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Sunday Brunch: 9/20/09

Thank goodness this post didn’t go up on Talk Like a Pirate Day. We all dodged a bullet there.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK– U-DECIDE!: New Justice League lineup– the lamest one ever?


Links below! No lynxes, though.

NEW ABHAY! As ever, I’m excited. This one’s on crime novelists writing comics. Sort of. Again, it’s Abhay, so the discussion veers in several interesting directions:

Swiercynski writes comics, too: IRON FIST and CABLE for Marvel. That’s been a thing with Marvel lately— collecting crime novelists. Hurwitz and Gishler and Huston and whoever else. I hadn’t read any of Swiercynski’s comic work, so I looked at a random issue of CABLE after I read his novel. If I’m remembering this right: Cable was on a farm in the future, wearing overalls; he fought bugs. If you want a comic about cyborgs fighting bugs on a farm—that happened.

THAT VOODOO THAT YOU DO-DO: Newsarama interviews Rick Remender about his upcoming Doctor Voodoo ongoing. I have always (read: since 2007) wanted to read (or write) a Brother (Doctor) Voodoo ongoing set in New Orleans, and here it is! This series sounds pretty good, and you should all buy it in singles so that I don’t feel bad about waiting for the trade (it’s only four bucks for the first issue and three bucks after that, so don’t fret!):

Currently Jericho lives in New Orleans where he runs a non-profit clinic and keeps the evil Loas at bay. Then one day — POW — he’s the Sorcerer Supreme and every major bad ass in the MU is out to take him down.

Jericho Drumm aka Doctor Voodoo is stuck between two lives; that of a voodoo healer and psychologist serving the impoverished communities of New Orleans and that of the new Sorcerer Supreme, defender of the unknown.

I’m getting something of a Denys-Cowan-on-Deathlok-in-1992 vibe from the art, which is a good thing. Now let’s get a Fred Hembeck variant cover! I’ll buy that for a dollar!

CHOKER? I BARELY KNEW ‘ER: The upcoming totally-not-Fell series by Bens McCool and Templesmith was also featured at the ‘Rama this week (not that I’m trying to get a commission from the Nistinguised Rompetition):

Nrama: You have a lot of experience at establishing setting, from towns to worlds and even a few dimensions. What’s the town of Shotgun City like?

Templesmith: Hmmm, potentially like what you’d get if the Chicago of the 1930’s had a one night stand with the city scenes out of Blade Runner. Slightly futuristic yet quaintly odd in places and thoroughly dirty and dank. At least, this is the ambition.

McCool: Well, let’s put it like this: there’s never a dull moment. A bewildering twist of 1930’s Chicago and a technology-infused postmodern metropolis, it boasts as many bowler-clad gangster types as it does avant-garde cyberpunks. The cops are bad, the crooks worse, and good things very, very rarely happen. Inhabitants would think of Camden, New Jersey as VACATIONLAND!

THE VAULT brings us The “Real” Top Ten Marvel covers, and Seven Questions with Fabian Nicieza. Check it out.

ITEM! (I can’t keep cheeky headlines up forever.) Thanks to Rich Johnston and Bleeding Cool, we all kinda-sorta get to take Ethan Watrall’s History of the Modern Comic Book class at Michigan State University… for free! It’s like Cliffs Notes.

ITEM! Kevin Church has a new webcomics project starting this week: She Died in Terrebonne. Should be a cool noir-ish series. The art, by T.J. Kirsch, is great.  Read it, and stuff:


ITEM! Via Mike Sterling via NeilAlien, here’s the best nerd costume ever. (Spidey-related.)

REMAKE/REMODEL: This week, it’s Black Orchid! Now Ellis himself has already linked to the pros who stopped by like Pia Guerra, Ben Templesmith, and Ryan Kelly, so I’ll show you some examples from the beautiful lesser-knowns. Here’s Andrew Nixon (a.k.a. “Frequent Contributor”)’s Seuss-inspired entry:

Orchid Nixon

And here’s one from user “Miranda”, who is a dude:

Miranda Orchid

NOT COMICS DEPT: Nathan Rabin of the Onion’s AV Club dares to eat a KFC Double Down sandwich (the sandwich that has fried chicken instead of bread), and, barely living to tell the tale, writes the greatest article in the history of the website:

My stomach began to feel like a brick. I wanted to quit after a few bites but I soldiered on, ignoring my increasingly intense stomach pain. The Double Down did to my gastrointestinal system what Sherman did to the South, leaving a scorched-earth trail of destruction in its wake. … God clearly did not mean for humans to eat chicken, bacon, and low-quality, gelatinous cheese at the same time.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK THAT IS ACTUALLY A QUESTION THAT SHOULD PROBABLY ONLY HAVE ONE ANSWER: So when is Batman: Brave & the Bold coming back? I hope I haven’t missed the OMAC and musical episodes.


The last four episodes of Brave and the Bold haven’t aired yet, unless you live in Australia, where the three non-musical episodes have aired. The air date on Cartoon Network is unknown, but should be soon, given that they’ve already approved another 26 episodes.

Also, the Robinson JL line up isn’t as lame as Detroit, and possibly isn’t as lame as the sort of kind of Justice League Firestorm tried to get together during 52.

Lamest actual Justice League lineup ever begins and ends with the Gerry Jones’ post-Zero Hour lineup.

That one at least had Metamorpho in it.

That one at least had Metamorpho in it.

A barely recognizable Metamorpho!

Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Atom, and Batman are all pretty established Justice Leaguers. So really, this team is only lame if you really hate the former Teen Titans. Although, I still don’t understand why Wonder Woman can’t be on the team in place of Donna Troy.

Does anyone else think Hal’s costume looks…off? It reminds me more of Power Ring than Green Lantern.

” Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Atom, and Batman are all pretty established Justice Leaguers. So really, this team is only lame if you really hate the former Teen Titans. Although, I still don’t understand why Wonder Woman can’t be on the team in place of Donna Troy. ”

For me it’s the opposite problem; I like the G2 heroes getting prominence on the League, and hate that they have to share the spotlight with the geezers. And if Cry for Justice is any indication, Robinson’s blown his chance to justify the use of Old Man Jordan, Old Man Ollie, and Old Man Palmer.

What good is a universe with legacy heroes if the old men can never give their jobs up for long?

So really, this team is only lame if you really hate the former Teen Titans.

Oh man, do I ever.

For me, the only really interesting character here is Congorilla (though GA and Atom can be interesting under the right writer– and remember, this is the Dick Grayson Batman, whom only Grant Morrison can seem to write properly), but if Cry for Justice is any indication…

What good is a universe with legacy heroes if the old men can never give their jobs up for long?

The reason legacy heroes worked in the past is because ppl didn’t have access to constantly reread old issues as there were no trade paperbacks, and the audience had significant turnover every decade, so people were very open to have a new version of the character that was all their own if the previous incarnation became unpopular.

But given that today’s fans are “lifers” and the trade paperbacks and archive hardcovers keep the old status quo vividly alive in the minds of everyone, I think DC needs to just openly give up on the legacy characters concept. Today’s market and fanbase is not the same as the one that allowed the intro of Barry Allen, Hal Jordan and Ray Palmer as replacements to older characters.

I think the line up is fine. The Morrison era was one of the few historically that had a Big 7 line-up that worked well. Most JL line-up have a few names and lower tier heroes. We have Hal, Green Arrow and Batman to fill the big names role. Is that less star power than the average JL International era team? Not really. The Titans added fit with Grayson Batman and should give a new dynamic to the league, probably more of a family vibe. We have three Morrison pet projects to go with that base and one former member usually neglected in Dr. Light. The pieces are there for a decent and unique run. Hopefully this line-up was picked taking into mind the problems of the last run, other books having control over league members screwing up storylines. In this line-up you would expect Robinson to have a few characters he controls to change and grow as needed. I’m still excited for the run, even if Cry has not been up to snuff.

Oh man, I’ve been looking at this picture for a week and just noticed Dr. Light II in the back there. She really hasn’t been given much of worth to do since Gerard Jones was writing JLE– coincidentally, one of my favorite JL runs ever.

Dick? Yes. Ollie? Yes. Cyborg? Yes. Hal? Okay, I guess. Ray Palmer? What was wrong with the new guy? Congorilla? Meh.
Donna Troy? – Sweet Jesus no. no. no. And Starfire, too? Ack. JLA as soap opera has never worked. And don’t get me started on this stupid Guardian effectively replacing Morrison’s awesome Manhattan Guardian.

Who cares about roster bitching when there are so many good comics coming out and SPX is right around the corner?

[…] Read this article: Sunday Brunch: 9/20/09 […]

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

September 20, 2009 at 11:25 am

Yeah, Congorilla and Guardian don’t work for me. One’s inevitably going to be compared negatively to Captain America, and the other one is freakin’ Congorilla.

I’m sort of interested in Robinson’s JLA line up. I like that the legacy kids are stepping in to the roles. I may not buy it, but I don’t hate the idea, and there’s no way it’s lamer than JL Detroit.

Also Guardian! A Kirby/Morrison guy! I could live without Starfire and Cyborg (and Hal and Ollie), but I dunno. The only off putting thing to me is how awful the lead in mini is according to the internet.

and the other one is freakin’ Congorilla.

Aww, c-mon. Congorilla was there for the “real” Secret Origin of the JLA, remember? He almost ripped Adam Strange’s foot off? And Rex the Wonder Dog growled a lot? And Robotman was there? Not Cliff Steele, the other one….who apparently took a wrong turn at Albuquerque and ended up on Earth-1?

Give a big ape a break.

Ha, thank you so much for posting my version! Cheers!!

JLDetroit had Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, and Elongated Man– three-fifths of my Top Five Favorite DC Characters. Also: Vibe. Who doesn’t love Vibe?

This guy.

Me. He and Steel can… well, they died. They can die again in Blackest Night! Which I will not read, but appreciate that they killed Steel and Vibe again.

“SPX is right around the corner?”

I don’t know what that is.

Really, the only JLA runs I’ve ever liked were Morrison’s and the Giffen/DeMatties stuff, so I’m not sure why I care and am not excited about indie mini comic palooza, but here we are.

JLAME — heh! Clever file name there, Bill.

This is undeniably the B-League. The West Coast Avengers to the Big Seven’s Mightiest Heroes. But, you know, WCA had its fair share of solid stories, and I actually prefer a lot of those characters to the headliners.

Just like I prefer the Titans to their adult counterparts. If anyone deserves permanent positions in the League, it’s the elder statesmen of the Titans. They’ve all proven themselves worthy, year after year. It’s about time they leveled up. I do wonder what will happen to the Titans series, if it’s losing at least half its cast. Is Beast Boy facing a recruitment drive? Will that book be put out of its misery?

Back to the team at hand: Mon-El seems to be there simply because they needed someone as a Superman stand-in. He’s an amnesic with a bad case of lead poisoning. He’s so iffy that Clark appointed the Guardian as Mon-El’s glorified babysitter, which…is pretty much the only reason why the Guardian would ever get to join the League. Jim Harper’s maybe the most generic hero in DC’s stable. He’s a clone of a clone of the uncle of Roy Harper — a fact that could either unify him with Ollie or cause a rift between them. I’m guessing “rift” because what’s a Justice League without shouting and crying? Will Jim’s female clone/adopted daughter appear? I’m guessing so. Will she be in danger? I’m guessing so. Will there be any time left to focus on Dr. Light? I’m guessing no.

There are eleven people on that cast. And a lot of redundancy. Kimiyo Hoshi may hold the distinction of being the only astronomer on the team, but is there really any science-related question that Ray Palmer and Vic Stone can’t field? At least if Starfire weren’t there, Dr. Light could lay claim to being the team’s long-range blaster. But, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, and Cyborg can all provide long-range cover as well. So, um, Hoshi’s…um…Hoshi’s mainly a superhero in desperate need of a new name. One who’ll surely be shuffled into the background, as usual.


I’d prefer the Guardian was Morrison’s, but I don’t really have a problem with this line-up. I think adding Donna Troy is a nice touch; since they knew they’d have to go with Mon-El and Dick rather than Clark and Bruce, why not complete the junior trinity?

Just for a head’s up, if I ever somehow write JLA, here’s my roster and their roles:

Dick Grayson (as Batman or Nightwing, whatevs, de facto leader)
OMAC (powerhouse)
Zatanna (magic user/fishnet wearer)
The Demon (occasional guest star)
Green Lantern (Kyle)
Blue Beetle (Ted Kord, Tech Support)
Manhattan Guardian (Seven Soldiers!)
Frankenstein (SEVEN SOLDIERS!!!)
Plastic Man (I like him better than Ralph)
Mary Marvel (We need another girl and a Superman stand in)
Blue Beetle (Jaime, Spider-Man stand in)
Cyborg Max Lord (Just like JLI Max Lord, but half his face is chrome)
Martian Manhunter (it’s really not the JLA without him)
Deadshot (all comics are made better by the presence of Deadshot. Period.)

i do not think the current line up is lame for one it has titans who most belived would some day replace their mentors. plus cyborg was during metlzers run of being given membership for the lame versions were detroit ad the version before grant took over and did the big seven again.

I am of two minds about the JLA line-up.

On the one hand, the Giffen-DeMatties JUSTICE LEAGUE looked pretty lame until you started reading the actual issues. James Robinson and Mark Bagley are a pretty good pairing creatively, so maybe they will make me love this group.

On the other hand, T. has a very good point. Longtime fanboys (and girls)have pretty strong ideas about who is going to be in a title with JLA on the cover. Currently, longtime fanboys is pretty accurate description of who is likely to be considering picking this thing up. I am not sure that it is a good idea to slap JLA on the cover of a title that lacks Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, J’Onn J’Onzz and Bruce Wayne. Having a Green Lantern helps, but Hal Jordan has never been the strongest Green Lantern for a team setting. Even Ollie Queen been problematic as a JLA member in a while.

If you consider the poisonous response to CRY FOR JUSTICE, Robinson and Bagley are coming to the plate with two strikes against them.

Oh, and I’ll put money on Ryan “All-New Atom” Choi eating a bullet before the end of Cry for Justice.

“SPX is right around the corner?”

I don’t know what that is.

SPX is the Small Press Expo. It’s an indie convention.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

September 20, 2009 at 2:20 pm

No, Congorilla is a terrible character. For starters, he’s horribly dated in all the wrong ways, being not only a white guy in Africa, but a white guy in a pith helmet in Africa and a “kids love gorillas!” shtick to boot. Not to mention that Gay for Justice has laready given us Robinson’s take: solemn, whiny Congorilla.

Do not want.

Yeah, Omar, I know you have a reasoned argument there and everything, but all I can see is “Blah blah blah, I hate fun and love poop in my mouth!” Sorry.

“SPX is the Small Press Expo. It’s an indie convention.”

Got it. That’s why I mentioned indie mini comic palooza.

“If you consider the poisonous response to CRY FOR JUSTICE, Robinson and Bagley are coming to the plate with two strikes against them.”

DC calls that “how you launch a new series” these days.

” But given that today’s fans are “lifers” and the trade paperbacks and archive hardcovers keep the old status quo vividly alive in the minds of everyone, I think DC needs to just openly give up on the legacy characters concept. Today’s market and fanbase is not the same as the one that allowed the intro of Barry Allen, Hal Jordan and Ray Palmer as replacements to older characters. ”

Today’s fans also tend to buy no matter what the content, so that shouldn’t be a hypothetical discouragement from trying something different than the Justice Retirement Home.

Also, look at the way the legacies have been adapted in other adaptations. Green Lantern was John Stewart in the JL/JLU show ( Kyle Rayner in an episode of Superman ), and is often Guy Gardner in the current Brave and the Bold cartoon. The Brave and the Bold also sports Ryan Choi as the Atom and Jaime Reyes as the Blue Beetle, while the JL cartoon also had Wally West as the Flash and hook-hand psychopath Aquaman. The legacies shouldn’t be discounted as a source of story and series material, especially when many of the OG heroes have yet to prove why they shouldn’t have just stayed dead.

The Manhattan Guardian was a great series but not because Jake Jordan was a good character. He represented a fairly generic superhero type thrown into extraordinary circumstances. His origin is dull – one-time cop who left the force out of guilt over an accidental death – and while the relationship with his fiancee was interesting, that was only because Morrison was writing it. I’ve given James Robinson a lot of flak for godawful writing in Superman, but his Guardian character (at least as of the beginning of 09 when I dropped Superman) brings a lot more story-telling potential to the table than Morrison’s. Harper’s past is a mine of stories waiting to be plucked, and Morrison has already told what I feel is the definitive Manhattan Guardian story.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

September 20, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Yeah, Omar, I know you have a reasoned argument there and everything, but all I can see is “Blah blah blah, I hate fun and love poop in my mouth!” Sorry.

Nextwave is fun. Silver Age Flash comics are fun. Grant Morrison’s Frankenstein is fun. I like them for their fun.

While Congorilla could very easily be fun, James Robinson’s take on Congorilla is anti-fun.

I don’t want to admit it, Cass, but that’s all very true.

I’m really happy with the line-up. Post-Rebirth Hal is pretty Loathsome whoever’s writing him, but especially so with Robinson, unfortunately.

But past that, I think it’s a great line up and should make for much more interesting comic books than Robinson writing the big 7.

Thank you kindly, Apodaca. No hard feelings over the Cobain dispute, I hope. Just a bit of a touchy subject with me, I apologize if I took it too far.

I only object to Donna Troy (who is and has always been a cypher pinup), the Golden Guardian (not one of Kirby’s inspired moments, 2nd-rate Captain America that he is) and Congorilla (who might be a fun character in theory, but Robinson’s Congorilla is so annoying that I wish he had stayed forgotten). I also wish the GL was any one of the others.

But I’m VERY happy to see Cyborg make the JLA at last, it’s about time. It’s also nice to see Starfire, but she’s tactically redundant with Doctor Light (who does desperately need a new name) and Green Lantern. I guess you can never have too many people who can fly and rain destruction from their fingertips.

I don’t have a problem with any of the characters in the line-up, but I don’t like the fact that there are eleven members. It’s hard to give all the characters proper breathing room. Even Giffen & DeMatteis shuffled Drs. Fate & Light off to the side pretty quickly. Morrison’s post- “Rock of Ages” League never had all 13 or so members in the same story (except for WW III, I think).

At least there’s no Red Tornado.

To me, the problem with the line up is the same problem that most non-big seven, or more specificially, non-trinity lineups have, and that’s that the JLA is always talked about by DC characters as the premeire super team.

To my mind, that should mean that if the planet is in deep doodoo, they should be among the first people that you would call if you had the phone numbers of every superhero. Marvel has always done a pretty good job with this and the Avengers. Sure, they’ve had lineups where you might phone the Fantastic Four first, maybe even the Hulk the X-men or Dr. Strange or somebody, but the Avengers were always in the top three, and there’s generally a sense that it isn’t a world-imperiling problem until they get called in.

The JLA have had lineups where they wouldn’t be in the top five people you call (and this lineup exacerbates that problem by reminding you explicitly of three people who would probably be better equipped to deal with any given threat), and there’s something farcical about asking me to imagine the president talking to Gypsy and Aquaman while Superman could drop-kick the problem into the sun during the three seconds between lunchtime and nap.

The Giffen/DeMatteis league was the only league that acknowleged this situation, and that, I think, is part of why it’s the only non-trinity lineup that really enjoyed any degree of noteriety.

The League lineup looks OK to me. Besides it’s the writing that really matters. And I’m not buying DC Comics until Didio and Johns go away, so I don’t care anyway.

Oh, and you can watch the missing Brave & The Bold episodes on Youtube.

No J’onn? It ain’t the Justice league.

“No J’onn? It ain’t the Justice league.”

I concur … and I pretty much feel the same way about Black Canary, who was around for years (all through the Satellite Era, which is the best League except for Morrison’s) and again recently had returned to her proper place. She’s the only female hero besides Wonder Woman whose roots go back to the the Golden Age and who ever held so prominent position (popular member of JSA first, then JLA) without being a distaff version of a popular male hero.

I agree with everyone above…She Died in Terrebonne looks excellent!

The Guardian was a good Kirby character, in the Golden Age. It is only subsequent works that have reduced him to a lame Cap knock-off. In the Golden Age, Guardian was a dude who was disqualified from active service with the army during WWII because of a knee injury (I think) and was posted in the police instead, but then he went and trained his ass off and found a way to make a difference at home. That’s what made him a good hero (that and having been trained by Ted Grant and Al Pratt’s coach).

But yes, he is lame now with all this cloning crap and the stuff in the Superboy ongoing.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

September 21, 2009 at 8:44 am

Yeah, Graeme White is correct: the Guardian works when he’s an ID used by cop Jim Harper to help the Newsboy Legion without forcing them to acknowledge that they need a cop’s help. Even his Fourth World appearances under Kirby kind of had him as the boys restoring their old buddy as much as anything. He doesn’t work terribly well when you try to make him a standalone superhero hanging out with Green Lantern and Donna Troy, or when you gritty him up a la the Jimmy Olsen specials.

The Top Five Hal Jordan covers reminded me that Hal has always been sort of the leader of the GLC. Will he be the leader of this new JL? Looking at the cover, it makes me think that Mon-El is the leader, but surely Hal would be the most experienced one there.


Hal, leader of a group that includes Dick Grayson? I don’t think so. Hal is no leader. Mavericks aren’t good leaders.

I didn’t read all of the comments above, so if I am being repetitive, I apologize. It doesn’t matter what characters are in the line-up, it is the creative team. The Giffen DeMattis JLI didn’t have the big names and it was big. Maybe it wasn’t the JUSTICE LEAGUE like everyone wants, but so what? I think the line-up is interesting, too bad it is Robinson and he seems to be off of his game.

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