philippos42: heather (vindicator)
It's been a month. Let's post something.

I don't know how many of the TV shows I was watching before the Xmas break I'm going to pick up again. I still haven't seen last week's Supergirl and maybe I'm OK with that. I have been watching the pile of dumb that is Quantico and will probably stick with it when new episodes start up again; but if they try to drag this out more than a season, then no. I don't think I'm really going to try Agent Carter this year any more than other years; something about that show leaves me cold. Of sitcoms, I think Undateable is the one I'm really clinging to; Whitney Cummings is on it now, and it's wacky.

The big comic book movie I most want to see this year is Suicide Squad--even though it will not be the team from my old comics, and it will be a dumb, and probably too much stupid Batman. Yes, Wondy is in that Lex Luthor movie or whatever it is. Yes, Fox is finally doing a Deadpool movie. If I still had a nerd friend in town who would drag me to movies and pay for those, or something, that would be fine. But I'm not personally interested in the same way.

I am so poor I am not really planning to get Netflix. I have been buying a fair number of comics, even though it would be cheaper to trade-wait, and I kind of need to cut back. I'm not feeling really enthused about Kate Leth's Patsy Walker now that it's a real thing in my hands. Al Ewing's New Avengers is going to go back into crossover mode soon, I guess, and I'll be gone. Squirrel Girl is going to cross over with Howard the Duck, and I'm poor enough to use that as an excuse to stop buying that too--instead of buying the crossover. I kind of want to switch to non-Marvel stuff, maybe buy Usagi Yojimbo again, and am trying to talk myself into cutting out my Marvel titles. I'm not getting the new Captain Marvel, I've decided that.

Um, what else?

I kept thinking I would get in touch with the local Democratic Party last month, and I didn't, and I haven't, and I'm probably just going to show up at the Presidential primary and vote hopelessly for Bernie Sanders. Yeah.

I don't know from new music, nothing to say there, really. I find stuff when I find stuff.
Another thing from my trip to the comic shop two days ago:

There was a young man (like 20?) there with an older woman. Maybe his mother or an aunt? She was saying she used to read Archie, and he seemed confused about Archie, and trying to connect it to DC(!!!). I pointed out the new-style Archie comics. He asked what comics I read.

"Um, Squirrel Girl, Ms. Marvel, a lot of Marvel." (Well, that's not a lot of Marvel, really. I've bought three issues of Captain America and one of Howard the Duck recently, and I liked the last Captain Marvel creative team, but I don't really read A LOT of Marvel.)

He started talking about Jonathan Hickman. I said I didn't like Hickman. He said he'd never met anyone who didn't like Hickman. He likes the "slow burn." I think it's too slowly paced. He talked about Snyder who writes Batman, and "Robin War," and had I picked up DKIII? (No, I haven't, but I refrained from saying that I at least mildly dislike the entire creative team individually.)

He likes the Flash. I said it's hard for me to get into because I really like Mark Waid's Flash back in the 1990's, and this is so different. I sound ancient.

I said I was more into Al Ewing. And I read Giant Days, though I didn't explain what that is. I didn't mention that I had just bought Starfire, and mostly favor books with female protagonists (which is probably only barely true anyway, but does make my comic purchases a bit differently weighted than the typical young male customer).

But yeah, we can both read Marvel, and be almost non-intersecting.

Interesting, though. When I see previews on scans_daily, I can gripe about Hickman and say that his stories are morbid and drag on too long--although, granted, I'm going by what's excerpted there--and I don't think I'm really the only one. But yeah, he has fans, and their idea of comics is a little different from mine.

And I'm way too negative in general, I guess.
philippos42: heather (red)
Only one comic book today. Starfire #7. And I just realized that some of the scenes are flashbacks, and that's why they don't make sense in sequence. I'm really stupid. I guess I should go back and re-read.
philippos42: (no chance)
I bought comics.

Rocket Girl #7 finally showed up, and I think that's some months late. I haven't read it yet.

The last issue of the current Sensation Comics was on the stands, and I got that because it's the last issue and a Trina Robbins script. This concept seems to have run out of steam. Next month, they're starting some new Wonder Woman limited series, which I'm curious about, but not enough to buy.

Prez #6 was the first thing I read. It's OK, but I'm not happy with DC leaving it hanging here. When are they going to solicit the next issue?

And then I bought this thing that's been sitting on the stands for weeks. Secret Wars: The Official Guide to the Marvel Multiverse. I had briefly glanced at the inside once before, and gotten the mistaken impression it was actually a guide to the Marvel multiverse, with short entries for a wide range of different alternate realities. A-ha no. Not even a little bit what it says on the tin.

No, it's like a really arbitrary assortment of Handbook of the Marvel Universe entries. Some of the Future Foundation kids, some players in the two "Secret Wars" series Jim Shooter wrote back in the 1980's, a few other weirdos. It really does feel like a very bizarrely selected bunch of Who's Who entries. I'm calling this one "Five bucks down the drain."
I need to buy fewer comics (for budget reasons), not more! Argleghagh!

I admit I ordered Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat because of Kate Leth. Which is funny, because I haven't even been reading her stuff for a couple of years. Maybe I only think I like Kate Leth because I've forgotten why I stopped following her blog. But I'd like to see a version of Patsy Walker that isn't grim and sad, after some of the crap her ex-husbands put her through. I liked her portrayal in Soule's She-Hulk.

I'm still buying Ms. Marvel. Takeshi Miyazawa doing some issues helps that decision.

I'm not sure I'll keep going with The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. Maybe.

I'm on the fence about Captain Marvel's new series. No Kelly Sue and no David Lopez gives me pause. But I'm not following Lopez to Wolverine, so...we'll see.

I might buy Sam Wilson: Captain America, which impressed me more than I expected. A lot of that is the stylish art, but I like the characters (D-Man is back!) and themes in the first issue.

And maybe I'll buy whatever the Avengers series is called with Roberto DaCosta, mad scientists, and Squirrel Girl--but that's very dependent on the fun elements overwhelming the stock eeevil supervillainy.

I'm impressed that Marvel has this many books that seem like they're designed to appeal to me.
philippos42: (yotsuba)
From Fandom!Secrets: "If I wanted to get into comic books..."
Where should I start? I'm aware of superheroes and horror as genres, and I'm generally open to both of those. I just don't want to jump in the middle of a storyline and be all confused. Googling did not help me decide. Help.
I got in late, but agreed with the generic answer of more self-contained graphic novels. My post was just a bunch of recommendations:
_

Nightschool by Svetlana Chmakova is supernatural action-adventure in an urban fantasy/horror world. Some people might be annoyed by the ending, and it has a lot of less developed characters which may make it hard on some readers, but there's some clever stuff.

Human Target: Chance Meetings by Peter Milligan and Edvin Biuković (Sorry for the Amazon link; I am not recommending you buy from Amazon.) I just reread this last night. It's too British in places; some of the characters are parodies of Americans rather than Americans, if that makes sense. There are some bad-but-minor plot holes in the third chapter; one because someone chose to cut and transition to another scene at a striking moment instead of showing the embarrassing seconds afterward. So, it's more of a mess than I remembered. But Edvin Biuković did a pretty solid job on the art, and it both has some trippy psychological stuff and manages to untie it and get to a surprisingly unambiguous ending. (I think.)
There are more Milligan Human Target stories, but I haven't read them. Here's a review: http://www.shinyshelf.com/2011/03/22/peter-milligan-human-target/

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi: Not superheroes, not horror, just a memoir of an Iranian girl in the time of the rise of the Islamic Republic.

Of the superheroes, I like Captain Marvel, the current one, "Carol" to her fans. In the last few years, they've changed the artists, they've restarted the numbering a few times, and there's one issue that's just part of an X-Men crossover. So...you should probably get the trades (that is, trade paperback collections), anyway: I started with the issues collected as "Higher, Further, Faster, More," which is the most recent "volume one" until the next "volume one." Honestly, their packaging is terrible. But these issues aren't terribly crossover-heavy, thankfully, and Kelly Sue DeConnick and David Lopez are really cool. (And...I think they're off the book as of this November and the fourth #1 in three years.)

[Note: If you follow Carol, know that "Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps" is...really weird. I think it's still coming out in floppy form, so I don't know what it's going to be collected as. But it's part of the "There is only Secret Wars" hot mess that Marvel got into this year, and so...it's particularly surreal for a Carol story.]

And then, and then, Rocket Girl by Brandon Montclare & Amy Reeder is an Image Comics series with time travel and stuff, and I like it, but I think the creators are having a really hard time financially. I'm supposed to have a trade of it by now, and I don't know what happened.
_

Oh, also Yotsuba&!. Always.
philippos42: (scared)
Recently, I found a graphic album of something called Fever Moon at the public library. It had art by the late Al Rio, so I checked it out. When I finally, weeks later, sat down to read it, the author's foreword surprised me:
Karen Marie Moning:
When Del Rey told me I could pick my artist, it was a done deal. I would have written anything to get a chance to work with Al Rio, whose art I've long admired.
[snip]
Fever Moon ended up being more than I'd hoped for, but the path to completion was difficult, and not everyone survived. We lost Al Rio along the way....
So this was some of his last work, and he didn't even finish it. Wow.

This hit me.

I had long harbored an idle fantasy of writing Wonder Woman, and in that fantasy I wanted Al to draw it. I figured he'd pull me back. I'd write a script where Diana's in civvies, he'd put her in the costume, probably with the booty shorts that show the bottom of her buttocks. I'd want to be kind of off-kilter, he'd bring the book back to a classic superhero look. Stuff like that.

I think Al dying in 2012 was one of the things (alongside my own clear inability to actually write a decent Wonder Woman story, and DC basically telling entire fandoms of its characters to get lost with the New 52 revamp) that made me just give up on the idea and move on.

And here I was reading the book he was working on before he died--and which he never finished. So it was kind of like mourning.

New comics

Aug. 5th, 2015 05:55 pm
philippos42: heather (red)
Got to the comic shop yesterday to get a copy of Diamond Previews before they sold out.

For all that I keep worrying about my budget, I had just one comic from my pull list waiting.

Oh, well, I could have just taken that and been done, but I decided to look at the racks. I picked up the last copies of the last two issues of the Edmondson/Noto Black Widow, as if I actually have $8 to spare. That was dumb.

Anyway...
philippos42: (clover)
I'm back from my local comic shop. They seem to have an iffy relationship with my orders, but the proprietor is trying.

Last week I mentioned that I didn't get the second issue of an miniseries I'm following (and not naming here, apparently).
Today he handed me the second and fourth issues. "And do you have this one?"
"No, not yet."
OK, so it looks like I'm caught up on that one.

I asked about Brandon Graham's Island Magazine, which I had ordered the first issue of and not gotten. He said that they'd sold out. (But I'd pre-ordered it because they sell out of things.)
"Wait."
He found a copy. So I guess I have someone else's copy and he'll have to re-order it for them.

He also handed me the second issue of Prez, a series which I had wanted to order and chickened out on for budgetary reasons, but as of last week I am starting (with #4) to pre-order.

And an issue of Sensation Comics, which technically I'm not pre-ordering anymore. I guess I could have handed it back, but oh well, I took it. That four dollars gets me close to the end of my money for the month, so I didn't get a Diamond Previews. Maybe I should have gotten that instead. Then again, this issue has a Georges Jeanty story, which sounds cool, and it's #12, so if I switch to the trade paperbacks (which means waiting even longer for stuff that came out earlier in digital format) it'll probably be in a trade with one I already have? I don't know.

So far I've read Prez #2. And there's a "Preston Rickard" who apparently is this timeline's Prez Rickard? Wow, cool! This is maybe-fix-the-scanner stuff.

(Oh, and like three pages of the miniseries--which I may talk about when it's finished? I don't know.)

I don't know if I'll ever see the Rocket Girl and Yostuba&! albums I ordered a few months ago.
philippos42: zat's bunny (comedy)
OK, let's do a post about my recent comics purchases:

Shaft #1 (Dynamite): I'm getting these for the Cowan/Sienkiewicz covers, I admit. Wait, can I afford to do that? OK, a Cowan/Sienkiewicz cover caught my eye, and I decided to give it a shot. This is an OK first issue, with a bit of backstory about a young John Shaft choosing his self-respect over crooked fight promoters. The interior story won me over. Bilquis Evely's art is decent storytelling art, closer to M.D. Bright than to Denys Cowan, and that probably serves the story well. David F. Walker's script is decent enough.

I think the only thing I actually disliked in this issue was an ugly and kind of gory house ad for "Smiley the Psychotic Button." Apparently this is where the Chaos! characters are published now.

Let's see, the next four are from Marvel:

Guardians of the Galaxy Annual #1: In which Bendis and Cho get back together, IN SPACE! Yeah, that's pretty much it. It's what I guess is the present GotG squad: Quill, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, Groot, Flash Thompson in the Venom pants, and of course Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel, who is as I recall the reason I'm even buying this (Bendis!) book.

Also, it has a nice Gamora-centric cover.

We get to see Rocket Raccoon drawn in a style not wholly unlike Frank Cho's Liberty Meadows funny animals, and vaguely Kirbyesque Skrulls, and a bunch of--look, should I cut for spoilers here? )

Spider-Man and the X-Men #1: I was not planning to get this series. But then I saw it on the stands, and I thought, "Hey, Spidey used to be a schoolteacher! Wouldn't it be cool if he were brought in as a chemistry teacher at the Jean Grey School!" Well, I flipped it open, and that's not what they're doing. Instead, he's some kind of "Special Class Guidance Counselor," brought in as a request of the dead Logan. I bought it anyway, though. It's trying to be funny, mostly. It gets in a jab at super-teams that sit around waiting to be attacked instead of trying to go out and help regular people, which I liked in a meta way.

And today's purchases:

Captain Marvel #10: OK, I wasn't too happy with the Flerken story, but this issue and the last are moving Carol's book into the position of my favorite comic book. This is somehow Carol's 100th solo issue, and it's a little oversized, with David Lopez splitting the book with Marcio Takara and Laura Braga. Parts of the book are narrated by different characters: Kit (Lt. Trouble), Jess (Spider-Woman), and Rhodey (Rhodey), giving natural breaks for artist switching. It says it's "part one of two" but it largely stands alone, even if there's a bit of tease at the end. Lila's still around, and it's pretty fun, even if the supervillain gambit was defeated quickly and implausibly.

Ms. Marvel #10: This is a third of four parts. Not an enormous amount happens outside of "trying to deal with the Inventor, and getting slammed by his machines," but what does happen moves the story forward. Kamala finds out why people are willingly joining the Inventor (it's sad) and Lockjaw gets kidnapped, and lots of fighting. Lots of fighting.
philippos42: (despair)
I probably should make notes of when I bought particular comics, if only for my own reference.

I went to the comic shop today to drop off an order from Diamond Previews.

I looked around the racks. Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #1 is out, but I am avoiding SIXIS, so nope. (Yes, I know it's meant to be AXIS.)

But I said to the propietor, "I may regret this, but I want to see what the new beginnings have done to my star-spangled characters." Here's why:

I got All-New Captain America #1, after thumbing through it and wondering who Nomad was. I wish I'd just read the introductory first page, which explains it--and it's not Jack Monroe, it's Ian Rogers, I think. And I would have noticed that Remender wrote this. I hate giving him money.

I got a LEGO-cover Wonder Woman #36--first issue of the Meredith Finch/David Finch run. And it'll most likely be the last of that run I get. It's not just that it's not how I would do it, it's wildly at variance with what I think it should be. The visibly decaying Amazon crone was a weird, tropey touch.

However, I did get Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman #4, which continues the Gilbert Hernandez story from previously; pretty fun. It also has a vaguely Bronze-Age-Earth-1-like story with the Bronze-Age Hawks and Byth, drawn by Tom Lyle, which is OK. And a who-even-knows-what-continuity story with a vaguely Golden Age Wondy and Etta fighting Ra's al Ghul, helped by Deadman; drawn by Dean Haspiel; Etta is HUGE.

So, yeah, Sensation is staying on the pull list. The others, I think not.
philippos42: heather (superhero)
I am the worst Captain America fan. I'm one of the least flag-wavy people you are likely to meet, and thus not automatically a fan of the kind of trademark Captain America is, and I don't generally buy the book.

But I get really angry if you dis Cap the character. (This is in fact where my hatred of Mark Millar came from, and I know it's an overreaction, but it made sense to me in context.)

I know this is really strange.

At one point when I was a kid, I kind of wanted to grow up to be the Falcon. I liked Bernie, and Jack Monroe, and OK, I kind of wanted to be Nomad, too.

This is why "The Winter Soldier" (comics version) pissed me off. They killed off Nomad to bring back James Buchanan Barnes. Sales-driven shock schlock meets anti-legacy retro erasure crap.

...I just looked on marvel.wikia.com to find out what happened to Jack's baby companion "Bucky"--and man, I was really out of touch with Marvel for a while and didn't realize how much the comics had messed up Jack even before. Now I'm sad and angry.


Wait, you say, isn't Wonder Woman also a flag-waving USA superhero? A-ha no. Wondy is a foreigner who cynically strategically adopted a costume that Americans would read as "patriotic superhero," but it's all just vaguely similar motifs. It's almost like Russian or Romanian heraldry, too.

Cap is a big old heart-on-his-sleeve New Deal patriot, and I'm a lot more cynical about my country than he is. Wait, let me rephrase that. Cap believes in the dream, and fights against the perversion of the dream while embracing the heraldry of the dream. I tend to associate the heraldry with jingoism and racism, and I decline the heraldry for myself, while respecting Cap's dream as a worthy dream. Something like that, anyway.

(I also tend to like other "national superheroes" from other countries. And that's one of the fun things you can do with Captain America: have him team up with Le Peregrine, and stuff.)


I'm wondering if I'll buy Al Ewing's Mighty Avengers series when it's renamed Captain America and the Mighty Avengers.

Good points:
Greg Land will be off the book. (Hey, remember liking Greg Land, when he was basically swiping from Immonen and Jason Pearson instead of tracing whatever he's tracing now? Well, actually some of the recent stuff on Mighty has been good. Forcing him to draw men and babies and stuff helps?)

Bad points:
I'm already kind of buying Captain Marvel, Guardians of the Galaxy, Ms. Marvel, and She-Hulk, and not real keen on adding more books to my budget.
I kind of don't want the Falcon to be Captain America. It's weird to me. And it's not the same as when John Walker was. I hope they can make it work. Maybe they can sell me on it.
philippos42: heather (vindicator)
Oh, hey, I have this blog I could use it.

Um. I have kind of started buying print comics again? But I think that budget-wise, I'm not going to keep it up.

Anyway, last few weeks, in two different trips to the comic shop, I have picked up the first two issues of the new Captain Marvel series, the first three issues of Ms. Marvel, She-Hulk #5 (with all the wide-angle shots, scans of which are what sent me to the comic shop in the first place), a couple of issues of All-New Doop (which is very much in the middle of a giant X-Men story, and rather weird), and an issue of Guardians of the Galaxy which lied to me by putting Carol (Captain Marvel) on the cover.

Yeah, basically this time I decided to go for the related trademarks of Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel. And of course there's Shulkie.

I haven't actually caught up on the Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel series yet. Back in June I bought the first issues kind of to see if I liked them. And I don't hate them (yet), so I went back a couple days ago and got a few more. But I am months behind.

Well, that's a boring post. What did you think of them, philippos? "I don't hate them (yet)."

Yep. Shulkie's the one I hope I keep enjoying, but I think Carol's series is growing on me. Even if it's crossing over with Bendis's Guardians of the Galaxy. I like the GotG emough to tolerate Bendis, I guess? I mean, I mock Bendis, but I'm not boycotting him.
philippos42: zat's bunny (comedy)
OK, since I've been missing days, a short bonus writing meme post to make up for Saturday--which more or less would have been Saturday's post if I had remembered:

It occurs to me that some of the revamps of major comic book superheroes in recent years are not only, "Why haven't we done that yet?" but a bit of, "Of course they are!" That is, "Of course they are!" if you asked someone with only the barest familiarity with the property.

Wonder Woman is Superman's girlfriend? "Of course she is!" as you might be told by someone unfamiliar enough with the mythos to confuse Wonder Woman and Lois Lane.

Spider-Man is black now? (That is, in the "Ultimate" comics) Hasn't he always been?

Going back a little further, we could add more:

The Avengers work for the government, so they're basically a military outfit? Of course!

And Spider-Man has to be an Avenger, right? Of course he is!

So Spidey is a government employee? Uh....

And having a Robin who was literally Bruce Wayne's son may have been playing with that trope.
I like to present myself as someone who likes the more obscure characters, not someone who goes for the big obvious household names.

But let's be honest, I have been a fan of the big names too. I watched Happy Days when I was a kid, and I loved Fonzie; stuff like that.

When it comes to comics—for all that I might say Steve Gallacci, Alan Zelenetz, and Jaime Hernandez mean to my sense of the art; for all that I deplore the reliance on super-heroes over other premises by certain publishers; for all that I might tell people I'm a fan of Black Canary or Amanda Waller—I certainly had lots of opportunity to read Batman, Spider-Man, and Superman as a kid, and I have been a fan of those, too.

Superman wasn't my favorite. I liked Spider-Man more. Superman was one of DC's ridiculous mesomorphs with jet-black hair and oddly blue eyes, overblown, overpowered, and oversold. But Superman (and Superboy, of the young-Clark-Kent variety) got into my head in a dangerous way.

You see, I am rather seriously nearsighted. I got glasses in kindergarten. I got to accept them as part of my face. It was after I got glasses that I could see people's facial features well enough to differentiate adults by them and not mainly by hair color, clothes, and voice, or something. So I learned to see faces when I was internalizing glasses as part of my sense of my own face. But wait, why would I internalize them that way?

I loved cartoons, right? So here was this major cartoon hero, who didn't wear a mask, but put on glasses, and was taken as a different person! Could that actually work?

Well, it can throw a kid, right? People looked different to me if they curled their hair, or colored it, or wore glasses. Learning to recognize the face underneath was something that took a while. I think it's one of those skills we all have to work on as children. People I don't know really, really well still look different to me if they gain a lot of weight.

Anyway, in the Superman comics, apparently everyone was assumed to be a little bit faceblind. Because adding glasses, using a different voice, and combing one's hair differently was supposed to be enough to confuse things, and (though I think this had faded away in the Julie Schwartz era) there had even been a lot of coincidental doubles running around.

So I wondered. Maybe when I grew up, I could stop wearing glasses and change my name and get far, far away from my youth. I'd have a face no one quite recognized.

Yeah, right.

Anyway, Superman was too powerful, too much a hotshot, too ridiculous, but somehow nerdy little Philip wanted to be like Clark Kent—really something grander under the specs.

I'm old enough to remember Superman before the Crisis. Excuse me, Crisis on Infinite Earths, COIE, but the Crisis to that generation. He had two kind of, sort of, love interests in newspaper reporter Lois Lane and television reporter Lana Lang. I kind of shipped him with Lana, which may have been contrariness.

I used to muse about a superhero with a dual identity having one girlfriend under one name and another girlfriend under the other name. Lois could marry Clark and he'd cheat on her, as Superman, with Lana. Well, that's an awful idea, and as an adult I grant it wouldn't really work. And of course, Clark in the comics was too decent to do it, even if everyone in his world was face-blind. Good for him.

Anyway, I like Lois & Clark as a couple now. And Lana became totally different with the Byrne revamp.

I was not pleased at first with Byrne's revamp of Superman post-Crisis. A Clark Kent who had played high school football? That was just not right. But over time, I came to realize that some of Byrne's revamps actually made a lot of sense, even if some of his stories were dire. (He was writing two issues a month for a while, and threw some crazy stuff at the wall that is better treated as non-canon.)

A Clark Kent whose parents were still alive, whose invulnerability was a projected ability that could be turned off physiologically, who didn't need an invulnerable costume, yeah, that made sense for an update.

And of course, that Clark was permitted for several years to have his story progress and move forward. This Supes (after Byrne left) would grow his hair long, cut it again, marry Lois Lane, become editor at the Daily Planet for a while, and sort of evolve. That was nice.

I grew to like this guy, especially when he had the long hair. He was a little different from the generic image of Superman that had been around when I was a kid. He was still a goofy invulnerable muscleman, but he had good points.

But what really won my affection was...earlier. Back in the 1980's, probably even before the Byrne stuff got going, I'm not sure—I had opportunity to read the earliest Superman stories from Action Comics. Siegel and Shuster. Here I got to see the roots of the superhero genre: A science-fiction detective.

Oh, it's a bad way to write a detective story. A hero who can conveniently hear conversations through two brick walls, who is conveniently super-strong and bulletproof? It's cheating, is what it is! It's cheap! And it's a bit immature. Clark had his heart in the right place, but he was trying to bully the world into behaving better. Like kidnapping a munitions manufacturer and putting him into a warzone to scare him straight.

OK, I loved that bit. Supey started with a social conscience. He was out to fight corruption wherever he could find it.

And this is why I love Superman. Other heroes may have melodramatic origin stories that drive them to do good, or "fight evil," because of some tragic loss in their past. Frank Castle's family died. Bruce Wayne's parents were shot by a mugger in front of his eyes. Peter Parker learned the hard way that actions can have random consequences. But Superman's motivation? One panel: Pa Kent telling young Clark that he should use his powers to help mankind. Superman fights the good fight simply because he was properly brought up. And that is the best motivation in comics.

Again, I am contrary.

Sure, one can "fanalyze" (Is that a word? Is now!) that one panel, to find a lot of depth behind it. But that one panel is what Siegel and Shuster gave us. And it makes Superman pretty freaking cool.

What about recent years' Superman comics? Well, I haven't been following it all that closely, but I think there's been too much rewinding, and maybe too many big "high concept" wacky changes ("New Krypton"?) and not enough faith in gradual evolution.

I think DC really had already done enough stories with a single Clark, and they needed to accept that the premise had become a married Superman, with Lois and Clark as a team. Breaking them up leaves the same bad taste in my mouth as breaking up Pete and MJ in Spider-Man; the same fake-feeling rewind.

And I know that it's really a relaunch, but you might think that looking at Legion of Super-Heroes sales over the last two decades would have told them something. A launch of new characters is a good idea. A relaunch/revamp of old trademarks is trying to hard to have that new juice while maintaining nostalgia, and becomes its own kind of tired trope with overuse.

In fact, I think that there were good story hooks to come out of Clark and Lois having a kid (and apparently several DC writers thought so, and rushed to do Chris Kent stories before he was Phantom Zoned or whatever). Also, they had some neat characters in Steel, Starlight, and Superboy (Kon-El). They had even started to make the new version of Kara work before Nu52. DC misses a bet by rewinding to "young" heroes.

But it's not the first time they've heavily revamped. The Byrne revamp, as much as I hated it at the time, eventually led to a pretty smart version of Superman. It's a matter of what you're revamping into.

In the 1980's, there was some talk of really letting characters age. Now, there seems to be explicit repudiation of that, which limits writing choices a lot. Oh, well.

But yeah, I kind of like Supey, sometimes.

I really am a fan of the underdogs, though.
philippos42: heather (vindicator)
I wonder sometimes if being such a big comic-book nerd messed me up for life. Have I become the Comic Book Guy, who feels ill at ease in the real world and is obsessed with heroes of ink on bristol board?

Well, when I put it that way, yeah.

:(

It wasn't just comics, though. It was television ("couch potato" is a thing) and it was perhaps seminally "children's books." I read Barrie's Peter Pan when I was really much too young, I think. Maybe I tried in my mind to connect to that constructed childhood of children's books, in a paper world without the difficulties of real life, and didn't seek out adulthood, with its responsibilities, until late. And parts of it scared me, and scare me still.

But super-hero comics, specifically, worry me in their influence on my mind. My love of secrecy ("secret identities") and my tendency not to see my life as a finite pass through the world to be exploited with a plan and schedule, but as something open-ended--those come from Spider-Man and his ilk, a little bit. And to be honest, the latter is true of Archie, and Steve Canyon, and good ol' Charlie Brown.

I have at times become the contrarian comic book fan, wishing that characters aged more (as in, at all) and supporting versions where a "secret identity" is absent or taken less seriously.

But my real life self is still someone who uses online identities disconnected from his real name and face, and tends to let the years slip away without being used as constructively as they should in order to be something great.

Should I, "let comics be comics and real life be real life"?

Perhaps I let something silly become my pretend life, and lost sight of my own life's potential.

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philippos42

May 2017

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