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Lighting the Fuse: A Dynamite Comics Primer

Lighting the Fuse: A Dynamite Comics Primer

Alright, hold on, let me put down my copy of Cryptozoic Man and pull up a Wikipedia page.You guys are here for some Dynamite history, right? Ok. Here we go.

Dynamite was founded in 2005 by Nick Barucci. The company is run out of Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, a town that (as far as I can tell) is known only for being the home of Dynamite, and for being sort of near Philadelphia. They published a few Army of Darkness limited series through Devil’s Due before starting their own publishing operation. Dynamite dedicated itself, for some time, to publishing only Army of Darkness. Eventually they began to branch out, releasing a Red Sonja series that was so well received that it immediately positioned Dynamite to be a force in the industry.

Dynamite spends most of its time focusing on comic book adaptations of characters and stories that already exist, usually in the public domain. This means you’ll see a lot of classic monsters like Dracula and The Wolfman listed among their properties. They also focus on other already developed properties like Army of Darkness and RoboCop.

However, Dynamite has really hit its stride in the pulp genre. Dynamite has dominated with series like The Shadow, The Green Hornet, and Project Superpowers. Project Superpowers is responsible for establishing the Dynamite universe. The story centers around the pulp-era heroes who are trapped in a magic urn and transported through time. Dynamite used this to launch a number of series centered around the classic heroes in the modern age. Recently, Dynamite has run another major pulp crossover event. Set in 1938, Masks is an Alex Ross fueled adventure of never before seen awesomeness. Ross’s hand-painted interiors brought a realistic, emotive life to the vintage heroes as they teamed up to face a mysterious force that threatens the world.

I don’t know if you caught that. I said Alex Ross. The fuel behind Dynamite’s tour de force in the industry is their exceptional talent. When Dynamite 2575246-masks_1_cover

launched its Green Hornet series, they opened with a miniseries based on Kevin Smith’s unproduced movie script. (Sit down and read it. It will make you want to threaten Seth Rogen’s life for the abomination that got made instead). After the Kevin Smith run, the reins were handed over to Matt Wagner who has been busy keeping up the awesome. Dynamite has also perpetuated Garth Ennis’s The Boys”much to the joy of comic hipsters everywhere. With a roster filled with THE names in comic history (Frank Miller, John Cassaday, Matt Wagner, Mark Waid, Alex Ross and so many more) Dynamite is bringing enough raw talent to their production to drown all the sandworms on Dune. In the mean time, the company has just acquired the licensing to the Gold Key comics properties. This means we’ll be seeing Mark Waid’s vision of Doctor Spektor, and Greg Pak’s Turok the Dinosaur Hunter. Stop salivating. If you’re not salivating at the thought of that, start salivating.

So, astute readers have noticed that I have yet to mention the Tarzan and Warlord of Mars properties. Kind of a big omission, I know. Unfortunately, These properties are currently involved a bit of dispute. Edgar Rice Burroughs’s estate contends that Dynamite has used the characters without a liscense. Dynamite points out that many of the properties have been adapted or republished without contention. Fans, on the other hand are often heard saying “Hey look, space boobs.”

So, since its emergence less than a decade ago, Dynamite has collected some amazing talent, some beloved properties, and most importantly, power. Dynamite has taken every open door to move up into the big leagues and establish themselves as one of the comic elite. Now, go pick up a copy of The Shadow and Green Hornet crossover. Its time to find out what you’re missing.