After being unsure if I was going to return to this series I was in the mood to test something new out since it was an otherwise light week... Little else seemed appealing so I decided to give it a second shot. This issue moved at a brisk clip, but also felt like nothing really happened. Superman fought the Flash. The new, perhaps alien Batman infiltrated a cryo-prison for super villains ( which somehow included Jimmy Olson, who somehow has superpowers tantamount to having the internet always in his brain... bet he's constantly surfing porn). It endes with new Batman shooting a cryogenically frozen Joker multiple times. Ooh, edgy. If I was on the fence with this book before, reading a second issue has made me kind of hate it. I get the desire to make it something different but it seems like it's trying too hard at it.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
There's a lot of shock value with this book, but most of all it's taking the Archie gang from being pleasanly rivalrous to downright nast with each other. Veronica is particularly nasty when it comes to both Betty and Jughead (she's a little nicer about Big Ethel though...poor Ethel), and when Cherry Blossom and her brother Jason come to crash the Riverdale high Halloween dance, an incestuous relationshi between them is heavily inferred. The level of loathing as well that the Blossoms have for Riverdale steps outside of the usual comedic town rivalries (like Springfield and Shelbyville or Pawnee and Eagleton), and into something far sinister.
Despite the book's title, Archie remains almost a background character, with many discussions happening about him and many events happening around him, but he's not yet been the focus. Even still, through Reggie, Ronnie, Dilton and the like, we get more than sense enough about how this Archie world differs from the rest, it's high school attitude more Degrassi melodrama than the usual lighthearted Riverdale fare.
Jarring and fascinating...
Saturday, December 7, 2013
"...alas we will be finishing our run on issue 15. We planned this as a Season , telling a contained story, and leaving room to continue if we felt like it. When Marvel asked if wanted to, Jamie and I decided we'd actually made our statement, and should leave the stage."
What!? Aw, man I loveded this book. Two more issues of glory I s'pose. More Phonogram next maybe?
Anyway, this comic is actually a fumetti or sorts, extracting stills of the animated pilot and turning them into sequential art. It actually works quite a bit better than direct photo fumetti, but it's still not quite as interesting or engaging as individually composed panels.
I'm not sure the purpose of adapting a movie or TV show to comic book form anymore, since video is so readily available now... unless you're going to go direct from the script (like Django Unchained) or introduce new sequences or insight or a unique take, there's not really a need for such an adaptation... especially one like this where it's just images from the cartoon. But that's my opinion...my daughter seems to love it.
Was Velvet modeled after Stacy London (ex of What Not To Wear)? Seriously, put these two faces side-by-side...
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
This is a bit heady when it comes to this book, but it honestly has been more than a passing thought since the stories of Brian Wood's past(?) misconduct(s?) have circulated on the internet. There's the he-said/she-said back and forth of it and people who take sides, when really, this isn't so much about sides. One woman is opening up about her experience, and people are either refusing to believe her (despite quasi-confirmation from Wood himself, and an apology) or saying horrible things about her just for speaking about it. I feel that it's gross the general attitude a large subsection of fanboys have about women, as creators and characters and as fellow geeks, but most of that is chalked up to isolation from the fairer sex and a crass misunderstanding of how social interaction works, and perhaps some mommy issues. But beyond that, when a creator gets called out for being a letch (with a couple incidents discussed but others claiming there's more) does that mean we need to abandon them even if we like their work?
I don't know who Wood is as a person, but I've liked a lot of what he's done, and he tends to (ironically?) write a lot of strong female characters as well as (ironically?) partner with a lot of female artists. Can he be this progressive as a writer and also be a total prick of a human? Sure. Was he? Sounds like it. Is he still? I don't know. His response taking ownership of some of the alleged actions, and apologizing was a start but also felt like he was trying to willfully forget/ignore some of the more serious dickbag behaviour. Does he have more to apologize for? I don't know. Sounds like it. Was this in the past or is it a perpetuating problem with him? I don't know. Without really knowing who he is, can I damn the man and abandon his work easily? Can I just say I'm not going to support this guy full stop, vote with my dollars but at the same time not really voting for or against anything? I don't know.
Of his current work, I'm reading only the Massive, which I think is smart and an important examination of eco-politics in a nearly post-apocalyptic near-future. This issue continues an interesting conversation about whether whaling for survival is criminally damnable when there's no longer a whaling industry and whales as a species are thriving? As we've advanced as humanity, with science and curiosity at our sides, we've discovered plenty of species around the world are quite intelligent, and emotional creatures. Whales are among these creatures that aren't just instinctual, and as such, my standpoint is that whaling is akin to murder. But others may not feel the same way and may see the sacrifice of a few whales every year, with every element of their physical being made use of, as more than justifiable and that case is presented here too (last issue mind you, this issue is pure vendetta-driven and it gets pretty grim).
I like the Massive, but I'm keeping an eye on what's going on, I'm thinking about everything I read, and I'll weigh my discomfort with the creator against my enjoyment of his work and once one the one tips over the other, I'm out (it's sort of sitting even keel right now). This isn't me excusing anything he's done, to be sure, harassment of any sort is ugly and any sort of backlash against someone reporting it is as deplorable as the act of direct harassment itself (shaming and backlash is in fact a form of harassment)...but for now, I'm not certain if he or his career is worth totally torching based on who he (hopefully) used to be.
Briefly, playing devil's advocate... if he is a guy who used to be a dick fancying himself a ladies man, but has turned himself around into a family man, then he has a lot to be ashamed of and perhaps would shy away from acknowledging that he used to be that way. It's hard to admit your mistakes, especially ones that hurt someone else. End of advocacy.
On the other side, if he's still that guy, he's going to be in denial that he is that guy. He'll be deluded into thinking that he's being crucified for something that he likely remembers differently because to him he fully thinks he doesn't do anything wrong in these situations. And he'll keep doing it.
I hope it's more of the former situation and that he'll personally and privately apologize (or at least attempt to apologize) to those he knows he has wronged (and perhaps to those he may not know he has wronged. We may never know if he does, but that would be the right thing to do and I bet a few people would say something about that. On the other hand, if he's still the letch, then we'll be hearing about that too, and honestly, I couldn't support him and I don't think the industry should either.
Sunday, December 1, 2013
This issue, like every issue is a blast, and I love watching Brian K. Vaughan's work as he slowly expands his universe of characters, as well as his universe itself. He often starts off with his characters as archetypes, so you know what he's going for with the character, but he then explodes them by turning them into people beyond just "tough-ass mercenary" or "nagging mother-in-law". There's bad people in this book, but there's no straight out bad guys, just like the good guys aren't necessarily the bestest people either, even if they're really trying to be. I like Vaughan's use of technology, which is often super advanced and just as often defiantly and anachronistically retro (a lot of that probably falls on Fiona Staples' able hands), and also just as often biological, showing us things we haven't seen before.
With the heaps of praise the book is garnering constantly, I keep expecting the cynical fanboy backlash, but then I realize that even if that does happen, the book is so damn good it's still going to accelerate in popularity, drawing in many, many readers from outside the fanboy and comic con masses. This is a breakthrough book, a comic book that loves and embraces the medium without excluding those less or unfamiliar with the format. If you're a comic and/or sci-fi and/or fantasy fan, and you're not reading this book, I have to ask why not?