Funnybook Babylon

July 12, 2012

What’s Going On With Marvel NOW!? Nine Thoughts About October 2012’s solicitations

Filed under: Blurbs — Tags: , , — Chris Eckert @ 6:55 am

Marvel released their October 2012 solicitations earlier this week, with numerous mysterious gaps that will presumably be filled in this weekend at the San Diego Comic-Con. In the meanwhile, here are nine things about the information they did release that I apparently found interesting enough to blog about! These mostly boil down to complaints, but I tried to keep it balanced, and I am interested in reading at least half of the books I discuss. Expect a longer post about double-shipping titles after all the SDCC hoopla dies down. But for now, check out these Covers ‘N’ Comments!

UncannyAvengers 1 Cover

Uncanny Avengers #1: I’m not about to speculate on what will shake out of the Avengers vs. X-Men mega-event, nor am I going to crack wise about putting John Cassaday on a flagship monthly book — his track record shows that he’s one of the more prolific artists to get tagged with the “slow” label — but I do want to comment on one of the eight variant covers announced for the book: the “Deadpool Call Me Maybe” variant by “TBA”. I’m not the target market for variant covers or for Internet Meme Jokes, but I find it amusing that this is clearly a joke someone at Marvel came up with too close to deadline to actually commission the cover before soliciting it. (more…)

August 3, 2010

Number Crunching: Why Spider-Man Needed a Brand New Day

Filed under: Articles — Tags: , , , , — Chris Eckert @ 10:08 am

By now I assume most of our readers have heard about the upcoming changes on Amazing Spider-Man: “Brand New Day” will be replaced with “Big Time“, in a clear power-shift from Sting to Peter Gabriel on Steve Wacker’s iPod.

“Big Time” sees Dan Slott take over as sole Amazing writer, and the book’s frequency will drop from thrice-monthly to twice-monthly. Some have seen this as a repudiation of the whole “Brand New Day” paradigm, whether that means “a thrice monthly book doesn’t work” or “the creative teams have disappointed” or, most colorfully, “JOE QUESADA IS A BIG DUMMY AND PETER WOULD NEVER MAKE A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL AND I AM VERY ANGRY ABOUT EITHER THE DISSOLUTION OF THE MARRIAGE OR POSSIBLY ALSO SPIDER-GIRL BUT MAINLY I JUST HATE MARVEL”.

I can’t speak to the last group, but personally I think BND has resulted in some very enjoyable characters, and several of the main BND players (Slott, Marcos Martin, Zeb Wells) are sticking around, so I can’t imagine this change was spurred by a perceived failure of the creative teams. Many people have pointed to the sales numbers on Amazing this year as proof of that, as sales are down considerably from the lofty heights of a few years ago. Brand New Day, they have argued, has seen Amazing drop from selling over 100,000 copies a month to under 60,000.

While that isolated data point is true, it doesn’t give you the whole picture. Sales have dropped considerably from the point they were at immediately before BND, but there are many factors:
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November 5, 2009

FBBP #118 – We Like Comics

Sometimes our tough love strikes listeners as a little too tough. We’re sensitive to concerns about our negativity — and our tendency to ramble on — and so here we have a brief conversation where each of us describe a recent comic we’ve genuinely enjoyed.

Want to be spoiled? Our picks lie below!
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September 18, 2009

Jamaal Reviews Amazing Spider-Man #604

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — Jamaal Thomas @ 7:00 pm

Amazing Spider-Man #604Amazing Spider-Man #604
“Red-Headed Stranger pt. 3: The Ancient Gallery”
by Fred Van Lente & Barry Kitson

I’m one of those fans who opposed the One More Day storyline because I think that characters should always be allowed to develop and grow. In the great conflict between those who view mainstream superhero comics as a continuing narrative and those who view them primarily as part of a broader strategy to manage valuable intellectual property, I thought OMD was a victory for the latter camp: a victory of commerce over art. Why? It’s not the decision to end the marriage between the characters of Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson, but the rationales offered, many of which were based on returning to a more ‘classic’ portrayal of the character (that would also make him easier to market and package on different platforms). Although there have been a handful of strong arcs in the months following the “Brand New Day” soft reboot of the Spider-Man family of titles, they only reinforced my ambivalence about the new direction. Dan Slott, Marc Guggenheim, Mark Waid, and Joe Kelly’s fun take on the book would have been equally effective before the reboot. However, with the three-part “Red-Headed Stranger” arc, I think that Fred Van Lente has written a fun, light, compelling story that actually benefits from the new status quo.
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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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January 23, 2009

Waited for the Trade: Spider-Man – New Ways to Die

New Ways to Die Cover
Spider-Man: New Ways to Die
collects Amazing Spider-Man #568-573
written by Dan Slott & Mark Waid
art by John Romita Jr. & Adi Granov
Marvel Comics

Fair warning: This review contains some spoilers, but nothing that will really ruin your enjoyment of the story. Be forewarned.

I’m in love with Harry Osborn. Not the Harry Osborn of the movies, although James Franco is a pretty funny guy. Not even the old Harry Osborn, the one who died back in 1993. I was seven when that story happened; I bought the comic because it had a shiny cover but the greater significance of it was totally lost on me. Catching up on Spider-Man through Essential volumes has given me a greater grasp on the character, but to be perfectly frank, old Harry pales in comparison to the current Harry written by Dan Slott.

He’s a nuanced character now, with fully realized relationships with Norman Osborn (another resurrected villain), Peter Parker, Spider-Man (in a completely different sense than his relationship with Peter) and the rest of the supporting cast. If you haven’t been following Amazing Spider-Man for the past few years this probably doesn’t mean anything to you, but stay with me.

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January 15, 2009

How Comics Books Really Fell to the Liberals!

Filed under: Blurbs — Tags: , , , , — Chris Eckert @ 3:32 pm

As David posted earlier, Bill Willingham and others have used Spider-Man’s nod to Obamamania as a springboard to discuss how comic books have been taken over by liberals. You’d think that Ted Rall and Noam Chomsky are the current Editors-in-Chief at Marvel and DC the way they talk! Outspoken conservatives like Chuck Dixon and James Hudnall get no Big Two work, Mike S. Miller claims to be “pinklisted” because of his position against homosexuality, the publishers of Liberality for All position themselves as “publishers of the world’s first conservative comic book” (don’t tell the makers of 1990s indie Dittoman that!)… you’d think all of this Culture War enmity would keep noted conservatives from perusing these proselytizing pinko pamphlets!

You’d be wrong!

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January 12, 2009

FBBP #86 – Presidential Power vs. Wingnut Welfare! Fight!

Chris, Jamaal & Joseph discuss the implications of Barack Obama’s appearance in this week’s Amazing Spider-Man. Should you be happy about having a “Nerd-in-Chief” or should you be sick of this sort of discussion? The FBB Crew decides for you! In Obama’s America, We Decide, You Report!

Also, stay tuned after the main event, because there’s an extra Wrestling Babylon segment. The mics were hot when Chris & Jamaal reminisced about wrestling in the late nineties, as they discuss one of the most postmodern storylines in wrestling history.

October 28, 2008

Pull List Analysis for October 29, 2008

Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #3 by Brian Michael Bendis & David Lafuente (Marvel Comics): There comes a time in every young superhero’s life when someone decides to do an issue about their sex life. These “very special” issues have come with a range of tasteful comments from the creators:

static25

I understand that teenage sexuality is a difficult subject for a lot of people. And, as is the custom, I won’t even mention black sexuality. But I don’t think that the people who read Static are afraid to explore storylines ground in the issues of contemporary life.

Dwayne McDuffie on the publication of Static #25

petenkitty

I called Bob Harras and said, “Excalibur #90, Kitty Pryde gets fucked.” He went deadly silent, then he said, “Just try and keep it tasteful.”

Warren Ellis on the publication of Excalibur #90

eab1 1 sbl

Where will USM Annual #3 fall along the axis? Who knows, though it has the “added bonus” of being part of the MARCH ON ULTIMATUM, though I’m still not entirely sure what that means besides having a really ugly banner along the top.

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October 22, 2008

Pull List Analysis for October 22, 2008

It’s a big week for known quantities at Marvel and DC, as their respective Summer Blockbusters stretch into sweaterweather.

finalcrisis4

After last week’s Rogues’ Revenge and Legion of Three Worlds tie-ins, the fourth issue of the core Final Crisis title by Grant Morrison and JG Jones (and Carlo Pacheco, and Doug Mahnke… what up’s, Jonesy?) drops, its “gap month” extended to ten weeks. We’re also getting Submit, a one-shot by Grant Morrison and Matthew Clark. David will be stepping up with annotations later today.

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October 14, 2008

Pull List Analysis for October 15, 2008

Going to try to skip past the obvious “big books” this week — if you’re following Astonishing X-Men, Final Crisis tie-ins or Amazing Spider-Man I bet you’ll notice the big stacks of them at your local shop tomorrow. Here are some things that might not be so well-stocked:

Are you excited for Halloween? Publishers sure are! Marvel’s gearing up for round eighty-two of ZOMBIE COVER VARIANTS, and DC is putting out the ridiculously titled Superman & Batman vs. Werewolves & Vampires mini-series, and I’m going to be uncharitable and assume the title is the first and last thing you need to read about that book. Here are two slightly more palatable haunts:

monster-hulkHulk Monster-Size Special by Jeff Parker & Gabriel Hardman (Marvel Comics): Yes, this is Superhero Property vs. Universal Monster Property, just like S/BvW/V. But HMSS is a standalone one-shot rather than a six issue mini-series, which gives me hope for a punchy fun story light on exposition and high on goofy slugfests. It also helps that it’s written by Jeff Parker, who has shown a knack for big goofy fun in various Marvel Adventures books. Hopefully everyone will overlook the lack of Red Hulk, who according to Jeph Loeb is “the most popular character since Wolverine”!

Dear Dracula by Joshua Williamson and Vinny Navarrete (Image Comics): Image/Shadowline is rolling out a series of all-ages/children’s graphic novels, starting with Dear Dracula. Everything I know about the book and its creators can be found alongside a preview of the book at Newsarama. Looks cute, and the timing of the release is right.

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September 30, 2008

Pull List Analysis for October 1, 2008

I figured we might try doing these again. Here are some potentially interesting books hitting the shelves tomorrow!

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September 22, 2008

Blog and Circuses: MARVEL DOESN’T CARE ABOUT GAY PEOPLE!

Filed under: Blurbs — Tags: , , , — Chris Eckert @ 1:16 pm

That’s right, did you hear? MARVEL DOESN’T CARE ABOUT GAY PEOPLE!

Okay, actually it’s just the statements of one of their writers, so I guess MARC GUGGENHEIM DOESN’T CARE ABOUT GAY PEOPLE!

It’s true! He said it! Listen to this!

“Here’s my attitude, if anyone is upset about the marriage going away, then they must all be pro gay marriage,” he continued. Because if you’re pro gay marriage, you understand the distinction between a marriage and a civil union — that a civil union is not equal to a marriage. We downgraded Mary Jane and Peter to a civil union. If that bothers you, then you’re pro gay marriage.”

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November 15, 2007

FBBP #36 – The Lateness of the New Gods Mixtape

Funnybook Babylon – The Lateness of the New Gods Mixtape Review

1) Fourth World’s Finest pt. 2 (WW1 Germany mix) – ft. the ghost of Jack Kirby

**** – Following up on their last new godz track, FBB discusses the merits of Apokolips powerhouse Virman Vundabar and new leader/former psychoanalyst Takion. Great track but too much time is spent on figuring out who the fuck Takion is.

2) New Godz Killa (Jim Starlin diss track)

**** 1/2 – If you thought Jamaal was brutal on the Zuda mixtape, it was nothing compared to hearing them spit hot fire on the lack of Jim Starlin’s skills. Everything from his characterization, to his plotting, to his ability to draw is torn apart. There has not been this much beef since the Pedro vs. Brian Wood feud.

3) One More Delay (Shoulda put Bagley on it Remix )

*** – It’s kind of ironic that this track pops up here since it’s been pushed back off podcast after podcast. The boys go into detail over how they feel lateness effects the business and who really is at fault with Spider-man missing it’s ship date.

Overall it is a strong podcast, but the production has been off since Joe went solo and the group switched from Swishahouse over to Slip and Slide. It will tide you over until the next Downcounting single comes out. The free low def version is up to download on the website. There are plans to release a high bit rate version with a pdf with liner notes and hand written lyrics later this month for 5 bucks.

May 17, 2007

The Furor over the Mary-Jane statue

Filed under: Articles — Tags: , , , , — Joseph Mastantuono @ 8:21 pm

Mary-Jane bends over some laundry, the statue.

Checking out the apparently widespread “fan-girl” rage and confusion depicted in blogs rounded up nicely here, I can understand where this statuette can get such a strong reaction out of people.

I believe almost anyone who looks at this statue is likely to feel a bit disgusted. But here’s a weird thing, I think that if you had a statue of mary jane in full lingerie, or any other rather sexually explicit pose, it wouldn’t have engendered that response.

Even her posing in the same pose (laundry basket and all), in an issue of spider-man (where I think the pose comes from) wouldn’t have gotten that response. The problem is that in a statue or statuette one is used to seeing the artist’s idealized or iconic pose of the character… And this statue shows that MJ’s idealized pose is the do laundry while in a position that implies she’s waiting to get railed.

I don’t think the problem that the shot is cheesecake or pin-up style or even submissive. How many chesse-cake style statues are produced that no one blinks an eye at? The problem is that the medium of the statuette inherently doesn’t have context. And this pose without context is ridiculous. Especially that every OTHER statuette you see, whether some ideal character, totally cheese-cake sexualized character, or even slightly bondage type pose isn’t laid out in such a way. Yes she’s the super-hero’s girlfriend/wife but she’s always been played as the firecracker artistic type. A character that these female viewers identify with in such a traditionally submissive pose, does have a bit of a “women belong in the kitchen and they should enjoy it” tone.

Her face and pose directly imply the “Hey, LOOK AT ME DOING SOMETHING DIRTY” but without the reverse shot that’s in the comic of Peter, which would make it ‘ok’. She’s also performing for everyone, in a pretty demeaning way, as in the statuette the can’t be the the gaze of Peter to contextualize the action, you are only left to imagine the grubby paws of your local comic book neck-beard caressing it, wishing mary-jane was his girlfriend so he could stare at her ass while she does his laundry, smiling… Not as a panel of the same thing which would be MJ just looking sexy while doing laundry or Her actively seducing parker, or any of the myriad of contexts which would make this acceptable, understandable, or even comprehensible behavior. Because it’s not the implied sexuality that’s making the fan-girls rage and the more mature fans embarrassed and disturbed, they’re used that. It’s the statue implies that the comic book fans don’t just like big tits, and sexy drawings, but they like submissive women who should count themselves lucky to be doing their super-hero husband’s laundry.

I don’t think the makers of this statue actively thought this through, I think that they just weren’t thinking. And don’t really get that statuettes don’t have the same luxury of context that comics do. And I think that’s indicative of a real problem in this industry and why this particular statue has gotten this kind of response. Some people just aren’t thinking.

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