Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Pull-list: 5-31-07

This week's comics are a day late thanks to the federal holiday seemingly set aside for department store sales and low, low prices, so I'm a day late, too. OK, I'm two days late, but meh! Let's go shopping!

Blue Beetle #15: I'm just going to go ahead and say it: Pound for pound, this is my favorite superhero comic. The writing has been top-notch since the beginning, and gets noticeably better with almost every issue (particularly the diaglogue). The art is unique and always solid, and helps give Blue Beetle its own vibe while putting it smack-dab in the middle of the DC universe. And that leads to one of the things I like most about this title: Through Jaime Reyes, a new character thrown into an entirely new environment, readers get to experience everything as if it's new to us, too. It's fun, it's smart and it should be on your list.

Crossing Midnight #7: Vertigo has been winning back my interest with some of its new titles lately, and Crossing Midnight has had a lot to do with it. It features interesting characters, a familiar-but-different culture as a background, and a plot that makes me wonder what's going to happen next; in other words, some of the things a good comic is supposed to have. And that stuff that happened with the mom? Creepy.

Justice Society of America #6: Soooooo much better than JSA Classified! Seriously, it reminds me of what made me dig the JSA books in the first place. The ongoing story of a powerful, yet entirely human, team that ultimately functions as an extended family touches me in just the right spot (y'know ... the cockles), and this title manages it without being shmaltzy. The team producing it could stand to ease off on the whole "setting an example to the next generation" bit, but I've got to admit I like the way they handle the interaction between the older and younger heroes. And the way "guest stars" like Superman, Batman and that jerk Geo-Force have been used has been perfect.

The Usual ...

Green Lantern #20

Daredevil #97

Maybe ...

Ray Harryhausen Presents Wrath of the Titans #1: I loved the movie. I still love the movie. Shut up. (I just hope I don't hear that stupid owl in my head.)

Recommended ...

Fun Home (trade paperback): This memoir about growing up in the family funeral home, questions of sexuality and the complicated relationship between child and parent has been earning glowing reviews, and now it's been released in a softcover format selling for less than 15 bucks. Seriously, what are you waiting for?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday Night Fights: Railroaded!

Not only is Jonah Hex the deadliest gun in the West, but when he punches you in the face ...

... brother, it's like getting hit by a FREIGHT TRAIN.

(If you're going to wager, always bet on Bahlactus.)

Panel from Showcase Presents Jonah Hex Volume 1, originally printed in Weird Western Tales #23

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I like you, but I'm breaking up with you

Comic books fans have a reputation - not completely undeserved - of being fickle. We expect a lot from our obsession, and we're willing to drop a title the minute an artist or writer we don't like takes over, or if a costume is changed, or if a character does something we think is, well, out of character.

But we are also intensely loyal, and this shows in how we shop. Or actually, in where we shop. Most regular comic book readers I know have a particular store they go to, a place that they consider their shop. This is where they go first, and a lot of times it will be the only place they go. And even if they have some gripes about it, they'll always go to their store.

Until they don't.

Let me explain what got me thinking about this. I like the store I go to, but it also drives me crazy. Since it's a smaller shop, it carries a mostly mainstream selection, which is fine since I read a lot of mainstream books. But, I also read indie titles and books that don't dress up in spandex, and that means I either have to place a special order or go to another shop to get everything on that week's list. The problem with a special order is it either takes weeks to be filled, or someone goofs and the order is never placed at all.

I usually end up going to the back-up shop for whatever's missing at my regular store. Every week.

Honestly, if I was better about ordering things in advance, that would take care of most of my problems with the shop. And like I said, I like my shop. It:

• is staffed by very nice people who make an effort to know what I'm in to
• offers a 15 percent discount to subscribers
• is literally blocks from my home

The back-up shop is more of a schlep (but still not that far, really) and doesn't offer any regular discounts (except 10 percent off graphic novels). They do, however, have almost every title being published in a given week.

But I doubt I'll switch. My main shop has built enough goodwill that I want to stick with them, and that fanboy loyalty makes me want to defend my shop, even from myself.

Which brings me to my point (or my question, actually): What would it take to make you leave your shop for a different one?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Tony Stark is a punk

Let me say something right up front: I used to be a huge fan of Iron Man.

What's not to love about an incredibly smart, successful - but otherwise completely average - guy with a bad ticker and a stalker's fondness for the bottle who somehow still manages to be a superhero? He was a like a drunk Bruce Wayne, fighting evil because it's the right thing to do, as well as an awesome way to pick up chicks.

Plus, no other comic gave you more "KRANG!" and "BLONG!" sound effects except maybe Thor, and if both characters were in the same issue you practically needed earplugs to read it.

As you can imagine, I was pretty unimpressed by what was done with the character during Civil War. Suddenly, Tony's not only a bit of an ass, he's completely amoral. A lot of that began with Iron Man and his Illuminati cronies shooting the Hulk into space "for the greater good," and quickly devolved from there. Now, Hulk's watched Gladiator like a million times and is coming back to Earth with a mad-on for pretty much everyone, but especially for the Illuminati and - you guessed it - Iron Man.

So Shellhead does the practical thing and suits up.

Whoa, wait a minute. What the hell is that? Let's take a closer look ...

Peek-a-boo, Spidey! Traded the "Iron Spider" suit for the black costume, huh? Yeah, good call.

So Iron Man, apparently aware he's about to get his metal ass welded to his face, decides to WRAP HIS ARMOR IN EVEN MORE ARMOR?!?

What a douche.

I used to love Iron Man, but I hope Hulk beats on him 'til he gets to the chewy Tony center.

Images from the upcoming World War Hulk #1

Friday, May 18, 2007

Friday Night Fights: The ol' one-two!

We'll miss Cap until they decide to resurrect 'im, but I think the Falcon's going to be A-OK.

Oh yeah ... he'll be just fine.

Bahlactus commands it!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The lame-ass return of GCP

So I seem to have finally gotten over the hump that is Work, but I'm just too tired to post anything substantial, much less anything about the MJ statue debate making the rounds.

I will say this, though: When I saw the statue, my first reaction was, "Oh, c'mon." Seriously, it's a ridiculous piece of merchandise. And yes, it's demeaning to women (and, in a much, much smaller way, to comic fans in general - I guess they figure we're all still in mom's basement, eh?). And of course some people are overreacting, and many more are underreacting, but hopefully all this heat will begin to generate some light.

There's been a lot of back-and-forth going on about the cheesecakiness of this statue (and others), and what it means in the greater scheme of things for how women are portrayed in the comics media, but so far I think I most like what Laura Hudson had to say. It's straight-forward, thoughtful and packed with common-sense, so go read it.

Speaking of cool, can you believe I just recently read Scott Pilgrim? I don't know what took me so long, either, but this weekend I read all three volumes that have been published, and I'm hooked.

Out of hundreds of pages of awesome, this may have been my favorite scene:

Scott Pilgrim - lovable jerk.