Archive for June, 2011


Create, Consume, Recycle 06/20/11

June 20th, 2011 Posted by david brothers

stuff i made

Buy some digital comics! These have dongs flopping around and vampires suckin’ blood. That’s a theme, right? Anyway: Butcher Baker, Wolverine & Jubilee, and American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest, get get get it.

-Here’s a dumb question: Why can’t we preorder digital comics?

top 10 marvel comics for September, get up on it

something something green lantern

something i like


Otomo’s Akira exists in this weird quantum state in my head. Schroedinger’s Anime? Sure, why not.

I first saw it probably in ’91 when the VHS dropped. My uncle picked up that and Fist of the North Star from the video store (Video Warehouse?) for some Sunday watching. We bogarted the bigger tv (it was one of those old fat 36″ joints, I think. We finally threw it out in maybe 2003?) in the house while everyone else was cooking and ran through FotNS. It blew my mind. It was so unbelievably violent and just amazing. I would’ve been eight at the most. Akira was the second feature, and it was even more mind-expanding. The story, the animation, all of it was like opening a door. I don’t think we were even joking around while the movie was on. That bit where Tetsuo’s guts fall out and the ground dissolves under him is burned into my head in a way that most things I encountered at that age aren’t.

I made it all the way up to the bit where Tetsuo turns into a pile of grotesque tumors before my cousin (she was, and remains, sixteen months younger than me) came into the room, made a face, and went and snitched to my grandmom that I was watching something gross. I was ordered into the den and that was a wrap, at least until I could sneak and finish watching the movie on my own.

That’s how Akira exists in my mind: sitting on the floor on a lazy Sunday after church, family noises in the other room, but in the living room? New things and shock endings. Fullscreen picture on the VHS tape, getting the tracking just right, on and on. My memory probably isn’t accurate, but that’s what the mental picture is, so that’s what’s true in all the ways that matter.

Time passed. Today, Akira exists in four states. There’s the original anime, 4:3 in aspect and dubbed onto a video cassette before I could afford the real deal. Then there’s the new dub, which features Vash the Stampede as Kaneda instead of a Ninja Turtle. It’s widescreen and (after a blu-ray purchase) hi-def. I like both probably equally. The more recent dub is undeniably better from a craft and quality perspective, but the old one has its charms. A little nostalgia goes a long way, right?

I did look around the internet and find a 720p rip of the Blu-ray that includes the original and 2001 dubs, though. I bust that out when I’m too lazy to get up and put a disc in the PS3.

The manga, too, has a couple of versions. There’s the color Epic ones I grew up with and comprise the majority of my collection, where Kei is Kay and everything is rendered in this really interesting palette that the rest of the comics industry never fully caught up to (Vertigo bogarted the brown, obviously, cape comics jacked the reds and highlights, and the more impressionistic stuff sorta fell by the wayside in favor of ugly gradients). Neo-Tokyo is a city I believe in, as large in my mind as the fictional New York City of rap that I love so much. It’s a city with gutters and layers, and you want to roll in one and peel back the other.

There’s the black and white version, which I still haven’t read in full. Kei is Kei, and some of the dialogue is a little different. It’s fine–I think the color adds a lot of personality to Akira, honestly. Steve Oliff did a pretty amazing job, and I wish that Kodansha had just reprinted those, instead of the black and whites. Still–these are good, and as far as one of my top three favorite series ever goes, well worth it.

(I’ve been eyeing these color Japanese volumes for a while, but they’d be a stupid purchase. I still want them.)

Strangely, Akira doesn’t exist in Japanese for me. I’ve watched the subtitled version… well, I’m not sure how often, definitely less than ten? I’ve watched it rarely enough that it barely registers in my head. I have spent a lot of time writing to the soundtrack, though. Remember when video game stores used to carry game soundtracks? I think I paid a grip for mine from Funcoland, ripped the CD to MP3, and promptly lost it. C’est la vie, long live digital media.

All of these things sorta swirl around in my head. I knew the different versions back to front (“Just when my coil’s reaching the green line!” > whatever it was Kaneda said in that new dub, but Kei > Kay as far as spelling goes), but it all adds up to one gestalt, a superAkira. This is one of those books/series/concepts that looms large in my head, large enough that I’ve genuinely put off talking about it in any sort of depth. I’ve taken stabs at it, sure, but I haven’t put my hands into its guts yet. I don’t know that I can do it without devolving into “This is SO GREAT you guyz” material, with long low-content posts masquerading as actual content.

But here we are, and here we go.

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


A: “There’s still something you could do for me.”

June 20th, 2011 Posted by david brothers

Early on in Akira, Katsuhiro Otomo scripts an interaction I found really interesting. Kaneda goes to the school nurse’s office to see if she can shed some light on a pill he found. Four pages:

The interesting bit is that the nurse reveals her pregnancy to Kaneda and his reaction is… nothing. He dodges her reveal in a way that both ducks any responsibility on his part and turns her reveal into a setup for a crude joke. He’s cognizant of what he’s doing, I think. The sad face in the reveal panel makes that obvious. But that doesn’t stop what he does next. In fact, it probably fuels his response. A baby isn’t even on the radar for Kaneda. That’s somebody else’s problem.

The nurse only moves a couple times in this sequence. She stands up from her chair to rush Kaneda out of the office before he gets caught, but after he kisses her, she’s frozen in place. At first, it’s clearly due to pleasure. Kaneda pulls away from the kiss, causing her to lean in. I like the way that she rests on the table after the kiss, presumably due to wobbly knees. She continues leaning on the table during her confession. It’s something solid that she can hold onto while she gets ready to shift the axis of her entire world. And when Kaneda shuts her down with a joke, she’s still leaning.

The body language here is ill. The way she tries to hold the kiss, the glow when she first grips the table, and then the way her head and body slowly slump over the course of three pages. It reminds me of this episode of Chris Onstad’s Achewood:

Kaneda walks around with dynamite in his mouth, and he’s an expert at using it. He’s cruel, and more than willing to use and abuse someone else to get what he needs. The sheer cruelty inherent in asking for a favor and then completely dismissing one of the most important things in someone’s life is incredible. It doesn’t make him wholly unlikable (it sorta does), but it’s a clue that, hey, this guy? Straight up delinquent.

On the flip side of that is the fact that nobody is completely evil. Everybody has someone they tell fart jokes to, or a girl that they get all goofy around. Kaneda is brutally callous, but when dealing with people he cares about, he’s fiercely loyal. He’s more than willing to go to the mat for his friends, and if that means killing somebody to get the job done? So be it. If that means beating up a greyed up little kid… hey. Fair’s fair. No one takes shots at the family and walks away.

I saw Attack the Block the other week. It’s working in a similar lane, in that it humanizes what would normally be pure goons in other movies. David Allison over at the Mindless HQ talked about this in detail in the review that made me interested in the flick to begin with. Both Akira and Attack the Block show the people behind the crime, for lack of a better phrase.

Neither of them are about redemption, either. Both Kaneda and Moses learn something and maybe figure out how to be better people, but that’s not the point of the story so much as it is a side effect of the story. Kaneda goes from his small world of high school, pliable women, and violence on the weekends to a post-apocalyptic wasteland where the old rules are dead, but old skills may come in handy. Things get bigger, and Kaneda is forced to operate on a scale and in situations he never considered and isn’t necessarily cut out for.

“Soandso is a hero” is a simplistic way of looking at things. The best person has flaws, and the worst person has good qualities. It’s a matter of seeing deeper than just the surface level for either side and considering the person as a whole. Kaneda is the right man for the right time. He has heroic qualities, but villainous ones, too.

I’m in the middle of rereading Akira after a couple of years off. I’m a third of the way through or so. I don’t remember what happened to the nurse, but now, I’m seriously and genuinely wondering what went down with her and the kid. Figure I’ll find out as I work my way through the rest of the series, though.

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


This Week in Panels: Week 91

June 19th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Hola. This week I’m joined by the regular crew: David Brothers, Was Taters, Space Jawa and I form the head! Jawa happened to supply the entirety of the Flashpoint tie-ins, God help him.

Today I took in a double-feature of Green Lantern and X-Men: First Class. Green Lantern was really average, but then became completely forgettable once I finished watching First Class. While the movie was merely okayish, the mid-credits sequence had me laughing my ass off at how bad it is.

I don’t feel like I’m really spoiling anything with this. I mean, we all know who Sinestro is, right? You’re on a comic site. You know that Sinestro is to become a bad guy. Rather than give him some kind of character arc to push this, he plays the role of Ice Man from Top Gun until it’s time for the credits. You know how people complain about the way Anakin Skywalker was portrayed in the Star Wars prequels? Imagine if at the end of Attack of the Clones, after the wedding, they cut to the credits, then afterwards show Anakin put on his Darth Vader armor and go, “Okay, I’m evil now. Kuh….shhhh!

Avengers Academy #15
Christos Gage and Tom Raney

Avengers #14
Brian Michael Bendis and John Romita Jr.

Read the rest of this entry �

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


The Top 27 Original Weird Al Songs

June 18th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

David’s been doing his musical articles for a while and I figured it was about time I stepped up to the plate. Unfortunately, I’m not nearly as well-versed in music as he is. Then I realized that Alpocalypse, the new Weird Al Yankovic album, is coming out in a couple days. Hey, I know Weird Al pretty good!

Weird Al is someone I grew up listening to that I’m glad to see is still at it. I got into him at age 7 with Even Worse, which gave us the Michael Jackson “Bad” parody “Fat”. It took me years to even realize the joke about the album’s name. While I stuck with Weird Al for years (he used to come out with a new album every year or two back then), I don’t think I really got a lot of it. I only caught the absolute outer shell of his work and ignored the rest. I’d listen to his parodies, but fast forward through the originals.

As time went on, this changed. Like with watching Adam West Batman, the older I got, the more I got. The more I was able to see the actual talent and genius that my younger self didn’t notice. It became a thing where I’d come for the parodies but stay for the original music. Now we’ve reached a point where I look at the sources for the parodies on his new album’s track list and I don’t recognize a single one (I know “Born This Way” now, but only after the brief controversy with “Perform This Way” momentarily not being released). It doesn’t matter for me because even if I’m unfamiliar with a lot of it, I know I’ll still be fully entertained.

I wanted to pay a little tribute to Weird Al’s catalogue. I thought I’d cover only his original songs. No direct parodies (style parodies are more than fine), no polka medleys and no covers. Doing the research was a complete blast. I listened to favorites, old tunes I never gave the time of day to and even some older ones off albums I never heard before.

For the record, if I had been doing a list of his best parodies, “I Think I’m a Clone Now” would win.

Read the rest of this entry �

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


standing in the ruins of another black man’s life

June 17th, 2011 Posted by david brothers

Flashpoint: Grodd of War is about a telepathic gorilla killing half of Africa while taking over the continent as a sort of Planet of the Apes/superiority thing, maybe you saw this dumb comments thread about it.

You know you’ve got a weak bench as far as characters go when the most prominent black characters in a story set in Africa are five unnamed and generic child soldiers, four of which die on the spot. Isn’t that weird? Sure, everyone’s been murdered or whatever, but are child soldiers a better shorthand for “This is Africa” than grown men with machetes or AK-47s? Like, are child soldiers the new spear-chuckin’ African pygmy cannibals? Is this a thing I need to mark down in my hand-written appendix to the Big Book of Racism!?

It’s so hard to keep up these days. And I have dreams, too. I was hoping that either those dudes who walk hyenas or have that ill fashion sense would be the next signifier for “This is not Monaco, this is Baghdad Mogadishu,” you know? Have you seen these guys? They’re all the way swagged out, like Dipset at their prime crossed with those cats who were cool in the ’70s and rock bright orange double breasted suits these days like they’re all that. Imagine if that was the face of Africa.

But yeah, child soldiers, cool, got it. There’s what, 200,000 kids serving in rebel armies, many of them against their will? No, wait. 200,000 boys, I mean. The girls get raped and murdered. (They call them wives.) But yeah, yo–that’s an intensely powerful idea, right? A swarm of children, a couple million dead, a million-some orphans, millions more who’ve had their lives ruined. That’s a powerful idea right there, the sort of meme that burrows deep down into your brain and rattles your fillings. I think it’s that combination of lost innocence and malice, “kids are patriotic robotic, operate catapults and goose-step over innocence/innocents,” it’s positively sexy. Some good drama in there, some really easy emotional hooks.

It’s a comfortably brown concept, too, isn’t it? We don’t really have that over here. Asia, some of the wilder parts of Europe, Mexico, a bunch of Africa, sure, but ’round here? Nah. Closest we get is gang violence, I figure. Child soldiers. Ill-fitting clothes, big guns… It’s a little edgy, but it’s just distant enough to play in Peoria. And it’s so Africa. A few panels of these little kidlets will give us some verisimilitude.

And man, how about the best guy in Grodd’s army being a white Scotsman who is cursed to become a gorilla? I mean, that’s pretty cool. Golden gorilla–that idea has legs. More like that.

Oh! I just remembered something. I read an interview with the writer of this thing, Sean Ryan, a while back. I made a joke about it on Twitter, I think. I don’t remember right now. Quoth the weblog:

SR: He really doesn’t. They ignore him. A thing I wanted to touch on in the story is how Africa is often ignored. There’s awful things happening in Africa all the time in our own world and we don’t really know about it. It usually takes some kind of celebrity to point it out to us. So that’s sort of what’s going on in Africa in Flashpoint. Grodd has taken over Africa and turned it into a mass grave, but the world could care less. They’re more focused on Aquaman and Wonder Woman.

Sure enough, on the first page, Grodd is all “I slaughter half of Africa… and most people don’t even know my name. Location, location, location.” while chilling on a throne made out of human skulls. Real world reference: complete! CHEA!

Most of all, though. Most of all. I liked that the most significant human character–the only human character left to protect Africa, the only one with a name–is that piece of crap Batman knock-off Catman. He goes down fighting, too, before Grodd pulls his head off. I wish he got some lines. He’d probably say something pretty cool. “You’ve murdered Africa, you maniac! You blew it all up!” Should maybe workshop that line. Seems a little familiar.

Catman: his return to fame was in a Kevin Smith comic (strike 1) as a fat pathetic loser (strike 2) and then he become a SUPER COOL TRAPPER HUNTER WOLVERINE GUY! in another comic (that’s three, clear out, B). He’s a regular old American fella, ain’t doing no harm. He lives with lions, and he just really gets them, you know? Like really, really really. Overhigh girl at a party talking about how beautiful the universe is, man, it makes me wanna cry it’s so unbelievably beautiful gets them.

Count it: five unnamed brown child soldiers (four dead [killed by a child], one living), one Scotsman turned golden ape (he dies), the hero of Africa (a white dude who’s probably from Nowhere, Connecticut in Mowgli drag [ooh, can we tie in the white man’s burden somehow?]), and a continent that’s implied to be a giant open grave, conquered by monkeys who are, at best, smart enough to get a high school diploma.

That smells like Africa to me, bwana.

(This was going to be maybe 150 words long, but took a weird turn around “Isn’t that weird?” and I couldn’t stop for some reason. This is a comic that makes you want to be mean to someone. Turns out somebody likes this piece of crap, though.)

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


Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira: “Let’s go, doctor.”

June 15th, 2011 Posted by david brothers

Charlie Huston’s The Shotgun Rule builds to a fever pitch maybe halfway through due to the fact that the chapters are alternating between a point in the future where things are quickly collapsing into trauma and violence and the present, where the characters are being pushed toward that future. This weird double vision keeps pushing you, and every time you cut away from one path to check in on the other, the other path becomes more and more important. You read each page at the same pace, but the scenes push you along until the tension becomes almost unbearable.

Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira has a scene that reminds me of that, though the specifics are almost entirely different. It’s in Akira Volume 2, if you want to follow along. The images in this post are abridged from the scene, but should neatly illustrate what I mean.

There are a few distinct stories going on in this scene, and they’re all headed for the same end goal. Kaneda and Kei (or Kay, I’m not picky) are rushing toward Akira’s refrigeration unit in an attempt to somehow find Tetsuo and maybe find out the truth about Akira. Ryu and his boy are trying to evade the military and infiltrate the facility. The Colonel and the military are trying to beat Tetsuo to the bottom floor. Another guy is keeping an eye out for Ryu for revenge. Tetsuo is making his way toward Akira.

Kaneda/Kei, Ryu, and Shikishima make three strains. Add Tetsuo–that’s four. The four strains twist in and out of each other’s way before the big finale, trading characters or blows. There’s a clear time limit, and a lot of confusion, and the result is that everyone’s rushing everywhere. Hover vehicles are exploding their way down the elevator shaft, dudes are getting shot and stabbed, and everyone’s sprinting toward the finish line, whether that involves wading through sewage or moving in formation down an elevator shaft.

The only exception is Tetsuo. He’s positively strolling toward Akira, walking with his fur collar around his neck and his hands in his pockets. His body language is casual, but focused. He’s amused by all the stuff going on around him, but clearly far from concerned. He’s murdered a dozen soldiers already, so he knows that he can handle whatever gets in his way. He runs into trouble exactly once while descending, and he survives that with nary a scratch. He’s a teenager blessed with extraordinary and seemingly unstoppable power–he’s just as cocky as he deserves to be.

The net result of these four strains playing off each other is pretty great, from a pacing point of view. This could’ve been a dead sprint, with everyone trying to get to one spot before everyone else. Instead, Tetsuo slipping in and out of focus as the conflict goes on makes things much more tense than an out-and-out sprint would be. Everyone is rushing, shouting, and worried. Scientists are telling the Colonel awful news, Ryu is worried about being detected and/or stabbed, and Kei is trying to get to where she needs to be.

And then there’s Tetsuo. Walking.

My favorite page in this scene… my second favorite page in this scene is akira-book2-descent-01.jpg, the bit where he’s riding the elevator down alongside some seriously ominous sound effects. His posture and the giant panels are just insanely well thought out. He doesn’t have a care in the world, because what thing can kill him?

Just the fact that he isn’t worried about what’s going on is worrisome. It’s like sitting in a room full of panicked people, and being panicked yourself, when you spot one person sitting right in the middle of the room with a huge grin on his face. It’s unsettling. Tetsuo’s casual demeanor here makes the entire scene, which is probably around a hundred pages long. His calmness is scary. It ratchets a simple chase scene up into real tension. You can’t read this slowly. Toward the end, where Tetsuo gets these huge, spacious panels or entire pages to himself, things become even worse. Every panel Otomo spends on on Tetsuo moves him closer to his goal. Every panel on the other strains show us characters who are out of their depth and don’t know it.

Flicking back and forth and allowing Tetsuo to directly touch a couple of those strains is an inspired choice. It demonstrates a direct and brutal contrast in approach between the characters. Tetsuo is Jason in the woods, walking calmly after the screaming coed. He’s a predator, and that sneer on his face is never going to go away. More than that, though, it suggests a certain level of finality to the entire chase. What does he know that we don’t?

This isn’t 1:1 analogous to The Shotgun Rule. That book made its tension work by introducing us to characters and then giving us glimpses of the horrors to come. Here, the three non-Testuo strains demonstrate a complete and total loss of control on the part of the characters, turning them into something that is subordinate to Tetsuo and his powers.

The high tension, shouting, and action makes you want to read through those sections quickly. It gets your heart going and you have to find out what happens next. Following that with scenes and panels intended to slow you down and force you to absorb the panels is like that stutter when you switch gears when driving manual. You’re not accelerating any more, but you’re still going, and then bam, you’re going again, and hard. Pause, go, pause, GO.

One last thing.

akira-book2-descent-08.jpg is my favorite page. Tetsuo beginning to turn to Akira on top, the Colonel trying to talk him down, and then Tetsuo turning and really looking into the darkness?


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


Create, Consume, Recycle 06/13/11

June 13th, 2011 Posted by david brothers

stuff i made

-A quick preview of Adam Warren and Emily Warren’s Empowered: Ten Questions for the Maidman, a one-shot released last week that was pretty dope.

Graphicly just redesigned their site, and I took a quick look at what works.

-This is the remix: I took this post about X-Men First Class and turned it into this post, inviting dozens of comments from idiots about race. That sorta thing is sorta why I hate writing about race for a mass audience, because sucker ducks always got something to say. Whatever though. I’m gonna go sleep on this pile of money.

something i like

Four pages from Mike Mignola, Duncan Fegredo, and Dave Stewart’s Hellboy: The Fury, a series that’s going to be positively apocalyptic and more worthy of your attention than pretty much any other ongoing comic:

There’s something incredibly pure about Hellboy these days. Mignola and company have been pumping out quick series or one-shots that do a lot with a little. With The Fury, we’ve got three issues that can go in any direction, save for maybe the death of Hellboy. Then again, we’ve already seen him maimed, so that might not even be off the table.

This intro is enormously effective. It brings to mind a ton of things. I look at it and see a boxer’s long walk to the ring. It’s the stranger riding into town while strangers grip their pistols and spit. It’s Deebo walking up and everyone in the hood going silent. It’s the beginning of the big war conference in any movie ever, where warriors bang shields and monsters roar at the moon. Lightning strikes either as a show of approval or as an omen of disaster.

“Now I am become Death,” the witches say as they look on their handiwork. “The destroyer of worlds.” They’re not as powerful as they thought they were, and now they’re wracked with doubt and guilt. Then they spot a lone figure walking out of nowhere, and begin creating stories about him to suit their purpose.

“It’s Odin out wandering the world.” Wise and all-seeing, Hellboy is the all-father in human form. Wikipedia tells me that Odin is “related to ōðr, meaning ‘fury, excitation,’ besides ‘mind,’ or ‘poetry.'” There you have the title of the series and the tone. The Fury is the epic poem of Hellboy’s life. Hellboy’s stuck in a Homeric tale, and he’s almost at the end of his run.

“He carries a hammer. Thor then.” He’s the thunder and the lightning, destruction and health, a terrifying protector. A hammer is used to build and destroy. Sometimes that’s the same thing. The myth parallels Hellboy’s journey, too. Thor battles Jormungand, the Midgard Serpent.

Hellboy is every god, every hero, every messiah, and not in some stupid Joseph Campbell sort of way, either. He’s fighting something that is the ultimate evil, so it stands to reason that he has to be the ultimate good. The only thing that matters is beating her.

This is the eschaton in progress, where evil breathes in before pulling the trigger and heroes stride down off the mountain, glorious in demeanor and unafraid of death.

It’s Mignola synthesizing all of his interests, from myths to ghost stories to Jack Kirby comics, and creating something fearsome.

More than anything, though, this has what a lot of theoretically exciting cape comics lack. This is exciting. It builds tension. This is how you do the slow walk.

Funny coincidence. Marvel’s Fear Itself, courtesy of Matt Fraction, Stuart Immonen, Wade Von Grawbadger, and Laura Martin, features the Asgardian host battling an ancient evils. I picked up the first issue and found it overwritten by far, though the art was nice. It had a bunch of people telling you why something’s scary or dangerous instead of that thing putting the fear of God in your heart. What little tension there is isn’t earned at all.

Fear Itself didn’t feel effortless like this does. The Fury is a snowball rolling down a steep hill, and the weight of the past few years does it wonders, but the difference is still striking. Maybe that’s unfair. I don’t think so, though.

There’s a gang of Hellboy available digitally. Read ’em in order, or check out The Island and the Third Wish, Makoma, or Buster Oakley Gets His Wish. I like those a lot, especially Makoma and Buster. Corben and Nowlan are beasts. Nobody should be able to draw cows as cool as Nowlan does.

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


Fourcast! 88: A Thin Line Between Love and Hate

June 13th, 2011 Posted by david brothers

-What’s it take for you to stop reading somebody’s work?
-Do you let a creator’s personal beliefs change how you perceive their work?
-When’s it appropriate to dislike somebody as a person, rather than as an artist?
-We tackle all of these questions and more in a free-wheeling podcast I probably should’ve given a meaner name.
-It’s an interesting question, though.
-I can separate the work from the artist nine times out of ten, but sometimes you learn too much and feel all uncomfortable.
-Feel free to chime in.
-6th Sense’s 4a.m. Instrumental for the theme music.
-Here comes a new challenger!
-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 90

June 12th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Bare your teeth, put on your pouches and sharpen your spikes because we’re entering the 90’s!

This week I’m joined by David Brothers, Was Taters and Space Jawa. Due to David dropping the Cipher, his Wednesday article which lists just what books I’m reading for the week, Jawa and I have a bit of overlap in the Flashpoint department that I probably should have warned him about before he scanned his images. I read everything but the Aquaman book and he read everything but the Frankenstein book, so a couple of them will have panels from both of us.

In regards to Flashpoint, Deathstroke the Terminator being a pirate is an idea so perfect that I can’t believe it’s never been done before. I wish his post-reboot self would remain a pirate and continue his adventures on the high seas, but that’s not in the cards.

American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest #1
Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy

Annihilators #4
Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Tan Eng Huat

Read the rest of this entry �

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


We Care a Lot Part 23: Red Jelly

June 11th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

I admit that I’ve been putting this one off for quite some time. It’s only natural, since it means having to read Maximum Carnage for the first time in about fifteen years. For a while, I didn’t even intend to review this story since it’s been covered to death across the internet, but then I realized that my take may have its own flavor. After all, I’m a guy who likes Spider-Man, loves Venom and tolerates Carnage. That last one already puts me on a different path from most reviewers.

Carnage falls into the category of, “It’s not the character that’s bad but the writing.” Carnage can be in a great story, I’m sure. We just haven’t seen it yet, though the Carnage miniseries (originally going to be called Astonishing Spider-Man and Iron Man until Marvel realized they could lure more readers in by naming it after the long-dead villain) has certainly had its moments. In preparation, I read through Carnage’s original story arc in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man #361-363, which isn’t at all an offensive story. The Micheline/Bagley joint mostly acts as a way to both remove Venom from his status quo where he peacefully lived on an abandoned island while believing Spider-Man to be dead as well as giving Venom an excuse to fight alongside Spider-Man against a threat greater than both of them.

This idea, which I’m sure sold like gangbusters, was made fun of in the pages of the Ren and Stimpy Show #6 when Spider-Man made a guest appearance to fight a mind-controlled Powdered Toast Man.

This was written by Dan Slott, who would go on to create Anti-Venom and a bunch of gimmicky Spider-Man costumes. Pot and kettle.

So anyway, Carnage was a decent enough villain for his initial story. If they kept their cool about it, he’d probably be more accepted by your average comic fan. Instead, they went nuts over how this was the best idea Marvel’s come up with in years. The covers would literally say that Carnage was so awesome that they had to put his name on the cover twice! It was this thinking that made Marvel brass believe that a lengthy Spider-Man arc spanning all his books should be centered around this supervillain.

After reading Maximum Carnage, I felt that it had a lot of similarities to the Clone Saga. Part of it is the innocent idea of taking a character who’s been taken off the board in a previous story and bringing them back for the sake of telling a bigger, better story. Due to the hype behind the character, many issues are dedicated to telling this story. Too many issues.

Read the rest of this entry �

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