Thursday, December 11, 2008

Not dead, just job-hunting/moving

And sore. From dancin'.

Also, via Dave Ex Machina, I am apparently a woman, or 66% of one, anyway. News to me; I can only wonder how my family will take it.

Some more cursory, ill-thought out posts coming later this afternoon. Huzzah!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I bought comics

My epic, country-spanning victory jig having finally petered out somewhere in the Pacific Northwest in the wee hours of Monday morning, I'm finally ready to wholeheartedly resume the work I love: making fun of comics before I buy them and then failing to follow up with the more in-depth commentary I repeatedly promise and just as repeatedly scrap after realizing it's not funny or insightful. LET'S DO THIS THING!

Here's what I bought last week, or, since I live in a city without a single comic shop, what I asked Scifigenre to stick in a box and mail to me at the end of the month:

Age of the Sentry #3
Air #4
Ambush Bug: Year None #4
The Goon #30

Some comics I didn't buy yet, but somehow feel entitled to comment on anyway, my god, the sheer gall of this man:

Ender's Game: Battle School #2. Fuck Orson Scott Card in the ear. That is all.
Punisher War Journal #25
Scalped #23
Tales to Suffice #1

Batman: Gotham Underground.
Countdown to Final Crisis vol. 4.
Jack Kirby's The Demon Omnibus. Meanwhile, in comics that don't make me want to travel through time and space to beat Johannes Gutenberg into a coma, thus forestalling the invention of the printing press and, eventually, the career of Judd Winick, we have the latest entry in DC's long overdue series of deluxe Jack Kirby reprints. It is good, and you will buy it, or you will be shunned.
The Punisher by Garth Ennis Omnibus. You already know in your heart of hearts whether or not you need a gigantic, 63 dollar, seven and a half pound slab of Ennis' profane, ultraviolent, extraordinarily silly take on the Punisher. For me, the answer was yes.
Vertigo Tarot Deck 20th Anniversary Edition. Includes Aquanet, Floodland on cassette tape, fishnet shirt (unisex) and heavy-duty tear-resistant mascara! No, I'm not buying this, I just wanted an excuse to point and laugh and link to this video.

And this week's releases:
Batman #681. "Note price," sez Diamond. Duly noted!
Blue Beetle #33
Unknown Soldier #2
Wolverine First Class #9

This week's trades:
American Elf vol. 3. The third collected volume of James Kochalka (Superstar)'s daily diary comic.
The Best of Tharg's Future Shocks.
Gilbert Hernandez's Sloth is now available in TPB if you didn't pick it up in hardcover. Congratulations, your two and a half years of fiscal vigilance has saved you five dollars, you savvy consumer, you!
Osamu Tezuka's Black Jack vol. 2.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

You cannot see me but I am doing a little dance right now

Comics for the week of October 5, 2008

First things first. Are you American? Have you voted? No? You, sir, are a cad and a scoundrel. Get your ass to a voting booth and then we'll talk.

Back so soon? Well, okay, then.


Final Crisis: Resist #1. I'm hoping this will act as a sort of corollary to Morrison's Submit. This is my theory, hear me out: just as the main body of Final Crisis is holding steady at Pretty Fucking Great, but Submit was entirely disposable, incredibly ugly and not very well-written, I'm hoping that Resist will balance out the sadly unexciting Revelations and give us something really great. Rucka can do it, we know that; here's his chance.

Grant Morrison's Doctor Who #2. I have to confess, the first issue of this is sitting in a pile of unread books; I've been picking them up because, hey, The Moz is writing, but I'm putting them off until I've had some serious Netflix* and Wikipedia time to absorb all the Who I need. As a 20-something American, opportunities to see Doctor Who in any media have been pretty few and far between during my lifetime until relatively recently, and while I've caught up with most of the classic Tom Baker episodes and a few episodes with earlier Doctors, my knowledge is still extremely spotty.

Invincible Iron Man #7. The first story arc is over; this one's got Spider-Man. That's about all we know.

Top Ten: Season Two #2. The first one was good. With any luck, this will be too. Yeah, that's why you read this blog, exciting and provocative ideas and bold, confrontational views.

Weapon X: First Class #1. This just sounds like the worst fucking thing ever, at least for this week, as Marvel appears to be ditching the whole "fun" part of the First Class books for, and I quote, "a brand-new look at the horrifying history of Marvel's most prominent mutant". Because God knows, that well isn't dry, oh no. That barrel is un-scraped. The horse is one hundred percent alive and it is in need of a vicious beating. "PLUS: Each issue features a 10-page back-up story featuring an important player from Wolverine's past! First up, an untold tale of Wolvie's arch-nemesis, the mutant madman known as Sabretooth!" BE STILL MY BEATING HEART


Absolute Sandman vol. 4. Yeah, I'm a sucker, I've already got most of these books in paperback and they're not quite as great as I thought when I was a teenager. I don't fucking care, I'm still buying them again. Because...hell, I don't know why. They're pretty on my shelf?

Daredevil by Frank Miller & Klaus Janson vol. 1. The first volume in Marvel's paperback printing of the out-of-print Miller/Janson Daredevil Omnibus. I have it on reasonable authority that this is Good Stuff and will be picking up a copy.

Liquid City. An Image anthology of Southeast Asian artists and writers. I don't know anyone involved in the project, but after the success of Image's Popgun anthologies I'm definitely interested. Will at least give this the old bookstore flip-through.

The Mister X Archives. Dark Horse reprints all of Dean Motter & co.'s Mister X in anticipation of the new miniseries starting November. This is beautiful work, even if it didn't always make a great deal of sense or conclude satisfyingly; I'm looking forward to the opportunity to read the whole thing.

The Question, vol. 3: Epitaph for a Hero. More O'Neal Question. I'm experiencing the series for the first time with these reprints, so I really can't speak to the quality of this trade; I did enjoy the first two, though, for all their desperately earnest 80's-ness and melodrama.

Watchmen. The Absolute Edition? Savage Critic says it's another reprint of the Absolute, as did DC's website months ago, but other sources suggest it's just a new hardcover with the Absolute Edition's revised coloring. If it's the former, yay; the Absolute Watchmen was a gorgeously produced book with some truly worthwhile supplementary material, and one that I never managed to convince myself to buy before it went out of print. If it's the latter, I can definitely do without, as I'm ambivalent about recoloring classic comics (see this recent Funnybook Babylon post for a truly heinous example, or the rereleased Killing Joke).

*Netflix subscribers should be aware that they have quite a lot of Doctor Who DVD sets available on their thoroughly impressive streaming service, including the entire Key to Time arc

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween mix CD

Good evening, folks- a quick heads up to let you know that, in a shocking reversal from the usual procedure, there won't be any new content tonight, as it's time for the annual Halloween movie marathon at Stately YDKFH Manor. This year's lineup: Prince of Darkness, Suspiria, Ils aka Them, and The Wicker Man (the good one, not the Nic Cage shitbucket). Over at my long-neglected music blog, Telephone Thing, I'm uploading a quick mix CD of horror soundtracks and spooky electronics and whatnot. Download before someone makes zshare yank it!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Comics for the week of October 29, 2008

Via, as always, the Savage Critic.

Singles, loneliest number, etc

Checkmate #31. Bruce Jones, you will be called to account for what you've done. Not today, not tomorrow, but when you pass them Pearly Gates up to that there Great Bullpen in the Sky. And on that day, you will know what it is like to be mercilessly bitchslapped by the ghost of Will Eisner. "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH MY BELOVED MEDIUM," he will scream, tears of rage rolling down his spectral cheeks. And you will be silent because you know there is nothing you could possibly say in your defense.
...okay, that one got a little out of hand. Moving on to more...



DC Universe: Decisions #3.

why you do this to me Dimi


i am afraid

Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns #1. Finally, a book that doesn't make me want to jump off a bridge! So yeah, here we get Geoff Johns dealing with the immediate aftermath of the Sinestro Corps War and laying the groundwork for the upcoming Darkest Night plotline. Should be fun stuff, even if the art is a bit dodgy and it looks like it has fuck-all to do with Final Crisis proper.

Hellboy in the Chapel of Moloch. Mignola returns to drawing Hellboy for a special one-shot issue? I am so up for this.

Kick Drum Comix #2. More Jim Mahfood art. I would like more of this, yes I would.

Kill Your Boyfriend. A bit of prime Morrison finally available again in the slow, slow rush to cash in on the mild sorta-success of Final Crisis. I will never understand how the marketing departments of the big two work, but I will gladly take this reprint of one of my favorite Morrison stories. Gorgeous art by Philip Bond too.

Superman and Batman vs Vampires and Werewolves #2. I must confess I haven't read the first one yet, and ominously, I haven't seen much about it on the blogospheriversamajig, which probably means it's not only not terribly good (like anyone expected it to be) but not bad enough to be worth my while. But who knows? This could be the next Nextwave. It won't be, but I shall read it and its preceding issue with no expectations and find out.

Wolverine: First Class #8. Still good. Still a book about Wolverine. My brain is having trouble reconciling these two data points.


Bat-Manga: The Secret History of Batman in Japan. Batman. 60's manga. Chip Kidd. Ridiculous Japanese Bat-Merchandise. You know you want it, and if you do, be aware that the hardcover is a bit longer than the paperback. Last I checked, Amazon still had the hardcover at a steep discount.

Green Lantern: In Brightest Day. Geoff Johns selects an anthology of his favorite Green Lantern stories. Potentially interesting, though I don't know enough of the non-Moore GL highlights to have much to say about his choices. I can, however, point and scowl at the Jim Lee cover. SCOWL

And finally, something called Extreme Curves: Phat Girls. Not that I'm going to buy it- heavens, no- I just think it's a funny title. You see, "phat" with a "ph" is how the urban people say something is bad

(which means it is good oh they are SO CRAZY)

Seriously, I thought the word "phat" had been lying in an unmarked grave just off of Route 66 since the mid-nineties. Let's leave it there, okay? Especially if you mean "fat," which from what I gather is the specific fetish addressed in this weighty tome. OH SNAP

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Comics for the week of October 8, 2008, my friends.

Singles, my friends. Did you know my opponent wants to read these singles with no predonditions? No preconditions, my friends. My friends, that's not the kind of change we can believe in.

Action Comics #870. Geoff Johns brings a decent but not overwhelming Brainiac story to what seems to me like a rushed conclusion. I've been enjoying it so far, but the last issue was unimpressive. We'll see if Johns can stick the landing.

Detective Comics #849. This is by far the best Batman RIP tie-in, by virtue of not being complete crap; Dini also pulls off the best Hush story ever written by managing to not be Jeph Loeb. This isn't to say it's great, or even particularly good, but there's a high-melodrama pulpiness that Dini can employ particularly well at times and it's on display here. Zombie hobo nurses! Catwoman's missing heart! Batman fighting a little boy hopped up on Venom! Okay, that last one was ridiculous in a bad way, and Dini's Zatanna fetish is still irritatingly obvious, but I'm having fun here despite myself. Dustin Nguyen's gorgeous art helps too.

Final Crisis: Revelations #3. The third issue in Greg Rucka's surprisingly unsurprising Final Crisis tie-in, in which we learn more about the Magic Nun of Happiness and the Question and Batwoman throw down kung fu style. And some other stuff happens, presumably, unless the book is the first five pages printed over and over again. WE WILL SEE, AND READ, AND JUDGE.

Green Lantern #35. Huzzah! "Secret Origin" is finally fucking over! It's been as competently executed as any of Johns' recent work, but was it really worth taking half a year out of a flagship title to let us know that Black Hand diddles corpses? Okay, yes, there's the retconned Darkest Night stuff, but I'm not really convinced that was necessary- surely all the references in Sinestro Corps War provided enough context. And if they didn't, just carve some space out of the back of one of the GL titles (*cough*Corps*cough*) and reprint Alan Moore's "Tygers," bang, problem solved. Oh, and don't get me started on that line from last issue about "tell the other four Inversions that they can kiss my ass," or whatever the fuck, where Johns takes what Moore clearly meant to be a vaguely mystical title ("of the Five Inversions") and literalizes it in the most painful way. Urgh. yeah, I like this book and am looking forward to this issue.

Green Lantern Corps #29. This one, on the other hand? Not so much. GLC was never less than fine during the Sinestro Corps War event, but lately it's been feeling a bit rudderless, with the rushed and unsatisfactory Mongul/Mother Mercy storyline (YES DC YOU MISS ALAN MOORE, WE GET IT, THIS WILL NOT MAKE HIM COME BACK) and the almost pointless story of the last two issues with the Eyeball Kids or whatever the hell they were called. This month's issue allegedly starts the lead-up to Darkest Night- oh goody, they're ramping up to the stuff I actually want to read!- and features the Star Sapphires. They will be the Corps of Luuuv. Righto then.

Invincible Iron Man #6. Matt Fraction wraps up his first plot arc, in which Microsoft, in the persona of Warren Ellis's Tony Stark, fights Evil Linus Torvalds, only things are settled with punchin' and force beams instead of IP law and market share. I'm going to go out on a limb here and wager that we did not in fact see Tony get his head blown off on the last page of issue 5. Call it a hunch. Also featuring a variant cover that isn't ugly and pointless! Seriously, that is a fine, fine cover. I APPROVE.

Secret Six #2. Gail Simone seems like she's having a blast writing these characters again. Presumably this issue we get more of the deeply discomfiting villain-in-a-box and more supervillains makin' catty comments durin' Six Feet Under. I can live with that!

Young Liars #8. I was going to drop this after issue 6 for being an annoying, shallow Gregg Araki script transferred to the comics page. Then issue 7 came out, I read it anyway, and now I think Lapham might have a plan for this, and that the Natural Born Killersiness of the first six issues might have been intentional. I mean, obviously it was intentional, he sat down and wrote it and drew it, I mean intentionally irritating. We'll see. But man, that last issue was bugfuck crazy. Literally.

My friends, there is a surge of trades. It's a surge that my opponent, my opponent said wouldn't work, would- would never work, can't even admit today that it has worked. Teddy Roosevelt, my hero, once said- walk, talk softly and carry a big stick. My friends, these trades talk loudly.

Batman: Black and White vol. 2. Now in an all-new, smaller edition for your convenience! But as a compromise it costs...the same? Wait what

DC Comics Goes Ape. Yes, DC is again cynically exploiting a silly Marvel event with a cheap reprint of older material. But this book contains the Mod Gorilla Boss's fight with Animal Man and you know what? That is keen.

Hellboy Library Edition vol. 2. If you like yer Hellboy big 'n' sturdy, here's another giant backbreakin' chunk o' Mignola. Cain't say as it's my thing, but some folks go fer it.

The Immortal Iron Fist vol. 3: The Book of Iron Fist. The final volume of Brubaker and Fraction's run on the title, also collecting the two one-shots. Good stuff, but if you hold off for a couple months it'll be in paperback.

Punisher MAX vol. 10: Valley Forge, Valley Forge. Or "Valley Forge, Valley Forge: The Slaughter of a US Marine Garrison and the Birth of the Punisher" if you're a stickler for detail. The last of Ennis's MAX stories, and allegedly a damn fine one. I'll be waiting on the final hardcover to read this.

Black Jack vol. 1. Also available through Diamond as a hardcover with an extra Black Jack story Tezuka apparently didn't see fit to print in the Japanese "perfect collection" these Vertical reprints are based on. Good stuff, and highly recommended. See Christopher Butcher's review for more.

Edited for a truly astounding number of typos and errors gramattical, factual and stylistic. Most amusingly "Batgirl" instead of "Batwoman;" apparently my subconscious can't believe they're finally trying to get some use out of the character either

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

dogg it must feel sick as hell to receive a knife in the face from a dude

While we're on the topic, does Bowie-Joker's speech pattern remind you of anyone?

Panel from this week's Batman #680; Photoshop MSPaint inspired by 4thletter's "Ruining the Moment" (scroll down for the doctored Achewood pages, including one that I am chagrined to find on re-reading does the same Achewood strip to much better effect. I knew I should have gone with Notorious L.I.N.C.O.L.N.

A few thoughts on Batman #680

Major spoilers for this week's Batman #680 ahead. Don't say I didn't warn you.

So apparently I'm psychic!

Let me back up a little. Yesterday's Argento video was a bit of a lark, a lazy filler post based on the belated realization that Argento's gialli nearly always feature a black-gloved killer. And interestingly, whenever we see the killer at work, said hands are nearly always played by Argento himself- Grant Morrison is the Black Glove!

But anyway, this issue's climactic introduction of the Joker to the Black Glove's superwealthy playmates brought that back to mind- the Joker's murder of El Sombrero seems like an explicit homage to one of the famous deaths in Argento's masterpiece Suspiria:

As with the last Argento clip, this is utterly NSFW. But note the red and black pattern on the floor! If that's a coincidence, I will purchase, carefully season, cook, and eat a hat.

So what if Morrison really is staging a tribute to the giallo with "Batman RIP"? Most of the central elements of the genre are present- a whodunit-style mystery, dozens of red herrings, often extreme and brutal violence, and an emphasis on madness- though in this case, not the killer's, but the putative victim's.

In this issue we finally get to see Morrison's newly reborn Joker take center stage as well- the issue is even titled after him, "The Thin White Duke of Death," and he certainly does seem to have a horrible kind of mid-70's coked-up-to-the-nostrils Bowie thing going on; hell, he's even got the same haircut. The Bowie reference seems to play into this arc's focus on showmanship and over-the-top melodrama; remember Mr. Mayhew's past in film, and consider this issue's telling line from an oil sheik-type at the Black Glove's danse macabre (in reference to the Batman of Zur-en-Arrh): "I know an impostor when I see one. Is this another of your beloved actors, doctor?" Another? Hmmmmm.

The final pages seem like they might be intended as a Big Reveal of the Black Glove's Identity- if so, it's a disappointment, as it's a character everyone was sure was involved in the conspiracy to some extent- but it'll be interesting to see how this plays out in next month's concluding issue.

An interlude: this is what it is like when Aaron and I discuss comics

Ryan (7:20:54 PM): also, everyone knew it was going to happen, but I'm still a little choked up over the Joker's murder of El Sombrero. *sniff*
Ryan (7:21:36 PM): Every DC comic for the next month should have a corner logo of his little neon-skull-in-sombrero-on-black-velvet business card and the legend "WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THE SOMBRERO DIED?".
Ryan (7:23:20 PM): NO she will debut in NEW AVENGERS and she will be LADY SOMBRERO

The Algonquin Round Table we are not.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Dario Argento...otherwise known as the Black Glove!

(Scenes from Dario Argento's Profondo Rosso/Deep Red; video is most definitely NSFW, unless you work at Fangoria or a slaughterhouse or something)

You know, I wouldn't mind Tony Daniel's art nearly as much if it were accompanied by the groovy Euro-tones of Goblin...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Comics for the week of October 2, 2008

Things are looking a bit better in singles this week:

Batman #680. Now that All-Star Superman has wrapped up, at least I've got Morrison's Batman to keep me going. Expectations are pretty damn high for this issue, since we should be closing in on the climax of "Batman R.I.P." and some hot plot-twisting action.
The Boys #23. A new story arc starts here after the excellent "I Tell You No Lie, G.I." Here's hoping it'll be more of that and less of "Glorious Five Year Plan."
DC Universe: Decisions #2. Not because I want to, you understand. Because I must. Because I must descend into the abyss and confront the age-old evil that is The Real World's Judd Winick, and also that Fables guy, as they work their hardest to ass up the DC Universe with their toothless, pointless "political" "thriller." I was going to read the first issue out of morbid curiosity, then let the rest slide and read it all later for a post detailing its inevitable crappiness, but then Winick and Willingham used the Doom Patrol's Robotman, and used him badly. It's personal now.
Doktor Sleepless #9. A new plot arc starts here, so if you're looking for a jumping-on point to this most Ellis-y of Ellis comics, this might be it. I can't say for sure as I'm waiting on next month's trade to catch up before I jump back on board.
Nightwing #149. Because, eh, why not? I read the first two parts of this tepid Two-Face storyline and I will be goddamned if I quit in the middle. Worse comics than this have not defeated me (this is still pretty bad though).
Punisher War Journal #24. Not actually buying this, as I've been following PWJ in trades (something far easier to do with Marvel titles than DC thanks to their comparatively brisk trade schedule) but I felt like noting it anyway. I've heard some really harsh reviews of this book's Jigsaw storyline (which is, worryingly, the next trade), but judging from the solicit text, that looks like it's over. What we've got instead is a Secret Invasion tie-in (um) that focuses on Stuart Clarke (hm).
Sub-Mariner: The Depths #2. #1 was surprisingly good, and while I have little hope that we'll ever see the Milligan of Rogan Gosh and Enigma again, this at least beats his recent work for hire.
Top Ten Season Two #1. Let's see if this does any better than Beyond the Farthest Precinct.

A heavy week for trades:
Blue Beetle Vol. 4: Endgame. Why aren't you reading Blue Beetle? Is it because you have no soul? You disgust me.
The Boys Vol. 3: Good for the Soul. You almost certainly know by now whether this is your kind of book or not. I know it's mine; I make no apologies. Not buying the trade, though; I'll set that aside for a slow week.
Countdown to Final Crisis vol. 3. rimshot.wav
Green Lantern Vol. 2: Revenge of the Green Lanterns. DC finally, finally release the second volume of Geoff Johns's Lantern run in paperback. See what I mean about trade schedules? I've been pleasantly surprised by Johns's DC work over the last year or so, but I find that the $8 cardboard tax on hardcovers is exactly what it takes for me to not buy this stuff when it gets collected. DC: not everything needs to be a hardcover. Some comics are not that big a deal. It is okay.
Marvel Zombies. Again! AGAIN! Only this time it's got Spider-Man on the cover and he is a zombie Spider-Man and he's swingin' along like on the cover of Amazing Fantasy only he's a zombie and the guy he's carrying is a dead guy! Also available in Iron Man and Hulk flavors, to satisfy those with OCD, poor impulse control, or very strange ideas about what constitutes a worthwhile purchase.
Punisher MAX: From First to Last. The compilation of Ennis's Punisher MAX short stories finally sees print again, this time in paperback. The stories themselves range from solid ("The Cell") to fantastic ("The Tyger"). Definitely getting this.
The Spirit vol. 2. The last collection of Darwyn Cooke's run on the book, before the disappointing Evanier/Aragones team took over. The first volume was great, so this is a no-brainer for me.

An Invitation For Mocking

Let's see how little of that list I have. Bold I've got, italics I don't but have a comment, missing I don't have either.

9. A Suite of Modern Literary Graphic Novels (I have Maus, is that enough to count as a suite? Probably not.)
11. A Smattering Of Treasury Editions Or Similarly Oversized Books (Somehow I don't think he intended my stack of oversized Runaways and Annihilation hardcovers...)
15. At Least One Comic Book From When You First Started Reading Comic Books (Nope. I guess I need to track down some Clone Saga issues!)
18. The Entire Run Of At Least One Manga Series (Rumiko Takahashi's Mermaid Saga. Yukito Kishiro's Gunm/Battle Angel Alita, although that might not count since it's effectively still in progress as Battle Angel Alita: Last Order.)
22. A Selection of Comics That Interest You That You Can't Explain To Anyone Else (Man, I wish I'd picked up those Onslaught Saga trades. Although that might still be too explainable.)
25. Maus (Guess it really doesn't count as a suite.)
33. Some Calvin and Hobbes (Of course.)
39. At Least A Few Alan Moore Comics (Well, one. Watchmen.)
40. A Comic You Made Yourself (Somewhere, I've got at least some of the old school notebooks that held the saga of Lightning Dagger. Each was one page, incredibly poorly drawn, and had no dialogue - at least not written down, anyway. I even had my own Clone Saga in there. Also, numerous reboots with a new #1 issue. No chromium covers, sadly. Maybe I'll do a post on it one year.)

Do I win the failing to meet an arbitrary standard contest?

List followup

After giving it some thought, I've found a few things I would switch around in Mr. Spurgeon's list, as he suggests toward the end of the article. Most of what I would add has been covered in detail by other contributors (Eisner, 2000 AD, EC horror comics), but there are still a few worth adding, I think.

1. At least one Jim Woodring book or comic.
Woodring's best work, like Frank, takes the unsettling undercurrents in classic newspaper comics and cartoons and hauls them screaming up to the surface- I promise you you'll never read Krazy Kat the same way again. A major artist who has more than earned a place in the critical canon. And we wouldn't have Jerkcity without him.

2. A healthy collection of bande dessinee or other European graphic albums. This is sort of already covered by #10, "Several Tintin Albums" and #36, "A Few Comics Not In Your Native Tongue," but this is such a fertile area of comics that it deserves a wider, more inclusive category for the likes of Enki Bilal, Asterix, Moebius, Hugo Pratt, etc.

3. At least one art book by or critical examination of an artist or creator. There's been a flood of high-quality books of this type lately, from Mark Evanier's Kirby book to Paul Pope's PulpHope collection to the new Ditko book from Fantagraphics.

4. A complete run of Flex Mentallo.

I'd remove:

2. A Complete Run Of Arcade
Too expensive to put together, and many of the major artists are represented elsewhere in the list.

21. One Run of A Comic Strip That You Yourself Have Clipped
Because most newspaper comics just aren't worth the effort anymore.

42. A Run Of Yummy Fur
Like Arcade, this is pretty expensive/difficult to put together, excellent though it is.

49. An Editorial Cartoonist's Collection or Two
I'll admit, I can't really justify this beyond some vague hand-waving about how single-panel cartoons with clearly labeled ideas aren't really all that relevant to modern comics and how they can be (and often are) crude and obvious, but this is personal taste more than anything.

Do re meme

Via Matthew Brady at Warren Peace Sings the Blues, here's how my collection stacks up against Tom Spurgeon's list of 50 Things That Every Comics Collection Truly Needs. Poorly, as it turns out; selections in bold are ones what I gots, italics means I feel I don't have enough or I feel guilty or something.

1. Something From The ACME Novelty Library (The hardcover collection and the collected Jimmy Corrigan and Quimby the Mouse. I was planning on getting into the single issues until I found that some key early chapters of Rusty Brown were already out of print and decided to just wait on the inevitable collected edition.)
2. A Complete Run Of Arcade
3. Any Number Of Mini-Comics (Some Brian Chippendale stuff.)
4. At Least One Pogo Book From The 1950s
5. A Barnaby Collection
6. Binky Brown and the Holy Virgin Mary
7. As Many Issues of RAW as You Can Place Your Hands On (I'd love to, but they're not easy to come by.)
8. A Little Stack of Archie Comics
9. A Suite of Modern Literary Graphic Novels (Oh my, yes.)
10. Several Tintin Albums (Just two right now, but I'm working on it.)
11. A Smattering Of Treasury Editions Or Similarly Oversized Books (Brian Chippendale's Ninja, the enormous ACME Novelty Library collection that won't fit on any of my bookshelves, Cages, some Absolute/Omnibus editions, etc. And all two issues of RASL to date, though I don't know why it's in Spurgeon's list; the oversized printing was cancelled and it was released as a normal-sized book.)
12. Several Significant Runs of Alternative Comic Book Series (Sadly, no. I'm a latecomer to buying singles, especially of this kind of thing.)
13. A Few Early Comic Strip Collections To Your Taste (Some Herriman and McCay.)
14. Several "Indy Comics" From Their Heyday (Love and Rockets, Madman, some early pre-insano Cerebus.)
15. At Least One Comic Book From When You First Started Reading Comic Books (Thank god for those ancient Asterix collections from my childhood, otherwise the answer would still be yes, but it would be some fuckawful 90's X-Men comic in a box somewhere.)
16. At Least One Comic That Failed to Finish The Way It Planned To (Big Numbers, which failed to finish, period. Probably some others as well; I'll have to go over the shelves and check it out.)
17. Some Osamu Tezuka (A little Astro Boy, a snippet of Phoenix and a copy of the first Black Jack hardcover that should be in the mail now.)
18. The Entire Run Of At Least One Manga Series (The only series manga I have on my shelves right now are incomplete runs of Tezuka books and a half-set of Dark Horse's Akira trades. The rest are all one-shots and artsy stuff like Tekkon Kinkreet or Yuichi Yokoyama collections.)
19. One Or Two 1970s Doonesbury Collections
20. At Least One Saul Steinberg Hardcover
21. One Run of A Comic Strip That You Yourself Have Clipped
22. A Selection of Comics That Interest You That You Can't Explain To Anyone Else (Not as such- I'll be the first one to admit that my bookshelf is achingly, boringly tasteful.)
23. At Least One Woodcut Novel
24. As Much Peanuts As You Can Stand (Not sure whether I should be bolding this, because while I have a fair whack of Peanuts it is in fact considerably less than I can stand.)
25. Maus (Yup. Got it in junior high, mind like, blown, man, etc.)
26. A Significant Sample of R. Crumb's Sketchbooks (Nope. Judging by the example in Spurgeon's article, I might not mind, either, but Crumb's comix style and misanthropic worldview have always been huge turn-offs for me.)
27. The original edition of Sick, Sick, Sick. (I love Jules Feiffer but I don't have any of his books, let alone an original edition. Based on Spurgeon's advice I'll have to look for a used copy, because this sounds like exactly my kind of book.)
28. The Smithsonian Collection Of Newspaper Comics
29. Several copies of MAD (Sadly, MAD sucked when I was in its target demographic. I do have the Spy vs Spy collection and some Al Jaffee paperbacks from my parents.)
30. A stack of Jack Kirby 1970s Comic Books (Do collections count? If so, I've got the Fourth World and OMAC Omnibus collections, and the Devil Dinosaur hardcover.)
31. More than a few Stan Lee/Jack Kirby 1960s Marvel Comic Books (Again, collected editions will have to do- I've got the Omnibus editions of their Fantastic Four run.)
32. A You're-Too-High-To-Tell Amount of Underground Comix (Depends on your definition. Does Vaughn Bode count?)
33. Some Calvin and Hobbes (Oh hells yeah. Watterson is largely responsible for my love of the comics medium to this day, and my brother and I ended up buying the entire run of paperback collections when we were kids. And every few months I get a wild urge to buy the hardcover collection- an urge that becomes harder and harder to fight each time. I know, someday, that I will lose.)
34. Some Love and Rockets (The recent reprints of Jaime's material; I'll get around to Gilbert's eventually.)
35. The Marvel Benefit Issue Of Coober Skeber (No, but it looks thoroughly enticing.)
36. A Few Comics Not In Your Native Tongue (Some Moebius books in French, since for some insane goddamn reason one of the most significant artists in the entire medium is never in print in English. Seriously, the most recent English trades I can think of are those tiny, itty-bitty reprint collections from Dark Horse, and those are long out of print and impossible to find at reasonable prices.)
37. A Nice Stack of Jack Chick Comics (I don't own any hard copies, but I'm proud to say I have read every single tract available on Chick's website. Oddly enough, despite currently living smack in the middle of the Bible Belt, I only ever saw print Chick tracts on benches at bus stops when I lived in Chicago.)
38. A Stack of Comics You Can Hand To Anybody's Kid (Not really, unless you count the Calvin & Hobbes books above, or some Kochalka or Lewis Trondheim books. I've got the Free Comic Book Day issues of Owly and Tiny Titans for some reason, though I hesitate to include Tiny Titans as it's clearly aimed toward 40-year-old fanboys.)
39. At Least A Few Alan Moore Comics ("At least"? "A few"? By gum, that ain't the way to do it! At least an entire shelf!)
40. A Comic You Made Yourself (I can't draw, so I've never tried. I have a few short screenplays, and I tended to lay those out in exhaustive shot-by-shot detail, which is sort of like storyboarding which is sort of like comics, but that's a hell of a stretch.)
41. A Few Comics About Comics
42. A Run Of Yummy Fur (Wouldn't mind having one, but such is not the case.)
43. Some Frank Miller Comics (Yup. No matter how ridiculous he gets, no matter how deeply entrenched his tics are, no matter how much his upcoming Spirit movie looks like it's going to suck, the man is a major talent and his comics are always a blast to read if nothing else.)
44. Several Lee/Ditko/Romita Amazing Spider-Man Comic Books (Not in individual issues as I'm nowhere near old enough to have bought them when they came out or rich enough to buy them now, but I've got the Omnibus and various issues in Marvel Visionaries collections.)
45. A Few Great Comics Short Stories (I think I might have to spin this one off into a separate post, actually.)
46. A Tijuana Bible (Just the fake one in The Black Dossier. Though I suppose I could dash off a quick "Popeye the Sailor Man In: Fellatio Follies" or something and knock off this one and #40 at the same time!)
47. Some Weirdo (Not my thing, really.)
48. An Array Of Comics In Various Non-Superhero Genres (Plenty.)
49. An Editorial Cartoonist's Collection or Two
50. A Few Collections From New Yorker Cartoonists (This category would be totally empty and I would be fine with it if it weren't for Gahan Wilson.)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Holy "Holy ____, Batman" reference, Batman

So I'm checking Amazon to see if there's a release date yet for the Dark Knight DVD, and I find...this. This thing. The chintziest, most hilariously dubious cash-in product I've ever seen. You think Asylum Productions (producers of such sterling fare as Transmorphers, Sunday School Musical, and perhaps my new favorite, The Day The Earth Stopped) are shameless? At least they hire some down-on-their-luck actors, muster some shitty CGI and squeeze out a feature film when they want to ride a big release's coattails. This is because they are not World Wide Multi Media, distributors of:

Oh yes. Note the Poser-rendered figure highly suggestive of, though legally distinct from, a certain Man of the Goddamn variety. Note also the image of Max Schreck from F.W. Murnau's Expressionist masterwork Nosferatu- classy, and public domain too! But let's take a closer look. Who is Philip Gardiner, and what has he to teach us of...the DARK NATURE of MAN?

"For centuries man has feared the bat."

I love this idea that man has feared "the bat" (which is, I suppose, distinct from mere "bats"- the Platonic ideal of the bat, perhaps, the concept of battiness, the ur-bat, if you will) for "centuries." Like man and bat coexisted peacefully for hundreds of thousands of years, then all of a sudden around the Renaissance some Borgia gets a wild hair up his ass and makes a bat Pope, and next thing you know there's a schism, and human-bat relations go all to shit. But I'm being rude- what's this about The Bat, now?

"It's [sic] seeming ability to traverse between worlds has inspired tales of terrible horror but also stories of great hope. This is the tale of the age-old Bat Man - from Bob Kane and Bill Finger's creation in 1939 to Dracula and even further back into time than most realize."

Not "terrible horror"! That's the worst kind! All kidding aside, I must commend Mr. Gardiner's even-handedness in also mentioning the lighter side of The Bat, the stories of hope and courage and one woman's will to survive in a man's world- stories such as the German folk tales of Herr Schuhe-Bat, the lovable little bat who lives in the Black Forest and makes tiny, useless shoes out of acorns, or Nabokov's boldly innovative precursor to postmodernism, The Real Life of The Dark Knight.

"The image and legacy of the bat throughout history is truly emblematic of man's dark side."
When you think of evil, remember to think of The Bat. Hitler? A pussy. Stalin? Lightweight. Pol Pot? Don't make me laugh. These guys, though? Pure, unbridled malice.

"This is a tale of more than just the incredible success of this most famous of Superhero's, but also a unique insight into the Dark Nature of man himself."

"Superhero's": Because nothing says "scholarship" like the grocer's apostrophe!

"Re-live the rise of the Bat Man era, from the very beginnings to the modern age and in so doing, understand how this creation has taken on a life of its own."

What if I don't want to?

"Written and directed by international best selling author, Philip Gardiner, the dark nature of our very selves will be explored."

Ah, now we're getting somewhere. Who is this Philip Gardiner, this mysterious masked man, this shadowy figure in the night? Has he truly cracked the eternal mystery of The Bat? From the Amazon blurb for his book, Proof: Does God Exist?

"Philip Gardiner is the best selling author of The Shining Ones, The Serpent Grail and Gnosis: The Secret of Solomon's Temple Revealed. He has a degree in Strategic Marketing and several diploma's ranging in subjects from etymology to holistic medicine. He lives in the heart of Robin Hood country in the UK and travels the world on a personal quest to uncover the truth. Although he has been asked on numerous occasions to become "a member" of several institutions, Philip has strictly refused on the grounds of independence, seeing membership of certain organizations as being overtly influential on his research and understanding of the truths of mankind. Before retiring to dedicate his time to researching and writing, Philip was a Marketing Director and owner of a company in the UK. Part of this role included giving lectures on the art and history of marketing and propaganda to various organizations including certain government bodies and companies. Philip began his writing career with a book entitled, "Proof: Does God Exist?" Published in 2002 and followed this up with his best selling "The Shining Ones: The World's Most Powerful Secret Society Revealed", which become a top seller in the UK. Reality Press is proud to offer a new edition of Mr. Gardiners first book, "Proof: Does God Exist?".

Well, I'm convinced! (Though there's that grocer's apostrophe again.) Mr. Gardiner is also the author of quite a lot of seemingly interchangeable volumes on the Knights Templar, Freemasons, Illuminati, Nazi occultists, and a "serpent cult" that seems to occupy much of his time. The Rosicrucians, sadly, are left out in the cold. True, they didn't actually exist, but that's no reason to snub them, is it? Anyway, thank goodness he's had the moral fiber to refuse "'membership'" in "institutions."

"Dark Night of the Bat includes several video's of top artists such as Freakhouse, Marcy Playground, Sybreed and ALSO includes an incredible, never before heard segment of the original BATMAN radio show."

Who could forget Marcy Playground's haunting ode to the Dark Knight, "Sex and Candy"? Anyway, that's three grocer's apostrophes, and I'm out. Check back tomorrow evening for the long-delayed and inevitably disappointing reviews!

Edit O, great is my shame! Woe betide me for mocking the darkness of The Bat! Behold, dear reader, and tremble: the chiropterapocalypse is upon us, and we are all of us doomed.

Yes sir, may I have another In my haste to make sure this urgent missive made it online, I neglected to do some basic research: turns out there's a trailer available online! It consists in its entirety of titles in the Batman Forever font, camera rotations around a logo carefully constructed to avoid any resemblance to a certain trademark (note the extra scallop in the wing), heavily obscured shots of a guy in a cape stomping in a puddle (I like to think that this is the director's brother-in-law and he is working for nachos), and public domain film clips, all set to that most Batmanly of music, hair metal. MANOWAR, BITCHES! WOO!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Comics for the week of September 22, 2008

Yes, I know I'm running behind to an almost Millerian degree. In my defense, I had some very pressing video games and sleeping to attend to. But now that's all done with and I've got my hands on my singles, so it's time to do last Monday's post and, um, anticipate them. The comics. Which I have already bought. I'm confused.

This was a pretty poor week for singles:
All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder #10. Oh, Frankie dearest, you complete me.
Ambush Bug: Year None #3. Here's hoping it's beter than last month's issue, which I feel can be fairly characterized as "wack."
Blue Beetle #31. Criswell predicts: consistently fun book remains consistently fun! Future reviews such as this will affect you in the future!
Hellboy: The Crooked Man #3. I have no one but myself to blame for it, but I'm still bitter about the climactic moment of my most looked-forward-to book of the week being spoiled in nearly every review. To be fair, I don't think I would be able to resist the temptation either, but in case anyone is even less on the ball than myself and hasn't picked it up yet, let's just say it involves the Prince of Darkness and a gardening implement and good ol' country Violence.
Hulk #6. This is going into the Shitbin with Gotham Underground, Checkmate et al for extensive discussion later on. DOESN'T THAT SOUND EXCITING?
Superman/Batman #52. So on the one hand, last month's issue was kind of a head-scratcher as the Green/Johnson team threw up their hands, said "fuck it, let's bring on Super JLA Kawaii Team Love Beat GO!!" because apparently they have nothing better to do with this alleged showcase title than cater to scans_daily and the sort of people who type (or, god forbid, say) "squee!". On the other hand, Rafael Albuquerque is manning the pencils, and it really is kinda adorable. SO CONFLICTED
Wolverine: First Class #7. You could've knocked me over with a feather when this proved (with the exception of the two-part High Evolutionary/Mount Wundagore story) to be far better than the declining X-Men: First Class, even more so when Van Lente turned in a Sabretooth story that was actually worth reading for the first time in- shit, the first time ever as far as I'm aware. So yeah, getting this. (On a related note, Weapon X: First Class? What the HELL yo?)

Things were slightly better in trades:
Absolute Ronin. I like Ronin, but do I $100 like it? No. No I do not. You might, though. Who's to say?
Batman: Black and White Vol. 3. Some really fantastic writers and artists in this volume, and it includes one of my all-time favorite Batman shorts in Paul Pope's "Broken Nose." Gettin'!
The Complete Peanuts Vol. 10 (1969-1970). I'm waiting for this to be collected into the next slipcased three-book set (and for me to catch up to them; I'm six volumes in at the moment) but I think it's fair to assume this will be quality stuff. Call it a hunch.
Kingdom Come (new edition). I'm not buying this- God, no- but is it just me or does DC publish a new edition of Kingdom Come at least bimonthly? This one features a fancy-ass new gatefold cover, though, so if you liked the idea of Kingdom Come but thought it just wasn't enough like Tales From Topographic Oceans, then son, THIS BOOK'S FOR YOU.
Marvel Boy Premiere Hardcover. Marvel must have their own definition of "premiere" that I was not previously aware of, unless they mean "first time in a slightly stiffer and much more expensive format," in which case fair play to them. This is a reprint of a trade I was never able to track down at a sane price and fixes that book's splash-page problems, though, so I can't be too bitter.
Red Rocket 7 (Image edition). Speaking of reprints, as part of their expanding Mike Allred library, Image are reprinting this original graphic novel originally released on Dark Horse. Assuming it actually comes out on time, unlike the second Amazing Joy Buzzards collection, or the first Madman Atomic Comics trade, or comes out at all, unlike their promised Stray Toasters reprint or the second collection of Casanova.

That's it for now. See you after a reasonable interval, swear to god, for two weeks of reviews, and for Monday's shipping list post.

Friday, September 19, 2008

What's all this, then?

I totally know from hurt!

Hurt's kind of like Countdown to An Alternate Universe Version of Final Crisis. But not as bad? I think that's it.

Anyway, I'm Aaron. Ryan's kindly invited me to contribute to this blog. Maybe, between the two of us, we'll actually produce a steady stream of content. At the very least, you can look forward to my Internet-famous* Comics Whines and Nitpicks. Wherein I foolishly buy middling-quality comics due to fondness for the characters or, even more foolishly, their "importance." And then I complain about it. On the Internet. (Patent pending.)

*Where Internet is defined as the Other Media board of Rpg.Net. And famous is loosely defined.

Ed. I assure you, you do not know from hurt. Perhaps you are thinking of famed thespamatarian William Hurt, or the popular ditty by singing automaton T.I., or the lovely town of Hurt, Virginia? I hear it's very nice this time of year, as the leaves begin to turn.

Or maybe Batman antagonist du jour Simon Hurt? What is his deal? Is he the Black Glove? It's been pretty well covered by Funnybook Babylon and Mindless Ones (feat. I Ching), but I'd be interested in seeing your thoughts on the subject. Last time we talked about it, I think we both still had our money on Alfred as the BG, but there's been another issue and some oddly phrased solicits since then, so we may be able to squeeze a brief discussion out of it.

Just a heads up

First, yes, those reviews are coming; I've had to scrap and rewrite a few, especially considering the volume of excellent criticism of All-Star Superman that's been published while I've been draggin' along.

Second, I will in no way be observing International Talk Like a Pirate Day. For God's sake, people, what are you, twelve? By the same token, I'm not going to put up a giant header image of the Flying Spaghetti Monster saying "LOL WUT" or randomly punctuate my writing with exhortations to join me in PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME. Leave your baseball bat at home, it will find no purchase here.

And get off my lawn.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A brief preview of Titans #5

and yet her mascara remains, perfect and eternal, like unto the stony legs of Ozymandias

We know, Judd. We know.

Comics for the week of September 15, 2008

Reviews to follow tomorrow, along with some books of interest from the last few weeks. Via the indispensible Savage Critic, or Savage Critics, I'm not sure.

Weak, floppy, vulnerable singles:
Action Comics #869
Air #2
All-Star Superman #12
Checkmate #30. Checkmate. Number. Thirty. There will be a reckoning for this, Mr. Jones.
DC Universe: Decisions #1. Between this and DC Universe: Last Will and Testament, I'm starting to have a Pavlovian response to the words "DC Universe." It is not the good kind of Pavlovian response, with the drooling and so forth.
Greatest Hits #1
Marvel Zombies Pirates Ninjas Apes #2
Robin #178
Star Trek: Assignment Earth #5. No, not really, but damn if I'm not curious. A Star Trek comic with hot Nixon-on-Nixon action that, I have just now learned in the process of finding a copy of the cover I can link to, is written and drawn by notorious Internet crank John Byrne? Hmm. HMMM.
Titans #5. I am watching you, Winick.

I'm watching you.

and True Believers #3.

Some other excellent comics had issues out this week- Joe Casey's Godland and a Jason Aaron twofer with Ghost Rider and Scalped- but since I'm following Scalped and Godland in trades and haven't caught up on Ghost Rider yet, I can't really say much about 'em.

And in firm, unyielding trades:
...nothing, this week. Anticlimactic! I'm interested in Superman: Kryptonite by Messrs. Cooke and Sale, but not $29.99 interested, and while I'll probably end up buying the trade of Mignola and Alexander's Abe Sapien mini, it'll be after I've finished buying the rest of the BPRD trades. Yes, even after Lobster Johnson: The Iron Prometheus. What can I say? I can't resist a dude named Lobster Johnson. Lobster Johnson!

Introductions are in order

It was going to be simple, at first.

Originally, this was going to be a series of short (but hateful) posts on scans_daily or I Love Comics or somewhere annotating Gotham Underground- annotating it with wholesome, dairy-fresh spite. I've since discovered that I have even more un-asked for opinions about comics, opinions desperately in need of a deep, dark hole to be dumped into, never to be heard from again. Opinions desperately in need of a blog. I have heard their cries in the night and have taken upon myself this monumental task, and after a brief consultation with my friend Aaron decided to call it "You Don't Know From Hurt," a title which ably communicates these important facts:

  • Hey, kids! Comics!

  • Some comics are very bad, and they hurt. Which you do not know, not really. Because you are, in the immortal words of the Bard, a "wad." Do not be upset, it is not your fault.

  • I do know from hurt. I will be using my powers for good by, every now and then, writing up exhaustive* annotations for some of the worst comics being published today. You know the ones. Gotham Underground. Bruce Jones's Checkmate. Judd Winick's Titans. If you and I are lucky, they may even be funny. You never know!

  • All-Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder. Hoo boy. It's kind of one of those "bad comics," and kind of not. It is complicated, like my feelings for you, the reader.

And also, per Aaron's sage advice, it's much less embarrassing to say "I write a comics blog, it's called You Don't Know From Hurt" than it is to say "Yeah, I write Batman Balls Nasty."

But it won't just be boring old vitriol, day in and day out. There will be all the standard comic-blog accoutrements, like weekly pull list reviews, opinion pieces, and links to stimulating writing from across the blogamajig by folks much more insightful than myself. Look! There goes one now!

It's not that I don't love comics- I do, deeply and truly- I just like swearing at bad ones in a semi-public forum. Like a filth-encrusted hobo shouting obscenities on a streetcorner, only slightly more opinionated about Ambush Bug.

Now take my hand, gentle reader, and come with me as we traipse together through the lilac-strewn field of wonderment that is: COMICS

*by which I mean cruel and hurtful

Why hello there

I didn't see you come in. Do make yourself comfortable. Would you care for some brandy?