The 25th Anniversary Edition 1992 Version: Comic Books

It’s time once again for the Anniversary Edition. This is a series where we highlight the 25th anniversary of some of our favorite things. These include movies, TV shows, video games, comics and music that came out during the year of 1992. A lot of big things debuted or made a huge impact that year and so we will highlight some of those in this series.

We have previously looked at the year in music, video games, movies, and TV shows in 1992. We now turn to the year in comics in 1992. There were several storylines and characters that made their debut that year.

On the Marvel front, the big crossover event was Infinity War.  It was a six issue miniseries which was a sequel to the previous year’s Infinity Gauntlet.  The storyline would also be dealt with in Captain America, Daredevil, Silver Surfer, Spider-Man and other comic series.  This comic event is going to be adapted for the big screen next year in The Avengers: Infinity War.

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On the DC front, there wasn’t a big huge crossover event.  There were several characters that made their debuts but we’ll get to that in a moment.

As far as debuts are concerned, the first to address is a new publishing company.  Image Comics made its debut in 1992.  Along with that saw the debut in May of Spawn, a character created by comic book artist Todd MacFarlane, who had previously drawn Spider-Man.

There were several characters that made their debut in 1992.  For Marvel, there was the debut of James Rhodes as War Machine in Iron Man #282.  For DC there were two characters related to the Batman franchise that debuted.  Detective Renee Montoya debuted in Batman #475 in March and Azrael debuted in the miniseries Batman: Sword of Azrael in October

There are many other comics and characters that were featured in 1992. Is there an issue or character not listed that you enjoy? Leave a comment and share them here. Thanks for joining us this month during our trip down memory lane. We’ll be back next year around this time to look at the 25th anniversary of things that happened during 1993. Until then, break out the comic books and enjoy some classic reading.

The 25th Anniversary Edition 1991 Version: Comic Books

It’s time once again for the Anniversary Edition. This is a series where we highlight the 25th anniversary of some of our favorite things. These include movies, TV shows, video games, comics and music that came out during the year of 1991. A lot of big things debuted or made a huge impact that year and so we will highlight some of those in this series.

We have previously looked at the year in music, video games, movies, and TV shows in 1991. We now turn to the year in comics in 1991. There were several storylines and characters that made their debut that year.

On the Marvel front, the big crossover event was the Muir Island Saga.  It was a five issue crossover between The X-Men & X-Factor.  The results of the saga included seeing Professor X losing the use of his legs again as well as the members of the X-Men go back to wearing individual uniforms instead of team uniforms.

X-Men Muir Island Saga
On the DC front, the big crossover event was Armageddon 2001.  The event ran May through October and was featured in all the big DC chararacters’ annual comics as well as a limited series specific to the event.  The other big DC comic was the #1 issue of Superman:  The Man of Steel which debuted in July.  With this comic series, it meant that at the time that there would be a new Superman comic book every week of the month.

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Another huge comic book miniseries that released in 1991 did so through Dark Horse Comics.  This was a new story in the Star Wars universe.  That title was Star Wars:  Dark Empire.  The first issue debuted in December and told the further adventures of Luke Skywalker and the gang.  These stories, along with many post Return of the Jedi stories, are now apart of the Legends canon of the Star Wars Universe.

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There were several characters that made their debut in 1991.  I’ll highlight two here.  The first is Cletus Kassady, better known as Carnage.  He debuted in The Amazing Spider-Man #344 in March and would eventually become the “darker version” of Venom.  The second one is someone that is pretty popular given the recent movie that came out this year and that is Wade Wilson, better known as Deadpool.  Debuting in The New Mutants #98 in February, Deadpool was initially a villain but his popularity drove the writers to morph him into the anti-hero character that he is known for today.

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There are many other comics and characters that were featured in 1991. Is there an issue or character not listed that you enjoy? Leave a comment and share them here. Thanks for joining us this month during our trip down memory lane. We’ll be back next year around this time to look at the 25th anniversary of things that happened during 1992. Until then, break out the comic books and enjoy some classic reading.

Flash vs. Arrow: A Case Study (Of Sorts)

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This week featured the “crossover event” of two comic book TV shows.  They are The Flash and Arrow, both on the CW Network.  They star two DC superheroes, the Flash and Green Arrow.  The Flash is a newly spinoff show (debuted this season) of Arrow (now in its third season).  They are different shows with different environments but have a “shared universe” (as in they are connected and interact with each other as opposed to another DC show on TV right now, Gotham).

The two night events (last night and tonight) was not the first time the two shows interacted.  Last season on Arrow, Barry Allen was introduced as a character (pre acquisition of his powers) as well as the introduction of two supporting characters Caitlin Snow and Cisco Ramon.  The season premiere of The Flash featured a cameo by Oliver Queen/Arrow as well as an early season guest appearance by Felicity Smoak (a part of Team Arrow).

The Flash episode was appropriately entitled “Flash vs. Arrow”.  It featured what you would expect in pairing of two superheroes, a fight.  The fight (which was brought on by Barry being affected by a metahuman) ended in a draw but was a valuable lesson to Barry.  The Arrow episode was entitled “The Brave and the Bold”.  For those that don’t know, that is the title of a comic book series that featured superheroes pairing up to fight villains.  This episode was more of the Flash and Arrow working together, but not without some tension and disagreement.

There is a dynamic between the two which lends itself to good storytelling.  This is because not only of their stark differences but also their shared commonalities.  The differences are somewhat obvious.  Barry has superpowers (super speed/quick healing) and Oliver does not.  Barry has to fight villains that are meta humans (for the most part) and Oliver does not (for the most part).  The cities in which they live (Barry and Central City/Oliver and Starling City) are a reflection of them and are in contrast.

However, both have experienced great loss.  Both have seen their mothers killed in front of them.  Both have a team around them that helps them in their fight (Barry has Caitlin, Cisco, Dr. Harrison Wells and Det. Joe West while Oliver has Felicity, John Diggle and Roy Harper).  Both are in love with someone they can’t be with at the moment (Barry with Iris West/Oliver with Felicity or Laurel Lance depending on the season).

I’ve always been a fan of the character of The Flash and I think the TV show has done a great job depicting Barry as the superhero as well as the “alter ego”.  He is a balance to Oliver Queen/Arrow who is darker but yet is still a hero.  Both learn from each other about being a hero.  Barry learns from Oliver about not rushing into danger but knowing what the dangers are.  Oliver learns from Barry about being hope to others.

Barry and Oliver

It is true that when you bring Barry types together with Oliver types that you do have conflict.  However, there is also a lot of good that can come about the pairing.  Because the things that make Barry Allen special help where Oliver Queen isn’t good at and vice versa.  It makes for good storytelling and in real life it helps people grow and do good.

The 25th Anniversary Edition: Comic Books

It’s time once again for the Anniversary Edition.  This is a series where we highlight the 25th anniversary of some of our favorite things.  These include movies, TV shows, video games, comics and music that came out during the year of 1989, the last year of the decade of the 80s.  A lot of big things debuted or made a huge impact that year and so we will highlight some of those in this series.

We have previously looked at the year in music, video games, movies, and TV shows in 1989.  For the final article in this series, we now turn to the year in comics in 1989.  Compared to other years, 1989 wasn’t the biggest year in comics.  However, there were some important characters and issues that came out that year.

Several comic book issues that were first published in 1989 that were influential centered around Batman.  The first of these was a story published under the DC Secret Origins comic.  This was a series that featured the origins of their superheroes.  Sometimes they published trade paperback versions of the comic that featured original stories.  One such story was “The Man Who Falls”.  This was a retelling of the origin story of Bruce Wayne as Batman.  It was significant as it would later be the inspiration for the film Batman Begins.  Another huge Batman story that debuted in 1989 was the one shot comic Gotham by Gaslight.  This comic would eventually be the first in a series of comics known as Elseworlds.  This series focused on DC characters in different eras or timeframes.  This comic had the Dark Knight in the late 1800s and the main villain is Jack the Ripper.

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On the Marvel front, there were several crossover events.  They included Inferno, which had initially begun its run in October of previous year.  It mainly dealt with the X-Men and featured Madelyne Prior, who was best known as Scott Summers’ (aka Cyclops) first wife.  Another crossover event was “Acts of Vengeance”.  This crossover event centered more around the Avengers and the Fantastic Four but featured many other Marvel characters including the X-Men and Spider-Man.

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There were several comic book characters that made their debut in 1989.  Two characters are prominent in the comic world.  One of these characters is Tim Drake.  First appearing in Batman #436 in April, Drake would become the third Robin character (after Dick Grayson and Jason Todd).  The other is Jubilation Lee aka Jubilee.  She is a mutant who debuted in Uncanny X-Men #244 in May.  She gained prominence because she was one of the featured characters on the 1990s X-Men animated TV show.

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There are many other comics and characters that were featured in 1989.  Is there an issue or character not listed that you enjoy?  Leave a comment and share them here.  Thanks for joining us this month during our trip down memory lane.  We’ll be back next year around this time to look at the 25th anniversary of things that happened during 1990.  Until then, break out the comic books and enjoy some classic reading.

The Gwen Stacy Effect

I went and saw The Amazing Spider-Man 2 today (by the way some spoilers are going to follow but then again elements from that movie are based on a comic book storyline that’s 40 years old).  I’m actually a fan of this reboot of the Spider-Man film series.  That’s not to take anything away from the Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire trilogy that was released in the early 2000s.  So when the first movie in this reboot series released back in 2012, I was cautiously optimistic.  I liked director Marc Webb’s film (500) Days of Summer.  So after seeing the first film, I enjoyed it.  I thought Andrew Garfield did a great job as Peter Parker/Spider-Man.  I really enjoyed Emma Stone’s work who played Gwen Stacy.

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Gwen Stacy as a character is a key figure in Marvel comic book universe and in the world of Spider-Man.  In the history of Spider-Man, Gwen was early on the girl that Peter was in love with.  They met in college at Empire State University and their relationship (like any relationship) had it’s ups and downs.  Being the daughter of a NYPD Captain made it difficult at times for Gwen and Peter’s relationship, especially when her dad died (during a fight between Spidey and Doctor Octopus in the comics & between Spidey and The Lizard in the movies).  But they stuck together through thick and thin.

Then came the story arc “The Night Gwen Stacy Died”.  This story, which was told over the pages of two issues of The Amazing Spider-Man comic book (#121-122) in the summer of 1973.  In the story arc, the Green Goblin (the Norman Osborn version) kidnaps Gwen & takes her to the top of the George Washington Bridge.  In the subsequent fight between the Goblin & Spidey, Gwen is thrown off the bridge by Osborn.  Peter tries to save Gwen but is unable to and she dies.  Peter blamed himself for not saving her and for a time quit being Spider-Man but would eventually take up the mantle again.

At the time these two issues were released, it was a huge moment in comics.  Gwen Stacy was Peter Parker’s girlfriend and marriage had been hinted about several times.  Her death left an indellible mark on Peter Parker.  Her death had an effect on his life but also her life.  Peter Parker would not be the man that he is nor the superhero that he is without having Gwen Stacy in it.  As much as Mary Jane Watson is known as the love of Peter’s life now, it came in the wake of Gwen Stacy.

We all have that Gwen Stacy in our lives.  Whether it’s a person or an event, there is that moment of loss that in some way shapes who we are.  It is that “Gwen Stacy Effect”.  Those moments that we point to that we see when we look back in our past.  They teach us something about ourselves.  They help us to grow and mature.  They are a part of our story.

As I walked out of the theater and saw the movie version of “The Night Gwen Stacy Died”, I thought about Peter Parker.  I thought about how it’s widely talked about how the death of Uncle Ben defined Peter’s character but it’s also the loss of Gwen that helps define Peter’s character.  Peter is a better person and a better superhero having had Gwen Stacy in his life.  Even though he lost her, we know (through the comics) that Peter would go on to find love (with Mary Jane Watson).  In our lives, we don’t know what the future holds.  But we do know that the Gwen Stacys in our lives are there for our good and in the end we are better off having them in our lives for how long or how short that time is.

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Agent Coulson and Change

I’m a huge comic book/super hero fan.  I readily admit that.  I grew up reading comic books and have seen a lot of comic book movies in the theaters, especially the Marvel ones that have come out recently.  I have also gotten into the new TV show Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that debuted this season.  For those that don’t know, S.H.I.E.L.D. is a unit that exists to explore and ascertain info about things that are unexplainable, handle bad guys & keep such things classified.  On this show, there is a team of agents led by Agent Phil Coulson.  Coulson is a character that appeared in some of the Marvel movies.  Initially, the character was just a bit player.  However, fans grew to love the character and got featured more and more.  In The Avengers movie that came out last year, Coulson died at the hands of Loki (Thor’s half brother).

There was a huge uproar and people wanted the character brought back to life (which happens in comic books regularly).  So he was and is made the leader of this new team of agents.  Of course, the story of how he’s back from death and such is still playing out (and probably will throughout the season).  In tonight’s episode, there was a poignant moment.  Agent Coulson was talking with Agent May (one of the agents a part of this team and someone who has known Coulson for a while).  Coulson mentioned to May how he doesn’t feel the same and says to her that he feels like he’s changed.  She tells him that he has changed and that you can’t go through what he went through without changing.  She reassures him that it is okay that he has changed.

We all go through things in our life that change us.  We don’t necessarily have happen what happened to Agent Coulson but we have experiences that change us.  We change as people.  I am not the same person today that I was six months ago or a year ago.  There are parts of me that are constant but there are things that have changed.  Hopefully, those things are for the better.  I hope that I’m more compassionate, more loving, more caring.  I hope that I’m becoming more like Jesus.  But I know it is a process.  It is not an overnight thing.  And like Agent Coulson has a scar from his encounter with Loki, I have scars from encounters I’ve had on my journey as I’m sure that you have scars from those things that you have faced.

Change is not always a bad thing.  It can be a good thing.  It is not an easy thing to be sure and a lot of times it does hurt.  But there is good that can come out of it.