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DRAGON'S BREATH

The Official Newsletter of Heroes and Dragons

http://www.heroesanddragons.com

 

Issue # 8.28 — February 15, 2004

CONTENTS
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A Living Legend Crosses the Threshold

DC Comics Editor Emeritus Julius Schwartz died on February 8.

Julius Schwartz celebrated his 85th birthday with an all-star ensemble at Heroes Con 2000.  Left to right: George Pérez, Mark Waid, Carmine Infantino, Julie, and Irwin Hasen

A tireless emissary of goodwill since his "retirement" in the late ' 80s, Julie was best known as the Father of the Silver Age.  He was a true innovator, bringing super-hero comics closer and closer to the real world for three generations of readers.

Beginning his career as a literary agent for science-fiction giants Ray Bradbury and Alfred Bester, Schwartz came to DC Comics in 1944.  Twelve years later, he applied realistic-sounding science to the all-but-obscure super-hero characters of the 1940s, introducing a new Flash in the pages of Showcase.  Revamps of Green Lantern, Hawkman, and the Justice Society (now known as the Justice League) soon followed.

Schwartz didn't stop there.  Using the science-fiction concept of parallel Earths, he introduced the new Flash to his Golden Age predecessor in "Flash of Two Worlds" (The Flash # 123).  This story established the Silver Age DC Multiverse and opened the door to infinite worlds of adventure.

As the editor who united Denny O'Neil and Neal Adams on Green Lantern/Green Arrow, Schwartz brought the classic DC heroes even closer to our "real" world, introducing social relevance to super-hero comics.

For 60 years, Julie Schwartz has been a giant in the world of comic books, topping his own phenomenal achievements with astonishing regularity.  If we could attune our internal vibrations to a different frequency, we might find him living on in another world — Earth-Julie, perhaps.  But this world is much poorer for his passing.

Toy Fair 2004: DC Direct, Marvel Legends News

Our friends at The State newspaper — Dave Rodriguez, Louie Lanford, and Chad Bowers — sent us a ton of great photos from the recent Toy Fair festivals in New York and London.

Many long-anticipated figures are finally coming from DC Direct — including Firestorm and Deathstroke the Terminator!

Marvel Legends has a big year planned, too.  2004 will see the debut of a couple dozen new highly-articulated figures.  Among them are a Fantastic Four boxed set, Wolverine in the classic brown-and-orange suit, a 1970s/Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider, and even the X-Statix member Doop!

View lots of photos online:  DC Direct | Marvel Legends

Comic Club Examines Superman Past & Present

It's been a while since the H&D Comic Club has looked in on that most venerable of comic-book genres — the super-hero.  What better way to return our attention to super-heroes than by examining the first, and possibly the greatest, super-hero of them all?

The theme of March's meeting is Superman Past and Present.  We'll read and discuss two seminal Superman stories, representing the alpha and omega of super-heroic adventure:

  • Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?
    by Alan Moore, Kurt Schaffenberger, Curt Swan, and George Pérez

  • Man of Steel
    by John Byrne and Dick Giordano

Was the reinvention of Superman necessary?  Does the "new" Superman speak to readers differently than the Silver Age version?  Bring your thoughts on these and other topics to our next meeting — Thursday, March 4 at 7:30pm — where we'll compare and contrast both stories.

If you've never attended Comic Club, this is a great chance to meet our members and learn all about the program.  If you decide to join, there's a $20 per year membership fee, which also entitles you to a year-round 20% discount on all graphic novels (not just the ones we read for Comic Club).

This month's readings have a combined retail price of $16.90, but card-carrying HDCC members can pick them both up for only $13.52!

Pick of the Week — The Pulse #1

By Tug Baker

If there’s one thing that I’ve always thought Marvel had going for it over DC, it is the fact that Marvel has a plethora of “street-level” heroes. Sure, you can talk all you want about Batman being the ultimate “street-level” hero, but you can’t discount the sheer number of these characters Marvel has running around. Heck, most of them are running around in the same city! The new series The Pulse, by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist (at least for now) Mark Bagley, will be spotlighting these characters.

While most of these street heroes (Luke Cage, Cloak and Dagger, Moon freakin’ Knight) have been gathering dust for the past few years, they have recently seen a spike in popularity — mostly due to a new addition to their ranks. One of the first Marvel MAX titles, Alias (written by Bendis) was a series starring Jessica Jones, a former super-hero who had a bit of a breakdown and went from up and coming super-heroine to private investigator who just happened to have super powers.

Known for her dirty habits and even dirtier mouth, Jessica was a realistic portrait of what happens when a super-hero is down on her luck. While Alias’s ending didn’t really sit well with me — I’m not a big fan of deus ex machina finales — it did serve as a great set-up for the new series.

Jessica’s luck seems to be on the upswing. As she prepares to have a baby with her new beau Luke Cage, she gets a job offer from none other than J. Jonah Jameson — to be a “super-hero analyst" for a new section of the paper called "The Pulse." And if that doesn’t already sound neat enough, then Marvel fans will be happy to know that Jessica’s partner in this endeavor is Daredevil supporting cast member extraordinaire Ben Urich.

This series really seems like it’s off to a good start. Say what you want about Bendis, but he really does write a great Jameson. I think some Alias fans will be a bit worried about the switch to a non-MAX titles, but Jessica cleaning up her language in preparation for having a baby makes sense and doesn’t detract from the book at all.

Best of all, this series looks like it could be a book that focuses on many of those underused street heroes. C’mon, Moon Knight!

For Tug's complete review, click here.

Previous Picks Still Available at H&D

Missed out on our recent "Pick of the Week" comics?

It's not too late jump on.  We make it a point to keep our "Pick of the Week" comics in stock — if you don't see them on the shelf, ask when they'll be back at the Dragon.

Recent Picks of the Week:

Week of February 11 | Hawkman # 25
Week of February 4 | Coup D'Etat: Sleeper # 1
Week of January 29 | Wonder Woman # 200
Week of January 21 | DC: The New Frontier # 1

Coming Events

Lord of the Rings CCG League meets this Tuesday, February 17 at 4:00pm.

.Hack Booster Draft Tournament starts at 4:30pm this Wednesday, February 18.

Vampire: The Eternal Struggle CCG Skullduggery Tournament this Saturday, February 21, starting at 11:00am.  (Click the link to e-mail Joe Churchill for details.)

Warhammer 40,000 "Lunchammer" Tournament starts at noon on Saturday, February 21.

Site to See

Blurring the line between fact and fiction is Once Upon a Dime, the promotional site for Comic Book: The Movie.

Skillfully blending articles about the Golden Age with spoof retrospectives on Comic Book: The Movie's Commander Courage, OnceUponADime.com is a fun site.  With any luck, it will outlast its novelty beginnings.

While you're there, be sure to take the 12-Pixel Super-Hero Challenge and the 48-Pixel Superheroine Challenge!

 

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Dragon's Breath is written and administered by Scott Simmons.
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