Funnybook Babylon

May 31, 2008

(UPDATED) Wow, Kelley Puckett’s Supergirl is going — wha??

Filed under: Blurbs — David Uzumeri @ 6:54 pm
Supergirl #30 - Will Pfeifer & Ron Randall

Supergirl #30 – Will Pfeifer & Ron Randall

DC, I know you’re not all about this “informing readers” thing, what with Dark Side Club crossover banners appearing out of nowhere without a checklist and your love of last-minute artist changes. But when you straight-up change the whole story, usually you have the courtesy of letting us know it’s going to be a completely different creative team, but apparently not anymore.

Is this a fill-in one shot, and if so, why not tell us? And if this is a new creative team, I mean, you’ve solicited for a while out, why not tell us *that*? This is just lame, guys.

UPDATE: The “Next Issue” blurb for Supergirl #31 is the original solicitation for #30, so Puckett doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Phew. Still, guys, a little warning.

May 29, 2008

Final Crisis #1 – “D.O.A.: The God of War”

Filed under: Articles — Tags: , , , , , — David Uzumeri @ 5:06 pm

Well, it’s finally here. This took a bit longer than I expected to get up, frankly because there was just a Hell of a lot more to digest in this issue than I expected. I’ve gone through this page by page trying to bring up all the stuff I’m seeing below the surface, and hopefully clarify a lot of the more confusing points for newer readers/people not masochistic enough to read Countdown.

Without further ado.

NOTE: For an alternate take, Douglas Wolk has his annotations up – you probably know him from Reading Comics and the 52 Pick-Up blog, so check it out; he catches stuff I didn’t.

Pg. 1 – Establishing shot, as Anthro faces the reader from Metron’s perspective. While Anthro is holding his weapon in a defensive stance, clearly confused, he distinguishes himself in doing so from the animals, lesser beings fleeing this harbinger of knowledge.

Pgs. 2 and 3 – That first shot of Anthro and Metron from the original Christmas 2007 Didio interview, now colorized by Alex Sinclair. Metron, in what I presume is his new look due to the color scheme change, is wearing the same pattern on his outfit (this circuit pattern is important) and riding a slightly modified Mobius chair from Kirby’s original design. And, of course, he’s a smooth silver and enamel white – which implies that this is Metron in his Fifth World form, traveling back in time. Or maybe it isn’t, since the examples in the Sketchbook had Metron with the New Gods symbol on his chest – which seems odd, since the other pattern plays a part later. We’ll see.

Pg. 4 – On this page, Metron does the Prometheus routine. This is interesting, because in the Sketchbook, Morrison equated him to Mercury, even asking for the new design to have wingtips on the feet. Still, this kind of meddling is definitely in character for him, especially considering Turpin’s later statements and what this meddling causes. Either way, this page starts the issue’s longrunning fire motif, something we’ll get back to later.

Pg. 5 – Aw shit, Powers, eat your heart out. There’s really not much to say about this page other than “cavemen beating the shit out of each other.” That said, something I’m not sure about – I suspect the caveman in the center of this page might be Vandal Savage, but his eye color is blue, which seems to conflict with Savage’s orange eye color later on in the issue. (more…)

May 28, 2008

Pull List Analysis for May 28, 2008

Filed under: Pull List Analysis — Chris Eckert @ 4:27 am

Hey, we’re coming off a holiday weekend so Americans aren’t getting their comics until Thursday. In protest, I’m making this barebones and image-free! David U, up in the Glorious Canadian Empire should be getting all this stuff today. Look out for a dissection of Final Crisis a little after lunch, or possibly earlier if David values Kirby over Food (this is highly likely).
(EDITOR’S NOTE: David also provided important fact-checking Yours Truly skipped out on in his rush for air travel.)

May 25, 2008

Storm Warning: The Dark Side Club

Filed under: Blurbs — David Uzumeri @ 12:55 pm

Sometimes, I’m reading the weekend previews, and an image or a panel jumps out at me as something to mention. This week, in the preview for Teen Titans #59, we see Darkseid’s “gangsta” iteration from Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle. Morrison’s Dark Side was an imposing figure, in a sort of Suge Knight way, and spoke a bit more colloquially, but at the end of the day he was still pretty much Darkseid.

So. Without further ado or judgment, I present the image I think we’ll be seeing a lot of on the blogosphere next week, an image from a book that displays the CCA symbol and is ostensibly one of their more youth-friendly titles:

Does he treat the Female Furies like this?

Does he treat the Female Furies like this?

May 24, 2008

FBBP #59 – Last Son, Part 6

Filed under: Podcasts — Tags: , , , , , , , — Funnybook Babylon @ 8:56 pm

Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the gap from recording to posting was pretty wide this time. David Brothers fills in for Pedro, as we look at a raft of new books on the shelf!

Issues addressed:

  • Is Batman getting better/more accessible?
  • How cool are the Super Young Team?
  • What’s the deal with Lyja the Lazerfist? Did she really lay an egg?
  • What has more headshots, The Departed or 100 Bullets?
  • Can Pete Wisdom move past his Kitty-Pryde-Banging Warren Ellis Self-Insertion Fan-Fiction roots?
  • Can Chris move past making fun of Warren Ellis’s 1990s Marvel output?
  • Can Jamaal grift his way to profit selling his Guardians of the Galaxy run?

We also discuss the big issue burning up the blogosphere: not Newsarama’s “jihad” joke, not Egypt’s Confiscation of Comics, but how comics cost too darn much! $125 for a comic? COME ON, ALVIN! (n.b. Kramer’s Ergot sounds pretty amazing)

Finally, we wrap up the podcast by explaining what Fantagraphics’s exclusive direct market deal with Diamond and what it means to you, the comic reader!

May 23, 2008

Pull List Reviews for 5/23/2008

Filed under: Reviews — David Uzumeri @ 11:56 am

Mighty Avengers #14 (Brian Michael Bendis/Khoi Pham/Danny Miki/Dean White)
I don’t think I’m alone when I say that, at least in this stage in the overall story, the Avengers tie-ins have been a more satisfying payoff for longtime readers than Secret Invasion itself. I don’t think this is a mistake; Secret Invasion is an ostensibly standalone story, and, for instance, New Avengers #40’s Jessica-Drew-is-the-Skrull-Empress reveal means very little to people picking up Secret Invasion as a standalone story and far more to those who’ve been following this big story since New Avengers #1. This is the Sentry issue, and it contains not only a large amount of interesting and intriguing flashback materal regarding the Skrull infiltration but also pushes Rob Reynolds’s personal story far forward as well. Also, Marvel, for God’s sake, stop putting Danny Miki on every penciller alive – look at the faces on the last page, show them to friends, and ask them what it looks like. I’ll tell you: the ugly, fucked-up inking on One More Day where every single pencil mark was inked rather than used as a rendering guide. This test has worked, like, four times in a blind test and they all say this. I’m serious.

May 22, 2008

Reverse Jerusalem Syndrome, or Stories About The Land With the Broken Heart

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , — Jamaal Thomas @ 5:44 pm

“In Israel, cats like me see the shadows of another choice.”
-Ta-Nehisi Coates


In my personal experience, discussions of Israel, particularly with people who have never visited it, rarely focus on the ordinary lives of the people who reside there. For some, Israel stands as a lonely bulwark of Western liberalism in a reactionary region, while for others, its very existence signifies the dark legacy of Western imperialism. There is a tendency to treat Israel as a metaphor, or as a vehicle for competing religious and cultural narratives, which does it a great disservice. Even though Israel is explicitly a project to construct a lasting Jewish state (with all of the conflict that entails), it is also a society and a culture that should not only be viewed through a geopolitical lens. But it’s really difficult to fully understand the true inner life of any culture without personally experiencing it.

As a result, it’s refreshing to read comics that detail the experiences and viewpoints of a person visiting Israel for the first time. How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, by Sarah Glidden is the story of a woman who travels to Israel on a Birthright: Israel trip. Glidden’s book is published in the form of two mini-comics.

The narrative of How to Understand Israel unfolds like a story told by an old college acquaintance. The protagonist (Glidden herself) is a Jewish American woman who has some fully formed opinions about Israel, but decides to go on a ‘birthright’ trip to the nation in order to see things with her own eyes. Taglit- Birthright: Israel is an organization that provides trips for young Jewish people (aged 8-26) to give them an educational experience in Israel, which is intended to strengthen Jewish identity. The first book serves as an introduction to the nation of Israel itself, full of societal tensions and paradoxes. Even the individuals operating the ‘birthright’ trip (designed to encourage Jewish immigration) have mixed emotions about Israel’s occupation of the territories and some of Israel’s more controversial security measures (i.e., the security fence). One gets the impression that Glidden originally intended to confront those with differing perspectives, but found it difficult to do so when she actually encountered Israelis who were living in the situation, especially in the first chapter. The reasons for this approach become clearer in the second chapter, in the debate the group has over a promotional video for the Golan Heights. Although the land originally belonged to Syria, one of the tourists points out that it was used as a launching pad for terrorist attacks on kibbutzes. It was a vulnerability that Israel found unacceptable. On the other hand, after the Six Day War, innocent Syrian villagers were unable to return to their homes.

Now I know what you’re thinking. It sounds like a tedious Newsweek article. But to her credit, Glidden tells this story through anecdotes told in casual conversations between strangers on the tour. The book is filled with little moments of levity, ranging from the mock-trial convened in her mind over the comments made by one of the trip’s chaperones, to the ‘Jewish ZZTop”.

Despite those effort, the conversations between the characters often read like monologues, which makes the book a bit of a difficult read. At points, I felt as though I was reading a series of insightful blog posts on the topic of Israel. There are times when one thinks that Glidden’s book would work better as a set of essays than as a comic book. Glidden has real talent as a comic book storyteller, and her narrative may have been better served by a greater reliance on her art to tell her story. Glidden’s art style is simple, and she draws in a blurry, almost sketch like style, and her backgrounds are clear and evocative. The visual storytelling in the comic shows a great deal of promise, and I look forward to her future work.

How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less can be purchased from Sarah Glidden here.

May 21, 2008

Pull List Analysis for May 21, 2008

Filed under: Pull List Analysis — Chris Eckert @ 1:05 am

These pull lists always take more time than I expect; a week like this looks relatively light, but by the time I type up a blurb for everything and hopefully digressing within tolerable limits, it always looks like an imposing wall of text to describe what’s coming out this Wednesday. Hopefully these help at least a few people find some books that might interest them!

First, some books one or more of us endorse that are in the middle of stories. Probably not a good time to jump on, but remember to grab them if they’re your cup of tea!

  • Captain America #38 by Ed Brubaker & Steve Epting
  • Justice Society of America #15 by Geoff Johns, Alex Ross & Dale Eaglesham
  • The Programme #11 by Peter Milligan & CP Smith
  • Terry Moore’s Echo #3 by Terry Moore

And now, onward to the WALL OF TEXT!

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 16, 2008

“Last Son” – A Sentimental Journey

A little over two years ago, DC launched their “One Year Later” revamp/relaunch, with a year-long weekly series 52 as its centerpiece. Layout artist Keith Giffen described the book’s appeal to fans:

I call [it] the NASCAR book, because nobody goes to a NASCAR race to watch the cars go around in circles. You go for the crash. You hope for that blistering, horrifying crash. People are going to be watching 52, waiting for us to screw up… it’s not going to happen.

And he was right; people came to 52 looking for blood, but the series never “crashed” off its weekly schedule and was generally well-liked. Its weekly successor, Countdown [to Final Crisis] may have not been as successful or well-liked, but no one could argue that it wasn’t on time! But while both 52 and Countdown kept running on time, these bastions of punctuality served as a smokescreen for the fiery wreckage that was DC’s Demolition Derby of Scheduling, a/k/a “Pretty Much Every Non-Weekly Book DC Published”. A lot of books have had production problems in the past two years, but when the history books are written the “Last Son” storyline in Action Comics will likely go down as The Didio Era’s biggest disaster. And trust me, there have been plenty of other candidates.

May 15, 2008

FBBP #58 – Political Crossover

After the blockbuster Iron Man talk of episode 57, we return to the niche market of comics.

First up, we talk the Egyptian Comics Confiscationissue and the general lack of interest on the part of the blogalaxy.

Now, DC Decisions, there’s a story bloggers can sink their teeth into! Who will Superman vote for? Which senators are in the pocket of Big Meta? Judd Winick and Bill Willingham will give you the scoop this fall!

Finally, we try to shake off politics by talking Secret Invasion and its tie-ins. Wait, SI is a political allegory too? Damn you! Damn you, Election Year!

What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Infiltration?

Filed under: Articles — Tags: , , — Funnybook Babylon @ 8:00 am

Hey all. Most of you will not know who I am, and shame on you. I’ve made a brief appearance during the NYCC podcasts, but the Secret Invasion has inspired me to actually write an article to help you all figure out whom to trust. So I took a break from drinking (ok, that’s a lie, there’s a scotch by my side), and would like to share some observations. I’ve been re-reading nearly all of Brian Michael Bendis’s Marvel comics from the past few years. While some series have been mostly dead ends (Alias, I’m looking at you, though it was nice to re-read it, just because it’s a good series), New Avengers and Mighty Avengers are, as expected, chock full of clues.

Veranke plans to replace Jessica Drew in NA #40

At first, some people seem to think that the ending of New Avengers #40 is misdirection. In a flashback, it shows Skrull Princess Veranke planning to infiltrate Earth disguised as Jessica Drew/Spider-Woman. But since it’s not explicitly shown that she does replace Drew, it does not necessarily indicate that Spider-Woman is a Skrull. It could simply be misdirection. I hate to be the bearer of bad news (ok, that’s another lie), but it’s not misdirection. “Spider-Woman” is a Skrull. I would like to point first at New Avengers #30. Most of the team is suspicious of Clint Barton, (who was thought to have died in “Disassembled”, and was apparently resurrected in House of M, as shown in New Avengers#26), and Dr. Strange casts a spell to prove that Barton is indeed who he says it is.


May 13, 2008

Some New Kind of Slaughter #1 & #2 – or – Rainy Day Review #12 & #35

Filed under: Blurbs — Joseph Mastantuono @ 8:04 pm

My great discovery at the NYCC was that Archaia Studio Press is printing comics that aren’t just about adorable mice wandering in well drawn woods with swords. They have an incredible range of comics. Unfortunately, I hadn’t heard of a single one of them before the con. I picked up a few of their books, flipping through their selection and grabbing the ones that caught my eye, and I came home with a few books that were *quite* good. There seems to be something in the air over at ASP, because they are creating some high quality work that’s been overlooked, at least by me and my local comic shop.

I’ll start with a review the first two issues of ‘Some New Kind of Slaughter ~or~ Lost in the Flood (and How We Found Home Again) Diluvian Myths from around the world’ written by A. David Lewis and drawn by MPMann.


FBBP #57 – Iron Man and Our Wives

Filed under: Podcasts — Tags: , , , — Funnybook Babylon @ 7:59 pm

The original FBB Trio come together for Round One of “Summer ’08 Funnybook Blockbusters” and discuss Iron Man. The opening discussion of Clinton/Obama and Jimmy Carter’s potential as a supervillain informs the rest of the chat, responding to political readings of the movie out in the media. Is Tony Stark a Neocon? A Goldwater Conservative? A Blame America Firster? An Iron Cabin Republican? Listen and learn!

Iron Man the movie satisfied the FBB crew, but what of people who don’t know Tony Stark from John Starks? Pedro, Joe and Jamaal all saw the film with their galpals, and discuss their views.

May 8, 2008

Lapham Watch 2008 Continues

Filed under: Blurbs — Jonathan Bernhardt @ 7:14 pm

David Lapham has returned to the internet with a blog. You will not be surprised by its URL.

Feel free to go over there and comment on his promo article for Young Liars about how much you wish he was working on Stray Bullets instead. I hear he loves it when people do that.

So far, he’s promised us harrowing tales from his childhood, which is the stuff I’m primarily looking forward to from the blog, but has posted only nice little tidbits about Young Liars, which the FBB Braintrust did not very much approve of, and Orson Welles, which to my knowledge the FBB Braintrust has no real feelings on one way or the other. Still! It’s good to see him excited about things, and having fun majorly interacting with the net for the first time in recent memory (though El Capitan Books could probably use a website where I can give them money in exchange for their comics), but since he’s one of the best creators in comics today, hopefully he won’t spend too much time giving us free what he could be drawing pictures of and charging for.

Seriously, stay away from the Internet, David! It will bring you nothing but tears.

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