This is going to be a very busy week for me in the real world, so this’ll be a light one. I hope that these links and random commentary will tide you over until next time. This week: Farel Dalrymple, the Roots, comics art, The Things We Should Be Discussing, links, and Tomorrow’s Pull List Today!
I think we should all have a little Farel Dalyrmple to start off the week. This panel is from a Spider-Man/Silver Surfer story that Dalrymple is doing for the second volume of Marvel’s Strange Tales anthology. I had mixed feelings about the first mini-series — the first issue was great and the next two were forgettable — but I’m really looking forward to this. At the very least, it might help introduce more fans to Dalrymple’s amazing art, which some may be familiar with from the acclaimed Omega the Unknown miniseries written by Jonathan Lethem. What did I think of that miniseries? Let’s just say it’s still on my Amazon wish list, but you can check out the thoughts of my fellow FBBers here. Darlrymple’s also responsible for Pop-Gun War, which is very cool-looking and on the list of comic books I need to buy.
Non-comics related interlude:
“Dear God (M.O.F.)” by the Roots featuring Jim James of My Morning Jacket. Go buy How I Got Over, the eleventh Roots album when it comes out on June 22nd! New York Magazine’s Vulture blog has the streaming version here.
• Via Bill Reed of Comics Should Be Good, Jason Wood of iFanboy briefly explores the price elasticity of demand for mainstream superhero comics. Wood theorizes that the success of $3.99 comics over the last month demonstrate the relatively inelastic demand for superhero comics. It’s an interesting analysis, but I’d be really interested to see what the demand looks like several months from now when the dataset is a bit bigger.
• Warren Ellis requests a remake/remodel of Wonder Woman on the Whitechapel message boards, with some pretty stunning results. I have a soft spot for the one by Paul Sizer (l.) and Payno (r.), even though the contributions from Ed Sludden ,Francundo and JamesSmith3 are also impressive. Check out the whole thing, it’s a lot of fun. Mildly NSFW for people who don’t have IT departments filled with hippies.
• Alex Segura of DC’s Source blog revealed the latest in DC’s series of 75th Anniversary variant covers – a remake of the classic Gil Kane Green Lantern cover by Frank Quitely. Kevin Melrose of Robot 6 got a great full version of the cover, as seen below:
Wow. Quitely can do no wrong in my book.
• Tom Spurgeon identifies some of the discussions that he would like to see more of in the comics community. Go give it a read, Spurgeon has an interesting perspective on the industry and fandom. Of the three areas that Spurgeon discusses, the one that sounds most interesting to me is the first: whether we (as consumers, critics and an industry) are adequately considering the moral implications of reprinting archival material. We tend to view this issue from a consumer perspective, so the mere existence of this reprinted material appears to be an unalloyed good. Spurgeon reminds us to consider the risk that an artist’s legacy can be jeopardized by reprinting material that “collects sub-standard material visually or is otherwise poorly conceived, or is poorly executed”. This risk is negligible for well-known creators with a cemented legacy, but its easy to imagine how this could be could be a serious problem for overlooked or unappreciated creators from earlier eras. He also raises the question of whether the artists are being justly compensated for their work, which is far more complex than simply figuring out whether the publisher is complying with the terms of the initial contract. I would concede that this is an important issue, but I think that critics and journalists would probably play the biggest role in these kinds of discussions, and I think that there’s a chance that the conversation could devolve into the kind of message-board nonsense that surrounded the Siegel and Kirby lawsuits. I agreed wholeheartedly with Spurgeon’s post attacking the comics industry for failing to take steps to heal the wounds of the past, but it’s important to remember that a lot of readers subscribe to a trendy hybrid of economic Darwinism and unrestricted freedom of contract which leads them to believe that parties to a contract should be strictly held to the explicit language of the agreement. A partial explanation for these beliefs is that a lot of readers don’t know anything about contract law, intellectual property law, art law, or economics. But if I’m being honest, I’d have to admit that it can be attributed to an ideological gap, which leads me to wonder if a conversation about morality vis a vis compensation will be a positive sum discussion.
I imagine that Spurgeon’s third point will garner the most headlines in the superhero corner of the comics blogosphere, namely that he’d like to see more discussion about “what these [mainstream superhero] comics are actually saying about the concepts they engage.” I’d argue that a number of critics, including the writers of the Mindless Ones blog, Joe McCulloch, Sean Collins, Plok and David Brothers are actively engaged in this discussion, but that’s a minor quibble. I think that we (critics and readers) spend far too much time embroiled in discussions about market share, accessibility, sales charts and box office grosses, all of which detract attention from the work. In a strange way this reminds me of Chuck Klosterman’s recent appearance on Bill Simmons’s ESPN podcast, in which he persuasively argued that viewers of Lost should evaluate it as a television show instead of a marketing event. We should spend more time evaluating books on their merits. Check out the terrible, terrible interview with Noah Berlatsky that started this conversation, and related posts by Sean Collins and David Brothers.
- Tomorrow’s Pull List Today
Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne # 2 (Grant Morrison & Frazer Irving, DC Comics)
It sounds so simple when he explains it!
Dark Wolverine # 86 – (Daniel Way & Marjorie Liu with art by Stephen Segovia and Cam Smith, colors by Marte Gracia, Marvel Comics) Reckoning, part Three of Four
I suspect that Skaar won’t be mewling by the close of this issue.
Fantastic Four # 579 – (Jonathan Hickman with art by Neil Edwards & Andrew Currie, colors by Paul Mounts, Marvel Comics) Future Foundation, Part One
I have to admit, this is rousing. Ugly, but rousing.
The Thanos Imperative: Ignition #1 (Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning with art by Brad Walker & Andrew Hennessy, colors by Wil Quintana, Marvel Comics)
Why I love Thanos, in five sentences.
Secret Warriors # 16 (Jonathan Hickman & Gianluca Gugliotta, colors by Sunny Gho & Imaginary Friends Studios, Marvel Comics), Wake the Beast, the conclusion
This is going to be thrilling.
7 Psychopaths # 1 (Fabien Vehlmann & Sean Phillips, Boom! Studios)
I’m a sucker for Sean Phillips.
You can find larger versions of all of the previews above at Comic Book Resources.
Next Week: Reviews! Unsolicited Commentary! Links!