Sunday Brunch: 1/23/10

WHITHER THE COMICS CODE? So DC and Archie, the last bastions of the Comics Code Authority, have dropped the seal's use entirely. Which begs the question, hopefully for an actual comics journalist to answer: Who was the Comics Code Authority? Where was this self-governing body headquartered, who was on it, and what will they do now? As something that's existed for something like 60 years, you'd think we'd know more about it. Sure, we know what created it, but how has it been maintained these many years? What caused its complete loss of power (the direct market, I presume)? How will it be remembered?

RATED Q FOR QUIXOTIC: Tom Mason reveals DC's new ratings system!:

G - GREYING MAN-BOYSContent suitable for readers over 40.

W - WAITWe'll eventually collect this.

P - PRICEThis issue is shockingly overpriced.

A - AMAZONThis trade paperback is much cheaper at Amazon.

R.I.P., ALL AGES: Brian Clevinger drops the AA-bomb:

You may recall that this was intended to be an on-going series. It was downgraded to a four issue mini-series and then two issues — you get both of ‘em in this one-shot. Captain America: The Fighting Avenger will be one of the last “all ages” issues of anything Marvel will produce for quite a while. Because they “aren’t profitable.”

Aww, dang. I was really looking forward to supporting this series. No wonder we don't need the Comics Code anymore.

RE:COVERED: 'Cause every touch reminds you of just how sweet it could have been, here are some good cover versions by Richard Short, Thomas Perkins, and Dieter Van der Ougstraete:

ITEM! Matt Seneca investigates the development of the interior lives and workings of comics characters, as well as the tools used to explore them:

Around this time, some (as far as I can tell) unrecognized genius made an addition to the comics' grammar that perfectly visualized the growing split between characters' interior and exterior, drawn lives: the thought balloon. Here, in a gorgeous, murmuring, cloudy variation on the word balloons designating spoken speech, was an elegant and unobtrusive way to spell out what the people in the panels were thinking without forcing them to belt it forth for all to hear. It's significant that thought balloons didn't really emerge as a common comics trope until the stories the medium was telling were countenancing the characters' hidden thoughts enough to need them.

ITEM! Tim O'Neil places Crisis on Infinite Earths into a context that makes a helluva lotta sense:

If you've ever read Homer, there's something similar in the kind of incessant intertextuality used in The Iliad and The Odyssey. In both of those books you've got also got huge laundry lists of characters who show up, sometimes only for a couple lines, say or do something, and disappear soon after.

ITEM! James Stokoe throws a ton of more awesome pages onto the internet, just because he can. Pages like this:

ITEM! Rick Remender discusses his career and writing process with David Pepose at Newsarama. I love learning from these types of articles, and Remender's is particularly interesting. I'd say he's become of the Big Two's best writers right now, fusing together pulp sensibilities with a strong focus on character. Like, a really strong focus:

I also have a character worksheet, which is like four pages long, with 1,000 questions. I'll go through, before writing a character, and fill that out, and by the end of that, I know them entirely. That helps write their dialogue, once you know who the person is and what their motives are. ... Oh, it's intense. It's like "responses to authority," "time in the military," "siblings," "response to siblings," "most traumatic childhood event," "most traumatic adult event," "political attitude," "attitude towards socialism" — and by the time you answer all those questions, one leads to the other, one feeds the other, you're not going to write a big right-wing guy who's a proponent of socialism. One answer will determine the other, but it all helps form a human being inside your mind....It took a lot to undo the perception of the people who have the power to give you work — I had to do about 22 creator-owned graphic novels on my own to establish myself, and it's a testament to how much I want to make comic books.

Man, he's making me really want to buy X-Force, and I can't believe that's the second time in my life I've had such a desire.

ITEM! Joe Casey gives good interview, talking with The Beat about all facets of his career, from Ben 10 to Butcher Baker, and then gets real about comics:

When sales are in the crapper — as they were in the late 90’s and as they are right now — that’s not the time to be overly-conservative or overly-cautious. That’s the time to say, “Fuck it,” and just go for broke. Take chances with the material and the characters, for chrissakes! There’s a resilience there that’s definitely not being tested, and that’s a real shame. And sorry, but I don’t think killing characters and then bringing them back is going to cut it anymore. That bell’s been rung too many times. To me, there’s a huge difference between “creatively driven” and “editorially driven” and you can see it in the books themselves.

ITEM! Iron Man, in cake form. Disclaimer: The icing is made of nanotechnology. Consume at own risk.

ITEM! Doug TenNapel (Earthworm Jim, CreatureTech, et al) has launched a new webcomic, Ratfist, updated every weekday, and totally free. So go enjoy it, would you?

REMAKE/REMODEL knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men, because it's The Shadow!  Here come pieces by Lee Jackson, Chris Thornley, and David Bednarsky to cloud your mortal minds:

And that's all she wrote for this week. Stay tuned for George Lopez and his guest, Chuck Mangione.

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