Marvel found a lot of success with their street-level Netflix series, focusing on those less-super superheroes like Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Across town, Batman has always been one of the most beloved DC heroes, more because of his lack of powers than despite them.
Now, Comixology's original digital-only publishing line is offering their own twist on the gritty powerless superhero genre with The Black Ghost. Written by comics and crime writer (and Archie Comics co-president) Alex Segura and comic writer/artist Monica Gallagher with art by Marco Finnegan and George Kambadais, the comic follows a bitter alcoholic beat reporter named Lara Dominguez, whose obsession with a local vigilante called the Black Ghost gets her wrapped up in multilevel crime syndicate that has its eyes as much on real estate and media as it does in petty crimes. It feels like both an origin story, and a chapter in a larger story that's been going on for years — just like a good superhero comic should.
The story takes place in a city called Creighton. And while we don't know where exactly that is (the protagonist's former life in Miami has followed her to this new dying city), the grey skies and crumbling buildings could be almost any fading former factory hub along the East Coast. As I read, I kept thinking of it as the Bridgeport version of Gotham City or Metropolis — generic, but accessible, and fleshed out just enough to make it feel lived-in and real.
From the first issue, it's clear that The Black Ghost is going to shamelessly lean into the tropes of the genre — but with just enough inversions of expectations. Read the rest
For years, it was just about impossible to see a film that Ed Norton didn't have something to do with. Then, just like Kaiser Soze, poof, he was gone. Except now he's back! Given that Norton will wrote, directed and is staring in Motherless Brooklyn, his absence from the big screen is totally understandable—that's a lot of work to shoulder. Bruce Willis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, with Alec Baldwin and Willem Dafoe are on board to help bring this Jonathan Lethem's gem of a neo-pulp thriller to life. Read the rest
When I first picked up this issue of Worlds Of IF, I have to admit that I didn't have high hopes. This hodge-podge collage of a cover simply didn't instill confidence that what I would find inside would be of much quality. Boy was I wrong. The illustrations in this issue are simply delightful. The cover is actually attributed to a specific story, so I guess an artist set out to create what, in my mind, looks like an introduction to microsoft powerpoint. Then again, this was the 60s, maybe this layout was new and edgy back then. Read the rest
As usual, Analog always shines when it comes to cover art. They've got the fantastic Kelly Freas who supplied rich and colorful depictions for many years. On top of that, the actual printing itself is of decent quality. If you compare this to the issue from the last article, you'll see that having your print lined up perfectly wasn't always the case for magazines like this.
I noticed that the pants on the illustration are tailored with a bit of detail around the tail. There's a snap and a zipper. I can't help but wonder if this was outlined explicitly in the story or if Freas, while illustrating, stopped to ponder how a pair of pants for a creature with a tail would work.
For the issues from my collection that happen to fall in the 60's through mid 70's, I really enjoy seeing what was actually going in the space program during the same period. For example, this issue was published in March of 1969. Readers would be enjoying this issue while also hearing about the Apolo 9 mission on the radio and TV. This was a period of firsts. Many of the flights were presenting large tasks, being done for the first time in space. Apallo 9 was the first space docking, which included transferring people between the modules. That's pretty wild. I can only imagine the wonder and excitement in the minds of the Sci-Fi community during this time.
Publication: Analog, Science Fiction Science Fact
Issue: March 1969, volume: LXXXII No. Read the rest
This week I got a chance to un-pack this collection. I've had it for about 10 years now and it has been in boxes the whole time.
I absolutely love this cover. It is unabashedly silly. What is that boy even doing with that dog? Why lug that iron lung so far from your home-dome if the dog can't even walk around? That thing has to weigh a ton. All joking aside, there's something delightful about all the space covers from before 1961, when Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space. Interestingly though, the first dog in space was Laika, in 1951, so I guess they really have no excuse! Read the rest
Get your weekend going with Garoto Nacional by Strausz, a blast of anime, explosions, monsters, NSFW flesh, etc., set to a pounding dance track of similar dimensions. [Video Link. Released by Penetra Records] Read the rest