Ladies and gentlemen, it does me a great honor to introduce. . .

. . . ME!

Did you catch it? According to Paul Jenkins - one of the writers on pre-OMD Spider-Man - I'm a piece of cheese in Peter Parker's refrigerator! Your very own friendly neighborhood blogger!

And I'm smarter than the Vulture too! Go me!

All from the wonderful fourth volume of Peter Parker: Spider-Man, "Trials and Tribulations," by Paul Jenkins and Mark Buckingham (yes, that Mark Buckingham).

How cheesy!

Just a stray "thought"

What I love about comic books is their constant state of negotiation. That is, how there are always several different versions of the same thing.

Yeah, you'll always have the same superheroes, but what really matters is the person who's writing the superheroes, and they always bring their own vision into the mix.

For example, if you don't like Stan Lee's Silver Surfer as a depressed philosopher, you can always turn to Steve Englehart's Silver Surfer as a hero in the cosmic chess board of space. A current example would be Chris Claremont's Cyclops as a competent but broken leader ('cause he lost his love), against Matt Fraction's current Cyclops, who's kinda a hip guy with a swanky new house and a great girlfriend. Or, for another example, Kevin Smith's Green Arrow as a father figure, which was an add-on to Denny O'Neil's Green Arrow as political activist.

Things get added, things get removed, or things just get a radical facelift! Comic books are dynamic, and they're always subject to whoever's writing 'em and whoever's reading 'em. Two people can write the same comic, but you'll always read something different, for sure.

So that's my spiel today. You can bet your milk money that a comic book got me thinking about it, but that's for another day. Sorry for the no-images, and I hope you guys had a great Thanksgiving!

The examples up top are the ones I could think of, but knowing me -- they're not that great.
Do you have anything that comes to mind? Don't be afraid to bring it up!

Cover to Cover: "A naked, grinning maw." deal-y.

Aaaaand we're back to our semi-regular programming. Mind you, the blog is in provisional mode right now, so I won't be doing as many weekly reviews, but there's one comic that I always make sure to get:

Birds of Prey #124

by Tony Bedard and Claude St. Aubin

Well, willyalookit that! It's a new artist for Birds. Again. For the third time now.

Granted, Msr. St. Aubin is a slightly better version of Michael O'Hare -- but it's very unfortunate nonetheless that Birds is in such a state of flux at a crucial time in Barbara Gordon's life.

By which I mean: her first real meeting with the Joker after he crippled her in Killing Joke. With all the odds stacked against him though, Bedard does a stellar job. Barbara does to the Joker exactly what he did to her: Barbara cripples him back.

Specifically, she takes his smile away! What a perfectly appropriate form of retribution! I love, love, love it.

So I just wanna take this time to pimp out the cover. It is so rad. If you take the effort to click and look at it, it's the textbook definition of a great cover. The two, er, items, on Barbara's eskrima sticks signify what exactly goes in inside the comic, and the Joker's silhouette plays an antagonism for Barbara to rebound and get her due.

Basically: it's pretty awesome. Stephane Roux's been on Birds covers now for maybe 25 issues, and I really respect that kind of consistency and commitment in comic book covers.
Kinda turns me on, to be honest.

ANYWAYS: the rest of this issue is pretty much mindless fighting. It's a tedious enaction of the Silicon Syndicate being a bunch of evil losers, and the Birds being unable to stop 'em. We don't even get Lady Blackhawk saying anything cool either!

Well, at least Babs and Dinah team up together for the first time since Gail broke them up so Dinah could "head the JLA" or "spend time with her husband."

Mark your calendars, everyonecominginfromgoogleimages!

I'll be back Wednesday guys!

And that's something you can take to the bank.

Unfortunately, my schedule next quarter is devastating, and I can't say anything definite about the future frequency of blogging.
For the meantime, however, here is French Batman combating the evils of his society:

Painters of the Eiffel Tower: They're a cowardly and superstitious lot.

Another one from Bizarro World #1, yep.

Nextwave: did your mama

I know it's Wednesday, which is supposed to mean new comics, but not this week.

The reasons for that are several-fold, so in a total cop-out here is a list of reasons:
  • I'm poor.
  • I'm getting the sense that the individual issues of "New Krypton" are being written for the trade, and not for the issue, so I don't wanna feel like a schmuck again to get this week's issue of Supergirll or last week's of Action Comics. I'm tired of feeling like a schmuck. I want the issues I buy to actually mean something.
  • Comic book companies, I'm not made out of money. If I were -and you know I would, I'd shill it out of my wazoo like nobody's business after getting some plane tickets.
  • I have way too many papers to kill myself over.
  • Again, I'm not made of money.
In lieu of real material, here's an excerpt from Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen's Nextwave.

Nextwave: is love.

Reading We3

I can't say it's a coincidence that we're reviewing another tpb about animal bioengineering (see Elephantmen vol. 1). I will however, call it fate that it's such a wonderful story. The trade we're lookin' at today is Vertigo's

by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely

I borrowed this from the library, but lemme tell you this: I really want my own copy now.
We3 is about a team of 3 bioengineered animals designed for human proxy warfare: basically, they do all the assassinating that we don't want to do.

The real kicker is that after their missions, they get decomissioned -- put to sleep, but these 3 make an exception. They break free, and the dog -"1"- tries to find home and to be a gud boy. The cat- "2"- hates everything. . .
. . . and the rabbit -"3"- wants to eat.

Their personalities -- and they have more of 'em than do a lot of people you might meet out there -- shine wonderfully in their adventure to survive, protect each other and find home. The ending is so insightful on the pride of our species and the power of a little compassion. It is so touching.

If you like animals at all, or maybe excellent writing, or maybe beautiful double-page spreads, then you owe it to yourself to read this trade paperback. I'm serious.

I promise this is the last B:B&B post

I was just looking at my TV guide, and I realized that Cartoon Network also re-airs the Batman: The Brave and the Bold at 9:30AM (central) on Saturdays!

So if you missed it on Friday at 7:00PM (again, central), you can catch it at 9:30AM the next day.

I've been talking this darn cartoon up so much, I feel like I'm guilting you guys. Please don't take it that way, and I'm sorry if I came off like that. You guys have busy schedules, and why the heck should you give up a half-hour for the sake of a trivial children's cartoon after all?

That said, let's talk about the trivial premiere episode.
In bullets!
  • Hm, Green Arrow's voice is pretty high in the intro scene, compared to Batman's. Makes him seem young.
  • Hey, that's Jaime! It makes so much sense that he's a superhero geek. He's the perfect character for the kids to identify with. I wonder if his comic's gonna get some more notoriety after the cartoon (even though it's about to get axed, I believe)?
  • I love how the episode presents all the scenes of the trailer in the first ten minutes. It gives me a feeling of earnesty.
  • Okay, so Batman's mentoring Blue Beetle, except Blue Beetle's tech gets them into a wormhole into another world. Now Beetle has to save the "Gibbles" from a terrible tyrant, "Konjar Ro."
  • Heh. Batman as the sidekick.
  • Several fight scenes, and now we're at the end! The Gibbles learn not to constantly turn to the strength of someone else (Blue Beetle) for help, but to seek the strength in themselves. "The power within" is a phrase they like to repeat.
  • Beetle subsequently gains more confidence in his abilities as a superhero as does Batman.
  • I just wanna take this time to say how cartoons are so awesome. They create a modern mythology for children, and I love how there's a life lesson in every single episode. I was raised by cartoons, and it's just heartwarming to see that they're still doing the same great stuff for a different generation. Cartoons rock.
When is Frank Miller gonna get to write an episode? That'd be so rad.
Well, rad for me, but not the kids.
Frank Miller and Paul Dini too. Dini should get an episode. And Denny O'Neill should write one with Green Arrow getting indignant somehow at an obscure political thing. That'd be so rad.

I could also do the same bullet review deal-y for The Spectacular Spider-Man, but that'd be tough. I kinda started tearing up after Peter, with the guidance of Uncle Ben's spirit, defeated the Venom symbiote in the fight for Peter's psyche.

That episode was so awesome.

cue jazzy theme song

You'll probably read this on Friday, but still - who knows what the future holds?

This is just a reminder that the new Batman cartoon is premiering tomorrow (Friday)! That is. . .

Green Arrow: Quiver

Well are ya??? I'm gonna try my darndest to get to a TV, but I have to go back to Chicago around then to play with my action figures get ready for volunteer obligations.

Again, the Cartoon Network site is here, so check your local listings! If I miss it, will you dvr it in your head for me?

I hope Green Arrow appears in the first episode.
imitating bats

stitches, scars and whirlybats: Detective Comics #850

I had a pop quiz today in Astronomy!

This means I got out 20 minutes earlier!

This means I can get to the blog quicker!

This means are you ready to rock!

Detective Comics #850
by Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen

The first page is a bee-yootiful commemorative watercolor of Batman lunging at us, by Nguyen. It's gorgeous in the previews, and it's even better in hand.

The issue on the whole is the climax of Batman confronting Hush, but there's a wonderful prologue of Alfred being awesome that you can read in the previews. It is so wonderful. We need more top-notch guys like Alfred.

Just wonderful.

We get to see Batman being a savior too, one of his many roles we don't see too often, and we also get to learn what made Tommy Elliot (Hush) kill his mother.

(Notice the Adam West Batmobile! Yes!)

The beautiful part of this issue is that the art tells its own story too. There are numerous instances that, if you pay attention, play some great surprise twists in the comic. The panel where Hush takes Batman's utility belt. The panel of Hush going through Batman's gallery of costumes. The panel of Batman taking off his cape as a precaution.

This is such a beautiful comic book. There is so much depth to it.

Another major aspect is Batman's "heart," 'cause the title of the arc is "Heart of Hush" after all! Hush tries to cripple Batman's heart, which is embodied in - who else?- Catwoman! and Bruce's confession to a post-surgery Selina illustrates their relationship so perfectly.
Note that Bruce uses the phrase "broke in" to describe the way she loves him. That is so sweet and so right for Selina's hobby.

Anyways, Selina gets to pioneer the conclusion of the issue, and the retribution she takes on Hush is deliciously appropriate, both in what Hush deserved and in how Selina views justice.

After the money she takes for herself and gives to her associates, she donates a total of 60 million dollars to abused women's shelters and charities! Oh, Selina, you're so awesome.

Everything is just so beautiful in this issue. So right. I loved it, and totally recommend it to you. It should read even better in trade.

I might not have sounded coherent here. Someday, I'd like to do a review that does the entire arc justice, so maybe someday. . .

I am swamped

with midterms and papers. I'm gonna have to postpone posting until I get more organized and everything. I'll probably get in a review tomorrow, and a short reminder on Thursday, but I can't foresee anything else but me stressing myself out.

I apologize for this kinda crap from me guys. You deserve better.

Like, for example, Bizarro, who will be my surrogate blogger:


My wireless was down on the weekend, so basically I had all day Friday and Saturday to a) go to the library, b) scan a crapload of stuff and c) work on my Nietzsche paper.

This is from the second volume of Bizarro Comics, and, if you'll recall, we also looked at the first volume, the scans from which I still have waaay too many.

Just a reminder!

Batman: the Brave and the Bold is premiering next week guys!

Check your local listings -- here's Cartoon Network's schedule for it! I'm in the Central Time Zone, so I'll be watching it at seven! That time'll be eight for you guys on the Eastern Time Zone!

Batman with a lightsaber! Explosions! Green Arrow! Batman with brass knuckles! More explosions! Blue Beetle! Punches in the face! Batman on a paraglider! Punches in the face!

Cartoon Network! Be there!

Will no one consider Kamchatka?

With the elections over with, and the winner announced (yay!), there might be one aspect that we can sometimes overlook: the other candidates.

. . . by which I mean, Howard the Duck.

Oh yes Howard! You ran a fantastic campaign and you had my vote all the way. It's clear that America isn't ready for your bold ideas, but I'm sure somewhere in the world needs your help! Where do you think you'll go next Howard: Tibet? Iran?

(And most urgently of all:) Kamchatka?

Canada, eh?

well, I can't say I didn't expect this

You probably have your own comics sites that you frequent now and then, when you're bored or what have you. Personally, I prefer "," 'cause it's so much easier to type out than "," even though I don't appreciate how it's branched out into other domains of media.

Or sometimes, I am just so authoritative and definite on every single opinion comics-related that you only need to visit here for your comics updates!

For mere argument's sake, let's assume the impossible--

--as I was saying Liz, let's assume the impossible and discard the latter notion for today's post, okay? Because according to Newsarama, it looks like three DC titles are getting the axe come the end of February: Robin, Nightwing and Birds of Prey.

I know J'onn. I denied them at first too, spewing laser beams from my eyes in a visceral rage, but let's get to the real problem here. The real kicker about the article is that we aren't told why the three are getting cancelled. It might be due to the super-huge event in the Batman titles, "Batman RIP," or it could very well be the result of low sales.

But I'm gonna admit it: I can't exactly speak for the other titles, but Birds just hasn't been the same since Gail left. It's been more about the villains than the birds themselves, and we haven't gotten to see 'em really shine.
We don't know if DC's planning reboots or replacement titles of any kind, but maybe a re-tuning is necessary?

Four whole dollars?!?

Too tired to come up with an intro deal-y.

Ultimatum #1 came out this week. I thumbed through it, and David Finch cannot draw ultimate Spidey. At all. Spidey looks way too old for his age.

For some reason, Marvel also released "X-Men: Pixies and Demons Director's Cut," for four bucks, which is really strange, 'cause that's basically the Free Comic Book Day story with an interview at the end. It's like free, but four dollars more.

The first issue of Sandman: Dream Hunters also came out today, but I didn't have enough money for it.

The next part of "New Krypton" came out as well, an Adventure Comics Special, whatever that is. It only seems like an intro. to the Guardian of Metropolis, and, y'know, nothing at all to do with New Krypton. I think I'm just gonna give up on getting the story in singles and wait for the trade, if it's any good.

I feel swamped now, and tired, so please don't hate me for being short today and image-less. If I feel bad enough, I might call a hiatus, but that's for tomorrow to deal with.

House of Mystery #7

by Matt Sturges and Luca Rossi (back-up by Bill Willingham and David Petersen)

This is part 2 of "Love Stories for Dead People," and it's kinda all over the place. There's no real focus, and I can't exactly grasp the point of the party that the people have at the House, or why Fig and Harry even kiss! It doesn't seem like their attraction was all that strong anyways.

And in the midst of all this, they decide to add more confusion: a little half-ram, half-elk thingy that keeps saying, "Mir. Run. Duh." and it's bleeding!

On the other hand, the back-up story by Willingham is nice, but it just seems so simple: a garden is the warzone between the animals, representing the natural order of things as guided by invisible hand.

I really feel like I should just wait for the trade. There is no focus at all to this issue.

Secret Six #3
by Gail Simone and Nicola Scott

We finally learn what the card that the Six is after: it's a Get-out-of-hell-free card forged by Neron, the Devil himself! Isn't that amazing?

The rest of the issue is either flashbacks (to flesh out Catman or the Tarantula) or fighting (for the card). On the whole it's entertaining, but I still feel like I'd be better off waiting for the trade.

Some days, I think I should kick the weekly habit and just read trades. Maybe it's because I feel like crap right now, but this is one of those days.

Hey Marvel Inc.!

I know I complain about your comics from time to time, but I just wanna take today to say. . .

. . . Thanks.
I had a lot of fun with Howard, and I hope you did too. Here's a little list of the stuff I managed to pull out of my head, so's I can boost mah ego I can have all of it in one place:

Howard announces his presidency!
The Feathered Fowl Party!
A big thanks to Teddy!
. . . actually, now that I look back at it, it's not that much. Man.
God bless America.

Reading Elephantmen: Wounded Animals

It's that time again guys! Feel the electricity in the air, as we take a look at

Elephantmen Vol. 1: Wounded Animals
by lots of people, but mainly Richard Starkings, Moritat and J. Roshell

This is a big swanky hardcover from Image Publishing, and it even has a little strip of cloth for a bookmark! It collects issues #1-7 of the series, and here's

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: The Elephantmen! Genetically modified animals that walk like us and talk like us! They were designed for war, for combat, but what happens when they try to break free? What happens when they try to rehabilitate themselves in society?

Will they benefit us or will they threaten our very way of life???

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT IT: The writing is really good in that it conveys ideas with simple but powerful motions. You get the feeling that the presence of the Elephantmen makes a profound impact on society, and whether or not we accept the Elephantmen will shape who we become.

In fact, a radio talk-show host even brings up the comparison that they're gods:

The vignette style of writing in each issue gives a certain gravity to each issue, but that also brings us to. . .

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE ABOUT IT: There is practically no plot progression! Flashbacks take up a good chunk of most issues, so we can never really go forward with any of the ideas that the guys present so well.

In fact, we only really get introduced to an antagonist at the very end of the trade:
EXTRAS?: Uhhh, there's an intro by Starkings, the writer, but aside from that and the aforementioned swankiness, that's it.

FINAL THOUGHTS: Elephantmen is written really intelligently, and there are all sorts of experiments and playing around with the comic book genre that I enjoy, but the lack of plot progressing hinders it from being really great.

I'd bet that this would read fantastically in single issue though, so I may very well look at it next time I'm in the comic shop.

If you're interested, you can check out the Elephantmen site here. They have a lot of fun with an old-school British Sci-fi style.


With all the recent hubbub, you might be wondering just exactly where Howard is on the campaign trail. It's been a while since he stopped by the blog hasn't it?

Well wonder no more! He just came from an out-of-this-world rally to make one last push for all you undecided's out there! Now, in the eleventh hour, here are some reasons why you should vote Howard for prez!

He's a real maverick!

He's brave and he's bold!

He doesn't pal around with soft cookies!

God Himself and His various agents endorse Howard!

He's the friend of every Joe Sixpack (click for a doggone bigger picture)!
Howard joe six-pack pal

He's committed to the future of America!

So whatcha waiting for? Get down America!

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