Wallowing in Marvelous Nostalgia
As a follow-up to the previous
, here's a site
that offers a summary of every single issue of Marvel Two-In-One
(although the overview probably still doesn't offer enough context to
make sense of that scene). I like that the site tracks whether or
not each issue makes reference to "Clobberin' Time!" or the Thing's
Aunt Petunia. Be sure to check out the cover galleries
And add MTIO to the list of Essentials I'd like to see in the
future. I love that the Thing was generally stuck with B- and
C-list heroes as guest-stars in his book, while Spidey got all the "big
name" heroes over in Marvel
. In my mind, that only increases the appeal of
The MTIO site led me to another fun distraction, The Unofficial Marvel Value
. Those who read Marvel comics in the
mid-Seventies will undoubtedly remember these goofy stamps.
Whether or not you look back on these stamps fondly probably depends on
how much financial damage
you did to your collection by cutting up your comics.
Finally, this site
has more (much, much more) than Marvel-related
, but I particularly love the Micro-Hero versions of the Heroes
characters, the Earth
interpretations, and all the What If
variations. I also like the page dedicated to Amalgam
, but that's mainly due to my unclean love of the Amalgam
concept. (I'm probably the only comic fan out there who'd like to
see a yearly Amalgam anthology. Wasn't that an idea that was
tossed around at one point, or am I just completely allowing my strange
desires to distort my memories again?).
Out-Of-Context Comic Book Theatre
From Marvel Two-In-One #58
(Special thanks to Ed Cunard
Street Angel Contest Winners
Here are the winners in the Street
Angel Squid Contest
First Place (new to Street Angel
division) - Scott from Polite Dissent
Untrue Tales of
Medical School: The Squid
It was late in my
fourth year of medical school, and I was three days into my mandatory
cephalopod rotation. As usual, I had drawn
the short straw, so instead of working at the new hospital on the
waterfront, I was stuck downtown at Captain Larry's Animal Hospital and
Discount Seafood Shoppe.
There were two
students on the rotation: Jesse and me. I
hadn't seen her around much before, but she seemed to know her stuff. There was also one third-year resident and a
variety of senior physicians.
Sitting in staff
lounge drinking coffee, Jesse and I looked at each other and smiled. It was shaping up to be an easy day. We had discharged most of our patients
yesterday, and only four remained in the entire hospital.
Rounds would be quick, and we might actually have an afternoon
The morning started
simply. We had sent the last cuttlefish
home the day before, so there were no patients in the cuttlefish ward. We moved on to the octopus ward.
There were two patients there. The
first was an unfortunate fellow who had tried to impress his girlfriend
by line-dancing, tripped, and managed to tie all of his eight legs into
a series of knots. Working with a surgeon,
we had managed to untie six of the legs so far. Later
this morning, we were going to work on the last two.
The surgeon was concerned as it was a complex knot consisting
of a sheetbend, bowline, and taut line, with a little bit of clove
hitch mixed in as well. We had to call in
the local scoutmaster for assistance. The
surgeon just kept walking around mumbling something about bowlines, and
the rabbit going through the hole and around the tree then back down
the hole. I'll never understand surgeons.
The second patient
was a septopus. He was born with seven
legs instead of the normal eight. He was
here for the placement of an artificial leg, as well as some much
needed counseling. He had a bad case of
After the octopus
ward, we moved on to the squid ward. The
first patient there was sulking in his aquarium. He
had been admitted for some scratches he had obtained in a bar fight. He claimed his name was Topo, and that he was
a famous squid with famous friends. He
kept telling us, “Just wait ‘til Aquaman gets here!
He'll bust a cap in your ass!” The
resident just smiled, nodded and upped his antipsychotic medications. I unwrapped his bandages and looked at his
wounds. They were healing well with no
signs of infection, so I expected we'd discharge him home (or to his
so-called “Aquacave”) the next day.
The final patient
was a new admission. The Coast Guard had
brought him in the previous night. They
claimed that he was SWI (Swimming While Intoxicated), or as they put it
“marinated.” He was a big squid, with a
mean look in his eyes. As soon as we
walked in the room, he started gnashing his beak and thrashing his
tentacles. The resident ignored his
posturing, and grabbed the chart from the side of the aquarium. “Vitals are looking good, and labs look good,
though his blood alcohol content is still off the charts. Nothing much
to do but wait.” He turned to us, and
handed the clipboard to Jesse. “He still
needs his admission work-up, so why don't you two get started, then
give me a call when you're done.”
Jesse handed me the
clipboard, and stood back against the wall. She
had this thing about squids. I moved up
next to the aquarium. One of his
saucer-shaped eyes glared at me as I began asking questions. He answered quickly, but tersely.
There was clearly some underlying anger there.
I caught some
movement out of the corner of my eye. There
was a crashing sound behind me and I spun around to see two tentacles
wrapped around Jesse. She had grabbed an
IV stand and was bashing the tentacles.
“Hose it down with
some IV fluid,” she yelled at me. I
grabbed the nearest IV bag, ripped open the bag, and began spraying it
on the tentacles.
“No you idiot!” she
yelled at me. “That's saline, and squids
like salt water – use fresh water!”
looked around the room as Jesse was being pulled closer and closer to
the squid. She was fighting valiantly,
lacerating the tentacles with a scalpel she had picked up.
I found some
bottles of sterile water in one of the cabinets, opened them up, and
began pouring it on the tentacles. Slowly,
one of the tentacles let go of Jesse. Relieved,
I didn't see another tentacle come up behind me until I was knocked
sprawling across the room. Two more
tentacles grabbed Jesse, and dragged her nearer and nearer to the tank.
As she was being
dragged across the floor, Jesse managed to grab the defibrillator from
the Code Blue cart and switch it on. A
high-pitched whine could be heard as the paddles charged.
“Clear!” she yelled
and pressed the paddles against a tentacle. A
smell of ozone and burnt flesh filled the room as the squid yanked his
still smoldering tentacle back into the tank.
“Clear!” she yelled
again, and shocked a second tentacle. The
squid pulled all his remaining tentacles back to the tank.
He glared at Jesse, and then began to pull himself out of the
tank toward her.
There was a
sickening thud as a heavy oxygen canister landed firmly on the squid's
head. Slowly, he settled back down into
the tank. Standing behind him, with an
irritated look on his face was Captain Larry, the owner of the hospital
and seafood shop.
“If I've told you
once, I've told you a thousand times: don't piss off the squids,” he
said, then stomped off to the front of his shop, his peg leg beating a
staccato rhythm against the tile floor.
I never saw Jesse
again after that day; I'm told she dropped out of school.
For me, the rest of the rotation went smoothly, but I was
certainly glad to return to a normal hospital. As
for that giant squid, he never bothered us again. The
sign on the front of the shop the next day said it all: Calamari,
First Place (current reader of Street Angel
division) - Steve Mohundro
First Place (employee of Slave Labor Graphics division) - Jennifer de Guzman
(click for larger, easier-to-read version):
First Runner-Up - Matt Cash
(click for slightly larger version in color):
Second Runner-Up - Libby:
Congratulations to all the winners, and thanks to everyone who
participated, especially those who already owned the issues but were
inspired to contribute anyway. Winners, please email me your
addresses so I can send you your prizes, and everyone else - buy Street Angel
Re-examining The Classics
reconsider some of the supposed comic book classics:
Animal Man, what a load of rubbish. "Look, a picture of a
hand holding a paintbrush! SIGNIFICANT!"
What fucks me off is MIRACLEMAN! "Oooh, look at me, I'm Superman, but
I'm God, too!" - oh, how fucking clever. And oo, a Nietzsche quote,
fucking get you, Alan Moore.
Don't forget Sandman! What a load of old tripe! "Have you read any
books? Not as many as me! Where're my Sisters of Mercy albums?"
FROM HELL - "Whhoooaaaaaaaah, BUILDINGS ARE INTERESTING! And look as I
TELL YOU A STORY YOU ALREADY KNOW!" YAWN.
FLEX MENTALLO - "Ooo, look at my gay knickers! And now some shit about
a rock star for completely no reason!" And all the superheroes were
shit! I don't want to read about Morrison's wank-fantasies!
Look at Jimmy Corrigan - "Oh, woe, I'm a fat depressed bloke, isn't my
life terribly meaningful?" No, and your comic's rubbish! It's all tiny
boxes! If I wanted tiny boxes, I'd buy a Kellogg's Variety Pack!
The Dark Knight Returns? Ooooh - it's a guy dressed up as a fucking
bat. I'm sure we're all petrified.
It's all such complete crap! "I'm Akira, look at me! I'm so fucking
Japanese!" Putting a million explosions in your story instead of a
story that makes sense should be illegal!
The only book that seems to hold up is that unassailable classic, ZERO
HOUR: "Comics were gash before ZERO HOUR!"
Street Angel Squid Contest: Final Day!
Today is the last day to enter the Street
Angel Squid Contest
. Entries must be submitted to me at email@example.com
midnight Central time. And to sweeten the deal, SLG's Jennifer de Guzman
has graciously added a copy of Street Angel #3
in September) to the prize package! So you could win not one, not
two, but three
issues of the series Paul O'Brien
referred to as "gloriously insane," "unmissable," and "even better
Today's sample squid story comes from Rick Geerling
I think this must be a screenshot from the upcoming Street Angel
video game. And as Ken
pointed out, Rick managed to misspell 'luscious,' but that
just makes it funnier.
Also be sure to check out Dave
Lartigue's four-line tale
of battle in the modern online age.
(This could be the first story that makes me feel bad for the giant
Finally, don't forget to enter! And remember that Rick and Dave,
as current readers of Street Angel
, are ineligible to
win, so you're not competing against them. Now send me more squid
stories, dang it!
A Look Back At Bargains
Reporting back on some of the bargains
I mentioned two weeks ago
Freeman Perfect Collection: Portrait of a Killer
Yep. I thought this looked like "a gonzo mix of sex and violence,
all gorgeously illustrated by
Ryoichi Ikegami," and I was right. The gimmick of having Hinomura
Yo cry every time he assassinates someone was a bit odd, though.
Was this meant as a way of making an otherwise unlikable character
sympathetic? ("Yeah, he kills all kinds of people, but he feels really
bad about it.")
- Short, silly, silent strips detailing a tiny but powerful dinosaur's
run-ins with other wildlife. The stories are cute but a bit too
quick, even taking into account the time that one can spend admiring
Masashi Tanaka's lavish artwork. I'm wondering how this book
would go over with young children. On the one hand, the stories
are easy to follow and full of broad humor. But on the other
hand, kids might be put off by the detailed artwork, which almost seems
like the antithesis of what one generally considers cartooning due to
its intricate linework.
- I generally think of this as a fun,
lighthearted series, so re-reading the chapters collected in this
volume came as somewhat of a shock: I'd forgotten how tense the
scenes dealing with a customer who attempts to force himself on Haruo
are. The book is still an upbeat one overall, but that opening
sequence is as dark and suspenseful as anything Hitchcock came up with.
- I can see what Johanna
likes about this manga, but I still think it's all dressed up in a
manner too geared towards titillation. For example, Chi, a
persocom (a humanoid computer companion), is "turned on" when Hideki
sticks his finger up her vagina. Chi's arousal/activation is
visually reinforced by having all her tattered garments fly off before
she throws her naked body at Hideki. Hideki lusts after Chi,
which is a bit disturbing since the art and plot cast her as a young
child relying on Hideki as her guardian. Later, Hideki meets up
with a little boy who surrounds himself with persocoms dressed as (and
presumably serving as) personal sex slaves. In the end,
the interesting themes this book touches on are undercut by
the art's pervasive pandering.
- Less annoying misogyny in this volume
compared to earlier ones,
although perhaps that's only because the general presence of women is
almost nil: Ishihara hardly has any scenes in this volume, and
when she does appear, it's basically to fawn over Hojo. A nice
twist involving the primary antagonist of the series and the standard
lovely art from Ikegami make this an enjoyable installment in this
pulpy, political manga.
- Well, the villain in this volume was
imaginatively grotesque (I was reminded of the oversized morphing
flesh-babies from AKIRA combined with the slug-people from UZUMAKI) but
the story still fell flat for me. I
can see how the over-the-top action is exciting in a visceral sort of
way, but there's really nothing to ground the spectacle. Yes, I
know that Kenturo Miura is slowly planting the seeds for the eventual
reveal of Guts' tragic past, but it's already two volumes in and I
simply don't care.
in New York
- The character of Benkei is definitely the
best part of this book. Pudgy and principled (he won't use a gun,
because it distances one too much from the intimacy of the kill), he's
definitely not your average hired killer. But the stories
themselves are somewhat unsatisfying. I'm not exactly sure
why. Perhaps I'm having trouble reconciling the realistic art
with the implausible plots. It's not a bad book by any means, but
I found it disappointing somehow. Perhaps my expectations were
just too high going in.
Believe It Or Not!
- A fun but forgettable collection of
strange cases wrapped up in three separate tales. Reminded me
somewhat of Paradox Press' "Big Book" series, but those were probably
more successful in the end because they didn't try to force unrelated
events into one narrative.
- Probably one of the best Elseworlds I've
read, in part because it focuses on a different character than usual
(Jim Gordon instead of Batman) and does such a good job of evoking the
style it's emulating. This really did feel like a noir thriller,
complete with the down-on-his-luck P.I., the dangerous dames, and the
rotten underbelly of polite society. Writer Ed Brubaker turns in
some great hard-boiled dialogue, while artist Sean Phillips and
colorist Dave Stewart do an outstanding job on the artistic
duties. I also thought the twist at the end worked very well.
Reign of Terror
- What can I say? It was a Batman
Elseworlds. It hit all the familiar notes, although surprisingly
the Joker was not present (unless I missed him). Instead, the
villain of the piece was Harvey Dent, here playing the role of the
Phantom of the Opera. I'm not up on my French literature, so I'm
sure there were references that slipped past me, but it was still a
mildly fun diversion with nice José Luis
- Yeesh, this was awful. Reading this I was reminded of the guy
in your high school art class
who spent all his time drawing muscle-bound barbarians chopping up each
other, with the carnage rendered in excruciating detail. I
imagine this is the kind of comic that guy would go on to
create. Plus, it really was an amalgamation of almost every
CrossGen comic ever published. You had a brash young warrior
(Ethan from SCION) who was preternaturally
skilled in combat (Arwyn from SOJOURN); a viciously sadistic and
seemingly unbeatable foe (Mordath from SOJOURN; Charon from NEGATION;
Bron from SCION; come to think of it, pretty much any CG bad guy); a
lady who went through all the trouble of putting on clothes, only to
have her nipples perpetually showing anyway (kind of a combination of
CG's "mentor" concept with the revealing wardrobe of THE FIRST); a
grotesque henchmen created by the very villain he was sworn to destroy
(Javi from MARK OF CHARON or any of the Negation from CRUX); a
nebulously Asian setting (WAY OF THE RAT, THE PATH); horribly bloody
and violent swordplay (THE PATH); and a magical MacGuffin everyone's
fighting over (WAY OF THE RAT, SOJOURN).
Only Two Days Left!
Well, two days to go in the Street
Angel Squid Contest
and stories continue to pour in from fans
who have already read Street Angel
, but so far
participation is light from those yet to experience the delights of
comic. Aren't you curious to sample a series that can inspire
such creativity in its fans? First up is a
(click for slightly larger images):
Next up is an interesting little story from Shane Bailey
that adds a bit
of continuity to the previously-viewed
It began with blackness. Dark, dank blackness that spread
as far as the eye can see in all directions across the sky. The
giant squid Chktlla'thukla eclipsed the sun's rays as it spread
its inky fluids across the once blue sky. Millions panicked as
the end drew near. Chktlla'thukla laughed mightily with his giant
pincers and waved a tentacle at the biggest building it could
see. Just then it felt something; it felt fear. Chktlla'thukla had
never felt this emotion before. It floated in the atmosphere
looking at this one solitary girl on a skateboard and it was
scared...terrified. It swatted missiles away and turned to run,
but it couldn't take its eye off the girl for fear that she would
strike when it was exposed. A missile made it through and almost hit
its eye due to his concentration on the girl and as he blinked it
away he lost sight of her. Chktlla'thukla screamed in panic
writhing across the sky looking around buildings and in windows.
It could find the girl nowhere. This fear was too much...it could take
no more and turned to leave and head back to its home out in
space, but it caught a flash out of the corner of its eye as it
turned. Oh No. The girl rode toward a makeshift ramp on the
rooftop closest to Chktlla'thukla. She gained more and more speed as
Chktlla'thukla swung its mighty tentacles wildly, hoping to stop
what it knew was destined to happen. The girl knew the one spot
to hit to bring down the mighty god of the spaceways. She was
destined to always stop Chktlla'thukla in all of his forms. She had
already defeated his servants both in the ocean and on land in
what the humans call a "wrestling match." The girl jumped from
the building on her skateboard, losing the board as she flew
through the air with a mighty kick straight at Chktlla'thukla's eye.
She connected with a sickening squish as her foot entered his eye and
the last thought that entered into its mind was..."Where's
Wertham when you need him."
Since both Shawn and Shane have already read Street Angel
they're not eligible for the prize. Which means less competition
. So don't delay! Enter
Over at The V, Matt
deciphers what Tom Derenick was getting at when he
, "I received the script for issues #5 and #6 and you'd swear
to God he was channeling Alan Moore at some points."
Which means that the description for Panel One was three
pages of detailed instructions on how big to draw the breasts, and how
proud the nipples stood.
"IN THIS PANEL, THE THERMOSTAT ON THE WORLDWATCH ORBITING MONITOR BAY
HAS BEEN SET TO 13 DEGREES CELSIUS, OR TWO HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-SIX
KELVIN. CONSEQUENTLY, THERE'S A BIT OF A NIP IN THE AIR, HA HA HA.
MISSUS ROBOTSON'S BREASTS ARE PENDULOUS AND FIRM, LIKE THOSE OF A YOUNG
MADELINE ALBRIGHT. SHE'S ABOUT A 42"-E. LEFTY IS MARGINALLY BIGGER THAN
RIGHTY, AND THEY LOOK AS IF THEY AREN'T ON SPEAKING TERMS.
HER SKIN IS PALE AND SLIGHTLY TRANSLUCENT, LIKE SOFT MILK CHOCOLATE,
AND IT'S CLEAR THAT SHE HASN'T WORN A BRA FOR A WHILE. NO NASTY
HER NIPPLES ARE PINK, AND HARD IN THE COLD. HER AUREOLES, WHICH ARE
ABOUT THE SIZE OF A SILVER DOLLAR (AGAIN, LEFTY>RIGHTY) ARE A BIT
IN THIS PANEL, MISSUS ROBOTSON IS BEHIND A CLOSED CELL DOOR. AND WE
CAN'T SEE HER."
With scripts like this, The Absolute WorldWatch
certainly be an interesting prospect.
"If This Be My Destiny!"
Only three days left in the Street
Angel Squid Contest
. If you've heard about this great
comic and are interested in a chance to win the first two issues, all
you have to do is submit
involving some sort of battle between Jesse and The Giant
Squid. (Sounds like a bizarre children's book, doesn't it?)
Here are two sample entries (non-eligible, by the way, so don't worry
about having to compete against them) to inspire you:
|Cosmic Sky-Skating Street Angel vs.
The Space Squid, by Graeme
(click for larger image)
Next up is a bit of poetry from Ed
STREET ANGEL VS. SQUID: THE FINAL BATTLE
The final battle for supremacy will not be fought with fists and
tentacles, but with words. The scene: the Lyricists Lounge. A crowd
hype for blood, aching for confrontation. The rules are set – each gets
two chances to show the world who’s the greatest. The Giant Squid takes
the coin toss, and proceeds to tear into Street Angel with some battle
Oh, snap – what the hell is this I see?
Some scrawny street kid tryin’ to step to me?
I took you under the ocean and schooled you in the ring.
Now you’re hittin’ me up, tryin’ to bring
The battle rhymes? I own the ocean,
And I’m gonna own the streets
Check out my tentacles’ motion –
I’mma knock you right off your feets.
You’ll be needing a prosthesis
When I’m done spittin’ my thesis:
Watch your mouth, don't ever step out of line -
The Giant Squid, greatest of all time.
The crowd roars – the Squid owned. Street Angel keeps nodding her head,
waits for the DJ to cue up the next beat, and just smiles.
You’re a rhyme-biter, squid – you ain’t keepin’ it real
Scouring the ocean looking for lines to steal.
I wouldn’t put it past a crustacean
To engage in a little plagiarization.
LL Cool J dropped that line in ’97,
Your tentacled ass needs to call nine-eleven
To help you come up with some rhymes of your own,
And you still won’t hit the depths of an old Zen koan.
Stick to what you know, kid, don’t bother dissin’
The one comic character to whom everyone’s listenin’ –
Reviews from Jakala,
And each of them know your skills are a joke.
Everyone was feeling STREET ANGEL – she’s got the home court advantage.
The squid smiles as best a squid can with its funky squid mouth,
because he knows she’s slipped up. From the look on Street Angel’s
face, she knows it too…
Street kid, your knowledge is whack.
You best get your homeless ass back
To school, or maybe the library
To learn some knowledge contrary
To your train of thought – I ain’t no crustacean,
I’m a proud member of the United Nation
Of Cephalopods, and you only wish
You could run with my crew of Octopuses and scuttlefish.
But you wouldn’t know that, you’s a dummy,
And those dirty clothes are smellin’ real scummy.
Get back on that board, go fight some ninjas –
You won’t gain knowledge from injections from syringes.
It’s looking close – half the crowd is favoring the Squid at this
point, the other backing Street Angel.
Argue definitions all you want, and you’re right -
You’re not a crustacean at the end of the night.
Crab legs are top shelf, and you’re generic –
Red Lobster Calamari ain’t very esoteric.
STREET ANGEL’s gourmet, which is why
To take from the cliché, the end is nigh.
I’d be guaranteed a win even if your style wasn’t weak.
I’ve got the title – you’re just some mutant freak.
I schooled the Incas, I rocked the ninjas of Pangea
And now I took care of you like Imodium does diarrhea.
There could be only one victor – I remain autonomic
‘Cause in the end, bro, it’s my name on the comic.
After that, the crowd realized the point is moot.
"It’s her book, man. She had to win that shit. I mean, crap, look at
SPIDER-MAN – everyone that cat knows ends up dying, but he’s still
always crackin’ jokes and shit. Status quo and all that."
"It wasn’t totally a foregone conclusion – we’re talking Slave Labor,
not Marvel Comics. I mean, yeah, if it was Marvel, they’d try to forget
about it. Clone who? Battle what?"
"True. But, damn, I got to give that squid props. I mean, for a sea
creature, he rocked."
"Shit, that cat was recycling more lines than Chuck Austen. I was all
ready for him to break into a line from Two Gentlemen of Verona and
Street Angel gets down of the stage to throw her own two cents in.
"Kids, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who said what, who you
thought was best, and how much that Squid sucks. It’s comics, guys.
Arguing back and forth about it isn’t going to do a damn thing – you
aren’t changing anything. I rocked the mic. I won. The end. Go home."
And at the end of the day, that was all that mattered.
See how easy--and fun--that is? Now c'mon, don't you want to take
Details on DC's CMX Manga Imprint
: Well, Newsarama
is now running the same press release
(although interestingly they only
refer to the lower "ABOUT THE LEAD TITLES AND TALENT" section as being
from the press release, perhaps to give the impression that Newsarama
actually interviewed individuals at DC about this?),
so I guess it's safe
to say this is official.
Got this in my inbox. No idea if it's legit or not, but I
this blog has no policy on running unsubstantiated press releases or
not, so if it's a prank, it's no biggie. If it is true,
to Jake Tarbox, whom I
remember fondly from his stint at Gutsoon!
DC COMICS LAUNCHES CMX,
A NEW MANGA IMPRINT IN OCTOBER
titles include THE INTERNATIONAL
BESTSELLERs Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne AND TENJO TENGE, AS WELL AS TITLES
by Tajima Sho-u (who created the character designs for the anime
sequences in the FILM Kill Bill: VOLUME 1) and FUJII MIHONA’s GALS!
(THE BASIS for the popular anime series SuperGals!)
President and Publisher of DC Comics (a Warner Bros.
Entertainment Company) announced today that DC Comics will launch CMX,
a new imprint of manga graphic novels, with the publication of three
titles in October, 2004. The first three to be released are the initial
volumes of MADARA (art by Tajima Sho-u and written by Otsuka Eiji from
Kadokawa), Mekakushi no Kuni (illustrated and written by Tsukuba Sakura
from Hakusensha), and EROIKA YORI AI WO KOMETE (illustrated and written
by Aoike Yasuko from Akita Shoten.)
tremendous enthusiasm for manga in the States,” said
Levitz. “New readers, particularly girls and women, have rushed to
embrace new talent from abroad, which we’re excited to bring to
American audiences as part of DC Comics’ commitment to publishing
diverse and exciting works from around the world.”
Each of the
CMX titles are Japanese manga, which are being released
for the first time in the United States, and will be published in the
traditional manga format—sized at 5 X 7 3/8”, with black and white
interiors. Subsequent volumes of each series will be released on a
titles include Fujii Mihona’s Gals ((GALS has been adapted
as the popular anime series SuperGals!) from Shueisha), TENJO TENGE (by
Oh! Great from Shueisha), 9 Banme no Musashi (by Takahashi Miyuki from
Akita Shoten), Swan (by Ariyoshi Kyoko from Akita Shoten), MONSTER
COLLECTION (by Sei Ito from Kadokawa Shoten), Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne by
Tanemura Arina (from Shueisha), and AKUMA DE SORO (by Takanashi Mitsuba
that manga readership is going to continue its rapid
growth and also evolve in the US," said John Nee, Vice President of
Business Development at DC Comics. "CMX is committed to publishing all
genre of manga including horror, fantasy, science fiction and adventure
titles and the line will be as diverse, and as author friendly, as that
of DC Comics, Vertigo, and WildStorm."
announced today that DC Comics has hired Jake Tarbox as the
Group Editor of the CMX imprint. Tarbox has spent the last 14 year
living in Tokyo, Japan where he worked at Coamix, Inc. as the
International Affairs Manager and Vice-Editor-Chief of Raijin Comics,
administered the creation of the American subsidiary company Gutsoon!
Entertainment, and edited the manga magazine, RAIJIN COMICS. Tarbox
will handle the editorial responsibilities for the CMX imprint
including overseeing the translation and printing of manga titles into
ABOUT THE LEAD
TITLES AND TALENT:
MADARA Volume 1
(originally serialized in
MARUKATSU FAMICOM magazine) represents the first work done together by
the creators of the hit series MPD Psycho, artist Tajima
Sho-u (who created the character
designs for the anime sequences in the movie “Kill Bill”) and writer
Otsuka Eiji. When his village is attacked by
demons, Madara, a blacksmith’s apprentice, discovers that he possesses
debuted as a manga artist in
1987 with the publication of Madara. He has worked on
illustration and character design
for computer games (including Galerians) and animation. He has
illustrated MPD Psycho, Brothers Baby Baby,
Madara Colors, and
his current hit series Gorilla Kick.
In addition to his work
with manga, writer
Otsuka Eiji is
a critic, essayist, and author of several successful non-fiction books
on Japanese popular and “otaku” sub-cultures. In the 80s, Otsuka was
editor-in-chief of MANGA BURIKKO, a leading women’s manga magazine
where he pioneered research on the “otaku” sub-culture in modern Japan.
Mekakushi no Kuni
Volume 1 was originally serialized in
LaLa DX magazine from 1998 to 2004. In this
nine volume series, creator Tsukuba Sakura tells the story of Otsuka
Kanade, a high school girl who can see visions of the future. Should
she act to change their fate, or sit back and wait for events to unfold?
in the shojo manga world, Tsukuba Sakura decided to
become a manga
artist in high school. As she was about to graduate college, she
furiously distributed her work to publishers. Her first published work
was A Bright
Spring Day, in
LaLa magazine. She has also written and drawn
Invisible World: a Dog’s
(published in LaLa
Past Day Present (published in LaLa magazine).
Eroika yori Ai wo
Volume 1 was
originally serialized in PRINCESS magazine from 1977 to the present.
Eroika yori Ai wo Komete
follows the adventures of
a British aristocrat and international art thief who taunts his
nemesis, Major Klaus Heinz von dem Eberbach, by leaving notes behind at
the scene of his crimes, signed “From Eroica with Love.”
Aoike Yasuko’s first
manga, Sayonara Nanette, was published in RIBBON
magazine when she was fifteen years old. Afterwards, she garnered
attention by publishing several hit stories in rapid succession,
When Roses Cry, Oh Carol, “I love you, Tetsu-sensei,”
and “Hey, Young Guy.” In 1976 her sci-fi comedy
Sons of Eve in PRINCESS magazine,
represented a switch from pure shojo stories to a new kind of
Eroika yori Ai wo Komete
became a huge best seller,
and its sequel series is still being serialized today. The series is
built on a great deal of research about European art history, and has
helped to popularize many European painters in Japan as well as
Japanese tours of European art museums.
Aoike Yasuko has
continued a long and
productive career in the pages of PRINCESS, a highly popular girl’s
manga anthology magazine. But her work is so popular that she is at
present concurrently publishing stories in several magazines. She is
the creator of Miriam Blue's
Lake, Sons of Eve,
Seas, Seven Skies, The Castle, Ivy Navy,
Tale of a Priest and a
Doctor, The Day of
Saladin, Richard, the
Lion-Hearted, Brother Falco,
Temptation of Scarlet, The
Carthaginian Fantasy, The
Melancholy of Her Majesty, The Knight of
Drachen, and Plus Ultra.
"Lo, There Shall Come...A Manhunter!!"
wonders: "supercomics has inspired what first-rate writer[s]
to create a similarly substantial body[ies] of criticism/critical
Clearly, then, Milo is unfamiliar with the works of one Mr. John Jones,
writer of the esteemed and erudite "Martian
" essays. Jones (brilliantly taking his pen name from
an obscure 1950s character believed by some to be the first "true" Silver
) writes at length on such refined and rarefied topics
," and "Asexual Androids
He has also written exhaustive critical retrospectives examining specific creators'
bodies of works
Finally, Jones has even provided his readers with transcripts detailing
with fellow students of the supercomic form.
If Milo is aware of Mr. Jones' writings but believes Jones does not fit
the bill, then whom would Milo accept as a "first-rate writer" with a
"substantial body of [supercomic] criticism"? Or perhaps Milo
believes that Jones' occasional forays into other topics
dilutes Jones' classification as a pure supercomic critic. Or
could Milo and Jones have had a falling-out, inspiring a grudge similar
one Jones holds toward writer Kurt Busiek
? Whatever the case,
it is my hope that after reading some of the afore-linked articles,
others will acknowledge the unsung genius of John Jones (AKA
"Doc Nebula") even if Milo George will not.
Howling Over Howling Curmudgeons
The comments thread for The
Top Nine Comic Book Supervillains
just makes my day:
Super-Gorilla Grodd.... Plus, and I can't
this enough, he's a talking gorilla.
The Shark, for using an "invisible yellow force
for protection against Green Lantern. Because Green Lantern's ring
can't penetrate anything yellow, even if it's invisible. That's just
plain good comics.
[On Thanos and his motivations:] That kind of
psychosexual shenanigan is just plain good comics.
Kang the Conqueror is a yutz, who has yutz written all over him, and
whose DNA coils up into chromosomes that remarkably resemble the word
"yutz". ...As for Yutz the Conqueror, the fact that he also wants
to show up on the list in four different kinds of drag contributes to
his yutzian nature.
[On why The Anti-Monitor shouldn't make the
list:] he's only great by fiat, which is to say about as great as
Doomsday or Bane (albeit much better drawn), and he's got one of the
worst names in comics. (Shouldn't the Anti-Monitor
just... I don't know, not watch people?)
the Red Skull is just coasting on that whole Nazi thing. It's like he
doesn't even try any more.
[On why Shazam villain Mr. Mind is cool, despite literally being a tiny
little worm:] Besides, you have to give it up for a worm so evil,
the state electrocutes
(There's also a spinoff
where various people try to work out the parameters for what
makes a Great Villain, but for my money the first thread is much more
Over at Broken Frontier, Shawn
is running a mini-comics contest
in conjunction with online mini-comics distribution Bowzizzer
: Create your own
mini-comic for a chance to win mini-comics!
Added two new bloggers to the blogroll today: Erin M. Schadt
(otherwise known as the Comic Queen; thanks to Laura
for the link) and David from Precocious Curmudgeon
Both are relatively new, but I'm already enjoying their snark. Here
Erin offers some advice to the the artist on Birds of Prey
"Yep, women have boobs – get over it Bennett." David
also noticed Bennett's boob fixation and how it undermined writer Gail
Simone's emphasis on characterization and humor: "Unfortunately,
guest artist Joe Bennett didn’t seem to get the memo. Tits ahoy!"
(David has also discovered the joys of Sgt.
and is looking for other manga recommendations.
Gero gero gero!!)
Hmm. When we were catsitting a couple months ago, Olive never
seemed to show
comics. Maybe she just waited until I went to sleep and snuck
into my office to read them.
I think I'm going to recommend this
for ADLO's next round of critical analysis. If there's any
undiscovered genius in Austen's work, I'm sure ADLO can find it. (I
wonder if a publisher or creator would ever send someone a comic for
mocking? "No, I don't want to review your comic. I just
want to mock it mercilessly.") Thanks to Graeme
for spotting this.
Got some more comic bargains yesterday, including the Dark
Knight Strikes Again
hardcover for only $6. After reading
it, I wish I'd spent that money on something trashy and fun, like the
first three volumes of Wounded Man
, which were on
clearance for $2 apiece. I
was thinking of writing more about my reactions to DKSA, but I really
don't want to set off another round of You
Just Don't Get The Joke
. Besides, I think ADD
addressed pretty much everything I would have tried to cover. And
summed up my feelings about the "But
Miller Was Doing Something Different and Non-Reverential
with this line about Miller's art in DKSA: "[No] matter how
admirable it is that he chose not to repeat himself, the art here is
just flat-out ugly a lot of the time." Add plot, pacing,
characterization, dialogue, attempts at humor and political satire, and
everything else to that assessment and I think that about does it.
Finally, to end on a positive note, Newsarama
has a blurb that Dark Horse will be reprinting Mike Baron and Steve
as a series of trade paperbacks. No
news on what exactly will be reprinted, but I'd love to have any of
this classic series collected and sitting on my bookshelf.
Fantastic and Fascistic!
All Naked Rob Liefeld Captain America, All The Time
Courtesy of Elena Berges
of us unable to read Spanish can finally enjoy ADLO's
(warning: progressively work-unsafe) of Rob Liefeld's
unique take on Captain America:
(Image: Rob Liefeld's Captain America)
Greetings, true believers! Before you, *ADLO*! sets itself to distill
the true essence of *genius*, the *peak* to which few artists
(*Leonardo da Vinci* and *Mr Bean*, to quote two examples) have
achieved thanks to the tip of their... *fingers*, and in which our
spiritual leader *ROB!* moves like rice paper on the light table.
We all know this *great work* in which the artist par excellence
presents the American symbol par excellence, *Coca Cola*.. erm, sorry,
*Captain America!* in a version that not only took the best from the
creations of *Joe Simon*, *Jack Kirby* and *Ana Rosa Quintana*, but
raised it to the altar of geniality.
But *Genius* does not only come from innate *talent*. True *genius*
digs below the mere drawing to reach the *essence* of the character.
Just like *Picasso* rejected 50 sketches of the *Demoiselles
d'Avignon*, to tell something about some chicks I haven't really
understood, the great artist *ROB!*, who doesn't need so much
sketching, dived into the character of *Captain America* to show us a
deep portrait of American society.
Before all of us, *ROB!* shows the ideal American, multiracial, who
speaks with an universal language to mankind; the shield, ready to
protect, the chin mighty, firm chest, offering it to the enemy like a
brave man, and a stance that makes us think not only of two pectorals,
but of four.
 Ana Rosa Quintana is the Spanish Oprah, and famous for a case of
plagiarism. This is why she's the muse of ADLO!
(Image: Same drawing, but without the shield)
However, behind that apparent invulnerability, the great artist
reflects a more complex reality, and a hidden message only for
intelligent eyes. But, *Alas!*, the genius of the artist's mind is far
above ours, mere talentless mortals.
Be grateful that I, after a *revelation*, in which I saw Babylon burn,
a goat with twelve horns and in each horn a name, and in each name a
city, and in each city a... ehem, sorry, I mean, we've accessed the
*Hidden Files* of *ROB!* to show us, readers, what hides *ROB!'s
Analyzing with spectrographies, chromatographies and X rays generously
handed over by a *Kryptonian* we observe that divesting Captain America
of his shield, the likeness, the strength of the character remain plain
to see, but it's also made patent by the shape of his buttocks, his
pressed abdominals (maybe a *girdle*?) and his swollen mammaries, that
we are not only in front of a watchful *fatherly* figure, but also a
*motherly* one, who waits lovingly for her children.
With this simple picture, we are offered a likeness of *America* as
father - mother of her inhabitants. But, in the manner of *Chinese
boxes*, where one revelation leads to another, lie in this work more
*hidden messages*, that only with a risky communion of hi-tech and
mystical expectation can we guess.
(Image: Captain America has been stripped off his clothes below the
neckline and has a tiny tiny penis)
The *Father - Mother* duality of the symbolism inherent in the
character, true believers, is strengthened in a deeper inspection.
Stripping *Captain America* of his clothes the *hermaphroditism* fades
away. Despite the Captain's testicular ostentation, his *member* does
not correlate to his mammary capacity.
What do we have here, then? He's no longer a *perfect* hermaphrodite,
no longer the ideal *father - mother*. Now he is a father that tries to
be a mother, because his authority, his *virile potency*, is reduced.
In a few lines, the *supreme artist* gives us an acute and critical
reflection about the North-American society *Captain America*
represents. From a father watchful for his children (the Army) to a
loving mother (the Motherland) to a being of mere appearance. The
sociologic criticism in a work of such symbolism, hidden to the
majority, could only be made by a peerless genius.
(Image: Same as above, but the tiny tiny penis is erect)
But the surprises and the *message* that this *genius* has offered the
world don't end in a mere criticism. If we *investigate* even further,
if we *observe* more with the heart than the eyes, we will be witnesses
of a *revelation*.
YES! Although we all could think that the *member* of the character was
dead weight, *ROB!* shows us that it's *operational*. Ready to
*penetrate*, to *conquer*, to face the adversities.
This is what makes a *hero*, rising above his *defects* to achieve what
others do effortlessly and yet, surpassing them. *ROB!* hasn't made a
mere portrait of a *superhero*, or a mere critic of a *nation*; no,
true believers. *ROB!* has portrayed the whole of *mankind*. A portrait
full of tenderness and love for humankind, which sees us as *heroes*
fighting against ourselves.
We must be aware of the *messages* hidden in the work of the artist.
And neither can we dwell on mere superficial analysis. The simple act
of brushing the *work* of this author, of this *genius*, draws us to
inspect ourselves, to peel off our layers of knowledge like the peels
of an onion. We must *unlearn* our patterns of thinking. Only this way
will we be able, if anything, to take a peek at what happens in the
mind of a *genius*.
Truly thought-provoking stuff, but I'm still trying to work out how it
all fits in with the
ongoing "Are superheroes fascistic?" debate
. (So Cap's tiny
penis means he's not
a fascist? Or does it make him [and,
by analogy, the U.S.] more fascistic as he tries to overcompensate for
his, ahem, shortcomings
?) In the meantime, be sure to
browse the rest of ADLO's
for further critical commentary, such as a page-by-page
"Heroes Reborn" version of Captain America
appreciation of the
perfect Liefeldian female form
; an examination of the symbolism
; a comparative study of the many
cases of plagiarism
supposedly committed by Liefeld; and much
Sundry Sunday Linkblogging
More updates to Friday's
Rob Liefeld Captain America entry
. I'm still waiting for the
English language edition of ADLO's
analysis of Rob's Cap
, but in the meantime, Elena has a nice
of the whole lost-in-translation spectacle so far.
files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
originally broke the story, but their site's been down
(not a permalink) covers covers. And while he may
just be kidding about wanting to know what's going on with the cover to
IRON FIST #1, I'm being completely sincere when I say that I'm
to finding out why Iron Man and Iron Fist got into
a fight with each other. Perhaps Tony Stark felt a hero with the
name "Iron Fist" would weaken the strength of his own superheroic brand?
responding to Carl
, explains why she digs manga and why she
thinks detractors are missing the point.
Johanna also reviews
the new manga version of Sabrina
pre-ordered this and am looking forward to reading it before I pass it
along to my niece.)
Speaking of Archie comics, I find this
interesting because (for me at least) it demonstrates how a creator's
later work (or the work you're most familiar with) can forever color
your perceptions of his other work. I simply can't look at these earlier
girlie pin-ups by Dan DeCarlo
without thinking of Betty, Veronica,
or any of the other "wholesome" gals from Riverdale. Which
results in a weird case of cognitive dissonance for me, since I'm a fan
of vintage pin-up art, but I'm creeped out by what my brain perceives
as "dirty Archie comics."
I know this is an old one, but I just got around to reading it
finally: Jason Kimble provides an interesting
of the divide between the extraordinary and the gentlemanly in League
of Extraordinary Gentleman
. His thesis inspires thoughtful
responses from Marc
Finally, don't forget to enter the Street
Angel Squid Contest
, which ends Friday, June 25th!
Because Fans Forget What A Rack Romita's MJ Had
In a vein similar to the snippets of the Paul
Galacy interview Fanboy
today, here's a choice quote from Newsarama's
interview with Frank Cho
NRAMA: While artistic renditions of Spider-Man stay
fairly consistent, over the years different artists have depicted Mary
Jane in a number of different ways… and this clearly makes sense. After
all, she's a fashion model and should reflect the fashion of the times.
So, considering this, what should fans expect from your stylistic
rendering of Peter Parker's main-squeeze?
FC: A big rack.
(Cho goes on to say that he's only kidding, but looking at his sample
so far it doesn't seem as though
he's kidding. And I say that as someone who likes
art, even his same-woman-every-time women.)
The Gift That Keeps On Giving
Just when you thought you'd finally purged all traces of NAKED ROB
LIEFELD CAPTAIN AMERICA
from your brain, along comes this
(translation via Babel Fish):
Days ago, one of my contacts warned to me that in one of
the posteos of weblog call Grotesque Anatomy it was being spoken of
Captain America de Rob Liefeld . Author, John Jakala, is not indeed fan
of ROB! , but not even the greater detractors of the Teacher can escape
to the influence of their magic: the dream of John was to see America
Captain of ROB! so and as Diso it brought it to the world. But their
searches in Google ("ROB LIEFELD CAPTAIN AMERICA NAKED") were
unfruitful... how it was going to know he who that single material was
available in Spanish, ADLO courtesy!
The case is that I have never resisted to make a boy happy, so I
connected the page at issue in comments of his weblog (for general
rejoicing of its visitors). And he is peculiar to verify how, once last
the initial impact, to the Americans gave them to do one of the things
that better know to do...
... to censure the image
Even more interesting were some of the remarks
about this "censored" image:
"I believe that they have taken a step further on in search of gallant
sex: the Captain practicing zoofilia with a starfish." (Again,
translation courtesy Babel Fish.)
Dear lord. Dave
has unintentionally added to Cap's humiliation by
depicting him as a...lover of starfish. (I'm reminded of that Simpsons
episode with Troy McClure's "fish fetish": "What I have is a
romantic abnormality--one so unbelievable that it must be hidden from
the public at all costs.") I don't even want to know what, by
extension, that logic implies about this picture:
(There's more of interest at the Adlo blog, including this
about the weird disconnect between Marvel's different
imprints and the level of sexualization in the covers for each
respective imprint. Or at least that's what I get out of the post
as rendered by Babel Fish
, but I admit that lines such as "Gentlemen of
Marvel: Adult line = cover sow. Asexual classic line = carried.
make me question the quality of the translation.)
As expected, ADLO noticed that I'd spotted their
entry, so the
original comments thread
is growing. (Click here
for the garbled English translation via Babel Fish.) Only problem
is, Babel Fish is choking on some of the words, so I'm missing part of
what's being said. Any readers who are fluent in Spanish want to
help me out here?
In the meantime, I liked this
as an alternate theory of why we Yanks covered up Cap's naughty bits:
What happens is that yankis has discovered the GREAT secret
of the Captain. And sure something so humiliating is a slap for its
patriotism. For that reason they try to hide the reality, but
they do not count whereupon for ADLO! xDDDDD does not exist the
Why do I feel as though my very country has just been shamefully
Elena has a nice recap
of "The Story So Far..."
Street Angel: Squid Contest*
Following up on Wednesday's
love letter to Street Angel #2
decided (with the permission of creator Jim Rugg) to post the squid
battle scenes from the first two issues of Street Angel
|Squid Battle #1
(Scuba-Gear Street Angel sold separately)
|Squid Battle #2
(Wrestling-Action Street Angel comes with devastating Overhead Hammer
I wasn't going to post these images, partly because I thought that if
anyone wanted to see them they should buy the books, but I worried that
people might not know what I was talking about. Anyway, the
images are scaled down considerably, so if you want the full effect you
should buy the comics--or enter the first ever Street Angel Squid
. Since I'm going through squid fight withdrawal (and
Rugg only made it worse by taunting me with this enigmatic
teaser: "rest assured, you will be surprised by issue 3's, ahem,
competition") I figured you readers could help me out by chronicling
some of Jesse's undocumented battles against the giant squid. The
person who composes the best "untold tale" will win the first two
issues of Street Angel
shipping (in the U.S. only; but if you're outside the U.S. and don't
mind paying international shipping, feel free to enter the contest).
To enter, simply send me your squid story at firstname.lastname@example.org
with the header
"Street Angel Squid Contest." I'll pick my favorite entry and
you'll win the comics! You'll finally be able to see what all the
hoopla for this great comic is about, and I'll be able to satisfy my
squid skirmish jones. It's a win-win situation!! (Well,
except for those participants who don't win anything, but at least I'll
get to read your squid stories.) Deadline is Friday, June 25,
midnight Central time. I'll post the winning story (and some of
the better runner-ups) sometime the following week. (I'd let the
contest run longer than a week, but I need
those stories, man!)
To encourage the submission of as many squid
stories as possible, I'll also throw in a special to-be-determined BONUS
in the event that someone sends in a stunningly brilliant
squid story but they already happen to own the first two issues of Street
. I want the Street Angel
comics to go
to someone who hasn't yet read them, but I also want as many squid
stories as I can get my hands on, so hopefully this will encourage
participation from everyone. So if you already have the Street
comics, please let me know in your entry. (Special ADDITIONAL
to Ed Cunard for inspiring this addendum to the
* Contest not affiliated in any
way with The Squiddies, The
Squiddy Awards, or Suicide Squid.
But Superman Is So Powerful!
The Superhero Question of the Day is: Are
superheroes an essentially fascistic idea
As usual, the answer is: it depends. What do we mean by
"fascistic" anyway? If by that we simply mean "violent," then,
yes, I can see how superheroes are supposed to be fascistic since most
of them solve problems by beating up bad guys. If, however, by
"fascistic" we mean (as Tim O'Neil apparently does)
"characteristic of a system of government marked by centralization of
authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls,
suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and
typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism," then, no, I
don't think superheroes are essentially fascistic. Yeah, I know
there have been superhero stories that explicitly play up the
superheroes as (political) fascists angle (Squadron Supreme
, the upcoming Superman/Batman
arc), but isn't a more common complaint about corporate superhero
comics that the heroes almost never intervene in the political affairs
of humanity? (I'm thinking of the Dini/Ross oversized tabloid
Furthermore, many superheroes (especially those in the 60s Marvel mold)
seem to struggle regularly with doubts about the rightness of their
actions. Spider-Man in particular strikes me as a character who
wrestled frequently with bouts of self-doubt or second-guessing
himself. Of course one could point out that the quality of such
self-examination was often more indulgent than illuminating, but at
least the characters were shown engaging in something approximating
critical reflection. Such tendencies toward checking one's
behavior and beliefs seem foreign to the mindset of the fascist.
For the fascist, isn't everything permitted in the pursuit of one's
I guess I've never thought that superhero comics were about
"[u]ncritical acceptance of powerful authority figures." In fact,
superhero comics were never about my
perspective toward heroes,
but about trying to understand the perspective of
heroes. So for me, superhero comics were generally about certain
morals: Try to do the right thing even when it's inconvenient or
costly for oneself. Use one's abilities to help others.
When you meet another hero, attempt to resolve any misunderstanding
that might spring up by punching first and asking questions
later. (Just kidding about that last one, but it did seem to be a
common theme in many superhero comics from my childhood. I think
the important point was that the heroes always resolved their
misunderstandings before anyone was seriously injured. Perhaps
the whole cliché of heroes mistaking each other for villains was
meant as a metaphor for how in life there will be people you butt heads
with at first but come to regard amicably in the end, but I admit I may
be stretching here.) Then again, I was only a little kid when I
thought I'd figured this stuff out, so maybe I was just being a
Getting What You Wish For
Howdya like that for gratitude? I complain
about having to wait an extra month to read Demo #6
Larry Young hears my plight and graciously
sends me a copy
, and then I never write about it. Really, it
just goes to show how easily I get distracted. I meant to write
about the issue much earlier--I even took notes on my immediate
reactions as I read the story through the first time (notes I can no
longer find, natch, and the only thing I recall from memory was that
the opening page reminded me of Alec Stevens
I got caught up in reading everyone else's thoughts on the story and
surrounding topics, and then lost my motivation to jot down my own
So what are
my thoughts on "What You Wish For"? Well, one
of the nice things about coming into the conversation so late in the
game is that I can simply piggyback off what others have already said,
taking a little from Column A, a little from Column B. Several
people have complained about the gap between events in the framing
sequence and Ken's past, wondering how Ken got from point A (child with
supernatural powers and repressed anger) to point B (seemingly
well-adjusted adult groom). That didn't bother me much. For
one thing (as I think others noted) we have no guarantees that Ken
well-adjusted as a grown-up. Presumably he
could snap again at any moment, especially if something were to happen
to his lovely bride or his beloved dog (again). And I didn't have
a problem with Ken's
, or his lashing out, or his "getting away with
it." (I mean, other than the sense that I'd have a problem with
these events were they to happen in real life.) As Sean
remarked, "a one-two punch of institutional racism and
animal abuse" seems like an understandable motivation for mass murder,
even if it's still not excusable.
The part I did
have a problem with was the scene where Ken
suddenly reined in his end-of-the-world, dogs-and-cats-living-together
wrath with a meek "OK." I'm not sure why, but that scene made me
laugh (in much the same way that most of The Day After Tomorrow
made me laugh), which I doubt was the intent of Wood or Cloonan.
I think it was the abrupt shift in tone. Or perhaps it was the
feeling I got that Ken so looked up to this nameless Asian (?)
gardener, simply because they physically resembled each other in some
way, that Ken would have done anything the gardener demanded.
"Hey, kid, what can you do about raising my wife from the dead?
No, wait--scratch that. Bring me the animated remains of...Linda
Another part that bugged me was that Ken somehow got his dog
back. It's bad enough that this simply happens with no
explanation or internal logic (if Ken's powers allow him not only to
reanimate the dead but also to bring them back to life, why doesn't he
resurrect all the people he's just killed?), but it also undermines the
very lesson Ken's supposedly learned. At the end Ken implies that
the sight of his dog keeps him from going over the edge again because
there's a constant reminder of what happened "staring [him] right in
the face." Actually, isn't what's staring him right in the face a
reminder that he gets what he wants when he loses his temper?
In general, I didn't really feel frightened or unnerved or even grabbed
by this story. (I blame Junji Ito for spoiling all other horror
comics for me.) Plus, the art seemed more uneven than in previous
issues. Check out the dad on page...wait, that's right--there are
. Well, that's OK because the dad looks off in
pretty much every scene in which he appears. (On a positive note,
I agree with Sean
that Cloonan makes Ken's bride both attractive and
authentic: "the protagonist's bonnie new bride, for example, is
refreshingly human and real, a woman you could quite conceivably fall
in love with as opposed to the usual Brechtian device connoting
As for the debate about what's missing from the story (and the series
overall), I'm still not sure I understand Johnny
B's specific complaint
(the complaint that launched a thousand blog
entries). Perhaps, as he suggests, part of it is due to being
conditioned by years of reading mainstream superhero comics to expect
some grand scheme (retroactively inserted by John Byrne, no less) that
will tie everything together. Would he (and by "he" I mean anyone
who feels this way about Demo
) have the same expectation
if he were reading a collection/series/anthology of short stories about
everyday non-super-powered individuals? Would he dismiss stand-alone short stories
by the same author
and inconsequential somehow
" if they didn't all hang together?
And on that note, we now return you to your regularly-scheduled
(which will take place on this blog approximately one to
two weeks after everyone else has started analyzing Demo #8
Lovestruck Ramblings: Street Angel #2
(Amaze Ink/Slave Labor Graphics • 24 B&W
Pages • $2.95) - Lord, I love this comic. Imagine my surprise
when I opened the front cover (which Ray
referred to as "ghastly," although I'm not sure why; then
again my blog is
named "Grotesque Anatomy") and found that what
I had assumed was a throwaway image in issue #1 was in fact an ongoing
story continued in this issue's inside front cover. Yes, Jesse's
war with the giant squid rages on. Whereas last issue the squid
seemed to have the upper hand(s) -- after all, they were fighting in
his element -- somehow Jesse survived to fight another day. This
time, the setting seems to favor Jesse, although perhaps some
clarification regarding the venue is required. It's definitely
on land this time, but Jesse seems to think it's a wrestling ring while
the squid came prepared for a boxing match. Perhaps Jesse
purposely misled the squid so that he'd be at a disadvantage.
Still, how will Jesse prevail? She's shown in mid-leap,
descending upon the squid in a wrestling move of questionable validity,
but the squid already has four arms up ready to pummel our heroine!
After a cliffhanger thrill like that, it was hard to focus on the
story. Thankfully Jim Rugg and Brian Maruca packed a whole lot of
entertaining distractions into the following twenty-four pages:
hip-hop Incan sun gods; time-travelling Conquistador pirates;
Australian-accented, rocket-propelled Irish astronauts; slacker ninjas;
and, of course, the titular Street Angel herself. After a while,
I began to lose myself in the humorous tale and the wonderful
artwork. I even thought I detected a subtle improvement over last
issue's already excellent art, as the line weight seemed more confident
and varied this time around.
all too soon the engaging diversion was over and my thoughts
returned to the eternal struggle between Jesse and her arch-nemesis,
the giant squid. Somehow I knew that the battle had ended without
a clear victor. Both combatants probably got in some good blows,
yet both probably took some serious licks as well. Where, I
wondered, would their next encounter take place? Some volcanic
wasteland? The snow-capped Himalayas? The deepest,
darkest jungles of the Amazon rainforest? A deserted parking
ramp? Some alien planet, with strange and possibly dangerous
animal and plant life covering the landscape? Whatever the
setting, one thing is certain: I'll be there, eager for more.
Stooge Reviews: Hench
(AiT/Planet Lar • 80 B&W Pages • $12.95) tells the tale of, well, a
henchman. You know, one of the nameless grunts employed as cannon
fodder by the big supervillains. Only in this book we get a name
as well as a story to go along with the muscle. Mike Fulton is a
down-on-his-luck ex-football player trying to make enough money to
support his family, and trying to find a substitute for the thrills of
the game. He thinks he's found an answer to both of his needs
when an old friend approaches him with an offer: Henching.
Of course, as anyone who's read superhero comics knows, henching isn't
a very glamorous gig. More often than not, it's a path to prison
or the infirmary, not easy street. Still, unsure of what else to
do, Fulton continues to take his lumps, which gives us a chance to see
the varied villains writer Adam Beechen and artist Manny Bello have
with. But beyond the riffs on classic bad guys, Beechen and Bello
have crafted an engaging character in Fulton: He's not always
likable--heck, midway through the story he's downright despicable--but
he still manages to hold our sympathy for the most part.
The obvious comparison for such a character-driven examination of the
superhero genre is Kurt Busiek's Astro City
is a bit darker in content and tone than Astro City
story of Mike
Fulton is one I could easily imagine Busiek working into his
series. Not because Hench
is derivative of Astro
other comic, but because Hench
shares a certain
spirit--with that series. Reading Hench
, you get
has a genuine love for superhero comics, as well as an overactive
that couldn't stop wondering about the parts of the story we never got
There were a lot of little details that I loved about this book:
the full-page homages to classic comic book covers (and the little
arrows pointing out Mike in each of them); the discussions about the
different villains and why you did or didn't want to work for them; the
story structure, which shifts back and forth between present and past
very effectively, thereby heightening the tension of the situation
Fulton finds himself in. Only one story element didn't ring true
for me--the scene where a hero loses control and everything is covered
up by the media. Given the way that the press goes after
celebrities and politicians, I find it hard to believe that a superhero
causing so much destruction would be given a free pass.
As for the art, it's definitely the weakest part of Hench
Bello's work is
unpolished and, in many cases, seems unfinished. Many panels look
like rough layouts rather than finished pencils, and there's much too
much empty space throughout the book. There are moments where you
get a sense of the promise Beechen and publisher Larry Young refer to
("'the bastard child of Brian Bolland and Paul
Grist"? I don't see it, although I would like to see Bello on
Man-Thing based on this
, but most of the time the artwork
feels sloppy and
rushed. (And perhaps much of the artwork was
According to this
Comic Pimp column
, Bello was hurrying to meet his
deadline.) Here's an example of a page that felt particularly
slapdash (taken from CBR; the narrative captions are missing, but
otherwise this art looks exactly the same as what appears in the
printed graphic novel):
Notice how the structure of the pavilion changes from the first to the
last panel (where did that extra level of columns come from?)
Notice the crude, half-rendered outlines meant to suggest security
guards in the third panel. Notice the bizarre, amateurish anatomy
throughout. This is not the work of an accomplished
professional. There are occasional instances where Bello rises
above such clumsy, inconsistent art (mainly in the detailed texturing
he lavishes on the Batman analogue the Still of the Night), but the
overall effort is one that mars the book.
Complaints about the quality of the art aside, Hench
still a worthwhile, enjoyable book. I'd recommend it based on the
strength of the story alone, but be sure to click through some of the
links above to see if the art is a deal-breaker for you or not.
The V are at it again:
Itto vs. Akira
SFX: gara gara gara gara
Ogami Itto: Hrrng!
Itto vs. Batman:
WRONG! Your logic is based on a flawed premise. Ogami Itto
is not Japanese 19th Century Batman, he's LONE WOLF. He's SIMILAR to
Batman, but he's not Batman. Easily shown via this simple logical
vs. Batman from THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS
Who wins out of Ogami Itto and Batman? Answer: DINNA DINNA DINNA DINNA
DINNA DINNA DINNA DINNA BATMAN!
Ogami Itto is Batman's great great great great great grandfather,
according to V Super-Continuity:
"To avenge you, my wife... I shall become.... a wolf"
"Ninjas are a cowardly and superstitious lot... "
Old Batman also has his own private army, and prepubescent
totty to distract Young Batman: 'Quick, Robin! Flash him your knickers!
Now I want to know how Batman from THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS would be
able to defeat Akira.
(Really, Kaneda since Kaneda "defeats"
Akira at the end of AKIRA.)
(Or how TDKR Batman would be able to defeat Kaneda, since Kaneda survives every outlandish threat that's thrown at him through sheer stubbornness.)
Fun With Marvel's Solicits
found an early copy of Marvel's September solicits over on Millarworld
I, for one, was disappointed to see that they've splintered the awesome
concept into solo titles such as MADROX, JUBILEE, and
WARLOCK, but there's still plenty to pick on in the remaining solicits:
HULK & THING: HARD KNOCKS #1 (OF 4)
Written by Bruce Jones
Cardstock Cover & Pencils by Jae Lee
"HARD KNOCKS" PART 1 (of 4)
Bruce Jones and superstar artist Jae Lee bring you the ultimate
Hulk/Thing battle! Think you know everything about the unique
relationship between Marvel’s two most powerful sluggers? Guess again.
What "unique relationship"? They just pound on each other.
This isn't rocket science, folks.
DAREDEVIL #65 - THE DAREDEVIL ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Penciled by Alex Maleev & Friends
Cover by Greg land
Daredevil headlines this special, oversized issue celebrating both the
40th anniversary of the character AND the 5th anniversary of the
groundbreaking Marvel Knights imprint! The Eisner-winning team of Brian
Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev invite some of the greatest comic
artists who have never before drawn Daredevil to answer the question:
How has the public revelation of Daredevil’s secret identity affected
the rest of the Marvel Universe? This once-in-a-lifetime gathering of
super heroes and superstar talent includes Spider-Man, Captain America,
The Punisher, Doctor Strange, Nick Fury, Elektra, and many more.
Artists include Maleev and a band of stars including Chris Bachalo,
Michael Golden, Greg Horn, Jae Lee, Mike Mayhew, Frank Quitely, and P.
Craig Russell (at least)!
Does that "at least" qualifier read as "we don't want to risk making
this returnable by naming too many specific artists" to anyone else?
Q: WHAT IS MARVEL KNIGHTS 2099?
A: The surest evidence yet that Robert Kirkman has some damn good dirt
on someone at Marvel.
Written by Joe Quesada
Penciled by Robert Teranishi
Cover by Joshua Middleton
What if you could become anyone in the world for a day? What would you
do? Who would you be? Captain America fighting alongside the Avengers?
Bono during a concert in Wembley Stadium? Meet a young mutant who
doesn't have to wonder. His powers let him be anyone he wants, and he
isn't shy about using them.
RESOLICITED – ALL PREVIOUS ORDERS ARE CANCELLED.
What is this? Like the sixth or seventh time this has been
cancelled and resolicited?
ULTIMATE ELEKTRA #2 (of 5)
Written by mike carey
Cover & Pencils by Salvador Larroca
"DEVIL’S DUE" Part 2 (of 5)
A slam-bang second issue! Ultimate Kingpin enters the life of the young
warrior, Elektra, and he’s joined by a mystery killer who’s right on
target! What does that mean for Matt Murdock?
Why stop at appending "Ultimate" in front of "Kingpin"? Wouldn't
this solicit read much better if it were: "Ultimate Kingpin enters the
life of the ultimate young warrior, Ultimate Elektra, and he’s joined
by an ultimate mystery killer who’s right on ultimate target! What does
that mean for Ultimate Matt Murdock?"?
X-MEN #161 & #162
Written by Chuck Austen
Cover & Pencils by Salvador Larroca
"HEROES AND VILLIANS" Parts 1 & 2 (OF 4)
Brand-new story arc! The Brotherhood of Mutants is back with Nocturne
from the Exiles, and a surprise shocker of a member!
Wow, that is
quite a member! (Sorry, but I am the
blogosphere's Unintentional Porn Spotter after all.)
Written by Tony Bedard
Penciled by James Calafiore
Cover by Mizuki Sakakibara
"LIVING PLANET" 1 (OF 2)
The Exiles must stop the Avengers and Doctor Doom before they destroy
the Earth! And did someone say Ego, The Living Planet? You bet they did!
My doctor said, "Ego, The Living Planet."
FANTASTIC FOUR #518
Written by Mark Waid
Pencils & Cover by MiKE Wieringo
AVENGERS DISASSEMBLED TIE-IN!
"FOURTITUDE" Part 2 (of 3)
With public opinion of the FF at an all-time low and with all of
Manhattan endangered by a mysterious alien overlord, which member of
the team will make a decision that will radically change the Fantastic
Four for some time to come?
At least they've given up trying to pretend that someone "will make a
decision that will radically change the Fantastic Four...forever
POWERLESS #4 (OF 6)
Written by Matt Cherniss & Peter Johnson
Penciled by Michael Gaydos
Cover by ANDY BRASE
With great power must come great responsibility… but when the entire
Marvel Universe is recast as a world that is powerless… are our heroes
still noble? Was it the radioactive spider bite that made Peter Parker
a hero and Norman Osborn a villain? Or was it destiny?
I've lost track due to all the rejiggering Marvel does with its
characters' origin stories: So now one spider bite created both
Spider-Man and the Green Goblin? Was John Byrne and his sense
of "streamlining coincidences" responsible for this?
And just to show that it's not all about mockery, I am looking forward
ESSENTIAL SUPER-VILLAIN TEAM-UP TPB
Written by STAN LEE, ROY THOMAS, LEN WEIN, TONY ISABELLA, GERRY CONWAY,
JIM SHOOTER, MARV WOLFMAN, STEVE ENGLEHART, BILL MANTLO, ARCHIE GOODWIN
& LARRY LIEBER
Pencils by BILL EVERETT, GEORGE EVANS, WALLY WOOD, JOHN BUSCEMA, SAL
BUSCEMA, GENE COLAN, BOB HALL, MIKE SEKOWSKY, GEORGE PEREZ, JIM
SHOOTER, SAL TRAPANI, GEORGE TUSKA, GEORGE EVANS, HERB TRIMPE &
Cover by GIL KANE
The line between hero and villain can be very thin, but rarely as thin
as in a book this big! The giants of the field collaborate on a war
epic stretching from the towers of Doctor Doom's Latveria to the depths
of Namor's Atlantis – with the Fantastic Four, the Avengers and the
Champions caught in the middle! Attuma! The Red Skull! Magneto! The
world is at stake, and you are there!
Collects GIANT-SIZE SUPER-VILLAIN TEAM-UP #1-2, SUPER-VILLAIN TEAM-UP
#1-14 and #16-17, AVENGERS #154-156, CHAMPIONS #16, and ASTONISHING
Hee hee hee! Good lord, that sounds wonderfully goofy!! But
what's up with the missing SUPER-VILLAIN TEAM-UP #15? (OK, wait,
just answered my own question: It looks like SVTU #15
reprinted bits from ASTONISHING TALES #4 & #5, which are already
included in the Essential.)
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