Friday, December 29, 2006

On a Marvel schedule

Um ... hi there.

Sorry about the lack of content, but a combination of vacation travel and access to just a dial-up connection has pretty much kept me from blogging on a regular basis.

Seriously, I have a couple of things just waiting as drafts - a Favorite Panel Friday (it was from Union Jack #4), and a Pull-List for this week - but a photo got lost somehow, and that dial-up is making me look like a hillbilly, not to mention I think I'm a little logey from too much home-cooking.

Anyway, things will be back on track after Jan. 1 - in the meantime, how 'bout that Civil War, huh?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Pull-List: 12-20-06

What's that? What am I planning to bring home from the comic shop this Wednesday? So glad you asked!

52 #33: Yes, I'm a whore. Shut up. At least it's been on time, which is pretty incredible considering it's weekly, and the story has been enough to keep me interested. Though there's been quite enough of Lobo, thanks. I care more about what's going on back on Earth, what with the Supernova and the Batwoman and all, and hey! Look who's on this week's cover!

Conan #35: I'm just going to say it: Timothy Truman's a better writer than he is an artist. His stuff on Grimjack was great, as was his work on the Jonah Hex minis he did with Joe R. Lansdale, but I'm getting a little tired of evil guys with scarves and little pointy teeth. Besides, his writing is perfect for Conan, and he seems to have a natural feel for the big guy and the world he slices his way through. I was thinking of going to trades on this title, but Truman convinced me that I need a monthly fix.

Elephantmen #5: The talking animals thing isn't usually something I lean to, but Elephantmen is five kinds of awesome, two of which can't be perceived without special scientific instruments. What more could you ask for besides great art, strong storytelling and characters you care about? I came late to the whole Elphantmen/Hip Flask party, but now that I'm here it's going to take an empty snack table and a call to the cops to keep me away.

New Avengers #26: Maybe. The whole Civil War rigamarole has turned me off to everything but Captain America, and I don't see things getting any better. I've never been a huge fan of Scarlet Witch, either, and I get a feeling things are just going to get sillier and sillier the longer this goes on. Flashbacks of Spider-Clones and random resurrections keep me awake at night. I was enjoying New Avengers based mostly on the different personalities brought out by the new team ... but yeah, a definite maybe. Which means maybe not.

Pirates of Coney Island #3: A bizarre world, art that borders on ugly with a color scheme that makes you want to pop someone, and not-so-nice people makes me a happy boy. I don't know what the point of Pirates is supposed to be, but I don't care.

Union Jack #4: A neat little mini-series, and one of my recent favorites. B-grade characters I never thought I'd care about bring solid art and a lean and fast-moving story to life, combining spandex and spycraft in a believable mix. But I don't know if I want a regular series of Union Jack - keep it to minis and maybe it won't get screwed up.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Favorite Panel Friday has its reservations

I finally start a comics blog, and what do I do? I decide to cancel this week's Favorite Panel Friday.

And for once it's not just laziness or a too-tight work schedule. No, no - this time it's because the comic shop I've been going to lately tends to order short, so this week I got screwed on The Damned #3 and The Spirit #1.

Now, I've already talked about The Damned and how much I've been enjoying it, and I was really looking forward to the new version of The Spirit. I'm a fan of Darwyn Cooke's, I'm a fan of The Spirit, and everything I've heard about the update of the character has been pretty positive.

So, of course, I haven't been able to read it yet (except for a preview, available here). But, I'm almost positive The Spirit #1 would have held my favorite panel of the week. To be honest, it probably would have been my favorite book of the week.

Because of all that, there isn't going to be a Favorite Panel Friday this time around. But that's not going to stop me from saying you should pick up The Spirit #1; as soon as my store re-orders it, I know I will.

The Spirit #1: Darwyn Cooke, writer/artist

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Why are you so addicting, Boneless Spidey? Why?!?

Er ... there'll be some real content here soon. Really. Shut up.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Favorite Panel Friday: Manhunter makes a killing

Let's get one thing out of the way — Manhunter fights Wonder Woman, so there are plenty of fanboy fantasies being catered to in Manhunter #26. I, for one, appreciate it. A lot.

But this quieter panel shows what Manhunter is really all about. Kate Spencer — an L.A. laywer by trade and a superhero whenever she's not in the courtroom — is not your typically conflicted vigilante. The reason she wears a costume and brutally pounds on the bad guys is simple; they royally piss her off.

A lot of things piss Kate off actually, and her constantly sarcastic mood is what makes her appealing and nearly unlikable at the same time. On top of that, she's a single-mom who doesn't really pay enough attention to her young son, she constantly berates her friends and until recently she chain-smoked with spiteful glee.

Oh, and she doesn't mind killing villains if they need a-killin'.

It would be easy for this kind of character to become a caricature, but writer Marc Andreyko and regular artist Javier Piña have done a nice job of consistently reminding us that there's a complex person under the mask. And I should remind everyone that the title was originally canceled because of low sales, but reader outcry lead to DC making the unusual decision of give Manhunter another chance. Comics fans who haven't been reading the title should give it a chance, too.

As a character, Manhunter is new to the spandex, so she's not that great a superhero yet; honestly, she often not that great a person.

But she's trying. And that's what makes Manhunter a great comic.

Manhunter #26: Marc Andreyko, writer; Javier Piña, artist

Friday, December 1, 2006

Favorite Panel Friday says nyet!

Damn, GL - slapping Russians around with a giant bear ... that's kind of an ironic bitch-slap, isn't it?

I've mentioned before how Green Lantern has always been a front-runner on my top-heroes list, and this panel from Green Lantern #15 sums up why. When I say "Green Lantern" I'm talking about Hal Jordan, and in the classic Silver and Bronze Age interpretations you could always count on some visually wacky action to go along with Hal's charming brand of dickery. Seriously, using the most powerful weapon in the universe to bop someone with a glowing mallet? That's just rubbing it in.

In the newish run written by Geoff Johns and pencilled by Ivan Reis, that version of Green Lantern has been updated while rediscovering all the things that gave Hal his personality - hard-headedness, bravery, nobility, a rakishness that implied he was considering stealing your girlfriend after he was done handing you your ass. Basically, what a normal person might act like if they fell into their own super-powers. Say what you will about Johns and what he's done with the DC universe lately, but he understands characters and is able to elevate and humanize them all at once.

It doesn't hurt that Reis' art is gorgeous, following in the style of Rags Morales and Patrick Gleason. It's perfect for the blend of spandex and science fiction that a Green Lantern title should be; kinetic and detailed without being busy or distracting. And I don't usually mention it, but the inking by Oclair Albert and coloring by Moose Baumann is top-notch, enhancing the whole thing.

But seriously, what's Hal gonna do next - box Australians with a giant kangaroo? Wait a minute ... I think he already might've ...

Green Lantern #15: Geoff Johns, writer; Ivan Reis, artist; Oclair Albert, inker; Moose Baumann, colorist

Friday, November 17, 2006

Favorite Panel Friday goes for two

The Escapists #5 is ... well, it's a toughie. To be honest, I've been putting off bringing up this mini-series, even though it's been on the FPF short-list almost every week it's come out. But it can no longer be denied, so feast your eyes on the first-ever two-panel FPF Panelpalooza! Grab your ass with both hands, kids - this is history!

Urm. Yeah, so two wildly different art styles are used to tell two very different - but parallel - stories in this six-parter. One of those stories takes place as a superhero comic, the other as the story of the people creating that comic. Both of them, strangely enough, feature people in costume.

It's all very meta. It's also, at heart, a love letter. Michael Chabon's Pulitzer-winning novel "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay" has managed to spin off a series of comic anthologies by various contributors, but The Escapists is the one that lays out the comic-love in all it's geeky glory.

Brian K. Vaughn (man, that dude really IS everywhere!) nicely balances glimpses of the latest story of The Escapist with the mostly mundane story of the three friends producing that story, which is where Vaughn's pitter-pat beats loudest. The superhero story is fun, but it's the everyday lives playing out in Cleveland that you end up caring about most. What the hell was Max thinking? Was that the last straw for Case? Is Denny going to be OK? Are they going to be able to get the next issue out?!?

In a neat twist - who knows if it was on purpose or not - the more sketchily realistic art by Jason Shawn Alexander is used to tell the superhero story while Steve Rolston's rounded-edge, cartoony style depicts the story playing out in the real world. In the comic. I'm not trying to be confusing. Honest.

But look at Alexander's depiction of The Saboteur - man, he just oozes evil! And look at the detail in Case's room; that one panel by Rolston tells you a ton about the character with simple attention to background. Both artists' work sets just the right tone for their respective stories, and dovetail into each seamlessly until they reflect and amplify each other in a way that adds depth to both. It's a pretty slick trick, and one that could easily fall apart if you weren't careful.

But, with one issue left to go, it seems pretty clear that Vaughn, Rolston and Alexander are keeping a protective arm around The Escapists. When you love something, after all, it's only natural.

The Escapists #5: Brian K. Vaughn, writer; Steve Rolston, artist; Jason Shawn Alexander, artist

Friday, November 10, 2006

Damn you, Favorite Panel Friday!

Looking at this panel, you know things aren't going to turn out well for somebody. But take a closer look at it, and you'll see the energy and details that make The Damned such a great fusion of spookhouse horror and gritty crime noir.

Besides the obvious menace of one big, friggin' demon, the Prohibition-era atmosphere is thick in this shot from The Damned #2. Look at the way our little anti-hero Eddie is already reaching for his gun. Look at the crates and warehouses and scattering sea gulls that remind the reader they're at the docks, and that THE DOCKS ARE NOT A GOOD PLACE TO BE.

The Damned is laced with an undercurrent of menace, whether it's a scene involving mobsters from hell or a rough kiss delivered with one arm twisted behind your back, and it all makes for a hell of a fun read. I've also been a fan of Brian Hurtt for a while now, so it's nice to see him making a reappearance so soon after Hard Time got the unwarranted ax (check out his excellent work on Queen & Country, too). Hopefully, this collaboration with author Cullen Bunn will just be the first of several mini-series for The Damned.

The Damned #2: Cullen Bunn, script/story; Brian Hurtt, art/story

Friday, November 3, 2006

Favorite Panel Friday: A well-oiled machine

When Ex Machina first came out a couple of years ago, I'd tell anyone who'd listen (and anyone I could pin to the ground and force to listen) that it was one of the best comics out there. I even said more than once that it was the best new comic of that year.

Two years later, and it's still pretty damn good.

Explaining Ex Machina is a little tricky, but basically it's this: In a world without superheroes, a civil engineer with socialist leanings gains the ability to communicate with machines after a mysterious device he's investigating blows up in his face. With the help of a couple of friends and some gadgets of his own invention, Mitchell Hundred becomes the Great Machine, a superhero who manages to keep the second tower of the World Trade Center from being hit on Sept. 11. Shortly after, Hundred goes public, gives up his role as the Great Machine and is elected mayor of New York City.

Whew! Believe it or not, that's just the back story. Ex Machina tells the story of Mayor Hundred, and while the story lines refer or are impacted by the Great Machine's past exploits, the series is as much a political drama as it is a heroic thriller, if not more. You'd think this would be dull as dirt, but often the ins and outs of the mayor's office is what keeps everything chugging along.

And poor Mitch - he's been through a lot, and it's starting to show. Brian K. Vaughn is everywhere, but this is his tightest work - if I had to guess, I'd say this title is his baby. And artist Tony Harris has thankfully been with it since the beginning, giving Ex Machina a distinct feel and a life of it's own. Sure, the people tend to look suspiciously alike sometimes (especially the women), but not to the point of the aggravating Dillon or Quitely. You can almost start to believe these people exist out there, tromping around New York and trying to get about the business of living their lives.

Who hasn't felt that weariness, the kind that makes you close your eyes and push your hair back, wishing for just a quiet second of peace? That single panel says a lot - about the character, about the situation and about the creators' understanding of their readers.

It may not be the best comic of the year, but it's still pretty damn good.

Ex Machina #24: Writer, Brian K. Vaughn; Artist, Tony Harris

Friday, October 20, 2006

Favorite Panel Friday was raised by an Admiral solid-state television

Some good stuff came out this week, and I know the latest issue of 52 is probably just some more of Keith Giffen trotting out his favorite whacked-out creations, but today's panel is all about two words: Ambush Bug.


52 #24: Writers, Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid; Artist, Phil Jimenez

Friday, October 13, 2006

Favorite Panel Friday drops anchor

As mentioned in a previous post, the panel picked for FPF isn't necessarily from my favorite comic of the week - which is the case with The Pirates of Coney Island #1. But it was a comic that sure stuck with me, rolling around in my head and poking me in the brain until I read it again.

A big part of that is the art. Strong, fluid, indie-style drawing just jumps off the page thanks to a thick inking job and a color pallette that's bold without being distracting. This is a book that actually seems to have honest-to-God art direction, and the almost garish coloring enhances the action and mood of any given panel.

There's a definite old-school vibe going on here; check out the classic dot-screen used for shading. Bits of the 70s, 80s and 90s are mish-mashed with a Britcomic aesthetic and a sprinkle of American thrift shop; weirdly, it works. The grittily intriguing story about gutter punks and brutal street gangs is solid, and meshes perfectly with the razor-dangerous art.

That's not to say it's all peachy. The Pirates of Coney Island is very hip ... and sometimes feels like it's trying just a little too hard. There's plenty of influence from "street" sources like graffiti and tattoo art, but hitting people over the head with it (especially in the notes from creators Rick Spears and Vasilis Lolos) is a little bit of overkill. You know how when people keep telling you how cool they are, the less you believe it? Sorta like that.

And while the art is great, faces tend to be hard to tell apart sometimes (particularly the women), and there's one character I didn't realize was supposed to be older than the teens until it was mentioned in the dialogue. The work is unique, but don't be surprised if you suddenly find yourself thinking of Tank Girl comics and Gorillaz cover art.

Still, it grabbed me, with a grip strong enough that I had to re-read it, and will probably re-read it again. Let's cross our fingers that this doesn't turn out to be just another book with great art wrapped around a story that goes from good to crappy halfway through (I'm looking at you, Supermarket).

The Pirates of Coney Island #1: Writer/Letterer, Rick Spears; Artist, Vasilis Lolos

Friday, September 29, 2006

Favorite Panel Friday says: Eat Me

OK, I have to admit it - I have a thing for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. I also have a bone-deep exhaustion for all the freakin' retellings of Lewis Carroll's stories and reimaginings of his iconic characters.

But I pretty much love Wonderland.

Taking place sometime after the now-notorious Alice has fled the scene, Wonderland picks up the thread with Mary Ann, the unseen girl the White Rabbit confused Alice for in Adventures. Compulsively committed to her housemaid duties, Mary Ann is only slightly less whacky than more familiar characters - like the Rabbit and the Cheshire Cat - also making an appearance.

At first, I was a little leery of the connection with Disney (the cover blurb says it's, "Inspired by Lewis Carroll's classic works and the Disney animated motion picture"), but the Mouse's influence seems to be mostly cosmetic. Thankfully, the story and dialogue have a healthy streak of Carroll in 'em, making it a fun read from writer Tommy Kovac.

And the art is great - what, are you kidding me? Look at that panel; see how the Cheshire Cat looks a little mottled? It's not sunlight, it's the BACKGROUND! Artist Sonny Liew has designed the Cat so he's always slightly transparent (and the creepy sucker never stops smiling, either). The art work could easily be taken from a children's book, but luckily this blend of classic illustration with a watercolor feel (and a pinch of manga expressionism) is coming out on a monthly basis.

This is a comic I don't think I'll be getting tired of anytime soon.

And the Jabberwocky is awesome.

Wonderland #2: Writer, Tommy Kovac; Artist, Sonny Liew

Friday, September 22, 2006

Favorite Panel Friday is fashionably late

A super hero, some secret-agent talk and a SEVERED, FLAMING VAMPIRE HEAD!

That's a whole lot of comic goodness crammed into one panel, that's for sure. Union Jack #1 spins seamlessly out of the current Brubaker and Epting run on Captain America, seamlessly enough that I didn't realize it was a different creative team at first.

But that shouldn't take away from what writer Christios Gage and artist Mike Perkins are doing with this book. Union Jack nicely fits into the world being created over in Captain America, but expands on it and actually cements the concept of super-powered spy-guys. Political without being preachy, steadily built tension and rich, detailed artwork come together for a first issue that makes you eager for the second.

Union Jack #1: Writer, Christios Gage; Artist, Mike Perkins


For a "regular feature," the ol' FPF has been pretty irregular lately. Usually, if I'm falling behind in getting a panel up here I'll just shrug and pretend to be busy wrestling bears or writing peace treaties. This time, though, I didn't want to let last week's Wasteland #3 slip by without a mention.

Man, this comic keeps getting better with each issue. The story is a familiar post-apocalyptic-Thunderdome-Dune kind of thing, but it'd be a mistake to dismiss it as unoriginal. There is a definite sense of a larger story, and you can tell a deep history has already been thought out; nothing happens without reason. The art is simple but detailed, and almost stunning in some panels. Restrained use of Photoshop gives the whole thing a cinematic look that really works. Wasteland is an epic in the making.

Get on board with the first issue, free and online!

Wastland #3: Writer, Antony Johnston; Artist, Chris Mitten

Friday, September 1, 2006

Favorite Panel Friday has a plan

How can you resist a baboon in a Superman suit?!?

Lex Luthor might not be the most evil villain ever, but in All Star Superman #5 he's pretty freakin' villainous. Let's warm up the ol' Comico-Analytron and break it down, shall we?


In this panel, Lex has just finished escorting Clark Kent through a raging prison riot to what he assures him is the safety of his cell. Just as they're arriving, Lex makes a crack about how Clark will write something about walking through the cell door, where Lex then "shook hands with a baboon in a Superman suit ..."

Which is exactly what happens! And then he tells Clark how he dug an escape tunnel with a robot reciting Moby Dick. It's good to know Melville's good for something.


For all the damage Frank Miller has done to the still-stumbling toddler called the All Star line, Grant Morrison redeems it with his writing on All Star Superman. There was a lot of noise about the All Star imprint taking DC back to its Silver Age roots and "making comics fun again," and damn if Morrison doesn't do just that. That doesn't mean it's fluff - Luthor's currently making a pretty serious bid to kill the Man of Steel - but it does mean it's OK to be a little silly, to be a little weird and, yeah, to have some fun.

Morrison's Luthor is classic; arrogant, insane and smart as hell. As a matter of fact, it's the first time I can think of where it's implied that Lex is so smart he had to be crazy. Oh, and this particular issue also has the best explanation I've seen for why Lex hates Superman sooooo much.

One more thing to note is Frank Quitely's art. Now, I'm on the fence about Quitely. I was OK with him on Authority (even though everyone looked like they were on the catwalk), but hated his stuff on New X-Men. Loved We3, was annoyed by JLA: Earth 2. He bugs me for the same reason Steve Dillon bugs me - they draw the same face over and over and over and over. And over. The only difference is Quitely adds the extra bonus of making everyone pouty and lumpy (not a great combination).

But when he's on, he's great. And while that lumpiness creeps in now and then, faces are distinctive and expressive, and his backgrounds continue to kick ass in All-Star Superman.

By taking some cues from the Superman of the Silver Age, Morrison and Quitely are reinventing the Man of Steel for today. They're obviously having fun doing it, and that's making it fun to read.

So let's hear it for Leopold and crazy-ass Lex Luthor.

All Star Superman #5: Writer, Grant Morrison; Artist, Frank Quitely

Friday, August 25, 2006

Favorite Panel Friday goes through a phase

Sometimes it's hard to pick a favorite panel from the weekly stack of comics: This time, it was almost impossible to pick a favorite out of the single issue that is Astonishing X-Men #16.

When I was just a little pastelito, I was a hard-core X-Men fan. Then, like a lot of people, I grew up. The melodrama, the impossibly convoluted plots and the constant hammering of Claremontisms became too much until finally, with a "feh!", I stopped reading any title that started with "X."

For the most part, I've never regretted it. But when Joss Whedon started writing a new Astonishing, I was in. And month after month, along with the outstanding art of John Cassaday and the perfect coloring of Laura Martin, he reminds me of what I used to love about the X-Men. It's funny, it's heartfelt and it's action-packed. Whedon is a great writer with a talent for dialogue. Even better, he understands what makes these characters great, and you can tell he cares about them as much as we do. He's updated them without ruining them, making changes feel organic instead of like a gimmick.

And you can tell that Whedon - like the rest of us - always had a crush on Kitty.

Astonishing X-Men #16: Writer, Joss Whedon; Artist, John Cassaday; Colorist, Laura Martin

Friday, August 18, 2006

Bride of Favorite Panel Friday

I love Fell. I love everything about it; it's consistently some of Warren Ellis' best writing, and Ben Templesmith has one of the most unique and distinctive illustrative styles in comics today. I like that every compact issue is a self-contained story, but is also another chapter in a vaguely creepy, overarching storyline.

Fell, will you marry me? You and Lopez! can work out the schedule.

OK, let's put this in perspective: Ellis has written some of my favorite books, like The Authority, Transmetropolitan and, most recently, Desolation Jones. He is, as the kids say, the shit (do the kids still say that?).

And Templesmith combines traditional drawing and painting styles with Adobe-fueled technology to create work that looks simplistic at first but drips depth and atmosphere. He practically reinvented vampires with 30 Days of Night, and his current Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse should already be on your pull list.

All this is a long-winded way of saying the panel from Fell #6 above is a nice example of snappy dialogue and moody scene-setting, a combination of casual patter and building tension in a book that manages to be crime-noir, horror and love-letter to the fictional Snowtown all at once. With this panel, you're rooting for Rich Fell, in every sense.

Special bonus! Hey, the first issue of Fell is available – for free, you deadbeats – online. Check it out, why don'cha?

And man, what's with that Nixon-nun?!?

Fell #6: Writer, Warren Ellis; Art, Ben Templesmith

Friday, August 11, 2006

Favorite Panel Friday, the Destroyer

And THAT'S why, when Conan tells you he's joining your caravan, you don't try to shake him down for money.

Here's a handy rule-of-thumb to remember: Conan doesn't negotiate. He's Conan! He doesn't have time for your coy wordplay. He barely has time to kick your free-range melon out of the way.

Speaking of wordplay, I've been enjoying Joe R. Lansdale's scripting on Conan and the Songs of the Dead, a five-part mini-series which carries on the regular title's love of beheadings with this lopping from issue #2. I especially like the shot of humor he's given Conan (even if the dialogue sounds a little too much like something out of a Hap and Leonard scene sometimes), and it's always nice to see Lansdale's words coming out of art drawn by Timothy Truman. Remember how creepy their Jonah Hex stories were? Throw a battle ax and some people speaking "medieval" in there, and you've got an idea of what's going on in Songs of the Dead.

Oh, and don't forget - Conan was captain of the debate team for a reason.

Conan and the Songs of the Dead #2: Writer, Joe R. Lansdale; Art, Timothy Truman

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Favorite Panel Friday is now in session

You may have noticed (or not) that there isn't a panel from any of this week's comics. It wasn't for a lack of good stuff, because there was a bunch. Oh, no, this week's Favorite Panel was called on account ... OF JUSTICE!!

I had a good run, but finally got caught and ended up serving on a jury of my peers. It was pretty quick and everything was finished within the day, but it meant no access to a scanner. No scanner equals no panel. Today, we're only uploading THE LAW!

Here it is in a nutshell: She was speeding. It was pretty obvious she didn't have a case (soooo busted). Guilties all around, maximum fine, and no plumbers had to go to jail. If it had been up to us on the jury, the sentence would have been even tougher.

Oh, and on the way home I saw a couple of grackles mating on the lawn of an office building on Sixth Street. Dirty birdies. I told Lopez! it was like watching 9 1/2 Weeks and From Here to Eternity, but with feathers.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Favorite Panel Friday: The Heretic

Whew! Just made it!

I know a lot of the talk this week has been about a certain unveiling on the Marvel side of the street, but for me it was mostly kind of ... eh. Seriously, half his enemies already knew his identity.

This panel from Green Lantern Corps #1 was the one that grabbed me. It's a classic superhero scene, and the Green Lanterns have always been a favorite of mine. Top it off with the fact that I'm really developing a soft spot for Soranik on the left there (sorry, Hawkgirl, but I hate what Howard Chaykin's doing to you) and this one's a winner. Bonus: The guy on the right is like a GL from Planet of the Apes! If you're going to read a superhero comic, THIS is what it should look like when you open it up.

Sorry, Spidey.

Green Lantern Corps #1: Writer, Dave Gibbons; Art, Patrick Gleason and Prentis Rollins

Friday, June 9, 2006

Son of Favorite Panel Friday

And this is only one panel out of a whole issue filled with weirdness.

This little nugget of joy from The Exterminators #6 is a pretty good example of why the title has become one of my favorites. It's a comic that seems to get more comfortable with itself every month, and I like that it self-assuredly takes its time spinning out a whacky storyline while dropping itchy little clues in the middle of what has been, from start to finish, one over-the-top scene after another. It's pure sci-fi/horror fun with a sense of humor.

Oh, and ruthless corporate lesbians.

The Exterminators #6: Writer, Simon Oliver; Penciller, Tony Moore

Friday, June 2, 2006

Favorite Panel Friday: The Quickening

Something occured to me the other day: Anybody reading this might think that since this regular feature highlights my favorite panel of the week, it must come from my favorite book of the week.

Er ... not necessarily.

Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. If you go by past entries, I can see how someone would figure me for a spandex-fan. And I am. But I read a lot of indie and small press stuff, too. The problem is that, for the most part, those types of comics don't really have the panels that give you geekbumps. I've read some comics recently that were great from start to finish, things that are way up on my "gotta read this" list, but while they're solid on all levels, that doesn't mean they have any one panel that jumps out at you. That's just the nature of most "indies."

And now I'm going to totally contradict everything I just said.

Local # 5 is the latest issue in a series that gets better and better with each go 'round. Part day-in-the-life, part travelogue, the slow-motion storytelling of Local is heartbreaking and hopeful, broken and powerful, often all at the same time. If you haven't been reading it, go out and get the back issues while you still can.

In this panel, Megan is being confronted by a woman whose young son was hit on by Beth, an employee at the local movie theater. The mother doesn't know it, but Megan is Beth. And at the moment, she's calling herself Alex. Throughout the story, she'll use a handful of different names, without any explanation or obvious reason.

Things have happened to Megan, and it's had an effect on her.

And I love that you can see it all right there on her face.

Local #5: Writer, Brian Wood; Artist, Ryan Kelly

Friday, May 26, 2006

Favorite Panel Friday Strikes Back

So true, so true ...

Everyone knows Dr. Strange is a master of the mystic arts, but did you know he's also a master of the mackin' arts? Aaah, yeeeeaaah! In this panel from X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #5, the final issue in the limited series, ol' Stevie lays it on for Dead Girl in what ended up being a truly enjoyable little series. I'd even say this has been my favorite version of Dr. Strange.

And really, why wouldn't it be?

Dead Girl #5: Writer, Peter Milligan; Artists, Nick Dragotta and Mike Allred; Colors, Laura Allred

The lowdown ...

Friday, May 19, 2006

Favorite Panel Friday - The Return

That's right! Because you're not supposed to know unless Batman wants you to know.

And he doesn't.

Let's get a little background (slightly spoilery):

In Batman: Year 100 #4 (Paul Pope, writer/artist; Jose Villarrubia, colorist), Batman has just pounded the crap out of a bad guy/government agent who, in an earlier issue, tried using his telepathy to get Bats to 'fess up with the secret identity. I mean, he made Batman's nose bleed and everything. Now, beaten and passing out from knock-out gas, the agent manages to ask one last time, "Wh--Who are ... you ...?"

The panel is Batman's answer. And it's perfect.

"Goddamn Batman" my ass.

"Favorite Pan ... what ?

Monday, March 27, 2006

Trouble on Paradise Island

You know what's wrong with Hollywood? You know what's wrong with the current crop of "actors/singers/celebrity A-holes" that are seemingly armed with everything but talent? I'll tell you what the problem is:

Lohan the one for “Wonder Woman”?

Although no talks have even begun, Lindsay Lohan thinks playing the role of Wonder Woman in the upcoming feature would be “cool.”

By Mark Umbach,

Everybody is wondering which woman will be Wonder Woman. If it were up to starlet Lindsay Lohan, she says she’d take the pilot’s seat in the invisible jet in a heartbeat.

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” vet Joss Whedon is currently developing a feature film based on the comic book superheroine for Warner Bros. Pictures.
While Lohan admits that she’s currently looking for roles outside her current milieu of teen and kiddie films, she thinks playing Diana Prince would be too cool.

“Wonder Woman would be cool. I’m trying to find roles right now that are different to anything I’ve done to show my abilities, to show that I have some sort of stretch in me. Because most of the things that I’ve done so far are aimed at younger girls and are light-hearted,” she recently to
ld OK! magazine.

Oh, hell no! No, no, no! I can't even begin to describe all the ways this is a bad idea. The only thing that keeps me from wrapping a mylar bag around my head is the fact Joss Whedon has been pretty clear that he wants someone statuesque, a warrior-woman, a goddamn AMAZON! That is not Lohan. Hey, while we're at it, why don't we cast Clay Aiken as Batman?

You just know there's some jerk somewhere who's actually considering this. I imagine a boardroom full of execs muttering "Synergy, synergy, crossover" while flapping copies of "Teen People" at each other.

There are certain things you need to make a character come alive. Look, it's simple:




Great Hera, no!!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Favorite Panel Friday

Here's a new feature that hopefully won't fall by the wayside (Shut up. I might still pick up that other one. Maybe).

Every Friday I'll pick the one panel - out of the stack of new comics I read every week - that for one reason or another gave me the most fanboy joy.

This week was a close call: It was almost a panel from the outstanding Cthulhu Tales, but Fantastic Four: First Family #3 pulled it out with this classic depiction of Mr. Fantastic doing what he does best - going "boing." And look at that Mole Monster! That, my friends, is some understated hilarity in an already chock-fulla-fun panel.

By the way, this panel was slightly modified to minimize the panel originally jutting into it. Seriously, it was distracting as a mutha. Oh, and the art is by Chris Weston, with inks by Gary Erskine, in a comic written by Joe Casey.

Thursday, March 2, 2006


Did you know the new Blue Beetle is supposed to be from El Paso? That's right, a new character who's integral to the current "Crisis" storyline, who'll be getting his own title in late March, who's replacing a beloved and dramatically killed-off character, and whose name is JAIME FRIGGIN' REYES, will be from my hometown.

See that truck in the background of Panel 2? That's a Big 8 truck! Big 8 is an El Paso chain of grocery stores, and outside of Chico's Tacos you can't get more El Paso than Big 8.

Man, it sure would be great if I knew some journalist-types back in El Chuco who could maybe play with the idea of pitching a story idea to the lifestyle section. C'mon, it wouldn't be that hard and it would be fun. El Paso could be cool for once. C'mooooon! And it's not as if you can't track down the background information - one of the writers even has his own blog!

I'm just saying.

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Office supplies

And now, for no reason at all, here's a random sampling of some of the toys that live in my office. They come alive at night and plot, I'm sure of it.

Oh, and I apologize for the quality of some of these photos, but I like to pretend my office is a dark cave and growl at people who walk too close to my door.

A lot of people don't know this, but Spider-Man can pop 'n lock like a mutha. Go Spidey! Go Spidey!

In another life, this guy was bad news, nearly destroying the entire friggin' multiverse single-handedly. Now he's got a very tiny head. He's not real happy about it.

Oh, Wampa. How I love you. We'll just pretend that's Luke's legbone, 'k?

Off-screen, Jet and Julia are actually married. Jet just wants to eat his pear, maybe watch a little bit of the game, but noooooo, Julia says he can't wait until after the "Late Late Show" to pick up the kids from day-care. Pfft. Women.

My fleet is mighty and swift and we take no prisoners. I mean c'mon, look at the size of these ships, where the hell would we put 'em?