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X-Factor Archives - Comics Should Be Good! @ Comic Book Resources

1987 And All That: X-Factor #12-23

A column in which Matt Derman (Comics Matter) reads & reviews comics from 1987, because that’s the year he was born. Click here for an archive of all the previous posts in the series.

XFactor1X-Factor #12-23 (Marvel) by Louise Simonson, Marc Silvestri (#12), Walter Simonson (#13-15, 17-19, 21, 23), David Mazzucchelli (#16), June Brigman (#20), Sal Buscema (#22), Bob Wiacek (#12, 14-15, 17-19, 21-23), Dan Green (#13), Joe Rubinstein (#16), Randy Emberlin (#20), Petra Scotese, Joe Rosen, Bob Harras

I tend to enjoy any comicbook that looks at the inescapable personal torments, damaged relationships, and psychological strains of the superhero lifestyle. Secret identities, an endless and self-feeding cycle of violence, taking on the impossible responsibility of keeping the rest of the world safe—it’s bound to take its toll on anyone, and it’s nice when a narrative acknowledges that. X-Factor #12-23 digs deep into these superhero problems and their consequences, then piles on several other whole sets of problems, too. There is, of course, the classic conundrum of humans fearing/hating mutants no matter what they do, which is amped up more than usual in this particular series because of its foundational concept of X-Factor pretending to be mutant hunters. Though less explicitly discussed, there’s also an argument embedded in these issues that the whole idea of gathering mutants together and training them to use their powers and fight evil mutants might be flawed, that Xavier did both harm and good with the original X-Men and now, as X-Factor, those same characters are repeating his mistakes with a new generation. Then again, there’s no better alternative offered here, because if not protected, nurtured, and taught control, the young mutants of the world could potentially do massive damage without even meaning to. So X-Factor presents a pretty dreary interpretation of the mutant-heavy reality of the 1980’s Marvel Universe, one where there may not be any truly good choices for mutantkind to make, especially because, in that world, superpowers almost always lead to superheroics (or supervillainy), which in turn lead to their own significant stresses, injuries, etc. Continue Reading »

Sunday brunch: Links for the week 28 April – 4 May 2013

Have a seat, eat some fried eggs and bacon, and read up on some links. Sounds like a good time to me!
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Ecce picturae intra libros: Comics art for the week of 1 May 2013

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‘I met Andy Warhol at a really chic party’ / Blow it out your hairdo, ’cause you work at Hardee’s!
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What I bought – 20 March 2013

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An old Ukrainian proverb warns, “A tale that begins with a beet will end with the devil.”

That is a risk we will have to take. (Tom Robbins, from Jitterbug Perfume)
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What I bought – 20 February 2013

There is not much importance in giving an award of importance to someone of no importance. (Joseph Heller, from Picture This)

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What I bought – 6 February 2013

“Italians have made the family an extremist group. The family is the instrument of revenge.” (Don DeLillo, from The Names)

Heads on sticks! Holy crap, I love the covers of this series Everyone loves the Merrymaker! There are no ninjas in this issue Cover text! Groovy! Oh, Howard Chaykin - what happened to you? The buildings are attacking him! So misleading! He looms like a looming loomer! That dude doesn't seem to be helping all that much Come at us, bros! That's ... unfortunate Yep, here it is again Stretch, Conan, stretch! Blood!  BLOOD!
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What I bought – 16 January 2013

If so, that impression was in his mind on that last day of 1807 when he was forty and played Surrey to Burr’s Wolsey, exclaiming to the ravening crowd that Burr had “no religious principles, and little, if any sense of reverence to a moral Governor of the Universe.” How could even an Adams purport to know such a thing? John Quincy Adams’s theologically trained father would have been aware that one makes a statement about the state of another person’s soul at great peril to one’s own. (Roger Kennedy, from Burr, Hamilton, and Jefferson)

So retro it's mod! 'You can't force me to get a better haircut!' 'My, what big ... tusks you have!' I don't know about you, but there's nothing I like more than a spider woman reaching for my junk! Wolverine does ballet! Cross those claws, Shatterstar! Everyone likes a parody! Old-time Paul Pope?  Sign me up!
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What I bought – 19 December 2012

“And the good thing about feeling really happy, you know, Valentin? … It’s that you think it’s forever, that one’s never ever going to feel unhappy again.” (Manuel Puig, from Kiss of the Spider Woman)

She should be keeping her eyes in front! It's all grim and gritty! I don't know why this dude is on this cover Don't look down at his crotch! Dang, Biz Sif's idea of foreplay is ... something Insert Schwarzenegger-esque pun here! There's nothing more exciting than someone reading a book on a comic cover! Is the wolf throwing him, or is he leaping at the wolf? Well, that's no fun Turn on a light, man! Well, they're in a heap o' trouble This is a weirdly bad cover, and I can't really put my finger on why So many dames! Even more anthropomorphic animals! It's GIGANTIC! Holy crap, this looks cool It's SUPER-GIGANTIC!
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What I bought – 5 December 2012

It came to me that he meant something different by “smile” than I did; that the irony, the humourlessness, the ruthlessness I had always noticed in his smiling was a quality he deliberately inserted; that for him the smile was something essentially cruel, because freedom is cruel, because the freedom that makes us at least partly responsible for what we are is cruel. So that the smile was not so much an attitude to be taken to life as the nature of the cruelty of life, a cruelty we cannot even choose to avoid, since it is human existence. (John Fowles, from The Magus)

Move aside, citizen, or I will pee on you! I wouldn't mind living there - it looks pretty cool There is a sad lack of Checkers in this issue Man, do I HATE this cover/mask scheme for this crossover! Oh dear Oh good.  I was worried that DC wasn't publishing enough comics with the Joker in them. Dex Parrios - NASCAR champion! That small child they're all attacking is FUUUUUUUUCCCCKKKKKKED Maybe her boobs will scare him off! KIRBY!!!! Volume One of Two?  Dang. I guess sales were't great? And so my nuValiant reading begins!
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What I bought – 21 November 2012

Ah! but it was something to have at least a choice of nightmares. (Joseph Conrad, from Heart of Darkness)

Man So many layers in this cover! Is he playing Ultimate Frisbee? Ka-Blooey! It's an ELEPHANT HOLDING A GUN!!!! Where's ... my ... hand lotion?!?!? It's all yin and yang and shit! Analog!!! Were there supposed to be fairies in this issue? So many veins! She might be cold enough to wear a fur-lined cloak, but she also has to show some leg! That's a strange pose I gotta get me some jodhpurs, man! So many phallic symbols! It was fun, Parker! That's an interesting take on the Civil War Fact: Tim Truman is good! I'm giving it the old college try! The Huffington Post likes it! It has aliens! I want so much to like this!
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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!
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What I bought – 17 October 2012

Aliye’s death, and its echoes, had been stilled by the greater horror of this mother’s death, which burned inside him like a smothered coal in the silence there. But Aliye had started dying from the moment his mother told him that they were not to marry, in spite of the bey’s gracious visit, in spite of the fine carpet, in spite of the words he has whispered to Aliye and which he had thought were true words. He knew then how it must end for her, though his mother said it would be otherwise. He wished that there were one fixed thing in the world that would never change, or disappoint him, or leave him, but he did not know what that might be, unless it was the idea of God, which was a certitude without delight or consolation. (Starling Lawrence, from Montenegro)

Insects are icky! I've always suspected! More bad-ass than Glory herself? Even more joy! Kate Bishop FTW! John ain't care! It's back! He doesn't look happy! What the heck is Hyde doing? Kill the alien!!!! Nobody likes Jamie's stand-up comedy! It's even crazier inside! Stephanie Hans is pretty darned good Don't look at me! It's too big, captain! One more time!
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Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 272: X-Factor #66

Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from X-Factor #66, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated May 1991. Enjoy!
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What I bought – 19 September 2012

“What of the success of the Expulsion?” Carranque asked. The driver was momentarily silenced.

“Success for the Catholics?” I ventured.

“Certainly not, Señora.” Now it was Carranque who laughed. “The Expulsion of the Jews was an unmitigated disaster for the Catholics. For a brief time, Their Catholic Majesties feasted on the properties and treasures left behind by the running Jews. But after a very short while they awoke to the truth that their best and their brightest had fled. Gone were their merchants, their statesmen, their doctors, their artisans and their artists, their poets, their musicians, their singers, and their leatherworkers. Without its Jews, Spain dried up into the shriveled olive it is today.”

“So the success?”

“Was the success of the Jews — the Jews who fled to Morocco, to Italy, to Greece, to Turkey, to the Netherlands. They spread their art and learning across the Mediterranean, through the Strait of Gibraltar and northward into Europe. They made a virtue of exile, found their greatest reward in exile, found their humanity, their lost identity, in exile.” (Jonathan Levi, from A Guide For The Perplexed)

Dive booooommmmmmmmbbbbbbb! He's on his way! It doesn't have much to do with the issue, but that's a cool-ass cover Yes, she took all that time to put a Bat-tread on her boots, because she has nothing better to do I like this cover a lot, but I have NO IDEA how Lapham is tying it into the story inside the book Adieu! It's just unfair how good this looks! Bisley draws Epiphany like a typical fashion model! Even Francavilla's boring covers are good! Man, this cover motif sucks Snakes? She's not going to last long in space with that outfit on! Another cool cover by Yardin! It's all over!
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What I bought – 5 September 2012

“It’s sex, isn’t it? We can’t deal with it. That’s why our religions hate it so much. It wants to save us from ourselves. If we don’t have any certainties, we can’t trust ourselves.” (Graham Joyce, from Requiem)

That kind of sucks, getting eaten by your own dinosaur arms like that RAGE! Well, at least we know how to pull a bow now! Symbolism! So sad! Everyone needs a boot in the face every so often! MORE RAGE! I'm not sure what Alex is doing on this cover, but whatever
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