Sunday, July 11, 2010

Comics shop comics: June 30-July 8

Batman and Robin #13 (DC Comics) Time for another of my regularly scheduled lamentations of the fact that Grant Morrison has devoted so much time and energy to crafting what’s shaping up to be the biggest Batman story ever told but he doesn’t have a partner in the endeavor.

Frazer Irving steps in as the fifth artist on this series, while Morrison worked with several others during his run on Batman that preceded this title, and this issue features the return of the character claiming to be Batman’s dad Dr. Thomas Wayne.

The character says he’s Dr. Wayne, but he previously went by the name Dr. Hurt. And Batman believed him to actually be actor Mangrove Pierce. Although it’s also heavily implied that he might be the Devil himself.

It would be cool if he therefore looked the same from issue to issue and appearance to appearance, but since a half-dozen artists draw him, there’s little chance of that.

Likewise, the person in the Batman costume changes throughout Morrison’s Batman epic, and The Joker disguises himself as another character for a long stretch of time, but no one looks consistent because there’s no consistency to the art. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, sometimes its quality may come down to individual’s taste, but no character ever looks the same for very long, because Morrison is working alone here.

I dig his Batman work, but it’s ultimately half a comic book, not a whole comic book.

Anyway, Irving arrives and everyone shifts appearances again. Batman and Robin interrogate The Joker at different times and in their own different styles, Wayne/Hurt/Pierce/Satan appears and goes public as Thomas Wayne and Dick Grayson and Commissioner Gordon bond.

It’s good comics-writing, pretty strong comics-drawing (I’m not fond of Irving’s style, personally, but it’s solid work) and a less-than-ideal way to tell a massive serial story in a medium defined by the relationship between words and pictures.

On the other hand, Professor Pyg might dance next issue, and that’s certainly something to look forward to.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold #18 (DC) Hey, is this even allowed?! Frequent B:BatB writer Landry Q. Walker puts two team-ups in this issue, but rather than just giving the first one a page or three before moving on to the team-up featured on the cover, this issue is split up more equitably, with the opening team-up lasting eight pages…and the second team-up being one with a hero not featured on the cover!

While the format was a bit unexpected, the quality of the story was not—Walker and his regular partner artist Eric Jones do their regular great job on this issue.

Jones’ style varies from that of the cartoon the book is based on, but his design of Martian Manhunter (whom I believe only appeared in the background of a single episode of the TV show so far) is pretty swell, giving J’onn an extra swollen head. He also draws this issue’s villain, a White Martian called “Ma’alefa’ak” (in the Martian Manhunter comics series, that was actually a Green Martian, and J’onn’s brother), and smooths out and simplifies the look of the White Martians from Howard Porter’s JLA run (and their subsequent appearances) while simultaneously blending the design with that of the Green Martians. It’s a very effective design; a child-friendly scary space monster that looks more closely related to J’onn J’onnz than the DCU versions typically do.

The plot? Ma’alefa’ak is hunting various Martian artifacts to boost his psychic powers enough to end human life on earth and restore his lost race; Batman and J’onn team-up to stop him, but he resurfaces about half-way through the book, and Batman needs Dr. Fate’s help to stop him.

I love Walker’s Brave and the Bold Batman, who remains the dark creature of the night we’ve come to know and love, albeit a dark creature of the night with a sense of humor (“Typical. I spent my life learning how to incapacitate a criminal with a single punch… …And nine times out of ten, my enemies are immune to physical harm”). The sequence where he expresses his sympathy for Ma’alefa’ak while also kicking his ass is pretty fantastic, for example.

Brightest Day #5 (DC) Well, the solicitation is pretty far off:

Deadman discovers the truth behind the formation of the White Lantern and what it means to the twelve returnees and the rest of the DC Universe. Plus, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Hawkman, Hawkgirl and Firestorm discover the price for their resurrections...and why they may be doing more harm than good to the world.
Deadman hears a few sentences from the White Lantern, and the Hawks discover something’s still kinda Black Lantern-y with their salivary glands, but if the truth behind the white power battery and what’s up with the returnees is revealed, I didn’t catch it. Additionally, Martian Manhunter and Firestorm aren’t in this issue.

What is in this issue? Well, Hawk, Dove and Deadman try to use the white ring to raise the dead, Hawkman and Hawkgirl find themselves caught up in the middle of a war between two different races of furries, and Aquaman and Mera are solving the crisis in the gulf, but are ambushed by warriors from Mera’s dimension before Aquaman can beat up Tony Hayward.

I can’t tell who is drawing which sections of the book—with the exception of recognizing Patrick Gleason’s Martian Manhunter sections, when he appears—but props to whoever is handling the Hawk-couple’s segment for designing this super-scary bird man-ster.Nostrils, teeth and a huge, beak-like tooth…? Gah!

Unfortunate name for the Evil Mera seen in this issue, though. DC’s already got an evil underwater lady with that name, after all. Here's the "Siren" created by Devin Grayson and Mark Buckingham as a Tempest villain in their short run on a Titans title, as drawn by Phil Jimenez on the cover of the fifth issue of the series:

Green Lantern #55 (DC) Everyone loves Hal Jordan!

Lobo thinks he’s handsome!
And Sinestro thinks Hal's so bad-ass that even Lobo is scared of Hal, despite the fact that Lobo could wipe the floor with Jordan!This is pretty fun issue, although a seeminglh short one. Pencil artist Doug Mahnke and his posse of inkers give up some space to a back-up story, so Lobo only fights a Green, Red, Yellow and Pink Lanterns for the first 16 pages or so. Writer Geoff Johns moves the current storyline—in which the new New Guardians apparently team-up to collect the space avatar thingees before an unknown bad guy can get them all—a step closer, with Red Lantern Atrocitus joining up with Hal, Carol and Sinestro.

Lobo makes fun of them all until the fight ends under suspiciously stacked odds (although the fact that Lobo gets scared off is explained).

The back-up? A “Tales of Red Lantern Corps” story by Johns and artist Shawn Davis, telling the secret origin of Dex-Starr, the acidic blood-vomiting, rage-fueled Red Lantern who is also a house cat. I sort of wished Amanda Conner had drawn this six-pager, as she’s probably the DCU’s best drawer of feline characters at the moment, but it was a fun story none-the-less.

Heralds #5 (Marvel Comics) I could probably just cut-and-paste sections of my review of the previous issues here, but I’ll attempt to restate and summarize.

This is the fifth and final issue of a weekly series about a half-dozen or so completely random Marvel heroines teaming-up to deal with an old Fantastic Four character getting a new lease on life. It should be collected and sold in trade paperback in about 45 minutes or so, although I’m hesitant to actually recommend it, given that the most appealing aspect of the finished book was that it was published weekly.

It’s quite well written, but there’s such a disconnect from the title and the way that it was sold that it’s strayed rather far from the normal frame of reference for Big Two super-comics (That is, in a way, something of a good thing).

It’s called Heralds, but there’s only one herald actually in it; if it were setting up a new all-girl superhero team, then the practically random plural word attached to a book full of a random assortment of superheroes might make sense but, as is, it’s seems like a placeholder title. What is this book actually about, you know?

It doesn’t become apparent until about halfway through, but it’s about Nova (not the human rocket, but an old FF character), who, in her (new?) civilian identity is the closest thing we get to a protagonist.

Writer Kathyrn Immonen fills the book with fun moments, clever dialogue and a decent character arc for the Nova/Frances Hyatt character, but it’s an overall confusingly structured. Why isn’t this just called Nova, and why is the focus shift so oddly from Emma Frost to Frances to something more omniscient?

I appreciate the weirdness of Immomen’s work here, as well as how different it is than the bulk of superhero comics, but reading the book was a somewhat uneasy experience, and I think it ran the risk of seeming meaningless. I certainly don’t expect a Heralds II reuniting these characters, or a Nova series in the near future.

More problematic was the art, which continued to shift back and forth between that of Tonci Zonjic and James Harren. Both are excellent artists, and both would have done a fine job on the series, but Harren’s designs are much, much looser and cartoony than Zonjic’s, and they aren’t compatible. The tone that the images establish therefore shifts repeatedly in this issue, and through the entire series.

A quick aside! I love the way Zonjic draws Reed Richards in this panel, though:Everything is drawn perfectly “straight,” but his right elbow is all floopy because, you know, stretchy powers. Awesome. Zonjic for Plastic Man! Or Fantastic Four!

So I don’t know guys. It’s definitely worth a read, but I don’t know about a trade purchase—in one big chunk, the problems will only be magnified. Maybe check your local library in six months or so, or keep an eye out in dollar bins in the future?

Justice League of America #46 (DC) Well, I meant to drop this title and check back in after the JSA crossover, but I apparently bought it off the shelf enough times in a row that my comic shop accidentally added it to my pull-file.

So I guess I’ll keep reading? Maybe it’s a sign from the universe that I’m not meant to drop JLoA just yet?

This is part one of a story entitled “The Dark Things,” although the story actually began two issues ago. I don’t know, there’s a lot about James Robinson’s still-young run on JLoA that I don’t get—like introducing a huge new team consisting of eleven heroes, some of them brand-new to the Justice League, only to have six or seven of them abandon the team immediately in the next issue or so (Cyborg at least seems to just be taking time off to co-star in the JLoA back-up feature). The weird line-up gymnastics the book has been up to since Robinson took over puts it in an especially strange place for a team-up with the JSA, since there isn’t really a JLA for the JSA to team-up with here.

The League is currently current Batman and long-time Titan (although he did belong to the League for a short time) Dick Grayson, long-time Titan Donna Troy, Congorilla and Starman Mikaal Tomas, with on-again, off-again Titan Supergirl joining this issue.

They team up with former Outsider and Infinity Inc. member Jade and the 500 members of the JSA to battle Green Lantern and JSA member Alan Scott, who has been possessed by his power source.

There’s not much too the story. The assemblage of superheroes is flying around Earth fighting other super-characters who are likewise possessed by the Starheart, and far too many of them over-narrate their scenes as if this was a Chris Claremont comic…except Chris Claremont himself doesn’t even do that anymore (see below).

I do enjoy Mark Bagley’s art though, and, like Trinity, this book essentially seems geared toward allowing Bagley to draw the whole DC Universe, and I’m okay with that.

The back-up is a six-page story by Robinson and artists Pow Rodrix and Belardino which splits its attention evenly between three pages of Cyborg and Red Tornado fighting and three pages of Cyborg and Red Tornado’s wife talking about whether or not it’s wrong for her to love and fuck a weepy android that is always being destroyed.

Confidential to James Robinson: Maybe you should try speaking your dialogue out loud before sending a script in? My creative writing teachers used to say that was a good way to tell how natural your dialogue is.

King City #10 (Image Comics) Still the best comic on the new comics rack. In this issue, Joe continues to try and infiltrate the evil building (he tries the button with an image of a skull on it in the evil elevator), and then must try and infiltrate an alien bordello to aide Pete and Earthling, who have snuck in using a brilliant disguise to try and save Pete’s girl from captivity.

Cool weird monsters! Weirder alien prostitutes! Dozens of puns! An awesome one-page sequence in which Joe tries to knock out a guard by dropping a heavy object on him! Thirty-two pages of great drawing! A back-cover suitable for framing!(Ha ha ha! The Meow Haraja! Wearing cats pajamas!)

I can think of no better use of two dollars and ninety-nine cents than an issue of Brandon Graham’s King City.

Secret Six #23 (DC) I dropped this book when Nicola Scott stopped drawing it (her replacement, Jim Calafiore, is an artist whose style I’ve grown less and less fond of the more and more I’ve seen of it, to the point where I’m pretty sure I’ve read all the Calafiore comics I need to read).

This issue is a done-in-one drawn by a different artist, R.B. Silva inked by Alexandre Palamaro, and was a disposable inventory story set before the current Secret Six story arc and written by John Ostrander, so it seemed like a pretty good place to check in with the title and the characters.

I suppose there are two ways of looking at an issue like this though. It’s a good jumping-on point in that it introduces the characters quickly and thoroughly and serves as a complete story, but, if you’re already on board, then I can see one being disappointed by the fact that this is so clearly a place-holding story, marking time until regular writer Gail Simone is ready to keep the story going.

The story, “Predators,” is pop culture riff number #897, 645 on the “Most Dangerous Game” set-up of rich, bored, amoral hunters hunting human beings for sport.

Ostrander DCU-izes it, so the hunters use a high-tech sci-fi weapons and their remote island is stocked with the Six.

Unsurprisingly, the Six kill their would-be killers, but it’s still fun watching how Ostrander gets to the obvious conclusion. I was surprised at how well Ostrander wrote all of the characters; he clearly “got” them all and did a fairly remarkable job of keeping Simone’s tone of black humor and blacker action. She didn’t write the issue, but Ostrander wrote it as she would have written it—although much more economically—making it pretty much exactly what you’d want from a fill-in issue.

Silva’s artwork is serviceable but unspectacular; there’s a weird tendency to squash everyone’s faces (Calafiore style, I guess), but it gets the job done and doesn’t make any major missteps, which is good enough.

The Smurfs #1 (Papercutz) This “special $1 preview comic” falls into the You’d Have To Be A Fool Not To Buy It category. For just one dollar, 1/3 to 1/4 the price of your average super-comic, you get a 20-page, full-color, ad-free story by European comics master Peyo.

It’s called “The Smurfnapper” and is the first appearance of The Smurfs’ cartoon heavy Gargamel and Azrael.

Being the age I am, I was a kid during the American Smurf craze of the eighties, and saw a lot of cartoons (I was never a big fan, but any cartoon was better than most Saturday morning programming) and Smurfs merchandise, and was sort of surprised by the classic, fairy tale-flavor of this story.

Gargamel, a powerful sorcerer who has apparently already perfected the art of making potions that can turn him into a giant, shrink people and make people invisible wants to create a philosopher’s stone in order to turn lead into gold, and one of the ingredients is a Smurf. He sets a trap, catches one and then its up to Papa Smurf and the rest of the village to rescue the captured Smurf—which they ultimately do by beating the holy hell out of Gargamel.

It’s great cartooning and a great little all-ages story and man, you can’t beat the price.

I was surprised at how often they use the word “smurf” too…...I guess the cartoon producers actually toned down the usage of the word "smurf" in the dialogue.

X-Women #1 (Marvel) Chris Claremont teams with Milo Manara for a 48-page, done-in-one mini-epic featuring a half-dozen female X-Men on an adventure in Madripoor. The leads are often scantily clad, often wet, and often embracing or touching one another suggestively. It is gorgeously drawn, being perhaps the best-looking X-Men comic I’ve ever read that wasn’t drawn by Frank Quitely, and surprisingly well-written, being one of the better X-comics I’ve read not written by Grant Morrison, and by far the best Claremont-written X-book I’ve ever read (Which may sound like a sweeping statement, but I’ve rarely read a Claremont-written X-book that I didn’t want to throw out the window, so my opinion of his work likely varies from that of previous generations of X-Men readers).

I want to talk in greater specificity about this project later, particularly how well it does exploitation and sexy imagery in comparison to the clumsy, half-assed, half-ashamed way it’s typically handled in superhero comics, but I don’t want to make this post any longer than it is, so we’ll save a longer, more scan-filled discussion of X-Women until a later day.

In short though, it’s one of the better-looking comics I’ve read this week, and a rare example of superhero comics for grown-ups (as opposed to superhero comics for all-ages) done right. And for less than the price of two issues of Ed Benes’ new Birds of Prey run!)

Question for the X-Men fans in the reading audience! Is Psylocke Asian? Manara draws her as if she is, but I never would have known that from looking at any picture of her I’ve ever seen prior to this comic book.


Saoshyant said...

Psylocke is actually British, but, er, Claremont wrote a story where she ended up in a Japanese body. And that's lasted until today.

Milo Manara is, of course, a genius artist who knows how to draw people.

Caio said...

Claremont used to write great stories for the X-Men but his latest works are indeed atrocious.

Still haven't read X-Women (totally will, though), looks good.

steve said...

Yikes- what an epic post! We loyal readers really should REIMBURSE you for a comics-haul this big, since you're ultimately doing us all a favor reading and discussing this stuff ...

My favorite part of "Batman and Robin" (spot-on comments, by the way) was Gordon's offhand line to the Dick Grayson Batman that his men prefer him to the Bruce Wayne Batman. More of that kind of thing during Wayne's absence would have been great.

Jeff said...

Re: Brightest Day: Siren:

Devin Grayson was the writer on that Titans run, not Gail Simone.

Yan Basque said...

Do you consider Neil Gaiman's Sandman "half a comic book" because it wasn't all drawn by the same artist?

I don't understand your reasoning about the different artists illustrating Grant Morrison's Batman run. How is it "half a comic"? It's got a strong story, and most of the artists who have worked on it so far have been excellent. The fact that there are different collaborators may hurt the consistency, but does that lessen the end result? Is it not possible that something else is gained by having this diversity of creative input? Morrison certainly seems to enjoy the collaborations and from what I understand of his process, a lot fo the writing depends on the art, as his scripts leave a lot of creative freedom to the artists and he fills in the dialogue after the art is done.

Don't get me wrong - I understand why some people might wish for a more consistent look throughout the run. And it would certainly have been a completely different type of work, had that been the case. I'm just less inclined than you seem to be to dismiss what we've been getting so far as "half" of what it could have been. My feeling is that the different artists inject different energies into the creative process, each of which influence the overall end result. The thread that holds it all together is Grant Morrison and his master plan. I see his role as organizing all this chaos (some of which he generates himself) into some kind of readable story.

Less than idea circumstances? Perhaps. Half a comic book? Definitely not.

Jeff said...

I love getting all the different art styles on B&R. The only one that hasn't been fantastic is Tan's, which was only average. IMO Irving's work is the best since Quitely's 1-3.

Randal said...

Sandman isn't a good comparison, because it was designed to have a different artist per arc, or a single issue story was actually designed with a specific artists in mind...and to my recollection all those artists stayed on for the duration of their arcs. Could be wrong about that, though.

Anonymous said...

@Randal: But B&R was also designed to have a new artist every three issues. It was, in fact, done on purpose, so I'm not sure I get your point.

Lisa said...

Would you have rather had Tony Daniel draw every issue of B&R?

And as has been mentioned above, Morrison has written B&R as five distinct three-part stories for the artists in question. Oddly, Sandman wasn't actually intended to have a different artist every arc. That only started half-way through, after Kieth, Drigenberg, and then Kelley Jones (all "ongoing artists") left the book.

And with artists of the caliber of Quitely, Stewart, and Irving, what's to complain about.

Caleb said...

Yikes- what an epic post! We loyal readers really should REIMBURSE you for a comics-haul this big,

I don't know if I agree, but I'd be happy to take your money!

Maybe you can just buy a copy of my debut self-published comic book (which, I warn you, is not very good) which is currently at the printers.

Devin Grayson was the writer on that Titans run, not Gail Simone.

Well, I got the gender right, at least...

Thanks for pointing that typo out; I've since fixed it. Grayson is one of my favorite Batman writers, and her way too short run on Titans is easily one of my favorite runs involving those characters.

Yan Basque,

Thanks for the thoughtful response regarding my perhaps a little too off-the-cuff "half a comic" statement.

I don't think a comic book has to have an artist or art team illustrate every single issue of it to be considered a "full" comic book, but that's obviously the ideal situation.

What I was referring to specifically here is some aspects of Morrison's arc on the character/franchise that are specific to his arc.

The Hurt/Pierce/Wayne/Devil character, for example, has gone by different names and played different roles, but is supposed to be the same person, so consistency of his visual appearance is pretty important.

There have been two to three Batmen, but because they've been drawn by so many different people now, they all look "the same."

The Batman clone in "Batman vs. Robin" is supposed to be mistaken as Bruce Wayne Batman, but he's drawn by an artist who hasn't drawn Bruce Wayne/Batman before.

Sexton is The Joker in disguise, and yet looks nothing like The Joker in disguise—we recognize his green hair and smile outside of the disguise, not the shape of the man inside the disguise.

Ideally, a single artist would have been able to pull off a consistency that this many artists can't, no matter how good some of them are.

And some of them have been just rotten. Daniel leaps to mind. Tan's right behind him. There was a fill-in during Daniel's prelude to RIP that was even worse than his work.

It's unfortunate, because there are a couple stories that are brilliantly written and wretchedly drawn, and great writing plus terrible art does not a decent comic book make.

Wait, I better start a new comment...

Caleb said...

Sandman is a good example of a one writer/many artists book that's good, but I think it differs from Morrison's Bat-work in that there aren't any bad artists involved with any of the Sandman work. (At least, not that I can remember...even the less popular ones or the ones I hear complained about the most,like Kelley Jones and Marc Hempel, are among my favorite artists).

Additionally, Sandman and all of his siblings are characters without objective appearances and they, and The Dreaming, look different to everyone who looks at them, so ever-shifting styles are hardly the drawback there that they are in Morrison's Batman books. (I wouldn't know without checking, but I can't think of any instances of fill-in artists coming at illogical junctures either).

Batman and Robin was intended to have a different artist every three issues, but not necessarily for story purposes, and I have a hard time imagining Morrison writes the bulk of his superhero work for a particular artist, given what a hard time artists have meshing with his scripts.

For example, in #700, I can't imagine he though, "Now the future is going to be really shitty, so I'd like you guys to get me the shittiest artist you can find to draw it? Fich? Yeah, perfect, I'll make sure to include a Batman Beyond and DC One Million scene he can totally not make look anything like the source material!"

Anyway, definitely less than ideal, and, at its worse, it has been half a comic book. As a whole? It's been a brilliant comic book made mediocre by half the equation working without a full partner...or consistent group of partners.

Caleb said...

Would you have rather had Tony Daniel draw every issue of B&R?

Aaaa! No. No I would not.

And as has been mentioned above, Morrison has written B&R as five distinct three-part stories for the artists in question.

Eh, it's all just guessing on are end, but I have a hard time imagining Morrison seeking out Tan (Of the four artists originally announced, Tan was the only one Morrison hadn't worked with previously, and he's obviously popular with DC editors). And Irving had his arc bumped back three issues, so Morrison either didn't write this one specifically for him, or the prior arc was written after this and put ahead of it to kill time, which doesn't sound right either.

And with artists of the caliber of Quitely, Stewart, and Irving, what's to complain about.

Why, Tan and Daniel of course! I'm not crazy about Irving myself, but, as I said, that's more of a taste thing than a quality thing.

Lisa said...

The thing is, if you want artists like Quitely, you either have to take it on his schedule, a la All Star Superman, (which is probably not an option with an in-continuity Batman book) or you have to hire someone like Bagley or Daniel--who draw everybody to look the same anyway. I'd rather have idiosyncratic quality artists than bland consistency any day.

Yan Basque said...

Thanks for replying to my comment, Caleb. I understand your criticism better now. About this:

"The Hurt/Pierce/Wayne/Devil character, for example, has gone by different names and played different roles, but is supposed to be the same person, so consistency of his visual appearance is pretty important."

I think I disagree. I can get behind some of your other complaints where the consistent look of a character is crucial for our understanding of the story (or deciphering clues), like in the case of the Joker/Sexton appearance. But in the case of Hurt, whether it was intentional or not, I feel like the many different visual interpretations of his character add to our understanding of him, rather than detract from it. Because his identity is so shifty and unclear, it makes sense for him to constantly be changing appearance. Just the fact that you have to refer to him as "Hurt/Pierce/Wayne/Devil" kinda hints at that.

The other thing I'll say is that I tend to look at the art in comic books not as a representation of the objective reality that is depicted, but as a subjective take on it. I have no problem ignoring inconsistencies for the sake of artistic liberties, especially when these liberties seem to contribute to the storytelling. Which I think is definitely the case with the better artists Morrison has worked with on his Batman run so far (Quitely, Williams, Irving, etc.).

Thanks again for responding.

Caleb said...

The thing is, if you want artists like Quitely, you either have to take it on his schedule, a la All Star Superman, (which is probably not an option with an in-continuity Batman book) or you have to hire someone like Bagley or Daniel--who draw everybody to look the same anyway. I'd rather have idiosyncratic quality artists than bland consistency any day.

Eh, I've never believed the you can have it on time or you can have it good argument; there are just too many examples of great artists who draw 22 pages a month to counter it (Brandon Graham, for example, draws in much greater detail than Quitely--per panel and per page, if not in the amount of lines devoted to each characters' face--and King City ships monthly).

David said...

Even to this day I still loathe Smurfs for the simple fact they occupied THREE HOURS of NBC's Saturday morning block.

That isn't hyperbole. Look up old tv guides.

Laplace Zombie said...

Speaking of which, is it really asking too much for monthly quality art?

Lisa said...

I didn't say "do you want it good or do you want it on time?" I said
that do you want Quitely or do you want somebody else? The reality is that I don't think FQ would ever commit to doing a 12-issue run on anything again, and I'd rather have 3 issues of Quitely, personally, than none at all.

Also, talking about this last night, I now think that the multiple artists thing fits in perfectly with Morrison's hyper-arc about Batman...
The first image of his Batman run, four years ago, was of somebody else being dressed up as Batman (the crazed cop) and issue 700 highlighted the fact that Batman will be different people (Bruce, Dick, Damian, Terry McGuinness) that having different people draw each story works with that hyper-arc.

Also it's not really accurate to say that Graham draws King City monthly seeing as how the first six issues were reprinting the already published King City vol 1. book. And who knows how much of the recent stuff is from the vol. 2 book that was canceled, or how much he's stockpiled artwork for issues 7-9. I'm not saying he can't do it, I'm just saying that there's no evidence of it yet.

Caleb said...

I didn't say "do you want it good or do you want it on time?" I said that do you want Quitely or do you want somebody else?

Oh, I'm sorry if it sounded like I was putting words in your mouth (on your fingertips?) there; I know you didn't say that. I was referring to that argument in general, which is one you hear all the time regarding superhero comic book...A DC editor whose name I can't recall and who I'm loathe to look up at the moment even though I did a whole long post complete with elaborate illustration in response to devoted a DC Nation column to making that argument.

I don't really want to argue about it...Batman and Robin is one of the best and one of my favoirte super-comics. It just disappoints me that it's not even better than it is, if that makes sense. The whole shebang--From "Batman and Son" to whenever Morrison stops--is, I think, flawed in the number of artists and, especially, the fact that some of 'em were crap is all I'm trying to say.

Also it's not really accurate to say that Graham draws King City monthly seeing as how the first six issues were reprinting the already published King City vol 1. book. And who knows how much of the recent stuff is from the vol. 2 book that was canceled, or how much he's stockpiled artwork for issues 7-9. I'm not saying he can't do it, I'm just saying that there's no evidence of it yet.

Yeah, I thought of that as I was using him. On the one hand, he's writing, drawing, lettering (usually) doing the covers and/or a back-cover, which is a bit more elaborate than pencil 20ish one-to-five panel pages of Batman, but, on the other hand, yeah, he did have a pretty big head start.

A good argument for working ahead though! DC sure could use that sort of planning!

How about Norm Breyfogle (a great fit), Kelley Jones (maybe not so much) or John McCrea (an okay fit)? I don't recall many or any fill-ins during their monthlies...two of which were Bat-books...other then logical breaks (like, a one-off issue in Hitman, for example)?

Or Nicola Scott, or Guillem March, or Dustin Nguyen are all excellent, better-than-Daniel-and-Tan artists who also seem capable of 22 pages a month. But now I'm just doing Fantasy Editing, so who cares, right? (Ugh, now I'm boring myself with my writing).

Why did I even start typing this? Oh yeah: Sorry if I mischaracterized what you said...I was speaking to a general sentiment more than what you had literally said. Batman and Robin is awesome. Batman was usually fairly awesome. I think it would have been awesome if it were more awesomer.