Tag Archive: Keith Giffen


In less than four weeks pop culture convention Planet Comicon Kansas City returns, this time to celebrate its 20th year.  Even more than before the event is hosting a pantheon of nationally recognized comic book writers and artists for its seventh year in the downtown Kansas City, Missouri, venue at the giant Bartle Hall facility at the Kansas City Convention Center.  The show runs Friday, March 29 through Sunday, March 31.  Bring your stacks of comics for autographs from your favorite creators–we’ve included here only a few important and familiar books by creators scheduled to be at the event.  Attendees will see some of the biggest names and most popular character creators spanning fives decades of comics, including:

Chris Claremont, writer and creator of dozens of characters including Rogue, Mystique, Phoenix, Emma Frost, Legion, Gambit, and Captain Britain.  His classic books include a long run on Uncanny X-Men, including the popular story arcs The Dark Phoenix Saga and Days of Future Past, adapted into X-Men: Days of Future Past, multiple X-Men movies, and this summer’s coming film Dark Phoenix.

Jim Starlin, writer/artist and creator of Thanos, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, the Master of Kung Fu, and the first graphic novel published by Marvel Comics, The Death of Captain Marvel.  His classic books include Batman: The Cult, Batman: A Death in the Family, and Cosmic Odyssey.

Jim Steranko, writer/artist known for his unique 1960s style, his work on Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., plus memorable runs on Captain America and X-Men.  He was also a creator of concept art designs for Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Fabian Nicieza, writer known for creating Deadpool in the pages of The New Mutants, and working on dozens of key superhero titles.  His classic books include New Warriors and Psi-Force.

Keith Giffen, artist and creator of Rocket the Raccoon and Lobo.  His classic books include several issues of Legion of Super-Heroes.

Kevin Eastman, writer and creator of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Steve McNiven, artist and creator of Marvel Comics’ Civil WarMcNiven is known for his cover art on dozens of Marvel titles.

Bob McLeod, artist and creator of The New Mutants.  (A concept that is the subject of 20th Century Fox’s last slated Marvel project, the coming late summer big-screen release The New Mutants).

And that’s not all…

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mic a    mic c

Derived from a licensed Japanese line of toys called the Micromen, which themselves were small-sized versions of a 12-inch action figure called Henshin Cyborg, Micronauts toys took America by storm in the late 1970s.  A Microverse of humanoids, borgs, and robotoids, a civilization of 3.75-inch retro-Kenner sized action figures, ships, and accessories from the Mego toy company before there were Kenner action figures, were loved by a generation of kids.  That is, before Kenner drove Mego out of the market.

But not before Micronauts became two classic Marvel comic book series.  Featuring stories by Bill Mantlo and art by Michael Golden, over time the series would include art by the likes of plenty of comic book greats: Howard Chaykin, Steve Ditko, Rich Buckler, Pat Broderick, Val Mayerik, Keith Giffen, Greg LaRocque, Gil Kane, Luke McDonnell, Mike Vosburg, Jackson Butch Guice and Kelley Jones.  Micronauts and their characters would be woven into the rest of the Marvel Universe in other series, interacting with Star-Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy, the Wasp, Doctor Doom and the Fantastic Four, Nightcrawler, Alpha Flight, Cable, the X-Men, and Thanos.  As recently as last year its Microverse concept was included in the screenplay for the Ant-Man movie, renamed the Quantum Realm for the final cut of the film.

mic e    mic f

Uncanny X-Men writer Cullen Bunn will be scripting the series with artwork by David Baldeón.  Check out six covers offered for issue #1 (above and below) drawn by Baldéon, J.H. Williams III, Butch Guice, Gabriel Rodriguez, and Michael Golden.  The sixth cover features the classic action figure of Baron Karza.  If you think he looks like a copy of Darth Vader, think again.  Karza was created before Star Wars was released.

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Green Arrow 17 cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

Today DC Comics switches gears with its New 52 Green Arrow title, with writer Jeff Lemire and artist Andrea Sorrentino re-starting the series in a new storyline called “The Kill Machine.”  Lemire is best known for taking the obscure DC Comics character Animal Man and turning his story into one of DC Comics’ best reviewed series.  Italian artist Andrea Sorrentino is best known for his haunting run on the New 52’s I, Vampire, and his great covers for a short X-Files comic book series, with a style he seems to be carrying forward in Green Arrow Issue #17, released at comic stores everywhere today.

With Issue #17 Lemire seems to be taking some tips from the Berlanti/ Guggenheim/ Kreisberg playbook. Their highly successful Arrow TV series on the CW Network follows Oliver Queen as he deals with the events he faced on the mysterious island where his yacht Queen’s Gambit marooned him, and where he honed his physical skill as archer and fell into his current psychological state.  The TV Oliver Queen is echoed in Lemire’s lead character although differences show through–Lemire’s Oliver seems a bit younger and impulsive whereas the TV Oliver relies on his charisma and is more measured in his actions.  But you can’t say more about that by way of comparisons with only one issue to go on.  Fans of the Arrow TV series should keep an eye out for a familiar villain element in this first issue.

Sorrentino X-Files cover A

An example of some of the excellent past cover art of Italian artist Andrea Sorrentino.

“The Kill Machine” finds Oliver responding to the loss of Queen Industries by the trustee managing the company since his father’s death–his father’s best friend.  Lemire is overtly giving his Oliver a clean slate, destroying the world Oliver knows and removing any relationships that might reveal Oliver as anything but a lone wolf.  In this way it will be interesting to see how much of Mike Grell’s original stories of the urban archer shine through.  Grell’s Oliver, through dozens of issues of amazing stories beginning in the late 1980s, was the last time the character was completely redefined.  Can Lemire reinvigorate Green Arrow and still keep true to the character’s long history?  He has developed several issues beginning with Issue #17 so we will learn the answer as we keep up each month with the series this year.

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DC Comics announced that it will be issuing a softcover trade paperback edition of the first six issues of the New 52 storyline, titled Green Arrow: The Midas Touch.  Since the new CW television series that is currently filming the pilot episode appears that the new Green Arrow may more closely follow the current storyline of Ollie balancing street fighting derring-do with running a major corporation, this is a good time to get caught up on what Oliver Queen has been up to for the past six months.  And this storyline includes its own bit of cyborg villany.

In Chapter 1, “Living a Life of Privilege,” we find Oliver Queen juggling his duties as CEO of Q-Core, apparently a subsidiary of Queen Industries, with his Green Arrow mantle as he busts an odd bunch of thieves in Paris.  He does this by taking a conference call via wireless earbud and also using Q-Core technical resources via techno-savvy assistant Naomi and ex-M.I.T. techno-gadget maker Jax.  Queen is attempting to use the Q-Core division to allow him to continue his crime-fighting life, and Naomi and Jax act as Oracle was utilized by the Birds of Prey.  This chapter echoes Green Arrow’s origins as Batman knockoff and mirrors Bruce Wayne’s past antics a lot–his attempts at using Wayne Enterprises to build him wonderful toys to use in his crime-fighting while dodging his corporate responsibilities at Wayne’s corporate offices.  The action is more “Superfriends” than other incarnations of Green Arrow–his one man march to take out a band of thieves ona  boat with no back-up, for example, is more reckless and unreal than we’ve seen past versions of the character.

In Chapter 2, “Going Viral,” a group of wanna-be twenty-something villains tap into social media and the latest retail technologies to try to “get noticed.”  Oliver and Jax’s relationship seems to match James Bond and Q, as Jax supplies more gadgetry for Queen’s missions.  The wanna-be criminals are in Seattle and have set a trap for Ollie–planning to get Green Arrow streaming live over the Internet in a death match.

This is where the story picks up in Chapter 3, “Green Arrow’s Last Stand,” the leader of the gang, named Rush, takes on Green Arrow mano a mano.  And of course this ends up not as Green Arrow’s last stand but another thwarted attempt at taking Green Arrow out of the picture.  Oliver smartly realizes the kind of headstrong fighting that he made it through in Chapter 1 may have finally caught up with him, and credit goes to writer JT Krul for not letting the early path for Oliver get too far off-track.  CEO of parent company Queen Industries “Emerson” busts Oliver’s chops for not paying attention to the business despite Queen giving a public “Jerry Maguire” speech.  Emerson either has some secret vendetta, or really just doesn’t like Queen’s apparent lack of devotion to the company that Oliver’s father founded.  One oddity is that the end of Chapter 2 foretold a visit from Black Canary in Chapter 3 that never comes to fruition.

In Chapter 4, “The Things We Do for Love and Hate,” we meet female assassin Blood Rose, who is an agent for some boss named Midas.  The bulk of the issue is a face-off between Oliver and the new villain, Blood Rose succeeding with her guns and quick moves and Ollie with his trick arrows.  This is mirrored in Chapter 5, “The Midas Touch,” when a walking “toxic dump” that is devoted to Blood Rose takes the fight directly to Oliver Queen.  Again, the issue is primarily a fight to the death, and only this time there is a winner and a loser.  Blood Rose shows up, but again, Ollie and his wireless crime-fighting back-up team of Naomi and Jax, and we readers, have been left with no answers and little clues to go on.  It is worth mentioning that JT Krul left writing duties on the Green Arrow series with Issue #3 (Chapter 3 of the new TPB) and Keith Giffen took over for the rest of the issues/chapters.

Which brings us to the final chapter of this first Green Arrow storyline in the new DCU.  Titled “Lovers & Other Dangers,” we learn what is behind the titles about love in Chapters 4 and 6.  It begins with Blood Rose shooting Oliver is the head–a surface wound only, but enough to knock him out.  The rest of the story takes us into a strange mix of beauty and the beast with a dose of borg elements.

As a complete story in 144 pages, Green Arrow: The Midas Touch is not a stand-out story.  It seems to suffer from a lack of focus that only comes together in the last three parts, and even then, leaves us uncertain as to Green Arrow’s new place in the DCU.  The only thing keeping it together as one complete work is Dan Jurgens’ art, and this would not be considered his best work.  With so many great titles making their mark in the New 52, the decison makers at DC Comics will have to carve out a niche for this character soon to avoid losing readers.  With compilations for other titles not yet announced, there are certainly other titles more worthy of a trade paperback edition.  Green Arrow: The Midas Touch will likely be a purchase only for the Green Arrow completist.

The trade edition will be published in May and is available for pre-order at online online retailers.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

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