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Killa Cameron Stewart

July 7th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

Not Cam’ron, Mindy Owens‘s favorite rapper. I’m talking about Cameron Stewart, artist of Seaguy, Catwoman, Guardian, and a host of other books you should be checking for.

I recently found out that he has a blog, the Cameron Stewartwork Blog according to the header!

Stewart is one of my favorite artists. I first saw his work on Seaguy, most likely, and then Catwoman, 7 Soldiers: Guardian, and The Other Side. He does Sin Titulo weekly. It’s a part of the Transmission X network, one of the more interesting webcomics collectives out there. TX Comics also includes Luz, which is about peak oil, kind of.

Anyway, I really dig his style. He’s cartoony, expressive, and flexible in a way that I can admire. Beyond being drawn by the same dude, Seaguy, Sin Titulo, Other Side, and Catwoman don’t look like the same book. It’s like he’s always trying to switch up his style. As near as I can tell, it’s paying off. I’m just hoping that ST is going to end up collected at some point so I can throw some money at him.

Anyway, he’s got a blog he posts artwork on. He’s talked about Wall-E and a few other summer movies. He did a sketch of Black Cat that I would straight up kill for. (I wish he did commissions.) He also has a feature called Girl Fridays.

Girl Fridays is a series where Stewart draws a cute girl a week. It’s an exercise in style (both art and fashion), design, and color. It’s interesting to look at, and it’s Cam Stewart drawing cute girls. Who could hate that?

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What If? What Then? The Comic I’d Like to See

April 12th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

The next Comics from the 5th Dimention column should be up soon. The big drawback about writing for PopCultureShock rather than here is that you can’t have your stuff up instantly. Them’s the breaks.

I plan to one day write my own comic series. I’m currently trying to move my gears forward on that. That said, I still find myself thinking about what kind of DC or Marvel-owned series I would love to write if I had the chance. Stuff like an Eradicator on-going where he stations himself in Coast City as a way to make up for and investigate the human feeling of guilt he suffers from his failure to protect the city from Cyborg Superman and Mongul. Or a Juggernaut series where he’s on the run from SHIELD, all while showing the parallels of the Superhuman Registration Act and being the avatar slave of Cyttorak.

There’s one comic concept that came to me the other day. What If occasionally had sequels, most of them not very good. Having read so many issues and having some of them so nestled into my memory, the continuity nut in me always compares some issues to events that happened after the release date. Sometimes it’s just to laugh at the continuity screw-up, like how Alicia Masters in What If the X-Men Lost Inferno was really a Skrull and the writer didn’t know it yet. That revelation gums up her part in the story.

Sometimes I realize how much more interesting stories become when you toss in delayed retcons and new pieces of canon. For instance, there’s the issue What If the X-Men Had Died on Their First Mission, where the New X-Men team (Wolverine, Storm, etc.) go to Krakoa to save the original X-Men and they all die. Xavier beats himself up over it, Moira comforts him and eventually another X-Men team is created. It was a good story, but compare it to what we know now. Deadly Genesis showed the other X-Men team that died fighting Krakoa. When they failed, Moira was angry, so Xavier erased her memory of the events. Put the two stories together and it’s pretty fucked up. Xavier deserves to feel bad. His Krakoa mission would have cost him three X-Men teams, totaling at 17 mutants. Then you have Moira trying to keep him from being suicidal, not knowing what a bastard he really is because the son of a bitch removed it from her memory.

What would have happened when Vulcan came back to Earth, not only forgotten, but now without his brothers? Now that would be a sequel issue worth reading.

I think back to other What Ifs that lead to a new status quo and how vastly different things would have been if they continued the story and met up with the events that were destined to happen. I think a handful of them could make for a good limited series.

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Checking in with Some Random Musings

July 31st, 2007 Posted by Gavok

Good God. I’ve reached the point where I use the term “musings” on the internet. Shoot me.

I’ve been taking a break lately, due to several things holding me up and taking my time, like a crappy work schedule, Guitar Hero Rocks the 80′s and a bunch of crap you don’t care about.

In the meantime, a couple quick thoughts.

- I made like 15 new 4th Letter headers and then hermanos had to go and redesign the site. Fuck him! Though I have to admit, the new look is growing on me. I like the little “4th ____” gags in some of those headers. Took me a second to get why Ares is labeled “4th Planet”.

- If you didn’t know by now, Greg Pak is going to be doing a What If issue with a trilogy of stories based on Planet Hulk. One has Hulk land on the peaceful planet as the Illuminati planned. One has Bruce Banner land on Sakaar instead. The last, and most interesting one, is about Hulk dying in the warp drive explosion and his queen surviving to seek vengeance on Earth. This comic sounds awesome.

- Norman Osborn is the glue holding Thunderbolts together and making it readable.

- I just bought a ton of trades last week. Ant Man: Low-Life, because even though hermanos dislikes it, I give Kirkman the benefit of the doubt. Hyperion vs. Nighthawk, as it’s the only Squadron Supreme story I haven’t read other than that nine issues of hurt called Ultimate Power. Cassanova, because hermanos loves it so much and I dig that Matt Fraction. The Hood, because it’s BKV and I could go for a nice Marvel MAX title that doesn’t star Frank Castle or his oversized, black nemesis. Seven Brothers, because I’m in the mood to read something by Ennis that isn’t “heheh superheroes is fags”. And I bought Goon: Noir and 52 Volume 2 because… uh… well, there wasn’t really any thought process in those decisions. One is the Goon and the other is 52. That’s reason enough.

- CHIKARA show this Sunday in Philly at the ECW Arena. Come and join the fun.

- The cover image to Ultimates Volume 3 fills me with a strong sense of dread. Not only is this going to be an awful comic, but it’s going to be like a shotgun blast to the Ultimate universe. If this comic is as bad as I fear it to be, then the Ultimate line of comics will be at death’s door in probably two or three years. That’s such a damn shame.

- On the other side of the coin, the Marvel Adventures line is pretty fantastic right now. While the first issue of MA: Hulk wasn’t special, I absolutely loved MA: Iron Man’s initial issue. That’s the best reimagining of his origin outside of canon I can recall. Pick up Giant Size Marvel Adventures: Avengers if you’ve ever wanted to see a gorilla suckerpunch Wolverine in the back of the head through a closing time portal.

- Not comic related at all, but in the last couple weeks, I’ve dropped 15 pounds. Hells yeah!

Next time I’ll have actual content. I promise.

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Civil War: The Confession

March 31st, 2007 Posted by david brothers

(feed problem fixed!)
Here is my confession.
I love comics.

But, I hate having to bag and board them.

It’s by far the worst part of comic collecting and part of the reason why I vastly prefer trades. With trades, I can read them and toss them on a bookshelf near similar or related titles. With monthlies, floppies, pamphlets, singles, or whatever, you’ve got books without a spine. You can’t stack them like trades, because they’ll fall over, and you can’t stand them up like trades, because they have no backbone. Monthlies are cowards, ladies and gents.

Bagging and boarding comics is awful. I don’t like it, so I tend to put it off for months at a time. I boarded fifteen weeks of comics tonight. I know this because I buy 52 and the earliest issue of that I had was #32. Fifteen weeks is, what, almost four months? 3.75 months. That’s a lot of comics! I usually spend around 20-30 bucks a week, excluding trades, so that works out to probably an average of 8 books a week on the low side. Ouch!

Another reason why this is so bad is because, in order to sort comics, you’ve got to go through a longbox. I’ve managed to keep myself to one longbox by trying to sell off the comics I don’t love. (Speaking of, I’ve been looking for the best way to do that. eBay lot of them all? It’s nothing particularly valuable, so a lot would probably get me the best bang for my buck.) As I go through the longbox, and this happens each and every time, I come across a book that I really like and have been thinking about rereading.

So I pull it out of the longbox. I sort a few more books and see something else. “Oh!” I say. “Union Jack. This was a good one.” Lather, rinse, repeat.

This doesn’t happen with a bookshelf, man, I swear. It’s just that when sorting things for a longbox, you kinda have to look at all the titles. With a bookshelf, you can skim or rely on memory. I don’t have to know where to put We3 on the shelf because I’ve got an entire shelf dedicated to Grant Morrison. I can just sling it up there. It doesn’t have to go between Kill Your Boyfriend (also due for a reread) and Kid Eternity.

(I also have a Frank Miller/John Romita Jr shelf, a David Lapham/David Mack/Ed Brubaker/Geoff Johns shelf, and a Garth Ennis/Mark Waid shelf. Bendis gets to share a shelf with almost all the ’90s X-Men crossovers and all the Mark Millar trades I wish I hadn’t bought.)

So, right now, I’m looking at Stray Bullets v2: Somewhere Out West, Loveless v2: Thicker Than Blackwater (counts, because it reprints an arc I want to reread), Iron Man: Hypervelocity 1-3, The Other Side 1-5, Criminal 1-5, Casanova 1-7 (though I am missing 2, 3, and 6 somehow), and The Intimates 1-12 (missing 5 and 11 here). This is in addition to the books I’m already working on, like The Mighty Skullboy Army (my first reviewer’s comp! review will be up soonest), Kyle Baker’s King David, and Jim Mahfood’s One Page Filler Man.

The cool part is that I read fairly fast, so I can be done with all this probably by Tuesday or Wednesday, where the cycle will begin again.

One last thing– you know how when you wash clothes, you always end up with a sock or something missing? That happens to me with comics. This time, though, I got lucky. I’m only down one book, and that’s Spider-Man: Reign #3. I don’t know where it could’ve gone, because I know that I purchased it.

I really want to reread that series, too.

C’est la vie, right? This isn’t really as negative as it sounds. These are all good stories and worth rereading.

Maybe I should just learn the ancient art of self-control?

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Pre-Crisis 4l: Seaguy #1 and Why I Suck

February 13th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

Yeah, it’s been a week. My bad. All I can say is that the day job and the writing job are conspiring to kill my free time. I can definitely say that I won’t leave the site alone for a week again, though. That’s just inexcusable.

Now that the mea culpas are out of the way, let me give you another reason to be angry. You get a re-run today. Yeah. Sorry.

Before I had 4l, I had a blog on Livejournal called Guerilla Grodd. I catalogued the comics news of the day and added in a little commentary and original content. I was high off Journalista! and The Beat, so I had to have my own linkblog, too, you know?

I started an examination of Grant Morrison and Cameron Stewart’s Seaguy. I got to issue 2 before I stopped, and I’ve been meaning to rewrite these completely. In the interest of not having this freaking site be bare any longer, I’m going to reproduce the first commentary, which covers Seaguy #1, here.

Read it. It’s old, but I think I make some pretty decent points, and I do hope that you’ll tell me if I’m wrong. The clickable links are almost all images, by the way.

Cripes, man. I hate to blog about what I’m going to blog about, but I feel like I owe it to you guys. I want to talk about Marvel Boy and Spider-Man: Reign and Kabuki and black heroes and The Other Side and everything else, I just have to make the time for it.

In the meantime, though, please enjoy this. We’ll be back asap, all right?


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The What If Countdown: Honorable Mention Awards

November 20th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

As I said in the last article, most What Ifs are interesting in their own way. Whether it’s because they tell a really good story, an abomination of a story or if the changes in reality are completely off the wall, almost every issue has something worth talking about.

I just talked about 100 of these stories and a couple extra ones I thought were crappy. So rather than have me write a bunch of exhaustive issue profiles, how’s about we just look at the bits and pieces that got my attention? It’s time to hand out the What If Honorable Mention Awards!

If I wasn’t so lazy, I would probably Photoshop a bunch of golden Uatu statues.

Edit: It looks like I didn’t have to. Thanks to Kyle Hayes for the award trophy.


Strangest What If Couple: Quicksilver and Gwen Stacy

This comes from What If the Age of Apocalypse Hadn’t Ended (volume 2, #81). Tony Stark, head of the human resistance, joins up with Magneto to figure out a way to save Earth from the coming of Galactus. Among Tony’s fellow human freedom fighters are the Hulk, Sue Storm and, strangely enough, Donald Blake’s bodyguard Gwen Stacy. Er… yeah. I guess with her dad being a cop and all… No, it still sounds goofy.

Pietro is without a sister and Gwen needs a boyfriend who can kill her with whiplash. It’s only natural that these two would find each other.

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4thletter is for… dumb explanations

October 15th, 2006 Posted by david brothers


(I couldn’t fit “that nobody asked for” after “dumb explanations”)

Okay guys, serious question time.

Which one of you out there demanded to know what the deal was with Power Girl’s cleavage window? Stop for a minute and think.

Did we really need an explanation for PG’s window? I quite like Amanda Conner, so the PG arc of JSA Classified was very good, but I could’ve done without knowing why she has a gaping hole in her costume. Before, I’d chalked it up to being yet another side-effect of cheesecake comics. Tying it into the Superman mythos is interesting… but also kind of creepy. I liked it better when it was just “Hey, free cheesecake.” Now it’s like… highbrow cheesecake or something. Expensive cheesecake.

I kid, really.

But seriously fanboys and fangirls, we don’t need everything explained to us. If there’s a minor continuity glitch, write it off as Hypertime. Hypertime was fun, easy, and let all your imaginary stories be real ones. If your hero isn’t acting properly in a team comic, hey, it’s just a bad day! Give it two months and you probably won’t even remember that Clark Kent parted his hair on the left instead of the right or that Power Girl’s boob window is actually due to deep, introspective thought and psychoanalysis rather than, say, a tragic fabric shortage at the warehouse.

It’s just comics. We all love ‘em, but sometimes, ignorance actually is bliss.

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What’s So Civil About War, Anyway

September 27th, 2006 Posted by Wanderer

Civil War is really fucking stupid.

I think I could fix it.

Let’s see if you agree.

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The Top 100 What If Countdown: Part 12

September 18th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

This is a longer one than usual. I just had to rank two two-parters so closely together, didn’t I.

45) WHAT IF THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN HAD NOT MARRIED MARY JANE?/WHAT IF THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN HAD MARRIED THE BLACK CAT?

Issue: Volume 2, #20-21
Writer: Danny Fingeroth
Artist: Jim Valentino
Spider-Man death: No
Background: Peter Parker had proposed to Mary Jane. It was a battle with a Spider Slayer involving them both that convinced Mary Jane to say yes. That’s all well and good for her, but how would things have turned out if that adventure didn’t go so smoothly? In this reality, the Spider Slayer strangles Mary Jane a bit longer than normal and although she’s rescued, she is still injured. Peter keeps having flashbacks to Gwen’s death and can’t bear to see the same thing happen to someone like Mary Jane. For her own protection, he leaves her at the alter.

Look at that last panel. Man. I will never, ever forgive John Byrne for turning Sandman evil again. But enough of that.

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The Top 100 What If Countdown: Part 11

September 15th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

Here it is, the halfway point. If my taste is to be trusted, this should be getting better, so read on.

50) WHAT IF… STARRING QUICKSILVER: THE QUICK AND THE DEAD

Issue: Volume 2, #96
Writer: Chris Wozniak
Artist: Chris Wozniak
Spider-Man death: No
Background: We all know that Magneto is the father of Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, but even before that he had another daughter named Anya. Since the village Magnus and his family stayed in resented them and believed witchery was afoot, they set fire to their house and ended up killing Anya. Magneto tore his neighbors apart and left. His pregnant wife couldn’t take being with him and ran off. This issue talks about what would have happened if Magneto could’ve saved his daughter. The clincher? Anya was human!

Magneto’s stance against humanity stays more or less the same, but he has this need to shelter his family from bloodshed, even if he’s the one doing the slaughtering. Magneto’s wife soon gives birth to twins and Magneto is happier. Not only are they mutants, but he has a son to pass on his legacy. The years pass and we see that Anya gets the short end of the stick. She’s normal. She isn’t special.

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