After several decades, DC and Marvel each has a wide array of team franchises. Many are perennials and have been in more or less constant publication for decades. Others have had periods of dormancy but managed to make successful comebacks with the right combination of concept and creators.

Both publishers also have team books that, despite many efforts to re-launch them successfully, never quite seem to get on track for the long haul. This despite that some have had numerous chances over the years.

Intellectual property rights are a valuable asset, so both DC and Marvel are motivated to revive…

Comic book TV is more than colorful characters and gaudy action sequences. The genre can be a highly effective medium to spotlight and explore troubled people dealing with recognizable struggles.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise. Comic book television and movies have evolved to the point of encompassing a broad spectrum of moods, styles and storytelling approaches. From bright, uncomplicated escapism to dark, intricate character drama to bold experiments in form and structure, comic book TV shows, like the source material on which they’re based, embrace a considerable amount of diversity.

And while not ignoring the big ticket action moments…

Female artists have commanded a lot of attention in the alternative music world in recent years.

A diverse group of women, solo artists and band leads, have enjoyed significant airplay, streaming and sales success in the alternative genre over the past decade. The popularity among alternative programmers in recent years of electronic music, dance rock and retro-infused sounds has been a boon for female artists. And even at the male-centric active rock format, dominated by different styles of hard rock, a small group of female-led bands have carved out a hard-won foothold. It’s a significant turnaround from the days of the early/mid-2000s, when rock radio largely turned its back on female voices.

That was the culmination…

2021 marks the 40th anniversary of the release of Bella Donna, the solo debut of the iconic Stevie Nicks.

A critically acclaimed, multi-platinum success, Bella Donna has proven to be an enduring work whose legacy has seen it influence everything from modern rock to dance-oriented R&B. And yet the inaugural solo venture from the Fleetwood Mac singer was viewed as anything but a sure thing before its release.

In the early ’70s Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, then her music partner and boyfriend, had attracted a decent following on the California music scene, first as part of the group Fritz, then…

By now, most of us are well acquainted with the “Karen” meme.

It’s not a flattering concept, to be sure. And yet somehow it feels unjust to tar an entire name because of some unfortunate examples. Most people probably know people named Karen who are wonderful, cool, easygoing and a joy to be around.

In the spirit of sticking up for all the great Karens out there, here are examples of several Karens who do their name proud. Most of them are real, but a couple of fictional Karens deserve a nod for the positive things they’ve done for Karenhood.

The Justice Society of America was the original comic book superhero team.

Dating back to the early 1940s, it pioneered the team book concept. The characters mostly went dormant after the Golden Age waned, but made a comeback in the Silver Age. DC made several attempts to launch them into new adventures over the years. And at various points put the pioneering “mystery men” on the shelf.

By the late ’90s, DC came up with a formula that worked. The JSA series, and its Justice Society of America continuation, embodied the concept of legacy in the DC Universe. …

It’s well past time for Marvel to fix one of its worst decisions of the past few years and restore the status quo of Magneto as the father of twins Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.

In the early ’80s, Marvel firmly established Magento’s paternity of his former protégés, as had been hinted at for years. The characters had a long history already, from the days when Magneto had forced the twins into his original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. After Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch became genuine heroes, having a father regarded as one of the Marvel Universe’s biggest villains provided a potent…

With the combination of a flawed premise and crucial execution issues, the polarizing Heroes in Crisis stands as the first significant miss for superstar writer Tom King.

Spoilers Ahead.

Nominally structured as a mystery, Heroes in Crisis revolves around a mass killing at Sanctuary, a secret facility established by Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman as a healing center for superheroes who have endured various kinds of trauma in the course of their work. Perpetual screw-up Booster Gold and villain-turned-antihero Harley Quinn quickly emerge as the leading suspects. …

Avengers: No Road Home is an entertaining sequel to the successful weekly Avengers: No Surrender.

When every sun across the universe suddenly goes dark, the reformed Voyager gathers Hercules, Hulk, Vision, Hawkeye, Rocket Raccoon, Scarlet Witch and Spectrum to investigate. Spinning out of a family tragedy for Hercules, the Avengers face Nyx, the ancient goddess of night, driven mad by centuries of imprisonment. With her twisted children at her side, she’s bent on revenge and remaking the universe in her image. The Avengers race Nyx and her family to recover three talismans of power, traversing time and space, where the…

Hawkman: Awakening brings a fresh spin to a venerable character with a tangled history.

An encounter with a mystic artifact causes archaeologist Carter Hall, a/k/a Hawkman, to come to some crucial realizations. He knew he’d reincarnated many times across history, but now discovers that he’s also reincarnated across space and dimensions and that his original life well pre-dates the time of Ancient Egypt he’d long associated with his origins. …

Brian C. Poole

Author (Grievous Angels) and pop culture gadabout #amwriting

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