Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Current Comic Conversation for 1/18

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 fellow blogmate, Brad Curran (Brad=Brad and B=Brian). There very likely WILL be some spoilers mentioned in the discussion, so be forewarned!

Let's begin!


Brad: This is the only webcomic I follow. I'm not saying that's a condemnation of all other webcomics or a testament to its brilliance, but it's the only webcomic I've kept up with since my enthusiasm for them waned years ago. Which was, oddly enough, when I got pack in to "proper" comics.

B: Wait, you were into webcomics before you were into paper comics?

B: That's interesting.

B: I wonder if you might be the first person to ever have it work like that.

Brad: Apparently the loss leader comic Dark Horse did to promote this book wasn't well recieved. Jeff Lester over at the Savage Critic was offering to refund a quarter to anyone who bought the thing at his reccomendation.

Brad: I'm not. I meant to say "got back." I've been reading comics in one form or another since I could read.

Brad: Sorry to burst your bubble and make you think I was interesting.

Brad: Or the other way around.

B: Ah, so you've been reading comics for a full three years?

Brad: No. My whole life. I said before I could read.

B: No you didn't!

B: Liar!

Brad: I meant to.

B: Maybe you had a problem.

B: Because of your illiteracy.

Brad: Functional illiteracy.

B: Do comics help kids learn how to read?

B: What do you think?

Brad: Well, it helped me. Even if we've apparently decided that I didn't learn to read until I was 19.

B: I think there should be a comic like that episode of Diff'rent Strokes, where they were making fun of the lady with epilepsy and then Pearl revealed that SHE, too, had elipsey (which made no sense).

B: So I want a comic about illiteracy, and have, like, Dani Moonstar reveal that she does not know how to read.

Brad: This is a very convoluted discussion.

Brad: What the hell were we talking about again?

Brad: Are you just going down this road to avoid talking about the video game and dick joke obsessed web comic?

B: I'm talking about comics needing to have a spokesperson for illiteracy!

B: And it should be an established hero.

B: For full impact.

Brad: How did we get here from Penny Arcade?

B: And they should shout it as they leap across the room in battle.


Brad: Don't you think Judd Winnick is already pitching this right now?

B: I bet Grace can't read.

B: Man, do I hate Grace.

B: More so than even Thunder.

Brad: I'm glad that I don't know who they are.

B: And the fact that barely anyone, including Outsiders readers do not know who I am talking about, just speaks to the crap characters they are.

Brad: Outsiders is the kind of comic that I won't even buy for a dollar.

Brad: And that's a pretty damning statement.

Brad: 'Cause I will buy a lot of shit for a dollar. And have.

Brad: But anyway, your idea for an illiteracy reveal would be better if it was like when Homer told Kim Bassinger and Alec Baldwin that he never learned to read. After he read something to them.

Brad: Oh, hey, they could have Batman declare he was illiterate! That would be the best nonsensical reveal ever!

B: It would be.

Brad: "I'm the world's greatest detective, but the one case I couldn't solve... was how to read. And my parents murder, since 1986 or so. Thanks, Denny O'Neil, you son of a bitch!"

B: I thought of that.

B: But we see him read too often.

B: Maybe Wally West.

B: Oh crap, there was that issue of Wolfman and Perez' Titans where he wrote a letter to his folks.

B: So forget that.

B: Unless he paid Cyborg to write it. That could work!

Brad: That's what makes it funny! It makes no sense for Batman to not be able to read!

Brad: He reads all the time!

Brad: It would make him less of an asshole.

Brad: Everyone's been clamoring for that. That vulnerability totally makes up for his causing all those deaths with his overplanning.

B: Maybe if he cried.

B: As he revealed he couldn't read.

B: That issue would sell millions.

Brad: It would be a great way to explain the stupid OMAC things. And we know how Geoff Johns loves explaining things!

Brad: It would save comics.

Brad: And in comics grand tradition, you would take all the credit and I would be fucked over.

Brad: Seriously, we started talking about Penny Arcade and got here?

B: I would sign a deal.

B: Where it would violate the terms of the contract if you were ever credited.

B: And then I would get all pissy if people ever bring your name up.

Brad: You'd get a creator credit in all media featuring Batman, too. "Batman's nonsensical but heartwarming illiteracy created by Brian Cronin."

B: "Curran?!? That hack! He couldn't carry my jock strap! He was lucky I didn't charge him for talking to me!"

Brad: To really make yourself like Bob Kane, you'd have to have people ghost everything you do from now on.

Brad: I bet Tim O'Neil would write reviews of random comics for you for a price.

B: Yes.

B: But my soul is too valuable.

B: And that's all O'Neil ever accepts as currency.

Brad: Didn't you sell that for All Star Superman?

Brad: By the way, he didn't like ASS much. I am both disheartened and glad that someone was less impressed with it than me. It makes me feel like less of a jerk for not getting an erection from it.

B: What is that, your catch phrase now?

NOV050245 ACTION COMICS #835 $2.50

B: Have you read any of Simone and Byrne's run?

Brad: No. I almost picked up the first couple issues.

B: You should.

Brad: There's always E-Bay.

Brad: Or the cheap boxes. The fact that there are cheap boxes in my area now that have comics I would actually like to read is like some kind of miracle.

B: I really liked the first couple of issues.

B: Best Superman titles I have read in about 15 years or so.

Brad: Isn't that damning with faint praise?

B: I think Time and Time Again was better, though.

B: That was about 15 years ago.

OCT050229 ALL STAR SUPERMAN #2 $2.99

B: Is there even any point in discussing this?

B: It will rock.

B: So let's move on.

Brad: Well, I've already beaten the boner jokes in to the ground. I will say I'm looking forward to where the story goes now, since the first issue was a note perfect Superman story as far as I'm concerned.

Brad: Hah. Fuck you, Cronin, I did discuss it!

B: You are a rebel

NOV050233 BATGIRL #72 $2.50

B: Call it!

B: Dead or not?

B: After Infinite Crisis, that is.

Brad: Does it matter? If the multiverse comes back, she could be an amature taxidermist on Earth-6.

Brad: Even if she dies here.

Brad: Is Barbara Gordon walking again?

B: No

Brad: Or was that just a fake out? That I think the aforementioned Miss Simone wrote, if I remember correctly.

B: But in a year, you figure she's got to be close to that.

B: As she can wiggle her toes now.

B: The lady from Kill Bill was kicking ass soon after wiggling her toes.

Brad: Was that a rumor, though, that she'd be Batgirl again? Or am I confusing that with the new Batwoman comic, and all this Infinite Crisis stuff running together.

Brad: Yeah. Makes Babs look bad by comparison if she doesn't guy 1,000,000 yakuza guys in a balletic action scene soon.

Brad: And also beat the Joker within an inch of his life. I mean, if anyone should be doing that at this point...

Brad: Has Winnick worked in a joke about 1-800-Kill Robin yet in Batman, by the way?

B: No.

Brad: Or is that too meta for him? Or anyone besides Morrison.

B: Haha.

Brad: Maybe the Red Hood could be illiterate.

B: Speaking of Morrison, do you think that Morrison is self-conscious when he is writing his comics?

Brad: No. But my judgement is clouded because I have a huge man crush on him and think everything he says is genius, even when it's bullshit.

B: Arkham Asylum definitely was.

B: But he was young then.

Brad: But no, seriously, I don't think he is, as a whole. You could probably make a case about something like the ending to the Zatanna mini, but as a whole, I don't think he's heavy handed.

Brad: Yeah, Arkham was trying too hard, I think, but it was early work.

Brad: And points for effort, if nothing else.


Brad: Back when I read comics message boards regularly, I remember people being really fond of Johns's Rogues stories. Back when I remember people liking him.

B: Haha

B: I remember his first story arc, before they gave him the book.

B: I thought, "Wow, this is really good!"

B: And then they gave him the book full-time, and I was so pleased!

B: I don't think my tastes have changed.

B: I think he literally just got worse.

B: Those early issues still hold up.

B: I think.

B: I have not reread them in two years, actually.

Brad: Just a hunch, then.

B: Well, I am trying to remember them in my head.

B: And I remember them not being so lame.

Brad: I sort of liked the two issues of the Flash of his I've read. I have to say the beating he gets from guys like Joe and Alex limits whatever interest in reading his work that I might have.

NOV050237 NIGHTWING #116 $2.50

B: I wonder if they've announced who's writing this.

B: DC has switched the solicited writers now on about three titles in the last few months.

Brad: You don't have Devin Grayson to kick around anymore?

B: Most recently last week's Green Arrow.

Brad: Since you are so mean to her.

B: You hush!

Brad: They should pretend like it's an event.

Brad: Everything's an event now.

Brad: "Mystery writer month! So mysterious even we don't know who's writing these books!" Like when the Image guys drew each others characters.

B: Yes!

B: "Pick a writer's name out of a hat" month!

Brad: That wouldn't be as fun, because you know 90% of the names are Geoff Johns. And another 9% are Rucka and Winnick.

Brad: Somehow Harvey Pekar might wind up in there and have to write Aquaman or something.

B: That would be awesomely terrible.

B: By the way, guess who wrote Green Arrow last week?

Brad: Was it Harvey Pekar?

Brad: Did Green Arrow deliver monologues about mundane life? While shooting a boxing glove arrow at Solomon Grundy?

Brad: This is the shit I would commission if I ran the DCU.

Brad: I'd give Bill Reed Aquaman, just to shut him up.

Brad: But mainly I'd get Harvey Pekar to write fill in issues of second tier superheroes.

Brad: I'm gonna keep going if you don't say something soon.

B: Haha

B: Jim Caliafore!

B: How the heck did Jim Caliafore end up writing the latest Green Arrow?

Brad: Pick a writer out of a hat month. Duh.

B: I am personally imagining some wacky hijinx.

B: Like he impersonated the editor's priest and heard his confession.

Brad: Both of our ideas are probably much more entertaning than what really happened, I think. I'm betting on he was the only one who answered the phone when the editor called people in his rolodex at random.

B: And the editor confessed that he had no writer for the latest issue.

B: Also, the ARTIST was even different than solicited!

Brad: Does that make it returnable?

B: Yes.

B: Maybe Winick and Ron Garney DID create the issue.

B: But it was the worst comic ever written.

B: And turned anyone who read it to stone.

B: So DC was worried about liability.

Brad: That would surely be returnable.

B: And had someone slap together a new issue quickly.

B: That is probably what most likely happened.

NOV050314 PLANETARY #24 $2.99

B: This should be good.

B: Do you read Planetary?

Brad: I read the first trade and the Batman one shot years ago. I always meant to catch up.

Brad: I love Cassday's art, and like Ellis most of the time.

Brad: But it's one of those comics that I can't conceive of following monthly.

B: Generally speaking, though, each issue works well on its own.

Brad: True. Now that I think of it, this is nothing like those comics I can't concieve of following monthly.

B: Haha

B: Like what?

Brad: Anything Bendis writes.

Brad: I do like reading Ellis's stuff more in trades.

B: Yeah, definitely can't pick up a Bendis comic for just one issue.

Brad: I almost picked up the newest issue of New Avengers on a whim.

B: It had some nice art.

B: Frank Cho did a good job.

Brad: I think I really just wanted to see Spider Woman's boob job. After that, I didn't need to buy it.

B: But the story was weird, as Bendis has avoided giving us info for 13 issues, then has an issue that is ALL info.

Brad: That's a problem with his style, I think. 5 issues of slow burn and set up, and then everything happens in a couple of pages.

Brad: That's okay when he's doing strong character work, which is his biggest strength.

B: But this is the first part of a story.

B: That's why it is weird,

Brad: But I don't think Avengers is a good vehicle for that. To be fair, I haven't read any of it.

Brad: Which is why I didn't know that.

B: Haha

Brad: I couldn't tell.

Brad: From flipping through it.

Brad: That's trenchant criticism, isn't it?

Brad: I don't think his style works at all for something like Avengers. I will stand by that at least until I read some of his Avengers comics.

B: Sounds fair.

B: Or not.

B: Whatever.


Brad: I haven't even picked up the second issue yet. It was the only Seven Soldiers mini that sold out at both shops I go to.

B: It had an awesome cover.

Brad: Well, one of the stores I go to probably didn't order many copies.

B: Probably.

Brad: What's the deal with the new artists? Weren't there two artists last issue, and one this one?

B: There was the first one.

B: Then he was replaced, but the new artist couldn't finish the book, so they got a new one before the issue ended.

Brad: I remember Ferry getting replaced. Which was depressing, because he is awesome.

B: So awesome.

Brad: And I thought that this series was really in his wheelhouse, too, too steal one of your phrases you stole from sports conversations.


Brad: Robot Chicken is really funny. They should make a cinemanga of that.

Brad: I'd spend $9.99 on a fumetti of action figures and celebrities doing horrible things for my amusement. Well, besides Twisted Toyfare Theatre.

Brad: How is this comic going? Is Seth Green co-writing any kind of draw? Or is the world a sane place after all?

B: I would challenge this assertion that Robot Chicken is "Really funny".

B: It is a fine enough show, but a lot of the jokes seem to be like the typical "Do you remember Lite-Brite?" jokes.

Brad: It is essentially Twisted Toyfare Theatre.

B: That's the thing, though, most Twisted Toyfare Theatres have a good deal more plot to them than Robot Chickens.

Brad: And taking the celebrity voices out of it would eliminate most of the humor I take out of it.

Brad: I think what I like about it is the brevity of the skits.

Brad: Nothing wears out its welcome.

B: Oh, right, the celebrities doing the voices.

B: That IS good.

B: When Robot Chicken DOES come up with jokes beyond, "Look! It's ____ ____!" then it IS funny

B: For instance, I enjoyed the Office parody a lot.

B: With the Terrordome.

Brad: I was going to mention that.

Brad: The archvillains stuck in traffic was good.

Brad: Mainly, I was just making a joke about how a Robot Chicken comic would be Twisted Toyfare Theatre.

B: True.

B: Basically, I like it when it goes beyond "Look, it's Dean Cain!!!"

B: "In a skit!"

B: "It's Dean Cain!!!!"

B: "Really, DEAN CAIN!!"

B: or "Look, it's Kill Bill, only with Jesus!"

Brad: That was funny.

B: "No jokes...but it is Kill Bill, with Jesus!!"

Brad: Come on! It had... shit, you're right.

B: Freshmen, I thought would be good.

B: It was, in fact, not.

B: Although I hope that they will put "Co-Created by Four King's Seth Green!!" on the cover.

B: I saw an episode of Four Kings.

B: It made me feel bad for all the actors involved.

B: Not that they did good jobs.

B: But man, what an awful show.

Brad: They should mention a different thing he's been involved in for every issue.

B: A show that could have been created and cancelled in 1960.

B: That is how little innovation there was.

Brad: I think that was the pitch, actually.

Brad: As long as it keeps Green in megos, I think he's happy.

B: True.

Brad: I do want to see "From the actor in three episodes of That 70s Show."

NOV051743 GIRLS #9 (MR) $2.99

B: Have I told you how bad this comic was recently?

Brad: I think you drunk dialed me about it.

Brad: I mean, I heard Girls and sucks, so I assumed that was what you were talking about.

B: That was something else.

B: You must not have heard it through the tears.

B: Girls is a poor comic.

B: I do not like it.

Brad: People really liked Ultra, right?

B: I did.

B: I was really looking forward to the follow up.

B: And not only is it bad

B: But it is apparently a freaking ONGOING!!!!!!!!

B: Just to torture me more.


Brad: Is this comic as good as our very own Greg Burgas thinks it is? Because from what I remember of the first trade, I have a sinking suspicion it is not.

Brad: But I am open to your telling me how wrong I am.

B: It is a good comic book.

B: Like the good Claremont issues of the 80s.

Brad: I wouldn't dispute that.

Brad: It seemed like a good vehicle for Faerber, since his Generation X run was better when it was about the characters and not the fights.

NOV051753 REX MUNDI #16 $2.99

B: Someone once told me this comic was good.

B: I forget who.

Brad: I think they write for the blog a lot.

B: Me?

Brad: Yes. You told yourself.

B: Wow.

B: That is weird.

Brad: Remember that time you told yourself how you guessed who the Swordsman was in New Thunderbolts? And then you called yourself a fucking nerd?

SEP051709 WALKING DEAD #25 (MR) $2.99

B: I now want, nay, NEED the title worked into every line of dialogue.

Brad: People have stopped liking this, haven't they?

B: No, that's Invincible.

B: People still like Walking Dead.

Brad: I liked the first two trades.

Brad: I thought there was a backlash against it.

B: But yeah, the last two issues or so have been not as good.

B: And the LAST issue had the most awful ending.

B: When the lead guy dramatically announces at the end that, "It is WE who are...the Walking Dead!!!"

B: Soooo lame.

Brad: I remember you complaining to yourself about that.

B: My comparison is to the scene in American Beauty.

B: When the freaky guy talks about how there is so much beauty in the world.

B: More movies should do that.

B: "These truly are....Star Wars!!!"

Brad: My friend had a theory that any movie where they mention the title in the dialogue is automatically shit. He based this on Deep Blue Sea. The shark movie with LL Cool J and Sam Jackson.

Brad: Give George time.

B: "It is time to the blue lagoon!!"

Brad: There was a guy on CBR who had a theory that everything Lucas has done with Star Wars since Jedi is proof that he hates Star Wars. I subsrcibe to both of these theories.

Brad: Although Chinatown kinda fucks up my friend's.

Brad: I think Lucas hating Star Wars is pretty airtight.

B: "You truly are...the Lord of the Rings!"

Brad: I got a good one. "We're in... North Country." And then the lady miners break in to song.

Brad: That Planet of the Apes musical episode of the Simpsons fucked up my brain.

Brad: You are selling Kirkman short. Maybe someone will mock the person who said that in this issue.

Brad: Or he'll be eaten by a zombie. Either or.

B: Just wait until you get to the trade I'm talking about.

Brad: That'll be awhile, at my pace.

B: Which is a shame, because up until #22, Walking Dead was rocking the house.

Brad: I hope that gets quoted on a cover.


Brad: I like the unintended humor found in this title. "Yep, another Iron Man comic. It's inevitable. Nothing can stop it. Not even Warren Ellis and the Russian guy taking forever and a day. We're just going to keep publishing them until all profitability is sapped from the property." I'm sure they didn't mean it to be taken that way, but still.

B: Iron Man: The Inevitable seems to be going too slow.

Brad: Does that mean they'll need to comission a fill-in mini-series for it?

B: Yes!

Brad: That can be the comic that Bob Layton and Roger Stern can do. So we can shut up John Byrne about that already.

B: Ha!

Brad: Even if they don't want to do it at all. Chain them to a desk and make them do this comic so it will ship regularly!

B: I actually read a Bob Layton review of the Inevitable.

B: It was interesting seeing him review a comic.

Brad: What did he say?

B: He thought it was too slow.

Brad: Invevitable is the Iron Man comic Joe Casey's doing, right?

B: Yes.

Brad: I read a couple issues of Intimates this week I got from a cheap box. I think I gave up on it to quickly.

B: Oh?

Brad: Although weren't radically better than the first two issues, I enjoyed them a lot. Although the crawler stuff is more entertaining than anything else in the stories.

Brad: I don't know. Maybe my enjoyment of them was tempered by the fact that they were inexpensive. I liked a lot of what Casey was trying to do, but I realized early on that it wasn't a series that I absolutely had to read monthly.

Brad: One of Joe Rice's "We need better standards" rants here actually helped me come to that realization.

NOV051993 SENTINEL SQUAD ONE #1 (OF 5) $2.99

Brad: I live that title. It sounds like a fun Saturday morning cartoon or manga.

B: John Layman is cool.

B: I'd like to see him have a hit.

Brad: I'd like to see that title have a hit. Layman I can take or leave.

Brad: What's the premise?

Brad: Is this about the Sentinels hanging out at the X-Mansion now?

B: I place Layman into two camps.

Brad: Oh, snap, I hope this is a relationship drama with Sentinels! That genre blend's time has come!

B: John Layman - Who wrote House of M: Fantastic Four and the last half of Gambit's last series.

B: And John Layman's Evil Twin - Who wrote Thundercats and the first half of Gambit's series.

Brad: Paul O'Brien seemd to come around on Gambit in the second half.

Brad: I let him do all my thinking for me when it comes to X-Men comics.

B: Because John Layman beat his evil twin and recaptured the title, that is why it improved.

Brad: Did he write the Thundercats comic with the bondage?

B: Ay-yep.

Brad: You need to write comics about comics writers secret lives.

B: Like Jim Caliafore conniving his way into writing the last Green Arrow?

B: By the by, is there any chance that it is a DIFFERENT J. Caliafore?

B: Wouldn't THAT be the oddest?

B: That there is ANOTHER guy in comics by the name J. Caliafore.

Brad: That and the Layman twin fight is enough for like two six issue arcs, easy.

Brad: Throw in a Goth revamp of Marie Severin and you've got Marvel's entire publishing strategy for the last two years.

Brad: Maybe you're expending more energy in talking about a fill in issue of Aquaman than the people who worked on it and should move on to anything else at all?


B: This should be good.

Brad: I'm looking forward to it.

B: I would love to see a new X-Statix series.


Brad: Paul Smith drawing Kitty Pryde fighting ninjas is like the perfect nerd storm for me.

Brad: It's like they found a combination of things that I would be powerless to reject. And then they got the guy who wrote Age of Apocalypse: the Sequel to write it and I got my willpower back. That said, I'll still probably get it on E-Bay someday.

B: Paul Smith drawing Kitty is good, because Smith is a good artist.


Brad: I swear to god I had no idea this was coming out when I referenced it.


Brad: I liked what I saw of the preview pages a lot.

B: Nice to see him taking a break from his new cable station.

Brad: I'd rather they just do minis when they have a story. They did burn out there after awhile, I think.


B: Is this just Pulido trying to sell his clothes?

Brad: I can't wait for Brian Pullido to post in the comments section.

B: "My unholy alluring covers!"

B: "Buy them!"

Brad: It's going to happen.

Brad: Other creators show up when they are discussed, surely you will eventually have Pulido showing up here.

Brad: By continually mocking all his comics because his name is on them.


B: All ye who buy this comic, abandon hope from ever having sex.

Brad: I think that all comics should be returnable if they don't have that on the cover.

Brad: Except Optic Nerve, I guess.


B: I think they will keep offering it again until SOMEone buys it.


B: This book has gotten a lot better since Moore apparently decided that his story was going somewhere.

Brad: Are you out of self published comics to mock yet?

Brad: Somehow it feels like kicking a puppy. A puppy with an unhealthy preoccupation for drawing grotesquely large breasts, but still.

B: True

B: That IS the joy of self-publishing.

B: There is always SOME niche out there for readers.

B: Okay, thank you, Brad.

Okay, that's it for us, folks!

Feel free to stop by, to see if we know what we're talking about, at all.

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Anonymous Matthew Craig said...

Great. Now I can't get past the idea of Jason Todd grabbing himself and laughing at all the idiots who paid money to see him die.


Now that's not right!

...who edits BATMAN: BLACK AND WHITE, again?


1/18/2006 10:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Dan Coyle said...

It was Ford Gilmore who wrote the first two Thundercats minis, the second drawn by Ed Benes with the creepy Wileykit/Wileykat bondage scenes.

And Layman's Gambit was surprisingly cool.

1/18/2006 04:19:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...


That makes a lot more sense. Thanks, Dan!

So which Thundercats did Layman write?

1/18/2006 05:49:00 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

I still like Invincible.

1/18/2006 05:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Brad said...

"...who edits BATMAN: BLACK AND WHITE, again?"

Forget that. That is enough for a line wide crossover mega-event these days. I'm seriously hoping that Jason's illiterate now, too, just so that can be his motivation for coming back to Gotham all angry and shit. "It's not that I died. It's that Bruce never taught me to read, the bastard!"

1/19/2006 02:32:00 PM  

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