Better Living Through Graphic Storytelling
A Comics Blog About Shit We Like
29 March 2007
What Manga Should I Read?
So about 11.5 years ago I spent an entire summer visiting family in the Phillippines. To this day I still tell stories about that trip. On this trip I spent a lot of time with my cousin Jim, who introduced me to Anime and Manga, which he was really into at that point (apparently his new obsession is the Dave Matthews Band, which I have yet to chastise him for). Most of the Manga he was reading was some of the very early Dark Horse books, published as floppies, like Gunsmith Cats, the original Ghost in the Shell book, and some of the Dirty Pair minis. My cousin Carlo, who was quite a bit older, had slightly more refined tastes in Manga Anime. As a Aikido master, he used to take frequent trips over to Japan and bring back some great Manga collections. I remember him introducing me to Gon, which I immediately fell in love with.

Anyway, 11.5 years later I am still a fan of manga. Probably not on the level of many other Manga/Anime fans here in the states, but I generally appreciate comics of all genres and formats, from all over the globe. With the giant Manga boom going on right now, it's kind of silly for me to not take advantage of its wide availability isn't it? The problem is, I've sort of out-grown a lot of the manga I used to read, and anything along those lines is probably not worth it for me.

So I propose a question: WHAT MANGA SHOULD I BE READING?

Here's the thing. I also really like Anime. Like really really like Anime. I don't cos-play, and I'm pretty terrible at figuring out what is "good" anime and what is "bad". But the few anime movies/series that I get into, I watch re-watch to a fanatic extent. I think I've broken all my Neon Genesis and Kemonozume discs from over-playing them. That being said, when it comes to Manga and their Anime counterparts, I generally prefer the anime versions. I know, I know. But I can only do so much to convince myself that the way I feel is horribly, horribly wrong (thank you Catholic upbringing!).

But I don't find that enjoying one version of a story is mutually exclusive to enjoying another version. For example, I stopped reading the Neon Genesis manga because it seriously read like a stunted version of the Anime. Same thing with the Cowboy Bebop manga. But, the Chobits manga started to diverge from the plot of anime about half-way through the story, enough to make it interesting in a completely different way than the anime was. That I appreciate.

So, again, if you are reading this, and you have a particular Manga that you are reading and think more people should try, please shoot me a comment or e-mail letting me know what you recommend. Keep in mind that I like pretentious comics, but I also really like cheesy and/or fun comics.

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28 March 2007
Why's Everybody Got to Hate? #1
Why's everyone got to hate on the Supergirl movie? The Internet has been referencing it a lot lately (I'm not quite sure why), but it's constantly being referred to as "awful" or "embarrassing" or "better forgotten". As a kid, I actually really liked the movie.

Sure it doesn't stand up to the Superman movies, but neither do a lot of movies. I mean Batman Begins doesn't stand up to Memento, and Spiderman doesn't stand up to Evil Dead, so what's the fuss?

Can't we just celebrate Supergirl? I mean, if we can re appropriate and celebrate other terrible movies, can't we do this for Supergirl? I mean, it's not like it's as bad as the Supergirl comic book, and I'm sure it's not nearly as bad as the 300 movie was either.

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I should probably be more excited, shouldn't I?
It's Wednesday again. "Hump day" ; "King of the Week" ; "New Comic Book Day" ; etc. And yet, I can't help but feel a tiny bit of dread. Having had a really rough week, the prospect of having to go into a public place and interact with people doesn't always get me amped. It's the reason I've avoided going to the movies or going to any "parties" for two weeks. I've been sitting at home, watching movies and playing with my cats, and doing little else. All those nights that I promised myself I would go back and read some sweet comic books? Gone. All those nights that I promised I would blog or write a new column? Gone. Wednesday's general excitement? Gone?

Here's what's on my pull-list for today:

Batman #664
Crossing Midnight #5
Daredevil #95
Ultimate Spiderman #107

Now, these are all titles that I enjoy reading. Ultimate Spiderman, while having rarely actually bought the book in the past, I used to read in trade form at my parents' local library whenever I was home from school or whatever. And while Grant Morrison & Ed Brubaker are two of the creators putting out major super hero work that I consistently trust, I have to admit that I'm not that psyched about these books this week.

It begs the question, when are comics more than merely a source of entertainment? To me, all of these books, while perhaps having been executed well in their creation or being just straight-up entertaining and fun, may not prove to be all that important to my life. I have so much stuff to finish reading that will most definitely effect me beyond the 10 minutes that I spend reading it. Why do I bother with these books then?

I suppose it comes from a deep loyalty to the genre. But more than that, I think, there is always the off-chance that book like this will deeply effect me on a profound level. It happens every once in a while.

One of the other items that I'm actually really excited for is the Spiderman Loves Mary Jane hardcover, which includes all of the previous mini-series and the first few issues of the current series. This is a book that I can read & re-read and enjoy. And while the stories may not be that life-changing or deeply effective, they certainly are reusable entertainment. And sometimes entertainment can be profound on the simplest of levels like that.

But is Grant Morrison's Batman going to get re-read any time soon? I made the mistake of re-reading Brad Meltzer's Justice League of America, and it just killed any interest I had in the book. I am now not looking foward to the upcoming JLA/JSA cross-over 'cos now I feel that in order to follow the story I will have to buy books that I'm not necessarily interested in anymore.

And while I have probably been enjoying Brubaker's Daredevil run more and more as time goes on, the last issue would have provided a really good stopping point for the book, but very little story potential. Brubaker certainly hasn't killed off the last few years of Daredevil's story, but at the same time, it doesn't seem like there's anywhere new that he can take it.

I don't know. Maybe I'm just exhausted from all the non-comic related stuff going on that I'm having trouble concentrating. I'll give these books a try. At the very least, I'll build up my credit at Cosmic Comics, so I can actually buy the Spiderman Loves Mary Jane hardcover.


Quick Note on Marvel Solicitations
Ok, I've been super busy and have been barely blogging. AND I know that the Marvel solicits post I sent out was never actually uploaded to the blog and I should have re-posted/re-wrote it right then & there so that all my funny, funny jokes were still fresh & relevant. But you know what?

...So is your face.

Whatever. There was one cover though, that I came across again, that I just could not let go. Eli has already posted what he thought was the most perfect cover of the June '07 solicits. Here is mine:

Do you think the speculators will jump on this book too? I mean, it might be the best cover to come out of Cap's death. If that weren't enough...


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27 March 2007
dots for eyes.
i just stumbled onto dots for eyes
, the comic blog of maris wicks. i've seen wicks's work before, a bit, but what caught me this time was comic #48 of her attempt at the '100 themes' project (about which i know as much as you), check it out.

24 March 2007
52 46
Finally read new issue of 52. Did anyone else catch the one panel
reference to the upcoming story in Countdown? Proving that one
directly leads into the other. Could be done well, but will most
likely be dissapointing.
In other news happy birthday to Eli. I'm going to try to sleep
now after two day without. More when I decide I can wake up.

sent via mobile device...

22 March 2007
peter david made me do it.
i was never one for favorites. i like the things i like, and i dislike things i dislike, but favorites are so transitory that they never made sense to me. i was the kid whose favorite colors were "red! and green! oh, and blue!"

but, currently, and with ease, x-factor is my favorite superhero comic. and peter david has asked his readership for a favor, double the sales in a month. so i'm doing my part, however small.


read it. every month. don't wait for the trade. don't download it off the internet. buy it.

there is no book out there like this one. it's tight in all the right ways. it even manages to be totally connected to marvel's continuity without it fucking the whole book up. i mean the fact that one of the key players has her origins (however vaguely) in house of m and that pietro maximoff (quicksilver), who could easily be the lynch-pin to every major mutant story for the foreseeable future, hangs around without either of those things bogging the book down is amazing. (you definitely don't need to read house of m to read this book, in fact, don't, it sucks.) and it's pretty much the only marvel comic i can think of that tied itself into civil war without totally disrupting the narrative flow of the series. it seems like any obstacle you through in peter david's path he just turns into another twist in the road.
and you know why?
because peter david knows how to write a comic book. better than you. and better than 95% of the industry. he knows how to pace each issue. he knows how to pace whole arcs. and he knows how to write them so they flow together. no issue of x-factor is an awkward fit with the rest. i've reread the series a few times, and i've never been disappointed. even as the storylines grow and development and drop away and build up, it always works. there's no vacillation between good issues and awesome issues. the quality is so consistently high that the only issue that is of any lower quality is still a great fucking comic book.
i've heard complaints about the art in x-factor. (it doesn't help that this month's issue has the weakest yet, though it's still better than a michael turner or a jim lee.) i disagree with most of the complaints, except those that bemoan the lack of a consistent artist for any length of time. which is an impediment, but david and editor andy schmidt seem to know just which artists to pick. and they're good, the overall tone rarely changes. and while none of them are banner names (though ryan sook should be), they are share common trait, their characters emote. and not in the "open mouth = shock" kind of crap. i mean that i know the pain in the characters eyes. there are a few moments of joy in this book that made me have a better day. in fact, this book makes all my days better.
i could easily go into how great and well-defined the characters are, or how they have actual moral dilemmas and solve them in realistic and human ways, or how there are fairly sweeping changes that seem perfectly reasonable (a real achievement in superhero comics), or any of the other things that make x-factor the best superhero comic being published right now, but i'm finished. i've done my part. everything about this book is good. what more can i say?

go out. buy the trades. get the back issues. buy the MADROX miniseries that preceded the series. but most of all, buy issue 18. buy two copies. because peter david told me to tell you.
Manga Kissa 10 - Rmail
Welcome to Mangka Kissa 10's Website We are located at Slim Fashion School Bldg. Ground Floor Pasong Tamo Makati City
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21 March 2007
Reactions: DC Solicits for June '07
I tried to do this earlier with the Marvel solicitations for June '07, but of course something happened and I lost the post. But let me assure you, it was pretty damn funny. I will try to re-post it again later on.


DC had surprising number of solicitations that peaked my interest. A lot of it has to do with some genuinely good cover art, in my opinion, but I often wonder how much of that is linked to my personal investment with some of the characters and creators involved...

This cover I liked a lot. I thought Williams does a pretty good job of mimicking the silver-age aesthetic of the old Batman books, without doing so too flamboiantly. The sparse use of color I thought was quite effective as well. Again, I can't help but wonder if I'm being a bit biased here, simply because I have been wanting to see Williams on another Batman book really really really bad.

Similarly, this image also peaked my interest. Tim Drake has probably been one of my favorite characters since I was a young kid, but I have actually not been loving Beechem's run on the book. It's not bad, it's just not great. Still, the book has been doing a fairly decent job on the covers lately. Making the books visually appealing in a way that is obscure enough to entice someone who has not been following the storyline (or even current continuity for that matter), as well as someone who has an idea of what's going to happen next.

Both of these covers show enough to tease out what the story might possibly be about (without having to read the actual text solicitation) to give a person, who may already show some interest in reading the book, a push in that direction. Something like Kurt Busiek's Superman or Judd Winnick's Green Arrow, however,give you all the details you need (assuming you can recognize Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, Black Canary) to get psyched about the story.

Now, the cover to Marc Guggenheim's Flash works on a level that will most likely appeal to current fans. The impact and weight of the Tony Daniels image, only works on an emotional level, and would therefore require some previous investment in the character. Of course, DC tells us this is merely a teaser image, but for existing fans, this level of mystery (when composed well enough) can work just as well. Both DC Marvel bank on this with their campaigns of secrecy disinformation.

Now, Tony Harris' cover to Ex Machina is a perfect example of this. So good in fact that it could possibly bring in new readers to the series. Too bad that Harris chose to save a cover this powerful to the finale of the story arc. This cover in particular gets me excited simply because, while I consistently love Harris' work on the series, his dazzling cover design has been somewhat lacking in that extra "oomph" he usually delivers. Something like this is just so powerful that I don't have to know what the story inside is like. All I need to know is that the story inside is on the same level as this cover. Being a regular reader of the series, I can safely assume it is, but if I were not, it would have to take a bit more to convince me that this book was worth jumping on at this issue.

Contrastly, this is what you guys get for complaining about Superman crying too much - a cover that does absolutely nothing for me. It doesn't even have Superman punching Robotman's head off. World War Kent.

Another reason I love going through the DC solicitations each month is because they like to offer up a bunch of sweet reprints and collections. While Marvel certainly offers up its fair share of reprint collections, their solicitations generally don't involve awesome cover images (i.e. no cover for the Essential Silver Surfer collection coming out in June). So for your viewing pleasure (and mine, obviously) here are a series of "Bams":






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Boing Boing: Chris Ware animation for The American Life TV show - Rmail
This cartoon is about schoolkids who started making fake video cameras out of card board boxes and toilet paper tubes to "film" incidents around the schoolyard. Because they had these phony cameras to hide behind, they distanced themselves from each other
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20 March 2007
in the marvel solicitations that came out today, nothing looks as good as this. (it might suck in the end, but that cover is how all comics should feel.)

Free Image Hosting
I Against Comics: Andrew Loomis vs. Michael Turner's Power Boob... er... Girl... - Rmail
It's a typical Turner image- no one is doing anything, there are no visible hands (ed. there's a semi-hand visible on Black Canary but not doing anything of interest) or feet to make things more difficult. It's a centered image, so it's totally inert and
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Guardian Unlimited: Arts blog - books: Will teenage girls endorse a comic look at the WI? - Rmail
Not content with sating the pubescent whims of its principal audience - teenage males - the famed New York publisher is now shifting its focus to girls, who, it claims, are going crazy for Manga, those racy Japanese comics.
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19 March 2007
Fujiko F. Fujio's View on Manga and Manga Artists | ComiPress - Rmail
What does it take to be a good manga artist? A popular answer is "experience in life." According to many famous manga and anime creators, in order to become a good creator, an otaku should stop shutting themselves in their room, step outside, and live the
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Because Crotch-to-Air Missiles are Awesome... - Rmail
I find no joy in knowing The Codpiece has an extra fist for special occasions, but at least his junk is still there....ramming the police in the face. Repeatedly
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17 March 2007
Eye Beams Vs Hand Beams - Rmail
How about using every hair strain to release they beam. Like right before the beam is released you hair rises and points and then the energy collectively releases for your hair strains
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16 March 2007
Near-Mint Heroes » Propaganda - Rmail
A series of Marvel Civil War pro-reg propaganda posters.
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du9 - L'autre Bande Dessinée - La Malédiction du Parapluie by Lewis Trondheim - Rmail
Do little nothings fill huge voids? Can a lot of "not much" come up with what matters? And who really is Lewis Trondheim?
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15 March 2007
What the...?!?!

CBR has pictures of artist JOCK's studio that look very nice. After looking at these pictures, Eli I had a discussion about the previous installments of this CBR series, and how most artists' studios don't look like real art studios to us. They look hardly lived in, barely used, and generally covered in action figures, supposedly reference material.

This is what happens when mainstream comic companies encourage artists to draw from action figures.

Brad Meltzer (co-author of the upcoming JLA/JSA cross over event) points out that this was done after they asked for a breast reduction on Power Girl's appearance.

Images via Paperghost & THE BEAT

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the confession (i didn't do it.)
first things first, alex maleev makes beautiful art. just amazing. he manages to make me stare at pages of tony stark crying still wearing most of his armor, sitting in a room alone more exciting than everything jim lee has done this year. (i'm should warn the beter living audience, i hate
jim lee and love alex maleev. i think they are opposing forces, and the jim lee side has no artistic merit. so there. sorry.)
moving on from the art (which i can't say enough good about, maleev just gets better and better),
the first half of this book is fantastic, iron man is a real person, with a real history, a real personality, and an actual reason to do what he does. it's a pleasure to read. and then, on top of that, we get the first true (or as close as possible) proof of steve rogers's death. and it's great.
but then we move on to the "two days earlier" section and cap and iron man go back to being the terrible crap they've been for months. it's sad. and it takes away from the impact of the first half. try reading this book backwards. read the second section, and then the first. it works so much better. so much more impact. and then the final page of the iron man section would be the thing you're left with instead of steve rogers in a cell with an undeserving moral victory and a snide comment.

right. a general opinion about the week later.
slg_news: Reminder: Comic Book Writing Workshop - Rmail
Landry Walker, writer of Little Gloomy and co-writer of Tron, and I will be conducting a comic writing workshop on Saturday, April 14th! You can sign up now; there is still space available! We will be discussing the fundamentals of comics writing, such as
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New Avengers #28 (Quick Review)
Since Eli has already covered last week's Mighty Avengers, I thought I'd take a stab at the newest issue of Brian Bendis' New Avengers or "(Secret) Avengers" as I like to refer to them.

Let me start off by saying that Brian Bendis is the writer that made the Avengers make sense to me. As a primarily DC oriented super hero fan, and havin been burned by the quality of books Marvel had been putting out by the mid-to-late 90s, I really didn't care to give most of Bendis' work a try. However, books like Ultimate Spiderman and Daredevil were among some of the few Marvel books I would pull regularly. Anyway, it was when I read Bendis' opus (IMO) Alias that I began to change my mind about the current state of the Marvel Universe. Bendis brought decades worth of forgotten history to the foreground with this book, and made it all fresh and exciting (even if I was reading it several years after the fact). That being said, I still thought the first few issues of his New Avengers book were a bit hit or miss for me.

Enter Civil War. I think of all the writers working on big titles at Marvel, Bendis was the one who took their flagship title to the next level, and thus handled the whole event in the best manner possible.

Most of my criticism of Bendis' New Avengers seemed to be centered around the usual troubles that many writers have dealing with a larger cast. Unlike books like Alias or Daredevil, or even The Pulse, which all handled the large cast of the entire Marvel Universe quite well, Bendis didn't have a titular or protagonist character to constantly fall back on. With New Avengers, Bendis was given the tough task of having to make b-list characters like Luke Cage and Spiderwoman seem as important and irreplaceable as Iron Man or Captain America. It wasn't until the Civil tie-in arc that Bendis was able to give each character at least an issue of face time, thus letting us get to know the characters on a more intimate and relateable level.

Anyway, I liked this issue of New Avengers, which focused on the Avengers who chose to not register with the American government. Unlike, Mighty Avengers, the line-up for this team seems so much more organic than the tactically chosen line-up for Iron Man's government sanctioned Avengers. This generally yields better chemistry than on either Mighty Avengers or even the previous line-up featured on the pre-Civil War New Avengers title.

Unlike before, this line-up features all heavy hitters, but no "icons" (I've already discussed how I feel that "iconic" super heroes seem antithetical to me in the context of the Marvel Universe) like Cap or Iron Man, who always gave the generally buoyant nature of the teams chemistry an added weight. In the post-Civil War Marvel Universe, the weight is already out there. It is nice to see a group of super heroes acting less like a military unit, and more like a band of brothers.

I was originally a bit wary of the book originally, given that I have absolutely loved Lenil Yu's artwork in the past (especially his collaborations with Gerry Alanguilan), but was still on the fence about the new non-inked method utilized in this book. While the intense clarity of Yu's previous work seems gone, it is replaced by a certain ethereal quality that works well with the lighter dynamic of this team.

And that seems to be the big thing. This book, and even Mighty Avengers to a certain extent, seem far more fun than prior to Civil War. It's as if the dire grimness that has characterized so much of Bendis' major Marvel works (Avengers: Disassembled, House of M, Daredevil) has finally given to the latent humor constantly peaking behind the corner. The Mammet-esque "Wait...What?" moments have now formally been replaced by actual punchlines, and referential continuity jokes have been replaced by visual gags (which Yu helps pull off quite well).

With Captain America "dying" in his own book, and Ellis' constant need to exploit the criminal nature of his characters in Thunderbolts, it seems that Brian Bendis' new Avengers titles, as well as Matt Fraction's Punisher War Journal title seem to be picking up the slack of the now finished Nextwave book, by shining some light on the supposedly dark Marvel Universe post-Civil War. New Avengers is everything that I expect from an in-continuity super hero book - fun, fun, fun.

* * * * * * * * *

NOTE: I haven't finished reading all the books that came out this previous week, but there are few worth talking about. Unfortunately, this week seems to be the best week during BAM's month long Shohei Immamur retrospective. So that being said, I probably won't be touching reviews until this Saturday, while my girlfriend is off doing a Manhattan-wide "pub crawl" in celebration of St. Patrick.

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Manga Artists File Lawsuit Against Manga Download Site - Anime News Network - Rmail
On March 14th, a group of 11 manga creators filed a lawsuit with the district court in Tokyo against a webpage hosting company and two people involved with a website that the suit alleges "distributed works (manga) on the website without permission." The
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Your Warren Ellis Moment of the Day

So over on Comic Book Resources, Arune Singh talkto Warren Ellis about his upcoming political super hero epic, Black Summer, which Rich Johnston has slowly been leaking info about on his Lying in the Gutters column (whew, that's a lot of links to the same page in one paragraph). Since then Ellis, the one man hype-machine, has been posting info on the book on his website and on his message board.

Now, I have to admit that I'm pretty wary of this book. I love a lot of Ellis' work, but so much of it falls flat for me. He's certainly one of the more interesting "idea-men" in comics today, but it often seems like the level of craft that he pours into his books generally depends on his level of interest in exploring the subject matter at any given time. He seems to do his best work when he has much fewer distractions on his plate. His better known creator-owned work Transmetropolitan, Planetary, and Desolation Jones are among some of his best, but people often forget how prolific he really is, and tend to dismiss the crap that the occasionally puts out.

So why should I check out Black Summer?

Let's ask Ellis:

On Character Motivation

He's been asking himself the question that informs the book: where do you draw the line? If you're totally committed to the idea of covering your face and taking on a fake name and standing outside the law in order to fight for justice where do you stop? Crime pervades society. We're all aware of corporations that behave in a criminal manner. Is that as far as you go?

Wait. You know the 90s are over right? We don't need to deconstruct super heroes anymore. Now we need to do continuity laden (or reference laden) homages with nothing but reverence. Oh and it wouldn't hurt if you included some Mammet-esque dialog and pregnant pauses.

On the Conceptual Process

and I have an easy, longtime friendship and we do this a lot," revealed
Ellis. "And he bet me I couldn't come up with a high-concept superhero
'event' book that naturally featured all new characters and ideas, but
also hit some of the notes of a standard Big Two event program."

Couldn't you just finish the last issue of Planetary?

On Inspiration

when this hit me and I'm pretty sure I was standing in my garden at
three in the morning with a glass of whisky, smoking furiously and
swearing at the sky, reduced to waiting for the thunderbolt to hit it
spoke to me not only of the reasons why someone might put on a helmet
and find justice their own way, but also why we read these myths of
social justice ourselves.

Oh.... That's why you weren't working on the final issue of Planetary.

On the Jungian Dichotomy

the potential audience is going to see John Horus as the bad guy, and
that's not without merit. Half the audience is going to see him as the
Good Guy, and I can see where they're coming from too. I take no public
position.I'm writing it from both angles at once and letting people
make up their own minds.

So it's like Civil War, one will buy it. Explosions are pretty.

On The Future

these things are cyclical. And I'm not sure you can characterize DC's
current output like that, they seem really focused on classic
broad-sweep superheroics right now. It comes down, I think, to what I
said before: what are the questions left to ask? And a lot of the
questions left to ask are sociopolitical. It's an aspect of these
decadent days we find ourselves in. Pigs with two heads are abroad in
the land. The British military is trying to loft a communications
satellite grid called Skynet. These are the End Times.

Wow. "Skynet"?! That's so badly cyberpunk it doesn't even come out the William Gibson story - it comes from the adaptation.

Honestly, I still love so much of Warren Ellis' work, but he really needs to stop letting people talk him into doing any work remotely related to super heroes anymore. And the fact that this is another book that comes out of one of his bets with William Chrstensen leaves me with little hope. I mean, did anyone else read Wolfskin? There was a reason Ellis had to stop working on it. It was awful. It made me dumber just by reading it. I can only imagine what it did to Ellis, who was writing it.

It's been a while since he's done anything that's truly blown my mind the way Transmet or Planetary did, but maybe I'm just too far along for that stuff to effect me the same way. Desolation Jones could possibly be his next great work if Marvel would stop asking him to write books that mock their entire companies publishing line.

Although, I have been really enjoying newuniversal.

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14 March 2007
ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive Project Blog - Rmail
Archive supporter, Kent Butterworth brought us a few original Toth drawings to digitize, and I've supplemented them with some xeroxes belonging to the family of Carlo Vinci.
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yet another issue of fifty-two that focuses almost exclusively on a single story and, yet, manages to change locations about twenty-five times in it's twenty-two pages. an enjoyable read. these last few weeks are really making the previous months worth it. but, having given the book a positive comment, i've also been feeling like this book is light. it's thin. there's so much going on that nothing feels important. i didn't really give a shit that the black marvel family died and i didn't care that it fueled black adam's rage. just didn't care. but i liked watching him do it. (looking at him do it?)
fifty-two reads like comics from my eighties youth (and this issue looks like one). the only problem with this is that i've grown, and comics have too, since that point. i'm not saying there's no place for stories like this (just look at the brave and the bold, older school, but fun), but the big-deal-everyone's-watching-event book seems like a better place to push for the future. though now that i've articulated that, i realize what a poor business decision i'm suggesting.
either way, i've enjoyed fifty-two up until this point, ignoring that lull in the teens, and hope for the best in it's ending (which, in a story like this, is actually hoping for the worst. i mean, look how much death there's been already.), but i still feel like it's fluff and nothing more. mmm, fluff.
Quick Post About Nothing in Particular
Is it wrong of me to say that David Mazzuchelli is the greatest Daredevil artist? According to the new issue of Backissue, it's not.

Newsarama has a snippet Philippe Cordier's new article showcasing some of the "ungsung heroes" who worked on the book.

This particular snippet talks about some of the great artists who worked on the book during Frank Miller's tenure as writer, including Klaus Janson, David Mazzucchelli, and John Romita, Jr.

In a completely unrelated note, the Daily Crosshatch uncovered this:

That's right kids, the cover to Tony Millionaire's upcoming Maakies collection due out this May.

Apparently the Cross Hatch Kids want you to keep it a secret so... SHHHHHH!

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Tetsubo Productions - Wherein I Satisfy A Request - Rmail
But Cap just sits there and takes Sally's stupid crap, and that bothered me, and I know it's a bit late to the party and the new big thing now is making fun of Captain America getting shot to death like a bitch. But anyway, here are two redone pages which
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Michael May on Invincible
Michael May over at Blog@Newsarama, has a nice little piece about the nature of "jumping in" on continuity heavy super hero books, and how it's much less of a turn off than you'd think. He very quickly goes through a chunk of the Image super hero books currently out, including one of my favorites - Invincible:

Like Noble Causes, Invincible has a lot of unanswered questions that I need answers to. I jumped in on issue #38. So far, there’s a giant, orange, one-eyed alien who’s just found out that another character is from the same race as Invincible and wants to use our hero to start a rebellion against the other members of their race. There’s another guy who’s just learned that he’s actually more robot than human. Invincible’s girlfriend is apparently being tempted to fall for another guy and her friends are encouraging her in that direction. (It’s the old, My Secret Identity is Killing My Personal Life scenario, but Kirkman and Ryan Ottley present it in a way that makes you care just as much as you ever did about Peter Parker’s similar problems.)

There’s the Lizard League, a gang of reptile-themed bad guys who are struggling to find a leader right now. There’s Invincible’s purple, adopted brother who seems to have mysterious origins but is soaking up information at an incredible rate. And there’s the human guy in the big spaceship with all the little brain-octopi swarming around and attached to him. Who is he and why is heading towards Earth? Don’t know. Who are the Guardians of the Globe and what are all their powers and personalities? No clue. Who is Atom Eve and why is Invincible smooching her when he says he’s in love with his girlfriend? Couldn’t tell you. Yet.

Thanks to Eli, I've been reading Invincible for a few years now. The quality of the book, while always consistently tight, waxes and wanes for me. After a certain point, I seemed to have lost my enthusiasm for the story, but my enthusiasm of the characters kept me going. There were moments where my excitement for the book would peak again, but only to fall back to the inevitable low it was before.

This all changed with issue #38.

It was a moment we've all been waiting for.

Anyway, I love Invincible. It is one of the most fun super hero comics out there right now. And the way Michael May describes it, only reminds me how weird and fun the book is. After having followed the title for a few years now, I seemed to have forgotten that part. That Invincible is just supposed to be the funnest super hero comic around...

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Pi Day!!
Oh yeh, and in a non-comics related note, MangaBlog reminded me that today is "Pi Day"! March 14 = 3.14. Get it?

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World Literature...TODAY!

Eddie Campbell has a nice piece in the new issue of World Literature Today about the term "graphic novel" (always in quotes).

There is apparently also a Mickey Spilane tribue (WTF?) and a sweet cover by Gabriel Ba and an interview with both Ba and Fabian Moon.

Sections of the magazine are available online in .pdf format. Do the clicky-clicky on the linky-linky above.

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("mighty avengers #1.")
i remember the day the thought balloon died. well, not the day, but the general time when i said "hey, i haven't seen a thought balloon in a while." and i was disappointed. i like thought balloons. i find them appealing as a means to remove comic books from other visual media. it brings comics closer to the novel, but in a more fluid and dramatic way, depending on the class of writer and artist, of course. also, i like how they look like clouds.

sadly, the much ballyhooed return of thought balloons to mainstream comics last week was somewhat disappointing. it wasn't that they were used poorly, in fact i felt there were often clever concepts the art would have difficulty explaining (though that cho can do little wrong, providing for his awkward fan-boy amazon thing), but because they seemed like an exercise. like a test. kirkman bet bendis a whole run of rom the space knight that he couldn't use thought balloons and bendis did the smart thing and took him up on it. because rom is awesome.

it's too quick. he writes thoughts like he writes his dialogue. snappy. why be so clever in your own head? a distinction in tone between the two would have tightened the rhythm a little. it would have been pleasant. and on top of that. bendis almost exclusively uses these short thoughts to directly oppose the spoken words. i get it. clever. we don't always say what we think. move on.

of course, i like bendis's writing on the whole, i think most complaints about his snappy patter are missing the point. these are stories about people flying and fighting for "what's right," why should they sound like real people talking? but when you throw thoughts in like witty retorts, it kind of confuses things. of course, i will discount the possibility that i am some kind of dinosaur and would like all my balloons to say "but that's lois lane, my girlfriend in my alter ego as clark kent. how can that be?" and i will eventually evolve. we'll see.

now, having said this, my overall opinion of the book is high. i enjoyed it. old fashion slam bang. the marvel equivalent to the brilliant work johns and eaglesham are doing once again with the justice society. let's just hope that new avengers isn't bendis's answer to meltzer's jla. (sorry, tonio.)

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13 March 2007
The Holy Consumption of Chicago - Rmail
Website for Jeffrey Brown, John Hankieicz, Paul Hornschemeier, Anders Nilsen
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Forget the Cap #25 mark-up scandals
Ok. So there are no copies of Vertigo's Rogan Gosh trade paperback on, but there is this:

That's right folks Rogan Josh.

Priced at $101.17, used.

I suppose this is better than Rick Veitch's Question mini-series, which never even got to see trade paperback format, even though he's asked them to reprint it.

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Frank Miller and 300's Assault on the Gay Past - Rmail
The trauma turns the homophobe gay, and he is then transformed into a homophobic version of Robocop with a head that looks like a giant penis. Miller's heart is in the right place, but using such blundering humor simply seems immature.
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Miller's Ubiquitous Struggle
...these are the dichotomies that echo precisely that central and
extremely persistent anxiety about gender—one that paints masculinity
not as a birthright or even as an achievement, but as an endless
narrative of constant struggle.

Amanda Andrade has a pretty good review of 300 over at Stylus Magazine. She compares the original Miller text with Snyder's adaptation, albeit a muddy, mushy kind of comparison where it's hard to tell from Andrade's mild disdain which is which, and draws on some interesting thematic conclusions in Miller's work.

It raises an interesting point. After a certain point in my life, I kind of gave up on Miller's creator owned work, merely because I no longer felt any particular attachment to his themes of men and women hardened by the brutality and unfairness of life to the point of visually stunning graphic violence and awkward, shadowy sex acts. I was done with the hyper-machismo, even from an "ironic", or at least self-aware perspective. But Andrade's review of the film points to Miller's use of meta-masculinity as an expression of personal struggle, and the wrestling of conflicted ideals of gender. Of course, with Miller, the icon of hard masculinity always wins out, but it's still an interesting point.

Perhaps the best part of the article, however, is the one-sentence synopsis given in Stylus' RSS feed: "It's hard to spell 'Homo eroticism' without 'Heroism'."


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asap - story - Rmail
Comic timing Meet an indie comics collective that feeds off raw passion, idiosyncratic talent and the viral nature of the blogosphere.
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12 March 2007
Tom Breevort on the Death of Captain America
And this points out how powerful and beloved these characters have become as cultural icons, the main ones at least. And no matter what else you think, Cap’s death has mobilized an entire strata of the public to take a second look at our field, much as the DARK TOWER comic book did, much as Spider-Man’s unmasking did. It’s been a good year for raising awareness of our medium and the different kinds of stories you can tell in comic book form. It’s certainly driven a lot more people into comic shops and bookstores looking for the stuff, and that gives us all an excellent opportunity to hook at least some of them, and turn them into regular readers of one variety or another.


"It’s been a good year for raising awareness of our medium and the different kinds of stories you can tell in comic book form," because Alison Blechdel and Chris Ware have already tried that with such tawdry publications as Time Magazine (2006's Book of the Year) and The New York Times (regular cartooning gig for Sunday's magazine). No, Marvel Entertainment (in conjunction with Stephen King) did that with the page one of the friggin' Daily News.



You know, in my attempt to be ever-positive about the comics medium I was trying to not touch this Captain America story. I mean, we all know he's going to come back (I'm actually hoping against it), and it's going to turn into a show-down of ideals when Steve Rogers has to face off against either Frank Castle (the usurper) or the recently RESSURECTED Bucky Barnes (the inheritor), because what Captain America stands of is supposed to be timeless, not topical.

That is why Captain America has never truly fit into the Marvel Universe to the degree that a hero like Spiderman or even Wolverine does. Because Marvel, from day one, has been all about being "topical" as opposed to simply iconic. And that's fine. That's what they do. They remain topical (with scenes of Doctor Doom crying - who, by the way, likes to start zombie wars even more than Robert Kirkman does). Sure, Spiderman is iconic at this point, but his icon status has only arisen out of his topical character.

But Captain America is not topical. He's iconic. He's a walking flag! Since Stan Lee first brought him BACK FROM THE DEAD in the Avengers, Marvel has never ceased to continue trying to diminish the icon status of Captain America, in an effort to make him more topical. At its best it made the character even more iconic, and at its worst just seems cheap (to be fair, the storyline leading up to that "worst" link should also be included in the "best" pile).

So it irks me when people like CNN try to make this "event" into something that its no: an event! It's a comic book character splayed out on the page! Have we not scene that before? It's a marketing ploy! Sure, in the hands of a capable and writer, it could generate a really really good story, and I'm sure Brubaker will definitely deliver. But don't try to say that this is symbolism or that this is somehow bigger than the four colored world it inhabits.

Fiction is one of the most powerful tools in any artists' arsenal. Stunts like this are almost an abuse of power.

So, if you really care about the medium of comics, if you really care about the art form of comics and the integrity of fiction, please, please, please, don't listen to Tom Breevort or Joe Quesada about how important this "event" is. Their job is to get you to buy comics, and they're great at it.

Just know that they are not enriching your lives with this junk.

Just know that they are not making you a better person in any way.

They are teaching you nothing.

They are giving you nothing.

Their main concern is drive a lot more people into comic shops and bookstores so they can sell more of their maudlin spandex-fixated soap opera tales.


P.S. I'm a bit pissed off...

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300 Breaks Boxoffice for March ... I still barely care.
300 is the inverse of Cap #25 — everyone knew it was coming for a year, and things still didn’t go according to plan. Maybe we’re wrong in our speculation, and there are thousands of copies available everywhere. Maybe everything has gone much smoother than the ICv2 story indicates. 300 will surely be one of the best selling graphic novels of the year when all is said and done, but 15,000 copies for the next two months just doesn’t sounds like great planning.
This weekend my girlfriend went on a seemingly romantic date - movie dinner. The only two problems?

  1. The giant lunch we ate right before the movie ensured that we would not be eating any more food for quite some time
  2. My girlfriend's idea of a "romantic" movie turned out to be 300
Now in all fairness, I was just as curious as my girlfriend was to see what a CGI-heavy adaptation of naked muscle dudes with spears would look like, but I was kind of surprised that she had even show any interest in going in the first place (she's usually pretty immune to the hype machine). Plus, it was the first screening available when we showed up to the theater.

What followed was an over crowded theater full of loud boys in baseball caps and gold chains all cheering and clapping to the 21st Century equivalent of a Russ Meyers' movie. The fact that everyone and their mother seems to be talking about how "amazing" this film is, was almost as baffling to me at the time as Zack Snyder's depiction of homosexuals and Asians.

You can't really tell, from watching the film, whether Synder's intention was to lampoon the Persian empire itself, by depicting it as a decadent culture full of deformed homosexuals and demons, or if he was instead lampooning the Spartans' xenophobic perspective on the Persian empire. The weightiness of Miller's figures, was sabotaged by the acting, making even the most dramatic seems appear trite. And where Miller's stylized characters give the book a bit more "oomph" in the already rich visuals department, Snyder's portrayals of the same characters just came of as...well, offensive.

Now, to be clear, I was already not that big a fan of the original book. I find myself to be of mixed emotions regarding a lot of Miller's work. Still, I concede the importance of a book like 300 existing, and would implore everyone who had seen the movie, or who was planning on seeing the movie, to read the actual book at some point. Simply because it's a solid piece of comic story, and there are much worse movies being made from weaker examples of what the medium has to offer.

Even before I turned on my computer this morning to read the various headlines about how the movie had been a box office smash, I could tell from the growing enthusiasm passion of the crowd (NYC movie goers are some of the most infectiously enthusiastic, I've found), that this movie was a resounding success. Regardless of how I felt about the movie personally, it could only mean good things for Frank Miller and Dark Horse.

Imagine my surprise when I saw Heidi McDonald reporting on the shortage of copies of the book available to retailers following the film's premiere weekend. Perhaps part of the reason I'm shocked is because I tend to frequent some pretty competent comic shops, who tend to handle big opportunities like this fairly well. At my current favorite shop, recent printings of the 300 book have been on display for months now. When Hellboy came out, I remember my old comic shop in NJ did fairly well with it, moving so many copies of the various trade paperbacks that it made your head spin. Even my local library at the time got in on the action, seeing an expansion of their Hellboy collection in the Graphic Novels section just to meet the demand from young teenage readers looking to borrow it.

Heidi points out that there had been no marketing plan on the part of either Dark Horse or Warner Brothers to connect the 300 film and the 300 comic book, other than sticking Frank Miller's name above the title. But even that, in my opinion, is expecting a bit too much of the uninformed/uninitiated movie going crowd who probably don't really care about Miller's comic work outside of the context of the movie they enjoyed.

For the few percentage of people who do care to check out the source material (and considering the numbers that the film pulled in this weekend, is till a lot of people) there is unfortunately nothing, save for the measly 15,000 copies Diamond has just received and will ship to retailers accordingly. This obviously hurts retailers the most, since in the aftermath of the movie's premiere, people will undoubtedly go to their local comic shop to find a comic book, only to find that it is no longer in stock. I have a feeling the book store market will benefit most from this, when the flashy cover art of the book has the ability to catch a casual shopper's eye. But for those who could benefit the most from people actually seeking out the book? Well, you're apparently shit out of luck.

My only point of contention with Ms. McDonald's post is that I don't think that Dark Horse needed to print an explicit movie tie-in for this particular story. 300 works extremely well as a self-contained story (thus works well as a movie adaptation), and seeing as to how Snyder worked so hard to capture so much of the books original flare, isn't that hard to understand or jump on to for uninitiated readers. There's no ongoing continuity issues or need to recap like in the Spiderman or Batman movie franchises. And unlike Heidi's excellent example, V for Vendetta, the 300 movie actually resembles the source material.

While a smaller amount of product to push or tie-in with the movies success may not appeal in business terms to retailers or publishers, I would argue that it is better for the casual reader in the long run. And what's good for the reader, can only serve to be good for the Graphic Novel industry. It's a chance to get non-readers to read. What could be better than that? All it would take is for Diamond and Dark Horse to supply the demand, and a bit more effort on the part of the retailer to push other related projects.

"Oh, you like 300? You should check out Ronin. I hear they're working on a movie adaptation." Or even, "Yeah, 300 is really good, but personally, I prefer his work on Daredevil. It's got some amazing actions scenes and it's way better than that Ben Affleck movie they made."

These are the kinds of conversations I used to hear the stock boys at my old local comic shop in NJ giving to young kids whose interest in comics was peaked by movies and television. This store in particular was an amazing example of the direct market. A literal mom pop business, that had lasted three generations and as many locations, in a topsy turvey niche market. They were quick to let you know that this store was a manifestation of their family, but were just as quick to go out of their way to make you feel like you were family too.

Not content to simply rely solely on Diamond (I was under the impression that the store made most of its money from loyal customers and collectors who pillaged the store's networking resources to attain more rare material that was not on display), this store went and got a large Hellboy movie poster from a friend who worked at a movie theater to display prominently in their window, before the movie even came out in theaters. When the movie came out, they moved tons of Hellboy material, from books to statues to clothing. It was pretty impressive.

They remembered your face, and addressed many of their customers on a first name basis. Aside from asking what comics you needed, and suggesting what comics you might like, they also talked to people about sports statistics, what was going on with Jersey's Union laws (a lot of the customers were either Union Men themselves, or had family who were), and Thanksgiving plans. Like I said. If you went into that store with any regularity, you were treated as part of the family. When I was working at Sam Goody during the holiday season, I even recommended that a young father take his son there to get his Yu-Gi-Oh! card fix instead of in our store.

And this is what I have to say to retailers: I sympathize with your plight. I really do. The direct market has served me well over the years, but recognize that you're business model is becoming quickly obsolete, and it's up to you, as individuals to go that extra mile and provide a service that customers can't get elsewhere. It's not enough to stock the books that they can't get elsewhere, because that's no longer true. Make your customers, and especially your potential customers, feel that if they want to buy comics, there is no place they'd rather be to do that than in your store.

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11 March 2007
Swipe or Coincidence?

Frank Kozik's Necromorth


Swipe or coincidence?

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10 March 2007
Story Arcs in One Sitting (#1): Brad Meltzer's Justice League of America
So one of my favorite things to do is grab all of my floppies for a particular series and read the entire story arc in one sitting (often times books "written for the trade" are much more satisfying in this fashion, as opposed to the month-to-month reading originally given to them). So last night, I was in kind of a funk and decided to do this with the recently concluded first arc of Brad Meltzer's new Justice League of America series.


Issue #0 is probably the best issue of the entire arc (if you choose to include it, since the scenes, throughout the arc, involving the Trinity - Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman - picks up directly from the final scene of this issue). The reason I enjoy it so much is probably due to the fact that I am secretly a huge fanboy who loves referential continuity. Plus, the artists used for the different scenes in this issue are among some of my favorites - J.H. Williams III, Tony Harris, Rags Morales - and those whose work I have mixed feelings about have submitted some of their most engaging work, even though I could seriously do without the Mike Turner cover (pictured left) and the Ed Benes pages. Eric Wright's flashback panels are some of my favorite in the entire issue, and some of the best work I've seen from him (what can I say - I like it when square jaws look like actual squares). And even Jim Lee's work on this book is far less offensive to me than usual.

The issue for me is that this is as good as the series gets for the next six issues. When I first read issue #0, it filled me with such hope for the series, but was sorely disappointed with the rest of the story.

Aside from my problems with most of Ed Benes' work on this series (he seems to come from the Jim Lee school of "every panel works as a splash page" cartooning) the writing just generally falls short of my expectations, given Meltzer's run on Green Arrow and Identity Crisis (say what you will about IdC - I still stand by the fact that the writing is pretty damn solid). Part of the problem is that Meltzer decides to recycle some of the narrative tricks that he used in Identity Crisis, but to a less effective degree. I like the story being primarily told through the perspective of Red Tornado and Arsenal in the final issue, but I find issue with some of the indulgent monologue writing Meltzer uses. It worked in Identity Crisis because it was such a deeply personal story for all the characters involved, but with in the context of the DCU's big leagues, it seems almost trite.

And that's another issue I have with the book. The impact of the threat that the League is dealing with seems misplaced. I mean Solomon Grundy? Jack Knight was able to take down every Grundy ever created with a conversation about Woody Allen movies. Just because he came back "smart" doesn't mean that he's become any more of a threat than before. It just means that he likes to talk like a typical super villain now. And he likes to talk a lot.

The inclusion of Amazo and Starro, as perfunctory as it was, just came off as a fan service. Sure it ties in nicely with some of the early Justice League stories, which I know Meltzer tried to channel in some aspects, but they act more as cameos than as plot points. I mean why have a Starro be the means of mind control if you're just going to hollow it out and stuff it full of electronics? Why not just build a case for the electronics?

Another issue I have is the scope of the book. I appreciate that Meltzer decided to centralize the conflict to a single villain, but something about the actual threat seems lacking in many ways. Grundy wants to live forever. So what? He stole Red Tornado's android shell. So what? It all makes the intimacy and the personal nature of the story seem contrived in many ways. When Grant Morrison relaunched the League, he had the League facing off against some really massive threats, like alien invasions and such. You're talking about the most powerful super hero team in the entire universe, and you're going to have them fight a single villain? Even when Gardner Fox had the League face off against single villains like Amazo or Starro, it seemed like the threat was really threatening. It was clear that the whole world was at stake. With the Grundy conflict, the reason for the League to be teaming up and fighting seems more like a cheap vendetta.

All of that being said, the book has its moments. For the most part it's a really fun read if you can suspend your cynicism or disbelief. Some times the intimate nature of the narrative works, especially in the case of Red Tornado. The scene in which Kathy describes reading the crossword clues to Red Tornado is particularly moving, but everytime Ed Benes draws her crying, the illustration reads less like sorrow and more like she had just been humiliated by performing some weird sexual act. Even the opening scenes with Hal Jordan and Roy are satisfying because it remains contained within the context of their relationship, which the reader is dully informed of in a tasteful manner.

I also enjoyed picking up on some the things I missed during my initial reading of each issue. Like Hal's hesitance in referring Roy by his codename (Arsenal), to the point that he refers to him as "Red Arrow" simply because he started pronouncing an "R" sound and caught himself.

I also appreciate the contained nature of each issue. It reads really well as single issues, even though they are all part of a larger plot. But this can sometimes lead to problems with Meltzer. It almost seems as if he's torn between presenting each issue as singular entity or as part of a larger story with a beginning, middle, and end. I would even go so far as saying that the individual issues read better separated over a period of time than as a single story lumped together.

One of the other good things, and perhaps my favorite thing, about the single issue nature of story is that Meltzer does a really good job of creating enough anticipation to make you pick up and read the next issue without leaving you impatient to read the next chapter of the story. This is a tricky thing to do, especially with a lot of newer comics. The cliff hanger is a very delicate thing to create, and I think that Meltzer's use of the device in this book is much more tactful than his Identity Crisis books. You have to leave the reader wanting more so that they buy the next issue, but you can't leave them feeling unsatisfied either. In this regard Meltzer has done a fantastic job.

Overall, it's not a bad book. It's pretty classic super hero action fair, even if it feels weak in certain parts. It probably reads worse as a collection than as a series of single issues, but it's still a lot of fun to read on a monthly basis.

If you have any interest in the Justice League, even mildly so, and feel comfortable sparing the cover price, it's definitely a worthwhile read. Of course you could always download it to read, and save yourself the trouble.

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09 March 2007
#0 (A letter to the Internet)
Dear Internet,

Believe it or not Resontence was not supposed to be a comic book blog. Originally, that's what Josh and I had Dead Sidekick for. But after months of posting, it became painfully obvious that Josh and I were approaching our subject matter from very different angles with varying levels of enthusiasm. After a while I began posting comics related stuff on my personal blog, thinking at the time that it made more sense to consolidate all my blogging to one site since no one was reading it anyway. My love and appreciation for the comic book medium in all its various forms, was a very personal thing after all. Eventually comics began to take more and more of my blogging efforts, and as my posts became more impassioned, they seem to have become more topical to other fans. All of a sudden posts about my computer giving me problems or the stresses of a 9-5 job seemed inappropriate admists a sea of posts about why I still think the Flash is my favorite super hero (whoever carries the mantle) or my ever-growing crush on Derek Kirk Kim.

So here we are. A blog, with very personal leanings, about comic books. And hopefully, only comic books. I'll try not to bore you with non-topical posts about Science Fiction, literature, or music, unless directly related. Together, with my trusty side-kick Eli (who I expect to never actually post), I'm hoping to tackle the daunting task of expressing openly comic book appreciation.

The blogosphere, especially in terms of comic blogs, seems to be steeped in negativity these days, and I'm hoping to offer something a little different. I still believe, wholeheartedly, that things like that are very very important, and I implore you to please read other comic book blogs that offer a wholly different perspective on the medium, and if I see bullshit, I'm still going to call whomever on it (this is still the internet after all), but instead of complaining about company-wide crossovers I will probably try to take a different approach and talk about why or why not they do or don't work for me, personally, and beg you to buy Brian Chippendale's Ninja.

And yes, I'm pretty sure "non-topical" is not a real word.

To be clear, I love comics. I've been reading them for as long as I can remember. I feel no need to differentiate between formats or genres. I like super hero stories. I like Manga. I like science-fiction and I like horror. And yes, I also like wanky and non-wanky "independent" stuff. So expect to see posts about all of those things.

I hope you're well, Internet, and please tell your family that I send my love.

Sincerely yours,


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