CZ Podcast Issue #3

The Comic Zombie Podcast – Issue #3: The Nerdiest Conversation Ever?

CZ Issue 3 dream teams v2

Join Chris and Erik as they discuss their favorite- and least favorite- versions of the most famous superhero teams. Will they agree on anything? Everything? That it’s amazing they are each in relationships? We won’t say they kill each other while recording, but we won’t say they don’t, either!

Top 50 Moments from “Events”

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Both Marvel and DC (and really most publishers) from time to time will throw a lot of their characters (sometimes nearly all) together for a really big story. These have been dubbed ‘event’ titles. Books like Final Crisis, Blackest Night, Metal, Civil War, Spider-Verse, and many, many others have their fans and detractors, but you can’t deny that they provide some of the coolest, most intense, most unforgettable moments in comics history.

Everyone has their favorites, but here are 50 of the best moments (in no particular order). If you have any favorites that we neglected to include, sound off in the comments.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

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Top 15 Alternate/Possible Marvel/DC Realities

 

One thing super hero comics seem to do very well is to depict alternate realities and alternate versions of their characters. Wonder what would happen if the X-Men failed to stop the advancement of Sentinel technology, or if Apocalypse succeeded in taking over the world? There are stories you can read for that. Want to know one of the possible futures for the Hulk, or Superman? There’s stories for that, too. Dating back to X-Men: Days of Future Past (which even predates the Terminator films!), comics have continuously used the possible future outcomes as a way of depicting the stakes for our heroes if they lose, and as a way to show how one change in the timeline, no matter how seemingly small, can cause massive ripples in what we think of as reality.

They are also used as a way to show your favorite characters in new situations and surroundings without messing with the core character and material, a la the Age of Apocalypse.

Here are my picks for the 15 best alternate realities/timelines from Marvel and DC comics:

 

15. Teen Titans: The Future Is Now

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Geoff Johns is the most accomplished, and probably most popular, writer for DC Comics. He is well known for titles like Action Comics, the Flash, Green Lantern, JLA, JSA, 52, Infinite Crisis, Forever Evil, and Flashpoint. But the title that typically slips between the cracks is his awesome run on Teen Titans, and the best arc was “The Future is Now”.

After teaming up with the Legion of Super Heroes, the Titans are trying to get back to their own time, but arrive a few years later than they would have liked. They try to go back to their HQ, but are surprised to find that it is occupied by the Justice League, which is made up of adult versions of themselves!

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6 Terrible Superman Movies That You Won’t Believe Almost Happened!

In a world where a Comic-Book-based-Super-Hero-franchises are guaranteed blockbusters, with films like “The Dark Knight”, or “The Avengers” raking in over a billion effin’ dollars in real-life (non-Monopoly) money, it’s a little disconcerting that Superman (the original super hero – circa 1938) only recently got a decent film (with the exception of the 1978 classic) – with last year’s “Man of Steel” – a total reboot (starring Henry Cavill) from the dude who brought us that CGI-fest loosely based on the Battle of Thermopylae (Zack Snyder).

"Man of Steel" (2013)

Suffice it to say Superman movies until know have gotten a bad rep. With the exception of most of the animated movies, Superman movies have had a tendency to suck like a Hoover vacuum cleaner in a black hole. And why is that you ask? Well, although it is challenging to do a Superman movie justice (pun-intended), the reason they keep failing has nothing to do with the character (s) / story / mythology seeing as so many other super-powered champions have followed in his boot-prints since over the last 75 years of comic history, and most of them have ripped off of Superman in one or several ways with unique twists (i.e. Batman, Spider-man, Iron Man, etc).

Some say it’s a curse, others say it’s his cheesy old-fashioned sense of morality, while angry Internet trolls pollute message boards arguing about his trademark red super-speedos, but I say it’s the result of lazy writing, greedy producers who don’t understand the character, and directors who are unwilling to delve into the actual source material. The result: 30 + years of Gene Hackman’s “Lex Luthor” as an evil real estate agent.

Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor in Superman II

Out of all the terrible Superman movies we’ve had to endure over the last couple decades, here are 5 that we should be thankful never made it to the silver screen, because they somehow managed to be even worse than what actually did make it to a theater near you. It’s unbelievable how bad these scripts were and unfathomable that they made it so far into production…

(Barf bags at the ready?)

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RETRO SPOILER ALERT! – First Appearances Can Be Deceiving – SILVER AGE (2 of 4)

Continued from Part 1: The Golden Age!

THE SILVER AGE (1956 – 1970)

— “With great power comes great responsibility!” – Ben Parker (Spider-man comics)

This period from around 1956 to 1970 was a huge shift in the world of comic books. Prior to this comics were in decline, mainly because of the Comics Code Authority banning all the awesome shit that was actually selling, because they were afraid it was going to create a generation of delinquents, you know like rap music and video games! Thanks to douchebag of the century, Fredric Wertham, many comic books and pulp magazines were burned in massive bonfires around the country.

So the Silver Age is considered the point at which comics were rejuvenated after a lame stint of pure camp in the Atomic Age of the 50’s. It was the beginning of many a Marvel hero and was marked by a much more sci-fi focus than ever before. This was also notably the introduction of some of the industry’s best talent to date, both artists and writers, including Neal Adams, Denny O Neal, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, John Romita Sr., and of course Stan Lee. Comics of this era are seen as an extension of the Atomic Age, and are often heavily influenced by B-rated Science Fiction films of the time where flying saucers, and giant radioactive monsters ran amok across the silver screen. One of the earliest instances of this was with the devious BRAINIAC first invading Action Comics in issue 242 (1958). Much like the Children of the Atom (the X-Men), Comics began to evolve.

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Spoiler Alert – Issue One: 7 Awesome Changes to the DC Universe (part 6)

Continued from Part 5: Superman’s ‘Super-suit’

#2 – One part demi-goddess, two part boobs, all kickass.

Now here’s a classic heroine who rarely gets her due, often the center of controversy concerning her own wardrobe changes (to pants, or not to pants), this Amazon Princess has reverted back to a more classic look. Since her inception, WONDER WOMAN was a great concept, the first woman, superhero created by Dr. William Moulton Marston (who also invented the lie-detector). Wonder Woman was the first of many DC heroines including Supergirl, Black Canary, Batgirl, Batwoman, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, the Huntress, Power-girl, and Harley Quinn among countless others.

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Spoiler Alert – Issue One: 7 Awesome Changes to the DC Universe (part 5)

Continued from Part 4: ‘Holy Bat-Comics, Batman!’

#3 – Superman’s ‘super-suit’!

Perhaps the biggest change to DC’s new 52 initiative was the revamp of Superman himself.

Now, I feel the need to preface this by saying I really am a huge super-fan, like ever since the premier of Smallville’s pilot a good eleven years ago (when I was in high school that is). Mark Waid’s ‘Superman: Birthright’ several years ago simply enforced everything I subconsciously dug about this legendary icon, however at the same time I’ve always been of the opinion that his costume was, for lack of a nicer word, outdated.

To be fair, it is after all the original superhero outfit, and therefore practically blasphemy to tweak it, but I do think it was the right call to finally shake things up a bit (those red speedos had to go). As with most of the New 52 versions of the DC heroes, practically all of their designs now emphasize practicality, thanks to Jim Lee. For instance: the Green Lanterns wear energy construct uniforms, Flash’s costume is apparently some kind of nano-tech, Aqua-man wears Atlantean Scale-male, and Batman has a light-weight suit of Kevlar high-tech armor.

In the pages of the new ACTION COMICS, by the great Grant Morrison (of ‘All-Star Superman’ fame), a young Man of Steel is first starting out as a Metropolis vigilante in… blue jeans, work boots, a red indestructible cape (we later learned belonged to his biological grandfather), and a certain symbolic, Kryptonian ‘S’-shield crest across his chest, emblazoned on his…um… t-shirt? One of the purposes of this story arc is to show the evolution of a super man to a true super hero. For one he’s both inexperienced, and de-powered significantly. In the new continuity this story takes place 10 years prior to the current-era, main ‘Superman’ title (by George Perez) where he’s already established, and working for the Daily Planet, and 5 years before the Justice League story where he first runs into Batman and co.

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Spoiler Alert – Issue One: 7 Awesome Changes to the DC Universe (part 4)

Continued from Part 3: Leagues, Titans, and Guardians (oh my!)

#4 – “Holy Bat-Comics, BATMAN!”

In the New-52 there are a total of 16 current Bat-related titles, 6 of which actually star the Dark Knight himself, and in 4 of those he’s the leading man (3 of which are solo missions), and best of all, every single one of them is top-notch… as it should be! Batman is simply a great character in every sense, created by the legendary Bob Kane, but it’s astounding, after all this time, how these writers still manage to come up with new and different takes on all his villains, various allies, and numerous adventures, without constantly re-hashing the same damn stuff!

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Spoiler Alert – Issue One: 7 Awesome Changes to the DC Universe (part 3)

Continued from Part 2: Not your grandma’s heroine…

#5 – Leagues, Titans, and Guardians (oh my!)

It was probably a good move to not immediately re-hash the origins of every single character in the new 52 #1’s, it’d probably come across as redundant, and unnecessary.  However, they have done an impressive job of showing the origins of a few different team-ups and explaining why they would work together to begin with (Even ‘JL-International’ wasn’t as terrible as I suspected). One of the best things they did was to retell the formation of the JUSTICE LEAGUE.

First off there’s an incredible roster, you have the essential core characters: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan of course), the Flash (Barry Allen, nuff said), Aquaman, and even… Cyborg?! Sweet! (for those wondering about the absence of the Martian Manhunter, he can be found in the pages of ‘Storm Watch’) Not only is it one incredible line-up of ‘Super Friends’ (who don’t get along), but you have two incredible talents working on it, this epic 6-part team-up includes: Writer Geoff Johns as scribe, and none other than the amazing talents of renowned artist Jim Lee!

You’ve got one clever catalyst as a reason for the initial roster: DARKSIED! Yep the Inter-dimensional tyrant of the volcanic Planet ‘Apokolips’ (sounds like a wonderful vacation spot).

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Top 5 Favorite Superman Stories

I’m not the world’s biggest Superman fan. I don’t normally read that many Superman stories, but I tend to gravitate towards the really good ones. There’s something about Superman; I would say that the best Superman stories just feel like there’s something extra special about them compared to any other character. Maybe it’s because he’s the first and the best, but really good creators tend to do their very best work on Superman, whether that’s Grant Morrison, Alan Moore, or whomever.

5. The Death and Return of Superman

The thing people have to remember about the death of Superman is that nothing had ever hit the public like that from the world of comics. Not only was this story getting mainstream press every week, it was getting a LOT. Air time on Saturday Night Live, the Tonight Show, and pretty much every news show talked about it for quite a while. The creators and editors involved were made into instant pseudo-celebrities. It has since spawned video games, an animated movie, and a ton of stories. Its immediate follow-up, the Reign of the Supermen, created 4 new ‘Supermen’, 3 of which were still prominent figures in DC, at least until the recent line-wide reboot.

So to begin things off the creators introduced Doomsday, an unstoppable killing machine that would be the one to kill the Man of Steel. Doomsday effortlessly cuts a path of devastation across the country until he is confronted by the Justice League. Unfortunately for the League, they are utterly overmatched by Doomsday, even with one of his arms still tied behind his back. Literally. The dude has one of his arms confined behind his back and still punks the JLA out like they were a bunch of rookies.

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Hulk smash! I mean, no, wait…

Superman then shows up, and they proceed to destroy the hell out of each other and everything until at last they stop each other. With the last of his strength, Superman unloads everything he has into one last blow, which kills Doomsday. The effort from the punch, combined with the severe damage and injuries sustained during the battle, was just too much, and he dies in Lois Lane’s arms in the middle of the streets in Metropolis.

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