Funnybook Babylon

April 1, 2015

The Buyers Guide to DC’s Convergence’s Battleworlds

Filed under: Articles — Tags: , , , — Chris Eckert @ 11:17 pm

So Convergence came out today, and it sets up a story that everyone is calling a rip-off of Marvel’s impending Secret Wars event. Obviously, both stories are callow rip-offs of Countdown: Arena, which itself was a crude homage to when I was a kid and had my Transformers fight my Star Wars toys and invade my brother’s Castle Grayskull. I laughed scornfully at Marvel’s big “Reading List” for Secret Wars, since it assumes you’ll want to read every single little side-continuity that will be thrown into its own mini-series this summer:

secretwarsreading

Come on, do people really need to read Future Imperfect or Weirdworld or Secret Wars II just to get the references coming up? Probably not. But it wasn’t until I read Convergence that I realized it was at least rather smart of Marvel to present readers the option.

DC identified 41 “Universes” that will be mashed together like the Darth Vaders, Soundwaves and Man-E-Faces of my youth. Some of them span thousands of comics, while one of them barely spans a comic book at all. A great many of them are completely out of print. One of them seems to confuse Atlanta with Seattle. Without doing all that much research, here is your Buyers Guide to the World of Convergence! (more…)

May 10, 2012

With Two Left Feet, It’s Hard To Walk The Straight Path

Filed under: Articles,Blurbs — Tags: , , , , , — Jamaal Thomas @ 3:00 pm

I. Everybody Talking About Changing the World, the World Ain’t Never Gonna Change

In the summer of 2011, I came up with a plan. I would collaborate with Chris Eckert on a post previewing DC’s relaunch of its line of superhero comics, and write a series of brief posts in subsequent months that would discuss the creative successes and failures of the initiative. I was cautiously optimistic about the initiative in the first few months, despite some early disappointments. Even a month ago, I still cared about five or six of these books. I was going to write a post on Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang and Tony Akins’ Wonder Woman and Francis Manapul’s Flash and follow that up with a post on the two stand-out miniseries of the post-relaunch period at DC – Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Jamal Igle’s the Ray and James Robinson’s Shade.

I’m not sure that I can do that anymore without acknowledging my growing concerns about reading books from either publisher. I don’t think I can pretend that controversies about DC’s attitude towards the creators who work on the books it publishes don’t have an impact on whether I will buy (or can recommend) their books.

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January 6, 2012

FBBP #137 – New Year, Same Old New 52

Welcome to 2012! Back in the dying days of 2011, we sat down and looked at some of DC’s “New 52” titles a few issues in. Titles discussed include:

  • Action Comics by Grant Morrison, Rags Morales and others
  • Batman & Robin by Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason
  • Batman by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo
  • Batwoman by JH Williams III and Haden Blackman
  • Wonder Woman by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang

We also talked about the overall “success” of The New 52, how we as readers should judge the success, how much digital comics should cost, and how Apple should really sell Chris an iPad for ten dollars. Seriously. It would be great PR.

What New 52 books are we sleeping on? What books are we insane to enjoy? Why aren’t we reading something not published by DC? All good questions, and it’s up to you, the FBBArmy, to tell us!

COMING IN 2012: More Avenging the Week, more Girl Talk, more podcasts, and A Cavalcade of Davids!

August 26, 2011

The Flashpoint Death Toll: Remembering the Fallen

Filed under: Articles — Tags: , , — Chris Eckert @ 2:41 am

Everybody’s talking about THE NEW 52, which must be exciting for everyone working on those books at DC Comics. Unfortunately, they’ve spent the past few months still publishing THE OLD 50-SOMETHING, which seem to have largely been forgotten by all parties. It’s not surprising, given the fact that most of them are last-gasp inventory stories or pointless follow-ups to deflating, now-meaningless “events” like Brightest Day or JMS is Writing A Comic Just Kidding Ha Ha.

What’s mildly surprising is that no one seems to be talking about Flashpoint — good or bad. I certainly had my problems with the first couple issues, and droned on at length about in a roundtable at Savage Critics earlier this summer. Maybe everyone else kept thinking about the event during the summer, but I sure didn’t! Not just because I didn’t care for it, but because even DC’s marketing machine quickly abandoned it in favor of the long stream of hype about The New 52. We’ve been told the titles and creative teams, shown the covers and logos, been told about the Day & Date Digital, been given questionnaire answers by the creators, and very soon we’ll be offered the actual comic books that are part of this Bold New Era of DC Comics. But what about Flashpoint? It’s the big Summer Event that leads into this Bold New Era, and while it’s far from over — there’s still the final core issue to come — it hasn’t particularly gotten anyone talking. Maybe it’s event fatigue. Maybe the Flash just isn’t as bankable as Green Lantern, even with Geoff Johns at the helm. Or maybe it’s because Flashpoint is a glorified Elseworlds/What If?/Age of Apocalypse rehash where it seems like the creative teams forgot halfway through that the elevator pitch is The Butterfly Effect and not A Warmed Over Riff on Warren Ellis’s Ruins.

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July 19, 2011

DC: The New 52

Filed under: Articles — Tags: — Chris Eckert @ 1:08 pm

2011 will be a crucial year for DC Comics. In September, DC will relaunch its entire line of superhero books in a bid to expand its audience while holding on to the core of loyal readers. Over the coming months, we’ll see if DC has mastered the delicate art of pleasing everyone – the readers who abandoned the industry in the ’90’s, the potential readers who presumably want books that are both modern and accessible, and the core audience of existing fans with firmly established story and character preferences. It would be a significant challenge for the best run company. Oh yeah, and DC’s also introducing a “day and date” digital publishing initiative that’s scaring the hell out of some traditional retailers. It’s an exciting time for fans of mainstream American superhero comics. If a successful DC Comics emerges from this chaos, they may revolutionize the industry and become a real competitor to Marvel Comics. On the other hand, this could mark the beginning of the end for DC Comics as we know it.

In the middle of all of this tumult, we’re here to simplify things. The analysis of the digital initiative can wait for another day, as can any scorecards rating winners and losers within DC Comics. At the end of the day, the only thing we care about are good books. In that spirit, Chris and Jamaal have pored over press releases and early solicits to select the 17 books that may be worth picking up in September. (more…)

December 17, 2010

To Those That Served: Funnybook Babylon Salutes the Creators of Supergirl #1-59

Filed under: Blurbs — Tags: , , , , , , — Chris Eckert @ 10:23 pm

supergirl-lost-girl-of-krypton

Sterling Gates’s about-to-conclude Supergirl run — twenty six issues plus two annuals — is a respectable tenure on any Big Two comic these days, but for Supergirl this is an achievement comparable to Dave Sim’s 300 issues of Cerebus! In the thirty three issues prior to Gates’s run, the Girl of Steel had to put up with ten writers, thirteen pencillers, and seventeen inkers!

Gates, alongside the art team of Jamal Igle and Keith Champagne did five consecutive issues as a unit, the first time since the start of the series any team accomplished such a feat. And sure, the remainder of his run featured a handful of co-writers, seven extra artists and a dozen inkers, it was still a good run. And now that Gates, Igle, and friends are off to new projects, who better to follow this “character-defining run” than rising star Nick Spencer, who’s been wowing people with his Jimmy Olsen backup?

Well, James Peaty apparently. It looks like Bernard Chang is sticking around to work with Peaty, after drawing the last of Gates’s run as well.

I wish Peaty and Chang the best of luck, and who knows? Perhaps they’ll do six consecutive issues together, and really carve their place in the history books!

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July 25, 2010

DC/Vertigo Custody Battle: Did Karen Berger Confirm DC Characters To Leave Vertigo?

Filed under: Articles — Tags: , , , , , , — Chris Eckert @ 3:53 am

As you may have noticed, I’ve been thinking a lot about Vertigo lately. So has Rich Johnston! In addition to the persistent hand-wringing about cancellations, there has been additional hand-wringing about how DC proper is going to “take back” all of the characters that originated in the DC Universe. According to Johnston, he told us all this would be happening, and posted of Karen Berger’s “confirmation” of the fact at Friday’s Vertigo panel.

I realize this isn’t blockbuster news on par with movies coming out or someone getting stabbed, but it’s been over twenty-four hours and I haven’t seen this reported anywhere else. Granted, none of the big sites have posted write-ups for this panel, which aside from Johnston’s bombshell didn’t contain any real news. But I’ve listened to audio of this panel (available at DCComics.com) and can’t find any mention of this. The audio file is only fifty-seven minutes and thirty-three seconds, and trails off as Berger languidly polls the audience on their interest in different books being reprinted in the Absolute format, so it’s possible the panel ran one hour on the button and those final two minutes and twenty-seven seconds contained Berger’s confirmation. I realize it’s also equally possible that she confirmed it in a venue other than the official mic’d up portion of the panel.

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June 10, 2010

DC’s Cover Designs: Actively Antagonizing James Burke

Filed under: Articles — Tags: , , , , — Chris Eckert @ 4:08 pm

Sometimes the Internet sends you down a rabbit hole. This past weekend, after the latest round of Ridiculous DC Convention Panel Statements (from RDCPS stalwarts Ian Sattler and Bill Willingham) I began to wonder: what exactly does Ian Sattler do as DC’s “Senior Story Editor”, besides make bizarre statements on panels? I never found a job description or even what he did before he became Senior Story Editor — though it seems like he wrote for Comics Alliance under the name Ian DeLaurentis a few years back — but I did stumble upon a post Sattler made on the DCU Source Blog a year or so back.

It concerned Brian Stelfreeze’s covers for Final Crisis Aftermath: Ink. They were designed to form an interlocking portrait of the Tattooed Man, and frankly the design is pretty awesome:

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January 26, 2010

Please Just Tell Us

Filed under: Blurbs — Tags: , — David Uzumeri @ 10:04 pm

DC Comics creative changes on stories from solicitation to publication for the month of January 2010, not including material released tomorrow morning (January 27) that has not had the credits page released in preview form.

Let me know if I missed any announcements that weren’t postings of preview pages.

Catwoman #83 – Fabian Nicieza & Julian Lopez replaced with Tony Bedard, Fabrizio Fiorentino, Ibraim Roberson and Marcos Marz
Batman: Streets of Gotham #8 – writer Paul Dini replaced with Mike Benson
Gotham City Sirens #8 – writer Paul Dini replaced with plot by Guillem March and script by Marc Andreyko
Blackest Night: JSA #2 – Tony Bedard added as co-writer with solicited James Robinson; Marcos Marz added as co-penciller with solicited Eddy Barrows
The Question #37 – Denny O’Neil added as co-writer with solicited Greg Rucka (announced)
R.E.B.E.L.S. #12 – artist Claude St. Aubin replaced with Geraldo Borges
Warlord #10 – artist Mike Grell only does two pages; bulk done by unsolicited Chad Hardin
Justice League: Cry for Justice #6 – artist Mauro Cascioli replaced with Scott Clark
The Web #5 – artist Roger Robinson replaced with Talent Caldwell (announced)
The Brave and the Bold #31 -artist Jesus Saiz replaced by Chad Hardin and Justiniano
Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2 – Eduardo Pansica added as co-penciller alongside solicited Nicola Scott
The Atom and Hawkman #46 – Fernando Pasarin added as co-artist alongside solicited Ryan Sook
Titans #21 – Chris Batista added as co-artist alongside solicited Angel Unzueta
Superman: World of New Krypton #11 – Ron Randall added as co-artist alongside solicited Pete Woods
The Outsiders #26 – Don Kramer added as co-artist alongside solicited Philip Tan

Edited to add: For the sake of comparison – I don’t mean to turn it into a DC/Marvel shitfight, but it’s worth noting – here’s Marvel’s track record for January 2010 solicited titles. It’s better, but it’s far from perfect, and Previews apparently taking down their Product Changes archive (why would they do this? who does that knowledge hurt?) has made tracking down the announcements a bit more difficult than I expected. As above, let me know if I missed any announcements.

New Avengers #61 – Daniel Acuna added as co-artist alongside solicited Stuart Immonen (announced unofficially on Twitter)
Avengers: The Initiative #32 – artist Rafa Sandoval replaced by Mahmud Asrar (announced)
Amazing Spider-Man #617 – artist Javier Pulido does unsolicited backup (unannounced)
Web of Spider-Man #4 – Eric Canete draws third story originally solicited as “More” (announced)
Doctor Voodoo: Avenger of the Supernatural #4 – Alessandro Vitti added as co-artist alongside solicited Jefte Palo (unannounced)
Iron Man vs. Whiplash #3 – Andrea Mutti added as co-artist alongside solicited Phil Briones (unannounced)
Incredible Hulk #606 – unsolicited Red She-Hulk backup by Harrison Wilcox & Ryan Stegman; solicited for 607 on (unannounced)
Ms. Marvel #49 – Ben Oliver added as co-artist alongside solicited Sana Takeda (announced)
Avengers vs. Atlas #1 – artist Takeshi Miyazawa does unsolicited backup (unannounced)
Punisher #13 – Mike Hawthorne added as co-artist alongside solicited Tony Moore (unannounced)
Thunderbolts #140 – Sergio Arino added as co-artist alongside solicited Miguel Sepulveda (announced)
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #3 – artist Pablo Raimondi replaced by Wellinton Alves (announced)
X-Men Forever #16 – solicited mystery artist is Graham Nolan (unannounced)

September 18, 2009

David Reviews The Shield #1

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Uzumeri @ 2:00 pm

The Shield #1 cover
The Shield #1
“Kicking Down the Door pt. 1”
by Eric Trautmann & Marco Rudy
“Burning Inside pt. 1”
by Brandon Jerwa & Greg Scott

The first thing that struck me about this was how much it differed – in a good way – from J. Michael Straczynski’s lead-in that capped off his Red Circle series of one-shots. Where Straczynski combined the traditional Captain America super-soldier origin with stock scenes heavily inspired by Generation Kill and added on a layer of military conspiracy to tie it in with the other Red Circle stories, Trautmann creates an early-career super-soldier who isn’t fighting as morally convincing a war as Captain America was, and as a result, is forced to operate a bit more cynically.
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April 8, 2009

Building versus Writing: Geoff Johns, Hal Jordan, Barry Allen and the Rebirth

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — David Uzumeri @ 4:40 pm
Flash: Rebirth #1

Flash: Rebirth #1

I was pretty optimistic when I picked up Flash: Rebirth #1 out of the stack. It’s a hefty volume, and I’ve enjoyed almost everything Johns has done since the epic career misstep that was Infinite Crisis, so my expectations were pretty much that I’d at least thoroughly enjoy it – I mean, I’m the target audience here, right? A DCU fan who’s never really read a Barry story, enjoyed his return in Final Crisis, enjoyed Green Lantern: Rebirth, and has a considerable predilection towards epic, whacked-out stories of spacetime travel anchored by metaphor and human emotion. Which is largely what Johns has been doing in Green Lantern, taking the seemingly irrelevant character of Hal Jordan and integrating him into this very post-9/11 superhero parable about the importance of standing ideological and emotional ground and not buckling in to fear. It certainly faltered at times, and Johns’s flair for the bombastic sometimes got in the way of his character arcs, but Green Lantern: Rebirth and the arcs following it clearly did an effective job elevating the Green Lantern mythos into a story that resonated with a lot of people for any number of reasons. It sold a lot of copies, it got a lot of good reviews, and it really raised Johns’s game.
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February 10, 2009

The Banality of Evil

Even now I curse the day–and yet, I think,
Few come within the compass of my curse,–
Wherein I did not some notorious ill,
As kill a man, or else devise his death,
Ravish a maid, or plot the way to do it,
Accuse some innocent and forswear myself,
Set deadly enmity between two friends,
Make poor men’s cattle break their necks;
Set fire on barns and hay-stacks in the night,
And bid the owners quench them with their tears.
Oft have I digg’d up dead men from their graves,
And set them upright at their dear friends’ doors,
Even when their sorrows almost were forgot;
And on their skins, as on the bark of trees,
Have with my knife carved in Roman letters,
‘Let not your sorrow die, though I am dead.’
Tut, I have done a thousand dreadful things
As willingly as one would kill a fly,
And nothing grieves me heartily indeed
But that I cannot do ten thousand more.

Titus Andronicus is a play so nasty that some scholars question whether the Bard could have lowered himself to write such venom. But it’s still pretty awesome, and Aaron is undoubtedly a Bad Dude. His hardcore BADNESS is exciting, almost refreshing when set amongst all of the more nuanced characters that populate Shakespeare’s other plays. But just like the kid who decides he would love to eat nothing but Fluffernutter, or the first man to edit together an All-Climax porno tape, the creative minds at DC have decided that it would be awesome if every antagonist in their comics were as evil and crazy as Aaron (or more likely the Joker).

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February 8, 2009

UPDATED WITH SCORECARD: No Really, DC Still Doesn’t Think You Care About Creative Teams

I’ve said it before! Are they trying to make each book seem soulless and artistically uninspired at this point?

This weekend DC announced ten new titles, exactly one of which (Keith Giffen’s new Doom Patrol) was announced with a creative mind in tow.
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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 16, 2009

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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