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Battle of the Comic Book Mega-Crossovers: Final Crisis vs. Secret Invasion

Over the past year, both Marvel and DC Comics offered up crossover events: Marvel’s Secret Invasion by Brian Michael Bendis and DC’s Final Crisis by Grant Morrison. Both are crossovers on the grandest of scales – mega-crossovers, you might say – and both are steeped in historical ambitions. DC’s Crisis is the third in a trilogy of crises, seeking to build on the success of Crisis on Infinite Earths, which made history in the 1980s with a crossover that had real and long-lasting effects on the DC Universe. It’s also probably no coincidence that Marvel’s big crossover is a “secret,” just like Marvel’s big 1980s crossover Secret Wars, a trend-setting trailblazer for the cosmic-war sub-genre of crossover.

Those two early crossovers set the standards by which all crossovers are measured: a looming menace of doom on a massive scale, the sacrificial death of a beloved hero, and lasting changes in the fictional world’s status quo. Oh, and try not to leave casual readers scratching their heads too much. Let’s take a look at how Secret Invasion and Final Crisis measured up. (WARNING: Capricious spoilers abound.)


Blog for Beer and Politics

I recently asked on my blog, Does anyone else feel like they’re just spinning in space, holding their breath and waiting to see what happens with the U.S. elections? People immediately started posting their agreement. One of the reasons we’re so impatient to have it over and done with is that this election feels particularly significant – to some of us at a Star Wars type level. I’ve seen more people speaking out about politics this year than ever before, and I find it a hopeful trend.

I’ve been wondering about politics and f&sf as a result. There’s some outright political writers out there and there’s others who wouldn’t touch politics with a ten foot pole. Where do you tend to fall, and why? Are there writers whose stance on one side of the fence or the other changes your opinion of them? And what’s the really good political f&sf?


Top 10 Steampunk Gadgets

Cultural movements that inspire devotion and fanishness are often not given enough credit for the inventiveness they inspire. Steampunk is especially rife with masterpieces of fashion, art, craft, and technology. Every time you think you’ve seen the coolest, most out there steampunk creation another comes along. Of the specimens we’ve come across, these are our ten favorites.

3. Steampunk Mouse

While this could definitely be paired with the laptop from #5, we had to rate this mouse higher because it looks like a tiny golden (many-geared and thing-a-ma-bobbed) tank. And tank beats station wagon in every game of rock paper scissors I’ve ever played. Even the cord and the USB port on this puppy are classy.


Shakespeare + Steampunk — Gears and Cogs Love The Bard

Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is one of my favorite plays. I’ve seen over a dozen productions, love the 1996 movie, and have adapted the play numerous times for my own projects. It is an almost perfect blend of drama and comedy and, if you look at it with a modern eye, very feminist. I’ve never been particularly fond of the ending, but even old Willy wasn’t always perfect.

Whenever I attend productions of Twelfth Night there are two elements that must be in place for me to really enjoy myself. Foremost is the acting, of course. This is a challenging play, and also has some moments of awkwardness and dialogue that goes THUNK. But excellent actors and good direction can smooth that over. Almost as is important is the Idea of the play, which encompasses the set and costume design, choices of time period, and the overall feeling of the production. When these two elements blend perfectly you get a great theatre experience.

There have been many great Ideas for Shakespeare plays, ranging from setting it in different time periods (Victorian England is a favorite, as is Europe during one of the world wars, as is America in the 20’s), placing it in a completely fantastical world, and creating an island in the middle of a random lake just so you can accurately recreate the world of The Tempest. Yes, I did see that once. One recent idea that caught my eye is a production of Twelfth Night with design elements inspired by steampunk. After seeing some images of the set and costumes, I knew I had to see the play. So I kidnapped Stephen Segal of Weird Tales and we set off for the theatre.


Time Lapse Videography

I’m completely fascinated by this video of artist Dan Dos Santos painting the cover illustration for Warbreaker. The video covers line drawing to finished product (sped up, of course, as the vid is only 5 minutes long). The process is amazing to me. And from looking at the finished image, I wouldn’t have guessed that the colors went on in that order.


Timothy Lantz, Cover Artist for Clockwork Heart

Cover art begins with the story and the characters. I usually get a synopsis and character descriptions, or sometimes a copy of the manuscript. From there, I try to find a model who I think can embody the character or at least be transformed through a bit of photoshop. After that, it’s a matter of […]


Guest Column: Why I Hate Steampunk

I’d like to preface this by pleading that I have tried. I really have. I have watched many steampunk proponents wandering around in their elegant outfits, looking like they fell through a warp hole in 1840’s metropolitan England. I observed their special vehicles and modified instruments, I have visited their shops and heard their music, […]


Kat Beyer

I paint what I cannot write. A few years ago when I attended my first WisCon, I met Kat Beyer through an odd bit of coincidence. It was her first WisCon as well, she did not know very many people, and consequently we spent a lot of time in the same group throughout the weekend. […]


Retro-future Naturalist Jeremiah Tolbert, the home of Dr. Julius T. Roundbottom, is an alternate universe blog of a naturalist and “photonic capture” expert written by Jeremiah Tolbert. The web-based fiction project combines photography, Photoshop, and flash fiction into a fun and ever-evolving Steampunk narrative. I asked Jeremiah to give me a little peek behind the scenes of Dr. […]


Sanjana Baijnath

Sanjana Baijnath is an Auckland, New-Zealand based freelance illustrator. Born in South Africa, she immigrated with her family at age 12 and attended Auckland University of Technology where she graduated with a Bachelor of Graphic Design. Dissatisfied with just “shuffling page layouts according to client’s strict and prudent specifications,” she followed her passion for illustration […]