Archive for August, 2009

Disney Buys Marvel?!

Holy guacamole!

The Walt Disney Co. said Monday it is acquiring Marvel Entertainment Inc. for $4 billion in cash and stock, bringing characters like Iron Man and Spider-Man into the family of Mickey Mouse and WALL-E.

Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of 5,000 Marvel characters. Many of them, including favorites such as the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, were co-created by the comic book legend Stan Lee.

I have no idea what this means. I’m still a bit besmoggled by the whole announcement.

I know that this definitely solves what I always saw as one of Marvel’s weaknesses against DC — DC has been owned and supported by Time-Warner for decades, while Marvel was mostly on its own, despite all of its successes. Marvel now has Disney’s considerable economic and marketing clout to fall back on, if necessary.

Does this mean we’ll see Howard the Duck go back to his more Disneyesque appearance that he used to have? Heck, are we gonna see a Howard the Duck/Scrooge McDuck crossover? That might be fairly cool.

Okay, I’m also looking forward to the inevitable Wolverine/Mickey Mouse team-up.

Wow, still pretty blown away by this. What are y’all thinking about this whole thing?

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Words Unwritten


The Unwritten #4

Tom Taylor is at his father’s mansion in France, looking for answers to about his disappearance and about all the strangeness plaguing his life. But the assassin Pullman is stalking the writers through the mansion, re-enacting the plots of a few dozen slasher movies — stabbing a couple with a sickle, burning another on an oven, slashing another with glass shards, torturing another while tied to a grandfather clock. And Tom gets left to take the blame for all of it.

Verdict: Thumbs up. A nice little dash of horror-flick terror to go along with the modern literature fantasy — I do love the way Pullman specifically says he’s following the familiar tropes of slasher horror. Tom Taylor sure does keep getting in over his head, don’t he?


Madame Xanadu #14

Our 15th-century flashback this issue focuses on Nimue’s girlfriend being taken and tortued by the Spanish Inquisition. Meanwhile, in the 20th century, Madame Xanadu is on the trail of the deadly supernatural killer, but she needs more information to track him down. So she sneaks into the home of Richard Miller, one of the potential targets, to look for more clues. She soon discovers that Miller is secretly Jewish, but her investigation is interrupted by everyone’s favorite gas-masked Golden Age vigilante, the Sandman. She gives him the slip and uses the artifacts she’s collected to look into the past, where she discovers that the murdered men’s ancestors were all Jews in 15th century Spain — where all religions but Catholicism were illegal. To save themselves and their families, they turned informer, ratting out local Muslims to Torquemada’s enforcers — until a sorcerer sets a demon after them, and they’re all forced to flee — but it appears the demon has finally caught up to them now…

Verdict: Thumbs up. This is still an awfully fun comic, thanks to Matt Wagner’s consistently awesome writing and the absolutely gorgeous artwork by Michael Wm. Kaluta. If you’re into weird but stylish fantasy and horror, you should be picking this up.

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Friday Night Non-Fights: Strange Love!

Another long work-week is done, and for a lot of students, it’s the first week back in school. And all that excitement and stress means it’s a great time for all us, grownup and pre-grownup alike, to get the weekend started right — and though SpaceBooger still has us officially taking a break for another week, I think we can still squeeze in some FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS. I keep having trouble getting these break-weeks hashed out, so let’s see if we can finally get some mindless, savage brutality in here with absolutely NO HUGGY-KISSY LOVE STUFF! Phooey!

From last week’s Tiny Titans #19 by Art Baltazar and Franco:






Well, crud, that didn’t work out at all. That may have been the least violent Friday Night Fights ever. I guess I’d feel a lot worse about it if it weren’t all so goshdarned cute…

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Happy Birthday, Jack Kirby!

Jack Kirby was born on this date in 1917.







All hail the King of Comics.

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The Legendary Journeys


The Incredible Hercules #132

This has been recommended to me by enough people that I decided it was time I checked it out. Our story this issue: Hercules is traveling with a disguised Athena and a magically de-aged and amnesiac Zeus. Athena stays behind to fight off some harpies, and soon, Herc and Zeus come to the aid of Balder the Brave as he’s attacked by a bunch of dark elves and a troll. Balder recruits Herc to battle the queen of the dark elves as she makes plans to conquer the world. But since the elves fear Thor, Hercules must travel to their realm in disguise — hence, the costume change on the cover. But as Hercules and Zeus head out for the battle, is Balder hiding something from the heroes?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Wonderful dialogue, excellent action, and some awesome imagery, too. The best moment has got to be Zeus rediscovering how to throw lightning — it’s not often you’ll see a shirtless eight-year-old in a dress look so thoroughly badass.


The Incredible Hercules #133

In this issue, we follow Herc’s former sidekick, Amadeus Cho, the Seventh Smartest Person on Earth. He’s traveling by bus across the country as he tries to find his missing sister and find out who killed his parents. He makes his stop in the small ghost town of Excello, a former soap-making company town with a few very bizarre quirks. For one thing, the town tends to disappear when you’re not looking at it. People tend to just show up out of nowhere, and they’ve all got a weird fixation on the Master Mind Excello Radio Hour, the quiz show where Amadeus learned he was the Seventh Smartest Person on Earth. Oh, and all the people seem to be nothing but evil flying glowing brains. A federal agent shows up to help him, but do they stand any chance against Pythagoras Dupree, the Sixth Smartest Person in the World?

Verdict: Another thumbs up. Again, very nice dialogue, and the double flashbacks — to Amadeus’ adventures with Hercules and to Amadeus’ own origin — are very well done. We don’t get to see much of the villain, but he certainly sounds interesting enough. And the town of Excello is plenty creepy. I think I’m enjoying this series enough to add it to my regular pull-list…

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Abandoned Milestones


How frustrating does something like this gotta be?

kryptofan1 asked:

Do  you have plans for the Milestone characters (other than Static in the Teen Titans) after the Brave and Bold stories?

DiDio: At this particular time, we have Static in the Teen Titans, and we’re looking at a storyline that might be built around Static later in the run. But right now, no other plans.

I don’t even have to go digging through archives to remember that Dan DiDio used to be (or at least claimed to be) wildly enthusiastic about the Milestone characters. They had a big splashy debut in “Justice League of America,” Static got made a member of the Teen Titans, they were spotlighting them in “The Brave and the Bold”… but it turns out, DiDio now says he’s not wildly enthusiastic about them at all.

So how thrilled are we supposed to be about the “Red Circle” characters that DC is reviving? Or the plans to bring Doc Savage and the Spirit into DC continuity? Yeah, they keep saying they’re high priorities right now, but what’ll happen to them the next time Dan DilDio gets distracted by a shiny pebble?

I also liked a lot of David Brothers’ analysis here:

All of the drama, all of the hoopla, is about money. It’s about being able to make a profit on the short-term, and hoping that that keeps you going enough that you can catch more later on. It’s an extraordinarily near-sighted way to do business. According to McDuffie, a number of comics creators, ones with names, ones who sell books, wanted to do Milestone work. They remembered the universe, they wanted in on what looked like a good thing. But, money talks, and if you aren’t looking at an immediate profit, well, sorry. You aren’t talking loud enough.

But when arts meets commerce, commerce eventually wins out. It doesn’t matter how groundbreaking (original, cool, artistic, awesome, whatever) a character is. For the companies, and this includes Marvel, they are products to be sold, and whatever gets them sold is the right thing to do. DC dicking McDuffie isn’t about a grudge. It’s about having more action figures in the toybox that you can pull out, rather than creating new ones. It’s about being able to point and say “This is a comic for _______ people!” and expecting them to come just because you built some mediocre, at best, story.

Y’all know by now that I was a colossal fan of the old Milestone comics, back in the day. My very favorites were the Blood Syndicate, followed by the Shadow Cabinet, but all of them were pretty rockin’, partly because they were just really, really good superhero comics, and partly because their entire purpose was to correct the racial imbalance of comic characters, and thus to bring in new readers who may have never seen a superhero who looked like them before. And I was absolutely overjoyed when I heard DC was going to bring them into their regular continuity. And I am plenty unhappy that DilDio is once again going back on what he said.

I don’t know if DC’s problem is that the only character they wanted was Static, so they played nice with Dwayne McDuffie ’til they could get him in the Titans. I don’t know if their problem is that there are too many racist fanboys who don’t want to read about characters who aren’t white. (And I think it’s impossibly weird that some comics fans can understand the point of the X-Men and still think it’s okay to hate people because of how they were born — cognitive dissonance and all that, I guess.)

I do think a large part of the problem — with DC as well as with Marvel — is that they’re run by people who have the attention span of a gnat. Of course, focusing solely on short-term profits seems to be what big business does the best, so I’m sure both DiDio and Joe Quesada are perfectly safe in their jobs. I doubt there’s anything they could do that’d get them fired, no matter how much they may deserve to be. But short-term thinking is no way to build your business for the long-term. And teasing your fans only to slap them down later is no way to build brand loyalty down the line.

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Love is Gooey


Tiny Titans #19

Most of the story is all right there on the cover — Bumblebee and Plasmus meet on a dreary, rainy day, fall in love, and all the world erupts in a symphoy of sunshine, butterflies, rainbows, tandem bicycles, ice cream, lollipops, and movie outings together. Their affection is so infectious, it even gets Mallah and the Brain running around with cartoon hearts around them (which is really, really funny if you’ve read Garth Morrison’s old “Doom Patrol” comics). Elsewhere, Robin can’t do his homework because girls keep stopping by who are in love with him, and the Titans Apes Club meeting suffers from a severe lack of apes.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Yet another classic from Baltazar and Franco. They could’ve made every last bit of this issue focus solely on Plasmus and Bumblebee (and Mallah and the Brain), and it would have still been awesome.


Marvel Adventures: Super Heroes #14

Hawkeye and the Blonde Phantom run into a bank robbery where the robbers are using a hostage Bruce Banner as a threat to get what they want — if everyone doesn’t hand over their cash, they’ll make Banner mad, he’ll turn into the Hulk, and he’ll start smashing up everything. But Hawkeye and B.P. have met Bruce Banner, and that guy isn’t Bruce Banner — he’s part of the gang masquerading as Banner to help the heists go smoothly. Can they track down the gang before they make their big getaway?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Seemed a bit long, but it was a cute concept for a story, and the chemistry between Hawkeye and B.P. is great.

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Monday Monkeyshines


Wow, that was an amazingly ineffective weekend. Just two days? Weekends should be at least three or four days long, at the least.

Ain’t nothing like looking at the clock and realizing it’s almost bedtime on Sunday night and you’re not even ready for the workweek, much less a new blog post. So links? Yeah, I got links.

Ahh, your screams of terror are just the music I need to carry me through this awful Monday…

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Friday Night Non-Fights: Poetry Slam!

Spacebooger has declared a couple weeks of break-time for Friday Night Fights, but am I gonna listen to that guy? No way! We’re definitely going to keep the savage beat-downs rolling!

You just know tonight’s entry is going to be especially brutal, ’cause it’s based on 2007’s smashingly violent “World War Hulk” miniseries. So here’s the epic confrontation as interpreted by August 2008’s Mini-Marvels: Rock, Paper, Scissors by Chris Giarrusso:






Admit it — you did the same thing, didn’t you?

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Spooks, Spectres, Science, and Snakes


The Brave and the Bold #26

Another team-up between an established DC character and one of the characters from Milestone Media — this time, it’s the Spectre joining up with Xombi, a man named David Kim who’s been injected with nanites that make him immortal, but with the danger that anyone touching him when he gets injured may get scavenged by the nanites for biological material to rebuild David. The original Milestone “Xombi” series was marked by an almost Grant-Morrisonesque level of weirdness, including a couple of Catholic superheroes called Catholic Girl and Nun of the Above, villains called the Sheer Shears that had scissors in place of their heads and couldn’t be harmed by anything that was derived from written knowledge, and evil homunculi formed from the carcasses of insects that had died trapped between windows.

We actually start out with that level of weirdness — the Spectre tracks down a sadistic serial killer named Ray Walker and kills him, but Walker becomes a ghost who specializes in killing other ghosts. Heaven won’t allow the Spectre to take care of Walker’s ghost, because he’s only allowed to punish the guilty if they’re still alive. David Kim is alerted to the problem by a psychic investigator and takes part in a seance where the medium’s ectoplasmic spirit guide is eaten by Walker, killing her and several other attendees of the ritual. David and the investigator escape and summon the Spectre to ask for his help — when he refuses, David appeals to the Spectre’s human host, Crispus Allen, hoping that as a former cop, Allen won’t be willing to let a perp get away. But if the Spectre still refuses, can the Xombi take down the murderous ghost by himself?

Verdict: Thumbs down. It starts with a great hook, with the serial killing ghost who preys on other ghosts, but it never develops into anything more interesting. David Kim is portrayed well, but the Spectre is, as usual, wasted. And the art is just plain spectacularly awful.


JSA vs. Kobra #3

Kobra has been three steps in front of the Justice Society the entire time — every time the heroes go to stop one crisis, they end up failing to prevent a bigger tragedy, or being misdirected away from the Kobra cult’s true target. After their latest failure to prevent a massacre, they return home to find that Kobra has hacked into their computers. The team finds evidence that suggests that the cultists are going to attack Opal City, former home of several different the Golden Age Starman, Ted Knight, and his son, Jack, a more modern version. While the rest of the Justice Society is occupied with a pointless battle against Kobra’s expendable cultists, Mr. Terrific realizes that Kobra’s new leader is going to raid the Starman Museum — and he still gets outmaneuvered, as Kobra ends up with Ted Knight’s scientific notes and his advanced technological inventions.

Verdict: I think I’ll give this one a thumbs down, too. For the most part, this series has been focusing solely on Mr. Terrific and Power Girl — the rest of the Justice Society are there as backup players. Heck, most of them don’t even have lines. They may as well be scenery. The Justice Society has some of the DC Universe’s most interesting characters — I don’t know why no one seems to want to use more of them.

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