Popeye The Sailor Man: Comics' First Superhero
by Jason Sacks

Ask a group of comics fans who the first super powered hero in comics was and you won’t hear Superman. You might hear Popeye the Sailor Man. While he lacked an identity concealing costume, he did (by eating spinach) undergo Captain Marvel-like or Hour Man-like transformations to a far more powerful, indeed superpowerful, version of himself.

Popeye is one of the greatest comic strip characters of all time. Since his creation in 1929, the character has become a comic strip and cartoon icon. Who among us doesn't know the "Popeye the sailor man" song or recognize Popeye's distinctive laugh? Popeye’s enduring popularity is especially amazing since he was initially intended by Segar as a throwaway character.

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Get Ready...For 100 CCs of Crap!
by Derek Sprang

I wanted to like the script for Codename: Courage. I wanted to love it.

Anything based on Commander Courage starts off with no bigger fan than I -- except for Don. But from the opening scene I knew this was not a film I could stomach.

The movie opens with our nameless and nearly faceless (he wears the mask for the entire film) hero waking up in the morning. The first thing our tough guy does is pull a revolver out of his bedside table. He holds it to his temple and clicks the trigger. No bang. He says…ready for this "I'm not gonna die today." Oh please. I haven't even finished reading page one and I'm gagging on the testosterone.

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Not-so-strange Visitor: Superman For All Seasons
Reviewed by Jason Sacks

“Strange visitor from another planet” is one of the phrases used in the 1950s Superman TV show to describe Superman. Besides the fact that it’s inaccurate – Superman isn’t a visitor to our planet, he lives here! – the phrase doesn’t get to the point of the character.

Much more accurate is the phrase “tireless crusader for truth, justice and the American way.” That much is certainly true. How does a man born on another planet come to represent the United States? Simple – he grew up in Kansas. He’s as American as apple pie, football and the family farm. The story of how this alien boy grew up to be a great American hero is brilliantly shown in Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s “Superman for All Seasons.”

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The Return of Courage in a Frightening Time
by Donald Swan

When the first issue of Codename: Courage appeared in comic shops, nobody expected the success that it would become. Peter David had yet to become embroiled in other controversies, and Nathan Kane was just a fan making a dream come true; now, of course, he's a household name. At least in some households.

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The Popular Imagination: Jack Cole and Plastic Man

The layouts of this chronicle on the life and work of Jack Cole do more than mimic the subject's zeal in artistic design, they also serve as a Greek Chorus companion to Spiegelman's text. It becomes apparent early on that the chosen pieces of Cole's art reflect a deeper sensibility, the opportunity to get a glimpse of their creator's person, perhaps even his state of mind. The final pages crescendo into a dizzying and powerful final commentary on Cole's giddiness, anguish and suicide.

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