I wrote a thing. It’s kind of about A-Force, it’s kind of about Silk, but mostly it’s about shelling out four bucks for a disappointing reading experience.
You can check it out on CBR if you’re so inclined.
Yesterday, writer Jim Zub started a hashtag on Twitter that quickly took off into this glorious internet waterfall of remarkable comics. There’s lots of great stuff there with both creators and fans chiming in that definitely makes it worth scrolling through the tag.
I did, of course, share my own four.
It started with my older brothers’ comics. A few Aquaman, but mostly stuff like G.I. Joe and Punisher and I remember one cover that had Nick Fury on it, but I can’t recall if it was a S.H.I.E.L.D. comic or Howling Commandos or what. Those ones never appealed to 7-year-old me, but Aquaman … oh my God, Aquaman … with his pretty blonde hair on that cover, so colorful and happy looking—that definitely drew me in. I would sit and read those comics in the attic when my brothers weren’t home so they didn’t know I was touching them. And while Aquaman himself was amazing, I eventually met Mera and couldn’t believe how beautiful she was and how fierce. That is my earliest memory of comics, and when I think about it I still get that same feeling I had when I read them so long ago. That warm, incredible feeling that something like this could exist—characters like that could exist. I wish my brothers still had those issues, but none of us have been able to find them for years, and I’m lost as to what happened to them.
I still have my hands on that Ren & Stimpy, which was the first comic I ever consciously chose for myself, picked up off the rack at the comics shop during a trip with my brothers. Calvin & Hobbes came after, a collection that my sister had and encouraged me to read again and again. Most of the jokes and brilliance of that book were quite far over my head at the time, but it was still enjoyable and further fueled the addiction. I just recently asked my sister if I could have that well-loved copy of Calvin, but was met with a resounding no. (In fact, I think the exact words were “HECK NO, I love that book.”)
As my siblings got older, spent more time being social, and eventually outgrew comics, my access to the good stuff took a big hit. It wasn’t until my preteen years when I was on a trip with my parents and happened to walk into a bookstore that—shock!—sold comics, that my love for them was reignited. They had collections of re-printed arcs, and I remember seeing an X-Men cover with Savage Land Rogue on it. That was the moment it was all over. The deed was done, the cement block of love walloped me on the head, and I was finished. I saw that issue and thought I MUST HAVE THIS.
And I did have it.
And it was like a drug.
I was already a huge Rogue fan, having grown up watching the X-Men animated series, so realizing that the story was still going and that I could, in fact, get more of it was life-changing. I continue to collect X-Men to this day. And while there’s more to my particular history of comics—working in a comic shop, branching out to genres outside of superhero, even sacrificing comics for a time—the one constant has been that feeling I always get when I pick up a book that speaks to me. It’s a feeling that no other medium can replicate. Like going home.
The #fourcomics trend from yesterday gave me that feeling a hundred times over.
I’m scouring eBay for that issue of Aquaman.
Did you see it? Tell me you watched it, because if you didn’t, it’s still saved on my DVR, and we can watch it together and have popcorn and fangirl(boy?) out.
I’m talking about the magnificence that is AGENT CARTER.
Good God. That premiere was everything I was hoping for and beyond. You know when a show/movie/book is so good and really hits you, and you wake up the next morning still thinking about it? That was my reaction to this. Suddenly I am looking forward to Tuesday night television.
That Ant-Man preview, on the other hand … not so much. I’ve been using the term “meh” a lot lately, but when things are so meh that they evoke no other response in you, you have no choice but to MEH all over the place. And Ant-Man was legit meeehhhh. Is this movie supposed to be serious and grim? That’s the impression I got from the teaser trailer (also, side note, what the hell is a “teaser trailer,” anyway? How is it any different from a standard trailer? Film people, help me out). And if it IS supposed to be serious and grim, with the occasional bit of humor, and you cast a guy like Paul Rudd as the lead, then … uh … you’re doing it wrong. I wasn’t particularly inclined to see this movie anyway, and the teaser did not do its job to change that.
Oh well. Agent Carteeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!
I’ve spent the last week taking it easy during the holidays and doing my best to catch up on my reading stack. In the past few days, I have brought myself up to speed on a few titles and some 40 issues of:
Justice League – Meh. Just … meh. I wish I could offer something more on this title, but it’s leaving me bored. Might be time to drop it from my pull list soon, but I’ll finish the current arc first.
Gotham Academy – I hate to say this because I was hoping for so much more, but the writing on this title has let me down. It’s not BAD—it’s just … a little slow? The pacing is dragging for me. And it’s perfectly reasonable that many others would love the type of story they’re telling in Gotham Academy, but for me personally, it’s not hitting. I anticipated giving the book at least the first full arc to grab me, but I think I already know that it’s not going to fit. And that’s really a shame, because I LOVE the artwork on this book. Karl Kerschl’s style is so clean and so lively, and even more exciting when you throw on Geyser and Dave McCaig’s incredible colors—I wanted so badly to fall in love with this book. But I’m just … not.
Hawkeye – Umm … so, this title is coming back, right? Because I need this title. This title has to exist.
Black Widow – Natasha/X-23 team-up? Yes, please. More, please. Also, my goodness, I cannot explain my love for Phil Noto in any sufficient way for others to fathom. He is just … I can’t. I love his work so much, it’s unlike anything else. I can’t compare him to anyone. And Marvel just announced that they’re releasing a month’s worth of Phil Noto variant covers in February, which means I’m trouble and will be buying way more titles that month than I need to be….
Thor – LOVE. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. Three issues in and I am OBSESSED with this book. Everything about it is solid; the writing is spectacular, the artwork is a delight, the colors are captivating. There is nothing more I could possibly want from this, and I’m so excited for the next issue.
Superman/Wonder Woman – This title was actually fairly decent under Charles Soule—it was better than what I was expecting, and Tony Daniel’s art was crisp and lovely. But Tomasi’s first issue as of #13 made this book take a giant nose-dive for me, and Mahnke’s artwork is just not my cup of tea. Wonder Woman’s characterization continues to suffer greatly since the New 52—I don’t know who that person is, but she’s not my Wonder Woman. But that in itself is a topic for a whole other discussion.
Sensation Comics – This book. This book is … just about the only thing keeping my DC fandom afloat at this point. If post-New 52 Wonder Woman is wrong, then Sensation Comics Wonder Woman is everything RIGHT and everything she should be. Reading this title is this massive dose of nostalgia, which is kind of weird, right? Because how can something brand new with different, alternative takes on a character make you feel nostalgic toward said character? It does, so very much. I’m not sure I’d do it proper credit in trying to explain, except to say that it’s very clear each writer and artist gets Wonder Woman. They get her and they love her, and that comes through so obviously in every story—which, I’m sad to say, is not the case in her actual title or in pretty much any other DC book she’s currently in. It’s a tragic state of affairs. But if, like me, you want the Wonder Woman you loved before the New 52 destroyed everything she was and everything she stood for, then pick up Sensation Comics. You won’t regret it.
Some cool female-focused stuff came out of NYCC this weekend. DC announced that Stephanie Brown is finally making her return to the DCU, and while I want to be over the moon about this, I’m keeping my guard up. As the New 52 has taught me over and over again, these aren’t the characters I love, but some horribly mangled iterations of them, so I can’t let myself get too excited about Steph just yet. Not until … I see her.
That said, Marvel took the cake as far as announcements that make me happy. We already heard a couple of weeks ago that Charles Soule is writing a new She-Hulk book. As if that weren’t great enough, we’re also getting new Elektra and Black Widow solo titles, and a relaunched Captain Marvel. That’s on top of the female-centric X-Men and Fearless Defenders books, to boot.
This reader is very happy indeed.
Except … I did notice something kind of weird.
- From Stephen Wacker’s Captain Marvel interview on CBR: “Carol is sort of a blank slate coming out of the recent ‘Enemy Within’ storyline. So she’s back to trying to find a place for herself.”
- From Nathan Edmonson’s Black Widow Interview on CBR: “Without giving too many of our plot turns away, Natasha is a character driven by atonement. She’s a hero now, but she was a villain, and a dirty one.”
- From Zeb Wells’ Elektra Inverview on Newsarama: “Elektra’s in a dark place […] The series will be about her journey to find meaning and maybe start clawing her way towards redemption.”
Is it just me or does that all sound vaguely the same? That all of these characters are essentially lost and/or trying to make up for who they are or once were? Particularly regarding Black Widow and Elektra, haven’t we already read these stories of attempted redemption over and over again? Isn’t it about time those characters get over that trope and move onto something else?
I’m not condemning these titles; in fact I can’t wait to pick them all up. But I am wary of the possibility of reading something that’s rehashed and stale. I have a relatively high level of trust in these writers, though, so I guess we’ll find out next year.
- On the flip side, here’s what Charles Soule had to say about his She-Hulk: “She absolutely has problems, just like most of the heroes of the Marvel U, but she chooses to approach them with optimism and good spirit rather than surrendering to the grim and gritty.”
Kind of leaves you with the exact opposite feeling from the others, doesn’t it? I know which title I’m most looking forward to in 2014.
Guess what, guys?! I read, like, twelve comics last week! That is HUGE for me! Stuff is really happening!
Here are some things I wanted to share with you until my next post:
The incredible Phil Noto did a staggeringly awesome cover for Journey into Mystery featuring Sif and you need to see it.
Next, more awesomeness: Peter V. Nguyen’s new DC women print is here and, uh, wow. It’s too big to embed here and I didn’t want to re-size or scrunch it up, so check it out in full-size glory at the link.
Also, if you followed the 2012 Olympics at all, you might find this as hilarious as I did. I am totally buying this cover.
Finally, one thing I’ve been meaning to mention again since back in July is a project called How i Made the World. You may recall I linked to the comic earlier this year as an “honorable mention” in the list of web stuff I’d been following. The artist of the comic, Randy Michaels, was kind enough to send me some of his and writer Liz Plourde’s material that was published in an anthology called Lies Grown Ups Told Me. That collection wound up winning a Stumptown Comic Arts Award for Best Anthology. It’s some pretty great stuff, and if you can get your hands on a copy (it seems the print run was low, so that might be a task), I’d highly recommend the read.
But the even better news is that Randy and Liz were awarded the Xeric Grant in July. They write on their website:
We’d discussed applying for a Xeric grant since we first began work on How i Made the World. When we heard there would be one final comic book review, we knew we had to apply. Yet, we also knew the competition would be fierce. Entries from throughout the U.S. and Canada are judged on “originality, literary and artistic merit, and a sense of commitment to the work.” […] Today, we’re thrilled to announce we are the recipients of a 2012 Xeric Award. The grant is to be used for the printing, advertising, and distribution of our comic book, the pilot issue of How i Made the World. We’ve enjoyed the comic books of past Xeric recipients for years. They are among the most entertaining and innovative independent comic books being published, and they are often included in Houghton Mifflin’s annual The Best American Comics. We’re deeply honored to be among those recognized by the foundation. We’ll be working on the final stages of our comic and preparing it for press in the coming months. Stay tuned! This is only the beginning.
So here’s a late congrats to the team, and I look forward to reading more!
You may remember when I confessed my disappointment upon meeting Clay Mann during Boston Comic Con a few months ago. I didn’t go into any detail other than to say that I walked away feeling let down, and left it there. But as it turns out, and as anyone smarter than me could evidently have told you, there’s not much you can say on the Internet that won’t eventually be discovered. As such, Clay Mann found me. And he messaged me. And he apologized. It was extraordinarily kind—not to mention unexpected—and has certainly given me a much different perspective on the experience I had. And I just wanted to share that with you all, because he’s a stand-up guy, and doesn’t deserve to be thought of otherwise due to something I may have written here.
You may or may not know that Clay is working on a new Gambit title that was announced recently. And while Gambit is far from being one of my favorite characters (I’m probably in the fangirl minority there), I’ll still give this book a shot, because one of its creators was kind enough to reach out to a disheartened fan. That should mean a lot.