Archive for February, 2011


The Cipher 02/23/11: “hide til it’s bright out”

February 23rd, 2011 Posted by david brothers

something wrong, i hold my head

created: What a weird week, man. RIP Dwayne McDuffie. I’m kinda pissed that my BHM11 post about him ended up being sort of a eulogy. It is what it is, though, and I’m thankful for what he gave me. Look for a longer piece on CA tomorrow, I think.

-Me and Uzumeri got together to talk about Uncanny X-Force. Gav pointed out that both of us liked X-Force for different reasons. Me for Fantomex, him for Deadpool.

-I reviewed Summer Wars, Funimation’s new anime disc. Summer Wars is pretty okay–great visuals, aight story. Shoulda been more John Blaze than that.

-Marvel comics, black history, get at me. Part 2 hits on Friday.

mj gone, our nigga dead

consumed: I went to a Marvel vs Capcom 3 tournament on Saturday on a whim. I ended up placing fifth, but the first cat I fought was exactly the type of player I’m not down with at all. All types of move spamming, and then when the clock got low, he tried to run away. I had to call this dude out before he manned up and fought me. C’mon, son. What part of the game is that? Oh yeah, the unfun part.

-I talked some about McDuffie on Twitter. Gonna throw those up here because I think I said a few things worth reading:

-Also, seriously, if you’re gonna write about McDuffie this week–Milestone was its own company, not an imprint of DC Comics. Get it right.

-The importance of DC not owning Milestone is this: You need to own your own work. That’s how you make money and leave a legacy that’s yours.

-DC published Milestone. They didn’t own them. McDuffie & Co shopped Milestone around to several publishers, and DC eventually bit.

-The copyright, the honor, and the legacy belong to McDuffie, Davis, Dingle, and Cowan. Milestone was theirs, and they did it for us.

-And Milestone and McDuffie’s career weren’t just about black characters, either. Blood Syndicate had TWO kinds of hispanics on the team.

-You don’t even see that these days. That’s in addition to every other type in Milestone comics. They weren’t black comics. They were comics.

-Yes, it was revolutionary. No, it hasn’t been beaten. They set the bar high, but in the exact right space.

-I definitely felt some kind of way when Batwoman was getting press for being out and a superhero because, HEY! Milestone was there FIRST.

-(a correction because I was wrong on one point:) Milestone was 1993, Alpha Flight [and Northstar coming out] was 1992. Credit where credit’s due, though, despite Byrne being his typical douchebag self. [why did I diss Byrne there? Not sure– a) he’s subhuman b) his big plan for Northstar to get AIDS and die was stupid c) I was just talking yang d) all of the above]

-There are a bunch of McDuffie comics to read on @Marvel’s Digital Comics Unlimited. I recommend his Fantastic Four.

-John Ridley and Georges Jeanty’s The American Way is on Comixology. You should buy it if you like racism or good comics (or both). First taste is free, the next seven issues are two bones each. I wrote about American Way two years ago, so read this and then read that.

-This Rahm Emanuel Twitter thing is crazy. Great read, wonderful gimmick, profane, funny, interesting… great gimmick Twitter.

Matt Seneca on George Herriman, and a panel from a strip I dug quite a bit.

-Romina Moranelli is an ill artist. DeviantArt, website.

-I want to do another series of art posts. Pretty Girls is nice, but now it’s like, been there, done that. I’ve got an idea, too. Might call it “Nice With the Pen,” and it’ll be a multi-creator round-up, rather than focused, and I’m not sure how much commentary I want to throw in it. Not a lot, I don’t think, because good art stands on its own. Just a round-up of stuff I saw that week that I liked, whether old or new. Maybe “7 Days, 4 Colors.” Who knows. There’s probably an album title I can jack.

-I liked this review of Daughters of the Dragon that Jonathan Rosselli wrote. Not because he says nice things about me (compliments are tricks!), but because he has some real good reasons for digging that book.

Sean Witzke runs this piece. Nobody beats the Witz, and here he’s talking about a Moebius book I’ve never read. Time to hit the library, right? This is good stuff.

-Is there a worse nickname than “the Witz?” I apologize.

Stan Sakai interviews Usagi. Oh my.

-If you write about comics online without even so much as mentioning the people who created the book you’re talking about… you suck, doggie. Stop writing. Retire. Nobody likes you. Grow up. There’s nothing about Batman that’s intrinsically awesome. Somebody made stories that made you like him. At least pretend like you care.

-Creators up, characters down.

-Quick hits: Mass Effect 2 is nice, I need to get back to Persona 3 Portable, Patapon 2 is fun, Justin Cronin’s The Passage is pretty good thus far (I’m not to the vampires yet), and… that’s all I got. Oh, no–I’ve been reading Rei Hiroe’s Black Lagoon. The anime grated, the manga doesn’t, and I can’t figure out why, but whatever whatever. Volume 6 is out of print, though, which is trouble.

-How awful is Kanye’s “All of the Lights” video? Cripes, remember when Hype could make you wish you were in a rap video? What happened to that toy?

-Remember these? That Kanye no-step and lean is still the only dance I do.

-Lauryn Hill, man.

i slapped my girl, she called the feds

David: Power Man & Iron Fist 2
Esther: Action Comics 898 and possibly Detective Comics #874
Gavin: (maybe) Metalocalypse Dethklok 3, Justice League Generation Lost 20, Incorruptible 15, Avengers 10, Captain America 615, Deadpool Team-Up 884, Deadpool 33, Incredible Hulks 623, Iron Man 2.0 1, Namor The First Mutant 7, Power Man And Iron Fist 2, Punisher In The Blood 4, Secret Avengers 10

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Black History Month 2011: Jeremy Love

February 23rd, 2011 Posted by david brothers

(colors by patrick morgan)

Jeremy Love
Selected Works: Bayou, Bayou Vol. 2

To hear my education growing up tell it, “black history” means a few tools in Africa, slaves, Martin Luther the King, and the LA Riots. And those are about uncultured savages, severe emotional trauma that you must never mention, the right way to be black (peaceful, of course), and uncultured savages, respectively.

I had to do the rest of the legwork on my own, and I didn’t find many stories about slavery times, or that period after where American terrorism ran wild. I don’t know why–maybe the time period is sacred? “This is our suffering, don’t trivialize it?” Everything was very somber and serious and offputting, Beloved included.

Jeremy Love’s Bayou is something I’d wanted to see for a while. It’s a straight up fantasy tale set during (an alternate version of) one of the most hateful periods in American history. It deals with that aspect of the history, it takes it head-on in fact, but it doesn’t wallow in misery or black pathology. Love just takes a setting that’s rife with potential and creates a good story out of it.

No stories or periods of history or whatever whatever are sacred. Everything has the potential to be a good story, no matter how traumatic or damaging. It’s just a matter of being willing to look at an old wound in a new way, and finding a different way to exorcise, or examine, that pain. I don’t believe in sacred cows. I’d much rather read stories where black people of any time period have fantasies and adventures like everyone else over stories about how awful it was to be black back then (or now, word to Precious). I’ve got history books for that.

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RIP Dwayne McDuffie

February 22nd, 2011 Posted by david brothers

CBR is saying that Dwayne McDuffie has died. I’m pretty bummed out. He’d said a couple of nice things about my writing over the past year, which, I dunno, felt like getting a compliment from a father or something. I’ll have more thoughts later, I’m sure, but ugh.

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Black History Month 2011: Carol Burrell

February 22nd, 2011 Posted by david brothers

Carol Burrell
Selected Works: SPQR Blues (first strip)

I didn’t know about Carol Burrell before Cheryl pointed her out to me a while back. I don’t even remember how far back–a year, two? Regardless, Burrell has been pumping out installments of SPQR Blues since 2005, all on her own. It’s about the citizens of Herculaneum, and is heading directly toward the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. It’s essentially a soap opera or a drama, if those are different things. People live, things happen, and you tune in to check it out.

What made Burrell’s work finally click with me wasn’t SPQR Blues (which is good), but her work ethic. I happened across two strips she drew while checking out her web presence. Read “Not-Drawn-to-Scale Me Explains It All In 25 Panels” and “Closer-to-Scale Me Explains It All In 4 Panels”. To make a short story (seriously, it’s 25 panels and then four panels, go and read the thing) shorter, Burrell had been drawing all her life until a repetitive stress injury screwed up her hand. She ended up needing therapy and not being able to draw. Nothing worked, nothing doing, and then she took some advice that Donna Barr, a cartoonist, gave her: draw 10,000 drawings and then you’ll find drawing a comic easy.

Burrell’s response was a great one. She went from scoffing to being a believer, and that second strip shows that she understood the truth in Barr’s statement. Doing ten thousand drawings (in this case a drawing is defined as a panel) forces you to get over yourself and just do the job. Doing it properly also teaches you your own weaknesses, which results in you getting better.

I can respect that. It takes a lot to be willing to focus on bettering yourself, and to be public about it takes even more. Very cool.

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Fourcast! 77: Writing for Fun and Profit

February 21st, 2011 Posted by david brothers

-We write about things online!
-And we’re gonna talk about it!
-This is half process, half jokes, and half incredible insights into the nature of writing as an occupation and art
-Esther writes for Lightspeed and Fantasy and io9
-David writes for ComicsAlliance and MovieFone and whoever he can trick into thinking he knows things
-Graeme McMillan writes for Spinoff Online and several million other places
-He’s not on this podcast, but we mention him.
-When? Well, you’ll just have to listen all the way through, won’t you?
-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

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Black History Month 2011: Marc Bernardin

February 21st, 2011 Posted by david brothers

from women of marvel. art by romina moranelli(, whose style here has a little bit of humberto ramos-ness to it, but who also has a skinny style i dig a lot).

Marc Bernardin
Selected Works: Top Cow First Look Volume 1 TP, Genius #1, Monster Attack Network, The Highwaymen

There are a lot of different types of comics. Comics with crazy high concepts, cheesecake comics, autobio, and on and on and on. There’s this other lane I enjoy, too, which are basically just comics for the sake of being comics. Straight up comic books, no gimmicks. These are the sort of books that you can give to anyone, because they aren’t hinging upon decades of history. They get in, they get out, and you’re left entertained.

Marc Bernardin, with his writing partner Adam Freeman, is good at those kinds of comics. A quick flip through his ComicBookDB profile reveals a more or less even mix of original work and corporate comics, including a movie tie-in miniseries. The thing about this collection of one-shots and minis is that they don’t get to hinge upon past history. At best, you have a status quo you can tie into for a little extra punch, but you don’t get the momentum you would from delving into continuity porn.

You have to sit down and make your story good enough to be worthy on its own merits. Bernardin’s had eight(ish) pages on the low side of things, and six on the high side, to make his readers into true believers. That means that there’s no time at all to screw around. Bernardin (and Freeman!) uses a deft mix of humor, big action right out of the gate, and fast pacing to keep you hooked. On top of that, his books tend to be aware of the medium and genre they’re working in. There are little nods and hints toward other books or franchises, just enough to let your mind make the connection, but not so much that it interferes with the book.

Bernardin writes straight up comics, and that counts for a lot to me.

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This Week in Panels: Week 74

February 20th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

This installment is bordering on lateness and with good reason. I’m exhausted and busy as hell this week due to some crazy work scheduling and other real life factors. That explains why the promised New Ultimate Edit Week 5 is pushed back a week. Don’t worry, it’s most certainly on its way. During all this madness, I forgot to get around to reading the latest SHIELD, so consider that one missing from the list.

This time around I’m helped by David Brothers and Was Taters.

Amazing Spider-Man #654.1
Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos

Avengers Academy #9
Christos Gage and Mike McKone

Read the rest of this entry �

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4 Elements: Uncanny X-Force #5

February 19th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

The Deadpoolsplosion is dying down and most others would say, “It’s about damn time.” Merc with a Mouth is long gone, Team-Up and Deadpool Corps are about to bite the dust and Deadpool MAX has been turned from an ongoing to a limited series. To compound my sadness, writer of the core series Daniel Way has lost his razzle dazzle and doesn’t appear certain of what he even wants to write. Still, that’s a ton of Deadpool in the last three years, not even counting the various guest appearances, miniseries and specials that have gone to his name.

And yet, despite all of that, it’s a scene in a team comic where he only appears for four pages that speaks to me as his best and truest moment of the Deadpoolsplosion. It comes in Uncanny X-Force #5, written by Rick Remender and drawn by Esad Ribic.

I always thought Deadpool would work better in a team setting. Years ago, people suggested that Peter David put Deadpool in X-Factor, mostly for the sake of being in a comic with Siryn again and I agreed with it. I didn’t think that Deadpool would drive up the wackiness level of the comic, but that the comic would ground Deadpool just a little bit more. He’s spent so much time playing off himself that there doesn’t seem to be much development left for him. That’s why Daniel Way’s written the same “Deadpool wants to be a hero” plotline that Joe Kelly and Fabian Nicieza have written before, only to write himself into a corner and make him purely a mercenary again.

X-Force is the perfect team for Deadpool. Naturally, you have a rich guy who will pay him to keep with Deadpool’s mercenary motivation. The team, especially with Deadpool, acts as a tribute to the dearly departed Cable. Then there’s Deadpool’s comedic and at times pitiful dream to be recognized as a member of the X-Men. I don’t know if they planned it, but Way’s recent storyline where Deadpool momentarily joins the X-Men and sacrifices his own reputation to make them look better works as a perfect prelude/explanation for what he’s doing here.

For those not up to date, the first four issues of Uncanny X-Force have featured the team of Wolverine, Archangel, Psylocke, Fantomex and Deadpool going to the moon in order to kill the recently-resurrected Apocalypse. While the X-Men members do this for the sake of saving mutantkind the headache of a fully-realized Apocalypse attack, Fantomex and Deadpool openly tell each other that they’re only there for the money.

The big twist is that Apocalypse isn’t like how we know him. He’s only a child, yet to grow up. His followers have been brainwashing him to be their leader, even though he doesn’t want to kill the weak. It’s a fantastic, action-packed story arc that ends with the team cornering the young Apocalypse and arguing over whether or not they should kill him. Wolverine decides that they’ll take him in and raise him right, since he’s only a kid. Arguments and scuffles ensue, only to be silenced when Fantomex coldly shoots the boy in the head. During all of this, Deadpool has been physically unable to speak, so we don’t know his take on this situation. He’s not the only one silent as the ride back to Earth is filled with awkward wordlessness.

That brings us to the issue at hand. Specifically, this scene.

There are four reasons this scene rings true to me.

Read the rest of this entry �

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Black History Month 2011: Marvel Interlude

February 19th, 2011 Posted by david brothers

I had something pretty cool planned for this one, but those plans fell through for whatever (wack) reason. That’s given me a chance to hook up something else I’m doing this month that you might have missed–two Black History posts on Here’s the first, which goes from Gabe Jones to Storm.

A couple guys at Marvel asked me to pitch something, so I gave it some thought, got distracted, and started looking at a Black History timeline. I see the Tuskeegee Experiments ended/were revealed in 1972… the same year Luke Cage was created. Cage, of course, is the product of (probably unethical) experiments on black men in jail, which is at least a slight parallel. It stuck with me, so I spot-checked a few other days for significant or interesting comics/life links. I found some good ones, and that sent me thinking, and bam, I had a pitch.

Marvel’s had such success with its black characters, over and beyond what DC has managed, for a few reasons. One, they had people who were willing to be like, “Yeah, dude is black, whatcha gonna do about it?” (I imagine that Stan Lee was the dude saying this, while Jack Kirby stood behind him with his arms crossed, cigar in his mouth, and a scowl on his face at whoever was giving them grief). Two, they had a bunch of black dudes who weren’t just sidekicks and knock-offs wearing somebody else’s costume. And three, they managed to tap into the mood of the day, sometimes unintentionally, sometimes intentionally but with results they couldn’t have possibly intended, so actual black people could look at these cats and relate.

Give it a read, tell me what you think. There’s one more coming, which will bring us from the ’80s into the modern day. Look for that on Friday.

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Black History Month 2011: Afua Richardson

February 18th, 2011 Posted by david brothers

Afua Richardson
Selected Works: Genius, 24Seven

There’s a lot to be said for simply being dope. Being able to draw a comic that looks good, reads well, and is visually inventive is a skill that isn’t half as common as you might think, and it’s always nice to be pleasantly surprised when you pick up a book. Afua Richardson is dope, precisely because she can do exactly that.

Her art is really attractive. She does pencils, inks, and color, which gives her almost total control over how the art appears in a book. There aren’t a lot of people I regularly read who are the total package like this (maybe just Frazer Irving and Brendan McCarthy?), and it’s cool to see how the various aspects of her art fits together. Her style isn’t overly realistic. It’s not like DC’s Ed Benes-by-way-of-Jim Lee house style, but it’s not full blown Joe Madureira-style manga homage, anything goes Chris Bachalism, or Humberto Ramos-style bigfoot, either. It reminds me of animation (which I realize is a hideously general and possible meaningless description but ride with me for a minute) more than anything, with bright, splashy colors, backgrounds that fade in and out as needed, and lines that wiggle on the page.

Splashy is a good word for it. If you look at her work in Genius with Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman (my main point of reference), you’ll see how there are these wide swathes of color splashed across the page, sometimes battling it out with bright lights. Dark panels often have at least one bright splash of color for contrast. It’s not neon, but she knows how to throw some bright colors down for maximum effect.

Richardson’s art is real splashy and raw. I really want to see what her finished PSDs or AIs look like and peel them back, layer by layer. I bet it’s crazy interesting to see.

“Fresh. For 2011.”

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