Archive for Friend of Dorothy

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Friend of Dorothy #2

The first issue of this series came out all the way back in September, so let’s review a bit: the comic is created by Brian Anderson, creator of “So Super Duper,” the relentlessly funny and unquestioningly LGBTQ-positive superhero webcomic. “Friend of Dorothy” is Brian’s newest project — part superhero comic, part tribute to “The Wizard of Oz,” part character study of life for gay teens.

So last issue, our hero, Scott-John, was granted his powers by the shirtless wizard Gorlindo, met his grumpy adviser, a little black dog named Dodo, and fought off an attack by the scarecrow-like Scrows. In this issue, Scott-John learns that his boyfriend Mason also received a visit from Gorlindo and is eager to appoint himself as Scott-John’s sidekick. After they battle another horde of Scrows, Scott-John leads them to Oz and a little candy shop called the Lollipop Guild. Unfortunately, the shop is run by an evil Munchkin, and they’re attacked by the mind-controlling Mankeys. Can our heroes survive these attacks, or are they destined to fall?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s funny and exciting, with solid dialogue and pretty good characterization. I love the way Mason keeps irritating Dodo with his chatterbox tendencies, and the little details about all of Scott-John’s Oz-related weapons. The Mankeys and their mind-controlled victims are really creepy. And I like the relatively low-level of angst on display here — Scott-John and Mason are both out-of-the-closet, and though they may not be entirely happy with how their families may have reacted to their sexual orientation, they don’t let that get in the way of doing what needs to be done, whether that involves hitting bad guys with axes, scolding the increasingly grumpy Dodo about keeping secrets from them, or even just unashamedly expressing their love for each other. They’re relatively badass — kinda giggly badass, but badass nonetheless.

There’s a preview of this issue of “Friend of Dorothy.” And don’t forget to order the full issue, too.

Batgirl #23

The penultimate issue of Bryan Q. Miller’s mega-brilliant series finds Batgirl back in Gotham and discovering that the Reapers have tracked down the Gray Ghost and killed him. He was able to leave a recording warning Stephanie about some of their plans, but she’s already too late to stop a group of the power-suited Reapers — Figment, Miranda, and Jabberwock — from slaughtering a bunch of cops and busting Harmony and Slipstream out of jail. Can Stephanie Brown take these five down solo? Not a chance. Luckily, she’s got some backup. But no, for once, it’s not anyone else from the Bat-family — it’s Supergirl, Miss Martian, Stargirl, and Bombshell. But who’s pulling the strings behind the scenes?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Oh, so very many thumbs up. It’s not just for how awesomely Stephanie is written, or how great the humor and action are. But it’s also so wonderful to see those other four heroines before DC abandons them for their New-’90s Reboot. This is going to be another comic that I’m going to miss a lot.

B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth – Monsters #1

Liz Sherman, pyrokinetic former agent of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, is hiding out from the BPRD in a little nowhere redneck trailer park. And she’s not fitting in very well. She busts up the jaw of one of the local thugboys and generally gets on everyone else’s nerves. But they all know she’s a badass, rumored to be a secret agent, and when the belligerent Jubal is seen threatening his wife with a shotgun, they come running to Liz to help defuse the situation. But what she finds isn’t anything like what she was expecting.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Love the writing by Mike Mignola and John Arcudi, and I love the artwork by Tyler Crook. Outstanding mood and dialogue, and the completely unexpected twist really brought this into the win column. Dagblasted awesome horror.

Today’s Cool Links:

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Over the Rainbow

Friend of Dorothy #1

If you’re into webcomics, you may be aware of Brian Anderson’s “So Super Duper,” a series of comics that are in the process of being serialized over at Newsarama. Brian is an out-of-the-closet gay comics creator, and most of his comics reflect that — they’re unapologetically pro-LGBTQ, but with a strong core of humor and an appreciation for the absurdity of modern gender/sexual politics.

So this is his new comic, written by Brian, with art by Neftali Centeno and colors/letters by Falecia Woods. The lead character is a teenaged kid named Scott-John who’s just swallowed a bunch of sleeping pills that he probably shouldn’t have swallowed. He’s drifting off and dying in his sepia-toned bedroom when there’s a sudden explosion of Technicolor, and there’s a big, buffed-up guy wearing a lot of pink who revives him, introduces himself as Gorlindo the Good Witch of Oz, and tells him that he’s being appointed the Friend of Dorothy, the new protector of Oz. He gets a costume, some ruby combat boots, and gloriously, a gigantic axe, which gets an immediate and extremely enthusiastic workout when a bunch of demonic scarecrows crawl in the window and attack him. His new companion, a talking black dog named Dodo, tries to explain some stuff and gives him his first broom (leading to a funny moment where we learn why guys should be careful riding through the air on a flying broom). Next up, Scott-John has to go fight a munchkin. Hopefully, that won’t be too difficult, but I’ve got my doubts…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Very fun and funny story, with a nicely realized hero. Ya know, the story concept is pretty clever — writing about gay self-acceptance using the story elements of a movie beloved within the global gay community — but I’m really most impressed with the characterization work here. Gorlindo is pretty overwhelmingly camp, but Scott-John is, in comparison, almost sedate.

It’s a big difference from Psyche, Anderson’s hero in “So Super Duper,” who isn’t just out, isn’t just camp, but is flamingly camp, even more so than Gorlindo. But Psyche and Gorlindo are extremely self-confident and comfortable with who they are — Scott-John, on the other hand, just tried to commit suicide. His self-confidence is probably a heck of a lot lower, his own acceptance of his sexual preference may be less than 100%, and there’s a decent chance that he worries a lot more about fitting in with other kids at school than in standing out from the crowd.

Which isn’t to say that Scott-John is entirely closeted either — his bedroom walls are decorated with posters of modern gay icons like Adam Lambert and Lady Gaga, and he owns a picture of himself with his boyfriend. We don’t get a lot of info about his background, but he doesn’t strike me as a guy who’s fully in denial about who he is — probably just confused, unhappy, and wishing people at school didn’t hate him for no reason — like, you know, 98% of modern teenagers.

And really, that’s why I enjoyed this comic so much — Scott-John feels like a real teenager with his own unique worries and difficulties. He’s not High Camp, and he’s not Midnighter/Apollo grim-and-sullen, which seems to be the current comic industry model for gay male superheroes nowadays. He’s a great character, and that alone should make the series fun to read.

There aren’t that many print editions of “Friend of Dorothy” around, but you can buy a copy over at IndyPlanet.

Batman and Robin #14

Robin is trying to beat the Joker to death with a crowbar, but even handcuffed, shackled, and bludgeoned, you can’t count the Joker out too easily — Robin ends up with a small dose of Joker Venom in his bloodstream, and Joker uses the bombs in Damian’s utility belt to escape police custody. Batman and Commissioner Gordon fight off a bunch of Dollotrons, but Gordon ends up getting captured by Dr. Hurt and Professor Pyg. Gordon’s been dosed with a viral narcotic designed to be perfectly addicting, so that anyone affected will be a slave of Hurt’s, willing to do anything to get another hit. While Dick tries to retrieve Gordon, some of the criminals in Hurt’s crowd have started to be overcome by lethal doses of Joker Venom in their popcorn. When Batman gets knocked in the head by Gordon, that leaves no one free to stop Dr. Hurt — no one but the Joker.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Really ratcheting up the tension, and it’s kinda cool how… almost-but-not-quite heroic the Joker is in this. And I gotta say, I’m loving Frazer Irving’s painted artwork — really gives the story a great look and feel.

Green Lantern #57

While Hal Jordan and Larfleeze try to get the Orange Lantern entity, Ophidian, out of Hector Hammond, Carol Ferris is in Las Vegas trying to track down the Predator, the Star Sapphire power entity. The Star Sapphire central battery is still not producing enough power, and the other Star Sapphires hope to enslave the Predator to power their battery. The Predator, however, has his own plans to return to power, manipulating an obsessed stalker into allowing him to possess his body. Will Carol and Hal be able to capture the Predator and round up Larfleeze, who thinks Vegas is the most awesome city in the universe?

Verdict: Thumbs up. A nice punch-em-up combined with great Doug Mahnke artwork. And as always, the presence of the infinitely greedy Larfleeze helps make even good comics much, much better.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • If you love the incredibly awesome “Venture Brothers” cartoon series, you’ll love the stuffing out of this article.
  • Here’s some fun artwork that combines Maurice Sendak and H.P. Lovecraft, with a touch of Edward Gorey.
  • RIP Kevin McCarthy, one of sci-fi cinema’s greats.

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