Patrick Ehlers, Co-Editor-In-Chief
Location: Los Angeles
History With Comics: Patrick came late to the comics game. After enjoying adaptations of Batman, Superman and the Justice League, he was finally tricked into picking up a set of graphic novels after seeing Robert Rodriguez’ Sin City. Naturally, this lead to further exploration of Frank Miller’s work, specifically with Batman. But it was not until an unexplainable desire to read Blackest Night that Patrick began purchasing the trades of Geoff Johns’ run Green Lantern. With a convenient new entry point and a handful of friends to follow him into the madness, Patrick began reading monthlies with the New 52′s Justice League #1.
New 52 Favorites: The Flash, Swamp Thing, Batwoman
Other Favorite Comics: Usagi Yojimbo, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Saga
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, Drew and Patrick discuss Batman and Wonder Woman 30, Uncanny X-Men 20, and Ultimate FF 1.
Drew: What is it that attracts you to superhero comics? Is it the incredible feats? The straightforward emotions writ large? Is it the insane, mind-bending concepts? Is it the complex mythology built collaboratively over decades of a shared universe? Obviously, different fans are drawn to different elements of the genre, but anyone looking for an issue that delivers on all counts might be happy with Batman and Wonder Woman 30. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing The Unwritten Apocalypse 4, originally released April 16th, 2014.
Drew: What do we need to talk about when discussing a work of art? Obviously, the answer will vary quite a bit depending on the art in question, but in the abstract, virtually every discussion needs to touch on the art itself, the artist(s) that created it, and the audience that observes it. We tend to focus on the relationship between the art and the audience here, believing that meaning arises when art is consumed, and that interpretation is the most important end-product of art. It’s an approach that keeps us from getting too mired in concerns over what the artist meant or what they might believe, but it might also prevent us from fully appreciating the art itself. The Unwritten Apocalypse 4, raises some interesting questions about the relationship between art and the artist that creates it, presenting it in the much more alluring (and knowingly meta) form of a story ripe for interpretation.
Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Sinestro 1, originally released April 16th, 2014.
Patrick: Thaal Sinestro is a complicated character, driven by exactly as many conflicting emotions and values as the Great Hal Jordan. While the yellow ring-slingers bear his name, he was always underserved by that characterization. Sinestro is no monster, but the Sinestro Corps is nothing but. He’s a Green Lantern. He’s a patriot. He’s a hero. Cullen Bunn and Dale Eaglesham take the first issue of their new series to explore the gulf between what Sinestro is and what Sinestro is supposed to be. Continue reading →
It’s that wonderful time of year when hordes of our fellow geeks descend upon the fair city of Chicago for C2E2. Our esteemed editors Drew and Patrick will be flying in to join Shelby for three days of con madness, and we’d love to see your shining faces there!
If any of you guys out there in the ether are planning on making the trek to the Windy City and would be interested in meeting up with us for a drink Saturday night (and who doesn’t need a drink after the second night of a con?), sound off here! Join us in celebration of the three editors being in the same time zone for the first time since we started this crazy blogging adventure. You’ll be able to find us at Plymouth, 327 S. Plymouth Court (near State and Van Buren). The con floor closes at 7:00, and that’s when we’ll head over to get our drink on.
If you can’t make to C2E2 this year, don’t fret; we’ll be covering the con all weekend, so tune in here for updates. Hope to see you there!
Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Justice League 29, originally released April 16th, 2014.
Patrick: Here’s a little bit of a confession: I don’t know why we make fun of people who use Internet Explorer. I think most of us use Chrome or Safari to navigate the internet, and I know a lot of smart, young, web-savvy types that will also use Firefox in a pinch. But IE? You might as well be my grandmother at that point. The browser is so closely associated with disinterested or novice internet use that it’s sorta become shorthand for “the person using this product doesn’t know anything about technology.” I’m sure that’s unfair, and I’d be willing to wager that most of the bugs and clumsy UIs that drove us all away from IE in the first place have been worked out and it’s a totally serviceable browser. Still though. Fucking n00bs, right? As Geoff Johns decides that technology vs. humanity has always been a theme of Forever Evil, the solutions feel less logical and reasoned and more magical. If the story is trying to convince me that it’s in anyway tech savvy, Justice League 29 is not putting forth the most compelling argument. Continue reading →
Interviewer: So, why do you write these strong female characters? Joss Whedon: Because you’re still asking me that question.
This exact change may be a tad apocryphal. The rhetoric is too biting, too effective, even for a wordsmith like Whedon to toss out on the fly. The quote comes from a speech Whedon gave on gender equality, and it’s the well-scripted button on the top of an extremely well-crafted, well-reasoned argument for normalizing equality. The reason his response cuts so deep is because it is an intuitive truth. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve patted artists on the back for not being lecherous fuckers, or how frequently we need to sing the praises of a writer that creates female characters with real agency. We are so used to the imbalance between quality female characters and quality male characters that simply resisting this trend is often greeted as progress. This needs to change. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing The Superior Spider-Man 31, originally released April 16th, 2014.
Shelby: If I learned anything from watching countless episodes of M*A*S*H* as a child, it’s that the first step of dealing with any disaster is triage. You need to assess the situation and make some quick decisions to prioritize your next steps. Usually this means letting some people in pain suffer a little while longer so you can tend to the immediately life-threatening issues. It’s only after you’ve stopped the bleeding and patched up the worse off can you step back and consider the situation as a whole; that’s the point you can begin to make some decisions about long-term fixes and really start cleaning up your mess.
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, Patrick, Shelby and Drew discuss All-New Ultimates 1, Superior Foes of Spider-Man 11, All-New Ghost Rider 2, Iron Fist: The Living Weapon 1, Shutter 1, Green Lantern Corps 30, and Astro City 11.
Patrick: We start our round-up in that most peculiar corner of the Marvel Universe, the Ultimate corner. All-New Ultimates 1introduces the titular team — now comprised of Spider-Man, Spider-Woman, Cloak and Dagger and Bombshell — as they try to reclaim their claim in a post-Cataclysm New York City. Without S.H.I.E.L.D. to support them, or anyone with any managerial experience, it looks like the series is positioned to explore the way groups of teenagers function without central leadership. And while that’s sorta interesting, so much of it happens in costume, the only exception to that is a single scene between Jessica and Kitty Pryde (on whose couch Jessica is crashing). Continue reading →
This notion is a kind of unofficial mantra for Retcon Punch. We fully embrace that our perspectives are limited, which is why virtually everything we publish features at least two writers and an open comment section. It’s an attitude that serves us very well when discussing works of art, where interpretation is paramount, but makes us decidedly less good at journalism, which aims to transcend interpretations in pursuit of facts.
We’ve largely shied away from reporting news (honestly, there are so many sites for comic news out there already), and while we will wade in every once in a while, our cross-talk format results in longer gestation times than the twitter-assisted news cycle tends to have patience for. We’re happy to focus on discussing comics and leaving the news to other sites, but we felt like we needed to speak up about the Janelle Asselin Controversy and fallout. This story is obviously bigger than the facts in question – something that might warrant the kind of longer, slower conversations we do here — and more importantly, it addresses issues that matter to us personally. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Spencer are discussing Batgirl 30, originally released April 9th, 2014.
Patrick: One of the tricks to performing satisfying long form improv is the ability to call out an unusual thing and deal with it. In fact, most of the Upright Citizens Brigade’s comedic philosophy is based around that single truth: whatever’s happening, let’s identify it, explore it and process it. “Don’t be coy” is what that usually breaks down to. Issue 30 of Batgirl is mercilessly coy, refusing to share its biggest secret, but still tries desperately to mine pathos out of it. The result is an emotional clusterfuck — one that I doubt would be satisfying even if the powers that be deemed us worthy of Forever Evil‘s biggest reveals.