Friday, April 24, 2009

The Dawning of a New Age!

I am quite fed up with people, references, articles, etc. continuing to refer to this as the "Modern Era' of comics.

First off, talking about the "Modern Era" of anything is just sheer intellectual laziness and hybris. "The era in which I live in cannot be easily classified or typified, as can the shallow, simple eras of the past. My era is simply 'modern' and all others are ... not."

To which I say, poppycock. I'm sure many people in those previous eras thought they were living in "the Modern Era", too. Current social, cultural, and artistic eras will, in fact, be tagged and bagged by future generations. Pretending that they won't or turning a blind eye to "the Modern Era's" earmarks is disingenuous at best.

Yes, some distance is helpful in identifying and characterizing an era, but it's not an absolute necessity ... we all knew quite well what the Big '80s were like when we were living in them, for example. I think we're pretty clearly not in the same era as that which began with Crisis on Infinite Earths, Watchmen, and the Dark Knight Returns, and it's about time we acknowledge that new era and begin to get a handle on it.

We have emerged from the Iron Age, characterized by the rise of the anti-hero, the tarnishing of the heroic ideal, the abandoned of Silver/Bronze continuity, and the emphasis on mythos-breaking. The current era, which I call the Platinum Age, is instead characterized by a re-statement of the heroic ideal, the reincorporation of elements from Silver/Bronze continuity, and the emphasis on mythos-building.

There are other changes, of course, but with my focus on DCU continuity these are most immediately salient.

To me, that we are in a new "age" isn't really in question. The question is: when did it begin?

Comic ages seldom have one clear starting point; having different publishers alone ensures that. But there are usually several clear signposts...

2000. Marvel's launch of the Ultimates line indicates awareness that there mainline continuity has become a burden to storytellers and a barrier to new readers. The transition from the Bronze to the Iron was marked by DC chafing against its accumulated continuity and taking steps to address it. The transition from the Iron Age to the Platinum Age by a similar phenomenon at Marvel. Both the Ultimates are Brand New Day are examples.

2004 Identity Crisis. Essentially, the last gasp of the Iron Age and its tarnishing of the Bronze ideal. DC likes to play it as the beginning of its new era. But in fact it was merely the final straw for many readers, causing a loud "enough is enough" from fandom on the grim-ification of mainstream superhero comics.

2002/Spider-Man and 2008/Dark Knight. The superhero film become a serious and profitable genre, part of general re-surfacing of the superhero as a cultural ideal/icon.

2005. Infinite Crisis restablishes the multiverse and M-Day cleans house at Marvel.

What do you think marks the end of the Iron Age, the beginning of the Platinum Age, and the diffferences between them?

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I'd like to thank all of you who made purchases or donated for the Big Monkey Benefit Party last night; we raised $1300 to give comics to the patients at Children's Hospital and the DC Veteran's Hospital. And we had a great party in the process!

With your help, we're able to bring some cheer to a great many ailing kids and soldiers.

Many guests asked when our next such party would be... based on the response to this one, it may be soon! If you didn't make this one we hope to see you at the next one.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Our benefit party to send comics to kids and soldiers in hospitals is TONIGHT at Big Monkey in Washington DC!

If you can't join us, please considering contributing by sending a PayPal donation to, with a note saying it's for the benefit.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Size of Central City

The squaring of the circle?
Perpetual motion?
Retooling the Republican Party?

I scoff at these minor puzzles.

For I have achieved a working estimate of...


One picture. One picture out of the zillions of pictures of the ridiculous geography of Central City has made this estimate possible. Here it is:

Note that Central City has no apparent rivers or roads transiting it. There is no escape from Central City, unless you can achieve escape velocity, like Flash.

Flash states that he's traveling at just outside a hundred mile radius from the center of the city (in fact, the point where Gorilla Grodd is standing-- but that's not important right now). Now, the perspective makes things a little tricky (in Central City, perspective is always a problem). But with a little measuring, I estimate that Central City is roughly a square whose diameter is 37.5 miles.

That would make Central City about 1406.7 square miles.

Let's put that in perspective.

When you exclude consolidated city-counties (which are just plain cheating, and a different animal entirely), the U.S. city with the largest land area is Oklahoma City (no big shock there), with 607 square miles.

Central City is 2.3 times larger than Oklahoma City.

Kids; see if you can spot Central City!

Yes, that's the approximate size of Central City compared to the state of Kansas. Central City is the only city with a multi-story phone book.

So, how many people live in Central City? It's a toughie, but we'll guestimate it anyway. As mentioned, Central City is about 62 times larger than Manhattan. Let's start with that. Now, on the one hand, Central City seems to be full of nothing but ridiculously broad avenues, sidewalks and plazas (all the better to fight Rogues in). That would make it seem much less dense than Manhattan. BUT...

there don't seem to be ANY buildings in Central City under 20 stories, and most seem to be MUCH higher. Of course, on the other hand, every room in Central City is about four times larger than any room in a normal city. So, I'm going to call it a wash: let's assume Central City is as densely populated -- at least -- as Manhattan.

Manhattan's population is about 1.62 million. And Central City is 62 times larger than Manhattan. Ergo,

the estimated population of Central City is at least 100 million.

Central City has the equivalent of three Californias worth of citizens, or four Texases, or five New Yorks. No wonder Flash has trouble finding the Rogues!

Comparing Central City's population to country populations, Central City is just smaller than Mexico and just larger than the Phillipines. It's a good chunk heftier than Germany and Vietnam. And it's got France beat without breaking a sweat (not that that's particularly difficult).

Monday, April 20, 2009

Pep 16: Sunlamp

Another green-skinned, pointy-eared baddie, with bat-faced monster-minions menacing a helpless broad while Dusty bursts in the window and the Shield saunters in from Stage Right with fist a-ready?

Still. Two things keep this Pep cover from being just another one:

Vampire syringe? Nice. Cheating... but still cool.

The sunlamp.

Really? A sunlamp?

As vampires, you guys SUCK.