Saturday, January 01, 2005
From the letters page of Amazing Spider-Man #113 (October 1972):
Aside from Asgard apparently being in New York, I'm having a hard time believing that there actually were "nay-sayers" to John Romita's art. I wonder what those people would have thought about some of the artists Spidey was afflicted with all those years later.
Unless, of course, these people were bothered by being able to see Peter Parker's eyes through the mask:
...which always reminds me of this guy:
(Diabolik cover image found on this fan site in the Netherlands.)
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I never did get around to finding a good New Year's-related comic cover or panel, so here are some Star Trek fans bothering Iron Man at the San Diego Comic Con instead:
from Iron Man #72 (Jan 1974) - by Mike Friedrich, George Tuska & Vince Colletta
Happy 2005, everyone.
Friday, December 31, 2004
Okay, the absolute last reminder about this: the Swamp Thing Bad Seed contest ends tonight, so if you're planning on sending 25 words or less to contest (at) progressiveruin.com telling me why you want one of the three copies of this book I have to give away, you'd better get the lead out.
Mike's End O'Year Review...
...well, sorta. There are plenty of good year-in-reviews all over the comicsweblogosphere (I enjoyed pal Tom's various lists), and I wasn't sure if I'd really have the time nor the inclination to add to the year-end fray. I did come up with a couple smart-alecky awards (the Tempest in a Teapot award to Identity Crisis, the Don't Get Your Hopes Up award to the Sin City movie trailer), but that was about it. (Be sure to catch pal Dorian's awards as well.)
(Speaking of awards...the newest issue of Wizard includes the ballot for their fan awards, and, as I do every year, I fill it out with write-in nominees since, oddly enough, I generally don't care for any of their predetermined choices. I think one year I voted for Chris Ware as "Best Letterer." Don't look at me like that - he is a good letterer! I wonder if whoever is presumably counting the votes even bothers with my ballot, or just tosses it out.)
Anyway, lemme see what I can do here with my own year-end review:
Favorite comics: Well, I'm going to take the unpopular position (nothing new) and include Identity Crisis in this list, if only because of the discussion it's engendered. Granted, a good portion of the discussion was along the lines of "how dare DC publish such perversion," but there was some rational discussion out there as well.
Other favorites include Phil Foglio's beautiful Girl Genius, Grant Morrison and Cameron Stewart's nuttily wonderful Seaguy, Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan's Demo, Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca's Street Angel, the Hernandez Brothers' Love and Rockets, Stuff of Dreams #2 by Kim Deitch, Plastic Man by Kyle Baker (and occasionally Scott Morse), Ex Machina by Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris, Scurvy Dogs by Andrew Boyd and Ryan Yount, Promethea by Alan Moore and J.H. Williams III, and others I'm sure I'm forgetting.
Oh, and Swamp Thing, of course. You can probably just include Swamp Thing as a given in any appropriate category.
Most surprising comic: I'll probably have to go with Adam Strange. I've always liked the character, so I was looking forward to the series...and I had no idea it was going to be such a wonderfully-illustrated comic. Artist Pascal Ferry really made this a comic to treasure...and the movie-serial style writing by Andy Diggle ain't all that bad, either.
Biggest disappointment: Not getting Crossgen's American Power for Free Comic Book Day. I really wanted to see this, and for all the wrong reasons. You just knew this was going to be fantastic.
Favorite graphic novel: I'm gonna go with Mister O by Lewis Trondheim. I just reread it a couple days ago, and it still cracks me up. It's just page after page of a little guy trying to get across a chasm, told in tiny panels, and it's really very funny.
Best reprint: Thank you, Dark Horse Comics, for bringing us Little Lulu in convenient trade paperback format. And thank you, Fantagraphics, for The Complete Peanuts.
Favorite manga: The absolutely terrifying Gyo. I mean, honestly, what's wrong with this guy? (And yeah, I probably shouldn't seperate "manga" out from "comics," but I'm old and set in my ways.)
Best comics-related thingie in another medium: I wanted to say American Splendor, but even though I didn't see it until this year, it is from 2003, so I guess it's out of the running. I did enjoy Spider-Man 2, but mostly for the fact that 1) they actually gave us a live action Doctor Octopus that worked* (thanks to actor Alfred Molina) and 2) they gave the people what they wanted - more J. Jonah Jameson. It certainly wasn't for the least charismatic superhero/girlfriend couple of all time. And no, I haven't seen The Incredibles yet...until I find a way to destroy cell phones that ring during the film with the sheer force of my mind, I have no real desire to return to a movie theatre.
So, I think I'll go with Cartoon Network's Justice League Unlimited. It's fun, it's generally well-written, it's giving us superheroes that I'm sure none of us ever expected to see in a cartoon (Nemesis? Aztek???), and it's probably the only way most of today's kids are going to know any of these characters.
The gift that keeps on giving: Hey, I have a way to mention the American Splendor movie anyway, thanks to something pal Dorian said the other day. Of all the comic-related movies that have come out over the last few years, the one that is still driving sales of books to this day is American Splendor. Even the Ghost World TPB finally has petered out to normal sales levels. But boy, we still get plenty of people who want the comic that the movie was based on. Thankfully there are a couple trades still in print.
Favorite comics weblog: I don't want to leave anyone out, so I'm just going to say that I appreciate all your weblogs and the work that you put into them. (Well, okay, there's that one guy, but I like all the rest of you.) I haven't brought them up much lately, but some of you who've been reading this site for a while know that I love old fanzines...and the comicsweblogosphere is like having a bunch of brand new fanzines every single day! I think it's swell.
* Aside from that scene where he falls to the ground and shouts "NOOOOOOOOO!" My cliche-sense is tingling!
Thursday, December 30, 2004
I'll only remind you once more, I promise.
The Swamp Thing Bad Seed contest ends tomorrow night at midnight...um, in whatever time zone you happen to be in. I won't be picky. Anyway, 25 words or less, telling me why you want one of the three copies of this book I'm giving away, sent to
contest (at) progressiveruin.com
So enter already, gosh dang it. I won't bite, it doesn't cost anything to enter, and you might get a free book out of it. What, would it kill you?
New funny book day.
I swear to you, the character's name is "Spunky the Monkey:"
Anyway, SPOILERS ahead, maybe. I ain't sayin' for sure.
Concrete: The Human Dilemma #1 - I've been a Concrete fan almost since the very beginning, having started with his second appearance in Dark Horse Presents all those years ago. It's been too long since the character has been on our shelves, so I'm very glad to see it again. That said, my first glance through the book made me fear that the preachiness factor of Concrete may have finally overwhelmed the story (this mini-series' topic: overpopulation), but now that I've actually read it, it's no more preachy than previous series have been. The back-up is an old abandoned fantasy project Chadwick was working on...pretty, but I think I would rather have had more World Below stories.
What If...General Ross Had Become The Hulk? - this bodes well for Peter David's coming run on the regular Hulk title (starting next week!), since David presents in this title yet another spin on the Hulk formula that I don't think we've seen before. I'm not referring to Ross becoming the Hulk, but rather the kind of Hulk Ross becomes. Well done, and Pat Olliffe's art (assisted by Sal Buscema) is nicely done as well...his work has really grown on me over the years.
Adam Strange #4 - hey, the Omega Men! I like the Omega Men...don't look at me like that, I like 'em and I don't care who knows it. Anyway, I've run out of ways to say that the art is spectacular in this comic, so just refer to previous reviews. Plus, I've seen mentions here and there that this mini-series is supposed to tie in to some big hoohah coming from DC in 2005. Aside from a reference in a gossip column and talk among my fellow webloggers, I'm not sure where this idea is coming from. Do any of you know any more about this? There may be a slight nod in that direction in this issue, unless I'm reading something into the story that's not really there.
Superman #212 - I give up. I'll just wait 'til this story is finished and read it all at once...maybe it'll flow better. (I did this with Joe Kelly's run on JLA -- and that turned out to be pretty good when you took it in all at once.)
Superman/Batman #16 - whew, new readers need not apply...this one's for the fanboys, and it's not ashamed of it. Superman and Batman bounce from one version of the DC Universe to the next, and we see a lot of old favorites along the way (that's Kamandi on the cover, and I won't spoil the other surprises inside. Oh, okay, Jonah Hex is there, too).
Legion of Super-Heroes #1 - the newest reboot of DC's long-running franchise is here, hoping against hope that someone other that what must be a diminishing number of longtime Legion fans will start reading the book. The newest aspect of this new reboot is that we're not starting with the origin of the team, as they're already clearly established by the time the story begins. Hopefully, this reboot will stick.
Dorothy #1 - I'm not big on the whole fumetti thing, but Dorothy, with its modern take on the Oz mythos, is quite fun. A teen gal, complete with piercing and dyed hair, seeks an escape from her drab Kansas life, and finds it in the form of a tornado that whisks her away to a mysterious land...but you knew that, I bet. It's all set up so far, just getting Dorothy into Oz, but it's all beautifully designed, photographed, and colored...see more at the official web site, where you can even order the not-distributed-yet-through-Diamond #2.
Comic Book Artist Vol. 2 #5 - I stopped reading this series when it changed publishers...still looks like a good magazine, but I can only read so many comic mags, you know? But this issue has a nice full-color ad on the back cover for the long-delayed Swamp Men book, featuring interviews and features focusing around Swamp Thing, Man-Thing, the Heap, and other swamp critters (but probably not Pogo). Oh, and there's a nice Howard Chaykin interview in this issue as well.
The Incredibles #2 - the first issue sold okay for us, but I really wonder if anyone's still going to care about this series once #4 shows up on our shelves? Maybe if the DVD is out by then....
Quit City is the newest Avatar book by Warren Ellis, and I completely forgot to take a look at it. Hey, new comics day is busy, I can't remember everything. I did want to note that it's out, at least.
Girl Genius Vol. 3 - I'm thankful that Phil Foglio's latest project is being supported with consistent trade paperback reprinting...this makes it a very easy sell for us.
Inu Yasha Vol. 20 - I haven't the faintest idea what this series is about - with a few exceptions, I'm not a manga maven (I let pal Dorian handle that), but I do try to keep track of what's selling. This series has always done very well for us, and this $8.95 format really encourages people to give it a try.
Daisy Kutter #4 - I gave up my copy of the first issue to one of our customers, as I wasn't able to get any reorders in, and I haven't been following the rest of the series as a result. I will, however, get the trade paperback collection. The art in this series is astounding...loose and cartoony, and very attractive.
Star Wars: Empire #28 - okay, so you have a character that looks like Peter Cushing's character of Tarkin from the first Star Wars movie, he's apparently a "Grand Moff" like Tarkin, and he's even drawn in some of the same poses as Tarkin from that film...and yet, it's not Tarkin. That threw me off a bit, there.
Elric: Making of A Sorcerer #2 - I love Walt Simonson's work. I just have no interest whatsoever in Elric. Sorry. Looks nice, though.
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
A couple things:
I'll talk more about the new comic arrivals tomorrow, but I did want to note the Elektra Movie Adaptation, wisely released now before anyone has had a chance to see the film. Anyway, the comic also includes Frank Miller's Elektra story from Bizarre Adventures, as well as several pin-ups. One of the pin-ups is by Bill Sienkiewicz*, and I noticed that it has a couple captions on it (reading something like "Four months ago / In the Lincoln Memorial"). For a moment, that made no sense to me...until I realized what they had done was take one of Sienkiewicz' splash pages from the '80s Elektra Assassin mini-series (specifically, from #8) and plugged it into this comic as a "pin-up" without bothering to remove the now context-free captions. Of course, if they had removed the text boxes, I'd instead probably be complaining about the lousy Photoshopping used to cover them.
I also wanted to give Fred Hembeck a nod and a wink for his December 29th post regarding weblogs and the reprobates and ne'erdowells who run them. He has a nice thank you to them...er, us...so I wanted to say "thanks" back! Also, he reveals the news that he pointed Joe Staton in the direction of my Charles Barkley and the Referee Murders post, which terrified me for just a moment as I scrambled to make sure I didn't say anything too negative about Mr. Staton's work! I didn't really emphasize it, since the focus was on the peculiarity of a Charles Barkley comic, but Staton did do a fine job of cartooning, and managed to keep Barkley's likeness without making it look like tracings of photos.
More store stuff:
We were shorted all of our copies of today's What If Aunt May Had Died, but got double-shipped our order of the Daredevil What If, plus double our copies of JSA Strange Adventures and double our Dildos.**
We also received Hellboy graphic novels in Spanish (Semilla de Destruccion, anyone?), as well as new printings of Vaughn Bode's Junkwaffel...fun stuff!
* How do you know you've been doing the comics thing for too long? You can spell "Sienkiewicz" without having to look it up.