Summerslam for Comic Fans

August 15th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

Tonight we have what I guess would be considered the WWE’s third most important show of the year, Summerslam. I mean, on paper, it’s supposed to be the secondary Wrestlemania, but everyone and their imaginary friend loves Royal Rumble more. I look forward to the show despite the roadblocks it sets up. There are only six matches signed. One of these matches is a throwaway Divas match I couldn’t care less about. One of the championship matches is Rey Mysterio vs. Kane and while I love Kane and don’t mind Mysterio, I don’t need to be reminded of their abysmal, “Is he alive or is he dead?” feud.

So why am I so jazzed about the show? Team WWE vs. the Nexus in an elimination tag match. The Nexus has been one of the better wrestling storylines in past years, despite its own set of roadblocks (Daniel Bryan/Bryan Danielson being fired, Wade Barrett’s visa problems, Ricky Steamboat’s injury). I can only hope the storyline doesn’t get killed as of the end of Summerslam, yet at the same time, I don’t want them to last long enough to get destroyed by a returning Triple H. God, I really don’t want to see Triple H involved with this in any way.

For those new to the big main event, here it is laid out DC Comics style.

(click for bigger version)

Let’s see who we got on here…

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Great Moments in Black History #13: “Now I’m here to tell ya… there’s a better day”

June 8th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

from milestone’s static shock: rebirth of the cool. words by dwayne mcduffie & robert l washington iii, art by john paul leon.

(i’m done. that’s 13 weeks of black comics– 6 guys, 6 chicks, and a resurrection batting clean-up. you can’t tell me you can’t find comics starring black people any more. we’re out there, superheroes or not.)

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Black History Month 24: Static and Manhood

February 24th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

static-02-10.jpg static-02-11.jpg static-02-12.jpg
from milestone comics’s static. words by mcduffie/washington, art by john paul leon
Dear Sean–
What’s goin’ on? Not much to say
Just checkin’ in wit’cha trying to see what’s wrong today
I know there’s gotta be something kickin’ your bruises
How’s the love? How’s the music? How’s the self-abusiveness?
Got a lot to lose, it’s breakin’ your shoulders
So you let your paranoia place your bets for you

–Atmosphere, “Little Man”

I really enjoy Static. Honest to goodness, he’s one of the best “new” characters to hit in the ’90s. I think that McDuffie & Co. did a wonderful job creating and realizing him. They took the Spider-Man prototype and took it to the next logical level. I spoke about this a few days ago, but I wanted to get back at it. I’v got some breathing room during Wondercon, so you guys get to reap the whirlwind!

Static is probably the most accurate depiction of a young black male to ever hit comics. I haven’t read every comic ever, but Static just rings true on basically every level. He’s also a great example to show just how black masculinity goes sometimes.

You could a decent case for Virgil having gotten his powers because of a girl. One day at school, he met a girl named Frieda. A bully embarrasses him in front of her, but waits until she leaves to beat him down. Virgil crumples and can’t do much but cry. His friend rescues him from the bully, probably saving him a trip to the hospital, and helps him up. He lets Virgil know that he’s got a gun for him if he wants it. Virgil goes home.

When he gets home, his mom chides him for getting beaten up. He’s supposed tos tay out of trouble at this school, not fall into more. He’s got to learn to take care of himself. Virgil goes up to his room just in time to catch the phone ringing. On the other line is Frieda Goren, the girl from before. She compliments him on not being about “that macho stuff” and says that that’s why the bully chose him to attack.


Let me tell you, speaking as a former black teenager– there is nothing in the world worse than looking like a chump in front of a cute girl. Honestly. Getting beaten up would be one thing, but having that girl basically say “You aren’t a real man and that’s why you got beaten up,” regardless of the reason, is like being kicked in the junk by like four different people at once. It’s that Hitchcock zoom– the world zooms out, your face zooms in, and you can’t do anything but grimace in pain.

The second issue of Static uses this as part of Static’s origin story, and it’s a good hook. Regardless of how ridiculous or nonsensical standards of manhood are– they exist. You can be a “real man,” for varying definitions of “real man” depending on your location, upbringing, and state of mind. There are certain thing that you should do and are expected to do and if you don’t do them? Well, dude, sorry, but you aren’t gonna fit in. You’re a sucker, a mark, a punk, a whatever your local regional slang calls a dude who can’t stand on his own two feet.

Virgil was already feeling low because of the beatdown, but this was strikes two, three, four, and five all at once. The secret ingredient to being a boy is that being around girls makes you do stupid things. They don’t even have to say or do anything to you– girls are kryptonite. Kryptonite makes Superman weak. Frieda’s comments, no matter their trustworthiness, made Virgil weak. He calls his friend and asks for a gun. He’s going to put one between the bully’s eyes.

That’s the other half of being a man. Regaining lost manhood. It’s just as bad as kryptonite. Thing is, regaining your lost manhood isn’t a matter of “how far will you go.” It’s a matter of “You’ve already gone too far. How far over the line will you go?” Putting a .38 slug into a dude because he beat you up and made you feel like a chump? That’s way over the line.

There’s something I picked up years ago from music. Knowledge is all about knowing the ledge. That means knowing your limits, knowing the edge, knowing how far is too far, and just knowing period. If you’re “not knowing?” You’re not right. You’re doing wrong. Virgil was not knowing.

This is that fine line that you have to learn to walk. You put on that mean face and treat everyone like a threat. If you’re smiling and walking around like it’s all good, you’re a target. You have to learn what being a man means to you, not to other people. If you don’t mind a bit of punnery, you’ve got to be a self-made man. What means “a man” to you? You have to decide early, otherwise you’re stuck following someone else’s definition.

It’s almost like a competition, only there aren’t any winners in this race. You’re just trying to keep up with the Joneses and look better than the next man, but you don’t realize that those people you’re trying to keep up with? They’re trying to keep up with you at the same time. It’s a zero-sum game.

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Black History Month 19: Don’t Start None…

February 20th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

art from milestone comics’s static #1
Sorry this is late! It’s been a busy day (what’s that? I have two conferences in town this week?) and I’ve been running ragged.

Today? Today we’ve got Dwayne McDuffie.

You might have heard the name before. I mean, he was only instrumental on one of the best comic-book based cartoons ever. You might know it as Justice League Unlimited? Before that, he worked in comics. He did a few series for Marvel. Damage Control, Deathlok, you know. Books like that.

When he moved to DC, though. Wow. He started up Milestone Comics with a group of like-minded individuals and tried to set the comics world on fire. They gave us a fleet of diverse heroes without beating anyone over the head with Issues. Static was a brand new hero in the Peter Parker mold, but with the added benefit of modern day maturity.

Where Lee and Ditko had to kind of hedge their bets with regards to bringing real life issues into their book, McDuffie, Robert Washington, and John Paul Leon didn’t have to worry about that at all. In the first few issues, Static has girl trouble, gets beaten up, gets humiliated, leaves his house with murder on his mind (he chickens out), gains powers, and loses the girl. He has those teenaged problems that we can all relate to, and he reacts about how a teenager would. He isn’t always right, he doesn’t always win, and sometimes he is hilariously in the wrong.

Did Milestone set the comics world on fire? Well, they went out of business after a while, so that’s arguable. However, they did the next best thing. They set more than a few minds on fire. They showed a generation of kids that it could be done.

From Wikipedia:

Milestone provided the opportunity for many emerging talents who had been passed over by larger established companies, beginning the careers of many comic industry professionals. Among them are John Paul Leon, Christopher Sotomayor, Christopher Williams (aka ChrisCross), Shawn Martinborough, Tommy Lee Edwards, Jason Scott Jones (aka J.Scott.J), Prentis Rollins, J.H. Williams III, Humberto Ramos, John Rozum, Eric Battle, Joseph Illidge, Madeleine Blaustein, Jamal Igle, Chris Batista and Harvey Richards.

You know what? That’s a rock solid legacy. You ever meet someone who doesn’t love Milestone Comics?

McDuffie is one of the unsung heroes of comics, as far as I’m concerned. His miniseries from a couple years ago, Beyond, was a great little spotlight on a few forgotten Marvel characters. His run on Fantastic Four was not only years in the making– it showed a remarkable grasp of character work. Characters sounded exactly like they should, and the jokes were actually funny. His recent Damage Control miniseries is off to that same start.

When he came to DC, he was put on JLA. Perfect fit, right? He rocked on the cartoon series and he’s got some comics clout. He did good work at Marvel, maybe he can bring some of that magic to DC?

I’ve been less than enthused with his JLA, to be honest. The writing is solid, but the stories keep tripping into Countdown crossovers and being covered up with pretty shoddy work on the part of Ed Benes and Joe Benitiez. Why grab a great writer and then weigh him down with sandbags? Why not just let him work?

Despite all this, I’m glad that he’s still in comics. He’s a great voice and, I believe, a necessary one. I just want a company to be brave enough to throw him on a name book, give him a hot artist, and let him go wild. I’m willing to lay 2.99 a month on the fact that we’ll get something hot.

Static made #5 on my top black male characters in comics a while back. That’s for a really good reason.

(i snuck this article in under the wire, huh? whoops.)

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Long Live the King

August 28th, 2007 Posted by Hoatzin

“It was then that I came to realize what a powerful and ever-contemporary art form “comics” is, and how important it is to keep the medium ever flexible and sustaining. This is the attitude at National Periodicals. This is the place to be, in order to watch the medium lock into into our turbulent times and fish for the future. For in that future, comics should be bigger than ever and the forerunner of newer and more stimulating trends. Carmine Infantino will tell you that. As National’s Editorial Director and a great pro himself, the “look to the future” is often discussed between us when my routine is straightened out. In my opinion, this kind of thinking can only be a plus for the reader. When an outfit is constantly immersed in anti-static output, it is well worth working for on this end, and earns faithful readership and friends on the other.”

Jack Kirby, from Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #133, October 1970.

Happy birthday Jack, thank you for everything.

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All-Star David and Gavin the Boy Wonder

May 16th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

Before I do anything else–

Have you guys heard the new DJ Jazzy Jeff record? It is sick. Every single track is dope.

Anyway, I am in SF right now. Got a place, did some time at my job, and did a bunch of things San Franciscans do. I drank Chai Tea Latte at a Starbucks (it is good), rode the bus, and played phone tag with Comcast for two hours plus. On Friday, I get the honor of doing it again, this time in person with a four hour window for installation. Hurray.

Anyway, I live roughly a mile from Isotope Comics, so guess what my new comics shop is! Sending in the pull list later tonight, most likely.

Ed Brubaker signing there this Saturday at 8 til midnight. I’ll be there with the copy of Coward I bought last week!

Speaking of buying comics, and because I am a little short on content right now, here’s what I picked up at the Isotope. Haven’t read any of it yet, though.

All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder 5
The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg
Shot Callerz by Gary Phillips and Brett Weldele
Static Shock Trial By Fire by like six dudes with long names
The Annotated Mantooth by Fraction, Kuhn, and Fisher
Kyle Baker: Cartoonist
Nat Turner v2

Reviews coming soon as I work through my 4l backlog.

edit: I am maybe six pages into All-Star Bats and this is easily the best issue yet. I don’t see how people don’t like this comic!

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Read Good Comics: Firestorm #33

February 28th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

Firestorm has had a rocky run recently, but the quality has never wavered. Jason Rusch’s coming of age tale has been smart, interesting, and well-drawn. I even got Jamal Igle to sign the Firestorm trade I bought at the con that collects the One Year Later story arc… and is also the only collection out.

firestorm33_cover.jpg Yes, lads and ladies, DC’s crap trades department put out a trade of a series 20-odd issues in and are going to cancel the series with #35 in April. A few trades earlier on and Firestorm could’ve built an audience. C’mon, DC! You’ve got Time Warner backing you. If Marvel can trade every series ever, including Marvel Nemesis: The Imperfects, you can do it, too! The bookstores are the future!

No biggie, though! There’s nothing wrong with buying canceled books, especially ones that look as good as this. Stuart Moore and Jamal Igle had a great run, but Dwayne McDuffie and Ken Lashley are on tap for the final three issues. Here’s the solicit for #33.

The superstar creative team of Dwayne McDuffie (JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED, STATIC), Dan Jurgens (Superman, Captain America) and Ken Lashley (The Flash) bring Firestorm to bold new heights! Jason Rusch and Prof. Martin Stein just want to get their lives back to normal, but the New Gods have other plans! When Orion comes looking for Prof. Stein, you can bet a throwdown’s not far behind! Guest-starring the Seven Soldiers’ Mister Miracle!

C’mon, now. You’re a comics fan on the internet. I know that you liked Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. Dwayne McDuffie was behind a lot of the cool stuff on that show, so Firestorm #33 is pretty much guaranteed to deliver a good-sized bang for your three bucks.

Still not convinced? Look here for an interview and a quick preview. Jason Rusch is growing up, gaining confidence in his powers, and is still rookie enough to make Orion mad.

It drops today, it’s got New Gods, super-science, and a quality protagonist. We may not be able to save the series before it’s canceled, but we can read a good story along the way.

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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!


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!

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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 �

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