Sunday, January 31, 2010

Image Comics


Image Comics is one the four biggest comic companies in North America! But, how did they get that way?
Angry Comic Creators
Several comic artist / writers were mad that Marvel Comics only gave them modest royalties to their characters! They confronted Marvel and asked for more royalties. In short, Marvel said no. But, the comic creators weren't going to take this quietly. They rebelled by founding their own comic company! This was Image Comic (in case you didn't guess). The original line-up was Todd McFarlane (known for working on Spider-Man), Jim Lee (X-men), Rob Liefeld (X-Force), Marc Silvestri (Wolverine), Erik Larsen (The Amazing Spider-Man), Jim Valentino (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Whilce Portacio (Uncanny X-Men). Chris Claremont helped found it, but was not an actual artist / writer.
Founding Provision
Image Comics was founded under 2 main provision:


  • The creator (not the company) own all the rights to the characters.

  • Image Partners can't interfere with each other's work in any way.

The company (itself) only owned the logo and name. Due to the second rule, six Image Comic studios were founded: Extreme Studio (Rob Liefeld), Highbrow Entertainment (Erik Larsen), Shadowline (Jim Valentino), Todd McFarlane Productions (Todd McFarlane), Top Cow Productions (Marc Silvestri) and Windstorm Productions (Jim Lee).

Development
The first Image Comic series were Rob Liefeld's Youngblood, Erik Larsen's Savage Dragon, Todd McFarlane's Spawn and Jim Lee's WildC.A.T.s. The art work and eagerness of comic collectors "to get early on the next big thing" caused sells to rised in numbers only Marvel Comic, DC comics and Viliant Comics achieved, since drop in market in the 70s. The studios became similar to publishers, some studios even had their own shared universe! Some Image creators use their studios to publish the work of other independent creators. Image Comic's popularity soon rival that of DC and Marvel's, despite their tendency to fall behind schedule

Let's talk Larry
Image Comics hired Larry Marder to be the “executive director” for the publisher. He helped financially planing. He insisted that retail orders would not be solicited until the comic was complete. By the Mid-1990s, Savage Dragon and Spawn were lasting successes and so were new series like Wildstorm's Gen13, Top Cow's Darkness and Witchblade.

Internal Dissent
Several Image Comic employees felt that Liefeld was abusing his power as CEO. This caused Silvestri made Top Cow Comics into a new company, independent from Image. Liefeld resigned and Silvestri returned! Wildstorm's Cliffhanger imprint became very successful. The imprint attracted the talents of Chris Bahcalo, Joe Kelly, Kurt Busiek, and Carlos Pacheco. Jim Lee sold Wildstorm to DC comics.

Jim Valentino Era
Meanwhile, Jim Valentino, who “became less active in the company”, started to publish “indie” comics by other comic creators, most of them sold poorly. However, Valentino took over “Image Central”.

Erik Larsen Rules!
In February 2004, Erik Larsen took over as publisher (Valentino's former position). McFarlane's Spawn and toy line and Silivestri's Top Cow imprint made most of Image's money. Larsen's Savage Dragon became Image's longest running series. Jim Valentino returned to making comics with his Shadowline imprint. The company was the third largest publisher in North America until it declined to the fifth. Image reprinted several of Jack Kirby's works from Pacific Comics.

Eric Stephenson Takes Power!
Larsen quit his job as publishers and Eric Stephenson filled his shoes. Shortly after, Robert Kirk created two very successful comics: Walking Dead and Invincible. The Man of Action team used Image Comics to publish several comic titles: The Great Unknown, Soul Kiss and Bad Dog. The most recently new series is Haunt, created by Todd McFarlane and Robert Kirkman.

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image_Comics
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_HKV9AW12gT0/SChXwLSb26I/AAAAAAAAAHA/k1F-vovXrb8/s400/image_comics_show_LOGO.jpg

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

normalman


Slower than a speeding bullet, less powerful than a locomotive and unable to leap over buildings in a single bound... it's normalman! The planet Arnold was dying. A junior CPA (referred to as "Joe-L" and "Jerk-L") concluded that the planet would explode in 8 hours! So, he launched his son into space to save him. But as soon as his son is in space, he learns the planet isn't dying. So, his wife literally kills him. 20 years later, the now-grown-up boy land on the planet Levram ("marvel" backwards), where everyone has superpowers- expect him! Having no superhuman abilities, the locals dubbed him "normalman". In this attempts to get off Levram, he makes several allies: Captain Everything (able to negate all laws of psychics and create new superpowers, these abilities are only limited by his lack of intelligence), who gave norm a contacting watch-thingie; Sgt. Fluffy, Agent of S.C.H.M.U.C.K. (which doesn't actually stand for anything); and his later love-life, the beautiful Sophisticated Lady. Ultra Conservative (who sees normalman as a threat to the status quo) tried to kill him. normalman learn in an alternate reality he could escape from Levram via "the magic". Later, Fluffy was shot to death. nomarlman accidentally went back in time and met the time-travelling and mindlessly sexy Countess of Monte Crisco, who sent both of them to the present. The Sophisticated Lady forced normalman to run for president. While being drunk, normalman learned that "the magic" was Sgt. Fluffy's ruby slippers! He got the slippers and went back to Arnold. The Countess used the slippers to make her super powerful and went on a rampage. Captain Everything and the Sophisticated Lady came to his aid. Captain Everything used his powers to stop the Countess, but in the process sent her to Oz, where she became the wicked witch of the east. Meanwhile, a undead Sgt. Fluffy, calling himself the Dark Fluffy (parody of the Dark Phoenix) destroyed Larvem (to protect the rest of the universe). norm married the Sophisticated Lady and Captain Everything became Arnold's first superhero.

References:
http://media.comicvine.com/uploads/0/4/21816-3384-24344-1-normalman_super.jpg
The Complete normalman

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Who Watches the Watchmen?


For a change of pace, I decided to do an unique entry on Alan Moore's Watchmen series. Despite critic calling the Watchmen "The greatest piece of popular fiction ever produced" (Damon Lindelof) and "peerless" (Rolling Stone), the Watchmen has several errors and mistakes in it.



  • First off in issue II, the Comedian's alter ego as Edward Blake was a secret and Edgar William Jacobi (an old foe of the Comedian) only learned the Comedian's identity, because he saw the Comedian without his mask. But in a flashback in Vietnam, he is seen in his Comedian costume without his mask in public!
  • In issue III, Doctor Manhattan is fooled into thinking he is causing cancer to anybody that is over exposed to him, but Silk Spectre II (who at the time lived with him) didn't seem sick at all, which should have made him realize he's was being tricked.
  • In issue IX, Silk Spectre II claims she thought she was the daughter of her mother's "boyfriend" Hooded Justice, but issue II it claimed Hooded Justice wasn't even interested in her. Vietnam, that he raped.
  • Finally in issue XII, Nite-Owl II and the other heroes (expect Rorschach) promised to not tell on Ozymandias, but Rorschach tries to tell everyone about Ozymandias, leading to Doctor Manhattan to kill him, but Nite-Owl forgot that Rorschach mailed his journal to a newspaper, even through he stop his jet-ship to help him do so.
References:
Watchmen (Paperback)
http://fc02.deviantart.net/fs42/f/2009/065/f/2/Who_Watches_the_Watchmen__by_thebloodyxxx.jpg

Friday, January 22, 2010

Legion


History
David Haller was the son of Charles Xavier (Prof. X) and Gabrielle Haller! For some reason, Gabrielle didn't tell Prof. X about David. David's powers manifested during a terrorist attack and absorbed Jemail Karami's (one of the terrorist) personality, giving David multiple personality disorder. During a series of unknown events, he absorbed two more personalities. Each of these personalities got a chunk of David's power. He later tried to kill Xavier (the Shadow King manipulated him into doing so). After several fights, the New Mutants cured David's (now calling himself Legion) Psyche. He decided to try to help his father by going back in time (using his own powers) and kill Magneto, before he became evil! However, that time version's Xavier got himself killed to save his friend. This lead up to the Age of the Apocalypse storyline. Bishop (a member of the X-Men) went back in time and stopped him. But in the process, he seemly killed Legion. However, it was revealed he survived. Now back in the main time stream, he had countless personalities. But, Rouge and Danger cure him.
Powers and Abilities
He has the ability to absorb the personalities of people that dying near him (he originally had no control over this). Before he was cured, each of his personalities had a chuck of his powers:

  • Jemail Karami- The personality of a terrorist. He had David's telepathy.
  • Jack Wayne- "Swaggering adventurer". He had David's telekinesis.
  • Cyndi- A rebellious girl. She had David's pryokinesis.

When he was cured for the first time, he could control all of these abilities and time travel. In the current New Mutant run, Legion power's changed so each of his personalities had their own powers, even if they were psychical powers such as a prehensile tongue. Other powers included X-ray vision, matter animation, sonic screams and super strength. Cannonball explained this was part of his new mutation.

References:

Monday, January 18, 2010

L-Ron


L-Ron has been a "hero", a villain, a fast food restaurant employee and a hero, again. L-Ron was the robotic servant of Manga Khan. But, Manga traded the Justice League him, for a devolved Despero. He became the League's "New York embassy". Thanks to Kilowog, Despero temporarily gained L-Ron's personality. L-Ron left Earth, only to come back to warn Martian Manhunter that the Overlord was coming. After joining the Task Force, Despero's personality slowly took control over L-Ron, but was saved by Supergirl. But, the process caused L-Ron to take over Despero's body. Under unknown circumstances, he got his old body back. L-Ron fell into hard times and started to work at Big Belly Burgers. However, Maxwell Lord rediscovered the robot and had him join the super hero team called "the Super Buddies". Manga Khan tried to reclaim L-Ron, only to have Max and Sue Dibny outsmart him.
References:

Friday, January 15, 2010

Space Canine Patrol Agents

History
One peaceful day, Krypto (Superman's dog) discovered a dog-balloon. When it was shot by a missile it yelped! It turned out the "balloon" was really a super-powered dog! Mammoth Mutt (the "balloon" dog) revealed he was a member of the Space Canine Patrol Agents (SCPA for short) and his allies were taken captive by a group of humanoid canine crooks and they were the ones that shot the missile. Krypto found them only to be captured himself (he let them so he could be with the SCPA). He met them and they accidently gave him a piece of gum containing Kryptonite. Suddenly, the dog of steel lost his powers.
Tusky Husky used his giant tooth to dig a hole (while Tail Terrier spun him) underground to let them escape. Krypto rallied the SCPA against the crooks that locked them up. One of the crooks knocked out Krypto's gum giving him his powers back. But the crooks still had the upper hand, so Krypto bargains with them. He agrees to send them somewhere with no canine agents. Krypto took them to the Space Cat Partol Agents. Krypto became an official member of the Space Canine Patrol Agents. They survived the Crisis on Infinite Earths, but ended up in limbo. Merryman (of the Inferior Five) stated it was possible that the SCPA would become part of the modern continuity.
Members

  • Mammoth Mutt- Sucked up air and inflated himself like a balloon. Died in his first appearance.
  • Tail Terrier- Has an elastic tail that he can use as a rope. He is the SCPA's "top dog".
  • Tusky Husky- Can turn one of teeth into a giant tusk
  • Chameleon Collie- Shapeshifter
  • Hot Dog- Generates heats in a similar way as the Human Torch
  • Bull Dog- Grows bull horns
  • Paw Pooch- Grows extra limbs
  • Prophetic Pup- Clairvoyant
  • Krypto- Has powers of Superman on a dog level. So he has super smell thats more acute than Superman, but isn't as smart.
  • Mammoth Miss- Mammoth Mutt's girlfriend with the same powers
  • Beam Beagle- "Searchlight Eyes". Got killed in the line of duty

Trivia

  • It's never been metioned who is the leader.
  • Tail Terrier, Hot Dog, Tusky Husky, Bull Dog and Krypto appear as member of the Dog Star Patrol on Krypto the Superdog animated series.

References
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Canine_Patrol_Agents http://www.againwiththecomics.com/2009/02/krypto-joins-space-canine-patrol-agency.html http://www.readersadvice.com/lsh/scpa.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krypto

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Green Lanterns of Earth


Hal Jordon (the most famous Earth Green Lantern)

Alan Scott
Unlike his successors, Alan was not a member of the Green Lantern Corp! Alan Scott (an engineer) discovered a mystic flame that fell to Earth thousands of years ago. The flame told him how to a mystic "power ring". After doing so, Alan used the ring (which gave it's user roughly the same powers as a real Power Ring) to fight crime. However, he had two weaknesses: the ring needed be "charge" every 24 hours and it couldn't affect wood. He founded the Justice Society of America. Due the fact Alan made his ring, the Guardians of the Universe (the head of the Green Lantern Corp.) let him keep it.

Hal Jordon
The most famous the Green Lanterns, he also destroyed the corp. Hal was a pilot chosen by Abin Sur's (another Green Lantern) corp. Power Ring as his successor. He was a great Lantern... until his home city was destroyed. This drove him insane to the point he merged with Parallax (a fear entity) and destroyed the Corp.

Guy Gardner
Guy was chosen to succeed Hal (before he destroyed the corp.). But, he was put in a coma, when his power battery blew up. He later came out of the coma emotionally unstable, but did help in the Crisis of Infinite Earths and Blackest Night.

John Stewart
Before Hal destroyed the Corp., John became the first African American Lantern. Hal temporally
left the Corp, so John filled in for him. He was put in and out of action alot. He became the first mortal Guardian of the Universe and joined the Darkstars after the Corp. was destroyed.

Kyle Rayner
Kyle was a struggling freelance artist that Ganthet (the last Guardian) gave a power ring. He helped rebuilt the corp. (although it was less impressive than the last). He fought in the Sinestro Corp. War and died in Blackest Night, to save the Guardian's planet, Oa.

References:

http://mimg.ugo.com/200907/10555/hal-jordan-green-lantern-first-flight.jpg

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Minutemen


Silhouette, Mothman, Dollar Bill, Nite-Owl I, Comedian, Captain Metropolis, Silk Spectre I and Hooded Justice
The Minutemen are the first vigilante team in the "Watchmen Universe". It all started when a vigilante, Hooded Justice, stopped a gang of men (with guns) from robbing a couple, single handily. This same man stopped a supermarket-stickup. He was describe by the newspaper as "a tall man, built like a wrestler, who wore a black hood and cape and noose around his neck". After him, several other vigilantes started to appeared. One of them, Captain Metropolis, had the idea of forming a team. This team became the "Minutemen". Members were
  • Hooded Justice- Mentioned above, he is the most mysterious and first vigilante ever. He is seemly German (hence approval of the Nazis). His real name has never been revealed.
  • Nite-Owl I- Hollis Mason was a cop inspired by Hooded Justice and Action Comic's Superman to become a vigilante. However, he couldn't think of a name. One day, a fellow cop (who was tired of him saying no to going out for drinks) called him "Nite-Owl". Liking the name, Hollis donned a tunic made out of chain mail / leather and a owl-like mask.
  • Silhouette-She was a lesbian.
  • Mothman- He was able to fly via his artificial wings, making him the only member with a power. He used to live in Connecticut.
  • The Comedian-Joining the team as a boy, he was the most psychotic member.
  • Silk Spectre I- Sally Jupiter became Silk Spectre to become famous, even had an agent Laurence Schexnayder. She attempted to have a relationship with Hooded Justice, but he wasn't interested.
  • Dollar Bill- He was former star-football player that became a bank-sponsored superhero. His costume was designed for public appeal by the bank, not him.
  • Captain Metropolis-He is a former member of the military, rank unknown. He tried (and failed) to form a second generation of heroes (the Watchmen).
However, the team started to fall apart. The Comedian sexually assaulted Silk Spectre I, in the Minutemen trophy room. Laurence Schexnayder got her to not sue the Comedian for the team's image. Comedian went to make a name for himself in the Pacific. Silhouette was kicked out of the team for being lesbian and was murdered six weeks later. Dollar Bill was shot at point blank-range, when his cape got stuck in a door during a bank robbery. Sally quit crime fighting to marry her agent. The remaining Nite-Owl I, Mothman, Captain Metropolis and Hooded Justice officially disbanded ending the team. Later, Mothman was forced into an asylum, because drugs destroyed his sanity. Hooded Justice went missing in 1955. At the beginning of the Watchmen series, Comedian was thrown out of a window and fell down several stories. Nite-Owl I was killed by a gang thinking he was Nite-Owl II. Before his death, Nite Owl I wrote an autobiography called Under the Hood.
References:http://godisnotelsewhere.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/watchmen-minutemen.jpg
Watchmen (Paperback)