Tag Archives: Comic Books

The Fire Wire’s Top 10 Graphic Novels

Here is a list of my all-time 10 favorite graphic novels largely dominated by early Frank Miller. If you have not read any of these, I highly recommend them as most are still in print. Links have been included to order. Enjoy…

Daredevil: Born Again

  

Daredevil: Born Again” is a 1986 comic book story arc that appeared in the Marvel Comics series Daredevil. Written by Frank Miller, and drawn by David Mazzucchelli, the storyline first appeared in Daredevil #227–231. Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli present one of the most defining Daredevil runs of all time! When Matt Murdock’s super hero identity is outed by Karen Page, Kingpin makes moves to destroy Matt on every level, targeting his relationships, his career and his very will to live. But just because Daredevil’s in Purgatory, doesn’t mean he’ll end up in Hell…

Order HERE.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns 

I stopped reading comics in the 70’s and after reading an article in Rolling Stone about Frank Miller, I picked this issue up and was immediately hooked. My all-time favorite comic book!

Rolling Stone Magazine #470 March 27, 1986

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns is a 1986 four-issue prestige comic book miniseries starring Batman, written by Frank Miller, illustrated by Miller and Klaus Janson, and published by DC Comics. 

Writer/artist Frank Miller completely reinvents the legend of Batman in this saga of a near-future Gotham City gone to rot, 10 years after the Dark Knight’s retirement. Forced to take action, the Dark Knight returns in a blaze of fury, taking on a whole new generation of criminals and matching their level of violence. He is soon joined by a new Robin—a girl named Carrie Kelley, who proves to be just as invaluable as her predecessors.

Can Batman and Robin deal with the threat posed by their deadliest enemies, after years of incarceration have turned them into perfect psychopaths? And more important, can anyone survive the coming fallout from an undeclared war between the superpowers—or the clash of what were once the world’s greatest heroes?

Hailed as a comics masterpiece, The Dark Knight Returns is Frank Miller’s reinvention of Gotham’s legendary protector. It remains one of the most influential stories ever told in comics, with its echoes felt in all media forms of DC’s storytelling.

Order HERE.

Watchmen

In an alternate world where the mere presence of American superheroes changed history, the US won the Vietnam War, Nixon is still president, and the cold war is in full effect!

Watchmen begins as a murder-mystery, but soon unfolds into a planet-altering conspiracy. As the resolution comes to a head, the unlikely group of reunited heroes–Rorschach, Nite Owl, Silk Spectre, Dr. Manhattan and Ozymandias–have to test the limits of their convictions and ask themselves where the true line is between good and evil. 

In the mid-eighties, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons created Watchmen, changing the course of comics’ history and essentially remaking how popular culture perceived the genre. Popularly cited as the point where comics came of age, Watchmen’s sophisticated take on superheroes has been universally acclaimed for its psychological depth and realism.

Order HERE.

Batman: Year One

Batman: Year One is a comic book story arc published by DC Comics in 1987 which recounts the superhero Batman’s first year as a crime-fighter. It was written by Frank Miller, illustrated by David Mazzucchelli, colored by Richmond Lewis, and lettered by Todd Klein. Batman: Year One originally appeared in issues #404–407 of the comic book title Batman.

This groundbreaking graphic novel reinterprets the origin of Batman—who he is, and how he came to be. Sometimes careless and naive, this Dark Knight is far from the flawless vigilante he is today. 

In his first year on the job, Batman feels his way around a Gotham City far darker than the one he left. His solemn vow to extinguish the town’s criminal element is only half the battle; along with Lieutenant James Gordon, the Dark Knight must also fight a police force more corrupt than the scum in the streets.

Batman: Year One stands next to Batman: The Dark Knight Returns on the mantle of greatest Batman graphic novels of all time. Timeless in its appeal, Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s masterpiece would stand apart from the crowded comics field even today.

Order HERE.

Batman: The Killing Joke

Batman: The Killing Joke is a 1988 DC Comics one-shot graphic novel featuring the characters Batman and the Joker written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Brian Bolland. 

Critically acclaimed author Alan Moore redefined graphic novel story-telling with Watchmen and V for Vendetta. In Batman: The Killing Joke, he takes on the origin of comics’ greatest super-villain, The Joker, and changes Batman’s world forever.

ONE BAD DAY.

According to the grinning engine of madness and mayhem known as the Joker, that’s all that separates the sane from the psychotic. Freed once again from the confines of Arkham Asylum, he’s out to prove his deranged point. And he’s going to use Gotham City’s top cop, Commissioner Jim Gordon, and his brilliant and beautiful daughter Barbara to do it.

Now Batman must race to stop his archnemesis before his reign of terror claims two of the Dark Knight’s closest friends. Can he finally put an end to the cycle of bloodlust and lunacy that links these two iconic foes before it leads to its fatal conclusion? And as the horrifying origin of the Clown Prince of Crime is finally revealed, will the thin line that separates Batman’s nobility and the Joker’s insanity snap once and for all?

Order HERE.

Elektra Lives Again

Elektra Lives Again is a 1990 graphic novel by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley, published through Marvel Comics’ imprint Epic Comics. It is a spin-off from Miller’s run on Daredevil and tells the story of the return of ninja warrior Elektra from death.

Despite the fact that Elektra died in his arms, Daredevil is plagued by recurring nightmares and terrible premonitions that his former lover and world’s top assassin-for-hire is not only alive, but active once more.

Out of print but used copies can be ordered HERE.

Frank Miller’s Sin City Volume 1: The Hard Goodbye

Legendary artist Frank Miller opened a noir opus in Sin City. This critically acclaimed triumph – honored by both an Eisner Award and the prestigious National Cartoonists’ Award – combines the pulp intensity of writers like Spillane and Cain with the gritty graphic storytelling that only Miller can deliver. 

Sin City is the place – tough as leather and dry as tinder. Love is the fuel, and the now-infamous character Marv has the match … not to mention a “condition.” He’s gunning after Goldie’s killer, so it’s time to watch this town burn!

Order HERE.

The Sandman: The Deluxe Edition Book One

One of the most popular and critically acclaimed graphic novels of all time, Neil Gaiman’s award-winning masterpiece The Sandman, is a rich blend of modern and ancient mythology in which contemporary fiction, historical drama, and legend are seamlessly interwoven.

This book collects the first two paperback volumes of the critically acclaimed series Sandman, issues 1-16, and Sandman Midnight Theatre 1.

Order HERE.

Kingdom Come

Kingdom Come is a four-issue comic book miniseries published in 1996 by DC Comics under their Elseworlds imprint. It was written by Mark Waid and Alex Ross and painted in gouache by Ross, who also developed the concept from an original idea.

In the near-future world of Kingdom Come, superheroes are ubiquitous, but heroism is rare. After decades as Earth’s champions, the members of the Justice League have all retreated out of the public eye, replaced with a new generation of crime-fighters whose brand of justice leaves humanity terrified, rather than inspired. But with the planet’s future in jeopardy, Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman must come out of retirement to make one last stand for truth and justice…

Order HERE.

Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome To Lovecraft 

Now a Netflix original series! The graphic novel The A.V. Club named a “modern masterpiece,” Locke & Key tells a sprawling tale of magic and family, legacy and grief, good and evil. Acclaimed suspense novelist and New York Times-bestselling author Joe Hill (The Fireman, Heart-Shaped Box) has created a gripping story of dark fantasy and wonder—with astounding artwork from Gabriel Rodriguez—that, like the doors of Keyhouse, will transform all who open it. The epic begins here: Welcome to Lovecraft. 

Following their father’s gruesome murder in a violent home invasion, the Locke children return to his childhood home of Keyhouse in secluded Lovecraft, Massachusetts. Their mother, Nina, is too trapped in her grief—and a wine bottle—to notice that all in Keyhouse is not what it seems: too many locked doors, too many unanswered questions. Older kids Tyler and Kinsey aren’t much better. But not youngest son Bode, who quickly finds a new friend living in an empty well and a new toy, a key, that offers hours of spirited entertainment. But again, all at Keyhouse is not what it seems, and not all doors are meant to be opened. Soon, horrors old and new, real and imagined, will come ravening after the Lockes and the secrets their family holds. 

Order HERE.

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Watch The WandaVision Story Featurette

The new featurette offers a look behind the scenes and a glimpse at what’s to come in Marvel Studios’ “WandaVision,” a blend of classic television and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in which Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany)—two super-powered beings living idealized suburban lives—begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems. 

The first two episodes of “WandaVision” are now streaming exclusively on Disney+.

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Batman #1 Sells For $2.22 Million At Heritage Auctions To Shatter Caped Crusader’s World Record

The finest known copy of 1940’s Batman No. 1 sold Thursday for $2.22 million, far and away the highest price ever realized for a comic book starring Bruce Wayne and his caped-and-cowled alter ego.

The issue, the sole copy ever to receive a 9.4 grade from the Certified Guaranty Company, was already a record-setter before the start of Heritage Auctions’ four-day Comics and Comic Art event. A week before the Jan. 14-17 auction even began, Batman No. 1 crossed the $1.53-million mark, besting the previous world record set for a Batman title in November when Heritage sold 1939’s Detective Comics No. 27 for $1.5 million.

The book shattered estimates and expectations long before it was sold during the first session of the four-day event. It has seen more than two dozen bids since Christmas and accrued tens of thousands of pageviews worldwide; more than 700 Heritage clients also kept close tabs on its progress as it made its way toward the auction block.

By Wednesday afternoon, all that interest had pushed bids on Batman No. 1 to $1.89 million with buyer’s premium. Shortly before the auction opened at noon Central Standard Time Thursday, it had climbed to $1.95 million. Heated bidding raised the final price to $2.22 million.

This issue of Batman No. 1, featuring the debuts of the Joker and Catwoman, is now the most expensive comic book ever sold by Heritage Auctions.

“We knew when the book came in that it was beyond special, that it was a once-in-a-lifetime offering – from appearance, its blindingly bright cover to its white pages, to provenance,” says Heritage Auctions Senior Vice President Ed Jaster of this newly discovered copy. “As I like to say, this is just a breathtaking book in so many ways. So we are not at all surprised that this has become a record-setting issue. But we are extraordinarily proud and honored to have brought it to market, to have done justice to its owner and to have found it a new home.”

Until Thursday, the highest price Heritage had ever realized for a Batman No. 1 was in 2013, when the Dallas-based auction house sold a CGC NM- 9.2 copy for $567,625.

There are myriad reasons why Batman No. 1 is coveted by collectors and cherished by fans. First, there’s the iconic, oft-imitated cover image – Batman and Robin, smiling at each other as they swing across the Gotham City skyline against a bright yellow backdrop. Then there’s the back-page pin-up “autographed” by the Caped Crusader and his fledgling sidekick promising “bigger and better thrills.”

Inside, readers are presented with “The Legend of the Batman,” an origin story, which first appeared in Detective Comics No. 33, filled with grief and anger that will one day be retold, endlessly, in movies and television shows built upon that two-page narrative. After that comes the debut of a villain more popular now than ever before, star of his own blockbuster franchise: “a man with a changeless masklike face but for the eyes – burning, hate-filled eyes” called only the Joker.

Then, a few pages later, Batman squares off against the monsters of Hugo Strange, who made his first appearance only months earlier in Detective Comics No. 36 and quickly became one of the hero’s first recurring villains. A few pages after that follows another iconic debut: a burglar and “beautiful young woman” called The Cat, who, 80 years later, is married to Batman in an acclaimed new book penned by writer Tom King, who won an Eisner Award last year for his run on Batman.

This copy, too, has a storied background, having spent the last 39 years in the hands of a collector who bought it from a renowned comic-book shop in Houston.

In 1979, Billy T. Giles moved from Shreveport, La., to Houston, when Texas Eastern Transmission Pipeline Co. relocated its headquarters to Texas. He fell in with the local comics shops and dealers, and helped his son complete an Amazing Spider-Man collection and obtain other key comics.

Giles then decided to collect Batman for himself, starting with the purchase of six of the first nine issues from Camelot Bookstore owner Willie Patterson’s personal collection.

Camelot was located in downtown Houston, where Giles spent many lunch hours discussing comics — especially the Batman No. 1 — with Patterson. Around that time, Patterson advertised Camelot’s copy of Batman No. 1 in the Comics Buyer’s Guide for $5,000, at the time a costly investment. When it failed to sell at such a steep price Billy offered him $3,000 cash, which Patterson happily accepted.

The first Batman became Billy’s, and friends and neighbors teased him for spending that much for a comic book they insisted might one day be worthless. History, of course, proved otherwise.

When Billy retired from Texas Eastern, he began a comic-book business called BTandWDGiles, and spent the rest of his life buying and selling comics; his passion had turned professional. When he died in 2019, Billy’s son William inherited his father’s remarkable collection, and a year later decided it was someone else’s turn to own the finest known – and, now, record-shattering – copy of Batman No. 1.

“It was time for somebody else to have it,” William says. “Dad would have been glad his story is being told – ecstatic, really. What he did to get that book and how he took care of it. He always knew it was the finest and would have been so happy it has been recognized as the very best. So I am thrilled that I can use it to honor my father. Sure, I am a little sad seeing the book go. But I wish the new owner the best and hope her or she enjoys it as much as I have.”

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Chris Evans In Talks To Return To The Marvel Cinematic Universe As Captain America

Despite frequently confirming his retirement from the role after the groundbreaking Avengers: Endgame, it appears Chris Evans is ready to wield a shield again as Deadline reports that the 39-year-old star is nearing a deal with Marvel Studios to return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Captain America.

While he may be returning to the role, sources do state that it’s unlikely to be another installment in the titular hero’s solo franchise, but rather will be a supporting appearance in a separate Marvel project with an option for a return in a second film. Said path is akin to the one Robert Downey Jr. took with his role as Iron Man, having his solo franchise conclude after its third installment and instead carrying on the portrayal in the Avengers sequels, Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming.

The conclusion to Marvel’s Infinity Saga saw Evans travel back in time to return the various stones to their places in time and choose to stay in the past with love interest Peggy Carter, appearing in the future as an old man who gifts his shield to Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson, passing the torch of the moniker on to the hero currently known as Falcon.

Sources report that reps from Marvel reached out to Evans in recent months about the possibility of returning to the role and as talks continued over weeks with the Knives Out star, he began to come around to the studio’s idea for the character and began talking numbers with them.

With a number of projects, both known and unknown, currently in development at Marvel Studios for the big and small screens, and even Kevin Feige’s recent comments that the cancelled Netflix characters are game to cross over on the big screen, the possibilities are endless for when and where fans can expect to see Evans return.

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Mike Mignola: The Quarantine Sketchbook Hardcover

During the coronavirus quarantine, legendary Hellboy creator Mike Mignola posted original pencil sketches online and auctioned off the art to raise money for Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen. The sketches went viral and were the talk of the comics internet.

Now those sketches are published in print for the first time, with all profits going to the World Central Kitchen. 

This new, oversized hardcover collection is a must have for Mignola readers and art fans alike. The book features an introduction by Mignola, alongside sketches of Hellboy, beloved and unexpected pop culture characters, macabre chess pieces, gothic vegetable creatures, strange vampires, and more. 

Due to be released in March you can pre-order HERE.

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Exploring Gotham City By Matthew Manning

Discover the secrets of Gotham City with this large-scale interactive book, DC Comics: Exploring Gotham City.

Explore Gotham City, home of the mysterious crime fighter the Batman! From the depths of the Batcave to Wayne Manor, Arkham Asylum, and beyond, these pages take you on a fully illustrated journey through the crime-riddled city. Inside you’ll learn all about Gotham City’s shadowy history, encounter infamous villains from The Joker to the Penguin, and find out what the Batman, Robin, and other heroes are doing to stop them. 

The 48 page book will be released on March 16 and it can be pre-ordered HERE.

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The Umbrella Academy Announces Sparrow Academy Cast For Season 3

It was previously announced that Elliot Page, Tom Hopper, David Castañeda, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Robert Sheehan, Aidan Gallagher, Justin H. Min, Ritu Arya, Adam Godley, and Colm Feore are set to reprise their roles on The Umbrella Academy. Production on the 10-episode, season 3 order begins in February in Toronto. 

Here is the additional Sparrow Academy Cast For Season 3:

Justin Cornwell (Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey, I Am the Night) will play Marcus, Sparrow #1.

A charming, chiseled, colossus. Honest, virtuous, and demanding, Marcus keeps the family together. Graceful but lethal, calculated but compassionate, he is as smart as he is strong. Marcus is disciplined, rational and in control. He oozes confidence and leadership without ever having to raise his voice. 

Justin H. Min (After Yang, The Umbrella Academy) will play Ben, Sparrow #2.

This is not the sweet Ben we know and love. This Ben is a Machiavellian tactician, wrapped up in a pretty boy body with a rumbling inner-squid. Vicious, pragmatic, and hyper-vigilant— Ben is determined to gain his status as the leader at all costs. 

Britne Oldford (The Path, Hunters) will play Fei, Sparrow #3.

Fei sees the world in a special way. She comes across as a misanthrope who would rather be alone than spend even a second with you. But truth be told, Fei wishes she had a friend. Most of the time, Fei is the smartest person in the room and willing to work things out. But if you cross her there’s no looking back because Fei won’t stop until the job is done. 

Jake Epstein (Designated Survivor, Suits) will play Alphonso, Sparrow #4.

Years of crime fighting have left his face and body with countless visual reminders of his battles. To compensate, Alphonso is armed with a caustic and biting sense of humor. The only thing he likes better than verbally battering anyone foolish enough to get in his face, is a good pizza and a six-pack of beer.

Genesis Rodriguez (The Fugitive, Big Hero 6) will play Sloane, Sparrow #5.

A romantic and a dreamer who feels a higher cosmic calling leaving her eager to see the world and experience a life beyond her upbringing. But obligations to her family keep Sloane tethered to the Academy, as does her fear of crossing the family line. But Sloane has plans… and one day she might just be brave enough to act on them.

Cazzie David (86’ed, NY Times best-selling author of “No One Asked for This”) will play Jayme, Sparrow #6.

Jayme is a loner hidden under a hoodie. She doesn’t say much because she doesn’t have to. Jayme has a fear-inducing snarl. Catch a glimpse of it, and you’ll run across the street to avoid what follows. Smart and sharp as a knife, she spends most of her time hanging with Alphonso, her only friend.

Existential Dread Inducing Psykronium Cube (Newcomer) will play Christopher, Sparrow #7.

Christopher is a telekinetic cube of unknown origin. He can turn the room freezing cold and induce paralyzing fear. He acts as the Sparrows’ consulted oracle who hands out incredible advice and serves as the family mediator. Trustworthy, loyal, and is treated by the Sparrows like any other sibling, Christopher is a force to be reckoned with. 

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Black Panther Linocut Print By Peter Santa-Maria

Sideshow presents the Black Panther Linocut on Lokta Paper, a handcrafted Marvel art collectible created by artist Peter Santa-Maria.

Leaping from the brush, the Black Panther strikes! This stylish depiction of the King of Wakanda uses detailed hatching and bold swathes of black ink to capture the dynamic motion and intricate designs in T’Challa’s vibranium-woven suit in action. Flanked by two prowling panthers, the hero is framed by a halo of spears while the futuristic skyline of Wakanda itself rises behind him, tall and proud.

Each Black Panther Linocut on Lokta Paper is handcrafted and one of a kind, created using certified archival printmaking ink on handmade Nepalese Lokta paper. Each unique print in the Sideshow exclusive edition of 120 pieces is hand-signed and numbered by Peter Santa-Maria, making this a must-have collector item for Marvel fans.

Bring home the beauty of Wakanda for your wall and add the Black Panther Linocut on Lokta Paper by Peter Santa-Maria to your collection today.

Print details:

– Officially licensed by Marvel
– Limited edition of 120
– Approx. 20 x 30” linocut block print, 25 x 31” with frame
– Handmade Nepalese Lokta paper
– Oil-based Certified Archival Printmaking Ink
– Hand signed and numbered by the artist, Peter Santa-Maria
– Please Note: Each print in this edition is handmade by the artist, and one-of-a-kind. Ink, marks and paper may vary slightly.
– Estimated Arrival: Feb 2021 – Mar 2021

Order HERE for $100.

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Disney Confirms That The New Avengers Campus Will Debut In 2021 At California Adventure

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Disneyland had to alter or delay many of its plans for 2020. While the park has been closed since March of last year and still has no confirmed date for reopening, the company is planning to get back on schedule in 2021.

Disney recently confirmed that the new Avengers Campus will debut in 2021 at its California Adventure theme park. The company made the announcement in a recent email to the D23 Disney fan club.

The Avengers Campus, based off the popular comic and movie characters, was originally set to open in mid-July of last year. A specific date has not been set for the Avengers Campus opening.

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The First Publishing Works For Star Wars: The High Republic Land On Shelves

The first publishing works for Star Wars: The High Republic, an all-new epic series of books, novels, and comics, is now available!  Whether you’re a core fan or new to Star Wars, young or young-at-heart, this vast, interconnected saga brings a new era never before seen in the Star Wars galaxy.

In this new saga, five high-profile, fan-favorite Star Wars authors tell an epic, interconnected story – across multiple publishers and formats for different age groups – establishing a new timeline of Star Wars storytelling for generations to come. 

This initial release of Star Wars: The High Republic works include Light of the Jedi, an adult novel by Charles Soule; A Test of Courage, a middle grade novel by Justina Ireland, and a Marvel comic book series and children’s picture book, both by Cavan Scott. Additional titles will come in February including Into the Dark, a YA novel by Claudia Gray, and The High Republic Adventures an IDW comic series for fans of all ages by Daniel José Older. 

The era of The High Republic takes place centuries before The Phantom Menace and the prequel trilogy, during a golden age of the Republic, when the Jedi Order are in their prime. Noble and wise, the Jedi serve as protectors in a much more peaceful and prosperous time in the galaxy.  The story begins as the Jedi face The Great Disaster, an intergalactic catastrophe that spins the galaxy in a dangerous new direction. 

You’ll be introduced to a new group of courageous heroes, as well as menacing villains. The young, diverse Padawans run the gamut of skill, devotion, and personality.  Keep a look-out for Burryaga, a Force-sensitive Wookiee who is skilled with a broadsword-like lightsaber in Light of the Jedi; Vernestra “Vern” Rwoh, a teenage Jedi Knight with a lightwhip in A Test of Courage, and even some familiar faces like Yoda. 

With new heroes comes a barrage of new villains to terrorize the galaxy including the Nihil—dangerous marauders who wreak havoc from the Outer Rim- and the menacing Drengir, a carnivorous plant-like species with tentacles and teeth!

In February, look for Into the Dark, a young adult novel by Claudia Gray and Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures, an all-ages comic book series by Daniel José Older.  

Lucasfilm’s Publishing and Story Group teams have carefully crafted this initiative, and these books, comics, and magazines are being published by Disney Lucasfilm Press, Del Rey, IDW Publishing, Marvel, and more. The authors of this publishing initiative also participated in a virtual launch event today, where they shared insights about what to expect, as well as some new announcements:

You can purchase the first books from Star Wars: The High Republic wherever books are sold. Download a free digital sampler of books HERE.

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