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CSBG Archive

What I bought – 1 August 2012

“It is only petty men who seem normal.” (Umberto Eco, from The Name of the Rose)

Luckily, she has insurance Holy crappity-crap Shop ... at .. Target ... Somehow I don't think that dinosaur will respect a fighting stance like that Freaky! Seriously? Yeah, I have no idea either It's the Three Faces of Shadow! What are they doing to that poor chap's head? It's all metaphorical and shit! Take your time, guys - I can wait!

Avengers Academy #34 (“Final Exam Part 1 of 4″) by Christos Gage (writer), Tom Grummett (penciler), Cory Hamscher (inker), Chris Sotomayor (colorist), and Joe Caramagna (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel.

I’m a little disappointed that Chad closed the comments to his Random Thoughts (how random of him!), because in the 24 July version, he countered what I wrote about Avengers Academy and my perception of how he reads the book. That’s fine – agree to disagree, and all that – but I was bummed because at the end of his explanation of why I was wrong, he wrote: “You tell the teenage boy that, no, he can’t have a genocide machine as a pet and you destroy the fucking thing before the god-like being decides that, hey, there are seven billion people on the planet and 12 of them suddenly disappearing won’t make much of a difference. Because it wouldn’t.” I wanted so badly to leave a comment that simply said, “Well put, Harry Lime.” It was too perfect a statement not to write that. So I did, right now. You may not think it’s clever, but I don’t care!

Anyway, let’s move on to “Final Exam,” which is a big storyline involving Jeremy Briggs, the philanthropist whom Gage is using as an example of someone who is trying to “change the paradigm” of superhero clashes but who we already know is evil even if he didn’t show a bit of that in this issue. I appreciate what Gage is trying to do, and he spends a good deal of the issue bashing AvX (and I never get tired of AvX bashing, I’ll tell you that much!), but unfortunately, jaded readers of superhero books know that there’s no way in hell this will end well for anyone. Briggs will get his comeuppance in a way that makes it clear that even if his ideas are sound, you can’t muck with free well, damn it! (Gage has already brought that idea up in this issue.) The AA kids will accept the status quo, perhaps bitching about it a lot but basically accepting it, and if they don’t, the book will get cancelled and they’ll fade into oblivion. That’s just the way it is these days in Big Two superhero comics. There is no forward momentum, at least none that sticks. So Briggs is the obvious villain even before he shows some of his true colors, and that’s just the way it is. It’s frustrating, because Gage has to bring this “paradigm shift” theme to a head eventually, and this is it. The book is surviving, at least for one issue past this story arc (maybe it will get swept up into Marvel NOW! and get the ax soon enough, but at least it gets one issue after “Final Exam”!), but if Gage doesn’t punk out, there’s not a lot left he can do with these kids. Maybe I’m being overly dramatic and pessimistic, but that’s the way I see it. Oh well.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Who wouldn't want to see 'Manphibian'?

Gødland #36 (“Gotterdammeragnahabharata”) by Joe Casey (writer), Tom Scioli (artist), Brad Simpson (colorist), and Rus Wooton (letterer). $3.99, 50 pgs, FC, Image.

Okay, so this is the penultimate issue of Casey and Scioli’s epic, so nothing I say will get you to buy the issue if you’re not already getting it, right? That’s good, because I don’t even know how to describe this issue. Yes, it’s 50 pages packed with absolutely staggering Scioli artwork, including 9 double-page spreads that completely earn their double-pagedness (unlike so many we see from DC these days). I honestly don’t even know what to say about this issue. Basically, Adam Archer fights R@d-ur Rezz because R@d-ur is an agent of entropy and wants to destroy the universe. He succeeds, but Adam is so powerful that he can reset things. But should he? And what happens if he decides on a slightly different path? It’s mind-boggling and beautiful and I’d say it’s the best issue of this decade except that Casey has one more issue to go, and I wouldn’t count him out to top even this one. Sheesh, this is a great comic book. I hope the final issue will be out before my daughter goes to college in 11 years!

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Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

One totally Airwolf panel:

You could pick any panel in this book and it would qualify!

Hawkeye #1 (“Lucky”) by Matt Fraction (writer), David Aja (artist), Matt Hollingsworth (colorist), and Chris Eliopoulos (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel.

On one level, I enjoyed Hawkeye, and I wish I could only enjoy it one level, because I want to love a second Fraction/Aja book as I much I dig the first, but then there’s another level to this book where it completely falls apart. As a simple action/adventure (and single-issue story!), it works pretty well, and Fraction tells the story fairly well, jumping back and forth in time to make a simple story of Clint trying to save the tenants in his building from an evil landlord more complex. I always like it when writers try to tell stories in different ways, and Fraction does a nice job here. As a bit of a primer on Hawkeye and his thing, it’s perfectly fine. Aja’s gritty-yet-clear linework is suited well for a superhero book about a street-level kind of guy, and he really creates a nice mood for the book and fills it with good details of a dirty-ish city (I don’t know if it looks like Bedford-Stuyvesant exactly, but it certainly seems like it could). So it’s a breezy kind of read, and that’s that.

But then I started thinking about it. Oh, my evil brain. The book is gossamer-thin, liable to dissolve if you touch it a bit too hard, and I really can’t help doing that. Let’s begin at the end, with Steve Wacker’s, um, wacky introduction. His first paragraph exemplifies all that is wrong with modern mainstream comics, in my humble opinion: “This in your hands is the purest, crystallized Marvel Comics of 2015 distilled to its perfected form. Shaped by the cop shows and pop-funk of the 1970s and given a modern sheen thanks to the renowned creative team of Matt Fraction and David Aja.” I added the emphasis because that phrase makes me shake my head sadly. Is that something to proud of, that we’re cannibalizing older culture instead of striving for something new? I know we always do this, but to proclaim it so baldly and proudly is sad. Every third fucking comic or so is “shaped by the cop shows and pop-funk of the 1970s and given a modern sheen.” I’m a bit fucking sick of it. Then, in a paragraph that I hope made Kelly Thompson’s head explode (okay, I hope it didn’t, because Kelly is boss, but I fear it might have) (Kelly loved the issue, by the way, but she doesn’t mention the backmatter), Wacker writes, “By now you’ve no doubt seen the favorite son of Waverly, Iowa – Hawkeye! – in action amidst the sturm-und-drang of the Avengers movie where he fulfilled the role that refined comics fans have known him to be for decades … flat-out coolest Marvel super hero around.” Look, I know Wacker’s job is to promote rather than to, you know, edit, but even that’s a bit goofy. But it speaks to the fact that Stan Lee’s huckerism is alive and well at Modern Marvel. Good to know!

Let’s get back to the book. On pages 1-2 Clint falls out of a building. He falls at least seven floors onto the roof of a car. Now, Fraction does give him a bunch of injuries – a shattered pelvis, three broken ribs, a sprained neck, a cracked fibia, left clavicle, and right ulna – but he’s up and walking in six weeks. SIX WEEKS! Okay, it’s COMICS!, but even so – if you’re going to go through the motions of showing how dangerous Clint’s lifestyle is because he doesn’t have superpowers, you have to go all the way. Fraction wusses out. Oh well. Then there’s the dog. Clint brings a dog into a veterinary clinic after it’s been hit by a car. Its injuries are as bad as Clint’s, but Clint demands that the doctor fix him. If you’ve ever read a work of fiction in your life, you know that there is no way that dog is dying. I mean, come on. That dog should be dead. But he’s too motherfucking tough, man! (This should be known as the Independence Day Principle, but it probably isn’t.) Moving on, I guess someone knows why Clint has 13 million dollars lying around, but that seems to be stretching it. I mean, that’s a shitload of money. Is it really 13 million? It seems like it is. Why does Clint have that much money?

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You say that I should just let it go and enjoy. Well, for the most part, I did like Hawkeye #1. Shit like this bothers me, though. It feels lazy, as if Fraction didn’t put much thought into it. I mean, I can deal with the fact that Clint falls off a building but doesn’t get hurt too much. Hell, I’ve been reading that kind of story for years. But if you’re going to go out of the way to injure your hero, don’t call attention to the fact that Clint heals really, really fast. I don’t know – just ignore me. I’m cranky. This is a nice-looking book, at least. I’ll probably get the trade.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Seeing people getting thrown out of windows never gets old!

Higher Earth #3 by Sam Humphries (writer), Francesco Biagini (artist), Manuel Bracchi (artist), Andrew Crossley (colorist), and Ed Dukeshire (letterer). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Boom! Studios.

Meanwhile, speaking of ridiculous books, Higher Earth continues to zoom along. Last time, Rex and the girl (whose name escapes me) ended up on an Earth where dinosaurs still exist, and now the girl wants to stay there, because it’s keen. Humphries has actually put some thought into this series, as Rex explains why she can’t stay there, but lucky for us, their idyll is interrupted by that mean dude who started chasing them in issue #1. We find out who he is, and we get a sense of the bigger story behind all of this, but this continues to be a wild action blast with lots of violence. There’s a dinosaur attack, two different body parts getting removed (see one below!), and a nice sense of forward motion to the plot. No, it’s not the greatest comic in the world. But Humphries appears to be having fun writing it, and Biagini, Bracchi, and Crossley make the whole thing look superb, so that’s that. Why not give it a look?

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

If you don't do the cool pose, you won't succeed in decapitating people

Mind MGMT #3 by Matt Kindt (writer/artist). $3.99, 26 pgs, FC, Dark Horse.

I’m not a huge fan of Kindt’s cover motif – a giant face every time? – but dang, that’s a cool one. The dragons in the hair, the kneeling person bleeding out as the nose and mouth … good stuff.

Kindt continues his weird adventure, as Meru finds the narrator, who’s going to tell her all about “Mind MGMT,” while the bad guys are right on her tail. Oh dear. She learns a tiny bit about herself, but presumably the real answers are coming next issue. Kindt seems to be a bit more confident about his colors – some of the watercolors in this book are painfully beautiful – with the light reds and oranges giving the book a slightly nostalgic hue, which is somewhat appropriate, as Meru is leaving her past behind slowly but surely. We still get two other short stories in the book that helps flesh out the world of Mind MGMT, which is always nice. As I’ve pointed out, Kindt’s art is somewhat of an acquired taste, but this book is definitely worth a look if you’re in the mood for something a bit weird.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

So she's got that going for her

Mind the Gap #3 (“Intimate Strangers Part 3: Jane”) by Jim McCann (writer), Rodin Esquejo (artist), Sonia Oback (colorist), and Dave Lanphear (letterer). $2.99, 25 pgs, FC, Image.

I have no idea why Esquejo decided to homage The Breakfast Club on this cover. It’s very weird.

Speaking of weird, why is this book called “Mind the Gap“? I mean, I know why it’s called that, because Elle has a “gap” in her life and it’s clever and it allows McCann and Esquejo to use those iconic London Tube signs as chapter markers, but it still seems odd. McCann is not British. This book doesn’t take place in Britain. It seems very weird to link the comic with something in London just to seem clever. I don’t know, it’s like a British writer setting a book in a London prison that allows prisoners to communicate with the outside world via wireless telephones and calling it “The Cell.” Or something like that.

McCann continues to spin his little yarn, as Elle tries to communicate with her best friend Jo after she possessed that dude in issues #1-2, and she manages to convince Jo that it’s really her. Meanwhile, of course Elle’s father is having an affair, and it doesn’t look like that will lead to anything good. McCann and Esquejo bring in Elle’s “memory wall,” which she uses to figure out what happened to her, and McCann drops a significant clue about the whole thing. Like the first two issues, it moves along at a nice clip, with every character getting their say and using those opportunities to say portentous things. I’m a bit confused, though. I just looked at issue #2 (issue #1 is packed away already, so I’m not going to check that out), and it doesn’t seem like Elle suffers from memory loss. Suddenly, in this issue, she has a fairly convenient problem with her memory. Did this come up in issue #1? I – ahem – can’t remember. If it didn’t, that’s kind of annoying, because McCann has obviously thought this thing out, and to not mention a lack in her memory until it’s convenient is a problem. I mean, I get that she doesn’t know what happened to her in the recent past, but she doesn’t seem to know much about herself, which is weird. The thing that threw me is the fact that she doesn’t know if she knows about sailing – shouldn’t that be something she remembers? It kind of took me out of the story, because it felt too contrived, and I was really trying to recall if she mentioned this problem with her memory in issue #1.

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I still enjoy this book, because I like a good mystery, but I wonder if McCann is planning on making this an ongoing, because how would that work? I do hope he doesn’t stretch this out too long. A good mystery is one thing, but extending it too long will become vexing. Does no one remember Lost?

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

'Now I know that Jane Russell is your secret fantasy lover, not Ryan Gosling!'

Mondo #3 (of 3) (“Fustercluck on Venice Beach!”) by Ted McKeever (writer/artist). $4.99, 30 pgs, BW, Image/Shadowline.

McKeever’s latest epic comes to an end, and it’s as insane as the first two issues. It’s very hard to describe – there’s a giant squid attacking Venice Beach (or is it????), there’s a satellite speeding toward the Earth, there’s the hot chick with a gun, there’s our hero, doing his hero thing, and there are tiny naked monks. Oh, and the giant rooster. You know, for variety. McKeever just turns them loose, with big fights and violence and the ultimate irony and … you know, it’s best if you just get the trade. Mondo is a blast to read, and it features absolutely stunning artwork, with McKeever blending a precise and detailed realism with the craziness of a giant, muscled dude and a curvaceous roller babe (not to mention the tiny naked monks). It’s really a wild comic, and it’s well worth a look.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

The Shadow #4 (“The Fire of Creation Part Four”) by Garth Ennis (writer), Aaron Campbell (artist), Carlos Lopez (colorist), and Rob Steen (letterer). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Dynamite Entertainment.

It’s always nice to be reminded that when Ennis isn’t allowed to curse every other word and the characters have to keep their clothes on, he can write a damned good comic. The Shadow isn’t a classic, of course, but it’s turning into a very good read, filled with little Ennis touches that made me like him in the first place. The panel below is toward the end of Kondo’s explanation of the the Shadow’s “origin,” so to speak, and those pages – the first six of the comic – are amazing, even though it’s just some dude talking (well, with artwork, too, but basically just one guy talking). There’s no cursing, there’s no talk of penises or hummers or felching or cunts or anything, just Ennis telling a gripping story. Then, toward the end, Lamont Cranston, Margo Lane, and the others on the boat find a village that the Japanese have destroyed, and once again, Ennis shows his chops, as Lamont forces Margo to confront the evil they’re dealing with. It’s really impressive writing, and while the gist of it isn’t that unique – I don’t know how much he tweaks the Shadow’s origin, but it seems like the old one, and it’s not too hard to explain that the Japanese and Nazis are doing horrible things – the way Ennis writes the two sections is very impressive. Campbell manages to give us two intense drawings during those sections – a silhouette of Lamont Cranston meting out justice to Shanghai’s underworld and a full-page composite of the Shadow hovering over marching Nazis and Japanese – and the art on the rest of the book is quite good, too. It’s a very neat issue.

I know that people are raving about Ennis’ latest Fury mini-series (which I’ll be getting in trade), and I know our buddy Chad loves The Boys, and that’s fine. To me, however, Ennis is one of those writers who needs some boundaries, because he often goes off the rails when his id is unleashed. With a licensed character, I’m sure he can’t go too nuts, and that makes the writing on this book far more interesting than it’s been on other recent stuff of his I’ve read (which, I’ll admit, hasn’t been much, because he’s disappointed me so much recently). It’s also basically an Ennis war story, and Ennis is really good at war stories, so there’s that, too.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

No good can come from a story like this

Think Tank #1 by Matt Hawkins (writer), Rahsan Ekedal (artist), and Troy Peteri (letterer). $3.99, 26 pgs, BW, Image/Top Cow.

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I read someone dismissing this comic and Harvest, which also came out this week, as thinly-veiled television pitches, which puzzled me. I mean, sure, you can read it as that, if you so choose, but so what? A lot of comics can be seen as thinly-veiled television pitches, but the only thing that should matter is whether they’re good or not. Look, I understand the resentment that some people feel toward television and film people from “outside comics” slumming in the industry because they think they can get their project approved more easily if they already have a screenplay (I’m not saying that’s what this comic is, you know – I’m speaking very generally). It’s kind of dumb, but I understand it, especially when you get stuff like Jon Favreau’s Iron Man book or Damon Lindelof’s Hulk/Wolverine book. But again, who cares? If Hawkins wants to turn this into a television show, more power to him. Right now, it’s a nifty first issue. Can’t we just judge it on that level? I mean, Hawkeye #1 reads like a television pitch – Wacker even alludes to its influences in television in the backmatter – but I imagine in all the gushing over it (and I’m fairly confident there will be gushing), no one will mention derisively that it reads like a thinly-veiled television pitch, even though it feels far more like one than this one does. I just don’t get the angry tone some people have when they refer to books like that. Who cares? It’s a comic. Read it, like it, hate it, throw it away, whatever. Judge it on its own merits! Wouldn’t that be nice?

Phew! Okay, now that the rant is over, I can write about this comic. Hawkins introduces us to David Loren, a slacker genius (just like Val Kilmer!) who works for a think tank that develops weapons but is going through a moral crisis about designing said weapons (just like Val Kilmer, sort of). The book begins with a death and then, I think, flashes back to show, I suppose, how we got to the first couple of pages (I could be completely wrong – the person in the front of the book is never identified, so it could just be a random dude, but I suppose we’ll find out if Hawkins never goes back to that moment). David hasn’t come up with anything good recently, and his military boss is on his ass. His friend, Manish Pavi, is the only one who can keep him in line, but even he’s having trouble now that he’s conflicted about designing weapons. He figures out a way to create a machine that reads minds (and turns them into texts on his phone), which he field tests by scoring with a woman at a bar. Of course, the military doesn’t look kindly on this, and the issue ends with them surrounding the young lady’s house. Oh dear.

It’s a nice high concept, and Hawkins does a pretty good job with the characters, even if they slot easily into the archetypes that we expect (wait, the Indian dude is a nervous nellie? quelle surprise! – why, the dude who plays Pindar on Franklin & Bash would be perfect for the role!). In a first issue like this, we don’t really read for the characters – we want to get into the high concept, and Hawkins does that quite deftly. For me, the star of the book is Ekedal, who has really become a superb artist. He is very good with characters, both in their facial expressions and their body language, and he draws David as scroungily as possible – it appears he hasn’t washed his hair in a while, which fits very well with what we know about his character. Ekedal gray scales his comics very nicely – he’s much better in black and white – giving each panel a great deal of nuance and liveliness. His work is nice and fluid, so that everything feels like it’s part of the whole rather than elements getting dropped in and manipulated around. It’s a beautiful comic, and Ekedal helps take Hawkins’ somewhat standard plot and make it far more interesting. The plot itself is fine, but the art makes the book much more interesting.

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Hawkins claims in the backmatter that he’s in this for the long haul, even though he could be lying and is planning on taking this to FX or AMC as soon as possible. If you’re interested in something that feels familiar but is still a pretty good read, I encourage you to go find this. It wouldn’t kill you, would it?

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Well, that's kind of harsh

X-Factor #241 (“Breaking Points: Day One”) by Peter David (writer), Leonard Kirk (penciler), Matt Milla (colorist), and Cory Petit (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel.

On the first day of August, 2012, the twelfth issue of X-Factor in 2012 was released to the public. I know you can say that about a lot of Marvel comics, but damn, that’s a lot of issues.

Anyway, this has the feeling of a “writer-leaving-the-book” kind of story, except that David never actually leaves a comic book unless the Marvel editors pry it from his cold, dead fingers, so I imagine this will just be a giant shake-up (we can guess that Havok is leaving, because he’s on the new X-Vengers book that’s coming out) and David will move on with a new direction. That’s what he does, man!

In this issue, we check back in with the various weird people that Jamie brought back from all those multiverses he was zipping through a while back. There’s Dormammu, Steve “Deathlok” Rogers, and Vanora, that wolf-chick. Long-time evil dude Tryp shows up and tells them it’s time to fuck some shit up, and so they put their plan into action. It doesn’t go exactly as planned, but it does gum up the works with regard to Monet and Guido, who have a serious falling-out that leads to Guido encountering someone who can’t be up to any good. Oh dear. I’m still not sure that I buy this Monet, who seems far more … well, not exactly nice, but compassionate, I guess, than the one in the past. I know that David has been working hard to make her care about a person’s soul so that she can criticize Guido for not having one, but I’m not sure if it’s worked. I can’t say it’s come out of nowhere, because David’s been laying the groundwork for a while, but I still don’t know if I buy it. Religion in comics is such a weird topic to write about, because these are people who meet gods with stunning regularity, and it’s also difficult to get into such esoteric stuff in a funnybook. How does Monet know that Guido would have let Dormammu kill his hostage? Couldn’t it have been a clever ploy to throw him off his game, as it in fact did? I suppose David is implying that Monet is overreacting a bit, but her overreaction would work better if I believed more in her beliefs. Oh well. It’s certainly not a bad issue, but that part was a bit weird.

Kirk is back on art, and he does a very nice job. I still don’t like the way he draws Longshot’s hair, but such is life!

Oh, and I’m glad David finally made a Tron joke. And I’m glad Alex didn’t get it. That was pretty fun.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Don't fuck with Polaris!

The Summit of the Gods volume 3 (of 5) by Yumemakura Baku (writer) and Jiro Taniguchi (artist). $25.00, 335 pgs, BW, Fanfare/Ponent Mon.

When I bought the first volume of this, I thought it was the only volume. Then I thought it was two volumes. Now I learn it’s five volumes! Will it ever end, or are the creators just adding more stuff to it? Either way, it’s a fine adventure about mountain climbing. Maybe one day I’ll get to read the whole thing!


It’s late July/August, which means there ain’t nuthin’ going on. My wife and daughter are in Disneyland, and I’m home with my other daughter, and we’re having a grand old time. The Olympics are on, and I have, quite literally, zero interest in watching any event whatsoever. I was last a fan of the Olympics in 1984, when my cousins and I were weirdly obsessed with the women’s gymnastics team. I was 13, so you can chalk it up to that, I suppose, but I don’t recall it being sexual in any way – we just loved watching those young ladies compete. We knew all their names and when they were supposed to compete and what events they were competing in. Call it raging hormones if you must, but that was the last time I followed the Olympics in any meaningful way. No, not even these people can get me to watch them.

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And no, I still haven’t seen the Batman movie. Maybe next week, after school starts. It’s been tough getting a sitter recently – our regular one is pregnant, so she can’t lift my older daughter anymore, so we have to wait until after she has the kid in September before she might be able to come around again. The other sitter who we’ve used before is far too busy these days, so she’s out. So no Batman. I’ll get around to it!

So let’s check out The Ten Most Recent Songs On My iPod (Which Is Always On Shuffle):

1. “Boat On The River”Styx (1979) “Time stands still as I gaze in her waters; she eases me down, touching me gently”1
2. “Learning To Fly”Pink Floyd (1987) “A fatal attraction is holding me fast, how can I escape this irresistible grasp?”
3. “Let England Shake”PJ Harvey (2011) “Pack up your troubles, let’s head out to the fountain of death”
4. “Overfloater”Soundgarden (1996) “I’m here and now I’m gone; I’m there and far beyond”
5. “Midlife Crisis”Faith No More (1992) “You’re perfect, yes, it’s true, but without me you’re only you”
6. “Queen Of The Savages”Magnetic Fields (1999) “We live on the fruits of her pillages”2
7. “You’re My Home”Billy Joel (1973) “Long as I have you by my side, there’s a roof above and good walls all around”
8. “I Do Not Hook Up”Kelly Clarkson (2009) “This may not last but this is now”3
9. “Alaskan Pipeline”James (2001) “With all my words, I can’t find one to help you understand”
10. “Prove My Love”4Violent Femmes (1982) “Just last night I was reminded of just how bad it had gotten and just how sick I had become”

1 Tommy Shaw on the mandolin and autoharp, and Dennis DeYoung on the motherfucking accordion, wooooooo!

2 I really don’t think Stephen Merritt gets enough credit for being a brilliant songwriter. Whenever a Magnetic Fields song comes on my iPod, I’m always blown away by how good he is, even if I’ve heard the song many times before. Merritt should be a bigger name in popular music, I think. Unless he is and I just don’t know it. If so, carry on!

3 As always, feel free to mock. I don’t care – I can take it!

4 Giant acoustic bass FTMFW!

No one got the lyrics last week, but they were from “My Philosophy” by Boogie Down Productions. Fine stuff, there! Here are some more Totally Random Lyrics!

“He was a man, just a simple man
Died at the place of his birth
His tombstone shared by the family
A silent place on the earth

An old man stands by the side of the grave
And this man’s heart is to heavy to pray
For he is numb with the pain
Of the love that he couldn’t share”

Have fun with that! And have a nice weekend, everyone. Take care of yourselves!


I’ve been hesitant to pick up Summit of the Gods because I always think: Mountain climbing? How interesting can that be? At the same time, I’ve loved pretty much everything I’ve read from Taniguchi in the past, so I’m conflicted. So I guess, how awesome is Summit? Pretty awesome? Mildly awesome? Completely awesome? Overwhelmingly awesome? What are we looking at here?

TOO MUCH AWESOME!!!! Man, I wish I knew your distinctions between “pretty awesome” and “mildly awesome” and “completely awesome.” It’s not just about mountain climbing – it’s a mystery, because at the center of it is evidence about what happened to the first attempt to summit Everest (by George Mallory, back in 1924), and the protagonist’s quest to find out the truth of the matter. It is fairly slow-moving, but I doubt if that will bother you. Yes, there’s quite a bit about mountain climbing in it, but it’s also a pretty gripping mystery. Plus, the art is very neat.

Tom Fitzpatrick

August 2, 2012 at 2:58 pm


In no way, does Ennis EVER requires boundaries!!!
It’s where he does his best work!

If he had boundaries, I kid you not, nobody would read his work!

I hope he’s never restrained.


He had boundaries in Hitman, and it’s by far his best work. So I must respectfully disagree, sir! :)

I haven’t read Random Thoughts since the comments went off, because what I like about blogs like this is the back-and-forth discussion. Whether I have anything to contribute or not, I always read the comments, as long as they don’t go totally off the rails. But hey, to each his own.

I will say that I like Avengers Academy just fine, but it doesn’t stand out to me over, say, Runaways (when there is a Runaways series, that is).

I should maybe give Godland another chance. I read the first trade, and thought it was cool and all, but if I wanted to read Kirby I’d just read Kirby.

And man, I want to like The Shadow. I’m actually not all that into Ennis’s work in general, so it’s not so surprising that I don’t care for it, but the Shadow’s one of my favorite franchises ever, so I really, really want to like it. But I’ve just found it to be kind of blah. Meanwhile, The Spider, a character I’ve never really given much thought to, is just knocking it out of the park. I may have to convert.

buttler: I was late to the Spider train, and now I can’t find the issues, so I’m going to get the trade. But yeah, I’ve heard good things about it.

Yes, Godland is very Kirby-ish, but as we’re not getting any more comics from the king, it’s nice to get this kind of stuff. I’m not saying you should buy it, but if you get a chance to look at issue #36, do so. It’s astonishing.

Man, even I don’t know what my distinction between different awesomes are. Maybe Mildly Awesome is Level 1 Awesome and Pretty Awesome is Level 2. Completely Awesome is probably around Level 6 or so (leaving room for Way Awesome, Really Awesome, and Awesomely Awesome. I’m not sure there’s a distinction between Completely Awesome an Totally Awesome. And then there’s Overwhelmingly Awesome, which probably breaks the scale.

As far as Yamiguchi’s art goes, I love it. His Walking Man is one of my favourite books (and my dad even loves it too). I’ve read, I think four different books by Yamiguchi and I like his style and mindset (which so far as I’ve experienced seems pretty quiet and environmentally expansive), so a slow moving story from him is really kind of a pleasure to me. I was probably also mildly worried how well he’d work with a writer since I’ve only read books’ written and drawn by him alone.

But if you say Too Much Awesome, I’m inclined to believe. Thanks!

Yeah, I was late to The Spider too, but fortunately my LCS still had them. Well, I had to hit a few different LCSes to find them all, but fortunately we still have a few different stores to hit.

Great work as ever, Gregoire. “Well put, Harry Lime”, Ahahaha! I have to admit that when I read that part of your canadian chum’s piece I had a similar thought but without the primo Third Man reference at hand. I have to agree with you about Ennis too, he’s one of a number of talented modern writers who at times let a certain smugness infect their work, so that it goes careening wildly into far too dubuous realms. Now I kow people have different tastes and some would have no problem with *anything* it’s just that some things don’t agree with *me* , irritate me, or just strike me as just *too* dubious, but I’m certain that there aretgings that I have no problem with that others woyld *hate* so it’s all gravy!
Nice choice of epigraph (I’ll finish you someday, Name if the Rose, someday…;-)). I’m an X-Factor and Peter David fan but my last contact with it was when I got a cheap 6-issue bundle in which Madrox journeyed to the future and met old coot versions of Cyclops and Dr Doom, I enjoyed that (Cyke came off better there than in much of the shit in the “main”X-books and that’s despite being a bit of a jerk – sad face -), would you recommend any particular point in the modern run as a good jumping-on point or a particularly entertaining storyline? Godland sounds magnificent even if it is about ti end. I appreciate the comments about Steve “Barnum” Wacker’s inept hipster hucksterism, ooh tha was painful. A nice try but I can’t see anyone falling for *that*, better to let the book speak for itself than to indulge in what sounds like corporate bullshit (“I’ve always been a Hawkeye/Frog- Man/Manphibian fan” Heh). Again, nice column.

I know I read somewhere that X-Factor won’t be going away but I can’t find it.

I have a terrible confession: I’ve never read X-Factor, at least not since it was just the original X-Men with a new name. I want to, because I’ve heard good things about it, but there’s just so dang much of it that I find it daunting. Is it all collected in trades? Would I need to go way back to the beginning to understand who the heck these people are and what’s going on? (Because when last I saw him, Madrox was just a Muir Island lab assistant.)

Last I saw him, Madrox was a Fallen Angel (with Boom Boom and Chance and Sunspot and Warlock and Devil Dinosaur) and one of him died.

Hal and buttler: Jeez, I don’t know where to start with X-Factor. David has been writing it for, what, 92 issues? and he loves old-school writing, so there’s lot to process. This issue actually isn’t a bad place to begin – there’s a recap, so we know who the bad guys are, and if you just know that Guido was dead and was resurrected by Layla but without a soul, that’s all you really need to know going in. The rest you can probably pick up pretty easily. I imagine it’s all collected, but man, I don’t know which is the latest one to come out. It is a bit daunting, but David is pretty good at bringing people up to speed.

Oh! I totally forgot about Fallen Angels. Man, that was a weird series, which is probably why I enjoyed it better than most X-books. Wasn’t Vanisher part of that team too?

Yeah, and a couple mutant lobsters if I remember it right.

buttler: Yeah, I rarely comment on blog posts, but I usually read them. I haven’t been reading RT either.

If not for the comment section, Greg would have stopped doing alt text on images forever!

Dan: You’re probably right! I still can’t read them in Google Chrome, so I just trust that others can! :)

I have no interest in all the popular Olympic events. I am interested in fencing, and obscure but awesome stuff like badminton and team handball. Handball is amazing.

Hey Greg!

Thanks for the review (and for buying and reading it)! I thought I’d lay to rest a few of your questions that you raised:

The Breakfast Club homage is actually representative in a way for the characters that they represent in the book. Also, it was my idea– it looks cool and eye catching. And who wouldn’t want to see Claire clubbed over the head in The Breakfast Club poster? Anyone? Just me? LOL

Yes, Elle is amnesiac. It was the entirety of her story in issue 1 as well as a major plot point in issue 2. It’s also on the recap page and in the Cast Page which gives you 3-5 words about each character at the beginning to catch people up and recap the mystery that’s been laid out so far. Elle’s amnesia is a complete one, in that she cannot remember anything big about her life, but like many amnesiacs, has weird flashes of seemingly unimportant things– like No Rain being stuck in her head in issue 1 and so she looks like the Bee Girl from the video. In this instance, she mentions sailing as a close flash to her family but doesn’t get there because she’s so frustrated at that point (issue 2 laid the groundwork in her father’s study that sailing/nautical themes are important to him as seen in the decor of his study. These things will continue to unfold– the reader is Elle and vice versa– they discover things as she does and, for those playing along in the mystery, the reader has the benefit of a world-view to see clues.

Mind The Gap is named as such because there are gaps in her memory (mind), her spirit/mind is separated from her body by a gap, shown in issue 1 as well as being a metaphorical gap, and he was attacked on an NYC subway platform – which allowed a little creative license when looking at the whole and coming up with the name. There will be other reasons you’ll see come into play, but I don’t really think the phrase is exclusive to England or the London tube system. :)

Yep, this is an ongoing, but closed ended– like Y the Last Man. Elle’s story (and those around her) is completely plotted out. This is just the beginning arc of a long-form mystery, which hasn’t been done a lot in comics, so expect a lot of twists & turns along the way, as well as answers raising more questions, as they do in mysteries. The book is like Ten Little Indians, the tag that’s used in each issue is: Everyone Is A Suspect, No One Is Innocent. So there’s plenty of story to tell here as you see who factors into what and others actions affect people other than Elle.

Again, REALLY glad you’re digging the book! I just hope this clears up the questions you raised so you can enjoy it more. (and that huge freaky doctor should be Airwolf-worthy, right?! Haha)


Jim: Thanks for stopping by. I honestly didn’t get that she had amnesia from the first issue – I got that she was confused about her situation, but not that she couldn’t remember big parts of her life. Obviously, I need to re-read it, but I was just going off my (somewhat poor) recollections of the issue. I zipped past the recap page and the cast page – I generally just look at the heads briefly so I can recall who everyone is, so I missed the fact that it said “amnesiac” under Elle’s name. I won’t ask you about the major plot point in issue #2, but I’m just not seeing it. Usually I only catch things like this after I re-read something and know what’s coming (I HATE figuring things out on the fly, even though I know you’re challenging readers to do that – it’s just not my bag), so I’ll probably do that!

I figured that was why you named the book, but I’ve really only heard that in connection with the Tube, so I was just having some fun with you!

I figured you have the book plotted out, and that’s cool – I’ve tried to write mysteries in the past, and I know how difficult it is to make everything fit together. I’m just going along with the ride!

(And I try not to spoil too much in the Airwolf panels, so I thought it would be best to leave the doctor for readers to discover. Plus, I just dig Jo jumping up on the bed triumphantly!)

Hey Greg!

Thank god you weren’t offended by my post. When I saw how long it was, I thought (in this order)- I look like an asshole, and I need an editor!

Yeah, issue 1 was all about her not knowing a thing, which is why when she tries to think about anything in her life, there’s the 2 pg spread of words (instead of pictures) surrounding her. As for the plot points, they will all pay off in their own time (a burning question for the past 3 issues is answered in issues 4/5, for example). I am letting it unfold as well-paced as possible. Too often, I feel like mysteries (or plot points in general) in comics have giant neon signs saying “I’m important! Remember me!” and for $3 a month, I don’t want to spoon-feed readers- I want them to work for it! Ha! Personally, I enjoy the types of mysteries that make you go back and re-watch (in movies and TV) or re-read. Also, I love the audience playing detective. (Comics should be good–and FUN! LOL)

With the name, I caught flack from a fellow Anglophile about the font being used for the chapter break, so I actually bought the correct font. You’re not the only one having a bit of fun with me regarding the name. ;)

It is crazy tough to plot long-form! I need to place clues that are obvious and also innocuous at first read until it’s revealed. There are massive elements that have to have to happen at certain points, and the pacing is a bitch. Some times I want an issue to be 30+ pages– sadly, not possible for a monthly. : /

Rodin totally nailed Jo jumping on the bed. LOL

And again, thanks for including the book in your column and sharing it with others!!

Greg, I’m not sure what you’re getting at in that rant in your Hawkeye review, as it feels as though you’ve confused generic influences with creative hijacking and duplication, or, as you put it, “cannibalization.” You seem to suggest that the only worthy fiction is that which does not share any creative heritage or take its direction from prior work, work that basically has little to no strong influences. More of than not, that’s just not how fiction evolves. It’s extremely uncommon to start from scratch in whatever year you’re writing in and work in a creative vacuum to fashion something new and distinct to that present time period.

The word was “shaped”, after all, and it’s hard to see anything wrong with that. The text clearly indicates taking heed from a prior era, putting a spin on it that makes it work in 2012. Time again, great fiction has done just that – take creative influence from great work in the past and make it distinct and workable for the present.

I also find it odd that in the same article, you call Godland (a great comic) one of the greatest single issues of the decade, despite it’s being a work that clearly takes a lot of influence from Jack Kirby. Why is that not also “cannibalization”? Hell, it’s not even of a general genre like with Hawkeye, it’s one particular dude’s work in a genre. Godland is a book that wears its influences proudly on its sleeve, just as Hawkeye does, but is the difference only in the fact that Image didn’t release some text a week ago saying “shaped by the cosmic adventures of Kirby and Starlin, but given a modern twist”? Because, in many respects, they could have. Or is it just that you like those generic influences more? Or is it merely that you feel that there are simply FEWER people following those influences?

And sticking to comics, and sticking to Hawkeye’s particular influences, Gotham Central, great comic that it is, would also have to be guilty of “cannibalization” and hence of being of questionable worth. Hell, Darwyn Cook isn’t even a creator – he’s just a cannibal.

PK: Of course you’re right, but I see a difference in the fact that Casey and Scioli seem to be trying to expand on what Kirby did – which is what you’re pointing out – and I don’t see that with Hawkeye. Wacker wants us to believe that, but it really doesn’t feel like Fraction is trying to put a spin on it – it feels like he’s simply writing a 1970s cop show with a superhero as the lead. I love 1970s cop shows – well, I should say I love The Rockford Files, because that’s probably the only one I ever watched consistently, because my mother liked it – but as with anything, it’s the tone of the work that makes the difference. This issue feels more blatant about trying very hard to be this kind of book, where as a comic like Near Death, which is also rooted in that ethos, feels like it’s trying to expand the genre. The same thing with Gotham Central – I think it’s a better twist on the cop stories than this is, although it’s only one issue, so things could change. I think your most pertinent question is the last one, because I do think that fewer people are trying to push comics in the way Kirby was trying to, especially with the Fourth World stuff, and I think it’s great that Casey and Scioli are doing that. Fraction does it himself in Casanova, which despite using influences from a lot of different genres is its own weird, wacky thing. Maybe I’m just sick of reading stuff shaped by 1970s cop shows. Obviously, no one is working in a creative vacuum, but it seems like comic book writers, far too often, come from the same narrow slice of pop culture, and it’s kind of boring. The reason I thought there would be gushing over this book is because I think a lot of fans come from that same narrow slice, so they would relate to a superhero book that is influenced by 1970s cop shows. I was probably a bit too harsh using the term “cannibalizing,” because you’re absolutely right that there’s a difference between cannibalizing and being influenced, but I do wish that writers would try harder to push things forward instead of settling into a familiar pattern, and I think creators like Casey and Scioli are doing that, even though their influence is obvious.

I know I’m probably not being too coherent, so I apologize. I hope I’ve made it a bit clearer!

Lookee there–Casey namechecks a Beatles song in that Totally Airwolf frame from Godland…. o_0

I just had to buy Hawkeye this week, anything Aja works on is a must buy. I follow him and Darwyn Cooke like a cheap shameless whore.

I quite unexpectedly bought the first issue of Hawkeye, just because I was so impressed with the look of the book of when I flipped through it, despite having no real interest in the character. I enjoyed the first issue, I liked the tone, loved the art, and appreciated the single issue nature of it. But what felt “off” to me was that the entire book seemed like Fraction and Aja were making a conscious effort to create a Brubaker/Phillips comic. Obviously I know Brubaker and Fraction are friends and they’ve worked together more than once, so I’m not accusing Fraction of ripping Brubaker off or anything like that. But it just seemed like Fraction wasn’t writing in his own style, and like he and Aja are deliberately trying to replicate the feel of Brubaker’s Catwoman or something. I liked the book enough to get the next issue, and maybe beyond, but I’ll be curious whether the book finds its own voice.

And speaking of Aja, it fascinates me how many artists these days seem to share David Mazzuchelli as their most direct antecedent. Francesco Francavilla and Mitch Breitweiser are two other artists who obviously fall into this category. Now, to be clear, I love Mazzuchelli, so this doesn’t surprise me because I don’t think he’s worthy, or anything like that. But I guess I’m surprised at the timing. Mazzuchelli’s brief moment of major exposure in the comic book world was in the mid-to-late 80s. I’m sure he could have remained a major figure in the industry had he wanted to, but he chose to exit the mainstream and has never really looked back. So it’s odd to me that his influence seems to just continue growing now, 25 years after his major works, while he seemed to have almost no influence on any of the artists that started in the 90s, which is the group of people that, in theory, would have read Batman: Year One and Daredevil: Born Again during their formative years. So I guess it’s a “Why now?” type of question. How did the generation of artists that grew up reading Mazzuchelli seem to learn nothing from him, while the generation of artists that grew up after he left the industry appear to hold him in incredibly high regard?

I still love Mazzuchelli, and Asterios Polyp blew me away. And I also think Aja and Francavilla are some of the best artists in the industry right now. Maybe none of the artists in the 90s copied Mazzuchelli because that wasn’t what readers expected comic book art to look like at the time. Maybe it’s that simple. But I’m always fascinated at the way tastes gradually change over time. This is especially on my mind on the day in which Citizen Kane was dethroned for the first time in 50 years as the quote unquote Greatest Film Ever Made. Personally, I’ve always liked Vertigo better. I think vertigo is more psychologically complex, but I also still think Kane is/was more important and influential. So maybe the takeaway from this is that we’re entering an era where complexity and personal connectivity will be greater artistic commodities than innovation and influence. One of the wonderful things about the Sight & Sound poll isn’t just that it measures what people think is Great, but also how those ideas evolve overt time.

I haven’t read Godland yet, but I actually have the opposite feeling on it than Buttler: I tend to like people homaging Kirby better than I actually like reading Kirby. But I realize I’m in the minority there. But with Kirby, even when he was by himself, the writing is still too Stan Lee-like. Versus when people ape him, the emphasis is generally more on the bombast and fun. I have a similar relationship to the Velvet Underground- I tend to like bands that sound like the Velvet Underground more than I actually like the Velvet underground. And it’s not for a lack of understanding the importance of the Velvets (I even own all of their albums), it’s just the way ti works for my ears. Other people feel the same way about Joy Division, although I love Joy Division and fucking hate Interpol. But so it goes.

With both Mind the Gap and Mind MGMT, I’ve decided to let a few issues build up and read them every few months… I expect I’ll get more out of them that way. But I’m still buying.

And you know what they say, old boy: I approve any and all Harry Lime references.

Mind The Gap needs a sequel/spin off book called Stand Clear Of The Doors

Tom Fitzpatrick

August 3, 2012 at 7:46 pm

@Mr. Burgas: I agree with you about Chad turning off the comments on Random Thoughts.
I enjoyed reading the various comments on his blog and his snarky responses to them.
Do you know why he did this?

People should be allowed to express their opinions. :-(

I keep telling you, Tom, Chad turned off the comments because of YOU!!!

No, he told us, he likes it without the comments, and get your own blog if you don’t like it.

Also, get off his lawn.

He is the meanest man in Canadia.

I have not read most of this post due to just having gotten my comics earlier in the evening and not yet reading them. But yay for all the Spider love!!! (secret shoutout to Ben!)

And Stephin Merritt (yeah, I’m pretty sure he spells his first name that way) IS awesome. If you don’t have the
Magnetic Fields albums The Wayward Bus and Distant Plastic Trees, you should get them. Great great stuff.

Particularly if you’re going through some heartbreak.

I’ve been listening to it a lot lately.

“100000 Fireflies” would make my list of the best songs ever.

I once saw a used copy of 69 Love Songs and wondered who the heathen was who sold that. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the cash to get it myself, making it at least the second time I passed up buying that album. D’oh!

The Gothic Archies are good too. The Tragic Treasury is a collection of songs from the audiobooks of the Lemony Snicket series, and it’s really good stuff, plus they did music for Gaiman’s Coraline audiobook. “You are not my mother…and I want to go home.”

Tom Fitzpatrick

August 4, 2012 at 6:52 am

@ T.P.: Actually, it’s spelled Canada. And Chad’s the meanest misplaced Canadian in U.S.
He turned comments back on in the Joe Casey interviews blog, go knock yourself out!!!

Since you know everything about comics: do you know if FURY MAX is a limited series or what?

Tom: I don’t know why Chad turned off the comments, except for what Travis wrote above there, that he just likes it without comments. Such is life.

Also, I think Fury is six issues, but I can’t find anything concrete. I guess we’ll see!

Travis: I have to get caught up on my Magnetic Fields albums. The last one I got was “i,” but then I went through some years where I barely bought any music. This year, though, I’ve been getting more, so I’ll probably pick up the ones I’m missing soon, although I do hope those early ones aren’t out of print, because that would suck. I’m actually not a huge fan of the Gothic Archies or the 6ths. I don’t know why – the music is just different enough that it doesn’t do much for me.


You can get the early Magnetic Fields from Merge Records in CD, LP, and MP3:


In fact, I think they handle their entire catalog….


rob: Cool. Thanks! I didn’t see them on the House of Tomorrow web site, but I hadn’t looked too hard. Now I have a place to go!

Woohoo, I’ll have to check Rob’s link for Magnetic Fields albums! And there’s also a neat disc where Merritt apparently wrote a few musicals, and the Show Tunes albums collects a few of them. I should also add in re the Wayward Bus/Distant Plastic Trees (on one CD), Merritt doesn’t actually sing on those. It’s a lady whose name escapes me.

I know it’s Canada, Tom, I was making a funny! And Chad is not in the US, he’s still a Canadian. I think.

I don’t know how long Fury Max is to last. I just picked up issue 5 (and, really, Marvel, almost 2 months now until issue 6? Fuckers) and it’s quite good, but I can’t see it wrapping up in one more issue. It’s been pretty good, a slow build to things. Plus, boobies.

Interesting comments on Mind the Gap. I may decide to write in to the book itself, so I’ll save comments for later. I’d say you may have a point about Elle’s amnesia — it’s portrayed as spotty enough that it does seem hard to keep in mind that she IS amnesiac.

“Look, I know Wacker’s job is to promote rather than to, you know, edit” — ooh, BURN!!!! Yeah, I dug Hawkeye, but it does seem like it’s trying a bit too hard to be down to earth and gritty and NOT include “superheroes”. I definitely liked the playing with time element to the book, though. Definitely made it better than it might have been.

As to Third Man’s talk about people influenced by Mazzuchelli, I’d say that guys starting in the ’90s were too old to have been REALLY influenced by him — those guys would have had their formative years in the early ’80s, most likely. The guys you mention would have been young when his stuff was out and featured, and they would have picked up his tricks.

Also, I’d say that you might be referencing the notion that some guys starting in the 90s had the “Image look”. I’d say that might be a case of knowing which way the wind was blowing (and changing/adapting their style to the look that was selling at the time), but also that the Image guys had the Kirby/Byrne/Perez influence that would have still been pervasive at the time. Mazzuchelli didn’t really impact enough other creators at the time that he was big to start a wave until now, years later.

Boy, I’m good at BS, huh?

Also, I suspect that since Joy Division (who I love) had a STRONG VU influence, that’s why you dig them more even than something like Interpol, which is extra watered down. I loves the VU my own self. Also, VU was different enough from album to album that they influenced a lot of different types of artists.

I liked Think Tank, but while I wouldn’t say it felt like a TV pitch per se, I’d say it did feel too much like a TV type story, and something we’ve seen before. If Hawkeye is a genre pastiche, Think Tank is as well. And I also got Harvest, but I didn’t like that nearly as well. It was too unclear what all was going on, and also, it has icky surgery stuff. But, boobies, so….

Higher Earth is getting a bit more interesting, although it too feels like things we’ve seen before. I might stick it out a few more issues.

OK, enough of me. Even Tom’s sick of my ramblings.

Oh, another brief bit about edits in books I read:

In Harvest 1, there was someone saying something about a “habbit”. GRR!

And in Fury Max 5, Fury talks about having to get out of a vehicle quickly. It says “bale out”, but I always thought the term was “bail out”. Have I been mistaken, or was your Marvel editor comment more on the nose?

So as a general thing, why does it seem to me like now that books are lettered on the computer, there are more typos? I have a ton of old comics, and I would wager that there are more typos in books from the last 10-15 years than the books from before that.

Although I reread Spawn stuff I had, and noticed a lot of typos in that. Did Orz get tired from having to spell his own name right, he didn’t get a chance to tell Todd he can’t spell?

Travis: I’m always confused about whether it’s “bale” or “bail.” I think it’s the latter, but I’m really not sure. I’ve looked every so often, but it doesn’t seem like there’s a consensus. It’s vexing.

I forgot to mention that in Think Tank, there’s an example of needing to “reign” something in. That bugs me, too. What I don’t understand about that, is if there are two different spellings of the word, why wouldn’t you look it up? Unless Hawkins or Peteri think that you grab the “reigns” of a horse. If I know there are two different spellings, I always look it up. It’s not hard!

I don’t know if there are more typos. I wonder why that would be?


I believe the correct spelling in that case is “bail out”:



I thought that “reign” in TT didn’t look right. That’s one that does vex me. But I stop to think to try not to be wrong….

I think it’s because people rely on spell check too much. F’r example, “reign” IS a word. It’s just not the RIGHT word there.

Also, I think when someone had to hand letter, they were that much more aware of what they were writing. When you’re physically engaged in doing something like that, you’re probably a little more likely to be getting it right.

Plus, your comment about hucksters in the position of “editors”. Man, I loved that Fear Itself 1 comment….

It’s ‘bail.’ Like bailing out water from a boat. The original expression is based on the idea that you dump out paratroopers from a plane like water from a bucket.


And the correct spelling for TT is “rein in” (see “rein”):


In my real life, I am a professional writer so its all business here. :)


Shouldn’t that be “it’s” all business here, Rob? :)

And thanks for the bail out part. I THOUGHT I was right. ENNIS!!!!


Yes, you are correct. I should have put an apostrophe in there! Beg pardon.

But hey, it’s 12:50 AM here and it’s not like I can bill anyone for these posts. :P


Just bustin’ on ya, Rob! You proved me right in the things I said, so YAY! Plus, you gave us the Magnetic Fields link, so double yay!

Tom Fitzpatrick

August 5, 2012 at 5:56 am

T.P.: The Lord of the Bloggers

All Hail Him!
All Praise Him!
All Revile Him! (sorry couldn’t resist a dig) ;-)


August 6, 2012 at 9:38 pm

On one level, I enjoyed Hawkeye, and I wish I could only enjoy it one level, because I want to love a second Fraction/Aja book as I much I dig the first, but then there’s another level to this book where it completely falls apart.

Hey, what do you mean it falls apart? How could a ‘street-level’ book about a blonde-haired white guy buying his way out of disagreeing with his foreign land-lord fall apart?
I liked this book, but much like I felt alienated by all the scorn heaped on John Carter because it wasn’t that bad, I feel alienated by all the praise this book has gotten, because it isn’t that good. Aja’s art is the only real difference between this and any number of Marvel books from a decade ago.
Oh well ‘they love what I like’ isn’t the worse problem!

I have to laugh at your issues with the letters page, as I had issues with the recap page! “And That’s all you need to know” felt a bit smug to me, as if they were proud of having written a recap that actually managed to tell you all you need to know, which is kind of the bare minimum one would expect from a) a recap page and 2) the first few pages of the first issue of a new series.

This book and Daredevil – showing how rad Marvel could be.

Now, Fraction does give him a bunch of injuries – a shattered pelvis, three broken ribs, a sprained neck, a cracked fibia, left clavicle, and right ulna – but he’s up and walking in six weeks. SIX WEEKS! Okay, it’s COMICS!, but even so – if you’re going to go through the motions of showing how dangerous Clint’s lifestyle is because he doesn’t have superpowers, you have to go all the way. Fraction wusses out.

How long was he in that hospital for? He says six weeks, but when he ditches the hospitals wheel-chair into oncoming traffic(!), he says he’s been in it for months. That MU sliding timeline must play hell with people’s internal calanders!

I’m not a huge fan of Kindt’s cover motif – a giant face every time? – but dang, that’s a cool one.

Technically, the motif is ‘a giant face with something hidden it, every time’! #1 had people as brains, #2 has words in the stitches and this one has a dragon in the hair!
I loves this book.

I have no idea why Esquejo decided to homage The Breakfast Club on this cover. It’s very weird.

Because it puts Simple Minds “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” in your head which is 1) a good track b) thematicaly resonant with the books concept?

I’m totes with you on the title – it’s weird for an American book to have it as the title. Kind of like ‘Morning Glories’ as the title for a book that isn’t referencing early morning erections – feels like someone adopted a phrase without knowing it’s meaning. (Which isn’t necessarily bad – Kurt Cobain lifted the phrase Teen Spirit from some graffiti about him, without knowing it was a reference to a brand of female deodorant). It’s good he’s embraced it a bit with working in the signs, because it is a phrase totally related to the London tube system, and any other reference can probably trace back to the tube.
Heck, he should have just shifted the setting to the UK – he’d have been certain to get a tv show out of it, for the title alone! (I read an article about how British programmers are all about the catchy title, so people will check it out on the electronic guides, often above any interest in the content. The best example I’ve heard was of an apparently awful, short lived show, about a psychic midget who gets framed for a crime and goes on the run, greenlit only because of it’s title: ‘Small Medium At Large’.)

I’m with you on the length of the series – I’d been thinking a full year might be too long. I’m a little worried by Jim’s statements here that he wants the mystery to be long-form. The reason I’d guess it hasn’t been done in comics that much, is that with an issue a month, it will take a damn long time, and we’ll either guess it, or lose interest before then. Not to mention, most long-form stories/mysteries balls the ending (Lost, BSG, Twin Peaks) and lose a lot of long-term heat because of it.
Maybe I’m just scared by the Y: The Last Man reference – that was sixty issues long. This book doesn’t show any signs of having enough in it to sustain a mystery that long yet.

Poor Jim McCann, I’ve said he’s wrong about the title of his series, wrong about the planned length of the series… despite the fact he might be checking the comments! I’m sorry Jim McCann, I’m reading MTG! You also wrote the best issue of ‘Hulk Smash Avengers’!

To me, however, Ennis is one of those writers who needs some boundaries, because he often goes off the rails when his id is unleashed.

It’s true! He doesn’t even seem to need strict boundaries, just someone willing to say ‘no’ every now and again!

Jim McCann seems like a very nice and reasonable guy, but if you have to do that much ‘splainin of your book then maybe it wasn’t all that clear to begin with. “Oh but this meant that, and that meant this, and this person knows this but not that, and hang with me for 20 more issues and it will all make sense.” Umm, no.

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