As you may have noticed, dear readers, I'm a fan of comics. I try to keep my eyes peeled for really cool comics related sites. Here are two of my recent discoveries.
First up is Digital Comic Museum, an online repository of downloadable, scanned versions of comic books from the Golden Age of Comics, the 1940s and '50s. The site is a successor to the "Golden Age Comics" site that was down more often than not and plagued with technical problems. The new site has been significantly redesigned and appears to be working smoothly. Simply create a user name and password, log in, and start downloading issues from the days when comic books were really comic books. Check the site's FAQ list and message boards for links to free reader software for viewing the comics you've downloaded. You can also chat with other fans and collectors on the forums and upload your own vintage comics. You won't find Action Comics #1 (Superman's first appearance), but you will find comics from many lesser known and defunct publishers in every conceivable genre: superhero, adventure, Western, detective, horror, romance, juvenile, and more. The Ace Comics titles "Atomic War" and "World War III," for example, play on Cold War era fears of a nuclear sneak attack on America by the Soviet Union. In today's cynical, ironic, detached pop culture, the deadly earnest, gee whiz writing style of these comics may come across as campy and unintentionally hilarious, but it's all part of the fun. Many issues come complete with ads for impossible products (for only 25 cents and three boxtops! Get yours today!) and pulp short stories as filler. Whatever your taste in comics, you should find something entertaining here.
My other recent find is Project: Rooftop, a blog run by a team of comics writers, illustrators, and fans who are constantly re-imagining and redesigning the costumes of famous (and not so famous) superheroes from yesterday and today. The blog accepts submissions from both professional artists and fans, and the artwork, in a wide variety of styles and approaches, is sometimes stunning and always entertaining. Each week of posts at Project: Rooftop has a theme, and this week it's Kate Kane, aka Batwoman, from DC Comics. In the immortal words of Mark Shea, "Check thou it out."