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comics

KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Superhero movies smashed through the box office this summer, like seemingly every year. The top three grossed $2.6 billion. At the same time that comic hero profits have been rising, religiosity in America has been on the decline.

Bill Radke sat down with authors Reza Aslan and G. Willow Wilson to ask if superheroes are filling our moral and cultural need to connect with something larger than ourselves.

Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Comic books are more popular now than they’ve ever been. Sales have been on the rise for years and keep climbing. They are also experiencing growth in diversity. One indication is the character Kamala Khan, the new Ms. Marvel.

Khan is a Pakistani-American teenager, a shapeshifter and a Muslim. One of her primary creators is the Seattle-based author Willow Wilson. (The G is silent.)

Are you a fan or a superfan?

Apr 13, 2017

Jeannie Yandel talks with Zoe Fraade-Blanar and Aaron Glazer about what it takes to be a superfan. Zoe Fraade-Blanar and Aaron Glazer are co-authors of the book "Superfandom: How our Obsessions Are Changing What We Buy and Who We Are."

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courtesy Julie Doucet

Organizers of a prestigious international award for comic book art are backtracking after publishing a list of 30 nominees — zero percent of whom were women. The ensuing uproar, in which 12 male nominees asked to withdraw their names, quickly got the attention of the French body that organizes the award.

Fasten your seat belts, true believers. If you haven't flipped through a comic book in a while, you might be in for quite a surprise come May. The entire Marvel multiverse is collapsing.

Forget about seeing the Wolverine we knew any time soon. And the current Ghost Rider? Before long, his current story line will be gone like, well, a ghost. In the new Marvel universe, coming in May, characters and continuities will be reimagined.

Ms. Marvel designs by Adrian Alphona. Ms. Marvel, described by writer G. Willow Wilson as "kind of a hipster," is the second from the left.
Marvel Comics

G. Willow Wilson’s origin story, in a matter of speaking, started in New Jersey on about 3 acres of land surrounded by old-growth woods, where her parents raised rabbits and chickens and grew corn, blackberries and sweet potatoes.

Marcie Sillman talks with Seattle comic book artist Roberta Gregory during Banned Books Week about what it’s like to have her own work censored. 

This is a story about love. It's a story about bad things happening to good people, about memory and perseverance — and comic books. But most of all, it's a story about a voice. A mellow, smooth voice, just right for late-night jazz.

The cover of "Action Comics: Number 1"

Ross Reynolds talks with Darren Adams, owner of the Federal Way comic book store Pristine Comics, about why he's auctioning off the most valuable comic of all time: "Action Comics #1" from 1938.

Marvel Comics Rewrites Thor Into A Woman

Jul 16, 2014

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And our last word in Business is Goddess of Thunder.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Marvel Comics is turning one of its biggest superheroes into a woman. Thor is the hammer-wielding, long-haired protagonist, based on the god of Norse mythology.

For the first time since the 1940s, the Green Turtle is returning to comic bookshelves. The long-forgotten character has been resurrected in The Shadow Hero, a new graphic novel about what many comic fans consider the first Asian-American superhero.

"He's like a classic, American World War II hero," says cartoonist Gene Luen Yang, who collaborated with illustrator Sonny Liew on The Shadow Hero.

Copyright (c) 2012 by Ellen Forney. Reprinted by arrangement with Gotham Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc.

When Ellen Forney was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 16 years ago, her first concern was for her creative future. The award-winning cartoonist prided herself on the artwork and stories she'd come up with during periods she described as manic. Right after her diagnosis, Forney was reluctant to try the drug treatments her psychiatrist prescribed for her. Would she lose her creative edge on lithium? But after a serious period of depression, Forney set out on the ongoing journey to achieve and maintain a state of mental balance.

Almost two decades after publishing his last Calvin & Hobbes comic strip, elusive cartoonist Bill Watterson is back — with a film poster. The documentary, Stripped, is a self-described "love letter to comic strips" that includes interviews with, among others, Jeff Keane of Family Circus, Richard Thompson of Cul de Sac and Watterson himself.

Marvel Comic's "Ms. Marvel".

Marcie Sillman talks with G. Willow Wilson, the creator of the new Ms. Marvel series. The comic book stars Kamala Khan, a Muslim-American teen superhero.

New Muslim Ms. Marvel Doesn't Drink, Date Or Eat Bacon

Jan 27, 2014

Marvel is introducing a new character: Kamala Khan. She's a 16-year-old Muslim public high school student in Jersey City. She's also the new Ms. Marvel, and the first Muslim superhero to star in her own mainstream comic book series. Author G. Willow Wilson spoke with Tell Me More host Michel Martin about her new series.


Interview Highlights

On Kamala Khan's challenges to come

Flickr Photo/yelahneb

Steve Scher talks with Fantagraphics store curator Larry Reid about the language of comics and with Nancy Pearl about her picks for great graphic novels.

Allie Brosh's humorous, autobiographical blog, Hyperbole and a Half, has a huge following. In 2011, an editor of PC World included it in a list of the funniest sites on the Internet, and this year, Advertising Age included Brosh in its annual list of the year's most influential and creative thinkers and doers.

The Untold Story Of Marvel Comics With Sean Howe

Oct 31, 2013
Sean Howe's book "Marvel Comics: The Untold Story."

Nearly half a century ago, a diverse group of characters began to capture children’s hearts: Spider-Man, Captain America, the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man and the X-Men. The epic Marvel Comics universe has been a massive force in pop culture; inspiring countless books, films and becoming a multi-billion dollar enterprise.

Sean Howe chronicles the rise of this phenomenon in “Marvel Comics: The Untold Story.”  Howe spoke at the Elliott Bay Book Company on October 17, 2012.

Ben Katchor: Hand Drying In America

Apr 24, 2013

New York comic-strip artist Ben Katchor was the first cartoonist to be awarded a MacArthur Foundation “genuis” grant. Ben Katchor's new book, "Hand-Drying In America," examines urban design with a wryly whimsical sensibility. Ross Reynolds talks New York, life and art with Ben Katchor.

Courtesy Fantagraphics

Brothers Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez are considered godfathers of the alternative comics movement.  Fans and critics alike credit the brothers for bringing in a new type of narrative to the comics movement that features strong female characters and showcases Latino culture. Jaime spoke with Ross Reynolds on The Conversation.

Marvel Comics covers
Wikipedia

Nearly half a century ago, a diverse group of characters began to capture children's hearts: Spider-Man, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, The X-Men. The epic Marvel universe has been a massive force in pop culture, inspiring countless books, films and becoming a multi-billion-dollar enterprise.

Matika Wilbur

Photographer Matika Wilbur is a member of the Tulalip Tribe raised on the Swinomish Reservation. Her work explores themes of Native American identity and cultural duality, and has appeared in the Royal British Columbia Museum of Fine Arts, The Nantes Museum of Fine Arts in France, the Seattle Art Museum and the Burke Museum. She joins us to talk about her new project to photograph Native Americans from all 562 tribes in the United States.

(Image/Pantheon Books)

Cartoonist and illustrator Charles Burns is the creator of the much-lauded "Black Hole" series, the tale of a mysterious teenage plague that was named one of the "Top 100 English-Language Comics of the Century" by Comics Journal. His early work could be found in Art Spiegelman's "RAW" magazine and the SubPop fanzine. He has since gone on to illustrate for albums, magazines and Madison Avenue.