Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick or Treat!

A Happy Halloween and a Blessed Samhain to you all!

If you're looking for a good Halloween read, hunt down Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson's Beasts of Burden. Helluva good series about neighborhood pets who fight the supernatural. Way less twee than you would ever suspect and damned creepy in parts. A damn fine read. Failing that, check out these pugs in superhero costumes! (I am easily amused)

If you want something to just give you the flat-out creepy-crawlies, I suggest hunting down the manga Uzumaki. It's the creepy tale of a town haunted by a spiral that makes people into freaks and lunatics via anything remotely "spiral" shaped. Some portions are just laughable (Deadly curly hair!) but the bit about the human snail . . . brrrr.

Lastly, enjoy this creepy Bonus Video Content! If you haven't played Batman: Arkham Asylum yet, btw, it's a terrific game . . . and the Scarecrow is one of the best parts. :D Enjoy these easter eggs - little taped interviews from the so-called Master of Fear in Arkham Asylum.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Helping women with Wonder Woman

Some of you may not know this but October 25th is Wonder Woman Day. CBR has an impressive rundown of the event by one of the founders here. This is a day to celebrate Wonder Woman, duh, but it's also for a great cause. Even if you're not going to be anywhere near Portland or New Jersey to meet famous comic book writers & artists, you can bid on awesome pieces of art done for the day online. Every piece of art bought goes to a very important charity - helping Shelters for Victims of Domestic Violence. I'm not terribly rich but I'm happy to donate time and attention to this wonderful day and wonderful cause. If you want to just stop reading here and click on over to thumb through the amazing gallery of Wonder Woman sketches for sale, I completely understand. Please donate even a little something, if you can.

Still here? Okay, time to get personal.

I know some people don't really "get" Wonder Woman and that's fine. Some people like chocolate, some people like rum raisin. What this day is, however, is a pure celebration of the spirit of the character as she's come to be known - the premier superheroine of the modern age. The character who little girls pretend to be when they play superhero, embracing the idea of the strong woman for the first time. Paradise Island, the Invisible Jet and the Golden Lariat are as part of the cultural landscape as Kryptonite and Alfred the Butler.

I know she's got her detractors but I love her. Yes, she's a deliriously complex character with so many facets that even great writers get a little lost getting a handle on her and too few even try. Still, that's part of why she's so fascinating. Batman, Superman, they can be summed up in a simple phrase or two. Wonder Woman - Diana of Themyscria - is a warrior and an ambassador of peace. Both an outsider and also the most trustworthy person in the DC Universe (even Superman doesn't have a rope brushing against his hip that renders him incapable of lying all the time). Complexity in comic book characters should always be celebrated and I love Wonder Woman as a character even when I don't care for her book.

To be honest, the last time I really enjoyed reading Wonder Woman was under Greg Rucka's pen (no slight to the fantastic Gail Simone but all the continual doses of tragedy and seriousness in her run leave me a bit cold). Greg Rucka wrote Wonder Woman as the one person in the DCU to have the strength to do what Batman and Superman could never, ever do (possibly should never, ever do, given their characters) and the heart to know what exactly what it would cost her. I know it put some people off but that? That's a hero I can both admire and understand. That's a soldier saving lives. That's a cop making a hard decision. That's a woman who makes hard choices. That's somebody I'd want a daughter to look up to as an example. Hell, I could make a long post about Rucka's Wonder Woman of it's very own but I won't, as it's already getting late.

In the end, I'm just thrilled Wonder Woman finally has a day to call her own. The fantastic cause it's supporting makes it even better.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Without Fear

I don't often mention it but Daredevil is one of those underrated titles I've enjoyed consistently for years, especially under Miller, Nocenti, Bendis & Brubaker's pens. As a lapsed Catholic who tends to fall into complicated relationships, I can relate (the constant ninja attacks, not so much).

While I'm not too fond of the current direction for the character, reading what being involved with Daredevil meant to a wide variety of comics professionals over the years made me smile. Definitely worth a read.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Confessions of a sick fan

Since I haven't really had the funds to hit my LCS as of late (and I'm up late/early with a cold), I thought I'd just put out a few confessions of mine about comics I already bought and read & those I plan to read.

CONFESSION 1: I have not enjoyed Kathy Immonen's run on Runaways

In the course of trashing a few new books, The Hurting mentions that they think Immonen had a lot to fix from Whedon's lateness-plagued run and Terry Moore's somewhat unfocused run on Runaways.

Now, let's be fair here. I thought Moore's run was lackluster at best but he left her with the kids in a safehouse in California, minus a few members of the previous cast. Even with a new addition who was a plant-controlling mutant time-traveler, it wasn't like they'd all been transformed into middle-aged Cyborg Zebras and stranded on Mars in the year 2525 or something. So, how did she then chose to start her run? Immonen starts out with the random killing of the iconic dinosaur portion of the team and blowing up their Malibu base. I mean, seriously? Why not just burn all of Molly Hayes' hats while you're at it? This is the team that non-comic readers recognize as the one with the Goth Chick, the little girl in the funny hat, the other ones and the dinosaur. Sheesh.

She then followed that up with a second issue that was comprised almost entirely of people yelling at one another while sitting in rubble. Fun! I have no idea why anybody wouldn't immediately fall in love with this wacky comic about teens with superpowers.

I have to admit that I didn't even follow my traditional "3 issues to be fair about it" rule because I'm damn poor and I don't like to waste money on things that don't make me happy. It hurt because this is an all-female team writing and drawing a book about a team lead by a teenage girl (with Molly "Always Awesome" Hayes). Also, I liked that Hellcat series a whole lot and they hinted Gert was coming back, so I definitely wanted to like this book. I wanted to like this book so bad that the cognitive dissonance from hating it kind of gave me an ice cream headache.

What I'm saying here is that, while I wasn't the biggest fan of their runs either, I don't think it's entirely fair to lay all the blame at Terry Moore and Joss Whedon's feet for Runaways not shining as brightly as it could.

Whew. Glad I got that out there.

: After nearly two decades reading comics, I still have very little idea who about 2/3'ds of the JSA are.

This doesn't stop me from loving the holy crap out of Eric Trautmann's tense, well-plotted JSA Vs. Kobra mini-series or Palmiotti and Conner's fun, excellent and ongoing Power Girl series. And yes, I know, Wikipedia is my friend. I'm just lazy and have enough vague knowledge about all their personalities and powers from various crossovers to be satisfied. For instance, Bell Girl and her husband Hoodie Man find a corpse! Freckles McWhirlwind is horrified! And so on and so forth.

In seriousness, the fact that they're spinning them off into two books now instead of one makes a lot of sense because as near as I can gather, there's 42 members on the team. If the JSA teamed up with the X-Men, I think they'd outnumber the population of Nebraska.

Also, if they really did kill off Mr. Terrific like I've been hearing from folks, this Checkmate fan's gonna be more than a little ticked off. I'm just sayin'.

CONFESSION 3: Planetary #27 finally coming out makes me happy.

No real addition to that one. I mean, I could be a whiny fanboy about it, but hell, I'm just happy it's finally here. I'm going to save up five bucks, track it down and buy the crap out of this one, just for completion's sake, if nothing else. I just hope that, after all these years, the art in it is rather astonishing.



Monday, October 5, 2009

Some fun to keep you occupied a.k.a. My Twitter Feed

MTV Splash Page hipped me to this entertaining series of YouTube Videos launching off of The Dark Knight. While I know some people might be nervous about desecrating Heath Ledger's memory, this series is both cleverly done and an interesting homage to the movie-verse.

Far less creepily, I present the funniest Facebook and comic book related thing ever made, courtesy of Chris "The ISB/ War Rocket Ajax / A.C.T.I.O.N. Ager*" Sims. If you use Facebook, this will kill you dead with laughter.

*Did I mention Chris printed another one of my cheeky "letters" in the last issue of his delightful Woman of A.C.T.I.O.N.? Because he did. It's nice when other people encourage me to pretend I am a moronic, entitled fanboy asshole.