Random Thoughts! (December 14, 2010)

Random Thought! Though it came out today, I won't get the new Ryan Adams & The Cardinals album until my Amazon.ca shipment arrives tomorrow. It's random thoughts time! Get excited!

Link Thought! GraphiContent for comics. butterbeatleblog for popculture (including five days of playlists this week!). The Splash Page Podcast for podcasting greatness (including the Joe Casey episode!).

Random Thought! Idea for Batman Christmas story: Batman recruits Santa to be the Batman of the North Pole. (Stolen from my own Twitter feed.)

Random Thought! I would totally revamp Superboy so he was like the Electric Superman. Why? Because Electric Superman was the shit and none of you could appreciate his greatness.

Random Thought! Not much to say about the Joe Casey guest spot on the podcast this week. It was his idea and he contacted Tim. There was some embarrassment when we went to record and the program I had wouldn't record Skype conference calls, so I had to download another. Otherwise, it turned out really well. Someone remarked that I didn't say a lot and that was for two reasons: 1) Wanting to let Casey talk as much as he wanted. 2) Tim usually jumped in before I could. But, I liked that. Tim was better at following up with broad questions, while my instinct was always to go to these small specifics about Casey's career since that's what I know. An entire podcast interview of the minutiae of his work would be appealing to some, but it definitely needs the sort of questions Tim brings -- probably more than what I brought. It was fun... even if it went so late that I only got four hours of sleep before work on Saturday. Definitely worth it.

Random Thought! I'm going to miss the "Justice, Inc." back-up in Doc Savage.

Random Thought! If you didn't like New Avengers #7, then I feel sorry for you. Do you want every issue like this? No, but Bendis and Immonen nailed this breather issue.

Random Thought! Don't you just love What If? issues where everything turns out the same even though everything is different? Oh wait, that's kind of dumb. Nice to see Rob Williams do that in last week's Wolverine: Father issue. Daken is a violent asshole because he's a violent asshole. Original.

Random Thought! Guys! It's Cable... with a MONOCLE!

Random Thought! Had I written that What If? Wolverine: Father issue, the urge to do a Lone Wolf and Cub riff would have been strong and hard to ignore... I mean, Leinil Francis Yu's cover says everything: a baby with claws!

Random Thought! A guy in my shop was updating his pull list last week, so I thought I would, too, while Tim (my retailer) had the lists out. Nice moment where he said he wanted every Bat-title except for Batman: Odyssey and I responded by adding that book to my list. It's crazy-ass fun!

Random Thought! The post that needs writing: comparing The Dark Knight Strikes Again and Batman: Odyssey when it's done.

Random Thought! Remember when people cared about First Wave? Wait, what that ever true? I know I did -- and still do -- but was I alone? Hello? Anyone?

Random Thought! Ah, Fraction's Thor: using the same decompression of JMS's run to undo everything that happened in JMS's run... take that, B5-Boy!

Random Thought! I mentioned this on my blog, but I got Astonishing X-Men: Ghost Box in hardcover for half price last week and was annoyed to discover that there were no scripts included despite the two-issue Ghost Boxes mini-series having scripts to pad out the issues. It's not like Marvel's regular titles operate under the 'bonuses to encourage people to buy singles' plan ala Criminal... nice to see the hardcover skimping on the extras.


Random Thought! For the record, I dug Ghost Box. Interesting story with Ellis treating the X-Men like adults. The Ghost Boxes stories were fun and dark and fucked up. Someone should just hire Ellis to write a comic called X-Bastards of the Multiverse where, every issue, it's just some crazy-ass alternate reality where the X-Men act like total dicks. Stick a different fan-favourite artist on each issue and watch as it sells millions. MILLIONS, I SAY!

Random Thought! Then again, I've always wondered why Exiles wasn't done in a similar manner: short storyarcs by rotating creative teams that can just go hog-wild with alternate reality Marvel universes. I'd buy the hell out of that comic.

Random Thought! I know, I know, that sort of book doesn't 'count,' so no one else cares. But that's only because you're all morons who don't care about comics actually being good.

Random Thought! Tomorrow: BUY DEADPOOL MAX #3! Who knows what sort of fucked up craziness Lapham and Baker will come up with this time!

Random Thought! The 'Shooting Star Pres into RKO' move got totally fucked last night at the Slammy's for "Holy Shit Moment of the Year." None of the other awards annoyed me, because who can really get worked up about that shit, but that one did. Actually, Shatner not winning best guest host moment for his spoken word versions of WWE entrance themes. Also, when will we get that album? I know it was just a joke, but, seriously, give us that album! (Oh, and Orton was clearly Superstar of the Year... but what do you expect from fan voting? Obviously Cena was going to win. Why bother?)

Random Thought! Also, just because... TIME TO PLAY THE GAME!

Random Thought! You know how much I love you all? I abandoned Uncle Buck to write Saturday night's Dreadstar December post. That's dedication, because that movie is awesome.

Random Thought! I got new shoes yesterday. They feel very comfortable. They were $20.

Random Question! Who would win in a fight: Automatic Kafka or Adam Archer?

Random Answer! My question last week was: "What’s the one comics-related item (could be a comic, a toy, a movie, whatever) that you want most for Christmas?" My answer is ACME Novelty Library #20.


Random Review! Brett Wood sent me the sixth issue of the comic he draws, The Silver Bullet. I reviewed the first five issues here a couple of months back and found it to be an energetic series that fell down on the execution quite a bit. This issue is a definite improvement as it focuses on a very simple concept: the Silver Bullet, Big Foot and Half-Cat/Half-Man arrive back in 2009 to discover that the whole in the universe left from when the Silver Bullet travelled back in time is allowing beings from alternate realities to come through. We get pirate, monkey cowboy, and zombie ninja versions of the Silver Bullet and friends. Just some fighting until Silver Bullet uses a nuclear missile sent to destroy the moon to close the rift.

The dialogue is wacky and improved, sometimes making fun of what's going on. Like, when the zombie ninjas show up, the heroes mock them for being very slow ninjas and zombies with masks over their mouths, thereby making no sense. Sometimes, the dialogue goes too overboard or stupid, though. It's very hit or miss as Eric Rampson tries to simply script the issue with completed art, sometimes not having any idea of what to have characters say.

Wood's art is improved here with WJ Grapes on inks. Figures look more complete than they did in issue 5. That issue had a big time unfinished, sloppy look to it that's not here. The art still has some compositional problems as Wood hasn't figured out how to show characters from every angle yet. But, it's nice to see the art begin to improve again after a slide in quality over issues three through five.

The Silver Bullet #6 is a crazy-ass comic that is hit or miss, but definitely entertaining. You can find out more here.


Random Comments! Only those that actually post comments are eligible for this section, so if you'd like a chance to be featured in next week's random thoughts, post a reply. Who knows, maybe I'll choose your comment to dismiss in one or two short sentences respond to!

Mike Loughlin said: Your writer & artists lists are great, but I wonder about Frusin (not his being a favorite of yours, of course). I liked his work on Hellblazer when Azzarello wrote the series, but I took him to be, er, heavily influenced by Eduardo Risso. What quality of his art puts him on your list?

I love his Hellblazer work. Great use of shadows and strong, bold imagery. I can see the Risso influence, but find that he has thicker, more angular lines. His John Constantine doesn't look his age, but he looks his personality almost better than any other artist who's drawn him. You look at Frusin's Constantine and you know what sort of guy he is. His work on Loveless was also really good.

ArrestThisMan said: That’s some high praise for Joe Casey. Dude’s awesome and I’ve read everything people love from him except Majestic. He was on my list but was dropped because he has output that is less than spectacular. Dude has done so much stuff over the years that some were bound to miss. I suppose this is true for a lot of guys on your list. How much consideration did you give to consistency over the long term in this list?

Not much. The high points tend to wash out the lows. Casey is one of those guys that hits the extremes and I like that. He's also a writer that really makes an effort to try new things. You'll note that the ambitious writers who genuinely think about the craft and try to challenge themselves rate highly.

Rene said: You know Bruce Wayne can’t ever really fix Gotham, right? Bruce Wayne using his immense fortune and influence to make Gotham less corrupt and dark would be changing the world, and one of the main rules of Big Two superheroes is that they’re not allowed to really change the world, for several reasons.

That will never stop me from wanting it to happen.

Dave said: I agree that the “Bruce Wayne could be doing more good than Batman!” idea has a number of holes in it.

First, as I think T mentioned last time, Batman has on several occassions prevented the destruction of most or even all life on Earth. No matter what great things Bruce Wayne buys, without Batman, everyone would be dead. It’s almost certainly true in the real world that a billionaire would be more useful as a standard philanthropist than as a hyper-trained vigilante, but it doesn’t make a ton of sense in the DCU.

Second, even if we eliminate those world-ending scenarios, while you could argue that funding Gotham’s educational system for the next few decades would be more useful in the long run than saving hundreds or thousands of people from the Joker’s gas attack, it seems at least close enough that you could make an argument either way.

Third, the comic strongly implies on a number of occassions that Bruce Wayne DOES do a lot of good. I’m pretty sure it’s been established that the Wayne foundation is mostly a charitable organization that filters millions to the needy in one way or another. It’s just more exciting to watch Batman beat up a crocodile man than to watch a dozen accountants try to figure their way around the Cambodian banking system, so the comic tends to focus on that aspect.

1. Some of the situations you and others gave did require Batman, sure. Though, living in a superhero universe, I'm pretty sure if he wasn't there to save the day, someone else would have. One story I think he wouldn't have been necessary for if he focused more on the Bruce Wayne doing good aspect of his life, though, is the threat of the White Martians. A major part of their plan was winning over the people of Earth with solutions to numerous everyday problems. If those problems were solved by Wayne, their plan wouldn't have worked... he would have beat them before they even showed up.

2. Yeah... kill the Joker. It's the morally correct decision to make at this point.

3. For all the good he supposedly does, things still seem to suck a lot. Especially in Gotham. Seems like a failure. And does Batman as a failure sound right to you?

Travis Pelkie said: C’Mon, Rebis, DKSA is awesome, man! That last line is especially cool. I can see where you might not like the look of his art, but I dig it, and apparently so does Chad (even more than me, I guess). And ASBAR is a fun ride, especially when you figure out that Bruce is trying to sound tough and that Miller is trying to hook up his Batman stories into one continuity. And the issue vs. GL? Way fun. I hope Chad backs me up next week in the comments section.

Both are fantastic. Anyone who says otherwise is Wrong.

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading. Later.

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