To view this content, you must be a member of Peter's Patreon
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.
Comic Books, Drag Race, & Life in New Zealand
What?! A second new guide today for Patrons of CK? Indeed, it’s true – plus an essay on comics history for everyone. I’m once again breaking ranks from following the release schedule of the original launch books of Image Comics, because today’s Guide to Stormwatch requires a second guide to complete it. That’s right, it’s a guide to what came after the Storm, a comic which fundamentally altered the tone and style of the comics industry and which has been tapped as an potential feature film in the new DC Cinematic Universe. It’s my Guide to The Authority!
If you don’t know your early 2000s comic history, buckle up for a brief crash course on how the comics on your current pull list are undeniably influenced by The Authority.
It all starts with a pair of British creators, Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch. Both had made moderate names for themselves at Marvel – Ellis on Excalibur and Doom 2099, Hitch on Sensational She-Hulk and Marvel UK titles. Yet, neither had become a breakout star who could sell a book on their name alone.
Ellis took over the flagging WildStorm co-flagship Stormwatch in July 1996. It had just recently acquired an all-new cast and had a virtually non-existent fan-base. While Ellis had enjoyed some freedom working on the fringe of Marvel’s titles, here he truly could write whatever he wanted. [Read more…] about New for Patrons: Guide to The Authority
We’re in the final two days of my Indie Comics Month now, but I still have a few more guides up my sleeve for all Patrons of CK. While it might seem as though I’ve already created guides for the flagship titles of each of the six founding imprints of Image Comics, that’s not entirely accurate. That’s because Jim Lee’s WildStorm imprint actually had two flagship team titles for the two halves of its camel-cased name. The “Wild” half is already covered in my Guide to WildCATs. Now it’s time for the “Storm” half, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this month! Welcome my Guide to Stormwatch!
To me, Stormwatch has always been the best of the Image Comics imprint flagship titles. That’s not just because I have forever been obsessed with the flash-forward gimmick of its “Images of Tomorrow” issue #25. It’s also because it was always the Image book with the most-obvious hook and clear stakes for me both as a young reader in the 90s and today.
Stormwatch was an answer to the question of “Who Watches the Watchmen,” a superhero book that could at time feel slightly akin to Avengers or Justice League but which had its own distinct tone. Stormwatch kept an eye on all of Earth and its many super-powered residents from its orbiting Skywatch station. Yet, this wasn’t a book purely about peace-keeping force. From the earliest issues it became clear that Stormwatch had as many internal threats as external ones, both from its captured foes to dissension within its ranks.
That came to a head in issue #25, telegraphed an entire year early, which revealed that everything about the title as we knew it would be torn to shreds.
It was one of the best-executed flash forwards in the history of comics. Seldom has a series so perfectly set up a dreaded inevitable future state and then carefully steered into it with no sleight-of-hand involved. Every bit of the tragedy unfolded exactly as promise, setting up a desperate climax.
I’m convinced it also set Stormwatch up to fail – or, at least, it set up future success but smothered any future nostalgia for the title. [Read more…] about New for Patrons: Guide to Stormwatch