Archive for November, 2010


Fourcast! 67: The Bat’s Back

November 22nd, 2010 Posted by david brothers

-It’s been a long time, we shouldn’t have left you
-Without a Batman-focused, digression filled Fourcast! to step to
-Grant Morrison’s big Batman arc is done! The second phase of it, anyway.
-Good a time as any to catch up on the franchise and see where we’re at.
-Recorded this one the weekend before Batman Inc dropped, if you were wondering.
-You know the drill. Put it on your iPod and listen.
-6th Sense’s 4a.m. Instrumental for the theme music.
-See you, space cowboy!

Subscribe to the Fourcast! via:
Podcast Alley feed!
RSS feed via Feedburner
iTunes Store

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


This Week in Panels: Week 61

November 21st, 2010 Posted by Gavok

Why, hello there! Feels nice to be doing a post that for once isn’t about guys in tights fake fighting. Wait, shit.

David Brothers and regular contributor Was Taters each have their share of panels to throw into the pile. Remember, if there’s a series you read that we don’t, always feel free to throw a panel my way. Email’s to the side.

Sorry for the lack of a good starter image. I like JRJR most of the time, but his Avengers work is really turning me off. In a way, NOT having to see his rendition of the Hood makes for a better panel.

Avengers #7
Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr.

Azrael #14
David Hine and Cliff Richards

Read the rest of this entry �

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


The Survivor Series Countdown: Day Ten

November 21st, 2010 Posted by Gavok

With this series winding down, I thought I should take a second to discuss my thoughts on the Survivor Series concept in general. I’ve found through watching these 23 shows that it would benefit the WWE to go back to the earlier concept from the first ten years. Nearly, if not every match should be an elimination tag. If you really need to fit in a title match, go ahead. The thing is, forcing your champions into these tag matches both gives even the most invincible face champion an excuse to lose for once and it keeps things from getting stale. It’s optimal to have your money feud spread out with a high-profile tag match such as this, rather than wearing out the luster with rematch after rematch in a singles setting.

Survivor Series is an awful lot like the Royal Rumble. It’s a who’s who of the roster. We get mystery wrestlers, replacements, good eliminations, bad eliminations, chaotic guessing games of who’s going to win, current feuds developed, new feuds created and old feuds rekindled. While the elimination tag matches aren’t as fun as the Royal Rumbles, they do have the advantage that there doesn’t have to simply be one winner that night. As much as I love the Royal Rumble, it’s a pain knowing that sometimes only two or three guys involved have anything resembling a chance at winning. At Survivor Series, we have multiple matches with potentially multiple winners. If somebody loses, a lot of the time, it doesn’t hurt their status. Sometimes a win can make you look great.

It is silly that this year’s Survivor Series has only one of these matches. In the past couple months, we had a 7-on-7 elimination tag at Summerslam and another one at Bragging Rights. Both were a lot more important than Rey Mysterio’s team vs. Del Rio’s team. How strange that the company insists on shoving different gimmick PPVs in our faces month after month, but doesn’t want to give any service to their original gimmick PPV.

Read the rest of this entry �

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


The Survivor Series Countdown: Day Nine

November 20th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

I am officially a day behind. The fatigue finally hit me, mainly due to real life scheduling and sleep sounded a lot better to me than writing about the Goodfather. I’m going to try to have the rest of this up before leaving to watch Sunday’s show, but I’m sure I’ll probably tap out and finish the last installment the day after despite my best efforts. Boy, I suck.

And speaking of people who suck, as well as Thanksgiving, I want to direct your attention to Luther Reigns. He’s a hoss from the mid-00’s who is featured in today’s update. For that, I bring you this clip, which features one of my favorite quotes in all wrestling.

He’s had peas before. That… That’s good to know, Luther. Thank you for sharing that.

Read the rest of this entry �

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


Superman/Batman #78

November 18th, 2010 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

Superman/Batman is a spotty book.  It veers in and out of continuity in the most over-the-top ways possible.  It pairs up two characters based pretty much entirely on their selling power.  It incorporates elseworlds, dreams, hallucinations, and retcons.  It hasn’t had a steady creative team in years.

I still love it, and issue #78 is the exact reason why I love it.  It’s written by Joe and Jack Kelly, and it’s about two little boys spinning out that old chestnut, “Who would win in a fight?”  That hasn’t been original in decades.  And the execution?  Deliberately juvenile, with Batman and Superman spouting words that only kids would say.

I love that, too.  The comic is just plain fun.  It’s entertaining.  It doesn’t throw in any misery.  And there’s a Kirby-writing-the-hairies feel to the way the Kellys write the kid’s dialog.  The comic is more fun than Batman Inc.  It’s much more fun than Batman: The Return.  It’s more fun than Power Girl.  And in the end, when the kids go home and it pans up to show the heroes listening in on them, you get the feeling that the heroes were having fun, too. 

And Superman would totally win.  Come on, people.

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


The Survivor Series Countdown: Day Eight

November 18th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

To show how bored I am when I’m not writing and how desperate I am to fill this intro space, I put together this presentation.

Stupid jerk Big Show, beating up Blue Meanie, Taka and Funaki for no reason.

Read the rest of this entry �

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


The Cipher 11/17/10

November 17th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

-If you’ve gotta buy a Batman comic this week… buy the one Yanick Paquette and Michael Lacombe drew. Finch’s stiff, ugly, overly gritty work does absolutely nothing for me.

-Paquette is ill, though. I’ve liked his work since Bulleteer, and I hope he sticks around for the long haul.

Sean Witzke vs Matt Seneca vs Steranko. Read it.

My man Ray the Destroyer gave Kanye’s new album a thorough review. I liked My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, but wow, dude went in. I hadn’t thought of half of this while listening to the album, but it all makes sense. It’s nice when somebody breaks down exactly why you like something.

-Sidebar: The last joint on Kanye’s album features Gil Scott-Heron. I sort of miss when you could pick up a rap album and hear something political from The Last Poets, Poppa Wu, or Big Rube. “Who Will Survive In America” is the sort of thing that almost re-contextualizes the whole record, I think.

-Via Matt Maxwell comes a link to Jay-Z and Cornel West. I’m listening to it as I write this. What’s up with Decoded not dropping in ebook format until December, though? I hated on the book when it was first announced because it sounded like an annotated rhyme book, and I cannot think of anything more boring. If it’s more of a memoir than a cheat sheet, it might be interesting.

-Did you know they recolored Superman vs. Muhammad Ali? I wasn’t expecting that. I’m still not sure how to feel about it.

overload, overload
created: I like this Usagi Yojimbo preview, this Amazing Spidey recap, and this review of Adam WarRock’s debut album.

(Writing about music is weird for me. I don’t have the technical background that a lot of people who are good at it, but I have an okay understanding of history and context. Play to your strengths, right?)

consumed: Not much. I read Jormungand, Vol. 5 in one sitting, and it’s still plenty enjoyable. It’s still good and still about child soldiers. I’ve been in a holding pattern lately, but I’ve got The Night of the Hunter, Gorillaz: Rise of the Ogre and Carlos Trillo and Eduardo Risso’s Vampire Boy to take in. Also on deck is Takehiko Inoue’s Vagabond Vizbig 9, which may be my pick for fight scene of the year, just from flipping through the volume. Six hundred pages, Miyamoto Musashi versus the entire Yoshioka school.

Most comics simply can’t compete with Vagabond.

coming on to the
David: Batman, Inc. 1, Hellblazer 273, Thunderbolts 150
Esther: For definite: Batman Incorporated 1, Tiny Titans 34, Superman/Batman 78. For maybe: Batman 704, Batman: The Return, Power Girl 18.
Gavin: Azrael 14, Batman Incorporated 1, Batman The Return 1, Green Lantern 59, Green Lantern Corps 54, Avengers 7, Chaos War Chaos King 1, Chaos War Dead Avengers 1, Daken Dark Wolverine 3, Hulk 27, Thunderbolts 150, Darkwing Duck 6

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


The Survivor Series Countdown: Day Seven

November 17th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

One neat little feature of Survivor Series is how just about any random wrestler is capable of main eventing the show, especially apparent in one of the two PPVs I’ll be showcasing in this entry. For every Randy Savage, there is a Koko B. Ware. Here’s a list of some of the guys who have main evented this major PPV.

– Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
– Hillbilly Jim
– Jacques from the Quebecers
– Marty Jannetty
– “The Model” Rick Martel
– Maven
– Shane McMahon
– Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart
– Paul Roma
– The Red Rooster
– Butch Reed
– Irwin R. Schyster
– Gene Snitsky
– Koko B. Ware

Now, you might point out that the Royal Rumble match is a main event too and therefore you have guys like Virgil and Mantaur main eventing major PPVs. To that I say…

Goddamn it. Moving on.

Read the rest of this entry �

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


“Metaphors will keep me out the projects”

November 16th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

Somebody asked me why I quit reading Amazing Spider-Man last week. I thought about doing a post detailing what I liked and didn’t like, but who cares? Why spend time on something that isn’t working for me? Instead, there is this, which, if you look at it sideways, maybe kinda relates.

My love of rap is directly related to my love of stories, but I’ll come back around to that.

I’ve been reading since I was a kid. I partially learned how to read by looking for my name in the credits of movies, which I would invariably watch all the way to the end. Comic books provided another useful resource, as the dialogue tended to be very simplistic and childish while the word choices were bombastic.

In other words, it wasn’t hard to understand the sentences, but you’d still have to look things up, particularly when you’re too young to figure out context. I remember Claremont/Lee-era X-Men being a treasure trove of new words. I know for a fact I learned “vernacular,” “deadpan,” and “kinetic” from those books. Poring over a stack of well-read comics, some freshly traded from friends, and having to ask someone how to say “Adirondacks” (where X-Force lived) is one of those things that sticks out in my memory.

Years later, I got a library card and was old enough to go there on my own. You could check out, what, five or eight books? Something like that. Enough to pack a backpack with. I’d burn through them and come back the next weekend for a reload. This would’ve been around 1995 or 1996.

In that same stretch of time, I started actually listening to rap. I knew the popular songs, and I knew that Method Man was kinda cool, and I really liked Tupac, OutKast, and Goodie MOb, but I didn’t really hear what they were saying. I couldn’t tell you anything about it, other than that it sounded cool. It was just something that came on the radio. And my mom controlled the radio, so that meant it was gonna be all R&B, all the time.

(Half a memory: Jay-Z’s “Ain’t No Nigga” dropped in 96, and it ran around my school like a brushfire. Tons of pretty little brown girls singing, “Ain’t no nigga like the one I got!” while the boys grunted, “No one can uh you bet-ter!” We couldn’t curse in school, you see.)

Jay-Z’s “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” hit in 1998 like an atom bomb. It decimated the airwaves, and my memory may be faulty, but I think the only song that I remember even touching it was OutKast’s “Rosa Parks.” “Hard Knock Life” was huge, and as a result, I heard the song at least a dozen times a week. That bassline is still absurd.

Eventually I started paying attention to the lyrics, and suddenly rap started looking a lot more attractive. There were stories here, people playing roles and creating their own myths. On top of that, there was wordplay, the sort of wordplay you simply didn’t see in R&B or movies. The meaning of words changed based on inflection, position in the bar, or even just because. Flow mattered, and one thing Jay has in spades is flow.

I had an after school job at this point, and one of the guys I worked with was this white dude who was super into underground hip-hop. He introduced me to a site called UGHH, which was full of indie acts and Real Media files at the time. That’s where I discovered Bad Meets Evil, bka Eminem & Royce da 5’9″, and a gang of other groups. At this point, the floodgates were opened wide and I was lost forever. Company Flow, Big L (who I discovered overseas when Rawkus released The Big Picture), Big Pun, Ras Kass, Kane, G Rap, Chino XL–whoever it was, as long as they could spit, I was there.

The kind of rap I’m still the most attracted to is built around the lyrics. Clever turns of phrase, complex wordplay, tongue twisters, double entendres, or even just kicking phrases with three or four meanings are what gets my motor going. Language is immensely powerful, and rap is all about bending language to your will. What you are talking about isn’t half as important as how you say it and the words you choose to express it. A simple chase scene (“The cops came, so I ran”) can become something that puts you right into the scene, and a sad love song (which would be rendered with earnest literalism in R&B, most likely) can turn into a sad first-person story.

Flow is crucial. Evidence once said that “emcees without a voice should write a book.” Any idiot can tell stories. Some idiots even make major cash and fame doing it, and good on them for being able to parlay mediocrity into a living wage. The people who matter–and I’m not just talking about rap here–the ones that stick out in your memory, are the ones that do something different or new. Pick your poison–Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Grant Morrison, Kurosawa, William Gibson, James Ellroy, Scorcese, Michael Mann, Quentin Tarantino. All of these guys either do something new or synthesize something old into something that’s almost entirely new. All of these guys have a voice.

Consider Big Pun dropping this bit of brilliance into an otherwise normal verse: “Dead in the middle of Little Italy, little did we know that we riddled some middleman who didn’t do diddily.”

Or Biggie Smalls going rapid-fire: “Motherfucker better duck quick, cause/ me and my dogs love to buck shit/ Fuck the luck shit, strictly aim/ No aspirations to quit the game/ Spit yo’ game, talk yo’ shit/ Grab yo’ gat, call yo’ click/ Squeeze yo’ clip, hit the right one/ Pass that weed, I got to light one/ All them niggas, I got to fight one/ All them hoes, I got to like one/ Our situation is a tight one/ Whatcha gonna do, fight or run?/ Seems to me that you’ll take B/ Bone and Big, nigga, die slowly/ I’ma tell you like a nigga told me/ Cash Rule Everything Around Me/ Shit, lyrically, niggas can’t see me.”

Or Bun B murdering Jay-Z on “Big Pimpin'” to the point where Jay had to step his game up on the video version: Now, these motherfuckers know we carry mo’ heat than a little bit/ We don’t pull it out over little shit/ And if you catch a lick when I spit, then it won’t be a little hit/ Go read a book you illiterate son of a bitch and step up yo’ vocab/ Don’t be surprised if yo’ hoe step out with me/ and you see us comin down on yo’ slab/ Livin ghetto fab-ulous, so mad, you just can’t take it/ But nigga if you hate now/ then you wait while I get yo’ bitch butt-naked, just break it”

Or Eminem on “Kill You,” after he made his first mil: “It’s like a jungle sometimes, it makes me wonder/ Why I keep on duckin’ under the bed when I hear thunder/ ’cause I ain’t crazy, I say shit that’s crazy to crazy people/ To make ’em believe I’m crazy so they can relate to me/ And maybe believe in Shady, so they can be evil baby/ I like that!/ I’m only as crazy as people made me”

Or Fabolous mixing the Superman mythos with a stutter-step flow on Lil Mo’s “Superwoman”: “Be whipped? I might/ ’cause usually with my chips I’m tight/ But the only green I keep from you is kryptonite/ The way that blue and red suit fits your hips so right/ I be like duh-duh-duh-duh, duh-duh-duh-duh-duh DAMN”

Or any of the times when Ghostface has built an impressively visceral mood and setting using nothing but free association rhymes, new slang, and nonsense (“Hold up, we at the opera/ Queen Elizabeth rub on my leg/ Had ketchup on her dress from a Whopper/ Chunky ass necklace/ Must be her birthstone”), or when Luda has turned simple nursery rhyme-level lyrics into something that gets you heated just off charisma, or when Black Thought’s impressive technical skill knocks your socks off when you stop to think about his effortless rhymes. Young Jeezy isn’t lyrical, but he’s clever enough that I keep coming back for more. He’s like a supernova of charisma and black superhero music.

This sort of thing is why I listen to rap. It’s why I read books, it’s why I consume comics, and watch movies. It’s probably even why I made a conscious decision to become a writer. The stories and wordplay are what works for me, and if I can’t chew on something for a while, or if it’s just emulating something old, or if it’s just going through the motions, or if it’s just the same old, same old, it’s worthless.

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


The Survivor Series Countdown: Day Six

November 16th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

One more Gobbledy Gooker video for you all and this one is very important to the annals of history. You see, the failed gimmick of the Gobbledy Gooker crosses paths with a man who will one day become the Shockmaster. It’s like George Washington meeting Abraham Lincoln.

Shock the turkey!
Shock the turkey!
Shock the turkey to life!

Read the rest of this entry �

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