Archive for April, 2007


Maybe tomorrow, woman.

April 30th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

From The Invisibles volume 3: Entropy in the UK:

Have you ever wondered why we talk of “spelling”? There is a spell word implanted in the brain of every English-speaking child, the root mantra of restriction, the secret name of a mighty hidden demon: “eybeesee dee ee eff geeaitcheye jai kayell emenn ohpeequeue are ess tee youveedouble you ex wyezed”. That name and all the names it generates were designed to set limits upon humanity’s ability to express abstract thought. What you see depends entirely upon the words you have to describe what you see. Nothing exists unless we say it.

Ever read Orwell’s 1984? The idea that no one will ever be able to revolt if they cannot think of the ideas to revolt is this in action.

There is an issue of Morrison’s JLA that deals with this, though I’ve only just now realized it. A robot named Tomorrow Woman is created by T.O. Morrow and Professor Ivo for the purpose of infiltrating the Justice League and wiping their minds with an EMP bomb.

The trick is that they didn’t want her to have free will, so they left the word “freedom” out of her programming.

In the end, she chooses to be a hero anyway. As she lay dying in Superman’s arms, the only thing she can say is something like “Term not found *klik*.” It was really kind of a touching scene, despite a robot (robotette? gynoid?) dying in Electric Blue Flavored Superman’s arms.

Interesting stuff. Just thought I’d put that out there. I don’t think that these ran at the same time. This would’ve been issue 19 of Invisibles, putting it at what, 95? I think Morrison’s JLA started in 1996. Maybe these were done around the same time.

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4thletter is for… dope!

April 29th, 2007 Posted by david brothers


Yours truly is in San Francisco at the moment, hunting for apartments. (I did mention I was planning on moving out here, right?) I’m out here until Wednesday, and hopefully I can find a cool affordable place by then.

Anyway, here’s a short 4l is. Black Panther, Dwayne McDuffie, and McDuffie on Fantastic Four are all three cooler than cool.

Light posting from me, probably. Let’s see what Gavok has to say!

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Bits & Pieces

April 26th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

Linkblogging again today! I’m off tomorrow so I can put some work in then.

– I am flying out to San Francisco on Sunday and staying until Wednesday! I’m apartment hunting for my move there in May. It’s fun trying to guess at your take-home pay without knowing how much the gov’t is going to ream you for taxes!

– I finally got the out of print Mr Majestic TPB. I now own each TPB of his two solo series, which is kind of a weird feeling. It took me a while to realize how much of a big Wildstorm fan I am. Anyway, the book collects issues 1-6 and the Wildstorm Spotlight by Alan Moore and Carlos D’Anda. I think that the series went on for eight issues total, but what we’ve got here are six done-in-ones plus a special. From the back cover copy: “Mr. Majestic rearrangest he solar system, repairs a temporal anomaly, gains a son, halts an intergalactic prison break, and meets the Ultravixens.”

Also from the back cover copy: “Remember when superheroes could move planets?”

The first Maj series is kind of a precursor to All-Star Superman in theme, if not in quality. Both stories take these wild silver age tropes and, rather than looking at them ironically (“Ha ha why do you need an invisible plane”) they just take them at face value. Majestic can move planets. Why? Because. It’s a pretty light and warm book from what I remember, and the team of Joe Kelly, Brian Holguin, and Ed McGuinness is the perfect fit for it.

Another choice line: “What the @#$# is wrong with you?! I’m a freakin’ nun!”

Ah, Ladytron.

batmanrobin6cvrsm.jpgI love Jim Lee’s new Batgirl design for All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder. (For color reference, see here.) It’s just all around awesome. The freckles visible under the bat-mask, the bats on the boots, and the big yellow bat-symbol work really, really well. I also love costume designs made up of just two colors for some reason, so that’s icing on the cake. I’m also really, really fond of Frank Miller’s dangly and busy way of drawing earrings. It’s funky and different. Also, is it me or is that a Daemonite head that Batgirl (who I’m assuming is Barb Gordon, if only because of the freckles and hair?) is standing on?

– 52 this week (#51, to be exact) was pretty good and paid off in all the expected ways. Buddy returning was a nice capstone to his story arc, though he now may be the most powerful thing in the DCU. I can’t imagine DC dropping the ball on that, so expect him to show up in Countdown. Also, I totally called the Mr. Mind in Skeets thing, just like 51% of the rest of the internet, but the payoff was so much better than I expected!

– Is anyone else reading and enjoying Garth Ennis and Goran Parlov’s Barracuda as much as I am? It is trashy and ugly and excellent. Barracuda has turned out to be a lot smarter than anyone ever gave him credit for and the series has been quite a ride so far. Be interesting to see where it goes!

– What’s it say about me when the most striking part of the first Outsiders trade is John Workman’s lettering? I love that man’s work. He’s got style and he’s unique.

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David Lapham on Silverfish@NRAMA

April 25th, 2007 Posted by david brothers


DL: It kills me to put Stray Bullets on hold like it’s been. Maria and I both put a lot of years and a lot of hard work into the company and the book. And I still have one issue left in the current arc, left dangling. But the reality the last few years has been that it’s faster and pays more to work freelance right now. The reality is I have a family and I can’t just say stop everything and let’s do Stray Bullets for love. I do love Bullets and know I will complete it, and the sooner the better, but I just can’t commit to anything firm.

Just in case you don’t know, the cliffhanger ending is brutal. Argh.

Silverfish looks dope, though.

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Galactus is coming, so bring an umbrella!

April 25th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

This is pretty much what we have to look forward to during this summer’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Galactus is a giant cloud. Great.

I can verify this. We got the novelization of the movie at work the other day and I skimmed the latter half of the book. This, plus the goofy final battle, are enough to keep me out of the theater for the time being.

I like that Spider-Man 3 and F4:RotSS come out during the same summer. They’re as different as night and day. The F4 movies take some of Marvel’s most beloved villains and bastardize them to the point that it’s painful to even talk about them. Spider-Man 3, based on the novelization, does a great job taking a villain most comic fans hate (Venom) and a classic villain who never really did all that much (Sandman) and making them interesting and exciting. I’m expecting Sandman to make a major comeback based on the movie’s portrayal.

How the hell are they going to make merchandise for a giant cloud, anyway? You can’t give gas kung-fu grip.

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A Quickie

April 24th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

I’m on the run, but I have something lovely for you, for varying values of lovely. I recently discovered Fletcher Hanks, in no small part to Batman’s Shameful Secret, and I want to share my newfound love with you. They’re just two images, fairly small, but well worth a read. This is the origin of a villain from a strip about a woman named Fantomah, who is some kind of awful witch in the jungle or something.

juco14310.jpg juco1432a0.jpg

Look me in the eyes and tell me that this isn’t the greatest thing you’ve ever seen. I double dog dare you.

You may preorder a collection of Hanks’s work here. “I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets.” Everything I’ve seen from this man is insane and wonderful and awful all at the same time.

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Citizen Steel and Jock(s)

April 23rd, 2007 Posted by david brothers

There’s been a bit of a hullabaloo about Alex Ross’s cover for the new issue of JSA #7, featuring Citizen Steel. Let’s take a look at it.


Ooh, I see what the problem is! It’s really, really obvious and sticking out shamelessly!

It’s boring is what the problem is. It’s some dude checking himself out in the mirror after working out, with added Photoshop Blur filters. Yes, Citizen Steel, 8-Minute Abs are working out for you. Great. I flex in the mirror, too, everyone does. It’s a great esteem builder! It is also bland and uninteresting, just like every other cover Ross has done for JSA. It’s always someone standing bathed in light, looking thoughtful or profound.

Let’s talk about an awesome cover– Jock’s cover for Green Arrow Year One.


Here’s another, and another, and a sister and her brother:

100b-cv84_solicit.jpg bm-cv668.jpg ctw-cv69-solicitation-only.jpg dmz_21_cover4solicits.jpg

In a world where Jock, Brian Wood, Dave Johnson, JH Williams III, and Adam Hughes are delivering awesome covers, month-in month-out, can someone give me one rational reason why we should talk about Alex Ross and his boring and unexciting covers? Marvel got a lot of crap for their “Our Covers Have Nothing to Do With The Book” covers a year or two back, but at least those were done by Adi Granov, JRjr, Mark Bagley, Tim Bradstreet, and a host of other great talents. It wasn’t just a character on a black background because everyone knows that that is boring. “That’s not how we rock in Theodore,” as a wise man Ghostface Killah once said.

Sorry, just wanted to put that out there.

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Secret War Games: The Marvel WCW Comic Part 3

April 23rd, 2007 Posted by Gavok

We’re finishing off the trilogy of World Championship Wrestling articles here at 4th Letter, but first I want to talk about blame.

Ever since the moment I picked a couple of these issues up at New York Comic Con, my fellow 4L guys and my comic-reading friends all asked me the same question: why? Why would I do this to myself? Why am I always the guy on this site willingly reading comics I know are going to be lousy? The truth is, it’s all hermanos’ fault.

He and I are similar in terms of comic-reading background. He and I read stuff in the 90’s, only to break away from comics due to the Marvel Cloneslaught disaster. He got back in the game before I did and had more reading experience. He would be the one who would suggest comics that I would eventually follow obsessively. He suggested I read that Deadpool issue where he Shoryukens Kitty Pryde. He told me to read Kingdom Come. He told me that the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League is good stuff. And I won’t even tell you how many times I had to hear him push Flex Mentallo in my direction before I submitted.

A problem arises from that. It gets annoying discussing things when he’s read pretty much everything I’ve read and more. Where’s my upper hand?

So I had to dig deep in the opposite direction. Has hermanos read the comic where Venom fights Carnage inside the internet? What about the one where Skeletor controls Superman’s mind and makes him beat up He-Man? Did he read Super-Villain Team… wait, hold on. Super-Villain Team-Up turned out to be pretty great. But he didn’t read the Tekken comic, did he?! And he’s a better person for it because that thing is a stinking turd on the level of the Doom comic.

But the Tekken comic review will be for another day.

I think I’m just stalling because the cover of issue #9 features the Steiner Brothers with the blurb, “The Steiner Brothers are cruisin’ for a bruisin’! Part 2 of 4!” At least Jesse Ventura is in the upper-corner logo. That’s as good a reason as any to keep moving forward.

Read the rest of this entry �

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Wildcats, Pop Comics At Work

April 23rd, 2007 Posted by david brothers

This is a straight up fanboy post, so bear with me. I’ll have actual content later on, hey?

I love the Wildcats and the whole Wildstorm Universe, but no way can I explain why. It just works for me, in no small part because of the Jim Lee connection.

Joe Casey’s run on Wildcats is a personal favorite of mine, with 3.0 being tops in my book. There’s a bit in where Grifter, who was injured in an earlier battle, is training the man he wants to be his replacement. A Grifter II, if you will.

wildcats_p19.jpg Anyway, there’s a bit of a training montage, which, if you’ve ever seen an action movie, is a staple of the genre. It’s important, and kind of cool to see in a comic. He’s showing him all the basics of, superheroing and being a bad dude. “Remember, the cooler you look, the less likely it is you’ll actually have to shoot.” Check out the bottom. Wisecracking is an important part of superheroics, and of course wisecrackery is a big part of your training. I’d always thought that was a particularly clever bit of writing, with a properly corny one-liner. (I love Die Hard, pardon me.)

I picked up the first WildC.A.T.s trade on the cheap the other day (“because I am a sucker,” is what you all are thinking). Part of the way through the first chapter, I saw a familiar scene.


Oh, Grifter.

I’ll have a post with some actual content (about Superman and fathers again, if things work out right), rather than fanblatherings, later on.

(The first Wildcats trade is really kind of a so-so comic at best, to be honest. I am a sucker, though. I’d probably buy Absolute WildC.A.T.s if they put it out.)

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On Nightwing Annual #2

April 21st, 2007 Posted by david brothers

Okay, so the last thing Devin Grayson did on Nightwing was have Dick Grayson propose to Barbara Gordon. I think that was a neat twist and kinda cool. Should they be together? I don’t know, but I am curious!

Then OYL hit and the plot was dropped entirely.

Nightwing Annual #2 hit this week and explained why they aren’t together, in addition to showing some scenes from their past. These include, but are not limited to:
1. Dick Grayson showing up six months after Joker shoots Babs, sleeping with her, and then hitting her with an engangement announcement for his wedding to Starfire the very next morning.
2. Babs going to Dick’s college dorm with flowers shortly after he declares his love for her, only to be meet with Starfire answering his door in panties, a t-shirt, and what I assume is Dick’s letterman’s jacket. They speak, Barb leaves in tears and Kory doesn’t think to tell Dick that one of his best friends just dropped by. PS this is followed by the revelation that Kory was Dick’s first sex partner, as revealed by an insufferably smug Babs Gordon who knows Dick Grayson just that well apparently. Barfo!
3. Babs and Dick being stuck in a safe together by Crazy Quilt of all people, leading to a scene where Dick is trying to hide his bat-erection from Batman.
4. Barbara making the executive decision to cancel her engagement to Dick, despite their twoo wuv (he swears to come back to her and she wears the engagement ring on a necklace) because a) he needs to go off with Batman somewhere and b) she feels that he defines himself by his relationship to others and he needs to find himself before he marries her.
5. Barbara Gordon being a thoroughly unlikeable and heartless person.
6. Dick Grayson being a thoroughly unlikeable and heartless person.
7. Some really awkward dialogue, lovey-dovey and otherwise.

Seriously, this was a bad comic. It was competently written, and I actually really dig the art, but it was bad in a “What were you thinking?” sort of way. Sins Past was bad, and artifically aged Gwen & Norman twins are bad, but this is beyond even that. Every single person comes off as horrible or unlikeable or both. Why should I care about these people?

I don’t even really like Nightwing. I read it because I was interested in that plot about the marriage.

This was like if someone asked me “Hey, what’re some things you don’t particularly care to ever see in a comic?” and then put everything I listed in that comic. It’s gross and not good. I mean, cool, heroes have/should have/do have sex and relationships but for some reason Babs talking to Dick Grayson about losing his virginity to Starfire just comes off mad creepy in that weird nerdy sort of way that comics do so well. I’m not even a prude, man. I own the Bomb Queen trade, I am all about some gratuitous nudity and graphic violence. This, though? This is yuck.

The worst thing is that Nightwing Annual #2, like the similarly useless World War III, feels so editorially mandated that you can picture Dan Didio sitting on your shoulder going “This patches that weird sequence from Tales of Nightwing #209, and this bit means that the guy from Adventures of Superman #132 isn’t in continuity any more, and this close-up shows that there was no penetration in Batman #133 so Robin technically didn’t have sex with his girlfriend…”

Seriously DC, stop with Continuity Patch Comix(TM). They aren’t good. We learned that in the ’90s. I almost wish this story had remained untold, because the reason the two didn’t get married is stupid and now both of them look like jerks because of the reason and the dumb-dumb flashbacks.

And if I never read a book with a Bat-erection in it again, it’ll be too soon.

I’ll talk about some good comics tomorrow. Ones that aren’t gross.

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