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Nerd is the New Black: Civil War

Civil War (Bryan Hitch)

Full disclosure: I've already seen Civil War (twice!), and it's great.

But if you haven't and you want to head to the cinema wearing something that proclaims your Cap vs. Iron Man loyalties, or if you just want to look at some cool Civil War-inspired stuff... well, that's what we're here for. 

Let's start with the iconic Cap vs. Iron Man image from the comics, above.

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One Comic and Civil War #1

RiprDud

It's Captain America: Civil War week (here in the UK), so Bex, Jared and Jon are marking the occasion with a One Comic Civil War show.

The first issue of Civil War from 2006 marked the start of the series that saw hero vs hero in an ideological battle; should heroes be registered and licensed by the government, or should they operate freely? If the government defines who is a villain, what's to stop them basing their decision on political grounds? But without regulation, who holds the heroes accountable when things go wrong? This promises not to be a typical all guns blazing super-heroic clash.

As Civil War was written by Mark Millar, Jared rounds out the show with a 3&1 on Millar comics. In a long career covering multiple publishers, multiple genres and no small amount of controversy, what makes Jared's top three, and what's his worst one ever?


The Killing Joke: We're Not Laughing Any More

OracleYesterday’s release of a trailer for the upcoming animated version of famous Batman story The Killing Joke kicked off much discussion of the source material in various circles.

For a number reasons more or less this exact discussion surfaces whenever The Killing Joke is in the news. I was particularly aware of yesterday’s iteration because well-known comics writer Gail Simone ended up at ground zero for a lot of the Twitter-based ‘debate’.

The various strands of conversation that intersected Simone’s timeline, often followed into other people’s feeds and then back again, seemed such a perfect representation of how in multiple ways a certain segment of fandom deals with the most common critiques of The Killing Joke that it felt worth spending a little time interrogating the key points.

In fact, as is evident from Gail Simone’s mentions, people who’ve never read a comic in their lives feel entirely qualified to express a view on this. Mostly, it seems, people who don’t like women very much.

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British Library Labs, Niche Marketing & The Walking Dead

Eduardo Souzacampus

The British Library Labs are amazing.

Last year's projects are viewable online (in various states of existence), and they're absolutely fascinating. These include everything from a Victorian joke generator, a tool that helps connect handwritten manuscripts to their transcriptions, a gamefied way of creating metadata and one of the most clever (and perhaps significant?) open source maps I've ever seen.

Do yourself a favour and have a play.

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The Bus: Journey into the Strange

The Bus img 1Have you ever had that feeling where you’re going about your business just like any other day, and all of a sudden everything seems strange to you? Nothing’s changed, nothing’s wrong, but you look at totally ordinary people or things and they just don’t make any sense. You start asking yourself questions like: why are they doing that? Aren’t clothes weird? Who ever thought buildings were a good idea? It’s this feeling of dislocation, of finding the surreal in the absolutely banal, that Paul Kirchner taps into in ‘The Bus’.

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The Wake: Shades of Horror and Adventure

WAKE-part oneI started writing this article several times, and came to realize two things.

First, that The Wake is simply too stuffed full of interesting things to talk about that I couldn’t possibly cover them all in the few hundred words I have, and second, that all I really wanted to talk about was the colouring.

Colourists get so little attention in the comic book world, yet their contribution is staggering and undeniable. What Matt Hollingsworth brings to The Wake (written and pencilled by Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy respectively) draws out many of the themes of the book and lays them right on the page, hidden in plain sight. What’s more, The Wake is a book that illustrates the different effects colour can have excellently by neatly dividing itself into two parts - the first horror-inflected and the second full of high-stakes adventure.

At this point I’d like to say that The Wake is a book that really benefits from being read cold and with little knowledge of the twists and surprises that are waiting.

Unfortunately that makes it pretty hard to talk about without giving it all away. So I urge you, if you don’t want the surprises ruined for you, stop reading now and go read the book - you have been warned.

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25 Superhero Films Just As Bad As Batman vs Superman

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Let's be clear, Batman vs Superman is not good.

It is too long, too ponderous and takes itself way too seriously. It has mediocre acting, macho ham-philosophy, a bad score and confusing action sequences. It is packed with 'easter eggs' that are largely meaningless, espouses terrible politics, devotes itself to building its own mythology, and is rife with visual decision-making that is, at best, suspect.

Which is to say, it is no worse than many, many other superhero movies. 

For controversy's sake, here are 25 recent-ish superhero films from the last 20 years that are just as bad - if not worse - than Batman vs Superman:

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Susan Jane Bigelow on "Laying Down the Cape"

BrokenCan a superhero ever really stop being a superhero? Can they quit, or retire, or even escape the heavy burden of expectation and difference for a while? That question is maybe the most important one in the entire Extrahuman Union series.

The question of whether a superhero can quit is a complicated one. The reason is that there’s a piece of being a superhero that’s all about what you do, and another piece that’s about what you are.

Those two pieces seem very different at first, but maybe they’re more similar than we think.

When we first meet the character of Broken in the book that bears her name, she’s alone on the street. She’s no longer in the Extrahuman Union, which is less a voluntary organization of superheroes like the Avengers or the Justice League, and more a convenient prison to stash superpowered humans in so they won’t cause any trouble. And she didn’t just leave: she escaped.

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