Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Most Shocking Moments in Comic Book History

Good comic books can often times outshine the best book, song, film, or television program. The in-depth story details, accompanied by amazing illustrations give comics their own identity. Many influential characters have been born through comic strips, including a long list of famous superheroes. The first comic book appeared in the U.S. in 1934. Despite their name, comic books are not necessarily only humorous. Many modern comic books tell stories in a variety of genres. In the U.S. the super-hero genre dominates the market, although many other types of comics exist in Japan and various European nations, including the widely popular samurai series. I have composed a list of 10 of the most shocking and influential moments in the history of comic books.

Spider-Man Kills the Burglar

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The Burglar is a fictional character in the Marvel Universe, left unnamed in most of his appearances. He is best known as the first criminal faced by Spider-Man and the killer of Ben Parker. The burglar first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962). After the murder of Ben Parker, Spider-Man tracked the Burglar, beat him, and sent him to prison. Years later the Burglar was released from jail and joined forces with Mysterio. The duo conceived a plan to take May Parker captive. Spider-Man discovered the plan and tracked the criminals. The Burglar died after suffering a fear-induced heart attack when Spider-Man revealed his true identity as Peter Parker, Ben Parker’s nephew. The true identity of the Burglar has been debated. We learned that he has a daughter named Jessica Carradine and Captain Stacy revealed that the burglar’s full name was Dennis Carradine in Spider-Man 3.

Ozymandias Drops “Alien Menace” on New York

Shocking Moments in Comic Book History11 The Most Shocking Moments in Comic Book History
Watchmen is a twelve-issue comic book series created by writer Alan Moore in 1986. The story takes place on an alternate Earth where superheroes emerged in the 1940s and 1960s to help the United States win the Vietnam War. As the story begins, the country is edging close to a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Freelance costumed vigilantes have been outlawed and most costumed superheroes are in retirement or working for the government. It is considered by many the greatest single story in the history of comics. Watchmen has an ending that will shock you, when Ozymandias drops an alien
invader on New York, causing it to release a psychic shock wave that kills millions of people. He claims to have been acting in the interest of mankind, as people needed to be prepared for an inevitable alien invasion. The invasion would never come. Ozymandias ended up being the true villain in the story.

The Joker blows up Jason Todd

Shocking Moments in Comic Book History1 The Most Shocking Moments in Comic Book History
Jason Todd first appeared in Batman #357 (1983) and became the second Robin, sidekick to the superhero Batman. The initial sidekick to Batman was Dick Grayson, who went on to star in The New Teen Titans under the name of Nightwing. In 1988, DC comics decided that the audience would be attracted to the opportunity of influencing the comics storyline. They created a telephone poll via a 1-900 number that would decide the fate of Jason Todd.
The vote was set up during the four-part series “A Death in the Family,” that was published in Batman #426-429 in 1988. In a close vote, readers decided 5,343 votes to 5,271 to kill Todd. The following issued portrayed the death of Jason Todd. He took complete beating from the Joker and awoke in time to find his mother at his side, right next to a ticking bomb. The two died in the explosion. No event has scarred a superhero like the death of Jason Todd. In 2004, Jason Todd was resurrected as an enemy of Batman, eventually becoming the second Red Hood and assuming a new role as an antihero.

Magneto rips out Wolverine’s adamantium

Shocking Moments in Comic Book History12 The Most Shocking Moments in Comic Book History
The X-Men are a superhero team in the Marvel Comics Universe that first appeared in The X-Men #1 (September 1963). In the beginning of the series, Magneto and the X-Men had been waging a psychological war with no serious injuries. In X-Men #25, Magneto unleashed an EM pulse from space that knocked out power on a good chunk of earth. The X-Men came looking for Magneto and a legendary fight ensued between Magneto and Wolverine. The pair became instantly confrontational. While Magneto was distracted by the combined telepathic assault of Prof. X and Jean Grey, he was
attacked by Wolverine, who cut an “X” shape right into Magneto’s chest. Magneto grabbed a hold of Wolverine with his magnetic powers and tore the adamantium from his body. Adamantium is the metal surrounding Wolverine’s bones. Wolverine was literally being ripped apart from the inside. He nearly died from the shock and spent several years traveling the country with bone claws.

Green Lantern – Green Arrow Heroin Storyline

Shocking Moments in Comic Book History6 The Most Shocking Moments in Comic Book History
In the early 1970’s, Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams created the legendary Green Lantern/Green Arrow series. It was a relatively short lived collaboration, but was acclaimed for dealing with a variety of social and political issues in which Green Arrow spoke for radical change, while Green Lantern was an established liberal figure, wanting to work within existing institutions of government and law. Shortly after the Spider Man issue #96-98 LSD comic, DC decided to publish the infamous story in which the Green Arrow’s Ward and Sidekick Speedy gets addicted to Heroin. It was printed in the Green Lantern vol. 2, #85-86. Despite earning a congratulatory letter from the Mayor of New York, John Lindsay, many felt the mature topics were not for children’s eyes. Ultimately, it led to the cancellation of the book by issue #89 in 1972. It was a ground breaking event in comic book history.

Revolutionary Comic – Lone Wolf and Cub

Shocking Moments in Comic Book History7 The Most Shocking Moments in Comic Book History
This entry is not really a specific comic book moment, but a ground breaking series. The moment might be in 1987, when the story was brought to America and became internationally revolutionized. Lone Wolf and Cub is a well-known manga created by the writer Kazuo Koike and the artist Goseki Kojima. It was first published in 1970 and chronicles the story of Ogami Ittō, the Shogun’s executioner who uses a dōtanuki battle sword. Disgraced by false accusations from the Yagyū clan, he is forced to take the path of the assassin. Along with his three-year-old son, Daigorō, they seek revenge on the Yagyū clan and are known as Lone Wolf and Cub.
It is an extremely powerful and epic samurai story and is renowned for its stark andgruesome depiction of violence during Tokugawa era Japan. It was the fist comic book
of its kind and is highly regarded for its historical accuracy. The story spans 28 volumes of manga, with over 300 pages each (totaling over 8,700 pages in all). Lone Wolf and Cub was initially released in North America by First Comics in 1987, as a series of monthly, square-bound prestige-format black-and-white comics containing between 64 and 128 pages.

Bane Breaks Batman’s Back

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Knightfall is the umbrella title to the trilogy of Batman storylines that ran from 1993 to 1994. They consisted of Knightfall, Knightquest, and KnightsEnd. The plot of the story starts with the master criminal Bane freeing all of the maximum-security inmates of Arkham Asylum, a notorious psychiatric facility in Gotham City. Bane’s plan was to weaken Batman by making him deal with the escaped deadly villains simultaneously, including The Joker, The Scarecrow, and the Mad Hatter. The plan works and Bane eventually discovers the identity of Batman.
He attacks Bruce Wayne at Wayne Manor, where he is most vulnerable as his alter-ego. The historic fight between Bruce Wayne and Bane is detailed in Batman #497. The battle ends with Bane breaking Wayne’s back over his knee. Bruce Wayne was seriously injured. Bane assumes control of Gotham City’s underworld and takes over several illegal operations within it. It takes a long time for Bruce to heal and he ends up asking Jean-Paul Valley (Azrael) to take up the mantle of Batman, so that Gotham has a protector.

Action Comics #1

Shocking Moments in Comic Book History10 The Most Shocking Moments in Comic Book History
Action Comics 1 is a comic book that was published in April 1938 by National Allied Publications, a corporate predecessor of DC Comics. It is widely considered the first true superhero comic and the first appearance of Superman. Action Comics was started by publisher Jack Liebowitz. The first issue had a print run of 200,000 copies, although sales of the series would soon approach 1 million per month. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster were paid $10 per page, for a total of $130 for their work on this issue. They eventually signed away millions in future rights and royalties. After the release and success of the first Superman movie, the pair began to receive a month annuity of $30,000. Today, Action Comics #1 has become one of the most famous and collectable comics every created.

The death of Gwen Stacy

Shocking Moments in Comic Book History9 The Most Shocking Moments in Comic Book History
Gwen Stacy was the first true love and girlfriend of Peter Parker, also known as Spider Man. She first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #31 (December 1965). In The Amazing Spider-Man #121, the Green Goblin takes Gwen Stacy captive and transportes her to a tower on the George Washington Bridge. Spider-Man arrives to fight the Green Goblin and the Goblin throws Gwen Stacy off the bridge. Spider-Man catches her by the leg with a string of web and initially thinks he has saved her, but when he pulls her back onto the bridge he realizes she is dead. Peter is unsure whether the whiplash from her sudden stop broke her neck or if the fall killed her, but he blames himself for her death. Spider-Man nearly kills the Green Goblin in retaliation. The Goblin would later die when he is impaled by his own goblin glider in an attempt to kill Spider-Man, and would not return for nearly three hundred issues. However, Gwen Stacy would never return and she became the first loved one of a superhero ever to die. Mary Jane Watson was a close friend of Gwen and would eventually become Peter Parkers second love.

The Death of Superman

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Superman met his demise at the hands of Doomsday in 1992. It all played out in issue #75 of Superman (vol. 2). The storyline’s premise was compelling, Superman engaged in battle with a seemingly unstoppable killing beast from ancient Krypton named Doomsday. It all went down in the streets of Metropolis and the battle was merely strength versus strength. Doomsday had the intent on destroying Metropolis. The last son of Krypton put every ounce of strength into his final battle. At the fight’s conclusion, both combatants died from their wounds. Superman died in Lois Lane’s arms. It was a surprising defeat, as Doomsday was an unknown character before these issues. The Death of Superman, which was a multi-issue story, was one of the best selling graphic novels of all time. After the Man of Steel’s death, a crossover depicted the world’s reaction to Superman’s death in “Funeral for a Friend.” In the story four individuals emerge to claim to be the “new” Superman. The original Superman
eventually returns in “Reign of the Supermen!”

The Dark Phoenix Saga (1980)

Shocking Moments in Comic Book History8 The Most Shocking Moments in Comic Book History
The Dark Phoenix Saga is an extended X-Men storyline. It revolves around Jean Grey and the Phoenix Force, ultimately ending in Jean Grey’s apparent death. The story began in 1976 with the Phoenix Saga, X-Men [vol. 1] #101-108. In the Phoenix Saga Jean Grey repairs the M’Kraan Crystal and garners an assumption of power. In 1980 the story continues with her corruption and ultimate demise. It is
one of the most well-known and heavily referenced stories in mainstream American superhero comics, and widely considered a classic.

Emerald Twilight (1994)

Shocking Moments in Comic Book History5 The Most Shocking Moments in Comic Book History
Emerald Twilight is a 1994 comic book story told in Green Lantern (vol. 3) #48-50. The story caused a bit of outrage among comic book fans because it transformed the well-established silver age super-hero Hal Jordan into the super villain Parallax. The story introduced a new Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner, who has gained a significant fan following. The entire story was released as a trade paperback collection in 1994, which is known as Green Lantern: Emerald Twilight.

Zero Hour: Crisis in Time (1994)

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Zero Hour is a five-issue comic book limited series that followed the story of Hal Jordan. It was released five months after Emerald Twilight. In the story, Parallax (Hal Jordan) attempts to destroy and then remake the entire DC Universe. The crossover story involved almost every DC Universe monthly series published at the time. Eventually, the collective efforts of the DC superheroes managed to stop
Parallax from imposing his vision of a new universe, and the DC time line was recreated anew.

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