Comics magazines should be good!

No, this isn't a post about Wizard. There are other comics magazines, you know!

I've mentioned a few times that I recently bought Tripwire: Superhero Special 2009. Now I'd like to write about it! If you're frustrated by the level of discourse in Wizard, the behemoth of comics magazines, perhaps you should check out Tripwire. It could be better, certainly, but EIC Joel Meadows puts together a nice, in-depth look at several supehero-related topics (Tripwire doesn't always venture into superhero territory), and even though there's a bit of fanboyism in the mag, it's not anywhere near the level you get in that other periodical. Let's check it out!

There's a fairly interesting Watchmen article detailing the book's long journey to the screen, but as that's been written about ad infinitum, let's skip it. We'll also skip the Dave Gibbons interview for the same reason. Not that those two articles aren't edifying, but they tread familiar ground. Next is an article about Kick-Ass the movie, which is trying to find a distributor. I've read a couple of issues of Kick-Ass, and it's pretty unimpressive, but reading about the effort to get it to the screen is pretty neat. Nicolas Cage is in it, which means a studio might pick it up. One of the funny statements made about the movie (and the comic, as well) is by Jane Goldman, the screenwriter: "It is such a violent comic and I think it was important to show genuine consequences of violence." In an interview with the director, Matthew Vaughan, that accompanies the article, this is reiterated: "We're also trying to be socially responsible" with regard to the violence - Dave gets "fucked up pretty damn badly" in this movie, according to Vaughan. I know when the comic was announced, Millar made a big deal about it being "superheroes in the real world," with all the attendant consequences. Well, in the issues I read, Dave gets so beat up he'd be crippled, but he keeps getting back up. The "consequences" of violence are that he'd be in a wheelchair for life, but that doesn't happen, of course. (I'm sorry for the rant, but as someone who is very aware of the consequences of violence, it offends me whenever someone talks about showing that in a comic book. I have no problem with, say, a ten-year-old ninja girl slaughtering people, as this comic features, but don't try to tell me it's anything but complete escapist fare.) Tripwire also interviews Mark Millar, and despite my long-standing distaste for the writer, it's an interesting look at the process of both creating comics and movies.

We then move on to an interview with Mr. B. Michael Bendis, who fills us in on "Dark Reign" and all the issues with it. It's pretty much what you expect, although Bendis does promise that Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D. will be out in April. Did I miss it? I'm not being a dick, because I would probably check it out and I think I would have noticed it. Of course, it was supposed to be out the week after Secret Invasion #8, so I'm not holding my breath, but it sounds keen. There's also a short interview with Paul Cornell about Captain Britain and MI 13, which is, of course, awesome.

The focus then shifts to DC, with a story on Geoff Johns and an interview with Dan DiDio. As usual, these interviews don't reveal all too much, but there's an interesting quote by DiDio. He says, "Barry Allen Flash is one of the first DC comics I ever read." In a world where the speculation is that DiDio and Quesada simply want to reboot comics to the time when they were kids, this is probably the closest we're going to get to confirmation. It's a shame, of course, that this is how the companies are run, but whatever. I just found that quote, among a bunch of bland pronouncements about what's coming up for the flagship characters, rather telling.

There's a really interesting interview with the Mothership's Rich Johnston, who's far more candid than any of the professionals (which is not surprising, really). He talks about the history of "Lying in the Gutters" and how the column has evolved. He also pulls back the curtain a bit, which is always nice. Then the magazine moves beyond the Big Two. There's a nice article about Golden Age superheroes which sets up a longer story/interview about Project: Superpowers with the series editor Joseph Rybrandt, and then there's a story about Jack Kirby, whom some of you might have heard of. It's an interesting article about the differences between Kirby and Eisner and why the King deserves to have something in New York named after him (like Kirby Plaza from Heroes). There's a nice interview with Mark Waid about Irredeemable, and then a long series of interviews with various Heroes creators - Tim Kring, who created the show; Mark Verheiden, who produces and writes it; and Bryan Fuller, who left the show to create Pushing Daisies but is now back. I know Heroes has fallen in favor among many people, but the interviews are still pretty interesting, even though, as usual, there's nothing too juicy in them.

As you can see, this magazine is packed. I didn't even get into the article about the 15 most important superhero graphic novels ever, because I'm saving that for a later post. It's 82 pages long and costs 8 bucks, but it's very content-rich and doesn't waste pages on junk, which a certain other, more popular comics magazine often does. Tripwire doesn't have a web site, but I'm sure you can find it online if you're interested. [Edit: Okay, I'm wrong, as pointed out in the comments. Here's the web site.] It's always fun to read a comics magazine that does things a little differently than the giant mag lording over the industry!

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