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Random Thoughts! (April 10, 2012)

Random Thought! From Friday 4pm through to Monday 4pm, I worked 40 out of 72 hours. It’s Random Thoughts time! Get excited!

Link Thought! GraphiContent for comics. butterbeatleblog for popculture. 411mania for wrestling reviews and the occasional CD review.

Random Thought! Well, my series of posts on Avengers vs. X-Men officially began last Tuesday with some brief thoughts on the first issue. Some people have asked and, yes, I will be writing about most of the tie-ins. So far, the only tie-ins that have been announced that are series I’m not already buying are AvX: VS, Avengers Academy, and X-Men Legacy and I will be buying the first of those for sure. The other two, I’m not sure about. Otherwise, every other tie-in happens in a comic I’m already buying. I guess you could say that this event is aimed at me, except I’m not sure it is. Ah well. I just wish I had more to say about that utterly lacklustre first issue.

Random Thought! Not sure to think of the new colouring in the Flex Mentallo hardcover. It didn’t immediately jump out at me — but my copies of the issues are in one of my boxes. Seeing comparisons, I do think the original colouring was better. I’m a little surprised that they changed it. (And, while doing this post, Illogical Volume put up a great post on the subject over at the Mindless Ones.)

Random Thought! Well, the Blue Jays are 2-2… The only game I’ve had the chance to watch was the season opener on Thursday, all 16 innings of it. Well, more like 14 for me since I fell asleep in the bottom of the sixth and woke up in the bottom of the eighth (not because it was boring, but because I was just tired). It was a great game with a lot of exciting moments. For the weekend games, I was stuck checking the box score on Yahoo from time to time because I was working. From what little I’ve seen, the team looks decent, but needs to work out some problems. The same problems as always it seems.

Random Thought! I’m torn: I don’t want to support seemingly random crossovers like “The Omega Effect,” but also want the entire story. It’s like either way I choose (to buy or not to buy Avenging Spider-Man and Punisher this month), I lose. Thanks, Marvel.

Random Thought! I will miss Travel Foreman’s work on Animal Man. It was damn good.

Random Thought! Normally, clarity of storytelling is something I value highly in an artist, but Chris Bachalo is a big exception. It may take an extra pass or two to understand… and it’s worth it.

Random Thought! I finished reading The Kitchen Readings, a book by Hunter Thompson friends Michael Cleverly and Bob Braudis sharing stories and memories of Thompson, and it’s a decent read. Some funny moments in there. It’s repeats itself a bit with explanations about Thompson’s various quirks at times and, sometimes, has paragraphs that go nowhere. Still, it’s not the sort of ‘biography’ you often see and it helps contibute to a more rounded picture of Thompson. That I got it remaindered for cheap helped as well. Now, I’m reading Have Not Been the Same, a book about Canrock from 1985-1995. It’s a massive tome.

Random Thought! The creative team would have be to fucking amazing for me to buy a Gambit comic. Probably more amazing than Marvel is willing to get — or would be willing to work on that book.

Random Thought! I rather like the idea of National Comics. It should vary issue-to-issue and, surprisingly, I’d love to see sales vary issue to issue in a big way. Why doesn’t it work like that? A series like that with stand alone issues by different creators should, theoretically, have wildly varying sales. Yet, who doesn’t look at that and predict a steady decline? That’s fucked up…

Random Thought! “And this one’s for nothing. And this one’s for fun. And this one is about rock ‘n’ roll and comic books and bubblegum.”

Random Thought! Batman was created to kill Superman. Heh.

Random Thought! If you haven’t, go read Alan Sepinwall’s interview with David Simon from last week. It’s quite interesting, especially in how much of Simon’s discussion about television criticism can easily be applied to comics. This really hit some spots that I’ve been thinking about for a while. Something that contributed over time to my becoming unhappy as a reviewer for CBR was the endless grind of reviewing small parts of bigger stories and how limiting that was. I don’t see anything wrong with that inherently, but when that’s all you get a chance to do, it wears on you.

Random Thought! Someone told me that there are distinct characters in Age of Apocalypse and I refuse to believe that.

Random Thought! What’s your comic buying/reading routine? Mine used to be getting to the shop just after it opened at noon on Thursdays and, then, coming home and reading my comics on the couch. Now that I end work on Wednesdays at four, it’s getting picked up by Michelle and hitting the shop on the way to the gym where she teaches a class from 5-6. The gym is on the second floor of a grocery store, so I read my comics outside of the gym where they have tables set up for people to eat/employees to go have lunch/breaks.

Random Thought! Last night, I took advantage of a pre-sale to buy tickets to see the Tragically Hip here in Windsor in July. Somehow, I haven’t seen them live yet. I’m glad to have a chance to correct that mistake.

Random Thought! I read Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes: The Ultimate Collection last week and it was the first reread of the first mini I’ve done in years and the first time I’ve read the second one period. It’s interesting how both look at two different times in the Avengers’ history (though not too far apart) to tell the same story: of the time making a lasting go at it. The first one, it’s the team getting over being a random collection of heroes that may or may not have anything in common, while the second is a team with members that aren’t as well known/beloved by the public. Basically, the first mini establishes the Avengers as a viable team, while the second establishes it as a team not made up of heavyweight necessarily, one that can survive line-up changes and rosters with ‘less popular’ members. Now, all we need is for Joe Casey to come back with a third mini tackling the leather jacket era…

Random Thought! There are some movies that, if I come across them on TV, I have a hard time not watching no matter the time. That happened on Saturday night with Ocean’s Twelve. I do enjoy those flicks.

Random Thought! I buy glamourpuss every other month, but haven’t read an issue in almost two years, I think. Maybe more. Someday, though, I will… and it will be magnificant. Or I’ll find out that Sim went off the rails somewhere in there and I missed it. I chose to stop reading it, because Sim’s discussion of history seemed to benefit more from reading in bigger chunks to keep the details straight.

Random Thought! This week’s batch of books is a solid bunch. Nothing jumps out as something I’m overly excited about. The post-“War of the Words” Unwritten maybe? The Secret #1 should be good. New Haunt is always appreciated. And I am curious to see how the first Avengers vs. X-Men tie-in comic shapes up.

Random Thought! I would be the Adam West Batman, because that version is the only one that seemed happy.

***

Random Joe Casey Question! In his art book, Jim Starlin praised Bernie Wrightson and Ron Lim as two of the best artists he ever worked with. Wrightson because he would always deliver surprising work that looked nothing like what was in Starlin’s head; Lim because he would somehow capture exactly what was in his head. Of all the artists you’ve worked with, who is your favourite in each category?

Random Joe Casey Answer! It’s a strange question for me, not just because I have trouble picking favorites, but also because in the category of “artists who’ve delivered exactly what was in my head”, there’s quite a few of them… but that’s mainly because I tend to build projects around the specific artists I want to work with. Someone like Chris Weston on FF: FIRST FAMILY, he gave me exactly what I had in my head… because what was in my head was Chris Weston artwork. Sean Phillips on WILDCATS, same thing. Frazer Irving on IRON MAN: THE INEVITABLE, same thing.

I think I’ve been surprised by the level of skill that certain artists have displayed, far beyond what I thought they were capable of. Chris Burnham on OFFICER DOWNE seemed to take a quantum leap in his art from what he’d done on NIXON’S PALS, which was already pretty goddamn good. Nick Dragotta on VENGEANCE really stepped up to match my own insanity when it came to a certain kind of storytelling, mastering certain panel-to-panel techniques and visual transition riffs that he’d never been asked to do before.

In the other category, I would say, right at this moment, Nathan Fox and I are really getting into a groove on HAUNT and he’s doing work that’s pretty breathtaking. So I guess he is surpassing a lot of what I might’ve imagined when we started on the book. And I’m not just talking about the over-the-top action stuff (which he does great), but even the quiet, dramatic beats of the story. Some of his pages in the most recent issues… I could just stare at them for hours. The nuanced emotions in the art and the specific kind of mood he can create… well, I don’t think anyone working in modern comicbooks can touch him. He’s a massive example of an Inkmaster General.

***

Random Comments! One of these days, I’ll choose the comments to respond to in a truly random fashion. Not today.

Jeremy said: Did you enjoy Wrestlemania, Chad? I did, mostly, although that first hour was DREADFUL. I loved HHH/Taker, really enjoyed Rock/Cena, and Punk/Y2J had a great finish if not the all-time classic it should have been, so I left satisfied. Poor D-Bryan though, that guy will NEVER get over.

I enjoyed it while watching it, partly due to the big crowd at the movie theatre and their enthusiasm, but, then, Cena lost to the Rock and, for some reason, that just killed my enthusiasm completely. I can’t remember a match result leaving me feeling as empty/depressed as that one did. It was really weird and surprising. From there, I began to get really down on the show and, now… well, I’m just waiting for the DVD so I can rewatch it from a bit more distance. I don’t know what to think. I did love ‘Taker/Triple H and Punk/Jericho.

I think AvX could have fanbases split, but the safer bet is just X-men fans vs Avengers fans, as the CBR forums are already showing. The problem of having Steve Rogers on one side of the fence is a tough one to crack. He’s CAPTAIN FRICKEN’ AMERICA, the symbol of everything great in this nation, smells like apple pie and sounds like your favorite uncle. When Steve’s on the other side of the argument, chances are you are wrong, and it’s hard not to look like a fascist douche-nozzle when you’re against him.

He’s wrong all of the time. But, writers do tend to make people in opposition to him look like douchebags (seeL Stark, Tony). Then again, it’s more of a ‘government vs. cult’ story so far… so chances are both sides will look like idiots.

Ninjazilla said: Dork avengers

I’d buy that.

Riley said: I thought the Kane vs. Randy Orton match was good, and that Hell in a Cell will probably go down in history as one of the best, but my favorite match was easily Punk v. Jericho. And maybe that Divas match was lame but Kelly Kelly’s move off the top rope was stellar work! Also if you missed the tag team match, it is worth checking out on youtube or elsewhere on the internetz. Why they aired the Brodus Clay thing but not that I’ll never understand.

I’ll probably watch the tag match on the DVD when it comes out. Then again, I just got around to watching the Miz & Morrison vs. the Colons match from ‘Mania XXV, so… And I understand the Brodus Clay stuff: it was crowd pleasing. If this WrestleMania was about anything, it was trying to pander to the live crowd and create a ‘fun’ show.

Also, the finale to Season 4 of Venture Brothers is the single best season finale I have ever seen, period.

It was damn good. The finale to the first season left me completely shocked. It still produces that reaction a little when I rewatch it — a sign of how well they pulled off the finish to that episode.

Dean said: Didn’t the Dark Avengers beat up the Molecule Man, or some other loser?

Different Dark Avengers. You’re thinking of the first group, while I was discussing the more recent lame second group.

That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading. Later.

24 Comments

You wanted Cena to win? In Miami!? Screw that, man! It’s not like Cena needed the rub from the Rock anyway, the man is so over they have to keep bringing in people who’s last Wrestlemania was in 2005 to challenge him. Can’t wait for next year’s Goldberg/Cena feud. Hope he’s not all fat like Lesnar. “Welp, here come’s the lard, Cole!”

I agree with you about Bachalo. Clarity is not that man’s strong point, but I love his work anyway. He should hire a colorist though, I’ve never seen so much brown in my life. So dull compared to the Bradshaw issues.

If Fraction/Aja was the creative team on Gambit, I’d buy it. Seriously, it would have to be some godlike writer or artist. Morrison comes back to write the adventures of Gambit. JH Williams III decides he’s ready for a new project. I think it’s gonna be James Asmus and some other guy Marvel has lying around the building, so eh. We’ll see this weekend this weekend, I guess.

Similarly, I would buy ANYTHING by Fraction/Aja. Even a Gambit onoging. You put that team together on a comic, I’ll check it out.

Yeah, AVX #1 was boring, but it’s mostly because they gave away the whole thing in the marketing. Hopefully they shut up about it for awhile and let the story unfold. I still think it’s gonna be a pretty fun ride from here to September, Bendis aside(sorry, never saw what you see in him, Chad)!

Huhn, I’ve been doing the same thing with glamourpuss, starting somewhere around the Margaret Mitchell digression; I had already given up on the satire bits, so when the Raymond/Drake half seemed to be going nowhere fast, I sort of tuned out and let the issues pile up.

Tom Fitzpatrick

April 10, 2012 at 2:53 pm

I worked 35 hours every week. Although my union group may go on strike later this month. bummer. :-(

Travis Foreman’s absence on Animal Man will be keenly missed, but I’m sure Steve Pugh will step on up and do just as well as Foreman.

My choices of artists would be: Wrightson, Starlin, and Lim (in that order).

I’ll probably give The SECRET a try, and just wait for the trade on AvX. I’m saving for the BEFORE WATCHMEN she-bang.

Isn’t Glamourpuss a 24-issue limited series? Haven’t read any of it. Any good?

Tom Fitzpatrick

April 10, 2012 at 2:56 pm

BTW, what do you think of the artist on Swamp Thing leaving at end of # 12, Yanick Paquette?

He reminds me of John Totleban during his run on Swamp Thing in the ’80’s.

The Hip are pretty great live. You’ll have a blast.

I’ve never understood the idea of Bachalo being hard to follow. Maybe it’s because my tastes line up so well with his style, but the only reason I’ve gone over his work more than once was because he was that good and I wanted to go over it again.
And I’m going to disagree with Jeremy about the coloring. I love the fact that he goes for this stark contrasts of mostly muted colors in backgrounds and foregrounds and uses bright colors to create a focal point to zoom in on. He is still doing that right? I’ve converted totally over to tradewaiting, and that’s how he has done it last time I checked.

But my comic buying habit? I live about an hour away from the closest comic shop, so I used to have singles mailed to me weekly and I’d be able to read them over the weekend when they got to me on Friday or Saturday, but after switching to trades I started to wait for them to ship monthly. I tend to finish them all in about 3 or 4 weeks, so I usually have a week or two of waiting for my next shipment.

And I treat 20th Century Boys much the same way you do glamourpuss. I haven’t read it at all since the 12th volume, but I’m waiting for it to finish so I can read it all and get the full effect once it’s all complete.

@Jeremy I was scanning your post and read “adventures of Gambit. JH Williams III” as “the Adventures of JH Williams III” and thought, yeah I’d buy that. He could just draw himself sitting there drawing himself and it would be better than 90% of the other comics I buy.

Also agree about AVX, it was necessary set up, but the plot of this issue had been spoiled by marketing. I expect it’ll start kicking into gear shortly.

I have no intention of getting Gambit, but I’m kinda glad they’re putting it out there. It reminds me of a time when Marvel would publish off-the-wall junk like the Bishop: The Last X-Man and expect it to sell because the word “X-Man” was somewhere in the title. Looking back on it now, it just seems like a more innocent time…

Given my 45 minute lunch break, usually on Wednesdays I’ll make a trip to the comic shop on lunch and bring my haul back to the office. I’ll read some of the fluffier books there when it’s slow or on break, and the rest when I get home that evening.

Wait, Yanick Paquette is leaving Swamp Thing? Is that definite?

I would be the Adam West Batman, because that version is the only one that seemed happy.

I had the same thought.

glamourpuss is great — and it’s not ending with issue 24 since that’s the most recent issue and more are coming.

Last I heard, Paquette is trading off arcs with Francavilla, so it might not be “leaving” leaving.

Glamourpuss was originally going to be a book around 25 issues long, but (surprise surprise) Dave found he had more to say, so it’s longer than that. I’ve gotten the book from the beginning, and while I’ve flipped through all the issues, I haven’t read ANY of it. Part of my anal retentive OCD about reading my comics.

Which, tying into your other question, I buy comics and hoard them up, and eventually read them. I’m all depressed right now because it looks like I’ll be missing the Boston Comic Con next weekend, so I’ll probably dive into everything again soon.

Venture Bros is so awesome. My work friend who’s been lending me the series was out when he was going to give me season 3, but I’ve got it and will start in on that soon. YAY! First thing I thought of when he was out was “dick move!” S1’s finale was pretty good, a bit shocking. And I’m sure based on your reading habits you liked finding out who trained Brock in OSI. Assassinanny 911 is a funny episode, especially when you realize what movie it’s referencing near the end.

No idea where you guys are getting your bizarre info.

FF is drawing #10
Marco Rudy handle #11-12
all this giving me lead time for Deadworld, #13 to 17. I’m already at work on it.
Y-

Wait, so now Paquette’s doing that zombie comic that’s NOT Walking Dead?

I’m SO CONFUSED!!!!

:)

Haha. Yeah, that last post lacked some precision.

DEADWORLD is our epic Animal Man / Swamp thing crossover
Y-

Thanks Mr. Paquette – your work along with J.H. Williams’s stuff on Batwoman is the best at DC. Good to know you’ll still be working on Swamp Thing.

I’d say I’m pulling for the Jays, but that’s kind of a lie. Although, if the Jays and Rays were to shut Boston and New York out, I wouldn’t complain. I’m about to hit my first Tigers game tomorrow and I’m all geeked about it.

You should get Avengers Academy since it is one of the best books marvel is publishing. Do it. Now.

With that National Comics, will they be done in 1 stories, or continued from one feature to another, with 3 months in between, or what? I haven’t gotten a chance to read up on it completely yet. If they did some sort of story thread a la Seven Soldiers, that’d be pretty cool. I’d also think that’d be one that would work well sold digitally — you could even include “back matter” that might not be able to be printed, like a text piece on the old version of Kid Eternity, for example, and maybe even include an old story of the character. DC’s strength is that even when they update characters, they still will nod to the old stuff. Best examples are probably Robinson’s Starman and Gaiman’s Sandman.

Here’s my new weekly Random, from memory dialogue bit from the Venture Bros. From a season 1 ep, Hank and Brock in Brock’s room, Hank looking through Brock’s tapes:

H: What’s this one?
B: Led Zeppelin, In Through the Out Door. They sold out on that one.
H: Can we play it anyway?
B: I’d rather you didn’t. I have bad memories associated with that one.
H: Were you fighting some ninjas when you heard it, so now it makes you think of ninjas?
B: No.
H: What about pirates?
B: No!
H: What about a half wolf —
B: It’s a girl, Hank! The only woman I’ve ever loved. You happy now?
H: No. Because you snapped at me.

Tom Fitzpatrick

April 11, 2012 at 4:59 am

My bad, thought I read in a previous column here at CBR (or is it Newsrama?) that Yanick P. was leaving Swamp Thing for another DC book.

Glad I was wrong. Haven’t seen art so good on Swamp Thing since Bisette/Totleban/Moore era. ;-)

Maybe it was the news of Travel Foreman leaving Animal Man…

I haven’t heard of that Have Not Been The Same, but I hope theres a healthy chapter on the Rheostatics.

My own comics reading habits involve picking up stuff from my pull list with an occasional something extra (this week, it was Fantastic Four 605 and Gold Digger 137, plus Tiny Titans 48 and from the 50-cent bin, a reprint of Scalped 1) and reading them while having lunch.

Good point about Adam West’s Batman, who I keep gravitating back to more these days as the current rendition becomes more and more unpleasant. Also, the Animated Series Batman distills the best qualities of the character.

As for Captain America, the Roger Stern/ John Byrne incarnation is the version of Cap for me, particularly when he turned down the nomination for President because he saw his duty as to the American Dream rather than the reality (check out that story in the Captain America: War and Remembrance TPB).

I love that even when Paquette is taking a break, Swamp Thing gets great artists like FF and Marco Rudy to fill in. Best looking book on the stands, IMO.

And my comics habits? Me and a couple of my friends get out of class and take the 4:30 bus to the shop every Wednesday, where we usually hang out for an hour or so just shooting the shit with everyone. Usually I dont wind up reading the comics I bought until the next day.

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