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Adam Strange Reading Order (DC Comics)

As the Space Race was just starting to become a reality, National Comics (aka DC Comics) went back to produce a bit more science-fiction stories. It was 1958 and Space Ranger was created, and rapidly forgotten. That was not the case of another space hero created almost at the same time, Adam Strange.

The idea for the character came from editor Julius Schwartz and the costume design was by Murphy Anderson. Strange first apparition was on the cover of Showcase #17 drawn by Gil Kane, but it was Mike Sekowsky who penciled the story written by Gardner Fox following Schwartz’s direction.

Adam Strange’s origin story is highly inspired by Edgar Rice Burroughs’s John Carter of Mars. The character was an archaeologist working in South America who was suddenly transported to the distant planet of Rann by a beam of energy from the Zeta Beam, a device created by a scientist named Sardath. On Rann, Strange discovered that he had gained superhuman abilities due to the different gravitational pull and the planet’s radiation. He also learned that the Zeta Beam technology only allowed him to stay on Rann for a limited amount of time before transporting him back to Earth.

Adam Strange became a hero on Rann, saving the world from tyrants, monsters, and extraterrestrial invaders among other threats. In addition, he developed feelings for Alanna, a Rannian woman, with whom he finally got married.

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Nick Fury Reading Order

Created by writer/artist Jack Kirby and writer Stan Lee, Colonel Nicholas Joseph “Nick” Fury Sr. has a long career in the Marvel Universe! Born around 1920, he enrolled in the American Army at the age of 20 and became leader of an elite U.S. Army Ranger unit during WWII in Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #1 (1963).

After the war, he trained and became a Colonel in the Central Intelligence Agency O.S.S., the predecessor of the CIA. He worked for them until Tony Stark recruited him to lead the counterespionage agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury has never been the type of man sitting behind a desk and he transformed himself into a sort of James Bond-like spy, going on the field for important missions. The agency grew under his command and built important alliances with the Avengers and other teams of superheroes.

But all is not what it seems in the spy world, and soon, Nick Fury finds himself in some complex spying game, leading him to disband and rebuild the S.H.I.E.L.D. Like many Marvel Characters, be assured that Nick died at some point and came back, quit, or retired from his position. And more improbable things completely change his place in the Comic book world.

So today, we dive into the long history of Nick Fury (and his many SHIELD missions!) with this Nick Fury Reading Order!

This reading order was suggested by Jal Hicham, one of our readers! Don’t hesitate to leave a comment or write to us with some other suggestions!

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Bizarro: Superman’s Deranged Clone is a tragicomic anti-hero NOT!

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The 1950s were another time, especially in the pages of comics like Superboy where strange things happened regularly for our young superhero. As the decade concluded, things would not become more conventionally heroic by today’s standards. Yesterday’s standards, that’s another story. Anyways, Superboy met The Super-Creature of Steel named Bizarro in Superboy #68 (October 1958).

Often portrayed as a distorted and imperfect duplicate of Superman, Bizarro had different origin stories through the years, but he has chalky white skin and distorted features–and is often depicted with a backward “S” symbol on his chest. His actions and speech are often opposite or inverted compared to Superman’s. As a result, he became the source of humorous situations or, on the contrary, tragic ones.

Credits for the creation of the character are often given to writer Otto Binder and artist George Papp, but Bizarro came from the mind of another writer, Alvin Schwartz. He was going to introduce this distorted mirror version of the Man of Steel first in the Superman daily newspaper strip. However, editor Mort Weisinger had reviewed Schwartz’s work and passed the idea to Binder to use in Superboy. The newspaper strip ended up published later and that’s why Alvin Schwartz is not the credited creator of Bizarro.

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Power Girl Reading Order (Kara Zor-L)

 

Family Tree are quite complicated in the world of Comic Books, and Power Girl will not tell you the contrary! Created by Gerry Conway and Ric Estrada, our superheroine made her first appearance in All-Star Comics #58 (1976)  as Superman’s Kryptonian cousin. 

But wait, I hear you say, isn’t Supergirl Superman’s cousin? Yes, that is the case! Power Girl, real name Kara Zor-L (also known as Karen Starr), is the Earth-Two counterpart of Supergirl and the first cousin of Kal-L, Superman of the pre-Crisis Earth-Two. Her origins story have been revisited several times since her creation, from her introduction to Supergirl’s Earth-2 doppelganger to being reimagined as an Atlantean after Crisis on Infinite Earths, then becoming a Kryptonian again after Infinite Crisis.

Outside of the world of comics, Power Girl is maybe more famous for her costume (and cleavage), though don’t let that distract you too much. She is genuinely an interesting character, maybe one of the most flawed Kryptonians out there, doted with a rash personality, her own fighting skills and good leadership capabilities. She fought alongside many heroes of DC Comics, has been the first chairwoman of the Justice Society of America, part of Justice League Europe, the Sovereign Seven, and many more teams.

Unfortunately for Power Girl’s readers, DC Comics hasn’t well collected her past stories, and it can be quite difficult to track her appearances. She had a few solo adventures, but is more a guest star/team member character! So here’s our Power Girl Reading Guide!

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Ka-Zar Reading Order, Adventures in Marvel’s Savage Land

Created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby in The X-Men #10 (1965), Kevin Plunder is Ka-Zar. The New Ka-Zar to be precise as he used the same hero name as David Rand, a character from a pulp magazine created by Bob Byrd in 1936–published by one of the many companies owned by Martin Goodman. When Goodman began publishing comics with Marvel Comics #1 in 1939, writer-artist Ben Thompson adapted one of Byrd’s stories.

Since then, this Ka-Zar appeared in multiple Marvel comics like Marvel Mystery Comics or Human Torch. Then, during the Silver Age, Marvel reintroduced some of his Golden Age characters. Most of them have updated origins. However, Ka-Zar became a new character. He is now clearly a Tarzan-like hero but he is stuck in a Jules Verne setting–David Rand was lost in the jungles of the Congo, not in the dinosaur-populated Savage Land. But he quickly found his place in the Marvel continuity.

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Detective Chimp, DC Comics’ Chimpanzee investigator in the occult

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All of DC Comics’s heroes don’t wear a cape, some are not even qualifiable as heroes, but they still fight crimes in their way, especially when there are occult elements involved. That is the case of Bobo T. Chimpanzee, the world’s greatest simian detective–his real name is unpronounceable, but can be translated as “Magnificent Finder of Tasty Grubs.”

Better known as Detective Chimp, Bobo first appeared in 1952 on the pages of Adventures of Rex the Wonder Dog #4. Created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, Bobo started as an abnormally intelligent chimpanzee. When his trainer, Fred Thorpe, was killed, Bobo helped Sheriff Edward Chase to catch the murderer. Maybe he could not speak, but he always knew how to make himself understand–and how to outsmart criminals. After that, he became the lawman’s unofficial partner.

This became the career of a lifetime. You may not be too familiar with this Detective Chimp as it was the 1950s version of the characters. Decades later, Bobo’s story was retcon.

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Attack on Titan Manga Order (with Before the Fall, No Regrets and more!)

Not far behind Demon Slayer in terms of sales, Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin) is also one the best-selling manga series of all time. Launched in 2009, the manga had a modest beginning before being boosted by the popularity of the anime adaptation. Since then, it inspired five spin-off manga series, three light novel series, several visual novels and video games, and a two part live-action film.

Written and illustrated by Hajime Isayama, Attack on Titan is a Shōnen manga set in a post-apocalyptic world where the last remnants of humanity live in a kingdom surrounded by walls designed to protect them from a powerful race of man-eating giants known as Titans. Living in this dark world is Eren Yeager, a teenager who has vowed to exterminate the Titans after his hometown’s destruction and his mother’s death.

Exploring human persistence in the face of failure, trauma, loss, and death, Attack on Titan lasted 139 chapters, compiled into 34 volumes. The main manga series came to an end in 2021.

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The Story of Will Eisner’s The Spirit

Nowadays, Will Eisner (1917-2005) is still one of the most famous comic book creators in the history of the medium–the highly respected Eisner Awards were named after him for a good reason. He did a lot from his beginnings in 1933 doing illustrations and comic strips in his high school newspaper to his famous graphic novels. But his most famous creation is clearly “The Spirit.”

Eisner broke into the comic book industry next to his school friend, Bob Kane, creator of Batman, but their career didn’t follow the same path. Quite the entrepreneur, Eisner formed a partnership with Samuel “Jerry” Iger. They opened their own studio that soon started to work like a factory, putting out comics. This was a financial success, but when Everett Arnold of Quality Comics offered him the possibility to produce a 16-page newspaper supplement for the Des Moines Register-Tribune Syndicate, the offer was too good to say “no.” Eisner loved comics and this was for him a new avenue to prove that this sequential art was not just for kids.

Eisner left Iger, took with him a few employees, and started to work on what is, on paper, the creation of another mystery man. The Weekly Comic Book supplement was composed of three stories per issue–two of them were the backups “Lady Luck” and “Mr. Mystic.” The main feature was of course “The Spirit.

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Crossed Reading Order, Garth Ennis’ Post Apocalyptic Universe

Writer Garth Ennis is known for creating stories depicting hyper-violence, and Crossed is no exception to the rules. A Post-Apocalyptic Comic book published by Avatar Press, Crossed follows survivors dealing with a pandemic that causes its victims to carry out their most evil thoughts, spreading evil and hunting down the last dying members of our species. Carriers of the virus are generally known as the “Crossed” due to a large, cross-like rash that appears on their faces.

While Garth Ennis and artist Jacen Burrows created the fictional world of Crossed, other writers penned stories set in this universe, from David Lapham (Stray Bullets) to Alan Moore. What it means for the readers is mostly many story arcs that can be read as self-contained and can be read in any order. With that said, there are a few crossovers, where characters introduced in a story appeared on another arc later that would justify following a certain order. So today, we are exploring the dangerous post-apocalyptic world of Crossed!

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Flash of Two Worlds, the comic book that introduced Earth-Two and the Multiverse

Just as the world outside was changing, the comic book industry was experiencing a shift in the sixties. The release of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s Fantastic Four #1 in November 1961 would lay the foundation for Marvel Comics as we know it today and change the superhero genre. A few months prior, DC Comics also put on sale an issue considered one of the most important comics in their history: The Flash #123.

Written by Gardner Fox and illustrated by Carmine Infantino and Joe Giella, the story Flash of Two Worlds introduced readers to the concept of a parallel Earth and paved the way for the multiverse which would inspire many writers for the following decades.

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