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Zoë Kravitz Will Play Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, in The Batman

Catwoman

Rumors have swirled as to who will be seen in The Batman, the next iteration of the popular comic character. It has been revealed that Zoë Kravitz will slide into the role of Selina Kyle, Catwoman in the film. She’ll star opposite Robert Pattinson who will don the cape as Bruce Wayne, Batman.

Kyle/Catwoman has morphed into an antiheroine and sometime love interest for Wayne/Batman. A recent storyline had the two about to be married which didn’t go ahead.

Numerous other actors were rumored for the role including Zazie Beetz, Eiza Gonzalez, and Alicia Vikander.

Production on the film is slated to begin filming in late 2019 or early 2020. The Batman is scheduled to be released on June 25, 2021.

Kravitz is the latest in a long line of defining women to take on the role of Catowman. Actresses to take on the character include Anne Hathaway, Halle Berry, Michelle Pfeiffer, Lee Meriweather, Julie Newmar, Eartha Kitt, Camren Bicondova and many more. The character has appeared in comics, television, movies, video games, animation, and radio.

Catwoman was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger and debuted in Batman #1 published in 1940.

Director Matt Reeves tweeted out the below in response to the news:

EPIX’s Pennyworth Gets an Official Teaser Trailer

Pennyworth is a ten-episode, one-hour drama based on the DC Comics‘ character Alfred Pennyworth created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger.

It follows Bruce Wayne’s legendary butler, Alfred Pennyworth (Jack Bannon), a former British SAS soldier who forms a security company and goes to work with Thomas Wayne (Ben Aldridge), Bruce’s billionaire father, in 1960’s London.

Pennyworth debuts summer 2019 on EPIX.

Commemorating 80 Years of Batman with Worldwide Celebrations

To mark the 80th anniversary of Batman, DC has unveiled plans for a global commemoration of the World’s Greatest Detective. Kicking off this March at SXSW, the multifaceted campaign for DC’s Caped Crusader will feature exclusive celebrations, special theatrical engagements, the milestone release of Detective Comics #1000, live events and first-ever Batman brand partnerships. As fans join together under the campaign’s tagline of #LongLiveTheBat, DC’s timeless character will be honored through Batman Day in September when the Bat-Signal lights up in major cities worldwide.

First appearing as socialite turned crime-fighter Bruce Wayne in Detective Comics #27 on March 30, 1939, the Dark Knight has stood as a symbol of determination, bravery and justice to generations of fans for 80 years. He has influenced every area of modern entertainment, appearing in countless comic books, Saturday morning cartoons, multiple television series, video games, theme parks and experiences, toys, collectibles, apparel and lifestyle products, as well as, blockbuster animated and live-action films. There have been Batman trading cards, board games and newspaper cartoon strips, and the U.S. Postal Service has even honored Batman with his own postage stamps. Batman is a multi-billion dollar icon who continues to reign as the most popular single Super Hero ever created.

To commemorate this milestone, custom artwork was created that pays homage to Batman’s legacy in all forms of media. The Batman profile pencil design is by beloved longtime DC artist José Luis García-López, and digital paint design is by Admira Wijaya. This graphic will be featured throughout the celebration.

DC will honor #LongLiveTheBat throughout 2019, including Batman’s 80th anniversary on March 30 and Batman Day on September 21. As part of this yearlong celebration, there are many ways fans can participate.

Read Batman:

  • Paying homage to the Super Hero’s 80-year publishing history, DC will present two commemorative books: including the landmark collector’s issue of DETECTIVE COMICS #1000, on sale at comics shops March 27, and a special hardcover release, DETECTIVE COMICS: 80 YEARS OF BATMAN THE DELUXE EDITION, available March 19.

Experience Batman:

  • SXSW in Austin, Texas, will kick off the global celebration with multiple fan experiences, photo opportunities, limited-edition merchandise and Instagrammable mural by a local artist. SXSW will also set the stage for an incredible moment when more than 1.5 million bats fly into the night over Austin’s famous Congress Bridge on March 15.
  • DC will celebrate Batman’s 80th anniversary with panels at major conventions, including a dedicated “Happy Birthday, Batman!” panel at WonderCon in Anaheim on the actual anniversary, March 30.
  • Generations of fans across the globe will gather together to honor the timeless hero on Batman Day, September 21. The Bat-Signal will light up in major cities worldwide, alongside a wide array of fan celebrations, including interactive photo opportunities, live music, food, games and more. Plus, fans will race across the finish line in their favorite Caped Crusader attire in a series of 5K and 10K runs in select cities.
  • Families can celebrate #LongLiveTheBat at multiple Six Flags locations across North America in August with extended hours, exclusive Batman-themed experiences and special merchandise. Warner Bros. theme parks across the globe, including Warner Bros. Movie World Australia, Parque Warner Madrid and Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, will host Batman 80thanniversary events.
  • Madame Tussauds locations in Orlando and Sydney will unveil interactive fan-friendly experiences, photo opportunities and special merchandise in September.
  • In May, collectible art boutique MONDO will host a curated anniversary exhibit at its Austin gallery celebrating iconic Batman cover art throughout the years.
  • The global touring exhibition THE ART OF THE BRICK: DC SUPER HEROES will celebrate the Dark Knight with a special Batman edition, beginning this September in São Paulo, Brazil.
  • Romics—the comic book, animation and gaming convention in Rome, Italy—will host an immersive Batman 80th  anniversary exhibit in April.
  • Designed for fans of all ages, visitors to Shanghai this summer will be treated to a first-of-its-kind special exhibit celebrating Batman.
  • Otter Media brands Rooster Teeth, Crunchyroll, VRV and Fullscreen will celebrate Batman’s 80th anniversary through a variety of programming and social campaigns designed to amplify DC’s global campaign.
  • AT&T will activate across retail, digital and DIRECTV, which will celebrate the anniversary with a Batman-branded channel. Plus, AT&T customers will get insider access through AT&T THANKS to Batman content, comics, merchandise, exclusive fan experiences and more.

Watch Batman:

  • Television broadcast partners worldwide will host Batman programming marathons in March and September.
  • Cartoon Network in the U.S. and key territories will host exclusive Batman themed programming and stunts for kids in March and September.
  • DC Universe—DC’s digital subscription service—will be celebrating in a big way with the promotion of Batman content in March and September.

Join Batman:

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of America will join Batman in a first-ever partnership to celebrate kids, teens and youth development professionals who stand up for positive change in their communities. The campaign kicks off in April during National Boys & Girls Clubs Week.
  • In honor of military appreciation month this May, DC will partner with the USO, the iconic military support nonprofit, on a special Batman-themed USO2GO kit featuring comics, movies, TV shows, games and more. The kit will offer a fun diversion for service members stationed in remote locations around the globe, connecting them to home and all things Dark Knight.
  • Fans in the UK can join in raising awareness of Genetic Disorders UK by wearing an exclusively designed Batman t-shirt on Jeans for Genes Day in September.

Shop Batman:

  • WB and DC are also joining forces with an extensive list of retail partners, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, iTunes, Walmart, GameStop and Google Play, among others.
  • Global partners such as LEGO, Mattel and Funko will release exclusive Batman 80th anniversary products throughout the year.

Conceived by artist Bob Kane with writer Bill Finger, Batman is humanity’s timeless hero. And he’s just getting started. More details on the global celebration will be released in the coming months.

Underrated: Books On The History Of Comics.

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week:  Books On The History Of Comics.



Last week we looked at why comic book history was Underrated. This week, we’ll look at some books that, should you be interested, will help shed some light on the stories behind the stories.

Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe was published in 2012. Howe decided to write the book because the stories comic creators told in fanzine interview always seemed different from the official narrative. Starting with the comics published during the golden age, and the characters created by Jack Kirby, Joe Simon and Stan Lee, the book follows the publisher’s story to the new millennium up until the creation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with upwards of 150 interviews conducted by the author.  GQ’s Joshua Rivera described the book as “one of the most comprehensive and well-researched accounts” of Marvel.

Bill The Boy Wonder written by Marc Tyler Nobleman with art by Ty Templeton. Presented as a childrens book, Bill The Boy Wonder tells the untold tale of Batman’s creation. By shining a light on who Bill Finger was, Nobleman’s extensive research led to Finger finally getting a byline credit whenever Batman appears. The book’s presentation is designed to allow as many people, of any age, to learn about Bill Finger – and it works.

Superheroes!: Capes, Cowls, and the Creation of Comic Book Culture by Laurence Maslon and Michael Kantor.  Assembled as a companion piece to the three part PBS documentary series Superheroes, this volume chronicles the effect of superheroes on American culture through the various mediums they appear in, and conversely the effect of America culture on superheroes. Featuring more than 500 full-color comic book panels, covers, sketches, photographs of both essential and rare artwork, Superheroes is an in-depth look at this powerful presence in pop culture.

Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster – the Creators of Superman by Brad Ricca. Published in time for the 75th anniversary of the Man of Steel, comes the first comprehensive literary biography of Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, the co-creators of Superman Brad Ricca’s Super Boys is the first ever full biography about Superman’s creators, and with more than ten years of research he made some interesting discoveries; the book reveals the first stories and pictures ever published by the Siegel and Shuster, where the first Superman story really came from, the template for Superman’s costume, and more than will be listed in this blurb

The Art of the Simon and Kirby Studio by Joe Simon, Mark Evanier, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. At nearly four hundred pages, this historical look at the art produced by the Simon and Kirby studio is a must for any fan of either artist. The reproduced comics allow you to actually see the corrections done to the artwork such as drawings over areas of white-out, the faint lines used as reference for writing the text, portions of the panels being pasted over with bigger pieces of paper with bigger corrected drawings, the yellowing clear tape… The look into the creative process of these men is captivating.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Visual History by Andrew Farago. Detailing the story of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from their humble beginnings in black-and-white comics to where they stand now as four of the most recognizable in animation and comics, this book features interviews with the characters creators and other key figures in the Turtle’s ascendancy. With reproduction artifacts from the Turtle’s history, including their debut, this hardcover book is worth looking into for any fan of the pizza loving teenagers.

 

This is by no means a definitive list of books to look up, but merely a selection to get you started, and there are obviously many, many more great books out there to delve into; far more than I have listed here (you’ll find a few purely from Amazon’s suggested list after looking these up). But that doesn’t mean we should stop learning about the medium’s history, eh?


Next week’s Underrated will look at some other aspect of the comic book world.

Underrated: The History Of Comics

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The billboywonder.jpgcolumns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week:  The History Of Comics.



The history of the modern comic book is often overlooked, and in many cases under appreciated. Now I’m not arrogant enough to pretend that in a 700-odd word column I’ll be able to give the subject the depth it deserves, but what I will do is tell you why you should give the history of the medium we love so much more thought that the typical “what issue did this happen in?”

While I am far from be an expert in the history of the medium, it does fascinate me, and it should fascinate you as well.

Learning about the struggles of the early comic book publishers, writers, and artists, has lead me to realize that their story is something that could very easily be retold in a comic. From the way Batman was created and tale of Bill Finger – the Legend That Should Be, to Stan Lee having to fire the entire Timely Comics bullpen (Timely would later have a name change to Marvel) twice, to the industry devastation of the book Seduction of the Innocent by Fredrick Wertham in 1954, and the senate hearings that resulted from the book that eventually gave birth to the Comics Code.

There have been numerous books written about the subject of comic history, and I’ve been trying to build a collection of them – a personal library if you will –  to help me learn more than what can be found on Wikipedia about something that has over the past few years become of more and more interest to me. Books such as Sean Howe’s The Untold Story of Marvel marvel_comics_the_untold_story.jpgComics, Marc Tyler Nobleman’s Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman,  and  Brad Ricca’s Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster – the Creators of Superman are only a handful that sit on my bookshelf.

Over the past two years I’ve amassed books that contain the year by year visual history of Batman, DC, and Marvel; a history of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; as well as an X-Universe history. I also recently acquired Superheroes!: Capes, Cowls, and the Creation of Comic Book Culture by Laurence Maslon and Micheal Kantor .There are many, many great books out there to delve into; far more than I have listed here, more than I currently have on my book shelf, and more than I think I can ever expect to own.

Reading not your thing?

I’ve found a few documentaries out there that are worth the time – Turtle Power: Definitive History of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle, and Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope. The three listed above are by no means an inclusive list of documentaries and I encourage you to hunt others down, whether from an online store or your own choice of online streaming service.

turtlepower def history.PNGAnd then there’s the utterly brilliant Batman & Bill that, technically, you can currently only find on Hulu that details the aforementioned creation of Batman.

The point I am failing to make is that there is a book out there to get you started no matter which publishing company holds your interest, all you have to do is look.

However you choose to learn about the history of the medium, about the creators and publishers that are such a huge part of our lives now, I encourage you to do it. Because I think not only does it help us appreciate where comics have come from, and what they have gone through, but that the creators of days gone by deserve to be remembered. What went before is just as important now as it ever was. One could argue even more so.

We just need to remember that.

 

 

 


Next week’s Underrated will look at some of those books I mentioned above.

Preview: Superman: The Atomic Age Sundays, Vol. 3 (1956–1959)

Superman: The Atomic Age Sundays, Vol. 3 (1956–1959)

Alvin Schwartz; Bill Finger (w) • Wayne Boring (a) • Pete Poplaski (c)

Superman’s newspaper comic strips are among the most rare of all Superman collectibles. This comprehensive series helps remedy that gap in Superman history by bringing back into print every one of the Sunday newspaper strips. The Man of Steel stars in seven classic adventures as the 1950s “Atomic Age” comes to a close. Two of the stories are original to the newspaper strip, while five were alternate versions of tales that were simultaneously published in the regular comic books. One of the featured adaptations is “Superman Versus the Futuremen,” written by Batman co-creator Bill Finger, which retells Superman’s origin. This concluding volume of Superman’s Atomic Age Sundays reprints all strips from July 1, 1956 to October 11, 1959.

HC • FC • $49.99 • 184 pages • 9.25” x 12” • ISBN: 978-1-68405-061-1

Underrated: Creators Of Yesteryear I

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Creators Of Yesteryear I.



This week I wanted to take a step away from sales numbers, movies, and comics (for the most part), and instead look at some of the creators who had a huge hand in shaping the industry as we know it today. These are names that, hopefully, you already know, but to the average non-comics fan these names may be met with a bit of a shrug or a blank face. The word underrated isn’t a strong enough word for the recognition that these creators should receive from the wider world, but that’s the name of this column… so there we go.

Before I start, one disclaimer: this is in no way shape or form a complete list, hence the Roman numeral at the end of the title. There will be multiple parts to this list in the future in unscheduled installments. Do not expect extensive biographies here, this is just enough to (hopefully) encourage you to do a bit of extra reading yourself.

Shall we get to it?

simon and kirby.jpg

Joe Simon and Jack Kirby

Jack Kirby
I bet you weren’t expecting to see this name here, were you? Jack Kirby is one of the more famous names within the comic book industry, and his contributions to the medium we know and love are legendary. His influence can be felt in just about every issue, so why have I included him on this list? Because if you ask the general public who created the X-Men they’d only answer one name, and Jack Kirby deserves to be as revered, if not more so, than Stan Lee. 

Joe Simon
You’ve heard of Captain America, right? Who hasn’t, really. Well as I’m sure you know he’s the product of Simon and Kirby. The team also created the romance comics genre, and contributed killer runs on some of Marvel and DC’s biggest comics during the middle of the last century. Joe Simon’s comics resume may not be as extensive as his frequent collaborator, but Simon is also the founder of SickMad magazine competitor. He also worked

bill finger

One of the rare photos of Bill Finger

extensively in advertising, serving as the art director for Burstein, Phillips and Newman from 1964 to 1967. There’s an excellent coffee table book featuring the work of the Simon Kirby Studio that I can’t recommend highly enough to you.

 Bill Finger
I swear to the gods if you don’t know who this man is, and what he’s done, then I will happily sit down and tell you all about it – but not here. Suffice it to say Bill Finger gave the world almost everything we know about Batman… and only recently received credit for his work in co-creating Batman. There’s a fantastic documentary on Hulu if you’re interested in learning more about this man.

steve ditko.PNG Steve Ditko
So who created Spider-Man? Not just Stan Lee. Steve Ditko is the co-creator of Marvel’s most bankable star, but there’s a good chance your non comics people wouldn’t know that. The artist also created or co-created a good number of other characters for Marvel and DC including Doctor Strange, The Question, the Creeper, and a revamp of Blue Beetle. Ditko has famously refused almost all interview requests since the 60’s, allowing his work to speak for itself. His Wikipedia entry is full of interesting tidbits.

 Jerry Robinson
The co-creator of Robin and the Joker (Bill Finger was the other half of the writer/artist duo), Jerry Robinson, along with Neal Adams, was also instrumental in the fight for creators rights in the 70’s, but his proudest body of work wasn’t in a traditional comic, accoding to an interview with the Daily Telegraph: “I did 32 years of political cartoons, one every day for six days a week. That body of work is the one I’m proudest of. While my time on Batman was important and exciting and notable considering the characters that came out of it, it was really just the start of my life.”jerry robinson.jpg


 

Like I said above, there is no way that this is an inclusive list. This is merely a column that will hopefully get you, dear reader, talking about thee creators to non comics people.

In the meantime, I’ll see you next week.

 

All images were found via Google search and snipped from the image results.

Gotham Weekly With Alex And Joe: Episode Three And A Half

Neal Adams Batman TMNT Adventures #6 ExclusiveWelcome to Gotham Weekly’s first unscheduled recording!

Our hosts were chatting over messenger about a couple of Batman related things, and decided to just stop and record the conversation. Among the topic of conversation was the announcement of the Titans series, the exclusive C2E2 Batman #21 and Salt City Comic Con Batman/TMNT Adventures #6 (left) variant covers, the recent Bruins/Senators Stanley Cup Playoff series, and the upcoming Hulu documentary Batman And Bill, because Alex finally watched the trailer (included below). This comic strip by Ty Templeton, this book by Marc Tyler Nobleman. 

There was also a bit of chatter about the upcoming SSSC guest Graham Nolan and his co-creation Bane… honestly, we were all over the place. There was no agenda.

We may have forgot we were recording at times.

For links to the interviews and features mentioned in the podcast scroll past the trailer.

 

SUPERMEGAFEST 2016: Interview With Graham Nolan

RHODE ISLAND COMIC CON 2015: Interview With Kevin Conroy

Marc Tyler Nobleman Talks To Us About His Work In Getting Bill Finger’s Name Recognized

I Hate Bob Kane

And as a bonus, the first article Alex ever wrote: Bill Who?

 

Underrated: Graphic Novel Biographies

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Graphic Novel Biographies.


 

Biographies aren’t always the first thing you think  of when you think of graphic novels, and vice versa. But the thing is a graphic novel is a fantastic way to tell a person’s life story, or a portion there of, that isn’t often used as much as it could be. Graphic novel biographies are a wonderfully unique way of telling a story that you really can’t capture the same way with a prose book. By utilizing the graphic novel format, the creative team have the opportunity to bring the story to life with picture, or temper  the harshness of what the biography’s subject went through so that the reader can take more of the story in (seriously, imagine the first entry with realistic artwork). Or the artwork can tell give you a subtlety that’s missing in other mediums as you’re more readily able to spend time pouring over the images in front of you. Yeah, I think it’s safe to say that I think graphic novels are an underrated method of telling a biographical story.

So I present to you here a short list of graphic novel biographies. 

A few things before we start; firstly, these biographies are all told primarily in the graphic novel format, but they my not encapsulate  the entirety of the subjects life. Secondly, because I’ve got eclectic taste these selections may not be for everybody so be prepared for some potentially foolish claims. Lastly, this isn’t a complete, or inclusive, list and it is completely subjective.

mausMaus (Pengiun)
Lets’s be honest here, Maus is far from underrated as a comic book. It’s one of the prime examples of excellence in the medium, and for good reason; this is a book that tackles the harsh realities of life in a concentration camp, and is still every bit as relevant now as it it ever was. So its far from underrated as a comic, but as a biography? It’s not often thought of in that way, especially by non comics fans.  Granted, this book takes a spot in this weeks Underrated simply because it’s a graphic novel that really exemplifies the mediums power, but also because when those outside of comics think of a biographical tale seldom does a graphic novel crop up. It’s for this reason that Maus is on the list.

Andre The Giant: Closer To Heaven (IDW)
You don’t need to be a wrestling fan to appreciate this story, but I won’t deny that it helps. I am not a wrestling fan any more (though I still appreciate the talent these men and women have to do what they do), but I found Closer To Heaven is an incredibly touching tribute to a great man. A giant who entertained millions of people around the world, while suffering an incredible amount of pain because of his gigantism. Andre is a truly inspiring figure, and this is a fantastic way to honour his story. It’s not the only biography of Andre released in graphic novel form, but it is the only one that I have read.

BillTheBoyWonderFrBill The Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator Of Batman (Charlesbridge)
Perhaps the most powerful book on this list that isn’t Maus, Bill The Boy Wonder tells the story of Bill Finger, and his integral role in creating Batman that went largely known know, and entirely uncredited, until last year. This is a must read for any fans of Batman who want to know the true origin story of the caped crusader, and for those who want to read the book that helped Bill Finger get the recognition he deserves.

Dark Night:  A True Batman Story (Vertigo)
Telling the story of the night that legendary Batman writer Paul Dini was mugged, this book is honestly hard to read at times thanks to it’s frank and honest depiction of one man’s struggle to overcome one of the mot traumatic nights of his life, and how Batman inspired him to get back up.

TS_March_cvrMarch (Top Shelf Productions)
This is a bit of a cheat because March is actually a three volume graphic  novel that tells the story of congressman John Lewis, a congressman in the state of Georgia. Each volume in this series is amazing, and delivers to an incredible reading experience about an American icon. Brett has an incredible series of reviews on this modern classic that can all be found within the first paragraph here, so if you want to know why you should read these books then read those.

 


 


 

There we have it – some of the best of the graphic novel biographies. Not all are underrated in the typical sense as relates to this column, (Mausfor example is one of the most respected graphic novels around), but all are worth reading. There are without a doubt other graphic novel biographies that I missed, so there’s a good chance there will be a second (or third) part to this list eventually.

In the meantime, Underrated will return to highlight more comic book related stuff  that either gets ignored despite it’s high quality, or maybe isn’t quite as bad as we tend to think it is.

Immigration And Comics. It’s Our History.

ck-rocket-from-krypton-croppedA version of this originally ran January 2016.

You’d have to have been living under a rock to have avoided the refugee and, to a lesser extent, the immigration discussions occurring this past week due to the executive order signed by President Donald Trump.

As an immigrant myself, it’s a discussion that I’ve been paying some attention too.

First things first, though, is that I should clarify that my situation in no way resembled the plight of those from Syria or other war-torn regions. As a white man immigrating from the United Kingdom it would be offensive to those refugees to say that I know what they’re going through. I don’t.

I genuinely hope that I never will.

Indeed, I have been present in my new country when people start talking about “the immigrants” taking their jobs because they didn’t consider me an immigrant.  This was shortly after asking about my accent. I may be a white guy, but my accent sure isn’t from this side of the pond. That’s about as much prejudice as I have ever encountered on my end, directly, and while I found it exasperatingly funny at the time, it does go to  show the general sense that a (very) few have toward immigrants (at least in my experience, but as I said, mine is not the same as the Syrian refugees. Not even close). Even comparing a refugee to an immigrant is a slippery slope; while some immigrants such as myself arrive in a new country of their own volition, some undoubtedly feel forced out of their homes, due to escalating conflicts or tensions at home. But either way, the immigrant has a little more freedom to make the decision. A refugee has no choice in the matter; they just want their family to feel safe.

And the type of safety that the Syrian refugees are currently seeking, and the scale of the horror’s they are running from is something that many of us have no personal experience with. Hopefully we never will, but that doesn’t preclude us from having some empathy for them, either.

My family have lived in England for as long as I am aware (my Aunt traced my grandfather’s line back to around the 1700’s, give or take), so I can’t knowingly claim that there is any immigration within my family’s past (myself aside), but that’s not necessarily true of people living on this side of the pond.

There are millions of people in North American who can trace their families back across the years and the oceans to other countries, when their ancestors left their home lands for fear of persecution or simply to hope for a better life.

This is especially true when it comes to some of the early and/or influential members of the comic book community.

The Thing KirbyIndeed, many of the greatest names in American comics are often the first generation born in the new country, such as Art Speigelman (the author of Maus), Bill Finger (co-creator of Batman, Green Lantern, and many many others), Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (the men who created Superman). Even Bob Kane‘s (Batman‘s other co-creator) parents were of Eastern European Jewish descent. The point I am attempting to make here is that the sons of Jewish immigrants created some of our biggest super heroes, and some of our greatest stories.

And what of their creations? 

Superman is an alien from another planet who’s family sought refuge for their only child from the end of their world. He is far from native to any country on Earth, yet he has chosen to make the planet his  home. Far beyond just simply moving from country to country, Superman is an interplanetary immigrant that kick started the modern superhero comic. 

And he’s not the only immigrant in comics, either; Supergirl, the Martian Manhunter are but two of the early inter-planetary examples, X-O Manowar is both a geographical and chronological immigrant (it sounds confusing when typing it like that, but the character is as rich and deep as any other on this list). Howard the Duck has been trapped in a world that he’s slowly become accustomed to, but was never his own; and Thor Odinson has been protecting our world for centuries – and even without his hammer he continues to do so. The idea of a hero from the stars come to save humanity (or in the case of Howard the Duck to simply work amongst us) is an idea that as comic book fans we’re all enamored with , and in many cases these interplanetary immigrants have become some of the most beloved, and powerful, characters in the comic book reading world.

Giant-Size_X-Men_Vol_1_1In terms of the more traditional Earthbound type of immigration, the of moving between countries, look at almost the entire second team of X-Men; BansheeColossus, Nightcrawler, Sunfire, Storm and Wolverine are all from countries other than the US. You know what that makes them, eh?

If  these characters were ignored because they were immigrants, both of the interplanetary and Earthbound nature,  would comics, nay, popular culture, even have the same face? The Superman symbol is an internationally recognized symbol of truth, justice, and the American Way, and Wolverine is arguably one of the most popular characters to ever appear in a comic book. What if the parents of the previously mentioned creators, and the numerous others I haven’t named who are also descended from immigrants, were trying to escape their living conditions to provide a better life for their families today? Would we still want to turn them away?

If it wasn’t for the sons and daughters of refugees and immigrants the comic book landscape, and perhaps even our way of life would be drastically different than what we’re used too. Before you add your voice to those who say we should close up our borders, take a long hard look at your family history, at the characters you love, and tell me where you would be if the country you call home had refused to admit any new immigrants at any point in the past two or three hundred years.

Would you still be sat here reading this, if your ancestors hadn’t had the opportunity to live a new life in North America?

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