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CSBG Archive

Sunday Brunch: 8/8/10

Links, art, criticism, and discussion– sans the porn, it’s another week on the internet!

CHALLENGE OF THE WEEK: What if newspaper comic strips were written by today’s premiere comic book writers?I find the newspaper comics page to be a sad, boring place, populated by unfunny drain-circlers, occasionally peppered with decent strips or good art. So what if your favorite comic writer got in on the action? What would they write? Can you imagine the bizarre possibilities? My suggestions under the cut.

ANSWERS OF THE WEEK: Here’s what I’d like to see in the newspaper funny pages:

  • Ziggy written by Alan Moore, a single panel which would take you half an hour to fully experience.
  • Get Fuzzy written by Warren Ellis, drawn by Darby Conley, in which Bucky is the chainsmoking bastard archetype.
  • Little Orphan Annie written by Grant Morrison, with Daddy Warbucks as the bald, kung fu sex god Morrison stand-in.
  • Cathy by Dave Sim wait no hold on maybe Mary Worth er ah Apartment 3-G? Oh, never mind.
  • Beetle Bailey by Garth Ennis, or better yet, Joe Kubert. If an octogenarian is going to draw a daily strip– sorry, Mort Walker, but I vote for the Kube. Let’s send these soldiers into war!
  • Funky Winkerbean written by Robert Kirkman, because the only way that strip could get more depressing is if it took place in a zombie post-apocalypse.

How about you, dear readers? How would you spice up the comics page?

ITEM! Speaking of processing Alan Moore’s writing, my favorite bit of comics criticism in the past several months came to my attention this week via Bleeding Cool. It’s a two-part Youtube video series dissecting and digesting Moore’s new series from Avatar, Neonomicon, and invents a brilliant new bit of comics terminology: “diegetic panelization.” Check it out in the links, or, if I’m very lucky, right here. (Did I finally get embedding code to work? Did I? I bet it doesn’t work.)

UPDATE: It doesn’t work. WordPress hates me, or something. Click the links.

NEW ABHAY OH FRABJOUS DAY DEPT: Abhay Khosla went nuts with a three part review of a good chunk of Marvel’s output in the last week, and (almost) lives to tell the tale:

So: this is another comic with Deadpool in it. How did that character get so popular? I was reading New Mutants when that character was introduced– here’s the thing: Rob Liefeld had 4 new characters just about every issue. Just from memory, there was Cable, the MILF (Mutant Liberation Front That I’d Like to Fuck), Stryfe, Gideon and the X-Ternals, Shatterstar, Domino, and Madame Bovary. They were all bad-asses with knives– how did just one of them get popular? Is that character’s success more a tribute to Joe Kelly? That… is not a sentence I ever expected to type. How long did Lobo last, though? Maybe… 5-6 years? I don’t remember Lobo lasting very long. I would guess it’s that cycle of “Oh, I love superheros. Oh wait, I’m old enough to realize superheros are stupid– great, here is a character that lets me laugh at them.” And then either “Why am I reading this at all?” or “Oh wait, now I’m old enough not to care that they’re stupid.” Maybe every generation gets that character…? So, really, if you look at Deadpool and you’re my age, does it feel like you just saw the numbers turn over on the odometer?  Damn, Deadpool reminds me of my own mortality, you guys…

OBLIGATORY CHRIS SIMS THIS IS STILL A GAG WE’RE DOING: Sims reimagines the 8-Bit video gaming era, but with comics! I tell you what, I would play the hell out of most of these, especially Thorga Man and Final Fantasy X-Men. I might skip this one, though:

Legend of Cerebus

ITEM! Newsarama has a pretty great interview with Atomic Robo artist Scott Wegener, and it’s in my contract to talk about Atomic Robo 80% of the time:

As far as why I draw the way I do — that’s also sort of easy to answer. For most of my life drawing was nothing but a hobby, and not one I could devote a lot of time to. So I learned to dismantle my art until I could use the fewest number of lines to say the most, visually speaking. I leaned heavily on Timm and Mignola in that area. It taught me to express an emotion or describe an action as briefly as possible, and from that I derived pleasure from my art. Now that I do this all day, everyday, the challenge is no longer making it as simple as possible, but continually making my work more and more complex while maintaining the appearance of simplicity. Some days it works. Some days not so much.

ITEM! Boy, GQ has had a lot of comics pieces recently. This time, they interview Robert Kirkman:

In comics right now, it seems like all creators are doing is saying, “I’ll write Spider-Man for a few years, and then I’ll write Superman for a few years, and then I’ll write Batman for a few years, and then I’ll write Fantastic Four for a few years.” And historically, if you look at that, that leads to a diminishing career. People get sick of you writing the same characters over and over. People lose interest, and your career kind of piddles out, and you have to go off and do something else, and it doesn’t really help the industry at all. In the ’30s and the ’40s and the ’50s and the ’60s, all the people that were doing comics were creating new characters, and that’s where we got our Spider-Mans and our Supermans, and even Wolverine and all that stuff, in the ’70s. But nowadays people basically have an entire career where all they do is write corporate characters, and I think that’s a bad thing for them, and it’s a bad thing for the industry. We need to introduce new stuff to keep comics interesting. If all we’re doing is Spider-Man and the fan base gets sick of Spider-Man, comics are over.

Story continues below

ITEM! A lot of great stuff over at Project: Rooftop recently. Here are three pieces that gave me braingasms this week. Firstly, it’s Aquaman 2099, by Remake/Remodel champion David Bednarski:

Aquaman 2099 by DBed

Then the Martian Manhunter, by new Friend of CSBG Daniel Irizarri (let us make beautiful comics babies together, sir):

J'onn by Irizarri

And lastly, more Aquaman (my contract says the other 20% is talking about Aquaman. I have now hit my quota), by Maris Wicks:

Aquaman by Wicks

Hie thee to Project Rooftop for more great artwork.

ITEM! David Brothers continues counting things down. This week, it’s Three Formative Works, including Frank Miller’s 300:

300 is everything. There’s the hard Dirty Harry morality, the strength tempered with love, quiet and graceful violence, ugly violence, brotherhood, casual male and female nudity, the rejection of cowardice, some obscenely good one-liners, self-sacrifice, corrupt politicians and priests, and hey, look, what’s that at the end of chapter 4?


ITEM! Dan Nadel at Comics Comics writes a neat review of this new book all about Vince Colletta, the most feared and hated inker in comics history. Or is he? Remind me to write an article on Kirby’s inkers one day:

As Bryant explains, the controversy itself is interesting as a sociological study. The fact is, for a lot of fans Kirby served as an abstract father figure, and so reactions to any perceived desecration of his artwork can spiral into a virulent kind of hatred. There are certainly aesthetic issues (what is inking? What is the inker’s responsibility?) here, but I don’t think there are moral issues, as is often the implication. There’s nothing morally offensive about what Colletta did. Colletta was a highly competent production man: He got the books in on time, and kept the presses rolling, and in doing so he sometimes did a disservice to the artist he was inking (in the comic-book business that was more the rule than the exception).

ITEM! Todd Alcott keeps analyzing those Batman movies. This time, it’s Batman & Robin, which is more likely to send you to an analyst:

If nothing else, Batman & Robin is the purest example I can think of of the Somehow Syndrome. When a movie wants a narrative effect but doesn’t want to do the work to get there, things just happen “somehow.” Somehow Mr. Freeze’s suit is powered by dumping handfuls of diamonds into a hole in the sleeve, somehow Pamela Isley is buried alive in a pit of plant toxins and is re-born as the deadly Poison Ivy, somehow a telescope can be turned into a freeze-gun, and somehow a few strokes on a computer keyboard will turn the freeze-gun into a heat ray. Somehow Barbara gets into the Batcave, somehow the dying Alfred anticipates her every move and makes for her a bat-suit, even though he’s dying, somehow Batman can show up for a celebrity auction sponsored by Bruce Wayne without anyone catching on to his true identity. There’s a somehow every minute in Batman & Robin, including “somehow this script got green- lit.”

AXE COP/DR MCNINJA TEAM-UP DEPT: Week deux (of deux):


Here endeth the Brunch for another week. You may now go outside.


I can’t embed YouTube stuff either. Somehow (hey! there it is!) Our Dread Lord and Master is the only one who can. HOW DOES HE DO IT?!?!?!?!?

I’d like to see Mark Schultz drawing Prince Valiant.

Can you imagine the bizarre possibilities?

All of the possibilities you’ve mentioned are canceled after a few months because a bunch of people write letters describing how much they hate them? Sadly, newspaper comics are mostly aimed at the masses; hence why Garfield* is still around.

(That said, I don’t think your proposal for Get Fuzzy actually changes much.)

As for the video games x comic book games, I want a Punisher in River City Ransom game now, so I can deal with that slow and boring game by shooting people with bullets.

*(I think Garfield is a well drawn strip; it’s just very very very overwritten. Hence why all of the Garfield modification ideas tend to go over well. I sort of want to see a Grant Morrison Garfield strip that tries to synthesize all of Garfield’s incarnations throughout various media.)

Can you imagine the bizarre possibilities?

All of the possibilities you’ve mentioned are canceled after a few months because a bunch of people write letters describing how much they hate them? Sadly, newspaper comics are mostly aimed at the masses; hence why Garfield* is still around.

(That said, I don’t think your proposal for Get Fuzzy actually changes much.)

As for the video games x comic book games, I want a Punisher in River City Ransom game now, so I can deal with that slow and boring game by shooting people with bullets.

*(I think Garfield is a well drawn strip; it’s just very very very overwritten. Hence why all of the Garfield modification ideas tend to go over well. I sort of want to see a Grant Morrison Garfield strip that tries to synthesize all of Garfield’s incarnations throughout various media.)

• Warren Ellis on Alley Oop. A caveman in a spaceship, exploring the future. Chris Weston would draw the hell out of it.

• Geoff Johns on Garfield. Lasagna would be replaced by brutal violence. Depression would be replaced by nostalgia. Poor Odie would be limbless in a month.

• Grant Morrison on Peanuts. In which Snoopy chases the Red Baron through Hypertime. Drawn by Quitely, of course.

• PAD on Frank and Ernest. Would be exactly the same.

More? More:

• Alan Moore on Marmaduke.

• Dave Sim on The Lockhorns.

• David Lapham on Family Circus.

Christ, That’s a Lot of Abhay: Christ, that is a lot of Abhay. I still haven’t read his article from a few weeks back.

Kirkmaniac (or some other similar pun to that effect): I’m pretty sure Kirkman is incapable of giving a bad interview at this point. He always has something interesting to say, and it’s usually incredibly polarizing.

Shouting from the Rooftop: I’m very curious to see how Project: Rooftop’s Justice League Invitational plays out. The results so far have definitely been worth a look, even if I don’t get why Aquaman would have short pants but long sleeves.

Brothers in Arms: David Brothers’ other two formative works? Akira and Casey and Phillips’ Wildcats. David Brothers knows what’s up.

Various and Sundry and Otherness and Etc:
Ellis has been blogging up a storm lately, for the better. Here’s a choice bit from a post about his new Marvel gig (to be announced at some later date):

The first script for this new thing is in, and the editor and I are talking about artists right now. It’s not much like anything Marvel are doing right now. But, after the nightmares we had on ASTONISHING X-MEN that had me writing four different arcs simultaneously at one point to keep the book moving, I need a change.

Ultimate Spider-Man: The Animated Series is going to be written and produced by Bendis, Dini, and the Man of Action team of Casey, Kelly, Rouleau, and Seagle. I was pretty pissed about Spectacular Spider-Man getting the axe, but this could be damn watchable, provided the animation isn’t some horrible CG crap.

• Jim McCann is rumored to be relaunching Alpha Flight. The only way I’ll read an Alpha Flight comic is if it’s all drawn by Canadians. Get Kalman Andrasofszky on covers, Michael Cho on variant covers to incentivize it, Cameron Stewart on Wolverine-centric variant covers to further incentivize it, Ramon Perez on interiors. Hell, have the whole art process done in-house at Transmission X. The book still wouldn’t last a year, but at least it’d feel authentic.

Dude, Warren Ellis doing Bucky from Get Fuzzy would remind me of the cute neighbor’s dog from the Paul Jenkins Peter Parker Spider-Man run….

Gimme Joe Kubert on Beetle Bailey, Geoff Johns on Gasoline Alley, Gail Simone on Rose is Rose, and for a total curveball Alan Moore on Heathcliff…

I totally agree with Abhay….I have given up trying to make sense out of X-Men and their universe

Like him or loathe him, Robert Kirkman will always tell you his opinion bluntly. I can respect that.

David Brothers’ analysis on these book runs ALWAYS finds a nuance or angle that I have missed through multiple readings. Good Stuff.

Two Sim digs in one article. It makes me feel fifteen years younger :)

note to joe above, Mark Schultz actually WRITES Prince Valiant, drawn by Gary Gianni. It’s still dull and boring (sorry!)

And I noticed all the Sim mentions. You been reading Cerebus lately, Reed?

And I’ll post later to help you out with something you mentioned in the Comics Critics comments yesterday…

Bill, are you yet another follower of The Comics Curmudgeon? The Funky Winkerbean reference made think so…

Travis Pelkie (Bill Reed's heckler)

August 8, 2010 at 7:40 pm


3 links too long.

Kind of weak post.

As usual, this sucks.

I don’t know why this has to be a blog, it should just be a bunch of post-its stuck to the side of a dorm fridge or something.

At least he didn’t go on about Dr Who this week.

bill puts up different links to other comic book related sites then adds some comments about those links this week he even adds a question about comic strips and he also puts up posts to ax cop that looks funny lol bill also likes aquaman and atomic roob those are other comic boosk

You’re welcome.

BTW, I prefer Giffen’s Heckler to Bill Reed’s, but that’s just me.

Not bad. I give it a 7. The chad bit was inspired.

Yeah, I figured I needed to get that in.

7 though? Hm. I need to try harder. Or you need to suck more flagrantly, so I have something better to work with :)

I’m trying to think of a cool comic strip thing, but I just can’t. I think I used up all my funny on the heckling. And that only got me a 7, so there goes my ego.

What if Dave Sim did Baby Blues? Or For Better or For Worse?

Actually, given what he’s doing in Glamourpuss, he could totally take over one of those soap opera strips and rock it hard core.

Is there anyone (Ellis or Ennis maybe) who could take over Pearls Before Swine and make it more depressed and nihilistic?

What about PAD or Jonathan Hickman on Foxtrot?

Geoff Johns would so bring back Calvin and Hobbes and explain how Hobbes was really a scientific experiment gone wrong that got psychically linked to Calvin and… Wait, maybe Claremont would do that.

This is hard.

I figure Jonathan Hickman for Mark Trail, so it’s all just crazy nature-related diagrams.

And R. Crumb’s Blondie.

Hm, Crumb on Blondie. It’s interesting, but the body types of Blondie and Cookie and the neighbor Herb’s wife (can’t think of her name) aren’t Crumb women. And to turn them into them…

I’d say Crumb’s Cathy, but he and Bagge did that in an issue of Hate. Good stuff, I think #27, maybe.

Crumb’s Lockhorns. That might work.

Tom Fitzpatrick

August 9, 2010 at 5:07 am


i miss chad.

and Kelly.


Did you know “Little Orphan Annie” has been canceled?
Seriously, it was only running in 20 newspapers.
How’z that for complete inability to manage a franchise?
“You” (the ‘royal’ you) mean to tell me a character that had legs for over 75 years, spawned one of the biggest Broadway blockbusters, 1 movie, and even survived a few ham-fisted sequels can’t keep eyes on the page of newspapers?

I keep hearing how “no one reads the newspaper anymore” but those who do, 95% of them go to the comics page first. Here’s an idea, expand the f*cking comic section, give the creators a platform and motivation to do something awesome, and watch circulation tick up again.

“Lil’ Orphan Annie” by Grant Morrison in his All Star Superman mode–think about it . . .

As an aside: I would really like someone @ CBR (or someplace like it) to do a thorough story about how Annie managed to reach this point. Talk to the current creative team, their syndicate, something . . .

i don’t know what put this thought in my head, but I think the “Little Orphan Annie” series could be saved if it was turned into a quarterly manga series.

I vote Stephan Pastis writing and drawing EVERYTHING on the comics strip page.

Richard J. Marcej: “Little Orphan Annie” series could be saved if it was turned into a quarterly manga series.”

I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if it isn’t aleady out there–under some other name.

I’ve never been proposition so romantically to make beautiful comic babies with anyone before, but i’m sincerely flattered.

: )

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