Blogger Widgets

02 December 2013

Random Mainstream Meltdown 12022013

 Hey bra bras and grl grlls.  Let's take a look at this huge stack of mainstream print comics so that I can put them in a box and never think about them again.  Can we do that?  Together?  Right on!  Let's do it!
Harley Quinn #0
By Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti and 17 artists.
Published by DC Comics and sold for $2.99.

This is my daughter's comic book but I read it and liked it a lot.  It might be my favorite DC Comic since the launch of the New 52.  I don't know who's idea it was but instead of starting the new Amanda Conner/Jimmy Palmiotti written Harley Quinn ongoing series with a standard #1 they decided to kick things off with a jam comic using more than a dozen different artists.  I like jam comics.  They are fairly common in indie comics and usually a lot of fun.  Less common in mainstream comics.  In fact, in mainstream comics they are almost always a disaster.  Even Grant Morrison could not pull it off when he tried it in The Invisibles.  Total mess.  But Conner and Palmiotti stick the landing.  One of the great things about the Harley Quinn character is that you can go into an absurd comedy idea like Harley having a mental conversation with two comic book writers and say, oh yeah, she would totally do that.  Harley would totally sit around and imagine what it would be like if 17 different artists drew her comic book.  Of course she would.  So with almost every page of the book, Harley is imagining her own comic book drawn by a different artists and arguing with Conner and Palmiotti about their writing.  It is funny.  Conner and Palmiotti deliver the jokes but more importantly they let each artist cut loose.  Or maybe they don't.  Maybe the artists just drew whatever they wanted then Conner and Palmiotti put the words in later to tie it together.  Maybe they "wrote" it the way Stan Lee "wrote" comics.  Either way, I'm very impressed.  I love the tone of the thing.  Conner and Palmiotti are taking shots at the artists.  Taking shots at those that can't meet deadlines.  Taking shots at big boss man Jim Lee himself for recycling art.   There is more joy and love for comics in this book than I've seen in any of the post New 52 DC books with exception maybe of Ame-Comi Girls which is another Palmiotti project.  My favorite bits are Stephane Roux's Mad Men parody and Darwyn Cook's cartoon retelling of Conner and Palmiotti's real world wedding.  (As seen in the panel posted above which I declare to be DC Comics panel of the year.)
I'm sold on this book.  Sing me up for Harley Quinn #1.  (My daughter will make me buy it either way.)  I've said for a year or so that the best comic DC publishes is/was Palmiotti's Ame-Comi Girls.  With it canceled Harley Quinn looks to be the most fun comic in the DC line. 

The Walking Dead #114.
By Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and some other people.
Published by Image Comics and/or Skybound Entertainment whatever the duck that is.  Sold for $2.99.

I have not read many The Walking Dead comics in the past several years.  I think I'm about 100 issues behind.  I saw this comic at my local comic book shop video game store and they had it for a dollar off.  Maybe they over ordered it or something.  I guess this comic was supposed to be some big deal new story line start or something.  It didn't feel like a new start or anything.  Nothing was explained.  I recognized maybe half of the characters and got the jist of what was going on but I couldn't recommend this comic as a starting point for a new reader.  This comic is soap opera so it really doesn't matter where you start.  You either want to get familiar with the characters and you will either care about them enough to buy another issue or you wont.  Of course, the ones you care about will probably die.  Just like a soap opera.  
I like Kirkman well enough.  The dialog is believable.  Like a good wrestling match, each character gets their spots.  
The thing that surprised me most about the comic was how poorly it was produced.  I like Adlard's pacing but his drawing is very uneven. Lots of lazy close ups without backgrounds.  And look at that last close up of Rick.  All of the sudden his right eye is a quarter inch below the left and his eyes are about four inches apart.  Did the character get so angry that he became deformed?  That's some minor league art right there.  Say what you will about Marvel and DC but I don't think that would fly in one of their books.  
The lettering is also very amateur.  The negative space between the computer text and the computer drawn balloons is inconsistent from panel to panel and even within the same panel.
I shouldn't notice crap like that.  It should not be a distraction.  But it is.  Skybound should have the money to aim a little higher. 

Savage Dragon #192
By Erik Larsen and some other guys.
Published by Image Comics.  Sold for $3.99. 

Is Savage Dragon now the longest ongoing print comic by the same creator?  Does Love and Rockets count?  Love and Rockets has been around longer but they change volumes and formats and move from character to character.  Savage Dragon has been Savage Dragon for 192 issues.  But this one sees some big changes.  I won't spoil the whole thing for ya but it looks like starting with issue 193 Dragon's son will be the star of the comic.  He's pretty much been the star for a couple of years now but 192 makes it official.  I like ongoing periodical comics and like for characters to go on and on and change but one of the things that makes Savage Dragon so much fun for me is that Larsen is not afraid to make huge changes.  If this were a Marvel or DC comic book  property change would mean bringing in new talent to re-tell the stories you already knew.  A constant re-mixing of the greatest hits.  Larsen doesn't care about hits.  He just does what he wants and pushes it as far as he can without losing so many readers that he can't afford to keep publishing.  I wish we had a dozen more Erik Larsens. 

Daredevil #32 and #33.
By Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, Jason Copland and some other folks.
Published by Marvel Comics.  Sold for $2.99 each.

I'm gonna admit that I missed the Mark Waid era Daredevil bandwagon.  That is super lame on my part because I think Waid is one of the best and Daredevil is one of my favorite characters.  But the book started during a time when I did not live near a comics shop and the video game store that now sells comics was not open yet.  So I missed the first issues and then I think I just conceded to the idea of eventually buying the trades on eBay.  But I went ahead and picked up 32 and 33 because they had the Marvel Monsters in them.  Werewolf by Night, Frankenstein's Monster, Satana, The Living Mummy and Zombie.  These characters are so much fun to see in action as drawn by Samnee and Copland with Javier Rodriguez's fantastic colors.  And I like the story.  Waid puts Daredevil on a search that leads him to the woods of Kentucky.  I like any time Daredevil, Spider-Man or Batman get to swing from trees.  Throw in some monsters and you've got an instant classic.  Oooh, and one of these comics even has wisecracking Doctor Strange.  Every superhero comic should be this good.  Marvel better cancel this one quick before the other creators start feeling bad about themselves.  

The Sandman Overture #1
By Neil Gaiman, J.H. Williams III and some other dudes. 
Published by DC Comics/Vertigo.  Sold for $4.99.

Hey guys, did you guys notice this comic book was edited by Karen Berger.  You know, that lady that quit Vertigo a while back.  I imagine it went something like this..
Neil Gaiman: "Hello.  Superstar writer Neil Gaiman here.  I'm calling to talk with Karen Berger about my new Sandman series."
DC Entertainment: "Um, Mrs. Berger left.  I'll get the new Vertigo editors on the line."
Neil Gaiman: click...buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
DC Entertainment: "Mr. Gaiman?  Mr. Gaiman?  Oh dear lord someone call Karen Berger!"
I have to admit that I totally missed the Sandman phenomenon.  I was right there.  I saw the whole thing go down.  I was at the station, I just missed the train.  I was the exact target audience of the initial The Sandman series.  I was in college, in a rock band, fingernails painted black,  weekly comic shop guy, listening to music made by guys wearing Sandman t-shirts, living with people that read the comic, dating girls that looked like characters in the comic... I don't know.  I just missed it.  I've owned the 1st The Sandman trade paperback for years and have never made it more than 10 pages into the thing.  And I actually like Neil Gaiman's novels.  I also lived with dudes that were super into Dungeons and Dragons and I've never played that game for a second either.  I just don't know. I'm kinda dense sometimes. 
But enough about me.  Let's talk about a comic book I did read, Promethea.  And J.H. Williams III drew the crap out of Promethea so when I see J.H. Williams III is drawing some fantasy stuff I buy that thing.  Well, at least one issue anyway. 
And Williams delivers.  Every page is a home run.  Mesmerizing stuff.  All your favorite heavy metal album covers rolled into one comic.  I have no idea what is going on but who cares?  The only bad thing is some jarring ad placement.  Lots of ads breaking this thing up.  All the more reason to never buy another issue and wait for the trade paperback on this one. 

Your best pal ever,

Shannon Smith

p.s. Say you want a leader but you can't seem to make up your mind. I think you'd better close it and let me guide you to my twitter feed.
p.p.s. Let's pretend we went to high school together on facebook.
p.p.p.s. Google + is another place you can read the same thing I posted here.
p.p.p.p.s. I'll tumblr for ya.
p.p.p.p.p.s.  Yeah, I do Instagram too now.  I guess it's a law or something.
Post a Comment