Sunday, September 30, 2012

(links)

So, after a few years of thinking about it, I've decided I'm going to give Twitter a shot, despite my oldness and my general confusion and fear of new technology making it difficult for me to even understand the language with which to talk about it. For example, I'm not sure if I'm going to start twittering or if I'm going to start tweeting or if I'm going to start micro-blogging on a popular social networking site.

At any rate, if you're on the...Twitter...?...you can feel free to "follow" me if you like. I have pretty much no idea what exactly I'm going to do with the account yet, beyond using it to keep better track of various comics-type folks so as to better cover comics here and at the other sites I write for, but right now I imagine I'll do more of my link-blogging and talking-about-stuff-that's-not-exactly-comics-and-doesn't-quite-fit-here over there.

You can search for me by my name, I think. Otherwise, my "tag" or "handle" is "@jkaylub", because someone else already beat me to "caleb" and "EDILW." I should probably also note that I haven't really started tweeting yet, so there's nothing to see if you do follow me at this point.

Anyway. Social media! Yeah!

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Moving sale! I am moving at the end of October, and if I could unload some of my remaining stock of Mothman Comics before doing so, that would be fantastic. Here's the relevant information, if you would like to purchase a copy, and thus help slightly lessen my load of Things I Need To Move From Point A To Point B.

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Here's a pretty nice drawing of Catwoman by Katie Skelly, creator of Pandaface (Oh, and of Nurse Nurse too). (Via Spurgeon)

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When Ms. magazine and MAC cosmetics think Wonder Woman, they think Mike and Laura Allred. When DC Comics thinks Wonder Woman, they think Cliff Chiang, Tony Akins and Jim Lee (and Don Kramer, Eduardo Pansica, Nicola Scott, Aaron Lopresti, Bernand Chang, Terry Dodson, Paco Diaz, Ed Benes and Pete Woods).

Now, I like Cliff Chiang's art a whole heck of a lot (as I do that of his occasional fill-in artist Akins, and the work of a few of the others mentioned in that list of folks who have been drawing her over the course of the last two volumes of Wonder Woman and related books), and I am super-psyched that he's been drawing Wonder Woman this past last year (and that he doesn't seem to be leaving it any time soon). But, personally, I sure would like to have seen more Allred and less lack of Allred over the past, oh, five years of Wonder Woman comics.

Anyway,I'm kind of intrigued to see the Allreds being called on to contribute another image of Wonder Woman for the civilian masses, as it makes them seem like the go-to Wonder Woman artists when you need an image that says "Wonder Woman" to the general public, while the makers of Wonder Woman's comics gravitate towards artists with a much different style and take on the character (Of course, the space between the style of Chiang and Allred isn't nearly so wide as the space between Allred's style and that of Lee or Lopresti).

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So I pretty much link to Tucker Stone, Nate Bulmer and Abhay Khosla's "Comics of the Weak" feature at The Comics Journal every goddam week, don't I? Well, let's not mess with tradition.

In his portion, Khosla kills it in his discussion of that Grant Morrison interview with The New Statesmen (discussed in this space here last week). I followed one of his links to an interesting piece by Paul Gravett that I somehow missed the first time around, and holy shit, you know that fucked up part of Supergods where Morrison takes National Comics side over Siegel and Shuster's in the "comics original sin" moment...? According to Gravett, that passage was even worse in an earlier draft of the book, and included the italicized words "they wanted to be bought", referring to Siegel and Shuster's "sale" of Superman to National (As I've noted a couple of times, they sold the first Superman story for a page rate; they didn't sell the character at that time).

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I know they say size doesn't matter at all, but I honestly put Grant Morrison and Darick Robertson's Happy #1 back on the rack when I saw the size of the My Little Pony in it. Like, if it were a full-sized pony, I would have been into it, but the fact that it was a tiny little pony? That really didn't do anything for me. I don't have an explanation for why that is.

Although I suppose I could have just been so grossed out by Grant Morrison that my reptile brain was repulsed by the thought of buying a Grant Morrison comic Wednesday, and my higher brain translated that into an excuse signal about the size of the hallucinatory pony.

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Things I totally forgot this weekend: There was a new movie based on Judge Dredd comics that came out in theaters, and the comics convention in my former stomping grounds of Columbus that used to be Mid-Ohio Con but now has the words "Wizard World" grafted on to it occurred.

I don't mind missing the latter much—obviously, since I completely forgot about it and didn't remember its existence until I started seeing pictures posted on Facebook—but I feel kind of bad about my ignorance of a new Dredd movie. Like I should lose some points or get a demerit or something for not seeing it.

Was Judge Death or that big dinosaur in it? I want to see Judge Death and that big mutant dinosaur in a movie.

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I would like this cover better if the artist placed the really tall minaret a little more to the left, so it looked like it was hiding an erection. As is, it's just close enough to make me think about that dude's penis and note that there could very easily be a dick joke in the image and then feel disappointment at the image's lack of a dick joke.

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Wait, you can just stop...?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Wednesday Comics vs. New 52: Sgt. Rock

During World War II, United States Army Sergeant Frank Rock is captured and tortured by his Nazi foes while Easy Company desperately searches for him; he's ultimately saved by a noble photographer pressed into service by his captors...along with the loyalty of his own troops and possession of the sort of grit forged by years of battle. By Andy and Joe Kubert.


In 2011, the original Sgt. Rock's grandson takes command of a new sort of Easy Company, a group of contractors made up of ex-military men, and leads them into battle in a world re-made by meta-humans with god-like powers. By Ivan Brandon and Tom Derenick.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Wednesday Comics vs. New 52: Wonder Woman

"When an ancient evil threatens mortals' world, the Amazons prepare their greatest champion, the Princess Diana"...but first, she must seek out The Seven Stars of the Amazons, "the Queen's heavensent arms and aids," while facing human foes like Dr. Poison and The Cheetah and various mythological menaces, by Ben Caldwell.


When two different Olympians seek to fill the vacant throne of Zeus, Wonder Woman finds herself embroiled in a pantheon-wide power struggle, as she defends the one-time human consort of the king of the gods and his unborn child and discovers she's much more closely related to the Olympians than she ever knew, by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Meanwhile, at Robot 6...

The above image is a Simon Bisley-drawn one of a dude hogtying a giant owl. It is from The Tower Chronicles: GeistHawk Vol. 1, a new comic I discuss at great length at Robot 6 today, if you would like to go read that discussion.

I'm kind of tempted to put an "owl bondage" tag on this post, but I worry what sort of traffic that will bring my way...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Comic shop comics: September 26...

...plus, about as many words devoted to a couple of ads as to the couple of books I picked up.


Aquaman #0 (DC Comics) DC's "Zero Month" event has certainly gotten me to pick up a bunch of their "New 52" line—not "pick up" as in "pick up, carry to the cash register, purchase and then take home to read", but rather, "pick up, flip through rather thoroughly, and see what's changed about the DCU I used to know and love now that it's been rebooted."

This week, for example, I picked up Teen Titans #0, which is actually just the origin of Red Robin Tim Drake who, in turns out, was never Robin at all, but always went by the name Red Robin! (Too bad; I really liked the "A Lonely Place of Dying" origin and its argument for the necessity of a Robin, and the rather long, drawn-out process of Tim gradually becoming Robin) And Batman: The Dark Knight #0, in which a pistol-packing Bruce Wayne confronted Joe Chill. And Talon #0, which I was interested in simply because of Guillem March's art (I considered buying it, but as I haven't read any of the Batman mega-arc it spins out of, I didn't think I should bother at this point). And Batman Incorporated #0, in which Frazer Irving somehow modulated his artwork to look akin to that stuff Salvador Larroca was going for Invincible Iron Man that made me nauseous.

The only one I picked up and held on to, however, was this one, the zero issue of one of the three "New 52" series I'm still reading—Aquaman #0, by the regular creative team of Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis and Joe Prado.

It is not very good. The first half is a reorganizes and recaps details we already know about Aquaman's "New 52" origin from flashbacks in the previous 12 issues, and the latter half is a weird info-dump section in which we're introduced to New 52 Vulko, who Reis has modeled after Rip Torn of all people, and Vulko then explains Atlantean history to Aquaman for a half-dozen pages before swimming him down to Atlantis.

It's not really how I expected Johns to proceed with unveiling the mysteries of Atlantis, or Aquaman's past, a large chunk of which apparently involved his ruling the lost kingdom for a while sometime before the events of Aquaman #1-#12. As with the second story arc in the book, "The Others," it seems just as dependent on continuity as so much of Johns' DCU writing, only its based on a newly invented, phantom continuity that only Johns is privy to at this point.

The pacing of the issues is extremely off, particularly given how experienced Johns is writing these kinds of comics now—he's been doing something like three similar scripts a month for years now, so you'd think he could do this sort of thing in his sleep now. But there's a long, carefully-paced show-rather-than-tell section demonstrating Aquaman's first journey into the ocean and the discovery of his telepathic powers, and then there's that scene of Rip Torn delivering what sounds like a memorized Wikipedia entry.

As with the other #0s I've read—Catwoman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman—there wasn't much information in the "Who's Who in the New 52!" feature in the back; it basically just summarizes his history as presented in the previous 12 issues and, under powers, is vague to the point of sounding wrong. For example, it tells us Aquaman can "communicate with most forms of aquatic animal life," whereas the early issues of the book were quite clear that Aquaman doesn't and can't talk to fish, he can simply override their nervous systems and command them to do things. And he was really touchy about the implication that he can talk to fish, so whoever wrote the "Who's Who" entry? They might wanna steer clear of Aquaman, as he will probably yell at them when he sees them.

Say, did you see the Before Watchmen double-page spread ad in the middle of the book? Here's a terrible scan of it, which doesn't fit it all in, because my scanner's not as big as a two-page splash:
It apparently pre-dates the decision to add an eighth book to the suite of seven miniseries, as one of the bits that didn't make it onto my scanner read "Read All 7 limited Series Written & Illustrated By Comics' Top Talents" (Which I won't argue with more than I already have, beyond noting that one needs an awfully generous definition of "top talents" to include some of these folks on that list). It is then organized so that there's an image of Jim Lee's variant cover featuring each character, the title and credits for each of those 7 limited series, and then a blurb about how awesome the books are.

With all due respect to the various institutions blurbed, the fact that DC had to turn to those particular media outlets in order to find positive quotes is pretty telling. The only mainstream, non-comics/Internet pop culture focused source is The Onion's AV Club, which tends to be rather generous when discussing mediocre superhero comics, and it refers to Jae Lee's art as being "the most visually distinct" of the art on these seven books.

The other blurbs? Two from Ain't It Cool News, two from IGN, one from Fangoria and another one from Comic Vine.

Above them all is a pretty hilarious one from MTV Geek: "Before Watchmen has been an unqualified success." Nevermind that it was written about the project in June, at which point the actual writer being blurbed (Alex Zalben, although the DC ad naturally does not name names, preferring the more recognizable "MTV" be attached) had, at that point, only read two (2) issues of the 30-some part suite of comics: Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1 by Darwyn Cooke and Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre #1 by Cooke and Amanda Conner.

It's that word "unqualified" that cracks me up. If you read Zalben's review, you'll note he offers some qualifications, but, out of context like this, it's such an amusing word to attribute to such a controversial project—I mean, even DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio has noted that there are a lot of strong and negative feelings about the project; basically, this is the last comic book publishing initiative you could use the words "unqualified success" to describe.

Was it a creative, financial, sales and critical success? And a media/PR success...? (Remember, no qualifications!) And it also lives up to and surpasses the comics project everyone automatically and constantly compares it to, by virtue of it being an expansion/prequel to that work? Because, you know, saying "Well, it's not as good as the original or anything" is a qualification.

Okay, I'm just being a bit of an ass, I know. But at least I'm not being a total asshole, like, say, someone who would publish something like Before Watchmen!

Now, back to the non-ad content of this week's comics purchase...


Superman Family Adventures #5 (DC) Damn, why didn't Lex Luthor think of that before? I love that panel. I laughed so long and hard when I read it. It almost doesn't even matter what the next panel, or the rest of the story, contained, because that panel alone is so full of possibilities!

For the record though, Lex gets the job, even though he had the audacity to write "Greatest Criminal Mind of Our Time" on his resume. (I'm really happy with my current job, and hope to keep it for years to come, but next time I do have to apply for a new job somewheres...? I'm totally putting that on my resume; just to see what happens). Lex uses that position to try and find out what info Lois and Jimmy might have on Superman hidden in their offices (and, it turns out, they do indeed know Clark Kent's secret), but it doesn't end well for Lex.

That's the second of the two stories this issue contains. The first is the one teased on the cover, in which we meet Lex's gang—Otis and Miss Teshmacher—and the SFA version of The Parasite.

As great as these two stories are? I think my favorite part is the letters page, as it contains drawings of Krypto by little kids!
I love that Shmoo-looking Krypto creature in the above one!

Among the backmatter, I noticed this profile of the character Wonder Girl, which features the version of the character that appears in the Young Justice cartoon, which is premised on a Teen Titans-like line-up of teenage sidekicks and young heroes serving as a sort of auxiliary version of the Justice League, whom they are training with and under:
The design takes elements of various costumes the Cassie Sandsmark version of Wonder Girl wore throughout her pre-New 52 existence, in comics like Wonder Woman and Teen Titans, although it hews closest to the ones she wore in Young Justice.

It's a nice enough design. It's simple. It looks like clothes an actual human being might actually wear. It has just enough signifiers to say "supehero" and "associated with Wonder Woman" at a glance. It's not so weird or busy that it would be difficult to draw, animate or slap on a toy.

Look at the three images next to that Wonder Girl though; those are all headshots of Brett Booth's rendering of the New 52 Wonder Girl costume, which, you'll recall, looks like this:
I imagine they are close-up headshots so as to get as little of her costume as possible in there...?

Anyway, I mentioned DC's kinda fucked up transmedia strategy of the moment—you know, the fact that not only does one not exist, but their main comics line is so contrary to their other-media adaptations which, on the whole, seem to be more new consumer-friendly, all-ages and not the sort of thing that is likely to make anyone throw up.

Speaking of which! You know how last week DC relaunched Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld as the lead feature in new book Sword and Sorcery, and, I learned through one of Chris Sims' reviews that the first issue included an attempted gang rape...?

Well, there is a two-page spread in the back of this issue of Superman Family Adventures about Amethyst, Princess of Gem World, the cartoon series. Here's the first page, which, even if you can't/don't read it, should suggest the look, tone and audience of the cartoon version (as does the fact that the ad is running in SMA):
So what if you're a kid reading SMA, or watching Saturday morning cartoons, and like this version of Amethyst, or you're a grown-up who thinks your child/niece/nephew/kid you know might like it? What if you look for other comics featuring the character, or ask you retailer, "Hey, got any new comics with Amethyst in them...?"

What are you going to get? Something that not only looks very, very different, but, um, something where the heroine busts up an attempted gang rape...?


The Tower Chronicles: GeistHawk Vol. 1 (Legendary Comics) As you can see, there wasn't much on my shopping list this week, so I thought I'd supplement it with a trade purchase, but my comic shop didn't order any of those I was most interested in for the rack, allowing for me to make an impulse buy (Osama Tezuka's Barbara and Yotsuba&! Vol. 11, if you're wondering).

So I went with this instead. Despite the thoroughly generic cover by, um, Jim Lee (reeeaasllly surprised to see Lee and regular collaborators Scott Williams and Alex Sinclair handle this cover, given the highly-individual style of the artist, and the fact that the writer is himself a legendary artist; why make your comic look like a 53rd book in the New 52 when you've got those dudes on the payroll already?), the thoroughly generic premise (supernatural action/adventure about a monster killer in the modern world or whatever) andis written by Matt Wagner and penciled by Simon fucking Bisley, two guys I have a lot of time for; especially the latter's artwork, which I see all too rarely.

It's also only $8 for a 68-page trade paperback, which is a pretty swell deal. I'll give this a review elsewhere in the very near future (like, tomorrow, probably!); I'm just mentioning it here so as to adhere to the "rules" of this feature I established for myself.

Besides, I think I used up the bulk of tonight's allotted blogging time bitching about a Watchmen ad and poor corporate transmedia strategies.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Wednesday Comics vs. New 52: Supergirl

Superpets Krypto the Superdog and Streaky the Supercat are acting out, which, given their Kryptonian super-powers, is causing all sorts of trouble for Supergirl (not to mention all sorts of property damage). She's on their tails, and trying to figure out what's making them act so squirrelly, with expert advice from the likes of Aquaman and Dr. Mid-Nite, by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner.


"Meet Supergirl. She’s got the unpredictable behavior of a teenager, the same powers as Superman – and none of his affection for the people of Earth. So don’t piss her off!"...by Michael Green, Mike Johnson and Mahmud Asrar.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Marvel's December previews reviewed

I was gonna say "better late than never" regarding the fact that I am just now posting my first-blush reactions to Marvel's solicitations for the comics they plan to publish in December of this year, days after I normally publish them (i.e. the night following the afternoon they get released) but, now that I think about it, perhaps never would have been better than late. Like, think of the things I could have done with the time I spent assembling this post! I could have gone for a walk, chatted with a friend on the phone, written a poem...

Okay, this probably is better late than never. Anyway, full solicits at CBR, my reactions below.


Okay, maybe this is mean of me, but I was totally hoping both Rogue and Black Widow would have their costumes unzipped to their navels on the cover here, just to watch Kelly Thomspon freak out about it, as those are the two Marvel characters with zippers in their costumes that are most frequently worn inappropriately unzipped for no logical reason.


AVENGERS #1 & 2
JONATHAN HICKMAN (W)
JEROME OPEÑA (A)
Cover by DUSTIN WEAVER
The greatest heroes in comics together on one unbeatable team! Now shipping twice a month, the Avengers “go large,” expanding their roster and their sphere of influence to a global and even interplanetary level. When Captain America puts out his call - who will answer? Big threats, big ideas, big idealism - these are the Avengers NOW!
32 PGS. (EACH)/Rated T+ …$3.99 (EACH)


In theory, this sounds a bit like an Avengers comic book I might want to read (my ideal Justice League comic would have somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-25 heroes on the roster, for example), but $4 a pop, two times a month? That’s just silly. There are times I’m surprised that anyone still reads Marvel comics in singles rather than just trade-waiting. In two months, or four issues, you’ve already pretty much bought a trade paperback.


Dr. Nemesis…? I don’t believe for a second you’d really wear that. Is Cable forcing you to wear that? Are you a Dr. Nemesis from an alternate future or something…?

I do like how big, silly and robotic Cable’s big, silly robot arm looks, with it’s weirdly proportioned fingers, all handing down past his knee. Just imagine the size of the guns he can carry now that he has a robot arm like 50% longer than his old robot arm!


AVENGERS ARENA #1
DENNIS HOPELESS (W)
KEV WALKER (A)
Cover by DAVE JOHNSON
Variant cover by MIKE PERKINS
Trapped on an isolated island, 16 superhuman young adults (including cult faves like members of the Runaways, The Avengers Academy and Darkhawk) are given a chilling ultimatum by their demented captor: Fight or die…only one will walk out alive! Thus begins a primal battle that will test the skills, stamina and morals of each combatant. Welcome to Murder World, where the secrets are plenty, alliances are fleeting, and the key to victory might be rewriting the rules of the game. Who will survive? The rising star team of Dennis Hopeless (X-MEN: SEASON ONE) and Kev Walker (THUNDERBOLTS) dare you to tune in to your new favorite comic NOW!
32 PGS./Rated T …$2.99


Oh come on now. I liked Battle Royale myself, and I don’t suppose there’s anything wrong with doing, like, a story in homage to it, but is it, like, cool to premise an entire series on “Battle Royale, but with Marvel heroes”…?

I don’t know. This seems kinda creatively bankrupt to me, even allowing for the fact that the cover so openly acknowledges the debt paid to BR.

Also: Teen superheroes fight to the death in gladiatorial combat is uncomfortably close to what Sean McKeever was doing for the Distinguished Competition in that skeevy Terror Titans series and related comics.


AVENGING SPIDER-MAN #15.1
CHRISTOPHER YOST (W)
PACO MEDINA (A)
Cover by PAOLO MANUEL RIVERA_EPILOGUE to AMAZING SPIDER-MAN FINALE (#700)!_• Coinciding with the end of Amazing Spider-Man, a look back at the greatest conflict in comics history: Spider-Man vs. Doctor Octopus!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99


Er…Spider-Man vs. Doctor octopus is the greatest conflict in comics history...? I'm sure "greatest" is a subjective sort of thing, but, personally, I wouldn't have even put that conflict in the top ten conflicts in super-comics history; I'm not sure it's even the greatest conflict in Spider-Man history...


Are…are those laser raptors….? Man, sometimes I reeaallly wish Avenging Spider-Man were a $3 book…


Paolo Rivera is a good artist.


More like FY, for Fuck Yeah!

(You can blurb me on that, Marvel).


What the fuck, Thing? That was a perfectly decent logo you just ruined.


THUNDERBOLTS #1 & 2
DANIEL WAY (W)
STEVE DILLON (A)
Cover by JULIAN TOTINO TEDESCO
Red Hulk, Venom, Elektra, Deadpool, the Punisher. Forget the courts, the jails, the system — this team of Thunderbolts fights fire with fire, targeting the most dangerous and lethal players in the Marvel Universe with extreme prejudice. Led by General “Thunderbolt” Ross, AKA the Red Hulk, this hand-picked team of like-minded operatives is going to make the world a better place…by all means necessary.
32 PGS. (EACH)/Parental Advisory …$2.99 (EACH)


Is “by all means necessary” really an expression…? I’ve never heard it, if so.

When this title was first announced, I assumed it was replacing Jeff Parker’s Dark Avengers, which recently switched its name from Thunderbolts, but kept the Thunderbolts numbering. But I see DA is still being solicited, so, in retrospect, I guess the name change was simply to free up the name to use on this book…?

That’s a pretty interesting team line-up, and I sure don’t mind looking at Steve Dillon art. It seems like we have a lot of black-ops/villains-as-good guys teams going now (Dark Avengers, Secret Avengers, Uncanny X-Force, now Cable and X-Force, that Villains For Hire thing that was maybe a miniseries...), so this doesn’t really seem all that special, but rather like just one more riff on an already pretty thoroughly riffed-upon concept. I guess we’ll see.

I kind of like the way The Punisher looks with a red skull there. I wonder if he’ll have a special Thunderbolts costume with a red skull, the way the various mutants on X-Force had gray and black versions of their costumes, or if that’s just a color choice on the cover.


Oh man, I love the idea of Havoc on the Avengers. Look at this cover; is there a more perfect example of a One of These Things Is Not Like the Others imaginable…? Shit, Cassaday could have drawn Aunt May in the corner and she wouldn’t look any more out of place on that cover than Havoc does.


WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN #22
JASON AARON (W)
NICK BRADSHAW (A/C)
Frankenstein’s Murder Circus is town and he’s brainwashed the X-Men! Do the students stand a chance against their teachers?
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99


Of all the various costumes Wolverine has worn over this years, that one is by far the scariest.

So apparently at DC Comics, "restraint" means putting an attempted gang rape in an Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld comic instead of an actual gang rape....?

Go read Chris Sims on the first issue of Sword and Sorcery, a just-launched DC comic featuring a rebooted Amethyst written by the creator of 1980s cartoon/doll line tie-in Jem, a comic that is shipping at the same time there's an Amethyst short on Cartoon Network as part of of the channel's "DC Nation" programming block.

It's weird: I just read Rob Saklowitz's book Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture a few months back, and he argued rather persuasively that the future of comics companies like DC and Marvel lie in an effective "trans-media" strategy, a future that involves the challenge of reorganizing their characters and franchises across multiple platforms so that they all cohere into something recognizable, consistent and (ultimately) salable. And yet I've seen little—as in, no—evidence that anyone at DC Comics is even really paying attention to what's going on in their cartoons and trying to calibrate their relaunched comics line to those more popular and accessible takes on the characters.

Short of making Batman's costume fussier and redesigning Harley Quinn so that the two characters look a bit more like the versions of them that appear in the Batman: Arkham Ayslum video games, it doesn't look like DC has even attempted to meet the challenge of transmedia synergy yet. This despite an overhaul of their entire line that's barely even a year old.

Anyway: Attempted gang rape in Amethyst, the sort of thing a wag might make up as a hyperbolic example in order to parody the sort of screwed-up mindset evident in DC's publishing strategy, only ha ha, you can't make fun of DC for this kind of thing because there's nothing to exaggerate up to. Or down to, as the case may be.

Man. Attempted gang rape in Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld.

What's on the next ring of the downward spiral at DC, pedophilia in a New 52 Sugar and Spike, or bestiality in Shazam...? Keep reading to find out!

Wait, why would anyone keep reading this shit...?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

(links)

Here's Abhay Khosla making fun of those comics creator interviews wehre the interviewer sucks up to the interviewee, as he has in the past.

This one's a little different than a lot of similar interviews in that it doesn't take place on a site devoted to mainstream comics coverage, but a mainstream, civilian newspaper.

The bit of the interview right before the bit Khosla quotes, by the way?

[Morrison's] words are pounced upon, dissected and recycled by fans and critics alike.

...

Morrison perhaps felt this most keenly when in Supergods, his history of superhero comics infused with his own autobiographical adventures, he discussed the always controversial case of Siegel and Schuster, the two men who created Superman and sold the character to DC Comics for a small sum. Superman went on to become a national sensation, with the creators left out of pocket and seeking legal recompense. Their names are now frequently invoked when fingers are pointed at the publishing giant. Morrison's take was more pragmatic: that the men had been pitching a product to sell, that this was business as usual, and that as creators they no doubt thought they would have better and brighter characters to come.
I disagree with Laura Sneddon's characterization of reaction to Morrison's retelling of comics' "original sin" in Supergods.

(I also disagree with the her story about Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster; it wasn't "DC Comics," it was "a publisher that would eventually become known as DC Comics," and it wasn't "a small sum," but "$130" dollars. I can see why she condensed the first bit down to "DC Comics," for brevity's sake, but why on earth use the vaguer, less-specific and loger "a small sum" for "130" dollars. Oh, and they didn't sell Superman for that amount, that's one of the things still being argued about. The company that would eventually become known as DC Comics bought a 13-page story from them for $10 a page. That wasn't the price they paid to own Superman; it was the price they paid to run that story. Who owns what wasn't decided upon until the various parties started going to court. But whatever, back to Morrison and "fans and critics alike" pouncing upon, dissecting and recycling that poor professional writer's words...)

Here, once again, is what Morrison said, in an interview with a national magazine promoting his own book, and then in his actual book, which he wrote and a publisher sold to people, presumably so the words he was saying could be read and discussed.

Keep in mind that Morrison has made an incredible amount of money off of Superman, continues to make money off Superman, and that Morrison even fucking used Siegel and Shuster as characters in one of his own goddam comic books about their creation and used their character's creation story on the cover of a book in which he went on to say...well, here it is one more time:
If you listen to the right voices, you’ll hear and believe what I heard and believed growing up in this business, and it won’t be long before a dark and evil fairy tale unfolds: the grim cautionary fable of two innocent seventeen-year-old boys seduced by the forked tongues of cartoon fat-cat capitalists and top-hatted bloodsuckers. In this Hollywood tragedy, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster are depicted as doe-eyed ingénues in a world of razor-toothed predators.

The truth, as ever, is less dramatic. The deal was done in 1938, before Superman boomed. Siegel and Shuster were both twenty-three when they sold the copyright to Superman. They had worked together for several years in the cutthroat world of pulp periodical publishing, and, like so many artists, musicians, and entertainers, they were creating a product to sell. Superman was a foot in the door, a potential break that might put them in demand as big-time pop content providers. Superman was a sacrifice to the gods of commercial success. If my own understanding of the creative mind carries any weight, I’d suspect that both Siegel and Shuster imagined they’d create other, better characters.
Now, I just read yet another book about the creation of Superman, and author Larry Tye must have been one of those "right voices" (i.e. everyone I've heard tell the story save Morrison, so far), because that's pretty much what I hear. Well, maybe not the doe-eyed ingénues bit, but "capitalist" and "blooksuckers" sound about right...as I mentioned above though, I don't remember them selling the copyright and/or ownership of Superman; they sold a story featuring Superman for a page rate, and that's why there's still a Superman-related legal fight.

Anyway, shame on Sneddon for defending from Morrison from all the people (Like me? I honestly don't remember much of a backlash at all, to be honest)pushing Morrison (One of my favorite superhero writers, regardless of what an asshole he presents himself as in interviews and in his own book about himself) out of superhero comics.

Instead of the characterization of Morrisons fans and critics as the bad guys and the writer as the good guy, why couldn't Sneddon just ask, "Hey man, why did you write that? Do you believe that? Why do you believe that?" You know—questions!

As to the economic issues Morrison discusses, I sure hope to God "class" means something totally different in the UK than it does in the USA, and that they're talking about lords and ladies and dukes and some medieval British shit, because do remember that, like Siegel and Shuster and Superman, Morrison himself brought up economics in an interview promoting his book, while attacking cartoonist Chris Ware/"Those Comics Journal Guys"/Everything That Isn't a DC or Marvel Superhero Comic as the work of Privileged College Kids and just don't get a working-class Scottish guy like himself (And, in his book, Morrison both trumpets his own incredible wealth while also dismissing the "fairy tale" of the actually poor young guys living in The Great Depression losing Superman due to their own negligence).

If you read Morrison's comics, he's a hard writer not to like. If you read interviews with Morrison, he's a hard person to like.

*********************

On the subject of Morrison and his latest infuriating interview, I thought David Brothers wrote a nice, concise and thorough take down of some of the sentiments Morrison expressed in this piece, noting the frustrating disconnect of a popular writer who attained his popularity by people reading and caring about and having opinions about his words now objecting to people reading and caring about and having opinions about his words.

If you can stand to read all of the many, many, many comics, interviewer Sneddon shows up in the comments to defend her work.

**********************

Wait, one more thing about that Sneddon/Morrison interview. Check out this part:

One disgruntled reader took it a step further.

“[The] guy that ate Supergods!” Morrison laughs. “Cooked it and ate it on the basis that it was my fault that people couldn't find alternative comics in their local comics stores. And I was standing in the way, pretending to be the face of alternative comics, and how I actually stood for corporate this or corporate ... you know, I’m the man – again as I say, I’m a freelance writer, I'm not on staff at any company. But this guy ate the book!”

That's quite impressive.

“It certainly is! His shit must have looked like a William Burroughs cut-up!”
Who is this crazy "disgruntled reader" who "took it a step further"...?

You wouldn't know it from the article itself, but the "guy that ate Supergods!" is Matt Seneca, a cartoonist and comics critic who has written for Robot 6, ComicsAlliance and The Comics Journal, probably the best (or "only", in some circles) respected media source wholly devoted to comics. Seneca even interviews comics creators, just like Laura Sneddon does! (Only differently).

Dismissing Seneca like that is just...weird. It would be akin to calling Roger Ebert a "disgruntled viewer." Not exactly equivalent, because Seneca is not to comics as Ebert is to movies, but, like Ebert, he's a guy who writes professionally about them. He's not just a guy who read a fucking book and didn't like it.

It's a confounding omission on Sneddon's part; would it be that much more difficult to say "one critic" instead of "one disgruntled reader"...? To note that he at the book to take pictures to illustrate a review of the book, rather than just to, I don't know, eat a book...?

************************

I thought the last panel in this Ty Templeton cartoon explaining the latest death of a major Marvel character in the climax of a crossover/event story was particularly funny. Is a publisher collecting all of Templeton's cartoons? Some publisher should collect all of Templeton's cartoons.

*********************

I have no idea what's going on in this comic, as I don't speak the language, but I sure would like to read it.

**********************

Greg Rucka becomes the latest big name comics creator to publicly express his dissatisfaction with the way Big Two comics are run. Good for Rucka. He's a decent-to-rather good super-comics scripter, but I don't think it's all that controversial a statement to say his very best comics work has been that which has been most divorced from the corporate-owned, mascot-type superheroes, anyway.

I was really surprised to hear this talk of Gotham Central as being somehow unimportant to DC, however it sold, especially now that we're in this weird new world where monthly super-comics exists mostly as IP farms for film, television and other licensing opportunities.

Of all of the many, many, many IPs DC owns, Gotham Central is probably the easiest one to adapt into a television show, and the one most likely to be a general, mass audience, major network or premium cable channel type hit, rather than a goofy CW fantasy soap opera thing like Smallville or Arrow.

It was, after all, a fucking cop show in a comic book, set in Gotham City. Law and Order + Nolan's Dark Knight seems like a pretty easy formula to turn into creative and financial popular success, doesn't it?

***********************

Have you been clicking on EveryDayIsLikeWednesday.blogspot.com all week wondering where the hell my reviews of Marvel's December previews were...? Well, I was all set to do 'em Tuesday afternoon, but Marvel didn't release their solicits in a timely fashion, and then I got busy. I hope to get to 'em for tomorrow night's post. In the mean time, you can always check out Carla Hoffman's much more knowledgeable and organized thoughts on Marvel's publishing plans for December.

************************

We started with Abhay this week, let's finish with him. Did you already read his column with Tucker Stone and Nate Bulmer at The Comics Journal...? No...? Well, you should.

Tucker's insults, whether I agree with them or not, seem particularly devastating this week. For example, "Patrick Gleason wouldn’t be anybody’s first choice for penciler even if you were restricting yourself to only hiring the people who live in Patrick Gleason’s house." Or "[Jonathan Hickman]'s not much of a writer, but for the right price, he’d probably make a great Dungeon Master."

Nate Bulmer's Eat More Bikes strip, entitled "French Garfield," was maybe the funniest one of his I've read so far. Or at least that I remember clearly. I really liked the one involving a ghost and a catheter too, but I don't remember the exact mechanics of the gag anymore.

I'm sure there's a reason this is the image they chose to sell a cartoon adaptation of one of the most influential comics of the 20th century.

Probably a legal reason, possibly a business reason, maybe even a personal reason.

Given the fact that Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 1 is a direct-to-DVD cartoon adaptation of the miniseries-turned-graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller—a genuine, bona fide, honest-to-God master of graphic imagery; one who specializes in conveying maximum information in relatively simple, icon-like imagery; and a guy who filled the comic being adapted with oft-imitated visuals that could easily be adapted or repurposed into an ad—and someone may nor may not be available to draw or re-draw something for this stupid ad, likely depending on just how insane he is at the moment (see his response to the "Occupy" movement last year) and how much money DC has to offer, I can't imagine what the reason is that they went with this shitty coloring book cover-looking image of his version of Batman and Robin in such an un-FM style for their ad.

(My apologies for the especially poor quality of the above sentence, which may be one of the worst sentences I've ever written. The punctuation's gotta be screwed up, and I would rather get punched in the face really hard than attempt to diagram it. Don't have enough time/interest in the subject to go back and write it better though, so....Sorry, gang! I'll try to write more better next time!)

Friday, September 21, 2012

So I see the Arrow ad campaign is off to a good start.

I've been quite perplexed by certain aspects of the upcoming TV show based on DC's Green Arrow superhero, starting with the fact that they're calling it Arrow instead of Green Arrow, which seems a little like Warner Bros. calling the next Batman movie Bat.

But then I saw the above ad in a couple of the DC comics I bought at the shop this week, and realized that despite the name of the show, the ad folks have zeroed in on exactly what my female friend who watched Smallville liked about its Green Arrow character (played by Justin Hartley), and what first attracted her (and, I assume, most of the initial audience) to Smallville in the first place.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Meanwhile....

Today at Robot 6, I have a review of Marc Tyler Nobleman and Ty Templeton's Bill the Boy Wonder, a picture book biography of Bill Finger, and at Las Vegas Weekly, I have a short review of Walter Simonson's new original graphic novel, The Judas Coin.

The above image is from the former; it's one half of a two-page spread in which Templeton draws Batman, Robin and many of their most enduring old-school foes (The Riddler, The Penguin and Catwoman appeared on the other half of the image).

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Comic shop comics: September 19

Catwoman #0 (DC Comics) While the #0 issues of DC's "Zero Month" have been presented as perfect jumping-on points, this is the first one I've picked up out of curiosity about a title (In general, if I'm at all curious about a New 52 DC book, I've been waiting for the trade, and thus haven't been impulsively picking up #0 issues). This is the first issue by new series writer Ann Nocenti, and Catwoman's a character I know and like well enough to try something new featuring her (I've previously read patches of the Jim Balent-drawn series, depending on who was writing the arcs in question, and some of the Brubaker-written series, depending on who was drawing the arcs in question).

This issue, cheekily entitled "Zip Me Up" is...weird. It jumps around quite a bit in time, and features very little that is recognizably Catwoman-y, with the exception of importing part of the origin of the Batman Returns version of Catwoman (specifically, the being thrown off a building by a dude and then licked awake by alley cats bit).

This Selina Kyle has a lot of backstory, a lot of it new to me (and, I think, to the character) and Nocenti covers it by jumping around, backwards and forward in time. This Selina Kyle may not really be named Selina Kyle (her real name is Russian, apparently...?), has a brother, grew up in foster care with a Fagin-like foster mother who ran a kid gang and eventually got a job as a sort of assistant social planner for the mayor. After being licked back to life by cats, she made a cat hat out of the awning that broke her fall (the shape of the cartoon, person-shaped hole she created in it suggesting her future alias), practiced with the bullwhip, and then became Catwoman in order to find out her true identity or whatever.

It's certainly...different. Gone is the controversial, Frank Miller-added element of being a prostitute, and gone to is her being inspired to dress up as a cat by seeing a man dressed up as a bat. This origin is completely divorced from Batman, which I can see some online female fans liking, but, at the same time, seems like it might not be that true to the character, given her origin as a Batman villain (although maybe in the New 52 she was never more than a thief with a heart of gold, and never went through a Batman villain phase...?)

Unexplained here is how she got to be a an expert fighter, but perhaps Nocenti will cover that later (or previous Catwoman writer Judd Winick already covered all that?) or came to meet Batman and apparently ultimately become his semi-anonymous fuck-buddy, as seen at the climax of last fall's Catwoman #1.

The script didn't blow me away or anything, but it wasn't so bad that I won't try another issue.

The art work is by pencil artist Adriana Melo and inker Julio Ferreira, and that is rather disappointing. The storytelling mechanics are fine, but the artwork is rather pedestrian when compared to the artists I've previously seen drawing Catwoman's first year (David Mazzucchelli in Batman: Year One, Tim Sale in The Long HalloweenDark Victory and Jim Balent in Catwoman Annual #2) or the artists who were drawing the beginning of other noteworthy runs (Balent on the 1993 series, Darwyn Cooke on the 2002 series, Guillem March on the current series).

The "Who's Who" section is a bit skimpy, with plenty of white space below its single paragraph, which ends with the sentence, "Catwoman's recent induction into the Justice League of America should only make this situation more contentious." I...didn't know that happened yet....?

Oh, one more weird thing? Catwoman starts out here career with the costume she's wearing on the cover of this issue. That means all those other cool, occasionally crazy costumes she wore over the course of her (five-year, now) career never existed in the New 52iverse. She's always worn goggles and a cat hat over a functional cat suit. And that's it.

I've been flipping though some other #0 issues in the shop the last few weeks, and was quite surprised to see the Dick Grayson version of Robin and the Jason Todd version of Robin wearing drastically different costumes than the ones they did in the old DCU. Like, that original Robin costume? It never existed. No one ever wore green shorts in the DC Universe.

That's...well, I've already said weird, haven't I? But I can't really get over how weird that is.


Daredevil #18 (Marvel Entertainment) Well damn, Paolo Rivera sure knocked this cover out of the park.

It's another issue by Mark Waid and new series artist Chris Samnee, one that therefore has the same virtues of their previous issues. There's little to nothing I can say about it without risking giving away some of the surprises, at least one of which will probably mean more to long-time DD readers than it did to me.

Suffice it to say we get almost half an issue free of the title character in costume doing superhero stuff, with some welcome attention being paid to Foggy Nelson an intriguing mystery, before we're given a few more examples of Daredevil maybe being completely insane, as that bit with his father's remains winding up in a desk drawer without his knowledge seemed to suggest.

So I guess that's two mysteries, which may or may not be related.

This is still the best superhero comic I've been able to find, and I've looked.


Wonder Woman #0 (DC) I guess I shouldn't be all that surprised that these zero issues—of which this is only the third I've read, after Green Lantern and the above-discussed Catwoman—seem to be about as hastily-thrown together and not any more thought-through then the 52 new #1s that DC relaunched their universe with last year.

I guess my understanding—and this could be down to my own expectations being off as much as anything else—was that DC was going to throw us into their new universe and it's rebooted continuity in medias res, and then use these special zero issues to fill in some of the blanks regarding what has changed with the reboot.

The end of this particular #0, however, when they get to the advertorial "Who's Who In The New 52!" feature is comical in its lack of specificity. Wonder Woman's powers are limited to "Wonder Woman is one of the strongest heroes in the universe as well as being nearly invulnerable." Huh. So, super-speed? Ability to talk to animals? I think I recall something about a magic lasso? What's up with that stuff? Hell, can she fly or can't she? (In her own title, we've yet to see her fly under her own power, save for the previous issue's Hermes/Mercury/Messenger-gifted flight; I didn't read enough Justice League to see if she ever flew in that or not).

As for her "History," we get this amusing verbal equivalent of whoever was writing the damn thing sort of shrugging and looking confused:
Although the exact sequence of events is still unverified, Diana Chose to leave her people and travel to the world of men with USAF Pilot Steve Trevor, who had crash-landed on paradise Island. Diana returned to the United States with Trevor and took the name Wonder Woman.
It's only been 13 months, you guys! They'll decide on an origin story eventually; just not in time for this origin issue.

Between that and the cover is a story by the regular creative team of Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang, which is a sort of half-assed attempt at replicating an older comic book.

"The Monthly monster strikes again!" a narration box tells us, referring, I suppose, to a different monthly monster than the one I thought of, and thus this story is a reprint of one from the charmingly entitled All-Girl Adventure Tales for Men #41, a book I sincerely hope DC launches in their upcoming fourth wave of "New 52" titles, as it certainly sounds like a book DC might publish (and if they change that from for Men for Men, by Men it would be a perfect title for a modern DC comic book).

There are nods to old-school comics, including thought bubbles, overly-obvious dialogue ("Diana, it is I, Queen Hippolyta--your mother!") and a conspiratorial, Marvel-style editorial note attached to an asterisk.

Otherwise, Azzarello's comic script doesn't really read like a reprint of an old-school monthly comic, as it is set over years, and makes several time jumps.

Chiang's artwork is as lovely as always, but the key word there is "as always;" he doesn't modulate his style at all (nor does the colorist) to make this look like the sort of book from an era where some of Azzarello's old-schooledness signifiers might have been used, perhaps the only aspect of the art suggesting a pre-millennial superhero comic being the adorable boy shorts that the minotaur wears to protect his modesty:
(If you look at this cover Chiang drew for the issue before he knew DC was doing that thing where the character's rip through black-and-white panels from their books, you can see a minotaur not wearing little shorts, which seems more in keeping with the general aesthetic of Azzarello and Chiang's Wonder Woman)

The story? Tween Diana, wearing a more functional, realistic version of her old Wonder Girl costume, is taken under the wing of the Olympian god War (who would have been Ares in the old Wonder Woman comics, before Azzarello gave the gods new names), who hopes to make her the ultimate warrior and, perhaps one day, his successor. She takes to her lessons, but eventually discovers a key difference between her own philosophy regarding combat and that of War's...a difference I'd kinda wish she'd live up to more often in the comics she usually appears in, as it's kind of rare to see her showing mercy to a foe anymore.

All in all, it's a fine comic book, with superior art work, but the attempt at a pastiche is never more than half-hearted, and while it's fun to see a classic Wonder Girl story—as in, the adventures of Wonder Woman when she was a girl—it certainly doesn't do anything to clear up the weird black hole of DC's characters' histories, which is kind of the stated goal for these zero issues.

I do hope that next fall DC has a #-1 month, as maybe then we'll get a New 52 Wonder Tot adventure.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The story of Osoito, Bane's teddy bear

When Bane first arrived in Gotham City, intent on breaking its ruler The Batman and taking his place, he brought with him three colorful allies he had made within the bowels of Pena Duro, the Santa Priscan prison where he was born and where he had spent his entire life up until that point (You remember; it happened in 1993's Batman: The Vengeance of Bane #1, by Chuck Dixon, Graham Nolan, Eduardo Barreto and Adrienne Roy; the folks responsible for all of the panels in this post).

These were Trogg, the hirsute brawler and electronics expert who once saved the child Bane from the hands of a pedophile; Zombie, the gaunt chemical expert who aided Bane when his captors performed experiments involving the super-steroid called Venom; and Bird, the Gotham City criminal who had a way with birds and told Bane of life beyond the prison walls.

Before he hooked up with any of these hardened criminals, however, the young Bane had another, softer, cuddlier friend, one who was there for him when no one else was, and was present during one of the most important, transformative moments in the archvillain's life.

I'm talking, of course, about Osoito.
That's the name young Bane used to refer to his teddy bear, which seems to be oso, Spanish of bear, modified with the "-ito," that means "dear, little." At least, that's what my memories of high school Spanish tell me the name means.

Bane was sentenced to prison for the crimes his father committed while he was still in the womb, and in the above image we see him, Osoito and, in the background, his despairing mother, wasting away. Note how pissed Osoito looks. Is that merely the way Barreto placed the lines above the plus bear's button eye suggesting an angry eyebrow, or is Osoito angered by the injustice of his pal's plight?
We don't know. But we do know that Bane carried Osoito with him everywhere he went in the prison and, together, they witnessed the occasional shiv-ing. Or shanking. Or el lancinar. (High school Spanish never covered prison slang, I'm afraid).
Osoito was with young Bane when his mother died, and the boy was moved to the general population. He was with him when the maybe-a-pedophile-although-the-script-makes-pains-to-suggest-otherwise ("He's mine!," the big, fat, sleazy looking inmate says in a dialogue bubble, "One so small as this can slip beneath the notice of the guards. He will be useful to me." The looks Nolan and Barreto draw on his face suggest something less pragmatic, however).

Just as that inmate lays his hand on Bane's shoulder, Trogg appears to defend the child, and, in the ensuing fight, Bane—and Osoito!—plummet over a railing and fall several stories to the stone floor below, Bane's head resting on a sticky pillow of his own spilled blood.
Bane awakens to see Osoito toddling off towards the light. (No Osoito! Don't go towards the light!)
But it is not heaven Osoito is taking ponderous teddy bear steps towards. Rather, it is a weirdo dream sequence, wherein little Bane meets a golden, glowing ghost of his own future self that tells the child he is "what you will become."

He continues,
A physical and mental paragon. The living embodiment of human superiority. The blood of kings runs in you. The blood of your father
The world is yours and will be yours one day. Men will be like cattle before you. Like sheep.And so on.

There is only one thing standing between that boy and that destiny, the vision tells him, and that is fear, which, conveniently enough given that this is a Batman comic, is in the form of a giant bat.
After clutching Osoito and screaming "Noooo....", Bane awakens from the dream sequence and it's 31 days later.

The child, he says, has died, and so he apparently put away childish things, like Osoito, and took out a knife, which he uses to repeatedly stab that big, fat guy who may or may not have been a pedophile.

Osoito is MIA for much of the rest of Bane's origin story, which involves him reaching adulthood, killing dudes, fighting rats and crabs and fish, doing a bunch of push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups, reading, and being a human guinea pig for drug experiments, faking his own death and, ultimately, killing a shark with his bare hands (By prying open its jaws and then sticking his hand down it's throat to punch out its internal organs, just in case you were wondering how a guy might kill a shark with his bare hands).

A totally nude Bane then climbs out of the sea, sneaks into the warden's bed (!), takes him hostage, commandeers a helicopter and rescues his three friends. All while nude.

Once the helicopters is off of the prison island and out over the shark-infested sea, Osoito makes a surprise return to the narrative, as Band hands a box to the warden:
And as he and it plummet into the waiting waves, the lid flies off revealing the contents of the box:
Gasp! To think, after all those years together, after all they had been through together, that is how Bane repays poor, loyal Osoito, by throwing him off a helicopter into shark-infested waters alongside the wicked warden who so abused Bane.

Moreso than any other act that preceded or followed, I think this is the incident which reveals Bane to be a truly evil villain.

But Osoito, like the kid he used to hang around with, turns out to be made of pretty stern stuff, and it takes more than the sharks of Santa Prisca to finish him off. While a cloud of blood in the water announces the fate of the warden, the last image we see of Osoito shows him floating safely to the surface...
...his head breaking the surface, his paws held high it what seems to be triumph! Osoito lives!

Unfortunately, that is, as far as I know, the last Osoito is ever seen. But I like to think he's still out there somewhere, perhaps comforting other prisoners of Pena Duro and starring in their own coma-induced visions as a sort of stuffed animal spirit guide, showing them the way to bigger and better things as Batman archenemies. Or perhaps lying on the beach, biding his time and plotting his revenge against Bane for casting him so callously aside.

Monday, September 17, 2012

DC's previews reviewed

DC Comics released their solicitation info for the books they plan to publish in December of this year today; you can read them all here.

What's noteworthy? Well, not a whole lot. It seems like there are some minor creative team changes here and there, mostly with familiar names coming in for what may be nothing more than stop-gap stints on a couple of titles while new creative teams are sought out.

There also seem to be a lot of crossovers, although I think references to Eclipso and his black diamond may actually outnumber references to The Joker (appearing in almost all of the Bat-titles), "He'l" (appearing in all the Super-books), The Third Army (appearing in all four Green Lantern titles) and Rotworld (appearing in the Jeff Lemire books). What's interesting about the Eclipso teases is that they appear in books set in very different time periods (Demon Knights, All-Star Western, Team 7, Catwoman, etc).

Anyway, let's take our regular closer look at what DC has to offer us in a few months time...


AME-COMI GIRLS: FEATURING DUELA DENT #3
Written by JUSTIN GRAY and JIMMY PALMIOTTI
Art and cover by TED NAIFEH
On sale DECEMBER 12 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
• The first time in print for these digital-first adventures!
• Part 3 of the first Ame-Comi story line!
• The origin of the Duela Dent!
• First appearance of Ame-Comi Brainiac!


Heads-up! Ted Naifeh art!

Again, not an artist whose style seems a good fit for a comic based on manga-style fan service statues, but a great artist nonetheless.


ARROW #1-2
Written by MARC GUGGENHEIM and ANDREW KREISBERG
Art by MIKE GRELL, JORGE JIMENEZ and SERGIO SANDOVAL
...
40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: ARROW #1 will ship with two covers. See the order form for details.
• The first time in print for these digital-first adventures!
• Discover exciting new mysteries and plotlines for the ultimate Arrow experience!
• Written by the show’s creators and featuring covers and interior art from legendary GREEN ARROW: THE LONGBOW HUNTERS artist MIKE GRELL!


Good thing they rebooted Green Arrow to make the title and character more like a live-action adaptation of the character might look, so they can adapt him into film or television and then...launch a second Green Arrow comic based on the adaptation...? Man, I'm not sure I follow this whole transmedia thing. Or that DC/Warner Brothers does.


Hmmm...not sure how I feel about this Batman cover Greg Capullo, 50% of the reason Batman is so popular. I like the idea is strong and the image rather arresting, but I don't care for the rendering on The Joker (I think that's who that's supposed to be) nestled inside Batman's head. I suppose it will look busier and less striking once the logo and credits and UPC symbol are attached, but, unencumbered like this, it's a pretty good cover.


BATMAN AND ROBIN #15
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Art by PATRICK GLEASON and MICK GRAY
Cover by GREG CAPULLO
On sale DECEMBER 12 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T.
• A “DEATH OF THE FAMILY” tie-in!
• Damian vs. The Joker!
• Has The Joker finally met a Robin as dangerous as he is? Or will The Clown Prince of Crime claim another of Batman’s allies as his victim?


Now that's a damn disturbing cover!

I'm pretty sure, like 97% sure, that Damian already met the Joker, and beat the living hell out of him, in the pages of Batman and Robin, so Damian Vs. The Joker doesn't really sound all that exciting.

I almost picked up Batman and Robin #0 last Wednesday, but I flipped through it and saw all those Robins and my head just exploded. I can't take this half-assed reboot. Like, I hate the full-on reboot of most of the titles, but the make-it-up-as-we-go-along, maybe-it's-a-reboot-maybe-not nature of the Batman titles might be even more frustrating.


From the Department of Great Cover Ideas, Poorly Executed.


Hmmm...Deathstroke's stupid costumes looked a lot funnier when Simon Bisley was rendering them on these covers. I'm kind of fascinated by weapons Photoshopped into this image though.


Why is Firestorm fighting Captain Atom on the cover of The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men...? I assume because Cap bit off Firestorm's signature hairstyle, and Firestorm is furious about it.


Oh, the policemen and their cars form a Green Lantern symbol! I get it!


HUMAN BOMB #1
Written by JUSTIN GRAY and JIMMY PALMIOTTI
Art and cover by JERRY ORDWAY
On sale DECEMBER 5 • 32 pg, FC, 1 of 4, $2.99 US • RATED T
• Ex-Marine and war veteran Michael Taylor discovers a conspiracy to use human bombs to destroy the United States! But how can he possibly stop them when he could be their ultimate bomb?


Hey, it's the latest in the Hey, let's give those writers who wrote all those shitty Freedom Fighter comics no one liked and no one bought a fourth chance to maybe succeed suite of miniseries!

This one, at least, will have Jerry Ordway art, so the relatively few people who might actually read it will at least see some pretty artwork.


Wow.


JUSTICE LEAGUE #15
Written by GEOFF JOHNS
Art and cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
Backup story art by GARY FRANK
Variant cover by BILLY TUCCI
1:25 “Throne of Atlantis” Variant cover by JIM LEE and SCOTT WILLIAMS
1:100 B&W Variant cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
On sale DECEMBER 26 • 40 pg, FC, $3.99 US • RATED T
Combo pack edition: $4.99 US
• Part 1 of “THRONE OF ATLANTIS,” crossing over with AQUAMAN!
• Don’t miss the debut of IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO (AQUAMAN) as the new JUSTICE LEAGUE art team!
• Can the Justice League band together to battle the forces of Atlantis?
• And in the backup feature, Shazam comes face to face with Black Adam, and Billy makes a decision that will shock his friends!


Okay, a direct crossover with $4 Justice League is about as clear a “drop this!” signal as I could get regarding Aquaman, which I’ve been on the fence about more and more each month (I’ll probably finish the current arc, because I’m OCD about that kind of thing. Looks like the art team will be changing as well, if Reis and Prado are on Justice League now).

I still can’t get over just how frustrating it is to read these solicits and see stuff that I know would totally excite me were this the pre-New 52 universe, and then feeling nothing but apathy, because it’s these new, Ultimate versions of the characters I don’t know or like.

Oh, and I normally excise the bits regarding the variants, but I left it in here, as I was thinking about/linking to/suggesting you think about variants after Brian Hibbs’ latest installment of “Tilting at Windmills,” and thought it worth shile to note how many issues of this comic retailers are being asked to order to get access to the Jim Lee and black and white variants. Keeping in mind that Justice Leage is one of the direct market’s best sellers and DC sellers, one wonders how much worse it would do if it were being sold merely on the merits of the comic itself, and not having its sales artificially goosed by a collectible variant scheme.


...

I...

I got nothing.


SCOOBY-DOO, WHERE ARE YOU? #28
Written by SHOLLY FISCH
Art by ROBERT POPE and SCOTT McRAE
Cover by SCOTT GROSS
On sale DECEMBER 5 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED E
• Oh no! A royal wraith is terrorizing a Chanukah celebration!
• Can Scooby and friends save the Festival of Lights?
• Find out what other yuletide ghouls lurk in this Scooby-Doo holiday special!


Having now watched the bulk of the first season of Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated on DVD, I can honestly say I wish to God DC were doing a comic based on that particular iteration of the Scooby cartoon shows because it is awesome.

I also wish whoever was editing Boom's Adventure Time comic was also editing DC's Scooby comics, or that DC would at least steal a few pages from Boom and try to recruit talented alternative comics creators to provide back-ups and covers for Scooby-Doo.


SHOWCASE PRESENTS: THE JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA VOL. 6 TP
Written by LEN WEIN, DENNIS O’NEIL, CARY BATES and others
Art by DICK DILLIN and others
Cover by NICK CARDY
On sale JANUARY 23 • 528 pg, B&W, $19.99 US
• In this new, value-priced collection of stories from the 1970s, the JLA faces foes including Felix Faust, the Shaggy Man, Eclipso, Amazo, the Injustice Society and more.
• Collects JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #107-132.


No lie, this is the single book I'm most looking forward to this month.


WONDER WOMAN #15
Written by BRIAN AZZARELLO
Art and cover by CLIFF CHIANG
...
On sale DECEMBER 19 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
Retailers: This issue will ship with two covers. The variant cover will feature the standard edition cover in a wraparound format.
• Who is Orion — and what are the New Gods?!
• Massive changes are coming for Wonder Woman and the entire DC Universe!
• Get ready for round 1 of Wonder Woman vs. Orion!


It's somewhat curious to see Orion and the New Gods appearing in Wonder Woman of all places. As I said when Azzarello and Chiang teased their appearance at the end of the last issue of their comic, it makes sense, given the book's focus on the gods and changes in the Greek/Roman pantheon, but, at the same time, Darkseid and the Parademons played a big role in the first six issues of Justice League (and the first issue, at least, of Earth 2), so JL would have been where I expected to see the New Gods appear next.

Of course, JL writer Geoff Johns has been using Wonder Woman's supporting cast in that book, and plans to writer her romance with Superman and introduce her archenemey Cheetah there, so maybe it's fair that Wonder Woman get something in exchange...

Nice Chiang, cover. His style is such that even an idea that might prove lackluster in other hands (Ivan Reis has done a couple of riffs on the "opponent's reflection appearing in shiny surface" on Aquaman covers over the past year), looks dynamite when he draws it.