From where I sit, as a professional artist, cartoonist, occasional comics journalist, and comics reader of 50+ years, I see four areas in which the comics industry has at various times gone off the rails: Format, Content, Distribution, and Marketing. Each of these areas has been affected by a number of foolish, short-sighted, fear-driven decisions over an extended period of time, the cumulative effect of which has led to the current state of the industry.
I was reminded of WIR recently and thought it was high time somebody documented the origin of the term and site, at least somewhat beyond the bare-bones detail to be found at Wikipedia. As it happens, I know pretty much all the people who were involved in the site, and was present during some of the early discussion, so I invited them to participate in an online roundtable discussion.
Back in World War II, when it was being attacked by the Nazi war machine, the Soviet Union had quite a few women serving in its armed forces. The Soviet airwomen in particular distinguished themselves in combat roles, and there’s a very good book and a more recent comic book series that examine this aspect of wartime history.
Among his many, many books, prolific crime writer Max Allan Collins wrote a trilogy of delightful murder mysteries set in the world of newspaper strips and comic books in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
Tony Stark’s father went from a one-panel throwaway character to a legend in his own right.
Today would have been Harry Chapin’s 75th birthday, if his life hadn’t been tragically cut short in 1981. If you don’t know who Harry was or why you should care, well, I’m going to tell you. Of course he’s best known for the perennial favorite (of everyone except lousy dads), Cats in the Cradle, which has been covered by everyone from Judy Collins to Ugly Kid Joe, but that’s not how he left his mark on the world.
My first Roy Thomas comic was also my first Marvel comic. I was a wee lad in third grade, a big devotee of the Batman TV show, and had thus far successfully badgered my mother into buying precisely one comic from the spinner rack at Young’s Market. Some time later, I found myself parked on a naugahyde couch awaiting my turn in the barber’s chair, when my eyes fell upon the cover of Uncanny X-Men #29. This was my introduction to both the Marvel Universe and its best writer, Roy Thomas.