The Seeds 1: Discussion

by Drew Baumgartner and Patrick Ehlers

The Seeds 1

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

Drew: Like a lot of people, I was deeply resistant to the concept of symbolism in my high school English classes. I don’t know if I resented this new (to me) world of symbols that I was so bad at identifying, or if I just lacked the imagination to conceive of writers having more literary tastes and aspirations than 15-year-old me, but I was incredulous that symbolism even existed in the works I was reading. My teacher was reading way too much into things (because, I reasoned, making things overcomplicated and boring was her job), and that no writer actually intended for these images to have any non-literal meaning. But my fixation on intent blinded me to the much more complex world of who was observing the symbolism. Is it just me, the reader, or are the characters themselves ascribing deeper meanings to the objects and actions around them? Or what if it’s the narrator, conjuring some kind of coherent aesthetic for the narrative as a whole? Perhaps it’s not the “writer,” but some diegetic force crafting these symbols, perhaps as clues to their motives or intentions? These are all questions wish I could go back to my teen self and ask, but honestly, I might be better off handing him a copy of Ann Nocenti and David Aja’s The Seeds 1, which interweaves all of these modes of symbolism with breathtaking ease. Continue reading

Chat Cave: September is Villains Month

DC has staked their claim on the month of September. Two years ago saw the relaunch of the entire publishing line, and last year saw special “zero” issues for every series. This year, DC is releasing 52 issues featuring villains, old and new, from the DC Universe. There’s no one-for-one correspondence to existing series, and DC hasn’t been the most forthcoming with information about what exactly they’re putting out. There’s a lot to sort through here and no easy answers for what’s going to be worth our time and money. Welcome to the Chat Cave.
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Young Romance: The New 52 Valentine’s Day Special 1

young romance

Today, Patrick, Mikyzptlk, Shelby, Michael, Drew and Courtney are discussing Young Romance: The New 52 Valentine’s Day Special 1, originally released February 6th, 2013.

It’s Valentine’s Day, which means that we here at Retcon Punch are going to do our best to pretend we’re not angry, misanthropic nerds for one day to discuss the six love stories laid out in the oddly titled Young Romance: The New 52 Valentine’s Day Special. As we like to foster as much conversation as possible here, we’ve pulled in six of our sappiest, most sentimental writers to hit these stories one at a time.  Continue reading

Catwoman 14

Alternating Currents: Catwoman 14, Patrick and Drew DFToday, Patrick and Drew are discussing Catwoman 14 originally released November 21st, 2012. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.

Patrick: The scenario “Joker plays mind games with Selina Kyle” is ripe with potential for unpacking deep psychological issues. But that would be asking a fundamentally stupid series to try something smart. The result here is disastrous — a pointless diversion through visually incoherent space populated with flat characters playing a no-stakes game of Who Gives A Fuck.
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Catwoman 13

Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Catwoman 13 originally released October 17th, 2012. This issue is part of the Death of the Family crossover event. Click here for complete DotF coverage.

Shelby: Last week, we talked about the overuse of darker tropes as a means to make a story excessively dark and gritty in our Chat Cave discussion of Sword of Sorcery 0. The particular example we were discussing was an attempted rape scene which many viewed as a way to make the comic edgier and sell more copies. Drew made the point that the same argument can be made of any emotion; character’s emotions and their reactions to the emotions of those around them help propel the story forward, and they can easily be twisted to sell comics first, and develop plot second. The same can be said of madness. It can be used to effectively display a character’s unraveling, or it can be included in a story merely to push the envelope and be unique. The big problem with madness is it is, by nature, very confusing. So, when we’ve got a story that pushes madness to the extreme with very little reason behind it, we’ve got a disorienting mess on our hands.
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Catwoman 0

Today, Shelby and (guest writer) Heath Gordon are discussing Catwoman 0, originally released September 19th, 2012. Catwoman 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.

Shelby: I really want to like Catwoman. I’ve always been intrigued by the “villain of convenience,” that one character who does what he wants; sometimes his goals line up with the hero’s, sometimes they don’t. Every encounter reveals a new motive that can land anywhere on the villain/hero scale. We never really know where this character’s loyalties lie. Ultimately, it all adds up to interesting and engaging reading. This is what I want Catwoman to be: a kick-ass thief with a unique take on what’s right and wrong. I was disappointed with Judd Winick’s vapid, selfish, recklesly stupid Selina Kyle, and had high hopes for Ann Nocenti’e origin story. Looks like I’m going to have to stay disappointed.

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