Free Comic Book Day is always an event that brings new readers into comic book shops across the country and encourages long-time fans to try out publishers and titles they have yet to experience fully. As a comic book reader who’s always gravitated to horror and science fiction over superheroes, Dark Horse Comics quickly became my publisher of choice when I was a teenager and has continued to hold that spot in my geeky heart until this day.
Given that this year sees the 40th anniversary of director Ridley Scott’s original Alien (1979) film, the Fanbase Press crew (and some of the creators from our published projects) wanted to take the time to reflect on the fateful final journey of the commercial towing vessel, Nostromo, and why Scott’s cinematic masterpiece continues to endure four decades after its release.
Alien Day this year celebrates the 40th anniversary of the classic horror, sci-fi film, Alien. The film is recognized for creating a legendary hero and villain (Ripley and Xenomorphs) and feature films and comic books are still being made to expand upon the original story. If you’re familiar with Alien or any of its following stories, it’s obvious that this franchise isn’t necessarily kid-friendly.
When I was seventeen years old, I got hired at what’s still the best job I’ve ever had. The official policy of Comics & Comix was that employees had to be eighteen, due to the “adult” comic section in one corner of the store. Apparently, the manager saw some combination of enthusiasm and/or maturity on my part that overrode any misgivings she had. I showed up to work each day at a wonderland of comic books, magazines, toys, and t-shirts. The walls were lined with posters and back issues from bygone years, and the stereo (in those pre-Spotify days) was tuned always to classic rock.
“Fundamental Comics,” a monthly editorial series that introduces readers to comics, graphic novels, and manga that have been impactful to the sequential art medium and the comic book industry on a foundational level. Each month, a new essay will examine a familiar or less-known title through an in-depth analysis, exploring the history of the title, significant themes, and context for the title’s popularity since it was first released.
We are about to watch the first episode of the final season of Game of Thrones. (“We” being my wife Lacy and I.) I have been with this narrative a long time. I read the books starting back in the early 2000s when my friend and former student made a gift of the first one. (Thanks, Hugh Long, I think…) When the first season was in post-production, I was Mark Addy’s photo double for the ad campaign. (Hundreds of buses, bus stops, and billboards in the greater Los Angeles area featured Mark Addy’s face on my body with the tagline, “Killing Things Clears My Head,” written across the bottom.) Really cool. Been watching it ever since and have written about the last few seasons for Fanbase Press, analyzing theme, character, and plot, connecting the narrative to theology, history, culture, and science. But I am giddy for the last season. So, today, for the first episode of the last season, if you will indulge me, I simply kept a handwritten live blog (Yeah, I know…) of the episode and my in-the-moment reactions. If you will forgive a moment of auto-ethnography, here we go. [SPOILER ALERT – the overarching theme of the episode is “Oh, Game of Thrones, you’re so…you. Many reunions – not just of people but of things the show had kind of stopped doing for awhile. You’ll see.]
When one thinks of superheroes, likely Batman will be the first or second character that will come to mind and rightly so. Thanks to the creative genius of Bob Kane and Bill Finger, Batman made his debut in Detective Comics #27 in 1939. He was orphaned as a young boy when his parents were murdered before his eyes, and the seed was planted for the eventual appearance of Batman, who was also known as the Dark Knight and the Caped Crusader. Vengeance and justice weighed on his heart when he donned his bat-inspired outfit to fit crime on the streets of his city: Gotham City.
When he’s not battling Gotham City’s worst criminals and supervillains, Bruce Wayne is the city’s most eligible bachelor. Over the past 80 years, he has been the object of attraction of many female characters, but Bruce struggles to maintain long-term relationships due to his vigilante responsibilities. While Bruce’s social life remains active, his role as Batman always takes priority. Throughout the franchise, his dating escapades have kept us wondering whether Bruce could ever successfully balance both.