The Flash by Grant Morrison and Mark Millar Reprints The Flash #130-141, Green Lantern #96, Green Arrow #130 Written by Grant Morrison and Mark Millar (with Ron Marz and Chuck Dixon) Art by Paul Ryan, Pop Mhan, John Nyberg, and Ron Wagner
Mark Waid announced in 1997 that he would be taking a year-long hiatus from The Flash comic. He cited feeling burnt out after penning almost seventy consecutive issues of the series. Waid explained he already had his next story arc planned out but that in the meantime Grant Morrison and Mark Millar would take over the writing duties. Scotland-born Morrison had quickly become a critically-acclaimed writer when he made his American debut with Animal Man. He had a penchant for taking lower tier characters and showing readers while they mattered while recontextualizing the more prominent figures as archetypal, as seen in his JLA run that was happening at this time. Mark Millar, also from Scotland, would go on to great success with his Kick-Ass franchise but at this time he was a protege of Morrison’s, making his name on the comics scene of the late 1990s.
With the release of the CG Lion King remake, I got to thinking about which Disney movies I love that don’t get that love in return. Here are my thoughts on my favorite underrated Disney animated flicks.
The Sword in the Stone (1963, dir. Wolfgang Reitherman) While you might think this Disney version of the legend of King Arthur is just based on general stories it is, in fact, an adaptation of T.H. White which was one volume of four in The Once and Future King series, which was in turn a more modern updating of Sir Thomas Mallory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. Not only that, Walt Disney was inspired to approve the project as the studio’s next feature after seeing the Broadway musical Camelot in 1960. Instead of a high adventure film, The Sword in the Stone is a light comedy, focusing purely on Arthur’s adolescence and the first few months of training with the wizard Merlin. The primary arc of the film is not about Arthur becoming the king but finding strength and bravery within himself. Along the way, there’s lots of great visual comedy, especially when Merlin and his rival Madam Mim start breaking out the spells.
The Lion King (1994) Written by Irene Mecchi, Jonathan Roberts, and Linda Woolverton Directed by Roger Allers & Rob Minkoff
I just never saw the original Lion King. I was 13 when the film came out, and in our large family, we couldn’t afford a lot of theater trips. My siblings watched Beauty and the Beast to an absurd level so that film dominated the Disney obsession our home. With the release of the computer-animated remake this weekend, I thought it was a good time to finally watch this seminal animated movie, which is celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary this year.
The Flash by Mark Waid Volume 6 Reprints The Flash #119 – 129, The Flash/Green Lantern: Faster Friends #1-2, The Flash Plus Nightwing, Showcase ‘96 #12, and DC Universe: Holiday Bash Written by Mark Waid (with Brian Augustyn and Ron Marz) Art by Paul Ryan, Eduardo Barreto, and Bart Sears
Wally West, as most readers know him today, was mostly formed by Mark Waid. As I’ve read through the Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s New Teen Titans run, I’ve seen that pre-Crisis Wally West was a different animal, more ambivalent with a greater conservative leaning, written that way to contrast him off some of his liberal teammates. Recently, West became the character at the center of Tom King’s Heroes in Crisis, an event comic that took many liberties with his personality and irked some fans. I am still holding my judgments until I can sit down and give the book a good re-read. In online conversations, there have been lots of talk about how King was not true to whom Wally is, talking about him as if he is a historical figure or some concretely established part of the DC canon.
Justice League International Volume 6 Reprints Justice League America #31-35 & Justice League Europe #7-11 Written by Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis (with William Messner-Loebs) Art by Adam Hughes, Bart Sears, and Art Nichols
So we reach the end of the JLI run that DC Comics has decided to collect. In these pages, we get the first official crossover between America and Europe with The Teasdale Imperative story arc. In a small European village what seemingly appears to be a vampiric horde has surfaced, spreading its condition slowly but continuously. Not only has this drawn the attention of both branches of the Justice League International, but The Spectre and The Grey Man (from waaaaay back in the first story arc). Through a series of increasingly complicated twists and turns Simon Stagg, an antagonist of Leaguer Metamorpho becomes involved. Everything culminates in a battle where the League isn’t even necessary. To quote Elongated Man in the aftermath, “It’s over? I still don’t understand what ‘it’ was.”
Primary Colors (1998)
Written by Elaine May
Directed by Mike Nichols
Henry Burton is a young man working his way into the political scene, but almost everyone he meets knows him as the grandson of a great civil rights leader. Henry ends up under the radar of the campaign to elect Governor Jack Stanton president. Stanton is an incredibly charismatic Southerner with a headstrong wife, Susan, who wants nothing more for her husband to attain this high office. As Henry says, Stanton seems like the real thing, and before he knows it, the young man is swept up into the momentum of Stanton’s ascendancy. As the campaign drags on though, Henry begins to learn more about the man at the center of things, about his infidelities, indiscretions, and lies. Henry is forced to face the hypocrisies that are unfolding before him and decide if this is the path he wants to continue down.
Day of Judgment (1999)
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Matt Smith
The Spectre has been present in the DC Universe since the 1940s, the wrath of God bound to a human soul in the form of Jim Corrigan. Corrigan has died, and the Spectre is loose giving into the rage without a human check. Etrigan the Demon sees an opportunity and frees fallen angel Asmodel to help him claim the Spectre. They are successful, and Asmodel begins to use this new power to inflict his anger on Earth. The Justice League find themselves up against a force they may not be able to stop. Cue the Sentinels of Magic, a team of the DC Universe’s top sorcerers, witches, and magic users. Their goal is to find a human spirit that could provide the needed constraints on the Spectre, and they will find it in the most unlikely of people.