h1

Friday Fun Linkblogging

April 30th, 2010 Posted by david brothers

The Boondocks returns on Sunday :) I don’t have cable, so I can’t watch it live, but please believe I’m excited. On to the links!

-Paul DeBenedetto and Marc-Oliver Frisch take me to task for my Death to Canon post the other day. They raise some good points. I do want to say, as a meager defense, that I don’t hate the idea of the narrative, I just hate that perfectly good tales don’t get read because they aren’t important. That’s silly to me. I think we should treat all stories with the same level of importance. That was the point of the Spider-Man Noir vs Amazing Spider-Man comparison. I should have expressed that better. You should definitely read their posts, though. They say a lot of good things.

-Tucker Stone talks about comics, ads, and audiences.

-Nina Stone serves up a good review of American Vampire, a series I have been enjoying much, much more than I expected to. I’m hoping Vertigo’s got another hit on its hands, because I want to see this one continue. That’s a good review there, you can see exactly what she likes about it.

-Kate Dacey’s Manga Critic turned one! Kate’s great.

-Look at this lady talking like an idiot in public! Let Obama define himself, stay up out of his business.

-Music video!


Lupe Fiasco – I’m Beaming

-Pac Div’s new mixtape is heat rocks. It’s free music. Go on ahead and get that.

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

h1

Klock On the Lameness of the Mainstream

December 8th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Geoff Klock has a bit on the Callahan/Nevett Splash Page I mentioned and briefly remarked on yesterday.

Between the ages of 15 and 20 I read all the X-Men books for five years — right after Claremont left: Age of Apocalypse, and Generation X and Onslaught, and Stryfe. Then I matured by moving beyond the brand and to the writers. I was in a new decade and the shift made sense. Suddenly I did not care who the hero was: I wanted Morrison's JLA, Miller's Batman and anything by Alan Moore. And I just couldn't invest in the X-Men like I used to.

Good reading. I’m going to have to move my response up a bit, I think, because suddenly it is relevant!

Related: Tucker and Jog totally made out on top of a pile of comic books.

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

h1

Free.99 Monday Linkblogging

December 7th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Free things are awesome, yes? I think so, anyway. Here are some free things that you should check out and enjoy.

-Charlie Huston has more free books for you. This time, it’s the first Joe Pitt casebook, Already Dead. I recently finished the last book in this series, and overall I’m pretty pleased.

It’s available in several formats, all for free, so fire up the ebook reader and get to getting. It’s vampire fiction for people who like it bloody, pulpy, and vulgar, so hey. Get some.

-Takehiko Inoue, creator of Vagabond (my current obsession), has done two basketball manga: Slam Dunk and Real.

No, that isn’t true. He’s done three. Buzzer Beater is online-only, released during a time when people said “World Wide Web,” drawn left-to-right, and in (sometimes garish) computer color. It’s also free. Check the characters here, then click here to begin the first chapter.

It’s a weird basketball manga, and aliens are treated very matter of factly, but it’s pretty enjoyable. I read half of it in one burst and the other half in one sitting, so it’s also pretty gripping. It may have been my first sports manga, because I doubt that Hikaru no Go counts as sports. The story is incomplete, but ends on a note that could easily be a real ending, rather than a cliffhanger.

-Metal Gear Solid is almost definitely my favorite non-Madden game franchise. I love the way that Kojima came up with this amazing story and groundbreaking gameplay, and then wrapped it all up in bizarre plot twists, baffling storytelling decisions, and a thick film of “This is art, that is why this is happening, do you get it?”

And I mean, I love it all unironically and unconditionally. MGS horrifically flawed and amazingly self-indulgent, but it’s given me four games that were some of my favorite gameplay experiences.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have a sense of humor about it all, though. That sense of humor got a workout when a friend pointed me to livejournal user hiimdaisy and her Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater strips. She’s gone through the whole series, so here are some links to posts that are simultaneously huge and hilarious:

MGS: one, two, three, four
MGS2: one, two, three, four
MGS3: one, two, three, four
MGS Portable Ops: one

There are ones for other games (incuding Persona 4!), so poke around the LJ a little bit. All are pretty much hilarious.

-Tim Callahan and Chad Nevett are back with their Splash Page. This time, the question is, “Are Mainstream Comics Increasingly Lame, or is it Just Us?” Parts one and two.

My answer? They’re increasingly lame. DC needed ugly plastic rings to move units and Marvel’s digging this heinous villain hole even deeper and wrecking believability in the process. When your Top Dog Villain kills sixty-thousand people just to get his way, you’re probably a little too extreme, possibly bordering on unbelievably dumb. But hey, keep sliding those colorforms around on the page. Rake in that money.

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

h1

I Got My Uzi Back Linkblogging

December 1st, 2009 Posted by david brothers

-I liked this post by Euge of War Rocket Ajax. It’s not about comics- instead it’s about the Clipse and their place in rap culture. Preorder Til The Casket Drops here, ten bones. It leaked this weekend, it’s dope, get on that.

-I talk about The ‘Nam Volume 1 TPB and a little bit about war comics history over at Comics Alliance.

-Tom Spurgeon wrote a holiday gift guide. Everyone else should just go ahead and bow down, this is extra thorough.

-Matt Thorn discusses manga translation and man, I pretty much agree with him. I’ve had my issues with overly faithful translations, and he does a pretty good job of explaining why. I think approaching a translation project as simply transplanting the language word for word is a huge mistake. There’s something exoticizing about that, too, which makes me a little uncomfortable.

-This shirt is dope.

-Nina Stone’s Virgin Read is no more!

-Look at all these Marvel characters Kurt Busiek co-created!

-Brandon Thomas wraps his New X-Men retrospective.

-Timothy Callahan is basically correct in his look back at Dark Knight Strikes Again.

-Jog talks about manga and Manga. Good thing to wake up to.

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

h1

Comic Book Survey

November 24th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Heidi MacDonald has the details on a new survey for comics readers, masterminded by Megan Milliken. A bit of cut-n-paste:

I am a University of Chicago graduate student conducting research on comic book readership. I’m interested in demographic trends of comic book readers as well as the medium’s effect on readers’ consumption of other cultural goods and participation in civic activities. I’m motivated to do this research first and foremost because I am an avid comic book fan who has derived a great deal of pleasure and inspiration from both the content itself and the community. I’m interested in how comic books have impacted readers and hope to see what it is about a comic book that keeps a reader coming back month after month. That said I have two surveys (the first is for under 18 respondents, and the other is for respondents that are 18 and over) that I have assembled. It is intended for comic book readers as well as non-comic book readers as I would like to compare responses between these two groups (so please pass it along to the norms as well).

If you’re 18 and over, click here. If you’re not 18, learn to speak when spoken to and click this one. There’s nothing NSFW in the 18+ one– I took it and it had questions about salary and education. I assume the 18 and under one asks about toys or Justin Timberlake or whatever.

One major minor quibble: manga’s been around in the US since the ’80s, at this point. There have been several fairly high profile releases. One of the best comics out in the US this year is from Japan.

Can we stop pretending that manga is a genre? Over the past six months, I’ve bought 1800 pages of historical fiction manga (Vagabond), 600 pages of science fiction manga (20th Century Boys), and 400 pages of slice of life manga (Yotsuba&!). The only thing those books have in common is country of origin and format.

Manga = comics, I don’t know how to put it plainer than that. The differences between Japanese manga and American comics, at this point, are semantic at best.

Manga = comics. Treat it like that.

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

h1

“I have a few problems, the comic is fine.”

November 20th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Tucker Stone, the hands down nicest guy in comics, takes on last month’s books in Advanced Common Sense Episode 6 on comiXology. Click through to see what he has to say, or just press play below. Who knew last month was so awesome?

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

h1

Food for thought, you do the dishes.

November 19th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Real life buddy Sonia Harris wrote a piece on ten implausible things in comics that I really dug. A sample:

Why can’t you see her food, when she’s just eaten, before it’s digested?
This has always confounded me. As far as I remember, in the Invisible Man, you could see his food, until it was absorbed by his body. That seems logical to me. However, no one talks about Susan Storm’s food, or being able to see it.

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

h1

Put You On Game Linkblogging

October 6th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

-Emi Lenox of EmiTown creates one of my favorite online comics, and one of the few journal comics I’m willing to read on a regular basis. Her art is very endearing, and her point of view is always interesting. She did a comic in 24 hours in honor of 24 Hour Comic Day, and it’s a good one. Check out the comic here. It’s pretty awesome.

-Jason Thompson discusses Felipe Smith’s Peepo Choo, which looks like exactly the kind of manga I want to read. I may order Smith’s MBQ just off the strength of this feature.

-Chad Nevett, once again proving that my opinions are the best opinions, agrees with my unspoken opinion that the first half of Hancock was very good and interesting and that the second half goes completely off the rails. He’s got some good thoughts on the movie, and Hancock’s motivations.

-Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca are dropping an Afrodisiac book later this year. You have bad taste in comics if you don’t pick it up.

-Kate Dacey dropped her Manga Hall of Shame, a list of terrible books that she’s read. In what I hope is the first of many, Erica Friedman does her own list for yuri manga. I don’t know if I could make a list of my own. Maybe the Cowboy Bebop mangas, which were both amazingly not charming at all? The Gundam tie-in manga that Tokyopop put out when I was dumb enough to buy every manga on the shelves?

-Leylaaker (apologies if I missed a real name) writes about a pretty sour experience visiting comic shops on both coasts. Dear comic shops: get your acts together. Comic Shop Guy should be an aberration, not the norm.

-Ian from The Eastern Edge posts the final part of his six part Naoki Urasawa interview translation project. It’s a good read, and links to the previous installments are in the post.

-Brandon Graham’s blog is a must-read, though it’s sometimes NSFW. He renewed my eternal love in this post and with these words: “Where did that L7 square, space wingtip wearing motherfucker ever come up with the feet for that robot? Those feet were clearly designed by someone that regularly mastrerbates into a pair of 93 Reebocks.”

-Jog wrote a wrap-up of SPX 2009, and as usual, it’s must-reading. It ranges from a look at old Mazzucchelli art to panel recaps to books he picked up at the show.

-FBB did a podcast on Frank Miller and Dave Gibbons’s Martha Washington books. I haven’t listened to it yet, but black people.

-A brief bit of Richard Corben animation from 1968. NSFW, but guess what: it’s Richard Corben. Props to Sean Witzke for the link.

-Cheryl Lynn is reading a couple comics on recommendation from Ragnell and David Uzumeri. Which did they recommend? Tarot and Fantastic Four. Prologue is up, and part 2 covers Tarot.

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

h1

On Obligatory Critical Discourse

October 5th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

When the topic of “feeling obligated to contribute to the critical discourse” came up during the SPX 2009 Critics’ Roundtable, I rolled my eyes a little. If you’re feeling obligated, you’re doing it wrong and you should probably chill out a little. However, discourse that occurs organically, out of respect for the work or the emotions it caused in you, is a great thing. It’s nothing you can force into being.

Two of my favorite bloggers are Tucker Stone and Matthew J Brady. Maybe it’s because we share sensibilities. Maybe it was that night we had to bury a body in Juarez. Whatever the reason, I tend to enjoy reading what these two guys come up with, even if I don’t agree.

Critical discourse is what happened when all three of us reviewed Pluto at different points in time, from different perspectives, and found different things to enjoy about it. Matthew recently posted a review that praises the emotional investment Urasawa instills in his readers by way of some well-executed facial expressions and pacing. Tucker juxtaposed it with the maturation of American comics, or rather the immaturatization, kind of like I did a while back. At the same time, I fell in love with the fact that one of the central conceits in the book, whether or not robots count as human, is a smokescreen, a purely surface level reading that is quickly proven to be a falsehood.

You can read Pluto’s first volume and get everything you need out of the series. It could be that robots can be people. It can be that Urasawa is a master artist. It can also be that Pluto approaches comics for adults in a way that American comics generally don’t. Compare the treatment of death in Blackest Night, DC’s All-Zombies All-Death All-the-time crossover and in Pluto 1-3. Look at which one treats death like it matters, and which treats death as overwrought melodrama. (Blackest Night is a bad crossover full of bad comics.)

All three of our takes are valid interpretations and all three are ripe for discussion. What’s nice is that I don’t think any of this came about because we felt like Someone Had To Discuss Pluto. We weren’t trying to prove that we’re real critics, or writers, or whatever, by contributing opinions because we felt like we had to. That’s a stupid and self-centered way to approach things. “I’m smart, smart people do this, so let me do this, too, to show that I am smart.”

Post-script: Tucker was right when he said that Pluto “is better than you heard it was.”

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

h1

Not Blog X Survived the Experience

August 16th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

G. Kendall made it through all of the ’90s X-Men books. NBX has been one of my favorite comics blogs since I first found it. I’ve loved looking back at all these dusty old stories and reading about ones I missed after I quit comics. It was a great idea for a blog, I think.

His long assessment of the quality of ’90s X-Men is probably true, too. Well worth a read.

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