Thursday, September 18, 2008


—Three DC books set to ship last Wednesday didn’t actually show up on the shelves; bumped from the schedule at the last minute. All-Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder had that problem with improperly printing the black bars over the swear words, Action Comics had Superman drinking a beverage out of a bottle that could conceivably have been beer (straining my eyes on the scans, the label looked like “Crow Root Beer” to me, but maybe it was “Crow Lite Beer,” I dunno), and DC Universe: Decisions…wait, why did DC Universe: Decisions fail to ship last week?

If you’ve forgotten, that’s the stupid-sounding book about DC’s Justice League heroes trying to defend presidential candidates from an assassin and getting pulled into politics. But for maximum irrelevance, they’re totally fake, fantasy candidates, not Barack Obama and John McCain, because who would be interested in reading about real politicians in their funny books? (Besides everyone who picked up the Barack Obama issue of Savage Dragon and is looking forward to the IDW bios, of course).

DC’s impulse to keep real-world politics out of their funny books is understandable, since I imagine a surprising number of their readers are probably Republican and pretty much all of their superheroes are all moderate to extremely super-liberal Democrats (except Hal Jordan, Hawkman and Guy Gardner). Of course, that being the case, why on earth even bother doing a story about superheroes and the presidential election?

No word on why this is a week late yet. I had hoped it was because DC noticed at the last minute that “Hey, this is a horrible idea for a comic book…and look, this Judd Winick guy is a rotten writer! We can’t publish this crap!”

But it was on shelves this week, so it was merely delayed. What was changed during that delay? I don’t know, but I wish I did.

On Monday, Comic Book Resources gossip columnist Rich Johnston wondered aloud if it had something to do with one of the candidates looking a little bit too much like Condoleeza Rice, but that couldn’t have been it, as the final issue still had a Condoleeza Rice lookalike in it. Retailer and Savage Critic Brian Hibbs noted that the cover was apparently changed slightly, in a minor (and weird) way that I can’t even begin to make sense out of a possible motivation for.

—Instead of blacking out the swear words in All-Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder, maybe they should just print this exhortation from Captain Marvel on the covers of DC comics with R-rated language?

—Remember when it was announced that those charming rascals Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch would be taking over the monthly Fantastic Four comic for some reason, and there was no way it was going to be late because Hitch was seriously already one million issues ahead and even though they totally lied all those other times about being so far ahead that lateness wouldn’t be an issue this time they really, really mean it baby so just give them one more chance please?

Well guess what?

Retailer, blogger and tireless swamp monster advocate Mike Sterling noticed that Fantastic Four finally missed a month in July.

I don’t find that really all that remarkable—who believes anything Mark Millar ever says about anything at this point anyway?—but I did find it kind of remarkable that there wasn’t the sort of fanbase freak out about this creative team’s failure to deliver on time after such strong assurances that they would.

I remember during Ultimates and Ultimates 2 this was A Really Big Deal, but now I either don’t read as much industry hype news as I did back then, or readers just don’t really care any more.

Are Millar and Hitch not the white-hot creative team they once were? Is there just too much Millar product out there at the moment? (FF is one of four Marvel series he’s currently scripting) Are Marvel fans just much less interested in the FF than in The Ultimates? Or is a one month delay just not even really worth noticing in today’s industry, with books like Spider-Man/Black Cat, All-Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder, Allan Heinberg’s Wonder Woman and Ultimate Wolverine Vs. Hulk having set the bar for timeliness so low that a Millar/Hitch FF book missing a month is beneath most readers’ notice?

I imagine it has something to do with all of those factors, as the sales for this creative team’s FF have been much lower than I would have expected, which seems to indicate a general lack of interest in the book relative to other Millar/Hitch or Millar/Any Other Artist projects.

—I will totally cry if Kirsten Dunst doesn’t return as Mary Jane in the next Spider-Man movie. They will be manly tears, but tears nonetheless.

Speed Racer was released on DVD this week, which is tremendous news. To hell with Iron Man and The Dark Knight; for all their virtues, I think Speed Racer is still the best comic book-based movie of the year and, in fact, one of the best movies I’ve seen this year (By virtue of being a film that did things previous films haven’t, and thus showing viewers things they haven’t seen before).

Kevin Church posted a highlight-filled video featuring the theme that played over the end credits under the post headline “I am SO obsessed with this.”

His obsession is contagious.

I’ve watched that video like eight times since he posted it so far. And as awesome as it is—featuring Speed’s flying scissor lock and Pops’ overhead ninja-spinning among all the car acrobatics—it doesn’t even include some of the best parts of the film (like Racer X punching a Viking racecar driver in the face while both of their race cars are airborne).

God, I love that movie.

—After a few brief sentences on it in yesterday’s weekly review-o-rama, I thought I’d come back to comment on All-Star Superman #12 more thoughtfully at some point in the near future.

But then I read Savage Critic and Jog the Blog blogger Joe McCulloch’s review, and now don’t feel any real need to. McCulloch just plain nailed it, and all I can think to add is “What he said.”

—The last image of Superman in All-Star Superman, industriously working to rebuild the heart of the sun from within, toiling at a lever while we see some vague-looking machinery in the background, made me think immediately of Guy Maddin’s 2000 short film, The Heart of the World.

If you haven’t seen it and have six minutes to spare, check it out:

It’s a silent(-ish) film about a beautiful young scientist named Anna who discovers the heart of the word is dying and who is being wooed by a mortician, an actor playing Jesus in a passion play and an industrialist. So obviously the plot is very different from Morrison and Quitely’s Superman story.

But like All-Star Superman, it ends with the principal character deciding to save the world by becoming the new center of a heavenly body, and, also like All-Star Superman, it’s a passionate love letter to its own medium.

Proceed with caution though. The score may be stuck in your head for the rest of your life; it’s been in mine for about eight years now.

—Did you read any DC comics that were released this week? If so, you probably saw this week’s DC Nation column. Hey look, it’s former Best Shots @ contributor Janelle Siegel between two of her fellow new assistant editors! Congrats again Janelle; now I’ll feel (a tiny bit) bad when I complain about the terrible, terrible Batman books…

Tom Bondurant notices that Final Crisis, despite being a story Grant Morrison has supposedly had written before Countdown, despite the assurances from creators and editors that there would be no delays, despite having a skip-month built in and despite additional pencillers being brought in to speed J.G. Jones along, is going to be late after all.

Huh. Maybe Jones shouldn’t have been going to quite so many conventions and doing quite so many interviews over the last few months, or maybe DC should have simply hired an artist who can draw a book a month for their latest big crossover.

It’s Joe Kubert’s birthday and oh my God Joe Kubert is old! I knew he had to be getting up there, but I didn’t realize he was already in his early eighties. It’s hard to believe he’s still just as good as he ever was, and that he’s still as productive as he is, pumping out far more pages in the last two years than either of his sons.

I think I’ll go re-read some Showcase Presents: Enemy Ace stories to celebrate…

—Uh-oh. Speaking of Enemy Ace, Dan DiDio mentioned the most bad-ass pilot of all time in explaining this “Faces of Evil” theme month DC’s doing in January. I think such theme-months are pretty great ideas, particularly if the individual issues are all approached as done-in-one jumping on points (as was the case with “Big Head” month and Eisner-like logo month and, to a lesser extent, the post-Zero Hour #0 issues and “The One Year Later” issues).

I’m a little worried to see Anarky’s name pop up again, and extremely perplexed by Enemy Ace’s inclusion. Unless he’s popping up in the pages of Booster Gold (awesome!) or in a special issue of Jonah Hex in which a very old Hex fights him (with guest art by Joe Kubert?…Please…?), I can’t imagine which of DC’s books the Hammer of Hell would fit into without it sucking too badly.

Of course, if the Justice League found him frozen in a block of ice Captain America-style and made them their new leader, that might be pretty cool…


tomorrowboy 2.5 said...

Isn't Enemy Ace currently appearing in The War that Time Forgot?

LurkerWithout said...

My store got that Decisions thing from DC. I didn't buy it, but it was there on the shelves...

SallyP said...

I picked up DC: Decisions on a whim, as I had been rather dubious about the idea, and wasn't bad. It even had a couple of giggle-out-loud moments in it.

The thought of Enemy Ace being found frozen in a block of ice, and revived is delightful.

I'm wondering, in lieu of all the excellent reasons you gave as to why nobody seems to have noticed that Fantastic Four is going to be delayed, may simply be a case of "all of the above". I know that I don't even care anymore.

Michael said...

Of course, if the Justice League found him frozen in a block of ice Captain America-style and made them their new leader, that might be pretty cool…


Janelle said...

Thanks... I think! :D

Dono said...

"look, this Judd Winick guy is a rotten writer!" Haha I love it! You're saying what we're all thinking.

Bob Hodges said...

How are Anarky and Enemy Ace even villains? Occasionally the appear as antagonists to other DC characters, but that's not even the same thing a being a villain.


Kevin Huxford said...

I think the consensus regarding the Hitch/Millar Fantastic Four has been "meh". More people were raving about The Ultimates (both volumes) by far, so the number of readers concerned and the anticipation for each issue was much greater, IMO.