Sunday, February 18, 2018

 

A Salute to The Newsstand

It happened and like many things we barely noticed.

The newsstand, the place where comic books were born, sold their final DC Comics issues in latter 2017.

I'll be the first to admit that I hadn't picked up a comic off of a newsstand in decades so yeah, I know I'm complicit in its demise, even more as a former direct market comics retailer.

Won't change the fact that the newsstand was where I discovered my love for comic books. Nothing brought me more joy than the slow, grinding creek of an un-oiled spinner rack straining under the weight of G.I. Joe, Superman, X-Men, Spider-Man, The Brave and the Bold, The Fantastic Four and Charlton comics.

As distribution channels changed for ways to receive your comics, I changed right along with them. On newsstands, I was never quite guaranteed finding the comics I was looking for on a month-to-month basis much less in great condition so the minute I discovered comic shops, I couldn't turn back.

It was where I found the thing I love. Comics fed me for nearly twenty years in comics retail. As a fan, they have balmed my soul for nearly forty. It is where I found my joy. It is where my mind turns to when I think of the discovery of new universes to explore.





Saturday, January 27, 2018

 

Batman: Locking Fools Up and Walking Away For Thirty Years



A pivotal scene from Batman: Ten Nights of The Beast saga circa 1988. It wrecked my brain that Batman simply just walked away. He'd done everything he needed to do and just... walked. Just left  the antagonist, KGBeast (seriously) locked away. No food. No water. Well, none that we knew of anyway. When asked by Commissioner Gordon if he saw him, Batman just sort went, "Uh. Nah." For very teen aged Devon, seeing Batman go full-Marvel on a dude, kinda messed me up a bit. 

A few issues later, DC Comics editorial pushed writer Jim Starlin to add in a throwaway line that explained away Batman's actions. It went sorta like, "Yeah, I called the police and they sent a guy to check on him. He was gone, though. Eh. Shit happens." 

I dug this story so much that I wrote freaking FAN-FIC. Yes, in 1988, I wrote fan-fic where Batman doubled down on his effs to give and continued on to fight Orca, The Whalewoman. The KGBeast continued on, eating the occasional rat and sucking up whatever sewer water he could. One night, a maintenance worker, wondering why that door had been sealed up, fell into the plot device hell I made for him, unleashing The KGBeast back into the Gotham streets and into a story only a teenaged Devon could tell titled, "Return of The KGBeast."

Yeah. I named it that. By the way, I am still available to write this.

So, imagine my surprise when I see this month's Doomsday Clock #3...


My fan-fic probably wouldn't piss as many people off, though.


Saturday, January 20, 2018

 

The Evolution of Superman's Costume Over The Past Seven Years



Post-Crisis Superman circa early 2011


New 52 Superman September 2011


Rebirth Superman 2017


Superman 2018

It takes seven years to get back to where you shouldn't have left.





Sunday, November 26, 2017

 

I Saw The Justice League



Finally saw Justice League and I liked it just fine.

And that is the problem.

Didn't love it. I liked it.

After 40-plus years of watching Super Friends/Justice League cartoons movie and over thirty years of comics reading, I liked it.

I just liked it.

There were many reasons to like it; Gal Gadot and all of the good will and faith she built as Wonder Woman is, once again, on screen. Ben Affleck and his padded spacesuit Batman are back and more than willing to play with others. Ezra Miller's Flash is a funny, unsure guy and there to provide moments of levity. Jason Mamoa's Aquaman is a bit of a bro, doing all the things that makes you think that Aquaman isn't lame like drinking, walking in slow-mo and surfing a Parademon. And Cyborg, who is there, is Siri with angst.

And SPOILER (eye roll)...

And Superman. Superman is back and leaning harder on the "Man" in his name, leaving me hopeful for his cinematic future.

All of that and I walked away from the Justice League movie not in a rush to see them again and that makes me a bit sad.

Wonder Woman, I saw it three times in theatres. Captain America: Civil War? Four, in theatres and few on DVD and Netflix.

I loved those movies because they had consequences and gravity. In Justice League, I felt and heard nothing more than the mechanisms clicking into place to have these characters come together. The threat that brought them together just felt flimsy and unworthy of this gathering of heroes.

Steppenwolf was a poorly rendered CGI non-threat that never did more than promise threat. He may as well have been a cardboard cut-out with lasers stapled to its side. Sadly, the threat was never given any weight and is one only those with a passing knowledge of comics would know.

As the movie wrapped, I was happy we got a shot of The Justice League standing triumphant but it just didn't feel earned. I had no sense, nor did The Justice League or humanity, of just how epic this moment was or should've been. They simply look at one another, exchange glances and leave their final statement to a hollow voiceover.

I so wanted that one moment for them.

A moment to realize just how momentous a gathering of Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, The Flash, Aquaman and yes, Cyborg should be. I wanted them to express how humanity dodged a bullet and all they should know is that there will be a Justice League there for them should the need arise again.

I simply wanted them to know.

Know what they could mean to humanity and what they could mean to each other.

As a movie, I wish this movie knew what it meant to folks who never thought they'd be in this moment: sitting in a movie theatre watching a hope become real before their eyes.

All I could think was that the filmmakers didn't know.

They didn't know.


Monday, November 13, 2017

 

Elongated Man, Oh Man!!!


I've never been a huge fan of the Flash tv show but the news that Ralph Dibny, The Elongated Man is in Season 4 has me watching.

I am a HUGE Elongated Man fan; have been since I first saw him in Justice League of America #190. His ability to crack wise in the face of world conquering starfish just did something for me. Only later, through DC's Who's Who series did I learn that he was originally a Flash character rooted in the art of detection.

His relationship with his wife, Sue was a joy to watch throughout the Justice League's Satellite, Detroit and BWAH-HA-HA eras. It was loving, supportive and equal. The exact opposite of so many of the relationships we were given in comics.

And then, Infinite Crisis came along and destroyed them.

Their treatment over the past decade has been abysmal but man, just seeing this one screenshot reminds me of the fun I used to have whenever he was on the comics page.

Sue and Ralph were returned to comics in post-New 52 Secret Six but haven't been seen in DC's newly minted DC Rebirth continuity. I hope to see more of these two in comics.

Solving mysteries, nose twitching. Smiling and most of all, happy together, again.

Until then, seeing Ralph find a new, wider audience brings me immense joy.

And kudos to the Flash's casting director and actor Hartley Sawyer for just nailing Ralph Dibny.







Tuesday, October 31, 2017

 

Scooby-Doo & Batman: The Brave and The Bold... with Detective Chimp!


When I was a kid, the randomness of 70's syndicated TV was in so many ways, the very best thing.

Back then, television wasn't so much curated as it was available. Episodes of shows would routinely be shown out of order. One day you'd be watching an episode of Batman from 1966 with Julie Newmar chewing up the scenery and the next, one with Eartha Kitt's Catwoman just owning every damned inch of the screen.

Back then I I didn't know why my Catwoman kept changing but when a pair of cat ears would appear, I was a happy little guy.

I pretty much had the same experience with The New Scooby-Doo Movies. In the roulette wheel that was afterschool syndicated TV, you were just as likely to see Scooby and the gang team up with awesome TV mainstays as The Addams Family as you would as you would Sandy Duncan.

Yup. Sandy Duncan.

When I was a kid, one episode of The Scooby-Doo Movies was super special. Each day, I'd sit in from my tv and hope with all of my little heart that that day's episode would feature Batman and Robin as voiced by Super Friends voice actors Olan Soule and Casey Kasem.

The days that it did were some of my favorite days in front of the tv.

That's why today, when I saw the above preview, I became a kid again. Batman and Robin and The Scooby Gang.

And Batman brought friends along: Black Canary. Plastic Man. Martian Manhunter and yes, Detective Chimp.

My love for DC Comics and it's vastness was rekindled with the Batman: The Brave and The Bold cartoon series and it only becomes better with Scooby.

I'm going to get this. I don't need it to be good. Just know that right now, I'm be as happy as a kid.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

 

The New Mythology, Revisited

A few years back, after shuttering Seven Hells!, I, along with some of my favorite bloggers and writers, went off and formed a new collective blog, "Second Printing." It lasted for a good while and while there I did a lot of work I'm proud of. What I thought I'd do is revisit some of the work I did there and update some of the ideas for where comics are at this very moment in time.

First up, The New Mythology, Revisited:

The old god lay broken and battered. The hammer of the god lay silent, in need of a champion.

“Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.”

The man from another planet reaches down, grasping for the power of a god. He is found worthy.

With that, the war is won.

With that, a war we had no idea was being waged had been won. Superman, the champion of our new mythology, won.

The superhero, won. It took up the mantle of mythology and won.

That was my first thought upon reading the final issue of JLA/Avengers, issue 4. Comics are the new mythology.

In this mythology, men like Maxie Zeus, with his delusions of godhood, ultimately defers to the guise of one of America’s greatest contributions to the new mythology, the gangster.

In our medium gods are secondary. In the case of SHAZAM!, the gods grant power and get out of the way. Hercules gifts a young boy with his strength leading to the youth's becoming known as "The World's Mightiest Mortal." 

In Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente's Incredible Hercules run, he has to side with The Hulk to remind everyone of how incredible he is. In the pages of Captain Britain and MI:13, Excalibur, sword of King Arthur, is now in the hands of a daughter of immigrants.

The new mythology is Jack Hawksmoor of The Authority, born and bred to master the urban settings of glass and steel, making him the first truly new superhero creation of The 21st Century.

In the Wonder Woman movie she is given the name, "The Godkiller."

The new mythology is Jane Foster taking up the mantle of Thor while dealing with breast cancer because The Odinson is found unworthy, again.

Sometimes, we forget we’re the keepers of this new mythology.

Mythology, new and old, is forever and right now.

The new mythology is yours and more so than ever, comics are the new mythology.

How we keep it is up to us.