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AICN COMICS REVIEWS! SUPERGIRL! WITCHBLADE! CAPTAIN AMERICA! AND A WHOLE MESS OF INDIE JONES PRESENTS!!!

#13 8/10/05 #4

The Pull List
(Click title to go directly to the review)

WITCHBLADE #87
CAPTAIN AMERICA #8
CONCRETE: DEPTHS TPB
SUPERGIRL #1
TOP TEN: THE FORTY-NINERS HC
Indie Jones presents KILLER STUNTS INC. #1-3
Indie Jones presents ELK’S RUN #3
Indie Jones presents TRAILER PARK OF TERROR COLOR SPECIAL #3
Indie Jones presents SHOCKING GUN TALES
CHEAP SHOTS!

WITCHBLADE #87

Writer: Ron Marz
Pencils: Chris Bachalo
Inks: Jon Holdredge
Publisher: Image Comics
Reviewer: Prof. Challenger



I know this is pretty late for a review, but, oh well. I just find it interesting that in all these years of comics reading I've never read an issue of WITCHBLADE. I also never saw anything more than commercials for the WITCHBLADE TV series a few years back. So, I don't have a clue here what's gone on before.

That being said, I read this issue and thought it was a decent little comic. In fact, I read two issues back-to-back, 86 and 87. Both were anthological stand-alone stories with police detective Sara Pezzini as the lynchpin that the adventures revolve around. It strikes me as very NIGHTSTALKER-ish. Sara's got that funky Witchblade superpower, but basically she's a weirdness magnet like Carl Kolchak or Fox Mulder and gets drawn into supernatural cases that can't be tackled or solved by normal police officers.

This issue, specifically, flows like a TV episode. There's the pre-credits death scene. Then a lot of character time for Sara as she says goodbye to her mentor because she's been reassigned to the main police station in town - which, of course, puts her in close company with a future (or maybe past?) love interest in a detective named Gleason.

The monsters in this issue that she confronts during the last act are really creepy 19th century zombies calling themselves Nieuw Amsterdam and Quiet Tom. And I do mean reeeallll creepy.

The writing is very wordy, sort of belying the fact that it reads like a TV episode more than your average super-hero comic. The art was excellent - dark and moody. One thing, though, irritated me to no end. You know how that obnoxious move in recent years to utilize embedded advertising (blatant product placement) in TV and movies has reached YOU LIGHT UP MY LIFE-level annoying? In this freakin' comic, "Jolt Cola" gets crammed into three panel backgrounds with bright coloring to make it more noticeable than the storytelling. Then there's an actual photo poster for "The Gear" inserted into two panels. Aarrrgh!

Dump the product placement and WITCHBLADE is a solid little supernatural/detective series. Much better than I thought it would be. Nice surprise.


CAPTAIN AMERICA #8

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Penciler: Steve Epting
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewed by Humphrey Lee



This... This is how a Captain America comic should be.

After giving us a breather of sorts from all the mayhem and madness surrounding Cap right now with last issue's "Ode to Jack Monroe" we dive right back into the thick of things with Part One of "The Winter Soldier." This issue shows (via flashbacks) us just how Cap managed to survive the fallout of a detonated W.M.D in the middle of Philadelphia, as well as him doing battle with those that were indirectly involved in causing all the destruction. All this is sewn in with Cap finally shown getting a breather from chasing down Aleksander Lukin and his cosmic cube globally, and his getting the lowdown on the existence of the man known just as "The Winter Soldier", who may or may not be his former sidekick.

One of the things I have to say that I love about Brubaker's writing on this book is how he, with Epting's help, seamlessly keeps changing the tempo on us. The way they make the story flow from the action scene flashbacks back to Cap's present day debriefing and then back again without it feeling the slightest bit forced is very admirable. Plus, I love the entire "mythos" of the Winter Soldier that Mr. Brubaker so easily creates and makes believable all in the span of a few pages (though there were some hint droppings in previous issues as to what he was). Though, I do have to admit, the continual cocktease as we build towards the identity of the Winter Soldier is already starting to make me antsy, especially since it's handled in a way alternating between "Oh it's definitely Bucky" to "Eh, ok, so maybe not" and then right back to "Oh yea, definitely Bucky." It's enough to make you want to pull at your hair... but that's the sign of any truly great mystery.

Anyway, this book is still definitely on it's A game. Everything is top notch. The story, the dialogue, the action, the art, etc. I'm also loving the cool little touches that Brubaker is adding, like this issue's debut of a new form of MODOK (known here as MODOC: Military Operatives Designed Only for Combat) and they do make for quite the interesting little physical challenge for our Star-Spangled Avenger. I'm going to hate seeing the deliberate pace Bru is setting being interrupted by the obligatory House of M tie-in issue coming up soon, but at the same time if anyone can make that idea interesting, it's this creative team. And hopefully that turns out to be nothing more than a minor speed bump in what is looking to be one of the biggest and best CAPTAIN AMERICA stories ever.


CONCRETE: DEPTHS TPB

Writer/Artist: Paul Chadwick
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Reviewed by Dave Farabee



Sometimes, even for the egotistical reviewer, it’s best to stand back and let the professionals do the talking...
From Frank Miller (SIN CITY): “CONCRETE carefully treads the razor’s edge between melodrama and realism. The result is expert drama.”
From Garth Ennis (PREACHER): “The best book I’ve read recently is the latest CONCRETE, wherein - quietly and effortlessly - Paul Chadwick knocks out another installment in the most consistently excellent series of the last twenty years.”
From Brian K. Vaughan (Y: THE LAST MAN, EX MACHINA): “...he’s probably my biggest influence.” “If you haven’t read any CONCRETE, you don’t really love comics. What genius stuff...”
From Alan Moore: “CONCRETE is certainly one to watch.”
From Harlan Ellison: “…probably the best comic being published today by anyone, anywhere.”
What to possibly add after accolades like that?! “There is only one true God and His name is Concrete”? Bit much, maybe. I better start with the facts and we’ll just see where we end up…

The key thing to know about CONCRETE: DEPTHS is that it is the definitive jumping-on point for the series if you’ve ever entertained thoughts of checking it out. This is important because CONCRETE is a series that used to be a touch dicey to recommend to new readers. Not because the stories were impenetrable, mind - to the contrary, pretty much any given Concrete story stands on its own. No, the problem was that the earliest Concrete trade paperbacks divided the character’s world into one collection of longer stories and two collections of short stories, all of which had the word “complete” in their titles. Made it a bit confusing for the newbie looking for a clear-cut first read, especially since many of the short stories were meant to occur concurrently with the full-length stories.

Well, now we really have the makings of a “complete” Concrete series. CONCRETE: DEPTHS marks the beginning of a run of trades that will at last merge all the stories chronologically as they occurred for the characters. Perfect! The size of the book has also shrunk a notch, matching the new SIN CITY trades and making for an enticing intro price point of thirteen bucks.

As to the contents...CONCRETE’s always a bear to describe because it doesn’t fall into any standard genre clichés or Hollywood tag lines. In a pinch, I’d call it a rationalist’s version of magic realism. It’s the story of what a pudgy, intellectual guy does when he finds his mind housed in a hulking, rock-like body that’s at once an amazing gift (it’s tough as hell, strong enough to lift a car, and grants eyesight sharper than a hawk’s) and a sensory-deprived prison (no sexual organs means no sex, the visual alone is freakish, and the craggy skin reduces sense of touch to a bare minimum). How’d he get this way? Doesn’t matter. If there’s any one event in the series that showcases the “magical” side of magic realism, the change is it, and it is revealed, but it’s not vitally important. Everything that follows is the “realism,” and that’s our story.

In this volume, you’ll see the first of Concrete’s several attempts to “dare great things” – in this case, to swim across the Atlantic - in the tradition of the explorers he grew up reading about and revering. You’ll also see him fumble for a purpose, trying his hand as a rescuer in a collapsed mine shaft and even going on network TV to ask the public what he should do with his amazing new form (the answers he gets ranging from smart to tragic to outright hilarious). At his heart, Concrete’s a good-hearted introvert, but he’s not above a little financial gain as we see when he hires on as the bodyguard for an eccentric, paranoid rock star with a John Wayne fixation. It’s in this chapter that I realized the book’s melodramatic turns can disrupt suspension of disbelief slightly, but so many good scenes come out of introvert Concrete playing off an ultra-extrovert rocker that you’ve got to forgive.

A favorite bit: During a concert, Concrete has to pile into the audience to nab a death-threat suspect, but the confused audience surges around him thinking he’s attacking a defenseless man. “Forgive me for what I now do,” Concrete thinks to himself, then blurts out, “Make way-! This guy has AIDS!”

Isn’t it nice that an introspective, thoughtful book can have such a wicked sense of humor? In fact, there’s a cynical edge to much of the series and writer/artist Chadwick does plenty to torment Concrete. Even Concrete’s two closest friends create their share of angst, much of it rooted in sexuality. There’s his aide, Larry, likeable would-be writer and the avid horndog Concrete can never be; and Maureen, a casually beautiful scientist charged with monitoring Concrete but largely oblivious to his boyish infatuation. It all feels surprisingly personal for such a seemingly outrageous concept, and indeed, Concrete is surely a reflection of Chadwick’s own introspection and insecurities, in general if not in specific.

Beyond the grand premise, CONCRETE wows simply on the basis of craft. Mirroring the series’ magical realism is Chadwick’s art, derived sometimes from photographs but filtered through a real artist’s vision, an artist whose bag of tricks includes arcane panel layouts for exotic locales, noir shading for the intimate moments, and panel layouts that constantly evolve to suit the scene. It’s so effortless and non-showy, the reader’s almost tempted to discount the visuals, but it calls to mind something I once read from the late, legendary creator C.C. Beck: he felt that if the reader ever paused to look at an individual panel, the comic creator has failed as a storyteller. The idea is to keep the rhythm flowing, to forego flashy stylization in favor of immersing the reader in the story. That’s what Chadwick does. That he does it while incorporating thought balloons and omniscient narrative captions just shows that he’s a guy eminently comfortable working with all the tools of the comic book. It’s a damn good lesson in modernizing methods some have come to consider quaint. It’s also the perfect antidote for those who’ve read one too many comics trying to be film. Yes, Virginia, there is a middle ground.

Incidentally, longtime CONCRETE readers may yet want to check out this collection, not just for its integration of stories but also for some of its rarities, notably two DARK HORSE PRESENTS annuals and a bonus autobio short story of Chadwick hitchhiking in his early 20s. The new reader gets the best experience, though, and I’m envious of those discovering the character for the first time. I sincerely hope that, as was the case for me in college, the book’s mixture of thoughtful, even amazing reflections, punctuated by moments of convincing fear and laugh-out-loud humor, will prove to be a revelation on par with WATCHMEN for just what this crazy-ass medium can do.


SUPERGIRL # 1

Written by: Jeph Loeb
Artist: Ian Churchill
Published by: DC Comics
Reviewed by: superhero



“I dub it Supercrap!” – Sleazy G

Well, yep, I’d have to say @$$hole reviewer, Sleazy G, hit the nail on the head with that one. SUPERGIRL issue one is just not so great at all. As a matter of fact, it’s just downright bad. It’s actually as bad as a first issue can get. What’s bad about it? Where do I start? Lemme see…

OK, first things first. The writing. I have to confess, except for some of his Batman stuff Jeph Loeb has never really written much stuff that I’ve actually liked. He tends to get bogged down in first person perspective captions and after a while I get bored of the constant drone of the over dramatized personas of his characters. It’s completely tedious in his SUPERMAN/BATMAN books where he uses the lame narrative trick of constantly bouncing back and forth between Superman and Batman’s thoughts. This gimmick slows down the book’s storytelling to a tortoise’s pace and it drives me crazy. He’s had some good stuff to be sure, like the aforementioned Batman stuff, but his Superman run was incredibly boring and confusing not to mention it brought back several cheesy elements of the Superman mythos that I was happy were gone. Can anyone say Krypto the Super Dog? I will give him credit for bringing back evil scientist Lex Luthor, however, which is something that was long overdue.

But that’s been my problem with Loeb. He’s got interesting ideas but he just never seems to know what to do with them. OK, you want to bring back Krypto? OK, cool. But why don’t you figure out what you’re going to do with him before you do? Want Zod to come back? Why don’t you figure out a less convoluted way to tell the story of his return so that he’s the badass Superman villain we all know he should be? Want to bring back retro-1930’s/Flash Gordon Krypton? OK…why??? Half the time it seems like he’s bringing back elements of the Superman mythos because he can, not because he’s actually got anything interesting to do with them. Which brings me to Supergirl.

When Loeb brought back the “original” concept of Supergirl in the pages of SUPERMAN/BATMAN it seemed like he was doing just what he’d done before in the Superman books…bringing back characters to bring them back. Characters that didn’t need to be brought back. Not that I don’t like the idea of Supergirl. As a matter of fact, the cover of CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS # 7 was an incredible moment for me as a young comic book fan. I’ll never forget when the original Supergirl bit the dust. Sure, she was always kind of lame in a way, but it was kind of cool having her around. When John Byrne sort of brought her back in a half-assed attempt with the whole “Matrix” thing I was disappointed that we’d never get Kara from Krypton back but at least “Matrix” was part of a really interesting story. It seemed to me like when Loeb and the powers that be at DC comics brought Supergirl back this time it was for no other reason than just to have her around. They brought her back, but for what? Her return wasn’t interesting. There was nothing interesting about her. There was nothing interesting about any of the DC Universe’s reactions to her. So what’s the point? Isn’t that the big reason she was killed off in the first place?

So when I picked up the first issue of SUPERGIRL (Because I’m a Superman fan, ok?) I was hoping that maybe there’d be some sort of setup to getting to know the character. Maybe there’d be some interesting moments that’d humanize her and make her sympathetic. Maybe there’d be something different like what was done with Superboy in the TEEN TITANS that’d make me want to read about SG. Maybe I was hoping for too much because after reading this issue I could care even less about this “new” Supergirl than I did before.

In this first issue, Supergirl tracks down the JSA so that she can try and become acquainted with Power Girl. See, Power Girl believes that she, like Supergirl, is Superman’s cousin as well. So Supergirl wants to see what the deal is and finds the JSA fighting with one of their longtime nuisances, Solomon Grundy. So a fight ensues, they take him down eventually and what happens when Supergirl finally gets to talk to Powergirl is possibly the stupidest reason for a superhero catfight ever. Seriously. No, really. It’s that stupid. Turns out that the two, because of their similar origins, are “allergic” to each other. I-kid-you-not. THEY ARE ALLERGIC TO EACH OTHER! Yes, you read that last line right…they fight because they can’t occupy the same space at the same time. Of course! It makes perfect sense for them to beat the hell out of each other! UGH.

The thing that kills me about this issue is that no one seems to have told Loeb that Power Girl’s origin was being explored in the pages of JSA:CLASSIFIED so that this particular story didn’t need to be told! This whole issue should have been in the pages of JSA:CLASSIFIED and not Supergirl’s premiere book. Maybe in the pages of JSA:CLASSIFIED the story would have made sense--and because it probably would have been handled by a better writer. Not only that, but Supergirl spends most of the issue hanging out with Courtney Whitmore/Stargirl who, because of the great writing in both STARS AND S.T.R.I.P.E. and JSA, is a far more interesting and a far more developed character than this Supergirl probably ever will be! I mean Supergirl so far is just a bore. There’s not one reason why I give a flying fig about her! Then when you put her next to a character like Stargirl it just reminded me of what a great book STARS AND S.T.R.I.P.E. was and how the stories were fun and had characters that were well developed…which made me realize even more how bad this first issue of SUPERGIRL really is.

Not to mention that STARS AND S.T.R.I.P.E. had really neat art.

Does SUPERGIRL have really neat art? Nope. Not even close.

Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the newest Rob Liefeld clone to join the Superman universe: Ian Churchill. His linework is weak, his characters are stiff, and his anatomy…well, what anatomy? Seriously, is this the direction that DC wants to take the art in its books? Do they want their books to look like crappy Image early 1990’s books? Because that’s what this looks like. A really bad copy of a really bad early Image book. The artwork is unappealing in almost every way. I mean you have a book that guest stars Power Girl and you can’t make her look good? By way of Churchill she looks like a transvestite I’d see walking along Sunset Boulevard for cryin’ out loud! Give me a break!

And don’t get me started on the coloring. Bland, muddy, and lifeless. Talk about not adding anything to the page. If anything the coloring actually took more enjoyment away from the story if that’s even possible. The less said about the coloring the better.

This book really leaves me wondering if DC realizes the opportunity they’ve missed here. They had a chance to make a female character interesting to both a male and female audience and, as of this issue; they’ve completely botched it. They hired the wrong writer, the wrong artist, the wrong everything to take this new SUPERGIRL book in the direction it should have gone. Seriously, why not hire a writer who can write stories about teenage girls that people will identify with? Heck, why not even hire a *gasp* female writer? While you’re at it, why not hire an art team that has a style representing more of what female and mainstream readers gravitate toward? Off the top of my head I can think of some artists whose work would better suit this project better than a 90’s Image wannabe artist. Why not try the artist of Marvel’s Mary Jane series, Takeshi Miyazawa? Or how about Colleen Doran of A DISTANT SOIL fame? Or even Colleen Coover of the recent BANANA SUNDAY comic? All of these artists have a style that appeals not only to girls but to comic fans in general. Think about it. If you took the right approach with a Supergirl book you could take it to the point where it becomes an interesting and amusing book to read that goes in a different direction and makes it actually stand apart from the other Superman books. What you’ve got now is a character that won’t particularly appeal to male readers and definitely won’t have female readers lining up to read it. So who is the audience for this? Right now SUPERGIRL comes across as Superman in drag. There’s already a ton of Superman books out there that aren’t all that interesting anyway so why do you think that readers, new and old, are going to want to read about what amounts to a Superman comic in a mini-skirt? Get with it DC. You’ve got an opportunity to make SUPERGIRL a book that can actually stand out in the crowd of super hero books. As of right now SUPERGIRL’S probably one of the least appealing comics I’ve read in a while and I wouldn’t be surprised to find it in a local quarter bin in the near future.

Of course, STARS AND S.T.R.I.P.E. didn’t last very long so what do I know…?


TOP TEN: THE FORTY-NINERS HC

Writer: Alan Moore
Penciler: Gene Ha
Publisher: DC/America's Best Comics
Reviewed by Humphrey Lee



Okay now, let me sit you down and tell you a little tale about myself and a little book called TOP TEN. You see, a little while ago, oh say seven years or so, I was a very avid reader of ye ole comic books. I absolutely loved the things. Iron Man, X-Men, Spider-Man, couldn't get enough... or so I thought. After several years of buying these wondrous little 22-page escapes from reality I was just getting tired. There were too many books out for the characters I loved and I couldn't get them all, despite having jobs from as early as twelve years old. But I tried, oh I tried. But they didn't make it easy on me. Constant onslaughts (heh, a joke within a comment) of crossovers and tie-ins like The Clone Saga, Zero Hour, Operation Zero Tolerance, and the Age of motherfucking Apocalypse... I just couldn't take it anymore and I swore off comics for a while.

But a few years later after my self-imposed exile I found myself wandering into a newly opened comic shop in my area. I was just there looking for some other geek-related purchases, but I found myself shooting the breeze with the owner of the place. And he listened to my little sob story of a boy disenfranchised with one of the most defining things of his young life and he sympathized with me. But alas he said, not all comics are like that, and there's some truly great stuff out there with superheroes, not necessarily the ones I knew and loved, but it's so good you won't mind at all. So he shoved some great new titles that were just getting started in my grubby little hands. There was some RISING STARS, some TOM STRONG, and the mother of them all... TOP TEN. And I simply just fell in love with the book. The setting, the characters, the situations, all the little homages and parodies, and the gorgeous gorgeous art. I have to thank this book so much for gatewaying me back into comics, and towards the "thinking man's comic books" like PREACHER, and TRANSMETROPOLITAN, and ASTRO CITY and so on. And because of all that this book has a special place in my heart, almost to the point where it can do no wrong in my eyes... but I am an @$$hole, and I've got a job to do. Thankfully though, this OGN makes my job so damn easy to do.

The purpose of this Graphic Novel is a simple one: to show the early days of Neopolis, the locale of the TOP TEN series, and give the reader a fleshing-out of the scenery they partook in during the run of the original maxi-series. And quite frankly it's just a great read. This book really does have it all, and in the typical TOP TEN fashion. We've got a ton of colorful characters, including one of the more prominent characters from the original series (Jetlad), Vampire Mobsters, time-traveling Nazi's, sword-wielding police officers, and oppressed robots. All the little touches and homages are there, like the Hotel Nodell, and little cameos by Robin Hood and Casper the Friendly Ghost and countless other little sights and gags. And if that wasn't enough, this is by far the best looking book I've seen all year. The character detail is amazing, the scenery and splashes are absolutely breath-taking. Gene Ha is just working at a whole new level with this book. I really and honestly just say this is about as perfect as you get. If I had to do some nitpicking the only fault I honestly could find with this book is a little bit of clunkiness in juggling between a couple of the plot threads. This book sorta feels like it was meant to be a six issue mini-series with the way it hits its more dramatic moments in mid-chapter. So I guess nothing is perfect, but dammit the rest is so good that I can forgive one little minor flaw.

But to wrap up, seriously, you just need to buy this. In fact, if you've never read TOP TEN, then you owe it to yourself to go out and get this and the two trade volumes of the original series. This series has definitely been one of the high points in all of my comic book reading years, just as this volume has been one of the biggest highlights of the year in comics. In the midst of your random Seven Houses of Infinite Crisis or whatever is going on that reminds me oh so much of those days when comics got out of hand and caused me to throw in the towel, this book comes out, almost like an omen, to tell me it'll be all right. Now all that is left is to cross my fingers and pray that the non-Moore penned mini coming out this week can at least somewhat capture the essence of what makes this book so much fun. But if it doesn't, then at least this makes up for it as being the true series "swan song."


KILLER STUNTS, INC. #1-3

Writer: Scott Alan Kinney
Artists: Scott Cohn (penciller)/Mike Manley (inks issues #1-2)/John Heebink (inks issue #3)
Publisher: Alias Comics
Reviewer: Prof. Challenger



This is a good comic with unmet potential - so far.

Back in the old days of the newsstand comics, the training ground for new talent wasn’t so much smaller comic book publishers as it was the big guys publishing anthology series or back-up features. The business of comic book publishing has changed so dramatically that there really doesn't seem to be any avenue out there for up-and-coming artists and writers (unless they have a Hollywood pedigree) to get the experience of producing a monthly 18-22 page story other than these outstanding smaller press houses like ALIAS that give hopefuls an opportunity to show what they got. For that, I'm grateful. While I groove to those professionals who've reached the top just like everyone else, I also get a thrill every time I see someone new trying their hand at it. Some of them fall flat. Some of them blow me away. Most of them have something appealing but could use some work.

KILLER STUNTS, INC. is pretty good but marred by some small-press problems that I'll address here in a bit. The series is kind of a mix between THE FALL GUY and F/X (remember that movie?). Billy Andrews is a top-notch Hollywood stuntman who winds up involved in some kind of mess that involves sleazy Federal agent Renick trying to get him to fake someone's death and collect a wad of cash. The best part of the story so far was the set-up in the first issue. I really liked the way Kinney introduced the main characters and then took the reader on a fast-moving motorcycle chase through L.A. Second issue was a bit less on the action and more on subplots - especially establishing a bit more to Billy's stunt-mentor, the gray-haired pony-tailed John Lynch. This third issue focuses on the danger Billy's now put himself and the people he cares about in as a result of his rejection of the job offered to him by Renick. Not bad.

Artistically, penciller Cohn shows some potential. In fact, at times, I get a vibe from him that is similar to some of George Pérez's earliest work (I'm thinking about stuff like THE WHITE TIGER - that time period). He's not there yet, but he's got some talent. Now all he needs is a good inker and some time to grow and improve. Thankfully, the first two issues are inked by the experienced and talented Mike Manley (who used to ink INFINITY INC. and POWER OF SHAZAM! for example). He added a level of slickness to the art that is unfortunately lost at times in issue three. As a collaborative medium, it is always interesting to see what an artist's pencils gain or lose as a result of changing inkers. In this case, Manley raised the professional level of the pencil work. The inker on the third issue added less to the art and the look of the comic suffers slightly.

Now, one unfortunate small-press problem has to do with the coloring. Inconsistent and sometimes garish computer coloring was distracting at times. The most egregious coloring problems come up when the bald thug with the freaky goatee sometimes looks like a white guy and sometimes looks like a black guy. That occasionally got confusing and I'd have to double-check the dialogue to make sure I was looking at the bald thug and not Billy's bald friend, the computer expert. The other little thing that I glommed onto while reading these comics has to do with the lettering. In fact, I don't even know who letters the series because nobody is listed in that role. Whoever it is, he actually let "You're" go into print when it was supposed to be "Your." Woops. Balloon placements also were not very good. I would point you to John Workman to see how aesthetically creative balloon placement can be. But the thing that really got under my skin at first was the "special effects" lettering. It was always exactly the same font. Then - duh - I realized that the series was using the same original font designed for the series logo for all the special effects. What bugged me at first became something I found to be clever. Whattayaknow?

I love superheroes, but it's always nice to crack open a good adventure that doesn't involve guys in colored longjohns beating the snot out of each other. KILLER STUNTS, INC. is a fun little diversion and could be a future "Rookie Card" for the talents of Scott Alan Kinney and Scott Cohn. It's a good start with a lot of potential. I'll be interested to see what heights this series and the creative team might reach.


ELK’S RUN #3

Joshua Hale Fialkov: Writer
Noel Tuazon: Artist
Hoarse and Buggy Productions : Publisher
Vroom Socko: Just here to ask a few questions



Let’s get one thing straight right away. In a week where I picked up comics by Gail Simone, Geoff Johns, Brian Michael Bendis, and Matt Wagner, (to say nothing of the latest kickass issue of FABLES,) this issue was hands down the best book of the week.

I suppose a bit of background is in order. This story is about a kid named John who lives in an isolated community in West Virginia. John didn’t know just how isolated they were, or even that there was a purpose behind it, until one of his friends was killed by a drunk driver. The driver, John’s next door neighbor, was sentenced by a town vote to be dragged from his home in the middle of the night and have the rear tires of a Buick parked on his chest, after which the townspeople would do their best impression of Rubens Barichello. John, of course, sees all of this.

All of that was in the first issue, as seen from John’s point of view. Issue #2 was the same event, along with some backstory, as seen by his father, John Sr. Both of those issues were brutal, hard, and a hell of a lot of fun to read. In part three, we see the continuation from the point of view of Sara, the mother of this charming little family. And with that, we also see the story move from being a fun, creepy horror book to potentially cracking into my list of the 25 greatest comics stories of all time.

It’s been two days since the drunk was executed, and the latest shipment of supplies is on its way. Unfortunately, the truck is late. Also unfortunately, a pair of state troopers has just shown up on Main Street. It seems the out of town relatives of the drunk have declared him missing. So Sara takes it upon herself to show the two cops the town, while her husband figures out just what to do with them.

What makes this issue work is its minimalism. There’s no captions, no internal narration, just Noel Tuazon’s art telling the story. The tension just builds with each page, until the final two pages hit, with the nastiest moment to date. What I especially enjoyed was seeing how Sara reacts to her situation. Her facial expressions, her body language, all of it tell her story better than any narration could have.

If you can manage to get your hands on all three issues of this book, I say do it now. If, like most locations at this point, this series is sold out, then you’re in luck. Speakeasy, the book’s new publisher, has a solicitation this month for an omnibus edition of everything published so far, with a sweet looking Darwyn Cooke cover. This is one series you shouldn’t miss.


TRAILER PARK OF TERROR COLOR SPECIAL #3

Writers: Various
Artists: Various
Publisher: Imperium Comics
Reviewer: Prof. Challenger



You know, I haven't been much of a fan of all-out splatter horror movies and comics since I was probably 19. And I'm still not much of one, though I do have some fond memories for those old DC horror comics of the 70s. I remember one creepy old DC horror comic that had this guy with a mushroom garden that totally gave me nightmares. Oh yeah, and that TWILIGHT ZONE (Whitman) comic I read over and over where the guy killed his wife by dumping her over a canoe and whacking her with his oar. Then, like the tell-tale heart, his guilt kept haunting him and he rowed back out there, fell in the water, and was dragged down to his death by the woman's hair which stretched and wrapped around him like seaweed. *shiver*

So, TRAILER PARK OF TERROR COLOR SPECIAL is this little series by Imperium that pays white-trash homage to all those old comics, and especially to those grand old E.C. gross-fest comics. The conceit of this series is that the "storyteller" is a cigarette-smokin', booze-swillin', horny white-trash zombie gal named Norma who lives in a trailer park. When she say's she's gotta go "put on her face" in the morning, she means it literally.

The stories she tells are always graphically disgusting and can be funny, disturbing, or just plain gross. Well, in this issue's round of stories, there's a story about obnoxious cell phones in public places that has a suitably creepy last panel. This story would have been perfectly at home in a modern update of Rod Serling's NIGHT GALLERY. There's also a story about a couple and their baby that has the nastiest, freakiest version of the Stork you've ever seen.

Artistically, the range runs from impressive to amateurish and the covers are all by Nelson, who's currently inking John Byrne on ACTION COMICS. The writing ranges from pretentious to excellent. Most of all, the comic benefits from a sense of fun. Everyone seems to be having fun doing what they do and it permeates the entire series. If you can't stand graphic, nasty horror/comedy comics, avoid this comic. If you like that sort of thing, you'll probably love TRAILER PARK OF TERROR.


SHOCKING GUN TALES

Cellar Door Publishing : Publisher
Vroom Socko: Armed and ready.



It always seems that when a comics publisher is starting out, the first thing they do is an anthology. This is good, because it gives new readers a broad idea of what to expect from a new company. It’s also bad, because anthologies are almost never 100% quality. No matter how good, there’s always going to be at least one story that’s a stinker. It helps, then, to have something to grab the reader.

Tell me that cover doesn’t grab you.

Oh sure, there is one stinker here, “One Bullet” by Jason Meek. Sure, the art’s good, but the story itself is too predictable. On the other hand, there’s the other story illustrated by Meek, “Never Enough Time” by George Singley. That one has a solid, quality buildup that leads to a drop dead hilarious gag. Fun bit, that one.

On the more serious side, there are two stories set solidly in the noir vein. “The Snowman” is a fun kidnapping story that could have stood to be a few pages longer. “A Violent End”, well that’s as close to a romance that you’ll see in this book. Vaguely Sin City-esque in its execution, this haunting tale is the best one in the book. Second best goes to “Moira”, a story by Mark Winters that starts out as a typical Matrix knockoff, but has a magnificent ending that turns the story into a meditation on the methods of rebellion, with a heavy dose of contempt for hypocrisy added in for good measure.

As for “Angels Bane”, the final story presented here, all I really should need to say are two words: Zombie Nazis. There’s not a lot of plot to this one, but then again there doesn’t need to be. It’s a soldier gunning down a platoon of undead SS, what more do you want? Well, really you want it to look cool, and thanks to Freddie Williams III, this is probably the coolest looking story in the collection.

Cellar Door has given us a book that at the very least lives up to its name. It’s an auspicious beginning for this new company, and I’m certainly interested in seeing what’s going to come next.

Remember, if you have an Indie book you’d like one of the @$$holes to take a look at, click on your favorite reviewer’s link and drop us an email.


VILLAINS UNITED #4

Can someone tell me why the best balls-out action superhero comic stars a bunch of super-villains? Well, it does. Gail Simone is writing her heart out with this whiz bang adventure story teaming up such oddball characters as Catman, Deadshot, Cheshire, Ragdoll, and an Apokolipsian Parademon. This story starts out with a truly chilling sequence set in a prison where an inmate threatens the life of a warden explaining the scope and power of the Secret Society of Super Villains. I love the conflict between Catman and Deadshot. I love how devious Cheshire is. And I can’t get enough of the Ragdoll character. This is a damn fine miniseries on its own and the best of the minis leading up to INFINITE CRISIS. - Ambush Bug

RUNAWAYS HC

Okay, I know in the past I pimped the hell out of those little RUNAWAYS digests. And, yes, they’re cute. Nice price, compact size for easy storage, look nice lined up on a shelf, but…god DAMN does this hardcover blow those chump-ass little pamphlets out of the water! It’s all 18 issues of the first RUNAWAYS series, beginning to end, in an oversized format that does for Adrian Alphona’s art (and Christina Strain’s coloring) what letterboxing has done for DVDs. Bonus crap: intro from writer Vaughan, reproduction of the series’ original proposal, and several swank sketchbook pages from Alphona. Sure, it’s 35 smackers, but that still amounts to less than two bucks an issue! In the words of Ferris Bueller, “If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.” - Dave

100 BULLETS #63

Another arc is finished in the 100 BULLETS saga and again Brian Azzarello has managed to mess with our heads to the point where we don't know what's going on. As always, we get some answers to some questions, like who is this Spain character, and how is he related to the story? But then we just keep getting more questions, like why the hell was Graves there with a certain somebody at the end of the book, and what the hell is up with Cole needing Branch now? There's blood, there's sex, there's violence, there's heartbreak, there's black humor and death and intrigue... everything that makes this book such an amazing read month in and month out. And while this shorter arc might not have been as in-your-face with its overall importance like the previous one (“Wylie Runs the Voodoo Down”), I can't help but feel this could be the most important story yet. God I love this book. -- Humphrey

BATMAN #643

Hey, d’you guys know that there’s another Bat-Crossover going on? Yep, amidst all of the INFINITE CRISIS hoopla that is interconnecting the entire DCU, the Bat-books are tying themselves together with a story called “War Crimes.” And guess what? The Joker is back in this issue. And guess what else, the whole thing ain’t that great. This is kind of an unneeded story cleansing Batman’s hands from the death of Stephanie Brown AKA The Spoiler AAKA That Robin Chick Who Died as Soon as She Put on the Costume. This story suggests that Batman did, in fact, get her to a hospital on time after being tortured by Gotham’s crime lord, the Black Mask, and that she was actually murdered in the hospital. And if my Bat-horrible-idea sense is working correctly, this crossover also looks to be bringing back one of my most loathed characters in the Bat-U (think Gargamel’s cat, folks…ugh). This story seems unimportant considering the stuff that is going on in the rest of the DCU (especially with the Batman character). To top it all off, this was the most uninteresting appearance by the Joker that I have ever read. And in a time when all of DC’s books seem to be tying into one another, do we really need another Bat-title spanning crossover? I feel sorry for those DC readers who just want to read a stand-alone story every now and again. Cool cover, though, by Jock and nice interior art by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Sandra Hope. - Bug

IRON MAN #4

Okay, so it’s taken Warren Ellis and Adi Granov a few extra months just to get from issue 3 to issue 4 – at least the story’s so damn simple there’s no forgetting where we left off. To recap: Iron Man has tracked down a grosser, meaner super-soldier than Cap and is currently fighting it. That is all. This ish, Iron Man gets his ass trashed and has to make a risky decision to take on the increasingly Tetsuo-ish baddie. Three times folks ask him, “Should we call in the Avengers for help?”, and the best answer Ellis can come up with when Iron Man finally responds is a variant of “It’s personal.” Nice to know ‘80s cop-flick clichés live on, eh? Otherwise, it’s not a bad issue. Adi Granov’s art, which I feared would be sterile, is really quite impressive – worthy of HEAVY METAL before it became purely softcore wank material. Ellis also manages some cool interaction between Iron Man and his armor, sort of the equivalent of those thoughts that run through your head when your car is about to die on you (“C’mon, keep from overheating for just one more mile…”). He also reintroduces the Iron Man armor that fits in the suitcase, though it’s kind of embarrassing that returning to an idea concocted – what, 20 or 30 years ago? – feels like progress. The big question, ultimately, is whether anyone’s still got interest invested in this title, embarrassingly late from its first issue and embarrassingly late every issue. Guess we’ll see. - Dave

BREACH #8

Round Two of Breach vs. Superman. The quality continues as this excellent series barrels on toward its conclusion (dang you people for not buying this comic!!!!). Those creepy Rifters really get into Breach's head this time and he goes all TEMPLE OF DOOM on the villain. He also beats the Krypto-crap out of Superman there for awhile before he regains his sanity. This issue of BREACH is a really nice character piece on Superman and how he deals with failures and mistakes on his part. Based on how he's been portrayed in his BREACH appearances, I'd be inclined to hand over one of the SUPERMAN titles to Bob Harras after INFINITE CRISIS. (But just like Hollywood doesn't ask me to help 'em out with their casting calls, I suspect DC doesn't give a crap what the ol' Prof thinks about that.)

The writing may be top notch, but Martin and Lopez also deliver another solid piece of storytelling art here. Oh yeah, and there's a small little tie-in to VILLAINS UNITED in this story that all you completists out there might want to know about so you can pick this issue up. - Prof.

NEW WARRIORS #3

Fun, fun, fun! I’m loving this series more and more with each issue. Writer Zeb Wells seems to love and know about just as much Marvel stuff as Dan Slott (SHE-HULK, GLA) and he’s making these characters a hell of a blast to read. This issue not only tells us how the New Warriors reformed, but it gives us the secret origin of Microbe. And in this tale, Microbe finally gets a chance to shine. This story is filled with laughs and even has a tender moment in the end. Slowly but surely, it seems as if Marvel is hiring on people who not only can tell a good story, but those who love these characters and know a lot about them. Fans of the old NEW WARRIORS series shouldn’t miss this series. And you’ll quickly become a fan if you check this series out. - Bug

GIMOLES #1

At 75 cents a pop, these full-length intro issues that Alias Comics has been putting out make for neat li’l impulse purchases. And while the all-ages GIMOLES didn’t quite knock me on my butt, I have to say I had a good time with it. It’s a genial fairy tale adventure that’s somewhere between THE SMURFS and DAVID THE GNOME, with the little dudes in question actually called “Gimoles” (if it’s a reference to some real folklore, it’s folklore I’ve never heard). It’s highlighted by art reminiscent of Disney (or at least Don Bluth) animation cels, and for that alone, fantasy fans may want to check it out. The first issue works in a nice chunk of story, too: There’s a cute opening sequence that’ll have a rousing musical accompaniment if this thing ever ends up animated. The treacherous Czar of Winter kidnaps the Groundhog Day groundhog to set in motion an eternal winter - son of a bitch! And the youthful Gimoles who’re the series’ elfin little heroes get some screen time to establish their archetypal personalities. It’s not groundbreaking, but it’s pleasant, smile-inducing, and very slickly-produced. Grown-up comic readers should get this into the hands of pint-sized comic readers. - Dave

HOUSE OF M #5

I’m not going to go overboard and say that this “mega-event” sucks, but it doesn’t even compare to the scope of the story DC is spinning in their “mega-event.” This issue has quite a few moments of cool as the Claremont-ian mutant girl wanders through the altered Marvel U “waking people up” to the reality of the situation that has befallen them. But that’s all there is here: a scant few moments of cool. And that’s really all there is to this “mega-event.” This is a series of small, yet cool ideas rubber cemented together and stretched paper thin to make it seem as if it were a huge whoppin’ deal. But it’s not. How many times has a villain altered reality; be it by illusion (a la Mysterio or Mastermind or the Ringmaster or take your pick of the illusionary villain of the week), or via time travel (like Kang the Conqueror or Zarko the Tomorrow Man or Immortus), or by bending the fabric of reality itself (as with Proteus or Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet)? And yet, these heroes act as if this event was the largest affront to humanity ever and the first time it’s ever happened to them. The conflict just falls flat given the fact that these heroes have faced similar, yet larger and more imaginative odds in the past. - Bug

FABLES #40

So if Bill Willingham ain’t fuckin’ with us…this issue actually reveals, for real and for true, the identity of The Adversary. I won’t blab it (though some TalkBacker will), but what knocked me on my ass is how Willingham avoided the pitfalls of such a big reveal. Unveiling long-held mysteries can oftimes kill story momentum dead, with answers either being too obvious or too “left field” to satisfy. Willingham neatly sidesteps such worries by doing what he’s always done with the book: just spinning a yarn you can’t turn your eyes from. The identity is almost irrelevant, because it comes out quick and the story is just instantly advancing further, instantly coming up with great scenes and character interactions based on the reveal, and never once pausing for some big drama queen “ta-DAAA!!!” Much respect. Made for one of my favorite issues in months, and with a series like FABLES, that’s saying a lot. - Dave

PUNISHER #24

The one thing I used to love about reading Garth Ennis’ stuff was that I would put down an issue of PREACHER or HITMAN and say, “Man, that would make a great movie.” Then he moved over to Marvel and started phoning it in with his first PUNISHER series and we moved into bad, gross-out sitcom territory. But when Ennis moved THE PUNISHER over to the Marvel’s “mature readers” MAX line, he started giving me the Frank Castle stories I knew that he had in him. This recent “Up is Down and Black is White” 6-parter had its own ups and downs. It may have lost focus in the middle by giving too much screen time to the shady cast of characters and not enough on the Punisher (and I have to admit, some of the baddies could have been interchanged and I probably wouldn’t have noticed), but issue #24 was one hell of an ending to this arc. Frank finally tracks down the man who dug up his family and pissed on their corpses. And in a violent, yet beautiful scene set in the forests outside of New York, we see the Punisher do his thing. But we’ve seen Frank blow someone away scores of times. What makes this scene so good is the fact that we’re inside Frank Castle’s head the whole time: feeling his pain and his anger and his sadness. Ennis has given us this window into Frank’s mind time and time again in this MAX series. And again, I was left saying, “Man, that would make a great movie.” - Bug

Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 17, 2005, 11:44 a.m. CST

    hey

    by LionogJudah89

    1

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 11:47 a.m. CST

    by LionogJudah89

    cant wait for the next 100 bullets

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 11:51 a.m. CST

    Witchblade

    by holidill

    I never read an issue of Witchblade until Ron Marz took over and had Greg Land draw such beautiful covers. I have loved the book ever since. He has sidestepped the T and A of what the previous Witchblade's used to have and have now made it into an interesting character study. Mike Choi's art is good as well. As for Fables, if the adversary is we are supposed to think it is, this was a brillant little story.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 11:55 a.m. CST

    I've read all of Elk's Run so far, and

    by The Heathen

    I think it's really creepy. Issue #3 is in the mail (good thing I pre-ordered it!) The environment it creates is so out there, but yet it's real. The only minor complaint I have is the art SOMETIMES feels different than the rest of the book. In #2 the flashbacks to Vietnam I didn't care for, but that's not saying that what happened wasn't chilling. I think the art is better w/ the darker tones of the town instead of the bright daylight. Really good so far and I can't wait to get #3. Really good review too.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 12:20 p.m. CST

    I bought the Runaways HC...

    by MasterWhedon

    ...and it's the best purchase I've made in quite a while. I really dig the "new" run, but it doesn't compare to this. You immediately care about and "know" each of these characters. Classical Marvel storytelling in a hip, modern world.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 12:21 p.m. CST

    "Names."

    by MasterWhedon

    There, 'mack.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 12:22 p.m. CST

    Bug, you couldn't be more correct about the big 2's EVEN

    by The Heathen

    and that scene in Villians United w/ Ragdoll in the pipes was awesome

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 12:31 p.m. CST

    "Plus, as I told you four weeks ago, Batman is officially dead."

    by The Heathen

    No name calling mack, but I'm pretty sure you've been ranting about Batman being dead, sucking, gay, or whatever despite your love for him (in a completely non-gay way) for far longer than 4 weeks. I think it's been all summer? **** The Runaways HC I also pre-ordered and was able to get it for $25. I've got a lot to catch up on.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 12:36 p.m. CST

    I don't understand the hatred for Azrael

    by vikingkitty

    I miss those days.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 12:40 p.m. CST

    Again, Brubaker should pay Loeb and Lee for ripping off their "H

    by Heywood Jablowme

    And another thing, despite Gwen Stacy screwing the Green Goblin, Luke Cage's proclivity towards deviant sexual activities, melting Reed Richards' face, and killing/subsequently resurrecting nearly every character, ONE thing stays constant: Bucky stays dead! Can't wait for him to start Daredevil so he can bring back Karen Page and Matt's father. Bug, et al, you were right about the House of M. Should have called it the House of Eh (as in "eh, whatever", not Canada "eh"). My money would have been better spent at the House of Pancakes (International, that is). Mmmmm, funnelcakes.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 12:53 p.m. CST

    so, I've been out of comics for a few years...

    by Strabo

    So, allow me to catch up here...Spoiler became Robin, then got killed ehh? That sucks...I always liked her. Struck me as sort of a young Huntress. What happened to Tim Drake? Also...a new Supergirl series? What happened to the old one? And Azrael is back ehh? Where'd he go?

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 12:59 p.m. CST

    Why the hate for Azrael?

    by Ambush Bug

    Well, for the same reason why I hate Venom, Vengeance, Bullseye, Sabretooth, Elektra, and for the most part the Joker and Catwoman. These guys make good antagonists for our hero, but instead of savoring them, the powers that pee give them their own miniseries and series, turning them into misguided heroes or anti-heroes or whatever and basically spreading the character so thin that they lose any and all impact when our hero meets with them in his own story. Azrael had a nice little arc in "Knightfall" which trailed on to a decent miniseries, which resulted in an ongoing series that had maybe 20 good issues. The problem is the series lingered around for over one hundred issues, riding on the sales spikes it received when it crossed over with the Bat books every two to three months. It seemed as if DC owed Denny O'Neil a favor and a half for letting him go on with the character as long as he did. I dig a little jig and chugged a beer when I found out they were cancelling that series.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 1 p.m. CST

    Supergirl

    by Kara Zor-El

    I'm hoping for a lot more from the new Supergirl title. I've always been a fan and she's been one of the few characters I really connected with so I'm extremely happy to see her back as herself and not some knock-off. The Power Girl thing is pretty lame indeed. I'm not near as down on this book as the reviewer but I was hoping for more - and I'll keep reading - at least for awhile. Superman in drag? That's ridiculous. She needs more dimension and a lot more development but good freaking grief - it's the first issue.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 1:02 p.m. CST

    You can thank Michael Turner for screwing up Supergirl

    by Doc_Strange

    If you look at his work with the character you can see that's where DC wanted to go in terms of style. Turner used to be pretty good, yet he has let his anatomy work slip in recent years and is kind of hacky to tell you the truth. Ian Churchill is pretty much the same. His anatomy is nonexistant, his women are not desirable in the least. I think everyone should draw like Adam Hughes or Travis Charest, these guys are the pinnacle of comic art in my opinion.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 1:08 p.m. CST

    Whatever happened to Travis Charest?

    by Ambush Bug

    I remember liking his work a long time ago, but I haven't heard that name in ages.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 1:13 p.m. CST

    Meh!

    by Fantomex

    A few more great Captain America reviews and I may actually have to read it. Still kinda pissed about how they ended the last run. Would have loved to see Cap run for Vice-Pres and get swift-boated. Anyhow, 100 bullets is starting to loose it for me. We were already confused before this arc, its now crossing the line into last-few-seasons-of-xfiles teritory, which is just silly. Enough with the dumb conversations between two characters where absolutely nothing gets said. And it wasn't even a huge reveal because we already saw them talking a few issues ago. It was a big deal then, but nothing was served dragging it out a few more issues. And the whole Cole Burns subplot was nonsensical. Bah. I hope Azzarello can pull this together, but we'll have to wait and see. Fables rocked and I can't wait to get my Runaways HC.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 1:42 p.m. CST

    I am so smart!

    by Homer Sexual

    I knew who the adversary in Fables is some time ago. I thought it had been kind of given away, and thus misdirection, but whaddaya know??? And it was an excellent story! Now, HoM is disappointing for a 30 years of Marvel fan like me. No, it doesn't suck, but it's not good, and it's not exciting. It meets neither my standard for "good" comics nor for "entertaining." Oh well. I agree that Villains United is the best lead-in to Infinite Crisis. Omac is also pretty good, though.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 1:51 p.m. CST

    That's why I hate Sabretooth, Bug! plus Supergirl

    by Homer Sexual

    Ambush, I so totally agree! I HATE when they change classic villains into anti-heroes. Sabretooth is the ne plus ultra of this for me. Elektra was weak, too. At least she was always cold-blooded rather than bloodthirsty (there is a difference). But when friggin Sabretooth goes good...well, I dropped X-Men for years after that happened. (It's ok in eXiles or AoA, since it's alternate reality). BTW, I didn't think Supergirl was so bad, and I liked the art. But I am not a fan of any "Super" character, except Power Girl. PG is the only reason I bought Supergirl, actually. Love her character and visual. Much more complex than the Kryptonians. Now, watch her die like the original Supergirl did in the original Crisis.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 1:55 p.m. CST

    Tim Drake

    by holidill

    Tim Drake is still Robin after his father was killed in Identity Crisis. He has moved to Bludhaven with Batgirl, is still a member of the Titans, and is thinking of joining a military group.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 2:02 p.m. CST

    the supergirl art:

    by Shigeru

    seared my eyes and hands when I flipped it open. I had to bathe in holy water. Anybody remember what the crap book that Churchill drew in the 90s was?? Oh yeah and one more thing: VENOM LETHAL ENFORCER RULED. ahhahaha no it didn't.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 2:20 p.m. CST

    After reading my Azrael rant and my VILLAINS UNITED cheap shot..

    by Ambush Bug

    don't think I don't see the hypocrisy. I guess the difference is that Simone still writes these villains as complete and utter badasses. I feel as if I am reading an adventure story about super villans, rather than reading a super hero story with a villain awkwardly shoved in as with Sabretooth, Venom, and the like.*****Oh and it wouldn't surprise me if they end up offing Supergirl in the new CRISIS. Loeb did just sign an exclusive with Marvel and it would be pretty sneaky of DC to set up a big 1st issue and then offing her right away for dramatic effect. Too bad that first issue of SUPERGIRL was pretty bad.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 3:09 p.m. CST

    Ian Chruchill's early work....

    by playahatersball

    I remember him drawing about 30 issues of Cable back when Loeb was writing both that and X-man.... That was my fave in tenth grade, then I gave that whole series to my brother about six years ago. I just tried to re-read it and was less than impressed. Churchill's different from Liefield in that Churchill can draw someone's head in profile, while RL can only draw the same body/face/angle on everything with only slight variations in costuming. God he sucked.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 3:11 p.m. CST

    Robbie L.

    by TempusFugitive

    ***God he sucked.*** SuckS. I believe the more accurate term is SuckS.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 3:24 p.m. CST

    Errrmmmm......

    by Jaka

    Cerebus, Sandman, Bone, Transmet....oh wait....my bad. All those series ended. Sigh.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 3:24 p.m. CST

    Villains unite agaist the PTB

    by SpikeTBB

    I completely agree with the sentiment that villains are being mishandled in most of the books at the DC and Marvel. Villains United and Justice show how villains should be done. But to often we are getting work that seems to be a combination of marketing polls and half educated fan boys with no real grasp of the characters they have been entrusted with. A great example is the various bad renditions of The Joker that have sprung up lately. It seems every writer wants to give instant status to his new creation by having him pound on The Joker. Red Hood, Hush and Prometheus all got a turn. I have been trying to hold on to the belief that the recurrent humiliation is leading up to a vengeful, powered up and maybe improved Joker getting some payback. But it is to long in coming, and I am not sure I trust the creators with that much intelligence any more. The classic villains need to be bad ass and damn near unstoppable for some reason or another. Only their respective arch enemy can stop them, and even they should be barely able to pull it off. By watering down the villains, they are diminishing the heroes as well. How heroic are Superman and Batman if Lex Luthor and The Joker could be stopped by Big Vic from The Shield?

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 4:14 p.m. CST

    Here's a start mrfantasto

    by Heywood Jablowme

    Marvel books that are worth a look consistently: Ultimate Spider-man, Ultimate X-Men, Astonishing X-Men, New Avengers, Amazing Spider-man. As for D.C. try: JLA, JSA, Justice, Superman/Batman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Batman. IMHO those are some good books that should remind you why comics are so damn cool and they will only set you back about 30 or so bucks a month. Just the same as it was when you left, avoid anything by Rob Liefeld, anything associatied with Todd MacFarlane, and sadly Frank Miller.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 4:19 p.m. CST

    These are the reviews i was expecting last week

    by El Vale

    Kudos people!

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 4:22 p.m. CST

    Split vote on Captain America

    by saint6

    I'm a big fan of Brubaker's, and Cap is my #2 favorite (behind Batman), but I think his run on Cap has been boring as heck. Regardless of the whole Bucky thing. If I wanted to read a monthly book with nothing but people talking, except maybe a page or two of action per issue, I'd read Bendis. Daredevil is my #3 hero, so I'm happily looking forward to Bendis leaving and someone who writes action coming in. Wait, who'd you say is taking over DD?

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 4:26 p.m. CST

    Oh and Indie Jones must die

    by El Vale

    Seriously i don't think it's such a good idea. It's segregational. Making a clear distinction between your regular superhero comic and your independent horror comic doesn't work for me. I think they should be together in the same category...that being "Comics". If Elk's run is infinitelly superior to Supergirl why not review it right next to it? I'm afraid it might register on some people as "This one's rally good...for an indie comic" and so it doesn't stand a chance of competing with the big ones. There's no real distinction between Elk's run and Supergirl, except the quality of the former is higher than that of the latter so let's keep it like that: Same space, different reviews.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 4:51 p.m. CST

    Indie Jones IV

    by kidkosmic

    What's wrong with a little Indie affirmative action? It's hard enough to get store owners to notice the smaller titles...why take away the extra notice for the little guys?------http://www.brokenfrontier.com/headlines/details.php?id=406

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 4:59 p.m. CST

    Yeah, Vale, we don't do it to ghettoize indies.

    by SleazyG.

    They're in that section to highlight 'em and grab your attention. We want to make sure people notice the indies instead of getting lost in between reviews of all the X-Books and Batstuff. We're saying "hey, check this out--something you might not have heard of before!" There's no slight intended, we're actually trying to raise their profile. I see where you're coming from, don't get me wrong--it's just that I hope people don't think of it that way.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 5:12 p.m. CST

    the ONLY reason to buy Supergirl comics

    by Calculon

    ...is because of the artwork. Supergirl is possibly the hottest superhero in either DC or Marvel universes, mostly because she combines the Girl Next Door persona with the Hot Blonde With A Smoking Body appearance. That's why you bought your last Supergirl title. Admit it. Any good storytellin' was just icing. It's disappointing that neither the artwork nor the storyline are good in this umpteenth rebirth of Supergirl. I never found the Peter David plotlines particularly intriguing, but the Ed Benes artwork was at least masturbation-worthy. :D

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 5:26 p.m. CST

    Indie Jones

    by The Heathen

    It's great that you guy's are trying to highlight the indies, but I always feel dirty looking at those cigarette butts and coffee stains. If anything, that makes me want to stay clear of that section until last. Main reviews, cheap shots, then indie jones. Nothing against the reviews though. Elk's Run has been one hell of a story so far though. I also think it's a good thing that Speakeasy is going to be publishing. Is it going to be 8 issues long? Hope so.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 5:30 p.m. CST

    why are the best reviews in the cheap shots?

    by fausti

    Ok, I enjoy reading this column, but why even bother with cheapshots? Why not do full reviews? What is the rhyme or reason that gets a book placed in the cheapshots category?

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 5:37 p.m. CST

    Sleazy

    by El Vale

    I see your point but i'm not sure it's really working for me at least. I think the diferentiation lessens the impact somehow. To me it feels like the indies don't deserve to compete in the same category as the superhero stuff you know? To me it'd have a far more positive impact if they shared the space...it'd be more like "Look at these reviews, they review indies and mainstream alike like it's all the same thing, very cool!" Now that could make a difference

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 5:38 p.m. CST

    Hey Fausti--about the Cheap Shots

    by SleazyG.

    The deal is that sometimes we have a lot to say about a book, and it goes into the main section. The reviews there run anywhere from 500-1200 words and allow for a lot more analysis. The Cheap Shots are just when we have something to say about the title, but it can be summed up pretty quickly and concisely--anywhwere from one sentence to about a paragraph. Truth is, 50 words isn't much (your post, for example, was 32). So if we just have something small or quick or easy to say, it goes down there. How do we decide which books end up in the Cheapies? Same way as the reviews--whatever we feel like talking about. No other qualifications at all.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 5:40 p.m. CST

    I don't think the adversary's the real adversary

    by El Vale

    I figured this one out MONTHS ago and i think Fables is far smarter than me, so it might be a red herring. On the other hand, it'd be cool if i wasn't a red herring since everything nowadays seems to be one.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 5:42 p.m. CST

    I'm so tired about hearing about "indie" comics

    by Fantomex

    "Indie" does not mean your comic only sold a few thousand issues through diamond. "Indie" means 10 years ago you would have been trying to get your local comic shop to sell them for $.75. Warren Ellis doesn't do "Indie" books. This column is better than most, but still, a lot of this "indie" stuff I find in my comic shop all the time (granted, I have a really really good comic store). Its the 21st century people, if you're doing an "indie" comic and don't have a full length #1 issue on your website (in color, in .cbr format) I don't even want to hear from you. Get with it.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 5:43 p.m. CST

    We used to not segregate the reviews...

    by Dave_F

    And while I can absolutely see your point, Vale, anecdotal evidence suggests the indie reviews got less response before we started giving 'em their own section. Same for manga reviews. I'm a bit torn on it, because my heart's with the approach that says "level playing field, mix 'em together." But maybe this is a necessary evil given the reality that folks tend to gloss over indies when they're mixed in with the cape stuff. I wonder...is this our column's own "affirmative action"?

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 5:47 p.m. CST

    I hear ya, Vale.

    by SleazyG.

    Look at it this way, though: let's say you're watching a half-hour TV show with movie reviews, and there's all this big-budget studio stuff, and 20 minutes in they review some indie movie nobody's ever heard of, so everybody uses that time to go to the bathroom or grab a beer from the fridge. Now imagine that, instead, the show said "this week in our Indepent Film Spotlight we're going to tell you about an impressive new debut by XXX". That's the kinda thing we're going for, really. It doesn't mean that lots of indie films aren't just as good as mainstream movies, obviously--it just means they need more help. For example, I'd much rather go see "Hustle and Flow" this weekend than, like, "The Dukes of Hazzard", but one is much more easily reckognized by the mainstream. We're just trying to draw attention to this stuff, not to suggest indies aren't good enough to compete.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 5:50 p.m. CST

    Come on, Fantomex...

    by SleazyG.

    ...you gotta be realistic. Indie creators are usually stretched pretty thin, barely making their rent and buying food when they start out (and sometimes for their entire careers). Not everybody can afford a website and fancy graphics and big fat bandwidth bills. The whole idea is to encourage people to create and develop and hone their art through whatever means necessary and then give it exposure in the hope that it'll grow to be so successful the creators can afford to put some frozen peas and a hot dog in their ramen.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 6:02 p.m. CST

    Oh, how do the Indie Bands feed themselves?

    by Fantomex

    Indie Bands somehow manage to do exactly that, putting free tracks all over. (off topic, which is more expensive in terms of money and time, a production quality full color comic, of a production quality 3 minute track? i really have no clue). Man, if you're comic is causing you "big fat" bandwidth bills, you've already made it and can take it off the internet. Or use bittorrent. I don't need flashy graphics. its 2005. TWO THOUSAND AND FIVE. this shit is easy. the easiest way to get exposure is to actually let people read your comic. Why aren't there entire online communities dedicated to exactly that? putting the material online and promoting it online. For all the crap people give wizard about being a "gatekeeper" you'd think the indie creators and indie fans would get off their asses. guess I'm guilty of that too.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 6:32 p.m. CST

    Comic suggestions

    by Beaker316

    Other recommendations: Villains United (mentioned above) The Walking Dead Justice (mentioned above) JSA The Flash (latest arc has been superb) Supreme Power (when it is out on time, which is rarely) New Avengers (mentioned above) Punisher

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 6:40 p.m. CST

    "The walking dead justice" is great

    by El Vale

    Great mixture of zombies and police procedural. Can't recommend it enough.

  • Both very talented guys, but I've never been really drawn to anything they've...well...drawn. I guess Charest hit his first peak on WILDCATS (was that the Alan Moore run?), but I never read that and now he's off doing the boring Euro-sci-fi stuff for Humanoids. As for Hughes, I think he's too typecast as a babe-fetishist. You literally cannot read any Adam Hughes comic without noticing the tit-centric qualities, so unless he's on a cheesecake book, I can't see the draw. I guess he did rein it in a bit when he did that STAR TREK graphic novel a zillion years back, but I don't think his rep would allow it now. And if he's limited to puff pieces...can we really call him the pinnacle of comic art? It's a little like calling Vargas the king of painting. Ironically, I think my favorite thing Hughes has done was the SUPERMAN/GEN 13 project he worked on exclusively as a *writer*. Suprisingly good.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 6:48 p.m. CST

    Hey gimme a break, only my second post ever and not used to the

    by Beaker316

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 6:55 p.m. CST

    I only took the barest of ganders at SUPERGIRL #1...

    by Dave_F

    And I could only boggle at the fact that DC would put out such a highly visible first issue that was so confusing as to its lead's origin...right at the time when the company's making a huge play to bring in new readers. Just seemed odd.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 7:06 p.m. CST

    Fantomex, do you know anybody in indie bands?

    by SleazyG.

    Almost all of 'em are in the same position--barely scraping by, living together and splitting rent (shit, some of 'em actually live in their storage unit/rehearsal space), eating generic ramen, etc. They're also usually working as a sound tech at a crappy little club, or as a bartender or a carpenter or a gas station attendant or whatever, just to pay the bills--the band is a side project in their free time. They're doing it cuz they love music or comics, not cuz they're getting paid. As for cost, comics are actually more expensive. You can get a used computer cheap, record on a shitty little four or eight track thingy, and upload it from there. Paper and ink aren't cheap, and neither is getting the binding done, and neither is the scanner you use to get your images on line, and...you can get everything you need to record, produce and release music for two grand if you shop hard enough. Good luck on putting out a monthly comic on that kind of investment. The only cheap way to do comics is to do online comics with software, but that's just not the same thing as a hand-drawn or hand-painted comic, y'know? It's easy to say "but there's all this technology", but you have to understand your average 15-to-30 year old artist or musician can't necessarily afford the equipment, software, or training to use those two items. It's not as easy as you think if you can't get to the resources.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 7:07 p.m. CST

    MrFantastico, I hate to say it, but...

    by Dave_F

    I'd almost advise sticking with old favorites. Seems like your tastes were formed in an era pretty close to mine, and I suspect you're going to find most of the stuff from the Big Two to be alienating these days. I do think Heywood had some pretty good suggestions if you want to make a go of it, though ('cept for SUPERMAN/BATMAN - that one's bilge water with art that happens to give it an attractive, oily sheen). Those titles are mostly very well crafted, if not particular faves of mine, and might just hook you if the modern pacing isn't too much of a turn-off. But the glossy paper ain't going anywhere and neither are the 3 buck price points. **** Mostly, though, I'd suggest looking to creator-owned or creator-driven stuff, the best place to find consistency and avoid the inevitable heartbreak of superhero books that start good and turn shitty. BONE, SANDMAN, WALKING DEAD, TOP TEN, CONCRETE, SIN CITY, HELLBOY, DEEP SLEEPER, LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, FABLES, QUEEN & COUNTRY...stuff like that. Only superhero books I can truly recommend these days are the oddballs like SHE-HULK and GOTHAM CENTRAL and RUNAWAYS. Other books have their moments, but overall the quality's really mercurial.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 7:19 p.m. CST

    The only good Supergirl was Linda Danvers

    by Voice O. Reason

    This new series is AWEFUL. Kara was raised on Krypton, but acts and talks like a contemporary human female, complete with goofy fashion sense and a need to distance herself from her only living relative (which makes NO SENSE).

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 7:33 p.m. CST

    "Characters that didn

    by astronato

    Dead characters don't make money (until being brought back) and it annoys (or angers) that characters fans. Those are reasons enough for bringing characters back. The reviewer claims to be a Superman fan but dislikes Kara (kinda lame AND kinda cool to have around, huh?), and thinks most of the Superman books aren't interesting. I give the reviewer credit for being honest but he or she doesn't sound like much of a Superman fan to me. Did you see the "retro Flash Gordon" depiction of Krypton in the WB Superman cartoon a few years back? It looked beautiful to me. That cartoon (not the new one)also showed that even Krypto can be a credible part of the Superman mythos if done right. The complaint about Kara seems to me to be much the same as the complaints I've heard about Superman. "He's a goody two shoes.", "He is too bland.", "He's a boy scout." Superman is never going to grow adamantium claws out of his hands and slash people up. He's never going to be a brooding dark avenger like Batman, that is not his gig and that's not Supergirl's gig either. Kal-El and Kara are essentially gods with supreme power who choose not to rule the world but to save it. They have virtue. Hell if I had x-vision I'd be the only white guy at the Puerto Rican day parade having the time of my life walking behind all the latinas in their Corona emblazoned short shorts. Maybe Superman does that off panel but it wouldn't be appropriate in panel. How many conflicted anti-heroes does the comic book world need anyway? In the golden age uncomplicated heroes were the norm but in 2005 it makes Superman and Supergirl almost unique. The art wasn't the best but I am grateful DC has brought Kara back. I am going to be buying this book no matter who draws it and no matter who writes it. God forbid the sales for this book don't live up to expectations or DC will turn her into a drunk driver, have her go mad and kill lots of people before being offed again in the name of "mature","interesting" and "epic" storytelling. I'm not expecting Watchmen, I just want Supergirl to save the day, do the right thing and have fun reading about it. To each their own.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 8:02 p.m. CST

    So then, what IS your favorite cheese then moviemack?

    by WONKABAR

    huh?

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 8:30 p.m. CST

    I Think Indie Jones Has The Cigarette Butts & Coffee Stains ...

    by Buzz Maverik

    ... to show that indie creators and fans are happenin' hepcat hipsters who do edgy things like smoke cigarettes and drink coffee. As opposed to the God fearing, All American Sugar Cinnomon superhero fans who chew bubble gum and drink Slurpees. Actually, superhero fans are probably more likely to drink Monster. What have they got for those of us who savor a Cohiba Double Corona and the sublime qualities of Herradura Tequila while kicking back on the deck blasting skeet with a shotgun handcrafted by the descenents of James Purdy? It's true, I do like to grow a Soul patch, put on my Che-beret and either a Nehru or Mao shirt, or perhaps even a black turtleneck, play some bongos while listening to be bop and reading an indie comic that does not suck.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 8:33 p.m. CST

    great reviews

    by Darth Kal-El

    im diggin cap a lot! i had a friend recently loan me issue 8 and now im looking for the trade to the 1st seven.great art and pretty cool story.didnt read hush so dont really care if hes ripping it off.liked 100 bullets but i agree with an above poster that the plot twists and turns are getting out of hand.i plan to go back and reread all the trades in one sitting(or a few) when its all done and see how it looks as one big tapestry. as for supergirl i missed it and it was sold out at the store i go to but it sounds like i didnt miss much.oh well.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 9:03 p.m. CST

    Superhero wouldn't know good comic art if it walked up and t

    by cookylamoo

    I'm not a big Loeb fan, but Supergirl #1 was fine with me. Better than average art, story moved along. Plus it had Powergirl, always a double plus.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 9:05 p.m. CST

    America Cheese is Bland and Tasteless except for Limberger

    by cookylamoo

    Which is made in Wisconsin and smells like shit.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 9:48 p.m. CST

    Supergirl

    by Prof C

    Supergirl was really bad in both story and art. The pacing of the story was jerky and didn't flow. The character's bodies were rarely, if ever, consistent. And worst of all, before I could let my own daughter read it, I had to take a marker and change "Hell" to "Heck" and redact two, count 'em two, "Dammit"s. A Supergirl comic that parents can't give to their little girls. That's some smart marketing.

  • Aug. 17, 2005, 11:55 p.m. CST

    hey mrfantastico

    by blackthought

    i'd throw out invincible and astro city for more recommendations...and um...CATMAN!...what you mean he doesn't have his own book yet? arrrrghhh

  • Any takers? C'mon, y'all, gimme something to believe in...

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 12:27 a.m. CST

    Dave

    by blackthought

    you can believe that this column will always feature words and stuff...does that help any? and concrete would make for an interesting big-screen adaptation.

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 12:28 a.m. CST

    Fantomex is right...

    by Joshua Fialkov

    Here's a PDF of Issue 1 of Elk's Run. http://tinyurl.com/949kw If you guys dig it, stop by our website at http://www.hoarseandbuggy.com and order the rest (or, order the bumper from Speakeasy in Previews Now!) Thanks for all the kind words on the books folks, hope some more of ya check it out.

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 12:34 a.m. CST

    Well if I had the talent of Hughes and Charest I would be making

    by Doc_Strange

    Hughes is limited to doing pricey sketches at conventions as well as covers for various books. I wish he would do a mini or something. But the man has talent. Check out his work on Gen 13 Ordinary Heroes. He captures humanity like no one I know plus he draws women the best, in my opinion. As for Travis Charest, he has been spending like the past 4-5 years doing a european graphic novel. The Metabarons or something. Anyway, he is still alive, just slow as hell.

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 12:45 a.m. CST

    I'm on board for buying bad comics starring bland characters

    by El Vale

    I'm also on board for putting my money on the floor, shitting on it and then lighting the whole thing on fire. Fun.

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 12:54 a.m. CST

    so vale...

    by blackthought

    you bought supergirl too?

  • Surely a dream for many, but I'm not particularly wild about it because, oddly enough, the overly sexualized Wonder Woman he draws isn't what I want from that character. He had some nice WONDER WOMAN covers on occasion, but a few too many from the "come hither" school, y'know? Rucka's run, for all that it's felt ponderous when I've looked in on it, has at least broken from that aspect of the character for the most part. I suspect Hughes'll reinstate it, though. He's too obvious for the ALL-STAR WW for them not to use him. At least his cheesecake's from the cute Gil Elvgren school, though, and obviously well-crafted. Worthy of the best-known female superhero? No. But a far sight from our worst-case scenario, Greg Horn. Remember those ELEKTRA cover he did, half of 'em screaming out "rape fantasy"? Check it: http://tinyurl.com/ak2es *** http://tinyurl.com/bgdw2 *** http://tinyurl.com/7h4xe *** http://tinyurl.com/99fpg

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 1:48 a.m. CST

    Here's a question for Dave and the others

    by El Vale

    Does growing up reading superhero comics in the, what, 70s, early 80s make you close minded? Seems to be the concensus around @$$hole central that since DC heroes are currently getting ass raped and mind wiped and Marvel heroes do nothing but sit and talk all issue long, then the medium is a huge dissapointment. I remember this review i read from some idiot who said he'd founded AICN comics but he'd actually quit reading comics just because superheros had lost the sense of wonder and escapism they used to have and they didn't make him feel like an 8 year old again. I just couldn't wrap myself around that notion, i mean quitting comics because a handful of titles you grew up reading didn't make you feel like they did all those years ago?! Quitting an entire fucking ARTFORM with millions upon millions upon millions of titles all over the goddamn world just because a handful of superhero titles are too "dark" now? I seriously don't understand it. It's so close minded. I grew up reading Tintin and Asterix. Both of them are long gone and there's not a single comic i've recently read that even half resembles what those were like. But there's so much good stuff out there in every shape and size, genre, style and form of execution, and sooo much stuff i haven't discovered...how could i be dissapointed with comics?

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 1:53 a.m. CST

    Blackthought

    by El Vale

    Not even if i could, my man, not even if i could.

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 2:29 a.m. CST

    Supergirls

    by Lukecash

    Strange thing, Loeb is treating her like a teenage girl... And a LOT of Teenaged girls don't want to hand around overprotective family. And the reason why this Power Girl/Supergirl story? Simple. Not everyone reads JSA classified. Loeb is handling the PG question from Supergirls viewpoint. And you want to know what? Loeb has brought back a lot of the ingrediants old time fans missed. Krypto, Supergirl, ect. ect. It wasn't a great first issue, but it was a good one. Oh.. And it Aint Azreal people...its Cluemasters

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 3:39 a.m. CST

    Superheroes HAVE lost their sense of wonder and escapism.

    by Dave_F

    Can anyone possibly feel that these elements are prevalent now? That DC's current zeitgeist is anything but the heroes who are merely *survivores*? I don't consider losing kinship with this any stranger than walking away from, say, THE SIMPSONS, when it started losing losing the satirical genius that defined it during its glory days. And is anyone busting fandom's balls for saying the new "Buzz Bunny" looks like a shitty crapping-on of the old Looney Tunes characters? Nope. But for my own part, I'm not willing to let the Big Two define the medium, which is why I'm reviewing more stuff like CONCRETE and CROMARTIE HIGH SCHOOL lately, and less superhero stuff. But I'm not excluding anything either. I think it was just last week I talked up Warren Ellis's JLA: CLASSIFIED first issue. And even looking at this latest column, I see old-schooler like Prof Challenger offering up fair appraisels to indy stuff *and* cozying up to more recent superhero fare like BREACH. And then there's old-school Ambush Bug talking up VILLAINS UNITED and NEW WARRIORS. I think you could characterize a general *reticence* towards some of Marvel and DC's current work from us, but outright close-mindedness? I don't think so. I will say this, Vale: I think that for any number of reasons, many Americans do look to comics for one very specific thing - superheroes - and it's not entirely strange for them to judge the medium based on that. After all, superheroes have woven through American comics since the beginning, being the one genre that truly *sprung* from the medium. And superheroes was also the genre that seemed to persist when comic sales began to ebb in the '70s, and so became the foundation for the direct market. Is it so odd that they'd come to represent the industry after a few decades of propping up the country's central means of comic distribution and generally keeping the medium alive here? I've often said it's an insular, incestuous system, but it is what it is and the net effect is that comic shop distribution has only cemented the tie between the medium and superheroes for Americans. We judge what we know and what we know for the medium isn't particularly cosmopolitan. ***** There's an interesting sidebar to your question, by the way. Comic critic Paul O'Brien, a sharp guy who writes primarily about X-Men books at X-Axis and also contributes articles at Ninth Art, just recently lamented the boring state of the mainstream: http://tinyurl.com/8e37a And Paul seems to represent some of what you're talking about, Vale. He's obviously a smart, well-rounded guy, and he's got plenty of respect within the critical community, it's just that, in his own words: "Like a lot of more mainstream comics fans, I'm here primarily because I'm a genre fan rather than because of a devout love of the theoretical possibilities of the medium." Check out his article, and then, if you've got a bit of intestinal fortitude, check out the firestorm of responses it prompted when linked to over at Fanboy Rampage: http://tinyurl.com/amsjr Features posts from the likes of ex-COMICS JOURNAL editor Tom Spurgeon and even Kurt Busiek. Interesting reading.

  • Sure, he's off his rocker about CAPTAIN AMERICA, but let's all be reconciled in the glory of Alan Moore for a moment, shall we? Humphrey even nailed the minor deficiencies of THE FORTY-NINERS, deficiencies that he rightly notes as paling beside the general awesomeness of this book. I've loved many an Alan Moore book, but there's a sort of pure storytelling enjoyment I get out of the TOP TEN stuff, as it's devoid of Moore's sometimes clinical approach to structure and generally seems "warmer" than his other works (even with a number of very dark moments). If Moore truly pulls out of mainstream comics as he's been saying, then TOP TEN will be the book that, like Dorothy said to the Scarecrow, "...I think I'll miss most of all." The series is a love letter to the superhero genre and also, it seems, to diversity in lifestyles and personalities. The latter, more than all the little nods and inside references, is what I love about the book. When it comes to the insider stuff, though, my favorite element of the FORTY-NINERS was the revelation that the city's founders were basically all the old comic strip characters. For a fan of classic comic strips like me, it was a real kick to see glimpses of Popeye, Jiggs, the Yellow Kid, and all those other seminally strange and wonderful characters of early 20th century cartooning.

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 7:50 a.m. CST

    Open minded, but expects quality.

    by SpikeTBB

    There are a few titles I've bought consistently. I've got every issue of Hellblazer and plan to stick with it to the end, which i hope is no where in sight. I also enjoy the grittier, more realistic or even fatalistic take on the genre. But I also like quality and respect for the core personality of the established characters. Restructuring them so they have only superficial characteristics that stay the same needs to be justified instead of done just cause you can do it. When Neal Adams restructured the Batman title in the 70

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 8:41 a.m. CST

    Sleazy G is an idiot

    by Blok Narpin

    Supergirl #1 was awesome.

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 11:11 a.m. CST

    SUPERGIRL #1 as barometer of taste, Blok?

    by Dave_F

    It's such an obscenely crass idea I almost have to respect it.

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 11:29 a.m. CST

    Astronauto, I DO love Superman as a character...I just don't

    by superhero

    Fistly, I am a HUGE Superman fan but much like Quentin Tarantino wrote in Kill Bill Vol. 2 I

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 11:31 a.m. CST

    The *binding* ?

    by Fantomex

    Thats exactly what I'm talking about. Why are they paying to print and bind a comic they should be putting online? We have to break down the entire way people think about this medium. And you should be coloring the comic on the computer anyway. Aside from a cheap computer and a scanner (and a pirated copy of photoshop, for shame), I don't see what other investment there is other than your time (which I admit would be considerable). Much less than the $2,000 you state for a band. And the Indie bands I know have real jobs, there problem isn't money, its the huge time investment, there just aren't enough hours in the week. Anyway, the entry cost for comics is nil, we should be flooded with indie comics online. It'll happen eventually.

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 11:52 a.m. CST

    I grew up reading comics, starting in 1978.

    by Homer Sexual

    And, honestly, I have to say "whatever" to the whole "comics have lost their escapism and sense of wonder." There are plenty of escapist comics out there. And I am not totally sure what "sense of wonder" means. If it means saying "Wow" because of some cool scene, then I think that still exists. Then, as now, there were a lot of crappy comics and some good ones. And back in the day, Vertigo-esque comics didn't even exist. Mark that as a change for the better. IMO, the biggest problem with the "Big 2" is not the "dark" thing. The problem is that the pendulum has swung too far. Back in the day, creators weren't allowed to even try and explore new directions, mature themes, etc. But now, the "top" creators are allowed to put out self-indulgent wankfests. Don't you think that, for example, Bendis would be a lot better with an editor? RE: Concrete. The concept just doesn't appeal to me.

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 12:02 p.m. CST

    Indie comics for free???? What????

    by superhero

    So you guys all believe that, what, indie comics should be free on the internet? Is that what I

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 12:15 p.m. CST

    Krypto was last seen in Teen Titans #26 right?

    by The Heathen

    He growled at Superboy and then walked away. That's about all I need of Krypto for the next ten years, but I have a feeling he won't make it through the Crisis. : ( **** Pretty cool for Joshua Fialkov to chime in here. Elk's Run really is good. **** I must now continue to read some superhero books while chewing my Lightning Lebron Lemonade flavored bubble gum and finish my Mountain Dew slurpee. Ahhhh. **** Where my cog smooches at? Last week was slow and I don't find Supergirl interesting enough to bitch about all week. Maybe the possibility of her death so soon again is something to speculate on. Would DC really do it?

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 12:19 p.m. CST

    Re: superhero

    by The Heathen

    I don't like reading comics on my computer screen either, I'm with you there. And that is kinda awesome that Kirkman does his creator owned books for free. Hope he banked on selling the rights to Invivcible. He deserves it.

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 12:20 p.m. CST

    Sense of Wonder and Escapism.

    by Shigeru

    hooboy. Okay here we go. Dave, from the sound of it, you were a kid in the 70's and early 80's...what many 30 something fanboys consider the glory days of comics. I was born in 1980. Started reading comics...who knows... around 8 years old? 1988. When I was 10 that magical decade called the 90's happened. Which produced almost ZILCH in the way of superhero comics like they were done pre-1986. So MY childhood sense of Wonder and Escapism?? Other than some random stuff when I was real little, it was freaking shitty IMAGE COMICS. And I believe that's what this is all about: nostalgia. You didn't have nintendo or xbox, you had Comic Books in the 70s. You devoured them with abandon, eating up superheroes that took your little kid mind away to wonderful places. And then your grandfather died, a kid at school told you what a BJ was, you grew pubes, a girl stuck her hand down your pants. The world changed for you. Am I making any sense here? I've completely lost my train of thought. Yes the product has evolved, but the glasses through which we view this said product have changed more. In that oversized Alex Ross JLA one-shot starring Martian Manhunter...forgot the name... but when Superman saves the girl attempting to kill herself by falling off a bridge. Wonder and Escapism more than anything I can think of from growing up.

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 12:21 p.m. CST

    I read somewhere that the big plan might be to off Power Girl...

    by superhero

    Which, in my opinion, would suck. I like Power Girl...big boobies and all...

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 12:26 p.m. CST

    I remember when I found out what a BJ was

    by The Heathen

    it blew my freaking mind! I was reading that OVERsized Dini & Ross one shot at a bookstore last week and was embarassed because I realized it looked like I was holding a big coloring book in my lap, but I still dug what you said and meant Shigeru. Btw, I'm trying to find out what the theater in Maine's name was. I can't find the brochure that I took and I'm going insane trying to remember. I'm not sure if it was Chunkys, but it could be.

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 12:27 p.m. CST

    Four Years To Do A Graphic Novel! Woo Hoo! I Get To Be A Comic

    by Buzz Maverik

    Like every single one of you, I draw. I draw fine. I draw okay. If I'm doodlin', people say, "Way cool, Buzz." I'm like a guy who was a great high school baseball player, an okay college player and couldn't even make a farm league try out. Good amateur, shitty professional. But I've always known that I could draw at a professional level, it would just take me a ridiculous amount of time. But if this Travis clown is taking four years, I could do a decent graphic novel in two or even one or even six months! I'm in, bay-bee, I'm in. Wonder how he's making a living. Are his parents supporting him? Is he bussing tables at Lenny's?

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 12:29 p.m. CST

    That would suck

    by The Heathen

    I like Power Girl too

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 12:37 p.m. CST

    Sleazy G Is Definitely Not An Idiot, Blok.

    by Buzz Maverik

    We know, we've had him tested. We had our suspicions about the boy all along, but then he took all the cognac in the bar at the @$$hole clubhouse, poured it all over himself and said he was going to play Buddhist monk protesting the Viet Nam war. The others didn't think much of it, but I was concerned. That was damned fine cognac and worse, he was going to use my lighter and I needed a smoke. I took him to my family physician, Dr. Shatterhand. After putting Sleazy through a variety of tests, some of which are frowned upon by the AMA and ASPCA, it was determined that Sleazy was of normal intelligence but has what is known as Rampaging, Out of Control Thyroidism. So, every week or so, we chip in, call Le Casa De Escorts and have a couple of chicks sent over for him. He seems to be doing okay. I'm not even going into how we found out that Superhero DOES know good comic book art.

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 12:40 p.m. CST

    Someone on John Byrne's messageboard posed a good theory abo

    by superhero

    Basically saying that maybe the current Earth was the pre-crisis Earth 2 all along. Apparently this was a post from someone on Geoff John's board: superman was married to lois... batman and catwoman were a couple...and then batman retired... replaced by...an adult robin... powergirl was superman's cousin... seem familiar?? To which this poster said: Is the current DCU really Earth-2 as we knew it prior to Crisis? Has the DCU over the past 20 years become the Earth-2 equivalent to JB's Generations universe? Will Infinite Crisis (IC) leave us with a "current continuity" DCU that emerges as the "old" Earth-2, with Dick Grayson taking on the mantle of the Bat, while the "old" Earth-1 re-emerging as the place where stories can be told within the framework of pre-Crisis (COIE) continuity? Interesting theories at least. Has the current DCU really been Earth-2 all along?

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 12:44 p.m. CST

    Yeah, the BJ was the greatest discovery EVER...

    by superhero

    That certainly blew my mind...as well as...errrr...other parts of my anatomy...sorry, cheap joke, couldn't resist... :O)

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 12:53 p.m. CST

    Superhero--that Infinite Crisis theory:

    by Shigeru

    Let's hope that't not it. Because I am a non-DC fan that was drawn into DC because of all this hoopla (aka TARGET AUDIENCE) and is enjoying it immensily, and I didn't comprehend a single fucking word of that theory. (well almost) Sounds kinda like 'Peter Parker was really the spider-clone all along' territory...

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 12:57 p.m. CST

    The REAL revelation of IC!

    by Shigeru

    Whether or not Sue Dibney got it in the pooper.

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 1:17 p.m. CST

    Sense of wonder and online indie comics

    by Ambush Bug

    Homer Sexual writes, "And, honestly, I have to say "whatever" to the whole "comics have lost their escapism and sense of wonder." *****I agree that comics still have their sense of wonder, but I think the point people are making is that the comic properties that used to have that sense of wonder have been grounded and buried under so much reality that they have lost what made them special in the first place. I'm talking about the DCU in particular (but have to go on record to say that I am enjoying IDENTITY CRISIS and all of its fallout). It's kind of like in STAR WARS when Jedi's were looked at as this mythical wondorous sect of warriors (that was cool and you didn't ask why, it was just fuckin' cool), then they went ahead and explained it all away in THE PHANTOM MENACE with all of the science gobbity-gook and that mythic status was deconstructed and that diminished it's wonderous impact. That's the reason why I always liked Star Wars over Star Trek anyway (and I don't want to start that tedious debate here, but for me, the appeal of Star Wars over Trek was always the mythic aspects of the movies over the scientific explanation for everything mindset of Trek). ***************And as for the online indie comics debate: I see no way these guys are going to find profit by posting their stuff online for free. It's a "Why buy the cow, when you can get the milk for free?" scenario. It just doesn't make business sense. What kind of profit are you going to see if people have the choice of buying a $3.95 comic or just clicking on it for free. I know the choice I would make and I love reading comics in the physical world. Bottom line is that printing books make more money for the creator. People still buy comics and hold them and read them and polybag them and put them away in long boxes. It may not be as appealing for the X-Box generation, but I think there is still a big enough appeal for it to be profitable. Most of the indies that have their own websites have two or three page previews, which I think is enogh to tempt or dissuade a reader whether or not they want to pick up the entire thing.

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 1:21 p.m. CST

    hey guys

    by Darth Kal-El

    the t-800 contest winner talkback is hilarious!

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 1:45 p.m. CST

    ambus bug..

    by SpikeTBB

    I think you hit the nail on the head. I would just like to add that some "explaining" of the characters would be welcome exploration of them if the explanation did not diminish them so much. I also loved IdC, especially Deathstroke's characterization. But too often they give us explanation and back story, or humanize them by making them too full of self doubt, weakness or just plain dim witted. The best example that comes to my mind off the top of my head is a non-comic book character. Spike on Buffy. It was fine to make him good and to redeem him. But they did not have to rewrite his back story and take away his cool, insightful instincts and fighting power in the past and present to achieve that ends. I think that is why IC, Justice and Villains United are like water in the Sahara. They treat the characters as beings with power and brains.

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 1:46 p.m. CST

    No, you aren't understanding it right.

    by Fantomex

    Maybe I wasn't being clear. Actually I was being pretty clear. Just the first issue is all I need. If you can't blow me away with issue #1 don't worry about putting issues #2-#6 online, I won't read even them for free. Well maybe but you get the idea. When musicians realized they would never make it with the radio gatekeepers, they bypassed them. I can't tell you how many bands you'd never heard of 3 years ago are now being sold at Tower Records, and it isn't because of mainstream radio. Its college radio and the internet. No offense to reviewers, but I read reviews more for a "what was his take on this" or "how did he interpret that", I'm not looking for suggestions on what to read anymore. I gave it an honest try, didn't work. Asking me to buy a comic I've never read is like asking me to buy an album I'v never heard. It just isn't going to happen. This isn't even an indie thing for me anymore. Next time Grant Morrison writes a JLA arc, I'll be reading at least the entire 1st issue before purchasing. If comics can't figure out this whole "new media" thing, they'll never break the glass ceiling of geekdom. I know some of you are okay with that, but it means dramatically fewer good comics I buy a month.

  • Goes into a lot of the issues the 'net and new media in general bring to the medium of comics. Good stuff. Hell read Understanding Comics while you are at it too.

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 2:20 p.m. CST

    Scott McCloud

    by Ambush Bug

    A huge fan of his work. Good suggestion Shigeru. Haven't read REINVENTING COMICS, but UNDERSTANDING COMICS is a must read for anyone who picks up a comic book. To me there is no other book out there that explains the medium in such an entertaining and educational way.

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 2:37 p.m. CST

    Scott McCloud

    by Fantomex

    Reinventing Comics was good, but it geared more to comic strips. That, btw, is an exmaple of a medium thats "getting it". I remember the last time I read the funny pages in a newspaper. Not only was it awful but no less than 5 of the strips were overtly political. This is on the comics page. Online comics have completely overshadowed the traditional medium in terms of quality. However that doesn't mean the same system applies to regular comic books. One of the reasons online comic-strips do so well is that you can do strips on ultra-specific topics, more or less inside jokes, that just wouldn't work in newspapers.

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 3:15 p.m. CST

    What's a BJ?

    by El Vale

    Travis Charest can take all the time he wants to draw his Metabarons book i mean have you seen this stuff?! Charest grew from a Jim Lee clone to one of the most unique and talented artists working today and he can take his fucking time. It's how it works in Europe, they don't make monthly comics, they make "albums" and it generally takes the artists a good while. Moebius never was a monthly artist, neither was Bilal.

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 3:19 p.m. CST

    Holy hell....

    by Shigeru

    check out this pic. My brain exploded. http://tinyurl.com/a4gue

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 3:59 p.m. CST

    Shigeru's brain + the League of the most Extraordinary Gentl

    by Gus Nukem

    indeed. I see it and raise. (ha ha ha! ) http://tinyurl.com/cu8ox *** Ripped off of Rich Johnston's LITG column : http://tinyurl.com/bn4pb **** PS I have some problems with my PC, so bask in your pseudo-ultimacy El Vale and blackthought. The true master of finality will return and claim his mantle of Lasthood ... for good.

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 4:29 p.m. CST

    yo I can't see either of those links man

    by Shigeru

    what's up?

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 5:37 p.m. CST

    Don't know how Travis makes his money

    by Doc_Strange

    But my guess is they're paying him out the ass for a four year graphic novel. Guy could make millions if he wanted to.

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 5:40 p.m. CST

    One more thing on Travis

    by Doc_Strange

    I totally agree the man isn't made for a monthly comic. But he is probably the best artist on anything right now. His stuff continually blows me away. He's kind of like Drew Struzan but instead of posters, does comics. I just wish he would put stuff out more regularly. A 50 page graphic novel every 6-8 months would rock.

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 6:01 p.m. CST

    Comics these days

    by kuryakin

    They just aren't simple enough for my brain to handle. I'm not a stupid guy by any means but everything these days is so damn convoluted. 100 Bullets - every issue has some great hardboiled writing, dialogue so smart that you know the guys who wrote it are high-fiving themselves - yet I have no fucking clue what's going on. It's like when Americans explain the rules of American football to me. My eyes glaze over. This (the comics thing I mean) could be due to comics getting more contrived or then again it could be due to me buying too many comics and just losing track. Seriously, I pick up most of the Bat-books when they come out - I have no idea which story is in which book anymore. I know there is one storyline I don't like much but I'm fucked if I can remember which book it's in. (Don't even suggest reading in the shop. I hate those in-the-way shitheads)So I buy them all. As far as modern heroes go - stop trying to make them realistic. These are people who seem to sit around in their costumes ALL THE TIME. Remember that episode of JLU where it's Superman's birthday and Batman and Wonder Woman turn up at his wacky ice pad in the Bat Jet in costume; and Wonder Woman is carrying a gift, all wrapped up , while Batman just brings him cash? Fucking hilarious. That's the way this shit should be. The lack of realism doesn't bother me cos they aren't TRYING to be realistic. When the introduce this "gritty" shit to the comics, you immediately question it. Why DO they sit around in the Hub all costumed up? Why DO the same villains keep coming back again and again and again without someone getting tired and pulling a Wonder Woman style neck snap on the irritating bastards? Please just let us suspend disbelief and enjoy a decent fucking comic.

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 6:08 p.m. CST

    And speaking of questioning realism

    by kuryakin

    This latest issue of Ultimate XMen where Polaris gets locked up with Magneto. Apart from the fact that the prudish old Ultimates wouldn't lock up a teenage girl with a much older man in the first place - Magneto's cage has one bed and a chess table. Where does he poop? Seriously, he's in a glass cage hanging from some string. There's no plumbing, or any ventilation for that matter. Is there a hole in the floor of that big box? It must fall a hell of a long way. I like to poo while reading comics so this is a subject close to my heart.

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 6:47 p.m. CST

    superhero

    by astronato

    First off, if I cast dispersions on the status of your Superman fanaticism, I apologize. Secondly, I am not defending the new Supergirl comic but Supergirl and the other elements of the Superman mythos that you are calling lame. I hadn't been buying superhero comics since the early 90's until I was shopping in a Waldens bookstore and saw that another character deemed "lame", Hal Jordan was being brought back in the Rebirth mini series. So please forgive me if my pent up fanboy anger got the best of me in my previous post. I am sure you know much more about Superman than I do, I am only now catching up with the events of the past 15 years but already I am buying 18 books regularly and a good portion of them are from DC. I am digging some of the Superman books and the friction between DC's holy trinity. You asked if I thought that bringing back elements that made Superman a joke is a good idea. Was Supergirl the reason that Superman was considered a joke or was it the more innocent story telling of the time? I say it is the latter. When sales are down, don't fire the characters, fire the writer or the editor. Since returning to comic books the writer I am liking the most is Geoff Johns. He seems to have a way of taking discarded "uncool" characters and elements and making them contemporary and credible. Villains United kicks ass and it is full of B or C team level characters. Gail Simone found a way to make them work. You mentioned Krypto having nothing to do but hang around the Kent family farm. Well that's all I want him to do. It just a nice touch in my opinion. Superman having a pet makes him as identifiable to me as any flying alien in his pajamas with laser beam eyes could. I don't mean this as an insult but I think sometimes people who have been reading comics for a long time are jaded. What new things are you expecting Supergirl or Superman or any superhero to do? There are only so many stories in the universe and they are retold over and over again in every medium. Superhero comics books are full of cliches, even deconstructing superheroes is a cliche. As high an art form as sequential art has been raised, Alan Moore still ain't Gore Vidal. Complaining about cliches or retreaded stories in superhero comics seems akin to complaining that the margaritas aren't being brought fast enough to the kiddie pool your wading in. Are there new stories to be told in the world of superheroes? I hope so but until that happens I am ok with the cliche of the hero vs the villain. I like it. As for the new Supergirl comic book, it is still only issue one. I am not sure how much character depth can be developed in one or two issues and I think DC is being purposely vague about Kara's back story because it is part of the unveiling of Powergirl's formerly (still) vague back story. Yeah, the art isn't great and story isn't a masterpiece but perhaps the book will improve .........and I appreciate the heads up on the Superman Adventures and S.T.A.R.S and S.T.R.I.P.E. books, I will try to track them down. Let the comic book snobs laugh all they want, I am buying this book because I like the concept of Supergirl and Kara the character.

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 7:37 p.m. CST

    All this and add to the fact that poorly drawn books go for thre

    by Doc_Strange

    I'm sorry I'm not about to buy a book drawn by a wannabe manga style hack. Seems like everyone's trying to jump onboard the japanese bandwagon yet none of them even know the first thing about manga, shit.

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 9:53 p.m. CST

    And is there a toilet in the Fortress of Solitude?

    by kuryakin

    And what is Superman's reading material? Not the Ikea catalogue clearly, as evidenced by the lack of rugs. I feel sorry for the Flash - by the time he poos, he's already wiped. You should enjoy your poo, Wally. And Barbara Gordon - I think she is the sexiest comics lady around as written by Gail Simone. But she has to have all kinds of pooping problems. See - I've taken it too far now

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 9:59 p.m. CST

    Hey astronauto I agree with some of what you say but...

    by superhero

    Did you read my last post? I agree that characters themselves aren't necessarily the problem but,yes, there are some Superman conventions that I see as being, pardon my over-use of the term, lame. Krypto being one of them. To answer your question, yes to a certain extent Superman's popularity suffered because he was saddled with silly conventions like Krypto and 10 different types of Kryptonite. The newer Superman books were better because they pared down Supes to his bare essentials and "humanized" him. That's why the first two Superman films were great. They addressed the CHARACTER inside without sacrificing what made him "super". You don't think that people can identify at all with an alien that fires laser beams from his eyes? Then how do ANY comic fans identify with ANY superheroes? I'm glad that you like Krypto sitting around on a farm being useless but I like my supporting cast to have some reason for being around besides being a neat prop to have pop in and out every once in a while. And using the age old excuse for bad writing that these characters have been around forever and what new stories are there to tell seems to defeat your own argument about good writers. You're saying that these characters are overused and might have nothing "original" to say but in the same breath you say that a good writer would be able to do something great with them. So which is it? You can't have both. I may have been reading comics since I was a wee lad but I still have faith in the characters themselves and their ability to be used compellingly, humourously and intelligently. You seem to be making the argument that just because a character has been around for ages they might not have anything fresh to offer longtime readers...well I disagree and I stated in my post that there were some great Superman stories that have been told in recent years which is why I'll trash a bad one when it comes around. Oh, and this "new" Kara has had more than one or two issues to develop. She had several in the Superman/Batman book and her development went NOWHERE. Just because no one knows about her past doesn't mean she can't have some depth...yeeeshhh.

  • Aug. 18, 2005, 10:33 p.m. CST

    fables 40 was good...

    by v1cious

    but i don't know, i was expecting the Adversary to be something a little more out of left field. the was they explained it was great though. definitely made it work.

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 12:16 a.m. CST

    "Strange thing, Loeb is treating her like a teenage girl... And

    by Voice O. Reason

    Are you on crack? From her perspective, she just saw the rest of her family die in a planet wide catestrophy! Now she's going to intenionally alienate herself from her only living relative while she trapped on a strange planet? Bullshit. Complete and total bullshit.

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 1:36 a.m. CST

    oh

    by blackthought

    villians united...such a nice treat...is simone single? if not i'd like to marry her for making catman such a cool mo'fo and ragdoll is a hoot...anyway runaways hardcover...yummy

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 2:55 a.m. CST

    Help

    by El Vale

    Can anyone tell me who the second girl is so i can track her down and ask her to marry me? http://tinyurl.com/75xvv

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 7:40 a.m. CST

    kuryakin

    by Shigeru

    it's all Brian Michael Bendis' fault.

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 7:43 a.m. CST

    Vale

    by Shigeru

    I believe her name is "Hot-as-shit-emo-comics-lady" and too late, she is my girlfriend.

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 11:09 a.m. CST

    El Vale / Shigeru / Dave_F

    by Gus Nukem

    El Vale, not only I know who your 'girl' is, but I found a page with her bio and contact information. Behave! http://tinyurl.com/an37v *** Shigeru, my previous links seem to work. Are you sure you can't use them ? -- Anyway, it was this I was talking about. http://images. comicbookresources.com /litg/ moorekirby.jpg (mind the spaces) *** Moebius, Miyazaki, Moore and Kirby: human sequential art can't get better than that, can it ? *** Dave, you've mentioned that Rich Johnston frequents the AICN comics talkbacks, or not ? What's is his nickname ?

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 12:23 p.m. CST

    Green Lantern #3, Girls #4, Outsiders #27

    by The Heathen

    Well Hal finally said the Green Lantern's oath and I thoght it kicked ass. I suggest Green Lantern #3 for anybody who is sick of the talky talk and sick of the too dark tales for our superheros. In this issue there's fights at an air force base, fights in a jet, and fights in space. And to top it off, you have that nice moment where Hal lights the path for the family who is driving through the dark Coast City somewhat uncertain until they see the GL by their side. Good stuff. **** Is anybody reading Girls? I know I am (let's get a review @$$holes). Issue #4 wasn't as funny or quite as good as the last issue, but I'll be damned if this book doesn't have me waiting every month. I'm interested to see the Luna's on the Spider-Woman mini. **** I don't think Outsiders #27 had the impact of the previous issue, but it was a nice 2 issue arc that had some cool art by Will Conrad (although his work in this issue didn't seem as polished as in #26 or the Serenity mini (review please!!! it's called pre-ordering!!!) This has a dark ending, and it's pretty chilling too. **** Where's the All Week Cog Smooches?

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 12:34 p.m. CST

    Want to see that George Perez Infinite Crisis cover in color?

    by The Heathen

    http://tinyurl.com/anen4 **** I knew you did!

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 1 p.m. CST

    Kyle Rayner?

    by The Heathen

    Does anyone think that he may die during Infinite Crisis? Not for any reason really, besides the fact that he is involved in it. **** Kal-El, you weren't shitting dude. Between people seriously defending AvP, admitting to going to buy the unrated cut in Nov., turd burgler, and BOW TO ME, etc., etc. I couldn't stop laughing. **** The Aquaman TB scares me due to the lenght alone. Good grief.

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 1:37 p.m. CST

    hey guys

    by Darth Kal-El

    man its been crazy busy over here! not too much time for posting which sucks. yeah heathen i was cracking up. that whole 'plays taps on a bugle made of feces' thing kept me rolling all day. and the 'hit the gym' shit? i bet evry single person that posted that does not EVER do anything phsical. hello pot this is the kettle, YOUR FUCKING BLACK!!!

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 2:28 p.m. CST

    Rayner better NOT bite it...

    by superhero

    I think he's been the best Green Lantern ever. The one I've most enjoyed reading. Not that I picked up the GL book that often, mind you. This week's GL was freaking great, though. Although the whole jumping out of a jet airplane to recharge the ring was a little too crazy in a Michael Bay movie sort of way. Still, even if Hal Jordan is the dryest of the GLs if his adventures are this crazy in the new book I'm in for sure...

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 2:39 p.m. CST

    DAMN YOU GUS NUKEM!

    by El Vale

    You have tricked me and made me angry! That page on your bookmarks buddy? Seems like you pulled it out pretty quick there.

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 3:12 p.m. CST

    Green Lanterns

    by The Heathen

    Yeah, Kyle's cool, that's why I'm worried about him dying. Unless the Green Lantern Corp mini does something concrete w/ the Gl's (specifically Kyle) I'm worried for his life. It was pretty far fetched w/ the whole jet thing, but it's the first time in a long while that I was like, "What the hell is Hal gonna do? Holy shit! Cool!" I'm digging the new Green Lantern series. **** That was pretty devious Gus, and how did you pull that up so fast? Mmmm

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 3:41 p.m. CST

    My theory on Kyle Rayner:

    by SleazyG.

    In GL#150, Winick briefly turned Kyle into a hero named Ion. One of the new DC titles rumored to be solicited post-Crisis is called ION. Dot-connecting time...

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 3:53 p.m. CST

    good one gus

    by Darth Kal-El

    ya bastid!

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 4:05 p.m. CST

    El Vale's girl - 'Gus is our omniscient and kind master&

    by Gus Nukem

    People, prepare to be blown away. I remember her from a buzzscope.com article on artists working long hours, getting carpal tunnel syndrome, not eating well etc. *** She looks like a girl I &#39;ve fallen for, so she gets a place in my heart of hearts as well - voila http://tinyurl.com/8na7q *** Tara McPherson, my fellow comic geeks. *** go to taramcpherson.com -> info -> photos for drool induction. *** Posting tinyurls of individual photos is futile; both on her site and at the buzzscope thingy she is astonishing every single time. We <heart> you Ms. McPherson.

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 4:12 p.m. CST

    double kudos to me

    by Gus Nukem

    for posting a Kirby & Moore photo ( http://images.comicbookresources.com/litg/moorekirby.jpg ) and for the revolution of the stunning Ms. Tara McPherson *** /creepy internet geek mode: OFF

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 4:18 p.m. CST

    Mea culpa, it should be: &#39;drool inducement&#39;

    by Gus Nukem

    SORRY!!!

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 4:20 p.m. CST

    Again, SORRY!!! revolution -> revelation

    by Gus Nukem

    SORRY!, people.

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 5:11 p.m. CST

    no need to apolagize for anything involving Tara McPherson

    by The Heathen

    nice on the eyes

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 5:21 p.m. CST

    please elaborate SleazyG.

    by The Heathen

    My curiosity is growing

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 6:48 p.m. CST

    I wish I knew more, Heathen.

    by SleazyG.

    All I can tell you is that I&#39;ve read a few articles detailing possible DC series launching out of the Crisis event. ION was one of the names on a short list of four or five I read, and since the only character at DC I know of with a link to that name is Kyle, it seems like the most obvious situation. I initially thought Kyle would be part of the new GL Corps, but maybe he&#39;s gonna get spun off into his own "cosmic defender"-type series. I hope not, though--the seriously cosmic stuff is among my least favorite subgenres, but Kyle is my favorite GL by leaps and bounds. I&#39;m sure we&#39;ll hear more in a few weeks&#39; time, though, so sit tight.

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 7:04 p.m. CST

    Tara Mcpherson

    by Darth Kal-El

    very hot indeed but the tatoos are not really my thing. well let me rephrase that i dont like the sleeves on girls but i like tatoos.

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 7:15 p.m. CST

    I don&#39;t know what other public forum to post this in...

    by DuncanHines

    ...but they really need to make a movie of Doctor Strange. Now, I&#39;m not a huge Doctor Strange fan. I dig the Defenders (at least Busiek and Larsen&#39;s run, and now the Giffen, DeMatteis and Maguire issues). But they need to make a Doctor Strange movie. He needs to wear pretty much the same costume as in the comics. And he needs to be played by Will Ferrell. It&#39;d be friggin brilliant and you know it.

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 7:29 p.m. CST

    This is indeed the forum to post it in, and Green Lantern should

    by The Heathen

    just kidding DuncanHines, but seriously, who would play Doc Strange? Here&#39;s my two cents: Hugh Laurie from House. Anyone else have any ideas? **** Thanks for telling me what you know Sleazy, I may hunt down that issue, but I&#39;m w/ you on Kyle not being a cosmic defender type guy. If he was, would he still have the power ring w/ just a different name like "Ion" or completely different powers? Mmm

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 7:32 p.m. CST

    Here&#39;s Stephen Strange

    by The Heathen

    http://tinyurl.com/bkva2 **** It could work.

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 7:34 p.m. CST

    "You&#39;re saying that these characters are overused and might

    by astronato

    I didn&#39;t say that characters that have been around a long time don&#39;t have anything to offer, just the opposite, I said that writers like Geoff Johns take classic characters and tell good stories without drastic revamps or replacing those characters. I like Geoff Johns a lot but he hasn&#39;t reinvented the wheel. Superhero stories are almost always going to be about the "good guy" fighting the "bad guy". Johns knows how to tell good superhero stories and his love of those characters shows. That is what I meant. Having it both ways is saying that Supergirl is kinda lame but kinda cool to have around or that you sorta like Krypto but he is lame. By the way a dog is not a character (except perhaps in a children&#39;s cartoon or a Disney movie). With the exception of Detective Chimp a pet in a comic book is usually a prop. Also, Maybe Loeb hasn&#39;t given Kara enough character development in those Batman/Superman books but I haven&#39;t read any of them, I thought your review was on issue one of Supergirl. I am gonna let it go now because when I read/hear "Yeeesh" I get the feeling I am really annoying you and all I was trying to do was express an opinion in a public forum. No harm, no foul.

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 7:52 p.m. CST

    astronato

    by The Heathen

    check out We3 buddy.

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 7:56 p.m. CST

    My Infinite Crisis control rumors & specualtions

    by The Heathen

    So far Power Girl may die, but the new (so popular) Supergirl will live. Maybe she and PG fight it out? As I stated earlier I have a feeling something may happen to Kyle Rayner, whether it be death, or a new name (Ion as SleazyG. pointed out) or powers. I dunno. Nightwing may take over the bat mantle for bruce because??? And isn&#39;t Nightwing working for Slade right now? And hasn&#39;t he also announced he&#39;s leaving the Outsiders? Tim Drake said he never wanted to take over I think. Slade wants revenge on Green Arrow for his eye, and Catman wants revenge on Slade for killing all his cats and on Green Arrow for disgracing him. Either that&#39;s really not good for GA or Catman, but I can&#39;t decide who after seeing how cool the latter is now. From Perez&#39;s Inf Crisis cover we know that the main three and their understudies all have something prominent to do with what happens. And what&#39;s going to happen to the main three&#39;s relationships, will their still be a league? The watchtower looks screwed too. And then there&#39;s that other rumor that this universe was one of the other universes, but I&#39;ve already confused myself enough already. I am excited about this event though

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 7:57 p.m. CST

    We3

    by astronato

    What&#39;s We3?

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 8:16 p.m. CST

    We3

    by astronato

    Well I am glad I said usually instead of never :) Doesn&#39;t look like my cup of tea but thanks for the heads up Heathen.

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 8:50 p.m. CST

    Will Ferrell IS (should be) Doctor Strange!

    by DuncanHines

    Heathen, hear me out... Dr Strange is ridiculous. But imagine Will Ferrell in the Doctor Strange suit, but playing the role completely deadpan serious... no implied humor, but it&#39;d end up being hilarious (but, like, an on-the-down-low hilarious) because he&#39;d be saying things like, "...the Eye of Agamotto!..." and "... By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth!" It&#39;s already completely absurd, so why not make the film version beyond completely absurd? Hell, as soon as you put a moustache on Will Ferrell, he&#39;s already hilarious; he doesn&#39;t even have to say anything. Hugh Laurie should play Dormammu.

  • Aug. 19, 2005, 8:54 p.m. CST

    catman rocks

    by blackthought

    this mcpherson lady seems intriguing...plays guitar too...also what ever happened to the lizzybeth? the new indie jones section of the column is tailor made for her.

  • Aug. 20, 2005, 8:46 a.m. CST

    El Vale...

    by Gus Nukem

    how&#39;s it going, man? Is that her? I think so, but I am not so certain. *** Catman, Catman, Catman - SHUT UP already. Ugh!

  • Aug. 20, 2005, 11:50 a.m. CST

    Batman and Throbbin&#39;

    by seanti

    http://www.artnet.com/ag/fulltextsearch.asp?searchstring=Mark+Chamberlain

  • Aug. 20, 2005, 12:37 p.m. CST

    DuncanHines

    by The Heathen

    So Ferrell would play it serious and the movie would be serious in tone but it wouldn&#39;t really be serious because of all the goofy things Strange say&#39;s and Ferrell wouldn&#39;t imply that he&#39;s being funny, but in fact imply that he&#39;s completely serious when saying, "the Eye of Agamotto!" and such

  • Aug. 20, 2005, 12:45 p.m. CST

    astronato We3

    by The Heathen

    Sorry to not reply sooner, I left right after my Crisis specualtions. Yeah, I myself just picked up the 3 issues of We3 this week at my shop and I thought it was imperative to let you in on that little tid bit. In comics I believe you can probably find annything, and if you can&#39;t yet, give it another year. I also like the current creative teams on the Supes books. Especially Ms. Simone and Karl Kerschl (really liking his covers too).

  • Aug. 20, 2005, 1:48 p.m. CST

    Casting for Dr. Strange

    by Ambush Bug

    This used to be my hobby, but it kind of fell by the wayside as other responsibilities reared their ugly head. Anyway, I don&#39;t know about the Will Ferrell thing. I&#39;d prefer to see Rufus Sewell, probably most famous for his lead in DARK CITY, playing the role of Dr. Strange. I even did a Casting Couch feature for it in a column long ago. Those damn Casting Couches were damn fun and always sparked conversation and heated debate in the TBs. What do you guys think, is this a feature we should bring back?

  • Aug. 20, 2005, 1:48 p.m. CST

    Benji, Lassie, etc. A gun is a PROP a pet CAN be a character and

    by superhero

    Oh, and I WAS reviewing Supergirl number one and SG was unintersting as all heck in that book. Not to mention that SG # 1 is an extension of the stories in SUPERMAN/BATMAN so those stories are indeed relevant to the character. That&#39;s like saying what&#39;s happened to a character in the past isn&#39;t relevant to anything in a current issue... :O) There. I got it out of my system...now astronauto and I can be friends... :O)

  • Aug. 20, 2005, 2:04 p.m. CST

    HELL YEAH BUG!!!

    by The Heathen

    Bring &#39;em back! The All Weekers need some steam to keep us going throughout the TBs. Let&#39;s keep the ? of the week too. Great idea to bring the Casting Couch back.

  • Aug. 20, 2005, 4:23 p.m. CST

    i second the vote to bring back the casting couch

    by Darth Kal-El

    All Week Cog Smooches ASSEMBLE!!

  • Aug. 20, 2005, 11:32 p.m. CST

    third it

    by blackthought

    and can the casting couch come with an ottoman too? i&#39;d like to put my feet up you know.

  • Aug. 21, 2005, 2:07 p.m. CST

    If Evangeline Lilly plays Wonder Woman

    by El Vale

    I&#39;ll buy a ticket. And i&#39;m sorry for bringing this one back, but i just read she&#39;s interested. And i&#39;m in love with her so...

  • Aug. 21, 2005, 5:31 p.m. CST

    aawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

    by blackthought

  • Aug. 21, 2005, 9:46 p.m. CST

    i feel ya though

    by blackthought

    she is mighty fine and devious on lost

  • Aug. 22, 2005, 9:54 a.m. CST

    mmkay.

    by Shigeru

    Black hair? Full sleeve tats? Draws comics? Okay seriously I just died.

  • Aug. 22, 2005, 2:37 p.m. CST

    ASSEMBLED!!!

    by The Heathen

    (although a few days later) Evangeline Lily is awesomely cute. I don&#39;t know about her playing WW though. And Bug, I just watched some of Dark City this weekend and Rufus Sewell would be a good choice for Doctor Strange. Just give him a mustache! And I have just begun the Invincible HC.... and Rachel McAdams is hot too, I just felt like I should say that because I&#39;ve seen her in two movies in a row. Moving on...

  • I don&#39;t know, i&#39;m not convinced...not in one of her pictures does she look as awesome as the SC girl and she looks a bit...thick to be her. Not that she&#39;s not ok, you know?

  • Aug. 22, 2005, 7:30 p.m. CST

    i hear ya

    by blackthought

    still need some convincing myself that its one in the same for the lady...invincible hardcover is a delight heathen...and rufus sewell plays too many cads in movies but you never...and holy yes is rachel mcadams worthy of adulation...and 40-year old virgin was mighty funny...this is he age of aqaur...er..

  • Aug. 22, 2005, 9:02 p.m. CST

    maybe so,

    by Gus Nukem

    but Tara McPherson ... <sigh>

  • Aug. 22, 2005, 10:01 p.m. CST

    yeah

    by blackthought

    sigh..indeed

  • Aug. 23, 2005, 10:54 a.m. CST

    DON&#39;T BELIEVE THE HYPE.

    by Shigeru

    She may be terribly good looking, incredibly talented, and draw show posters for rad indie bands, but DON&#39;T FALL FOR IT. EMO GIRLS ARE BLACK WIDOWS... they will lure you in with their dyed hair (swooped to the side!), bohemian sensibilities and cool tattoos. And just when you think you&#39;ve found the perfect girl, they will literally BITE your heart out. (I&#39;ve seen it happen to a friend of mine!!) They chew it for a while and then spit out the remains into mason jars and keep them as trophies! Normal girls are bad enough, but EMO GIRLS are bad news bears, dudes. Hell who am I kidding......Tara I heart you please go out with me.

  • Aug. 23, 2005, 2:15 p.m. CST

    If i dated someone like Tara

    by El Vale

    With the tatoos and the piercings and stuff...i&#39;d never hear the end of it from my mom and grandma. They&#39;d prolly have me brainwashed. Nope, i have to date very decent, very normal and very pretty girls (actually that&#39;s the way i like&#39;em too). And i can&#39;t date black or too...tanned women cause my family&#39;d have a field day making fun of me. Ah well, such is the life of the mighty.

  • Aug. 23, 2005, 2:26 p.m. CST

    hey guys

    by Darth Kal-El

    wow its been crazy busy here in my area! i dont really dig sleeves on girls but other than that tara is mighty cute. i know what u mean vale about your family having final say in who u date.it must be a south american thing cuz i get the same from my fam.

  • Aug. 23, 2005, 2:47 p.m. CST

    Public service

    by El Vale

    "I was at the crisis panel at Chicago. During the Q and A someone made a comment on the Flash. DiDio had a long reply, and ended with, "Wally&#39;s a great Flash for the time being." A few minutes later, someone said, "For the time being?" DiDio replied "Shit!" He then acted like he was joking, but after the panel Greg Rucka was talking to him and kept saying, &#39;Geoff is going to kill you!&#39;" ***Happy to spoil ID Crisis for all you kind people***

  • Aug. 23, 2005, 2:54 p.m. CST

    wally&#39;s

    by blackthought

    just "retireing"...maybe open up a tattoo shop for chick comic artists and have a reformed weather wizard run it.

  • Aug. 24, 2005, 1:32 a.m. CST

    Was watching Letterman tonight

    by El Vale

    And i realized the guy&#39;s remarkably resembling Agent Graves lately. No, really.

  • Aug. 24, 2005, 10:58 a.m. CST

    Vale, ya bastard!

    by The Heathen

    I guess it&#39;s okay since I read ID Crisis a year ago, but I don&#39;t remember anything happening to Wally. Maybe in Infinite Crisis. ; ) And thanks for telling me who died in the Half Blood Prince blackthought! Next thing I know you guy&#39;s are going to tell me there&#39;s some big twist at the end of the Invincible HC!

  • Aug. 24, 2005, 11:32 a.m. CST

    Heathen

    by Shigeru

    The twist at the end of the Invincible HC is that Invincible gets ass raped by Sue Dibney&#39;s reanimated corpse, but she really turns out to be Magneto, who had magnetically mindwipped Yorick Brown into thinking he was the last man on earth, when in reality he&#39;s stuck in a prison surrounded by zombies. k i&#39;m going to lunch.

  • Aug. 24, 2005, 1:04 p.m. CST

    let&#39;s jump Cog Smooches!!!

    by The Heathen

    and

  • Aug. 24, 2005, 8:15 p.m. CST

    heathen

    by blackthought

    booster gold does die in the half-blood prince.

  • Aug. 26, 2005, 3:28 p.m. CST

    NOOOOO!!!

    by The Heathen

    Anybody but Booster! Damn you blackthought!!!

  • Aug. 27, 2005, 1:37 p.m. CST

    fine...

    by blackthought

    how bout the vigilante?

  • Aug. 29, 2005, 1:43 p.m. CST

    how about

    by Gus Nukem

    your ass falling back to its usual penultimacy ? LAST!

  • Aug. 30, 2005, 2:43 p.m. CST

    No no children...

    by El Vale

    It&#39;s pronounced LAST!

  • Aug. 30, 2005, 4:10 p.m. CST

    thanks, old man

    by Gus Nukem

    LAST!

  • Aug. 30, 2005, 11:03 p.m. CST

    or

    by blackthought

    LAST! :)