Archive for October, 2010


The New Avengers Cartoon Makes Me Go XD

October 20th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

I feel that in the never-ending war between Marvel and DC, DC has always trumped Marvel in the animation department. Pound for pound, DC has always been better when it comes to getting their shit together. Even Superfriends past the Wendy and Marvin season was watchable in a goofy sense while I can never enjoy the panel-based cartoons with zero animation that Marvel released back in the 60’s. The only DC cartoon I can ever remember as being outright awful was that Superman one from the 80’s that insisted on giving us a segment about Clark growing up and getting into wacky situations for his mother to deal with. As a child, all I could think was, “Why are they showing me this? I want to see Superman doing super things and fighting Lex Luthor!”

Maybe he was so competent that he’d save the day a little too early and they had to use that as backup filler.

Marvel’s had a lot of missteps. Australian Wolverine goes without saying. The first seasons of Iron Man and Fantastic Four in the 90’s were hard to watch, which was a shame, since the second seasons were way better. The latter went from having Thing deal with a nagging landlady to having Ghost Rider (with his sexy, sexy voice) show up unannounced in order to punk out Galactus.

They had Avengers: United They Stand, which failed on several levels. Spider-Man really wasn’t all that great once you take off the rose-colored glasses and don’t get me started on Spider-Man Unlimited. X-Men and Silver Surfer weren’t bad, but they were nothing compared to what DC was churning out with their Batman and Superman cartoons.

Marvel has been starting to get things moving with their animated movies, like with Planet Hulk and Hulk vs. Wolverine, but the many, many missteps before that can’t be discounted (I will never forgive Invincible Iron Man). Even then, DC’s been cranking out the quality on that end.

I’ve heard great things about Spectacular Spider-Man and Wolverine and the X-Men, but I haven’t gotten around to watching them. I think part of it comes from lack of interest in retreading old ground. It was the same when it came with The Batman. I’m sure there’s quality in there, but I’m not up for retracing old steps. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. I’ve seen that story where Ben Grimm becomes human but has to become the Thing again because damn it, the team needs him. I’ve seen that story where a new girl joins the X-Men and meets the established team as a way to get us acquainted. I need something new. Based on something old, sure, but something new for this medium. At least Batman: The Brave and the Bold was in such a different direction that it came off as a breath of fresh air.

Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes starts tonight on Disney XD and I’ve already gotten to see the pilot at New York Comic Con. I’ve also sat through the 20 micro-episodes, which are each 5-6 minutes a piece, making it longer than any of Marvel’s animated films yet. I can tell you right now that this cartoon is exactly what Marvel’s been needing for a while. This is their Justice League Unlimited.

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When you’re alone and life is making you lonely you can always go –

October 20th, 2010 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

To the internet.

Fuck Yeah Comics Relationships is a tumblr account that I can go to only rarely, because it would never do to build up a tolerance.  But, for when times are tough and continuity makes you want to bang your head against the pointy parts of your desk, it’s a must.

I don’t, as the kids say, ‘ship these people.

Or these people:

Or these people:

(I guess it’s Draw People Standing In Ankle High Water Day.)  But the point is, it’s a tumblr that always brightens up my day.

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Breaking: Superhero Comics Still For Children, Also Unbelievably Stupid [Doomwar 06]

October 19th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

From Jonathan Maberry and Scot Eaton’s DoomWar:

Doctor Doom invaded Wakanda (a sovereign nation), held its queen hostage, murdered a whole gang of its inhabitants whenever he liked, staged a coup, and generally acted exactly like a James Bond villain, complete with a plan with poorly defined goals and acts of villainy for the evil of it.

If someone breaks into your house and starts murdering your family while cackling about how you are lazy and terrible and threatening your wife like he’s Snidely Whiplash? You don’t let him off with a warning. You leave his brains on the wall and sleep the sleep of the just. That is the only appropriate response. You kill him, and you kill him because he needs to be dead. Some things are beyond the pale, and what Doom did? That’s worthy of death. Past a certain level, your position on the death penalty and violence become irrelevant. And I know, blah blah blah, protect trademarks, blah blah can’t kill Doom, blah blah comic books, blah blah diplomatic immunity, but to that I say “blah blah crap.”

Who cares? If you’re going to wear Big Boy Pants and write comics with Big Boy Stakes, maybe you should be willing to make some Big Boy Decisions and not completely neuter your heroes at the end of the story. “We won! By destroying everything that made us special and by letting this guy who just killed a bunch of us walk away. But we threatened him a little bit and now he knows not to come back!” You don’t get to have your cake and eat it, too.

Every time a hero pulls the “I want nothing more than to kill you… but I won’t! Even though you’ve just murdered hundreds of my people/my family/my sidekick/a bus full of children!” I’m reminded that superhero comics used to be aimed at children and still haven’t grown up yet.

The only African country to genuinely escape colonization and stand on its own for centuries, which allowed it to advance culturally and economically without being brutalized by Europe like every other African country, which in turn allowed it to approach other countries in the United Nations as equals, rather than as poor little colored folks begging for scraps from the countries that screwed them over, was made lazy, weak, and corrupt because it took advantage of natural resources? Never mind that much of the country still lives in huts and stuff out in the plains or in the jungle?


Jay-Z said it best, man.

You only get half a bar – fuck y’all niggas.

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At the heart of superhero comics?

October 19th, 2010 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

I read over David’s Gamble a Stamp 2 a while ago, and came across a sentence that brought me up short.  Re-reading it today, I have the same problem with the same sentence.  That sentence?

At the heart of almost every hero is that directive: “save us.”

There are a lot of different kinds of superhero comics, especially now, when everyone is looking for a fresh take on the same concept.  A lot of comics focus on a lot of things.  Reading them, however, the impression I get from the books has never been, “save us.”  That’s backwards.  The directive at the heart of every comic is this: “I can save you.”  It’s not altruism, it’s egotism.

I remember seeing a documentary about comics in which Siegel and Shuster talked about the inspiration for creating Superman.  They talked about the adventures or the heroism, but mostly they talked about how they daydreamed about how some guy who was a total loser in life turned out to secretly be the most fantastic guy ever.  The insults of everyday life didn’t matter, because they were all part of a game he was playing as one identity.  As the other, he didn’t just kick around thugs, he went after evil businessmen, crooked senators, and Hitler.  And he defeated them all.  Easily.  Superman’s entire selling point was this; “Give me enough power and put me in charge, and I will fix everything.”  Haven’t we all felt that way?

As times changed, and problems became more difficult, Superman was joined by Spider-Man.  Things weren’t as easy for him.  While Superman’s rotten civilian life was part of a game, Spider-Man’s personal defeats were real.  He suffered.  But he suffered because he chose to use his power to put things in order.  Spider-Man comics acknowledged a personal cost, but it was a personal cost which lead to victories.

The defeat of evil isn’t really a goal in superhero comics.  It’s a means to an end.  This guy is kicking and punching people.  This kid is off having adventures instead of going to school.  This woman is ditching her boyfriend to run off into the night and prowl.  Oh, they don’t want to.  Who would want to do such a thing?  They have to.  Because they must fight evil.

There are few comic books that don’t follow this principle.  Even the ‘darker’ books, which make fun of the supposed ‘supers,’ and have amoral characters, have those characters fight unsympathetic people.  Sometimes they’re anonymous annoyances, sometimes they’re evil characters with respectable faces, but almost always they have forced, *forced*, the heroes out of the peaceful life they once had and made them go on these perilous adventures.

In this way, the sexuality of comics – also discussed in the that entry – makes sense.  Oh no!  I have to go through an orgy!  Oh no!  The costume of the Pink Lanterns (come on.  they’re pink.) forces my girlfriend (or me) to show of her (or my) absolutely perfect body!  Why, oh why, is this happening?

I’m not saying this is a terrible thing.  A little ego boost, a little identification, is pretty fun.  And these concepts do allow creators to tell wonderful stories that often have intelligent points and emotional depth. 

But no one reading them needs to be saved.  If you have the time to follow the plot of these stories, the access to them, and the money to buy them, you are already saved compared to a huge chunk of the rest of the world.  You are one of the most saved people on earth.  You don’t read them to be saved.  You read them because  you want to be the saviour.

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Ten Point Program: On Black Panther 513

October 18th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

Hey, let’s judge a comic that isn’t out yet!

Black Panther: Man Without Fear #513, Marvel’s latest attempt at breathing some life into a character, this time courtesy of novelist David Liss and artist Francesco Francavilla. I ran a preview on Comics Alliance last week. There’s also an interview with Liss where he talks about what he wants to do. Here’s the story summary:

The smoke has cleared from the ruins of Shadowland and a new protector of Hell’s Kitchen is on the prowl. His name is T’Challa, the Blank Panther! In a city without Daredevil and a dangerous knew foe called Vlad the Impaler consolidating power in the underworld, the Black Panther must learn to become a new type of hero. Without his riches, his technology, and his kingdom can T’Challa truly be the man without fear? Find out in Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #513!

This comic has an uphill battle for me to even want to read it. Here’s a list of some thoughts on the upcoming run.

Francesco Francavilla is a monster. The guy is an absolutely astounding artist, and I think that he’s going to be one of those guys that you absolutely have to pay attention to in a year or so. In any other situation, I’d be all over a Francavilla-drawn Panther book.

Been there, done that. We’ve seen Panther as a schoolteacher in Harlem as “Luke Charles.” Guess what? It blew. It removed Panther from where he works best and lowered a king to commoner status. Don McGregor and Billy Graham’s classic Panther’s Rage was a response to that story and restored T’Challa to where he belongs. Not to mention that he’s retired/been removed as Panther before, so you’d think he’d be used to it instead of running off like a crybaby.

T’Challa has to find himself? The Black Panther is the most well adjusted black man in the Marvel universe. He ran his own country, he married the love of his life, and he has been royalty since he was a child. What about that screams “Needs to come to terms with himself?” He isn’t Batman, but he is the closest Marvel has (or needs) to Batman.

He’s the most capable black dude in the Marvel universe. When Reed Richards has trouble, he hits T’Challa on the two-way like “Doom is causing trouble with sonic waves, you got a sonic wave disrupter?” And yes, T’Challa will have one, because he’s that dude. He was the smartest man in the world’s gadget guy. Black Panther with no tech is absurd. It’s in his DNA. It’s like Mister Miracle not being able to get out of traps. To strip him down to “basics,” where those basics are “is basically Daredevil,” is gonna bore me to tears. He outclasses everyone who ever lived and fought in Hell’s Kitchen. It’d be like Mike Tyson beating up a grade schooler. There is no “out of his element,” that’s his whole point.

He has to find himself in Hell’s Kitchen? He’s African, man. If T’Challa needs to find himself, he needs to do so among his people, not in New York City. I’ve spent a decent amount of time in New York and LA, and I love them both, but if I had a nervous breakdown and had to find myself? I’d take my depressed behind back to Georgia. You want to show him finding himself? Have him intern in the Techno-Jungle or one of those villages from Panther’s Rage. Hell’s Kitchen should be nothing to him.

Panther is African. Divorcing him from that context turns him into a generic superhero. Turning him into the protector of Hell’s Kitchen lowers his profile even further. It makes him sub-Spider-Man, in terms of beat (it ain’t like Spidey only protects Forest Hills) when he should really be global class. Just the very fact that he’s from an African country that has never been conquered (which apparently made them corrupt and lazy) is something that is rich with possibilities. Why avoid it? The best runs/the only runs worth reading (McGregor, then Priest, then Hudlin, full stop) embraced it and played with his global nature. You wouldn’t see Cap digging ditches in Liverpool after screwing up huge.

He’s fighting scrub gangsters. Black Panther versus gangsters is like Superman versus bank robbers.

This is a story perfectly suited for Kasper Kole. It’s boring with the Panther because he’s above it. It fits Kasper because it’s basically already his story, and you still get the bonus of being able to involve the Panther. It’s Batman, Inc.–the Panther is franchising, and Kasper gets Hell’s Kitchen.

The pitch is boring. It’s essentially an Iron Man story (“Oh no, I have lost access to my absurdly vast store of resources via an unlikely series of events!”) stitched onto a Daredevil story (“I am the protector of Hell’s Kitchen!”). Rather than organically saying something about the Panther, it sets up a situation where you can fit all kinds of things onto the character. David Uzumeri pointed out that it’s like JMS’s Superman: Grounded, another story where a hero strips himself of his prestige to find himself amongst the common man.

The first issue is called “Urban Jungle.” Really?

This book has an extraordinary uphill battle to convince me to pick it up. I love the art, but the story is making me real uncomfortable over here. I’m gonna have to get a guinea pig to read it for me, or flip through it in the store or something, because as-is, it sounds like exactly the kind of Panther story I don’t care to read.

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Fourcast! 66: Dead Wrong at New York Comic Con

October 18th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

-New York Comic Con Special Edition Fourcast!
-I borrowed my main man Pedro Tejeda from Funnybook Babylon and grabbed Gavin for a true FBB4l! connection.
-We talk about the con.
-I predict the cancellation of Young Allies, though I have it eight issues rather than six.
-We sing.
-We say mean things.
-We say hilarious things.
-There are music clips.
-Big ups to Joe from FBB for editing and recording this one for us.
-This is one of my favorites.
-6th Sense’s 4a.m. Instrumental for the theme music.
-If we want to talk to you, you better not listen, you might wind up in critical condition… we’re American Males.
-See you, space cowboy!

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This Week in Panels: Week 56

October 17th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

Whew! Big week this time around, thanks mostly to TEAMWORK! I got a bunch of panels in, David threw in a couple, as did readers Was Taters and Space Jawa. Even David Uzumeri made me use a damned Superman panel here.

In other news, our very own Esther now has her own Twitter. Start following and she might start Tweeting stuff!

Amazing Spider-Man #645
Mark Waid, Paul Azaceta, Matthew Southworth, Stan Lee and Marcos Martin

B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth: New World #3
Mike Mignola, John Arcudi and Guy Davis

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Pretty Girls Interlude: Babes With Big Bazookas

October 15th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

I’d intended to have a Pretty Girls ready for today, but NYCC caught up to me last night and I passed out pretty much as soon as I got home from work. But whatever, there’s no shortage of good art online, so I can flip the script this week and present you with this: Babes With Big Bazookas, written by Robbie Morrison, drawn by Frank Quitely, and posted by Joe Bloke at Grantbridge Street.

It’s from Judge Dredd Megazine vol 3 #26, and if anybody reading this knows word one about British comics, leave a comment or email me with some info on where I can buy a collected edition because I need this.

Any readers feel like schooling me on British comics? I know a little, but not enough, and I want to know more.

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Three Things That Came Out of The Road Home: Batgirl

October 15th, 2010 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

There were two things I did not like, and one thing I did, but shouldn’t.  Have a look below the cut.

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Gamble A Stamp 02: Fredric Wertham Was Right

October 14th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

NSFW images after the jump. Let’s talk about sex, baby. Let’s talk about you and me.
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