comics, comics criticism, dc comics, writing

Strange Adventures: Artifice, Narrative and the Nature of Truth

Art by Evan Shaner

Reading Strange Adventures, the latest Tom King maxiseries with collaborators Mitch Gerads and Evan “Doc” Shaner, along with letterer Clayton Cowles, is an act of engaging with an artifice. The very structure of the work directs the reader to recognize its fabrication and question the truths it presents.

According to King, the series “is trying to speak to the nature of truth and how our assumptions about that nature can tear us apart.” 1 The story is set amid the backdrop of war, but it is not about the trauma of a single event on a broken man trying to put the pieces back together. It is an exploration of the American moment under Trumpism, where “Truth” as an abstract concept seems increasingly meaningless.

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comics, comics criticism, marvel, spider-man, writing

Exploring Steve Ditko’s Nine-Panel Mastery in Amazing Spider-Man #32

Recently, I was inspired to dive into Amazing Spider-Man from the start.

In doing so, it becomes hard to make much of a case against the original Steve Ditko run with Stan Lee as a practically perfect execution of superhero comics. In many ways, Ditko’s contribution to the medium are less heralded as others in the field, including his contemporaries like Lee and Jack Kirby. But far beyond simply creating interesting characters and being an “ideas man,” Ditko was a master of visual storytelling.

Over the decades, the Nine Panel Grid has become something of a tool of nostalgia, or a throwback to a different era in storytelling. But even those who rail against the boundaries of the nine panel owe a debt to the formulators of the medium, who cemented this layout as the building blocks of coherent narrative.

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comics, comics criticism, marvel, writing

The House of Xavier…And The Way We Treat Our Children

This piece was originally written and posted on my tumblr writing blog, timlikescomics.tumblr.com

House of X 4 is a visceral, action packed issue that ends in tragedy as the full strike force of mutants discharged to stop the oncoming artificial intelligence apocalypse are murdered by a group of human zealots intent on wiping out all mutants.

Continue reading “The House of Xavier…And The Way We Treat Our Children”