creators

Quick hits

Friday – 24 February 2017
There’s been a lot of comics-related news in the past couple of weeks… and I’ve had very little time to post anything about it. But, I’m carving out a couple of minutes here to do that very thing.

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Reviews from the First New Comic Book Day of 2017!

Thursday – 05 January 2017
Happy New Year and Happy Day-After-New Comic Book Day!

As yesterday was the first new comic book day of 2017, I went to my local comic book shop and came home with new things to read. This week, I picked up:

  • Champions #4  (DC)
  • Cyborg #8 (DC)
  • Green Lantern #14 (DC)
  • Hawkeye #2 (Marvel)
  • Justice League #14 (DC)
  • Nightwing #12 (DC)
  • Scarlet Witch #14 (Marvel)
  • Shade: The Changing Girl #4 (DC: Young Animal)
  • Superman #14 (DC)
  • The Unstoppable Wasp #1 (Marvel)
  • The Unworthy Thor #3 (of 5) (Marvel)
  • The Wicked + The Divine #25 (Image)

In all, it was kind of a mixed week for my books – some good, some kind of meh, and a couple of extraordinarily fun reads. My favorite reads were:

  • Cyborg #8
    I’ve been a bit lukewarm about Cyborg after David Walker’s departure. But, there was something about John Semper, Jr.’s writing that drew me into this issue. Perhaps it was seeing Cyborg “intervene” in an instance of police brutality. Perhaps it was watching the interaction between Cyborg and Exxy Clark. Perhaps it was that the Cyborg we had been reading about for most of the issue wasn’t Cyborg. I’m not sure exactly what the special sauce was, but I not only enjoyed the read, it made me laugh at points.
  • Champions #4
    A portion of this issue dealt with the literal fallout from Issue #3. And a fight with Atlanteans. And the question of leadership. And, a very quick and well-handled discussion about mutant-Inhuman relations. From the pacing to the dialogue to the artwork, I think that this is one of the freshest – and most fun – books in Marvel’s stable these days.
  • Hawkeye #2
    Kate Bishop. Superhero. P.I. (kind of, sort of). This issue picks up right after the end of Issue #1, with Kate taking a perp from her first case to the police station. She then stops a back-alley assault – there’s a kinetic feel to the two-page spread showing how the action plays out, as well as a bit of the aftermath. That scene also includes the following bit of dialogue:

    Kate (aiming bow with nocked arrow at a mostly off-panel figure): Touch some sky, pal.
    Guy: Whoa whoa whoa. I am not with these dudes.
    Kate: Okay, then you should probably mosey on out of here, cowboy. I don’t need help.
    Guy: I buy that. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen anyone that needs help less than you in this moment.

    Our intrepid Hawkeye even has a run-in with a cultish mob. I have to admit that I didn’t see that coming, as I was reading. I look forward to seeing how it resolves.

  • The Wicked + The Divine #25
    Gillen and McKelvie continue to knock it out of the park with this book. Where to start…? Persephone is on the warpath, Woden is in her sights, and it looks like Cassandra of The Norns has been cast in the unlikely role of Persephone’s Jiminy Cricket. Readers – and Woden – are treated to an interesting look at some of Persephone’s power set – more than just *KLLK*-ing someone’s head to explode, that is – and are rewarded with this:

    Woden: Listen. We’re the clever, practical two. Baal is practical. Minerva is clever. We’re both. Who else is going to work out what’s going on? Sakhmet? Dionysus? I think Amaterasu only wears sandals so much because she has trouble with shoelaces…
    Persephone: And I am…?
    Woden: You’re the wild card Dark Arts professor who scares the shit out of Slytherin kids like me. I still have no idea how you do half the things you do.
    Cassandra: Me neither. You’re the only god who’s ever affected me. Why? You projected a performance through Owly…
    Woden: She did? That’s impossible.
    Cassandra: And… you said something happened after Lucifer died. What was that?
    Persephone: Nothing important.
    Cassandra: See! That’s the kind of enigmatic wankery we haven’t got time for when we’re all going to be dead in two years!

    And the closing pages with Baal, Minerva, and… Sakhmet (?) were a curious look at a little “family” and how they were dealing with revelations about Ananke.

  • Green Lanterns #14
    There’s a GL book on my list. Amazing surprise. But, this issue wrapped up a storyline that had an interesting premise: What if one ring could harness the entire emotional spectrum? (And, as much as I hate to admit it: I just made the “One ring to rule them all” connection. Yep, Slow on the Uptake Guy, that’s me!) While I found the character who found that ring a bit tedious, I liked the concept. What I enjoyed even more was a breakthrough for rookie GL Jessica Cruz. She has a lot of potential and want to see her live up to it. It was also nice to see other members of the Corps show up… and the reactions of Jessica and Simon’s to who it was that dropped in. Sam Humphries also left a nice little surprise to be unraveled at the story’s end.
  • The Unstoppable Wasp #1
    When talking about Champions earlier, I said that it was one of the freshest and most fun books coming out of Marvel these days. This book is another. Let me first start by saying that I’ve been reading – and thoroughly enjoying – Jeremy Whitley‘s PrinceLess titles for the past few years. (As the father of twin girls, I love the concept of a princess who didn’t need a prince to rescue her. If you haven’t read PrinceLess or PrinceLess: Raven – The Pirate Princess, do so!) When it was announced that he and Elsa Charretier – and Megan Wilson – would be doing this book, I was intrigued. And then came the wait.The wait is over…

    The Unstoppable Wasp

    …and I’m happy to say that Whitley’s Nadia Pym is an absolute delight! And Ms. Charretier’s artwork is a perfect pairing with the writing.  Nadia is unstoppable. (Just ask Ms. Marvel and Mockingbird!) She has an irrepressible spirit and drive that is a refreshing change from so much of the angst associated with so many heroes these days. And she has no pretense, just a passion to help and to do good. Oh, and she’s loves science. A lot. She’s also a total fangirl, as evidenced in this post-battle conversation with Mockingbird and Ms. Marvel:

    Nadia: You worked on one of my father’s projects? I’ve researched them all. I don’t remember a Bobbi.
    Mockingbird: “Bobbi” is short for Barbara. Barbara Morse.
    Nadia (realization dawning ): Biologist Barbara Morse? Like, “Project: Gladiator” Barbara Morse? Like, almost succesfully reproduced the Super-Soldier serum Barbara Morse?
    Mockingbird (somewhat astonished): Those are not usually the things people remember about me.
    Nadia: Like, lady adventurer scientist in the Savage Land and hanging out with Man-Thing in the Everglades Barbara Morse?
    Mockingbird: That is… weird that you know all of that.
    Nadia: You are my hero! I read your research on the super-soldier serum and you talked about all the traveling and the Savage Land and I thought– I thought “This is who I want to be when I grow up!” A woman who’s a super scientist but doesn’t stay in the lab all day. She has adventures! (reaches over and hugs Mockingbird) You inspire me.
    Mockingbird: Okay… that… that’s a lot right there, and I just… you know, I’ve worked for S.H.I.E.L.D. for a long time… and I… I don’t know that anybody has ever said that I inspire them, and… and it’s totally cool for a super hero to just cry in public… people don’t remember that I’m a scientist. They just remember that I used to be married to Hawkeye1 and I hit things with sticks. So that means a lot. Come here, kid. It’s been a rough couple of months for me. Can I have another one of those hugs?
    Nadia: Heck yes!

    See, unabashed science-loving fangirl. And superhero. And, from the look of the last page, ready to take on the world.

    If there is one book that I’d recommend reading from this week’s new titles, this is it. Buy it. Read it. You won’t be disappointed.

And that’s a wrap!

1 – Clint Barton, not the aforementioned Kate Bishop

Breaking the Radio Silence

03 August 2015
Let’s look at comics and comics-related things!

Let’s get a few random items out of the way first.

Okay with those out of the way, let’s talk comic books…

For me, one of the bright spots in comics is the writing and art of Thom Zahler. He first came to my attention for Love and Capes, which billed itself as “The heroically super situation comedy.” And that’s exactly what it was. But, while serving up romance in a world where costumed heroes exist is nothing new, Love and Capes made the romance the focus of the book, rather than superheroics. This doesn’t mean that readers never saw heroic feats; but the real story followed the growth of the relationship between Abby Tennyson, owner of a small bookstore, and Mark Spencer, accountant by day/superhero by… well… night and day, really. The dialog was crisp and the situations in which Mark, Abby, and their friends found themselves felt believable. And, the comedic timing – after all, it did call itself a ‘situation comedy’ – worked in a way that didn’t feel forced. Check out the website, linked above, or pick up issues or trade paperbacks from IDW Publishing.

Mr. Zahler’s latest offering is the four-issue mini-series, Long Distance:

Long Distance #1 by Thom Zahler

Long Distance #1 by Thom Zahler

The description for this series:

From the creator of Love and Capes, Thom Zahler! While stranded in an airport, Carter and Lee meet and hit it off immediately. Problem is, he lives in Columbus and she lives in Chicago. Can they manage to have a relationship separated by three hundred miles, a time zone, and the entire state of Indiana?

As someone who has been in a couple of long-distance relationships, the dialog and the situations feel realistic. Zahler manages to find the proper balance of the giddiness that accompanies a new romance along with the added tensions of distance, work, commentary from friends, and time. Because of the care that he puts into all of that, Carter and Lee go from being “just characters in a comic book” to a couple of people to whom you can relate.

Issue #3 of Long Distance hits stands this Wednesday. I highly recommend picking it up – along with Issues #1 and 2 – as part of your comics haul.

Firsts: A post for #BlackComicsMonth

Saturday – 28 February 2015
Looking at the comics below, I realized that I had a little something that should be recognized for Black History Month:

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Those books are:

  • The first issue of Marvel’s Luke Cage: Hero for Hire;
  • the first appearance of DC Comics’ Green Lantern John Stewart; and
  • The first issue of Marvel’s Black Panther.

All of the books were found, courtesy of my local comic shop, Dr. Volt’s Comic Connection. They know me well and look out for me.

They also afforded me the opportunity to have the issue of Green Lantern signed by Neal Adams, the man who created John Stewart… who just happens to be my favorite Green Lantern. Even better, he recounted the story of how he came to create the character:

Mr. Adams looked at me and asked, “So you found something else…?” I replied that of all the Lanterns, John Stewart was my favorite. He signed it and, putting down his pen, said: “With this, you’ve earned the right to hear the story of John Stewart.” He then proceeded to tell this story:

He had gone to Julius Schwartz with the idea that Green Lantern Hal Jordan needed a backup, in case something happened to him. Schwartz told him that Jordan already had a backup: Guy Gardner.

Adams retorted with: “So, a purple alien comes to Earth, dying, and sends his ring out to find a worthy successor. It passes Batman, Superman and all of the other heroes in the DC Universe and finds… a test pilot. Now, I’m a big fan of Chuck Yeager, so I get it. But, when the time comes to find another worthy person, the ring goes out again… and passes Batman and Superman – again – and finds… a white, blonde, gym teacher. What about all the other people in the world? Is it just going to pass them by?! Twice!?”

“Gardner needs to get hit by a bus. If he just breaks his arm, he’ll be back – good as new – in a month. If he gets hit by a bus, he’ll be out of action for a while. There would have to be a new backup.”

Schwartz realized that Adams wanted to introduce a minority character as Jordan’s backup. He tried to dissuade him by saying that Hal Jordan’s mechanic was Asian. Adams said, “Yeah, and you call him ‘Pieface!’ That’s offensive.” They went back and for a bit, but Schwartz eventually relented and said “Denny (O’Neill) will write it and YOU have to draw him.”

And he did.

When the story was done, O’Neill handed it off to Adams… who didn’t get far into the story before finding another point of contention: the name – “Lincoln Washington.” He confronted O’Neill, who told him that it wasn’t his idea and that Schwartz had come up with it. Adams went to Schwartz “…and closed the door, because I knew there would be shouting.” He argued against the name, calling it not only offensive, but also noting how blacks of the day were changing their names to get away from ‘slave names.’ He also told Schwartz that he could keep the name, if he was adamant, but that e would also fill his office with letters from angry readers. Schwartz responded that he “…[knew] guys with those kinds of names,” and then asked Adams what kind of name he should give him. Adams simply replied, “A name. A real name. Just… pull out any name.” Schwartz eventually relented and told Adams to come up with a name. He picked “John Stewart.” He then laughed and asked, “How was I supposed to know that he was going to be come a comedian?”

He wrapped up his story with the following epilogues:

“This story has two endings.

Ending Two: DC wound up making a movie with Hal Jordan, Green Lantern. There were 10 million kids who were asking ‘Who’s Hal Jordan!?’ Putting Jordan in the movie, they basically went from Gil Kane straight to Geoff Johns, jumping over me and Denny O’Neill – our names weren’t even credited. And, DC lost $150 million dollars on the movie.

Ending One: When I pitched the idea of a black Green Lantern, I did it because I could draw a black person and no one else could or did. All of the artists, even the black ones, were just drawing white faces and then having them colored to be black. And they were drawing them with wavy hair. Black people don’t have wavy hair, they have kinky hair. It takes a whole lot of shit to make it wavy. And we also had to put the color notations in our artwork, so that the colorists would know how to color the characters. Black characters up to that point were all light-skinned, we used to call it ‘khaki brown.’ When I put in my color notations for John Stewart, I made him dark. Julie Schwartz and (publisher whose name I don’t recall) came to him and asked, ” Are you sure that you want him this dark?” Adams confirmed his intention. He then added, “Then they asked me something that has stuck with me until this day: ‘Aren’t black people going to be offended?” Adams laughed and said, “You can send me the first letter.”

And, with that, I can let Black History Month and #BlackComicsMonth go.

“Slingshot Across America,” an evening with Danielle Corsetto

Tuesday – 15 July 2014
Danielle Corsetto (@dcorsetto), creator of the Girls With Slingshots webcomic,  stopped in Salt Lake City last night as part of her “Slingshot Across America” tour.

Artwork © Danielle Corsetto

The event was held at the Millcreek Community Library. Ms. Corsetto did a signing – two, actually – and a Q&A panel with the audience. She addressed attendees from a bar-height chair at the front of the room. Her manner was relaxed, candid, and occasionally self-deprecating; it was easy to see that she enjoyed the interaction. The question-and-answer session was light-hearted and fun; people posed questions that ranged from:

  • What were some of her work methods?
  • How did she choose which personalities and traits to give specific characters?
  • Where were some characters who haven’t been seen in some time?
  • What was her advice on selling non-book merchandise, such as t-shirts?
  • When do you listen to – and not listen to – what your readers say?

down to:

Attendee:  How many Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters could Hazel drink?

Danielle Corsetto: Probably only about a shot of one, but she’d tell everyone that she drank many.

NOTE: Before answering the question, Ms. Corsetto had to stop and ask what a Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster was. She admitted to having started reading The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, but stopping after the first chapter.

When the Q&A was done, Ms. Corsetto stopped to take pictures with attendees…

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…before taking a short break and setting up for the second round of book signing. I picked up a copy of the first volume of GWS comics:

As an added bonus, attendees who brought – and showed – their library cards were given a copy of the print below:

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I realized that I had left the library card at home while I was standing in line.

Of course.

I sent a hurried text message to Sara!, who replied with a picture of the card in the proverbial nick of time! As the Millcreek Library is the one we frequent most often with the girls AND as we are trying to cultivate their love of reading/being read to, it seemed fitting to have Ms. Corsetto sign it to them.

This was a delightful way to spend the evening. Should you find that the Slingshot Across America tour is heading to your town (or a nearby one), I would highly encourage you to take the time to attend.