Tag: alan moore

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    Remember, Remember

    Few names are more recognizable in comic books than Alan Moore. He has created some of the most iconic and inspiring works in the entire industry. His memorable works include The Killing Joke, From Hell and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. But unlike most other comic writers, Moore has used his comics as a means to criticize injustices.

    alan-mooreThe man behind the comics was often maligned and criticized for alternative worldviews in the early days of his work, Much of his career has been spent fighting against inequality. An anarchist and outspoken supporter of minority sexualities and religion, Moore explored these themes in his decades-long career.

     

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    Many other writers of his time were afraid to include such themes. Moore was not. He included LGBT characters regularly in his writing. He often focused on grappling with social inequality, distributions of power and even touching on the ephemera of consciousness. Even when challenged by the mainstream, Moore held steadfast to his convictions. The result–some of the most powerful comic series ever created.

    The Struggle Against Tyranny

    Perhaps best known for his work in the Image comics title V for Vendetta, Alan Moore used this work as a vehicle for his political views. When he was writing it, an extremely right of center government was in power in his English homeland. Moore used the party as creative fodder, exaggerating their policies to extreme proportions. He took it further by installing the resulting tyrannical government as the leaders of a near future London.

    vendettaV for Vendetta chronicles the struggle against this tyranny. It follows the enigmatic title character V as he drives to inspire a resistance in a country exhausted by their leaders’ brutality. V’s efforts have were inspired by true events and V, has, in turn, inspired others to action.

    V was modeled (highlighted by the mask that he wears) after the infamous rebel Guy Fawkes. He played a key role in the Gunpowder Plot that took place on November 5, 1605, where he was arrested for guarding explosives intended for blowing up the British parliament. Dressed in black and donning a Guy Fawkes mask, V represents the fight for British freedom from a government oppresser.

    V Adopted by Other Groups Fighting Oppression

    Even after the initial fame of the series, V took on an entirely new kind of notoriety. It became something of a totem for activists on several different platforms. Probably most notable, the Guy Fawkes mask made famous by the character has been used by the hacker group Anonymous to conceal its identity as they work to right cyber wrongs. The mask has also become a mantle of sorts for Occupy Wall Street, the Bahraini protesters during Arab Spring, and many others.

    In response to the use of his characters real life manifestation in the political discourse, Moore said in a 2008 Entertainment Weekly interview:

    “I was also quite heartened the other day when watching the news to see that there were demonstrations outside the Scientology headquarters over here, and that they suddenly flashed to a clip showing all these demonstrators wearing V for Vendetta Guy Fawkes masks. That pleased me. That gave me a warm little glow.” – Alan Moore

    That same year, he defended his belief in anarchy in a short video, dispelling any doubt that he was in line with the movement that was taking up his imagery.

    Swamp Thing: Saga Of The Swamp Thing Book 02 HC
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    But V does not stand alone in Alan Moore’s arsenal of activist comic book characters. During his run with The Saga of the Swamp Thing, Moore transforms the character into what we know him as now–an eco hero. Swamp Thing went from a has-been monster man to a deeply internalized comic hero. He could critically examine the relationship between man and nature in the way only a sentient plant could. Through him, Moore found a way to challenge such topics as pollution, climate change and the usurpation of natural resources. His position has been so notable that several serious literary critics have discussed Swamp Thing and his role as an insurgent ecological force for change.

    Moore’s Watchmen Takes on Power Imbalance

    And of course, no conversation about Alan Moore would be complete without discussing Watchmen. Considered by some to be the greatest comic book of all time, Watchmen is Moore’s masterwork. Much like he did with V for Vendetta, Moore built a new history for the world of Watchmen that shares deep roots with our own world, but varies in some key ways.

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    Watchmen takes place in an alternate universe where superheroes were introduced much earlier than most modern comics (with a few notable exceptions like Captain America and the X-Men), with the “golden age” of heroes taking place between the 1940s and 60s. The plot takes place in a mirror world that echoes the Reagan administration’s run in the US. This is intended to illustrate the catastrophic power imbalances that have lead the United States to the brink of a third World War.

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    Moore admitted that much of his motivation for Watchmen was to be a criticism for the Reagan administration’s. In a 1987 conversation with Neil Gaiman and Dave Gibbons for The Comics Journal, Moore said, “This is not anti-Americanism, it’s anti-Reaganism…”and “…at the moment a certain part of Reagan’s America isn’t scared. They think they’re invulnerable…”

    The series brings humanity terrifyingly close to complete destruction. This echoes Swamp Thing’s continual assertions of the fragility of human life. it also places the power to end everything into a disturbingly small number of hands, striking harshly against this feeling of invulnerability.

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    Although other comics writers have used their art to further conversations about political and social issues, few have done so as prolifically and expertly as Moore. In so doing, he has also helped to build a comic book legacy that includes political criticism and social change. So, this November, remember, remember that comic books can have much deeper meaning than what meets the eye. Brilliant creators like Alan Moore prove it.

    WANT MORE FROM MOORE? PRE-ORDER A COLLECTION OF 10 SHORT STORIES: BRIGHTER THAN YOU THINK YOU ARE

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    Heroes From Another World

    In the canon of comic book characters there are classic heroes like Superman and Batman, but there are also some off-center heroes that are not exactly the typical tights-wearing dogooders.

    These characters not of this world and ones who have more in common with classic monsters than masked vigilantes. However, their outsider status frequently grants them the ability to comment on humanity differently than their more conventionally human counterparts.

    Let’s start with the tragedy of Dr. Alec Holland, or as he’s better known to readers–Swamp Thing. Holland is a brilliant biologist working on a top-secret bio-restorative formula in the swamps of Louisiana. When a bomb planted in his lab goes off, Holland is splashed with burning chemicals and he runs into the swamp. The muck of the swamp merges with the chemicals and turns Holland into the moss-covered hero he has been ever since.

    Man or Monster?

    swamp-thingOriginally created by comic book legends Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson, the original Swamp Thing stories deal in traditional monster tropes. We see Swamp Thing do battle with the mad scientist Arcane and his mutated UnMen, there are angry villagers, giant robots, and even a werewolf. Wein does manage to weave in a story about Holland trying to reclaim his humanity as an undercurrent in the fairly pulpy horror stories.

    Writer Alan Moore brought this undercurrent of humanity to the surface when he took over the book in 1984. Moore reconceived the character as a part monster that had been imbued with memories of Dr. Alec Holland. By inverting the story of a man made into a monster to monster made into a man, Moore created a metaphysical tale of character dichotomy. This change in creative direction brought a whole new audience to DC’s horror tale.

    Swamp Thing has changed creative hands a number of times in his four decades of history. The likes of Mark Millar, Brian K. Vaughn, Grant Morrison, and Scott Snyder have all added to his character development. With the ongoing struggle between man and monster and the trippy mythology gifted to him by Moore, Swamp Thing presents different creators with the chance to tell deeply human and emotional stories in the world of the macabre and the supernatural.

    Defining Deadman and Redemption

    deadmanSwamp Thing is not DC’s only undead superhero. Five years before Alec Holland fell into that swamp, readers were introduced to the aptly named Deadman. Created by Arnold Drake and Carmine Infantino, Deadman is the ghost of acrobat Boston Brand who was murdered during one of his acts. The Hindu god Rama Kushna gives Brand’s spirit the power to possess any living being. With this power and his new superhero identity as Deadman, he sets out to track down the man who killed him, a mysterious figure known only as “The Hook.”

    Much like Swamp Thing, it would be another comic book luminary not involved with the initial creation of the character who would come to define Deadman. Writer/Artist Neal Adams took over creative duties in the second issue and not only brought his legendary high detail art, but a new depth to Boston Brand’s story. In Swamp Thing, Alec Holland is an altruistic scientist trying to better humanity with his experiment. For all intents and purposes, Holland is a straight ahead good guy. Boston Brand on the other hand is not exactly a bad guy but he has cold streak of selfishness. He’s ruthlessly focused on keeping the circus business alive often at the expense of the feelings of his fellow performers.

    By creating a character that in life was not the greatest person, Deadman became a story of redemption. Brand was always seeking revenge on his killer, but he couldn’t resist using his newfound abilities to help people as well. This aspect of the character was made explicitly clear when he was rebooted for DC’s New 52. The creative team of Paul Jenkins and Bernard Chang added a new wrinkle to Deadman’s mythology. He must use his powers to help people in order to atone for his selfish life or be forced to spend eternity forever in limbo between life and death. The core of Deadman’s character becomes clear, this is a guy who has been given a second chance. The human urge to rectify one’s past behavior is a palpable and very emotional undercurrent to a story about a superhero who can possess people’s bodies.

    Hellboy Seeks Humanity

    Another otherworldly hero with a slightly different streak of humanity thahellboyn those mentioned before is Dark Horse’s Hellboy. The brainchild of writer/artist Mike Mignola, Hellboy is a half demon, half human who was born in hell. Unlike Swamp Thing or Deadman, Hellboy comes from another world and is brought into ours. As opposed to Alec Holland or Boston Brand trying to reclaim their humanity, Hellboy seeks a humanity that he was not born with. Hellboy though monstrous in appearance combats monsters and other supernatural evil for an organization called the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (or BPRD).

    Hellboy presents a character that rebels against his supposed destiny. He was created by evil to enact evil. His right hand is meant to bring about the end of the world. Hellboy chooses to ignore his destiny and instead lives a blue-collar lifestyle of a cop or a plumber, albeit one who combats demons and monsters for a living.

    Almost everyone has at one point or another in their life wondered about their place in the world or grappled with other people’s intentions for them. Most people probably don’t have apocalyptic prophecies connected to them, but Hellboy is a comic book after all.

    Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. They also come in varying degrees of being alive. However, humanity is at the core of all these stories. Whether it’s the struggle to regain humanity or a quest to understand humanity, it becomes clear that being human is not related to physical features. In fact, the most physically monstrous can often have the most emotionally complex and human of stories.

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    Between the Occult and the Detective

    Between the Occult and the Detective

    There are two comic themes that when combined can make for enthralling reading — detectives/private eyes and magic. This coupling of sleuthing and the supernatural (including religion, the occult, sorcery and more) is pervasive in comics and the noir characteristics just heighten the thrills.

    hellblazerAnd no one fits that bill better than the Hellblazer himself, John Constantine. Created originally in Alan Moore’s Saga of the Swamp Thing in 1985, it wasn’t until 1988 when Hellblazer #1 hit the stands. Ever since, John has been working his magic in comics, on film in the Constantine movie, and in the short-lived and underrated Constantine television show. He’s  also part of pop culture in general (the Supernatural TV series borrows heavily from John Constantine for Castiel’s character).

    With 30-plus years of this character’s history, it can be daunting to know where to start. A good entry point is a graphic novel. Surprisingly, it’s not the  first volume — John Constantine, Hellblazer: Original Sins, but the fifth volume: Hellblazer: Dangerous Habits. Written by longtime Hellblazer writer Garth Ennis, this volume actually inspired parts of the 2005 Constantine movie.

    The story is pretty simple — John’s dying. All those cigarettes have caused an advanced terminal lung cancer. Knowing that his soul is damned and Hell is ready for him, John moves to cure his disease and save himself. What happens after he sets down this course is truly amazing.

    Another must read Hellblazer arc was created by celebrated crime novelist, Ian Rankin, for Vertigo’s crime imprint called Dark Entries in 2009. This was the first Original Graphic Novel (also called an OGN), meaning it was never released as single issues. The plot involves John trying to figure out why a house on a reality TV program is haunted. Of course, he can’t stop production, so he joins the series and starts to unravel the mystery.

    One of the big draws is the inclusion of religion within the series. It’s not just focused on Christianity. Voodoo magic is used regularly not only by Constantine, but his frenemy Papa Midnight. Although Catholicism is most prominent, the series never ignores the idea of other religions in the world.

    Look Overseas for Great Horror Comics

    Hellblazer isn’t the only series to blend magic and religion. Around the same time, Italian writer Tiziano Sclavi was introducing the world to Dylan Dog. A self-proclaimed Nightmare Investigator, Dylan, unlike John Constantine, was likeable. By 2011, Dylan Dog reached 300 issues, but only a handful made it to the United States.

    Dylan’s occult interactions mainly revolve around the classic monsters like vampires, werewolves, and zombies. Although, demons have crossed paths with him a few times.

    Many were first introduced to this character in the Dylan Dog Case Files from Dark Horse Comics. This graphic novel featured selected stories that were translated and released just prior to the Dylan Dog: Dead of Night film that starred Brandon Routh. The Dylan Dog Case Files is a great compilation of stories from the Italian series, but up until September 2016 it was the only source of Dylan Dog stories available in the U.S. Now, new stories are starting to come out from Epicenter Comics. Reportedly, there will also be reprints of past stories.

    How to Steal a Ghost

    ghostedAnother series that blends crime and the occult is Joshua Williamson’s Ghosted. Williamson is currently heading up The Flash series in DC’s Rebirth, and it’s been great.

    Ghosted, published by Image Comics, is further evidence that Williamson is the real deal. The series follows one of the world’s greatest thieves as he’s pulled into the world of the occult. He’s broken out of prison and offered the chance to steal something no one else has — a ghost.

    Think equal parts Ocean’s 11 and The Shining. Things are never as they seem, and our hero has to rely on more than his wits to get out of this situation. Pulling together a team of experts to help him steal this ghost, he assembles a psychic, an occult historian, a tech guy to record the ghost, and a skeptic. Overall, if you want to add a little heist into your horror, Ghosted is for you.

    Don’t Fear, The Slayer is Here

    buffyWho could really forget about the hit television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Buffy hunts vampires, but her adventures go WAY further than that including her best friend going into full-witch mode on her!

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer is Buffy Summers, the chosen one in a long line of young women destined to battle evil forces. She becomes “The Slayer” giving her increased physical strength, endurance, agility, accelerated healing, intuition, and a limited degree of clairvoyance. Buffy receives guidance from her Watcher, Giles, whose job is to train and assist the Slayers. Then it gets more complicated.

    But when the TV show ended, the fun didn’t. After the official comic book continuation of the series in Buffy Season 8, 9, and 10, we’re poised to jump into Buffy Season 11 in November 2016. Unencumbered by network television show budgets, this comic has gone to some great heights in recent years.

    The World’s Greatest Paranormal Investigator

    hellboyHellboy is one of the longest running, most widely celebrated horror series. With hundreds of issues and dozens of spinoffs, Mike Mignola has done something really amazing with this series by creating a new universe.

    Aside from DC and Marvel, there really aren’t a lot of big universes in comics, especially ones that walk that horror/mystery line so well. Hellboy or the “Mignola-verse” is a rich tapestry that features a variety of complex characters set a world that draws on centuries of folk-tales, yarns, and fables.

    Hellboy remains one of the few series that begs you to re-read the stories regularly. It’s great for curling up with during inclement weather or when you find yourself with an extended weekend.

    There are plenty of other occult and horror comics that split their genre with detective and noir storytelling. What are some of your favorites? Let us know below.

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    Movie Review: Batman: The Killing Joke

    batman the killing jokeOrigin films seem to focus primarily on the protagonist, the hero of the film or franchise. That’s not unreasonable because usually the good guy is far more interesting than the bad guy. But what happens when that’s not the case, as with Batman’s most frightening villain, The Joker? We know the quick sketch of his origin, a petty thief who is horribly disfigured when he falls into a vat of caustic chemicals during a botched robbery. He goes insane and The Joker is born.

    But as a foil to Batman’s relentless grim visage, The Joker also acts as Yang to Batman’s Yin, the two of them trapped in a weird, unhealthy and dangerous co-dependent relationship. It’s an exploration of this relationship that primarily propels the powerful Batman: The Killing Joke animated feature film. And it’s quite a ride!

    Based on the edgy and controversial graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke, with story by Alan Moore and art by Brian Bolland (pictured), the animated film is written by Brian Azzarello, directed by Sam Liu, and stars the voice talents of Kevin Conroy as Batman, Mark Hamill as The Joker, Tara Strong as Batgirl – who all return from the 1997 animated series The New Batman Adventures – and Ray Wise as Commissioner Gordon.

    The story begins with tension, the uncomfortable relationship between Batman and his ostensible sidekick Batgirl. She has a schoolgirl crush on him and even tells her best friend that she’s “seeing someone, I guess” without sharing his identity. Batman really can’t handle emotional connection, however, and he’s rude, abrupt and peremptory towards her, treating her with a haughtiness that borders on contempt in moments. Is he covering up his vulnerability or is he truly disconnected from his humanity?

    Nonetheless, Batman and Batgirl, are intimate in the film (off screen), though even that doesn’t thaw the block of ice that is The Caped Crusader. Then The Joker shows up and in flashbacks we learn his back story as a hapless loser of a comedian who weeps in frustration when he can’t earn a buck and provide for his beloved pregnant wife. He inevitably falls in with the wrong guys and gets pulled into helping with a robbery that goes wrong, he falls into that iconic vat of chemicals and The Joker comes out of the muck.

    And so begins the only relationship in the film that really matters, the tension and co-dependence between Batman and The Joker. Batgirl is still in the picture, as is her father Commissioner Gordon, but they’re bit players in this drama. At one point Batman even acknowledges his dysfunctional relationship with The Joker, saying resignedly “This is going to end with one of us killing the other.”

    There are a number of troubling scenes both on screen and implied, making this film controversial and provocative. The Wall Street Journal describes it as “a shocking film”, Gizmodo says “The Killing Joke Movie is a Disaster” and MoviePilot.com says that the film has “a huge problem”. And yet it’s time for superhero films to come back to Earth and address the everyday themes we all face, issues of morals, ethics, mortality, love, vulnerability and betrayal. For the bad guy to be ambiguous and the hero to be, well, not always so heroic after all.

    Batman and Joker face off in The Killing Joke

    I really enjoyed Batman: The Killing Joke and found it well worth my time, as did the packed theater of comic book geeks and fans who shared the experience with me and cheered (and, yes, jeered a bit) at the ending. Recommended. And do something smart: grab a copy of the graphic novel so you can compare the two versions of the story as there are some pretty notable differences!

    Tip: Rated “R” for violence and tense situations, I think a hard PG13 is more accurate: I’d take my 16yo son to see this, but not my 12yo daughter. FYI.

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    “Batman: The Killing Joke” The Movie!

    batman the killing joke by alan moore and brian bollandSeems like every time we see Batman on screen, we have to sit through his origin story yet again. It’s like Spider-Man, for some reason directors think we’ve forgotten the whole nerdy high school kid + radioactive spider bite equation. Fact is, origin stories for superheroes is de rigueur for the genre, and that’s okay because it is usually interesting to learn what extraordinary circumstances turned someone “just like us” into a man or a woman with great powers and capabilities. Not to mention great responsibilities to the human race, which apparently is also part of the unwritten superpower deal.

    And then there are bad guys. Where do they come from, or are evil characters just evil from the start? With many we never get the origin story, but then there are the thoughtful backstories. One of the most colorful of all super villains in the entire DC universe is The Joker, and while you may immediately flash to the intense, powerful performance Heath Ledger delivered in The Dark Knight, the character has been a fixture in Batman’s world for quite a long time.

    The best origin story for The Joker is courtesy of Alan Moore and Brian Bolland: Batman: The Killing Joke. It won the Eisner Award and even appeared on the NYT best seller list when it came out. In the intense graphic novel, we learn that the man who is destined to become The Joker is just a rather dorky guy who works at a chemical company and when he fails horribly as a stand-up comedian, he tries to make a buck by agreeing to help some criminals steal chemicals from the plant. That, rather predictably, goes awry and when Batman confronts “Red Hood”, the engineer jumps into the chemical waste flow to escape and, well, wakes up as The Joker.

    Really great book and now it’s going to be a movie. In fact, here’s the just released trailer from DC:

    So what do you think? Have you read Batman: The Killing Joke, and are you going to see the film?

    Tip: You can pick up a copy of Batman: The Killing Joke here on TFAW and catch up!

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    Best Comic Book to Movie Adaptations?

    With the huge box office success of Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice fresh on the heels of the surprise raunchy hit Deadpool, it’s hard to ignore that good comic books can be turned into really good, really popular movies. It doesn’t always work out, and I’m still puzzling over why the amazing Alan Moore graphic novel Watchmen ended up such a mediocre (albeit beautifully produced) movie, even with Bat v Supe’s Zack Snyder in the director’s chair, but you can’t really appreciate the great adaptations if you don’t suffer through some dogs along the way.

    Which leads to the question: What great comic books or comic book series have survived an adaptation onto the big screen and ended up as a great movie? Here are a few on my list:

    v for vendettaV for Vendetta — based on another work by Alan Moore, director James McTeigue did a stunning job on this anti-establishment film, giving us a fully realized universe where a 1984-esque totalitarian London was completely believable, and the man raging against the machine was both the anti-hero and the hero simultaneously. And Natalie Portman. ‘nuf said.

    300 — A group of men doomed to lose a battle, outnumbered 100 to 1 back in ancient Greece? Sounds like a snoozer of a film, but this is really Zack Snyder’s best movie, based on a great graphic novel by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley. Its desaturated colors and slow-motion fight scenes, including splattery close-ups of swords, arrows and flesh, have all the aesthetic of a video game but turn the battle of Thermopylae into something epic.

    The Dark Knight — Director Christopher Nolan was already lauded in Hollywood for his thoughtful films, but The Dark Knight was the film that reminded us that comic book characters, even those created decades ago, can still represent facets of our psyche and be extraordinarily compelling on the big screen. Special props to a career-topping performance by Heath Ledger for his frightening Joker too, of course. Bob Kane would have loved seeing his caped crusader go back to his dark, twisted origin too.

    sin citySin City — The Frank Miller comic series won an Eisner Award, it’s so good, so compelling, and so unique in its frenetic, noir energy, and it took auteur Quentin Tarantino to do it justice on screen, with the film’s comic-book feel, cut scenes and limited color palette. It’s a whirlwind of a cinematic experience with every character larger than life, even life in Sin City.

    Men In Black — most comic book movies take their subject seriously. Even Deadpool is serious in its snarky, raunchy way, but Men In Black is perfectly cast with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones as the guys in the natty 50’s clothes. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and based on a fun comic series by Lowell Cunningham, it’s hard to imagine anyone who would be reading this blog who hasn’t also seen this film a half-dozen times.

    Those are five of my favorites. There are also those films that didn’t quite capture the feel of the source material, and those films that were better (or worse!) than the source material.

    But that’s just me, and that’s just my list.

    What about your favorite comic book adaptations on screen? What, and why?

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    Geeky Gift Ideas for the Batman Fan in Your Life–You Won’t Believe #3

    Are you looking for that perfect gift for your favorite Bat-fan and not sure where to start? Well, look no further–here at TFAW, we are happy to help you find just the right item for their utility belt. We have a wide selection of Batman products from the monthly comics, award-winning graphic novels, and incredible statues to a ton of other products to choose from. Since 2016 will be a big year for DC Comics flagship superhero–Batman–from television with shows like Gotham to films like Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, entering the Bat-world has never been easier. Here are a few selections to make your holiday hunt a bit easier this season. Buy Batman:The Killing Joke 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition HC at TFAW.comBatman:The Killing Joke 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition HC By: Alan Moore, Brian Bolland Your Price: $16.19 Starting with one of the most famous Batman stories of all-time and written by Alan Moore and art by Brian Bolland, this story not only defined The Joker and Batman as adversaries for decades, but also created story points that have affecting the Dark Knight’s world to this day. Collected in a beautiful hardcover deluxe edition that would fit nicely on any fans bookshelf.     Buy Joker And Harley Quinn Statue at TFAW.comLimited Edition Joker And Harley Quinn Statue Sculpted by: Tim Bruckner Your Price: $224.95 Finally, the item perfect for the fan that is more interested in the amazing villains than the Cape Crusader himself. Based on the Alex Ross cover to Harley Quinn #1 that introduced the already famous animated character to the DC comic universe, this limited edition statue will become the centerpiece to anyone’s collection. Next year will also mark both characters starring in the August release of Suicide Squad, so hop on early as fans know that what makes Batman great is his villains. Buy Absolute Batman The Court Of Owls HC at TFAW.comAbsolute Batman: The Court Of Owls HC By: Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo Your Price: $89.99 Collecting the beginning of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s ongoing Batman epic, this volume sees Bruce Wayne’s Gotham rocked to its core as a secret society controlling the city from the shadows has now targeted it’s favorite son and his secret identity. Not even old allies like the original Robin, Dick Grayson, can be trusted due to the far reach of the Court of Owls. This oversize hardcover edition includes a ton of extras among the first 11 issues collecting this storyline. It’s also a great way to start with the Batman comics, as this is a good jump on point for new or returning readers. Here are even more gift ideas for the Batman fan in your life:

     

    If you look at these items and don’t think they are just right, or need more help sorting out your Batman 66’s from your Batman Beyond’s, feel free to contact us directly via Live Chat at TFAW.com. You can also call us at 800-862-0052 or email us, and we’ll be glad to direct you to the right Bat-product.

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    Top Shelf Month: TFAW Interviews Leigh Walton

    August Is Top Shelf Month

    August is Top Shelf Month at TFAW.com! We are big fans of this independent comic book publisher, and to help spread the word about these amazing, award-winning comics, we’re offering our entire stock of Top Shelf graphic novels and books at 20% off for the entire month.

    Keep an eye on our blog, as we will be posting interviews with creators, preview art, and more. Today we’re kicking things off with an interview with Top Shelf Productions’ Marketing Coordinator and Web Editor, Leigh Walton. Here, he talks about the philosophy behind Top Shelf Productions, its amazing Swedish Invasion, and their relationships with acclaimed creators like Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell.

    August Is Top Shelf Month

    GET 20% OFF ALL TOP SHELF PRODUCTIONS GRAPHIC NOVELS THROUGH 8/31

    SUBSCRIBE TO OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

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    The Absolute V for Vendetta Hardcover Edition Is Here!

    Absolute V for Vendetta Hardcover Graphic NovelWith all of the excitement over a little graphic novel called Watchmen, you might not have heard about the brand-new Absolute V for Vendetta hardcover graphic novel coming out in August. Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta stands shoulder to shoulder with Watchmen and is a classic revered by millions for grappling with heavy issues like personal freedom and justice, while also delivering heart-stopping action and adventure.

    This deluxe hardcover edition is remastered in a larger format, so readers can fully enjoy David Lloyd’s dense, moody artwork. It’s scheduled for release August 19, 2009, and if you pre-order, you’ll save 20% off the cover price of $99.00 and pay just $79.20.

    So how many Alan Moore fans are planning to check out the Absolute V for Vendetta hardcover graphic novel? Do you feel like the 2005 movie version did the story justice, or does it make you fear for the upcoming Watchmen film? Post your comments below!

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    Geek Chick: Retro Review of Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing Comics

    When I first got into comics as a teenager, Swamp Thing was exactly the type of comic book I would have avoided like the plague. A giant, mobile vegetable? Too gimmicky. Didn’t they make a campy movie of this with Heather Locklear? (Why, yes they did!) Isn’t this . . . a guy comic? Bring me my Uncanny X-Men and leave me in peace!

    However, after a good friend mentioned that Alan Moore’s run on Swamp Thing taught him everything he knew about love and comics, I decided to give it a try. And promptly fell in love. It is a romance, after all–a romance filled with supernatural creatures, classic elements of horror, interspecies sexuality, and space travel, of course.

    In the original origin story of Swamp Thing, scientist Alec Holland, while working to develop a formula that could grow vegetation in even the most inhospitable or devastated environments, was sabotaged and blown up by a bomb. After throwing himself into the swamp in agony, he emerged as Swamp Thing, a sentient plant with supernatural strength and intriguing powers. Almost the first thing Moore does is blow that origin to bits, which frees up the character and expands his potential immeasurably.

    The six trade paperbacks that make up Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette, and John Tottleben’s Swamp Thing run are amazing in their depth of character development, storylines, and artwork. Swamp Thing could easily become a bystander in his own series while fighting the monster of the week, but instead, we’re taken on a journey as Swamp Thing falls in love with Abigail Arcane, wrestles with his inner demons, “dies,” is reborn, and ultimately finds his place in the universe (literally). It’s a gorgeous story, perfect if you’ve just tackled Watchmen and want to continue your Alan Moore odyssey. But it’s also just a plain good comic for anyone who appreciates a captivating tale.

    So, who’s already read Swamp Thing and wants to school us on the finer points of this award-winning comic book series? And . . . is the movie worth watching? I want to know! Post your comments below!

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