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This Week in Panels: Week 158

September 30th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

Hey kids. I’m helped out this week by Jody, Gaijin Dan and Space Jawa. Jawa wanted me to note, what with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles issue having come out this week, that the new cartoon is worth checking out based on the first episode.

I should note in the upcoming images that the gentleman in the Space Punisher panels is none other than Jarvis the Butler. Yes, in this reality where everybody is reimagined as a futuristic dude from space, the biggest badass on the block is none other than Jarvis. It’s rad.

Speaking of rad, the panels between me and Jody perfectly explain why FF was such a great issue this month.

All-Star Western #0
Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Moritat

Aquaman #0
Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis

Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise, Part 3
Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru

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This Week in Panels: Week 149

July 30th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

Hey, hey, hey. I got comic panels for you because it is late Sunday night and this is the part of the week when I do this thing and oh my God why did I schedule this on Sunday nights when work kicks my ass so badly like it did today and–

Sorry.

I’m helped out by Jody, Gaijin Dan, Space Jawa and Brobe. No Was Taters this time because according to the ThWiP charter, Week 149 is no girls allowed. Really, it was notarized and everything. Or was it motorized? What am I talking about?

Panels.

All-Star Western #11
Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, Moritat and Scott Kolins

Amazing Spider-Man #690
Dan Slott and Giuseppe Camuncoli

Aquaman #11
Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis

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This Week in Panels: Week 138

May 13th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

Hey! Massive installment for you guys, since I’m including last week’s Free Comic Book Day stuff. At least, the stuff that I got around to reading. With me are Was Taters, Space Jawa and Jody.

Have at it.

Adventure Time with Finn and Jake FCBD
Ryan North, Mike Holmes, Lucy Knisley and Michael DeForge

Atomic Robo FCBD
Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener

Avengers FCBD
Brian Michael Bendis and Bryan Hitch

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This Week in Panels: Week 136

April 29th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

Hey there, my Letterites. It was a pretty good week, giving us a fantastic Flash issue (I’m really loving the designs of these new rogues), Eric Powell alternating between funny and whiny as well as FF giving us the best final page in a long time.

The last page of Goon really had me scratching my head. The whole thing, like the issue, was Powell being annoyed at the hold of Marvel/DC superhero comics have over the industry. Nothing wrong with that. It’s just that his main point was how the comic industry needs its own Harry Potter.

If Harry Potter were a Dark Horse comic instead of a novel, it would be struggling to sell ten thousand, just because it’s not in a Marvel or DC superhero universe. Where’s our Harry Potter? Where’s our megahit that comes out of nowhere and draws people into comic shops? Why are we denying ourselves the possibility of that?

When reading this, I felt like meekly holding my hand up while saying, “…Walking Dead?”

Speaking of superhero tripe, I’m not going to be reading Avengers vs. X-Men, but I am reading Avengers vs. X-Men Versus. Why? Because I’m weird and I want to experience the Polly-O String Cheese of comic event tie-ins without any context for the sake of seeing how it comes off.

This week, Jody and Space Jawa have my back. Remember, you can help out too. If there’s a series you’re reading that you want represented, you can always toss me a couple panels. Email link’s on the right.

All-Star Western #8
Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, Moritat and Patrick Scherberger

Aquaman #8
Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis

Avengers vs. X-Men Versus #1 (Gavin’s pick)
Jason Aaron, Adam Kubert, Kathryn Immonen and Stuart Immonen

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The Problem with Death of Spider-Man

July 5th, 2011 Posted by guest article

Gavok note: For the past year or so in my This Week in Panels series, panels for Ultimate Spider-Man have been supplied every month by regular reader Michael Stangeland, otherwise known as Space Jawa. With Ultimate Peter Parker’s corpse still a bit fresh, Jawa wanted to touch on his perspective of the mini-event. Since we’re always open to reader guest articles, I was more than happy to oblige.

I’ll admit right off the bat that when I first heard about Bendis’ The Death of Spider-Man story arc, I was concerned. Initially, it was worry about the titular character actually biting it, in spite of how he’s been around since the launch of Marvel’s Ultimate line-up. So it’s entirely possible that my reaction to how the story actually went there and did what’s previously only been done in a few dozen different issues of What-If?.

However, I’d also like to be able to think that I’m not that close-minded. After all, I was willing to see the entirety of the story arc through before passing final judgment, and I recognize that sometimes, character death is for the best, and a lot of great things can come out of it. After all, look at what Brubaker did with killing off Steve Rogers (before he brought him back, of course).

And for a world to truly move forwards, sometimes the characters we know and love have to move on so the next generation of great characters can take their turn in the spotlight and provide new story opportunities. When I first read Lord of the Rings back when I was in grade school, my gut reaction was to be disappointed that Bilbo wouldn’t be the main character again. Fortunately, I moved past that quickly enough and was able to get through the entirety of JRR Tolkien’s masterpiece.

So I’m hoping that I’m being honest with myself that the real reason for my distaste for the whole Death of Spider-Man arc is truly in reaction to how it was carried out rather than the end result. If it looks otherwise after I’ve said my piece, I encourage you to call me out on it.


I wish I could say that the use of “proudly” wasn’t meant to be serious.

The first major problem with Death of Spider-Man shows up in the very first three pages of the story. The major driving force behind Ultimate Pete’s death is that Norman Osborn is back from the dead. Of course, characters coming back from the dead isn’t anything that comics are unfamiliar with.

Problem is, this is Marvel’s Ultimate Comics universe. And if I’m not mistaken, one of the major points that has been made about the UC is that when characters die, they stay dead. Something that brings it even closer to being set in the “real world” than the classic 616 universe.

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Ultimate Edit: ManiacClown’s Afterword

March 3rd, 2011 Posted by guest article

(Gavok note: Since I’m still working on the annotations for New Ultimate Edit, I thought I’d have Nick “ManiacClown” Zachariasen write down his own thoughts on the experience. The guy never really gets to speak his mind outside of a couple comments here and there, so I thought he should get in his final word.)

I’d like to say that’s it’s been a pleasure to collaborate with Gavok on this project of ours. First we started with Ultimates 3. Then, when we thought the morning sun of the volume’s end had vanquished the horrible night that was Loeb’s first stab into the heart of the Ultimate Universe, Ultimatum came along and we knew that we were needed once again. Before Beast/Nightcrawler/Daredevil/Cyclops/Xavier/Cannonball/MultipleMan/Hank Pym/Doctor Strange/Wasp/Wolverine/[O.K., that's enough, I think they get it by now]‘s body was cold, we learned of New Ultimates and what was sure to be yet more crap. Now, I have to admit that with New Ultimates, Loeb’s dreck wasn’t quite so bad and was in a couple places kind of neat, as with the parachuting machine gun scene. Of course, to counterbalance that, there were also bits like the fact that on top of not having read the Ultimate Universe before writing it, he’d also not read Norse myth. Valhalla and Hel are two different places, Jeph. Granted, I may be seeing New Ultimates a bit differently because of the fact that I had perhaps a greater-than-normal amount of creative input given the heavy use of the Asgardian cast, which brought to bear my skill in writing in godspeak. I guess that year of Master’s studies in English was good for something after all!

One thing that the Ultimate Edit saga has — along with my tendency to heckle bad movies — helped show me is that even badly-executed entertainment has its value in some form. For instance, take Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. No, not the album. That wasn’t bad. I’m talking about the movie. It was kind of a cinematic equivalent of Jeph Loeb’s work in the UU in that it was a horribly jumbled mess that really didn’t make a whole Hell of a lot of sense. However, the music in it was, for the most part, actually enjoyable on some level and I — perhaps somewhat blasphemously — actually prefer Billy Preston’s rendition of Get Back at the end of the movie to the original. Similarly, in addition to knowing how to write a shut-your-mind-off action sequence, Loeb actually had an awesome idea in using Multiple Man as a reusable suicide bomber, which by definition is typically impossible. Overall, though, Loeb did help jar the UU out of what Marvel had seemingly been beginning to fall into, where they’d typically introduce a 616 character with a slightly redesigned costume and a modernized background and BOOM! they had their newest Ultimatized character. No longer can they rely on just rehashing 616 now that numerous key characters are dead, even if they have a replacement Wolverine who can make his sharp bits shiny or not shiny as the situation warrants.

What this bring me to is that bad entertainment is like why I realized why pants are funny. See, Wakko and Dot Warner don’t have pants but Yakko does and this is funny. This made me realize that pants are funny. However, until several years later when I had a 103 degree; fever from a sinus infection, I realized that the image of a man whose pants are around his ankles — exposing his heart-strewn boxer shorts — is funny because it isn’t the normal state. If pants didn’t exist, it would be the normal state, and therefore not funny at all. However, because pants exist they create the possibility of a lack of pants, which is funny. Therefore, pants are funny because lack of pants is funny — inherent humor value by proxy, if you will. The point is that, much like Heaven and Hell, without the bad the good is meaningless because there’s nothing to compare it to. If you don’t have Ultimatum, you can’t appreciate Ultimate Thor as much. It’s kind of like that part in The Dark Knight Strikes Again when Luthor’s pounding Batman in the face repeatedly until Green Lantern pulls his planet-saving stunt. We just sat there and took it from Loeb because we know the payoffs are coming. We know Loeb’s not going to stick around forever. We just know we have to outlast him. It’s a sort of faith that has its reward in the here-and-now, even if you have to be patient for three years.

The other bright side of the last three years (which I still can’t believe has gone by this quickly) is that I’ve gotten to know Gavok. Before, I just knew him as the Ruin the Moment guy in Batman’s Shameful Secret on the Something Awful forums. However, after I said the magical words “I want in” I gained a friend and writing partner. I found someone to help me be creative in a way that I hadn’t experienced before. During this process Gavok’s essentially been the head writer of our team, ultimately deciding which jokes get included and which don’t while sometimes indulging my insistence on certain gags that I thought were too good to not do. One good example of this was continuing the Twinkies gag. While certainly not as prominent as Thor being Santa — which has unexpectedly had legs like mighty Sleipnir, the eight-hooved steed of Odin — that joke’s been a nice little undercurrent to the Editverse, popping up when both you and we least expect it. While it kind of sucked getting some of what I thought were good jokes left on the cutting room floor sometimes, most of the time I think what Gavok did in that respect was simply good editing, which had I been doing this alone may well have ended up leaving me as a sort of Jeph Loeb of funnybook mockery. We weren’t just one writer with seniority over another — we were and I dare say still are a team.

I think Gavok and I mesh very well together in our senses of humor. I think some of that is our mutual interests, which include comics (obviously) and professional wrestling. We did, though, also make a good team because of our differences. Sometimes Gavok would toss out a reference that I would have absolutely zero clue about or perhaps a choice in diction which was probably a regional difference. He lives in New Jersey and I live in South Dakota, so in one joke he suggested that Multiple Man “ask off for Saturday” when I’d never heard that particular arrangement before. Out here, we always say “ask for Saturday off.” That difference in perspectives is part of what made us write so well together in addition to simply coming up with things that would make people laugh.

Of all we accomplished in this collaboration, I’m personally proud of the fact that I either came up with some of the best joke ideas, or at least refined them like the sugar in a Twinkie from Gavok’s brainstorming or one-off gags. Santa Thor, of course, is the prime example of this, without which the entire Ultimate Edit trilogy would have been wildly different. It ended up being a unifying element, tying everything together and ultimately (no pun intended for once) came together in New Ultimates as Loeb had the volume centered on Thor and company. Little did we know when we whimsically tried to think of a reason for Valkyrie to be on the team that we’d sown the seeds for what New Ultimates has been. That’s some of the magic of working like this, where we’re not completely in control of what we’re doing. Even though somebody else is sort of controlling what we do, it just feels natural once we get going and — at least for me — there’s a certain magic to that.

Finally, I’d like to give my thanks. Thanks to all of you readers who’ve stuck with us for the last three years. Thanks to Jeph Loeb for giving us material to work with. Thanks especially to Frank Cho, who seems to have been — at least incidentally — one of our readers with the Waldo sight gag, which he seemed to have acknowledged by actually inserting Waldo into a published scene in the issue after we made the joke. Obviously, I should thank Marvel Comics for being good sports about this whole affair. I don’t think they can have not known about this because doubtlessly somebody there’s read our updates. I think the aforementioned Waldo incident shows that and while I seriously think that if legal push came to litigious shove we’d have plenty of support (as fair-use parody) under Campbell vs. Acuff-Rose and its progeny, that Marvel didn’t even try to stop 4thletter from letting us put these up this whole time. I’d like to thank David Brothers for facilitating our four-color frippery through his blog. Last — and of coursenot least — I want to thank my writing partner Gavok, without whose perhaps-passing musing on an edit of Ultimates 3 I’d not have had the opportunity to do all this. It’s been a great run and I’m immensely proud of having made so many people I can’t quantify laugh at a bunch of Twinkie jokes and Christmas puns. To quote the Animaniacs whenever they’d been written into a corner: Goodnight, folks.

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New Ultimate Edit Week 5: Day Six

March 1st, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Yesterday gave us the brief reunion of Thor and his undead squeeze Valkyrie, whose wings will make putting on shirts a total chore. With everything taken care of, threat-wise, we still have the epilogue to work through. Shanna, Ka-Zar and Black Panther have moved on to greener pastures. They aren’t the only ones leaving.

ManiacClown insisted I namedrop “Twinkies” somewhere in there. The dude just can’t let it go, but whatever. I like the challenge. As for what Zarda’s talking about, the Supreme Power: Hyperion miniseries from a few years ago showed a dark future where Hyperion, Zarda and a lot of superheroes rule over the world with Nighthawk being the only remaining opposition. Like with the end of Howard Chaykin’s Squadron Supreme series, Loeb’s exit from Ultimate stuff calls for a moment of, “Crap, we have to force things back to the status quo so that future stuff can happen.”

Tomorrow is about putting an end to this for good and also tying up that one loose end that really should have had a bigger impact on the story.

Day Seven!

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New Ultimate Edit Week 5: Day Five

February 28th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

In our last installment, Iron Man was in the middle of talking down Thor when Loki made his final play. Yes, his end game was to smack Thor upside the head with a hammer. It didn’t work and he instead got a spear thrown through his neck. Now the twice-dead Valkyrie returns and hooks up with her badass boyfriend.

So that’s it, right? Me and ManiacClown can go home now? Bad guy’s dead and… oh, what’s that? Two days of wrap-up? Fine. But I swear, if we get a final page reveal of the next big threat, I’m burning this website to the ground. I’ll do it.

Day Six!
Day Seven!

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New Ultimate Edit Week 5: Day Four

February 27th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Yesterday showed the two powerhouses of the Ultimates Thor and Zarda duke it out over the streets of New York City as the 9,281st lightning bolt goes off right behind them. I’m wondering how any of these superheroes even hear each other over all the deafening thunder that must be filling the area. As the two slug it out, Iron Man appears in his special Hulkbuster armor out of nowhere. It seems enough to take Thor down and he has been trying to talk some sense into him. That brings us to this.

Thanks to ManiacClown for the help. Tomorrow the not-quite-Christmas story continues.

Day Five!
Day Six!
Day Seven!

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New Ultimate Edit Week 5: Day Three

February 26th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Ah, Day Two. The installment where Thor wrecked everyone some more and Zarda woke up and gave him a piece of her mind. It’s mentioned that Zarda really hasn’t been pulling her weight ever since joining the team at the end of Ultimate Power. But now it is Day Three, where their brawl continues and develops. How does this relate to that Clark Kent-like exit Iron Man did just a few minutes before?

Oh, Santa Thor. ManiacClown and I are going to miss writing you.

Tomorrow, Tony will continue his crusade to get through to Thor. What role will Loki play?

Day Four!
Day Five!
Day Six!
Day Seven!

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