Funnybook Babylon

August 29, 2008

FBBP #69 – Explicit Invasion

Filed under: Podcasts — Tags: , , , , , — Funnybook Babylon @ 2:01 pm

Jon, Pedro, Chris, and Joe got together on Wednesday to discuss the current status of Marvel’s (not-so) Secret Invasion.

Enjoy your Labor Day weekend!

Tough Love: Proofreading

Filed under: Blurbs — Tags: , , , , — Chris Eckert @ 12:23 pm

-or-

Computer Lettering is Destroying Proper Usage As We Know It

We live in a fast-paced modern world, full of whirring machines that make everything faster and easier than it was in the old days. In the Old Days, all the lettering in comics had to be hand-written, using complicated pens and plastic strips and you had to be careful about using “FLICKER” or “CLINT” lest the cheap four color printing presses bleed the second and third letters together.

Today, we have COMPUTERS! You can FLICK that guy CLINT all you want, and use crazy Photoshop effects and letter a comic in mere minutes! But the personal touch is lost, which means there are a lot of typos. Typing is faster than hand-lettering, but more physically disconnected — you never hear about write-oes, do you? — but that should leave more time for copyediting, right?

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Adventures in Shamelessness: Offered Without Comment

Filed under: Blurbs — Tags: , , — David Uzumeri @ 11:09 am

Invasion! TPB

August 28, 2008

Gentle Love: McSweeney’s End of Summer Sale!

The fine people of Timothy McSweeney’s Purchasing Harangue are putting all their available literary quarterlies on sale for the ridiculously low price of $5.00 a pop through Friday. For all you funnybook fans, this means you can get Timothy McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern issue thirteen, guest-edited by Chris Ware, for less than the cost of two Secret Invasion tie-ins!
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Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1

Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1Hh. Spoilers within. This is actually the first thirty pages of a sixty-page script; I imagine Morrison still did a bit of work to modify it, though, since it ends on a pretty satisfying cliffhanger (if that makes any sense). I assume the second issue won’t hit until at least December, either along with or in place of Final Crisis #7.

The 3-D “gimmick” isn’t really used for any particular narrative purpose just yet, it just looks cool (or distracting/annoying, depending on your outlook). Still, it does distinguish the extradimensional elements from the mundane ones.

After these annotations, I’ll include a few observations regarding FC: Rogues’ Revenge #2. In the absence of Granddaddy Wolk I don’t know if anyone will be covering this issue, but I really haven’t read Johns’s Flash run recently enough to do a full annotation. Last Will and Testament is out too, but it pretty much totally fails to match up in any way with Final Crisis and is really just a vehicle for Brad Meltzer to do his Meltzer Thing. Something else regarding that might be in the works, though…

Anyway.
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August 27, 2008

FBBP #68 – Out of Nowhere…

Filed under: Podcasts — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Joseph Mastantuono @ 9:29 am

With Pedro and Jamaal doing adult things, we brought in a ringer. Jon Bernhardt came up from Baltimore to chat about the first issue of Air, G. Willow Wilson & M.K. Perker’s new Vertigo ongoing.

Then, a surprise visitor arrived just in time for our discussion of Captain America #41 by Ed Brubaker & Steve Epting. I bet if you whisper “Captain America” three times in your bathroom mirror, Pedro will show up at your house too, looking for beer.
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August 26, 2008

Tough Love: Admitting You Were Wrong

Filed under: Articles — Tags: , , , — Chris Eckert @ 3:35 pm

Everybody makes mistakes; sometimes they’re really important mistakes, like electing the wrong president. More often, especially on the Internet, they’re petty mistakes. I flew off the handle and interpreted some Batman solicitations incorrectly last week. I was wrong. Rich Lovatt seemed to have missed a plot point in Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch’s Fantastic Four, and went back and re-read the books. Afterwards, he admitted he may have rushed to judgment.

These things happen, and they’re no big deal. We’re a bunch of people who like comics, and for whatever reason have decided to discuss them in a public forum. There will be disagreements. There will be mistakes. These things happen. It’s a dialogue.

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August 22, 2008

Tough Love: Perry Moore and Cursing the Darkness

Filed under: Articles — Tags: , , , , — Chris Eckert @ 5:32 pm

I think I speak for everyone on the site when I say this: historically, corporate comic book characters who aren’t straight white American males have gotten a pretty bum rap. I think things are improving, and there are reasons to be hopeful. That doesn’t mean people shouldn’t call out dubious material when they see it; but manufacturing outrage does nothing to further anyone’s cause. I know that seems like a vague boilerplate, but I wanted to get it out of the way lest anyone think I am condemning the sentiment put forth by Perry Moore in his recent Newsarama interviews. I completely agree with his sentiments, my issue is the way he chooses to further his argument.

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August 20, 2008

FBBP #67 – Manifestos Never End Well

…except for the the one Joe wrote when we started this site. But then, everyone else seemed to ignore it and it never saw the light of day, so probably that was for the best. Look at the track record for public manifestos, it’s not pretty.

This week we review:

Batman #679: The fourth chapter of Grant Morrison & Tony Daniel’s “Batman R.I.P.” storyline

Punisher MAX #60 – The conclusion of Garth Ennis & Goran Parlov‘s “Valley Forge, Valley Forge”, as well as the capstone to nearly a decade’s worth of Punisher stories by Ennis.

We also discuss the big story in the blogosphere this week, new Image Comics partner Robert Kirkman’s video manifesto on “saving the comics industry”. If you listen to Kirkman’s follow-up interview on Wordballoon, you’ll learn that at one point the plan involves creators to literally tell fans to “go fuck themselves”. But there’s so much more to it. Listen and learn!

August 19, 2008

FBBP’s solicitations for episode #67

Filed under: Blurbs — Tags: , , , — Joseph Mastantuono @ 12:53 pm

This is a bit when the mics were on during the pre-show rundown. Enjoy. The full show should be up later today. Contact your LCS that you want FBBP! Limited Run!

August 18, 2008

Quick Rant on Criticism

Filed under: Blurbs — Tags: , , , , , , — Joseph Mastantuono @ 8:51 pm

I wanted to add my 2¢ to the current debate about “Comics Criticism” that David Brothers over at 4th Letter has already covered.

I believe that the creators repudiating critics haven’t experienced much actual criticism; they seem to be responding to reader mail and message board threads. To paint critics as message board posters is absolutely ridiculous.

If Scott Kurtz feels it’s necessary to ignore all criticism of his work, more power to him, but to frame the discussion as a question of “Which is superior? Artist or Critic?” is silly. I wouldn’t care if this concept wasn’t getting spread around in the blogosphere.

Good criticism isn’t about saying “This sucks!” or “Go buy this thing!” Good criticism is an examination or mediation of its subject. It’s disassembling the pieces to see how the work affects you. A good critic can provide context, illuminating a piece of work that may otherwise be opaque.

A good critic is one whose work you can read after reading the book critiqued to get additional perspective on what you experienced.

Criticism is not a mandate on what an artist’s work should be, even when seems like it is.

To all these creators that feel like they need to tell critics to fuck off, my suggestion is to go read some Pauline Kael. If you want a sample of similar criticism apllied to comics, Chris enjoyed Douglas Wolk’s Reading Comics. Wolk cites Kael as a significant influence.

And if people really need to play the “Which is more important? Critic or Artist?” I’d like to mention Roland Barthes. This guy was a critic that developed a whole new language for talking about visual art, from newspaper advertisements to classical paintings. Barthes revolutionized the way we currently think of images and their meaning, and contributed as much to today’s art as any artist.

But this whole debate feels like a thinly veiled way for certain artists to say, “I’m a better person than you.” Making Good Art does not make you a Good Person. Making Bad Art does not make you a Bad Person.

Case in point: RICHARD WAGNER. Or on the flipside, Jeph Loeb. I’ve heard Loeb in interviews and he seems like a genuinely nice guy who’s trying really hard to make good comics. This doesn’t make him a bad person. It just makes him a person who created a bad comic. And criticizing his book doesn’t mean you’re attacking him as a person. If everyone, from “critics” to “artists” to “fans” could remember this, we’d all be better off.

August 16, 2008

Fun with Solicitations: DC Spoils the Crap Out of Their Books

A message board several FBBers frequent has been embroiled in a debate about what constitute “spoilers”: many posters feel like if something is revealed by official company promotional material (Nick Fury’s “Secret Warriors” will survive Secret Invasion and receive their own book, Darkseid successfully takes over Earth in Final Crisis, Character X will be appearing soon in Title Y) then those plot points don’t really constitute “spoilers”. Usually this sort of thing doesn’t constitute a “twist” or whatever, and so these topics are fair game for discussing upcoming comics. But DC seems determined to test this assumption with their November solicitations, as seen on Newsarama. So be warned, “spoilers” after the jump:

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August 14, 2008

Batman #679 – “Batman R.I.P. Part 4: Miracle on Crime Alley”

Filed under: Annotations — Tags: , , , , , , — David Uzumeri @ 12:15 am

Oh hell yeah. This issue was incredible.

Batman #679

Batman #679

Page 1: Batman’s fully enveloped himself in his new persona. Note his weapon, the baseball bat, making him a literal bat-man. (I can’t believe I had to have this pointed out to me.)

Pages 2-3: The tailor doesn’t seem to be Paul Gambi, the Crime Tailor. As an aside, as I stated on Tony Daniel’s blog, I utterly adore Bat-Mite’s little cheering expression while Batman gets his interrogation on. Fantastic.

Page 4: This is where things, obviously, start getting weird. Batman’s always been associated with perching next to gargoyles; however, the rapport with the city here is new. Le Bossu’s gargoyle henchmen go along with his Hunchback of Notre Dame theme.

Page 5: “A machine designed to make Batman.” This is perfectly in standing with Morrison’s assertions about the nature of urbanism from The Invisibles, as well as the The Magus/The Game-inspired aspects of this whole arc. How deep does the rabbit hole go? Is the entire city of Gotham a playground designed to create such a wonderful human creature, or is Bruce Wayne fucked up and listened to his imaginary friends? The way Morrison’s managed to make it so it could really go either way is fantastic. (more…)

August 13, 2008

FBBP #66 – Interim Crisis

FBB is at full power, discussing the relaunches of The Authority, NYX: No Way Home, and Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane as a nice appetizer platter. We cleanse the palate with a quick Jeph Loeb Happy Hour toasting the Hulk before our main course:

Final Crisis #3 gets the full treatment as we discuss the philosophical issues therein and whether or not Joe can possibly understand what the hell is going on. For a more focused discussion of FC, please refer to David U’s awesome annotations here.

August 8, 2008

Apples, Oranges and Spiked Ball Mines: “Comic Book Characters” Is Not A Category

Filed under: Blurbs — David Uzumeri @ 2:39 pm

I was recently linked to this list on Empire Online of the “fifty greatest comic book characters.” This isn’t all that different from many of the lists I’ve seen go around, where they throw together characters from every subgenre to create this fucked-up chimera of superheroes, everymen, Warren Ellis-style “yeah he is on a heroic mission and has special powers and people who help him but he is NOT A SUPERHERO”s, and real people.

You know, because you can compare a corporate franchise like Superman, a creator-owned property like Jesse Custer whose influence is limited to Preacher, and motherfucking ART SPIEGELMAN’S DAD.

Entertainment media, please, for the love of God, “comic book characters” are not a remotely useful classification. Top fifty comic book *franchises*? That I could buy. But to compare a corporate-owned superhero, a character in a creator-owned book and a real person is like a Top 50 Film Characters list with Luke Skywalker, Lloyd Dobler and Oskar Schindler. The narrative goals, origins and purposes of all of these characters are so wildly divergent it’s unbelievable, and no self-respecting film mag would build such a list, because they’d recognize the numerous issues with grouping numerous genres together and judging aspects of them on such an abstract and fucked-up metric. “Comic Books” are not a genre, and Superman and Art Spiegelman’s dad aren’t comparable on any reasonable level other than “I’ve got to come up with a dumb list to get my paycheck.” Come on.

I can’t help but feel lists like this are built off of the assumption that all comic book characters should be longrunning franchises, like that’s an unspoken and implicit rule. While the majority of the superhero genre has had the plot dictated by the characters, throwing them into the same hat with characters whose roles and functions are dictated by the plots and aims of a single work (rather than worldbuilding) is such a completely retarded comparison my mind is pretty much blown.

Sorry, this was rantier than usual for me, but… damn.

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