Funnybook Babylon

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 17, 2008

FBBP #72 – [Expletive Deleted] [fixed]

Filed under: Podcasts — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Joseph Mastantuono @ 10:55 pm

NOTICE: We had an export issue on our previous post of this podcast. If you have downloaded it, please listen to this one instead, the second half of the Achewood discussion on the previous one got garbled. I blame Apple, and their lack of support for Soundtrack Pro.

This Week: We review Chris Onstad’s The Great Outdoor Fight, discuss the All-Star Batman & Robin controversy, talk Final Crisis: Revelations and debut a new segment, “Yes, This is Being Published”.

YTiBP’s debut topic is Vertigo’s forthcoming Haunted Tank series. You can read a special preview of it on this toilet seat. No, really.

After cutting this podcast, I realized that yes, I am a Hater. Hate, hate, hate, hate, hate! I got Silky Johnson and Buc Nasty on lock, I’m gonna be Hater of the Year!

We go into a lot of detail about the Great Outdoor Fight, so if you aren’t a regular Achewood reader and don’t want your experience “spoiled” you can read the whole story online before listening. Or don’t, just don’t come crying if we reveal the final fate of The Latino Health Crisis.

September 16, 2008

Final Crisis Shipping Schedule: Huh?

Filed under: Blurbs — Tags: , , , , — David Uzumeri @ 9:49 pm
Final Crisis: Submit

Final Crisis: Submit

So yeah, Final Crisis isn’t shipping on time. I’m sure someone, somewhere, is shocked, but I can’t fathom it – #3 was a week late, #4’s three weeks late, and we’ve got an extra skip month in December with a Secret Files. (On a side note, I’m incredibly curious to read that Secret Files, since it sounds like he’s getting Frank Quitely of all people to help him in his quixotic quest to reconcile this with Countdown.) However, despite the considerable delay on #4 and the total lack of a delay on subsequent issues, I’m forced to wonder if this quote from Morrison himself isn’t pretty telling:

Submit is designed as Beyond’s complete opposite number – a straight down the line, street level, Hollywood action book about a family in trouble and on the run in Darkseid’s Hell on Earth. It features Black Lightning, gives us a look at the world in the early stages of Darkseid’s takeover and loops straight back into the first scene on the opening pages of Final Crisis #4.

So wait, if Submit takes place before Final Crisis #4, why was it solicited to come out two weeks afterwards originally? And now, it’s delayed (according to the latest DC Direct Channel) until the 15th right alongside FC #4. People may be annoyed if they don’t put a notice in #4 to read Submit first, assuming this was the reason for the delays. This also leads to a single day with no less than five new Final Crisis books, which, I mean, is sort of a lot of a good thing at once: Final Crisis #4, Legion of Three Worlds #2, Submit, Rogues’ Revenge #3 and Rage of the Red Lanterns. Isn’t this sort of a deluge where major books (like Submit itself) might get lost in the shuffle? I never understood why Paul O’Brien complained about this kind of thing regarding the X-books until now.

So this poses the question: Are #4 and #5 actually coming out two weeks apart? It seems pretty unlikely, but if Submit was the cause for #4’s delay it’s not impossible. It seems odd that they took a month off, and production problems, not JG Jones, were blamed for #3’s lateness, and still couldn’t get the book out on time.

It’s just a theory, so if they announce #5’s being delayed until the end of November or whatever I still won’t be especially surprised.

September 2, 2008

FBBP #70 – The Last Will and Testament of the Third Dimension

Filed under: Podcasts — Tags: , , , , , , , — Joseph Mastantuono @ 11:25 pm

For the second week running, we’re missing Jamaal. We miss Jamaal so much that we want to remind everyone that we’re still taking suggestions for what we should make him sing on next week’s podcast. A BET IS A BET!

Two books of the week this time out: one for its importance, and another for its je ne sais quoi:
Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1 by Grant Morrison & Doug Mahnke (annotated here!)
DC Universe: Last Will & Testament by Brad Meltzer & Adam Kubert

Speaking of Last Wills, Virgin Comics has joined the dustbin of comics history alongside CrossGen, Tekno Comix and countless others. What lessons can be learned? What went wrong? Just how many different things has Richard Branson slapped “Virgin” on?

We also begin our discussion on Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. Most of the discussion is Joe introducing the Nausicaa and its creator Hayao Miyazaki, so anyone wanting to catch up still has time. We’ll be doing the second (and final) Nausicaa book club discussion in a couple weeks.

The whole series is translated in seven volumes (Volumes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) and you can buy them through Amazon for $10, supporting the site at the same time.

August 16, 2008

Fun with Solicitations: DC Spoils the Crap Out of Their Books

A message board several FBBers frequent has been embroiled in a debate about what constitute “spoilers”: many posters feel like if something is revealed by official company promotional material (Nick Fury’s “Secret Warriors” will survive Secret Invasion and receive their own book, Darkseid successfully takes over Earth in Final Crisis, Character X will be appearing soon in Title Y) then those plot points don’t really constitute “spoilers”. Usually this sort of thing doesn’t constitute a “twist” or whatever, and so these topics are fair game for discussing upcoming comics. But DC seems determined to test this assumption with their November solicitations, as seen on Newsarama. So be warned, “spoilers” after the jump:

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August 13, 2008

FBBP #66 – Interim Crisis

FBB is at full power, discussing the relaunches of The Authority, NYX: No Way Home, and Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane as a nice appetizer platter. We cleanse the palate with a quick Jeph Loeb Happy Hour toasting the Hulk before our main course:

Final Crisis #3 gets the full treatment as we discuss the philosophical issues therein and whether or not Joe can possibly understand what the hell is going on. For a more focused discussion of FC, please refer to David U’s awesome annotations here.

August 8, 2008

Downcounting Backwards: Overman

At some point Downcounting became too much of a chore to bear; it was a struggle to write something more cogent than variants on, “NO REALLY, WHAT IS ANYONE INVOLVED WITH THE PRODUCTION OF THIS BOOK THINKING?” Once it became obvious that Countdown to Final Crisis and its related titles weren’t really counting down to Final Crisis or anything else, I made peace with the fact that I had developed intimate knowledge of something with no real significance or worth besides being DC’s life-imitates-art “Great Disaster”.

But now that we know that Grant Morrison had literally nothing to do with the hundred-or-so books that were meant to lead into his Final Crisis series, picking through these books becomes a fascinating exercise in reverse-engineering. There are clearly threads that someone with access to Final Crisis’s plot decided to pick up on, though it seems much was lost in translation.

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August 7, 2008

Final Crisis #3 – “Know Evil”

Filed under: Articles — Tags: , , , , , — David Uzumeri @ 12:41 am

Before I launch into the annotations for this issue, a few corrections regarding my previous stuff and other interesting things from the Director’s Cut:

  1. The evil Monitor isn’t Solomon from Countdown, it’s “Rox Ogama.” The Monitor we first see in FC #1 is “Zip Hermuz”.
  2. The Monitors’ world was supposed to seem largely like a dying civilization, and the number of worlds wasn’t specific in the script. It’s also mentioned that New Earth is suspended in a mercurial substance reminiscent of the supercontext from The Invisibles.
  3. Hal’s scar is a clue – it’s specifically mentioned in the script.
  4. Morrison mentions that the Tattooed Man will play a major role nearing the end; I can’t help but wonder what would happen if you tattooed Metron’s sigil on him…

So. Yeah. Forward! Douglas Wolk has the annotation/”Who is this?” part of this pretty damn down pat, so I’m gonna focus largely on analysis and speculation here.

Page 1 – Frankenstein, from Seven Soldiers, raids the Dark Side Club with a group of SHADE (Super Human Advanced Defense Execute – originally SADE but modified by DC, so I wonder if that played any significance regarding Desaad) agents. Inside, they find the mummified shell of the human Darkseid resided in as Boss Dark Side, and left back in #1.

Page 2 – I love the panel layout here, with the Dark Side Club scenes taking place inside the building on the street in the greater picture, both within the story and on the page. The fissure in the sky is Overgirl entering the New Earth universe.
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July 28, 2008

Ambush Bug: Year None Annotations: Part None

Filed under: Articles — Tags: , , , , — Chris Eckert @ 1:00 am

When I was a young man, my two favorite creators were probably Grant Morrison and Keith Giffen, and their most personal works, The Invisibles and Ambush Bug were definitely two of my favorite comic books ever. A few years ago, a comic called Identity Crisis came out, which was definitely not one of my favorite comics. People have used a whole lot of words to describe why it wasn’t a very good comic — I’ve done it myself — and this week, Ambush Bug Year None even gets in on the fun.

I’ll be putting up nerdy annotations about all the obscure junk in AB:YN later this week, but before that I want to post something even more incredibly nerdy and self-indulgent than Ambush Bug annotations. Nearly four years ago, there was a thread on The Something Awful Forums about Identity Crisis which became a communal effort to “solve the mystery”. It’s probably blocked off from public view at this point, but it was a big sprawling conversation that ended up spawning a separate message board, and it was the site where half of Funnybook Babylon made each others’ acquaintance. Everyone had their pet theory about Identity Crisis, and mine was derided as the most crackpot of them all. Well, I might have gotten a few details off, but four years later, all I can say is I AM VINDICATED. Excerpts below.
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July 26, 2008

SDCC Linkblog News Round-Up Extravaganza: Day 2, Evening Edition!

Filed under: Blurbs — Tags: , , , , , , — Chris Eckert @ 12:55 am

I guess everyone is out drinking tonight, so not a lot of news trickling out of San Diego. Here’s what we have, though. Eisner results and grousing coming soon!

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July 23, 2008

Fun with October DC Solicts – The rise and fall of Checkmate

Filed under: Blurbs — Tags: , , , , , , — Pedro Tejeda @ 1:50 pm

CHECKMATE #31 Written by Bruce Jones. Art and cover by Manuel Garcia. All the pieces on the Checkmate board have converged on China. Is it the end of the world as we know it in this series finale issue? Or will Chimera save the day? On sale October 29. 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US FINAL ISSUE

Scrolling through the solicitations I came across this doozy. It looks like DC finally did what I jokingly asked them to do a couple of months ago. What has the book been doing since you and I dropped it? Why, it has been building up the sensational character find of ’08, Chimera! Who is he? He’s pretty much a super soldier who can turn into his enemies’ worst fears. His ongoing story has hijacked everything I found interesting and wonderful about the spy thriller Checkmate was before Jones got on to it.

John Rogers in an interview stated that some sort of Magic Event would be spinning out of Checkmate post Final Crisis. This event has to be why they decided not to go with the collaborator of the original writer and with Bruce Jones instead. Chimera has been the only thing the book has been about since the switch. So now that Chimera has been introduced and established,  they can turn off the lights on the book so he can move on to what ever great things they have planned for him. I guess Checkmate as an organization will languish in the background, used the same way SHIELD was pre-Civil War. Great Job DC!

Wait… what’s this?

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July 22, 2008

FBBP #64 – Transmedia, the “Synergy” of 2K8

Filed under: Podcasts — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Funnybook Babylon @ 4:25 pm

Back from a long hiatus due to birthdays, movings, and sheer laziness, the Funnybook Babylon crew discusses two recent standout books:

Geoff Johns and Scott Kollin’s Final Crisis: Rogues Revenge #1 has some kinetic art that Joe loves, but does Chris warm to Johns’s new treatment of the Flash Rogues? We also discuss the recently completed Omega the Unknown series by Jonathan Lethem, Farel Dalrymple and Paul Hornschemeier.

We end the podcast with a round-up of Paul Levitz’s speech on Transmedia, The Watchmen Trailer, the “Moving Comics” initiative, and whatever crazy ideas DC decides to shove into another medium.

After SDCC, we are totally going to work FBB into a video game like Def Jam Fight for New York. All your favorite comic bloggers will be in it.

Finally, please vote for a song for Jamaal to sing in three weeks. Try to pick something from the Batman Soundtracks or Celene Dion related. He’s totally gonna have to do it.

July 1, 2008

FBBP #63 – Image and You

Filed under: Podcasts — Tags: , , , , , — Funnybook Babylon @ 11:00 am

We’re back from a Mac-induced hiatus (Can you believe an Apple product had the gall to break on us?), and we talked about Marvel’s massive week (thirty-four books!!!) and whether any of them were worth your money. Marvel’s tidal wave didn’t stop us from talking about DC’s big book, Final Crisis #2. Have Jamaal and Pedro warmed up to Morrison’s Epic Event?
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June 19, 2008

She Used To Love Y.O.U.

Filed under: Articles — Tags: , , , , , — David Brothers @ 8:30 am

NRAMA: And so you were left with a handful of continuity issues as result – – why didn’t the Guardians call a 1011 when all the other New Gods died? Why didn’t Superman recount his experiences in Death of the New Gods when he was talking about the New Gods to the JLA? How did the villains capture J’onn? Obviously, if you dealt in all the minutia of every storyline since Identity Crisis or earlier, you’d go nuts – so what was your personal line in the sand that you used in writing Final Crisis in regards to what “mattered” and what didn’t?

GM: What mattered to me was what had already been written, drawn or plotted in Final Crisis. The Guardians didn’t call 1011 when Lightray and the other gods died in Countdown because, again, Final Crisis was already underway before Countdown came out.

Why didn’t Superman recount his experiences from DOTNG ? Because those experiences hadn’t been thought up or written when I completed Final Crisis #1. If there was only me involved, Orion would have been the first dead New God we saw in a DC comic, starting off the chain of events that we see in Final Crisis. As it is, the best I can do is suggest that the somewhat contradictory depictions of Orion and Darkseid’s last-last-last battle that we witnessed in Countdown and DOTNG recently were apocryphal attempts to describe an indescribable cosmic event.

To reiterate, hopefully for the last time, when we started work on Final Crisis, J.G. and I had no idea what was going to happen in Countdown or Death Of The New Gods because neither of those books existed at that point. The Countdown writers were later asked to ‘seed’ material from Final Crisis and in some cases, probably due to the pressure of filling the pages of a weekly book, that seeding amounted to entire plotlines veering off in directions I had never envisaged, anticipated or planned for in Final Crisis.

The way I see it readers can choose to spend the rest of the year fixating on the plot quirks of a series which has ended, or they can breathe a sight of relief, settle back and enjoy the shiny new DC universe status quo we’re setting up in the pages of Final Crisis and its satellite books. I’m sure both of these paths to enlightenment will find adherents of different temperaments.

Grant Morrison, 2008

Oh, Grant. This sounds like trouble in paradise. Let’s see what wrong, okay? We’ll talk you through this.

I met her last week, this insane tart
We been swimmin’ in each other with the same heart
I mean, I think we might be sections of the same part
And we don’t separate at all until the day’s dark

–El-P, “Oxycontin Pt 2”

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June 18, 2008

Long Summer Days

Filed under: Blurbs — Tags: , , , , , — Jamaal Thomas @ 2:24 am

Wow, I haven’t written anything in a while. I need to adopt Dave’s work ethic, but work is all consuming at the moment. Since I missed the recording of the podcast this week (a compelling discussion of the Bill Jemas era at Marvel), I decided to put some thoughts together in a typically long-winded (and hopefully somewhat coherent) fashion. Come join me for the DC Pile-on!

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