Heroes Jargon – Column

Heroes Jargon

by Bob Butman
illustration by Dave Dawson

Excelsior, comic fans! Yeah, I know it’s a Stan Lee rip-off. So what? It’s still a good way to start. In this issue, I’m going to touch upon the finer points and finer publishers of the comic industry. Lately, we’ve been seeing a lot of progression in the comic world. This is due mainly to the upstart of Malibu press and Image Comics. Also, D.C.’s desperate attempt to remain the giant it’s always been. This, along with Marvel pumping out titles faster than the Flash eating at an all-you-can-eat restaurant seconds before closing.

Image Comics is the fresh new face we’ve all been longing for, in all the names that have inspired us before. The artistic genius of Rob Leifield, Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, Eric Larson, Jim Valentino and Marc Silvestri started Image with a raw new breed of superhero. The explosive onslaught included Youngblood, Spawn, W.i.l.d.c.a.t.s., The Savage Dragon, Shadowhawk, and Cyberforce.

Since the birth of Image, the company has become a veritable artist magnet, drawing in a few more of the big boys from Marvel. Whilce Portacio, Dale Keon, and Sam Kieth led the second wave with WetWorks, the Pitt, and my personal favorite, The Maxx!.

Now, I’m sure your thinking (which should go without saying): Cool titles, big names, and keen heroes, but how’s the writing? Well, I’ll let you in on something you should already know: It’s awesome. However (I love to be contradictory), who knows whether these plots will remain interesting for a substancial amount of time. All in all, I recommend collecting everything Image puts out. These books should all remain HOT for quite some time.

D.C., the ancient ones of the comic world, have been struggling to maintain their superiority. Drastic changes have managed to keep their worn-out heros alive and kicking, but how long can it last? It started with the Flash, moved on to the death of Robin, the death of Superman, the rehashing of the Golden Age Green Lantern, and now the Batman’s going for a nervous breakdown. (I would too, if all that happened to all my friends.) For the most part, all these stories were written rather well and did exactly what they were supposed to do: Increase sales. Also, their dramatic attempts seem to have left them with enough room to grow. I just hope they can pull it off with same creative thinking that made them the giants they are today. With these changes and the addition of Sandman, Animal Man, Deathstroke the Terminator, Lobo, and HellBlazer, D.C. has managed to keep up with the more serious issues and violently modern plots. I think the next year will be a crucial turning point for the D.C. universe, and I hope it’s a good one.

And now, for the moment that we’ve all been waiting for (well, at least I’ve been waiting for) the King o’ Comics and offspring of Stan “The Man” Lee, Marvel Comics. Right now, my mind is in complete confusion about how I’m going to be able to describe what I think is the greatest universe ever created. Well, here goes… Marvel has had, and continues to have, the most talented writers, artists, inkers, editors, letterers, (We get the point, Bob!) in all the comic world. The list, were we to make one, of the most influential names, were we to drop them, in the comic biz would primarily, yet not exclusively, be made up of people who have worked for, or are now presently employed by, you guessed it, Marvel. (Call this sentence Fun with Commas.)

Enough boasting, let’s take a look at what these greats have accomplished. Spiderman, Captain America, Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, The Avengers, Thor (or if thou must be technical, Journey into Mystery) and the now-super-famous-money-making-brat-loving-mainstream X-Men, pioneered the way to Marvel’s current success. From these titles, and several others, the birth of today’s comic plots was born. The popular characters, such as the Punisher, Wolverine, Cable, Venom, Silver Surfer, and the entire 2099 series (with the exception of Ravage) all came from the pages of those Marvel legends which are still some of the hottest titles out. Each of Marvel’s characters has seen subtle change throughout the years, which has helped them grow gracefully (unlike D.C.’s case) into the present world.

In closing, not that I want to close, but time and space are running out. In a galaxy far, far away, (or how about next issue?) I’ll get into the smaller companies such as: Valiant, Dark Horse, and N.E.C.. Also, plan on a more in-depth look into each title, so there’ll never be a need to spend $3.95 on really lame book.

‘Till next time. “Nuff Said!” (I know, I know, another rip-off. So what!