Written by a lady
drawn by a gentleman
published by deviants
read by horny miscreants
This isn't the professionally put together version of sleazy metrosexual super-heroics that was hoped for, at least not quite yet, but it does include strawberry teased models, back room milan model make out sexxxions, four tightly fitted American Apparel outfit changes, and this little chunk of the violence:
Okay, check it: Camuncoli codes the characters above with different weapons each, and he times the violence out so that by panel five in the second row, Mr. Handgun has moved his weapon above his waist and pointed it at mohawk-vest, meaning that's the length of time it took for vest-mohawk to kill the people in those first four middle panels. (In the top panel, the handgun is just beginning its ascent.) Also: all the directional changes in the killing panels fit with where the characters are in space--he turns left, because they're on the left, etc. Fucks the 180 rule, which is one of the reasons Martin Pasko hated Neal Adams (that makes sense later), but it works, who cares.
PS: this fight scene takes place after vest-mohawk-tightpants flirts with Johnny Storm on the phone. Coos right in the Human Torch's ear, he does!
Now take a look at this:
This is morning glories 1. What happened here, kemosabe? Does the guy in the ugly tie with his silent elbows and "tok" superkick stop, wait for the two guys, turn around and pull his tricks? Does he run up to them and spin around? Do they teleport and exchange places so that he can run in the middle of them to do the moves in panel two?
Not supposed to be spending this kind of time. For extra credit, you can do this in your very on own home with every other fight/action scene in the comic. (Secret tip: don't dilly dally around trying to figure out the architecture of the hallways and rooms, that's a lockbox without solution.)
The majority of this issue is devoted to stuff about the first Star Wars movie, as well as a half-ad/half-article about the upcoming Superman film that looks exactly like what Wizard might have produced if they'd been around in the 70's. The best part of the issue is found in Gary Groth's editorial evisceration of Jim Steranko's response to Mediascene (a zine Steranko was responsible for editing) being busted for publishing a plagiarized article. The article was about the upcoming Superman movie, Steranko's response to the plagiarism was a long-winded "this isn't a big deal, chill out". After that, there's a couple of good reviews by Kim Thompson, amongst others, one really hard to read Avengers review that goes into explicit detail about what's depicted in every single panel on every single page, and then an irritating convention write-up that keeps repeating the phrase "I hate kids". (If only you'd waited! They weren't going to be a problem much longer!) It all rounds up with a pretty decent interview with Martin Pasko, who talks some serious shit about Neal Adams, reveals that he has no idea how well any of his books sell unless they get cancelled, seems convinced that nobody in their right mind would ever pay more than thirty cents for a comic book, and basically says every single thing you've heard anybody say about excessive violence in super-hero comic books, expensive comic books, continuity errors, and the only thing substantially different in all of it compared to what you read yesterday at Robot 6's comment section is that the conversation took place in 1977 and not 2010.
It's always worth remembering that there's a massive chunk of people that read comics who also pay absolutely no attention to the internet's take on them, and it might be worthwhile to laugh hysterically at all of them right now, because there's just no way those silly people with their silly Prodigy accounts are enjoying Mark Waid's joke at the beginning of this issue of Amazing Spider-Man # 643 as much as the rest of us. See, the joke goes something like this: in the last issue, Dr. Octopus, who lives in a cocoon now and no longer has the fat guy version of a girl's pageboy haircut (so many genders!), happened to deliver a baby and then cut the umbilical cord right in the middle of that poorly furnished coffee shop that Harry Osborn does a bad job of running. (Seriously, how much furniture does that place actually have?)
So, in the beginning of this issue, Spider-Man rants and rants and rants, silently, about how gross it is that he had to see Dr. Octopus do THAT, you know, with an UMBILICAL CORD, like: so gross, UMBILICAL CORDS SHOULD BE INSIDE WOMEN, not OUTSIDE, GREATEST GENERATION. But then Waid plays it out even further, and has Spidey start questioning if maybe he's the one with the problem, going so far as to say "am I just getting old and fussy?", and if you can't see the mimicry of certain "I don't buy super-hero comics because they're just straight up fucking gross now" punditry, then you're just lying because seriously it takes like two seconds on twitter to find those kinds of remarks, hell I think "super-heroes are too violent for my precious orca-looking four year old, how ever will I distract him long enough so that I can have the kind of sexual affairs described in Oprah's recent Book Club pick" was the plot of a Brazzers video with Lezley Zen last week. (She succeeded.)
This isn't a piece of shit or anything like that, but it's still only a "pretty okay" version of something like that Marcos Martin Captain America comic where James Robinson told you the exciting story of what happened while Steve Rogers was on the way to the super-soldier injection. No matter how good it gets--and Martin drew anorexic Cap' pretty damn well--it's a story already told, one that has so many marks it has to hit that the capacity to surprise or engage on any level is constantly sublimated by the needs of utility. If you've read the Incal, you already know that John Difool has to 1) survive this story 2) still be an asshole after this story ends 3) and at some point have sex with a goddess disguised as a prostitute. (Of course, maybe you haven't read the Incal first, but come the fuck on: who reads the second volume of the not-illustrated-by-Moebius Incal prequel before they read the illustrated-by-Moebius Incal? CRAZY PEOPLE, that's who, let's never speak of them again.)
There's this pretty good comic inside Peepo Choo about a perverted giant with real-deal facial hair who kills the shit out of things, masturbates a pail of semen into a condom when other people are killing the shit out of things, but that comic is lurking amongst a period-accurate depiction of boring, unimaginative adolescent sex-fantasy (oh god--she's wearing a towel! they're in the missionary position! stop before you blister my hands!), to say nothing of the parts about some cosplay kid who is upset to go to Japan and find out blah blah blah he wants to wear funny ears every day while singing, ho-hum making friends sure is a pickle we can all relate to.
You get a chance to see John Constantine's CD collection in this issue: it's problematic. Tom Waits makes sense, Metallica sort of does although John's a little old to hold onto that band, but the Verve's Urban Hymns and anything by System of a Down? No, sorry, that isn't John Constantine music. (To be accurate, System of a Down is nobody's music.) Be curious whose responsible for that intellectual travesty.
okay maybe travesty is too strong. The part where he jumps out of the window sure was great!
The last David Lapham comic anybody around here read featured a scene where a women cut a chunk out of her crotch regions to better hold a knife, a knife which she then used to fuck-stab her daughter-raping husband in the mouth. TEA PARTY
Here's the real zinger for you though: the people at Marvel MAX are so scared of what Kyle Baker might do on a Deadpool book by himself that they're sticking that guy--the crotch-slitting incest guy!--on writing details, despite the fact that it would most certainly be cheaper to just have Baker write the fucking thing himself. (And if the last six months have taught us anything, it's taught us that absolutely anyone can write a Deadpool book.) Now, I Die At Midnight isn't anybody's top-drawer Baker comic, despite having a great opening section, but still: this fucking guy! This fucking 64 pages of Dick Tracy in one week guy!
oh whatever you go be sad then. put that on your resume, that sadness.
You've got to hand it to Marvel, they certainly know when they aren't keeping up with the times. See, the popular thing to do right now is to make comics that people don't want to buy or at the very least to fuck up the ones that they do, and since Jeff Parker and Kev Walker were producing something that had started okay and moved right on over to pretty fucking great, it was decided to tie the title into what's called a "mini-event" comic (the word "mini" translates in this case to thirty separate comic books), and change the artist to someone whose style, while not horrible, shares almost nothing with Walker's. How extraordinarily well-planned to do this only four issues in! Oh, and if you're keeping track, the list of Marvel comic book characters who think the whole Shadowland story arc isn't a big deal worth paying attention has now grown from Iron Man, Thor and Captain America to include USAgent. Think about that for a second: a guy in a wheelchair with one fucking arm thinks Shadowland is a total non-starter. How is a reader supposed to care?
Incredible Hulk # 34-54
Written by Bruce Jones
Art by John Romita Jr, Lee Weeks, Stuart Immonen & Mike Deodato
Published by Marvel Comics in a bunch of different formats, the best of which is the one where you get to read this really horrifying essay by Bruce Jones where he explains how Marvel kept changing the artists out from underneath him.
This started off really great, although it seems nowadays to be popular to refer to it as the Hulk-without-a-Hulk book, which is kind of unfair, as both Romita Jr. and Lee Weeks draw some of their most balls out Hulk drawings ever. To say nothing of this, which is great:
But after that, Stuart Immonen got stuck drawing an overly drawn-out riff on Kafka-does-Chandler (with a Lynch soundtrack), and by the time Mike Deodato showed up to draw an Abomination/Hulk throwdown, the whole "terrifying secret organization" had deteriorated into throwing a bunch of easy-to-spot, easier-to-beat obstacles in the way of Bruce Banner, who won't stop talking about how they're trying to bait him with the life of a little boy he doesn't seem to be trying very hard to save. It's still the kind of bad that's sort of better than...
The Hulk cries disgusting green tears, might be worth finding out if that's canonical. (No it wouldn't.) Here's a shining beacon of what people complain about when they complain about using veiled Raymond Carver phrases to write sentences describing things; that this comic is split into two stories, one of which adds nothing to the story in the last issue (Hulk has a family picnic, mommy and daddy fight at the picnic), the other of which recaps a bunch of Son of Galactic Hulk comics that you didn't read on purpose, but now apparently are expected to care about or at least know of. Besides having too many spin-off comics, the Hulk books have something else in common with Shadowland: they're trying really hard to do something new with the character's usual plots, succeeding, and yet producing something that is about as enjoyable as a comic where Superman tries to pick out which suit he'd like to wear when he sneaks out to watch farming documentaries. Unusual, yes. Still dumb.
While previous issues have focused on mumbling declamations from talking light fixtures who wish people still understood cared about poetry, this issue is all about taking Firestorm to the Extreme, by giving him an arch-villain named "Deathstorm" who uses the word "boss" (just like my dad's dad did!) as an adjective and blatantly saying that Firestorm is "the most dangerous being in the universe" as if that statement is something that is going to convince people to say "oh, wait, maybe I don't find everything about Firestorm dated and boring and I will buy a comic about him even though I've skipped doing that at every opportunity since I was 12 years old", and then the comic closes it out by throwing old crusty Black Manta back on the scene, because Geoff Johns has yet to find a goofy DC character that he can't take seriously, because serious is the new Black and apparently Manta.
There's nothing to this, a trivial remix of Wolverine standards (created to be a murderer, can she defeat her programming, let's go and sleep outdoors, also she's depressed sometimes), but there is a nice little piece of 2010 comic iconography in the back matter, where one of those terrible digital pictures is copied, reduced and pasted, resulting in an brilliant little expose on how easily destructible that kind of shit is, and hopefully foretelling a future where an accidental power outage will destroy all evidence art of its kind ever existed.
Shadowland Ghost Rider # 1
Written by Rob Williams
Art by take it all back, take it all back
Published by people who care about you
return of the king
They should publish more of these, that way people won't have to go to the trouble of remembering stuff they've read before, or picking books off of the shelf: here's a Wikipedia entry for a Crisis, only with more draw-rings! This is part of the reason why digital comics are so exciting: no more leaving the house, no more clogging up the brain with all that pesky "what is it I like again, i keep forgetting because it isn't showing up automatically the way my food does", because now you can just get it injected directly into your bloodstream, the same way my brother and I injected Klonopin into my father's testicles every summer so that he'd have steady hands when he gave us those quality punches in the mouth he called "lovemakers". Sure, maybe you'll miss out on reading Simonson's Adam Strange back-up, which features a part where an alien with a gigantic vacuum cleaner breaks his vacuum cleaner after Adam Strange tricks him into sucking up an alien called Dust Devil. But at least you won't have left your house, and in your house, you can be a Viking.
Yeah, would've thought this would've had the top spot for the past week, but Gilbert handed out his own version of steeped in violence black comedy while his brother brought straight up comics perfection, that's already discussed here, Johnny Ryan, let's make it quick.
Prison Pit Book 2, if it has a flaw, it is that it's the second in a series that already cemented the surprise of Angry Youth Comics # 14, which was that Mr. Ryan was totally capable of doing something in comics that lasted longer than a couple of pages at a time. It's more of the same, down to the speed read the panels ignore and the unwillingness to allow for any limitation on Ryan's voracious palate of disgust. That isn't to ignore Book Two's occasional embrace of newness--for example, there seems to be a way off of the planet, and Book One didn't have any rape in it--but to acknowledge that the surprises in store are more of relief than shock: we already found out how good he could be at this, the only question was if he could maintain it.
He most certainly does. Prison Pit Book Two is as funny as Book One, and what it lacks in hysterical wordplay ("want me to send you an e-vite" remains the gold standard), it makes up for in its delirious commitment to excess, both in the grotesqueries on display as well as the suspense. This may not be the comic everybody else were waiting for, but around these parts, it most certainly was. Pin a rose on my dick, call me king of the geckos: I have found my homeland.
-Tucker Stone, 2010