Comics

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Posted by bender 02/28/2009 @ 16:42

Tags : comics, entertainment

News headlines
'The Crow' Producer Picks Up 'Razor' Comic For Adaptation - MTV.com
The same production company that first brought director Alex Proyas' “The Crow” to theaters and currently wants to revamp the franchise announced that it has a new comic book property in its stable. Jeff Most Prods. has joined with Arclight Films to...
The Comic Book Alphabet of Cool - M - Comic Book Resources
by Brian Cronin We continue our tour through the alphabet, with a different cool comic book item each day, from A to Z! Today we look at a Silver Age comic creation that is practically the epitome of the hyphenated word “off-beat”!...
Comics AM | The comics Internet in two minutes - Comic Book Resources
[The Detroit News] Sales charts | The top of The New York Times' Graphic Books Best Seller List looks the same as it has for the past couple of weeks, with Marvel's The Dark Tower: Treachery, DC Comics' Watchmen and Viz Media's Naruto holding the No....
New York Comic Con Announces Happy Hour on May 20, 2009 - Toon Zone
By Ed Liu Reed Exhibitions has announced a happy hour for New York City comic fans, creators, and professionals on May 20, 2009, from 5:30 - 9:30 PM at Dave & Buster's in Times Square, where attendees can mingle, network, and interact with the New York...
Talking Comics with Tim: Brian Cronin - Comic Book Resources
Currently, of course, Cronin is known for great work at Robot 6's older sibling blog, Comics Should Be Good. Out of that, in mid-2005, Cronin launched his very popular Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed weekly feature. In fact, that particular feature...
'Human Target' Gets A Premiere Date - MTV.com
First and foremost is the announcement of an official premiere date for “Human Target,” the series based on the DC/Vertigo comics and starring Mark Valley (”Fringe”) as a bodyguard who masquerades as his clients in order to draw out the bad guys....
Ben Templesmith Reveals The Tone And Casting He'd Like To See In ... - MTV.com
The award-winning creator (who recently contributed a Splash Page guest blog on the nature of horror in comics) also shared some thoughts about his creative process with regard to characters. Having one big comics-to-movie project behind him now in the...
Hero Initiative Announces Hero Comics - Newsarama
By Newsarama Staff Hero Initiative is very proud to announce the release of Hero Comics. The 32-page, no-ads comic, edited and produced by Scott Dunbier, special projects editor at IDW Publishing, will be released in late July with two covers,...
Blog@Q&A: JT Yost - Newsarama
Each story had to include six familiar icons of comics: Bunny, Insect, Zombie, Monkey, Alien and Robot. I had an idea of what most of the stories submitted would be like, so I wanted to do something diametrically opposed. I worked the icons in subtly...
Aliens Invade Barnes and Noble, Borders and Amazon.com. Publisher ... - PR.com (press release)
New York, NY, May 19, 2009 --(PR.com)-- Crazee Comics Media Group – A Small Press Publisher of Comic Books and Kids books has announced today that it's flagship title, There's an Alien in my Toilet Vol #1 is available for pre-order via...

DC Comics

Action Comics #1 (June 1938), the debut of Superman. Cover art by Joe Shuster.

DC Comics (founded originally in 1934 as National Allied Publications) is one of the largest and most popular American comic book and related media companies, along with Marvel Comics. A subsidiary of Warner Bros. Entertainment since 1969, DC Comics produces material featuring a large number of well-known characters, including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern and the Justice League.

The initials "DC" came from the company's popular series, Detective Comics, which subsequently became part of the company's official name. DC Comic's official headquarters are at 1700 Broadway, 7th, New York, New York. Random House distributes DC Comics' books to the bookstore market, while Diamond Comics Distributors supplies the comics shop specialty market.

Entrepreneur Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson's National Allied Publications debuted with the tabloid-sized New Fun: The Big Comic Magazine #1 in February 1935. The company's second title, New Comics #1 (December 1935), was published at a size close to what would become comic books' standard during the period fans and historians call the Golden Age of Comic Books, with slightly larger dimensions than today's. That title evolved into Adventure Comics, which continued through issue #503 in 1983, becoming one of the longest-running comic book series.

His third and final title, Detective Comics, advertised with a cover illustration dated December 1936, eventually premiering three months late with a March 1937 cover date. The themed anthology series would become a sensation with the introduction of Batman in issue #27 (May 1939). By then, however, Wheeler-Nicholson had gone. In 1937, in debt to printing-plant owner and magazine distributor Harry Donenfeld — who was as well a pulp-magazine publisher and a principal in the magazine distributorship Independent News — Wheeler-Nicholson was compelled to take Donenfeld on as a partner in order to publish Detective #1. Detective Comics, Inc. was formed, with Wheeler-Nicholson and Jack S. Liebowitz, Donenfeld's accountant, listed as owners. Major Wheeler-Nicholson remained for a year, but cash-flow problems continued, and he was forced out. Shortly afterward, Detective Comics Inc. purchased the remains of National Allied, also known as Nicholson Publishing, at a bankruptcy auction.

Detective Comics Inc. shortly launched a fourth title, Action Comics, the premiere of which introduced Superman (a character with which Wheeler-Nicholson had no direct involvement; editor Vin Sullivan chose to run the feature after Sheldon Mayer rescued it from the slush pile). Action Comics #1 (June 1938), the first comic book to feature the new character archetype soon to be called superheroes, proved a major sales hit. The company quickly introduced such other popular characters as the Sandman and Batman.

National Allied Publications and Detective Comics, Inc., soon merged to form National Comics, which in 1944 absorbed an affiliated concern, Max Gaines' and Liebowitz's All-American Publications. That year, Gaines let Liebowitz buy him out, and kept only Picture Stories from the Bible as the foundation of his own new company, EC Comics. At that point, "Liebowitz promptly orchestrated the merger of All-American and Detective Comics into National Comics.... Next he took charge of organizing National Comics, Independent News, and their affiliated firms into a single corporate entity, National Periodical Publications". National Periodical Publications became publicly traded on the stock market in 1961.

Despite the official names "National Comics" and "National Periodical Publications", the logo "Superman-DC" was used throughout the line, and the company known colloquially as DC Comics for years before the official adoption of that name.

The company began to aggressively move against imitators for copyright violations by other companies, such as Fox Comics' Wonder Man, which according to court testimony Fox created as a copy of Superman. This extended to DC suing Fawcett Comics for Captain Marvel, at the time comics' top-selling character. Despite the fact that parallels between Captain Marvel and Superman were more tenuous, the courts ruled that there had been substantial and deliberate copying of copyrighted material. Faced with declining sales and the prospect of bankruptcy if they lost, Fawcett capitulated in 1955 and ceased comics publication. Years later, Fawcett ironically sold the rights to Captain Marvel to DC — which in 1973 revived Captain Marvel in the new title Shazam!. featuring artwork by his creator, C. C. Beck. In the meantime, the abandoned trademark had been seized by Marvel Comics in 1967, disallowing the DC comic itself to be called that. While Captain Marvel did not recapture his old popularity, he later appeared in a Saturday morning live action TV adaptation and gained a prominent place in the mainstream continuity DC calls the DC Universe.

When the popularity of superheroes faded in the late 1940s, the company focused on such genres as science fiction, Westerns, humor and romance. DC also published crime and horror titles, but relatively tame ones, and thus avoided the mid-1950s backlash against such comics. A handful of the most popular superhero titles (most notably Action Comics and Dectective Comics, the medium's two longest-running titles) continued publication.

In the mid-1950s, editorial director Irwin Donenfeld and publisher Liebowitz directed editor Julius Schwartz (whose roots lay in the Science Fiction book market) to produce a one-shot Flash story in the try-out title Showcase. Instead of reviving the old character, Schwartz had writer Robert Kanigher and John Broome, penciler Carmine Infantino and inker Joe Kubert create an entirely new super-speedster, updating and modernizing the Flash's civilian identity, costume, and origin with a science-fiction bent. The Flash's reimagining in Showcase #4 (Oct. 1956) proved sufficiently popular that it soon led to a similar revamping of the Green Lantern character, the introduction of the modern all-star team Justice League of America, and many more superheroes, heralding what historians and fans call the Silver Age of comic books.

National did not reimagine its continuing characters (primarily Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman) but radically overhauled them. The Superman family of titles, under editor Mort Weisinger, introduced such enduring characters as Supergirl, Bizarro, and Brainiac. The Batman titles, under editor Jordan Stewart, introduced the successful Batwoman, Bat-Girl and Bat-Mite in an attempt to modernize the strip with non-science-fiction elements. Schiff's successor, Schwartz, together with artist Infantino, then revitalized Batman in what was promoted as the "New Look", reemphasizing Batman as a detective. Meanwhile, editor Kanigher successfully introduced a whole family of Wonder Woman characters having fantastic adventures in a mythological context.

DC's introduction of the reimagined superheroes did not go unnoticed by other comics companies. In 1961, with DC's superhero team the Justice League of America as the specific spur, Marvel Comics writer-editor Stan Lee and the legendary Jack Kirby ushered in the sub-Silver Age "Marvel Age" of comics with the debut issue of The Fantastic Four.

Since the 1940s, when Superman, Batman, and many of the company's other heroes began appearing in stories together, DC's characters inhabited a shared continuity that, decades later, was dubbed the DC Universe. With the story "Flash of Two Worlds", in Flash #123 (Sept. 1961), editor Schwartz (with writer Gardner Fox and artists Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella) introduced a concept that allowed slotting the 1930s and 1940s Golden Age heroes into this continuity via the explanation that they lived on an otherdimensional "Earth 2", as opposed to the modern heroes' Earth 1 — in the process creating the foundation for what would later be called the DC Multiverse.

In 1967, Batman artist Infantino (who designed popular Silver Age characters Batgirl and Phantom Stranger) rose from art director to become DC's editorial director. With the growing popularity of upstart rival Marvel Comics threatening to topple DC from its longtime number-one industry position, he attempted to infuse the company with new titles and characters, also recruiting major talents such as ex-Marvel artist and Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko and promising newcomer Neal Adams. He also replaced some existing DC editors with artist-editors, including Joe Kubert and Dick Giordano, to give DC's output a more artistic critical eye.

These new editors recruited youthful new creators, in part in an effort to capture a market which had grown from being dominated by children, to include older teens and even college students. Some new talent, such as Dennis O'Neil, who had worked for both Marvel and Charlton, gained critical and popular acclaim on titles including Batman and Green Lantern (his Green Lantern run with artist Neal Adams became a key title in the burgeoning 1970s Bronze Age, and the move away from the Comics Code Authority). Nevertheless, the period was plagued by short-lived series that started out strong but petered out rapidly.

In 1969, National Comics merged with Warner Bros/7 Arts. The following year, Infantino convinced Jack Kirby to defect from Marvel Comics to DC, an event sometimes cited as the end of the Silver Age of Comics, in which Kirby's contributions to Marvel played a large, integral role. Given carte blanche to write and illustrate his own stories, he created a handful of thematically linked series he called collectively The Fourth World. In the existing series Jimmy Olsen and in his own, newly launched series New Gods, Mister Miracle, and The Forever People, Kirby introduced such enduring characters and concepts as archvillain Darkseid and the otherdimensional realm Apokolips. While sales did not meet management's expectations, Kirby's conceptions would become integral to the broadening of the DC Universe. Kirby went on to create the series Kamandi, about a teenaged boy in a post-apocalyptic world of militaristic talking animals, when directed by the publisher to come up with something resembling Planet of the Apes.

Following the science-fiction innovations of the Silver Age, the comics of the 1970s and 1980s would come to be known as the Bronze Age, as fantasy gave way to more naturalistic and sometimes darker themes. Illegal drug use, banned by the Comics Code Authority, explicitly appeared in comics for the first time in Marvel Comics' The Amazing Spider-Man in early 1971, and after the Code's updating in response, DC offered a drug-fueled storyline in writer Dennis O'Neil and artist Neal Adams' Green Lantern, beginning with the story "Snowbirds Don't Fly" in the retitled Green Lantern / Green Arrow #85 (Sept. 1971), which depicted Speedy, the teen sidekick of superhero archer Green Arrow, as having become a heroin addict.

Jenette Kahn, a former children's magazine publisher, replaced Infantino as editorial director in January 1976. DC had been attempting to compete with the now-surging Marvel by dramatically increasing its output and attempting to win the market by flooding it. This included launching series featuring such new characters as Firestorm and Shade, the Changing Man, as well as an increasing array of non-superhero titles, in an attempt to recapture the pre-Wertham days of post-War comicdom. In June 1978, Kahn expanded the line further, increasing the number of titles, story pages and raising the price from 35 cents to 50 cents. Most series received eight-page back-up features while some had full-length twenty-five page stories. This was a move the company called the "DC Explosion". The move was not successful, however, and corporate partner Warner dramatically cut back on these largely unsuccessful titles, firing many staffers in what industry watchers dubbed "the DC Implosion". In September of 1978, the line was dramatically reduced and standard-size books returned to 17 story pages but for a still-increased 40 cents. By 1980, the books returned to 50 cents with a 25-page story count but the story pages replaced house ads in the books.

Seeking new ways to boost market share, the new management of publisher Kahn, vice-president Paul Levitz, and managing editor Giordano addressed the issue of talent instability. To that end — and following the example of Atlas/Seaboard Comics and such independent companies as Eclipse Comics — DC began to offer royalties in place of the industry-standard work-for-hire agreement in which creators worked for a flat fee and signed away all rights. In addition, emulating the era's new television form, the miniseries, DC created the industry concept of the comic book limited series, allowing for the deliberate creation of finite storylines.

These changes in policy shaped the future of the medium as a whole, and in the short term allowed DC to entice creators away from rival Marvel, and encourage stability on individual titles. The November 1980 launch of the ongoing series The New Teen Titans, was by writer Marv Wolfman and artist George Pérez, two popular talents with a history of success. Their superhero-team comic, superficially similar to Marvel's ensemble series X-Men, but rooted in DC history, earned significant sales in part due to the stability of the creative team, who both continued with the title for six full years. In addition, Wolfman and Pérez took advantage of the limited-series option to create a spin-off title, Tales of the New Teen Titans, to present origin stories of their original characters without having to break the narrative flow of the main series or oblige them to double their work load with another ongoing title.

This successful revitalization of a minor title led DC's editors to seek the same for the entire line and wider DC Universe. The result was the Wolfman/Pérez 12-issue limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths, which gave the company an opportunity to realign and jettison some of the "baggage" of its history, address "errors" in the characters' long histories and - particularly - revise, update and streamline major characters such as Superman and Wonder Woman. A companion two issues in the new prestige format entitled The History of the DC Universe set out briefly the revised history of the major DC characters, and set the scene for an effective reboot of all titles, while still rooted in the long tradition and history of the DC Universe. Effectively moving from the realism of the Bronze Age towards the era sometimes called the "Dark Age," Crisis featured many key and resonant deaths which would shape the DC Universe for the following decades, and separate the timeline of DC publications into pre- and post-"Crisis".

Meanwhile, a parallel revolution was afoot in the non- and semi-Superhero Horror titles. Since the start of 1984, British writer Alan Moore had re-energized the horror series The Saga of the Swamp Thing, and his acclaimed work sparked the comic-book equivalent of rock music's British Invasion. Building on the dark naturalism of the Bronze Age, numerous British writers, including Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison, subsequently began freelancing for the company. The resulting influx of sophisticated horror/fantasy material led not only to DC abandoning the Comics Code for particular titles scripted by those talents, but also to establishing in 1993 the Vertigo mature-readers imprint.

Key titles in the subtle shift towards the Modern Age are the two landmark DC-published limited series' Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller and Watchmen by Moore and artist Dave Gibbons. These eye-opening titles drew attention to changes at DC for dark psychological complexity, and promotion of the antihero. The new creative freedom and attendant publicity that allowed Miller to produce a dark, future Batman and Moore to create a similarly dystopian future filled with pessimism allowed DC to challenge Marvel's industry lead, and also paved the way for comics to both be more widely accepted in literary-criticism circles as more than just for children, and to start making in-roads into the book industry, which collected editions of these key series selling particularly well as trade paperbacks.

Conversely, while the mainstream DCU got a shade darker, the mid-1980s also saw the end of many long-running DC war comics, including venerable series that had been in print since the 1960s. These titles, all with over 100 issues, included Sgt. Rock, G.I. Combat, The Unknown Soldier, and Weird War Tales.

In 1989, DC began publishing its hardcover series of DC Archive Editions, collections of many of their early, key comics series, featuring rare and expensive stories unseen by many modern fans. Restoration for many of the Archives was handled by Rick Keene with color restoration by DC's long-time resident colorist, Bob LeRose. These collections attempted to retroactively credit many of the writers and artists who had worked without much recognition for DC during the early period of comics, when individual credits were few and far between.

The comics industry experienced a brief boom in the early 1990s, thanks to a combination of speculative purchasing (mass purchase of the books as collectible items, with intent to resell at a higher value as the rising value of older issues was thought to imply that all comics would rise expontentially in price) and several storylines which gained attention from the mainstream media. DC's extended storylines in which Superman was killed, Batman was crippled and super-hero Green Lantern Hal Jordan turned into the super villain Parallax, resulted in dramatically increased sales, but the increases were as temporary as the substitutes, and sales dropped off as industry sales went into a major slump as manufactured "collectibles" numbering in their millions replaced quality with quantity until fans and speculators alike deserted the medium in droves.

DC's Piranha Press and other imprints (including Vertigo, the mature readers line pioneered in the British Horror work of the 1980s and Helix, a short-lived Science Fiction imprint) in the 1990s were introduced to facilitate compartmentalized diversification, and allow for specialized marketing of individual product lines. They increased the use of non-traditional contractual arrangements, including the dramatic rise of creator-owned contracts leading to a significant increase in critically lauded work (much of it for Vertigo) and the licensing of material from other companies. DC also increased publication of book-friendly formats, including trade paperback collections of individual serial comics, and original graphic novels.

DC entered into a publishing agreement with Milestone Media that gave DC a line of comics featuring a culturally and racially diverse range of superhero characters; although the Milestone line ceased publication after a few short years, it yielded the popular animated series Static Shock. Paradox Press was established to publish material ranging from the large-format Big Book of... series of multi-artist interpretations on individual themes, and such crime fiction as the graphic novel Road to Perdition. In 1998, DC purchased Wildstorm Comics, Jim Lee's imprint under the Image Comics banner, and absorbed it while continuing it for many years as a wholly separate imprint - and Universe - with its own style and audience. As part of this purchase, DC also began to publish titles under the fledgling WildStorm sub-imprint America's Best Comics, a series of titles from the mind of Alan Moore, including The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Tom Strong and Promethea.

In March 2003, DC acquired publishing and merchandising rights to the long-running fantasy series Elfquest, previously self-published by creators Wendy and Richard Pini under their WaRP Graphics publication banner. This series then followed the Tower Comics series T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents in becoming non-DC titles published in the "DC Archives" format. In 2004, DC temporarily acquired the North American publishing rights to graphic novels from European publishers 2000 AD and Humanoids. It also rebranded its younger-audience titles with the mascot Johnny DC, and established the CMX imprint to reprint translated manga. In 2006, CMX took over publication - from Dark Horse Comics - publication of the webcomic Megatokyo in print form. DC also took advantage of the demise of Kitchen Sink Press and acquired the rights to much of the work of the renowned creator, Will Eisner, such as his The Spirit series and his acclaimed graphic novels.

Starting in 2004, DC began laying groundwork for a full continuity-reshuffling sequel to Crisis on Infinite Earths, promising substantial changes to the DC Universe (and side-stepping the 1994 Zero Hour event which similarly tried to ret-con the history of the DCU). In 2005, the company published several limited series establishing increasingly escalated conflicts among DC's heroes, with events climaxing in the Infinite Crisis limited series. Immediately after this event, DC's ongoing series jumped forward a full year in their in-story continuity, as DC launched a weekly series, 52, to gradually fill in the missing time. Concurrently, DC lost the copyright to "Superboy" (while retaining the trademark) when the heirs of Jerry Seigel used a provision of the 1976 revision to the copyright law to regain ownership. Although DC appealed the ruling, it is widely believed that this was the reason for Conner Kent (also known as Superboy)'s death during the Infinite Crisis limited series.

In 2005, DC launched a new "All-Star" line (evoking the title of the 1940s publication), designed to feature some of the company's best-known characters in stories that eschewed the long and convoluted continuity of the DC Universe, produced by "all star" creative teams.. All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder launched in July 2005, with All-Star Superman beginning in November 2005. All-Star Wonder Woman and All Star Batgirl were announced in 2006, but neither have been released or scheduled as of the beginning of 2009.

In April 2008, the videogame company Midway released the eighth version of its Mortal Kombat fighting-game franchise, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, which featured DC superheroes and supervillians as half of the playable characters.

DC's first logo appeared on the March 1940 issues of its titles. The letters "DC" stood for Detective Comics, the name of Batman's flagship title. The small logo, with no background, read simply, "A DC Publication".

The November 1941 DC titles introduced an updated logo. This version was almost twice the size of the previous one, and was the first version with a white background. The name "Superman" was added to "A DC Publication", effectively acknowledging both Superman (the company's most popular character) and Batman. This logo was the first to occupy the top-left corner of the cover, where the logo has usually resided since. The company now referred to itself in its advertising as "Superman-DC".

In November 1949, the logo was modified to incorporate the company's formal name, National Comics Publications. This logo would also serve as the round body of Johnny DC, DC's mascot in the 1960s.

In October 1970, the circular logo was briefly retired in favor of a simple "DC" in a rectangle with the name of the title, or the star of the book; the logo on many issues of Action Comics, for example, read "DC Superman". An image of the lead character either appeared above or below the rectangle. For books that did not have a single star, such as anthologies like House of Mystery or team series such as Justice League of America, the title and "DC" appeared in a stylized logo, such as a bat for House of Mystery. This use of characters as logos helped to establish the likenesses as trademarks, and was similar to Marvel's contemporaneous use of characters as part of its cover branding.

DC's "100 Page Super-Spectacular" titles and later 100-page and "Giant" issues published from 1972 to 1974 featured a logo that was exclusive to these editions, the letters "DC" in a simple sans-serif typeface, in a circle. A variant had the letters in a square.

The July 1972 DC titles featured a new circular logo. The letters "DC" were rendered in a block-like typeface that would remain through later logo revisions until 2005. The title of the book usually appeared inside the circle, either above or below the letters.

In December 1973, this logo was modified with the addition of the words "The Line of DC Super-Stars" and the star motif that would continue in later logos. This logo was placed in the top center of the cover from August 1975 to October 1976.

When Jenette Kahn became DC's publisher in late 1976, she commissioned graphic designer Milton Glaser to design a new logo. Popularly referred to as the "DC bullet", this logo premiered on the February 1977 titles. Although it varied in size and color and was at times cropped by the edges of the cover, or briefly rotated 45 degrees, it remained essentially unchanged for nearly three decades.

In July 1987, DC released variant editions of Justice League #3 and The Fury of Firestorm #61 with a new DC logo. It featured a picture of Superman in a circle surrounded by the words "SUPERMAN COMICS". These variant covers were released to newsstands in certain markets as a marketing test.

On May 8, 2005, a new logo was unveiled, debuting on DC titles starting in June 2005 with DC Special: The Return of Donna Troy #1 and the rest of the titles the following week. In addition to comics, it was designed for DC properties in other media, such as the movies Batman Begins and Superman Returns as well as the new Batman film The Dark Knight and the TV series Smallville, Justice League Unlimited and The Batman, as well as for collectibles and other merchandise. The logo was designed by Josh Beatman of Brainchild Studios and DC executive Richard Bruning.

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Marvel Comics

Marvel Comics #1 (Oct. 1939), the first comic from Marvel precursor Timely Comics. Cover art by Frank R. Paul

Marvel Comics is an American comic book and related media company owned by Marvel Publishing, Inc., a subsidiary of Marvel Entertainment, Inc. Marvel counts among as its characters such well-known properties as Captain America, the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Iron Man, Spider-Man, the X-Men, and many others. Most of Marvel's fictional characters operate in one single reality; this is known as the Marvel Universe.

The comic book arm of the company started in 1939 as Timely Publications, and by the 1950s was generally known as Atlas Comics. Marvel's modern incarnation dates from 1961, with the launching of Fantastic Four and other superhero titles created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and others. Marvel has since become the largest American comic book publisher over long timpe competitor DC Comics.

Martin Goodman founded the company later known as 'Marvel Comics' under the name "Timely Publications" in 1939. Goodman, a pulp-magazine publisher whose first publication was a Western pulp in 1933, expanded into the emerging — and by then already highly popular — new medium of comic books. Goodman began his new line from his existing company's offices at 330 West 42nd Street, New York City, New York. He officially held the titles of editor, managing editor, and business manager, with Abraham Goodman officially listed as publisher.

Timely's first publication, Marvel Comics #1 (Oct. 1939), contained the first appearance of Carl Burgos' android superhero the Human Torch, and the first generally available appearance of Bill Everett's anti-hero Namor the Sub-Mariner, among other features. The contents of that sales blockbuster were supplied by an outside packager, Funnies, Inc., but by the following year Timely had a staff in place. With the second issue the series title changed to Marvel Mystery Comics.

The company's first true editor, writer-artist Joe Simon, teamed up with soon-to-be industry legend Jack Kirby to create one of the first patriotically themed superheroes, Captain America, in Captain America Comics #1. (March 1941) It, too, proved a major sales hit, with a circulation of nearly one million.

While no other Timely character would achieve the success of these "big three", some notable heroes — many continuing to appear in modern-day retcon appearances and flashbacks — include the Whizzer, Miss America, the Destroyer, the original Vision, and the Angel. Timely also published one of humor cartoonist Basil Wolverton's best-known features, "Powerhouse Pepper," as well as a line of children's funny animal comics whose most popular characters were Super Rabbit and the duo Ziggy Pig and Silly Seal.

Goodman hired a teen-aged relative,once said Stanley Lieber, as a general office assistant in 1939. When editor Simon left the company in late 1941, Goodman made Lieber — by then writing pseudonymously as "Stan Lee" — interim editor of the comics line, a position Lee kept for decades except for three years during his World War II military service. Lee wrote extensively for Timely, contributing to a number of different titles.

No-one wanted to read their and the post-war American comics saw superheroes falling out of fashion. Goodman's comic-book line dropped superheroes and expanded into a wider variety of genres than even Timely had published, emphasizing horror, Westerns, humor, funny-animal, men's adventure-drama, crime, and war comics, later adding a helping of jungle books, romance titles, and even espionage, medieval adventure, Bible stories and sports. Like other publishers, Atlas also courted female readers with mostly humorous comics about models and career women.

Goodman began using the globe logo of Atlas, the newsstand-distribution company he owned, on comics cover-dated November 1951. This united a line put out by the same publisher, staff, and freelancers through 59 shell companies, from Animirth Comics to Zenith Publications.

Atlas, rather than innovate, took what it saw as the proven route of following popular trends in TV and movies — Westerns and war dramas prevailing for a time, drive-in movie monsters another time — and even other comic books, particularly the EC horror line. Atlas also published a plethora of children's and teen humor titles, including Dan DeCarlo's Homer, the Happy Ghost (a la Casper the Friendly Ghost) and Homer Hooper (a la Archie Andrews). Atlas unsuccessfully attempted to revive superheroes in Young Men #24-28 (Dec. 1953 - June 1954), with the Human Torch (art by Syd Shores and Dick Ayers, variously), the Sub-Mariner (drawn and most stories written by Bill Everett), and Captain America (writer Stan Lee, artist John Romita Sr.).

The first comic book under the Marvel Comics brand, the science-fiction anthology Amazing Adventures #3, showed the "MC" box on its cover. Cover-dated August 1961, it was published May 9, 1961. Then, in the wake of DC Comics' success in reviving superheroes in the late 1950s and early 1960s, particularly with the Flash, Green Lantern, and other members of the team the Justice League of America, Marvel followed suit. The introduction of modern Marvel's first superhero team, in The Fantastic Four #1, cover-dated November 1961, began establishing the company as known as of 2009.

Editor-writer Stan Lee and freelance artist Jack Kirby's Fantastic Four, reminiscent of the non-superpowered adventuring quartet the Challengers of the Unknown that Kirby had created for DC in 1957, originated in a Cold War culture that led their creators to deconstruct the superhero conventions of previous eras and better reflect the psychological spirit of their age. Eschewing such comic-book tropes as secret identities and even costumes at first, having a monster as one of the heroes, and having its characters bicker and complain in what was later called a "superheroes in the real world" approach, the series represented a change that proved to be a great success. Marvel began publishing further superhero titles featuring such heroes and antiheroes as the Hulk, Spider-Man, Thor, Ant-Man, Iron Man, the X-Men and Daredevil, and such memorable antagonists as Doctor Doom, Magneto, Galactus, the Green Goblin, and Doctor Octopus. The most successful new series was The Amazing Spider-Man, by Lee and Steve Ditko. Marvel even lampooned itself and other comics companies in a parody comic, Not Brand Echh (a play on Marvel's dubbing of other companies as "Brand Echh", a la the then-common phrase "Brand X").

Marvel's comics had a reputation for focusing on characterization to a greater extent than most superhero comics before them.{[fact}} This was true of The Amazing Spider-Man in particular. Its young hero suffered from self-doubt and mundane problems like any other teenager. Marvel superheroes are often flawed, freaks, and misfits, unlike the perfect, handsome, athletic heroes found in previous traditional comic books. Some Marvel heroes looked like villains and monsters. In time, this non-traditional approach would revolutionize comic books.

Lesser-known staffers during the company's industry-changing growth in the 1960s (some of whom worked primarily for Marvel publisher Martin Goodman's umbrella magazine corporation) included circulation manager Johnny Hayes, subscriptions person Nancy Murphy, bookkeeper Doris Siegler, merchandising person Chip Goodman (son of publisher Martin), and Arthur Jeffrey, described in the December 1966 "Bullpen Bulletin" as "keeper of our MMMS files, guardian of our club coupons and defender of the faith".

In the fall of 1968, company founder Goodman sold Marvel Comics and his other publishing businesses to the Perfect Film and Chemical Corporation'. It grouped these businesses in a subsidiary called Magazine Management Co.' Goodman remained as publisher.

In 1971, the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare approached Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Stan Lee to do a comic-book story about drug abuse. Lee agreed and wrote a three-part Spider-Man story portraying drug use as dangerous and unglamorous. However, the industry's self-censorship board, the Comics Code Authority, refused to approve the story because of the presence of narcotics, deeming the context of the story irrelevant. Lee, with Goodman's approval, published the story regardless in The Amazing Spider-Man #96-98 (May-July 1971), without the Comics Code seal. The storyline was well-received and the Code was subsequently revised the same year.

Goodman retired as publisher in 1972 and Lee succeeded him, stepping down from running day-to-day operations at Marvel. A series of new editors-in-chief oversaw the company during another slow time for the industry. Once again, Marvel attempted to diversify, and with the updating of the Comics Code achieved moderate success with titles themed to horror (The Tomb of Dracula), martial arts, (Shang-Chi: Master of Kung Fu), sword-and-sorcery (Conan the Barbarian, Red Sonja), satire (Howard the Duck) and science fiction ("Killraven" in Amazing Adventures). Some of these were published in larger-format black and white magazines, that targeted mature readers, under its Curtis Magazines imprint. Marvel was able to capitalize on its successful superhero comics of the previous decade by acquiring a new newsstand distributor and greatly expanding its comics line. Marvel pulled ahead of rival DC Comics in 1972, during a time when the price and format of the standard newsstand comic were in flux. Goodman increase the price and size of Marvel's November 1971 cover-dated comics from 15 cents for 39 pages total to 25 cents for 52 pages. DC followed suit, but Marvel the following month dropped its comics to 20 cents for 36 pages, offering a lower-priced product with a higher distributor discount.

In 1973, Perfect Film and Chemical Corporation changed its name to Cadence Industries, which in turn renamed Magazine Management Co. as Marvel Comics Group. Goodman, now completely disconnected from Marvel, set up a new company called Atlas/Seaboard Comics in 1974, reviving Marvel's old Atlas name, but this lasted only a year-and-a-half.

In the mid-1970s, a decline of the newsstand distribution network affected Marvel. Cult hits such as Howard the Duck were the victims of the distribution problems, with some titles reporting low sales when in fact they were being resold at a later date in the first specialty comic-book stores. But by the end of the decade, Marvel's fortunes were reviving, thanks to the rise of direct market distribution — selling through those same comics-specialty stores instead of newsstands.

In October 1976, Marvel, which already licensed reprints in different countries, including the UK, created a superhero specifically for the British market. Captain Britain debuted exclusively in the UK, and later appeared in American comics.

In the 1980s Jim Shooter became was Marvel's editor-in-chief. Although a controversial personality, Shooter cured many of the procedural ills at Marvel (including repeatedly missed deadlines) and oversaw a creative renaissance at the company. This renaissance included institutionalizing creator royalties, starting the Epic imprint for creator-owned material in 1982, and launching a brand-new (albeit ultimately unsuccessful) line named New Universe, to commemorate Marvel's 25th anniversary, in 1986. However, Shooter was responsible for the introduction of the company-wide crossover (Contest of Champions, Secret Wars).

In 1981 Marvel purchased the DePatie-Freleng Enterprises animation studio from famed Looney Tunes director Friz Freleng and his business partner David H. DePatie. The company was renamed Marvel Productions and it produced well-known animated TV series and movies featuring such characters as G.I. Joe, The Transformers, Jim Henson's Muppet Babies, and such TV series as Dungeons & Dragons, as well as cartoons based on Marvel characters, including Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.

In 1986, Marvel was sold to New World Entertainment, which within three years sold it to MacAndrews and Forbes, owned by Revlon executive Ronald Perelman. Perelman took the company public on the New York Stock Exchange and oversaw a great increase in the number of titles Marvel published. As part of the process, Marvel Productions sold its back catalog to Saban Entertainment (acquired in 2001 by Disney).

Marvel earned a great deal of money and recognition during the early decade's comic-book boom, launching the highly successful 2099 line of comics set in the future (Spider-Man 2099, etc.) and the creatively daring though commercially unsuccessful Razorline imprint of superhero comics created by novelist and filmmaker Clive Barker. Yet by the middle of the decade, the industry had slumped and Marvel filed for bankruptcy amidst investigations of Perelman's financial activities regarding the company.

In 1991 Marvel began selling Marvel Universe Cards with trading card maker Impel. These were collectible trading cards that featured the characters and events of the Marvel Universe.

Marvel in 1992 acquired Fleer Corporation, known primarily for its trading cards, and shortly thereafter created Marvel Studios, devoted to film and TV projects. Avi Arad became director of that division in 1993, with production accelerating in 1998 following the success of the film Blade.

In 1994, Marvel acquired the comic book distributor Heroes World to use as its own exclusive distributor. As the industry's other major publishers made exclusive distribution deals with other companies, the ripple effect resulted in the survival of only one other major distributor in North America, Diamond Comic Distributors Inc. Creatively and commercially, the '90s were dominated by the use of gimmickry to boost sales, such as variant covers, cover enhancements, regular company-wide crossovers that threw the universe's continuity into disarray, and even special swimsuit issues. In 1996, Marvel had almost all its titles participate in the Onslaught Saga, a crossover that allowed Marvel to relaunch some of its flagship characters, such as the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, in the Heroes Reborn universe, in which Marvel defectors Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld were given permission to revamp the properties from scratch. After an initial sales bump, sales quickly declined below expected levels, and Marvel discontinued the experiment after a one-year run; the characters returned to the Marvel Universe proper. In 1998, the company launched the imprint Marvel Knights, taking place within Marvel continuity; helmed by soon-to-become editor-in-chief Joe Quesada, and featuring tough, gritty stories showcasing such characters as the Inhumans, Black Panther and Daredevil, it achieved substantial success.

In 1991, Perelman took Marvel public in a stock offering underwritten by Merrill Lynch and First Boston Corporation. Following the rapid rise of this immediately popular stock, Perleman issued a series of junk bonds that he used to acquire other children's entertainment companies. Many of these bond offerings were purchased by Carl Icahn Partners, which later wielded much control during Marvel's court-ordered reorganization after Marvel went bankrupt in 1996. In 1997, after protracted legal battles, control landed in the hands of Isaac Perlmutter, owner of the Marvel subsidiary Toy Biz. With his business partner Avi Arad, publisher Bill Jemas, and editor-in-chief Bob Harras, Perlmutter helped revitalize the comics line.

With the new millennium, Marvel Comics escaped from bankruptcy and again began diversifying its offerings. In 2001, Marvel withdrew from the Comics Code Authority and established its own Marvel Rating System for comics. The first title from the era to not have the code was X-Force #119 (Oct. 2001). It also created new imprints, such as MAX, a line intended for mature readers, and Marvel Age, developed for younger audiences. In addition to this is the highly successful Ultimate Marvel imprint, which allowed Marvel to reboot their major titles by deconstructing and updating its major superhero and villain characters to introduce to a new generation. This imprint exists in a universe parallel to mainstream Marvel continuity, allowing writers and artists freedom from the characters' convoluted history and the ability to redesign them, and to maintain their other ongoing series without replacing the established continuity. This also allowed Marvel to capitalize on an influx of new readers unfamiliar with comics but familiar with the characters through the film and TV franchises. The company has also revamped its graphic novel division, establishing a bigger presence in the bookstore market. As of 2007, Marvel remains a key comics publisher, even as the industry has dwindled to a fraction of its peak size decades earlier.

In 2006, Marvel's fictional crossover event "Civil War" established federal superhero registration in the Marvel universe, creating a political and ethical schism throughout it. Also that year, Marvel created its own wiki.

The company launched an online initiative late in 2007, announcing Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited, a digital archive of 2,500 back issues available for viewing, for a monthly or annual subscription fee.

The Marvel editor-in-chief oversees the largest-scale creative decisions taken within the company. While the fabled Stan Lee held great authority during the decades when publisher Martin Goodman privately held his company, of which the comics division was a relatively small part, his successors have been to greater and lesser extents subject to corporate management.

The position evolved sporadically. In the earliest years, the company had a single editor overseeing the entire line. As the company grew, it became increasingly common for individual titles to be overseen separately. The concept of the "writer-editor" evolved, stemming from when Lee wrote and managed most of the line's output. Overseeing the line in the 1970s was a series of chief editors, though the titles were used intermittently. Confusing matters further, some appear to have been appointed merely by extending their existing editorial duties. By the time Jim Shooter took the post in 1978, the position of editor-in-chief was clearly defined.

In 1994, Marvel briefly abolished the position, replacing Tom DeFalco with five "group editors", though each held the title "editor-in-chief" and had some editors underneath them. It reinstated the overall editor-in-chief position in 1995, installing Bob Harras. Joe Quesada became editor-in-chief in 2000.

Located in New York City, Marvel has been successively headquartered in the McGraw-Hill Building (where it originated as Timely Comics in 1939); in suite 1401 of the Empire State Building; at 635 Madison Avenue (the actual location, though the comic books' indicia listed the parent publishing-company's address of 625 Madison Ave.); 575 Madison Avenue; 387 Park Avenue South; 10 East 40th Street; and 417 Fifth Avenue.

Marvel characters and stories have been adapted to many other media. Some of these adaptations were produced by Marvel Comics and its sister company, Marvel Studios, while others were produced by companies licensing Marvel material.

Many television series, both live action and animated, have been based on Marvel Comics characters. These include multiple series for popular characters such as Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four. Of particular note were the animated series from the mid to late 90's, which were all part of the same Marvel animated universe.

Additionally, a handful of television movies based on Marvel Comics characters have been made.

Marvel characters have been adapted into films including the Spider-Man, Blade and X-Men trilogies; the Fantastic Four film series, Daredevil, Elektra, Ghost Rider, Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Hulk, The Punisher, and Punisher: War Zone as well as the upcoming films X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Iron Man II, Thor, The First Avenger: Captain America and The Avengers.

Additionally, a series of direct-to-DVD animated films began in 2006 with Ultimate Avengers, The Invincible Iron Man, and Doctor Strange.

Marvel has licensed its characters for theme parks and attractions, including at the Universal Orlando Resort's Islands of Adventure, in Orlando, Florida, which includes rides based on the Hulk, Spider-man, and Doctor Doom, and performers costumed as Captain America, the X-Men, and Spider-Man. Universal theme parks in California and Japan also have Marvel rides. In early 2007 Marvel and developer the Al Ahli Group announced plans to build Marvel's first full theme park, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, by 2011.

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Franco-Belgian comics

Franco-Belgian comics are comics that are created in Belgium and France. These countries have a long tradition in comics and comic books, where they are known as BDs, an abbreviation of bande dessinée (literally drawn strip) in French and stripverhalen (literally strip stories) in Dutch. The Flemish Belgian comic books (originally written in Dutch) are influenced by francophone comics, yet have a distinctly different style. Many other European comics, especially Italian comics, are strongly influenced by Franco-Belgian comics.

40% of Belgium (Wallonia and a majority of the inhabitants of Brussels) and France share the French language, making them a unique market where national identity is often blurred. Although Switzerland contributes less to the total body of work, it is significant that many scholars point to a Francophone Swiss, Rodolphe Töpffer, as the true father of comics. This choice is still controversial, with critics asserting that Töpffer's work is not necessarily connected to the creation of the form as it is now known in the region.

La bande dessinée is derived from the original description of the artform as "drawn strips". It is not insignificant that the French term contains no indication of subject matter, unlike the American terms "comics" and "funnies", which imply an art form not to be taken seriously. Indeed, the distinction of comics as the "ninth art" is prevalent in Francophone scholarship on the form (le neuvième art), as is the concept of comics criticism and scholarship itself. The "ninth art" designation stems from Claude Beylie's extension of Ricciotto Canudo's seven arts manifesto (cinematography was viewed as the eighth art) from 1964. Relative to the respective size of their countries, the innumerable authors in the region publish huge numbers of comic books. In North America, the more serious, Franco-Belgian comics are often seen as equivalent to graphic novels, for various reasons, but whether they are long or short, bound or in magazine format, in Francophone Europe there is no need for a more sophisticated term, as the art's name does not itself imply something frivolous.

In the early decades of the 20th century, comics were not stand-alone publications, but were published in newspapers and weekly or monthly magazines as episodes or gags. Aside from these magazines, the Catholic Church was creating and distributing "healthy and correct" magazines for the children. In the early 1900s, the first popular French comics appeared, including Bécassine. In 1920, the abbot of Averbode in Belgium started publishing Zonneland, a magazine consisting largely of text with few illustrations, which started publishing comics more often in the following years.

One of the earliest proper Belgian comics was Hergé's The Adventures of Tintin, with the story Tintin in the Land of the Soviets which was published in Le Petit Vingtième in 1929. It was quite different from how we have come to know Tintin, the style being very naïve and simple, even childish, compared to the later stories. The early stories were often politically incorrect (featuring racist and political stereotypes), in ways Hergé later regretted.

The first nudge towards modern comic books happened in 1934 when Hungarian Paul Winkler (who had previously been distributing comics to the monthly magazines via his Opera Mundi bureau) made a deal with King Features Syndicate to create the Journal de Mickey, a weekly 8-page early "comic-book".

The success was quite immediate, and soon most other publishers started publishing periodicals with American series. This continued during the remainder of the decade, with hundreds of magazines publishing mostly imported material. The most important ones in France were Robinson, Hurrah, and Coeurs Vaillants, while Belgian examples include Wrill and Bravo. In 1938, Spirou was launched. Spirou also appeared translated in a Dutch version under the name Robbedoes for the Flemish market. Export to the Netherlands followed only a few years later.

When Germany invaded France and Belgium, it became close to impossible to import American comics. Likewise, comics of questionable character (in the view of the Nazis) were banned outright. Similarly, American animated movies were forbidden as well. Both were however already very popular before the war and the hardships of the war period only seemed to increase the demand. This created ample opportunity for many young artists to start working in the comics and animation business. At first, authors like Jijé in Spirou and Edgar P. Jacobs in Bravo continued unfinished American stories of Superman and Flash Gordon, and simultaneously by imitating the style and flow of those comics vastly improved their knowledge of how to make efficient comics. But soon even those homemade versions of American comics had to stop, and the authors had to create their own heroes and stories, and new talents got a chance to publish. Many of the most famous artists of the Franco-Belgian comics started in this period, including André Franquin and Peyo who started together at an animation studio, and Willy Vandersteen, Jacques Martin and Albert Uderzo who worked for Bravo.

After the war, the American comics didn't come back in nearly as large numbers as before. In France, the 1949 law about publications destined to the youth was partly oriented by the French Communist Party to exclude most of the American publications, more adult and violent than the classical European ones. Interestingly, a lot of the publishers and artists who had managed to continue working during the occupation were accused of being collaborators and were imprisoned by the resistance, although most were released soon afterwards without charges being pressed.

As an example, this happened to one of the famous magazines, Coeurs Vaillants ("Valiant Hearts"). It was founded by abbot Courtois (under the alias Jacques Coeur) in 1929. As he had the backing of the church, he managed to publish the magazine throughout the war, and was of course charged with being a collaborator. After he was forced out, his successor Pihan (as Jean Vaillant) took up the publishing, moving the magazine in a more humorous direction.

Hergé was another artist to be prosecuted by the resistance. He, as most others, managed to clear his name and went on to create Studio Hergé in 1950, where he acted as a sort of mentor for the students and assistants that it attracted. Among the people who studied there were Bob de Moor, Jacques Martin, Roger Leloup, and Edgar P. Jacobs, all of whom exhibit the easily recognizable Belgian clean line style, often opposed to the "Marcinelle school"-style, mostly proposed by authors from the Spirou magazine, such as Peyo, André Franquin, Morris.

Many other magazines did not survive the war: Le Petit Vingtième had disappeared, Le Journal de Mickey only returned in 1952. But in the second half of the 1940s, many new magazines appeared, in most cases only for a few weeks or months though. But things got clearer around 1950, with Spirou and the new magazine Tintin (founded in 1946 with a team focused around Hergé) as the most influential and successful magazines for the next decade.

With a number of publishers in place, including Les Editions Dargaud and Dupuis, two of the biggest influences for over 50 years, the market for domestic comics had reached maturity. In the following decades, magazines like Spirou, Tintin, Vaillant, Pilote, and Heroïc Albums (the first to feature completed stories in each issue, as opposed to the episodic approach of other magazines) would continue to evolve into the style we now know. At this time, the school had already gained fame throughout Europe, and many countries had started importing the comics in addition to—or as substitute for—their own productions.

In the sixties, most of the French Catholic magazines started to wane in popularity, as they were "re-christianized" and went to a more traditional style with more text and fewer drawings. This meant that in France, comics like Pilote and Vaillant gained almost the entire market and became the obvious goal for new artists, who took up the styles prevalent in the magazines to break into the business.

The time after 1968 brought many adult comic books, something previously not seen before. L'Écho des Savannes with Gotlib's crazed delirium of deities watching porn and Bretécher's Les Frustrés ("The Frustrated Ones") were among the earliest. Le Canard Sauvage ("The Wild Duck"), an art-zine featuring music reviews and comics was another. Métal Hurlant with the far-reaching science fiction and fantasy of Mœbius, Druillet, and Bilal, made an impact in America in its translated edition, Heavy Metal. This trend continued during the seventies, until the original Métal Hurlant folded in the early eighties, living on only in the American edition (which had in the meantime become independent from its French language parent), although some would argue that it is only a shadow of the original.

The eighties showed the adult comics getting somewhat stale, wallowing in sex and violence (examples of which can be seen in Heavy Metal magazines from the period). A major counterexample was the very stylish (À Suivre), publishing comics by Jacques Tardi, Hugo Pratt, François Schuiten and many others, and popularizing the concept of the graphic novel as a longer, more adult, more literate and artistic comic in Europe. A further revival and expansion came in the 1990s with several small independent publishers emerging, such as l'Association, Amok, Fréon (The latter two later merged into Frémok). These comic books are often more artistic (graphically and narratively) and better packaged than the usual products of the big companies.

One of the other interesting things to come from the war is the format. Before the war, comics were almost exclusively published as tabloid size newspapers. Now, they are about half that size. The comics are almost always colored all the way through, and, when compared to American comic books and trade paperbacks, rather large (roughly A4 standard).

Comics are also often published as collected albums (graphic novels), with about 40-50 pages, after the run is finished in the magazine. It is common for those albums to contain exactly 46 pages of comics. Lately, most comics are published exclusively as albums and do not appear in the magazines at all, while many magazines have disappeared, including greats like Tintin, À Suivre, Métal Hurlant and Pilote.

This is the intermediate style. The Adventures of Tintin, certainly the earlier ones, is a good example of this. The major factor in schematic drawings is a reduction of reality to easy, clear lines. Typical is the lack of shadows, the geometrical features, and the realistic proportions. Another trait is the often "slow" drawings, with little to no speed-lines, and strokes that are almost completely even. It is also known as the Belgian clean line style or ligne claire. Other works in this style are the early comics of Jijé and the later work from Flemish and Dutch artists like Ever Meulen and Joost Swarte.

The realistic comics are often laboriously detailed, making the pictures interesting to look at for times on end. An effort is made to make the comics look as convincing, as natural as possible, while still being drawings. No speed lines or exaggerations are used. This effect is often reinforced by the colouring, which is less even, less primary than schematic or comic-dynamic comics. Famous examples are Jerry Spring by Jijé, Blueberry by Giraud, and Thorgal by Rosiński.

This is the almost Barksian line of Franquin and Uderzo. Pilote is almost exclusively comic-dynamic, and so is Spirou and l'Écho des savanes. These comics have very agitated drawings, often using lines of varying thickness to accent the drawings. The artists working in this style for Spirou, including Franquin, Morris, Jean Roba and Peyo, are often grouped as the Marcinelle school.

Despite the large number of local publications, the French and Belgian editors release numerous adaptations of comics from all over the world. In particular these include other European publications, from countries such as Italy, with Hugo Pratt and Milo Manara, Spain, with Daniel Torres, and Argentina, with Alberto Breccia, Héctor Germán Oesterheld and José Antonio Muñoz. Some well-known German (Andreas), Swiss (Derib and Cosey) and Polish (Grzegorz Rosinski) authors work almost exclusively for the Franco-Belgian market and publishers.

American and British comic books are not as well represented in the French and Belgian comics market, probably due to the differences in comic traditions between these countries, although the work of Will Eisner is highly respected. However, a few comic strips like Peanuts and Calvin and Hobbes have had considerable success in France and Belgium.

Japanese manga has been receiving more attention since 2000. Recently, more manga has been translated and published, with a particular emphasis on independent authors like Jiro Taniguchi. In addition, in an attempt to unify the Franco-Belgian and Japanese schools, cartoonist Frédéric Boilet started the movement La nouvelle manga. Manga now represents two thirds of comics sales in France.

There are many comics conventions in Belgium and France. The most famous is probably the Angoulême International Comics Festival, an annual festival begun in 1974, in Angoulême, France.

Typical for conventions are the expositions of original art, the sign sessions with authors, sale of small press and fanzines, an awards ceremony, and other comics related activities.

Franco-Belgian comics have been translated in most European languages, with some of them enjoying a worldwide success. Some magazines have been translated in Italian and Spanish, while in other cases foreign magazines were filled with the best of the Franco-Belgian comics. The greatest and most enduring success however was mainly for some series started in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960 (including Lucky Luke, The Smurfs, and Asterix), and of course the even older Tintin, while many more recent series have not made a significant commercial impact outside the French and Dutch speaking countries, despite the critical acclaim for authors like Moebius. In France and Belgium, most magazines have disappeared or have a largely reduced circulation, but the number of published and sold comic books stays very high, with the biggest successes still on the juvenile and adolescent markets.

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Source : Wikipedia