July 23rd, 2014
By some margin my favourite response to the whole Thor-is-being-replaced-by-a-woman fuss:
By some margin my favourite response to the whole Thor-is-being-replaced-by-a-woman fuss:
Calvin has one last talk with Hobbes. I'm not going to quote a single line from this: if you know who "Calvin" and "Hobbes" are then you want to read this in full.
The only improvement I could possibly desire would be to have Bill Watterson draw the story, but then I'm not sure I could bear to read that story with Watterson's art.1
Maggie Greene has published some scans of a 1980 Chinese adaptation of Star Wars in comic form that diverges from the original in interesting ways:
The actual lianhuanhua is a fascinating document, with weird bits sticking out here and there; but it's also a fanciful imagining (I think) of American – or generalized Western – life, especially evident in the dinner scene where a duck (?) is being stuck into a toaster oven (!) & the table has not only a little hot plate, but a crockpot (or rice cooker) there, too. The artist also makes some amusing flubs – Chewbacca appears in some scenes in a relatively credible way, in others looking like an outtake from Planet of the Apes. It also often looks like something out of a Cold War-era propaganda poster, at least where the details are concerned. Were the actors really garbed in Soviet looking space suits? Was Darth Vader really pacing before a map bearing the location of the Kennedy Space Center?
The art isn't bad at all. If I saw a copy of this with the text translated into English,1 I'd be tempted to pick this up.
NextWave Agents of HA.T.E. Comic Dub Part 1 has a few minor technical issues1, but for a fannish effort it does a pretty impressive job of communicating the joy of Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen's batty, brilliant 12-issue series:
Roll on the double page spread of Elvis M.O.D.O.K.s2
[Via Wis[s]e Words]
Tasha Robinson makes a strong argument that Joe Kelly and J.M. Ken Niimura's 2008 graphic novel I Kill Giants would work well as an animated film:
[...] I Kill Giants starts in a familiar environment, in this case a fifth-grade classroom on Career Day, where a parade of parents is explaining their jobs to the students. But one kid is reading a book instead of paying attention. When challenged, she says she doesn't need to think about her future career, because she already has one: "I find giants. I hunt giants. I kill giants."
This is Barbara Thorson, a defiant, self-possessed kid with a huge but melancholy personal agenda, and one of the best, most unheralded comics characters of the 2000s. Barbara comes across as weird and immature in some ways, like in her habit of wearing cutesy animal ears to school, and the way her inability to rein in her resentment makes her problems into everyone else's problems. She's a problem kid, but she still comes across as a bit of a wish-fulfillment character in her sureness and her oddball version of nobility. In an era defined by insecure, self-questioning, or clumsy teen-girl heroes, Barbara stands out for her utter fearlessness in the face of generic threats. The problems that define so many school stories – mean teachers, clueless administrators, bullies, trivial concerns like grades or popularity – don't mean anything to Barbara. She's a self-proclaimed giant-slayer. Just incidentally, she's a self-proclaimed giant-slayer in a world where there don't appear to be any giants.
I Kill Giants was one of the last series I finished before I took a break from comics a few years ago and I hadn't thought about it in quite a while, but I've got to say that a good animated version of I Kill Giants would be quite something. Or, failing that, I guess I'll just have to read it again.1
Nothing shows off Phil Noto's ability to place characters in the decade of his choosing better than his candid Marvel sketches. Emulating vintage color pallettes and film stock, each moment is infused with a small slice of Americana. [...]
Some gorgeous work on that page. My favourite has to be the last:
Trouble is, Zack Snyder's films often have impressive-looking trailers; it's only when you get into cinema that you find out how badly the plot falls short of the visuals. Then again, David S Goyer is pretty good at writing comic book movies, and goodness knows they've had enough examples of what not to do. Eventually they have to get Superman right on the big screen again. Why not in 2013?
[Via Mightygodking dot com]
Chris Sims remembers Dastardly Events Aboard The Hellship!:
Bob Haney and Jim Aparo were the single greatest creative team that has ever worked on Batman, and if anyone says differently, they are wrong and dumb and I hate them forever.
That might be a bit of an extreme reaction, but I stand by it. With over 20 years on the character, Aparo is pretty unassailable as one of the definitive Batman artists, and while Haney's storytelling style might not be for everyone, you have to respect just how much he was able to cram into a single issue. Like, for instance, "Dastardly Events Aboard The Hellship," which features a kidnapped heiress, a boat with a miniature Gotham City and a miniature Old West town inside of it, a fight with an octopus, a fake circus, and Gorilla Surgeons. Also Wonder Woman is in there. It is 17 pages long. It might be the craziest comic book I have ever read.
I realize that I say that a lot and that I employ hyperbole in the same way that other writers employ the comma, but seriously, this one has to be at least in the top five, if only for Haney's commitment to the title. Not only is it an acronym that spells out D.E.A.T.H., but two of those letters stand for "Dastardly" and "Hellship," two words that do not actually appear in the rest of the story. [...]
Javier Grillo-Marxuach brings us The Middleman and Wendy in …THE PARADOXICALLY FESTIVE MORTALITY:
HIGBEE'S CHRISTMAS PARADE – DOWNTOWN
10:00 AM IN A CANONICAL, CREATOR-OWNED REALITY
Wendy disliked it when the people targeted by the many villains she and The Middleman were tasked with neutralizing blew their Huggies in the face of danger, but even she had to cut this kid some slack: not only had he been put in the crosshairs by a time-traveling superbeing from three hundred years in an alternate future, he had also seen his first day volunteering at the Higbee's Department Store Christmas Parade turn into a Grand Guignol of mayhem at the hands of a hundred foot long inflatable ferret. Also, he'd grown up with the incredibly misguided name "Tiberius Davis." Poor kid, his parents really should have shown him mercy. [...]
The only fault I can find with this epic crossover is that our heroes don't get to interact with the direct descendant of Tiberius Davis whose 5 Year Mission inadvertently caused such mayhem.
By contrast, last year's instalment – THE WIBBLY-WOBBLY, TIMEY-WIMEY JIGGERY-POKERY – spent quite a bit of time showing us how Wendy reacted to Eleven and letting us know which regenerations The Middleman and Ida had already worked with.
We should probably be glad that Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan's story of Dracula fighting the Silver Surfer only took up a single issue of The Tomb of Dracula; with any luck, such brevity should protect it from ever being adapted for the big screen. Chris Sims tells the tale:
[Cult leader Anton Lupeski ...] has dreamed up "quite a unique" means for destroying Dracula. And he ain't kidding.
See, at this point in the series, Dracula had more or less settled down, apart from the occasional murder. He'd married a woman named Domini and gotten her knocked up with his hellish seed, and taken over Lupeski's "Church of the Damned" so that he could sit upon the Throne of Satan. It's all very metal.
So metal, in fact, that Lupeski seems to believe that the only way to battle it is through prog. Thus, his "unique" plan: To magically invade the mind of the Silver Sufer and send him to fight Dracula. Again: If you've got a better plan for dealing with that guy, I'd like to hear it. [...]
The agents responsible for taking Captain Rogers to a screening of Quentin Tarantino's 'Inglourious Basterds', and convincing him that was how the war ended, have been identified, and have forfeited their furlough time until they provide him with a proper History textbook and debrief him.
An oldie but a goodie:
From a 1999 interview with Alan Moore about the influence of Jack Kirby on his work:
Well, I'll have to go all the way back to my very early childhood for that. I first discovered comics when I was about seven; this would have been around 1959 or 1960. When I said "comics" I meant American comics; I had read the homegrown British fare before that, but when I first came across the Superman and Batman comics of the time, the first couple of appearances of the Flash, things like that, these were a revelation. I became completely addicted to American comics, or specifically to the DC Comics that were available at the time. I can remember that I'd seen this peculiar-looking comic that I knew wasn't DC hanging around on the newsstand and it looked too alien. I didn't want to risk spending money upon it when it wasn't stuff that I was already familiar with. And then I can recall on one day, I think I was ill in bed – I'd been seven or eight at the time – and my mother said that'd she get me a comic to cheer me up while I was confined to the bed. I knew that the only comic that I could think of that I hadn't actually bought was a Blackhawk comic that I'd seen around. So I was trying to convince her to sort of pick up this Blackhawk comic, kind of explaining to her what it was and that it was a bunch of people in blue uniforms. Much to my initial disappointment she brought back Fantastic Four #3, which I read. It did something to me. It was the artwork mainly. It was a kind of texture and style that I've just never seen before. The DC artists at the time, I didn't really know their names, but their style was the one I was accustomed to: Very clean, very wholesome looking, and here was something with craggy shadows with almost a kind of rundown look to a lot of it. It was immediate; literally, from that moment I became a devoted fan of the Fantastic Four and the other Marvel books when they came out – particularly those by Kirby. I mean, it was Kirby's work that I followed more than anybody else as I was growing up. Just the work in Thor and "Tales of Asgard," the Fantastic Four during that long classic stretch in the middle, and then when Kirby went over to DC and the Fourth World books. This was around the time that I was approaching my psychedelic teenage years and the subject matter of these books seems to be changing along with me. I absorbed actively every line he drew in those years, or at least the ones that I was able to lay my hands on. There's something about the dynamism of Kirby's storytelling. You never even think of it as an influence. It's something that you grew up with, kind of understanding that this is just the way that comics were done. So I'd say yeah, that I would account for the influence of Jack Kirby upon my own work. It's almost like a default setting for my own storytelling. It's sort of like if you can tell a story the way Kirby would have, then at least that's proper comics; you're doing your job okay.
I think it's fair to say that The Dark Knight Rises evades the three-films-is-one-too-many curse that befell Spider-Man and Blade and the X-Men. It's a long film but didn't feel like one. It deserves to be written about at length: a task I don't have time for right now, but which I think we can rely upon the internet to take care of over the next few days.
Given how nicely the end of this film took care to geg some characters to where they wanted/needed to be and setting up fresh challenges for others, I'd say Christopher Nolan has earned the right to walk away from the series with his head held high, mission accomplished.1
It's going to hurt a lot five or six years from now, when Warner/DC hand the franchise over to Zack Snyder to reboot.
I wonder if Ben Affleck is off somewhere quiet, shooting A Day In the Life of Matt Murdock.
The important thing to take away from the Avengers is that the studios have an example to point to that shows that having five movie prologues that lead up to the eventual Big group movie totally works as an approach.
Roll on the Machine Man, Captain Marvel, Elsa Bloodstone: Monster Hunter, Boom Boom and Captain ☠☠☠☠ movies that lead into the inevitable Nextwave movie.