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Sean T. Collins has written about comics and popular culture professionally since 2001 and on this very blog since 2003. He has written for Maxim, The Comics Journal, Stuff, Wizard, A&F Quarterly, Comic Book Resources, Giant, ToyFare, The Onion, The Comics Reporter and more. His comics have been published by Top Shelf, Partyka, and Family Style. He blogs here and at Robot 6.

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Murder

An anthology of comics written by Sean T. Collins
Art by Matt Wiegle, Matt Rota, and Josiah Leighton
Designed by Matt Wiegle


Elfworld

An indie fantasy anthology
Featuring a comic by Sean T. Collins & Matt Wiegle



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The Sean Collins Media Empire
Comics
Destructor Comes to Croc Town
story: Sean T. Collins
art: Matt Wiegle


1995 (NSFW)
script: Sean T. Collins
art: Raymond Suzuhara


Pornography
script: Sean T. Collins
art: Matt Wiegle


It Brought Me Some Peace of Mind
script: Sean T. Collins
art: Matt Rota
edit: Brett Warnock


A Real Gentle Knife
script: Sean T. Collins
art: Josiah Leighton
lyrics: "Rippin Kittin" by Golden Boy & Miss Kittin


The Real Killers Are Still Out There
script: Sean T. Collins
art: Matt Wiegle


Destructor in: Prison Break
story: Sean T. Collins
art: Matt Wiegle


Cage Variations: Kitchen Sink
script: Sean T. Collins
art: Matt Rota


Cage Variations: 1998 High Street
script: Sean T. Collins
art: Matt Rota


Cage Variations: We Had No Idea
script: Sean T. Collins
art: Matt Rota


The Side Effects of the Cocaine
script: Sean T. Collins
art: Isaac Moylan
(bibliography)


Cage Variations: No
script: Sean T. Collins
art: Matt Rota



Best Of
The Amazing! Incredible! Uncanny Oral History of Marvel Comics

The Outbreak: An Autobiographical Horror Blog

Where the Monsters Go: A 31-Day Horrorblogging Marathon, October 2003

Blog of Blood: A Marathon Examination of Clive Barker's Books of Blood, October 2005

The Blogslinger: Blogging Stephen King's The Dark Tower series, October-November 2007

The Things That Should Not Be: The Monumental Horror-Image and Its Relation to the Contemporary Horror Film (introduction)
PDF

My 35 Favorite Horror Films of All Time (at the moment)

My David Bowie Sketchbook

The Manly Movie Mamajama

Presidential Milkshakes

Horror and Certainty I

Horror and Certainty II

En Garde--I'll Let You Try My New Dumb Avant Garde Style, Part I
Part II

Evil for Thee, Not Me

Phobophobia

The 7 Best Horror Movies of the Past 7 Years (give or take a few films)

Keep Horror NSFW, Part I
Part II

Meet the New Boss: The Politics of Killing, Part I
Part II

130 Things I Loved About The Sopranos

In Defense of "Torture Porn," Part I
Part II

At a Loss: Lost fandom and its discontents

I Got Dem Ol' Konfuzin' Event-Komik Blues Again, Mama

Losing My Edge (DFADDTF Comix Remix)

GusGus, the Universe, and Everything

"I'd Rather Die Than Give You Control" (or Adolf Hitler, Quentin Tarantino, Eli Roth, and Trent Reznor walk into a blog)

The 11 Most Awful Songs from Geek Movie Soundtracks

The 11 Most Awesome Songs from Geek Movie Soundtracks

11 More Awesome Songs from Geek Movie Soundtracks

The 15 Greatest Science Fiction-Based Pop/Rock/Hip-Hop Songs

My Loch Ness Adventure

The Best Comics of 2003

The Best Albums of 2003

The Best Albums of 2004

The Best Comics of 2005

The Best Comics of 2006

The Best Comics, Films, Albums, Songs, and Television Programs of 2007

The Best Comics of 2008

The Best Comics of 2009

The Best Songs of 2009

80 Great Tracks from the 1990s


Interviews with Sean
Interviews by Sean
Movie Reviews
Avatar (Cameron, 2009)

Barton Fink (Coen, 1991)

Batman Begins (Nolan, 2005)

Battlestar Galactica: Razor (Alcala/Rose, 2007)

Battlestar Galactica: "Revelations" (Rymer, 2008)

Battlestar Galactica Season 4.5 (Moore et al, 2009)

Battlestar Galactica: The Plan (Olmos, 2009)

Beowulf (Zemeckis, 2007)

The Birds (Hitchcock, 1963)

The Blair Witch Project (Myrick & Sanchez, 1999)

The Bourne Identity (Liman, 2002)

The Bourne Supremacy (Greengrass, 2004)

The Bourne Ultimatum (Greengrass, 2007)

Casino Royale (Campbell, 2006)

Caprica: "Pilot" (Reiner, 2009)

Caprica S1 E1-6 (Moore et al, 2010)

Children of Men (Cuaron, 2006)

Cigarette Burns (Carpenter, 2005)

Clash of the Titans (Leterrier, 2010)

Cloverfield (Reeves, 2008), Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

Crank: High Voltage (Neveldine/Taylor, 2009)

Daredevil (Johnson, 2003)

The Dark Knight (Nolan, 2008)

Dawn of the Dead (Snyder, 2004)

Della'morte, Dell'amore [Cemetery Man] (Soavi, 1994)

The Diary of a Teenage Girl: The Play (Eckerling & Sunde, 2010)

District 9 (Blomkamp, 2009)

Doomsday (Marshall, 2008)

Dragon Wars [D-War] (Shim, 2007)

Eastern Promises (Cronenberg, 2007)

The Exorcist (Friedkin, 1973)

The Expendables (Stallone, 2010)

Eyes Wide Shut (Kubrick, 1999)

Eyes Wide Shut revisited, Part I
Part II
Part III

Garden State (Braff, 2004)

Gossip Girl Seasons 1-2 (Savage, Schwartz et al, 2007-08)

Gossip Girl Season Three (Savage, Schwartz et al, 2009-2010)

Grindhouse [Planet Terror/Death Proof] (Rodriguez & Tarantino, 2007)

Heavenly Creatures (Jackson, 1994)

Hellboy (Del Toro, 2004)

Hellraiser (Barker, 1987)

A History of Violence (Cronenberg, 2005), Part I
Part II

The Host (Bong, 2006)

Hostel (Roth, 2005)

Hostel: Part II (Roth, 2007)

Hulk (Lee, 2003)

The Hurt Locker (Bigelow, 2009)

I Am Legend (Lawrence, 2007)

The Incredible Hulk (Leterrier, 2008)

Inglourious Basterds (Tarantino, 2009)

Inside (Maury & Bustillo, 2007)

Iron Man (Favreau, 2008)

Iron Man II (Favreau, 2010)

It (Wallace, 1990)

Jeepers Creepers (Salva, 2001)

King Kong (Jackson, 2005), Part I
Part II
Part III

Land of the Dead (Romero, 2005)

Let the Right One In (Alfredson, 2008)

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Jackson, 2003)

Lost: the first five episodes (Abrams, Lindelof et al, 2004)

Lost Season Five (Lindelof, Cuse, Bender et al, 2009)

Lost Season Six (Lindelof, Cuse, Bender et al, 2010)

Lost Highway (Lynch, 1997)

The Lovely Bones (Jackson, 2009)

Match Point (Allen, 2006)

The Matrix Revolutions (Wachowski, 2003)

Metropolis (Lang, 1927)

The Mist (Darabont, 2007), Part I
Part II

Moon (Jones, 2009)

Mulholland Drive (Lynch, 2001)

My Bloody Valentine 3D (Lussier, 2009)

The Mystic Hands of Doctor Strange #1 (various, 2010)

Night of the Living Dead (Romero, 1968)

Pan's Labyrinth (Del Toro, 2006)

Paperhouse (Rose, 1988)

Paranormal Activity (Peli, 2009)

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (Verbinski, 2007) Part I
Part II

Poltergeist (Hooper/Spielberg, 1982)

Quantum of Solace (Forster, 2008)

Rambo (Stallone, 2008)

[REC] (Balaguero & Plaza, 2007)

The Ring (Verbinski, 2002)

The Road (Hillcoat, 2009)

The Ruins (Smith, 2008)

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Wright, 2010)

Secretary (Shainberg, 2002)

A Serious Man (Coen, 2009)

The Shining (Kubrick, 1980)

Shoot 'Em Up (Davis, 2007)

Shutter Island (Scorses, 2010)

The Silence of the Lambs (Demme, 1991)

The Sopranos (Chase et al, 1999-2007)

Speed Racer (Wachowski, 2008)

The Stand (Garris, 1994), Part I
Part II

The Terminator (Cameron, 1984) Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Cameron, 1991)

Terminator Salvation (McG, 2009)

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (Hooper, 1974)

There Will Be Blood (Anderson, 2007)

The Thing (Carpenter, 1983)

300 (Snyder, 2007)

"Thriller" (Jackson & Landis, 1984)

28 Days Later (Boyle, 2002)

28 Weeks Later (Fresnadillo, 2007)Part I
Part II

Twilight (Hardwicke, 2008)

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Slade, 2010)

The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Weitz, 2009)

Up in the Air (J. Reitman, 2009)

War of the Worlds (Spielberg, 2005)

Watchmen (Snyder, 2009) Part I
Part II

The Wicker Man (Hardy, 1973)

The Wire (Simon et al, 2002-2008)

Zombi 2 [Zombie] (Fulci, 1980)

Zombieland (Fleischer, 2009)


Book Reviews
Music Reviews
Comics Reviews
Abe Sapien: The Drowning (Mignola & Alexander, 2008)

Abstract Comics (various, 2009)

The ACME Novelty Library #18 (Ware, 2007)

The ACME Novelty Library #19 (Ware, 2008)

Across the Universe: The DC Universe Stories of Alan Moore (Moore et al, 2003)

Action Comics #870 (Johns & Frank, 2008)

The Adventures of Tintin: The Seven Crystal Balls (Herge, 1975)

Afrodisiac (Rugg & Maruca, 2010)

Against Pain (Rege Jr., 2008)

Agents of Atlas #10 (Parker, Hardman, Rivoche, 2009)

The Airy Tales (Volozova, 2008)

Al Burian Goes to Hell (Burian, 1993)

Alan's War (Guibert, 2008)

Alex Robinson's Lower Regions (Robinson, 2007)

Aline and the Others (Delisle, 2006)

All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder Vol. 1 (Miller & Lee, 2009)

All-Star Superman (Morrison & Quitely, 2008-2010)

American Splendor: The Life and Times of Harvey Pekar (Pekar et al, 2003)

An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons and True Stories (Brunetti et al, 2006)

An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons and True Stories Vol. 2 (Brunetti et al, 2008)

Aqua Leung Vol. 1 (Smith & Maybury, 2008)

Archaeology (McShane, 2009)

The Arrival (Tan, 2006)

Artichoke Tales (Kelso, 2010)

Asterios Polyp (Mazzucchelli, 2009)

The Aviary (Tanner, 2007)

The Awake Field (Rege Jr., 2006)

Axe Cop (Nicolle & Nicolle, 2009-2010)

Bacter-Area (Keith Jones, 2005)

Bald Knob (Hankiewicz, 2007)

Batman (Simmons, 2007)

Batman #664-669, 672-675 (Morrison et al, 2007-2008)

Batman #681 (Morrison & Daniel, 2008)

Batman and the Monster Men (Wagner, 2006)

Batman and Robin #1 (Morrison & Quitely, 2009)

Batman and Robin #9 (Morrison & Stewart, 2010)

Batman: Hush (Loeb & Lee, 2002-03)

Batman: Knightfall Part One: Broken Bat (Dixon, Moench, Aparo, Balent, Breyfogle, Nolan, 1993)

Batman R.I.P. (Morrison, Daniel, Garbett, 2010)

Batman: The Story of the Dark Knight (Cosentino, 2008)

Batman Year 100 (Pope, 2007)

Battlestack Galacti-crap (Chippendale, 2005)

The Beast Mother (Davis, 2006)

The Best American Comics 2006 (A.E. Moore, Pekar et al, 2006)

The Best of the Spirit (Eisner, 2005)

Between Four Walls/The Room (Mattotti, 2003)

Big Questions #10 (Nilsen, 2007)

Big Questions #11: Sweetness and Light (Nilsen, 2008)

Big Questions #12: A Young Crow's Guide to Hunting (Nilsen, 2009)

Big Questions #13: A House That Floats (Nilsen, 2009)

Big Questions #14: Title and Deed (Nilsen, 2010)

The Black Diamond Detective Agency (E. Campbell & Mitchell, 2007)

Black Ghost Apple Factory (Tinder, 2006)

Black Hole (Burns, 2005) Giant Magazine version

Black Hole (Burns, 2005) Savage Critics version, Part I
Part II

Blackest Night #0-2 (Johns & Reis, 2009)

Blankets (Thompson, 2003)

Blankets revisited

Blar (Weing, 2005)

Bone (Smith, 2005)

Bonus ? Comics (Huizenga, 2009)

The Book of Genesis Illustrated (Crumb, 2009)

Bottomless Bellybutton (Shaw, 2008)

Boy's Club (Furie, 2006)

Boy's Club 2 (Furie, 2008)

Boy's Club 3 (Furie, 2009)

B.P.R.D. Vol. 9: 1946 (Mignola, Dysart, Azaceta, 2008)

B.P.R.D.: War on Frogs #4 (Arcudi & Snejbjerg, 2009)

Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*! (Spiegelman, 2008)

Brilliantly Ham-fisted (Neely, 2008)

Burma Chronicles (Delisle, 2008)

Capacity (Ellsworth, 2008)

Captain America (Brubaker, Epting, Perkins et al, 2004-2008)

Captain America #33-34 (Brubaker & Epting, 2007-08)

Captain America: Reborn #4 (Brubaker & Hitch, 2009)

Captain Britain & MI:13 #5 (Cornell & Oliffe, 2008)

Cartoon Dialectics Vol. 1 (Kaczynski, 2007)

Chance in Hell (G. Hernandez, 2007)

Chester 5000 XYV (Fink, 2008-2009)

Chrome Fetus Comics #7 (Rickheit, 2009)

City-Hunter Magazine #1 (C.F., 2009)

Clive Barker's Seduth (Barker, Monfette, Rodriguez, Zone, 2009)

Clive Barker's The Thief of Always (Oprisko & Hernandez, 2005)

Closed Caption Comics #8 (various, 2009)

Cockbone (Simmons, 2009)

Cold Heat #1 (BJ & Santoro, 2006)

Cold Heat #2 (BJ & Santoro, 2006)

Cold Heat #4 (BJ & Santoro, 2007)

Cold Heat #5/6 (BJ & Santoro, 2009)

Cold Heat #7/8 (BJ & Santoro, 2009)

Cold Heat Special #2: The Chunky Gnars (Cornwell, 2007)

Cold Heat Special #3 (Santoro & Shaw, 2008)

Cold Heat Special #5 (Santoro & Smith, 2008)

Cold Heat Special #6 (Cornwell, 2009)

Cold Heat Special #7 (DeForge, 2009)

Cold Heat Special #8 (Santoro & Milburn, 2008)

Cold Heat Special #9 (Santoro & Milburn, 2009)

Comics Are For Idiots!: Blecky Yuckerella Vol. 3 (Ryan, 2008)

The Complete Persepolis (Satrapi, 2007)

Core of Caligula (C.F., 2008)

Crossing the Empty Quarter and Other Stories (Swain, 2009)

Cry Yourself to Sleep (Tinder, 2006)

Curio Cabinet (Brodowski, 2010)

Cyclone Bill & the Tall Tales (Dougherty, 2006)

Daredevil #103-104 (Brubaker & Lark, 2007-08)

Daredevil #110 (Brubaker, Rucka, Lark, Gaudiano, 2008)

The Dark Knight Strikes Again (Miller & Varley, 2003)

Dark Reign: The List #7--Wolverine (Aaron & Ribic, 2009)

Daybreak Episode Three (Ralph, 2008)

DC Universe #0 (Morrison, Johns et al, 2008)

The Death of Superman (Jurgens et al, 1993)

Death Note Vol. 1 (Ohba & Obata, 2005)

Death Note Vol. 2 (Ohba & Obata, 2005)

Death Trap (Milburn, 2010)

Detective Comics #854-860 (Rucka & Williams III, 2009-2010)

The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Gloeckner, 2002)

Dirtbags, Mallchicks & Motorbikes (Kiersh, 2009)

Don't Go Where I Can't Follow (Nilsen & Weaver, 2006)

Doom Force #1 (Morrison et al, 1992)

Doomwar #1 (Maberry & Eaton, 2010)

Dr. Seuss Goes to War (Seuss/Minear, 2001)

Dragon Head Vols. 1-5 (Mochizuki, 2005-2007)

A Drifting Life (Tatsumi, 2009)

Driven by Lemons (Cotter, 2009)

Eightball #23 (Clowes, 2004)

Ex Machina Vols. 1-9 (Vaughan, Harris et al, 2005-2010)

Exit Wounds (Modan, 2007)

The Exterminators Vol. 1: Bug Brothers (Oliver & Moore, 2006)

Fallen Angel (Robel, 2006)

Fandancer (Grogan, 2010)

Fatal Faux-Pas (Gaskin, 2008)

FCHS (Delsante & Freire, 2010)

Feeble Minded Funnies/My Best Pet (Milburn/Freibert, 2009)

Fight or Run: Shadow of the Chopper (Huizenga, 2008)

Final Crisis #1 (Morrison & Jones, 2008)

Final Crisis #1-7 (Morrison, Jones, Pacheco, Rudy, Mahnke et al, 2008-2009)

Fires (Mattotti, 1991)

First Time (Sibylline et al, 2009)

Flash: Rebirth #4 (Johns & Van Sciver, 2009)

Follow Me (Moynihan, 2009)

Footnotes in Gaza (Sacco, 2009)

Forbidden Worlds #114: "A Little Fat Nothing Named Herbie!" (O'Shea [Hughes] & Whitney, 1963)

Forlorn Funnies #5 (Hornschemeier, 2004)

Forming (Moynihan, 2009-2010)

Fox Bunny Funny (Hartzell, 2007)

Funny Misshapen Body (Brown, 2009)

Gags (DeForge)

Galactikrap 2 (Chippendale, 2007)

Ganges #2 (Huizenga, 2008)

Ganges #3 (Huizenga, 2009)

Gangsta Rap Posse #1 (Marra, 2009)

The Gigantic Robot (Gauld, 2009)

Giraffes in My Hair: A Rock 'n' Roll Life (Paley & Swain, 2009)

A God Somewhere (Arcudi & Snejbjerg, 2010)

Goddess Head (Shaw, 2006)

The Goddess of War, Vol. 1 (Weinstein, 2008)

GoGo Monster (Matsumoto, 2009)

The Goon Vols. 0-2 (Powell, 2003-2004)

Green Lantern #43-51 (Johns, Mahnke, Benes, 2009-2010)

Held Sinister (Stechschulte, 2009)

Hellboy Junior (Mignola, Wray et al, 2004)

Hellboy Vol. 8: Darkness Calls (Mignola & Fegredo, 2008)

Henry & Glenn Forever (Neely et al, 2010)

High Moon Vol. 1 (Gallaher & Ellis, 2009)

Ho! (Brunetti, 2009)

How We Sleep (Davis, 2006)

I Killed Adolf Hitler (Jason, 2007)

I Live Here (Kirshner, MacKinnon, Shoebridge, Simons et al, 2008)

I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets! (Hanks, Karasik, 2007)

Image United #1 (Kirkman, Liefeld et al, 2009)

The Immortal Iron Fist #12 (Brubaker, Fraction, Aja, Kano, Pulido, 2008)

The Immortal Iron Fist #21 (Swierczynski & Green, 2008)

Immortal Weapons #1 (Aaron, Swierczynski et al, 2009)

In a Land of Magic (Simmons, 2009)

In the Flesh: Stories (Shadmi, 2009)

Incanto (Santoro, 2006)

Incredible Change-Bots (Brown, 2007)

The Incredible Hercules #114-115 (Pak, Van Lente, Pham, 2008)

Inkweed (Wright, 2008)

Invincible Vols. 1-9 (Kirkman, Walker, Ottley, 2003-2008)

Invincible Iron Man #1-4 (Fraction & Larroca, 2008)

Invincible Iron Man #8 (Fraction & Larroca, 2008)

Invincible Iron Man #19 (Fraction & Larroca, 2009)

It Was the War of the Trenches (Tardi, 2010)

It's Sexy When People Know Your Name (Hannawalt, 2007)

Jessica Farm Vol. 1 (Simmons, 2008)

Jin & Jam #1 (Jo, 2009)

JLA Classified: Ultramarine Corps (Morrison & McGuinness, 2002)

Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer (Katchor, 1996)

Jumbly Junkery #8-9 (Nichols, 2009-2010)

Just a Man #1 (Mitchell & White, 2009)

Justice League: The New Frontier Special (Cooke, Bone, Bullock, 2008)

Keeping Two (Crane, 2001-)

Kick-Ass #1-4 (Millar & Romita Jr., 2008)

Kid Eternity (Morrison & Fegredo, 1991)

Kill Your Boyfriend (Morrison & Bond, 1995)

King-Cat Comics and Stories #69 (Porcellino, 2008)

Kramers Ergot 4 (Harkham et al, 2003)

Kramers Ergot 5 (Harkham et al, 2004)

Kramers Ergot 6 (Harkham et al, 2006)

Kramers Ergot 7 (Harkham et al, 2008)

The Lagoon (Carre, 2008)

The Last Call Vol. 1 (Lolos, 2007)

The Last Lonely Saturday (Crane, 2000)

The Last Musketeer (Jason, 2008)

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier (Moore & O'Neill, 2007)

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 3: Century #1: 1910 (Moore & O'Neill, 2009)

Legion of Super-Heroes: The Great Darkness Saga (Levitz, Giffen, Mahlstedt, Bruning, 1991)

Little Things (Brown, 2008)

Look Out!! Monsters #1 (Grogan, 2008)

Lose #1-2 (DeForge, 2009-2010)

Lost Kisses #9 & 10 (Mitchell, 2009)

Love and Rockets: New Stories #1 (Los Bros Hernandez, 2008)

Low Moon (Jason, 2009)

The Mage's Tower (Milburn, 2008)

Maggots (Chippendale, 2007)

The Man with the Getaway Face (Cooke, 2010)

Mattie & Dodi (Davis, 2006)

McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #13 (Ware et al, 2004)

Mercury (Larson, 2010)

Mesmo Delivery (Grampa, 2008)

Micrographica (French, 2007)

Mister Wonderful (Clowes, 2007-2008)

Mome Vol. 4: Spring/Summer 2006 (various, 2006)

Mome Vol. 9: Fall 2007 (various, 2007)

Mome Vol. 10: Winter/Spring 2008 (various, 2008)

Mome Vol. 11: Summer 2008 (various, 2008)

Mome Vol. 12: Fall 2008 (various, 2008)

Mome Vol. 13: Winter 2009 (various, 2008)

Mome Vol. 14: Spring 2009 (various, 2009)

Mome Vol. 15: Summer 2009 (various, 2009)

Mome Vol. 16: Fall 2009 (various, 2009)

Mome Vol. 17: Winter 2010 (various, 2009)

Mome Vol. 18: Spring 2010 (various, 2010)

Mome Vol. 19: Summer 2010 (various, 2010)

Monkey & Spoon (Lia, 2004)

Monster Men Bureiko Lullaby (Nemoto, 2008)

Monsters (Dahl, 2009)

Monsters & Condiments (Wiegle, 2009)

Monstrosity Mini (Diaz, 2010)

Mother, Come Home (Hornschemeier, 2003)

The Mourning Star Vols. 1 & 2 (Strzepek, 2006 & 2009)

Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 (Petersen, 2008)

Mr. Cellar's Attic (Freibert, 2010)

Multiforce (Brinkman, 2009)

Multiple Warheads #1 (Graham, 2007)

My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Heatley, 2008)

The Mystery of Woolverine Woo-Bait (Coleman, 2004)

Naoki Urasawa's Monster Vols. 1-3 (Urasawa, 2006)

Naoki Urasawa's Monster Vols. 4-5 (Urasawa, 2006)

Naoki Urasawa's Monster Vols. 6-18 (Urasawa, 2006-2008)

Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys Vols. 1-3 (Urasawa, 2009)

Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys Vols. 4 & 5 (Urasawa, 2009)

Neely Covers Comics to Give You the Creeps! (Neely, 2010)

Neighbourhood Sacrifice (Davidson, DeForge, Gill, 2009)

Never Ending Summer (Cole, 2004)

Never Learn Anything from History (Beaton, 2009)

Neverland (Kiersh, 2008)

New Avengers #44 (Bendis & Tan, 2008)

New Construction #2 (Huizenga, May, Zettwoch, 2008)

New Engineering (Yokoyama, 2007)

New Painting and Drawing (Jones, 2008)

New X-Men Vol. 6: Planet X (Morrison & Jimenez, 2004)

New X-Men Vol. 7: Here Comes Tomorrow (Morrison & Silvestri, 2004)

Nicolas (Girard, 2008)

Night Business #1 & 2 (Marra, 2008 & 2009)

Night Business #3 (Marra, 2010)

Nil: A Land Beyond Belief (Turner, 2007)

Ninja (Chippendale, 2006)

Nocturnal Conspiracies (David B., 2008)

not simple (Ono, 2010)

The Numbers of the Beasts (Cheng, 2010)

Ojingogo (Forsythe, 2008)

Olde Tales Vol. II (Milburn, 2007)

One Model Nation (Taylor, Leitch, Rugg, Porter, 2009)

Or Else #5 (Huizenga, 2008)

The Other Side #1-2 (Aaron & Stewart, 2005)

Owly Vol. 4: A Time to Be Brave (Runton, 2007)

Owly Vol. 5: Tiny Tales (Runton, 2008)

Paper Blog Update Supplemental Postcard Set Sticker Pack (Nilsen, 2009)

Paradise Kiss Vols. 1-5 (Yazawa, 2002-2004)

The Perry Bible Fellowship Almanack (Gurewitch, 2009)

Peter's Muscle (DeForge, 2010)

Pim & Francie: The Golden Bear Days (Columbia, 2009)

Pixu I (Ba, Cloonan, Lolos, Moon, 2008)

Pizzeria Kamikaze (Keret & A. Hanuka, 2006)

Plague Hero (Adebimpe, 2009)

Planetary Book 3: Leaving the 20th Century (Ellis & Cassaday, 2005)

Planetes Vols. 1-3 (Yukimura, 2003-2004)

The Plot: The Secret Story of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (Eisner, 2005)

Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka Vols. 1-3 (Urasawa, Nagasaki, Tezuka, 2009)

Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka Vols. 1-8 (Urasawa, Nagasaki, Tezuka, 2009-2010)

Pocket Full of Rain and Other Stories (Jason, 2008)

pood #1 (various, 2010)

Powr Mastrs Vol. 1 (C.F., 2007)

Powr Mastrs Vol. 2 (C.F., 2008)

Prison Pit: Book 1 (Ryan, 2009)

Prison Pit: Book 2 (Ryan, 2010)

Real Stuff (Eichhorn et al, 2004)

Red Riding Hood Redux (Krug, 2009)

Refresh, Refresh (Novgorodoff, Ponsoldt, Pierce, 2009)

Remake (Abrams, 2009)

Reykjavik (Rehr, 2009)

Ronin (Miller, 1984)

Rumbling Chapter Two (Huizenga, 2009)

The San Francisco Panorama Comics Section (various, 2010)

Scott Pilgrim Full-Colour Odds & Ends 2008 (O'Malley, 2008)

Scott Pilgrim Vol. 4: Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together (O'Malley, 2007)

Scott Piglrim Vol. 5: Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe (O'Malley, 2009)

Scott Pilgrim Vol. 6: Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour (O'Malley, 2010)

Second Thoughts (Asker, 2009)

Service Industry (Bak, 2007)

Set to Sea (Weing, 2010)

Seven Soldiers of Victory Vols. 1-4 (Morrison et al, 2004)

Shenzhen (Delisle, 2008)

S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 (Hickman & Weaver, 2010)

Shitbeams on the Loose #2 (various, 2010)

Show Off (Burrier, 2009)

Siege (Bendis & Coipel, 2010)

Siberia (Maslov, 2008)

Skim (Tamaki & Tamaki, 2008)

Skyscrapers of the Midwest (Cotter, 2008)

Skyscrapers of the Midwest #4 (Cotter, 2007)

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Snake Oil #5: Wolf (Forsman, 2009)

Snow Time (Krug, 2010)

Solanin (Asano, 2008)

Soldier X #1-8 (Macan & Kordey, 2002-2003)

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Spider-Man: Fever #1 (McCarthy, 2010)

Split Lip Vol. 1 (Costello et al, 2009)

Squadron Supreme (Gruenwald et al, 1986)

The Squirrel Machine (Rickheit, 2009)

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Sulk Vol. 1: Bighead & Friends (J. Brown, 2009)

Sulk Vol. 2: Deadly Awesome (J. Brown, 2009)

Sulk Vol. 3: The Kind of Strength That Comes from Madness (Brown, 2009)

Superman #677-680 (Robinson & Guedes, 2008)

Supermen! The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1936-1941 (Sadowski et al, 2009)

Sweet Tooth #1 (Lemire, 2009)

Tales Designed to Thrizzle #4 (Kupperman, 2008)

Tales Designed to Thrizzle #5 (Kupperman, 2009)

Tales Designed to Thrizzle #6 (Kupperman, 2010)

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Thor: Ages of Thunder (Fraction, Zircher, Evans, 2008)

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Tokyo Tribes Vols. 1 & 2 (Inoue, 2005)

Top 10: The Forty-Niners (Moore & Ha, 2005)

Travel (Yokoyama, 2008)

Trigger #1 (Bertino, 2010)

The Troll King (Karlsson, 2010)

Two Eyes of the Beautiful (Smith, 2010)

Ultimate Comics Avengers #1 (Millar & Pacheco, 2009)

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1 (Bendis & LaFuente, 2009)

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XO #5 (Mitchell & Gardner, 2009)

You Are There (Forest & Tardi, 2009)

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KEEP COMICS EVIL


Much ado about regression (Attentiondeficitdisorderly Too Flat)

May 7, 2010

Much ado about regression

I think that Chris Sims's piece on "the racial politics of regressive storytelling"--by which he means the way that resurrecting the original versions of characters like Green Lantern, the Atom, the Legion of Super-Heroes and so on has the unintended but unavoidable effect of re-whitening these franchises--ignores a lot of important details and thus badly misdiagnoses the source of this problem. But I'll start by pointing out its strengths: Yeah, you know what, it is weird that concepts like the Flash and the Legion are so nostalgic despite being literally about forward motion and the future, as Sims points out on his own blog (though I like Geoff Johns's takes on those characters anyway). Also, this isn't exactly news, but it is indeed silly the way so many ethnic characters have nationality-or-stereotype-based powers (though as Sims notes, that's true of plenty of nominally "white" European characters as well--Banshee, anyone?). And in general, it's certainly not healthy for the superhero genre to be so inward-looking; as Sims notes, we're a long way from Frank Miller and Alan Moore, whose successes stemmed in part from bringing in outside influences and from their restless desire to do things that hadn't been done with these characters and concepts before. Finally, Sims is quite right to point out the grotesque undercurrent of majoritarian whinging you occasionally detect from fans, marginalizing non-white characters like John Stewart as "Black Lantern" and bitching about Idris Elba and Michael Clarke Duncan getting cast in movies and so on.

But while Sims's central argument can't really be denied--obviously, replacing (say) the Asian-American Atom or African-American Firestorm with their Caucasian forerunners does indeed make the DC line-up that much whiter--I think blaming it, as he does, on blinkered and compulsive nostalgia-mongering is misleading.

First of all, I've always thought the "legacy" concept, by which older characters are replaced by younger ones who inherit their basic costume-and-power-set concept, is one of the weirdest and lamest things about superhero comics. If Lost introduced a new doctor character with short hair and daddy issues and called him Jack, would it be "galling" or "regressive" for the audience, or subsequent writers, to want to bring the original guy back? Perhaps once upon a time, in its original form, when then-defunct Golden Age characters were replaced by Silver Age characters who were like totally different things, giving an old character's name to a new one was the sort of forward-thinking freshmaker that Douglas Wolk has argued it is. But that's very different from the "legacy" concept we know today--as I've said before, they're all about new characters' compulsion to live up to their forebears, no more forward-thinking than my college buddy's dad naming him William Howard Taft V.

Secondly, I'm frankly not convinced that very many of these characters are such great losses beyond the surface value of their, uh, surfaces. Ryan Choi and Jason Rusch, the most recent Atom and Firestorm, are the stars of canceled series with no evident fanbase. At any rate, they're still around and useable, and in fact they've both starred in big-deal event comics lately (Ryan in Cry for Justice, Jason in the ongoing Brightest Day where he shares the Firestorm powers with his white forerunner Ronnie Raymond). I also think it's a stretch for Sims to rope newer Flash Wally West into the argument because his wife is...Korean-American, I guess, though you'd never know it from looking at any of the pictures I've ever seen of her. Ditto newer Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, who apparently and hilariously was retconned into being Latino. If you have to cite Yolanda Montez to shore up your argument, you're grasping. ("Who?" Exactly.) As for the Legion, even semi-seriously citing that green skins/blue skins/black skins line is indicative of how goofy this is. And the less said Sims's likening of the creation of an alternate Earth for more recent iterations of old superhero concepts to "the unintentional building of a cosmic-scale meta-textual ghetto," the better.

In a nutshell, I think Sims's argument is DC-based by necessity, since that's the universe where the most prominent non-white characters have tended to be revamps of preexisting superhero mantles previously held by white dudes. If you look at most of the better, longest-lasting, most prominent superheroes who aren't white--Storm, Luke Cage, Black Panther--they're their own thing, not substitutes for previous characters. To filter it through a more familiar lens, I think it's widely accepted that superheroines are considered lame is that so many of them are obvious, borderline creepy knock-off versions of the male characters like She-Hulk, Spider-Woman. (I think Supergirl and Batgirl clicked because they're more like sidekicks.) Again, the ones who really work--Wonder Woman, Jean Grey, the Invisible Woman, Storm again--tend to be their own thing.

Moreover, and contra the likes of the DC characters mentioned above, the big Marvel non-white characters are associated with influential, acclaimed runs by important creators: Storm's from the Claremont/Cockrum/Byrne X-Men, Luke Cage was rescued from obscurity by peak-of-his-powers Brian Michael Bendis for Alias and then placed at the forefront of the company-defining New Avengers, Black Panther is a goddamn Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four castmember. I know plenty of '90s-era comics readers who are fond of Kyle or Wally and his wife Linda, and there are any number of superhero blogs who could tell you how much they enjoyed the low-double-digit runs of the recent Blue Beetle or Firestorm comics, but we're clearly on a different level here.

Now, I know that the "one true versions" of Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), the Flash (Barry Allen), the Atom (Ray Palmer) et al who have recently been resurrected were all themselves replacements for earlier superheroes with those names. But there were many other variables in play here. For starters, the previous holders of those titles were, for the most part, predecessors in name only: The concepts for the original Green Lantern and Atom were very different, for example. They'd also been pretty much out of commission for quite some time before their publishers decided to reinvigorate their IP by coming up with new characters for those monikers. As Franklin Harris notes, this means the earlier versions didn't have to be killed off or otherwise forcibly marginalized to make room for their replacements, which isn't true for guys like Hal and Barry and Ray; I'd imagine that Harris is right to say that this is the source of a lot of lingering desire to bring back the previous versions.

This is getting into personal preference now, but of the suite of non-white heroes currently flying around the DCU, I'm not surprised to discover that my favorites--though not originals like Storm and Cage and the Panther--tend not to follow the usual model of copycatting a previous template as closely as their shunted-to-the-side counterparts. African-American Green Lantern John Stewart works for the same reason that white Green Lantern Guy Gardner works: They fit in as fellow members of the Green Lantern Corps, a concept that can allow for multiple people with the same power set, rather than as direct replacements for a slain Hal Jordan as was the apparently Mexican-American Kyle Rayner. Steel shares a name with some previous DC hero I don't have the first clue about, but he's also a can't-miss combination of Iron Man with Superman's cape, Thor's hammer, and an iconic African-American legend's name (John Henry Irons = AWESOME secret identity), all of which I'm reasonably sure didn't apply to the last guy. Jaime Reyes is a direct replacement of the previous, murdered Blue Beetle, yeah, but he's so different in identity (suburban teenager vs. grown-man billionaire inventor) and power set (magic alien artifact vs. basic eccentric tech stuff) that he feels less like a sub and more like what Hal Jordan was to Alan Scott. Plus, he's in a very popular cartoon series, which is really the bottom line: The characters with the most purchase in the minds of fans and in pop-culture at large tend to be the ones who win out in the end, which is why the Green Lantern who originated the modern concept and starred in decades of stories and Super Friends beats the Green Lantern who gave us "women in refrigerators," the crab mask, and relative obscurity.

My point is that if you don't like the whitening of the DCU as it's playing out through the return of Silver Age whitebread heroes, don't blame Geoff Johns's Rebirth comics or the fans who buy them--blame the people who thought the best way to diversify the DCU was to stick new guys in the old guys' laundry.

Comments (14)

Tim O'Neil:

I'll just post my general agreement that the obsession with legacy heroes at DC is kind of weird / creepy, and is one good reason why the DCU - even when done well - always strikes me as a very parochial, conservative place.

But I will also quibble - in a very minor way - that it's unfair to dismiss She-Hulk like that. The character has a long history and significant fanbase distinct from her cousin's, so even if her earliest origins are crass her staying power is proof of the fact that there's a lot more to her than many of the other, very predictable character "updates" you mention.


Yeah, I'm probably a little hard on Shulkie. Then again, if you ever use the words "She-Hulk" around civilians, they will laugh or go "ewww." I remember that from a Maxim thing I did that mentioned her.


sara1944:

Funny, whenever I mention Maxim around civilians, they laugh or go "ewww."


It's a fair cop!


I think it is a valid point that derivative characters rarely work and almost never exceed the original. Batgirl was never going to be bigger than Batman, nor She-Hulk more popular than The Hulk.

The major exception to that rule were the Silver Age DC revamps by Julius Schwartz. However, not only was that a completely different time in the comic book industry, but (as you alluded to) a far more radical re-think of the premises behind the properties than anyone has attempted since. Even then, for every hit (i.e. The Flash, Green Lantern) there was a miss that did not age nearly as well (i.e. space cop Hawkman).

By exclusively saddling their non-white, non-male characters with the legacy baggage, DC has set them up to fail. The intentions might be wonderful, but that is the effect.


KentL:

I would argue that in the current market, people don't invest in new concepts. So I can understand why creators tried to use already familiar properties to diversify the DCU. Do you really think a Ray Palmer Atom series will sell any better than the Ryan Choi Atom series did? Probably not. Same goes with Firestorm. So my question is why bother bringing back the old. Why not try and integrate these characters more into the DCU by having them be part of other ongoing series (ala Blue Beetle in Teen Titans)? It seems to me that DC is just throwing up their arms (and to a certain extent thumbing their noses at the creators of these characters) just to return to status quo circa 1980.


Tre:

While I agree that Sims' article/essay was reaching a bit, I must say too, that the idea of presenting Marvel's cast as positive proof doesn't really fare much better for me (and I know that this is only a slice of your argument, but still).

Storm? You mean the white-haired, white-eyed Storm? I don't mention these features because they allude to white characteristics/appearances, but more so, outside of rap videos, I don't know any black woman that looks like this. That's always undercut Storm's presence to me--her ridiculously ethnic-sidestepping appearance. And then the rather forced marriage to...Black Panther. OK.

Luke Cage falls into that same territory of "cool street thug" that's all the rave nowadays, and is still stilted by being burdened with "street talk".

I'd mention Brother Voodoo too, but you know, his name sorta does enough on its own.

Throw in the mix too, Marvel's own issues with consistent race ID-ing of characters like Psylocke (who underwent an Asian/ninja transformation), Jubilee, and the semi-recent controversy with the Ultimate Wasp, and I'd say there's plenty to raise an eyebrow or two about over at the House of Ideas, too.


You make some good points, but ultimately I disagree.

On one hand, I think the new Green Lantern run has been great and I like that effort has been made to still respect Kyle (though I don't see how him having a Latino father is "hilarious"). I'm enjoying Barry's return as well (in Final Crisis, Blackest Night, and the new series; Rebirth didn't quite do it for me). So I'm not automatically against what Sims calls "regressive" storytelling. I think new things can be done with these characters that aren't just nostalgia tours. Johns has proven that.

Even so, Sims' point was that DC used to be much more committed to giving us more heroes of color and it seems that commitment has waned. The pushing aside of legacy heroes is a strong symptom of that.

And I strongly disagree that the concept of legacy heroes is "weird" or "lame". I don't think there's any way to justify such a a blanket dismissal. Reasons:
1) Wally West is one of my favorite characters precisely because we were able to watch him grow and mature. This only happened because he stepped into the role of the Flash.
2) Don't forget that Ted Kord, John Stewart, Tim Drake, Bart Allen, and Conner Kent are also legacies. For many newer readers, the legacy versions are "their" versions of the character. Why shouldn't a new comics reader be able to see a big name character whose more reflective of who they are (racially or generationally, or whatever)?
3) More than Marvel, DC's universe has reflected the actual growth and change of life, not just the illusion of it.
4) It's not so much about the costume or powers it's about the personality. Sure, Barry and Hal and Ray were radical reinventions of their original concepts, and even though Wally, Kyle, and Ryan had/have similar powers and costumes, they are completely different people approaching their circumstances and powers in completely different ways. That's interesting storytelling.

Where I think we can all agree is that there need to be more black and brown heroes (Marvel, as you said, is better, but but only nominally). The convenient excuse (and one you brought up) is that these characters won't sell and don't have a fanbase. But this is really just an argument for maintaining the status quo. Let's face it, the fanbase is easy to manipulate. You mentioned Luke Cage: Bendis put him in front of us and made us like him and pay attention to him. That's all it really takes.

And I think that can be done whether the characters are legacies or not. Put John Stewart, Ryan Choi, Jamie Reyes, Icon, Static, etc in front of us and make them REALLY important (Choi and Stewart were NOT important to Cry for Justice or Blackest Night). If they don't make it in their own solo books, put them on a team or make them integral to a big event, or like you mentioned, put them in a cartoon. This has continually proven itself to work. Comic book companies and creators just need to step up and do it.


I just wanted to pop in to say thank you to any one who's new here for putting up with my infuriatingly slow comment interface. Welcome!

Dean: Yeah, that's pretty much what I'm saying.

Kent: I think you're right that people in the current comics market aren't super-interested in new concepts. But I think then you have to pull back and look at how it got that way, and I think ultimately the blame can be pinned on the same publishers whose lack of imagination led to so many retreads of previous concepts to begin with.

Tre: To nitpick back at you a bit, Storm's white hair and white eyes are not only different from what you'd see on a young African woman, they're different from what you'd see on ANY young human being, pretty much. I don't think those features obscure her ethnicity, particularly when you go back to the stories when she was first introduced and see how relentlessly her background was explored. Also, there's really nothing "street thug" about Luke Cage at all anymore: His overriding motivation for the past couple years is to create a safe world for his wife and baby, and Bendis has kept his tough-guy talk to a minimum. That said, I only think Marvel's record with minority characters is better than DC's because of the very low bar set by the latter; you're certainly right that there are plenty of problems at the House of Ideas as well. (Black Panther and Wakanda are an amazing concept, though.)

Paul: In terms of Kyle having a Mexican dad being hilarious, I don't mean his Mexicanness is hilarious, I mean it's hilarious that he started as an Irish-American and then at some point someone was like "You know what? Nevermind, he's Mexican-American."

As for legacies being lame, we're just gonna have to disagree on that. There are certainly plenty of interesting characters who've inherited either character names or whole concepts, including some of those on your list. But when folks like you or Douglas Wolk talk about how legacies reflect the forward motion of life, I just think of all the legacy-based stories i've read, which are almost oppressively nostalgic and all about the new kid worrying he can't possibly be as awesome as the old guard.

But ultimately we agree. I think conceptual strength--design, power set, etc.--is hugely important for a character, and I tend to believe that coming up with an original idea in that regard gives characters a leg up, provided it's a GOOD idea. But almost any inherent weakness can be overcome with solid execution. Luke Cage is a perfect example: He went from yellow blouse-wearing tiara-sporting Sweet Christmas guy to the leader of two teams and arguably the heart of the biggest franchise in comics today, all because Bendis took the time to work with him.


Tre:

Sean,

I can totally appreciate the commentary about Storm, though I still find it odd that Marvel's most prominent A-A woman is still colored like a Powder Puff Girl.

Marvel's been better about making minorities background characters (like say Robbie in the Spidey comics) but I overall don't think that they fare much better than DC.

Storm and BP are about the ONLY examples you can really point as Marvel "being down".


Interesting that you should mention Luke Cage, seing as Marvel has just announced a new Power Man/legacy character.


I won't spoil it, but something very applicable to this conversation happened in the Titans: Villains for Hire special that came out yesterday.

Let's just say there's one less DC legacy hero to worry about. And apropos to what Sims wrote, the character isn't/wasn't white.


SPOILERS in the link.

Le sigh.


Emburii:

Storm was referred to as beautiful in earlier comics because she had 'the best features of all races'. So the blue eyes and straight white hair are directly a racial thing, the parts of black women that aren't 'best'. Storm is not really a good example of Marvel's racial sensitivity.


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