Friday, May 02, 2008

Hey, kids! Links!

If you find that EDILW fails to meet your writing-about-comics-by-me needs, you can always click here to read my review of A People's History of American Empire in this week's New York Press.

—Aaron McGruder of Boondocks fame was totally in Columbus on Wednesday night, and I completely flaked on it. I blame Iron Man for distracting me.

—Hey, it's May already! That means the Wexner Center for the Arts' Jeff Smithstravaganza is just days away now! You can watch a pretty cool mini-documentary video thing featuring Smith, Dave Filipi of the Wex and Lucy Shelton Caswell of the OSU Cartoon Research Library here. It looks like they'll also be selling a catalogue for the show, which you can check out here.

—Attention, artists: Enter Johanna Draper Carlson's goddam contest! I really want to see a bunch of versions of DC superhero secret identities posing in tuxedos.

Rachelle Goguen on what a funny drunk Tony Stark is, and the love he and Captain America share. Theirs is truly the second-greatest love affair in superhero comics.

—I used to want to work for DC Comics when I grew up. Now I totally want to work for Dark Horse, if this is an accurate depiction of Dark Horse people.

—If you're looking for a nicely illustrated children's book with some pretty darling character design work, you could sure do worse than Doctor Ted by Andrea Beaty and Pascal Lemaitre (Simon & Schuster; ). It's the story of an anthropomorphic bear cub named Ted (I'm assuming his middle name is Edward and his last name is Bear, but it never comes up) who wakes up one morning, bumps his knee, decides he needs a doctor and, unable to locate one under his bed or in his drawer, decided to become a doctor by dressing like one and wearing a nurse's hat. He then recklessly diagnoses others and prescribes poor treatement for them (his principal has gingivitis, and therefore needs a full-body cast, for example; he also has bad breath, and needs a shot, so Ted shoves a hopefully-toy syringe up his principal's nose). When his teacher hurts her ankle, Ted ties it with a towel as if he knew what the hell he was doing, and everyone stops being mad at him for some reason. It ends with Ted smelling burnt toast and deciding to become a fireman. If he practices fire-fighting as well as he does medicine, I imagine he burns to death in the sequel. Really nice art though.

Douglas Wolk annotates DC Universe 0 for I liked his take on the Batman bit--"A callback to the opening scene of The Killing Joke, of course, because Morrison can't stop slaying/honoring Highfather Moore." Morrison's never going to be able to slay/honor Moore if his partner in slaying/honoring is Tony Daniel, while Moore's Batman/Joker story was told with Brian Bolland.

—Wait, DC is actually selling a second-pringint of their fifty-cent DC Universe 0 for a dollar? Considering the nature of the story—some teasers for future stories plus one big
type of moment on the last page—fifty cents seems to be a good price. But a dollar? That's the price DC charged for Countdown to Infinite Crisis #1, a seventy-page book telling a complete story, and DCU: Brave New World, an eighty-page book featuring ten-page prequels to such terrible miniseries as Martian Manhunter, OMAC, and others, plus the revelation that there are—get this—more than one Monitor!

—I've heard it said that DC Universe 0 isn't exacty new-reader friendly. I went back and gave it a re-read, trying to look at it through the imaginary eyes of a DCU novice, and, yeah, the big
moment on the last page probably isn't going to even register as a big huge deal if you don't know what Silver Age through current Flash's costume looks like, or that one of the four DC Flashes died heroically during Crisis On Infinite Earths and has been dead ever since and everyone got over it except for maybe Alex Ross and three random comics fans and everyone just assumed he'd stay dead forever, like Jason Todd.

If this is your first DC comic, or first comic period, it' s not going to do a very good job of setting the scene. All you're really going to get out of this is that, Jesus, there are a lot of superheroes you've never seen a movie or cartoon made out of and maybe that Ed Benes sure makes good-looking people in skin-tight costumes look repulsive (Look at his Superman! Look at it! What are those muscles? Who has those? Doesn't he know SUperman's powers come from yellow solar radiation, and not creepy extra organs and muscles lining his torso?).

If you've got at least a passing familiarity with DC comics or super-comics in general, most of the stories fit together in that they evoke a sense of dread. Something bad is happening in the universe (those first few pages illustrate just how dire a situation anything referred to as a capital-C "Crisis" is), shadows are attacking Superman and all those random superheroes around him, something's stalking Batman, there's an evil god and so on. The Superman/Legion peice and the Green Lantern one seem pretty confusing; I could kinda follow them because I read Green Lantern and the Superman books, but if I didn't know anything about the rainbow corps? I don't know.

The Wonder Woman segment is the one that seems really shoe-horned in though. I was struck by what a not-very-big-deal her situation was. The gods, whom seem to abandon her/leave this plane of existence/get killed every other year, are disappointed in the Amazons and are turning to the cast of 300 as their ambassadors. Considering all the talk of all existence ending, Wonder Woman losing her job seems like pretty small potatoes, doesn't it?

—That Superman image is from Kyle Baker's Plastic Man, by the way. Pick up all the back issues of it when your at your local comic shop tomorrow celebrating Free Comic Book Day. You won't be sorry. Well, you might be. But I won't be. And that's what's important.


Anonymous said...

Memo to self: Beware of any furry doctor called Dr. Ted

Anonymous said...

Sad truth: Despite years of DC reading, I still cannot tell the difference between Barry's costume and Wally's costume.

Tony said...

I didn't realize there was a difference between Barry's costume and Wally's.

DCU #0 left me pretty cold, I gotta say.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Prelude to a Crisis or whatever we had a few years back was so much better. It had sort of weird plot points stuck in it, but it was one excellent story. DC 0 was just disjointed.