Remixing Jack Kirby in Bug! The Adventures of Forager 2

by Drew Baumgartner

Bug! The Adventures of Forager 2

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, read on at your own risk!

How do we characterize a remix? As a self-aware riff on whatever work is being remixed, it feels somewhat postmodern, but in my mind, remixes don’t necessarily share the skepticism and ironic distance we associate with postmodernism. Indeed, many remixes might be better understood as reverent tributes to their source material, taking what I’d argue is a decidedly romantic approach: offering an unabridged window into how the remixer sees a given work of art (or entire oeuvre). I was first struck by this idea when listening to The Beatles’ Love, which feels very much like bouncing around inside a Beatles fan’s head, but it came back in a big way as I read Bug! The Adventures of Forager 2, an issue that takes the same approach to comics mythology (both DC’s and others). Continue reading

Bug! The Adventures of Forager 1

Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Bug! The Adventures of Forager 1, originally released May 10, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Patrick: One of the inherent problems with superhero stories is that the characters are often immediately knowable. That guy in the bat costume? He’s Batman, dead parents, war on crime, world’s greatest detective. You know him. You know his secret identity, his home, his son, his butler, his past, his present, his future. That makes Batman familiar, comfortable. In Bug! The Adventures of Forager 1, Lee and Michael Allred make an argument for the power of not knowing, striking out boldly with a story that is as enigmatic as their main character. The thing is, they deploy just enough alluring clues and leading hints to get readers guessing, leveraging what we think we know against what we’re still ignorant of. It’s a trip. Continue reading

DC Round-Up: Comics Released 5/10/17


How many Batman 
books is too many Batman books? Depending on who you ask there ain’t no such thing! We try to stay up on what’s going on at DC, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of DC Comics. Today, we’re discussing Gotham Academy Second Semester 9, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps 20, New Super-Man 11, Shade, the Changing Girl 8 and Wonder Woman 22. Also, we will be discussing All-Star Batman 10 on Monday and Bug: The Adventures of Forager 1 on Wednesday, so check back for those! As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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DC Round-Up: Comics Released 4/5/17

How many Batman books is too many Batman books? Depending on who you ask there ain’t no such thing! We try to stay up on what’s going on at DC, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of DC Comics. Today, we’re discussing Green Arrow 20, Green Lanterns 20, Shade the Changing Girl 7 and Superman 20.  Also, we’ll be discussing Batman 20 on Wednesday (sorry about the wait!), so come back for that! As always, this article containers SPOILERS!

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DC Round-Up: Comics Released 3/8/17


How many Batman 
books is too many Batman books? Depending on who you ask there ain’t no such thing! We try to stay up on what’s going on at DC, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of DC Comics. Today, we’re discussing Flash 18, Gotham Academy Second Semester 7, Mother Panic 4, and New Super-Man 9. Also, we’ll be discussing Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps and Wonder Woman 18 on Tuesday, so come back for that! As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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DC Round-Up: Comics Released 3/1/17

dc-roundup76

How many Batman books is too many Batman books? Depending on who you ask there ain’t no such thing! We try to stay up on what’s going on at DC, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of DC Comics. Today, we’re discussing Green Arrow 18, Green Lanterns 18, Midnighter and Apollo 6, Shade The Changing Girl 6 and Superman 18.  Also, we’ll be discussing Batman 18 on Friday, so come back for that! As always, this article containers SPOILERS!

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DC Round-Up: Comics Released 2/1/17

dc-roundup72

How many Batman books is too many Batman books? Depending on who you ask there ain’t no such thing! We try to stay up on what’s going on at DC, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of DC Comics. Today, we’re discussing Green Arrow 16, Green Lanterns 16, Midnighter and Apollo 5, and Shade the Changing Girl 5. Also, we’ll be discussing Batman 16 on Friday and Superman 16 on Tuesday, so come back for those! As always, this article containers SPOILERS!

slim-banner4 Continue reading

DC Round-Up: Comics Released 1/4/17

dc-roundup68

How many Batman books is too many Batman books? Depending on who you ask there ain’t no such thing! We try to stay up on what’s going on at DC, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of DC Comics. Today, we’re discussing Batman 14, Green Arrow 14, Midnighter and Apollo 4, Nightwing 12 and Shade the Changing Girl 4. Also, we’ll be discussing Superman 14 on Monday and Green Lanterns 14 on Wednesday, so come back for those! As always, this article containers SPOILERS!

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Mother Panic 1

Alternating Currents: Mother Panic 1, Drew and Michael

Today, Drew and Michael are discussing Mother Panic 1, originally released November 9th, 2016. As always, this article containers SPOILERS.

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Drew: A quarter century after the runaway successes of Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns, deconstruction remains a thriving mode of superhero storytelling. It makes sense that, in a world that is constantly retelling the same stories in films, television shows, video games, and the comics themselves, there’s little need to reiterate the beats we already know, so Batman’s origin, for example, can be cut down to a few iconic images, and the rest of the narrative can be given over to highlighting themes and ideas baked into that origin. That is, the narrative can be less about the story (since we all know it), and more about the telling. Of course, that approach tends to be reserved for characters whose origins have become common knowledge — heavy-hitters like Batman, Superman, and Spider-Man — but what if that approach was applied to a totally new character? What if their origin was taken as a given, so the emphasis was more on texture than the specific beats of the story? You might end up with something like Mother Panic 1, an issue that blends a familiar presumption of familiarity with a truly unfamiliar character. The effect is disorienting — frustratingly so at times — but nonetheless alluring. Continue reading

Shade, the Changing Girl 1

Alternating Currents: Shade, the Changing Girl 1, Drew and Michael

Today, Drew and Michael are discussing Shade, the Changing Girl 1, originally released October 5th, 2016. As always, this article containers SPOILERS.

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Drew: Last week, I saw a program of animated shorts at a local film festival. I’ve always loved shorts, but seeing a dozen back-to-back highlighted just how effectively vastly different worlds could be established in just a few short minutes. This is especially true of animation, where the “rules” of the world — from its physics to the question of whether animals can talk — can often take unexpected turns. Indeed, I think discovering those rules is one of the joys of cartooning; examples from the shorts I saw include “oh, this is a world where a crow in a shirt and tie might become a young boy’s step-father” and “oh, this is a world where someone’s bomb shelter might be at the top of an impossibly tall tower“. That’s a joy that’s just as true of comics, and creators that take full advantage of just how weird their worlds can be often come up with something magical and unexpected. Cecil Castellucci and Marley Zarcone are clearly willing to go weird in Shade, the Changing Girl, and issue 1 suggests that they might be on to something very special. Continue reading