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Another Anthology of Random Reviews and Thoughts At Least Sort of Related to Comics

by  in Comic News Comment
Another Anthology of Random Reviews and Thoughts At Least Sort of Related to Comics

A collection of thoughts on comics too slight to stand on their own, but together, they are mighty! Kind of like the Comics Journal, but not at all. Even in the slightest bit. Well, okay, Gary Groth helped with the editing. But that’s it!

I have to ask a question on behalf of the blog; do we have enough blogs in our blog roll? Did we miss anyone? At all? Ever? Contact Cronin if so with links. Repeatedly. I’m sure he’d want to know.

— 

To borrow some tone from our resident prodigal son Joe, I have to say that if you’re not reading Casanova you must hate comics and enjoy punching yourself in the face with brass knuckles. It’s really excellent stuff guys, and beyond that, it only costs two dollars! It’s everything you could ever want out of a single issue comic in half the space of one of Marvel’s ad filled monstrosities, with wonderful art from Gabriel Ba, cool “backmatter” extras, and hey, is even technically written by a contributor to this here blog.

That’s not why I’m saying this, by the way, I swear. Even if I do plan on getting Punisher War Journal because he’s writing it. I’m kissing up to him for legitimate reasons, I swear!

Anyway, Casanova. It is great and if you don’t read it you are a crap eating crap lover who needs to stop loving crap so much. You can get all the issues that are out for $12. Stop sucking so much and buy them, Suckface.

Wow, trying to write like Joe when he’s all snarky and hyperbolic can be a rush. I can see why he does it.

Part of the reason why I don’t write too much for this here blog, beyond the fact that Cronin is like a machine* and he doesn’t need my content, is that I’m very sporadic in my comic reading. I’m not an every Wednesday, pull list kind of guy. I’m probably not even going to make it to a shop today.

Sometimes I don’t pick up comics until their months old, and since I’m not Jog or Tim O’Neil or somebody else who’s all literary and insightful, it’s not like I have anything particularly new to say about the average issue of Batman I pick up or whatever. So, when I pick up something like the Escapsists #1, which has been talked to death in even the small comics circles I read, I don’t usually feel like getting online to sing its praises. Even if I really enjoyed it immensely. But sometimes I do it anyway. Like now.  

It had been awhile since I’d read a Vaughan comic. I’ve enjoyed pretty much everything of his I’ve read, but somehow I’ve drifted away from everything of his I’ve followed. I’m way behind on Ex Machina and Y: the Last Man, and even Runaways, my favorite thing of his ever. I wasn’t planning on buying his Escapists mini-series in singles at all (partially because I still have yet to finish reading Kavalier and Clay, to my eternal shame). But hey, it was a buck. That has sold me more crappy comics than any hype machine could. But this wasn’t one of them.

That shouldn’t surprise me. Vaughan excels in hitting the ground running and writing excellent single issues, and hey, Phil Bond art. Vaughan’s trouble is keeping that momentum going, but this is a mini, and that was a hell of a first issue, for my money (even if it was a dollar in this case). Consider me down for the trade. Maybe I’ll even finish the source material novel by then!

In another behind the times appraisal of an awesome comic, I read the latest Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips collaboration, Criminal. They’re pretty good at this kind of thing, I think. I’m really impressed with how quickly the plot’s moving, which is something I demand out of my single issues. I hate to bust out this old chestnut, but really, in these decompressed days, that first heist would have taken a whole storyline. And, you know, it’s Brubaker and Phillips. They did Sleeper. It’s like Morrison and Quitely (the only modern equivalent creative team I can think of). Even if it’s not their best work, it’s worth reading. And like Casanova, there’s a lot there for your single issue dollar, and barely any ads (for the Coalition of Folks as Bugged By Them as our Scottish Friend Paul O’Brien**). And there’s even a Mini Cooper involved! Get these issues if you’re more behind the times than me and don’t have them yet.

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I also read the third volume of Scott Pilgrim recently, finally, letting you know how behind the times I am. It’s still my favorite regularly published comic. It’s still a great balance between slice of life relationship drama and rollicking, video game inspired absurdity. It’s still hilarious (the first chapter is funnier than most comics I’ve read in months). It’s still well drawn, in a style that’s inspired by manga without slavishly aping it.

But… well, there were times when it got a little too self aware (like when Scott announces that we’re going to have a deus ex machina ending). And… well… um… that’s pretty much it for flaws as far as I’m concerned. I still love it like that proverbial fat kid who holds a torch for cake.

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Talking about a comic I’ve read recently, I actually got preview copy of Nextwave #10 Saturday; so, among all of these comics from the past*** I’ve been reading, I got one from the future! And you know, I have loved me some Nextwave in the past. This was a good issue. No spoilers, for the folks who got to shops on the appropriate day and everything, but Stuart Immonen gets to play artistic chameleon due to Ellis’s plot (including doing a dead on Mike Mignola riff for a comic I wish existed) and that’s always something I enjoy.

—-

It was nice to see Tony Isabella comment on the recent issue of Justice League Unlimited featuring Black Lightning in a prominent role, because: 1) It was a fun story.

2) because I like seeing Carlo Barberi’s name get out there ever since I met him at a collectibles show down here (he even drew a sketch of Spider-Man for me!). He’s a hell of a nice guy, and I dig his art. It’s especially good for the animated universe books.

3) writer Adam Beechum dedicated the comic to him.

and

4) He’s taken so much issue with DC over their portrayl of the character (for legitimate reasons, mind you), it’s nice to see him have something good to write about in regards to his creation for a change, you know?
—-

Tom Spurgeon really will print anything you send him. I also like him for articulating how I feel about the Vertigo American Splendor series, even though I haven’t actually read any of it, or any Pekar work that wasn’t in Entertainment Weekly since I picked up that giant collection around the time the movie came out. I did win the Quitter on E-Bay, but after that, I think I will have officially had my fill of earnest portrayls of real life and poignant observations and insights. Now, if his being published by means he’ll be the next writer for the Flash or something, I’ll be there. Because I am weird like that.

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So, yeah, that Absolute New Frontier, huh? Cooke’s annotations alone were worth owning it for, I think. Hell, the slipcase by itself is a lovely art object. The fact that we could have had a Catwoman/Black Canary comic by he and J. Bone but don’t is depressing as hell, but I really dug reading all the “backmatter” in this, seeing the unused pages and other bits of process. I’m planning on re-reading it over my last winter break as a student (unless I go to grad school), just to see the art in that format, and to see if the story actually holds up, or if mean old Dan Coyle might maybe possibly have a point about it not being so good. I doubt it. Issue 6 alone was close to a religious experience for me, to let you know how much I liked it.

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Speaking of Cooke, Batman/Spirit is finally out today. It’s a perfect storm of things I love vs. Loeb’s shaky writing. The things I love will win like Kurt Busiek at Fanboy Rampage. If nothing else, I imagine that Loeb can at least do a gimmee idea like the Spirit meeting Batman justice. I hope. But I’ll pretty much by anything with Darwyn Cooke art anyway, so what do I care about things as trivial as writing?

—-

I’m also planning on watching all of Heroes so far over winter break. Even though I’ve avoided it so far because it seems like one of those things I should watch because I like superheroes and everything, instead of something I’m actively that interested in. I mean, this approach to superheroes is new to film versions of the genre, but it’s kinda worn to anyone who’s been reading comics since Watchmen, at least. And, you know, I already watch Lost. I’m not sure I have room for another one of these slow moving adventure shows that demands a commitment from me. But it’s clogging up my Tivo, and it might actually be good. If nothing else, I can decide whether to keep watching it or have more room for Scrubs re-runs. Which is… something. Barely related to comics. But that’s in the title!  And I need to do more important things now, so this ramble is over! Really this time maybe!

 

*- Cronin may very well be a machine, for all I know. I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out he was the nerdiest android in the world, let’s say that.

**- Meetings are Tuesday. We’re discussing fundraising opportunities to pay for a trip to New York. So we can visit Marvel’s offices and yell at them for all the ads. We may want to catch a Broadway show, too.

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