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Hot Wondercon News

April 3rd, 2010 Posted by david brothers

Just so you know, Comics Alliance is the place to go for hot off the presses Wondercon news. Two bits of note for Friday:

Greg Rucka is done at DC Comics and his Batwoman? Well, y’all are gonna be waiting a while. I have more details in the link.

-Frank Miller and Jim Lee’s All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder is back on track. It hits again in February 2011 under the name Dark Knight: Boy Wonder, a six-issue miniseries. I can’t even front, that news is super exciting. I can’t wait to see more of Miller/Lee’s take of the Dark Knight universe. Grant Morrison has faltered for me, due in part to the on and off art, and Dini is writing the kind of comic book you use to break up weed on. Miller/Lee’s ASBAR was like a chilled shot of vodka– something bracing and surprising, and something that’ll rock your world when you least expect it.

More on that later, though. Stay tuned, true believer :)

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Rucka x Southworth: Stumptown #1

November 4th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth’s Stumptown opens with two gunshots and ends with a revelation. What lies between those pages are clever world and character-building, a problem to be solved, the introduction of multiple threats to Dex, our heroine, a couple of reveals, and an all-around fine grasp of craft.

Stumptown feels like Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’s Criminal. Not in tone, of course, since Criminal is positively lurid at times, but in a more nebulous way. It feels like a book these guys are doing because they believe in it and enjoy it, rather than being paid by someone else to tell new stories about old characters. Though I will say that the lettering does remind me of Criminal, with its ragged edges and raw look.

Rather than resembling Criminal‘s “No way out but the hard way out” world, Stumptown feels much more like a Chandler novel, and Dex fits an oft-quoted Chandler piece:

The detective in this kind of story must be such a man. He is the hero; he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor — by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world.

Dex is flawed (she gambles), but she is also honest and caring and a woman of honor, as we see over the 35 pages of Stumptown. When confronted with someone who is scared, she reacts in a way that a hero should. Dex is just a little offbeat enough to seem real.

The characters Dex encounters in the book show that she’s been around for a while. It paints a picture of a shared history without being overbearing or too cute about it. Ansel, her brother, is well known around town, and many characters express concern about his welfare. It actually comes off a little like they don’t quite trust Dex all the way and want to be sure that she’s actually taking care of business. I like that Rucka left it open enough to give us some wiggle room to figure these things out.

The art’s good. Not great, but good. It’s pretty raw and scratchy, and reminds me quite a bit of Michael Gaydos. Southworth excels at conversation scenes and the use of space, giving Stumptown a very tense and claustrophobic feel. Places look and feel real. There’s a wide shot on a rich man’s house that looks excellent. However, Southworth’s not so great on action scenes, though those are few and far between in this issue. The scenes look a little too stiff, a little too posed, for my tastes.

I really like Southworth’s willingness to let the character’s faces do the acting. A crinkled eyebrow, slumped shoulders, and a sheepish smile go a very long way with me. My hands-down favorite panel in the book is the one where a character steps back into a doorway after leaving a room and places both hands on the doorframe. It speaks volumes.

Stumptown #1: it’s a good read and a good start to the series, with an engaging script by Rucka and solid art by Southworth. I could go for a more kinetic feel to the action sequences, but this doesn’t seem like that kind of book so far. If you like the feel of Gotham Central or Alias, this is basically what you’ve been waiting for since both of those were cancelled. Fans of Criminal should also be pleased, though this one’s on the opposite side of the law.

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Fourcast! 14: The Girlcast

August 31st, 2009 Posted by david brothers

14-notes

(yeah, i don’t even know. we talk about girls and women and things in an extra-special almost-hour long show this time around. save me from myself by subscribing on itunes or straight up RSS.

apologies to jack kirby.)

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Jog on Batwoman

June 25th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

As usual, Jog did it better than I was going to:

Almost every ‘superhero’ page in this comic is like that, often crashing across double spreads for maximum exhibitionism. It’s not enough for Batwoman to take on a gang of villains; inset panels must transform into red-tinted lightning bolts raining from the sky. Perversely, it’s not a quick read at all, since these vainglorious layout do everything to grab your attention as soon as you turn the page and force you to linger on their contours, even as, say, a panel of Batwoman getting into costume is shaped as an arrow, guiding you to the next image in a way that draws screaming attention to the obvious act of reading in sequence.

I may have some thoughts later, but I enjoyed Batwoman’s first issue.

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Batwoman: Greg Rucka x IGN

June 12th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

IGN interviewed Greg Rucka about the upcoming Batwoman feature in Detective Comics. There are a couple of things I wanted to pull out and call attention to.

You know, nobody wants to read, and we certainly didn’t want to write an after school special. But as you’ll see in the origin, there is a moment when she has to pay a huge price for the fact that she is gay. She has to sacrifice something of incredible value to her just to be true to herself.

Ten bucks says that she falls victim to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. The concept art mentions a military background, and Rucka emphasizes that she isn’t Batwoman for the same reasons as Batman. Say if she were driven to serve, and it was something she truly believed in, and she was bounced out of the military? She gets back to Gotham, does the alcoholic thing for a while, and suits up, because she’s going to help people one way or another. Sound plausible?

But she is the first mainstream superhero who starts out of the box gay. And arguably she’s going to be the most prominent gay superhero.

What definition of mainstream is Rucka using here? There were a few characters in X-Statix a few years ago, and fifteen years ago we had what’s probably the best gay couple in comics– Donner & Blitzen, from Milestone’s Shadow Cabinet and Heroes.

Milestone isn’t obscure– it was published in cooperation with DC Comics, is fondly remembered by many, and sales don’t appear to have been too bad up until it closed its doors. What’s up with that?

As an aside– I don’t know if you noticed this, but IGN managed to misspell Renee Montoya’s name throughout the interview. Good going, guys. Way to, I don’t know, keep up the high standards.

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Batwoman Confirmed

June 15th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

The “Will they? Won’t they?” over Batwoman is basically over. Todd Klein (accidentally?) confirmed it on his revamped Current Projects page.

Rucka on words, JH Williams III on art, Todd Klein on letters.

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Funnybook Babylon » Secrets of the 52 Breakdowns

May 10th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

My homey David Uzumeri has a very good (and plausible!) look at who wrote what for 52. A brief excerpt:

I’ve been hiding this in my back pocket for a while, since I didn’t want to jinx DC putting up more of Keith Giffen’s breakdowns. One of the most hotly-debated topics in the creation of 52 was very simple: Who wrote what? The writers, and DC, have been very cagey about providing answers… but it turns out they were there all along.

So, I’ve been looking at Keith Giffen’s breakdowns on 52thecomic.com, and I noticed that different scenes have different font and numbering styles on the cues (like “13 BOOSTER:” as opposed to just “BOOSTER:” in a different font) in different scenes. So I took a look at it, and it seemed kind of obvious that the different writers use different cues.

Geoff Johns: Times New Roman, “1. CHARACTER”
Greg Rucka: Times New Roman, “1 CHARACTER”
Grant Morrison: Arial, “CHARACTER”
Mark Waid: Courier? (a typerwriteresque font), “1 CHARACTER”

This is what I came up with. The final tally:

You’ll have to visit Funnybook Babylon for the final tally, I’m afraid. I can’t ruin all their fun.

I guess this’ll fuel your “I knew Grant Morrison/Geoff Johns wrote all those parts I didn’t like!” arguments, huh?

Pardon the short post, but a Brothers is packing up boxes like mad. After I’m done, I’ll definitely have something interesting/nerdy/horrible for you, though.

Tangent: I just got hit with a summary of what’s been going on in New X-Men recently and it easily sounds like Marvel’s worst book. They went from nice, kid-friendly but still quality stories to all but three of the original team being killed, kids being tortured, and all this crap?

Plus, Prodigy is dead and I am not happy!

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DC Solicitations, November 2006

August 22nd, 2006 Posted by david brothers

You can find the list, plus covers, over at Newsarama.

My commentary on the interesting books lies after the jump, and I’ve included the solicit text for them, too!
Read the rest of this entry �

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Redefining the Bat-Pole

June 1st, 2006 Posted by Wanderer

I’m kind of annoyed by the new Batwoman, and honestly, it isn’t her fault. Having a lesbian superheroine running around the Bat-branded corner of the DCU isn’t a big deal, although I suspect it’s going to lead to some pretty laughable stories unless Greg Rucka writes them.

What gets me about it is, simply, that whole “sneaking minorities in” aspect that’s running around both of the big two comic book companies. The new Atom’s Asian; the new Batwoman’s a lesbian; the new Blue Beetle’s Hispanic; and so on, and so forth. It seems less like expanding the broad tapestry of racial whatevers and more like blatant tokenism, allowing minorities to join the party but only if they emulate white heroes.

I suppose it’s sort of misguidedly good, because at least they’re there, but it’s always seemed condescending to me somehow. Is it just me?

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