FIRST, A VISUAL GAG
One of the features of the new Mac OS X upgrade, Leopard, is the ability to create virtual desktops called "Spaces." This is not a new idea. Linux/UNIX has had it for a long time. But Apple added its own visual cues to it, leading one enterprising user to recreate The Brady Bunch's opening image in Spaces.
Surely, we as comic geeks can do one better. Imagine a page of WATCHMEN or Giffen-era JUSTICE LEAGUE in the same layout? Or a David Lapham STRAY BULLETS story? Or a Kirby comic? What if someone hacked it so that every time you hit the right arrow in that Spaces view, all the images would flip to the next page? You could put an entire comic into Spaces!
It would be the most pointlessly overwrought and over-programmed piece of coding ever done -- but for a very good cause. It's comics!
MARVEL IN JANUARY 2008
I found the Marvel solicitations for January 2008 this week. As promised last week, here are some thoughts:
The Marvel solicitations are quickly turning into something just as entertaining as the books, themselves. From IMMORTAL IRON FIST #13:
"By Ed and Matt and David and Kano and Kaare and so on and so forth."
SPIDER-MAN: WITH GREAT POWER. . . #1:
"Happy at home with his Aunt May and Uncle Ben, but plagued by the bullies and mean girls of high school, see what Peter does when the bite of a radioactive spider gives him the strength to take the things he wants. Fame? Money? Fast cars? Girls? This dweeb's up to his pencilneck in 'em!"
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #550-551:
"And would you believe...Spider-Man sued? (Hey, that's what we get for having a former lawyer write these things...)"
Was Marc Guggenheim really a one-time lawyer? I did not know that.
MARVEL ADVENTURES: SPIDER-MAN #35:
"Venom is back ...but says he wants to bury the hatchet with Spider-Man. No, not in his head."
And so on and so forth. I now read all the solicitation text, just for the small giggles they provide.
ULTIMATE HUMAN is a new four issue mini-series from Warren Ellis and Cary Nord. Was I not paying attention, or was there ZERO pre-announcements on this one? I can't even remember a hint being dropped about it. It's just there on the solicitation page and I don't see much hullabaloo.
To sum it up: It's Ultimate Hulk versus Ultimate Iron Man. I'm there.
ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #118 begins the long-awaited "Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends" arc. Like any red-blooded 30-something boy, I look forward to this one without apology.
Hey, how about Mark Bagley single-handedly saving DC from every deadline doom they might ever have again? While I'm sure they'll make him a regular on a book that needs it -- pick anything Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman-related -- I could also picture him as a pinch hitter. He could save three different books every month from their deadline pressure and make it look easy.
And while some will use this to further their DC Versus Marvel agenda, I get the feeling that this is just Bagley wanting to spread his wings a little. He's been locked down at Marvel for 20 years now. He probably wants the chance to go a full year without having to draw Spider-Man. I'd give him a Superman book. I think his style might work best there.
When I see the complaints across the 'net against Joe Madureira and Christian Lichtner's art on ULTIMATES 3, I weep a little. Everyone's entitled to their opinion and all, but I like that style, and I think it's a shame that anything just two degrees different from the standard superhero norm gets so routinely savaged. No wonder why French comics have never found an audience here in the States. They're not "average" enough. Darn shame.
Issue #2 of that series is coming in January, by the way. That's what spurred that rambling rant.
NEW EXILES #1 is only #1 for marketing purposes, but I'll be darned if a creative team like Chris Claremont and Tom Grummett doesn't sound really cool to me. I have to remember to give this one a shot.
Now, let's get to the hardcovers, trades, and other wallet-draining beauties:
YOUNG AVENGERS HC collects the original 12 issue series, plus the YOUNG AVENGERS SPECIAL. It's 312 pages for $30. Just my luck -- I finally broke down and bought the second premiere edition hardcover collecting the second half of that material this summer. I'd rather have both books in an oversized collection like this with the bonus of that SPECIAL, but I can't justify buying everything twice. Pity.
If that's not enough Jimmy Cheung art for you, I highly recommend the NEW AVENGERS: ILLLUMINATI Premiere Edition HC. Sure, it's not on the bigger page size, but the five issue mini-series was a lot of fun in the end, and can be yours now for $20.
Slightly older school Marvel fans will appreciate HULK: THE END Premiere Edition HC. This one has Peter David's FUTURE IMPERFECT prestige format two-parter with George Perez alongside David's THE END special with Dale Keown art. That's a lot of beautiful pages under one cover. It's still $20, but does reach 152 pages, or 32 more than the last book I referenced here at the same price.
Jeph Loeb and Rob Liefeld's ONSLAUGHT REBORN mini-series gets a trade paperback in January, which I guess means the last issue or two of it will see the light of day in the next two months first. I've long lost track -- which issue are we up to right now?
Finally, House of M aficionados (and there's a hardcover of that event out in January, too) will appreciate AVENGERS: WEST COAST: DARKER THAN SCARLET. This collects issues #51-57 and #60-62 of that series, which I barely remember picking up on the newsstands at the time, mostly because I was following John Byrne around at that point. Events in this book lead into HOUSE OF M.
REVIEWS BLOGS: THE FOLLOW-UP
A couple weeks back, I asked about comic blogs that specialized in reviews, rather than commentary. A lot of you, thankfully, e-mailed in with your suggestions. Here are some highlights:
Rokk's Comic Book Revolution has detailed reviews of DC and Marvel Comics. They begin with a lengthy description of what happened in the issue and then a long summary of what there is to like and not like. It includes plenty of scanned in pages and a cover scan, so you can see what he's talking about. It sometimes feels almost a bit too fannish, but then he reels it back in with constructive criticisms. He even incorporates an ever-changing scoring metric for art, story, and overall impression.
The Breathing Corpse has quick one paragraph reviews of the week's comics. Looks like a relatively new endeavor, but entertaining.
Let us not forget our old pal, Randy Lander, and his friends over at ComicPants.com. The comic cover background is a little too busy for my tastes, but the reviews are centered nicely on a plain white background. You get insightful comic reviews, podcasts, and Top 5 lists. Entertaining.
Randy's former partner in Canadian crime, Don MacPherson, still has his solo effort, Eye On Comics. Don still gives us his long-form take on single issue comics of the day, while also mixing in the occasional bits of commentary and news.
As you might imagine from the name alone, Collected Editions reviews only trade paperbacks. The reviews might not be timely, but the products are also on store shelves for longer so they can get away with it. It looks like the blog's proprietor is out this month and that are guest reviewers in place for the interim. Keep an eye out for anything written by Doug Glassman. That's the good stuff.
Thirteen Minutes has lots of reviews, but only shorter one and two paragraph jobbers. They're well done, though, getting straight to the point without fear of being opinionated. I like it.
If you're a Legion fan, you need to visit Legion Abstract, is a very thorough LEGION blog with lots of detailed reviews. I'm not a Legion fan, myself, but I can appreciate the effort that goes into this one.
I realize that Sims' site has nothing to do with what I asked for, but it was so good that I just had to share it.
Thanks to everyone for all your suggestions, even if I didn't include them in this column. I've had fun perusing the blogosphere in the last couple of weeks, though I'm still convinced that most of the blogosphere enjoys talking more about the industry than the books, themselves. There's room for everyone, though!
Special thanks to William D. who wrote in to remind me that Mark Farmer already inked John Byrne once in that John Cleese-penned SUPERMAN original graphic novel. I didn't buy it, so I didn't remember it too well.
Next week: Seven more days!
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