Chat Cave: What embarrasses you about comics?

Comics have always been stigmatized, from the homophobia that led to the comics code to the perennial perception that comics are for kids. Fans have long tolerated these stigmas, but have recently enjoyed more mainstream acceptance. Between the regular presence of graphic novels on bestseller lists and superheros on theater marquis, comics readers need no longer feel embarrassed for their fandom. At least, not totally. This week, the Retcon Punchers discuss what aspects of comic books still embarrass them. Welcome to the Chat Cave.

Drew: This subject is very near and dear to my heart. In fact, one could argue that my first attempt to tackle this subject (posted on my blog devoted to subjects of such social stigmas) set me on the path that led to the formation of this very site. Suffice it to say, I’m maybe a little too sensitive to what people might be thinking about my comic fandom, but those sensitivities aren’t necessarily directly comics related. The thing I’m most embarrassed by is people assuming that I’m the kind of hyper-sarcastic, socially awkward pretentious hermit that has become the stereotype of the modern comic fan, but that has more to do with the culture surrounding comics than anything in the comics themselves. Continue reading


Detective Comics 1-6

Today, Patrick and Peter are discussing Detective Comics 1-6, originally released September 7th, 20122, October 5th, 2011, November 2nd, 2011, December 7th, 2011, January 4th, 2012, and  February 1st, 2012.

Patrick: I’m a bit of a completionist. Any time I take up a new hobby, I have to fight my collectorly urges and pace my intake of that hobby. When I discovered Green Lantern in the Fall of 2010, I was fortunate enough to be working a high-paying administrative gig. I threw down laughably large amounts of money on every trade paperback with the words “Green” and “Lantern” printed on them somewhere. They weren’t all classics, but damn it all, I wanted to know what was going on. DC Comics understands this impulse so very, very well.  That’s why there are four series in the New 52 starring Batman (Batman, Detective Comics, Batman and Robin and The Dark Knight) with seven other series that have already featured Batman in prominent roles (Nightwing, Batgirl, Batwoman, Batwing, Catwoman, Justice League and Justice League International) and a few where I assume he’ll show up sooner or later (Red Hood and the Outlaws and Birds of Prey). DC is in the goddamned Batman business.  Continue reading

All-Star Western 4-6

Today, Peter and Drew are discussing All-Star Western 4-6, originally released December 28th, 2011, January 25th, 2012, and February 22nd, 2012.

Peter: As we delve farther into the story of Jonah Hex and the 1880s, it has become apparent that this book is on a mission. What it is exactly, I’m not sure. However, it is clear as day that writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti have a clear vision for All-Star Western, and how to make this book play a greater role in the greater DCnU. Continue reading

Batwing 1-6

Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Batwing 1-6, originally released September 7th, 2011, October 5th, 2011, November 2nd, 2011, December 7th, 2011, January 4th, 2012, and February 1st, 2012.

Patrick: David and Isaac Zavimbe  were orphaned when their parents died of AIDS. They were kidnapped from the orphanage by Warlord Keita, who transformed them both into monstrous child-soldiers. As the Zavimbe brothers were impossibly good at killing in the name of the warlord, Keita took them on as his own sons – calling them his Dragonflies. The more atrocities they committed for Keita, the more he trusted them. When Isaac defied and order and refused to murder children, Warlord Keita gutted him with a machete in front of his brother. By way of revenge, David left Keita defenseless in an enemy village and vowed to never kill again. David grows  up to become a police officer in the Republic of Congo by day and superhero Batwing by night. This is canvas upon which the Batwing saga is painted.

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Aquaman 6

Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Aquaman 6, originally released February 22nd, 2012.

Shelby: You may not know this about me, but every weekend I put together the headers for the Alternating Currents for the following week. Doing so means I take a little sneak peak at the cover art for upcoming issues. Last weekend, as I was working my way through these, I got really, really excited for Aquaman 6. I mean, just look at it! We’ve got fire and water constructs and cars flying around and, front and center, we’ve got Mera herself, looking like all kinds of badass. “This is it!” I thought to myself. “This is that moment I’ve been waiting for since the relaunch! Time for Mera to shine!” Ultimately, I was let down.
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The Flash 6

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing the Flash 6, originally released February 22nd, 2012.

Drew: Barry Allen has a strange relationship with time. It’s the essence of his character; he moves (and thinks) fast enough for issues of cause and effect to not matter to him in the same way they do for us. The complexity of that relationship increases exponentially when time travel is added to the mix, breaking down the meaning of cause and effect altogether. Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato have done a great job introducing these elements without giving Barry absolute control over time. The EMP blast from the previous few issues addresses these complications dramatically, but issue 6 is told in a non-linear fashion, allowing Manapul and Buccellato to address the issue of time travel thematically. I’m going to re-shuffle the story into chronological order for the sake of clarity (a la our Batwoman 6 write-up), but understand that the story is arranged in LOST-style flashbacks to reveal the causes of events after the effect has been established. Continue reading

Chat Cave: Relaunching the Multiverse

With the Second Wave of the New 52, DC will reintroduce the Multiverse, the mulitple-earthed solution to continuity issues, with titles like Earth 2 and World’s Finest.What do you think about the Multiverse coming back? The Retcon Punchers sound off. Welcome to the Chat Cave

Shelby: Oh, Multiverse, you confuse me so. Trying to keep track of the Multiverse is, to me, akin to herding cats in a straight line: a mildly amusing, but ultimately impossible endeavor. Honestly, I think the Multiverse is just silly; come on, have you ever read the Wikipedia list of Multiverse worlds? Originally, it was meant to enable cross-overs between Golden and Silver Age comics, and has since been compressed, smoothed out, re-shaped, forgotten, remembered, and now apparently relaunched. It is a sink-hole of continuity issues and alternate realities. Continue reading

All-Star Western 1-3

Today, Peter and Drew are discussing All-Star Western 1-3, originally released September 28th,  October 26th, and November 23rd, 2011.

Peter: DC took a couple of major leaps with the New 52 in terms of character development and took a few chances as well. Those chances were, of course giving several lesser used and known characters their own books; Mr. Terrific, Hawk and Dove, Static Shock, etc. All-Star Western is probably the most ambitious of these books, and I firmly believe this book is a ‘high-risk, high-reward’ book for DC. Continue reading

Green Lantern Corps 6

Today, Peter and Patrick are discussing Green Lantern Corps 6, originally released  February 15th, 2012.

Peter: I have always liked the idea of the Green Lantern Corps; an intergalactic peace keeping force run by a council of small, immortal blue aliens. Over the years, the Green Lantern mantle has been carried by several different humans, from Hal Jordan to Kyle Rayner. However, for a very long time, outside of large-scale events the rest of the Corps was rarely seen. With the advent of the Green Lantern Corps monthly we are given a look into the the workings of the Corps and a sometimes needed, always appreciated break from Hal Jordan and his ever-fluctuating mental structure. Peter Tomasi has begun to sculpt a new set of stories that are so far piquing my interest and are leaving me excited for the future of the Corps. Continue reading

Nightwing 5-6

Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Nightwing 5-6, originally released January 18th, 2012, and February 15th, 2012.

Patrick: I realize that I know a lot about Dick Grayson, but I don’t know all that much about Nightwing. I’m comfortable with him in the Robin role – that’s the Batman I was raised on, after all. And Dick wearing the Batman cowl is a compelling enough story that even with my limited exposure to that arc, I feel like I get it. But I don’t have a solid grasp on how Nightwing operates, what he stands for or what the world’s perception of him is. I don’t know who his rogues are (unless he’s borrowing from Batman’s incredibly deep bench), and I don’t really know where he usually fights crime (venturing a guess: Gotham and Blüdhaven? Wait, which one is Blüdhaven?). Relying only on this series, I’m not totally convinced I know what tone the Nightwing character is supposed to strike. Continue reading