A Brief History of Black Canary

Grab your earplugs and put up your fists for this month’s Superhero Sunday with DC’s Black Canary.

The History

Black Canary was created by Robert Kanigher and Carmine Infantino, Debuting in Flash Comics #86 (Aug 1947). This was the character’s start in comics but it wasn’t until 1983 when Roy Thomas had a crack at Black Canary that she became the recognizable figure we know today. Black Canary would continue to grow and become a known name and eventually move past the pages of comics and onto the television screens in the hit cartoon series Justice League, and live action show Arrow.

The Character

The original Black Canary was Dinah Drake she was a crime-fighter who infiltrated and took down gangs. At the start, she was merely a companion to Johnny Thunder but quickly become her own hero. Back in 1948-1950s Dinah, who would become the Black Canary, was a black haired florist in love with Larry Lance a GCPD Detective. She would fight crime and even join the Justice Society. Note: Comics got messy when Earth One and Earth Two crossed over providing Dinah with magic gift of “canary scream” from Aquarius (Later many things were retcon).

Let’s jump to 1983. Black Canary was revealed to be the daughter of Dinah and Larry Lance, she is Dinah Laurel Lance (during retroactive continuity). Moving forward Black Canary moved up from stopping street crime and becoming a full on member of the Justice League.

While a team member of JL she was a key member of the Birds of Prey a team that consisted of Oracle (Barbra Gordon), The Huntress, and herself. This team forms while trying to take down the Suicide Squad, and after that mission they stay together and continue to fight crime. Black Canary also popularly has a relationship with Green Arrow; for years in DC she would partner with him both romantically and for fighting for justice.

The new new new story has their lives retconned but reuniting in DC REBIRTH.

Why this hero?

It is amazing how cartoons as a child exposed me to so many characters in the superhero universe. Black Canary being one of those characters. I grew up on comics and cartoons and for DC that meant Batman the Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited. Black Canary was one of those characters I enjoyed watching fight alongside Green Arrow and Batman, but never followed. Then she pops up in Young Justice (a must see DC cartoon) as the Trainer and advisor to a young team of new superheroes. I have since seen her in Arrow and read several stories and now appreciate Black Canary as a superhero who deserves your attention. She is tough, confident and can kick your butt.

Recommended Reading:


Bonus Chart of Canary outfits

A Brief History of Misty Knight!

Get out of the way men and get ready for a BA lady in this Superhero Sunday with Misty Knight!

The History

Art by Khari Evans

Art by Khari Evans

Originally created by Tony Isabella and Arvell Jones she first appeared in Marvel Premiere #21 (March, 1975).  History then reveals that she was actually an unnamed woman in Marvel Team-Up #64 (1972) and was save from muggers by Spider-Man

Since her creation she has always been attached to interesting titles like; Deadly Fists of Kung-Fu, Power Man and Iron Fist, Daughters of the Dragon and prominently in Heroes for Hire. 

She has remained in times since her creation and now in Marvel's MCU Luke Cage show.

The Character

Misty is a former highly skilled and highly decelerated, NYPD detective, who was injured in the line of duty and lost her arm preventing a bomb attack. She resigned from the force a rather than be a desk jockey. 

Tony Stark recognized her bravery and offers to provide her with a bionic arm. The arm provided her with superhuman strength. One of Misty's strongest traits is her loyalty to her friends. She saves her friend Collen Wing (also a hero) and they become a private detective team. It was known by two names "Knightwing Restoration" and daughters of the dragon (because both knew martial arts and often had to use those skills). From their Misty would team-up with Spider-Man and the X-Men then Iron Fist.

It was her private detective agency that lead her to meeting Iron Fist and Luke Cage, Misty and Colleen would end up helping Luke and Iron Fist on many cases and eventually she joined Heroes for Hire. This would go on for years and Misty even began a relationship with Iron Fist. Heroes for Hire took many street level cases but allowed to show the streets of Marvel's New York and they would stop many gangs and Hydra.

Civil War happened and shook up everything, Misty reformed and sided with registration after seeing all the heroes going unchecked on their abilities. This would put her at ends with Danny (Iron Fist) and break up Heroes for Hire. Though Iron Fist disagreed with the "Initiative" they stayed together and she even rushed to his aid with Luke Cage.

Post Civil War Misty creates her own  Heroes for Hire and provides a team of street level heroes in exchange for money and information. Then she joins a team of powerful women in the Fearless Defenders. (Things go silent for a little for Misty until All-New Marvel).

Her current Marvel status is with fighting along side Sam Wilson (Former Falcon/current Capt. America). She also appears to be in a relationship with Sam.

My hope is with the new Iron Fist show, Misty will return to Iron Fist in the comics as a bad ass Kung-Fu duo.

Why this hero?

I only knew by proxy of Iron Fist and the 2006 Civil War event story. I also read the brief run of Fearless Defenders and wanted to learn about all the super women in that title.  She sparked my interest but with on Netflix's current series Luke Cage, I had to check more of the awesome lady out. 

Recommended Reading:

  • Iron Fist Epic Collection: Fury of Iron Fist
  • Heroes for Hire (2006)
  • Fearless Defenders

Superhero Sunday: Ms. Marvel

Let’s grab a big yellow S and get ready for some cosmic rays as we blast into this month’s Superhero Sunday with Ms. Marvel.Please note that I will be covering the title “Ms Marvel: and how the main character changes through present day

The History

Ms.Marvel was first thought of in 1968 as the female counterpart to Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell), and appeared in Marvel’s Superheroes #13. It wasn’t until 1977 that she really was a part of the Marvel universe as Carol Danvers.

Carol was Ms. Marvel until 1985 when Mike Carlin and Ron Wilson, creators on the Fantastic  Four, decided that a new woman would pick up the name after being exposed to cosmic rays. Thus Sharon Venture became Ms. Marvel. Then in 2009 Dr. Karla Sofen, the super villain known as Moonstone became Ms. Marvel during the storyline “Dark Reign.”

Carol Danvers would occasionally pick the name backup, but that was until the mantle was adopted by a 13 year old inhuman in 2013. This new rendition of Ms Marvel was created by  Sana Amanat, G. Willow Wilson, and Adrian Alphona

The Character

Who is a Ms. Marvel? What does it take? Well, it takes a strong willed independent female getting hit by cosmic rays or becoming an inhuman to be Ms.Marvel. Carol Danvers (the first and now the new Captain Marvel) was an officer in the Air Force who, on a mission, gets caught in an explosion with Captain Marvel (a Kree alien) and she is exposed to cosmic rays. These are the rays that gave the fantastic four their powers and what makes the Silver Surfer the “Silver Surfer.” Once exposed she is enhanced and can shoot rays, fly and exhibits super strength. With this power she fights along the Avengers, and battles many galactic enemies.

The next most important person to dawn the mantle is when Moonstone takes over the mantle and during Norman Osborn’s Dark Reign and she becomes the Ms.Marvel of the Dark Avengers lead by Norman. As Moonstone she gets power from a Kree gravity stone and is imbued with powers similar to that of most superheroes but most like Ms. Marvel. During this era Ms.Marvel gets her name tarnished and the mantle is left alone. Carol later assumes the mantle of Captain Marvel in honor of the death of Mar-vell.

Now jump to a young New Yorker girl who discovers she has been exposed to a terrigen mist, which awakens special cells in certain people that makes them inhuman (it's like realizing you're a mutant but different). When Kamala Khan, a teen who already looks up to many super heroes, becomes an inhuman with super powers, she decides she wants to be like her idol; thus she becomes the contemporary Ms.Marvel. But Kamala is different. She has super strength and can morph her body, but she cannot fly.

Why this Hero?

Ms.Marvel has always been a real “BA” and that's awesome. I will admit it wasn’t til Kelly Sue made her Captain Marvel that I fell in love with Carol Danvers. That being said, everything written during Civil War was amazing and encouraged me to like so many characters.

However, it is Kamala that takes the cake for me. Her story is like a hybrid of commentary on contemporary while also being a new version of the Spider-Man “fish out of water” story. She learns what it is to be a hero while being inspired by the Avengers, much like how readers of comics are inspired by morally strong characters. I must recommend Ms. Marvel with Kamala Khan to everyone.

Recommended Reading

  • Marvel Masterworks: Ms. Marvel Book 1

  • Ms.Marvel (Marvel Now) vol.1

  • Dark Reign

Superhero Sunday: Animal Man

It's a jungle out there! We need the power of all the creatures to stay safe in this month's Superhero Sunday with Animal Man.

The History

DC's Stranges Adventures #180 (Sept, 1965) featured a story called, "I Was the Man with Animal Powers." created by Dave Wood and Carmine Infantino.  The hero that appears in that book would become a semi-regular character and given the name "A-Man" (#190). 

Then in the late 80's DC went through a reset of its universe after the events of "Crisis on Infinite Earths." The reset allowed many smaller, "lesser known" superheroes to be written with new fresh and often UK talent. Revival of this character was by Grant Morrison who gave a fresh and deep look into the hero that is Buddy Baker aka Animal Man.

The story would be well recieved and continue for 2 years and 26 issues. Then the title moved to Vertigo and would later reveret back to DC proper during 52 and the New 52. There was even a 2009 mini-series called,"Last Days of Animal Man." A story that saw an older Animal Man in his final moments in the year 2024.

The Character

Bernhard "Buddy" Baker as teenager encountered a extraterrestrial spaceship which endows him with the ability to communicate and use the abilities of animals (by tapping into the lifeforce known as the "Red"). This connection to the animals makes him become a vegetarian and animal activist. He learns he can tap into more than one creature at a time and he must stay connected to nature. Once he loses touch he feels he can only reach the animals nearest to him.

The story really starts when we see Buddy a bit older. He has a wife, Ellen, and 2 children, Maxine and Cliff (Following most recent New 52 version). Buddy was a stuntman turned superhero turned actor. The New 52 story shows him retired from caped heroics and focused more on being a father and animal activist. His life begins to change once he and his daughter have nightmares about a thing called the "Rot" that will destroy both "Red" and "Green" which is all life.

The journey has Animal Man fighting demon creatures created by the "Rot" and Buddy finds out his powers are apart of the "Red", which has many Avatars and Totems of life. Both Buddy and his daughter are tapped into the "Red" but Cliff his son is not. The totems warn Buddy of a dark future and he must defend earth from this grave threat. Buddy ends up road tripping across America in order to find and defeat the threat while keeping his family safe.

Animal Man has had many journeys and adventures. The best are those with his family where he feels the effects of balance between hero and family. 

Why This Hero?

Buddy/Animal Man was written by some of the most talented writers (in my opinion), so I had to check him out. I was well into loving and reading a lot of other books by Jeff Lemire and was excited to see what he would do with a DC property. I really enjoy the fact that Lemire teamed up with Scott Snyder who was writing Swamp Thing at the time to form a cross over between the "Green" and "Red" in the DCU (something that wouldn't have happened if Jeff and Scott weren't already friends).

That and I love the books with the "feels," Jeff Lemire and Grant Morrison make you feel attached to this character and his family for the whole journey. Its a hero unlike any other.

Recommended Reading:

Superhero Sunday: Nightcrawler

BAMF! Let's teleport right into this month's Superhero Sunday the blue skinned horned tail, Nightcrawler.

The History

Nightcrawler created in 1975 by Dave Cockrum and Len Wein for Marvel and the X-Men. Cockrum originally came up with Nightcrawler while stationed in Guam for the U.S. Navy. At that time Nightcrawler's concept was a demon who failed a mission and stayed on earth (Earth616) he also wore trunks instead of the full costume.

Nightcrawler Debuted in "Giant Size X-Men #1" (1975).

Cockrum pitched the character to DC and was rejected but later he started working at Marvel and X-Men with Roy Thomas. It was then he submitted Nightcrawler and had to change him to German decent and thus we got the mutant he is today. 

The Character

Nightcrawler is the son of Azazel the demon and the mutant Mystique. He was abandoned in german and raised by gypsy queen. His birth name was Kurt. He would grow up in the circus as a happy child receving his teleportation ability at puberty and getting the name Nightcrawler as a performer. During his time in the circus he picked up his skills with agility and sword skills.

Some time later he gets caught up and hunted in a town who see him as a demon. Kurt was a man of faith and struggled with this identiy and how the people around him would hate him. While being hunted he runs into Professor Charles Xavier the leader of the X-Men.

Nightcrawler meets Shadow Cat (Kitty Pryde) while fighting a sorcerer and he joins the X-Men as it is a place he feels accepted for his abilities and appearance. During his time on the X-Men he would go on a side journey and create a team called Excalibur with Nightcralwer and his N-Men.  He lead the team while Captian Britian went off with Meggan. Once they returned Nightcrawler returned to the X-Men. 

Nightcrawler would bounce around as team leader of new mutants and being put in various spots with many teams. House of M occurs and there are no more muntants then years later the first Mutant comes by during the Messiah Complex.  It was after House of M that Wolverine and Kurt would spend more time on missions together. They had a back and forth friendship and the depth of their friendship was proven during the events of Second Coming in which Bastion attacks and kills Nightcrawler. Cable takes Hope the muntant Nightcrawler and the X-Force were trying to protect.

His death remained from 2010 to 2015. Wolverine goes on a task that Nightcralwer had left for him in a letter and thus trying to live up to all the hope Nightcrawler stood for.

His story is so much more then a few adventures and his character was friends with so many, he also had such an impact on the muntant side of Marvel. He has a mom who has a moral grey line and he father a demon. 

Why this hero?

Nightcrawler is a demon creature with the heart of a saint and love for humanity, he is selfless and that was a strong characteristic for me as a kid. I really loved how he was a foil to Wolverine and never gave up on anyone. Also as a kid the blue skinned pointy eared mutant that swung swords and could teleport was "like the coolest thing."

It was of coarse the 90's cartoon that showed me Nightcrawler (im sure the music is now stuck in your head). But I loved him in the comics and future cartoons/movies as well.

 Recommended Reading:

  • Gaint Size X-Ment #1
  • X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills
  • Excalibur
  • X-Men: Messiah Complex
  • X-Men: Second Coming

Superhero Sunday: Batgirl

Ladies and gentlemen let us dawn our cowls and jump into this Superhero Sunday with Batgirl.

The History

The legends that are Bill Finger and Sheldon  Moldoff with DC comics created Batgirl in 1961. Though it wasn't til 1967 and Barbra Gordon took the mantle that Batgirl would gain her iconic status.

First appearing in Detective Comics #359- "Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl." She would continue to appear in Detetive Comics and become a member of the "Batfamily" which included the likes of Nightwing and Robin. 

Its a shame that it wasn't until 2000 that Batgirl recieved a solo series but since then her popularity has only grown and she has really become a staple of the Bat-Universe at DC.

The Character

Batgirl has been the name for many women in the DC universe this will focus on Barbra Gordon who has the longest time under the mantle and is the current Batgirl for DC (But heres the list of all to hold the name Batgirl). Barbra Gordon aka 'Babs" is daughter of Commissioner Jim Gordon. Her 1967 appearance was helping stop the kidnapping of Bruce Wayne by villian Killer Moth, while she didnt know that this attracted the attention of the Dark Knight and helped stop the villian. Barbra was only getting started. Barbra would continue to prove she was tough and willing to be a hero. Dressing as Batgirl she would fight and eventually Batman takes her under his wing. Batman originally disapproved but she was determined.

Batgirl would fight in team-ups for years but her popularity went down and Alan Moore in 1988 wanted to write a book that would try to break Batman and have the Joker show Batman that anyone can be morally broken, The Joker tries to prove his point when he takes photos of Barbra Gordon and paralyzes her in order to ruin Jim Gordon and provoke Batman. 

Barbra though paralyzed wasn't broken she only came back stonger willing to help Batman as information genius Oracle. While she was Oracle she would help the team take down villians and a new Batgirl in the form of Cassandra Cain would come along. 

Later after the events of Infinte Crisis Stephanie Brown (The Spoiler) would take the mantle of Batgirl and it would go back to Cassandra too.Then the events of Flash Point occur and reset the continuity of the DC Universe it is here that Barbra regains her mobility with an experimental surgery and takes back the role of Batgirl. She continues as Batgirl in todays continuity as well in the NEW 52. Even in her revamps Barbra Gordon/Batgirl stay fresh and have creative teams,

Why this hero?

This is simple there have been many to take the name Batgirl but there is only on Babs. Barbra Gordon is the reason to like Batgirl and the wonderful people who refused to let her become a simple plot device or just a "female robin" She has help her own in DC stories and titles.

Batgirl has fought villians, faced the Joker, tussled with Batman and paralzyed but her mantle has stayed true to being a strong female character in a male hero world.

I remeber her on Batman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond. I always enjoyed the character and this s porobably because I love the Bat-Family as a whole but she fits in the family perfectly. So go check her out.

Recommended Reading

Superhero Sunday: Bucky Barnes

We are all the good kid and the bad boy in this Superhero Sunday with Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier.

The History

 James Buchanan Barnes the boy solider and sidekick to Captain America was created by the team Joe Simon and none another than Jack Kirby in March 1941 appearing in Captain America #1. The book was printed by Timely Comics the predecessor to Marvel Comics. The character was created and named simply Bucky at first and was made to be a sidekick for Captain America. Bucky would go on to appear in several teams and stories before his death in the comics until 2005 when Ed Brubaker had a unique way to bring him back.

The Character

James Buchanan Barnes born in 1925 in Indiana he was an orphan and was adopted by a solider. James had a love of the army to and help the troops, though underage he snuck his was into the army and would help the troops. One day in 1940 at camp he walked into Steve Rogers tent and saw Steve putting on the Captain America helmet. After some convincing Steve Rogers agreed to train James and let him be a sidekick of sorts. The army agreed to let him fight to help rally the youth of America to support its troops and with Bucky being at the side of Captain America. James changed his name to Bucky after his middle name Buchanan.

Bucky helped Captain America fight the Nazis and was even a scout for a super team known as The Invaders for a brief time. Throughout missions and years Bucky would help defeat Nazis and Hydra. Flash Forward to 1945 and WWII was coming to an end. But Baron Zemo a commander of Hydra had an experimental plane he ridged with explosives to drop on the allies. Both Captain America and Bucky climb the drop plane as it flies over the ocean. They try to disarm the bomb and Bucky fails to do so. The plane explodes sending Captain America to the ocean where he freezes and isn’t discovered til years later. Bucky Barnes was presumed dead from the explosion (he was dead in the comics until 2005).

The Winter Soldier is born in the wake of Bucky’s death or his thought to be death. Turns out Russian soldiers find a frozen body missing an arm and barely alive. Bucky Barnes died that day in the snow and Hydra/Russian secret forces got a new weapon. Bucky would have his mind wiped and get a new metal arm. He was brain washed and turned into an assassin for evil. After missions he would be put in a life preserving chamber until he needed to be used again. The Winter Soldier would be used for years until he was caught up to Captain America in present day and they do battle. Captain America and the Avengers find out who this weapon is/was. Steve Rogers (Captain America) is so torn by this but must save Bucky from what he has become. Steve ends up capturing and Bucky and brings back memories.

Over the years in comics Bucky would have to deal with his dark past as well as find his place in the present without letting the guilt eat away at him. He would join the avengers and become a great hero even taking the mantle of Captain America in Steve Rogers brief absence just after Civil War.

Why this hero?

As Bucky Barnes he is a sidekick that we the readers relate too. I may not be a super solider but I can pretend to fight alongside him. He also was the representation of innocent kid who just wants to be enthusiastic and help the heroes. This only makes his death all the more tragic.  His resurrection as a villain is more than a gimmick and only makes the character richer and enriches the Marvel universe with more depth as well as bring a new element for Captain America. This is one of my favorite stories in all of Marvel comics history and it made me see how much you can do with people in costumes.

Recommended reading:

Superhero Sunday: Green Arrow!

Grab your bow and quiver for this month's Superhero Sunday: Green Arrow! Lets flash back to 1941 when Morton Weisinger and George Papp created/designed Oliver Queen aka the Green Arrow.

The History

Oliver would appear in "More Fun Comics #73" and would spend the next 25 years gaining notice but wouldn't reach real popularity until writer Denny O'neil started working on him in the 60's. From there the popularity has only grown with the character getting a solo TV series.

The Character

This origin is the most current and collected version, there have been many retools and reboots of this character (like many hero's who are decades old). This origin is a hybrid (including TV elements)

Oliver Queen is a rich, arrogant, ego driven workaholic until everything is taken from him. He is young and has the his fathers company, Queen Consolidated, bother his parents have past under mysterious circumstances. But his life changes when he goes out on to travel on a ship and the boat wrecked onto an island.

Oliver Queen must survive the island and become something stronger than he was, but even after his time on the island when he returns and the world thought him to be dead he loses his fathers company and is left with nothing. The arrogant Oliver must be better and must mature. Oliver learns his bow skills on the island but always had a love for robin hood as a child. The mythos of the island only grow in Jeff Lemire's story (New 52). That is the origin. (if this all sounds familiar thats because the original creators saw Green Arrow as the Batman with a bow for Star City).

But with all the iterations of Green Arrow comes his character and who Oliver Queen is. That hero is a man who had to build up after losing his family his company and survive on an island, Oliver Queen protects a city from corruption and is progressive for the liberal rights of all humans. He is known for being friends with Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) and fighting on the Justice League but mostly his own solo work.

Why this hero?

 Honestly, I didn't like Green Arrow at first. I thought he was like Hawkeye with a Van Dyke and didn't seem very interesting. As a kid he was the grumpy one on Justice League cartoon. But I was watching a PBS documentary or some other doc and it went of the history of heroes, Green Arrow teaming up to work for equality for all people was amazing. He became more interesting and I wanted to know more. 

The Green Arrow is DC's Robin Hood and green solutions and civil rights, he was later revamped to be more a vigilante in the more common sense but was given a deeper mythos including guilds and magic. He is truly an interesting character that has carved out a path in the DC universe. The TV show and new books only add to his depth and keep him interesting.

Recommended Reading

Superhero Sunday: The Rocketeer

Strap on your jetpacks, dawn your helmets and lets take to the skies in this month's Superhero Sunday with The Rocketeer.

The History

Created in 1982 by writer-illustrator Dave Stevens, who first got work penciling for Tarzan (newspaper comic 1975) then getting recognized for is pin up work and later went on to storyboard for Hanna-Barera.

The Rocketeer is a fun adventure book that was birthed out of paying homageage to the old serials from the 1930s through 50s.  The story first appeared as a backup issue in Starslayer for Pacific Comics. The four issue was released by Eclipse comics under the title Rocketeer.

The Character

The story takes place in a fiction 1938 Los Angeles, but who is this helmeted hero? Cliff Secord a racing stunt pilot (barnstormer) discovers a mysterious package hidden in his hanger. Gangsters fleeing the scene leave left a prototype jetpack that kickstarts Cliff's adventures and lead him on a jet fueled dream.

The 1980's comic contnued its fun for years as Cliff went on one-shot journeys and adventures as The Rocketeer. He would fight crime and rescue his main squeeze Betty (Dave Stevens modeled off of Bettie Page the Queen of Pin-Up). Cliff the lunkhead with the heart iof gold went on to fight Nazi's and the mobsters but every comic was great fun.

Rocketeer 1.jpg

Why this hero?

As always I did not read the comic until well after its creation. I probably like most didnt dicsover The Rocketeer as a comic at all but instead as the 1991 Disney film. Yes, in the 90s Stevens approved Disney to adapt the comic into film. This movie is where I found the Rocketeer and was instantly in love with the character. The costume is this amazing suit that lets you fly around with an awesome helmet and you become this hero who saves the day, it was everything I wanted to be as a kid (maybe now too). After the movie I wanted to be The Rockteer and I was inspired to find those 80s comics.

The Rocketeer comic rights changed hands and went from Dark Horse to IDW. Dave Stevens passed in 2008 but the comic series was revived in 2011 by IDW with the talented writer Mark Waid, the book would recieve trades of collected new adventures. The Rocketeer is not the dense heavy work of Alan Moore nor is it Garfield. No, The Rocketeer is high flying fun and a real treat for anyone who wasn't wax nostalgic about 1930s-50s.

Recommended Reading:

Superhero Sunday: Dr. Strange

Open your third eye as we dive into this magical edition of Superhero Sunday with Dr.Strange. 

The History

Created in 1963 by none other than the magical mind of Steve Ditko and first appearing in Strange Tales #110. Ditko brought a five page story to Stan Lee for a new, different, and magic character. Stan Lee liked the idea enough to give it a shot and Dr. Strange would have reoccurring issues in Strange Tales before joining other books and getting his own title. Ditko would go on to make some of his most interesting and surrealist works with Dr. Strange.

The Character

Stephen Vincent Strange was an egotistical neurosurgeon turned to superhero and Sorcerer Supreme of the mystic arts. As a doctor Stephen was cold and cared little for his patients or anyone. He was egotistical because he was a brilliant doctor but also a real dick. His life was going to change drastically and ultimately to becoming the hero he is today. Stephen Strange gets in a sever car accident and damages the nerves in his hands, this would mean he could no longer be the neurosurgeon he once was. But Stephen was too vain to admit anything and became desperate to find a way to heal his hands and continue being a doctor. After exhausting all traditional options, Strange heard about an, "Ancient One" and journeyed to find him. 

Once discovering a Tibetan Palace where the ancient once rested he asked to have his hands cured to which the Ancient One rejected and countered with teachings in mysticism. Strange denied the teachings but was trapped on the mountain due to a blizzard. While trapped Stephen would see Baron Mordo the Ancient One's apprentice. Baron saw an opportunity to attack his teacher and become the new successor to Sorcerer Supreme but in the mystic battle the Acient One won. After witnessing this magic Stephen agreed to be trained and Baron Mordo was rejected (this would later make Baron the rival to Stephen).  Under the tutelage of the Ancient One Stephen Strange became a great mystic. 

Strange would learn of all the mystic realms and black magic in oder to one day be the successor of the Ancient One. Strange's power included ageless life and magic manipulation. He later received a sidekick and trained in meditation to achieve astral projection and became Sorcerer Supreme when the Ancient One fell.

Dr. Strange moved back to New York and would defend earth against the mystic realms. This would put him in touch with the other heroes, ultimately joining a team known as "The Defenders". He also gained a solo title and would continue to grow in ?the Marvel Universe. 

Why this hero?

Dr. Strange has a far longer history than what has been written here but I honestly didn't read Dr. Strange until much later in his career. I think that's one thing I love about the rich history of superheroes, you can discover them and go back to read more and keep finding stories to read and explore. Dr. Strange became one of my favorite characters during "Civil War" (FYI: civil war is my favorite event and the post civil war books). While the two side of the marvel universe are spilt, it is Dr. Strange that offers refuge to a team of heroes who form a rebellion known as "The New Avengers." I really liked the writing of Strange and friends by Brian Michel Bendis. This was when I wanted to learn more about Dr. Strange and characters like Iron Fist. Basically magic is cool and I thought Dr. Strange was this unique guy that I wanted to know more about.

So, what would I recommend as a good jumping on point? There are huge collections of "Strange Tales" of Dr.Strange book but I have a few I really enjoyed.

Recommended Reading:

Superhero Sunday: Dick Grayson

Hello and welcome to this month's Superhero Sunday. This month is Dick Grayson a character that we have all seen evolve and change over the years, starting as a sidekick to becoming a solo superhero himself as Nightwing.

The History

Let's starts with the facts created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson in April 1940, first appearance " Detective Comics No. 38.

The Character

Dick Grayson was the youngest in his acrobatic family that travelled in a performing act known as," The Flying Graysons." After one of the performances, Dick witnesses his family die by the hands of a mafia boss who was extorting the,"Haly's" circus. Bruce Wayne (Batman), unable to stop the events, decides to take Dick Grayson in as a legal ward.

During this time Dick becomes Robin and his acrobatic skills lend well to being the sidekick of Batman. They fought side by side for many years, but Dick grew up and the DC universe expanded. Dick decides he must forge his own path and become a hero himself as Nightwing. Dick as Nightwing moves to Bluhaven, leads the Teen Titans and has many solo adventures. If you flash forward to DC's "New 52" Dick Grayson becomes a spy under his own name and currently has a solo series.

Why this hero?

But I want to back up and explain what a huge impact Dick Grayson the character has on the comic world. Let me spoil a few things and hopefully encourage you to read some great stories. Dick Grayson starts as Batman's sidekick then grows up. Growing up isn't something that is done often in comics (Spiderman another example), most characters stay them same age over the decades, but DC pushed Dick Grayson and the medium of comics forward, by having Dick become the hero, Nightwing. Next during one of my personal favorite story lines (Final Crisis/Batman RIP)  involving the Bat-Family, Dick Grayson must pick up the mantle of Batman and protect the city while training Bruce Wayne's son Damian. I love this because it was a huge deal in comics, regarding who is going to be worthy of the Batman mask and responsibility. Dick Grayson was a strong character from the beginning and time has only forged him into a stronger independent leader. 

There are so many great titles to read for Dick Grayson or Nightwing and I suggest them all. But if you can't do that then check out these gems below.

Recommended Reading:


Superhero Sunday: Venom

Dress in black and let's get weird its Superhero Sunday Venom edition.

The History

Venom has only been around since 1984 but has a very dense/clunky history. I want start from the beginning but then focus on the main points and provide some reading material for you all. The idea of a new Spiderman costume was what inspired venom and the idea was bought for $220.00 by Marvel. Mike Zeck and David Michilinie created the alien host with Spiderman and it was Todd McFarlane that drew first appearance of Venom.

The Character

First what we refer to as venom is actually an alien symbiote that combines with a human host. The alien race of parasites would travel to planets and attach to host, they would provide the host with enhance abilities while draining there life. Venom was different and wanted to commit to its host rather than killing it. The alien race decided that the venom symbiote was insane and was imprisoned on Battleworld.

Battleworld is a planet that the Marvel heroes and villains fought on during secret wars and where Spiderman would become attached to the symbiote becoming the first host of Venom. Once off Battleworld Spiderman could feel the enhanced alien suit corrupting him.  To rid himself of the suit Spiderman crashed himself into a bell tower creating sound waves that disrupt and damage the symbiote. Spiderman thought the venom alien to be dead.

Flash forward to Eddie Brock heading home on the subway after being fired from the Daily Planet. He blamed Spiderman for getting him fired and hates him. During this time it only gets worse for Eddie as he learns he has cancer. Eddie becomes desperate and goes to a church to pray. It is the same church with the bell that the symbiote was destroyed with. The symbiote being a banded and left for dead hates Spiderman. It can sense Eddie’s hatred as well and attaches to him. This fuels both of them and makes Venom proper. Eddie Brock as Venom wants to destroy Spiderman and they do many battles over the years. Venom uses the same abilities of Spiderman because that was the first host and it imprinted the web slinging/ wall crawling abilities into the alien.  Eddie Brock is the most popular Venom and villain for Spiderman but there have been several other hosts so let’s find out where Venom goes.

The next main player to dawn the mantle of Venom was Mac Gargan aka Scorpion. This happens during the Sinister 12 story line where the Venom approaches Mac offering additional strength in hopes to taking down Spiderman. Mac wears the suit for a few years through the Dark Reign until ultimately being defeated by Spiderman and the Avengers.

Alas my favorite Venom, Flash Thompson. Once the Dark Avengers are defeated the military captures the symbiote in order to study it. They want to start a new super solider project where the suit would be worn by a host and sedated/controlled by the government. Flash Thompson is a war vet and lost his legs in the war. He went to fight because he looked up to Spiderman and wanted to be a hero too. Flash now back home has an alcohol abuse problem and PTSD. He becomes a prime candidate the suit would restore his legs and provide purpose. But the struggle of becoming corrupted and evil from the suit is a hard battle. Ultimately Flash runs away with the suit and in 2015 is Venom Space Knight.

Why this hero (villian)?

I love this history of Venom from starting as a villain to Spiderman to become a rich story filled hero. The symbiotes have far for history and there is an excellent site you should all check out. TheVenomSite.com


Recommended Reading:

I also  did a little flow chart to follow Venom enjoy:

Superhero Sunday: The Question

You need to stop accepting answers and question everything you've been told because in this edition of Superhero Sunday we are covering The Question.

The History

Yes, this is the superhero who inspired Alan Moore's Rorschach  in Watchmen. Created in 1967 by artist/writer Steve Ditko and seen in Charlton Comic's Blue Beetle #1 . Of course I didn't know who the question was until the amazing 2004 animated TV series Justice League United (JLU) in which The Question is a paranoid conspiracy theoirst. 

The Character

The mantle of The Question has been taken up by more than one person but the first and current person is Charles Victor Sage (Vic Sage). Vic Sage is an outspoken investigative journalist who discovers that his old professor, Aristolte Rodor, is working on a new fake skin, Psuedoderm, for treating wounds. Vic also discovers the Psuedoderm is toxic for many people and must not be released to the public. Rodor disregards this and sells it to third world countries anyway(dick move). In order to sneak around and find Rodor, Vic takes some psuedoderm and makes a mask that is faceless. Vic stops Rodor and then decides to keep this alternate persona to continue to stop crime.

A few years later DC acquired the Charlton Comics line. The Question (Written by Dennis O'Neil) still had the same origin but was aimed at unpinning the political corruption of his home; Hub City . This origin is once again revamped in DC's New 52 where he gains the mask from a Batman villain "Noface." Still Vic Sage is The Question, bent on stopping political conspiracy. 

This brings us to Renee Montoya, the successor to Vic Sage. Renee Montoya a latina Gotham City police officer who is featured prominently in "Gotham Central" and other stories. She was created in Batman: the animated series and remains a popular character working along side Batwoman. In "52" (DC's weekly series in 2006) once Sage learns he has cancer he trains Renee. Sage thought she matched his objectivism and would be the right one for the mask. 

Why this hero?

Montoya is also my favorite version of The Question. She meets Vic Sage who helps her investigate a potential attack on Gotham, after that, they continue to work together. Sage reveals he has cancer and throughout several issues they work toward stopping crimes of corruption. At one point she is portrayed as a recovering alcoholic. She has guilt of criminals she has killed in the past and says she won't kill again. Throughout these cases with Sage, she is built back up and comes to accept her fate of becoming The Question. 

No matter what version of The Question you might encounter, you'll be in for a good time. I am partial to Montoya and the Justice League United versions. Plus who doesnt like an objectivist, zen shaman who can rock a fedora and trench coat(totally owns it).

Recommended Reading:

Superhero Sunday: Iron Fist

Hello it's time for another Superhero Sunday with Logan. This month's superhero is Danny Rand a.k.a. Iron Fist (not the RZA movie and not Iron Man). No, no I am talking about the caucasian practitioner of martial arts and wielder of the mystical a force, that's the Iron Fist we are here for.

The History

Iron Fist was created by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane in 1974 and first appeared in Marvel Premiere #15-25. In the late 70's he got his own title and shared a book with Luke Cage called "Power Man and Iron Fist" they would later form another team "Heroes for Hire." The formation of Iron Fist comes from Roy in the 1970s. At this time there was a boom in martial arts in pop culture. The character made a big impression with Luke Cage and has outlasted the trend making him one of the more popular b-list superheroes of Marvel.

The Character

How does a white guy become a master of martial arts and receive Chi powers? It happens when your father (Wendell Rand) discovers the mystical city of K'un L'un and later saves the Yu-Ti (leader). Wendell dies and leaves Danny in K'un L'un. Danny proceeds to be raised and trained by the Yu-ti and go through the trials of becoming the Iron Fist; one of the universes immortal weapons. For a person to become an Iron First they must defeat a dragon (it is awesome). Once he becomes the Iron Fist, Danny makes the decision to leave the mystic city and return to New York to get his revenge. This leaves him human and not fully trained, thus is the origin of the Iron Fist.

It is only after his return that he joins the likes of Luke Cage and starts Heroes for Hire. From there, both Luke and Iron Fist join the Defenders. Danny also becomes more involved in the Marvel Universe post Civil War, becoming a member of the New Avengers. At one point even taking the mantle of Daredevil. He later plays a large role in the event Avengers vs. X-Men. Needless to say, Iron Fist pops up all over Marvel and each story is worth the read.

Why this hero?

So many amazing writers and artists have tackled Iron Fist but I have to mention my favorite and it is a writer I have spoke about before, Ed Brubaker, his 3 year run with artist David Aja is amazing. It was only after having read Brubaker's Iron Fist that I went back for more. During the "Immortal Iron Fist" we dive deeper into the history of the character and into the history of K'un L'un and the "immortal weapons." Brubaker fills Iron Fist with a rich history and amazing martial arts mythos.

Iron Fist spawned from the craze of Kung Fu/martial arts in the 70s and has lasted through the decades at Marvel by having a unique character that is both fun to see fight and interesting to learn about. He will show up on his own Netflix series in the coming years and I cannot what to see what they do with him (also appear in Jessica Jones).

Recommended Reading:

* You can check out a fancast I did on the Culture Popped Podcast here.

Superhero Sunday(villain): Sinestro

It's August 9th and that means Superhero Sunday. This sunday I chose Thaal Sinestro, that's right! Everybody's favorite pinkish purple skinned, yellow onesie wearing villain. Sinestro is one of the more interesting and well developed DC villains in my opinion.

The Character

Sinestro an alien anthropologist  from the planet Korugar. Before he led the self proclaimed Sinestro Corps he was one of the best Green Lanterns to wield a green ring. He became a Green Lantern by rescuing a member of the corps and it was his belief in order and strong will to fight that made him so powerful.

There was an alien weaponer of planet Qward, in the antimatter universe, that was hunting Green Lanterns. Sinestro kills the weaponer and keeps the ring of the dying green lantern. The ring jumped to Sinestro since it's owner was dying . (This is the current origin and is similar to the original)

As a Green Lantern, Sinestro had the power to eliminate crime on his home planet. He quickly became know as one of the toughest lanterns, and a hero to his people. He even trained Hal Jordan. It was at this time that Hal Jordan saw the totalitarian methods of SInestro, who used his ring to strike fear in the people rather than use the power as a tool to help. Even his home planet grew to fear him and his militant control. Sinestro's corruption and misuse of the ring's power leads to him being banished from the core and sent to the Qward.

Qward is full of the weaponers, a race of warriors and scientist with hatred of the Green Lanterns. The Guardians thought this might humble Sinestro but it would only push him further. On Qward, Sinestro felt wronged, and he teamed with the weaponers to make a ring of yellow light as a counterpart to the green.  Sinestro then returns the to regular universe now on a path to revenge and becoming on of the Lantern's greatest nemesis.

The yellow light of Sinestro's ring is fueled by fear, and is opposite to that of the green ring, which is fueled by will. In the past, when yellow was the only other ring, it was a direct counter to the green, but now it works more as just a weapon. The yellow also posses a entity known as parallax; a being of pure fear energy. This plays into the history of the lanterns but isn't needed to enjoy the reading.

Over the years and throughout DC history, Sinestro has flipped sides and teamed up with the Green Lanterns. Sinestro is the "enemy of my enemy" type of villain and one of the brightest villains out there. But it is his ego that corrupts him and drives him.  Sinestro is to Hal Jordan what Two Face is to Batman and I love that dynamic.

Why this hero (villian)?

Geoff Johns set a high bar for what the Green Lantern universe could be for DC Comics. It is during his run that we get all the colors and emotional spectrum of the lanterns. Also the Sinestro Corps war, where Sinestro has a full team of yellow lanterns and battles are fought. This all leads into a giant fun event, " Blackest Night." Then in the New 52 (relaunch of DC) Sinestro gets his own book and we dive more into him as a character.  For me the Lantern books stand alone and can be read without the rest of DC if you so choose, and I recommend reading all the books as each has some really great stories.

Recommended Reading:

Superhero Sunday: Daredevil

New monthly segment we are starting here at Geeks Rising. Superhero Sunday is a spotlight on a comic book character (male/female/alien/etc). I (Logan) will provide history of the character, my thoughts and recommendations of where to start reading and following the hero.

The History

Daredevil? You mean that blind guy from the Netflix show ( I see a world on fire)? Yes, I do mean that Daredevil. But he wasn't always popular and a part of the mega successful media machine that is Marvel/Disney Entertainment. No, Daredevil (Matt Murdock) first debuted in Daredevil #1 in 1964 created by Stan Lee himself. This first version of Daredevil wore yellow, black and red, it was inspired by the colors of old acrobat outfits but by issue no.5, he was in the iconic double d red costume. I must also note that it was the talented John Romita Jr. that drew this horned hero.

Over the years Daredevil has fought just about every type of villain, from street crime to ninjas to the comical Stilt Man, Daredevil has punched, kicked and hit with his billy club all of them. But from the time of his creation to the late 80s Daredevil declined in popularity. His personality and art would change with the wind and he had done a lot of fighting but nothing with substances.

Then in 1993 Frank Miller and artist John Romita Jr. return to the origins of Daredevil and retcon'ed his history. Daredevil: The Man without Fear is the 5 issue mini series that reboots Daredevil to the story you know and love. It connects Kingpin to the murder of Battlin' Jack Murdock and introduced the Foggy Nelson connection. This new noir influenced tone would follow through until 2014. This led to more success including Daredevil joining the Avengers/Defenders.

The Character

What is his origin? Matt Murdock is a kid from New York growing up with a boxer for a father in Hell's Kitchen(imagine a smaller Gotham in NY). The young Matt is blinded by a radioactive substance when he saves an old man crossing the road. Matt's father is an alcoholic boxer that wants the best for his now blind kid. Jack Murdock is asked to throw a fight to win some money, but he would rather keep his honor then get money. This act lead to his death by the hand of Kingpin. Blind Matt learns he has hyper sensitivity and learns to become more acrobatic, but we don't see him use this til he grows up. Flash to a grown up Matt Murdock, he becomes a lawyer to protect the innocent. The system is corrupt and he turn find justice in the form of Daredevil. This means fighting all the corruption in New York.

Why this hero?

Once Daredevil was rebooted, the talented Brian Michael Bendis did a four year run on Matt Murdock through the eyes of a reporter and this was continued into a story that would reveal the identity of Daredevil and the weight of that story arc is still being played out in the current series. 

The future of "The Man without Fear". With Marvel connecting everything to reach a broader audience it seems we will be seeing a lot more of Daredevil. The character has arguably the best superhero TV show and has had amazing runs in the comic we are going to see him form a team in the show and probably have that reflected in the books. The more blind lawyer from Hell's Kitchen, the better.

Recommended Reading: