New Comic Day Links

Jeff Wikstrom reads the daily newspaper comics so you don't have to! Here are some of his comments. But wait, here are some more: Click! Click, I tell you!

Mark Fossen says goodbye. Mark's blog is one of my favorites. If you haven't read it before take a trip through his archives.

I just found out about John Seavey's Fraggmented site. A couple of weeks ago he talked about Jonah Hex (one of my favorite characters in any medium) in his "Storytelling Engines" series.

Oh, and my FLCS was shorted on the last issue of Nextwave. If it's not waiting for me tonight I shall become rather cross. I may need herbal tea and a great deal of cushions to soothe my nerves.


Blogging the Crisis Introduction

David Plotz's Blogging The Bible has inspired me to give the same treatment to some of comicdom's holy texts. I'm going to start with Crisis On Infinite Earths.

A little background: Crisis came out when I was 15. I was reading comics heavily at the time but it was nearly all Marvel. Therefore, I was entirely unaware of the series when it was originally published. I didn't start reading mainstream DC regularly until Byrne's Superman revamp. I consider myself to be a C-student of DC continuity. I know the broad strokes but I couldn't tell you everyone who's ever been in the JLA. I have an embarassing amount of information in my head about the Green Lantern Corps but I am an ignoramus when it comes to Haunted Tank or The Crime Syndicate.

This will be my first time reading Crisis even though I know the general storyline. It's kind of hard to hang around other comic geeks without learning about Crisis through osmosis. I'm going in with no preconceptions. I have heard the series called everything from "masterpiece" to "clusterfuck" so I think it's time to form my own opinion.

And to inflict it upon you.

I'll do one post per issue. I've got the 1998 trade-paperback edition and for this post I'll talk about Marv Wolfman's Introduction:

Marv starts out by giving us a little history on himself. Like most comic creators, Marv started out as a fan and he tells a story about a very Monitor-like character he dreamed up as a kid. His excitement about getting to write the story that had been in his head is obvious even 13 years after the fact. He heaps well-deserved praise on George Pérez and then he goes into their motivations for the project and whether they achieved them. His opinion: Pretty much. Well, it got at least one new reader for DC. I didn't even know about Crisis but the reset on the DC Universe got me to pick up some of their titles (see Byrne's Superman, above).

Also, he says something I want to highlight:

"In many ways, I fear, the annual stunt has taken over comics publishing. If it isn't big, if heroes don't die, if worlds don't change, then, many feel the stories aren't worth reading."

A-freaking-men! Wolfman wrote that in 1998! I'll bet he's still saying it. Even louder. This whole Civil War/Identity Crisis thing is like what Hollywood does when a movie makes a surprising amount of money. They keep making it again and again but each generation is weaker than the one before it.

Wolfman then goes on to address the "Why did you kill X?" questions he gets every time he leaves the house. His answer: "Lay off! We didn't kill that many specific characters. We had good story and continuity reasons for the ones we did kill." Of course, he said it more politely than that. Marv's that kinda guy.

One last thing: Wolfman decided not to kill any character who had been created before he was born. Still that left him with a bunch of opportunities to cull the herd. I wonder if he had a hit list of characters he hated like all those lame-ass villains Scourge killed back in the day.


(Dr.) Strange things are afoot

Happy Seventh Blogday to Neilalien!

Spirits In The Material World

There are a few things in this report from NYCC that do not fill me with hope regarding the proposed Spirit movie. Chief among them: Frank Miller's involvement. I am really enjoying Darwyn Cook's comic and I adore Eisner's work but it looks like they might Sin City-ize this film and that would not be a good thing. Denny Colt does not need to be played by Bruce Willis.

Although the possibility of an animated version makes me feel a bit better.


One more thing

Mike Richardson-Bryan reveals Batman's Five Stages of Grief

Brad Pitt to play Owly (That can't be right)

I loves me some Owly. Owly for president! Andy Runton talks about the li'l feller.

"Make your own comic" contest.

This article about Wondercon has a nice bit in the middle about Al Feldstein, the editor of MAD

Not entirely comics-related but nearly so: Straczynski develops "World War Z for Brad Pitt.

CBR has a fairly long piece about DC's Minx line.


Civil War is teh suk

Jim Roeg actually read all the Civil War issues! Not only that, he wrote an excellent essay about them which echoes (and expands upon) my thoughts about Mark Millar's writing.

The Immortal Iron Fist #3 - Marvel (2007)

There were 1652 artists involved in this issue. OK, four but they sure do take up a lot of real estate on the credits page. David Aja, as the guy drawing the modern-day stuff, did the vast majority of the art. Travel Foreman, Derek Fridolfs and Russ Heath contributed some brief "Iron Fists of Yore" inserts. They're all good but Aja's work is outstanding. From close-ups to sweeping cityscapes, every panel of his is gorgeous and evocative. Helping out all the artists is Matt Hollingsworth on colors. His palette is mostly muted which works perfectly with the story and setting. The art is the star of this show.

The story is good. There's nothing ground-breaking, just a good, solid "Iron Fist vs. Hydra" tale. It's possible to write Hydra for laughs, not as easy as it is to do that with A.I.M., but the jokes tell themselves what with the pajamas and the Nazis and such. Ed Brubaker & Matt Fraction did not go that route. Their Hydra is full of scary, brainwashed badasses you don't want to end up on the wrong side of. Iron Fist's opponents in this story are drawn from every cool Hong Kong movie out there. It's even got twins who turn into cranes! That right there was worth the price of admission.

The Civil War storyline creeps its way into the title here and there but for the most part it stays in the background where it belongs.

Excellent art + good story + cool bad guys = This stays in my hold box.

Local #8 - Oni (2007)

Looking for a non-superhero comic? Local may be the one for you. It sure is for me. The series follows Megan, a sort of indie everywoman, as she moves from city to city. She was 18 in the first issue and each subsequent story moves forward about a year so the final issue (#12) will wrap up when she's 30. Megan is truly dynamic. She is not only in a different city each issue she is a different person. We watch her grow and change and while the process is bumpy at times it's an enjoyable ride.

There are no superpowers or supernatural elements, here. Megan runs into the same situations the reader might. She makes mistakes, she sometimes learns from them and things don't always get wrapped up neatly. The issues have been presented in various manners. One of them juxtaposed a letter from Megan to her cousin with that cousin's daily life. This issue finds Megan waitressing in Chicago. She's 26 now and starting to grow out of a lot of the behaviors of her youth. Both the writer, Brian Wood, and the artist, Ryan Kelly, refer to this issue as a "Love Story" (quotes included) and it certainly is that. It's not a romantic comedy. In fact, it's almost not romantic at all and that is a refreshing change from the Official Hollywood Version.

The interiors are black-and-white which gives it a Cinéma Vérité feel. It's as if we're getting to see more than was intended which adds an extra thrill to the stories. The back issues should still be around and since each story is self-contained it doesn't really matter where you start. It's nice to see Megan's progression from place to place but the chronology is not vital to enjoyment of the series.

I'll be sad to see this one end and I'd like to see Wood and Kelly team up again.

I'm just talkin' 'bout linkblogging

Chris Sims saves you twenty five bucks.

Roman Dirge (of Lenore and other projects) has this to say after a piece of his ceiling fell on him: "You can't conquer the world by feeling bad for yourself and playing Warcraft all day." Good advice for us all.

IGN reports that Edgar Wright is set to adapt Ant Man and Scott Pilgrim as movies. Weird combination.

21 Demons is either going to be made of pure awesome or it will make me feel older just for opening it. I'll let this description speak for itself:

"Merged with the power of a dragon , elf and angel the lead character, Neil Smithers - a British fire-fighter - finds himself caught in the immortal war between heaven and hell."

Oh, and don't forget about Free Comic Book Day!


The Spirit #3 - DC (2007)


The first two issues of Darwyn Cooke's resurrection of The Spirit were outstanding but issue #3 is the first one that felt like the Eisner comics. This is not to say that Cooke (who is writing as well as drawing) is doing Eisner all over again. With this issue, Cooke has made the character his own while building on the original material. It's like a cover of a jazz standard. The same melody is there but the new performer makes it different with his voice and interpretation. The words and images mesh so smoothly that I actually heard voices in my head during the voiceover panels.

J. Bone (inks) and Dave Stewart (colors) build on Cooke's pencils to turn each issue into a travelogue of The Spirit's world. Said world owes as much to Bruce Timm's Gotham City and psychedelia as it does to Eisner. It's a cool, scary, dangerous-looking place. You can keep your Sin Cities, I want to move next door to The Spirit.

The Spirit is the kind of guy who just doesn't get down. Bad things happen to him on a regular basis but he continues to leap into danger with a grin and a wink. The story in this issue is my favorite so far. Issue #2 gave it some stiff competition but I'm a sucker for "Secret Origin" stories. The characters are well-developed and interesting. Even the "Central-Casting" mad scientist has some entertaining quirks.

If you like things that are cool, check out The Spirit.

Also, check out the cover for issue #2. This is one of my favorite covers ever. It's an excellent shorthand for the tone of the series. Other cover artists should pay attention to how effective Cooke's images are. You know what you're getting into but it leaves all kinds of room for surprises.


Support Your FLCS

This week's haul was light again. What is up with that? I don't have any Civil War or 52-related titles on my pull list (well, except for Iron Fist which acknowledges CW as little as it can get away with) so that shouldn't be slowing them down. I guess I've just managed to spread my titles evenly over the release schedule. Financially it's a boon, though, since I'm spending far less per week at the FLCS than I am used to.

Speaking of comic shops, I urge you to go to a funnybook store near you and, y'know, buy some comics. Better yet, bring a friend or relative along! If you know of a good store, tell your friends. Set up a pull list if you can. Buy some trades. Look through their back issues for Silver-Age stories you can make fun of in your blog.

Finally, Warren Ellis asked the following question in the latest BAD SIGNAL:

"Is 'Nurse Igor' a bad name for a female character?"

Why would he even ask such a question? The universal answer can only be a resounding "No". "Nurse Igor" is quite possibly the best name for any sort of character ever.

Although, Captain Satan is certainly high on the list.


New (to me) blogs and 300

Added to the sidebar: The Illest Integer, Ye Olde Comick Booke Blogge, BibliOdyssey.

Oh, and Again with the comics.

Every trailer I see for 300 makes me want to see it more. I liked the graphic novel and it looks like this movie will work really well on screen. I thought Sin City didn't translate well. Well, actually, I thought it translated too well. Those testosterone-filled stories worked remarkably well in book form but when they were put through the 3-D photocopy effect of the movie they came off as a weird mix of tedious and disgusting.

300 looks like it's going to be the sort of testosterone-filled story that will really kick ass as a movie. Oh, and it's gonna be on IMAX. Dang.


Things I Wish I'd Thought Of

Original content tomorrow. Until then, enjoy this comment from Kin Leung on Comic Geek Speak's Quarters In The Jar section.

If the Illuminati ever becomes a movie, may I suggest:

Reed Richards =Anthony Michael Hall =the Brain
Black Bolt =Ally Sheedy =the Quiet One
Doctor Strange =Judd Nelson =the Stoner
Iron Man =Emilio Estevez =the Jock
Namor =Molly Ringwald =the Princess
Professor X =Paul Gleason =the Principal

I would call it "Michael Bendis Ultimate Breakfast Club"

Post-day-off Linkblogging

Todd Alcott and Chris Sims each show us that nothing says "Presidents Day" like comics!

MySpace opens comics hub. Now comic geeks can hang out online with all the bands and sluts.

Check out this Comic Book Exhibit at FSU. Nothing senses-shattering for your average comic geek but there are some cool comments throughout.

And finally: The Complete Pogo is coming!


Gødland #16 - Image (2007)

I'm KIRBY-Riffic!

What can you get for 60 cents these days? A kick in the head, sure, but even that's not as much fun as Gødland! This issue is really cheap in order to serve as a jumping-on point for Gødland.

It's a recap of the series' previous events and, boy, a lot has happened since issue #1. Speaking of #1, you can view the whole thing online at this Newsarama page. It'll make a nice companion to the recap issue.

As recaps go, this one is pretty good. It's not quite the comic version of a clip show but it's close. It has all original art and it wraps it in a discussion among America's military dudes about how to handle the "Adam Archer Problem". There's even a little bit of new story in this issue and a fun ending.

So, go ahead, plunk down a little change, check out the first-issue link above (or the one for #8 right here) and see if Gødland's totally your bag, baby.

It's totally mine!

Quick Link

Brian Cronin at Comics Should Be Good is doing an excellent series on Comic Book Urban Legends. Here's the latest installment.

Stormwatch: Post Human Division #4 - Wildstorm (2007)

Hey, these things chafe.

I really liked Warren Ellis's run on Stormwatch. Apparently, Christos Gage did too. This issue of Stormwatch: PHD makes several references to that era. It even has a "ladies' night out" scene reminiscent of one of Ellis's own. This is not to say that Gage is aping Ellis; he has made Stormwatch his own. The collection of characters looks kind of like "Sidekick Squad meets the Legion of Substitute Heroes" but each of them kicks ass in his or her own way. Their abilities are cool as are their personalities. There's the usual couple of ex-bad guys to keep things interesting but the nominal good guys are just as messed up.

Given that we're only two or three months away from issue #6 there may be a trade out soon but this book reads quite well as individual issues. Each one has been fairly self-contained with the occasional reference to earlier issues.

Doug Mahnke's art is squiggly and weird-looking and it works beautifully with this book. He really plays up the weirdness factor of non-powered guys fighting super villains. Also, there's a short scene between Jackson King and the leader of the PHD which I'm still laughing about and it's largely due to Mahnke's art.

My favorite part of this comic is how non-freaked-out the members of this team are when faced with something like the guy on the cover up there. Their lack of powers is more than made up for by their experience. If you like to see well-rounded characters kick ass, this may be the book for you.

Green Lantern Corps #9 - DC (2007)

The "Green Lantern Corpse" storyline is over and the ending was pretty cool. Keith Champagne writes Guy Gardner as a better-rounded character than others have. Gardner takes his role as a Green Lantern seriously even if he's the "rogue cop nobody wants to partner with". This storyline has Gardner mixed up with the GLC's black ops division. They're so secret they don't even know they're in it. It's a "plausible deniability" outfit for the Guardians of the Galaxy and you'd think that it would be right up Gardner's alley.

Not entirely.

That conflict is a lot of fun to read and Champagne never lets it get tedious.

Also, we get to see what a badass Durlan can do. For those of you with more of a life than I have, Durlans are shapeshifters. You see, Chameleon from the Legion of Super-Heroes is a Durlan and... Never mind. This Durlan subscribes to the "Disney Magicians' Duel" school of fighting and he kicks ass.

The art (Patrick Gleason on pencils, Prentiss Rollins & Ray Snyder on inks) is not spectacular but it works with the story. There were a couple of action scenes I had to look at twice to get what was going on but there were no major visual hurdles. Moose Baumann did an excellent job on the colors, as usual. The explosions and energy blasts really popped.

I don't care much for the current Green Lantern title but that's because it's not "Corps"-y enough for me. These guys are doing great things with the Corps and I'm looking forward to issue #10.


Astonishing X-Men #20 - Marvel (2007)

Joss Whedon did a great job revealing Astonishing X-Men's big surprise (i.e. bringing Colossus back). This issue is full of little surprises. I like pleasant surprises. They help alleviate the crushing pressure of existence and keep me from curling up in a corner and weeping all day.

Woah. Sorry about that.

But seriously, folks, Whedon gets the X-Men. He groks what makes them cool and he does interesting things with their relationships. There are a couple of panels which show how comfortable Emma is with her powers as well as her attitude towards the world. Much like his TV shows and movies Whedon balances the funny with the deep, the contemplative with the ass kicking.

The only speedbump in this storyline for me is the storyline itself. I find the whole interstellar prophecy thing a bit silly but I am enjoying the stuff that's happening because of it. If you haven't picked up the issues leading up to this one you're probably better off waiting for the trade. It should be a really good read all at once.

John Cassaday's art has been consistently good since issue #1 but this time he gets some really big things to draw. If Planetary has taught us anything it's that Cassaday excels at drawing big things in space. When I become a famous comic writer I'm gonna write a comic which features Mogo and The Celestials as a crossover team. They'll fly around the universe fighting crime. The entire series will have four enormous panels that you'll have to assemble after you've bought all the issues and Cassaday will draw it. After that I'll retire to my island and eat nutella all day.


JLA: The "L" is for Love

Todd Alcott brings us some Love: JLA Style just in time for Significant-Other-Guilt-Trip Day.

Webcomics are people, too

Shortpacked takes on the Secret origins of the Justice League



Yesterday's Comics Today!

Here's a quick rundown of my opinions on my latest haul. It was a light week so there aren't many.

New Universal #3 - Marvel (2007)

Salvador Larroca's art continues to blow me away. Warren Ellis is giving Larroca some really good things to draw. This issue establishes more of the history of the world and makes it even cooler than the first two issues did. The extended infodump/argument partway through the book was the only speedbump.

Behold the art!
I will raise such a welt on you!

Johah Hex #16 - DC (2007)
Make sure you get my good side.

Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray are the new Giffen and DeMatteis. They are an awesome writing team with incredible range. They are this close to being on my "I will buy anything by these guys" list. This new story is your typical "woman with incredibly bad life becomes a one-eyed badass" tale and it's off to a damn good start. The art is spectacular, as well. The only thing that keeps me from completely enjoying this book is the way they write western accents. I have no problem with dropping all the final g's but the frequent use of "yore" for "your" is getting on my nerves.

Fell #7 - Image (2007)

This issue has Ben Templesmith's best art yet. Check out the cover:

Dont...take...the...brown...tab, man

The interior has more of the same.

Speaking of more of the same, Warren Ellis's writing on this issue is just that. Which is to say it's good. We learn a little more about Snowtown, a little more about Fell and we get to see him out-clever himself. Good stuff all for a buck 99!

Astro City: The Dark Age Book 2 #2 - Wildstorm (2007)
It's all right.  We're from space.

This book gets better with every page. The Apollo Eleven show up and everyone freaks out. Well, as much as anyone in Astro City is able to freak out anymore.

"Another giant spectral figure, you say? Is this one setting anything on fire? Then let it be."

The "everyman" reaction to superhero antics has been done many times but the way the two main characters are hooked into the action makes for a compelling read. Excellent art, too.

A few more links

Real content later today but check out the stuff below.

Mike Sterling brings us a Green Arrow distillation. If Kevin Smith's run had looked more like this I would have kept reading.

Todd Alcott adds to the ongoing goo vs. radiation discussion.

Amanda Waller was on my list for an upcoming installment of the "Badass Files" but Tom Foss beat me to the punch. Get it? Badass? Punch? Oh, I kill me.