Saturday, May 28, 2005

Recent Comics Reactions

I picked up an assortment of comics today at a shop near Houston, and wanted to share some quick reactions to them.

Green Lantern Secret Files 2005

Geoff Johns and Darwyn Cooke manage to surprise me by telling a story crossing the time from Hal's days as a kid to his time now as an adult hero who has just returned. It showcases how Hal has gone from a starry eyed kid filled with dreams, to cocky flyboy, to now wiser mentor in a way that is fun and heartwhelming as well.

Good for DC to put the Wizard GL:Rebirth exclusive story in here as well, so readers who don't want to support Wizard could read it as well.

Green Lantern #1

As much as the Secret Files story was a surprise, the start of the new series has to go down as a shocker. Having never been a fan of Hal Jordan, I was surprised by how much I was pulled into Hal's journey to find a place for himself in the world.

It is good to see that Johns doesn't want to just rehash the past, by not going the easy route of sticking him back at Ferris Aircraft with Carol and Tom. Instead he has set Hal up with an entirely new supporting cast, as he seeks to rejoin the US Air Force.

I really like the new potential female love interest's "explosive" entrance, and the idea behind Coast City's return as an empty city the government is trying to repopulate is intriguing.

I was a bit annoyed that after all this new stuff, that the bad guy is such an older one who has been way too overused. Yet perhaps Johns will put a new spin on it, and as of now I'm on board for at least another issue if it keeps being this fresh a book.


While Green Lantern brings a hero back from the past in intriguing, fresh new ways that has a directness to it. This book while trying for similar goals falls flat on its collective face.

For one the book made it feel like I needed a PHD in Greek Mythology to understand any nuance of the story, which has Donna Troy as part of a race of the Titans of myth trying to conquer planets for supposedly peaceful reasons.

The book is a bore both narratively and artistically. Storywise it reads a lot like fan fiction with characters standing around discussing their motives, but not actually doing a heck of a lot.

Visually I was really looking forward to the artistic collaboration of José Luís García-López and George Pérez. Yet with most of the story being either a far off battle scenes with no sense of focus or long conversation scenes which provided no movement or sense of place. It doesn't use either's talent in any meaningful way, and just seems such a waste.

I like Donna Troy, but there has to be something a bit more cohesive of a story and something a bit more human for a reader to latch onto. In order to make this miniseries work, and I'm not sure what I've seen here promises to have any of that happen.

More later...

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Gail Simone Makes TV Guide

This has probably been talked about elsewhere but I've been too busy to notice. Yet it was neat to see a short article in the newest TV Guide giving props to Gail's upcoming scripted episode of the Justice League Unlimited episode. Which will feature both Black Canary and the Huntress, and has me stoked to see it.

Time & Experience Gives New Perspective

I was listening to an older CD today that I hadn't listened to since I was much younger than I am now. The thing that stuck out to me most was how different I reacted to the songs.

The fast songs were still as fun as they were back then. Yet the slow melodies, especially ones about broken hearts and the like, really surprised me by how different they seemed.

Back in my younger days I could appreciate the beauty of the song, but the emotional impact wasn't there because I hadn't really know love or loss. Yet now I was startled at how much deeper they were to me, as I knew more about what they were talking about.

Which made me wonder if there were comics I could go back to now and have a deeper understanding of. Not negative ones either, as I did that a few years ago when an old favorite G.l. Joe returned and found that memory was much better than reality.

I'm not quite sure which ones to try, though I am tempted to look at The Watchmen for one. Does anyone have any suggestions? Or had similar experiences?

Monday, May 23, 2005

My Order

It has come time once again to make out my pre-order for comics from Discount Comic Book Service.

While I was tempted by a number of single comics from the big publishers, like the new Defenders series from the same creators as the wonderful Formerly Known As The Justice League series. Or All Star Batman #1 Frank Miller, who first got me interested in Batman after a very wrong headed impression made by the old TV show.

Yet I decided to wait for the trades on those and go with:

BUMPERBOY LOSES HIS MARBLES - Just sounds very neat, and I learned after Egg Story to trust Johanna on these type of books.

GURU GURU PON CHAN VOL 1 - The creator behind the wonderful OTHELLO series prior work about a dog who gets turned into a young girl sounds bizarrely fun.

NODAME CANTIABILE VOL 2 - I enjoyed the first volume about young musical students a lot.

Tramps Like Us VOL 6- Interesting that this has an of 10 listing, which is a nice change from the seeming never ending runs of other series. That should still leave plenty of room for this series about a young woman in the business world and her "pet boy" Momo.

Wahoo Morris #1 - I just have the feeling that I'll never see this comic in print though because the orders will be so low. I wonder if it might be wiser for them to just do a big GN each year instead.

Yet I'm going to do my part by preordering this great series about young people who have put together a band.

Dead Boy Detectives Digest - Hopefully Jill Thompson doesn't try to ape manga art conventions as much as she did in Death's Door. Because I thought she only captured the surface, but missed the true heart of that style.

Tuxedo Gin Book 3 - I really enjoyed the second volume of this series about a young guy reborn as penguin who still seeks to protect his love. With such light month, it was a good time to get another volume.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Catching Up

It has been a hectic week here with long hours at work, and trying to squeeze in quality time with a new love. A trend that looks like it will continue for the next several weeks at least, so updates are going to be sporadic at best here.

I was sent a PDF of the upcoming AP COMICS MR.T #1 comic. I was curious about the series from being a fan of Mr.T as kid and writer Chris Bunting's obvious enthusiasm for the project as seen in his brief interview.

Yet while the art team of Neil Edwards, Randy Emberlin and Don Mackinnon turn in a very professional and visually enticing work. Writer Chris Bunting's scripting could use work, especially the dialogue that sounded fake and impractical through out most of this issue.

Also the storyline of a former hero who has cut himself off from others because of a loss of faith. Is handled in far too generic and as such predictable a fashion. Which left me feeling like I'd already read this story many times before.

I debated with myself about writing the above commentary because they seem like a great bunch of people from my dealings with them. Yet they did ask for my honest opinion, and did spend the time to send me all of this info. So it would seem a waste to completely ignore it.

I do wish them well in their future endeavors, and hope that one of them will work better for me.

In other news, I probably will eventually go see the newest Star Wars movie. Yes I know many reviews for it have hammered it, and that after seeing the first two prequels I'm just as likely to hate it myself.

Yet I'm very weird in the way that I like to at least try and keep aware of what's popular in our culture. I've sit through aweful movies, CDs and TV shows, just to be aware of what is sort of hip or popular.

I wonder if anyone else does this, or is this a singular idocity of my own making?

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Foul Play! : The Art and Artists of the Notorious 1950s E.C. Comics!
Author: Grant Geissman
Publisher: Harper Design; $29.95, 272 pages

I was very hesitant about approaching this book. I knew absolutely nothing about the EC Comics line beyond a vague sense of them being well thought of, and that they were at the center of the Wertham comics controversy of the past. So I wondered whether a book highlighting the creators would allow me any point of interest.

Yet when I did finally get around to trying the book, I was amazed at how engrossed I became with it.

First off the design sense is wonderful, with lots of images and artwork dispersed on nearly every page. That not only played well off what was being talked about in the articles, but instilled a compelling interest in me as a reader to want to seek these books out.

The book breaks itself down into individual chapters on the creators who worked for EC during the time. While there are a lot of facts they aren't done in the coldly distilled way of other bio pieces in other such books.

These give light to the work being done, the period they were working in and especially important, who the people were behind the work were. These aren't fluff pieces either, as the negative sides of these personalities are discussed with just as equal attention as the positives.

Which showed me a side of creators of the past that I hadn't saw before.

Be it Ingels's battle with alcohol and his later almost paranoia sounding need to isolate himself from his past. Or Kurtzman's prima donna sounding demands and seeking of power, whether justified or not because of his obvious talent. It gave me new insights into creators behavior in the past and today, and shows that some things never really change.

Most impressive about the book though, were the sample stories after most of the key creators work. These gave a new reader like myself a sense of what the individual's work was like, and brought home the points made in the articles in ways that the words alone couldn't have done.

Not all of the stories won me over, the horror stories especially, were nasty things happen to people are just not my cup of tea. Yet the talent behind them stands out clearly, showing a seriousness and approach that was miles ahead of many of their contemporaries at the time.

This volume is a definite must for fans of the EC Comics line. Yet even the most casual comic fan can pick this up, enjoy and likely even become a fan of that era of comics themselves. I know I myself will be tracking down some of the collections to learn more about and enjoy these treasures of the past.

Monday, May 09, 2005


When I first got an e-mail asking if I'd be interested in trying a new Mr. T comic. My first thought was to wonder why and how they would bring back a property from so long ago.

So I sent back some questions to MR. T's writer Chris Bunting and got these answers back:

I, as I'm sure many were, was a huge fan of Mr. T growing up. I never missed an episode of the A-Team and even watched his short lived animated series. Yet I have to wonder how the idea of doing a new Mr. T comic came about now 2 decades later?

CHRIS BUNTING: The easy answer is that I’m both a comic writer and I’m a huge fan of Mr.T and his work. So what could be a cooler idea than a Mr.T comic book?

The deeper answer would be that the time is right for this iconic character to return. His character has relevance now more than ever. Why? We live in an age where people more often than not turn the other way when they see – whether that’s literally or metaphorically – a fellow human being in trouble, rather than get involved. The stories in Mr.T – about a non-super powered man who will take a stand, who will champion the weak, the vulnerable … a guy who does care – have incredible relevance, and I believe readers will genuinely respond to that.

What is the new series going to be about?

CHRIS BUNTING: The opening issue of Mr.T is a mystery thriller that takes place in a very street level setting. A lot of strange stuff is going on, including a dangerous new drug. The neighborhood’s really falling into ruin because of it. Someone needs to pull it out and put things right … but the only person who can do that is nowhere to be seen.

As for what the Mr.T comic is about, it’s going to be a comic with a real entertainment factor. It’ll be contemporary and will be layered with action, adventure, humor and intrigue. It’ll also have depth and substance. And, hey, it’s got a huge star of course!

How much input into the stories and art does Mr. T have?

CHRIS BUNTING: Mr.T’s closely involved every step of the way as Creative Supervisor. He makes sure it meets his approval and that it’s not just good quality … it’s the best! The reaction from him has been terrific, very supportive: Mr.T knows that we want to give readers nothing but the very best with this comic, and he’s as excited about it as we are!

What is it like to fictionalize a real person, rather than writing entirely fictional characters?

CHRIS BUNTING: The Mr.T in the comic is still a fictional character although based on the real-life living legend. While he has no super powers, maybe we have him performing stunts no real person ever could … you get the idea. But the template for the comic book Mr.T is of course the real Mr.T. It just makes the entire process all the more interesting, all the more fun.

Do you have any concerns as to how to balance this for both the people like myself who were fans as kids, and those new readers who perhaps weren't even born when Mr. T was such a huge draw?

CHRIS BUNTING: Not concerns particularly, as a writer it’s more of a creative challenge, and I love challenges.

Many comic book readers and Mr.T fans are adult, and I’ll more than make sure that they’re catered for. The Mr.T comic carries an “all ages” tag, but that’s not any sort of stigma. The majority of current mainstream titles could in truth carry the exact same tag. And think of some of your favourite comic books of all time? I bet most would, in all honesty, be all age reading. I know most of mine are. The trick with this is to handle it in such a way that it’s enjoyable for readers of every age group. This is often the way it’s been done in some of the finest runs of comicdom, such as Peter David’s Incredible Hulk, Chris Claremont’s Uncanny X-Men, Mark Gruenwald’s Captain America. I hope the same will be said of the Mr.T comic too.

Established fans and new fans will be far from disappointed come May 21 2005, when Mr.T #1 blasts into the shops!

A big thank you goes out to Chris for taking the time to answer my questions.








  • MR.T #1: RELEASED WORLDWIDE 21 MAY 2005 (to coincide with Mr.T’s birthday)



Sunday, May 08, 2005

Happy Mother's Day!

I just wanted to send good wishes and thanks to all of the mothers out there.

Especially to my mom who despite never really understanding my interest in comics, supported and even encouraged me in my pursuit of them. Not many moms would likely have made the weekly trip for me to the shop while I was in school or sick. Or taken a wish list into the shop for birthday and Christmas time shopping.

Thanks mom!

Thursday, May 05, 2005


From a Newsarama interview with George Perez:

Pérez has at least one project he’d love to tackle. “It seems inconceivable in my thirty-plus years in this industry that I’ve never drawn a Legion of Super-Heroes story, and that’s a wrong that needs to be addressed. I’ve called that to Mark Waid’s attention, in fact, and he agrees with me. Legion was one of my favorite books as a child, and I’ve never drawn them except when they appeared in Crisis. I think there may be a market for a standalone Waid-Pérez Legion of Super-Heroes story…

I would SO be all over this project, and do find it strange (given George's penchant for big teams) that he's never drawn the team outside of Crisis.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Manga Ramble

I had today off so went looking around to see if there was anything out I needed to pick up. The only book I picked up was Sgt. Frog #8, which is my favorite comedic title right now.

I was surprised to note two things though. One is about a series I used to follow called BOYS OVER FLOWERS, which I enjoyed when I read it but only to a certain point. Then a friend told me how many more volumes there was in the series (over 20) and it changed the way I looked at the series.

With series like Sgt. Frog or Hot Gimmick I don't care how long the series are, because I enjoy them so much that I want more. With BOF I enjoyed the books I read, but the themes were something that had only a particular length of interest for me. While I might have enough interest to read that story in 10 or 11 volumes, when I started considering 20 to 25 volumes worth of it the appeal lessoned.

The other item I noticed was how the book store chains in my area are apparently doing a manga title turnover. Series I have been following, or planned to pick up more volumes are disappearing in favor of new series.

While I'm all in favor of opening up shelves to new projects, I'm personally find it all very annoying. Since series I want to read more of, like Kindiachi Case Files, Tuxedo Gin and just recently Maison Ikkoku all gone. Meaning that I'll have to hunt them up in other areas or online.

Still it is a wonderful time to be a fan, with so much out there that I want to read. That I have forced myself to be a little more selective since the number of series I'm following is incredibly large.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Comics In Other Media Comments

I spent the night catching up on some of the comic book tie in shows I had TIVO'd during the week, and was surprised at the number of them.

Cartoon Network's Krypto The Superdog show continues to be a real hoot to watch. With the highlights being episodes like the ultra serious Ace the Bathound having to team with the silly Streaky the Supercat when Krypto is off on a mission with Superman. Plus a hilarious episode where Metallo Cat turns the Space Canine Patrol into puppies, thinking they would be easier to handle.

This series is just a lot of fun, that offers innocent and fun adventure for viewers of all ages who enjoy to laugh.

Meanwhile, Marvel's Man-Thing movie was just atrocious, and one of the worst comic book movies I've ever seen. From stiff acting that never seemed like more than anyone reading a bad script, to a story that was older than dirt and boring to boot.

Add in that the movie barely even shows its title star, and when it does he mainly just stands around. Makes this movie fail in all ways, from a stand alone movie to even just something to make readers wonder about the source material.

Finally I've been tuning in to the new Batman animated series that has been coming on CN Saturday evenings. This series follows a fairly younger Batman than the Dini & Timm series did, who is in his first year or two as a hero.

It is fun to see a Batman who isn't ultra serious, and that can actually laugh at himself at times. Not that he isn't driven, but he is heroically inclined to help people first not scare and intimidate them into doing what he wants.

Plus his relationships are much better explored, from the "father and son" connection he has with Alfred. That even when they bicker still shows a connection that has love from both sides.

Even more surprising is the glimpses that show that Bruce has had a bit of a life outside of his Batman persona. Such as his long time friendship with one of the pair of police officers who have been assigned to arrest Batman.

On the other hand the villains haven't been that interesting at all though. Probably because the show trends towards a younger audience, so the villains all have to be clearly bad and unsympathetic.

This was made especially obvious in last night's episode where Mr. Freeze went from a scientist whose drive was out of tragedy that happened to his wife. To now being just a thief who had an accident involving cryogenics when being pursued by Batman.

I'm curious to see how they handle Catwoman's appearance next week, to see if they have the attraction between the two or not.

It is an enjoyable show that offers a take on Batman that I wish we could see more of in the comics themselves. And with Krypto and the Justice League Unlimited show offers a good time from fans of comics to see their heroes in other media.