There’s nothing the comics industry likes so much as licensed material. Why go to the trouble of coming up with your own ideas when there are so many established ones just begging to be displayed in some sort of visual sequence? The very first comic books, after all, were just a collection of repackaged newspaper comic strips.

The love for licensing is even stronger now that pop culture nostalgia has proven to be a ginormous money maker (see just about anything playing at your local cinema). Take a trip to the comics store and you’ll find scores of titles based off such properties as Jem and the Holograms, My Little Pony, Ghostbusters, Voltron, Power Rangers, Fraggle Rock, Robocop, and so much, much more.

Sometimes these comics are straight up garbage. Sometimes they are solid if uninspired adaptations that serve their purpose in evoking ever so slightly that je ne sais quoi that made fans cherish the source material. Occasionally (emphasis on “occasionally”) you get a cartoonist who offers a really interesting, delightful or spirited take on a familiar property (e.g. Carl Barks’ Donald Duck and John Stanley’s Little Lulu). More… “Bots that Go Boom”

By day, Chris Mautner is the mild-mannered social media producer for By night, he writes about really nerdy things for The Comics Journal . . . and this site. He is one-quarter of the podcast Comic Books Are Burning in Hell.



I imagine that one of the final disappointments of Michael Crichton’s too-short life was the news that Japanese scientists had cloned a mouse from cells frozen for 16 years. Where were they when the rest of us were spending close to $1 billion to see Crichton’s vision of biotechnology run amok? In the lab freezing mice, I suppose.

The ability to clone animals such as mice is not new — since the 1996 breakthrough of Dolly the sheep, everything from cats and dogs to pigs and horses have been cloned. But those relied on living cells. What makes the Japanese scientists’ research noteworthy is its ability to replicate using genetic material extracted from cells damaged in freezing.

You might wonder who wants to clone thawed common mice. Nobody, it turns out. The scientists suggested that among the real… More…