Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Blown off both your hands by improperly handling fireworks? Don’t worry! Just mash the keyboard with your bloodied stumps to jump beneath the fold and discover what the comics internet had to offer in the past week!
BATDANCE MACABRE: You may have missed this interview at io9 with Grant Morrison as conducted by professional fanman Graeme McMillan. It’s all about Grant’s cool new Batman & Robin run, but I thought one excerpt was of particular interest, as Morrison attempts to put to rest all those haters who insult his apparently slavish devotion to the Silver Age:
I don’t have many comics in my tattered, bath-damaged ‘collection’ that date before 1972 when I became a ‘fan’ and a collector. My era of comics is the ‘dark age’ of the 70s and 80s, not the so-called ‘silver age’, so contrary to popular belief, I don’t have any particular emotional attachment to 60s comics, other than John Broome’s Flash stories which enchanted me as a small child.
I grew up with Neal Adams and Denny O’Neil, Len Wein, Engelhart, Starlin, Gerber, McGregor so my comic-writing style can be traced back to some combination of O’Neil’ ‘relevance’ and Starlin ‘cosmic’. Silver age, not so much.
BATWOMAN REVIEW ROUND-UP! Some really brilliant, wonderfully written reviews of Rucka and Williams’ Detective Comics #854 have cropped up around the comics blogosphere. There’s the almighty Jog, of course:
That’s why artists like J.H. Williams III are God’s gift to superhero picture talk. These are pages that slap you in the mouth and say “holy shit, I am here.” While other superhero pages sit at the bar chatting dryly amongst themselves, the Williams page storms into the room with a bouncer still clinging to one ankle, knocking down tables and fetching a whiskey bottle to smash over the head of some clown that looked at it wrong.
Nina Stone, the “Virgin Reader” at the Factual Opinion, also chimes in with a thoroughly positive review from a fresh perspective:
I couldn’t tell at first if Batwoman was “good” or “bad”. I like that. I shouldn’t, I think. She’s another hero in the streets, so I guess it might be different for most, but for me, it read like she was another crazy in the streets, another wack-job in a costume, somebody we didn’t know, somebody we couldn’t. Not yet.
And then the uncanny Zom, of the Mindless Ones, cracks open one’s skull and stirs the brain soup some more:
It’s as if William’s art and Stewart’s colours herald what could, if one hyberbolically inclined, be described as a shift in the ontological structure of the fictional universe, as the rigid, traditional panel structure evident in the Kate Kane sequences gives way to layouts built from lightning bolts and batsymbols. Kate Kane doesn’t merely change into Batwoman, the transformation forces the comic into new shapes and opens up new formal possibilities, which, among many other things, is a really interesting way of bolstering a fledgling character’s status.
LADY IN RED: I quite liked this look at J.H. Williams’ process on Batwoman over at the mothership. Hopefully the series sells well.
HE SAID/OTHER HE SAID: What, more Batwoman? Yes. In the comments thread of a Douglas Wolk post that talked about the new issue of Detective Comics, among other things, a lively debate as to character vs. creator/craft/storytelling broke out, as it is wont to do amongst fandoms. Anyway, Michael Aronson said some things in that thread I wholeheartedly agreed with, and said them better than I have previously. So I’ma just gonna quote him:
Maybe I’m just jaded, but every time a new writer takes over a character, I see it as a new character. If it’s a character I once enjoyed, my hope is that the writer manages to write the character in a similarly compelling way to the way the character was written when I enjoyed the book . . . but that doesn’t often happen.
Are there really still readers who follow characters? Are there really people who pick up every Wolverine guest appearance and every Superman Elseworlds book? Were there really Spider-man followers who hoped Howard Mackie’s Spider-man would reclaim the glory of the Stan Lee era?
I don’t get it.
If a story about a character is good, it doesn’t mean the character is good. It means the story is good, and it probably means the creators involved have a bit of talent.
WHAT A WAY TO GO-GO: Roger Langridge (recently of the Fin Fang Four and Muppet Show comics) shares some of the sketches he drew at HeroesCon, and they’re all fried gold, all of ‘em, but my favorite’s probably this drawing of Alfred dancing the Batusi:
Yeah, Robot 6 beat me to linking to this, but I scooped ‘em on the Dalek thing from last week! We’re even. Except for all those other times they linked to stuff before I did.
ALL THOSE WHO CHOSE TO OPPOSE HIS SHIELD MUST YIELD: I probably would’ve enjoyed Captain America: Reborn a lot more if it was Captain America: Rebhorn instead.
FORM OF… RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION! Dwayne McDuffie and David Brothers team up, so to speak, as 4thletter! points out racist idiots on Newsarama. Apparently they didn’t check the box that said they wanted to read about black people. So that’s homophobia here, racism at the ‘Rama… I wonder where the misogynists go to whine about comics.
TOO MUCH GAY! Speaking of which, Rob Liefeld is mad that someone went and made Shatterstar gay, stating that he “can’t wait to someday undo this.” “He’s a warrior, a Spartan, and not a gay one.” Yep, not a gay Spartan. Well, I’m sure he intended for his artwork to be good, too. Can’t win ‘em all, Rob!
WHILE MY GORILLA GENTLY WEEPS: Douglas Wolk condenses a review of Justice League: Cry for Justice #1 into one beautiful panel, and introduces us to Weeping Congorilla at the same time.
TEENAGERS FROM OA: Meanwhile, J. Caleb Mozzocco brings us Hal Jordan’s tribute to the Misfits. I am so glad I wasn’t the only one who had this song pop into their head whilst reading Cry for Justice.
HELLGRAZER! This piece at CBR about Grant Morrison and Clive Barker hangin’ out at Meltdown comics is pretty good, but if you just look at the pictures, it instead reveals itself as Grant Morrison coaching Clive Barker through a really painful, harrowing defecation.
REMAKE/REMODEL this week is International Patents, Inc., starring Q the Automaton, Deluxe Dora, and the Madagascar Strangler. Madness from the past viewed through the geniuses of the future– this is why I love Remake/Remodel. Paul Sizer and David Bednarski knock it out of the park:
S FOR S’AWESOME: Neill Cameron’s A-Z of Awesomeness continues the parade of awesome by showing us more awesome than we could ever have dreamed. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Optimus Prime obliterating Oompa Loompas and laughing like a maniac while he does it. Cameron covers all corners of the nerd universe, and gives us joy like this:
NERRRRRRRDS! DEPT: The Park Bench describes how to woo nerdy girls, and I’m proud (sad?) to say I pretty much fulfill every one of these. I am some terrifying cross between David Tennant and John Hodgman (trust me, it’s not pretty), I have an English degree, I listen to NPR, I can school you in Halo, I would also have Nathan Fillion on my “freebie” list even as a straight male, I am the Rain Man of pop culture, I daydream about the zombie apocalypse, and I would impregnate Liz Lemon if she existed. Where is my flock of lovely nerdy ladies? Do I have CSBG groupies? I would probably fear them if I did.
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