Author Archives: Chris Russ

Avengers-Historian-New-Avengers-1-Featured Columns
Avengers Historian #10: The Theme of Transformation in Al Ewing’s “New Avengers”

By | Nov 13, 2018 | Columns

Near the end of Al Ewing’s 18-issue “New Avengers” run, Roberto da Costa (Sunspot) pulls off a rubber mask as Mission: Impossible theme music plays and we dramatically discover shocking new layers of his heroic machinations. This of course got me thinking about the Mission: Impossible franchise and its remarkable consistency. Consistency serves the franchise […]

Avengers Historian #9: The Heroism of Jarvis

By | Sep 25, 2018 | Columns

In mainstream comics, the pain and suffering of non-protagonists is typically leveraged to provide motivation for our costumed heroes. This kind of utilitarian suffering is the realm of fridging and tragic origins. The suffering of inferiors is often mined for fuel to power character development and plot. “Avengers” #280 steps over this convention. It focuses […]

Avengers 8 Featured Columns
Avengers Historian #6: Sculpting Continuity with Kang

By | Jun 19, 2018 | Columns

The Avengers are a self-obsessed franchise. Avengers plots are often at their best when they explore and expand wrinkles in team history ― think ‘Avengers Forever,’ ‘The Once And Future Kang,’ or countless Ultron stories that knot the Pym/Williams/Vision/Ultron family ties in increasingly nuanced ways. The Avengers are a super team that makes their members […]

Don Heck Featured Columns
Avengers Historian #5: The Importance of Don Heck

By | May 22, 2018 | Columns

The early creative history of “Avengers” is more akin to planetary formation than the typical production process of a 1960s Marvel comic. Jack Kirby and Stan Lee smashed the necessary solar debris into a bubbling molten blob but then they quickly left the terraforming process to Don Heck and Roy Thomas. I wouldn’t characterize Jack […]

Avengers Infinity Featured Columns
Avengers Historian #4: Eternity in an Hour

By | Apr 17, 2018 | Columns

Roger Stern’s tenure on the “Avengers” – which lasted for most of the 80s – is a masterful run of carefully interconnected issues. In a just world, Stern’s “Avengers” would be mentioned in conversations about essential comics with the same frequency that Frank Miller’s “Daredevil” or Alan Moore’s “Swamp Thing” now enjoy. In his work […]

Avengers Annual #16 Featured Columns
Avengers Historian #3: The Avengers Are All Dead

By | Mar 20, 2018 | Columns

Despite the fact that it’s a reliable font of toxicity, lies, and harassment, Twitter provides a few benefits that I truly value. When something insane happens in the world of comics, you can watch fans reacting in real time across Twitter. When Captain America becomes a Nazi or when Thor can’t pick up his hammer, […]

Uncanny Avengers Vol. 3 #9 Columns
Avengers Historian #2: Glitches – An Examination of Ultron’s Weirdest Forms

By | Feb 20, 2018 | Columns

Writing mainstream superhero comics is an iterative and collaborative process. Each new Avengers issue is informed by the characterization, history, and tone of the already-published cannon of Avengers comics. This style of never-ending storytelling can sometimes result in stagnant plots, but in my observation, it also frequently encourages innovation. A new Avengers creator knows that […]