Friday, November 30, 2007

Comics as the New Counter Culture

There’s been a bit of a hullabaloo over that the fact that 2004 is the 70th anniversary of the modern American comic book. For most people, this is one of those nostalgic milestones that reminds us of our lost innocence. 

How This All Works

Here is an interesting episode of This American Life that gives a compelling example of how mythology is still alive and well. An ex-gang banger talks about how he learned how to cope with his lifestyle by taking lessons from the movies; those mythic Mob elements like loyalty and family. 

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hercules/Superman redux

Part one of the Superman/Hercules presentation is up on Comic Book Resources. I was hoping to hand this off and move on but that's the way it always goes. It's been fascinating watching some of the reaction on the message boards. 

It really reminds me of the old debates in the AOL religion section, particularly when it came to polarized topics like biblical inerrancy. It's all clarified things in my mind and helped solidify ideas I've been mulling over. Part two should be up today. 
Quote for the Day: But the coming Superman is of the type of the Masters: They are Masters of Compassion; not only Masters of Knowledge, but of love and knowledge together, which make Wisdom, and it is Wisdom which shall be the characteristic of "the Coming Race". - Annie Besant, 1917

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Spandex Files: Pantheopolis

It's a truism that superheroes are nothing new. Pulp superheroes like John Carter, the Shadow, Doc Savage and Tarzan predate Action #1, just as comic books like Ally Sloper's Half-Holiday long predate Famous Funnies. 

Friday, November 23, 2007

Layer Cake & the New British Gangster Mythos


When most Americans think of England, they tend to think of tired, old cliches. In Yankee minds, England conjures up bucktoothed colonels, ruddy beefeaters, shrivelled aunties and raging queens prone to saying things like " Pip, pip", "cheerio" and "duckie." 

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


First of all, let's establish the meaning of the term "swipe." I'm looking at this from the point of view of a graphic artist. "Reference" or "inspiration" often means "knocking off" in the trade. You take an image and futz around with it - change things, move things around- until you come up with something new. The action lines and placement details in this piece seem out of the realm of coincidence.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Is the Cover to Action Comics #1 a Swipe?

It is the single most iconic image in the history of comic books. But was it swiped?It is the single most iconic image in the history of comic books. 

But was it swiped? 

Monday, November 19, 2007

What I Mean by "Gods"


I've been doing a lot of radio interviews these past few weeks and I can tell that people are a bit thrown by the term "gods." I get the feeling some of these folks aren't exactly sure what I mean- do I think we should follow Homer Simpson's example and pray to Superman? Not exactly. 

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The Norman Conquests and Secret Societies

History tells us some ragtag Scandinavian tribe came out of nowhere in the 10th Century and within a few decades conquered northern France, England, Sicily and Syria. 

Quite a feat. 

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Spandex Forever!

From the Our Gods Wear Spandex blog. 

I'd like to thank everyone who's picked up the book! As I've said this is just the beginning of what I hope to become a long cultural conversation, and I intend to use this blog to turn readers on to books and other cultural artifacts that I think will augment the experience of those of you interested in these topics. Now for all of you old school Marvel maniacs, I am going to present the news in a manner you may find strangely familiar...