History With Comics: While the X-Men will always hold a special place in her heart, Shelby’s first love was Batman. Between Michael Keaton and Kevin Conroy, she fell hard. Like many, her first graphic novel was The Watchmen in college, followed by a handful of the Batman must-reads. Fast forward to last year: Shelby discovered the awesomeness of the DC universe through Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern Rebirth and Blackest Night. She once again fell in love with a comic book character, but this time it was Neil Gaiman’s Morpheus from his Sandman series, and now all her thoughts are translated into 8 or 9 panels per page with the occasional 2-page spread.
New 52 Favorites: Batgirl, Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Batman
Today, Shelby and Taylor are discussing American Gods 1, originally released March 15th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Shelby: I love the power of pagan mythology. The magics of these stories seem more raw, more chaotic, more basely elemental than what you find in newer, monotheistic religions: like a no-holds-barred Old Testament. And I’m not even talking Greek and Roman pantheons, here; I’m talking ancient Egypt, Norse, Slavic. This is the unfiltered magic that shapes the earth, sea, and skies around us. This is the kind of mystic power Neil Gaiman taps into in his novel American Gods; Gaiman imagines an America populated with these ancient beings, brought here by our immigrant forefathers and forgotten, left to fend for themselves as the world changes around them. I’m sure it will come as no great surprise to you, gentle readers, that I am a big, big fan of this book (and all things Gaiman), and am already enjoying the comic book adaptation with writer P. Craig Russell and artist Scott Hampton. Some NSFW images to follow, so consider yourselves warned. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Ryan are discussing Slam 1, originally released November 16th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Shelby: I’ve always been fascinated by roller derby. I’ve loved quad skating ever since I was a kid; I’ve thought about trying out for roller derby, but the Chicago groups meet pretty far south of me, and without a car it isn’t really feasible. Plus, I’ll be perfectly frank, it would take a LOT of work to get my cheeseburger-loving self into shape; derby girls do NOT mess around — they are serious athletes. It’s why I have such a crush on the sport as a whole. These women are strong and tough, relying on their own personal strength and the strength of the bond they have with their teammates. Writer Pamela Ribon and artist Veronica Fish channel that strength perfectly in issue one of Slam!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, we discuss Aloha, Hawaiian Dick 2, East of West 26 and Tokyo Ghost 7. Continue reading →
Today, Ryan and Shelby are discussing The Fix 2, originally released May 11th, 2016.
Ryan: The best art is immersive. After an afternoon with a book or a brief television binge, it can take a little while for my brain to climb back out of that fictional world. That’s why I knew what butterbeer tasted like before Universal studios invented a recipe or why I can’t be trusted to drive home from a Fast & Furious movie. By engaging more than a single sense, stories can offer a gateway rather than a mere window into a world. Writer Nick Spencer and Artist Steve Leiber offer that gateway in The Fix 2, by using their medium to engage more than just visually. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Punisher 1, originally released May 4th, 2016.
Drew: The intro copy of Punisher 1 reminds us that “Frank Castle died with his family. Now there is only… The Punisher.” It’s a classic premise for a comic series — one that has been used long before and long after the Punisher’s debut (The Spirit and Spawn spring immediately to mind) — but not one that makes for the most compelling central character. Writer Becky Cloonan embraces the vaccuum of Frank’s personality, treating him in this issue more as a rarely-seen force of nature than a human being with real emotions. The result is something closer to Jaws than Kill Bill, but distancing us from Castle forces us to see his actions as truly monstrous, creating a much more unstable lead than could be achieved with a more empathetic approach. Continue reading →
We try to stay up on what’s going on at Marvel, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of Marvel Comics. Today, we’re discussing Avengers Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill Omega 1, All-New Wolverine 7, Amazing Spider-Man 11, Daredevil 6, Ms. Marvel 6, Old Man Logan 5, Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat 5, Spider-Woman 6, Ultimates 6, and Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 7.
Today, Shelby and Taylor are discussing Faith 4, originally released April 27th, 2016.
Shelby: It can be difficult to relate to the superheroes we admire so much; their quips are too perfect, their bodies are too perfect, hell even their flaws manage to be too perfect. It’s why so many guys I know name Spider-Man their favorite superhero. Peter Parker wasn’t a mutant, or a magician, or super rich, or a totally jacked alien; he was just a nerdy kid like we all were. No wealth, no power, no influence, just a guy with accidental superpowers trying to do the right thing. In fact, he didn’t even do the right thing to start off with; he did what any person would do and tried to make some money off the situation. I feel like roughly a third of every Spider-Man story has to do with him struggling to balance his superhero life and his regular life, and that is why we love him. He brings our reality into the his superhero world. This is exactly why I’m excited about Faith; she’s absolutely a superhero, but she’s also a regular person just like me. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Tokyo Ghost 6, originally released April 20th, 2016.
Shelby: I used to listen to the news on NPR every morning, but I’ve stopped for a couple of reasons. The biggest reason is that it’s simply too depressing; so many shitty people being shitty to each other, it’s too much to take. And I’m not even talking about the election coverage, which I am completely sick and tired of, despite the fact we’re still only in the primaries. Not only am I tired of all the bad news about bad people doing bad things, I have very little trust in the news that I hear. Every news story has me wondering who paid for their version of the truth to be broadcast, who is trying the hardest to trick me into being on their side. I can understand why the people of New Los Angeles would rather plug into mindless entertainment than put up with sorting through the spin and PR to find the truth. And that’s exactly what Rick Remender and the rest of the creative team on Tokyo Ghost want me to understand: they want us to understand how easy it can be to become the willingly ignorant, and the cost of breaking free. 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, we discuss Autumnlands: Tooth and Claw 10, Citizen Jack 5, Jupiter’s Circle Volume 2 5, Limbo 6, Star Wars Special: C-3P0 1, and Xena: Warrior Princess 1. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Silver Surfer 3, originally released April 13, 2016.
Patrick: Silver Surfer has a puzzling relationship with the concept of “history.” I suppose we should expect no less from a character that can get caught in infinite time loops and regularly has a role in actively remaking reality. But he’s also just a strange character to consider from a meta-fictional standpoint: a villain-turned-hero whose whole shtick reads like a crummy Beach Boys B-side. There’s a weird mix of highfalutin science fiction mumbo-jumbo and campy comic book irreverence built into the character’s DNA. Was he the herald of planet-devouring mega-monster? Sure, but his last name is also Radd. Dan Slott and Michael Allred use the occasion of Silver Surfer’s 50th anniversary to celebrate the character’s duality and challenge the comic book industry’s penchant for rebooting their worlds and characters. Continue reading →