The iFanboy Letter Column – 02/19/2010

Friday means many things to many people. For some, Friday means freedom as the work week has ended and the weekend can begin. For others, Friday means it’s time to get down get down, get down get down.

At iFanboy, Friday means it’s letter column time.

You write. We answer. Very simple.

As always, if you want to have your e-mail read on the any of our shows or answered here, keep them coming —



Maybe it’s because of all the Avatar craze lately but I’ve suddenly realized that I haven’t read many sci-fi comics. Sure Green Lantern and Nova are sci-fi with dudes in outer space fighting aliens and all that but it’s still superheroes. And I know Y: The Last Man and DMZ technically counts as sci fi since those are alternate histories but I guess what Im looking for is something similar to films like Blade Runner or Aliens. You know, dystopian futures where sometimes android robots or space aliens exist, that kind of thing.

Outside of Fear Agent, what would you say are some of the better sci-fi comics out there?

Cesar R.

You raise an excellent point and something that I’ve been thinking about lately as well. You’re totally right in that Green Lantern and the cosmic books at Marvel, while they’re science fiction, they really are superhero science fiction, and while Fear Agent is indeed one of the best science fiction comics out there, it’s more of a pulp-y science fiction sort of story. But if you’re a fan of science fiction along the lines of William Gibson, Neal Stephenson and that sort of ilk and you want comics of that type, then the pickings become pretty slim.

Y: The Last Man and DMZ are in the neighborhood but they lack that science fiction edge that makes those dystopian futures so interesting. You might want to check out some of Brian Wood’s earlier work, like Channel Zero (if you can find it) and Supermarket, as they have that edge that you may be looking for. Recently IDW did comic book versions of the stories of Cory Doctorow, a great science fiction writer known for setting his stories in the near present. Cory Doctorow’s Futuristic Tales of Here and Now features short stories by a collection of different artists. IDW also has the Star Trek and Doctor Who license for comics, if that’s up your alley. For straight up classic science fiction, BOOM! Studios is in the process of doing a comic version of the original text of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the original story that eventually became the film Bladerunner. Even more recently, Rick Remender’s new mini series, The Last Days of American Crime from Radical has an undercurrent of science fiction laid beneath its crime story.

One of my favorite science fiction stories of the 2000s came from Warren Ellis and Chris Weston in the form of Ministry of Space, and was recently reprinted.  It tells the tale of an alternate future where the British won the space race. And finally, if you haven’t checked out Godland by Joe Casey and Tom Scioli, I would definitely recommend that. Like Green Lantern and Nova, it does straddle the side of super hero science fiction, plus with its huge Kirby influence. But the ideas are so big and the art is so amazing, that it’s totally worth it and unlike anything you’ve ever read.

Ron Richards

I am sort of new to iFanboy. I have been watching all of the the iFanboy episodes (not the Minis) on the Revision3 website and have subscribed to the show through iTunes.

The question I have is this, what about wonder woman? You talk about Batman and Superman but you hardly even mention Wonder Woman. Is she not part of the DCU “Trinity”? I know she has a long history in DC, so why don’t you ever talk about her?


Before I get to you question, let me say welcome aboard, Joe! We’re glad to have you! And if i may, I think you should check out the Minis! They were a lot of fun and we’re really proud of them. Also, they’re short! You can blow through a bunch at a time.

Okay, on to your question.

It’s funny, I was thinking about Wonder Woman just this week. I attended the world premiere screening of Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths this past Tuesday (look for the review show next week) and I found myself pondering Wonder Woman because she’s quite prominent in the film. I found myself thinking about the fact that it would seem that I tend to really like Wonder Woman in animated form, but I have a hard time getting into her comics. I really liked her animated feature, Wonder Woman, and when I reviewed the Justice League cartoon a while back she ended up being my favorite character in the whole series. And she’s really good in Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths. So why can’t I get into her solo comics? (And it is a problem with her solo comics, I loved her in Grant Morrison’s JLA. Then again, everyone was great in that.)

Wonder WomanThis is honestly a question I don’t think I have a solid answer to yet. My standard answer to the “Why don’t you read Wonder Woman?” question used to be that I really like Wonder Woman when she’s a superhero, and I find her less interesting when she’s enveloped in Greek Mythology. And that’s a problem because Greek Mythology is the root of the character. In her comics, every time she’d start hanging out in Themyscira and there was a lot of time spent on the in-fighting between the gods I would start to tune out. But then I watched Wonder Woman, and that heavily featured the whole Greek Mythology thing. So now I don’t know what the answer is anymore.

And it’s not like I haven’t tried! I am always giving Wonder Woman’s book a shot. I read some of the George Perez stuff back in the day. I read most of the Phil Jimenez run. I gave the book another try when Greg Rucka wrote it. I picked up the reboot book by Allan Heinberg and Terry Dodson. I just couldn’t really get into any of those runs. Hell, I even dropped Rucka’s run and he’s one of my all-time favorite comic writers! (I actually feel like I need to revisit that run.)

So yes, Joe, Wonder Woman is one third of DC’s “Trinity,” though that is based mostly on reputation, importance, and history rather than actual current popularity (if it were based on current popularity DC’s “Trinity” would be Superman, Batman and Green Lantern). As a character I like her a lot, so I hope that sometime soon I will have cause to talk about her more.

Conor Kilpatrick

Recently I got a bunch of old comics done by Jack Kirby and loved them. The art is still amazing. Since then, I have read King of Comics and also loved it. All this got me thinking about which artists have been directly influenced by Kirby. One of my friends mentioned that John Byrne initially copied Kirby’s style. Can you name a few who copied him or others who did his art as an homage?


It’s almost impossible to read any comics since Kirby without seeing Kirby, once you know to look for it. At the time Kirby was still working, artists at Marvel were basically being instructed to draw as much like Jack as they could. Most of those guys broke out into their own styles, but Gene Colan, John Romita Sr., John Buscema all came from a time at Marvel when the house style was the King’s style.

When you ask who reminds me of Kirby most immediately, I think of Walt Simonson. His work on Thor seems like the next step in artistic evolution from Kirby. It was both evocative of Jack’s work, and pressing in new directions. If you look at the Thor comics that came out after that, all through the late 80’s, when I discovered them, Ron Frenz was drawing The Mighty Thor, and looking at them now, they’re straight up Jack Kirby clones.

Today, you don’t see artists doing Jack’s style directly, but his influence is everywhere. Look at some of the blocky figures Sean Phillips draws, or the extreme perspective in Jock’s artwork, or retro-modern style being done by Dale Eaglesham on (what else?) Fantastic Four. Of course, if you’re looking for an exact match, there’s always Tom Scioli, who draws Godland. That guy is channeling straight Kirby from squared-off fingers, to that classic cosmic crackle.

Josh Flanagan


  1. just for argument’s sake, almost anything with superheroes is technically science fiction

  2. Godland! Yes! That is what I was looking for. Thank you Josh!

  3. @Conor @Joe : Do you think DC(Johns) will do a Secret Origin for Wonderwoman?

  4. @Abirdseysview : Thor & WW are not science fiction.

  5. Ceasar if you lke Ministry of Space you should check out Ellis’ Ignition City, Planetary also gets very sci-fi in some places.

  6. Also c’mon Fear Agent?

  7. Cesar, another SciFi comic out there from a GREAT creator, is Jeff Smith’s RASL.  It’s about alternate realities (and Nichola Tesla), rather than a dystopian future, though the story is still playing out and theres no telling where we will go. 

    It’s presented in "glorious black and white" just like Bone was and it is just as beautiful. So far only six issues have come out, with a trade collecting the first three and a second one on the way.  It is still early in the story so it easy to jump on board.

  8. I was going to suggest Ignition City as a great sci-fi choice, but Heroville beat me to it! So I will second the Ignition City recommendation, and throw in a bonus one: Anna Mercury. 

  9. @AmirCat- I did say "almost" not all.  and science fiction is anything that breaks some but not all established laws of science is science fiction, so yes they are.  Wonder Woman can fly, thereby breaking the laws of gravity, but Steve Trevor cannot because gravity exists in the story.

  10. @AlanRob –  I totally love RASL. I just read all the issues last weekend. Awesome stuff.


    @ABirdseysView – Ok, that’s cool. 

  11. Hickman’s Pax Romana is a great piece of science-fiction.

  12. I’ll definitely second RASL!

    I’d also recommend…

    Sweet Tooth

    Winter World (just reprinted in a gorgeoud HC by IDW!)

    American Flagg! (Political Sci Fi by Howard Chaykin)

    Orbiter (My favorite Ellis Sci Fi)

  13. I don’t know if anything gets more Kirby than Jersey Gods.

  14. The Surrogates is some of the best sci-fi I have ever read

  15. Some more Sci-fi: Proof, Echo and We3.

  16. Anybody wants to see the influence of Kirby should get the cheap black and white collections of early Fantastic Four and Justice League. My brother gifted me the first 2 volumes of Justice League showcase and the storeytelling is all over the place, compared to F4. He has made contribution to the form that is beyond explaination.

  17. There is a used copy of Godland in a Rasputin record store I go to. I need to get it. Kind of hoping Image would put out a new print.

  18. I like Wonder Woman as a SuperWoman as well.  The whole greek stuff is silly and is a product of the times she was created.  But if they did want to do greek stuff again DC should envelop her in the greek style. Make her less super and more Xena Warrior Princess make her look 300ish instead of Super Hooker.  But I do believe the Trinity has been changed to a foursome. Batman, Superman, Flash, and GL

  19. Thanks for answering my question Ron, I’ll definitely be looking out for those comics soon.

    @Heroville, I’ve actually already read Ignition City which I did quite enjoy but I guess thats really more of alternate history instead of the dystopian sci fi that I was looking for.

    And yes, I did enjoy Fear Agent a lot. whats wrong with that book?

  20. @DKD Nothing wrong with it, I was surprised it wasn’t mentioned

  21. @lantern4life – I agree with you about the 4-some, although the jury is still out on Flash. Geoff Johns just has the magic touch for both sales and critical acclaim (any artist/writer’s dream). He might start taking over all the forgotten DC characters.

  22. Conor: Can you hint at how you felt about the Crisis movie?

  23. Another recommendation for Cesar:

    Universal War One published by Soleil/Marvel

  24. Enki Bilal’s ‘Nikopol Trilogy’. Moebius ‘The Incal’. Moebius’s Silver Surfer story with Stan Lee (OMG good). Heavy Metal, 2000 AD. I would love to see a Ifanboy show in the vein of these comics.

  25. for sci-fi, the latest Buck Rogers series has been pretty good…

  26. I really got the feeling that DC was moving away from the Trinity idea that they were selling at the time 52 ended and now are moving toward a…. pentagon?  I really think they want Flash and Green Lantern to be seen on the same level as the other 3. 

  27. @JOE:  actually, after thinking about it for a few days there is an awesome WW story. Now, my sentiments in regards WW stories in general are reflected above.

    BUT, an OGN by Rucka, The Hikettia (sp?) was awesome.  Batman was involved in the plot and becomes an antagonist.

    The awesome cover showed WW boot standing on Batman’s head.

    But all the other stuff, even Rucka’s run, I also found to not be particularly engaging.