The Comics Classroom articles

The Comics Classroom: On the Tragic Villainy of BLACK ADAM

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

Pushing Through the Pain of HEROES IN CRISIS

Comics like the currently on-going Heroes in Crisis story by Tom King are probably the hardest to critique. I feel like something is wrong with it, yet the subjects around which the story revolves, therapy and trauma, are things about which I know little outside of anecdotal evidence and experience. Or, to re-state the premise

The Writing on the Wall: Poison Ivy and HEROES IN CRISIS

Way back in 1994, when I was around the age of 10, I remember watching the “House & Garden” episode of Batman: The Animated Series. The main focus of the story, which was written by Paul Dini and directed by Boyd Kirkland, was about how Pamela Isley (Poison Ivy) had been allowed to leave Arkham

The Comics Classroom – Super Teens, Part 1: MY HERO ACADEMIA

It is hard to ignore the popularity of author Kohei Horikoshi’s My Hero Academia (Boku no Hīrō Akademia, if you want to know the Hepburn translation of 僕のヒーローアカデミア). I have kept up with the series before it came to the U.S., but even today it’s as popular now as when it first appeared here in

YOUNG JUSTICE: A Masterclass in Youth and Friendship

In some ways looking back on the original Young Justice run that started back in the 90s can come off as a bit of a rough ride. One of the first villains the team (which started with Robin, Superboy, and Impulse) faced was a character called Mighty Endowed, a busty catgirl who literally couldn’t stand

SAMURAI EXECUTIONER: How History and Fiction Collide

If comics can be said to be a conduit for mythological symbols, both ancient and modern, to help us solve problems, what does this look like in practice when we turn from the familiar to the unexpected? For many American readers, there is a tendency to absorb and appropriate Japanese terms such as “samurai” and

Modern Mythology, Death, and Resurrection in Comics

You might consider this two-part series a kind of ‘companion’ or ‘extension’ piece to a three part column series I did way back in 2014 (!). While those three articles dealt with some specific characters such as Superman, Wolverine and the Phoenix manga, these particular entry will touch more on Captain America directly, thus keeping

The Comics Classroom: Captain America as Modern American Myth

With the global impact of Avengers: Infinity War still raging on in theaters around the world, I think now is as good a time as any (possibly, the best time, even) to address something about comics. I am very invested in what I can only call at the moment ‘comic mythology,’ a term I am

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