Funnybook Babylon

September 11, 2010

FBBP #129 – Comics Creator Commentary Controversies!

Filed under: Podcasts — Tags: , , , — Chris Eckert @ 6:57 pm

Controversial statements from veteran comic creators finally succeeded in cracking the Internet in half — or at least taking our site down for the week. We’re back now, and weighing in on:

  • Kurt Busiek vs. Today’s Superhero Comics & Private E-Mails
  • Darwyn Cooke vs. Today’s Superhero Comics & Perverted 45 Year Old Men
  • Mark Waid vs. The World on Digital Comics

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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December 13, 2008

Lasting Legacies

Filed under: Blurbs — Tags: , , , , — David Uzumeri @ 3:45 am

If you think you can leave any sort of lasting legacy, you’re deluded. And I was deluded for a long time. But we live and we learn.

Mark Waid

I really, really love Superman: Birthright.

More than any other story, to me, it defines what Clark, Kal, the Kents and the House of El represent and the beacon they’re meant to be to humanity; far more than the dyslexic Lois Lane and meek Clark of the 1970s, the overconfident football jock of the 1980s or the po-faced stoic of the 1990s, Birthright illuminated and really crystallized, to me, who and what Superman is. I owe Mark Waid that forever.

So I was pretty damn surprised to see that he feels he hasn’t left a legacy. I don’t know if this is some kind of momentary lapse of reason or what, but dude, snap out of it – who gives a shit if your story got thrown out of continuity a few years later? It’s not like a whole generation of comic nerds didn’t read it, many of whom will re-enter the industry. Remember Len Wein’s Untold Legend of the Batman, perennial favorite of cereal box tie-ins, and how it got tossed out of continuity (just like Birthright!) a few years later by Crisis? And how basically the past two years of Batman stories have centered around reincorporating its “let’s compress the entirety of Bat-history into X number of years” method to dazzling effect?

Nobody’s deluded for thinking people are going to be inspired by a really damn good Superman story, personally or creatively, and that’s what Birthright was. It may not be THE OFFICIAL BACK STORY of the ONE TRUE SUPERMAN OF NEW EARTH right now, but these things embed themselves in the soil of continuity to take root and grow; they’re percolating in the back of the minds of the readership, and a few years from now some guy’s applauded take on Superman is going to be based on this story that’s getting “bulldozed over.”

The short-term decisions can always be short-term with the wave of a magic wand. Nothing is permanent, and the whims of editors will always be overriden by popular consensus in the long run, even if it takes a little bit too long. Perhaps I’m channelling Adam Smith a little bit too much in my vision of the the equilibrum of comics continuity, but I really think that in the end the shit falls to the bottom and the cream rises to the top no matter how long it takes, and if the work is solid – and especially if it’s a highly marketed story that’s likely to remain in print and available, like most of Waid’s material – there’s no telling what effect it could eventually have, or what kind of legacy it could inspire.

November 2, 2008

Dissecting the Anatomy Lesson: Everyone Wants To Be Alan Moore

Over in a comment thread to Jeff Lester’s recent (and very funny) review of Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns, Chad Nevett points out that

it seems every hero that was unique and alone in the past five years has discovered “Oh no, there are tons of you guys!” Kind of lame.

It hadn’t really hit me on the head until now just how much this is true, and where the whole twist comes from. While the DC Universe has always honored and integrated the concept of the known legacy, the unknown or unexpected legacy has become a frequently used element in a lot of recent (like, past ten to twenty years) superhero comics. You know what I mean: that story where the hero finds out, or hasn’t thought about and is now forced to deal with, the fact that he’s not unique, and that many of his presuppositions and assumptions about his identity were askew or outright false.

We’ve seen it a few times in recent years:

  • The Last Iron Fist Story in Immortal Iron Fist
  • The current New Krypton arc in the Superman titles
  • The Spider-Totem legacy in J. Michael Straczynski’s Amazing Spider-Man
  • The Speed Force legacy in Mark Waid’s Flash
  • The emotional spectrum and rainbow Lanterns in Geoff Johns’s Green Lantern
  • Any fucking story that tries to deal with Hawkman’s origin
  • The current Last Stand of the Spirits of Vengeance story in Jason Aaron’s Ghost Rider
  • The end of Grant Morrison’s New X-Men with the Phoenix
  • Possibly Batman R.I.P. with the threat of ultimate betrayal and the commentary about Gotham being “a machine to make Batman”

I’m sure there are tons more I’m not thinking of; isn’t Ron Marz doing stuff like this in Witchblade? It was used pretty early on in Spawn, I think. Either way, the point is this: guys, the shocking twist in Alan Moore’s “The Anatomy Lesson” from Saga of the Swamp Thing #21 rules. I think we all know that; it totally pulled the rug out from under the reader in every conceivable way, and used that as a springboard to redefine the scope and themes of the book from a horror story to a space-spanning Gothic romance, and significantly increased the stakes of Swamp Thing’s actions and significance.

But along with its kissing cousin the Story Where The Hero Disappears and Similar Dudes Take His Place, it’s been sorely, sorely, sorely overused over the years, and is now gaining speed like the Terence McKenna timewave into some sort of singularity of plot twist reuse. Hell, Geoff Johns even managed to make it work with Green Lantern – back in the ’90s, when every superhero was stuffing their ranks with variations and refractions on themselves like a hot dog vendor trying to meet a product variance statistic, “holy shit, there are MORE of them!” didn’t mean anything for Green Lantern because, well, there already were more of him, so they just inverted the twist and killed them all off. Johns, on the other hand, just employed lateral thinking – instead of the twist being that there are more Green Lanterns than Hal Jordan, it’s that there are more Lantern Corps than the Green Lanterns.

I mean, it’s a cool story, and I greatly enjoy every comic I just named above, and will hopefully continue to do so now that I’ve realized the reliance on this thread. And there are tons of stories that are nothing like this, from Secret Invasion to All Star Superman (although it had some elements of it), but it’d be nice to see more people try to come up with the next “The Anatomy Lesson” than just trying to tap into it (where consciously or unconsciously).

May 13, 2007

FBBP #11 – 52 Fallout

Filed under: Podcasts — Tags: , , , , , — Funnybook Babylon @ 1:57 pm

This week’s podcast presents a late-night Modelo-and-bourbon-fueled discussion of DC Comics’s 52, breaking down our thoughts on the recently completed series as we yell at each other in the Mighty Marvel FBB Manner!. This episode is in STEREO, so tell us if you like this format better, or if you’d prefer smaller file sizes.

March 29, 2007

FBBP #4.5 – DC Funnybook Drama

Filed under: Blurbs — Tags: , , , — Funnybook Babylon @ 9:13 pm

Here is the FBB Minicast, a new feature we’re trying on the site. Every Thursday, Gabe Mariani and a rotating cast of panelists will take a quick look at important and topical news issues in the funnybook world.

This week, I’m joined by David Uzumeri, columnist at FBB and David Brothers (a guest from The 4th Letter) This week we focus on DC’s various troubles.
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March 18, 2007

FBBP #3 – The Confession

On this week’s FBB, we talk about the new season of Buffy, 52 spin-offs, Classical Avenging and Wizard‘s continued attempts to bring back speculation. We also review New Avengers #28, Grifter & Midnighter #1, and 52 #45. Plus, Pedro and Jamaal get into it over Civil War: The Confession.

This is Funnybook Babylon for March 18th 2007.

February 25, 2007

FBBP #1 – Post NYC Comic Con Report

On this week’s show, we talk about the NYC Comic Con, where Pedro spent a ridiculous amount of money, the gang met <a href=”http://kylebaker.com/”Kyle Baker and Chris Batista, and Joe popped his Con cherry.

We also review The Spirit #3, Brave and the Bold #1, and Ultimate Fantastic Four #39, as Pedro and Jamaal fight about comics yet again.

This is Funnybook Babylon for February 25th, 2007.

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