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CSBG Archive

What I bought – 7 November 2012

Out of the seven days of creation, four were successful and three were unsuccessful. Only one day held sway and made this world a successful world. That was the seventh day, the day of rest, when the Creator did nothing. (Milorad Pavić, from Landscape Painted with Tea)

See ya! Well, that's freaky Geof Darrow FTMFW! I really dig Ivy's costume Aaaahhhhhhh, Greg Land!!!! Man, Templesmith should do a Batman graphic novel, man! At least this comes out! Blasters ahoy! Don't look in the trunk! It's all about the anthologies! So steampunky! Symbolism! Gotta love the giant hardcovers! Looks groovy! VALUE!

Avengers Academy #39 (of 39) (“Commencement”) by Christos Gage (writer), Tom Grummett (penciler), Cory Hamscher (inker), Chris Sotomayor (colorist), and Joe Caramagna (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel.

The final issue of AA is fairly similar to the previous ones: It’s good, not great, and it allows Gage to comment on a lot of interesting things about the Marvel U. and our own U. – the proliferation of celebrity culture is as great in the Marvel U. as it is in ours, so when Striker goes on a date with some random dude who asked him to the prom, of course it’s a photo op (and of course Striker handles it well – he’s an Avenger!). Gage also has some fun with the issue, because it’s a love fest – everyone’s hooking up with someone else, man! (See below) The Academy kids finally confront Hank Pym and the rest of the teachers with the fact that they know the Avengers trained them because they thought that the kids would turn out bad, but Gage abandoned that storyline a long time ago, and Pym and the rest brush it aside nicely. Basically, this is a wrap-up issue that doesn’t need to destroy anything, because Gage, as I’ve pointed out for a while, is writing the anti-superhero comic. While Bendis wraps up his run on Avengers by bringing back every character he’s ever killed off and putting every toy back in its wrapping, Gage has the freedom to do some different things – not a lot of freedom, because some of these characters are already locked into Avengers Arena – but he does the illusion of change well, and that’s all we can ask for with mainstream superhero comics. I mean, Maddie is reset to a degree, but she’s learned so much about how to take care of herself that the final pages of this series show how different her life is going to be. Meanwhile, Gage at least hints at the idea that these kids will one day take over for the Avengers, even though we know it’s not going to happen. In a superhero universe where Kitty Pryde can inexplicably age about 12 years since her introduction but absolutely no one around her has ever gotten any older (except, it seems, Marc Spector?), the idea that these kids will one day be the Avengers while Hank Pym and his generation retire and telling kids to get off their lawns is laughable. But Gage is able to pretend well, and that’s all that matters for this final issue.

Anyway, Avengers Academy was never quite the best comic out there, but it was far more interesting than a lot of people gave it credit for. I’ll be interested to give it a re-read.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Awwwww!

Colder #1 (of 5) by Paul Tobin (writer), Juan Ferreyra (artist), and Nate Piekos (letterer). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Dark Horse.

Well, dang, that’s a freaky cover. But very neat-o!

As you might recall, I’m a huge fan of Juan Ferreyra and wish he got more high-profile work now that Rex Mundi is over. He’s been off the radar for a little while, but now he has this new five-issue mini-series out, and hot damn! does it look good. I mean, I figured it would, but hot damn! Ferreyra gives us a creepy “villain” named Nimble Jack, who doesn’t look too bad in that panel below but is – trust me – very creepy. As usual with Ferreyra, his details are wonderful, his people are interesting and different so they look like, you know, real people, and his colors are phenomenal. Ferreyra makes Jack insane just from his facial expressions as he moves through the world (people can’t see him) and in the way he moves – almost like a spider. His lead female, Reece, is attractive but not ridiculously so, and Ferreyra does a really nice job when she’s attacked by two muggers (who seem a bit more organized than regular muggers), because the scene begins with her hair in a bun, in a professional look, and he remembers to show the bun coming apart as her world goes a bit crazy. It’s those kind of details that make his art so fun to look at. Plus, he uses “special effects” very well – they never overwhelm the art but enhance it very nicely.

Tobin’s story begins in 1941 at an insane asylum, where a fire starts mysteriously and Jack shows up, telling a comatose patient – Declan – that he’s going to get colder. What this means is that his body temperature starts dropping. Jack also speaks of being “hungry,” and it appears he eats madness – the panel below is when he convinces a prisoner in jail to commit suicide – although it could be despair, I suppose. Anyway, 70 years later, Reece, a nurse, is taking care of Declan, who hasn’t aged a day. His skin is blue-ish, he never speaks, and Reece can’t find out anything about his past. Tobin presumably has the muggers show up so a policewoman can escort Reece home and Reece can explain Declan’s deal to her … and us, in the process. But the muggers still seem awfully well-organized, and I imagine they’ll be back again. Jack shows up in Reece’s apartment and begins talking to Declan, so there’s that. Then the books ends with a surprise … well, it’s a surprise to Reece, but we know the book is about Declan and his condition, so it’s not too big a surprise to the reader. But still.

It’s a pretty keen book, and the first issue gets us nicely into the story, although we still don’t know too much about the plot. That’s okay, though, because it’s an intriguing set-up. And, of course, the book is absolutely beautiful. That’s always nice!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

That can't be good

Deadpool #1 (“In Wade We Trust”) by Gerry Duggan (writer), Brian Posehn (writer), Tony Moore (artist), Val Staples (colorist), and Joe Sabino (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel NOW!

The first of two Marvel NOW! books this week is Deadpool, and I really can’t imagine how Duggan and Posehn are going to keep this up. In case you didn’t know, the first arc – at least – is about Deadpool hunting down and killing undead presidents, and I really hope that’s only the first arc, because you can’t sustain a series with that. But I must admit – this first issue is frickin’ hilarious. Some crazy necromancer wearing a S.H.I.E.L.D. shirt, a kilt, and with an American flag painted on his face decides to bring back every dead president because he’s upset about the direction in which the country is headed, but unfortunately, the presidents decide to destroy the country instead of saving it. Somehow he manages to raise every president, and Duggan and Posehn wisely don’t get into that too much. At the beginning, he raises Harry S Truman just as Captain America tries to stop him, and of course a newspaper photographer takes a picture of Cap decapitating Truman with his shield. So S.H.I.E.L.D. tasks an agent to stop the dead presidents off the books, so to speak, and when she heads to New York to figure out how to stop an undead Franklin Delano Roosevelt, she finds out that Deadpool is already in the city, stopping that monster that Geof Darrow draws so nicely on the cover (although what it’s doing spitting out – or swallowing – cats and dogs is beyond me), and she decides that Deadpool is the perfect person to kill undead presidents. So it’s on!

Is this somewhat tasteless? A little bit, but it’s really not too bad. Yes, Deadpool makes wheelchair jokes about FDR, but he’s Deadpool – that’s kind of what he does. Duggan and Posehn do a nice job keeping the story moving quickly, and the double-page spread of all the presidents hanging out at Independence Hall is pretty funny (and it’s fun to try to identify all the presidents; I’m not very good at it, unfortunately – without looking anyone up, I know Nixon, Grant, Taft, Reagan, LBJ, Kennedy, Jackson, Washington, and Lincoln, but that’s about it). I mean, it’s a Deadpool comic – the whole point is to make it as ridiculous as possible and hope that it’s funny. Luckily, Duggan and Posehn are up to the task on this issue, at least. They also kill a very good writer in Marvel’s stable during the issue, which is also quite humorous.

Tony Moore is a fine, fine artist, so he does a nice job. As I’ve mentioned before, his cartoony style helps take silliness and make it “realistic” because if everything is cartoonish, then the goofy stuff will fit right in. The battle between Deadpool and FDR is really nicely done, and Moore does a good job with the various presidents. Of course, Moore seems to be very slow, so I imagine that this book will have a guest artist soon enough, which is too bad. Moore is a good choice for this comic, and if Duggan and Posehn are only doing one arc with this plot, it would be nice if Moore could actually finish it.

I haven’t read a ton of Deadpool solo issues, but I think this is the best one I’ve ever read, and that includes the one where he goes back in time and gets dropped into that 1960s Amazing Spider-Man issue. If this is just a short arc and Moore stays on the book for the entire arc, I can easily see picking this sucker up in trade. For someone who thinks the entire idea of Deadpool is stupid, I call that progress!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Thor = No Fun Whatsoever

Detective Comics #14 (“Unnatural Selection”/”Seeds and Dirt”) by John Layman (writer), Jason Fabok (artist, “Selection”), Andy Clarke (artist, “Seeds”), Jeromy Cox (colorist, “Selection”), Blond (colorist, “Seeds”), and Dezi Sienty (letterer). $3.99, 28 pgs, FC, DC.

Layman’s second issue of ‘Tec is as good as the first, which is nice. We ended on a cliffhanger, and Layman resolves that by having the Penguin rescue Bruce Wayne, so that his ultimate plan – to be loved by the populace (which, to be honest, is a bit lame – hasn’t Oswald read his Machiavelli?) – comes to fruition. But then Layman quickly moves on to Poison Ivy’s scheme, which involves destroying polluting companies that all happen to be owned by Oswald Cobblepot, so Bruce knows he probably should stop her before the Penguin decides to, you know, kill her. Damian, douchey as ever, thinks saving Ivy is, well, stupid, but that’s because he hasn’t hit puberty yet and hasn’t seen her in that skin-tight outfit. Yowza! Batman heads off, figuring out a new way to resist Ivy, but his new way means that he doesn’t realize that it’s a trap until it’s too late (I wish I had made that image, but I stole it from here). Sucks to be you, Batman!

Layman is doing a nice job with this comic so far, and I like how he (and DC) is giving the reader good value by tying the back-up stories into the main arc, but because they’re back-up stories, Fabok doesn’t have to draw them. This back-up story (which is “to be continued”) explains why a certain character shows up at the end of this issue, and we’ve already seen how the Penguin’s right-hand man was able to rise through the ranks. If DC is going to charge 4 dollars for their single issues, I’m glad they make good use of the 28 pages. And I imagine Layman had to read up on what Ivy is doing and why he can use her as a bad guy, because I’m fairly certain he hasn’t been reading Birds of Prey. But hey! DC using footnotes is always all right with me.

Fabok continues to impress me, which is still surprising, because I’ve become less of a fan of his kind of style over the years. Fabok’s quite precise, which I’ve always liked (even as it’s fallen slightly out of fashion), and I guess I just like that he’s aping Gary Frank, who I like. I think I mentioned last time that his biggest problem seems to be facial expressions, which is kind of a weakness when you’re drawing Layman’s scripts, as he enjoys doing things where facial changes can tell us a lot, but it’s a Batman comic, so it’s not like that’s going to be the main focus anyway. Andy Clarke’s slightly more quirky style fits well in the book because it’s not a total shift so tonally, it works, but it’s different enough to give us a different interpretation of the material. I’ll have to see if Fabok is able to keep this up – this kind of detailed art tends to get sloppy quickly if the artist gets slow, and I don’t know who DC has lined up as a fill-in – but so far, I like the artwork. I didn’t think I would.

I buy this, obviously, because I really like Layman’s writing, but I wasn’t sure if it would translate well to the DCnU. After two issues, it’s working well. I’m keen to see where it goes from here!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Suck it, Damian!

Iron Man #1 (“Believe 1 of 5: Demons and Genies”) by Kieron Gillen (writer), Greg Land (penciler), Jay Leisten (inker), Guru eFX (colorist), and Joe Caramagna (letterer). $3.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel NOW!

Look, I like Kieron Gillen. I think he’s a very good, if not great, writer, and the times I’ve met him in person he’s been very friendly, very willing to chat, and very funny. He has paid his dues with comics from Marvel that were pretty good but were cancelled quickly because his name wasn’t big enough, and now he’s gotten his chance to work on the big guns at Marvel, and I suppose his work on the X-Men was successful enough that Marvel let him have a crack at Iron Man. Good for him, say I. He deserves it.

But for some reason, Marvel keeps sticking him with Greg Land. Now, I’m sure Gillen wouldn’t say anything negative about Greg Land even if he hates Land’s art (and I have no idea how he feels about Land’s art), not only because that would be kind of a dick move but also because you don’t bite the hand that feeds you. I’m cool with that. I just cannot read a good deal of Gillen’s work for Marvel simply because Greg Land draws it. I mean, the guy’s art is so bad that I can barely read the words on the page. The fact that of the two Marvel NOW! books that Gillen is writing (I think it’s only two), Iron Man has a much bigger chance to succeed that Young Avengers, which will feature Gillen writing and the sublime Jamie McKelvie on art and which will be, guaranteed, 1000 times better than Iron Man (SCIENCE!) is just depressing. You know how you don’t like some artwork, but you know why others do like it? Sometimes it’s just a matter of taste. BUT I CANNOT UNDERSTAND ANYONE WHO LIKES GREG LAND’S ARTWORK. It’s like telling me you enjoy punching yourself in the groin repeatedly. It’s like telling me you really, really love Vegemite. It’s like telling me you think Franklin Pierce is the best U.S. president. It’s like telling me you roam the desert on weekends eating lizard shit. It’s like telling me you like putting cats in your pants. I literally have no way to communicate with you. You might as well be speaking Hiri Motu.

You might think that Greg Land would be a good fit on Iron Man, because the dude wears armor all the time. Well, okay. The first two pages of this comic, in which Tony hovers over New York in his armor, don’t make my eyes bleed. The coloring is nice. But even at the end, when Tony reappears in the armor, he’s still fighting people who are not in armor, so we have to see Greg Land’s people, and he’s fighting, so there’s action, and that’s just no good. The perfect Greg Land comic would be Iron Man posing for 20 pages with no one else in the picture. Maybe then I wouldn’t get a twitch in my face when I read a Greg Land comic.

It’s really a bizarre experience reading a Greg Land comic. You spend so much time trying to figure out which Internet image he stole, and then you start looking at the way the figures don’t fit in with the background (like the first panel in Buenos Aires, where the woman on the cell phone looks like she is standing in a club but she’s in the middle of the street), and then you start to notice how the words don’t always fit the facial expressions because Land isn’t actually drawing the facial expressions, he just trying to find images on the Internet that fit the words, and then you notice that Tony kind of looks like Kevin Bacon in one panel and then you start to wonder if he looks like Kevin Bacon in every panel or if Land is using different male celebrities to get all the various poses in which Tony appears … and then you wake up digging your brain out through your nose with a spoon. Yeah, it’s no fun.

Gillen’s story, unfortunately, is kind of dull, too. Gillen followed Fraction on Uncanny X-Men, and now he’s following him on Iron Man, and this feels weirdly like Fraction’s first issue on Invincible Iron Man. Of course, it’s following Warren Ellis, too, as Gillen uses Extremis as his first plot, but the way the plot plays out plus the similarity of the godawful Land art to the godawful Larroca art is enough to make this feel like Invincible Iron Man #1. The Gillen wit is a little bit in evidence, but this issue is more just pure plotting, and while Gillen can come up with some nice plots, they’re not his strongest suit, so it feels a bit like Gillen-lite. Of course, all this means is that it’s just a middle-of-the-road comic from the writing standpoint, which means it reads like Shakespeare had a love child with Elizabeth Bishop compared to the artwork. But it’s still not great.

I rarely get to rant about the fact that Greg Land has a job in the Big Two when so many (read: 99%) of artists who don’t have jobs at the Big Two are better than he is, but that’s because I avoid books with his artwork like the plague. I hoped against hope that maybe he would try drawing this like he used to draw DC comics back in the 1990s, because those were pretty good. Yeah, it was a small, small hope, but you never know. Obviously, I read this because I’m reading all the Marvel NOW! books, but I’m glad I don’t even have to consider whether or not I should get the trade. I can just go back to ignoring Greg Land comics and live a happy, fulfilling life. Sorry, KG!

Rating: ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Chick fight!

Legends of the Dark Knight #2 (“Crisis in Identity”) by B. Clay Moore (writer), Ben Templesmith (artist), and Saida Temofonte (letterer). $3.99, 30 pgs, FC, DC.

DC’s digital comic mixes it up for the second issue, with one story comprising the entire issue instead of three stories, like the first issue did. I have to say – I LOVE this business model. Put the stories up on-line, let people who dig that read them (and I think they’re cheaper than regular comics, right?), and then publish them for the dinosaurs like me. And, of course, let the creators do whatever the hell they want. Last issue we had two stories starring Full-On Dickhead Batman, and this time around, we get a Joker story in which the Joker is insane but not just out slaughtering people, which is refreshing. He actually has a plan – it’s a diabolical plan and it gets people killed, but it’s a plan.

So the Joker is grumpy that Killer Croc is lurking around and taking business away from the real villains, i.e. the Joker. So he kidnaps the Mad Hatter and forces him to hypnotize regular citizens into believing they’re Batman and sending them down into the sewers to stop Croc, where they inevitably get killed (see below). It’s a ridiculous plan, sure, but it’s the Joker, so of course it’s ridiculous. But it’s still clever, and it doesn’t involve the Joker butchering hundreds of school children or whatever the hell else he does these days. Moore gives us a Joker who’s obviously crazy but who still thinks things through, and I like that Joker. Even when he kills a person, it’s ridiculous but in-character. And, of course, because he’s kidnapping prominent Gothamites, eventually he’s going to kidnap Bruce Wayne and convince that sniveling punk that he’s Batman. I wonder how that will go?

Templesmith does his Templesmith thing, and I love it, although it’s not for everyone, I suppose. I think he would do wonders on a Batman book, but I suppose he’s not interested or DC’s not interested in giving it to him, and that’s okay. He draws a great Joker, which isn’t surprising. I don’t know – it’s Templesmith. What are you going to say about it?

I know DC is publishing at least a few more of these, and I will keep my eye out for them and the talent involved. But they’re 2-for-2 so far!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Dang, Croc!

The Manhattan Projects #7 (“Above and Beyond”) by Jonathan Hickman (writer), Nick Pitarra (artist), Jordie Bellaire (colorist), and Rus Wooton (letterer). $3.50, 20 pgs, FC, Image.

I worry a little about Jonathan Hickman. This is, I believe, the second time he’s had to write a letter to the fans in the back of one of his Image books about why his Image books are so late. The Manhattan Projects is actually not that late, but it’s a bit off schedule, but it’s nowhere near as bad as Secret, which Hickman addresses. He also mentions Feel Better Now (originally scheduled for autumn 2011, but now coming out in March 2013), in case you were wondering. I mention this only because I have to assume it’s Hickman’s fault that his books are so late – the artwork is good on both Image books, but it doesn’t look too intricate, so unless Pitarra and Bodenheim actually can’t work on the books, I assume it’s Hickman (let’s not forget S.H.I.E.L.D., which technically hasn’t ended but which seems to be at least somewhat Dustin Weaver’s issue). Why is this a problem? Well, if Hickman writes full script (and I assume he does), he’s writing those two books plus, what?, two Marvel comics? Three? That’s a lot of comics in a month. Now, maybe Hickman can knock out a script during the time he’s taking his morning shit, but I’ve written scripts before, and they’re not that easy to bang out. Especially if you’re dealing with big, complicated ideas and you’re plotting long-term, which it seems that Hickman is doing. It’s great that Hickman is writing for Marvel and still wanting to write these comics for Image, but maybe he should realize that they’re simply not going to come out on time and he should get more in the can before releasing things. The Manhattan Projects is an ongoing, and we’ve seen that other creative teams build in breaks so that the artists can catch up, but if this is on Hickman, maybe he needs to build in breaks to catch up on scripts. If the thing is a mini-series, maybe don’t solicit it until it’s completely finished. I don’t know, but it’s a shame that these cool comics might be losing readers because Hickman bit off more than he can chew. Feel Better Now has been expanded from its original length and it’s a complete work (and Hickman is doing the art, so he doesn’t have to pay anyone to work on it, obviously), so its delay isn’t as important, but these other comics – I wish they would find a bigger audience, but the fact that they come out so infrequently probably means that people drift away far more easily. If it’s Hickman’s fault, perhaps he needs to think about reining it in a bit on the comics. You don’t need to write 10 comics a month, sir!

Anyway, The Manhattan Projects continues to be very good. Just look at that awesome panel down below!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

It's like Hickman had a camera inside the Truman White House!

Mars Attacks #5 by John Layman (writer), John McCrea (artist), and Andrew Elder (colorist). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, IDW.

The first arc of Mars Attacks ends a bit weakly, unfortunately. It’s still a wacky, violent comic, but the general’s big plot to “save” the Martian invasion (by destroying the Earth) shows up kind of abruptly and ends just as abruptly. The three humans who we’ve seen over the past few issues do their part saving the world, but it seems … a bit easy for them? The Martians are defeated, of course, so it’s not like everything is super at the end of this issue, but it does seem to get cleaned up a bit easily. It’s like one of those movies – you know, like The Avengers – where getting the team together is so much fun that the actual threat they have to face is a bit disappointing. The issues before this were non-stop action and fun, with each situation somehow topping the previous one in insanity, but when it comes time to pull it all together, it’s not quite as much fun. Layman sets up his next arc (I think he’s writing one more arc) fairly well, and perhaps this will feel better as the fifth chapter in a 10-issue run, but as the end of the first arc, it’s not quite as good as the previous issues.

McCrea is still having a blast, though, and it shows. So there’s that.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Handy, that

Stumptown: The Caser of the Baby in the Velvet Case #3 (of 5) by Greg Rucka (writer), Matthew Southworth (artist/colorist), and Rico Renzi (colorist). $3.99, 24 pgs, FC, Oni Press.

Things happen. Dex gets angry at the Feds, the Feds get angry at Dex, the skinheads show up again, lesbians are angry at each other. You know, things happen.

But let’s talk about the artwork for a bit. You’ll notice that both Renzi and Southworth are credited with the coloring, and I wish I knew more about how things get colored – as I assume it’s all digital, I’m going to say what programs the colorists use and what tools in those programs they use, and how they wash the pencils and all that. I’ve met Southworth a few times in person and I’m a friend of his on Facebook, and I should ask him, because I’m not a huge fan of the coloring in this book. Of course, just saying that might get me punched (or the digital equivalent), but it’s not like it’s terrible coloring, I just don’t like it all that much in the context of this comic. As I’ve noticed with regard to this series as opposed to the first one, it seems that Southworth’s pencil work has become a bit less jagged (that’s not an insult – I don’t mind the jaggedness), and it looks like the colors are a bit softer. In this issue, some of the coloring looks really soft, and the reason I don’t love it is because it clashes a bit with the tone of the comic. Rucka’s story isn’t all doom-’n’-gloom, of course, but it’s still a “Rockford Files”-style private eye story, and the coloring – especially the shadows on faces – make it look far too … soft. Some of the outdoor scenes look too suffused with nostalgic sunlight – as when Dex confronts the Feds – again clashing with the tone and with Portland itself, which is not often suffused with nostalgic sunlight. There’s a large shot of Dex running through Union Station which is, frankly, gorgeous, because Union Station does have that “old-school” vibe that the coloring helps bring out, but it feels like it should stand in more contrast with what’s going on around it instead of fitting in so well. This story is, it seems, taking place during the summer (or at least the spring), but the outdoors are too brown, which feels like it’s part of the “softening” of the entire book – the brown makes things feel a bit hazy and indistinct. This coloring actually reminds me of Steven Griffin’s on Hawaiian Dick, but that look was to evoke a feeling for the 1950s and even then, the colors were “soft” but bright. With this coloring, we’re losing a bit more of Southworth’s crisp lines, and I just don’t think it’s a good fit. Feel free to disagree!

Now, it’s still a good read, and Southworth is still doing a very good job with the way the characters interact with each other – the coloring doesn’t affect that. Mim’s shift from sadness to glee when she’s thinking about the fight with her girlfriend to when Dex tells her about her guitar is very nice. I just don’t think the coloring is as good as it could be. Oh well.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

The Feds suck, amirite?

Thought Bubble: The Leeds Comics Art Festival Anthology 2012. “Underpants” by Lucia Rose Harris (writer), Tony Harris (artist), and JG Roshell (letterer); “To Swap or Not To Swap” by Pete Doree (writer) and Sean Phillips (artist); “Puffy” by Skottie Young (writer/artist); “A Significant Portraiture” by Gail Simone (writer), Tula Lotay (artist), John Paul Bove (colorist), and JG Roshell (letterer); “Elephantmen and Strontium Dog” by Richard Starkings (writer) and Boo Cook (artist); “Due Returns” by Matthew Sheret (writer) and Kristyna Baczynski (artist); “Soul Food” by Emma Vieceli (writer/artist); “I’m Through” by Ivan Brandon (writer), Leigh Gallagher (artist), and Simon Bowland (letterer); “Love and Let Die” by Clark Burscough (writer), Richard Hughes (artist), and Adam Cadwell (colorist); “Dad’s Ear” by Steve Reynolds (writer/artist); “The Clicking Machine” by Martin Simpson (writer/artist); “Exasperated” by Ben Haith (writer/artist); “Half Past Danger” by Stephen Mooney (writer/artist) and Jordie Bellaire (colorist); “Just One Example of How My Life as a Comic Book Artist Has Been Awesome” by Dave Johnson (writer/artist); “The Immortality Drive” by Lee Barnett (writer) and Ollie Redding (artist); “Soon” by Warren Ellis (writer), Tula Lotay (artist), Ollie Redding (colorist), and JG Roshell (letterer); “Get Me Off this Freaking Moor” by Kate Beaton (writer/artist); “Transreality” by Chris Lackey (writer/artist); “Charley Loves Robots” by JG Roshell (writer/letterer) and Gabriel Bautista (artist/colorist); “Cheat Wyrm” by Fiona Staples (writer/artist). $3.99, 30 pgs, FC, Image.

This is an odd little anthology, designed like a newspaper (a small, hip, weekly kind of newspaper, not one of those soulless corporate ones who never report the real news, man!) that you unfold and read. It helps that it’s printed on rough, (probably) recycled paper that feels newspapery-ish without the ink coming off on your hands. Anyway, it’s an anthology about the Leeds Comics Art Festival, which begins on Sunday, and it looked kind of cool, so I bought it.

As I like tangents, I should mention here that I’ve never been to Leeds, but I thought about studying at the University of Leeds once when I still considered getting my doctorate (which foundered on the shores of my language ignorance; I needed to know both French and German if I wanted to pursue my doctorate, and that wasn’t happening), because Ian Wood, probably the foremost Merovingian scholar in the world today, teaches there. Plus, by the time I got my Master’s, I was almost 30 and had been married for some years. I’m sure my wife would have followed me to north-central England, but I doubt if we would have been able to have a family so early, and she’s older than I am, so it wasn’t prudent to wait. Ah, the choices we make in life! I suppose I should have learned French and German years before – it might have made the choice more interesting. Wait, are we talking about comics?

This is a pretty cool comic, actually. None of the stories are all that long, and some are even shorter than a page, but the talent is pretty keen. It’s nice to see Tony Harris drawing something, and Gail Simone’s one-page story about a Victorian lady entering a Victorian comic book store is pretty funny (see below). Baczynski’s Chris Ware-esque art is beautiful, and “Due Returns” is a charming story, although I’m not quite sure what happens at the end of it, and Emma Vieceli’s gorgeous artwork is always nice to see even in on only one page. “Love and Let Die” is a hilarious take on a Bond villain, and Dave Johnson’s account of his first meeting with Bob Layton is pretty funny. Ellis writes a charming ode to the future, like most of his work, but it’s a much more beautiful future than he usually gives us (thanks to Lotay’s marvelous art), and of course Kate Beaton brings the funny (her strip is a reprint, I’m pretty sure). There are also some nice entries from competitors that make it clear that even if DC and Marvel are busy circling the drain, young people still love making comics and they have plenty of talent! Overall, this is a fairly slight anthology mainly because of the space, but it’s still well worth a look. It’s always fun to see creators doing some new and interesting things!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Look how immodest she is!

Westward #2 (of 10) (“Adjustment Period”) by Ken Krekeler (writer/artist). $2.99, 32 pgs, FC, Kinetic Press.

The second issue of Westward isn’t quite as good as the first, mainly because Krekeler has some ‘splainin’ to do, so he needs to slow down just a bit, but it’s still very good. The big surprise of the first issue is explained, as we learn that Victor is not Victor, but a robot/android/clone of the original that had ten years to assimilate all the parts that went into its construction, which accounts for “Victor’s” coma. In this issue, “Victor” reveals to the world that he is, in fact, not Victor, and things go a bit nuts. We also learn that Harold West, Victor’s father, wanted to create these androids and Victor, due to his horrible and fatal accident, was the perfect prototype, but Harold West died before he could write very much down, so no one knows quite how he did it. Victor, therefore, is unique.

It’s an interesting world-building issue to a degree, although I suppose the “world” is just Victor and how he has changed. Krekeler is still flashing back to Victor’s life before the accident, and his character arc in the flashback is as important as how “Victor” is starting to learn what he – it? – is. Of course, Victor had enemies, and one of them has been waiting for ten years for him to wake up, although I’m not sure what’s going to happen with that, because why would you want revenge on an android that happens to share someone’s face? But we’ll find out eventually, I assume. I also have a feeling I can figure out something about the plot, but I hope I’m wrong. We’ll see.

Krekeler’s art continues to be very nice, with his use of models and photographs integrated quite well into the steampunk world he has imagined. Unlike a certain Mr. Land, he uses models to get poses and shading right, but draws them into the book, so they look much more natural than whatever Land is doing. Plus, you can tell he’s having fun with the machinery, which is good, because if you’re doing a steampunk comic and you don’t like drawing machinery, you’re a foolish, foolish person.

Krekeler was running a Kickstarter to get issue #3 done, and I really hope he’s able to do the entire series. I’m really enjoying it, and if you can find it anywhere, you should pick it up. If you can’t, you can order it on-line!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Sucks to be him

X-Factor #246 (“Short Story”) by Peter David (writer), Paul Davidson (artist), Rachelle Rosenberg (colorist), Cory Petit (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel.

After the traumatic events of X-Factor sort-of falling apart, David throws us a curve by giving us a story about Pip, who claims to be the real heart of X-Factor. What happens when someone figures that out? Oh, no good can come of it!

It’s a pretty decent story, as Pip pays some dude to mug a hot woman so he can save her and then, of course, have sex with her. Pip is ethically challenged, in other words. But David points out that someone has to take paying jobs for X-Factor to stay in business, because they keep going off and doing things that are not related to paying jobs in the slightest. He also takes care of some large threats that no one else knows about because Pip has, after all, been around quite a lot and has picked up some nice tricks. David, however, always has something up his sleeve, as Pip learns at the end of the issue. Weirdly enough, it appears that this issue isn’t even “to be continued” – isn’t that just like Peter David, ending on a cliffhanger and then moving on, only returning to the traumatic event several issues later? That’s why he knows how to write a serial publication!

Davidson’s art is fine, although I don’t think he gets the final page too well. He’s trying to get Pip and the bad guy into the panel, and it’s really awkward. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s a really poorly laid-out page. Oh well.

It appears that in the Brave New Marvel Universe (which is totally not brand new at all, no sir!), X-Factor will be the only monthly book I know I’m buying in single issues. I still have to make a month-by-month decision about Hawkeye, but I know I’m getting X-Factor. That’s really weird. As recently as, what, five years ago, I was buying quite a bit of DC and Marvel in single issues. They’ve made it so very easy to drop books or wait for the trade, though, so who am I to not take advantage of it? It’s just weird.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Don't fuck with the troll!

B.P.R.D.: Plague of Frogs volume 4 by Mike Mignola (writer), John Arcudi (writer), Guy Davis (artist), Dave Stewart (colorist), and Clem Robins (letterer). $34.99, 402 pgs, FC, Dark Horse.

Well, I guess I’m kind of getting caught up with B.P.R.D. now that Dark Horse is bringing these giant chunks of the comic out. This, of course, looks superb. I can’t wait to dig in!

Blacklung by Chris Wright (writer/artist). $24.99, 118 pgs, BW, Fantagraphics.

In this book, a teacher is shanghaied by pirates, and the captain orders him to write his (the captain’s) memoirs. Sounds keen. This is new, but apparently it’s been in the works for a while. Good to see it’s finally in print!

The Annotated Sandman volume 2 by Leslie Klinger (ed.). $49.99, 519 pgs, BW, DC/Vertigo.

As you might recall from the first volume, this is far too large to fit on my scanner, so I asked my groovy assistant to hold it while I took a picture of it:

You may be distracted by how awesome my assistant is. Don’t forget, though – this project is awesomesauce, and you should totes pick it up!

Spaceman: The Deluxe Edition by Brian Azzarello (writer), Eduardo Risso (artist), Patricia Mulvihill (colorist), Giulia Brusco (colorist), and Clem Robins (letterer). $24.99, 193 pgs, FC, DC/Vertigo.

I want to point out once again that DC has no idea how to price their trade paperbacks, and that’s just fine with me. This is nine issues at three dollars a pop, giving us $27 (or $26.91, if you want to get technical) for you to buy it in single issues. Yet DC charges $25 for a very nice hardcover collection, and presumably the softcover trade will be even less. Hey, if it works for DC, that’s cool, but this is the second straight Vertigo trade I bought that was priced very weirdly, after the third volume of American Vampire collected 12 issues but cost 17 dollars. I can live with it, though – it’s not like you need to read this right on release, unless you really want to discuss it on-line. And who wants to do that?

**********

So we had an election, and even if you hated both the presidential candidates, I hope you voted anyway. Local elections are often far more important than the national one, because the politicians are much more beholden to their constituents and they can focus on more local issues, so even if you left the presidential part of the ballot blank (which you’re allowed to do), I’m sure there were plenty of local issues for you to vote on. The election wasn’t as close as most people not named Nate Silver thought it would be, and I’m very curious to see what the Republicans do over the next four years. Some of them are realizing that they might need to tack to the center, while the talking head blowhards – you know, the ones who don’t actually have to work in Congress – think Romney wasn’t conservative enough. I think if the Republicans had tried to make Romney more conservative or ran a more conservative candidate, Obama would have won in a historic landslide, but that’s just me. It seems like they’ve really misread the country, and already people like Rush Limbaugh (yes, I know he’s not an elected official, but he’s still popular among conservatives) are insulting the groups they should be trying to court even as he’s wondering how to court them. Here’s a clue: Don’t call all Hispanics illegal immigrants and say that all women have abortions every time they get pregnant. You just sound like an idiot. I’m fascinated by the next four years, because the age of white male dominance in the electorate is over, and I wonder if the Republicans will realize that. I think they have to.

Speaking of the election, I don’t like Schadenfreude too much, but I can’t stop laughing at White People Mourning Romney. I’d probably laugh as much if the people were mourning Obama, actually. I just don’t know why people get so worked up about an election. Hey, conservatives – I’ll write the same thing I wrote to liberals in 2004: If you hate Obama, I can tell you the exact date he won’t be in office anymore. That’s one of the great things about the United States. I knew exactly when in 2009 George Bush was going to leave office, and you know when Obama will. Deal with it.

Anyway, let’s move on from that! In honor of 50 years of James Bond, here are several Bond Girl .gifs. No Michelle Yeoh, though. For shame!

I have no iPod songs this week, because this is already quite late and it takes a while to track down all the links. I’m late with this this week for a few reasons. First: on Wednesday I met Layne, who comments here occasionally and was a long-time reader of my old, personal blog. He was in town from Winnipeg, so I met him and we had lunch. I probably talked way too much (I tend to do that, in case you hadn’t figured it out yet), but I, at least, had a very cool time (I won’t speak for him). Then my daughter came home from school early, so I had to take care of her. Then, yesterday (Thursday), she had a doctor’s appointment downtown, so that took a while. Then, today (Friday), she had another doctor’s appointment (my daughter has a lot of doctor’s appointments), and I like to eat lunch with my wife on Friday (she takes the day off), so basically, real life kept intruding on my writing. I was joking around with my wife earlier today that I was letting down my readers, but she was unimpressed. She’s so cruel!!!! So this is late. Sorry!

However, I can still fire up some Totally Random Lyrics! I forgot them last week, and no one got the ones from two weeks ago – they were from “Powderworks” by Midnight Oil. Let’s check out some cheery ones, shall we?

“And I picked on the whims of a thousand or more,
Still pursuing the path that’s been buried for years,
All the dead wood from jungles and cities on fire,
Can’t replace or relate, can’t release or repair,
Take my hand and I’ll show you what was and will be.”

I’ll give you a hint: I don’t like this band. Oh, I may have just given it away!!!!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone. Be excellent to each other!

68 Comments

That Greg Land Woman who is doing the punching looks both drunk and tired.

The art that you chose to use from The Manhattan Projects makes it look like the best “Where’s Waldo?” book ever created.

Appears as though my dislike of Land meant that I made the right choice to drop Iron Man with Fraction leaving.

Oh, and PARTY ON DUDES!

Why not use Land to prop up a struggling book? I assume he has his fans, there is no sense in using him on a book that is gonna sell.

Then again, maybe Gillen is the only one at Marvel that will work with him since he’s (Gillen) the new(ish) guy.

The guy that tweeted that Louisiana should secede ought to think twice come hurricane season.

I was astonished by how much overt racism was to be found on twitter and facebook after the election. For one, it’s just sad. For two, THIS STUFF LIVES ON THE INTERNET FOREVER. Good luck with that job search, but I suppose it’s just easier to blame your lack of employment on the black guy.

Randy: Well, she is tired, but I don’t think she’s supposed to be drunk.

Oz: That’s true, sir. I’d read them if they had pictures like that!

jjc: I doubt if the presence of Land is enough to prop up a struggling book. And maybe he can choose his assignments, so he doesn’t want to do that stuff.

Yeah, that Louisiana guy cracked me up. And it’s the racism is really depressing. There are plenty of good reasons to vote against Obama (and I like him, but even I think there are some things he could have done better), but the racist rage directed at him is kind of sad.

I find it amusing that when someone makes a statement like “I can’t believe the direction our country is taking. (Name of State) should secede from the Union!” it is almost always a state that would instantly be counted as a Third World country. California has the 4th largest economy in the world. They could probably get by. Mississippi, not so much.

I really, really love Vegemite.

*cough*

I find it amazing as an outsider that I have heard all my life that the USA is somewhere where anyone from any background can come and succeed. And now very prominent people on the right are straight out complaining that the white man is not in charge anymore. Bill O’Reilly openly lamenting the lack of the white majority being in power, and that it’s not the USA he grew up in.

It’s almost like a “you can come in and have a successful business, run a big company, invent some things, but remember how is in charge of this country, it’s ours not yours”.

you dont like joy division?

The O’Reilly types are playing to their crowd, he may or may not believe what he is saying, but I bet he’ll have record ratings the next 4 years by saying it. What he says sounds dumb, but he is far from dumb.

My job is funded by the Department for Developmental Services, so I’m personally relieved that those social services will likely continue, and the government’s money won’t be blown on more wars. Suck it, Mitt!

Don’t worry, I don’t think O’Reilly is dumb for one second, I may not share all his views, but I respect the man and his knowledge/passion (most of the time).

lol @Caanan.

What everyone always needs to know, is that you need to be weened on that stuff really really early. There’s no other way you can possibly enjoy it.

Thanks to ksebek for mentioning that it’s Joy Division in the lyrics — The Atrocity Exhibition, right? God, that was bugging me trying to think of what it was. Knew the last line but couldn’t place the rest.

More later.

Caanan (and Oz): I was just funnin’! When I was in Melbourne, we Yanks couldn’t believe the Aussies would eat Vegemite, and they said basically what Oz just said, that you have to grow up with it. They compared it to peanut butter, because some of them had never had it and couldn’t believe we would eat it. Different strokes and all. I still like being mystified by it. I can barely taste it!!!!

Oz: Yeah, conservatives always talk about the American Dream, but when people from other counties come here and try to achieve it, they get all bent out of shape. I guess it was easier in the 1800s when all you had to do was kill some Indians and steal all their land!

ksebek: Nope, sorry. I only own Closer, but I just can’t get into it. I don’t mind Curtis’ lyrics, but his voice was terrible and I couldn’t get into the music. Oh well.

Travis: Yep, that’s it!

We just can’t believe Americans eat peanut butter because it’s loaded up with so much sugar compared to our kind, but yes… Vegemite is like the Goonies. If you didn’t see it as a kid, you probably don’t want to watch it now.

Well now I want to try some vegemite.

republicans mourning romney:
the thing that upsets me about this, are all the pictures of young adults and children bawling over the outcome.

forgive me for being moderate, but I tend to sympathize that old Churchill axiom, “If you are not a liberal at 20, you have no heart. If you are not Conservative by 40, you have no brain.”

These aren’t kids who came to their beliefs, they’re children who were force fed one-sided arguments since birth and have a unrealistic view of reality. If you’re 10 years old, you shouldn’t give a damn who won this election.

JRC, alas, we see things like that on both sides. The sheer number of small children at rallies holding signs is always a shock to me.

Is that Karolina Dean? If she’s kissing another girl (Julie Power?), isn’t that cheating on Xavin? All I remember was that Xavin was posing as Karolina because Karolina’s people/race needed her in the post-Whedon Runaways.

I might get Deadpool. I got blank variants of that and Iron Man because I’m an addict for getting sketches, but the latest Deadpool run looks interesting to start. BTW, Greg, you should get all the “Classic” TPBs written by Joe Kelly. Right now, that’s the benchmark for the Merc With a Mouth.

Kieron Gillan mentioned there would be a reason for the armor’s color change. I did like how Tony shaved his mustache to go undercover, and he could grow it back thanks to cutting-edge tech.

Like I said awhile back (an article that is now part of Land’s Wikipedia entry, which I actually feel pretty bad about – I don’t like the idea that the guy’s Wikipedia entry includes something like “According to Brian Cronin, Greg Land is really bad”), Land’s problem is not just that he is a bad artist (and has been ever since he left DC for Crossgen). There are plenty of bad artists. But usually you can get past the bad art and still enjoy the story. Land’s problem is that his storytelling is so bad that it actually hurts the story that the writer is trying to tell. Land is actively a DETRIMENT to the story rather than just not helping it like most other bad artists.

Oh, I had to look up his wikipedia now. That’s awesome!

But hey, Land used to be a decent artist and could tell a story, so it’s too bad that no one is calling him on his crap work.

Is Wacker gonna come by to yell at us all now?

I dunno, everything I said in the linked piece is totally true, but it’s still weird that that of all the people who have complained about Land over the years, that they cited me. It’d be one thing if I was one of many, but it’s just “Brian Cronin says,” which is weird.

Plus, as an aside, I think I made a mistake in the linked piece of specifying that particular issue of X-Men when everything I complain about about in that issue goes for pretty much ALL Land issues. Rather than noting that one particular issue as the most harmful art, I should just have noted that Land is the most harmful artist period.

Nerdy point — Spaceman 1 was one-a-them dollar issues, so the nine issues were actually 25 bucks (24.92, to be technical). So, push.

Got Westward 2 but didn’t read it yet. Did you notice, unless I missed it, there’s no cover price on it?

I liked Deadpool and Legends of the Dark Knight, but not quite as much as you. I’ll have to look at Deadpool again, missed that “Marvel writer dying” bit you mention.

I did like Detective quite a bit. I like that Batman is actually, y’know, DETECTING. Art’s pretty good, story’s interesting.

I liked Mars Attacks better than you did. I liked the irony of the ending of the Martian General’s story. I realized in re-reading these issues why I was confused about the end of last issue — the one character’s hair color changed from his appearance in issue 2 to issue 4.

I was going to buy Iron Man but I was short on cash and didn’t want to charge comics, so that was one I put back. I also had my LCS guy stash a couple of my pulls (that I’m way behind on reading) and Manhattan Projects 7, which I’m also way behind on reading. My LCS guy is cool! (Hell, I’ve been in basically weekly all this year, which is a big change for me.)

Your assistant is indeed awesome, but your wife needs to realize how much you let us down if you’re late. C’mon, Mrs Burgas!!! (kidding!)

I had to go look at that Land piece, and ow that hurts. I’ve read 1 or 2 of the trades from that time period of Uncanny and thought it was just that the library copies had pages cut out (which they did, yeah), but… yeah, that is bad art — no, bad STORYTELLING art. That’s the problem.

And all the other people that bitch about Land’s bad art neither have the authority that you do or expressed it in such a simple way.

All I know is that being guilty about saying it means you’re entirely too nice, Brian!

I agree about the Republicans. This election was a golden opportunity for them and they went off the deep end. If you want to know how to lose an election, it’d be hard to beat talking about “legitimate rape”. It was good to see vast fortunes essentially squandered because the voting public wasn’t interested in the tactics of exclusion and alienation. I do fear for the midterm elections, though. Because of lower turnout, the wackos have a larger say.

I should point out that I don’t really hate the average Republican. Heck, my mom is one. I just really dislike their current leadership.

Republicans need to change with the times and stop being the party of Old White Men. I wonder if more people would vote for conservative economic values (Not Bush, he was terrible) if it wasn’t tied to abortion, fear of gays, and rounding up all the foreigners. And war. Lots and lots of war.
The Republicans always used fear and ignorance to win elections, and lost big because the democrats have gotten so much better at fear and hate tactics than they ever dreamed. It helped that Mitt sucked so very, very much.

Brian: Yeah, that’s a good point about Land. When the poses and facial expressions you use are dictated by images you find on-line, your storytelling skills are going to deteriorate, and it makes it much harder to read the comic, which probably prejudices me against even the words on the page. It’s very frustrating.

Travis: I didn’t know that about Spaceman. Thanks. But this collection also includes the prologue from Strange Adventures, and I don’t know if that was reprinted in issue #1 or is even necessary to the story. If it is, that makes it a slightly better value again, because you don’t have to spend 8 bucks on Strange Adventures!

I noticed the lack of cover price on Westward. I told my retailer that the first issue was 3 bucks so this one probably was, and as the last page of his shipping order had come off and been lost, he couldn’t double-check it. He believed me, though. I always enjoy it when comics ship without prices on them!

As for the Marvel writer, I’ll give you a hint: He’s in the FDR section.

Yeah, I was having fun with my wife. “Think of my readers!” I kept pleading. But heck, yesterday was about 70 degrees, the sun was out but there were plenty of clouds to keep it from being too hot, and there was a very nice breeze, so going out to lunch was a no-brainer!

I think I missed the writer getting killed in Deadpool, who was it? I did catch the Patton Oswalt cameo at least.

OH WAIT now I see.

The real kick with Land is that he was originally a pretty good artist. I was re-reading some old Birds of Prey stuff and was loving the art. Checked the cover and almost fell off my chair when it turned out to be Land.

He just got lazy and crappy and no-one has been willing to hold him to account.

R.: I didn’t want to give it away, so I’m glad you found it! :)

Ryan: Exactly. When he worked for DC, he actually drew stuff. You could like it or not like it, but he drew it and seemed to have a grasp of storytelling. I guess this method got him better-paying gigs, but that’s just depressing.

Well, if Marvel’s editors think that Land’s art is a good fit for Gillen’s writing, then it’s their business. I’m certainly not buying anything by Land, but it seems the majority of comic buyers do. If it raises Gillen’s profile then I’m all for it, he has other comics than I can enjoy in the meantime. The third volume of Phonogram is coming soon, right?

@Caanan http://www.jif.com/Products/Details?categoryId=66 I wouldn’t say that that is a lot of sugar. It’s about 1/20th of the total calories. The kind in Reese’s is much more sugary, but that’s in chocolate and is a snack/dessert so it’s meant to be.

no need to apologize, just couldnt tell whether you were kidding or not. i share your love for marillion, though only w/ fish (saw them in boston in ’91/’92 and it was awful, (now i’m sorry)) so i was curious. i, by the way, do think joy division are great, but of course, to each their own. thanks for the reviews, after having left the hobby for 15 or so years (i missed the whole 90′s debacle, fortunately) i’ve jumped back in and so much is unknown.

cich: Sure, it’s their business, and that’s fine. I just get depressed that Iron Man is going to outsell Young Avengers by a wide marging (this is only my belief, and I hope I’m wrong) when YA will be, I’m sure, a MUCH better book.

ksebek: I know plenty of Marillion fans who only like the Fish years, and that’s cool. That’s why we have our own brains! And you’re welcome – I always say that I’m not here to convince you to buy something, just to let you know what’s out there. If I’m doing that, then I feel good about it!

Well, I agree with everything you said and I also think that YA will be outsold by Iron Man despite being a better book. I just feel that this Iron Man books is a sacrifice to dark gods of capitalism that we have to make in order to get the Gilen/McKelvie goodness.

You like “Chick Fights” don’t you, Mr. Burgas? Then you should watch KILL BILL V. 2 or BITCH-SLAP. Either has quite some knuckle-down, drag-out, ass-whomping, nail-biting, gut-wrenching chick fights that no man can ever watch without grimacing.

As for Mr. Hickman’s books being late: late is late, no matter whose at fault. Get those DAMN issues out!!!

I drink a toast to immodest women, may they be as sexually immoral as they pleases to be and tempt the sinner inside us all!!! ;-)

This Bitchslap looks completely dumb. And the writers are poets laureate! I LOVE it!
I drink a toast to your impeccable taste Tom Fitzpatrick! :D

Something else I noticed about Land’s art hurting the story is a phenomenon I totally can’t prove and is pure speculation on my part admittedly. I notice when I read a lot of Land-drawn stuff, the dialogue starts becoming slightly off. Like, the facial expressions become so random that the scripter starts changing the dialogue to help the random facial expressions fit into the story more. Again I have no proof, but I just notice how people in Land-drawn comics seem to have weird mood swings, or another character makes an observation about another character’s mood, like “Oh, it seems you’re displeased” in a way that doesn’t naturally flow or that sounds forced. It makes me wonder if the scripter, perhaps when he gets the pages back, wonders, “Why does character X look orgasmic in this panel, angry in the next, smirky in the following one, and sultry in the fourth panel? How can I do damage control via the dialogue?” I don’t have any examples handy, but I noticed it in past volumes.

Also, Greg, even though I’ve never bought Land comics, I had a friend who did. But his comic tastes go more toward the “kewl” direction. I was complaining about all the same things about Land we all do online (bad storytelling, blatant tracing, stiff poses and inappropriate facial expressions) and he looked at me like I was crazy. Then he said “Who cares? Look how cool and realistic it looks. I’ll buy all his stuff.” It made me realize we can’t make assumptions about the general public based on internet blog commenters. We naturally tend to be more analytical and demanding I think (not to toot our own horns or sound elitist). So if people like my friend are the norm and we’re just a vocal minority (something I don’t know for sure, just throwing out there as a very possible reality), then maybe Land does indeed boost readership on books he draws.

Finally, I’ve gone back and looked at old Land books. I too used to believe he was a good artist gone bad, but looking back now I can see there were always problems with his work. For example check his work on the first Nightwing miniseries. Bad derivative 90s Image art, bad storytelling, etc. He’s always been problematic. He was better before, but maybe he was never quite good.

Great stuff, Greg. I was elated to see Obama win, no he isn’t perfect (who is?) but he’s a good and decent man doing a pretty fine job for the most part. It’s reslly weird ajd dispiriting that anyone could attack him for expressing legitimate dismay at those who harm the US with their asinine refusal to compromise or sdmit that *they* are damaging the country with their intrsnsigence (while droning on about being “real” americans). As for the vile rscism that Mr Obama has to face, for shame. A pathetic “newspaper” was going on about the “death of White America” over here, words fail.
Bond Women? Oh yeah! Diana Rigg! Jill St John! Corinne Clery! Naked women on the title srquences!
Greg Land sucked the interest I had in the Gillen Iron Man right away. Awful Stepford people? No thanks.
Feeling down? Watch Natalie Portman in Attack of the Clones… It’s awful until the past halfhour (Christopher Lee! Yoda!) bit Natalie’s beauty is irresistible… Uhrm, okay?
@ Travis Pelkie, amusing as ever. You really should be employed by the Great and Powerful Cronin! I sympathize with Chad N vert much up to a point as he can be acute but lately he’s been straying into srrogance (tho’ he’s still worth listening to aside from that). I think the Pelkie has the mix of critical intelligence, enthusiasm, forthrightness, and nutineds to be a good replacement when Chad finally gets to leave what has becomea burdensome role behind him. And Travis likes back-and-forth comments!

Ignore all typos, it’s the device I’m using. Honestly, I’m not *that* thick!

I can second the support for a Travis-written column.

Do you think maybe the reason Land keeps getting good jobs is because the individual panels usually look great when you see them out of context, and so the top bosses at Marvel keep demanding he get assigned to top books like X-Men and Iron Man. I wouldn’t be surprised if they only look at his work out of context this way.
Do you think that maybe if enough people demand it, maybe Marvel will agree to restricting Land to covers and promotional material such as posters? That way, they’ll get to play up his strengths (individual images that look cool) and minimize his weaknesses (telling coherent stories with sequential art).

More T.P. lovers!!! Maybe CBR should put up a poll and ask readers if T.P. should have his own blog on CBR?

Want to lay on odds what percentage says NO/YES?

Tom: Of course I’ve seen Kill Bill, but I’ve never seen Bitch Slap. I’m batting .500!

T.: Man, that would be depressing if Land had that effect on scripters. I wouldn’t completely discount it, either. Dang.

I am well aware that people on the Internet are a tiny minority in terms of the comics-buying public, unfortunately. I don’t get into discussions too much with people at my shop, but when I do, I marvel at some of the opinions people have. That’s the way it is, I guess. Dang again.

I haven’t studied too many old Land books, I’ve just seen some images, so I’ll bow to your expertise. I just know that he was actually drawing stuff, and it looked fairly decent. Far more decent than his current stuff, at least!

Hal: I figured you would enjoy the Bond thing, given your enjoyment of the series! And the groundswell for Travis continues!

Mary: I honestly think it’s what T. said, and that is that a lot of people like Land. It drives me absolutely crazy, but I think it’s true. I think he would be far better doing covers or posters – even though I don’t like his art, I think he can be dramatic with some images. But I think it’s just that a lot of people think his art is, as T. wrote, “kewl.”

For the record, I had a fine time with Mr. Burgas – he makes you call him that if you meet him in person – and he does not talk too much at all, though the contempt and hatred he has for superhero comics all but drips from his mouth like poison from a viper’s fangs.

Kidding aside, it was great meeting Greg, I had a swell time; he’s a super nice fella, and his LCS, Greg’s Comics, is a fine place with a wonderful assortment of 50-cent boxes I could have pawed through all day.

Land’s art is all about slick surfaces and photorealistic flourishes. Plus, he draws what some readers consider attractive women. Some readers don’t get past (or don’t care past) surface impressions.

As for the election, I was happy to see the candidate who appealed to women and minorities get the vote, and some of the worse choices lose due to catastrophically stupid, morally repugnant statements. Hopefully, Washington won’t get more complacent.

Land did a Hulk cover a few months back that I thought might’ve been a turning point back toward less referenced material: http://www.comicbookresources.com/assets/images/preview/20cc034i13527/prv13527_cov.jpg

…So you can imagine my disappointment this week. ‘Least they put him on a book where the main character works with Land’s “style”. The first few pages looked great.

Have a good day.
G Morrow

tdsacomic.com

Please tell me you are not seriously complaining about how cheap the Vertigo trades are?!? They are cheaper than the singles issues, and so they should be! People are waiting an extra year to read the content that has already been produced in one format!

If you really want to pay more for your trades or HCs I suggest you buy anything from Marvel. They will happily increase the price for you! How does $5 an issue sound? Its nice to see that reprinted content gets a nice little pay hike for those people who want to wait.

Layne: Oh yes, so much rage!

G Morrow: Land also did some Thunderbolts covers, and one of them, #153, was pretty good. I guess that gets back to the fact that he can do poses but not sequential storytelling!

James: Where did you get the idea that I was complaining? I’m very happy with the way the price their trades, I just can’t believe they do it that way! About a decade ago, when trades first became really popular, they were often cheaper, but then the companies realized they could probably charge closer to “cover” price for them. Marvel still does that – I mentioned that I might not get the second trade of Wolverine and the X-Men because it’s a dollar MORE to get the trade than the single issues. But the Vertigo trades, oddly enough, remain very good value, to the point where I don’t know why anyone would buy them in single issue format, because it’s not like they tie in to other comics in the “universe.” So no, I wasn’t complaining at all. I was just wondering if anyone at DC was paying attention to how much content they’re putting in the trades for such a decent price. If they aren’t, I hope they keep not noticing! :)

My bad! I just reread what you wrote – and yeah it doesn’t sound like it did the first time I read it! haha… I guess my disdain for the way Marvel runs their trade program is clouding my thought process :)

Even DC nu52 trades are a bargian price (ie – cheaper than singles!!). It makes me wish I’d waited and saved some money. But even as I type this I know I still won’t. But it will make me pick up the ones I was on the fence about, and never ended up getting.

Since this thread has gone political, and as a person whose country is constantly under attack by the USA, it seems something Obama’s supporters se to disregard is that he is Bush with a different skin color. Bush was war-monger for the war in Iraq, but Obama is a nice dude for the drone program, which has directly killed 200 children. Bush was a facist for the DHS and Patriot act, the made a whole shitty movie* about it, but Obama is a president you hang out with even though he has actively supported the TSA and the patriot act. Even the Iraq pullout was set by Bush. By the 2016, America would have a Bush Presidency for 16 years. It is telling that none of the supposed small-government ‘Tea Party’ demonstration never took place during Bush, who was the champion of big government, and all the anti-war protetstors just went away when their favorite party is in power. Tells you a lot about how bias works.

PS: I typed this on my phone, sorry for spelling and grammatical mistakes.

*V for Vendetta

Land’s women also all look the same. Big smiles, unnaturally white teeth, no hips. I thought the blonde in the girl fight was the same blonde from the nightclub, and I was confused as to how she got to Buenos Aires. Later, there’s a random background redhead at an auction who I thought was Pepper. Ugh.

I have a gripe from the Detective Comics issue, too. To avoid spoilers, I’ll keep it vague. On the page when someone has knocked two other people out, he picks a lady up over his shoulder. In the panel where he’s facing us, her waist is resting on his shoulder, legs pointing straight down. Which seems like a good way to carry someone, and it also involves a good angle at which to draw her ass. In the next panel, he faces away. Now her thighs are resting on his shoulder, hanging straight down from her hips to her head. This seems like a terrible way to carry someone, with all her weight behind you. The only reason to do it is to give a second good angle at which to draw her ass. It doesn’t make sense and those types of things bug the crap out of me.

I only bought Stumptown this week and it was another great issue. I actually thought the art was stronger in this issue than the previous two. I did notice the colouring was a little… shiny maybe… in a couple of panels, but am wondering if the softer colours smoothed some rough edges. I will have to read it again to judge.

Maybe I sould be picking up Detective Comics.

I am uninterested in Marvel Now as it seems in most cases I am interested in either the artist or writer on a series, but rarely both. Young Avengers is one, well the only, title I am considering trying. Iron Man is not a title I am considering trying.

I contributed to the Westward Kickstarter based on Greg’s recommendation of the title and it has now reached 100% funding (with 5 days left to go), so I will be getting pdfs of the first three issues soon.

I am British so really don’t understand the American political parties. Obama’s Social Policy is probably further to the right than the Conservative’s leadership (our right wing party). For example our Prime Minister David Cameron (Conservative) has said in interviews he supports Gay Marriage rather than the Civil Partnerships we currently have.

And Bond! I enjoyed Skyfall and want to watch some Bond movies now. It turns out I don’t have any on DVD (I had some on VHS and I had a ‘splitting the DVD collection’ experience earlier in the year) so I am looking wistfully as the 22 movie Blu-ray set…

I remembered about Spaceman’s story in Strange Adventures later on, and knew, KNEW, you’d call me on it! Good to know it’s in the HC. Might be worth it. I’m relying on your review to help me decide!

Having seen pictures of your lovely mrs., I would slap you around if you chose us over her. We’re pasty, sullen, and anti-social, that’s why we’re online!!! ;)

Man, to think you like the Crow (speaking of pasty and sullen…) and don’t dig Joy Division… that’s where I first heard of them. I had to hunt down a CD of theirs with “Komakino” on it (as the lyrics to that are printed in the back of the Crow TP), which turned out to be their “greatest hits” type one “Substance”, which is a great disc I might need to dig out now. I can see, though, with your tastes that it’s not something you’d necessarily dig.

Damn, I’m 10 years older than Ian Curtis was before his suicide, and that happened over 30 years ago, when I was a wee baby.

For fans of JD, the movie Closer is pretty decent. If you’re not a fan, though, you won’t know WHAT the hell is going on. I know the story some, but if I hadn’t, I’d have been totally lost. Anton Corbjin (who directed the Chili Peppers “Give it Away” vid, iirc) does a few nice visual things, but damn, that ironing board or whatever Curtis hanged himself on was PORTENTOUS!!! :)

And, uh, spoiler alert for the movie with that last bit. ;)

I forgot to even look for any Marillion when I went to a cd/record show today, but thanks for the suggestions on their albums anyway.

T raises an interesting point about Land and scripters doing damage control. In the post that you can link to off of Land’s Wikipedia page (that Brian and I were referencing above), those sample pages’s script does seem off quite a bit. I’d definitely chalk some of it up to changing some dialogue to try to mitigate what was done.

But you’d think some of these guys have enough clout that they’d ask that Land isn’t put on their books.

Unless it’s some bizarre Marvel hazing — like the new guy has to script Land stories for a certain time period before he can go on to other stuff.

(I think, though, Jason Aaron’s probably escaped Land art, hasn’t he?)

You mentioned Land’s T-bolts 153 cover, and that was pretty neat looking. It had to be to make up for how lame 152′s cover was….

Man, I looked at the Westward kickstarter that Rolacka mentioned…don’t tempt me like that! I spend too much on comics as it is!!!

Actually, I was going to mention a kickstarter, but I think I’ll wait til next week’s column. I think it’ll still be running. No, wait, I’ll include the url and say that Alexis Fajardo’s Kid Beowulf is good stuff. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1337126939/kid-beowulf-and-the-rise-of-el-cid-complete-the-tr

And since it was mentioned, kinda, by Mudassir, I re-read V for Vendetta on the fifth of November. I remembered!

And finally, aw, I’m feeling the love for me here! Yay! I’ll have to email Brian with some column ideas (of COURSE I have some!). Thanks to Hal and Tom, and particularly to T, as T is one of the people whose comments I saw here regularly and helped inspire me to start commenting here. Now it’s like we’re all family, man!

I’m about to go to the Master List of the 2012 Top 100 Comic Book Runs and write up my list over there, so if you’ll give me a bit, you can read my list, my reasons, and what almost made my list.

One last thing, though, is that I don’t think anyone will be able to “replace” Chad. I know I’ll miss him!

James: No worries!

Mudassir: I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Obama is Bush with a different skin color, but I do agree that he hasn’t done as much to rein in the Patriot Act and other excesses of the Bush administration. I’m disappointed with Obama in that regard, and I really hope he uses his second term to work on returning to a time when torture and random killing wasn’t government policy. You’re absolutely right that the things people protest when their party isn’t in power suddenly look great when their party is in power, but that’s kind of the nature of humanity. I wish it weren’t, but it is. Obama has an opportunity to stop some of the horrible things that Bush initiated, but who knows if he will.

Mecha-Shiva: Dang, you’re right. I totally missed that in Detective. It does seem that the only reason to do that is to show her ass twice. Very silly.

And of course Land’s women all look the same! He probably used the same on-line images when he traces them!

Rolacka: I find it humorous that Republicans here call Obama a socialist. I want to tell them that the real socialists in Europe are laughing at them. A conservative person I know said that universal health care is “social policy,” but governments have always been involved in “social policy,” even the most conservative ones. Just because Obama has instituted a half-hearted universal health care doesn’t make him a socialist.

Travis: Well, comics and music are different media, so I don’t mind the emo in The Crow, but it bothers me in Joy Division. That’s just the way it is, I guess!

I’ll have to go read your runs list. I’m trying to get mine done and crunch the numbers, because everyone knows they want to read that!

With all due respect to Jay Leisten, who does commendable work elsewhere, I’d like to see Land paired with a more assertive inker. Someone who could add some life to his stagnant, plastic poses. Someone who wouldn’t be afraid to make his expressions expressive or fix his backgrounds to make them function with his figures. Someone like, well, Bill Sienkiewicz.

I mention this only because I have to assume it’s Hickman’s fault that his books are so late – the artwork is good on both Image books, but it doesn’t look too intricate, so unless Pitarra and Bodenheim actually can’t work on the books, I assume it’s Hickman (let’s not forget S.H.I.E.L.D., which technically hasn’t ended but which seems to be at least somewhat Dustin Weaver’s issue).

Actually, S.H.I.E.L.D.’s delay is Hickman’s fault, too. His work on Fantastic Four, FF, AvX, Avengers, and New Avengers took precedence, so Weaver was left waiting in the wings. Weaver drew Uncanny X-Men #14 and a run of Astonishing X-Men covers in the meantime.

To speed things up and bring the S.H.I.E.L.D. series to a conclusion, they’ve switched to the Marvel Method. As of August 30th, Weaver had inked 17 pages of the next issue and laid out the last three pages. Of course, he’s also working on an Avengers now, so when those last three pages will be finished is anyone’s guess. And, when they’ll be scripted is another mystery.

I’ll pick up anything Hickman writes, including the upcoming East of West, but I don’t expect any of his projects other than Avengers and New Avengers to come out regularly. He has way too much on his plate for that to be possible.

Ian: I knew that Weaver was updating his progress on his blog, so I saw that he was working on it, but I didn’t know what the delay was. I knew he drew that one issue of X-Men, but I thought it might have just been something to make some money. It’s frustrating, because I would hate it if Hickman started spreading himself so thin that his non-Marvel work suffers, as that’s what I’m usually interested in from him.

I like your idea of someone like Sienkiewicz inking Greg Land. That would be … really weird!

One of the things I love about conservatives calling Obama socialist, saying he wants to turn the USA into Europe and how that is the road to financial ruin etc. There is such a willingness to ignore countries like Australia and Canada and how well our “socialist” healthcare works.

It’s by no means perfect, but essentially we (Australians) pay 1.5% of our wage to Medicare (plus a bit more if you are in a high income bracket). and that’s our hospital bills taken care of and most of our doctor bills. Private insurance is out there (1000-1500 is the usual cost), and can help with non emergency stuff (optical, dental etc).

I honestly believe that the government is there to ensure freedoms and safety to it’s citizens, and I think that healthcare is part of this. Health should not be a luxury item, it’s a basic right of everyone, and therefore it is one of those few things that government should supply.

What’s with all the LAND hate these days?

He’s just simply misunderstood (not to mention misplaced and misused and a few other “mis-” words).

Ah, caught the bit in Deadpool. Didn’t even notice it when I first read it, but that was good. Wonder if that was the sixth gun that guy’s owned? ;)

Land is the Rob Liefeld of his day. He started off with some talent and was well on his way to being a great artist, then started to do something that stressed one facet of his art that people ended up loving, but at the expense of everything else. This artistic flourish took over and people somehow love it and praise him for it even as the basics slip and the art as a whole becomes an unreadable mess.

So i started reading Detective, having just picked up #s 13 & 14 this week.

It started with the 100 runs countdown, which was the first time I’d really seen much about Chew (other than seeing that you like every issue), and after reading the first Chew trade from the library and enjoying it, I figured why not give Detective a roll of the dice.

I like it, but I have few issues. The first issue, which I think is something that has bothered me about Bat stories for a while, is the idea that for a Batman story to be major, it must include every single Batman villain in it. Layman’s Detective run is 2 issues old, and already we have Penguin, Ivy, and (spoiler) Clayface, plus Joker is likely to appear next issue because it’s a Death of the Family tie-in. Brian, maybe in your next “relatively quite recent additions to the Batman mythos,” you could include when it became routine for every villain to appear in every major story. Obviously this happened with Knightfall, but it doesn’t feel gratuitous there, as that was sort of the point of Knightfall. So is the Long Halloween to blame for this? Or did it start happening much earlier than Knightfall? Anyway, it kind of annoys me, and I find it convenient to blame Jeph Loeb. I’m pleased that Snyder hasn’t fallen prey to this trend (yet).

My other issue was specifically with the backup story in #14. Look, I understand that suspension of disbelief is a major part of reading superhero comics. And I have no problem when comics sort of skirt issues or contradict themselves in fun/creative ways, like the old “Why Holly isn’t Dead” thing Brubaker did with Catwoman a while back–”She isn’t dead because I, as a writer, failed to do my homework and didn’t know she was supposed to be dead, and I started using her before this was brought to my attention.” But I have a problem when a comic tries to play it straight and serious while ignoring major things. So when Poison Ivy spends this entire backup story narrating about how Arkham Asylum is “impossible to break out of,” and that the “only true way out” is by killing yourself, well… I call bullshit. Unless John Layman has truly never read a Batman comic before, I just think this is insulting the reader’s intelligence, and I don’t see how he could even write it with a straight face. Even in the 5 year timeline of the New 52 universe, it has to be assumed that every Bat villain has still been in and out of Arkham at least half a dozen times or more. The only thing that’s impossible is understanding how Arkham hasn’t been shut down considering the revolving door it has, or why a guard would ever work there given the mortality rate.

And my problem with this issue isn’t that Arkham’s problems aren’t addressed for what they are, it’s that the opposite is happening–Layman is going out of his way to tell the reader something that is laughably false. It’d be like if Remender in the next issue of Uncanny Avengers referred to the Red Skull as a villain that “is impossible to defeat.” That would be blatantly disregarding the entire history of the Red Skull vs. Captain America, just as the entire history of Arkham Asylum is being disregarded here. It may seem trivial, but it kind of took me out of the comic.

Otherwise, I have enjoyed the first two issues, and I’ll keep getting it at least through the end of this first story arc. I enjoy Fabok’s art. It’s straight-up superhero fair, but he’s good at it. And I really liked the back-up story in the first issue, about common criminals in Gotham.

I also picked up Deadpool #1 based on your recommendation and enjoyed it quite a bit. Although I find the cover a bit taunting–I would LOVE to see Darrow draw a full issue. Maybe he can be Moore’s fill-in and do 2 issues a year while Moore does 10. 5 issue story arcs by Moore broken up by stand-alone Darrow issues. That would be nice.

A big week for Marvel Now books coming up tomorrow, with Fantastic Four, Thor, All New X-Men, and X-Men Legacy all on tap. I look forward to your reviews, and they may influence what I check out (though I’m getting Thor no matter what because I’m a Jason Aaron fan).

Third Man: Those are good points, I agree. On the second one, I understand that, but at the same time, writers of stories are always doing that. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Remender has one of the Avengers talk about what an unbeatable foe the Red Skull is, even though that’s patently false. It’s still very stupid, but writers tend to do that, so I’m not going to blame Layman too much.

As for the first point … well, I’ll e-mail you about it.

Well, in the new 52, has IVY been in Arkham? Maybe that’s what she’s been told about it, if she hasn’t — impossible to get out of and blah blah blah. Or maybe I’m reaching because Layman’s stories are cool.

And blame Loeb for the “every major Bat story has to have all the villains in it” bit? Oh, HUSH!

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