Wealthy and brilliant but bored, Knight was the heir to his family’s massive fortune when he came of age. Despite loving his hometown of Opal City, he found its upper echelons dull beyond measure. He preferred to console himself by pouring as much as he could into his great love, astronomy. In time, his hard work paid off, and he made a great discovery: stars were not only cosmic furnaces, but radiators of immense energy waves into space that had gone unnoticed for eons. His only regret was that he had no means of harnessing the energy. All that changed when his cousin, Sandra Knight, informed him of a scientist named Abraham Davis, who was on his way to producing a device she hoped to use to escape the same monotony Ted loathed. Intrigued, Ted visited Davis and they worked together for months before producing a single golden weapon Ted called the Gravity Rod (later referred to as his “cosmic rod”).
Debuting in Adventure Comics # 61 in April 1941, Ted Knight, who would become the alter-ego of Starman, was created by artist Jack Bumley and editors Whitney “Whit” Ellsworth, Murray Boltinoff, Jack Schiff, Mort Weisinger and Bernie Breslauer. While Knight possessed no superhuman powers, he gained various abilities that mimicked the powers of a star from his Gravity Rod: various effects of telekinesis (gravity control), and the ability to generate vast amounts of heat and light, Ted donned a red and green costume with a bright star in the chest, and dubbed himself Starman. He used his invention to great effect in crime fighting, whether it was on his own or as a member of both the Justice Society of America and the All-Star Squadron. During the 1940s, Starman faced colorful enemies like Abigail Moorland, the Prairie Witch, Bobo Bennetti and the Mist, an enigmatic scientist that became his archenemy.
Eventually, Ted Knight passed the mantle of Starman onto his son, Jack Knight. Ted Knight was triumphantly laid to rest by his fellow superheroes and was given a splendid memorial in Opal.
Born the son of Russian Jewish immigrants on September 14, 1936 in Chicago, Walter Marvin Koenig grew up in New York City, and started acting in high school. He attended Grinnell College before transferring to UCLA, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. After college, Koenig returned to New York to study acting at the famed Neighborhood Playhouse. He landed a part on Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek, making his debut as the starship Enterprise’s Ensign Pavel Chekov in the first episode of the second season, and appearing regularly through the end of the third season, when the NBC series was cancelled. Following its cancellation, Koenig easily moved on to a host of different projects, including work as a writer on the animated show Land of the Lost. Over the years, Koenig has reprised his most famous role in several films, beginning with Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979, and progressing to Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country in 1991, with a cameo appearance at the beginning of Star Trek: Generations in 1994, and a Trek-inspired voice-over appearance as himself for a 2002 episode of Futurama. From 1994 to 1998, he played the semi-regular role of Alfred Bester on TV’s Babylon 5. Koenig has also written several books, including Warped Factors in 1988, and developed the comic book series Things To Come, which debuted in 2011.
In the 1980s, Konami of America and Japan released many games for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), such as Gradius, Life Force and Contra. Traditionally, programmers would program in hidden “cheat codes” to help make gameplay easier, which aided especially during late testing periods before commercial launch. Konami released many popular games on the NES during this era. These titles, as well as many subsequent ones, used the same cheat code scheme. Because of its recurrence, it has become known as “The Konami Code,” and knowing it by heart is one of the trademark signs of a true old-school gamer. A common version of the code is: Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Right-Left-Right, B, A, SELECT, Start. Many people added a SELECT into the code, because pressing it changed the cursor to “2 players” instead of “1 player.” Contra, in particular, was always more fun to play with a friend.
See Karpov, Anatoly.
Born July 3, 1879 in Warsaw, Poland to wealthy, aristocratic parents, the creator of the theory of General Semantics could speak and write in four languages – Polish, Russian, French and German – by his teens. He managed his father’s farm before attending the Polytechnic Institute at Warsaw to study chemical engineering. At the outbreak of World War I in 1914, 35-year-old Korzybski volunteered to join the Second Russian Army, where he served as a battlefield intelligence officer on the eastern front in Poland. In November 1915, he was sent to Canada as a weapons inspector for the Russian Army. Here, he began studying English, which became his favorite language and the one in which he would write his major works. After the United States joined the war in 1917, Korzybski moved to New York to supervise the shipping of war materials to Russia. When the Russian Army and government collapsed later that year, he stayed in the United States to continue war efforts on behalf of the French and Polish armies, and soon the United States government hired him to travel the U.S. as a war lecturer to encourage sale of Liberty bonds. Shortly after the Armistice, Korzybski met Mira Edgerly (1872-1954), a prominent American portrait painter on ivory. They were married two months later, in January 1919, in the chambers of the United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.
His experiences during the war led Korzybski to contemplate the causes of the periodic bloodbaths that afflicted civilization. Eventually this led him to ponder the differences between humans and animals. He observed that animals by nature were mere hunters and gatherers (“space-binders”) in their pursuit of food, whereas humans practiced agriculture, reflecting a human capacity to anticipate needs, learn from experiences, and readily transmit these experiences as symbols to succeeding generations. He labelled this unique human behavior “time-binding” and noted that the rate of growth of human knowledge resembled a geometric (exponential) progression. Korzybski felt that teaching humans animalistic or mythological theories about themselves helped create and perpetuate such episodes as the recent war.
With considerable editorial assistance from mathematician Cassius Jackson Keyser (1862-1947), Korzybski published his ideas in 1921 as Manhood of Humanity: The Science and Art of Human Engineering. The first printing of the book sold out in six weeks. Korzybski continued his research into the mechanisms of time-binding, and attempted a synthesis of the sciences from the standpoint of a theory of human evaluation. He included the field of psychiatry in his research, and studied for two years with William Alanson White, superintendent of the St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C.
From 1928 until 1933 Korzybski spent most of his time writing what was to become his most famous book, Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics. His book explored means of transferring the predictability of science-mathematical methods to the everyday behavior of ordinary people, and contended that humans progressed (“time-binding”) largely as a result of our more flexible nervous systems, which were capable of symbolism and abstracting in endless orders. Language allowed us to summarize or generalize our experiences and pass them on to others, saving others from having to make the same mistakes or reinvent what had already been discovered. This linguistic generalizing ability of humans, Korzybski contended, accounted for our amazing progress over animals, but the misuse of this mechanism accounted for many of our problems.
Following publication of his book in October 1933, Korzybski set out to conduct seminars at schools and colleges throughout the country. In 1938, with financial support from plumbing fixtures heir Cornelius Crane, he founded the Institute of General Semantics near the University of Chicago campus to serve as a training center and to promote research in the new discipline. During World War II, he helped S.I. Hayakawa and others establish the International Society for General Semantics (which would later merge with the Institute of General Semantics in 2003).
A housing shortage following World War II forced Korzybski to move his institute from Chicago to Lakeville, Connecticut, north of New York City. Although nearly deaf and limited in mobility as a result of his war injuries, Korzybski continued to conduct seminars and lectures until his death from a heart attack on March 1, 1950 at the age of 70.
Kraven the Hunter
Debuting in Amazing Spiderman #15 in August 1964, Kraven was created by Marvel Comics writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko, who were inspired by Richard Connell’s short story “The Most Dangerous Game.” Born Sergei Kravinoff in Russia, the future villain received beatings from his alcoholic father. Life was hard for the Kravinoffs after the Bolshevik Revolution forced them to emigrate. After Sergei’s father died, his mother was committed to an asylum, and both Sergei and his brother Dimitri were suddenly orphans. Sergei would suffer from arachnophobia after seeing his mother mentally tormented in a spider-infested asylum. Later, his mother would commit suicide and this would increase Sergei’s fear of spiders and be the first step for developing an unstable and obsessive personality. Sergei learned that the only way to life was survival. Sergei and Dimitri would eventually depart and go their separate ways.
As a young adult, Sergei relocated to Africa, where he displayed a natural talent for hunting. Changing his name to Kraven, he increased his hunting and survival skills. As years passed, Kraven became notorious and extremely wealthy as big game hunter. He eventually came upon the lair of a local witch doctor in the Belgian Congo, and took notice of an herbal potion that was believed to give increased strength, reflexes and stamina. Blinded by the need for excitement in his hunting career, Kraven stole the potion and drank it. His reputation increased with his newfound abilities. Eventually Kraven partnered with Smerdyakov in a business that exported extremely rare and possibly illegal animal skins and ivory.
Not only did Kraven gain a reputation with his hunting career, but also became a very well-known ladies’ man who fathered children with several women throughout the world. During this time period, Kraven was secretly recruited by Nick Fury to join his selected team to infiltrate the Nazi forces and assassinate the Red Skull. After his stint with Nick Fury, Kraven returned to Africa to continue pursuing and challenging his career as a game hunter. One of Kraven’s trademarks was his leather vest, lined with real lion’s fur that covers the shoulder and back portion of the vest.
Kraven was the first villain to introduce the “man hunting man” concept, and displayed his obsession with hunting a greater prey than man, which was Spider-Man. Even though Kraven became a successful and recurring villain, his main concept soon began to fade as he found himself becoming nothing more than an unsuccessful mercenary. Despite his foiled attempts at besting Spider-Man, he became one of the web-slinger’s greatest threats. Since Kraven didn’t have a solid backstory at the time, the tale known as “Kraven’s Last Hunt” was introduced. Written by J. M. DeMatteis with artwork by Mike Zeck, the 2008 story was meant to be the last of Kraven the Hunter.
Later, Marvel would make more than one attempt to create a Kraven-like villain. Despite the fact that Kraven was dead in the Marvel comic book universe, his character was introduced in other Spiderman-related media, such as cartoon shows, toys and video games. He would later be recognized by IGN Entertainment, Inc. as one of the greatest comic villains of all time, at Number 53. It was in the 2010 story event “The Grim Hunt” that Kraven would finally be resurrected into the Marvel universe and continue his career as a Spider-Man villain, now alongside his daughter Ana.
During the Silver Age, Kraven battled other heroes, such as Iron Man, Ka-Zar and Daredevil. In the Bronze Age, Kraven changed his tactics, and continued wreaking havoc as a hired mercenary, while occasionally making an attempt at vengeance against Spiderman. Finding new enemies such as Ka-Zar and Tigra, Kraven still kept his hatred for Spider-Man alive. Once, after managing to escape a ship that was deporting them, Kraven washed up on the shores of Long Island. Kraven entered a Stark Industries plant to find himself quickly defeated by Iron Man. Managing to escape authorities, Kraven was obsessed with hunting down Spider-Man before leaving America.
The criminal accepted Dr. Octopus’ offer to join his gang of villains who were each obsessed with gaining vengeance against Spider-Man, joining the Sinister Six despite his attitude that the other criminals merely stood in the way of him hunting down Spider-Man. The Sinister Six first appeared together in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 in 1964. Dr. Octopus staged each member to fight against Spider-Man in a gauntlet-style trap, and Kraven was confident that he would be able to take him down, but when his time came, he found that he was again incapable of defeating the hero.
Through mystical means, Kraven became immortal when he developed the capability to heal from fatal injuries. The full nature of Kraven’s new powers and immortality were never fully explained beyond the claim that Kraven could only die by Spiderman’s own hand.
Among his arsenal of weaponry were Bantu war clubs, javelins, spears, bolos, hunting nets, axes, machetes, tribal swords, whips, Bowie knives, blowguns, hunting rifles, gas grenades, garrotes, electromagnetic collars, magnetic iron manacles, and a custom-made gauntlet made from animal claws.
Kraven made appearances in the 1981-87 animated TV series Spider-Man, as well as Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends, Spiderman the Animated Series, The Spectacular Spider-Man and in the video games Spider-Man 2: Sinister Six for Gameboy Color, Spider-Man: The Movie (X-Box version), Spider-Man 3, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows (Sidescroller Version) for Nintendo DS, Wii, PSP, and Playstation 2, and Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions.
Krypto was introduced in the early Silver Age of Comics as Superboy’s pet. He was sent into space as a means of testing Jor-El’s interstellar spacecraft before risking the life of his son (mirroring the similar use of animals to test rockets during the then-current Space Race). Arriving on Earth, Krypto became the playmate of Clark Kent (even receiving a “secret identity” as Skip, the Kent’s farm dog). After Superboy grew up and moved to Metropolis, Krypto was described as having gone off-planet to “romp in space.”
Krypto served as a member of both the Legion of Super-Pets and the Space Canine Patrol Agents. During his time with the Legion, he was impersonated by Proty II during the protoplasmic creature’s petition for membership into the organization. Proty II returned from his super-task disguised as Krypto carrying the actual kryptonite-exposed canine covered in protoplasm. Ever the loyal companion, Krypto died in battle with the Kryptonite Man to save his master during Alan Moore’s two-part story “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” that appeared in Superman # 423 and Action Comics # 583. The first post-Crisis appearance of Krypto was seen in the Time Trapper’s pocket universe, as the former pet of that world’s Superboy. Another Krypto was an ordinary Earth puppy adopted by Superman. This dog was later given to the cloned Superboy, Kon-El. When Superman and Lois Lane traveled to a false planet Krypton on its final days, they found that the house they stayed in had another visitor. When they traveled back to Earth, Krypto followed. When exposed to the sun’s rays, he showed the same powers as the Man of Steel himself. At Superman’s wishes, he guards the Fortress of Solitude, but he has made sporadic appearances over several years. He is used by Batman to sniff out the whereabouts of Poison Ivy during Hush. He is part of a rescue team comprised of Nightwing, Superboy, Robin, Natasha Irons and Cir-El, which raids the White House to save Superman and Batman from President Lex Luthor. He attacks the new Supergirl in the Fortress of Solitude.
Krypto came to Clark’s cousin Conner Kent’s aid when Superboy-Prime came to kill him, however, an injured Krypto was left behind in the heat of the battle. Krypto disappeared soon after, and upon his return, Superman allowed Jimmy Olsen to keep him for a short time. During the Sinestro Corps War, Krypto and Superboy-Prime have a brief rematch. He also comes to Superman’s aid against Atlas, helping to defeat the magical threat. During the events of New Krypton, it is established that Krypto now lives on the Kent farm with Martha Kent after Jonathan Kent dies.
Krypto’s origin was altered in “The New 52.” An experiment by Jor-El to create a companion for his son Krypto was implanted with some of the young Kal-El’s DNA in order to create a companion with an unbreakable bond. In Krypton’s final moments, Jor-El tries to save his family by opening a portal to the Phantom Zone, nearly allowing the escape of its incarcerated prisoners. Krypto, aware of the danger they represent, leaps into action to defend his family and is subsequently trapped in the Phantom Zone. The young Kal-El is left in anguish at the loss of his dog. Later a homeless person tells Clark Kent that he is being watched by a ghost in the form of a white dog later revealed to be Krypto’s projection from the Phantom Zone. After the escape of the Phantom King from the Phantom Zone, Kal-El was able to pull Krypto from the Phantom Zone. However, Krypto was severely injured. Worried, Kal-El carried Krypto into space, and threw him near the Sun, healing Krypto of his injuries.
Krypto possesses an even more keen sense of hearing and smell than Superman, and his strength and speed are also proportionate (meaning he is faster but doesn’t have the sheer strength of Superman). Due to Krypto’s Kryptonian biology, he also possesses many of Superman’s other abilities, most notably his physical near-invulnerability and the power to defy gravity.
In the Elseworlds Justice League of America story JLA: The Nail, Krypto is the product of a genetic experiment on Kryptonian and Earth biology. A version of the Silver Age Krypto can be seen in Grant Morrison’s All-Star Superman. The superdog also appears in the story Superman: Red Son, and is one of the “ghosts” in the empty “Planet Krypton” restaurant in The Kingdom: Planet Krypton. A robot version of Krypto appears in Superman: Last Son of Earth, released in 2000. In 2011’s Flashpoint, Krypto’s skeletal remains are seen in a government underground bunker, labeled as “Subject 2.”
1) One of the rarest gases on Earth, krypton composes only 1 part per million of Earth’s atmosphere by volume. With the atomic symbol Kr, Krypton’s atomic number is 36. Its melting point is –251.25°F (–157.36°C) and its boiling point is a mere 7.45 degrees Fahrenheit higher, at –243.80°F (–153.22°C). This colorless, odorless noble gas has a full outer shell of electrons, rendering it largely inert to reactions with other elements. Unlike its fellow noble gas neon, however, krypton does make compounds. According to the Thomas Jefferson National Linear Accelerator Laboratory, the most common of these is the colorless solid krypton difluoride (KrF2). Krypton difluoride is only stable below –22°F (–30°C).
The discovery of krypton occurred partially by accident. Scottish chemist William Ramsay and English chemist Morris Travers were extracting argon from air in hopes of evaporating it and finding a lighter chemical element to fill the gap in the Periodic Table of Elements between argon and helium. Inadvertently, however, the researchers overdid the evaporation, leaving only a heavy gas sample behind, which turned out to be a brand-new element. The researchers dubbed this discovery “krypton,” from the Greek word kryptos, or “hidden.” Because krypton is so rare (and thus expensive), it has limited use. The gas is injected into some incandescent lightbulbs, because it extends the life of the tungsten filament that makes those bulbs glow. Because it is such a heavy gas, krypton is also sometimes sealed between the glass panes of some double-paned windows to help them trap heat, though the cheaper noble gas argon is typically used for this purpose.
2) A planet in the DC Comics universe, and the birthplace of Kal-El, known on Earth as Superman. Before it was destroyed, Krypton was approximately 50 light years from Earth, and orbited a red giant star known as Rao. It was roughly the size of Earth and according to the story “Superman: Birthright,” Krypton was in a galaxy approximately 2.2 million light-years from Earth. Krypton had a technologically advanced society, and was renowned for its scientific achievement. Their mastery of cloning allowed them to live an eternal youth and their society grew ever more hedonistic, turning their advanced scientific knowledge into super weapons, which was a step toward the beginning of Krypton’s Clone War. A powerful weapon called The Destroyer was aimed at the planet’s core, but was stopped when the government ended hostilities, saving the planet. Krypton was left with no wildlife, and the people began living in isolation from one another and other races. Direct physical contact became prohibited and procreation was facilitated by birthing matrices. Krypton had peace again, but their world was sterile and joyless. Meanwhile, the planet’s core became increasingly unstable, due to the reactions the Destroyer had caused, and it began emitting deadly radiation. The scientist Jor-El discovered that the planet would soon explode. Unable to convince his associates of the impending danger, he sent his child’s birthing matrix to safety shortly before the planet exploded.
Krypton had noticeable relationships with other planets and galaxies, as it was one of the most powerful and advanced civilizations in the universe. Some planets saw Kryptonians as a cold and harsh race, while others looked up to Kryptonians as god-like creatures, and still others despised Kryptonians for their power. Some planets, such as Earth and Mars, had good relationships with Krypton, with Kryptonians traveling to Earth frequently via portals. These trips to Earth spawned many Kryptonian connections to Earth, including the birth of the Kawatche tribe and the occult interests in the Stones of Power by the witches Margaret Isobel Thoreaux and her disciples Brianna Withridge and Madelyn Hibbins. Kryptonians, benevolent or otherwise, saw Earth as a paradise due to the powers and abilities they gained under the planet’s yellow sun; this caused Earth to become the prime conduit of Krypton’s affairs. Martians also had a good relationship with Krypton, as the Martian Manhunter would often go to Krypton to aid his friend Jor-El, but some Kryptonians would look down on Martians as a lower species. The planet Almerac was a distant planet to Krypton, and their young would often be told stories about Krypton, in particular Kryptonian men and about how brave and gallant they were and many Kryptonian men were desired as mates by Almeracian women.
Orbiting a red sun, Krypton’s terrain was somewhat similar to Earth’s, except for the crystalline architecture of its buildings, its constant cold temperatures and its icy ground; therefore, the Fortress of Solitude, with its crystalline appearance, is a re-creation of Kryptonian landscape, with its criss-crossing crystal towers. Krypton had oceans that ran between the massive continents of frozen plateaus, much like Earth’s geography.
The Golden Age Superman comes from the Krypton of Earth-Two’s universe. We do not know much about this Krypton, however, it is stated that every citizen of this Krypton possessed what we would consider superpowers due to their millions of years of evolution. This Krypton was destroyed due to “old age.” The Silver Age planet of Krypton was introduced between the 1950s and 1970s. In Superman #238, the planet was discovered by the space explorers Kryp and Tonn (whose names would be combined to name the planet).
Krypton began experiencing massive tremors during Zod’s war to dominate the planet, and the Council asked Jor-El to investigate. Jor-El suspected that the tremors where caused because Zor-El was mining too deep. Zor-El convinced the Council to allow him to continue operating the mine at the same capacity. Warned of Zor-El’s plan to ignite Krypton’s core, Jor-El sent his only son Kal-El in a spaceship to Earth. The destruction of Krypton is well-known throughout the universe, with many species having knowledge of its destruction.
- An ore from the planet Krypton that releases radiation. Depending on the color of the kryptonite, this radiation can have different effects, and most kryptonite only affects Kryptonians. Kryptonite was first mentioned as a plot device in the Adventures of Superman radio program in 1943, and it made its first appearance in comic books in 1949. While green kryptonite (which weakens Superman and nullifies his Earthly powers) is the most common form, kryptonite has been discovered in various forms, generally differing in both appearance and effect. The various forms of Kryptonite are:
|Black kryptonite||Capable of altering someone’s personality so they become a darker, evil being. This kryptonite is different in the fact that it could affect both Kryptonians and humans (Clark and Lex Luthor).|
|Blue kryptonite||In the comics, it is dangerous to Bizarro Superman, as green kryptonite is to Superman. In the television show Smallville, makes Kal-El (Superman) powerless, but only if it is in contact with his skin.|
|Gold kryptonite||Removes the abilities of Kryptonian for a maximum of fifteen seconds, though for a time, there was an antidote that granted powers back for a short time.|
|Jewel kryptonite||Magnifies the Phantom Zone residents’ psychic powers, allowing them to project illusions into our world, or to control the minds of those outside the Phantom Zone.|
|Orange kryptonite||In Krypto the Superdog #4, gave normal cats Isis and Snooky superpowers.|
|Red kryptonite/silver kryptonite||No piece of red kryptonite has the same effect when a Kryptonian is exposed to it, but whatever effects it has can last up to 3 days. Silver kryptonite was harmless in the comics, but in Smallville, it made Superman paranoid.|
|White kryptonite||Destroys all plant life whether it is native to Krypton or not, created when Kryptonite passed through a weird space cloud.|
|X-kryptonite||Gives non-powered lifeforms (Humans/ Animals) superpowers for a temporary duration. This is what gave Streaky the Supercat his powers, it was created by Supergirl who was seeking an antidote for green kryptonite.|
|Anti-kryptonite||This peculiar form of Kryptonite exists in an alternate reality, where Ultraman (that reality’s Superman) uses it as a power source. In fact, he gets weaker the farther away he is from it! But Pre-Crisis it is lethal to non-superpowered Kryptonians and killed many of them, it is their “Green Kryptonite”.|
|Slow kryptonite||A variety of kryptonite produced by Metallo that affects humans. It is called “slow kryptonite” because the rays sent out by normal Kryptonite are “fast” (high in frequency) and synced with the accelerated kryptonian body. Slow kryptonite, which releases “slow” rays, is synced with a slow human body, allowing it to affect it. Slow kryptonite is the “green kryptonite” to normal humans, but its effect on actual Kryptonians is unknown.|
|Magno-kryptonite||Artificially created by Nero, it pulls in anything native to Krypton so that not even Bizarro or Superman can escape its pull.|
|Bizarro Red Kryptonite||It is the “Red Kryptonite” to normal humans.|
|Kryponite-X/Kryptisium||Professor Hamilton coined this term to refer to the change that occurred to the Kryptonite that the Cyborg Superman (Hank Henshaw) blasted the Eradicator with when it passed through the latter and struck Superman. Instead of being lethal, it restored Superman’s powers. Unfortunately, it also apparently clung to him and caused him to absorb solar energy at a rapidly accelerated rate, eventually causing his powers to go out of control and his body to build more mass. Superman was purged of it after battling the Parasite. Not to be confused with X-Kryptonite.|
2. In a figurative sense, used to mean the one weakness of something or someone that is otherwise invulnerable; an Achilles’ heel.
Born on September 18, 1926 in Jezierzany, Poland, Kubert began working in comic books at age eleven, as an apprentice for Harry “A” Chesler’s comic production house. His more than sixty-year history in the medium includes eventually producing memorable stories for such characters as Hawkman, Tarzan, Enemy Ace, Batman, The Flash and Sgt. Rock for DC Comics. He also edited and illustrated Sgt. Rock, which was published for 30 years until the 1990s.
In 1952, he was a principle in the creation of the first 3-D comic book, an issue of Mighty Mouse (which came complete with 3-D glasses). During the 1960s, he illustrated Robin Moore’s novel Tales of the Green Beret for the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate Inc., which appeared in the New York Daily News, Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, among others. Joe was an editor for DC Comics from 1955 to 1976.
Joe wrote and illustrated four graphic novels: Tor, Abraham Stone, the award-winning hardcover book Fax from Sarajevo, and Yossel: April 19, 1943. He illustrated Brian Azzarello’s graphic novel Sgt. Rock: Between Hell and a Hard Place.
In 1976, Kubert founded the first and only accredited school devoted solely to the art of cartoon graphics, The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art Inc., which has since produced many of today’s leading cartoonists. In 1998, Joe established Joe Kubert’s World of Cartooning, which produces a series of correspondence courses on the subject. In 1999, Watson-Guptil published Superheroes: Joe Kubert’s Wonderful World of Comics, an instructional book on the art of creating powerful comic book characters.
As well as being a past vice-president of the National Cartoonist Society, a member of the Advisory Board for the International Museum of Cartoon Art, a member of the New York Press Club, and a member of the Society of Illustrators, Kubert received many awards for his artistry, including two Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards. The multi-talented Kubert passed away on August 12, 2012.
First featured in a story called “The Shadow Kingdom” published in Weird Tales in August 1929, Kull was an early sword-and-sorcery hero created by writer Robert E. Howard. Born in the barbaric island nation of Atlantis, Kull was a feral child growing up. His natural athleticism, strength and years of training granted him near-superhuman strength. He would later be exiled for defending a condemned woman. Travelling on his own, he would gain many followers and eventually become king of Valusia. King Kull helped to exterminate the Serpent People, and circa 18,500 BCE (or, Before the Common Era), the deities who later became known as the Elder Gods of the Hyborian Age intended to make King Kull of Valusia the vessel of their power, but chose another. Before 18,000 BCE, Kull was enslaved by Lemurian pirates and forced to work as a gladiator, where he faced a Wolf Man. Forging an alliance and working with the Wolf Man, he later slew the wizard Rotath for the Lemurian monarch Asphodel IV. Over the course of the 500 years between Kull’s appointment as king and the sinking of Atlantis, Atlantis became the center of a small empire of sailors, craftsmen, traders, astrologers and alchemists. After his era, the Atlantean empire stayed in a state of decline.
Created by screenwriter Gregory Widen for the 1986 Russell Mulcahy-directed film Highlander, the Kurgan, whose true name is never revealed, was born in the steppes (or the large area of flat unforested grassland) of what is now Russia on the Caspian Sea border. His tribe, the Kurgans, was infamous for their cruelty, and were known to toss children into pits with starving dogs to fight for meat for the spectators’ amusement. The villain, an immortal who spends the centuries beheading other immortals (including Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez) to win an enigmatic “Prize,” was portrayed by Clancy Brown.
The most well-known of all Japanese directors, Kurosawa (1910-1998) was the son of an army officer who studied art before gravitating to film as a means of supporting himself. He served seven years as an assistant to director Kajiro Yamamoto before he began his own directorial career with Sanshiro Sugata (1943), a film about the 19th Century struggle for supremacy between adherents of judo and jujitsu. It so impressed the military government, he was asked to make a sequel. Following the end of World War II, Kurosawa’s career accelerated with a series of films that cut across all genres, from crime thrillers to period dramas. Among the latter, his Rashomon (1951) became the first post-war Japanese film to find wide favor with Western audiences. Of all of his movies, it was Kurosawa’s The Seven Samurai in 1954 that made the largest impact outside of Japan. Although heavily cut for its original release, the medieval action drama, originally over three hours long and shot with painstaking attention to both dramatic and period detail, became one of the most popular Japanese films of all time in the West. At the same time, American and European filmmakers began taking a serious look at Kurosawa’s movies as a source of plot material for their own work. In 1964, Rashomon was remade with a Western setting as The Outrage, while Yojimbo was remade by Sergio Leone as A Fistful of Dollars, starring Clint Eastwood. The Seven Samurai fared best of all, serving as the basis for John Sturges’ The Magnificent Seven (which had been the original title of Kurosawa’s movie) in 1960, and the Western remake actually did better at the Japanese box office than the original. In 1985, an unfilmed screenplay of Kurosawa’s also served as the basis for Runaway Train, a popular action thriller. Kurosawa’s movies subsequent to his period thriller Sanjuro (1962) abandoned the action format in favor of more intellectual and serious dramas, including his epic-length medical melodrama Red Beard (1965). With his Westernized style, Kurosawa always found a wider audience and more financing opportunities in Europe and America than he did in his own country. In later years, despite ill health and problems getting financing for his more ambitious films, Kurosawa remained the most prominent of Japanese filmmakers – eventually becoming far more popular outside of Japan than in his home country.
Seen in Pokemon, the character is a nine-tailed fox from Japanese folklore that can possess humans. In some circles, it can also be considered a symbol of luck.
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