Author Archives: Michael Hale

Hated and Feared: HOUSE OF X and POWERS OF X Examined

Hated and Feared: HOUSE OF X and POWERS OF X Examined

Taking on the voluntary mission of being the latest — in a long line of authors — to reintroduce a famous superhero team like the X-Men, in my humble opinion, is akin to reinventing the wheel or building a better mousetrap. No matter how good your concept, and no matter how unique your perspective, there

The Comics Classroom: AKIRA, a Cyberpunk Masterpiece

It is probably going to be impossible to say anything genuinely new concerning Akira, that masterpiece of Japanese manga created by Katsuhiro Otomo (hereafter referred to as Otomo) in 1982 which then ran until 1990. The premise of the story is that, thirty years after a post WW3 Japan has somewhat started to recover from

The Horror of Internment: MAN-EATERS Under The Microscope

Trying to define “horror,” ultimately, is one of the toughest and most subjective artistic projects because, at its heart, horror relies of value judgement and opinions. What one person considers “horrifying” won’t have the same impact on another person, at least not all the time. You might read a comic, such as some of the

The Comics Classroom: Cathartic Horror, JOOK JOINT, and Mahalia

In the previous part of this horror exploration series, I mentioned how art-horror was something different from other kinds of horror, i.e. being scared from a work designed to terrify was different than being scared in the real world by a snake or anything else. While I previously engaged with New Mutants and Demon Bear

The Comics Classroom: Abstract Horror, NEW MUTANTS, and the Demon Bear

What is it about the term “horror” that so entrances us? By all rights, such a term should revolt us and it certainly should not make us want to peer deeper and deeper into the eyes of what we find abhorrent, yet there is a whole genre of material built around the idea of being

The Comics Classroom: SAILOR MOON and the Heroine’s Journey

A few years ago, while taking a course relating to Critical Theory, I had two encounters with an instructor that profoundly helped to shape my views on Joseph Campbell. At one point during discussion, Campbell’s name came up, to which I asked whether he was or was not still a viable figure within academic discourse.

The Comics Classroom: Learning to Listen with FRUITS BASKET

I have written in the past on topics concerning Japanese intellectual properties that engage with Japanese culture through both high and low forms of art. It is no secret that I love anime and manga, but I have (mostly) targeted some rather ‘safe’ genres such as samurai, giant robots, and transforming female heroines. Heck, I

The Comics Classroom: On the Tragic Villainy of BLACK ADAM

What makes a villain transition in your mind’s eye from being good to being iconic? In some ways, the status of being iconic is simply one of textual longevity, i.e. being a character who has remained as part of a mythos despite their flaws, and thus has become enmeshed into the narrative so much that

MISTER MIRACLE: The Face At The End of This Boom Tube

Trying to talk about Tom King and Mitch Gerad’s work on Mister Miracle feels like being asked to explain the meaning of life. Or, Anti-Life, even. While, sure, there are some examples within the 300 pages of the Mister Miracle trade paperback that supports specific views of what Anti-Life and Life Equations could be, ultimately

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