Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Comic Quotes Should Be Good for the week of 11/9

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 writes what comes down to basically an ode to the work Simon Gane has done drawing Paris #1 for Slave Labor Graphics,
But Gane is the main attraction here. Paris doesn’t really look like any other comic on the stands, with the possible exception of Joann Sfar’s The Rabbi’s Cat. Watson has scripted a number of showpieces for Gane’s lavishly detailed, imaginative style.

Establishing shots of a variety of settings are breathtaking, from sidewalk cafes to hotel lobbies to Juliet’s Latin Quarter digs. They’re glorious and numerous, but they never seem like travelogue material. Instead of interrupting the momentum of the story, big panels and splash pages contribute to its flow, immersing readers in the city and connecting them to its inhabitants.

Character design is exaggerated and appealing. Gane likes to draw characters in profile and uses the perspective to give added detail (like the chaperone, with her hawk-like nose). Wardrobes have specificity and texture, from Juliet’s rolled-up denim to Deborah’s starchy dresses. Juliet’s art-school activities allow Gane to reproduce works by Ingres and others, loyal to the source but investing them with enough of Gane’s own visual vocabulary to ground them in the comic.

So maybe Paris is an experiment in style over substance, with Watson purposely receding as a writer to let Gane do what he does best as an illustrator. Given the gorgeous results, I’ve got no problem with that.
Erin Schadt continues to give out the punchy, succinct reviews that she does so well, as she reviews Boom! Studio's Giant Monster #1, by Steve Niles and Nat Jones,
This is the kind of horror I enjoy—the kind of horror that evokes the memory of reading EC Comics and watching old monster movies. You see the gore and it makes you say “ewww” out loud, but it doesn’t make you want to toss your cookies. I can’t handle that “Ring” scare-the-shit-out-of-you horror. I like the larger-than-life kind of scare. In this case, the scare is literally larger than life. Plot in a nutshell: space shuttle pilot Don Maggert is attacked in space, crashes to the Earth, and becomes the giant monster of the title. Maggert grows bigger with every snack he gobbles up—this consists mostly of animals and people, but he doesn’t mind sinking his teeth into the occasional boat or building. It’s all about the chewy center, after all. This book one of two leaves off with a showdown between the seemingly unstoppable Maggert monster and the Army. I’d say we could use a few more lead characters, and some more plot development, but this book is what it is—an old-fashioned horror book—and I like that the way it is.
Alex at Listen To Us, We're Right, gives (according to him) not a fair review of Gotham Central, but I think it's a spot-on review,
Blah blah blah blah. That's what I saw when I flipped through. Not really a fair review, but I swear I could care less about these characters in this situation. This book runs more hot and cold than any book I've ever read. When it's good, it makes my head explode like a sniper hollow tip. When it's lame (see: any Montoya story... ever.), I black out from boredom and somehow end up in Omaha with no shoes. THAT'S bored, my friends.
David Campbell gives us an entertaining look at 1980's Brave and the Bold #166,
All this leads us to the climax of the book: In order to clothe his Canary imposter, The Penguin had to borrow the real Black Canary’s costume – which means she gets tied up in lacy black underwear. Believe me when I tell you that Young Dave studied this panel intently. Batman finally gets his hands on The Penguin and beats him up. See, Goddamn Batman hasn’t totally cornered the market on brutality, it’s just that Yellow Utility Belt Batman is more of a bully than a psychopath. I mean look down below, he smacks the shit out of The Penguin, who isn’t even fighting back. And he calls him “pudgy.” And he backhands him, the ultimate act of contemptuous assault. In the end, the big aggressive alpha male wins the girl, and the nerd is defeated. Just like in high school. The Black Canary makes a big deal about being a “liberated” woman, but she ends up giving her alpha male protector a little sugar in the end anyway. I’m not sure about the sexual politics in The Brave and the Bold #166, but I love it anyway. Perhaps this comic is in a small part to blame for some of Young Dave’s misunderstandings about women, for some of the failed relationships and squandered opportunities of my adolescent years. You know – I think I may have something here – I should sue DC Comics for that time Kristin Carlisle broke up with me in 1986! If The Brave and the Bold #166 hadn’t modeled unhealthy gender roles and female objectification for me early in life, I might have had a chance with her! A chance at happiness!
Abhay's take on Infinite Crisis #2 is sooo good that I had to take two snippets from it. I just had to,
But it's not hysterically funny how incompetent it is or anything, like with that Countdown comic. really the funny thing about it is it really is a comic EXPLICITLY about how bad DC comics have gotten and how they need to have a crossover in order to fix everything. it's not the subtext of the comic-- that's the TEXT. it's a DC comic that's just showing all these picture of other DC comics going "can you believe this shit? man, this shit is awful." i just find that peculiar.
incidentally: did they ever explain why batman built an Evil Satellite of Evil without building an off switch into it somewhere? and why doesn't he bulid one of those to fight crime-- doesn't Batman like fighting crime? it seems to be working pretty good fighting superheros... it'd work fighting crime too...i don't get that.
Johanna Draper Carlson explains why Strange Girl (which I dig) is worth reading,
The premise of Strange Girl #4 (Rick Remender, Eric Nguyen) is aimed right at my psyche. It's ten years post-Rapture, and Bethany was left behind when her parents and brother went to heaven. (As a child, this was a nightmare of mine. Yet another way fundamentalism warps its young.) She's a young woman in a hell world run by demons. Her quest is to find the one remaining portal to heaven, even though she's not sure she wants to go there.

She casts spells to protect herself and her wisecracking demon sidekick. This issue, she visits her parents' deserted home and runs into an old friend, where she tells him her origin story before they all hit the road. It's an intriguing premise that too often becomes an excuse for random battles. Violence, the occasional boob shot, an edgy premise that could be read as anti-religious... it's just what the teen boy needs when he's moved beyond superheroes and wants to feel rebellious. In other words, it's an action movie on paper.
Jog gives a very accurate reading of DMZ #1 here,
But that’s all possibility, all future. In the present, this is a decent action-tinged thing, with some nicely jagged visuals from Burchielli and some decently staged set-pieces. The characters are broadly-drawn, eminently familiar character types, still stand-ups in a ‘think of the people!’ wartime passion play at the moment, but there’s room for development. It’s not exactly a subtle thing, though I expect persons familiar with Wood’s politically-themed oeuvre won’t arrive expecting meticulously buffed current events positioning. It’s a lot of firepower in both the thrills and the comment department, and the gun could well jam later on. Right now, it’s a good-looking book that’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect; each twist therefore leaves one mainly nodding along, just as the allegorical talking points are dropped out to elicit fist-pumps from the allied and the rolling of eyes from the opposition. It’s like everything is predetermined for the present - we’ll have to hang in for later to see how things develop.
Chris Tamarri (who will always be Chris Tammarri to me) takes a look at a few Joe Casey projects, and waxes poetic about the Intimates in particular,
I wasn't sure what to make of The Intimates at first. I wasn't sure I liked the book, because I wasn't sure if I liked the characters. They were superheroes (in training, at least), but they weren't particularly… virtuous, I suppose. They weren't bad, certainly, but that left them out of the running for love-to-hate-'em status. Nor did they attract through the verisimilitude of their flaws, suggesting that, superpuppets and exploding fingernails aside, they were Just Like Me. They were kids, is all, and sometimes they were attractive and empathetically inspiring, and sometimes they were repellent and stupid and selfish and all the things that kids don't yet know they're supposed to hide; they were Just Like Me (and You, I bet) at Fifteen, someone we’re not always inclined to remember. Once I got that, settled into the rhythm of The Intimates, I responded to it on a gut level. It struck me as honest, without a self-defensive artifice of consciousness, a quality that's hard to look for, but rewardingly apparent when it's presented.

I think I understand what this book was supposed to be, at least officially. It was an old fashioned teen superhero romp, where extraordinary abilities become metaphors for overwrought teenage hormones and emotions, as much a takeoff of books like Wolfman’s Teen Titans and Claremont’s old-school Uncanny X-Men as Godland is of the cosmic epic. The difference between the two is that where Godland uses the tradition as a launchpad for something (what, it’s still not entirely clear), Intimates was more funereal, in a sense. Intimates is like an explosion, something that Casey just had to get out of his system.
Sean Maher takes a look at 7 Days to Fame, from After Hours Press,
The first issue of 7 Days to Fame came out a couple weeks ago, and the second should be well on its way to comics shops. It's a three-issue mini-series with the premise splayed on the cover with gleeful macabre:

A reality TV show... about suicide!

The first issue introduces the players - a sleazy, do-anything-for-success television personality, and his noticeably-less-so-but-still-kinda-sleazy producer. They witness a stirring suicide in the opening scene and, when their late-night talk show finds itself in the shit, a golden coin drops in their laps in the form of an old woman with cancer. They spend a week focusing on her life and finally building to the Friday night climax - she whips out a gun and blows her brains out on live television.

Where the series is going with this is unclear at this point. This was an enjoyable issue, with some strong supporting characters and a lot of anticipation, but it ends with the suicide. So, I don't have much more to go on than I did when I read the solicit text for issue two - which seems to promise folks competing to have the most interesting, TV-worthy deaths. Will the series become a moral finger-waver, letting us know that television is exploitative and shallow? Or will it revel in the premise a bit - try to answer the question, "What kind of suicides would you watch?"

There's a middle-ground to be struck, but I'm hoping they lean towards the latter.
Finally, let's check up with everyone's favorite ex-Rampager, Graeme McMillan, and let him snark away,
JLA #122: Oh, just make it stop already. I don’t know whose idea it was to turn this book into mid-90s X-Men, complete with subplots from other books (Flash is sick? Why? Who is Manitou Dawn and why should I care about her?), bad dialogue (“Did we choose to forget that human beings are fragile things, no matter where we come from?” You tell ‘em, Black Canary) and barely competent art, but I’m hoping that it’s all just some cunning way to make us all miss the real JLA so that their inevitable return seems better in comparison. Completely and utterly Awful.
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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Anonymous Kelson said...

I'm reading some of those source pages, and it seems to me that Abhay is awfully sure that either DC's plan and that guy in blue's plan are the same, or that guy in blue's plan is irrelevant. I mean, was the Anti-Monitor's plan to destroy the universe a red herring just because it failed?

11/17/2005 01:46:00 AM  
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