The Construction of Space in Comics by Pascal Lefevre

Lefevre’s work in regard to space in comics discusses the ways in which space is both viewed and experience within comics. Specifically talking about diegetic space versus extradiegetic space, “visualized versus non-visualized space” [Lefevre.2009:157]. When it comes to diegetic space, he’s specifically talking about semiotic reconstructions of the space, as well as two-dimensional and three-dimensional spatial relativity.

When first discussing diegetic space, Lefevre focuses on the setting in which action is taking place within a comic, discussing that many artists lean heavily on stereotypical design in order to make settings easier for the reader to recognise on site. The examples he uses are specifically the Statue of Liberty in New York and the Pyramids of Egypt [Lefevre.2009:157]. However, when looking at comics of the DC Universe, these landmarks could also be fictional. An example would include the Daily Planet building, Arkham Asylum or the Fortress of Solitude. While the general imagery of a city could be used as a visual signifying for a place such as Gotham City or Metropolis, both cities do have a different aesthetic despite being based off of New York City. As writer and editor Dennis O’Neil states, “Gotham is Manhattan below Fourteenth Street at 3am., November 28th in a cold year. Metropolis is Manhattan between Fourteenth and One Hundred and Tenth Streets on the brightest, sunniest July day of the year” [Pearson & Uricchio.1991:009]. If we were to see Superman in a bright vibrant city, it would be natural to assume that his surroundings are that of Metropolis, while if we were to find him in an equally large city but with a darker, more gothic aesthetic, than the likely conclusion is that he is in Gotham City.

Lefevre also discusses how “space can also suggest other meanings; the way a person has decorated or organized [their] room can suggest something about [their] personality (orderly or messy, classic or modern, etc.). Furthermore, space can express a certain mood or be a symbol for an underlying concept or a scene or even a complete story” [Lefevre.2009:157]. A page and panel in particular that comes to mind is from The Killing Joke. On the books second page, Batman and Commissioner Gordon pass a receptionist’s desk in Arkham Asylum. While the desk is relatively sparse, the desk does contain a single note stating “You don’t have to be crazy to work here – but it helps” [Moore & Bolland.1988:02]. The inclusion of the note on her desk does not add anything to the books plot in any way, but it gives a sense of the overall atmosphere of working at Arkham Asylum. Given the very sick and cruel nature of the story, and the overall emphasis on just one bad day driving you to insanity, to does speak to the tone of the work as a whole.

The Killing Joke [Moore & Bolland.1988:002]

Minor details such as this note may not appear on the previous panel when the camera was focused in the opposite direction, however, it is simply an ‘unseen’ element within the space. It gives the reader a sense of physical, three-dimensional space through these two-dimensional images. This process of building three-dimensional space through two-dimensional images is also built upon through the use of illusionary depth [Lefevre.2009:158]. Lefevre specifically calls out that no matter how the image has been created, “every flat image has to deal with it’s fundamental two-dimensional aspect; the picture can try to deny the flatness” [Lefevre.2009:158] but it will always be presented as a flat, two-dimensional image within the real world and to the reader. A prime example of this would be 1990’s Batman: Digital Justice [Moreno.1990]. The first comic created entirely using computer generated, three-dimensional software, something that is printed on the books front cover, but is still published as a two-dimensional, physical comic book.

Batman: Digital Justice [Moreno.1990]

Another manner in which an image within a panel can denote space or area is through spatial relationships, either through size or shading. “Objects that appear on a flat surface can never show the complete reality of such three-dimensional objects. The flat and unmoving image can only use monocular cues to suggest depth; interposition or overlapping, convergence, relative size, density gradient” [Lefeve.2009:159]. A core example of this done in a single panel would come from The Dark Knight Returns [Miller.1986]. The image is one often referenced of an armour-clad Batman standing in the streets, while Superman floats high above him [Miller.1986:190].The sense of space largely comes from the pairs relative positioning to one another, the size of both characters, and the use of lighting. Batman is firmly positioned on the ground underneath a streetlamp. Batman appears fully lit with defined detail within his design, while Superman appears above, drawn exclusively as a silhouette, denoting that he is far enough away for the light produced to not affect him. The surroundings show a row of buildings on either side, with the vanishing point extending to the horizon. A sense of space is given. We are aware that the pair are in a somewhat narrow street, with minimal lighting. We have a sense of roughly how high Superman is based on the lack of light reaching him, but also the relative size of his body. He is close to Batman on the x axis, but relatively high on the y axis.

The Dark Knight Returns [Miller.1986]

Batman’s positioning within the image does block off part of the row of buildings, this would be overlapping of a character with environment. However, the visual information available provides the reader with enough information to still gain a grasp of the represented three-dimensional space. The decision to make the panel vertical also plays into giving the reader a sense of space. “Furthermore, the visualized space appears within dimensions, and locations on a page. All these aspects can be important for the construction of space” [Lefevre.2009:159]. The choice to present the panel vertically allows the reader to have that sense of scale in regard to Batman and Superman’s positioning. Had the panel been presented horizontally, the idea of Superman above Batman wouldn’t have been presented as clearly, though the background environment would have more of a presence.

Overlaps within a panel, are something Lefevre draws attention to, and as stated previously, exists within the Dark Knight Returns panel. Specifically, in the case of Batman and the background buildings. However, this is especially important when it comes to action scenes. In the centre panel next to the vertical panel, we see Superman going to punch Batman. Due to Superman’s positioning, we can’t fully see Batman’s left leg, or left shoulder. Nor can we completely see the lamppost behind Batman. However, this in itself gives us a sense of three-dimensional space. If the panel borders are the framing of a camera, then we know that Superman is closer to the camera than Batman, who is closer to the camera than the lamppost. In addition to this, thought panels are also blocking part of Superman, which would not appear in reality. The reader is still able to fill in the details of what they are blocking, while still constructing a realistic three-dimensional space.

When it comes to disrupting or perverting this sense of three-dimensional space, an artist can manipulate these effects. Lefevre discusses how “some contradictions of the diegetic space remain unnoticed; usually the suggestion that the various fragments belong together is sufficient for the reader. Scores of comics suggest a coherent diegetic space without giving sufficient proof. Seldom in a sequence are all the corners of one room shown or is a global view of the space presented. The reader’s expectation of a consistent diegetic space is often wrong” [Lefevre.2009:160]. Given that a lot of the work is done subconsciously by the reader, due to implied work done by the artists, artists can take certain liberties when it comes to giving all the information in a room. However, this could be used to great effect when it comes to defying expectations or pervert the sense of space. Using shadows or, omitting some details, only to subvert expectations. With a story that distorts time and space, this would be heavily effective. An example of space being used to create an uncomfortable atmosphere would be in the Crisis Event Dark Nights Metal [Snyder & Capullo.2018]. Typically, when the city of Metropolis is shown, the buildings are tall skyscrapers. The Daily Planet building is shown to be an important part of the Metropolis skyline.

Superman Smashes the Klan #1 [Yang & Gurihiru.2019:09]

Establishing shots for Metropolis draws particular attention to this fact. Always including the Daily Planet within the skyline. Emphasising its size. However, in Dark Nights Metal, this consistency is flipped on its head for the benefit of creating an uneasy atmosphere and showing the corruption of the city. In Dark Nights Metal, a dark construct is erected in various cities. When we see the one erected in Metropolis, the art makes full use of established norms, and portrays the Daily Planet and the rest of the city in a much smaller, far more distant setting [Snyder & Capullo.2018:065]. The image clearly shows the dark construct above the city, dwarfing this vibrant city, and coating it in darkness through its shadow.

Dark Nights Metal [Snyder & Capullo.2018:065]

This view of Metropolis from above also plays into Lefevre’s discussion points on detail and décor. “One has to make a distinction between changes that do not affect the illusion of a consistent diegetic space and those changes that weaken this illusion or belief. Readers accept that not in each panel every detail of the décor is repeated: the décor might appear temporally from the reader’s view to accentuate the actions of the characters” [Lefevre.2009:160]. If we use the Daily Planet building as an example, we can recognise by its shape that it is indeed the Daily Planet, however, we cannot make out the writing on the side of the globe. The effect of the image is not corrupted by the omission of this detail. The focus of the panel is specifically meant to be on Superman, Wonder Woman and the dark construct. The setting of Metropolis below is simply there to give the reader a sense of grounding within this universe. The provided information is enough for the reader.

Lefevre’s final point is on the use of Extradiegetic space within a comic. “the extradiegetic space is the material space that surrounds the individual panels: not only the whites between the panels, but also the real space in which the reader is located” [Lefevre.2009:160]. Panel’s make use of the knowledge that they are on a page, complete with other panels, in most cases. Some pages can consist of a single panel; however, a physical comic will still appear on a page. The page itself will be part of a book, either a single issue, trade paperback, hardcover or oversized, and will be held in the readers hands, or laid flat on a desk. A comic that plays with this idea particularly well is Batman: The Court of Owls. When Batman begins to hallucinate due to being held captive, being drugged and starved, the panels, and indeed the pages orientation begins to morph. Instead of reading the comic left to right, the page needs to be physically turned to give the reader the same feeling of spatial disorientation that Batman feels. Lefevre ends his piece with the statement “During [the] reading process the reader tries to cope with these various aspects of space and to make meaning of it all” [Lefevre.2009:161].

  • Lefevre, P. (2009) The Construction of Space in Comics. A Comic Studies Reader. University Press of Mississippi: Jackson.
  • Miller, F. (1986) The Dark Knight Returns. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Moore, A. & Bolland, B. (1988) Batman: The Killing Joke. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Moreno, P. (1990) Batman: Digital Justice. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Pearson, R & Uricchio, W. (1991) The Many Lives of Batman: Critical Approaches to a Superhero and his Media. BFI Publishing, London: UK.
  • Snyder, S. & Capullo, G. (2018) Dark Nights Metal. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Yang, G. & Gurihiru. (2019) Superman Smashes the Klan #1. DC Comics: Burbank.

New 52 Superman and the Importance of Closure in Myth and Narratives

Superman is a character that has endured over 80 years. Due to the timeless nature of his origin story and values, he is a character that will continue to endure. However, despite this fact, there have been a number of attempts by DC and various writers to modernise his character for younger generations. A prime example would be the still on-going Earth-One series which has entries for not only Superman [Straczynski & Davis.2010], but Batman [Johns & Frank.2012], Wonder Woman [Morrison & Paquette.2016], Green Lantern [Hardman & Bechko.2018] and the Teen Titans [Dodson & Dodson.2014] as well. However, a far more drastic example can be seen in the New 52 initiative beginning in 2011.

The New 52 initiative essentially restarted the DC Universe as a blank slate. Allowing new readers to jump on to long running characters, as well as modernising characters for the 21st century. The initiative spun out of the event Flashpoint [Johns & Kubert.2011], a storyline that saw The Flash, Barry Allen, drastically alter the timeline through manipulating time. The result was a new universe that combined the main DC timeline, Wildstorm universe and better integrate the Vertigo comics. For some characters such as Batman, their timelines were simplified. Events still happened, but in a much shorter time frame. Other characters were not as lucky. Superman was one such character who had to be completely reset to re-establish his mythology and hopefully re-introduce the character to a new audience.

Superman’s introduction to the New 52 didn’t have the best start. While the Action Comics title was spearheaded by Grant Morrison [Morrison & Morales.2012], telling the story of a much younger Clark just beginning his journey in Metropolis. The Superman title, on the other hand, was under the pen of the legendary George Perez [Perez & Merino.2012], what should be a perfect combination. However, Perez only stayed with the book for a handful of issues. The reasoning for this Perez expressed in a 2012 interview with Comics Alliance, “Unfortunately when you are writing major characters, you sometimes have to make a lot of compromises and I was made certain promises, and unfortunately not through any fault of Dan DiDio, he was no longer the last word, lot of people making decisions, going against each other, contradiction, again in mid story. The people who love my Superman arc, I thank you. What you read, I don’t know. After I wrote it. I told them here’s my script, if you change it, that’s your prerogative, don’t tell me. Don’t ask me to edit it, don’t ask me to correct it, I don’t want to change something that you’re going to change again if you disagree” [McMillan.2012]. As Perez goes on to say in an interview with CBR, “I had no idea Grant Morrison was going to be working on another Superman title[…] I had no idea I was doing it five years ahead[…] So I was kind of stuck. ‘Oh, my gosh, are the Kents alive? What’s his relationship with all of these characters? Who exists?’ And DC couldn’t give me answers. I said, ‘Oh, my gosh, you’re deciding all these things and you mean even you don’t know what’s going on in your own books?’” [Melrose.2012] It’s clear that DC’s creative heads had in mind their own ideas for Superman, but what they didn’t have was clear communication or a complete vision. Just ideas with no direction. This was largely true though the first few years of the initiative, however, organisation and strength of storytelling took a drastic change up until the point that the Rebirth initiative was decided, and the days of the New 52 became numbered. This is most evident when looking specifically at the character of Superman.

To make things clear, there is a distinct difference between a story just ending, and a story having closure. A story ending is incredibly common regardless of media. Batman: Year One [Miller & Mazzucchelli.1986]has an ending, but it doesn’t have closure. The story as a whole talks about the first year of Batman’s career, and while that story is complete, the ending leaves it open for Bruce Wayne to go on and have more adventures. There is no closure in that story. More stories will follow. As Segal states in Closure in Detective Fiction when discussing closure, “There is a widespread tendency to conflate this term with ending, whereas I believe it is important to differentiate between the two: the difference was established quite clearly in Barbara Herrnstein Smith’s classic study Poetic Closure (1968) but has not always been observed in later studies. What do we mean by saying that a narrative (text) has ‘ending’? it may be simply that the tale has reached its termination point, in which case we are referring to an inevitable (and hence ‘obvious’) phenomenon, since every narrative text has to end somewhere. On the other hand, we might be referring to the sense of an ending (Kermode 1967), that is, not to the textual termination point itself but rather to a certain effect, or perceptual quality, produced by the text; in Smith’s (1968:2) formation, “one of stable conclusiveness, finality, or ‘clinch;” In such a case, what we are talking about would better be termed “closure” [Segal.2010:155]. When discussing closure then, especially in relation to Superman. The only place in which you can find this, is in either Elseworld publication, or in the New 52 incarnation.

While the beginning of the New 52 Superman was a rocky start to say the least, he had a clear arc through the five-year publication as well as a conclusion. During the later half of the publication, this version of Clark begins to resemble the classic interpretation in terms of spirit and heart. At issue #38 [Johns & Romita Jr.2015], this version of Superman gains a new ability known as the Super-Flare. An explosive ability that releases all fo the solar energy stored within his body. While it’s deadly to those around him, it strips Clark of his abilities while he’s recharging. An experience that is entirely new to him but leads Clark to open up to his dearest friends, Jimmy Olsen just an issue later. Unfortunately, from issue #41 onwards, his secret becomes revealed to the world, and the downside to the Super Flare really starts to sink in. Superman begins to resemble his silver age counterpart. Less powerful, with diminished abilities. No longer able to fly, but still with great strength. The world now knows who he is. This is something Clark has to deal with, alongside the entire world knowing his identity. Alongside this, a story in the Justice League book had Superman thrown into the pits of Apokilips, where the negative energy corrupts him. By the time we reach the final few issues of Superman, and the apply named storyline The Final Days of Superman [Tomasi et al.2015], Clark is very much aware he is dying.

The end of the New 52 Superman almost grounds the fantastical nature of superhero comics in a stark reality. This version of Superman dies. Death is a real situation here as it is in the real world. Heroes can die. As Sarah Gilead states in her paper, Magic Adjured: Closure in Children’s Fantasy Fiction [Gilead.1991], “In one sense, the return-to-reality closure asserts the conventional, ideologically mandated meanings and indeed relations between the concept pairs, ‘child’ and ‘adult’, ‘fantasy’ (or ‘dream’) and ‘reality’. But to do so, it must counter a potential obscuring of such meanings and relations: the initial narrative movement from fictional reality to fantasy raises the possibility of regressive slippage from adulthood to an idealized realm of childhood” [Gilead.1991:288]. The New 52 was marketed and certainly received to be a more mature take on the DC Universe. Events such as Future’s End certainly show this. And yet despite that, it’s still centred around superheroes. Something that is overly seen as childish given its original audience was the children of the great depression. With Superman being the first of these superheroes to be created, the ultimate return to reality closure would be his death.

Of course, the classic Superman also died previously during the Death of Return of Superman in 1993. However, a key difference here is that the classic Superman not only came back to life, but the event was planned as a way to buy time before the wedding of Clark Kent and Lois Lane. The New 52 death is a permanent decision. It’s one that thematically adds closure to this Clark’s journey. Clark dies in his lover’s arms, in this universe Wonder Woman. His final moments were spent saving people he cared for and knowing that the world he loves is in safe hands. Wonder Woman and Batman are with him, while the classic, and older, Superman promises to take his place.

This is closure for the New 52 Superman and his readers.

This act of closure is continued in the one-shot Superman: Rebirth #1 [Tomasi & Gleason.2016]and the first issue of the Rebirth run Superman #1 [Tomasi & Gleason.2016]. The classic, Post-Crisis/ Pre-Flashpoint, Superman visits the grave of the New 52 Superman, half hoping that his experience in The Death and Return of Superman will happen again but having to admit that his New 52 counterpart is truly gone. The first moments of the Rebirth series are simple, but a tribute to what came before. “The world needs to see again that there’s a Superman looking out for them. You may not be here in body, but I know you are in spirit…. The colours will fly” [Tomasi & Gleason.2016:01-05].

  • Dodson, T. & Dodson, R. (2014) Teen Titans: Earth One. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Esposito, J. (2012) The New 52 Interviews: Justice League. [Online] IGN. Jan 18th. Available from: https://uk.ign.com/articles/2011/09/20/the-new-52-interviews-justice-league [Last Accessed: 07.04.2020]
  • Esposito, J. (2012) The New 52 Interviews: Action Comics. [Online] IGN. Jan 19th. Available from: https://uk.ign.com/articles/2011/09/06/the-new-52-interviews-action-comics [Last Accessed: 07.04.2020]
  • Gilead, S. (1991) Magic Adjured: Closure in Children’s Fantasy Fiction. Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, pp. 277-293.
  • Hardman, G. & Bechko, C. (2018) Green Lantern: Earth One. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Johns, G. & Frank, G. (2012) Batman: Earth One. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Johns, G. & Kubert, A. (2011) Flashpoint. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Johns, G. & Romita Jr, J. (2015) Superman #38: The Men of Tomorrow Chapter 7: Friends and Enemies. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Johns, G. & Romita Jr, J. (2015) Superman #38: 24 Hours. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • McMillan, G. (2012) George Perez Explains his Frustrating Superman Experience in the New 52. [Online] Comics Alliance. June 26th. Available from: https://comicsalliance.com/george-perez-superman-experience-new-52/ [Last Accessed: 07/04/2020]
  • Melrose, K. (2012) George Perez couldn’t wait to get off Superman. [Online] Comic Book Resources. Available from: https://www.cbr.com/george-perez-couldnt-wait-to-get-off-superman/ [Last Accessed 12.04.2020]
  • Miller, F. & Mazzucchelli, D. (1986) Batman: Year One. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Morrison, G. & Morales, R. (2012) Action Comics Vol 1: Superman and the Men of Steel. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Morrison, G. & Paquette, Y. (2016) Wonder Woman: Earth One. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Perez, G. & Merino, J. (2012) Superman Vol 1: What Price Tomorrow? DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Segal, E. (2010) Closure in Detective Fiction. Poetics Today, 31(2), pp.153-215.
  • Straczynski, J. M. & Davis, S. (2010) Superman: Earth One. DC Comics: Burbank
  • Tomasi, P. et. al. (2015) The Final Days of Superman. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Tomasi, P. & Gleason, P. (2016) Superman: Rebirth #1 DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Tomasi, P. & Gleason, P. (2016) Superman #1: Son of Superman Part 1. DC Comics: Burbank.

Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Annual #3 – In Blackest Night (1987) by Alan Moore and Bill Willingham

Short stories can be a beautiful excuse for a creator to focus on the smaller details of a story’s lore. When you have a truly talented writer, they can be profound, or even shed some light on a situation that might not have been considered before. With collected trades dedicated to writers, we have the opportunity to look back and experience these often looked over tales. One such is In Blackest Night by Alan Moore and Bill Willingham. A 6-page story that asks a question regarding the absence of concepts such as colour or light when explaining the Green Lantern Corps.

The story begins with the Guardians of OA putting a Green Lantern, Katma Tui, on trial. They had tasked her with searching the Obsidian Deep to find someone to be that space sector’s protector. Asking how she apparently found someone, and yet there is still no Green Lantern protector. She recounts to them how she explored the Obsidian Deeps until she came across life, though barely being able to see anything beyond the light revealed by her ring. The world she stumbles across is sparse, but what life she does find appears to be entirely silicon based. One such life form she comes across; the ring does deem worthy of joining the Green Lantern Corps. When she attempts to speak to it however, the creature lets out an ear-splitting screech. Due to the complete darkness of the planet and the light from Katma’s ring shining, she realises that the creature is in fact blind and hadn’t realised she was there until she spoke.

The ring’s translation ability comes in handy as Katma tries to explain why she is there, learning that the creatures name is Rot Lop Fan. The pair discuss the world outside what Fan knows, and Katma invites him to become a protector of this sector. However, when Katman tries to explain the Green Lantern Corps, it can’t be translated, leaving Fan deeply confused. Katma explains to the OA Guardians that “it just couldn’t translate the words ‘Green’ or ‘Lantern’ in a language with no concept of colour or light”. Katma tries to create a construct while explaining the concept, but it’s still difficult to explain. Even when reciting the oat, it becomes difficult to understand. “In (untranslatable), in (untranslatable), no evil shall escape my (untranslatable). Let those who worship evil’s might beware my power, (untranslatable)”.

Fan tries to comfort her, still unsure of what she’s trying to say but understanding that it’s distressing Katma deeply. She decides to give Fan a ring to see if experiencing the power will get the point across. Katma asks Fan if he knows what a bell is, and if he can imagine one. Telling him to concentrate hard and imagine the shape and weight in his hand. Fan manages to conjure a construct in the form of a bell, and Katma asks him what sound is the most soothing to him. Upon deciding on F-Sharp, Katma explains to him that if he rings the bell, the sound wave admitted will form a solid form when he concentrates. While Fan can’t see where danger is, he is evolved to use sound. With some thought, Katma re-writes the oath for him.

“In Loudest din or hush profound, my ears catch evil’s slightest sound. Let those who toll out evil’s knell, Beware my power: The F-Sharp Bell!”

Before leaving, Katma designs him a new uniform using a bell in place of the Green Lantern emblem. The story concludes with Katma telling the Guardians that while she did appoint a protector, he doesn’t quite qualify as a traditional Green Lantern, but asks the Guardians to consider his status and to get back to him soon. Years later, Katma remembers the Guardian’s response. “Thank you, Katma Tui. We’ll try not to keep him in the dark too long”. The knowledge that a guardian had told a joke is something that leaves her deeply uneasy.

While the story is very short, only accounting for 6 pages, it does raise the question of what a Green Lantern means to those with no understanding of light or colour. But does put a lovely twist on the notion of constructs. Kyle Rayner expressed a deep fear during The Tower of Babel in regards to loosing his sight, granted, this is partly due to the fact that Kyle is an artist. But with the Lantern member Rot Lop Fan, Moore shows that it is indeed possible for someone to be a protector, even without the use of sight.

Support! – PanelXPanel: One Shots Kickstarter

Few independent comic criticism magazines are as polished and well put together as PanelXPanel. An extremely well-crafted publication with a wealth of information in every issue, from interviews with industry professionals, and dedicated essays on a chosen subject. But now, they are taking things a step further.

Wave One of their new book series, PanelXPanel: One Shots, has been announced and is up for backing on Kickstarter. The first wave includes four books, covering Rob Liefeld, Judge Dredd, Young Avengers and the history of Canadian comics. Proofs have already been printed, a Printer has been selected, but they need some help getting copies into people’s hands and funding a second wave. Right now, the only place you can get these books is Kickstarter. Support Here!

Where will the money go?

“This Kickstarter campaign is running to cover printing costs, proofreader fees, and be able to pay our writers for their time. The books are all written and completed, and currently being proofed, but to get them into your hands we need some help with printing costs.

If all print targets are met, any purchases and donations over the initial target will help to secure a larger print run, and to help establish the print run for the second wave of PanelxPanel One Shots. Profits from the books themselves will be split with the authors and PanelxPanel, and profits on PanelxPanel’s side will be donated to the Mind Doncaster charity in the UK.”

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What is in Wave One?

All four books are designed to work on their own and as a series. With a striking design to make them stand out both on their own and as a set. Each book is roughly A5 size and approximately 70 pages. All four books have been written and are currently in the process of proof reading.

EXCESS by Ian Gregory

“Ian has crafted a wonderful introduction to everything early Rob Liefeld, and their writing is extremely accessible for those who have even just a fleeting knowledge of what the X-Men are. EXCESS gives you a brief history of where the X-Men were at the time, before taking you on a journey through Liefeld’s work with the characters and various series. It looks at why X-Men needed refreshing, what Liefeld’s process was in doing that, and how he pulled in elements of surrounding pop-culture to create one of the bestselling comics of all time. It also goes further into why his work was so impactful, as well as a modern reflection on both its strengths and failings.”

GIANTS IN THE SHADOW by Patrick Aura

“Patrick takes a deep dive into how Canada’s comic books grew alongside the country itself, going from initially copying the kind of comics that England was putting out, to defining it’s own style separate from both America and Britain. It extends through to modern day, beyond Punch, and going past Superman to current indie comics. No understanding of Canada’s history is required, as Patrick takes you through it all, with a lot of additional insight and commentary that makes it a fascinating read.”

STYLE AND SUBSTANCE by Rasmus Lykke

“For those interested in how comics work, this is a great exploration of one of the 2010s most acclaimed comics. It works both for those who have read the series, but is equally accessible to those with a passing knowledge of the series, characters or creators. This book examines the way Gillen and McKelvie approached storytelling choices and artistic decisions, and what that says about both the medium and the central themes of the work. For anyone interested in the inner workings of the comics medium, this book is a must-have”

THE LAWMAN by Tom Shapira

“Tom has written plenty on 2000AD already, but this brings his eye to the very first Judge Dredd strip ever published, a five-page short black and white story in the second Prog. Tom dissects themes and decisions made in each of the five pages, and balances that against a discussion of the political and societal constructs of Britain at the time in the 70s, to get a wide understanding of why that strip has stood the test of time, and allowed Dredd to become such a mainstay of British comics. Both a great look at formal choices and the wider history around the character, The Lawman is a must-read book for fans of comics.”

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As this is Kickstarter, you can donate how ever much you wish, however there are also specific options depending on which books you would like to order.

  • £7: A printed copy of any One Shot
  • £14: A printed copy of any two One Shots
  • £20: a printed copy of any three One Shots
  • £25: a printed copy of all the One Shots.

This is an amazing deal and a brilliant project to support. For any inquiries, contact panelxpanel@hassanoe.co.uk but please check out the Kickstarter and help out this amazing cause.

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Timeline in a State of Flux: DC has NEVER Rebooted Their Continuity.

In his paper, Regeneration & Rebirth: Anatomy of the Franchise Reboot [Proctor.2012], Proctor discusses the roots of the word Reboot and the cycle of movie reboots. “The term reboot, in its original context, is ‘used to describe the process of restarting a computer or electronic device [in order] to recover from an error’ [Reboot Definition.2010]. From this viewpoint, the commercial and critical disappointment of the Burton/Schumacher cycle of Batman films resulted in a kind of central error in the ‘aesthetic processing unit’ that ‘crashed’ the operating system. […] Thomas Willits offers what I believe is a more accurate description: ‘reboot means to restart a serial entertainment universe that has already been previously established, and begins with a new storyline and/or timeline that disregards the original writer’s previously established history, thus making it obsolete and void’[2009:01]” [Proctor.2012:05]. Through Proctor’s research, we can confirm that a reboot is essentially erasing what came before and starting again in that universe. Proctor does make a distinction between a reboot, a sequel/prequel and a remake. This is an important distinction to make, especially with properties that have existed for so long. He specifically looks at the various incarnations of the Batman on film.

When looking at film, it’s easier to distinguish Batman rebooting, as the cast, director and general tone tends to change to a heavily noticeable degree. An example would be the Burton/Schumacher films of 1989 to 1997, compared to the Nolan Trilogy from 2005 to 2012. The Nolan trilogy is far more serious in tone, and while both films do have casting changes, it is very clear which film is a continuation of which series. With comics, this can be a little more difficult. A change in writer, artist or tone, does not necessarily mean that the continuity has changed. A storyline can continue through a specific comic, but still have its artist or even writer change. As Proctor describes it, “A reboot aims to purge the system and begin again with a tabula rosa (a blank slate), onto which a brave new world can be etched” [Proctor.2017:226].

Among DC Comics readers and fans, there is agreed to be at least two times DC has rebooted it’s continuity. The first is during Crisis on Infinite Earths [Wolfman & Perez.1986], and the other being Flashpoint [Johns & Kubert.2011]. Zero Hour: Crisis in Time [Jurgens & Ordway.1994]is often mistaken for a reboot, however the events caused ripples in the timeline that reordered a few events but did not overhaul the timeline in a major direction.

Crisis on Infinite Earths is considered the first major reboot, as its purpose was to streamline the universe to make it easier for readers to understand, and hopefully attract new readers in the process. The series writer, Marv Wolfman later stated in a letter responding to a fan about the mixed up DC continuity, “in my reply I said, ‘one day we (meaning the DC editorial we) will probably straighten out what is in the DC Universe and what is outside.’ At this point in its history DC Comics had Earth-One, Earth-Two, Earth-Three, Earth-B etc. There were superheroes on each Earth and though old-time readers had no problem understanding DC continuity, it proved off-putting to new readers who suddenly discovered there was not one but three Supermans, Wonder Womans, Batmans, etc.” [Wolfman.2000:01]. The story is an epic, spanning 12-issues and involving many alternate universes, characters, incarnations of characters, and an encyclopaedia’s worth of history backing it. The story revolves around the Anti-Monitor waking up and slowly destroying the Multiverse. His opposite, the Monitor, recruits various heroes to attempt to stop the destruction and save as many people as they can. By the end of the story, there is one Earth remaining. New Earth, and this is the one that readers will be following from now on. The series truly does live up to it’s tagline, “world’s lived, world’s died, and nothing will be the same again” [Wolfman & Perez.1986]. In reality, it allowed DC to take their more recent acquisitions, such as Captain Marvel, Blue Beetle and the Question, and roll them into the DC universe with an actual reason.

The other believed reboot is with Flashpoint [Johns & Kubert.2011]. A story that involved The Flash, Barry Allen, waking up in a world where things are incredibly different. His mother is alive, he doesn’t have any powers, no one has heard of Superman and Batman is a gun toting Thomas Wayne. The cause of which is eventually revealed to be that Barry Allen travelled back in time to try and save his mother, causing the timeline to change. Though given the events of The Button [Williamson & King.2017], it’s more likely to assume that Barry just found himself integrated into another Earth in the Multiverse. Barry Allen’s work to correct this time is the catalyst for creating the New 52 ‘reboot’. Later this is retconned to actually be the work of Dr Manhattan in DC Universe: Rebirth and Doomsday Clock. [Johns & Frank.2016] [Johns & Frank.2019]. However, the world in which the Flash ‘returns’ to at the end of the story, is what we now consider the start of the New 52 continuity. This also allowed the characters of the Wildstorm and Vertigo imprints to be fully integrated into the DC universe, much like the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Both of these events are largely considered to be THE reboot moments for DC. However, neither of these actually fit the criteria of a reboot by definition. If these were indeed true reboots, then nothing that came before should be able to be referenced, mentioned or explored without first introducing it as if it were it’s first appearance. The events of Crisis are frequently mentioned by characters in this ‘new’ continuity. During Animal Man #1: The Human Zoo [Morrison & Truog.1988] for example. Buddy Baker discusses the idea of going back to his superhero work. Ellen replies to him by says “Yeah, I heard it. Just like I heard it after we were married. Like I heard it after the Crisis, when you went into space with the forgotten heroes” [Morrison & Truog.1988:06]. Later on in Animal Man #10: Fox on the Run [Morrison & Truog.1989], a visit to Arkham Asylum sees the Psycho Pirate repeating the words “Worlds will live worlds will die” [Morrison & Truog.1989:11] and responding to questions with both “What do you want? Did the Wolfman give you my name?” and “How can I sleep? If I sleep they might decide to remove me from continuity and then I’ll never wake up.” [Morrison & Truog.1989:11], a reference to both the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, and it’s writer Marv Wolfman. This is also true of the event Millennium [Englehart & Staton.1988]. The character of Harbinger, an important figure from Crisis on Infinite Earths, makes her return and directly mentions the Crisis. “I was born here on Earth. Given the name Lyla Michaels but then my parents died, and the monitor found me – took me into his ship! I grew there in space for twenty years, serving the great and good man as he prepared to save the multiverse from destruction – and when the Crisis finally came, I threw myself into action, everywhere at once – beside the most important men and women of infinite Earths – and we saved the final essence of Reality! And then, it was over! [Englehart & Staton.1988:11]. Many more examples like this exist, but it’s Infinite Crisis [Johns & Jimenez.2006] that provides the greatest evidence.

The plot to Infinite Crisis involves the Golden age Superman and Lois Lane, Superboy-Prime and Alexander Luthor escaping the paradise dimension they entered towards the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths. While the plan is primarily that of Superboy-Prime’s and Alexander Luthor’s, they are attempting to undo Crisis and get back to their respected Earths. The very plot of the story disproves Crisis on Infinite Earth ever being a full reboot.

The New 52 was more specifically intended as a reboot. Multiple characters were dialled back to their origin story, characters are reinvented to match the companies new darker, more ‘mature’ tone. We saw the Justice League form for the first time, Superman moving to Metropolis and working at the Daily Planet. However, there are some inconsistencies in this. Specifically, with the titles Batman Incorporated [Morrison.2012-2013]and Batman & Robin [Tomasi & Gleason.2011-2015]. Both series continue from their previous, Pre-New 52, incarnations without any change in continuity. This is true for the majority of the Batman centric books, though especially of these two titles.

To be clear, the New Gods are immune from reboots and retroactive continuity. The worlds of Apokolips and New Genesis exist within the Gods Sphere. A layer above the local Multiverse. Essentially, they are a level above the characters we are reading, but just below us the reader. During Crisis on Infinite Earths #10: Death at the Dawn of Time [Wolfman & Perez.1986], we see Harbinger reading what are listed as the ‘Monitor Tapes’. While explaining what happened to others outside of the core focus of the issues, Harbinger brings up the Forever People and Darkseid; “On the planet Adon, five youths known as The Forever People used their powers to protect their adopted world from destruction. Across the dimensions, their pursuer, Darkseid the destroyer, cloaked only Apokolips from harm” [Wolfman & Perez.1986:12].

The primary piece of evidence to the complete lack of a genuine reboot, is that of Convergence [King & Van Sciver.2015]and Superman Lois & Clark [Jurgens & Weeks.2016]. The plot of Convergence involves a new villain, Telos, forcing captured cities from across the Multiverse to battle for survival. The story, especially the tie-ins, go into detail featuring characters specifically from older continuities. For example, the pre-crisis Shazam (appropriately called Captain Marvel) and the Elseworld interpretation of Batman from Gotham by Gaslight [Augustyn & Mignola.1989]. While these could be considered simple nostalgia trips, the Convergence: Superman [Jurgens & Weeks.2015]tie-in and Superman: Lois and Clark prove otherwise. During the Convergence tie-in and continued on in the Superman: Lois & Clark mini-series, Superman and Lois find themselves against the Flashpoint universe, where they give birth to their son Jon, with the help of the Thomas Wayne Batman. The three, Clark, Lois, and the new-born Jon, find themselves on Prime Earth. The New 52 main continuity Earth. They exist alongside their supposed replacements, hiding out on a farm where Clark occasionally dons a black Superman suit and tries to help the world in secret. The final arc for the New 52 Superman saw him eventually die due to events happening in both his own books, and Justice League: Darkseid War [Johns & Fabok.2015]. When this happens, the Post-Crisis Superman takes over for him, wanting to make sure that Earth still has a Superman. During the Rebirth era, the main Superman is this older, more experience version, complete with his wife and son.

By the definition of a reboot, meaning “to restart a serial entertainment universe that has already been previously established, and begins with a new storyline and/or timeline that disregards the original writer’s previously established history, thus making it obsolete and void’[2009:01]” [Proctor.2012:05]. None of this should be possible. It is inaccurate to refer to any of these events as full on reboots. Instead, it’s more accurate to refer to DC’s continuity as a whole as a ‘timeline in a state of flux’, much like the aftereffects of Zero Hour: Crisis in Time [Jurgens & Ordway.1994].

In short, Both everything is in continuity, and anything is up for retcon.

Bibliography:

  • Augustyn, B. & Mignola, M. (1989) Gotham by Gaslight. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Batman (1989) Film. Directed by Tim Burton. [Blu-Ray] Warner Bros.: USA
  • Batman & Robin (1997) Film. Directed by Joel Schumacher. [Blu-ray] Warner Bros.: USA.
  • Batman Begins. (2005) Film. Directed by Christopher Nolan. [Blu-Ray] Warner Bros.: USA.
  • Batman Forever (1995) Film. Director Joel Schumacher. [Blu-Ray] Warner Bros.: USA
  • Batman Returns (1992) Film. Directed by Tim Burton. [Blu-Ray] Warner Bros.: USA.
  • Englehart, S. & Staton, S. (1988) Millennium #1: Over. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Jurgens, D. & Ordway, J. (1994) Zero Hour: Crisis in Time. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Jurgens, D. & Weeks, L. (2015) Convergence: Superman. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Jurgens, D. & Weeks, L. (2016) Superman: Lois & Clark. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Johns, G. & Kubert, A. (2011) Flashpoint. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Johns, G. & Fabok, J. (2015) Justice League: The Darkseid War. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Johns, G. & Frank, G. (2016) DC Universe Rebirth. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Johns, G. & Frank, G. (2019) Doomsday Clock. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • King, J. & Van Sciver, E. (2015) Convergence. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Morrison, G. (2012-2013) Batman Incorporated. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Morrison, G. & Truog, C. (1988) Animal Man #1: The Human Zoo. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Morrison, G. & Truog, C. (1989) Animal Man #10: Fox on the Run. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Proctor, W. (2012) Regeneration & Rebirth: Anatomy of the Franchise Reboot. Scope: An Online Journal of Film and Television Studies, 22, Feb. [Online] Available from: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/scope/documents/2012/february-2012/proctor.pdf [Last Accessed: 24/01/2020]
  • Proctor, W. (2017) Reboots and Retroactive Continuity. The Routledge Companion to Imaginary Worlds. Pp 224-235. Routledge: London.
  • The Dark Knight (2008) Film. Directed by Christopher Nolan. [Blu-Ray] Warner Bros.: USA
  • The Dark Knight Rises (2012) Film. Directed by Christopher Nolan. [Blu-Ray] Warner Bros.: USA.
  • Tomasi, P. & Gleason, G. (2011-2015) Batman & Robin. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Williamson, J. & King, T. (2017) Batman/The Flash: The Button. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Willits, T. (2009) To Reboot or Not to Reboot: What is the Solution? [Online] Bewildering Stories. Available from: www.bewilderingstories.com/issue344/reboot1.html [Last Accessed: 24/01/2020]
  • Wolfman, M. & Perez, G. (1986) Crisis on Infinite Earths. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Wolfman, M. & Perez, G. (1986) Crisis on Infinite Earths #10: Death at the Dawn of Time. DC Comics: Burbank.

Man and Superman (2019) – A Beautiful Love Letter

When Marv Wolfman puts his name to something, the work needs to be appreciated. His work on both the ground-breaking Crisis on Infinite Earths and The New Teen Titans are legendary and will go down in history as some of the most influential works in comics. While origin stories for the man of steel are remarkably common, this wasn’t even this first retelling this year, Wolfman once again proves his talent as a writer by making it seem fresh, original, and shows a remarkable amount of touching humanity to Clark Kent that feels timeless.

Man and Superman looks exclusively at Clark moving to Metropolis and his own struggles with just trying to be himself in the big city. Trying to prove himself a worthy enough writer to join the staff of the Daily Planet, figuring out if the city is right for him, and understanding his place in it all. Clark is amazingly sweet and sympathetic throughout, when he does begin to use his powers, things don’t go as smoothly as he’d hoped, and he has the same worries that a real person would. Being viewed the wrong way, causing destruction when he doesn’t mean to. Wolfman brings a tremendous amount of depth and sweetness to Clark, something that should come naturally to the character but is often overlooked.

The book compounds the notion that he is not above regular people, he is just as human as they are at his core. While struggling to get his foot in the door at the Daily Planet, he works a cleaning job and gets to know the people of the city. Clark is incredibly grounded and honourable. Working hard and paying back his co-workers for something they deemed to be a small matter. Even his interactions with Lois Lane feel genuine, the respect and rivalry between them bleeds through the pages.

Luthor’s appearance, though late into the book, is strong and gives off a commanding presence. We figure out his plan alongside Clark which makes it feel even more genuine. His design with a harsh purple and green suit harkens back to his Bronze Age appearances that truly makes him stand out among the cast.

It’s exceptionally hard for a Superman origin story to stand out without doing something massively wrong. The formula has been there for a long time, with little deviation. But Wolfman’s choice to focus in on an incredibly specific moment makes the book as a whole stand out. Put simply, it is one of the strongest outings Superman had in 2019.

Superman for Tomorrow (2005) – I am reading a Superman story, right?

It’s safe to say that some writers will go down in history for their brilliant use of storytelling, their impact on the industry or particular characters. Brian Azzarello is considered one such writer. His indie works, such as 100 Bullets, are praised for their storytelling and his run on Wonder Woman in the New 52 is held in high regard. Primarily, his work seems to focus heavily on a crime noir style, with a strong emphasis on mystery. In Superman: For Tomorrow, Azzarello applies his talents to the Man of Steel. Question is, does his style fit our big blue boy scout?

No, not really.

Superman: For Tomorrow is an interesting story, though not one that seems to fit Superman. The story revolves around a million people on Earth suddenly vanishing, including Lois Lane. Superman feels tremendous guilt for not being able to save those taken. He finds himself confiding in a priest who is himself riddled with cancer, and is close to death. Superman tells him about the war he’d seen in the middle east, and how he’d tried to help, but only made things worse. That the device that seemed to cause The Vanishing is in the middle of it all, and that Superman’s actions there caused the Justice League to turn their back on Superman. The revelation as to what happened to the people of Earth, who caused it and what is inside the machine is the primary focus of the story.

A big problem with the story is Superman himself. Particularly his ‘motivations’ by the stories end. He talks a lot about how guilty he feels for being the sole survivor of Krypton, and wanting to be able to save more than one person if the same fate ever befell Earth. But while his motivations are reasonable, his actions feel heavily out of place. A lack of explanation to the people effected, and particularly to the outside world. While his goal was to save people, he seems to do more harm than good.

The book also seems to heavily play on the ‘Superman as Christ figure’ cliché. Far too heavily for it to be accidental. The first time we see Superman, he is presented like that of an angel descending onto the Priest Danny Leone. Father Leone frequently asks him questions relating to god and Jesus. Such as weather or not he can walk on water or cure cancer. Fused with the Superman’s harsh dialogue throughout, he comes off far more alien than he ever has before. Like the people of earth are his pesky children that he is burdened to protect. It comes off even more jarring in his conversations with his fellow League members. Even asking them to call him Kal-El rather than Clark.

Superman: For Tomorrow is certainly one of the weakest stories of the Post-Crisis/Pre-New 52 error. While the art is what saves it from becoming a forgotten moment in the canon, the story as a whole feels like a first draft rather than a finished product. Through the story, it feels as though Azzarello wrote the story and fitted Superman into it, rather than actually telling a Superman story.

Justice League Vol 1: The Totality (2018) & Justice League Odyssey Vol 1. The Ghost Sector (2019) || Superhero 4th Diemension Study

Justice League Vol 1 The Totality (2018):

There seem to be five key elements in The Totality that fit well with the research. The Boardroom for the Justice League, a mental projection primarily created by Martian Manhunter and linked to the other league members [Snyder & Cheung.2018:12]. The use of corporeal energy appearing across time and space [Snyder & Jimenez.2018:02 & 04], a use of distinctive superspeed time [Snyder & Jimenez.2018:04], an example of ‘BOOM’ taking the place of the panels [Snyder & Cheung.2018:07], and Luthor being teleported away from the Totality [Snyder & Cheung.2018:13].

The boardroom is an interesting idea that I’m hopeful will be used later. However, in this first instance there isn’t an interesting way in which the characters enter it, or the panel structure plays with it. This is something to really keep an eye on, as it’s possible that since this is just the first use, it will be improved moving forward.

Corporeal energy is used twice in the same issue but are distinguished by two different colours which does separate out their uses. Swamp Thing and Batman both appear to John Stewart attempting to convey a message from Martian Manhunter. The art depicts them both with a blue aura and clearly not flesh. The texture on them feels alien. They almost have a ghostly appearance which in itself gives off an otherworldly feel to the reader. With the door that appears to Luthor in Kansas, it glows with a purple aura. Luthor and a lot of the DC villains have been linked to the colour purple, so this does convey to the audience that not only is the door otherworldly, but also that it’s not to be trusted.

The use of distinctive superspeed time is very limited here, as the Speed Force is currently disrupted. Noticeably, when Flash is using his speed, he appears between panels.

We see the ‘BOOM’ panel happen again here as it did in Justice League: The Darkseid War [Johns & Fabok.2015]. However, it’s questionable as to whether this was created with Boom Tube technology, or just an ordinary explosion. A Boom Tube does later form when Starman arrives, and it does use a similar effect. So what was this one for?

Finally, when Hawkgirl beats Luthor to the Totality, the panel is engulfed in white and continues on down the page until another panel finally appears of Luthor in the exact same position, but in a new location. Time and space is played with and this is perfectly mirrored in the layout of the page.

  • Johns, G. & Fabok, J. (2015) Justice League: The Darkseid War. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Snyder, S., Jimenez, J. & Cheung, J. (2018) Justice League Vol. 1: The Totality. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Snyder, S. & Cheung, J. (2018) Justice League #1: The Totality Part 1. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Snyder, S. & Jimenez, J. (2018) Justice League #2: The Totality Part 2. DC Comics: Burbank
  • Snyder, S. & Cheung, J. (2018) Justice League #7: The Totality – Conclusion. DC Comics: Burbank.

Justice League Odyssey Vol 1. The Ghost Sector (2019):

The primary instance where this book becomes useful for research is in its fifth issue. Multiple levels of cosmic reality reveal themselves to Cyborg. The overlay of images shows that all of this is happening at once, but shows ,at minimum, three different perspectives [Williamson & Giandomenico.2019:12-13].

  • Williamson, J. et al (2019) Justice League Odyssey Vol. 1: The Ghost Sector. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Williamson, J. & Giandomenico, C. (2019) Justice League Odyssey #5: Ghost Sector Part 5. DC Comics: Burbank.

Justice Leauge: The Darkseid War (2015) || Superhero 4th Dimension Study

The two biggest points of reference throughout Justice League: The Darkseid War in regards to 4th dimensional thinking in comics, are the use of Boom Tubes and the Mobius Chair. While it does include elements of intertextuality to older stories such as Crisis on Infinite Earths, Zero Hour: Crisis in Time and Flashpoint. The primary point of reference in this study is how the comic depicts the use of Boom Tubes to change location. Due to DC’s own lore, Apokolips and New Genesis exist on a higher plain of existence than the multiverse. The use of a Boom Tube not only changes your location, but the size of those using them to appropriately fit with their dimensional environment. The amount of energy needed to do this needs to be conveyed along with the fact that the characters are transporting themselves from one location to another. Throughout The Darkseid War, when a Boom Tube is used, the panel structure reflects this by using the word “BOOM” as it’s panels. Having the image appear within the word. While the image varies depending on who and why the Boom Tube is in operation, the “BOOM” effect is still in place with the image largely giving off a yellow glow within.

The primary questions to take away from this involve the use of words as panel boarders, and the colour of energy relating to transportation. Do specific colours correlate to dimensional/time travel? Does the method of transportation matter?

Speaking of transportation, another element to look at is the use of the Mobius Chair used by both Metron and Batman. The chair has the ability to travel through dimensions as a side effect, though it’s primary concern is for information. When it travels, it gives off a light blue aura. Is this reflected elsewhere?

Do previous or later examples of the Boom Tube or the Mobius Chair reflect what is seen in The Darkseid War?

  • Johns, G. & Fabok, J. (2015) Justice League: The Darkseid War. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Johns, G. & Kubert, A. (2011) Flashpoint. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Jurgens, D. & Orway, J. (1994) Zero Hour: Crisis on Infinite Earths. DC Comics: Burbank.
  • Wolfman, M. & Perez, G. (1986) Crisis on Infinite Earths. DC Comics: Burbank.

The Journey from Robin to Nightwing: The Years and Adventures to Come for Me

As a researcher, academic, and comic book historian, I largely consider myself more of a ‘sidekick’. I assist people I respect, I’m finding my feet, and building up my ‘arsenal’ of knowledge. I’m learning more and more about how things are run, the different academic circles running, and those online that have an extreme passion for comics. Some highlights involve the Superhero Project, my friends in the Youtube/Twitter space, and professionals who have been kind enough to give me a few minutes of their time and talk. It’s been an amazing year.

However, 2020 is going to bring a whole new challenge and will be the moment where I begin to graduate from a little sidekick learning the ropes, to a hero in my own right. The analogue I use is Robin to Nightwing because I view my mentors and friends as their own selves. Nightwing is not a legacy hero, unless you include the Kryptonian Nightwing. He’s someone who learnt from those around him and became a new version of himself.

In 2020, I will begin my Doctorate in comics. I will be focusing on depictions of time/dimensional travel, distortion and perception. I am extremely looking forward to this and I can not wait to start this journey. It’s going to be difficult, there will be a lot of weird blog posts that seem to be out of nowhere but will lead to huge ideas. There will be so much research to come and a lot of reading to do. I feel like this is what I’m supposed to be doing.

I am ready to shed the yellow cape and done the black and blue. Onwards and Upwards!