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Sunday Brunch: 5/2/2010

One day, I’ll just put up a Brunch composed entirely of links to Comics Should Be Good articles from the previous week. But until we hit that nadir of lackadaisy (which I have now decided is a word, regardless of what the dictionary says), I guess I’ll have to settle for sharing various bits and bobs (and carols and teds and alices) of the comic book internet with you, faithful reader.

And I’ve had absolutely no time to pull stuff together this week, so… lightning round!

QUESTION(S) OF THE WEEK: How was your Free Comic Book Day? Good? Bad? Neutral? Chaotic Neutral? Lawful evil? Via my two online retailers (DCBS and Heavy Ink, holla, etc.), I managed nine free comics! And a lot of not free ones. So I’ll tell you all about those. In June, probably.

ITEM! In today’s first installment of “articles I haven’t read yet but know are good,” Zom of the Mindless Ones tackles Alex Sinclair’s coloring on Batman & Robin, which has received a… less than stellar reaction. Zom sees it differently, it seems:

A strange sky is one of the first sure fire signs that the entire cosmic order is maybe, just maybe against you. But there’s a beauty to what Sinclair’s doing too. His fuzzy colours seem bent on denying the possibility of pure negative space, or minimalist background detail. Instead backgrounds that could have been inconsequential are turned into distinct environments in their own right and beg to be noticed, wallowed in even.

ITEM! “Articles I haven’t read yet but know are good,” part the second: I can seemingly rely on Colin Smith to now produce thoughtful content so that I don’t have to! This week, he’s too busy thinking about Geoff Johns comics, and the constant, seemingly necessary conceit that humans are special, and must be everywhere:

The fundamental problem with Geoff Johns placing the origins of all “sentient” life on Earth is that it makes Earth special. In fact, it makes the Earth far far more special than everywhere else everywhere . And as soon as a place becomes perceived as “special”, it warps the perceptions of those folks who feel that they belong there. It’s a problem that’s been part of human culture from as far back as recorded history begins, as far as anybody can tell, and it’s hard to believe that human beings thought any differently before they started leaving records for us to obsess over.

ITEM! Dave (ex Machina) has discovered the Silverest period of the Silver Age: cover date February 1966!

ITEM! Gavok at 4thletter writes about comics that have Mr. T in them. And he hasn’t even gotten to the crack babies yet. That’s all you need to know.

ITEM! Movie Thor is a mean drunk:

Thor movie

There’s also a picture of the Destroyer floating around, leaked by LatinoReview. They got a cease and desist notice about it, so I’m not going to show that one, but Rich Johnston has no such qualms, so go check it out at Bleeding Cool while it’s still there.

AXE COP MOMENT OF THE WEEK DEPT: Because I guess it’s a thing now. And yes, it’s more Baby Man, because… I can’t get enough. This is Ethan’s artistic pinnacle, so far!

There comes a Baby Man

KATE BEATON IS SO AWESOME, YOU GUYS  DEPT: Kate Beaton comics are worth sharing. This time, she tackles the subject of Macbeth! Macbeth is not my favorite Shakespeare– that’d be Richard III– but it’s towards the top (I am not a huge Shakes fan; I love the dark and violent ones, though). (Fun fact: In senior year of high school I rewrote the last act or so of Macbeth into a silly Western for a project– characters were turned into gunfighters, Pony Express boys, school marms, and crusty prospectors; Malcolm became Sean Connery. My group got a 100.) Anyway, the comic:

Macbeaton

More at the link, o’course, o’course, unless that link is Mr. Ed.

REMAKE/REMODEL: This week, Warren Ellis challenges his minions to devise a CD cover for Steve Ditko’s new album, “The Missing Man.” Yeah, you read that right. I hereby dub the winners: Raid71 (for being Raid71); kcmcleod (for being the Ditko-est); Andrew Drilon (for fulfilling the album title the bestest).

Missing Man raid71Missing Man mcleodMissing Man Drilon

Click for the big time.

DOCTOR WHO DEPT: “Flesh and Stone” Written by Steven Moffat

Whoscape

“That’s a fairy tale.”
“Aren’t we all?”

The key aesthetic choice for this season is “fairy tale.” Steven Moffat’s Doctor Who is a show where a madman with a box that travels in time delivers infinite promise to a little girl, where majestic, cosmic creatures carry worlds on their back, where the monsters can only get you in the dark. Moffat also remembers that fairy tales are meant to be scary. We talked about the scares last week, but it’s worth mentioning again. Moffat’s on record saying that fairy tales are the kind of stories that inform children there are weird and scary things out there that want to eat them. I think Moffat would agree with me (and Dan Harmon, for that matter): these scary stories should make children braver, should scare them and then lead them towards a catharsis that conquers those fears. With the Doctor holding your hand, you can banish the scary monsters.

Steven Moffat also clearly loves the time travel aspect of the show’s central premise, and takes full advantage of it, moreso than anyone before him. He’s the one who wrote about time agents, about appearing in a person’s entire life in one afternoon. He coined the phrase “timey-wimey” and he introduced River Song, the woman whom the Doctor never meets in the right order. She reappears in this story, and hints at the Doctor’s future– and her past. There are some deft, extremely clever hints throughout the episode of a longer, more carefully structured narrative at work, playing with the nature of time travel like a cat’s cradle. Moffat is a plotsmith, an architect. Russell T. Davies relied on pure instinct, and managed to pull together a four year arc out of disparate elements; Moffat’s the kind of guy who draws up the blueprints well in advance, delivering moments certain to build to a massive payoff later.  The hand at work in this two-parter is not that of a wizard or conjurer, but a master stage magician, an expert at legerdemain. “Look closer,” says the Doctor. And so we shall. If you blink, you’ll miss something– and you really, really shouldn’t blink.

Also, how staggeringly wonderful are Matt Smith and Karen Gillan in this one? And this story was filmed first! They had it from the word go. Blue blazes.

Next week: Stuff.

11 Comments

*sigh* I thought briefly about taking HeavyInk up on their offer (I dropped comics completely a couple of months back, a case of using economics to rationalize my increasing lack of interest, or maybe it was the other way around …), since I had really good service from them previously & wouldn’t mind picking up a handful of comics (the last 3 ishes of Power Girl, for instance) that’ve come out recently …

… but unless my powers of reading comprehension have failed me, they appeared not to be offering the only freebie I’d really be interested in — the new LOVE & CAPES.

Oh, well. I’ll no doubt end up buying it off the creator, Thom Zahler, which is what I did last year, since my local shop didn’t carry it.

Thor’s armor is pretty near worst case scenario for me. It looks awfully plastic-y.

And now I see the FBCD LOVE & CAPES is listed on HeavyInk’s site, leading me to conclude that I’m less intelligent that I thought. Oh, well — I have no problem paying a retail price, what with Zahler being completely independent & all.

That Kate Beaton stuff is gold. Especially the James I one.

In terms of Free Comic Book Day news, I think Weathercraft is the best thing I picked up. I’m going to have to start tracking down Frank now, it seems.

Mike Loughlin

May 2, 2010 at 12:24 pm

FCBD was good. My kids got the Toy Story & Shrek/ Penguins books, I got Sixth Gun, and my son got a couple other freebies, including Ultimate Marvel team-Up 1, which features 2 of his favorite super-heroes (I haven’t read it in years, so I may have to censor some of the content when I read it to him). The store (New England Comics in Norwood, MA) was packed, and the mood was festive.

Kate Beaton is the best. I wish she lived next door to me so we could hang out. I especially loved the recent “Peasant Comic” strips.

So, there were stores that didn’t just roll out tables full of free comics? That’s crazy.

Is this the first year that stores have been doing this? It’s the first year I’ve heard of it.

The Kate Beaton comics totally cracked me up, with her lowbrow humor portrayal of great works of literature. My favorite strip was the Hamlet and Oedipus one, with Oedipus expressing frustration that the whole mother-love thing is all he’s known for. ( I suppose he is to Greek myth what Hank Pym is to superheroes in that regard ).

comixkid2099

May 2, 2010 at 5:08 pm

So i vote for you showcasing your Macbeth Western here some time. Now that you’ve mentioned it, i’m curious.

Travis Pelkie

May 2, 2010 at 7:02 pm

My FCBD rocked. Got to the 3 stores in town (went with my girlfriend, who likes Fraggle Rock way more than one should :) ) and got most of the free comics. Missed out on the Oni and the DC kids and a couple others, but got all the ones (Tick, Weathercraft, Yow, a few others) that were must haves (to me). Went up to Ithaca and got some back issues for a buck a pop, so all in all, good. (It would’ve been better if I had more money, but hey…)

Plus, driving up to Ithaca (through Owego and Candor, NY, on route 96), I saw a car with Ghost Rider paintings on it. I vaguely remember a contest around the time of the movie where you could win (I think) a PT Cruiser with GR art, so I think I saw it. If anyone knows who won that contest, or if there actually was one…

My Free Comic-Book Day was pretty good. I only got a few because the store didn’t have a large amount of free ones and I wanted to leave some for other people. The best one I got was the Tick. It was the first one I’ve ever read. (But I have seen episodes of both TV shows.)

I love that Macbeth strip.

To the Bloody Nitz– The first thing I learned about Oedipus was the story of how he solved the Sphinx’s riddle. I read that story when I was a kid, but I didn’t hear about the mother-thing until my late teens.

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