This Week in Panels: Week 7

November 8th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

Time for another installment of TWiP. Or should we call it ThWiP? That makes it a comic pun. Whatever. Reader Solenna had us include a panel of Psylocke #1 to show that according to her, the comic can be summed up with “sphere boobs”.

Batman Confidential #36
Royal McGraw and Marcos Marz

The Boys #36
Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson

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This Week in Panels: Week 2

October 4th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

Back for another week of panels that give you a vague essence of the comics we have read this week without any real context. Let the non-reviews begin!

Amazing Spider-Man #607
Joe Kelly, Mike McKone and Adriana Melo

The Boys: Herogasm #5
Garth Ennis, John McCrea and Keith Burns

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This Week in Panels: Week 1

September 27th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

This is a new idea I decided to play around with. Rather than write up reviews of every little thing we read every week, we would simply try to get our point across via This Week in Panels. Each week, the collective of 4th Letter would post panels from various comics that have come out that we’ve read. Good or bad, we’ll try to portray them through one panel and let you draw your own conclusions. No gigantic spoilers or anything like that. Just an attempt to show you the essence of what the comic is all about.

Hopefully Esther starts responding to my emails so we can have more DC representation.

Amazing Spider-Man #606
Joe Kelly and Mike McKone

Blackest Night: Superman #2
James Robinson and Eddy Barrows

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Awakening Answers: An Interview with Zombie Comic Writer Nick Tapalansky

September 23rd, 2009 Posted by Gavok

About a year and a half ago, I got into a comic called Awakening, written by Nick Tapalansky and drawn by Alex Eckman-Lawn. Released by Archaia, the dark zombie mystery of a title had me interested for the first three issues, but then… nothing. The series went on hiatus for the longest time, only for it to finally resurface.

Did it resurface as #4? No, even better. Recently, a hardcover collection has been released, featuring the first half of the planned ten-issue series. It’s good stuff and is a good read for the upcoming October mood.

I invited writer Nick Tapalansky to an interview. He was gracious enough to both answer my questions and not hit me.

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The Top 70 Deadpool Moments Day 5: Enjoy Some Madness for a While

April 30th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

Welp. Thirty more to go. Let’s do this!

30) Submissive Blind Al
Deadpool #15-17 (1998)
Writer: Joe Kelly

Deadpool’s relationship with Blind Al is completely weird, but it goes from being wacky on the outside to disturbing on the inside. Despite being Deadpool’s prisoner and a victim of plenty of abuse, we see the Wade/Al dynamic as little more than slapstick. It’s shown to be so cartoony that we aren’t even supposed to care that Deadpool – for whatever impaired reason – has an old woman held in his house against her will.

The seriousness doesn’t truly show itself until Deadpool’s breakdown, which as some of you can figure, is going to be popping up later on the list. The short of it is that Deadpool did some horrible stuff to Blind Al and we got a better scope of the dark history of their relationship. After a couple issues, Deadpool gets over what he’s done and tries to sweep it under the rug, much like he handles many of his mistakes, but Blind Al won’t let him.

Deadpool comes home from his latest meeting with LL&L, high off of his good guy potential, only to find that Al has cooked and cleaned. She closes the door to her room, saying nothing more than, “Good night… master.” Deadpool remembers how much of a tool he’s been.

He tries what he can to get a rise out of her and maybe get her to joke around like they used to, but all she does is act completely submissive to everything he says. She acts like his servant and refers to him as the master and herself as the prisoner. He knows he has to apologize, but like the Fonz, he just can’t bring himself to saying he was wrong.

Jayce Russel also loved this whole bit.

The entire situation with Blind Al is just full of awesome bits, but issue #17, the scene that starts with, “Will you shut up and talk back to me already?!,” and the two pages that follow of Blind Al beginning her elaborate plan to attack Deadpool with kindness kills my ass. The neatly hung Deadpool outfits, the alphabetized ammunition, the grating way she drops “master” in constantly, they’re all the slap in the face that Pool spent the whole series working his way towards. I honestly might prefer Al to DP, and this is one of those moments that explain it. The way an old blind lady gets under the skin of one of the world’s best mercenaries is well-written, amusing and, maybe most of all, kinda tugs at the heart. She obviously thinks somewhat fondly of Deadpool, or she’d not bother with trying to save him, and watching him stubbornly trudge past all hope for redemption until almost the bitter end? Now that’s a motherfucker.

When Deadpool receives Montgomery’s predictions on the future, he’s seemingly inspired to do the right thing. Al hears Deadpool hammering on a wall and finds that he’s been boarding up the Box – the room he’d use to torture Al – and that he genuinely is sorry for what he’s put her through lately. She snaps out of her ruse and embraces him, saying that this is a good start towards forgiveness. Deadpool tries to grant her freedom from this life he’s forced her into, but he’s cut off when Ajax teleports him away.

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Let’s Not.

January 13th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Here’s a question*. Do you think that people who are interested in reading Vixen: Return of the Lion, with words by G Willow Wilson and pictures by CAFU, care about this?

The correct answer is no.

Vixen is a series that is a repositioning of a recently reintroduced Justice League character who hasn’t appeared regularly for years. Batman appears on a few pages out of the issue as a guest star on a rescue mission. There’s no mention of his troubles in RIP– he’s just Guest Star Batman. Guest Star Superman, Guest Star Red Arrow (ugh), Guest Star Black Canary, and Guest Star Black Lightning round out the cast.

No one cares about Batman RIP because it doesn’t matter in the context of Vixen. How about we kill this continuity spider-web stuff and just stick to the shared universe approach? “Hey, it’s Batman! I like Batman, and even though he is currently Jean Paul Valley in his ongoing comic, I’m not enough of an anal-retentive OCD nerd to care!”

I’m not saying that you should never acknowledge things… but use some discretion. It’s worthless here.
On the flip side, this is kind of hilarious. One of my favorite things about Marvel is that they don’t throw anything at the wall to see what sticks– they throw everything.

For those of you who don’t know, Midnight Sons was Marvel’s ’90s supernatural line. Morbius, Blade, Hannibal King, Frank Drake, Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze, Vengeance, and Marvel’s other supernatural characters were in a supergroup, or loose affiliation to this supergroup, called the Midnight Sons. They fought vampires, satanist mummy people, demons, Mephisto, and whatever other vaguely supernatural enemies decided to come calling. They were about as edgy as you’d expect, too. The satanist mummy chick had her pentagram on her right breast, for example.

Anyway, it’s the kind of idea that you’d never expect to make a comeback, but so far we’ve said that for Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Bucky, Hellcat, Captain Marvel, Moon Knight, and so on- you get the picture. Marvel has a habit of revitalizing their b, c, d, and z-list in a way that’s either genuinely entertaining or entertaining on a curiosity level, at least temporarily.

I can’t promise it’ll be good, but it’s almost sure to be more interesting than the latest Superman origin re-telling.

*This question takes place after Secret Six Discussion, but before Weapons of Mass Destruction.

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I Know My Word Doesn’t Mean Much…

January 10th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

This week gave us the final issue of Marvel Zombies 3, written by Fred Van Lente with art by Kev Walker. Despite the history of the series, I still have to say… this is totally worth reading.

I’m not joking. It’s actually really fun.

The first Marvel Zombies was decent. Not great, but it was a good enough read just because Kirkman had so many toys to play with. He had an entire universe to desecrate as he saw fit. Marvel Zombies: Dead Days was a boring disaster of a prequel that barely answered any of the questions brought up in Marvel Zombies. Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness was better than it had any right to be. And Marvel Zombies 2? Oy.

With Marvel Zombies 2, Kirkman had done away with all of his unending potential, replaced with five issues of writing himself into a corner. I enjoy Kirkman’s work, so I stuck with it just to see where it was leading, but the ending was underwhelming as hell. Finally, even I was done with the series.

Thomas Wilde suggested I give Marvel Zombies 3 a shot based on the first issue. I’m glad I took him up on that. They’ve moved in a very different direction that brings back the potential for fun and over-the-top stories of mayhem. How? By bringing it into Marvel 616.

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Discounts for Your Holiday Shopping Needs

November 21st, 2007 Posted by Gavok

I’ve worked at Barnes and Noble for a little over two years and we’re getting ready for yet another painful holiday season. More customers = higher potential for people with something completely wrong with them.

I think it was on the Something Awful forums, but I remember someone once complaining about how B&N never discounts graphic novels ever. I had to think it over for a second, but the guy was right. In all the time working there, I don’t remember a single sale for anything graphic novel related, except possibly Alex Ross’ Mythology.

Maybe it says something about the industry’s success, but that’s changed a lot. Back during October, the hardcover trade for Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness went 20% off. That’s an interesting precedent, considering despite the many, many copies sold of Marvel Zombies (at least in my store), even to the point of the warehouses being out of copies, it always remained list price.

As of today, there is a pretty impressive amount of discounted comic titles. I’m pretty certain this counts for every B&N. Off the top of my head:

– Heroes Volume 1
– Black Dossier
– Gunslinger Born
– Jodi Picoult’s Wonder Woman
– 300
– Absolute Sandman Volume 2
– Shooting War
– Marvel Encyclopedia
– DC Encyclopedia

Not a bad batch. Well, the Wonder Woman thing probably sucks, but B&N has a boner for Picoult and I’m interested in seeing how that sells. I think it’s about time the Marvel and DC Encyclopedias get an update, especially the latter. DC Encyclopedia still claims that Dr. Light killed Sue Dibny.

As a forced segue into a future article, Gunslinger Born was done by Peter David. I have one of his greatest comic issues ever coming to my mailbox any day and I can’t wait to review it. It’s a lost gem from my childhood that I had when I was like eight. Oh God, this is going to be sweet!

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Marvel Zombies: Ash’s Chainsaw and Other Beginnings

July 21st, 2007 Posted by Gavok

A couple weeks ago, Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness finished off. Marvel Zombies 2 has just been solicited for October. With that in mind, it’s about time I laid out my thoughts on the whole Zombieverse.

It all started back in 2005. Mark Millar was in the midst of his Ultimate Fantastic Four run and he started making some hints at a certain special story arc. From the looks of things, the Ultimate Marvel Universe was about to make a crossover with the mainstream universe Marvel 616. I wasn’t paying attention at the time, since I wasn’t reading Ultimate Fantastic Four, but I can only imagine people were annoyed as hell. Not only did this defeat the purpose of the Ultimate continuity, but Millar probably didn’t garner all that much faith going into what would be such an important story.

But the evidence was there. The story was titled “Crossover”. One of the variant covers for the first issue showed Ultimate Reed exchanging a shocked glance at an older Reed with snazzy white hair tufts. The second issue of the arc showed a more mainstream version of Magneto manhandling the Ultimate Fantastic Four. The first issue builds up to this meeting, including a scene where the two Reeds discuss the differences between their worlds. Older Reed — shown via hologram — mentions the Avengers and his children Franklin and Valeria.

Truly, this had to be the Ultimates/616 crossover we’d been dreading.

Or not.

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First there was “Marvel Zombies…”

June 17th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

And now we’ve got Hollywood Zombies. That link is straight up NSFW, so don’t look at it at work. There’s no nudity, but plenty of tasteless gore and creepy humor. Here are its ratings descriptors: :wtf: :psyduck: :nws: :nms: :aaa: :911:

I thought the first Marvel Zombies was tasteless, but funny, and promptly left the rest of the franchise alone. Dead horse and all that, you know? I guess what I’m saying is that zombies are the pirates of 2007: a dead joke. This card set eclipses pretty much everything out of the Marvel Zombies line, though. Wowsers!

(I do have to say that a Mobile Zombie Galactus Corps is still a hilarious idea, which is why I’m reading the Black Panther arc featuring them.)

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