Relishing Genre in Vampironica 1

by Drew Baumgartner

Vampironica 1

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

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a teenage girl battles (slays, if you will) vampires in her suburban hometown. The connections between Vampironica and Buffy the Vampire Slayer are myriad (honestly, if you asked me which takes place in “Sunnydale” and which in “Riverdale,” I’d get it wrong 50% of the time), but clearly intentional. Indeed, writers Meg and Greg Smallwood revel in the Buffy-ness of their opening, introducing Veronica Lodge as a vampire-slaying badass, bringing her own stakes to rescue some typically teen partygoers from some marauding ghouls. But there’s a twist (albeit one that features prominently on the cover and gives this series its name): Veronica is a vampire. Continue reading

Gotham Academy Annual 1

gotham academy annual 1

Today, Spencer and Mark are discussing Gotham Academy Annual 1, originally released August 31st, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: The first few arcs of Gotham Academy were very clearly telling a story about Olive Silverlocke. That’s not to say that the rest of the cast (especially Maps) didn’t have personality or important roles, just that they were very much supporting characters to Olive’s story. That’s what made the transition to the “Yearbook” storyline so jarring to me; without warning, what had been one long story focused on Olive suddenly shifted to a series of short stories starring an ensemble cast. I love Gotham Academy‘s cast and enjoyed quite a few of “Yearbook’s” tales, but for my money, Gotham Academy Annual 1 is the first time the supporting characters have felt like they could support a story on their own. Brenden Fletcher and returning co-writer/creator Becky Cloonan achieve this by first highlighting how the Detective Club falls apart without Olive’s leadership, and then by bringing them together to achieve victory on their own. Continue reading

Justice League: Gods and Monsters Batman 1

JL gods & monsters batman1

Today, Michael and Spencer are discussing Justice League: Gods and Monsters Batman 1, originally released July 22th, 2015.

Michael: There are a couple of questions we face when we read an “Elseworlds” tale in regards to the main continuity. What’s the point of any of this? Why does any of this matter? We are presented with alternate versions of the heroes that we know and love and wonder, “what the hell does this have to do with anything?” The worst case scenario is that we follow the exploits of a character that has a familiar name, but is absolutely nothing like what we know, and just different for difference’s sake. The best case scenario is that the character — while different from what we know – resonates with us to a certain truth at their core. Justice League: Gods and Monsters Batman 1 stars a different Dark Knight that circles a lot of familiar Batman tent poles. Continue reading

Convergence: Swamp Thing 1

Alternating Currents: Swamp Thing 1: Drew and Patrick

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Convergence: Swamp Thing 1, originally released April 22nd, 2015.

convergence div

Drew: When Steve Carell left The Office, series writer BJ Novak tweeted a series of Michael Scott story ideas that would never be told. Some of those pitches seemed hilarious, but what actually stuck with me about them is that the opportunity to make them had simply stopped. They couldn’t ever become episodes of The Office because Michael Scott was no longer on the show. That kind of context-specific storytelling is constantly turning over in comics, where the monthly grind of continuity requires that no one situation can last too long. You’ve got a great Superior Spider-Man pitch? You’ve missed the boat. A Dick-as-Batman idea? Not gonna happen. A JSA arc? Too late. Convergence has offered one last hurrah for characters from very specific moments in their history, but that “one last hurrah” has often felt more like a eulogy than a celebration. With Convergence: Swamp Thing 1, Len Wein and Kelley Jones take that sense of mourning a step further, as Pre-Crisis Swamp Thing barely clings to life. Continue reading

Deadpool 35

Alternating Currents: Deadpool 35, Drew and SpencerToday, Drew and Taylor are discussing Deadpool 35, originally released September 24th, 2014.

Then things started to get weird;
middle of the night he would disappear.
He’d come home smelling like bad guys
and that would make me really mad.

Cars Can Be Blue, Dating Batman

Drew: It goes without saying that the lives are superheroes are kind of weird — that’s the reason they’re of interest — but they’re often so removed from any frame of reference that it’s easy to forget just how strange a superheroes daily life actually is. Over the last year and a half, Deadpool has learned that he has an estranged daughter, befriended a group of mutants engineered using his DNA, mourned the loss of his baby mamma, gotten married, and antagonized Dracula. It’s a long, strange list that only feels more disjointed when they’re listed together like that, which is of course what Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn do in Deadpool 35, hanging a lantern on just how weird it is to be Wade Wilson. Continue reading

Deadpool 30

deadpool 30Today, Patrick and Greg are discussing Deadpool 30, originally released June 11th, 2014.

Patrick: As I get older, I realize that I have to consciously fight my growing instincts to make Dad Jokes. My father, who we called by his first name, Lyle, was quite the connoisseur of these terrible, punny, embarrassing jokes. Nine times out of ten, not even Lyle thought they were funny, but his mugging for laughs at laughless lines elevated the experience to pure anti-comedy bliss. To give all Dad Jokes — and by extension, my baser humor instincts — the benefit of the doubt, their intent is never to be revolutionary or make you think or anything quite so sophisticated. Where a good joke relies on subverting our expectations, a Dad Joke plays into out expectations so hard that the refusal to be subversive is, in a way, subversive. But forget all of that: the Dad Joke is comforting because Dad is saying it. Deadpool 30 leverages our comfort with these kinds of jokes to distract us while getting to the real subversive business — developing, ironically enough, the identity of Deadpool’s daughter. Continue reading

Deadpool 29

Deadpool 29Today, Spencer and Greg are discussing Deadpool 29, originally released May 28th, 2014.

“…I’m happy, too.”

“Hey, don’t use the ‘h’ word around me. It ends the fun quickly.”

–Shiklah and Deadpool, Deadpool 29

Spencer: As a medium, comics seem to have a problem with happiness — and quite often, as DC especially has proven, they specifically have a problem with characters being happily married. The above quote comes from the very first panel of Deadpool 29, and is spoken as Wade and his new wife lie together in bed. It’s a remarkably prescient statement from Deadpool; life itself seems to go out of its way to make sure Wade can’t ever be genuinely happy, at least not for long. Wade and his new bride have been disarmingly happy together so far, but with the honeymoon over and real life (aka the larger Marvel universe) reasserting itself, it seems like only a matter of time until the “fun ends quickly.” Continue reading