Archive for August, 2008


Infinite Crisis: The Graphic Audio

August 31st, 2008 Posted by Gavok

Can you believe Infinite Crisis only ended a little over two years ago? It feels so much longer. At the time, it was an exciting time to read DC. A lot was going down, 52 was on the horizon, One Year Later was starting up, among other things. The miniseries did come off as a letdown, but considering how hyped it was, how could it be anything but? By the time the seventh issue landed, with its rushed art to meet the deadline, I couldn’t be happier to be done with this whole storyline.

Sometime after, author Greg Cox wrote a novelization of Infinite Crisis. Such an odd concept, isn’t it? A novelization of a comic book? It’s like the literary version of hearing a country singer covering a rock group’s hit song. I guess I shouldn’t talk, since years back, before I was even into comics in the first place, I read the novelization of Knightfall. Plus there’s the whole movie novelization thing I do for the sake of getting site hits.

I didn’t read Cox’s take on Infinite Crisis, but through chance, I discovered an interesting piece relating to it. A company called Graphic Audio had done a book on CD version of his take. That’s right, an audio book based on a book based on a graphic novel. What an insane concept. Too curious, I ordered the two sets and spent a couple weeks listening through them. Yes, weeks. The entire story is told with twelve discs over the course of thirteen hours. Thirteen hours to tell the story of seven issues.

Well, that’s not fair. It’s more than just the seven issues. Cox chose to cherry-pick tie-in issues to help pad out the story to differing success. This includes the end of Crisis of Conscience where Superboy Prime attacks Martian Manhunter, the Spectre vs. Shazam fight from the end of Day of Vengeance, the part of Gotham Central where Crispus Allen got killed, an issue of Aquaman and parts of the Rann/Thanagar War Special.

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The Morrison Effect

August 30th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

I’ve discovered that no matter if your first name is Grant, Jim or Van, as long as your last name is Morrison, you are going to be awesome. Another example is wrestler John Morrison. This has nothing to do with comics whatsoever. I just happen to love the Dirt Sheet.

We don’t read Countdown tie-ins at the Palace of Wisdom.

Thanks Miz and Morrison for making WWE worth watching.

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Interview: Tom Peyer Talks Flash @ Speed Force

August 29th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

I read, and had in my RSS reader before it turned into/launched a blog. I’m a big Flash fan, and it is the Flash resource as far as I’m concerned. I don’t use it as a resource (like Wikipedia’s intended use) so much as a place to go and find something interesting to read, and something after that, and something after that (like Wikipedia is actually used).

Anyway, an interview went live on their site today with Tom Peyer, outgoing writer on the Flash. It’s a good interview, and well worth clicking through. Here’s an excerpt, though.

SF: Online fan discussions can get rather brutal. Do you keep an eye on fan message boards or blogs, or do you generally keep away from them?
PEYER: There are nice moments. Writing about one of our issues of Flash, a very nice blogger said that he was moved to read a comic that really understood what it’s like to be a parent. I don’t have children, so I took that as a great compliment. The negative posts don’t bother me anymore. The readers paid their money and have a right to express themselves. That doesn’t mean I’ll agree with them. I don’t voraciously consume the comics internet — when I’m not working, I like to read about other things — but I like it.

Is he talking about my Flashy Dynasty post? I think so! That rules.

You can check out my other posts on Flash here. It’s all the tagged ones, anyway. This one by Gavok is probably the best, though.

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4ch: NYCC: The Interviews, Part 2

August 29th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

Four Color Heroines interviews noted bloggers Cheryl Lynn and Valerie D’Orazio, among others, at New York Comic-con 08. I wish that the interviews went a little more in-depth or were just longer in general, as we don’t get much more than a taste of each interviewee.

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Bruce Wayne: What Might Have Been

August 29th, 2008 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

Thomas and Martha Wayne have always been the saints of the DCU. Thomas worked long hours healing the sick. Martha founded the Wayne foundation. Thomas used the Wayne fortune to keep Gotham from economic collapse. Martha stalked and attempted to trap pedophiles. They were pillars of society and always ready to serve the public good.

As parents, however, there was room for improvement.

The first story I read that included Thomas and Martha Wayne as anything other than portraits hanging over the mantle was Hush. Thomas Wayne takes Bruce and Bruce’s friend Tommy with him on a business trip and gets angry when they wander slightly away from him to see a couple of superheroes fighting. As punishment he locks them both in his hotel room for the weekend.
The next time I saw this parenting team they sent Bruce to his room without supper and grounded him for a week because he read a comic book. That’s right; a comic book. I suppose they might have been justified, if the comic was one of the more overtly racist Chick Tracts, but it’s most likely that the Waynes fell down on the job again.

What finally cemented my opinion of the Waynes was a single issue of Batman which I suppose was meant to be cute. Alfred is serving as butler to the Waynes when seven-year-old Bruce comes home covered in bruises. His mother and father immediately send him to his room without supper, where he pitifully stares out the window until Alfred comes up, comforts him, and shows him a creative way to deal with bullies.

Substitute the word ‘Headmaster’ for ‘Father’ and ‘Governess’ for ‘Mother’ and you have something out of Dickensian fiction. They didn’t even offer him a band-aid.

When DC comics shows alternate universes in which the Waynes survive, Bruce is generally either a shallow socialite or a good, but bland, businessman. I’m thinking that at best he’d be in rehab and more likely he’d be a modern day Lizzie Borden.

Some readers think that it’s significant that Bruce’s parents were shot when he was eight years old because he was exactly the right age to understand what happened without being able to deal with it. I think it’s significant that Bruce’s parents were shot when he was eight years old because a few years later he would have shoved them into the path of the bullets.

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50 Things That Have Been Green Avenged

August 28th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

Couple last hits. Jeff Lester and Graeme McMillan of Savage Critic(s) did their own list, one of them under threat of violence from yours truly.

Besides that, friend of 4l Abby L. hit me with her own list of 50 Things. Check them out.

Fire Company M

“…I am trying to give a name to the force that set them in motion.”
Making comics
Making Comics
Dazzler in the 70’s

Kitty Pryde’s horrible old costumes (rollerskates what)
Days of Future Past
The Wake

Making fun of Liefeld and Land
Save My Earth

Snow falling in Bone
Etta Candy
Brian K. Vaughan

Eyeshield 21
Rose of Versailles
Strangers In Paradise

Eisner’s Comics and Sequential Art
A Superman for All Seasons
Crime/Horror comics

The convoluted backstory of The Green Lantern, explained to me aloud
by a friend.
Kate Beaton
Lackadaisy Cats
Osamu Tezuka’s Phoenix
Awesome Andy

Big Barda
American Born Chinese
Superman: TAS and Batman: TAS
My LCS – The Source

Checkerboard Nightmare
Spike of Templar, AZ
Gratuitous male ass shots

And now, my first and benchmark comics: (Note that not all of these
are quality comics…)

What If Volume 2 #89 Spider-Man: Arachnomorphosis
X-Man #34: The Wanted
Disney Adventures’ Bone
Tintin: Cigars of the Pharaoh
The Jar

Cardcaptor Sakura single issues 1-10
Identity Crisis
John Byrne’s She-Hulk
Oh My Goddess single issues

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50 x 2 = 100

August 27th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

Two entries this time. This first list is from Kyle, one of my oldest friends. I hit him up over IM and bullied him until he gave me his list. I also bullied him into having a 100-item pull list once, too.

Ha ha ha. Eat it.
1. Mr. Mind
2. Darkseid
3. Zatana
4. Warren Ellis
5. Grant Morrison
6. Mike Choi and Sonia Oback
7. X-23
8. Scott Pilgrim
9. Matt Fraction
10. Ed Brubaker
11. Iron Fist and the Other Weapons
12. We3
13. Runaways
14. Jamie Madrox
15. Layla Miller
16. Jubilee
17. Drax
18. Cammy, Drax’s spunky sidekick
19. Both Annihilation series
20. Invincible
21. Watchmen
22. Transmetropolitan
23. Molly Hayes
24. Batman: The Animated Series
25. Nextwave
26. Tim Drake
27. Explaining crazy comic book stuff to people who aren’t keeping up fully with the series.
28. The resulting look on peoples faces when you are explaining that crazy stuff… ranging from confusion, to the inevitable “WTF!” look when explaining DC continuity.
29. Humberto Ramos
30. Justice League Unlimited
31. Heath Ledger as the Joker
32. The Current Wildstorm Universe… never believed it would go that far.
33. Planetary
34. Paul Jenkins
35. Kingdom Come
36. Jerk Batman
37. Captain Marvel from the Peter David series
38. Harley Quinn
39. The Daughters of the Dragon
40. “52”
41. Black Bolt
42. Anytime Black Bolt talks
43. “Son of M”
44. Kabuki
45. “Fables”
46. “Y the Last Man”
47. Echo
48. The Tick
49. “Maus”
50. Chris Latta… voice actor for Cobra Commander and Starscream.

This second list is from 4l reader Lt. Ken Frankenstein. He’s got some great picks here.
1. The second time I read Grant Morrison’s The Filth and it finally all made sense.
2. Reading Alan Moore’s Watchmen at thirteen years old and having my mind completely blown.
3. The cover of Avengers #4.
4. The last eight pages of Grant Morrison’s Animal Man, which get me all misty-eyed every time.
5. Ed Brubaker’s Criminal, the best comic being published right now.
6. The Human Bomb losing it and murdering Dr. Polaris, a moment of unbridled greatness in the otherwise lackluster Infinite Crisis.
7. Matter-Eater Lad, my favorite underused member of the Legion of Superheroes.
8. The first twelve or so issues of Mark Waid’s relaunch of the Legion of Superheroes.
9. The Death of Captain America and the return of Bucky Barnes.
10. Jack Kirby’s Fourth World. All of it.
11. Miracleman #16, the most violent, disturbing, heartbreaking comic I’ve ever read.
12. The last page of Ex Machina #1, the ballsiest moment in superhero comics.
13. The second to last page of Civil War #2, the second ballsiest moment.
14. Booster Gold and Blue Beetle, any time they interact.
15. Geoff Johns, the Michael Clayton of the DC Universe (He’s a fixer. See Green Lantern: Rebirth and especially his run on Hawkman)
16. Ares setting himself on fire and having Hercules fastball-special him into a crowd of warriors. All while wielding twin uzis.
17. Lone Wolf and Cub and Akira, the twin high watermarks of manga.
18. Barry Allen’s sacrifice in the pages of Crisis on Infinite Earths.
19. Brian Michael Bendis’ New Avengers, the ultimate shot of adrenaline into a long-running franchise.
20. Alan Moore’s “For the Man who has Everything,” and its note-perfect translation in Justice League Unlimited.
21. 52, the DCU’s year long mad-science experiment.
22. Mark Millar’s Ultimates, or, “The Avengers if The Avengers were Assholes.”
23. Brian Michael Bendis writing Luke Cage
24. Brian Michael Bendis writing Daredevil
25. Alex Maleev Drawing Daredevil
26. Frank Castle meeting Bullseye for the first time in Daredevil #181. “You might do something stupid. Get yourself killed. I’d like that.”
27. Art Spiegelman’s Maus
28. Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol, one of the weirdest comics of all time
29. Wonder Woman as portrayed on Justice League Unlimted and in Grant Morrison’s JLA
30. Plastic Man serving as the JLA’s resident Ace Ventura.
31. The ‘White Martian’ story arc of Grant Morrison’s JLA, where Batman and Wally West exhibit true greatness.
32. Ultimate Spider-Man, Bendis’ baby.
33. The original Stan Lee/Jack Kirby run of Fantastic Four.
34. Superman: Red Son, especially any scene with Lex Luthor.
35. Christopher Reeves as Superman.
36. John Williams’ Superman theme.
37. The Dark Knight.
38. Batman nightmarishly unleashing a swarm of bats in Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One.
39. Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark
40. Civil War: The Confession, the moment where everything was, ironically, worth it.
41. Superman vs. Captain Marvel in Mark Waid and Alex Ross’ Kingdom Come.
42. Two-Face coming full circle in The Long Halloween: “Two shots to the head. If you ask me, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.
43. Two-Face breaking convention at the end of Grant Morrison’s Arkham Asylum.
44. The Joker as a concept.
45. Jason Rusch: Firestorm.
46. Deadshot’s casual “C’est la vie” murder of Plastique in the Justice League Unlimited episode ‘Task Force X,’ the most brutal moment I’ve seen in a children’s cartoon.
47. Venom as drawn by Todd Macfarlane.
48. The first four or five story arcs of Fabien Nicieza’s Cable & Deadpool.
49. Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles, the ultimate counter-culture comic.
50. All-Star Superman #5, the prison issue. My favorite Superman comic ever is one where he never shows up in costume.

#12 was why I kept reading Ex Machina. I got the Free Comic Book Day issue from Kyle way back when. I checked it out, read it, and was like “Eh, that’s all right, I guess, but I don’t know if I’d buy it.” Then I got to the last page. And then I started buying Ex Machina. I switched to trades when I realized its pacing, though. Here’s the last two pages, for reference:

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Remarkable: Morrison’s Authority

August 27th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

Geoff Klock writes “Remarkable: Morrison’s Authority:”

Morrison has re-envisioned how to make this book work like it did in the first few issues of Ellis’s run. Ellis’s Authority are supposed to feel HUGE but after a few issues we are deadened by the constant battles and HUGE begins to feel regular. With this final page, just one character suddenly feels MASSIVE again – you believe he COULD start World War Three on his own. As the Doctor, the team’s Shaman, says in this issue, in this world they cannot but be monsters, trampling on natural laws until they break. Implicit in Ellis’s story was the feeling that his “heroes,” in spite of the fact that they saved the world, were really bad guys – killing indiscriminately, changing the world as they saw fit, and answering to no one. Morrison’s protagonist from the first issue says it explicitly, asking the team, who identify themselves as the good guys, how they KNOW they are good guys. In terms of both physics and ethics, their whole world has been turned up-side-down – or right-side-up.

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Who Will Be Shocked By The Watchmen?

August 27th, 2008 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

Watchmen will be coming out in March and, no doubt, the first few screenings will be almost entirely packed with comic book fans. The book, to comics fans, has a status somewhere between The Catcher in the Rye and the moon landing. It not only changed their lives, it marked a turning point for comics in general, taking a more critical and nuanced look not only at superhero characters, but at the concept of superheroes in general. Alan Moore presented a deeply cynical vision at the way the world would look if it had to interact with a group of dangerously powerful people with big egos and flexible morals. The book made every fan who ever fantasized about the fourth wall dissolving consider that it might turn the world darker and more dangerous rather than more exciting and fun. Watchmen wasn’t a book, it was an event, and so I’m guessing that the first few screenings will alternate between awed silence and wild cheering.

What about the screening after that? If the movie had come out a year or two after the novel’s publication, it would have knocked the socks off of people whose standard for superhero movies was Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, but will today’s audiences be aware of it as anything more than another film that is ‘based on a graphic novel?’

The color scheme is from The Dark Knight and 300. The sense of the alienation of powerful beings from everyday people is from Superman Returns. The idea of a superhero as something the public is afraid of is in movies from Hancock to The Hulk.

As for the public being right to fear superheroes, even Peter Parker turned to the dark side for a while, and he was played by Tobey Maguire. From outright immoral supers, like the ones in Wanted, to the heroes of Sin City, who had the welfare of the downtrodden at heart, but whose skills tended towards being able to quickly dispose of bodies, to the neurotics of superheroes being milked for comedic value in My Super Ex-Girlfriend, to Batman, one of the most straight laced of superheroes, being tangentially involved in the deaths of super villains, it’s more difficult to find a superhero movie in which the superheroes are unquestionably good than it is to find one that looks at them through more jaundiced eyes.

I’m not saying that Watchmen shouldn’t be made or that it has nothing to contribute. That would be like arguing against the filming of an Elmore Leonard story because the world already has enough heist movies. If anything Watchmen deserves more acclaim for originality, since it was one of the books that pioneered the more skeptical view of superheroes that has become the standard.

However, there is no denying that that view has become the standard. It’s odd that the innovation and influence of Watchmen in the medium of comics will probably lessen its impact when it becomes a film. Success has a price.

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The Man with the Dented Face

August 27th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

“When I speak, respond with the first word you think of. One.”

— Dr. Bruce Wayne and Two-Face from Elseworlds: The Batman of Arkham

For the past month, graphic novels have been doing quite well at the Barnes and Noble where I work. Sure, the Iron Man, Hulk and Hellboy stuff were doing fairly well over the course of the summer, but once Dark Knight arrived, everything flew off the shelves. I was put in charge of ordering in just about anything Batman-related that would sell. I mainly went with anything Joker and/or Two-Face themed. Surprisingly, Dark Knight Returns sold out early to the point that all of the warehouses were out of it. Great foresight there, guys.

Joker stuff sells like crazy, especially Killing Joke. Even the hastily scrapped-together biography we got on Heath Ledger has been taking off. Two-Face stuff, on the other hand, has been eating it. Nobody cares about Harvey, sad to say.

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