HE SAID WHAT? THE 20 TOP SUPERHERO CATCHPHRASES

Behind every great superhero is a great catchphrase. By definition, a catchphrase is a well-known sentence or phrase that is associated with a particular famous person or character. Catchphrases are used in advertising such as Tony the Tiger proclaiming about Frosted Flakes “they’re great!”. Catchphrases are used by celebrities or notable figures such as The Rock claiming “Can you smell what the Rock is cookin’?”. So, it would stand to reason that catchphrases are used in comic books. Superhero characters are often given catchphrases for marketing and to make them more memorable.

The following is our top 20 superhero catchphrases

20. Phrase: Here I come to save the day

Said by: Mighty Mouse

The mouse with a might would sing this little diddy out as he would come to the rescue. This one sticks in your mind so much that I dare anyone to say that they have never uttered this when coming to the aid of their kid or friend.

19. Phrase: Titans Together

Said by: Titans / Teen Titans

The battle cry of both the Teen Titans and the older Titans. Usually said by their leader, Nightwing, but anyone can do the cry. It’s a good indication that a full-on ass whooping is about to begin.

18. Phrase: Avengers Assemble

Said by: Captain America – any Avengers leader

Another super team battle cry and probably the most famous comic book battle cry there is for a super team. Captain America is the known character for yelling the battle cry but if he’s not there someone else can say it. And yes, again it means someone is in for an ass whooping.

17. Phrase: Cowabunga

Said by: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

These fun-loving, skateboarding, ninja fighting sewer turtles had a weird personality trait that made them act like east coast New Yorkers yet talk like west coast surfers. In the first live-action movie this was even said by Master Splinter as the final line.

16. Phrase: It’s Morphing Time

Said by: Power Rangers

The battle cry that means it’s time to suit up. Followed by a big display that still confuses me on how the change really looks if you’re actually looking at the Power Rangers. Through the many various teams of Rangers, this is the one constant.

15. Phrase: Oh, my stars and garters

Said by: Beast

The bouncing Beast of the X-Men is known for this quip. The Beast was not only the brawn of the original team but the brains.

14. Phrase: Mein Gott

Said by: Nightcrawler

The demon looking teleporter of the original All New X-Men is known for using his native German tongue in battle.

13. Phrase: Imperius Rex

Said by: Namor the Submariner

Coming out of the ocean screaming Imperius Rex is the trademark cry of Namor the Submariner, whether he was mad at the surface world and out for vengeance or fighting to save the world.

12. Phrase: Shazam

Said by: Captain Marvel/Shazam

The magic words that change Billy Batson from a kid to the mightiest mortal on Earth. Just speak the name of the old wizard and inherit great power.

11. Phrase: Sweet Christmas

Said by: Luke Cage/Power Man

When Luke Cage is surprised, shocked or pissed off you can bet this is the first thing that comes out of his mouth. This happens at least once every issue of any book he is in.

10. Phrase: Merciful Minerva

Said by: Wonder Woman

The exclamation made by Wonder Woman whenever something major happens.

9. Phrase: Holy _______ Batman

Said by: Robin

The blank can be filled with almost anything that the cape crusaders are dealing with. Robin is famous for blurting out these Holy phrases on any occasion which translated to good TV for the 1960’s show.

8. Phrase: Flame On

Said by: Human Torch

This is Johnny Storm’s battle cry mixed in with his uniform change. Bursting into flames as he goes into battle with his Fantastic Four family.

7. Phrase: It’s Clobberin’ Time

Said by: The Thing

Another member of the Fantastic Four, Ben Grimm the Thing, yells this out to lets you know he’s about to hit you. Surprisingly this usually works for him because for some reason villains stay still to get hit.

6. Phrase: Up, up and away

Said by: Superman

This particular catchphrase ranks so high on our list because it may be the first catchphrase to become a household catchphrase. What kid did not wrap a blanket or sheet around his shoulders and jump off a bed to fly like Superman?

5. Phrase: In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil’s might, beware my power – Green Lantern’s light

Said by: Green Lantern

As he charges his ring, Hal Jordon chants this oath as an affirmation of his duties as a member of the Green Lantern Corps. Not sure if the ring charges if he doesn’t do the oath, though.

4. Phrase: I’m the best there is at what I do

Said by: Wolverine

The toughest mutant in comics is good at one thing and that’s popping his claws and fighting to the death. Wolverine is the best at getting his hands dirty when no one else can.

3. Phrase: Hulk Smash

Said by: Hulk

There have been different versions of the Hulk but the most known Hulk is the one that speaks in broken sentences and talks in first person. “You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry” almost made the list but this one is more classic.

2. Phrase: Wonder Twins powers activate

Said by: The Wonder Twins

This catchphrase ranked so high on the list out of nostalgia. Originating on the Saturday morning cartoon, the Wonder Twins would bump fist to turn one into an animal and the other into a form of water. They knew exactly what to turn into to complement each other’s transformation to get the job done.

1. Phrase: With great power comes great responsibility

Said by: Spiderman and Uncle Ben

With great power comes great responsibility tops the list as number one because this is what makes Spiderman the hero he is. This is his mantra. The wise words of his Uncle Ben resonated with young Peter, especially after his uncle’s brutal death at the hands of a robber that Peter could have stopped with his powers but let go. This is the phrase that drives Peter to be Spiderman and use his powers to help others and fight for justice. This is what makes Peter put on a costume and put his life in danger to help total strangers. This is the ultimate catchphrase.

That’s our list. Leave a comment and let us know if you agree with our list. Let us know what you would add or take out. With that, we will sign out with a catchphrase from the legendary Stan Lee: Excelsior!

Kenny Walker Jr

TOP 10 REASONS BATMAN IS THE MOST FEARED CHARACTER IN COMICS

Batman is one of the most feared characters in the DC Universe. No, I’m sorry, I meant Batman is one of the most feared characters in comics. Period. How did Batman get this reputation you ask? It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t always so.

When Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27 created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, in 1939 he was a dark vigilante that preyed on Gotham’s worst criminals. He was a serious no-nonsense character who carried a gun and he killed his adversaries if needed. In the 1950’s comic sales started to slip, and many comics characters suffered, however, Batman still remained. He became more of a sci-fi character with wacky sci-fi adventures. Which started to veer away from the seriousness of the original idea of the Batman character. In the 1960’s with the campiness of the Batman T.V. show increased sales of the comic book. In turn, the comic became campy which steered even more away from the original concept. After the show was canceled, DC comics decided to try to take Batman back to his roots and make him the Dark Knight once again.

Since then Batman became the coolest, badass, most kick-ass character in comics. A man both respected and feared by all. The following are the top 10 reasons in comics that have made that possible.

Dennis O’Neil and Neil Adams took over as writer and artist.

In 1969, O’Neil and Adams took over as the writer and artist of Batman their main objective was to move the character past the campy stereotype. Back to the basis that was created by Kane and Finger. Even though this did not boost sales the way that was expected what did happen was the true legend of the Dark Knight started to build.

Defeating Bane

In 1993 Bane had a plan to defeat The Bat. The storyline was called Knightfall. Bane’s plan was kind of practical. To throw every villain he could at Batman and wear him down. Then when he was worn out and at his lowest trying to figure out what was really going on Bane came through and beat the crap out of him and broke his back. This was classic. Batman briefly retired. But when his ill picked replacement went batshit crazy (pun included), Batman came back from a broken back and not only put Azrael Batman in check but also defeated Bane. Proving you can’t keep a good Bat down.

The Dark Knight Return

Frank Miller’s classic. Basically, this is one of the greatest mini-series. This is a Batman in the future who is old, and battle worn. He is back, and he is still the wrong man to piss off. He lays a final defeat on his greatest foe, The Joker, and proves that he can still go one on one with the man of steel, Superman.

Batman defeats a Green Lantern with one punch

So, after the mini-series Legends which tries to establish heroes after Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC decided to start another Justice League in 1986. This version of Justice League added humor to the superhero comic with Batman often playing the serious father figure straight man. He had instant respect from everyone on the team because of his legend and them knowing what he could do. Everyone except Green Lantern Guy Gardner who would disrespect and taunt Batman for the first few issues of the series. When he would confront the Batman the rest of the team kept telling Guy Gardener to watch himself, but he wouldn’t listen. This resulted in Batman laying him out with one punch after Gardener challenged him to one on one after taking off his ring. Blue Beatle couldn’t stop laughing and Black Canary was very upset she missed it by a second.

Superman calls Batman the most dangerous man in the world

In 1997 there was yet another reboot of the Justice League called JLA. The first story arch was called New World Order and the team consisted of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, and Green Lantern. An alien super team called the Hyperclan came to Earth and posed as heroes but as predicted they weren’t. They came to dominate. So, the Justice League decided to stop them and lost. They defeated the entire League except for Martian Manhunter who disguised himself and infiltrated the group and Batman who they thought they blew up in the Batplane. So, the not dead Batman sneaks in the lower levels of the Hyperclans base and starts to take them down one by one. He knew their secret. They were really White Martians. They gave themselves away because none of them came near the Batplane that was on fire to check for a dead body. As he takes the first set of Martians down with gasoline and a match he leaves a note behind telling them he knows who they really are. The leader of the Hyperclan is confused and baffled to learn that Batman lived through the Batplane explosion and is taking down these powerful beings because he is just a normal human with no powers and that’s when Superman chained down and weakened with Kryptonite reminds him that “he is the most dangerous man in the world”.

Batman defeats the Justice League

Batman likes to be prepared for every situation. Although he didn’t really execute the way the entire Justice League was defeated he did plan it in JLA: Tower of Babel. Batman had a manifest on how to defeat every member of the Justice League which was stolen by his arch nemesis Ra’s al Ghul. Ra’s used this information to defeat the Justice League and as you know they did overcome. Batman’s reason for having such a manifest was just in case any one of them went bad, including himself. The real outcome was the other heroes looking at Batman and thinking “Wait, this guy actually thought of ways to defeat every one of us and who knows who else he’s got files on …. this cat is seriously dangerous”

Batman’s resurrection

So Darkseid is again causing static. Batman decides to end this once and for all and creates a gun to kill a god. So Batman does what only he can do. Darkseid is not surprised or holds quarter as he respects Batman as being that one hero that would do what needs to be done with stakes this high. He does shoot Darkseid but not before Darkseid shoots his Omega beams and seemingly kills the Dark Knight. Apparently, what the beam did was banish Batman in time. Though several reincarnations and a little help from Tim Drake Robin the Dark Knight beat time and death and make his way back to the present. Who does that?

No Man’s Land

This story is actually very basic. This 1999 storyline has Gotham separated from the rest of the world by an earthquake. Bruce Wayne leaves Gotham to use his influence to get help from the government to save Gotham. Meanwhile, the villains and the few heroes left have divided up the land. Bruce Wayne comes back to Gotham and Batman emerges a few months later to rally the good guys and save Gotham.

Forms The Outsiders

In 1983 Batman decides to quit the satellite-based Justice League because he’s a mysterious detective that lives in the shadows. Plus, to him, the League wasn’t worried about the little guys anymore but big global threats. That was not what Batman wanted to be a part of so in 1985 debuted Batman and the Outsiders. This team consisted of more down to earth heroes such as Black Lightning, Katana, Metamorpho, Geo-Force, Halo, and Looker. Yup, Batman is badass enough to quit the team with the most powerful heroes in the world to form his own kickass team that works as a well-tuned unit. It was kind of like when David Ruffin left the Temptations in the 60’s except this move worked out for Batman.

Holds his own and even defeats Marvel characters

Everyone always talks about who would bin in a Marvel vs DC fight. Well, there was a few times that happened. In DC Special #27 Batman battles the Hulk. In what some comic book fans call BS, Batman uses gas and a gut kick to defeat the Incredible Hulk. Yes, simply breathing in gas felled the Hulk. Then there was the time in another Marvel DC collaboration Batman uses a nerve punch in the right place to knock out The Scorpion. Another outing of Marvel vs DC where fans voted for the outcome of the battles found Batman defeating Captain America in a sewer. Fans wherein an uproar because Batman is just a human while Captain America has the super soldier serum and I need to remind you that Batman is a man who trains himself to fight people with powers and figures out their weakness. The second time they met in the 2003 JLA/ Avengers team up. This time they square off to a tie but still – normal human vs super soldier serum because that’s how badass Batman is.

Please feel free to comment on our list and tell us what you think. Is Batman the most feared character in comics or is he just hype? Do you know more stories to support this theory? Let us know.

Kenny Walker Jr

ARE WE STILL FANS OR DO WE JUST WANT TO SEE THE CAPES?

There was a time when comic book shows in multimedia were far and in between. Comic nerds and superhero fans were starving for entertainment other than what was on the pages at their local comic store. There might be one TV show with a guy in a mask one season and another with a lady with a lasso a few years later but that’s all you got. Then you may get one major motion picture with a guy in a cape and two decades later get another movie about a superhero vampire but that was your limit. Yup the pickings were slim.

When comic book heroes started showing up in serials in the 1930s. Flash Gordon, Shazam, Batman and Superman all came to life for about 15 minutes leaving you with a cliffhanger until the next episode. Another popular medium, radio, where every week you can hear the adventures of Buck Rogers and Dick Tracey. With a TV in the 1950s, your home was visited by The Lone Ranger and Superman. As decades past you had a very campy Batman, Wonder Woman, Spiderman, and yes, we had a Hulk. To satisfy our lack of live action we had some of the best classic cartoons. From Marvel superheroes in the 1960s to the Superfriends of the 1970s to G.I. Joe in the 1980s to the X-Men of the 1990s our Saturday mornings and after school schedules was set.

Then something happened. The late 1990s Sony Spiderman movies became a hit. Over in TV land, Smallville, a show about Superman’s beginnings ran for 10 seasons. Then Batman Begins and so starts the Christopher Nolan trilogy. Marvel launches the MCU with Iron Man and from there the industry blew up. Superheroes are everywhere.

There are currently about 16 comic books inspired live-action shows on TV with four more starting next month in June. There are at least 8 comic book inspired movies due out in 2018. These numbers do not include the countless cartoons and kid shows based on comic books and superheroes in general.

The question we now need to ask ourselves is: Has the industry oversaturated the fanboys and girls with the comic book world?

The recent cancellation of Marvel TV’s Inhumans it may signal that this superhero boom may be over. Although Marvel put a decent push for Inhumans by releasing the pilot in IMAX it did not go over well with the fans. It was perceived as too campy compared to the MCU that fans have been used to getting. On top of that, the fate of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D seems to be a little uncertain. Yes, the CW seems to be going strong with their line up of superhero and comic book shows every night which all have basically been renewed for next year but of all the shows Arrow which was the flagship show that started it all is at the bottom of the ratings. Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War have topped the box office this year with millions but our payoff for Infinity War is a year away. Will the fans wait that long, or will the attention move elsewhere?

In some respect, you can say that it feels like the industry makers are taking our love for superheroes too far and not giving us the quality that we are used to. Just stick a cape on it and the people will buy it. There’s no need for quality, compelling storyline or character development when you know there will be ticket sales and viewers based on the superhero content. Netflix’s Jessica Jones might have been that show to display this. Overall this Marvel Netflix outing was not up to par with previous shows almost like it was rushed to get the product out to the fans. DC is coming out with its own streaming service called DC Universe in 2018. Set previews of its upcoming show, Titans, has not been sitting well with fans. Already there’s debate about whether this first live action Titans will live up to its comic book predecessor.

The remainder of 2018 promises some awesome things in movie, TV, and streaming. It’s up to us the audience to determine if we are still fans. It’s up to us to determine if we just want to see our favorite characters on the screen regardless of the content. The superhero genre is still booming but whether it’s waning a bit remains to be seen. There are some great plans for comic book superheroes on the big and small screens even past 2020 but the question is will this genre stand the test of time.

Kenny Walker Jr

Mental Illness is the Villain

After generations of suffering in silence, mental health awareness is now at the forefront of culture. In the world of super heroes and super villains, mental illness is an all too common underlying theme. The casual fans are familiar with the PTSD Batman faced after watching his parents killed but may not know he suffered this same fate after Joker killed Jason Todd, and Jason Todd’s subsequent battle with PTSD as he became The Red Hood.

Casual fans see Two-Face as a prime candidate for Dissociative Identity Disorder but may not catch the Coin Flip is a compulsion from the character’s Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Thanks to the Iron man films, Iron Man faced anxiety and alcoholism, though on a much smaller scale than the groundbreaking 1979 Demon in a Bottle story arc tackling his alcoholism. Dual diagnoses are all too common in real life, and the same goes for these comic multi-verses.

An entire thesis could be presented with every single one of these characters and their respective diagnoses, so this will be a generalized overview. Many people living with mental illness are often dual diagnosed. The most well-known being addiction and depression. Characters like The Comedian from Watchmen and Arsenal from DC turn to drugs and alcohol to cope. However, in many cases, there are multiple mental disorders such as Bi-Polar and Schizophrenic, called Schizo-Effective.

Another combination is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Anxiety. All of which are all too commonly compounded by Depression sprinkled on top. Or in some cases like Deadpool, the Joker, and this humble author, have an amalgam of mental disorders. As mentioned before, Iron Man was a great portrayal of dual diagnosis in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Jarvis informed Tony he was having a panic attack, as well as Depression, and PTSD, after the apocalyptic vision Scarlet Witch showed him during Age of Ultron.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is all too common amongst superhero origin stories. Marvel’s Netflix series Jessica Jones brought her battle with PTSD to the small screen.  DC has recently released the title Heroes in Crisis, with the underlying theme of the trauma superheroes must overcome. Thor in Avengers: Endgame, is a great example of a depressive episode resulting from PTSD, but not suffering from Depression. He experienced a trauma, so he became extremely apathetic, and seemingly an alcohol suggested by his new dad bod.

He was very sad, as he rightfully should have been, but without more than one episode, he would not have been classified as having Depression. His character in Endgame could also resemble symptoms of PTSD originating from The Snap or The Blip. DC’s Rebirth introduced a new Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz. The green lanterns are powered by WILL, but as a superhero with anxiety, she sometimes lacks the will to even get out of bed. DC does a great job of portraying real-life anxiety in the mind of this superhero.

She helps the Justice League stop a sea monster, then catches a submarine by manifesting her powers as a Green Lantern. Despite the external battle being over, she is still battling her biggest demon, her anxiety. She tells herself she can’t hold the submarine, that she doesn’t belong amongst these other heroes, that she is not strong enough. Then it happens again and it leads to her getting knocked down by a weak villain, subsequently leading to a confrontation with another Green Lantern, Simon, Jessica goes home, constantly reliving  all the doubts, and does not get out of bed to meet Simon for breakfast as was their routine.

The story ends with fellow Simon, in her kitchen making her pancakes to show she doesn’t have to fight this alone either. Daredevil is another Marvel character dealing with depression, and unbeknownst to casual fans, his mother left his father and him due to suffering postpartum depression. Writers have even tackled Agoraphobia, or the fear of leaving one’s home. During World War Hulk, Robert Reynolds, known as Sentry, could stop Hulk as he has the power of 10000 exploding suns. Sentry also has a “dark side” called the Void. Choosing to use the term “Void” representing the void he feels as part of his crippling agoraphobia.

One common complaint, the writers’ use his agoraphobia as a plot point to continue the story. This tactic receives criticism as lazy writing and lends to Sentry being a disliked character. But for the sake of mental illness, it does portray agoraphobia and give it a brief spotlight. Domestic abuse has also been a theme presented to comic book fans. The most notorious being the relationship between Harley Quinn and the Joker. But the original Ant-Man, Hank Pym was also abusive to his wife, the Wasp, which subsequently lead to her leaving him. 

There are a few fan favorite characters addressing Dissociative Identity Disorder, formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder. Marvel fans have been voicing their desire for the presence of Moon Knight in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Moon Knight is a cult favorite among Marvel fans. He has three identities, Jake Lockley, Marc Spector, and Stephen Grant. Legion is another character dealing with DID, but in a much different manner. Each of Legion’s identities each come with different superpowers. Legion is said to have thousands of personalities within him

With mental health awareness on the rise, so are characters specifically meant to represent mental illness. Frank Gaskill and Ryan Kelly are both doctors, specializing in the Autism Spectrum. With their knowledge they created Max Gamer. Max Gamer, also the name of the comic run, has Asperger’s syndrome, now referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder. The creators do not portray his ASD negatively, in fact, they use the “symptoms” of ASD as his superpowers.

All these characters have battled villains to save the world, while battling the villainous mental illness within. While they may be superheroes that pop culture idolizes, never forget, in the real world, it takes super human strength to overcome these potentially crippling disorders.

Mike Hoff

Marvel Exhibit: Journey through the Marvel Universe

Upon entering the Franklin Institute’s Marvel Superheroes exhibit, eyes gaze upon an old newspaper stand lined with Marvel comics, all artwork, then proceed to watch a five-minute Marvel introduction video. This video mentions Martin Goodman, known as the founder of Marvel Comics, started off in pulp magazines before creating Marvel Comics #1.

The first issue featured The Human Torch, an android, not from Fantastic Four, pit against Namor, the Sub Mariner. The introduction video also includes tidbits such as Captain America nearly selling a million copies. The comic controversy of the 1950s, and of course, the origin story of Marvel’s greatest legend, Stan Lee.

This video surmises much of what follows in the exhibit, and these same points are mentioned in an interactive screen during the next phase of the exhibit. Longtime comic fans will already know much of the information presented throughout this exhibit, but there are still many reasons for these comic book fans to still attend, and for all to enjoy.

There are panels from The Phantom, said to be the first costumed superhero debuting in 1936. Also, panels of Flash Gordon, one of the most popular heroes from the early years of comics, which debuted in 1934. It is one thing to know the history of Marvel Comics #1, but at the Marvel exhibit, comic fans get to glance at an actual issue of Marvel Comics #1.

The first issue of Amazing Spiderman is also on display, along with Black Panther’s first appearance and first issue. The costumes from the Black Panther film were showcased along with the other Superhero suits and helmets from the rest of the characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. One of the most interesting sections was the Comic Book controversy containing articles about the Comic Book Trial.

Comic fans learn comic books were being banned and burned as the superheroes would often be included with the crime genre, thus attracting the wrath of angry parents. This led to the Comic Code. A list of “Do’s” and “Don’t’s” for comic companies to follow in order to be published. This almost killed the comic industry, until Stan Lee created Fantastic Four, and the rest is history.

Another major attraction was the inside scoop behind creating comics revealed at this Marvel Superheroes exhibit. Located in the Spiderman section, there is an interactive screen depicting the process of comic creation. From lettering to coloring to editing, fans are privy to insights to how their heroes come to life. There was an interactive screen for comic fans to arrange panels and a Spiderman issue presented panel by panel from penciling to inking to lettering to coloring.

One of these interactive screens had a chart portraying the differences between creating comics traditionally compared to the modern digital age. Depicting the differences between the standard 4 color of print, CMYK, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and black; to the thousands and thousands of colors now available to comic artists. Another part depicted how four different inkers could have four different shades of white, thus providing fans a glimpse into the uniqueness of each issue.

The exhibit started with the characters from the Avengers, then moved onto the street level heroes of Marvel’s Netflix series such as Daredevil, Iron Fist Luke Cage. Jessica Jones, The Punisher, as well as Ghostrider to the space heroes such as Guardians of the Galaxy and mystic heroes like Doctor Strange. Also included were sections about the character progressions of Nick Fury, and She-Hulk, as well as Captain Marvel, including a web of all the characters connected to the Supreme Intelligence.

There were only a few negative aspects of the Franklin Institute’s Marvel Exhibit. First, the lighting made photography hit and miss with a cell phone. Some sections were too dark, or too reflective, but this is just a small detail. The main issue was the lack of villain displays and information. Granted it is called Marvel’s Superheroes exhibit, without villains, these heroes wouldn’t exist. Overall, this exhibit is worth the entry fee whether on a solo adventure or a team journey.

Mike Hoff

TOP 10 PATRIOTIC SUPERHEROES

In celebration of Independence Day, Obsidian Nomad presents our top 10 patriotic superheroes. These are the heroes that best represent America. A lot of the common denominators in these heroes are relationships to World War II and some kind of fluke accident or secret serum. Nevertheless, these are the heroes we most think of when we think of America.

Check out our list and let us know who you would add or take away.

Stargirl – Courtney Whitmore

First appearance (as Courtney Whitmore) Star and S.T.R.I.P.E. #0 1999 As Stargirl JSA: All Stars #4 2003

Courtney Whitmore is the stepdaughter of the Pat Dugan original sidekick hero of the Star-Spangled Kid, Stripesy. Courtney found the Kid’s old cosmic belt in the garage and originally calls herself the Star-Spangled Kid to annoy her stepfather. Later, as a member of the JSA, she meets the original Starman and receives his cosmic rod and changes her name to Star Girl.

Battlestar – Lemar Hoskins

First appearance Captain America #323 1986

Lemar Hoskins was given a version of the super soldier formula and was selected by the government to be a Bucky for the new Captain America when Steve Rogers had quit. He changed his name to Battlestar after another Black man reminded him that calling himself Bucky was derogatory because that was a term for slaves.

US Agent – John Walker

First appearance (as Super Patriot) Captain America #323 1986 – (As Captain America) Captain America #333 1987 – (As US Agent) Captain America #354

John Walker was given a version of the super soldier formula and originally became the Super Patriot as a nemesis to Captain America. When Steve Rogers was no longer Captain America, the government picked Walker to be the replacement. When Rogers resumes the mantle of Captain America, Walker becomes the US Agent.

Star Spangled Kid – Sylvester Pemberton

First appearance Star Spangled Comics #1 1941

Sylvester Pemberton was a kid superhero during World War II with an adult sidekick, Stripesy. Both heroes were lost in time with the rest of the superhero group, Seven Soldiers of Victory, and rescued in modern day by the Justice League and the Justice Society. In modern time and still young, Sylvester joined the Justice Society and used the then injured Starman’s cosmic rod. He remodeled it into a belt and changed his name to Skyman.

Patriot – Eli Bradley

First appearance – Young Avengers #1 2005

Eli Brandley is the grandson of the African American Captain America, Isaiah Bradley. Isaiah was part of an experiment the government had after the super soldier serum was lost after it turned Steve Rogers into the first Captain America. Eli, wanted to follow in his grandfathers’ footsteps, convinced the other heroes that he had powers by using an illegal drug to augment himself. When he was injured in a battle trying to save Captain America, he was given a blood transfusion by his grandfather which gave him real powers to fight as Patriot.

Miss America – Madeline Joyce

First appearance Marvel Mystery Comics #43 1943

Madeline Joyce was an heiress who tampered with a machine a scientist had created that he claimed gave him superpowers. While tampering with the machine it was hit with lightning and she gained powers. She used those powers to fight crime during World War II. She also fought alongside Captain America, Bucky, the original Human Torch, Toro, the Sub Mariner and the Whizzer in the All Winners Squad.

Liberty Bell – Libby Lawrence

First appearance Boy Commandos #1 1942

Libby Lawrence receives a bell-shaped medal that was shaped from a piece of the original Liberty Bell. When the actual Liberty Bell is rung it enhances her powers and she uses it to fight crime during World War II. She eventually becomes a member and chairperson of the All-Star Squadron and marries Johnny Chambers who is the superhero Johnny Quick. They have a daughter Jessie Quick who becomes the second Liberty Bell.

Uncle Sam

First appearance National Comics #1 1940

Uncle Sam is a mystical entity that is described as the “Spirit of America”. He leads the Freedom Fighters who exist on a world where the Nazis won World War II.

The Shield – Joe Higgins

First appearance Pep Comics #1 1940

Joe Higgins, the original Shield, was a chemist and the son of an army lieutenant that was working on a secret formula for super strength during World War II. When his father was killed by the Germans trying to get the formula, Joe finished his fathers work and used the formula to fight the Germans.

Captain America – Steve Rogers

First appearance Captain America Comics #1 1941

Steve Rogers receives the super soldier serum and becomes Captain America during World War II to fight the Nazis. During a battle with the Baron Zemo towards the end of the war, he is presumed dead but is really frozen in ice after falling in arctic waters trying to stop a bomb aimed for America. He is revived by the Avengers in the modern day and continues to fight crime and represent America.

Kenny Walker Jr

Cosplay: Inexpensive Methods to Make Priceless Memories

Cosplay culture is one of the most popular aspects of Comic Conventions. However, this display of fandom is found at many types of conventions. From anime to horror to video games, cosplaying is growing in popularity. Some fans and professional cosplayers spend countless hours planning and creating cosplay suits. They will pay hundreds of dollars for materials such as foam and garments, and even more for wigs and makeup.

These lavish, extravagant and intricately detailed cosplay suits can be intimidating for beginners or prevent some from participating. The message from this “Budget Cosplay” panel at Wizard World Philadelphia was captured in a statement by Super Kaycee, “There is no wrong way to cosplay.” Michael “Knightmage” Wilson, started cosplaying in 2012. His origin story began at a party, where he was invited to Cosplay at upcoming charity events.

Then he attended his first Comic-Con and became addicted to Cosplay. Yet this professional does not break the bank while creating these awe-inspiring suits. He announced to the crowd, he spent $200 or less, and 4 days or less, to make his over 150 cosplay suits. While you can acquire top of the line suits and wigs from websites like Arda and Epic Cosplay, Super Kaycee and Michael Wilson recommend scouring goodwill and thrift stores for materials. Michael noted once he began cosplaying, It began to open creativity when looking at regular items, while walking through dollar stores. Which I, as a beginner, put into practice.

I made my first cosplay outfit the day before attending this panel, so I could raise my hand when Super Mage, “Knightmage” and SuperKaycee, surveyed the audience to discover, two people had spent over $300 on a cosplay, while a handful of fans, including myself spent $50 dollars or less. Last year I purchased a Flash jumpsuit for $60. I promised myself I would cosplay as Black Bolt, from Marvel’s Inhumans, this year.

My financial situation did not allow me to purchase a base body suit or high-end material. So, I stopped at a dollar store in Philly after leaving the convention Friday night. I bought a barbecue fork, a du-rag, and a few rolls of aluminum duct tape all for $1.29 each. These items I used to make the helmet. Then I spent three dollars on an umbrella, then cut the lining to make a cape.

I bought a pair of pants from Wal-Mart for $7 and a pair of boots for $20. I spent a few hours, and when it was finished, I was slightly nervous. Feelings of anxiety wondering if the other fans would recognize my portrayal of my favorite comic book character. The result was a handful of recognition, and even one picture, which I never expected. A lesson, Super Mage, instilled in the audience, cosplay is not about perfection, it is about expression.

Another common misconception involves purchasing base suits as opposed to making them yourself. Beginners can be under the impression, if one does not make their own suit, then it “doesn’t count.” But SuperKaycee mentioned, making these base bodysuits is the livelihood for some artists. Purchasing body suits and wigs will help support local artists and small business owners.

These can be found on websites like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Wish, as well as on social media groups like Heroes for Hire Facebook page. This is where cosplayers network. One example they gave, if one knows how to do makeup, but does not know how to sew, and cannot afford to hire someone to sew, they can reach out to another cosplayer. This networking allows cosplayers to learn skills they don’t possess yet and pay it forward by teaching the skills they have acquired.

There are also innumerable tutorials on YouTube to guide beginners as they make their first cosplay suits. Wigs and makeup are the two materials which the hosts suggested spending a little extra to ensure the best quality. Wigs can be hit and miss, they recommend reading the reviews of wigs for sale, as well as entering “Cosplay Wigs,” into search engines to give the best chance of receiving a wig that will capture the look of that character.

You can even buy wigs, then go to a beauty school to have the necessary hairstyle. These beauty school students are looking to add hours towards their certificate, so it is a win-win for all parties involved. Like hair stylists do for their trade, SuperKaycee suggested investing in a quality pair of scissors for fabric and foam cutting. EVA Foam is the material used as the base mold for many of the jaw-dropping costumes seen at comic conventions.

From the Iron Man Suit to Thor’s Mjolnir to Gundam war suits, EVA foam is the most cost-efficient foam to purchase for cosplay needs. Other items needed to combine foam parts would be hot glue and/or contact cement. If using contact cement, be sure to apply in well-ventilated areas as it is toxic. Cosplays can also use shelf lining to prevent slippage and chaffing. Don’t let the idea of being uncomfortable for hours rub you the wrong way. When you see a child smile at the site of your suite, it will be all worthwhile.

The notion of having to spend a lot of money to create a great cosplay is just one common misconception of cosplayers. “Cosplayers can be seen as vain,” mentioned co-host, SuperKaycee. Most female superheroes and villain characters are cladly dressed, so female cosplayers often adorn cosplay which ranges from revealing to provocative. Thanks to the natural inclination of humanity to pass judgment, many onlookers take the unfortunate perspective these women expressing their fandom are just looking for attention or trying to flaunt “what their momma gave them.

These women are fulfilling their desire to portray characters that help them escape from life’s harsh realities. They do not cosplay to become the subject of desire, although life’s harsh reality takes a different perspective. Meanwhile, these cosplayers are some of the most dedicated and kindhearted people attending the convention. Taking their time to take pictures with children, families, and nerds that had to muster up enough courage to ask for a picture. Before passing judgment, remember the adage, never judge a comic book by its cover.

Cosplay has given nerds around the world an outlet and the courage to express themselves. Cosplaying is as much for the community as it is the cosplayer. You don’t have to spend paychecks on creating costumes, all you need is the desire to recreate your favorite character. Cosplay is an art, and every fan is an artist. Your masterpiece is a few thrift stores and hours of hard work away. The payoff will be priceless memories.

Mike Hoff

Nerdy by Nature: An Open Mic for Open Minds and Hearts

Nerdy by Nature is an Open Mic experience held every first Friday at the revered Amalgam Comic and Coffeehouse, located at 2758 Frankford Avenue in Philadelphia. “Let Your Geek Flag Fly,” is the mantra of Nerdy by Nature, according to its founder and MC, KeithfromUpDaBlock, and the performances to follow manifest this sentiment month after month. KeithfromUpDaBlock and Amalgam owner, Ariell Johnson, decided to create this amazing experience about two years ago.

Keith and co-host, Lot DaWordGician, longtime creative friends from their high school performing arts days, were involved with Stand Up the Movies yet were focused to close those doors when ownership changed hands. Amalgam Comic and Coffeehouse had been around for about a year, Keith and Ariell did not know each other, at first, he reached out as a sign of support for Ariell’s business. A perfect precursor mimicking the welcoming and supportive attitude of Nerdy by Nature. Their goal was to bring like-minded people together, and two years later, they are still succeeding at every event.

My first Nerdy by Nature experience came during the February event, and it was an experience I will never forget. My first time performing, I did three minutes of “Dad Jokes,” all Comic-Con and Game of Thrones related, and it was the first ovation I ever received from a crowd. Many “nerdy” comedians enjoy Nerdy by Nature as they can use material which typically would not go over as well to the general population. Plus, this “nerdy” material is often near and dear to their hearts.

Co-host, Lot DaWordGician, informed me, her favorite moment from Nerdy by Nature came when a fellow nerd spoke about Black Holes for ten minutes. While the material went over many audience members heads, it was a prime example of the nerds embracing their own. Most of the acts are comedians, along with poets, magicians, authors reading excerpts from their short stories. It doesn’t matter if you are black, brown, white, dressed casually or in full Viking gear, even if you are not nerdy, this open mic’s nature is to accept you for you.

One typical character trait of nerds” is social anxiety, and if I didn’t struggle with it, there may have been more quotes from amazingly talented nerds. Nerds have been given negative connotations in the entertainment industry for generations. Even Brainy Smurf got bullied by the other Smurfs, including Papa Smurf. I do not have to learn the stories of each performer to know many have dealt with bullying, loneliness, and deal with feelings of not fitting society’s standard for “cool.” Nerdy by Nature shatters these notions with acceptance.

Every performer, whether it is their first time performing or a guest spot by an established industry name, all acts are treated with respect. While I may have been too nervous to ask for more comments, I have been at every event since February and felt welcomed, which as an anti-social nerd, is few and far between. Nerdy by Nature hosts themes for each event, the second Nerdy by Nature event I was lucky enough to attend was dedicated to one of their own. They helped raise money for one of their hosts as she battles health issues, showing it is more than a mic, it is a family.

As someone who typically has trouble feeling accepted and making friends, Nerdy by Nature has opened doors I would not have opened. Through meeting people at Nerdy by Nature, I have been invited to participate in social media events promoting reading to the youth, to venture into the world of improv, and invitations to attend other events. I chose not to perform at the Prince Birthday themed event last week. I wanted this event to have my full attention. One of the co-hosts, comedian Beth McNulty, was unable to attend and bring her refreshing insight.

Co-host, Lot DaWordGician kicked off the event with her passionate poetry and had me hanging on every syllable of her alliteration and analogies. Following Lot’s mesmerizing poetry, a magician entranced the crowd with his act, bringing up a few volunteers and pulled laughs from the crowd with each trick. The Prince Impersonator had shoulders rolling, heads bobbing, and feet tapping, intertwined with comedians pushing the boundaries and keeping the laughs coming with their various comedic stylings. To all the young nerds out there, parents of nerds, KeithfromUpBlock wants you to find like-minded people, and never stop growing.

LotdaWordGician asks you to stay true to your inner nerd, as you won’t realize how admired you are until you get older. Don’t let the world change you, because they love nerds more than they let on. I will say, the truth is out, find yours. Nerdy by Nature is not the only event benefiting the community at Amalgam Comic and Coffeehouse. There were also flyers for Queerly Comedic, an LGBT centric comedy night, Therapeutic Roleplay Groups for Children, and a writing group, just to name a few. if you are thinking of performing for your first time, or you are looking for a fun way to spend the first Friday of every month in the Tri-State area, Nerdy by Nature is a place to plant your Geek Flag.

Mike Hoff

Heroes In Crisis: A murder mystery based on therapy

History of Crisis Events

In the DC Universe, the title Crisis was applied to the teamups between the Justice League of America of Earth-One and the Justice League of America. The prelude to these events was The Flash of Two Worlds which introduced the concept of the multiverse by teaming up the Golden Age Flash and the Modern Age Flash in The Flash #123 (Sept 1961). This led to Justice League and Justice Society annual team-ups that started with Crisis on Earth-One and Crisis on Earth-Two found in Justice League #21 and #22 in 1963. This annual tradition continued until Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1985 which is a classic.

During these annual events, the two teams would visit other Earths in the multiverse to team up with those heroes and defeat the villains. They would travel through time. They would travel to dimensions. To me these where exciting events. As a kid in the late 70’s this was my introduction to the Justice Society because at the time they did not have a monthly book and in my neighborhood, you had to go to the local 7/11 to get books which didn’t always have the best or newest selection.

After Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Crisis events took a slightly different turn. As we were now dealing with a new DC universe because of the 1985 book, the threats became bigger and more of a universal problem. Some of these events were not specifically titled “Crisis” but they were considered Crisis events. In 2004, Identity Crisis was a crisis on a smaller scale. This dealt with a murder mystery among the heroes. Ralph Dibney’s, the Elongated Man, wife, Sue Dibney, had been murdered. After a list of villains, it was revealed that the murderer was actually Jean Loring, Ray Palmer’s (The Atom) wife.

The premise of Heroes in Crisis

In Heroes in Crisis, DC went back to the murder mystery formula. The hitch this time was that there were no villains involved. The premise of this story is that Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, who are now being dubbed the Trinity, created a place called Sanctuary. Sanctuary is a place for superhero therapy. Because of the life they lead, if a hero needed a place to go to get away, collect their thoughts or just talk about their life, they went to Sanctuary. It was a secret place that only the heroes knew about. But the unthinkable happens: a mass murder takes place at Sanctuary. No one knows who did the murders and the only living witnesses and possible suspects are Booster Gold and Harley Quinn.

While Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, and other heroes try to solve the mystery, Booster Gold and Harley Quinn work on trying to clear their names and find their own answers. Booster and Harley being the only survivors are made to believe that one of them is the killer. With the help of Blue Beetle and Batgirl, the four solve the mystery of the real killer: Wally West, the Flash. Wally West was at Sanctuary dealing with the loss of his family since he reappeared from the speed force a few years ago. He has not been seen since Flashpoint event and was not integrated into the New 52.

West came out of the speed force to a much different reality. While at Sanctuary trying to cope with his loss and trying to fit into this new world, he loss control of his powers and his energy killed everyone in the vicinity. Realizing what he had done, he set up everything to make it look like it wasn’t him to throw off the scent. Then he went into the future to kill himself and leave that body in the past to make him not a suspect. Sounds crazy. Anyway, Wally West was caught and convinced not to kill himself and he confessed to the accidental murders. He was jailed and Booster and Harley were cleared.

Our take from this story

The refreshing part of Heroes in Crisis was that it was a murder mystery. There was no big epic battle at the end to save the universe, the planet or even the country. There was no master plot by a big supervillain to take over everything or kill the heroes. This was just a well-written murder mystery. Yes, it was confusing at the end on how Wally West would kill himself and how Booster proposed the solution. Other than that, it all was a was well written. Another refreshing part of this story was the use of Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, Harley Quinn, and Batgirl.

These are unusual leads for a Crisis event. Crisis events are usually centered around main heroes like Superman, Batman and the rest of the Justice League. While the Trinity were featured throughout the story, they were in the background trying to figure out the mystery. The weird pairing of Booster and Harley along with Beetle and Batgirl made for quite an interesting story. It made me think how DC could use another mystery book. Another cool aspect of the story was Sanctuary. The heroes that were getting treated there were made to video themselves talking to about their problems in a video that would be erased when they were done.

Throughout the nineissue story, you got to listen in on the lives of various heroes. Some of the videos whereof the slain heroes who happen to be there during Wally’s accident. Insight on life as a hero. They are people too. One of the few battles was the battle between Harley and the Trinity. Now Harley going against Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman would have you thinking the fight is over before it began. Harley was able to hold off the heroes and delay them enough so she could escape. Harley was also able to go toe to toe with Booster. Although all these heroes are way stronger than her and the fights can be seen as a writers choice to move the story, this could also show the power of fighting an unpredictable opponent.

Overall, Heroes in Crisis is a good solid read which has you wondering the future of the fan favorite Wally West. There are suggestions that there are bigger things planned for his future with certain sources pointing to his own book or a stint as leader of the Suicide Squad. Even bigger is possible hints to this story being connected to the Doomsday Clock storyline and that Dr Manhattan from that story is connected to the deaths framing Wally without anyone’s knowledge.

Take a read and give us your opinion.

Kenny Walker Jr

Comic Con: A Superhuman Experience

I first entered the comic book culture about five years ago. A friend had a backpack full of Marvel comics and trades, which are typically a collection of an entire story arc. He handed me Marvel’s Infinity Gauntlet to read, and I’ve been a fan ever since. Comic books helped me through a difficult point in my life, as it has given countless adults and children an escape from life’s stressors. Comic books are an escape from reality, as are comic conventions. Yet, at these conventions, fans experience genuine interactions with other attendees, artists, authors, and celebrities.
 Four years later I attended my first Comic-Con, Garden State Comic Fest in Atlantic City, New Jersey with my cousin. As a casual fan, I can still remember the feeling of excitement when I was greeted by a woman in Harley Quinn cosplay. Cosplay is one of the main attractions of any given Comic-Con. Much of my first experience was taking pictures of the different cosplayers ranging from DC,  three different jokers. Marvel, I saw a Green Goblin “battle” a Spider-Man for a group of kids. Other crowd watched Lightsaber battles and Transformers unite. Many conventions host cosplay contests which are as fun for the audience as it is the participants.
My cousin decided to become a comic book collector around the same time I became a comic book fan. He was lucky enough to meet Stan Lee and get his autograph twice. Just a few of the most memorable of many memories he will never forget as a comic collector. Being a comic collector takes preparation. They will check the website regularly to see what guests have been added or have canceled. Then look up their work if not familiar with all some artists’ work. They will collect certain key issues such as first appearances, major deaths, and most epic storylines. Then label the books with the various people involved for signatures. But there are all types of items to purchase and collect aside from comic books available at Comic-Con.
This particular event, we waited in line along with generations of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fans to meet creator, Kevin Eastman and get his autograph. Some of the most renowned comic book character creators will have lines of fans waiting to interact, and they are happy to meet their fans. There are also artists on the verge of becoming the “next big thing” as well as artists just starting out. Aside from art and comics, there are vendors with cards, clothing, posters, toys, as well as other unique creations too hard to describe without witnessing with your own eyes. One of the most memorable booths I have seen at any Comic Con was artwork created by a girl in middle school. Her unique style was horror focused with “Death Scenes” combining different genres like Marvel and Charlie Brown, a Thanos figure standing over a bloody Charlie Brown and Snoopy figures.
It did not take long to I discover being a part of the fandom is necessary to enjoy a comic book convention. But this was smaller than my next Comic-Con experience, Wizard World last year.  I would compare it to the environment of the Eagles Super Bowl parade. Some people waited their whole lives to enjoy this rare moment. People of all ages interacting, enjoying the rare moment of thousands of people all excited for a common cause. Albeit having their own individual reasons for their fandom. Its a place of true freedom of expression without judgment. Attending a Comic-Con gives you a chance with celebrities from some fan-favorite television shows and movies.
When I attended Wizard World, along with the expected Marvel Cinematic Universe actors, there were also many stars from Game of Thrones making appearances to take selfies with fans. While other fans had artists create custom commissioned drawings and paintings.

The guest panels are another main attraction of comic conventions. The panels range from actors talking about their experiences on the fan favorite shows to artists and inkers describing their methods to authors giving world building advice to aspiring authors. These meetings give fans attending insights they would not get the opportunity to hear otherwise.

The Comic-Con experience transcends the comic book culture. Comic conventions are as much about acceptance and freedom of expression as they are artwork, comics, and movies. Whether attending alone, with a group of friends, or as a family, those attending will leave with memories that will last a lifetime. Casual fans, collectors, or those not a part of fandom attending, whether purchasing or window shopping, everyone leaves with priceless memories that will last a lifetime. Fans exit with the knowledge they just enjoyed a superhuman experience.
Mike Hoff