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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comic Book Moments – Day 51

Here is the latest cool comic book moment in our year-long look at one cool comic book moment a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we take a look at the fight that introduced the Umbrella Academy to everyone!

Enjoy!

Umbrella Academy: Apocalypse Suite #1, written by Gerard Way and drawn by the great Gabriel Bá, shows us the origin for the kids who made up the Umbrella Academy.

It also shows their first public battle, and boy, is it a good one.

It was…

And, well, just enjoy!

I presume, if pressed, the reveal of Zombie-Robot Gustave Eiffel would be the “moment” for today.

Great series.

42 Comments

Who’s that artist? Great storytelling there.

that was indeed a cool comic book moment, and it ushered in many more! cool to see such a recent one up here, seems most ‘good comics’ are old comics…

Well, it’s like what Bob Dylan says when people note that there are more older songs on his Theme Time Radio Hour than modern ones – there are just a lot more older comics than there are modern comics. :)

Who’s that artist? Great storytelling there.

From the piece – “and drawn by the great Gabriel Bá”

This pretty much sealed my affection for the series, after the FBCD story got me interested in the concept. That said, my absolute favorite attribute of the series is the fact that they wore domino masks with their school uniforms.

Yeesh, somehow I saw “written by Gerard Way” yet missed the “drawn by” part. My bad.

Does it make any sense if you read more of the comic?

It reminds me of Dresden Codak.

“Commencer à lancer la sequence”? This is not french!

Seems like someone just put the english phrase in an online translator and went on with the result…

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Such a great comic book. One of my favorite series in a very, very long time.

I don’t think I’ll ever get all the hubub about this series.

I liked the opening but then the entire series turned out to be a pile of random events stuck to a thread of a poorly told story. I kept asking “Why?” “Why does this happen?” “Why does that matter?” “Why are those characters doing that?” The few times you get answers it’s pretty weak.

It also didn’t help that the characters were never established properly. I didn’t catch on that the ape body wasn’t a suit until the second half of the series (sorry, a clipping that says “Miracle operation saves boy’s life” is not enough for me to connect it with a guy in an odd looking space suit) which made things even murkier and I didn’t know what the Rumor’s ability was until the short story placed at the end of the trade even though it was necessary to understand some earlier sections (I thought she had some kind of mind control ability).

The whole effect was just a sloppy mess that tried to cover itself up by saying “Hey look! Here’s something crazy! Isn’t that zany!” Reminds me a lot of the Scott Pilgrim series in that regard.

“Well, it’s like what Bob Dylan says when people note that there are more older songs on his Theme Time Radio Hour than modern ones – there are just a lot more older comics than there are modern comics.”

And, evidently, more American comics than foreign comics, and more DC/Marvel comics than any other kind of comic… oh, wait.

I’m not terribly inclined to look through all the various comment threads, so tell me, has it been brought up that this list seems just a tad myopic?

Considering that Brian’s American, and if you grew up reading comics in America, or currently read comics in America most of them are going to be from Marvel/DC, it makes plenty of sense. That and the fact that as many comics Brian seems to have read, I’m sure he hasn’t read every one out there. Plus it’s a year long list and we’re not even two months into it yet. So complaining that the list doesn’t contain the moments or genres or titles that you like is not only rather pointless, considering the list is obviously just one person’s opinion and not meant to be any kind of definitive list, but it’s pretty premature, as well.

I agree that The Umbrella Academy turned out to be a lot worse than what the first pages shown here promised. At first it was like, “Zombie Gustave Eiffel! Wow!”, but by then end it had become mostly incoherent piece of emo rambling. I agree with Random Stranger that the plotting was quite bad, it felt like the writer was just coming up with what he thought were weird and cool and touching scenes, but didn’t much think how to tie them together properly. And I only found out the ape body was not a suit just now, when I read the post above! Seems like such a big story element should’ve been explained better.

And even though Bá is a great artist in general, he’s totally biting Mike Mignola in this series.

“I presume, if pressed, the reveal of Zombie-Robot Gustave Eiffel would be the “moment” for today”

So was taking out the eiffel tower in ‘one punch’ and its subsequent takeoff Tres Bien

And as for the list being myopic. I’d have to disagree There have been a couple of inclusions from UK’s 2000AD hopefully we see a few more including another famous ‘one punch’ by Dredd.

“And I only found out the ape body was not a suit just now, when I read the post above!”

Yeah, I wouldn’t have worked it out except the character was in one of those big rambling angst speeches and it all kind of clicked. Then I flipped back to see if it had been established anywhere before and the ambiguous newspaper clipping was the only thing I could find.

‘incoherent piece of emo rambling.’
…Err, not quite?
Umbrella Academy is a fantastic series- It feels very much like a lot of silver age comics, to me. It’s one of the only comics out there on the shelves which isn’t ‘emo’, Comparing it to stuff like Daredevil and all the Dark Reign crud.
Not saying that I don’t enjoy Dark Reign, but I’m getting sick and tired of ‘Dark’ comics.

Are the people who find Umbrella Academy confusing the same people who thought Final Crisis was confusing?

And, evidently, more American comics than foreign comics

It’s odd, because that’s actually TRUE, isn’t it?

Not true at all. The volume of comics published in Japan only must be about 10 times the volume of American comics. Add to that the rest of Eastern Asia, India, Argentina, France, Belgium, and other areas with strong comic cultures, and I’d say American comics consist maybe 1-2% of the total amount of comic titles in the world.

Of course it would be unrealistic to expect an American comic blog to review this most of this stuff, since so little of it gets translated to English.

” I agree that The Umbrella Academy turned out to be a lot worse than what the first pages shown here promised. At first it was like, “Zombie Gustave Eiffel! Wow!”, but by then end it had become mostly incoherent piece of emo rambling. I agree with Random Stranger that the plotting was quite bad, it felt like the writer was just coming up with what he thought were weird and cool and touching scenes, but didn’t much think how to tie them together properly. And I only found out the ape body was not a suit just now, when I read the post above! Seems like such a big story element should’ve been explained better. ”

The ” Miracle Operation Saves Boy’s Life ” paper also had an image of a younger Spaceboy’s head attached to the gorilla body on an operating table; plus, Spaceboy’s conversation with Rumor had him bemoan the fact that he can’t have a normal life on the account of his gorilla body.

The caption-heavy Chris Claremont style seems to have spoiled a whole generation of comic book readers; instead of reading closer and reading by the images, they want everything laid out perfectly to them. To be told, and not shown…

” Are the people who find Umbrella Academy confusing the same people who thought Final Crisis was confusing? ”

Probably; the complaints leveled at Grant Morrison’s writing seem to overlap here. It’s not that the critics can’t follow it, but that they won’t bother to.

Man, Ba draws the best little kids in action.

Those panels are brimming with energy.

Also: The Horror — the kid with the tentacles coming out of his chest — needs more face time. His death is a lingering mystery that I’d like to see solved/revealed sooner rather than later. Because I’m damn curious about what went down.

”It’s not that the critics can’t follow it, but that they won’t bother to.”
Exactly my thinking.

And I’m glad I’m not the only one who wants to see more of The Horror!
Awesome looking character.

Ah yes, the cry of the person who cannot support their position: “You just don’t get it.”

“The ” Miracle Operation Saves Boy’s Life ” paper also had an image of a younger Spaceboy’s head attached to the gorilla body on an operating table; plus, Spaceboy’s conversation with Rumor had him bemoan the fact that he can’t have a normal life on the account of his gorilla body.”

The art looks more like an iron lung to me. I certainly can’t identify it from the picture as a gorilla body. And that conversation would be in issue four, or to quote myself: “more than halfway through the series”.

There is just a tiny bit of range between not explaining anything and just throwing crazy random events around to stun the uncritical reader (see, I can throw insults around too) and piling on massive towers of expositions. The Umbrella Academy fails badly at basic storytelling and what story it does tell isn’t a good one. It’s as though Way figured the only two options were being so heavy handed with obvious concepts that he felt the need to beat the reader to death with them (most of the family relationships) or just being zany (see Zombie Robot Gustave Eiffel who as one scene works but to keep doing that kind of thing in lieu of plotting is bad). And don’t get me started on how overcranked the deus ex machina must have been for that last issue.

” The art looks more like an iron lung to me. I certainly can’t identify it from the picture as a gorilla body. And that conversation would be in issue four, or to quote myself: “more than halfway through the series”. ”

Well, it’s not a leap of logic to imagine that a gorilla body was under that covering; it’s really just a tiny hop.

” There is just a tiny bit of range between not explaining anything and just throwing crazy random events around to stun the uncritical reader (see, I can throw insults around too) and piling on massive towers of expositions. The Umbrella Academy fails badly at basic storytelling and what story it does tell isn’t a good one. It’s as though Way figured the only two options were being so heavy handed with obvious concepts that he felt the need to beat the reader to death with them (most of the family relationships) or just being zany (see Zombie Robot Gustave Eiffel who as one scene works but to keep doing that kind of thing in lieu of plotting is bad). And don’t get me started on how overcranked the deus ex machina must have been for that last issue. ”

As others at CSBG have noted, the ” weird for the sake of weird ” criticism is a poor substitute for critical reading. If Umbrella Academy were truly just random eye candy a la a low-end Adult Swim cartoon, it wouldn’t be given the kind of critical acclaim and discussion it’s received. The interest in it from critics is BECAUSE there’s ideas behind the wackiness.

As for the climax being a Deus Ex Machina; really, wasn’t it more of a classic Chekov’s Gun twist? That Seance, the pill-popping headcase, is the one whose abilities save the day?

“Considering that Brian’s American, and if you grew up reading comics in America, or currently read comics in America most of them are going to be from Marvel/DC, it makes plenty of sense. That and the fact that as many comics Brian seems to have read, I’m sure he hasn’t read every one out there. Plus it’s a year long list and we’re not even two months into it yet. So complaining that the list doesn’t contain the moments or genres or titles that you like is not only rather pointless, considering the list is obviously just one person’s opinion and not meant to be any kind of definitive list, but it’s pretty premature, as well.”

Translation: fuck off with your manga and your European comics, we’re going to have a 15:1 ratio of superheroes to everything else because that’s AMERICA. And America means forgoing anything even the slightest bit alien in favor of mass produced well trodden mainstream crap.

So is Brian actually a resurrected Doug Ramsay? Unless he speaks Japanese, French, German, Italian, and Spanish I don’t think you can fault him for sticking to mostly American comics. Considering that indy comics have only been made in large numbers for the last 20 years or so, it makes sense that the majority of cool moments will end up being from Marvel and DC comics. Cool stuff happens in comics of all kinds, and this list of happens to be made from cool stuff read by one man who speaks one language and has certain tastes, which if you actually followed the blog would know are quite varied. But even if he enjoys many things there will be more super hero stuff simply because that was the dominant genre in comics he is capable of reading for several decades. If you want to make your own list of cool comic moments from all foreign and indy stuff then go do it on your own blog. Pretentiouscomix.blogspot.com is available.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

February 23, 2009 at 12:01 am

Probably; the complaints leveled at Grant Morrison’s writing seem to overlap here. It’s not that the critics can’t follow it, but that they won’t bother to.

I followed it all perfectly, I still didn’t think it was very good.
Individual sequences were great, but as a whole, it was just a bunch of individual sequences.
Like the alien squid in the boxing ring at the start – that’s a great visual, but it never tied into anything.
I get that it may have just been crazy sequence after crazy sequence and that’s why people love it, but when I got to the end and itt didn’t all come together, I was let down.
Ideas alone don’t make a story.

Translation: fuck off with your manga and your European comics, we’re going to have a 15:1 ratio of superheroes to everything else because that’s AMERICA. And America means forgoing anything even the slightest bit alien in favor of mass produced well trodden mainstream crap.

Why don’t you go start your own blog, and do a year of cool comic book moments focusing on non-American comics.
That is an option open to you.

Wow, you managed to see through my comment and get the translation exactly right, AERose. Or, another possible translation could be “Maybe you should stop being a whiny little bitch complaining about what one person thinks is cool on a blog you read for free, and make your own list on your own blog if you don’t like it. That way, you can show everyone what a capital “G” Genius you are because you read things that weren’t originally written in English. Of course, since no one would read your blog, you’d still have to come here and make an ass of yourself to get the attention you’ve desperately craved for most of your life, but can’t seem to get.”

I think I like this translation better.

“I’m not terribly inclined to look through all the various comment threads, so tell me, has it been brought up that this list seems just a tad myopic?”

I forgot to get an answer for this, but I think I can infer that the answer is “no.”

“So is Brian actually a resurrected Doug Ramsay? Unless he speaks Japanese, French, German, Italian, and Spanish I don’t think you can fault him for sticking to mostly American comics.”

I know Portuguese, English, French, Spanish and Italian (not Japanese, that’s friggin’ HARD!). Am I a resurrected Doug Ramsay? I learned all those languages just to read their comics…

To be fair, you only need to know French. EVERYTHING is translated to French! For obsessive comic fans (like me!), French is the best language to know. Of course, I do live near France and have a decent access to french publications, although I understand that most of that stuff is also available in Canada.

But I don’t blame Brian for putting mostly (entirely?) english-language comics here. Except for commercial manga, there is a serious lack of english translations of most classic comics worldwide. When there is a translation, it’s usually of more modern stuff.

Doesn’t mean he shouldn’t try and get some eurocomics from Cinebook, like I keep telling him to…

And please do not call foreign comics pretentious without having read them. Call their fans pretentious as much as you like, but do not judge something without knowing.

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Um, Pedro beat me to it…

Brian’s doing a sterling job, considering the comics that he has actually been exposed to… Sure there are English translations available for things like Tintin, Asterix, Lucky Luke, etc. but they are much harder to get in the States… and don’t get me started on 2000AD

It’s a subjective list. Like all lists. It is his opinion. If you have your own opinion, feel free to comment, start your own blog, or write your own comic.

Personally I just enjoy reading other people’s lists and cheering when something comes up that I agree with, and trying not to get too wound up with something I don’t agree with…

Probably; the complaints leveled at Grant Morrison’s writing seem to overlap here. It’s not that the critics can’t follow it, but that they won’t bother to.

My problem with Grant Morrison’s writing is that I often feel like I need to often go beyond the four corners of the page and immerse myself in an obscure comic history lesson to get what he’s writing. Like, I COULD understand Final Crisis better if I got the tie-ins. And if I read Seven Soldiers, the few issues of which I found unbearable and untolerably boring and dropped immediated. And if I read more of Kirby’s New Gods. And if I read the online annotations for the comic book, if I knew more obscure DC history, etc. I think it would be very hard for someone who does not come into the book with a lot of this previous knowledge or a friend with all this previous knowledge to explain it to them to follow the story well enough to come up with a coherent narrative.

I mean, I COULD have understood it better if I put in the amount of work to research all this stuff and read the pedantic annotations scattered across the web. What I read of the miniseries though didn’t entertain me enough to inspire me to do so however.

@Pedro: My statements were directed only at AERose. He seems to believe in this false dichotomy of indy/foreign good and mainstream/American bad. There are a lot of great foreign comics (especially manga) that I wish I had the time and money to read. It’s totally awesome that you speak so many languages. I wish I had the skill and inclination to do so. It really is a rare and impressive feat to speak so many. Why did you find Japanese so hard? Was it just the Kanji? That’s what stopped me from pursuing it beyond high school. It’s such an elegant language. A lot of people just aren’t good with languages, and that reduces the amount of those comics we can read without immense effort to study the languages first.

Dalarsco, here is a good book if you want to get started on learning multiple languages. It’s available as a bargain book from Barnes and Noble for $7 in hardcover to boot:

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/How-to-Learn-Any-Language/Barry-Farber/e/9781567315431/?itm=2

Dalarsco,

Knowing multiple romance languages like I do isn’t too hard, they are very similar to each other! French is a bit different, but Portuguese, Spanish and Italian are very close (not that I can speak Italian, to be fair, I can read and understand people speaking, but lack the skill to speak it myself!).

My problem with Japanese are the multiple alphabets they use, not just the kanji. I’ll never understand why don’t they just CHOOSE one instead mixing up three different alphabets on the same text (sometimes the same PHRASE!). Since taking the time to learn that many alphabets to know a language that, frankly, is only useful for reading comics isn’t too cost-effective, I gave up on it. I could learn, say, Chinese AND German at an equivalent amount of time – and those languages would be FAR more useful to me both professionally and personally than Japanese.

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

“Brian’s doing a sterling job, considering the comics that he has actually been exposed to… Sure there are English translations available for things like Tintin, Asterix, Lucky Luke, etc. but they are much harder to get in the States… and don’t get me started on 2000AD…”

They are all available through Diamond. 2000AD and its related publications are solicited every single month in Previews, as are the Cinebook releases.

If your comic shop doesn’t get them, you should ask it to get some for you. If they don’t do that anyway, tell them to sod off and order the books online. There are A LOT of online retailers that don’t charge shipping for US customers.

I mean, when I lived in Brazil, the ONLY way for me to get some euro stuff was to order the occasional US translations that appeared on Previews. If I could get them in distant Brazil, it shouldn’t be too hard to get in US itself.

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

They are all available through Diamond. 2000AD and its related publications are solicited every single month in Previews, as are the Cinebook releases.

Hmm… that didn’t actually occur to me… I don’t shell out on Previews,as I’ve slimmed down my pull list from what used to be well over a hundred titles about four years ago, to just under twenty now…

Most comic book shops here in the UK (that I’ve been to anyway) tend to stock Tintin and Asterix as standard, and Waterstones has a really good stock of the Cinebook lines…

I’ve heard a lot of arguments from US retailers that they don’t like “the European format, because it doesn’t fit on the shelves properly”, which I still think is one of the laziest excuses ever…

Oh, small addendum… According to this week’s Lying in the Gutters, Previews have dropped Cinebook…

I never bought Previews. The whole Previews text is available every month on many comics sites, like this one:
http://www.mailordercomics.com/monthlytools.asp

It used to be here at CBR, but sadly they dropped it.

I understand that most Cinebook stuff is readily available at bookstores in jolly ol’ Britain, which may make up for Diamond dropping them. US readers are screwed, though.

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

That they are…

sadly…

:-(

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