Hello and welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading? Our special guest today is Emily Stackhouse, creator of the award-winning minicomic Brazilianoir and her latest, Miner's Mutiny.
To see what Emily and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Back at the end of the year, I got all superior about DC's solicitation of Showcase Presents Green Lantern Volume 5, because apparently it didn't include all the GL backup stories from The Flash, back when Green Lantern itself had been canceled (gasp!) following the Denny O'Neil/Neal Adams run. Therefore, when SCPGL #5 came out this week, I was pleasantly surprised to see those backups finally collected. So thanks, DC, for that!
I'd read those short stories before, but I'd forgotten that they start out with Hal Jordan unemployed and literally living out of his car. Talk about your "trek across America" -- he's sleeping in the woods, cooking Green Arrow's chili recipe over a campfire and fighting aliens almost on the side. In fact, one story ("The Powerless Power Ring," by O'Neil and Adams) finds Hal's ring going goofy, apparently because he put the wrong mushrooms into the chili. Another, "Yellow Is A Dirty Little Color" (by O'Neil and Dick Giordano) loses a certain plot point in the black-and-white reprint, but it's still a lightweight little puzzle which alert readers will probably figure out before Hal does. Eventually, the backups will shift to an extended outer-space serial, Mike Grell will come aboard as penciller, and the groundwork will be laid for 1976's Green Lantern revival -- but for now, it's nice to see Hal in a more offbeat setting.
Some of the best superhero-comics news I've read in a while came at the end of Justice League: Generation Lost #24 (written by Judd Winick, penciled by Aaron Lopresti, inked by Matt Ryan), when the follow-up ongoing series was announced. JL:GL has been tremendously entertaining pretty much since it started, but I reallydid not expect these characters to continue as a team after this miniseries. JL:GL sets up the conflict between the new JLI and its familiar enemy pretty well, too, with the bad guys essentially adopting a concern-troll posture. That should give the ongoing series a nice political/satirical edge (not that DC needs any more political edge these days...). Even with this dangling plot thread, and with a big nod to Wonder Woman's altered timeline, JL:GL worked nicely as a standalone superhero adventure. Winick and his rotating roster of artists did a great job keeping the stakes high and bringing the characters to life, and I hope that spirit continues into the regular series.
FF #2: Worth the read for a scene where Invisible Woman steps between Doom and Thing, in a manner of speaking. It's crazy that Dragon Man is actually becoming my favorite supporting cast member. Sidebar: Have we just forgotten that whole "Ben can become human" plot element now that it got Johnny killed?
Action Comics #900: Positives: Cornell's use of the character of Death in this issue. Negatives: snippets of Gary Frank drawing his version of Superman (or as I like to call it "constipated Christopher Reeve"; seriously why do people like Frank's version of Superman, it creeps the hell out of me). In general, though, I have never enjoyed the Doomsday character and I long for a day the character is forgotten. While the Lex Luthor aspect of the story was a satisfying conclusion, the rest of the milestone issue smacked of useless filler, especially the Richard Donner co-written piece.
Secret Avengers #12 and #12.1: This book has seem to lost its way to a certain extent, and it appears that Brubaker has no interest himself in seeing the story to its end, given that he's leaving the book. Brubaker wrote 12, then Nick Spencer wrote 12.1--and if 12.1 is a harbinger of what's ahead for the book, I actually consider this a good jumping off point. I will revisit the book when Warren Ellis takes over the book.
The Incredible Hulks #627: I think I would enjoy an ongoing series with Bruce Banner as a James Bond-type hero, as shown in this issue. It's interesting to see writer Greg Pak focus on the "inventive genius" aspect of the lead character.
Captain America #617: An interesting issue that reminded me of the old Marvel Triple Action reprints that were done back in the 1970s, given that you're given a Winter Soldier narrative, a Black Widow/Sharon Carter team-up and a focus on Steve Rogers (guest starring Henry Gyrich). Bonus points to Marvel for getting Chris Samnee to draw the Steve Rogers leg of the issue.
I took the opportunity to download Dave Kellett's Literature! Unsuccessfully Competing Against TV Since 1953, a compilation of strips from his webcomic Sheldon, after he offered it for free download to encourage Eisner voters to read it. It's up for Best Humor Publication, and it certainly is a worthy contender. Sheldon is one of the most consistently funny gag comics on the web, and it's funny in a smart, often sarcastic way without ever being mean. This e-book is particularly funny, and I laughed out loud, literally, at a number of the strips. My one complaint is that there seem to be a lot of Lord of the Rings jokes, but I suppose the fault is really mine for not having read it. And this is the only place outside of my immediate family circle where I have seen anyone poke fun at T.S. Eliot. (Let alone bring the Hulk into it.) If I were an Eisner judge, I'd give it the nod based on that alone.
I have been slowly catching up on all the awesome comics I picked up at MoCCA, and this week I settled down with a slim, self-published volume titled The Hookah Girl and Other Stories by Marguerite Dabaie. It's a memoir of growing up as a Palestinian Christian, within the immigrant community in the U.S., as well as a meditation on all the contradictions and labels that come with that identity. Dabaie starts the first volume with a set of paper dolls that embody each of those stereotypes‹Muslim girl in full hijab, suicide bomber with vest full of explosives, I-Dream-of-Jeannie seductress, starving artist. The stories touch on things that are familiar to immigrants in general -- scary relatives, peculiar customs, native foods‹but there is also an interesting comic about Leila Khaled that presents her as an interestingly complex individual. This book left me wanting to see more, and I hope there is a full-length graphic novel in the works. If there isn't, there should be.
For the last, longer than I care to mention, I’ve been reading the Marion Zimmer Bradley Arthurian novel The Mists of Avalon. Started out great, but boy, is it dragging on! This is all very disconcerting because I just got back from Portland’s Stumptown Comics Fest and came home with quite a loot! I’ve only just barely been able to crack into the overwhelming stack of comics on my nightstand. Here’s what I HAVE been able to squeeze in and thoroughly enjoyed...
Yellow Zine by Roman MuradovThis guy is definitely one to watch out for. This is a small collection of his current (beautifully drawn) strips. This little book is everything I love about a zine-style book. Honest, heartfelt, disturbing and endearing. I love when a self published work is able to speak great big truths while simultaneously saying, but don’t take any of this TOO seriously.
Glamazonia The Uncanny Super-Tranny by Justin HallI LOVE Glam! This is a book I picked up from Stumptown and only now was able to sink my teeth into. This is a collection of Glamzonia’s outlandish stories written by Justin Hall and drawn by a handful of Bay Area artists. I love how San Francisco this book is. I love how absurd and raunchy it is. I love the pink interior pages. I love the underlining social message of it all. Yes, it is time for a Tranny Super heroine! Fabulous.
Mister Wonderful by Daniel ClowesIn terms of Dan Clowes recent work, I enjoyed Ice Haven and Wilson more than Mr. Wonderful. Which isn’t to say I did not enjoy it, I did, very much. However, it seemed very straight forward and reality based as opposed to some of my favorites of his (Like a Velvet Glove..) which tend to be very meandering and odd, to say the least. Mister Wonderful is odd though in its earnestness. Truthfully, I’m a bit disarmed by it.
GingerbreadGirl by Colleen Coover and Paul TobinI was lucky enough to booth right next to these two at Stumptown. This book was truly the star of the entire convention. I’m pretty sure they sold out all their stock and for good reason! This book is fantastic. It’s the kind of book any comic fan would pick up and have to buy simply for the design alone. The story is bizarre, the artwork is gorgeous, I cannot wait to continue reading this book!
Martian Confederacy vol. 2 From Mars With Love by Jason McNamara and Paige BraddockThese two have done it again. This is such a great follow up to the fun and adventurous vol. 1. Jason McNamara’s storytelling is always an inspiration, and Paige Braddock’s artwork is the kind of seemingly effortless style that drive artists mad with frustration. It’s a sci-fi love story, so I’m happy with that, but it’s also a totally engrossing page turner. Fun and excitement on every page!