Tag: Super Heroes

Len Wein – Soldier of Victory

This evening my wife, author Shannon Muir, and I will be attending the 2017 Animation Writers Caucus Annual Meeting and Award Presentation at the offices of the Writers Guild of America in Los Angeles. Events like these have always been special to us because at first it was a chance to meet our creative and literary heroes we have looked up to, then becoming fellow animation writers, and in some special cases becoming close friends.

At these annual meetings we honor a writer who has truly added to the animation industry as a writer and creator. This year our presentation must also be a memorial as the award is being given posthumously to writer extraordinaire and friend Len Wein.The outside world knows him best as the creator of Wolverine and Swamp Thing, but he is so much more especially to a little boy who had to sit for hours in a hospital lobby while his grandparents were being taken care of upstairs.

The hospital chaplain took pity on the little boy who had nothing to do on those old vinyl couches than his homework and so gave me two comic books, Superman and The Flash. They were great, and that gift meant a lot to me, but it wasn’t until I wandered into the hospital gift shop that my life was changed forever.

Along side the magazines the small shop had a few very small comic books for sell. One of which, with the JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA logo on the top and text at the bottom that read “33 Super-Stars in One Epic Adventure!” with dozens of those heroes jumping of the front and back cover, had my full attention. I convinced my mother to give me the 95 cents to purchase this copy of DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #11.

Opening those four-color pages I found myself tumbling into a wonderful world of super heroes. Yes, I knew of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman from television and cartoons, but there were so many many more. Here I learned not only about the Justice League but also the Justice Society of America, and that there was an Infinite number of parallel earths where more heroes resided.

I was definitely hooked and the DC Universe was my playground from then on.

This digest turned out to be a reprint of JUSTICE LEAGE OF AMERICA #100, 101, and 102, about our heroes on a quest to find seven more heroes lost to the ages.

This great story, that put a boy on a quest to discover all the heroes of the golden age of comics, was written by the great comic book author Len Wein. I would soon be reading many more.

(An interested side note is that Len also edited the Blue Ribbon Digest that it was reprinted in.)

I was not the only one influenced by this comic; fellow comic book writer Gail Simone also marks this story as what began her path into comics.

I learned just the other day that Len himself fell in love with comics as a child while he was in the hospital as well. Though for him it was for medical treatment, but he has stated that those comics and super heroes got him through it.

Now that little boy who sat quietly in the hospital lobby wants to pay his respect to the man who sent towards a career as a comic book and animation writer. I honor you Len for all the stories you have brought to the world, and for being a friend.

Thank you.

Kevin Paul Shaw BrodenFour Names of Professional Creativity

Jack Kirby’s 100th Birthday

This month of August (2017) I am doing a series of sketched based on the career of Comic Book legend Jack Kirby’s career.

I started off with the Blue Beetle because that was the first masked hero that Kirby illustrated. It appeared in a news paper comic strip.

My second illustration is of Sandman and Sandy the Golden Boy.
Ol’ Wesley Dodds tosses away his trench coat, fedora, and gas mask for the bright tights that all the latest heroes were wearing. He also picked up a young Side Kick.  Sandy’s shirt changed a little from issue to issue, but here he looks striking like Captain America’s partner Bucky.

Speaking of Cap, the third sketch is of Captain America and based on the cover art of Captain America #1 in 1940.

I hope to continue drawing more Kirby characters through out the month. (I did continue to draw Kirby characters through out August 2017, see my portfolio.)

Hope you enjoy.

 

The Guardian

The other evening I was watching an episode of SUPERGIRL

<Brief SPOILER>

In this episode SUPERGIRL discovers that Jimmy Olson is the Guardian who has been fighting crime in the streets of her city, and even catching those that escape her.

<End of SPOILER>

Looking at the design of The Guardian’s shield made me think of the creation of the original character.

Jack Kirby created The Guardian in his Newsboy Legion series. In the 1970s he, and they, were part of the Cadmus Project in Kirby’s Fourth World books, but back in the 1940s he was Jim Harper and basically the guardian of these street kids.

As a police officer he did a good job, but felt it necessary to put on a mask to protect these kids all the more. He also carried a golden shield.

It is that shield that is important. Even though he was forced to put on the mask, Jim Harper saw himself as a police officer first, and even his shield was designed to look like a policeman’s shield, his badge. In later incarnations of The Guardian this part him is lost. Many masked vigilantes are forced not only to fight the bad guys, but also the police. For Jim Harper, The Guardian’s role is something much more. He had to be a hero to the Newsboy Legion and the people on the street, but also to his fellow police officers.

Years before Jim Harper put on the golden helmet of The Guardian, policewoman Peggy Allen saw flaws in the regular justiciable system and so put on a costume and became the WOMAN IN RED.

The idea that these police officers saw a necessity to step out of their uniforms to wear masks in order to fight crime spurs a lot of thought and potential stories.

I’d love to tell a story about that original version of The Guardian.

Post Script – The Golden Guardian which I posted for Jack Kirby’s 100th birthday.

 

Jack Kirby – The Golden Guardian

Earlier in the year I sketched an image of the Golden Age super hero The Guardian in my blog about the character and his use in the TV series Supergirl.

This Silver Age version of the character called The Golden Guardian Kirby incorporated into his Fourth World New Gods story line in the pages of Jimmy Olsen. As part of the Cadmus project this Guardian is what many later versions would be based on. Whether it was in later comics, in the animated series Young Justice, or in Supergirl.

Continuing to celebrate Jack Kirby’s 100th Birthday.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity

 

Celebrating 15 Years of a Webcomic

Celebrating 15 Years of a Webcomic by KevinPSB4

Though only a few months have passed for Debra and her friends, the webcomic FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY have been around for 15 years.

FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY (www.flying-glory.com) is the story of ambitious Debra Clay who’s grandmother was the wartime super heroine FLYING GLORY. Now the teenager always looking for ways to promote her rock bang, The Hounds of Glory, is thrilled to discover that she has inherited her Grandma Elsie’s super powers. Once she’s convinced her friends to put on costumes as part of their performance, a new team of super heroes is formed even if they didn’t want to be. Because they are soon fighting super villains between, and sometimes during, their rock concerts.

Be sure to pick up FLYING GLORY FLASHBACK a special 15th Anniversary edition that my co-writer Shannon Muir put to get. It includes all the song lyrics she wrote for the series as well as character bios. (amzn.to/293eI1L)  Only 99cents.

Are these the Heroes you’re looking for? And have you found them recently?

I’ve been doing a lot of old style pulp writing recently, and had a sudden thought about characters. So I wrote down several brief character descriptions

Tell me if you recognize them, and if you thought I got them correct?

  • He was raised by loving parents who taught him right from wrong; to respect others, and to help his neighbors, who ever they might be, however he could. He has moved to the big city to do just that.
  • Raised by a single father, he never knew his mother. Reaching adulthood, he discovers he is heir to a distant and mysterious kingdom. He will become king if he can bring the kingdom together, even though they see him as an outsider; even as an enemy.
  • Recruited for a special police force, his personality is both greatest strength and greatest weakness.
  • She was raised and loved by her entire family, but when they are threatened she must turn away from them in order to save them.
  • A police scientist discovers something in his lab that allows him to fight crime in ways no other cop can.
  • Traumatized in childhood he struggles to prevent it from happening to others.
  • Two police officers are sent undercover to a distant city. They must use their training to fight a new kind of criminal, while struggling with their personal relationship.
  • Kidnapped to a new land; he must act like one of them to survive while saving them from themselves.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity

The Lyrics of Glory

As you know, Shannon Muir and I are celebrating the tenth anniversary of our online comic book FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY.

The story involves a team of teenagers who have chosen to put on costumes and be super heroes to support their leader Debra Clay who discovered she has inherited super powers from her grandma who was the World War II heroine Flying Glory.

On top of that, the team is also a rock band, first starting out performing for their high school and in local concerts. Now they are FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY; and their heroic actions have brought more attention to the band and their music.

And their music is our music. Or rather, their lyrics are Shannon’s lyrics.

One of the ways that we try to make our comic book unique from other super hero comics, or web comics, is that at least once per issue we include lyrics to a song that the band performs. All the songs that have appeared in the comic book over the last ten years have all been written Shannon Muir.

Music as part of an action adventure is how Shannon and I got to know one another.

When we were younger, and she lived thousands of miles away, we both enjoyed watching an animated television series called JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS.

Originally created to sell dolls, JEM was a well-crafted television series that had and still has an audience and fandom of boys and girls, men and women. Developed by writer Christy Marx the series dealt with a wide range of topics both fun and serious beyond the simple adventure.

As a young teen watching such a show, Shannon did something I never would have had the nerve to do. She wrote to the production company and was soon in contact with Christy Marx herself to learn about the show and writing for animation. Marx soon became Shannon’s mentor and friend.

I would later meet Marx online, and then at a science fiction convention. Whatever I said must have impressed her enough because when Shannon was ready to move down here to Los Angeles she asked Christy about me. She must have said something nice, because we’ve been together for over fifteen years.

The reason I bring this up is that Shannon and I have not intended to make FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY a copy of JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS, it’s quite different, but Marx’s influence is there.

One such influence is the inclusion of a song per story. There were usually two songs, I believe, per episode of JEM.

In our current issue, as part of our 10th anniversary celebration, Shannon is including three songs as part of the story. The next song page will appear next week.

Shannon has now assembled all her songs written for FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY, as well as songs written for another series she developed called ENCHANTRESSHAWKE. Along with the lyrics to over fifty songs, she has also written an extensive history as to where each song came from.

Her songbook is entitled FLYING GLORY FLASHBACK: Celebrating 10Years Of The Lyrics, Words, and History Behind The Webcomic

It can be punched in both paperback book or as an ebook.

To all the fans of FLYING GLORY AND THE HOUNDS OF GLORY as well as those who like music and to discover where lyrics come from, I encourage you to support Shannon and purchase her book.

Thank you all for putting up with this little promotion.

Best

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity

DCnU – Not quite here yet.

Less then 24 hours from now the universe will be starting over. Rather, the DC Comics Universe of super heroes will be starting over, with the release of JUSTICE LEAGUE #1.

I’ve been thinking about what to put into this blog for several days since I picked up my last batch of comics.

Last week’s comics represented the end of the old DC universe in a way, and I’m not talking about the end of Flashpoint. But that end bothered me in a way.

Two books had wonderful sunset endings, and one did not. Let me explain.

ACTION COMICS ended with Clark Kent and Lois Lane walking off into the evening twilight, all his problems resolved and finding happiness with her and Metropolis. The End. In WONDER WOMAN; her grand journey, and alternate reality, came to its end happy to find Paradise Island and the rest of the world the way it should be and she sores in the warmth of the sun. The End.

But in another JUSTICE SOCIETY, the ending wasn’t so glorious, no proper curtain down. The final issue felt like the story was rushed so that it would be over before the new universe took over. The Per Degaton story never quite went anywhere, Jessie Quick’s part of his story felt rewritten. And Alan Scott, Green Lantern (the true Green Lantern in my eyes, as I’ve written before), in a really bad looking costume, dies battling a monster/god that hardly had time to know a few buildings down.

The story ends in the cemetery with the question, what now? The answer by Jay Garrick is; we go one as we always have. And The End comes with everyone feeling at a loss.

The Justice Society and all the ‘Golden Age’ characters have always been my favorites, and they haven’t always been given their do.

Jay Garrick stands there and I realize he’s the last remaining member of the original Justice Society. Spectre is someone else, Dr. Fate has been replaced, Hourman’s son takes his place, Sandman gone, Johnny Thunder long gone. Even Hawkman man their great leader died and died again. Only The Flash, Jay Garrick stands alone out of that team; the first super hero team.

It really hurts to see all those characters go out that way. It’s almost as bad as when twenty odd years ago they ‘died’ and were trapped for ‘eternity’ in the Norse Ragnarok.

I grew up reading about these characters, whether it was in the ALL STAR SQUADRON, following their children in INFINITY INC, or collecting any back issues or reprints I could find (and afford). I read them more than any other characters.

A couple of years ago the JUSTICE SOCIETY ANNUAL gave us a glimpse of the ‘new Earth 2’ with a team that was almost the team I remember before the CRISIS took it away. Not quite, but close, especially since it focused on Helena Wayne, the true HUNTRESS.

It was a great thrill to see the original team worked into the continuity of SMALLVILLE.

Now the universe is starting over, and what of my beloved team?

I had no answer for that question three hours ago, and now I have at least a glimmer of hope.

Coming across my Twitter feed @ComicBooked had this message: Justice Society, Earth 2 to return! http://bit.ly/rffbmc

There would be a new Earth 2 on which the Justice Society of America still exists.

James Robinsons will be writing. He’s handled the team quite well in the past, and did fantastic job on Starman. So I am really looking forward to this book, and hope that it will have that same joy of adventure I remember.

So in a few hours (and apparently some people already have the new Justice League in their hands), a new universe is born. (I have to stop thinking of Marvel’s New Universe).

I am glad to know that some old friends will be there, even if they are slightly different.

As mentioned in a previous blog, I will hold judgment of these books until I read them. However I will say this:

I’ll know how well all the books did once DC announces next years summer Event story line.

Kevin Paul Shaw Broden
Four Names of Professional Creativity

Secret Origin of the Masked Ghost

Secret Origins – Original vs Unique Characters

You didn’t really expect me to tell you the hero’s origin here did you? You’ll just have to keep reaching the chapters of “Revenge of the Masked Ghost” as I post them each week.

For those of you who aren’t following me on Twitter (@Kevinpsb00) or Facebook, I have begun writing a serialized novel which I am posting on my Facebook account entitled “Revenge of The Masked Ghost” You can find a link to it on the right side of this blog, as well as links to other important things in my online life. Check them all out.- – – > > >

‘Masked Ghost’, Ya, I know it’s not the most exciting name, but it says what it needs to. Like writer Mark Waid has admitted, I have a terrible time coming up with character names. Civilian names are actually easier to come up with than costumed nom de plumes. You try to come up with a really interesting name for a guy in a mask and tights that hasn’t been used a dozen times. At least this isn’t the 90’s when all I would have to do is find a way to use the words ‘Death’ or ‘Blood’. Only slightly a joke there.

I’m still proud of FLYING GLORY and her grandma I now call OL’GLORY.

Now on to the origin. Every kernel of a story idea isn’t always original. Especially if you want to tell a tale about mystery men and super heroes. Man puts on mask and fights crime, or avenges the murder of family members; whether he has super powers or just uses his fists, that’s basically it.

That character, his mask, tights, and cape, can be so much more than that depending on what the writer, and the artist, who brings him to life. What makes Peter Parker a great character? Is it his powers, or the death of his Uncle Ben teaching him to take responsibilities for his actions? The Fantastic Four are great team because they’re a family.

I could go on.

Each writer takes a shot at

Now I’m frightening myself, because there’s no way I can compare myself to the greatest writers of the last 75 years of super heroes. I wouldn’t dream of even trying.

The reason why I mention all is that I know at first glance the “Masked Ghost” will appear very familiar. I’ll admit that I really enjoy the original costumed mystery men like the Crimson Avenger, the Green Hornet, and the original Sandman. And my hero has the same type of business suit and fedora. Though he doesn’t have a stereotypical Asian sidekick like to of those did.

(Unimportant aside: The word ‘sidekick’ is in Word’s spell check. Did that word exist before the creation of masked heroes?)

I’ve wanted to write about one of these old style mysterious vigilante’s (realize that the term super hero wouldn’t come into existence for several years,) but didn’t want to do just any story. It had to have something unique about it.

Then about three weeks ago I had a thought; not about the hero himself but what would the family be like if they suddenly discovered he was a masked vigilante. That’s all I’ll tell you about that idea, except to say that from a single thought grew a whole concept. I first brain stormed for about a page, and then for three more pages I began to work out what the first story would be about. A day later I had worked out the beats for a 25 chapter long story.It grew quickly from there.

I don’t know everything about what’s going to happen to our hero and his family, and I know absolutely nothing about criminal he’s hunting. But it’s all coming together, and you will be discovering all his secrets as I do

So why this blog, besides promoting “Revenge of the Masked Ghost?” I want to tell all the new writers out there who want to get into comics and super heroes not to worry if your ideas aren’t a hundred percent original. Whether you get a chance to write for an existing mystery man (or woman) or create one of your own, make the story write come from your heart. That way your story will be unique and special. Make what’s been around for years new and make it your own. I’ve done that with Flying Glory, and hope I’m doing it with “The Masked Ghost.”

On a side note a ghost out of my own past showed up to haunt me last night…

Jordan Jennings (@JordanCJennings on Twitter) of CBO Productions did a review of the first issue of Image Comics SUPREME as part of his Field Guide To the Comic Book Bargain Bin series. He gives a very interesting look back at this character created by Rob Liefeld. What makes this a haunting to me is that comic was my very first professional job in the industry. I drew background and did color comps on several pages. I continued to work with Brian Murray on the next several issues of the series, and also did colors for other books as well. Thank you Jordan for reminding me of the great experiences I had.

Talk to you all next week.

KPSB

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