Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Some miscellaneous links and unimportant comments:

I really thought the "blood and boobs" formula of cover design was a modern DC thing, but I guess Marvel's trying it out now too. That's the cover of May's Dazzler one shot, which I apparently didn't look all that closely at when first going through the solicits, but got a better look at when it was re-posted by Kelly Thompson her blog 1979Semi-Finalist.

Yes John Porcellino, love them!

—I reviewed the first volume of First Second and George O'Connor's planned 12-book series The Olympians, Zeus: King of the Gods, at Blog@ last weekend. It's a really, really good graphic novel, and, as a reader, I was very excited about it. Two things I liked about it that I forgot to mention in my review: First, O'Connor makes great use of the comics medium to tell the creation-of-the-universe story in a way that it couldn't really be told in another medium (the blank, white space of an un-drawn upon page reveals the raw, yet-to-be-manipulated material of a finished comic in a way that a blank white page in a novel or a few seconds of black nothingness in a film can't), and second, there are some neat scenes where Zeus grabs a hold of lightning bolts that seem to plunge out of the sky to pick him up and deposit him elsewhere—in film, the visual would be impossible to depict so casually and effectively, given the speed of lightning (I guess they could use a very showy slow-motion effect) and, obviously, prose wouldn't provide the precise picture without a whole lot of verbiage to detail it. And that's part of what makes Zeus such a great comic—it's a comic that takes advantage of being a comic; it's a comic that could only be a comic.

Also, it has some sort of weird foil-y material on the cover; the lightning bolt Zeus is holding looks like the silver foil stuff you used to see on '90s incentive covers.

Over at Robot 6, Sean T. Collins tackles the perception that maybe Marvel's Siege is, if not an outright bomb, at least not as big as a hit as one might expect it to be. It's an interesting piece, with some interesting folks offering interesting perspectives in the comments (in addition to usual, expected Internet idiocy, of course). I don't have anything to add, beyond the fact that I'm not reading Siege despite having read the rest of the events said to be leading up to it, and, for me, the reason was Marvel's price hike, although the involvement of Bendis was also a big turn-off. After a decade of his Marvel writing, and about five or six years of his work on the Avengers and several of Marvel's big cross-over event stories, I felt I had a pretty good idea of whether or not I'd like Siege (I'm sure I will read it at some point; but probably in a trade from a library, as I've been doing with Bendis' Marvel output post-Secret Invasion).

So I'm guessing the principle of diminishing returns coupled with the expense of Marvel comics may have a lot to do with Siege being one of the best-selling comics in the direct market, just not a super big hit comparable to past Marvel events.

Whatever the reasons, there definitely seems to be less chatter about the Siege than there was about Secret Invasion, Civil War and "Avengers: Disassembled." I certainly see less comics bloggers talking about, reviewing or even making fun of it than the previous stories. I don't know that it's anything Marvel needs to worry about thous, as it's the difference between success and more success we're talking about here, not the difference between success and failure.

Anyway, Graeme MacMillan took up the topic as well, and he suggests that perhaps Marvel's big promotional push for what comes after Siege may account for the lack of Siege enthusiasm on the Internet.

—I think I linked to this article about the kung fu flick Pandamen over at Blog@ previously, but the film sounds so good I don't think it can be over-linked too. Here's the paragraph about the plot:

The series takes place in a fictional city in 2030 where an evil crime syndicate boss named Tiger is plotting to use a mind control device to rule over the populace. The only ones who can stop Tiger and his gang of violent thugs are the city’s two superheroes, Panda Superman, the son of an anthropologist, and Panda Heroic, the son of a zoo custodian.
I'm excited to see it, even if it means I'll be less likely than ever to do anything with the panda-themed character I created in high school. His name was Red Panda, and he wore a red spandex suit with a mask exactly like Deadpool's (only with little round ears on top) and a tiny little red panda tail on the back. It's been a while, so I don't remember exactly what I was planning on doing with him, but the inspiration was first hearing of the animal "the red panda," and thinking it sounded like a superhero name. You know, like, The Green Hornet, Blue Falcon and so on. Oddly enough, Pandamen is directed by and co-stars Jay Chou, who plays Kato in the upcoming Green Hornet film. Synchronicity!

—I had a the URL for this piece by Alex Boney about the Captain America/tea party hullabaloo on my To Link-To list, but I honestly can't remember if I ever linked to it anywhere or not.

So I'm going to go ahead and do so here. Here's a taste:
Furthermore, Marvel’s apology is problematic because it implies that the company doesn’t trust their chosen artistic medium to carry a significant political or social message. They also don’t trust their readership to process and understand complex political issues. Because it’s comics, right? Nobody really has anything serious to say about the issues that dominate everyday political discourse in this country, right? Quesada (and Brubaker, in his interview with Fox News) might as well have said, “No, sorry—we have nothing important to say so don’t bother paying attention to us.”
On the same subject, Tucker Stone notes that the case of the nefarious letterer who has been besmirching Ed Brubaker's perfectly neutral politics is much more dramatic than you may have realized (during the course of his weekly reviews of new comics).

—A quick note regarding new super-comic reviews: Okay, so I've found a new comics shop, although it's a bit of a drive from where I'm living...certainly too far to visit every week just to pick up two-to-four super-comics. I went there today and picked up the last two week's worth of super-comics, and set up a pull-list. I think my plan will be to visit there every two or three weeks and post reviews the day after I read them. Obviously, that won't be anywhere near as timely as the "Weekly Haul" reviews used to be, but that's where I am for now. I'll have reviews of new releases from this Wednesday and last Wednesday posted tomorrow, and in the future, maybe ever two-to-three Thursdays or so...? I've just gotta think of a new name for the feature as "Bi-or-Tri-Weekly Haul" just doesn't have the same ring to it...


Anonymous said...

You really wait to read trades at the library? Really? I've never understood how someone who likes comics can wait 4-6 months to get to read an arc of a comic series. Really?

snell said...

Caleb, have you considered one of those mail-order subscription services? Or are you not getting enough comics these days to justify that?

mordicai said...

What about just "The Haul"?

Dave of Apocalypse said...

Man, that Dazzler cover looks like a ad for the band Kiss.

Randal said...

It doesn't matter what day you get your books when every day is like Wednesday!

Esteban138 said...

You can just imagine the email coming out of Quesada's office: "how are we going to get anyone to buy a Dazzler oneshot?"

I'm with snell, I can never get to the shops myself and my service gets me a pretty decent discount... works out pretty well.

Tracer Bullet said...

The answer to the problem with Siege is right in the post. It follows Secret Invasion, Dark Avengers, etc. If everything is a big event, nothing is.

Caleb said...

You really wait to read trades at the library? Really? I've never understood how someone who likes comics can wait 4-6 months to get to read an arc of a comic series. Really?

Some trades, sure. They're free at the library. And the Columbus Metropolitan Library seems to order everything...the only trades I looked for and couldn't find there were Enemy Ace: War Idyll and the Graymiotti and Freedom Fighters ones.

There are relatively few comics I have to read as soon as they come out, and the Big Two are steadily draining the urgency out of serial comics by collecting everything, collecting everything fast and, far too often, writing/creating for the trade (I'd feel like a chump if I didn't trade-wait a lot of Warren Ellis or Brian Michael Bendis books, for example.

The library is also a perfect place to get books you're interested in but are fairly certain you're not going to like—for example, I could never bring myself to pay for, say, a Jeph Loeb Hulk arc or a Judd Winick anything or a Kevin Smith Batman comic or whatever, but I'm still curious about how they turned out, you know?

Caleb, have you considered one of those mail-order subscription services? Or are you not getting enough comics these days to justify that?

I considered and did some math to see if it would be worth it, but I'm getting so few serial comics anymore that it seemed more efficient to just wait until I and a comic shop happen to be in the same city at the same time.

What about just "The Haul"?

I don't know... I only bought eight comics from the last two seems like my super-comics purchasing has shrunk to the point where it's more a handful than a haul...