DC released their September solicitations this week, and the cover for Catwoman #0 has born reactions that are nothing short of hysterically funny. Check out this slideshow of mockery that had me just guffawing, the tears streaming down my face. I’d considered posting my own reaction to the obscene ridiculousness of the cover, but then there are plenty others who have already summed it up, and so eloquently, too.
I almost feel bad for Guillem March. I’m not sure the anger is really warranted toward him; if anything, the blame and frustration should be placed on the editor who OK’d this. That editor was not doing their job … or, perhaps this is exactly what they believe their job to be—to spurn enough fury to get the Internet talking, bringing attention to this book, getting Catwoman “out there.” For all the unbelievably wrong reasons, of course.
Apologies for the massive linkage, but in lieu of reviews this week, this is some important reading.
My last post talked about what a badass Greg Rucka is; if you still need some convincing, here’s a fantastic essay he wrote for io9. Revel in its triumph.
To follow up on that awesomeness, this week I discovered (through a friend) the magical art of Craig Davison. Who is Craig Davison, you ask? Why, he’s this guy! And his art is beautiful and moving. I want to buy some gigantic framed prints and hang them throughout my house. Check these out:
Tell me those aren’t inspiring? There are many other great ones, as well. Princess Leia with the hairdryer? Brilliance.
I haven’t been reading very many new comics lately. Marvel’s latest event, AvX, coupled with DC’s newest crossover, Court of Owls, is leaving me a little disinterested and disengaged, so I’ve taken to working through some old trades and hardcovers I’ve picked up over the last few months and neglected. I just finished the first three volumes of Brubaker’s Death of Captain America saga—good stuff. So good, in fact, that despite already knowing the major plot and ending, I’m still engrossed. That is the mark of an excellent writer. Still left in my reading stack is the newest volume of Chew; Marjane Satrapi’s The Sigh; two volumes of Gotham City Sirens; Terry Moore’s complete Echo, and so much more. I’m having trouble deciding what to read in what order.
Final item—there’s a fun little shoutout to good ol’ Worcester, MA in this week’s The Line it is Drawn on CBR. See if you can spot it.
That’s all for today—have a great week, and read good comics.
Heeeyyyyyy! Guess who has had no time to write things? ME! Guess who is not at all surprised by this, (I bet)? YOU!
So rather than do a legit review, I’m just going to talk about anything and nothing … because I would rather make a jabbering post than no post at all. You’re more than welcome to talk back.
So I’ve caught up on the last two issues of Rachel Rising, and oh crap, is Terry Moore freaking me out. I thought issues 1-3 were creepy … until I read 4 and 5 over the weekend and was taken to a new level of disturbed. I hope you all are reading this book. You should have no trouble finding it at That’s E, and as much as I hate promoting digital comics, it was just newly added to Comixology with issue 1 priced at 99 cents, so you have no excuses not to at least try it. Outside of The Walking Dead, I typically shy away from stuff like this, so the fact I’m still on board here (especially after seeing the cover to issue 9 … *shudder*), says a lot.
Another AWESOME book I started reading is Ed Brubaker’s Fatale, about which I cannot say enough good things. Wow. These are some great comics being made. When I start to get depressed about stupid gimmicky junk out there, I pick up books like this and my sanity eventually returns.
Speaking of Ed Brubaker and/or, for that matter, gimmicky junk—does Winter Soldier fall into that category? I haven’t gotten my hands on it yet, but if Brubaker’s name is on the cover, I can’t imagine it will be bad. Despite my UTTER HATRED of how they handled Bucky’s “death” in Fear Itself, he’s a great character, and I’m excited to read this new title.
All right. That’s enough about the guys. Let’s talk about the wimmins.
Did you all read Kelly Thompson’s fantastic article on Comics Should be Good? Because it’s very, very important that you do. Check it out here. Please.
I hear that Mera kicks all kinds of ass in this week’s issue of Aquaman. This makes me happy.
WOMANTHOLOGY! I preordered my copy last week and I’m soooooo excited to get my hands on it! If you have not heard about it, this is a record-breaking Kickstarter grassroots project about women, by women, for everyone. And it’s going to be phenomenal. Click the link just there, or check out their Twitter page.
Lastly, even though everyone and their mom has already linked to this, I’m going to link to it, too! A new trailer for Pixar’s Brave is out, and IT IS AWESOME: http://spinoff.comicbookresources.com/2012/02/23/new-trailer-poster-for-brave/
Move aside, boys, move aside.
That’s all I have this week—check in again soon for more talk about stuff and things. And in the meantime, you know, comment or e-mail. It’s fun and I don’t bite that hard.
Have a great weekend, all.
The Nielsen ratings are in for DC’s New 52, and the results are … pretty depressing, though not surprising.
Kind of rips you apart a little, doesn’t it?
My, my. 2012 already? I apologize for leaving you without updates for a couple of weeks, readers. Hmm … can I call you “Sleepers” from now on? I kind of like that….
I hope you all enjoyed the holidays. The end-of-the-year bustle along with some computer issues have kept me away from the blog for a while, but I aim to change that soon. I just need a working computer and … you know … to actually read some comics. I had such lofty plans for my Christmas week off—“I’ll do nothing but read!” I said. “I’ll read all of my backlog and be caught up!”
I’m sure you can guess how well that went.
I have a couple of posts I was working on pre-computer crash, which I’m hoping to recover. So stick with me.
In the meantime, here’s a quick couple of lists I thought I would do because: a.) everyone seems to be doing them; b.) I wanted to post something at least somewhat worthwhile; and c.) umm … I guess I don’t really have a point c., but odd numbers always sound better in the flow of a sentence like this. :) #grammarnazi
So here we go! Some 2011 stuff.
Favorite Titles of 2011:
1. Batgirl – The Bryan Q. Miller run, not the current incarnation. I doubt I have to say much for this one—anyone who has been following my reviews will know my undying love for this title and the heartbreak I felt when it was canceled. I hear BQM has a new project with DC that will hopefully be announced soon, so I’m keeping my ears to the ground.
3. Uncanny X-Force – Cannot gush over this book enough. Cannot do it justice with words alone.
4. Avengers: The Children’s Crusade – I almost feel guilty putting this on here considering its strange release schedule/lackthereof, but damn it, every time I pick up an issue it’s just GREAT. It hasn’t let me down, and that consistent quality is sometimes hard to find in comics. Regardless of lateness, this deserves a “best of” spot.
5. Princeless – Ooooh … a challenger appears! I didn’t expect this book to knock me out as quickly as it did, and again, I almost didn’t want to give it a place on this list since only three issues were published last year. But you know what? Screw that. Three issues was all it took to hook me. Three issues was all it took for me to think of this as an absolute favorite of the entire year. That’s how much enjoyment I get from Princeless, and I’m happy to give it a nod each time it comes out. Look for a review of issue three coming soon!
Honorable Mention: The Walking Dead (read in trade); Fables (read in trade); Rachel Rising
Favorite Webcomics of 2011:
1. Max Overacts – I’ve mentioned Max on the blog before and am completely addicted to this strip.
2. Lady Sabre & the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether – Greg Rucka and Rick Burchett’s new venture has taken off in its first year, and I’m loving every moment of it. It’s nice to get in on the ground floor of something like this; if you haven’t already, you should definitely check it out.
3. Gronk – A friend turned me onto this and it hooked me from the start. It’s soft and it’s sweet and it’s funny and wonderful.
4. The Abominable Charles Christopher – See number three.
5. The Trenches – From the guys behind Penny Arcade. Some geeky fun, and it’s accompanied with hilarious and horrifying narratives submitted by readers.
Comic-Related Nerdly Firsts of 2011:
1. Convention Scene: I attended both Boston Comic Con and PAX East for the first time last year, and they were both awesome. Can’t wait for this year’s!
2. Gaming: 2011 was the year I finally gave in and bought a PlayStation. Though it hasn’t had as much exercise as I’d’ve liked to have given it over the last couple of months, the initial surge of addiction and the endless rounds of whipping my fiancé in Mortal Kombat over and over were worth the purchase price. I also just picked up Batman: Arkham City—yay!
3. Marathoning: Movie marathons, that is! I’m kind of anti-Potter, but was forced to watch the entire series of Harry Potter movies for the first time over the course of a couple of weekends, and frankly, I’m glad that’s over. Other marathons included all six episodes of Star Wars, full seasons of The Big Bang Theory, and … sigh … yes, I’m kind of a Gleek now. Next up in the Netflix queue: Pirates of Silicon Valley (never seen it; Fiancé’s choice), episodes of Man vs. Wild, and re-watching Futurama in its entirety.
4. Podcasting: As in, listening to them. Never really been into podcasts until last year when I realized they were a great way to kill time during train commutes. Awesomed by Comics is the best one. Ever. Period. I’m so sorry I was late to the party. (And shoutout to my friend Bob for the recommendation!)
5. Oh damn, this needs to be an odd number. I’m all out of … umm … oh, I know! Ugh, very, VERY reluctantly, I have finally decided to join the incredible mass of Twitterers and create an account for the blog. I did this completely on a whim and haven’t made a single tweet yet, but if you’re so inclined to follow me, you can do so at @coverstosleep. I’m still tip toe-ing into the water here … so be nice. :)
That’s all I have for now, Sleepers. See you, hopefully, soon! Here’s to a great 2012.
Awwww, Marvel. Why?
I started picking up this series because I adore Steve Rogers as a character, and I’d heard such great things about Brubaker’s writing of Cap. When I read that McNiven was doing the pencils, I jumped all over this like the obsessor that I am. I looooooooovvvvveee McNiven’s stuff, and to me, him and Cap are a match made in heaven. This book made me so happy.
I speak in the past tense, because apparently McNiven is no longer on this title as of issue #7. His replacement? Alan Davis.
I don’t know if this is a permanent change or if Davis is filling in for a couple of arcs; the solicitations aren’t clear, and the switch doesn’t appear to be addressed in detail anywhere. I couldn’t give less of a fig for Alan Davis. I have nothing against him personally and I’m sure he’s a gentleman; it’s just that his art does absolutely nothing for me. At ALL. I simply dislike his style, and that’s really gonna kill this book for me. It’s a shame, because I’ve really enjoyed the four issues to date.
Don’t be fooled by the odd cover (Marvel seems especially preoccupied with phallic concepts lately); what lies beneath the title page here is good stuff. Brubaker pairs together past and future in a seamless and engaging way, introducing old characters and new to propel the story forward and keep the engine humming. What makes me particularly happy with Brubaker is his track record in writing female characters—basically, he knows how to. You might laugh at that, but let’s take a look at his record—Selina Kyle, Black Widow, now Sharon Carter—it is, sadly, shockingly rare to write a string like that without some blunders along the way, but the man does it seemingly effortlessly. Yes, I’m in love with his Cap, but watching Sharon Carter spar with Baron Zemo and lay an eloquent dropkick on the guy is, let’s face it, pretty damn awesome. And having McNiven illustrate that wonderfully-constructed scene? Icing on the ass-kicking cake, my friends.
I’m not sure how long I’m going to stick around once Alan Davis comes aboard this book. A part of me wants to drop it out of principle alone; it feels like Marvel can never get their act together as far as keeping creative teams on titles for any longer than a story arc at a time, and that’s bothersome. Things shouldn’t be that difficult, and as a consumer, I’m looking for consistency. There are some exceptions—no matter how late Avengers: Children’s Crusade is, I will always buy it, and no matter how many artists come and go on Journey into Mystery, Kieron Gillen will always have my dollar—but this should remain the exception and not the rule. I wouldn’t want to be accused of enabling.
We’ll see where Cap lands in a couple of months’ time. Maybe Davis will be off before I know it, replaced with someone else’s work to lure me in against my will, but in order for me to continue buying Captain America at four bucks a pop, I’m gonna need both pieces and I demand better.
Oohhh … ouch. My pride. God. I’m so ashamed and my pride is so sore, because … because … I am LOVING THIS BOOK!
There—I said it. And I KNOW what you’re thinking … and I’m so ashamed. *Hangs head to the floor*
I just … it’s … it’s actually really good. I read the first issue and I was all begrudging about it, and then I read the second issue and I was like oh … uh oh … maybe this could go somewhere, but NO! I’M NEVER GONNA ADMIT IT! And then I read the third issue and … and … oh, Swierczynski’s won me over completely and now I’m scum. *Sobbing*
What convinced me to keep reading were the rumors that Barbara Gordon would wind up on the team. If you read my
bitter condemnation review of issue one, a huge reason why I decried this book was because the relationship between Dinah and Babs was seemingly being downplayed/ignored/retconned. But then I kept hearing such positive reviews of the title from critics whose opinions I respect, and all might not be as it seems within the next few issues. So I read #2 and #3, and … here I am, eating my words. Mr. Swierczynski, I owe you apology. Your book just kicked me in the face, and it feels so good.
And wow, Jesus Saiz … I can’t compliment him enough. His artwork is so skilled and GORGEOUS. It’s so wonderful and clear and … you know, there’s a scene in this issue with an explosion and Black Canary, Starling, Katana, and Poison Ivy are flung through the air from the force of it. And—can you believe—not a single contorted spine, not a single sleazy upskirt or shot of cleavage, not a single broken back. I … I didn’t know comics like this could actually exist! I LOVE YOU, JESUS SAIZ! Never, ever change!
So I humbly retract my earlier assessment of this title. It’s not quite the Birds of Prey I once knew and hoped for; it’s not the team I fell in love with. But I’m having an easier time now taking THIS team of Birds for what they are, and it’s legitimately good, enjoyable, and fun to read. With each issue, I’m learning to drop my preconceived notions and favoritism. No lie, it’s been tough. I’m all set in my comics ways and stuff, you know? But for at least the next few issues, I’m on board with this book. Please, please don’t let me down, Swierczynski.
Hello, Supergirl—it’s nice to finally meet you.
The Super family of books have always been tough sales for me. I was never one for Superman; he’s always felt flat to me, and I’d mostly steered clear of his side of the comics racks until last year when I started picking up Jeff Lemire’s Superboy (which I miss desperately). But Powergirl has never lured me, and Supergirl’s (re-)introduction in the Superman/Batman book a few years ago flew right over my head. For whatever reason, I just never cared enough to give Kara much of a chance. With the New 52, I decided I’d change that.
So I picked up the first two issues of this title, and for the most part, I really enjoyed them. A large reason for that is in thanks to the artwork—Mahmud Asrar is, if I may say, pretty incredible. I don’t think I’ve seen any of his work prior to this, but his soft, watercolory style is a pleasure that leaves my eyes wanting more at the end of every issue. It’s fluid and beautiful, and I can’t get enough.
Story-wise, this book is conflicting. On the one hand, I want to say that I’ve enjoyed each read in the moment I’m reading it; on the other hand, I take a step back to think about it and the three issues to date have been extraordinarily decompressed. I feel like “decompressed” is a word everyone likes to toss around in the comics world these days, so I generally try to avoid it, but it’s very true here. The first two issues of this title were about Kara crash landing to Earth, being confused, and fighting Superman. TWO ENTIRE ISSUES of that! Don’t you think that could have all been accomplished in just one issue? How many times must we witness Kal and Kara fight and try to “figure things out”? This aspect of the book—the redundancy and stretching out the story for no reason—bothers me. If I were a diehard Supergirl fan, I’d be extremely annoyed, because what’s happening to Kara mirrors what’s happening to Barbara over in Batgirl—which is more of the same. A seemingly unoriginal take.
Despite these criticisms, though, this title is still okay with me overall. I’m still reading. Why? Because I am a new reader of Supergirl, and although I know this story has happened before, I’ve never previously read it myself. As an experience, it’s still new to me. I’m finally getting to know a version of Supergirl, and it’s admittedly kind of exciting. I really want to like her.
So issue three opens up with some backstory regarding Krypton, and we’re finally introduced to a villain for Kara to face on Earth. I want to say this villain is a bit generic, but Green and Johnson have already managed to make me hate his guts in the span of one issue, so I guess that’s successful. While we sputter a bit here thanks to that D-word, I’m cautiously optimistic that things will pick up after the first arc. Green and Johnson always come across well in interviews, expressing enthusiasm for Kara and it sounds like they have some great ideas for this title. It’s their chance to make her shine, and it’s my chance to let them. I want to like this—I am liking this, mostly—and I’m hopeful that it only goes upward from here.
Until next week, everyone—be safe, and eat lots of turkey!
I guess my Monday deadline somehow morphed into Thursday….
Hello, readers. Guess what? I read some books! And I have opinions about them! Shocker, I know. Also, I totally lied with half those covers I posted last week. Sorry about that.
I’m sad. :(
I’m sad because I really want to like this title. I really, really do. But it’s so … it’s so … I don’t know how to explain why it isn’t working for me. I guess, when it comes down to it, honestly … it doesn’t feel like Barbara. It just doesn’t feel like her to me. This new role of hers, it’s so … “forced” is the best word I can think of to describe it. It’s not Barbara—not the one I know—and that’s kind of shocking considering that Barbara Gordon is Gail Simone’s bread and butter. If anyone at all understands that character, it’s Gail—they’re practically interchangeable. Yet, as much as I want this to succeed, it just isn’t firing for me.
I wish I could explain it better … it’s just not right. It doesn’t feel right. And the writing style … there’s so much narration. That worked in Gail’s Birds of Prey when you needed the POVs of several characters, but it’s not clicking here. There’s too much of it; there’s too much telling and not enough showing. It’s so flat, and I … I don’t know how much more of this I can back. And that makes me so, so sad.
You know what else? I have read this story before. I think that’s what’s really bothering me more than anything here, is that it still feels like we’re going backwards. Which, we are—literally, we’re dialing back the clock in terms of character ages and whatnot, but I also mean to say that we’re going backwards allegorically. The stories and the progressions of these characters have taken giant steps downward. This idea of a character called Batgirl finding her footing—I have read this before. I read it in Bryan Q. Miller’s Batgirl run, and I even read it in Chuck Dixon’s Batgirl: Year One. Why am I reading it again? I’m not getting anything different this time, not one bit. Barbara healing and regaining use of her legs is only influencing this story on a very minor level—it isn’t enough to make these issues feel fresh or different. This issue was all about reuniting Batgirl and Nightwing. I should have been moved by it, but I wasn’t. Not even close. I put this book down, blinked a few times, and wondered what was wrong with me for leaving it feeling absolutely nothing.
So … what does one do in this situation? Do I keep reading this in the hope that once the groundwork is laid and some of the setup “fluff” is out of the way, I might have a more interesting story? Might I feel more for this character by issue #13, as opposed to issue #3, and is it even fair to have to wait that long? Ardian Syaf’s artwork has been great. Other than that, I haven’t got much. A part of me doesn’t want to give up on the title, because I do love Barbara and this is apparently the only Barbara that I’m going to get for the foreseeable future. I also have a certain level of faith and respect for Simone, and I want to be able to lean on that. But with every issue of this so far, I’ve only left feeling disappointment. And I never thought I’d say that.
…And with that, an interesting idea turns into utter horse poop, as Nick Spencer fills this issue with preachy drivel and a needlessly despicable downturn that I guess is meant to be humor. Biggest waste of $3.50. To say I was mortified while reading this on the train is a massive understatement. And to top things off, I read the solicit for #4 to find it isn’t even due on the shelves until April. Buhbye; I’m OUT.
I was a little worried when this was first solicited, because with a title like “Not a Hero,” my immediate thoughts were that they were turning Magneto into a villain again. That would be the worst thing you could do to the character in my opinion, and just as bad a regression as Barbara Gordon re-donning the Bat cowl. Magneto has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years, and I’ve always enjoyed him as a villain, but I find I love him even more on the side of the angels. His presence is still so very grey—he’s so ambiguous, and in the hands of a writer who knows how to use it, that’s an invaluable quality. And so I shook my fist at the sky for a bit at the thought that this wonderful drama might be taken away for something as utterly boring as Magneto turning “bad” again. Happily, upon reading this issue, I find that this is not the case. Not yet, anyway.
Our introduction to this story centers around what is something of a storytelling cliché—Magneto is being framed for murder. Exciting, right? Bet you’ve never read anything like that before. It’s okay, though, because there are things here that make up for the questionable originality, and by the end of issue one, we can see that ultimately the story is going to deal with much more than who’s framing Magneto. I have to hand it to Skottie Young—everyone knows him for his great artistic talents, but he’s making a transition to writing here, and he’s not doing a bad job of it at all. It most certainly beats out a majority of the crap you see on the Marvel shelves these days, and rather easily at that. Young has a good handle on the characters in issue one, particularly in a scene that involves Captain America and Iron Man calling out Cyclops and Mags to get their act together. The cliffhanger reveal at the end—I really should have seen it coming. I can’t believe I didn’t. It’s some good stuff.
And Clay Mann on art duties … wow. What can I possibly say to do this guy justice? In a short couple of years, he’s hands-down become one of my favorites, and every book he’s on makes me drool a little bit. He’s wonderful. He’s coming to Boston Comic Con next year, and I am getting a sketch from him if I have to wait in line all weekend. Outstanding.
Did this book blow my mind? No, but it did some things well, did other things great, and was all around an enjoyable read. I wasn’t asking for much more than that.
More happiness! Have you seen this little bit of WIN called Princeless #1? Well if you haven’t, then you’re sorely missing out.
It’s soooooo great. It’s so great. I remember reading about this on the internet somewhere and I wasn’t really planning on checking it out, but then I found it on the shelf and read the first three pages and was like OH MY GOD, THIS IS SO WONDERFUL. Three pages—that’s all it took. And, you know, that’s kind of a big deal in a situation where you’re paying four bucks for a book when you weren’t anticipating having the expense at all. But this was so worth it, and I absolutely can’t wait to have the next issue in my hands.
This is a story about a princess named Adrienne who grows up being read stories about other princesses who get locked up in towers and have to be rescued by handsome princes who slay dragons and ultimately win the princesses’ hearts. Adrienne is baffled and outraged by this idea, criticizing and belittling the stories, and makes her mother promise her not to lock her up in a tower, only … of course you know that’s exactly what happens, right? The resulting scenario is nothing short of hilarious, adorable, brave, and pretty much unlike anything else on the comic racks right now. Whitley’s writing is beyond clever, and I found myself laughing at something on every page of the book. It’s smart enough for adults to enjoy, yet still written with a young audience in mind. This is exactly the type of thing you should be giving to the little girls in your life. Introduce them to comics now, with this. And actually, I take that back—it isn’t just for little girls; not even close. Adrienne is not the only character in this book—don’t let the “princess” thing fool you. Boys will enjoy this as well, and I encourage you to pick it up to find out why.
If I could get you to read one book and only one book this week, I would give you Princeless #1, and I wouldn’t even blink.
Since the debut of this title, I’ve had nothing but praise for Uncanny X-Force and Rick Remender. That hasn’t changed yet, and I don’t see it on horizon any time soon. Just when I think the story has reached a plateau and couldn’t possibly get any better, another issue comes out and BAM—I’m smacked in the face with the awesome.
The problem with loving a book this much is that it makes it insanely difficult to review. When you have no criticisms, there isn’t much left to say beyond shameless, unabashed gushing. And you have to admit, that’s kind of boring to read.
But I literally have nothing bad to say. There is nothing I would change about this book—not a thing. Not the writing, not the pencils, not the pacing, not the colors. Well … I suppose I might change the price … and maybe I’d make it ship twice a month, because I can’t get enough of it. But that’s all. Not much to ask.
If you’ve been subbing to this title, you know that Remender has been building up the Dark Angel Saga for quite some time—since day one, in fact. It’s some of the most well-timed and patient writing I’ve seen in recent memory. The thing I love about this book is that when I pick up an issue, I can tell that Remender has taken his time with it. He isn’t writing with collected editions in mind or decompressing the story, as one might accuse of Bendis’ Avengers titles. No; there’s a level of thought and care and precision to what Remender does, and it comes through in his scenes and character interplay. It’s harmonious. It’s a melody to which I never want to stop listening. If even a quarter of the other books Marvel puts out demonstrated this much attention to their craft, I’d be a much happier comics reader.
Jerome Opeña on art is no different. You look at these pages, and you know instantly that these babies were not rushed to meet looming deadlines. Opeña is careful, crafty, and deliberate, and the results are a joy.
On the surface, this is a black ops book. It’s assassinations and unspeakable deeds; it’s an X-Men book that’s not very X-Men-like. But read deeper, and you know these characters are about much more than that. This isn’t just about taking out threats before they become threats; this is a story of addiction, inferiority, self-worth and self-hate, fear and perceived altruism … and so much more. But Remender lets you figure that out for yourself; it’s underlying, and he doesn’t beat you over the head with it. I love that. The mark of a good writer.
Big changes are coming up for this team, and I can’t wait to find out what Remender has planned for the next year of this book. Best one on the X-shelf.