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Sunday Brunch: 12/05/10

Much like a delicious turkey, today’s post is moist, delicious, and has a stranger’s hand up its arse. Much like the vegan option, tofurkey, it tastes like whatever you cook it with and is beloved by hipsters everywhere. Yes, we’re well past Thanksgiving by now, but that’s okay, because this column is always comprised of leftovers.

Now that I’ve alienated all six of my readers, we can move on.

BRAVE AND THE BOLD DEPT: “Darkseid Descending!” Written by Paul Giacoppo

Yep, that’s right, it’s JLI: Brave and the Bold style, and in an episode not written by J.M DeMatteis! There’s a lot less bwa-ha-ha, but still a lot of infighting, in the form of actual fistfights from the male members of the cast. J’onn J’onzz finally appears on the show, but spends the entire episode trying to fix the JL watchtower’s air conditioning instead of repelling the evil invasion, and eating chocolate chip cookies, to boot (blasphemy! J’onn eats Oreos!) Ice, however, is adorable, with her over-the-top Scandinavian accent.

The plot feels a bit rushed– if Starro gets two parts, Darkseid should as well, but the episode serves up a few epic sequences to keep fanboys happy. The Kirbiest spaceship ever appears, bringing Darkseid down to Earth at last; it’s here that the animation appears inked by Mike Royer. Darkseid takes the full brunt of the Justice League’s might without even wincing, until only Batman stands against him, first outrunning the Omega Beams, and then engaging ol’ granite-dome in a fistfight. It’s all thoroughly exciting, but over too soon as the ending comes about out of nowhere. Still, the characters are as we remember them– and they threw in Aquaman for the hell of it, which is always the right decision to make!

TOSSED-OFF COMMENT! You know, as much as I love and support Conan O’Brien, I secretly prefer Craig Ferguson as a late night host. I rarely get around to watching his show (though I made it a point to catch that Doctor Who special!), but he does everything right, and with an apparent budget of twenty bucks an episode. His monologues work as narratives instead of an unconnected series of jokes, he’s constantly funny and easygoing, his interviews seem like comfortable conversations between pals rather than enforced hype, and he’s got a Scottish accent. I like Scottish accents. Plus, robot skeletons.

FOLLOW-UP COGITATION! I have a secret, misguided fantasy about being a stand-up comedian private detective kicker for the Cleveland Browns kept man chimp wrangler late-night talk show host. (Heck, if I could get this damn beard to grow in, I’d be a dead ringer for Conan O’Brien.)

SO I WATCHED the Jonah Hex movie this week. No, it wasn’t as terrible as I was secretly hoping it would be. Yes, it clearly is half a movie stitched together into something releasable (well, in the sense that they actually released it) in the editing room, complete with an alternate editing shoehorned in as a dream sequence and the same shot of Hex on horseback used three or four times. A lot of elements don’t make any sense (like, there’s a random bit with a vampire acrobat or something), the climactic sequence is confusing, and everything explodes. However, the most intriguing thing about the movie, thought I, was that it seemed like a half-assed remake of The Adventures of Brisco County Jr. It’s about an Old West bounty hunter, his tightass “handler,” his sultry lady-of-the-evening love interest, his quirky black pal (amalgamated with his quirky inventor pal), his faithful horse, and his grudge match with his family-killin’ archnemesis. Heck, there are even mysterious glowing orbs! Throw in a little facial scarring and some Pushing Daisies bits where he chats with dead people, and you’ve got Jonah Hex.

I ALSO WATCHED Brenda Starr, the lowest-grossing comic-based movie of all time, which is out of print (but streamed on Netflix! Until the other day), starring Brooke Shields, Timothy Dalton, and one of Gregory Peck’s kids. The plot summary made it sound ridiculous and awesome, but it turns out it’s just okay, a throwback movie in the style of Romancing the Stone. Dick Tracy would end up doing this kinda thing a lot better.

ITEM! My pal (and Friend of CSBG) Bry Kotyk has formally launched his webcomic, Welcome to Hereafter, which follows God as he runs his heavenly corporation. Go, read:

I give it two weeks. (I kid! I kid! … three weeks.)

ITEM! James Stokoe tosses up over 100 pages of an unfinished/upcoming graphic novel called Murderbullets online. Why? Because he’s awesome:

ITEM(S)! Matt Seneca’s defense of Rob Liefeld’s art is quite stirring, and ballsy:

…Liefeld has bled into the substance of the medium itself, his mannerisms and tendencies as inextricable from the look of the average modern hero comic as Kirby action blocking was in the ’70s or Caniff spotted blacks were in the pre-Code era. Like those two, Liefeld’s greatest impact on his field didn’t come as an artist but as a stylist, an abstract collection of tics that a whole generation followed. What makes Liefeld’s art so interesting as compared to that of Lee and McFarlane, who both shared the lininess and anatomic hiccups, is the same thing that keeps him from getting the fan appreciation those two guys get despite their having done much poorer, uglier work than Liefeld was ever guilty of.

He’s also got a neat piece up on Absolute All Star Superman:

At pamphlet size the detail of his backgrounds just kind of knocks you back with all the minutiae, but blown up big you can go into it and lose yourself, really feel the texture and sprawl of the spaces. These comics aren’t set on the flat, two-dimensional stage so many action books fall back onto. The adventures are grounded in their setting so deeply, and it does wonders for the story: you can really understand why things happen in the radiant, technicolor way they do in this book when you’ve got your feet firmly planted in the concrete caricature of the alternate world Quitely creates.

ITEM! The Mindless Ones talk about the recent Bat-relaunch, portraying Bruce Wayne as the Alpha-Adapter:

Health, as I mentioned above, is a key ingredient here. How does it manifest? Well, to begin with there’s the weightless, breakneck pacing of these two books, utterly unencumbered by the baggage of the last five years worth of bat-comics, then there’s the sex, then there’s the playfulness and humour, then there’s the inventiveness and energy – Internet 3.0, jet-suits, everything – and new locations galore, suggestive of a completely new, expansive bat-paradigm. If these comics were a person, they’d be at their peak. Batman Inc is Batman Ink, limited only to what can be drawn on a page.

ABHAY DEPT: So Abhay’s writing a Jimmy Olsen story for February’s Superman 80-Page Giant. That makes it a must-buy. Meanwhile, at the link, Abhay turns self-promotion into performance art, and raves about Jimmy Olsen:

And unlike most DC characters, [Jimmy Olsen]’s not locked into any single theme.  A comic about Batman should probably be about crime being a bitter fruit that grows weeds, or whatever that expression is; a story about Wonder Woman should be about Man’s World; a story about Black Canary should be about fishnet stockings;  a story about Zatanna, I don’t know, I guess should also be about fishnet stockings.

I feel like every comics blogger wants to write a Jimmy Olsen comic (call me, DC).

ITEM! Bully takes us into the world of superhero business cards!

ITEM! Dan McDaid and CSBG Contributor and Friend Dean Trippe bring us the greatest image of all time:

Dean’s also got a lovely Terriers tribute wallpaper at his site. I know you all love Terriers. Except T., whose heart is two sizes too small.

ITEM! Kate Beaton, you guys:

REMAKE/REMODEL at Whitechapel is positively on fire in recent weeks. First up, David Lynch’s Spider-Man, featuring pieces by Chris Thornley, Fernando Lucas, Neil Struthers, and Pia Guerra:


Then there’s Malcolm McLaren’s Justice League, featuring pieces by Felipe Sobreiro and Annie Wu:

And that’s the fortnight! Now do me a favor– be nice to each other out there, and email FX (user@fxnetworks.com) and demand– or better yet, ask nicely– nah, demand– the renewal of Terriers. Even if you don’t watch it. Because I’d do it for you!

17 Comments

I love Craig Ferguson’s show. I rarely watch it as I can’t really watch late night talk shows too often since I… well, hate them. Even the ones I love. Something about the format… but, Ferguson has gotten me to tune in more than anyone else. His cold opens are FANTASTIC.

The ending doesn’t quite come out of nowhere; if you pay attention when Batman is rushing the Boom Tube generator, you can see a lone Parademon left behind pondering the controls of the Boom Tube generator. When the ending occurred, I knew that there were only two reasonable possibilities for who could have done it (J’onn being the other possibility and honestly the character who was responsible needed the cool moment more.)

I liked how the JLI and Darkseid meshed; the JLI as shown were clearly powerful, and generally competent when they are focused, but Darkseid’s just on an entirely different level. In some sense you don’t need a second episode, since anybody watching this show has a general feel for who Darkseid is.

They also did a good job making Kalibak not look like a punk.

Ferguson’s book is remarkable. We saw him speak here in town a year or two ago and he was great fun, despite his obvious fatigue and a truly demented fan in the audience that wouldn’t stop badgering him. He was much more gracious to the fan than she deserved and everyone in line to get a book signed told him so. .

The Terriers two-part finale was awesome.

I feel like every comics blogger wants to write a Jimmy Olsen comic (call me, DC)

I don’t. My dream job would be Doctor Strange. Really it would be a licensed prose Doc NOVEL, because the two or three times I’ve done actual comics scripts I about gave myself a hemorrhage. It’s VERY different from writing prose. Anyone who thinks facility with prose or even screenplays gives you a leg up on scripting comics, think again. Both of those forms are narrative in motion. Comics is narrative by frozen moment. Really it’s like scripting the sync’ed-up sound track to those old film strips we had when I was in grade school, that pinged when you moved to the next picture. And writing like that’s REALLY DAMN HARD.

Craig Ferguson’s my favorite late night host for those same reasons, Bill. Ever saw that monologue he delivered on his 20th/30th anniversary of sobriety? The guy’s great.

And there’s Annie’s JLA picture AGAIN! Makes the fifth place I’ve seen it online since Thursday, and I don’t even follow the Whitechapel forum.

Ferguson’s book is remarkable. We saw him speak here in town a year or two ago and he was great fun, despite his obvious fatigue and a truly demented fan in the audience that wouldn’t stop badgering him. He was much more gracious to the fan than she deserved and everyone in line to get a book signed told him so. .

Yeah, Mer and I saw him recently and he is, indeed, great.

The Terriers two-part finale was awesome.

Sooo good. And they even managed to make it so that if the show ended there, it would make for a really satisfying 13-episode story, like an extended mini-series.

Matt Seneca’s defense of Rob Liefeld’s art is indefensible. He’s smoking crack if he really thinks Lee’s art was ever as poor/ugly as Rob’s. Me thinks he is looking for attention. What a load of hogwash.

Glad you plugged Bry’s Welcome To Hereafter, Bill. It’s like the abused step-child of the Bible and Mad Men, and it’s hilarious.

Everything you said about Conan and Craig Ferguson is exactly right.

And there’s Annie’s JLA picture AGAIN! Makes the fifth place I’ve seen it online since Thursday, and I don’t even follow the Whitechapel forum.

Because it’s awesome, Patrick. Because it’s awesome.

The Terriers two-part finale was awesome.

Sooo good. And they even managed to make it so that if the show ended there, it would make for a really satisfying 13-episode story, like an extended mini-series.

Yeah, that final scene was perfect. It could easily pick up anywhere after that for a mythical season two, but it works as a great end-cap to another possible one-season wonder.

The ending doesn’t quite come out of nowhere; if you pay attention when Batman is rushing the Boom Tube generator, you can see a lone Parademon left behind pondering the controls of the Boom Tube generator. When the ending occurred, I knew that there were only two reasonable possibilities for who could have done it (J’onn being the other possibility and honestly the character who was responsible needed the cool moment more.)

And, the character was seen infiltrating Darkseid’s base in a previous episode’s teaser, so it all fits.

Martian Manhunter sounded like Maurice LaMarche’s Brain to me, but he was actually voiced by Nicholas Guest, brother of Christopher and voice of John Teller on Sons of Anarchy.

Speaking of Sons, if a Green Arrow movie (Supermax or otherwise) ever gets made, Charlie Hunnam could totally play Ollie. He’s already got the beard for it.

ITEM! James Stokoe tosses up over 100 pages of an unfinished/upcoming graphic novel called Murderbullets online. Why? Because he’s awesome:

Indeed. I stayed up ’til 2 a.m. to finish reading that. Stokoe rivals Morrison when it comes to random throwaway ideas per page. And, the art’s phenomenal.

Abhay absolutely sold me on his Jimmy Olsen comic with this line:

Jimmy Olsen is a hacker, not of computers but of a post-human society.

What a terrific high concept.

Will I sound hopelessly out of touch if I tell you that my first impression of that awesome Dean Trippe illustration was: Doctor Doom versus Bill Nye the Science Guy!

Thanks for the link, Brian!

Rob Liefeld’s art is “interesting” in the same way you use that word in the proverb about “may you live in interesting times”. McFarlane and Jim Lee may have put out some ugly art, but they both eventually improved their artwork. Liefeld’s stuff, from what I’ve seen, still looks like the Youngblood era stuff. I’d say of the Image guys, Liefeld’s stuff is the stuff that’s least imitated still — the Lee/Homage studio and Silvestri/Top Cow stuff seems to be the style I see.

But the same guys waxes on nicely about AS Superman. Weird.

And Liefeld’s art is never interesting. The characters all look alike and the poses are flat and generic.

When I was in college, there was a guy in freshman section who took music way too seriously. One afternoon, I decided to mess with him a bit and declared that Great Britain had produced no great rock bands other than (I think) the Rolling Stones. The point of the game was to sound just reasonable enough to prevent the guy from storming off in disgust. So, I would grant, say, that The Beatles were a fine musical act, but that I considered them a pop act and not a rock one. The guy argued with me for over an hour.

Matt Seneca’s piece on Rob Liefeld reads like that.

After Dean’s comment, I had to read the Liefeld thing all the way through. The point about Liefeld’s work being internally consistent was interesting. I think it’s consistently bad, but hey…

Actually, I’ve been pondering a theory myself based on some other posts on columns here on CSBG. T talked somewhere about the emo first person narration in different comics, and I recently read the Witchblade Compendium 2 (issues 51-100). It seems to me that perhaps the glut of first person purple prose narration comes from when the Image guys were big. Since their work was a lot of splash pages and disconnected panels, the writers of these books had to fill in a LOT of narration boxes for there to be any semblance of a story. So perhaps it’s a narrative tic that occurred out of necessity that hasn’t been quite shaken off yet.

Or maybe I’m full of it.

I figured out why you really like Ferguson, Reed. It’s cuz he dresses as Aquaman. You know it.

Thanks so much for the link and support, Bill and Neil! I’m working ahead a bit, FYI – two new strips done in the last few days, anyway, though those won’t be published until the end of the month after my repeat burn-off comics run out. At this rate, I may just make it to four weeks!

And as a bonus, the art is getting sort of better! ;)

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