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What I bought – 3 March 2010

I looked through the Gideon Bible in my motel room for tales of great destruction. ‘The sun was risen upon the Earth when Lot entered into Zo-ar,’ I read. ‘Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of Heaven; and He overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.’

So it goes.

Those were vile people in both those cities, as is well known. The world was better off without them.

And Lot’s wife, of course, was told not to look back where all those people and their homes had been. But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human. (Kurt Vonnegut, from Slaughterhouse-5)

Dazzler has nothing on Mirage! I should point out that Guillory drew this in October - that's how far ahead they were at one point! So very icky! Seriously, JHWIII - what the fuck? I still don't get why anyone would bet against She-Hulk! Is the ornate weaponry just for kewlness, or will it be explained? Holy shit, that's a gorgeous cover! Worth the wait! That Fox sure is crafty!

AstroCityDarkAge4.2Astro City: The Dark Age Book Four #2 (of 4) (“Vengeance is Mine Part Two of Four: Storms of the Heart”)* by Kurt Busiek (writer), Brent E. Anderson (artist), John Roshell (letterer), and Alex Sinclair (colorist). $3.99, 24 pgs, FC, DC/Wildstorm.

* Busiek just loves titling things, doesn’t he? That is, I swear, the complete title of this comic book!

I always enjoy an issue of Astro City, but for some reason, this issue really worked well. I’m not sure why, but it does. We get more tantalizing information about the Silver Agent and his trip backward through time, and Busiek revisits the fact that the super-weapon got fired a while back and did something fairly awful to the universe. Plus, it appears that the Williams brothers get their revenge, but knowing Busiek, it’s definitely not over. As always, we get a bunch of nice throwaway things that may or may not ever show up again, but it’s just keen that Busiek chucks all this stuff in. The main story zips along, and we get hints of the Apocalypse to come, and it’s a blast. It’s always fun to read into what comic book writers are doing (well, fun for me, at least), and this “darkening” of the book, which has spanned over a decade in Astro City time, is coming to a head in 1984, which has so many connotations, both in the real world and the comic world. It’s the Orwell year, of course, but it’s also the year that the so-called “Reagan Revolution” was validated with his huge election win. In comics, it was just about the time that the old order was swept away and Alan Moore and Frank Miller changed superheroes forever. So what Busiek has been doing with this book, both in terms of the way comic books evolved and the way the real world evolved (for many, remember, the Eighties were horrible because Reagan was the devil – I turned 9 in May 1980 and graduated from high school in June 1989, so the Eighties rocked for me, personally), is interesting. I’m curious to see how he wraps up this epic, because it’s kind of neat the way he’s been moving through the years during this giant arc.

One panel of awesome:

Gotta love Gloo!

Gotta love Gloo!

Chew9Chew #9 (“International Flavor, Part 4 of 5″) by John Layman (writer/letterer), Rob Guillory (artist/colorist), Lisa Gonzalez (color flatterer), and Steven Struble (color flatterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, Image.

After last issue, in which Layman piled prologue upon prologue to the point of absurdity (I mean that in the best way possible), in this issue we get three, count ‘em, three cliffhangers on the penultimate page. Each panel has a caption box that reads “Cliffhanger” with increasing number of exclamation points, and then, just when we think we can’t handle any more cliffhangers, we get to the actual final page, which is simply hilarious. Layman continues to weave every plot point into these issues, with the Russian chick from a few issues back showing up in the morgue back in the States while Tony continues his investigation on Yamapalu. We also get yet another character with strange food-based power, Tony going all Schwarzeneggar, and his partner, John, creating a diversion so his boss back in the U. S. doesn’t get too pissed. It’s this diversion that ends the book so memorably. This issue, as usual, is entertaining as all get-out, and Guillory adds so many nice touches to the art (several Yamapalu tourist posters, for instance; my favorite one proclaims “Get laid here”) in addition to the great design of the characters themselves (the governor, Peter Lorre, and his tiny hat crack me up) and the excellent way he moves them through the story. It’s just another fantastic issue of Chew. I guess I should expect it by now!

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One panel of awesome:

When will the brother-on-brother violence end?!?!?

When will the brother-on-brother violence end?!?!?

Demo2Demo #2 (of 6) (“Pangs”) by Brian Wood (writer)*, Becky Cloonan (artist), and Jared K. Fletcher (letterer). $2.99, 24 pgs, BW, DC/Vertigo.

* On his blog, Wood lists six great novels. The only one I’ve read is Don DeLillo’s White Noise, which is indeed a great novel. It’s one of my five or six favorite books, actually.

Cloonan shifts her style again, and it actually looks a bit more like the old Demo – the lines are heavier, less delicate than issue #1, and the inking often overwhelms the pencil work, which is somewhat fitting for this darker tale. She makes the main character haunted, as he definitely is, and actually makes him thinner as the book moves along, turning him more and more into some odd, gaunt, medieval figure who wouldn’t look out of place in a Bosch painting. It’s a horrifying artistic vision, very effective when coupled with Wood’s story. I like the art style in issue #1 more, but this fits the story very well.

Wood, meanwhile, tells the story of a cannibal. Who falls in love. This presents all sorts of problems for him, and Wood’s story is a creepy examination of what happens when a man is pulled in opposite directions by two different urges. “Pangs” doesn’t simply refer to his hunger, it refers to his desire for love, and it’s a fascinating little tale about what he will do. Will he succumb to one hunger or the other? The ending is not, perhaps, what you might expect from a lesser writer, but it’s still somewhat stomach-turning. It’s a terrific tale of horror. I wasn’t blown away by issue #1, and while I don’t want to like this story because it’s so icky in so many ways, it shows how good Wood is at constructing a story and creating compelling characters in a short time. And, as always, you can buy it without worrying that you’re on the hook for any other issues! It’s all one-and-done, people!

One panel of awesome:

Ah, life in the cube farm!

Ah, life in the cube farm!

Detective862Detective #862 (“Cutter Part 2 of 3″/”Pipeline Chapter Two Part Three”) by Greg Rucka (writer), Jock (artist, “Cutter”), Cully Hamner (artist, “Pipeline”), David Baron (colorist, “Cutter”), Dave McCaig (colorist, “Pipeline”), Todd Klein (letterer, “Cutter”), and Jared K. Fletcher (letterer, “Pipeline”). $3.99, 30 pgs, FC, DC.

The past two issues of Detective have been strange, because the Question’s story is unquestioningly better than the main story, and even though Rucka has been writing them both all along, I wonder why, rather suddenly, Renee’s story is better than Kathy’s. Is it the addition of Helena Bertinelli, who is usually written very well, and is written particularly well by Rucka? Is it the loss of Williams? I doubt that latter assumption, because Jock does a fine job with the art. It’s as if Rucka had a minor good idea – link Batwoman and Batman’s cases and let them solve each, with presumably the two converging in the final installment – but didn’t think about how to make it three issues. I mean, consider: Last issue, Batwoman let “Cutter” escape for, apparently, no reason. In this issue, she lets him escape … twice. Now, in the first instance, she’s fighting him on a truck and gets thrown out of the open door onto the highway, which is understandable. In the second instance, Rucka uses the old “an errant knife throw happens to hit an innocent bystander” ploy, which is somewhat annoying. I mean, Cutter is just flinging knives at Batwoman and one happens to hit someone square in the chest? Really? There’s also the question of who’s driving the truck when Cutter escapes the first time, which I think is somewhat obvious, and then the secret Kathy’s cousin is keeping, which I don’t get. I suppose it’s supposed to mean something, but it’s one of those reveals that means nothing unless you’ve read the right DC comics, and I guess I just haven’t. Oh well. And let’s not forget that Batman lets his bad guy escape, too, and he’s not even a super-duper knife-throwing crazy like Cutter is. Come on, Dick, suck it up! So the score card currently reads: Batman and Batwoman, 0 for 4. Against two bad guys who have no powers. I know it’s supposed to be dramatic, but instead, it’s laughable. No wonder the Batpeople can’t stop crazed supervillains.

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Meanwhile, Renee and Helena continue to track down the human traffickers, and it’s fun to read. Well, Renee’s continued amazement at the identity of Oracle gets annoying, but at least Helena tells her to shut it. Of course, Helene has never heard of a napkin, so maybe she shouldn’t be telling others to shut it. But the way she handles the bad guys is fun – she says “Secret is boring” and proceeds to beat the shit out of them. Go, Helena! It’s a nice character touch that doesn’t come from endless navel-gazing, just a few words and a few actions and we learn a great deal about Helena. Hamner’s line work looks stronger, too, from the early installments. I’ll have to go back and check it out. Maybe as the story has gotten better, he’s had more fun with it.

I’ll still stick around for the final chapter, and I hope Rucka can pull it all together. That would be nice. Of course, I’d rather another issue of Stumptown come out, but oh well.

One panel of awesome:

She's talking about her ears, not her ... um, she's talking about her ears

She's talking about her ears, not her ... um, she's talking about her ears

GirlComics1Girl Comics #1 (of 3). “Introduction” by Colleen Coover; “Moritat” by G. Willow Wilson (writer), Ming Doyle (artist), Cris Peter (colorist), and Kathleen Marinaccio (letterer); “Venus” by Trina Robbins (writer), Stephanie Buscema (artist), and Kristyn Ferretti (letterer); “A Brief Rendezvous” by Valerie D’Orazio (writer), Nikki Cook (artist), Elizabeth Breitweiser (colorist), and Kristyn Ferretti (letterer); “She-Hulk pin-up” by Sana Takeda; “Shop Doc” by Lucy Knisley; “Clockwork Nightmare” by Robin Furth (writer), Agnes Garbowska (artist), and Kristyn Ferretti (letterer); “Head Space” by Devin Grayson (writer), Emma Rios (artist), Barbara Ciardo (colorist), and Kathleen Marinaccio (letterer). $4.99, 41 pgs, FC, Marvel.

As with any anthology series, there’s going to be good and bad stories, but this shades a bit toward the “bad” side, unfortunately. None of the stories are really terrible, but only one – the two-pager about Doc Octopus – is really fantastic. Colleen Coover, unfortunately, contributes only two pages, and one of those is just 12 small panels with female superhero head shots. Wilson’s Nightcrawler story is bland, redeemed by Doyle’s vaguely Paul Popish art (I met Doyle last year at San Diego and sat at a table with her at the Eisners, but as I’m ridiculously forgettable, I’m sure she doesn’t remember me; I did see doodles she did, however, which were quite good, so I was looking forward to her work here); Robbins’ and Buscema’s Venus tale looks pretty keen but is also somewhat dull. D’Orazio’s story about the Punisher feels really familiar; wasn’t the ploy used before, if not in a Punisher story, then somewhere else? In the “Reed and Sue are TERRIBLE parents” category, Furth shows us Franklin and Val getting into potentially life-ending trouble in Reed’s forbidden laboratory and not getting punished even when they’re found out; Garbowska’s fairy-tale art is gorgeous, though. Grayson’s story briefly examines the Cyclops-Wolverine-Jean Grey love triangle without really telling us anything new, but Rios does a nice job with the art, and I hope she gets more work soon now that the Strange mini-series is over. Knisley’s Doc Ock story, though, is flat-out hilarious, down to Otto’s reading material when he gets back from the grocery store. I wish the creators had done more stories in this vein – in a book like this, it’s very hard to create a good dramatic situation, and slice-of-life stories often work much better. The best written stories in last year’s Strange Tales were those types of stories, and I hope the next two issues of this contain more of those. Still, this is a fun comic, mostly for the same reason Strange Tales was – we get to see creators we don’t often see on Marvel characters going a bit nuts. There’s nothing wrong with that! Oh, and bondage. Can’t have a Marvel comic written and drawn by women without some bondage!

One panel of awesome:

It's funny because men are scum

It's funny because men are scum

SpartaUSA1Sparta U.S.A. #1 (of 6) (“Where We Are”) by David Lapham (writer), Johnny Timmons (artist), Wildstorm FX (colorist), and Wes Abbott (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, DC/Wildstorm.

I’ve been trying to get my Big Two mini-series in trade, because why not? Marvel has skewered this by moving to three-issue mini-series that get collected with other mini-series that I don’t want to read, goddamnit, but I’d still like to trade-wait for most of them. Lapham, however, knows how to put together a single issue, so I figured I’d get this when it comes out instead of waiting for the trade, because it’s my prerogative, confound it! It sounded intriguing – in a town deep in a valley, no one ever leaves and true American values hold sway. To this town – called Sparta, of course – a former football hero returns. Mayhem ensues. I wasn’t sure what Lapham would do with it, but it sounded interesting enough. The first issue is even more interesting than the premise, because apparently this book is a bit weirder than the solicit information would have you believe. Football is somehow important beyond just the fact that everyone likes to play it. In a town of less than 10,000, there are 12 professional football teams. It’s strange. Meanwhile, when Godfrey McClaine – the quarterback who left the town and whose return is the impetus of the series – shows up, he’s red. His skin is colored rather bright red. Why? We don’t know yet. And in town, it seems like there’s a system of organized looting in place, and when that becomes public, there are dire consequences. We also see a “pep rally” at which orphaned babies are distributed to townspeople. Finally, there’s the Maestro, who apparently rules the town. His skin is blue. It’s all very weird. Lapham obviously has a lot of bizarre stuff going on, and while this first issue is mostly set-up, it’s entertaining and intriguing set-up, so I’m willing to go along with it.

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I’ve never seen Timmons’ art before, but it’s not bad. It’s not great, but it’s not bad. It tells the story well, but lacks any real distinctive qualities that I can discuss competently. It doesn’t bug me, and I’ll be interested to see if Timmons can handle more difficult things if Lapham throws them at him. We shall see, won’t we?

I can understand anyone waiting for the trade on this one (DC’s policy of releasing trades seem a bit slower than Marvel’s, so who knows when it will show up), but this is an pretty good issue, and Lapham is the kind of creator where you just have no idea what he’s going to do next, so it should be fun!

One panel of awesome:

Godfrey McClaine - Yeti killer!

Godfrey McClaine - Yeti killer!

Starstruck7Starstruck #7 (of 13) (“The Right Bait”/”Dead Reckoning”/”What I Did On My Summer Vacation!”) by Elaine Lee (writer), Michael Wm. Kaluta (artist), Charles Vess (inker, “What I Did”), Lee Moyer (painter), and Todd Klein (letterer). $3.99, 24 pgs, FC, IDW.

As Lee’s story gets more and more convoluted as she continues to introduce new stuff while checking back in on some of the characters from earlier issues, I’m afraid I’m going to get lost and not appreciate what she’s doing until I re-read the thing in one sitting. This issue begins fairly conventionally, with a character’s “secret origin” and then what she’s doing in the present, but then Lee brings us a bit up to date on some characters from several issues ago, and although I know who they are, it’s difficult for me to fit them into where they’re supposed to be right now. That’s okay, though – I know I’m not too bright, so I can just enjoy each issue for the way Lee continues to create this dazzling world and worry about the connections later. Mainly, I can drool over Kaluta’s art, which is simply astonishing. Each panel is packed with detail, and Kaluta’s alien creations are plausible yet still odd enough to be completely foreign to us. I don’t know how much imput Lee had into the visuals of this comic, but when your artist is making sure that fashion sense is part of the package, you know you’re looking at something special. Many artists would simply put the characters in either “regular” clothing or some bland, pseudo-futuristic jump suit we’ve seen in bad sci-fi movies for years. Kaluta blends “Earth” fashion with outré design sense, so we get people with hot dog-print pants, pixie slippers, ornate headdresses, weirdly-shaped eyebrows, and kicky hats. Each character looks distinctive, too, and when you’re dealing with dozens of them, that’s a hard trick, but Kaluta pulls it off very well. Moyer’s sumptuous colors help the look of the book nicely, as well. The amusement park in the beginning of the issue is a riot of detail and color, while the two full-page spreads when Bronwyn reads a character’s mind accidentally is stunning, both in the way Kaluta draws our eye across the page as well as the vividness of the painting. As I always write, this is a truly tremendous work of art, and it’s a pleasure to read it. It’s great that IDW decided to bring it back.

One panel of awesome:

Just look at that!

Just look at that!

Underground5Underground #5 (of 5) by Jeff Parker (writer), Steve Lieber (artist), and Ron Chan (colorist). $3.50, 27 pgs, FC, Image.

Underground finished a tad late, but given the way Image books are often tardy, the fact that this is only, what, six weeks late doesn’t seem so bad! And, like a lot of what Image publishes, it’s totally worth the wait, because Parker and Lieber really finish strong. The art, naturally, is stupendous, with Lieber continuing his wonderful tour through the cave, giving us more claustrophobic spaces and more eerie corners. Parker’s script is interesting in that he simply goes from one point to the next, always building on what has come before but never going overboard. Nothing happens in this comic that feels out of place, even the sort-of “twist” at the end (which is in quotes because it’s not really even much of a twist; it might feel like one because of what we think we know of Wes, but then, when we think of what we really know of Wes, it becomes much more fitting). Parker simply tells a compelling story, with all sorts of people, none of whom are really evil and most of whom think they’re doing the right thing. Even Winston Barefoot, the boogedy-man of the series, gets what’s coming to him but doesn’t suffer in the way that supervillains suffer. He’s just a dude, trying to do what he thinks is right.

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If you’ve only read Parker’s Marvel stuff, you might not realize what a good writer he is and how well he creates characters. His “awesome” moments for Marvel might overshadow the fact that he really knows what he’s doing. So here’s your chance to see what he can do when he doesn’t have talking gorillas to fall back on. Plus, it’s always cool to see Lieber’s art. He needs more work, consarnit!

One panel of awesome:

One punch!

One punch!

Zorro20Zorro #20 by Matt Wagner (writer), Francesco Francavilla (artist/colorist), and Simon Bowland (letterer). $3.50, 22 pgs, FC, Dynamite Entertainment.

The latest storyline ends, and perhaps with it Francavilla’s involvement in the book. Francavilla’s next project is a mini-series from Wildstorm, and while I wish him the best because he ought to get more high-profile work, I do hope that he can do every other arc of Zorro as he’s done so far. That would be nice. His art on the series, especially this arc, has been so good and so well suited to the character that I’d miss it if he’s gone for good. And his coloring on this arc has been superb, too, with the lurid reds befitting Zorro’s pulpy origins and also highlighting the fact that almost every time we see Zorro in this arc, it’s in a recollection of others, so the coloring just adds to the fact that it’s from someone’s imagination.

The final issue is much like the others, as Wagner doesn’t really have a grand ending as much as he has an idea for the rest of the series – General Mancado has been collecting information about our hero, and in this issue he finally takes action, but it’s more of an opening move in a chess match, and while he wishes it had gone better, he’s still around as a foe and has shown that he has patience. While this arc doled out the swashbuckling in smaller doses and Wagner did more with building the legend and Francavilla did more with atmosphere, it’s still a fascinating comic, and Wagner gives us a nice cliffhanger to whet our appetite for the next arc. It shows, once again, that Wagner knows what he’s doing with regard to pacing a story.

Zorro is going on a break for a bit, and I don’t know if that means Francavilla will be back or not for the next arc or if another artist is making sure everything is done before they start soliciting the issues. I like this title a lot, and I hope Wagner has a lot of ideas for the future. No matter who’s drawing it!

One panel of awesome:

Why would you want to mess with this dude?

Why would you want to mess with this dude?

Hey, is that The Ten Most Recent Songs Played On My iPod (Which Is Always On Shuffle)? Why, yes, it is!

1. “What Colour Is God?” – Fish (1997) “Don’t keep looking down at me as if I don’t exist, as if I’m not here”
2. “Put Down That Weapon” – Midnight Oil (1986) “And it happens to be an emergency”
3. “Andy” – Indigo Girls (1999) “I have watched you watch an empty road”
4. “We” – Neil Diamond (2005)* “Love is not about young or old”
5. “Mamma Mia” – ABBA (1975)** “I can’t count all the times that I told you we’re through”
6. “Wonderland” – The Cult (1991) “I feel defeated but not for long”
7. “Weirdo” – Charlatans (1992) “Most of the time you are demanding what am I doing here?”
8. “Your Own Special Way” – Genesis (1976) “Won’t you come out whoever you are, you’ve followed me quite long enough”
9. “Go!” – Marillion (1999) “Wide awake on the edge of the world”
10. “Swagger” – Flogging Molly (2002) “Don’t know where I’m going”

* This one’s for Bill Reed!
** This is Rob Schmidt’s favorite ABBA song. That’s because he has impeccable taste! (Okay, it’s not my favorite, but it’s in the top ten, maybe top five.)

Who wants totally random lyrics! You know you do!

“That’s right here’s where the talkin’ ends
Well listen this night there’ll be some action spent
Drive hard I’m callin’ all the shots
I got an ace card comin’ down on the rocks”

What’s on your mind today, good readers?


Stephanie Buscema is John Buscema’s granddaughter! Talk about a legacy to live up to. I think that I will buy it simply to see if the Buscema artistic mojo is genetic in nature.

That’s her art in the panel of awesome, so you can check out a bit right there!

Greg-Has Dynamite released a trade or two of Zorro? I think you’ve finally convinced me to check it out.That artwork looks fantastic!!
Last week Franki Valli,this week Judas Priest,and Abba on the i-pod.Nice eclectic musicical tastes there my good man! Is it screaming for vengance?

nevermind Greg.I just checked Dynamites site.The internet is wonderful when you remember how to use it.

We ROCKED those Eisners!

The Punisher story in “Girl Comics” is basically “To Catch A Predator” with a more violent ending.

I love that smile on the Zorro cover. Bueno!

*Fun fact: Me ol’ fencing maestro fenced in college with Neil Diamond, the Sequined Sultan of Song. Who had a fencing scholarship, really he did.



Your reading of Detective Comics is all wrong. The Batman and Batwoman stories are from two different timelines.

The Batman story is in the past. Batman is Bruce Wayne, Batman has the yellow circle behind his chest emblem and Gordon is Captain. This was set up in the last issue. He’s trying to find a missing girl. The guy he fights in this issue is going to become The Cutter. (He does fight Batman in a knife-sharpening van.)

Batwoman’s story follows The Cutter now abducting college women to piece together a face that resembles the girl he abducting during Bruce’s timeline. In both issues, Cutter is shown as being very quick at exits, quite like Batman. (He stabs Batwoman, by the time she turns around, he’s gone.-last issue) The second escape from the current issue seems like more than Batwoman letting him get away.

Kathy’s cousin seems affected by her aunt and cousin having been murdered. That could be why she is entertaining the idea of being a super-hero. (I don’t know if she’s been in costume before.) The final reveal of Batwoman left alone with the latest victim is either a result of Cutter abducting Kathy’s cousin Bette, or Bette abducting Cutter.

Both the Batwoman/Batman and The Question stories leave me wanting the next chapter immediately. Love ‘em.


March 4, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Greg-Has Dynamite released a trade or two of Zorro? I think you’ve finally convinced me to check it out.That artwork looks fantastic!!

Only one trade is out, telling the origin of Zorro.

Tim: Yeah, that was fun. It was the coolest table in the room, although that didn’t have much to do with me!

Matt: Shoot, you’re right. That does make it more interesting, but it also vexes me even more that the real Batman let the dude escape. Sheesh, he can’t even beat that guy? But that should make things more interesting next issue. And I have my own theories about Bette. We’ll see if they pan out next issue! Thanks for setting me straight.

Bill: That’s awesome. You’re just full of groovy knowledge!

KCViking: It’s “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming,” which is on Screaming For Vengeance. And, of course, has that brilliant video where Rob Halford makes things blow up just by pointing at them.

“As with any anthology series, there’s going to be good and bad stories, but this shades a bit toward the “bad” side, unfortunately. None of the stories are really terrible, but only one – the two-pager about Doc Octopus – is really fantastic.”

Goddamnit Greg.

Are you angry at me because you really like it and think I suck, or do you trust my opinion and are angry because it’s not great? I do think the art is uniformly pretty danged good. I’m just more of a writing kind of guy, so I just wish they’d been better.

I’m damning you because my entire column on Monday is about Girl Comics (as I felt it kind of had to be after all the hype) and about six of your sentences are almost word for word what I wrote in my draft today. It’s totally going to look like I cheated off of you! :(

Of course I talk about other stuff beyond just the comic (including a rather brilliant parallel between anthologies/collections and cereal variety packs…okay fine, it’s not brilliant, just convenient) but literally some of the stuff you wrote is dead on what I wrote…which I suppose at least means we’ve got the same taste (ahem, the same GOOD taste). :)

Don’t worry, Kelly. Nobody reads Burgas’s posts.

One more nit: Why are we calling Kate Kane, Kathy Kane? This is technically not right…right? Nobody calls her Kathy…have I missed something? I guess on some level I don’t understand if Kate is really supposed to be the same person as Kathy. They seem different in every way…but they’re both Kane and have the same cousin…so maybe…ah, hell, I hate this kind of crap…

[SPOILERS?] I’m pretty sure the Bette costume reference is to her being Flamebird…if it’s anything other than that, I’m as lost as you. In the 60’s Betty Kane was Bat-Girl and then she was retconned to Bette Kane/Flamebird, right? That costume looks like Flamebird. Her actions later, also totally mark her as a once superhero that’s maybe now on the fence. Although considering that she aided in getting her friend hurt (by not leaving as instructed by Batwoman) perhaps she should remain on the fence.

I think that Matt S. has it right on the timing as far as it flipping back and forth in time, but I think it should have been clearer. And I’m totally with you that Batman getting a screwdriver driven into his shoulder by some hack with no powers seems like convenient BS whether it’s Bruce OR Dick (although I think it’s Bruce).

How awesome it is that I got 3 Presidential gold dollars from my LCS today for my change, and for the fact that not only did I get a REALLY cool WonderCon promo mag that focuses on comic writers for free, I also got the first issue of Invincible Iron Man for FREE!!!

All that, and the usual monthly dose of awesome that is Jonah Hex.

Man, I can’t wait for the new Starstruck trades! I still have the original GN, the Epic series, and the Dark Horse series. It’s one of the all-time masterpieces of the medium, and one of the funniest comics ever, in addition to being visually stunning. Rush out and buy 18 copies and give ‘em to your friends!

Tom Fitzpatrick

March 4, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Now, this is why I’m in lust with Ms. Thompson. She mops up the floor better than any blogger on CBR!


Kelly — Yeah, she was Flamebird in recent books like Teen Titans, I think… at least that’s what Wikipedia told me when I looked it up being similarly confused.

My problem with the Punisher story wasn’t so much that it was unoriginal, but that I’m not sure that it’s appropriate for an anthology titled Girl Comics. But that mostly highlights that Girl Comics doesn’t seem to have any sense of identity.

Yes, Kate Kane. Catherine is her step-mom’s name.
I had a feeling that was supposed to be a Flamebird costume, but she wasn’t Kryptonian and I haven’t read one issue of Teen Titans ever, so I didn’t know what to think. This could be cool if utilized for the Batwoman series.

Underground is in color? There was an online preview that was black and white. How is the coloring in the cave sequences? I thought the underground stuff worked really well without it.

I checked the amazon listings for Starstruck to see if the trade was solicited (I anticipate it being pricey!). I happened upon the following review from W. M. Kaluta. Sorry if it’s too long, but I thought it might be of interest.

[blockquote]That ONE STAR up there isn’t about Starstruck, it’s about it not being published by Marlowe and Co way back when…the Marlowe and Co proposed full-color edition, collecting all the extant Starstruck, The Expanding Universe comic book and graphic novel pages will never published. Meetings were had, promises given, hopes and dreams set alight, and then, nada… As one of the contributing Authors, I’m sorry it didn’t happened back in the 90’s.

BUT: reprinting Graphic Novels has become the Treasure Hunt of our new Century. Long lost story lines are being rediscovered by an appreciative audience, and forward-thinking publishers are now aware that Hollywood has discovered Comics and Graphic Novels as untapped Gold Mines … Given the fun story that is Starstruck, I’ve lived in hope some publisher will finally do what Marlowe and Co promised almost 20 years ago

And here’s the Good News:

Starting in August, 2009 (just last month) 13 monthly Starstruck Comic Book issues, in Full Color, with the added back-up story “The Adventures of The Galactic Girl Guides”, are hitting the stands… one per month until September of 2010. Eventually the two stories, Starstruck (200+pages) and The Adventures of The Galactic Girl Guides (65+ pages) will be collected into their own trade paperbacks. Those paperbacks will be available here on Amazon! Watch the Skies

Until that time, interested parties: those who know the Starstruck Story from earlier versions in Heavy Metal magazine or from the Marvel Comics EPIC line Graphic Novel, or those new readers looking for a surprising action and intrigue-filled Sci-Fi story can find the comics each month at their local retailer, or via web sites that provide comic books for sale.

As I say in my comment below, I’m proud of this new iteration of the Starstruck Story (having done the art for it) and delighted Elaine Lee’s terrific romp through AnarchEra is finally available again!

A last word: check out the new Color… our painter, Lee Moyer, has topped himself, taking the Starstruck Universe from the line art “pan and scan” comics of yesteryear to a new full “letterbox” presentation![/blockquote]

Tom Fitzpatrick, that’s like the fourth time I’ve seen you try to hit on the women columnists here.

Girl Comics is five dollars?!?!? I don’t think I can afford that, not for something that would only be mediocre. I was really wanting to see a girly take on Marvel (they could use more oestrogen, badly [Yes, that is the correct spelling.])
I’m not familiar with any of the writers, but I guess I’ve seen a couple of the artists. (If one of them did Strange, as you said, then I’ve definitely seen her, and she is pretty good. I’m sure I’ve seen Stephanie Buscema in the credits of something I’ve read, I think it was as an inker. I was wondering how she was related to the other two.)
I can’t wait to see Kelly’s more detailed review.

Beauty Magazine is going for edgy and ultra-violent? Yeah, that makes sense. Do you think that might be a sneaky commentary on something?

Oh, I forgot to mention this is the first time (I think) that you’ve had a song I’m actually familiar with– Mama Mia.
It is a good one, although SOS and Waterloo are better. (And Take A Chance On Me, and Does Your Mama Know, and maybe a couple of others.)

That is some distracting photoref in Sparta, USA. The satire sort of punches you in the face, too. Hurm.

Tom Fitzpatrick, that’s like the fourth time I’ve seen you try to hit on the women columnists here.

Aw heck, it’s okay, he put a winky emoticon at the end!

I know Dick took the name Nightwing partly as a nod to the hero of Kandor (pre-Crisis, anyway) — was there any acknowledgement of the Kryptonian Nightwing & Flamebird when Bette took that name, or was it just a winking in-joke for the fans? I’m still more familiar with Kathy & Betty Kane than I am with Kate & Bette.

Bette took the name Flamebird in part to attract Robin / Nightwing early on….She still has a crush on Dick according to the last major book she had a major role in (Beast Boy Mini from 6 years ago, collected in the Teen Titans trade “Beast Boys and Girls”). No writer has touched upon the relationship yet but as a major Titans fan, it was one of the major things that initially intrigued me about Kate Kane assuming the mantle of Batwoman again. I always thought Bette had potential similar to the growth that Spoiler had.

Let the blog wars begin..Greg..Kelly…whip cream pies at 20 paces….lol

I have to agree with Greg about Astro City. The nostalgic reference matching that Busiek makes me do in each issue is freaking addictive…although that blob like hero makes me think of the blob and little blob from the Herculoids cartoon…..

In the seen with Bette and the costume, you can see a photograph with Robin and her. So, I read the scene as she had quit at being a superhero but is regretting that decision.

Mike Loughlin

March 5, 2010 at 7:04 am

My 3 year-old loves “Mama Mia.” When she hears the opening, she yells “Rock out!” and dances as hard as she can.

Interesting to see Devin Grayson writing comics again. I felt like she was chased out of the industry after her poorly-received Nightwing run. I liked “Gotham Knights,” “Black Widow,” & “User,” though, and it’s good to see her getting work again.

I hope we see a lot more of Stephanie Buscema’s artwork. That page of awesome looks gorgeous.

Completely agree about ‘Girl Comics’ — I was looking forward to reading it, but it was the usual mixed bag you get with anthologies. I really enjoyed seeing Coover’s art (I always do) and the Doc Ock story, but beyond that not much stood out other than the art by Buscema (the Venus story) and Garbowska (the Franklin and Val story).

Nice to see Frank Castle has joined the cast of ‘To Catch a Predator.’ I wonder if Chris Hansen will be Frank’s gun moll.

Totally agree with your opinion of Girl Comics #1, Greg – the best thing about it was the cover. A real wasted opportunity and a bit of mess. Shame.

Sorry, Kelly! And I should call her Kate. My bad.

Man, Bette’s backstory is a mess. I’m kind of glad I didn’t know it. I got the gist – she either was a superhero or wanted to be one, and she either regretted it or hadn’t gotten up the guts to do it yet. That’s probably all I really need.

Dan: Sorry, I forgot to answer you. The coloring inside the cave works pretty well – it’s a lot of black, obviously, but also nice dark blues that work really well, with the feeble lighting from the headlights they have. It’s pretty neat.

Geez, Kelly, then you’re going to hate my pending blog entry on Girl Comics…

Oh, wait, no one reads my blog.

Huh, I totally missed Matt’s read of Detective. Does the fact that a bunch of us here were confused by it indicate poor storytelling, or are we all just dumb? I particularly think there should have been some other clue to Cutter’s penchant for “quick exits”, and I still call bulls#!+ on him getting away from Bruce that easily. Thanks to everyone for the info on Bette. I was trying to figure out why she wanted to be the new Firefly…

Tom Fitzpatrick, that’s like the fourth time I’ve seen you try to hit on the women columnists here.

That’s good, ’cause I thought he was just e-stalking “Ms Thompson”.

Girl Comics is five dollars?!?!?

Word. Marvel is not doing this book any favors. Sorry to hear it was disappointing to boot.

Kind of off-topic here, but can anyone tell me how to view the alt-text on the cover images? I can see them in IE but not firefox.

kushiro–right click (or ctrl+click on a mac, I suppose) and select properties.

Now can anyone tell me how I messed up blockquote?

Daryll B–the blob in Astro City looks like Smoo from Seaguy to me (although I’ve only seen this one panel).

You messed up blockquotes because you’re using the wrong coding language. Greater-than/less-than carats, not brackets.

Thanks, Bill!

Thank you for the kind words.

Starstruck is just hitting its stride at Issue 7. Wait until you see the madness of Issue 8 and how all the pieces start to fit together thereafter – Issue 10 presented particularly thorny challenges to the painter. While I wish we had more than 13 Issues, I can honestly say that Elaine, Michael and I will make them exciting!

PS: I’m so glad you chose a panel of Michael’s that’s never been seen before (I don’t have Issue 7 myself yet), and I’m delighted to be previewed next to the fine Underground by my talented Portland homies. Bravo!

No problem, sir! I’m loving every issue, and look forward to the rest!

s1rude, Jock is a fantastic storyteller, but a lot of it is subtle, especially for the first issue. They tried to make it less subtle on this issue by having the 2 storylines have a consistently different color palatte.

Thanks again, Matt. I’m a big fan of both Jock and Rucka; heading back for a re-read of both issues tonight.

Did they name the ABBA stage show “Waterloo” or “Dancing Queen”? No, I don’t think so. I rest my case.

My top 16 ABBA songs:

Mamma Mia
Ring Ring
So Long
I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do
Hey, Hey Helen
Rock Me
Intermezzo no. 1
The Visitors
Hole in Your Soul
On and On and On
When All Is Said and Done
Two for the Price of One
The Winner Takes It All

Good list, Rob. I think “When All Is Said and Done” is my favorite, because I love the lyrics. “SOS” would probably be #2. After that it gets dicey, because I like so many of them so much. The only ones I can’t really agree with on your list are “Intermezzo No. 1″ because I’m not a big fan of instrumentals, and “Hole in Your Soul” – it just never worked for me, somehow.

“When All Is Said and Done” may get the prize as ABBA’s most sophisticated adult song. Along with “The Winner Takes It All” and the little-known “The Day Before You Came.”

Given my love of fast-paced rockers, “Hole in Your Soul” and “On and On and On” should rank higher. But when ABBA tries to do that kind of song, it comes out a bit cold and sterile. Kind of like Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love,” which epitomizes the problem. I think these songs belong on the list, but not as high as I’d like them to be.

[…] “If you’ve only read Parker’s Marvel stuff, you might not realize what a good writer he is and how well he creates characters. His “awesome” moments for Marvel might overshadow the fact that he really knows what he’s doing. ” Greg Burgas Comics Should be Good […]

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