Funnybook Babylon

October 26, 2009

Call for Listener Questions

Filed under: Blurbs — Pedro Tejeda @ 10:14 pm

Dear Listeners,

Did you enjoy the Listener Questions segment of our hundredth episode? Did you hate it because we didn’t answer your question? Do you still have a burning question for Joe?

Well, you have another chance to ask questions in a new ongoing segment. You can leave a question in the comments, or dare to take advantage of innovative Web 2.5 technology and call in to the Funnybook Babylon Hotline!

(347) 548-8377

Assuming we can work out this Web 2.5 technology, we might just play your question “on the air”!

September 22, 2009

Pull List Reviews for September 16th

Daredevil: The ListDark Reign: The List – Daredevil
by Andy Diggle & Billy Tan

Bad art can ruin even the best of stories, but lesser known is its ability to obscure mediocre writing. Billy Tan’s art in this issue is bad: it’s static during action sequences featuring ninjas, masked superhero gymnastics and government agents rappelling from the roof. Tan’s talking sequences fail to display any emotion besides tension. As a result, at first glance, this art is terrible enough to hide a weak effort from Andy Diggle.

I wish Diggle had exercised some restraint here since the book’s “everything is rotten from the core” vibe already wears out its welcome by the time the corrupt judge shows up six pages in. When we finally see Norman Osborn, he is exhaling pure evil. It’s not as if Daredevil hasn’t tangled with some sinister dudes before, but the moral conflicts and ethical backsliding that had been the bedrock of Bendis and Brubaker’s Daredevil runs begin to feel less complex when Murdock is trying to take down the next Hitler.

Diggle’s overplaying of the systemic corruption moves Daredevil from a troubled man trying to straighten up a clan of killer evil ninjas to the leader of a band of freedom fighters. Regardless of if Murdock succeeds here, his goal becomes noble enough to the reader that he will be redeemed in their eyes. This isn’t Diggle’s intent and this will push Matt away from the tipping point that has been teased since the title was relaunched back in 1999. It’s a shame since there was just so much farther he could have fallen.

-by Pedro Tejeda

Dark Avengers #9Dark Avengers #9
by Brian Michael Bendis, Mike Deodato, and Rain Beredo

In a week with a Grant Morrison Batman comic and a new volume of Pluto, somehow I think I enjoyed these 22 pages the most. Bendis’s recent work has gotten slagged on a lot – sometimes deservedly – but I think this is a solid crystallization of everything that makes his style work: Character, Character, Character. The cover promises Ares versus Fury in a glocks-versus-battle-ax contest to the death, and I’m glad the cover lied because the mature conversation inside is so, so, so much better. Then Bendis drops a shock ending bomb on you, one he’s clearly been waiting to drop forever, and one that works pretty well at eliciting an “OH SHIT!” from almost anybody invested in the Marvel status quo right now.

But Bendis isn’t even really the main reason. Mike Deodato fucking shines on this comic, with interesting but clear panel layouts, especially in the middle section. This guy has really evolved from a tits ‘n muscles artist in the ’90s to a guy who, despite his propensity for swaying hips, constantly tries to make his panel layouts interesting (and still clear) – check out the “Ares smash!” two-page spread to see what I mean. He’s good with balls-out action and talking heads (as displayed near the end with the Dark Avengers just chillin’ and chattin’), versatile enough to move from the everyday to the extraordinary and make it seem like it’s in the same world. I’m willing to take his (increasingly rarer) propensities towards T&A in stride as long as he keeps turning in superb storytelling like this.

– by David Uzumeri

Vengeance of the Moon Knight #1Vengeance of the Moon Knight #1
“Shock & Awe Chapter 1”
by Gregg Hurwitz & Jerome Opena

I haven’t paid attention to the Moon Knight book for years, and viewed him as a third-rate Batman suffering from mental illness. But sometimes a comic doesn’t have to be original to be entertaining. We’ve all become familiar with the use of the super-hero narrative to explore identity and mental illness. Not only that, but the story of a lone man who must do battle with a crazed totalitarian state is older than John Galt. So what sets Vengeance of the Moon Knight apart from the crowd? The art. Gregg Hurwitz turns in a competent script, but Jerome Opena transforms what could have been a banal book into an entertaining romp.

The first issue sets the status quo – Moon Knight is a hero who is in the midst of an identity crisis. Will he be the restrained old-school hero who avoids unnecessary violence or a brutal vigilante close to the edge? We see MK elegantly dispatch armed bank robbers and escape from the authorities with ease in the first half of the book, which unfolds like a slick action movie filled with bright colors and unambiguous victories. In the second half, we begin to see the cracks in the facade – the criminals from Heat have been replaced with the degenerates in Taxi Driver, Moon Knight’s resolve is tested, and his instability becomes more apparent: the voices in his head/ghosts that haunt him become clearer. There are shadows everywhere, and triumph is replaced with temptation. An atmosphere of fear lurks in the background, with the visage of Norman Osborn staring at us from billboards and video screens. And that’s without even looking at the words.

– by Jamaal Thomas

September 18, 2009

Pedro Reviews Models, Inc. #1

Models, Inc. #1Models, Inc. #1
“Models, Inc. pt1” by Paul Tobin & Vicenc Villagrasa
“Loaded Gunn” by Marc Sumerak & Jorge Molina

Reality television has probably taught me more about modeling and fashion than any other source. Maybe it’s this skewed vision that makes Models, Inc. feel like such a throwback to times past. I feel like Tobin’s story takes place in a world that hasn’t existed in ages. Even though several aspects of the story — like Chili Pepper’s outing — are obviously modern, Villagrasa’s art evokes the Mod 1960s, when the idea of modeling was more fresh, glamorous and fun. The book has none of the eating disorders, fierce competitiveness, or other aspects that seem to populate the seedy underbelly of modern modeling. It’s a decision that fits the tone of the book, even if I wasn’t fully engaged with the plot. I didn’t connect with any of the characters as they felt too light. Only three of the characters seemed to have any conflict and Millie being accused of murder was the only conflict I was remotely interested in. The art itself was adequate, but one of the two inkers was clearly stronger and detailed than the other. I did enjoy Tobin’s dialogue, which kept the characters, especially the models, from being flat. But I’m not sure that’s enough to make me come back to see what happens next.
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August 14, 2009

ATTENTION – EPISODE 108 NOW WORKS

Filed under: Blurbs — Pedro Tejeda @ 1:13 pm

It should also show up in iTunes

If anyone cares, we were using podPress to manage our podcasts. Its developers abandoned it over a year ago, and so we had no support when it refused to serve our new podcast to iTunes. We have switched to Powerpress from the fine folks at Blubrry. The only downside is the disruption of our totally awesome site design for the time being.

Everything should be up, but let us know if anything doesn’t work and keep listening!

July 27, 2009

Working Through the Pile: Pedro’s MoCCA Haul

Filed under: Reviews — Pedro Tejeda @ 8:38 pm

One of the things left off of our MoCCA podcast was the amazing amount of material we purchased at the show. Isn’t that the point of MoCCA: to discover new books and get the hotness everyone keeps talking about? If I don’t walk away with less money in my pocket and a pile of books to read through, I wouldn’t be able to say that I had a good time. This MoCCA was no different than previous shows, but I did find my selections partly driven by my experience reading Denis Barjam’s Universal War One.
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April 29, 2009

Waited for the Trade(s): Scalped Revisited

Filed under: Reviews — Pedro Tejeda @ 9:25 am

A Trio of Scalped trades
Scalped vol 1: Indian Country
Scalped vol 2: Casino Boogie
Scalped vol 3: Dead Mothers
written by Jason Aaron
art by R.M. Guera, John Paul Leon & Davide Furno
Vertigo

When we reviewed the first volume of Scalped, the story of Dashiell Bad Horse, an undercover FBI agent on an Indian Reservation full of corruption, no one on the podcast seemed to enjoy it.  Even though elements of Jason Aaron’s writing were strong, the book’s violence and sex felt like it was trying too hard to be a premium cable series in comic form. R.M Guera did a good job with talking head sequences, but his work on action scenes were incredibly muddy. I picked up Casino Boogie and Dead Mothers on sale recently, based on numerous reports that the book was picking up. I hoped the book had improved as both Jason Aaron and R.M Guerra got settled into a groove.
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February 14, 2009

FBB Valentine’s Day Weekend: 25 Things Pedro Loves about Comics

On the worst day of the year for single people and absent-minded married men, Team FBB stood back and thought of the things that we love about comics. We capped it at 25 so that this series of articles would be completed sometime this year. One interesting thing that I came across while compiling my list was how many of these selections were based on visual storytelling moments. I’m starting to realize that I enjoy the art side of comics more than the writing.
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October 23, 2008

Jamilti and Other Stories

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — Pedro Tejeda @ 6:25 pm

Jamilti and Other Stories

Rutu Modan
Jamilti and Other Stories
Drawn and Quarterly

I walked away from Exit Wounds enjoying Modan’s dialogue, her coloring, and the expressiveness of her faces but feeling mixed about the overall story. Maybe I was too attached to her short form slice of life style from her New York Times work. These small stories were overflowing with aspects and ideas of family which felt sparse in the longer length of Exit Wounds.

It was my attachment to that blog work that made me pick up her current anthology from Drawn and Quarterly, Jamilti and Other Stories. Jamilti contains several of Modan’s short story work between ’98 to ’07, many occurring in modern Israel and based around families. Several use family photographs as ways to advance the plot.

I have to say even though nearly every one of the stories have some negative aspects to them, Modan’s other strengths were enough to make me enjoy each of them. One particular shortcoming in Modan’s earlier work is how ugly it can be. I love Modan’s current art style. Her backgrounds are quite strong and she is able to convey so many different emotions with simple line work. Her characters’ body shapes are quite fantastic, each character is drawn in a unique way that is more than age and sex appropriate but just natural. It makes it easier to realize them as actualized people instead of characters in a story.
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September 23, 2008

A Special Message to You, the Reader! RSS Feeds Should Be Working Properly Again!

Filed under: Blurbs — Pedro Tejeda @ 7:40 am

classic we dun fucked up image

We received some emails stating that the feeds were not working on the website and not updating properly for all our readers. There was a change made in one of the new WordPress updates that took feeds off the last few days. This post should be proceeded with 7 new to you articles that give you something to catch up to.

Thanks to the readers who brought this to our attention. We appreciate every single bit of feedback we have been given for this site since we started it over a year and half ago. It allows the ability to improve greatly. Thanks again.

September 22, 2008

FBBP #73 – Superman Loves Us All

Filed under: Podcasts — Tags: , , , — Pedro Tejeda @ 11:33 pm

Pedro, Jamaal and Joseph get together for a chat on Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely’s freshly concluded All-Star Superman. Is Superman prophet or messiah? Unsurprisingly, Joseph ends up the contentious dissenter on this matter, though he loved the book as much as anyone else. The first half of the series is available now, if you can’t wait for the inevitable Absolute Edition.

August 5, 2008

Relax, Internet: Runaways’ Karolina Still a Lesbian

Filed under: Blurbs — Tags: , , , — Pedro Tejeda @ 12:00 pm

Recently there was some controversy over new Runaways writer Terry Moore’s choice of words when discussing his view of the team. Moore repeatedly used the pronoun “he” to describe gender-bending Skrull Xavin, and new artist Humberto Ramos mentioned in his blog comments that he was “told” to redraw Xavin as a male. This led to speculation as to what this might mean for the nature of Xavin’s relationship to fellow Runaway Karolina Dean and what this said about Moore’s handling of Karolina and Xavin’s respective sexual preferences.

AfterEllen feared that the switch in Xavin’s gender was a move to “heterosexualize” Karolina, while some fans remained hopeful that even if Xavin is rendered fully male, the plot development would eventually rekindle a teased relationship between a still-lesbian Karolina and teammate Nico Minoru. In response to the controversy, Humberto Ramos posted clarification on his comments. Ramos attributes the controversy to “language difficulties”. (more…)

July 23, 2008

Fun with October DC Solicts – The rise and fall of Checkmate

Filed under: Blurbs — Tags: , , , , , , — Pedro Tejeda @ 1:50 pm

CHECKMATE #31 Written by Bruce Jones. Art and cover by Manuel Garcia. All the pieces on the Checkmate board have converged on China. Is it the end of the world as we know it in this series finale issue? Or will Chimera save the day? On sale October 29. 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US FINAL ISSUE

Scrolling through the solicitations I came across this doozy. It looks like DC finally did what I jokingly asked them to do a couple of months ago. What has the book been doing since you and I dropped it? Why, it has been building up the sensational character find of ’08, Chimera! Who is he? He’s pretty much a super soldier who can turn into his enemies’ worst fears. His ongoing story has hijacked everything I found interesting and wonderful about the spy thriller Checkmate was before Jones got on to it.

John Rogers in an interview stated that some sort of Magic Event would be spinning out of Checkmate post Final Crisis. This event has to be why they decided not to go with the collaborator of the original writer and with Bruce Jones instead. Chimera has been the only thing the book has been about since the switch. So now that Chimera has been introduced and established,  they can turn off the lights on the book so he can move on to what ever great things they have planned for him. I guess Checkmate as an organization will languish in the background, used the same way SHIELD was pre-Civil War. Great Job DC!

Wait… what’s this?

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May 17, 2008

Weekend Rah Rah: Adventures in Link Blogging

Filed under: Blurbs — Pedro Tejeda @ 8:22 pm

I’m in the middle of a rousing paper about the Chinese firewall and the technical aspects of it, but man I still can’t stop my self from checking my favorite creator sites and today there were 2 updates I had to share with you guys.

I am the night - 私は部屋

I am the night – 私は部屋

The always awesome Cliff Chiang shares with us some old designs he had for creating anime/manga influenced versions of 60’s characters. Even if they are a bit on the nose, they are a hoot. This would have been amusing DC’s nineties summer crossover.

All he needs is a 40 for his homie Chubby.

All he needs is a 40 for his homie Chubby.

Cam Stewart then teases us with character designs for the highly awaited follow up to his collabo with Grant Morrison on Seaguy. Seeing stuff like this is always awesome and the fact that he details why he went with the choices makes it even better.

I’ve got to get back to the paper, but enjoy the links.

May 2, 2008

Funnybook Babylon Editors Notes

Filed under: Blurbs — Pedro Tejeda @ 4:55 pm

Due to events in DCU #0, Funnybook Babylon would like retract the articles
Darkseid, A Dictator Who Sought to Eliminate the Free Will of All Living Things, is Dead and Bartholomew Allen, Police Scientist and JLA Milquetoast, Dies.

We’d also like to let the listeners of our podcast know due to various activities, there will not be a podcast this week. We’ll be back next week with more content and a high quality podcast. Have a good weekend.

April 29, 2008

FBB Ten Cent Plague Convo Part 2: I like watching Rome burn, does that make me a bad person?

Filed under: Articles — Pedro Tejeda @ 12:20 pm

The end is nearTen Cent Plague didn’t feel like an origin story to me. It felt like one of Marvel’s “The End” stories, “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow”, or the flashbacks in Bendis’s “Golden Age” story arc in Daredevil. Hell, I can imagine Stan Lee as a young Wilson Fisk deciding to take over the action on the West Side after the old guard fell (even if he was writing watered down horror stuff long after EC’s downfall).

You are right Jamaal, Hadju does a great job of giving you an origin of comic books as an art form. It’s not one of those traditional 8 page Marvel origins, he goes all Geoff Johns on you and reveals the secret history of past events, so that when the industry begins to fall apart, you really care for what is lost. All my previous knowledge of the early days of comics was limited to the world of superheroes, so I really enjoyed each new bit of information about the other more successful genres and the creators behind them.

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