Category Archives: comic book rants.

.a Flash from my past, a welcome back.

It is a new era. It is time for a reinvention of the wheel.

I have returned.

I could sit here and bore you with the details about where I have been the last eight months, recanting you a tale like you would not believe. But I’ll just put it simply, I have been busy.

And that is not what this blog is about dammit. This is about the comic books. This is what we are all here for, to share our love of the comic book with each other and have those wonderful (and at sometimes hateful) conversations that make you think, laugh, and cry…

Maybe I am the only one who tears up with comic books. But that isn’t the point.

I have failed you. And for that I am sorry.

Let me make it up to you.

I want to come back into your life. I miss comic books. I miss the community. For these past eight months, I felt like I was off the grid, hidden away and have been in the pitch black, trying to scour my way through these foreign story lines and plots. To be honest, it felt like I have been away for years and I am finally catching up with my own titles….slowly.

I made the promise to myself I would not go gangbusters this time, like I did in the past and the titles that I am picking up are new and different from what I usually read. Because not only does it bring me joy to learn new things, but I feel like in the end if we are not branching out and trying out these new titles ourselves then what is the point for a publisher to even try to break the mold. They need us.

So. You sitting here reading this! Yeah, you with FaceSpace tabbed out in the background! I asked many a full moon ago for your help.

It is hard to sit here and carry on a conversation with myself and talk about every comic book that is out there. Although I have tried in the past and it is quite a sight to witness.

All joking aside however, I want to have insightful conversations with you, the Hivemind that is the Internet because I know that there are views outside of my own. Comic books that I have not tried and are just waiting for me to devour. But I will not know until you bring them to my attention. One of the best parts about my week is being able to step into my local comic book shop and burst into a lively conversation about what is going to happen next to our Boy Blue or how Peter Parker is going to manage to resurrect himself from the depths and take back his life from the Superior Doctor Octopus. These conversations keep me going to the next week, after I have put down my weekly pull.

And I am going to do better about posting here. I know I have said that in the past and have failed at it before, but I have a couple of ideas in my head, swirling around and waiting to be put down to paper… err text document. Thought provoking and my view, waiting to be shot down and torn apart by you guys. But, because you have to be a tiny bit full of yourself, I know they are going to be awesome,  informative, and you will enjoy them immensely. And you will not need to tear them apart.

At least, I hope you will not.

We are in this together and the comics are our connection. It is going to be a lovely time.

Talk to you soon,
Brett


An Open Discussion and Your Help!

It’s been a long while I know. I have been go, go going at the speed of light this summer. With pulling in five days a week at my job and trying to read a bazillion books (I know not a real figure. But I feel like it is a good estimate) my time spent on here has been lacking. I find it difficult to make long-winded speeches however when I do not have a good topic.

When I’m talking with someone about comics whether on the street, a group of friends, or when I was working at the shop, I always felt in the zone. Because the topic was started and then I was able to call on my knowledge to help the conversation along.

Naturally, in the beginning when I started this blog I had a bunch of different ideas for topics I wanted to cover. And I blew through them pretty quickly, trying to cover as much as I could. I realized later on that I should of been more careful with how I was flying through the posts because now present day, I have run out of topics that I have a firm grasp on. I could talk about more but I don’t have the reading under my belt that I want to have to talk about certain comics ( Ahem. Daredevil)

So I come to you, people of the Internet! Calling all comic lovers! I want to have comic conversations and share our knowledge with each other. Please help! Post on here through comments. Message me on Facebook and/or Twitter. Lets talk comics!

Twitter handle: @Truthjusticecb

Talk to you later,
Brett


Creator-Owned Goodness

I have returned!

I know, I know, finally.

“Brett, you have been away too long and haven’t given us the skinny on what sort of comic books have been coming down the pipe for the past couple of weeks.  What is going on??”

I understand your frustration, I really do. But there was a huge debacle with Doctor Who that I had to sort out and finally I can say that I am caught up to current and am now suffering just like the rest of my fellow Whovians, while we wait every weekend for the new episodes. But enough about that. What you want are the comics.

For awhile now, I have been mulling over what I wanted my next blog to be about. It seems to me and I’m sure the same goes for you that I might not know a whole lot about comics outside of the DC Universe and while I am not as well versed in the Marvel Universe as DC….YET. I do try to dabble in a little bit of everything. To steal a phrase from a certain comic shop owner I know, “I’m a comic gourmand” If it is a comic book, I will try it and about 9 times out of 10 I am pretty sure that I will have enjoyed it in some way. I never look at a comic and say, “Meh, that was bad.” Or.  “OH GOD, PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!” I try to find the best in everything I read, even if it is just ONE good thing.

Ranting aside, I wanted to take a step away from the publisher owned characters and titles and step into the realm of creator-owned.  A whole other beast.

To give a sort of blurry back story on creator owned books, for a long while that is, we had a slew of publisher owned titles and characters that mostly hit the nail on the head for what comic book readers were looking for. But a couple people decided that after either being wronged by a comic book publisher or just bored of what was coming out each week, they decided they wanted to start their own comic book companies and put out their own books. With that, we saw the birth of companies such as Image Comics, Dark Horse Comics, IDW Publishing, Top Cow, Boom Studios, etc.  Pretty much everything outside of the two big powerhouses Marvel and DC. With these creations, we saw new creators stepping out into the fray with new, bold ideas, some good and some bad. But their bravery is what helped pave the way for new books and ideas to be published with confidence that, “someone, somewhere will enjoy this crazy idea that I just came up with.”

© Image Comics

Flash forward to the past couple of years.

One company that has been leading the charge in the distribution of these creators’ brilliant ideas is Image Comics.  With books such as Invincible, Saga, Luther Strode, Witch Doctor, Danger Club, Manhattan Projects, Morning Glories, Skullkickers. The list goes on and on, endlessly, Image Comics has been bringing the heat to the comic book world, giving us not only new characters to love and grow with, but also the idea that with any wave of the hand, these titles could disappear without a second glance. It is a truly scary thought. We are truly in charge of these creators’ futures with these books, based on what we like, don’t like, or what we spend our hard earned dollars on.

If you are like me and my comic book cohorts, we have a rule that we try to follow.

Whenever there is a new number one and we are somewhat interested in it. We gotta give it a shot. We play the three issue game. You really cannot get the feeling of where a creator is taking a book, solely based on one issue. There is too much setup for a story that takes place over the course of a few issues that you will miss out on, especially if you don’t spend the time AND money to get more. So you could miss out technically on something great, just because it wasn’t enough to hook you in one issue. We have to trust the creators to hook and hold us. I can say with confidence that I haven’t been let down a whole lot when trying out a new book.

© Image Comics

© Image Comics

I like to think that they have me in mind when they sit down to create each issue. “Hmm…what would Brett like to see here?”  But, I’m pretty sure that that is just me.

There is something to be said about the ideas that flow for creator owned books. In the publisher owned world, there is a formula to follow. As much as we love seeing our favorite characters in books we have loved for years. Sometimes the growth we see in a character is huge, as long as it is within the confines of what the publishers want to see. No creator can go too far without a certain checks and balances that take place. I will clarify that I am in no way bashing what goes on in the publisher owned arena because I would be a mess without my Daredevil and Superman, but with creator owned stories, it is all fair game.

These are creations that the storytellers came up with of their own accord and the fates of characters and worlds are in the hands of the creators themselves. They are like gods, molding these worlds in their image and can give and take with ease (Not to give any creators any ideas or god complexes!) But it truly is in their hands. We end up falling in love with a character or characters, not knowing that the whole time; they were destined to fall at the hands of the villain or cataclysmic event. It creates a hook that sinks into our hearts so deep that at least in my instance, we never truly recover.

witchdoctor

© Image Comics

When I entered the creator owned world of comics a couple of years ago, I started with just a few small titles.  The Strange Talent of Luther Strode and Witch Doctor. They blew me out of the freaking water with how wonderful they were. The biggest shock however was how Justin Jordan, Tradd Moore, Brandon Seifert, and Lukas Ketner were all these small potato names (no offense, you guys are brilliant!) It was a huge shock that this talent was just hidden away, waiting for them to come out with these books and shock the comic book world.  Now we see that not only are they continuing these series and adding more to these books’ mythos, (I currently have Witch Doctor: Mal Practice #6 in my possession and am sad to see another great mini end and have to wait again for another!) but the creators themselves have become bigger names. Justin Jordan has become a go-to creator in DC Comics, finishing up stories in Deathstroke and Team 7, both great books and beginning to take over for Superboy and Green Lantern: New Guardians. While Tradd Moore is doing more art for Marvel, covers mostly. And I haven’t read them but I hear Brandon Seifert is doing a bang up job on Clive Barker’s Hellrasier for BOOM Studios.

© Image Comics

© Image Comics

Another great creator owned book that I started out on and without a doubt holds its own is Jim Zubkavich’s Skullkickers. Imagine if you will, since I know EVERYONE is a fan of Dungeons and Dragons, two badass monster hunters, one human and one dwarf. Only labeled as the bald one and the short one, doing what monster hunters do, killing monsters for gold, fame, and adventure. Also so they can afford that next ale. So much wit and sarcasm come from the book, while all the craziest shit happens to the two of them. The sound effects that help move the action along is one of the greatest things I have seen in a comic. They are fresh and completely original, while also being appropriate to what is going on in the story. A must-read for anyone who is looking for something original.

© Image Comics

© Image Comics

Following these creator owned gems, Image kept trying to out-do themselves when it came to what great comic book was to come out next and for the next year and up to the present they have been doing just that. It has been coined the “Image Comics Creative Renaissance”  We have seen titles such as Peter Panzerfaust, Mind The Gap, SAGA, Manhattan Projects, and East of West now.  And this is just scratching the surface of what has and will come out in the future. They keep trying to put out fresh, new ideas that keep us guessing while still bringing something to the table to compete with the Big Two every week.

Not to mention, a huge boost to my creativity because I thought if they can do it then I can do it too! I cannot tell you how easy it is to be inspired when I sit down and read a new story. It gets me so pumped and gets the juices flowing for my own ideas. Ones that I hope I will be able to finally sit down and start fleshing out more. Just thinking about it now is calling me to sit down and try. We are definitely going to sit and chat later about those ideas too. Why not bounce my ideas off the entirety of Internet….or everyone who sits down and reads this blog at least! Enough about me though.

© Dark Horse Comics

© Dark Horse Comics

I wanted to also take a minute and tell you about some of the great creator owned stuff I am reading outside of Image. With IDW Publishing, one of the greatest books to grace the stands on a monthly basis is Locke and Key. The great Joe Hill/Gabriel Rodriguez team up has been killing it. With a fresh horror story with huge supernatural elements sprinkled in, this book took what is great about comics and what a great novel should be and make it a match made in heaven.

Another couple of great books coming out of Dark Horse as originals are Francesco Francavilla’s noir pulp superhero hit, The Black Beetle. A wonderful read from beginning to end that gives you a classic feel of what the Masks were like back in the days when you listened to them on the radio. The other book was one I just picked up today called Amala’s Blade. Focusing on a sort of steampunk feel, it follows the character of Amala, a master assassin who has been hired on to kill off many a target. While two sides of the world war on the Purifiers and Modifiers. The Modifiers are a people from what I have seen that devote themselves to modifying their lives, weapons, etc. While the Purifiers are the purists and stay from all the technological advances. And Amala is caught in the middle, making enemies on both sides without a care in the world. Did I mention she has the spirits of everyone she has killed, following her around on her adventures as well, and giving her a hard time? Definitely another gem to check out.

These creators do a great job though because not only are they trying to tell a great story. It is a story or an idea that they came up with on their own. Whether or not it was just a quick pitch that turned into something amazing or their brain-child they have held on to for years, just waiting to share and tell with all of us. It is amazingly inspiring to be able to share and take part in this with them and I love them for it each and every time I sit down to read the next issue.

So I know this was a long read and I’m not going to apologize because I owed you guys this. It has been a long time coming and I know I have promised that I am going to be better about this. School is finished up for the semester so I’ll have all summer to keep this going.

I really appreciate you all taking a look and spending the time to read my rants. It means the world to me.

I’ll talk to you guys soon,

Brett


It’s Superman’s 75th Birthday!

© DC Comics

© DC Comics

Guys, I have great news!

It’s the Man of Steel’s 75th birthday! We have gotten to spend a lot of time with Big Blue and I couldn’t be more happy with the life that Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster created. No matter what side of the fence you reside on when it comes to the comics that you read; DC/Marvel, Creator-Owned/Publisher-Owned, etc. We owe Superman for the comic books we have now, in my opinion.

In celebration of our boy’s birthday, there are a lot of people online, sending well wishes and getting everyone involved. There was one thing I wanted to share with everyone. Mr. Mark Waid, a resident Superman fan and expert has posed a challenge to all us other Superman fans, the Toughest Superman quiz  ever.

Here’s the link: http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=44987

I did terrible, which I took as a sign that I need to read even more Superman then I already have. Let me know how you do!

Talk to you guys later!

 

 


“The Earth is under my protection.”

I wanna apologize to everyone for disappearing on you for the past few weeks. With school rounding out for the semester, I have been extra busy, trying to get all of this work done. Hopefully soon I will be able to return and get back to the comics! I appreciate your patience.

“Okay Brett, that’s all fine and dandy, but what’s with the picture of Superman punching a Dalek and the Doctor holding the head of Braniac????”

Oh yes, the other selfish reason I haven’t been on is that I have been bitten by the Doctor Who bug and have been marathon-ing the Doctor on my spare time. And holy shit has it been awesome. I will not spend the time to bore you with all the details. But I will say that if you love comics, science fiction and great writing, do yourself a favor and watch the show. It is absolutely brilliant.

Not to mention that as I have spent all this time watching the show, I have started to see the parallels between our own Superman/Clark Kent and The Doctor. I honestly see a lot of Superman in the Doctor. And it isn’t just the “An alien from another planet, landing on Earth and doing what he can to protect us.” As I am watching, I can see how he is very passionate about Earth and he cares very much for its people. He is always throwing himself into harms way, sacrificing himself for humanity, whenever they are threatened….usually it is in London and it is on Christmas…I’m diverting from the point.

That is all sorts of Superman. No matter how it affects them in the end, both Superman and the Doctor are willing to do what is going to hurt them if it means protecting the planet they hold so dear in their hearts. Both see the potential that the people of Earth have and want to make sure that they have the chance to act on that potential.

Just take a look at that quote I put in for the title. That is something that is actually said by the Doctor, multiple times, when he is facing down some extraterrestrial threat that is hellbent on taking over the Earth.

http://www.combom.co.uk/2011/05/doctor-who-comic-doctor-meets-superman.html

Dear DC Comics and IDW Comics, I would like you to bring back amalgam comics. I would pay good money to see a Superman/Doctor Who team-up book.

Hell, give me some time, get my writing chops going and I will freaking write this comic book! It would be an absolute pleasure and honor to be able to write about two of my favorite aliens.

I’ll talk to you guys soon!

Allons-y!

 


“There’s always a way”

© DC Comics

© DC Comics

“…and Superman fights the impossible.” – Grant Morrison

Above is the companion to a quote Morrison gave at the end of an interview he did with Newsarama talking about the World’s Finest and who they battle. (He was also questioned about his last issue of Action Comics with number 18.)

If you haven’t read Morrison’s start of Action Comics in the New 52, I’m sorry that you missed out on one of the greatest Superman stories I have ever read. Do yourself a favor and go give it a shot, you will not regret it.

When number 18 of Action Comics came out last week, I told myself that I needed to go back and reread the entire run before I could treat myself to the end. Because if there is one thing I know about reading Grant Morrison, it’s that he doesn’t waste any panel space. Everything that happens in any of his books is as important as the beginning of his story or the end.

It was the best decision I made because right from the first panel of that first issue, I was already seeing characters being introduced and ideas being set up that would play out later on. It was wonderful to see Vyndktvx right on the first panel, already meddling in the life of our hero.

Mind you, since this was right at the start of the reboot, Clark had just started his “career” as Superman, taking on Glen Glenmorgan and his lackeys, trying to get him to fess up to the shady dealings happening in Metropolis. The scene in particular was very reminiscent of what took place in the original Action Comics. Morrison talked a lot about the “Sun God” (Superman) in his book, Supergods. And he focused a lot on how he foresaw the first appearance of Superman, taking on the gangsters of the early 1930’s, while doing a play by play of the issue, explaining what was going on. Comparing that to this first issue drew a lot of similarities and I noticed the influence that first issue had for him.

© DC Comics

© DC Comics

Throughout his entire run, he gives us past, present, and future Superman; all wrapped into one, main story. We see in the beginning where Clark began, young, brash, and a little sarcastic. That devil-may-care attitude that propels his career forward, not only in the good but also the bad. In a world where no superheroes had appeared, here came Superman, an alien from another world. Morrison shows the fear the people of planet Earth had in the beginning, not really trusting Clark as far as they could throw him. But he did the best he could, working as Clark Kent, writing for the Daily Star (the paper before Kent joined the Daily Planet), and then moving on to Superman when the need arises. And then right in the middle of his first story arc with Brainiac, we see Morrison inject the Anti-Superman Gang into the mix, just giving us a taste as to where his story was going. Which led us to the present and the introduction of the 5th dimension in the New 52. Which is whacky, but after spending so much time reading Grant Morrison’s work, it honestly is a great fit.

The future element is played out when the Legion of Superheroes; Saturn Woman, Cosmic Man, and Lighting Man come from the 31st century to warn Superman of the coming battle with Vyndktvx and what will happen to him and the rest of the future if he is to lose. So it is more to help win the day and allow Superman to triumphant. With their help, not only do they travel to different points of Clark’s past to help prepare him for what is going to happen, but also help in the coming fight when it is needed. This just doesn’t happen at one point in the story or in one book, but the Legion is spotted at different points of Morrison’s run, to help that story keep progressing, towards that inevitable battle with the Impossible, or what seems to be.

On that first time through, I got so lost. So many little intricacies just hiding there in each panel and I would miss them after each issue when they would be brought up again. But forcing myself to reread it, allowed me not only another chance to pick up on ideas that I might of missed, but also watch the story flow in waves, like music. Vyndktvx recruiting in the dark and appearing in each issue of Action in some way. Just reminding us that while these events are happening to Clark and it seems to be random at the present time, a 5th-dimensional wizard is masterminding the demise of the Man of Steel.

© DC Comics

© DC Comics

If I had to pick a favorite issue, I would have to say that it is issue number 13. A story about a boy and his dog. Morrison does a fantastic job of not only creating the relationship between Clark and Krypto, but also forging it for years to come. Krypto is Clark’s guard dog and sacrifices himself multiple times in defense of his master. The issue shows the love that Krypto has for his best friend, but also shows the reciprocated feeling that Clark has for Krypto. You think that Krypto is going to be lost in the Phantom Zone while giving Clark the chance to escape, but then just as Clark promised, he pulls Krypto from the Phantom Zone and brings him back to Earth. This story sticks out in my mind most of all, because it is simply about the love that two best friends share and how they would do anything for the other.

I know I am not doing the story justice because it has turned into a tangent. It is just beautiful from start to finish. There is something that can be said when two of your favorite Superman stories are created from the same mind. Whenever someone asks, “What is a good Superman story?” I always pass along the same story that was passed on to me, All-Star Superman. But now, Morrison has outdone himself because now I have two different stories that I could possibly recommend. The fact that 5th dimension plays a major role in this story, I would have a harder time recommending it to a new reader because of how lost they could get. But there are so many genuine moments with this Clark Kent that make it a worthwhile read as well.

Back on Superman fighting the impossible, this story arc does well to show just how crazy things can get for the Man of Steel. He meets and battles Brainiac for the first time, an evil 5th-Dimensional wizards plots the demise of our hero on a grand scale, and even the world community, fearful of what the cosmic arena may hold with the inception of this first Kryptonian on Earth. He combats all of this with no thought as to how it affects himself, thinking only of the goodwill he will bring to the others of Earth that he cares so deeply about.

That is Superman to me. No matter what happens, he will do anything and everything for someone else, to make sure they are safe. He will put himself in harm’s way before allowing another to be harmed. I could only hope to scratch the surface on the good that Superman does for others, but damn me if I don’t at least try.

Hopefully you guys don’t think that I am crazy. I am just really passionate about my superheroes and Superman is definitely at the top of my list. To put it frankly, dude’s the role model for me.

I also wanted to leave you with a little fun 5th Dimension game, write down your name and then write it/read it backwards.

I’ll talk to you guys later.

-TTERB REMRAF

© DC Comics

© DC Comics


The price of magic and “Heckblazer”

© DC Comics

© DC Comics

“You take what you didn’t earn. But you pay for it. You always pay for it.”

I know that there are a lot of fans out in the community that didn’t get an early introduction to John Constantine, same as me, until the New 52 started. And since I started reading comics about 4 years ago, I have always been interested in Constantine and Hellblazer. But could never will myself to start because it was one of those series that were already over 250 issues in, that is an overwhelming amount of catch-up I would of had to endure. So I welcomed the opportunity when he appeared in Justice League Dark, almost two years ago.

After DC comics announced Hellblazer’s end at issue 300 and the new book Constantine coming out, there was a cry in outrage, asking as to why they were ending such a great book, just so they could fully integrate John Constantine into their new universe with no loose ends hanging in the Vertigo imprint. Many, MANY fans were worried that with Hellblazer gone, the mature content in turn would also disappear. There wouldn’t be a witty con-man indulging in chain-smoking, excessive drinking, etc.

I can’t say that I was one of those fans, but I did pick up Peter Milligan’s last story arc, “Death and Cigarettes” that wrapped up Hellblazer and was immediately inspired to go back and start from the beginning. I wanted to understand the John Constantine that others have been able to get to know for many years. So I dove in and started picking up back issues starting at #1 and was blown away. It was an incredible start to a series that I will collect and read to its entirety. I was able to get about 22 issues into Hellblazer, before Constantine came out this week and I feel like I have only scratched the surface of actually who he is.

But from the first issue of Constantine that I read  and comparing it to what I have read in Hellblazer, Jeff Lemire, Ray Fawkes, and Renato Guedes do their very best and prove that they care about this character’s true nature and it holds up quite nicely. I have seen on Twitter that Lemire has stated multiple times that he loves the Vertigo line of books and grew up reading them when he was younger. So having someone with that sort of passion on an already well-developed character proves to benefit us as the readers greatly because he isn’t going to do Constantine wrong. And with Fawkes as scriptwriter and working together to co-plot this new title just helps to soothe my worries. The powerhouse writing team strikes again!

From the first page to the last of this issue, I felt like I was reading  an updated version of one of my older Hellblazers. Ever the con-man, Constantine is all about one thing and that is himself. We have seen it throughout the New 52, stringing along the Justice League Dark to help put himself in a better position and it transfers right into this new series as well. All the way up til the end of the issue, when he is ready and willing to sacrifice another human being and “friend” mind you, at the hands of Sargon the Sorceress. All so he can slip away, unharmed with his prize, the magical artifact he acquired right before her appearance. Being the loner he is however, he knows that sacrificing his friend will cost him dearly in the end, but in the here and now is what he is focused on.

Mature themes be damned, the first issue of the new series does its best to stay with the original intent of Hellblazer, but doesn’t sacrifice the fact that they are trying to reach out to new audiences in the comic book community (that may not have the drive like I have) to start all way back at #1, 300 issues ago. They do their absolute best to give a great hopping on-point to John Constantine and give them the opportunity to start to understand the anti-hero himself.

I want to end this with saying to anyone who read Hellblazer and are boycotting this new series to at least TRY Constantine and read it with an open mind. With only one issue, you won’t get the full scope of where Lemire and Fawkes want to take the book, but if you at least try it, then you know whether or not its for you.

See, I told you I read more then just Batman!

Thanks for listening guys!

-Brett