Funnybook Babylon

February 14, 2009

FBB Valentine’s Day Weekend: 25 Things Jon Loves About Comics

Filed under: Articles — Tags: — Jonathan Bernhardt @ 5:18 pm

Since it’s close enough to Valentine’s Day for government work, some of us at FBB have decided to once again put aside the women in our lives to reflect on our true passion: comic books. We decided to each list twenty-five things we love about comics, be they creators, characters, moments, plot devices, instances in time, whatever. Mine follow. (more…)

February 11, 2009

The Banality of Evil: Kobra

Filed under: Articles — Tags: , — Jonathan Bernhardt @ 5:07 pm

Faces of Evil: KobraFaces of Evil: Kobra came out two weeks ago, and if you’ve forgotten about it already, or never knew about it in the first place, that’s forgivable. A book like this would have normally passed us by more or less unnoticed, but we’ll be giving it a more extended look than usual, because it’s somewhat of a perfect storm of poor conception, execution, and quality control, and while we usually try to stick to the realm of discussion-broadening, constructive criticism here at FBB, there’s at least one thing in the issue about which little positive can be said.

January 24, 2009

Josh & Imp…Launches? Yes, We’ll Go with Launches

Filed under: Blurbs — Jonathan Bernhardt @ 4:30 pm

What most of the people involved with this site know about Jon Bernhardt but you, the Anonymous Reader, do not is that he, much like everyone else who reads comics, would likeThe City to write comics, preferably in exchange for money and some press. You know, a Newsarama interview or two every six months, followed by a screaming match with Bill Willingham at some panel in Philly; I require nothing spectacular. This is not surprising. What is surprising is that two years or so ago, he actually wrote a 24-page comic, which was lovingly pencilled, inked, colored, and lettered by the incomparable Diana Nock. You should click that link, and click it right now, because she is not only a saint but an amazingly talented artist, and regardless of when you’re reading this, she probably has something cool to look at right now on her front page.

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.

May 5, 2008

Benjamin Ong Pang Kean: A Straight Up Buster?

Filed under: Articles — Tags: , , , — Jonathan Bernhardt @ 9:45 pm

That’s a Fox News question, by the way. The answer is “Yeah, he is.”

Kean is in hot water right now in our little corner of the blogalaxy, and it’s all because of this (by way of Rich Johnston’s Lying in the Gutters):

Not Pictured: The Internet Cringing

The above is from the original version of this interview that he conducted with Marvel writer Paul Cornell about the upcoming Captain Britain and MI:13 book over at Newsarama, before either he or his bosses realized exactly what asking a question like that second one — let alone publishing it — said about them as a media outlet. To be fair, Newsarama has always needed a copy editing filter to go between their collective brain and mouth, but this isn’t some grammatical or syntactical miscue that someone should have caught before hitting the Post button — and Newsarama appears to recognize this on some level, because they’ve not only purged the above passage from the published interview, but also made a half-hearted attempted to get rid of the discussion about it in the following forum posts attached to the article. Unfortunately, as I’m sure they’re well aware, this is the Internet. It ain’t that easy. (more…)

April 15, 2008

David Lapham Update: Goddammit, David Lapham

Filed under: Articles — Jonathan Bernhardt @ 12:58 am

hey wasn't this in a james bond movie or something Some of you out there in FBB Readerland who follow the site might be under the impression that, beyond showing up on the occasional podcast sounding like I’m phoning in from Atlantis, all I do is read the mainstream work of vaguely indie guys and then bitch either about them getting no respect for that work, or that they really should be spending their time doing something else. This is not true — I have also taken cheap internet potshots at J. Michael Straczynski and defended All-Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder, as something much more engaging and awesome than a simple troll (turning it, in effect, into an amazing meta-troll!).

Well, now I’m going back to basics. The second issue of David Lapham’s Young Liars came out this past week. I’ve gotten around to writing about it now because I wasn’t sure I wanted to really sink my teeth into a full-on post about it until a couple more issues came out and I could get a feel for what Lapham was trying to do with the book on the whole, but then I listened to the advance copy of the podcast that went down Sunday and realized that fucker Pedro stole half of my lines about the book. So I’m reappropriating it, taking that shit back — and really, as of Young Liars #2, Lapham’s put enough on the reader’s plate to judge what’s to me the most important aspect of the book: the tone of the work, and the themes it’s starting to develop.


April 7, 2008

So Kelley Puckett’s a Pretty Awesome Dude

Filed under: Blurbs — Jonathan Bernhardt @ 5:58 am

Haha no seriously buy this comicBecause it really looks like he’s single-handedly saving Supergirl’s soul.

It might be impossible at this point to save the book itself; it’s been bleeding ever since Jeph Loeb left it in the lurch to pursue lucrative opportunities over at Marvel like that book about the Red Hulk what uses guns, or the two Ultimates ongoings that became one Ultimates ongoing that became one Ultimates twelve-issue maxi that became one Ultimates five-issue mini, the last issue of which just got delayed to August. Honestly, I wish him well with all that, because as long as he’s launching his own titles that don’t tie in or interfere with any major company throughlines, he’s really just screaming into the void. The Ultimate universe was fun and everything, but I can still enjoy Warren Ellis’s Ultimate Fantastic Four even though Loeb’s about to bring the event hammer down upon them, and it doesn’t look like Loeb has anywhere near the pull to get Brian Michael Bendis off of Ultimate Spider-Man. So, you know, rock out, dude.

Because that’s not what this is about! This is about Supergirl, and how awesome she and her solo title are right now. Forget Ian Churchill, forget one issue of Greg Rucka, and yes, sadly, even forget Joe Kelly, who didn’t do much of anything with the time he was given. Pick up Puckett’s first issue on the book — #23 — and don’t you dare even think about looking back. (more…)

March 24, 2008

Spoiler Alert

Filed under: Articles — Jonathan Bernhardt @ 12:07 am

It looks like everyone’s favorite C-list-supporting-character-turned- bizarrely-persistent-martyr is back for reals as of this past week’s issue of Robin (#172 for anyone who just has to hunt down a copy to read up on all these Shocking Revelations). I figure it’s been, like, five days or something since it’s come out, so I’m not spoiling anyone. G-Mo finally gives you a case, and now you want to be ALIVE again?!Get it??? You can get a surprising amount of mileage out of that joke, actually.

Anyway, yeah, it looks like Steph Brown is back to bumbling around the streets of Gotham. Which is pretty cool, since she had probably the most ill-advised character death-spiral seen in awhile during her last few appearances, thanks to the unholy combination of a well-meaning Bill Willingham, an editorial office dedicated to killing someone — anyone — to boost sales, and the apparent (and now hilarious) desire to wipe away a bunch of the Chuck Dixon-era contributions to the Bat-Mythos: killing Spoiler and Orpheus; sending Robin and Batgirl out of Gotham to Bludhaven — where Robin would eventually get a new costume, Batgirl would eventually lose her way and her claim to the Batgirl legacy, and Bludhaven would just get scourged clean off the face of the planet, though that’s more of a sidenote than anything else, and has little to do with what we’re talking about at the moment. The editorial office’s indulgences can be understood, if not quite forgiven — we understand you have to sell books, guys, but having Black Mask take a power drill to a teenage girl’s legs? Really? Really? — but Willingham’s contribution to Steph’s legacy, like most of Willingham’s contributions to comics, was a nonsensical perversion of what was on the surface a cool idea, that, when all was said and done, just ended up insulting the character.


March 8, 2008

Amy Who?

Filed under: Blurbs — Jonathan Bernhardt @ 8:56 pm

Teen Titans: Year One #3 came out this week — and it rules, so go buy it — but take a look at the cover and see if you notice anything off.


Yep, Amy Wolfram, the writer, doesn’t get a cover credit, which is unfortunate, because she’s been doing a pretty good job. But before we get in a tizzy and suit up for internet war, though, I doubt it’s anything sinister, or really anything at all beyond the editors wanting to get the late Stephane Peru’s name onto the cover, and accidentally deleting Wolfram’s. Pretty rough, what with half the readers already glancing at her name and wondering why Marv Wolfman’s daughter is getting writing gigs.

Either way, this misprint is sure to up the single issue value of TT:YO #3 by AT LEAST thirteen pounds sterling, so go pick it up right now!!!

March 4, 2008

FBB Swipe Files: Alan Graaaaaant. Come On, Now.

Filed under: Blurbs — Jonathan Bernhardt @ 3:25 pm

Comic book writers, I can understand the bind you’re in. I get that you want an issue title that has cultural context, that resonates with your readers, and is instantly memorable. But guys. GUYS. “Sins of the Father?” Yeah, that one’s taken.

In fact, it’s taken by (in no particular order):

Amazing Spider-Man #263, Avengers #401, Marvel Tales #275, Giant-Size Man Thing #5, stories in Adventure Comics #454 AND #462, Silver Surfer #67, a story in Web of Spider-Man Annual #7, Captain Atom #51, Action Comics #606, The Demon #3, Guardians of the Galaxy #42, Blade #7-12, Blade: Sins of the Father (a different comic, not a collection of Blade #7-12), Deathstroke the Terminator #12, JLA: Black Baptism #3, The Punisher 2009 #22, Sabretooth #4, Superman #68, Captain America #246, Superman: The Man of Steel #47, The New Gods #8, Starman #0-3, Marvel Super-Heroes #12, and uh, X-Men Annual 1996.

I left out all non-Big Two books (and a couple of Big Two books, as well). That’s because I was getting tired of italicizing all those damn titles. Seriously now, guys! Change it up! Blade, especially.

And Geoff Johns is almost the worst here. Besides using generic titles such as “Homecoming” (seriously, it seems like every event in the past three years has an issue called “Homecoming”) and “Endgame,” during his Teen Titans run, he named titled #6 AND #23 “War and Peace,” a title it shares with a bunch of Star Trek, Transformers, and other licensed books over the years.

The big prize, though, goes to journeyman writer Alan Grant, who is most widely known for reading V for Vendetta, changing V’s mask, putting him red, making him a teenager obsessed with making his vigilante alter-ego’s neck look longer than it actually was, and having him fight Robin. And I like Anarky! I really do. But in the eight issue series Alan Grant got to do about the character, here are the issue titles:

Anarky #1 – “Aberration Part One: Power Play”
Anarky #2 – “Aberration Part Two: Green for Danger”
Anarky #3 – “Aberration Part Three: Wishing Well”
Anarky #4 – “War and Peace Part I”
Anarky #5 – “War and Peace Part II”
Anarky #6 – “War and Peace Part III”
Anarky #7 – “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”
Anarky #8 – “Sins of the Father”

Both of them. He uses both of them, in the space of five issues. And the one that isn’t is the title of an extremely well known song from the American Civil War. Come on, Alan!!

March 3, 2008

All-Star Batman and Robin Is Amazing. No, I am Not Trolling. (FBB Remix)

Filed under: Articles — Jonathan Bernhardt @ 9:11 am

This article kicked off the FBB invasion of PopCultureShock, and also launched PCS’s new comics feature, Alternate Current — a series of weekly posts on thought-provoking, or simply fun, topics from bright minds all throughout the blogalaxy. Go check it out every week. I think it runs Thursdays? Maybe I just write fast. And if you already read this over at PCS, there’s new, FBB-exclusive content at the end. Never say we don’t love you.

Man, Issue 9 already. How time flies!The ninth issue of Frank Miller and Jim Lee’s All-Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder came out this Wednesday, and finally, at long last, it looks like we’ve got enough material here to accurately gauge it. Its release schedule is still highly irregular — though it’s been rapidly getting less so — and sure, it’s taken us over two years to get to this point. But here we are, and from all appearances, Miller and Lee have handed us something a hell of a lot more complex than most people thought they’d get when they picked up the first couple issues. Really, though, this is Frank Miller we’re talking about. You should have known by now there’d be something lurking there underneath all that sex and violence.

After the first couple issues of ASBAR (God I love that acronym) hit, the conventional wisdom stated that Frank Miller had, quite frankly, gone insane. That’s fine. That was more or less the conventional wisdom that followed The Dark Knight Returns and The Dark Knight Strikes Again. Not so much following Batman: Year One, but there was still some kvetching about how Miller portrayed Catwoman. What people seemed to miss about Miller’s latter day Batman work — especially the oft-maligned DKSA, which is right now competing against itself and only itself for “Most Disappointing Comic” in some silly poll Wizard Online is running — is that Miller is doing something most comic writers seem incapable of doing: he is reacting. DKSA is a reaction to DKR and its rather blind, unconsidered acceptance by both creative forces at DC Comics and the comic community at large; the book is a mockery through absurdity. Not a lot of people got this message, and many of the ones who did still disliked it, because they found the writing or art off-putting. And to be fair, Miller’s exaggerated “ugly” style that he pulls out these days is something that takes a little getting used to.

But a lot of people — including, I’m assuming, the bright minds and hearty souls over at Wizard — disliked Dark Knight Strikes Again because they came into it expecting something they were never going to get, based, perhaps, on their misunderstanding of what Miller actually did with the character in Dark Knight Returns. The absolute worst way to engage with the text of DKR is to read it like Miller is saying that Batman’s a cool dude, totally ripping around town and kicking all sorts of asses, thinking that it’s a war and his kids in it are soldiers and that this is how things should be, thinking that creepy memorials are the way to go when a child in his care dies. DKR is not an endorsement. DKR is a cautionary tale. (more…)

February 27, 2008

Wizard Check: Still Punks

Filed under: Articles — Jonathan Bernhardt @ 8:30 am

You know what’s passé? You know what’s been done? Making fun of Wizard Magazine. Specifically Wizard Online, because fuck if I’m going to shell out bills for a print version.

But sometimes you click a link, and you read a thing, and then you got to write a thing, even though your first reaction is, “Wow, a company dedicated to having a profit margin allowed this to run on their site,” and your second reaction is, “But it’s Wizard. Everyone complains about Wizard. The internet is killing Wizard. They’ll be irrelevant soon enough, and there’ll be no one left to mourn them.”

Here’s what’s up. Wizard does a piece about the top five books with a lead female in comics. The results are predictable:

There’s no shortage of superheroines running through the paneled pages of your favorite monthly fare, but there isn’t an excess of books headlined by the women of the comic world either. We at Wizard know how to treat a lady and it’s about time these titular titles with female leads got their due! We shuffled through stacks of books to bring you five comics headlined by heroines that you really shouldn’t miss, so read the recommendations and then head out and buy the books!


February 25, 2008

Dear David Lapham: I Have Been Slowly Dying Since 2005, and It’s All Your Fault

Filed under: Articles — Tags: — Jonathan Bernhardt @ 1:19 pm

Podcast is running a bit late (Technical issues? Joe is sick?? I was wondering why you took my JMS crap seriously, Joe, and now I know!), Pedro wanted some words for the web, and since David Lapham put out a comic recently, I’m gonna write about that.

The fifth and final issue of Lapham’s Terror, Inc., a reimagining of the Dan Chichester/Margaret Clark/Klaus Janson creation that graced the pages of titles such as St. George, the 13-issue first volume of Terror, Inc., and Robert Kirkman’s Marvel Team-Up before making its way to the MAX imprint, came out last week, and as far as I know, I’m the only one who noticed. Except maybe David. It was a good series, and it delivered spectacularly on what the MAX line promises its readers. And if you’re not familiar with what goes on with MAX: it’s an imprint that literally owes its continued existence to a Punisher book where Garth Ennis is allowed to do whatever he pleases. Guess. (more…)

September 20, 2007

Trading for the Wait – September 19, 2007

Filed under: Reviews — Jonathan Bernhardt @ 11:20 pm

Not too long ago, the preferred way to reading any comic series was hitting the store every Wednesday to pick it up sequentially. The store had stacks of floppies and if you wanted to catch up to a series, you’ll have to dig into the back issue bin, hopefully finding the issues you needed. However, more and more stuff is getting reprinted in trades to the point that you can wait til a story arc is done to read it. To give you an idea of what’s out there, we present, Trading for the Wait, a weekly round table of reviews on trade paperbacks that you may have missed on your weekly visits. This inaugural version features Funnybook Babylon’s newest addition, Jonathan Bernhardt and reviews for Captain America Omnibus, Justice Society of America, Doctor Thirteen, Silent War and 52 Volume Three.


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