Friday, April 28, 2006
"Loved the Villains United Special; if you don't, I don't know what you're reading comics for. Thanks, Gail! " Scip Garling of The Absorbascon.
After reading The Villains United Special, I've realized that I just may have just read the perfect superhero comic. I wish I could say more but in the interest of not spoiling it for anyone, all I can say is this:
Villains United Special is a love letter to every man & woman who's ever contributed anything to The DC Universe. From William Moulton Marston's creaton of Dr. Psycho to The Justice League's Martian Manhunter standing side-by-side with Odd-Man (!), writer Gail Simone has crafted a story proving that some 70 years in, The DCU is the place in which to find symbolism & wonder. I still get chills as I have never seen such a clear division of good vs. evil while literally, above it all, six very different individuals try to find a way. 24 hours later, this book is still with me. Villains United Special is athe culmination of every thing good about DC Comics.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
You just got hit in the head. Nothing says "Green Lantern" more than that.
There's a lot of evil in Gotham. Any given moment, one could find death at the hands of The Joker. One could find peril in an encouter with The Riddler. Not Kyle. One minute in Gotham and Kyle miraculously finds a way to get his ass kicked by a ska band.
Hell, I'd even dance to that.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
I'm dangerously on the verge of dropping The Outsiders. Two issues into its' "One Year Later" run and and two things have just been grating on me.
One: Nightwing's sanctioning the kidnapping and "interrogating" of a loyalist to a corrupt regime. Writer Judd Winick goes through great pains to explain Nightwing reasoning. "Metamorpho's pheromone treatments would take too long... a seven-foot psychotic woman in a leather mask is scarier than me..."
So, after Infinite Crisis has gone through the trouble of setting up Nightwing as one of the bright lights of The DC Universe, what do we get? Nightwing sanctioning this s***. Just... bad. Where's the continuity?!? Why'd they even bother?
Two: Thunder, the daughter of Black Lightning, is sent undercover to infiltrate the cabinet of President Benin, a corrupt African dictator. Benin is portrayed as pure evil, sanctioning the rape and killing of those he considers rivals. Eventually, Benin turns his eye towards Thunder and she, not wanting to blow her cover, "consents" to sleeping with him.
When Thunder confronts Nightwing with the things she's gone through, Nightwing tells her "it was good work." Seriously, what the f*** is this s***? I don't think anyone will ever label me as a feminist, maybe a humanist, not so much a feminist. That said, I call "bullshit" on Judd Winick and his treatment of the Thunder character. Seriously, was her "sleeping with the enemy" absolutely necessary in order to complete the goals of the mission? Was it completely necessary?
Admittedly, I have no idea what brought these characters to this place in that missing year. What I do know is that the Dick Grayson I grew up with would never ask a teammate to do any thing he wouldn't be willing to do himself. Dick Grayson would never have condoned any member of any team he's ever been on's "sleeping with the enemy" for "the sake of the mission." He wouldn't have it with Donna Troy, he shouldn't with any other character.
It's not in his character and it's just so glaringly wrong. Normally, I really enjoy Mr. Winick's work but on this one he's done many characters a disservice just for the sake of the story he's trying to tell.
That said, this raises another question: "Would someone ever write a story where Nightwing would have to... I don't know... s*** a d*** for world peace?"
I'm betting "no."
Monday, April 24, 2006
Guess who got to review Ion #1 over at CHUD: Thor's Comic Column. Wanna read some of it? Here you go...
Contrary to popular belief, I actually do like Kyle Rayner. Well, maybe not as THE Green Lantern but...trust me, I do like him. Do I believe that he ever should have been on the same Justice League, much less, the same room as say…Batman? No. One thing about Kyle, though, just as sure as he could be counted on to say the wrong thing at the wrong time, one could just as easily count on him to, in times of crisis, always do the right thing. He wasn’t perfect but the kid had a good heart. You see, I actually think that’s the character’s appeal: Kyle is US as the superhero. Face facts, fanboy and girls: no matter how much we’d like to believe it, if we were dropped in The DC Universe and suddenly granted a Power Ring, more than likely our asses would not be JLA, we'd be more Doom Patrol than anything. That said, it’s a testimony to the character’s strength that with his never being the best man for the job and Harold Jordan be damned, it was Kyle who kept the Green Lantern concept strong for well over a decade. You’ve gotta respect him for that. Now, the new millennium finds him just as the cover of Ion #1 states: “Once a Green Lantern, now something more!”
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Friday, April 21, 2006
We all have them. A few have even been realized. Mine personally was to see Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely on Superman. Now, thanks to All-Star Superman: dream fulfilled.
"What writer/artist/character combination would cause you to go all ga-ga in anticipation?"
Any writer. Any artist. Any character. It's just that simple and because I'm just that nice of a guy, I'll even get the ball-a-rollin':
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
A "sigh of relief" does not usually come very easily for me. When one does come, it can feel as good as the warmth of a spring morning. It's your body's confirmation that your brain knows it'll all be OK.
When I see artist Rick Burchett's name on anything, I know that I can always breathe easier. I know that the art will be top-notch. I know that I will not have to guess at anything. I know that a hand will look like a hand.
I first laid eyes eyes on on his work in the back of a old Femforce comic. I was a bit too young to care about the spandex-laden women but was blown away but its' gangster-laden back-up feature. Depression-era men dressed in sharp suits, menacing scowls upon their faces. Surronding them, the finest cars money and expert rendering could buy. It was a pure, unadulterated snazz. Burchett's art forever branded his name into my mind and for years I looked for his name on other comics with little success that was until he resurfaced, for me, DC's Blackhawk.
There it all was again, those gorgeous layouts, that beautiful unwasted line. Heaven was, once again, found within a DC comic.
Burchett may be best known for his work on the DC "animated" Universe of books. When many of The Bat-books floundered under terrible writing and dubious artist choices, Burchett's art was the one thing keeping me in The Bat-verse. That said, Burchett has become one of the few artists I'd follow wherever he goes.
Recommended Reading: Batman/Huntress: Cry For Blood, The Batman Adventures, Volume 1 & the newly released Queen & Country: Declassified, Volume 2.
Monday, April 17, 2006
Well, cetain design elements are different but that's pretty much the Isis I remember.
A quick story: I had a friend who was absolutely livid over other comic book companies' "stealing" of Marvel Comics' Thor. When he told me he was going to write Savage Dragon's Erik Larsen because he had the nerve to even name the hammer, Mjolnir. Furthermore, Larsen couldn't even be bothered to get Thor's hair color right.
I explained to him how mythic characters like Thor and Hercules aren't quite subject to copyright and that only the concepts that Marvel introduced within the Marvel mythos... no, actually, I just farted in his mouth while it was open and just walked away.
So, what I'm wondering is this: As far as I could tell, DC's never actually owned Isis outright. She was a character created specifically for television and DC went on to get the license, producing eight issues of the comics version. Has DC's gone and spent some of that good ol' Identity/Infinite Crisis money they've been making and gone and bought Isis or have they just licensed it again? Either way, I want to go on record as supporting any move, incorporating more raven-haired, mini-skirted women characters into comics.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
By the way, the cute questioner's name happens to be Kiku. She's also the last of the Bahdnesians. The Bahdnesians believe Johnny Thunder to be some kind of god. I guess that makes Johnny their version of Jerry Lewis or something.
Anyway... with her being the last Bahdnesian and Johnny Thunder getting up in age, writer Len Strazewski seemed to be positioning Kiku as rightful heir to The T-Bolt (or Hex-Bolt).
I like him but let's be honest, he can be portrayed as a bit annoying at times.
She hasn't been seen since. Which is a shame. The "Last Of" theme runs deep within DC's comics (Superman, Last Son of Krypton, Martian Manhunter, Sole Survivor of Mars) and I believe Kiko would have made a fine successor to Johnny Thunder. I mean, how could you deny someone whose first line of dialogue is "Excuse me, aren't you a Bahdnesian Hex-bolt?"
That takes spunk. That takes pluck. Kiko had that in spades. Kiko needs to be re-introduced to The DCU.
Now, that I would love to see. That would be "so cool."
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Kyle Rayner: ADULT!!!!!
Martian Manhunter understands many-a-thing. What he understands most is the...
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
This silly little blog has become very dear to me. It gave me something to do with myself when I honestly had no idea what to do anymore. "Seven Hells!" removed me from a very deep sadness. "7H" was created six months and a day after the death of my mother. Before that, numbness became very automatic.
I went to work. I tried to make sure my brothers were OK. (I'm the oldest of five.) I tried to be too much of a man. I failed in just as many ways as I may have suceeded. I don't know if you'll understand this but I just... existed.
I'd forgotten how to live.
A very good friend of mine, not knowing this, returned to me something I'd been missing: joy. I came to rediscover the joy I'd felt the first time my mom put a comic book in my hand. It was pure. It was simple. It was mine. Through "Seven Hells!," I've rediscovered things I'd thought lost. In "Seven Hells!," I've found kinship in people I'd never laid eyes upon. It may sound weird but you were there when I didn't know that I wanted you around. I cannot thank you enough for that.
I didn't know you'd stop by but I'm very glad you did.
Have a good one.
Monday, April 10, 2006
Nearly 20 years ago, Alan Moore wrote what many consider some of comics' greatest works: Swamp Thing, The Watchmen, Batman: The Killing Joke, Superman: Whatever Happened To The Man of Tomorrow , Miracleman & V For Vendetta. All classics that will certainly stand the test of time but what happened after that?
A run on WildC.A.T.S. that while good wasn't quite the "Alan Moore" everyone was looking for. An arc on Todd McFarlane's Violator? Well... they can't all be classics. Rob Liefeld's Supreme? Good stuff but would you put it between your copies of Watchmen and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns?
Then, seemingly, out of nowhere Moore gives us his comics line, America's Best Comics. ABC produced, among others, the pulp fiction throwback Tom Strong, the ethereally cerebral Promethea, the cop drama of Top 10 and the wonderful League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Winners all and strong on beautiful prose but most people I've spoken to lament the lack of "grab-you-by-the-cerebellum" goodness of Moore's earlier works.
Moore also wrote Captain Britain which, in my opinion, was the closest thing Moore has ever come to writing "pure" superheroics. Captain Britain, while good reading, caused me to reconsider Moore's "superhero" work, leading me to this conclusion: Moore writes superhero comics that fit his sensibilities. Honestly, I don't really think Moore likes superheroes. To paraphrase Warren Ellis, "they wake up with wet spots on their pants." Nothing wrong with that but ask yourself, "Would Alan Moore participate in something like DC's upcoming "52?"
Morrison has, over a fifteen year period, written some of comics' better comics: Batman: Arkham Asylum, The Doom Patrol, Animal Man & the criminally out-of-print Kill Your Boyfriend.
People will probably remember his run on Animal Man simply for the story of "The Coyote Gospel." In Doom Patrol, he took a team concept many believed dead and made it jump up and dance. Kill Your Boyfriend captures post-Eighties angst as well as anything ever could.
What has he done since? Turned The Justice League into the powerhouse franchise it is today. His version of Batman as DC's Swiss Army Knife of Justice is, perhaps, the most significant version of Batman since Frank Miller's "Dark Knight." We3 proved he still has a place in the universe he helped create.
The Invisibles, 7 Soldiers & The Filth may have failed in some of the things it tried to accomplish but you have to admire the man for trying to push storytelling in new directions.
Morrison re-created a whole new set of fans for himself with his work on New X-Men and Marvel's "first" Ultimate title, Marvel Boy. I'll go on record as saying that I rejoined The X-Men with his run and ended it with his run.
Morrison may not have penned as many classic stories as Mr. Moore. I believe, though, if you consider Morrison's track record, what stands out is the wide scope of the things he's written. The same man who wrote JLA gave us The Brotherhood of Dada. The same man who wrote a new millenium X-Men wrote one of comics' most romantic tales, All-Star Superman #3.
Soon, we will see him redefining anew, The DC Universe versions of Batman and Superman. Soon, he will "team-up" with three of comics' finest writers to bring us one of comics' grandest experiments, 52.
So...there it is your "tale-of-the-tape." Two fine writers, both still making comics great. Because of this, we all win.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Today, fueled by a newfound discovery of love for comics tradition, The JSA stands as one of DC Comics best-selling titles, proving that the best concepts are timeless.
Again, that wasn't always the way of thinking. Somehow amidst the holofoil, among the mutants and under the radar, The Justice Society of America made their triumphant return from an editorially mandated limbo...
Justice Society of America was released in 1992 written by Len Strazewski and drawn by the late and truly missed Mike Parobeck . Parobeck's line was truly sublime in its' simplicity and years ahead of its' time. I maintain that if he were alive today, he would be one of comics' most sought after artists working with the likes of Grant Morrison or Greg Rucka. His style was light exactly where darkness was needed.
Strazewski's JSoA was a breath of fresh air in the stagnant comics market. Strazewski was doing unheard of things like getting his voice out of the way, letting the characters speak for themselves. In Strazewski's JSoA, we found a team of men trying to find their way in a world where they were deemed unecessary.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Check back tomorrow for Kyle Rayner: ADULT! and Thursday for a follow-up to Monday's post.
Meanwhile... over at Big Monkey Comics' Big Blog: Sherin, Drew and Kyle (snicker) offer b***hslaps.
Meanwhile... over at Fan Fatale: Sherin loves She-Hulk. Take that as you will.
Sunday, April 02, 2006
It happened like most things in my life happen: with three dollars and the best of intentions.
I went out and bought the four issues that comprised 1985's Jonni Thunder AKA Thunderbolt. I now kinda wished that I hadn't. It's just indefensibly bad. I drug the four issues around back, shot 'em. Later on, a little boy named Calvin came by and promptly urinated on them. OK, they weren't that bad. I could sit here and explain why it was pretty bad but where would I start? The robot cockroach, the abysmally written Chandler-esque dialogue, the pink t-shirt wearing male secretary she'd nicknamed "Sunshine" just so she can walk through a door saying, "Good morning, Sunshine?"
Whenever she walks through that door, I imagine Sunshine secretly mumbling under his breath, "Come a little closer so I can hug you around the neck with my hands, b****."
What struck me the most about trying to read Jonni Thunder AKA Thunderbolt was that it never should have had a chance. It was designed as a legacy character to the Golden Age character, Johnny Thunder but it ran into a small problem called "Crisis On Infinite Earths." Due to massive continuity upheavals, virtually everything in Jonni Thunder AKA Thunderblot was rendered unusable. Trust me, that was a good thing because Jonni Thunder wasn't.
I choose to focus on something else: Roy Thomas' love for Golden Age DC Comics.
If it weren't for Roy Thomas, I doubt that we'd all be giving even half a damn about DC Comics as they are today.
For those who remember All-Star Squadron was essentially Roy Thomas' monthly love letter to DC's Golden Age characters and their Quality & Fawcett acquisitions. It was a very good thing and something that lead, in my opinion, to an even greater thing.
Something lost. Something we weren't ready for. Something beautiful.
But... that is another story for another day.