Archive for April, 2009


Any Chance For A Newbie?

April 26th, 2009 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

Some people say that the comics industry runs on legacy characters.  Kyle replaced Hal as Green Lantern, and was re-replaced.  Connor Hawke had a long run as Green Arrow before DC resurrected his father and nudged him out of the title.  Now even Barry is back.

I’m wondering if there is much of a chance for new characters these days, especially new characters in old roles.  They already have to battle fan backlash.  The people most invested in any particular character are going to be the most critical of the guy who pushes their beloved hero aside.  There is also the difficulty of a shrinking industry.  How do we keep comics going at all, let alone make room for more characters?

Mostly, though, I think the structure of comics has changed.  Way back when, comics used to deliver tales that were somewhat predictable.  That’s not to say that the individual stories were lacking in imagination or ingenuity.  It just means that the characters operated in a stable universe.  They were always heroes, they always had a certain code of ethics, and their battles were episodic instead of part of ongoing revelatory stories.

Now thing have changed.  Event books are in.  Big dramatic upsets are what sell.  Whether you think this change is good or bad depends entirely on your tastes, but it means things are less predictable.

The big heroes, and to some extent their first sidekicks, built up a decades-long base of stability.  We had time to get used to them, and to get to know them.  They made their mark on the universe they lived in.  Amid the constant upheaval of the modern comics universe, it’s easy for new characters to get lost in the shuffle.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


The Top 70 Deadpool Moments Day 1: Stranded in the Combat Zone

April 26th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

(I should probably first mention RIP Bea Arthur because… well, you know. It’s on-topic)

Wade Wilson. Deadpool. The Merc with a Mouth. The Deathstroke the Terminator knockoff. Cable’s reluctant sidekick. The would-be mutant. The febrile-minded man who has to deal with outrageous moral quandaries. The man who shot Liberty Valance. The… you get the point. These days are pretty lucrative for the yellow-bubbled anti-hero of Marvel. The character, who as of this writing has been around for 19 years, has gone through many twist and turns in his fictional existence. Enough that I can write up 70 of his best moments. Why 70? Because it’s a week-long series and ten per day is a round enough number on its own.

First appearing in New Mutants #98, created by the team of Fabian Nicieza and Rob Liefeld, Deadpool would follow the cast as the series became X-Force. There, his character, though with attempts at humor, was mostly pretty bland. His appearances usually involved him talking about how great the mysterious Mr. Tolliver was paying him followed by Wade beating the crap out of his girlfriend Copycat. So yeah, not very fun.

Then he got his own miniseries. It wasn’t all that great, though the ending showed that he wasn’t a total piece of shit. Then he got another miniseries and it was better. Then he finally got his own on-going series, which had a great run by Joe Kelly. Once he left, it went for about two and a half years of different writers that made the whole thing seem like a big step down. Luckily, prior to being cancelled at #69, Deadpool’s final issues were a huge breath of fresh air and put some life back into the character… except for the fact that they killed him off.

But then his Japanese Ben Reilly self got an on-going series, which ruled until the original creative team was kicked off. Then it eventually turned lousy and got itself cancelled. Thankfully, Marvel brought the original team back for three issues to both explain the mystery of the main character’s identity and bring Deadpool back from the dead. Hurray!

From there, Deadpool shared a comic with his blood enemy Cable. In a series that played the two off of each other brilliantly, it went on for a respectable run. Unfortunately, Cable joined the X-Men at one point and the series, though still very readable, had jumped the shark. Even worse, Cable “died”, thus making it all about just Deadpool again and robbing the magic of what made the series fun. But hey, 50 issues isn’t bad.

After a memorable stint in Wolverine Origins, Deadpool has returned to form in yet another solo series. Plus a recent one-shot. And a new miniseries. And a role in Messiah War. And a spot in the animated movie Hulk vs. Wolverine. And a Thunderbolts crossover. And a SECOND on-going series coming up in a few months.

Oh, and Ryan Reynolds is playing Wade Wilson in a movie that’s coming out, but apparently has little to do with what made people like the character in the first place. Like Movie Deadpool’s lack of mouth for one.

Now, then. Let’s get this countdown underway.

Read the rest of this entry �

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


100 Bullets: The Saint

April 25th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

The more I think about it, the less I have to say.

100 Bullets is really a series that speaks for itself. The craft and love that went into it shows on every page. You’ve got a ton of fully-realized characters, a mega-arc that gives up amazing chances for discussion and speculation, and a concept that could go on forever.

The main reason why I just did five days straight of images is because I know that fans of the series, those who stuck with it and came out on top, are gonna get it. You see “Jungle or zoo?” and know what it says about Jack’s life. You can look at a single panel of Remi Rome and see his try-hard swagger. You see “Pun. First syllable a PUN-ish-ment,” and think back to how Loop went from a boy to a man, and ended up smarter than anyone else expected.

The thing about being a comics reader is that you come to expect a certain kind of storytelling. X-Men, Superman, Green Lantern, Spider-Man, all of those feature characters, but aren’t really about the characters. They are corporate icons, mascots, and on some kid’s underwear. They can’t change too much, so all of the bang of the characters has to come from action. It’s Frank Castle putting on some superhero gear, holding a gun, and saying something out of an action movie. It’s Hal Jordan once again proving that he’s the prettiest princess on the block by overcoming everything and everyone. And, at the end of the issue, everything is back to normal.

100 Bullets is a story about the characters. It’s money shots aren’t all tied up in explosions, headshots, and fist fights. Those are there, of course, and they are good, but the real bang comes from the characters. It’s Wylie and Dizzy reminiscing over lost loves together, the look in a man’s eyes as he sees his brother for the last time, or the quiet respect that everyone has for Mr. Hughes. It’s the quiet goodbye a man gives to his family before he goes off to do some dirty work, and a peck on the forehead that tells you all you need to know about him and his viewpoint on life.

The Trust, the attache, the mega-arc, all of that is wonderful, but for me, the real joy in 100 Bullets is about the characters. It’s about how they bounce off one another and figuring out what they’re thinking. It’s about who, not what.

I discovered 100 Bullets shortly after I got back into comics, and month-in, month-out, it has been heads and shoulders above every other comic that I’ve read. The weakest issues or arcs are only weak by the high standard set by the others. Risso, Azz, and Mulvihill blew me away for six years straight, and have me looking at other comics now with a jaded eye.

Blackest Night and Dark Reign are boring to me. After the deep-seated menace of Lono and his inability to tell right from wrong, Norman Osborn’s Snidely Whiplash antics are cheap and hollow. After reading about Remi Rome being the most cocksure, try-hard, desperate to please young kid on the block, Hal Jordan is a caricature of somebody’s grandpa’s idea of a superhero.

I can’t take all these stories about how Soandso Lass and Generigal are strong female characters and wonderful and et cetera, because they aren’t. They’re stupid, hollow, and empty. The black characters, too. Luke Cage leads the Avengers now? De-evolve, thug, crawl back in the ocean. Loop and Curtis Hughes, Dizzy Cordova, and Megan Dietrich are characters that you can appreciate without having to go, “Well, they’re great, except for…”

You want your strong, fully realized, and respectful characters of whatever race, creed, or sexuality? 100 Bullets has your black dudes, latinas, old white dudes, Russians, whatever.

That’s where 100 Bullets wins. Even with all of the insane acrobatics, intrigues, and unkillable villains, 100 Bullets is real. It gives you characters who you can believe in, characters who seem like people you could actually know, and put them into situations that only make them more interesting. It’s a book that challenges you with its story and forces you to care about the people you’re reading about.

I had six years of glimpses in on these characters that I’ve grown to love. Its quiet moments are just as loud as the bits where someone is being murdered. I’m going to miss it.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


100 Bullets: The Monster

April 24th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Images in this post from Once Upon a Crime, Dirty, and Wilt. Tomorrow? Commentary on 100 Bullets as a whole.

Read the rest of this entry �

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


A Fistful of Iron

April 24th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

A bit of an update from my side of things. A few days ago, my computer up and died. Died as in going to a shutdown and restart screen upon turning on the computer. Hard drive had died of old age and you honestly couldn’t care about any of this.

The short of it is that for several days, I was without computer. This was infuriating for two reasons. One, I was unable to watch the full 2 and a half minute version of the Spongebob Got Back Burger King commercial. Two, I have been completely unable to get any writing done. Which means that the Deadpool countdown thingy will be delayed, though probably no longer than a day or so. That’s not too bad, right?

During my forced Amishness, I dove back into my collection of Essential Power Man and Iron Fist. Coming back to this here site, I found that hermanos posted several pages from it. Feh. If you want a REAL example of how great that comic was, look no further than this:

Haha, Iron Fist is such a dork.

Anyway, the Deadpool thing should hopefully be up sometime Saturday night/Sunday morning.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


Wanted: A Happily Married Couple

April 23rd, 2009 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

I was watching Scrubs today (don’t you judge me), and the two main male characters (Turk and JD) each decided to reaffirm their love (not like that) with their respective significant others (see?).  The plotline for the lovers was pretty standard; a mention of a certain hang-up, a big fight that had something to do with said hang-up, one person changes their mind, and bam, happy ending with renewed declarations of love.

The thing is, the two male friends weren’t fighting.  They were doing wacky things and having fun, and then the whole relationship plot kicked in for both of them and made them miserable.  Kind of like it did in the episode before.  And the episode before.  And the season before that.  And the one before that.

Just like it does in most romantic comedies, wherein the two leads start out by hating each other, snipe at each other all the way through, and then declare their love at the end.

Just like it does in comics.  Ollie and Dinah are fighting.  Bruce can’t keep a girl alive, in love with him, and non-evil to, heh, save his life.  I don’t even want to talk about Tim’s relationships.   Even Lois and Clark seem to be cranking the miserometer up these days.

 I realize that this happens in every genre, that story comes from conflict, and that it’s realistic to have couples fight now and again.  But if a couple actually gets married it is important to show that they at least like each other.

I would like, very much, if there were a few couples in fiction who behaved as if they were friends.  You know, enjoying each other’s company, thinking of fun stuff to do, and doing it.  Being nice to each other.  Having the bulk of the drama come from outside circumstances instead of obvious incompatibility.  Anyone know of a few?

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


100 Bullets: The Bastard

April 23rd, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Images in this post from Strychnine Lives, Decayed, and Once Upon a Crime.

Read the rest of this entry �

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


100 Bullets: The Rain

April 22nd, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Images in this post from Six Feet Under the Gun, Samurai, The Hard Way, and Strychnine Lives.

Read the rest of this entry �

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


What’s Your Deal-Breaker?

April 21st, 2009 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

“I’m never (expletive deleted) reading this (expletive deleted) (expletive deleted) again!  It’s (expletive deleted)!  I mean, (really filthy expletive deleted), man!  (expletive deleted) this!”

That is the familiar script of a comics reader who is taking his toys and going home.  You see it all the time.  Sometimes it’s sincere, but more often it’s just a temporary rage brought on by a few bad comics.

Is there anything that would make you swear off a book?  A writer?  A company?  Comics in general?

And, if so, what is it?

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon


100 Bullets: The Dog

April 21st, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Images from this post from A Foregone Tomorrow, The Counterfifth Detective, and Six Feet Under the Gun.

Read the rest of this entry �

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon