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 Star Wars: Poe Dameron 12, East of West 32, Kill or Be Killed 7, and Sex Criminals 17. Also, we discussed Archie 18 on Monday, and we’ll be discussing American Gods: Shadows 1 on Tuesday, and Injection 11 on Wednesday so come back for those! As always, this article contains SPOILERS. Continue reading
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Sex Criminals 16, originally released February 15th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Patrick: Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarksy’s Sex Criminals plays with some very big, very difficult ideas. The thematic engine of this series spits out hard questions about identity, sexuality, morality and mental health, but it runs on moment-to-moment action. I’m talking about “action” in the basest sense — Jon and Suzie may have the power to stop time and rob banks, but no one is tuning in for that spectacle. I mean “action” like how we follow one statement from the speaker to its audience, tracking the psychological cause and effect in every second of the interaction. That’s what allows Fraction and Zdarksy to find the drama in Jon repeating “I don’t know how to do this.” His is a prison of inaction, of apathy. In highlighting the action that doesn’t really seem like action, Fraction and Zdarsky drastically alter the speed and intimacy of the story they’re telling. 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 Amazing Spider-Man 23, Cage 4, Captain America: Sam Wilson 18, Clone Conspiracy 4, Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat 14, Star-Lord 2, Ultimates 2 3, Unbelievable Gwenpool 10 and Uncanny Inhumans 18. Also, we will be discussing Invincible Iron Man 3 on Monday, Deadpool the Duck 2 on Tuesday, and Black Widow 10 on Wednesday, so come back for those! As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
In such a collaborative medium as comics, it can be difficult to say where a writer’s influence on the story ends, but there’s no question on where it begins: words on the page. Whether they thrill, elate, chill, or deflate, the best writers create characters, settings, and situations we want to return to, again and again. These are our top 10 writers of 2016. Continue reading
Today, Spencer and Taylor are discussing Howard the Duck 11, originally released October 12th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Spencer: On her twitter, Gail Simone recently discussed something she calls the “Batmobile Effect.” In short, it’s the exhilarating feeling a creator gets when they realize they’re working on a comic icon, on a character they grew up adoring and now, all of a sudden, are in charge of. That feeling right there describes much of the appeal of writing for Marvel or DC — the downside, of course, is that you never truly “own” a character. At the Big Two there’s only so much a writer can change a character because, when their run is over, it has to go right back into the “toy box” for another creator to use.
Howard the Duck 11 brings Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones’ run to an end, and the two show an exquisite understanding of how to handle a work-for-hire ending. Zdarsky and Quinones have truly made Howard their own, yet leave the character in better condition than when they found him, leaving the door open for future creators to try their hand at Howard as well. It’s a skill their in-story counterparts, Chipp and Jho, never quite grasp. Continue reading
Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing Howard the Duck 6, originally released April 20th, 2016.
“Chip, it was fun to help you out and write some little words beneath your comic about a talking duck who is mad at things.”
-Ryan North, alt text
Patrick: Even though I end up reading an awful lot of them, I tend to balk at the idea of superhero crossovers. Like, I kind of resent the idea that I’d be more attracted to a story if it has both Daredevil and Spider-Man in it. Superheroes, or any combination thereof, do not make a comic book special – the creators do. Rare is the crossover event that successfully melds the stories the creators tell as well as the worlds those stories take place in. Howard the Duck 6, a.k.a. The 2016 Squirrel Girl / Howard the Duck “Animal House” Crossover Part Two: Fight or Fight or Flightfight!, finds a way to do just that, finding a happy home at the intersection Ryan North’s goofy optimism and Chip Zdarsky’s even-goofier pessimism. Continue reading
Today, Ryan M. and Ryan D. are discussing Sex Criminals 14, originally released February 17th, 2016.
Ryan M.: Anyone can be charming at a dinner party. A sense of gaiety and a few well-placed bon mots, and you’re a hit! But dinner parties are not where deep connections are forged. That happens when you see beyond the public facade and get a deeper understanding of what a person is like when they don’t have anything clever to say. When they are struggling to articulate their ideas, but trust you enough to listen anyway. In Sex Criminals 14, writer Matt Fraction and artist Chip Zdarsky offer up that kind of vulnerability even as their characters struggle with it. Continue reading
Today, Ryan and Spencer are discussing Jughead 3, originally released December 30th, 2015.
Ryan M.: My name lends itself to nicknames. Since both my first and last names are easily shorted and morphed, I’ve never had the sort of nickname that doesn’t sound like my name. In middle school, I tried to get people to call me “R Money” but as we all know, you can’t give yourself a nickname. Jughead Jones does not go by a derivative of his birth name, so when the first page of Chip Zdarsky and Erica Henderson’s Jughead 3 ends with someone calling him Forsythe, you can tell things are not right in Riverdale. Continue reading
Today, the Ryans are discussing Jughead 2, originally released November 18th, 2015.
Ryan M.: Nobody likes a smart ass. Of all the things adults said when I was a kid, this may be the most full of shit. Everybody like a smart ass. They are funny! They say what they want without worrying about decorum and, in doing so, disrupt the mundane. The truth is, what “nobody likes” is being disrespected. And to tell a sass-filled kid that they have the power to undermine you is to further offer them power. In Jughead 2, the new regime at Riverdale High is struggling to regain the upper-hand over King of the Smart Asses, Jughead Jones.
Today, Ryan and Taylor are discussing Jughead 1, originally released October 7th, 2015.
Ryan: Every character has a worldview. Conflicting worldviews can be enough to fuel an entire story. Sometimes, they allow for characters to be dismissed or reduced. Jughead Jones is Archie’s food-loving, girl-indifferent, and lazy best friend. Jughead #1 digs deeper into his way of seeing the world, retroactively justifying and deepening decades worth of burger and nap jokes.