Comics in Conversation with Literature: The Immortal Hulk – Part 2

Read Part one in this blog series

The Immortal Hulk is the newest comic to feature Dr Bruce Banner and his green alter ego, and since the series’ debut in 2018, it’s become a massive hit with fans and critics. Written by Al Ewing and drawn by Joe Bennett, the series centres on a new revelation about the character: Bruce Banner can die but the Hulk cannot, which makes them, as the title suggests, immortal.

Thanks to this undead twist, Ewing and Bennett use the story opportunity to turn Hulk into a horror book. The newly-minted Immortal Hulk battles such terrors as radioactive zombies, paranormal possessions, city-destroying kaiju, the Devil, the legions of Hell, and — my personal favourite — Xemnu the Titan, a cyborg yeti alien who can manipulate people’s memories through smartphones.

The other unique angle to The Immortal Hulk is that every issue opens with a quote from a famous book or writer, chosen by Ewing to give thematic weight to each issue and something for the audience to ponder on a close reading. Below, I’ve picked out some of the best opening quotations from volumes four to six of The Immortal Hulk, and linked them to the works of their respective writers so you can find them in our collection.

If you want to read the comic first, you can order the first volume here or read it on Overdrive here (and check out the previous edition of this blog to read about all the references in the first three volumes). If you’ve read up to volume four, order it here or read it on Overdrive here.


Opening Quotations from The Immortal Hulk

Behold: I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard. I cry aloud, but there is no judgement.

The Book of Job

Catalogue link for The book of Job : a contest of moral imaginations / Newsom, CarolThe Book of Job is one of the most discussed books of the Bible, and also the one most frequently quoted in The Immortal Hulk. In the Book, God tests the faith of a pious man, Job, by robbing him of all his family and possessions, and when Job tries to know why God has punished him, he is only shown how much he doesn’t know. Ewing returns to Job as a motif whenever the Immortal Hulk is being tested, whether it be by shady government black-ops hunting him down, the return of old enemies, or with his own inner turmoil.

Nothing valued is here. What is here is dangerous and repulsive to us. This message is a warning about danger.

Catalogue link for The age of radiance : the epic rise and dramatic fall of the Atomic Era / Nelson, CraigThese phrases aren’t from a work of literature, but from the United States Department of Energy. A growing concern in the organisation is how to warn people in the far future to stay away from nuclear waste disposal sites; these phrases were written to help design pictographs that best symbolise the danger represented by radiation to potentially illiterate future humans. Ewing uses these phrases as opening quotes in the issue where Shadow Base, the government black site hunting the Hulk, create a new version of the classic Hulk foe The Abomination, not knowing the danger they are getting into by creating a Hulk of their own.

I would eat his heart in the marketplace

Catalogue link for Much ado about nothing / Shakespeare, William A running theme in The Immortal Hulk is anger, particularly the double standard invoked when women express it as opposed to men. In issue 19, Bruce Banner’s ex-wife Betty returns as the Red Harpy, a giant crimson bird-woman set on revenge against the Hulk for all the ways he ruined her life. The opening quote of the issue is an expression by Much Ado‘s character Beatrice, wishing that she had a man’s social privilege to publicly hold a man to task for slandering her friend. In Red Harpy’s case, however, she decides to take Beatrice’s metaphor very, very literally…

That stony law I stamp to dust, and scatter religion abroad to the four winds as a torn book, & none shall gather the leaves…

Catalogue link for William Blake, selected poetryIn issue 26, after defeating and taking over Shadow Base, the Hulk decides to use its resources to launch a revolution against the powers-that-be, stating that he wants to ‘end the human world’. His friends and allies, however, are skeptical at whether Hulk’s mission will prove effective. Ewing once more returns to poet and artist William Blake, this time citing a passage from his America: A Prophecy, a book of poetry written about the revelatory potential of the American Revolution.

Such is the condition of organic nature! Whose first law might be expressed in the words, ‘Eat or be eaten!’

Catalogue link for Erasmus Darwin : a life of unequalled achievementIn issue 29, the CEO of the Roxxon corporation sends out a wave of giant monsters to attack Phoenix, Arizona to discredit Bruce Banner and prop up Roxxon’s own Hulk, Xemnu the Titan, as a hero. They are heralded by the above line, a poetic description of nature’s voracity by naturalist Erasmus Darwin (grandfather of Charles) from his book Phytologia. It proves literal too, as one monster eats the Hulk whole, leaving him to fight its car-sized internal parasites.

O’Brien’s looking skittish, but he’ll be fine once his blood’s up. Harryhausen is raring to go. Oh–and they didn’t feed Lovecraft today…

The four giant monsters that attack Phoenix all have codenames referencing Hollywood visual effects artists and horror writers:

Catalogue link: King Kong Catalogue link: Clash of the Titans Catalogue link: The complete fiction of H. P. Lovecraft Catalogue link: The vintage Ray Bradbury

Comics in Conversation with Cinema: Justice League – The Director’s Cuts (Part 2)

After years of fan campaigning, Zack Snyder’s Justice League has finally arrived on our screens. The newly expanded film restores the initial vision of the auteur director behind 300, Watchmen and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and is loosely based on Justice League: Origin by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee.

But there are many Justice League stories worthy of adaptation into film, just as there are many directors who would be perfect to adapt them. Here are another six picks for Justice League comics based on which directors would be best to adapt them into movies. Read the first batch of recommendations here.

The people vs. the Justice League and Justice lost

Suggested director: Spike Lee (Do the Right Thing, Blackkklansman)

What happens when the Justice League get in the way of real justice? Many writers have tried to do the ‘what if superheroes had to deal with the REAL issues’ story and failed, but in The People vs the Justice League, Christopher Priest and Pete Woods are able to make the real world/superhero world conflict compelling without one side diminishing the other. Featuring a disgruntled fanboy villain, a rival Justice League more interested in community action than punching bad guys, and a parody of Black Panther who uses the League’s downed satellite base to start a war between two African nations, this topical two volume run has plenty of material for a smart, trenchant director like Spike Lee to make into a great movie.

JLA: Trial by Fire

Suggested director: Sam Raimi (Spider-ManThe Evil Dead)

After trying to overcome his fatal weakness to fire, Martian Manhunter accidentally awakens a hostile ancestral personality in himself known as ‘Fernus the Burning Martian’, who wants nothing more than Earth’s total destruction. Trial by Fire, by writer Joe Kelly and artist Doug Mahnke, starts with a demonic possession mystery that spirals out into a world-ending threat, and it rides an interesting middle ground between horror story and superhero epic. That’s why Sam Raimi, director of both great superhero movies and great horror movies, would really make this story sing if he were the one adapting it.

Formerly known as the Justice League

Suggested director: Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok, What We Do In The Shadows)

In the late 80s, Justice League was written by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and artist Kevin Maguire, who turned the book into a superhero ensemble comedy featuring lesser known heroes like Blue Beetle, Booster Gold and Elongated Man. Formerly Known as… has that creative team return to the characters (now called the ‘Super Buddies’) who have fallen on hard times and operate out of a strip mall. Taika Waititi is an easy pick for the only explicitly comedic Justice League, but I chose him for this story because he also excels at writing people with high opinions of themselves trying to reclaim their dignity in the face of adversity; think of the aristocratic vampires of What We Do in the Shadows reduced to living in a dilapidated flat or Thor struggling with his self-worth after his hammer is destroyed in Thor: Ragnarok.

JLA: Rock of Ages

Suggested director: Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight trilogy, Interstellar)

Rock of Ages is another blockbuster-size JLA story from Grant Morrison and Howard Porter, in which the JLA face a crisis on two fronts: a corporate takeover-style threat from the Injustice Gang, and trying to prevent a map of all space-time from falling into the hands of the despotic alien Darkseid. Christopher Nolan is a filmmaker obsessed with time: how we fight against it (Dunkirk), what it robs from us (Interstellar), and how we could weaponise it for our benefit (Tenet). Rock of Ages has all the sort of mind-bending space-time headiness Nolan loves to play with, plus it has a lot of good Batman moments as well, so it would be a return to form for him in more ways than one.

Justice League vs. Suicide Squad

Suggested director: The Russo brothers (Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame)

The Russo brothers had the monumental task of bringing ten years of a superhero universe to a conclusion with Infinity War and Endgame, and if fan response and box-office speaks for anything, they succeeded with flying colours. They’re the only duo who would be up to the task to adapt Justice League vs Suicide Squad, which like their previous superhero efforts features a huge and complex story, loads of characters, and centres around a villain pursuing a gem for ultimate power. They might be repeating themselves, but if they did it twice before, then third time is just another charm.

JLA: Heaven’s Ladder

Suggested director: The Wachowski siblings (The Matrix, Cloud Atlas)

One of the weirder stories from the 90s JLA run, Heaven’s Ladder (by Mark Waid and Bryan Hitch) follows the Justice League trying to save Earth after it has been stolen by immortal aliens called ‘Quantum Mechanics’ who want to build their own afterlife using the cultural ideas of Heaven from various alien worlds. It’s a far-out concept, but one that hits on a lot of the shared themes of the films of Lana and Lilly Wachowski, like the fusing of spirituality with science-fiction in The Matrix or the idea of the soul transcending cultural boundaries from Cloud Atlas.

Comics in Conversation with Cinema: Justice League – The Director’s Cuts

After years of fan campaigning, Zack Snyder’s Justice League has finally arrived on our screens. The newly expanded film restores the initial vision of the auteur director behind 300, Watchmen and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and is loosely based on Justice League: Origin by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee.

Snyder certainly had the track record to adapt DC Comics’ premiere super-team to the silver screen, having a number of comic-to-film adaptations under his belt already and a distinct aesthetic directly inspired by comic books. But there are many Justice League stories worthy of adaptation into film (particularly from JLA, the deliberately cinematic and much beloved series that ran from 1997 to 2006), just as there are many directors who would be perfect to adapt them.

So if you’re after more of the World’s Greatest Superheroes (or some great film recommendations), here are my picks for Justice League comics based on what directors would best adapt them into movies.

JLA : New world order – Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, 2012)

When Justice League was relaunched as JLA in 1997 by Grant Morrison and Howard Porter, their intent with the series was to tell big-scale stories like a blockbuster movie in comic form. The first story of their run, New World Order, delivers on exactly that, featuring an invasion by superheroes from another planet that opens with a giant spaceship over the White House (just like Emmerich’s Independence Day, coincidentally released the same year) and continues heightening the stakes from there. If they made a JLA movie in the 90s, you could absolutely see Emmerich as a front-runner for the director’s chair.

Bonus trivia: Every issue of JLA: New World Order is named after a sci-fi movie from the 1950s: THEM!, The Day the Earth Stood Still, War of the Worlds, and Invaders from Mars.

JLA : Earth 2 – Paul Verhoeven (Robocop, Starship Troopers)

A good version of Lex Luthor recruits the JLA to help him fight the Crime Syndicate of Amerika (not a typo), their evil equivalent from an parallel Earth made of anti-matter, where reality, history and morality is reversed. People’s hearts are on the right side of their body instead of the left, pirates and gangsters are worshipped as heroes, executions are televised, and the dollar bills have “In Mammon We Trust” written on them, referencing the demon of greed. It brings to mind some of Paul Verhoeven’s best satire in Robocop and Starship Troopers, where the excesses of American capitalist and military society are heightened to ludicrous absurdity.

Bonus trivia: JLA: Earth 2 was later adapted into an animated film, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, in 2010.

Justice –  George Miller (Mad Max, Happy Feet)

Justice hits all the beats of a great Justice League story: big action, great character moments, and deep-cut references from across DC history, but the main conceit of Justice is that the Legion of Doom, convinced that they are saving humanity from a coming apocalypse that the Justice League can’t prevent, become the story’s heroes. While George Miller would be a great choice for any superhero movie for his skill at directing action and tone, what makes Justice an ideal story for him would be the Legion of Doom as a cult of personality believing they know what’s best for society. It’s a theme that Miller has explored throughout his filmography, from the various desert demagogues of the Mad Max wastelands to the conservative penguin hegemony of Happy Feet.

Bonus trivia: In 2007, George Miller was tapped to direct a Justice League movie called Justice League: Mortal, but due to the success of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, Warner Bros decided to focus on solo hero movies and the film was shelved indefinitely.

JLA: Golden Perfect – Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman 1984)

After facing a crisis of conscience, Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth is destroyed, and with it, the very concept of truth itself has been fractured — and the Justice League must contend with a world capriciously redefined by the dreams and fears of the human race. When explaining her writing process for WW84, Patty Jenkins said she wanted to write a superhero movie where at the end, nobody dies and the day is saved with a conversation rather than with brute strength. Golden Perfect hits on a lot of similar themes and ideas (WW84‘s Wishing Stone also has a similar effect on the world as the Lasso of Truth breaking), and while she would be repeating herself, it would be interesting to see Jenkins’ take on the rest of the Justice League.

Bonus trivia: Wonder Woman has also appeared in a solo animated film, and appears in the DC Animated Movie Universe beginning with Justice League: War.

Justice League Dark – Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Pacific Rim)

Justice League Dark was created to highlight DC’s stable of magical and horror-influenced heroes such as John Constantine, Zatanna, Swamp Thing, and Deadman, who fight the supernatural threats that the regular flavour Justice League can’t handle. While there was an animated film that came out in 2017, Guillermo Del Toro has been trying to make a live-action Justice League Dark film since 2013. Given his experience in directing fantasy action and surreal horror (the first issue of the series has the Justice League contend with a storm made of human teeth, for starters), giving Del Toro the chance would be a no-brainer.

Bonus trivia: While Del Toro has set aside working on Justice League Dark (for now), a TV series is currently in development for HBO Max, spearheaded by J.J. Abrams.

JLA : the hypothetical woman – Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty, The Hurt Locker)

The Justice League of America is caught in a harrowing situation after being sent by the United Nations Security Council to intervene in a South American nation ruled by an iron-fisted dictator. In response, the world’s nations start stockpiling discarded supervillain weapons and alien spacecrafts and repurposing them into weapons out of fear the Justice League will do the same to them. An underrated Justice League story that weds traditional superhero tropes to the realism of international relations and military strategy, this is probably the only JLA story I could see Kathryn Bigelow adapting.

Bonus trivia: JLA: The Hypothetical Woman is drawn by artist Jose-Luis Garcia Lopez, who is responsible for the DC Comics Style Guide, the official reference guide book for all DC Comics merchandise.

Comics in Conversation with Literature: The Immortal Hulk

The Immortal Hulk is the newest comic to feature Dr Bruce Banner and his green alter ego and since the series’ debut in 2018, it’s become a massive hit with fans and critics. Written by Al Ewing and drawn by Joe Bennett, the series centres on a new revelation about the character: Bruce Banner can die but the Hulk cannot, which makes them, as the title suggests, immortal. Thanks to this undead twist, Ewing and Bennett use the story opportunity to turn Hulk into a horror book, closer in tone to old EC Comics or Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing, but with the same action and character drama you’d expect from a Marvel comic. The newly-minted Immortal Hulk battles such terrors as radioactive zombies, paranormal possessions, city-destroying kaiju, the Devil, the legions of Hell, and my personal favourite, Xemnu the Titan, a cyborg yeti alien who can manipulate people’s memories through smartphones.

The other unique angle to The Immortal Hulk is that every issue opens with a quote from a famous book or writer, chosen by Ewing to give thematic weight to each issue and something for the audience to ponder on a close reading. I’ve picked out some of the best opening quotations from the first three volumes of The Immortal Hulk, and linked them to the works of their respective writers so you can find them in our collection. If you want to read the comic first, you can order the first volume here or read it on Overdrive here.

 

 

 

 

 

‘My devil had long been caged, he came out roaring’ – The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and other stories / Stevenson, Robert Louis

Out of all of the original 60s Marvel heroes, the Incredible Hulk is the only one with a literary pedigree; he was inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. The influence of ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ on the Hulk is obvious, as they both tell the story of mild-mannered men grappling with a split personality that can physically transform them into a monster. Where the Hulk is usually childlike in his rage, Bruce’s new ‘Immortal Hulk’ personality is significantly more intelligent and menacing than the other Hulks, much like Mr Hyde in the book.

“One always dies too soon – or too late” – No exit, and three other plays / Sartre, Jean-Paul

For the first few issues of Immortal Hulk, Banner only transforms into the Hulk when he dies, and returns to life via a portal called ‘The Green Door’. A consistent theme of the series is how it would affect someone psychologically to come back from the dead, as comic book heroes frequently do. This pairs interestingly with Ewing’s choice to quote No Exit, a play by French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre about three souls who are locked in a room together in the afterlife. For the characters in No Exit, death is a one-way door, whereas for Bruce and the Hulk both, death is a revolving one, a trap for which there too seems to be no exit.

‘Many names hath god given him, names of mystery, secret and terrible’ – Red cactus : the life of Anna Kingsford / Pert, Alan

In interviews, Al Ewing has said that he picked up the idea of the Green Door from the vintage pop song ‘The Green Door‘ and from theosophist writer Anna Kingsford. In her book of her religious visions, Clothed With the Sun, she wrote that the devil, rather than being an adversary for God, works for Him in many roles: a destroyer, an avenger, and as the keeper of the door to Hell who ‘sifts’ souls so that only the wicked enter. Appropriately, the Immortal Hulk takes on the name ‘Devil Hulk’ during a fight with the Avengers, as he tears through them with no effort. But the choice of Kingsford’s quote implies that the Hulk could become a force for good as well, like her conception of the devil.

“Fathers and teachers, I ponder, What is Hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love” – The brothers Karamazov : a novel in four parts and an epilogue / Dostoyevsky, Fyodor

The main villain of the first three volumes is Bruce’s deceased father, Brian Banner, who has struck a deal with the demonic ‘One Below All’ so he can return to Earth. Brian was openly hostile to Bruce throughout his childhood, believing Bruce to be a ‘monster’ who would replace him, and Bruce’s suppressed rage at this treatment eventually coalesced into his Hulk personality. The issue where the Hulk finally confronts his father in Hell opens with the above line from The Brothers Karamazov, which follows three brothers and their respective relationships with their distant, unscrupulous father.

‘Did he who made the Lamb make thee?’ – Songs of innocence and of experience : shewing the two contrary states of the human soul, 1789-1794 / Blake, William

The Romantic poet and artist William Blake is referenced throughout the Immortal Hulk run. The above quote, from his poem ‘The Tyger’ in Songs of Experience, ponders how a creature as fearsome and stunning as a tiger could exist in the same world as an innocent lamb, and considers this a possible contradiction in God’s creation. Like Blake’s interrogation of the tiger, the ‘why?’ of the Hulk’s existence is a recurring question in Immortal Hulk; how could this monster exist within this man? Does he serve some kind of purpose that we’re not aware of? And what will he decide to do with his power?

Comics in Conversation with Comics: Dial H for Hero Volume 2

This is the next in our Comics in Conversation with Comics series of posts, in which we explore comics and graphic novels that highlight, challenge, and celebrate the works that came before them, or say something about comics as an art form overall.

In this post we’ll be taking a look at the recent DC Comics series Dial H for Hero, by writer Sam Humphries and artist Joe Quinones.

Dial H for Hero is one of DC Comics’ more obscure series, but it’s a title that has a strong following among comic writers for its seemingly infinite potential. First appearing in House of Mystery #156 in January 1966, the premise centres around the H-Dial, a mysterious rotary phone (ask your parents) that, when H-E-R-O is dialled on it, can transform the caller into a random superhero. 

The 2019 Dial H for Hero series finds the Dial in the hands of two teen runaways, Miguel Montez and Summer Pickens, and this time the dial not only changes them into different comic heroes, but different art styles. These moments are the main draw of the series, referencing famous comics outside of the DC universe such as Dragon Ball, Krazy Kat, Peanuts, Tank Girl, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and paying homage to such celebrated artists like Dan Clowes, Mike Allred, Alex Toth, Rob Liefeld, Moebius and more over the course of the series’ twelve issues.

We’ve listed some of the best comic homages from the second volume, with links to the relevant comics that inspired them if you want to check them out from our collection. You can also jump away now and reserve both volumes of Dial H for Hero if you don’t want to be spoiled on the story.

Continue reading “Comics in Conversation with Comics: Dial H for Hero Volume 2”

Comics in Conversation with Comics: Dial H for Hero Volume One

This is Comics in Conversation with Comics, a blog about comics and graphic novels that highlight, challenge, and celebrate the works that came before them, or say something about comics as an art form overall. This first post looks at the recent DC Comics series Dial H for Hero, by writer Sam Humphries and artist Joe Quinones.

Dial H for Hero is one of DC Comics’ more obscure series, but it’s a title that has a strong following among comic writers for its seemingly infinite potential. First appearing in House of Mystery #156 in January 1966, the premise centers around the H-Dial, a mysterious rotary phone (ask your parents) that, when H-E-R-O is dialed on it, can transform the caller into a random superhero. The 2019 Dial H for Hero series finds the Dial in the hands of two teen runaways, Miguel Montez and Summer Pickens, and this time the dial not only changes them into different comic heroes, but different art styles. These moments are the main draw of the series, referencing famous comics outside of the DC universe such as Dragon Ball, Krazy Kat, Peanuts, Tank Girl, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and paying homage to such celebrated artists like Dan Clowes, Mike Allred, Alex Toth, Rob Liefeld, Moebius and more over the course of the series’ twelve issues.

We’ve listed some of the best comic homages from the first volume, with links to the relevant comics that inspired them if you want to check them out from our collection. You can also reserve volumes one and two of Dial H for Hero here and here if you don’t want to be spoiled on the story.

Manga on Manga

In issue 2 of Dial H for Hero, Miguel and an rival fight for the dial in the forms of Jobu, the Zonkey King and Iron Deadhead. These two heroes are references to two mangas, Akira Toriyama’s Goku from Dragon Ball and the cyborg protagonists of Masamune Shirow’s mangas like Ghost in the Shell, respectively. As the two heroes clash, so do the art styles, with Jobu’s simple colours and comedic tone contrasting with Iron Deadhead’s more serious, cyberpunk look drawn in black and white.

Dragonball. 3-in-1 edition. 1 / Toriyama, Akira

Ghost in the shell / Shirow, Masamune

 

 

 

Getting Vertigo

Vertigo (and its 2010s successor, Young Animal) was DC Comic’s imprint (a minor publishing line) for mature comics that gave their writers more creative freedom to reinterpret classic characters, including The Sandman, Doom Patrol, and Shade the Changing Man. While Vertigo is acclaimed for elevating comics into the realm of serious literature, these titles are also known to dip into ‘purple prose’ and extremely post-modern styles of narrative, which could alienate a more casual reader. This aspect gets a send-up in chapter 3 of Dial H for Hero in the form of the Bluebird of Happiness, a manic-pixie psychedelic superwoman resembling The Sandman‘s Delirium who warps the comic’s page structure around her.

The Sandman : endless nights / Gaiman, Neil

Shade, the changing girl. Vol. 1, Earth girl made easy / Castellucci, Cecil

 

 

Moebius Strip

To fight a bunch of out-of-control Justice League robots in issue 4, museum curator Snapper Carr transforms into Alien Ice Cream Man, a costumed space adventurer poking fun at the way French comic artist Moebius would draw his space-travelling characters with big pointy hats. Miguel, meanwhile, becomes Lil’ Miguelito, a fusion of various newspaper comic strip characters including Charlie Brown, Hagar the Horrible, and Nancy.

Inside Moebius. Part 1 / Moebius

Nancy likes Christmas / Bushmiller, Ernie

 

 

 

Fight like a (Tank) Girl

Main character Summer Picken’s go-to hero transformation is Lo-Lo Kick You, a live-wire ‘riot grrrl’ hero inspired by the art of Tank Girl creator (and Gorillaz artist) Jamie Hewlett and the pop art style of Mike Allred’s Madman. Summer’s adherence to only turning into one character throughout the series (whereas the dial normally changes you in random heroes) indicates her strong sense of self-identity. It’s befitting, then, that her transformation pays homage to two of the most visually distinct and idiosyncratic artists of the 1990s.

Tank Girl : the odyssey / Milligan, Peter

Madman. Volume 1 / Allred, Mike

 

 

 

Comic-ception

Issue 6 has a double-page spread that looks like a comic overlayed on top of another comic, allowing two narratives to play out simultaneously across the same page space. The ‘outer’ comic is a shot-for-shot remake of the storyboards for the Batman: The Animated Series opening by Bruce Timm, while the overlayed ‘inner’ comic detailing Miguel’s crisis is done in the style of black-and-white indie comics like Love and Rockets by the Hernandez brothers.

Heartbreak soup : a Love and rockets book / Hernandez, Gilbert

The Batman adventures : mad love / Dini, Paul

 

 

Hero Complex

In issue 6, the villain Mr. Thunderbolt gives everyone in the city of Metropolis a superhero identity and powers, with every individual character having their own art style riffing on another comic artist. Some of the allusions I was able to spot were: a character based on artist Frank Quitely’s ‘hyper-real’ art style, a few referencing early 60s Marvel comics by artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, and characters based on the recent designs of Squirrel Girl by Erica Henderson and Silk by Stacey Lee.

L to R: All-Star Superman   Spider-Man meets the Marvel universe  The unbeatable Squirrel Girl  Silk

 

 

 

 

 

And that covers volume one! Stay tuned for Part Two, where we cover the homages in Dial H for Hero Volume Two.