fajrdrako: ([Uncle])

I'm enjoying this show more with each episode. It reminds me of favourite shows of my past: The Man From U.N.C.L.E., the Avengers - I mean Steed and Mrs. Peel, not the Marvel version; X-Files and Fringe. I love the international settings - how many shows these days bring us Stockholm and Malta in two consecutive episodes?

I loved it that the show used X-ray specs.

Are we going to get more weaponry and gadgets from the ads in the back of the old comics? Amazing Sea-Monkeys? The Black Dragon Fighting Society? Grow Living Monsters in Your Own Room? New Bodies for Old?

There's a potential plot in every one of them.

fajrdrako: (Default)

I started a blog about comic books today: Amazing Tales and Uncanny Heroes.

There are a lot of comic book blogs out there. In fact, I am astounded (if not amazed) by the current popularity and high profile of comic books. I love it, of course.

Comics keep changing. I would have said they were getting better and more sophisticated all the time; but then was reading a few comics from the 1980s that were just as good. But different. I've always been fascinated not just by the stories in the comics, and the characters, but by the industry itself - its styles and fashions, its techniques, its economics, its politics.

So now I have a place to talk about all this.


fajrdrako: ([SHIELD])
Tonight was Apaplexy collation at StarWolf's place. A good time was had by all.

Before that, I visited [livejournal.com profile] lunacy_gal and funkym3485, and had a lovely time. [livejournal.com profile] funkym3485 had his comics from the 1990s and I was happily reading old issues of Uncanny X-men that I'd missed first time round - never did know how that Genosha business happened - and issues of X-Force and Excalibur from about the same time. A few thoughts:

Writers I loved then and still love now: Fabian Nicieza, Warren Ellis, Scott Lobdell. Not that I like Warren Ellis' work so much now: it was his work for Marvel that I love. Oh, that Pete Wisdom. I miss him.

Artists I loved then and still love now: Carlos Pacheco, Chris Bachalo, Andy Kubert.

Writers and artist I didn't like then and still don't like: Alan Davis, Steve Skroce, Tom Raney, Tom DeFalco.

Mixed feelings about Brandon Peterson.

A treat: seeing art by Jim Cheung - under the name of Jimmy Cheung - in Uncanny X-men vol. 1 #371. Back before I knew who he was or what his work looked like. Love his version of Nick Fury!

Reading those comics reminded me how wonderful Gambit used to be. How did he become as dull an bland as he is now? And why?

fajrdrako: ([Iron Man])

There aren't many movies I really care about going to see these days. There was a time I liked going to a movie every week - but most of the new movies don't look interesting to me.

Least of all are they worth seeing late at night. Midnight screenings? I'm the get up at dawn girl these days; so it's the rare movie that lures me into the late hours of the night. Even when I see things, I don't often think they're worth it.

So... Iron Man 3. Worth it.

I loved Iron Man 1, mostly hated Iron Man 2. Ads for #3 made me fear it would be like #2. No need to fear: it isn't.

I just heard an IMDb interview with Robert Downey Jr.. He says, "People are happy that it's kind of clever and defies expectations." That's certainly true in my case: it's very clever and kept defying my expectations over and over. Expectations based on lot of comic book reading over the years, and a long knowledge of how these stories work.

And it isn't just changing things for the sake of changing them, randomly. It's... clever changes. Things rooted in the comic, and in the set-up of the previous movies. Surprises that all make sense, but you don't see them coming. At least, I didn't.

It was wonderful. I love surprises.

On the non-surprise front: Too many explosions. I did expect that. No big deal. If a lot of explosions sell a good plot, I'll live with them.

Mind you, some of it was due to a year or two of clever misdirection in terms of movie publicity and promotion. Those clever dogs.

Okay, spoilery comments now...... )
fajrdrako: (Default)

Howard Chaykin was at the Ottawa Writers' Festival today, talking on "Banned in Canada". Except that this really wasn't what he talked about.

The story I had heard was that his comic Black Kiss 3 was not allowed into Canada because of its sexual content. Well, I've had friends enough whose comics were confiscated at the border. It was plausible enough.

But it turns out not to be the case. What happened was that the distributors - Diamond, I assume - decided not to ship the comic to Canada because they thought it might be stopped at the border.

Which is why so many comics don't make it to Canada.

"Lame-asses," Chaykin called them, pointing out that this is a big danger with censorship laws - that they make people hesitate to risk breaking these laws when they are the result of unclear wording and fuzzy thinking. In the case of Canada, "undue exploitation of sex" is not allowed, but what is "undue exploitation of sex"? What makes it undue rather than due? And where does depiction end and exploitation begin?

This isn't an issue likely to be settled any time soon, but I think it makes my culture poorer for it - not because we need more porn, but because it shows us narrow-minded, unwilling to take intellectual risks - and that's what it is. And why let in comics written by, say, Garth Ennis, and not Howard Chaykin?

Chaykin said it was not the first time something he'd written had not made it to Canada - someone thought a line implied child porn. Chaykin was 'bemused'. He cited a time he was 'ambushed' in the UK by a fan who was angry because Chaykin wrote something that offended him, and he 'had to buy it' because he was a Chaykin completist and a fan.

"My life," said Chaykin, "is a balance of hard work and calculated mischeif. Violence and sex should always be gratuitous... I'm grumpy but happy."

He said that most comics are aimed at an adolescent sensibility of people now in their fifties, and he finds most of them boring. "I love the form. Not so much the content."

He said that a lot of Americans think Canadians are just like American because we look alive and talk English - but that Canadians are very different, with a distinctly different culture and history. "There are only forty-six people here, right?"

He said that most people have no idea what comics are. "Batman is a guy who had a bad day when he was eight... A story about Batman as a private sector investor isn't very dramatic." At one point he pitched a story about Superman flying over Metropolis listening to "I Believe In You" on his Walkman.

He taught a course in storytelling to Norwegian filmmakers, who said it changed their careers. He's a "romantic queen at heart" who loves television: Downton Abbey, Bunheads, Night Court "before it lost its way"... But hates Big Bang Theory.

"I've had to reinvent my career every four to five years," he said. "I've worked with much better draftsmen But I'm still here because I work so hard, and I'm smart, too."

He talked about Satellite Sam, a comic he will be working on with Matt Fraction, about a murder involving a kids' TV show. And about his Italian Western, Century West, which has not so far been translated into English. He's also working on a left-wing Buck Rogers and a spiritual story that he has been planning for many years. Even though he says he can't write espionage stuff, he wants to do a spy comic. "I'm really busy," he said. "I shouldn't be in Canada."

He talked about The Good Wife as "the most morally ambivalent show on TV - better than Mad Men.

"I have not written a novel," he said, "because I like to get paid. If I were twenty years younger and had the money I have now, I might do it. But comics is my medium. I love the synergy of words and pictures." He said that he likes to draw fucking and he likes "pretty stuff... I like finesse." Yet he called Robert Crumb a god. "His work boggles the shit out of me. There's such a sense of labour in it - the laborious quality of his work - and the fact that he lives in southern France and refuses to speak French, bringing xenophobia to new heights."

Asked what other artists he likes, he listed Eduwardo Risso, the artist on 100 Bullets; Leinil Yu; Chris Sprouse, and Sean Murphy. He called Ross Andru "a great forgotten talent".

He quoted Walt Simonson as saying that "Comics are illustration with the application of time." As for the "flash and dash" of many comics: "Liefeld and those mutts - they're irrelevant - no offense - fuck 'em."

Asked what children should be given to get them interested in comics, given the dearth of good American comics for children these days, he suggested Tintin and the "Essential" series of DC reprints.

Concerning comics today: "Everything is writer-driven and that's dangerous. There's a group of writers wo want to be David Mamet or Aaron Sorkin, and they don't write visually. There are three styles of comic book writing: Harvey Kurtzman, who gave information; Will Eisner, who was emotional, who pulled the heartstrings in short stories; and then Kirby and Lee, who were all violent impact. These guys are trying to do Kirby/Lee impact with Kurtzman style. The problem is that these writers are 600-pound gorilla who run the business."

His motto: "Deadly serious. Casual mischief.... My work is always funny even when it's dark, even when it's dirty. I have an attitude problem that doesn't seem to be going away. My country is full of people who take offense at nonsense. I don't give a shit."

* * *

A few hours after his talk, when I was walking home, I passed Chaykin on the street and he recognized me, and said hello.

I was impressed: an intelligent, articulate man who knows what he is doing and why. I hope to discuss his comments at more length ... when I find the time.

fajrdrako: (Default)

I wrote this a couple of days ago.. and never posted it.

- - -

A day of good news.

First, the news that France and New Zealand have legalized gay marriage. I'm tempted to say, "What took them so long?" but hey, that really is good news. Waking up to a new age of equality and justice.

Second, I saw the trailer for Thor: the Dark World and kind of got all excited over it. Especially the last few seconds featuring Loki.

I'm a little sorry to see Jane Foster back, but I suppose it was inevitable.

Third, I saw the preview of tomorrow's Young Avengers #4, in which Noh-Varr is awesome, Kate Bishop turns up, Loki makes sarky comments, and we get a few more Parents from Hell. I can hardly wait!

Fourth, I learned that the movie rights for Daredevil have reverted to Marvel. Is there hope in the future of a good Daredevil movie? Dare I hope? Now, I know, a few good movies under their belt doesn't mean all their movies in future are going to be great - I didn't much like Iron Man 2 - but they've had a few magnificent movies, and The Avengers trumps all. Other movie-makers just don't get it right.

fajrdrako: ([Misc] - 02)

I am not currently reading Batman. I'm not reading anything at DC, partly because I can't afford it, partly because I prefer the Marvel Universe, and partly because I a miffed with the policy at DC of changing continuity so often that most of my favourite characters do not exist, or are changed beyond recognition - and sometimes I don't even know which.

But today A headline caught my eye: Carrie Kelley Returns? DC Tease a New Robin.

I knew they were going to do away with Damien as Robin - not a good move, in my opinion, because I've loved Damien's Robin over the past while. When I was reading Batman, Damien was the reason for it. Assuming that Dick Greyson is out of the running to be Robin because he's Nightwing, and adult, my choices as Robin would be:

3. Tim Drake
2. Damien Wayne
1. Stephanie Brown

So now they pull Carrie Kelly out of the hat. If you don't know, Carrie was the Robin who accompanied the aging Batman in Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. An alternate future story. As far as I know, she's never been in regular continuity.

She isn't Stephanie Brown - but then, she hasn't been messed with until she was hardly a character any more. Stephanie was manipulated and then sent away by Batman, tortured, killed, reborn, rebooted, renamed, and switched around so often I lost interest: she was too many things, and she had been perfect as Robin.

Could Carrie Kelly take her place? Sure, of course, yes. It would be fun to see her in regular continuity. Regular Batman readers may already have done so; I don't know.

Frankly, if we can't have Stephanie, I'd rather they kept Damien. I know change boosts sales; I don't have to like the atmosphere of constant change in comics. I'd rather get to know, love, and stick with the characters we have.

Also: They aren't saying Carrie Kelly is going to be Robin. This is a tease, not a return... so far.

I suppose I might be happy with an entirely new Robin. Selina Kyle's daughter? Yeah, I know, her baby was retconned away along ago and Helena Kyle doesn't exist, but in this new world, anything is possible.

Or: a child of Damien, come from the future. Or a child of Dick Greyson, or other Bat-related character.

fajrdrako: ([Hawkeye])

    aleams asked: "What do you feel is missing/needed in comics today?"

    Matt Fraction: diversity, in all meanings and forms and in all places and in all ways. diversity.

What a good answer.

fajrdrako: ([Doctor Who] - 01)

Yesterday it was Biker Mice. Today it's Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters.

What next? How many of these things do I have?

fajrdrako: (pic#435946)

I am finding amazing things as I catalogue my comics. Sometimes I can't believe my eyes.

I just found a copy of Biker Mice from Mars #1.

How on earth did I ever get that? And more to the point... why?

fajrdrako: ([Hawkeye])

And just as well, too, because [personal profile] fairestcat and I spent a good part of the day working on cataloguing my comics. As usual, the process was both difficult and fun, and there were all sorts of goodies I'd forgotten ever existed, especially among the independent comics: Melody, Night Life from Strawberry Jam Comics, The Tale of One Bad Rat by Brian Talbot, and so on... right back to a 1957 copy of Mr. Muscle - how'd I get that? [personal profile] fairestcat was amused by my copy of That Darn Cat from Gold Key, but I was busy being all excited over seeing my early issues of Fantastic Four again.

It was snowing hard for most of the day. I started out to the gym, gave up on it, and met [personal profile] fairestcat at the Silver Snail where we got our weekly comics, then had lunch at the Atomic Rooster. Which turned out, to my delight, to have really delicious pork ribs and caesar salad.

Two of today's comics were magnificent. Absolutely amazingly good. The first, rather predictable, was Hawkeye vol. 4 #8 by Matt Fraction and David Aja. It remains the best comic of the year, or quite possibly the decade.

It's a light caper story that has a delightful underlay of substance. And the art. The art! I am delirious with joy at the art. It reminds me of Frank Miller, Jim Steranko, Tim Sale - and yet it's original and fresh. Fraction and Aja leave me in awe.

The other wonderful comic was somewhat more of a surprise: Young Avengers vol. 2 #1 by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie. The first issue of this new series was good; the second issue was brilliant. In issue #1, Wiccan used magic to resurrect his boyfriend Teddy's mother from the dead. Predictably, this does not go well. Mother turns out to be an opportunistic demon with a talent for overprotection... and when Loki comes to their rescue, well, can that be good?

Of course it can. Gillen has a real talent for young Loki's dialogue. This comic was funny, smart, terrifying, suspenseful, and just about all I could wish.

A whole month to wait for the next issue?

The big disappointment of the week was Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3 #0.1. The art, by Steve McNiven, is as gorgeous as anything McNiven has done. But it's a substandard story for Brian Michael Bendis, trite in just about every way I could say. A handsome alien crash-lands near a secluded house in Colorado, where he is tended by a lovely young woman. When he returns to his alien war, he leaves her pregnant. Ten years later, we have the story of his son, Peter, who resents his father's absence and seems to doubt his mother's explanations for it. Until two evil aliens appear, and shoot his mother.

A story for young boys, I'd call it, all wish-fulfillment about going to space and shooting bad guys. I did notice that there are only three women in this story: one is the boy's mother, who is killed; one is a young girl at school, who is bullied and helpless; one is a nurse. Since when does Brian Michael Bendis write stereotypes?

In its defense, I will argue that it's only the prologue, maybe the story which follows will have more to recommend it.

Of maybe Bendis is just phoning it in and a bit of boyish wish-fulfillment adventure is all Marvel wants of it.

fajrdrako: (Default)

I just read an item on Comics Alliance that the comic Hellblazer is being rebooted, moved from Vertigo into the DC Universe continuity, and moved to a PG rating.

This can only be a good thing.

I fell in love with John Constantine back when Alan Moore invented him in Swamp Thing - and what a wonderful comic that was. I loved him when used by Neil Gaiman in Books of Magic.

Then he got his own comic at Vertigo, and I pretty much hated it all the way. I have problems with Vertigo: maybe it was the adult rating - which in theory I'd like, right? - but it seemed to lead to comics that were dark, depressing, violent and male-directed.

The result being, as so often happens, a character I loved in the setting of other comics, failed to entertain me in his own title. Jamie Delano's Constantine was such a loser I lost interest. I still read the comic from time to time, if writers I liked - emphatically not Delano - did a run. Warren Ellis, for example. I still loved John Contantine (tough, rough, chainsmoking bisexual smart-ass that he was) but the comic has been consistently high on the two things I like least about comics - gross and violent - and low on the things I do like, like heroism and interpersonal dynamics.

So... that's comics for you. It's a wide field with something for everyone, and if I longed for the John Constantine of my dreams - a guy who looks like Sting, acts like Felix Castor, and appears in stories with plots I like - it wasn't with much hope. Constantine was what the writers and editors wanted him to be. Just another DC/Vertigo comic I didn't need to buy....

And now? Written by Jeff Lemire. Part of the regular DC run. I might just like this one.

Or is that too optimistic?

fajrdrako: art by Jim Cheung ([Wiccan])

On the whole: what a good day.

Yoga. Coffee with [livejournal.com profile] maaseru, who had the day off. Went to the gym. Went to the Silver Snail for comics. Went to Patty's Place, the pub on Bank near Grover, with [profile] fairescat to eat lunch and read comics, and then back to my place to continue reading comics. What a haul. Notable:

    (1) The pick of the pack, for story and art and sheer fun, was All-New X-Men vol. 1 #7 by Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez. This comic has been consistently delightful; amazing characterization, and a story with fascinating twists and turns, and wonderful contrasts between the young, untried X-Men and their jaded, experienced adult counterparts. Ahead of time, I thought the notion of having the original X-Men, at a young age, come into the present continuity of the Marvel universe was a terrible idea. But I also had faith in Brian Michael Bendis' writing, and I was justified. This comic has charm and suspense and now I'm eager to see what will happen. Ther are some lovely bits of dialogue, such as the younger Cyclops going into a bank:

      Teller: Oh my God. You -- you look a lot older on TV.
      Cyclops: I am older on TV.

    This particular issue is primarily a mind-game between Mystique and young Cyclops. It's hard to tell what Mystique wants, but it's clear she's using the truth to manipulate Scott. As with so many villainous characters, I love Mystique best when she's sympathetic and more good than bad.

    (2) Avengers Assemble Annual vol. 1 #1 set up a situation that's been a long time coming for us Young Avengers fans. An ongoing theme has been the parentage of Billy and Tommy - a theme that was explored in Avengers: The Children's Crusade when Billy went on a search for his mother - the Scarlet Witch, Wanda Maximoff, daughter of Magneto. But what about his father, the Vision?

    Back in the 1970s I was a huge fan of the Vision. I was horrified when this Android fell in love and married Wanda - it has taken decades, and the good stories of the last decade, to reconcile me to that marriage, which has long since come and gone. But we're dealing still with its aftermath, and this story at last present the Vision's perspective on things: his return to life, and the knowledge that he has - in a magical sense, at least - two sons.

    (3) Fearless Defenders #1 by Cullen Bunn and Will Sliney had another treat in store. I knew this new series was going to have female protagonists - which makes me cheer. But Defenders has traditionally been a mediocre book, and I was somewhat worried: I want female superheroes, but I want good female superheroes and in the past Valkyrie and Misty Knight have not exactly set the world of Marvel on fire.

    The good news: the first issue was fun. Not a very sophisticated story, but fun. And that's not why I'm commenting on it.

    No, I'm commenting on it because we get a rather delicious girl-girl kiss. I was saying a while back that although I have been very happy with the high-profile gay characters at Marvel - notably Northstar and his husband Kyle - most of them seemed to be male, and the few female exceptions I could think of don't appear often and don't have girlfriends. Then we got a kiss between Rogue and Black Widow a few months ago, and one between Valkyrie and Dr. Annabelle Riggs this time. "Swooning and kissing," Misty calls it. Makes me a very happy comics reader. Very happy indeed. You can see the page with the kiss here.

    Now, X-Men had brilliant female characters for years, especially in stories written by Chris Clarmont. Then things got murkier... comics seemed again to be veering towards sexism, marginalizing the female characters. And now - by, I suppose, a deliberate turn-around - there seem to be more female characters in more comics, better written than ever, and with an avoidance of what is referred to as "the male gaze" - and it's evil twin, objectification.

    And it seems these great characters are not all straight either. I am delighted.

    (5) There was a new issue of Scarlet for the first time in two years. Two years! The story and art are as brilliant as ever, but two years is an awfully long time to wait in the middle of a story.

[livejournal.com profile] maaseru and I went to the chiropractor for the first time in two months. Felt good.

Then we watched the first half of the movie Cloud Atlas. It's a beautifully made movie; I'm not sure yet what I think of the story. I tend to like things with more narrative cohesion, but I'll wait till I've seen it all to pass judgement.

fajrdrako: (Doctor Who - Amy Pond)

Today was a day of utterly unexpected activity.

It was weirdly warm - by which I mean, temperatures above the freezing point. [personal profile] fairestcat was walking around out of doors without a coat; I found it chilly because it was damp, but it certainly wasn't your typical January day. The streets were running with water from the melting snowbanks.

Morning: went to see my doctor, then went to the drugstore to get the medicine she prescribed, then went to the gym.

Afternoon: Met [personal profile] fairestcat at the Silver Snail for comics - it was a really prime pile this week - and then we met up with [personal profile] commodorified at Pho Bo Ga 2 for lunch, which was really delicious - as always. I'm addicted to their soup #13.

Then [personal profile] fairestcat and I went back to my place to read comics, and catalogue another box, and while we were working on that, my friend Lyn dropped by, exhausted by walking in the wet, slippery weather and in need of a cup of tea. So we sat and chatted a bit.

We particularly liked Hawkeye vol. 4 #7 by Matt Fraction and guest artist Steve Lieber. Of course we did: for six months now, Hawkeye has been the best comic on the stands and then some. But this was a special issue devoted to the crisis in New Jersey when the megastorm Sandy hit, and the proceeds from the comic go to relief efforts. Highly, highly recommended.

Evening: Supper with Pim and [livejournal.com profile] maaseru, while we watched the final episode of Fringe. We all really like the actor who played September, Michael Serverus, who, it seems, has been in a lot of things - but I don't think we'd ever seen him before Fringe. I have a lot of thoughts about Fringe as a series - sometimes or often brilliant, but suffering from the curse that all J.J. Abrams shows seem to have, of changing its mind what it's about. I much preferred the first season, and the situation they set up before we started hopping universes. I also thought Walter was much more interesting (and fun) before he became sane and responsible.

[livejournal.com profile] maaseru made Stovetop Ribs for supper, which were utterly delicious. But in the course of eating I managed to drop my plate of ribs upside-down on the carpet... what a waste! Note to self: shampoo the carpet. And make the recipe some time soon.

fajrdrako: art by Jim Cheung ([Wiccan])

Catalogued a lot of comics today, and [personal profile] fairestcat helped me wrangle them into boxes. Two sets: one for Marvel comics, one for all the rest. I have about 2,600 catalogued now, most of that in boxes... and it's such fun seeing things I want to read again.

I'd been trying to remember Dalgoda's name, and my friend Grant remembered it. But neither of us remembered the name of the other comic he was in - Flesh and Bones.

Then there was Friends, a wonderful, beautiful comic by Bill Dinardo. Fashion in Action. Fish Police. Concrete.

And lots of gorgeous X-Men artists: Rick Leonardi, Marc Silvestri, Paul Smith.... Remember when Paul Gulacy did Catwoman? Remember Pulse? Remember Bill Sienkiewicz on New Mutants?

Makes a person just want to sit and read.

fajrdrako: (Default)

  • Shopping at Zeller's, which is having its big close-out sale. I was actually looking for a kettle, since part of the plastic on my electric kettle broke off a couple of days ago. No luck: all the kettles were plastic. I looked later in J.D. Adams, which had beautiful kettles, for $60 and more. Guess I'll make do with what I have.

    I'll miss Zeller's. [livejournal.com profile] maaseru tells me I'll like Target, which will be replacing it. I wonder when?

  • Finally got around to putting more things on my tumblr page. Especially enjoyed revisiting pictures, panels and pages from the Fraction/Aja Hawkeye comic. I love that one so much.

  • Watching episode 2 of series 2 of The Hour. It all just gets better and better.

fajrdrako: art by Jim Cheung ([Wiccan])

I looked at a poll on "Comic Book Resources" today, with the question: "WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING 2013 SERIES LAUNCHES ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO?" There were a lot of choices, starting with "Guardians of the Galaxy" and going on to "Snyder and Lee's unnamed Superman title", and eventually, down near the bottom of the list, "Young Avengers". I voted for "Young Avengers". I don't care about Superman titles; I just wish Jim Lee would do some Marvel titles again.

Interesting results. The Superman title came first; but to my surprise, "Young Avengers" came second, despite a lot of publicity for other titles like Guardians of the Galaxy. I'm glad to see Young Avengers has a good fan following - as it should.

Another poll asked: "IT'S BEEN FIVE YEARS SINCE MARY JANE AND PETER'S MARRIAGE WAS ERASED IN "ONE MORE DAY". WHETHER YOU AGREE WITH HOW THE MARRIAGE WAS ERASED, DO YOU THINK IT WAS A GOOD IDEA FOR SPIDEY TO BE A SWINGING' SINGLE AGAIN?" I (of course) voted that it was a "bad idea", since I don't think Spider-Man has been interesting since then - not until the events of issue #700, anyway. 3,813 fans agree with me, compared to 1,482 who think it was a good thing. I'm surprised by the difference in the numbers - a lot of fans have good judgement!

fajrdrako: ([Spider-Man])

After my comments on The Amazing Spider-Man #700, this picture of Stan Lee with it amused me mightily...

fajrdrako: ([Spider-Man])

With the new fashion of stopping comic book series and renumbering them with issue #1, not many comics get to issue #700. So: it's a tribute to Spider-Man, Stan Lee's greatest creation, that it has done so. Next month I believe we'll be getting The Superior Spider-Man instead, with... someone else in the role. Just in case there is anyone here who cares about what happens and hasn't read #700 yet, I avoid the name. It is someone any Spider-Man reader would know.

Now, I haven't been reading Spider-Man much in years, though I love his appearances in the many comics I read that have him turn up. Avengers, Avenging Spider-Man, and so on.

And there's a lot of buzz about this one. My friends are ranting, just as they ranted over the Spider-Man story One More Day, that annulled Peter Parker's marriage to Mary Jane Watson. Now, I, too, wish they had kept that marriage; as far as I can tell, Peter Parker's adventures after that issue have not been as interesting as those when Mary Jane was still married to him. All the Civil War series. That was great.

I had expected it to be a little like the death of Peter Parker in Ultimate Spider-Man, where Peter died and another young hero took over the role as Spider-Man. As a sales ploy, it worked once: so I saw that as a sort of trial run for the Real Thing.

I was so wrong.

This? In an issue that was sometimes hokey and sometimes moving, they did the unexpected and turned the story on its head. I like that. Shakes things up. I believe we will be having a run of Superior Spider-Man, so that will be the status quo for a while, and then Amazing Spider-Man, or some such title, will resume with the return - I hope - of Peter Parker.

How, you may ask? Isn't Peter dead? Well, no, the whole point is that someone else's body died with Peter's consciousness in it. So Peter himself didn't die; or if he did, a comic in which minds are transferred between people and radioactive spiders bring on superpowers, anything can happen.

This reminds me of Dark Avengers, where the Avengers team is replaced by villains playing the roles of the heroes. That made for some damned fine comics in the hands of the likes of Brian Michael Bendis. Sadly, Dan Slott is no Bendis, but he writes a lively story.

I really liked the follow-up story in Avenging Spider-Man #15.1, where we get the new Spider-Man dripping jealousy of the old, and full of self-congratulation and self-hate. Partly because I like Chris Yost's writing a little more than Dan Slott's, and largely because I like Paco Medina as artist much more than Humberto Ramos.

I got Spider-Man #700 out of curiosity, when my friends started ranting. I expected to hate it. Instead, I found myself enjoying it. It isn't "more of the same", it's an interesting twist. Sales gimmick? Sure it was, especially at a whopping $7.99 U.S. cover price.

One thing I like is that Peter Parker's friends can't tell he isn't Peter any more, though if he keeps calling Mary Jane "woman" in that contemptuous way, she's going to catch on pretty fast.

Yeah, I enjoyed that. I wasn't going to start reading Spider-Man - 'cause I am already buying too many titles, and it is Slott and Ramos doing it still, and ... and ... well, maybe just the next one, hmm? We'll see how it goes.

fajrdrako: (Default)

  1. Yoga. Felt great.
  2. Met [personal profile] fairestcat at the Silver Snail, and we went for lunch at Bramasole while we looked at our sizable take of comics. Since next week is Christmas, this week was a double-dose of comics, including some titles that had the previous issues coming out only a week ago, or two. I also got a TPB, the first volume of Saga. I haven't read all of the comics yet, not by a long shot, but what I have read so far looks good. I liked this exchange in Indestructible Hulk by Mark Waid and Leinil Yu - a conversation between Maria Hill (Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and Tony Stark (Iron Man) about the Hulk and his possible motives:

      Maria Hill: I think Bruce Banner wants to be you.
      Tony Stark: ? ... Wowo. Then he'll have to set his sights lower.

  3. I picked up library books - sloppy, slushy, wet weather. Ugh.
  4. Visited [livejournal.com profile] maaseru with some eggnog and we watched CNN a little, mostly about the Sandy Hook killings and the possibility that Adam Lanza was autistic.
  5. Wrote most of my apazine for Apaplexy #239.


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