Friday, December 21, 2007

Fancy that.

The folk at Dynamite Entertainment and Top Cow (Famous for such fine all-ages reading fare as Witchblade and Magdalena) are doing one of those inter-company crossover thingies designed to boost the profile of their properties to each other's respective audience: This time, its The Darkness and Eva: Daughter of Dracula: in this case, the Darkness is a long-running independant horror comic and Eva is a newer character who seems to be an attractive girl with a sword.

The astute comic book reader will recognise this ploy from 62.35% of the comics published between 1992-1998. The covers would feature buxom lasses wearing clothing in inverse proportion to the size of their busts, and muscular dudes standing in the shadows with, like, tentacles or shadows or shadowy tentacles coming out of their backs. Like all the great ideas in comics publishing, this idea got real old real fast, and I see nothing in what has been released so far about this project to indicate otherw-

Well, wouldja look at that. Female character whose breasts aren't the focus of the picture, wearing clothing exposing only a socially acceptable level of flesh holding a sword in a determined pose with a facial expression that doesn't indicate submission or undue sexual excitement.

Aw, Top Cow comics covers. You're all growing up. ^_^

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Being Slightly Unfair

I was re-reading the interview series with Greg Rucka tonight, and this bit made me immediately think of Judd Winick, Green Arrow/Black Canary, et al:

EN: Maybe that’s the proper question to ask, not why, or when, or who, but what did the Question’s death bring to the story….

GR: There are multiple answers to that, I think. First and foremost, it was a good story, that did what a good story should do — it left an impact, it made the reader feel something, and it had worth. It wasn’t, shall we say, just killing a character for the sake of seeing their blood spill.

I think that that is what really ticks me off about the way GA/BC has been going: Ollie's "death," Connor's "death"... they're so... emotionally hollow and cynical. They're cheating: getting a cheap rise from the reader with a cheap shock. Its about as sophisticated as scaring a horror movie audience with a character turning the corner to be confronted with a major chord, and combined with all the other arbitary character deaths over the DCU lately, about as meaningful.

Hopefully, now that Greg Rucka's going back to freelancing, he'll have time to give writing workshops to Winnick and DC's other hatchet men. Lord knows they need it.

Friday, December 14, 2007

John Rambo: For Good or for Awesome?

From watching this trailer, its hard to tell if this is an argument for or against American isolationism. In the same way that Black Hawk Down was an hour-and-a-half commercial for how if you join the army, you can kill all the black people you want.

Me, I'm waiting for Master Chief to jump in the seat of that Warthog Stallone's manning the turret of. ^_^

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I have no idea how I lived without this webcomic.

Cat and Girl.

Honestly. This thing just cracks me up. I mean, seriously.

I don't even care that it invalidates my life.

Why I Read Them Wimmins Blogs

Almost all of my comics blogosphere reading is comprised of blogs by female comics fans who tend to comment on issues of gender in comics: Karen Healey, Ami Angelwings, WFA, Leftarrow, Ragnell, Tamora Pierce, Occasional Superheroine. I agree with many of their points and hopes for mainstream comics, but thats not all of it. I identify with the feminist comics movement for purely selfish reasons.

I want comics to be better. I want better stories.

A story is comprised of many different bits. There's the plot. There is text and subtext. There are themes, intended and unintentional. There are characters, and their characterization.

There is no feminist comics agenda, or hive-vagina mind. But the common thread I've noticed in all the feminist comics blogs I've followed is:

They want female characters to be fully fleshed out, to be allowed to achieve their full potential. They want the stories to be better.

I can get behind that, and can't understand anyone who can't.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Countdown to Mystery is Actually Neato

I've been following this book because of a really neat interview with writer Steve Gerber, and it has yet to disapoint.

That is to say: The Dr. Fate part of the book hasn't disappointed- the back-up feature with JeanClipso corrupting Plastic Man is... um...

How can I say this nicely?


At least the art's pretty though:

Dr Fate's story, however, is an account of one man dragging himself up from the pits of despair (Las Vegas); a man wrestling with his doubts and depression and the train wreck he's made of his own life, yet still finding worth in this torrid existence.

Plus, a spiffy hat.

I guess that the story resonates with me because I'm also prone to depression? And also wear spiffy hats?

I'm just worried, though, that this story won't find its audience- it reads more like an early Vertigo tale (circa Animal Man, perhaps?) rather than something that should have the Countdown brand slapped across it.


panels of foot-to-face action! Not quite up to the heady boots-to-face ratio of, say, Iron Fist, but its good to know the meme is spreading.

And Now, In Bizarre Censorship News...

I present to you, the censored and uncensored covers for Atlantis Rising: Number One.

Worked it out? No, its not my weird gamma settings on my scanner which make the underater people look like they've been sunbathing in Chernobyl. Here's a hint:

An accident with a photoshop filter, or yet more evidence that society is intolerant of Fish-People and their perfectly natural, if not beautiful, foot claws? YOU decide!

EDIT: To clarify: The "Toes are Icky" version can be found on the publisher's website; the uncensored version is the cover to the printed book.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Diana and Clark: Just Friends

Gail Simone's new run on Wonder Woman commenced with the recently published Wonder Woman #14, and she continues to use Nemesis as a romantic foil. Which I don't mind one bit- he's handsome enough, I suppose, and not a complete douche. I don't really buy the hasty retcon that he no longer remember's Diana's superheroic identity, but hey, you can't win them all.

Partly its because romantic foils for Wonder Woman are so darn scarce: Steve Trevor, back before the Crisis, was a bit of a wet blanket. Post crisis, Etta Candy bet Diana to tapping that ass. In yo' face chosen of the Amazons!

So that really leaves Batman and Superman. Of the two, Bats has probably got the most going for him: he's suave, he's a hairy-chested globe-trotting badass, and he's the Goddamn Batman:

I'll get new material when Goddamn Frank Miller does.

On the other hand, he is the Goddamn Batman.

Superman, though, is waaaay out of the picture. For one, he's married. And Diana don't play that. Two, they did try dating... Once. Way back in... the PEREZ ERA!

George Perez' reboot of Wonder Woman has a lot going for it. He got rid of the silly "has no strength when bound by... a MAN!" weakness, it has some gorgeous art, and is generally a lot less offensive all around. By and large. Etta Candy doesn't have an obsessive compulsive desire to gorge herself, for example.

(Incidentally, I plan on making another post about how glad I am Etta made an appearance in WW#14. Stay tuned, but here's a hint: I think Etta is awesome.)

And then we get moments... like this.

Diana has been in Patriarch's World a while now, and is chillaxing in her friend Julia Kapatelis' house. Coming from a society of women, she's still not used to this whole "man" thing yet. They smell funny. Never pick up after themselves. And yet...

That red dot symbolizes the naughty things.

...Superman makes her face explode.

Understandably confused by these recurring dreams, which might be explained by the epic amounts of Superman Fan Club magazines strewn about her bed-

Its research material.

She does what anyone would do.

She gets nekkid and prays to Eros.

I presume that getting nekkid is the standard practice when praying to the gods on Paradise Island.

She gets no answer, because Eros was way too busy reading Frank Miller's 300.

Also: She's trying to figure out if her feelings towards Superman are the same that her mother harbours towards a thug that seduced her, robbed her, and let the men under his command rape her people? Diana needs to get some... healthier relationship role models, is all I'm saying.

Seeing as her gods have abandoned her, she turns to the next most logical source of guidance on all matters of the heart.

You should totally pass him a note in Math!

This is Vanessa Kapatelis, the daughter of Diana's best friend and mentor Julia Kapatelis. She's like thirteen years old. So she sets Diana straight- you've got to approach him, talk to him a bit, tell him how you feel, go on a series of dates to determine if you both feel the same wa-

Oh, no she doesn't. She calls Diana's pimpPR person and gets her to set them up.

They meet up in a field somewhere; presumably to get away from the inevitable media junket that would surround the Date of the Titans, but as it turns out, the setting simply reminds Clark of the football field on Prom night back at Smallville High:


After this tumultuous start, their date only gets progressively worse- they travel to scenic Olympus, only to find that Darkseid and his crew have crashed the joint and wrecked the furniture. So they spend their entire romantic first date doing the classic "lets fight a little bit 'cos Darkseid tricks us into fighting each other, then team up to defeat the enemy" bit, though if you ask me Diana looks like she's enjoying the first part a little too much-

Darkseid statuette proudly supplied by DC Direct.

-and eventually they whoop enough ass to make everything right again. Hooray.

Hermes whisks them back to the deserted field where they started, and then Supes reveals that he's learned a little something from this experience:

~o/...why can't we be friends, why can't we be friends.../o~

Namely, that Wonder Woman is gonna kick his ass but proper if he tries to get fresh again.

For reals.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Occasionally Owesome Reviews: Atlantis Rising #1, Groo: Hell on Earth #1

Somehow, I only ended up buying two comics this week, and they both ended up with an environmental message: Atlantis Rising, from Platinum Studios (Words: Scott O. Brown, pretty pictures things by Tim Irwin and colours by Andrew Elder) tells us that we shouldn't be dumping crap on the peaceful aquatic life; and Groo: Hell on Earth from Dark Horse (Words: Mark Evanier, adorable picture bits, Sergio Aragones) reminds us that Al Gore would've been a lot funnier if only he hired Evanier to write all his speeches in rhyming couplets.

Attention, small publishers: Making your first issue of a new series .25 American cents will get me to pick up your book. Making it make sense may convince me to buy the next.

The premise of the series seems to be that diplomatic relations between the United States and the secretive, isolationist nation of Atlantis have broken down- the filthy "land motes" keep on dumping waste into the waters, establishing offshore drilling platforms, and denying Fish-Men basic constitutional rights. Guerrilla war ensues.

I'm kind of ambivalent about this issue: I kind of want to like it, just because books about Atlantis appeal to me on principle, but the dialog is choppy and uneven (sample: "We had no idea when we found it how much we would suffer. And now I want to return the favour... FOR ATLANTIS!") and the art employs a shading technique that makes everyone look like they have massive facial blemishes.

...I'm fairly certain the Plucky Girl Reporter character isn't meant to have Downs Syndrome.

Oh, and if you want to make your antagonists seem threatening: you shouldn't let a pasty, paunchy, elderly dude evade their guards for two and a half pages. I'm just, y'know, saying.

Result: Fail.

Groo: Hell on Earth, on the other hand, is a delight. Yes, Evanier and Aragones have been telling the same joke for twenty-six years now, but the fact that they can still find ways of making it work is a testimony to the skill of all involved.

The gag this time around goes something like this: Groo wanders into a country, kickstarts the Industrial Revolution, social commentary happens. This book is at once rewarding to long-time readers, and very very accessible to a new audience.

I swear, 90% of my job interviews go like that too. Truly, Groo is a comic everyone can relate to.

Result: Success!

I'll be doing these reviews about once a week/when the mood takes me, by the by. Please don't hesitate to let your own thoughts be known!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Crime Bible: Five Lessons in Blood #1 is rather good.

But you don't need me to tell you that. Oh, no. Greg Rucka + crime fiction + character that he really, truly loves = Great Comics. Its almost like the Sixth Law of Awesomdynamics.

I'm digging this Tom Mandrake fellow on art as well. He's good value.

What you need me for is to remind you that:

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Renee Montoya is Damn Serious.

For real.