Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Comic Quotes Should Be Good for the week of 10/26

On the side of this blog are a lot of fine blogs where folks talk about comic books. Each week I pick out ten cool quotes about comics from those blogs during the past comic week. I cannot promise that my picks will be thorough, or even the best quotes. They are just quotes that made me laugh or smile or say, "Good line." Please note that the folks who write on this here blog (Comis Should Be Good) are excluded, as it strikes me as a bit too self-serving to quote any of them here. But be assured that I think they are all quite good!

Let's begin!

Scipio sorta ruins the point of me expanding this thing to quotes about older comics by actually reviewing a NEW comic, with this nice quote that almost makes me reconsider disliking Captain Atom: Armageddon (almost)
Pfeifer introduces the characters of the Wildstorm Universe, well, without introduction. They are simply there, doing what they do, confounding Captain Atom and me. That utter lack of exposition is refreshing, intrigues me into trying to understand the world Cap't A finds himself in, and pleasantly forces me to identify with Captain Atom.

Captain Atom's charmingly naive comment, "I won't hurt you; I'm a superhero!", and the reaction it gets perfectly communicated the difference between the DCU and Wildstorm. I think that's one of things I like about Pfeifer's writing: he uses the story to convey information, instead of conveying information in order to tell a story.
Dave Campbell, luckily, made it worthwhile by discussing the famous "entrance scene" from Busiek and Perez' Avengers #22,
You know, that’s the thing about Dramatic Entrances – you have to earn them. I remember reading some X-Men comics long ago – I think it was the Xtinction Agenda or something, the one when they were all trapped in Genosha – and there was like, a dramatic entrance or rescue every other page. It was the superheroic equivalent of a horror movie where somebody gets killed every 45 seconds. I ask you, would that be a scary movie? No. No, it would not.

I think there’s a lot to be said for the old-fashioned storytelling values of pacing, varying the tone, building up to a climax, and making the reader invest emotionally in your story. This Avengers storyline accomplishes that – when the rescue team of Avengers finally busts in on Ultron, damn it, you are PSYCHED! Psyched, damn it!
Chris Tamarri sounds all Jog-like talking about Rob Osborne's Sunset City,
Fiction is change. Our antagonists start in one place (physically, emotionally, whatever) and end up in another, and their stories are stories of how they got there from here. Maybe that's why, whenever we come across a story like Rob Osborne's Sunset City, the main point of interest is always in the advanced age of the characters. There are no second acts in American life, right? If the process of growing up is learning to figure ourselves out, a process of elimination whereby we figure out who and where we're supposed to be, the state of being grown up should be one of appreciation, where we look at the decisions made in the first half of our lives and reflect upon what they were as versus what they could've, should've been. Fiction about men and women of a certain age shouldn't work, we think, because after a certain point, our lives aren't supposed to change.
And Jog, too, sounds Jog-like, in this nice dressing down of Jack Cross #3,
I don’t know. Let me reiterate that I do sort of enjoy the idea of a half-crazy government agent focusing more on internal politics than actual foreign threats, all while on the trail of Saddam Hussein’s secret complacency beam (yes, I know it’s not actually called a complacency beam, but that’s what it acts like). This issue we discover the fate of said weapon, and it’s pretty much exactly what you’d have written down had DC printed an essay quiz in the back of issue #2 reading “What happened to the complacency beam?” This all occurs on the final three pages of the issue, after a rip-snorting helicopter battle that demonstrates how chopper-mounted chain gun ammunition is powerful enough to blast air-to-air through an enemy vehicle’s windshield, yet not quite capable of tearing through the back of the hapless pilot’s seat in order to strike Our Heroes. I wish I could base my criticism on something other than picking apart the mechanics of the action scene, but that’s really all the book is bothering to produce. And it’s not even personality-driven, or weird and kicky violence - it’s just aggressively brainless dross, like the end of Ocean, or one of the weaker issues of Global Frequency. And I dropped Global Frequency after four issues.
Beaucoup Kevin has a nice take on Ellis' JLA Classified,
Speaking of Ellis, his JLA Classified is a nice ball of superhero fun, reminding me strongly of a particularly excellent JLU episode. My favorite exchange of the week's comics was in here, actually:

THE FLASH is scooping up BATMAN so they may both infiltrate the Big Bad Enemy using superspeed.

Batman: I can't ride on your back?

The Flash: Your legs would fall outside the Speed Force and would probably be turn off.

Batman: This will be fine.

Sure, it's an Ellis All-Star Ideas story with tesseracts, memes, and Alien Weapons Of Great Power, but I'm enjoying it more than, say, anything else featuring Dudes In Capes that DC is putting out monthly of late. I think it's because it's delivering a decent all-ages story without pandering to anyone in particular. Go figure, just like I like my superhero books!
On a similar note, H, of the Comic Treadmill, gives us a nice rundown on 1962's Aquaman #3, particularly the type of scene that would fit in a Grant Morrison comic sooo well today,
Aquaman and Pomoxis have their fish armies face off with the two serving as generals putting the fish armies through maneuvers. Best scene of the battle? When Pomoxis thwarts Aquaman’s tactic of using catfish on a flank by sending giant dogfish after the catfish complete with the requisite “sic ‘em” dogs need to hear before knowing to attack. In the end, Aquaman triumphs through creative use of a giant turtle. What’s a battle without some shells after all?
Johnny Bacardi comes through with a really salient review of Loveless #1,
This wasn't terrible, but for some reason I expected more than a rehash of The Outlaw Josey Wales with contemporary comic-book slang- "fucksticks" indeed. And when compared to the hightoned Shakespearean discourse of Deadwood, apples and oranges, I know, but don't think for a minute that this is anything but an attempt to capitalize on the Deadwood-inspired renewed interest in the Western, it's abysmal. This sort of stuff works well in the here-and-now world of 100 Bullets, but not here. Another outstanding art job by Marcelo Frusin, who I miss on Hellblazer, but the coloring is so murky and dank that it was hard to parse sometimes. Still, it's early, and if nothing else Azzarello is a good plotter so I'll hold out hope that it will get better.
Mike Sterling took a look at his ten favorite scary moments from Swamp Thing, and I think he is spot on with this bit (both the choice of the moment and how it ties to the creator involved),
Television show host Roy Raymond is in his limo, complaining to his assistant Lipchitz that he needs something spectacular to get his show back on top on the heap again. At the same time, Swamp Thing, having abandoned his role as the Green's protector, has wreaked havok on Earth, with new, flawed Swamp Things being generated as replacements. Raymond and Lipchitz encounter one such flawed creature, and Raymond becomes convinced that this is what he needs to make a splash.

Oh, splashes are made, but not what they were planning. The creature takes control of the limo, trapping Raymond and Lipchitz in the back, and over the next few issues we watch as the situation deteriorates...every last bit of food and drink is consumed, Raymond is delirious, cutting TV deals on a phone that doesn't work, and the floor of the limo is flooded with human waste. Grotesque, horrible, sadistic, and just a tad bit dark-humored...Rick Veitch's forte.
Sean Maher helped explain why Monsters on the Prowl #1 was so cool,
Enter Steve Niles, who remembers how good all those Hulk/Thing team-ups were. In particular, this one reminds me of Jim Starlin's classic The Big Change one-shot with Berni Wrightson. This is all about The Thing and The Hulk hooking up to fight some big goddamn monsters and eat some sandwiches. Ben Grimm's personality is a great foil for the jolly green giant, complaining, "Quit callin' me Rock Man!"

So, this is "Hulk Smash!" Hulk, and if it was this entertaining every time, I swear it right now, I'd buy an ongoing series run by Niles. You gotta read this contextually, but lines like "Hulk have good idea. Good monster smash bad monster," just crack me up all to shit. This is writing from somebody who remembers why The Hulk is entertaining.
I think Erin Schadt hits the nail on the head with her take on what makes a good Silver/Golden Age-style book work in her bit on Silver Comics #1-4,
When creating a new universe of characters with a golden- or silver-age feel, the two biggest mistakes possible are either copying established characters too closely or using a tone that comes off too much like parody. Thankfully the “Silver Comics” characters avoid both of these pitfalls very successfully. The parallels that can be drawn are due only to the fact that there are certain archetypes inherent in the superhero genre, and when the “Silver Comics” characters mirror “brand-name” characters more closely, it can best be described as homage.
Fun stuff, folks. Now, remember, be sure to write cool stuff THIS week, too! Make this thing easy for me to put together!

See you then!

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Anonymous Harpo said...

"Amen" to the Hulk/Thing comments. Why is this so hard for Marvel and so many writers to understand? Just because the Hulk isn't "intelligent" doesn't mean he can't be enjoyable, amusing, sympathetic and smart in his own extremely straightforward way.

Also, nice to see "Silver Comics" getting a little press (and entirely spot-on anaylysis!) At times I've felt like the only one reading these.

11/01/2005 10:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Glen Davis said...

I read Silver Comics too, so you're not alone!

11/01/2005 11:27:00 PM  
Blogger Mo Soar said...

See now, I had the opposite problem with the Captain Atom story - I know my WildStorm characters and absolutely NOTHING about Captain Atom, who seemed to change origins and costumes in mid-comic. Hence Captain Atom seriously confounded Grifter and me. Though I confess I was confounded by Grifter, too, since how he knows Spartan and hence Void died in a future timeline at Majestic's hands, I have no idea.

11/02/2005 12:01:00 AM  
Blogger Christopher Burton said...

At times I've felt like the only one reading these.

I read Silver Comics too, so you're not alone!

Holy crap. So there are at least four of us. That's four times as many as I thought. They are quite good, aren't they?

11/02/2005 06:55:00 AM  
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