Funnybook Babylon

January 30, 2009

Waited for the Trade – Doubleshot!

huntress1Huntress: Year One
collects Huntress: Year One #1-6
written by Ivory Madison
art by Cliff Richards
DC Comics

DC’s Year One concept has become something of an institution lately, with everyone from Metamorpho to Two-Face to Green Arrow getting miniseries under its banner, complete with a “Year One” logo. Each series fleshes out the character’s origin, usually by filling in the details of their pre-superheroic life. Huntress: Year One doesn’t deviate from this formula, following Helena Bertinelli from her 21st birthday through her getting the Huntress costume and meeting Batman and his allies for the first time, what seems to be a period of a few months.
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January 28, 2009

Final Crisis #7 – “New Heaven, New Earth”

Final Crisis #7

Final Crisis #7

Not much preamble to make here – it’s the last issue, I enjoyed it a lot, a lot of people probably think it’s confusing drivel. Maybe I can help you out.
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January 24, 2009

Final Crisis: Superman Beyond – Annotations Epilogue: Mandrakk: A Brief History

For me Final Crisis, is about the type of guilt-ridden, self-loathing stories we insist on telling ourselves and, especially, our children—about the damage those stories do and about the good they could do if we took more responsibility for the power and influence of our words.

Grant Morrison

Before we move on to #7 this week, I just want to take a final look at Superman Beyond and what it meant – and see if I can disentangle the timeline of events, causes and effects Morrison is setting up here.

At this point, how it fits into the larger story is fairly clear – the entire adventure takes place between Lois’s heartbeats on New Earth, due to what’s likely a time dilation between Earth-0 and the rest of the multiverse. The vampire army that Mandrakk will doubtlessly invade Earth-0 with in Final Crisis #7 has its first conscript in the form of Ultraman; I assume Mandrakk has, in his relative timeline, hundreds if not thousands of years to get together his crew.

Zillo Valla

But who is Mandrakk? Let me see if I can figure it out.
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Josh & Imp…Launches? Yes, We’ll Go with Launches

Filed under: Blurbs — Jonathan Bernhardt @ 4:30 pm

What most of the people involved with this site know about Jon Bernhardt but you, the Anonymous Reader, do not is that he, much like everyone else who reads comics, would likeThe City to write comics, preferably in exchange for money and some press. You know, a Newsarama interview or two every six months, followed by a screaming match with Bill Willingham at some panel in Philly; I require nothing spectacular. This is not surprising. What is surprising is that two years or so ago, he actually wrote a 24-page comic, which was lovingly pencilled, inked, colored, and lettered by the incomparable Diana Nock. You should click that link, and click it right now, because she is not only a saint but an amazingly talented artist, and regardless of when you’re reading this, she probably has something cool to look at right now on her front page.
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January 23, 2009

Waited for the Trade: Spider-Man – New Ways to Die

New Ways to Die Cover
Spider-Man: New Ways to Die
collects Amazing Spider-Man #568-573
written by Dan Slott & Mark Waid
art by John Romita Jr. & Adi Granov
Marvel Comics

Fair warning: This review contains some spoilers, but nothing that will really ruin your enjoyment of the story. Be forewarned.

I’m in love with Harry Osborn. Not the Harry Osborn of the movies, although James Franco is a pretty funny guy. Not even the old Harry Osborn, the one who died back in 1993. I was seven when that story happened; I bought the comic because it had a shiny cover but the greater significance of it was totally lost on me. Catching up on Spider-Man through Essential volumes has given me a greater grasp on the character, but to be perfectly frank, old Harry pales in comparison to the current Harry written by Dan Slott.

He’s a nuanced character now, with fully realized relationships with Norman Osborn (another resurrected villain), Peter Parker, Spider-Man (in a completely different sense than his relationship with Peter) and the rest of the supporting cast. If you haven’t been following Amazing Spider-Man for the past few years this probably doesn’t mean anything to you, but stay with me.

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FBBP #88 – Happy Birthday, Sam Kieth!

Filed under: Podcasts — Tags: , — Chris Eckert @ 2:59 pm

Reviewed in this podcast: Four Women by Sam Kieth (2001, Homage Comics)

In honor of Sam Kieth’s recent birthday, the FBB gang dusted off one of his more recent miniseries, Four Women. While most people remember his comic/cartoon The Maxx, fewer seem to realize that he’s been steadily producing short comic works in the same dreamy psychoanalytical vein
as his signature work.

You can probably guess the cast list of Four Women, but we get into pretty serious spoiler territory on the podcast; if you want to read the book “clean”, hold off on listening to this. Four Women has something of a “revelation” ending, though it’s the way the story’s told that is ultimately more compelling than any “twist”. But forewarned is forearmed!

The spoiler free review: Kieth’s expressionistic artwork and storytelling is top-notch, but this might’ve been better served by being longer. Or shorter. Definitely worth a read though, a shame it’s out of print but it’s not too hard to find on the secondary market.

January 21, 2009

Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #2

Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #2

Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #2

When last we left our intrepid heroes back at the end of August(!), Superman and Captain Allen Adam were facing down Ultraman in Limbo as Ultraman hoisted the Infinite Book and Mandrakk’s Monitor nanomachinery cracked through the sky into Limbo. Meanwhile, Captain Marvel got knocked back to being Billy by the feedback of the end of the Infinite Book, but not before leaving a riddle: “Ultimate evil is ultimate good. The most despised will save the most beloved.” Zillo Valla, their Monitor guide, ends up getting all vampiric and sucking Overman’s blood to power the Ultima Thule, the ship.

So let’s take a look at pages 31-62 of the Final Crisis: Superman Beyond one-shot, which would have eliminated a lot of confusion about the FC timeline if it’d come out in one piece as planned.
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Scrabble for Cheaters!

Filed under: Blurbs — Chris Eckert @ 11:47 am

Not really comics-related, but here goes:

This weekend 826NYC is holding a benefit event, its second annual “Scrabble for Cheaters” tournament. All proceeds go to 826NYC, a nonprofit writing lab and tutoring center in Brooklyn where I’ve volunteered for the past few years.

This year I am also competing in the SFC tournament as part of Team My Other Blog is About Scrabble. In order for Team MOBIAS to effectively compete, we need to cheat, and in order to cheat, we need sponsors. Cheating doesn’t come cheaply, as you can see from the Cheat List. That’s where everyone else comes in.
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January 20, 2009

FBBP #87 – Ripped from Last Week’s Headlines

Happy Inauguration Day, everyone! Now that President-Elect Obama’s inspirational address has been delivered, we expect you’re primed to listen to more eloquent uplift. But if you’re tired of that sort of thing, why not check out this week’s FBB podcast?

Obamamania
is on everyone’s mind and we’re no exception, but we can’t let other Big Stories get lost in the swirl of Hope and Change: we also discuss Batman Actually R.ing I.P., and a fresh “Yes, This is Being Published” from two reliable purveyors of YTiBPs.

Check back later in the week for a belated birthday appreciation of Sam Kieth!

January 19, 2009

Thirty Year Old Linkblogging

Comic Reader #162

Awhile back I came into a big pile of copies of The Comic Reader, a fanzine/comics magazine published through the 1970s into the early 1980s. I picked out an issue released during the month of my birth (#162, November 1978) to kick off the series.

The most striking thing about The Comic Reader is how much of its content strikes a modern reader as filler: out of twenty six pages of editorial content, over half of them are given over to checklists, information on upcoming issues’ creative teams and other basic release information. Each issue has literally dozens of short items like:

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January 18, 2009

DC Doesn’t Care About People Who Care About Creative Teams

Filed under: Blurbs — Tags: , , , , , , — David Uzumeri @ 11:49 am
Justice League of America #29

Justice League of America #29

Why? Because they don’t!

A couple of weeks ago or so, I read an interview with Len Wein that involved his upcoming work – the Final Crisis: Secret Files, which I knew about, and the Superman/Batman Annual, but Justice League of America #29? That’s odd, a straight-up writer change? Why wouldn’t they announce that?

A few days after that, I saw a thread at ComicBloc posted by ubiquitous Internet message board ball of enthusiasm General Grievous about a MySpace post made by ChrisCross that he was doing JLA #29. Which excited me at first, since JLA’s in the middle of a Milestone story and that’s where he got his start, and it’d be nice to see them drawn properly by a dude who has a concept of how to draw non-white people with various-sized asses and different faces. Pantazis’ll probably color them all white, but I guess you take what you can get at this point.

Then I realized, that’s the Len Wein issue. Surely there’s some mistake, why the Hell would DC bring ChrisCross into JLA for a fill-in if it isn’t to work with Dwayne McDuffie on some Milestone stuff? I mean, not that he isn’t an exceptional penciller and a fantastic storyteller, but it’s an obvious fit.

And seriously, does DC think people aren’t going to notice when they do stuff like this? That they won’t care? This was kind of ignored with Supergirl, but Justice League of America is their strongest-selling ongoing right now (possibly excepting Batman) and to completely change the entire creative team without announcing it so that it’s only discovered by me on eBay when somebody puts up a cover scan is just pretty damn douchebaggy. Come on, DC, Marvel communicates all their creator changes via the Diamond update service – is it really that hard to let us know? Is it that dangerous?

Retailers, do you guys find out about this stuff? It just seems incredibly irresponsible. I’m fine with picking up, say, an issue of Immortal Iron Fist or something and finding out a few pages are by Russ Heath, but a completely different writer/artist team than solicited, without a single update sent to the comics press or readers that this is happening, on one of your top-selling titles, is just really, really, really shitty.

January 16, 2009

Waited for the Trade: X-Force v1 – Angels and Demons

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , — Matt Jett @ 3:22 pm

Spinning out of the events of Messiah Complex, X-Force follows a “black ops” team of X-Men, tasked with missions other mutant superheroes would find morally compromising. These missions invariably end up being incredibly violent, as X-Force is the sort of superhero team that doesn’t stick to the standard “no killing” type of heroics. The philosophy of the team (and the marketing of the title) is probably best summed up by the fact that Marvel issued variant covers for the first few issues that were simply changed to be much, much bloodier than the standard covers.
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Obamamania Update!

So, hey, people sure are excited about this whole “Spider-Man Meets Barack Obama” thing. Here’s a few things I wanted to address about the excitement.

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January 15, 2009

How Comics Books Really Fell to the Liberals!

Filed under: Blurbs — Tags: , , , , — Chris Eckert @ 3:32 pm

As David posted earlier, Bill Willingham and others have used Spider-Man’s nod to Obamamania as a springboard to discuss how comic books have been taken over by liberals. You’d think that Ted Rall and Noam Chomsky are the current Editors-in-Chief at Marvel and DC the way they talk! Outspoken conservatives like Chuck Dixon and James Hudnall get no Big Two work, Mike S. Miller claims to be “pinklisted” because of his position against homosexuality, the publishers of Liberality for All position themselves as “publishers of the world’s first conservative comic book” (don’t tell the makers of 1990s indie Dittoman that!)… you’d think all of this Culture War enmity would keep noted conservatives from perusing these proselytizing pinko pamphlets!

You’d be wrong!

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January 14, 2009

Final Crisis #6 – “How to Murder the Earth”

They used the title! Yay!

Final Crisis #6

Final Crisis #6

Reaction to this issue:
Oh Shit!
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