Welcome to the first installment of Worth Something Someday, a series of (as Archduke Cronin would say) indefinite length and regularity, in which we critically re-examine and attempt to contextualize comic books of the 1990s. “The ’90s” was the most infamous and tumultuous decade of comics since the 1950s, during which the industry experienced its highest highs as well as its most crashing lows. Some call it “The Dark Age,” but now comes the time to shed some light on the era. Many of the comics we shall cover were purchased by speculators and secreted away with the hopes that they’d be worth something someday. So let’s ask: are they worth it?
Where else to start our look at comics at the tail end of the 20th century, than with one that takes place at the tail end of the 21st, with a cover that declares everything we know… is wrong!?
In which Bill writes a sonnet
and gets a bee in his bonnet.
In which Bill journeys to the heart of Yuengling country to attend a comicon in his old stomping grounds
Last weekend, my friend Matt, who runs a small town library, and I, who writes for this here blog, ventured to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, home of the Little League World Series, and my old college town, to check out the Wildcat Comic Con, a strange parfait of comics academia, library science, small press, and Klingons, held at the Pennsylvania College of Technology, or Penn Tech, as all of us Lycoming kids called it back in the day. The goals were to hang out, soak up some comics culture, and drink all the beer. As far as those goals go, it was a success.
What’s this? Could it be? Is this the return of Bill linking to cool stuff he found on the comics internet in an attempt to pass procrastination off as content? Why, maybe.
Below the fold: Art, writing, cool stuff, brief musings, and other things other people have created on the comics internet recently.
Atomic Robo and the Ghost of Station X #5 comes out this week, at the good shops, anyway, but I have had the blessed opportunity to read it before its dainty paper flesh can touch store shelves, and boy howdy, is it a doozy. I figured this would be a fine time to look back on this latest installment of the World’s Greatest Science Adventure Magazine and figure out just what makes Atomic Robo better than all the other comics. (Warning: there are graphs.)
Just like Before Watchmen, only uncontroversial and universally beloved! It’s…
I’m a Bill Mantlo fan, and I have been since before I knew who Bill Mantlo was. Before I read the credit boxes, I was drawn to his stories. I have a portrait of ROM Spaceknight hanging above me as I write this. It’s for that reason that I must share with you this heartrending, incredibly researched piece by Bill Coffin (we Bills stick together) on Bill Mantlo’s life, family, work, and hardships after suffering a devastating brain injury caused by a hit and run driver. The article delves deep into the flawed health insurance system that allows patients like Mantlo to fall through the cracks and never make the recoveries they could have, would have, should have. The article will break your heart and make you angry, but it is necessary reading.
(Thanks to Kevin Melrose at sister blog Robot 6 for linking to this originally and friend of CSBG Ian A. for pointing me to it.)
In which we didn’t start the fire, it was always burning since the world’s been turning.
All this time I have been hiding amongst you, but at last I have been activated by my Communist masters to… write this review.
Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener are the new Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire, and I’ll tell you why.
In which Bill finally gets around to taking a critical look at the Green Lantern movie, which may be playing in your local second-run theater, possibly under its foreign market title of “Green Screen Lantern.” There will be SPOILERS, but you’ve all seen it by now anyway.
High school students have, for decades, read and written about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, and more specifically, that damn green light across the bay. The eponymous Gatsby reaches out to it– as your English teacher would tell you, it represents hopes and dreams that are forever out of reach, as well as the sublime fear and promise of a new land– but it remains ever elusive. Something similar happens within this new motion picture entitled Green Lantern. Here, the green light signifies the power of will, formed into glowing energy constructs, but willpower alone cannot construct a proper story, or a large box office return, two things that seem out of reach, across the bay.
Green Lantern‘s not a bad movie, but it’s not great, either; it’s just okay. Like the “G” in “ROY G BIV,” it falls right in the middle of the superhero spectrum. I’m not a Green Lantern guy, as these things go– I like the concept and ideas but rarely the execution. Funnily enough, the movie works out the same way. The ways in which it doesn’t work, however, are oddly fascinating.
Random Hijack! Yes, I am stealing Chad Nevett’s bit for a week whilst he takes a hiatus from this column. Yes, this is all Travis Pelkie’s fault. It’s Random Thoughts time! Get excited! (Or don’t. It’s really up to you. This is a free country.)
The Green Lantern movie is going to be just liked Buried, that Ryan-Reynolds-in-a-box film, except this time the box was green and someone has digitally replaced it with a galaxy.
In which Bill steals Burgas’ bit whilst he’s out of town.
A schlemihl is a schlemihl. What can you “make” out of one? What can one “make” out of himself? You reach a point, and Profane knew he’d reached it, where you know how much you can and cannot do. But every now and then he got attacks of acute optimism. (Thomas Pynchon, V)
Despite civil unrest and political strife in various nations, and a recent natural disaster, there remains one news story that towers above all the rest, and has caused all the world’s people to band together in solidarity– yes, I’m speaking of Charlie Sheen’s continual public meltdown, which has provided a seemingly endless series of new and increasingly bizarre stories delivered to us instantaneously by our ceaseless media. With Sheen himself using the internet’s powers to accelerate his own apparent self-destruction– an explosive one, not implosive– citizens of every nation with an accessible modem have joined together to say “Yes, this man is a wild and craaazy guy!” Naturally, the artists and visionaries working within the medium of comics have made their voices heard as well. Therefore, I bring you the world’s most comprehensive guide to comics’ response to the Sheen meme– a Sheenday Brunch, if you will. Dive into the rabbit hole with me, my friends, and find out who is “winning,” who is “bi-winning,” and who is “Two-and-a-Half-winning.”