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.
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!
Oh, man. Hello, all! Hello, home computer! I’ve missed you so! By now I’m sure my usual “I’m so busy, oh my God, I never have time, what is the meaning of life if I can’t read comics, I’m trying to post more I SWEAR” rant has gotten insanely old. So let’s just skip right on over that.
I’ve been wanting to talk about Boston Comic Con for weeks. I went several Saturdays ago, and it was a blast. Even better than last year, and so much fun despite a much larger crowd. First things first—a huge thank you to the organizers who put this on, as they continue to outdo themselves year after year—and congrats for knocking it out of the park. Last year was awesome, this year was amazing. My expectations are already set for 2013.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Here’s the skinny.
For me, comics shows are more about getting to meet creators and interact with people, and less about scrounging for merchandise or sitting in panels. I got to meet Jeremy Bastian, Katie Cook, Phil Noto, Jimmy Cheung, Peter Nguyen, Clay Mann, and Cliff Chiang, among a bunch of other people, and some I didn’t get the chance to talk to, like Scottie Young and Stephanie Buscema, whom I’m so sad to have missed. Then there’s the few people bowed out—like Brian Azzarello, Amanda Conner, and Phil Jimenez, but that’s okay because it was still amazing even without them. I probably wouldn’t have known what to say to Brian Azzarello anyway—the guy seems like he’d be kind of intimidating in person. And meeting Amanda Conner might have easily charmed me enough to crack my moral conviction not to purchase Before Watchmen, so … you know, at least I’ve still got that going.
At this point I honestly can’t remember what booths I went to or who I met in what order, so I’m just gonna run through this thing.
Jeremy Bastian! He was awesome and super nice in person. I bought a sketchbook from him and he gave me a free pin with the Cursed Pirate Girl on it. I told him how much I loved the first volume and wondered about the second, and he said it was still unfortunately a ways off—which, considering how incredibly detailed his art is, doesn’t bother me one bit. I would wait forever for him, his stuff is that stunning. He pulled out a portfolio and showed me some finished pages (which look awesome!), and I was totally flattered that he even let me see. I told him I was very excited for more Cursed Pirate Girl and he seemed genuinely thankful. And he’s so humble. He’s a totally cool guy. Guests like him make the con.
Katie Cook’s table was beside Jeremy’s, and she is equally as nice and super funny. She was cracking jokes at her own expense left and right. She is
hilarious on Twitter and I told her so—yeah, I kind of gushed. I’m a fangirl, I can’t help it. I told her how much I love Gronk, and I bought a copy of the book from her which collects the first volume of Gronk strips in color. She was also doing these little playing-card-sized watercolor sketches of various characters, and I grabbed one with Robin on it that says “Sidekick” with him looking all sad. It’s SO CUTE and might be my favorite thing I got at the con, which is saying something.
Clay Mann. I can’t begin to say how excited I was to meet him; his art, specifically his X-Men, more specifically his Rogue, has been a favorite of mine. Knowing he was a guest was a major part of the reason why I went to the con at all despite being in the middle of a move. I put a stop to my schedule and came out to see this artist, because he took the time out to come see us. I thought it would be amazing to get a sketch and tell him what his work has meant to me.
We met. It was disappointing.
Actually, it was kind of devastating. I debated whether or not I wanted to get into specifics here, but in the end, I’m not going to badmouth the guy. I walked away from his table feeling pretty sad. Not all creators treat their fans the same. I’ll leave it at that.
So at this point I’m walking around still trying to process the … experience I just had. And I was sad. And I wondered if I was just completely wasting my time there.
That was until Phil Noto. Oh my goodness, Phil Noto. Stan Sakai has a rep for being the nicest guy in comics, but I’m thinking Phil Noto could give him a run for his money, and I totally gushed over him. I praised his wonderful X-23 work, and mentioned how I had the chance to meet Marjorie Liu a couple of months earlier, and how she had nothing but wonderful things to say about him. I was DYING for a commission from him, but his list was full. He asked if I was going to be there Sunday, and unfortunately I wasn’t, so I couldn’t get anything from him. I told him I’d buy a print instead in that case (he had this gorgeous one on the table), and as I grabbed my wallet he was like “No, don’t worry about it, you can have it.” He felt bad that he couldn’t get me a sketch and so gave me the print for free. I was so touched and happy and amazed, and just … couldn’t believe he did that, it was so sweet. I thanked him profusely. He also signed an issue of Birds of Prey I’d brought with me from way back when, and drew a little Oracle on the corner of the cover. He is the awesomest dude ever and I am even more in love with him than before. LOVE. He made up for my experience with Clay Mann tenfold. Clay Mann? Who, what?
Next up, Cliff Chiang. His commission list was also maxed out. Apparently it got full within fifteen minutes of the start of the con—no chance. I bought a print from him as well, chatted a very small bit, and that was it. He looked incredibly busy and as a huge line was forming behind me, I didn’t hang out for long. Very nice guy, though. I admitted to him that the current Wonder Woman has been difficult for me to follow, but he asked me to stick with it, and I said I would for the time being. He’s kind of hard to say no to—his art, and his Wonder Woman, are beautiful to me.
Jimmy Cheung. Commission list: full. Another miss, but I had him sign a Young Avengers trade for me as well as the first issue of Children’s Crusade. I asked him if he was sick of drawing the Young Avengers yet, and he warmly said no and that he was happy to continue drawing them so long as they keep assigning him. He was very soft spoken and sweet, and had a lovely accent. He asked if I’d read all of Children’s Crusade and if I’d enjoyed it, which I told him I did tremendously. At which point my Fiancé decided to leap in and say something along the lines of “You should know how high a compliment that is, because she’s a harsh critic.” Jimmy was like “Is that true, are you tough?” and I must have turned red with embarrassment when I responded with … “Umm … no, I don’t think I’m that tough,” only to be further called out by Fiancé.
At the next table over to Jimmy was Peter Nguyen, who apparently listened to this whole exchange, because I looked over and saw him laughing. We spoke to him and his commission list was … OPEN! I got him to draw me a Batgirl, which was framed and hung up on a wall immediately upon arrival home. It’s beautiful. Peter was super nice and so cool and funny. Fiancé also bought a gorgeous print from him of Zatanna and Black Canary (which I have already stolen). Thank you, Peter—the con wouldn’t have been the same without you.
The final bit I want to touch on is none other than the great guys over at Firetower Studios. As you all know, I have been a huge fan and unwavering supporter of one of their books, Princeless by Jeremy Whitley. Well, I had the opportunity to meet Jeremy Strutz, who illustrates another one of Firetower’s books called The Order of Dagonet, also written by Jeremy Whitley. As a thank you for my reviews, Jason did a wonderful Princeless commission for me, which you can see here. Jason is very kind and I enjoyed talking with him and looking through his sketchbook. He signed a copy of Dagonet for me, and then it was time for me to go. What a great ending to the con.
Of course, I have failed to mention many other great things about Boston Comic Con this year. For instance, there was a lot of fun cosplay—my favorites were Evey Hammond and V. I got to meet Renae de Liz, otherwise known as the woman behind Womanthology. The team at Nerd Caliber had a charity booth going for Child’s Play. And best of all, I got my picture taken with Batman.
What more could a fangirl want?
Well, that was a pleasant surprise. I didn’t expect to like this book at all—I wasn’t even going to give it the time of day, but seeing some preview pages caught my eye and I decided to give it a chance. I’m glad I did, because this was easily one of the most enjoyable reads I’ve had lately.
You see a title like “Wolverine & Jubilee” and you think it could go either way. The “Wolverine” part could be good—but then, how much of that actually has merit and how much of it is just a plug by Marvel to pull you in? The “Jubilee,” on the other hand, kind of induces a bubbly gag reflex, and you think to yourself, dear God, why would I want to pick up this book?
But you do want to pick it up—and here’s why.
If you’ve followed the events of Victor Gischler’s X-Men series at all—on which I admit I am way behind—you know by now that our dear Jubilee is—SHOCK—A VAMPIRE(bolditalicunderline)!!! Who the heck writes about vampires these days, anyway? Where did those guys come from? Does anyone even like vampires anymore?
Hate for the vampire fad aside, Jubilee is now one of the undead, and she’s had some of Wolverine’s blood transfused into her in the hope that his healing factor kicks in and takes the edge off of Jube’s crazy bloodlust. And it’s working. Kind of. There’s a very humorous opening scene in which Dr. Rao and Emma Frost debate exactly what “it’s working” actually means.
This four-issue miniseries, then, takes a bigger focus on what’s happening to Jubilee post-vampire encounter, and how the X-Men and Wolverine are handling the situation. My immediate reaction this idea was “Why should I care? It’s Jubilee.” But then I kind of mulled it over, thought about how I haven’t really read Jubilee in quite a while, about how great her scene with Wolverine in Girl Comics was, and got nostalgic to my days as a kid watching the 90s animated series. Then I looked at the cover of this and saw the names Immonen (that’s Kathryn, not Stuart) and Noto, and I was basically sold.
The first issue centers on Wolverine’s concern for Jubilee, who he sees as being his responsibility, as his blood now flows through her veins. The X-Men are wary of letting Jubilee out amongst the other students, believing her desire for blood is too strong for her to control, and that she will ultimately seek others on whom to feed. Jubilee’s reaction is as you’d expect—rage, angst, confusion, frustration. When she leaves the mansion (at night of course) and encounters a stranger, Wolverine tracks her down and finds her alive, but amongst a heap of bloodied bodies.
In between scenes of Jubilee lashing out and Wolverine attempting to control the situation, there are some interesting moments with other characters, including Santo—who’s crushing on our vampiric Jubes; Armor—who doesn’t trust her and picks a fight; and Emma Frost—whom Kathryn Immonen writes spectacularly well. Heck, even the inclusion of Pixie can’t ruin this book for me. Immonen makes it that good, and Phil Noto’s art is something I’ve come to realize I’ve missed. I fell in love with his stuff back during his run on Birds of Prey, and I dare say he’s even better here.
Jubilee’s current situation is going to breed a great storyline here, and it’s about time they did something pertinent with her character. Her relationship with Wolverine is almost taking on an X-23-like feel, and I actually hear she’s going to be appearing in Laura’s book shortly. Under either title, she’s going to be in good hands, and the fact that they’ve made me actually care at all says a lot. Can’t wait for issue #2.
X-posted at Nerd Caliber