Wrestlecomics Interview: Gavok Battles Shayne Hawke at Snarkfest ’08!

June 12th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

Yep. It’s already time for another interview, this time with an honest-to-Gog comic fan. First, I should point out that it’s been a while since I’ve done any articles that compare the CHIKARA DVD covers to their comic book counterparts, but I should be getting around to that next week. I hope.

In the meantime, check out this awesome cover of Café Culture, featuring Claudio Castagnoli.

Obviously, that’s based on the comic cover where… uh… Despero was… er… enjoying a cup of coffee. Yeah.


So! This time I get to interview Shayne Hawke, a charismatic youngster in the CHIKARA ranks with a lot going for him. He’s entered in this weekend’s Young Lions Cup 6 tournament, convinced he’s going to make it to the end and acquire the championship trophy. Meanwhile, he and his raspy mentor Mitch Ryder have won three tag matches in a row, thereby earning them a title shot against the tag champs Delirious and Hallowicked.

Shayne Hawke agreed to meet me up on the 4th Letter Helicarrier for an interview, mainly as an excuse to keep his pale hide out of the sun for a few minutes. I mean, that’s not what he told me, but I got that vibe just from looking at him. Anyway, the interview.

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A Left-Field Idea About the Future

March 20th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

Earlier tonight I was in the middle of a conversation about how many Cable archetypes there are in comics and this little idea clicked in my head. It’s silly, but I can’t shake the need to at least give it a mention.

DC has been playing around with Kingdom Come a lot lately. I haven’t been reading Justice Society of America, but I know Starman is from that reality and they’ve been using a good amount of heroes and villains from that story since the new volume started up. Most notably KC Superman and Gog from Kingdom. Geoff Johns writes JSA and is also a co-writer of Booster Gold.

Recently, Booster Gold introduced the title character’s father. He never showed up in Booster’s old series, including his issue of Secret Origins, but I suppose something was suspect about his lack of appearance mixed with Booster choosing never to bring him up. Now he’s in league with Per Degaton, an old school Despero, Ultra-Humanite and the mysterious Black Beetle. What they’re planning isn’t exactly known.

When he was teaming up with corrupt time-traveler Rex Hunter, Booster Sr. (I don’t recall ever seeing his name) was out to undo the destinies of the Justice League so that he could use time travel to his advantage and become the ultimate superhero. Think about that. He wanted Superman, Batman and all the rest out of the way so that he could be the top hero. He’s totally missing the point about what being a superhero is about and it’s set to someday blow up in his face. Sound familiar?

Not just that, but notice the short, white hair and scar going down his right eye. Seemingly based on Cable, just like another DC character.

What I’m wondering is if Geoff Johns has any intentions on somehow taking this guy…

…and having him change costumes so he can someday be this guy…

I’m not saying that this is going to happen. I’m not even certain if I want it to happen. All I’m saying is that if it does happen, I totally called it. Just throwing that out there.

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Wondercon Day One!

February 23rd, 2008 Posted by david brothers

What did I do today?

I went and saw a Becky Cloonan panel. It was pretty cool, and she talked a lot about her influences. She was also asked three different times what books she likes to read. I was first, mind you. Way to go, guys– try being on time. She’s a big Gambit fan, and a friend of mine got a sketch from her of him.

After that, I saw Terry Dodson. He gave a really interesting talk on his career and how he got to where he was. He also told how he ended up having his wife be his inker, which was a little neat. Basically, she was an interior design major, but she has impeccable penmanship and line control. She apprenticed for a little while, and the rest is history.

After that, I saw Darwyn Cooke for the second time. He did a stealth signing at the Isotope on Thursday night, which was really cool. It was really laid back, plus I got my Absolute New Frontier signed. He told a bunch of very cool stories, too.

I met Dwayne McDuffie.

Let me repeat that– I met McDuffie. Pardon my fanboy, kids. I thought I saw him, but I wasn’t sure, but Howard Brown of PCS made it a point to introduce us. Do I even have to say how awesome that was?

I bought a couple of trades (Impulse: Reckless Youth and Sam Noir Volume One) and wandered the floor. Did some networking. Solidified a deal that’s the biggest thing I’ve ever done solo (I’ll talk about that next week!). Hung out with Mindy Owens, writer of the Runaways/Ultimates Saga and Spider-Man Fairy Tales, and her twin sister. Saw a bunch of people I know. Chilled at the Writers Old Fashioned table (AA90!) for a little while. Hung out at the Ben Templesmith and Antony Johnston signing at the Isotope.

Tomorrow? I’m getting interviewed (exciting!), watching a podcast panel moderated by a friend and featuring a few friends, and working the Darwyn Cooke signing.

I’ll be around. Holler if you see me!

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Just an observation

January 5th, 2008 Posted by Hoatzin

Batwoman was in Crime Bible: The Five Lessons of BloodThe Question #3 last week. It’s the first time I thought this version of Batwoman was kind of cool, and it’s generally a good comic that you should be reading. Anyway, I noticed an interesting thing: Matthew Clark made some sly but noticable changes to her design. It’s an improvement.


On the left is Alex Ross’ original design. On the right is Batwoman from the issue in question (hehe), as drawn by Matthew Clark. Note the streamlined cowl, the more realistic gloves, the actually functional looking utility belt, the lack of superfluous and poorly placed bat-symbols and best of all: The ridiculous high heels appear to be gone.

Pretty cool huh?

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Deadshot’s Tophat and Other Beginnings: Cr to De

July 6th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

I took a long break from these babies to do the Wrestlecrap articles, but now I’m back with quite a collection of characters. Some are a bit topical, too.


Captain America #360 (1989)

The story of the issue is part of an arc called the Bloodstone Hunt. It involves Captain America and Diamondback taking on Baron Zemo, Batroc, Zaron and Machete over some gem. That part isn’t really important.

Though I will say that Diamondback’s appearance is sort of off-putting here. Her outfit is pink spandex with a series of black diamonds over her front and back. Considering she’s in the water for most of the comic, she hangs around some people in bathing suits, and the way the pink is colored here, it looks like she’s wearing a black thong that doesn’t cover her chest. That’s all well and good, but her costume is torn in places, so now it looks like she has some nasty-ass skin disease.

Anyhow, she and Cap get away with the prize. As they leave, we see that they’re being watched.

Crossbones is so cool.

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Dick Hyacinth Can’t Lose

June 26th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

Dick Hates Your Blog: Focused on a single issue for a change

Dick Hyacinth is a man after my own heart.

So, because nobody demanded it, I’ve got a few suggestions for those of us who are concerned about the portrayal of women in Marvel/DC comics, yet equally concerned that the debate is getting unfocused, too shrill, or just somehow vaguely off:

1. Don’t treat those who disagree like children, no matter how much they might deserve it. I like a good put-down war as much as the next guy (yes, yes, probably more so), but I like my opponents to be fully-functioning adults. There’s no sport in matching wits with your average Blogorama troll (though there is some fun in mocking them from afar, say at your own blog). Be polite, keep the high ground, don’t make blanket generalizations that you can’t support (again, unless you’re doing it at your own blog).

1a. Maybe you should give the bingo thing a rest. Yes, we might find it funny, but I think it alienates people who might otherwise be sympathetic to complaints about sexism/misogyny. The post which explained the whole bingo concept (which I can’t find right now) does a fairly good job in explaining everything, but I still think this is a fairly exclusionary rhetorical device–you’re for us or against us! You get it or you don’t! In the present landscape, I don’t think this is a useful way to frame the argument. People are much more willing to consider your perspective if they think you’re inviting them to do so, rather than telling them they’re too stupid to understand.

2. Don’t be afraid to moderate comments. This is a tricky one–nobody wants to look like a censor. But some people aren’t interested in discussing issues in good faith; they’re either intellectually incapable (hopefully due to youth) or just not interested in real debate. I wish the powers that be at Blogorama were a little quicker in deleting these sorts of comments, though I kind of understand why they aren’t. For the rest of us, especially those whose blogs end up being the epicenter of a particular controversy: if the commenter feels slighted or oppressed, you might remind him or her that blogs are free. And if you have something interesting to say (or even if you don’t, sometimes), people will eventually notice you.

2a. Don’t feed trolls. I also wish that people who know better would just ignore the type of comment described above, especially those left on Blogorama. It’s good to engage with people who have opposing viewpoints, but only if they’re legitimately interested in honest intellectual debate. Arguing with trolls quickly turns into a screaming match. This might be somewhat amusing when discussing Civil War or something else that doesn’t fucking matter–hell, I think there’s some value to trolling in such a situation. But this is actually somewhat serious shit. Pick your words carefully; don’t let something that matters to you devolve into a cable news talk show.

There’s another couple rules in there, along with a lot more text, all of it worth reading.

He says there what I say here but in a much more concise and less-rambly manner.

For a blog based on hating other, lesser, blogs, Dick’s blog is top notch.

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Art School

June 12th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

Steve Epting went from this:
to this:
capa021_covcol.jpg capa012.jpg ca_v5_13.jpg

Patrick Zircher did very passable work on Cable/Deadpool. Good, not great. Here’s a few covers:
cable_deadpool_20.jpg cabledeadpool-36.jpg

But, have you seen his Terror, Inc pencils?
lowresterr001007.jpg lowresterr001008.jpg lowresterr001010.jpg

Holy crow! What’s Marvel putting in the water? I know that there are a few other artists who have really manned up under Marvel’s iron fist, too. It’ll be interesting to see who else goes through big changes.

And yes, I realize Steve Epting came back with Crossgen or whatever, but still! His work is incredible.

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The Top 100 What If Countdown: The Finale

March 28th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

I feel kind of silly making this article since it was supposed to be done months ago. There are several things that kept me from finishing it, but I’m going to take the easy way out. All the time I usually use to write these What If articles was really used to pretend I was writing for Lost. I love writing Sam the Butcher’s dialogue the most.

Starting it off, here’s a series of sig images I made for the Batman’s Shameful Secret sub-forum at Something Awful. I guess they worked.

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4thletter is for… dialogue!

March 16th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

I am a complete sucker for good dialogue. The Brians Three (Azzarello, Vaughan, and Bendis) are some of the best guys out at making realistic and natural-sounding dialogue. In fact, I’d say that the big three are Garth Ennis, Azz, and Bendis, in that order.

Ennis has a few themes that he comes back to over and over. “Superheroes suck!” is one. He likes to write about superheroes being awful people, war, and camaraderie. He’s got an incredible ear for dialogue. His people sound like real people. They’re distinct. I wasn’t a huge fan of the overarching story of Preacher, in part because Jesse Custer was kind of a jerk, but the dialogue was so solid that I had to keep reading. Chronicles of Wormwood is one of the most horrible, awful, and offensive comics I’ve ever read. It’s about the Antichrist, Wormwood, only he’s decided to buck his dad’s will and just live out his life without bringing on Armageddon. He’s good friends with JC, another character who has decided to try something different from what his Father wants. He ended up getting brained by a member of the LAPD for his trouble and suffers from brain damage. Wormwood is cheating on his girlfriend with a reborn Joan of Arc, too. It’s pretty despicable, but at the same time… it’s really kind of enjoyable. Ennis’s skill with dialogue turns an interview between a journalist and Wormwood into an insight into the minds and thoughts of both characters. Wormwood isn’t really a bad guy, I mean after all the Antichrist stuff. He genuinely has no interest in furthering his father’s goals and has made it a point to kill anyone who tries to make him do so. He does a bad thing when the journalist gets on his nerves and actually feels bad about it. He goes to break off his relationship with Joan (which ends up backfiring) because of this guilt. Ennis gets characters, is what I’m trying to say. Beyond all the (deformity+face) = Name and potty humor, Ennis writes real people, thanks almost wholly to his dialogue.

Azzarello is the same way. Where Ennis is a more on-the-surface kind of writer, where characters are pretty close to what they say they are, Azz’s characters exist between the lines. What they say is important, yes, but how they say it and what they don’t say is just as important. Look at that up above. Loop, the black guy. What do you get from just those three panels? He’s cocky, rocking a devil-may-care attitude, and he’s clever. Risso’s art helps here quite a bit, too. His body language says almost as much as the dialogue does. Azz’s dialogue has rhythm. People dance around each other’s words and tend to finish each other’s sentences. You have to pay attention to Azz’s dialogue, because it isn’t necessarily plain-spoken. Calling it “layered” would be a start. Words are laced with double and triple meanings. Seemingly offhand bits of dialogue end up being vital. Azz makes you think, and then think again. That’s part of why I love his work so much.

Bendis, for all the played out jokes and catchphrases, is really good at dialogue. He didn’t become one of the top writers at Marvel for nothing. Bendis’s dialogue is stuttery and fairly stacatto. But, who doesn’t talk like that? We start and stop, deliver half-finished thoughts, and talk over each other. Bendis is crazy wordy, but he’s also true to life. His people may sound similar overall, but the stutter-step talky-talk is a great device. One that has possibly been overused, but when used properly, is always excellent.

Let me round this out with one last guy. Personally, I think that Stan Lee brought a lot to comics dialogue. The pre-Marvel books that I’ve read tended toward the bombastic and overwrought. Stan the Man gave characters flaws, and at the same time, gave them voices that stick with you. He’s the man for a reason. To this day, I love the dialogue in those old Marvel books.

I picked this up out of a funny panels thread over at Batman’s Shameful Secret.


We love you, Stan. Don’t ever change.


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A Few Good Comics

March 14th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

What comics are you reading? Good stuff, I trust. Personally, I have impeccable taste. Okay, maybe not impeccable, or even good, really, but at least I don’t read Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose or Fantagraphics’ porno comics so shut up you pervert. :doom:


I’ve been really enjoying Ed Brubaker lately. Criminal was one of the best comics I’ve seen lately, and is proof positive that the Brubaker/Phillips team is the proverbial bee’s knees. They tell a tragic noir tale full of the usual twists and turns that you’d expect from both Brubaker and films noir, and then hit you with a downer ending that feels oh-so-right. His run on Captain America has revitalized the character and quietly done away with the story-arc focus that Marvel had a while back, when each story was modular. Here, the issues are composed of multi-part arcs, but each arc builds organically into the next. Bru’s first twenty-five issue all tell one story. It’s pretty impressive, and the quality of the work has been ridiculous.

Of course, you can’t talk Brubaker without mentiong Immortal Iron Fist, and therefore Matt Fraction. This book is practically perfect. The story promises us(and delivers) new insights into the Iron Fist lineage and manages to pull off the “long, lost X” angle very well. It nails Danny Rand as a character almost as well as David Aja is nailing the art. There’s a nine-grid in the latest issue, #4 I believe, of Danny flitting around the building that is just a perfect comics page.

Talking about Fraction dovetails into Casanova. I haven’t read the entire series, due to me missing out on two or three issues of the seven issue series, but what I’ve read, I have loved. It’s another nigh-perfect comic, from the words to the art to the back matter. Casanova Quinn is both a sympathetic and alien protagonist, but I love him nonetheless. Casanova, the book, is pure id on the surface, but there’s a scary intelligence working underneath. It’s whip-smart and clever. It wants to fool you even while beckoning to you. It’s passionate, and that may sound a little corny but it’s absolutely true. You can feel the emotion coming off this book. But then, you check out the back matter and you realize that with the things he says and the feel the book gives off that you’re reading an amazing book. It isn’t just id or ego, it is Fraction himself in those pages. There’s an amount of “This is cool, so we’ll do it,” but 90% of that book is about or mirrors Fraction, just like The Invisibles mirrored Morrison.

Kyle Baker’s Nat Turner cannot be praised enough. I’ve got volume one and I’m ordering volume two asap. It’s a tale I remember hearing rarely in school, and then it was always painted as something to skip over in class and unimportant. I’m rather fond of the story myself, and Baker has definitely done it justice.

This is going to sound dumb, but I really like Jimmie Robinson’s Bomb Queen. I picked up the first trade (Woman of Mass Destruction) the other day. On the one hand, its gratuitous nudity, language, and violence are exactly what’s wrong with comics today. On the other, this kind of winking-at-the-reader lowbrow humor just pushes all the right buttons. Jimmie Robinson’s official position is that it is parody, and I can see that at work, too. It’s charming, in a smutty, violent, lewd kind of way. Maybe charming is the wrong word?

Anyway, Bomb Queen tickles that same funny bone that Garth Ennis’s humor work does. Adventures in the Rifle Brigade, for example, is a completely non-serious book with really, really dirty jokes. There’s a bad joke in there about America still being a colony of England is funny just because of the earnest way that Hugo “Khyber” Darcy delivers the line. Plus, it’s a story about the most bungling bunch of soldiers this side of Beetle Bailey going after Hitler’s missing testicle, so how “mature” can it be?

The Authority: Kev cycle of four miniseries is another good example, and it blends a message into all the jokes about poop and people with hideous and/or hilarious facial deformities. How do you find the strength to march to the beat of your own drum? How do you become a better person than what you are? Kev, More Kev, The Magnificent Kevin, and A Man Called Kev almost all explore this while doing Ennis’s usual “Superheroes are jerks” and “guns are awesome” stuff. The first three minis are collected in two trades. Hopefully A Man Called Kev will hit soon, as it’s easily the best of the lot.

Speaking of Ennis, though, I finally own my most favorite of his stories. It even beats out Punisher MAX, which is quite a feat. It’s 303, the book he did out of Avatar with Jacen Burrows. It is about one man, empires, wars, costs of wars, and what it means to be a man. It is, of course, in Ennis’s He-Man, War is Interesting, Guns are Awesome, Mind the Gore, Luv mode. Quite a lot of people die. The story has a point, though, as one man begins a trek for, if not revenge, honor, armed with his 303 Lee-Enfield rifle. 303 says a lot about war and the effect it has on later generations. It talks about how history chews up and spits out people. I should stop now, as I kind of want to do a dedicated post to this book later on this week. Suffice to say that it is one of Ennis’s best works. If you’re an X-Men fan, it’s everything Wolverine ever said about duty and honor but failed to deliver on. It’s played completely straight, too. No jokes, no maimings, just drama. Well done.

I’m slowly making my way through Sequart.com’s Modern Master: Grant Morrison: The Early Years. It covers Zenith through Doom Patrol, I believe, and it is pretty fascinating. I already knew a lot of it, but it’s neat to see someone else’s perspective on the same things. I’m making my way through the Animal Man section at the moment. Lit-crit applied to comics is so cool in such a nerdy way!

100 Bullets, Loveless, and Tales of the Unexpected are all obvious favorites, too. Loveless is building suspense, and genuine suspense at that, something that is rarely seen in comics. Things are heating up to a fever pitch, and Atticus, Ruth, and Wes are going to go from knee-deep in it to neck-deep in blood in only a few short issues. I can feel it. The Dr. 13 special in Tales is in a book that features Dave Lapham and Brian Azzarello both writing, which was sure to get my attention, but it’s so much better than I expected. I’d never heard of any of these characters before, save for Dr. 13, but he’s written a story that is both continuity porn and its polar opposite. I don’t have to know anything about these guys, since everything I need to know is there. Frankly, I thought he was making people up for the first few parts. I, Vampire? Infectious Lass? Seriously?

On a more sour note, Incredible Hulk‘s Planet Hulk is starting to lose me, I fear, which does not bode well for World War Hulk. I just kind of stopped caring about what happens to that planet. I’ll be mighty glad when these events are over and done with, but I do hope that WWH at least delivers on its premise.

What’re you into?

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