One day, I’ll just put up a Brunch composed entirely of links to Comics Should Be Good articles from the previous week. But until we hit that nadir of lackadaisy (which I have now decided is a word, regardless of what the dictionary says), I guess I’ll have to settle for sharing various bits and bobs (and carols and teds and alices) of the comic book internet with you, faithful reader.
And I’ve had absolutely no time to pull stuff together this week, so… lightning round!
QUESTION(S) OF THE WEEK: How was your Free Comic Book Day? Good? Bad? Neutral? Chaotic Neutral? Lawful evil? Via my two online retailers (DCBS and Heavy Ink, holla, etc.), I managed nine free comics! And a lot of not free ones. So I’ll tell you all about those. In June, probably.
ITEM! In today’s first installment of “articles I haven’t read yet but know are good,” Zom of the Mindless Ones tackles Alex Sinclair’s coloring on Batman & Robin, which has received a… less than stellar reaction. Zom sees it differently, it seems:
A strange sky is one of the first sure fire signs that the entire cosmic order is maybe, just maybe against you. But there’s a beauty to what Sinclair’s doing too. His fuzzy colours seem bent on denying the possibility of pure negative space, or minimalist background detail. Instead backgrounds that could have been inconsequential are turned into distinct environments in their own right and beg to be noticed, wallowed in even.
ITEM! “Articles I haven’t read yet but know are good,” part the second: I can seemingly rely on Colin Smith to now produce thoughtful content so that I don’t have to! This week, he’s too busy thinking about Geoff Johns comics, and the constant, seemingly necessary conceit that humans are special, and must be everywhere:
The fundamental problem with Geoff Johns placing the origins of all “sentient” life on Earth is that it makes Earth special. In fact, it makes the Earth far far more special than everywhere else everywhere . And as soon as a place becomes perceived as “special”, it warps the perceptions of those folks who feel that they belong there. It’s a problem that’s been part of human culture from as far back as recorded history begins, as far as anybody can tell, and it’s hard to believe that human beings thought any differently before they started leaving records for us to obsess over.
ITEM! Dave (ex Machina) has discovered the Silverest period of the Silver Age: cover date February 1966!
ITEM! Gavok at 4thletter writes about comics that have Mr. T in them. And he hasn’t even gotten to the crack babies yet. That’s all you need to know.
ITEM! Movie Thor is a mean drunk:
There’s also a picture of the Destroyer floating around, leaked by LatinoReview. They got a cease and desist notice about it, so I’m not going to show that one, but Rich Johnston has no such qualms, so go check it out at Bleeding Cool while it’s still there.
AXE COP MOMENT OF THE WEEK DEPT: Because I guess it’s a thing now. And yes, it’s more Baby Man, because… I can’t get enough. This is Ethan’s artistic pinnacle, so far!
KATE BEATON IS SO AWESOME, YOU GUYS DEPT: Kate Beaton comics are worth sharing. This time, she tackles the subject of Macbeth! Macbeth is not my favorite Shakespeare– that’d be Richard III– but it’s towards the top (I am not a huge Shakes fan; I love the dark and violent ones, though). (Fun fact: In senior year of high school I rewrote the last act or so of Macbeth into a silly Western for a project– characters were turned into gunfighters, Pony Express boys, school marms, and crusty prospectors; Malcolm became Sean Connery. My group got a 100.) Anyway, the comic:
More at the link, o’course, o’course, unless that link is Mr. Ed.
REMAKE/REMODEL: This week, Warren Ellis challenges his minions to devise a CD cover for Steve Ditko’s new album, “The Missing Man.” Yeah, you read that right. I hereby dub the winners: Raid71 (for being Raid71); kcmcleod (for being the Ditko-est); Andrew Drilon (for fulfilling the album title the bestest).
Click for the big time.
DOCTOR WHO DEPT: “Flesh and Stone” Written by Steven Moffat
“That’s a fairy tale.”
“Aren’t we all?”
The key aesthetic choice for this season is “fairy tale.” Steven Moffat’s Doctor Who is a show where a madman with a box that travels in time delivers infinite promise to a little girl, where majestic, cosmic creatures carry worlds on their back, where the monsters can only get you in the dark. Moffat also remembers that fairy tales are meant to be scary. We talked about the scares last week, but it’s worth mentioning again. Moffat’s on record saying that fairy tales are the kind of stories that inform children there are weird and scary things out there that want to eat them. I think Moffat would agree with me (and Dan Harmon, for that matter): these scary stories should make children braver, should scare them and then lead them towards a catharsis that conquers those fears. With the Doctor holding your hand, you can banish the scary monsters.
Steven Moffat also clearly loves the time travel aspect of the show’s central premise, and takes full advantage of it, moreso than anyone before him. He’s the one who wrote about time agents, about appearing in a person’s entire life in one afternoon. He coined the phrase “timey-wimey” and he introduced River Song, the woman whom the Doctor never meets in the right order. She reappears in this story, and hints at the Doctor’s future– and her past. There are some deft, extremely clever hints throughout the episode of a longer, more carefully structured narrative at work, playing with the nature of time travel like a cat’s cradle. Moffat is a plotsmith, an architect. Russell T. Davies relied on pure instinct, and managed to pull together a four year arc out of disparate elements; Moffat’s the kind of guy who draws up the blueprints well in advance, delivering moments certain to build to a massive payoff later. The hand at work in this two-parter is not that of a wizard or conjurer, but a master stage magician, an expert at legerdemain. “Look closer,” says the Doctor. And so we shall. If you blink, you’ll miss something– and you really, really shouldn’t blink.
Also, how staggeringly wonderful are Matt Smith and Karen Gillan in this one? And this story was filmed first! They had it from the word go. Blue blazes.
Next week: Stuff.