Archive | April, 2013

Bad Romance: Poll-What is the Most Toxic Relationship in Comics?

7 Apr

With so much history behind them, comic book couples are bound to have some dark chapters, but these relationships stand out as uniquely detrimental for one or more parties involved. So, who do you think wins the title of the most toxic relationship in comics?

hankjanet

Hank Pym (Ant Man, Giant Man, etc) & Janet Van Dyne (Wasp)

“Dammit Janet”

hank_pym_slapHank Pym has never been a model partner. He has kidnapped, beaten, and attempted to murder poor Janet over the years. While their drama makes for a compelling read, no good can come from this pair being together.

Hank has suffered from a variety of mental illnesses, some prompted by his exposure to unsafe levels of chemicals, some generated from his deep-rooted Napoleon complex. Whenever he is feeling down, Janet makes a perfect scape goat.

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Bruce Wayne (Batman) & Talia al Ghul

“She’s a Maniac”

deaddamianNo one has ever accused Bruce Wayne of making constructive decisions, but taking the daughter of one of his (many) mortal enemies as a lover may have be one for the books. Talia genetically engineered a son, Damian, by combining her own DNA with Bruce’s. As time past, she systematically abused the boy as part of his assassin’s training. After he came to live with Bruce, and formed a relationship with his father, Talia returned to kill the boy, robbing Bruce of the son he had come to know and love.

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Dinah Lance (Black Canary) & Green Arrow (Oliver Queen)

“She’s a Good-Hearted Woman in Love with a Good-Timin’ Man”


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So, Dinah and Ollie have been on-again, off-again for the better part their existence. Oliver Queen was a bit of serial philanderer, which never bodes well for a couple. Dinah also had great misgivings about the ethical ramifications of beginning the ‘normal’ life she so wished to have with Oliver. She believed that bringing children into the world was irresponsible for two people who led such dangerous lives. Oliver died tragically in a battle over Metropolis, but was later resurrected. The pair reunited shortly, but a combination of jealousy and apprehension in regard to the new young female ward in Oliver’s care caused her to break things off again. The two reunite and marry, at a ceremony that is (of course) interrupted by super villans. During the course of their marriage Oliver continually undermines Dinah professionally, and often uses his own judgment to dole out justice. Eventually his subterfuge goes too far, and Dinah dissolves the marriage, while Oliver sits in jail for murdering a supervillan.

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Mary Jane Watson & Peter Parker (Spiderman) … & Gwen Stacey

“Keep On Lovin’ You”

gwenmjspiderPeter loved Gwen Stacey with all his heart, until that one time he accidentally broke her neck while he was trying to save her life. I mean we have all been there, right? So how will he move on? Enter spunky, gorgeous, driven Mary Jane Watson. It should be a happy ending, but alas, Peter is a bit of a workaholic. He has great responsibilities to attend to after all. Mary Jane never fully moves out of the shadow of Gwen Stacey’s memory. Peter’s grief and guilt only exasperate the problem. Oh, and eventually he sells his marriage to Mary Jane to the devil (Mephisto) in return for Aunt May’s resurrection from the dead.

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Wanda Maximoff (Scarlet Witch) & Vision

“Just My Imagination”

scarletvisionShe is the child of Magneto, and he is the brain-child of Ultron, the pair seem wired for failure out of the gate. There’s another fact that foreshadows an ill-fated romance: Vision is an android (read robot). Initially the couple was unable to have children (because Vision is not human) but eventually Wanda acquires the psychic energy required to become pregnant. She gives birth to twin boys, William and Thomas.

Some time later, Vision tries to take over the world. This goes about as well as one would expect. He is eventually kidnapped and dismantled. When he was reassembled, his personality was severely changed, and things became strained. At the time of his destruction the twins were reintegrated to the soul of Mephisto and cease to exist. Wanda then becomes a bit unhinged herself.

Her mental breakdown eventually resulted in the manifestation of chaos magic powers, that cannot be controlled. She projected a world in which Vision was back to his old self and the boys were still young and in need of her mothering. She eventually used those powers to wipe out mutant powers across the globe leaving only a handful able to access their powers.

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Carol Ferris (Star Sapphire) & Hal Jordan (Green Lantern)

“Fly Me to the Moon”

halcarolIt’s a tale as old as time. Boy meets girl; boy gets ring becomes super powerful; girl gets gem and does the same; alien race hypnotizes girl into trying to kill boy because they want her as their queen… You know, just the standard romance stuff.

Carol and Hal start out as a forbidden romance. She is the heiress to the company that employs him as a test pilot. However, when cosmic forces get involved, things get much more complicated. Hal became a Green Lantern.  Upon inheriting Ferris Aircraft from her father, an alien race, the Zamarons, chose Carol as their queen. They gave her a powerful gem which gave her extraordinary abilities, and she became Star Sapphire. Initially Star Sapphire was reluctant to leave Earth because of her love for Hal. The Zamarons then hypnotized her to believe that Hal was an enemy. Over the years a pattern emerged, Start Sapphire and Green Lantern would battle, Hal would win and then fix Carol.After getting rid of the Star Sapphire identity seemingly for good, Carol began a relationship with a male component of her own personality called, Predator. Throughout the series Carol tries to deal with the power associated with the Star Sapphire aspect of her identity, and grapples with her feelings for Hal. The two can never seem to get their footing.

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Betty Ross (Red She-Hulk) & Bruce Banner (Hulk)

“Monster Mash”

redhulkhulkBruce Banner was bombarded with Gamma rays, and turns into a giant green monster when he gets angry. This does not look promising for his love interest. Betty is the daughter of “Thunderbolt” Ross, and she loved Bruce before he had anger management issues. Aside from the obvious “getting caught in the crossfire” problems, Betty eventually became ill with radiation poisoning from prolonged exposure to Bruce’s Gamma rays. When he tried to perform a blood transfusion using his own blood, the Gamma particles in his blood killed her.

We are talking comics here, so of course Betty is not really dead. She reemerges as the Red She-Hulk. When Betty reappeared in the civilian world she refused to be reunited with Bruce.

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Emma Frost & Scott Summers (Cyclops)

“Grey Cloudy Lies”

scottemmaThis is another love triangle, or quadrangle, or other geometric figure yet unknown to us used by soap opera writers to construct their stories. Scott and Jean Grey were written for one another. Since the earliest days of the X-men, the two have been a steady center of romantic focus. When Jean exits, to go do her whole Phoenix thing, Emma enters beginning a telepathic affair with Scott. When Jean returns, Emma is reluctant to forfeit the bond she feels with Scott. She poses as Jean to confuse him, and continues to attempt engage him telepathically. Exit Jean again, and Emma and Scott are back on. Emma will never live up to Jean for Scott, despite whatever telepathic messages she sends from beyond the grave that the couple is making out on top of (Yes, really). She and Scott are constantly haunted by the memory of Jean Grey.

hawkeyeKate Bishop (Hawkeye) & Clint Barton (Hawkeye)

“I Hate Myself For Lovin’ You”

kateclintThe tension between these two is so thick you could cut it with a knife. They obviously have feelings for one another, but are too stubborn to let on. While Kate occasionally reminds Clint of the impropriety of his tendency to treat her like a romantic partner, she is guilty of the same thing. They rely on each other in real ways, and seem to feel a genuine respect for one another, but the fact remains that Clint is an indiscriminate lover who cannot take anything seriously. He cares deeply for Kate, but cannot see what is right in front of him.

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Anna Marie (Rogue) & Remy LeBeau (Gambit)

“Killing Me Softly”

Gambit5touchingAside from the fact that the couple cannot touch because it would result in Remy’s death, well no, that’s really it. Rogue’s powers would harm Remy in unimaginable should their skin come into contact. This equals endless frustration. For a brief time, when they are both powerless, the couple lives a happy, normal life. However when they regain their powers, the loss of physical contact proves very stressful for the pair. Oh, and Gambit becomes one of the four horseman of the apocalypse (Death) and tries to kill Rogue a few times.

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Exclusive Interview with Saint Chaos Writer/Creator Noah Dorsey

6 Apr


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I had the chance to ask comic writer/creator Noah Dorsey some questions about the release of his comic,  Saint Chaos, his love of funny books, and terrible weeks. Check out what he had to say.
COI: When did you realize you loved comics?

ND: I can’t pinpoint the age. Probably around 10 or 11 I would guess. I am so ADD that I couldn’t focus on a particular series at all. I’d buy random Marvel and DC titles just based off the appeal of their cover but not get into the story. I got into the darker titles like SpawnShadowhawk, and The Maxx. Those were titles that made me love comics and make me think I could actually write in the medium.

COI: What do you want readers to know about Saint Chaos?
ND: I actually had written Saint Chaos back in 2006, but back then it was a screenplay. That screenplay was actually optioned by a small production company who fast tracked it. The budget was a million bucks and they got that right away. Since the money poured in so quick they decided to raise the budget and collect more investors. We got a prolific director  and started speaking to actors (some that are pretty famous now) when the peak of the recession hit at the end of 2007 and the beginning of 2008. That’s when the whole thing fell apart. Investors pulled out and I got an email from the producer telling me they were dropping the option and going to India for a documentary or something. I shut it in a drawer until now. The screenplay and the comic they wanted have some significant differences. Actually, now that I think about, it is nothing like the movie they wanted to make. Lots of bells and whistles. Let’s just say that they were adamant that I write that Saint Chaos would do a lot of parkour moves in the movie. That ain’t gonna happen in the comic.
With Saint Chaos I wanted to write the ultimate moral rogue. Like Batman decided to make good on his death wish, set his death day, and then decided to help people in the only way he knows how in his last few days of life. Simon (the guy that becomes Saint Chaos) has no defense training, no knowledge of fighting crime, so he jumps into situations with raw, animalistic energy and brutal violence. It’s like Bruce Wayne without the training and fighting crime and he was in Fight Club. But Simon’s comparison to Batman is only a point of reference. Saint Chaos is nothing like Batman. There are no rules except that he would rather do good instead of bad before he kicks the bucket. But even that loose rule isn’t always on the table. If there are no rules that means that Saint Chaos is capable of almost anything.
COI: Simon has a pretty rough week leading up to his encounter with Honeycomb, what’s the worst week you have ever had?
ND: Oh, man… Simon has it pretty bad. The reason I thought up the story was that it was the worst of worst that could possibly happen to someone. But the worst week I have ever had is not even close to Simon. I have torn my ACL twice. That is the ligament in the middle of the knee and when you tear it you need to get it repaired. The first time I got it repaired the science wasn’t what it is now so I had to spend a week in bed for recovery. Not only that, but I had a machine that was placed under your repaired knee and very, very, slowly, bent your knee up and down to break the scar tissue. Quite a painful task. That machine ran nonstop so I could not sleep for a full week. I’d have to say that was my worst week.
COI: Honeycomb is a very dark and unique character, what was your inspiration for him?
ND: Honeycomb relishes and takes pleasure in the pain of others. He is also very intelligent. When I first created the character Hannibal Lecter was the inspiration, but that character was only the foundation. That’s when I started thinking about where he would have his lair. What would be an interesting dangerous place that hasn’t been done before? As I was thinking about it I thought about my childhood and how I worked in my family’s handmade candy factory. Making handmade candy is not an easy place to work and the environment is nothing close to Willy Wonka. The machinery was all designed during the 1940s or so. Nothing has been modernized because most candy is all conveyor belts and automated machines. Making handmade candy is literally a life or death task at times. There is one page in issue #1 that Zsombor illustrates the way Honeycomb uses the tools to make handmade candy as torture devices. That is only the tip of the iceberg of how insane this character is and how he uses his environment.
COI: Your illustrator is very talented, how does his work compare to how you visualized the characters and environment originally?
ND: He is very talented. Commonly, comic books/graphic novels are a very collaborative process. There are those talent few that draw and write their own – damn you and your talent Frank Miller – but for the most part the writer will write and the illustrator will decipher the story through their own talents. In the case of SC Zsombor killed it. And then he f*ckin’ destroyed it. His technique is something that is different from what I have seen, but he also brings ideas to the table that will blow people away. Some of the pages in this comic will look as if they should be hung in a gallery. He is capable of taking a page of dialogue and illustrating in one beautiful full page. There are a few pages in the first issue that I would rip out the dialogue, throw into a frame, and then hang in my house as a work of art. And it is only going to get better from here. I guarantee that if you are dazzled by the art of the first issue we are going to blow you away with what is coming up.
COI: What makes SC different from other comics?
ND: It is raw. We don’t hold back at all. I wrote it holding nothing back and Zsombor illustrates it without restraint. We are doing exactly what we want and I feel that it enhances the story. We draw and say whatever we want. While Zsombor tests the limits of his artistic ability, I am writing story lines that may be beyond offensive, yet relevant to the story, because that’s what I feel makes sense for the world of Saint Chaos. The story of each comic will be completely unexpected, but will be coherent to the urban epic we have planned.
COI: What else are you working on right now?
ND: I’ve got a few other comic books that are on the horizon.  There is a western that has the same feel as that gem of a television show Deadwood (which ended way too soon in my opinion) that I’m pretty excited about. There is a comic in the horror genre and one in the fantasy genre that will utilize the digital medium. We’ve got some pretty cool ideas to bring to the table that hasn’t been done yet and that we haven’t heard is being developed. The details will come as soon as we are comfortable with the presentation. There are a couple other comics that are in the very early development stages that will make an appearance.  But all of this is theoretically over the course of the next four or five years. The process is not just discovering the story, but finding the talent that fits the project perfectly. All of that takes time. I’m also working on a screenplay that I’m hoping will gain some traction in the next few years.
COI: What books are you reading right now?
ND: Scott Synder is a talented motherf*cker. I thought his stuff on Batman is pretty genius and I need to get to his Swamp Thing run. I’ll pick up anything he writes. Saga is brilliant. Nowhere Men is actually toying with the typical comic format a bit and I really dig that. I picked up Snapshot, which ain’t bad at all. I know those are three Image books in a row, and I’m not trying to promote them because Non Humans is printed through them, but, they publish purely creator-owned books. The creators make all the story-telling decisions.  There really isn’t anything between them and the press to say “no, don’t do that”. I think the Big 2 is still plagued by that. It continues to follow the old process to keep it safe. Sure, they’ve taken some chances, but for the most part they play it safe. The writers, illustrators, colorists, and letterers all have an editor that can always say “don’t do that” if they try something out of the box. More often than not it is a risk they won’t take. I really like some of the independent stuff coming out now. I love that these artists have a new idea of how to approach creating comic books and having the guts to try it. I want to do that with every comic I am involved with. I also have to admit (even though I am pretty embarrassed about it) is that I’ve been catching up on the classics. I never got to Grant Morrison’s Arkham Asylum and I just finished that.  It is brilliant and insanely inspiring. Pun intended.  Clearly one of the most inspiring graphic novels ever.
COI: What is the most influential comic you have ever read?
ND: Sandman. Hands down. The whole f*ckin’ series. I can’t imagine that series getting printed now by one of the Big 2 like it was back in the day. I could just imagine Neil Gaiman strolling into an editor’s office today and pitching the idea. They would scoff. They would scowl. They would shake their heads. Where’s the sex? Where’s the action? Where’s the muscle bound heroes? When Gaiman tells them that there isn’t any.
It is just all about the story, he’d be thrown out on his ass. But what is funny is that Sandman is just as popular now as it was then. I pass on my graphic novels to friends and family and they gush about how much they love it. Then they pass them on to other people. That’s exactly what happens to good novels. People lend them to other people so that they can have the experience. Sandman isn’t a novel, but it is a fantastic piece of literature. A very respected piece of literature. The storytelling – and by that I mean the writing along with the illustrations – is perfect. I won’t be surprised if at some point it is taught in higher education literature classes. I think many graphic novels should. But Sandman was the spark that lit the fire. I finished the entire series in a week or two and by that point I knew that I would have an affair with comics until my eyes rolled back for good.*
noah_dorsey_SCNoah Dorsey currently resides in Denver with his girlfriend Becky, a portly bulldog named Zeus, and an overweight puggle named Hercules.  He continues to write Non Humans with Glen Brunswick and Whilce Portacio, while also developing other projects.
Follow him on twitter @thenoahdorsey
And be sure to check out the Saint Chaos Preview here, on comicsonice
You can find me on twitter @comicsonice

Shocking Character Design: A New Take Superheroines

5 Apr

Artist, Michael Lee Lumsford created some new character designs featuring fully-clothed superheroines. He stated that these designs were not a moral statement, just some exercises. However when they are set against the classic comic book depictions of these ladies, its a strange comparison. *Lumsford’s illustrations are the ones on the top.

Black Canary

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Elektra

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Power GirlImageImage

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Wonder WomanImageImage

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I’m not advocating that superheroines should don habits. I just had such a visceral reaction to these images. I could not believe how shocking Zantanna in trousers seemed. We have been conditioned to expect bare skin on leading ladies in comic books. This is just some food for thought, we should be aware of what we are consuming. This poses so many interesting questions about the role of women in the world of comics, and the expectations we have as readers.

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