Sandman Universe 1: Discussion

by Drew Baumgartner and Patrick Ehlers

Sandman Universe 1

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

Drew: Of the “graphic novel” canon — that is, comics that non-comics readers have (however begrudgingly) deemed worthy of their time and interest — Sandman is far and away the longest. Persepolis and Maus constitute two volumes apiece, and Watchmen just the one, but Sandman spills into ten (or more, depending on how you count decades-later follow-ups like this one). However we diagnose that oddity — either as an unusually long, but no less novelistic “literary comic,” or as a more humble ongoing that was elevated to the pantheon of comics grownups aren’t afraid to read — I think the explanation is the same: the flexibility of Dream and his kingdom. Everybody dreams, affording Dream excuses to interact with every corner of the world, from kittens to serial killers, from William Shakespeare to the demons of Hell. And because of Dream’s role as a storyteller of sorts, the only guarantee in any issue was that it would contain a story (often wrapped up in a love letter to stories and storytelling). That is very much true of Sandman Universe 1, which spins its story off into four supporting series, but not before pausing to simply luxuriate in their worlds. Continue reading

Camp, Parody, and Political Edge in Batgirl 19

By Mark Mitchell

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

Last July, I wrote at length about Batgirl 13’s full-armed embrace of the campy spirit emblematic of the Batman TV show of the 1960’s, and with Batgirl 19 Hope Larson, Chris Wildgoose, and Jose Marzan Jr. continue to lean into that care-free aesthetic. Continue reading

Batgirl 9

Today, Mark and Michael are discussing Batgirl 9, originally released March 22nd, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Mark: Of the recent Batgirl iterations, Hope Larson’s take on the character has been the most successful at embracing the many disparate aspects of Barbara Gordon’s life. As a young woman, Barbara is juggling her job, her schoolwork, her volunteer work, her friends, and dating all at once. That her job is vigilante heroism and not Starbucks barista undoubtedly separates her from her peers, but in most other respects she’s dealing with a lot of the same issues anyone who lives a busy life will face. But Batgirl embracing the work-life balance struggles of a young superhero is one thing, and making that dichotomy into a satisfying narrative is another. Continue reading

The Unworthy Thor 5

Today, Taylor and Spencer are discussing The Unworthy Thor 5, originally released March 22nd, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Taylor: Over two years ago the Odinson lost his most powerful asset and was deemed unworthy to wield Mjolnir. The circumstances that made the Odinson shamed in the eyes of his hammer were shrouded in mystery. The only thing readers knew was that, as he lay dying on the moon, Nick Fury whispered something into Thor’s ear which changed everything. What those words were have been debated across the fandom but now the patience of Thor fans has been rewarded. In the fifth issue of the Unworthy Thor, we learn what makes the Odinson undeserving of the universe’s most powerful mallet, but is the reason given worthy or unworthy in the eyes of the reader? Continue reading

All-New Wolverine 9

all new wolverine 9

Today,Taylor and Spencer are discussing All-New Wolverine 9, originally released June 1st, 2015.

Taylor: In middle school I was a wallflower. I would go to dances with the hopes of dancing with a girl only to find myself retreating to the sidelines once the first few bars of a slow song wafted their way across the gym. By doing so I guaranteed my safety, even though that also guaranteed my mission to dance with a girl would fail. There was, and continues to be, safety in fading into the background. There, you aren’t the focus of attention, you can be overlooked, and most importantly, you’re just part of a larger tapestry. But that doesn’t mean you’re any less important than those people on the dance floor; you’re just different. The same can be said for comics, where background, while often overlooked, is an integral part of the art, as All-New Wolverine 9 demonstrates.

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Robin: Son of Batman 11

robin son of batman 11Today, Spencer and Michael are discussing Robin: Son of Batman 11, originally released April 20th, 2016.

Spencer: Every once in a while you stumble across a premise so unique, exciting, or just plain off-the-wall bonkers that you have to check the story out. More often, though, a story will feature a more standard premise, and it’s up to the creative team to make those familiar ideas feel fresh, either by finding a new angle to explore the concept from, by using it to explore their cast in a novel way, or simply by having as much fun with it as possible. Sadly, Robin: Son of Batman 11 does none of these things. The Lu’un Darga are the definition of cliched, stock villains, and Ray Fawkes and Ramon Bachs do nothing to liven them up. Continue reading

The Wicked + The Divine 16

wicked and divine 16Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing The Wicked + The Divine 16, originally released November 11th, 2015.

Spencer: Back in 2012 I was supposed to go to the midnight premiere of The Hunger Games with a group of friends, but I ended up getting tickets to a different theater by accident. Rather than go by myself, I roped a friend who wasn’t a fan of franchise into going with me by playing up the movie’s violence and making it sound like something it wasn’t. He wasn’t happy with the movie, and I knew up front he wouldn’t be, but at the time I didn’t care — I just wanted him to come with me. I couldn’t help but to remember that anecdote while reading The Wicked + The Divine 16; The Morrigan’s inviting Baphomet into the Pantheon is equally selfish, if much more destructive in the long run than my boneheaded move.

(For the record, I did apologize, and he’s made me watch much worse)
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