Archive for the ‘issues’ Category

Comic Book Club: Thor #1-600

March 9th, 2009 by florence

Thor #1We’re having our next book club this Saturday, March 14th, at 3PM at Florence & Marty’s apartment with our special guest, Susie!

This month we’ll be reading’s Mike’s selection: Thor #1-600 (it actually covers only 13 issues because of their crazy numbering logic).

Thor #1-600, J. Michael Straczynski
Saturday, March 14th 3PM
Florence & Marty’s apartment

I have issues

February 2nd, 2009 by jason

Comics read since last time:

Young X-Men 1-6
Cable 3-5
The Last Defenders 1-2
Gotham Underground 7-9

Young X-Men is a lot more of a continuation of New X-Men than I thought it would be. Including New Mutants #1 was pretty neat; it brought back memories for me. I wish I could still get the feeling I used to get when I was reading New Mutants as a young teenager, but then again, isn’t that true of everything you remember from your youth? Nostalgia includes the Greek word for pain. The bad guy is telegraphed so early on, I hope they didn’t think anyone would actually be fooled by the subterfuge. I did enjoy this a lot more than I thought I would, but then, it is Guggenheim doing the writing. Although I’m annoyed by most of the characters, and miss some of the ones from New X-Men that I liked. Anole, come back, all is forgiven!

Cable got better, but only slightly. Cannonball apparently had no trouble finding steroids in future. Honestly, Sam Guthrie, one of the lankiest characters ever created suddenly has not guns, but cannons? At least I’m not paying for it, other than the cost of getting to the library. I have a feeling the time travel chase scenes will get old. Cable should’ve brought Sophie with him. Of course, it would’ve been a little too much of Voyagers crossed with Doctor Who at that point. Oh, with huge nonsensical guns.

I don’t know much about the history of the Defenders, just knowing some of the team line-ups. I don’t think I’ve read any of the original series, and much like the Champions, it’s always seemed like a way for Marvel to cash in on the success of the Avengers and the relaunched X-Men. At what point did the X-Men become an actual hit? I know that it was on the verge of cancellation in the ’60s, with a long run being reprints. But the Defenders has always seemed like a “why bother” team. Maybe it’s a way that Marvel retains copyright on certain characters by bringing them out, dusting them off for awhile. These first two issues are an awful lot of set-up, so far. I can feel Giffen’s touch, although not as much as when he and deMatteis wrote their other Defenders story earlier in the “bwah-ha-ha” vein. A few nods to Civil War, the Initiative, and even Secret Invasion, with Blazing Skull correcting Nighthawk about his moniker. I’m interested in Nighthawk’s history, so that might be a reason to go back and read some original Defenders stories. Was he one of Marvel’s answers to Batman?

Speaking of Batman, I wonder if anyone is able to tie together into a cohesive continuity all of the stuff going on in DC right now. Where exactly does Gotham Underground fit in to Batman RIP and Final Crisis? I finished this trade off last night, and it seemed mostly to be a rehash of War Games, as well as a way to reintroduce Spoiler. I love Batman’s rogues gallery, and would like to see more Penguin and Riddler–the Joker’s so over done now. But I’d like to see them given some respect again. Maybe a little less reinvention and bit more back to basics.


January 31st, 2009 by Susie


I am too lazy to do the research myself, maybe you guys can help me figure out,  whatever happened to…?

1) Serenity: the Shepherd’s Tale.  When Dark Horse announced this three issue mini series  that would finally document Shepherd Book’s past, they said it would be out Fall 2008.  I have yet to see it listed in there upcoming lists.

2)Savant and Creote.  Gail Simone’s run on Bird’s of Prey produced some very cool new characters, such as Black Alice, and Misfit, both of whom are still showing up in the series pages.  However my favorite, the duo of Savant and Creote have completely disappeared.   Savant is a highly intelligent, extremely unstable, misogynist pretty boy.  Creote  is his extremely loyal bodyguard/manservant/sidekick/husband?  Despite the fact that their first appearance involved them holding Black Canary prisoner, Oracle was able to turn them into allies and ably used their skills to help her ever growing team.  Savant eventually fled since Oracle’s reforming of him had seriously disturbed his calm, Creote being completely devoted of course went with him.  I assumed they would be back at some point, but that was the last I saw of them.  I hope some writer revives them.  They might make an interesting addition to Gail’s own Wonder Woman run.

3) The next arc of Sky Doll.  Sky Doll was probably my favorite discovery  of last year.  I even bought the hardback trade when it was released even though I knew there was no material in it other than the contents of the three issues already published.  I want to collect it as books.  I am dying to know what happens next, but there has been no sign of when Marvel will bring out the second series.

Obama gets it. Nobody understands us.

January 30th, 2009 by jason

I’ve totally had days like this. Haven’t you?

I have issues

January 30th, 2009 by jason

Comics read since last time:
JLA #55-69

Most of the comics I read come from the library, which really is an incredible resource for trades and even single issues.  I champion the library whenever I get the chance, showing people proudly that the trade paperback I’m reading came from one.  “Libraries carry comic books?” they say, incredulously.  “Why, yes!” I reply, telling them that I usually have fifteen or twenty checked out at any given time.  Sometimes, however, that comes back to bite me on the ass, like when I have to plow through three JLA trades in two nights because they’re coming due in the next couple of days, and I’m unable to renew them, because someone else has one of them on reserve.  I grit my teeth, though, and look at the bright side: people are looking for comics at the library, and requesting them.  So while I usually like to read several different series, usually from different companies, sometimes I get quite a long stretch of a single title all at once.

This run of JLA finished out Mark Waid’s time with the team, followed by an issues by Chuck Dixon and Scott Beatty, and now I’m well into Joe Kelly’s run.  Grant Morrison is definitely a tough act to follow.  Waid is decent, following up on Batman’s betrayal, with a storyline developed from a single line of dialogue, with half the league split from their own alter egos, playing off of what seems to be a throwaway line of dialogue.  And another line of dialogue in this storyline becomes the basis for the next one, the return of the white martians.  Waid’s entire run is very tight, practically interwoven together.  Dixon and Beatty’s issue is part of the Joker’s Last Laugh crossover.  I picked up that trade recently from the library, expecting a standalone Joker story, not realizing that it crossed into practically every title in the DCU.  Interestingly, the asterisks had been left in letting me know where I could find some of the other stories that crossed into Last Laugh.  Something which the JLA trades, and indeed most comic trades don’t seem to do.  I’ve always thought this a little weird, as it would be a great promotional tool to get people to buy other trades.  Is it that they figure people will be frustrated at not having the referenced comics immediately at their disposal?  These are comics!  For years, the asterisk was the starting point of a treasure hunt which had us wading through longboxes at comic shops and conventions, and staring longingly at backissues protected by mylar pinned up on the shop walls.  The lack of notes is particularly annoying during Kelly’s run, which ran during DC’s Our World at War crossover.  Events are mentioned about Wonder Woman not being a princess any more, Aquaman vanishing, and for some reason, the artist draws Superman’s emblem as red on black, rather than red on yellow.  But there are no notes telling you where you could read more about what happened.  Again, I feel a little hypocritical complaining about this, especially when I have all of the internet at my disposal to do research, but would it hurt to have an asterisk or some sort of annotation going on?  If you’ve never read it, the Annotated Crisis on Infinite Earths is a joy.  Such scholarship went into that, noting just about every character in every one of George Perez’s drawings.  Kudos to that effort, as well as the online annotations for just about everything Grant Morrison has ever written.

All of that said, I’m mostly enjoying Kelly’s run.  He brings up some interesting themes, such as Wonder Woman’s dependence on her lasso as a source of truth, and what happens when she vehemently disagrees with that truth.  I’m in the middle of The Obsidian Age arc, featuring the Justice League of 3000 years ago.  Here, he’s turning the moral table on the JLA, it appears, making them face what role they have in a completely foreign morality.  It seems a lot like a prelude to Justice League Elite, which he wrote a few years later, again drawn by Doug Mahnke, the artist on these JLA issues.  I wasn’t a big fan of Mahnke in JLE, and I’m still a little disturbed by his proportions and style here.  He does a good job at making people look unhealthy, and he seems a little obsessed with bugs and veins.  From the notes section of The Obsisdian Age, I discovered that Mahnke is from Minnesota.  I wonder if I’ve seen him at any of the conventions around here.

I have issues

January 27th, 2009 by jason

Comics read since last time:

X-Force 1-6 (new series)
Cable 1-2 (new series)
She-Hulk 26-30
X-Factor 30-32 and The Quick and the Dead
JLA 51-54

I have to start off by saying that I’ve never really liked Cable. Not now and not when he led X-Force. Not drawn by Ariel Olivetti and definitely not drawn by Rob Liefeld. I’m also not a huge fan of X-Force, coincidentally most identified with Rob Liefeld. I can’t say that what I’m currently reading has given me any great joy either. Both of the runs I’m reading now are part of the X-Men: Divided We Stand non-crossover. I’m actually being something of a hypocrite, in that I’m only reading them (in trades from the library) because X-Factor crosses into Secret Invasion and since the X-Factor trade I just finished is also part of Divided We Stand, I’ll read the rest of the related series. I say I’m a hypocrite, because when people say that they don’t want to read this series, or this crossover or comics from this company, because there’s too much background, or too much continuity, or they don’t want to have to know the past 50 years of comics, I gently scoff. And now, before diving headlong into Secret Invasion, I’m reading series I have no interest in, just to keep up with what’s going on. That’s kind of what I’m doing with She-Hulk, as well, although I’m more likely to have an interest in continuing on reading the Jade Giantess, afterwards.

Peter David is writing both She-Hulk and X-Factor (maybe he likes hyphens).The two series have a similar theme, in that they both cross into the crime genre: X-Factor is a detective agency, and She-Hulk along with her partner Jazinda (a skrull who currently doesn’t seem to be involved with the invasion) are bounty hunters. I’m definitely enjoying X-Factor more, though, than the “buddy film” adventures that She-Hulk is having.  It’s almost like David is having a better time writing these characters, than revisiting Gammaville.

Coincidentally, I also finished off a JLA trade: Divided We Fall.  As the X titles are all about what happens when Cyclops decides the X-Men are no more, this chapter of JLA is about what happens when DC’s greatest team has an irrepairable rift.  While the X-Men experience their disillusionment in the destruction of both the school and the near-fatal shooting of Professor X, the JLA’s wounds come from within, from Batman’s secret files on the rest of the heroes, specifically how to take them out.  All of that happened in the previous arc, where a villain gains knowledge of these vulnerabilities.  Now, the JLA has to decide whether they’re going to be able to function any more without their inherent trust.  Going back and reading all of this, after having read Identity Crisis, Infinite Crisis, and everything else that’s come after it, I can see how much has really been building for the past decade in DC.  This is a good example of what I was talking about.  I didn’t have to have read the JLA to enjoy the later stories, and going back now, it show just how much more of a tapestry everything is.  The threads have been there, and my noticing them now, makes it a much richer design.

I have issues

January 25th, 2009 by jason

I read comics every day. I don’t think a single day goes by any more where I don’t read at least one, and usually, I read a trade’s worth. After all, that seems to be how most comics are packaged these days. While these won’t be complete reviews, I’m going to attempt to share my thoughts on what I read each day. If something I read warrants it, I’ll go into it more thoroughly.

So far I haven’t read much of Secret Invasion, although on the way back from Wizard World Chicago I caught up with The Initiative. Today, I started with an online checklist I found, reading Mighty Avengers #13, New Avengers #40, and Avengers: The Initiative #14. I know I’m a bit behind the times with these, but I wasn’t really interested in starting this until stuff started to be available in trade, or I was able to borrow them from a friend en masse. The stuff I’ve heard so far makes it seem that Secret Invasion itself will be much better read in one sitting…or at least not having to wait month by month.

So far, we just have the paranoia setting in, with no one knowing who is a skrull, except for 3-D Man. It’s kind of awesome how this character is getting a prominent role. I admit that I love it when minor characters are brought to the fore, like in Agents of Atlas and Shadowpact. Reading them in bunches like this, the art and writing tend to give me a bit whiplash, with such different styles as Bendis and Slott, Maleev, Gage, and Cheung.

I started the X-Factor: The Only Game in Town trade, reading issues 28 and 29, and finished off the latest collection of Legion of Super-Heroes, featuring the return of Jim Shooter. Quite a contrast in these two series, X-Factor keeping with the hard-boiled style started in the initial Madrox mini-series, and Legion spanning the galaxy with plenty of giant monsters and sci-fi action. Peter David is a bit more enjoyable to read than Jim Shooter right now, although I admit to a bit of bias against Shooter and his anti-gay edict when he was Editor in Chief of Marvel. I notice that Shooter lays it on a bit thick with Invisible Kid’s attraction to Giselle. I wonder if that has anything to do with the gay relationship between Lyle and Chemical King, and then later with Brainiac 5, in various iterations of the title. I am happy that Shooter ended the Lightning Lad being over his head in charge scenario; it was getting pretty tiresome and repetitive, and a little bit trite that he didn’t have any sort of assistant, computerized or otherwise. Come to think of it, both Lightning Lad and Madrox were feeling the burdens of leadership in these issues, but on different scales. Both of their teams are going up in flames, they both feel like things are out of their control, but they’re being blamed for it all. I’m also happy to see the return of Arcade. I feel I should’ve recognized his touch earlier, but I was surprised to see him appear when I turned the page. The cane is a bit Riddler-esque, but I love his Space Invaders socks. Nice touch with the Vote Saxon stickers as well. Everyone really does watch Doctor Who now, don’t they?

Handknit Heroes #1

January 22nd, 2009 by florence

Handknit Heroes #1
Handknit Heroes #1 has arrived… I can’t wait for #2! I first heard about this concept from the creator, our very own Stephanie Bryant (aka Mortaine). Stephanie is an old friend who has carved out a career as a professional writer, always finding new and interesting ways to ply her trade, most recently supporting her lifestyle as a traveling writer/ knitter, writing out of an RV with her husband. I received issue #1 in the mail with a nice press kit, announcing that she has turned her idea into a real published comic book with story and art… and knitting pattern!

The story has 4 main characters; a mom and her teenage twins, and one of their friends. Unbeknownst to each other, they all have developed powers. In this first issue, some of them start making connections, but it is clear that there is much more to come. I really enjoyed the art, which evoked the cuteness and angst inherent in teenage years. There was one panel I loved where mother and son sit eating ice cream together, separated by secrets, but sharing the same method of holding their spoons.

I had an unfamiliar feeling while reading this- wanting to knit something. I’m sure it will pass soon, but I’m impressed that it’s even possible. I had noticed the design as soon as it appeared in the story, thinking it was cute and functional (I hadn’t noticed that it was also featured on the back cover). I like the way that the piece was integrated into the story and the art, and the charming instructions and description of the designer in the back.

I am putting for my subscription as soon as I get paid, so that I don’t miss the next issue. For now, this book is only available on the comicknits website.

Hexed – full comic on myspace

January 15th, 2009 by Martin

Hexed001AMark Waid, editor of Boom Studios is giving away issue #1 of Hexed, a new comic written by Michael Alan Nelson and drawn by Emma Rios. It’s a good read, and well worth a look (more so because it’s free!). With a hot female protagonist who has some sort of magical powers, set in a christian mythos, it was a bit reminiscent for me of Strange Girl.

Click on the cover, or click here to go to the blog post and see the full issue. You may have to scroll down some before you get to the images. There’s a video about how Boom Studios is promoting the comic above the actual comic.

(Via Boing Boing.)

ShortPacked! a webcomic by David Willis

January 6th, 2009 by Martin

I’ve only just discovered ShortPacked!, a webcomic more or less about a bunch of toystore employees. It’s pretty good stuff, and if I weren’t at work right now, I’d probably waste a few hours reading it from the beginning.

(Via MinnPost, who got permission to reprint a really great recent comic about Clark Kent in the newmedia age.)

Comics’ little joys

December 28th, 2008 by jason

It’s little things like this that just make me grin when I read comics:

In The Punisher presents: Barracuda #2 (written by Garth Ennis, drawn by Goran Parlov), there’s a throwaway line when Barracuda sees a former fellow inmate on a first class flight to a banana republic.  Digby, the former inmate who is shaking in his boots at seeing Barracuda confesses that he now works for Hart Consolidated, who sent him on the trip to look into someone’s financials.  Barracuda says that Hart’s one of the biggest outfits in the country, why would they hire a fraud like Digby?

Anyone know what Hart Consolidated is a reference to?  And the name Digby?

A Tale of Two Ozzes

December 15th, 2008 by Michael

This last week saw the release of not one, but two new series based upon L. Frank Baum’s stories about Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Tip, Jack Pumpkinhead, Glinda, and the rest in the land called Oz.

First up is Marvel’s adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  Yes, this is the story on which the classic movie was based, but those looking for an adaptation of the movie will be (hopefully pleasantly) surprised.  The first issue of this 8-part series takes Dorothy from Kansas to the fateful meeting of the Scarecrow.  Written by Eric Shanower (no stranger to Oz, having done some graphic novels in the past), the comic faithfully replicates the whimsical, lighthearted, and innocent storytelling found in the original novel.  But the real star of the story is artist Skottie Young, who’s dreamlike drawings suggest a fantastical storybook quality that fits the tale perfectly.  I can’t think of any artist better matched to the story than he is.  I particularly loved his Scarecrow, and Oz in itself breathes deep with life.  Credit must also be given to colorist Jean-Francois Beaulieu, who’s watercolors are bright, vibrant, and breathtaking.  Highly recommended.

This week’s other tale of Oz is The Land of Oz: The Manga – Return to the Emerald City, which covers the second part of Baum’s second Oz book, The Marvelous Land of Oz.  While the manga has different characters, a different tone, and a different feel than Marvel’s adaptation, it is just as successful an adaptation of Baum’s Oz.  The Return to the Emerald City is written and drawn in glorious black and white by David Hutchinson for Antarctic Press, and comparing the two series you can really sense that there is a shared setting – that the stories take place in the same universe.  This story takes place well after the movie, as Tip and his companions Jack Pumpkinhead, Mr. H.M. Woggle-bug, Sawhorse, and Nick Chopper (The Tin Woodman) help the Scarecrow in his struggle against Queen Jinjur and the witch Mombi.  It’s a fun, farcical tale of misfortunes that make a great read.

Between the two I have to give the edge to Marvel’s version simply due to the outstanding art, but both make an excellent diversion to a land that has fascinated us for generations.

ReadComics Podcast #024

December 9th, 2008 by Martin

Jason, Florence and Marty talk about a bunch of stuff this time, including: Buffy: Season 8 #19, comic books at the Library, Umbrella Academy, Astro City, The Authority, the Luna Brothers and Sword, I Hate Gallant Girl, Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?,, Neil Stephenson and Anathem, The Last Will and Testament, Jason’s new G1 phone purchase, and how sick we all are.

Somewhere in the middle, Jason tunes out and Florence and Marty launch into Married with Comics and talk about this week’s comics (Authority #5, Sword #13 & I Hate Gallant Girl #2).

Listen to Podcast Episode #024 (23 MB, 51 minutes)

Married With Comics – 11/26/08

December 3rd, 2008 by florence

Florence and Marty are joined by Florence’s sister Susie for a long-ish discussion of the new Buffy: Season 8, issue #19. Then Florence and Marty briefly discuss The Walking Dead #55.

Be warned, the spoilers start right away.


PS238- To the Cafeteria FOR JUSTICE!

December 2nd, 2008 by florence

Marty was right.

He has been trying to get me to read PS238 for weeks, and now that I finally picked it up, I have to agree that it’s awesome.  I’m already into the fourth volume, and I am glad that I still have a fifth to look forward to on the shelf.

For those of us who don’t recognise the nomenclature, apparently schools in New York use this naming system.  PS238 is just one more school on the surface, but 3 miles underground it is a high tech, high security school catering to kids with special gifts such as flight, super strength, telepathy, communing with the realm of daydreams, etc.  Aaron Williams takes this basic premise and riffs on familiar archetypes while he tells really interesting stories.  He goes beyond the obvious ideas and tells small stories about a range of kids and teachers, then adds in bigger arcs that span more than one trade.  I’ll keep reading and lending these out as long as Aaron keeps writing them.

Married With Comics – comics that came out 11/19/2008

November 23rd, 2008 by Martin

This week Florence and Marty discuss Invincible #55, and Ender’s Game #2. As usual, spoiler alert applies.

Invincible #55

Florence: Invincible this week focused on one of my favorite characters, Allen the Alien.

Marty: You don’t think it was also about the dad?

Florence: I DO think it was also about the dad, but the dad isn’t one of my favorite characters. Honestly, I’d forgotten why Allen was extra-strong, why he was in the same place as Invincible’s dad, but I didn’t have any problem going along for the ride. I wasn’t that caught up in the central fight of the story, but I just enjoyed seeing Allen again, and there was an interesting revelation about the Viltrumites that seems like it will advance the over-all story.

Marty: That’s what I’m talking about. FINALLY we’re getting back to the main story. It’s been at least four issues now since we saw Allen or the father. This issue was almost good enough to make up for all the time we had to put up with side-stories and such, but the fight scene did seem to go on forever.

Florence: What did you think of the new lion guy?

Marty: I think he’s actually a tie-in from something. I’m not sure what.

Florence: Something else in image?

Marty: *looking it up* Battle Beast actually just appeared before in issue 19, I don’t think he’s a tie-in from anything else. So never mind. Anyway, yeah, I’ve thought Allen was one of my favorite characters since he was very first introduced. He was pretty bad-ass in this issue. He’s totally invincible now!

Florence: haha…

Marty: There was also a page at the end of the issue with the dad’s face pretty close up, and he had blood all over his mustache. I feel like that was some kind of weird nod to an obscure fetish or something.

Ender’s Game #2

Marty: I felt like this second issue was not nearly as strong as the first. They are really glossing over what were, in my recollection, my favorite parts of the book. Basically Ender’s introduction to all the games at battle school, and then of course his learning about the battle room, which they really only get to at the end of the issue. So maybe we’ll learn more about that (with Ender) in issue #3. I did realize after reading this issue that with only five issues total, they’re really going to have to cram the story in.

Florence: I thought they were too heavy handed about Ender’s importance, and all the behind-the-scenes manipulations that went into bringing him into battle school. It’s possible that I’m being more forgiving to the book, I was much younger when I read it, and remember really loving it, but at the time it felt much more from the point of view of Ender. We weren’t privy to information outside of his knowledge, and we were really immersed in his experience, which made the revelation at the end of the book a very emotional shock.

Marty: I had a similar impression, but I’m really not remembering 100%. I think they right away go into the perspective of the instructor in this second issue, and I don’t remember that from the book at all.

Florence: I remember hearing lots of rumors about an Ender’s game movie a few years ago, and I always felt very protective of the story, and skeptical that they would do it right.

Marty: I’m pretty sure it’s still in the making. I hear something new about it every few years. IMDB has it listed as still in pre-production.

Florence: I have to say, I do really like the art of this comic (especially the color). And, in a way, I’m glad they’re doing it as a miniseries, rather than trying to stretch out the story into a much longer arc. It’s definitely a story that has a beginning and an end.

Marty: The coloring of the comic really reminds me of Orson Scott Card’s run on Ultimate Iron Man. I wonder if the artists are the same. (Looks like it’s the same artist, Pascal Ferry, who did Ultimate Iron Man II, 2008.)

Marty: I feel I should say something about what a bastard Orson Scott Card has turned out to be.

Florence: He’s listed as the creative director, and executive director, but not the script writer for the comic.

Marty: His politics are what damn him.

Florence: …his eagerness to apply his whacked-out religious beliefs to social commentary on his blog.

Marty: I’m still interested in reading the rest of these, and will probably continue to pick them up.


November 11th, 2008 by Patrick

Flight is quite easily one of my favorite series of graphic novels. the Flight books are anthologies of short, illustrated stories, each unique, some continuous, others not. Each story in the volume is written and drawn by a different author, leading to a sort of sampling of styles and tastes. All the stories seem to have in common is that they all have something to do with the word “flight” whether directly or circumspectly. Each volume contains an ideal balance of reserved thought, and absolute hilarity. The contrast from one section to the next, from the story to the artwork to the very concept, is very refreshing and makes the books that much more satisfying to read. These books were an absolute joy to read, and I would recomend them for anyone. I can’t provide much in the way of an in depth summary, or plot synapsys, as there is too much in theese volumes to condense. all I can do is recomend that you read them. What I can do, is assure you that there is something in these books for everyone, and that I am certain that you will enjoy them.

Married With Comics – November 5th

November 10th, 2008 by Martin

Since these will be spoiler filled discussions, we’ll hide these behind a link. This week your favorite married comic-reading couple will be discussing four really good comics that happen to have come out this week: The Authority: World’s End #4, Gigantic #1, Sandman: The Dream Hunters #1, and Top 10 #2. (Not in that order.)


Married With Comics – October 29

November 2nd, 2008 by Martin

This is the second installment of Florence and Marty reviewing their weekly pull list. Warning: these will be spoiler-filled entries.

Sword #12

Florence: So we’ve been complaining that not a lot has happened in a few issues. Something happened in this Issue that’s going to send ripples… But what happened seems so predictable that I wasn’t really excited about it. And it seems like what’s going to come next also seems incredibly predictable. I would love to be pleasantly surprised. With Girls I never knew what was going to come next. It’s almost as if what happened shocked the characters inside the book, but it didn’t really effect anyone reading it. Reading about people being shocked doesn’t necessarily produce excitement. They set up a big epic fight to the death, and they dragged it out for several issues, so at some point someone had to win, and it was probably going to be the main character. I’m bored.

Martin: What I’d like to say is that I think there’s really no way it can be that dumb. But all signs do indicate that’s what’s happening. I’m not sure he’s really dead.

Florence: It’s even more boring if he’s not really dead.

Martin: Yeah, I definitely see what you mean, then it’s like we’ve spent the last three issues doing nothing.

Florence: It seems like, in their minds (the luna brothers), it was really interesting and creative the things he could do with water. But we’ve all been reading comic books for a long time, being punched with an ice fist just doesn’t strike me as that innovative.

Martin: He had a big floating ice ball too! But I completely agree. I did think the end of the comic was interesting, the fact that this is all publicised and on the news suggests the government organization that had her in custody briefly earlier in the comic clearly doesn’t have all that much influence.

Florence: I did think the last page was my favorite part.

Martin: I think my favorite part was seeing the battle scene from above. It was cool how all the ice spread out from the center point of his death. I hope we get to find out how they got their powers. Because if this is really the death of a god, don’t you think there’d be reprecussions? I mean they just killed water. Now what?

Florence: I never thought they were actual gods, they just had the power of gods, compared with humans. There was an origin story somewhere in there.

Martin: I thought all we knew was that their mother had been an outcast, and gone up to a mountain, and that was about it.

Florence: I’ve forgotten it now.

Martin: Exactly.

No Hero #2

Martin: I can’t help but wonder how much we’re paying for those FIVE pages of Avatar ads and order forms in the back of this comic.

Florence: I definitely felt like the comic ended abruptly, because I didn’t know we were that close to the end with all those additional pages.

Martin: That minor quibble aside, I did really like this. I think the main guy, the inventor of the drug, is naive to think he can be the only one who ever creates superheroes.

Florence: I think he uses his current power to sabotage anyone who comes close to reproducing the formula.

Martin: Obviously. But there was some kind of hint in there that this has been an ongoing struggle. They’ve been “attacked”, and I thought that was clearly by some other people with superpowers.

Florence: I think that attack could have been accomplished by someone without superpowers, and I thought that no one else had reproduced it yet.

Martin: I think time will prove me right on this one. But who knows. I just can’t see taking a super-powered person apart the way they said happened (in Minneapolis no less!) without having other super-powered people on their side. (Try saying “super powered people” three times fast.)

Florence: I think their knowledge of the anatomy is what allowed them to do it, not that they had to have identical powers.

Martin: We shall see. But you’re wrong. Oh, and I do really like the art. I think Juan Jose Ryp is getting a lot better.

Florence: I don’t really like the art. I think it serves the story pretty well, but it’s too brutal and bloody for me to enjoy it.

Martin: There wasn’t even that much blood in this one. Just some vomit, and a sort of blood-spattered hallucinatory orgy at the end. Do you think he’ll survive the induction?

Florence: Yes, or else there wouldn’t be a comic about him. I do think he’s intended to be the main character. He’s just been sort of passive so far. I think his journey is supposed to be the main story.

Martin: I think he’s getting set up to be the one who takes down the whole organization.

Florence: So what do you think the consequences they are referring to are? Is it just the pain and suffering he’s going through now, or that it’s long term? I think it fucks with your anatomy and physiology in ways that are not well balanced. In standard superhero fare, once you get your powers, that’s sort of it, you usually don’t have to deal with long term consequences. It’s just assumed that the rest of your bodily functions remain as normal. But in this, a sort of intentional drug-based alteration of the human body, I think the intention is that the rest of your body isn’t going to compensate in a pleasant way. That one woman was saying that you get the power of flight, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your kneecaps can withstand the force of landing. I think there are going to be additional consequences that we don’t really understand yet.

Martin: So do you think this is going to be more about him, or more about the political story? I feel like what you’re suggesting could be a really cool premise for an interesting comic. But I think, and maybe this is just because I know this same creative team (Warren Ellis and Juan Jose Ryp) created Black Summer, that this is going in a totally different direction. I actually believe that the story you’re talking about might be more interesting, but that it’s more likely this is not a personal story. I would love to be wrong about that, but I think the frequent TV spots, and talking heads really illustrate that this is supposed to be a bigger story than just about one man.

My Name is Bruce

November 1st, 2008 by sharyn

Oh my love, how I look forward to seeing your beautiful face, and your big chin, on the big screen again. And in person! The glorious Bruce Campbell will be in Minneapolis introducing six screenings of his new movie, My Name is Bruce on December 5th, 6th and 7th. Squeeeee! If you’re too young to know him as Evil Dead’s Ash Williams, you may know him as Sam from the USA Network’s Burn Notice. But there’s so much B-Movie greatness in between.

This Week’s Pull

October 23rd, 2008 by Martin

Florence and I have decided to do reviews of new issues from our pull list as they come out each week. Beware of spoilers, as we’ll be discussing the comics in depth. So far, as you can see, we have a fairly lame and generic title. Let us know if you have any suggestions in the comments.

This week it was just two issues, the new Echo and Invincible. Enjoy.

Echo #7

Florence: Moore’s art has really developed over the years, especially on men, since I’m more used to him drawing women. I feel like he’s doing a good job creating more than one male face. I really like his style, but he does sort of tend to have one face for all women, even though he does woman’s body shapes in more variety, which I really appreciate. I’m most intrigued by the character of Ivy Raven right now. When we were first introduced to her, she was a very sweet and loving mother, and now she’s clearly very formidable. In one panel we see her anger, and it’s scary. It shows that no matter what level of calm she exhibits, she’s dangerous. The last panel of the comic was very difficult to decipher.

Martin: I agree about the last panel being confusing. I won’t describe it for fear of giving it away, but I probably couldn’t if I wanted to, since I have no idea what happened. The old guy on the cover was the only other person at the crash site where Julie got her metal breastplate. Obviously he’s got some of whatever she has stuck to his hand. We only see him for about half a page in the whole comic, which felt weird since he was so prominently featured before we opened the book. I do feel like this was consistent with the rest of the story telling in the series, but the pace seemed to slow down quite a bit here. Not as much happens in this issue, and I guess I was a little disappointed by that.

Florence: That’s really just in contrast to the pacing he’s set already with the other issues in this title. That’s not compared to any normal comic’s pacing. This one has just started big and kept going. He’s set us up to expect that from every issue.

Martin: That’s true, but I guess I did feel like there were unnecessary scenes in this comic. If it doesn’t turn out that there’s a reason for the missing dog, then her asking about it was only to further highlight the stupid pet monkey that’s chained outside their motel room. The monkey got way more panels than necessary, IMHO.

Invincible #54

Florence: It’s your turn to go first.

Martin: Ha! I’m the one typing, and it looks like you were wrong about that prediction! Seriously, WTF? Invincible has sucked for like 4 or 5 issues now. I don’t even remember the last time it was cool. What ever happened to stuff happening in this comic?

Florence: I have detected no deterioration. I think it’s nice that he’s dating Atom Eve. I could have done without the four page spread of their relationship. It seemed to be both past and present. Like a montage.

Martin: I was going to say that, damnit. It was totally a montage! Montages are lame in all their forms. Except when used to make fun of montages, like in Team America: World Police.

Florence: Really though, if this just disappeared and I got twice as many Walking Dead issues, I’d be fine.

Martin: Totally. I never thought it would get to this point. I used to love Invincible SO MUCH. I do have hope for the future though. Maybe someday they’ll get back to the plot line with that one-eyed alien, and Invincible’s dad…

Florence: Now that I think about it, I did really like the future stuff, the stuff with Immortal. It seemed like a plausible path for him.

Martin: I guess this was sort of like a one-off book. I think Kirkman should have written it as an Invincible spin-off with a different title. Maybe another Invincible Presents Atom Eve… No, that one actually had a cool story, and stuff happened in it. Maybe it should have been called Atom Eve loves Invincible.

Justice: Alex Ross

October 20th, 2008 by florence

I just finished reading the self-contained DC Justice series #1-12.  The entire run was co-written and drawn by Alex Ross, so the art is spectacular and the characterization is spot-on.  That’s not surprising, since I associate Ross with a consistent quality and craftsmanship that I don’t expect with most comic creators.  I really appreciate the epic feel without a cascading set of companion purchases, you can get the entire story in just 12 issues.

Justice pulls together the Justice League and many of their most familiar enemies for a story set on a grand scale.  I don’t want to spoil the premise, but one thread involves the release of Batman’s secret files on his companions and foes, several of which are revealed at the end of each issue, which is a treat.  Ross managed to showcase the complex humanity in every character (including the aliens and talking gorillas), never succumbing to the bla impersonal action blowouts that can easily overwhelm some comics.  There are big action blowouts, but by using the first-person voices of several characters in turn, we’re still able to see the personal aspect of the biggest battles.

It’s tough to convey the fact that this is also full of very funny moments, grounded in iconic characters we know well.  I can’t be the only one to crack up at a well-placed Batman glare.

Presidential Material: Barack Obama & John McCain

October 15th, 2008 by florence

This comic caught my eye this week, since I am a huge Obama fan.  I grabbed it on impulse, and only after staying at the store and waiting for Marty and Mike to finish their browsing, did I pick up the companion issue about John McCain.  Both comics seem intended to tell snippets of the life story and key political turning points of the two most prominent 2008 presidential candidates.  Like me, the creators of these comics seemed to be enamored with Obama, focusing on his childhood in Hawaii, the struggles that his mother and grandmother faced with limited incomes, his strong potential in school, and his connection to outsiders like “the Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk-rock performance artists” in college.  I nearly swooned at the idea of my president being influenced by structural feminists.  His introduction to his wife as a respected professional colleague who had grown up on Chicago’s South Side was really sweet.  They both come off as fiercely intelligent and committed to social activism, which again made me want to squee.  On the whole, I came away knowing a little bit more about Obama’s personal past, but mainly just reinforcing the positive views I already held, which was fine by me.

McCain’s comic was piled up at the comic shop, seemingly untouched.  His cover is a little bit more unsettling, and the content included both a respectful account of his wartime experience and his association with past scandals.  There was a lot in here that I didn’t know about McCain’s history, which probably reflects more on my lack of interest than on any deep reporting conducted by the writers.  There are references in the back of the comic to biographical sources, but they are very vague and could not be used to substantiate any of the details.  To me, this comic tells the story of a man who has lived a long and varied life, who has a hot temper, who has been implicated in scandal (he cheated on his first wife, and had close ties to one of the famed Savings & Loan architects as a senator back in the 80’s).  One of the other tidbits that stuck in my brain is that his great-grandfather was a slave owner who died fighting for the South in the Civil War.  I know that it’s not fair to hold that against his descendant, and we’ve had many southern presidents whose family history I have not questioned.  The comic also details several of the principled stands that McCain took during the 2000 presidential primary that he has since contradicted. This includes his opposition to tax cuts aimed at the very wealthy, campaigning with Jerry Fallwell (whom he had earlier termed as an “agent of intolerance”), and his earlier abhorrence of dirty campaigning.  I came away from this comic with a slightly dimmer, but more nuanced, view of John McCain as a person, which reinforced my desire to see him far from the highest office in the land.

I found these interesting, but not scholarly or impartial, nor likely to change anyone’s existing political convictions.

Free StarWars comics on

October 11th, 2008 by Martin

A co-worker sent me this link to a Star Wars: The Clone Wars comic in something called the Star Wars Online Reader. There are three parts to it, each one meant to segue between one of the three Clone Wars TV episodes that have been released so far, and that you can also watch on I’m assuming they’ll also be adding a new comic each week as a new TV episode comes out. Each episode also has a viewing guide (with detailed synopses), and some of them have commentary.

I didn’t actually go see the Clone Wars movie, but some of this stuff is pretty good, and I might have to watch it now.

Bonus link: has some weird stuff. Here’s an article on how to make star wars themed cat toys.

8th Annual Twin Cities Book Festival

October 9th, 2008 by sharyn

Rain Taxi returns with their annual book festival this Saturday, October 11th, at the Minneapolis Community and Technical College campus. With it they’re bringing Love and Rockets co-creator Jaime Hernandez, along with local cartoonist Zak Sally (Sammy the Mouse). They’ll be speaking at 1pm in the Spruce Room.

Co-sponsored by the Comic Art Program at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Also? Check out this Love and Rockets inspired tattoo.

Neil Gaiman’s Graveyard Book US Tour

October 6th, 2008 by sharyn

The Twin Cities stop of his tour is:

Wednesday, October 8th at 7:00pm
At Saint Paul’s United Church of Christ
900 Summit Avenue
St Paul, MN 55105

Hosted by Red Balloon.

This venue seats 1100, and is home to the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Event is free and open to the public, no tickets needed.

reading Neil Gaiman's latest

ReadComics Book Club: The Walking Dead Vol. 1

October 5th, 2008 by florence

On Tuesday, October 21st, at 7PM CST at Florence & Marty’s apartment, we are holding our next ReadComics book club.  This month we will be discussing the first trade paperback of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead, “Days Gone Bye”, which collects issues #1-6.

Warning: This is a scary and explicit zombie story, and this volume is just the beginning of a very long story, so you shouldn’t expect a tidy ending. It has gotten great reviews for writing, and has already sucked me in thoroughly.  I’m looking forward to a lively discussion with our crew of Kirkman fans and anti-zombie spokespeople.

In a slight change of plans, we’re putting off our Buffy Season 8 #12-19 ReadComics book club selection until November, in hopes that we can include Susie’s expertise and that Joss actually puts out issue #19 someday.

UPDATE: Florence is sickly, so we’re going to try and postpone this just one week to the 28th. Hope everyone can still make it!

The Slide

October 1st, 2008 by jason

Random minicomic from Lutefisk Sushi Volume C (2008)

A painful childhood experience given life in drawing, The Slide, by Jesse Haller, features a young boy who is in over his head, literally.  I remember a number of similar events from my own past, although for me, it was the tornado slide that gave me a fright.  I remember the line of kids behind me, and how far down it looked.  The stricken look on the child’s face is very believable, and I feel that I probably shared his expression.

A few notable things: the first page sets up the location and season, and the slide in the title features prominently, in sort of a cross between nostalgia and loneliness.  There are a lot of little things that I caught as I read through it several times, like the detail in the background houses, and the playground equipment.  The view from the top of the slide, and then again from the bottom.  Toby’s sleeve from his hand-me-down flannel, which won’t stay tucked.  The way Toby is overwhelmed by the word balloons, and in particular the word balloon in the shape of the word GO.  His buttcrack revealed to further his embarrassment after he reaches the bottom.  And then the expression on his face in the last panel…I have to admit, I’m having a little trouble figuring this one out.  There’s something up with his mouth, maybe he got a bloody lip by sliding down on his face.  Could just be dirt.

A short, simple comic, but of such a strong shared memory.

Mighty Avengers #9

September 28th, 2008 by jason

I have the second Mighty Avengers collection checked out from the library, and I finished it this morning.  Of particular interest to me is issue 9, where the team invades Latveria to arrest Doom for turning most of Manhattan into Venom symbiotes.

What I found somewhat fascinating about this issue is that out of 24 pages (counting the cover), half of the pages consist of little more than a single large drawing.  Six of the pages are double-spreads of the Avengers battling Doombots.  A few others have small ancillary panels, but again, the primary art is one large drawing.  The drawings are quite detailed.  Lots of action is occuring in them.  But without a doubt, this is the “blockbuster action flick” of comics recently.  It’s like the last hour of Transformers.  Talk about your decompressed storytelling!  Six pages in a row of just enormous battle scenes.  It’s like a pin-up magazine rather than a comic.  I really wonder what people who plopped down three bucks for this thought, especially knowing that they would then have to wait another month to get the next issue.  Having got it from the library, I feel like I got the better end of the deal.

I haven’t looked up any other reviews of the comic yet, or any kind of response from Bendis on the message boards, but just looking at this comic as a single entity, you get the feeling that he may have been a little overworked at the time, and told Bagley to fill up some pages with fighting.

I am enjoying what I’m reading of Mighty Avengers so far, except I keep waiting for someone to say “Bwah ha ha!”  Iron Man’s repartee with Doom in the next issue is hugely reminiscent of the dialogue from the ’80s Justice League series, which is not a bad thing.  Super-hero comics could definitely use a bit more humour these days, in my opinion.

Neal & Neil

September 20th, 2008 by florence

Carrie alerted me to this Goodreads interview with Neil Gaiman.

GR: Let’s talk about your new book. What inspired the story for The Graveyard Book?

NG: Twenty-three years ago, we lived in a little Sussex town in a tall house across the lane from a graveyard. We didn’t have a garden, and our 18-month-old son loved riding a tricycle. If he tried riding in the house he would have died because there were stairs everywhere, so every day I would take him down our precipitous stairs, and he would ride his little tricycle round and round the gravestones. As I watched him happily toddling I would think about how incredibly at home he looked. I thought that I could do something like The Jungle Book with that same equation of boy, orphaned, growing up somewhere else, but I could do it in a graveyard. I had that idea when I was 24 years old. I sat down and tried writing it and thought, “This is a really good idea, and this isn’t very good writing. I’m not good enough for this yet, and I will put it off until I’m better.”

And I’m glad I waited. I think it’s a better book than I set out to write 23 years ago, and I feel like the gods smiled on me, and I got very lucky. Normally, in anything I do, I’m fairly miserable. I do it, and I get grumpy because there is a huge, vast gulf, this aching disparity, between the platonic ideal of the project that was living in my head, and the small, sad, wizened, shaking, squeaking thing that I actually produce. And then there is The Graveyard Book, which is, I think, the first time I’ve felt really satisfied.

GR: Let’s go back a few years to The Sandman comic series, which took 2,000 pages and almost a decade of your career to date. Do you have any plans or aspirations to take on a project of this scope in the future?

NG: No! I’m so proud of Sandman. It really did take about 10 years of my life to do. It’s collected in The Absolute Sandmans, which together weigh about 30 pounds, and if you drop them on somebody you will do serious damage. It definitely didn’t leave me thinking, “I need to write more giant things.” Depending on how long I get to live, I will probably get to do another two, maybe even three, more American Gods books, and they are all great, big things, 500 to 600-page books, so it will probably be that length. But I can’t imagine doing anything that takes up my life and my headspace in the same way that Sandman did. There were times when what was going on in Sandman was much more real to me than anything that was going on in the world outside, just because I was spending more time with these characters.

The same site also posted an interview with Neal Stephenson.

UPDATE: Neil Stephenson will be at the Edina Galleria Barnes & Noble next Friday.