Tolkien's works in popular media/Comics
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Tolkien's works in popular media include a multitide of illustrations in the style of comics or cartoons. This article lists notable comics based on, or including references to, Middle-earth and/or J.R.R. Tolkien.
The first known published illustration in the comical vein is a single frame cartoon appearing in the 29 November 1954 edition of Newsweek (which contains a review of the newly published The Fellowship of the Ring). The cartoon, drawn by "M. Simont" (apparently being Marc Simont), portrays the Orcs of Moria as hairy creatures with large heads featuring beaks.[note 1] Gandalf wears a robe adorned with what appears to be magical symbols.
- 1979: J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings Fotonovel[note 2]
- 1979-?: Luis Bermejo's The Lord of the Rings: a trilogy of comic books only published in non-English editions (in least 10 different European countries)
- 1989: David T. Wenzel's The Hobbit
- ?2011: War in the North, written by Brian Wood and illustrated by Simon Coleby. In 2011, news spread that a 16-page, game tie-in and digital-only comic would be released as part of pre-order-exclusive editions of The Lord of the Rings: War in the North. While a page from the comic have appeared in print, it is unknown if the full comic was ever released.
References in popular comics
- In the 2006 Blue Beetle series, the eponymous hero's "hideout" is called Hobbiton. His minor enemy, the Diviner, summons Ents.
- In Secret Origins #20, Barbara Gordon reads The Lord of the Rings on the plane from Chicago to Gotham.
- The Legion of Super-Heroes villain Tseln has a "Mithril silver" knife.
- Sasha Bordeaux mentions Legolas in Checkmate #4
- The story in Amethyst (1985) #4 is called "There and Back Again".
- In Plastic Man (2004) #12, FBI Agent Morgan tracks down an illegal downloader and notices The Lord of the Rings, which she heard was good.
- Kyle Rayner carries a copy of The Lord of the Rings in Green Lantern (1990) #97
- Brainiac 5 mentions the One Ring in Legion of Super-Heroes (2010) #1
- Changeling calls burrowing aliens Hobbits in DC Special: The Return of Donna Troy #2
- Justice League of America #43 (2010): Josiah Power quotes Numbers 20:18, and Doctor Impossible is surprised it's from the Bible and not Gandalf (You shall not pass)
- Marvel's got characters named Sauron, Numenor and Aragorn (a winged horse). Sauron actually named himself after the character.
- Spidey calls his pals the Fellowship in White Tiger #6
- Billy Kaplan's bedroom door has "Speak Friend and Enter", in Young Avengers Presents #1
- A boxing match between Slammer Sauron and Freddy Frodo in Avengers #43
- Captain America is reading a "chapter of Tolkien" in Avengers #46 (1967)
- My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #16 (2014) featured numerous reference to Tolkien's work. The first involved Gandalf appearing in Ponyville, after it had been overran by literary characters. The second being in a brief story called "One Worm to Fool Them All", which parodied The Lord of The Rings. Each character dressed as a different Lord of the Rings character, with Twilight Sparkle as Boromir, Rainbow Dash as Bilbo Baggins and Pinkie Pie as Gandalf. The story began to end after the characters grew tired of walking for "25 pages" and transitioned into a Star Trek parody.
- My Little Pony: Friends Forever #2 (2017) featured a brief sequence where Discord used his magic to transport the Cutie Mark Crusaders across historical and fictional locations. One of which included them appearing in the Shire where they told Starswirl the Bearded that they lost "that ring" and wondered if it was important.
- My Little Pony: Holiday Special (2017) had Night Light read a book titled the "Lord of the Reigns".
- The Newsweek review article speaks about "the terrible feathered orcs", referring to Simon's cartoon. Fans have speculated that this portrayal of orcs might have inspired Zimmerman's script of a proposed film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, of which Tolkien wrote in letter 210: "Why does Z put beaks and feathers on Orcs!?".
- Although not technically a traditional comic book, speech balloons have been added to film frames from Ralph Bakshi's 1978 film The Lord of the Rings, giving the work an impression of being a comics.
- "Newsweek, 1954 - Fellowship cartoon", Tolkien Collector's Guide (accessed 26 February 2017)
- Pieter Collier, "The Lord of the Ring Comics by Luis Bermejo" dated 28 January 2011, Tolkien Library (accessed 19 February 2017)
- Jesse Schedeen, "Brian Wood heads to Middle Earth" dated 8 July 2011, ign.com (accessed 19 February 2017)
- Andy Khouri, "Brian Wood to Write ‘Lord of the Rings’ Video Game Tie-In Comic" dated 7 July 2011, comicsalliance.com (accessed 19 February 2017)
- Nisse Lindberg, "Frodo Lever:Tolkien och serierna" [Swedish-language: "Frodo is Alive: Tolkien and the Comics"], in Bild & Bubbla 204 (2015)
- Sherilyn Connelly, "There and Blecch Again: Mad Magazine's Lord of the Rings Parodies" dated 13 December 2012, archives.sfweekly.com (accessed 24 April 2018)
- "Post in the private group 'Tolkien's Middle-Earth'" dated 19 November 2016, Facebook (accessed 19 February 2017)