Archive for July, 2012


This Week in Panels: Week 147

July 15th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

Ah, it’s nice to finally be done with a shitty weekend of closing at work and being ready to enjoy a week off where I do little more than relax and– it’s Sunday and I have to do a ThWiP update, isn’t it. Goddamnit! Fine, let’s get this over with.

Before I get into that, just want to note that I have my very first improv comedy gig coming up this Saturday. I’ll be performing during Anybody Vs. Everybody: AN IMPROV SHOW FOR YOU at the Creek and the Cave in Long Island at 5:30 with my crew, McFlight Club.

This week my posse includes Jody, Was Taters and Space Jawa. I obviously read that Versus issue and even I have a hard time deciphering what’s going on in the panel Jody picked.

Avenging Spider-Man #9
Kelly Sue DeConnick and Terry Dodson

Avengers vs. X-Men: Versus #4 (Gavin’s pick)
Rick Remender, Brandon Peterson and Kaare Andrews

Avengers vs. X-Men: Versus #4 (Jody’s pick)
Rick Remender, Brandon Peterson and Kaare Andrews

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On Billy Tucci’s Blackwater propaganda comic

July 10th, 2012 Posted by david brothers

Here’s a quote Billy Tucci is using to promote his new comic, which is all about (and sponsored by) private military company Blackwater:

Like most people, all I had heard or read concerning private security contractors was that they were reckless cowboys whose actions in Iraq and Afghanistan were considered almost criminal by the media who weren’t there.

Mmmm. Here’s the key phrase: “by the media who weren’t there.” It’s a dog whistle. It’s meant to discredit any naysayers by painting them as lying liars. It’s a variant on the old “You can’t judge it if you haven’t tried to do it” thing people use to silence critics. This one is just specific to soldiering. Which, okay, I’ll believe that. I’m from a military family. My granddad served in Vietnam, my father in Gulf War I. I get it, I respect the sentiment. But I respect it when it’s an honest sentiment, not something being used to protect a company that raped and murdered its fair share of people in Iraq and Afghanistan.

One of the “almost criminal” things the lying media reported on was the time the company murdered seventeen innocent Iraqi civilians. Or the time that someone in the employ of Blackwater checked out 200 AK-47s from an armory in Afghanistan and signed his name “Eric Cartman.” Or the time that a Blackwater got drunk, wandered outside, and shot a bodyguard of Iraq’s vice president dead and was then spirited out of Iraq, avoiding being charged by the Iraqi government. Or the time they shot and killed a family traveling to Bagdhad, including a nine-year old boy. Oh wait, my bad. What actually happened is that they opened fire on the minivan, killing the boy. They shot his mother in her back as she bent to shield her 3 month old daughter. The 3 month old caught a bullet to the face. Or the times that Blackwater kidnapped Iraqi nationals for “extraordinary rendition.” That’s code for torture, if you aren’t aware. Ooh, or the fact that they probably kidnapped Iraqi girls, brought them to the Green Zone, and made them give blowjobs to the contractors. Ohhhh, hang on, here’s a video of Blackwater contractors running over an Iraqi woman and then gunning it to get away. Go to around 2:30 to see the impact.

Whoops! Ha ha. Guess you had to be there? Like the media wasn’t, those lying scumbags.

Tucci’s comic, The Blackwater Chronicles, is yet another attempt by this raping, murdering, horrible company to rehabilitate its image and erase the past. A prior effort included an Xbox 360 video game where you play a set of heroic (white, of course) contractors in Fake Arabia. The game was awful, of course, and former Blackwater top dog Erik Prince described it as being “along the lines of kids running around their neighborhood playing cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians.” My favorite of their efforts is changing their name from Blackwater to Xe and now to Academi. Two name changes since 2005? Nice one, bro. That fills me with trust and forgiveness.

These people are war criminals. They aren’t subject to the same rules and regulations as the actual US military, and they are free to do whatever they want, apparently, and get bailed out by their political friends. Y’all hear that John Ashcroft is on the board of directors for Academi? Ha ha, that can’t possibly be significant. Ex-Blackwater vice chairman Cofer Black is Mitt Romney’s “special advisor” on foreign policy issues.

Blackwater is what happens when you turn war from an evil into a business enterprise.

Thank goodness we have a brave soul willing to tell us the TRUE story about how Blackwater is actually a hero to millions, the force we need in these fallen times, a strong bastion against the forces of terror. Thank goodness we’re going to get an action-packed, exciting comic book about these boys, the boys who do what we can’t because it’s the right thing to do.

There’s definitely a vital and harrowing story to be told — a true history, not a eulogy/corrective/hagiography sponsored by Blackwater and its goons — lurking around Blackwater. I like reading about war. I like war comics, too. One of my favorites, one of the hands down best, are the Sgt Rock comics by Joe Kubert and Bob Kanigher. There was this little tag they put in the comics. It said “Make war no more.” I first saw it as a kid in the tattered Sgt Rock comics my uncle gave me. I didn’t get it then. But I grew up. And I read.

The point was that even when war is necessary, or you are forced into action, it isn’t something to celebrate or glamorize. It’s something awful. It’s something unforgivable. It’s something that causes untold levels of misery for everyone involved. It saps the innocence from young boys and turns them into something else. It destroys families, both on the front lines and back home. It makes an entire country complicit in war crimes. The only people it benefits are the people who make money off misery.

Did y’all see Oliver North pimping the new Call of Duty at E3 this year?

This is the world we live in. This is the stuff we expect to entertain us. We have to do better. We owe it to ourselves and our children to do better. Blackwater literally got away with murder, and now they’re trying to paint themselves as heroes, a roving band of do-gooders. The Merry Men, who are unfairly maligned by the media and haven’t left a trail of broken, raped, wounded, and murdered bodies — American, Iraq, Afhgani, and otherwise — across the Middle East.

We’re America, right? We’re supposed to be better than these scumbags. We’re supposed to be the ones in the right. But here we are. And here they are, selling their own story to us using code words like “controversial and dangerous lifestyle.” We keep enabling monsters to get away scot-free and make a fortune. We keep letting these bastards win.

Do you know why Blackwater is controversial? They’re controversial because they murdered people whose only crime was being near Blackwater when their people were drunk and trigger-happy. Not because the media lies about them. Don’t fall for their okey-doke.

Fuck Blackwater and fuck this comic.

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Kiyohiko Azuma & Body Language

July 9th, 2012 Posted by david brothers

Kiyohiko Azuma kills me sometimes, especially his Yotsuba&! strip. Blogfriend Amy K called Yotsuba a manic pixie dream daughter once, which I think is a pretty fair assessment of the series. But as delightfully and unrealistically precocious as Yotsuba is, the comic wouldn’t work at all if not for Azuma’s cartooning chops. Two pages from volume 10:

The timing on that first page is so good. The transition from panel two (curiosity) to three (shock) to four (horror) is deadly, and then he throws the punchline at the top of the next page.

But what really gets me is Fuuka’s posture in page two, panel two. I’m used to a couple different signifiers for laughter in comics, like a lady bent over gripping her belly or a guy leaning back with the back of his hand pressed against his forehead and his mouth wide open. But this is something even better. It’s the perfect picture of what happens when something is so funny you lose control of your body and make stupid poses. That arm thing she’s doing, that uncontrollable spasm — I’ve seen that before, I’ve done that before.

Azuma’s amazing.

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This Week in Panels: Week 146

July 9th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

So just a little bit late this update, but I’ve had an incredibly busy day and I’m half-dead. I went to NYC to check out a friend’s improv show, went and saw Ted, went home to watch TNA’s Destination X PPV and then watched the last couple hours of the Evo 2012 tournaments. All that plus the Lakers beat the Supersonics. It was a good day.

Ted is very much worth checking out, even if you’re jaded by the last ten years of Family Guy. And if you do see it, chances are very good that you’ll want to watch Flash Gordon ASAP.

But enough about my exploits. I’m joined by Jody, Gaijin Dan, Was Taters, Space Jawa and VersasoVantare.

Action Comics #11
Grant Morrison, Rags Morales, Brad Walker, Sholly Fisch and CAFU

Age of Apocalypse #5
David Lapham and Davide Gianfelice

Amazing Spider-Man #689
Dan Slott and Giuseppe Camuncoli

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Look On My 3D, High-Definition Works, Ye Mighty, And Smile

July 6th, 2012 Posted by david brothers

from Dave Gibbons & Alan Moore’s Watchmen, chapter 11

“The [seven screens idea] is related to a post–Steve Jobs, post-Windows era of where we’re always on a BlackBerry or a phone at a ballgame, at the movies, and you’re looking at seven windows when you’re online. And I’ve found myself even falling asleep at the theater unless I’m talking to somebody or I’m on the phone, and it’s because of the amount of information that we have at once. … I was very particular about having the screens be separate and having it where your mind puts the screens back together the way you can put memories together, the way that happens throughout the day and it all links back up.”

-Kanye West, 2012

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Long After Watchmen: Let’s Talk About Deadpool History

July 5th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

I regularly peek at the traffic of the site because of ego. No big deal, I figure. While the new stuff almost always ends up hitting the top of the hit list, it’s interesting to see what stuff regularly gets its share of visitors no matter how old it gets. The We Care a Lot and the What If stuff, for instance, still do well. One of those articles that still gets notice is the Top 70 Deadpool Moments. It’s a 7-day series of daily posts I did three years ago that listed my favorite moments in the character’s history (with a little help from the readers). It was a fun writing project, but I look back at it and raise an eyebrow.

The timing of it was deliberate. X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which featured a character that was SUPPOSED to be Deadpool, was about to be released and Day 7 came out on that Friday. It was right before what I like to call the Deadpoolsplosion, where he started appearing all over the place with way too many comics to keep track of. And I think back to the list and all the comics that have come out since then and I wonder how much I’d change the list if given the chance to update it.

Sadly, I wouldn’t change all that much. There really haven’t been too many stellar incidents with him since mid-09. He’s had his moments for sure, but they’re more few and far between than there should be, what with him being all over the place. In fact, for a guy who was once one of my favorite Marvel characters, the only thing I read with him is a team book where he rarely gets shoved into the forefront.

I figured it would be a good time to look at the character’s history and see what went right and what went wrong.

Deadpool made his first appearance in New Mutants #98 in 1990, where he fought Cable and lost. While Fabian Nicieza was the writer, the basic design for the character was an idea of the artist, Rob Liefeld. Liefeld had always wanted to draw Deathstroke the Terminator professionally – something he’d get to do 22 years later at the expense of me caring about what was a fun series – but since Deathstroke was a DC character, he had to make due with a pastiche. We got Wade Wilson instead of Slade Wilson and our awkwardly-drawn villain was born.

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This Week in Panels: Week 145

July 1st, 2012 Posted by Gavok

Hey. My usual crew is with me, as I have Gaijin Dan on lead guitar, Jody on backup vocals, Was Taters on bass guitar, as well as Space Jawa on tamborine.


We’re only a few weeks from Week 150, so I should probably think of something for that. In the meantime, check out that Green Lantern: New Guardians panel for the best/worst one-liner of the week.

All-Star Western #10 (Taters’ pick)
Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, Moritat and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez

All-Star Western #10 (Gavin’s pick)
Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, Moritat and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez

Amazing Spider-Man #688
Dan Slott and Giuseppe Camuncoli

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The Wrestling Fed That Cried Wolf: 7 Reasons Why I Currently Enjoy TNA More Than WWE

July 1st, 2012 Posted by Gavok

Sorry for the lack of updates on my side, especially comic-related. I’m in this weird funk I get in every now and then when I’m writing pieces of different articles all at once and can’t commit to one, meaning I end up doing a whole lot of nothing and there’s no output. Hopefully this will at least get me through it.

A couple months ago, I wrote about the history of pro wrestling and had very little positive to say about Total Non-Stop Action, otherwise known as TNA. Even when they had something cool going for them, they were always washed over with more that was terrible. This got worse when Vince Russo was brought aboard and fell deeper once Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff were given roles in creative.

I tried giving them a chance time after time, especially when they tried to go to war with Raw on Monday nights because if anything, that would be the time when they’d be trying their hardest. Everything was a mess and continued to be a mess and I couldn’t bring myself to watch anymore. Part of the nightmare ended a few months ago when they finally fired Vince Russo. WHY they waited so long to do that when the fans were actually chanting for them to do so for years whenever something stupid happened is beyond me.

Not that they were in the clear. Hogan and Bischoff felt the need to include their children. Brooke Hogan was given an on-air role and Garrett Bischoff was put in a story about becoming a wrestler against his father’s wishes. Brooke can’t act and Garrett can’t wrestle, so this is problematic. At least it gave us former employee Scott Steiner’s Twitter rants, which went on forever until TNA’s legal dudes told him to stop.

Interesting thing happened, though. Over the past couple months or so, the online wrestling circles I spy into haven’t really been complaining about TNA. In fact, they’ve been kind of shrugging it off and pointing out that it’s been pretty good. Great, even! Their last few PPVs have been completely solid and it’s been overall really watchable. Now, on one hand, fool me once, shame on you, etc. On the other hand, WWE has been boring the hell out of me lately, even when they’re giving us a feud based on Daniel Bryan vs. CM Punk with AJ Lee doing a Harley Quinn gimmick in the background. I want to believe that there might be some kind of good mainstream wrestling out there, so I gave the past few weeks a watch.

Hot damn, this actually isn’t bad!

It could be blamed on a lot of things, from what I understand. Russo being gone, for one, as it’s now written by someone who knows that stories are supposed to have beginnings, middles and ends, plus make some semblance of sense. Bischoff has been hands-off lately, meaning that his storyline is forgotten about. For a limited time, the show is live instead of taped, so there’s this overall drive for the performers to do better. I keep hearing that for the first time in years, Samoa Joe is actually motivated! Of course, it could also be blamed on a broken clock being right two times a day. Latter-day WCW had that and WWE tends to have that.

For the moment, not only am I digging TNA, but I’m finding it just plain better than WWE. And I’m not even talking about the talent. Each side has great wrestlers and crap wrestlers. It’s what they do with them that counts.

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