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2010.06.02

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Couple of things...

First, when did J Jonah Jameson join the homoerotic world of GI Joe?

And in Rise of Arse(nal) 3, is it not the case that Batman (speaking of homoeroticism -calm down, Obama) describes a dead cat as a coward's weapon? Or is the parody taking over the asylum as it did when Civil War was fresh and steaming?

My favorite comic recently was The Amazing Spider-Man where Curt Connors (the Lizard) finally eats his son Billy. That kid was a total drag and had it coming for decades.

Those issues were pretty great. It would have been really nice if they had waited until Bachalo drew the whole thing though, that switch in the third part was neck-cracking.

Someday there will be a child death in super-hero comics where I actually like and don't crave the child's carcass, but it hasn't happened yet.

J-man, i bet Chaykin did JJJ on purpose. I retract! He's still got it!

No, Batman's dead cat line was Photoshopped in, possibly based on a joke in the comments section of Brian Hibbs' review...

Seconals, huh. I thought they only had seconals in those first person Iggy Pop bios. Like tuinals, something that only existed in remember-when seventies circle jerks and whenever Lou Reed is trying to look dangerous and worldly.

Like he's the only guy to ever fuck a transvestite. Sheesh.

I saw those first two covers, and I thought, "Oh, he's replacing the cover art with some weird ass shit. He's never done that before. That's a GREAT idea!"

Guess I was off on that one.

You've now made me into a JT Krul fan.

Maaan, Grant Morrison wishes he were that guy who did that thing with the Manhog (i.e. could draw).

Also, since Frazer Irving draw that other thing with pilgrims, so having him draw this thing with pilgrims is Genious.

Also, also, some people get like, mauled by dogs as children. SO I GUESS EMPATHY IS KIND OF HARD IF YOU'RE A DICK (irony!)

Also, also, also, "Sterling Gates"? DC decided a step down from recruiting porn writers?

I was on that Morrison comic for the art anyway. Personally I'm glad he came up with a situation, any situation, where Frazer Irving could draw what I always knew Satan looks like.

That quote at the top - is that from The Armando Ianucci Show? If it is can I have a biscuit? Also - Wolverine: Weapon X is pretty entertaining stuff. Deathlok(s), aw yeah!

I gotta totally disagree with you on Rise of Arsenal. I think it's entertaining, and I think it's terrible and that's what MAKES it entertaining, but I don't think that it's terrible in a way that gives it any sort of legitimacy, like ComicsOne's badly translated version of Wild 7. Rise of Arsenal isn't really "going for the gusto", it's not attempting to be some sincere effort to catalog superheroic emotions at their most extreme. It's a crazy piece of shit that is written by somebody who thinks he is doing a good job writing something other than what he is writing.

Don't get me wrong, Roy heating up heroin on a piece of glass in full costume and referring to it as "China Cat" is riotously entertaining, but let's not for a moment pretend this is some artfully crafted interpretation of the human condition. It's stupid, awful nonsense and I think trying to give it a legitimacy above that is something approaching dangerous.

I don't think there's anything in Tucker's writeup that implies that intent of the creator is a factor in the consideration of Arsenal's greater worth. "Legitimacy" is a weird thing to bring into it. Tucker isn't talking about legitimacy or artful craft.


Hey Tucker, this was the best one (altogether, all of 'em, the whole post) in a long time. I really enjoyed it.

I was going to write a comment earlier that I once got bitten by a pit bull and was nervous around dogs for a while, and my cousin was straight up mauled by a rottweiler or something and is terrified of dogs, but I thought Tucker wouldn't feel empathy.

Anyway, that line "a dead cat is a coward's weapon" in my favorite line ever. I'm going to have it on my tombstone when I die.

Maybe "legitimacy" is the wrong word. I think what I take issue with is the idea that the series is so over the top with it's psychotic interpretation of human emotions that the series becomes good, not in a so bad it's good way but in a way where you would buy it for four dollars and appreciate it for it's actual merits.

Then again, there was a whole long post a few weeks ago about how Tucker viewed the series in precisely not that way, so it's possible I'm misreading the entire thing.

Well, I think you get into the problem of having to figure out just what one means by "merits". I haven't read Arsenal, but I can personally see any number of ways "over the top psychotic interpretation of human emotions" could be seen as a merit, for example. I also think a book can have merit in the way that it functions regardless of authorial intent or forethought.

Unintentional merit is still merit.

I cannot make heads or tails of your Emma Frost review.

@TomD: Obviously hes saying he can't be friends with Warren Ellis...

The art in Teen Titans feels fucking WIERD, like some art cinema were all conversations just trail off and the characters just stand around looking at each other in akward silence. Everything has this bizarre, unsettling vibe to it. I think you're supposed to be high when reading it?

There's even a scene where Roy and Cheshire are on a couch talking about his impotence just like in Watchmen

Armando Iannucci! Yep, that's the ticket. The oven is preheating.

Matt: well, sure. But I don't believe that Grant had to work that hard to marry Frazer Irving to the idea of pilgrims.

Chris, et all:
I'm not sure what you want me to say--my goal is to and try and verbalize the way I feel about Arsenal, in a way that speaks to the truth of its impact. Here's the thing: i like it. I want to figure out why I do, because it's made up of a lot of things I usually don't care for at all. I'm dicking around with it so much lately because of that very reason. I want to figure out what part of my brain its hitting.

It seems obvious to me that the experience of Rise of Arsenal is one that carries freight, even the articles that have resulted in proclamations of "this is bad" have clearly come out of heated, emotional response. And that response has value, that heat matters. What's interesting to me about it is that it didn't actually go about doing so in a fashion that's at all different from the way more successful comics do so, but took the exact same tricks and went to their logical conclusion. When Roy stabs a drug pusher through the bicep with a baby sword, he's just literalizing the same thing that a hundred writers have had every street-vigilante do over the last twenty years ("he'll never walk right again", Miller, Moore, etc). When Roy is conjuring up his list of sexual partners, he's merely taking over the role of the continuity nut. It's absurd to readers--in my opinion--only because Roy is effectively stealing the joke before Chris Sims (or me, or whoever) can make it. In a way, Arsenal is a long-form version of that thing that almost every single major super-hero writer has included in their Big Two comics for ten years at least: comics that ridicule themselves for their sillier aspects, and then ridicule anyone that might like those aspects in the first place. How many "good" super-hero comics take a panel break to talk shit about their outfits? About their never-ending cyclical situations? About their goofball histories? How much time is spent in a Big Two comic where the characters are winking out at the audience, apologizing for their silly aspects? Arsenal does the same shit, but it does it on every page. I can see people hating it, but a part of me thinks that the reason people hate it is because Rise of Arsenal makes it sort of impossible to pretend away that photo-obsessive tracing is bad, that ironic winking in comics doesn't work if sincerity is the goal, that sleazy hard R violence and "adult" themes like drug use don't work in these stories either--if it doesn't work in Arsenal, than how the fuck is it working anywhere else? Answer: it ISNT working anywhere else. The last issue of Iron Man is about a shithead bragging about some gross out drunkalog to some girl he fucked a few issue back so he can make the point "seemed like a good idea at the time", which he could also make by saying that he toilet papered the principal's house in middle school and got arrested. Then he goes and rips open some packing crates. Oh, and there's traced photographs of Robert Loggia. Fuck that, man. At least Rise of Arsenal tracing pictures are funny and weird and not boring. But hating on this comic for these kinds of things--for being ugly on half the pages, for being sleazy, for being dumb--that pretty much calls into question why people don't hate on those things when they happen everywhere else, and they happen everywhere else, all the time. If that's what counts--good storytelling, originality, moral values, whatever else it is that Arsenal is lambasted for not having--then it should count all the time. And it doesn't.

On the notion of "approaching dangerous"--I don't know what that danger could be. Super-hero comics don't impact enough of the gun-buying population to result in an uptick in spree-killings, and if you're talking about industrial danger, i.e. DC's sales or impact on comics shops--I'm sorry, I just don't believe that could happen.

One final thing: i don't care at all what intent the creator has. It might be interesting in the same way that movie trivia is interesting, but it has zero to do with my experience of the comic itself. I'm either going to get into it or not, and knowing that they had their fingers in the satire pie, or knowing that they were as sincere as Meister Eckhart doesn't mean a thing to me.

The difference between Roy Harper being sleazy and Tony Stark being sleazy is we all secretly want to have Stark slowly thumb his repulsor playfully into our Jarvis. The only person who ever wanted to bone Roy Harper was Devin Grayson and she is gone like Donkey Kong.

The idea it's being - in grandiose terms - Honest About Comics is giving too much benefit of the doubt to Krul. I've not read anything of his before to make the connect. Well, that's probably a lie but like all other comics, I've never read anything of his that made enough of a mark for me to look at his name. What this is - editorially dictated Man Gore Comics. It's Lee Child written by somebody who's never read Lee Child.

The idea that Krul wrote this masterpiece of meta and that DC would not only publish it, but endorse it, is far more terrifying to me than the idea that it's just A Bad Comic. The former suggests that DC not only don't read or understand what they're publishing but they also don't care that they're essentially masturbating whilst punching their own balls.

But that Emma Frost comic gave me hives. The bad hives, too.

Man Gore Comics... too bad it wasn't Fantagor comics, Corben would've killed on the dead child/cat scenes...

As for myself, I'm allergic to dogs.

I'm also allergic to comic books that portray Emma Frost as a weak-willed abuse victim with no direction or self-determination of her own until some mean man comes along to beat some into her.

Comics Weekly basically just said what I've been poorly trying to get across, but I guess I'll keep talking just 'cuz.

Here's the thing. I read everything you write about Rise of Arsenal, and it makes sense. The fact that it's upfront about how terrible it is in a kind of roundabout way(as odd as that might sound), the fact that it does basically everything that every other superhero comic does but just more obvious...yeah, okay, I see that. That's a good analysis, and it's probably true. And from that analysis alone, it seems like this comic might be worth reading.

And then I pick it up, and all of that analysis disappears. I'm just reading a bad comic that's bad in one of the most crudely grandiose ways I've ever seen. You've got the fucked up anatomy and weird faces, you've got Roy Harper looking a little like a young Frank Booth as he clutches a dead cat, you've got Black Canary acting like a bitch and the writer thinks that heroin is a hallucinogenic on par with LSD, you've got his dead junkie ghost hallucination friend talking with him about all of the sluts he's banged and Roy trying to have sex with a grieving mother and then he can't get a boner 'cause he's sad and doped up...it's lunacy. It's just absurd chaos, like every single thought that the writer ever had about being a sad person is splashing across the script utterly without rhyme or reason. And I agree with you that it's fascinating, and entertaining to a certain degree.

But I think that it's moderately insulting-and again, please correct me if I'm misinterpreting you, because I've definitely done that before-to say that this is basically just like every other superhero comic. I look at Secret Six-the current arc, even-and I see it touching on the same themes: lust, rage, loss, etc. Except that it's doing it in a way that isn't absolutely clownshit, and it's being mature while not taking itself too seriously and remaining, through it all, a superhero comic at it's core. That's hard. That is not something you can just whip out of your ass and DO. And to say that Krul is doing the same thing with this comic? He isn't. He CLEARLY isn't.

You mentioned in the other article about the first two Rise of Arsenal comics that these comics can't be lumped in with the rest of the stable of shitty comics because they're shitty in their own unique way. By that same token, I don't think that you can lump in EVERY superhero comic with Rise of Arsenal just because it's also a superhero comic, inasmuch as there are people that wear costumes and have superpowers in the book. It exists distinctly in a realm of it's own shittiness, no matter how many tricks it apes from other comics. It's not aping them WELL. It's like taking a crappy mystery novel with a predictable plot and badly defined characters where a detective cracks wise while he solves the case and then responding with "Well isn't this basically the same as The Thin Man, just more obvious?" And it's like, no, because The Thin Man isn't a total suckfest. That's really the only thing that makes a difference, isn't it?

It's late, and I'm rambling, but I think in order to defend Rise of Arsenal you have to boil it down to "All superhero comics suck, this one is just more honest about it". And I simply don't think that's true. I think that having elements in common with other comics doesn't make them brothers in blood, and just because it did something Frank Miller might do doesn't mean it should be judged on the same merits as a Frank Miller comic.

And of course after I post that bitchfest I realize that you said right upfront: You like the comic. Basically that's all that matters, right?

Maybe I'm being a tool. I'll clam up.

Tucker,

I'm just playing devil's advocate here, but I had a thought while reading your comment:

"But hating on this comic for these kinds of things--for being ugly on half the pages, for being sleazy, for being dumb--that pretty much calls into question why people don't hate on those things when they happen everywhere else...[.]"

I hate on superhero comics all the time for the reasons you mentioned. I read Rise and Fall of Arsenal 3 and I thought it was awful in a way unlike the run of the mill superhero comic. I thought it showed a poor application of the tropes in superhero comics. Any thoughts?

it's irresponsible as hell for a dog walker to let his dog eat chicken wings, your cowardly "friend" was correct

The difference between Roy Harper being sleazy and Tony Stark being sleazy is we all secretly want to have Stark slowly thumb his repulsor playfully into our Jarvis.

This is so very, very wrong. Roy Harper is your pathetic ex-boyfriend you might throw a pity fuck once in a while; Tony Stark is your creepy uncle who may or may not have molested you as a child.

Seconal makes your MOM beat you off? When YOU take it? Or is it like when the Mancunians supposedly made ecstasy air soluble and just blew it into the show?

I guess I want some. Your Mom's hot. Or your desserts, whatever.

"It's not the creator, it's the SYSTEM, MAAAAAANNNNNN!"

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