Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Comic Quotes Should Be Good for the week of 11/16

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!

I think Shawn Hoke is going to sell at least one copy of Benjamin Birdie's mini-comic Kevin Analog with this review,
Kevin Analog is a sixteen page black and white mini-comic from Benjamin Birdie. Analog is about a struggling caped crusader who uses the power of analog mix tapes to fight crime. It's weird though, because like us, Kevin lives in a digital world. In one scene, Kevin endures the teasing of his coworkers, and as he looks around for an analog device (presumably to use as weapon), he only sees digital.

Still, Kevin seems to be an effective crime fighter - that is when he isn’t being yelled at by his fiancé for using her mix tape in a street battle.
Chris Sims gives an interesting review of the holiday special from awhile back, Ant Man's Big Christmas,
I'll be straight with you: I don't like Ant-Man. Nobody does. And it's for the very good reason that Ant-Man fucking sucks.

Not as lame as you might think, relatively speaking.Aquaman gets a lot of flak from the mainstream crowd for being lame, since his one big power is that he can talk to fish, but really; if you can get a Great White Shark to do your bidding, that's badass. They are nature's perfect killing machines, and according to the Discovery Channel, well worth a week of television programming. Ant-Man, however, talks to ants, which are at best a minor annoyance. And he had to build a helmet to do it. A stupid-looking helmet. Apparently, it was a lot easier to get into the Avengers back in '63.

That said, I love this comic. I read it every Christmas.

It's written by Bob Gale, who also wrote the Back to the Future series, which ranks just after the Kid as the second-greatest movie trilogy of all time. Phil Winslade's pencils are great, illustrating Gale's story of a kid who wants the sweet taste of revenge against his holiday-ruining relatives. And considering that one of my first pro writing gigs was a column about the disastrous family events surrounding Christmas '97, it certainly appeals to me.

See, Larry Magruder's father made a promise to his dying mother that he would always have the family over for Christmas, despite the fact that they're all wretched, petty, and inconsiderate people. So instead of trying family therapy or appealing to Dr. Phil, Larry does the sensible thing and writes a letter to the Avengers. Defying all logic, he's an Ant-Man fan, and wants him and the Wasp to help out. A few shots of shrinking gas and a healthy dose of righteous punishment meted out to reatives later, evil is punished, Christmas is saved, and everything works out okay.

It makes me like Ant-Man, and that's a Christmas Miracle.

Paul Teel writes the greatest All Star Superman #1 review ever, as seen by this snippet,
Because I think each of us should post about All-Star Superman at least once a day for the rest of eternity, I thought I would tell you all about what it did to my wiener.

After reading All-Star Superman I popped such a violent stiffy that it socked me in the jaw and knocked me out cold for 13 hours. While I was unconscious, I dreamed I was the man that Clark Kent saved from the train.

When I awoke, I found that my engorgement had not subsided. And, in fact, I now had two black eyes from raucously thrusting my hips in excitement. It's been my misfortune that I've been unable to see enough to type until now. And now I notice that the bulbs on my ceiling fan have been shattered, leaving me only enough light from the windows and the computer monitor to barely make out gorgeous Frank Quitely artwork. I still cannot reread the words on the printed page, and this fills me with sorrow.
This, of course, is not a knock at the nice turns this week by other bloggers (including some on this blog), and hey, here is Graeme talking about it, too!
ALL-STAR SUPERMAN #1: Yes, Lester got here first and wasn’t as impressed with this as I was. But still, there are far too many things that I loved about this book. The opening three pages, which condense the usual backstory into eight words in four panels on one page – because it’s Superman, for God’s sake, and everyone who’s interested in Superman already knows the basic set-up – before giving us a wordless double page spread of the character looking not angry or angst-ridden or weepy, but concerned and determined. The way that Grant Morrison seems determined to try and make the dialogue for each character not only seem in character, but also introduce the character (Lois’s “I always write the Superman headlines before they happen, Steve,” for example, or the difference between the way that Clark speaks and Superman speaks). Frank Quitely’s stunning artwork, with the layouts giving the book it’s own special pacing, and moments like Clark’s accident-prone entrance to Perry White’s office, or the off-panel accident that Clark saves the passer-by from at the end of the book. The “DC” rating for the book in the credits (“Pulse-pounding, rip-roaring action to be enjoyed by all”). The over-the-top new character, Leo Quintum (“Only nothing is impossible, Flora.”). A million miles away from what the regular Superman books are full of, this version of the character isn’t full of self-doubt or about to be mindcontrolled and sent to beat Batman up (and I think that this is being created as an alternative to the regular books, and as such is meant for people who don't read Superman right now, which is why I don’t have some of the same problems that Jeff does), the lack of moral ambiguity from anyone should probably make it feel like a much more childish book, but it’s all done with such abandon that it all just feels right. It’s very much what you’d expect from Morrison and Quitely: Optimistic, imaginative and human. I loved it, in case you can’t tell. Taken on its own terms, this was Excellent.
Kurt reviews a comic I have not praised enough, Silent Dragon (specifically the latest issue, #4),
Now mind you, this a very good series. Excellent almost. While there are moments when you wonder just who’s fighting who over what, the sense is that it will all tie up neatly - bloody, perhaps, but neatly. There’s a great deal of depth not only of plot but of characters and place. Diggle has created a new feudal Japan, populated with techno-warriors who speak of honor and loyalty and then slice their opponents to bits with cybernetic broad swords and polearms. To keep us on track Diggle provides the character of Suki as our stand in – as she learns, so do we. (And it’s good she has some redeeming quality as she’s wholly annoying beyond that.) It's an old trick, but much needed here.

The artwork in this book is marvelous. This series is my first extensive look at Yu’s work and it won’t be my last. (I’m tempted to pick up the SUPERMAN: BIRTHRIGHT trade just for his art alone.) He has a clear love for depicting large, mechanical objects yet they never overwhelm the frame and his covers are practically frameable.
H at the Comic Treadmill (who really needs to give me a name other than H, as I feel so dorky writing "H" each time) has a good summation of the problems with Ultimate Spider-Man, as he reviews the 8th TPB,
With this volume, Ultimate Spider-Man has settled into a readable albeit spark-free series, which is an improvement, because I was thoroughly dissatisfied with the first couple of years of the run. My three big complaints remain:

1) Ultimate Peter Parker is a thoroughly unexceptional character, although strides toward giving him an engaging personality are being made;

2) The derivative nature of the premise keeps this series in the shadows of the original Spider-Man – something that could be avoided if writer Brian Bendis concentrated on new characters and new plots instead of tweaked versions of the old thing; and

3) The excessive amount of scenes unnecessarily stretched out when the story flow would be better served by compression (see, e.g., the sequence introducing the Black Cat by showing her cavorting for 17 largely dialog-free and quickly tedious pages) isn't getting any easier to take.
Johanna has a nice write-up on the third Electric Girl collection. I like Electric Girl, and so, it seems, does Johanna,
Book three starts off with a set of stories focusing on Blammo. He wakes up the household (as dogs tend to do); he chases a cat sent by gremlins; he meets robot friends. That's followed by a longer Halloween story where a younger Virginia faces off against a witch, a short piece showing how Virginia's parents deal with her abilities, and a long adventure involving robots at a baseball game. The stories are about more than the basic premises, though; they're really about patience and cleverness and taking care of others and learning more about the world.

By using flashbacks to younger versions of Virginia, Brennan demonstrates how earlier events in her life have shaped the young woman she is in the present-day tales. Blammo and his nemesis, Robo-Blammo, often cause trouble for their owners, but that's part of the responsibility of pet ownership and what's involved in taking care of another living thing.

The volume also includes an early version of the characters in a different art style, some full-page pinups, and a page of Blammo sketches.
I dig Greta's Book Reviews, and here is a nice quick take by her on Sketchbook Party by Allison Cole,
Yet another cute Allison Cole book! Though there wasn't a plot, it was interesting reading about Allison Cole's feelings and thoughts in her sketchbook. It's a cute, quick read and if you're looking for something personal, then it's for you. I recommend this book to anybody who likes to butt into other peoples lives. Just kidding... but not really.
Here's a neat New Avengers review by Chris,
The New Avengers, inexplicably still fighting ninjas in Tokyo, spend this issue fighting more ninjas. Ninja ninja ninja. Then, in a mind-bogglingly stupid development, we see that Spider-Woman has been working for Madame Hydra for awhile because Mme. Hydra was the one that gave Jessica her powers back, or something. Apparently Hydra-Babe blackmails Jessica into taking her into custody with the promise of releasing her whenever she says so. Finally, the New Avengers show up at Ninja Theme Park HQ, where they are confronted by…sigh…Silver Samurai.

Whatever indeed, Chris. Whatever, indeed.

Ah, screw it, let's see one more All-Star Superman #1 review!

Kevin, if you would?
This Superman is a character with a complete history already in place. All-Star Superman #1 feels a lot like a Maggin / Swan story in that Jimmy has a rocket pack and a super-watch, Lois has an established reputation, and Lex Luthor has obviously already devoted quite a lot of time to mayhem and menace and that's just how things are. For me, this recalls the strange 70s Superman comics, where Silver Age bits rubbed uncomfortably against editorial direction, but this time around everything fits because Morrison and Quitely get to create everything from scratch, making a world where it's only completely logical that Jimmy straps a rocket to his back and flies to work while Superman visits scientists on the moon to talk about his strange new power and to find out what exactly happened to his body when he flew through the chromosphere of the Sun.

That's what I want in a goddamn Superman story - pop madness and wonder. Morrison's scripting takes his JLA style and strips it down even further while, remarkably, making the storytelling more accessible than ever, and Quitely actually tops his work on We3 thanks to the help of Jamie Grant's "digital inking." Lines are clean and the trademark "ugliness" (which I have always liked) is toned down a bit to make sure everything stays "on message."
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 daniel apodaca said...

I happen to think that Ant-Man is the shit.

I love the helmet, the powers, etc.

Ant-Man is like the Atom with extra animal-talking-to goodness. In other words, awesomaciousness.

11/23/2005 10:02:00 PM  
Blogger Pól Rua said...

I'm with Dan.
Ant-Man is extradoubleplus awesome. Yes.

11/24/2005 06:56:00 PM  
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