Portal:Comics

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Comics is a medium used to express narratives or other ideas through images, usually combined with text. It typically takes the form of a sequence of panels of images. Textual devices such as speech balloons, captions, and onomatopoeia can indicate dialogue, narration, sound effects, or other information. The size and arrangement of panels contribute to narrative pacing. Cartooning and other forms of illustration are the most common image-making means in comics; fumetti is a form which uses photographic images. Common forms include comic strips, editorial and gag cartoons, and comic books. Since the late 20th century, bound volumes such as graphic novels, comic albums, and tankōbon have become increasingly common, while online webcomics have proliferated in the 21st century.

The history of comics has followed different paths in different cultures. Scholars have posited a pre-history as far back as the Lascaux cave paintings in France. By the mid-20th century, comics flourished, particularly in the United States, western Europe (especially France and Belgium), and Japan. The history of European comics is often traced to Rodolphe Töpffer's cartoon strips of the 1830s, but the medium truly became popular in the 1930s following the success of strips and books such as The Adventures of Tintin. American comics emerged as a mass medium in the early 20th century with the advent of newspaper comic strips; magazine-style comic books followed in the 1930s, in which the superhero genre became prominent after Superman appeared in 1938. Histories of Japanese comics and cartooning (manga) propose origins as early as the 12th century. Modern comic strips emerged in Japan in the early 20th century, and the output of comics magazines and books rapidly expanded in the post-World War II era (1945–) with the popularity of cartoonists such as Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy, et al.). Comics has had a lowbrow reputation for much of its history, but towards the end of the 20th century began to find greater acceptance with the public and academics.

The term comics is used as a singular noun when it refers to the medium itself (e.g. "Comics is a visual art form"), but becomes plural when referring to works collectively (e.g. "Comics are popular reading material"). Though the term derives from the humorous (comic) work that predominated in early American newspaper comic strips, it has become standard for non-humorous works too. The alternate spelling comix – coined by the underground comix movement – is sometimes used to address these ambiguities. In English, it is common to refer to the comics of different cultures by the terms used in their original languages, such as manga for Japanese comics, or bandes dessinées/B.D. for French-language comics.

There is no consensus among theorists and historians on a definition of comics; some emphasize the combination of images and text, some sequentiality or other image relations, and others historical aspects, such as mass reproduction or the use of recurring characters. Increasing cross-pollination of concepts from different comics cultures and eras has only made definition more difficult. Read more...

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Clark Gregg as Phil Coulson

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is an American media franchise and shared fictional universe that is centered on a series of superhero films, independently produced by Marvel Studios and based on characters that appear in publications by Marvel Comics. The franchise has expanded to include comic books, short films, and television series. The shared universe, much like the original Marvel Universe in comic books, was established by crossing over common plot elements, settings, cast, and characters. Clark Gregg has appeared the most in the franchise, portraying Phil Coulson, a character original to the MCU. The first film released in the MCU was Iron Man (2008), which began the first phase of films, culminating in Marvel's The Avengers (2012). "Phase Two" began with Iron Man 3 (2013), and concluded with Ant-Man (2015). The universe began to expand with the release of the first official tie-in comics in 2010, and saw further expansion with the Marvel One-Shots direct-to-video short films in 2011 and the television series Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the 2013–14 television season from Marvel Television. Marvel has multiple films and television projects in various stages of development. The franchise ranks as the highest-grossing film franchise both in the United States and worldwide, and has inspired other film studios with comic book character film rights to attempt to create similar shared universes.

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Whiz Comics #2 (Feb. 1940), the first appearance of Captain Marvel. Cover art by C. C. Beck.
Credit: Fawcett Comics

Captain Marvel is a fictional comic book superhero, originally published by Fawcett Comics and later by DC Comics. Created in 1939 by artist C. C. Beck and writer Bill Parker, the character first appeared in Whiz Comics #2 (February 1940). With a premise that taps adolescent fantasy, Captain Marvel is the alter ego of Billy Batson, a youth who works as a radio news reporter and was chosen to be a champion of good by the wizard Shazam.

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. cast members at PaleyFest 2014.

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There were other Batman writers throughout the years but they could never capture the style and flavor of Bill's scripts. Bill was the best writer in the business and it seemed that he was destined to write Batman.
Bob Kane

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