Friday, June 29, 2007

AWtC Weekly: 6/29/07

SPOILER WARNING: This is the "current events and gossip" part of our presentation. New comics, comics news, and gossip can and will be discussed. Don't freak out, but we got SPOILERS, baby. Heavy, heavy SPOILERS.

If I may be serious for a moment, I just renewed my membership to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, as they are in the final stage of a critical case. You've heard of the Salon? Recent critically-acclaimed graphic novel by Nick Bertozzi about Pablo Picasso? Well, the state of Georgia has been jerking retailer Gordon Lee around since 2003 for accidentally giving a minor a copy of the Alternative comics Free Comic Book day offering for that year. Said free comic had an excerpt from the Salon in a sequence that depicted a nude Picasso in his studio. Apparently, no one in Georgia has ever seen a penis, and the prosecutor has been trying to nail Lee to the wall since. Anyway, more details can be found here, but they need funds to finish this mess. Justice costs big bucks, so give if you can.


New Comics Comments:

Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps:
Damn it, they got me. I love "evil versions" and this introduces the evil version of the Green Lantern Corps. Lots of surprises in this one, as Sinestro gathers some seriousl badasses to soldier for him, and wait till you find out who his boss is. I'm not sure how Kyle in this is supposed to co-exist with the Kyle who is supposed to be touring the multiverse with Donna Troy and Jason Todd, but I guess we'll see.

She-Hulk #19:
Dan Slott's run is winding down, so he's tying up some of his plotlines while coming up with a pretty clever take on Marvel's Gamma-powered characters. I love d the last page reveal of Stu's whereabouts, too.

Fantastic Four #547:
I've been digging Dwayne McDuffie's take on the FF, and he wasted no time in bringing back my favorite FF foes, the Frightful Four!

Best, most unexpected moment of the week comes from Thunderbolts #115:

OH. HELL. YEAH. American Eagle gets a huge moment in the spotlight, putting down a mad dog. Couldn't have happened to a nicer son-of-a-bitch, either.


Sorry to see the Irredeemable Ant-Man go so soon. canceled with issue #12, the series briefly chronicled the adventures of Eric O'Grady, the world's worst superhero, as he ran wild in a stolen Ant-Man suit. This meant lots of petty thievery, naked shower peeping, an lying, lying, lying. Obviously, the world wasn't ready for an amoral creep of an Ant-Man, so presumably Hank Pym will re-assume the identity. I liked the series, but I can see why it was overlooked in the flood of competing events, crossovers, and new launches.


Marvel is soliciting Penance: Relentless #1 and Thunderbolts #117, (with a focus on Stabby Baldwin) in the new Previews. I have three predictions:

1. Both will come out on the same day.
2. That "same day" will be early in the month, on a slow new comics day. Most likely the same day as Atom, Irredeemable Ant-Man, Fallen Angel, and, like, Scooby Doo.
c. The two stories will directly contradict each other somehow.


Again with the Comics Eagerly Awaits:

Countdown to Mystery, particularly the new Doctor Fate by Steve Gerber. An Again With the Comics favorite, Mister Gerber is experiencing some truly dire health issues, but he's still out there writing great comics, so give it a try.

'Til next week, peace out, y'all!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tagged with Eight Facts

I've been tagged by that wascally Spencer Carnage to play this "eight facts" meme going around. Here are the rules:
- Each player starts with eight random facts about themselves.
- Those who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight facts and post these rules.
- At the end of the post, I choose eight (no, four.) people to get tagged and list their names.

1. I've been to Gitmo: I used to be in the Navy, and we stopped at Guantanamo Bay several times. No prisons then, just heat, dust, and rust. Also got to spend a couple of weeks retrieving Cuban refugees from the ocean and returned them to Cuba. Surprisingly, not so fun.

2. I've geeked my boy: My son is only five, and he can rattle off Simpsons and Futurama quotes, list all of Iron Man's many armors, and knows more about Batman than Dan DiDio. What hath I wrought?

3. I'm a renaissance man: I'm a pretty decent artist who doesn't sketch nearly enough, and I've got a collection of 20-30 customized action figures. I won a randy Bowen Thor bust from Toyfare for one of my customs. Yay me.

4. My birthday is crowded: I share a birthday, Sept 8, with my father and my father-in-law.

5. I cannot type: Kind of a roadblock when it comes to blogging, yes?

6. I have a great marriage: Seems to be rare these days, but my wife and I get on splendidly.

7. I'm actually pretty handy: Home "ownership" has given me an opportunity to learn all sorts of fun things, from landscaping to fence repair to installing things.

8. I lean left: Politically, that is. I don't have, like, a shorter left leg or anything.

That's about as much as I wanna share. Everyone I can think of to tag has already been tagged, so how about...Siskoid, Vaklam, Johnny Zito, and lurkerwithout.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tobey Maguire to Write Amazing Spider-Man?

In a few months, Marvel is going to re-align the Spider-Man comic machine yet again. This time they plan to cancel Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man and Sensational Spider-Man to pave the way for publishing Amazing Spider-Man three times a month. All this will take place under the supervision of editor Steve Wacker, who successfully launched 52 over at DC. To facilitate all this, Wacker plans to have a rotating team of three writers on the title. Last week, Newsarama talked to him, and at the very end of the column, he dangled an interesting bit of information:

And finally, folks as a final teaser, I took one of your questions, gave it to a couple of the new Amazing Spider-Man writers and asked them to give you a hint of how they’re approaching the character. Good luck guessing.

Q: ~Spider-Man~ 06-20-2007 07:58 AM I was wondering what made you choose to do this Spider-Man gig. Was it that you have been a long time fan or something else?

Mystery Writers A and B both spoke of growing up with Spidey. “A” mentioned that he was a longtime but lapsed reader of the comics, while “B” specified the ‘60s cartoon as his Spidey touchstone, but otherwise the two could be any number of writers in Marvel's stable. (Slott and Fraction, anyone?)

The third answer was pretty hard to misunderstand, though:

Mystery Writer C:
I wasn't originally a fan, but fell in love with the character after playing him in three feature films.

Unless they’re talking about Nicholas Hammond (and stretching the definition of “feature film” to the very breaking point), it looks like Tobey Maguire is set to take a shot at writing the wall-crawler. I’m not as opposed as some to Hollywood folks trying their hand at comics, but I’m skeptical he’ll be all that involved beyond floating story ideas. I’m sure it will provide a nice publicity coup for Marvel, though, and if he bails out six months later, well, there’s always more writers, right?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Untold Secrets of the Revolutionary War

Like me, you may have always assumed that the Revolutionary War could be summed up in three words: Boring, Boring-er, and Boring-est. As it turns out, the Birth of a Nation involved a lot more than generals, strategies, and pivotal battles. For a glimpse of the true Revolutionary War, we need to look back at Tomahawk comic books. Here, laid bare for the first time, are the truths that the history books don't want you to know:

Yes, its a little-known fact that the late 1700's saw a massive migration to America by aliens, zombies, dinosaurs, robots, Draculas, giants, werewolves, time-travelers, and cavemen:

As the colonists struggled to tame this wild new land, they faced the tyranny of England, and a battle for freedom complicated by random dinosaur attacks and Indians both standard and giant-sized:

On top of all this, Frankenstein frequently plagued the rangers, making a difficult war even more challenging:

Giant apes, soon to become commonplace, were a new and devastating threat to a war torn frontier:

The emergence of giant spiders late in the war began to turn the tide, but they were often more of a hindrance in the greater battle for independence:

In 1783, the Treaty of Paris was formally signed between Great Britain and the United States, officially ending the Revolutionary War. The still-new United States was free to forge its own destiny, with only the dwindling threat of giant robot Indians and the emergence of superhumans to deal with in this brave new world:

So next time you hear someone say that history is "boring", let them know the truth:


...and that's one to grow on!

Friday, June 22, 2007

AWtC Weekly: 6/22/07

SPOILER WARNING: This is the "current events and gossip" part of our presentation. New comics, comics news, and gossip can and will be discussed. Don't freak out, but we got SPOILERS, baby. Heavy, heavy SPOILERS.

Comics News this Week:
Heaps of convention news this week. I'm excited to hear that we'll be getting a tour of the multiverse this year. Less excited to hear that the multiverse contains Wildstorm, Vampire Batman, and other questionable choices. I just hope they have enough room for an animated Earth when its all said and done...

Over time, my interest in Ultimate Marvel has waned, but I may come back for some long-promised answers in Ultimate Origin. It looks like they plan to have everything and everyone be inter-related, which I would hate in the main Marvel Universe, but sounds like a cool way to differentiate the Ultimate MU.


Which descent into madness will you choose: "visions of his failure and obsessed with strange, seemingly meaningless numbers" as seen in Penance: Relentless or "the greater chaos within Robbie Baldwin’s own mind!" as seen in Thunderbolts #117? Me, I'm gonna get both and have a descent-into-madness sandwich. Mmm...madness sammich...


New Comics Comments:

Brave and the Bold #4
One of the Endless…in an actual DCU book? Does Swamp Thing know about this? Great reveal in this issue about who is missing from Destiny’s book, too. Plus: Cyborg Batman!

Incredible Hulk #107
I like what I see of this Greg Pak guy. Civil War and WWH have really been bringing out the best in Hercules lately, which probably means Marvel is getting ready to kill him off.

Flash #13 and JLA #10
It's a good thing DC didn't make any big blunders while throwing out all those "One Year Later" changes, or we might see them furiously backpedalling right about now, and they might destroy a perfectly viable character in the process...OH. Never mind.
It is nice to see you-know-who back, though. Given the Legionnaires' comments, and Wally's own seeming reticence, I wonder if he's not being set up for a big sacrifice play in the upcoming Really-Super-Big-No-We-Really-Mean-It-This-Time Final Crisis. Time will tell.


Oh crap! How did I miss Mythos: Spider-Man this week? Now I'll never learn Spidey's origin. He's a ninja cyborg from outer space, right?


Marvel, DC, I get that you really like money. Yes, I too need the green stuff. But here's the thing: You can't hammer me with multiple non-stop events and expect me to revisit old stories too. Sorry, Marvel, but you've got me too busy with the Initiative, World War Hulk, and Skrulls to be concerned with what Luke Cage was doing in House of M. That was like, four crossovers ago, man! And DC, I can't be "arsed" to keep up with the Four Horsemen or Black Adam...I'm dealing with 52 alternate Earths over here! Cripes!


Again With the Comics Eagerly Awaits:

Metal Men, by Duncan Rouleau. It looks like he plans to deliver exactly what I want to see in a Metal Men comic - fun and weirdness.

More next week...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Review: I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets!

Regular readers no doubt are aware of my fondness for disused, forgotten comic book superheroes, so when I first heard about I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets (Fantagraphics; $19.95), I knew it would be a must-have. Before reading this book, I was only vaguely aware of Fantomah, having seen one of her stories reprinted somewhere, but I had never seen much of Fletcher Hanks’ work beyond that. Editor Paul Karasik took his interest in Hanks from early idle curiosity, to an attempt to find and meet the cartoonist, to the production of this book.

Karasik wastes no time before plunging the reader into Hanks’ fever-dream world. The stories starring Fantomah or Stardust, the Super Wizard, are crude and perfunctory, serving mainly as a platform for the art, and the art really does merit a second look. Hanks employed an artistic line reminiscent of Basil Wolverton, ugly yet beautiful. In Hanks’ world, criminals are barely human, as ugly on the surface as they are black of heart. Most of the stories follow the same formula: Twisted fiend attempts horrific plan; untouchable, multi-powered hero gets wind of said plan; hero exacts complex, "ironic" punishment. And what punishment! In one four-page sequence, Stardust uses his fantastic powers to change a group of fifth-columnists to ice; the lesser leaders melt right then and there, as Stardust turns the remaining (un-melted) thugs into rats. Then Stardust changes into a panther, chases the rats to the wharves, and into the ocean. There he reverts to Stardust and uses a ray to churn up the water, drowning all the rats save one, the leader. Finally, he gives this last rat its human head back and flies the creature to the grateful authorities. Nutty stuff indeed, and right up my alley!

Finally, Karasik writes and illustrates the story of his attempt to track down Fletcher Hanks in person. He instead meets the artist’s son, and finds that the mysterious Hanks was an utter bastard, nothing like the noble firebrand Karasik had pictured in his mind. The short story attempts to reconcile “criminally forgotten comics genius” with “alcoholic wife-beater,” a tale that should strike a chord with anyone who ever found out that their hero had feet of clay. Fletcher Hanks may have been a monster of a person, but his art was well worth a look, and should not be forgotten. With Fantagraphics usual superb packaging, I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets gives us that look and remembrance. Highly recommended.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Jimmy and Lois Nude Shocker!!!

In Countdown #46, Jimmy Olsen confronts Sleeze, an Apokoliptan exile who claims to have information about the death of Lightray, and I can't believe no one has mentioned this little tidbit:

Holy crap. There's a Sleez-directed, Jimmy Olsen/Lois Lane porno circulating in the DC Universe. With a guest appearance by Winslow Schott as the Pizza Guy. One can't help but picture the untold tale in terms of a Weisinger-era cover: Superman (thinking): (CHOKE) My best pal, and my girlfriend...going at it like Kryptonian Hyper-Bunnies! Cover Blurb reads: Complete in this issue: "The Cuckold Superman." The mind boggles. Just another wacky chapter in the erotic adventures of Superman!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Meet the Injustice League...and the JLA's new Writer!

Wow, that was fast. I was all set to speculate on this image for the cover of JLA #13, when news breaks from Heroes Con that this is the Injustice League, and that Again With the Comics favorite Dwayne McDuffie is set to be the title's next writer. This is fantastic news, as McDuffie was also one of the head writers for the animated Justice League and JL Unlimited. It looks like he's going to tweak the team lineup and gather a new group of sociopaths to occupy the JLA. Let's see who we have here:

Front row, Left to Right (sort of-criminals are a disorganized and uncooperative lot.):
Granny Goodness
Doctor Sivana
Circe (above Sivana and Granny)
Poison Ivy
Lex Luthor
Doctor Light
Shadow Thief
Move up a bit, head back towards the right, and we've got:
Felix Faust
Captain Cold
(Unknown above Mammoth...Snapper?!?)
Solomon Grundy
Black Manta
Move up and head back left, we see those lurking furthest back are:
Killer Frost
Again With the Black Adam
On her shoulder, Doctor Psycho
Major Force

That's forty-one murderous maniacs. These are my best guesses, but I'm sure you won't hesitate to correct me if I'm wrong, will you dear readers? Can you identify the mystery characters? Got a "That's Thumpina of Apokalips, not Circe, you dolt!" all bottled up inside? Wanna correct my spelling of Apokolips? Take it to the comments, folks!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Again With the Skrulls

Spoiler Warning for New Avengers #31 Spoiler Warning

So Elektra's a Skrull, huh? And it looks like that's just the tip of the iceberg. Frankly, I wouldn't mind seeing this development used to clean up a few more stupid resurrections*. Skrulls have been trying to discredit Earth's heroes since their first appearance in Fantastic Four #2, but I don't think I've ever seen them attempt a full-scale infiltration. And why not? Aren't the Skrulls a sneaky, conquest-minded bunch currently lacking a homeworld? I've already heard cries of backpedaling, and how this is going to be Marvel's "Superboy punch", and while it would be a cop-out to say that Civil War was all the Skrull's fault, I don't get the impression that things are headed that way at all. More like they wormed their way in, fanned the wrong flames and put the wrong words in the wrong ears at the wrong time, all to soften Earth's heroes up for the upcoming invasion. The Skrulls have never been used to great effect in the past, so I'm definitely interested in where this is going.

*Norman Osborn? Totally a Skrull.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Again With Again With the Comics

Click images to enlarge.

Again With the Comics is one year old today! I started blogging as an outlet for all my comics related jabbering, and thanks to you, dear friends, the last year has truly been a hoot. I'd like to sincerely thank my readers, my comment-ers, and all those sage souls who have linked here. Most of them are on the sidebar, warriors all! I also have to thank my wonderful wife, who loves me enough to support me in this time-consuming, unpaid endeavor. I love ya, baby!

Thanks to the Internet, I can now share my love of comics with like-minded weirdos worldwide, but it wasn't always that way. Again With the Comics really began when I was a wee lad, with few friends and my beloved comics. As much as I loved Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and all the others, nobody else in my world "got it" at all. I remember trying to talk comics with my neighbor friend, but he never caught the bug. My mother was frequently patient but disinterested as I breathlessly described the shocking developments in the latest Amazing Spider-Man, and most of the school kids I knew were similarly funnybook-deficient. That finally changed in Eighth grade.

Mike Coco and I became fast friends, both having vast comic troves and no one with whom to discuss all the heroes and villains, the great battles and the shocking twists. The best part was that while my collecting had mainly focused on Marvel, Mike had been hoarding DCs by the orange carton-load. I remember handing off grocery bags of books each week or so, taking them home and later catching up on the Legion of Superheroes or the Flash all at a chunk. A few blocks away, Mike was soaking up Marvel lore. We spent hours debating and discussing characters, creators, and who would win if the Avengers battled the Justice League. I drew about sixteen pages of an Earth-2 Legion of Superheroes story that he wrote (they had a Doctor Fate, as I remember...) Later, and pooling our resources, we were able to make a pretty broad sweep of the independent publishers. Between the two of us we kept up with First, Eclipse, and a baker's dozen of the pioneering alt-comix. Today, he runs the Comic Shop, I give him bales of money, and we can all enjoy the expanded forum of a blog.

The best kind of forum, 'cuz it's MINE.

So, what does the year ahead hold for Again With the Comics? Expect more "humor", more pandering and more blatant falsehoods. Expect the current level of Paris Hilton coverage to remain unchanged. I'd like to get back to commenting on the new books, so new weekly column soon, I think. More spectacular thrills to follow in 2007-2008, I assure you!

Dear God, he's still not done talking about comics.

Monday, June 11, 2007

More Golden Age Not-So-Greats

Once again, we turn our eyes to the Golden Age of comics. You've already met Rainbow Boy, The Puppeteer and the Hood, now meet some more less-than-luminaries.

In today's troubled world, we often yearn for a simpler time. A time when every other word didn't have a double meaning. When people could talk about how gay they were, and how many boners they pulled at work, and it was okay, because they were discussing their level of happiness and mistakes made on the job. Or when you could call a pair of kid crime fighters YANK and DOODLE with a straight face:

Before Night Thrasher and the Rocket Racer, there was ZIPPO, who fought crime with a highly advanced set of roller wheels that by all logic should have broken his ankles. Here at Again With the Comics, we are above crude toilet humor, so I will refrain from noting that the little puffs of smoke from his pistons make it look like he's passing gas throughout the story. But they do. Hee hee hee.

In the Golden Age, a fledgling crime fighter could get by with a lot less than today's mutants, techno-futurists, cosmic godlings and angst-ridden genetic deviants. Back then, one needed only to wear a cooking pot on their head or to be shorter than everyone else to gain admission to the Justice Society. Or you could just strap a radio transmitter to your head and fight crime by throwing your voice, like MICRO-FACE here:

Finally, I have no idea what to make of this, but I couldn't very well not include AIRMALE and STAMPY, could I?

As before, all images were culled from Pure Excitement Comics. Thanks, Bill Nolan!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Return

Aaaaannd...we're back. I did what I went to do, and the customer's happy, so yay me...

Unsurprisingly, North Dakota is an almost 100% comics-free state, but I was able to watch most of Venture Brothers Season Two while I was out there and continued my re-reading of Nexus. On the trip back, I bought Fun Home at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport, off the Graphic Novel shelf, and the cashier's counter had Graphic Novels displayed right there at the point-of-purchase, so -um- I think we've arrived. Quite a change from the days when comics were a total niche thing.

More to come soon.

Monday, June 04, 2007

A Feast Before the Famine

Again With the Comics will be on hiatus the week of June 4th-10th. Until then, in lieu of new content, enjoy a feast of re-runs. Here we have a few of my favorite articles from the last year, served up fresh and piping hot for your amusement/annoyance. These are listed oldest to newest, so the first item is from October'06:

A Vintage Gil Kane drawn Tiger Boy story, reprinted -and mocked- in its entirety.

A lengthy polemic decrying my least-favorite comic book character.

You would think that recasting Dracula as a superhero would be a surefire recipe for action and excitement, wouldn’t you? You’d be wrong.

Alas, poor Stilt-Man, we hardly knew ye.

I Married A Skrull. AWKward!

Memo to Marvel: Hulk comics should have the Hulk in them! I shouldn't have to tell you this!!

As if Insect Queen wasn't bad enough, meet the Bee Boy. He was Emo before Emo was a thing to be (or bee)!

Meet the most confused pacifist in the old west, Gunmaster and Bullet the Gun Boy.

Green Lantern gets more than he bargained while attending a Dickles Family reunion.

Fools! You'll all pay!!

Let's go visit Aunt Flo with Ms. PMS. Now with comments from the writer/artist!

Wonder Woman battles the twin Scourges of the golden age: Scale and Proportion.

There was a Jimmy Olsen Vertigo comic? Really?

There's also a lot more crap on the sidebar and in the archives! We'll be back ASAP.