Author Archives: Bruce Hodder (formerly known as ArcaneHalloween)

Comic Cover Of The Week: Nightwing #81

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Our DC Comics’ Pride Celebration Month continues with this nifty and nimble Nightwing number by terrifically talented Travis Moore! DC Comics, that superlative and scintillating superhero showrunner of comicdom has dedicated this month to the ongoing worldwide June Pride celebrations, via vivacious variant covers to the majority of their marvellous monthly mags, and a one shot anthology entitled – DC Pride #1. With the dynamic and daring Dick Grayson taking this week’s compelling comic-cover commendation.

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Dick Grayson trades out his iconic escrima sticks for a magnifying glass and sleuthing hat to investigate Bludhaven’s new mayor, Melinda Zucco, to find out how the daughter of the man who was responsible for the murder of his parents came to hold power in Nightwing’s city. But his investigation is cut short when he comes mask to mask with one of the most horrendous villains in Bludhaven’s history – HEARTLESS!

Nightwing #81 Is Available At Your Local Comic-Book Emporium Right Now!

Seven Years In The Precinct – An Anniversary Special

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Welcome fellow agents of Precinct1313 to our sensational seventh year of existence! That’s right, it’s been an ebullient eighty four months since the majestic mansion of mystery materialised unto this plane of existence. Our mission (which we chose to accept) was to provide you with some decidedly delectable DC Comics documentation, whilst behind the scenes we continued to map out the labyrinthian corridors, herculean hallways and colossal comic crypts that encompass this runic and recondite residence. And as we make our way merrily down through the interminable depths of this endless edifice on our way to commemorate at the infamous Halls of Quaffing to celebrate in style, why not join us in geeky remembrance of some of our favourite past posts emanating from the zenith of this arcane abode.

Our first port of call shall be the abstruse anomaly known as The Scrying Chamber, whence sits, upon a single stone table, a stygian black crystal ball, so join me fellow agents as we stare deeply into its sanguine depths and re-live our personal favourite posts from the past seven scintillating years…league of superpets Banner

Ace, Krypto and Streaky Too!

Our most recent and without a doubt most fun to write fictional foray was this post dedicated to the awesome and adorable animals that populate the DC Universe. These super-powered pets include such dynamic delights as flying felines, detective deducing dogs and, yep, even a Bat-Cow! And you can peruse (and pet) this perky post – Right Here.

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Mister Miracle – Tom King/Mitch Gerads Review

Emotional, poignant, groundbreaking are just some of the superlatives we used to describe this phenomenal piece of comic-book fiction by King and Gerads, a fitting return to Jack Kirby’s Fourth World saga, and a superlative homecoming for our personal favourite Kirby created character, the titular Mister Miracle himself. In fact we loved this series so much we hailed it as – The Greatest Comic-Book Series Since Watchmen! – visit the post – Right Here – to find out why.

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Wonder Woman: Tempest Tossed Review

As you’re all probably bored of hearing right now, ’cause we never, ever shut up about it (and never shall!) we love Wondy here in Precinct1313, she is our favourite comic book creation of all time! And just recently the glorious gods of Olympus once more bestowed upon us mere mortals yet another thrilling tale of the Themysciran Titan with the fabulous Laurie Halse Anderson penned opus – Tempest Tossed – a sublime celebration of the wondrous one, and you can read our rapturous review of this titanic tome – Right Here.

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The Bat Loves The Cat – Comics’ Greatest Love Story

The Bat most assuredly does love the cat, in fact they’ve been dancing around each other emotionally for the past eight decades! Yep, that’s eighty years of perfect passion procrastination! No character has had a more emotive impact on the Dark Knight’s melancholic life than sultry Selina Kyle aka -Catwoman! Why not re-live their tender tale of romance – Right Here

Phew, thanks for sticking with us as we shared some of our personal favourite posts we have submitted to the WordPress world over the past seven years, and as we near the great Halls of Quaffing for mucho merriment, allow me to say a massive THANK YOU to all of the Precinct’s followers, readers and fellow bloggers… it is YOU that makes this joyous journey worthwhile. Hopefully the majestic mansion will  be here for another seven years, so we can continue to share our love and passion for DC Comics and general geekdom!

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Oh, And As Ever – Make Mine DC!

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Precinct1313 Recommends: DC Pride #1

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DC Comics’ Pride Month celebrations continue apace with today’s release of their anthology annual – DC Pride #1, an astonishing analect of DC’s very own LGBTQIA heroes and villains. The eighty page dazzling digest collates nine new narratives dedicated to LGBT characters and creators, beginning with a story centred on their arguably most popular gay hero – Kate Kane, aka – Batwoman.

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Batwoman: Wrong Side Of The Looking Glass, is the ten page lead story by James Tynion IV and Trung Le Nguyen and equates Kate’s life struggle as a lesbian and costumed hero with a mirrored allegory between herself and twin sister Alice. Beautiful and poignant prose by Tynion, with absolutely gorgeous and intricate visuals by Trung Le Nguyen, whose art promotes a fantastic fairy tale feel to the emotional proceedings and metaphoric mirror plotline.

Perpetual partners of perky perfection – Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy are up next, with the tantalising tale – Another Word For A Truck To Move Your Furniture – written by marvellous Mariko Tamaki, with the astounding art by one of the Precinct’s favourite artistic auteurs – Amy Reeder. This fantastic fable explores Harley and Ivy’s romantic relationship through a fabulously fun, yet touching tale that involves – furniture removal, glorious gags, and a little bit of the ol’ ultraviolence all wrapped up in that inimitable Harley/Ivy cool craziness! Tender, silly and utterly irrepressible, just like Harley herself, this is most certainly my favourite story contained within this fabulous volume.

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By far the most fascinating fable within these proud pages is the superlative superhero scenario – Date Night – the comic-book introduction to trans hero – Nia Nal aka The Dreamer, a character whose first ever appearance was on the hit CW show – Supergirl. This is Dreamer’s inauguration into the DC comic-book universe, with an excellent exploration of her interpersonal relationships, powers, and character. Giving this story its unique approbation and emotional weight is the fact that the author of the piece is none other than the actor who portrayed Nia Nal in the aforementioned Supergirl show – Nicole Maines, the transgender rights activist who holds the distinction of being the first transgender superhero in live action. 

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Six more sterling storylines are contained within this magnificent manuscript, each and every one a poignant parable and captivating celebration of LGBT pride, life struggles, empowerment and the joy of just being and accepting who you are. Inclusivity and determination are dealt with in an uplifting and sincere collection of stories by the diverse assembly of writers and artists, with each and every chapter a heartfelt allegory of enlightenment and emancipation.

Hot on the heels of this valuable volume of visionary values, DC have also announced that as a continuation of Pride Month celebrations they will also be publishing a trade anthology of the GLAAD nominated – Suicide Squad: Bad Blood and LGBT romance thriller – Poison Ivy: Thorns, alongside their month long Pride Month comic cover collectables which began with last week’s – Crush and Lobo #1.

‘Suffering Sappho’ Calm Down Folks, Wonder Woman Has Always Been Bisexual…

As part of our ongoing celebration of Pride Month, we present a re-blog of our Wonder Woman post from 2016…

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wwl-editedYou may have noticed that we spend a lot of our time here in Precinct1313’s legendary comic crypts discussing the awesome Amazon – Wonder Woman, in fact well over 50% of the articles emanating from these creative catacombs are about the Themysciran Titan, due to the fact that she is, without a shadow of a doubt, our favourite comic-book character.

In the past few days we have received several PM’s from readers asking us for our opinion on the recent news that the venerable Princess of Themyscira is bisexual. Of course our quick answer to this question would be, “Great Hera, where have you been forthe past 75 years, this is not new, Diana has always been bisexual”. It may have been implied more often than actually spoken out loud, but the signs were always there, both from her humble beginnings in the 1940’s (where, let’s…

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Comic Cover Of The Week: Crush and Lobo #1

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Welcome, fellow fans of fantastic fiction to another cheerful and captivating cornucopia of comic cover collectables! This weeks rambunctious and radiant rendering spotlights none other than the calamitous, capricious and certifiably crazy – Crush! dyspeptic disaffected daughter of legendary lupine loudmouth – Lobo!!

Crush and Lobo #1 holds the definitive distinction of being the first issue of DC Comics’ Pride Month celebration. That’s right, DC – that bodacious bastion of superlative superheroics is celebrating its LGBT characters with a month long cadre of classic comics dedicated to diversity and inclusivity, bombastically beginning right here with Lobo’s dynamic daughter – Crush.

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Y’know, in case anyone was wondering, Crush is doing just fine, actually. Okay, sure, she recently walked away from her classmates at the Roy Harper Titans Academy, and effectively quit being a Titan in a bewildering and belligerent blaze of glory. And, yeah alright, her relationship with her almost too good to be true girlfriend – Katie, is kinda on the rocks, if you really want to get technical about it. Oh, and she recently found out that her dysfunctional dad – Lobo is in space jail, but that’s sorta cool, as he’s the worst. Okay, okay, maybe Crush has some stuff to work through, but that doesn’t mean she’s actually gonna do anything about that, y’know like actually go into space and confront her dad or her other myriad problems, because everything is FINE, right!?

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Riotously rounding out this certifiably crazed comic-cover collectable are a veritable virtuoso of vaunted variants, with each and every one audaciously available at your local comic-book emporium right now!

Amazon Accoutrements: The Lasso Of Truth

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Over the nearly seven years that Precinct1313 has been a thing, we have posted, discussed and revealed the many fascinating and fantastic facets that make up the legend that is Wonder Woman, from her early beginnings courtesy of her genius architect – William Moulton Marston, through her sundry appearances in television, film, animation and, of course, comic-books.

We have regaled and radiated our adoration for the astonishing Amazon, poured praise upon the reasoning of why she is, and always shall be, the most important fictional female in literary history and shared with you, my astounding Amazonian associates, our very favourite manifold mythologies of the Themysciran Titan, be that through comic covers, reviews, news and just general gushing of our love for the character. So let us continue on that path through the philanthropic perfection that is Diana, with a brand new series of articles thusly titled – Amazon Accoutrements, with our very first episode devoted to the Lariat of Hestia, aka – the Lasso of Truth!

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Truth, justice, emancipation, empowerment, and forgiveness are the key traits to Wonder Woman’s psyche, these five character hallmarks form Diana as the benevolent being she is, a gracious goddess whose sole mission is to convey these admirable distinctions to humanity. The truth is integral to Diana’s persona, she is innately incapable of lying, but having to deal on a daily basis with the deceit and nefarious whims of “man’s world” Diana is blessed to have been furnished with the legendary Lariat of Hestia, a glorious golden goddess granted lasso that compels all ensnared within its bonds to tell the truth.

The Hellenic Herald’s titanic tether was originally a part of Aphrodite’s magical girdle, which in itself had the power to inspire passion and desire, with the Queen of the gods herself, Hera, occasionally borrowing it to influence bridal contests for suitors and to rejoin bickering spouses in love. This mystical adornment was gifted to the Amazon race which bequest them their fabled strength and immortality. It was the Amazon, Metala, under mandate by Queen Hippolyta, who was enraptured by the magical artifact, that she forge a golden rope from the graceful girdle, and thus was born the very first form of the righteous rope of veracity.

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In the tradition of the burgeoning DC Universe and it’s often shifting narrative and character mythos, the Lasso of Truth has also seen it’s beguiling backstory altered. The groundbreaking comic-book series – Crisis On Infinite Earths, by celebrated comic-book creators – George Perez and Marv Wolfman, posited that the lasso was forged by maestro of metallurgy and god of fire himself – Hephaestus. The bombastic blacksmith of the gods forged the lavish lariat from the Golden Girdle of Gaea, this mythological artifact was actually created by none other than Wonder Woman’s very own architect – William Moulton Marston, originally named by the esteemed doctor of psychology as the Magical Girdle of Aphrodite, an allegory for the power of female allure, and in Greek mythology – the mythic girdle was obtained by Heracles from Hippolyte as a key quest of his twelve labours.

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The ability to extract the truth though is but one of the powerful properties contained within the golden links of the lasso, it is also capable of translating spoken languages, the mere act of gripping the lasso will enable Diana and any other beings to universally understand each other and speak foreign tongues, the libertarian lariat is also adept at disseminating illusions and hallucinations, and other mental maladies. 

If you’ve had the good fortune of seeing the latest cinematic adaptation of Wonder Woman, you’ll recall seeing Gal Gadot’s Diana learning how to utilise her lasso and the wind currents to enable her ability to fly, this glorious gift wasn’t created for the fantastic film however, but was lifted from the very pages of the comic books themselves. When originally conceived, Diana was incapable of the fantastic feat of flight, but through experimentation of the lasso’s myriad powers, discovered that if she spun the lasso at great speeds, the oscillation would create currents of air she could then use to glide upon, mimicking the power of flight.

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The comic-book creation of the Lasso of Truth by William Moulton Marston was in direct correlation to the esteemed psychologists real life creation of the Systolic Blood Pressure Test, which eventually became one of the key components in the John Larson invented Polygraph. It was actually professor Marston’s wife – Elizabeth Holloway that first suggested a distinct connection between emotion and blood pressure differentiation, noting that whenever they got frustrated or emotional, their blood pressure would climb. 

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Thanks so much for dropping by the Precinct as we explored the history and profundity of Wonder Woman’s laudable and lavish lariat of the gods, next episode we shall be traversing the fictional (and mythological) Amazon annals to search out the history of Diana’s Bracelets of Submission, until that time I shall just say “apochairetismos” my absolutely awesome Amazonian affiliates!

Women In Comics Presents: The Incredible Art Of Jenny Frison

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Comic books as an art form have always been incredibly overlooked in comparison to other forms of the visual medium, and even when comics themselves are actually celebrated as a bona-fide entry into the long history of fine art, the kudos oft goes to the (admittedly terrifically talented) writers, with the artists and inkers routinely sidelined in deference to the authors. It’s true, of course, that no amount of vivacious visuals will really matter if the writing sucks (case in point: Frank Miller and Jim Lee collaboration – All Star Batman and Robin) but the same can be said for the reversal of this point.

Comic-book series live and die off of a mutual synergy between all included creators, this also includes the almost always forgotten aforementioned inkers and letterers, though what originally enraptured me,  way back when, as a six year old newbie to comics, was the dazzling and dynamic drawings of these sundry artistic auteurs, and over the many years that I’ve been enjoying comics as a true form of art, very few have bedazzled me as much as the astonishing visual virtuoso that is – Jenny Frison.

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Jenny Frison is an American comic-book artist who first became beguiled by the medium after discovering the astonishing Amazon – Wonder Woman, as a young girl. She was an art student at the Northern Illinois University, where she majored in illustration before enrolling at the prestigious Kubert School Of Art. During this tenure, she decided to focus her inordinate artistic talents towards comic covers, an incredibly important art form in the wonderful world that is comics, for it is often the cover image itself that will ultimately sell the content within the pages, and draw in potential purchasers.

It was thanks to writer Tim Seeley that Jenny was given her inaugural start in comic-books after he approached her to draw a cover for Image Comics’ horror series – Hack/Slash, they went on to become good friends and continue to share a workspace at Four Star Studios in Chicago.

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Jenny’s personal artistic process begins with a pencilled illustration before moving on to a tonal version of the sketch on grey paper. This image is then in turn digitally coloured using Photoshop. Jenny has a very distinct and instantly recognisable style that helps her stand out from a sea of artists working in the comic-book medium, and because of her focus on single imagery in the form of covers, the resulting illustrations are always incredibly rendered and detailed, with spectacular colours that radiate warmth and depth.

For me personally it was her tenacious tenure as cover artist for the Wonder Woman Rebirth arc that sold me on her astounding artistic aesthetic, where she was tasked with representing the amazing Amazon from issue #9 right through to issue #61, with each and every image a magnificent masterpiece, with most of her outstanding output oeuvre on the Themysciran Titan being some of my absolute favourite visual representations of Diana, ever!

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Jenny has been nominated twice in the Harvey Awards for best comic cover artist and continues to pour her prodigious talent into sumptuous cover classics for DC Comics and also friendly rivals – IDW, Dynamite Comics, Dark Horse and Marvel.

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Comic Cover(s) Of The Week: Wonder Girl #01

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Welcome, fellow fans of fantastic female fiction, to another cool and captivating cornucopia of comic cover collectables! This weeks radiant rendering contains not one but two impassionately illuminating illustrations of DC’s newest version of the fabulous Wonder Girl -Yara Flor!

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The newest variant of Diana’s closest crime-fighting companion actually holds the dynamic distinction of being an Amazon from the Amazon! That’s right, Wondy’s new scintillating sidekick hails from the Amazon rain forests of Brazil, though she’s yet to discover her rightful roots after being raised by her aunt and uncle in Idaho for the majority of her young existence.

Yara Flor holds several distinctions as the newest member to the Wonder Woman mythos, she is the first Amazon to be solely created by a female, the terrifically talented – Joelle Jones, and also, equally as important – the very first Wonder Girl of colour. Our tantalising twosome of creatively charming covers are brought to you by awesome artistic auteurs – Jen Bartel and Carla Cohen, with another stunning six vaunted variants by impeccable illustrators including – Bilquis Evely, Kendrick Lim, J. Scott Campbell and creative visionary Joelle Jones.

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The marvellous mythos of Yara Flor begins here! Raised by her aunt and uncle in Boise, Idaho, Yara has always felt that something was missing from her life – and is now heading to her birthplace of Brazil, to ultimately discover what that is. Yet, little does she know that her auspicious arrival will set off a series of events that will change the world of Wonder Woman forever. Her momentous return has been prophesied, and with this prognostication comes the undivided attention of the benevolent gods from pantheons beyond.

Wonder Girl #01 Is Available To Buy At Your Local Comic-Book Emporium Right Now!

Festival Of Heroes #1 Celebrates DC Comics’ Asian Superheroes

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In celebration of the May designation as Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, DC Comics have released an astounding anthology dedicated to their diverse cast of Asian Superheroes, with this month’s – DC’s Festival Of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Celebration.

DC Comics have positioned themselves admirably over the past few years as the comic company spotlighting diversity and inclusion. With a plethora of comic series, one-shots and graphic novels including the recent, and quite brilliant John Ridley helmed Black Label series – The Other History Of The DC Universe, and next month’s release of the DC Pride Anthology, DC are numero uno in the inclusion in comics role. With this week’s release of Festival Of Heroes #01, DC are honouring their Asian hero community with an astonishing anthology spotlighting classic characters such as Katana, Cassandra Cain and Kong Kenan.

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DC Festival Of Heroes features eleven separate tales, commencing with a Mariko Tamaki and Marcus To story focusing on former Batgirl, Cassandra Cain. Following on from this we find ourselves in the shoes of Green Lantern – Tai Pham, by Minh Le, and Trung Le Nguyen, with a fantastic coming of age drama. Aniz Ansari and Sami Basri reunite us with curmudgeonly Robin – Damian Wayne, with a wonderful short story about family and tradition, and Greg Pak, Sumit Kumar and Jordie Bellaire unite to weave a tantalising team up between Green Arrow and Chinese Superman – Kong Kenan. Other notable heroes involved in this fabulous one-shot include Katana, Atom – Ryan Choi, and the introduction of a new DC hero – Monkey Prince by Gene Yang and Bernard Chang, closely modelled upon Sun Wukong, the monkey king from the Chinese myth – Journey To The West.

DC Festival Of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Celebration is another glorious anthology by the comic-book giant that celebrates it’s long history with diversity and inclusivity. A dynamic and dazzling digest dedicated to their wide range of Asian heroes, that also pays respect to the wealth of amazing Asian writers, artists, colourists and letterers working in the comic-book medium today, with terrific talent like Mariko Tamaki, Jim Lee and Bernard Chang. Highly recommended.

DC Festival Of Heroes: The Asian Superhero Celebration Is Available At Your Local Comic-Book Emporium Right Now.

Innovative Comic-Book Artist – John Paul Leon Passes Away At 49

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It is with great sadness that we pass on the news that the great John Paul Leon has passed away at the age of 49. The talented artist died on Sunday, May 2, surrounded by his loved ones after a 14 year battle against cancer.

John Paul Leon was a highly respected artist that gave fans iconic characterisations of Static, Batman, Earth X, Robocop and many more, working with companies such as DC, Marvel, and Dark Horse. 

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John Paul began his comic-book career at the age of 16 with a fantastically detailed series of black and white illustrations for TSR’s Dungeons And Dragons comics. He majored in art at the New York School Of Visual Arts where he studied under industry giants including Will Eisner and Walt Simonson, his first professional work was for Dark Horse for whom he drew the Robocop mini-series – Prime Suspect. It was, though, with the DC Comics’ imprint – Milestone, that he brought his incalculable illustrative talent to the fore after he was commissioned as the inaugural artist on their flagship title – Static, in 1993, this series was also used as his coursework for his Bachelor Of Fine Arts degree, of which he graduated from SVA in 1994, he would continue to illustrate Static until issue #9.

After his superlative run on Static, John Paul became a much sought after artist in the comic-book field, his hyper detailed artwork was lauded by fans and industry peers alike, and he would go on to work for DC Comics on multiple Batman series (of which his phenomenal talent was highly suited) and Superman comics and The Challengers Of The Unknown. His talent was also courted by Marvel for whom he drew – The Further Adventures Of Cyclops And Phoenix, Earth X, and the X-Men. 

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John Paul was initially diagnosed with stage two cancer in 2007, and underwent chemotherapy and surgery, until he was diagnosed cancer free in 2012. Unfortunately the cancer returned in in 2018, and he resumed chemotherapy in 2019. Throughout this, John Paul returned to work on a character he loved – Batman, alongside Tom King for the Batman/Catwoman Special, a one shot that explores the romantic entanglement of these much beloved characters, which will be available for purchase in July.

Our thoughts go out to his family and friends at this tragic time. 

Precinct1313 Recommends: Black Canary – Ignite

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Black Canary: Ignite is yet another excellent entry into DC Comic’s burgeoning Graphic Novels For Kids line, an accessible and fun series of original stories that beset readers’ imaginations with tales of classic Superheroes, and villains, in their teen years. Our last dalliance with this superlative series of character chronicles was with the marvellous mistress of magic herself – Zatanna. This effervescent episode will see us rendezvous with the bodacious and boundless – Black Canary!

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The DC Zoom line of graphic novels are a delight in every way, spotlighting beloved heroes (and sometimes villains) in scintillating scenarios of superheroic discovery. Quite often revolving around the stresses and strains of school, friends, family and an innate inner reflection of what it really means to be gradually elevate towards becoming a bona-fide Superhero! This recent epic excursion into Black Canary’s convoluted and colourful journey hits all those notes perfectly, and is a coming of age drama that is a compulsory chronicle to all fans of this fantastic character.

This tenacious tale follows thirteen year old Dinah Lance as she navigates her way through the rigours of youth.You see, Dinah wants to follow in the footsteps of her father and join the Gotham City Police Academy as a potential candidate, and with her school’s annual career week impending, she intends to do just that, to the chagrin of her parents, who just want her to land a safer vocation, away from the conflict and detritus that her father faces on a daily basis as a detective in Gotham City.

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Though, Dinah isn’t like all the other students, she has a gift, a meta human power that is yet to be discovered. Whilst chilling with her best buddies, hurling tunes as the lead singer of a raucous rock band and deflating school bullies, Dinah begins to notice rather odd occurrences happening around her, and, to her consternation, her prudish school Principal Vogel also has discerned these strange events, and is determined to out Dinah’s Meta-human gift to the world.

When a mysterious and shadowy super-villain also habitually turns up to complicate poor Dinah’s home and school life by threatening family and friends, Dinah sets out to turn the tables on these negative naysayers and discovers that not only does she have a super power that enables her to fight back against these blights to her happiness, but that her mum is also hiding a secret identity, as the famed costumed crime-fighter, also known as the original Black Canary! With these wild revelations laid bare, Dinah determines to embrace her glorious gift and follow in the influential footsteps of her parents and fight back against the bullies and villains who egregiously endanger her loved ones.

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Black Canary: Ignite is another absolutely wonderful coming of age drama from DC Comics, following in the fantastic footsteps of previous Zoom titles – Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass, Teen Titans: Raven and Teen Titans: Beast Boy. At it’s heart the story is a poignant parable of mother/daughter bonding, but also the gradual acceptance of superhuman prowess and one’s heritage and birthright. Expertly crafted by magnificent manuscript manipulator – Meg Cabot, and impeccably illustrated by Cara McGee, Ignite is a touching and momentously moving tale that is highly recommended to kids of all ages.

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Comic Cover Of The Week: Wonder Woman #771

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Welcome fellow fans of fantastic fiction to another cool and captivating cornucopia of comic cover collectables! This week’s impressive image heralds from Wonder Woman #771, and is radiantly rendered by irrepressibly impressive illustrator – Joshua Middleton.

Wonder Woman’s ongoing odyssey through the Sphere of the Gods persists, as she embarks on a quest with the devious Ratatosk, to search for answers. Something appears to be changing the Norse afterlife, and it’s up to the Themysciran Titan to set things right. And in doing so, she must face warriors and beasts of mythological proportions, beginning with Nidhogg! Can our Amazon ambassador survive this surly serpent? Meanwhile in a seemingly simpler time in our heraldic hero’s life, a young Diana continues her journey to uncover the secret behind the scriptures that pertain to hold the hidden history of Themyscira. But is she actually ready to behold the truth, or will it ultimately change her perception of paradise forever?

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As our heroic herald continues her perilous passage through the Norse afterlife of Valhalla, she finally encounters the cantankerous god of thunder himself – Thor, who unsurprisingly turns out to be a bit of an arse – a sententious, arrogant and misogynistic drunkard, of whom Diana takes great pleasure in verbally ripping to shreds. Not only does she impressively invalidate the God of Thunder, she also memorably mingles with Odin, climbs the sacred tree of Ygdrassil, and strikes up a bargain with the World Serpent – Naghini.

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The backup tale to this illustrious issue continues with another captivating chapter of young Diana, by collective creators, Jordie Bellaire and Paulina Ganucheau, with the most noteworthy part of the tale (for this Wondy fan at least) being the return of Golden Age super-pet – Jumpa the Kanga! (of whom we wrote about recently – right here!) A fun little tale with absolutely gorgeous and energetic artwork by the talented Ganucheau.

Wonder Woman #771 Is Available From Your Local Comic-Book Emporium Right Now!

Women In Comics Presents: Ramona Fradon

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The Comic-Book medium has always been seen as a mostly male dominated industry in both characters and creators, this is most likely due to a large percentage of the readership being of the male persuasion, though other more obvious reasons definitely prevail. The Superhero genre, as we know it today, arguably began with Lee Falk’s classic domino masked, amaranthine clad hero – The Phantom, who was followed a mere few years later by DC’s Superman and Batman, it wasn’t until esteemed Professor of psychology – the great William Moulton Marston entered this burgeoning market in 1941 with his iconic creation – Wonder Woman, that the tide began to (very slowly) turn towards a rather more inclusive market.

Of course, attitudes back during the Golden Age of comics were not at all what you would ever call diverse and inclusive, it was very much a male dominated industry and, yes indeed, world. It was Marston that initially fought back against this ideology with his casting of a strong but sensitive character in Diana of Themyscira, a positive female role model that could not only match her male counterparts, but even surpass them. Though Marston is accredited as the sole creator of Wonder Woman (though it should be noted that Harry G. Peter also had an underrated impact on the characters development) it was the women in his life both personal and those of whom he admired, that really had the biggest influence on Wonder Woman’s growth and eventual evolution, most notably – Elizabeth Holloway, Olive Byrne, and suffragist icon – Margaret Sanger.

If you’ve been a follower of Precinct1313 for awhile now you’ll have come to the realisation that not only am I a huge fan of Wonder Woman, but also many other female characters, and creators in not just comic-books but also film and video-games. I love strong female representations in my media, more so than male (sorry Batsy!) I think a lot of this is due to my being almost solely raised by mum from a very young age after my father passed away when I was around nine years old. I also have two sisters (and a brother, it’s ok, I didn’t forget you bro!) who were very independent and forthright, my mother instilled me throughout my formative years with a strong sense of virtue and morality. My mother is and always has been a feminist, she grew up in the 50’s and 60’s when discrimination against women was still very much rife, but actively fought against what was seen as the norm, and I will always be eternally grateful for the values she entrusted me with as I grew.

Now, with that lengthy preamble out of the way, let’s get to what you’re all here for – fantastic female comic-book creators, beginning with…

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Comic-Book artist supreme – Ramona Fradon first began her paradigmatic foray into the male dominated comic market in the early fifties, and she actually continues to draw and create characters even now, at the amazing age of 94! She landed her first paying assignment with DC Comics, illustrating – Shining Knight, and after that auspicious start, became regular penciller on Adventure Comics and Brave and the Bold, also for DC.

Ramona was born in October of 1942 in Chicago, yet spent most of early life in New York, where she moved with her family at age five. Her father was a commercial letterer and logo designer of which her brother also careered in, as well as her uncle. Her mother unfortunately passed away in 1952, when Ramona was a mere ten years of age, and it was her father that encouraged her to follow her dream and enrol in art school at the Parsons School Of Design located in Greenwich Village. After graduating from Parsons, Ramona met and married her husband, the cartoonist – Dana Fradon, who wholly supported and encouraged her career in cartooning. She pitched samples of her work to family friend, comic-book letterer – George Ward, which is what resulted in her first commission for DC Comics on the aforementioned – Shining Knight.

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After praise for her fantastic run on Shining Knight, DC then approached Ramona to continue working for them on a regular basis beginning with Adventure Comics, where she pencilled the back up story of Aquaman, which included her updating the character for the Silver Age, and also co-creating, alongside writer – Robert Bernstein, Aquaman’s trusty sidekick – Aqualad in 1960. She returned to DC to co-create (along with writer Bob Haney) another of their sixties classic creations – Metamorpho for the Brave and the Bold imprint. Ramona admitted to an almost perfect creative synergy with writer Haney, whom both referred to Metamorpho as their literary baby – “It was one of those wonderful collaborations that doesn’t happen very often” Ramona would later say.

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From 1965 through to 1972, Ramona briefly left comic-books to raise her young daughter, but returned once again to DC in late ’72 where she would take up the artistic reins on – Plastic Man, Super Friends and Freedom Fighters. She very briefly worked for Marvel, but admitted that structural differences between the two comic-book giants made it so she preferred working for DC, and soon departed Marvel after pencilling one issue of Fantastic Four and an unpublished issue of The Cat. After returning to DC she worked in conjunction with the legendary Joe Orlando, with whom she drew mystery comics. In 1980 she returned to college to study psychology and ancient religion, during this time she took over artistic responsibility on – Brenda Starr: Reporter, after its long term artist – Dale Messick retired.

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Ramona continued to draw Brenda Starr for an astonishing fifteen years until her own retirement in 1995. Though, even in retirement she would still accept the occasional pencilling assignment, most notably for Spongebob Comics, plus graphic novels – The Dinosaur That Got Tired Of Being Extinct, and – The Adventures Of Unemployed Man, amongst others. She will be returning to the company that she worked so many years for – DC Comics this year with an absolutely glorious cover for their 80th anniversary of Wonder Woman. Ramona Fradon is the pioneer for female artists in the comic-book format, and was recognised as such by being inducted into the prestigious – Will Eisner Comic-Book Hall Of Fame – in 2006, justly so!

Great British Comic Book Characters: The Rise Of The British Superhero

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American comic-books over the past decade have most assuredly become a much more mainstream field of interest, mostly due to the popularity of celluloid and small screen adaptations, bringing a larger audience to their outrageous spandex clad antics. Though established characters such as Batman and Wonder Woman have been with us now for well over eighty years, and are as readily recognised by even non comic-book fans by their symbolism and deeds, their popularity before said live action adaptations were nowhere near the stratospheric levels they have now reached through their various cinematic endeavours.

Superheroes and their villainous nemeses are now en-vogue, and comic-books as a medium are now more widely accepted as as a legitimate and serious form of storytelling. It wasn’t always this way of course. I have been collecting and reading comics since I was a mere six years of age, and have lost count over the years of the amount of times I have had to defend my choice of escapist literature to the non fan. Even with the rise in prevalence of the celluloid Superhero in recent years , I do tend, even now, to to get a stereotypical – “but comics are for kids” reaction when I profess my adoration for the medium. This situation though has improved in more recent times, again, mainly thanks to the introduction of these beloved characters through their filmic personae. Now more people than ever are buying and reading comics, and actively sharing their own passion for this new found hobby unashamedly with their friends and families. Geeks and Nerds are now de-rigeur.

With both the DC Extended Universe and the MCU going great guns at the box office, the American Superhero has firmly established itself in the public consciousness… But what of it’s British counterparts?

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British comics differ greatly from their American brethren, though have endured since their introduction way back in 1937 with – The Dandy. Dandy is a long running children’s publication (in fact, the third longest running comic-book series in history after Action Comics and Detective Comics!) and introduced classic characters – Desperate Dan, and Korky the Kat. Following shortly after, in 1938, The Beano emerged, and presented the British buying public with the arguably more famous (than their Dandy counterparts at least) Dennis the Menace, Minnie the Minx and Billy Whizz.

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These early comics were invariably aimed at the younger market and followed a format that is still primarily used in the UK comic scene today – the anthology. Several stories were contained in each individual issue, introducing the young fan to a plethora of cool characters in quick two or three page adventures, perfect at the time for the attention span of the younger readership. The Superhero archetype was still very much the domain of the American market at this time, and it wasn’t until 1950 that the UK conjured up their own equivalent with the classic sci-fi hero – Dan Dare.

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In April of 1950 a new breed of comic-book hit the British news-stands  – EAGLE, differing appreciably from from Dandy and Beano it focused on more sophisticated storylines and considerably more intricate artwork. It was the inaugural issue that introduced one of the UK’s most popular and enduring heroes in Dan Dare, though the stories themselves were set in the distant future, the dialog and mannerisms were very reminiscent of old Brit war movies, in fact Dare himself was described as “Biggles in space”  (Biggles was a popular series of post WW1 novels starring an ace British pilot, which first published in 1932)

It was the quality of art that really set Dare’s iconic adventures apart from his competitors at this time, and was the first UK comic to use the centrefold ‘splash-page’ style approach to represent its galactic action sequences. Dan Dare endured in EAGLE throughout its initial seventeen year run until 1967. Though he has returned, like the proverbial phoenix, several times, not just in the later relaunched variant of Eagle Comics in 1982, but also Virgin Comics (founded by English entrepreneur – Richard Branson) where he was penned by fan favourite writer – Garth Ennis, and of course, his legendary run in the UK’s most popular comic – 2000 A.D.

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2000 A.D. continued the long held tradition of the anthology that was evergreen in the UK, its first issue (known as Progs in the UK) was released in February of 1977, and introduced the Brit comic-book fan to brand new and exciting heroes, and villains hitherto unexplored in a UK publication. The initial line up of strips included  – Harlem Heroes – a series that was heavily inspired by the 1970’s explosion of Kung-Fu movies, American basketball stars (specifically – The Harlem Globetrotters) and violent future sports movie – Rollerball. M.A.C.H – 1, told the tale of of a super powered British secret service agent, with obvious nods to both James Bond and The Six Million Dollar Man, and FLESH – an ultra-violent tale about time travelling cowboys heading to the Jurassic era to harvest dinosaurs for their meat, a story that presented a very young me personally, with one of my all time favourite non human protagonists – Old One Eye.

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2000 A.D. has gone on to become the most widely read and circulated comic-book series in British history and has delivered some of the most archetypal and fascinating characters ever conceived in the world of the Superhero. As the publication became more in demand, new characters were added to the fold, with likes of Johnny Alpha – Strontium Dog, who found fame after transferring to 2000 A.D. when his original home publication – Starlord – was cancelled. Other terrific tales include – Rogue Trooper – the blue skinned genetically engineered soldier of the future, and the A.B.C Warriors – a team of battling bots who are able to withstand atomic, bacterial and chemical warfare.

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Many other heroes and villains have since been presented in the pages of this hallowed publication, some of whom we have already covered in previous posts (of which I will link below for anyone who is interested in this particularly Brit rabbit hole) Of course, conspicuous by his absence is the UK’s biggest and most popular character of all time, the grimly determined lawman of the future – Judge Dredd – For a multitude of reasons Dredd didn’t make an appearance in the first Prog of 2000 A.D. his debut though, came a mere one week later in Prog #2, which cemented his well deserved place in comic-book history!

Has this wet your appetite for other classic Brit characters, then why not check out some of my earlier profile pieces –

Vampire Bounty Hunter – Durham Red

Alien Freedom Fighter – Nemesis The Warlock

Reluctant Superhero – Zenith

Authoritarian Hero Hater – Marshal Law

 

Joye Hummel Murchison – The First Woman Commissioned To Write Wonder Woman Comics In The 1940’s, Passes Away At 97.

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It is with great sadness that we pass on the news that Wonder Woman and Comic-Book author, Joye Hummel Murchison passed away at the age of 97 years old on April 5th. Joye was the ghost writer of many classic golden age Wonder Woman tales between the years of 1944 and 1947, with her first ever script appearing in the spring 1945 issue of Wonder Woman #12, after the Wondy creator and mainstay writer – William Moulton Marston fell terminally ill.

Joye was first offered the role of authoring the ongoing adventures of the wondrous one in March of 1944 by Professor Marston himself, who was a tutor of psychology at the Katharine Gibbs school in Manhattan, where Joye was a pupil. Professor Marston, over dinner, invited Joye to co-author the further adventures of the Themysciran Titan. At this point, Joye had not only never read Wonder Woman, but indeed any comic-books whatsoever, though she accepted the position through her respect and admiration of Marston and his varying works that included not just comic-book writing but also psychology, invention (he co-invented the lie detector, which gave way in the comics to Wondy’s Lasso of Truth) and unyielding support of women’s rights and the Suffragist movement.

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Joye worked on Wonder Woman’s continuing adventures for three years as a ghost-writer, yet was never accredited much attention until the Jill Lepore penned – The Secret History Of Wonder Woman – was released in 2014. Four years after historian Lepore’s book was released, Joye was awarded one of the most prestigious comic-book awards – The Bill Finger Award – primarily given to oft underappreciated and overlooked comic creators.

Our thought go out to her family and friends at this time, and our eternal thanks to Joye for the many wonderful tales of Diana’s golden age adventures she regaled her many fans with.