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Monday, January 31, 2011

"Why So Serious? Let's Put A Smile On That Face!"

Those words issuing forth from the Joker's mouth in the film The Dark Knight will stand as one of the most famous lines in movie history. Throughout the Batman's history the Joker has been easily identified by that evil grin plastered against his pale skinned face. However, he will not be the only comic book character identified by his grin. Let me introduce to you...The Maniacal Smile!

Who is the Maniacal Smile? Fierce Comics, publisher of 'The Smile' describes the comic in this way...

"Born with super irritable bowel syndrome, Alex McClendon uses his powers to protect the city of Utopia. And when he dons The Maniacal Smile suit, you can be sure that there'll be a splatter of action. Keeping Alex from just farting around with his powers are his ex-hero Uncle Rich and his lab assistant the enigmatic E.V.I.L. Robot. But not everyone knows that Alex is the Maniacal Smile. His best friends Puffy, who owns a comic book shop, and Nikki can never seem to spend any time with the ever-disappearing Alex. Teenage angst, girl problems, and city destroying threats are all a day in the life of THE MANIACAL SMILE!"

Fierce comics sent me an issue to review and I have to say that I could not help but laugh at the crazy antics of this story. Mike Foss scripts the character with laugh-out-loud humor that borders on the juvenile and considering that the hero is a teenager growing into the role of hero, juvenile is quite fitting. Rob Rhine, creator of 'the Smile', provides the art and colors and gives the book a bright look fitting of the character. The artwork is superb and I found it entertaining to look at. The story flows easily with simple page layouts, and the paper on which it is printed is of a higher quality than you might expect from an Independent title.

The aspect I enjoyed the most about this book, though, is what was mentioned earlier. IT IS FUNNY! It brings 'comic' back into the meaning of 'comic book'! So if you want to read a GREAT book, see some fantastic art and get a good laugh, then pick up an issue of The Maniacal will put a smile on your face!

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Passing of the Torch - Flame Off

"Flame On!" How many times have we heard or read those words. They seem to have a 'flare' to them...pun intended. For Fantastic Four fans, and in particular those fans of Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, they will no longer be heard. In true hero fashion the fun-loving and wise-cracking member of the team gave of himself to save his family. He will always be remembered for his wit, humor, courage and bravery, and despite the apparent acts of immaturity he demonstrated a willingness to do what it took to save the day.

As is always the case when a hero falls, there is that possibility that he may return. In the world of comics anything is possible. Heroes just will not stay dead. Will that be the case with Johnny Storm? Will he rise from the ashes to again
ignite the fiery fun of the comic world and his team? Or will he simple burn as a memory of a once great hero? We have no answers. For now all we can do is acknowledge the passing of the Torch!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Fantastic Four Was A Fantastic First!

Stan Lee was on his way out of the comic book industry until he saw the fans reactions to a newly formed Superhero team he called The Fantastic Four. The new comic proved to be a sensation and it prompted Stan to stay in the business, a fact to which all of us true fans are grateful. Fantastic Four was a first in many respects. Not only did it help introduce the Silver Age for Marvel Comics but its approach to superheroes was different and unique. How so?

In Fantastic Four #1, the heroes did not sport costumes. They were public figures rather than hide behind secret identities. There dis-functional aspects as a "family" made for great dialogue between the characters. Ben's grumpiness, the Torch's childish antics, the spats between Reed and Sue, and Reed's guilt and self-blame over Ben's condition made them more human and fans related. At the same time, however, the Fantastic Four functioned well as a team.

The FF were a first in another way. They were the first Marvel superhero team and their success lead the way for other great teams like the X-Men, Avengers, Inhumans, Defenders and more. You may wonder though about the All-Winners Squad from 1941. Although the characters are from the "Marvel Universe", they were printed under the moniker of Timely Comics, Marvel's predecessor. Under the official Marvel Comics name, Fantastic Four became the first superhero team.


Sadly this quartet of quarrelsome characters has come to an end. In Fantastic Four #557, released today, one member of the Fantastic Four dies. Sources reveal that Johnny Storm, the most childish among them, does the most adult thing any true hero would do. The Human Torch sacrifices himself so that his loved ones, Reed, sue & Ben can escape the Negative Zone. Whether Johnny Storm remains dead or is resurrected in famous Marvel fashion, he still remains one of Marvel's most loved heroes.

Who is your favorite Fantastic Four member? We would like to know.

Visit us on the web at VoteWho Is Your Favorite Member of the Fantastic Four?
Mr. Fantastic

Invisible Woman

The Human Torch

The Thing

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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Evolution of Batman, Great Artists Create A Legacy

Bob Kane, with the uncredited aid of Bill Finger, sold the rights for a superhero in 1939 to National Comics. The hero proved to be an everlasting icon among comic book characters. Batman has gone from the pages of comics to be featured in newspaper comic strips, novels, graphic novels, television shows, cartoons and films. He is among one of the most celebrated and recognized characters in all of comic book history.

Despite the diverse markets in which Batman has been shared, the one that continues to define him is the comic book. His history is written and established through the pages of one of imagination's oldest outlets. The artists who have been privileged to bring Batman to life have also affected the dynamics of such a visible character. Many great artists, and some not-so-great, have penciled the Caped Crusader and Dark Knight to life each leaving him with their own touch, their own mark and their own interpretation.

Different eras have defined different styles. Different artistic media have also been used, such as animation, painted art and dynamic pencils. Among the greats are such ones as Jack Kirby, John Byrne, Neal Adams, Dick Sprang and others. Through their work Batman has grown to what he is today. Their definition of justice is revealed through their artistic impression of Batman.

We would like to know what you think. Which art style and artist do you prefer and enjoy. Cast your vote below, leave a comment about your favorite Batman artist and share with us as we continue Batman Week. Be sure to visit us at our website, VoteWhich Batman Artist Do You Like The Best?
Bob Kane

Dick Sprang

Neal Adams

Jim Aparo

Frank Miller

Norm Breyfogle

Tim Sale

Jim Lee


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Monday, January 17, 2011

Batman's Next Onscreen Villain

Heath Ledger gave Batman fans what they wanted...a truly evil Joker! Since the release ofThe Dark Knight, fans have been eager to see what Batman villain will be next on Christopher Nolan's list. To this point we have seen in his films, The Scarecrow, Ra's Al Ghul, The Joker and Two-Face. I would like to see a truly frightening film with The Scarecrow. I felt that character had great potential. One thing for certain, though, is that Nolan will have a difficult time following up The Dark Knight with another stellar movie. The rumor mill has it that the villain will be The Riddler and that the 'evil questioner' will be portrayed by Johnny Depp. No facts have yet to be established.

We want to know who you would enjoy seeing take on the Batman. Cast your vote and then leave a comment why you chose your particular villain. VoteWho Should Be the Next Villain in the Batman Movie?
The Penguin

Killer Croc




The Riddler

Ventriloquist & Scarface

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Friday, January 14, 2011

Sabretooth - The Evil Enemy of Marvel's Favorite Mutant, Wolverine

Every great story has a protagonist (the hero) and an antagonist (the villain). This is true even in comic books. Consider for a moment the great hero-villain match ups; Superman & Lex Luthor; Batman & The Joker; Spider-Man & The Green Goblin; Fantastic Four & Doctor Doom. Among the great rivalries in the comic universe is Marvel's favorite mutant, Wolverine, and his arch-villain, Sabretooth.

Sabretooth is easy to describe. He is pure evil. He has no love for people, mutant or otherwise, and he has a craving for violence, terror and blood. His relationship with Wolverine was a mystery for decades until it was explained in Origins and also partially on the big screen in the movie Wolverine. He has drawn, written and portrayed almost always the same. Taylor Mane's character in the 1st X-Men film was somewhat different in that he seemed to be nothing more than Magneto's lap dog. In most other stories, however, he is portrayed as the intelligent villainous being that he is. It is almost as if his mutant ability is evil itself even proving himself the better of Wolverine in most encounters.

In the mainstream Marvel Universe, Sabretooth eventually meets his end at the hands of Wolverine. Using the Muramasa blade, which interferes with their mutant healing factors, Wolverine decapitates Sabretooth for his murderous and criminal acts against humanity and mutantkind. His body and head were left to rot in the snow of the Canadian wilderness. If and when we see a return of Sabretooth remains to be seen.

From the pages of Iron Fist #14 to the big screen, Sabretooth is loved only as a nemesis to Wolverine. As a fan favorite villain, we would like your opinion on which version of Sabretooth is the best. Cast your vote below and feel free to leave your comments about this evil Marvel character. VoteWhich Sabretooth Is Your Favorite?
Marvel Sabretooth

Ultimate Sabretooth

Liev Scheiber Sabretooth

Taylor Mane Sabretooth

Sabretooth Tiger

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Legends of "The Fall": Grifter Meets the Punisher

Comic books got their name early in the 20th Century because they began as collections of comic strips. They were funny, whimsical, comical. However, with the introduction of characters like The Shadow, Superman, Flash Gordon and Captain America, comic books began to take on new roles and address new issues. These issues have varied from warfare, mob violence, crime, drug abuse, murder, racism, political indifference, extraterrestrial invasions and much more. Today comic books are far less comical. While characters like Archie and Bugs Bunny still exist, far more common are mutants like Wolverine and dark vigilantes like The Punisher. There are comic books that focus on teaching kids moral values, heroism and equality. Many, however, are geared toward adult audiences with their gritty nature, hard language and graphic violence. Among the ranks of the grittier characters is a vigilante known as "The Fall".

Published by PLB Comics, The Fall is a character that seeks out those who cause harm to others, such as drug dealers, murders, occultists and the like. He brandishes his own style of justice. He is mysterious, elusive and strikes fear into the hearts of those who are determined to do wrong or who bring harm others. He is a cross between Wildstorm's Grifter and Marvel's Punisher. He brings an edge and a darkness to justice without mercy.

I have never been a fan of these type of characters. However, the artwork which PLB brings to there comics is undeniably great. Mat and Josh Shockley, the owners of PLB, enhance the darkness of the character and his story by leaving the book in a black and white format. The artwork (contributed by Russell Walton, Jim McMunn, Nathan Thomas Milliner, Brad Hudson and Larry Crew, Jr.)is fabulous and clean. Unlike a Bill Sienkiewicz who could bring a gritty edge even to Superman, the guys at PLB Comics do the opposite. By maintaining a clean, crisp look to their art and keeping the flow of the story solid, they have been able to establish the fierceness of the character to the point that even the reader feels intimidated by him. Good art is a challenge and the guys at PLB comics have conquered it.

As a warning to all readers, though. The Fall, along with other comics that PLB prints, is full of hard language, adult subjects and scenes that are not appropriate for younger readers. If you do not like this type of comic then this is not the book for you. However, if you enjoy the grittiness of both story and character, then The Fall is your guy. He makes the Punisher look like a big baby!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Cape, Television's Newest Comic Hero

Comic book superheroes and characters like them have become increasingly popular both in television and on the big screen. Sunday night saw the newest of these programs hit NBC with the show called The Cape. If you are a comic book and superhero fan then no doubt you watched it just to see if it would be worth following. We understand because we watched it too. Here is what we thought.

The Cape is obviously a made for TV superhero and we are sure that there will be a comic book adaption of the show. As to who will nab the honors, our guess will be DC but we will have to wait and see. In the meantime, we were pleased with what we watched. Visually it was exciting because the show presented more costumed characters, villains with unique names, crimes in line with what comic books might present, and great separation between the heroes and the villains. You knew early on who was on what side.

The explanations as to how the cape worked, his abilities to use it, and the illusions he was taught in order to appear to have super powers were original. We liked the Oracle type character called Orwell (obviously similar), and as time goes on we will learn more about her background and her reason to fight crime. Our guess is that she must be the daughter of Chess. We will have to wait and see if our predictions prove true.

We enjoyed the interaction between the characters, the sacrifice made by the hero (there is always a sacrifice), the hilarious one-liners and off beat jokes which gave it some color, and, of course, the overall look of the show.

The down side, if there is one, is that it was cliched and predictable. You almost knew what would happen next with each frame. Every aspect of the show was much like a comic story line. The bad guy wins one and the good guy wins one. Both live to fight another day. The hero is framed for what the villain has done while the villain goes on being the town hero to everyone. However, this is nothing new as comic books are often cliched much like films and TV programs. There is rarely anything new under the sun. However, the predictability of the show was not necessarily a turn off. It seemed to be very well written in a simple style, easy to follow and the special effects gave the show an eye catching flare. Regardless of what happened you wanted to keep watching.

The Cape will prove to be interesting. We hope it will continue to catch viewers attention and keep them intrigued. At this point, we give it a positive review. We would like to know what you think. Did you like the show? Will you continue to watch it? Share your insights with us. The discussion is now open!

The Best Wolverine Costume

Everybody's favorite Marvel Mutant, Wolverine, has dawned several costumes among several different story lines. Because of who Wolverine is, however, he is easily recognized because of his characteristics. For example, he is usually short and stocky with crazy, wild hair and once the claws come out he is not easy to miss! You just have to follow the trail of disaster!

The original costume design by John Romita, Sr. was blue and yellow, with whiskers, and short eye pieces. After his original appearance in The Incredible Hulk #181,
he then appeared in Giant Size X-Men #1 as a new team member to the X-Men. When Gil Kane did the artwork for the cover he accidentally drew Wolverine's headpieces to large and pointed. The late Dave Cockrum, who drew the interior art for the book, liked the way they looked viewing them similar to Batman's cowl and thus followed suit with the design in the book. The large headpieces have continued to be a mainstay in almost every Wolverine costume.

Wolverine has had several costumes and designers. Every fan, though, has their favorite. Our favorite is the altered, "accidental" design by Gil Kane and Dave Cockrum. We would like to know which design do you like the best? VoteWhat Is Your Favorite Wolverine Costume?

Original Altered

Brown & Yellow




Hugh Jackman

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Monday, January 10, 2011

Who is the Best Wolverine Artist?

It is always a question of debate mixed with personal choice. Some artists define characters like Todd McFarlane's Spider-Man or Dale Keown's Hulk. Then you have classic covers or artwork that is never forgotten such as Alex Ross's Superman cover to Mythology of Frank Miller's Bullseye killing Elektra. These are scenes that capture us and are not forgotten. It is not so much the scene as it is the artwork

and the dynamics portrayed. Some artists just know how to capture the true essence of a character and define him forever. That being said we want to know what you think about Wolverine. Since it is Wolverine Week here at Krypto-Knight Comics, we decided to have a poll to see who you, the fans and readers, feel is the best Wolverine artist. We were obviously not able to list all of the possibilities so we picked some of the best Wolverine artists from which to choose. Cast your vote, leave a comment and let us know who you chose. If your favorite artist is not listed then post a comment and tell us who it is and why. We look forward to all the great comments! VoteWho is the Best Wolverine Artist?
Adam Kubert
Arthur Adams
Barry Windsor-Smith
Frank Miller
Jae Lee
Jim Lee
John Byrne
Marc Silvestri
Paul Smith

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Who Had The Best Batmobile?

"Atomic batteries to power. Turbines to speed." Those classic lines from the Batman TV show in the 1960's solidifies one of the most recognizable cars ever to exist, The Batmobile. Bob Kane's creation of the Batmobile changed the way superheroes were made. Since Bruce Wayne had no super powers and had a HUGE bankroll instead, it only made sense that he would have gadgets to fight. Any crime fighter in his position would need a means to travel. Superman could fly. The Flash could run. Spider-Man had webbing. Batman, however, has always had the coolest ride!

This raises an interesting question. Which design for the Batmobile has been the best. We have seen TV versions, animated versions and film versions. We would like to know what you think. Cast your vote below for your favorite Batmobile. You will earn 10 points in our weekly contest. Just for the record, our favorite is the 1960's version driven by the Adam West Batman. It is too hard to vote against such a classic Batmobile! VoteWho Had the Best Batmobile?
Adam West

Christian Bale

Diedrich Bader

George Clooney

Michael Keaton

Rino Romano

Val Kilmer

Kevin Conroy

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