Wednesday, August 31, 2005

New Comics Day

Erg, in order to make it over to House of Secrets in Burbank I had to get gas. $2.97/gal... ouch.

New Avengers
Solo: Jordi Bernet (!)
Green Lantern
Shining Knight
Silent Dragon

Solo must be a terrible gamble for retailers, but I'm glad that it is. It's hard enough to gauge orders on Howard Chaykin or Darwin Cooke, and throwing Corbin onto the mix doesn't make things any easier. But how else are we going to get exposure to art like Bernet's? Me, I'm all over it. I would love to see Solo showcase more European artists just for the sake of showcasing good art. Frezzato, Marini, Manara, bring 'em over! There's got to at least be a Moebius issue in the works. I was hoping an art exchange program such as this could be accomplished in part by DC's deal with Humanoids, but... that didn't exactly work out, did it? And oh man, maybe momma didn't hug me enough as a child, but this issue of Solo may have the best Poison Ivy story ever.

Monday, August 29, 2005

God Bless Wally Wood

Holy Crap, Power Girl history is all over the web. Regarding one of my cries below, I found this little ditty at Power Girl Index, quoting one of her early appearances in freakin' 1977:

She unwarrantedly accuses the Star-Spangled Kid of being a "LITTLE CHAUVINIST PIGLET!" when he creates a "P" version of Superman's "S" shield for her. "I thought you UNDERSTOOD -- I may be SUPERMAN'S COUSIN, but I'm not his CARBON COPY! I'm my own woman!"

Of course this is all Pre-Crisis, I mean, Pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths, not Pre-Identity Crisis or Pre-Infinite Crisis... ugh. Maybe I should just drop it.

Comics Recap

Ultimates Annual #1
An over-sized book with Steve Dillon on art is something I always like to see. The story was an appropriate yarn expanding on some of the underlying fiction of the Ultimates world, but there were a couple details that threw me. With The Ultimates Millar strives to contemporize the world and the characters, which I always find to be a fuzzy line. On the one hand he may be allowing a broader audience to relate to the fantastic characters and settings steeped in Marvel history, tho I think there are some sacrifices being made for its longevity as stand alone fiction.

One references the state of the world specifically after the attacks on September 11th. I remember when the Marvel Universe decided to recognize it (not very well IMHO), I don't read that many Ultimate Universe books so I'm not sure how they handled it. But in The Ultimates book, the hard edge of the stories and characters doesn't really lead me to think such an event would have gone by without far-reaching world repercussions. It was a minor mention to an obviously major event. I can only wonder how such a thing is abstracted in a world of super heroics.

The second thing, which really bugged me, was a throw away line that mentioned the Matrix movies. This dates the book and the story, something that, in a pseudo-near-future with aliens and insanely sophisticated technology, should be avoided by an author whenever possible. It's not the dating that's bothersome, it's the ignorance of the extrapolated fiction. Back in The Ultimates series 1, that whole issue with Hawkeye and Black Widow as they raid the office building of aliens, that was The Matrix. In a world with Iron Man, the Hulk, and architecture like the Triskelion, it is doubtful that a movie like The Matrix would have even been made. The movie represents cyber-punk escapism in -our- world, any counterpart that would exist in The Ultimates would be drastically different. Using that logic one could say that there is no specific mention of what their Matrix was, so whatever. But really I think it's just a cheap ploy to grab as many readers as possible with "Oh, The Matrix, I know what that is, it's cool he mentioned it." The Ultimates is a damn cool world already, Millar could do with losing the pandering.

Day of Vengeance #5
This slowly became my favorite Crisis tie-in. The story is a tad over-scoped but still manages to get everything across. I attribute that directly to Bill Willingham's skill with words. The characters are cool and readable, the art is great, the coloring (this ish stands out) is fantastic. Kudos to Justiniano and Chris Chuckry.

Man this is some crazy shit. From what I can gather, and it took a while, OMAC is actually a nano-virus that is wide spread across the globe. In some sort of prophetic action, Maxwell Lord infected one of his lieutenants in Check Mate with a special strain of the virus that would not be under control of Brother One. Brother One is of course the satellite that Batman constructed to keep tabs on all the heroes and villains. Max wrested control of the satellite and in effect the OMAC virus, which transforms it's host into a killing machine. Max got killed last issue... the OMACs were activated this issue, as well as the "special" OMAC that undoubtedly plays a key role in probably everything Crisis-related. Oh, and there are like over a million OMACs. So much for the "One Man Army Corps" concept.

That's all just dandy. Here's what just doesn't fly: There is an OMAC kicking the crap out of Martian Manhunter and Rocket Red. Some old Justice Leaguers come along to kick ass and chew bubblegum. It's Booster Gold, Guy Gardner, and Fire. They are all from a previous incarnation of the Justice League so it is no real surprise to see them together (they even met up last issue). But there's someone else with them, Mary Marvel. WTF??? So when was the last time we saw her hanging around with Booster Gold, Guy Gardner, and Fire??? It was a little book called "Formerly Known as the Justice League" and it's sequel in JLA Classified. Which also featured a non-dead Blue Beetle and non-Checkmate Max Lord, in some weird almost-congruent continuity sometime around/before Crisis. Confused yet? Fuck yeah you are. Sure, maybe Mary Marvel just happened to show up with these guys, but when OMAC deactivates her powers, she's in the same god-damned overalls and t-shirt she wore in JLA Classified! That is like, screwy.

I also want to point out that the big fight that takes up almost the entire issue supposedly takes place in Russia. There is one panel in the opening that at least suggests Russia, but there are no backgrounds at all for the rest of the battle. One panel has the corner of a building when Booster flies away, which could have been anywhere. I have no need to knock any artist's skillz, but come on man.

Rocket Red dies in this issue as well. This is probably so some hot new team can totally revamp him down the road.

JSA Classified #2
Power Girl has had a few different looks over the years, as heroes in the funnybooks tend to have. In the 1990's Justice League she first wore yellow and white (pictured here from issue 60, that last Giffen/DeMatteis for a while):

A bit down the line circa issue 89,the Justice League, as a team and as a book... declined, one could say. Kara leaned a bit more to her supposed Atlantean heritage and started showing some cleavage:

Why the fashion show? Because Geoff Johns is making Power Girl's wardrobe choices a component to his story. Okay, okay, people stare at her huge rack all the time, I get it. Hell, I stare at her huge rack, like, all the time. I am okay with this. Power Girl has a huge rack. Drawn best, she's thick. She is one of the few characters in the DCU where that aspect of physicality is inherent to the design. I mean Catwoman can swing from a lithe acrobat to a double D stripper depending on who draws her, editorial isn't gonna care. Draw Power Girl as some whippet-thin runway model and there'll be a phone call. Anyways, so then I read this:

Um, excuse me, no fucking way. I was unable to find my issues of Justice League Europe (who knows) to scan the panels, but I definitely remember when Power Girl updated her costume. Crimson Fox even said something like "Nice window." There were other comments about it being a great distraction for her mostly male enemies. She was open to many pot shots by the likes of Guy Gardner, which, as should be, were usually met with a proverbial kick in the balls. Written best, Power Girl is a cool, ballbusting, headstrong hero who is unapologetic about being an attractive woman. But now Kara goes on to drone,

And finally,

What have you done, you bastard? Power Girl finally gets her own book and it's so she can espouse pathetic Dr. Phil rhetoric? I don't care if Kara needs to grow as a character, that's great, but why does it has to be at the expense of her self image? Isn't her lack of origin enough to worry about? What this says to me is that if she does not have an identity to wear on her chest, she must substitute that by exploiting herself sexually, and that is bad. Because of course, we can never have a female character who is proud of her femininity and sexuality, you big wuss. I know criticizing another writer to a degree has alot in common with career suicide, but this pisses me off. As I am exposed to more of Johns writing, which if you read DC you pretty much have no choice, I am noticing some common elements as to how he handles certain characters and subjects. What I am beginning to conclude is that Johns is steadily apologizing for everything in the DCU that he didn't write. I am on to you, Johns. I. Am. On. To. You.

Not all is wrought with frustration. Conner and Palmiotti excel on art, and whatever is at the core of Power Girl's distress looks to be interesting. Psycho Pirate shows up, Crisis is mentioned, so something big is in the works.

Comment Challenge! Am I wrong about Powergirl? Is my JLE reference incorrect? Is she portrayed differently in JSA? You should totally call me on it, I genuinely want to know.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Azeroth Travelogue

-- geek mode: on --

I went on another World of Warcraft travel binge in search of new areas. I'm using Blogger to host my images now and I think I have gotten the hang of it-- click on the pics for some beautiful full-screen shots. They are big, like 1280x1024 big. Unfortunately having Blogger host the images sacrifices some quality (low q jpegs), but hey it's free.

This is near the entrance to Ungoro Crater. The most amazing thing about this area is that you enter it from a rather obscure path after travelling across a vast desert called Tenaris. The desert is miles and miles of sweeping Sahara-like landscape, and when you find this descending path into the unexpected lushness of the crater it's amazing. It's literally walking (or in my case riding) into the lost world, because this land is populated by dinosaurs! Raptors are a common sight throughout the game, but this place has a freakin' 60 foot T-rex stomping around. There are also Dimetrodons and Pteradons, and some other enemies I really wasn't ready to face. It was extremely difficult to leave the area and find my way back to civilization...

... which I did by happening on a trading post in Feralis, adjacent to the crater. The post a had a flight station (kind of like an airport) that THANK GOD allowed me safe travel to friendlier lands. But before I left I took in a little sightseeing. I can only imagine what the hell is in that giant hive.

This shot here is just the Barrens, familiar territory for me and home of the Crossroads, a "hub" if you will to several other key areas via flying beasts. BTW, the moon is high in the last shot because I was travelling late at night. The game plays in real time and has an actual 24hr day/night cycle.

--geek mode: off --

New Duds

-- geek mode: on --

Vonnagan is an artisan-level tailor (WoW characters are able to undertake various trade skills), and as such I am often able to craft armor far better than what can be bought. Warlocks can only wear cloth armor, which can be a drag, so being able to craft the strongest of its class is a definite advantage. I had been enjoying tromping around in the relatively-high level Black Mageweave gear my current skill level allows, but just changed over to the very distinct Robe of Power and some new accessories I had aquired from quests. It is a very different look for my character.

I'm getting closer to topping off my tailoring skill, as I am now able to seek out the secret craft of Shadowweave. In addition to cool armor, I can also craft multi-slot bags and backpacks which sell for a very high price on both the township and player/player market.

--geek mode: off --

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

New Comics Day

Light week...

Day of Vengeance
JSA Classified
Ultimates Annual

W T F is going on in OMAC? I tried reading it while waiting at the car wash, and damned if I don't have to read it again to figure out what the hell is going on.

I got me a re-order of Ultimates Annual, cause it sold out at my shop last week or whatever. An -annual- sold out. An annual by Mark Millar and Steve Dillon. Sheesh.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Off Model

Left to my own devices, nipples are inevitable.

(click for full size version!)

Oh, Tinkerbell...

I have had Tinkerbell on the brain the past few days. And apparently I'm not the only one.

Back in the seventies, myself a wee lad at the time, my family went and saw a re-release of Disney's Peter Pan. It became one of my favorites, especially as my love for art and animation grew over the years. Tinkerbell does strike a chord and I guess it sticks with you. Something about that jealous little tart who betrays her true love makes its way into the ol noggin, taking on new relevance as we ourselves begin to dance around in the world of complex relationships. Actually, I have never read the book of Peter Pan, I am only familiar with the Disney version and the stage play. And I haven't seen Neverland... but I'm curious as to Tinkerbell's origin in that context.

The stage play (which holds an long and odd tradition of casting females in the titular role) I am thinking is much closer to the book than Disney's version. And with the play we have the famous segment of audience participation to help determine little Tink's fate. Tho the play I recall has alot more focus on the Indians, and remember a version a few years ago that -really- expanded the focus with an elaborate drum and dance number that was kind of cool. Which leads me to mention another key supporting role in Peter Pan, despite all this Tinkerbell talk it is a comely native princess who is the actual focus of my fondness for Neverland lore. I speak of course of Tiger Lily, and that is another post entirely.

But back to Tinkerbell, and specifically the drawing of her. Some years ago I was managing a project in Burbank, I had the incredible fortune to work with the now defunkt Evolution Studios, an animation house/would be videogame developer. These guys and gals were amazing artists. This one gal in particular, Gabby, her style was one I really took a shine to, and she was just an all around cool person, yet at the time I was incredibly intimidated by her talent. I'll never forget this sketch she had by her desk, it was a picture of Tinkerbell, just standing there as only Tinkerbell would, and it was the sexiest god damn drawing I had ever seen. It wasn't just sexy as in coquettish, tho it was, it was sexy in it's looseness, it's freedom of line, it was so pure I could barely stand to look at it. But I did. A lot.

In the biz there's a phrase called "on model," where an artist must follow specific artistic rules when working with someone else's property. I've had to do it more than a few times in my career, tho it's not all it's cracked up to be. It is tedious and labor intensive to learn for each new character, as one must constantly measure detailed distances and proportions -- you will be called out in a second flat for any strays and errors. I've also been on the other side of the coin, having to call out those errors to other artists, this can be tricky given an individual's yearning to express some creativity. The drawing may be great, but if it's off model, no go. Eventually you fall into the mechanics of it all, and the model's rules become second nature. You sort of resign yourself over to something that isn't yours and concentrate on the scene, what the emotion has to be, the action, and how to best express that within the rules. A lot of times it is outside these constraints where art blossoms, where the personal styles shine thru and you are overtaken by irreproducable individuality. It's the concept art, the germination of a character that sets my brain on fire. Andreas Dejas, Chris Sanders, Claire Wendling ... names far out of my league and too numerous to mention here.

These picks here, they don't make the cut, they are just me fucking around. It's stuff I have to draw to get junk out of my system, and junk it is. This last pick (above) is about as close as I get to a proper Disney Tinkerbell, and it allowed me to at least approach drawing something that would be appropriate for the young daughter of a long time friend. It's closest in part because it is directly from a Walter Foster book, How to Draw Disney's Princesses. These Walter Foster books, the Disney ones at least, they are fine for someone who's got some grasp on drawing, but beginning artists should avoid them like the plague. They don't actually teach you anything, the lessons are very limited, and they never have a proper model sheet to go by-- something I never understood since something like that would be far more valuable than the five-step disaster that is an average lesson. What they do is show you how to draw one thing, one way, with a couple interesting notes peppered in. There are better ones, Mulan and Atlantis I think are better than average, but the Princess book is a steep fucking hill for the flawlessness that is usually required of Disney heroines. Just thought I'd put that out there.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Of Pixie Dust

I had the weekend to catch up on some random art projects for friends, Tinkerbell was involved. While I'm no stranger to the Disney model sheet I've often struggled with the saucy little pixie. For some reason all my drawings of her come out, well... slutty. It takes a high degree of discipline to not buff up the mascara, tussle the hair, or add a cup size.

The thing about Tink is, really from day one, baby got back.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

New Comics Day

Nice stack of books this week.

Life During Wartime
Authority: Revolution
Top 10: Beyond
Klarion the Witch Boy
Rocketo :-)
Shanna The She Devil :-(
Livewires :-(

I'm sad to see Livewires end, but it was a hell of a ride. I hope it means more projects from Adam Warren, cause simply put I'll buy anything with his name on it. Another bittersweet end comes to Shanna, tho Frank Cho looks to have lined up some high profile projects outside of his regular duties on Liberty Meadows.

Rocketo... damn. God Damn. Fuck. Buy this book.

Pool in Glendale

Yesterday I found myself in Glendale for a spell. After a productive stop at the Apple Store and admiring the bounteous population of jailbait* at the Glendale Galleria, we took a walk outside and popped in to Charles Billiard to scope the place out.

It's a pretty fancy joint, fairly large (made more noticeable by the fact the we were the only ones in the place at 5 in the afternoon). I bet the place really hops at night and on weekends, it has a full bar and sitting area up front. I noticed the tables were closer together than in most places, so I think it can get annoyingly crowded if you have neighbors playing on all sides. There was a sound system laying out some sweet jazz, but I didn't notice a jukebox, I wonder what the music is like at other times.

I'd like to go back in the evening and see how it plays with a full house. I've become accustomed to playing at Hollywood Billiards but the LA area has a whole slew of pool halls I recently discovered in a promotional booklet, so it may be time to hit the road and check out some new joints!

*Aside: I am enamored with the fact that "jailbait" did not trigger my spellchecker, which it lead me to look it up on various digital dictionaries and I wonder how long that's been around?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Comics Recap

Zatanna #3
This is has a little crossover with some of the other Seven Soldiers titles, namely Shining Knight in a weird, backstage, Rosencrantz and Gildenstern sort of way. Tho what caught my interest was the origin hinting of Zatanna's new gal pal, Misty. Hmmm, Zatanna in peril, conflicting continuity, potential successor, Crisis... anyone thinking what I'm thinking? I'm officially adding Zatanna to the "Bites it in Crisis" list, altho with the solicit for IC #2 with Power Girl on the cover, she'll have some company.

Rann-Thanagar War #4
I've read online reviews that this book is "incomprehensible." I do not think so. If you are looking for answers in every possible corner and details on every featured race, granted, you will not get that. But that's what I think makes it so cool. In fact, If you didn't know word one about the DCU, this book could be appreciated on a level of sci-fi extravaganza I would be very envious of.

Ultimate Iron Man #3
I'm trying to figure out if this is "Ultimate Iron Man" or "The Ultimates' Iron Man," tho it's leaning towards the former. More interesting to me is seeing how Orison Scott Card adapts himself to the comics medium. I am certainly curious to what his scripts looks like, I wonder if he saw the first couple issues of art and thought, "Damn, I am writing way too much." I don't mean that his book is wordy, quite the contrary, I mean I wonder if he has elaborate panel descriptions for what essentially turn out to be "Tony is angry."

Wildsiderz #1
Well. If you've read the Wildsiderz debut, then I guess you kind of already know. If you haven't, I don't quite know how to describe it. The art is amazing-- Campbell has evolved from a talented comics artist to an accomplished cartoonist (and there is a difference). His comics storytelling is just as strong, in fact almost every page of the book can be read without any dialogue. Unfortunately there is dialogue. It's not too terrible, what struck me about the story and the script is that it hits every beat you would expect from a cartoon/sitcom/action movie and is either blissfully unaware or adamantly unapologetic of the fact. It's so entrenched in it's own formula that it almost has to be wildly successful, because that's what America likes, right? Wildsiderz also continues the Campbell/Hartnel tradition of inserting a hollywood icon into a supporting role. In Gen13 it was John Lynch:Clint Eastwood, in Danger Girl it was Deuce:Sean Connery, and it looks to me that Wildsiderz' Dr. Mirra Martin is channeling Halle Barry (in a wheelchair... awwwww). I'd say pick the book up for the art and the pretty colors and check your brain at the door.

New Warriros #3
I was poking around online and was very puzzled by the reactions to this book. On the message boards I passed over, readers seem to dislike the artwork of Skottie Young. "Dislike" is my word, some of the posts I've read were downright violent.

What is wrong with you people?

It's easy for me to say that, Young's art is exceptionally appealing to me. I know this is not so with everyone but it led me to start thinking about the bigger issue. I think comics readers, while not that easily defined, do fall into one of three categories:
1. Likes comics and reads comics they like, not particularly interested comics politics.
2. Loves comics and care passionately about the work and the industry, sometimes too much.
3. Comics belong to them and them alone, and care not for new readership or disruption of the status quo.

The first category is not concerned with the second two. The second category, to which I belong, is happy for the first, but not terribly fond of the third. The third category generally wants the first and second to fuck off. I usually like people who like comics -- though the steadfast refusal to try-- or at least tolerate-- anything new frankly scares me. Young's art is like nothing else on the shelf, and it is a bold and creative (rare) move by Marvel to try and appeal to another kind of reader--- the reader those #3's really don't want in the club. I mean, who would you rather be drawing New Warriors? Mark Bagely? Tom Grummet? What would be the point? They are both fine illustrators but would that truly serve the relaunch of New Warriors?

And there is the rub. #2's are really interested in such matters as what "serves the relaunch" of a book when most people aren't, and #3's would be perfectly happy if nothing ever changed in comics, ever (and apparently like bitching when it does as much as I do when it doesn't).

Skottie Young's Website

Monday, August 15, 2005

This is Bad

My posts of late have been skewed towards comics and WoW, that looks terribly depressing even to me. I plan to remedy that by balancing the scales with some new posts on pool and smut in the days to come. Plus, you know, comics and WoW.

My Weekend in Azeroth

-- geek mode: on --

I played a ridiculous amount of World of Warcraft this weekend. I had things to do, objects to craft, items to buy and wares to sell. It required alot of travel, and that is a bit of an understatement. I had to cross goddamn continents and oceans to get where I needed to be, and in Wow, that is a literal description. I have been playing this game since last October and still... still... I am coming upon areas and scenery that blow my mind. Sure, there are a majority of players who have ground to level 60 and have seen all this and more, but the mere fact that I have been playing for so long and can still be awed by a game's environments is a testament to is artistry and design.

For example, I had wandered into Blackrock territory, which I am only now able to travel through safely, and just barely. Blackrock Mountain is a key destination for top level players, but I couldn't resist taking the path to see what all the fuss was about. Once inside the mountain passage I rounded a rocky corner and was dumbstruck:

You must travel down the chain to get to the entrance of Blackrock Dungeon...

Once inside I didn't have time to take a screenshot because I found myself immediately running for my life. Some shit you just don't want to fuck with, the prospect of dying and having to retrive my corpse from such a place was not something to look forward to. Once safely out of the mountain, I came across an area simply called "The Gorge."

A bit farther north on my way back to The Badlands, I came upon this fantastic sight:

I was playing my long running character, Vonnagan the Dire. He's an undead Warlock and I've accumulated a nice pack of goodies over my travels. One of my prized possessions is my main hand weapon, The Sword of Omen, given to me by my undead king after finishing a quest that took weeks to complete.

As a warlock I am able to summon demons who must fight with me in service to my dark arts. My succubus, Kalyla, is my summon of choice. That's right. Succubus.

Being an online game, WoW can be very social, both good and bad, but often good. For instance I was at the Auction House in Ogrimmar when someone came in and randomly cast over a "buff" on whoever was near. This is not uncommon, but this particular buff was insanely potent! Yet another thing I didn't even know existed.

At the end of my marathon gaming session I had quested my way back to Booty Bay, and the southern tip of Stranglethorn Cape. It's sort of a pirate haven and has all the characters and quests that would go along with it. It's an averaged size city, one of many that scatter the land. It's fully populated, it has a history, locals, legends... Now that my character is in the upper 40's, whole new teirs of conversations and quests have become available, and I haven't even finished exploring the new lands that I've found! It's just amazing the depth that WoW continues to hold.

-- geek mode: off --

I Hate Marketing

Current Top 5 Misappropriated Songs in Television Commercials

5. "Baby Got Back," Target
4. "The Power," Luvs
3. "Simply Irresistible," Applebee's
2. "Just What I Needed," Circuit City
1. "Dust in the Wind," Subaru

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Just as addictive, twice as pointless

-- geek mode: on --

I had stopped playing World of Warcraft for some time... a couple months... as I felt is was taking up an unhealthy amount of time, work got the better of me, and I started losing interest in the grind of leveling after 40.

I finished some work commitments and was poking around for some new games to play, and found some, but some friends suggested I hop back into WoW. Damn them.

Not only did I start a new character on a new server, but I went back to my old character to see where I could "go" to get some decent XP. After some hearty travel, WoW delivered what it does like no other game I know-- a completely new area I have never been to, nor heard of, that totally kicks my ass with all new quests and beasties. Aye, finally, here be dragons.

This game, well, "massive" is not really a sufficient adjective. There are ceilings, there are gameplay issues, but damn it's still so freakin' fun. There have been significant patches to the game since I played last, so in some respects it's a whole new ball game. The +40 grind is a harsh one, we're now talking hundreds of thousands of XP to level up, and I do wonder how long I can keep it going. Starting a new character of a different class really is an entirely different experieince, and considering the game is coming up on its one year anniversary it sure seems to have a hell of alot of steam in it.

Those online at Llane server may ping Vonnagan (45 Horde/Undead/Warlock), those on Gurubashi server may hail Cordero (9 Horde/Troll/Hunter).

-- geek mode: off --

New Comics Day

Rann-Thanagar War
Villains United
Iron Man
New Warriors

I really, really, like the work Ryan Sook is doing for Zatanna. It's very appealing. I've always found Zatanna to be an interesting character, and yes, fishnets are not excluded from the equation. But it's a rare character that can travel recklessly from the DCU to Vertigo and back, considering the havok that wreaks on one's continuity. Continuity is something Zatanna appears to be immune to, what with her Morrison-penned side story for Seven Soldiers simultaneoulsy shipping in the same week as JLA, where she also is playing a role as Infinite Crisis pans out. Maybe after it's all over she'll cast another spell on us all, "Efil a teg -- cimoc a tsuj s'ti."

Sunday, August 07, 2005


It just so happens that the week I decide to take off work is the week Adelphia decides to have first an "upgrade" and then an "outage." I can get by a few days without TV, but damn is it hard to be offline. How did I become so dependant?

Check out a book at Amazon? No. Hop onto iTunes? No. Burn a CD... without CDDB? No. Check mail? No. Movie times? No. News? No. IM? No. Blog? No.

But worst.... WORST of all... No World of Warcraft??!!

This is the modern age, and we are its slaves!

New Comics Day (late post)

Big fat comics week!

New Avengers
Uncanny X-Men
Strangers in Paradise
Ultimate Iron Man
Giant-Size Spider-Woman
Y the Last Man
Mystery City
Top Ten: The Forty Niners (!!!)

Giant-Size Spider-Woman seemed like a good bet with some classic Buscema, Infantino, and Leialoha work. The new story with Rick Mays art is an extra-spicy treat. And speaking of treats, Mystery City certainly qualifies, being a prestige format book packed full of Jose Ladronn!

Justice sure looks pretty, tho I've got sit down with it to see what Ross and Krueger are cooking up. Ultimate Iron Man still holds my interest, but it seems like ages between issues.

But what I'm really looking forward to is Top Ten. All of the ABC books were special in their own way, but I think Top Ten is the most accessible because it plays on so many common themes. Tom Strong was the archetype pulp adventure, Promethea was the blow-your-mind deconstruction of storytelling, and Tomorrow Stories was the satire. Top Ten is cops and robbers-- everyone can follow that. Being released as a stand alone HC says alot towards both the material and DC's toe-tipping experimentation into the original graphic novel arena. I suspect initial sales of this book will tell alot, but really they've got to wait to include the (eventual) lower-priced softcover to see if readers are eating it up.

Monday, August 01, 2005

On the Chopping Block

Rumors are running rampant-- someone besides Blue Beetle is going to bite the bullet as a result of DC's Infinite Crisis, and become replaced by a successor?

So far, IC related deaths include the aformentioned Blue Beetle (Ted Cord), Black Knight (Sasha), and, in a surprise turn of events, Max Lord. But IC has really yet to be put into full swing, and word on the street is a "major" hero gets plugged, ala Barry Allen's Flash in the original Crisis on Infinite Earths. Barry was replaced as Flash by Wally West, so who's up for a plot at Forest Lawn?

I guess this all hinges on two things-- whom DC considers "major" and who has a suitable successor...

If DC had any balls, which we all know they don't, Bruce Wayne would call it in. With strong ties to Identity Crisis, OMAC, and Infinite Crisis, there are alot of signs pointing his way. There has been a long running thought that Dick Grayson (aka Nightwing aka the first Robin) will take up the Mantle of the Bat, so there may actually be some legitimacy to this idea. I've also read that this is in fact the very concept behind the newly mentioned "52" book that will run after IC. Perhaps a Chicago Wizard World announcement will tell.

The easy bet is Wally West's Flash, creating a strong tie to the first Crisis on Infinite Earths. This is why I think they'll pass, it's too obvious. However Bart Allen, currently Impulse of the Teen Titans (and running around in the Kid Flash costume) will no doubt take up the mantle, it's just a question of now versus later.

Kyle Rayner
Kyle, buddy, pal... you've served us well but alot of people want you gone. An IC sacrifice would be a nice and tidy way to do it. I always liked Rayner as Green Lantern, it's not often you get to see someone grow into that kind of role. Alot of heroes are just a given, but Rayner was put through quite a few ringers. However if the Crisis has it's eyes on him, I won't be shocked.

Green Arrow
My money is on Ollie Queen, Green Arrow, and the reasons are numerous. Throughout IC he's been a cantankerous bastard and overtly confrontational. Traditionally this is how you set someone up for a fall. More importantly, he's got not one but two possible successors:
1. The underrated and under-used Connor Hawke: Ollie's son who has previously taken the mantle of Green Arrow.
2. Roy Harper: Former GA sidekick Speedy has been running around as Aresnal for some years. Roy's proficiency with weapons of all sorts, including guns and knives, may make him a more compelling update to the Green Arrow character.
As for Ollie, he'll be missed, sure, but only until the next Crisis-style event. Plus, he's already been dead, so it won't be too much a strain.

Black Canary
This is a long shot, but possible in that Dinah Lance straddles that line between major and minor character. She doesn't really have a successor, tho may I suggest that Huntress may step in to fill the role. Not out of the question is a IC spawned revelation that Dinah and Ollie have a daughter running around somewhere. Maybe they do already? I'm not too versed in the Black Canary lore.

Storywise, Barbara Gordon getting killed makes some sense. It causes alot of drama for all of the bat books, and takes out the omni-present, all-knowing persona of Oracle, which I think has become a bit of a crutch for the DCU. We've already got a new Batgirl, I don't really like her as a character (much more interesting when she was mute), but she's around. During the "Bruce Wayne: Murderer" and "War Games" storylines, I was speculating that Batgirl (Cassandra Cain?) would die and Spoiler (Stephanie Brown) would become the new Batgirl. Turns out Spoiler ended up taking the big dirt nap.

Wonder Woman
Highly unlikey. Even with all the rigamarole around bringing back Donna Troy, Wonder Woman is a goddess and any death would only be temporary. Sure, IC could wipe her from universal existence, but that's a slim-to-none. Even with Cassie Sandsmark running around as Wonder Girl, Wonder Woman looks to be a rock unwilling to move. She did kill Max Lord after all!

Even more unlikely. Superman's done the dead schtick and no one really wants to see Conner Kent put on the cape (though I do wonder how long he can go calling himself Superboy...). And, you know, the new Superman movie coming out.

This could happen. Unlikely considering the Batman connection, but could the well-liked current Robin, Tim Drake, take up the name and costume of Nightwing? I'd call that one a longshot, but possible.

If I'm being totally honest, any member of the JSA could bite it with little fanfare-- outside of those who read JSA. In a random interview I caught online, Geoff Johns strongly alluded to Dr. Fate receiving a total overhaul. How many members have successors sort of narrow the choices, but isn't half the JSA comprised of successors already? Shazam, possibly, has the most interesting potential with both Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Junior. Would DC off the Big Red Cheese? Considering Geoff Johns coddles the JSA as his own child, and is also a key architect of IC and the "One Year Later" theme, offing a major JSAer may take a backseat to merely some timely updates and continuity corrections.

Comment Challenge! Who did I miss? Hawkman? Zatanna? Atom? Martian Manhunter? Tell me your ideas!