O Say Can You See: The Greatest Patriotic Super Heroes of All-Time
New comics come out every week, by the dozens. Add that up by the month or the year, and it’s virtually impossible to keep track. Certain runs on some titles rise to the top by a mixture of critical acclaim, proper marketing and the right timing, but if all of those factors aren’t perfectly aligned, good comics fall by the wayside.
In this edition of ROBOT 6’s “Six by 6,” we look at six noteworthy creative runs on superhero comics worth a second look, even if that means a trip to the back-issue bin.
Talk about your harmonic nerd convergences: John Hodgman spoke with George R.R. Martin about Marvel Comics in yesterday’s episode of public radio’s The Sound of Young America. In one corner: George R.R. Martin, author of the epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire and its #1 New York Times–bestselling latest installment A Dance with Dragons, executive producer of the HBO television adaptation Game of Thrones, and inspiration for Dynamite Entertainment’s own comics adaptation A Game of Thrones, whose first issue debuts tomorrow. In the other corner: John Hodgman, nerd-friendly writer, comedic cultural commentator for The Daily Show, and “I’m a PC” guy, filling in as the radio program’s guest host. The topic: One of Martin’s first pieces of published writing, a piece of fanmail published in Avengers #12 in 1964 when Martin was 16 years old.
Hodgman used the letter, which entered wide Internet circulation a few weeks back, to kick off the interview. And he was probably kidding around when he asked Martin to explain why his 16-year-old self believed Avengers #9 to be superior to Fantastic Four #32, as his letter had argued. But once Hodgman jogged Martin’s memory by reminding him that Avengers #9 marked the debut of Wonder Man, Martin knew exactly why he liked the issue so much. His explanation to Hodgman is a solid exploration of why the early Marvel superhero comics were so groundbreaking for the genre — and in offering it, Martin seems to come to the realization that that issue had an impact on his own writing that resonates with him to this day. (For readers of the book or viewers of the show, the influence will be obvious.)
Read a transcript of the relevant section below, then listen to the entire interview.
Marvel released a preview for New Avengers Annual #1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Gabriele Dell’Otto yesterday, which features Wonder Man and a new team he’s put together called The Revengers. Avengers readers may remember that when Steve Rogers was putting together the latest iteration of the Avengers, former Avenger Simon Williams, a.k.a. Wonder Man, took issue with the team reforming and turned violent against his former teammates (Mind control?). His new attitude will apparently be addressed in the first New Avengers Annual, where he pops up leading a bunch of C- and D-grade characters, many of whom have some sort of connection to the Avengers.
“I think we are better than them,” he says in the above sequence, comparing his new crew to the Avengers. Which, yeah … it’s either mind control or he’s just gone completely off his rocker due to a power leakage, because he’s assembled quite the collection of losers to get his revenge. Let’s take a look at who he recruited …
In recent years, we’ve seen a boatload of comic books and graphic novels make their way to the silver screen, from “big two” stalwarts like Spider-Man and Batman to independent titles like Scott Pilgrim and 30 Days Of Night. Among the various adaptations, translations and remakes, there’s one guy that has carved out a niche to become the godfather of comic books and movies: Stan Lee.
At the tender age of 17, Stan Lee began a long and fruitful career at Marvel Comics (then known as Timely). Lee went from assistant to editor to editor-in-chief and later publisher and icon. And all through those years he wrote — diligently, prodigiously and prophetically, it seems. During that time he co-created the enduring comic icons of Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Daredevil, Doctor Strange and a host of others. Although he’s best known for his creations during the 1960s and 70s, Lee continues to this day to create new characters through his own ventures and partnerships through other companies.
With such a broad and diverse landscape of concepts he’s created and co-created over the years, even after the recent comic book movie successes with his name on them, there’s a mountain of material up for grabs.