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
Today, Patrick and Greg are discussing Deadpool 20, originally released December 4th, 2013.
Patrick: There’s no single person or institution that’s introduced me to more media than The Simpsons. I didn’t know that it was happening at the time, but my 10 year old mind was being educated in the works of Alfred Hitchcock, Rod Serling, Francis Ford Copola, Stanley Kubric, Martin Scorsesse, Tennessee Williams, and on and on. But the film that seems to have cropped up the most was Citizen Kane. I can’t possibly convey what my first experience of watching Citizen Kane was like: by that point in my life, I’d seen the same scenes and camera angles and transitions and themes and characters reconstituted a hundred different ways on The Simpsons. It was invigorating and shocking to see everything in its original context, granting new meaning to my favorite old Simpsons episodes, but also imbuing Citizen Kane with a kind of pre-loaded meaning. Deadpool has never shied away from referential humor, but writers Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn and artist Scott Koblish narrow their focus in the third inventory issue, and convinces us that Jack Kirby’s work is the Citizen Kane of comic books. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Inhumanity 1, originally released December 4th, 2013.
Spencer: First issues are hard to pull off well. They have to be as exciting as possible to ensure that readers come back for issue two, yet they also have to somehow find space to establish a whole new world/concept/set of characters and make sure the readers aren’t lost; if those two goals sound completely incompatible, well, they often are. Matt Fraction’s task in Inhumanity 1 is made even more difficult by the Inhumans’ long and complicated history. Fraction goes out of his way to make sure we understand everything we could ever possibly need to know about the Inhumans in this issue, but unfortunately, it leaves little room for actual story—or excitement. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Trillium 5, originally released December 4th, 2013.Shelby: Like all the issues of Trillium before it, this one has a trick to it. Again, like we’ve seen before, there’s a separation between Nika’s story and William’s; Nika’s story runs along the top half of the page, with a note to “…read upper section of report first.” At the end of the issue, you flip the book upside down, and read back along the bottom to get William’s story. Nika’s end is his beginning, his beginning her end. That in and of itself is beautiful, but being the stubborn fool that I am, I read the whole thing straight through first, flipping the book over and over. Between my correct and incorrect readings of Jeff Lemire’s sci fi/apocalypse/time travel/romance, a beautifully balanced set of parallel stories emerged. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Ethan are discussing FF 14, originally released December 2nd, 2013.
Patrick: “The eve of battle” is an experience most of us will never literally experience – simply by virtue of the fact that so few of us will ever experience “battle.” The phenomenon, however, is immediately recognizable. People get introspective and honest and fearless the night before Something Big happens. That’s why people hook up the last day of camp, that’s why you stay up too late the night before finals watching Lord of the Rings with your friends. There’s something about the Bigness of the next day that makes every flight of fancy seem relevant. As the FF find themselves staring down the barrel of a battle royale with Doctor Doom, the Allreds chase down every impulse and curiosity, revealing a beautiful mosaic as quirky and particular as the team itself. Continue reading →
Spencer: Unsurprisingly for a group that claims to rule the world in secret, the Illuminati functions much like a government. Both are made up of various individuals each supposedly dedicated to bettering the world (or their country, whatever), but who are also devoted to personal causes of their own which quite often cause major conflicts of interest. In the past, we’ve worried that these conflicts could tear the Illuminati apart, but New Avengers 12 flips that situation by showing the Illuminati putting aside their differences (if only temporarily); their actions keep the world safe, but do serious damage to their personal lives. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Scott are discussing Deadpool Annual 2013, originally released November 27th, 2013.
Homer: Next, I’ll tell you the origin of Maggie’s pacifier.
Marge: What origin? We get ‘em for $1.95 down at the Safeway.
The Simpsons, “Lisa’s Sax”
Patrick: “Whys?” are important. At least, we want them to be. The Simpsons episode “Lisa’s Sax” explores the origins of — you guessed it — Lisa’s saxophone. The story features Bart’s disenchantment with the education system, the Simpsons’ poverty and the cold swirling mystery of raising a child. It’s insightful and heartfelt and honest: we learn about a crucial piece of the show’s mythology and just how much it informs, and is informed by, the series’ cast. It makes the saxophone Important in a way it hadn’t been before. But the episode is tagged with the exchange above, which readily admits that not all origins can be so fulfilling, no matter how integral a piece of mythology is. The Deadpool Annual explores both the origin, and subsequent termination, of Deadpool’s white voice over boxes. Is this a saxophone story or a pacifier story? Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Hawkeye 14, originally released November 27th, 2013.
Shelby: There’s a very idealistic romance to being young and on your own. It’s easy for me, at the ripe old age of 29, to see younger people’s enthusiasm and just roll my eyes. I’m just jaded enough to have very little patience for that sort of thing. As Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye continues with the adventures of Hawkeye (not Hawkguy) Kate Bishop in L.A., we get a heavy dose of romance, both of the idealistic-youth type and the couple-in-love type. Is Fraction laying it on thick to crack through my jaded, exterior shell? 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, Mikyzptlk and Patrick discuss Batwoman 25, Red Hood and the Outlaws 25, Birds of Prey 25, Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion 2, Green Lantern New Guardians 25 and Fables 135
Mikyzptlk: Hey y’all, let’s kick things off with Birds of Prey 25, shall we? Many years ago, Sensei Desmond found a young Dinah Lance in a hungry and homeless state. He gave her a home, taught her how to fight, and, after his death, his dojo. During the Zero Year, Dinah gets mixed up in an affair involving government agents and ninja assassins, but she is able to help said agents track down important intel that could lead them to Riddler. The lead agent John Lynch, then asks her to join his team. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Daredevil 33, originally released November 22nd, 2013.
Drew: “The man without fear” is kind of a strange title for a superhero — between absurd power levels and unmatchable competence, most superheroes have nothing to fear in the first place. Heck, the Avengers just repelled an unstoppable force of universal destruction and one of them just shoots arrows. This prompts supervillain inflation, where each bad guy needs to be bigger than the last in order to draw any drama from the situation — at least, that’s usually the solution for most writers. Mark Waid, on the other hand, has taken Matt Murdock’s title to heart, and has set out to explore the kinds of horrors that have nothing to do with the size of the guy Daredevil has to punch. The result is incredibly relatable and human, but also extremely rare in modern comics. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing The Wake 5, originally released November 20th, 2013.
Shelby: I love being surprised by a story. There’s the smug satisfaction of thinking you’ve figured it all out, followed by the shock of things playing out completely differently. If the storytelling is good, you don’t even care that you were wrong; it’s like the ground just opened up beneath you and you find yourself dropped into a totally different story. These last five issues of The Wake have given us a sci fi, underwater horror tale as Lee Archer fights horrifying mer-monsters at the bottom of the ocean. We’ve gotten glimpses at a much bigger picture, but the bulk of the story has taken place on the ghost rig. At the end of the book, Scott Snyder tells us that was all setup, that now the real story starts, and shit is gonna get crazy. That’s a paraphrase, mind you: Scott Snyder is far more eloquent in his delivery.