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CSBG Archive

What I bought – 22 September 2010

“Girls are like slugs – they probably serve some purpose, but it’s hard to imagine what.” (Calvin, of Calvin and Hobbes fame)

Marko mad!!!!! Is this cover supposed to be 3-D? Two consecutive issues of Dracula chained up - they need to mix it up! It's Soldier Ant! Onward to glorious Communist future, comrades! He's kicked ass, he's taken names, he's gotten laid ... it's been a good day! It's all Orson Wellesy! Yay, espionage! Oh no - this looks Goth-y! It's about bleepin' time!

Avengers Academy #4 (“Scared Straight Part 2: Fix You”) by Christos Gage (writer), Mike McKone (penciler), Rick Ketchum (inker), Cam Smith (inker), Jeromy Cox (colorist), and Joe Caramagna (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, Marvel.

Mettle gets the spotlight this issue, as we learn he was a groovy Hawaiian surfer dude who, after getting hit in the face by a board, transformed into the big freaky-looking dude we’ve come to know and love. Norman Osborn just helped the transformation along, which is why Mettle doesn’t like him too much. So he joins Hazmat and Veil in their attempt to murder Osborn, but if you really think they’ll succeed, well, you haven’t been reading comics very long. That’s not the point, of course – Gage wants to stir the pot within the group, and Osborn is certainly good at that. The problem is that I’m always a bit confused by people being swayed by a comic-book villain’s logic – I mean, shouldn’t these kids know that Osborn is evil? I mean, it’s like someone in the real world being swayed by Dick Cheney’s arguments (oh, I kid, I kid). Okay, it’s like someone in the real world being swayed by Hitler’s arguments – people are still swayed by his arguments, but don’t we consider those people, I don’t know, stupid? Even if they’re kids? So why are these characters in any way listening to Osborn? I know it’s for building tension within the group, and Gage does a nice job with that, but I just keep thinking that one of them should be smarter than this. If only because they’re teenagers and teenagers hate everything and everyone in authority. Where’s the attitude, young (but not Young) Avengers?

I do like the big prison riot, especially when Hazmat threatens to give one of the inmates cancer and his response. And I’m sure it’s been explained somewhere else, but can someone please tell me why poor Man-Thing is in freakin’ prison? That seems mean. Just stay the hell away from the damned swamps, Marvel Universe inhabitants, and Ted will leave y’all alone! Jeebus.

I don’t want to pick on McKone here, but he managed to pencil four issues and now he needs a break. The art is worse this issue than it’s been, presumably because of the dreaded deadline crunch, but it looks rushed (and we get two inkers, neither of whom have been on the book before). I don’t want to pick on McKone because this happens with every single artist, but four issues? And he needs a break? So guys can’t even finish an arc anymore? (I assume the introduction of the six characters constitutes an arc, even though this was a two-issue story within the arc.) I hate to go all old-school sportswriter here and say something like “In my day Iron Joe McGinnity started and completed both games of a double-header, worked at the forge all night, drank a bottle of bourbon, and then pitched another double-header, all while wearing an onion on his belt, because he was a tough guy, damn it!”, because I understand that comics art (and the business, and the economy) has evolved to a point where it’s hard to do a monthly book, but McKone, while a good artist, isn’t really pushing the boundaries too much here, so I don’t know why he would get behind so quickly. I’ve heard from my occasional drinking buddy John Layman how much Rob Guillory is killing himself to draw Chew, and Guillory is working on a relatively tiny book, Layman has built in skip months between arcs to help him, and he’s (mostly) coloring the book by himself. All McKone does is pencil. Someone else inks and someone else colors. I can’t imagine how much and how hard artists work (he says as he sits on his ass writing on a blog while not working), so I don’t want to pick on McKone too much, but I’m very curious about stuff like this. We rarely get an explanation, unless I’m not looking in the right places (does McKone have a Twitter account where he explains stuff like this?). I mean, I was stunned when someone (Simone, I think) actually said that Ed Benes was ill, which is why he barely got started on Birds of Prey. I don’t know what the deal is with McKone, and it’s just frustrating. Whenever Marvel and DC announce a new creative team on a book and make a big deal about it, my first thought is always “When do we get the first fill-in artist?” I mean, how many issues in a row do you honestly believe Pascual Ferry will do on Thor? The over/under is five.

Okay, rant over. And yes, I did drop an Iron Joe McGinnity reference on your ass. Screw Bob Gibson – I’m even more old-school than that!!!!!

One totally Airwolf panel:

He's such a good comic-booky villain!

Black Widow #6 (“Kiss or Kill 1 of 3″) by Duane Swierczynski (writer), Manuel Garcia (penciler), Lorenzo Ruggiero (inker), Jim Charalampidis (colorist), and Nate Piekos (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, Marvel.

Swierczynski takes over another title that I’ve enjoyed, and while I didn’t like Liu/Acuña’s Black Widow as much as The Immortal Iron Fist, I’ll be interested to see if Swierczynski drives me from this title as well. That’s kind of mean – he didn’t do a terrible job on Iron Fist, but it just wasn’t as good as what Fraction and Brubaker and their raft of artists were doing. He doesn’t have quite as high a standard to live up to (although the first arc of this series was quite good), so maybe I’ll stick with it. He’s off to a good start, as we meet Nick Crane, the son of a vice-presidential candidate who’s convinced that Natasha drove his father to suicide, so he’s searching for her. He finds both her and Fatale, who’s the real culprit (and who, as it’s written, is someone Natasha knows, but I have no idea if she’s a new character or not). Fatale convinces him that Natasha is the villain, so our heroine needs to rescue Nick. He still thinks she’s responsible, so the issue ends with him pulling a gun on her and it going off (in an appropriate wide shot, so we don’t see what actually happened). It’s a nice, exciting, intriguing, and fairly fun issue (well, as fun as a story about a man trying to find the woman who drove his father to suicide can be).

Garcia’s art isn’t as terrible as I feared it would be from the few preview pages, but it’s still off a bit. I noticed this when he was drawing Checkmate (the only time I’ve seen a lot of his art at one time), but he doesn’t do faces very well. His action scenes are fine, and he does a nice job with the scenery, but his faces are very weird. Occasionally (and when he does close-ups), they’re very good. Too often, though, they look distended or otherwise grotesque, and Fatale’s, for instance, seems to mutate throughout the book. It’s very off-putting, and I hope it gets fixed, even though I don’t have much hope for it. It’s interesting that some good artists have such glaring weaknesses. I noticed another artist recently (whose name escapes me, as does the comic he was working on) who needed to do superhero books where people wear masks, because his faces were so bad but everything else worked well. Unfortunately for Garcia, he’s not working on a “mask” book. Other than his faces, the book looks pretty good. And, because I desperately want to piss someone off as much as Kelly does, I should point out that when Natasha gets out of a rather bulky disguise early in the book, her costume is unzipped almost to her navel, and her ample bosom is almost falling out. I guess it was a bit hot in there, although maybe she should have worn something cotton under the disguise rather than leather. Cotton breathes, Natasha! I do like that she’s sensible enough to zip up before she starts chasing Fatale and Nick. You wouldn’t want the girls popping out during a chase, would you?

It’s only a three-issue arc, so it will be easy to judge if I want to continue after that. Of course, the book might not last past issue #8, so there’s that.

One totally Airwolf panel:

You know, I think only doctors should know that!

Dracula: The Company of Monsters #2 by Kurt Busiek (plotter), Daryl Gregory (writer), Scott Godlewski (artist), Stephen Downer (colorist), and Johnny Lowe (letterer). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Boom! Studios.

Okay, so we know that people in comics (and, to be honest, most popular entertainment) are often far dumber than actual people, right? I mean, we should know that, shouldn’t we? As interesting as the second issue of this series is (and it’s quite a bit better than issue #1, which wasn’t bad), when someone thinks it would be a rather grand idea to resurrect Dracula, the person working for them might want to run as fast as they can in the other direction. I mean, who thinks this is a good idea? I get that Conrad, the CEO of Barrington Industries, is a raving egomaniac, but I just love reading stuff where people have ideas that are so phenomenonally stupid you wonder how they manage to feed themselves. Oh well. Dracula will surely rip Conrad’s head off soon, so there’s that.

Conrad and his assistant, Evan (the nominal protagonist), manage to bring back Dracula, not without some corpses, however. Conrad not only wants to partner up with Dracula, he wants Evan to let him learn as much as he can about 21st-century society. You know, for someone who was a bit of a war-mongering fanatic, that might not be a good idea. I guess if you’ve already made the monumentally stupid decision to resurrect Dracula, allowing him to see a world that has Muslims and Christians living together in relative harmony and the Turks (his mortal enemies) joining the EU, not to mention all those black people and gay people and women polluting the pure minds of powerful and pristine men isn’t much worse. Plus, there’s something in the Carpathians that’s killing people. It couldn’t have anything to do with our favorite vampire, could it?

I might sound like I hated this book, but I didn’t. Like I wrote, this issue is better than issue #1, which felt a bit listless. Maybe it’s the killing, but this issue takes it up a notch, and I’m totally rooting for Dracula to do some damage, which I think is Gregory’s mission, so good job! Godlewski is getting better with every issue he draws – this is the sixth issue in six months I’ve seen him draw, and he’s getting more and more confident. It’s pretty keen.

So while the premise of the book is ridiculous, Gregory is doing a decent job with it. I know the first arc is four issues, and I’m still not sure if I’m going to keep going after that, but it’s so wacky I might just do so!

One totally Airwolf panel:

Well, that would take care of any bladder issues I might have!

Dynamo 5: Sins of the Father #4 (of 5) by Jay Faerber (writer), Júlio Brilha (artist), Joe Eisma (artist, “Notorious” back-up story), Ron Riley (colorist), Paul Little (colorist, “Notorious” back-up story), and Charles Pritchett (letterer). $3.99, 26 pgs, FC, Image.

More fighting. After our heroes almost quit last issue, F.L.A.G. sends in their supergroup, and more pounding ensues. I was kind of hoping that Flagstone would get pummeled, since he was such a dick when he showed up, but no such luck. Faerber, of course, tantalizes us with little nuggets of information, such as the fact that it’s not Captain Dynamo who shows up, but it is something very odd. And he brutally injures a hero, leading another hero to take some drastic measures (as we’ll see next issue). It’s all just moving along at a nice clip. There’s plenty of action, some humor, and then the nice, dark turn at the end. It’s a superhero comic! And, of course, it’s better than almost any other one you’d care to read.

Faerber has been selling some of his comics very cheap at his blog, if you’re interested. Noble Causes trades, that sort of thing. Click the link and find out if he still has some lying around!

One totally Airwolf panel:

War Chest needs her own series NOW!

Fables #98 (“Rose Red Chapter Five: Red Dawn”) by Bill Willingham (writer), Mark Buckingham (penciller), Steve Leialoha (inker), Dan Green (inker), Lee Loughridge (colorist), and Todd Klein (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, DC/Vertigo.

I actually love harping on the fact that Willingham writes terrible single issues, and this issue is no exception. This issue actually ends with Snow White saying, “Uh …?” as if she’s about to respond to something, and then the issue ends. It’s awesome. Willingham gives no shits about your 22-page format!!!!!

Rose Red gets out of bed and puts things in order on the Farm. She kicks ass (metaphorically) and takes names (also metaphorically, as she knows everyone’s name already). Meanwhile, Frau Totenkinder and Dunster the boxer come up with a plan for Mister Dark and return to the Farm to tell everyone. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s actually quite a good issue, mainly because Red gets everything in order, puts Geppetto in his place (actually, she puts Geppetto’s bodyguards in their places, which is more fun), and shows why she’s in charge in the first place. I mean, what can I say? We’ve moved past her “origin” story, and now it’s time to lead up to the big 100th issue. It’s a good comic with excellent art. That’s just the way it is!

One totally Airwolf panel:

You know, Little Miss Muffet should probably STFU

Garrison #6 (of 6) by Jeff Mariotte (writer), Francesco Francavilla (artist), Wes Hartman (colorist), and Johnny Lowe (letterer). $2.99, 22 pgs, FC, DC/Wildstorm.

I get annoyed with mini-series that end ambiguously. I mean, there’s no way we’re going to see a sequel to this, and that’s fine, but Mariotte doesn’t really conclude this very well either. We get a bit more about Garrison’s background and why Clarke Sullivan (I can’t get over a woman is named “Clarke” in this series) is so committed to bringing him in, but basically, nothing happens in this issue that couldn’t have been accomplished much earlier if some people weren’t so concerned about blowing shit up. That bugs me, because there doesn’t seem to be any real point to what Garrison was doing. What was he trying to accomplish? If it’s what he says it is, then there’s no reason for six issues of a lot of killing to take place. What was Sullivan really trying to do? If she had an agenda, she abandons it in this issue. It’s annoying, because at the beginning of this series, it seemed like it would be a lot more about the power of the government and what they do to eavesdrop on the lives of the citizens (Mariotte is a left-leaning rancher in the wilds of Arizona, and I know he doesn’t like Republicans but I don’t know how he feels about Democrats), but it quickly got away from that and became much more personal, which doesn’t work as well. Garrison is an entertaining comic, but it feels slight and it also feels like it could have dealt with weightier issues and still had lots of shit blowing up.

Francavilla is the reason to get the trade, if you’re interested. He continues to do a fine job, and I’m glad he’s getting work from Marvel now and will have a higher profile. He draws shit blowing up rather well!

One totally Airwolf panel:

Who wouldn't like to blow shit up?!?!?

The Broadcast by Eric Hobbs (writer) and Noel Tuazon (artist). $13.99, BW, 186 pgs, NBM.

This book is about a town that believes Orson Welles’ broadcast about a Martian invasion. I hope it’s good, because the art is terrible. It looks like thumbnails that weren’t filled in. I like Tuazon’s art a lot, but it’s not very good here at all. So I hope the story makes up for it!

Cages by Dave McKean (writer/artist). $29.99, BW (mostly), 496 pgs, Dark Horse.

This was re-solicited in April after being offered originally in March 2009. As it was completed a decade ago, I wonder what the hold-up was. Anyway, it looks flippin’ awesome.

Rob Hanes Adventures volume 0 by Randy Reynaldo (writer/artist) and Johnny Lowe (letterer). $15.99, BW, 139 pgs, WCG Comics.

I bought a few other Rob Hanes comics from Reynaldo in San Diego this summer, so it’s going to be a Hanesapalooza when I get around to reading them all!

The Sister’s Luck by Shari Chankhamma (writer/artist). $12.95, BW, 143 pgs, SLG.

I don’t know much about Chankhamma, but her art looks like Becky Cloonan’s. This is not a bad thing.

Well, that wasn’t a very big week, was it? I’m always trying to cut my pull list, and this week I skipped Secret Avengers, because I just couldn’t spend four dollars on it. It’s not really the money – I have enough to buy whatever comics I want because I don’t spend money on much else – it’s more the principle of it all. I enjoyed the first arc of Secret Avengers, but it didn’t wow me, so for Marvel to gouge away just pisses me off. Secret Avengers #5 looked pretty keen – David Aja on art – but I just couldn’t bring myself to buy it. I felt the same way about Hulk #25 – Parker and Hardman are a good team, and there’s even a back-up story, but I just got so mad (not unlike the Hulk!) when I thought about spending $3.99 (minus 20%) on it. I know it’s beating a dead horse, but what happened to $3.15? Or $3.25? Or $3.50? Grrr. “But Greg,” you may say, if you care at all and are even still reading, “you spent three ninety-nine on two other comics this week!” Well, yes. As I’ve said before, if the Big Two are going to charge that much, the comics better be transcendant. If indy books charge that much, I’m willing to cut them a bit more slack. Dracula might not make the cut eventually anyway, and I would argue that Dynamo 5 is probably better than almost all the superhero stuff Marvel and DC put out. In fact, I did argue that, above. So there.

Speaking of sports (and I was, above), yesterday on Deadspin was the annual day when the writers of Fire Joe Morgan take over and make us miss FJM all the more (although they didn’t use “fuck the heck” yesterday, which disappointed me). Go dig through the archives and read all their articles and laugh and laugh and laugh (unless you don’t like baseball, which might make you a Commie). Here’s an example, which includes the immortal line: “We either figure out why Joe Morgan was walking around the Reds clubhouse naked together … or we die alone.”

Furthermore, I don’t know if you caught Around the Horn on ESPN yesterday, but often-incoherent, frequently tongue-tied, and always-entertaining Woody Paige dropped an Omega Red reference. Now, he called him a Soviet “superhero,” but still – that’s impressive. Go, Woody!

Finally, remember to cheer for the Phillies as they barrel their way toward the best record in baseball. And if you can’t support the Phillies, the least you can do is root against the Yankees and their overrated shortstop. Remember: Phillies – represent a city where liberty and freedom was born; Yankees – represent a city of Wall Street fat cats. It’s your American duty to support the Phillies!!!!!

Let’s fire up The Ten Most Recent Songs Played On My iPod (Which Is Always On Shuffle):

1. “Dead Man’s Road” – Cinderella (1990) “Don’t go messin’ with your life ’cause it ain’t no toy”
2. “The Way Old Friends Do” – ABBA (1980) “And after fights and words of violence we make up with each other”
3. “Caught a Lite Sneeze” – Tori Amos (1996) “Dreamed a little dream, made my own pretty hate machine”
4. “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know” – Extreme (1995) “Can only one fate befall them both?”1
5. “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” – Michael Jackson (1979) “So let love take us through the hours, I won’t be complaining”2
6. “No More” – Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs “Never gonna be the boy next door”
7. “Roadkill” – Horse Flies (1991) “To get Christmas dinner we didn’t have to look far, one of Santa’s reindeer had gotten hit by a car”
8. “Seven Nation Army” – White Stripes (2003) “And I’m bleeding, and I’m bleeding, and I’m bleeding right before the Lord”
9. “The Revolution Starts Now” – Steve Earle (2004) “Last night I had a dream that the world had turned around”
10. “Rockin’ the Paradise” – Styx (1981) “I ain’t lookin’ to fight, but I know with determination we can challenge the schemers who cheat all the rules”3

1 If you only know Extreme from the brain-destroying ballad “More Than Words,”4 their 1995 album Waiting for the Punchline is a surprisingly mature and raw work, by far the best album they’ve ever released. So of course their lead singer left to destroy Van Halen not long afterward. Isn’t that always the way?
2 Say what you want about how goofy Jacko got later in life, but Off the Wall is the shit.
3 If Bill Reed doesn’t have this song as his ring tone, I’ll … well, I won’t actually do anything, because I doubt if he does, but you know he wants to have it as his ring tone!
4 Seriously, did chicks like that song? It’s a song about a guy saying that a girl shouldn’t say “I love you,” she should have sex with him, because that would “prove” that she loves him. Ick. Just because Gary Cherone sings it in that crappy falsetto and Nuno Bettencourt plays a simpering acoustic guitar behind him doesn’t change the fact that it’s a creepy tune.

No one got last week’s totally random lyrics, which surprised me, as they were from “I’m Alright” by Kenny Loggins (yes, “all right” is two words, but that’s the name of the song, so what am I going to do?). Haven’t you people seen Caddyshack? Sheesh. Okay, let’s fire up some more:

“The soldier-blues were trapped on a hillside
The battle raging all around
The sergeant cried ‘We’ve got to hang on, boys
We got to hold this piece of ground
I need a volunteer to ride up
And bring us back some extra men’ ”

Fine stuff! Have at it!

26 Comments

Your random lyrics are from the song “Billy, Don’t Be A Hero”. FYI, the song title turned up as a neat little throwaway gag in a Powerpuff Girls cartoon.
Oh, yeah…Man-Thing got hauled into prison by the Feds, and is currently serving as the Thunderbolts’ transportation service (courtesy of Hank Pym – size changin’, wife slappin’, bugfuck genius).

I also have no idea how “More Than Words” became a hit. The song is a piece of crap and doesn’t represent the band at all, which is a shame because I love Nuno Bettencourt. He’s a great guitar player (and my little patriotic side needs to point out that he’s Portuguese).

I was going to ask you why you didn’t buy Elephantmen this week, but then I remembered that you’re probably getting the book sent to you. Some guys have all the luck! :-)

I liked Hulk #25 this week. Good new start.

Now I will really laugh hard if the Phillies screw this up…. Go Yanks! (Like my boys have an easy road…Rays and Twins have better offenses and bullpens while the Rangers got the plucky underdog vibe)

Mettle is my new “Butterball”…. new character that I have rooted for since the book started just because I relate…

Miss Muffet doesn’t last another 10 issues…I putting in my bet now…

Dynamo 5… + Funky Family Dynamic x Action = Underrated Superhero Fun

I hope you’ll review The Sister’s Luck at some point. I loved Chankhamma’s art on The Clarence Principle a couple years back and have been keeping an eye out for more projects from her (though plainly not really keeping an eye out because I hadn’t heard of this one).

Also, note: I only really know Extreme from “Do You Wanna Play” from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Which seems a fine way to know them.

The problem is that I’m always a bit confused by people being swayed by a comic-book villain’s logic – I mean, shouldn’t these kids know that Osborn is evil?

Reminds me of the time on Doctor Who where Davros, the creator of the Daleks, one of the most evil beings to ever have lived, somehow managed to convince the Fifth Doctor not to execute him in cold blood. I mean, Davros is definitely Machiavellian and charismatic and a master manipulator. But the one person in the universe who would not fall for his crap is the Doctor. Looking back on this, it’s no wonder the Doctor became progressively darker and ruthless in his Sixth and Seventh incarnations. He must have felt like a total putz to have missed the opportunity to finish off one of his greatest enemies.

Oh, well, anyway, what did I buy this week? Not much. I’ve really cut back on my purchases in the last year, due to being out of work, having so many older comic books around to re-read, and my interests just gravitating to other things. Here’s the super-short list:

Legion of Super-Heroes #5
Love and Rockets New Stories #3
It! The Terror From Beyond Space #3
Echo #24

And that last one was for my girlfriend.

I WAS ALREADY MAGNIFICENT!

Damn Echo 24 came out this week????? Rassa frassa comic shop!!!!!!!! GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

Iron Man McGinnity couldn’t hit, Bob Gibson could.

Dude: Yeah, Bettencourt is good. Which makes “More than Words” even more inexplicable. And I assume I’ll get Elephantmen in the mail. I’ve gotten 26 in a row, so I think I can safely assume that! :)

jjc: It looked good, certainly. I just couldn’t do it!

Daryll: You’re dead to me!!!!!!

Seth: Oh, I’ll definitely review it. It will be in a little while, but I’ll definitely get to it!

Ed: Sure, Gibson could hit some home runs, but it’s not like he was some great slugger. His OPS is .545, while McGinnity’s is .446. Gibson is actually a better pitcher, probably (similar ERA in a live-ball era, similar ERA+ and identical WHIP, far better K/BB ratio). I just wanted to go SUPER OLD-SCHOOL!!!!!!

Enraged artists show up to go off on Burgas in 3…2…1…

‘Billy, Don’t Be A Hero’, originally a hit by Paper Lace in the UK, and then by Bo Donaldson & The Heywoods in the US. Is there anyboy who doesn’t know that one?

I’ve only read two recent issues of Thunderbolts, but from what I did read, apparently Man-Thing is being enslaved by the Feds so the Thunderbolts can make use of the teleportation abiility I never knew he had. Sounds pretty sick to me.
I’m confused, though, because I thought Man-Thing would die if he were taken away from the Everglades for more than a day or so. I know Pym created a fake swamp in the basement of the prison for him, but I thought it was the mystic power of the Nexus that kept him alive, not just any regular swampiness.

Some of us actually knew it was “I’m Alright” but didn’t want to admit it in front of the internet and everything.

No, I’m not one of those people. Stop smirking at me. Stop it right now. Stop it. Whoa, did someone step on a duck?

I really wish Man-Thing had more solo stories — and by “solo,” I mean stories where he’s a supporting character and we get a story about some random people who do weird stuff in the swamps. He just seems so out of place in a superhero/villain book.

Glad to see some dollar sense in your reviews. This should be an increasing part of everyone’s reviews.

A $4 comic is roughly equivalent to a $25 first-run movie. How many of us would pay that much for even the biggest blockbuster?

In short, we need to know not only if a comic is good, but if it’s worth the price of admission.

P.S. My $$$$ rating system is still available if you need it.

Greg, McGinnity is definitely old school, and his nickname makes him appropriate for a comic book forum. What makes him fascinating to me is that he didn’t play pro baseball until he was 27. What kind of numbers would he have put up if he’d actually played during his peak physical years? They might be giving out the Iron Man McGinnity award to the best pitcher every fall.

Rob: I haven’t forgotten! I still believe that if you have the money, the cost of comics shouldn’t be much of a big deal, and this is more just peevishness that Marvel thinks they can get away with this sort of thing. I know they have higher production costs, but they also have a bigger cushion. Apparently DC is jumping on the 4-dollar bandwagon whole hog as well, so who knows how much more I’ll do this in the future. We shall see!

Ed: Yeah, and he played independent ball (which was often close to major-league quality in those days) until he was 54. Holy crap, the dude was hard-core.

Greg, they were all hardcore back then. Deacon Phillipe pitched five games out of eight in the 1903 World Series, and Christy Mathewson pitched three shutouts in six days in the 1905 World Series. But the all-time Iron Man performance has to be Hoss Radbourn in 1884: 59-12 with 73 complete games and 678 innings pitched.

About the quote up top, yes indeedy.

And the music: love that you have some Tori that’s not Little Earthquakes. Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs, besides getting their name from “Search and Destroy” by Iggy and the Stooges, also do (iirc) a cool cover of the Saints “Know Your Product”.

And Extreme. ugh. My mom liked them. Shut up. A few years ago in Boston, at a concert celebrating the life of Brad Delp, singer of Boston (ugh again, to quote Mr Bungle “Thanks Mom!”), Extreme played (decent, I suppose, but I was getting food so I missed most of it). At the end of the night, I came within about 10 feet of Nuno. I tried telling mom, but she didn’t want to talk to him either.

And Greg, I was looking through my Astro City stuff and saw your letter in, I think, Local Heroes 5. Cool. Did you letterhack much, and are there other comics in which to find Burgas letters?

Not that I’m, like, obsessed with you or anything. Because that would be weird. yes. weird.

Travis: Your memory is sound – their cover of “Know Your Product” is quite good.

I didn’t write too many letters, but I did occasionally. I know I have a few in JLA (writing about the Morrison run, even though they showed up in Waid’s issues), and one of my e-mails to Tom Scioli was published in the latest issue of Godland (it wasn’t really a letter, but they still published it because they had fun with their response). I’ve written some other ones, but that was back in the ’90s, so I can’t remember if they actually got published or not. Sorry my memory isn’t better! I do like reading back issues and seeing my name, especially when I’ve forgotten I wrote in!

Has McKone ever been able to do a monthly? I’m, honestly, not too familiar with his early work, but he certainly hasn’t been able to do twelve issues a year in almost a decade.

McKone only drew four issues of Exiles (which, Jesus, debuted in 2001) before the dreaded Jim Calafiore filled-in. He did slightly better on Johns’ rebooted Teen Titans, pencilling a full six issues before Tom Grummett was called on to pinch-hit. In the time between those books and Avengers Academy, he mostly drew random fill-in issues here and there, including a three issue arc on Green Lantern, and a series of back-ups for Wildstorm.

I’m pretty sure, when companies hire McKone, they know full well that fill-in artists will have to be on standby. I’m curious to see if Jorge Molina will try to ape McKone’s style next issue or if he’ll stick with the style he used on Avengers: The Initiative. (I’d prefer it if he went with the style he used on Urban Myths for Top Cow’s Pilot Season, but that’s probably a long shot.)

In any case, McKone is slated to return for #6, so he may finish out the arc after all, in a sense.

The problem of artists missing the monthly deadline is frustrating because seems like it could be solved with some tweaks to the production process. The success of the thrice-monthly Spider-Man title suggests that by carefully scheduling arcs and rotating artists you can keep up the quality without delays, rushed jobs, or mob inking. I think the problem is one of institutional inertia. If an editor sees s/he’s got a new deadline parameter (the weeklies) they take special measures to accommodate. If s/he has a monthly it’s easy enough to fall back on a system designed for a two-page-a-day penciller.
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As a huge fan of the blog I’m excited to see you picked up THE BROADCAST even if you’ve got some negative first impressions of the art. Here’s hoping you dig the book once you start reading and find that Noel’s work grows on you a bit once you’ve seen how well it fits the story.

Again, thanks for giving the book a chance. Can’t wait to hear what you think.

Eric: I’m looking forward to reading it, too. I should have a review up within a month or so – I’m trying to get caught up!

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