Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Night Fights: Brother Voodoo has had it up to here with you

You know what Brother Voodoo hates even more than lame zombie jokes and people who give him voodoo dolls as gifts?

Brother Voodoo hates a kiss-ass, man.

And is it asking too much to have one assistant who won't screw up his Starbucks order?! How hard can a grande decaf half-and-half mocha chocolata ya-ya be? C'mon, people!

While you're at it, pick one up for Mr. Bahlactus, too.

Following a link? Read more of Great Caesar's Post here!

Panel from Essential Marvel Team-Up Vol. 1
Originally published as Marvel Team-Up #24
Len Wein, writer; Jim Mooney and Sal Trapani, artists

Thursday, February 28, 2008

And it sounds like 'zee, zee, zee'


Thanks to allergies, my head is killing me today. It almost feels like something is boring into my skull — something like ...


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

WTF Wednesday: You had me at 'Defile' - plus, our contest winner!

Antony and Cleopatra, Bogey and Bacall, Yogi and Boo-Boo — they're all at the top of the list when you're talking about history's greatest couples. But for my money, no one comes close to the pure love that is Lord Defile and Lady Decadence.

Disturbing? Or disturbingly sweet? You make the call!

Panel from Stormwatch: Post Human Division #7
Christos Gage, writer; Doug Mahnke, artist


Yesterday was the deadline for entries in the Beard Hunter: Stroke of Evil contest, and after tallying up the results we have a decision!

The winner of a copy of the Doom Patrol Vol. 4: Musclebound trade is ... ME! Yes, thanks to an overwhelming lack of entries I have declared myself the winner of my own contest! Truly, it was a classic come-from-behind victory.

I was able to catch up with myself and asked a few questions:

Maxo (for Great Caesar's Post!): First off, let me just say congratulations ...

Maxo (contest winner): Thank you, thank you ... I have to say I was not expecting this. Think about it — just one entry, just one — could have changed everything. But thankfully, I had what it took and with the help of God, I am able to stand here with you today. (kisses fingers and points to ceiling) This is all for you, Big G!

GCP: So now that you're a contest winner, what's in Maxo's future?

Maxo: Well, I will certainly be sitting down to read Musclebound. I think it has been well-established that I am a Grant Morrison fan, and this trade not only has the Beard Hunter story, it also has one of the best storylines from Morrison's run on Doom Patrol. I am going to enjoy that, to be sure. Also, I will be changing my supper plans to include poultry so I can have the chance to say, "Winner-winner, chicken dinner."

GCP: That's ... kinda obnoxious.

Maxo: Yes, it is.

GCP: Let me point something out that may be awkward for you: In the course of writing the Beard Hunter posts, you often railed against "the bearded menace." But looking at you now, and in light of your win, how do you explain the fact that you yourself have facial hair?

Maxo: It is ... curious. But if you read those posts carefully you will see I never actually claim to be clean-shaven myself. And I do consistently give warnings about the duplicity, the sneakiness, the sheer bristling evil of the bearded ... in retrospect, you really should have seen that coming.

GCP: Wait, are you saying that you're evil and ... ?

(Maxo stabs a hidden button on his armchair, launching through a trapdoor in the ceiling)

Maxo: MUA-HAHAHAAAA! Got your comic book, sucker!!!

GCP: ... I really should've seen that coming ...

Wondering what the hell this was all about? The saga is collected here!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Hey kids - online comics!

I just found out about this, but Dark Horse is apparently going to be uploading a chapter of the manhwa Shaman Warrior once a week for all to read, and judging by the first chapter it'll be pretty freakin' awesome. Especially if you're into the sword fighting/touch of mysticism thing — which I am. It doesn't hurt that the art is very strong (the detail, particularly the facial expressions, is great), and there are two major sword fights in the first 32 pages!

I don't know if the publisher is picking up on the strategy Boom! Studios is trying out with North Wind, but between this and Dark Horse Presents it seems like Dark Horse is making a real push in bringing comics online.

Good for them. I don't think e-comics will ever fully replace the usual paper-and-staple, but there's no reason it can't be a viable alternative. And if it introduces people to new titles (I'd never heard of Shaman Warrior before), all the better.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Like a bullet list (without the bullets)

The deadline for the Beard Hunter: Stroke of Evil contest is coming up fast, so be sure to get your entries in by midnight tomorrow (Tuesday, Feb. 26) if you want a chance at scoring a copy of the Doom Patrol Vol. 4: Musclebound trade. You can get the details here.

So, The Spirit #14? Not great. This was disappointing for a couple of reasons, not least of which is that the lackluster issue confirmed the lowered expectations of a lot of readers.

Darwyn Cooke reinvigorated Will Eisner's most iconic creation with his outstanding scripts and art, with both somehow updating the character and his cast while keeping a definite pulp vibe. His 12-issue run was simply a superior bit of storytelling, and seemed to pull off the impossible by tapping into everything that people love about The Spirit and still putting his personal stamp on it.

When it was announced the creative team behind Groo (Mark Evanier and Sergio Aragones), along with Eisner protégé Mike Ploog, would be taking over the title ... well, reaction was mixed. Which sums up the first issue from the new guys pretty well. The pacing seemed stilted, and characterization and dialogue often came across as surprisingly tone-deaf. And the art, while certainly being evocative of Eisner's work itself, was solid but questionable when it came to character design. Overall, it was a discouraging issue.

Some quick questions that occurred to me while reading The Spirit #14:

Why is Dolan suddenly an attention-hungry buffoon? He may look like a walking cartoon, but he's never been stupid.

Why does Ebony (now "E.B" for some reason) have buck teeth? At the least, it seems like an unfortunate throwback.

Also, why is Ebony so preoccupied with eating? This feels like the writers are trying to inject humor into the story, but at the expense of making the character a little moronic. It's a bad move.

It's not fair to compare one group of creator's work with another's, but even if it wasn't in the shadow of Cooke's run this issue would still suffer. I might — might — pick up #15 to see if there's any improvement, but if there isn't I'll be dropping The Spirit like a hot rock.

Speaking of Will Eisner, I read The Plot: The Secret Story of The Protocols of The Elders of Zion over the weekend, and it's what you'd expect from someone who's credited with basically inventing the graphic novel form. At turns frightening, anger-inducing and, ultimately, sad but hopeful, The Plot is fitting as a final legacy for the comics legend (the book was his last before his death in 2005).

Detailing the real-life history of a false manifesto of a completely fabricated "secret Jewish campaign" to rule the world, the book is pure Eisner in terms of an economical writing style and some truly beautiful artwork. In all honestly, this book should be on school curricula across the country, if not around the world, for its enlightening look at one of the undying demons of racism. If you haven't already, go read it.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The con that ate Austin

If you happen to be anywhere near the Austin area next weekend and you have any love for comics or the small press, I'm guessing Staple! has already been added to your to-do list. If not — what's the matter with you?

Staple! is a great little expo that gets bigger every year, and features the talent of both local and national creators. This year's big names are Eric Powell (who provided the art for the 2008 version of the Staplegator) and Brian Wood, and favorites like David Malki, Danielle Corsetto and Scott Kurtz are scheduled to be there, too (check out the link for more details).

One of the things I always like about Staple! is how laid-back the whole thing tends to be; the creators are always very cool and willing to just kind of hang out with attendees, and there's usually a good mix of participants to check out. Austin's a good comic book and media town, and it's not uncommon to run into folks like Paul Benjamin, Harry Knowles and Rivkah. All in all, it's a lot of fun for a $5 ticket. Seriously, if you think about it that's just ridiculous.

I plan on being there this year, so let me know if you might be going — it'd be cool to meet up!

And really, doesn't that Eric Powell poster kick 10 kinds of ass?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday Night Fights: The Paladin goes medieval!

The Paladin, who should definitely NOT be confused with any captains from America, knew how to deal with Nazis while fighting for the Allies during World War II.

Hmm ... it feels like I'm forgetting someth ...

There it is!

Everyone knows Stan Lee got his ideas from Bahlactus ...

Following a link? You can read more of Great Caesar's Post here (there's a contest going on!).

Panels from "I, Paladin," originally published online by Flashback Universe.
Chad Bowers, writer; Pierre Villeneuve, artist and plotter

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Roll call!

Inexplicably and certainly unexpectedly, I was seized by the sudden urge to update my blogroll over there on the right. Actually, it's been in the back of my mind for a while but I finally got around to it — tomahto, tomahteeyo, right?

I ended up adding a bunch of blogs that I enjoy reading, as well as a couple of new categories. Just to make sure they're not overlooked, here (in no particular order ... unless you think "alphabetical" is an "order") are the fellow bloggers now on the list:

4th Letter

Armagideon Time


Collected Editions

Comics Fondle

Funnybook Babylon

Hero Sandwich

Matching Dragoons

Not Blog X

Occasional Superheroine

Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine

Polite Dissent

Prospero's Manga

Siskoid's Blog of Geekery

The Johnny Bacardi Show

Like I mentioned, there are a couple of new categories, too: "Resources," which has links to search engine Ask Cerebra and the Tales From the Longbox comic blog updates feed; and "Podcasts," where you can get some of the best cake and pie recipes on the web. Ha! I kid! There's no pie, but plenty of comics talk at Staple Pop and the Comic Pants podcasts.

A bunch of these are blogs I've been following for a while and just haven't gotten around to linking, and some are sites I've just recently discovered; if you see anything that's new to you, give 'em a try and support your pal the comics blogger.

Stroke of Evil: Don't forget to enter!

I just wanted to remind everyone that I'm having a little contest here at Great Caesar's Post in honor of the wacky fun that is the Beard Hunter!

Remember, a copy of Doom Patrol Vol. 4: Musclebound is up for grabs, so be sure to enter. And in case you don't know what the hell I'm talking about, you can find out everything you need to know about Grant Morrison's story of beard-centric vigilantism by reading the GCP series of posts!

Here are the details: Send me a picture of yourself stroking your own evil beard in an evil manner (as the bearded evilly do), and the best one will get a copy of the Doom Patrol Vol. 4: Musclebound paperback, featuring the story of the Beard Hunter! And since fake beards are allowed, nobody gets left out — just be creative!

You can enter by posting your photo to your blog and sending me a link in the comments section of this post, or e-mail your photo to maxoromero [at] gmail [dot] com: A winner will be announced Wednesday, February 27, featuring the winning picture. Good luck!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

WTF Wednesday: The Beard Hunter takes it on the chin!

I hope you're lathered up and ready to go, Stubbles — it's time for the fourth and final installment of ...

WTF Wednesday Presents:
The Beard Hunter!

As we know from the last episode, the Beard Hunter has been pulled from his lonely ... oh, so lonely ... war on facial hair to take down a specific target — leader of the Doom Patrol, Niles Caulder! Having so far dodged the Beard Hunter in the aisles of the grocery store he was ambushed in, Caulder is on the run from the mighty Razor of Vengeance.

Meanwhile, the Beard Hunter's earlier escapades haven't escaped notice, and the cops are on his trail! Yes, cops ... with mustaches.

That guy looks like Stalin! At least his mom will stick up for this troubled and complex man, right? And at last someone will be able to shed some light on the five 'o clock shadow of his soul!

Uh ... aaaanyway, if you think our hero would be bothered to hear this, think again! As he trails the scraggly Caulder through the store, Ernest Franklin is already making plans for the blood money he'll be receiving from the Bearded Gentlemen's Club of Metropolis. Plans so nefarious, they're almost inhuman — self-publishing!

Caulder has been up to his own plans though, laying a devious trap composed of exposed wiring, aluminum foil and corn flakes. Finally, the Beard Hunter has Caulder in his sights, closing in for the kill and then, in an act of bitter irony ...


As the curtain closes on the Beard Hunter, he has time to reflect and ponders how many volts that was, anyway (his guess? "A lot."), and laments the fact that he never got around to dating. And then, a bright light and he sees the face of his heavenly reward.

Sonuva ...

Turn your shaving mugs over, my friends, and join me in honoring this bane of the bristled, our fallen warrior ... the Beard Hunter!


And now, a rare look inside the rat's nest that is the Bearded Gentlemen's Club of Metropolis:

Click to see Moore!

Heeeey ... that dude in the middle looks familiar ...


I had so much fun with this series, I want to share it! Send me a picture of yourself stroking your own evil beard in an evil manner (as the bearded evilly do), and the best one will get a copy of the Doom Patrol Vol. 4: Musclebound paperback, featuring the story of the Beard Hunter! And don't feel left out, ladies! Fake beards are allowed (the better to infiltrate the BGCM) — just be creative!

You can enter by posting your photo to your blog and sending me a link in the comments section of this post, or e-mail your photo to maxoromero [at] gmail [dot] com: A winner will be announced next Wednesday, February 27, featuring the winning picture! Good luck!

Panels from Doom Patrol #45
Grant Morrison, writer; Vince Giarrano, penciller; Malcolm Jones III, inker

Pollyanna posting

There's another blog fight making the rounds that seems to be dying out pretty quickly, and I'm grateful for that because, honestly? Sometimes you guys kill some of the joy I have for comics.

I'm not talking about this debate or the people involved in it, in particular. This is something that's been bothering me lately, even thought it's really nothing new. I'm talking about the people who seem to be fueled by nothing but anger, the people who seem to get a juvenile joy out of pushing other people's buttons, and the people who would rather jump to conclusions instead of actually listening to somebody else.

This isn't to devalue anyone's opinion, especially where it concerns an important topic such as race, women's issues or matters of sexuality. These are things that need to be addressed in the comics we read — but I don't think they need to be addressed in every comic we read. I think if we try to include every cause and concern we have into every title, we run the risk of excluding someone else, especially if we get caught up in the heat that flares up in some our cross-blog "discussions." Not all comics are going to satisfy everyone, but we've got choices about what we read, and we've got voices to express our displeasure — and yes, sometimes our anger — when something just flat-out offends us. As readers, these are our tools — not weapons — and it's up to us to use them responsibly.

Are there things that need to be changed? Without a doubt. I'm always excited that Blue Beetle is Hispanic, and a little saddened that the only other Hispanic character that made that kind of impact on me was from comics that are now at least 30 years old. But do I see improvement? Yes, even if it is slow and often hamstrung by the proverbial two steps back.

Gah — that's already more than I meant to say about this, but I hope it will be taken in the spirit in which it's written. Essentially, it's this: We all share a love of comics, and whether it's capes, indies, manga, what have you, we should remember that we have that in common.

EDIT to add:

It's been pointed out to me that this post (originally uploaded Feb. 18) might be a little unclear, so I wanted to make sure there's no misunderstanding. I'm not saying readers or bloggers should be passive consumers who should just be happy they're getting their comics — hell no. If nobody argues, if no one points out the ways readers are being taken for granted, then problems will never be solved.

What I am saying, though, is that arguments should be reasonable and intelligent, not just the garbled screaming of a raw nerve that's been touched. That's counterproductive and, frankly, bullshit. People should be able to debate as much as they want — just don't be an ass about it, whether you're leaving a comment or you're the original poster.

Finally, as I mentioned above, the idiocy of a simple mistake being somehow unnecessarily blown up into a back-and-forth about race wasn't what made me write this post. But, the misguidedness that led to it was a last straw for me. Luckily, a comment from David Brothers seemed to defuse the whole thing, which is a great example of what I'm talking about.

Basically, it's this: Just because we read comics, that doesn't mean we can't act like grown-ups.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday Night Fights: When gods cry!

As you might've guessed from my ongoing series on the sublime insanity that is The Beard Hunter, I'm a fan of Grant Morrison. Some may grouse about his sometimes silly, often obscure style of storytelling, but there's no denying he's written some of the most imaginative and thoughtful stuff out there.

Plus, he's the man behind a lot of my favorite stories, and not just the Doom Patrol run. There's also Kill Your Boyfriend, The Invisibles, Seaguy, We3, Seven Soldiers of Victory and All Star Superman, and a whole bunch of other titles I'm leaving out. A lot of it is fun, most has an underlying theme you have to really think about, and a disturbing number of them end with the reader saying, "Whu ...?"

The guy's deep, is what I'm saying. So consider this my excuse if my description of Vimanarama doesn't do the book justice.

In this three-issue mini-series, an enormous hole has opened beneath the Bradford, England store of a Muslim family. After a baby accidentally opens the gates holding back the evil Fireborn warriors, Ali and Sofia almost as accidentally summon the Ultrahadeen, the Indian avatars of light and love, and the sworn enemies of the Fireborn.

You'd think that'd be enough, right? Oh-ho, not if you're Morrison. It turns out that Sofia is the stranger Ali is supposed to wed in a pre-arranged marriage, AND she's also the reincarnation of the beloved of Prince Ben Rama, the leader of the Ultrahadeen. Or something like that — my head's starting to hurt.

What's important is that Sofia doesn't remember anything about any past lives, and she thinks Ali is kinda dreamy, in a loserly way.

Prince Ben Rama doesn't take this well: Are you prepared for a world where ...


Click, if you're gonna whine about it ...

Yeah, I gotta tell you man, that line never works. Now pick yourself up, princess, before you really do something to embarrass yourse ...

Prince Ben Rama, taken down by a dead leaf ... and a broken heart!! That's an emo knockout in anybody's book.

Bahlactus is man enough to cry ... but he won't.

Following a link? You can read more of Great Caesar's Post here!


Like any good Bollywood movie, Vimanarama not only features foliage-on-deity violence; there's also a hot-'n-steamy three-way love scene!

OK, more like two-and-a-quarter.

Panels from Vimanarama #2
Grant Morrison, writer; Philip Bond, artist

Thursday, February 14, 2008

It was love at first sight

Panel from Superman Through The Ages one-shot
Originally published in Action Comics #1
Jerry Siegel, writer; Joe Shuster, artist

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

WTF Wednesday: The Beard Hunter feels the burn!

Hey everyone! Put down that stubble-filled Hemingway and pick up your aftershave, it's time for the third installment of ...

WTF Wednesday Presents:
The Beard Hunter!

When we last saw our anti-hero, he was nursing his wounded pride (thanks, mom) with body-building magazines, hunting knives and body oil, but after receiving a cryptic letter from The Bearded Gentlemen's Club of Metropolis we find The Beard Hunter deep in enemy territory!

What could lure The Beard Hunter into the headquarters of an organization that would paint beards on their mirrors to "teach beardless visitors the error of their ways," and which once tried to dump beard tonic into the reservoirs to create a bearded city? Ernest Franklin keeps his lunch down long enough to learn that The Bearded Gentlemen have contacted him because they have a common foe; leader of the Doom Patrol, Niles Caulder!

Caulder should have known better than to defy the will of the BGCM! When he "lost the use of his beard," it made perfect sense that the group would want to buy his orphaned follicles — to refuse was a slap in the club's whiskery face!

Behold ... the Blue Beard of Happiness!Soon, The Beard Hunter is ... er, on the hunt, catching up to Caulder in a supermarket. It's on now!

Have I mentioned that Niles Caulder is confined to a wheelchair? It doesn't seem to matter much as the wily beardo manages to avoid The Beard Hunter's wildly spraying Uzi and lays a trap of sunflower oil that sends the vigilante on his ass and into a display of canned goods. And even worse, Caulder adds insult to injury by using The Beard Hunter's own weaponry against him!

But even as Caulder makes his escape, The Beard Hunter is confident he will catch his prey. In fact, he's so confident he stops to make preparations for the end-game with a ritual observed and venerated by vigilantes everywhere.

Click for more Wessonality!

Next week: Dénouement! Or — Is this the end for The Beard Hunter?!

Panels from Doom Patrol #45
Grant Morrison, writer; Vince Giarrano, penciller; Malcolm Jones III, inker

The Pull List: (2-13-08): Seriously, Barry?!

Whoops! Where does the time go? A busy day means a quick-and dirty pull list this week, but if you see anything you'd like to talk about, why not drop me a line in the comments? There is some fun stuff coming out today, and manga makes a particularly strong showing, as well as a certain German World War I fighter pilot.

And to make up for the leaner list, please enjoy the double entendre stylings of Ted Kord:

To the list!

This week ...

Atomic Robo #5

Booster Gold #0 (preview!)

Jack Staff #14

Wonder Woman #17

Maybe ...

Beowulf Vol. 1 (another preview!)

Dark Metro Vol. 1 (even more preview!)

Trading Up ...
(Titles I either am, or will be, picking up in trade)

100 Bullets #88

B.P.R.D.: 1946 #2

Recommended ...

Crossing Midnight Vol. 2: A Map of Midnight

Showcase Presents: Enemy Ace Vol. 1

Uzumaki Vol. 3

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

So long, Steve

The groundbreaking Steve Gerber, creator of Howard the Duck, Omega the Unknown and so much more, died Sunday due to complications stemming from pulmonary fibrosis. Personally, I thought his work on Hard Time, the longest lasting title from DC's fleeting Focus imprint, was one of the more interesting and intelligent things the company had put out for a long time.

Gerber's influence will be missed, but I'd like to think his work will endure and continue to inspire.

Mark Evanier and Tom Spurgeon have excellent write-ups on the life and often irreverent times of Steve Gerber, so give them a read, and then find some back-issues and treat yourself to some of Gerber's work itself. You — and I think Gerber — will be glad you did.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Third time still a charm?

If you follow this sort of thing, you probably already know DC's plans to launch yet another weekly series once Countdown wraps up. This time around the series (which will be called Trinity) will focus on the Big Three, namely Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. Shorter backup stories will also be featured.

This is all well and good, and frankly sounds more interesting than Countdown ever did, but I have to ask: Do we really need another weekly series?

Personally speaking, I'm not sure I could afford committing to a weekly, in terms of either money or interest. Plus, Countdown was weaker than 52, which isn't exactly inspiring. What happens when you take a concept and make a copy of a copy of a copy? And will this really stand on its own (as it's being touted), or will it just end up another way to tie in the overblown "events" DC (and Marvel) are so fond of nowadays?

I don't know about you, but for me the idea of another "big" weekly book is a lot less charming the third time around.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Seven-day Spotlight: It lives!!

After a brief hiatus, the Seven-day Spotlight is back and ready to roll! The tires have been rotated and fluids have been topped off, so let's take a spin around the comic blogs block and see what caught my eye this week:

Seriously guys, Ken Lowery's point isn't really about Doctor Who or Russell T. Davies. Seriously. (via Dorian) (Andrew had something to say about the whole thing, too.)

Brian Hughes illustrates why "Hulk vs Thing" will always be a classic match-up.

Wow, have I been staring at Kevin and Birdie's Rack for a year already?! Time flies, eh?

Brainfreeze looks back to get a handle on the future of kids and comics.

Who could know more about fun than everyone's favorite li'l stuffed bull? Bully wraps up his Fun Fifty of 2007 (and don't forget to read the rest of the entries!).

That Sims — what a softy.

Batman tangles with El Bolo! Muchas gracias, Mike Sterling!

Gah! Friggin' clowns, man! Thanks for the Golden Age nightmares, Pappy.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Friday Night Fights: You'll put an eye out!

Thanks to the attention movies like Cloverfield and The Host have been getting, you might be asking yourself, "What can I do to defend myself and my community (and I guess that jerk, Johnson) from a giant monster attack?"

If you're Fin Fang Foom and you and your fellow shrunk-to-human size pals have access to the Fantastic Four's flying bathtub, the answer is simple.

You throw Gorgilla at 'em.

Panels from Fin Fang Four one-shot

Wait for it ...


Waaaaiiiit for it ...

Got 'im!! How do you like them apples, Johnson?!

But, you say, I'm not Fin Fang Foom and I don't have access to the Fantastic Four's flying bathtub! Or Gorgilla! What do I do?!

Um ... hide behind Bahlactus?

Following a link? You can read more of Great Caesar's Post here!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

WTF Wednesday: The Beard Hunter - on the razor's edge!

Welcome back, fans of the weird, to the clean-shaven oddity that is ...

WTF Wednesday Presents:
The Beard Hunter!

"Beard Hunter?" you might ask — "What the hell's a Beard Hunter?"

"THE Beard Hunter" (thank you very much) is the sort of satire only Grant Morrison could've cooked up during his warped run on Doom Patrol, and it's one of the crazier characters he came up with — which, if you've read his Doom Patrol stories, is saying something.

In this stand-alone story, vigilante Ernest Franklin is an urban hunter, a misunderstood soldier waging a lonely war — against facial hair. Why? Why target the bearded, the mustachioed, even (or maybe especially) the goateed? Because those guys are obviously assholes, that's why.

After shooting a comic shop patron from a nearby rooftop for saying, "Ron McMurray, award-winning writer/artist on 'The Glo Worm' didn't understand the elementary rules of grammar," our anti-hero shaves off his victim's Van Dyke and leaves him silky smooth on the hood of a car. Unfortunately for him, he's also dead.

You'd think that would earn this gritty punisher of evil some respect, but you'd be oh-so-wrong. After getting hassled on the street by some cross-dressing hookers ("They were lucky. No beards.") he goes back to headquarters. Which happens to be his mother's house. Can't a guy just go home to spend time with his stuffed dog and body-building magazines?

Moooom!!! Jeez!!

Next week: Who is the man with the blue beard, and what does he want with The Beard Hunter?!?

Panel from Doom Patrol #45
Grant Morrison, writer; Vince Giarrano, penciller; Malcolm Jones III, inker

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Pull List (2-6-08): Counting down to OMAC

You know what's the hardest part about putting this thing together? The introduc ... to the list!

Countdown Special: OMAC: So, I haven't been reading Countdown, or any of the Countdown related one-shots, not out of any real ambivalence but mostly just out of a severe case of disinterest. When it first started I tried to figure out what exactly it was counting down to, but then decided I didn't care, especially when several reviews started detailing it as confused and aimless and — worst of all — boring.

It figures it would take something like the One Man Army Corps to break my streak.

How mind-blowing is the very concept of OMAC? Man, OMAC is a character with a name that says it all; when Jack Kirby called him a one-man army corps, he wasn't screwing around. Set sometime in the near-future, OMAC is pure, mohawked Kirby genius, pitting a relentless hero against the kind of off-the-scale action and weirdness that has to be read to be appreciated. Even though there's only one of Kirby's stories featured in this one-shot anthology (a full collection of his run is set for release soon), that alone makes it a good place to start if you're new to the world of Buddy Blank and Brother Eye.

The rest ...

Justice Society of America #12

Metal Men #6

Vinyl Underground #5

North Wind #2

Wasteland #14

Maybe ...

Incognegro: An interesting idea, but one that can either be a thoughtful starting point for discussion, or something that will deliver shallow pontificating at the end of a sledgehammer. Personally, I'm hoping for the best with this story of a black reporter investigating the arrest of his brother by using his lighter skin tone to "pass" for a white man in the early-20th century's American South. The concept is fantastic, and I'm curious to see if the story itself holds up. Curious? Check out the preview.

Gyakushu! Vol. 2: I enjoyed the first volume of Dan Hipp's sorta-samurai revenge manga, but I'm not sure it grabbed me enough to pick up the second. While a lot of interesting groundwork was laid, along with a couple of satisfying fight scenes, for the most part it left me wondering if there was really anything there. The art was great but most of the book seemed to be a series of drawn-out character introductions, and the flashback-within-flashback story structure slowed things down just when the plot seemed as if it should be ramping up. Seriously, I liked it — I just don't know if I liked it enough. (The preview, though, looks awesome.)

Scud: The Disposable Assassin: Man, I used to love Scud — 10 years ago! That is a hell of a long time to wait for a follow-up, and frankly I'm a little worried that — like that hot girl you used to dig — it just won't be the same now. It'll be hard, but I just might end up waiting for the promised omnibus instead. I just hope it doesn't take another decade.

Trading up ...
(These are titles I either am, or will be, picking up in trade)

Abe Sapien: The Drowning #1

Recommended ...

Pantheon High Vol. 2: I pretty much like everything about the first volume of this manga written by local boy Paul Benjamin (y'know, the guy behind Marvel Adventures: Hulk, among other goodness). The art is the standard "manga-style" most people are familiar with, but the story of the children of gods from various cultures going to high school is funny, clever and peppered with just the right amount of action and panty-shots to pull it all together. I've been waiting for the second volume, and thankfully that wait is over. If you're already a fan of manga, or if you've been wondering what all the fuss is about, Pantheon High is worth adding to your list. Want to see for yourself? Read a preview of volume 1!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Hulk rehydrate puny human!

Earlier today, I was sitting at my desk contemplating Spider-Man.

It wasn't about the implications of the One More Day storyline, or how off the mark the last movie turned out. Mostly, it was along of the lines of, "They put that little figure in a cool pose." And then, as I glanced at a plastic Green Lantern ring while reaching for my drink I thought, "I've got a lot of superhero crap in here."

And making a special appearance - the GL ring!And I keep adding to it. Because I wasn't reaching for just any cup — I was reaching for a Hulk Slurpee cup. Last week I rediscovered the movie-related cup waaaay in the back of one of my kitchen cabinets, where I'd tucked it away the last time my wife threatened to throw it away, and decided to bring it to work. I can't really blame my wife for wanting to throw this cup away; it's unwieldy and there's always been an aftertaste that's best described as "funky."

But it's a Hulk cup and I've refused to give it up. Plus, it's a COLOR-CHANGING cup. OK, it really only changes from a light green to a darker green, but mainly that's to show the transformation of Bruce Banner to the Hulk with some nifty overlay, shading and the application of ice-cold slush. (Though I may have — ahem — ruined that by running it through the dishwasher too many times.) If you look closely, you can still see the Hulks' face hidden in Banner's chest and hip.

Man, I cannot wait to see what kind of search results that turns up.

I've tried to my desk at work from overflowing with comic book stuff, but it tends to creep in until, like memos and take-out menus, they seem to be everywhere. I know I'm not the only one, so let me know in the comments what kind of comic book ephemera you have littering your work space. And if you post about it I'll update here with the links.

Blech. That water really does taste funky.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Friday Night Fights: Either way, Superman will make you cry

If Superman ever decided to drop reporting as his day job, he'd make a hell of a motivational speaker.

Panel from Action Comics #565

Well, as long as you need the motivation to smack the crap out of someone in Kryptonian battle armor.

Wait a minute — what am I saying? Bahlactus already leads a weekly seminar on crackin' heads!

Following a link? Read more of the Post here!