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Sunday Brunch: 3/28/10

Lo, it is Palm Sunday, the day Jesus invented the high five, and miracle of miracles, it’s an actual brunch-sized Sunday Brunch post! Links, news, musings, theory, and images below the fold.

R.I.P. Comics legend Dick Giordano has passed away:

“Few could ever hope to match what he accomplished in his chosen profession, or to excel while maintaining great humor, compassion for his peers and an unwavering love for the art form,” said Giordano’s friend and longtime creative partner Bob Layton. “His unique vision changed the comic industry forever and all of those who work in the business continue to share in the benefits of his sizable contributions. I have been honored to call him a business partner, mentor and dear friend throughout the majority of my lifetime. We will not see his like again.”

BRAVE & THE BOLD DEPT: Who caught “The Super-Batman of Planet X” this past Friday? It may just be my favorite episode of the show yet:

Kevin Conroy returns to the fold as the Batman of Zurr En Arrh, joined by Clancy Brown and Dana Delany as his planet’s respective Luthor and Lois Lane counterparts. Our Batman, imbued with super-powers on this alien planet, begins a stupendous war against crime, leaving Zurr En Arrh Batman in the dust. Eventually, Batman loses his powers, but regains sight of who he is. It’s a simple enough tale, loaded with brilliant details by writer Adam Beechen and the team of animators– visual and aural callbacks to the original Silver Age story as well as the Conroy-led Batman animated series, particularly. This episode has great action and some wonderfully cheeky gags, as well as Batman-of-Earth saying “hoisted on my own petard.” Definitely worth tracking down and watching if you missed it.

ITEM! The trailer for the Scott Pilgrim movie is out, and it is absolutely glorious. I am very very excited for this, and I’ve never even read the comic– but it’s a new Edgar Wright movie, and that is all I need to know. I tried to embed it in this post, but I’ve been attempting that for fifteen minutes, and WordPress just ain’t having it, so I’m going to link you to the trailer instead. Go, watch. I’ll wait.

Pilgrim 1

AXE COP DEPT: To fulfill your awesome quotient for the week, here’s a bit of Axe Cop, Simon Pegg’s new favorite webcomic! More at the link:

King of All Time

ITEM! And speaking of aquatic adventurers, Rob! of the Aquaman Shrine has shared all the cool bits from that Brave and the Bold issue I talked about last week. Those splash pages are gorgeous.

ITEM! Grame McMillan has been critiquing up a storm over at the Savage Critics this week. Check it.

ITEM! Friend of CSBG John Seavey writes aboot reboots over at MGK, revealing their true nostalgic bent:

Except that by definition, it doesn’t work. Far from being the new beginning that it’s intended to be, I would suggest that by definition, a comic book reboot is inherently nostalgic…and that in fact, reboots delay any kind of “fresh and original” stories for several years.

…And where does the writer go for inspiration on every single one of these stories? They look back. They go back to the original story the character was introduced in, and they retell it. Sure, they add their own inventive spin on it. They retell it in a way tht makes sense to modern audiences, and that resonates with our time and our culture. But they retell it, nonetheless. And until they’re done retelling old stories, they can’t tell new ones.

ITEM! Adam Koford draws Jack Kirby:

Jack Kirby

ITEM! Jog, the critic’s critic, discusses a dying piece of comics grammar, the thought balloon:

Plus, thought balloons simply aren’t as versatile: you can’t stretch them out over the course of a story, they offer less opportunity for word-image consonance/dissonance—they simply don’t seem as ‘literary,’ in that they don’t allegorize a descriptive passage of prose giving way to dialogue, and thereby can be dubbed unsophisticated. I don’t agree, and neither does comics-at-large, even a few of the shared-universe superheroes, carrying their extra burden of functioning as a flickering window into some simulacrum of a parallel reality—it may just be a sharp object with which to assert one’s comic-bookiness, but Oliver Queen could at any moment encounter a child-murdering villain that needs putting down post-haste, and it’s preferable to have every arrow in the quiver.

ITEM! Continuing this line of thought (sans balloons), Jeet Heer talks about the art of the word balloon.

ITEM! Since the marriage issues of Archie sold about 6000% more than a regular ol’ issue of Archie, the company will spin off two new ongoings: Archie Loves Veronica, and Archie Loves Betty. The kicker? According to Norm Breyfogle’s website, he will be drawing both! Never before have I been so tempted to buy Archie comics. (And if we’re going to be assigning awesome Batman artists to Archie books, then I’d like to put my vote in for Kelley Jones’ Archie Loves Chachi.)

ITEM! Ron Marz and Cully Hamner share a clever old pitch for Hourman over at the ‘Rama blog.

CHINESE WHISPERS UCHRONAL COVER REMAKE/REMODEL: That’s a mouthful. The last of the cover redesigns, the one Warren Ellis chose to confuse, bemuse, and stupefy this week’s challengers? Young Romance, the first romance comic, originally created by Simon and Kirby. I declare the winners of this week’s thread to be Chris Thornley (again) and Vicky Van:

Young Romance 1Young Romance 2

NOT COMICS DEPT: The new season of Doctor Who starts this Saturday in the United Kingdom, and I am getting giddier and giddier with excitement each passing day. Via Rich Johnston, here’s the latest, greatest trailer for the upcoming thirteen episodes:

Who thumbs up

…okay, like I said, WordPress hates me so much it won’t let me embed video (I have no idea how Archduke Cronin does it). So off you go to the link over to Bleeding Cool. There’s more there, including a short clip from the upcoming “Vampires in Venice” episode. I’m trying to be skeptical about the new, David-Tennant-less Who, but that trailer turns me into a puddle every time I watch it. Which has been a lot of times. Finally, a hero and role model for those of us with plus-sized-craniums!

It looks like the Sunday Brunch feature has returned, at least for the foreseeable future. I suspect short reviews of Brave & the Bold and Doctor Who will be folded into these posts, as well. Perhaps even the Question of the Week shall make a comeback! Be very afraid.

20 Comments

Thought bubbles can be good but should be used sparingly. It’s too easy to get lazy and start having characters think everything when it should be shown in the art. But there are instances when a thought should be shown and first person narration boxes won’t do, for example to show how a character is saying one thing and thinking another.

Huh. So marriage *doesn’t* ruin storytelling potential for a long-running single character. Who knew?

Also, Jack Kirby is great.

Thought balloons, not thought bubbles, Dalarsco.

Huh. So marriage *doesn’t* ruin storytelling potential for a long-running single character. Who knew?

In 10 years, readers will be so confused by the various continuities that they’ll have a “Crisis on Infinite Archies”. They’ve already planned the cover with Jughead tearfully holding up the corpse of Trula Twyst as the Riverside Gang watches on.

Tom Fitzpatrick

March 28, 2010 at 11:34 am

I’m going to check out the new Doctor Who when it comes to the SPACE channel in a few weeks.

Whoa, wait, what? Adam Beechen wrote that episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold? I’ve read more than my fair share of Beechen comics, and not a single one has been anywhere near as good as that ep. He should stick to animation.

I always forget to read “Ask Axe Cop.” I need to rectify that.

Over at Comic Twart — the group-blog of a bunch of artists who chat on Twitter — the theme of the week was Archie, which led to some fun revamps. Andy Kuhn’s is a particular favorite.

I thought the Scott Pilgrim trailer looked embarrassingly bad. The dialogue is clunky, the juxtaposition of the characters’ behavior with stuff like flaming swords is not complementary, and the “comic book” effects are corny, not stylized.

I’m betting it tanks, like The Spirit.

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They really need to bring back thought balloons. Narration boxes can be unclear as to time– sometimes they narrate from a future time, sometimes they’re concurrent with the rest of the story, but many times you just don’t know. Thought balloons are always occuring right at the moment they appear in the story. Also, thought balloons work much, much better for showing the thoughts of multiple characters in the same story.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

March 28, 2010 at 10:06 pm

I thought the Scott Pilgrim trailer looked embarrassingly bad. The dialogue is clunky, the juxtaposition of the characters’ behavior with stuff like flaming swords is not complementary, and the “comic book” effects are corny, not stylized.

I’m betting it tanks, like The Spirit.

I’m leaning slightly towards your way of thinking, but it’s Edgar Wright – Spaced showed that man can take things that should seem clunky or ham fisted and make them work.

But there’s two things to remember – 1) It’s a teaser trailer, and originally it was to play before Kick-Ass, as Kick-Ass mentions Pilgrim, so it may be a rush job, and may not represent the film at all.
B) It’s the Scott Pilgrim movie – there’s now way a Scott Pilgrim fan can be objective about this!
That chick who plays Romana is smoking – but the image of Romana in the books is so strong, that she just looks wrong.
Same with everything else that’s straight from the books on the screen.

Just have faith in Edgar Wright!

Who is Edgar Wright exactly? He’s been mentioned several times on here, and on Mightygodking when the trailor was shown there, but I can’t recall ever hearing the name before. Has he done anything I would be likely to know?

FunkyGreenJerusalem

March 28, 2010 at 10:36 pm

Has he done anything I would be likely to know?

Started directing with the show Spaced – which America is nowhere near cool enough for*, even a decade later – and directed the films Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz.

*The Big Bang Theory is occasionally referred to as the American Spaced, except that Spaced is good, hilarious, and pretty groundbreaking in it’s style.

The BBC show Spaced?? I have seen that, the complete series on Youtube.

You’re right. It is cool.

I think that caption boxes vs. though balloons depend on the kind of story you want to tell. If you want what in prose would be a first person narrative, caption boxes capture the idea that the one principal character is narrating the action and the story is being seen from their point of view. If, on the other hand, you want a more third person narrative, where multiple characters’ interiorities are being expressed, thought balloons offer a nice solution. Of course, comics being comics, there’s no reason that a story can’t switch how it’s being told from moment to moment, and that’s part of why we love ‘em, amiright?

Also, I frickin’ LOVE David Tennant, but this new guy seems pretty fun. I’ma give him a chance. My sister almost quit the show after Eccleston left, but she hasn’t regretted staying on.

Finally, Scott Pilgrim. Tight.

I miss thought balloons too. It’s one of the things I really like about BND Spider-Man – they’re not scared of using em!

JayPhonomancer

March 29, 2010 at 9:55 am

Not sure about the Scott Pilgrim trailere either but hey it’s like a minute and a half long so I’m still gonna remain optimistic mainly ‘cos of Edgar Wright. Spaced is one of the best TV shows I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching and I think is more of an indicator of the style he may be using for SP rather than his movies. Still not sure about Cera as Pilgrim either but like I said, it’s only a trailer and I will reserve my judgement.

May main issue with the Scott Pilgrim trailer is the same issue I’ve had since casting was announced – I just don’t buy Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim. I’m hoping that the trailer is playing up the “George Michael”-ish moments for marketing’s sake and that his performance has more edge to it. Because in no way do I see the cockiness inherent in Scott Pilgrim’s character (or, at least, his public persona) in the standard “Michael Cera as Michael Cera” character.

Wright’s visual flourishes look spot on, though, and what we see of the Seven Evil Exs all feels right (especially Captain America’s delivery).

FunkyGreenJerusalem

March 29, 2010 at 5:17 pm

The BBC show Spaced?? I have seen that, the complete series on Youtube.

Good to see you’re doing your bit to make America cool!

One day, maybe, we’ll even get your countrymen to understand why the original ‘The Office’ is a better show, but right now, I’ll settle for Americans seeing Spaced.

The trailer made me slightly more optimistic about Cera as Pilgrim. If you turn to a page of a Scott Pilgrim issue and find a facial expression by Scott, you can see Cera doing his best to replicate it somewhere in the trailer.

I enjoyed the trailer but I’m waiting for a longer one that actually includes the supporting cast. The casting of Kim, Stephen Stills, Wallace, Knives and Young Niel is just as important as Scott’s or Ramona’s.

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