Man of the Moment


Sean William Scott


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dorianwright [at] gmail[dot]com


"Reading his blog is like watching a beloved 50's Rat Pack Vegas act"--Larry Young
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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Question for the Ages 

An ongoing point of discussion with several of my friends and I is: which group of people is more prone to an over-developed sense of entitlement and the kind of narcissistic rage that can only come from an excess of privilege, video game fans or comic book fans? I mean, on the one hand, I've never seen comic book fans actually complain about publishers and artists actually expect to be paid for their work, and yet I see video game fans constantly complain that add-ons for video games should be free. But then, on the other hand, I've never seen video game fans complain that Nintendo is being disrespectful to them by ignoring their fan-fiction in which Mario is fucking Link.

So I was greatly amused when I found this in an article about the upcoming Watchmen game:


"Noble antihero"? Well, of course he is! If there's one thing (one thing?) that video game and comic book fans have in common, it's the inability to recognize that a protagonist may not necessarily be intended as a figure of admiration. That Rorschach is deeply mentally disturbed just makes him even more "bad ass."

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

And Now, a Word from Star Trek Fans 

So, let's get this out of the way first: I'm not a Star Trek fan. In fact, I dislike Star Trek more than I dislike Star Wars. To further put that into perspective, I'm a Doctor Who fan who will hash out seeming continuity errors with friends for fun, and I still think that people who like Star Trek have an unhealthy attachment to the show.

Recently, some footage from the upcoming reboot of the franchise, directed by J.J. Abrams, was shown in London, and Empire had a spoiler-heavy post about it up.

But, let's look to see how the Trek fans responded:
References are no good if they're misplaced and misused. Kirk entering the Academy AFTER Uhura? Chekov serving with Pike? I've seen better fanfic stories with better consistency, AND THEY'RE SPENDING OVER A HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS ON THIS IDIOCY!?! It's not honoring canon, it's meaningless pandering by hacks who haven't got a clue what they're doing.


"I agree with Capt April that they're not following canon but then that would be extremely limiting in what the filmmakers do..."

Shouldn't that be one of the reasons these jokers get paid more than the average 7/11 slurpee monkey, who could come up with a story just as good as this?

Yes, it's limiting. The skill and talent to work WITHIN those limits are the mark of creative professionals.

Interestingly, the only other place I've seen this particular point articulated in this fashion is in defense of super-hero fan-fiction...

But maybe I'm not being fair to the Trek fans...let's take a look at what those masters of reasoned and rational debate at Ain't It Cool News have to say:
Who the hell is he making this movie for? It can't be the old school Trekkies who've kept the franchise going for 40 years with their support and money. Call me a basement dwelling contnuity nerd all you want, but the Enterprise built in Iowa on Earth? Chekov on Pikes Enterprise as a member of the bridge crew? Kirk as a malcontent badboy? This isn't a just a re-imagining, it's a big FU to anyone over 30 who's followed Trek at all over the years. It's teen angst Trek aimed at grabbing a different demographic than the increasingly older audience that has made Paramount over a billion dollars. If you're new to Trek you may love it, but it sure won't be my Star Trek.

I fail to see how any of that is a bad thing. I can't imagine this mindset. I can't imagine loving something so much that you want to see it die from lack of interest. Again, I'm a Who fan, and I'm ecstatic that the show is successful and popular again, and if the price I have to pay for that are Rose/Ten 'ship sites and no resolution over Ace's fate, that's a price I'm willing to pay.

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Monday, September 08, 2008

Death in Comic Books is Always Permanent 



Except For:

  • Adam Warlock
  • Alfred Pennyworth
  • Anton Arcane
  • Aunt May
  • Blue Devil
  • Bucky
  • Bullseye
  • Captain America (Pending)
  • Captain Cold
  • Cluemaster
  • Colossus
  • Creeper
  • Crimson Fox
  • Doctor Doom
  • Doctor Octopus
  • Donna Troy
  • Dove II
  • Drax the Destroyer
  • Elasti-Girl
  • Elektra
  • Farenheit
  • Flash
  • Fuji
  • Galactus
  • Gamora
  • Gen 13 et al
  • Golden Eagle
  • Goldstar
  • Green Arrow
  • Guardian (Alpha Flight)
  • Hal Jordan
  • Harry Osborn
  • Hawkman
  • Heat Wave
  • Hellstrike
  • Hipolyta
  • Hourman I
  • Ice
  • Iron Man
  • Isis
  • Jason Todd
  • Jericho
  • Karma
  • Killowog
  • Libra
  • Lightning Lad
  • Lori Lemaris
  • Magik
  • Magneto
  • Metamorpho
  • Mirror Master II
  • Negative Man
  • Nick Fury
  • Nighthawk (Earth 616)
  • Norman Osborn
  • Northstar
  • Owlman
  • Phoenix
  • Pip the Troll
  • Professor X
  • Red Tornado
  • Reed Richards
  • Resurrection Man
  • Rick Flag Jr.
  • Robotman II
  • Sargon the Sorcerer
  • Sharon Carter
  • Sinestro
  • Spoiler
  • Starman (Ditko Version)
  • Stel
  • Storm
  • Sue Dibney
  • Super Woman (Crime Syndicate)
  • Supergirl
  • Superman
  • Terra
  • Thanos
  • The Chief
  • The Kents
  • Thor
  • "Thunderbolt" Ross
  • Ultraman
  • Vision
  • Weather Wizard
  • Wildfire (Erg-1)
  • Winter
  • Wonder Man
  • Wonder Woman

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Odds 'n Ends 

Dear Mark Millar,



No, that doesn't happen. Oh, sure, I've heard those sub-Dane Cook level comedians make those same sophomoric jokes: "Hnurr hnurr, I wish I was a lesbian, I'd just stare at myself all day, amiritefellas?"
It's not funny. It's really kind of offensively stupid. And the joke really doesn't translate when being applied to gay men. Especially not when it appears in a comic aimed at 25-35 year old man-children who would probably shriek in terror at the thought of a nude gay man.
And yes, this is me being appalled at something in the worst comic since Skate Man. A fool's errand at the best of times.




Speaking of people who have apparently never met a real-life homosexual, I'm a little weary of people trying to make the Machine Gun Joe character in Death Race some sort of indicator of the progress of gay characters in mainstream films.
In the film, when the question of the character's sexuality is introduced, it is quite clear from the context that it's just a homophobic taunt. From one of the likable "good" characters, naturally, homophobic insults still being something that it's okay for protagonists in mainstream films to say. Unlike smoking or racist insults.
Now, I'm aware that some of the film-makers have said that the character is meant to be gay, while others have not. In any case, there is nothing in the film itself to suggest the character is gay, save that insult. The character himself never declares himself to be gay. And the one vaguely "homoerotic" moment in the film is almost instantly deflected by the normalizing return of heterosexual values.
In a way, the film-makers have stumbled upon a neat trick; they get to take credit for a "ground-breaking" gay character in an action film without ever actually having to deal with a gay character.




So, I keep thinking about Kevin's posts about bad retailing decisions, mostly because I'm baffled that smart people keep missing Kevin's point so badly. Either they think it's a good thing for a retailer in a small margins business to actively discourage sales in the names of "integrity"--which is an argument that really phenomenally misses the point that comic shops being run like club houses instead of businesses is bad for the industry, or they keep bringing in this asinine restaurateur metaphor, as if a waiter suggesting the crab cakes because the clams with linguine are a bit off tonight is anything remotely like a retailer sending out a mass e-mailing to existing and potential customers insinuating that they're idiots if they like a comic he doesn't.
It all makes me reconsider that "smart" adjective.
But what I keep coming back to is that telling your customers your opinion of a book, and still selling it to them, are not mutually exclusive.
Amazing Spider-Man #2338; While many fans, myself included, were upset with what it took to bring the character to the new status-quo, the new creative teams on this title have met with critical and commercial success. A new storyline starts here for those curious about what's been going on.
Astonishing X-People #2222; While the combination of Ellis and Bianchi are not to my taste, a new storyline starts here, tying in to the larger "Manifest Destiny" branding in the X-books. It's a good jumping on point for those who enjoy Ellis's super-hero work.


Hey, whoa, did you see that there? I gave as neutral a judgement as I could while still finding a way to tell interested customers to check the book out. And it was easy.
Of course, this doesn't address the concerns of those bloggers who see nothing wrong with what the retailer in question did because he was bashing super-hero books in his newsletter. But I'm sure that if he had slapped a big NOT BUY on Kramer's Ergot or Love and Rockets, the art-comix bloggers would have had my back.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Potpourri 











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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Next Crotch-Panic Preview 

So, there's this Avengers/Invaders book coming out. And it looks like it might be okay. Kind of fun, and it's get Steve Sadowski on art.

But, lately, a certain number of funs have been getting antsy over any suggestion of males with external genitalia in comics Alex Ross is involved in...
And, honestly, given the sorts of things they're complaining about, it's quite clear that they don't know what the hell they're talking about.

Luckily, the free preview of Avengers/Invaders you can pick up at your local comic book shop does feature some drawings of super-heroes with bulges that actually, you know, bulge.







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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

For the Record, Only Two Annoy Me 



10) U.N.I.T. dating
9) Season 6B
8) Cartmel Master Plan
7) Russell T. Davies
6) Gay Agenda
5) Half Human
4) Bonnie Langford
3) Adric
2) Granddaughter
1) Looms

Every Doctor Who fan in the world, I can guarantee, is annoyed by at least one of the phrases above.

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Monday, April 07, 2008

Oh Comic Fans...Never Change 

A new Batman cartoon is announced.

Comic fans react accordingly:
With a name like Brave & The Bold i'd hoped we'd get a faithful cartoon for the geek crowd, but thats just insane.



Yes, clearly it is insane to design a cartoon for children and then market it to children, instead of forty-year-olds obsessed with the minutiae of their own childhood.

I'm vaguely disappointed that the promo images haven't prompted this reaction:


But then I remember that if I give it enough time, it will...

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Crotch-Gate Strikes Back 

Just when I thought we had finally put that nonsense behind us once and for all, Crotch Fear rears it's ugly head once again. Unsurprisingly, this time it's another Alex Ross cover that has led fanboys to the uncomfortable realization that men have external genitalia.

Here's the cover, so that we have an idea of what the hell they're going on about.


And here's what they had to say about it, in a thread titled "What's the deal with Alex Ross, JSA and penises?:"
Why are you looking?


Of course Ross will throw in some pantyless snatch from time-to-time, so it all evens out


Maybe he is teh ghey.


I think Alex Ross is repressing something.


That's some lovely gay-baiting, innit?

To be fair, unlike the last time this nonsense reared it's head, most people acknowledge that it's not a big deal that Alan Scott isn't a Ken doll, but there's still that element of shock that some people seem to get at the merest suggestion of a penis in a picture. I know a lot of straight men labor under this belief that their penis is the only one in the world, and that's why everyone wants it, and the suggestion that there are other ones out there sends them into an existential panic, but come on...this is what people think an erect penis looks like?


That is not an erect penis; that's an intense, soft light shining on reflective material. Ross if far from one of my favorite artists, but technically he's very good, and all he's done there is a very slight suggestion of an absolutely normal pants bulge on a man. It's nothing to be excited about.

Here, this is what an erect penis looks like:

And again:


You'll notice they appear to be pointing in one direction. If Alan Scott is pointing with that tiny bulge, and comic fans think that's a big penis, then the significant others of comic fans must be very disappointed.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Obscurity Is Joy 

The new DC solicitations have been released, and these are the ones containing the first solicitations for Final Crisis and the, by the scale of these things, modest number of cross-overs. And, predictably, I've already seen, here and there, a few mumblings of discontent over the fact that, judging by these early solicitations, two obscure and nearly forgotten villains are at the center of Final Crisis, namely Libra and the Human Flame. "Oh, why can't it be someone important, like Darkseid or Mongul or Sinestro?" they say. "Why can't it be someone cool, like Hush or the Joker or Doomsday?" a few say as well.

Well, bah to the whiners I say, because:


There are a couple of very good reasons to use obscure characters for a project like this. Primarily, minor and forgotten characters are great tools for writers. They have no huge backlog of history or continuity to get tangled up with. They're blanks, and a good writer will take that blank and turn it into whatever they want it to be. History, motivation, personality; the characters were one-off and one-note when they first appeared, now they can be more.
But more importantly, there's a very practical reason why a minor Justice League villain and an unknown Martian Manhunter villain are ideal for a project like this. Frankly, no one cares about them. They're not going to be appearing in any movies. They're not going to be featured in any cartoons. No one is clamoring for a Libra lunch-box. This means that Morrison is free to do...pretty much anything he wants with or to them, and no one is going to be terribly upset. No marketing or licensing opportunities of significance will be lost if the Human Flame is killed off. No will send death threats to Morrison if Libra dies in the story.
Well, except for the people who post to scans_daily, and they whine if a character so much as stubs their toe in a comic.




Also of note: DC Universe Special: Justice League of America, reprinting issues 111, 166, 167 and 168 of the original Justice League series. These would be the issues that feature Libra and the Secret Society of Super-Villains, including the infamous "the Society does a mind-swap with the League" story that so many DC writers have referenced in recent years.

And, of course, more Wildcat:

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

How Internet Fandom Works 

I point out this article to Ken because I think it's an interesting look at how the producer of a successful sci-fi show approaches online fandom.

Ken uses that article as a springboard to talk about the negative extremes some fans go to.

Mike and I both link to Ken's piece because we think it's good writing and makes a point worth listening to.

Hysterical, over-sensitive fans take offense at what Ken wrote because, frankly, he described their behavior and attitude to a "t."

Andrew points out that the hysterical, over-sensitive fans basically proved Ken's point for him.

I write about all this because, honestly, I'm laughing my ass off at the echo-chamber Ken was talking about being shown in action so perfectly.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Sugar-coating It 

One of the quirks of online fandoms is their...interesting attitude towards the truth. When a fan says something is "true" it doesn't necessarily mean what a non-fan might think it means. So, as a public service, and with pretty pictures to help make the lesson more interesting, in ascending order from "least true" to "most true" in the eyes of fans, I present:











Why, yes, they are in the right order. These are fans remember...

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Monday, February 04, 2008

From Hell's Heart I Stab At Thee! 

I only occasionally bother to do a full score look at Previews. Frankly, there's too many other people out there doing it. So I really have to hold off on it unless there is sufficient material I find appalling enough to merit taking the time to do one. And by "appalling enough" what I mean is: I feel the need to go wash a couple layers of skin off with a pumice stone when I contemplate being in the same building as people who want to own these things.

Yeah, this was one of those months...

Liberty Meadows Keychain Trading Figures—Page 63
How to get me to buy Frank Cho merchandise:

Make me a little duckling riding a dachsund.
(There's going to be a huge-breasted woman on the package, isn't there?)


Cybercontroller Statue—Page 64
I'm a fairly shameless Doctor Who fan, and the success of the new series has meant that, finally, I can get my hands on decent merchandise. And still…

A $300 "Weta Collectibles" Cyberman statue? No.
(We will not mention the $330 Dalek statue…)

Spawn: Age of Pharohs—Jackal King—Page 177
Okay, the picture isn't that great, but:

It's nice to see McFarlane toys finally putting out a toy with a noticeable package in addition to the obligatory female figure with big…assets.

Secret Invasion—Marvel Previews Page 41
Only two cross-over titles…that's positively restrained. 'Couse, I'm not the slightest bit interested. Largely this is due to the series getting sadled with an artist not even remotely the slightest bit to my taste. But also because I already sat through this storyline with the Dire Wraiths. And the Manhunters.
(It wasn't very good those last two times, either.)

Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle—Page 266
No joke, I just wanted to be sure Pete saw that a Harry Dresden comic was coming out.

The Nye Incidents—Page 274
A new graphic novel from Devil's Due. This is the first line of the ad:

Okay, so we're looking at some sort of non-fiction comic, like Palestine or something by Harvey Pekar, right?

Ah, so "True Events" is evidently a typo for "Unadulterated Bullshit." Devil's Due really should hire a better proof-reader.

Thirsty For Love—Page 290
This is the description for this yaoi title from Digital Manga Publishing's June' imprint:
Orie Nakano’s girlfriend is cheating on him with two other men! One is the mysteriously untouchable Tatsumi, and the other is the basketball-playing upperclassman that Orie idolizes.
But things are far from being as simple as they seem, and now the three men are inevitably pulled towards each other and bond together by their love for Yuka, which extends much farther than just the girl herself. Love, admiration and lust intermingle around them in an inescapable spiral in this coming of age sexy romance.

Teenage boys sleeping with the same girl leads, somehow, to gay sex…Yeah…You know, some gay men really don't like the way yaoi depicts gay men. Plots like this sort of drive home why.

Mack Bolan, The Executioner: The Devil's Tools—Page 306
Given how many comic-book characters are thinly disguised riffs on Mack Bolan, it's nicely full circle that a new comic featuring the character is coming out.
Man, The Executioner. I can remember a time when there were two or three bays full of "men's adventure" novels in every bookstore I ever went to. I can't even remember the last time I saw even a single copy of something in the genre in a bookstore. Low sales killed off the genre, I guess. Well, to be more specific, the self-fulfilling prophecy of "men don't read/let's not put out light reading for men" killed the genre. Now I can find seven or eight bays worth of books about plucky young women going to the big city and getting their dream job and a guy who will put them in their place (but for the love of all that's holy, don't call the book a "romance").
I don't even like men's adventure novels (well, the cover art is usually a hoot) and I feel put out that the genre's gone…

Captain Action #0—Page 319
Really Moonstone? That's the license you went after?

Okay, I'm scanning the next two, because if I don't someone's going to call me a liar:


Okay, I'm going to save all of you lovely people $220. The comics industry started when a bunch of gangsters looking to launder their money found a way to cheat a bunch of teenagers and people who couldn't break into real illustration jobs out of their intellectual property. They made a lot of money doing so and have done their level best to whittle away their audience ever since. Now we are left with an industry where Marvel and DC screw Diamond, Diamond screws every other publisher, everybody screws retailers and fans complain that they're not being sufficiently coddled to.
Honestly, what's the market for these books? I'm picturing them appealing to the same sort of people who sign up for a $2000 course in "How to Save Money."

A Whole Shitload of Indiana Jones Novels—Page 408
If I'm not mistaken, all these books are reprints of the novels that came out after Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, when Lucasfilm tried to create an "Expanded Universe" for the Indiana Jones films, given that it didn't seem likely that a fourth film would be made and they had to get more income off the property somehow.
I made the mistake of reading one of them once.
I'd advise against them.

Family Guy Presents Episode IV: A New Hope Premium Trading Cards--420
Trading cards based on the Star Wars parody episode of the worst animated series since Capitol Critters.
I'm not going to make fun of anyone who buys these. How could I possibly add to your shame?

American Flagg! Ltd Edition Hardcover Book Set—Page 427
This is not the long-awaited new collection of this series. No, this is a set of old hard-covers that were, presumably, sitting around in some warehouse somewhere. I can't help but feel that the presence of this listing in the catalog should be taken as a sign that the new collection still won't be coming out anytime soon.
I expect we'll see the next issue of Ultimate Hulk vs Wolverine before we see that collection.

The Golden Compass Basic Action Figures—Page 446
In case you somehow missed picking these up when every toy store in the country had shelf after shelf of pegwarmers going unwanted before Christmas…

The Princess Bride: Talking Dread Pirate Roberts Plush—Page 450

Oh, I hope it's in scale with the Another Country plush dolls!

Randy Bowen's Gargoyle Statue—Page 466
Get it now, before Disney's lawyers get wind of it:

I'm just sayin'…


Medieval Wooden Sword—Page 518

I love this little reminders of the fact that Diamond still considers head shops and Ren Faires to be an important part of their business model.

Labyrinth Door Knocker—Page 519

I just want to draw your attention to one line here: "…One can hardly speak and the other can hardly hear, making them a form of living irony."
i-ro-ny, noun, "the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning."
A door knocker that cannot speak or hear because of where the ring is placed really doesn't fit that definition. At all.
(This observation submitted by Little Mikey Sterling, Aged 52, of Greater San Buenaventura, California)

Sweeney Todd Razor Prop Replica—Page 521

This has been your "oh dear God, these fucking prop replicas need to fucking stop already" entry for the month.

Doctor Who Micro Universe Game—Page 535

Doctor Who clicky-style collectable miniature game? Oh, my yes.Yes yes yes.

Eleven Men Out DVD—Page 548
I nearly dropped my copy of Previews when I came across this. In the midst of all the anime, bargain-basement horror films, nerd-core television shows and soft-core porn, Diamond is soliciting a European film about a gay soccer team. It's unprecedented!
I wonder what they thought they were soliciting…

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Phrase of the Day 

Still moving, updates still to be spotty, so amuse yourselves with this:

NONA...Nerds Only Need Apply

I was thinking of this while reading a discussion of the new Star Trek film, and how my gut feeling is that the franchise hasn't lain fallow long enough to remove the stigma of being for a hard-core cult audience that a new film version needs to be viable. That, to be truly effective, the franchise needs a Doctor Who or Battlestar Galactica length gap between old and new versions; long enough to make the old fans happy it's back, but also long enough to make the wider audience comfortably nostalgic for it. At this point, it doesn't matter how many pretty young men you pack into the film (and boy howdy, are they packing them into this movie...almost as if they're deliberately banking on gay men and slashing fangirls shoring up the box office), the general public's opinion of Star Trek is that it's something for nerds, by nerds, and no one but nerds would have any interest in it.

But, I kind of like that turn of phrase, NONA, even if I must say so myself. And now I'm curious; what else out there in the pop culture spectrum do you think is being hurt (or helped) by the Nerds Only Need Apply attitude of creators?

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Discuss 

Actual message board quotes:

True writing talent comes from inspirational ideas, vision and creativity. The boring technical stuff can be done by others.

The characters are not there to serve your super-special plot. Rather, your plot should serve the characters. This a fundamental rule of writing in someone else's universe. *I* obey it and I don't even get paid, you fuckwads.

Two different people, two different message boards, two different fandoms. And yet, both very telling about the nature of fandom in general, I think. And you?

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

By Analogy 

This week's Shortpacked! features a particularly good look at a specific type of online criticism.

Also of note this Newsweek commentary on how video game critics, used to companies trying to appeal to a narrow demographic of hard-core gamers, have had difficulty coming to grips with the deliberately broad appeal of the Wii.
But of course, I'd never suggest that the Wii has any lessons to teach the comic book industry in this regard, oh no...narrow-casting to an increasingly diminishing audience is obviously a recipe for success...

Also also, because it deserves note, Andrew's tribute to the greatness that is Steve Lombard. His post-Crisis absence is another mistake Byrne must someday answer for...

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Odds 'n Ends 

A cartoon for fans of Sleestaks.

A very nice Wolverine drawing by J. Bone

Annotations for the new volume of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

An indispensable resource for translating Geek Speak




And now...Reviews of Comics I Haven't Read

All Star Superman #9: Man, I never would have seen the death of Superman coming, nor his elevation to godhood. What a completely unexpected twist. Too bad there are no utterly infallible online gossip columns with 100% accuracy records to have given us clues about that...
Oh, and I'm sure this will be a permanent and forever change to the Superman status quo, as well.

Batman and the Outsiders #1: Finally, Batman is being written as he was always meant to be written: as a homophobic prick.

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier: After the last two volumes, and the edgy Lost Girls, I think it was quite shocking to discover that this latest volume is a completely sincere and serious examination of the history of British children's television. I had no idea there was a secret connection between the Wombles, Balamory and Danger Mouse. Nor that it was so sinister in nature.

Amory Wars #4: Not only does this book completely justify the oft-mocked and long-neglected genre of "comics based on lyrics", but it completely justifies prog-rock as well!

Scott Pilgrim Vol. 4: Now this was an unexpected change of direction. I don't know, maybe it's me, but based on the previous volumes, I think having Scott realize the vapidity of his hipster lifestyle and become the figurehead of a mass-murdering cult...it's a bit of a darker turn than I think the series needed to go in.




And now, by request of Mike Sterling, PORN!



With added special deluxe bonus Ed Fury!

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

As It Ever Was 



That's from Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #124, dated July 1972. All it needs is a "you're raping my childhood by making Lucy Lane a dead crook" whine to be virtually indistinguishable from an average post on a contemporary comic book message board.
Well, and worse grammar and spelling.

Anyway, two issues later, came this missive:



Man, I'd love to know what this guy thought of the story from 128, where Lois and Marsha Mallow get trapped on the Isle of Lesbos...
Oh, because as if you couldn't tell, that was a man who wrote that letter. A man not at all comfortable with being reminded that, hey, women have opinions and there are people who aren't white in this world, while reading his "Emasculating Shrew and her Asshole Boyfriend Monthly" Lois Lane comics.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Little Things 

One more from Heart Throbs because it is fan-fucking-tastic:


Now that's how you tell off the emotionally abusive jerk who is blackmailing you into marriage with the threat of falsely accusing your room-mate of attempted murder, crazy green lady!




I plan on coming back to this, but since the comics blogosphere seems to be in the midst of another conversation about representation and privilege, I found this quote to be interesting:
A lot of the protests against the film in ‘80 said that it seemed to indicate that the gay lifestyle brought about murder, death, violence… and strangely, you know I find that so off-base. I never got the same criticism from the French government when I made The French Connection and the dope smuggler is a French guy and the guy working for him as his hit man is another French guy. And I never heard from French people that I was accusing all French people of smuggling heroin into America, but that was one of the tacks taken by the protests in 1980.--William Friedkin

Hey, how many problems with Friedkin's statement can you spot?




Short Thoughts on This Week's Comics

APOCALYPSE NERD #5 (OF 6)-- I prefer Bagge's earlier, funnier works. His current work is just further support of my theory that you can't put your politics before your art.

COUNTDOWN TO MYSTERY #1 (OF 8)-- I anticipate Steve Gerber's take on Dr. Fate more than having to hear more whining from the usual suspects about how DC is ill-serving Jeanclipso.

DR THIRTEEN ARCHITECTURE AND MORALITY TP-- Sheer brilliance.

EX MACHINA #30 (MR)-- Dropped because, at this point, the book is quite clearly not going anywhere with it's premise or characters.

GREEN ARROW BLACK CANARY WEDDING SPECIAL #1-- If you value your sanity, or even just your basic faith in the worthiness of humanity, I suggest you avoid any message board or LiveJournal discussion of this title.

PENANCE RELENTLESS #1 (OF 5)-- Oh, 1990, I missed you.

GIRLS OF VIVID 2008 WALL CALENDAR (MR)-- Man, the things Diamond considers worthy of carrying...




This morning's mid-shower realization: zombie covers are the new pogs.

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

Oh Please... 

If you know me, you know I have difficulty taking nerd outrage seriously. Partly, I think, it comes from having a low tolerance level for bullshit and insanity. But it also comes from working so long in comics retail, where week-in and week-out I'd see someone rant about how "Grant Morrison ruined the X-Men" and "I'm never buying another Marvel title until they fire Joe Quesada"...and then next week or the week after, there that person is, once again buying whatever it was they swore off of.

And so the latest comic target of fan anger that has me rolling my eyes is Amazons Attack. I'm not interested in defending the book; it is what it is, and I don't have the patience anymore to argue that point with people (i.e. what kind of quality did you expect for a mini tying into an upcoming event with some continuity patches thrown in?). But the complaints...man...look here, here and here.

This situation reminds me of what I've referred to as the "Booster Gold Situation" and the "Blue Beetle Situation." That is:
If you really think Booster Gold is dead/Wonder Woman is ruined, well clearly you've never read a super-hero comic before. This is all set-up, and it's explicitly presented as set-up. Just as there was no way in hell DC was going to promote the heck out of Booster Gold in 52 and then kill him off before the series reached the half-way mark, there's no way in heck DC is going to make this "new status quo" for Wonder Woman, the Greek gods and the Amazons permanent.
Likewise, if all the people now lamenting the death of Blue Beetle/ruining of Wonder Woman had, you know, actually been reading comics with Blue Beetle or Wonder Woman before now, instead of reading about them on message boards and copyright infringing LiveJournal groups, they'd have had the best-selling books on the market. So pardon me if I view your insistence that no, really, you're a big Blue Beetle/Wonder Woman fan with a bit of skepticism.

But, you know, there I go again, expecting rational or logical behavior from super-hero fans. More fool me, I guess.
So, in any case, lay off Will Pfeifer. His other work is good enough we can forgive him the odd, editorially mandated clunker.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

This Week 

Books I Bought On Wednesday

None! Hah! I don't buy books on Wednesday!




Books I Would Have Bought On Wednesday

BATMAN #668
Morrison brings so much joy.

BIRDS OF PREY #109
A consistently fun book, and I'm curious to see what Bedard brings to it.

BLUE BEETLE #18
The best Spider-Man book on the market.

COUNTDOWN 36
Screw you, I like it.

GREEN ARROW YEAR ONE #4 (OF 6)
Diggle and Jock, so a guaranteed sell. And Ollie doesn't come off as a complete tool. But that mischaracterization aside...

GREEN LANTERN CORPS #15
"Sinestro Corps War" is such a stupidly good idea.

JSA CLASSIFIED #29
Uhm, no idea...buyer's inertia? The overall ratio of "good" to "bad" is better than on JLA Classified.

OUTSIDERS FIVE OF A KIND WEEK 4 METAMORPHO AQUAMAN
Is it wrong of me to hope that New Wave will show up in this new version of Batman and the Outsiders at some point?

SHOWCASE PRESENTS WONDER WOMAN VOL 1 TP
These are dreadful, but in that semi-charming Silver Age nuttiness sort of way. Plus, you know, blogging fodder for dozens of people for weeks.

SPIRIT #9
Not sure if I'm going to stick with this past Cooke's departure.

SUPERGIRL AND THE LEGION OF SUPER HEROES #33
For Pete. I don't like this new version of the Legion at all.

SUPERMAN #666 (NOTE PRICE)
I really like what Busiek has been doing with the Superman books. Between him and Morrison, the books are the best they've been in decades.

ANNIHILATION CONQUEST STAR LORD #2 (OF 4)
That the presence of Rocket Raccoon is apparently enough for me and other people to pick this book up makes the odd lack of a trade for Mignola's Rocket Raccoon mini even more puzzling.

FANTASTIC FIVE #4 (OF 5)
Consistently, I find myself liking the MU2 stuff more than the regular Marvel comics. They're slight, but they're good fun, and it's nice to see the Marvel heroes acting heroically.

THE ORDER #2 CWI
Still on the fence. The first issue didn't suck, but neither did it blow me away. And why are all the female characters exposing their belly buttons?

ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR #45
After that interminable Thanos story, there's been a noticeable uptick in quality.

INUBAKA CRAZY FOR DOGS VOL 4 TP
Cute girls and cute dogs. It's almost like the perfect manga.

MOUSE GUARD WINTER 1152 #1 (OF 6)
I debated switching to trades, but every issue I buy is one less for speculators to get their hands on.

NAOKI URASAWAS MONSTER VOL 10 TP
Okay, no, this is the perfect manga.




Books I'm Not Buying This Week

BATMAN LOBO DEADLY SERIOUS #1 (OF 2)
I digs me some Sam Keith, but I'm all about Lobo-ed out.

BOMB QUEEN III #4 (OF 4) (MR)
Every time I see this on the shelf, I sigh quietly to myself. At least I don't have to actually sell it to people myself anymore.

AMAZING FANTASY OMNIBUS VOL 1 HC VAR
$75 for pre-super-hero Marvel books? Uhm, pass, thanks.

HALO UPRISING #1 (OF 4) (MR)
The Cult of Halo confuses me. It's just a FPS. And not even a very good one, from what I can tell.

30 DAYS OF NIGHT DARK DAYS TP NEW PTG (MR)
Hey, look, the trades coming back into print in a reasonable amount of time before the movie premieres! That's how you can tell Dark Horse didn't publish this.

BLACK SUMMER #2 (OF 7) (MR)
I'm definitely feeling Ellised out. I read the preview, and I just wasn't feeling this book. It's tired, well tread ground for Ellis and dozens of other creators.

SHOJO BEAT SEP 07 VOL 3 #9
Dropped. We're at the point now where the only thing in the magazine I want to read is Absolute Boyfriend, and I can't justify $6 a month for that.

TOUPYDOOPS #6 (RES) (MR)
Mike says there's something in this issue which will annoy me. I'm assuming he means apart from the lack of anything funny in a supposed humor book.

ZOMBIES VS ROBOTS HC (OCT068201)
If I ran the comics industry, there'd be no more fucking zombie books.

CLASSIC MARVEL FIGURINE COLL MAG #45 SHADOWCAT
Kitty Pryde fans creep me out, man.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What I'm Not Buying This Week 

Based on Diamond's shipping list.

SERENITY PVC SET: I always catch this sad whiff of desperation off of Serenity/Firefly merchandise, as if people are hoping that, if they keep putting things out, someday it will have more than a small cult following.

BOOSTER GOLD VAR ED #1: Does this book really need a variant cover?

GRIFTER MIDNIGHTER #6 (OF 6): Do we need to revisit why this series stayed off my buy list?

RIPCLAW PILOT SEASON #1: This "Pilot Season" thing might have been a good way to test out material without committing to an ongoing...too bad it's being done with Top Cow properties.

DP 7 CLASSIC VOL 1 TP: Once again, Marvel fails the "Perceived Value" test (see also Planet Hulk and Annihilation hard-covers). I'm not willing to pay $25 for material I can get out of dollar boxes. Now, an Essential edition, that I would buy.

SUPER VILLAIN TEAM UP MODOKS 11 #2 (OF 5): I don't get the MODOK-love from bloggers. Even as far as big-headed campy Marvel villains go, he's not that interesting.

THOR 2ND PTG COIPEL VAR #1: This isn't solely something Marvel does, but I get the impression that the "second printings" have become less about meeting unexpected demand and more about creating the impression of success. Especially from a "print to order" publisher.

AVENGERS CLASSIC #1 ART ADAMS CVR CGC 9.8 ED: This would be Wizard selling a pre-slabbed reprint comic. This would be one of the reasons why I think the comics industry would be better off without Wizard.

BABY SITTERS CLUB VOL 3 MARY ANNE SAVES THE DAY SC: More power to them, I hope these find their intended audience, but lord, I have no desire to read this.

BATTLE VIXENS VOL 12 GN (OF 12) (MR): The long-awaited conclusion to the gripping Battle Vixens saga. I'll leave it to your imagination to work out what the fans are gripping.

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA CYLON SILVER FOIL CVR #12: I can't decide which phrase is more of a disincentive, "silver foil" or "Battlestar Galactica."

DRACULA VS KING ARTHUR LTD ED HC (RES): Did this really warrant a hard-cover?

GI JOE STORM SHADOW #3: In-joke alert--No, young man, there are no good ninja comics.

INU YASHA ANI MANGA VOL 22 GN: I'm amazed these are still coming out, frankly. I lost interest in the regular series long ago. The Macguffin was just getting to the point of self-parody.

KODT BUNDLE OF TROUBLE VOL 20 TP: I used to buy these, as for a gaming comic the writing tends to be pretty spot-on. Which was the problem, in fact. It was too spot-on, and the book was just becoming depressing to read.

PORKY #2 (A): Mike never got in Porky #1 for me...

SCARFACE DEVIL IN DISGUISE #2 (MR): In Southern California, at least, the Scarface film seems to be particularly popular with Hispanic pre-teens. I never thought the original film was very good, and the "continuing adventures of" approach the book was promised to take seems to miss the point of the film.

ZOMBIE HIGHWAY DIRECTIONLESS (MR): I never need to see another zombie comic as long as I live.

GREYS ANATOMY MAGAZINE #4: I understand from Mike that these TV show tie-in mags don't sell new, but sell as back-issues. Which is a phenomenon I've never understood.

TMNT 2007 MOVIE DVD: Only a week and a day after every other store in the country got this in. Which is why I never buy DVDs through Diamond.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Dorian Vs. The End of Civilization in Review 


I opened up my copy of Previews, and it immediately flopped to this postcard. That's a hell of a thing to have to see right off.

And no, no "Boob Count" this month. Do you have any idea how damn depressing it was to do last time?

Groo is apparently coming back, and bringing with it some of its subtle political themes. Of course, I don't remember online conversations about politics being quite so...vitriolic...the last time a Groo comic was on the stands. No doubt we'll see a "hilarious" blog post from the conservative comics blogosphere debunking the "Global Warming Myth" hinted at in the solicitation for Hell on Earth.

Dark Horse is bringing John Norman's Gor books back into print. One of the most blatantly misogynistic fantasy series of all time, if not the most misogynistic fantasy series. A series alleged to have inspired real-life crimes against women.
And I've yet to hear a peep about it from anyone...

Yet another new edition of The Pro is due out...man, Ennis is just determined to cause Steranko a coronary, isn't he?


Oh, great...more zombie crap...

No, seriously...Gold Digger still comes out? Well, good for Fred Perry, I guess.

This is me avoiding a cheap shot at The Unfunnies.

Dear Bluewater Productions: you are, in fact, allowed to use colors other than brown.


I think DMP needs a theme song. Any suggestions? (Yes, "Dude looks like a lady" is too obvious.)

Has anyone been reading these Fangoria comics? I've flipped through a couple in the shop, and they're incredibly unpleasant. Both in terms of quality and subject matter. Real pandering to the lowest common denominator stuff here. I'm half curious to know if anyone out there actually is enjoying these things.
But then, I also think they may be aiming at a market other than comic fans. Have they been hyping these things in the magazine and the horror fandom circuit?

Also, this seems as good a time as any to mention it, but if you've never gone through the "Adult Previews" supplement, I highly recommend it. There's nothing quite like that moment of cognitive dissonance you get when, after going through three or four pages of solicitations for soft-core lesbian porn you come across a full page ad for Japanese boy-love comics.

Oh, all right. "The Unfunnies? Talk about truth in advertising!"


So, after all that grief Diamond gave Tim Leong about Comic Foundry not meeting their standards (reminder: Diamond carries such products as the Rich Little Bitch DVD and Girls and Corpses magazine), they carry it and give it a "Spotlight On" tag...Granted, Housewives at Play: Lez Be Friends is also a "Spotlight On" item.
Also, go tell your friendly local comics retailer that you want Comic Foundry.


You thought I was kidding about Girls and Corpses, didn't you?

From the solicitation for God's Gift: Over 100 Studs, Stallions and Dreamboats of the 70s and 80s:
"From Arnold Schwarzenegger and Patrick Swayze, to Tom Selleck, Burt Reynolds and Mr. T, this sexy collection of over one-hundred Lotharios, Romeos, and Casanovas from the '70s and '80s is sure to make your pulse race..."
Now, I lived through the 80s...I don't remember Mr. T at any point being considered a hunk. Hell, I think they're stretching to include Arnie...


"You're sure this is a legitimate modeling gig, right? Not some weird fetish mag?"


Surprisingly, not the gayest toy in Previews this month.


Oh, so Asian kids don't get names, is that it? Mezco are a bunch of racists!
(That last line may have been a joke...)


Who's the cutest widdle mass-murderer? You are! Yes you are! Oh, yes you are!

This would be the gayest toy in Previews this month:

There, fangirls, are you happy? A man being objectified in the exact same way as all those girly statues and toys! Happy? Satisfied?
(That last line may have been a joke...)
[Yes, it really was a joke! He's in a strong, assertive pose, not waiting to be mounted. So not at all like any of the girly statues, really.]

Oh, I think I may have found a cuter widdle mass-murderer!

Pete, if you're reading this, no, I do not really find mass-murderers cute.


Actual conversation I had with that jerk Mike when I placed my order for this:
"You know Dorian, you should really get a Cyberman. Martha and the Doctor need someone to fight."
"Oh, they're not going to fight, Mike."
"Gyah!"
(Yes, I did order the Cyberman. But not Novice Hame. Though, man, she does look cool...)

Man, a new edition of Talisman and a Kingdom Hearts CCG? Nerd Bliss!
(Admit it, some of you are shocked that I'm a geek for one of those things, much less both of them.)

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Things That Make Me Happy 



The news that Catherine Tate will star in the fourth series of Doctor Who as a full-time companion has been causing melt-downs in Doctor Who-fandom for almost a week now. It's a full-on, fan entitlement, "the official canon contradicts my fan-fiction", "it sucks because it's not the way I would do it" fantrum spree on every Doctor Who fan-site and message-board.
I'm having fun with it, because, you know me, if it causes this much hair-pulling in fandom, I tend to think it's probably a good thing.

Funny thing is, the last time I saw this much fanguish in Doctor Who, it was when the series came back and they announced that it would be co-starring some Britney-wannabe pop singer.

Me, I'm kinda warming to the idea. We need another Tegan.
Besides, it could be worse...we could be getting another Adric...or Peri...shudder...




God, I love comics...

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Friday, June 29, 2007

Superhero Fans in Microcosm 

DC partners with Mattel to make toys based on DC properties.

Fan reaction: Alan Moore is a big jerk for not letting DC make Watchmen action figures.

Christ...

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Marvel and DC in September 

DC in September

Two Countdown spin-off minis, as well as a spin-off one-shot dedicated to how the Wildstorm universe fits into the 52 universes paradigm, not to mention three 52 spin-offs and another Sinestro Corps special tells me that, nope, we're still not out of the "massive cross-over" woods yet. Cue the complaints from people who will buy them all anyway!

The Black Canary/Green Arrow wedding gets started in earnest, and, oh my, how the fan entitlement rants are flying with confused arguments for how the marriage of two fictional characters is definitive proof that DC HATES WOMEN, with a delicious extra dash of "let's kill the people who work for DC" popping up every now and again...because, as everyone knows, marriage is a male fantasy of domination over women, and no woman in her right mind would ever want to get married because, you know, she loves the guy...You know, I can see objecting to the marriage because it's clearly a stunt. I can see objecting to it for reasons of characterization. But marriage=misogyny?
Christ...
On the other hand, that it even occurs to people to think of marriage that way is a sign that maybe we shouldn't let you damn breeders even get married, if you're going to debase the institution with tawdry displays instead of seeing it as a sign of bonding and love.

I mean, let's take the first book, the Black Canary Wedding Planner, written by J. Torres, a notorious misogynist, second only to Dave Sim I'm sure (that's a joke, by the way):


Now, I look at that image, and I see a jokey take on the mishaps that can occur on a wedding day.
Other people look at that image and see "OMG, LINGERIE, OBJECTIFICATION! AND SHE'S KNOCKING OVER THE CAKE! SEXISM! SHE'S BEING PORTRAYED AS INCOMPETENT!"

Or this cover to the JLA Wedding Special:


Setting aside the curious emphasis on Wonder Woman's ass, and the overall business of the image, I see a harmless image of a very tame bachelorette party. Others see...well, I'm not actually sure what they see, because other than that it's not a very well composed picture, I'm really straining to see a serious problem with this picture. Okay, yeah, Superman popping out of a cake to strip...maybe not in character. Though with Lois right there, maybe it will. I can totally see Lois enjoying watching her husband strip.
And though it's already been pointed out, it bears repeating; regarding this comment:
But the Big Blue Boy Scout isn’t exactly who you’d recruit to be your stripper. I gave this some thought, and this is who I came up with for the beefcake: A scantily clad Arsenal/Red Arrow should be bursting out, wearing just a red-and-white toga and doing something cutesy with a “love arrow.”

Yes, just what every woman dreams of on her wedding day...her foster son stripping for her...
The internet makes me really not want to know about how comic fans were raised...

Lastly, we get to the actual wedding comic:


I'm not even going to bother to scrounge up the objections to this picture. Mostly they involve the horrible, horrible misogyny of an arrow being attached to her rear end. This despite the fact that she's lifting him, putting her in a dominant position. Never mind the playful sexuality expressed so wonderfully by Amanda Connor on both character's faces.
And see, now I'm all depressed and frustrated with comic fans, and I've barely started looking at the books...

Dwane McDuffie takes over as the writer of Justice League of America. This is good news, and that's coming from one of the few people who seems to be enjoying Meltzer's run on the title (pending the ending of this JLA/JSA/Legion cross-over, of course. Something about that story has set my "something really stupid and fan wankish is going to happen" senses tingling). DC manages to spoil this good response, though by taking a quite good cover:

And splitting it into two pieces. No, guys, seriously, wrap-around is better.

Wonder Woman Annual ships, but we'll place that in the "believe it when I see it" category, and a Wonder Girl mini launches, written by J. Torres and with a nice "girls kick butt" style cover by Sanford Greene:


Green Lantern #23:

My favorite version is still:


Tales of the Sinestro Corps Presents Parallax is leading to angst in fan circles, with it's suggestion that Kyle becomes Parallax somehow. Me, given how central Kyle seems to be to the Countdown storyline, and given that they already did that story with a Green Lantern, I tend to think it's sloppy and unclear writing.

A second run of the criminally underrated Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters begins, as do new series for Infinity Inc and Suicide Squad. II looks to continue the Steel and Everyman storylines from 52, while SS looks to fill in continuity holes. I can't say either of those prospects gets me too excited.

New Showcase Presents volumes for this month are The Great Disaster and Metal Men. Both are utterly insane, for the record, though I prefer the insanity of the Atomic Knights over the insanity of Silver Age Metal Men.

Superman/Batman #40 brings back Bekka. I'm surprised anyone even remembers Bekka. Checkmate #18 finally gets around to that "oh yeah, Amanda Waller is totally a villain...we should do something about that" storyline that's been waiting in the wings since the series launched (or, since the character was introduced way back when, if you want to get technical).

Flash #232 brings us that vagina dentata cover everyone's been having a good laugh at:

I have to admit, I went from groaning at the tackiness of the cover, to being annoyed that no one at DC stopped for a minute to consider how this cover would be received, to being kind of annoyed with the escalating outrage over the cover. Yes, it's tacky and stupid, but it's hardly the smoking gun proof that "OMG! DAN DIDIO HATES WOMEN!" I've seen some commentators try to turn it into.

The also underrated Mystery in Space mini gets collected as well, though split into two volumes. This does actually annoy me a bit, because I wasn't planning on buying the trades, but volume two will collect the Jim Starlin/Berni Wrightson The Weird series, and I wouldn't have minded a stand-alone version of that book.

Jodi Picoulet's run on Wonder Woman is collected in hard-cover, and while I want to say that this is the first time the follow-up to a recent storyline has been collected prior to the initial storyline, I'm pretty sure Marvel has done that more than once by now.

I kind of want to know what Kilowog is doing in the cartoon version of the Legion:


CMX looks to have a very good month, with the launches of two mature reader titles: the horror series Presents by Kanako Inuki and Variante, a Frankenstein-ish tale of a girl with a murderous arm graft, as well as another volume of the superlative Gon.

GEN 13 #12 features the Authori-teens. Cute.


DC Beefcake for September
Nothing! It's quite upsetting, really.




Marvel in September

Am I alone in thinking that the Marvel Classics line is going down like a lead balloon?

Ultimate Power still isn't over yet?

What an ugly, overly complicated cover...


Michael Turner Ass Shot #1:

Michael Turner Ass Shot #2:


Hoo-ho! A "cat" fight? Get it? Get it?

Even if you don't get it, the solicitation text for Ms Marvel #19 is sure to spell it out.
It's Ms. Marvel vs. Tigra…cat fight! Why is the leader of the Mighty Avengers battling a host of female heroes? What craziness are new Initiative teammates Machine Man and Sleepwalker up to? And who is pulling all of their strings? Find out as writer Brian Reed (NEW AVENGERS: ILLUMINATI) and artist Aaron Lopresti (PLANET HULK) continue their acclaimed and back-to-back-to-back sell-out run!
Yes, because we never would have guessed what they were going for with the horribly literal cover otherwise...

Make fun of Shanna the She-Devil? Naw, too easy.

So, that year long "X-Men in space" storyline still isn't wrapped up, but continues in X-Men: Emperor Vulcan? I know it's traditional for the X-Men books to pad, but a year wasn't long enough to finish the story?

You know, and despite all that above, I think this month will mark the most money I've spent on Marvel comics in years. I count eleven titles I plan to buy from Marvel.

Marvel Beefcake for September
Sub-Mariner #4

Ah, Venom wants to French...

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Monday, June 18, 2007

As Demographics Shift 

As recently as thirty years ago, advertisers still considered comic books viable places to advertise to women.


I imagine some people would see this as an improvement...

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Stepping In It Again 

And so the cycle continues...this time it was when one of the more astute retailers out there expressed concerns about Marvel's marketing decisions, in this particular case, the wisdom of redrawing the cover of a comic aimed at and marketed to children so that it now contains a rotting corpse. But not so badly rotting as to not still be kinda sexy! And, predictably, the peanut gallery responded in the predictable way. Which is to go out of their way to miss Chris's point and complain of people trying to spoil their fun.

I'm not offended by the cover. I think it's stupid and crass, but in the grand scheme of things, it's no big deal. That Marvel keeps pulling stuff like this should, maybe, give people pause. And I think beyond the tackiness of sexy corpses, that's the real issue. When I see some of the stuff Marvel releases into the marketplace, the impression I'm given of them as a company is that they're not serious; they're not really interested in being a media corporation. A real business wouldn't blend so easily the lines between their children's properties, their general audience properties, and their mature reader's properties. The impression I'm given is that Marvel is run by a bunch of aging frat boys, cashing in for a quick buck by pandering to the lowest common denominators amongst super-hero fans.

And it's not just in Marvel's marketing that this impression plays out. There's an overall lack of editorial oversight on display at Marvel. I'm hardly one to wax nostalgic for Jim Shooter's reign, as the bulk of Marvel's output at the time was mediocre in terms of art and story...and that's being needlessly generous to it, but it's hard to imagine that past Marvel editors would have adopted the laissez-faire attitude towards retailer relations, late books and over-indulged creators that the current editorial regime has fostered. It's hard to imagine even as draconian a personality as Shooter dismissing out of hand reader's concerns about marketing decisions, as Joe Quesada regularly does.

Take this, the latest example of head-scratching decisions on Marvel's part:


Sure, people were joking that Marvel was going to use "a Skrull did it" as their catch-all explanation for doing away with bad characterization, inane storylines, and failed efforts, but no one actually imagined that anyone at Marvel thought that would actually be a reasonable idea. This isn't a clever idea. It's not even an original idea. It's not even internally consistent with titles Marvel has published now or in the past...but it's "cool." At least to the men in their thirties and forties who run Marvel and act like it's their chance to finally play with the toys, instead of be responsible creators and businesspeople.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Why I Hate Previews 

Everybody else seems to do a regular or semi-regular rundown of Previews, but I don't. It's not because there's nothing I find noteworthy in the magazine, it's just that I find the experience of reading it so soul-crushing and mind-numbing and infuriating that I can't imagine that it would be much fun for anyone else to see my reaction.
So I went and did the post anyway.
I also decided to count the number of covers/toys/ads which seem to use women's chests on display in oddly prominent ways to attract attention.

Dark Horse
The thing that strikes me the most about the Dark Horse listing is the sense of "going to the well too many times" so many titles give me. Groo, Richie Rich, Star Wars, Buffy, Conan, Aliens vs. Predator, Neil Gaiman, The Mummy of all things: I'm mostly shocked there's still perceived demand some of these things.
Boob Count: 1

DC
I've already talked a bit about these solicitations already, and I really can't think of much more to add. Though I still think the odd insistence on "armored versions of characters" in the action figures is sort of odd.
Boob Count: 10

Image
The apparent offensiveness of Special Forces is only mitigated by the fact that it's Kyle Baker doing it.

I think the existence of a Jon Bon Jovi cheap plastic statue "action figure" should be taken as final proof that Todd McFarlane has too much money, if he can waste it acquiring licenses like this.
And doesn't it seem like the Jack Bauer action figure should come with some torture "interrogation" accessories?
Boob Count: 11

Marvel
Sigh...I want to like you, Marvel. Honest, I do. But you just make it so hard...
Boob Count: 12

I'm also honestly surprised that with all the (deserved) grief Marvel has taken lately, this slipped under people's radar:

Granted, most of the men don't get arms either, but that's still tremendously creepy.

And here's a little cock panic for the straight boys:


Wizard
I can't believe people pay money for these shitty magazines.

Anarchy Studios
Boob Count: 4, all Vampirella, if that makes any difference.

Antarctic Press
The Boob Count is only 2, but in the middle of their solicitations is an atrocious ad for "To Heart 2" figures, so it feels like I should bump that up, even though Antarctic had nothing to do with the ad placement.

Arcana Studio
Boob count: 2. The ad for Kade is so prominent, I think it should be counted as well.

Archaia Studios
Killing Pickman sounds like something I might be interested in, but not at $3.50 for six issues. I can wait for the trade.
I think the ad for Starkweather justifies a Boob Count of one.

Aspen
Boob Count: 5. All for Iron & The Maiden.

Avatar
Boob Count: 5
Ass Count: 1
Crotch Count: 1
Covers Count: 24
Actual Comics Count: 13
Well, at least they've found a business model that works for them...

Basement Comics
Boob Count: 3. Mike tells me Cavewoman used to be readable...

Big Bang Comics
Boob Count: 1. But they're Kirby knock-off boobs.

Bloodfire Studios
Boob Count: 2, counting their ad. But they're sci-fi elf-girl boobs!

Bluewater Productions
How many different names has this company been under? Anyway, Boob Count is 4.

Broadsword
You know, I'm not even going to bother with a Boob Count. It's almost the friggin' point of the line...

Broccoli International
Boob Count: 2. 250 pages into the book before we get our first manga t&a.

Checker Book Publishing Group
With Growing Old with B.C. you can chart Johnny Hart's progression from occasionally funny hack to insane fundamentalist racist, all in one convenient volume!

Class Comics
I keep forgetting Diamond carries this line now, and since it's only really listed in the adult supplement, it's not hard to imagine why. Plus, I'm always more than a little surprised to see Diamond carrying gay porn anyway.

Dynamite Entertainment
We get five full page ads before we even get to their section. And we get a Boob Count of 21, counting those ads. A new record!

I had a comment all ready to go for Lone Ranger, about how the best way to kill my interest in the Lone Ranger is to put out an incredibly decompressed comic, prompting me to wait for the trade, and then put the trade out in hard-cover...with a variant cover...but the hard-cover isn't solicited in this issue, so the point seems moot.

Del Rey
You know, I'm surprised I can't bring myself to justify a Boob Count for Del Rey, given that I've seen Suzuka before, but this cover is downright prudish compared to previous volumes.

Devil's Due
Boob Count: 5. Amazingly, G.I. Joe isn't one of them.

Digital Manga Publishing
This month they've got Pop Japan Travel: Essential Otaku Guide, a manga-format travel guide to Japan's nerdiest destinations. Something tells me this might be one to stock up on...

Digital Webbing Presents
Boob Count: 5

Dynamic Forces
I'm just going to pretend that all this crap doesn't exist. It's better that way.

Eighty Eight MPH Studios
An "Ecto-1" lithograph from the film Ghostbusters...why?

Fantagraphics
I really fail to grasp the appeal of Johnny Ryan. He's so busy trying to be "outrageous" and "offensive" that he always forgets to be "funny."

Graham Crackers Comics
Boob Count: 1, for Transformers comic...cripes...

IDW
Boob Count: 2, for Gene Simmons Dominatrix and variant. I can't help but think some kind of punctuation is appropriate there, probably an apostrophe, though a colon doesn't seem unreasonable either.
Frankly, I'm appalled the market can support six different Transformers titles...none of which seem particularly appropriate for children.

Linsner.com
Boob Count: 2, not counting what I'm sure are thoroughly tasteful offerings in the Previews Adult catalog.

Moonstone
CLASH: I'm trying to avoid dismissing this as yet another attempt to rewrite Watchmen and failing.

Oni
Yes, I'm the jerk who doesn't like Scott Pilgrim.
I'm also frankly baffled by the hipster kid ironic nostalgia for heavy metal music, which Black Metal seems to be trying to tap into.

Tokyopo
Boob Count: 2. Slow month for Tokyopop.
I do reserve the right to mock mercilessly anyone who buys the Star Trek manga.

Tyndale House
Manga Messiah: of all the things that come to mind when I read that title, a straight-faced adaptation of the Bible, with a frankly cynical attempt to make it appeal to kids and teens by using manga-style art, wasn't one of them.

Valiant Entertainment
What, seriously?

Virgin
Boob Count: 2

Viz
Boob Count: 1, but it's for a title called Kurohime, which looks so ridiculously over the top I'll probably need to check it out.
I mean, look at it:

I break out into giggles every time I see it.

Viz also starts the weekly releases of Naruto. The best explanation as to why that I've seen is that they want to burn off all the volumes containing an unpopular storyline, and gimmicking them out this way is the most financially logical way to do it.

Zenescop Entertainment
Boob Count: 4.

Magazines
Boob Count: 2, both Femme Fatales. A magazine which can never seem to decide if it's a Maxim-clone or a Playboy-clone for nerds.

Books
I'm always baffled by half the stuff that gets solicited here. I can only imagine that the section exists to fulfill the obsessive collecting needs of those shut-ins who haven't heard of Amazon.
Also, there's a Chronicle Books ad on page 403 for Wonder Woman merchandise which, as far as I can tell, are not solicited in this issue of Previews. Timing people, timing!

International
Boob Count: 3, which is surprisingly low for this section.

Trading Cards
That's cute...they think there's still a market for trading cards...

Apparel

"Hey man, what's that supposed to be on your t-shirt?"
"Oh, it's the Silver Surfer. But as a zombie. Pretty cool, huh?"
"...You don't get out much, do you?"

Toys & Models
Boob Count: 6. And how fucking creepy is it that the "toys" section deserves a "Boob Count?"

General hint when going through the toy section: anything that says "sold in case lots only" may as well read "we're forcing retailers to over-buy because the profit margin vs. perceived demand is nonexistent."


McDonaldland action figures: who buys this shit? No, seriously, I want to know, because if they have that kind of money to waste, they may as well give it to me.

On page 448 there's a "Steve Irwin: Wildlife Adventures Ocean Dive" playset. Which strikes me as being in slightly poor taste...


That's just hideously off-model. And nightmare inducing. And they want $40 for it.


There's a $10 difference in price between those two statues. Seems hard to justify to me.

Page 470:

Okay, setting aside the fact that anyone reading Previews is likely to know what Han Solo looks like, this is what's on page 471:

Timing people!

And then there's a bunch of over-priced vinyl figurines for hipster kids.

Import Toys and Models
Boob Count: 13


I fucking hate nerds...apparently, in the series this figure is from, she doesn't even have a name, just a title. You know, to make the dehumanization even easier for fetishists.


It's a base for your Char-piloted Gundams. Sold separately. That's actually kind of brilliant in it's evil.

I want to work up some bile over the "Hostel" action figure on sale on page 504, but honestly? The popularity of torture porn just makes me depressed.

Collectibles & Novelties
Is there any good reason why this stuff can't be merged into the two other toy sections? Because I honestly don't understand why Star Wars fake helmets are "toys" but 300 fake helmets are "collectibles."

"World of Faries and Elves Figures"

I know some people get annoyed when they see obvious head-shop junk "gifts" in their comic book and collectibles catalog, but I love it. It's a none too gentle reminder of where, exactly, comic book stores place in the retail hierarchy.

Games
Monte Cook creating a new back-story may actually get me to pick up a "World of Darkness" game. Because almost anything has got to be better than their regular campaign back-grounds.

Videos
Like the book section, I'm baffled as to who this is useful for. You can get every single thing in this section sooner and cheaper anywhere other than a comic shop. The only thing I use it for is to keep track of anime release dates. So that I can then go get them at Fry's. For about $5 to $10 less than Diamond has them.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Bits 'n Bobs 

As you know, I really hate the "torture porn" genre of horror. I think, in the long run, it's bad for the genre for those types of films to dominate, and I really don't like what their financial and popular success says about American tastes. And then I found this interview with the marketing co-president for the studio that releases the Hostel movies:

The next image in the campaign was from a photo session Palen did with film costar Bijou Phillips. It shows Phillips nude, holding her own severed head in her hand. Knowing the image was too graphic to ever be shown in a theater or in a newspaper ad, Palen gave the poster to international Internet sites, which are not subject to MPAA guidelines, and Comic-Con festivals.
...

Palen defends his work in two ways: in terms of context and execution. The poster of a naked Phillips holding her severed head in her hands, he says, "is completely inappropriate to be on a billboard on the street or even in the lobby of our offices." But he says it is suitable for theaters in foreign markets — where people are far less concerned about sexual images — and for hard-core horror fans.

"It's for the boys in the backpacks at these comic conventions, waiting in line for hours to get the posters signed," says Palen.


And that's what the legacy of sexism and misogyny in the comics industry has wrought: film studios thinking it's okay to market sexually violent images because they'll appeal to comic fans.

Sigh...
I really feel like I should be insulted by Palen's characterization, but I have a hard time arguing against the point he's making, based on the on-line and real life conversations I've seen comic fans have.




Dear lord, there's a lot of stuff coming out this week. After two relatively light weeks, we would get a big week right when all my bills are due. I think I'll probably end up getting The Black Diamond Detective Agency...eventually. That it comes out the same week as MPD Psycho and Young Bottoms in Love is too bad, as I don't feel the same urgency to purchase or read it as I do those two books.
I feel like I should feel secretly ashamed that I plan on buying New Warriors, not only because it's got "cancellation-bait" written all over it, but because it's got that "we'll inflate sales by using the book as a bridge between the last cross-over and the next cross-over" vibe on it as well.




The things you learn from old comics:


The "master of evil" wears pixie boots and European swim trunks. Huh.




You know what we all need more of? Random, gratuitous beefcake:

There, that's better.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Short Takes On Comic News 

I realise Marvel isn't responsible for this, but still, not checking on the legalities of a promotion before engaging in it sounds like something they'd do. And it is a Marvel property that was used to violate the law.

DC has done the impossible: given Supergirl to an artist who doesn't draw her as an anorexic. Given that there are actual folds in her costume, and that it's not skin-tight makes me think that maybe DC was actually sincere when they said they were going to address some of the criticisms made about the character. Also love the granny panties.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Playing with the Big Boys/Diversionary Tactic 

Tim speaks wisdom. As does Steven. And Heidi. I suppose if there really is any larger lesson to be learned from any of these things is that Marvel and DC, despite all their protestations to the contrary, really aren't ready to grow up and act like a serious business. If they were, someone would have realized that the money they make by pandering to the lowest common denominator isn't as much as they lose by alienating existing and potential customers and creating a negative view of their product in the wider culture. The lesson the non comics buying public took away from the Mary Jane statue situation wasn't that fangirls are hysterical and prone to over-reaction, or that Marvel licenses their characters out to specialty manufacturers for the creation of high-end collectibles. No, it was that comic book fans are sad perpetual adolescents who buy over-priced wank material. And that's not a good way to build brand recognition.




But that's old news, and frankly I'm in the mood for something lighter. Mainly, a completely innocent image which could never possibly be misconstrued...
from The New Adventures of Superboy #42
My, but Kurt Schaffenberger draws a nice taint...

But the image by itself is a bit lacking, since we can't see what Superboy is flying into. So I did a little editing:


Hmmm...could Superboy be joining the Doctor on a new adventure?


Or maybe he's involved in an inter-company cross-over?


What else could Superboy be flying into, I wonder?

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Gay Links Comics Style 

Neilalien has a short piece up responding to the "Doctor Strange is teh ghey" meme, which most recently reared it's head at right-wing news-site National Review Online. An important point he makes is that Doc is actually quite the stud and lady-killer...but the model of virile masculinity he's based on is very much out of time.




I'm not usually one for picking on the "scans_daily" crowd (it's a real "fish/barrel/gun" proposition at the best of times), but I felt this thread was noteworthy. I'm honestly baffled by the number of people who seem to seriously think that this:

Is an actual forth-coming cover for the Wonder Woman series. Now, I don't expect everyone on the internet to immediately recognize that picture as a Glen Hanson piece that's at least a year old (NWS link, by the way), as I did, but come on! To even think for a moment that DC would ever seriously consider putting an image like that out on a cover shows a painful disconnect from the realities of the comics publishing world.
What's worse are the responses that seem to think that, okay, because here's an unabashed piece of super-hero themed beefcake, that excuses all the sexist and misogynist portrayals of women in super-hero comics. Uh, no.
When Newsarama forum posters get the joke you have to have fallen pretty far off the clue train to miss it...




Oh, what the hey, have a Wildcat picture, from Sensation Comics #36:


Yeah, yeah, it's a cheap-shot, "fagged" just means "tired" in this context...but that's actually a guy in drag Wildcat's fighting. Subtext becomes text!

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Short Subjects 

Diamond Comics Distributors has once again rejected from their catalogue work many people find of value. In this case, it was the print version of formerly on-line comics magazine Comics Foundry, edited by one of the sexiest men in comics, Tim Leong. Now, I don't find everything that appears in Comics Foundry to be of value, but it's certainly a hell of a lot better than other "generalist" comics magazines like Wizard or The Comics Buyers Guide. Diamond, however, didn't find it worthy of a listing because, apparently, it's in black and white. Which comics magazines of far narrower scope carried by Diamond are.

Now, as for me, I'd much rather see something like Comics Foundry on the shelf at my local comics shop than another TwoMorrows nostalgia fetishist magazine, with yet another interview with a Harvey comics colorist (after your fourth "and then the low pay drove me to alcoholism and my wife left me. I don't even remember what my kids look like" interview with someone who used to work in the comics industry, they all blend together), or another price guide of dubious accuracy. And if you feel the same way you could maybe write to Tim Huckelbery at Diamond and politely tell him so.




Tiny internet elves pointed out this handy function at the website for Canadian bookseller Chapters, where you can see scheduled ship dates for various DC trades. Many of which haven't been officially announced yet.

Amongst the highlights are:
Showcase Presents: The Great Disaster featuring the Atomic Knights: more Silver Age wackiness, with a tie-in to Countdown. (November)
JSA All Stars Archive: At $75 dollars, I'm at a loss as to what this might be. (November)
Showcase Presents: Jonah Hex: Presumably a second volume, without any annoying unrelated characters butting in. (January)
Superman/Batman: Saga of the Super Sons: Bob Haney baby! (December)
Showcase Presents: Metal Men: Eh. (October)
Legion of Super-Heroes: An Eye for an Eye: Apparently a Levitz era trade, when the jerkiness of the Legion was at its height. Good stuff. (December)
Tales of the Multiverse: Batman-Vampire: Probably "Elseworlds" material under a new trade dress and title. (December)
Showcase Presents: The Secret Society of Super-Villains: Oh, yes. Yes indeed.
Showcase Presents: The Suicide Squad: John Ostrander is credited as the writer, so it's probably the post-Legends version. Which...wow, that's very recent material by the standards DC has previously set for Showcase trades. (November)
JLA: Ultramarine Corps: Grant Morrison is credited as writer, but I have no clue what this could be, as I was under the impression that all previous Ultramarines stories had already been collected in JLA trades. (November)
Kimmie66: No clue. Possibly an OGN. (November)
Water Baby: Again, no clue. Possibly an OGN. (October)
Edit: It just occured to me, these are almost certainly Minx titles.
The Question: Denny O'Neil era, which will please many I'm sure. (October)
52: The Companion: Notes? "Behind the scenes" material? Sketches? (October)
Showcase Presents: Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew: Oh, yes. This is fantastic news. Especially if it includes the Oz-Wonderland War mini-series. (October)
Showcase Presents: Batman and the Outsiders: A book I keep meaning to buy in back-issue form, so news that pleases me. (September)
Sword of the Atom: The swords-and-sorcery revamp from the 80s. Probably a Countdown tie-in. (September)
Dr. 13: Architecture and Morality: Brian Azzarello's brilliant meta-text from Tales of the Unexpected in stand-alone format. You really should get this. (September)

Bear in mind, this list could be wildly inaccurate. Heck, it updated while I was typing this. And just because it's on the list, that doesn't mean it's coming out. Will Pfeiffer's Hero is on the list. With a pub date of Januray, 2050. I doubt even DC sets their publishing plans decades in advance.
Edit: Since the link seems to not work all the time, do a search for "DC", then order by publisher, then order by release date.




All this recent talk of gendered genres prompted me to remember a detail from my comics retail days. If you take the most sexist looking, T&A-riffic books on the racks, you're probably talking stuff like Lady Death, Purgatori, Tarot and Witchblade. At least in our neck of the woods, it seemed like the readership for those books was somewhere around 90% female. Now, you could argue, I suppose, that those books are about female empowerment. I'd look at you funny, but you could make the argument. But I think the appeal for our female customers was simpler: they wanted to read about women in heroic (or anti-heroic at least) action roles, who looked good in those action roles. Now, if something of as dubious quality as Chaos! Comics can attract a female readership, there's no reason to think that Marvel and DC can't.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

I Still Over-Paid 

When I went in to pick up my comics on Saturday, I asked Mike where the Kevin Church co-written Cover Girl was, since I didn't see it on the racks. So Mike showed me where they were keeping it:


(No, but seriously, the book's pretty good. And I'm not just saying that because I'm afraid of Kevin. Because, honestly, I'm not. Have you seen him? An asthmatic squirrel could probably take him in a fight.)




I had an uneventful weekend of watching watching Little Britain: Live (how can so many unpleasant characters be so funny?), playing Puzzle Quest (who knew combining Bejeweled with a console-RPG could be addictive?), listening to The Feeling (which I still suspect was unusually emo of me, despite reassurances to the contrary) and reading comics (you know, the multiverse has only been back two weeks, you'd think the fanboys could hold off calling it confusing or a creative failure a bit longer, but no).
Pete, meanwhile, spent his weekend driving back from Colorado. I think I got off the better of the two of us.
And what did you do this weekend?

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Saturday, May 12, 2007

This Is Just Getting Ridiculous 

So, this thing:


There's not much more I can think of to say that hasn't already been said. I mean, it's pretty crass, and tasteless, and indicative of a growing trend in super-hero themed merchandise. I mean, when the female figures Todd McFarlane's company puts out are looking more tasteful and restrained than stuff bearing the DC or Marvel stamp, something's gone horribly wrong.

And, at the end of the day, I still find this hideous thing about a thousand times more offensive:


Given the choice, I'd much rather see a tacky and anatomically improbable Mary Jane than a disemboweled Mary Jane on someone's book-case.

And the sheer silliness of these hyper-sexualized toys makes me bemoan the lack of beefcake merchandise from the big-two. Oh, sure, DC gave us a Warlord action figure, but where's my be-thonged Wolverine statue? Where's my "Wildcat gives Hawkman a sensuous rub-down" maquette?
Edit: See, something like this would be welcome if actually manufactured. I'd buy something like that. Well, not exactly like that, as I don't like Spider-Man, but you get the idea.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Links of Note 

Ragnell examines a trend in recent comics conversations online, in which fan entitlement concerns are dressed up as outrage over imagined sexism to give those arguments undeserved weight. This is a trend I've been sensing coming on for awhile now, and it does no one any good as it obfuscates genuine issues of concern and gives the pro-misogyny crowd ammunition to dismiss legitimate critiques by associating them with illegitimate ones.

On a related note, I can't stress enough how much I disagree with Johanna's fundamental position, that super-hero comics "aren't for girls." It's an overly reductive, near-essentialist attitude towards gender and genre that I'm really disappointed to see coming from such an intelligent and articulate commentator. It's not the genre itself that is sexist, it's the way the genre is marketed. There is nothing specifically masculine about Manichean morality plays in tights. I'm further troubled, because the "super-heroes aren't for girls" argument is the flip-side of those stupid "get your girlfriend to read comics" articles that pop up in the nerd-press from time to time which always recommend Strangers in Paradise and Sandman for women comic readers, as if there is some sort of female hive-mind enforcing uniformity of taste. It assumes that women "naturally" don't want to read about super-heroes, and that those who do are outside of normative parameters.

Kevin makes some very good arguments about accessibility in contemporary super-hero comics, and I essentially agree with him. Where we differ, I think, is that I'm not as concerned with accessibility in comics that are quite clearly designed to appeal primarily to existing fans with an extensive knowledge of comics continuity as I would be in work that is meant for a wider audience or has the potential to appeal to a wider audience. I'm okay with tailoring work for the "continuity porn" crowd to that crowd, in other words.

Chris talks about Dark Horse, and their inability to make material that they're advertising, material aimed at a very narrow market, available to their primary consumers; retailers. So, it's business as usual for Dark Horse, really.

Here's your fun link: I've finally figured out why the character designs in the new Transformers movie bother me. All the robots look almost exactly the same. Apart from variations in color, I'm hard-pressed to tell them apart.
The fact that they all look like they've got metal dildos glued on to them doesn't help much either.

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Sunday, May 06, 2007

I Survived Free Comic Book Day 

Yes, the vicious rumor Mike was spreading was true, and he forced me to return to the world of comics retail for one more day. And, sad to say, as much as those who missed my regular tales of comics retail woe may have been looking forward to a return to that type of blogging, there simply weren't enough crazy customers to come in that day to make an impression. No, not even any drunk women hitting on Mike. No, nor customers looking for comics about quantum physics.
Dammit.
Though I suspect Aaron and I did manage to give Mike a few more gray hairs in our discussions of the new Pokemon games. And yes, my Pokemans, I showed them to Mike.

Though, as Mike has mentioned, a number of people in Spider-Man costumes did appear.

The best illustrations I can think of to make for the day, are these two shots. Here's Aaron near the start of the day, still full of youth and hope and energy, with plenty of free comics to give away.


And here's Aaron at the end of the day, looking visibly older and yearning for a long rest.

The poor kid.

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Monday, April 30, 2007

Lessons the Internet Has Taught Me 

Everyone else gets all the fun trolls.

My side of the internet is the cool side. We're also sexier and dress better.

Using your blog to grind personal axes gets really old really fast.

Marvel has been corrupted by the homosexuals. Or the Arabs. Or possibly the gay Arabs.

YouTube makes up for not having anything to say today quite nicely.

There's nothing the slightest bit hypocritical about praising Marvel for doing the same things you criticize DC for doing.

I'm far too polite. The fact that I haven't responded to anyone's post on any blog or message board with the phrase "you're fucking retarded, aren't you" is proof of that.

The knee-jerk homophobia of comic fans never stops being entertaining.
The knee-jerk misogyny is just soul-crushing however.
At least they've stopped being overtly racist. Most of the time.

Manga has gotten as boring as American comics. But, shh, we're not supposed to talk about that. Or the blatant misogyny and racism in so much of it. Because it's self-evidently superior to American comics.

I'd read more indie comics if the creators weren't pretentious jerks. Or half as whiny. Or quite so obviously only creating comics in order to impress girls.

We have the comics industry we deserve.

Dan Didio apparently spends his weekends jetting around the country and running over comic fan's dogs. And Joe Quesada rides shotgun.

God help me, I miss Bill Jemas.

If comic fans go for more than forty-eight hours without complaining about something online, they'll have an aneurysm.

Watching people miss the point leads to wonderful, unintended comedy. Than great sadness. Then comedy again.

Why yes, I do think less of you if MySpace is your blogging platform of choice.

I only read your blog to forward links to posts to my friends. And then we make fun of you. Because that's all your blog is good for.

Tokyopop is the Marvel of manga. No, that's not a compliment.

People really like comics about mice. Yet Gemstone had to cancel Mickey Mouse.

The people that Shakespeare joke was aimed at didn't get it.

Saying that you think Justice is good will make me think less of you.

On the whole, I could do with less people who think trying to imitate a popular writer's online persona makes them seem intelligent or witty.
Yes, that goes for the writer in question as well. Actually, the phrase "shut up and write some comics" comes to mind.

Concern trolling, when applied to comics, is just sort of tragic.

That the qualitative differences between, say, an Adam Hughes picture and a Michael Turner picture escapes people gives me cause for concern.

Guys, she's not going to sleep with you, and yes, your intentions are just that transparent.

The existence of the internet is justified by pictures of cats and other animals with funny captions.

We've finally moved on from people thinking that "irony" means "made of iron."
Sadly, people now seem to think it means "to press a hot plate of metal against cloth."

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Your Idle Thought For The Day 

You would think, given how often your average comics/sci-fi fans have been called "faggots" for having the nerve to watch Star Trek or play Dungeons & Dragons or gasp-shock-horror read comic books, that they would be better at detecting homophobic language and discourse, especially their own.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Crotch-Gate '07 

So, that picture of Citizen Steel I posted the other day...there's been some discussion of it on other comic sites and blogs. Most of it, oddly, focusing on how "inappropriate" the image is. To no one's great shock, it seems to be straight men who are bothered by the image.

Don McPherson tries to put the picture into context by comparing it to gratuitously sexualized images of Catwoman and Supergirl. While his point about the depictions of women in super-hero comics is taken, I really have a tremendously hard time (no pun intended) in seeing the Justice Society of America cover as being anywhere near the same league as a statue of Catwoman with her breasts popping out or the nymphet Lolita Supergirl statue. The entire point of those statues is to present the characters portrayed as erotic objects. I have tremendous difficulty believing that Alex "gay writers are molesting Obsidian" Ross intended the same effect. The real howler of a response is Brian Cronin's description of the image as "creepy." It's such a bizarre over-reaction to the image there really isn't any way to engage it. Chris Butcher's response to the whole thing is well worth a read, especially as he's not afraid to call a small shovel used for digging a spade, and very accurately assess the revulsion straight men claim to have for the image as homophobic in nature. Cronin uses the word "creepy" or a variation of it five times. McPherson compares it to yaoi (boys love) manga, which was a nicely subtle bit of gay-baiting, I thought, to compare the image in a perjorative sense to material depicting gay relationships.

But for me, what I'm most struck by in this anxiety over whether or not Citizen Steel's manhood is threatening to the reader is the blatant insincerity of it. There seems to be a condescending undercurrent of "oh, I get it now! This depiction of an unerect penis completely covered by clothing which isn't even close to the focus of the piece has made me feel so insecure in my own masculinty and an object of sexual desire that I now understand why female bloggers were complaining about that Star Sapphire cover of Green Lantern!" to this whole affair. Which, again, is nonsense. A picture of a fully clothed man, who appears to be generously endowed, in a heroic, athletic pose is miles away from a woman in a latex bikini which barely covers her sexual organs, posed to display both ample cleavage and her ass. Perhaps if Citizen Steel's costume was a mesh-nylon thong and Ross had posed him thrusting his hips forward, his crotch in the dead center of the image, we might be able to say that the cover is sexualizing men. Even most of the examples Tim O'Neil dredges up are more crotch-tastic than Ross's image.

The real kicker, of course, is that the image really isn't much to get excited about. Yes, Ross's model appears to have been of a nice size in the pants department, but all Ross has done is use highlights and shadow to suggest that. And Ross, say what you will about him or his art (and I'm not a particular fan), is nothing if not faithful in his efforts to realistically portray his subjects. Chris Butcher made a good effort at illustrating why this image isn't really as direly sexual as people seem to think, but, what they hey, it's been awhile since I posted semi-naked men. So, to recap:

Good sized soft penis, fake:


Good sized soft penis, real:


Good sized hard penis, real:


Good sized soft penis, real, blatantly detailed and outlined by clothing:


I think it's pretty clear that the painting by Ross is, by far, the tamest of the images.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

That Post I Never Do 

Yes, every lazy comic blogger's friend, the shipping list. And so, in that grand tradition (and since it's starting to look as if I'll never get around to reviewing the new season of Doctor Who), here's the list of what I plan to get, what I think is noteworthy, and what makes me embarrassed of my hobby, with commentary.

52 WEEK #50
Yeah, at this point in the game, I'm pretty sure I'm sticking with this.

AQUAMAN SWORD OF ATLANTIS #51
To be honest, I didn't mind Busiek's run on the title. But Williams seems to be running with the sense of the absurd that, frankly, an Aquaman title probably needs.

BATMAN AND THE MAD MONK TP
I liked Batmen and the Monster Men more than this mini, but Wagner's retellings of early Batman stories are superb.

BIRDS OF PREY #105
BRAVE AND THE BOLD #3

These fill my need for big, dumb fun super-hero comics quite nicely, thanks.

DC MINIMATES WAVE THREE (RES)
I'm giving serious consideration to picking up the Wonder Woman/Ares set.

DMZ #18 (MR)
I want to like DMZ, but every time I pick up an issue I feel like I'm about fifteen years older than the target audience. Which is not a criticism of the book at all. It's a great book for a politically aware teenager.

EX MACHINA #27 (MR)
Every time a new issue comes out I read it, and I enjoy it, and then I forget about it again until the next issue comes out.

FIRST APPEARANCE SER 4 WARLORD AF
All right, so it's not the Mike Grell warlord, but it's the closest I'm ever going to get to a Warlord action figure. And he'll look nice on my shelf next to my Wildcat figure. Maybe sandwiched between my Wildcat and Hawkman figures. And maybe my Apollo and Midnighter figures can come over and "hang out" with them sometimes...

FLASH THE FASTEST MAN ALIVE #11
What a difference a new creative team makes, eh?

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #8
I seem to be one of the few who actually enjoys Meltzer's JLA. I think his character based approach to the title actually works quite well.

MANHUNTER #30
One of the best super-hero comics out there right now. If you're not reading it, well, you have no taste.

NIGHTWING ANNUAL #2
Pete wants to know why Babara and Dick broke up. That's the only reason we're getting it, I swear.

SHADOWPACT #12
See my above statements about "big," "dumb" and "fun."

SHOWCASE PRESENTS SUPERMAN VOL 3 TP
This is full of, as the LiveJournal kids say "the crack." Whatever the hell that means.

SPIRIT #5
Beautiful art and a really outstanding blending of Eisner's sensibility and contemporary story-telling.

SUPERMAN BATMAN #34
This was one of those "big dumb fun" books, but that horrible, horrible aliens going crazy storyline was just so dreadful I ended up buying it just to see how bad it could possibly get. Hopefully this new Metal Men storyline will turn the book around. I mean, how could you possibly go wrong with the Metal Men?

TESTAMENT #17 (MR)
Hands down my favorite Vertigo title of the moment, and one of my favorite on-going series, period. It's thoughtful, it's challenging, and it's vastly under appreciated.

WONDER WOMAN THE GREATEST STORIES EVER TOLD TP
Did they ever announce what comics were actually going to be in this book? I'd like to get it, but if it's heavy on the Bronze Age Wonder Woman stories, it'll be hard-going, and I have virtually all the post-Crisis comics already.

WORLD WAR III PART FOUR UNITED WE STAND
WORLD WAR III PART ONE A CALL TO ARMS
WORLD WAR III PART THREE HELL IS FOR HEROES
WORLD WAR III PART TWO THE VALIANT

I've enjoyed 52, and I don't have any reservations about the creative teams on these books, but I can't quite get past the feeling that these are "whoops, we forgot to explain that" continuity-patch titles to keep fans from complaining about loose threads and plot holes left over from the main book.

ANNIHILATION BOOK 2 HC
Dear Marvel: I was interested in sampling your well-reviewed and favorably received comic, but the pricey hard-covers and bridging minis and instant sequel pretty much turned me off of the idea.

ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #108
You know, I don't like Spider-Man, and I don't much care for Bendis as a super-hero comics writer either, but this is usually just about tolerable. When it isn't in the middle of an interminable emo-Spider storyline. Which, uh, it is about half the time.

ULTIMATE X-MEN #81
This was never really all that good to begin with, but it's taken a steep nosedive in quality since Kirkman took over. We've stuck with it so that Pete can get his X-Men fix in the least objectionable way possible, but man...this is a stinker.

YOUNG AVENGERS VOL 2 FAMILY MATTERS TP
A friend has asked me to pick this up for him. He was given the first volume, and now he wants more. And, yes, he'd much prefer it if he didn't have to buy a dozen different books to follow the characters.

WIZARD HOW TO DRAW 3 PACK
You know, for every good artist giving reasonable, useful advice in these Wizard "How to Draw" books, there's about a dozen "hot" artists who wouldn't know anatomy from an aardvark or perspective from a periscope. It makes for a frequently surreal and unintentionally hilarious reading experience.

EDU MANGA MOTHER TERESA GN
I wonder how much time will be devoted to her questionable financial relationship to Charles Keating? Yeah, I know "none" and I'm an asshole and I'm going to hell.

INUBAKA CRAZY FOR DOGS VOL 2 TP
Cute doggies and crazy girls! Not as good as a book about a toddler assassin, but still pretty enjoyable.

NIKOLAI DANTE TSAR WARS VOL 2 TP
I think this was actually supposed to ship last week, but west coast stores didn't get it. At least I don't think they did. Either that or Mike sold my copy to someone else, the jerk!
Anyway...what can I say, I like hairy-chested, over-sexed rogues.

SALON GN (MR)
I thought this looked promising when I first saw the preview materials a few years back. How impressed was I? The book features Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso as characters, two people high on my list of "historical figures who needed a good slap," and I still want to read it.

CITY SLAB MAGAZINE #10
I haven't the vaguest clue what this magazine is about, but I seriously doubt it could ever live up to the images the title suggests.

SCREEM #14
From the people who brought you "Feer" and "Horrrr" I suppose.

300 ORIGINAL MOVIE SOUNDTRACK REGULAR ED CD (PP#757
300 ORIGINAL MOVIE SOUNDTRACK SPECIAL ED CD (PP#

Wait...there's a collector's edition of the damned soundtrack? What has it got, an extra five minutes of people screaming incomprehensibly?

DOCTOR WHO TARDIS USB 4 PORT HUB STATION
Oh, I'm so tempted.

EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH DANE COOK POSTER
EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH JESSICA SIMPSON POSTER

Choose your own joke:
A) "Just in time for no one but their mother's to care anymore!"
B) "Just in case your walls weren't unfunny enough!"

ERAGON DAGGER OF ARYA WITH SHEATH
Yeah, that's a license someone overpaid for.

LEGEND OF THE PERVERT DVD SUB (A)
You know, with a title like that, you'd expect a certain level of quality. And yet, I hear that it had to be edited for the North American release. Which just begs the question: if you knew it had to be edited, why the hell did you license a cartoon called "Legend of the Pervert" in the first place?

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Plus de Choses Changent... 

If the Globe Theater had an internet message board:

"FUCK YOU SHAKESPEARE! WHERE DO YOU GET OFF KILLING OFF ROMEO AND JULIET? Clearly, you have no conception of how drama is supposed to work, since you won't let your characters be happy!"

"It was a total rip-off of the sub-plot from Midsummer's Nights Dream anyway. Talk about unoriginal."

"I'm still waiting for WS to explain the continuity errors in Antony and Cleopatra. There is NO WAY that both AAC and Julius Ceasar can take place simultaneously!"

"Don't get me started on Ceasar! HEY STUPID WILL! THE PLAY IS CALLED JULIUS CAESAR NOT BRUTUS WHINES FOR THREE ACTS!"

"Ugh, you think the Julius Caesar continuity is bad? Falstaff fucking disappears between the second part of of Henry IV and the start of Henry V! It's like WS forgot all about him!"

"yo tardo falstaff dies inbetwen storis lololol"

"PLEASE SIGN MY PETETION FOR A FALSTAFF MEMORIAL IN HENRY'S CASTLE THANK YOU!"

"Of course Shakespeare wants his characters to be miserable. He's the last person I'd go to for something fun. All he writes is gorey garbage like Titus Andronicus and continuity porn like the Henry plays."

"He so badly wants to be Kit it's kind of sad."

"The worst was King Lear. Cordelia's death was just another cliche 'Woman in an Icehouse' moment from Hacks-peare."

"The man clearly has issues. I mean, Taming of the Shrew? Women are shrews? I feel sorry for his wife. No, I don't, she must deserve it if she has so little self-esteem to be with him. Othello is one of the most offensive and racist pieces of filth I've ever had the misfortune to see. And Merchant of Venice is just as bad. I'm honestly surprised people still give him work, he so clearly has an anti-diversity agenda."

"Is he really all that bad? I thought Hamlet was sort of okay."

"Oh, please, the plot of Hamlet makes no fucking sense. There's a ghost and incest and an army on the border, yet they have time to fart around with stupid little plays that do NOTHING to advance the story? It's stupid. And he clearly killed Rozencrantz and Guildenstern because of his anti-fun agenda, as has already been noted."

"According to 'Reclining in a Ditch' WS doesn't even really write the plays anyway."

"With incompetents like Hackspeare writing plays, it's no wonder that kids today spend so much time at the bear baiting pits instead of going to the theater."

"Shyea, whatever, I'm waiting for the folio anyway."

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Internet: Making Me Weep 

Quick Links

John McCain learns why hot-linking is a bad idea. To the surprise of no one, the story involves MySpace.

Complete list of episode titles for the third series of Doctor Who.

Kevin's new forum gets its first flame war. Mike loses, because he is unable to see the inherent logic of his intellectually superior opponent's point.

Yet another reason I'm glad I don't watch reality television. There's "pushing the envelope" and then there's "just outright creepy and misogynistic." And then there's "don't ever let yourself be alone with the guy who thought up this idea, ladies."

Real Pokemon. Including a certain delusional Swamp Thing fanatic's favorite: Lickitung.

Mind-bogglingly selfish woman risks undoing years of progress on gay rights because she's too self-absorbed to come to an equitable child custody agreement with her ex-girlfriend. This is, in a roundabout way, yet another argument for gay marriage. When a straight couple ends a relationship, there are already existing legal solutions to dealing with problems of property division and child custody. When a gay couple ends a relationship, the workarounds most couples have had to go through to even have joint property and child custody create legal problems like this.




Fun With Message Boards

Is it over for DC comics?

"Yes it's over. If anything Marvel comics is more edgy, more realistic and overall much more better written and edited than DC whose characters are all practical throwbacks to the 30s or 40s. Frankly the only people who really like DC are the ones who grew up or were born in that time period. Anyone else probably just buys DC either because they don't like Marvel or resents the fact that hispanics and foreign artists and writers are working there. If anything, the implosion of DC can only help Marvel become the sole dominating force that it is in the comic book industry. Just think about it, if Marvel takes out DC then they could be one step closer to scooping up and assimilating their rivals like Image, IDW and Dynamite then and finally then the comic book industry would be practically unified under one guiding mind with one guiding purpose. Think about it under Marvel's editorialship, you could have every comic book character in the Marvel Multiverse with every major creator working for Marvel comics from grant morrison to geoff johns with Dan DiDio and Paul Levitz forced out like the bootlickers that they are.

Think about it if there was only one comic book company then people like Byrne, Austen and Jones would be in the unemployment line and thats frankly the best reason for one comic book company."

"DC comics is just simply more infantile compared to Marvel. Marvel is about adult and mature themes, the problems that you and I encounter each and every day about responsibility and right and our nomal lives while DC is about guys who dress up in bat suits fighting clowns while endangering chilren or some wish fulfillment story about a kid who magically turns into an adult and finds his orphaned sister and his big brother sidekick.

DC = ludicrious and infantile stories
Marvel = serious stories that address current issues that effect our lives"

"Why do you need Superman when you have the Sentry? Why do you need Wonder Woman when you have Thor or Hercules? Why do you need Batman when Midnighter or Moon Knight are much superior copies?"

"DC has no proper sense of history. If you don't have a strong foundation based on continuity, you can't move forward and frankly the DC editors suck at continuity so really DC has been stuck in the same quagmire since CoiE thats almost 20 years of going nowhere, but running in circles. Kill the multiverse then bring it back. Reboot the legion then reboot it again. DC has been caught in this vicious cycle for far too long. It's as I say again the sick man of the comics industry and right now, it needs to be put down for the good of everyone."

"When Marvel gives us fans a Crisis, it's a real crisis. Civil War, World War Hulk, Silent War and Annihilation War are all better than the dozen infinite crisis tie-ins that apparently had nothing to with the main event. If anything, it just further proves how detached DC editorial is from the DCU or from the fans. Hell Civil War, World War Hulk and the rest are more connected than the dozen or so lame Infinite Crisis tie-ins."

"No DC doesn't work for anyone, it's a subsidiary of Time Warner and has lost its purpose while becoming part of the super-corporation in contrast to Marvel which maintains its original purpose of selling comic books to the fans and giving what the fans want: great stories and characterization.

DC: souless part of a super corporation that has lost its way entirely, but still tries to pretend that it cares when it really doesn't
Marvel: comic book company run by fans of the actual books who care about stories, characters and continuity"


That's all one poster by the way. Either he really hates DC, or he's doing a better job of mocking fanboy rage and nerd entitlement than I could ever hope to. Fourteen pages long as I write this, and it just keeps getting better and better.

Stupid no-fun insertion of common sense: Marvel and DC go back and forth like this all the time. For now, Marvel is up, due to expansive mega-events. In about a year, when the next cycle of mega-events hit DC, they'll be up. It's probably better to compare the companies on long-term sales, rather than a brief window. When you do that, Marvel tends to have huge sales peaks but just as many near-disastrous sales lows. DC tends to be a lot more stable, sales-wise, over the long term.




Reader Art pointed me in the direction of this IMDB message board:

"I'm sick of everybody and their cousin saying 300 is HOMO-EROTIC...
So basically what everyone is saying...is that when you see a movie about BAD-ASS MUSCULAR SPARTAN SOLIDERS CHOPPING OFF LIMBS AND DECAPITATING HEADS during COMBAT...that these soliders would rather be sucking each other off...
Ok, so Spartans are muscular and aren't wearing much clothing...what the hell do you expect, a bunch of pale skinny nerds in sweat suits facing off against the Persian army...
Just because a muscular man doesn't have his shirt on doesn't make him gay...
It makes the viewer gay for thinking about homo-erotic stuff from looking at that...
So if 300 is gay or homo-erotic...
does that make CONSTRUCTION SITES homo-erotic...
oh yeah....PRO-wrestling is homo-erotic...
CONAN the Barbarian....very homo-erotic...
Beastmaster....now that is homo...
don't forget UFC- Ultimate Fighting Championship...now THAT, my friend, is about as homo-sexual as it gets... "


There's one line there that caught my eye:
"oh yeah....PRO-wrestling is homo-erotic..."

Sounds like an invitation to play one of my favorite games!

Gay Porn or Pro Wrestling?


Gay Porn or Pro Wrestling?


Gay Porn or Pro Wrestling?


Gay Porn or Pro Wrestling?


The only game harder to play? Gay Porn or Country Singer?

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Other Brief Thoughts on Comics 

Pete: "So, in that JLA Classified story, the only version of [villain of the piece] Red King that survived was the absolutely evil one, right?"
Me: "Yes."
Pete: "Did that not make a lot of sense?"
Me: "It didn't really, no."
Pete: "Plus, if all the other versions of the Red King knew about the back-up plan, why didn't he?"
Me: "Like you said, the story didn't really make a lot of sense."
Pete: "Does it seem like they're just putting people on Classified who don't know a lot about DC or care about continuity?"
Me: "Well, since JLA: Classified seems to be the dumping ground for inventory stories cluttering up the JLA editor's desk drawers, I think it's safe to say that the stories in the title aren't in continuity."

As for me, I was more put out by an odd...well, I'm tempted to call it an art error, but that's mostly for lack of any other good explanation.


So, that's the JLA versus the Royal Flush Gang. So, why are there seven of them, when there are only five cards in a poker hand? And, I read all five issues of that "4th Parallel" story, and I don't recall seeing those two highlighted characters anywhere other than in that spread above...which was repeated exactly as is, with only dialogue changes, in the middle three issues of the story.

And why are there only five members of the Royal Flush Gang anyway? There are four suits in a deck, after all. Shouldn't there be about twenty of them?

Actually, the comic oddity I want to see exploited someday is this: If Thanos is just Jim Starlin riffing off of Darkseid, and Mongul is just Jim Starlin finishing off Thanos stories with Superman instead of Captain Marvel (the bad one)...why hasn't anyone done a story with Darkseid and Mongul?

(I have to apologise for that last paragraph, it was possibly too geeky even for me.)




Favorite DC message board thread of the moment: Are D.C. creators completely sexist?

1. Sexless Ice Queen: It seems that every writer is afraid to address Wonder Woman's sexuality. As far as I can tell, she has never had ANY serious relationships at all, since post-Crisis. You could argue that neather has Batman, but at least his relationship problems stem from his mission statement. ("I am a creature of the night. I can't let anyone get too close, because they will hamper my mission to fight crime, and that's all that matters.") Superman is married to Lois. It seems like they don't want to give Wonder Woman any sexuality because if a man is sexual, he's a stud. If a woman is sexual, she's a *****. Come on D.C., grow up and let Diana grow up, too. At least Batman had time to have a son, which brings me to my other point...

2.The Blessed Virgin Dianna: I'm almost positive (correct me if I'm wrong)that Wonder Woman is still a virgin. Why? It's fine if that's her choice, but I don't believe that's why. I think writers are afraid to let Dianna have sex, because then she becomes "unclean". Women are sexual beings, and having sex is a natural part of being a woman. If Dianna is waiting until she's married, please let her state that view. Leaving it ambigious is just annoying.


Now, I'm always a bit...concerned over people fretting about whether or not Wonder Woman is a virgin, but the bit I love is that later on in that same post:

4.Bathing Beauty: Finally, I will end with a simple statement about Wonder Womans wardrobe. SHE WEARS A BATHING SUITE TO FIGHT CRIME! Come on, D.C. It's the year 2007, give the woman a pair of pants! How can any woman look up to a hero who runs around in hooker boots and a tiara? I know purists say, "her costume is iconic, you can't change it!" Yes, you can, if it is better for the character. Instead, it just gets smaller and smaller, until all you can see is cleveage, and her a$$ hanging out.

So...you want a Wonder Woman that's more of a sexual being, but you want her to wear a more frumpy costume?

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Three Short Thoughts 

I'm genuinely surprised that I haven't seen more mentions of the latest issue of Stormwatch: Post Human Division's oblique tie-in to 52 and/or Countdown. The meta-plot in the DC Universe leading up to the next cross-over, in any case, figures into the issue, in any case. Either that or a really deliberate fake-out.

Of course, I'm disappointed more people aren't talking about the series anyway, as it's quite good. Most of the Wildstorm relaunches and new titles have been good, Stormwatch, Welcome to Tranquility, Gen 13, Midnighter and Authority keep migrating to the bottom of my "to read" pile. Bottom because I'm one of those weird people who saves the best stuff for last so that I have something to look forward to.




Something I said to Mike, when discussing the unpleasant fact that the success of Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men has more to do with the fact that it's a known property and less to do with it being Joss Whedon writing, and writing blatant fan pandering material at that, got me to thinking about the one thing that really annoys me about X-Men comics: the stupid and pointless space-based plot-lines that crop up so frequently. I've just never been able to understand what the hell going out into space has to do with fighting to protect an oppressed minority.

"To me, my X-Men, we must head into space to stop the Shi'ar civil war."
"Uhm, yeah, Professor, about that...we just got reports of an anti-mutant rally downtown, and Logan's following up a rumor of a new Sentinel plant being constructed in Canada, and we've been tipped off that Reverend Stryker has formed an alliance with the Hate Monger. Don't you think we should take care of those emergencies first?"
"But the Shi'ar need us Scott!"
"Professor, there's about two dozen space based heroes, any one of which is more powerful than any three or four X-Men combined. I mean, they've got Nova, the Silver Surfer and Adam Warlock. We've got Gambit, Mirage and Jubilee. Those guys can probably handle a space war a little better than we can. And anyway, the rest of us were sort of talking, and it occurred to us that the Shi'ar are pretty much a totalitarian, imperialist monarchy. If they were Earth-based, we'd probably be fighting against them."
"You're just determined to keep me from getting any, aren't you Scott?"




And now, Ollie once again being an unmitigated ass:


I wonder if anyone at DC realizes that no one actually likes Green Arrow...we're only reading comics with him in them in anticipation of that inevitable moment when he gets what's coming to him.

I mean, who reads something like this:

And thinks: Man, Green Arrow is cool!

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Friday, March 16, 2007

I Feel Like A Traitor 

So, despite my better judgement (I can't stand John Romita Jr's art), and despite knowing from past experience that it won't be worth it, I find myself, slightly, intrigued by the premise of World War Hulk. Maybe it's just me wanting to see the Hulk turn Iron Man into a greasy red and gold smear on the sidewalk, but there you go. Stuff like this helps:



Marvel, apparently unwilling or unable to give me a reason to read about Hercules, have decided to simply make me want to look at pictures of him.

Of course, that DC is putting out stuff like this may also be causing me to look across the aisle, so to speak.



Now, I've joked before about how mannish looking the women Alex Ross draws are, surmising that, unable to find women to pose in the costumes for him, he simply puts them on men instead. I...I think Michael Turner may be doing the same thing. Because that doesn't look, even remotely, like a woman. That looks like a drag queen with two huge, flesh-colored balloons down the front of her unitard, that have slipped down too far because no one explained about double-sided tape to this particular drag queen.




Just to prove to you that I haven't completely shifted my allegiances, here's a dramatic re-enactment of one of my conversations with Mike last week.

Me: "Good day to you, kind merchant. I find myself most uncharacteristically taken with some of the concepts behind this forthcoming World War Hulk bally-hoo, and am most taken indeed with the notion that the casus belli is a catastrophic explosion, which most poetically counterpoints a similar dire event which prompted the recent unpleasantness. Is there, by chance, a chapbook collating the earliest chapters of the contemporary Planet Hulk serial story?"
Mike: "No. Marvel wants to make you pay for a deluxe, over-sized hardcover collecting the entire series."
Me: "Oh well then. Bollocks to them. They shall not see one of my hard-earned guilders."

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Odds and Ends 

So, the popular rumor of the day is that Jake Gyllenhaal is being considered for the title role in any Captain Marvel (the good one, not any of the Marvel ones) adaptation that may come out. Personally, I think it's premature to worry about casting in a film like that, and Gyllenhaal is a bit younger and trimmer than I think Captain Marvel should be, but it's not as if he's a bad actor or couldn't add muscle to his frame.

But go ahead and guess how comic book fans reacted to the "news." Go ahead. Did they make reference to his latest role in Zodiac? Or perhaps to the role that first brought him to prominence, the sci-fi film Donnie Darko? Or perhaps his early, ground-breaking performance in Bubble Boy?

If you guessed that they made trite Brokeback Shazam jokes, well congratulations, you've obviously encountered fanboys before.




Via Dave comes an interview with Doctor Who producer and writer Russell T. Davies. It's an interesting article, not least for this paragraph, on how the show responds to fan complaints and criticisms.

But then, everything creates uproar in the Doctor Who online community. Fans spend hours logging what's right - and what's wrong - with Davies's doctor. He just ignores them. 'In the community of sci-fi shows, I think we're the only one that actively ignores its online fanbase. American shows seem to court them, or pretend that they do. That way lies madness. I can't think of a show that's improved its quality, or its ratings, by doing it. It's like going in search of a massively biased focus group - why would anyone do that?'

You might as well retitle that paragraph "Why no one cares about Star Trek anymore" or "What will kill (what's left of) the comics industry."

Ahem...that being said, I would be perfectly happy to see Davies quit the blatant Judeo-Christian symbolism in series 3. The Torchwood finale and Impossible Planet were rubbish.




Several people have already linked to it, but if you haven't seen it yet this translation of an interview with German cartoonist Ralf Koenig is worth a look. Because anything involving Ralf Koenig is worth a look.




Shane has done some inspired Marvel propaganda posters. I think this She-Hulk one is my favorite.




I know it's also made the rounds since last week, but if you haven't seen it, this bit of fan service from Manhunter #29 is inspired.





I dig it when blogs that aren't comics blogs talk about super-heroes in an entertaining and non-condescending way.
Tbogg on Marvel
Lance Mannion on Iron Man

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Monday, March 12, 2007

The Stupid, It Burns 

I've been entertained by the weekend debate over whether or not Marvel dropped the ball with giving retailers enough advance information on the contents of Captain America #25 to set adequate order numbers. And by "entertained" I mean "amused by the folly of man."

The general response from retailers (and you can read many thoughts on the subject here, as well as at Mike's site), has been that Marvel's solicitation and promotion information was not adequate, and that orders would have been much higher if Marvel had chosen to share the contents of the issue with retailers instead of, say, Wizard, CNN and the New York Daily News. The dissenting opinion has largely boiled down to "nuh uh!" One particular "internet personality" (and really, how pathetic is that tier of fame?) keeps insisting that Marvel gave retailers more than enough information to anticipate the slow news day driven demand for the issue from people who never bothered to buy issue 24 of the magazine nor have any intention of buying issue 26, and furthermore, if retailers had read his sleazy online column at a second tier PR republishing comic news site, in which he never actually said that Marvel planned on killing off Captain America nor had a multi-media news onslaught prepped for the day the issue went on sale, they would have known to order more copies. Because, of course, internet gossip and innuendo are better predictors of sales than cycle sheets and regular customers. This is, again, despite scores of retailers saying no, actually, the information we were given was insufficient to set orders on non-returnable product correctly.

Hmmm...whose opinion do I find more credible? People who order comics for a living, and have done so for years...or a self-aggrandizing publicity-whore?

Of course, that decision is made ever easier by the fact that fine folks like "DanteHicks1972" are taking the bold stand that Marvel is incapable of doing wrong:
It seems like any time something doesn't go the retailers way the crying begins. Sometimes it's justified others like this seems like sour grapes. With all the rumors, innuendo etc if Marvel said it was going to be big it's their fault for blowing tem off. The fact that Wizard speculated correctly and made a few extra $$$ more power to them. I'm jus t glad my local retailer held alot of issues back for subscribers who don't normall pull Cap.

Okay, two things deserve comment here. One, by naming yourself after a character in a Kevin Smith film, you pretty much waive all right to having your opinion taken seriously. And two, learn to be friends with the English language and it will be friends with you.




I liked this article about 300 by Francois Peneaud and Joe Palmer for being fair-minded while acknowledging the problematic aspects of the way the original comic dealt with homosexuality. It still doesn't make me want to see the film because, as I've said before, I thought the original comic was pretty dreadful, and nothing about the film version gives me reason to reassess my opinion. I am fairly intrigued, however, by the ways in which people have been projecting highly contradictory meanings onto the film. It's homophobic. No, it's homoerotic. It celebrates fascism. No, it's an indictment of imperialism. It's racist. No, it's misogynistic. No, it's racist, misogynistic and homophobic.

It seems to me that if the film is this open to so many mutually exclusive interpretations it's probably a muddled mess with no strong central theme. And really, I can't imagine my reaction would be substantially different from Tim O'Neil's.




There was apparently a game developers conference in the Bay area this past weekend, and GayGamer has the best write up I've seen on a panel that was held about gay and lesbian gamers and gay and lesbian themes in games. This particular panel was interesting because it's the first example I've come across of gays and lesbians in the game industry talking about the industry being open to gay themes in games, as opposed to the usual straight white men talking about how open the game industry is to gay themes.

Of course, I'm touched by their naivete in thinking that gay themes would be welcome in more games, given that most of the responses in this thread can best be summarized as "faggots are disgusting and I wouldn't buy a game with gay characters."




I think this should be the last word on Captain America. At least until Marvel brings him back in a few months.




In any case, my reaction to a good 90% of the above can be summed up thus:

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I Hate They They Don't Even Give Me The Chance To Spoil It 

So, Marvel once again decided that the best place to reveal a "significant" comic book event is in the press on new comics day, rather than, you know, letting readers find out for themselves when they go to pick up their books. I know that moves like this aren't really in the interests of their reader base, but more of an attempt to up their profile in the general public, and maybe spur a little speculator interest into the death of Captain America along the way. Which annoys me as a comic fan, but I can appreciate Marvel's mercenary streak in a sick sort of way.

I suppose from a story-telling perspective there's something that can be wrought from this. Given how ham-fisted political metaphor has been in Marvel books of late, though, I doubt that anything interesting can come of this. I mean, other than the spike in sales when they undo this a little bit down the road. Call me cynical if you must, but I just don't see a death like this sticking, not with such a central figure. This isn't Blue Beetle. Everybody already expects this "Ronin" character to turn out to be Steve Rogers anyway, and they already have an "out" with the missing Nick Fury and his Life Model Decoys. The question that most readily comes to me about this, however, is why is an event of this significance occurring in a tie-in book, and not the Civil War book proper? Oh, yeah, right, the never-ending cross-over cycle and Marvel's desperate need to appear successful to investors by using gimmicks to inflate their sales to the direct market.

On a semi-related note, I'm calling for a Memory Hole Watch on the announcement that The Initiative is going from a mini to an on-going. Because when it gets cancelled, sometime around issue 10 or 12, I fully expect to see someone at Marvel describing it as a mini.

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Musings Miscellany 

There are times when my response to an e-mail or question is roughly this:


And such was the case with people wondering what I thought about Ann Coulter's latest bon mot. To be frank, my initial reaction was pretty much "fuck Ann Coulter." She's about as far as you can get from what passes for reasonable political discourse in this country. But reasonable political discourse isn't her function in the Republican noise machine. She really serves two roles for them. Her minor function is to speak to the dark, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, homophobic, classist heart of the contemporary conservative movement. Her job is to say the things that make all decent people recoil in horror, but a certain segment of the population longs to hear. But primarily her role is to make other people seem less outrageous in their beliefs and statements by comparison. Let's face it; neither Mitt Romney nor John McCain fundamentally disagree with Ann Coulter on the subject of gay rights. But now they get to portray themselves as moderates by distancing themselves from her.
Not that they won't fully take advantage of her notoriety when it serves their interests again.

I'm far more interested in the latest Republican/gay porn connection, a Marine reservist who had his feelings hurt when the nasty mean old college students called him names, became the latest conservative cause celebre, only to turn out to be a former gay porn model. Oh, and male prostitute. Granted, it's not quite waiving normal security procedures to allow a male prostitute into the White House press room so that he can lob soft-ball questions at the press secretary, but it does raise the question of why Republicans are so fond of male prostitutes but not any other kind of gay men.




This is the message-board thread that that shameless self-promoter Church blames on me. I much prefer this thread of things Geoff Johns is apparently not allowed to write about anymore. Because the arrogance of some online schmoe telling someone else what they can and cannot write about amuses me.

For a real treat, try this thread about "sacrilegious and anti-Christian" characters.
Zauriel
The Spectre
Nightcrawler
Storm
Raven
Supergirl
Venom
Lobo
Zatanna
Scarlet Witch
Juggernaut
Dr. Strange
Dr. Fate
Any character that uses magic, sorcery


I can sort of see most of those but...Supergirl? Lobo? Nightcrawler?

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

We Now Return to Normal 

And that's quite enough of that. I told Andy he could change one graphic, one. It will be awhile before he's allowed anywhere near the site again.

Although he did want to say that he was very put out by those of you who suggested that he's not real.
That was his actual phrase too: "put out."




My all time favorite stupid DC message board thread of late has been this one:
Obsidian: Radical Changes Needed!!
It might surprise you to learn that the "radical change" in question here is not "give him more screen time than three silent panels in two of three issues published so far." No, I'll let the original poster explain what the problem with Obsidian is:
For the past few years, Obsidian has fallen into decandence... in my opinion Obsidian was WAY BETTER in JSA: Darkness Falls!! From the time he quitted, his story became a huge nonsense... I'm not making discrimination, but I really think that him changing his sexuality was the biggest mistake ever made to this character! From there Obsidian was taken less seriously than he have been!! If there was a potential storyline in my mind, it'd be Obsidian with Nightshade (which will also help explain if the "World Of Nighshades" is or isn't the "Shadowlands"... Making Obsidian part of the JSA was good, but unnecessary for Alan Scott alredy has a place there. Obsidian was better off being evil...
I hope the DC Editors will think about it REALLY WELL for I've followed DC Super Heroes since I was 2 years old and I never got disapointed in the comics! I hope I won't ever get... Then again, this is NOT discrimination... but this character should have stayed the way he was before... He's the decendent of one of the earliest superheroes, he should not have been inflicted with such a decadence...
I hope you understand what I'm trying to say.


But lest you think that perhaps homophobia motivates this anti-gay Obsidian post, be assured that's not the case at all:
I was not discriminating by saying that Obsidian was better before... the best way to prove it is that Freddie Mercury is one of my favourite singers! The thing is that Obsidian should have gotten a better "base" (if you understand the term).And it was, most of all, the fact that Alan Scott would have no more succesor in his bloodline after Obsidian's death that bothered me... that's it!! If anyone has a problem with that than express your feelings... but calling me a homophobiac is the proof that you did not read and understood the sentence : I'M NOT MAKING DISCRIMINATION. I wrote this because I knew some people would understand what I meant in a different way that I expected. So if you can't read, quit comics!

I swear, the thread is a treasure-trove:
adreyenko said himself that he MADE obsidian gay in an interview, which PROVES that the hero wasn't always gay. adreyenko should have left todd rice alone. his run on manhunter led to only one thing: THE CANCELLATION OF THE TITLE!! wtf??!! obsidian had a relationship with harlequin III, why can't he stay the way he was?? it's not because he was shy or had mental illness (which were because of his mother's genes) and that his first relationship had a little difficulties that he is gay! and it's not because nuklon is his best friend and that he was avoiding homophobia and because he didn't have any relationship or love neither. don't call me narrow-minded because that's not true, it's just the damn truth!! the ones who say he's gay say it because they WANT him to be like that... but he was never meant to be!! PS: if he turned evil, it was because of his mental illness!!!!

Alright, maybe Obsidian's mental illness wasn't revealed until Darkness Falls, but come on guys... it's more coherent for him to have this as a hertitage from his mother than his change of sexuality!!!!!! Darkness Falls was one of the only stories that made Obsidian important, and his decadence started from the time he came back! Now he's just a shadow doing nothing exept when Jade died!! Give me a break... this dude needs RADICAL CHANGES so that he can become better!! He looks pathetic now... and if writers don't do anything about it, he'll soon be useless and so he won't be used that often... AND HE'S THE BLOODY SON OF ALAN SCOTT!!!! Come on... it looks like the death of Jade didn't affect him that much, for they only made him furious in 52... but he's not carrying the sadness, while he should, for it would go on well with his darkness. This character could use alot of work, which would fortunately pay well amd make his popularity increase. He should also get closer with his dad. And can anyone answer me this question: Is the shadowlands the land of nightshades??
I hope you understand that Obsidian is not taken seriously AT ALL right now. The Infinity Inc. should also get worked up, and have a more important role in the DCU. I hope that the JSA title will CORRECT Obsidian's MISTAKES, and make him have an important role in the team that just being a useless shadow security guard. Make the true POWER of his powers come out, for he's VERY powerful, the writers just don't use all of his qualities, and rather make him gay for some stupid unknown reasons (exept for Andreyko's Manhunter selfishness). Remake him te way he was before, and add all the things I said in this post... then come up with an amazing story... and there you'll have the REAL Obsidian.


Now, most of the other posters take "goldenagebat" to task for his attitude, but there's at least one other poster, "dixon64" who has his back.
At any rate the character is not being as well received as he was and it is precisely because of that change that he isn't. How is that good for a company if their goal is to sell as many copies of that title to consumers as they can ? It is not. But if I had a political or social agenda sales would not matter to me. But the idea that we are going to cry on the internet because of it is foolishness. DC and you are assuming we will continue to buy the book. I love "The Justice Society of America" . For years and with it's return I have stated vehemently that it is hands down with no close competition the best title on the market, but don't let it fool you into believing that I wont leave that and every other DC title on the shelf if I see it that DC doesn't hear my voice for the $3.00 I pay for their title. The character of Obsidian has been diminished and DC shouldn't suffer the loss of that asset nor should they suffer it on the consumers who purchase "The Justice Society of America"

Now, setting aside that Obsidian really only became interesting as a character when he came out, what I love in that last excerpt is the notion that negative fan reaction to Obsidian is having an adverse effect on the Justice Society book. And here I was thinking that the vast bulks of criticisms I've heard about this latest relaunch is the over the top violence. Silly me.

I'm not actually overly bothered by the violence in Justice Society to be honest, but nor am I overly concerned with the pace of Justice League, so clearly my taste is suspect. My concerns for the book are born out of pure fan entitlement selfishness. I don't like the bitter and mentally scarred Damage, especially since it seems to be broadly telegraphing a heel turn, especially with the introduction of his "father" Vandal Savage into the storyline. I don't like a suddenly emo Wildcat who resents having to train younger heroes, something he's been consistently portrayed as enthusiastic about in the past. I don't like the apparently Alex Ross mandated sidelining of Obsidian. And I really hate the masturbatory insertion of elements from Kingdom Come into the book.

It's small comfort to learn that at least Obsidian might be facing a better fate soon.




Speaking of DC comics that are failing to meet the expectations of their audience, I've noticed, here and there, a number of people who feel that the tone of Trials of Shazam is excessively dark, especially in comparison to Jeff Smith's Monster Society of Evil title. Which is a fair enough exception to make. My own response to that is that I've been thinking of Trials as more of a Captain Marvel Jr. story, and Freddie Freeman's adventures have always been a bit darker in tone than those of Billy and Mary. Let's compare their origins for a minute.

Hey, Billy, how'd you get your powers?
"A wizard gave them to me!"
Cool. How about you Mary?
"A wizard gave my brother powers."
Okay...And you Freddie? Where did your powers come from?
"Nazis killed my family and crippled me."
Wow...aren't you a bright and shiny figure of escapist fun for little children.




I have it on reasonably good authority that the third season of Doctor Who starts March 31st. And, look, here's a list of episode titles, writers and directors!

Not that I have any idea how a good, law-abiding citizen of the United States could watch those episodes in anything resembling a timely manner.




Carla's tale of trying to find a contemporary Iron Man comic for a kid reminded me an awful lot of my days working comics retail. Marvel used to have this peculiar knack for capitalizing on their film release dates with wholly inappropriate material in their promotional comics. Such as a twenty-five cent Hulk comic with an attempted rape but no Hulk. Or an X-Men comic featuring graphic crucifixions when the second film came out. They've gotten marginally better about it, though I do sort of wonder why there was no general audience appealing Ghost Rider comic this month.




Patrick Fillion has some preview pages up for his forth-coming gay barbarian comic, Zahn.
I shouldn't have to tell you that the link above is not safe for work, but be assured it is.

There's also a DC produced web-comic starring John Waters in promotion of his new Court TV television show, 'Til Death Do Us Part. This qualifies John Waters to be a character in Sandman now, right?

Destructoid profiles a game I enjoyed far too much, Pokemon Snap. It was the best puzzle/photography game I ever played. It was the only puzzle/photography game I ever played.
I would absolutely download it if it became available for the Wii Virtual Console.



The Brave and the Bold #1, by Mark Waid, George Perez and Bob Wiacek, published by DC Comics

I'm an unashamed fan of the concept of The Brave and the Bold. There's something very satisfying, on an intrinsic level, about super-hero team-up adventures. It's a great joy and delight for the little kids hidden inside super-hero comics fans. And this latest iteration of the series captures that perfectly. It's big dumb super-heroic adventure, but without the melodrama that has come to dominate the genre of late. Mark Waid's penchant for exhaustive continuity based story-telling is well suited for the concept, and he writes the characters, in this case Batman and Green Lantern, in a way which makes them familiar to long term fans of the characters and sketched in enough for those unfamiliar with a particular character to get an idea of what they're about. Perez was an inspired choice for artist as well, having a broadly appealing style that looks, importantly, suitably super-heroic. His figures "act" well, being very expressive and detailed, yet loose enough to still possess a sense of dynamism. The final product is an unpretentious book which revels in the fun of the shared universe concept.




This is all the fault of Chris Sims, you know.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

More Needlessly Cynical Reactions 

I hate your metaphor, and what it says about your audience.
Comparing it to how all of the 15 people at a Sex Pistols show formed a band and influenced music, Vaughan said that the influence of comics is now reaching into the mainstream. He cited Damon Lindelhoff as a huge fan of Watchmen who grew up and went into another field but still shows that influence.

I would be so happy to never see anyone compare anything to the Sex Pistols ever again. It's such a cheap and easy short-hand to "yeah, our corporate, work for hire comics are gonna RAWK! They're totally punk man!"
(Also, apparently no one told Lindelhoff that Watchmen was notable because it was so good. Not because it was so late.)

Sci-Fi Channel and Virgin Comics to team.
Of course they are. What their audiences have in common is right there in the name!

What Marvel wants us to know about the new New Warriors
NRAMA: Now Sophia (with the iPod) is Wondra? Judging by the color sketch may we assume she’s Latina?
KG: Ha! I think It depends on what you call Latina. Also, who even said Sophia was Wondra?...
She’s a young black girl with semi-elemental powers...
He’s a white kid with the ability to fly obviously and has a host of cool weapons at his disposal....
He’s also a white kid who of course has sonic powers given his name....
She’s a white female, who given her power set, is not someone you really want to mess with. And Renascence, who is also a white female, has a host of different abilities that are constantly changing over time depending on her mood....


Though, seriously, I might check it out. Marvel's teen-hero books are the only ones I ever seem to enjoy anymore, plus Decibel is in a kilt, and I sort of have a thing about that.

Marvel continues to milk their well-reviewed cross-over book
Annihilation: Conquest: Starlord according Rosemann follows the original Starlord sent on a suicide mission and joined by a band of misfits including Groot, Captain Universe, Deathcry, Mantis, Bug of Micronauts fame, and Rocket Raccoon. Rosemann described the titles as Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandoes in space.

They're going to kill Rocket Raccoon, aren't they?

Also in the lineup, Annihilation: Conquest – Wraith will feature a new character called the Wraith, who carries a Western feel and element, but is much darker and grittier than Marvel space heroes of the past.

Wow, really, a "darker" and "grittier" Marvel character? Hoo, boy, is that ever what Marvel needs more of!

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Needlessly Cynical Reactions 

Matt Fraction talks Strikeforce Morituri, I mean, Champions
While Tony Stark will remain in an oversight capacity of the team he founded under the moniker of 'ZEUS', his new duties post-Civil War have made it so he needs someone in place with the Champions to be more directly involved. The man in the 'HERA' position is an old friend of Tony's, an actor that used to play Iron Man on a television series. "He and Stark were kind of like the Cary Grant and Randolph Scott of the Marvel U, you know? Party pals. And now that the party's over for each of them, Tony's reached out to his old friend to be a Champion," Fraction said.

So...Fraction just outed Stark, right?

Regarding Marvel's latest "fill in the plot-holes in our cross-over" title, because that's all they'll let Paul Jenkins write anymore, apparently.
That story will be told in World War Hulk: Front Line a six issue mini-series written by Paul Jenkins, with art on the Ben/Sally story by Ramon Bachs. As with the Civil War version, WWH Front Line will run alongside the main World War Hulk storyline, showing the Marvel Universe as it reacts to the events that occur after an angry Hulk returns to earth for a little payback. That said, it comes as no surprise that Ben and Sally's story will center around the evacuation of Manhattan.

So, I presume that if there's any property damage in Manhattan, the heroes will have to surrender to the Hulk, right? Isn't that the precedent that they've established; smash a building, abandon your principles?

DC toys with me.
Going back to talk about spin-offs from 52, Jann Jones announced a new project: Captain Carrot and the Final Ark, a three-issue limited series. "It's a very important year for Captain Carrot," Jones said. The project will be written by Bill Morrison and drawn by Scott Shaw! The villain of the story will be Ra's al-Pica.

This is going to turn out to have been a joke, isn't it? So long as they were serious about un-cancelling Manhunter, I'll deal. Now if only we could get Obsidian back into the book that was actually willing to use him.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

And On A Lighter Note 

Over at the Center of Gravitas, GayProf had two really nice articles about childhood toys and violating gender norms with your toys that are, more or less, directly responsible for this post of mine.




Happy Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk Day!. Anyone care to take bets on if we'll be celebrating it again this time next year?




I haven't seen much discussion, or any, really, of the news that the Krypto issue of Superman has been indefinitely postponed. I know I'm disappointed, as I love Krypto dearly as a symbol of the sheer, joyfully stupid charm of super-hero comics. Kurt Busiek had this to say:

The Krypto story was (temporarily, we hope) shelved at the last minute at an executive level for reasons that it's up to DC to make public or not. Everyone who's read it likes the story, but there are reasons they don't want to print it at the moment. So it's on the shelf -- and boy, did that help our struggling schedule! -- and what'll come out as #659 is what was solicited as #660.

My guess, based on DC's past practices for holding and cancelling comics, is that the story was probably deemed unsuitable to be on the racks at the same time as the kid-oriented Krypto the Superdog comic. So, let's hope that it gets published in some form sooner rather than later.




So, Countdown is officially announced, after months of rumor and speculation. I've enjoyed predecessor series 52, I like the writers and artists associated with this new series, and I enjoy well-crafted super-hero melodrama. What cinches it for me, oddly, is this quote from "show runner" Paul Dini:

I’d say our everyman character in the story is Jimmy Olsen, who to a great degree fits that bill within the DC Universe anyway. He has links to the Justice League, the Legion of Super-Heroes and the New Gods. And he is in the unique role of being not only a traveler through the mainstream DC Universe, but also becomes increasingly aware that he might have a bigger part to play in all this than he’s ever suspected. His quest to find out his role is one of the major driving points of Countdown.

So, the series could almost be described as a new version of Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen. Now, I hate the Silver Age version of Jimmy with an unnatural passion, but so many modern writers have treated him as faintly embarrassing that I'm glad to see him given some kind of due.

To those who would challenge me on my hatred of Silver Age Jimmy, allow me to illustrate by vignette why I loath him.
"Super Duper, no one will see through my disguise of a fake beard! Super Duper, Lucy agreed to go on a date with me, but I'm going to disguise myself as a rich Arab and try to trick her as a test of her love! Super Duper, I'm going to blow off the date anyway to go hunt down jewel thieves!"
"Jimmy, if you say 'Super Duper' one more time, I'm throwing you into the sun and telling Perry that you were Omega Beamed by Darkseid."
"Sup-...sorry, Superman."




The comics blogging world has been too heavy and serious lately. We all need to lighten up. And to do just that, I present panels from Golden Age comics taken out of context to imply sexual shenanigans.



Too much? How about Alias, The Spider and his, ahem, male companion watching a man undress?

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Kevin Church is my Master Now 

Go. Read. Now!

I would also marry Ragnell if I were straight.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Whoops! 

Previews for May in text format.

Scroll down to "PAGE 74"

Diamond manages to spoil an announcement once again.

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Okeefenokee playin' Possum on a Pogo 

ABOUT DAMN TIME!



Fantagraphics Books is pleased to announce that it has acquired the rights to publish a comprehensive series comprising Walt Kelly's classic POGO comic strip. The first volume of Fantagraphics' POGO will appear in October, 2007, and the series will run approximately 12 volumes.

Twelve volumes, reprinting all of Walt Kelly's Pogo strips from 1949 to 1973, with each volume designed by Jeff Smith. Fan-freaking-tastic.

Now, my only question is: will the "bunny strips" Kelly created as replacements for editors too skittsh about political themes be included?
Okay, two questions: does this mean there's a chance of non-strip reprint Pogo books like The Jack Acid Society Black Book coming out?

UPDATE: Have a cover image:

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Monday, February 12, 2007

In A Mood 

I'm listless tonight, and not feeling particularly enthusiastic about anything I'd planned to write about. Not even my mini-rant about the quality of the paper Dark Horse is using as cover-stock on Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, which starts to curl the moment I take off the shrink-wrap and expose it to air. Not even a (slightly) mock expression of surprise that super-hero fans are appalled at over-sexualized anime versions of super-heroine action-figures, given that the plastic statues in question are positively tame in comparison to most examples of anime-gal figures I've seen. The only thing that did immediately catch my eye today was the relase of the DC solicitations for May, in which I note that a JSA Classified story-line will focus on Wildcat.



Only thing is, it's written by Frank Tieri. Whose work hasn't particularly impressed me in the past. I have a dim recollection that his run on Wolverine wasn't terrible, but that's largely in comparison to what came before and after.

So, I think I'll just post some pictures of John Tristram instead.










Oh, what the heck. John Barrowman and Ruthie Henshall singing "Anything You Can Do"

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Dear Joel Silver, 

I want to personally thank you for coming to the smart decision and removing Joss Whedon from the Wonder Woman film project. I'm sure it's terribly obvious in hindsight, but the man was simply never a good fit for the project. In every interview he gave on the subject, he seemed disinterested in the film. Persistent rumors even suggest he never even bothered to finish writing a first draft of the screen-play. And I know I, personally, felt he was wrong for the film when he mentioned that he wouldn't use any of the traditional Wonder Woman villains in the film. I'm sorry, but if you can't think of a good filmic treatment for characters as diverse as the Cheetah, the Silver Swan, Ares, Circe, the Red Panzer, Paula von Gunther or Doctor Psycho, maybe you shouldn't be writing a Wonder Woman movie.

(And I realize I'm in the minority on this point, but I just don't see the cause in citing him as a "good" writer for female characters. Outside of pixie-ish ingenues prone to making contextually inappropriate pop culture jokes, he doesn't seem particularly interested in writing women.)

Now, to address some of the complaints about this decision you're likely to hear, let me take two I spotted right away as examples:

I don't understand why Hollywood doesn't just give this man a blank check and let him do whatever the hell he wants. I think he has proven he has the perfect blend of commercial sense and intelligence and the fact he has so much trouble getting a TV show/movie off the ground/on the air really speaks to how stupid Hollywood has become.

To clarify, Joss Whedon had one movie tank, a moderately successful cult television show, a struggling television show, a quickly cancelled television show, and a second film that tanked. Oh, and a couple of moderately successful comic books, by the current standards of the comic book industry. Not assigning such a person to a summer tent-pole, franchise-launching film is a sign of a studio executive trying to prevent the loss of great amounts of money, to my mind.

And while that response rather misses the point of the decision, I'm sure you'll be getting plenty of responses like this:
First, to Time-Warner, two words:

Word the First: SUCK.
Word the Second: ME.

First, you braindead bastiches go over DiDio's head, and shove that talentless, never-met-a-deadline-he-couldn't-miss-by-a-country-mile, full of himself, arrogant ass Heinberg down our throats by putting him on the main (and may I point out, ONLY) Wonder Woman title. And what does that loser do? Well, when he can be bothered to get his head out of his rear for long enough to actually write a word or two, he undermines the character, puts together a pointless, kitchen-sink story that is one big fight, and writes dialogue that wouldn't make it past an eight grade English teacher's desk without serious concerns.

OK, Heinberg liked the TV show. WE GET IT ALREADY!

Second, you hire Joss Whedon to write and direct a film. You string him along for a couple of years, you look at a number of drafts, and then you decide that your view of the film is better than his. So, it's better if we all start over with someone altogether new. Given your track record with Heinberg, I can only imagine what it is that you are looking for. Maybe you can make another "Catwoman". Yeah, go for it.

Then, on top of all that bullsh*t, we get crap like Diana's appearance in the last Green Lantern. (That's not T-W's fault. That's Johns' fault, who, when not writing Diana is great. However, he couldn't find Wonder Woman's character with both hands and a flashlight.)

What a total, utter, complete failure on every front. I'm done now.


There are two phrases I've been known to bandy around; "nerd rage" and "fan entitlement." That excerpt above? It's a near perfect example of both principles in action. An over-identification with a fictional character, to the point where any slight deviations from what the fan thinks should be done is taken as a personal affront, and inappropriate emotional reactions to something of ultimately trivial consequence.

(I mean, I'm a Wildcat fan, and a bit notorious for being one at that, but when Geoff Johns kills Ted Grant off at the end of the current Justice Society story-line, you're not going to see any angry, bitter posts from me on every blog and message-board you can find, nor will I be calling Johns names. My borders might go black for a couple weeks, but that's about it. This is because, while I'm a fan of the character, and care about what happens to him, I'm not fucking nuts.)

Lastly, and if I may be presumptive, there is one tremendous benefit to not having Whedon attached to the project. And that's the possibility that Peter Dinklage could be cast as Doctor Psycho:


Sincerely,
Dorian Wright

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Fun With Words 

Recently, I remarked that there were certain words that I'd generally prefer comic fans to stop using, until such a time as they can demonstrate a knowledge of what the words actually mean. Since apparently many comic fans took Humpty Dumpty's maxim to heart and persist in a belief that words mean whatever the hell they want them to mean.

But I've received some further input, and it seems like I left off a few other much misused words. So, I'm officially taking nominations for overly misunderstood words in comics fandom. Here's what we have so far:

deconstruction
metatext
discrimination
iconic
anti-hero

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Cripes 

I'm bored. I think I'll take a look at the topics under discussion at popular comic book message boards.

What's going on at Newsarama: "Hottest porn star?" Uhm, not exactly sure how that's relevant to comics, but it is rather tame compared to some of the threads I've seen over there. (The answer is "Zak Spears" by the way.)

Maybe I can find something more to my liking at the DC boards?
"Sluttiest characters in comics"
Or not.

Well, I'm sure I'll find some excellent discussions, on topic, rational and polite at the Comics Journal boards. Look, here's a discussion of some comments Eddie Campbell recently made about Chris Ware and Marjane Satrapi. I'm sure to find something interesting there.

hard as it is to imagine her work actually getting worse than the childishly drawn, intellectually vapid pabulum she shits out now i too hope satrapi ends up drawing barbie just like her longtime mentor, partner in crime, sister from another mister and obvious influence trina robbins!!! few things in life would give me greater pleasure than watching this sniveling cunt try to justify that move to oprah and her audience of brainless housewives!!!!!

Cripes.

I guess there's more common ground between super-hero and art comics readers than I thought.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Items! 



  • I've been irrationally annoyed lately with the "I only enjoy comics ironically" crowd. I'd prefer they just come out and admit they don't like them.

  • Note to at least one on-line comics forum: maybe they'd take your complaints and criticisms seriously if you actually bought comics...instead of downloading them in torrent files.

  • I think Archie should move away from the house/DeCarlo style. Yes, I realize that the "realistic" style is only temporary, but I think it might actually work on a permanent basis.

  • Three words I would like to see comic book readers stop using until they learn what they mean: deconstruction, metatext, discrimination.
    Okay, it's really just one person misusing that last one.

  • I'm...I'm starting to come around to accepting the phrase "Bronze Age." Yes, I still think it was coined by shady comics dealers looking to up their prices on 70s Marvels and 80s DCs, but I can't think of a more useful, widely understood term to describe the post-Silver Age period in comics.
    But hearing "Copper Age" still makes me fist-swinging mad.

  • Hey, it's Fred Hembeck's birthday!

  • Can't these two just get along?

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© 2007 Dorian Wright. Some images are © their respective copyright holders. They appear here for the purposes of review or satire only.