And the Panel of the Millenium Goes To…!

July 22nd, 2009 Posted by Gavok

No, not the last couple pages of Legion of Three Worlds with Superboy Prime. Though David Uzumeri had his own fun with that scene. The bastard.

Dethklok vs. the Goon is great fun.

Eric Powell’s cartoony depictions of Dethklok and the other Metalocalypse characters is wonky at best, but the one-shot is still worth picking up. Funny and filled with such meetings as Rockso and Franky, Pickles and Willie Nagel, Skwisgaard and Momma Norton, Toki and Peaches Valentine and, best of all, Goon and Dethklok’s hooded security army.

On a similar note, Dethalbum II has been given an official tracklist. “Laser Cannon Deth Sentence” is on there, which is all I need.

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Adventure Comics #1 Preview

July 2nd, 2009 Posted by Esther Inglis-Arkell

I love the covers, I love the idea, I love the title.

And now?

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Black History Month ’09 #04: Never No In-between

February 4th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Anyway. New King Kong. It’s not so good. You probably heard that from, y’know, the rest of the world.

They get to Skull Island where savages feed virgins to King Kong. And, while remaining faithful to every aspect of the ’33 Kong, bajillionaire director Peter Jackson populates the place with, as our fisherman in Casanova calls the citizens of Coldheart, “ooga booga bone-nose nigger savage motherfuckers.”

Now, I’m about as sensitive to race issues as the next middle-class white guy. But- really, Peter? Really? That’s the best you could do? You can show us the monkey and the girl ice skating in Central Park but you can’t manage to update the D.W. Griffin-level of stereotypical Savage Nergro Monster? Were there no assistants or friends, colleages or freakin’ P.A.s that took his Grande Hobbitness aside to point out that, hey, maybe we’re spending two hundred million dollars and short of top hats and canes, we’ve just filled Skull Island like it was the Isle of Misfit Al Jolsons?

It wasn’t re-envisioning, re-mastering, reinventing, or re-presenting anything but bigotry; Jackson and co. trucked in racism and wrote it off as an act of fidelity and faithfulness to flawed and ignorant source material.

And anyway it just pissed me off. So when, a few months later, I read about North Sentinel Island for the first time, the two thoughts collided with one another.

Fuck that guy. Here are savages to save the world.
-Matt Fraction, Casanova #5 (back matter)

I can’t help but feel like Matt Fraction, though obviously well-intentioned, missed the point.

Black Panther has Wakanda. Superman’s got Vathlo Island. Tyroc has Marzal Island. Casanova has Coldheart. They all have a few things in common. Remote or isolated countries filled with technologically advanced black people, untouched by the evils of colonialism.

If I had to put my finger on it, I guess it’s born from some kind of political correctness gone wrong. In an effort to avoid creating stereotypical black or African savages, the creators overcorrected in the opposite direction. They put the black characters on a pedestal, turning them into paragons of virtue and exemplars of everything good about humanity.

The thing is, the noble savage portrayal really isn’t better than the ooga booga bone-nose nigger savage stereotype. Both are equally unrealistic. Both of them treat black people as something outside of the norm. “Look! They aren’t stereotypical! They’re super-advanced! They’re sci-fi savages!”

There’s a line from Black Star’s Thieves In the Night that applies here. Mos Def says, “I find it distressing there’s never no in-between- we either niggas or Kings, we either bitches or Queens.” It’s a sign of the gulf between blacks in comics and blacks in real life. You’ve got your unrepentant villain or mugger (more likely the latter) and then you have your heroes, who do it because it’s right.

You don’t have that in-between guy, who tries to be faithful to his girlfriend, but man, he can’t quite make it. You don’t have the girl who strips to pay for her degree in botany. You don’t have that guy who comes home from his high paying job, rolls a blunt, and zones out for a couple hours.

No, you have virtuous-to-a-fault musclemen and super scientists. You have angry black men turned BFFs and haughty queens. You have a bunch of not-stereotypes that end up being just as bad as the stereotypes.

See what I mean?

I think that Casanova is one of the best comics in recent memory, but the Coldheart stuff was pretty eye-rolly. Just another bunch of super savages, here to save us all. Super or not, they’re still savages. Savage or not, they still don’t reflect anything but a distorted view of political correctness.

When Fraction says, “Fuck that guy. Here are savages to save the world,” he basically sums up his motivation for creating Coldheart: revenge on racism. Racism is such an ugly and hated thing that it becomes way too easy to overcorrect. It becomes a battle of extremes. For every bone-nose savage, you create a hyper-advanced doctor. For every street thug, you create a king. For every neck-rolling sass-mouth chickenhead, you make a queen. And in doing so, you get further and further from anything resembling a black experience.

It’s really easy to fall prey to unconscious racism when you’re trying to avenge a racist act. “He’s very well-spoken!” and “You people are all right!” and “All black people aren’t like that!” aren’t racist in and of themselves, but they definitely fall into that realm of “Hang on, what do you mean by that?”

I like a couple of those super savage cultures. Wakanda is pretty awesome, due in large part to Kirby throwing everything at the wall and having it stick, and like I said, I love Casanova. Tyroc’s home is pretty much the only thing I really know about the Legion, because I had a comic with him when I was a kid. Even still, the two extremes are, like most extremes, not reflective of how things really are. If you really want to fight racism, you’ll answer that extreme with something in-between.

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Crisis on Infinite Supermen

July 9th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

I’ve gotten into a couple conversations over the past week or so about Superman. I’m not sure what brought it on. Maybe it’s something in the air, or the creative changes on Superman, or whatever whatever. One thing that always comes up is what exactly makes up your own personal Superman.

It’s that personal continuity, or apocryphal continuity that Morrison inadvertently created, again. Some stories count for you that don’t count for others. Other stories are so terrible (War Games) that you just wish everyone else would pretend like they never happened. Why even mention [Sins Past, Parallax, Clone Saga]? They suck, leave them in the past, right? Anyway, apocryphal continuity is something that I think everyone practices, whether they realize it or not. I mean, seriously, how many Superman fans think that Superman really almost starred in a porno with Big Barda?

My Superman is pretty widely defined, but there are a few pet peeves and specific traits I think he should have. First and foremost, though, is that he doesn’t say “Great Rao!” or “Moons of Krypton!” or whatever fakey-fake Kryptonian religion crap he found out about second-hand. That’s lame and way too Silver Age-y. So is “Great Scott!” Superman talks like a normal person.

Superman and the Legion is one area that I’m not entirely certain on. I have a friend (or two) who swears that the Legion is necessary for his life as a boy, but I’m not so sure. My thought was that Superman’s powers don’t fully manifest until he’s basically grown, as in Birthright or the Death/Return of Superman. As a kid, he knew he was different, and he at some point found out who and what he was, but he wasn’t exactly a Superman at that point. Sure, he could fly, maybe had a little bit of laser eyes, but he wasn’t thoroughly amazing.

The reasoning behind the Legion of Superheroes being significant for Superman’s origin is that it shows him the impact he will have on the future, which serves to simultaneously create an environment where you can tell stories about Superboy fighting things other than runaway tractors and bears (or whatever infest the midwest) and to create a situation where Superman must live up to his own legacy.

Basically, I kind of liked it when the only legacy Superman had to live up to was his father’s. It’s smaller scale and much more personal, I think. He’s just a young, confused kid who’s got to find his own way in the world and try to do the best he can. Knowing for a fact that you basically become the greatest hero to ever do it takes away from that a bit. It makes him more sure of himself without doing the legwork. I’m not a hardliner on it, though, and can go either way. I’m just hesitant about the Legion because I can’t really get into it in general.

Superman is an alien, but he is also a human being. In fact, he is a human being first and foremost. He was raised by people who instilled that in him, along with humility, a need to do right, and a need to not do too much. He has the power to wreck the planet to get his way, but he studiously avoids any action like that. He understands the fear that would strike into the hearts of regular people. So, he tries to live his life the way his parents raised him.

Kryptonite will kill him, but so will the loss of Lois Lane. I really liked Brian Azzarello and Jim Lee’s For Tomorrow in part because it hammered that point home. Superman lost his wife, and losing his wife basically means that he lost his center. He isn’t out of control, exactly, but he’s much less likely to go easy on you. Lois is the most important thing in his life and his anchor with both his human and Kryptonian heritage.

In the Fortress, he’s Kryptonian. He’s surrounded by the remains of a dead world and statues of his birth parents. In Kansas, he’s surrounded by his past and his oh-so-human parents. With Lois, he can let down his guard and be both. In Action Comics #775, “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, and The American Way?”, there’s a bit where he’s laying in bed with Lois and thinking about the next day when he’s due to throw down with some people who might actually murder him.

The scene is the perfect intersection of man and hero. When Clark is Superman, he has to be flawless. He can’t make mistakes. He has to be perfect in order to protect the Earth. As a man, though? In the dark, with his wife? He’s allowed to be unsure and imperfect. He’s allowed to let his voice crack and wonder if he’s doing the right thing, even though he already knows that it’s the only thing he could ever do.

Superman, like Captain Marvel, should always be one of those few superheroes I think should stay kid-friendly. There’s just something about him that encourages that. Maybe it’s what he stands for or how he operates, but a story about Superman having committed murder, for instance, is a hard sell for me. You could add mind control into the mix and I still wouldn’t be interested. He’s Superman. He doesn’t do that kind of thing. Ever. That’s the way it goes.

Also, my Superman got into a fight with Muhammad Ali and caught a beatdown.

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Professor Marc’s Homework Assignment: Part One

September 5th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

Where I work, I have a friend there who I will simply refer to as Professor Marc. I won’t post a picture of him since he may not dig that. Plus, he is really, really weird looking and if you’re reading this while in an early morning stupor, it will really fuck up your day and possibly take you out of the article. So to hell with that.

Marc’s level of comic knowledge makes me look like a guy who asks, “What’s a Bucky?” He’s about eight years older than me and has tons more experience than I do as a comic geek. It’s the kind of thing where I mention my “Deadshot’s Tophat” articles and he immediately gets the joke of the title. He’s the kind of guy that can name every single member of the Superfriends, including the guys that showed up for one episode like Plastic Man, Green Arrow and the ones I still can’t recall. In a sad kind of way, I sort of look up to him.

How do you become a comic know-it-all, anyway? I can read a bunch of comics, but it’s hard for me to branch out. Picking up something completely random and giving it a read is easier said than done. I could be spending that time reading a really good Justice League run or catching up on Daredevil. Still, I’m a man who loves his obscurity. A lot of the stuff I review on this site is stuff I make sure hasn’t been overly reviewed elsewhere on the net. That’s one of the reasons I haven’t touched the Ultimate Warrior comic. It’s old hat.

Professor Marc decided to lend me a hand. From his bottomless comic collection, he handed me nineteen random backissues to help build character. Stuff I would never think of reading on my own. Some issues are from comics I know of. Some issues are from comics I had no idea even existed. Only one of them is an issue that I’ve even heard of prior. Professor Marc’s list has more of a Marvel slant, but there’s still a good amount of representation all around.

I’ve read through six of these issues so far, so it’s time for part one of my book report.

The Toxic Avenger #5

Year: 1991
Writer: Doug Moench
Artist: Rod Ramos
Synopsis: This had to be the first one I read. I really don’t have much experience with the Toxic Avenger, honestly. I used to watch the Toxic Crusaders cartoon and years ago I watched Toxic Avenger 3 during one of those weekends when we got free Cinemax. But he is the Steve Rogers of New Jersey, so it’s my Jersian duty to read up on him.

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Support Your Local Quixotic Internet Personality

April 11th, 2007 Posted by Wanderer

Hi. I still exist. I’ve just not been comics-oriented for weeks on end.

In the meantime, my Internet buddy Christopher Bird, known far and wide for his rewritten Photoshops of Civil War, is trying a new campaign: “Christopher Bird Should Write Legion of Super-Heroes.”

I’m not a Legion fan, but those of you who are might get a kick out of this.

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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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Deadshot’s Tophat and Other Beginnings: Cab to Cat

February 6th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

Welcome to the fifth installment. Took me longer than expected, but a lot of these guys are big names. If you reach the end of the article, Batman will reward you with his greatest quote ever.


New Mutants #87 (1990)

Originally, Cable appears in Uncanny X-Men #201 (1986) as a baby, but I figure it would probably make more sense to show his real introduction. The story begins with a terrorist act by a team of Stryfe’s henchmen in some facility. The only one I actually recognize is Four-Arm. After they leave, a new figure enters through a hole in the wall.

Cable tracks Stryfe’s team on their next mission, where they plan to kidnap a couple kids out of a government facility. He takes the battle to the enemies, but their numbers eventually overwhelm him. He’s left to die and the mutants get away. The issue ends with Cable in military captivity, thinking about how he went at this the wrong way. He’s going to need help.

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Deadshot’s Tophat and Other Beginnings: Bl to Bu

January 12th, 2007 Posted by Gavok


Tomb of Dracula #10 (1973)

“They call me… Blade! Blade the Black Agent X!”

Times change, don’t they? The story that introduces Blade doesn’t so much go into his background, other than his hobby of offing vampires. He takes care of some of Dracula’s henchmen early on and then fights the big bad on a cruise ship. When Dracula has things won, one of his mind-controlled lady victims comes to jump his bones. This distracts Dracula enough that Blade can get back up. Dracula makes the decision to leave, though the boat will explode in moments. Blade tosses everyone off the boat and makes it to safety himself, knowing that he and Dracula will fight again one day.


Uncanny X-Men #317 (1994)

Before Blink was well-known for her role in Age of Apocalypse and Exiles, she showed up in regular 616 continuity as part of the Phalanx Covenant. Along with members of Generation X, she finds herself captured by the Phalanx.

When attacked by a being named Harvest, Blink uses her power to teleport him away while tearing him apart. Other than that, she follows the others as they attempt to escape, knowing that the Phalanx was unable to find a way to dampen their powers.

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Reign of the Supernovas: A Real Mystery in Real Time

December 15th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

That’s a damned good question, Michael. First appearing in the pages of 52 Week 8, Supernova’s since been a mystery. Where does he come from? What exactly are his powers? What is his role in the grand scheme of things? And just who is this guy?

First, let’s take a look at Supernova’s various appearances up to this point:

Week 8: Over the course of several days, we see the first appearances of this red, white and blue stranger. On Day 3, he appears before an old woman and her grandchild, glows real bright and brings them across the street before they can be crushed by a falling monorail. The next day, he appears among firemen who are about to get crushed by falling debris. Glowing brightly once more, the new hero makes the debris vanish. The next day we get reports of him cleanly shearing a gunman’s rifle in half, as well as saving one woman’s daughter from a riptide. Booster Gold, whose image has just been destroyed a week earlier, rants about this new character in front of one Clark Kent.

Week 10: Clark Kent, having just been fired at the Daily Planet, sees Supernova flying around the city. With sudden inspiration, he hops out the window and freefalls. Supernova swiftly catches him, assures him of his safety and asks if he’s okay. Clark pulls out a tape recorder and asks for an interview. As Clark later explains to Lois, they didn’t get too far before seeing Bahdnesian terrorists stealing a military all-terrain vehicle. Supernova puts down Clark and uses his glowing power (which Clark describes as “peculiar eyebeams”) to take away the pavement under the vehicle, locking it into the ground. Supernova poses and answers a couple questions from Clark, trying hard to conceal himself. He sees a child almost walk into the hole in the ground, teleports in a bright light and appears in front of the child. The way he responds to the boy shows that he has some semblance of a personality under the mask. Clark tells Lois that he believes that Supernova’s on the level and that he has an air of experience about him. Elsewhere, Booster is growing more and more frustrated, while Skeets admits that even he doesn’t know who Supernova is from his historical files.

Week 15: The big one. Booster takes on a giant sea monster in the middle of Metropolis. He fails pretty badly, including a bit where he causes a massive power outage. Supernova flies in, soars to the monster and with a bright blast, zaps him away. Supernova offers his hand to Booster and makes a comment about Booster not caring about the people he saves. Noticeable frown under the mask. Booster snaps and tackles Supernova. The two brawl, showing that Supernova is at least strong enough to trade fists with Booster. Supernova’s only use of powers are to momentarily blind Booster. Supernova highly disapproves of Booster, saying he’s too pathetic to be considered a joke. Skeets mentions a radiation leakage. Supernova wants to stop it, but Booster sucker-punches him and tries to stop it himself. Beaming at his return to greatness, Booster saves everyone, but is engulfed in an explosion. Supernova, shocked, flies upwards and catches Booster’s body. To the horror of Clark and the noticeable surprise of Skeets, Booster Gold is just a skeleton in futuristic tights.

It’s worth noting that there were two alternate endings to this issue. In one ending, Booster turns to dust upon landing in Supernova’s arms. In the other, there is no radiation leakage. Supernova tries to teleport Booster back a few feet. At the same time, Booster turns on his force field. The result causes Booster to be cut in half. A horrified Supernova swears he didn’t mean for it to happen and Clark Kent believes him. Supernova covers one half of Booster with his cape while Clark uses his jacket on the other half.

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