Archive for November, 2013

Friday Night Fights: The Butler Did It!

It’s been a busy, horrible week, and I’m reliably informed that this weekend will be much too short to make up for it. And after that, another long, busy, horrible week is going to start again. I’m afraid our only recourse is to indulge in… FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Tonight’s battle comes to us from November 2012’s Space: Punisher #3 by Frank Tieri and Mark Texeira, in which the Punisher — or, I suppose, the Spaaaaace Punisher — expects to make quick work of Spaaaaace Jarvis.





That’ll do it for me. Please do your best to survive this weekend and the coming workweek. Things have got to get better eventually, right? Right?!

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This Week in Comic Book Diversity


It’s been a weirdly excellent week for diversity in the comic book world.

The biggest news has been the announcement that Marvel was introducing a new Ms. Marvel, a shapeshifting Muslim teenager who idolized the current Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers. Kamala Khan made a very brief debut in this week’s issue of “Captain Marvel” and will be appearing in her own comic book in February. She isn’t the first Muslim female character in a comic book, but it’s very likely she’s the first to grab her own starring role in a comic from the Big Two.

As was pointed out to me by a friend, while this is good news, it would be even better news if Marvel hadn’t even felt the need to publicize this — that woulda meant that having characters who were not white straight male Christians was no longer considered shocking or surprising or uncommon — that there was no longer an “other,” just people who had interesting stories we could tell.

Nevertheless, a lot of the excitement about this is because readers are excited that there are new interesting characters to read about and who are happy that the comics world is becoming a more open, less exclusionary place.

Outside of the printed page, there’s a lot of other news about TV shows. DC announced that the CW would bring a new superhero to the screen. No, not Wonder Woman — she’s still considered too weird and obscure and non-penis-endowed for TV. Instead, they’re going with Hourman. Yeah, a little-known Golden Age character who only has powers for an hour at a time after taking a pill. That’s so much more mainstream and cool and sensible than Wonder Woman, isn’t it?

On the other hand, the CW also announced that they’d be producing a new TV show based on Chris Roberson and Michael Allred’s “iZombie,” which of course stars a female character. This sounds like it may be a bit more interesting — the CW’s superhero shows (Well, “Arrow” — more are planned, of course) seem to be oriented around brooding shirtless hunks being angsty. A zombie who solves crimes by snacking on brains sounds like a meatier premise, though still probably pretty angsty, too.

Perhaps more encouraging on the TV front is that Netflix is going to make a number of shows based on Marvel characters, including Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist, and the Defenders. This is pretty exciting news — Marvel has been a lot more successful with superheroes in the mass media, and it means that Marvel stands a very good chance of beating DC to getting a female superhero into a starring role on TV. If there’s anything that could push DC into taking Wonder Woman seriously as a media property, it might be Marvel stealing their thunder again.

(Though on a semi-related note, what’s up with Marvel still not starting up a Black Widow movie? You’ve got one of the most famous, most marketable movie stars on the planet playing backup roles in other people’s movies, guys. For the sake of Croesus, make a Black Widow movie and put Scarlett Johansson’s name above the title.)

And finally, dropping back to comics, former Lubbock artist Rachael Anderson was just spotlighted in Comics Alliance’s new “Hire this Woman” feature! We have our fingers crossed that this will help draw more attention to a really outstanding artist. We’d love to see her name on big-name comics soon.

Does all this big pro-diversity news mean the struggle is over, or even close to over? Obviously not. For one thing, DC Comics still exists, and it’ll be years before they let go of the “Comics are only for white male geeks” paradigm. But any progress forward is good news, and if television success can drag the comics industry a bit closer to the 21st century, I’m all for it.

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Blog Commenters


There haven’t been many comments lately. I know exactly why, of course — I’ve changed the blog settings to require registration, because I was getting swamped with several hundred spam comments an hour. I like comments, but I really dislike spammers, so I still think it’s a good trade.

Nevertheless, I do miss getting legitimate comments. If you don’t know how to register, just scroll down and look for the “Log In” button in the sidebar. And if you don’t want to register, remember that I’ve got my email address up in the top corner of the page, and I don’t object to getting email at all.

That’s all — back to comic book stuff on Friday…

EDIT: Actually, never mind. It turns out there isn’t actually any way to register so you can make comments. There’s just a log-in screen, with no link that’ll let you register at all. So I’m switching it back to the free-for-all. I don’t much enjoy spammers, but I also don’t like it when no one else is ever able to comment.  :/

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What Does the Fox Say?


The Fox #1

Okay, I’ve cut back really drastically on my superhero reading, thanks to dropping most of DC’s books, so I should check out a few independent superhero comics. This is the part of the relaunch of Red Circle Comics, which is basically the superhero comics line for Archie Comics. Our lead character in this comic is Paul Patton a newspaper photographer who periodically takes the superheroic identity of the Fox, mostly trying to find interesting news he can take pictures of. And usually, the news he runs into is much, much more exciting than he really wants to deal with.

So in this issue, Paul gets to interview the beautiful Lucy Fur, a social media star who’s launching a new site called MyFace. Paul is smitten, at least until he discovers that Lucy is actually a skull-faced demon called Madame Satan! Can an unpowered hero survive against a supernatural demon? And the the backup story, the Fox must deal with a living, shapeshifting house that wants to steal his vintage Polaroid camera.

Verdict: Well, really, I’m not that sure. The story’s fine, the art is fine, dialogue and characterization are both fine. But it just seems sorta middle-of-the-road. Something like this needs to bring its A-game to drag people away from Marvel and DC, and this comic isn’t committing yet to playing the A-game. I’ll keep reading it, at least for a few issues. But it needs to take things to the next level if it wants to be anything other than something quickly forgotten during the next summer crossover.


The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys #5

There’s a lot of stuff that happens in this issue, a lot of it pretty weird. Blue gets shot but recovers and discovers the deactivated form of the giant robot Destroya. Korse is dropped into a re-education center, but escapes through sheer force of will. Cola and the Girl both get shot; Cola dies, but the Girl has an out-of-body experience, talks to someone called the Phoenix Witch, and learns that she has the power to drain or recharge batteries and to restore or create life — and that her cat is actually a tracking device. Is this the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a lot of weird stuff, but it makes sense in context — even more so, it makes a lot of awesome in context. Don’t know if this story is really post-apocalyptic or if it’s more of a pre-apocalyptic thing. Or if it’s a reverse-the-apocalypse thing. Heck, I dunno, but it’s good fun.

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Friday Night Fights: Man-Eating Cow!

I know, I know, it’s the first day of November, and you’re all Halloweened out. You’ve had all you can stand of monsters and ghosts and devils and terror, and you just want to forget it all and focus on getting ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Well, I have a few things to say about that.

WEAKLINGS! COWARDS! FOOLS! The only thing to commemorate about today is that it’s the first day on our countdown to the next Halloween!

And because we all love Halloween (Yes, you do. Nod your head or I’ll feed you another spoonful of spiders), here’s one more dose of mind-bending horror for tonight’s edition of… FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS!

Our battle this evening comes to us from August 1975’s Giant-Size Man-Thing #5 by Steve Gerber, Ed J. Hannigan, and Dan Adkins. Because the only thing worse than a vampire… is a cow.






Merry post-Halloween, kiddies.

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Stories in the Sand


The Sandman: Overture #1

Neil Gaiman writing Sandman again? With J.H. Williams III on art? Is it any wonder this was something many comics readers were very interested in?

Basically, this is a Sandman prequel — the adventure that Dream was engaged in immediately before the first issue of Sandman in 1989. We get reacquainted with a few of the Sandman supporting cast as they would’ve appeared around 1913 — the Corinthian is looking for victims, Destiny and Death perceive dire omens for Morpheus’ future, Merv Pumpkinhead has had a fateful encounter with Sigmund Freud, and something strange is happening to Dream — something so strange it surprises even him.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Yes, I’m keeping the description deliberately vague. Half the fun of this is enjoying the surprises. But the story catches your interest from the beginning — a dreaming flower? Yes, please, more. — and the characters are true to how we remember them. Even the briefly-met new characters are cool in all the ways that Sandman characters should be.

Williams’ art is, as always, stunningly gorgeous, and his layouts are just so much fun. Quorian’s tale is told through branches, the Corinthian’s through teeth, Destiny’s through pages of his book, George Portcullis’ through a portcullis. And the stunning beauty of the gatefold plot twist — man, it’s something else. If you love the Sandman — and if you love comics, you really are required to love the Sandman — you definitely need to go read this book.


The Raven and the Red Death

Very simply, retellings of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” and “The Masque of the Red Death,” through Richard Corben’s unique and beautiful visual and storytelling style.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I got excited about this as soon as I heard it was coming out, and I was not disappointed. I love Corben’s work, and it’s fantastic that we’re still able to see comics from him on a fairly regular basis.


Itty Bitty Hellboy #3

The gang makes banana walnut pamcakes and then annoys Baba Yaga (who lives in a bucket). They want her to use her magic powers to make everything big. Banana walnut pamcakes, cupcakes, potato chips, shoes, lobsters, you name it. Baba gets sick of it all and sends them all… TO HELL. Everyone really seems to enjoy it, and all the demons are convinced that Hellboy is going to use his big stone hand to destroy the world. Can banana walnut pamcakes save the world from fiery destruction? Meanwhile, Baba and Hecate both fall in love with Roger, so Baba clones him, so both of the girls can get some sweet, sweet homunculus lovin’.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Seriously, I think by now y’all should know how much I love this stuff, right? Baba and her bucket are hilarious, as are Liz and her love of hellfire, the giant pancakes, and the never-unfunny running gag about Roger’s underwear.

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