History With Comics: Drew grew up with Superman pajamas. His best days were when he never had to change out of them. He fell in love with Batman the Animated Series when he was 5. He had never read a comic in his life, but started reading Batman trades when he was in high school. He continued to pick up trades and one-offs throughout the 00’s, but never got into the monthly swing. After almost a decade of being an outsider looking in, Drew seized upon DC’s relaunch to start picking up monthlies.
New 52 Favorites: Batman, Wonder Woman, Animal Man, Swamp Thing
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing The Wake 10 originally released July 30th, 2014.
They are our witness. Our memory. Our reflection staring back at us from the surface of the water. Challenging us to be unafraid, to take whatever leap we can.
Dr. Lee Archer, The Wake 10
Patrick: I let a lot of creative projects marinate in my imagination for long time before I ever express them to anyone. As a result, most of these projects never ever ever see the light of day. Half-formed ideas wither and die in my mind on a daily basis — exciting worlds, interesting characters, heartbreak, adventures, mysteries revealed. I know that ever single idea I’ve ever had would benefit from a second imagination’s scrutiny, so why would I let so many concepts suffocate inside my own skull? Because expression is scary. Admitting that you think an idea you have is cool is impossibly risky: literally no one else has ever weighed in on the idea before you. Actually expressing an original story you want to tell (or an original painting you want to paint or an original song you want to sing), requires the artist to be a narcissist and a champion of the unknown at the same time. That’s an incredibly naked position to be in, and that’s how Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy cast the whole of humanity in the final issue of The Wake. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Wonder Woman 33, originally released July 23rd, 2014
Patrick: Friday night, I was at a bar with some friends and — after the second round — the topic of conversation turned to “panty raids.” None of us had even participated in one nor had any of us been victim of one, but we all had these half-formed ideas from 80s college movies (and anything parodying 80s college movies). We all understood the same broad strokes: a group of men, probably a fraternity, steals underpants from a group of girls, probably a sorority. The purpose of a panty raid was still sort of elusive, and even among our small group, our perceptions of the gender and sexuality politics involved were all over the map. Is it a harmless prank? An anarchic expression of teenage sexuality? A skeezy male sexual power fantasy? That last thought hung with me through the weekend: no matter how panty raids were intended, the end result is at least a little rapey. Even something as stupid and frivolous as a panty raid has overtones of rape. Modern feminism has an awful lot to say about this prevalent rape culture, especially as a particularly glaring example of how far we really are from gender equality. As DC’s de facto symbol of feminism, Wonder Woman was bound to address the issue eventually, and the subtlety and grace of the conclusion to Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s masterpiece was the perfect place for it to happen. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Drew are discussing Daredevil 6, originally released July 23rd, 2014.
Spencer: This new volume of Daredevil has largely revolved around Matt Murdock’s move to San Francisco and how his unfamiliarity with that city has affected his skills as a crime fighter. Mark Waid and Javier Rodriguez’s Daredevil 6 finds Matt returning to New York City (seemingly only so he can get mixed-up with Original Sin), but despite being back in his old stomping grounds, things don’t get any easier for Matt. Waid spends this entire issue showing us just how unprepared Matt is now that all his secrets are out in the open; the way Waid piles tragedy atop tragedy atop tragedy is horrifically beautiful. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Batman 33, originally released July 23rd, 2014.
Drew: The Riddler may not have seemed like the most intuitive choice for a retelling of Batman’s origin — he’s in no man’s land, much more specific threat than those posed by organized crime in Year One, but he’s also not Batman’s biggest villain. Of course, that ignores the specific nature of this origin story, one that openly acknowledges how well-known the story is — or at least how well we think we know the story. That is, in order to not be a total retread, it requires the type of surprise ending we typically associate with riddles. It’s the kind of ending that recontextualizes the three-part story we’ve been reading as one emotional arc with a focus on something we may not have been expecting: Bruce’s relationship to Alfred. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Spencer are discussing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in Time 2, originally released July 23rd, 2014.
Drew: Last month, Patrick laid out the difference between time travel narratives that amount to fish-out-of-water stories and those that are actually about time travel — that is, those where the actions and repercussions of time travel are the point of the story. Turtles in Time 1 fell squarely into the first category, basically giving the Turtles an excuse to run around with dinosaurs for a while. It’s certainly a noble endeavor (and darn successful — we loved the heck out of that issue), but for a mini-series titled Turtles in Time, it seems only natural that the focus should shift back to the time travel itself, bringing all the concerns of causation and the space-time continuum to the fore as the Turtles encounter themselves pre-reincarnation in feudal Japan. Continue reading →
Look, there are a lot of comics out there. Too many. We can never hope to have in-depth conversations about all of them. But, we sure can round up some of the more noteworthy titles we didn’t get around to from the week. Today, Spencer, Patrick, Drew and Shelby discuss Harley Quinn Invades Comic-Con International San Diego 1, Batman Eternal 15, Robin Rises: Omega 1, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 36, Original Sin: Hulk vs. Iron Man 2, Elektra 4, Original Sin 6, Uncanny X-Men 23, Ms. Marvel 6, Nova 19, Silver Surfer 4, She-Hulk 6, Rat Queens 7 and The Wicked + The Divine 2.
Spencer: As many of you probably know (due to my extremelyin-depthcoverage), I recently attended my first Comic-Con. With that experience still fresh in mind, I have to say that Harley Quinn Invades Comic-Con International San Diego 1feels like an uncannily accurate representation of the Comic-Con experience. I mean, sure, Wizard World is nowhere near as large as SDCC, and I am nowhere near as manic as Harley Quinn (I hope), but I can still relate to Harley’s various quests to meet creators, as well as to the suffocating crowds (which probably necessitated the eight different artists who contributed to this thing). Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing The Last Fall 1, originally released July 16th, 2014.
Patrick: You know what’s wrong with the narrative in the Star Wars prequels? I mean, beyond “everything” — if you had to pin-point what’s so awful about the story itself, what overarching storytelling philosophy leads that series astray? I’m sure everyone has their own answer to this, but for me, the biggest culprit is Lucas’ refusal to make the interstellar conflict personal. All the motivating factors for going to war are tariffs and alliances — which could be effective if only our characters had some sort of relationship to how futile and trivial their efforts are. That’s a damn shame: there’s a lot of compelling mileage to mine from the futility of war. Tom Waltz and Casey Malone’s The Last Fall is set to explore just that thematic territory.
Look, there are a lot of comics out there. Too many. We can never hope to have in-depth conversations about all of them. But, we sure can round up some of the more noteworthy titles we didn’t get around to from the week. Today, Spencer and Drew discuss Grayson 1, Batgirl 33, Batman Eternal 14, Detective Comics 33, Superman Wonder Woman 10, Justice League United 3, Daredevil 5, Captain Marvel 5, All-New X-Men 29, Deadpool 31, Original Sins 3, Avengers 32, and Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm 1.
Spencer: I was recently discussing Grayson 1 with a friend of mine, a deeply devoted Nightwing fan who was worried about what DC had been doing with the character and especially about the decision to jettison his superheroic identity and turn Dick into a secret agent. My counterargument was that this book has so far been quite respectful of who Dick Grayson is, and I stand by that. Tim Seeley and Tom King depict Dick as compassionate, intelligent, humorous, and skilled, and pitting him against the Midnighter — an obvious stand-in for Dick’s mentor, Batman — is an excellent way to display just how competent Dick actually is. There’s been a lot of fuss about Dick using a gun, but Seeley and King actually use that same gun to reinforce that Dick’s morality is as solid as ever. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Guardians of the Galaxy: Galaxy’s Most Wanted 1 and Legendary Star-Lord 1, originally released July 2nd, 2014.
Last week, we noted that the great Marvel Hype Machine has kicked into full gear where the Guardians of the Galaxy are concerned. Let’s be honest: while there’s a lot of non-specific good will built up towards Marvel Studio Movies, this is a completely untested property. That means fans of the comics are going to have to be amazing ambassadors, and to move these five characters up to the forefront of our minds, Marvel has kicked off three new series: one of which was Rocket Raccoon — a high-profile release by a rock-star creator and featuring the prescribed breakout character from the movie. What about the other two?
Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Moon Knight 5, originally released July 2nd, 2014.
For most people, the shot’s stunning aspects will go unnoticed. And for the rest of us — at least for me, at any rate — they’re a distraction.
Mike D’Angelo on Children of Men
Drew: It’s funny to think about now, but I can remember a point in high school when I thought literary analysis was such a huge waste of time. Allusion, foreshadowing, symbolism, and any other literary devices were distractions that cluttered the actual enjoyment of the piece. It was years before I understood how ignorant that attitude was. In fact, it took hearing that same attitude from a peer that shook me into appreciating how much more depth of meaning we have access to thanks to analysis. Can being more aware of analysis pervert how we experience it? Maybe, but the benefits far outweigh the risks. That is, unless you allow your knowledge of analysis turn you into a total snob.