She’s Just Not That Into You, Denny Colt

September 17th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

I didn’t really care about The Spirit before Darwyn Cooke came along. I knew of the character, and I’d read Dark Horse’s excellent Eisner/Miller, but I never had any interest in the character or the comic. Really, about all I knew is that everyone loved it, it was a classic, that it’d influenced a handful of writers and artists I enjoyed, and that Ebony White was shameful.

I finally gave the character a chance when Cooke’s run began. Darwyn Cooke, J. Bone, and Dave Stewart on colors is really the kind of creative team you shouldn’t turn down at all. So, I got over myself and finally dipped into Eisner’s character… and I wasn’t disappointed.

Cooke hits the ground running in the first issue, providing only a hint at The Spirit’s origin. Barring that page, the rest of the issue is essentially a series of chase scenes and fights. The Spirit has to rescue a kidnapped TV reporter while simultaneously evading her kidnappers and surviving Ginger Coffee’s idea of journalism.

This version of The Spirit feels old-school without being old. DC has been trying to bring back the olden glory days of their universe by bringing back Supergirl, Hal Jordan, and Barry Allen, but the stories just feel overwrought and hollow. With The Spirit, though, it just feels classic. You’ve got a hero (clean-shaven, lantern-jawed, virtuous), a damsel in distress, an angry ally/mentor, and a kid sidekick with a smart mouth.

I think what sold me on it in the end, though, was the last panel. The Spirit #1 ends with a joke, in the comic book-equivalent of a sitcom freeze frame. And that’s good. That’s the mythical “fun comic” that everyone’s been looking for and talking about. Open on action, throw in some adventure, end on a laugh. The hero spends 21 out of 22 pages being heroic, and the last panel is a joke at his expense. It reminds me of old cartoons, but with 2009% less cornball behavior.

The Spirit #1 is a fair indicator of the rest of Cooke’s run. The remaining issues dip into melancholy, slapstick humor, weirdness, action, and adventure in varying amounts, but it’s all here in microcosm. Cooke gives us the hero, but having a generic hero can get a little boring, so he throws a little sauce into the mix. Yeah, The Spirit is a good hero, and sometimes troubled, but you know what? He likes life. He has fun.

And Ebony White is dope.


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


The Spirit

June 26th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

The first work of Will Eisner’s that I ever read was Eisner/Miller. I may have purchased Autobiographix first, but I barely remember it at this point.

Eisner/Miller, though, sticks out in my mind because it was a conversation between two respected creators. The press lead-up to the book was probably the first time I’d ever heard Eisner’s name. All I knew going in was that he was a) old, b) highly respected, and c) crazy talented. I hadn’t read The Spirit, A Contract With God, or any of that. Regardless, Eisner/Miller was a fascinating history lesson and very interesting.

I looked up a few trades of The Spirit and didn’t get it. Ebony White was dumb, The Spirit was just kind of a dopey generic dude, and the art was all right. The idea was neat, at least. I filed it under “Things that aren’t for me,” a box which also contains LoSH, heavy metal, dungeons & dragons, and Angelina Jolie. Out of sight, out of mind, and so on.

I scoped out Darwyn Cooke’s Spirit when it dropped. It was okay– the art was good and the noir-y feel was pretty decent, but it didn’t really grab me. I might grab the hardcovers for the art, but you know, that’s when I get around to it.

By this point, everyone’s seen the trailer for The Spirit movie. It’s written and directed by Frank Miller, stars Gabriel Macht, Sam Jackson, Eva Mendes, and a grip of other people. Most of the fan response I’ve seen for it, mainly online, has tended toward the negative.

“He’s just remaking Sin City.” “Oh, is everyone gonna be a whore?” “Psht, he’s ruining Eisner’s vision.” “Frank Miller lost it.” “The trailer is overwrought.”

Honestly, I don’t get it. I know that ASBAR and DKSA are pretty much the definition of “Love it or hate it,” and the “WHORES WHORES WHORES” meme is very prevalent (though boiling down a man’s decades-long career into a webcomic catchphrase is ridiculously reductionist), but I see the trailer and see a movie that I genuinely want to see.

It hits more than a few of my buttons. It’s noir, it’s got Sam “I’ll Play Any Role For Money” Jackson, Miller is involved, and it’s got a striking visual style. Even the posters are different from what I’ve usually seen for movies.

So, you know, I was trying to figure out why basically everyone I know hates the very idea of this movie. I think it comes down to two things. One is that my default stance with Miller is “I’ll check it out.” I generally like his work, and he’s produced some of my favorite comics. I think he’s got an interesting, and off-kilter, perspective on things, so I’m curious to see where he’s taking the movie.

The other is that I just don’t really care about the Spirit at all. I don’t have the attachment that people who’re more steeped in comics history do. He’s just another hero to me. He isn’t Flash or Spider-man. He’s like… well, he’s still more than Captain Atom. He’s Katana or Wildcat– interesting in theory, but not so interesting that I’m going to seek out books featuring them.

The movie looks like an interesting way to try and get into the character, and it actually takes less commitment to watch a two hour flick than it does to buy a trade and have to live with it being terrible and sitting on your bookshelf. I think it’ll be a fun action flick, all things considered, and a good way to waste away an afternoon.

Plus, the movie’s got Eva Mendes.

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


Frank Miller on Will Eisner

April 29th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

Myspace.com Blogs – EXCLUSIVE: FRANK MILLER blogs about WILL EISNER from the set of THE SPIRIT! – MySpace Comic Books MySpace Blog
I maintain that A CONTRACT WITH GOD will prove Will’s most influential moment in comic-book history. Out of nowhere, the master reappeared on the scene, stabbing his sword in the sand, declaring with format, content, and its self-description as a “graphic novel” (a term I don’t like, but more on our disagreements later), that comic books need not be ephemeral things with a shelf life measured in weeks, but, if worthy of it, capable of literary permanence. It changed the way artists, then publishers, viewed comics. Back then, in the dog years of the early seventies, Will charted a map for the future that may have saved comic books from self-induced extinction.

It’s a good read. If you haven’t read it, check out Eisner/Miller. It’s also a wonderful read.

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


Return of the Wrath of Comic Con

April 22nd, 2008 Posted by Gavok

The weekend of chunky guys dressed like Colossus and hot women dressed as Slave Leia has come to an end. I myself had a great time, spent with hermanos from this very site and a whole bunch of guys from Funnybook Babylon. Sadly, Thomas “Wanderer” Wilde deemed himself “too broke” to consider joining us and Hoatzin would have probably involved a gigantic plane ticket paid in rare diamonds, since he’s from Europe. I don’t know. I really have no grasp on how that type of thing works. Besides, Hoatzin seems to have vanished from our planet. What happened to that guy?

This one movie sent the other movie into space.

Day One

Last year I got to New York the day before the con started, which allowed me enough rest and whatnot. This year I had to come in the first day of the event and kill time until David Uzumeri came in from Canada, since he was in charge of dealing with the hotel. I walked straight from the Port Authority bus terminal to the Javits Center, which tired me the hell out.

After getting my swanktastical press pass, I met up with hermanos and Joseph of FBB. They were at a panel starting up that was a screening for a new Will Eisner documentary. Since I was tired from all that walking, I decided to stick around and watch it. I found it interesting in the sense that I honestly didn’t know all that much about Eisner, which is almost a sin if you’re a comic fan. The four of us (David U. showed up towards the end) mostly agreed that while it had some fantastic stuff in there, such as taped conversations between Eisner and guys like Kirby, the sum of it was incredibly dry.

Shortly after, we went to the panel on online journalism, with guys from Newsarama and CBR there. It wasn’t as good as the comic blogging panel from last year and mostly focused on arguing over criticism vs. getting press releases. Once that was done with, I was rested up enough to do some wandering.

Read the rest of this entry �

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


4thletter is for… deception

June 29th, 2007 Posted by david brothers


You ever get the feeling that the wool’s been pulled over your eyes, just a bit?

Garth Ennis is known for a few things. Blood, curse words, comedic facial deformities, sex jokes, a mild hatred of superheroes, and more blood and then a few more curse words. On the good side, he’s a pretty solid plotter, he knows his strengths, he does great dialog, and he’s the best war writer since Kanigher and Kubert.

Just in case you aren’t familiar, he’s written comics where a demon named Baytor becomes master of hell, Nick Fury strangles another dude with his own intestines, an alien sex pervert becomes a British diplomat and gets eaten by a tiger while dressed in a corset with an orange up his butt, a soldier constantly tries to trick his superior officer into kissing him by faking death, a guy gets his nose swapped with his penis and vice versa, an Australian pope has sex with nuns and curses, the Saint of Killers shoots God, a short man with glasses has sex with a giant statue made out of meat, superheroes are depicted as a bunch of people who are completely worthless human beings (and sex perverts), a dude has sex with himself and then shoots himself in the face in front of his son, and– actually, this is a pretty good sampling of the stuff he’s known for. Plus, this is going to completely ruin the search terms on this site.

Anyway, Ennis has got something of a rep. He’s done his fair share of gross-out comics, though it’s usually played for humor. But, I’ve been noticing something in his comics. He keeps sneaking in these little things that make a scary amount of sense. I don’t necessarily agree with Ennis on the religion front, but he makes good points about how to live life. Sexism, racism, whatever– it’s all stupid. It doesn’t matter. Leave it behind and just do right.

The quote up top is from The Boys #8, a series about some humans whose entire job consists of smearing and then beating the snot out of superhumans, who are all sex perverts and callous jerks. We’ve seen a bulldog have sex with another, smaller dog, and a Teen Titans-alike have a screwed up coke orgy. The book opens with a guy swinging around with his girlfriend like they were in a movie, only a superhuman comes crashing down and basically explodes her on impact, leaving the guy holding her severed arms. There’s also a dude who lives below a comic shop who basically calls Will Eisner a punk. And despite all this grisly stuff, you get little scenes like the one in that image up there.

Punisher: The Slavers dealt with white slavers. On the one hand, it’s a wish-fulfillment fantasy. We, the reader, get our revenge on the rapist and slavers of the world through Frank Castle’s actions. He kills quite a lot of them, and the series ends with him lighting a local boss on fire on video, looking into the camera, and saying “Don’t come back here.” He sends the video back to Eastern Europe with one of the allies of the slavers. On the other hand, though, I can’t remember the last time I saw the aftereffects of rape and kidnapping in a comic. One of the cops featured in the story actually quits the force, because she believes she can do more good helping track and assisting the girls who were kidnapped. The last two pages of The Slavers are heartbreaking. You don’t have the full context here, obviously, but I think the pages are worth sharing. Check out the softcover or the hardcover (B&N link) if it catches your interest. The softcover’s like ten bucks, it’s worth it. I cut out the pages where Cristu was burned alive because they aren’t 100% relevant here.

For reference: Viorica lost her daughter to the slavers.

punisher_v5_030_p14.jpg punisher_v5_030_p15.jpg punisher_v5_030_p20.jpg
punisher_v5_030_p21.jpg punisher_v5_030_p22.jpg
(words by ennis, art by fernandez)

“All she can do is live with what life they left her.” Ouch.
Read the rest of this entry �

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


DC Solicitations, November 2006

August 22nd, 2006 Posted by david brothers

You can find the list, plus covers, over at Newsarama.

My commentary on the interesting books lies after the jump, and I’ve included the solicit text for them, too!
Read the rest of this entry �

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


Pride of a Panther: Top 5 Black Men

July 10th, 2006 Posted by david brothers

Dr Sivana shol is a smart 'un!So, anyone who spends any amount of time speaking to me tends to find out that I am very, very pro-black. There’s a song by dead prez that goes, “Thirty-one years ago I would’ve been a [Black] Panther.” This is so true in my case that I have actually gone back in time and helped found a chapter of the Black Panther Party in Brooklyn. I did this when I was a little older. Time travel is tricky, all right?

I was sitting here thinking, as us intellectual types are wont to do, and I’m not feeling the love, comics. You aren’t treating your black characters right. You call Jason Rusch, the new Firestorm, a token, an affirmative action quota kid, and all kinds of other nasty names. Bishop? Bishop had a perm. What kind of self-respecting, non-pimp black man wears a perm? Virgil “Static” Hawkins and his imprintmates at Milestone went the way of the dodo, despite being some of the best comics to come out of the ’90s. Static was the first Ultimate Spider-Man, if you get me. Don’t even get me started on the reaction to Captain America: Truth – Red, White, and Black, or the kind of glaring lack of writers of color at the big two.

It’s cool, though.Captain Marvel in Blackface Blacks in comics have come a long way. Luke Cage used to be a patently offensive stereotype, though he’s been pretty well gentrified now. Stepin Fetchits abounded during the early years of comics. Comics great Will Eisner even had his own little stereotypical black kid running around. Did we have it as bad as Chop-chop and Egg-fu? Well, yeah. Stereotypes, unless played very carefully, tend to be ugly, ugly things.

Anyway, this is all introduction to the meat of the matter. A lot of black heroes are wack, but there are some gems, too. For every Black Goliath there’s a Black Panther, dig? So check the list and let me know what you think. Read the rest of this entry �

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