Monday, March 29, 2010

Rest In Peace, Dick Giordano!

I just found out Dick Giordano passed away last Saturday from leukemia. As a DC reader of a certain age, I've been a fan of Dick Giordano's since I started reading comics over 35 years ago. While he was well known for his work at Charlton and has worked at other companies like Valiant and Marvel (I remember his inks over Frank Brunner's pencils on DOCTOR STRANGE), I associate him most with his DC work. In fact, I can honestly say that no artist was more influential to the look of 70's and 80's DC comics than Dick Giordano.

Comics lost a true legend.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Debut of "Public Announcements"

Inspired by the great Sally P's chronicling of her love and hate relationship with comics, I've decided to pour out some random rants and raves of my own into a new (and hopefully recurring) feature I'm calling "Public Announcements". Here's a sample:

*ATTENTION, MODERN COMIC WRITERS!*- Incorporating a past rape into your female character's origin is not innovative, not cutting edge, and definitely not groundbreaking. It wasn't even groundbreaking when Jim Starlin wrote one for Willow in Dreadstar#2, which was TWENTY-SEVEN YEARS AGO. It's ANNOYING AS HELL. I'm sick and tired of getting into the adventures of a strong new female character, like Inertia in Squadron Supreme or Kate Bishop in Young Avengers, only to have her origin story where * gasp* she was inspired by her rape to become a heroine. Even long-established characters aren't immune. Really, Kevin Smith? "My dad was a legendary cat burglar and I loved him and wanted to be like him" wasn't enough motivation for the Black Cat? You really needed to add a rape, too? Keep in mind that this rant is coming from somebody for whom the possibility of getting raped is remote. What about those (predominantly female) readers who live with a greater possibility, and therefore a greater fear, of it happening to them, let alone those who have actually experienced this trauma? Is it too much to ask that their comics provide at least a momentary escape from that? Does the word "trigger" mean anything to you?

*ATTENTION, TEABAGGERS!* - Ask yourselves the following question: Which is a greater threat to our democracy: A) a legally elected president and congressional majority passing a bill that attempts to provide affordable health care to more Americans, or B) groups of people who threaten those same leaders with violence, vandalism, assassination, and even the killing of their children just because they passed a law those groups didn't like? I think the answer is obvious.

*ATTENTION, COMIC MINISERIES CREATORS!* - Try to finish what you start - and on a relatively timely basis. It's one thing to wait a few extra weeks for Ethan Van Sciver to fine-tune the artwork or for George Perez' wrist to heal, but it's another thing when work on minis are abandoned for several months or even years in mid-stream. I just saw a solicit for The Twelve#9. The Twelve#8 came out in November 2008. Let's put this in perspective: I've been married for nearly 8 months. I wasn't even engaged when I bought The Twelve#8. And now, over 1 year later, I'm supposed to refresh my memory on what the hell went on into the first 8 issues so I'm caught up for the ninth? Remember this rule: If you remind people that they can do without your product for a long enough time, they'll catch on that they can do without it indefinitely.

There you go. Let me know what you think.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Chris Evans as Cap?

Hard to say how I feel about this one. In my opinion, his Johnny Storm (especially his interaction with Michael Chiklis' Ben Grimm) was the saving grace of both movies. (I especially loved when he got to play "Super-Skrull".) But as Cap? I haven't seen enough of his other work (well, any of it) to judge. I would have gone with Jensen Ackles (Supernatural) - a commanding voice but actually young enough for the part.

My question: How are they going to pull off Pre-Super Soldier Serum Steve? Will they give him the Sam Worthington treatment?

Damn! I just STARTED reading "Power Girl"!

Exit Amanda Conner.

Enter Judd Winick.

Exit me?

Stay tuned.

Chicken Or The Egg: A question for Val D'Orazio or regular readers of her site

I only read Valerie D'Orazio's blog, pardon the pun, occasionally, but recently I wrote this in which I complained that because of Val's post and Sally P's response to said post I could not get this song by a certain early 80's Australian pop band who isn't Air Supply, Men At Work, or INXS out of my head.

The thing is that a few days later I noticed that Val's site had this as her banner:

Now look at the title of the comic Val is promoting with her banner here. And then look back at the song I referred to above.

Here's my problem: I got the idea for my original blog post after reading Sally's entry on her Green Lantern Butt's Forever site, and before I read Val's entry on her site. I posted my entry after reading Val's. And I wasn't paying attention to what Val had as her banner when I wrote my post on March 14. So I don't know if she changed it to the banner above before or after I posted my entry.

My guess: Val already had it as her banner when I viewed her blog, and I just wasn't paying attention. But I can't remember for sure.

And for some reason it's driving me nuts.

Somebody please enlighten me.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Night Fights: Bad Boys - Round 12: Supreme Pwnage

Welcome, one and all, to the 12th and final round of Friday Night Fights: Bad Boys! Tonight's entry was inspired by the recent news that J. Michael Straczynski will be taking over Superman beginning with issue#701.

One of the pluses of JMS writing Supes is that he has had past experience writing a Superman-like character a few years ago named Mark Milton, aka Hyperion, in the pages of Supreme Power and later in Squadron Supreme. Tonight's fight comes from Supreme Power#8, written by JMS and drawn by Gary Frank and Jon Sibal, featuring a rematch between Hyperion and tonight's victorious villain, Redstone, a sociopathic serial killer with powers comparable to Mark's.

What powers, you ask?

How about the power of heat vision?

That's heat vision, Holmes!

Don't feel too bad for Mark, folks. He regrouped at the end of issue 8, leading to the triumphant conclusion to his battle royale with Redstone in issue#9....

Oh, wait. There never was an issue#9. The story never got finished.

Chalk that up as one of the minuses of JMS writing your book.

To visit a guy who always finishes what he starts, click here. And for Heaven's sake, don't forget to vote.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

And Speaking Of Music...

My wife took me to see these guys Friday night.

Here's my review of the concert distilled to two words:

Gee, thanks, Val and Sal!

Today I read this post by Valerie D'Orazio critiquing this Colgate ad...

...and this response to Val's critique by Sally P.

And now I can't get this song out of my head.

Damn you both!

And damn you, Little River Band!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Night Fights: Bad Boys - Round 11: The Definition Of Insanity

It is written that the definition of insanity is repeating the same action over and over again and expecting a different result.

In the case of our penultimate round of Friday Night Fights: Bad Boys (which comes to us from Booster Gold#5 by Geoff Johns, Jeff Katz, Dan Jurgens, and Norm Rapmund), the "different result" our time-travelling hero Booster Gold is expecting is saving Barbara Gordon from getting shot and crippled in the events of "The Killing Joke".

Unfortunately, the "same action" involves taking on the Joker. Repeatedly.

Let's see how that works out for Booster, shall we?

Wow, that is crazy.

You know what else is insane? Missing out on a chance to vote on this fight at the link below:

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Cry For Justice#7: When The Joke Stopped Being Funny

"I wish I could laugh
But that joke isn't funny anymore
It's too close to home
and it's too near the bone."
- The Smiths

Due to a busy week at work, I didn't get a chance to hit the local comic shop until Friday. While perusing through the titles, I read the 7th and final issue of James Robinson's Cry For Justice miniseries, and here was my opinion of the issue in a nutshell:

I fucking hated this comic.

I mean I really hated it. Had I not been in a public place (the comic shop), I would have flung this little piece-of-crap comic as hard as I could at the nearest wall. Again and again.

Not too long ago, I had a good laugh about how hilariously bad the Cry For Justice mini was: heroes acting wildly out of character, other characters getting killed (Tasmanian Devil, Penny Dreadful) or maimed (Roy Harper) for mere shock value, schedule delays, the constant cries of "Justice!", the works. I even joked about how the comic's delays had spoiled all the surprises in CFJ issue#7.

God, I wish I'd been right. Unfortunately, Robinson had two more unpleasant shocks in store. The first was this:

(The dead body belongs to none other than Roy Harper's 8-year-old daughter Lian, who was killed in the Star City disaster.)

The second was this:

This comic represented virtually everything wrong with modern-day superhero comics. Supporting characters treated like nothing more than cannon fodder to ratchet up the angst levels of the (usually male) lead hero with no respect or regard for that supporting character's history or meaning. So-called heroes rendered impotent in the face of Earth-shattering disasters. All in the name of some cheap shock value or, worse, a springboard for the next "Big Event".

I expected better than this from James Robinson. What the hell happened to him? He was wonderful on Starman and JSA, and even did great work on the recent Superman books. The main Superman book only featured its title character once in the last 11 issues and Robinson still managed to keep me riveted. He still can be a great writer. But he was anything but that in Cry For Justice. And, Robinson notwithstanding, where the hell were the editors? This thing should never have seen print.

If I want to read about children dying needlessly and thousands getting murdered while our heroes are helpless to act, there are periodicals available to me. They're called newspapers. Comics are supposed to be more inspiring than that. They're supposed to provide, in the words of Widespread Panic, hope in a hopeless world.

This comic made me feel dirty just reading it, let alone buying it. (I didn't.) I even considered buying a copy just so I could tear it up in a fit of rage. But giving DC my money for this travesty would have felt too much like rewarding it.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Friday Night Fights: Bad Boys - Round 10: Drac Attack!

Welcome to a special nocturnal edition of Friday Night Fights: Bad Boys. Since having a legendary horror figure take down a classic Marvel superhero proved so popular last week, I figured I'd continue the tradition with this mystic showdown from Tomb of Dracula#44 by Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan, and Tom Palmer, featuring Dracula, Lord of the Undead vs. Dr Strange, Master of Mystic Arts.

(Aw, Doc! You had to mention the manservant, didn't you? Way to piss off the vampire, Stevie-boy!)

For more villainous victories to sink your teeth into, visit Spacebooger's site here. And don't forget to vote!