Comics

AICN COMICS Q&@ with UMBRELLA ACADEMY's Gerard Way! CAPTAIN CARROT! COMICS4HALLOWEEN! & MUCH MORE!

Published at: Oct. 17, 2007, 1:56 a.m. CST

#23 10/10/07 #6

The Pull List (Click title to go directly to the review) Q & @ with THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY’s Gerard Way FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER-MAN #24 CAPTAIN CARROT & THE FINAL ARC #1 RUNAWAYS #28 SIMON DARK #1 FANTASTIC FOUR #550 dot.comics presents TRANSMISSION X Indie Jones presents… CHEAP SHOTS! Comics For Halloween!

Ambush Bug interviews THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY’s Gerard Way!

When I picked up the first issue of THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY, I had reservations. I knew next to nothing about Gerard Way aside from the fact that he was the front man for the popular rock band My Chemical Romance. As I said in my review of issue one, when I leafed through the first few pages of THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY, it didn’t take me long to realize that Mr. Way was much more than just a pop star trying to break out in a different form of media. THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY was something special. I had a chance to take a look at the first three issues of this wonderful new miniseries from Dark Horse and then had to privilege to ask Gerard some questions about the series, his creative processes, his history in comics, and the sources of influence he drew upon to create the offbeat and melancholy world of THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY.
Ambush Bug (BUG): In the past, I’ve started out interviews by asking writers or artists that are new to the comics industry and coming from another medium how they decided to make the leap to comics, but your story is a bit different. Can you tell us a little bit about your history with comics?

GERARD WAY (GW): I had decided very early on that I wanted to make comics my life, at around fifteen years old. Obviously, my life had a mind of its own and put me on an adventure that I had no control over, and I’m a better person for it. I’d started writing comics at that age, spending most of my days drawing in the back of the classroom, trying to remain invisible, killing time until I was able to get into art school, which happened when I graduated. I went to The School Of Visual Arts in NYC, where I had a lot of comics greats as instructors. I ended up interning at DC Comics, thanks to Joey Cavalieri, and that materialized into my first mainstream published work, “Even Lawmen Get The Willies,” which appeared in the Paradox Press book BIG BOOK OF THE WEIRD WILD WEST (which Andy Helfer made happen). I spent the next three years hitting the pavement and the conventions with my portfolio, but mainstream comics didn’t gel with what I was doing, which was a combination of old TINTIN comics, Al Columbia, and other obscure influences I picked up along the way. Looking back, I should have known I wasn’t really suited to draw Superman. I just wanted to pay the bills, which is never a reason to pursue anything creative.
I then dabbled in animation, toy design …I was a perpetual photocopy boy and an intern and eventually I got a break pitching a show to Cartoon Network, through Curious Pictures, who had optioned my idea. I backed away from it after 9/11, which happened in the midst of all of it, and I started a band.
I’d like to point out that during the years of slugging it out with my portfolio, Jim Krueger really kept me alive. He was such a fan of my work that he would pay me out of pocket to do jobs for him, FOOT SOLDIERS issues, other endeavors. We’re still great friends to this day, and he was instrumental in THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY going to Dark Horse.

BUG: What comics did you read growing up? How do those comics influence you in your stories?

GW: I read a lot of X-MEN. It was when Claremont/Silvestri was the team. The biggest thing I took from those years as a kid, the one thing that always stood out, was that the X-Men were underdogs, and some of them were even disgusting, and the world didn’t know they existed at the time. So everything they did, they did it with the knowledge that no one was going to pat them on the back …there’s a pretty powerful lesson in there for a twelve year old. As I turned into an angry teenager working at a comic shop, I connected right away with THE WATCHMEN—doesn’t everyone?—and then V FOR VENDETTA—best title ever! Alan Moore is like the gateway drug …it shatters what you think about what you read as a kid in a corner shop. That, coupled with Frank Miller’s rendition of Superman as a soulless government lapdog in THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS was like the one-two punch. After that I was perfectly ready for Grant Morrison, who became my favorite author. Grant was so amazingly subversive, fearless, and brilliant that looking back I would imagine either his editors were either very cool, or not paying attention to him. Or it could have been that they didn’t give a shit because he was using Animal Man …all the better as far as I’m concerned. All of these things, even the X-Men, shaped how I approach comics today.

BUG: Do you remember your first comic book?

GW: The very first comic I bought on my own was at the local corner shop, in a pretty run-down part of town, where I lived. It was a copy of X-MEN. Wolverine was crucified to a giant wooden “X” and I thought, “This will surely piss off my parents.” I was hooked right at that moment.

BUG: I liked what I have seen so far in UMBRELLA ACADEMY a lot. The story structure is interesting. I had an old writing professor that often told us to write the beginning of your story, an origin story if you will, depicting the motivations of the characters and where they came from. Then he said to throw that story out or use that as a reference and then start with the real story. He said that starting in the middle is the most interesting way to begin a story. This seems to be the approach you have used with UA: starting in the middle. What are your thoughts on this?

GW: We must have had the same instructor …I believe in the same things as far as writing is concerned—you start in the middle, or more importantly, the actual story. I am tremendously bored with origin stories…that’s why I usually enjoy the sequel to the standard modern superhero movies as opposed to the first one. It’s like, “Great …now that the rest of the world is up to speed on the fact that this kid got bit with a radioactive spider I can actually enjoy the film.” The fact of the matter is …the audience is smarter than people think …they don’t need half a movie explaining to them the origin of the hero, and they sure as hell don’t need six to twelve comic-book issues doing that either.

BUG: The way the story is structured, telling the tale of the UMBRELLA ACADEMY as students and as adults, there seems to be loads of potential for future stories. Do you have more UA stories planned?

GW: I have eight UA stories I want to tell as of last night, when I added an extra series. There is an end, a definite point, and that’s my favorite part… there are crazy ideas, seemingly nonsense notions, but they all lead to something. I’m just glad the ride to the “point” can actually be fun and not mind-numbing. There will most likely be a series or two that solely deal with their childhood, their teenage years, and even just their villains. I want to be very free-form about it and not lock into any restraints.

BUG: I’ve only read the first three issues of the miniseries and the Free Comic Book Day one shot, but even this early in the game, you seem to have developed a detailed universe with quite a rich history. How much time went into the making of the UA world?

GW: Two years to a lifetime. The UA universe is a culmination of everything that ever affected me, from Fritz Lang films, to my father taking me to wrestling matches as a boy. I spent two years developing the origin and the world, only to blow it out in the first five pages…this was intentional—it provided me with a really experimental playground, a very open world. A serious amount of thought went into the aesthetic, and lots of drawings, lots of notes. I really wanted to see what heroes would be in a different world.

BUG: As I read the first issue of UA, I felt a definite HARRY POTTER-esque feel to the book since it focused on children learning about their powers and learning to work together. But after reading a few more issues, I’m definitely getting a ROYAL TENENBAUMS vibe where all of these damaged children are forced to come back home and deal with the death of their estranged father. What were your influences in making this story?

GW: You nailed it on the head for sure with the ROYAL TENENBAUMS comparison. Wes Anderson has an amazing way of telling a story, and he just gets right in there and tells it, occasionally to the tune of some amazing musicians and narration. I didn’t have music, but I had narration as a tool. I also studied how much he could tell you about a character simply by what they choose to wear when they wake up in the morning, what they like to eat, or read.
DELICATESSEN by Jeunet was the biggest influence in mood and setting, as well as anything by Stanley Kubrick. THE PRISONER by Patrick MacGoohan tied everything together.
Grant Morrison’s DOOM PATROL was the biggest inspiration, though. The re-release of the trades, especially “The Painting That Ate Paris”, was the sole motivating factor in getting me out of my bunk in the morning, walk out of the tour bus with my sketchbook and my art bin, and park my ass in an empty catering room…drawing, chain smoking, dreaming. That comic is full of so much life…so much rebellion against what was going on at the time. And as you read it you realize, the reason Grant is special is because he actually loves superheroes. He didn’t spend his time trying to diminish them or deconstruct them, but celebrate them.
I listen to a lot of music when I work…or rather I should say I listen to certain music a lot. I have a tendency to get captured in a lyric, idea, or a hook and then repeat it. Certain artists helped me shape the world, and others help me execute it. The Mars Volta, Muse, Oasis, Pulp, Portishead, The Smashing Pumpkins, The Pixies…all factor in.

BUG: I mentioned in my review that there seems to be a new movement in comics to cram as much “batshit craziness” into one issue as possible. It seems to be the antithesis of decompressed storytelling and can be exemplified in Warren Ellis’ NEXTWAVE or Jeff Parker’s AGENTS OF ATLAS or even recently in Duncan Rouleau’s METAL MEN. Do you think it’s just a happy accident that all of these types of stories are being published at the same time?

GW: I think some people are just sick of the way stories are told. Anyone that has studied writing knows that there are only a few basic stories, and these stories are told over and over again. That’s fine, that’s what you have to work with, but that doesn’t mean you have to tell them the same way. There are no rules about that. I think these types of stories are getting readers because people are also sick of reading stories told in the same way.

BUG: There really is a sense of melancholy sweetness permeating through the story of UA. I guess it is because of the scenes we have seen with Sir Reginald Hargreeves treating the children as objects (he even goes so far as not naming them and only distinguishing them with numbers). This sets it apart from the above-mentioned gonzo-adventurism comics that mainly focus on surface level, “aww cool” moments and don’t go much deeper than that. I guess what I’m trying to get at is that despite all of the cool shit going on there is a lot of heart put into this story. Was this intentional?

GW: I find weirdness for weirdness sake just as boring as iconic hero A hitting iconic hero B for shock-value sake. I think people get carried away with the whole “gonzo” aspect of it, and they actually don’t have a story they care about, they just watch a lot of absurdist cartoons and feel like they can just apply that to comics and have a hit. Is there anything more noble in that than every superhero comic in the ’90s basically ripping the plot to TERMINATOR 2? I haven’t read any of the comics you just mentioned so I’m not going to comment on those books, but I have seen many frustrating examples of “Aww Cool!” moments…enough to know that’s never what I want the UA to be.
The story had to have a heart, or the fun parts don’t matter.

BUG: Embracing death has been a theme carried over from your music to comics. Is this an issue that you find yourself returning to over and over?

GW: I do and I’m not sure why…although I feel like I am handling it much differently in UA, a very realistic way that doesn’t involve fantasies or dance routines. In my music, death is celebrated; in the comic, death is a fact. The sense of black humor, though, is something I feel I’ll never shake. I feel there’s just as much of that in both approaches to both mediums.

BUG: What was it like to see your first comic hot off the press, published, and resting in your hands?

GW. Very fulfilling. It felt different than holding an album, and I have yet to pinpoint why. In all of the work, the hoopla, and the pessimism, Scott and myself had both forgotten how special the book was. We had become too involved, too entrenched. To finally be able to sit down and read it made us remember why we both decided to dedicate a better part of our day-to-day lives to this thing. It was validating in the fact that we knew there was a readership out there waiting for this book, and it didn’t have to be big, that was never our intention. It was created to fill a void for ourselves, and like-minded individuals, and right away we felt like we had accomplished that.

BUG: What’s it like to work with artist Gabriel Bá? Do you work closely with him to plan out the way the page is going to look or do you just turn in the script and let him have at it?

GW: He is a joy to work with, first and foremost. He really “gets” the world these characters live in, sometimes even better than me. But we don’t get to talk on the phone being that he is in Brazil and I’m anywhere from Moscow to Iowa. But Scott, Gabriel, and myself work very closely together through email. I like to give him very detailed scripts and designs, but I also like to let him run with it and make choices. He has a very different sense of storytelling than I do, and that makes for amazing narrative sometimes. I think it’s what makes the book feel almost European.

BUG: Are there any comic book artists/writers who you would like to work with?

GW: I’ve always wanted to work with Grant (Morrison), and I think we could do something really amazing together, but that could be anywhere from making a film to a painting together. He and his wife are very special to me, and have guided me in many aspects of my life, not only creatively. So I know the chemistry is there.
Other artists? Off the top of my head I would say P. Craig Russell, Dave Mazzuchelli, Frank Quitely, and Taiyo Matsumoto. I’d always dreamed of working with Edvin Biukovic, but sadly he died very young, when I was working at DC Comics and after he’d done HUMAN TARGET. To me he was the brightest new artist in comics of that era.

BUG: Do you have any plans to write anything other than UMBRELLA ACADEMY in the future?

G: Only if it would piss off the right people.

BUG: Thank you so much for answering these questions.

GW: Thanks for having me!!

Well, folks, there you have it. Be sure to check out THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY from Dark Horse. That last image up there is an AICN Exclusive first look at the cover of issue #6. The second issue drops this week. I’ve read it and it’s just as good as the first issue, so don’t forget to check it out!


FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDERMAN #24

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski Artist: Joe Quesada Inker: Danny Miki Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Rock-Me Amodeo

Logically, if I can only read one comic this decade (as the cover dictates), I don’t think it should be this one, since I wouldn’t find out how the story ends until 2010 or 2017, depending on how you look at it. Experientially, if I could only read one comic this decade, it still wouldn’t be this one, because…nothing happened. For those of you who already lost your 399 pennies, it’s too late for you. Anyway, it’s almost impossible to spoil this issue because…
Nothing happened. Well, you know, “nothing” like my wife might say it. If I say, “I have nothing to wear,” I mean nothing clean. If she says, “I have nothing to wear,” she means nothing new. And folks, there is nothing new here.
Let’s start with the art. I am pleased to report that Joe Q can still draw, and draw well. At times, his artwork looks like classic Mike Golden (and that is a compliment, by the way.) Occasionally, Spidey’s feet look like Joe just graduated from the Leinel Yu School of Gunboat Feet (which is not a compliment, by the way.) Crap. Now I’m never going to get a writing job with Marvel. But I still want to say that the dark and highly-stylized theme works for me, and feels finished (i.e., not just a bunch of floating heads and people with no backgrounds.) With all this guy does, I would have expected to look rushed, but it doesn’t, and that’s good. Joe is an old pro, and it shows.
Alas, the story (such as it is). It’s scripted fine, with occasionally cheesy moments. “Enter the sanctum sanctorum of Stephen Strange.” O-kaaaay. Isn’t this one of Spidey’s teammates? Kinda formal for a compatriot. (Formal…cheesy… or SKRULLY! That’s what I…oh, never mind, I can’t pretend to care.) The problem is the actual content of the story.
Peter is allowed to use the dreaded (and never heard of before and never will be heard of again) Hands of the Dead, which are kind of like the Fickle Finger of Fate, times ten. These allow him to be simultaneously rejected by everyone who could possibly help him, which I do appreciate, since this could have been dragged over twelve issues instead of four. There is, however, the great danger of misuse, so fortunately they are invoked by one of the few spells that only involves a Latin incantation. Whoops!
The plot also suffers from “prophetic phrase-itis”, a condition when the protagonist cannot stop repeating what has already been said, bringing the illusion of poignancy as a way to color over sloppy exposition. And by the last page, nothing has changed, except we have been introduced to a character who MAY be able to affect things.
This issue could just as easily have opened with Spidey walking out of Strange’s sanctorum, thinking, “I can’t believe we went to everyone from Dr. Doom to Reed Richards and no one can do anything. Golly, who is this little girl?” Boom. Two panels, and I just saved you four bucks.
The sad thing? After 40 years of Aunt May, I really don’t care what happens to her. Her age and energy have predetermined her relationship with Peter. Unless Captain Universe comes back to inhabit her, she will always be the aunt Peter needs to care for.
The sadder thing? I think Mary Jane is getting offed, and that stinks. She’s a dynamic character, and I’ve enjoyed her more lately than ever before. She really came alive in those first months of New Avengers, there and in Spidey’s own books. I especially loved the way she was depicted in some little one-shot a while back, when Peter gave her some web-shooters, and she was hanging out with Cap and Luke Cage and the gang, talking sports and shooting the breeze. She was shown as capable and clever—and frankly, more interesting and less of a whiner than Peter (and who is it that keeps saying a married Peter Parker is dull? I’ve been married for 16 years, and let me tell you, one thing it is NOT is dull. But I digress.)
So what is going to happen in the next two issues? Will Aunt May finally go to her reward? Will Joe Q get his fondest wish and “Butterfly Effect” Mary Jane out of Peter’s life somehow? Tune in next issue, and instead of a whole issue of what didn’t happen, let’s hope something does.

CAPTAIN CARROT AND THE FINAL ARK #1

Writer: Bull Morrison Artists: Scottie Shaw! (pencils), Owl Gordon (inks) Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: Prof. Challenger

“CAPTAIN CARROT was a virtual textbook of How to Get It Wrong. The internal logic was constantly skewed. What would prompt anyone to coin the term "pig iron" in a world inhabited, at least in part, by intelligent pigs? Wouldn't that be an awful "racist" slur? What would an "alley cat" be in a world with intelligent cats? And, seriously, can we imagine a "real" superhero called, say, Captain Hamburger?
The book had all the earmarks of a "parody" -- but, of course, it was a "parallel universe", not a parody!! -- done by civilians. By people who do not "get" the language of superhero comics. Appalling, when you consider who actually created it.”

—John Byrne (on his official messageboard 10/6/07)
*Special Thanks goes to Google for providing me and the world with screencaps of the entire five page descent into absurd madness as Byrne and other posters dissected the logic of Capt. Carrot, Looney Tunes, Wheelie & the Chopper Bunch, and…yes…Speed Buggy. Thank God, Byrne decided to delete the entire thread before they started debating the logic of Scooby Doo and Quick-Draw McGraw. KA-BONG!*
Yep. Sometimes the only thing worse than a fan turned critic is a fan turned pro. And even worse than that is a fan-turned-pro who so despises the fan-turned-pro writer who co-created Capt. Carrot that it drives him to actually attempt to take apart the internal logic of a funny animal comic. Funny Animals, as Roger Rabbit reminded Eddie Valiant, can basically do anything they want to…so long as it’s funny. And that’s as far as the logic goes. Is it funny? Then it can be done and the internal logic stands firm.
The above-mentioned messageboard vomit did do one thing positive – it drew internet attention to a mini-series that might have otherwise just disappeared under the radar this past week. As the world’s biggest appreciator of the theatre d’absurde known as CAPT. CARROT AND HIS AMAZING ZOO CREW, it falls upon me to sit down and review the first issue of the team’s return following the editorial disaster that was their appearance in TEEN TITANS awhile back. You’ll recall that the misguided editorial control resulted in the final pages of the story, illustrated by Scott Shaw! somehow disappearing and being replaced by horribly drawn replacement pages that nobody has ever claimed credit for producing.
Nor should they. Embarrassing puts it too lightly.
Anyway, in that brief return, Zoo Crew member Little Cheese was murdered by Alley Kat Abra – simply because she’s a cat and Cheese was a mouse -- and they were both replaced by a new hero, the patriotic American Eagle.
Picking up some undefined time later comes CAPTAIN CARROT AND THE FINAL ARK. Now, let’s cover some background on Capt. Carrot for the uninformed. Heaven forfend that I might disagree with John Byrne, but the Capt. Carrot series never has been a “parody.” If it must fall into any type of classic literary category it is a satire. Yes, there are parodies within it (the Just’a Lotta Animals parody of the Justice League of America fr’instance). But the work itself is a wide-ranging pop culture satire set within the established conventions of super-heroes specifically and comic books in general. And to nail home the point, I ask someone to name me the two characters specifically being parodied by Capt. Carrot and Pig Iron.
Blink.
Blink
Blink
Exactly.
Back during the early 80s, Roy Thomas and Rich Buckler produced an excellent and well-received two-part story in DC COMICS PRESENTS where Superman teamed up with Capt. Marvel and the Marvel Family. In the second part, the funny animal version of Capt. Marvel, Hoppy the Marvel Bunny, made an appearance – thus establishing that these cartoony animal worlds of the Golden Age DC Comics actually existed as a part of the DC multiverse. The excitement over Hoppy’s return engagement led Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway to propose a funny animal version of the Justice League of America – which is where the Just’a Lotta Animals ultimately came from. However, that original project got scuttled somewhere along the line and they were encouraged to come up with something original and that is what evolved into CAPT. CARROT AND HIS AMAZING ZOO CREW!
The series itself was a groan-inducing pun-filled joy of a comic book. If the silliest, absurdest, and lamest of puns don’t give you a giggle then you probably would hate it. But if you find yourself amused by the throw-everything-against-the-wall-and-see-it-it-sticks style punning, then the series should amuse you. Annnnnddddd….because this really is just about the lowest rung on the comedy ladder, if the art is not top notch then the jokes absolutely will fall flat and the series will die. Thankfully, for the creation and most of its run, the CAPT. CARROT comic had the near-perfect cartooning sensibilities of Scott Shaw! I’m such a fan of Shaw! that there was a time when I actually bought a box of Cocoa Pebbles simply because it looked to me like the Flintstones cartoons on the back of the box were drawn by him. And you’ll never convince me it wasn’t him. His style is distinctive, even when working within the Hanna-Barbera house style.
So, now you’re saying to yourself “Shut up Prof! And just tell us whether the NEW damn comic is any good!” To which I should say “I’m getting’ to it. Just hold on.”
See, I wanted to love this comic with all my heart but the best I can muster is a flush of enjoyment over the art and a restrained “like” of the rest. I would not go so far as to call this a “turd” as fellow-critic Squashua so delicately put it this weekend. But it definitely had some tonal and content problems. It doesn’t really bother me that they’re having to work within the continuity of that TEEN TITANS story. Little Cheese never really was a great character. In fact, his introduction was sort of a Jump-the-Shark moment for the original series for me. And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist (believe me, I know one personally) to figure out that the tenuous tie to COUNTDOWN is going to be eventually revealed to be a universe-hopping evil version of Alley Kat Abra who killed Little Cheese and the original, good, Alley Kat Abra will rejoin the team. It does not rub me wrong to have President Mallard Fillmore replaced by President Benaduck Arnold. After all, in the 20+ year interim between the original series and this one, the advent of the Mallard Fillmore newspaper comic strip probably makes it a legally imprudent move for DC to reintroduce their earlier character with the same name. And it does not bug me that the American Eagle character is a right-wing radio host in the mold of our own Rush Limbaugh, but with the rather inflammatory name of “Johnny Jingo.” And it’s not too annoying that when the introduction of Johnny Jingo describes him as “The Radio Talk Show Host with Two Right Wings,” the art shows his left wing pounding the table appearing like two wings. Oops. And while it should annoy me that Capt. Carrot, who’s never worn gloves before with his costume, shows up in this comic wearing red gloves – even that doesn’t bug me. In fact, I’m almost going to bet that the only reason he’s wearing the gloves in this comic is that there’s an upcoming DC Direct action figure of Capt. Carrot and the sculptor inadvertently sculpted gloves on the figure and rather than go back and fix the toys DC figured it would be easier to just add them to the comic.
Nope, all that stuff is fine with me.
The problem is the story and the storytelling itself. This series seems to have jettisoned the overall child-like exuberance of the original series. Poorly executed political satire is infused throughout and the political stuff is just plain not funny. Well, except for the flushing of Goldie. That was funny. And the interaction between the Zoo Crew characters, Pig Iron and Fastback especially, is quite solid and cute but the narrative canvas is just too crowded and focused outside the main characters.
This weekend I went back and reread through the first 15 issues of the first series to try and figure out what was missing and I think it’s just simply the generational difference between, say, a Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway who were weaned on those Golden Age funny animal comics and Bill Morrison who spends most of his time dwelling in the more jaded and self-aware cynical world of the Simpsons. And it shows in this issue. The writer needs to simplify simplify simplify. Capt. Carrot is not a complicated premise or world and the characters fit broad humor, beyond just puns. The pages need to open up. Enlarge those panels. Infuse more joy onto the pages and this could be a success. But if the emphasis is going to continue to be on misguided political satire versus good-natured satire of all things pop, then I predict the series to be DOA by the time the third issue comes out.
The first issue is enjoyable overall. It’s a fairly pleasant diversion from most Marvel and DC product, but it does show signs of infection. I’m hoping that this first issue was the precursor to a slam-bang story that jettisons all elements of self-loathing and self-aware sarcasm to reclaim Capt. Carrot’s position as the comic that John Byrne once said was “a virtual textbook on how to get it wrong!” Coming from the perspective of a fan-turned-pro who could write a textbook on “getting it wrong” himself, that should be the highest of praise for the original series. This newest comic still gets a lot “wrong,” but it did not fully match my expectations for excellence. But I’m along for the ride and looking forward to the next issue because you really can’t go wrong with Frogzilla.

RUNAWAYS #28

Writer: Joss Whedon Artist: Michael Ryan Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Sleazy G

I was just as trepidatious as all of the other RUNAWAYS fans when Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona announced they were leaving the characters they created behind. I was enough of a fan Joss Whedon’s TV work to become a little more comfortable with the idea, but knowing the artist and writer who had left such a distinct, personal mark on the series were gone left me wondering if even Joss could get inside the characters’ heads well enough to make the series work.
We’re four issues into Joss’ run now, and it turns out there was nothing to worry about. Whedon hit the ground running and hasn’t let up yet. My big concern was that while his work on ASTONISHING X-MEN with John Cassaday was good, it was a more cinematic, decompressed writing style. It was clearly influenced by Warren Ellis’ work on PLANETARY (which I loved, don’t get me wrong), and I was concerned he would take the same approach to RUNAWAYS. There are a lot of solid writers in comics who aren’t able to make drastic changes in their writing styles, and as a result aren’t always a good match with certain characters. Thankfully, Whedon knew this going in and takes a completely different approach to RUNAWAYS. The dialogue is much denser than in his X-MEN work, which means we get to hear more of the characters’ voices shining through and we get a lot more story in each issue. While I’ve liked some of the ideas in his X-run and there’s no denying Cassaday’s visuals are stunning, that book isn’t anywhere near as strong as what Whedon is doing here.
It’s not just that he’s able to get the existing characters right, though. He’s also thrown in time travel, incorporated the main character from the first comic strip ever (The Yellow Kid from “Hogan’s Alley”), and introduced brand new characters of his own whose offbeat abilities and personalities are a perfect fit for the mood of the series (read: some angst, some humor, and some more angst). A little girl who can talk to plants and ask them to grow, not knowing that wasn’t how they were supposed to work? Neato. A girl who can fly by dancing through the air on music? Now that’s pretty inspired stuff—a beautiful, touching, artistic ability instead of one that’s about force or power. Joss finds a way to work in some of the political and social issues he’s known for, but not in a forceful or oppressive way—they feel fairly natural within the context of the story. All this and return visits from more vengeful dead enemies? And they bring the possibility of a fallen comrade returning as well? Icing on the cake. And while in many writers’ hands these ideas would seem familiar and trite, when Vaughan brought back a dead frenemy at the end of his arc it was handled in a way I’ve never seen before: surprising, sweet, sad, and a great note for the character to go out on. I’ve seen nothing to suggest Joss won’t handle his arc just as well.
If there’s any one complaint I have about Whedon’s run, it’s that it’s going to be far too short. He’s thrown out a lot of great ideas, new characters, tension…all the stuff he’s known for. Leaving after just one six issue arc, though, means he won’t have time to see most of what he set in motion through. I know it’ll give other writers a lot of toys to play with in their stories, but I would have loved to see what else he could do with them. With such specific and idiosyncratic characters, not just anyone can step into the writer’s shoes, and now that a second person who had such a knack for them is leaving I find myself even more worried: what if Joss was the only other one who could get it right? For the time being, though, I have to say I’ve really enjoyed some of Joss’ best work in comics to date and can’t wait to see how he’s going to wrap things up. If there are fans of Joss’ work out there who weren’t aware of RUNAWAYS or haven’t been buying this arc, they’re really missing out, and if there are RUNAWAYS fans who left when Vaughan did…bad call. Seriously. Go hit those back bins and catch up so you’re on board when the final two issues drop.

SIMON DARK #1

Writer: Steve Niles Artist: Scott Hampton Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: Ambush Bug

Simply put, SIMON DARK is what RAGMAN should be if Bill Willingham hadn’t gotten his hands on the character and ruined him by making him play superhero in SHADOWPACT. I was a huge fan of the original RAGMAN miniseries released in the late seventies. RAGMAN was a street level hero that tracked down serial killers and despicable people of that sort. There was no mysticism to speak of, just a gritty tale of evil men being brought to justice by a mysterious patchwork man. And that’s what SIMON DARK is.
Well, actually, that’s what he seems to be in this first issue. Steve Niles is very choosy with what info he releases about the character in this story. We know he’s nimble. We know he resides in Gotham City. We know he’s a bit confused and doesn’t really have well-developed social skills. We also know that he has no compunction against decapitating his foes with a razor wire, which will no doubt put him into conflict with Gotham’s other protector. But aside from all that, we really don’t get a good idea as to who or what Simon Dark really is.
And that’s ok, I guess.
This issue does a good job of setting the stage for this enigmatic hero. A cute medical examiner is introduced, as is a father and daughter who are just moving into Gotham City. All seem to be on a collision course with Dark. This issue served its function; that is, it sets the stages for what seems to be an interesting story. Does it follow a bit of formula? Yes, yes it does. And although it’s getting a bit annoying to see, since it is happening with greater frequency these days, I am not that pissed about it…yet. Seems the art of writing your typical first issue of an arc or comic book is pretty much cut-and-paste these days. Bit o’ mystery, bit o’ action, intro characters, set up problem, wham, bang, zoom, To Be Continued. Fellow @$$Hole and drinking buddy Humphrey Lee commented about it in last week’s column and it goes the same here. The only thing separating one first issue from another on the shelves are the tinier details.
The true standout of this issue and the reason I will ultimately favor a positive recommendation for this book rather than a “meh”-filled one is the art. Scott Hampton does a great job of bringing on the moody. His panels are dark and not so much shaded as they are smudged with grime. Sure there is some photo-referencing going on, but Hampton shies away from making things look staged or stilted. There’s an especially effective action scene that Hampton nails without a hitch and I really liked the design of Simon Dark’s simple yet creepy outfit. He’s got a Freddy Kruger sweater with a Leatherface style stitched mask. The scenes with Dark do their job in that Hampton makes him a scary thing to look at.
In the end, it was the art that saved this one for me. It’s also kind of like RAGMAN, so that makes it cool too. But the ads for this book seem to indicate that this is a Frankenstein-like story, although little goes on in this issue to suggest that. A bit formulaic and decompressed, yes, but I like enough of what I’m seeing in this first issue to recommend it and it’s enough to keep me around for a second helping to see if Niles and Hampton can bring something new to the mix.

FANTASTIC FOUR #550

Written by Dwayne McDuffie Art by Paul Pelletier and Rick Magyar Published by Marvel Reviewed by Stones Throw

According to FF editor Tom Brevoort’s blog, one of Stan Lee’s golden rules as EIC of Marvel was MR. FANTASTIC DOESN’T STRETCH HIS NECK, since it looks too undignified to fit his scientist/all-round good guy persona and sets him apart from other stretchers like Plastic Man. In which case, why the hell couldn’t Brevoort have told that to cover artist Michael Turner, ‘cause that cover looks damn silly? Reed’s got a weird disgruntled principal expression on and is standing all stretched out for no reason, the FF seem to have developed an unhealthy interest in the next book on the stands and there’s the obligatory ass-shot for Sue. Oh, and as usual with Turner, it looks like crap. Marvel and DC, please stop giving work to this guy and save my eyes unnecessary aneurysms pre-comic opening.
The uninviting covers are even more irritating given that I’m loving the art inside. Since his days on SHE-HULK, Paul Pelletier’s been one of my favorite superhero guys around. He’s got a strong, energetic and enjoyable style, is great with design, and the way he mixes up the page layouts really make the visuals pop off the page. And even though I’m pretty bored of all the cosmic stuff in FF, there was one page that made me go “cool!” (it’s the “Eternity is dying” one).
But surprise, surprise, I’m not here just to talk about the art. Because while for the most part I’ve been enjoying Dwayne McDuffie’s nascent, and soon to be curtailed, run on my favorite Marvel characters, there are a number of issues I have with it. (Word to the wise: this review will talk a lot about CIVIL WAR. If you like your reviews to focus on the comic at hand and nothing else, turn back now.)
The way it seems to be working out is like this: Mark Millar tries his darnedest to screw up the FF (and most other Marvel characters) in CIVIL WAR, Marvel draft in Dwayne McDuffie to shape them back into the archetype in time for Millar and Bryan Hitch to begin their “second coming of Christ” run on the title.
Does that strike no one else as just a little fucked up? Were we not hit over the head with “THESE ARE CHANGES THAT MATTER!!” last year? Or “THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ERA AT MARVEL SINCE STAN AND JACK!!!”? (Like any of those guys have read any Marvel comics in between.) But nope, seems like as with the upcoming Spidey ret-con and Marvel’s switcheroo on Hulk killing, the tactic at the moment is go for the big shock (Spidey unmasks/Reed and Sue split up/Hulk’s gonna kill Iron Man/Iron Man’s a villain), ride the sales boost then renege on that when it becomes inconvenient or the deified “creat-ah” decides he wants to start telling stories with the classic versions of the characters.
Reader, one of these quotes is not like the other. Here’s Millar in 2006, when the Civil War was a-ragin’:
I wrote the characters the way I knew them growing up... Reed is a distracted scientist, Sue loves him despite his ego and flaws and tries her best to hold the family together.
And more recently, publicizing his upcoming run on the book with Bryan Hitch:
Reed has to be incredibly charismatic…He isn't an egg-head. He's as brave as he's smart and this is why he's Mister Fantastic. Well, I definitely prefer the second one. It seems like Millar’s taken the time to check out a copy of THE ESSENTIAL FANTASTIC FOUR at least. But it merely serves to telegraph how gratuitous and almost hateful the utter lack of characterization or thought for the past was in CIVIL WAR. As a less entrenched character, Iron Man has probably been the most harmed, but even though it seems like it isn’t sticking, as a lifelong FF fan Reed’s autistic-savant, Thor-cloning, Black Goliath-killing, friend-experimenting upon, super-villain-recruiting, family-disregarding persona in CIVIL WAR was just as shocking. But for Marvel to immediately snap that back (this arc’s called RECONSTRUCTION, fer chrissakes!) just smacks of utter shamelessness and ignorance.
I mean, McDuffie’s tried his best. In his first issue he came up with a better rationalization for Reed’s actions than JMS managed. (Reed’s uncle was a communist in the 50s and so he learned not to stand up against the government?...uh, yeah, that makes sense!) I still don’t buy it, but that’s down to Millar’s crummy storytelling. But McDuffie’s been dealt a losing hand. CIVIL WAR was such a misstep that it seems to be the elephant in the room that no one wants to mention. It’s like a fart let off in a waiting room followed by an uncomfortable silence when no one wants to fess up or acknowledge it. Just like Iron Man’s not quite-credible “I take responsibility” speech in WORLD WAR HULK, there’s no way to fit events like Reed creating a Thor robot that goes on to kill one of his oldest friends, or actually building a prison designed to lock up and experiment upon other superheroes, into a workable status quo in six issues. Not to mention that this ghastly INITIATIVE idea is still going on in the background. I’m sorry, but in an almost half century-old universe with several superstar characters, it’s an awful concept that hugely limits the imagination and potential that is possible. In the WildStorm universe I could buy it, but it just doesn’t work in the MU. Spider-Man could defeat Doctor Octopus when he was in high school, but now every kid with super powers has to go through boot camp and work for Uncle Sam? Way to ruin my suspension of disbelief!
I wish McDuffie’s run could have come at a better time, because I could see myself really getting into it. He’s got a good handle on the characters, Johnny aside, unfortunately, who seems to be persisting with the airhead take. I like his Thing though (no laughing). Not so clownish, more in keeping with his past as a pilot/astronaut. McDuffie also deserves credit for being a genuinely smart guy when it comes to science. Mr. Fantastic usually specializes in scientific bullshitting (hello, unstable molecules), but McDuffie’s been coming up with some clever and potentially practical concepts. It’s not perfect: I haven’t been keeping up with all the ANNIHILATION continuity, but the Silver Surfer threatening to incinerate Black Panther is surely a little out of place. Plus the Watcher breaks his oath of non-interference again. He mentions “punishment” this time, but we’re still in deus ex machina territory.
But then CIVIL WAR or Reed “making up” for what he did gets mentioned and I’m just pulled right out. It can’t be swept under the carpet so soon or so easily. I mean, that event was just so wrong that I’d say the best tactic would be just to ignore it. Does this prove that Marvel had no plans for what came after that event? Because torching the status quo then immediately switching back is the worst kind of storytelling there is.
I’ll admit I’m looking forward to Millar and Hitch’s run on the book. I’ve enjoyed them on the ULTIMATES and Millar’s good at the big ideas at the very least, and I’m looking forward to the A-team getting a chance to try their game on one of the flagship books, rather than an “Ultimate” or event miniseries. Will they hit a home run or strike out? Remains to be seen. But I’ve got a feeling that no matter how good it is, there’ll still be the niggling feeling that this is the guy behind the abominably bad CIVIL WAR. It’s been tarring my enjoyment on a lot of Marvel titles. I couldn’t get into AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE because…CIVIL WAR, man.
I wish I could enjoy McDuffie’s run without reservations too, but…CIVIL WAR, man.

TRANSMISSION X Webcomics

Story/Art: Various artists Reviewer: Ambush Bug

Since dot.comics was started here on AICN, I’ve been contacted by quite a few webcomic creators wanting me to click out their websites. I think my favorite so far are the offerings from a website called TRANSMISSION X. This is a collaborative effort from some of the most creative people in comics. Each day of the week is dedicated to a different ongoing story. The site’s been up and running long enough to spend hours on clicking through the pages and enjoying some wonderful webcomic-booking. I was able to check out all of the stories on the site and I’ll spend a little time with each of them in this review.
Monday is dedicated to a story called RAGNI by Karl Kerschl. This simplistic tale of a man trying to overcome the elements is a masterpiece to behold. The ocean is vast and dark, contrasted against the sketched and light figure of his main character. This wordless story follows one man’s struggle with the ocean to survive. It’s a heartbreaking read and one that resonates long after you click away.
Tuesdays bring us KUKUBURI by Ramon Perez. This is a trippy jaunt into a world reminiscent of something spawned from the mind of Geoff Darrow or Seth Fischer. Cartoony, but grounded in a reality that makes the trippy scenes all the more bizarre, KUKUBURI follows a delivery girl who sets out on a seemingly normal day on the job and ends up in a whacked out nightmare world with talking animals and beautiful colors. Read this one twice: once for the story and once again to soak in the wonderful artwork.
If it’s Wednesday, it must be time for Karl Kerschl’s THE ABOMINABLE CHARLES CHRISTOPHER. This looks to be a fun tale taking place in a forest with a cast full of furry characters. The animals talk and party like rockstars in this story while a Yeti bounds around and gets into trouble. The other animals think Charles is an idiot and after seeing the shit he gets into, they may be right. But something tells me that this seemingly moronic monster ma be the key to save the entire forest. Kerschl makes some finely detailed animal--skewed yet their physical attributes are preserved. This was a fun read and probably the one I will check back with the most of the bunch to see how the story turns out.
KISSING CHAOS: ‘TIL I DIE by Arthur Dela Cruz (ADC) drops on Thursday. This is a much more somber offering, resembling a beat poem rather than a more straight-forward narrative. The panels are gritty and skewed and positioned in a non-traditional manner. This seems to be a much more personal tale, but it’s early on in the story so a return trip in a month or two may offer more for me to talk about. So far, though, it’s a nice break in mood from all of the lively and vivid imagery of the other webcomics on the site.
Thank god it’s Friday because it’s time for RAISING HELL by Andy B. This cartoony adventure is about a couple who love to hate each other…or a couple who hate to love each other. Either way, this one may not have been exactly to my tastes, but writer/artist Andy B. does good panel to panel storytelling. Sometimes this one is exposition heavy and the humor may be considered sophomoric to some, but I liked the art and the premise is promising.
On Saturday, THE PORT by Hepburn Scott is on tap. This stylized tale of a small town that is attacked by a pack of alien/demon/evil-ish cat-like creatures that teleport into town one night was a blast to read. It’s got just enough quirkiness to be funny, yet retains the horrific attributes of age-old monster movies of the past. The central characters, a bunch of kids, give this story an innocent feel, but the deadly acts of the cats make it a pretty ghoulish read. I really like the designs of the killer cats. This was a fun one.
Sunday brings us Cameron Stewart’s SIN TITULO. This is pretty much a perfect comic when it comes to noir and suspense. It’s a tale of a young man who finds out that his grandfather has died mysteriously in a nursing home. Something just doesn’t feel right and it seems as if something insidious is in the works. The story is your standard mystery, but Cameron Stewart’s use of panels ups the ante. This is the online equivalent of a true page-turner where you are both excited and scared to click the mouse to go to the next screen. If you like mystery, this is the one you want to check out. Highly recommended with simplistic, yet striking art by Stewart himself.
The last weekly comic drops on Sundays as well. THE PRINCESS PLANET by Brian McGlachlan is an offbeat, done in one page comic strip. The stories take place on a fantastical planet populated by princesses. Some of the humor falls flat, but this strip has been going since 2004, so props to the writer/artist for sticking with it for so long. This one kind of reminds me of a Sunday newspaper comic strip and it seems to do the same for those who run Transmission X since they’ve decide to run a new one every Sunday.
Finally, this website also runs a complete comic short story once a month by Michael Cho under the title PAPERCUT. So far two stories have been completed. SMOKING was posted in August. It is a beautifully rendered story about what smoking meant to one person. This story paints the experience of giving up smoking for one person perfectly and eloquently. The artwork is equally textured and sublime. This was a read treat to read and it may be the perfect antithesis of Marvel’s smoking ban on its characters because it made me want to light up a cigarette after it was finished…and I don’t even smoke.
Cho’s second story STARS was submitted in September. It tells us the story of a boy who befriends a sickly child and how death is seen through his eyes. The way the child understands death may be a little beyond his years, but that doesn’t make the story any less touching. Michael Cho’s art really is fantastic in these shorts. Reminiscent of Darwyn Cooke or BLANKET’s Craig Thompson, this artist is one to look out for.
This website has a wonderful showcase of talent. TRANSMISSION X seems to set the bar pretty high when it comes to content. It’s been running all summer long, so hours of FREE entertainment is just a click away. I suggest you browse the site yourself and see which story suits you. The stories are so varied that you’re bound to find something. And again, it’s frikkin’ FREE, folks. You can’t beat that price. Check out TRANSMISSION X, it really is some of the best online comic book entertainment around.

THE BLACK DIAMOND #4 AIT/Planet Lar

This is one of those comics that rarely follows a conservative way of telling a story. The method used in this issue has been done before, but creator/writer Larry Young utilizes the technique of telling two seemingly unrelated stories at the same time to its fullest potential. One of the stories follow a man’s ramblings about this and that--ambition, hard work, the state of the country, morals, values, and all that--while the artwork tells a quite different tale: depicting a rapid and rampant car chase sequence with explosions, shotguns, explosions, amazing leaps from moving cars, explosions, the world’s strongest rope, and explosions. This book is ROAD WARRIOR with a skewed version of the world outside our window, where the government has built elevated roadways across America, where laws are outlawed and a fight for survival takes place on every mile. Recommended for gear-heads and those who like political allegories as well. A smart read with art by Jon Proctor that makes it not too shabby to look at either. – Ambush Bug

FANTASY ART WORKSHOP: JOHN HOWE Impact

Why is it so hard to write about art? If you look at all of these reviews we churn out every week, we often reserve the obligatory art mention towards the end of the review or sometimes, in my case, I don’t mention it at all. I’m not exactly sure why that is, but I think it has something to do with the fact that talking about art is an abstract concept, one not as literal as commenting on the story and such. Or maybe it’s just me. I DO know that John Howe doesn’t have any difficulty talking about artwork. His FANTASY ART WORKSHOP does a great job of describing his artistic process and educating anyone who picks up this book on how to make beautiful drawings and paintings. Howe goes into painstaking detail, from setting up an artistic environment conducive to creativity to utilizing the right materials, to help up-and-coming artists on their path to artistic goodness. It helps that the book is filled with Howe’s amazing and fantastical artwork. Howe was a conceptual artist on the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, so he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to fantastic creatures and scenery. Knights, dragons, castles, and beasts of all shapes and sizes fill up these pages. It’s a great read (with a forward by none other than Terry Gilliam) that will entertain, educate, and inform. – Ambush Bug

NOVA #7 Marvel Comics

This is, without a doubt, the best Marvel ongoing series of the year. Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning write one hell of a sci-fi action-fest as Nova struggles to gain control of his Phalanx-possessed body. Every month, I pick NOVA up thinking that it can’t be as cool as the previous issue and every single month I am knocked on my kiester from the bad@$$ery of the story, Sean Chen’s ultra-fine artwork and final page cliffhangers that make me punch myself for not savoring the book and reading it first which means I have to wait a whole month to read the next issue. It’s that good, folks. – Bug

BRAWL #1 Image Comics

I have no idea what I just read, but I kind of like it. The online comics studio Act-i-vate brings us this three issue miniseries, and it’s definitely an artist’s book. The art, especially Dean (Harvey Pekar’s THE QUITTER) Haspiel’s Kirby-esque stylings, is spectacular and the stories are pretty off-the-wall. Apparently

Readers Talkback

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  • Oct. 17, 2007, 1:42 a.m. CST

    First!

    by Little Dick Wick

    Oh snap...

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 2 a.m. CST

    MOD NEEDED IN THE McCOY TALKBACK.

    by Shermdawg

    Thank you.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 2:25 a.m. CST

    3rd

    by ironic_name

    transmissionx and brawl

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 2:55 a.m. CST

    It's been a bad year for Tigra

    by Jinxo

    Yeah, poor Tigra. I mean, she's been taking it on the chin before New Avengers. First off, she's the only hero to really come off as a complete douche in Civil War. Yes, Iron Man and Reed were utter dicks but they at least got to be up front I-think-I'm-doing-the-right-thing dicks. Tigra got to be the only Benedict Arnold spy in the whole affair. Sold out all the rebels. Then she gets mind controlled and turned into Puppetmaster's toy. I mean where's the cool in getting defeated and pimped out by a small nerdy bald dude? And now she gets bitch slapped, threatened and embarrassingly humiliated in New Avengers. I mean... damn. Oh wait! Before that she also got a crap Initiative state assignment. Only one thing left to do to her. She goes to get treatment for her beat-down injuries and comes out forced to wear one of those giant plastic pet cones around her neck so she won't pick at her injuries.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 5:45 a.m. CST

    "Black Goliath-killing" ???

    by Midnightxpress

    I think someone needs to go back and actually read Civil War before writing crap like the above...

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 7:09 a.m. CST

    Little Johnny Shermdog......

    by BangoSkank

    Little Johnny Shermdog just ran into my first period Earth Science class and asked for Mr. Roberts to come quick and help. Why? 'Cause Timmy Anderson and Tony Nelson were fighting! Fist fighting!

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 7:14 a.m. CST

    I just wish more comic book stores were kid friendly

    by teethgnasher

    Giving away comics is great idea. I will try it this year. I love the medium. That being said, I wish the industry would take more steps to make comic books more accessible for kids. When a kid thinks of Spider-Man, he/she thinks of the movies and going to Wal-Mart to purchase the movies and toys. Most parents don't think of the comic specialty stores either.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 7:35 a.m. CST

    Wow. Captain Carrot...

    by BizarroJerry

    The amount of time the @$$holes and these other comic book guys have spent discussing Captain Carrot... It boggles the mind.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 8:04 a.m. CST

    Did Byrne really say that about Captain Carrot?

    by rev_skarekroe

    What a crackpot.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 8:11 a.m. CST

    Time wasted talkin about Capt. Carrot when they COULD be talking

    by rock-me Amodeo

    <br><br> G.I. JOE! <br><br>

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 8:35 a.m. CST

    Bryne

    by teethgnasher

    Bryne killed Superboy dammit! And he is a Has Been.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 8:46 a.m. CST

    Ten years from now: Kid Friendly Digital comic book downloads

    by teethgnasher

    and $100.00 DC archives

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 8:47 a.m. CST

    some cool news

    by PVIII

    Ocean has been optioned by Zack Snyder's production company, if anyone cares...

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 8:50 a.m. CST

    Midnightxpress

    by WarpedElements

    I think he's referring to the fact that since Mr. Fantastic created Thor-Clone that he's ultimately responsible for Black Goliath's death. Or something.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 9:11 a.m. CST

    Help Spread the Word about Giving Comics for Halloween!

    by Squashua

    No secret agenda here, gang. Print out that flyer and bring it to the local store, blog about the concept, etc. GET THE WORD OUT!

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 9:29 a.m. CST

    Byrne's raging asshole-ocity

    by RenoNevada2000

    Got a link to the caps of that thread where Byrne runs down Captain Carrot? Today is kind of sucking and I could use a good laugh.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 9:45 a.m. CST

    Midnight, Warped

    by stones_throw

    If any of y'all went on to the next paragraph I did clarify it -- but ultimately Reed built a dangerous robot that immediately malfunctioned resulting in the death of an old friend of his, so in a story that made a lick of sense there should be some MAJOR guilt and consequences there. Of course, if making sense was an issue there wouldn't have been a story, y'know?

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 9:45 a.m. CST

    WarpedElements

    by Midnightxpress

    Indeed...thou that is abit like accusing Peter Parker of being "Uncle Ben Killing"....

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 9:45 a.m. CST

    WarpedElements

    by Midnightxpress

    Indeed...thou that is abit like accusing Peter Parker of "Uncle Ben Killing"....

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 9:46 a.m. CST

    Know what pisses me off?

    by toshiro-solo

    The "need" to undo the Parker/Watson marriage. True, the marriage itself wasn't the most gracefully executed storyline of all time, but that's kind of beside the point. The idea that Pete's somehow a more interesting character as a down on his luck single guy than as a down on his luck married guy is retarded! There's plenty of storytelling potential to both scenarios, but the bottom line is that the character has been married for 20 years now, and THAT'S THE CHARACTER. What's more is that MJ had begun to have a chance to come into her own as a character before all of the editorial mandates of "Civil War/Back in Black/One More Day" took over the controls. I'm excited to see Slott's take on the character, but I'm honestly considering dropping Spidey altogether if/when the MJ retcon happens.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 10 a.m. CST

    want to know what makes me mad

    by Bloo

    that Grocery stores, convience stores, Wal-Mart, etc don't carry comics anymore. I live in a small Kansas town, and I love comics but if I want to get comics I have to drive well over 100miles to find any or order through mail, if I roder through mail I'm stuck with a year long sub to a comic that may end up being crap. I would love to give comics to kids, I'd go out and invest money in it but it's just not feasible for me because if I give them out, how do I tell them where to get more. AWWWW!!!! What happened to the spinner racks of my youth, why did Wally World stop with comics and go with the occiousnial TPB, this makes no sense!

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 10:01 a.m. CST

    Marvel uses invasions as filler

    by roboknob

    Has anyone else noticed that Marvel is just focusing on invasions? Every marvel book post-CW is just invasion this and invasion that. Skrulls, Ninjas, Symbiotes, Monsters, robots, hulks, aliens. Villains and Heroes used to get character development... They don't know what they're doing.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 10:05 a.m. CST

    Midnight

    by stones_throw

    Yeah, if Pete was waving a gun around and it misfired. Not really seeing the comparison there. Mr Fantastic builds an offensive weapon which kills someone. There's intention to harm there, which resulted in death. Spidey doesn't stop a burglar. No intent. Maybe if Pete had given the burglar a lift to his house...

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 10:10 a.m. CST

    The spinner rack...

    by rock-me Amodeo

    Man. We lived life on the run when I was a boy, moving every one or two years, sometimes every few months. Whatever town we were in, though, I would look for an Eckerds. They always had a spinner rack.<br><br> Every Eckerds always had this really cool smell, I don't know what it was, particularly, sort of clean and antiseptic, with a hint of "new book scent." But to me, that smell became the smell of new comic books. I could walk into that store and KNEW there were new comics books waiting for me. "Howard the Duck #1? That'll never be worth anything. Oooooh! The new Marvel Team-Up is out! Who's the half-naked bald chick hanging out with Spidey and the Vision?"<br><br> Man. Them's was the days...

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 10:19 a.m. CST

    Nova finally coming into his own

    by FatRat

    I've been a Nova fan since vol. 1 issue 1, way back in the day. I'm glad that he's finally being treated the way he should be. I did like his run in the New Warriors in the 90's but the comedy miniseries just sucked. <BR> <BR> Now if only DC could do the same with Firestorm

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 10:36 a.m. CST

    MidnightExpress

    by ErnieAnderson

    Thou is something Thor would say. Though is a much different word. Perhaps you've been raped one too many times in a Turkish prison.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 10:45 a.m. CST

    Publix still carries comics

    by rev_skarekroe

    I picked up a recent issue of "New Avengers" there (the one with the plane crash). Your big two bookstore chains, Barnes + Noble and Borders, also have spinnder racks. Those are about the most mainstream locations to get comics that I know about these days. Is it just a choice of the stores and chains, or does it have something to do with Diamond being the monopolized distributer of comics these days?

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 10:53 a.m. CST

    Comics outside of comic stores...

    by stones_throw

    As I understand it it's no longer economic for stores outside the direct market to carry single issues so much. They're too expensive and don't sell as well as they used to. In the 90s Marvel tried launching a line of cheaper books aimed at chains (Kurt Busiek's UNTOLD TALES OF SPIDER-MAN was one of these) but stores were reluctant to stock them because the profit margins were just too low, apparently.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 11 a.m. CST

    MR. FANTASTIC DOESN’T STRETCH HIS NECK

    by fiester

    I never noticed that before but it is absolutely true.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 11:04 a.m. CST

    Parker/Watson marriage

    by fiester

    They will probably undo that and undo his secret identity outing and take him back to his roots. I always thought Black Cat was much wilder and hotter than MJ and a better match for Pete.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 11:59 a.m. CST

    I have a spinner rack. It's awesome.

    by Burgundy82

    Just sayin'...

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 12:07 p.m. CST

    Spinner racks, con't...

    by Burgundy82

    Mine says stuff like "Hey Kids! Comics!" along the top. It squeaks when it turns and when I was a kid playing with superhero toys it always served as a skyskraper. I stowed it in the basement during high school when I was on the football team and suddenly, stupidly embarrassed to be a geek but brought it back out during college when I learned to once again not give a fuck what people thought. Moral of the story: Nobody puts baby in the corner, and nobody puts a kickass spinner rack in the basement.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 12:30 p.m. CST

    FF has been terrible...

    by xsi kal

    ...and it's not all Civil War's fault. The whole black panther/storm team-up with the FF has been worse than ridiculous. I don't follow Black Panther normally, and nothing in these issues has changed that stance... so he's super smart, somehow able to full nelson the silver surfer, and generally behaves like an ultra-serious ass? Gee, how wonderful!<br><br> For me, the last time this series was really rolling was when Waid was writing it and Wieringo (RIP) was drawing. Since then, it's been one misstep after another. (And yes, Civil War was one of them). <br><br> Regarding the whole MJ/Spiderman debate... I'm fine with them retconning the relationship... partly because I am tired of all the hyperbole from those opposed to the idea, and partly because I think they've pretty much played out most of the stories that can be told about that marriage. (And I've been married for 11 years, so it's not like I am anti-marriage... just anti-boredom).<br><br> Finally... while I am enjoying Runaways, I would vastly prefer actually getting an issue a month. I love Whedon, but so far, his titles seem to be late an awful lot.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 12:40 p.m. CST

    re: FF

    by rock-me Amodeo

    I haven't been able to stand FF ever since Black "I'm Batman" Panther came aboard. I can't stand the way the Duffster writes him, trying SOOOO hard to make him a badass. "Galactus Contingecy Plan"? Please. Next thing you know, he's going to whip out a can of shark-repellent from his utility belt.<br><br>We get it, Mr. McDuffie, you want him to be well-respected. That's fine. But when you have Reed Richards, the leader of the Marvel world's premier supergroup AND one of the most brilliant minds in the universe, unable to lead whenever the Panther is in the same room - really, it's so obvious as to border on pathetic.<br><br>It's not a zero-sum game. In order for Panther to be effective, the writing doesn't have to make Richards or everyone else look LESS effective.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 1:17 p.m. CST

    re:chains and not carrying books

    by Bloo

    I belive it's the chain's choice but it depends on profitablity. A TPB or two takes up less room on the shelf and selling those at 20, 25 bucks a pop is mor profitable then selling 25 or so comics at a couple of dollars a pop because you're not guarentted to sell all your comics. My local Kroger/Dillons store carries a few comics but it's hard to get into them when you start off with the first issue of an arch but they don't carry that title again for one or two issues. Usually it's an X title, maybe an FF, once in awhile a Star wars Dark Horse comic, and a superman title. It's, like I said, frustrating to be a comic fan in a small town without a barnes and nobel, Borders, Hastings, etc.<P>on the plus side I did pick up Marvel 1608 or whatever it was called at a Target and was impressed with it

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 1:25 p.m. CST

    transmission x and gerard way

    by Shigeru

    I was going to come in here and give gerard way shit for being in a shit band but hey looks like he knows his stuff so whatever. <br><br> trasmission x has like 8 times the talent of all the rest of the books reviewed

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 1:42 p.m. CST

    FF and Black Panther

    by stones_throw

    Rock, I gotta say: how has McDuffie made Reed look ineffective? If I could block out the (unavoidable) inclusion of CIVIL WAR continuity, I'd say he's writing a pretty bang-up Mr. Fantastic. I loved stuff like his visit to Hank Pym: "You're one of the most brilliant biologists on the planet. It would take me *weeks* to reach your level." I wouldn't say Reed's a naturally forceful or egotistical guy - in fact in the Lee and Kirby issues it's kind of a running joke how ego-less he is, always putting everyone else first. The FF has never been like the Avengers with a Captain America giving orders. But the Black Panther - he IS that kind of guy. He's Mr Contingency - a scientist, monarch and hunter and, yes, a little up-his-own-ass. In his first appearance he invited the FF to Wakanda so he could hunt them down to make sure they were formidable opponents. I can buy him acting in control, and I can buy his old friend Reed not having a problem with that. I'd say they have a mutual respect for eachother. Thye're old friends so I don't think they would be competing. And stuff like the Galactus Contingency or Surfer headlock, while not really credible (but we're not really in for reality here anyway) is just fun, and within keeping for his character, I'd say.<p>I was skeptical of the (temporary and now finished) addition of Storm and Black Panther to the team - it smacks of the kind of stunts we've got from Marvel recently - but I think McDuffie's handled it great in an old-school kind of way. Black Panther has a lot of history with the FF, so it doesn't feel forced, and it's not like Reed and Sue have just disappeared from the book. It's really the kind of team-up I wouldn't mind a lot more of in my Marvel books. (And I didn't mention it in the review, but it was cool to see Dr. Strange appear in the latest issue too! The book really has that shared-universe feel at the moment.) Man, I sound like I'm gushing with praise about the book...which I suppose I would be if it didn't have to address CIVIL WAR. Apparently McDuffie is still to reveal Reed's "real" motivation for his actions, which I imagine will be a lot smarter and more coherent than anything Marvel's offered us so far, but still not quite good enough.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 1:51 p.m. CST

    Burgundy82,

    by mrfan

    Good story about your spinner rack. Would kill to have one.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 2:09 p.m. CST

    Gerard Way is honestly really cool

    by degikrinbakedirfuvkeit

    I know alot of people here probably dislike his band, but don't write My Chemical Romance off as some teenybopper pop/rock band, their music is very creative, and catchy too. It's just their unfortunate tennybopper fans that I dislike. And as you can tell with the interview, Gerard knows his shit, and seems like a pretty cool guy. Good job man.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 2:28 p.m. CST

    My Chemical Romance

    by rev_skarekroe

    That video a few years ago that was made to look like the trailer for a teen comedy film was brilliant.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 2:30 p.m. CST

    John Byrne is an asshole...

    by OtisSpofford

    ...exceeded in his idiocy only by the people at DC who let him reboot Superman - the ONLY good thing he brought to the mythos was that Clark Kent is the "real" person and Superman is his alter ego, not vice-versa - I will never forgive him (or DC) for turning Krypton into a world of cold and aloof scientists and which deserved to blow up - bring back a Krypton with wonders - one that was tragically lost!

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 2:31 p.m. CST

    In further defense of Way and MCR

    by Burgundy82

    Hey, guy above me whose name I'm too lazy to spell, you are absolutely right. I hate it when bands of respecable talent with thoughtful lyrics and a good sound pique the interest of the TRL set. I assure you all, Way never intended to court that demographic. Proof? Listen to MCR's last album, "The Black Parade". It's what "American Idiot" would sound like if someone had murdered Billy Joe Armstrong's whole family with a sickle before he wrote and recorded it. Chuck Klosterman calls MCR the most accurately rated band of the moment (as in, not overrated, not underrated) and I think he puts it best. They're fucking solid and just plain good at what they do, much like the Foo Fighters, who have also been drawing some inexplicable and undeserved Talkback hate on here lately, since SNL. P.S. mrfans: thanks, and you should definitely be on the lookout for one. It's the perfect compliment to a good comic collection..

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 2:39 p.m. CST

    Re-read Byrne's Comment - In (urgh) defense of Byrne

    by Squashua

    And take it with a grain of salt before dismissing it. I can't stand the man's art or his attitudes, and I loved the old Captain Carrot books, but the man has a point. <br><br> When you have a DC Universe with a book as logical as Checkmate, and yet it can co-exist with an alternate universe like Earth-C, we actually have the possibility of them crossing over. And when one of them is taken seriously and the other is not, then there is incongruity. <br><br> Byrne is correct in that a world such as Earth-C might not have someone named Pig-Iron or Alley-Kat Abra due to those names being impractical for the situation. <br><br> Byrne is correct in that a world that would be parallel and 100% canon and in-continuity with the primary DC Universe is actually not fitting. Earth-C would need to be re-scaled properly to be less... silly. The puns could be there, the characters could be there, but it would need a tad more realism. <br><br> The same argument could NOT, IMHO, be made for Spider-Ham, which exists (to my knowledge) exclusive to the Earth-616/Marvel continuity.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 2:43 p.m. CST

    FF - well, since you asked...

    by rock-me Amodeo

    Incidentally, that one line of Reeds to Pym WAS classic, and really the only thing I think of where Reed wasn't relegated to the back seat. But lets take #549. For the first six pages, the FF are under attack, and Panther is on point. Fine, Klaw is a Panther villain (what are the odds? The Wizard brings the one villain that Panther has defeated dozens of times?) But Reed has not ONE word of dialog, no input, no directions of any sort. Then he gets to introduce his wife.<br><br> Now THAT was a great sequence, sincerely. I love it when Sue gets a chance to flex her considerable muscle. (And that sequence is why I DO like McDuffie as a writer.) After that, its a race to find the Contraceptives, or whatever they're called. And at this point, Reed is essentially reduced the the role of team science geek.<br><br> Panther takes care of the subdued badguys. Reed says nothing.<br><br> They fall out of hyperspace, and Panther gives a theory. Reed concurs.<br><br> Panther decides what they should do next. Reed concurs. <br><br>Some general science speak. Panther asks if Reed can navigate. Reed concurs, and Panther gives him a "That'll do, pig...I mean, Reed."<br><br>Reed is able to analyze the situation, but can't communicate it. But the Panther man can! Good thing Panther is around to make up for Reed's shortcomings.<br><br>Finally, Panther asks for some input, but Reed doesn't have any ideas yet, so it's back to team science-geek, able to at least give the countdown to Armageddon. But clearly, this is the Panther's show.<br><br>I'm not saying its bad writing. Not at all. And I absolutely LOVE most of the Duffsters work. I'm just thinking that Reed is a better leader than is being portrayed, and I think the agenda is to make Panther look like an A-lister: face it, Panther has never been the go-to guy for anything other than vibranium. It could be argued that as ego-less as Reed is, he has simply decided to let Panther lead and Reed will step in when needed. But wouldn't it be wonderful to get clued in to some of Reeds internal dialog, instead of having him look like a wuss when a more charismatic leader walks into the room and commands his own team? Anyway, that's my take.<br><br>I'm not saying Panther is not a great character or a great leader or a Silver-Surfer-headlockin' butt-kicker. I'm just saying that I think Reed has been painted deliberately weaker in order to make Panther look better.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 3:06 p.m. CST

    I see where you're coming from, Rock-me...

    by stones_throw

    ...but to me it just feels right for the characters - Reed is technically the leader of the FF but not so much in a giving orders kind of way, while as the King of Wakanda the Panther would be used to being in charge. Plus it's not like he's not a gifted scientist or leader. This feels a lot more "right" than if the Panther were following orders from the FF. I can see them viewing eachother as friends and equals, but the Panther just has a slightly more forceful personality. I really don't think it's question of competition. Reed's perfectly content with ol' T'Challa.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 3:18 p.m. CST

    NO GLOVES ON CAPTAIN CARROT!!!

    by superhero

    GET RID OF THE GLOVES DAMMIT!!!

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 4:02 p.m. CST

    John Byrne, you are wrong, sir. WRONG!

    by MC Vamp

    Calling something ridiculous just because it's more ridiculous than something else that is less ridiculous but still really ridiculous is ridiculous! Captain Carrot can't exists a a "multiverse" because of this and that, but hey, this guy over can fly because the sun's a different color and people still use cell phones and radios and standard firearms even though the Earth has run into a thousand different alien races with advanced technology thousands of years beyond ours and whupped all their asses to boot. Not to mention that we have access to time travel and that none of the thirty-six villains who know Batman's secret identity haven't just gone back in time and either saved his parents or whacked the little kid to complete the Wayne trifecta. Friggin HI-larious.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 4:10 p.m. CST

    Seriously...

    by MC Vamp

    Frinstance, in DC, if a red sun person goes to a yellow sun and gets superpowers, how come nothing happens to a yellow sun person who goes to a red sun? You'd think either they'd get super-powers or super-cancer, but it would be something, wouldn't it? Don't even get me started on religion in the Marvel Universe when Asgard appears over the Earth every ten years or so and Thor, Ares, and Hercules regularly stroll around Manhattan. If Marvel introduced Jesus Christ as an Avenger...well, let's just say it...it would be fucking awesome. And I think I've just given someone a free idea for a comic book story. Just mention my name somewhere and we're good.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 4:19 p.m. CST

    I'm Wanted For Spinner Rack Theft

    by Buzz Maverik

    No matter how much money a comic book kid gets, they can never afford all the comics they want. I think that's part of why kids don't read comics as much today. After I spent my allowance and whatever I could earn without doing anything, I had to resort to shop lifting.<p>Then, when I was about to enter 6th grade my school closed down and I got bussed to this cool new school in a tough neighborhood. The first day I noticed this huge, terrifying looking guy with all these toadie types around him. He had a big pile of comics that he was into and the Toadies would say things like, "That guy looks bad..." But when I walked up and knew it was Power Man and asked him if he had the one where he first fought Stilleto and Discus or the original Power Man, we became friends.<p>It turned out that this guy was an even bigger shoplifter than I was. He was so cool he shoplifted almost ALL his comics. Today, they'd say we bonded ... over our mutal love of graphic art and taking it without paying. My new best friend was such a great shoplifter that he could even steal donuts from behind the counter at the donut shop, which was the most amazing thing I've seen to this day. <p>Anyway, he tells me about this place in the next town that's in an even worse neighborhood than his, which makes it twice as bad as mine. It's a news stand, which they really didn't have in So Cal. He's got a friend, a guy in junior high, that's also into comics and theft. We're gonna hit the newsstand Saturday. I can honestly say that I didn't feel any peer pressure when I said, "Cool, what time?"<p>So, I go to my buddy's house Saturday morning and this guy pulls up in the crappiest car I've ever seen, but it's cool because he's only in the 8th grade and the car belongs to his Mom's boyfriend.<p>It seemed like the guy drove on the wrong side of the road the whole way, but we made it to the news stand. By that time, I'm in on the plan: we're not just stuffing comics down our boxers this time. We're taking the whole rack. They have too racks, but we agree that getting greedy would be stupid.<p>My buddy and I jump out. The racks are on the sidewalk, btw, which was stupid and not chained down which was even stupider. Our driver must have grown up to be a Marine Corps D.I. because he starts shouting at us to MOVE IT! MOVE IT! and called us a bunch of names I hadn't heard before. We hustle the rack into the back seat, only spilling a few books. My buddy jumps in the front seat, I jump in the back, on top of the rack. It's an uncomfortable ride but I get to select a few choice issues (I still have that copy of X-MEN # 109:"Recognize me, Weapon X? James McDonald Hudson at your service. But these days, you can call me....WEAPON ALPHA!").<p> We split up the comics fairly equally, in order of who can kick who's butt (good thing I rode on the rack so I got a fairer share!). I wanted to keep the spinner rack itself but Ma & Pa Maverik would have wondered where I got it. My buddy sold it to another friend of ours.<p>Don't tell IAD, but my friend grew up to be a California Highway Patrolman and probably had to lie in his job interview about committing crimes.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 4:46 p.m. CST

    Waitasec, Buzz...

    by Thalya

    Is that adjectiveless X-Men or Uncanny X-Men you mention there?

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 4:55 p.m. CST

    Buzz

    by Dingbatty

    Crazy story. Write a screenplay.<p>Now people just grab scans of all of them on the web.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 5:15 p.m. CST

    Buzz,

    by mrfan

    Another great spinner rack story. LOVE IT!!!

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 5:15 p.m. CST

    Thalya, That Comic Is So Old That It Was Called...

    by Buzz Maverik

    ...ALL NEW! ALL DIFFERENT X-MEN! It was Byrne's second issue on the book, after wrapping up the first Shi'ar story began by Dave Cockrum. Tony DeZungia did what Stan would call "a bang up job" in a fill in where Warhawk locked the Xers in the Danger Room. (SPOILER ALERT: It turned out that Warhawk was working for the Hellfire Club, who were just starting to investigate Xavier's School For Gifted Youngsters). Then, Byrne returned with this story which introduced the future Vidicator/Guardian and lead to Alpha Flight.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 5:17 p.m. CST

    Novels, Dingbatty...

    by Buzz Maverik

    Novels are where it's at, man.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 5:40 p.m. CST

    Novels...

    by rock-me Amodeo

    As an official novel writer, I can tell you, the pickin's is slim there, too, unless your last name is Gaimen or Meltzer or...well, everyone has to pay their dues. But anyone who want to put .47 cents into my pocket can hit me up on Amazon.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 5:44 p.m. CST

    BTW: spinner theft.

    by rock-me Amodeo

    GREAT story! I got busted when I was 11 and wound up having to pay not only for the 2 comics I tried to pinch, but for the one comic book I had legitimately purchased down the street. That was the end of my criminal career.<br><br> No one's making a movie out of that.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 5:59 p.m. CST

    Anyone interested in the Byrne/Carrot screencaps...

    by Prof Challenger

    from before he decided to Stalin-istically try to delete the thread out of existence can send the Prof a friendly email requesting them and I'll happily pass them along. It's five jpegs courtesy of Google that I got by running a search for "Byrnerobotics" and "Capt. Carrot" :)

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 6:03 p.m. CST

    nice...

    by blackthought

    to see this place lively at the moment. may it continue.

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 7:05 p.m. CST

    The Umbrella Academy

    by princess Zombielicious

    Great interview Bug!

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 9:21 p.m. CST

    Is it time for Buzz's spinner rack story again?

    by rev_skarekroe

    It's like watching the Superbowl with Grandpa. "Football, eh? Did I ever tell you kids about the time I made the winning touchdown my senior year with a broken leg?"

  • Oct. 17, 2007, 9:27 p.m. CST

    Aw c'mon, Rev. Skarekroe!

    by SleazyG.

    That's like complaining cuz The Hulk fought The Abomination again--"awww man, I've seen this fight like four times!" Well, maybe you have, but for all of the readers who jumped on board more recently, well, it's a great new story! Frankly, I wish Buzz would tell the story more, but add a coupla details every time, embellishing more and more until there are helicopter explosions and mexican standoffs on the way home with the entire news stand in the back of an El Camino.

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 3:35 a.m. CST

    OtisSpofford they did bring that krypton back

    by messi

    in Birthright(which was a great thing by the way) and then changed it to a more movie version. Lame. I'm liking Smallville's one the best which is a mix of both especially Jor-El's comments of "sunsets lasting for hours".

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 3:36 a.m. CST

    Byrne's funniest comment ever is

    by messi

    how he refuses to watch spider-man because of the organic webs since he doesn't want to participate in projects that don't respect a character by changing him. I'm here thinking? What the fuck? You changed Superman, like changed him, not even in the organic webbing level but changed the whole character and his world. I mean I like it but your logic in the argument is fucking stupid.

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 8:21 a.m. CST

    Wowzers, Buzz..

    by Thalya

    That's prime stealing material right there. 'Cause I was thinking, if it was adjectiveless, then that would've been during the mid-90s, and you were still in high school and you really wanted to steal <i>that</i> and whadahuh?

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 10:41 a.m. CST

    Nah, Thalya, The '70s ... The Mid-70s...

    by Buzz Maverik

    ...and I was in elementary school.

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 10:43 a.m. CST

    Hey, Rev, Did I Ever Tell You About The Time I Stole A Spinner R

    by Buzz Maverik

    ...full of comics.<p>Bless me, father, it's been 17 posts since my last confession.

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 11:22 a.m. CST

    I'm just laughing at the image...

    by stones_throw

    ...of a like 30 year old Buzz running away with a spinner rack full of 90s X-MEN comics.

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 11:29 a.m. CST

    Sleazy G Produces Michael Bay's SPINNER RACK

    by Buzz Maverik

    Based on a crime by Buzz Maverik.<p>"They had until curfew to pull off the perfect crime. Three men ... well, future men ... pefect strangers...except two of them were in the same home room and the other was one of those vague figures of menace around town...one objective: comic books! And the only thing standing in their way was a complete lack of judgement...and common sense...and the fact that the driver really didn't know how to drive and was 14 years old and looked about 11...From Michael Bay, director of explosions and chases and crashes: SPINNER RACK!"<p>"Spinning to a theater near you Summer '08!"

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 11:35 a.m. CST

    BTW Screenwriters Strike Looming! U Know What That Means!

    by Buzz Maverik

    Job opportunities with Buzz Maverik's Strike Breaking Goons!<p>Are you big, mean, cruel or desperate? Are you sick of lousy movies and willing to wail on the hacks who "wrote" them with truncheons? You may be qualified to help break this strike for the fine people who run the studios that bring us excellent, wholesome entertainment.<p>Send your resumes to Buzz Maverik's Strike Breaking Goons!<p>Remember, nobody beats a Buzz Maverik Goon beatin'!

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 11:40 a.m. CST

    Also, Hiring at Buzz Maverik's...

    by Buzz Maverik

    ...Screenwriting Scabs! Have you ever wanted to be a Hollywood writer or just get paid like one? Do you ever have dreams that would make good movies even though yer friends walk away when yer telling about 'em? Have you ever seen a movie and thought,"Who writes this garbage?"<p>Well, it could be you!<p>Remember, nobody peels off a Buzz Maverik Screenwriting Scab!

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 11:43 a.m. CST

    John Byrne Is A Good Man

    by Buzz Maverik

    Ah, the coronaries! The spit takes!<p>Remember, kids, punk isn't just music. It's a lifestyle!

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 11:50 a.m. CST

    Rob Liefeld Is A Gifted Artist

    by Buzz Maverik

    My work is done!

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 12:33 p.m. CST

    Spinner Racks

    by steverodgers

    My wife bought me a spinner rack at an antique shop. It is just about the greatest thing ever. I love sticking the new comics I buy in there. It’s like having a mini Caldor in my living room. This btw is another reason why you don’t need to retcon mary jane, who knows maybe she was going to buy peter a cool spinner rack with the “hey kids comics” at the top – but now she’ll never get the chance. Nice job Quesada. Bendis sucks. Thank you

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 12:37 p.m. CST

    Ok, I can't wait..

    by Thalya

    Anyone get comics yesterday, Birds of Prey in particular? I'm going nuts over it.. (but no more crazed TB outbursts, I can promise you that!)

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 1:01 p.m. CST

    Runaways & Michael Ryan

    by Shigeru

    Really enjoyed this latest issue. Loved the pretty seamless interweaving of the stories and it allowed each nugget to be really poignant (Vic & flying chick [fuck forget her name] in particular)<br>But your review didn't mention Michael Ryan who with this issue REALLY stepped it up and delivered art so good that I pretty much stopped thinking about missing Alphona so much whilst reading. Bravo.

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 1:15 p.m. CST

    THEY KILLED BIG BARDA!

    by messi

    Take that DC.

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 1:18 p.m. CST

    Bad messi! Bad!

    by Thalya

    <>

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 2:07 p.m. CST

    Spoilers, dude!

    by Squashua

    SPOILERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Eh. With a name like "Death of the New Gods", it had to happen sometime.

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 2:26 p.m. CST

    Hey Squash, you busy?

    by Thalya

    But more importantly, did you pick up comics this week yet? My head's gonna 'splode unless I can find someone who had the same reaction I did..

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 2:32 p.m. CST

    I fucking hate the New Gods.

    by SleazyG.

    Ironically, this means I'm extremely tempted to spend my money on DEATH OF THE NEW GODS, because watching them die holds a certain appeal.

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 2:38 p.m. CST

    ...or can, at least, y'know, say..

    by Thalya

    "I can see your point and it's not invalid." Oh the woes of not having internet at home..

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 2:41 p.m. CST

    So is Death the Black Racer in this series?

    by rev_skarekroe

    Kirby came up with some silly concepts (Silver Surfer is iconic, but let's face it, he's also ridiculous) but Death the Black Racer takes the cake. He's the personification of death - as a cross-country skier?

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 2:41 p.m. CST

    Meet the New Gods...same as the Old Gods...

    by MC Vamp

    On the Darkseid, whoaa yeah...on the Darrrkseid, whoaa yeah yeah...--- I've got Big Barda, I've got Big Barda...and they're such Big Barda, dirty Big Barda. And he's got Big Barda, and she's got Big Barda, but we've got the Biggest Barda of the all!

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 2:50 p.m. CST

    Yo, Squashua!

    by stones_throw

    Bendis Board thread on Comics4Halloween:<p>http://tinyurl.com/3cr3hj

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 3:18 p.m. CST

    Thanks, Stones!

    by Squashua

    I was trying to post there, but I can't find my old account registration and just gave up. I hit CBR, Newsarama, IGN and even Penny Arcade. Thanks for getting the word out; hit up those bloggers too. I've smacked a few of them with some e-mails, but haven't received much in the way of responses.

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 3:24 p.m. CST

    Thalya... Mutual Comicreading

    by Squashua

    Got to say, I really enjoyed Birds of Prey, but I think Calculator came off as way too young. Might have been the art. At least the story could stand alone. <br><br> Both Justice League and Mighty Avengers had absolutely no content to them. I am so sick of decompression in lead titles. <br><br> Brave/Bold - Power Girl came off as a bit more dumb and pigheaded than usual. No JSA leader in that book.<br><br> Powers was good, but barely advanced the plot. <br><br> Checkmate was an interesting read. <br><br> New Gods had a good recap of the concept and didn't seem to leave anyone out. <br><br> Ex Machina didn't go anywhere, even when it went to Rome. <br><br> Marvel Zombies II - didn't do much for me b/c I felt like I read the entire issue already via the free online previews. I wish they'd stop giving away more than 4 pages.

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 3:27 p.m. CST

    Plus (re: Death of the New Gods - for Rev Skarekroe)

    by Squashua

    Black Racer is permanently taken out within the first few pages. I think the killer is the Infinite Man or whatever the Forever People "Taruu" dude is.

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 3:30 p.m. CST

    *tackles Squashua!!!!!*

    by Thalya

    Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou! That aspect was completely forced for me and took me out of the book. And I don't think the story itself could work if he was his regular age, not unless DC wanted to skieve some readers. But further deets on Wednesday. Now I just have to wait for the weekend to get back to my regular shop to pick up my pulls save BoP.

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 3:31 p.m. CST

    Stones - extra help needed

    by Squashua

    Stones, if you can toss up the link to the ComicSpace page http://tinyurl.com/23lyk2 into that thread, I'd be grateful. <br><br> Also, I'm a little ticked at this guy: http://tinyurl.com/yt83w8 <br><br> I sent him a private press release a couple days early b/c he had a similar concept going last year, and he just up and took my info and made it his own without a link-back to the ComicSpace page. :(

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 3:31 p.m. CST

    I didn't start the thread...

    by stones_throw

    ...just noticed it. But it's all good.

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 3:36 p.m. CST

    Well, with Calculator...

    by Squashua

    ... you can't do a "Geek Squad" thing without him being younger, at least if the commercials are to be believed. I don't see why he had to be all dressed up for the event; I never have to dress in any special manner for a computer convention. In fact, unless you're a costumer, it's best to stay out of the public eye. To me, it was definitely the artist, as I kept thinking it was a good thing Babs was restricted to the wheelchair, otherwise her boobs might prevent her from standing up properly.

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 3:49 p.m. CST

    I dunno...

    by Thalya

    How much would the script have called for the Geek Squad accoutrements to be there, judging by the first few pages? And for that matter, how would those quasi-romantic touches in the captions have gone over with a 40 or 50-something Calc? I think the character model was there to suit the story.

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 3:52 p.m. CST

    Regarding the Geek Squad materials

    by Squashua

    They weren't really used in the context of the story, so in the end they felt 100% unnecessary, even the car. All he really needed was the opposable digit. I guess he just got into his role. Either way, it was a good standalone, one sorely needed in an ocean of long-dragging plots that are so decompressed, each issue is simply half of a fight scene.

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 3:53 p.m. CST

    And the Romance thing?

    by Squashua

    late 20-ish/early 30-ish Babs could have easily flirted with a late 30-ish, early 40-ish Calculator with no problem.

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 4:22 p.m. CST

    Hmmm...

    by Thalya

    <>

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 4:27 p.m. CST

    "But, Buzz," you say, "I'm a geek and not goon material."

    by Buzz Maverik

    That's where you're wrong and why I'm recruiting here. Geeks have a lot of anger against society, and what better way to take it out than against striking screenwriters for big studio secret money? Also, lots of geeks are into martial arts because they've been deservedly beaten up for being geeks and need to defend themselves. Why, I remember one time at a party in high school where I met this girl from another school and was doing pretty good for a change (because she didn't know me so I didn't have to be myself)and she asked if I knew this guy at my school who wore those kind of jeans made for karate kickin' (you wear the jeans when you kick, you don't kick the jeans). The guy was one of my best friends. But being smart and in hormonal overdrive, I quickly said, "Yeah. What a geek! He even reads comic books! I make fun of him every day!"<p>The moral of this story is that geeks do know more karate than screenwriters, which is why we, here at Buzz Maverik's Strike Breaking Goons, not only don't discriminate against the Realistically Challenged, we embrace you! You too can have a career in violence and oppression! Why stick it to the Man when the Man will pay you big bucks to stick it to the guys sticking it to the Man?

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 4:35 p.m. CST

    They Should Retcon MJ By Watching TRUE ROMANCE

    by Buzz Maverik

    Pattern her after Alabama Worley, as played by Patricia Arquette and written by Quentin Tarantino, minus the violence and prostitution. She was obviously Tarantino/Clarence's dream girl, who would watch three Kung Fu flicks with him, be charmed by a trip to the comic shop and a SGT. FURY issue as a gift, then have sex. The geek's hot dream girl.<p>What they need to retcon, as I've said before here, is Mary Jane's supermodeling. MJ should have never modeled at that level. She should simply be the girl who is out of Pete's league but has always seen the Spider-Man side of him, even before she knew he was Spidey. Just as Clarence's romance with Alabama unleashed his inner badass, Pete's relationship with MJ helps him integrate the two sides of his nature.<p>It's also something we geeks can relate to. I mean, if you're a geek and lucky enough to have a woman who doesn't mind, odds are she's way hotter than you, right?

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 4:41 p.m. CST

    So, did making fun of your friend get you laid, Buzz?

    by Squashua

    Inquiring minds and all that.

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 4:41 p.m. CST

    OK, Wiseguys, Bored With The Spinner Theft Story? Howzabout...

    by Buzz Maverik

    ...the time I knocked over Fort Knox. I had twenty highly trained mercs in head-to-toe black body armor, a chick in a white jumpsuit who karate kicked secret agents, the guy on the computer who kept saying,"Rerouting satellites isn't like ordering fron Netflix, ya know", two hulking film geek bodyguards called Ebert & Siskel, a futuristic laser cannon and an escape plan so transparent that you know the screenwriters ran out of cool ideas by that point...

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 4:44 p.m. CST

    BTW, The Reason I Can Talk About The Fort Knox Job...

    by Buzz Maverik

    ...without fear of arrest is that I was captured by a covert government organization. In exchange for retrieving a deadly cannister called The Maguffin, I was given complete amnesty for myself and my crew. We went into witness protection with new identities as comic book afficanados.

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 4:45 p.m. CST

    No, Squash...

    by Buzz Maverik

    ...she dumped me for this other guy who was much better at faking cool than I was.

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 5:12 p.m. CST

    Buzz

    by Squashua

    that's what you get. <br><br> <br><br> <br><br> <br><br> Witness protection and new identities and all that, I mean.

  • Oct. 18, 2007, 10:01 p.m. CST

    When you make the "Spinner Rack" movie, cast the store owner as.

    by rock-me Amodeo

    ...that android guy from Star Trek: Next Generation. What was his name...?<br><br>I liked the stand alone BoP, and I would have liked to see them hang out, you know like "You've got Mail" meets "Mr. and Mrs. Smith." Ah well...<br><br>as far as Mighty Avengers goes, my expectations were so low, I was actually surprised that I liked it. Not without flaws, however.

  • Oct. 19, 2007, 8:32 a.m. CST

    Umbrella Academy

    by Bluejack

    I bought 1+2 yesterday and they were the highlight of the week (besides Bru's C.A.). LoEG meets X-Men meets Power Pack meets Tim Burton. Also: Is "C.A.: The Chosen" in continuity? I know it's Marvel Knights so I doubt it, but making the new C.A. a soldier from Iraq would be very interesting.

  • Oct. 19, 2007, 8:32 a.m. CST

    Gggghh!!!!

    by Thalya

    rock-me, *points* <BR><BR>Look at that walrus attacking those schoolchildren! <BR><BR>*readies sledgehammer* muckingfudgin..rabble rabble blasphemer...

  • Oct. 19, 2007, 12:39 p.m. CST

    what the hell is Omega the Unknown doing at mainstream Marvel?

    by Shigeru

    seriously

  • Oct. 19, 2007, 2:17 p.m. CST

    & Rev, I Did Make A Winning Touchdown With A Broken Leg

    by Buzz Maverik

    Spiked it and everything. Then, the stupid refs blew the whistle and said that I had to cross the goal line with a regulation football and that someone's severed limb didn't count. Still, it's a tale I like to share each Superbowl Sunday.

  • Oct. 19, 2007, 2:55 p.m. CST

    Comic theft...

    by loodabagel

    Older comics were packaged in bags by some asshole who liked to sell his old stuff at the store. Seeing an issue of X-Men that never came within my grasp, I concluded the guy had bought up all the copies himself so he could better piss me off. Anyway, a bag with one comic in it became a bag with four comics in it (old and new, my money was thin) and the guy at the counter had no idea what went down. Louie-1. Old Comic Collector Trying to Make ends meet-0.

  • Oct. 20, 2007, 7:30 a.m. CST

    If Rock-Me's Marrage is still interesting after 17 years.

    by Smerdyakov

    He must be married to a pole dancer.

  • Oct. 21, 2007, 2:11 p.m. CST

    Nah, he's probably a swinger

    by TallBoy66

    "Hey, baby, you go fuck that big stud while I watch. Mmmmhmmmm."

  • Oct. 22, 2007, 8:56 a.m. CST

    Yes, well...

    by rock-me Amodeo

    I'll never tell. But if you knew how good I have it, you would cry.

  • Oct. 22, 2007, 9:39 a.m. CST

    But for the sake of clarification:

    by rock-me Amodeo

    Swinger = disgusting. Pass.