Archive for March, 2011

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The Cipher 03/24/11: “Evian backwards.”

March 24th, 2011 Posted by david brothers

we

created: I feel like I’m so behind on stuff all the time. I’ve got a lot in progress, but not enough done, as far as I’m concerned. Gonna have to play catch-up this weekend.

Q Hayashida’s Dorohedoro is ill.

Marvel makes comics, here are some good ones


are

consumed: Pusha T and Young Dro dropped mixtapes that are, at best, mediocre. Far as I’m concerned, that translates to “unlistenable.” There’s not much worse than somebody with talent, whether for punchlines or scorn, to come anything less than 100% correct. Ain’t no half-stepping, fellas, so do us all a favor and get it together.

Jared draws two of the best fictional characters ever. I don’t really want to buy any more original art, but seeing artists take on Akira makes me second guess my stand. Akira is basically the best comic, and I don’t even know. It provokes reactions I keep forgetting I had. And that tac vest is such a sharp look, too, bird chest or not.

-How good is Asaf Hanuka’s The Realist? I love the art and the kind of airy way the strips progress. You get to fill in a lot of blanks yourself, and sometimes that takes a little mental legwork. It’s alternately funny, melancholy, and real.

-Nardwuar interviews Das Racist, Odd Future, Lil B the Based God, and Curren$y. Nardwuar is dope, and all of these are pretty entertaining. Curren$y is super weeded in his, too.

-Nardwuar’s interviews always end so poorly, man. He gets some good footage out of people, but he’s just so oppressively awkward that nobody knows how to take him.

-DC rolled out a bunch of new good digital stuff. We3, Flash, Garth Ennis’s Hellblazer, Catwoman, and New Frontier. I’m a fan of all of these, and while We3 is overpriced, these are all worth owning. Those Brubaker/Cooke issues of Catwoman are all pretty good, and I think that the Comixology run has the point where Brubaker really hit his stride. Get those!

Amy Poodle takes on Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles for the second time. You can read part one here.

-Video games! I was going to make this a post on its own, but ehhh, it’s just some brief thoughts.

-I play games for work, so I generally avoid games at home. They’ve gotta be all-star affairs, you know? I don’t have time for mediocrity or “just okay.” Why would I waste that time?

-Currently playing: Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Killzone 3, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 Portable, Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, Valkyria Chronicles, Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 4, Final Fantasy 7, and Angry Birds. And maybe something else, I don’t know. Oh, Metal Gear Solid 4.

-I graze. I haven’t played a few of these in months (most particularly FF7 & P4). What I tend to do is focus on one game for a few weeks, then move on, eventually cycling my way back as the spirit moves me. Right now, it’s Brotherhood. Next is probably Persona 4.

-What I look for is an experience broken down into discrete portions. I like being able to drop in, get something done, and drop out. Sometimes this means ill multiplayer. Sometimes it means a compelling story with a lot of subplots. Anything that lets me sit down and have a bit of fun and leave it right there works. Shooters don’t really cut the mustard any more, multiplayer aside.

-I play games to relax, not to get frustrated, so something that pulls me in and is a brief escape is what’s nice. I purchase like… four new games a year. Last year, I don’t think I bought hardly any. Just Tekken, maybe?

-Sometimes, less is more, is what I’m saying. I could easily get a full year of gameplay out of what I own right now, but the way I play means that I sit down for 20 minutes or two hours (rarely), have some fun, and come back a week or so later. I could probably not buy a new game until 2013 and be okay. That’s a nice feeling.

-That new Pharoahe Monch is good, innit?


renegades

David: Hellblazer 277, Hulk 31, Power Man and Iron Fist 3, Uncanny X-Force 6
Esther: Yes: Batman Incorporated 4
Maybe: Batman: The Dark Knight 2, Superman/Batman 82
Gavin: Batman Incorporated 4, Green Lantern Corps 58, Green Lantern 64, Justice League Generation Lost 22, Invincible 78, Astonishing Spider-Man Wolverine 5, Daken Dark Wolverine 7, Deadpool MAX 6, Deadpool 34, Hulk 31, Namor The First Mutant 8, Power Man And Iron Fist 3, Uncanny X-Force 6

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The Spider-Man Musical Review: Treat Or Menace?

March 23rd, 2011 Posted by Gavok

On Friday night, I journeyed into New York City to see the show that I was destined to see. Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark has been the butt of many jokes and it’s hard not to join in. David Uzumeri summed it up for me nicely with the term “spiderfreude”. The whole broadway show concept, the inflated budget, the head-scratching reviews and the laundry list of injuries and mishaps has made it a phenomenon for absurdity-loving comic fans such as myself. The whole thing is too strange to exist and I knew I had to get on the train before it crashes for good.

Lo and behold my amazing, spectacular Christmas gift of tickets to see the show.

And it’s a good thing, too! The show is being closed down in a few weeks for the sake of being retooled. Best case scenario, they’re going to change a lot of stuff and I got to see the rougher draft of the Broadway show. Worst case scenario, they’re going to deep six the entire production and I got to look into God’s eyes before it was too late.

It also makes me feel less bad about going into full spoiler mode. For those who don’t want to muck through the spoilers and want the gist of my experience, I didn’t think it was bad. There are parts that are pretty awful and kind of embarrassing, but it really starts to gain steam. The performances are really good, especially Patrick Page as the Green Goblin and the set designs are so extravagant that at no point do you wonder where all those millions of dollars went. The music… I’m not really qualified to comment on. I’m no theater expert and I’m sure if I listened to them in one more go I’d have more impressions, but my main reaction was mostly, “Yes, that is most certainly something inspired by Bono.”

I should also get the obvious out of the way. No, nobody died or got horribly injured from what I saw. The only mishaps were few:

1) One of the Spider-Man stuntman guys swung around over the crowd, bounced around and ended up on a high platform where the right side of the stage cuts off. Noticed by some, he could be seen momentarily strangled by his cables before getting free.

2) The obligatory “Spider-Man: NO MORE!” scene lost a little oomph when Peter’s tights bounced out of the garbage can and fell on the floor.

3) There was a part in the second act where the curtain wasn’t closed all the way and some could get a pretty good look at one of the actresses during a costume change. Actually, scratch everything I said. This show was awesome.

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“Y’all know the name” [Pharoahe Monch – We Are Renegades]

March 22nd, 2011 Posted by david brothers

You can stream Pharoahe’s new album here:

I don’t see the mp3s on Amazon, but it’s ten bucks on iTunes, so go ahead and cop that. I bought it this morning because I didn’t want to hold out hope that Amazon would get it in anything even resembling a timely manner.

Pharoahe is one of the nicest emcees ever. Compared to Pharoahe, your favorite rapper isn’t even nice. He’s just polite.

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Mortal Marathon Part 2: Cold Reality

March 21st, 2011 Posted by guest article

Guest article series by Gabriel “TheJoker138” Coleman.

Seeing as I’m going to be here talking about Mortal Kombat stuff with you guys for quite a while, (22 episodes of Conquest, 13 of Defenders of the Realm, 2 full length movies, and two… other things) I figured you might want to know some of my background with the series. When the first game came out, I was only six years old, so I missed the boat on actually playing it when it was new. However, by the time Mortal Kombat 2 came out, I was a second grader who had a Sega Genesis coming to him for Christmas of 1994. I got the Genesis itself, the pack in game Sonic The Hedgehog, Sonic 2, and Mortal Kombat 2.

I don’t recall ever asking for the Genesis, but I was already somewhat familiar with MK2. The Pizza Hut near our house had two arcade machines, Street Fighter 2 and Mortal Kombat 2. I always gravitated towards the MK2 machine, wasting quarters and hardly ever winning matches against the CPU. I guess my parents picked up on it, and not being the reactionary type who think that video games cause children to become psychopaths, probably got me the Genesis so I would play it at home and not throw away their quarters anymore. This didn’t really work out for them.

I had this Genesis and my MK cartridge for a long time. It was the only system I had until after the PS1 was already out, at which point I switched to a N64. There were other games, of course, including Mortal Kombat 3, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 and of course the first one which I had missed out on. But it was always MK2 that I came back to. I borrowed an older friends strategy guide for it and photocopied it at my moms office. I practiced the fatalities and special moves by plugging in a second controller in and doing Vs. matches against no one. I improved enough at it that I could get through the arcade version in one or two quarters most time, and even beat a lot of human competition.

I remember one day I went into the Pizza Hut and the cabinet wasn’t there anymore, leaving only the Street Fighter 2 machine and one of those claw machines you can get stuffed animals from. I guess that MK2 either wasn’t profitable for them anymore, or it broke down and they figured it wasn’t worth it to fix. Either way it was gone. There were places to play MK3 at, sure, but none of them were as close to my house or as oft visited as that Pizza Hut.

By the time MK4 came out, my love of the series as a whole had already started to diminish. I caught a few episodes of the animated series on TV when I was up that early, which wasn’t often. I saw the second movie when it came out on VHS tape for rental, and it put me off even more. I never even bothered to watch Conquest when it was on. But that MK2 cartridge was always there, and to this day it’s the one thing I miss most about my Genesis. Sure, there’s a downloadable version of it (arcade perfect even!) on the PS3, but it’s not the same. There’s something about blowing out the cart, whipping out my stapled together bootleg strategy guide, and watching as lighting illuminated the cloudy sky to reveal the MK dragon that I’ll never have again.

That’s one of the reasons the new game has me excited enough that I decided to go back and look at this material I skipped at the time. The footage from it has everything I loved about MK2, but updated with a shiny new coat of next gen paint. The demo plays like a souped up version of MK2 with all the best parts of MK3 thrown in for good measure. The roster is all classic characters that I remember and love (or hate… I’m looking at you, Nightwolf) and remember. I know it will never live up to my memories of MK2, but I still hope it can carve out it’s own niche in my long history with video games, one that will be just as fulfilling as those days gone by. But anyway, I’ve blathered on enough about the good old days, let’s hop into our second installment of Mortal Marathon, with episode 3, Cold Reality.

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Fourcast! 81: This Week In Comics

March 21st, 2011 Posted by david brothers

-That weird noise is the dishwasher I somehow forgot was on while recording.
-It ends fairly quickly, though, so suck it up.
-We bought comics!
-Esther bought Tiny Titans 38 (Franco/Baltazar).
-How crazy is it that Tiny Titans has been around for three years? Time flies.
-I bought Uncanny X-Force (Remender/Albuquerque), Hulk (Parker/Hardman), Thunderbolts (Parker/Walker), and Batman, Inc (Morrison/Paquette).
-I also got Ruse (Waid/Pierfederici) and Sigil (Carey/Kirk) for free.99.
-I like Batman Inc, but I don’t like like it any more.
-Somehow we talk about seven comics for forty-five minutes.
-You know how it goes.
-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
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This Week in Panels: Week 78

March 20th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Hey there and welcome to another week of ThWiP. This week I’m joined by David Brothers, Space Jawa and Was Taters. It’s Taters who contributes the most contrasting of comics in Tiny Titans and Vampirella. Yes, indeed, not only is Vampirella of all comics making an appearance here, but it’s sent in by the one female contributor. I don’t get it either.

Now to get this out of the way so I can continue writing my review of the most amazing and spectacular Broadway musical that I happened to catch last Friday.

5 Ronin #3 (Punisher)
Peter Milligan and Laurence Campbell

Avengers Academy #11
Christos Gage and Tom Raney

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Mortal Marathon Part 1: Warrior Eternal

March 20th, 2011 Posted by guest article

(Gavok note: In a month from this writing, the new Mortal Kombat game will be released to consoles. Everyone at 4thletter! who doesn’t matter is excited about it! I’ve always been a big fan of the series and its entertaining sense of crazy mythology. Over the next month, I intend to cover a few things that relate to the series, some more loosely than others. Meanwhile, Gabriel “TheJoker138” Coleman was inspired enough by my looks at the old MK comics to start up his own series of reviews. Not for the comics, but for the two Mortal Kombat television series and the movies. He needed a place to showcase them and I felt bad for denying the other 137 Jokers, so here we go. Oh, and he’s got a Twitter too.)

Mortal Kombat was huge in the 90’s. In the nearly 20 years since the first game in the series was released in arcades, it’s easy to forget that. Some readers may not have even been born yet in it’s heyday. But make no mistake, Mortal Kombat was one of the first video games to really hit the big time as far as multimedia blitzes go. In fact, it was able to accomplish a few things that even today’s biggest video games, such as Halo or the Call of Duty series, haven’t. Like those series there were action figures, a novel, t-shirts, and other such merchandise, but there were also movies and TV series. Sure, the first movie is a guilty pleasure, the second is awful, and neither of the series lasted longer than a season, but the fact remains that the MK brand was strong enough to justify their existence.

And that’s what I’m here to talk to you about today. In this series I plan on going through both films, and both TV series on an episode-by-episode basis. I’ll take a look at their similarities and differences to the games that inspired them, and review each movie, each episode, and each series as a whole.

The first of these to be released was the feature film in 1995. But that’s not where I’m going to start. Instead, we flash forward to 1998, and Mortal Kombat: Conquest. By this time the end of the Mortal Kombat boom was already almost over, and this series failure may have been the first real indicator of that. As I said, it only lasted a single season, and was largely ignored, even by fans. I will admit that when it first aired, I never even watched a full episode of it, and I was a pretty big MK fan. The only reason I even know it exists was due to the fact that it aired either right before or right after (I honestly can’t recall which, but if you told me I had to choose I’d pick before) WCW Monday Nitro on TNT, and was advertised pretty heavily on it.

The reason we’re going to start with this series instead of the first film is because, chronologically, it comes first. It takes place 500 years before the film (which I assume was set in 1995, meaning this takes place in 1495) and focuses on The Great Kung Lao, ancestor of the Kung Lao we all know from the games. In the canon of the games, he was killed by Goro in the tournament after Shang Tsung was dethroned as champion. If you’ve read Gavok’s short write up of weird things that the MK brand spawned, you know it doesn’t quite end that way for him in this series already, but we’ll get to that later. I should also mention that the first episode is actually a two-parter, and one that packs a ton of set up and action into it, at that, so this might take a while.

This starts off, like a lot of MK media, with a voice over by Raiden (played by Jeffrey Meek) that sets up the basic premise of the show, and of the MK tournament itself. During this, Kung Lao is shown practicing for his match against Shang Tsung, where he is the last Earthrealm fighter. Shang Tsung is also shown finishing the previous fight, where he dominates his opponent and steals his soul. Shao Kahn (also played by Meek) watches over this, pleased. Shang looks pretty close to his MK2 look (minus the silly Devo hat), as does Kahn. Kahn’s helmet looks kind of cheap, by the way, but still much, much better than he did in the second film.

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4 Elements: Axe Cop

March 18th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

There was an episode of The Twilight Zone entitled The Big Tall Wish. The episode – and recent graphic novel adaptation – is about an aging boxer named Bolie who is about to take part in a match against a young fighter who will no doubt beat him. Adding to that, he busts up his knuckles before the match. There’s a little boy named Henry who looks up to him and Henry makes a big, tall wish that Bolie would win the fight. Despite the beating Bolie takes in the first round, reality twists and he finds himself standing over a beaten opponent. He’s the winner.

Nobody notices any foul play. Everyone celebrates his miraculous victory. His fist isn’t even all that hurt anymore. He finds Henry and tells him that this isn’t right. Henry warns him about how disbelief can ruin the wish, but Bolie, as a hardened adult, can’t handle it. There are too many holes in the story. The reality is that he could never win that fight… and so he didn’t. Reality sets itself back to normal with Bolie on the mat getting counted out. With no memory of the alternate reality he created, Henry becomes disfranchised with the idea of wishes and loses a big piece of his childhood. The story has a great message to it, but it’s so damn depressing.

The existence of Axe Cop has that same moral as Big Tall Wish, but comes off as a celebration rather than a damning. If you haven’t heard of Axe Cop, it’s a young, but explosively popular webcomic series by the brother duo of Malachai Nicolle and Ethan Nicolle. It’s the adventures of a gruff, enigmatic and at times deranged police officer who goes around killing bad guys with a fireman’s axe. The big twist and selling point is that the artist Ethan is 30-years-old and his writer brother Malachai is only six. It’s such a brilliant little concept. It’s brilliant and I’m glad to see how successful it is.

The webcomic has been released in a volume recently, which has added commentary by Ethan about every little strip and how they came to be. A few weeks ago, the first issue of their Dark Horse miniseries Axe Cop: Bad Guy Earth was released. In it, Axe Cop and his partner Dinosaur Soldier (AKA Flute Cop, AKA Avocado Soldier, AKA Ghost Cop) go up against an incoming planet that they can sense is evil. They destroy it, but a couple survivors come to Earth and plan to turn it into a Bad Guy Earth by taking a device that turns bad people good and reprogramming it into a device that turns good people bad.

I’ve seen people hate on the comic and give it the damning of being all, “wacky ninja cheese random.” I can see where that argument is coming from, but I think Axe Cop deserves a pass. If it was an adult who wrote it, then yes, point at it for being stupid. Someone like that should know better, I suppose, but a child adds extra dimensions to it that raise it to something far more intriguing.

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The Cipher 03/16/11: “Peace to the number 7. Everybody else get the 4 9 3 11.”

March 16th, 2011 Posted by david brothers

no question

created: I haven’t talked about digital comics in what, like six whole hours? So I talked about that some, I pushed some art, and talked that Milestone talk over the past week.
Digital comics: either they’re a threat or they aren’t. You can’t have it both ways.

Xombi 1 gets a preview. I’m writing this post late enough that I already read all my comics, and my predictions came true. John Rozum and Frazer Irving gave DC their best creative success since that issue of Batman & Robin where Damian hit Joker with a crowbar.

Me and David Uzumeri take on Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy’s Joe the Barbarian. tl;dr: I liked Sean Murphy’s half of the book.

Jonah Hex has had some ill artists.


ch-ch-blaow, end of session

consumed: This has been a week of weeks, man. Somebody needs to let me hold a number two pencil, ’cause they testing. I’m ready for the weekend, but I can’t sleep it away like I did last weekend.

-Ron Wimberly is doing Ninjaid for charity. In his own words:

On March 11th, 2011 a great earthquake struck 130 kilometers off the east coast of Oshiko Peninsula, Tohouku Japan. This earthquake caused great destruction to Japan.

My work, particularly GratNin, has benefited beyond measure from the culture of Japan.

Starting today, I will draw a GratNin (16×22.5 cm) every afternoon for the next 30 days and post it here. I will reward every donation of $35 or more made from this site, with the button above, with one of those original GratNin drawings posted or to be posted here.

The proceeds will go to Red Cross via Paypal.

thank you for your generosity.

Sincerely,
Ron

Good cause, ill art, win-win. The iFanboys have the lowdown on other relief efforts, and Deb Aoki at About.Manga has a few, too.

-I watched the tsunami footage live on Al Jazeera’s youtube page the night all that went on. One of the craziest things I’ve ever seen.

-I really appreciate Takehiko Inoue’s Smile series. It’s such a simple thing, just quick sketches of mostly children smiling, but it’s really nice. I dunno.

-My main homegirl, editor, and karaoke addict Laura Hudson is doing karaoke 7 days a week (actually 12) and blogging about it for the Portland Mercury. Here’s the category. She’s crazy, the posts are great, and I’d stage an intervention but this is awesome.

-I started watching Community. It’s pretty okay. It took a while to find its legs, but now it’s pretty good. I need to start season 2 pretty soon. It’s at its best when it’s doing straight comedy rather than romance antics, though. “Will they or won’t they?” who cares

-I know I keep just barely mentioning Killzone 3 on here, but it’s fascinating (and I play it a few nights a week so it’s always fresh on my mind). But here’s the thing. I had a game the other night where I was like 32-54, or 26-41, or something like that. I got chewed up by any reasonable standard. My kills/death ratio is like .49. But. I spent those matches having a gang of fun, coordinating with a friend to get things done, and generally taking part. I captured points, repaired ammo boxes, whatever whatever. When I’d play Call of Duty and get eaten up like that, I’d be getting mad. In Killzone, I just keep on pushing, taking L after L, but enjoying every minute of it. Even if you’re getting blasted, you can still support your team, capture game objectives, and generally help get things done. This is a good thing, a tremendously good thing, and more than welcome in this genre. You can find your strengths. My strengths are running into bullets, drawing fire, and getting in-game objectives done. Maybe yours are different.

-No, I haven’t gotten back to Persona 3 Portable yet. Tonight, I think. I keep starting novels, like real novels with no pictures or nothing, and read those before bed, which is my prime gaming time. Life is so hard you guys :(

-Pharoahe Monch’s WAR (We Are Renegades) leaked the other day. I listened to it five times a row that day. I guess what I’m saying is that it’s cop on sight, and I keep checking Amazon to see if the mp3 page is going live so I can buy it. I dunno if this will work or be annoying or whatever, but Monch’s PR dude sent me this streaming clip of “Assassins,” which features Royce da 5’9″ and Jean Grae. That’s three of my favorite emcees on one track.
Assassins” feat. Jean Grae & Royce Da 5’9 by duckdown

-Here’s why I listen to rap, courtesy of Nickel Nine: “You claiming that you flow like water, but y’all niggas Evian backwards.” Oh my.

-Raekwon’s Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang is… okay. It’s not as good as Only Built 4 Cuban Linx 2, which is I think my main problem with it. That said, it starts off real strong, as seen in the slightly NSFW below, wobbles in the middle, peters out, and then comes back strong for that joint with Black Thought. The Nas track didn’t impress me.

-You want to cop Frank Ocean’s nostalgia,ULTRA. Here’s a download link. Cover art below.


Ocean is nice, and this absurdly smooth R&B album from the Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All crew sort of puts a bullet into the meme of “Oh, all they talk about is rape and murder and gaybashing, but they’re so young and talented that I feel compelled to write a two thousand word piece on why it’s okay/not okay to listen to them.”

-“There Will Be Tears” is brutal, fair warning. It’ll kick your legs right out from under you.

-It’s like Andre 3000 said on “Aquemini.” “Now, question: is every nigga with dreads for the cause? Is every nigga with golds for the fall? Naw… So don’t get caught in appearance. It’s Outkast, Aquemini, another Black experience.”

-Something else Andre said on Aquemini:

Three in the morning, yawnin’, dancin’ under street lights/ We chillin’ like a villain and a nigga feelin’ right/ in the middle of the ghetto on the curb, but in spite/ all of the bullshit we on our back starin at the stars above/ (aww man) Talkin bout what we gonna be when we grow up/ I said what you wanna be, she said, “Alive” (hmm)/ It made me think for a minute, then looked in her eyes/ I coulda died, time went on, I got grown/ Rhyme got strong, mind got blown, I came back home/ to find lil Sasha was gone/ Her mama said she with a nigga who be treating her wrong.

-I’ve been playing nostalgia,ULTRA and Pac Div’s Mania on repeat, basically. I like Pac Div a lot, and Mania is on point. Grab the album here and the cover art rightchea:

The full-size art is like 1000px square. Dunno why–250×250 is fine, isn’t it? Smaller, too, which makes the mp3s smaller. Hi-def album art, I guess. Check out the back cover art on the official site.


blood shot in that direction, cipher

David: Hulk 30.1, Thunderbolts 155, Uncanny X-Force #5.1, Xombi 1
Esther: Knight and Squire 6
Tiny Titans 38 Mmmmmmaybe Power Girl 22
Gavin: Batman 708, Knight & Squire 6, Darkwing Duck 10, Avengers Academy 11, Deadpool MAX History Of Violence, Iron Man 2.0 2, Thunderbolts 155, Ultimate Comics Avengers vs New Ultimates 2, Uncanny X-Force 5.1

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Homages Aren’t Tributes [McDuffie & DC Comics]

March 16th, 2011 Posted by david brothers

Yesterday, I posted about the upcoming Static Shock Special and Tommy Lee Edwards’s statement that DC wasn’t donating any of the proceeds to Dwayne McDuffie’s estate or a charity. Around the same time I posted, I asked a friend to hit up DC for a statement. I got that statement today, and, boiled down, Static Shock Special is going to be a comic that contains an homage to McDuffie’s career, but is not, in fact, a tribute book. Here’s the solicit:

STATIC SHOCK SPECIAL #1
Written by FELICIA D. HENDERSON
Art by DENYS COWAN, PRENTIS ROLLINS and others
Cover by DEREC DONOVAN
A special one-shot paying homage to Dwayne McDuffie and the world of Milestone Media, with tribute material from Milestone co-founder Denys Cowan and other Milestone alumni.
One-shot • No ads • On sale JUNE 1 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

My reaction to Edwards’s tweet was resignation and anger. Industry rule #4080: “record company people are shady.” It applies to comics, too. Comics have a history of screwing over their creators, whether via exploitative contracts, outright lies and theft, or something as minor as the way characters are prized over creators. DC making a for-profit book off the back of a man’s death? As far as sins go, it’s minor in comparison to what comics have already done. So it would be unsurprising. Disappointing? Sure. Infuriating? No doubt. But unsurprising all the same.

Now, the official word is that this isn’t a tribute book. It’s a book that contains an homage, and proceeds are not being donated to McDuffie’s family, estate, or any charity. Those are two different things, and I can understand the difference, but that rings hollow, doesn’t it? DC actively and purposefully screwed with McDuffie’s last comics work, and eventually fired him over it, and I feel like the least they could do is do an actual tribute book to the man and his work. It’s small solace, but it would be something. Donate the proceeds to schools in Detroit or something.

Instead, we get an homage. Milestone profits from it, to be sure, but I don’t know, man. I’m not sure how to feel about it. Static Shock 2 was supposed to be solicited in this latest round–does the special replace that? Is it just Static Shock with eight pages of added homage? There’s precedent, too. They made one for Julie Schwartz back in ’04, and I can’t find mention of the profits from that going to charity or anything. And that’s fine–they celebrated his life through the comics he helped create. DC doesn’t have to do anything.

It kinda says a lot that I could see DC dicking over McDuffie one last time, doesn’t it? Egregious editorial interference on his JLA run, scrubbing plans for a Static ongoing a year or so ago, pulling perfectly legal quotes from Milestone Forever, and hiring Rian Hughes to black up Milestone Forever with some graffiti and buildings, now this book is urban, homey, YEAH!, and all of the rest of it beat any faith in DC Comics as an entity out of me, I think. So when faced with something awful, something that someone with no heart would do, my first thought was, “I shoulda known.” How sad is that?

But homages aren’t tributes, and I guess a bit of semantics makes everything better. Milestone Media Partners still gets paid off the issue, and I assume some of that goes to McDuffie’s estate. The readers and some of his friends get one last chance to appreciate the man and his work. And sure, DC didn’t have to make an homage or a tribute. DC doesn’t have to do anything.

But I still feel grossed out. Maybe that’s unfair of me, since they didn’t do anything wrong, really. It probably is unfair, but it is what it is.

If you go to a comic shop today or tomorrow or whenever, do me a favor and pick up Xombi 1, by John Rozum and Frazer Irving. It’s the real return of Milestone, the kinda comic we should’ve gotten back when DC was sandbagging McDuffie with Ed Benes and tie-ins to comics no one likes. It’s good. That’s about as good of a testament to the man and his legacy that I can imagine. He was better than most, and he surrounded himself with equally talented people.

edit: DC sent CBR an official statement

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