Archive for January, 2009


BHM ’09 Introduction

January 31st, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Right now, we’re just about two and a half hours from the launch of my second annual Black History Month series, where I take every day in February to talk about specific aspect of black culture and comic books. It’s mainly focused on superhero comics, since that’s what I grew up reading and still makes up the bulk of my reading material.

While there are often interconnecting themes, I try to keep each post to its own specific subject. Later in the month you’ll probably see some callbacks and references to earlier posts. I’m not lecturing here so much as I am talking– I’d like to conversate about these subjects with other people. Smart question and stupid questions welcome!

Sometimes the subjects are specific characters, or specific treatments of characters. Other times, they’re more abstract- “blacks in comics.” I’ve got a loose structure in mind for this month, with the first couple of weeks being largely about what comics are missing and the latter two about characters or story arcs. It’s not a hard and fast rule, of course, but trust me when I say that there is a plan behind all of this.

You can email me here. If you want to see my previous posts about race and comics, check out the colored commentary category. You can find last year’s series under the black history month category. It’s okay, but it’s a year old. This year’s posts will be under black history month ’09. If you just want to read the BHM09 posts, you can subscribe to its RSS feed. Otherwise, you can sub to 4l!’s main feed. I’d suggest the latter, really– Gav and Esther are great writers and well worth reading. Enough intro, it’s almost time to get into it.

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I Dress Myself!

January 31st, 2009 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

Somewhere out there, the Hawks are eating their hearts out. 

Although nothing can really supplant my desire for the Batsuit, and although something weird is happening with Wonder Woman’s left leg, this is fantastic.  I want all of these.  Yes, even the peach one.

So.  If you could have any costume, which would you pick, and why?

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You’ll Pay For Your Crimes! …at a later date.

January 30th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

I had a fascinating conversation with Esther a few weeks back about how most superhero characters, if taken as a whole, are pretty much entirely unlikeable. Batman has let dozens of people die, made plans on how to disable his friends, and been a jerk to everyone under the sun. Spider-Man’s hit his wife, tried to kill her, had nervous breakdown after nervous breakdown, and lies to everyone he loves. Superman took over the world at some point in the past eight years, even.

But, you can’t have consequences for these actions in corporate comics. These characters are intellectual properties, which means that they must be available for exploitation. So, Batman does not go to jail for his killer spy satellite, nor for his plans to destroy the JLA. Spider-Man is “hunted” but never really has to pay for anything he’s done, despite the whole world believing he killed Gwen Stacy. Superman has destroyed half a dozen government task forces geared toward his capture but whoops he’s Superman and he was the good guy and just defending himself.

These characters make the same mistakes, over and over, in a cycle of mean-spiritedness and myopia. It makes reading comics without being extremely picky kind of a hard thing to do, doesn’t it?

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Putting Things In Order

January 29th, 2009 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

Like most of you I progressed from issues in a pile to shelves to a box, to multiple boxes, to boxes stacked several feet deep.  Getting things out of them is often a chore, and when I do unearth my old comics, I like to read a full story.

A lot of the time I can get a full story from reading the issues.  And mini-series that touch on a few regular runs, like Villains United or Faces Of Evil, don’t cause much trouble.

Read the rest of this entry �

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DC Comics Lost

January 29th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Black Adam & Isis: Arab

Mister Miracle: Black

Ra’s al Ghul: Arab

Talia al Ghul: European, Chinese, and Arab (apparently)

Renee Montoya: Dominican

Me: Looking back on the past month or so of DC’s comics

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The Brave and the Bold #1

January 28th, 2009 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

Well, the way they draw Luthor creeps me out, but in general I liked the comic.  It has the same zany energy as the show.  The pace is fast and action-oriented.  Seriously action-oriented.  Of twenty-two pages, fifteen of them show something being smashed.  That kind of action-oriented.

This comic also has the sort of kitschy villains and monsters that enlivened the old Batman TV Show, and that you can’t really get away with in today’s gritty, more realistic comics.  The result is the triumph of imagination; fun, creative, outrageous and interesting.

The one main weakness of the comic is the same weakness of the show.  There seems to be a Very Special Lesson to be learned in each comic, and no subtlety in the teaching of it.  I realize that this comic is meant for children, but it frustrates me a little, knowing that if a character talks about their love of strength in the first five minutes, they’ll lose all their strength in the next five minutes.  What is most irksome about it is the show lays the groundwork for each Special Lesson well enough that it never has to be said out loud.  With the deletion of a few lines, each Lesson could be a character trait, each predictable reversal a fresh plot twist.

Still, the energy, the creativity and the joy that is shown all make this comic shine.  If you’re thinking about giving a young child a good education in all the DC characters, and, incidentally, entertaining them, this is a great comic to pick up.

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glamourpuss: striking a blow against misogyny!

January 28th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Dave Sim‘s fabulous, startling, and _____ glamourpuss magazine has taken a decidedly political stance in just its fifth issue! The eponymous glamourpuss has something to say and she isn’t holding back! Read on, but brace yourselves, because this is fabulously startling!

glamourpuss-issue5-01 glamourpuss-issue5-02

Oh my! Sadly, the brutality of the print industry strikes again. No, glamourpuss (the magnificent magazine) hasn’t been canceled, nor has glamourpuss (the fabulous fashionista) been removed from her lofty position. No, she’s just missing a bit of the latest development in the now-past presidential race:

Barack Obama made Hillary Clinton (wait for it) Secretary of State.

The nerve!

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4l! @ io9

January 28th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Graeme from io9 quoted me in a piece about Fox News and black superheroes this morning, you can check that out right here.

Keep an eye on the site in Feb. I’m going to be relatively quiet this week since I’m still gearing up for BHM09. Once 02/01 hits, though, it’s on like Donkey Kong.

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Royal Rumble Week: Day 7

January 27th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

The Royal Rumble was last night, meaning you no longer care about anything I have to say. Yeah, well… shut up, okay?

I thought the event was top notch. Jack Swagger vs. John Morrison is going to make a very fine PPV main event one day.

The Rumble match itself was pretty good. It had a lot of fun spots, but got bogged down by keeping the ring too full. They were so determined to keep every single main eventer in the ring until the end while keeping them scattered on the card that it seemed to blow up in their face.

But the highlight of the Rumble?


(thanks to Jerusalem for the gif)

Let’s finish this off and call it a day.

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One Day Delay

January 25th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

I know I should have had the Royal Rumble Week: Day 7 thing up today, but I just didn’t have the time to finish what with, you know, the Royal Rumble being tonight. Don’t fret, I’ll have it up sometime Monday night.

In the meantime, please enjoy the best current WWE theme.

MVP was robbed, by the way.

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