Category: Articles


2118239-superman_batman_christmasHello again, friends. The holidays are upon us and it’s the giving season once more. Comics are a tricky business at this time of year. There’s always a deluge of books to chose from when buying for yourself and buying for someone else is always a difficult task, especially if you’re not quite as knowledgable as your intended recipient.

Happy HolidaysWell, worry not! Here are nine more excellent comics you may not have thought of. This selection should be generally accessible at your Local Comic Shop or easily located online and attempts to appeal to most, if not all, readers without rehashing the same tired best-sellers list.

It’s worth mentioning that there are tons of excellent comics that I simply haven’t gotten around to reading, but I wanted to feel confident that you were getting the best I could recommend and, as such, only comics I have personal experience with are featured here. I’ve tried to give a pretty wide range of comics, but, if you feel like your interests or the interests of the intended recipient aren’t adequately represented here, feel free to let me know in comments and I’ll try to see if I can’t come up with something.

You can also check out either of my other gift guides for more suggestions.

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Jean-Paul Valley is one of my favorite characters in comics by a long margin. Created in anticipation of the “Knightfall” crossover trilogy that saw him take over as Batman for a year, Azrael became a hated symbol of 90s grimdark. But Jean-Paul is so much more than that. In fact, Jean-Paul was not only a refutation of Dark Age thinking but became an active example of the alternative. Over his ten-year story, Jean Paul became a unique and interesting character, examining concepts as varied as non-violence, childhood abandonment, addiction, toxic masculinity, and elective family.

Jean-Paul is a very special character in my mind, and yet he doesn’t have a lot of fans. So, if you’ll indulge me a bit, I’d like to take you on a tour of Jean-Paul’s world. If I’m lucky, maybe I’ll make a few new fans and you’ll walk away with a new character to nerd out over. If not, we can at least make fun of this character’s weird history together. So come with me and let’s take a walk.

With “Knightquest: The Crusade” Jean-Paul truly became the star of his story for the first time. “Knightquest” would see Jean-Paul struggle with his programming and his own morality as he learned what it meant to be the Dark Knight.
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Jean-Paul Valley is one of my favorite characters in comics by a long margin. Created in anticipation of the “Knightfall” crossover trilogy that saw him take over as Batman for a year, Azrael became a hated symbol of 90s grimdark. But Jean-Paul is so much more than that. In fact, Jean-Paul was not only a refutation of Dark Age thinking but became an active example of the alternative. Over his ten-year story, Jean Paul became a unique and interesting character, examining concepts as varied as non-violence, childhood abandonment, addiction, toxic masculinity, and elective family.

Jean-Paul is a very special character in my mind, and yet he doesn’t have a lot of fans. So, if you’ll indulge me a bit, I’d like to take you on a tour of Jean-Paul’s world. If I’m lucky, maybe I’ll make a few new fans and you’ll walk away with a new character to nerd out over. If not, we can at least make fun of this character’s weird history together. So come with me and let’s take a walk.

While many summaries of Batman: Sword of Azrael end with Batman offering to bring Jean-Paul into the Bat-Family, the miniseries was very vague about Jean-Paul’s future. It wasn’t until Batman #488 that we saw what became of him. Continue reading

Sword of Azrael 1 Gatefold CoverJean-Paul Valley is one of my favorite characters in comics by a long margin. Created in anticipation of the “Knightfall” crossover trilogy that saw him take over as Batman for a year, Azrael became a hated symbol of 90s grimdark. But Jean-Paul is so much more than that. In fact, Jean-Paul was not only a refutation of Dark Age thinking but became an active example of the alternative. Over his ten-year story, Jean Paul became a unique and interesting character, examining concepts as varied as non-violence, childhood abandonment, addiction, toxic masculinity, and elective family.

Jean-Paul is a very special character in my mind, and yet he doesn’t have a lot of fans. So, if you’ll indulge me a bit, I’d like to take you on a tour of Jean-Paul’s world. If I’m lucky, maybe I’ll make a few new fans and you’ll walk away with a new character to nerd out over. If not, we can at least make fun of this character’s weird history together. So come with me and let’s take a walk.

This week we’re going to take a look at where things started for Jean-Paul, the 1992 mini-series Batman: Sword of Azrael. As in many superhero origin stories, the Jean-Paul of Sword of Azrael isn’t fully formed yet. However, Denny O’Neil’s vision for the character is definitely present and, perhaps more than it knew, Sword of Azrael lays the foundation of the character. Continue reading

A few months ago Marvel made big news by announcing a new Avengers title written by and starring all women.

A couple of weeks ago, The New Yorker published this. Many were, rightly, upset by the dismissive and shaming tone of the article, but I couldn’t quite put into words what bothered me so about it, so I stayed quiet and let those with more to say handle the matter, eventually including one of the writers, G. Willow Wilson.

Yesterday A-Force was released and, curious, I went back and reread Lepore’s article to see if it made any more sense in context. The result was a two-hour twitter rant that, to my surprise, articulated my frustration with the piece and just kept growing.

I honestly expected this to be a short twitter rant but it effectively became a blog post I wrote nearly on autopilot. Twitter isn’t really the best place for such things, but I actually was happy with how it turned out, as well as with the positive response it received, so, for the sake of reader convenience, below you can find an adapted and clarified version of my rant. Continue reading

As I’ve become more familiar with the writers working in the comics industry today and the responsibilities of an editor over the past year, I’ve been locking on to all kinds of great ideas, creators’ dream projects and the tidbits of brilliance that surpass even the best other elements of their scripts. It eventually seemed to me that I had singled out a lot of these ideas, but I, naturally, had nothing to do with them besides argue with my friends about whether they were as perfect as they seemed.

I started this blog with two main goals in mind. The first was to open the kind of interesting conversations I have with my friends to a wider audience and to hear from new and interesting perspectives. The second was to keep myself thinking critically about comics while I looked for work as an editor. It occurred to me that these concepts I kept dreaming up were a great exercise in both of the facets Reviews By Lantern’s Light was founded upon. And so I’ve put them down here as the New Year’s 52: fifty-two writers and teams paired to fifty-two books created from DC’s stable of characters and concepts.

For your convenience I’ve included links to each of the articles below, arranged in several ways to suit your preference. First is the original order the articles debuted in, largely apropos of nothing save my attempts to highlight the project. After that I’ve arranged the alphabetically by writer and title. Finally I’ve grouped the books into loose families that might be used to determine their position editorially.

I hope you enjoy them and I encourage you to comment, disagree, or try to put together a 52 of your own.

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In the course of talking to comic creators this year, I started to think about their unique talents and what I think they would be best suited to. Inspired by all kinds of wonderful ideas I’ve seen online and heard from creators, I’ve put together my New 52. These are the 52 books I would publish if DC’s offerings were up to me and, as my friends and I have had a good time discussing them, I thought I would share them with you.

I tried to consider the actual feasibility of these titles, not only in the sense of immediate sales but in their ability to expand DC’s brand long-term. I also recognize that this is a dramatically simplified version of what DC actually has to do. As such, I made a couple of rules for myself.

First, as I don’t have the same knowledge of the creators’ availability and timeliness as an actual editor, I decided that I would allow myself access to any writer currently working in comics, but that I could only assign a creator to one book. Second, I tried not to put a writer on the same book that they’ve already worked on, though some were moved to similar concepts or allowed to expand short work they’ve already done. Finally, while an actual relaunch might do well to include some new books, I limited myself to preexisting titles and IPs for this project.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, on why I’m right, why I clearly screwed up, who should be illustrating the series, etc. But, regardless, I hope you enjoy.

Finally we return to the very beginning, to DC’s namesake book, to close out the New Year’s 52…

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In the course of talking to comic creators this year, I started to think about their unique talents and what I think they would be best suited to. Inspired by all kinds of wonderful ideas I’ve seen online and heard from creators, I’ve put together my New 52. These are the 52 books I would publish if DC’s offerings were up to me and, as my friends and I have had a good time discussing them, I thought I would share them with you.

I tried to consider the actual feasibility of these titles, not only in the sense of immediate sales but in their ability to expand DC’s brand long-term. I also recognize that this is a dramatically simplified version of what DC actually has to do. As such, I made a couple of rules for myself.

First, as I don’t have the same knowledge of the creators’ availability and timeliness as an actual editor, I decided that I would allow myself access to any writer currently working in comics, but that I could only assign a creator to one book. Second, I tried not to put a writer on the same book that they’ve already worked on, though some were moved to similar concepts or allowed to expand short work they’ve already done. Finally, while an actual relaunch might do well to include some new books, I limited myself to preexisting titles and IPs for this project.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, on why I’m right, why I clearly screwed up, who should be illustrating the series, etc. But, regardless, I hope you enjoy.

One thing I’ve really learned in doing this project is the importance of the shared continuity of DC. If a book is completely divorced from the rest of DC’s characters, it probably should be handled by Vertigo or another company. That said, I’m tired of great little known books being smothered under Special Guest Stars. Especially without the ability to create new concepts to populate the line, it has been an interesting challange to try to diversify the New Year’s 52’s output beyond superheroes. It’s not easy to find room for other genres in a world of titans, but those ideas that do manage to carve a place for themselves are often among the best.

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The New Year’s 52: Wonders

In the course of talking to comic creators this year, I started to think about their unique talents and what I think they would be best suited to. Inspired by all kinds of wonderful ideas I’ve seen online and heard from creators, I’ve put together my New 52. These are the 52 books I would publish if DC’s offerings were up to me and, as my friends and I have had a good time discussing them, I thought I would share them with you.

I tried to consider the actual feasibility of these titles, not only in the sense of immediate sales but in their ability to expand DC’s brand long-term. I also recognize that this is a dramatically simplified version of what DC actually has to do. As such, I made a couple of rules for myself.

First, as I don’t have the same knowledge of the creators’ availability and timeliness as an actual editor, I decided that I would allow myself access to any writer currently working in comics, but that I could only assign a creator to one book. Second, I tried not to put a writer on the same book that they’ve already worked on, though some were moved to similar concepts or allowed to expand short work they’ve already done. Finally, while an actual relaunch might do well to include some new books, I limited myself to preexisting titles and IPs for this project.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, on why I’m right, why I clearly screwed up, who should be illustrating the series, etc. But, regardless, I hope you enjoy.

There is a question for DC, a question that defines eras. It is a question that seems ever to go deeper. Just when you think you’ve solved it you turn around and it’s staring you in the face again. Every iteration of the DC Universe must give an answer eventually and, with only a few days left, it’s time for the New Year’s 52 to answer four very simple words.

Who is Donna Troy?

Sins_of_Youth_Wonder_Girls_Vol_1_1

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The New Year’s 52: Aquaman

In the course of talking to comic creators this year, I started to think about their unique talents and what I think they would be best suited to. Inspired by all kinds of wonderful ideas I’ve seen online and heard from creators, I’ve put together my New 52. These are the 52 books I would publish if DC’s offerings were up to me and, as my friends and I have had a good time discussing them, I thought I would share them with you.

I tried to consider the actual feasibility of these titles, not only in the sense of immediate sales but in their ability to expand DC’s brand long-term. I also recognize that this is a dramatically simplified version of what DC actually has to do. As such, I made a couple of rules for myself.

First, as I don’t have the same knowledge of the creators’ availability and timeliness as an actual editor, I decided that I would allow myself access to any writer currently working in comics, but that I could only assign a creator to one book. Second, I tried not to put a writer on the same book that they’ve already worked on, though some were moved to similar concepts or allowed to expand short work they’ve already done. Finally, while an actual relaunch might do well to include some new books, I limited myself to preexisting titles and IPs for this project.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, on why I’m right, why I clearly screwed up, who should be illustrating the series, etc. But, regardless, I hope you enjoy.

Though DC has made admirable strides in rehabilitating Aquaman’s image since they revived Arthur Curry, the King of the Seas remains a point of skepticism for many comic readers. But despite that bad reputation he’s been saddled with, Aquaman remains a personal favorite of mine and, as one of DC’s oldest heroes and a founder of the Justice League, I consider it something of a duty to give Aquaman a place at DC befitting his stature. So if that duty fell to me how would I go about carrying it out?

Well, it would take something big. And it would have to be something lasting, something that would really demonstrate the character’s potential rather than just a flash in the pan. But after three years of Geoff Johns, what writer could handle that responsibility?

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