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Tag Archive: The Spider


Masks trade cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

If you’re a connoisseur of classic superheroes, you’d be remiss not to grab the trade edition of Dynamite Comics’ Masks series for your bookshelf.  Inspired by a 1938 story by Norvell Page called The Spider vs. The Empire State, it’s an examination of pre-World War II Law vs. Justice, as nine classic pulp superheroes unite to fight a fascist political party blossoming in New York, bent on taking over the country.

Writer Chris Roberson looks at justice through the eyes of each of these classic superheroes, each having a different take on the evolving political climate, and how to deal with the story’s bad guys.  Where the original source material was a story featuring The Spider, here the heroes take a backseat to The Shadow, whose perfectly shadowy dialogue manages to allow him to steal the scene in each of the story’s eight chapters.  The book starts with a bang–a chapter we previewed here at borg.com in its original printing as Masks, Issue #1, back in November 2012.  Alex Ross provided the interior art for the first chapter, and as much as we’d hope for a full book featuring Ross’s art, artists Dennis Calero provides an excellent look at the 1930s with a very pulp novel feel.

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Although it is not as big as the two-major comic book publishing houses, Dynamite Comics continues to impress and present exciting new series featuring some of the best writers and artists around.  Cover artist Alex Ross has been a headliner lately for Dynamite, painting several licensed character covers for numerous series, from Flash Gordon to The Shadow to Green Hornet to the Bionic Man.  His marriage of realism and idealism makes these larger than life figures almost come off the page, or, more accurately, the covers.  Ross pounds out so many covers they seem to take up all his time, and so we rarely get to see a cover-to-cover Alex Ross project.  We’ve seen such projects in the past with the iconic Kingdom Come, but he’s also done it with Marvels and Justice, all superb graphic novels.  And now we get to see his next cover-to-cover project.

Dynamite and the comic industry’s Previews magazine have released the details of an eight-issue cross-over series combining some of the 20th century’s most recognizable characters from very different yet classic sources.  The new series, Masks, brings together the ultimate in mid-century masked avenger/heroes, including The Shadow, The Green Hornet, Kato, and The Spider.  The series will also feature other masked heroes, including Zorro, Black Bat, Miss Fury, Black Terror, Green Lama, and possibly The Lone Ranger.

Taking place in New York City in 1938, masked characters band together to take on corruption and a powerful criminal syndicate.  Chris Roberson will serve as writer for the series.

“For years now, Dynamite Entertainment and I have desired to unite all of the varied pulp characters they’ve been publishing into one big crossover event,” said Ross in the Dynamite news release. “When the Green Hornet and Kato paved the way for a successful relaunch of the original masked duo characters, we knew that the grand prize of revivals should then be the ultimate original, the Shadow. Now, to be able for the first time in history to have these legends meet, along with fellow mysterymen; The Spider, Zorro, Black Bat, and others, makes this project a unique accomplishment. I always thought that illustrating the first hero archetypes like The Shadow would be a milestone in my career. I’m thrilled to touch upon the legends that began the very concept of the superhero in Masks with a crossover that is literally the longest overdue.”

Masks Issue #1 is scheduled to be released by Dynamite Comics in November 2012.  More images and details can be found on the Dynamite Comics website.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com