Still one of the greatest covers in comic book history.

Still one of the greatest covers in comic book history.  Art by George Perez.

Every now and then I write a post about comic books for a few reasons.  First of all, they were really important to me for a really long time.  Second, this site is actually named after a comic book character that I adopted as my own: Nighthawk (Kyle Richmond), a Marvel character who was originally created as a Batman counterpart.  There were two versions of Nighthawk – the Squadron Sinister villain who would eventually become a hero and a member of the Defenders before dying (it would be his costume that I really loved), but it would be the second Nighthawk – the Squadron Supreme member, who I would really like.  He would also die, in a dramatic event that was unlike almost anything Marvel had ever published before, loaded with death.  Which brings me to this list. (more…)

superman_iii_xlg

Yes, it is as bad as this poster makes it look.

Revisiting Childhood Movies Part VI

Superman III

  • Director:  Richard Lester
  • Writer:  David Newman  /  Leslie Newman
  • Producer:  Ilya Salkind
  • Stars:  Christopher Reeve, Richard Pryor, Annette O’Toole, Robert Vaughn
  • Studio:  Warner Bros
  • Award Nominations:  none from groups I track
  • Length:  125 min
  • Genre:  Fantasy  (Comic Book)
  • MPAA Rating:  PG
  • Release Date:  17 June 1983
  • Box Office Gross:  $59.95 mil  (#12  –  1983)
  • Ebert Rating:  **.5
  • My Rating:  *
  • My Rank:  #87  (year – out of 91)
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  none
  • Nighthawk Notable:  none
  • First Watched:  on HBO at some point – I don’t think I saw it in the theaters
  • Number of Times Watched as a Kid:  2 or 3

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Everybody's favorite librarian superhero gets her debut - drawn by Infantino.

Everybody’s favorite librarian superhero gets her debut – drawn by Infantino.

Yesterday, I rushed to put up a short piece on the death of Roger Ebert before I left work (I was in such a hurry that I initially got his year of birth wrong).  I never even got around to mentioning that in his autobiography he has a whole chapter on Steak & Shake (which I once read aloud to Veronica).  But what got lost in all the news of the death of Ebert (front page news everywhere, something written by so many people I read) was the death of Carmine Infantino, who was influencing me long before I ever knew who Roger Ebert was.

Carmine Infantino was a comic book artist – he began as an inker, eventually moving on to be the penciller and eventually became the publisher of DC Comics itself.  If you know comic books at all, he is one of the giants from its history.  And if you don’t know comic books at all, well you still probably have seen a lot of his work. (more…)

the Nighthawk for which it is all named

Does the name Kyle Richmond mean anything to you?  Probably not.  It means something to me, though.  At the height of comic book obsession, around about seventh grade, I desperately wanted to be a comic book writer.  I would spend countless hours explaining to people that no, I can’t draw, and that perhaps they couldn’t grasp what it meant to be a writer.  I hope today, with all the people who read Kavalier & Clay, that they would understand the difference.

Well, I was trying to figure out a character, and I wrote an entire character from outside the Marvel Universe.  This was in the days just after Crisis on Infinite Earths, when DC was in the process of getting rid of all their multiple realities and I thought it would work well for Marvel.  I envisioned a character who would cross over from our own Earth, a comic fan who happens to have the whole knowledge of the Marvel Universe at his fingertips.  So, he would naturally choose to be a hero with some significance.

Enter Nighthawk.  Otherwise known as Kyle Richmond.  There were two Kyle Richmonds in the Marvel Universe, from two different worlds – the primary Marvel Earth and the one from the Squadron Supreme Earth.  Both were blatantly ripped off from Batman, but both of them had recently died.  The primary one had died saving the Defenders.  The other one had died in an effort to make the Squadron Supreme realize the error of their ways (more on that below).  So I wrote a character who picked up Kyle’s mantle and carried it forward.

Nothing came of the character idea.  But everything came of it.  I’ve had a few different Yahoo e-mail addresses, but for 13 years now they have all been variations on Nighthawk.  This blog is called Nighthawk News because that’s the character I have stuck with.  And it only seems right to use that as a kick in to a new list – 10 comic books to remember.

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For Your Consideration - Heath Ledger for Best Supporting Actor (The Dark Knight)

For Your Consideration - Heath Ledger for Best Supporting Actor (The Dark Knight)

Preparing this list I never had any doubt who would come out on top. My question was, given the way I was ranking the characters, by how much of a margin would he come out on top? The answer was: a healthy one.

The interesting thing about this list is that even though Marvel has been considered the more “in” company for a long time, the more adult, and has had considerable success on film this decade (and it’s fair share of colossal failures), it’s DC who has done a better job with the villains. As Marvel cements its brand on-screen in the next couple of years with Iron Man and Hulk sequals and Captain America, Thor and Avengers films, it will be nice if they can get the villains right.

Anyway, to create this list, I used a 1-10 scale in five categories: Interesting, Evil, Intelligence, Fidelity to the Comic Book and Performance. So the point totals are out of 50.

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