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Kill, kill, kill

Art by John Hotchkiss

I jumped back into role-playing with gusto in late 1985, armed with Champions 3rd edition and a handful of enthusiastic friends. Before too long I was meeting lots of others playing the game, in person and through The Clobberin’ Times, and I got a good look at how plenty of people expected to play their heroes. How was it? Easy. In a word, they were killing all over the place.

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The little game that could

The tough part about this post is that it might end up being nothing but a love-letter. Read the rest of this entry

The change of illusion

Six li’l issues of The Avengers. Do they really bear the whole weight of the history of Marvel Comics, and perhaps even of fan culture’s creative intestinal torsion? It can’t be that simple, but even at age thirteen-fourteen, I knew something was happening.

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Marvelous, meet miraculous

Superman, Captain Marvel. Captain Marvel, Marvelman. Marvelman, Captain Miracle. Marvelman, Marvelman reboot. Marvelman reboot, Miracleman. Paralleled by a completely different Captain Marvel too, oh wait, like four of them, plus Ms. Marvel, oh wait, three of them. What th’fuck?

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Context!

I love me a timeline. This one’s built mostly from Sean Howe’s Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, mainly because I couldn’t help but scribble it out as I went along. In the year since I did that, so many of my posts presume knowledge of the content that it’s simply good sense to get the thing on-line for reference.

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And the horse you rode in on

visionhyperionAsk any comics fan: over thataway is Marvel and it’s [insert string of fervent adjectives and loaded nouns], and over thisaway is DC and it’s [insert string of fervent adjectives and loaded nouns]. You choose your flag and you wave it. The rest are fringe. As my Brit Lit informed me, it’s “RCs to the right, Prods to the left, and fancy buggers in the middle.”

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Whoa-oh-oh na na, whoa-oh-oh na na

You'll never guess what Cap got to do.

You’ll never guess what Cap got to do.

Perhaps it was the counterculture, or having parents who were born well before WWII. As a kid, I was very turned off by all Marvel’s 70s gimmicks like Superman vs. Spider-Man, the Spider-Man car, or weird toys like the thing where you put the thing in Spider-Man’s mouth. Read the rest of this entry

‘Verse this

Cool! We nailed it! Oh wait ... why can't it move? And it seems unable to breathe ... and its wrists are bleeding ...

Cool! We got it all stretched out up there and we nailed it! Oh wait … why can’t it move? And it seems unable to breathe … and its wrists are bleeding …

It’s the worst thing ever to happen to my experience of Marvel and other superhero comics.

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The river

He has his reasons

I know why Heraclitus cries

Picture the Marvel I first encountered, as a multi-year pile roughly centered on 1971: comics as physical objects are pure junk product; the brand is known to everyone but beholden to nobody; the Perfect Film & Chemical Corporation (soon renamed Cadence) seeks Hollywood but the actual product is still selling ad space to X-Ray Specs and plastic rats. Read the rest of this entry

At corporate, they just sell paper

You think they care what it is?

You think they care what it is?

The Koch bros don’t give a shit, no pun intended, whether you buy Quilted Northern or Angel Soft, because they own them both.

Some years ago some venture capitalists found that, inexplicably, you can sell even more cheap paper to people if you invest a bit in writing on it and coloring it first. Comics are a particularly simple form of that kind of paper. The primary cost is buying it and distributing it in slightly altered form, with some writing and coloring, folded this way or that, with staples or whatever.

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Todd's Blog

Todd Klein on lettering, literature and more

Longbox Graveyard

Marvel and DC comics and community