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AICN COMICS REVIEWS COMICS BRITANNIA! GROO! SUICIDE SQUAD! & MUCH MORE!

#19 9/12/07 #6
Logo by Ambush Bug

Hey folks, Ambush Bug here. I just wanted to pop in and remind you all that there’s one more week to go for our “Send in your nightmares!” Fox Atomic THE NIGHTMARE FACTORY Contest. 10 lucky readers will win a copy of THE NIGHTMARE FACTORY autographed by horror-maestro, Thomas Ligotti. Good luck.
And now, on with the reviews.

The Pull List (Click title to go directly to the review) Stones Throw on COMICS BRITANNIA SUICIDE SQUAD #1 SERGIO ARAGONES’ GROO 25th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA WEDDING SPECIAL TROUBLE WITH GIRLS VOL. 1 & 2 WONDER GIRL #1 FLIGHT VOL. 4 dot.comics presents SLUGGY FREELANCE Webcomic Indie Jones presents… CHEAP SHOTS! Tales From the Crevice: THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN

Stones Throw on COMICS BRITANNIA

Like a comic but with sound and pictures that move!!! Homepage

I know, the comic book is an American art form. But at the same time that ACTION COMICS and DETECTIVE COMICS were changing the American idea of what a comic could be, a puritan Scottish publisher called DC Thompson took inspiration from American comics to do much the same thing in the UK – only much more humor-based and bizarre. As the @$$Holes’ resident Brit, with a BBC4 series (which also hosted possibly the definitive Steve Ditko documentary, IN SEARCH OF STEVE DITKO on Sunday) shining some light on the subject, I thought it might be worth giving y’all a look at a comics tradition of another country.
Right, yer ponces - - sorry, lapsed into comic book Brit-speak there.
Ask any British comic book maker (and there seems to be a lot of ‘em) what their first experience of comics were, and if it’s not adventure books like THE EAGLE it’s likely to be two weekly humor comics archaically named THE DANDY and THE BEANO. That was certainly the case with me (and my bro and Pa), along with the Tintin and Asterix books - both European characters that I wholeheartedly recommend on their own qualities. THE DANDY and THE BEANO are a little different though. They aim young, and despite technically being comedy, they’re not exactly funny. Nick Park, creator of WALLACE AND GROMIT, is interviewed in the show and I think he puts it best when he says “I was always deadly serious reading them.” The humor’s mostly slapstick and although the stories all tend to follow a similar formula there’s very little conventional staging of a joke. However, what does make the comics a captivating read for the under-10s is the sheer off-the-wall quality and the intricate, madcap detail of the art. I know that watching the show last Monday I found myself chuckling more than a few times at the zaniness and energy of the strips. It’s humor that couldn’t possibly exist anywhere except comics, with a whole range of tools used, including innovations that I’ve yet to see repeated anywhere else. Instead of the traditional “light bulb above the head”, the words “CRAFTY PLAN” might appear, or ironically literal sound effects like “GUFFAW” or “GRAB”. One of the defining features of the comics is an impossibly detailed spread filled with dozens of sight gags, often labeled in a similar style. You don’t laugh because you’re too busy absorbing all the detail.
Before THE DANDY was introduced (in December 1937, making it the second longest-running comic in existence, behind DETECTIVE), British comics were just a step up from illustrated stories, usually featuring panels with text underneath. THE DANDY took the American innovation of speech balloons, creating a much more dynamic and involving read, and placed them in a half-tabloid format with color covers, starring a range of funny animals, mischievous kids and adventure stories. Understandably, amongst the impoverished 1930s youth it was a massive hit, and a second publication, THE BEANO, soon followed. The 1930s lexicon still existed even when I was reading the comics, with “grub” (massive platefuls of food) being the perennial reward (somewhat mystifying to me, but definitely relevant in the less well-off, hungry years of 1930-60) and slippers or canes as an all-purpose symbol of punishment.
THE DANDY’s signature character is DESPERATE DAN, who even has a statue erected in his honor in Dundee, home of DC Thompson. Given his unexplained and comedic strength (he’s often seen accidentally destroying property or eating “cow pies” filled with an entire cow, horns poking out of the pastry) he’s something of a British Popeye, a cowboy who lives in a curiously English Wild West, complete with red telephone and post boxes. The books at the time were written and drawn by older, established cartoonists like Dan’s creator Dudley D. Watkins, a consummate professional who died at his drawing board in 1969.
When WWII broke out DC Thompson got on the propaganda trail with strips like “Addie and Hermy” and “Musso da Wop” mocking the Axis leaders – though I can’t imagine Desperate Dan doing the “your country needs you” bit was quite as striking as Superman. The program tells us that Watkins was actually able to avoid the draft as his work was considered of such importance.
The next significant period began with the Baby Boom and the introduction of the second iconic character, DENNIS THE MENACE (who first appeared three days after his US counterpart) in THE BEANO in 1951, created by Davy Law. Let’s get this strait though – while the worst the American Dennis might do is, I dunno, steal some cookies, this Dennis really lives up to his name, beating up “softies” and generally terrorizing all figures of authority – parents, teachers, policemen, even war veterans. It’s kind of shocking how anti-authoritarian the strips were for the post-war days. The strip was such a success that it opened the doors for younger, more madcap and surreal artists like Ken Reid and Leo Baxendale (who Alan Moore has referenced and whose detailed, cartoony style has became the comics’ signature), who created similar characters like MINNIE THE MINX, ROGER THE DODGER and the BASH STREET KIDS, who must have really stood out in the gray, post-war 1950s. Reid also created the calamitous sailor JONAH, which as a kid I found a little disturbing with its detailed scenes of disaster and shipwrecks, while Baxendale created THE THREE BEARS and LITTLE PLUM (Your Redskin Chum). The 60s saw a boom in the humor comic formula, with a raft of imitators appearing.
The second half of the show is something of a downer. The usual comic book story of underpaid, overworked artists who aren’t allowed to sign work or own the rights to their creations applies, and Reid even suffered a nervous breakdown from the amount of work he was taking on. Baxendale eventually quit THE BEANO, but was unable to find the same level of success elsewhere, although snapshots of some of his other creations looked pretty inspired in a demented way. LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN co-creator Kevin O’Neill is also interviewed, and his style probably owes quite a bit to Baxendale. The onset of political correctness in the 1980s prevented Desperate Dan from shaving with a blowtorch or chowing down on cows quite so much too. Although with a heavily diminished circulation, THE BEANO and DANDY and their most popular characters still continue, though THE DANDY has recently undergone a revamp to become DANDY XTREME, the first issue of which featured Bart Simpson on the cover.
I don’t expect anyone to go track these comics down, and honestly, I wouldn’t recommend it (they tend to lose appeal once you turn 11), but as far as I know it’s a uniquely British tradition that boasts some great art and I remember them being a lot of fun as a kid - - and, y’know, since this section is called AICN Comics I thought it might be interesting to take a look outside the more conventional coverage. Further installments of the COMICS BRITANNIA series will focus on more traditional older kids’ comics like DAN DARE and the British comics “revolution” of the 1980s, with contributions from Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons and the like. Based on the quality of this documentary I would however highly recommend keeping an eye out for these shows, along with the Steve Ditko doc, on BBC America, or to fellow British readers.

SUICIDE SQUAD #1 of 8

Writer: John Ostrander Artist: Java Pina Inker: Robin Riggs Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: Rock-Me Amodeo

Many years ago, John Ostrander pounded out a monthly comic book called SUICIDE SQUAD, the kind of violent and somewhat nihilistic book that DC just didn’t do much of before the birth of its Vertigo line in 1993. I bought every issue, and occasionally still use the line “vicious but financially remunerative circle” to this day. I mean, how can you not steal a line like that? But the book ended too soon.
I’ve found myself missing them even more lately since Simone did such a bang-up job with the very similar SECRET SIX, because we all know that any team that has Deadshot on it is really a Suicide Squad (whether they know it or not, heh-heh.) But Catman is no Bronze Tiger. And Knockout and Vandal (though almost as hot and interstellar as Moondragon and Quasar) added a vibe that made it less “Magnificent Seven” and more “Charlie’s Angels”. Very well written, but not exactly what I wanted – which was the original SUICIDE SQUAD.
Well, this series starts with the original. With the original writer, no less! So I know what I expected, and I was not disappointed. I don’t know where it’s going, but I enjoyed the first issue.
You want a slightly younger Amanda Waller, aka The Wall, doing her thing? Check. You wanna see one or two D-tier super villains bite the bullet? Check. You wanna see the kind of dirty fighting that real villains do? Check.
I don’t think I’ve seen Java Pina’s work before, but it’s fresh and nice. There were several flourishes I appreciated, like the intro shot of one of the villains. I took one look and thought, despite his manly costume, “What is this guy, some kind of freaking dancer?” And it turns out that he’s ex-Bolshoi. Cool.
As for the Squad, the line-up is classic: Bronze Tiger; Boomer (the original Captain Boomerang, who somehow still comes across as a loser even when he wins); Eve Eden as Nightshade (before she went unavoidably Goth); and Deadshot, of course.
And though they’re dealing with some history of the Squad, you don’t have to be a continuity buff to jump in. Nothing to be afraid of but good old-fashioned storytelling here, folks.

SERGIO ARAGONES’ GROO 25th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL

By Sergio Aragones With Mark Evanier Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Reviewer: Ambush Bug

One of the things I love about stories is that they can be viewed through different lenses. A story can be enjoyed from a strictly straight-forward literal level, but if you look a bit deeper into more weighty stories, you can see a few more levels at work. Children’s stories, good children’s stories that is, often work on multiple levels. Many in criticism say that stories work to entertain children and adults alike, meaning that children can watch a film or read a story and enjoy it, while adults can read the same story and get something out of it on a deeper level. For example, as a naïve kid, I watched WALT DISNEY’S ALADDIN thinking how cool the animation was and the effects that went into the genie’s magic. But in retrospect, through the lens of my adult eye, the story of a kid and his genie changes into something a bit more complex. All of a sudden it’s a story about a kid who gets a girl by rubbing his “magic lamp” really hard. Of course, to me, that’s bit of a mixed message because I was always told that type of thing caused blindness. Now, I know almost anything can be sexualized when looked at through a Freudian lens, but that’s not really my point. The point is, that in great stories, there are many levels for one to enjoy.
The main story presented in SERGIO ARAGONES’ GROO 25th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL is such a layered story.
If I were to read this story as a kid, I would have laughed at the dumb barbarian as he beat up scores of heathens and lowlifes with his sword. And I did enjoy this story on that level. I still read these stories with unbridled glee simply for the fact that time and time again, Groo the Wanderer dives into battle, sword in hand, and not one person is actually cut in the melee. They all have bruises and black eyes. It’s as if Groo beats these opponents with his sword instead of slicing them. The fact that Groo is so stupid that he cannot even use a sword correctly makes me laugh every time.
But looking a bit deeper (not too deep mind you, because the allegory is pretty thinly veiled) and you’ll see a commentary about the class system and how medical attention can only be attained by those with power. That’s right. This issue of GROO is actually a cartoon version on Michael Moore’s SICKO. It’s a comment on the health care industry and how it benefits the rich while leaving the poor sneezing and wheezing in the gutters.
I enjoyed this story on both levels. Groo’s fascination with cheese dip and his choice for violence as the only solution for every problem make me laugh. Then again, the social commentary is quite pointed and entertaining as well. Aragones and Evanier have crafted a nice little modern fable that is as relevant to today’s headlines and enjoyable enough on a “guy gets kicked in the nuts” level too.
The rest of this book is a treat to read as well. There’s a bit of a Q&A section in the middle of the book where co-writer Mark Evanier dispels some urban myths about GROO and his enigmatic creator Sergio Aragones. There’s also a fun section where every letter of the alphabet is dedicated to a character from the GROO Universe. Lastly, there’s yet another tale about greed involving Little Groo, which makes me wonder if the Groo-myth dispelled in Evanier’s commentary about how all of Groo’s stories are relatively the same may be a little false. Two stories in one book about greed sounds like a common theme to me.
This is a slickly packaged, thoroughly entertaining read nonetheless. Having been a fan of GROO for quite some time, it was good to see the old barbarian idiot with a videocassette strapped across his chest go nutzo on a swarm of ruthless warriors. It’s been too long. Longtime fans of GROO will not want to miss this issue for the inside look at the people behind the creation of the Wanderer. Those new to GROO will enjoy this semi-veiled commentary, some damn finely detailed artwork, and an excuse to see Groo to kick @$$.

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA WEDDING SPECIAL

Written by Dwayne McDuffie Art by Mike McKone and Andy Lanning Published by DC Comics Reviewed by Stones Throw

Number #1 thing I want to say about this comic – Look at that cover! Introducing Superstripper! Makes a change from Supercrybaby-shoving-his-head-in-Wonder-Woman’s-boobies
Number #2 thing I want to say about this comic – Where the hell is the wedding? This thing’s called JLA WEDDING SPECIAL, right? Mike McKone could have at least drawn a wedding scene in the background.
Number #3 thing I want to say about this comic – Tigra (okay, Cheetah, but I’m a Marvel fanboy) objects to Dr. Light joining the new League of Injustice because “he’s a rapist and a murderer”. I’ll give her the rapist part (although I’m trying to forget it, Zatanna mind wipe-style…how does saying stuff backwards make it magic anyway?), but she’s sitting next to Lex Luthor and the Joker, fer chrissakes. Not to mention the League doing their best to kill Firestorm later on. Number #4 thing I want to say about this comic – It’s actually pretty good! Turns out the WEDDING SPECIAL bit is a misnomer and it should really have been JLA #13, given that it starts off Dwayne McDuffie’s run on the book. It’s not often that you see a writer working simultaneously for Marvel and DC these days, but if they’re turning in as good work as McDuffie is I for one applaud it! He plays it pretty straight here, but that’s okay since there’s few things as cool as the World’s Greatest Super Heroes versus its Greatest Super Villains. Maybe it stretches logic a bit to have a new Injustice League so soon after SECRET SOCIETY, which I haven’t read, but I’ll cut him some slack since it’s his first issue and I liked pretty much everything else I saw. Luthor’s in full-on green and purple (a color combination that’s shared by a lot of super villains, for some reason) power suit mode, while the Joker’s being played more “killer clown” than out-and-out killer, which I like because since the last twenty years of comics have established what a dangerous sumbitch he is we don’t need to be hit over the head with it. The ultra-violence with Firestorm was admittedly a bit off-putting, although filled with cool super-powered goodness, and as Hawkgirl reminds us (it feels silly typing that) he does have a healing factor - plus it establishes the gravity of the threat.
One of my favorite scenes, a downtime moment at Green Arrow’s bachelor party, was Hal Jordan asking John Stewart to fill his spot on the team. Not because it’s an exceptionally strong moment, but because I’m hoping that McDuffie can finally develop the black Green Lantern into a well-rounded character in his own right. What with his starring role in the JLU animated series, DC would be stupid not to use him in some kind of prominent role. Sure, McDuffie’s tweaking the team to fit his needs but I like to give new writers a bit of leeway to do that, as long as the characters seem to belong - - looking at you, NEW AVENGERS. Team books are one of the few continuing titles where there actually can be significant change and growth, given that the team is the main character rather than any one star.
I sometimes find Mike McKone’s art can be a bit too understated for its own good but he really impressed me here. He can somehow draw something as bizarre as Luthor’s power suit like he would a glass of water. That sounds like a criticism, but it really isn’t – he’s great at grounding the fantastic in reality. I’d like to see him stick around on the title.
So McDuffie’s run is off to a good start for me. He’s not rewriting the rule book or changing everything you ever knew about the Justice League, something I find refreshing. And if he continues apace with more solid, fun superhero stories like this one, I don’t think it’ll matter.

THE TROUBLE WITH GIRLS Vol 1 & 2

Creators: Will Jacobs and Gerard Jones Publisher: Checker Book Publishing Group Reviewer: Squashua

Imagine living the life of a super-spy - fast cars, hot chicks, guns, intrigue, sex, violence, and danger. Now imagine that life never stopping for a moment: send the butler to take out the trash, he gets killed by ninjas; change the channel on the TV, and activate the bomb in the couch; go to a baseball game, and Iranians take the place hostage; arrive home to find three hot girls ready to bang your brains out.
That's what it's like for Lester Girls, 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week. Every day brings him the one-millionth-customer prize when he checks out at the grocery store, a baseball contract when he hits a home run into a crowded freeway and strikes a scout's limo, or the CEO position when he applies for a menial janitorial job. Lester Girls can do everything right. He always has. And yet, all he wants is a normal life with a plain girl and nineteen-fifties sensibilities. And to finish "The Red Pony". Hence, THE TROUBLE WITH GIRLS.
From what I could tell, Lester isn't actually a spy: this shit just keeps happening to him and he takes it in stride; the extraordinary continually takes precedence over the ordinary, thwarting Lester at every avenue to hilarious results. I did fear that once I was done with the first volume, all of the same jokes would come back to haunt me in the second book, but the writers managed to keep it fresh and the adventure going. These two trade paperbacks bring together all of the action-packed, critically-acclaimed issues of this popular cult classic (through 1989), featuring more hot 1980's mullet-wearing women than you can shake your dick at.
Jacobs and Jones manage to satire every spy/adventure/thriller cliché imaginable, outdoing James Bond, Austin Powers and Indiana Jones combined. Even though the art is completely dated in a "b&w indie comic from the eighties" fashion, these books showcase a classic example of a b&w indie comic from the eighties. They're nostalgic, and some of the topics are a bit dated, but the humor is solid, still holding even today. THE TROUBLE WITH GIRLS is definitely worth checking out.

WONDER GIRL #1 of 6

Writer: J. Torres Artist: Sanford Greene Inker: Nathan Massengill Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: (former Sgt.) Rock-Me Amodeo

I was looking forward to this book without knowing who was writing it. I remember when this incarnation of Wonder Girl was introduced over ten years ago – she has a lot of history. When I found out it was J. Torres writing, I got even more excited, since I just praised his BLACK CANARY WEDDING PLANNER up and down last week.
Then I read it. Sigh. This review won’t be as pretty as the artwork.
Some of you know that I’m a published author of young adult fiction, stuff with a “Heroes” meets “Buffy” flavor, which is what one might expect from a grown-up fanboy. For the sake of anyone young who has followed me here, and for some personal reasons, I try very hard to keep a lid on my language and my temper. So for the sake of any of younger readers, let me summarize that I didn’t care for this book, and ask that you might skip to the next review. Really. Okay?
Okay.
First off, there were some things that I liked: Sanford Greene is a fun artist with an anime flair. I never used to like that style, but after watching a few seasons of “Teen Titans” with my daughter, it’s kinda grown on me. This is Greene’s first real foray in a while (that I know of) into the main DCU, and I hope he comes back for more after this series runs its course.
Quick word of advice though, Sanford – next time you draw military of any sort, could you drop the facial hair, stubble and goatees from the troops? Unless the script instructed you to draw them like slobs, that stuff just doesn’t fly. Maybe you could take a field trip to Fort Jackson and check it out for real. And though she looks real pretty, maybe Cassie’s mom could look like, oh, I dunno, Cassie’s mom and not her sister?
Next up is the writing. The plot basically is Wonder Girl taking care of unfinished business from the Amazon war (wisely, the cover doesn’t proclaim it to be an “AMAZONS ATTACK Tie-In!”…like THAT would sell any extra copies…) I’m curious to see where we’re going, because lately Wonder Girl has had a habit of punching first and asking questions never. I suspect this is due to Ares being her benefactor, but in any case, the trend is represented well here. But frankly, it doesn’t make for a very sympathetic character, and it’s not the girl she used to be, long ago. I hope both of these points are addressed. I don’t want to see her revert, I just want to see her GROW.
As for the delivery, Torres does better dialogue than exposition, and neither one is too shabby, though there are some cheese-laden moments. A TV commentator remarks on the Amazons, saying that women should be tending hearth and home and not invading the capital and slaughtering innocents. Uhm…yeah!
However, I can’t excuse the fact that he uses one device that I have never been able to stand: the artificial prolonging of tension by having two characters not finishing some crucial conversation. Oh, if only Cassie and Robin could have taken a few more moments to talk about that kiss! Angsty-angst-angst. And Cassie can’t stick around long enough to get her mom’s cell phone number. I can see that being written in to demonstrate the urgency of her getting to the next fight, but I swear, if that becomes a plot point…
But that’s not really what sticks in my craw. What got me was the casual, almost throwaway lines of the Reservists on hand to deal with a particular crisis. “The men are afraid…we’re just a bunch of weekend warriors. Sir.” Then Cassie destroys a jeep in front of them and they all run away like pansies.
I mean, there are so many other ways this scene could have been played and moved the story forward. But to have them cower in fear because they’re “just” weekend warriors? And it’s at this point where I must temporarily shed my Mr. Rogers-ish tendencies and cry, “WTF?”
You mean “weekend warriors” like the ones that are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan? You mean like the ones that have signed up for two and three tours of combat duty? Like the ones that get wounded, male and female, and don’t want to come home because they don’t want to leave their buddies out in the field? You mean like THOSE weekend warriors? Give me a damn break, and this has nothing to do with politics. Every wise soldier has felt fear. But incapacitating fear? Much less likely. And incapacitating self-pity? Never seen it. Never. What a dumbshit time in history to pull out one of the lamest, dumbshit, disrespectful caricatures of military reservists ever. I haven’t been this mad since that stupid-ass issue of the INHUMANS miniseries where Sentry turned his nose up at his comrades-in-arms, and a bunch of marines were shouting “Kill, kill, kill!” like brain-dead extras from a tragic retelling of “Alice’s Restaurant.”
Oh, and lets not forget the editor. FYI, when a corporal (two chevrons on his sleeve) says “sir” to another soldier, it sure as hell won’t be to another soldier who ALSO has two chevrons on his sleeve! Nachie Castro, I know there wasn’t anything you could do to save NIGHTWING under Bruce Jones’ run, but you were the editor here, did you take two seconds to check any of this out?
My bottom line: despite hating this issue, I really do like Torres as a writer and I liked Greene as an artist (if he can make this look a little less TEEN TITANS GO! and more WONDER GIRL, ya know?) So let’s see where this goes in next issue, and for me, that will determine whether I pick up the whole run, or just glance over the TPB in the aisle of Borders.
I now return to my regularly scheduled level of restraint already in progress.

FLIGHT VOL 4

Writers: Various Artists: Various Publisher: Villard Books Reviewer: Ambush Bug

“If you could have one super power, what would it be?”
That was a question that popped up during a night out with non-comic book reading friends a while back. My friends came up with elaborate powers from super strength to x-ray vision. All of these super powers were tossed back and forth and discussed about and laughed at. When it came to my turn to answer the question I simply said, “I just wish I could fly.”
And I do wish that. It’s been a wish of mine ever since I was a little kid. I WAS that stereotypical kid with the tablecloth wrapped around my shoulders, jumping off of the couch or down the last ten steps leading to my basement, flapping away, and knowing that if I would just be able to get enough speed…well, I could actually take flight. I dream of flying when I sleep. I daydream of being able to put my gridlocked car in park, open my car door, and fly above all of the hullabaloo to get to my destination. I simply wish I could fly.
It’s that type of simplistic imagination that surfaces in each and every entry in the fourth volume of the critically acclaimed compilation series, FLIGHT. I have been meaning to pick up one of these books, thinking that at the heart of every story was the theme of flight. Upon reading this book, I found out that FLIGHT has less to do with actual flying, and more to do with the flight of ideas crammed in between the soft-bound covers of this book.
Each of the 25 entries in FLIGHT are done by animators, webcomic-makers, and newbies to comic books and graphic illustration. This book showcases some highly talented artists and writers. Although there are too many to go through individually, I want to point out my favorites of the bunch.
The book starts out with what might be my favorite story by Michael Gagne, “The Saga of Rex: Castaway” which illustrates the adventures of a pink dog with one horn, Rex, who goes on a silent adventure. I love how this story plays with first impressions and how we are often wrong about judging a book by its cover. This theme is repeated a few times in this story. It’s a strong and resonant one. The playful and “cute” artwork makes the story all the more special.
“Cyclops” by Israel Sanchez is another favorite of mine. It’s another silent story about a Cyclops with the best of intentions who has difficulty communicating with a world that is much tinier and more judgmental than him. The artwork is simple and cartoony, but makes for a truly heartwarming read.
Kazu Kibuishi offers us “The Window Makers” and I challenge anyone to read this story and not have a smile on your face and a tear in your eye when you finish it. It’s a simply beautiful metaphor about life and coming to understand how to live it to its fullest.
“Igloo Head & Tree Head” by Scott Campbell is too batshit crazy not to mention, about a population of creatures with different things resting on top of their heads. The two main characters are out to purchase some hats. The banality of the conversation had between these two oddballs make this story all the more memorable and weird.
There was something simple and poignant about “The Rabbit Mayor: A Mayan Folk Tale.” It’s kooky fun illustrated with printmaking-style panelwork by Jon Klassen. The ending of this one had me laughing out loud at the absurdity of it all.
“Roomie-Pal!” by Graham Annable is freaking hilarious. Azad Injejikian’s “The Vampyres of Salem” was spooky as hell. And “The Storm” by Pascal Campion may be simple in story, but it had some of the slickest artwork of the book.
If I were to go on about the rest of the stories offered, we’d be here all night. Just trust me that you won’t find a weak entry in this book. It highlights some talent that I hope to see more of in the future. Initially, I may have been a little disappointed that this book wasn’t solely about the love of flight. But that disappointment faded immediately as the impressive amount of creativity in FLIGHT made my imagination soar. I will be sure to seek out earlier volumes of this series in the future. This book is highly recommended.

SLUGGY FREELANCE Webcomic

Pete Abrams: Creator www.sluggy.com: Website Vroom Socko: Nifty

I’ve been reading online comics for years now, but for whatever reason they still seem like a new thing to me. That I now have family members that are younger than most of the comics I read is a strange thought. And I read plenty of online comics. I started with just two though. The first, Acid Reflux, died the slow death years ago. But the second has recently hit the ten year mark. That’s ten years of daily content. (Well, excluding the occasional No Content Saturday.) And the only word that can describe this decade of reading pleasure is, well… Nifty.
For those of you who haven’t read SLUGGY FREELANCE, it centers on Torg, an average twenty-something slacker who leads an ordinary life. Well, as ordinary as life can be when your roommate is a mad scientist. And your pet rabbit is a homicidal maniac. And your best friend is a shape-shifting alien being hunted by an evil corporation. Not to mention the vampires, demons, parallel realities, assassins, killer kittens, and the love interest who turns into a camel. Wait, let me start over…
If you were to plan out something like this from start to finish there’s no way in hell it would work. It shouldn’t work. This comic literally has something for everyone somewhere in the ten published years. How does creator Pete Abrams make it work? Mainly by being a funny sonuvabitch that puts the main emphasis on character. The cast in this thing runs into the hundreds at some times, and each one is unique and fully realized. There’s a minor villain in the comic called Mosp, for example. She started out as a rather humorous element of the demon-centric storylines, and ended up one of the most tragic figures in the whole of the Sluggy-verse.
Is the comic perfect? Well, no; Abrams has been on a bit of a long-winded alternate-reality kick the past couple of years, and while they read great as a complete arc, reading them as day to day installments can become a bit tedious if you’re not 100% involved. I usually am most of the time, thanks to the aforementioned characterization. Then again, every year or so I do a weekend long run-through of the entire archive to refamiliarize myself with the characters.
In any case, SLUGGY FREELANCE is one of the first comics I read every day. It’s a blast to go through, and if any online comic deserves longevity this is it. I fully expect it to last another ten years, and I’ll be reading it every step of the way.

POTTER’S FIELD #1 BOOM! Studios

A while back, I did a review/preview of this book. It’s one of the finest books BOOM! has published to date about an enigmatic detective who specializes in unsolved murders with John Doe victims. It’s strongly written by Mark Waid and ominously drawn by Paul Azaceta. It’s finally hitting the stands and I recommend you give this one a look-see. It’s good, mysterious fun and definitely worth checking out. – Ambush Bug

ATOMIC ROBO #1 Red 5 Comics

Although comparisons to HELLBOY are bound to be made, ATOMIC ROBO stands alone as one of the coolest new characters to hit the funny books in a long time. He’s not so much a smart-@$$ robot as he is a brutally honest robot. Writer Brian Clevinger has brought to life a truly original character made more real by the stylistic yet retro-simple art by Scott Wegener. Robo, an invention of Nikolai Tesla (boy, two Tesla robots in one month, after an appearance in last month’s JONAH HEX…kinda weird) has the simple desire of being acknowledged as a real person and will do anything to achieve this goal. And that means diving headfirst into battle as a secret agent for the government. This is a fun and goofy tale in the vein of THE GOON at times, yet unlike the Goon, there’s some real heart behind this character and you can’t help but root for this robot who would rather be anywhere else but in the thick of the battle. In this first issue, Atomic Robo battles Nazis, but the six issue miniseries promises to have Atomic Robo pop up throughout all of the major world events within the last fifty years. Can’t wait. – Ambush Bug

RADICAL PUBLISHING PREVIEW BOOK Radical Publishing

I don’t really do promo book reviews, but this collection of pin-ups and one or two page previews of Radical’s upcoming line of books impressed the hell out of me. Artists and writers like Simon Bisley, Bill Sienkiewicz, Ian Edington, Vincent Perez, Warren Ellis, and Steve Pugh join some newcomers to bring a wide variety of high concept comics. The books look to be lushly painted and the concepts piqued my interests too. I’ll be looking for these Radical Publishing books when they come out in 2008 and so should you. With promising properties like HERCULES (a Greek mythology book), GALLOWWALKER (looks to be a western), HOTWIRE (sci fi stuff from Ellis & Pugh), and SOLITUDE and RYDER ON THE STORM (both spooky lookin' horror books) coming down the pike, it looks like next year Radical Publishing will be making comics to look out for. It’s got cool music on the website too. Check it out. Ambush Bug

SLIP KID #1 Ronin Studios

I met writer/creator Sean McDevitt at the Chicago Wizard World Con and he was nice enough to slip me a copy of this first issue of SLIP KID. The book does a good job of making the archetypal “outcast kid who discovers superpowers” schtick fun and entertaining to read. McDevitt brings comfortable dialog to the table, making the characters easily likable and easier to relate to. This is an impressive first issue as well due to the subdued yet cartoon-like art by Rita Micozzi, which is definitely a treat, but maybe in need of a little more inking in a few of the panels to highlight some of the details and dimensions. Nonetheless, this is a strong first issue and one that does its job, which is to grab my interest and make me looking forward to future issues. – Ambush Bug

MOON KNIGHT #12 Marvel Comics

Okay, is anyone reading this book? How is it that a book with such seemingly pretty artwork is so hard to read? It could be that there are not one, not two, but three people running around whose faces are falling off. It could be that when there are two normal looking people having a conversation, the writer doesn’t feel obligated to tell me who EITHER ONE of them is. It could be that Moon Knight has a flashback to some pre-Civil War scene, which might as well have been a flashback to the “Heroes Reborn” universe in terms of sheer moot-ness. Or it could be that I don’t see how someone can seem to be having vertebrae pulled out of their back with a pair of pliers and then get up and kick bad-guy booty. I’m just not buying it. Literally. My advice – stay away from “Moot Knight” until it says anything of significance. - Rock-Me

BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL #7-9 DC Comics

These comics, retelling the oft-retold origin of the Joker, bring to mind an amusing analogy from personal experience! See, every time the Stones Throw clan gets together, my dad, who used to be what you might call a K9 police officer, likes to tell this one story. One night ol’ Pop gets called out by two old folks who were dropping by their daughter’s house and saw signs of a disturbance and a woman running away - except their daughter and son-in-law were away and the house should have been locked up. So Pop and dog arrive and the dog starts tracing the scent, eventually into the large, bushy garden. He starts barking, Pa shouts “All right, come out!” – only to be confronted by a generously-proportioned middle-aged man in full drag. Dad recoils in horror, the dog’s barking wildly, the guy has to explain to his 80-year old parents-in-law he’s a secret cross dresser, and, erm, where was I?...oh, yeah. That story was pretty good. The first time. – Stones Throw

NOVA #6 Marvel Comics

This is the one of the few books where I read the first page thinking, “Man is this going to be good” and then I get to the last page and go “Oh no! It can’t end there! That was too fast! Crap, crap, crap!” Every issue so far has reminded me of the way I used to feel when I was picking up copies of UNCANNY X-MEN off the rack, back when they numbered in the nineties. I’m excited when I pick up this book! I must be excited, just count the number of exclamation points I’ve already used. But seriously, this book is well-plotted, well-written, and the artwork… Hey, even discounting the extreme cuteness of Nova #0001, Gamora is just the cheekiest killer ever, and you know what I mean: for two issues now, she’s been putting the “ass” in assassin. But even without the eye-candy, there are larger forces at work, with ANNIHILATION looming large in the background. The thing is, I can’t believe how much I’ve vested in these characters in such a short time. If you’re not already buying this book, sign on quickly. - Rock-Me

IT CAME FROM THE 90’S By Vroom Socko

(NOTE: The following was dropped off at @$$hole HQ by Vroom Socko at the absolute last minute. He was reeking of IPA and, when asked if he wanted to go over what he’d written with us, pulled out a Benchmade Vex and proclaimed, “Just run the fucker!” He then bellowed out “WE ARE THE TIMBERS!” and collapsed onto the floor. We have no idea what that means. In the meantime, we have decided to run this 90’s installment as-is. – Bug.)
At first glance, this is the sort of book that I absolutely would not cover in this feature. Its bagged-with-extras-variants and multiple-covers, not to mention hype-over-story promotion and stunt-storytelling, are everything that was wrong with that decade. However, after perusing the recent omnibus publication of THE DEATH AND RETURN OF SUPERMAN, I have decided that this run should at least get points for trying. Anyway, anything with writing work from Roger Stern can’t be all bad.
Even if you weren’t reading comics fifteen years ago, you surely remember when DC decided to kill off Superman. It was on the news! I remember seeing Don, the owner of my comic shop of nearly two decades, being interviewed about it on tv. This was a big deal, a massively big deal. That there was no chance in hell of a gigantic cash cow like Superman staying dead didn’t seem to cross the minds of any broadcasters. (Although if Marvel decided to kill off Spider-Man and leave only the Ultimate title running, I honestly wouldn’t complain at this point. Wait, where was I?)
In any case, the whole DEATH AND RETURN angle isn’t the best of reads. There’s a lot that just doesn’t work. It’s overlong, it’s melodramatic by today’s standards, and since both Death and Return are in the title, there’s no real suspense to be had. But as I said, it gets points for trying.
First there’s the near-prophetic all splash page death from SUPERMAN #75. Back before insane splash pages were the soup du jour, there was this issue. The pages didn’t quite flow as well as they could have, it’s true, but there’s some stunning shit in that issue, which if any of you fuckers ever bothered to cut open the black and blood colored bag to read the damn thing you would know. (Where was I?) There’s also the then weekly publishing schedule the Superman books had back then, with the entire Death and Return storyline taking up roughly a year of published issues, again prefiguring the current trend of MEGA STORYTELLING!!! (If you haven’t read all of 52 and COUNTDOWN and everything with CRISIS in the title over at DC, you’re just as fucked as if you haven’t read everything with CIVIL WAR or THE INITIATIVE scrawled on the cover at Marvel, not to mention needing to read every fucking thing Bendis has written for the company just to follow one goddamn issue of NEW AVENGERS! Where was I?)
There’s also some great characters that came out of this event. Steel, for one, as well as the revamped Superboy (his shitty haircut notwithstanding.) There was also a lot of soul searching and rumination by the rest of the DC heroes about what a character like Superman means to the world today. About what his place is in a world that isn’t quite as black-and-white innocent as he would have us think. Of course, Joe Kelly managed to convey that same feeling in just one issue published ten years later, the famous ACTION COMICS #775. But at least they were trying.
So no, this particular look back at the 90’s isn’t that great. But it is an interesting read. And it was fun in places. And it clearly had an impact that we’re still feeling to this day.
(Oh, and FYI: The recent omnibus collection, like the Kirby FOURTH WORLD omnibus before it, is printed on a more newsprintish-textured paper. For those of you who think that this book, and the Kirby one before it should have been printed on heavier, glossier paper, I have this to say: kindly suck my nuts. I have seen older style comics printed on slick paper, and they look just as shitty as computer colored ones do on newsprint. These comics were made with this sort of paper in mind. Don’t like it? Then I’m sure you wouldn’t mind paying twice as much so they could be recolored, eh asshat?)

QUESTION FOR DISCUSSION: What comic book hype from the 90’s did you buy into?

Remember, if you have a comic 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.

Check out the @$$oles’ ComicSpace AICN Comics page here for an archive and more @$$y goodness.

Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 19, 2007, 8:04 a.m. CST

    '90s hype

    by rev_skarekroe

    Reign of the Supermen. I liked the character designs, I guess. Also the celebrity guest writers early in Spawn's run. I even kept reading the book after that for years after. If only I had that money back now.

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 8:05 a.m. CST

    Oh, and Maximum Carnage

    by rev_skarekroe

    Though I actually just hung around convenience stores thumbing through those instead of buying.

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 8:16 a.m. CST

    Disney's Aladdin as a Metaphor for Masturbation

    by kevinwillis.net

    And this is your perspective as an *adult*? Wow. <br><br>I can't wait to see what sort of perspective Ambush Bug brings to the table when he starts wearing big boy underwear. Sheesh.

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 8:20 a.m. CST

    90's decade of comics (kind of like now)

    by qweruiop

    Yeah it was shortly after the whole Knightfall and Death of Superman events that I stopped buying comics. (I'm finally back into comics, but mainly in collected TPB's and so on). Being like 13 or 14 at the time, there was just too many comics to buy and it definitely felt prolonged. Luckily I never really got into that whole variant, holograph, polybagged comics, but I sure feel sorry for those who decided to "invest" in them. But honestly how is it different today? Doesn't Top Cow and/or any of the Marvel/DC comics release...10 variant covers for their major comics. (Witchblade is especially guilty of this, who has to hold the record of like...20 variant covers per issue) And isn't there still major comic events going on ad naseum, each of them stretching to around 50 issues each (Infinite Crisis, Civil War, House of M, World War Hulk, to name a few). You can't spit today without hitting another big comic event that will unfortunately swamp all of the major titles and create an atmosphere of having to buy the subsequent issues in order to not miss out on anything. I know business-wise it's the wise thing for comics to do in order to keep people coming back, but I sure miss the days of single or double issue stories, where you got a nice little story neatly wrapped up quickly. Anyway's just my two cents. Thank goodness for TPB's nowadays.

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 8:28 a.m. CST

    ONSLAUGHT, man. It was the summer after 5th grade...

    by George Newman

    It was when I finally started buying comics. I instantly loved Joe Mad's work. <p> I actually thought ONSLAUGHT was cool for years, cuz I never read the final MARVEL:ONSLAUGHT. Back then I didn't understand the concept of a comic pull, so I was just trying to catch the comics on the shelves. I knew what had happened, that lots of the heroes 'died' so that Heroes Reborn could be done. <p> It wasn't until years later that I finally got my hands ona copy of the final issue did I have all my cherished memories dashed. What a horrible ending. I finally understood why everyone hated it so much. The heroes WALKED INTO HIM?! That's how you kill a bad guy? You walk into him and he'll be destroyed by the goodness of your soul? What??!

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 8:31 a.m. CST

    GROO!

    by cekma

    I LOE GROO! GOTTA GET THIS BOOK! GLAD TO SEE THE GREAT SERGIO AND MARK REVISITING THIS WORLD! I HOPE THE CGI MOVIE THAT HAS BEEN IN DEVELOPMENT HAPPENS!

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 8:33 a.m. CST

    man that 3rd paragraph 1st sentence grammar is horrible

    by George Newman

    How did I butcher it like that? ugh

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 8:36 a.m. CST

    Operation Galactic Storm

    by ArcherNX01

    Gosh, what a bummer THAT was.

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 8:52 a.m. CST

    Ah, The Trouble with Girls...

    by tonagan

    I almost went blind reading that comic book (and went completely blind when the Lizard Lady mini came out, no pun intended).

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 9:03 a.m. CST

    90s hype

    by SelfSentered

    I know I bought the 'Death of Robin' series, but that might have been the eighties. I picked up like all the variants to McFarlane's 'Spiderman' #1 which I know use to wipe my ass with. And then there was Image. Lord almighty did I blow some cash on Image.

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 9:06 a.m. CST

    the "Flight" books...

    by Gatsbys West Egg Omlet

    are amazing. i've converted several non comic folks by way of those books.

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 9:22 a.m. CST

    Variants and whatnot

    by CarmillaVonDoom

    Through the years I've always despised the practice of variants. Obviously, it is to make up for low readership numbers. If you HAVE to have every issue of Witchblade, here are 4 more. Hell, Jay Company Comics actually REMOVES the actual covers from comics and RE-COVER them with their own 'variant' covers. With the advent of slabbing, and people demanding '9.8 or higher' things are getting even more silly. All that being said, if I have a favorite book, and there is a variant, and both covers are amazing, I buy both. So I'm a dirty hypocrite. :^)

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 9:23 a.m. CST

    Image comics

    by qweruiop

    In my opinion they were the biggest factor to the comic-crash of the 90's. With them you had the epitome of over-hype, over-value, over-printing, all of which quickly led to the inflation that everybody should've known would eventually happen. You had creators whose sole interest it seemed was to start a new comic every other month (which would last all of 3 or 4 issues) not to actually make comics, but for the primary reason of pitching those new characters to Hollywood producers and toy companies. I remember seeing one time that Joe Madureiara (sp?), the guy that made Battle Chasers comic, the second issue hadn't even come out and already he was talking in a Wizard article about how there was a cartoon in the works, toys that were going to be made, various Hollywood producers he was meeting with, and so on. Todd McFarlane started this comic conglomerate trend, and through no fault of his own unfortunately every other Image artist with a pencil wanted to do the same thing. In other words the actual comics became the last things in their mind, instead focusing their efforts on every other cash-money thing.

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 9:29 a.m. CST

    Ghost Rider crossovers

    by MiserableRainGod

    I remember getting pissed at the Ghost Rider crossovers...Lilith and the Lilin, the one where Blade turns into a super-monster and kills all the mystical beings. I used to collect the Danny Ketch Ghost Ridcer, and then when you needed to collect all these other books in order to understand what was going on, I dropped it.

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 9:34 a.m. CST

    Some X-Men Ones...

    by MiserableRainGod

    X-Cutioner's Song was one I read and enjoyed. Phalanx Covenant was one I read and tried to enjoy, but it was probably a main factor in my decision stop buying comics for the next 10 years. That, and the very idea of Age of Apocalypse turned me off completely. Don't forget the terrible hype of Wolverine 50 (the cardboard cover with claws rips!) and the crossover where Magneto rips out his adamantium. "snikt" became "schluck"

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 10:32 a.m. CST

    comics in the 80's

    by rock-me Amodeo

    Yeah, it's funny, I loved X-men numbered in the 90's (you know, 95, 96, 97...all the way up to about 130 or so) but it was comics IN the 90's (1990's) that almost ruined the genre for me, too. <br><br>Though they seem dated now, there was such a purity and verve to comics in the 80's. You still had long plotlines from time to time, but it was usually with the same title, and crossovers were a BIG deal. MARVEL TEAM-UP and TWO-IN-ONE were great sellers for that exact reason. Remember when Spidey went back to take on Cotten Mather and progressively sucked in Vision, Scarlet Witch and Moondragon? Remember that great Avengers/Defenders crossover? (Hey, talk about long subplots..remember the elf...with a gun? Splat! Bwah-hah-hah!) <br><br> Then in the nineties, it was all mega-crossovers, multiple covers and pre-shrink wrapped issues. It was like having a couch with plastic on it that no one could ever sit on. What use is that? Stupid, stupid...when folks were not allowed to READ what they bought, for whatever reason, it kind of took the fun out of buying it...<br><br?Sorry. rant's over

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 10:48 a.m. CST

    ooops

    by rock-me Amodeo

    actually, I may have gone back too far in the way back machine. I think I was thinking about comics in the 70's and 80's. But it was those first two years in the 90's, what with X-Men #1 and X-force #1, that signaled the beginning of the perpetual money-sucking machine.

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 11 a.m. CST

    Onslaught but it is actually good

    by messi

    it was crazy(it's comic books no?) but the sense of epicness and dread was felt and still felt, it felt HUGE like the heroes were in serious shit. the double page spread of the avengers, x-men, fantasic four overlooking the chaos in new york getting ready to fight in X-men 55 is still one of my favourite pieces of art ever.

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 11:15 a.m. CST

    Y the Last Man #58 was AWESOME!

    by Zardoz

    your review of it was "meh", but it was extremely funny, touching, suspenseful, and outright shockingly sad at the end of the issue. #58 was one of the best issues of the whole damn series, IMO. Man, that cunt Alter is gonna BURN, after what she did! Go get her Yorick...

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 11:56 a.m. CST

    The overblown crossover thing started in the '80s

    by rev_skarekroe

    Crisis on Infinite Earths with DC and Secret Wars II with Marvel were lousy with it.

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 12:22 p.m. CST

    90's hype!

    by Dr.Zeus

    Bane breaks Batman's back! G@DD@MN! I still have a headache from that crap! :[

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 12:42 p.m. CST

    Yeah, now that I think of it...

    by rock-me Amodeo

    it was the 70's and the first half of the 80's. Then things changed with Secret Wars in 84 and CoIE in 1985 and the rest of the decade was sick with it.

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 1:05 p.m. CST

    my 90's comic book hype....

    by sonnyhooper

    .....was, without a doubt, SPAWN. yep, i actually bought the first 30 issues before it dawned on me that i was reading pure shit. took me that long to figure out that old todd was just writting in circles and that while he could sure draw some pruddy pictures his scripting was horrible. <p> sure i still bought into "the death of superman" and "breaking of the bat" hype, but i definatly feel more ripped off, time and money wise, by SPAWN. not really sure why, maybe just because the story was just soooo god awful, but whatever....yeah, fucking SPAWN.

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 1:13 p.m. CST

    Check out the unit on Black Canary

    by BadAshe

    Seriously. WTF is going on at DC? Superman is crying like a lil' bitch and Black Canary grew a package? You can't even write that thing off as camel toe. No wonder Ollie is standing so far away from her. That must have been a pleasant suprise on their wedding night. "Close your eyes, Ollie. I've got a suprise for you." "Dinah, when did your voice get so deep?" And DC wonders why they have such a small market share.

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 3:10 p.m. CST

    Damn!

    by vroom socko

    I really was drunk! I don't even remember typing most of that Crevice.

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 3:23 p.m. CST

    I love the 90's!!

    by nofate

    Man, my long boxes are still full of all that crap. Remember the "gold", "silver" and "bronze" embossed foil covers from the Avenger's anniversary issues? Wow, just... Wow.

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 3:28 p.m. CST

    Didnt have money when IMAGE began; Dad bought WETWORKS

    by George Newman

    He loved Portracio's artwork. <p>He always bought the comics for the art, but never really read them. <p> Years later we were at MegaCon in Orlando together. On an elevator we bumped into artist Butch Guice (Birds of Prey, Ruse). My dad asked him who he was/what he had done, but he didnt recognize him. I had to remind my dad that he had actually bought an issue of Guice's Birds of Prey expressly for the art. had to describe the cover of the book to him, cuz he didnt read the story.

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 3:55 p.m. CST

    GROO RULES!!!!!

    by yodazone

    Thanks for reviewing the latest Groo Special!!! The next Groo series is called "Hell on Earth" and then after that one comes the epic Groo/Conan mini series! Check out this Groo forum!!!! http://feargroo.proboards2.com/index.cgi All Groo fans are welcome to join and check out the pics!

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 3:56 p.m. CST

    Groo Forum

    by yodazone

    http://feargroo.proboards2.com/index.cgi

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 3:56 p.m. CST

    STEEL SUCKS!!!

    by superhero

    It's true. Yes it is.

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 4:56 p.m. CST

    Can we actually have a DC fan review DC stuff?

    by Lukecash

    Seriously, I know that it may be considered biased view but we get a whole lot of stupid statements "I hope they can make John Stewart a well rounded character" Keep in mind that he has starred in Green Lantern, had his own series "Mosaic" in the 80's, Darkstars and been off and on in the JLA books since the begining of JLU. He's already well-rounded thank you.<p> Second of all, The Death of Superman was a gigantic story that brought a LOT of people back to Superman and DC. The fact that people still reverberates in DC comics and comics to this day.<p> And keep this in mind: They largely told the story completely within the issues of Superman books (A few specials here and their and a crossover with JLA) No serious comic book fan ever thought they would keep him dead-but how DC would bring him back. DC bless their little hearts pulled it off perfectly. I'm sure that there are a few 90's feel to it-but that's when the story takes place,eh?<p>

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 5:05 p.m. CST

    The Hype I got Into

    by Lukecash

    Well, actually, I liked the Death of Superman and the first half of "Breaking of the Bay" The story was longer than it should have been-and the way they "healed" Bruces back just didn't make sense for Batmans street crime stories that Denny liked to foster.<p> For me, the hype was all about John Byrne's Superman. I really couldn't stand the reboot-though I liked a few 'changes" that he did make. Mostly it seems that John Byrne wanted to "His version" of certian Superman stories. The worse was when he had Superman kill...so that Superman would have a reason to have an oath against killing. Then it seemed that everytime he took over a book, he would ruin the character.

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 5:19 p.m. CST

    How 'bout world war hulk, dick

    by WolfmanNards

    AICN comics is the worst segment on this site.

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 6:20 p.m. CST

    Groo

    by morganmorgan

    Geez-- has it been Twenty-Five years already?? God am I old, old OLD!

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 7 p.m. CST

    Cheers fellas

    by proper

    Nice 1 for the heads up on the Ditko Documentary,i'm watching it this very minute.I'm looking forward to the 3rd part of CB this week as it covers 200AD etc.Wheres Punisher #051?

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 7:09 p.m. CST

    WolfnardsMan

    by rock-me Amodeo

    how about it Richard? the latest installments just came out today, so those won't hit until next week. We've done full reviews of WWH, the regular HULK book, FRONTLINE and GAMMA CORPS. I personally have done several of them. What is your complaint again?<br><br>WolfnardsMan is the worst talkbacker on this site.

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 7:15 p.m. CST

    Ambush Bug, fantastic logo.

    by dregmobile

    Now to read the reviews, just had to say that first.

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 7:31 p.m. CST

    i bought into the death and return of superman

    by dregmobile

    and it was what got me into comics on a large scale (before that it was the archie tmnt run, i'm embarrassed to say). i enjoyed all of it, since supes was and still is my favourite superhero character (despite bryan singer's soft superman film). looking back on that series, a lot of it was crap, but it was still a lot of fun. the decision to make every page in supes issue 75 a splash gave that book an epic feel. i noticed that they really cashed in on doomsday in prestige three-issue mini's years after this. and i bought them. and i'm pretty sure they suck. <hr> <hr> i also bought into batman: knightfall and knightsend and whatever other crap there was. these started off well enough, but quickly ventured off into nowheresville once bats went on that trip around the world. <hr> <hr> i also bought into civil war. and loved every page of it!

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 8:26 p.m. CST

    I too enjoyed The Death of Superman as well as...

    by rbatty024

    Knightsend. I remember really enjoying Batman going through his re-training where he had to defeat successively difficult ninjas. That's some cool shit. How about Lady Shiva killing a no-armed man. Anyways, they felt epic and part of the reason both of them felt epic was because there weren't fifty event stories a year, goddamnit!

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 9:49 p.m. CST

    What did I buy into?

    by Opinionated_Bastard

    The Valiant Comics, Defiant Comics, Continuity Comics indie craze, of course! Among many other publishers, mind you. The early 1990s were a wild time to collect comics, esp. with rising cover prices, multiple cover variants, better paper stock, etc.

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 11:01 p.m. CST

    Knightfall not Kightsend.....

    by KryptonsLastSon

    FYI. And Azrael was an interesting character for a few minutes in the mid 90's. But did we really need an even darker Batman?

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 11:07 p.m. CST

    Avoid Superman:Doomsday DVD

    by KryptonsLastSon

    Wow, I got suckered in by Bruce Timm's involvement. I mean the guy who did Batman:TAS and Justice League, he wouldn't let us down. Well, he did. The origin of Doomsday is crap. Luther's role in everything is convenient enough to shoehorn him in. The Justice League is nowhere to be found, not even at the funeral. No Reign of the Supermen. And Superman's return is quick and convenient. Overall they took what was already a fairly thin story and paired it down to the barest of plot threads, and stuffed it into about 75 minutes. The new character designs are lacking, the voicework is questionable, but the writing is what I blame for most of my dislike. Would it really have been hard to show Doomsday as a threat by having the League get trashed, like in the comics? We couldn't get a Luthor who wasn't designed like a lightweight balerina? Absolutely no link to what is now something like 10 years of the DCAU? Might as well have been Brainiac Attacks.... Save your 14 bucks. The only bright spot was the 1 hour documentary about the decision to kill him in the 90's with interviews with the writing crew and DC folks. That was entertaining, the movie was boring.

  • Sept. 19, 2007, 11:19 p.m. CST

    Dandy isn't dandy anymore!

    by Superbritt

    its now extream dandy!...with simpson comics added to it.

  • Sept. 20, 2007, 12:10 a.m. CST

    rock-me Amodeo DICKGUY

    by WolfmanNards

    Listen up, cock-me amodeo. (I went there, brotha)Where's Jonah Hex? Where's BPRD, HELLBOY, Lobster Johnson. Where's Action Comics? Where's wolverine, illuminati? Detective comics? Green Arrow year 1? (1 review doesn't count. It's a multipart series.) There's a lot you guys fail to preview/review/recommend. And the stuff you do present, you present with a smarmy posture. I will drill a hole in your ass and pour salt in it if you don't beef up the comics segment. GOT IT?

  • Sept. 20, 2007, 12:13 a.m. CST

    look at the funeral sequence again

    by strangernparadis

    on the Doomsday DVD. There are characters there. out of uniform. check out some of the groupings

  • Sept. 20, 2007, 12:35 a.m. CST

    I'm not touching Superman Doomsday

    by dregmobile

    i'm just hearing too many bad things. sounds horrible.

  • Sept. 20, 2007, 12:44 a.m. CST

    Like I need to be getting into the middle of a fight...

    by Jinxo

    Come on now. I can't speak for every comic you just listed, WolfmanNards (you know, I don't mean to be insulting at all but your name itself makes it sound like I'm insulting you), but some of those you've got no case for. Lobster Johnson was in last week's column. Hellboy and BPRD I personally pimp for any chance I get. But I think I wrote up two issues of the current Hellboy run as well as the first issue of the current BPRD. This week I actually didn't have a chance to do reviews but, if I had, I actually would have given those titles a skip because the current mini-series runs on those HAVE been mentioned repeatedly. To go to there again so soon I picture people going, "Okay, I got it, they're good. Do you read any other books?" If the books suddenly took a turn for the suck or if something hugely important happened then, okay, that's a different story. But, for ixample, for BPRD's first issue I said stuff was building but nothing was really happening yet. Issue #2 had some carnage but, mostly, it's still building slowly. Two mentions in a row that stuff is building slowly? Why do that?<br><br> As to the Illuminati, we've reviewed it in the past. The last issue in fact. It was't this week because unless I missed it, it wasn't out this week. Same for World War Hulk. The only WWH title this week was Heroes For Hire which was okay but, really, pretty sideline stuff as far as the main WWH story goes.<br><br> As for the holes in the ass stuff... would that be an additional hole to the one most folks already have back there or are we talking a widening on the existing hole. Just asking because the whole drilling a hole back there just seems redundant. Drilling a hole in the head? More violent and disturbing but innovative. Stuffing something bad up the ass? Not way original, sorta getting into a whole gay area but, you know, at least not redundant (And I've used the word redundant enough that it IS in fact redundant). If I have an option, I would like to go with... hmmm... I guess the papercuts on the ass followed by the "sitting in the lemon juice". Again, not so original but classic pain and, you know, no ass drilling of any sort. And trying to cut back on the salt.

  • Sept. 20, 2007, 2:04 a.m. CST

    Gorsh, WolfmanNards...

    by stones_throw

    Did you miss my rave reviews of ACTION COMICS and JONAH HEX last week? And the review of ILLUMINATI a few weeks back? But one review isn't good enough, you want us to tell you that you liked the comics you read month in, month out? Keep going, this is pretty funny.

  • Sept. 20, 2007, 2:55 a.m. CST

    Superman Doomsday= Best Superman EVER

    by strangernparadis

    don't believe the 'tards on here.

  • Sept. 20, 2007, 4:49 a.m. CST

    Comics Britannia

    by Avengerdude

    Nice to see a review of this series. It has been very good and the Ditko documentary was superb. I can't be bothered with 'Wossy', as we affectionately call Jonathon Ross, usually, but he was obviously a big Ditko fan and it was great when he finally got to meet him. Any UK comic fans know who did the art for those teen-girl romance comics, that featured in CB 2? I'm sure I spotted Crepax. Some of it was incredibally good.

  • Sept. 20, 2007, 7:55 a.m. CST

    Fooking Defiant

    by guvnercheese

    One other shining example of the “90’s Gone Wrong” had to be the anti-climatic culmination of Jim Shooter’s career with the Defiant comic line. Valiant in my humble opinion was the pinnacle of good story telling and it provided continuity that was tighter than the ass on the cheerleader from Heroes. I gladly shelled out my hard stolen money from my Mom’s purse to purchase every title because they were woven together so intricately and masterfully. Valiant was also a company that wasn’t afraid to tell the marketing muckity mucks to take a flying fuck when it came to adding bells and whistles. Sure we had the occasional foil embossment to mark a 0 issue or a “special event”, but compared to the 5 covers for one issue, pollybagged trading card laden comics that the major houses were pushing, Valiant’s offenses seemed minor by comparison. I’m not sure of the exact catalyst that caused Valiant to close shop (and I’m too lazy to Wikipedia it), but I’m sure it was two parts Jim Shooter’s ego and one part that god awful cross over they did with the publishing house from the 90’s that shall not be named (rhymes with scrimmage). Whatever the reasons Valiant sunk into the darkness and Jim Shooter went on to create Defiant. With a dark ominous castle as its logo and the Shooter name backing it, I was expecting another dark and brilliant foray into the new world of the fallible super hero. What I got were a series of 0 issues that to read in their totality required me to buy a special book that had trading card pages that built each page of the book. To fill these pages you had to by the foil trading card packs. In traditional 90’s “bend over and pay me for ass raping you fashion” buying a complete box of the cards at $40 a pop did not guarantee that you would fill the entire book; the result were incomplete pages and repeats of cards that in and of themselves were only useful for taint sweat absorption or gouging wicked paper cuts into your enemies. I wouldn’t have minded the Defiant diablerie if my expectations weren’t so high. Truly they did nothing more appalling than what Marvel and DC thrust upon the market. But you expected these kinds of actions from the corporate uberrnauts, not the little guy. Defiant was my last straw, and I walked away for comics for close to a decade. Thankfully during that time the market changed and evolved into focusing on storytelling again and delivering quality over quantity. www.myspace.com/robpatey

  • Sept. 20, 2007, 8:24 a.m. CST

    Bwah-hah-hah, Wolfy

    by rock-me Amodeo

    *laughing* Oh, you almost had me. You really did. But that was a good chuckle. *wipes tear from eye*<br><br> I thought that YOU THOUGHT you had a legitimate complaint.<br><br>But even YOU don't take you seriously. See, you asked about WWH, and when I answered that legimately, you immediately switched gears and jumped to a bunch of other stuff, ignoring the fact that your first complaint was misguided. And then your second diatribe was also misguided.<br><br> And then you followed it up with the kind of unenforceable threat that only a basement-dwelling momma's boy would make, predictably anal. <br><br>You remind me of 1-ply toilet paper. Just when one thinks they're going to get a good wipe, all the sudden, the fingers go all the way through, and one is left smelling like crap until a faucet and soap can be found. So you can be thankful that I'm not going to use you to wipe my ass. I'm just going to leave you alone from here on out. Happy ranting.

  • Sept. 20, 2007, 8:58 a.m. CST

    DEFIANT COMICS

    by atomic_robo_kid

    man, i was so into defiant comics as a kid, i loved dark dominion and plasm. from what i remember, dark dominion actually had a cool story. trading cards compiled for first issues? sounded like a good idea at the time. shit, i think i even have an uncut sheet of plasm cards that i got at an auction at wizard world in the 90's. <br> god, i was a sucker back then.

  • Sept. 20, 2007, 9:21 a.m. CST

    Nah, you weren't a sucker...

    by rock-me Amodeo

    I don't think so, anyway. It was an exciting time back then. There was so much going on, and intensified by the limited budgets of every young consumer, me included. I bought all five X-men, and at the time was happy to do it. Everyone COULD have been sitting on tiny gold mines, for all we knew.<br><br>One makes the best decision one can with the information on hand at the time. And it was an exciting time.

  • Sept. 20, 2007, 9:45 a.m. CST

    good perspective

    by atomic_robo_kid

    that's a great point... it was an exciting time for sure- i bought pack after pack after pack of x-men series 2 cards until the day i got that wolverine hologram card. i felt like the kingshit of fuck mountain that day, and i ran around showing all my friends how cool i was. <br> <br> on the other hand, i distinctly remember buying the first issue of the ren & stimpy comic, which was bagged and came with a stimpy air freshener, and part of the cover was obscured... and after removing the poly-bag, it revealed a very pissed-off ren yelling at stimpy, "you eeeediot! you removed the bag! now the comic eees... WORTHLESS!!!!!!!" <br> <br> i felt like crap and immediately went back to the comic store to buy another. <br> <br> i was a silly little kid that didn't know anything, but still, things like that made me feel like a sucker, ha ha!

  • Sept. 20, 2007, 10:13 a.m. CST

    Now THAT was funny

    by rock-me Amodeo

    I never knew that about the Ren and Stimpy polybag!

  • Sept. 20, 2007, 11:05 a.m. CST

    Dam the Polybag & The Certificates

    by guvnercheese

    Polybags and redeemable certificates for 0 and special issues are the reasons that I have double entries throughout my Access comic book database. It was an exciting time, but I also have to attribute the "Fall of Comics" to this gluttony.

  • Sept. 20, 2007, 11:07 a.m. CST

    Luke Cash...

    by stones_throw

    I'll admit that I haven't read the solo series and bow to your superior knowledge, but I think I'm pretty justified in saying that often John Stewart seems to be played as the "serious black guy" and not much else. Maybe I should have clarified it a bit more but I meant that I hope Dwayne McDuffie doesn't play the characterisation so one-note as in recent appearances. Just out of interest, how would you describe the guy's personality?

  • Sept. 20, 2007, 11:25 a.m. CST

    Batman crossovers...

    by tomdpimp2k

    Batman and Spawn Punisher and Spawn. Those books were all style and not much substance.

  • Sept. 20, 2007, 11:36 a.m. CST

    Sniff! There's Hope For The Neo-Holes Yet!

    by Buzz Maverik

    I was startin' to get worried by Stone's and Jinxo's reasonable responses to Wolfnuts.<p>I felt like the aging surfer watching a pair of his fellow locals patiently explain to a Val:"You see, friend, we live here and surf these waters every morning and a very serious about our surfing. With a limited number of breaks each day, when folks like yourself who only surf once and while come in, it makes it hard for the rest of us to get a ride."<p>Instead, they rallied and said, "My beach! My breaks! What's wrong with you grommets out there? Why didn't you nail this clown with the wrist rocket or the BB guns? Death to invaders!"

  • Sept. 20, 2007, 11:45 a.m. CST

    Seeing Today's Hype Is Harder.

    by Buzz Maverik

    It's fine to look back and list the stuff that's already been spoofed by Eltingville, but it's harder to avoid today's traps. They are slightly more subtle.<p>If you look at the early, 00s, it's like:"This is Marvel's hottest book! It's written by the hip, edgy new guy! It's called Daredevil. He wears a flashy red suit, is a supreme martial artist and acrobat. Although blind, he has extraodinary heightened senses, including a type of natural radar. His enemies include the strongest, most brilliant gangster in the world, a clan of ninjas, a guy who is sort of his opposite number who specializes in throwing weapons...What does he do this issue? Well, out of costume, he talks to a fat guy and in costume, he runs across a few rooftops and talks to himself about his problems..."

  • Sept. 20, 2007, 12:30 p.m. CST

    Wow, thanks Buzz.

    by stones_throw

    I now feel like a...nah, I can't compete with the analogies being offered up thus far. One-ply toilet paper! WHAMMO!

  • Sept. 20, 2007, 1:27 p.m. CST

    ren & stimpy cover

    by atomic_robo_kid

    this is the infamous cover that ruined my 90's comic experience :) <br> <br> http://tinyurl.com/23gfxq <br> <br> "OPEN THE BAG - SECRET MESSAGE ON COVER"... <br> <br> i felt like such an idiot when i opened it!

  • Sept. 20, 2007, 2:14 p.m. CST

    Yeah, those REN & STIMPYs...

    by stones_throw

    ...were some early work from Dan Slott. I highly recommend the Special #3, which was a time travel/choose your own adventure thang.

  • Sept. 20, 2007, 3:29 p.m. CST

    WolfmanNards= Attention seeking weak-ego'd Fool

    by Psynapse

    Sit down and Shut The Fuck Up already. Christ, assholes like you give faggots( Like Mr. Garrison I exercise my bleep-free right to use of the word) a bad name. A COG HAS SPOKEN, so 'Nuff said (bitch).

  • Sept. 20, 2007, 3:55 p.m. CST

    So, Psy...

    by rock-me Amodeo

    how am I doing on my retorts? Have I improved since I first started on here?

  • Sept. 20, 2007, 4:02 p.m. CST

    I WANT JUICE

    by WolfmanNards

    <p>Warning: Anybody on this page with legitimate questions or concerns will be overlooked due to my squeeky wheel. There's controversy a-brewin'.</p> <p>Guys, I'm being a turd. I know you cover these books. I know hulk came out yesterday. I read it and saw that you didn't review it yet (because you don't write your segment in 5 mins. It takes time to read, review, and write) So I thought I'd jokingly nudge you with my dick.</p> <p> Then the bullets started whizzing by. I had this conversation with a friend recently. About which group of fanatics is the worst in terms of how they treat non-fanatics. Comic book people weren't #1, but they were up there. And surprisingly, jocks weren't as high on the list as you'd think. The #1 was Theater kids. The fuckers. They're the most obnoxious, and least tolerant of outsiders. But fuck 'em, right? Who wants to hang out with a bunch of people who pretend they're bats and trees and shit anyway?</p> <p>In response to the question of where I would drill the hole- It would be drilled in the ass-cheek, east or west of the baloon knot. About 4 inches deep. As wide as a dime. I'd pack the fucker to the brim with salt, then I'd stomp on that shit with my big-ass boot heel.</p>

  • Sept. 20, 2007, 4:35 p.m. CST

    topps comics

    by atomic_robo_kid

    there's something else that i bought into big at the time - it was sweet that most of the issues came with cool trading cards, and most of the tie-ins with movies and such were pretty cool. that and all the kirby stuff.

  • Sept. 20, 2007, 6:29 p.m. CST

    Suicide Squad was underappreciated

    by Toby___Wong

    If I would ever have to sell my comic collection I would keep Suicide Squad. What a great comic that was. Flag, Boomerang, Deadshot, Nightshade, Nemesis, Waller really bought a lot of chemistry to the table. As for the 90s. I remember lots of crap. Image, X-Crap, Gimmick Cover Crap. That shit almost made me snap. Now Valiant, that was another story. Thank Valiant for coming around when the shit hit the fan (figuratively and literally).

  • Sept. 21, 2007, 9:14 a.m. CST

    WolfmanNards4prez

    by Squashua

    What, no one else caught on? <br> I caught on.

  • Sept. 21, 2007, 10:29 a.m. CST

    Wolfie

    by stones_throw

    I don't think the salt-up-the-ass bit is working. Let it go.

  • Sept. 21, 2007, 3:35 p.m. CST

    Yo Rock-Me......

    by Psynapse

    Dude you are WAY improved. I especially like the snark/sass ratio you've distilled into such a nice little piss and vinegar solution. It works quite nicely for douching my vagina when it gets a little TOO sandy. ***Totally serious now: I really enjoy your reviews and it's nice to have a reviewer near my age on here, I can relate to A LOT of the comments you have.

  • Sept. 22, 2007, 6:35 a.m. CST

    Archie versus Punisher

    by eveelcapitalist

    Anybody remember when Archie met The Punisher? Come on, that was cool shit.

  • Sept. 22, 2007, 8:43 a.m. CST

    Suicide Squad

    by Bluejack

    I loved that book. It incorporated a bunch of second rate heroes into the mix as well. You never knew when a character was toast and that gave the book a great edge. I also love redemption stories and S.S. handled that well. I haven't picked up the latest Thunderbolts run, but I might.

  • Sept. 22, 2007, 8:44 a.m. CST

    The Walking Dead

    by Bluejack

    The end of the latest issue will shut me up for this month at least. Good issue.

  • Sept. 22, 2007, 9:23 p.m. CST

    little did he know...

    by blackthought

    ...

  • Sept. 22, 2007, 11:14 p.m. CST

    i have the 90s hype story to end all 90s hype stories

    by waggy

    ok, so i loved every last X-Men crossover of the 90s, from Onslaught to Age of Apocalypse to Fatal Attractions to Extinction Agenda (yes, all of them) as well as Maximum Carnage in the Spider-books. but my deep dark secret? what convinced me to start picking up Spider-man comics regularly were the ads heralding the return of the Spider-clone. yes, i'm the only person on earth who started reading Spider-man BECAUSE of the Clone Saga. now let's just keep this between us....

  • Sept. 23, 2007, 4:38 p.m. CST

    On that note...

    by loodabagel

    <p>The only crossover I ever invested in in it's entirety was the Spider-Man Gathering of Five/Final Chapter. Being nine years old though, I think it can be excused. </p> <p>Wolfman-Duechebag, I hear you on that theater-kids thing. I'm taking a drama class my final year of school, and man do they suck! The new kids are all right, but the people who've been into it for a while think that they're the second coming of Jesus Christ. These guys aren't even the 3rd or 4th coming.

  • Sept. 24, 2007, 10:18 a.m. CST

    Those theater kids can be such snobs...

    by stones_throw

    I mean, shout out "What about WORLD WAR HULK, dick" one time and suddenly you've got a whole theater full of people shushing you.

  • Sept. 25, 2007, 11:27 a.m. CST

    <p class="site-name">LAST</p>

    by Squashua

    whee!

  • Sept. 25, 2007, 4:45 p.m. CST

    How the hell did you do that?

    by Thalya

    Nice HTML.

  • Nov. 1, 2007, 8:27 a.m. CST

    Wow, a blast from the past...

    by Abin Sur

    I thought I'd read this before...now my head hurts.