Monday, August 27, 2007

The History of Fantastic 4 Comic Books

The Fantastic 4 Comic Book was first published in 1961 in the First issue of the Fantastic 4 Comic Book. The comic book series was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the Fantastic 4 Comics currently calls the Baxter Building as its current base of operations, located at the Four Freedom Plaza.

The superheroes of the Fantastic Four Series were both family and friends who were exposed to cosmic rays during an accident in outer space.

The team is made up of Mr. Fantastic or Reed Richards, a scientific genius who is also team leader and can stretch his body. Next is Susan Richards she is The Invisible Woman and Reed Richards’ wife, second in command.

We then have Susan’s brother Johnny Storm also known as The Human Torch. Finally, we have Ben Grimm, friend and known as The Thing.

The team gets new leaders when Storm, the former leader of the X-Men and her mate The Black Panther, who is the King of the African Nation. Storm can control the weather while The Black Panther has superhuman senses, super strength, speed, stamina, and agility.

The Fantastic 4 Comic Book characters are known for their loving, if often messed up family, unlike many of the other superheroes surrounding them. They are also known for their celebrity status and petty disputes.

Fantastic 4 Comic Book is known to have a major impact in the ascension of Marvel Comic’s from small time publication to an Entertainment Mogul. The Fantastic 4 Comic Book evolved into a well-watched cartoon series, and then finally onto the Big Screen in 2005. The Fantastic 4 Comic Book has had its ups and downs in the Comic Book Industry but continues moving forward.

In the third issue of the Fantastic 4 Comics, it named itself The Greatest Comic Magazine in the World! Jack Kirby designed the cover art though the inker was unconfirmed.

During a controversial golf game, the publisher of Marvel and members of DC Comics talked over that, though DC was successful, Marvel was outselling their top Character Series.

Stan Lee wanted characters that real people could relate to, so with help from Kirby, the Fantastic 4 Comic Book was made. The comic series continued to make history as the members of the Fantastic 4 team showed true family characteristics and even brought baby Benjamin Franklin Richards into the picture in 1968 in the Four Annual series number 6. The baby development in turn lead to Mr. Fantastic and The Invisible Woman taking a leave and Storm and The Black Panther taking over.

The plot of the Fantastic 4 Comics evolved farther with Sue and Reed loosing a baby and then Sue’s brother Johnny falling in love with the Thing’s past girlfriend, Alicia Masters.

Johnny and Alicia fall in love and eventually marry, causing a deep and long standing rift between The Thing and Johnny. The Thing eventually quit the Fantastic 4 and then She-Hulk was brought in to replace him for a long time.

The plot of the Fantastic 4 Comic Book took even more twists and turns after the Thing returned and his current girlfriend mutated into a female Thing and himself mutated even more. The Fantastic 4 Comic Book continues to provide the much needed and loved characteristics of having real people portrayed in superhuman circumstances.

Gavin Roberts has grown up with comic books and has compiled a massive comic book collection. He has also created an Online Comic Book Store that showcases thousands of constantly updated comic books. Check out some Fantastic Four Comics or any other of your favorite comics at his website

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The History of Daredevil Comic Books

Comic books, and especially superhero comic books, have been hugely popular ever since their inception in the 1930s (although comic strips had been around longer, it wasn’t really until the 30s that comics featuring Superman and Batman made the genre as popular as it is today). Of all the superhero comics, perhaps Daredevil is one of the most underrated.

One of the reasons for this could be the fact that Daredevil never appeared when comic books were at their zenith. With the Second World War still fresh in the memory, the public needed to find a way to escape from the drudgery and unhappiness of everyday life, and comic books offered that. Since Daredevil didn’t appear on newsstands until 1964, this can maybe explain why the series never really gained mass appeal (although that would change later on).

The Evolution of Daredevil

Coming from the mind of Marvel legend Stan Lee and artist Bill Everett, Daredevil is a superhero with a difference. Named Matt Murdock and blinded as a child by radioactive waste, caused when he saves a blind man from a runaway truck, Matt realizes that his other remaining four senses are heightened. Mentored by another mysterious blind man named Stick, Matt trains in martial arts and how to use his increased senses to maximum effect.

Matt’s father is a washed-up boxer who works for the local mobster. When Matt’s father gets an unlikely title shot, he refuses to take a fall as instructed by the mobster, who has fixed the fight, and knocks the champ out instead. Due to this refusal to follow orders, the mobster murders Matt’s father. Matt goes to college, where he will meet Elektra Natchios, a beautiful student who Matt falls for.

When Elektra and her father are kidnapped, Daredevil is born as Matt dons his disguise to rescue them. However, Elektra’s father dies, and she leaves Matt and returns home to train (to avenge her father’s death, which is where the comic book Elektra is born). Matt sets up a law firm, yet by night he is Daredevil, serving justice on those who escape the law.

A Tale Of Two Comics

There are two distinct timelines that are important in the evolution of Daredevil, and the eventual increase in the series’ popularity. Between 1964 and 1998, Daredevil was just another comic book hero in garish spandex.

Although his tales had more angst and emotional drama than most other superheroes, fans never really took to him that much. Perhaps it was the awful yellow and red outfit, or weak storytelling, but it never had the huge sales that other comic books were enjoying.

This changed in 1979/1980, when the legendary comic book writer/artist Frank Miller became involved. Grounding the tale in more realistic organized crime fighting, he also redesigned Daredevil’s outfit to a darker, single color. Bringing in one of Spiderman’s enemies, the larger-than-life Kingpin, was a masterstroke, and saw the comics approach a far darker tone.

This new tone was enhanced even further in 1998, when indie filmmaker Kevin Smith wrote the script for the relaunched Daredevil. It told a bold story of Murdock having to protect a child who could save or destroy the Earth, and was a glorious return to form for the series.

This continues today, and although not a huge success, the Daredevil movie of a couple of years back kept reasonably faithful to the origins of this most unusual of superheroes, and expanded the audience in the process.

Gavin Roberts has grown up with comic books and has compiled a massive comic book collection. He has also created an Online Comic Book Store that showcases thousands of constantly updated comic books. Check out some Daredevil Comics or any other of your favorite comics at

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Mad Magazines Or Comic Books

Mad started out as a standard comic in 1952 and then changed to a magazine format in 1955. Are you talking about the standard comic issues? They are pretty valuable.

You may know that comic value is highly dependent on condition. I will give you a list from the current comic book price guide of values for the Mad comic issues in three conditions: Good, Fine, and Near Mint. Good is your standard used and read comic with creases, minor tears, tanning pages, etc. but still complete and pretty solid.

Fine is for a comic with only one or two minor flaws, like a couple inch cover crease or a 1/2" tear. Near Mint is a comic that looks like it just came off the newsstand with no noticeable flaws. #1: 520/1560/7000, #2: 140/420/1900m #3,4: 85/255/1150, #5: 148/444/2000, #6-11: 61/183/825, #12-15: 48/144/650, #16-23: 38/115/525

Of course comics could be graded in between these values (or below Good if the comic is pretty beat up). These are also retail prices. If you seek to sell comics to a dealer, you will probably only get 30 to 50% of these amounts. Selling on eBay could get you into the 40 to 70% range with good scans and descriptions.

EBay is also a good place to go to see how well these comics are selling. Old issues of Mad show up pretty regularly under Collectibles/Comics/Golden Age. You can do searches of completed auctions and watch current auctions to see how they are doing.

You may know that Mad was originally a comic book for the first 23 issues. The main comic book price guide, called the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, does list both the comic book and magazine sized issues with prices, information on artists, and occasionally also information on stories or spoofs of particular interest. It also has information on the Mad Special and Mad Follies issues.

Issues. You may not want to buy the whole book, which even in soft cover sells for $25, for two or three pages of information. If so, you can find them in many libraries and just make a few copies. There was also a "Complete Mad" CD-Rom issued a few years back. I don't know how complete it is, but I'm sure it would be a great resource.

Mad Magazines from the very early 1960s have a price guide value in the $50 to $70 range if in newsstand-new condition. If in your typical well-read and enjoyed condition, this would drop to $6-7 each. Prices continue to drop so that in perfect shape/well-read shape, by the mid-1960s to late 1960s: $30-50/$4-5 each, 1970s: $10-25/$2-3 each

However, these are the price guide prices, which are what shops try to get at retail. If you were trying to sell them yourself on eBay or to a comic shop, I don't think you would find a lot of interest in this time period unless they are in like-new condition. Even then, you would probably only get 1/3 to 1/2 of the prices listed above at best.

If these are in truly perfect condition, they have a guide value of around $10 each. Even minor flaws would put them much lower. However, the market is pretty soft for Mad Magazines of this period. Looking at those sold on eBay in the last month, it looks like you'd probably be doing well to get $40 or $50 for the lot of them. You will probably find very little interest at local comic stores, but it might be worth a call or two.

As far as the comics go, the various publishers do not sell back issues as far as I'm aware. However, there are certainly a large number of comic retailers that sell back issues on the Internet. I carry all of the titles you mentioned.

While comic book publishers have reissued many titles in book format, that is not nearly as cheap or convenient as the CD/DVD format you suggest. Why not on CDs? It may be because of concerns about putting things in digital format, where they can be more readily copied. Or it may be because it seems that most fans want to have an actual comic page in front of them rather than read it on a computer screen.

You can also get a CD with all issues of Mad Magazine: see the Totally Mad collection available on Amazon and elsewhere. Otherwise, there are collectors that trade scans of comic issues or post them online for download but I have little knowledge of this. It probably goes without saying that this violates copyright laws.

Though the comics companies generally don't sell back issues (though Mad /Cracked might, I haven't read them since my elementary school days), there are generally scads of back issues available at any comic's store (not bookstores, but comics dealers -look in your local yellow pages or online). Most back issues are reasonably priced compared to new books (though they may be 10 times the cover price or more). Expect to spend a couple dollars on most. Also there are comics aplenty on eBay, just search for the titles you like and see what pops up.

I recommend copy of the Overstreet Comics Price Guide available at most bookstores. Most of the titles you mentioned had books out in the years you listed, though Spawn wasn't available in 1988, I don't think.

Victor Epand is an expert consultant for Sell Used Magazines is a community of magazine sellers from around the world. If you have magazines to sell, click here to create a Magazines Account:

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A Beginner's Guide to Reading Manga

Manga is the Japanese word for comics and cartoons in print. (Anime, on the other hand, is animated cartoon for TV or film). Even though manga is essentially a cartoon, manga holds a higher place in Japanese culture than comics do in American society. Manga is well respected as both art and as a form of popular literature. In fact, much the the adult population in Japan read manga and several major manga magazines in Japan sell several million copies each week.

This should tell you that manga is not just kid's stuff.

What kind of story would you be interested in?
A hard-boiled detective hired to locate a missing girl?
A world dominated by animal-human hybrids in the aftermath of an apocalyptic war in 2054?
A boy-meets-girl-meets-giant-robot adventure?
A historical play revolving around the shadowy generals of the Genpei War?
A successful journalist who takes in a handsome homeless man as a pet when her fiance leaves her?

There are hundreds of stories to choose from in manga books and there is something that caters to everyone's taste. Furthermore, many manga titles combine artful pictures and frames with nuanced stories for very entertaining and addictive reading.

Manga is generally categorized into different genres. The most popular ones include:
- shonen manga for boys and male teens
- shojo manga for girls and female teens
- kodomo for children
- redisu for adult women
- seinen for adult men
- jidaimono is historical drama
- suiri is crime and murder
- ecchi is erotic fare

So, how to get started with Manga? Easy.
1. Walk into the store. Most large booksellers have a section dedicated to manga, but to really get a range of titles, try a comic book store. Either way, manga books usually have covers in color and maybe the first few pages as well, but the rest of the story is usually in black and white.
2. Look through the books, read them a little. Stop when you find something that you like and take it home.
3. If you are comfortable with surfing the Internet, read manga online first. Do a search for one of the many directories of online manga sites and scan those sites for titles that are interesting. Many of the sites will actually show the manga book-drawing and text-from its Web site.

Remember that when you read manga, you read the frames from the right to left. Often, when you open up a manga--just like you would a regular book--there will often be a page that will tell you how to read it.

Give a few manga titles a try to get a feel for what you like. Once you find a title you like, you can look for more of the same or similar titles with that publisher. Look for the English publisher's Web site in the front of the book, then check out that site--it will probably contain descriptions of all their books and maybe even a little sample online.

Tracey Patterson loves to collect manga and realizes the importance of online manga for exposing new titles that would never otherwise be available. Visit her review and tips on her blog, Read Manga Online

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Video Game Regulations on Content

Should we allow the Government to regulate video games? Should we let the industry self-regulate? Do you as a parent regulate the video game content of your children? Have you considered any of this? Well, recently in an online think tank we did and there are many sides to the issue indeed.

Industry regulation may not be such a hot idea, but in my opinion government regulation is far worse. Not because I dislike government but because they do nothing very well and because they change their minds based on politicians faster than the wind changes directions all based on the latest news polls. And well government has just proven to be too corruptible; that is to say Adam Smith ‘invisible hand’ or Ayn Rand discussions.

Taking responsibility for your kids and their information intake is wise and it is the correct way to handle it, even if you cannot always be there, at least you lay the proper ground rules and foundation. Just think if we could get every parent to do that? Do you regulate the content you children view? Should you? How about your friends? What do they do? Do they regulate their children? Do you kids play with their kids? How much shielding from the world should or can you do? Consider all this in 2006.

"Lance Winslow" - Online Think Tank forum board. If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; Lance is a guest writer for Our Spokane Magazine in Spokane, Washington

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Buyers Guide To Video Game Consoles

Award winning game can provoke you to buy the same but it is advised that buy only those, which you like to play. Whether you are young or old, male or female, single player or fun-seeking family, it does not matter because presently a new video games console available online claims to suit practically every need, taste and budget of the buyer. The range and diversity of gaming systems, and even the games themselves, is bewildering, and a daunting prospect to the inexperienced. Therefore arm yourself with the information you need to make your digital entertainment purchase in confidence.

Today’s systems offer a wealth of additional functionality catering to the needs of a rapidly expanding, increasingly diverse audience. Forget the old, as the gaming has extended the boundary not in its varieties but also is not limited only to the younger but is also played by the granny. So, are you interested in online play? Is a huge range of kids’ games a priority? But once you’ve made your decision, where next? Next is your step to buy your games console in complete confidence.

1. Beware of the games on offer and the retailer’s motives. You will come across many shops that offer load of games in for “free” in addition to selling. While the savings can be significant with such deals they can also be unreal. Therefore first check out whether the “free” games on offer are actually worthy. Your carefulness will save you from spending more than you intended on games.

2. Make sure all the essentials are included. Extras you may need to purchase separately may include additional handsets for multi player games; subscriptions for online gaming; and special cables which will boost the audio and visual performance of your unit.

3. Game (and to a lesser extend) console prices vary wildly from place to place, so doing research in advance and checking prices on-line makes sense. Unless you really need to buy the latest blockbuster on day of its release, wait a month or two - all games are reissued on budget labels and console prices also fall over time.

4. Read Expert Reviews, Websites such as Product Sifter (dot) com, Game rankings (dot) com and Meta critic (dot) com all have excellent reviews and rankings for a wide range of video console and game products.

5. Many games shops have in-store demo units, so you can take a game or a console for a test run before you buy.

6. Age ratings is very important because it will provide a clear guidance to the parents about the game's accessibility for their children.

7.Take advice from the staff at specialist computer games stores who have expert knowledge before purchasing the product online.

Award winning game can provoke you to buy the same but it is advised that buy only those, which you like to play.

Video Game Testing - How To Become A

Before you go out and start looking for video game tester jobs there are a few things you need to know. The work that a game tester does is far and away from being easy. However, if you do have a true passion for video games (you should if you are reading this) then it could be an rewarding career for you. Becoming a game tester will also allow you to get your foot in the door at a game company. This is important as it may open up other possibilities for you in the game industry. Other jobs such as game designer or game programmer are even better careers. You should still plan on going to school to learn these things. But you do not have to wait until you finish school to start testing games.

One of the first things you can do is participate in public beta tests for popular video games. This will allow you to become familiar with what a game tester actually may do on a daily basis. The great thing about beta testing is that it can be done from home in your spare time. As a bonus, often you will be able to get the final version of the game for free or at a reduced price. You may also be able to work at home for some game tester jobs but it's not extremely common for this to happen, certainly not for a full time employment. It is possible to find some part-time work at home testing games.

As a video game tester you must have in depth knowledge of the operating systems or consoles that you will be testing on. Game companies really only want to deal with people that know what they are doing. Your main role as a beta tester is to find and report bugs and game defects. You will have to provide a detailed report on how to reproduce each problem you find. If you can not make a bug reproducible then you are wasting everyones time. Strong written and verbal communication is a must. As a game tester it is very important to be able to communicate effectively.

Remember that in life there is no easy way through whatever path you choose to take. This does not mean that being a video game tester won't be fun. It is just hard work. If video games are really your thing then get out there and go for it. Just remember that it's not a walk in the park like some would have you think.

Adam Taiz is a serious video gamer. Read more about how to become a video game tester. Or read this if you interested in a video game designer jobs.

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Japenese Anime - The Explosion

Although Japanese Anime seemingly sprang on the scene from nowhere, it has actually been around formany years.

Japanese anime has an fairly ancient history, infact. Anime itself began if through manga which began to surface in Japan in the 19th Century. The first manga, and the ideology behind the manga of today was first conceived by a Japanese artist named Hokusai. The Hokusai manga was a collection of sketches, and as time went on, more and more artists took Hokusai's idea and amplified it. Soon a new style of drawing emerged - the style moved away from the 'sketchings' and moved into thick lines and clear colours.

The storylines however, remained as fantasy as ever - manga at this point frequently involved space ships, mythical creatures, superheroes, gods, dragons, and other such fantasy things.

Early in the 1990's manga began its expansion into western culture. Its distribution spread gradually at first, with very few if any manga style comics being available in western countries. But soon after this, the world of anime and japanimation was set to see a huge explosion.

Eventually manga was adopted by now 'big name' companies such as Bandai, and the 'farout' ideas that came with traditional manga was introduced to mainstream western society. It is a fact that in 1993, the manga and anime industry was worth a mere few thousand dollars, and that 10 years later the industry went from this poorly figure, to being worth just over 100 million dollars.

The reason for this vast increase in revenue was due to anime and manga being formally adopted by western society. Popular TV shows like Power Rangers (I'm sure we've ALL heard of them at some point) were massively successful. Power Rangers is a perfect example of how the the ideology of anime spread throughout the western society - the show itself aired all over Europe, Canada, America, and Japan.

Granted, shows like Power Rangers weren't anime in the traditional sense, but there is quite obviously a link between the things presented in these TV programmes and those that are still found in traditional anime.

Since then we have seen many more traditonal (actually animated) anime worm its way into the western world. Essentially the non-animated anime paved the way for the traditional type to come in and make a small fortune. Ever heard of Dragon ball? How about Gundam or Hamtaro? If you haven't, where have you been these past few years :)

Animated shows such as those above are practically household names in the west now, which just goes to show the sheer explosion the anime industry produced. In 20 years the anime industry in the west has grown from only being worth thousands, to being worth multi-multi-millions.

This information was provided by David Reed, who regularly contributes at the Bondanime Blog for anime, manga, and japanimation.

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What Makes Anime So Popular?

Anime has become a phenomena. More and more Anime series and movies come out each year and the population of Anime fans around the world keeps on increasing as well. Also, the popularity of a particular Anime title that became a hit TV series usually lasts for years. Eventhough the show has ended on the TV station where it was aired, fans will search for their own copies of the series and watch it over and over. One might be wondering: What's the secret behind Anime's success? What does Anime have that often cannot be found in its Western counterparts? In this article, I'll try to point out some of the key factors behind the success of Anime.

Exciting action and complexity draws out a wider range of viewers. While cartoons, that were made in Western countries mainly targets children as its main audience, Anime, on the other hand, targets a wider range of viewers. As a matter of fact, a big part of the die-hard Anime fan population are teenagers and people in their early to mid 20's. In most cases, while children enjoy the spectacular actions and fight scenes, adults and young adults appreciate the complexity of the story and its emotional content. Most Anime series are mixes of comedy, action, and drama.

Main characters grow and develop their abilities as the story progress. Unlike in most western cartoons, wherein once the hero has established its character there's a little room (often none) for improvement, Anime characters grow as the story goes along. A good example would be the "Dragonball Z" characters where they even use "power levels" to show the improvement in a character's fighting skill. In the sports Anime titles "Slam Dunk: Team Shohoku" and "Hajime No Ippo", the main characters learn different techniques in every match. Often, the most exciting moment in an episode of an Anime series, is when the villain and the other characters are surprised by the hero's new ability.

Making the viewers watch out for the episodes to come. Most Anime series manage to get the viewers "hooked". By purposely keeping the story hanging at the end of every episode, viewers tend to watch out for the next and they would never want to miss out and episode. On most action Anime series, the battle between the hero and the villain lasts for several episodes while keeping each episode different from the other.

Although there are more reasons why fans keep going after their favorite Anime titles, we've pointed out three of the most common factors. (1) It can attract more viewers because it purposely targets a wider range of audiences. (2) The way the Anime characters grow and improve provides more excitement to the viewers. This is also one of the key factors behind the success of Role-Playing Games (RPG). And finally, (3) viewers are attached to their favorite series because of the way Anime writers intentionally ends every episode by not giving a definite conclusion to the story.

Darren is the Webmaster of RK Quest, a Rurouni Kenshin and Animé website where you can find lots of information and downloadable multimedia. RK Quest can be found at

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Tracing The Roots of Anime

From the popular Transformers movie release to the Yu-Gi-Oh! cards your kids might have, anime has certainly left its mark on the world in recent years. Understanding its roots, though, is the key to predicting where this ever-changing genre is headed.

Before you can understand the history of anime, maybe it's first necessary to understand exactly what anime is. "Anime" literally means animation in Japanese. It does not distinguish one style from another; it's simply a way to talk about animation of all types.

Worldwide, though, anime is what we call a particular style of Japanese art and animation. Because of its popularity in recent years, the term ‘anime' has come to mean a style rather than animation that comes specifically from Japan. Through the years, anime has also been known by other names. Japanime is one, and Japanimation is another. Manga is a more recent, and perhaps controversial, term for anime-style comic books.

A Bit of History

While lots of animation was produced in Japan from about 1917 on, the anime that we know and love today is considered to have been created by Tezuka Osamu, who started drawing comic books in 1947. His character Astroboy (or Tetsuwan Atomu as he is known in Japan) hit television screens around Japan in 1963, which is generally considered to be the first mainstream anime cartoon. What's more is that Tezuka Osamu helped to create the giant robot genre that has been such an ongoing theme in both anime and manga.

Anime became such a popular art form in Japan because the live action film genre was simply too expensive to be a hit. As a result, some of the same thematic steps western filmmakers were taking in the world of live action were being taken in Japanese animation simultaneously.

The Real Difference

As a whole, anime is quite different from American animation. Anime encompasses complex story lines of nearly every genre as well as thought-provoking characters that most American animation stays away from. Since American animation is considered "kid's stuff," and anime is a mainstream form of entertainment for all kinds of people in Japan, lots of people misinterpret anime's intentions.

While some of anime is okay for you and your children to view together, many films contain adult themes and situations that aren't okay for younger viewers. Keep in mind that Japan has very different attitudes about nudity, strong language, and violence, so plopping your toddler down in front of anime because it's a cartoon just isn't a good idea.

Like the Idea?

If you're interested in exploring anime further, there are several films that are considered to be classics to the genre as a whole. Try starting with Princess Mononoke. With a strong plot and beautiful style, you're sure to fall in love with this type of animation instantly.

The author is the Admin of the Anime Friends Network site AnimeMine, where you can meet new friends and discuss your favorite anime and manga subjects. This article can also be found at our free article directory Smarticlesmart. For more anime information please go to today. For more free articles please try

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