I almost forgot about this myself, but PBS aired Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle, a 3 part documentary on the history of American comic book Superheroes, this week and now all episodes are online for a limited time only!
Here’s a panel on the documentary from this year’s San Diego Comic-Con if you wanna pre-game post-emptively:
I saw the first installment of the series and enjoyed it, especially to see interviews with some of the original creators in the field who have since passed, like Joe Simon, Carmine Infantino, Jerry Robinson, and even some archival footage of Jack Kirby.
PBS’ Superheroes companion book
The documentary series has an accompanying book too, reviewed favorably for its inclusionary history over at DC Women Kicking Ass here.
DC Comics’ premiere heroine recently received a rocking retro reinvention in their DC Nation series of shorts.
Created by cartoonist, animator, and illustrator Robert Valley, these shorts have brought Wonder Woman some much-need media exposure at a time when higher-ups in DC Entertainment cite her “tricky” background as an impediment to her own TV show or movie. Sue, the blogger on DC Women Kicking Ass, has used these shorts as proof to the contrary, and Comics Alliance called them the cartoon equivalent to a summer jam.
The shorts so far are now officially available in full on YouTube, starting with the one above. Here are Part 2 & Part 3. I have to admit I found the last installment pretty sexy, what with Wonder Woman saving dude-in-distress Steve Trevor on a surfboard, full 70s style.
If you’re like me and you missed PBS‘ screening of Kristy Guevara-Flanagan‘s documentary Wonder Women!, you’re in luck, because the whole thing is up on the Independent Lens documentary minisite for your viewing pleasure.
Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines on PBS
It occurred to me after posting on Monday that my title sounded kinda familiar… Here’s why:
As Brian Cronin lays out in this installment of Comic Book Legends Revealed, Wonder Woman‘s 1940s series, by what was then All-American Publications, was graced with the #1 woman’s tennis champion as associate editor! After retiring from her historic tennis career, Alice Marble went about publicizing Wonder Woman as a icon for young girls and wrote a back-up segment in each issue celebrating notable historic women. Adorable, no? Click on the image for the full post and the full Nightingale story too!
Alice Marble had a pretty eventful retirement, later claiming that she had worked as a spy for the US government during WWII. When I was taking my first class on making comics, with cartoonist Tom Motley, I actually wound up using her as my subject! Not the greatest, but if you’re curious about Marble or my art “skills”, the story is up in full on my woefully neglected DeviantArt account:
The Columbia University Library‘s Rare Books and Manuscript division has recently added some notable comics materials to their collections, including original 1940’s Batman scripts from the estate of Jerry Robinson and research materials used by Larry Tye for his “biography” of Superman. These acquisitions will be discussed at a free event this Thursday, March 7th, at 6pm in Room 523 of Butler Hall at Columbia.
Elfquest archives at Columbia U, Copyright Wendy & Richard Pini
Another, even recenter acquisition is the archives of Wendy and Richard Pini, creators of the self-published cult hit Elfquest, stretching back to 1978 when it was first published.
As I understand it, all this attention to comics at the Columbia Libraries is largely the brain child of Karen Green, who works as both the Ancient & Medieval History librarian as well as a comics selector. In addition to these acquisitions, Columbia also has the archives of Chris Claremont, and has classes taught by Paul Levitz, former president of DC Comics.
When I volunteered at MoCCA, Green was a frequent guest at their events…. Celebrity sighting!
So as you may know, I’m currently enrolled in a library science master’s program; in fact, this blog started off as an assignment for one of those classes! Another assignment I had last semester was to create a “visual taxonomy”, ie a visual representation of the relations between different items (or something…).
Anyway, to demonstrate the extent of my obsession with my beloved Bizarro Twins, here are my Comics and Opera visual taxonomies:
DC Comics characters by team affiliations:
Opera composers by Century & Language / School of Opera:
Yeah, that’s right, I got an A. Booyah! (click to enlarge; hope you can understand my handwriting!)
This is all my way of saying that my next semester is starting up today, so I will probably be a little less punctual and prolific on here. Will still try to post a few times each week though, so do stay tuned. Wish me luck!
TODAY, 10:30AM, CARTOON NETWORK, OMG SO EXCITED I HAD TO MAKE FANART!!!
Young Justice is a cartoon starring DC Comics‘ teen superheroes on covert missions, and it is pretty great. I know quite a few people who say it’s the best version of the DC Universe out there right now… Here are some reviews from the Onion’s AV Club if you don’t believe me.
I made the top drawing a while ago, but since Season 2 skipped ahead five years and introduced a bunch of new characters, I just had to make the companion piece… The bottom one was done much more quickly, so it’s interesting to compare them now, especially since I wasn’t making that much art in between… not sure if I’ve gotten better or worse : P
Warner Brothers has uploaded a set of now-public-domain Flesicher Studio Superman cartoons from the early 1940s to YouTube, so some good, free Saturday morning cartoon viewing all collected here. Classic, charming, and character-defining for generations.
Image by J.G. Jones, Copyright DC Entertainment
Ok, some of those were definitely me, seeing how my site looked in the wild, and most of the rest were family members, but hey, still a nice little comic geek milestone!
I actually have yet to read DC’s 52 maxiseries from a few years back or any of their New 52 titles, but I definitely have a few on my library “to read” list…