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03 March 2013

Other Comics News Parade-O-Links 03032013

(Image stolen from the Lattaland tumblr.)

Here are some things I found interesting in the world of minicomics, comic books, graphic novels, small press, self publishing, zines, webcomics, cartoons, digital comics, other, etc. during the week ending 03032013:

"And the strange thing about that, and the strange thing about the whole strip, is that it’s definitely true. It’s autobiographical, but it’s also fictional. But that means my actual real life is becoming fiction if I am saying lines for the idea of getting a response. So suddenly my strip is autobiographical, but my real life is fictional. [laughs] And then, towards the end, there’s this weird feedback loop too, because I’m putting it up online, and I’m putting it in the newspaper, and I hear responses back from people, and make adjustments to my life based on reader reaction. I mean, that is insane! So I began to feel like I was trapped in some sort of strange dimension where nothing was real. You know it’s like the philosophical question of are you a person, or are you butterfly dreaming they’re a person? Are you a brain locked in a box on some distant planet being fed stimuli?"  -James Kochalka.

  • Here is part three of that Marvelman history thing The Beat has been running.  
  • Neil Cohn dissects Eddie Campbell's "rules" with some interesting info on how your eyeballs work.
  • Hey look, it's Julie Doucet. 
  • The Comics Reporter interviewed the great Richard Sala. (My daughter really wants a sequel to Cat Burglar Black.)
  • Robert Newsome's latest talking and music thing has a fun interview with a guy from a possibly fictional place called "Britain".  I learned some neat things about "British" television and "sport".  (Also known as "sports".)
  • Okay 3, I made a note to share with you some links to some things Sean T. Collins wrote about webcomics.  They were good things worth reading.  But now, all I can find when I search for it is a huge red cloud with the word "vorpalizer" in the middle of it.  Down below it are words that may be good but they are scrunched down there and it makes my head hurt.  So, ya know, I tried.  I tried. 
  • Sean T. Collins also wrote a thing about the latest issue of Grant Morrison's Batman Incorporated.  I can read that because it is on Wired.  You can too.  I will add that Morrison's Batman got screwed at a lot of points along the way.  Probably not intentional screwing but just bad timing.  For one, right from the start he got screwed by coming starting hid run at a time when 100% of the hype was focused on the Frank Miller/ Jim Lee catastrophe All-Star Batman.  Then he had to carry DC comics on his back has he swam through the river of fire that was 52, Final Crisis and Flashpoint.  Then once he was finally doing his thing for real with Batman Inc. he got shut down by the New 52 and had to re-start the thing nine or ten months after the newness of the New 52 had worn off.  Being vastly successful is hard y'all. 
  • But enough about Grant Morrison, let's talk about Grant Morrison...
    (Image stolen from Newsarama.)
    ...was either going to be Uncanny X-Men #2 or Batman Incorporated #8 because they were the only new comics I read this week.  Uncanny X-Men was good.  I'm enjoying these Bendis X-Men comics a lot and thanks to those digital codes that come with them, my daughter is enjoying them on her iPod touch thing.  Those Bendis X-Men comics seem to come out like, every day so it has already been an impressive run.  The best X-Men comics I've read since Grant Morrison's New X-Men.  But this issue of Uncanny was just talking so we will go with Batman Inc. #8 by Grant Morrison, Chris Burnham, Jason Masters, Nathan Fairbairn and several other people as the best comic of the week.
    Also, because it was the best comic of the week.
    Chris Burnham gives us 22 pages of super cool post Moebius/Quitely/McCarthy super hero punch up with the flying and the zooming and the whoosh and the crash and the bizzap and the boom and even some bam sok whap.  Burnham keeps enough detail in each panel to make it feel like the characters are real enough to bleed but his anatomy looks like it was taken from action figures so his fight scenes always have poses just a few lines away from being comical.  Right on the edge where I like it. There will come a day when you can't buy a monthly Batman comic drawn by Chris Burnham and that will be unfortunate.
    And while Jason Master's line is not as funky and cool as Burnham's he does a good job keeping the storytelling style in place during in his fill in pages.
    The story is a continuation of the war between Batman and Talia al Ghul that Morrison has been building for about six years now.  There have been some bumps in the road.  Some major distractions.  Batman died.  The whole DC Universe died.  The New 52 happened.  Batman Inc. was on hiatus for about nine months and then before it could build it's momentum up, issue #3 was delayed by the horrible shooting in Aurora, Colorado.  But by issue five or six, things were falling back in place and it has become clear to me, that Batman Inc. is the best comic DC is publishing.  Scott Snyder's Batman got to hold that title for a year or so and it will probably retake it when Morrison is gone but right now, at this moment, this is as good as DC gets at making comic books.
    Morrison and crew give us so many great moments in this comic.  This comic is Robin/Damian Wayne's comic book and everyone else is just supporting cast.  We get Damian flying in bat Iron Man armor.  We get Damian taking out little kids because he's a little kid and he can do what Dick and Gordon can't.  We get Damian schooling the other Robins on how what is really at stake with this villain because only he understands this villain.  Because she's his mom.  And, we get little kid Damian fighting a giant grown up cloned version of himself.  Most of which takes place in one amazing 20 panel page.



    And he dies.

    C'mon people.  If you had been reading the comic you knew he was going to die.  And if you were not reading the comic then, bug off, why would you possibly care?  And yeah, it is lame that DC chose a publicity stunt over letting the timing of the death be a surprise but, welcome to mass entertainment.  It sucks okay.  Of course it sucks.   It sucks that something that was building for six years became a press release.  It sucks that a character that does the one thing mainstream comic book characters never do, grow, will be remembered as that day everyone went on twitter rants against DC.  Yeah.  It sucks.
    But it does not change a single line or single word on the page in what is a perfectly good Batman comic book full of running and jumping and punching and fighting.
    The kid was always going to die.  For a lot of reasons.  For one, it's Grant Morrison's character.  Sure, other writers gave Batman his son but Morrison made this character.  And dealing with this character has been much of what Morrison's Batman has been about.  And like Aztek, Morrison was never going to leave this character for other writers to screw up.  And Batman just can't have a son forever because the reader always wants the story where the next generation takes over.  And Batman is never going to let the next generation take over.  He's Batman.  Or as Morrison himself explained, "what son could ever hope to replace a father like Batman, who never dies?"
    So as far as comics deaths go, I feel this is a good one.  The PR cheapened it but it's a good death.  It does suck because Damian was a lot of fun, but it's a good death.
    And it does raise some interesting questions.  This comic specifically is full of images of a child being beaten and eventually killed.  It also shows a child beating up children.  It is harsh.  Super hero comics have always had that weird history of children in violence.  Children reading about children in violence.  But the world is violent.  Super hero comics are still mostly unrealistic adults fighting unrealistic adults.  In weird costumes.  In the real world, children shoot and kill children on the streets of Chicago.  Children are forced to fight as soldiers in Africa.  Hundreds of thousands of children are fighting as soldiers right now.  This is who we are as a race right now in the year 2013 on planet Earth.  As parents, the human race has failed.  We are the bad parents fighting each other and forcing our children to fight and die in our battles.  Batman's failure here is our failure.  Batman's whole life is about stopping crime but he just can't stop punching people.  And Batman tries desperately to keep his son from the violence but the son was born into this violence.  Batman's violence.  Our violence.  The children suffer for the parent's sins.  It's sad and it's harsh but that's who we are and that's who Batman is.
    I'll miss Damian.  He had a pet cow and liked to play with his pet kitty cat.  He was alright. 
    • And finally...  She don't leave the house is what I'm tryin' to say.
    Oh, and one more last thing!  Did you know you can leave comments on these posts here at file under other?  It's true!  And, I'll probably respond.  Twitter and facebook killed the message boards but that's no reason why you can't argue with me, praise me or leave me recipes.  It's your intronet.  Have fun!

    And that's just a taste of some of the interesting things going out there in the wonderful world of comics and things. I can't keep up with it all but I do keep up with a lot of it on twitter and I try to re-tweet the good stuff. You should probably follow me there. If you did something to make comics better this week then high-five!

    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.
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