100 Bullets: The Dog

April 21st, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Images from this post from A Foregone Tomorrow, The Counterfifth Detective, and Six Feet Under the Gun.

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100 Bullets: The Wolf

April 20th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Images from First Shot, Last Call, Split Second Chance, Hang Up on the Hang Low, and A Foregone Tomorrow.

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100 Bullets: The Point Man

April 19th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

I keep trying to think of an appropriate goodbye for 100 Bullets.

In the past year, I’ve lost The Wire, The Shield, and Garth Ennis’s Punisher MAX. After this past Wednesday, 100 Bullets is gone, too. That’s four great pieces of crime fiction, or noir, or whatever, gone in just under a year. It sucks, but they all got to tell their story to the very end. 100 Bullets is probably my favorite of the four, or at least it is right now, and I have this driving need to pay homage to it somehow.

An issue-by-issue, or trade-by-trade, retrospective sounds so unbearably pat and boring that I just can’t do it. I wouldn’t get anything out of it, and neither would you. I think instead, I’m going to do something different from what I usually do.

100 Bullets, 100 moments. I’ve said before that many moments from 100 Bullets stick out in my memory. I skimmed through all 100 issues and found 100 moments I thought I’d share.

The twist is that these aren’t going to be your usual scans_daily-style “Aw man that rules look how awesome that dude is there doing that awesome thing.” 100 Bullets excels in that Azzarello’s words, Risso’s art, and Mulvihill’s colors mesh into an amazing thing. They build characters, whether that character is a person or a city or a car. The storytelling comes from an odd angle, whether it’s from above meathooks or beneath a table.

So, here’s the plan. Five days. Twenty moments a day. I say moments, as there are a few that are full pages, but most of these are just single panels. I’ll put links at the top for the trades represented, but no commentary is coming otherwise. Just panels, posted in chronological order, that show the team at work. There will be cursing, maybe some violence, who knows.

Fans feel free to chime in down in the comments. I’m sure that a lot of these will kick up memories for you. On Saturday, I’m going to do my big 100 Bullets post to close out the week. If you don’t know 100 Bullets, this won’t spoil much, if you care about that kind of thing.

Ten new headers are up, too, to commemorate 100 Bullets week. Check out the whole series on Amazon here, and I’ll catch you in the morning.

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First Shot, Last Call.

April 15th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso’s 100 Bullets #100 drops today, and it’s the end of the series. I’m planning on picking my copy after work.

I’m kind of sad about it, but a different kind of sad than I was when I finished the first issue of Flash: Rebirth. Rebirth was a signal that the DC Universe is moving in a direction that is pointedly Not For Me. The end of 100 Bullets is the end of a series that was definitely, 100%, absolutely aimed directly at my temple.

100 Bullets started before I got back into comics, and to be honest, I’m not sure exactly when I started it. I think it’s Thomas Wilde’s fault, and skimming covers and wracking my brain leads me to believe that I began picking it up regularly during the Chill in the Oven arc, mid-2003. I know that I read the first arc, then Counterfifth Detective, and then started over again from the beginning.

Since then, I’ve bought every issue and every trade, something I rarely do. Double-dipping is a sucker’s move, but I dig the series enough that I didn’t mind paying twice. While looking over the covers, I was struck with memories ofa series of moments from the series. The Saddest Thing in the NOLA arc, Cole’s one-shot, the peckerwood joke in Chill in the Oven, the history lesson in issue 50, Lono and Loop’s discussion of the d-spot, Victor Ray indulging himself on a mission by doing the Frank Castle thing, Graves losing it when someone important dies, Dizzy’s ascendance, Lono’s look as he realizes that he killed a friend, the teenage pregnancy drama that plays a background role to Graves telling a mother exactly why her daughter died, Remi Rome going from amazing character to my most hated and back around again, the way that Loop’s dad was Mr. Hughes to the Minutemen, never ‘Curtis.’ Dave Johnson’s amazing covers.

These are just moments in the series. The moments build to the story arcs. Dizzy going from hood rat to high class. Loop learning how to be a man via Graves’ guilt over how Loop’s father was treated. The reconnection and dissolution of the Minutemen once again. The fall of the Trust.

It’s a series I’m very fond of, and was hands-down the best comic of the week each and every time. It’s one that rewards repeat readings, and even readings where you skip all of the words and just take in Eduardo Risso’s art. It made me a believer in Vertigo in a way that Sandman and the rest of the boring fantasy books that’d previously made up the bulk of Vertigo didn’t.

100 Bullets was, for me, a Thing. It’s the only comic I’ve bought for six years straight, month-in, month-out. It was my only mainstay, and now it’s gone. I think the comics world will be poorer without it. I can’t think of a comic I’ve enjoyed as consistently as 100 Bullets. I can’t even think of a creator who’s delivered as consistently as Azz and Risso have.

100 Bullets is The Symphony. It’s talented creators dropping in, doing some amazing work, and dropping out, leaving the track, or the genre, or the industry, or their peers, a drooling and shuddering mess. It’s Wu-Tang Forever, with RZA’s arrogant insistence at the end of Bells of War, halfway through Disc Two, that Wu-Tang Forever is so ahead of its time that “niggas ain’t gonna figure it out til the year Two-G.” It’s Raekwon on The Closing on the same record, explaining that he looks at other emcees and realizes that they’re going to stay garbage because they don’t know any better.

Azzarello and Risso’s 100 Bullets is a challenge. It’s saying, “Look, we did this. This is us. Ante up.”

I’ll be sorry to see it go. I keep thinking that I want to do this big, bang-up, blow-the-doors-off outrospective, but I don’t even know if I know where to start or if I even should. Luckily, Tucker’s got an Off the Shelf for us, and I hope to see Matthew Brady writing about it, too. I really enjoyed his Monster series, though I don’t think I ever remembered to link to it, and I know he’s a fan. I’m curious to see what kind of send-off the best comic book to come out of Time Warner will receive.

100 Bullets is 13 volumes, and pretty cheap on Amazon. You can catch each volume for around ten bucks new, less from a third-party seller. In fact, the first book’s like five bucks right now. Links below. If you haven’t started, you should. I’m not at all exaggerating when I say that it’s easily my favorite comic, and one of the most rewarding I’ve ever picked up. Click here to look at the entire 100 Bullets catalog on Amazon.

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Black History Month ’09 #28: You Can’t Stop Us Now

February 28th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

On Illmatic, Nas breaks off the intro to N.Y. State of Mind to say, “I don’t know how to start this.” There’s a pause, and with a “yo,” he goes on to kick five minutes of sublime lyrics. It’s not a studio gimmick or a punch-in. It’s real life. This little snippet of time, maybe three seconds at most, is Illmatic in miniature. It’s the biography of the young black male: simultaneously brilliant and unsure, arrogant and nervous, full of potential and lacking at the same time.

It’s a line that brings to mind Loop Hughes of 100 Bullets. Before the events of the series, he was the son of a single mother, running with faceless nobodies, and drifting through life. He had a life, but it was half of one. He was going nowhere.

Eventually, he meets his father, thanks to a nudge from Agent Graves, and that puts him on some kind of a road. He absorbs knowledge and experience from his father like a sponge. After his father dies, he learns that his father was respected a great deal by hard men, and he learns another lesson.

Over the course of the series, Loop pays attention to things and keeps learning. He’s trained in prison by a man with no conscience, and when they get out, he’s connected to more men who knew his father. As time goes on, he learns about life and killing. He’s a sponge.

Finally, toward the end of the series, he’s in a situation that is the ultimate mexican standoff. Two of the men involved have no interest in solving it any way but one. Loop sees another solution and takes it, trusting that things will align as they should. And they do. It’s another Illmatic line. “Whose world is this? The world is yours, the world is yours.”

There’s a lot that I like about Loop, and a lot that I can relate to. I know about having a single mother. I know about being aimless. I know about needing a push to reach greatness. I can identify with Loop’s rise over the course of 100 Bullets, because it resembles my own.

Illmatic’s message is, at least in part, about potential. You are sitting at the top of a hill and full of potential energy. You can either waste that energy and fall, or you can spend it and soar. The thing that I, and a lot of people like me, understand is that the potential within me is limitless. The older I get, the more I realize I can do. Everything I’ve ever decided to do, I’ve done and done well. When someone asks me “Whose world is this?” the only appropriate response is “It’s mine, it’s mine, it’s mine.”

At the same time, that arrogance only goes so far. Sometimes you have to sit back and whisper, “I don’t know how to start this.” You start out on the back foot, so you’ve got to worry about how you look to others and make sure that you’re on point. The moment you screw up, you become a statistic, a stereotype, typical, and generally just another reason for people to go “Ugh, I knew it.” There’s that little voice in the back of your head that says that you aren’t good enough, and never will be.

Once you get past that, the world is yours.

Loop’s been on my mind a lot lately, for both the reasons I mention above and the fact that 100 Bullets is about two weeks away from ending as I type. When I went to New York Comic-con, I had a chance to get a sketch from Eduardo Risso, artist of 100 Bullets. I thought about it for a moment and realized that I needed a sketch of Loop. So I got it.

Loop Hughes, by Eduardo Risso

I currently have two things on my wall. One is a page of original art from Darwyn Cooke’s New Frontier, featuring John Henry waking up from being lynched and walking off into the darkness to do what needs to be done. The other is the classic Muhammad Ali poster “First Minute, First Round,” with a triumphant Ali standing over a fallen Sonny Liston. The other is going to be this piece by Risso of Loop.

I’m very picky about what I put up on my walls. It’s got to have some special meaning to me or represent something, rather than just being a hot piece of art. Ali is the arrogance that is necessary, John Henry is about purpose and drive, and Loop is about potential.

It’s 2009. I’m 25 years old, and the world is mine.

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Jubes, Harl, and Diz

February 14th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Jubes, Harl, and Diz

I commissioned this piece from a friend of mine, Adam Rosenlund. I commissioned it because I dig his art and mainly because I was curious. I just told him I wanted Jim Lee-era Jubilee, Harley Quinn, and late-era Dizzy from 100 Bullets in a mall food court and let him go wild.

It’s pretty awesome.

One accidental thing about this– these are basically three of my favorite characters at different points of my life. Jubilee is pre/early teens, Harley is late teens, and Diz is adulthood. Weird, totally unintentional.

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50 Things I Like, with a twist.

August 19th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

The Hembeck Challenge, which I found via blake-reitz.livejournal.com. I think that ADD and some others did this a few years back, too, only those had panels. Here’s mine. Just for fun, each group has a theme. Some are obvious, others are not. Guess them and win a no-prize.

1.) Harley Quinn
2.) Isabel “Dizzy” Cordova
3.) Brubaker/Stewart/Cooke-era Catwoman
4.) 355
5.) Mary Jane Watson
6.) Misty Knight
7.) Colleen Wing
8.) JLA/Superman-era Natasha Irons
9.) Aunt May
10.) Cassandra Cain/Batgirl

11.) Moses Magnum
12.) Brother Voodoo
13.) Princess Zanda
14.) Blade
15.) Glory Grant
16.) Shades & Comanche
17.) Hannibal King
18.) DW Griffifth

19.) Luke Cage
20.) Spider-Man
21.) Black Panther
22.) Hawkeye
23.) Captain America

24.) Captain Marvel
25.) Captan Marvel
26.) Captan Marvel
27.) Mary Marvel
28.) Quasar

29.) Jubilee
30.) Cyclops
31.) Wolverine
32.) Beast
33.) Rogue
34.) Gambit
35.) Psylocke

36.) John Blaze
37.) X-Man
38.) David Banner
39.) Tony Stark

40.) Nat Turner
41.) Percy Carey

42.) Ed Brubaker
43.) Brian Michael Bendis
44.) Frank Miller
45.) Ann Nocenti

46.) Thinkin’ Lincoln
47.) Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
48.) Dr. McNinja
49.) Dinosaur Comics
50.) Kate Beaton

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March 25th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

Guess what I’ve been reading?

Remi Rome from 100 Bullets #87

Content to come. Pardon the placeholder.

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A Few Good Comics

March 14th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

What comics are you reading? Good stuff, I trust. Personally, I have impeccable taste. Okay, maybe not impeccable, or even good, really, but at least I don’t read Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose or Fantagraphics’ porno comics so shut up you pervert. :doom:


I’ve been really enjoying Ed Brubaker lately. Criminal was one of the best comics I’ve seen lately, and is proof positive that the Brubaker/Phillips team is the proverbial bee’s knees. They tell a tragic noir tale full of the usual twists and turns that you’d expect from both Brubaker and films noir, and then hit you with a downer ending that feels oh-so-right. His run on Captain America has revitalized the character and quietly done away with the story-arc focus that Marvel had a while back, when each story was modular. Here, the issues are composed of multi-part arcs, but each arc builds organically into the next. Bru’s first twenty-five issue all tell one story. It’s pretty impressive, and the quality of the work has been ridiculous.

Of course, you can’t talk Brubaker without mentiong Immortal Iron Fist, and therefore Matt Fraction. This book is practically perfect. The story promises us(and delivers) new insights into the Iron Fist lineage and manages to pull off the “long, lost X” angle very well. It nails Danny Rand as a character almost as well as David Aja is nailing the art. There’s a nine-grid in the latest issue, #4 I believe, of Danny flitting around the building that is just a perfect comics page.

Talking about Fraction dovetails into Casanova. I haven’t read the entire series, due to me missing out on two or three issues of the seven issue series, but what I’ve read, I have loved. It’s another nigh-perfect comic, from the words to the art to the back matter. Casanova Quinn is both a sympathetic and alien protagonist, but I love him nonetheless. Casanova, the book, is pure id on the surface, but there’s a scary intelligence working underneath. It’s whip-smart and clever. It wants to fool you even while beckoning to you. It’s passionate, and that may sound a little corny but it’s absolutely true. You can feel the emotion coming off this book. But then, you check out the back matter and you realize that with the things he says and the feel the book gives off that you’re reading an amazing book. It isn’t just id or ego, it is Fraction himself in those pages. There’s an amount of “This is cool, so we’ll do it,” but 90% of that book is about or mirrors Fraction, just like The Invisibles mirrored Morrison.

Kyle Baker’s Nat Turner cannot be praised enough. I’ve got volume one and I’m ordering volume two asap. It’s a tale I remember hearing rarely in school, and then it was always painted as something to skip over in class and unimportant. I’m rather fond of the story myself, and Baker has definitely done it justice.

This is going to sound dumb, but I really like Jimmie Robinson’s Bomb Queen. I picked up the first trade (Woman of Mass Destruction) the other day. On the one hand, its gratuitous nudity, language, and violence are exactly what’s wrong with comics today. On the other, this kind of winking-at-the-reader lowbrow humor just pushes all the right buttons. Jimmie Robinson’s official position is that it is parody, and I can see that at work, too. It’s charming, in a smutty, violent, lewd kind of way. Maybe charming is the wrong word?

Anyway, Bomb Queen tickles that same funny bone that Garth Ennis’s humor work does. Adventures in the Rifle Brigade, for example, is a completely non-serious book with really, really dirty jokes. There’s a bad joke in there about America still being a colony of England is funny just because of the earnest way that Hugo “Khyber” Darcy delivers the line. Plus, it’s a story about the most bungling bunch of soldiers this side of Beetle Bailey going after Hitler’s missing testicle, so how “mature” can it be?

The Authority: Kev cycle of four miniseries is another good example, and it blends a message into all the jokes about poop and people with hideous and/or hilarious facial deformities. How do you find the strength to march to the beat of your own drum? How do you become a better person than what you are? Kev, More Kev, The Magnificent Kevin, and A Man Called Kev almost all explore this while doing Ennis’s usual “Superheroes are jerks” and “guns are awesome” stuff. The first three minis are collected in two trades. Hopefully A Man Called Kev will hit soon, as it’s easily the best of the lot.

Speaking of Ennis, though, I finally own my most favorite of his stories. It even beats out Punisher MAX, which is quite a feat. It’s 303, the book he did out of Avatar with Jacen Burrows. It is about one man, empires, wars, costs of wars, and what it means to be a man. It is, of course, in Ennis’s He-Man, War is Interesting, Guns are Awesome, Mind the Gore, Luv mode. Quite a lot of people die. The story has a point, though, as one man begins a trek for, if not revenge, honor, armed with his 303 Lee-Enfield rifle. 303 says a lot about war and the effect it has on later generations. It talks about how history chews up and spits out people. I should stop now, as I kind of want to do a dedicated post to this book later on this week. Suffice to say that it is one of Ennis’s best works. If you’re an X-Men fan, it’s everything Wolverine ever said about duty and honor but failed to deliver on. It’s played completely straight, too. No jokes, no maimings, just drama. Well done.

I’m slowly making my way through Sequart.com’s Modern Master: Grant Morrison: The Early Years. It covers Zenith through Doom Patrol, I believe, and it is pretty fascinating. I already knew a lot of it, but it’s neat to see someone else’s perspective on the same things. I’m making my way through the Animal Man section at the moment. Lit-crit applied to comics is so cool in such a nerdy way!

100 Bullets, Loveless, and Tales of the Unexpected are all obvious favorites, too. Loveless is building suspense, and genuine suspense at that, something that is rarely seen in comics. Things are heating up to a fever pitch, and Atticus, Ruth, and Wes are going to go from knee-deep in it to neck-deep in blood in only a few short issues. I can feel it. The Dr. 13 special in Tales is in a book that features Dave Lapham and Brian Azzarello both writing, which was sure to get my attention, but it’s so much better than I expected. I’d never heard of any of these characters before, save for Dr. 13, but he’s written a story that is both continuity porn and its polar opposite. I don’t have to know anything about these guys, since everything I need to know is there. Frankly, I thought he was making people up for the first few parts. I, Vampire? Infectious Lass? Seriously?

On a more sour note, Incredible Hulk‘s Planet Hulk is starting to lose me, I fear, which does not bode well for World War Hulk. I just kind of stopped caring about what happens to that planet. I’ll be mighty glad when these events are over and done with, but I do hope that WWH at least delivers on its premise.

What’re you into?

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Indie Cred

March 1st, 2007 Posted by david brothers

I did a lot of purchasing at the NYCC. Oh man, did I. Curious? Here’s the list of what I came home with that was new, not counting magazines (Wizard with Claire and Nikki from Heroes on the cover, UVC Magazine) and sketches.

40 oz Collection – Jim Mahfood
Ares: God of War – Mike Oeming/Travel Foreman
Batgirl: Destruction’s Daughter
The Blvd Sketchbook volume 2.0 – John Paul Leon/Trevor Goring/Tommy Lee Edwards/Sean Chen/Bernard Chang
Diesel Sweeties: Pocket Sweeties Volume One – R Stevens
Diesel Sweeties: How I Blew My Thursday Night – R Stevens
DMZ v2: Body of a Journalist – Brian Wood/Riccardo Burchielli
Firestorm: The Nuclear Man: Reborn – Stuart Moore/Jamal Igle
The Five Fists of Science – Matt Fraction/Steven Sanders
Freddie E Williams II Sketchbook
Ghost Rider – Howard Mackie/Javier Saltares/Mark Texeira
Goats – Contains One Space Battle – Jonathan Rosenberg
Goats – A Tale of Two Comics – Jonathan Rosenberg
Grant Morrison: The Early Years – Timothy Callahan
JLA/Avengers – Kurt Busiek/George Perez
Justice League: A New Beginning – Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire
Kabuki Metamorphosis HC – David Mack
Khary Randolph Sketchbook
Modern Masters v3: Bruce Timm
Modern Masters v6: Arthur Adams
Modern Masters v8: Walter Simonson
Modern Masters v9: Mike Wieringo
Modern Masters v10: Kevin Maguire
Naoki Urasawa’s Monster v7
Nat Turner Encore Edition – Kyle Baker
One Page Filler Man – Jim Mahfood
Project Romantic – Various
Puttin’ the Backbone Back – Jim Mahfood
Runaways HC v2 – Brian K Vaughan/Adrian Alphona/Takeshi Miyazawa
Wigu: The Bravest Boy in the World – Jeffrey Rowland

Ouch, my wallet. Cons are bloody expensive.

I’ve already read Blokhedz, and a review on that is forthcoming. That Ghost Rider trade is the first seven or eight issues of the series that introduced Danny Ketch, and I bought it because I either have bad taste in comics or am a complete and utter masochist. Or maybe it’s good, I dunno. Kabuki: Metamorphosis rounds out my Kabuki collection, which is a good thing.

The Grant Morrison volume is a lit-crit look at Zenith, Animal Man, Doom Patrol, and Arkham Asylum. Yes! It also includes an interview with The God of All Comics in the back about the book and his work.

I got a little more superheroic stuff than I really wanted to. I’m not only a superhero reader. At least two fifths, and sometimes even three fifths, of my top five are non-supers. (100 Bullets, Kabuki, Stray Bullets.) (I also like bullets, I guess). Still, seven out of thirty-one ain’t bad, though the Modern Masters volumes technically aren’t comics. I also haven’t read a lot of this stuff, or haven’t read it in years at the very least. It’s probably 85-90% new content to me.

Here’s the kicker: I’m planning on reviewing all these books. Yeah, that’s right. It may be a grouped review, it may be a single review, but I want to put my thoughts out there about all of them, excepting only the Modern Masters because those are awesome by default, and the sketchbooks, because they aren’t exactly reviewable, save for the one by The Blvd.

I’ve also got the PC demo of the Marvel Trading Card game to look at, as well as a free copy of the Marvel Comic Book Creator software. Should be an interesting few weeks!

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