Funnybook Babylon

April 7, 2009

FBBP #96 – Comics about Teenagers

Filed under: Podcasts — Tags: , , , , , , — Joseph Mastantuono @ 1:42 pm

Teen Titans! Runaways! Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane! At least one of these books is readable these days! Find out which one, this week on the podcast!

The show kicks off with an Evening at the Improv, followed by a brief discussion of Grant Morrison and Cameron Stewart’s Seaguy: Slaves of Mickey Eye (Yay, It’s [Finally] Being Published!) before casting a wary eye on Teen Titans, its treatment of Static, its lack of heroics, and its Sensational Character Find of 2009, The Face.

The bulk of this week’s show examines two recent Terry Moore efforts at Marvel, Runaways: Dead Wrong and Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane: Sophomore Jinx. Can Moore live up to the pedigree of these titles, or for that matter his own bibliography? Listen and find out!

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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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 6, 2009

The Banality of Evil: Prometheus

Filed under: Articles — Tags: , , , , , , , — Matt Jett @ 11:32 pm

I was chatting with Chris Eckert and David Brothers about how a lot of villains in comics seem to have no plausible motivation for doing what they do. This seems pretty obvious; for every Dr. Doom, who has an overabundance of motivation, you have a Bullseye who is just CRAZY and HARDCORE. If you’ve listened to last week’s podcast, you’ve heard the crew talk about Prometheus, who got a revamp last week as part of the Faces of Evil pseudo-cover theme. Here’s why that revamp sucked.

Prometheus, in Morrison’s JLA, was the kind of one-dimensional badass that worked for that title. He was a murderer and a villain, but it was implied that there was something a bit deeper to him. prometheus1He, for example, knew enough super-science to build his signature goofy helmet and build a house in limbo. Morrison, for better or worse, never really got around to fleshing him out, so that job falls to Sterling Gates, writer of Supergirl.

Gates blames Prometheus’s parents for his character traits. They stole stuff and shot cops, so Prometheus does too. That’s what you get as far backstory goes. Being a part of this family made him irrevocably, completely crazy. So crazy that he spends years going on the exact same journey as Batman, meeting (evil) monks, honing his (evil) skills. Only he kills a bunch of cops first. And then kills a bunch of cops after he’s done with the journey. Why? Because they’re cops and cops shot his parents while they were resisting arrest and shooting back.
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February 2, 2009

FBBP #89 – Final Audio Crisis

Filed under: Podcasts — Tags: , — Joseph Mastantuono @ 11:36 pm

Joining us for our final Final Crisis podcast is resident Annotation Ace David Uzumeri, broadcasting himself across nations on THE UNTERNET!
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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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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 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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December 24, 2008

Batman #683 – “What the Butler Saw”

And thus, we end Grant Morrison’s first run on Batman. You’ll be missed. Lots to annotate this time around; lots of stuff referenced that’s more within our lifetimes. Let’s get to it.
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December 10, 2008

Final Crisis #5 – “Into Oblivion”

I think this is was my favorite issue of the series yet, although I can’t imagine the girl-wonder crowd is going to react very favorably to… certain developments with Mary Marvel. Despite the fact that the issue has three pencillers with the addition of Marco Rudy, also known as “the guy who filled in for Ryan Sook on Final Crisis: Resist, but it’s all shockingly contiguous.

Anyway, let’s get to it.
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December 4, 2008

Batman #682 – “The Butler Did It” (A Final Crisis Tie-In) (A Last Rites Tie-In)

Batman #682

Batman #682

Double crossover banners, bitches! THIS ISSUE IS IMPORTANT!

And the title of this post isn’t even a spoiler, I ain’t doin’ my victory dance just yet. Note time. Also, this issue? Less straightforward than the last two.

But first, a note.
If you’ve dug Grant Morrison’s run on this title, and the sort of philosophical psycho-thriller approach he’s taken, then I highly recommend you check out this week’s X-Men Noir #1 by Fred Van Lente and Dennis Calero. It’s a gorgeous book, and Van Lente’s script is incredibly smart and bursting with novel ideas in a way I haven’t seen on an X-title since, well, Grant Morrison. It’s astonishing how well he translates the X-Men’s core themes – and I don’t mean the Claremontian “wah wah we’re persecuted just like real world minority” themes, I mean the themes about evolution and natural selection and the generation gap – into a world without powers, but everything remains intact, and the manners in which this is accomplished are absolutely inspired. It’s a great book, totally worth both the admittedly high price of $3.99 and the considerable amount of hype Marvel’s given it, and may have actually been my favorite book I’ve read this week. (I haven’t hit up Jason Aaron’s Punisher X-Mas Special, though, which Tim Callahan seems to have adored, so that might change. But I doubt it.)

UPDATE: I just read the X-Mas Special. Tim’s right, it really is brilliant, so get that too.

Lo, there shall be… annotations!!
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December 3, 2008

FBBP #81 – The Batcast

Filed under: Podcasts — Tags: , , , — Chris Eckert @ 10:37 pm

We aren’t above cashing in on Bat-Mania, so if you can’t get enough of David’s Batannotations and all our other Batcoverage, LOOK NO FURTHER! Batman #681 dropped last week, with #682 in stores today.

Our final Morrison on Batman podcast (until the next one) featured topics including:

  • WHO IS THE BLACK GLOVE?
  • Class Warfare in Gotham City
  • Joseph’s continued attempt to monetize the site using “space medicine” beer
  • Chris’s continued attempt to stick media theory square pegs into round comic book holes
  • Jamaal’s questioning of that Bald Scot behind the curtain
  • Ragged Robins and Millionaire Playboys
  • The Balkanization of the DC Universe and Why This Could be Good
  • There are no Atheists in a Batcave (or are there?)

We’ve got winged mammals coming out our ears, and now you can too!

November 26, 2008

Batman #681 – “Batman R.I.P. Part 6: Hearts in Darkness”

Filed under: Annotations — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Uzumeri @ 4:47 pm
Batman #681

Batman #681

Yeah, yeah, I know I have shitty reactions sometimes. Full-on notes below the jump, although this issue is way more straightforward than normal.
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David Overreacts A Bit To Batman #681

Filed under: Articles — Tags: , , , , — David Uzumeri @ 11:22 am

UPDATE: After doing some thought and reading it some more, my initial reaction (which I’ll keep here even though I don’t still agree with everything I said this morning) was regarding my expectations for the issue more than the quality itself, since it’s actually a pretty fucking incredible action comic. My problem was, I thought I’d find out for sure who and what the Black Glove was, so I got angry, even though we have the next issue coming next fucking week. Which is pretty dumb and nerdragey of me so I admit to a decent degree of embarrassment, but still, I was really sure this issue was going to have the huge twist that was promised, even though honestly nobody ever said that for sure and we practically still have two issues left. In three weeks I may very well be feeling like a total asshole, and I’m okay with that, since I like good comics.

ORIGINAL POST I AM SAD ABOUT BELOW

Normally, this is where I’d do page-by-page annotations, but I don’t really know if there’s anything to annotate.

This is what DC promised:

This is it – “Batman R.I.P.” concludes here! The final, heartrending confrontation between Bruce Wayne and Jezebel Jet. The final fate of The Dark Knight. And the horrifying and shocking truth behind the Black Glove. With The Joker, the Club of Villains, Robin, Damian, plus an ending you’ll never see coming – this one has it all!

– From the solicitation

And also to show how strong he is and the way he deals with what happens to him. Bad guys take him down, and I’m thinking, ‘How do I get him back up?’ [Laughs] When we find out at the end who the villain is, it’s possibly the most shocking Batman revelation in 70 years.”

– Grant Morrison, at NYCC ’08

So, what did we get? See below the jump.
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