Thursday, August 30, 2007

Justify My Love

I have moved and I am returned more glorious than ever. I now live by the river. Okay, I live in the basement of a house by the river, but close enough. So, as I spent the past few days packing and arranging stuff, I haven't been in a comics sort of mood.

Well, that is until Vaneta Rogers' interview with Sean McKeever over at Newsarama. And what has me so interested? Why, her first question:

"The beginning for any good interview of a comic book writer is -- when did you start loving comics?"

Fuck off. That is a shit beginning for an interview. That is a sad, pathetic, loathsome way to begin an interview. I am sick of this shit. I really am. It's partly what drove me away from message boards and it's got to stop.

No more explaining/justifying/mentioning why anyone likes comics. That goes for everyone. Oh, I suppose, from time to time, it makes sense to mention it, but as the first question--with the claim that it's the proper way to begin an interview?

Comics are not something that need explanation. Comics do not need love. Comics do not need to be justified. And all of you who keep doing it? You're the reason why they may or may not be as accepted as they should be. To constantly--CONSTANTLY--see this sort of behaviour gives the impression that comics do need to be explained, justified and loved.

And when I say love, I don't mean the good kind of love. I mean the sort of love that leads to restraining orders. Weird, scary love.

I'll admit that people in other mediums get asked how they first got into movies/books/TV shows/porn, but not nearly at the same frequency or same universality. Tarantino gets asked how he first discovered and grew to love movies, because he's a filmmaker so obviously in love with the medium that it makes sense to ask (and, let's be honest, Tarantino may have a bit of the scary love for movies). However, that question is the exception, not the rule.

Is loving comics good? Yes. Is constantly feeling the need to proclaim said love so as to provide support and justification for all of us geeks who are losers because we like comics and maybe if other people love comics as much as we do, we won't feel like such losers good? No.

So, stop it. You want people to stop treating comics like a loser medium? Then stop acting like it is.

(And the sad thing is, most people DON'T treat it that way anymore, which makes this behaviour even more pathetic. You're now the guy who keeps asking his girlfriend why she goes out with him. Over and over and over again. And no one wants to date that guy.)

Monday, August 27, 2007

Reading Comics by Douglas Wolk

Over at Newsarama, they're doing a multi-part interview with Douglas Wolk, the author of the book Reading Comics. You can learn more about the book at this website, and you can read the two parts of the interview here and here.

The entire latter half of the book, Reviews and Commentary, involves Wolk doing a bit of critical analyses in each chapter of a different writer or artist. He's got a chapter on Chester Brown, a chapter on each of the Hernandez brothers, one on Moore, one on Morrison. It's interesting stuff, and worthwhile discusssion, but the real meat of the book comes in the first half, Theory and History.

The first part of the first chapter of this Theory section is subtitled "The Golden Age is now," an idea which Chad addressed in an earlier entry on this blog. Also in that first chapter is a discussion of how necessary comics criticism is and some issues Wolk has with McCloud's definition of comics, both of which are also subjects we've explored in this very blog in the past.

In other words, he says a lot of stuff, even in the first chapter, that Chad and I have been talking about and thinking about for a while now. It's basically like it's our thoughts on paper. While I didn't agree with everything in those first chapters of Theory, and while I might have picked different writers and artists to focus on in the second half, I cannot help but feel that in some alternate universe I would have written a book very similar to this one. I highly recommend reading it, because all I've done is touch the tip of the iceberg; it contains a lot of great ideas that, even if you don't subscribe to all of them, will at least make you think.

EDITED BY CHAD AT 8:16 PM SAME DAY: Within an hour of Steve posting this, Newsarama put up the first in a serialisation of the chapter on Grant Morrison from Wolk's book. Further installments will run this week. I haven't gotten the book yet, so I'll be reading them. Good way to see just what Steve's talking about.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Spambots rule the world

Goddamn fucking spambots.

All day, I have been receiving messages from google groups about possibly spam messages sent to the GraphiContent group. This group was set up as a way for both Steve and I to receive notices of comments, because blogger is set up in a way where only one e-mail address can be listed for that notification. I also set it up so whenever we post, it is also sent out. Just a way for the two of us to know what's going on. In my infinite wisdom, I stuck the e-mail address for that group over in the right-hand column a month or so back. Since then, I've received a few pieces of spam, but not too many. Today, over a dozen. Every time I check my e-mail, notifications of messages that need my approval to either be approved or deleted.

What the fuck is with these spambots? Does this shit actually work? It must, because assholes keep doing it, but, my god, who does it work on? I don't get people.

So, the e-mail address is longer listed. Probably no one cares, but figured I'd mention it and rant a little. If you need to reach us, comment.

Oh, but so you know, comments are only allowed from people with blogger (or google or whatever) accounts, because of . . . SPAMBOTS!

Goddamn fucking spambots.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I have seen the future and it involves comics (Marvel and DC solicits for November)

Back in Windsor and I totally didn't write any of that Automatic Kafka essay while in London. I suck.

But, here's my monthly look at DC and Marvel's solicits.

DC's solicits

* Countdown becomes Countdown to Final Crisis and I still don't care. Nor do the dozens upon dozens of tie-in titles impress me. Somewhere, Dan Didio is crying.

* I am strangely looking forward to Death of the New Gods. I've never been a huge Starlin fan, but my dad has a lot of his stuff and it's always good. The man knows cosmic and the fact that he's describing the series as part mercy killing rings true. Seriously, has anyone besides Grant Morrison done anything semi-interesting with these characters lately? (And, honestly, even some of Morrison's stuff has been lame. Mister Miracle was definitely the worst of the Seven Soldiers series.)

* "Part 1 of Frank Miller’s & Jim Lee’s two-fisted thrill ride ends here, yet it’s only just begun!" How much more of the Goddamn Batman are we going to get? I hope to see a trade solicited soon, because I'm all over this series. I have a feeling that I will love it, mostly as a parody and flat-out comedy in a similar vein to The Dark Knight Strikes Again. Frank Miller can't seem to take these characters seriously anymore and who can blame him?

* The real question is: since I'm buying Batman, will I buy all of the books that tell the "Resurrection of Ra’s al Ghul" storyline? Fucking DC and crossovers.

* While in London, I bought the first and second seasons of Boston Legal on DVD because my friend/new-roommate-in-a-couple-of-weeks is always praising it. The lack of JSA in November reminds me that last night, I became convinced that what that book needs is a Denny Crane character: an old guy who used to be great, but is now declining more and more, but is able to continue to trade on his name and former greatness, protected by his colleagues who don't want him to become a public laughing stock. No one is buying a team with a bunch of old people who can actually do shit. I've met numerous old people and they can barely walk, usually. Every time I'm on the bus, it takes them, like, five minutes to get on and off. Seeing them fight crime with young people stretches realism. I don't care which old hero begins to lose it, one should.

* Why no "All-New" preface on the latest Atom trade?

* What the fuck is with all of DC's trades being advance-solicits? The only trades I see here that I can buy in November are relists, meaning I can buy them right now. What the fuck? Like I'm going to remember what trades I read about online in August when December and January comes around. I'll barely remember what comics I want by then.

* Remember when Image released issue 25 of various series, like, a year or two before issue 25 was scheduled to come out back in the '90s? Well, Wildstorm is doing that again, except with one-shot specials about the end of the world. Meaning, Wildstorm is doing a lamer version of that.

* Dear god, can we put an end to all Abbey Road homages? It's been done to death.

* Holy shit, the New Gods toys have Kirby squiggles on them. That is so awesome.

Marvel's solicits

* From the solicit for Ultimate Origin #1: "From the dark days of World War II to the frightening present, journey through history to learn what's really behind the Super Soldier and Weapon X programs–and how heroes such as Captain America, Nick Fury and Wolverine have more in common than codenames and costumes." Wait--"Nick Fury" is a codename? BENDIS JUST BLEW MY MIND!

* Um, what the fuck is up with the cover to Ultimates Saga? The Scarlet Witch looks ready to RAWK OUT! and the less said about the Hulk's face, the better. What the fuck?

* Hmm, does the fact that the artist of The Avengers: Initiative annual #1 is "TBA" concern anyone else? Is it that Marvel didn't have an artist as of the solicits being released or is it going to be some BIG announcement?

* Shit, I guess I had better buy the Captain Marvel mini, because five bucks says Noh-Varr shows up by issue three. And, yeah, I hated what Reed and Bendis have done with him, but I AM A SUCKER FOR THAT KREE BASTARD. I have problems.

* Immortal Iron Fist #11: "Cover by Travel Foreman" What the fuck happened to David Aja doing covers? His covers have all been amazing and far better than most of the shit on the shelves.

* I haven't read any of those Franklin Richards comics, but this cover is all kinds of awesome.

* Is it just me or does the idea behind What If? Annihilation sound a lot cooler than everything Marvel has done for the past year? Got to love it when the fake story sounds much more entertaining that what really happened. Note that it also seems to lack an artist. Marvel doesn't seem to know who's drawing their comics anymore.

* The companion omnibus to Frank Miller's Daredevil run is a really great idea on Marvel's part.

* I will buy the Ultimates 2 hardcover and the Civil War scriptbook despite not being a fan of Mark Millar. The former because, well, it will at least be pretty and I'm curious to read it with the first volume. The latter, because, I am very curious about the scripts to that series. Especially how many times Millar actually uses hype WHILE WRITING THE SCRIPT.

And that's what November looks like. Yay.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Future is No Longer X-Rated . . . sadly

I like to pride myself on my attempts to remain dispassionate about characters. I like to delude myself into looking at the fans who post on message boards, screaming for the blood of creators who dare to fuck with their character. But, come on, I’ve been reading comics since before I could read and I tend to read mostly superhero books from Marvel and DC. I may not be exactly like them, but I’m not exactly different either.

Case in point: Noh-Varr, the protagonist from Grant Morrison and JG Jones’ series Marvel Boy. I am a fanboy when it comes to Noh-Varr and what I’m going to say in this post may devolve into ranting no more eloquent than that of a fanboy where my ultimate point will undoubtedly be “How dare you fuck with my character!” I will attempt to avoid such a devolution of discourse, but, hey, I do like to get angry and rant with many naughty words.

So, New Avengers: Illuminati #4.

In looking at this book, it really must be divided into two parts; the first in which the members of the Illuminati discuss women, and the second in which the Illuminati “deal” with Noh-Varr. Both are problematic for various reasons.

Part the First: Clea has left Dr. Strange, which prompts the Illuminati to discuss their problems with women. We learn Professor X has dated outside the species, which is a reference to Lilandra, an alien, but also is a reminder that mutants are a different species, meaning that Xavier has had sex with members of at least three species. He’s a kinky guy that Xavier. There’s also a delicious little joke about how Medusa never lets Black Bolt get a word in (Bendis and Reed are funny guys, oh yes they are). The dialogue here is that faux-realistic style that reminds you of how people talk, but isn’t actually how people talk. It’s also not how any of these characters have ever really talked. But, whatever, it’s at least interesting.

The part that caught my eye in particular came when Reed discusses his relationship with Sue and the fact that she has that habit of just leaving him to . . . does she actually fuck Namor? Has that ever been explicitly stated? I’ve always found that part of the Richards’ relationship problematic and very dysfunctional, especially when one of the big selling points of the Fantastic Four is that they’re a strong, tightly-knit family.

Except the mom may be fucking some guy on the side. Wholesome, no?

I reread the Waid/Wieringo run on Fantastic Four this weekend and noticed that Waid never did that. The closest he came to bringing up the idea that Sue will use Namor to get attention is in some back-up stories where Reed then does something similar with an ex-girlfriend, showing that maybe, you know, that sort of behaviour isn’t acceptable. Is Reed a dick? Yeah, but to just walk out and go see some other guy, that’s pretty cold and not at all healthy.

This scene, though, does something odd in that it normalises it. Reed states what happens as fact and doesn’t seem all that upset until Namor confronts him. It’s like Reed doesn’t blame Sue, he blames Namor. Or he doesn’t blame anyone. Namor tells Reed that Sue will never leave him for good and Reed responds that he knows that. Is Reed okay with Sue sleeping with Namor? Does Marvel’s First Family have an open relationship?

Am I the only one who finds this very, very fucked up?

That’s the first four pages of this comic. The remainder deals with Noh-Varr. I went in with a bias, knowing that B&R would fuck it up. They had to work hard to win me over and, fuck, it seems like they didn’t try. Much like the rest of the series, instead of working between the moments and with existing stories, B&R seem more content to alter what happened to fit their goals.

I can spot a few problems with the treatment of Noh-Varr on the first page he’s discussed. Now, I am saying these are problems in the sense that they do not jive with what is previously known about the character (actually, one is just a stupid mistake where the characters contradict themselves within the span of thirty seconds). These contradictions may very well be purposeful on the part of B&R, so let’s bear that in mind.

1) Noh-Varr was never called “Marvel Boy.” No one said those two words together in Marvel Boy. That was the title of the series, not the character, but Tony Stark calls him that.

2) Noh-Varr is Kree, but not from the Kree Empire of this universe. He’s from another universe. Now, it’s easy to see why these six idiots would make that mistake. They hear he’s Kree, they assume he’s their Kree, but later in the issue, Noh-Varr discusses Mar-Vell and the Kree/Skrull war as if he’s this Kree rather than another Kree. He wouldn’t know who the fuck Mar-Vell is and would especially not know that he’s considered a traitor. Of course, maybe he knows that because of his learning the history of humankind, which he may have done. He may even go so far as to relate to the Kree of this universe and consider him a traitor as well. That is possible. So, this may not be a mistake or a purposeful change, just something based on a few assumptions. Maybe. Although, Noh-Varr references the Kree empire in a way that suggests this isn’t the case. It’s subtle, but when we saw him before he was imprisoned, his intention was to recreate his Kree empire, not align himself with this one, because, based on what I know about it, it’s just as backwards and prehistoric as Earth is, really. Yes, it is more advanced, but not by much. It’s like saying people of the 1800s are more advanced than those of the 500s. When compared to someone from the year 5000, they both look relatively similarly barbaric. This is how I would suspect Noh-Varr would view the Kree of the Marvel universe. So, yeah, let’s call this a mistake, alright?

3) Tony: “...AND HAS DECLARED WAR ON MANKIND.” Thirty seconds later, Namor: “HE DECLARED WAR ON THE EARTH.” Tony: “YES.” Dr. Strange: “ALL OF IT?” Tony: “WELL, YES.” Can anyone spot where the problem is? Tony himself says that Noh-Varr declared war on humanity, not the Earth. In fact, haven’t at least two members of the Illuminati done the same thing? Namor is the most eager to “BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF HIM” (or, it’s censored, but we all know what he’s saying) when he’s declared war on humanity, what, a good half-dozen times? This mistake I just find funny, because it’s a mistake that happens in plain sight and isn’t based exclusively on knowing what happened in Marvel Boy.

The rest of the issue is a laughably lame attempt by the members of the Illuminati to make peace with Noh-Varr by having Namor beat on him a bit, while the others make some speeches about how the Kree want to protect the Earth and how Noh-Varr should become the new Captain Marvel. Oh, they don’t say that, but, come on, it’s heavily implied.

Noh-Varr has very little character here beyond the most superficial of his asshole-like nature. He swears and has the ever-so-witty line where he tells Namor to put on some pants. Mostly, he just keeps asking what’s going on and has little respect for these people. All in line, technically, with his past, but not. It reads as if written by writers who missed the point and took only the most superficial elements from that series. I actually have a hard time believing Noh-Varr would remain so docile and questioning for so long; why wouldn’t he act more? Yes, there is surprise, at first, but beyond that? Hell, he barely gives Namor a fight, when, really, his physiology places him in a position to handle Namor, especially any of the hits Namor lands. Frankly, we’ve seen Namor get beat on worse and take it much better.

Of course, my ultimate problem is that I don’t think they should use the character. That’s a petty and unreasonable position, but that’s how it is. Nothing here (or in Noh-Varr’s other non-Marvel Boy appearance) shows that these writers have the skill or understanding to write this character without taking away the unique and interesting qualities in an effort to force him into pre-existing situations. I’ve argued that Noh-Varr is a character specifically of the current “age” of comics in that he builds upon what has come before and is more advanced than these characters. He comes from a society that is beyond this one by millennia. At least. He can’t work in stories with them, because he is better than them. He’s defeated versions of almost every Silver Age Marvel hero, himself being an updated Spider-Man (a more realistic Spider-Man, in my opinion).

Here, he’s just another alien invader that isn’t really a threat and will be converted to the opinion that the species he looked upon as barbaric and pre-civilised is somehow worth fighting for. It is unoriginal, mundane, typical, clichéd, boring, but, most of all, it’s completely and utterly unsurprising. It’s everything Marvel Boy was not, basically.

But, let us sum up in a dispassionate, detached manner:

This was a poorly written comic book in nearly every way. There is little story, little character advancement, and little point. It relies on prior knowledge, but contradicts all prior knowledge. It contains an opening and ending that does not actually fit any previous portrayal of these characters, and also breaks with the established flow of the series, and does not tie in thematically with the rest of the issue. There is no sense of unity or completeness. I honestly cannot see any purpose to this comic except setting up Noh-Varr to take over the Captain Marvel mantle, but it does so in a clumsy, inelegant manner that is neither convincing nor logical. As well, the cover of the issue has nothing to do with the contents except for the fact that these women are discussed briefly. That may be a minor problem for some, but it bothers me, because that makes the highly static and uninteresting cover not just those two things, but also a manner of false advertising, telling the potential reader that the comic is about one thing, but then is actually about something else entirely. I understand that the cover image is a play on a similar image featuring the members of the Illuminati, but the similarity is useless if not actually built upon in the issue. The entire thing is rather useless and, in that way, is indicative of the entire series up to this point: half-formed ideas that do contain potential, but go nowhere. It does not raise hopes for the fifth, and final, issue where the Illuminati is discovered.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

August in London (Part Two)

Today, the rest of the comics I bought. Fun.

Gødland #19

A couple of plots get finished here as Adam Archer is freed from his home and the giant insect lady is killed. We also bid adieu to Crashman. Like many books that are really well done, there isn’t much new to add here. This is a fun, great book and worth reading. Not groundbreaking, but entertaining as hell. My only complaint is that the cover breaks from the book’s usual cover design. What’s up with that?

Midnighter #10

Keith Giffen takes over as writer and promptly goes against Garth Ennis’ run, which began the book. In his run, Ennis basically argued that Midnighter is a killing machine and he’s okay with that. Here, Giffen says “Not so fast!” and has Midnighter looking into who he was before Bendix turned him into a killing machine. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, I just find it funny that the book has now had two regular writers (plus four fill-ins) and both of them have provided diametrically opposite takes on the character, while still maintaining a strange consistency, because Giffen’s take doesn’t seem out of place. Rather strange, that.

This could be a good story. I trust Giffen to at least be interesting. Got to love how Midnighter’s home town is a weird one. Oh, comic books, you have the strangest coincidences!

Deathblow #6

Um . . . yeah. This is really just Brian Azzarello taking the piss, isn’t it? Again, I trust it to read better on the grand scale.

Black Summer #1

I wonder, will John Horus be the focus of this book, or will he be a background character, manipulating events and not really showing up in a major way until the end? That would be an interesting way of going about it.

This is a good issue. We learn more about these characters, including the other members of the team, get a good fight and learn something very interesting about the rest of the team. Looking forward to next issue.

Doktor Sleepless #1

I’m currently writing a novel for my master’s in creative writing thesis. It’s called “Infinite Future” and it’s about some of the same stuff here. Living in the future, that is. “Where’s my flying car?” indeed. Just find that interesting.

So, this is Ellis’ newest longform comic book novel in the same vein as Transmetropolitan, eh? Well, it’s off to a worse start. This isn’t a bad issue, it’s just a bit slower than early Transmet and the art isn’t nearly as good. But, this series is also more about the world and ambience than Transmet, which had a clearer and more focussed direction. Here, Ellis can walk around a bit more, talk a bit more. That also means that, as a single issue, this isn’t nearly as compelling or effective as Transmet #1 was. (Is it fair for me to compare the two? Probably not, but fuck it, I am.) But, whatever, we all know I’m going to be buying the next issue.

The Boys #9

I’ll admit that I buy this because I enjoy reading stories making fun of superheroes sometimes and why not read one written by Garth Ennis and drawn by Darick Robertson if I’m going to? I did find the shitting in the “Bat Cave” joke a bit much, but the threesome idea at the end was actually written in an interesting manner. It didn’t come off as just fucking with the characters, but seems like a natural progression of the Catwoman thing in the Batman comics.

Is this series brilliant? Nah, but it’s fun.

The Programme #2

Things become a bit clearer in this issue, but it’s another “let’s see how the big picture looks before we judge” books. Kind of reminds me of Pynchon, this series.

Criminal #8

What the fuck am I supposed to say about this book? It’s really fucking good. Buy it.

Casanova #8

It’s back, bitches. The book is back. And it’s still just rockin’ and a rollin’ along and kicking ass kinds of ass. Why? Because where most writers would see the new status quo as something to play around in with Sabine Seychelle and Kaito working with E.M.P.I.R.E. and all, but not Matt Fraction. No, Fraction says fuck you all, introduces this brand new status quo and then Fraction fucking jumps ahead two years. Fuck that status quo, let’s have ourselves a newer, cooler status quo. When is Casanova Quinn? It will be fun to find out. Plus, Fábio Moon’s art is the shit. Different from his evil twin’s on the previous story, but good. And it’s blue. Burn-your-eyes-out blue. Damn right.

Tomorrow, I bitch about Noh-Varr. Fun.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

August in London (Part One)

Well, back in London and I bought some comics. Many, many comics. I think it’s something like 18 single issues and two trades, so I’ll be doing in this in three parts. Today, I’ll discuss the mainstream superhero stuff (minus a book or two). Tomorrow, the non-superhero stuff (although really still mainstream and some still superhero). And, Monday, I’ll give a nice long rant/review about New Avengers: Illuminati #4, which features Noh-Varr, the lead from Marvel Boy. Oh, it will be fanboyish no doubt.

But, that’s a couple of days away.

The Order #1

Some interesting ideas, some solid scenes, but lacking that certain Fraction-ness that we’ve all come to know and love. But, this is also his first straight solo superhero book, so he could be going for that more standard approach. I do enjoy how he’s taken the celebrity superhero group concept and tweaked it slightly. Unlike Milligan and Allred’s X-Force/X-Statix, the heroes in this book are doing it primarily for heroic reasons and that standard bullshit celebrity boozing it up and doing stupid things in public isn’t tolerated. We’ll have to see how it goes.

New Avengers #33

Funny thing, the other day, I was reading a column where Timothy Callahan and Douglas Wolk were discussing issue 32 and one of them (I honestly can’t remember which) pointed out that we, as readers, only know that Elektra turning out to be a Skrull is only a big deal with huge consequences because Bendis has told us. There’s no reason for us to automatically assume that there’s a big conspiracy. Thinking about it that way, Luke Cage comes off even more paranoid and insane. This is mostly a lazy issue where half of last issue is rehashed. How long are they going to go through the whole “Any of us could be Skrulls, are you a Skrull, fucking Skrull bastard I kill you!” thing before they move on?

Captain America #28-29

I liked these issues. This is a good comic book. I enjoy reading every issue.

Punisher War Journal #10

The Hate Monger story wraps up and I’m still not sure about this book. It was nice to see Frank back in his regular outfit and there are some nice moments of racist assholes getting killed, but . . . I dunno. Just isn’t clicking with me. We’ll see.

Thor #2

Wow, so nothing happens. Again. Really, Thor restores Asgard and buys the land he just does it on. And then he flies off to search for the other Asgardians. That’s all that happens. I’m giving this book until the end of the first arc to turn things around and that’s just because I’ve got a sick soft spot for Thor.

Batman #666-667

Wow, I should separate these two issues because they’re really not related, are they?

Issue 666 jumps into the future where Batman’s son, Damien, is now Batman and fighting against another Batman who also happens to be the Anti-Christ. It’s full of fun ideas, other brand new Gotham psychos and ties into what’s come before and, quite possibly, some upcoming stuff.

Issue 667 has some good writing, but the real star is J. H. Williams III and the fact that he is an amazing artist. A different style for each character, all distinct, all amazing. Can’t wait for the next two issues.

Avengers: Disassembled

Got this in trade today. Seeing how I’ve been buying New Avengers and Mighty Avengers lately, I wanted to get everything else Bendis had done with the book(s) and that meant going back to the beginning of his run.

So, this is what all the fuss was about? This was Bendis raping the Avengers? Really?

I rather enjoyed this in that “everything falling apart at the same time” sort of way. The writing itself isn’t that spectacular as the goal of ending the team takes the front seat. The Scarlet Witch thing was good, except when it’s finally explained, you’re wondering where the fuck it came from, because the issues before it gave you indication whatsoever that it was coming. It was a twist that came out of nowhere and was only revealed because Dr. Strange showed up and explained it. It reads like a deus ex machina more than anything else. The ideas are good, but the writing itself is rushed, sloppy and not that great. In the “Avengers Finale” story, I didn’t even bother reading the dialogue for the flashback splashes, because why bother, the point was showing these major moments of Avengers history, wrapping it all up.

Ultimately, this story had a job to do and it did it.

New Avengers: Breakout

And this is the result of that job. I don’t like David Finch’s art. I really don’t. It’s not that good. I don’t see the appeal.

The interesting thing about this story is that Bendis does pattern the creation of this team on the original Avengers, but he also tells us that, almost as a defensive action. A “See, I’m really tying this back into tradition!” Makes a little less cool, but still a nice way of putting the team together. I do wish we hadn’t learned the line-up of the eventual team ahead of time as at least then the creation of the team would have had a more magical element to it. But, knowing that Sentry, Wolverine and Ronin are on the team ruins it a bit. We finish this story and Ronin hasn’t even been introduced at all, but we’re expecting the character to show up. That’s lame. And Wolverine’s entrance would have worked much better if you’re not thinking “When is Wolverine going to show up?”

I don’t know what happens in the third and fourth volumes of New Avengers (but I plan to get them soon), so I don’t know where this whole “evil faction inside SHIELD” story is going necessarily, but I can see how it could provide some clues for the Skrull invasion.

However, I found most of this story boring and, like Avengers: Disassembled, more aimed at doing a specific job (building the team and setting up future plots) than telling a good story.

And that’s that. Tomorrow, the less mainstream, less superhero type books.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Midwest Popular Culture Association Conference schedule

The popular culture conference I'm presenting at in October just released their programming schedule, which you can view here:

Items of note:

Friday 2:30-4 From Modern to Postmodern in Contemporary Art Comics
“Modernity Versus Postmodernity in Grant Morrison's The Invisibles: ‘Which Side Are You On?’” Terrence Wandtke, Judson College
“Operating Under Different Rules: Automatic Kafka's Experiment in Critical Comics,” Brendan Riley, Columbia College
“Elektra Assassin: Pen and Ink Productions of Postmodern Identity,” Linda Baughman, Christopher Newport University; and Allison Burr-Miller, Colorado State University

Saturday 8:30-10 The Pre-Modern, Modern, and Post-Modern of Comic Book Superheroes
“Plastic Man and the Spirit: Pre-Postmodern Heroes of the Golden Age,” Steve Higgins, Lewis and Clark Community College
“An Orphan Under the Mask: Childhood Loss and the Modern Superhero,” William Bradley, Drew University
“The Ultimate Critique: Neoconservativism, Captain America and Marvel's Ultimates,” J. Richard Stevens, Southern Methodist University
“The Four Rs of Superhero Deconstruction: Retcons, Reimagenings and Reciprocative Rejoinders,” Carleton University

(So the good news is that my presentation looks like it will only be twenty to twenty-five minutes long. But the bad news is that it's at 8:30 in the morning. Oh well, shouldn't be too bad, I guess.)

Saturday 3-4:30 Comic Book Heroes and Postmodern Noir
“Noir and the Postmodern in Chaykin and Tischman's American Century,” Tony Rafalowski, University of Missouri – Columbia
“Postmodern Superheroics of Noir Journalism in Daredevil: Wake Up,” D.T. Kofoed, University of South Dakota
“Bat Mask of Bare Skin: The Noir of Batman in Nine Lives,” Chad Parmenter, University of Missouri – Columbia

Sunday 11:30-1 The Past as Present: Looking at Contemporary Issues in Comics Through an Historical Lens
“The N-Word as ‘Equipment for Living’ (or How Not to Live) in the ‘Return of the King’ Episode of Aaron McGruder’s The Boondocks,” Carlos Morrison, Alabama State University
“Mary Shelley’s Monster and The X-Men’s Magneto: Differently Abled? Yes. Evil? No,” Tracy Schrems, St. Bonaventure University
“The Twentieth-Century Redux: Facing Forward to the Past in Brubaker and Epting’s Captain America,” Paul R. Kohl, Loras College

Apart from the panels mentioned above, I will probably attend the Harry Potter panels on politics Friday afternoon at 4:15, characters at 6 on Friday, education on Saturday morning at 10:15, and Azkaban at 9:45 Sunday morning.

Also I may attend the adaptation panel on Saturday at 4:45 since it's on comic adaptations, but I might skip that instead and leave early that night to see a bit of Kansas City before it's too late. (And there's a good chance I will skip the HP education panel on Saturday too, so I can go out and about during the day as well.)

And I'm definitely sleeping in Sunday morning, because none of those panels look that interesting to me.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Summer Vacation '07

Okay, I'm going to take a little break from GraphiContent for a week or so. Partly not in the mood to discuss comics (gee, was last week a hint at that or what?) and partly because I'm currently working on the prospectus for my creative writing thesis and, goddammit, if I have to deal with anything else in a "critical" way, I may just begin killing random neighbourhood children. Also, I'm heading back to London later this week and posting there is rarely fun. I'll probably put up some reviews on Friday or Saturday since visiting home means buying comics.

Also, while I'm gone, I will work long and hard to finish my Automatic Kafka post. It will be a different sort of essay, because I plan to actually use scans from the comic to go along with it and help facilitate my analysis. That choice is basically because of this post over at Blog@Newsarama. I don't think scans are always necessary, but if I'm going to be doing a long look at the entire series, one that is just as much Ashley Wood's creation as Joe Casey's, then not including art is just stupid. I'm this close to going back and doing revisions of my Marvel Boy and Codeflesh essays to add art (and make them better). If only I wasn't so lazy.

So, to the three of you reading this, later.

Magic Eight Ball Mondays No More

I've decided to stop doing the whole "Magic Eight Ball Mondays" thing mostly because, beyond that first one, it's been pretty crap. Ah well. Sometimes the ideas work, sometimes they don't. If I have a reason to, I'll do magic eight ball posts in the future.

So, Wizard World Chicago . . .

Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch on Fantastic Four. Meh.

Warren Ellis on Ultimate Hulk and Iron Man is interesting just for the fact that Ellis flat-out tells us that he's doing the book as a favour. That seems to be the way a lot of Ellis' Marvel work has been and yet it's still good. I find it refreshing that Ellis doesn't even fake it in a industry full of creators who gush about how much they love the characters and have wanted to do this book since they were five. Ellis is just a professional writer hired to do a job and he does it well.

Anything else happen work talking about?

And, of course, Mike Wieringo passed away yesterday under rather shocking circumstances that show just how random and unfair life is. He was one of the few artists working in comics who had a style all his own, one that was so recognisable and distinctive that a quick glance revealed him as the artist. I always enjoyed his work and I don't know what else to say.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Lou Reed is cooler than you and your precious comics

Nothing seems really important/pressing right now, eh? Ever since San Diego, there has been no comic news or anything interesting. Hell, San Diego itself didn't really provide much interesting news--was that what killed comics? San Diego is just so big, so important, so built-up and then . . . well, if you weren't there, there really wasn't anything for you, was there?

So, here's random thoughts about stuff as they occur to me:

* I really hate those periodic interviews on Newsarama for Countdown and World War Hulk (previously for 52 and even Tom Brevoort answering questions on Civil War many times). What function do they serve? As far as I can tell, they either tell you things the comics don't (which means the comics are shitty) or they tease you about stuff only people who are reading the comics care about (which means they're marketing tools aimed at people already buying the product). I just can't figure them out.

* Seriously, doesn't Brad Meltzer's Justice League line-up seem all kinds of sucky? I mean, sure, every League line-up has the shitty member of two, even Morrison's--but at least he had a core group of god-like heroes. Meltzer's got Geo-Force, Vixen and Red Arrow. What is this strange obsession with men who use a fucking bow? After Morrison had alternature future Green Arrow help kill Darkseid, every guy with a bow should have been retired because it is never going to get better than that for them. Bendis had the right idea in killing off Hawkeye.

* Ever notice how Grant Morrison fans lament the fact that the cool characters he creates for company-owned books are never used after he departs the book, but when they are used, they complain about how lame it is? (And I say that knowing full well that I'm one of those people. Maybe if the people using the characters actually tried to use them in a cool way that's somewhat faithful to Morrison's take . . .)

* Is the fact that Alex Ross will draw Geo-Force proof that he's crazy enough to like Geo-Force more than Kyle Rayner?

* Apparently, DC will be doing a multiverse version of Marvel's Contest of Champions. Personally, I would love to see a monthly book that is nothing but multiverse versions of characters fighting and talking. I have a weakness for alternatire universe books. The fact that I don't buy Exiles is proof that Marvel doesn't know shit sometimes. How can you fuck up a book like that? It should be a book where they have guys like Warren Ellis and Garth Ennis and anyone else they can get come on, do an arc and just have fun doing crazy shit that doesn't actually matter at all. You can do anything with that book--it should be the one book everyone buys because it's the one book where the only limit is creativity. Having a set cast and larger storylines is just stupid and counter-intuitive for that sort of book.

* Maybe comics will get interesting next week.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Goddamn comics.

Along with some blah comics, I picked up X-Statix: Good Omens for ten bucks yesterday. Remember X-Force/X-Statix? Peter Milligan and Mike Allred doing the mutant corner of Marvel and addressing superhero celebrity at the same time? Doesn't that seem forever ago? I remember the day I picked up the hardcover collecting their entire X-Force run back in my first year of university. I also got a "Murder Me Dead" t-shirt that day and I loved that t-shirt. Never read the comic, but that t-shirt was cool. I wish they'd put the X-Statix stuff in those deluxe hardcovers instead of just trades. How weird is it that I would already own this stuff if it were in more expensive hardcovers? I just love those deluxe hardcovers, of which I learned today via one of the online shopping sites I was looking at that the hardcover collecting Ultimates 2 will be out in December just in time for Christmas. Yippie.

Anyway . . .

X-Statix is what X-Force became at the same time Cable became Soldier X and Deadpool became Agent X. And, seriously, all three (six?) of those books were really good. What was the last X-book you read? I here X-Factor is decent and that one issue I read was great, but I just never seem to pick up the trades. I will. But, besides X-Factor, any X-books with any sort of critical buzz? Any at all? I didn't think so.

In Good Omens, the newly christened X-Statix need to recruit a couple of new members, overcome personal issues and contend with O-Force, the newest mutant supercelebrityhero team. And there's this kid named Arnie that's all insane in the membrane and is controlling an entire town with his mind. It's a real good, you should get it.

My only complaint is that the art to part five is done by Paul Pope instead of Allred, and that's only a complaint in that "doesn't jive with the previous four parts" sense as Pope's art is great. I haven't read anything of his really, although I always hear good things. I'm also digging the pun name of his new book, Pulphope. I'm not usually a pun guy, but that is some clever shit right there.

You know what cracks me up? The discussion over Guy Smith's codename: he started out as Mr. Sensitive and then became The Orphan--and in this collection, he and Arnie briefly debate which is a better superhero name when they're both so lame. But then again, most superhero names are lame. Except for Iron Fist. Iron Fist is a cool fucking name.

There's also a cool moment where two of the members of the group (I forget their names--the nerdy wolf guy and the wigger blobby guy) deal with their media ploy of pretending to be lovers--only to later come to the conclusion that, yes, they are both gay, they just aren't attracted to one another. And how in the world is a woman made of energy filling up a suit sexy? Her "beauty" is cloth! I'm just saying that it baffles me is all.

I'm drinking a bottle of orange pop right now and, in Canada, they need to put any language on packaging in English and French because they're the official languages, so on pop bottles, you usually get the logo twice with the text in English and French. But, for this, you get the same thing twice as orange is orange in French. Weird. Rasin is grape, by the way. I can't remember what cream soda is.

If you had powers that let you control people and matter with your mind, would you become a crazy tyrant? I know I would. That's the sad truth: we all read these comics full of people with powers and responsibility and think we'd be good like them when, really, not many of us would. I mean, my god, if you were Superman, would you wait in line for stuff? No one would wait in line if they could help it, because waiting in line sucks. I think that may just be my biggest problem with superhero comics: anyone who waits in line. I'm telling you, on those cold winter days when the line at the Tim Horton's is half a kilometre, do I feel like standing there for fifteen minutes to get my French vanilla cappuccino? Or in those giant student loan pick-up lines? No, it would be "Fuck you all, I'm the goddamn Superman."

That should totally be Frank Miller's next project. Once Grant Morrison and Franky Quitely are done with All-Star Superman, Miller should take over just so we can get The Goddamn Superman. Fuck, if he keeps doing that, will we call his little universe of DC stories the Goddamn DC Universe? That would be classic. It would be worth it just for this exchange:

Superman: Earth-G? What's the "G" stand for?

Goddamn Superman: Goddamn. Now, out of my way, spermdumpster, I'm the Goddamn Superman!

Goddamn, I'm bored today.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I hate comics

Well, the problem of the pull list was solved easily by a shitty selection and this week's comics not being available. I did buy a few things, though:

Mighty Avengers #4

Wow, did those thought balloons get annoying as hell in this issue. Maybe if every single one of them wasn't some snide remark . . .

But, some fun action, the Ultron story keeps on going and everyone is still pissed off at Henry Pym for building Ultron back in the 1960s. It's been over forty years, you'd think they'd let that shit go eventually.

Starlord #1

My dad bought the first "Annihilation" crossover and I enjoyed a couple of the books, Silver Surfer and Nova. In this round, the only book that looks interesting is Starlord and this issue is all set-up. Starlord is put in charge of a group of criminals that are meant to do some gorilla fighting against the Phalanx. Some cute moments, but I'm hoping future issues are better.

The Immortal Iron Fist #7

Meh. A little breather between arcs, but this issue did little for me. The art is mediocre, the story isn't much better and the only thing that had me interested was the preview of #8's cover.

The Programme #1

Uh . . . I bet this will make more sense in the larger picture.

Super-Villain Team-Up/Modok's 11 #1

So, this was supposed to be funny, right? Can someone point me to the funny? I didn't see the funny, but people seem to think it's there, so would someone POINT ME TO GODDAMN FUNNY IN THIS, YET ANOTHER LACKLUSTRE, MEDIOCRE PIECE OF SHIT BOOK THAT PASSES FOR COMEDY GOLD IN THE MARVEL UNIVERSE? Seriously, all I ask is that when a book is put out by Marvel that's meant to be a comedy, that it actually make me laugh. Just once. Yeah, you get the occasional funny moment in the regular books, but never in the books that are SUPPOSED to be funny. What's up with that?

So, the haul today wasn't fantastic. Mostly blah, mediocre and shit with the hopes some will get better with future issues. Fucking comics.

I also bought the first X-Statix trade for ten bucks, but I'll discuss it tomorrow, because I actually enjoyed it and don't want to fuck up the theme.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Problem with Comics: Pull Lists in Other Cities

The problem: I currently reside in Windsor, but maintain a pull list at my shop in London, because I'm just in Windsor for grad school. However, that means I have to wait until I visit home to pick up certain titles. Now, my pull list in London isn't that big, but it has some of the books I REALLY enjoy including Casanova, which has an issue come out tomorrow! I'm planning to hit a Windsor shop this week (maybe tomorrow) just because I feel the urge to get some comics and I'll pick up various books I don't have on the pull list in London, but what about Casanova? Issue eight comes out this week and it's been months since I've had my fix. What am I to do? Why, oh, why did I have to remain loyal to my shop in London? Fucking loyalty.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Magic Eight Ball Mondays: Countdown to Who Cares?

Another Monday, another session with the magic eight ball. About last week: yes, the magic eight ball really did respond no right away and, yes, I wanted to do that joke at some point. Now, it's been done, so we won't be doing it again. This week, I'll ask the magic eight ball questions about DC's Countdown stuff. As always, anything that's positive is a yes (like "outlook good"), anything negative is a no and anything else will be followed as directed. Let's do this:

Me: So, ready to go, magic eight ball?

8: It Is Certain

Me: Good. Now, will Countdown be a success on the whole?

8: You May Rely On It

Me: Really?

8: Most Likely

Me: No, no, no . . . really????

8: It Is Certain

Me: Wow. I, uh, didn't see that coming. Let's move on: Will Mary Marvel remain a skank?

8: Cannot Predict Now

Me: Will the New Gods all die?

8: Ask Again Later

Me: Will Jason Todd become a well-liked and respected character?

8: Yes

Me: Will the Jokester be a cool character?

8: Better Not Tell You Now

Me: The one thing I care about . . . again, the New Gods--are they all going to die?

8: Reply Hazy Try Again

Me: Will all of the New Gods die?

8: Better Not Tell You Now

Me: Will Jimmy Olsen die?

8: Signs Point To Yes

Me: Will the Joker kill him?

8: Concentrate And Ask Again


8: Yes Definitely

Me: Is the Martian Manhunter in love with Batman?

8: My Sources Say No

Me: Are Kingdom Come Superman and Mullet-Superman bullies now?

8: Without A Doubt

Me: Will the Teen Titans kill Darkseid just to shut up the JSA geezers?

8: Yes

Me: Is the DCU having its period?

8: Outlook Not So Good

Me: Seriously, will Countdown be a success overall?

8: Outlook Good

Me: But, but, but, but--HOW?

8: Signs Point To Yes

Me: Er, sorry. Will is be because of Grant Morrison? Will Grant make it alright?

8: Most Likely

Me: So, Final Crisis will redeem it all?

8: It Is Certain

Me: But, will Countdown the book remain crap?

8: Without A Doubt

Me: Okay, that makes sense. Did I forget anything?

8: Outlook Good

Me: Oh. Was it important?

8: As I See It Yes

Me: Uh . . . will they find Ray Palmer?

8: Cannot Predict Now

Me: Will evil actually inherit the Earth?

8: Most Likely

Me: Fuck, I'm sick of this, can we stop?

8: Better Not Tell You Now

Me: . . .

Alright, that does it for another week. Hope you've learned something. If you have a question for the magic eight ball, submit it to us via the comments or e-mail.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Hold me closer, tiny dancer.

Is the songwriting relationship of Elton John and Bernie Taupin the musical equivalent of the "Marvel style" of making comics? Taupin sends John some lyrics, John takes those and does whatever he wants to wind up with a song, whereas in the Marvel style, the writer sends the artist a plot, the artist draws whatever to turn it into a comic (and then the writer adds dialogue--okay, so it doesn't match up perfectly).

The weird things you think of sometimes.

Reviewer V. Critic

I've been thinking a lot about reviewers and critics. Two things spurned this on:

1) Warren Ellis discussing reviews and how he hates them: "I avoid reading reviews of my own work, as a rule, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read reviews of other peoples’ work and just thought, “it’s not that I disagree with your opinion, but that your opinion is based on you just plain not understanding what you read.” Or, worse, the chill of realising the reviewer just doesn’t know anything about how comics are put together; the equivalent of a music reviewer hearing guitars and thinking they’re clarinets. Which is not something you see often in music writing. And I get this from some of the best-known comics reviewers; I recall one well-regarded guy stating that a book was sloppy because it was cutting its scenes in the middle of the page instead of at the end. Which I imagine came as news to, say, Jaime Hernandez."

2) An article in The Globe & Mail on Harry Potter where the author constantly used both terms interchangeably and also lamented that reviewers are forbidden from spoiling the end of works, while critics in academia write as if the reader of the article is familiar with the work.

A few years ago, Steve Grant discussed the difference brilliantly in a Permanent Damage and that's been how I've looked at the two ever since.

I also have some experience with both and the best way I've come to describe the difference is: reviews must have opinions, criticisms do not necessarily. When I write a review, you're hearing my opinion of what I'm reviewing with the goal of influencing your decision to buy/listen to/see/etc. it. When I'm writing a critical article, I'm examing an aspect of a work (or works) to argue a point.

Comic reviewers don't have to understand anything about the comics they read other than what they thought of them. If they don't get a certain technique, so what--because their audience is the average reader and if the reviewer doesn't get it, maybe the average reader won't get it. And reviews are aimed at the average, uninformed reader, not the intelligent one. We assume anyone intelligent can figure shit out for themself and don't need our opinions really.

Now, criticism is different because it often doesn't look at a work as a whole in the sense of enjoyment. It assumes the reader is familiar with the work because the plot doesn't necessarily matter. The example most of us have dealt with is an essay and if you've written them as a post-secondary level, you'll know what you actually think of the work means dick all. I've written essays that have gotten A's on books I didn't actually read, but since I was discussing aspects of the books, specific techniques, all I needed to know was how those techniques worked in the book, for what purpose and how to string together an argument. If you read those essays, you wouldn't know if I enjoyed the books because it doesn't matter.

Now, is Ellis wrong to be upset that reviewers aren't more intelligent? Of course not. Intelligent, passionate reviewers are the best kind. However, he (and the Globe writer) are wrong to expect reviews on par with critical writing, because the two have different goals, methods and styles. There is overlap (which is where I like to think a lot of the stuff I write here falls, somewhere in between the two--although I certainly go back and forth depending on the post), but, ultimately, two different things and it's unfair to expect one to be the other.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Showcase Presents Superman Vol. 1 (Part Three)

I haven't posted about this book since March, but I've slogged through another 200 pages and, Christ, some of this is pretty messed up.

* Criminals buy an island, turn it into a replica of Krypton, advertise it, get people to move there . . . all so they can trick Superman into turning a dozen pieces of coal into diamonds. I kept waiting for the guy in charge to go, "Hey, wait a minute, our insanely retarded scheme is making us rich legally, fuck this shit!"

* Superman's now-dead adopted parents use a time machine to visit him. So, Superman takes them to his Fortress of Solitude where he shows off his various cool things like his lava swimming pool, his pet alien dinosaur and his lame robots. All goes well until the Kents find a room "IN MEMORY OF THE PARENTS OF SUPERMAN" and get all jealous until Superman shows them the "IN MEMORY OF THE EARTH PARENTS OF SUPERMAN" room, which has the whole family eating dinner, but Clark in his Superboy costume. Once again, we see that Superman's Fortress of Solitude is really some weird museum that Superman has built for after he dies.

Later in the issue, the Kents are all at Clark's apartment when Lois shows up with a pie. Before she enters, Clark uses his x-ray vision to see that it's her and calls her the girl he may marry someday. Upon her entering, he's glad she's brought a pie so the Kents can judge if she's a good cook, which leads to the following:



Two things: 1. Lois is sitting right there, you old bastard! Totally embarrassing. 2. Clark Kent = master of the obvious.

When Clark sees a problem, he tells his dad to help get rid of Lois, so the old guy spills hot coffee on her. After both Lois and Clark leave, we learn that these aren't the Kents, but people dressed as the Kents who figured out that they were Superman's adopted parents by researching the records in Smallville. Yeah, these con artists are better journalists than everyone else on the planet. And then later, they blackmail Superman and he defeats them in a totally lame way.

* Superman gets amnesia and forgets his secret identity. Eventually, he learns that it's Clark Kent after pretending to be a blonde British guy who takes Clark's job while Clark is on vacation. Superman learns of his real secret identity by flying faster than light and using a special lens to see him change on Earth in the past.He then uses the fake British identity to fool Lois into thinking THAT was his secret identity all along. He never actually regains his memory.

* Superman shows up at some pseudo-mystic magician's act and exposes all of his tricks, because he's a dick.

* When Lois uglies herself up to get out of a blind date the same night she has a date with Superman, Superman does the same by pretending his real face is that of Alfred E. Newman, beloved Mad Magazine mascot. Lois is heartbroken and stays with him, but can only become sexually aroused by imaging Superman is still good looking. Weird irony: uglied-up Lois is hotter than regular Lois. She's got cool messed up hair, glasses and a wacky dress. Totally alternative chic.

* Superman discovers an uncharted island off the coast of Metropolis where evil people have been enslaving sailors to work on some secret "Project X." Instead of just saving all of these innocents from horrible slavery, Superman goes undercover as Clark Kent and gets taken prisoner. But, OH NOES(!), Jimmy snuck aboard Clark's ship and is emprisoned as well. The rest of the issue has Jimmy and the other slaves get fucked over by Superman again and again. Clark makes his iron ball and chain light as a feather: no more food for anyone. Jimmy figures out a way to escape is basically free, but that could mean fucking up Superman's lame plan, so he makes sure Jimmy gets caught and sentenced to death. After Superman saves Jimmy from being shot, the villains stick him in a rocket (which is Project X) and when it fails to launch, Superman throws it into space. All so he could fuck it up and convince the bad guys their plan was shit to begin with.

So, instead of just stopping the bad guys, he let's people work hard labour, starve, think they're going to die and get shot into space. Superman is such a dick.

There's also the part of the issue where Superman calls his costume indestructable, but then manages to pull various threads from it. The fuck?

* Clark Kent gets blown up, so Superman let's everyone think he's dead. Because Lois is so heartbroken, he takes her to dinner. He then moves in with Jimmy Olsen, which causes all sorts of problem when people realise that Superman lives there. Days later, Lois is still mourning Clark, but all Superman can think about is "Oh no, people want me to do stuff! Wah-wah-wah!" He eventually tricks everyone into thinking Clark somehow survived because he's learned the value of having a secret identity.

* Some random dude is upset because it's some weird day at his son's school where dad's wear costumes that they wore while performing a heroic deed and he's done nothing--so he decides to pretend he's Superman. His wife convinces him that his son will eventually learn the truth and it will fuck him up for life, but before he can get out of the costume, trouble errupts . . . RIGHT OUTSIDE HIS HOUSE! There's a giant robot carrying a stick of dynamite and it yells:


Coolest robot ever. So, the bad guys take Clark Kent as a hostage and think this idiot is Superman. They want him to help them find some loot their dead boss hid in a museum. Cue various scenes of Clark secretly helping this guy pretend he's Superman and the day is eventually saved with the guy's son all impressed because his dad saved the day WITHOUT superpowers, which is totally cooler than Superman.

* So, there's an ape called Toot that's shot into space, hit with radiation and when it comes back, immediately becomes giant and shoots Kryptonite radiation from its eyes. Lois renames it Titano after it gropes her.

* Lex Luthor turns all of the lead in the world into glass. This fact is promptly ignored in future stories.

* Clark goes on a talk show where the host brings forth huge amounts of evidence that Clark Kent is Superman and Clark lies over and over again, even while hooked up to a lie detector. Lois is upset that this guy may prove Clark is Superman, something she's failed to prove for years.

* Men from the year 2000 (named Vard and Boka) show up and accuse Superman of being a criminal. Naturally, everyone believes them. They capture Superman, take him to the future and then reveal that in the future, all of the oceans have dried up, but they have a plan: Superman will take two of Saturn's moon, which are made of "frozen snow" and use them to bring water back to Earth. For billions of dollars!

When Superman saves the day and returns to his time, Lois doesn't "KNOW WHETHER OR BE GLAD OR ANGRY TO SEE YOU BACK SO SOON!" because she and Perry were just about to listen to a tape Superman left them in case he was taken to the future and it has all of his secrets. After she says this, Superman has that "I will fucking hit you, bitch" look on his face and tells her she better be glad he's back.

* Clark is turned into an old man for three days. During this time, he pretends to be the Old Man of the Sea and Father Time to avoid exposing his secret identity. When returned to normal, Lois takes him to see the musical version of Rip Van Winkle, the story of a man who woke up old all of a sudden much like the time Superman was turned into a lion and she took him to see Beauty and the Beast. Lois is such a bitch.

* Superman kills Lois and is haunted by her ghost. People make fun of him and call him crazy.

And that's it for this time.