Thursday, June 7, 2012

Just Sayin'--Bullet Points

 In which I try to cover some of the news stories in comics which I have studiously ignored trying to talk about, focusing instead on the cheerier task of covering Mad Men, which for those of you not following the Mad Men reviews has included one character committing suicide and the entire firm in one way or another being complicit for turning one of their own out.

 All told, leagues more fun than anything going on in superhero comics.

 Yes, I would rather write about that than fucking Before Watchmen: The Phantom Menace.

 So, these things happened:

 1. Alan Scott comes out as gay, Internet (not surprisingly) reacts a lot like this:

 2. Just in case the notion of Before Watchmen: Donuts Don't Wear Alligator Shoes as anything other than a naked cash grab was not clear, buy the fucking toaster.

 3. Concomitant with Before Watchmen, every goddamn argument about it on the internet repeats the same points pro and con. And why the hell are there so many Charlton comics experts now when there haven't been Charlton comics for 30 years, and even when there were, no one gave a shit? Why, one would assume people didn't know what they were talking about

 4. Justice League and Batwoman nosedive, become so unreadable that Liefeld comics almost seem like Neil Gaiman by comparison. I had zero expectations that Justice League would be anything less than mediocre, but hoped that maybe DC would see the advantage of having Jim Lee drawing it to make everything sleek and energetic and moving forward.

 That hasn't happened. The plot is muddled to the point of incomprehensibility (there's a villain who was the guy in the backmatter of issues 1-5 and I'm supposed to give a shit about any of this why?) The art is static and muddied, everyone's the same alpha-male caricature, and the whole thing just feels so boring. And let us not even speak about the Shazam strip.

  I'm done there.

 Batwoman, never the most lickety-split of comics decided to further bog down by fragmenting it's latest story arc into a lot of character-specific bits that make the story even more muddled and confusing and slow slow slow oh my God so slow.

 On the plus side, Trevor McCarthy is a more natural fit for the tone of the book than Amy Reeder was, though that's not meant as a knock against Reeder at all--she was just Jimi Hendrix playing in the Beatles.

 Bottom line, Batwoman is a great-looking book that has become bewilderingly inscrutable, and it's on the bubble.

 Thus, I think we're all caught up now. There's a few trades I'll be covering in the coming weeks after Mad Men is all done, and maybe some more things as my interest/rage compel me.


C. Elam said...

The assumption that people don't know what they're talking about is usually a good one. Also, I find it kinda ironic that this goes up on the same night I, who don't even READ contemporary superhero books at present, listed four things I am glad are happening in them. And that I mentioned Alan Scott.

(Any excuse for "Thank You Mask Man" is a good one, I think.)

I've actually been meaning to ask you your thoughts on the upcoming Essential Warlock. Warlock is one of those books I've never amassed a complete run for, despite respecting it mightily. I'm actually pretty jazzed it's as expansive as it, since it gives a pretty good picture of Marvel and manages to tell a complete story in one volume.

I had been struggling in trying to find a rec for our friend Kabuki as far as a Marvel book that was good and accessible for her as a non-superhero person - one that was everything you needed between two covers. I think I've found it.

Kazekage said...

It's a safe bet, I think. Especially given the geometric explosion of Charlton Comics experts on the net lately. How did they go out of business with such a vast and knowledgeable fanbase?

It's an eerie kind of parallelism, innit?

Thank You Mask Man has been on my mind lately, a I bought some DVD burns of Night Flight here recently and rediscovered it at the perfect moment everyone went all "no homo, Mogo."

J-Men Forever clips to follow as soon as I find a story germane to work them in.

It's been hard to find a whole run, really. I got a collection of reprints of the Starlin run from circa . . .1991 or so? Around the Infinity Gauntlet era. It's never been reliably collected (though this new collection seems to have the pre-Starlin stuff and the end of his run as well, which is very good)

I think she'd dig it. . .it's very 70's and very trippy, but it really has a voice all its own, and really puts paid to all that nonsense about "superheroes working as a Jesus allegory." in the pre-Starlin stuff.

I'd also suggest Amethyst, except after getting burned by DC's ineptitude with collections, it's probably just best to dig all the copies out of the quarter bin and send her the run yourself. It could only be more complete that way.

C. Elam said...

Oddly enough, I was talking about the Charlton characters the other night myself. But I only know a little more than the experts in that I actually read some of those comics prior to those guys showing up at DC.

It's one of those things from the show that really sticks in the memory, eh?

Yeah, I think it's all the solo stuff/team-ups through Starlin's conclusion. It just occurred to me it was that rare Marvel book that was almost self-contained AND has a logical stopping point. This grew out of my struggles to think of something from Marvel that fit that bill.

I learned recently that DC's collected edition department is just two editors now, with the current book' editors handling those collections. It..explains a lot, doesn't it? I hadn't thought of Amethyst, since I had already done the DC thing (with the JSA stuff you got, actually), but you might be onto something. That would be a hard one to forget something.

Kazekage said...

Well, there's not much to them, is there? They had a brief, imaginative run made all the more special because Charlton was pretty mediocre the rest of the time. Oh, and they're forever hitched to the Watchmwn bandwagon, so they have that going for them, which is nice.

SO many. I loved that show as a kid because living in podunk NC it was about the only way I had to keep up with anything halfway cool. It was like a transmission from another planet.

I'm kind of amazed that it's so . . .complete. Marvel is usually not so good at that.

It explains everything, really, as does the idea they cancelled the other half of the first Infinity Inc. arc because they just now worked out that they don;t have colour film for a good chunk of it. You know, when torrents are offering better than a company basically dependent on every bit of what their IPs have wrung out . . .maaaan.