Monday, April 30, 2012

Why Mark Waid And Daredevil#11 Rock

There was a lot to love about Daredevil#11, the concluding chapter of the "Omega Effect" crossover with Avenging Spider-Man and Punisher. The interplay between Matt, Frank, and Spidey. The beautiful art by Marco Checchetto. The battle royale with Megacrime.

But my favorite part had to be this scene between Daredevil and Frank's ally Cole, who has stolen the Omegadrive from Matt. Some backstory: Cole is a former Marine staff sergeant whose husband was killed by the mob in a wedding day massacre.

Matt corners her and is trying to reason her into giving him the drive back. He explains to her how she's not unique in her loss, and that he, Frank, and virtually all the Avengers (including Spidey) have experienced losses similar to hers.

Then Cole lets loose with this rationale:

This line of thinking, that the only true motivator to become a hero is the loss of a loved one, is complete bullshit. But unfortunately it's an opinion shared by too many people, including many creators of modern superhero comics. That's what's led to horrible comics like Cry For Justice and Rise Of Arsenal. Worse, that mindset is in large part responsible for the Women In Refrigerators phenomenon, where a disproportionate number of female supporting characters are killed off for the sole purpose of amping up the male lead characters' angst levels.

But DD and writer Mark Waid, thankfully, ain't havin' it!

Matt's aim is a little off in this scene due to an audio-scrambling device Cole has activated. But what he says next is perfectly on target:

Thank you, Mark Waid!

If more writers adhered to your way of thinking, maybe Earth 2 Lois and Hippolyta would still be alive.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Night Fights: Maxim - Round 8: Best Supporting "Cast"!

Any hero needs a good supporting cast, and, as tonight's round of Friday Night Fights: Maxim will demonstrate, even a supporting character's cast can sometimes play an important role in crimefighting.

Back before he became either Nightwing or, briefly, Batman, Dick Grayson used to fight crime in briefs and booties as Robin. Back in the 70's, he had a recurring backup strip in Detective Comics, fighting crime as a student at Hudson University in the college town of New Carthage. And he sometimes had his own personal Jim Gordon in the form of New Carthage Police's own Chief McDonald.

Another important point to mention is that the villains Dick faced in these backups were...different. As opposed to facing, say, Two-Face or Ra's al Ghul or the Talons, here he faced such nemeses as... The Parking Lot Bandit.

Or, in the case of tonight's fight, corrupt Hudson officials like University Treasurer Paul Shuster, who attempted to use the Parking Lot Bandit's robbery spree as cover for his own theft of $50,000 (which was worth a lot more back in 1975) from Hudson U by posing as the Bandit and staging a robbery, in the process breaking Chief McDonald's right arm by hurling a file cabinet at him.

Synopsis: Thanks to Robin, Shuster's just been busted. Suffice it to say, he doesn't take it well.

This normally might work, except he's facing someone who's been trained by Batman....

....who, in turn, throws a Batarang past the Chief (who, in case I didn't mention it earlier, has a broken arm) and... 

However, this doesn't stop our tenacious treasurer....

Wait for it....

Wait for it......

And Chief McDonald plasters the bad guy! (Sorry!)

Tonight's collegiate cranking is courtesy of 1975's Detective Comics#451 "The Parking Lot Bandit Strikes Again!" written by Bob Rozakis and illustrated by Al Milgrom and Terry Austin.

Tonight's fight music is a song about plaster casts of a different sort performed by Kiss.

For more scholastic scuffles, click here. And don't forget to vote!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Avengers Comment Trolls -- ASSEMBLE!!!

Mike Sterling at Progressive Ruin clued me in on the the reactions to this review by critic Amy Nicholson of  the "Avengers" movie.

Ms. Nicholson gave the film a decent but not glowing review. While I have not seen the film yet, I could see she made a valid point about the settings of the climactic battles in most of the Marvel movies: Too many of them are centered in New York in particular and Earth in general. That's fine, and even necessary, in the case of an earthbound street-level hero like Spidey or Daredevil. But as for Avengers or the FF, those books have served as travel guides to all the different corners of the Marvel Universe. Look at all the realms explored: Latveria, the Negative Zone, the Great Refuge, the Microverse. The list is endless. Marvel should show us some of those realms onscreen in the future.

So she gave the film 3 out of 5, which essentially translates into "good, but not great". No big deal.

But that wasn't good enough for the comment trolls on the site. You see, in their eyes, she committed two unpardonable sins in addition to not giving the movie a perfect review:

1. Initially calling Nick Fury "Nick Frost" in the review. Once.

2. Speaking Out While Female (SOWF).

And so they unleashed their full, mean-spirited, dickheaded wrath upon her in the comments section.

“She asked her boyfriend what score she should give. Just stick to rom-coms, bitch.”

“Hope your site got the hits it so desperately craves, you sad pathetic excuse for a human being.”

“You actually wanted this movie to suck, didn’t you? I’ve seen your other reviews, and your bias opinions on pretty much everything. You spelled names wrong, you got names wrong, You somehow managed to think that explosions and aliens means Transformers. You have no business being a critic if you are going to act like this.”

“Bitch what the fuck is wrong with you, I knew there would be bad reviews from some people but not from spiteful assholes who bash shit for attention.”

 “She didn’t bash it for attention, it’s starting to become clear she’s a DC fangirl, so she actually had an agenda.”

God, I HATE comments sections!

Guys, she didn't burn down your goddamn house or kill your mother. She just gave a lukewarm review of a movie. Idiots like this give comic fandom a horrible name.

Oh, but here's my personal favorite:

“This pathetic ***** will do anything to get some traffic for her shit little blog. Hope it paid off you stinking ****. Perhaps next time the guy who’s **** you sucked to get the job will send someone who’s actually capable of remembering a character’s name for longer than two minutes.” 


Accusing a female professional of fellating her boss in order to get her job?




Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What's That You Say, Mr. Roberson?

Late this week, I received some more bad news as a Superman fan:

Chris Roberson Quits DC Comics, Citing Ethical Concerns

I have mixed feelings on this.

On the one hand, we'll likely never see him write a Superman or Legion comic again. Which is sad.

My first experience reading Chris Roberson's work was a 2-parter in Superman/Batman#'s 79-80, which involved the Lord of Time fighting various incarnations of the Superman/Batman team throughout history. You can read Chris Sims' review here.

Then came "Grounded", into which Roberson stepped  at the halfway mark and elevated JMS' misguided Superman arc to an interesting homage to Elliot S. Maggin. Throughout that arc, I was anxious to see what Roberson could do with the Man of Steel unencumbered by "Grounded". Alas, I never got to find out, thanks to the DC Reboot.

Luckily, I did get to see him on the Star Trek/Legion Of Super-Heroes crossover, which included the best double-page spread of 2012 (we'll get to it below). I've also been reading his Memorial mini for IDW, where the most recent issue features a team of Robin Hood, Hua Mulan, Sinbad and Scathach. This guy's got a wonderful imagination and a strong grasp of both comics and general literary history. And that's something that comics, particularly super-hero comics, desperately need more of right now. The DCnU Justice League comic is proof of what happens when those elements are missing.

Honestly, what would you rather see in a Superman or Justice League or Legion of Super-Heroes comic?

Something like this?

From the Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes miniseries. And yes, that is the Hot Tub Time Machine. Click to enlarge.
Or this?

From the DCnU Justice League comic. Yep, that's Superman stone cold dismembering his opponents. Click to (ugh!) enlarge.

On the other hand, I support and respect his stand, as well as David Brothers'.

Because, quite frankly, the Big Two do have a storied, decades-long history of crapping on their creators. Just look at what's happened with Jack Kirby. Or Gary Friedrich and "Ghost Rider". Or Siegel and Shuster. Or even Alan Moore.

(One thing Moore and Roberson have in common: Both have become favorite Superman authors with just a handful of Supes stories and, sadly, neither will likely ever again write one.)

I have to admire Roberson and Brothers for their stands, and for the fact that they brought these issues to public attention. Because that's the start of the process of improving things. Just ask Neal Adams about some of the creator rights strides he was responsible for.

Kyle aka Lanky Guy summed it up best on Twitter:

"What surprises me most about the Avengers/Watchmen kerfluffle is people seem to expect corporations to behave other than (how) they have. I'm not saying 'that's how it is, just deal with it.' Absolutely, talk about it, and as importantly, work to change it. Just doesn't be surprised by it. Their bottom line is looking out for their own interests, how ever messed up that may be. Without a limiting factor corporations will screw employees over. That's why you fight for your rights. This is where the labor movement came from. Do you think companies give you weekends and vacations out of the goodness of their hearts? They were forced to do these things by people who stood up and said 'enough'."

When getting screwed on contracts in an industry is so commonplace that it's shrugged off as a "fact of life", that doesn't make the poor treatment better. It makes it WORSE. And that's why we need the likes of an Adams or a Roberson or even a Moore. To shed light on the unsavory practices and, it is hoped, CHANGE them.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Night Fights: Maxim - Round 7: Nobody Catches Karate Kid Twice!

For tonight's round of Friday Night Fights: Maxim, I'm going to demonstrate a valuable lesson that you can learn at the expense of Pharoxx, Princess Projectra's evil cousin who has taken over her Medieval home planet of Orando.

The lesson?

That you can catch Karate Kid off-guard with your fancy magical pyrotechnics once...

...but NOBODY catches him TWICE!

That's our Karate Kid -- once bitten, twice shy! (And with that, let's cue tonight's fight music from Ian Hunter.)

Tonight's martial arts schooling comes courtesy of Legion of Super-Heroes#288, written by Paul Levitz and beautifully illustrated by Keith Giffen and Bruce Patterson. I'm going Legion tonight because last week, against all logic, Namor getting punched through a window somehow trumped a battle royale between Spider-Man and Powdered Toast Man. Crazy, huh?

For more Medieval melees, click here. And don't forget to vote!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Night Fights: Maxim - Round 6: Get Your Hands Off My Woman!

Tonight on Friday Night Fights: Maxim, I'm going back to 1996 for Fantastic Four#412, written by Tom DeFalco and illustrated by Paul Ryan (no relation to the zombie-eyed granny-starver) and Danny Bulanadi.

Synopsis: Reed Richards aka Mr. Fantastic has just returned to the group after a period of being presumed dead. He's still a little off his game in the decision-making department at this point, so needless to say Namor, who has been working with the FF in Reed's absence, picks this moment to make a completely inappropriate move on Sue (who's just recovering from an attack by a temporarily-deranged Black Bolt).

(And no, your eyes aren't deceiving you, dear readers. That is Namor wearing a ponytail, while Reed is indeed sporting the Barry Gibb look. The 90's, ladies and gentlemen!)

Suffice it to say, Reed walks in on this...

Chalk up another debit to "Baxter Building Window Repair Expense" on this month's financials.

Tonight's fight music is by The Darkness (no relation to Jackie Estacado).

For more flying fists, click here. And don't forget to vote!

Friday, April 06, 2012

Friday Night Fights: Maxim - Round 5: You Spin Me Right 'Round, Baby, Right 'Round!

Since I won last week's round of Friday Night Fights: Maxim, it's become a tradition that my next round entry relate to the Legion of Super-Heroes. Once again, I'm using a member of the Superman Family who was also a Legionnaire. In the past I've employed Superman, Superboy, and even Honorary member Jimmy Olsen, but it occurs to me that I've never used Supergirl as a Legion-related entry. Until now.

Tonight's distaff duel comes from 1968's Wonder Woman#177, written by Bob Kanigher and illustrated by Win Mortimer and Jack Abel. Synopsis: An alien conqueror named Klamos has kidnapped Supergirl and Wonder Woman along with several other females from various alien worlds and has forced them to fight to become his queen. Shocker of shockers: Kara and Diana are the last two left standing.

This is where it gets interesting.

(SPOILER: She's not. And it's a ruse.)

Tonight's fight music is by Dead Or Alive.

For more head-spinning entries, click here. And don't forget to vote!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Public Announcement: Entire Comics Blogosphere To Be Rebooted!

Hello, my  name is "Dan". I'll be writing this blog post today for Mr. Notintheface while he is attending a special orientation. In fact, I'm actually HOSTING his orientation in my office even as I'm writing this. All of Mr. Face's own words will be in quotations for the duration of this post.

"Ok, what the hell am I doing here and who the hell are you?"

You can call me "Dan". The reason you're here is that we're going to reboot the entire comics blogosphere starting this month in order to appeal to a more diverse group of internet readers.

"Wait, what?"

All the current comic blogs will be discontinued and replaced with new blog titles beginning this week. 52 of them, to be exact.

"And you're doing this why, exactly?"

You see, Mr. Face, many blog readers were overwhelmed by the decades of confusing excess history and continuity in the comics blogosphere, so we're simplifying all that and allowing them to start in from the ground up.

"Uh, 'decades'??? My blog isn't even five years ol--"

Never mind that, Mr. Face. Things were just too complicated. Now, here is a look at my solicits for the new comics blogs.

"Ok, I'll start with this one. Hey, it's for Chris Sims."

Meet Chris Sims. He’s addicted to the night. Addicted to shiny objects. Addicted to Batman. Most of all, Chris Sims is addicted to danger. He can’t help himself, and the truth is – he doesn’t want to. He’s good at being bad, and very bad at being good.

"So, in other words, he's staying exactly the same."

Yes, he's part of our "Batman" family of blogs, so he's only getting the "extra-soft" reboot. Some of the other blogs will be getting the "hard" reboots.


This one for Brian Snell's new blog:

Brian Snell is a James Bond enthusiast from Kalamazoo, Michigan. He's also the head of S.L.A.Y., a covert organization in charge of overseeing the activities of Sharktopuses on Earth.

"Wait, 'Sharktopuses'? Shouldn't that be 'Sharktopi'?"

Just go with it. Here's a revised history for Kalinara and Ragnell.

"Ah, Kalinara and Ragnell! That classic feminist comic blogging duo. WFA. Dispatches. All the classic comedic interplay between them over the years...."

Under the new comics blog continuity, they've never met until now.

"Wait, why...?"

Do I have to explain it again, Mr. Face? It's so new readers won't get bogged down in excess continuity.

"All right, all right. Here's one for Ami."

Ami Angelwings is the head of E.S.C.H.E.R., a covert govermnent operation in charge of overseeing superheroines with "unique" anatomy.

"Uh, I also notice under her character bio that her favorite artists are now Joe Benitez, Greg Land, and Rob Liefeld."

Well, we had to establish a few...mandates, Mr. Face. Some ground rules for our new blogs.

"Like this one which says we can't blog about Battle Of The Planets?"

Not iconic enough.

"Oh, Tronix is gonna hate that one. And this one: 'All Friday Night Fights posts must contain at least one dismemberment'???"

Comic blog audiences are more sophisticated now.

"And this one: 'Wonder Woman Wednesday and Super Silly Sunday can only feature art by Ed BenesMike Deodato, and/or Ian Churchill'?"

Those men are legendary artists.


We're almost done, Mr. Face. Here's the solicit for Sally P.

Sally P. is a housewife in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. She's also the head of B.U.T.T.S., a covert government organization in charge of overseeing the activities of the Green Lanterns of Sector 2817.

"Oh, she'll like that.."

Also, she'll now look like this...

"Wait, you can do that???"

Yes, we can. Don't ask how.

"This 'diverse audience' you're going for? It's just 18-34 year old white guys, isn't it?"

That demo is an important and reliable...

"Whatever. Are we finished yet?"

Just one more. Yours, Mr. Face.

"Ok, let's read this puppy."

Notintheface is the head of G.A.R.T.E.R.S., a covert government organization in charge of overseeing the activities of covert government organizations on the comics blogosphere.

"Oh, that doesn't sound too bad so far. Now let's take a look at my revised character bio and... Wait, what the hell is THIS???"

That's your revised marital history, Mr. Face. You've never been married before.


Our desired reader demo relates better with single male bloggers, Mr. Face.

"But we're having a baby in...."

But married bloggers are boring. You'll be playing the field, including dating a blonde lady cop with glasses. Blog readers can't predict what your new love life will be, Mr. Face, but we guarantee it will NEVER be boring.

"'BORING'??? Ok, that's it....!"

Please remain in your seat until the orientation is complete, Mr. Face..


Stay away from me, Mr. Face, I'm.....wait, what are you doing with my desk lamp?

"Heyyy, nice desk lamp you've got here,'Dan'! I bet it would look a whole lot better BURIED IN YOUR...!!"