Sunday, June 17, 2012

(links)

Fair warning: I didn't do a links post last Sunday, so this post will actually contain a good two weeks wroth of links and me babbling about them, so it could get fairly long. You may just want to skim.

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You know what really bothers me about this picture? The lady dressed up as a sexy cat has four cat ears instead of two. For some reason, that's the part of the image I can't get over.

The comic it came from, by the way, sounds really awesome. I never see these things on the rack in the wild, but after reading a review like that, it sounds like something I'd want to pick up and read for myself. Maybe I'll discover a Tarot mother lode when mining back issue bins some day...

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In his review of DC's Ravagers #1, Don MacPherson picked up on the oddity of the decision to reboot Beast Boy's color from the traditional green—the same color it was and is in the Teen Titans and Young Justice cartoons and all the affiliated merchandising—to red.

It's but one of many, many, many examples of the minds behind the "New 52" reboot taking the opportunity to not to move closer to the versions of the characters from the many successful cartoons, but even further away (The depiction of Starfire in Red Hood and The Outlaws vs. the more appealing all-ages version from the Teen Titans cartoon and the make up of the Justice League and the teen superhero team in Young Justice being the two that spring most immediately to mind).

A while back, when DC did alter aspects of their comic books in order to more closely align them to their TV adaptations, like when the original Young Justice comic book was canceled along with Titans in order to make way for a new Teen Titans book and line-up that more closely resembled that of the then-new Teen Titans cartoon, or when Green Lantern Kyle Rayner was kicked off the Justice League and out of his own book pretty much overnight in order to put Green Lantern John Stewart in JLA.

Mainly these things bothered me at the time because they didn't really make sense in the context of the DCU as it stood at the time. But if the publisher was going to reboot the whole damn thing anyway, and start over from scratch with whatever they thought needed reworked to appeal to a bigger, more popular audience, why not follow the examples of the successful cartoon adaptations?

Especially since so many of them, like the Young Justice cartoon for example, seem to have rather seamlessly done things that DC Comics finds difficult to pull off in their books, like integrating Milestone characters or Captain Marvel.

As far as I can tell, the only changes of the New 52boot that seem to have been made to make the comics more closely resemble aspects of various multimedia adaptations were making Harley Quinn (herself an import from the Batman: The Animated Series cartoon) more closely resemble the version of the character in the Batman: Arkham videogames, and changing the color of the abstract bird icon on Nightwing's costume from blue to red, like in Batman and Robin, one of the few Batman-related adaptations that no one anywhere has any affection for.

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Tom Spurgeon on some old Avengers comics:

It was a golden era for dickheaded superheroes, and for all the kids that didn't quite understand just how dickheaded they were being.
That really makes me want to read those same old Avengers comics. My favorite thing about the Marvel Universe is its occasionally dickheaded superheroes...which is, of course, one of the main reasons that Namor is my favorite Marvel superhero.

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Comics sales chart watcher Marc-Oliver Frisch has been examining sales on the "New 52" books (and making charts!) and it looks like the sales bump is in the process of officially wearing off.

(I know, I know; shocking that simply re-numbering the titles, adding a Spawn artist and a couple of old X-Men writers and doing a lot of press, but otherwise continue to have the exact same dudes do the same kinds of stories wouldn't completely revolutionize sales, bringing comics to a whole new audience).

One of the reasons I think the old DCU continuity will reassert itself at some point is that, in addition to the resiliency of certain ideas and stories and costumes and symbols, is the fact that the sheen of new-ness will quickly wear off, as it seems to have done in so many cases, and a Crisis reverting to the (or "a") old continuity/cosmology will definitely boost sales (temporarily, of course).

I just wonder if it will be an all-at-once thing or a dribble-drabble of change backs, a "Superman's new costume returns in Aciton COmics #1,000!" here, a soft de-reboot of JLA following an epic battle with the Master of Time there, and so on.

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Speaking of sales charts, here's Paul O'Brien's analysis of Marvel's April sales at The Beat.

I thought this part, discussing the new Ultimate Spider-Man comic, which is the one based on the new cartoon Ultimate Spider-Man, which itself takes its name from a pre-existing Marvel comic:
The other new all-ages book, also based on an animated series – and not to be confused with the other ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN, which is technically called ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN these days. Marvel is also soliciting the books under the MARVEL UNIVERSE banner, in reference to the universe in which they aren’t set. I cannot help but wonder whether all this is needlessly confusing.
Yeah, I'm gonna go with "needlessly confusing."

I was enjoying the digests of whatever Paul Tobin's Spider-Man book was, but I couldn't keep track of the titles it went under. One day I have to sit down and do enough research to figure out what I need to buy to read the rest of it...

Oh, and last night while looking over Marvel's September solicitations I noticed that it looked like they were repackaging the all-ages stuff from various books published prior to the institution of the "Marvel Universe" branding (which refers not to stuff set in the Marvel Universe, but non-"canon" all ages apocryphal stories) with "Marvel Universe" in the title. For example, there's a collection of the title Super Heroes that they're collecting and publishing as Marvel Universe Avengers: Hulk & Fantastic Four Digest.

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Wonkette, the politics blog I most enjoy reading, links to Robot 6, one of the comics blogs I most enjoy reading (and one I contribute to). What a world...

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Hey, is our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man cool with torturing the bad guys now...?

I just recently finished reading Ali H. Soufan and Daniel Freedman's The Black Banners (which I'll discuss in greater detail in the next installment of "Everything Else", but one thing he hammers home again and again is that torture simply does not work as an interrogation tactic. Beyond the considerable moral objections, former FBI interrogator Soufan noted that it's just not effective, particularly on Al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorists with apocalyptic/religious motivations, as they have been trained to expect and be subjected to things like being severely beaten, sodomized, and watching their relatives be raped in front of their eyes.

Also, with torture, all you—the torture—has to do to resist is wait it out. You will eventually die and, in the minds of the terrorists, go straight to heaven.

Whereas with open-ended, non-torture techniques, the interrogation could go on indefinitely.

Soufan also noted that it is especially ineffective in ticking time-bomb situations, the sort of situations its advocates are always citing, because then the amount of time one has to merely endure torture is even shorter. (The types of mad-scientist bullshit torture techniques the U.S. was sanctioning especially took long periods of time to "break" someone...usually they didn't work at all, but it would takes weeks and weeks before the torturers would even know if it was working or not.

Now what's so depressing about these stories where we see superheroes torturing supervillains (I remember being kinda sickened when I saw Hal Jordan slapping around a guy behind bars in one of the early issues of Geoff Johns' run on Green Lantern, which was released shortly after word of the atrocities at the Abu Ghraib prison were coming out), is that the writer is in complete control of all of the situations and factors.

So Spider-Man's never in a position where he feels like he has to torture someone unless the writer chooses to put him there. Of course, the writer can choose to not only force Spider-Man into a situation where Spider-Man might feel like he has no alternative but to torture a villain, but the writer can also make it so that the torture always works, which is more depressing still (Soufan noted in his book that most of what people—including folks working for the CIA and congresspeople—know about interrogation and terrorism in general comes from movies and Tom Clancy novels).

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Neat. I always liked the idea of the Ghost character and the character and costume design, but the few books I actually read featuring her didn't really do much for me, I'm afraid.

What I'd really like to read is an autobio comic about Kelly Sue DeConnick hanging out with some real-life ghost hunters in order to do research for a comics-writing gig...

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Well they damn well better. He would be a pretty easy character to integrate into their movie-verse, I think, and those connections could certainly help buttress a character who isn't as immediately appealing and widely known as, say, The Hulk or Captain America.

The (movie) Avengers line-up is in desperate need of some color, too (Green doesn't count). Black Panther, Luke Cage, Falcon and Goliath all seem like they'd fit in pretty well, although Goliath's grow-gigantic power might prove a little too fantastic for the rather grounded Marvel movie-verse...

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Hey, check out this series of reviews of comics released on June 6th by Mr. Brian Hibbs, if you haven't already. In addition to noting that Darwyn Cooke's Before Watchmen: Minutemen isn't that great (and that was the one series of the many miniseries that seemed to have the best chance of not completely sucking on paper), he talks a bit about a "series code" attached to Marvel comics, which establishes a particular comic series as a particular comic series, even if the title, numbering and everything else about it can be arbitrarily changed.

I never knew any of that. Comics is the most insane business...

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I found the above panels, which are from the Steve Dillon-drawn Incredible Hulk (!!! Dillon's a great artist and all, but for The fucking Hulk...?) in Tucker Stone's must-read "Comics of the Weak" column for The Comics Journal a coupla weeks back.

I like how Hulk is missing his hair, but The Punisher has all this extra hair. Like he stole the Hulk's hair and made a beard out of it. Or maybe The Hulk sneezed so hard his hair flew off his head and landed all over The Punisher's face...?

I don't know. I just like looking at Steve Dillon's bald Hulk looking at Steve Dillon's bearded Punisher in profile for a couple of panels.

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That same column features Abhay rounding up the roughly one billion times some a-hole on twitter made a joke about Earth-2 Green Lantern Alan Scott being rebooted as gay meaning he must now be a Pink Lantern.

Obviously those tweeters don't read Green Lantern, or they would know that Geoff Johns invented an entire Pink Lantern Corps years ago, although he calls them The Star Sapphires, because he can't call all of his colored Lantern Corps by their colors, because that would be silly. So the Pink Lanterns, The Purple Lanterns and The Yellow Lanterns go by the names Star Sapphires, Indigo Tribe and Sinestro Corps instead.

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I honestly didn't know that The Flaming Carrot was wearing a costume; I thought he was a flaming carrot. Now I can't decide which is weirder: The existence of a humanoid flaming carrot, or a regular dude who dresses up as a flaming carrot.

I'm leaning towards the latter.

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I thought the introduction paragraph to The Mothman.

Apparently one of the Minutemen is named Mothman.

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Curt Franklin and Chris Haley's farewell strip for outgoing ComicsAlliance editor Laura Hudson offers a rare look inside her office at CA HQ. Check out that view...!

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Chris Sims has the most complete round-up of other artists making fun of Guillem March's cover for Catwoman #0.

I still maintain that his cover for Green Lantern: New Guardians #0 is much, much worse:


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I'm curious to see if March's image as solicited will be the image that still adorns the cover when it ships in September, given how much negative attention its received. I sincerely hope this is the beginning of a trend wherein comics professionals police one another's drawings by mercilessly ridiculing the sub-par ones (And, make no mistake, that's what March's was—sub-par. The dude's a really great artist who produced a really shitty cover, not a really shitty artist who always produces shit, like, um a bunch of other dudes who drew bad covers that DC has put on top of some of the many badly-drawn comics they plan to ship in September).

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Spotted on Facebook, via Dean Trippe:

Yes, exactly Popeye.

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I always see something I miss when I read Kelly Thompson's Drunk Cover Solicits. In this installment (which is actually last month's...I'm behind in reading her posts. Or she is behind in writing them. Or both...?), I now notice that Green Arrow is drawn a a goddam satyr:

That's cool. I think I may have read all the Green Arrow comics I need to read at this point in my life, and I'm ready to move on to Goat Arrow, the cloven-hooved archer.

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You know who would never, ever put Mountain Dew in his body, under any circumstances? Batman.

2 comments:

Eric Rupe said...

"why not follow the examples of the successful cartoon adaptations?"

Probably because they aren't interested in going after the demographics that watched those cartoons and are instead more the demographic that plays the Arkham games. Whatever noise DC made about attracting new readers and new types of readers with the relaunch was probably just that. They really couldn't say they don't want to expand beyond their traditional demographics but just want more of those people to pick up the comics. It's also easier for them to do as they don't have to go outside their comfort zone creatively and it's probably easier to sell to the current readership and retailers as well. I think a lot of DC's decisions about the New 52 make a lot more sense when viewed in that light.

Unknown said...

Early interviews about RAVAGERS explained the change in color: with the scale of the Green/Red/Rot conflict going on in ANIMAL MAN and SWAMP THING (and poking its head into other books), it was decided that a character with animal powers (and as such connected to the Red) should match the color of that morphogenic field instead of the (green) plant field.