Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Comic Quotes Should Be Good for the week of 11/2

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 (Comics 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!

David Welsh gives us a nice review of Tyler Page's Nothing Better (from Dementian Comics):
The tricky thing, and the thing that saves the book for me, is that the shifts in tone don’t come out of nowhere. Things do run from one to ten, but Page successfully portrays this as a function of the highly charged experience. His cast members are experiencing their first taste of independence and coming at it with different expectations. Their clashes are heightened but strangely natural at the same time. Jane didn’t expect to be stuck with some atheist art student who drinks and smokes any more than Katt was looking forward to nine months with a homesick Lutheran tight-ass. Neutral corners, and come out fighting!

I don’t know if I’m enjoying Nothing Better in precisely the way I’m supposed to, but I’m enjoying it nonetheless.
He certainly makes the title sound interesting.

Ian Brill goes off on an interesting tangent in his very positive review of Epileptic, responding in part to Kevin Church's comments on Epileptic:
Now I think I know why Kevin decided to invoke Marvel and DC’s books. It can really be frustrating when you see a great piece of work that fills you with so much confidence in the comic book medium, as Epileptic and Black Hole which I’ve also recently read did for me, and see it be ignored in certain communities for work that is deliberately aiming its achievements much lower. It’s no secret that there are a lot of comic book readers who are only interested in superhero fiction. I know many people like these and count friends of mine among them. I’ve met them while living in the suburban outskirts of Los Angeles as well as living in the city of San Francisco (expect an essay on the difference between being a comic fan in the two areas coming soon). I have found the vast majority of them to be bright people and smart readers and have had a lot of great conversation with them about the comics they like. I like some of those comics as well. A part of me also reads comics to follow what’s happening in the world of super-fiction. My frustration sets in because these smart people I know aren’t aware of such books published by Pantheon, Fantagraphics, Top Shelf and other publishers who are presenting us some of the most exciting comics of our time. I know that if given exposure to a comic that is multi-layered and coming from an artist’s personal side they wouldn’t run away screaming while raving that the art is too weird and wondering where The Flash. Instead they would consider it and come away with a valid opinion on the book. That opinion could go in any number of different directions, that’s the way it should be, but the fact that a smart reader can read a smart book and got in some kind of discussion with someone else about it, even if that discussion is just with one other person, is a fine example of the grand things that can come about from the varied and remarkable world of comics we have now.
Be sure to click on the link to read more from Ian on the subject. Interesting stuff, indeed.


First, Jog looks at how Bulleteer relates to the overall Seven Soldiers experience:
And maybe it’s because there’s something creepy about her husband’s demeanor. He keeps ranting about youth, about how superheroes never seem to grow old. “…you never used to have those little lines, you know?” he callously asks her. Naturally, Paquette never allows us the readers to see such things; it apparently takes a certain eye to catch such flaws. Is such sight bred through familiarity? Is Alix’s beloved simply pining to maintain the pair’s slipping youth?

No, it’s something deeper, something that takes us all the way back to the beginning - Seven Soldiers #0, to be exact. We’ve been through a number of different environments in this project: heroes-for-hire, established heroes, fantasy heroes, cosmic celebrity heroes. But now we’re back in the realm of folks attempting to buy super-gear on eBay, young and strange revamps, untested novices. The sort of D-list folks itching for a big break, half of them having lived all their lives surrounded by an established, crouded, supersaturated DCU. There’s subcultures established by hero prospects, internet communities, hospitals filled with reckless ‘origin attempts’ (and despite all that world-building, it’s nice to know that writer Grant Morrison still set aside some space to take a quick jab at J. Michael Straczynski). And that’s not counting the porno.
Mark Fossen picks up on some of the same themes, but he gets extra credit for referencing my bit on Bulleteer #1:
There is a shocking amount of T&A in this book. Yanick Paquette knows how to draw shapely women, and Grant Morrison is serving up a perfect script to showcase his strengths. The lead character is barely dressed until the last page, and often finds herself topless. Reading it, I kept thinking that I should work up some healthy indignation and offense.

I can't.

Maybe I'm just falling for the Cousin Larry Trick? Or maybe it's because I trust Grant Morrison? It occurs to me: how else can you do a story about sex and the fetishizing of superheroes without sex and fetishes? Is it possible to write about the interaction between porn and spandex and keep it all chaste? It's not like this is unexpected. The refrain echoes throughout the series-setting Seven Soldiers 0: "How do you know when you've become a superhero and not just a crazy fetish person with a death wish?"

Morrison is exploring a lot of superhero archetypes in Seven Soldiers, and here he's exploring "The Bombshell", both literally and figuratively. Alix Harrower is a sexbomb, and looks it ... including the armor piercing shell. Sexuality is inherent in the character - even her origin story is based on her husband's perversions and fetishes. Bulleteer takes the objectification that is subtext in so many female heroes, and makes it utterly overt. It is inescapable. It cannot be denied or shuffled away.
In response to takes like Mark's, Johanna Draper Carlson offers up the following:
This is no worse than many many other superhero and Image comics out there. The only distinction is that Grant Morrison is actually talking about treating women as sex objects and the way they're judged by their appearance instead of just using it to try and sell more comics.

Now, he may not have anything new or unusual to say about it (I have a hard time believing that there IS anything new or unusual to say about it), or he may not follow through on the expectations he's created, but to get upset here because Morrison is supposedly better than that, well, he's part of the corporate comic sausage factory. He wouldn't be the only one foregrounding the subject as a way to have his cheesecake and eat it (benefit from it) too.
Greg Morrow has a great review of Rann/Thanagar War, demonstrating (to those who it was not already abundantly clear) how awful it was:
Rann-Thanagar War 1-6: I sat down and read this Infinite Crisis prelude mini-series in one sitting. These are the times when I thank God for William Shakespeare, whose Macbeth gave us the best possible all-purpose summary for this sort of thing: It is a tale full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Let me see if I can get this straight. At the beginning of the series, due to events occurring in another series written by someone else, which I didn't read, Rann and Thanagar are at war, and both are summoning their allies (taken from a roster of DC Universe alien races, with bad guys on both sides, including Komand'r leading the Tamaranians on Thanagar's side) to help them.

Then there's a whole bunch of fighting during which the Rannians always seem to be on the verge of being completely overwhelmed by Thanagarian forces, but never seem to be actually overwhelmed. Komand'r switches sides twice. At one point, Shayera Thal, the post-Crisis Hawkwoman with the most precarious hold on continuity of any Hawk-related character, gets killed in a way not so much memorable as, well, not memorable.

Then at the end of the series, Rann and Thanager are at war, with all their allies also getting involved, including Komand'r leading the Tamaranians on Thanagar's side.

So, basically, six issues and nothing changes? Sing it loud and sing it strong: Not recommended.
Chris Sims gives a nice review to a comic that seems to have dropped without all that much fanfare, which is a bit disappointing, as it is, to me, a nice demonstration of how comic companies can work together to just give the fans some cool stories:
Marvel Team-Up #14: Now here's something you don't see every day. An in-continuity Marvel comic featuring Spider-Man and a character not owned by Marvel. The fact that it's a totally stand-alone issue that seems like it's going to tie in with Invincible more than anything coming from Marvel makes me wonder if it'll ever get reprinted in trade or if that was part of Kirkman and Walker's deal with Marvel. Other than the novelty, though, it's slightly below-average for an above-average book--except for the scene where Invincible meets Luke Cage. Now that is worth the price of admission. On another weird note, this issue also includes a Chris Eliopoulos/marc Sumerak Franklin Richards backup reprinted from the recent Power Pack series for no discernable reason whatsoever. Not that that's a bad thing, but it's the third time it's been printed, and I have no idea why.
Chris Tammarri (who, for some reason, thinks his name is spelled Tamarri, to which I say, come on, who knows how to spell your name better? Me or you? Yeah, that's what I thought!...hehe) boldly goes where no man should go, which is to review all the House of M tie-ins. Yeah, I know...insane, right? Well, anyhow, I liked his House of M: Spider-Man review the best:
Now this was just utter crap. Normally I'm not a stickler for continuity, not the fine-detail sort. But when a book's part of a crossover, when, in fact it's a mini-series whose sole purpose is and will always be to comment on that crossover, when it ships at the same time and was, presumably, created at the same time some time before, I don't think consistency is an unfair expectation. This Spider-Man, and his titular mini, is all over the place. Turns out, Wanda gave Spidey a good life. He's rich, married to the once-again-living Gwen Stacy, with whom he has a son, and they're all living in the lap of luxury, sharing their good fortune with the Gwen's once-again-living father and Peter's once-again-living Uncle Ben. Everyone's alive and happy and not dead anymore. Everyone's just perfect. Except for Spider-Man. Who's batshit crazy.

See, Spider-Man's a pro wrestler. His publicist is--oh, how unexpected!--J. Jonah Jameson. Spidey treats him like crap, and Jonah takes it, wildly uncharacteristic of both characters (and I know they're not really the same characters, but come on). Jonah finds Spidey's journal, in which he's created a series of, as far as he knows, fictional memoirs detailing what we know to be the story of his "real" life, including, scandalously, the fact that he's not a mutant. The fact that Spider-Man somehow has subconscious access to his actual past history is, by the way, almost entirely unique--in New Thunderbolts, Captain Marvel is able to access memories of the legitimate past, but that's what he does--and entirely unexplained. Anycrap, a vengeful Jonah reveals this information to the public and fixes himself a schadenfreude sandwich for lunch every day for the next week. Spidey loses it, starts dressing up like the Green Goblin and attacking his family and, eventually, comes to his senses, realizing that the only way to get his life back is by starting over. Which he facilitates by making everyone believe that he's killed himself.

This is either incredibly dumb or incredibly subversive; I'm not sure which.

Wait. I've just read the series' last words: "With great power comes great fish."

What was that first choice again?
Devon has an interesting discussion that stemmed from Jonah Hex #1: After reading Jonah Hex #1, this question was posed to me:

"If The Justice League were composed of DC Comics' Western Heroes, who would be on the team?"

Instantly, I thought that Jonah Hex would fill the Batman role perfectly. Next, I thought, "Who would be The Flash?" This fella came to mind almost immediately.

Nighthawk and Cinnamon would be a natural lock for Hawkman and Hawkwoman with "Pow-Wow" Smith acting as The Martian Manhunter. You know, the whole "trapped between two worlds" thing and all...

or I have to ask, "By lumping them all together, do we diminish these heroes by trying to make them what we need them to be?"


Before there were Wonder Women and Supermen to take care of The DC Universe, ordinary men and women took up arms it upon themselves to make a hard world better.

Either way I think they're pretty damned special. What do you all think?
I recommend you folks click on the link and give your thoughts.

Finally, H has been taking a look at the DC Comics Rarities Archives this past week, and there is a ton of interesting stuff to read in his recaps. Here's one sample:
There, before our very eyes, is Etta Candy riding a roller coaster named Cookoo and hugging an angry clown. This tale, written by William Marston and drawn by H. G. Peter is representative of one of the few eras of Wonder Woman stories I’ve ever liked. I realize that this opens me up to psychological analysis for enjoying the period when Wonder Woman was regularly whipped and chained, but I swear that’s not the appeal. The appeal is the glorious sense of fun along with the anything-can-happen plots and the unshakable self-confidence of the heroine of the strip. This time out, Steve Trevor gets framed by an evil clown (department of redundancy department) and the action takes place at an amusement park with side trips on the roller coaster and through the Spook House. Oh, and this story also has something extra going for it – Etta and the Holiday Girls are wearing shirts promoting yours truly.
Fun stuff.

Well, once again, thanks to all you folks out there for writing so much about comic books! And for the rest of you, be sure to click on the links on the sidebar! A lot of fun reading out there!

See you next week!

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Blogger Bill Reed said...

Y'know, I immediately thought of Pow Wow Smith, Indian Lawman as the Western surrogate for J'onn J'onzz, Martian Manhunter. Awesome.

11/08/2005 09:33:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Tamarri said...

Thanks for the link, Brian; glad you enjoyed the review.

But, um, my name's "Tamarri". One M, two Rs, no waiting. Or something.

11/09/2005 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

I changed it.

This name works better for me.

Now change the tags on your underwear.

11/09/2005 03:37:00 PM  
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