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Sweet Advertising

June 20th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

I was flipping through a trade for Avengers: Disassembled earlier when I came across this ad for the then-upcoming Young Avengers.

Three years after the fact, I have to say that this is a brilliant page. That one little tagline about how it isn’t what we think ends up having three different definitions.

First, you may initially think that these guys are the young versions of the Avengers. Like the Muppet Babies with battle armor. Obviously, that’s not the case.

Second, there’s the fact that a series entitled Young Avengers sounds like it has to suck. It turned out to be really rad, but the very concept sounds like it has every reason to fail. I recall asking internet friend A.o.D. about how the series was after two issues. His response was something to the effect of, “It’s trying hard to convince you that this is a good idea. I have to say it’s doing a good job.”

Those two were more immediate definitions. The other one wouldn’t be realized for quite a while. All four of those guys aren’t what you think in terms of what they’re supposedly based on.

Patriot may seem like Young Captain America, but he was lying. He didn’t have any Super Soldier Serum in him for a while. Even when he did, it was from the lesser-known Captain America: his grandfather, Isaiah Bradley.

Asgardian may have had the name and magic to suggest that he had some kind of link to Thor, but that was debunked once he changed his name to Wiccan and discovered that he’s really the son of Scarlet Witch. Somehow. I forgot how that whole thing worked out.

Iron Lad looked like he could be related to Iron Man on the surface, but he turned out to be a young Kang the Conquerer wearing Vision as armor. Now he’s just Vision with young Kang’s personality, albeit with his face blown off. Stupid Skrulls.

Speaking of Skrulls, we then have Hulkling, who has nothing to do with the Hulk other than aping his form. Instead, it turns out he’s the extremely powerful offspring of Captain Marvel and the Skrull Princess Anelle. No gamma radiation for him.

The Black Captain America, Scarlet Witch, Vision and Captain Marvel. The original four Young Avengers may live in the footsteps of heroes, but not in the way you think they would.

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Bendis Hates Tigra, Brubaker Hates Milla, BKV Hates Black People

January 30th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

Or do they?

How long do you give a story before you judge it? If it’s obviously one part of a series, do you wait until it’s done or are you just so turned off that you shun it forever and cast it into outer darkness?

I tend to walk the line. If it’s a writer I trust, I’ll ride it out and see where it takes me. If it’s a writer I don’t trust… well, I don’t generally read books by writers I don’t trust, so that problem basically solves itself.

I mean, I saw one of the best black characters in comics catch a bullet to the dome a while back. It was a good scene and a good story, so I stayed interested instead of turned off.

Also, can we please stop talking about how much X writer hates Y character just because bad things happen to that character? One joke in an interview two years ago does not a vendetta make, no matter how often and how loudly it’s repeated. Bendis doesn’t hate Tigra any more than he hates Dr. Strange or Mary Jane.

I should probably also talk about Young Avengers #1: Patriot sometime soon, too, huh? I’m sure you’re all dying to know my thoughts on it.

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WWWIF: Tony Stark vs Tony Starks

April 10th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

Oh, this is gonna be epic! Getting right into it…

putitontheline.jpg
Ghostface “Yo, man, you’re gonna come up outta that shiny armor, dog! This is Theodore Unit and you’re outta pocket, knahmean?!” Killah
versus
Tony “The ends justify the means and I’ve got enough ends that I can get away with being mean!” Stark

“Wait, this isn’t a comics matchup!”

It is, because this is my site and I say so.

The Rundown:
Ghostface Killah is probably unfamiliar to more than a few of you. If I had to describe him in one sentence, that sentence would be “GFK is what James Joyce would be if he rapped.” He’s self-referential, clever, punny, and willing to go on complete stream-of-consciousness tangents during a rhyme, even going so far as to detail what a group of people he’s about to rob are eating and finishing with “My stomach’s growlin’, yo, I want some.”

GFK first rose to fame on Wu-Tang Clan’s first album, “Enter the Wu-Tang.” The first track, “Bring Da Ruckus,” opened with GFK spitting “Ghostface, catch the blast of a hype verse” and capturing the minds of the youth. Years later, his second solo record, “Supreme Clientele,” was credited with both saving the Wu-Tang Clan and his own career. “Supreme Clientele” was an instant classic and gave Ghost a chance to shine and show off his storytelling and abstract skills. You could make a case for Ghost being an abstract rapper, but a better term would probably be “free-association.” His rhymes shift in and out of the topic of the song, but are always related somehow. Think of him in the same way that you think of decompressed storytelling in comics– he adds color commentary and that helps fill in the blanks between what he’s saying.

GFK has in common with Tony Stark is a love of alcohol. He’s even done a St Ide’s commercial. Something else he has is a collection of aliases. Tony Stark (also rendered Tony/Toney Starks), Ironman, Ghostdeini, and plenty of others serve as clever pseudonyms. He’s got as many names as Iron Man has spare armors in his garage.

Tony Stark, Iron Man, on the other hand, is the much maligned victor of the War Between the Heroes. His victory has resulted, directly or indirectly, the death of one of his best friends, the imprisionment of dozens, if not hundreds of his compatriots, and the worst press since Richard Nixon kicked a baby on live television.

He’s a recovering alcoholic, super-rich, and the owner of a gang of armors that have enough firepower to level a third of the free world and all of the rest of it.

Too easy? No contest?

Iron Man is a hardened warrior and the type of guy to shaft his friends in the name of the greater good. GFK is a beloved rapper, smart, and has dropped at least four classic albums and had a hand in two others as part of a larger group. Nobody likes Tony Stark, not even the people who work with him. Everyone likes GFK, even Freddie Foxxx, who hates everybody.

The trick is, Ghostface named himself after Tony Stark. His first album was called “Ironman” for a reason. He grew up on Marvel Comics. He’s a student of Tony Stark, and please believe that he knows all his tricks. This is simply a case of the student going up against the teacher. Ghostface has seen “Demon In a Bottle” and all that.

Tony Stark doesn’t have that advantage. Sitting up in his ivory tower Stark Tower like he does tends to skew your perspective of the little guy. Ghostface is beneath his notice, literally, which is a mistake.

Tony would try to hot dog this one and take him out solo, leaving SHIELD at home. Show some flash, do a few tricks, and teach the kid a lesson, get him off the streets. Problem is, Tony would catch the blast of a hype verse and get taken by surprise. The pen is, after all, mightier than the sword.

After that, Tony Stark would catch a Kennedy, and that would leave one Iron Man standing in the end.

I’m Iron Man, no die-cast metal, I’m steel alloy
–GFK, “Daytona 500”

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I Read Comics talks 4l

March 2nd, 2007 Posted by david brothers

Yeah, so I accidentally overslept this morning, which means that I need to be out the door post-haste.

In the meantime, though, I got a lovely email from Lene Taylor of I Read Comics. She found my essay on Patriot via Kalinara and found it worth reading! It touched her enough that she talked about it on her podcast, which you may find here.

Give it a listen, and then go on to listen to her back catalog. Very good stuff!

Thanks again to Lene for featuring the post.

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She Got That Good Hair: Top 5 3 Black Women!

January 12th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

(edit: T’Shan was not BP’s sister. Shuri is.)

To our readers from When Fangirls Attack!– welcome! Check out the post and don’t be afraid to leave a comment, okay? Onward.

It’s been a long time, I shouldn’t have left you,
Without a strong rhyme to step to.
Think of how many weak shows you slept through,
Time’s up! I’m sorry I kept you!

–Rakim

Man, this article is crazy late, isn’t it? Just, uh, six months or so.

It’s late for a number of reasons. I’ve been trying to ramp up my writing career, which means more time writing about games, less about comics. Did it work? Well, I’m no longer living paycheck to paycheck, but talk to me in another six months.

The number one reason why it’s late, other than business and laziness, is that it is hard as crap to find good black female characters in recent comics. I mean, Monica Rambeau had a bit part in Black Panther and I’m not much for Nextwave’s portrayal of her, so she doesn’t really count. There was the great-granddaughter (grandniece?) of Jim Harper in Robinson’s Batman: Face-the-Face, but, uh, she had maybe nine panels of dialogue total, and that’s probably being generous. I’m not as familiar as I should be with Milestone’s work (beyond Static), so I wouldn’t feel comfortable putting any of those characters on this list. Bishop’s daughter in X-Men: The End has three strikes against her. 1) She’s Bishop’s daughter. 2) She’s in X-Men: The End. and 3) She’s Bishop’s daughter and is in X-Men: The End. Onyx is kind of cool, but I know exactly nothing about her and she got punked by Jason Todd so she’s out. Pantha, according to Wikipedia, is black, but, again, I know nothing about her. Thunder, from Outsiders? No thanks, hoss.

So… this is going to be a little different. It’s a top three because, frankly, there aren’t enough good black female characters out there. I’d include Glory Grant, ’cause she’s pretty awesome, but when’s the last time you saw her in a comic that wasn’t Civil War Frontline #10? (Nice guest spot, even if it was only a panel.) A better question– how many of you even remember who Glory Grant is? Monica Lynne is in the same situation. Charlotte Jones? Same deal.

I entertained the possibility of putting Monet St Croix on her, at least partially because I really enjoy her character. But, that’d make this a top 4 and these lists are traditionally either top three, top five, or top multiple of five. Four is right out.

So, a top three. But, I’m telling you, I better see some awesome black females over the next year or I’m going to do something reprehensible! I mean, black females in comics are like black head coaches in the NCAA!

zing!
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New Joe Fridays Week 26

December 23rd, 2006 Posted by david brothers

NEWSARAMA.COM: NEW JOE FRIDAYS WEEK 26

I’m a Joe Quesada fan. There, I said it. I love reading his interviews because he combines straight shooting with marvelous hype. He said something in the latest NJF that, to me, highlights the difference between Marvel and DC.

Superman was the first, no one is arguing that. He was the very first to put on his underwear outside of his pants. He is the Elvis of comics. Sure, was his creation influenced by other sci-fi and classic stories that came before, of course it was, Elvis was influenced by early rhythm and blues. Much like Elvis, Superman and his compatriots shook up the comics world, in essence created it. He flew over tall buildings, he was the model on which every thing else would be built. Elvis shook his leg, greased back his pomp, and created the blueprint for what was to become Rock n’ Roll.

While Elvis had some incredible hits, as did Superman, the music was simple, quaint in many ways. Almost every Elvis song can be boiled down to three chords. We call it a 1-4-5 progression. They would just change the key, tempo, feel or melody in order to decorate it differently. Still, it was the music of its time and it was beautiful. Then in the 60s came this little group called the Beatles, they were funny, articulate, socially conscious and they spoke to us on a whole different level. The core of the relationship between the music and the listener was much deeper, more relatable.

More importantly however, they brought something else into the music. While they themselves worshipped Elvis and had their share of very early singles with the simple 1-4-5 progressions, they learned from their predecessor and built upon it. Suddenly, we were getting songs with minor chords, diminished sevenths, before you could even get accustomed to all of that, they layered harmonies and added orchestras to their compositions, it was a whole new world that was much more sophisticated than what Elvis had first presented. That’s no slight on Elvis, it’s what happens when art moves on.

To me, the creation of the Marvel hero is very much like this. It took what Superman and other DC greats made famous, in many cases lifted whole parts, and added layers never before seen. Heroes with problems, heroes with Achilles heels, heroes who didn’t always make the right decisions, heck, sometimes they didn’t even beat the bad guy. This was a huge variation in the theme, the defining moment for everything.

Today, we can listen to Elvis songs, and they sound great, but because of the simple quaintness of them, I don’t believe they hold up to today’s younger listeners in the same way that the songs of the Beatles and those that followed hold up. Yes, much like Superman, every once in a while, someone does a great cover of an Elvis tune, but, it’s more nostalgia than anything else. I think the Superman movie proved that as well. You watch that movie and put it up against either of the Spidey movies and it feels like the difference between introducing a kid to Pong vs. Wii.

There’s a reason Batman is the greatest DC hero, he’s the closest to the Marvel formula, but the rest of the DC universe I feel suffers from the same flaws as Superman. In his time, Superman spoke of the immigrant experience which was very important in America at the time, but he’s also a paternal figure where as Spider-Man is us. At his core, Superman is also actually a dishonest character in his make up. He has to create a persona in order to be accepted by the people around him, the same for Batman. That’s also an intrinsic difference between the Marvel and DC characters. Spider-Man is the façade, he’s the mask, Peter Parker is the real deal and if we could actually be superheroes, that’s exactly how it would happen and by virtue of that, makes Spider-Man truer.

By the way, if you disagree with this, that’s cool, but then you would have to argue as to why DC, since the inception of the Marvel Universe, has been trying to Marvelize their characters.

The Elvis/Beatles comparison is a good one, I think. Read the rest of the interview, it’s pretty good and has some nice teases.

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Catching up…

October 13th, 2006 Posted by david brothers

Okay, I’ve got some room to breathe, so let’s close some tabs and hit you guys off with some knowledge!

Seven Soldiers #1 is almost here! Scope the seven page preview for a look at what is sure to be a great finale to the best megaseries ever. Oh, baby, October 25th can’t come quick enough!

I’ve got a three part interview with Brian Azzarello that is honestly a must-read. Part one, part two, and part three. As usual, 100 Bullets is the best comic ever go buy it blah blah Loveless blah blah Deathblow blah blah awesome. Seriously, Azz writes great stuff, so check his interviews and buy his books. We get confirmation (again, possibly) that DC is going to support 100 Bullets through to the end, so I’m a happy camper.

Lisa Fortuner discusses the uncanny valley in comics and I pop up in the comments feed. This could turn out to be an interesting discussion, but only I’ve commented so far.

Gavok is a stupidhead. That’s not a link or anything, I just wanted to let you know that he’s got a funny face.


Now, I’ve got a personal rule on this site, which I’ve technically already broken by writing about Patriot a while back. I don’t like to talk about comics that I don’t like. I do enough of dealing with stuff I dislike in real life, you know? I don’t hold Gavok or Thomas to this rule, it’s just a personal thing. I don’t like to talk about bad comics unless I can get a laugh out of it or there’s some larger point behind it. Bruce Jones on Nightwing? :loleyes:. Winick on [variable]? :lol: again. Millar on Civil War?

I could say a lot. Instead, I’ll just say this: read Giffen on Annihilation instead. It’s the best “big event” going on right now. Civil War has had some sweet tie-ins (Wolverine, Captain America) but the main series is a joke.

On the other hand, Annihilation has Drax and his young sidekick Cammi, a not-stupid Richard “Nova” Rider, Gamora, planets exploding, Galactus as a weapon of mass destruction, Annihilus with the quantum bands, Annihilus killing Quasar to get the quantum bands, Quasar being killed, Thanos as scheming trickster god, and Phyla-vell. It is excellent and well worth your time. Also, Quasar died in it.

More detailed content later on. I need to take some time to chillax. I updated the sidebar, by the way. Can you tell what’s new?

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The Top 100 What If Countdown: Part 7

August 31st, 2006 Posted by Gavok

What if I just got straight to the article itself for once?

70) WHAT IF DEATH’S HEAD I HAD LIVED?

Issue: Volume 2, #54
Writer: Simon Furman
Artist: Geoff Senior
Spider-Man death: No
Background: Oh, boy. Where to begin?

There’s a good chance you’re scratching your head, wondering who the hell Death’s Head I is and why he would deserve his own What If issue. First off, stop scratching your head. It’s a disgusting habit. Death’s Head I was a character from the 80’s created by Simon Furman and integrated into the Marvel UK Transformer comics. Death’s Head I was a charismatic and likeable bounty hunter, striking some of the same chords that Deadpool would years later. A robot from the future, Death’s Head I spoke through a voice box on his face, usually turning his statements into questions, like a French guy trying to speak English. Like for instance, he’d likely tell you, “Refer to me a freelance peacekeeping agent, yes?” He was weird like that. It was neat.

Death’s Head I mainly hung out in the year 2020, but had a tendency to time travel, usually leading to crossovers with guys like the Fantastic Four and She-Hulk. During the 90’s, Marvel decided to reboot his image. AIM had created Minion, a powerful robot with the ability to absorb the instincts, skills and knowledge of whoever he destroyed. He’s like an evil Megaman, except he looks like a blatant Predator rip-off. Minion was mainly created to destroy a mysterious threat named Charnal. I’m not savvy on the details here, but Minion ended up going up against Death’s Head I and Mr. Fantastic in our present. He killed Death’s Head I and absorbed his mental workings. It was too much for Minion to handle and parts of Death’s Head I’s personality caused Minion to override into something new. Now calling himself Death’s Head II, he and Marvel’s heroes fought the merging of villain Baron Strucker’s soul and the remains of Death’s Head I’s body. In other words, Charnal. Death’s Head II was victorious and went on to have some extreme 90’s adventures. Yay?

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The Top 100 What If Countdown: Part 4

August 13th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

I think I’m out of intro fodder. Let’s just get to the meat, then.

85) WHAT IF THE VISION HAD DESTROYED THE AVENGERS?

Issue: Volume 2, #5
Writer: Jim Valentino
Artist: Jim Valentino
Spider-Man death: No
Background: When the Avengers first met Wonder Man, he was secretly dying of a rare radiation disease. Baron Zemo offered to cure him if he helped destroy the Avengers. Appearing as a friend, Wonder Man led the team into a trap. Soon he had a change of heart and sacrificed himself to save Thor. Giant Man recorded Wonder Man’s brain patterns in hopes that he could live on. He did, later on, in the form of the Vision. While an android, Vision’s personality was based on that of Wonder Man’s. Some time later, Wonder Man did return from the dead, but that’s beside the point. What if Wonder Man had his change of heart before luring the Avengers into a trap?

Wonder Man tells the Avengers that he’s supposed to trick them, but can’t due to how they’ve treated him with such dignity. Giant Man talks with Reed Richards about a possible cure for Wonder Man’s condition as Wonder Man fights alongside the Avengers. After the brawl with Zemo’s forces is over, Giant Man gives him the cure and saves his life. Wonder Man is granted membership into the Avengers.

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