Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Last week in Review

Crickets #01
Written and drawn by Sammy Harkham
Want something a little different? Look no further, with that cover it’s pretty hard to.
The story is something like this: A guy is pierced, plentifully, by a throng of arrows and dies in a forest. Then a Golem (a mythical Hebrew giant made of clay) resurrects him, the guy’s sort of surprised but he’s also really hungry. Elsewhere in the evening a father and son discuss the burial of an infant sibling over a campfire supper. These two parties meet and tragedy ensues.
Neato. Really.
Harkham employs a somewhat childish style with a limited pallet of colors (black, white and green). The kind of offbeat work D&Q is supposed to supply. Top notch.
It’s all very beguiling, touching and poignant—although I’m not sure why.

Astonishing X-Men #13
Written by Joss Whedon
Art by John Cassady
Like everyone else I’ve missed this series and am overjoyed that it’s back. Too bad it doesn’t quite start with a bang.
Whedon decides to restart the book by giving us a glimpse of what House of M has done to the student body, set up the Hellfire Club and reintroduce us to character conflicts. We get some trademark Whedon-wit of course, but I want some wide screen John Cassady action damnit!
There’s really not much here to discuss beyond fan-boy theories. Too bad, but is still Astonishing X-Men.

Solo #9
Written and drawn by Scott Hampton
Best series around and yet another fantastic issue.
Hampton shows himself to be just a bit more ambitious and unique than previous artists. Every story has been constructed entirely by himself and he seems much more interested in presenting a different, more grounded, world than is shown by other titles featuring the DC logo. Only one story features a superhero (Batman) and even then the appearance is brief and he isn’t really the subject of the piece.
We get a cool homage story with the EC inspired “The Monsters”. Hampton gives us a cool little breakdown of how he created the art for this one. I hope that feature returns in subsequent entries.
“Batman:1947” is a touching little story about a Batman impersonator who’s inspired to heroism.
There’s a poignant little piece based on a love letter Hampton found decades ago. You read it as you watch the recipient reading the touching thing on the train, surrounded by everyday passengers.
“Another Success Story” is clearly the centrepiece of the book. It centres on a renegade artist who hires a couple of over-ambitious fan-boys to front his work. Funny, deftly illustrated in a noir style (he’s ideally suited for this) and it makes plenty of sense in a comic about artists.
The final story, "The Road To Samarra”, is a bit of a letdown. The artwork is top notch but at this point I was expecting more from his writing (saying quite a bit in a book dedicated to art). It’s a really passé ghost story.
Hampton, according to the back page, is responsible for the first painted comic art. He deftly varies his technique with every story, it’s all thoroughly fantastic. He’s certainly a master of it at this point, but he’s also a skilled writer. This is one of the best SOLO’s yet.


Chicanos #4 – The insanity continues. ***1/2

Green Lantern #9 - Hal and Bats make-out, a new action figure possibility is born, cliché dragon tattoos get their asses kicked. Nothing groundbreaking, but solid. ***

The Inevitable Iron Man #3 – More great artwork, smart writing, a pink cover. Fantastic. ***1/2

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Monday, February 27, 2006

Why Your Excuses Mean Nothing

Y’know, I remember a certain Christmas way back when I was a youngster. I had all of five dollars to get gifts for four of my cousins. So of course I bought them all comics (and bought myself one with the left over dollar). I can’t remember which comics they were, although for some reason I believe one was a West Coast Avengers issue. I’m certain that they were all Marvel, since with few exceptions DC was putting out the weakest books I’d ever come across. I mean while people were reading Marvel to find out what was going on in their favorite heroes lives, we would only read DC when they realized that mutilating their characters got big sales.

Wait, where was I? Oh yes, the beginning of the 1990s and comics being bought for a dollar. I miss the hell of out those days, and no I’m not naïve enough to think they’ll ever be back. However, while comics increasing in cost is expected, the rate that it’s happening seems much too fast for me.

As it stands these days I buy very few Marvel comics. Not necessarily because I think DC is whooping their ass story wise (even though they’re untouchable at the moment), but because Marvel’s product costs most and offers less. Being that The Wire is the Official Program of the Okayplayer message boards, I already had Stringer Bell hip me to that game.

Right now, all Marvel books cost $3 bucks for all of 22 pages. Well, really 21 since that first page is a recap, but you know what I mean. DC isn’t that much better since they had titles that go for $2.50 and $3. By the time May comes around it’ll all be three bucks, though. But until then I know that all those fifty cents add up, so when it comes to experimenting with new titles, I’m more likely to fuck with DC’s. Also their titles are a lot more decompressed, which pleases me greatly. If you’re going to hike up the price I’m going to demand something actually happening in the story. I’ll stand behind the idea that this is why the comic industry lost. The Higher ups continually cop pleas like: “How can you say comics are too expensive when kids are buying video games, dvds, yugioh cards, and going to movies?”

My answer to that is “Quite easily.” The average brand new video game is $50. With Xbox 360 here and the PS3 coming soon, it’s about to go up another ten. Yeah that’s a hell of a lot more than three dollars. Then again it’s a hell of a lot more content too. So much so that it’s actually embarrassing when you compare the two. First of all when I go out and buy a Resident Evil or a Metal Gear Solid, or pretty much any other title, I can almost always be sure that I’m getting a minimum of 20 hours of entertainment and story from it.

What I mean is that if I fight my way through the level, as soon as the Boss of the stage comes out, the game won’t end, and I won’t have to wait next year to buy the sequel in order to actually fight the guy. This is the current comic book formula. We can be generous and say that it takes 15 minutes to read a comic (4 minutes if its written by Bendis), that means it’ll take 80 comics ($240) in order to equal the 20 hours that one $50 video game does.

It’s a similar beast when it comes to movies. These days people don’t edit shit out of the movie so what used to average out at an hour and a half is now two hours and some change. That equals into 8 comics ($24). The movies’ advantage is, again, a whole story. While the only advantage the comic has in that comparison is the ability to be owned.

The average cost of a trading card pack is $4, which most comics haven’t reached yet, though there are some. For instance, I’m a rabid fan of Peter David’s Fallen Angel but unless the page count increases, it’s not seeing my money. However, the fifteen minute comic isn’t seeing the potential playtime of a card game. Ever. You can read Watchman cover to cover and by the time your done kids will still be trying to catch ‘em all with Pokemon cards.

However, I do have to be fair. The publishers have no aspirations of getting people to buy every title they put out, no matter how interconnected Infinite Crisis may seem. I’d wager, using absolutely no scientific data that they’d expect your normal comic fan to pick up about 10 books a month, which seems fair enough. The problem is that as prices increase, those 10 titles will drop to 9, 8, 7 and so on. Eventually only Superman, Batman, X-Men and Spider-man will remain. Then again that’s still a 50/50 split, so I doubt Diamond would even notice. Or care.

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Saturday, February 25, 2006

Fanboys, Fire Permits And Frightening Mismanagement: The New York Comic Con Goes Horribly Awry

Since Mrhood75 was gracious enough to give the Prep Time Posse and it's readers a taste of San Francisco's Wondercon, I figured it would be a nice way of making my official PTP debut by doing the same for the con here in New York.

I packed up my digital camera and a notebook(along with my prepaid and preregistered tickets, to avoid the line), hoping to bring back Kevin Smith ramblings, some cool comic swag, the latest news and a picture of Milla Jovovich eating something (just to prove she does).

After several hours of travel while lugging all of my junior reporter gear and a stack of books just begging for creator signatures, I finally arrived exhausted at the Javits Center.

Only to be denied entrance.

The staff was claiming that the venue had had a visit from the fire marshall and they were not selling any more tickets. When I explained that I had already purchased tickets and registrations, I was directed to wait in a very long line of other confused patrons. Wasn't this what we were all supposed to have avoided? All we needed to do was pick up our badges.

After a significant wait, another less than courteous staff member confirmed that we were not getting into the event, and refused to issue any refunds for the fans in the line (prepaid or not). Some of them got directed to the New York comic con website, some of them were promised entrance tomorrow, some of the more argumentative types (myself included) got a preprinted rejection letter.

I don't have a scanner to get a clear shot of the document, however I'll type out the choice bits:

Dear attendee:
The New York Comic Con refund policy requires all refund requests must be made in writing and postmarked by March 3rd, 2006. Refunds postmarked after this date will not be accepted or considered. No email phone or fax cancellations will be considered. Refunds are not guaranteed.

If you registered with a credit card, please allow two full billing cycles for refund processing.

If you have an issue on site at the event, your letter must be postmarked by Friday March 3rd and you must have this letter signed by a Reed employee.

I won't bore all of you with the full version, but after hours of traveling and a few more hours of waiting, I was a bit less than pleased to be denied an immediate refund, let alone having to mail off a pile of paperwork the size of my college application for the privilege of waiting two months to potentially get my money back. I had been awake since 5am and has spent considerable time and money ( about $200) to get to the con by noon and the closest I had come to anything comics related was a few costumed fans and a Batman made out of Legos.

During this entire process I was treated to a staff that was a combination of rude and incompetent not seen since the heyday of my local McDonald's drive through clerk. Herds of attendees milled about aimlessly, getting directed to hours long lines and being given a different flimsy explanation from every staff member they asked.

I was not the only one who got royally screwed, as even preregistered ticket holders who had waited for hours in the cold before the con even opened ended up being denied entrance, as there was no organization to who was allowed in or any special consideration given to the pre paid attendees to guarantee them entrance or not having to wait on as long a line. Even exhibitors were turned away if they even so much as stepped out for a cigarette( some vendors never gaining entrance at all, even if they had just arrived), with staff making no guarantees if their passes would be honored for tomorrow. From press to exhibitors to fans, it was complete and total chaos.

To add insult to injury, I overheard a chief of event security snarkily remarking to another staff member " Ugh. They're all getting upset because it says refunds aren't guaranteed." What was she expecting these poor people to do? Pass her a gold star and a cookie?

I find it quite suspect that despite a supposed impromptu visit from the fire marshall and the building being over capacity being blamed for the fiasco, that an otherwise completely inept event staff just happened to have rejection/ refund forms all printed and ready on official New York Comic Con stationary. Factor in that many poor souls were directed to the website (which as of the time of this writing has no relevant information whatsoever) and the few that did get the letters were not informed to get a required signature from a staff member, it almost seems a deliberate money grab on the part of Reed Exhibitions ( the event staff).

It would be very easy to suspect that they intentionally oversold the prepaid tickets ( their worthlessness was blamed on a website error), packed the venue with fans coming in off the street very early on, then will most likely pocket the fees collected from both vendors and fans who were given incorrect or incomplete refund information. They could potentially even fleece those of us who did get the letter signed and mail in all of the required paperwork. The letter clearly states that refunds would not even begin to be processed until April and that two billing period wiggle room would place the transaction out of the 90 day limit for better business bureau complaints.

For what was supposed to be a major event for a multi million dollar industry, the blatant disrespect for the fans has put a bad taste in my mouth for any future New York based conventions. I'm sure the hundreds other fans who were treated in similar fashion will feel the same when they realize that their potential "refunds" are worthless due to either accidental or deliberate staff error.

I wonder if Mrhood75 would mind if I flew out to Wonder Con next year.

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Friday, February 24, 2006

Frazer Irving

While he may not be a household name in most comic circles, the man's talent is purely undeniable. Frazer has been in the comics industry for several years, he's produced works for 2000AD, DC, Marvel and Darkhorse. I first became aware of his impressive talent on his most recently completed project, Seven Soldiers: Klarion the Witchboy. Out of all the artist Grant Morrison has chosen for the Seven Soldiers series it was Mr. Irvings that pulled me into the story the most. When researching his other work I was just as blown away by his dynamic use of lighting, line work and detail. Despite what has to be a hectic schedule (Mr. Irving is an acomplished musician as well as an illustrator) I was able to get a few questions answered by this amazing artist.

MM: Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from?

FI: Born and raised in Essex, in the bit which is now part of London, UK.

MM: When did you first become interested in art?

FI: Probably when I was several minutes old. I've always liked pretty pictures,
especially drawings.

MM: What got you into comics?

FI: I was probably given them as a child to keep me quiet, and the magic of the different art styles mixed with the dynamic stories just won me over. Probably Spiderman.

MM: So I read that you were a musician, did you play an instrument? What type of music did you play?

FI: I kinda still do I play bass, currently the proud owner of a nice Rickenbacker, and I play in a band at the moment, doing a mix of stoner-rock and jazz-funk, tho we need to find a singer asap...

MM: Tell me about 'The Man Who Learnt to Fly'. This graphic novel seemed to be a turning point in your life. What was the impetus of its creation and is it still in print?

FI: The impetus was basically my desire to write and draw a 30 page strip to
see if I could actually do it, and it kinda mutated once I had finished the first chapter. I spent the last year of college and the first year after college working on it in bits until I finished all 7 chapters. Sadly there were only a handful of copies printed and sold so it's SUPER rare, and I have only one copy myself.

MM: 2000AD was your first venture into being a professional comic artist how did you land a gig with them?

FI: I'd been sending in art samples via mail for about a year, but it was a meeting at the 2000 comics festival in Bristol that I finally got my first opportunity from then-editor Andy Diggle. he seemed to have more faith in my personal work than in any of the samples, which was a bit of an eye-opener i must say.

MM: What was your first foray into doing work for American companies?

FI: I think it was drawing Fort: Prophet of the Unexplained for DarkHorse
in 2002.

MM:Do you prefer working with one over the other? What are the differences working for 2000AD vs. D.C.

FI: Difficult to say. Pressures and demands are different for both, and
once one has accustomed to the new rhythms it's difficult to go back again.
Currently I really like doing work for the american market, partially because of the subject matter and also because I get to play with longer stories, something which always bugged me about 2000AD. But both are great.

MM: I see that you've done art for Wizard's of the Coast. Do you prefer doing single pieces of art or doing sequential artwork?

FI: To be honest, it depends on the stories/subjects. Instinctively I'd say single images, as I can control them better, but the rewards from a good strip are far greater so it's impossible to nail down a preference.

MM: I have to admit that I've only recently discovered your work through your recent work on Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers: Klarion the Witchboy. Honestly I was blown away. I've kept up with all of the series to date and they've all been blessed with some great art teams but to me Klarion's art set such an appropriate mood for the denizensof limbo town, it really pulled me into the book. Was there a particular inspiration to the style you employed on that book?

FI: Not really I knew I wanted to mix line art with colour, and so I just allowed space for both to exist side by side, but the actual style of drawing came instinctively as I read Grant's script.

MM: How was it working with Grant? Are there any writers you'd like to work with in
the future?

FI: Grant is great to work with, as I feel he caters the stories to suit the artist as well as making the stories very interesting for me to read. Dream team writers would be Alan Moore, Si Spurrier, Garth Ennis and Myself.

MM: Can you tell us about your process in creating work? How do you create a finished page, what tools do you use? How long from start to finish does it take to create a finished book?

FI: Currently I do everything aside from inks on the mac. I start with a page set up[ in photoshop and scribble layouts on it, then build it up to "pencils". Then
I print that out as a blueline and ink it with brushes/pens, scan it back in and then paint the colours on. A finished book can be done in less time than you would imagine, but that's only if I sacrifice sleep and social life to make up the hours. I currently have an assistant taking care of some of the more mundane tasks so I can get more drawing done.

MM: What project are you most proud of and why?

FI: Tricky. The Necronauts probably, because it was my first proper gig and it really held together well, tho I am also very proud of myFrankenstein adaptation as I did all the pacing and transposing myself, but then there's also Klarion which I am very fond of...this kinda question is very much like "which of your children is your favorite?".

MM: What projects are currently on your plate? More work for DC? Has Marvel offered you any work? Do you have plans to do any more creator owned work?

FI: I really can't say I've had offers and noises from both, and I have every intention of doing creator owned work but when it'll take place is a matter for me to sort out after I've finished Iron Man.

MM: Thanks for your time Frazer, I really appreciate you taking the time to answer these questions. Please keep Preptime' aware of any projects that may come up in the future. A lot of us here are big fans of your work and we'll do what we can to continue to support it.

FI: Sure thing.

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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Are you reading:

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NO? Well, um...you should be, hese!

Imagine the magic of Sin City captured in a Tequiza bottle with a bullet, instead of a worm, relaxing in the bottom of the vile liquid. Got that? Bueno!

Carlos Trillo and Eduardo Risso's monthly IDW masterpiece is captivating, funny and flat-out dirty. This comic has everything in-between mobsters, hoes, suicidal businessmen, ski-masks and shady cops.

The grime above is presented in a simple (yet hypnotic) art style that bleeds with glass shards. The characters ooze with ammonia and act like demons banished from Hell. The stories are self-contained, slummy, depressing and incredibly uplifting. After reading about the exploits of our humble yet down-and-out detective, it is hard not to jump for joy. Chances are your life doesn't suck as much as hers so REJOICE! Still doesn't sound like your cup of tea huh? Pssssssssh you are so wrong, you shallow bastard!

Alejandrina Yolanda Jalisco is a private detective with more depth than the Marianas Trench. She deals with her problems head-on, she is a go-getter, a clown, a whacko, a quick-on-her-feet thinker and one ugly ass bitch. Yeah, I said it and I doubt she'd mind either.

See, A.Y. knows she is ugly. People are constantly telling her to spruce things up and add more spring to her step...sometimes she does but shit, life never fails to throw her a curveball.
"Nice shoes there, mind if I step on them?"

As implied above, this book is very atmospheric and difficult to digest. A.Y. is constantly put in situations where the odds are stacked against her; whether it be through racism, heat-packing villains or financial restraints due to a lack of employment.

"How can this stuff be uplifting?"

Sheeit! Despite all the adversity, A.Y. always comes out on top. She has a positve attitude and a knack for escaping potentially deadly situations i.e. she lives to embrace another day with wide-open arms everytime.

4 issues deep and A.Y. has already combatted a razor-wielding Mafioso (and his monstrous bodyguard), she has been beat up by Nazis, witnessed a father blow away his only son and has been harassed by nasty cops in their own stuy...I mean station.

She takes every one of these terrible situations in stride and learns from them. Her character has developed by lightyears in the brief time we have spent with her; we can thank writer Carlos Trillo for that. Although each issue is self-contained, for the most part, Trillo manages to create a cast of characters you, the reader, can relate to and feel for.

I'm a stone-cold dude but when I witnessed a 4-colored, elderly Asian man blast his only child , who had been burglarizing his pops to support himself (#4), I couldn't stop myself from dropping my emotional shield. I was moved! These stories are THAT powerful and the dialogue is stellar to boot. You can easliy hear each character's voice and persona tear off the pages. These components go together with Risso's art like PB & J.

Eduardo Risso fucking rules! His style is so unique, bare and eye-popping. After reading an issue of Chicanos I quickly haul ass over to the sink to wash the dirt off my mitts. Thanks Ed, your work just seeps off the pages, it's cot-damned brilliant!

In conclusion, Chicanos is piff! The characters rock, the dialogue is nutty, the stories are fresh and the atmosphere is straight gangster...and light-hearted. Any comic that can be super-depressing yet a joy to read is worth your cheddar! Don't get discouraged by the $3.99 price tag either, consider it an investment into a psychological goldmine.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Sympathy for the Devil or Mad (Titan) Love

"Am I not Thanos?! Did I not butcher the woman who gave me birth, who force-fed me into this hell called life?! Is not the wake of my passing crimson with the blood of my enemies and allies alike?! Death is with me every second of the day! My every moment is spent in either dealing out death or worshipping it! So tell me, who under the stars is better suited than I to be Death's consort?"

You know just because he killed his own mother and tried to lay waste to half the universe doesn’t mean you don’t have anything in common with the Mad Titan, Thanos.

How many stupid things have you done to impress a girl?

Granted, odds are the girl isn’t the personification of death but c’mon.

You meet this girl. Instantly, you are attracted to her.

You HAVE to get with her.

She can sense it too. Not sense that she has these amazing feelings for you…but that you have these intense feelings for her and suddenly, she knows she won’t be paying for a movie or dinner any time soon.

You have a couple of casual conversations. You learn she has certain hobbies and things she’s really passionate about.

“You like death and nihilism? I LOVE nihilism!!! We are so alike.”

But now you’ve got to prove it.

Next thing you know you are committing genocide.

What do you think?

Yeah, she likes it but she won’t show it. She’ll let you hang around but you never feel like she’s totally sold on you.

You have friends who tell you, “Man, there are chicks out there than this one. Why are you wasting all your time on her?”

Sometimes you listen, sometimes you become mortal enemies.

"Dude, she's not worth it. There's a personification of
Horny that's always free. Not Love, HORNY!! Seriously!"

You try to become a better person. A person that she can respect. Some people learn Spanish or try to learn how to cook.

You think you’ve got her. You think this is it. But she is still unimpressed.

You’ve got to SHOW her how much you love her.

Someone talks funny about her, you get violent and you are ready to fight.

"She is not a bitch. You just don't know her like I do"

You eventually get tired of her nonplussed attitude and you try and make her jealous but when it appears she doesn’t care, it only hurts you more.

"Did you meet my new girlfriend? Don't you wish you were
sitting on my lap in a bikini? You don't. Get off me, whore!

You keep trying and trying but in the end…she’ll never love you the way you love her.

Yeah, despite the mass murder and power hungry moves and the millions of deaths at his bloody hands...

...we all know a Thanos.

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

X-Force : Hate, Murder, and Longshot's Demonseed

Hello Boys and Girl. I came across some old X-force issues and asked myself "am i the only one that enjoyed these books?"

The answer is usually YES. In capitals just like that. Maybe it was because I had a soft spot for Shatterstar" the boringest superhero ever"? Probably so.

Every writer that touched him(not the way Rictor touched him) tried to give him their own spin on his origin. Is he a clone from longshot's man juice? Is he Benjamin Russell? Is he a giant tool being used in a horrible way!? yes! I think im the only person outside of a looney bin that thinks Shatterstar would've worked if they stayed far away from Longshot's mullet and totally denying Shatty a personality. If i had wrote for Shatty Shats first Ii'd give him a better power. Besides the whole agile bit, i'd play off that Bio-Energy schtick to the point where he can punch you in the head at a speed that would resonate sound waves inside of your skull causing it to explode. Sorta like the fist of the north star. He wouldn't be manwich man either. Even if he was he wouldn't have brokebacked it with Rictor, i mean really, no one liked Rictor. Shats wouldn't be longshot's clone/son. He'd be Longshot's older brother, the Noogey giving Wayne to his narrating pansy Arnold.

Another reason i thought X-force was cool is because no one liked each other. Everyone dissed Feral and she had no problem gutting fools up. Her character was actually really interesting once they revealed she was a cold blooded murderer. BTW thats sammy gunthrie getting slit down there.

Warpath was native-american so he hated everyone except Sunspot and Feral. Boom Boom was a cunt who was drawn like a 30 year old yet written for like a 15 year old. Cable was a hard ass. Siryn was a raging alcy. Everyone else fell into the "you're not important" cubby hole. Cannonball, Domino, Rictor, and whoever else they added on afterwards.

Maybe if Nicienza wasn't Marvel's man-whore in the early to mid-90's and had time to focus on one book(x-force!) it would've worked out and not have become the slutty-time-traveling-no-one-cares-what-happens-next obscure "X-Book".....

i'll leave you with this disturbing image of Rictor staring at Shatty from behind a fence while shirtless.

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Once again another PSA to all those comic book writers out there.....

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Let these guys die already

Part 2 of ... STORM!!! Number One Super Hoe coming in 2 weeks

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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Daredevil: Ladies Man

Here, catch this casket; it is worth the pains.
I am glad 'tis night, you do not look on me,
For I am much ashamed of my exchange:
But love is blind and lovers cannot see
The pretty follies that themselves commit;
For if they could, Cupid himself would blush
To see me thus transformed to a boy.
--from William Shakespeare's The Merchant Of Venice

I love girls, girls, girls, girls
Girls, I do adore
Yo put your number on this paper cause I would love to date ya
Holla at ya when I come off tour, yeah

Did you spend Valentine's Day alone? I will tell you who probably didn't.

Matt Murdock, Undercover Lover.

Has there ever been a superhero (from the Big Two) who has spent an equal amount of time on the streets and in the sheets?

Usually a character may have occasional relationships but they are always tied to ONE main woman.

Superman & Lois Lane. Spider-Man & Mary Jane. Wolverine & Mariko.

Only Batman comes close.

But Daredevil.

Let's look at the numbers:

Significant girlfriends/lovers: 8
Significant girlfriends/lovers who were killed/dead: 4 (Yes, including Elektra)
Significant girlfriends/lovers who tried to kill him: 4 (I'm counting Karen Page's selling his secret for a hit)

And you guys wanted to talk about Storm?!?

What is the power Matt Murdock hold over these dangerous chicks?

I mean as far as chick points: he's a lawyer, he's blind and a superhero.

So he can get them day and night.

Ladies love a charity case.

"Oh girl! Yeah, he's a lawyer and a superhero and all but let the cat knock the toothpaste over while he's out and he's all like 'Baaaaby...' It's so cute"

The only other potential 24 hours ladies man in comics is Batman/Bruce Wayne (millionaire by day, Batman by night) but the biggest difference is Matt's not batshit crazy.

Is it his sexual prowess? I mean, he's got them heightened senses. You know Stick taught him a trick or two. Seriously. Black Widow, usually stationed in Russia or California, always shows up in Hell's Kitchen. Why? She's not needed. I think she swings by Matt's window just to see what's up.
"Hey Matt. Wanna watch a movie?"

They say the insane asylum drove Typhoid Mary crazy. I think Matt was just trying out some new tricks and she couldn't handle it.

Karen Page. She got strung out when she tried to get away from the crimson shades.

Elektra. She came back from the dead for some of that braile lovin'.

It would be easy to say "Oh Daredevil's a pimp."

But no.

Because he does have one weakness.

He stays giving up the identity for ass.

Who hasn't slept with Matt Murdock and does not know he's Daredevil?

"Hey Matt. I don't think this is working out."
"Did I tell you I was Daredevil"
"But you're blind"
"I know. I got these heightened senses *wink**wink*"
"That is SO HOT"
"I know. Come back to bed."

Kingpin understood this. That's why after all the assassins and attempts he made on Matt's life, he put all his chips into Echo.
"Hi. Um. What's your name?
Cute gun"

Almost worked too.

So Matt's got the powers, a pimp cane (c'mon, a billy club with a string. You can't tell me a pimp didn't design that), a law practice and the ladies?

What's missing?

The wingman.

Matt Murdock has TWO.

Foggy Nelson by day. Spider-Man by night.

Matt, how many times do I have to tell you?
Mary Jane doesn't get down like that

If Mary Jane ever dies, it's going to be Matt who takes Peter to the strip clubs in Hell's Kitchen (P: "Matt, aren't you blind?" M: "Three words. Heightened. Senses. Lapdance.") and it's going to be Matt who says, "Yo, Peter. I know your wife died and all but...Black Cat. You ever hit that?"

So even though he's in prison right now.

I'm sure it won't take long for Matt to make somebody his bitch.

You can take the playa out the game...

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Monday, February 13, 2006

Last Week in Belated Review

Superman #226

Written by Joe Kelly
Art by Chaykin, Benes, Guedes, Ordway

This Crisis thing is starting to get real interesting.

Much of the attention given towards the effects of the Crisis modifying characters has been focused on Batman, but I’m more interested with what’s going to happen to Superman. We already know now that Bats is going to become fun loving and whimsical—well maybe not exactly, but more so anyways. But Superman hasn’t really fallen into the gray areas Batman or Wonder Woman have in the past decade. Presumably it’s because of this he’s become a distant second to Batman in terms of popularity. This sadly prompted DC to attempt modifying him in some absolutely terrible ways that sapped big blues popularity even further.

Enter Earth-2 Superman, the neo-con to end all neo-cons. He wants to completely dismantle DC’s conflicted universe and replace it with his, no doubt, rose-tinted memory of Earth-2.

Our Superman, not one to give up on his home no matter how conflicted, isn’t about to let this happen. He needs to break through the division between his world and the reconstituted Earth-2, this isn’t going to be pretty—for him or the narrative flow of this story. You might have to read this one through a few times.

It seems that as Supes shatters the barrier between the worlds his history and Earth-2’s Superman’s begin to merge. What the effects of this are is left up to the reader at this point.

Is this book compelling, intriguing and well done? Yeah. Is it a fun read? … I’m not so sure. If you’re following Superman or the Crisis this book is essential but for everyone else it’ll just be confusing.

That’s unless they want some fantastic artwork. Chaykin, Guedes and Ordway do a fantastic job. Benes only gets a few pages, but his Imagey style isn’t really suited to a Superman book anyways.


JSA #82
Written by Paul Levitz
Art by George Perez

Another crucial Crisis tie-in. But, this one satisfies on every level.

Power Girl gets a hold of Earth-2 Lois’s diary, which exposes her conflicted feelings on her Superman’s new Earth-2 (“Just cotton-candy illusions in our mind”). But it’s not all doom and gloom; we get a vintage JSA tale with Superman and Batman taking on The Gentleman Ghost. So vintage that Bats utility belt contains a pocket fan, yeah the kind you can buy at a dollar store.

The classic team behind this book really bring their A-game. The dialogue is snappy, the story is fun and Perez’s art is vital as ever. Just the way the panels are laid out is masterful.

If this is the kind of thing DC means to bring back with IC, I’m excited all over again.



Marvel Zombies # 3 – The carnage continues. The great thing with zombie protagonists is that you can have an entire series escalate to their inevitable destruction with reckless abandon. This is still fun as hell. ****

Ultimate Extinction #2 – We’re given more information about Galactus. But the big reason to read it is to see The Silver Surfer wearing a rather noir suit—and getting his ass kicked in it to no effect. ***1/2

Jonah Hex # 4 – Another incredibly solid entry in this great series. ****

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Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Most Batshit Man in the Building

Continuing on with our Wondercon theme, this afternoon I attended an hour-long talk with Mr. Frank Goddamn Miller. And Jesus Harold Christ on pop-sickle stick, was that man insane. I’ve only heard of his insanity, never heard or watched him speak before, but it was truly a sight to behold. However, I didn’t take proper notes like I did with Morrison, so I’m doing this from memory. So I might not be able to convey the full breadth and depth of his insanity. Much of it was in his general presence.

What also struck me slightly odd about the whole set-up was that there seemed to be a concerted effort to keep Miler “separate” from the audience and above the fray. Many of comic-book writers I saw this weekend worked hard to get some rapport with us geeks in the audience. Panel sessions which guys like Grant Morrison, Mark Waid, Peter David, Greg Rucka, and even Kevin Smith participated in were almost entirely composed of Q&A, so there was at least an attempt to engage the audience. With Miller, he spent most of his hour being interviewed by a member of the Comic Book Defense Fund, with only about 5 to 10 minutes of questions. Yeah, I know the “When the next Sin City comic coming out?” questions might have gotten annoying, but a little more interaction would have been nice. Guys like Morrison and Rucka were everywhere inside and outside the event. Miller came, spoke, signed some autographs downstairs, and left.

Which isn’t to say that Miller was rude or a jerk or anything. He did share some interesting insights along the way. Especially about his disdain of the media, as evidenced in his Dark Knight Returns books, and his disdain for Hollywood, as evidenced by Robocop 2 & 3. For the record, he really does sound like a drunk Dr. McCoy when he speaks.

Some info:

Yes, he is planning on writing another Sin City story. He doesn’t know when it’s coming out. The film Sin City 2 will be made up of the “A Dame to Kill For” story, along with a few his short stories (possibly the “Blue Eyes” stuff), as well as some original material, telling about what happens to Nancy immediately after “That Yellow Bastard.” Preferably it involves more of Jessica Alba dancing. As a side note, he considers “That Yellow Bastard” the most romantic story he ever wrote.

Unlike some of the DC folks, he’s perfectly comfortable with the idea of Batman being a dick, because “he’s our dick.” As he said, if you’re in a dark alley, beset by thugs, you’d want Batman with you. “It’s not like you have to take him out to dinner,” he added. Miller also said he thinks the reason why Batman is such a dick is because “he’s smartest man in world, and he sees guys he who can fly and are really strong, and he’s pissed he can’t do that.”

He said the All-Star Batman and Robin is, at its heart, the story of Robin, rather than Batman. He also said him and Jim Lee would keep the title going as long as the fans wanted it to continue.

He doesn’t have much use for “humanizing” the DC characters whenever he writes them, as he did in “Dark Knight Strikes Again.” “I wanted to show what makes Atom really cool is that he can get really small, not anything about his wife. I wanted to show what makes the Flash really cool is that he runs really fast, not anything about his wife either.”

And **sigh**, he said the next project he plans on releasing is the long-rumored “Holy Terror Batman!” which, in his words, is a pure propaganda. The story, also in Miller’s words, is “Batman kicking Al-Qaeda’s butt.” Apparently al Qaeda has invaded or is attacking Gotham, and its up to Batman to save the city. Though why al Qaeda would invade Gotham is beyond me. Though maybe Osama bin Laden has been hiding in the Batcave all this time, perhaps behind the giant penny.

He said he has about 120 of 200 pages inked already. Miller said he was doing the story because Superman and Captain America both punched out Hitler, so why shouldn’t Batman do the same sort of thing. He added he wish more of the entertainment industry would get behind similar efforts.

So yeah, that’s Miller. He maybe fairly off his rocker, but he has created some interesting stories in his time. Hopefully, he’ll continue to do so.

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Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Smartest Man in the Room

So I’ve spent the better part of the past two days at the Wondercon Convention in San Francisco. I’ve seen a bunch of shit so far, but one of the clear highlights has been the opportunity to bear witness to the genius that is Grant Morrison, live and in person.

So far, I’ve seen him on two different events, and it’s clear that he’s the smartest entertainment affiliated speaker at this convention. On a “52” panel, Rucka, Waid, and Johns basically conceded that Morrison was the driving imaginative force beyond all the really cool shit in the rather ambitious undertaking. During his own 45-minute panel discussion he talked about ever he talked intelligently and eloquently on everything from multiple personality disorder, his radical-left upbringing, the practice of magic, religion (“I could launch a religion and take control of you all, but I know that would be wrong”) and “The Invisibles.”

But I go into further details, just so y’all don’t accuse me of burying the lead, let me say this:

It appears Grant Morrison is going to do a Batman title.

That is the extent of the information he revealed. He didn’t say when it was coming out. He didn’t say if it was going to be for a current title or they were starting a new one. He gave no other information. In fact, it sounded like he didn’t even want to reveal that he was even doing the title. The conversation went something like this:

Fan: You’re doing a great job with Superman. But I heard you said earlier today that you’re going to do a Batman title too.

(crowd cheers)

Grant: Um, yeah, that wasn’t supposed to be revealed yet. I leaked that information when I shouldn’t have. So, uh, forget I said anything.

DC Rep sitting next to Grant: It never happened.

The only other thing I heard about it was friend a comic book writer friend of mine, who said the RUMOR he heard is one of the Kubert’s could be drawing it.

Bear in mind, this could not come together. But if it does come to pass, damn, that sounds cool.

Anyway, here are a few highlights of the thoughts and views he shared. Be warned, here be slight spoilers:

He’s working on a script for “WE3” right now. He said he’s adding some stuff into the story, as all three issues came out to about 96 pages, without much dialogue, which is on the short side.

He says he becomes much more emotionally involved with the stories that have characters that he creates, like WE3 (“Go Bandit, go! Don’t like them catch you!”) than he does with his contracted Marvel or DC work. However, he said he got very attached to the X-Men characters while writing “The New X-Men.”

“All-Star Superman” is his take on Alan Moore, in the Moore always as a clearly defined and planned beginning and end, where as Morrison likes to “dive in feet first and hope for the best.” With “All Star Superman,” he knows exactly where he wants to go with the story, and the overall theme of the story, which is Superman coping with middle age and the knowledge that he’s going to die, which he’s never faced before. Morrison added that since he himself is in his late 30s, he’s becoming familiar with that reality.

He likened reading comic books to taking a vacation, and while many other can give the reader a planned, organized, tour, his books were more like, “Well, we’re going to the jungle. We’re not sure what we’re going to do and see when we get there, and we might not all make it back alive, but we’ll have a fun time doing it.”

Morrison also maintained Superman could beat up anyone. It took all my strength and dignity not to follow his statement with a question about prep time.

He says besides the monthly box of free comics DC sends him every month, he enjoys reading stuff by Warren Ellis and the Ultimate-affiliated titles. He said his favorite comic series of all time was Brendan McCarthy’s “Strange Days.”

While working on “52,” Morrison said some of the writers specialized in storylines involving certain character. For example, he tended to handle stuff with Animal Man, while Mark Waid will write many of the Elongated Man storylines, and Geoff Johns will handle the John Henry/Steel stories. Morrison said one of his early “52” stories would concern Will Magnus, creator of the Metal Man. Specifically his mental breakdown after not being able to get the Metal Men to work.

He didn’t say much his upcoming work on “WildC.A.T.S.” other than the story took place five years into the future, in a time where the Spartan robot line has become very popular. In fact, nearly every family in the U.S. owns a Spartan-model robot.

He said the Seven Soldiers concept had its genesis as a title called “JL8,” which was going to be a DC version of the Avengers. The Guardian would play the Captain America part, Mister Miracle would be the Thor (due to his “god” heritage), etc. He eventually scrapped the idea in favor of the Seven Soldiers concept we all know and love. Morrison added that of the seven characters he came up with the most potential storylines with Frankenstein, the Guardian, and the Bulleteer.

Morrison said he thought “Seaguy” was the closest he ever came real commentary on how the world worked these days, and he expressed regret that he wasn’t allowed to finish the story with his second planned mini-series. He then revealed some of the story for Seaguy 2, should it be released. Remember, I’m making none of this up. But it’s Seaguy, so none of it has to make sense in any conventional way.

Okay, so it turns out that Seaguy’s new friend, a parrot, really isn’t his friend at all, and calls the authorities when Seaguy starts to remember his old sidekick, Chubby the Tuna. Seaguy then undergoes forcible personality adjustment, and is turned into “El Macho” the Matador. Except in Seaguy’s time, all cows and bulls are sacred animals, so matadors aren’t allowed to kill the bulls anymore. Instead, the matador’s must forcibly dress the bulls in women’s clothing. So anyway, Seaguy still remembers Chubby anyway, and leaves his pregnant wife to return to the sea. And then his wife gives birth to a Mickey-Eye. And that was all supposed to be in the first issue.

So that’s the scoop on Morrison. I’ll do more updates about Wondercon soon.

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I have learned what immortality is through reading comics over the years; it is the concept of living forever.

Like our favorite four-colored icons, there are legends whose art/work will survive the tests of time and continue to capture the hearts of enthusiasts for years to come. Jay Dilla is one such light, his soulful beats and hard-hitting rhymes will live on for centuries.

The world has lost a legend!

The Prep Time Posse united under the banner of Hip-hop Culture many moons ago. We're all Dilla fans and we'd like to extend our condolences to his friends and family.

.Celebrate life.

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Thursday, February 09, 2006

The PrepTimePosse

A bunch of idiots

A bunch of god damned idiots

God damned idiots I tell you

Laughing at my work

Never leave the computer

Never leave the god damned computer in their homes

Various ages

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Thursday, February 02, 2006

R.I.P. Seth Fisher

Newsarama has reported the passing of artist Seth Fisher. Prep Time Posse would like to pay tribute to a true innovator. He will be missed.

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Shazam! lost.

Captain Esco is goin' down, son. Word is bond.

Go up to your average non-hip-hop fan (notice how I kept race and/or age out of this), and ask them who Jay-Z is. They'll probably know. Now, ask them who Nas is. They probably won't know. Now, tell them that Nas is as talented a rapper as Jay-Z, if not more so. Watch for the screw face: "If he was really that ill, wouldn't I have heard of him?"

Now, go up tp your average non-comic-book-fan (notice how I kept social interaction level out of this), and ask them who Superman is. Of course, they'll know. Now, ask them who Captain Marvel is. They probably won't know, or they'll tell you he (or she) is some sort of alien that rolls with Spider-Man an' nem. Tell them you mean the "Shazam!" guy, and then tell them that Captain Marvel is just as powerful and interesting a superhero as Superman, if not more so. Watch for the screw face: "If he was really that ill, wouldn't I have heard of him?" (or, alternately, "if he was that ill, wouldn't he have four monthlies dedicated to him?")

"Take THAT, motherfucker!"

The Superman/Shazam! rivalry is something of a comic book history legend. It's like the Jay-Z/Nas battle, but with less swagger and more lawyers:
Jay/Supes= the favored victor with all the money and the power
Nas/Cap= the underdog with the loyal fanbase and the more interesting output).

It's hard sometimes, though, to root for the underdog, especially when the overdog (yes, I just made up a word) has money and power (although not always respect) behind him. Even though Jay-Z is a camel and Superman is a dick, Jay-Z now owns Nas's soul recording contract, just as Superman owns Captain Marvel's soul publishing rights. And don't think either overdog has forgotten about the beef with the overdog. If it takes him years, Jay will bust Nas' chops. Maybe he can take a lesson for Supes, because, on January 4, 2006 (not a whole week into the new damned year), the Man of Steel finally found a way to permanently do away with the World's Mightiest Mortal. It took him fifty-five years, but he's proved to be a dedicated little bastard.

If you've been keeping up with Infinite Crisis and the Day of Vengeance miniseries and special (if not, you're damned late. Get thee to a comic shop!), you know that the Spectre murked the wizard Shazam (how is that possible? I thought ol' Shaz was dead). If you know that, you’ll also know that Shazam's lair, the Rock of Eternity, exploded into a billion pieces. Most of the rubble landed in Gotham City, and the already beleagured citizens of Gotham find themselves overcome by the Seven Deadly Sins and the other demons and monsters that were held captive in the Rock. In the Day of Vengence Special put out on January 4, damn near all of the magic-based heroes in the DC Universe, including Zatanna, the Marvel Family, the Shadowpact, and more, undertook a little impromptu arts-n-crafts project and reassembled the Rock to keep the wild magicks contained. Once they were done, Zatanna dropped Captain Marvel a bomb: the Rock is unstable without someone to watch over it, and Captain Marvel is the only person qualified.

So, instead of battling criminals, saving the world, and smiling all the way, Cap is going to be stuck for eternity inside the Rock of Eternity, playing solitare and tiddlywinks, and watching Lost reruns on Shazam's Historama device.

And somewhere, Superman is chillin' in his apartment, with Lois in his lap doing, well, her thing, and laughs to himself, "Cap lost."

The circle in the upper left hand corner reads "highest circulation of any comic." Yes, that included anything starring Superman's punk ass.

Perhaps some background info is needed.

Supes was created in 1938 by DC Comics, while Captain Marvel was created for Fawcett Comics in 1940 as a magic-based derivative of Superman (albeit, a better-written and drawn derivative that existed in a more imaginative universe). DC cried fowl (especially when they saw how well Cap was selling), and promptly sued Fawcett. Twelve years of litigation followed, during which time Cap beat Supes to the movie theatres and became the first superhero to appear in film, Captain Marvel Adventures outsold Superman for several years. Fawcett artist C.C. Beck gave Cap a distinctive, stylized, funny-paper look, which gave the character an appealing identity of his own. Fawcett writer Otto Binder created a whole spin-off "Marvel Family", giving Cap a jailbait sister (Mary Marvel), a Mini-Me (Captain Marvel Junior), three liuetenants (the Liuetenant Marvels), an unrealted fool who claimed he was an uncle (Uncle Marvel), another unrealted fool who claimed she was a cousin (Freckles Marvel), and a rabbit (yes, a rabbit: Hoppy the Marvel Bunny). DC, accusing Fawcett of biting their style, did some biting their damn self, and went and conjured up a Superboy, a Supergirl, a superdog, and (I am told) a supercat, a superduck, and a superhorse (the Kent farm must've been populated with Kryptonian livestock).

Regardless, DC kept fighting Fawcett in the courtroom. Fawcett won round one, after pointing out to the judge that DC had forgotten to copyright some of the Superman newspaper strips, and provoking the judge to declare Superman's copyright invalid. DC, pissed as all hell, filed an appeal and instigated a Takeover. Not only did DC win the suit, they squeezed 400 G's out of Fawcett and shut their comic book division down. Cap lost.

During the critical Silver Age of comics, when DC's Supes, Batman, and Flash became popular again, and Marvel Comics characters such as Spider-Man, the X-Men, and the Hulk stepped onto the scene, where was the World's Mightiest Mortal? The character who'd outsold Superman? That mofo was somewhere washing the shit offa Superman's boots, begging him for a chance.

"Don't think 'cause I'm holdin' this curtain open for your punk ass that shit is sweet. I own you, bitch. Your ass is still mine."

In 1972, DC gave Cap a chance, or at least pretended to: they set Cap up with a new comic book series called Shazam!. Why call it Shazam! instead of The All-New Captain Marvel Adventures or something else totally '70's? Because the aforementioned Marvel Comics had, while the Fawcett Captain Marvel was on ice, introduced their own Captain Marvel (geez, biting abounds here, don't it?) and copyrighted the name. Bastards.

So, yes, Captain Marvel was now back in publication...but that doesn't mean everything was squashed. Much of Shazam! was made up of reprints from the Fawcett days, and the new stories printed in it were so lame that C.C. Beck, whom DC had begged to come onboard for Shazam!, refused to illustrate them and quit after ten issues. Of course, Shazam! didn't do too well, and the series didn't last that long. By 1979, the once proud Marvel Family was livin' in shame, relegated to the back pages of World's Finest Comics. DC gave Superman a major motion picture. DC gave Shazam! a campy low-budget TV show (with a geeky fat guy playing Captain Marvel during the second half of its run) and a cartoon show, both done by the champions of crappy-ass cartoons, Filmation Studios. Cap lost. Again.

After the 1985 Crisis on Infinite Earths brought Captain Marvel into the mainstream DC Universe (he and the other Fawcett holdovers originally populated an alternate world called "Earth-S"), Cap was permanently established as "not-quite Superman", always depicted as being weaker, slower, and more inept than Supes. Moreover, they decided that since Cap was really a 14-year-old kid named Billy Batson, the character should act like an immature teenager, and as a result we have the infamous Keith Giffen/J.M. DeMatheis Dimwitt Marvel...a 230- pound, grown ass superhero who always babbles and carries on like a clueless, emo'd-out adolescent. Giffen and DeMatheis apparently forgot that first on the SHAZAM list is the "S" for Solomon. The wisdom of Solomon, that is. How could a motherfucker with the wisdom of Solomon try to lead the Justice League in an impromptu rendition of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" (and then bitch when they decline to do so)?

A battle of epic proportions is being waged. And at the center of it all:
"Holy Moley, Superman! Why can't we be friends?"
"Shut up and fight, motherfucker!"

There was no way this Captain Marvel could become a premiere DC universe star, and despite the efforts of Roy Thomas, Jerry Ordway, Judd Winick, and even the seemingly unstoppable Geoff Johns, barely anyone today gives three shits about Captain Marvel. Yeah, you might see Cap, Mary Marvel, or Captain Marvel Junior pull a cameo here and there or join a superhero team for a hot second, but they're always under- (and mis-) written in the process. The closest Marvel’s gotten to being cool within the last two decades was:
  • Jerry Ordway’s The Power of Shazam! graphic novel and at least the first two years of the series that was spun of PoS (must avoid bad joke, must avoid bad joke). Although Ordway’s writing was sometimes spotty, he did bring back Mary Marvel, Cap Junior, most of the Marvel Family villains and allies…and even the bunny.

  • Geoff Johns’ uses of Cap in JSA. Cap finallly overcomes the Dimwitt Marvel stigma a bit (every third word out of his mouth in that series was "wisdom"), and presses up on teenage superheroine Stargirl, only to get kicked out of the JSA because they think Cap's a pedophile. An interesting (if unsettling) look at how being a kid who turns into a grownup can indeed be a bad thing.

  • Mark Waid. Alex Ross. Kingdom Come. ‘Nuff said.

  • That episode of Justice League Unlimited was cool (although Supes handed Cap's ass to him in that fight)

Now, while Cap has third-string status in the DCU nowadays, the Captain Marvel universe is another story. For the last decade, DC writers have been writing around Cap, keeping him at least present and accounted for, but giving elements of his mythos more prominence and respect in the DCU than Cap has. The best example of this is Captain Marvel's greatest enemy, Black Adam, who went from being "I'm Captain Marvel's evil and corrupted opposite!" to being "I'm a hero again like Captain Marvel...but EXTREME!" through Jerry Ordway's and Geoff Johns’ talented work. In the process, however, DC, so intent on underplaying Cap all these years, discovered something they'd been looking for years in one of Cap’s related characters: Black Adam is a true anti-hero with an attitude, a dark past, emotional problems, his own brand of justice, and the will to kill in the name of justice. In other words, he's just like a Marvel Comics character (and in more precise terms, Wolverine). So, over the last two years or so, DC has been quietly shuffling Black Adam ahead of Captain Marvel, and Adam is now second-string while Cap is still chillin’ at third. Cap lost. And how.

Don't believe the hype.

And now, bringing us up to the Day of Vengence Special and Zatanna’s plan, Cap is gonna be spending however much time remains between now and the next big DCU shakeup stuck inside a big-ass Rock, doing absolutely nothing. You might could point out that Zatanna didn’t quite yet shut the Rock's front door on the Captain, but I don’t doubt that DC’s actually gonna get rid of Cap (hell, they got rid of the Blue Beetle AND the Flashes as well during the I.C. Note to DCU superheroes: if you’re a hero that cracks jokes, your ass is grass). Oh, they’ll keep Black Adam, though. They love that fucker. I dunno what they’ll do with Mary, Junior, or the bunny (please don’t hurt the bunny).

So, by buying out the underdog and pretending that everything is all gravy, the overdog can enact a covert plan to undermine and eventually do away with the underdog….(purportedly) once and for all. Nas, if you’re reading this, consider yourself warned.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Where Did All The Kids Go?

I was sitting on the subway train trying to finish up the second issue of "Desolation Jones" that I copped off Ebay before I got to work and stepped into reality again and I began to reflect (which really screws you up when you are trying to finish something)...

Kids still don't read comic books anymore.

When did that happen? How did I get hooked into like this when I was a kid and children today only know about Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh or whatever the latest “if you like the cartoon, then buy the cards” phenomenon is ?

I remember going to the comic shop with my boys and looking for that 18th cover of X-Men #1 or Spider-Man #1 waiting to see how long it would be before which X-Men had recently died would magically return or how McFarlane would find a way to get Mary Jane Watson-Parker into lingerie. Before we were allowed to ride the bus, we walked some 6 miles to get to the closest comic shop. That was my childhood.

Out of all of my friends, I am the only one who still hits up the comic shop every week for the latest releases but they will ask me what's up with their favorite X-Men and did they ever say what Wolverine’s origin is (to which my response is usually “They’re dead” and “No”)

Sorry, I digress...

Did Marvel/DC price kids out of the market? I mean I have a decent job and pay rent and I can barely afford all the comics I have but a pack of Pokemon cards cost $3.50.

Maybe it was the sex and violence that finally turned the kids away. I will admit in the 90’s things did get a little bloody. I remember seeing Batman carrying Robin’s bloody body out of the wreckage and seeing McFarlane’s bloody Spider-Man face off against Calypso but that was nothing compared to what I saw on TV then and what I see on TV now. And since when did sex and violence turn away children. (Side note, a little kid tried to look over my shoulder while I read Desolation Jones and I covered up faster than…well, Desolation Jones in sunlight. Wasn’t my place to expose that little boy to things he wasn’t ready for.)

It could be availability. When I was a kid, while my parents went to the supermarket, I went to the cigar shop and bought Batman comics with my allowance or whatever loose change I stole from my brother’s room (Sorry, bro). Only recently have you seen comic books getting back into 7-Eleven’s. Virgin Megastore and B. Dalton, on top of carrying a lot of trades, regularly have a comic book racks.

Maybe it's that kids these can't read. What a lot of people who knock the art form don't understand is that it is written by adults for a semi-intelligent constituency. I mean, reading comic books when I was nine years old and going to the dictionary trying to figure out what Reed Richards, Dr. Doom or Thanos was babbling on about helped my vocabulary greatly. Most of the malapropisms I made in grammar school, for better or worse, I got from Frank Miller, Jim Stalin, Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Peter David. Today’s kids don’t read anything that isn’t on a website.

It can’t be that kids have outgrown superheroes. According to Box Office Mojo, 9 of the 100 top grossing films of all-time are comic book adaptation or based on comics (Yeah, I counted The Incredibles). We currently have cartoons for Justice League Unlimited (R.I.P.), Teen Titans (R.I.P.), The Batman & Krypto The Superdog (seriously, who greenlighted this?) and, coming soon, The Legion of Super-Heroes and another Superman cartoon (like The Batman unfortunately so Lex Luthor will probably be president of Google or something). Smallville is the only real hit the WB has and it is spawning an Aquaman spin-off (stop laughing). I’m sure Marvel and DC thought “This will get the kids back into the comic shop”. Maybe they need to have Levar Burton in the Reading Rainbow studio at the end of each of these shows and say “If you like these adventures, please check out ____ in your local comic book store).

Maybe it’s our (the comic book fans) fault. Are we too insular? Are we not reproducing and handing down our collections to our offspring? There are two people responsible for my comic book addiction: my older brother and a family friend, Dan. My older brother would constantly be leaving comic book around the house and I would read them here and there, mostly Batman and X-Men comics. Then one BBQ at Dan’s house, I went into Dan’s room and went into his dresser and started reading his comic stash. Dan, who was 25 at this point, asked me “Yo, do you want all of those? I’m moving out and my mom is just going to throw them away.” I just sat there stunned because it had taken me 3 years for Dan to actually ALLOW me to read his comics and now here he was giving them to me. I ran downstairs with the box of comics (probably 200) before he changed his mind (or sobered up). In there was all of the David/McFarlane Hulk run, a bunch of Silver Surfers, a bunch of Wolverines and other stuff I didn’t know existed up until that point. To this day, I will always buy a comic with Silver Surfer on it.

Do these geeky rights of passage still go on? Or are we telling kids “If you touch my comics, I will kill you” when they come over for family functions? Are we handing this down to the next generation?

I guess were aren't sharing because when I go into the comic book shop, all I see are grown adults...adults who 18 years ago were getting yelled at by the Comic Book Guy to not read the comics in the store and you bend, you buy. The same guys who had posters of Punisher drawn by Mike Zeck and Wolverine drawn by Frank Miller.

Well, not me. When (if…I still have a framed Batman poster on my wall, it’s gonna be a while) I have children, I’m going to buy them some children friendly comics with Batman and Wolverine in it and I’m going to watch my Batman: The Animated Series with them. Because I want to ground my son and have him tell me, “You will rue the day you grounded Sean Andre Campbell the Second!”

Whatever it is, the powers that be better figure out something soon. As it stands now, comic has until my generation dies out. Whether it be digital comics or more Free Comic Book Days, something's got to happen. I want my great-grandchildren to come to my tombstone and let me know if they ever sorted out Wolverine's origin.

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