Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Rebirth: New life for the old Flash could be good for everyone

When Flash: Rebirth #1 is released tomorrow, it will be something of a family reunion for me.

Like most comic book geeks, I have "my" versions of legacy superheroes, and in the case of the Flash, Barry Allen is mine. Barry Allen — square, straight-arrow, "boring" ol' Barry — is the first Flash I experienced. He was the one I grew up with. The one I pretended to be when I'd try to snatch something out of the air before it could hit the ground.

But this doesn't mean I don't have any room in my personal Flash Museum for Wally West and Jay Garrick (though I could never warm up to Bart Allen). When Barry sacrificed himself in Crisis on Infinite Earths to save the universe ... well, it made sense. It was exactly the sort of thing the character would do, and it also made perfect sense that Wally — who had been Barry's protégé as Kid Flash — would carry on in his fallen mentor's place.

I especially appreciated the way Wally was distinct from Barry, rather than just a carboard plug-in used to fill a suddenly empty speedster slot. Where Barry was the classic selfless hero, Wally was usually just fun — and more than even Barry, Wally seemed to cement the idea of a Flash Family.

I'm hoping Wally doesn't suddenly become marginalized by Barry's return — but as a fan, I'm willing to risk it. Does that make me a typical fanboy? I hope not. But I can't deny I'm excited to see what Geoff Johns does with the resurrection of the Silver Age Flash, particularly since I thought he already pulled off the impossible by bringing back Hal Jordan as Green Lantern (again, my GL).

Which brings me to what I would most like to see in the Flash reboot; more Flashes. When Johns brought Hal back from the hell that was the Spectre storyline, he didn't suddenly jettison Guy Gardner, John Stewart and Kyle Rayner. If anything, he helped further define those characters, and then expanded on the whole GL Corps concept. I don't see why something similar can't be done for the Flash Family. Ever since Barry met Jay, there really hasn't been just one Flash in the DCU — why should there only be two?

It may not be obvious, but I'm not one of those comic book fans who thinks things were better back in the day. As I said, Barry's death made sense and I was perfectly content to let him stay dead. And if it was almost any other writer than Johns, I'd most likely be a lot more suspect than enthusiastic.

But as it is, I'll be happy to welcome back Barry Allen tomorrow — as long as it doesn't mean saying good-bye to anyone else calling themselves the Flash, too.

What do you think of Barry Allen's revival? Let me know in the comments, and be sure to vote for your Flash in the sidebar poll. And while you're at it, take a look at Ron Richards' "6 Questions That Flash: Rebirth Needs to Answer" at iFanboy for some interesting thoughts on the Scarlet Speedster's return.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Cover Up: Wolverine #4 (of 4)

I love this cover, for no other reason than it's one of the few cover depictions of Wolverine in which he's not popping his goddamn claws.

Oh, alright — I also like the fact the Wolverine #4 (of 4) cover plays up the idea of Logan embracing a samurai-style mindset, which is my favorite iteration of the character. The art by Frank Miller is lean and expressive (moreso in the actual issue than in this bare-bones cover), and manages to give Wolverine a playfully dangerous appearance.

Speaking of a dangerous appearance, if you take a not-so-close look at the image it's probably obvious my copy has seen better days. But considering it's been through a basement flood, at least five moves and the irony-laden horror of being crushed by a pile of comics, it's remarkable that it has survived at all. Truly, Wolverine cannot be killed.

Oh, and one more thing; the first two issues of this mini-series? Total claw-poppin'.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Can you smell what the Hulk is cooking?!?

Whew, nothing like a stale wrestling reference to freshen things up after a week without updates, right? Sorry about the radio silence, guys — some family business and a pile of work that just got bigger during the few days I was out of town did a nifty job of keeping me from posting. Things seem to be settling down a bit, so hopefully I'll be back on what I laughingly call my "schedule" next week.

But hey, you didn't come here to hear me cry about not blogging; you came here to see the Hulk make an elephantman cry. Well, you're in luck!

The next time someone is debating whether or not the Hulk is more man than monster, they should remember the time he actually made a Dumbo reference in the middle of a fight.

Spacebooger once saw a needle that winked its eye — so he punched it.

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

Panel from The Incredible Hulk #253

Bill Mantlo, writer; Sal Buscema, artist

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Night Fights: Who's hungry for some Conan?

Luckily for fans of the sullen-eyed Cimmerian, Conan is not the guy getting his face chomped on by a blood-thirsty swamp fiend. No, that dubious honor goes to an unnamed and unlucky sap who thought his friends were right when they said tying Conan up and taking him prisoner would be a good idea.

We can see how that turned out for Conan's captors: After all, who do you think encouraged them to take a shortcut through the swamp in the first place?

Oh, Conan — you rascal!

If you're looking for more high-spirited (and highly painful) hijinks, Spacebooger is happy to provide.

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

Panel from The Savage Sword of Conan #172

Chuck Dixon, writer; Mike Docherty, penciller; Ian Akin and Brian Garvey, inkers

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

WTF Wednesday: Every little thing he does is magic

From now on, I'm entering every room just like this.

Panel from Deathmate: Blue (#2)
Joe St. Pierre, writer; Sean Chen, penciller; Kathryn Bolinger, inker

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Seaguy finally resurfaces (and it's about damn time)

After a wait of almost — holy shit — FIVE YEARS, we'll finally see the bizarre and utterly engaging Seaguy return to comic book stands in a few weeks with Seaguy: Slaves of Mickey Eye #1.

In case you're not familiar with the title, Seaguy is the charming and oddly sinister story of a guy named Seaguy, a hero in a world so seemingly perfect it doesn't have any use for heroes. Bored, frustrated and at a loss as to what it all means, Seaguy longs for adventure and answers despite the ministration of the suspiciously benevolent Mickey Eye.

Sounds kinda weird, right? Well, this only scratches the surface of a story that also involves a hovering talking tuna, sentient food and the personification of Death. I can tell you this; whatever you think it is, it's not what you're expecting. But it's great in that nutty Grant Morrison way (oh, did I forget to mention Morrison writes this?), and the art by Cameron Stewart is so good it hurts.

The beginning of the second arc in what's supposed to be a Seaguy trilogy is scheduled for an April 1 release, and it's sure to be well worth your while. I'm not sure going into it cold would be a good idea, though, so you might want to dig up the the first arc before diving in (ha! see what I did there, with the "diving" and ... eh, shut it).

And in the meantime, MySpace Comic Books just published an exclusive interview with Morrison, featuring Stewart's art from the upcoming Seaguy: Slaves of Mickey Eye #1. It's good stuff and gives a pretty solid sense of what you can probably expect from the series, so go check it out.

By the way, did I mention Seaguy hates the sea?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cover Up: Tank Girl #2 (Vol. 2)

As far as I'm concerned, no other cover sums up the spirit of Tank Girl quite like this one.

Your mileage may vary and all that, but the cover of Tank Girl #2 (Vol. 2) by original artist and co-creator Jamie Hewlett is pure energy (but not Pure Energy) and distills the essence of the comic to its misshapen core of cramped and overheated insanity.

Hewlett tends to be one of those artists comic book readers either love or hate, and I fall firmly in the first category. His characters are always delightfully — often manically — expressive, and the work in his Tank Girl books would dare readers to keep up as it veered from style to style, using anything from rough sketches to hyper-detailed linework to collage, sometimes drenched in the most lurid colors you could imagine. (The mainstream would later be introduced to Hewlett's character design and slightly sinister style with his co-created "virtual" band Gorillaz.)

Some people could complain this cover is too busy, and there is a hell of a lot going on here. But I don't think any of it is wasted or superfluous. Ever seen those film clips of bombs being dropped from airplanes during World War II? The cover gives the reader a view of what it would be like to be in the middle of that insane downpour of munitions, as well as of the cigar-chomping tank pilot with the cracked goggles flying right through it.

But that's just the first thing to hit you. This cover is all about the details, from the bloody bandage on Tank Girl's leg to her furiously jabbing thumbs, mashing the fire buttons arcade-style. And don't forget the various stickers ("My Other Tank Is Crap") and decorations (my favorite is the pennant boasting that "She Came 1st") that are as much a part of the tank's design as the treads and chopper-inspired back-rest.

The cover to Tank Girl #2 is excess — which, when you think about it, is at the heart of Tank Girl itself. Sometimes too much is just right.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday Night Fights: Kalibak is a big John Cusack fan

OK, Kalibak, you've made it to the final round and you have a chance to win the game! You've chosen "80s Movies" as your category so let's begin.

For $800 and a year's supply of Turtle Wax® brand Club Polish, ring in and finish the title of this film: "Better Off ..."

I don't know what hurts more, the Fourth World beating or that joke.

Still, for sheer cosmic-level brutality it's hard to beat the King, a lesson Orion learns after Kalibak hits him so hard half his face disappears!

Something tells me Spacebooger would approve.

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

Panel from Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus: Vol. 3
Jack Kirby, writer and artist

Thursday, March 12, 2009

What's at the top of the comic book mountain?

So the other day I received an e-mail that was both hellish and irresistible, like chocolate-covered crack delivered straight to the inbox.

Steve of I Was Ben had a question: Considering all the talk going around about Watchmen being the apex of the medium, what do you think is the pinnacle of the comic book form?

On its face, it's a straight-forward question. But in the depths of my geeky soul (and, I'm assuming, yours now), the torture began. Lists were made and discarded, foreheads were slapped whenever another title was remembered, and second-guessing ran rampant. Almost like asking a parent to choose their favorite child, or to decide between Coke or Pepsi (Mr. Pibb, duh), this was — as even Adrian Veidt might put it — "a toughie."

What was my answer (besides vaguely ambiguous)? Go check out Steve's post at I Was Ben to find out, as well as to get the thoughtful opinions of our pal The Fortress Keeper and Teresa of In Sequence. While you're at it, leave your own picks in the I Was Ben comments; I think we'd all be interested to hear some more points of view.

Speaking of which, you should also take a look at blog-buddy Kevin Church's recent post on good comics for new readers — there isn't a stinker in the bunch, and there are some solid suggestions in the comments, too (Vimanarama! God, I love that one!)

Now give it some thought, and let's hear it!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Morrison and Quitely? To the Batcave, chum!

Most people probably know about this already, but I'm pretty excited about the news that Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely will be the creative team for the new Batman & Robin series. Slated to launch in June, the title will be coming on the heels of the pairs' excellent All Star Superman, which combined Morrison's sky-high concepts with Quitely's best art to date.

These two work extremely well together, and seem to have that rare alchemy that brings out the best in each other. And no offense to All Star Batman & Robin's #1 fan, but I think this will be the series ASBAR should have been.


via Robot 6

Monday, March 9, 2009

Between here and there

I'll be on the road most of today, but regular posting will pick up again tomorrow. So it's a date? Awesome!

As usual, whenever we here at GCP HQ are gearing up for a road trip, we like to remember the words of that highway philosopher and asphalt poet ... Mr. Oliver Queen:

You said it, Ollie ... you said it.

Back tomorrow, kids!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

It never gets old

From the always-excellent Agents of Atlas (issue #2)
Jeff Parker, writer; Carlos Pagulayan, Jason Paz and Jana Schirmer, artists

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The return of Staple! and other items of interest (plus a question!)

I don't go to a lot of comic book conventions, but Staple! is one I try hard not to miss.

Staple! is an expo for independently produced comics and other self-published literature, art and any other creative endeavor that fits the vibe of a hip mini-con, here in Austin, Texas. I have an unnatural love for Staple!, and though I've said it before, it really does get bigger and better with each year.

This year is the fifth for the expo, and the organizers have some pretty exciting guests lined up. At the top of the bill is Stan Sakai, legendary creator of Usagi Yojimbo (and this year's Staplegator logo). If I can keep from going into a fanboy coma, I'm really looking forward to meeting him. He'll also be joined by Chris Onstad (of Achewood fame) and Jeffrey Brown (Incredible Change-Bots and other great comics) — not to mention a host of other guests and vendors. You can get the latest information on guests and programming at the Web site.

If you're anywhere near the Austin area, I recommend carving out a couple of hours to take in what's ultimately a very cool meeting of the comic book-minded.

Speaking of very cool, the Staple! podcasts are being taken care of by the guys over at Dial-A-Stranger, which is itself one of my favorite regular podcasts. The concept is simple; people e-mail or call in with queries on ... well, anything ... and then hosts Mercedes and Zach randomly call someone from a list of other people who have volunteered to take a question.

It sounds simple and it is, but the interaction between the hosts and the person on the other end of the line is frequently hilarious and often poignant.

It's also well worth a listen.

So, Scans-Daily was shut down, huh? I only went to the site a few times — usually when someone else's blog linked to it — so I can't pretend to know too much about it. But I do know that a lot of the people who populated S_D tended to skirt the definition of Fair Use and made a lot of noise, both about how creators didn't know how to use their own characters and about how the posters had some sort of right to do whatever they wanted with someone else's work.

Let me say right off that I'm a big free speech and fair use guy. But that doesn't mean that anything created by anyone else is mine to use as I will. It's illegal and it's disprespectful to the creator. And to not only post almost complete (and in some cases, entirely complete) issues online AND THEN crow about it ... well, that just isn't very smart and you deserved to get shut down. No amount of hand-wringing, cries of man-hate (I didn't even realize S_D was supposed to be a "female space" until recently) or claims of comic book evangelism will change that.

Lisa Fortuner and Andrew Weiss have very good points to make about the whole thing, so go check it out. For myself, I'm sorry people will miss their sense of community, but I'm not sorry to see Scans_Daily go. I tend to avoid message boards and the like because they always seem to end up making me depressed and angry; we'll see how long the mods can keep some of the more interesting new boards to pop up in S_D's place from spinning out of control.

You may have noticed (or not — what am I, a mind-reader?) that there were some strange goings-on here at the blog yesterday. Blogger has been giving me more and more trouble lately, so I ask you, Internet: Is it time to switch to Wordpress? Tell me, Internet, tell me!!