Archive for November, 2006


Reign of the Spider-Man

November 30th, 2006 Posted by david brothers

Kaare Andrews on Spider-Man: Reign

I’m a pretty big Spidey fan. When I get married, it’s going to be in the black and white Spidey costume. It’s kind of like a tux, right? My wife, for what it’s worth, will be dressed as Harley (“Miiiistah J!”) Quinn.


I like Spidey. I like Kaare Andrews. I like dystopian futures. So, therefore, I will probably like Spider-Man: Reign. The stuff Andrews has said about Spidey ring true with me, and the idea of an old, bitter JJJ finally realizing that “Spider-Man: Threat or Menace?” is not necessarily a bad thing is a great idea.

I’m sorry. So sorry. I’m sorry for all of it, my boy. We have so much to talk about.

I love it. Humbled JJJ, a directionless Spidey, I’m digging it. The cover, with Spidey grasping MJ’s gravestone? Bloody haunting. I hope they don’t do anything to hurt MJ, but if they do, I hope that it is well-written. :doom:

Four issues, 48 pages… this actually sounds kind of similar to Paul Pope’s stellar Batman: Year 100, which I also loved. Giving Spidey the Dark Knight treatment would’ve been an awful idea ten years ago, but I think it’ll work well now, in no small part because of the creator.

Looking good. I absolutely love that splash of the limp Spidey coming down to save JJJ.

(if you guys are nice, i’ll tell you about the time i plotted out a pretty awesome Spider-Man: The End. i also once figured out that spidey is somewhere between 27-29 years old, with annotations from the text, in a feverish hour or so of fanfiction and conjecture)

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One Year of 4l! or Weapons of Mass Destruction + 112

November 29th, 2006 Posted by david brothers


Today marks the one year anniversary of 4thletter! Technically, we had a Blogger blog before then, but 4l! is what it is now, not what it was then. 365 days, 112 posts and 31,476 visitors later (as of this moment!) and we’re still here. We’ll be here for some time to come, if all goes well!

One year. It’s crazy, huh? One full year of completely questionable taste in comics, Gavok-style lists, brief appearances by the Spotted Wanderer, and hopefully bellies full of laughter. I was going to call 4l! Year Two “Questionable Taste In Comics Harder!” but focus groups decided that that was too clunky. Maybe “Where’s My Money, Honey?” U DECIDE.

Just FYI, 4l! Year One was “Is it time… or hypertime?” I don’t think I actually told anyone that, though, so don’t stress it. It won’t be on the test.

Muchas gracias to my blogmates Gavin and Thomas. The Big Gavoktus is consistently funnier than I am, but the site is named after me technically so it’s cool. We have spent enough time on IRC talking about A) What we would do if we had gigs at Marvel or DC and B) hilarious What If?/Elseworlds ideas that I am confident that if we ever did manage to con/blackmail our way into a position at Marvel or DC, the world would be a better and funnier place for it. Thomas brings a razor sharp critical analysis to the table and lets me bug him on AIM with ridiculous comics questions. He has a Tricky Brain, did you know that? He also has a sick mind for comics trivia, particularly in the X-Men and Spider-Man arenas.

Basically, though, we all love comics. Wait, scratch that. We all love good comics. Bad ones can go hang.

In the past year, I’ve learned that the comics blogospherohedron is kind of shockingly DC-slanted. (That may be just my inner Marvel Zombie speaking, though.) Tons of people have fond memories of the Legion of Super-Heroes, which I only recently got into with the Waid/Kitson reboot, and no one likes Identity Crisis. Feminism in comics is pretty big, too. A couple comics blogs have gone mainstream and ended up attached to Newsarama and Comic Book Resources, and I think that the comics media is better for it. I learned… you know what? This is slightly less profound than I expected. Let me cut to the chase.

I learned that a lot of cool cats like comics and want to talk about the effects of comics just as much as who would win in a fight, Big Barda or Wonder Woman (Big Barda, see below).

I would like to give a special shout-out to the people who let me blab on their blogs comment lines. The crew at Comics Should Be Good and Blog@Newsarma are all good people (and I really need to add B@N to my links there on the right). Kalinara @ Pretty Fizzy Paradise, Ragnell @ Written World, Johanna @ Comics Worth Reading, and Carla (I think?) @ Snap Judgements are all cool peoples. I should probably give special notice to my livejournalin’ buddies Lynxara and JLG. Fun times! Dwayne McDuffie’s forum is also a cool place to hang out, not to mention Batman’s Shameful Secret over at Something Awful’s forums. Best comics forum out, I will tell you what.

Also, my mom apparently reads the blog, so– Top of the world, ma!

One year down, hopefully many more to go. More questionable taste, more inexplicable love for ’90s comics, more stuff you never wanted to know about comics but now you do so you can’t un-know it, sucker!

I’m hoping to get some cool articles from all three of us up to celebrate the anniversary of this blah-blah-blog. Thanks for reading. Stick around, you might learn something!

As promised, here is why Big Barda trumps Wonder Woman:
jla1mpg10.jpg jla1mpg11.jpg jla1mpg19.jpg jla1mpg20.jpg
Yes, it’s future Wonder Woman, but you can’t argue with five tons per square inch. Big Barda is the truth.

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Deadshot’s Tophat and Other Beginnings: A to At

November 28th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

I’m still waiting on a couple artists for the What If finale, so I figured I’d start this. The idea originally came from a thread at Superdickery back when I hung around there, and I later reprised it at BSS. Sure, we all know about Action Comics #1 and Amazing Fantasy #15, but there are so many great comic characters and a lot of them have changed since their debuts in ways that would surprise you. So let’s take a look at the heroes and villains before they were stars. Back when Lobo wore spandex and Wolverine had whiskers.

I figure I’ll do one of these every two weeks or so. It’s fun and educational!

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Hot Topical Humor

November 23rd, 2006 Posted by Gavok

So yesterday while on my break at work, I wandered through the mall to get me some lunch and, as always, passed by a Hot Topic. This time, I did a double-take and stepped back for a closer look. Hot Topic now sells Zombie Captain America t-shirts, based on the fake Avengers #4 cover where Cap has birds sticking out of his skull. Not only that, but they have a zippered sweatshirt with the Zombie Secret Wars cover on the front. I decided against buying either, but continued looking at what they had.

I saw that they had this on a shirt.

This is Toxin. He’s the Carnage symbiote’s “son” using an honest cop as a host. He debuted in the Venom vs. Carnage mini-series and got his own six-issue series shortly after. I think he’s awesome, but I realize that only five people have read his stories and he will probably never make another appearance in any Marvel comic ever again. Much like Hybrid. So consider me a bit confused that they’d give him a shirt rather than, say, Thing or Daredevil.

Seeing that on a t-shirt was weird enough. What was even weirder was looking at where the tag should be and finding on the shirt “X-MEN 3: THE LAST STAND”. Er… yeah. Yes, those two have plenty to do with each other.

While I’m talking about things that have nothing to do with each other, Happy Thanksgiving everybody. I’m thankful for the Secret Wars t-shirt I bought for half-price!

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The What If Countdown: Honorable Mention Awards

November 20th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

As I said in the last article, most What Ifs are interesting in their own way. Whether it’s because they tell a really good story, an abomination of a story or if the changes in reality are completely off the wall, almost every issue has something worth talking about.

I just talked about 100 of these stories and a couple extra ones I thought were crappy. So rather than have me write a bunch of exhaustive issue profiles, how’s about we just look at the bits and pieces that got my attention? It’s time to hand out the What If Honorable Mention Awards!

If I wasn’t so lazy, I would probably Photoshop a bunch of golden Uatu statues.

Edit: It looks like I didn’t have to. Thanks to Kyle Hayes for the award trophy.

Strangest What If Couple: Quicksilver and Gwen Stacy

This comes from What If the Age of Apocalypse Hadn’t Ended (volume 2, #81). Tony Stark, head of the human resistance, joins up with Magneto to figure out a way to save Earth from the coming of Galactus. Among Tony’s fellow human freedom fighters are the Hulk, Sue Storm and, strangely enough, Donald Blake’s bodyguard Gwen Stacy. Er… yeah. I guess with her dad being a cop and all… No, it still sounds goofy.

Pietro is without a sister and Gwen needs a boyfriend who can kill her with whiplash. It’s only natural that these two would find each other.

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Birthday Blues

November 18th, 2006 Posted by david brothers

Also, as Gavok so nicely pointed out in the post below, today is my birthday.

I am now 23 and even more wise beyond my years. Or is that wet behind the ears?

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Flash Fact: Absolute Cool

November 18th, 2006 Posted by david brothers

I’m not much of a DC fan. Not in comparison to Marvel, at the very least. I’ll admit this readily. However, Flash is one of the coolest heroes they have, sometimes even edging out Batman for the top spot. Flash is honestly one of the greatest heroes ever, full stop.

I think that the finest complete DC story is DC – The New Frontier. It oozes cool from front to back. I ordered the Absolute edition of it for my birthday, and it showed up yesterday. I haven’t read it yet, though I did skim the backmatter and annotations. I also skipped directly to one of my favorite spots in the book, a scene featuring Barry Allen springing into action. The first half of this scene is reproduced below.

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(One of the annotations for this scene simply says “One of the biggest secrets of New Frontier… Captain Cold is Grant Morrison!” I am seriously loving that redesign, too, from the rings on down. Sharp work.)

I don’t like a lot of the Silver Age heroes. Jordan bores me to tears (though Gavok does have a very interesting take on him being Superman without a cape that he needs to write up), and after that, who’s left? Aquaman? Please. Red Tornado? Don’t even.

Barry Allen, and by extension Iris West/Allen, is pretty awesome, though. I can’t put my finger on why. He’s a forensic scientist with an investigative reporter girlfriend. He doesn’t play up the Clark Kent stumblebum garbage. Instead, he’s just late to things. What better alibi does the fastest man alive need? “Barry can’t be the Flash, he’s been late to every one of our dates!”

Funny bit of trivia: In New Frontier and the proper DCU both, Iris figured out his ID before he told her and just humored him. Barry talks in his sleep in the DCU, and, well, she’s an investigative reporter in NF. She’s no idiot.

If Barry is cool, Iris is, too. She’s the glue that holds the latest Flashes together. Barry’s wife, Wally’s aunt, and Bart’s grandmother. She gave Barry a reason to continue fighting the good fight, she gave Wally confidence, love, and support back when he needed it most, and she saved Bart’s life. Each of them would willingly die for her, and Barry even went so far as to kill for her.

She’s smart, she’s loved, and Iris Allen is, without a doubt, what Lois Lane dreams of growing up to be. Lois wishes she were this cool. She may be the most powerful man in the world’s greatest weakness, but she’s got nothing on Iris West, first lady of the Flash legacy.

Barry and Iris are one of my favorite comics couples. They work. There’s none of that stupid slapstick that pervaded the premarriage Lois & Clark relationship, nor any of the playboy drama that Bruce Wayne brings. Not to mention the blatant or implied infidelity that Ollie brought to the Arrow/Canary partnership.

I think my favorite part of the scene above is the bit where Barry defrosts Iris’s hand. “She’s okay! Just unconscious. I give her hand a quick thaw… I grab a little sugar… and now for the tough guy who shoots at women.”

“I grab a little sugar.” That’s dope. That’s actually better than the bit that Johns had in his run on Flash, where Jay Garrick tips his metal hat and smiles at each person he saves.

Flash Fact: Barry and Iris are cool as ice. So is New Frontier.

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Marvel Comics: Adorable

November 16th, 2006 Posted by david brothers

spac4cover_400.jpgSPIDER-MAN AND POWER PACK #4 (of 4)
Pencils and Cover by GURIHIRU
It’s siblings vs. symbiotes as Spider-Man and Power Pack find themselves up against a new enemy they never expected — one of their own teammates! Has sweet little Katie Power finally gone to the dark side…and if so, will she ever want to come back?! Find out in the spine-tingling conclusion to this team-up tale!
32 PGS./All Ages …$2.99

Is it just me or is this the single most adorable comics cover to ever come out of Marvel? Gurihiru did a bang-up job on it. Katie Power as Venom (though she may be afraid of spiders) is a pretty funny idea. I look at this comic and think, “Now this is a comic I want to read!”

I’ve got some catching up to do for 4l. Got some new headers to upload, most of them courtesy of the big G-A-V-O-K, a couple posts to make, and hopefully pull off something special for our one-year anniversary for the relaunch.

Busy bee.

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The Top 100 What If Countdown: Part 20

November 12th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

Well, it’s been four months of lead-up. When the first part of the countdown came out, Lynxara asked about why I’d do a top 100 list for a series of books that only have 175 issues. Especially when I count two-parters as one entry. Truth be told, this isn’t like ranking the best issues of Nightwing or Mighty Thor. Most comic series have cohesion and you usually have an idea of what to expect in each issue. Writers, artists and story remain the same for months and sometimes years at a time.

What If, on the other hand, is different. What If is the ultimate comic book box of chocolates. Writers, artists, stories, ideas and tones change from issue to issue. Many stories are good. Many are bad. But almost every one of them is interesting in its own way. I could have easily have done a top 20 or top 50 list and be done long ago, but there’s too much fun we’d be missing out on. No jive-talking Incredible Hulk, or Matt Murdock crying over Wilson Fisk’s death bed, or Kraven the Hunter eating Peter Parker’s face.

Now let’s get in our Quinjet and take us down to #1.

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A heads-up!

November 9th, 2006 Posted by david brothers

I don’t have a lot of time at the moment (so go read Gavok’s What-If countdown, it’s great) but I do want to give you guys a heads-up!

Your local B Dalton or Barnes & Noble bookstore may have a sweet deal for you lurking around. They released a bunch of the Marvel Masterworks series in softcover format a couple years ago at 12.95 a piece.

I dropped by my local B Dalton today (and a tip of the hat here to the awesome manager there, her ladyship Shonda Wilson) and they had marked the books down to five dollars. I got 45 (or so) issues of early Marvel comics today for 25 bucks. Well, less, because I am technically an employee, but still!

Five dollars, people.

Here’s some ISBNs to make it easy on you.
The Amazing Spider-Man vol 1 (collecting ASM 1-10): 0-7607-3793-2
The Amazing Spider-Man vol 2 (collecting ASM 11-19): 0-7607-4957-4
The Amazing Spider-Man vol 3 (collecting ASM 20-30 & Annual 1): 0-7607-5565-5
Uncanny X-Men vol 1 (collecting The X-Men 94-100 & Giant-Size X-Men 1): 0-7607-4958-2
Uncanny X-Men vol 2 (collecting The X-Men 101-110): 0-7607-5566-3

Links go to the website, where the books are listed at full price. I don’t think that this is just a local deal, so give your local B&N or B Dalton a call and see if they can’t order one of these for you. I’m talking 30 issues of Lee/Ditko Spidey and the very beginning of Claremont on X-Men here.

I also bought Daredevil HC v6, wrapping up the Bendis/Maleev run in glorious hardcover format, Black Widow: The Things They Say About Her, Black Widow by Grayson/Rucka/Jones/Hampton, Gambit v2 by Layman/Jeanty, War Stories v2 by Ennis, and Daredevil: Means & Ends by David Lapham. Lads and ladies, I think I may have a problem. An addiction.

However: Comics :toot:!

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