woodgod mini-series you've been working on all these years? (Actually, I'd argue Marvel hasn't really had an open submission policy since the 80's, and it's always been a matter of just how much work is involved in evaluating such submissions.)
Anyway, You can't afford to put up a booth in the San Diego Comic Con? New York? Emerald City? Wondercon? Stump Town [well ok, the Portland con isn't that expensive]?
Well then how are you going to get a comic book made?
Online self-publishing services
PCDW Points 50,000
Services like LULU , CafePress , and Createspace allow you to publish your own content online. Some are limited to books, others do not.
Some have lots of features, while others are scaled down. While most of these are aimed at those writing novels and or full sized books there are other services on the Internet that cater to Comic Books such as:
After uploading your jpg files onto the site you've got a flash based comicbook that anyone can read from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.
Is it perfect? No. For one thing, there will always be those comic book fans who like to read their comic book in their hands printed on paper. Is myebook.com the only service out there aimed at comics? Probably not. But here is the thing.
Another outlet to consider - ComicsXP
From the comicsXP website - getting published there is just 4 steps...
Download the contract
Go to the DOWNLOADS page, and download the comicsXP contract pdf. View at your leisure, and contact us if you have any questions, or refer to our FAQ page.
Sign the contract
Once you're ready to jump on board, mail fax or email your signed contract to us, and we'll start processing.
Prepare your files
Refer to the DOWNLOADS page for documentation on how to prepare your files for comicsXP. Once your files are ready, they can be burned to CD and sent to us, or contact us for other options. (More information available shortly.)
Once the contract, and the files are recieved, you'll be listed on comicsXP, and available for readers to purchase and download in our easy to use store. comicsXP is dedicated to making this process easy and painless.
You can get more details at their FAQ's page...
So, what does this all mean?
Online self publishing services lift the veil off the comic book industry.
There will, in the near future, be no need to "Break In" and get published by Marvel or DC in order to be a comic book writer, artist, or publisher.
If all comic book publishers are producing work online [as one day they all will], isn't it also the case that by producing comic book work online then you too are a comic book publisher?
PCDW Points 1,000,000
Have a nice weekend,