Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Current Comic Conversation for 12/7

The shtick here is that I and a friend (or friends) look at the shipping list for this comic week and riff, using the books that are coming out for inspiration for the discussion. This week, I am talking with my pal Aaron Kashtan, who had interned for Comic Book Artist (you might know Aaron by the screen name Sir Tim Drake),(A=Aaron, B=Brian). There very likely WILL be some spoilers mentioned in the discussion, so be forewarned!

Let's begin!

OCT050088 CHIP N DALE NUTTYWEAR GACHA CAPSULE PI

B: This is what Chip and Dale swallow when taken prisoner.

B: I think.

A: Heh. I have nothing to add to that.

OCT050015 CONAN & THE DEMONS OF KHITAI #3 (OF 4)$2.99

A: They've been doing a lot of these Conan spinoffs, and only one of them (Jewels of Gwahlur) was by a creator who really interested me, and even that one wasn't all that impressive.

B: Yeah, how disappointing was Jewels of Gwahlur?

A: For some reason I still haven't read my copies of Conan #20-22. Probably because it adapts a story that I'm already familiar with.

B: That is where I am in luck.

B: I am not familiar with any of the Conans.

B: So it's all new to me!

A: I'm working on a complete run of the post-BWS Conans. They're surprisingly easy to find.

A: Thomas/Buscema/Chan were a team for the ages.

B: Is that a surprise, though?

B: By the by, I love how that series was like, the ONE thing that Buscema liked doing for Marvel.

A: Because it didn't require him to change his style to look more like Kirby or whoever?

B: I remember one interview that Thomas did with Buscema, and Thomas would show him old art and ask him about it.

B: And if it was a superhero piece, Buscema just really didn't care, and didn't want to talk about it.

B: But the Conan stuff, he got much more into it.

A: Yeah, I remember him being reluctant to discuss even Silver Surfer #4, the one that everyone holds up as his best work.

B: That, to me, shows how amazing he was. I mean, he didn't even LIKE drawing this stuff, and it STILL looked amazing.

OCT050225 GOTHAM CENTRAL #38 $2.50

A: Three issues from cancellation... it was really only a matter of time. I dropped this series pretty much as soon as both Brubaker and Lark left.

B: I am impressed by how well they approximate Lark's style, though.

B: You wouldn't know that it was the same artist who did Joe Kelly's Action Comics to look at it.

A: I was very impressed by the early fill-in issue that Brian Hurtt did.

B: How great was that!!!

B: That was so awesome!

B: That's the one with the worker who lights the Bat Signal, right?

B: That was a good issue.

A: Yes. It was a nice single-issue story, too. I forget whether Ed or Greg wrote it...

B: Well, if we both liked it, I vote Ed.

A: *checks spreadsheet* It was Ed.

B: Yeah, figures.

A: To avoid having to say anything bad about Greg, I will move on to..

OCT050264 OUTSIDERS #31 $2.50

B: You skipped Hard Time #1!

B: You were just talking about how great Brian Hurtt was!

B: And here is a series with his art!

A: Okay...

OCT050250 HARD TIME SEASON TWO #1 $2.50

B: Did you read Season One?

A: I did not actually know that Brian Hurtt was drawing this. Maybe I should be reading it.

B: Yeah, he's been doing the whole run.

B: It is a good series.

B: The best part, though, is Hurtt's art.

A: I read the first issue and it didn't impress me much, and I think I was trying to cut my pull list at the time.

B: I would definitely recommend this issue, to try it out.

B: Gerber does a great job of giving us a jump-on point.

B: While still rewarding the fans who stuck around.

A: Maybe. Gerber is a favorite of mine. His stories can be kind of static and text-heavy, but he was very clever and funny.

B: Mary Skrenes is co-writing it now.

B: I don't know if that is good or bad.

A: Cool. I just read Omega the Unknown #10 yesterday.

B: Have you read the Defenders issue that wrapped up Omega's plot?

A: No. Did Gerber write it?

B: No.

B: I think Steven Grant got the unhappy assignment.

B: That was a weird tic Marvel had in the 70s and 80s....spending issues of their regular titles to wrap up stories from cancelled books.

A: OTU #10 had a note in the letter column that mentioned that issue of Defenders.

A: I don't know where I put my copy of the issue... I was going to check whether the letter column indicated who would be writing the issue. Eh.

B: I don't think it was on time, though.

A: Ah, yes, the Dreaded Deadline Doom... subject of another famous Gerber comic...

B: It was one of those things that almost took on a life of its own.

B: You know, like "When is Omega the Unknown's plot going to be wrapped up?"

OCT050264 OUTSIDERS #31 $2.50

A: The only reason Outsiders interests me at all is because I'm an ardent Dick/Kory 'shipper.

B: Hah.

B: But Outsiders is not ABOUT relationships.

B: You have to have a personality to have a relationship.

B: And in Outsiders, characters check their personalities at the door.

A: Hence why I just flip through it at the store. :)

B: Hehe.

B: I bet you do not miss anything of note by doing so.

A: If the rumor is true that Dick and Babs will be having a child after IC... I don't know what I'll do. I could swear to boycott all non-Legion DC books, but I already do that. ;)

OCT050268 SEVEN SOLDIERS MISTER MIRACLE #2 (OF 4) $2.99

A: I still haven't read the first issue of this, but I think Grant might be the best active comics writer in the world.

A: Though I really shouldn't say that, given my lack of knowledge about French and Japanese writers.

B: Hah.

B: He is not Grant anymore.

A: He's not?

B: He is to be referred to as "The God of Comics."

A: But that name is already taken!

B: Hmmm

B: Okay

B: We can come up with a better name.

B: Crown Prince of Comics?

A: But I suppose there can be two. After all, there's a manga artist called the King of Comics. :)

B: Kevin James is the King of Queens!

A: And unfortunately the previous God of Comics is no longer with us, so the position is open!

OCT050255SHOWCASE PRESENTS JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA VOL 1 TP$16.99

A: This is looking good, though I'm trying not to buy any Showcase Presents until I finish my unread Essentials.

B: What a great cover!

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

A: It is a great cover though! Who is the artist?

B: Murphy Anderson

B: Isn't it great to know that we still have Murphy Anderson around?

A: Oh, wow.

A: Yeah. I met him at San Diego and got him to sign a few things.

A: He seemed like quite a nice man, and it's cool to see a new piece of work by him.

OCT050325Y THE LAST MAN #40 (MR)$2.99

A: One last bit of negativity before I get on to Age of Bronze...

A: I lost interest in this series a few issues back. I felt like the plot wasn't progressing enough.

B: I think they are moving it along a bit.

B: And while I generally dislike how Vaughan ends his issues.

B: I have seen the ending of this issue.

b: And it is quite impressive.

A: That's cool. I won't ask you to spoil it.

OCT051724 AGE OF BRONZE #22 $3.50

B: Feel free to call me a fool if you read it and disagree.

A: I will! :)

A: I can't believe there are two issues of Age of Bronze in such quick succession.

B: Did you know that, until recently, the first trade was out of print?

A: No, I didn't.

A: It shouldn't have been!

B: Luckily, it is back in print.

B: How much longer is Age of Bronze going on?

A: I think he said it was projected for about 60 issues.

B: Coolness.

A: AUG041579SAVAGE DRAGON GOD WAR #4 (Of 4)$2.99

A: Is there any word on when the regular Savage Dragon series will continue?

B: Yeah, the regular series is picking back up this February

A: Oh, that's good.

B: Wow.

B: Talk about a delay!

B: It was solicited in August....of 2004!!!

A: Wow!

A: Shades of Spider-Man/Black Cat!

B: Which ALSO comes out this week!!!

A: Really?!

B: It is "Pigs Flying Week"

B: You missed OCT051717 IMAGE COMICS HOLIDAY SP 2005 $9.99

B: New Godland story!

B: New Amazing Joy Buzzard story!

B: New Walking Dead story!

B: And some others

B: That I care about less.

A: What is Amazing Joy Buzzards? I hadn't heard that name until Joe Rice brought it up.

B: It is this cool comic about this rock band who secretly (so secret that THEY do not even know it) work for the CIA.

B: Fighting monsters and the like.

A: Heh, cool.

A: I was hoping that Savage Dragon would last longer than Cerebus did... the idea of Savage Dragon #400 just sounds so cool.

A: I guess it depends how long Erik lives. :)

B: Haha.

B: "I'm betting on you, Erik!"

B: "You have another 30 years in you, don't you?"

OCT052041 ESSENTIAL SPIDER-WOMAN VOL 1 TP $16.99

B: The oxymoron joke is too easy, right?

A: One could make that joke anyway. :)

A: I think Marvel may be scraping the barrel... I've never heard much about this series, good or bad.

B: Well, it depends on when they take it from

B: Marv Wolfman had some good issues on this series.

A: It's hard to think of Essential volumes that don't exist yet, but that should exist.

A: Most of Marvel's better output from the '60s and '70s has already been Essentialized.

B: True.

B: I would put Stern's Avengers into Essentials.

B: Simonson's Thor is not in Essentials, right?

B: Or Byrne's Fantastic Four.

A: I don't think so. But there are Visionaries volumes for those.

B: The question, of course, is "How well will these later works translate into the black and white?"

A: Yeah. Not very well, I would imagine.

A: And with such recent comics, it might even be cheaper to buy the original issues than the Essentials!

A: I've been finding lots of Stern Avengers in the cheap boxes.

B: True.

B: Speaking of comics I bet Buscema was not happy to draw.

B: "What? I have to draw some dude with an gheri curl in a white jumper?"

B: "And he's some super powerful being?"

A: Which dude was that? Dr. Druid?

B: "Sigh....whatever."

B: The Beyonder.

A: Oh, right. THAT dude. No one would have been happy to draw him. :)

B: Touche

A: But to confirm your earlier point, Big John drew those issues very well. Tom Palmer's inks complemented him nicely.

B: Did you ever see Sean Chen inked by Palmer?

B: Craziest crap I ever saw.

A: I don't think so.

B: Cuh-ray-ziest crap you'll ever see.

OCT051944 FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #3 $2.99

B: Ugh.

B: The "shocking" issue.

B: Lordy lord lord.

A: I forget what was notable about this series. It's not by Gail, is it?

B: Peter David writes it and Mike Weiringo draws it

B: But, for some odd marketing reason

B: The second and third issues

B: were written by Reginald Hudlin and J. Michael Stracynzki, respectively

A: That is odd.

A: What's shocking about it? I remember hearing something about "The Other" storyline but I forget what.

B: Spidey is dying.

B: And the previous issue, he was beaten basically to death by this big bad guy.

B: In this issue, "something" happens to Spider-Man

B: That will

B: wait for it

B: Change his life forever

A: I really like JMS's Spider-Man, though I've only been reading it as back issues, and I've stayed away from the "Sins Past" controversy.

B: Hah.

B: The big bad guy is Morlun.

B: From his first arc.

A: I'll probably read it eventually, but I'd rather concentrate on the early JMS issues for now.

B: Good idea.

B: Those were better.

A: I wonder if people still like those, or if they've been tainted by association with "Sins Past" and "The Other."

B: I don't think so.

B: I mean, here's the thing, I think.

B: What the later issues HAVE done

B: Is make all the little tics from his early stuff

B: It makes them look like warning signs.

B: While at the time, we all figured it was just tics that he would grow out of.

A: Ah.

B: But the work itself still stands on its own.

B: Some good, fun stuff.

A: We could talk about whether a work can truly stand on its own, but that would lead us far afield...

OCT051981 NEW WARRIORS #6 (OF 6) $2.99

A: As much as I liked the original New Warriors, I thought it was just a pale shadow of New Teen Titans...

A: Firestar = Starfire, Speedball = Changeling, Kid Nova = Kid Flash, etc.

A: So it stands to reason that the later New Warriors revivals have all failed, because they were just shadows of a shadow.

B: Interesting.

B: But, if the New Warriors debuted TODAY.

B: Written by Nicieza

B: Drawn by Bagley.

B: Would it sell NOW?

B: I don't know if these newer versions are less successful versions, or if the
market just can't support these type of books PERIOD.

B: So whether the book is good or not, the market just can't handle them.

B: I mean, SILVER SABLE had a comic that lasted three years.

B: Walt freakin' Simonson couldn't last that long

B: Doing a Jack Kirby classic character.

A: I see your point. In a market like this, the success of a series doesn't have much to do with its quality.

A: Well, that's an overgeneralization.

A: It might be more correct to say that it's difficult for *anything* to sell very
well these days, regardless of its quality.

B: Yeah.

B: Exactly, so while we can certainly say one product is better than another.

B: We can't neccesarily point to sales as the determinate of it.

A: Certainly.

A: Which is really just a truism, that quality cannot be measured by sales and vice versa.

OCT052040 WHAT IF CLASSIC VOL 2 TP $24.99

A: I see that they're just collecting the series issue by issue. It'll be a while before they get to #42 and #44.

A: Which are among the few What If?s that manage to affect the reader emotionally, rather than reading like a laundry list of characters who get killed.

B: Yeah.

B: The early What If..?s are only "classic" in nostalgia levels, I think.

A: The earliest one I've read is #18.

A: What If? volume 2 was one of the first issues I ever collected, and nearly every issue suffered from the laundry-list syndrome.

B: It really did.

A: My favorite for a while was #32, which turns out to be based on Claremont's unused plot for what would have happened after the Great Darkness Saga...

A: Crap. I'm tired. I meant the Dark Phoenix Saga.

A: I shudder to think of Claremont's version of the Great Darkness Saga.

B: Haha.

B: I liked the Great Darkness Saga!

B: Damn you, Burgas!!!

A: I disagreed with that review too. I didn't see any real criticisms beyond the Legion not knowing who Darkseid was...

A: Which was because he was concealing his identity! Obviously they had heard of him, they just didn't connect him with the Master of Darkness.

B: Yeah!

B: And I really liked how the Great Darkness Saga built up to a saga

A: It was the pinnacle of my favorite era of the Legion.

A: Though I think my most cherished Levitz story is still "The Future Is Forever."

B: Which one is that?

A: #300. It includes segments drawn by a bunch of past Legion artists, and the whole
story is a very clever refutation of the Adult Legion continuity.

A: I was going to mention that Joe Kelly did a pretty powerful story about spousal abuse in What If? #91, right about when I was ready to drop the series.

B: I don't recall that story, oddly enough.

B: The WORST one I ever saw was this one they did in the second volume about issue #53 or so.

B: With three stories in it.

B: And they were all SUPER half-assed.

A: Oh, I think I know that one.

A: They did the three-stories format again in the X-Men Wedding Album issue, with equally bad results...

B: Ugh.

B: It is not even the format is bad.

B: Three short stories does not mean BAD.

B: But three half-assed stories generally DOES.

A: It does mean bad when they have to cover dozens of issues of continuity in seven pages...

B: True enough.

A: Kurt Busiek wrote the X-Men Wedding Album issue, and even he wasn't able to do
much with such constraints.

B: THE Kurt Busiek?

B: Writer of Night Thrasher?!?!

B: Sweet!!!

A: Heh.

SEP053270 BANANA FISH VOL 11 TP $9.99

A: I saw a list of the 50 best manga ever, in which this was #1.

B: Wow.

B: Ahead of Yu-Gi-Oh??!?!?!

A: The list was voted on by mostly female fans, so I don't think it's entirely trustworthy, but it's still fairly impressive.

B: Agreed.

B: You cannot trust women.

B: Well said, Aaron.

A: Women are bad enough, but it's fans you really can't trust! :)

B: Next thing we know, Jesse McCartney will be voted the best comic writer of all time!

A: *Googles to find out who that is*

A: I guess a more tasteful way of putting it would be:

A: When an award or a top-X-of-all-time list is determined by fan voting, it just reflects the preferences of the fans who vote.

B: True

A: Which is not always related to the actual merits of the work.

B: Agreed.

A: Though I've only heard good things about Banana Fish itself. I'd like to try it if I wasn't so reluctant about investing in manga.

B: Try Planetes then.

A: Maybe I will. Everyone seems to like it.

B: It is, like, THE most accessible manga ever.

A: Cool. Somehow I just never thought of trying it, but I ought to.

B: it is just a standard space adventure.

B: The adventures of space garbagemen, essentially.

OCT053193 CAVEMAN ROBOT #1 $2.50

A: This should be good. These people have shown up at SDCC for a couple years now.

B: Always good to see work pay off.

A: They just have this huge robot costume dressed in animal skins and carrying a club. It's hilarious.

B: Sounds funny

A: I can't imagine what kind of story could be constructed around such a premise, but it might be cool to find out.

B: Definitely.

A: Here's an image from CBR: Image hosted by Photobucket.com

B: Haha...nice look.

AUG052922 LOVE & ROCKETS VOL 2 #15 (MR)$4.50

A: Hotly anticipated. Los Bros are still among the best comic artists in the world.

A: Take that with a grain of salt, like my earlier comment about Grant. :)

A: Though I actually do believe it.

B: They are great.

A: The highlight of #14, for me, was seeing Maggie and Hopey on-panel together for the first time in a while.

B: That's a good point.

B: It really puts it into perspective.

B: How long this series has been going on.

A: That's the same effect you get from the last page of the Locas hardcover...

A: Where Maggie says she's suffering a pain that she hasn't felt since Hopey left her to go on tour, and Hopey says "That long?" and you realize it really *has* been that long.

SEP053234 NARUTO VOL 8 TP $7.95

A: You reviewed this, didn't you?

B: No, I did Kare Kano

B: Which John Lombard has ruinied it for me.

B: He gets me into this series.

B: Then he tells me all the sick shit that happens in the later volumes.

B: And I'm like, "Then why did you want me to become invested in these characters?!?!"

A: Isn't that fairly common in manga?

B: Yeah, apparently

A: It's cool that it's only eight bucks though.

AUG053019 NAT TURNER #2 (MR)(OF 4)$3.00

B: Yeah

A: I didn't pick up the first issue of this, but I will get the second.

A: Kyle is just at the peak of his career right now.

B: He really, really is.

B: And now that his superhero book is done, he has more time to devote to other stuff.

A: His comics about his family life are just hilarious. I didn't read Birth of a Nation, but it'll be interesting to see his approach to a grimmer subject.

B: He is good at it.

B: Because, well, he is good. :)

A: His Eisner Award acceptance speech was one of the highlights of the night.

A: He came up to the podium and said that Kyle Baker regretted he couldn't be here, but he was accepting the award on his behalf, etc.
A: The same things that numerous other people had already said when accepting awards for others, but it was obvious that it actually was him.

A: (That was at this year's Eisners, by the way.)

B: Gotcha

OCT052955 OPTIC NERVE #10 (MR)$3.95

A: Saving the best for close to last... this promises to be one of the better comic books of the year.

A: Adrian Tomine is phenomenal.

B: He really is.

B: It is the perfect stocking stuffer.

A: And "White on Rice," of which this is the second part, looks like a major work, a very deep story about Asian-American identity.

A: Okay, I think this is the last one that caught my eye:

MAY053197 SPOOKY A WARREN FANZINE #3 $4.95

A: I didn't know there were Warren fanzines. If only we could get some actual Warren comics.

A: The lack of affordable Warren reprints is very frustrating. I don't have a single Vampirella in my collection. Those things are unaffordable.

B: I read about this one!

B: I don't remember where.

B: Maybe in an Alter Ego

A: It could theoretically have been Comic Book Artist... Jon B. Cooke and Jim Warren are good friends.

B: Very well could be.

B: Nice way to end the bit, with a plug for CBA.

A: Heh. I suppose a mention is as good as a plug. :)

B: Well, me saying plug is a plug, no?

A: I suppose it is. :)

Thansk, folks! Make sure to check back later to tell us how wrong we both were!

Read More

28 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re JMS--I had noticed in the past that he has a tendency to burn out after a while. For instance, the last season of Babylon 5. Wouldn't it be weird, by the way, if his run on Spider-Man lasted longer than Babylon 5?

Probably the high point of the second series of What If was the story that introduced Spider-Girl. Who'd have thunk that a series would spin out of What If which would last a hundred issues now? I'm tempted to drop that series though--it hasn't developed in a while and the Venom-Goblin story is getting on my nerves. I mean, seriously, why does Tom DeFalco think that doing a Venom-Goblin story is a good idea?

12/07/2005 09:42:00 AM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

I still enjoy those earlier JMS Spiey issues. There's some great work in those (and I still think the Spider-Totem thing is a nifty idea and good use of continuity), but it all started to go off te rails a bit.

Te New Avengers arc was pretty good, if only because it was a better NA story than the actual title, but otherwise, it's been a bit of a bland book since around the time Romita Jr left.

12/07/2005 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

You mean people actually read my posts? The biggest problem I had with The Great Darkness Saga was that Darkseid didn't seem to do much when they finally found out who he was. They defeated him far too easily, it seemed to me. Good buildup, poor payoff.

12/07/2005 10:19:00 AM  
Blogger chasdom said...

"B: That, to me, shows how amazing he was. I mean, he didn't even LIKE drawing this stuff, and it STILL looked amazing."

Yeah, I think about that now every time I read a John Buscema comic. The artwork on Roger Stern's Avengers was excellent, but then again that was credited as "John Buscema - breakdowns" and "Tom Palmer - finishes", so that might be more to Palmer's credit.

12/07/2005 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew Craig said...

The Spider-Totem idea is a horribly misconcieved attempt to:

a) add a mystical depth and spiritual significance to a character that's supposed to have his feet firmly in the real world.

and b) turn storytelling conventions into a story franchise.

The totem sub-plot peaked in the second issue, when Straczynski has Ezekiel go on about how it's no coincidence that Spidey has so many animal-based enemies, how Captain America has enemies based around the concept of nationality and government, and how the X-Men's enemies all seem to relate to their mutanity.

I mean, how weird is that, Spidey?! Oppressed mutants fighting other mutants and people who hate mutants. When you connect the dots, it just BLOWS YOUR MIND, RIGHT!

That should have been the warning sign: that Straczynski was trying (and failing) to turn one aspect of Spider-Man's mythology - his animal-based powers - into something with a deeper significance than it deserved - at the expense of all the others, no less.

I mean, the story of Spider-Man isn't Science versus Bibbledeeboo, is it? It's personal responsibility versus responsibility to society. It's about generational conflict, both within and without. It's about Good Science versus Bad Science (at least on a minor level). It's about determining one's own identity in the face of the realisation that the world is a cold and potentially dangerous place that might try to decide things for you. The World! Not a MYSTICAL SPIDER-GOD.

I mean, if he was meant to become The Great Totemic Spider-Warrior (and let's not forget that the end of the Ezekiel story, with it's insanely patronising epilogue, muddied the waters around that particular notion), then how is his story any longer about a fairly ordinary guy like the rest of us?

If Uncle Ben was meant to die, and the ability to save him (by premptively stopping the burglar) was taken out of his hands by this great wave of Destiny, how can it possibly be Peter's responsibility?

Answer: it can't. You take away choice, and you destroy Spider-Man.

Straczynski's obsession with capital-D Destiny (has that spilled over into FF? Were they now meant to be exposed to cosmic rays) has ruined Spider-Man, for me. The Gwen story was merely aggressively bad, and the Nuvengers story ill-concieved.

The worst part of all this, of course, is that when I think about the really good bits - Aunt May's reaction to Peter's secret, the teaching job, the 'Nuff Said issue, the reunion with MJ (all pretty much in the first year, as I recall, and thinking about it, he ruined the reunion issue, as well) - it makes me madder.

Because they've squandered that potential. Pissed it away on a sea of pseudomystical mumbo-jumbo. For every "let the spider crawl across me to safety" page, there's thirty more of Ezekiel-Sue or Hulk Capone or Norman Osborn's Red Shoe Diaries or Aunt May's Supiciously Dominant Relationship With Jarvis (does she know that he has a first name?).

It's so bad that every time I think about coming back to the Spider-Man comics, and I read the new solicitations or the message boards, it makes my stomach ache.

So I'd better stop.

//\Oo/\\

12/07/2005 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger CalvinPitt said...

I'm in agreement with kelvin that the recent work by JMS hasn't tainted his early Amzaing Spider-Man work. I still like basically everything right up until the "Sins Past" storyline. That disturbed, and not in an enjoyable way.

But I still love that first arc, with the Spidey/Morlun brawl. That was when I actually started to like Romita Jr.'s art, and the story just really had me going.

The sad thing is, this reminds me of a conversation I had with the guy who runs the store I buy from. We were talking about it, and he said, "let's see if JMS can keep it going. it's real easy to come in for like ten issues and do well, but can he sustain it over a few years?"

The answers starting to look like "No." Maybe he'll surpirse me though.

12/07/2005 11:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Iron Lungfish said...

Why is it that the God of a visual medium doesn't actually draw?

12/07/2005 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger Joe Rice said...

Grant Morrison can and does draw, but he's too slow for comics.

12/07/2005 12:29:00 PM  
Blogger Bill Reed said...

I'm pretty sure that Showcase JLA cover is just a recolorized version of #12 or something, and not actually new work.

12/07/2005 01:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Iron Lungfish said...

Grant Morrison can and does draw, but he's too slow for comics.

1. Doesn't that imply that he's just not nearly as good at drawing as the artists he works with, who can produce (very very good) comic book art on a regular basis? I mean, even Frank Quitely could probably sick to, say, a bimonthly schedule, and the art he does put out looks pretty nice.

2. Would Grant Morrison's comics be better or worse if they had been drawn by Grant Morrison?

3. Shouldn't the answer to #2 be a definite and unqualified "yes!" if he is, after all, the God Of Comics?

4. Doesn't #1, though, suggest that the answer to #2 is, in fact, "no"?

5. "From Hell," drawn by Rob Liefeld, probably wouldn't have read that well, would it?

12/07/2005 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

Hell, one of the things about the Spider-Totem I liked was that it was designed in such a way that you can ignore it if you like, so I'm not sure why you're so angry about it, Matthew. :)

But I'm in agreement about the best stuff in JMS' run; May finding out, MJ coming back, Pete going back to school as a teacher. All good solid meat and potatoes Spider-Man work.

I think there was a glimmer of that earlier promise in the Not Avengers arc, with some good stuff about Spidey's place in the team and how he views these heroes and how they view him (the moment he psyches himself up to take on the Hydra-Avengers was superb). And of course it's infinitely better than the Whiney Jewish Spider-Man and his Torn Bootie that we get in the main Avengers book.

12/07/2005 01:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike Loughlin said...

JMS on Spidey: read up to issue 500, liked it more than 75% of the Spider-Man comics I've read since the '80s (excluding Untold Tales, Paul Jenkins' better issues), bought and read up to issue 500, then lost interest. I'm glad I dropped it when I did, since I heard that most of the issues since has been dross.

I don't want to go back to Amazing Spider-Man. I can't get interested in the Peter David Spidey book, and I'm a fan of his writing ("Death of Jean DeWolfe" is my favorite Spider-Man story, outside of the Ditko years). I don't read Ultimate Spider-Man regularly anymore. Maybe I'm bored with Spider-Man.

12/07/2005 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger MarkAndrew said...

Huh. Optic Nerve. It's only been, like, a year or two since the last one.

That book bugs me. Tomine's the most effective short-story writer in comics, currently. Maybe ever. Nobody else can effect me so much in an eight page story... And he does it EVERY TIME.

No question.

But I never seem to get anything out of his work beyond "Oh, whoah is me. Life is so terrible."

Bothers me. Like, dudes like Seth or Dan Clowes, they can get pretty depressing, but there's always an element of hope in the end of their stories. Tomine's stuff ends with the main characters life being crushed, forever. C-Ya.

12/07/2005 01:50:00 PM  
Blogger David C said...

The artwork on Roger Stern's Avengers was excellent, but then again that was credited as "John Buscema - breakdowns" and "Tom Palmer - finishes", so that might be more to Palmer's credit.

As part of some Big Crossover of the time, there was a crossover between Fantastic Four and Avengers Annuals. The gimmick(? or just cost-saving measure?) was that when the two teams were together, the annuals had the same pages! Pretty cheap and cheezy, really, but what made it interesting is that both were pencilled by John Buscema, but Avengers was inked by Palmer, and FF by someone or somefive else (Hacky McHackworth, IIRC.)

The difference, working from the same pencilled pages, was huge. I think that was the first time I realized what a big difference a quality inker can make.

12/07/2005 01:55:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

"Straczynski's obsession with capital-D Destiny (has that spilled over into FF? Were they now meant to be exposed to cosmic rays) has ruined Spider-Man, for me. The Gwen story was merely aggressively bad, and the Nuvengers story ill-concieved."

Here's the really funny thing, Matthew.

When he took over FF, I think everyone probably made the joke ("Oh, so did the FF gain their powers from totems? Maybe Earth, Wind, Water and Fire?") that he would do the same thing he did on Spider-man with the FF.

And then he went out - AND DID IT!!!!

I mean, I was just JOKING.

I didn't think he'd ACTUALLY do it (I mean, sure, I knew it would be POSSIBLE, but not LIKELY)!!

Reed now apparently went back in time to the creation of the universe, and it was his will that led to the FF gaining their specific powers (or something like that).

Sooo silly.

12/07/2005 01:56:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

" Hell, one of the things about the Spider-Totem I liked was that it was designed in such a way that you can ignore it if you like, so I'm not sure why you're so angry about it, Matthew. :)"

I really and truly admired JMS for that at first. With his first go around with the Totem, he was very delicate to make sure that he was NOT saying that this WAS the reason Peter got powers, but it was just A possible reason.

I thought that was cool of him. Very egoless.

Of course, he has since followed that up by having more than one story where he basically says, "Yeah, the totem thing IS the real answer."

Just look at "The Other" for proof.

Wait, never mind - DON'T look at the Other.

It is not advisable to actually read the Other.

12/07/2005 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger CalvinPitt said...

Here's one thing to think about. Spider-God's are typically tricksters in mythology right? JMS made a comment in that two-part Loki story about Spidey having a lot of chaos in him. How do we know the Spider-God wasn't, you know, TRICKING him, when Peter had that whole vision thing telling him about his powers. Maybe it just told what he would believe. Why would a being of chaos give someone powers to defend the weak from evil? Besides, the really important part was that Exekiel wasn't supposed to have the powers, and was going to sacrifice Peter.

Just something that occured to me this morning.

12/07/2005 04:07:00 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

As part of some Big Crossover of the time, there was a crossover between Fantastic Four and Avengers Annuals. The gimmick(? or just cost-saving measure?) was that when the two teams were together, the annuals had the same pages! Pretty cheap and cheezy, really, but what made it interesting is that both were pencilled by John Buscema, but Avengers was inked by Palmer, and FF by someone or somefive else (Hacky McHackworth, IIRC.)
They did that in 1985 with The War To End All Skrulls. Byrne art on the FF book, but only Byrne breakdowns on the Avengers Annual, although Kyle Baker's finishes were close enough to Byrne's style that you'd never know. What was especially neat was that each cover was a reverse-angle of the other.

It is not advisable to actually read the Other.
Too bloody right. What a travesty it is, and the stuff that's going on strongly implies that the editors at Marvel aren't reading their own books. I'm just wondering what all this egg-pod stuff is about and whether the editors know Paul Jenkins already did it last year.

Why would a being of chaos give someone powers to defend the weak from evil?
As any good D&D player knows, chaos doesn't necessarily mean evil. :)

Besides, Spidey has pretty clearly been a manifestation of the trickster/chaotic archetype, even if it wasn't made literal until JMS came along. He's a joker, he's unpredictable, and so on.

And even if he is a manifestation of the trickster, that doesn't mean that Spidey is pure chaos. He may be the Spider, but he's also Peter Parker, and that human element is what makes him such a great hero.

12/07/2005 05:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Brad said...

"A: For some reason I still haven't read my copies of Conan #20-22. Probably because it adapts a story that I'm already familiar with.

B: That is where I am in luck.

B: I am not familiar with any of the Conans.

B: So it's all new to me!"

That's why I've barely read any of Busiek's Conan. I was reading the original Howard stories when it was first coming out, so I missed the initial issues, and I haven't really felt like reading the trades. I probably will pick one up eventually, but so far the only issue of his run I've read was the one with artwork by John Severin and Bruce Timm. Because it had artwork by John Severin and Bruce Timm.

"A: I don't know where I put my copy of the issue... I was going to check whether the letter column indicated who would be writing the issue. Eh."

I swear that the letter pages in the last issue had something in an editorial about the original team finishing up the storyline in Defenders. Which makes the fact that they didn't even more depressing.

"A: It's hard to think of Essential volumes that don't exist yet, but that should exist."

Nick Fury, damn it! Both the superspy and the WWII vintages. Also, I think that they could put together a Silver Age Namor volume. As far as stuff from the 80s, since the idea is that the Essentials collect entire series in 20+ issue chunks, they'll get to the issues you guys mentioned. By 2024 or so.

"A: The lack of affordable Warren reprints is very frustrating. I don't have a single Vampirella in my collection. Those things are unaffordable."

Heh. I've picked up quite a few Warren Spirit reprint magazines from E-Bay for decent prices, which has been great.

"A: Where Maggie says she's suffering a pain that she hasn't felt since Hopey left her to go on tour, and Hopey says "That long?" and you realize it really *has* been that long."

That was really effecting.

12/07/2005 06:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Brad said...

Also, it's good to see Matt Craig posting here, even if it is about how JMS killed Spidey for him. He was always one of my favorite members of the Fanboy Rampage peanut gallery.

12/07/2005 06:19:00 PM  
Anonymous daniel apodaca said...

"Bothers me. Like, dudes like Seth or Dan Clowes, they can get pretty depressing, but there's always an element of hope in the end of their stories. Tomine's stuff ends with the main characters life being crushed, forever. C-Ya."

Yep, that's how it goes. Life, I mean. When your girlfriend dumps you, do you meet someone cute and friendly who flirts with you the very next day? I don't. I feel miserable for a little while, and am pretty sure that I will never find love again.

That's part of why I LOVE Tomine. There's not a single one of his stories that seems the least bit fantastic to me. Even in the current one, when Ben gets the dream-come-true girl, reality sets in and she dumps him to go back to her girlfriend. And that's what would probably happen.

I guess I just don't get it. Aren't people supposed to feel sad when they read sad stories?

12/07/2005 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger MarkAndrew said...

Hoporay! Someone to fight about Optic Nerve with.

Optic Nerve and Jeff Loeb are my favorite comic things to fight about.

(Although my best comic fight was about Fat Freddy's Cat. SweartoGod.)

"I guess I just don't get it. Aren't people supposed to feel sad when they read sad stories? "

Sure.

But GREAT stories, which I think/hope Tomine is potentially capable of, need to have intellectual or emotional depth beyond "Life Sucks."

And the first few Mini-comics in "32 Stories" *DID.*

But after that, even as Tomine refined his craft, he seemed to sacrafice depth.

Or, to put it another way, as a reader I don't wanna read stuff that ONLY makes me feel shitty.

Even if dude is amazingly good at making me feel shitty.

On the other hand, if Tomine's current stuff does more than that, I hope somebody will tell me so I can buy it.

*Hint, hint.*

12/07/2005 08:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Brad said...

I'll make sure you get an announcement via e-mail.

12/07/2005 09:57:00 PM  
Blogger Melchior del Darién said...

On Optic Nerve: I couldn't tell if Ben's girlfriend was over-reacting, or if he was just an immature dick in issue 9. It's clear, now, and it's hard to sympathize with someone so arrogant and self-defeating. (Even in a comic that's so well-drawn.)

And yeah, it seems to me that the Spidey-verse is being driven slowly over a cliff. (Sigh.)

12/07/2005 11:34:00 PM  
Anonymous RAB said...

Given the title of this website, you guys really ought to be plugging the hell out of HARD TIME. Gerber and Skrenes and Hurtt are making Good Comics...but they don't have anyone in spandex, so the spandex fetish crowd ignores them...and they're being published by DC, so the indie snobs ignore them. It would totally suck if these Actual Good Comics fell through the cracks and were overlooked.

12/08/2005 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

OCT050250 HARD TIME SEASON TWO #1 $2.50

B: Did you read Season One?

A: I did not actually know that Brian Hurtt was drawing this. Maybe I should be reading it.

B: Yeah, he's been doing the whole run.

B: It is a good series.

B: The best part, though, is Hurtt's art.

A: I read the first issue and it didn't impress me much, and I think I was trying to cut my pull list at the time.

B: I would definitely recommend this issue, to try it out.

B: Gerber does a great job of giving us a jump-on point.

B: While still rewarding the fans who stuck around.


That doesn't count?

12/08/2005 03:24:00 PM  
Anonymous RAB said...

What, did you think I didn't read the post before bitching about it? ;-)

It's just, you should have grabbed Aaron by the neck and said "You schmuck, Hard Time is exactly the sort of comic book this blog exists to highlight! How can you not know how good this comic is?" And then Aaron, acting as surrogate for ill-informed readers everywhere, could have said "You are indeed right, Brian, I have learned my lesson. Thank goodness for your wise counsel."

Seriously though, it's cool that you gave it props; I just don't want to see a great comic lost in the crowd while people are busy griping about the new Blue Beetle costume or whatever it is people gripe about.

12/08/2005 09:15:00 PM  
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