Bug! The Adventures of Forager 6: Discussion

by Patrick Ehlers and Drew Baumgartner

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

“Come now — what’s more believable? A teddy bear that talks? A ghost girl who doesn’t? Spontaneous resurrections? Infinite Realities? Or the simple fact that you’re dead?”

-Chagra, Bug! The Adventures of Forager 6

Patrick: Longtime readers of this site will know that I’ve got a limited amount of patience for stories that refuse to ground themselves. Often, this is literal — my favorite Green Lantern stories are those that tie back to Coast City, or Earth, or even just Hal Jordan. My attachment to the characters wane when they start to slip through time, space or even layers of reality. As such, I’ve always had something of a hard time with Fourth World stories and the whole cast of New Genesis characters. They’re fucking weirdos, in weird situations, somehow both a part of and separate from the multiverse. Lee, Michael and Laura Allred have been telling a story that leans into my biggest fears about Kirby’s opus, but wraps it all up by insisting on the purity of the simplest explanation: what you see is what you get. And they make “what you see” something truly worth the readers’ time.

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Bug! the Adventures of Forager 5: Discussion

By Michael DeLaney and Spencer Irwin

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

Michael: Comic book superheroes and their exploits are now more mainstream than ever. We take Kryptonian sun gods, spider-proportionally-strong teenagers, and wise-cracking space raccoons at face value — most likely because they’re presented to us as “real” on the big screen. In the face of this mainstream, watered down mass appeal, I find it important to recognize and celebrate the stories that embrace their truly bizarre and outrageous origins. Case in point: Bug! The Adventures of Forager 5. Continue reading

Reverence Meets Irreverence in Bug! The Adventures of Forager 4

by Drew Baumgartner

Bug! The Adventures of Forager 4

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

Dense mythologies are both the greatest strength and weakness of modern comics. We could spend ages parsing out how the major companies have approached those mythologies in recent years, but all of those broader approaches are largely irrelevant when talking about Bug! The Adventures of Forager, which continues to march to the beat of its own drum. It’s attitude is deeply reverent of Jack Kirby’s contributions to the DC mythos, systematically touching on each forgotten storyline from his time there, while somehow also taking a completely irreverent “don’t sweat the small stuff” approach to the material. Completist Kirby fans will recognize every situation Forager encounters, but newcomers (like me) are left largely in the shoes of Forager, who mostly sees all of this stuff as kooky weirdness. It’s a balance that shouldn’t work nearly as well as it does, somehow knitting all of this kooky weirdness into the dense mythology it always was. Continue reading

Allusions Become the Text in Bug! The Adventures of Forager 3

by Drew Baumgartner

Bug! The Adventures of Forager 3

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

That this series riffs on the entirely of Jack Kirby’s DC work isn’t just a given — it’s a primary draw. And there’s plenty of work to touch upon. While this series is tangentially related to Kirby’s well-known Fourth World mythology, much of the focus has been on Kirby’s lesser-known DC creations. But what fascinates me about this issue isn’t just the presence of deep-cut characters like Atlas (and his vendetta against Hyssa the Lizard King), but that it does so while also making allusions to non-comics works. The effect is a densely literate work, as crystalline as the shards of “possible outcomes” that feature so prominently in this issue. Continue reading

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

FF 16

ff 16

Today, Ethan and Drew are discussing FF 16, originally released January 22nd, 2013.

Ethan: With the arrival of FF 16 Scott Lang’s campaign to end Doom is itself at an end. Even though Doom was the cause of the crusade, it’s always been more about Scott — this finale is no different. As Scott confronts the mortal enemy of the Fantastic Four and the man who killed his daughter, there’s never going to be a better time to prove who or what the latest incarnation of Ant-Man has become. Unsurprisingly, Matt Fraction and Lee Allred do not disappoint.

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FF 15

FF 15

Today, Ethan Patrick and Drew are discussing FF 15, originally released December 18th, 2013.

Ethan Patrick: I guess it’s appropriate that I’m stepping up to bat for Ethan for this issue of FF. There are an awful lot of substitutes and avatars in play for the invasion of Latveria. The good guys are all either trying to be something they’re not or asserting something else as themselves. In some cases, the characters are two or three steps removed from the version of themselves that’s actually doing the action. Interestingly, Doom never falls victim to this same delusion — in fact, even though everyone expects him to either a) port his consciousness over to another body or b) merge with another body. We know it can’t last, but Doom wins a victory here by being the only one refusing to be anything but himself. Maybe the kids still have one more thing to learn before the Fantastic Four comes back to town.

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FF 14

FF 14

Today, Patrick and Ethan are discussing FF 14, originally released December 2nd, 2013.

Patrick: “The eve of battle” is an experience most of us will never literally experience – simply by virtue of the fact that so few of us will ever experience “battle.” The phenomenon, however, is immediately recognizable. People get introspective and honest and fearless the night before Something Big happens. That’s why people hook up the last day of camp, that’s why you stay up too late the night before finals watching Lord of the Rings with your friends. There’s something about the Bigness of the next day that makes every flight of fancy seem relevant. As the FF find themselves staring down the barrel of a battle royale with Doctor Doom, the Allreds chase down every impulse and curiosity, revealing a beautiful mosaic as quirky and particular as the team itself. Continue reading

FF 13

FF 13Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing FF 13, originally released October 23rd, 2013.

Shelby: Uatu the Watcher refers to his home as his “inviolate domicile.” His digs on the blue side of the moon is a place wholly protected, whose inhabitants are guaranteed safe from harm. It could just be house rules, but I like to think there’s a little more magic behind it: something about the house or the Watcher’s presence that protects everyone. It’s a perfect setting for Scott Lang and the rest of the FF team to hide out and plot against Doom. Plus, space monkeys!

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