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Monday, July 02, 2007

The Monday Briefing -- And here we are again, the start of a new week. I hope it's a short one for you, if, like me, you're living in Los Estados Unidos. Some of my co-workers took today and tomorrow off and then will be off for Independence Day Wednesday (ever notice how the Fourth of July almost always falls on the same date every year? Cinco de Mayo, too, now that I think about it...), while I chose to take Thursday and Friday off as well as having Wednesday for a holiday. I found it moderately aggravating, then that people were referring to the weekend just ended as "the holiday weekend," and yet, I have a feeling they'll be saying the same thing next weekend. Society sure has a tough time with a holiday that falls on a Wednesday, doesn't it? Anyway, it's Monday, let's briefly look at some Monday Briefing sorta stuff.

* I'll admit that I'm as much of a format freak as Erik Larsen, and in many cases -- Origins of Marvel Comics and Superman vs. Spider-Man to name two -- my fetish for various iterations of comics stems from exactly the same source material as Larsen's. I miss the treasury editions, and something about the slick paper and modern art styles keep me from fully enjoying modern-day attempts at the format like those Alex Ross and Paul Dini produced, or Mark Waid and Bryan Hitch's big JLA thingy.

I shouldn't say I don't enjoy them; those stories are varying degrees of decent superhero comics, but what I mean is, I don't enjoy them as a replacement for the traditional format of treasury editions. There was something magical about the combination of the giant size, the regular newsprint, and the fact that they were reprinting stories that (at that time) were only otherwise available in the original comics. And who could afford, say, a hundred or 500 bucks for the first issue of Action Comics, or however much Golden Age comics were going for in the heyday of the treasury editions?

* One bone of contention I found in Larsen's otherwise enjoyable piece on comics formats was this quote about the world before treasury editions and other formats came along:

"There weren't dickheads out there throwing around derogatory terms like "pamphlets" or "floppies" at these four-color wonders, they were just comic books. And if you wanted to read comic books there was one format to read them in."

I don't know where Erik gets the idea that either of those terms is "derogatory." Maybe his inner fanboy remains a little sensitive from some schoolyard beating he took for reading his Wizard of Oz treasury edition while the other boys wanted to play touch football, or something. I use the term floppy because, well, they are, for one thing and also, to differentiate between monthly, floppy comics and the world's comics of preference, those with a spine and (usually) a complete story, graphic novels. What I personally hated was Steven Grant's "pamf," which always reminded me of nothing more than Nightcrawler making an exit. None of which is to deny, even for a moment, that I am, in fact, a dickhead.

* Steve Flanagan has some interesting stuff about the inspiration for some of the most interesting moments in recent Doctor Who history.

* Matt Brady looks at whether to keep buying floppies -- sorry, Erik -- or wait for the trade. I struggle -- to use an entirely too powerful word to describe one semi-affluent American's debate over how to spend his funnybook money -- with the same question myself. When I was raking in a lot more money than I am now, a few years back, the answer was a simple "buy 'em all, the singles and the collections." The budget has contracted a bit since then, so, for example, I find myself settling for the floppies on Optic Nerve's new collection Shortcomings, despite the fact that D&Q produce outstanding hardcovers, and that I have the previous HCs collecting previous issues of Optic Nerve. But it's definitely a case by case sort of thing -- I love Brubaker and Phillips's Criminal so much that I would have to be totally destitute to not buy both the floppies and the collected editions.

* One other note on Brady's post, which also includes reviews of single issues of the pamphlets he's debating continuing to buy in their monthly format: Matt seems to think a payoff is coming down the line in the "who's the homophobe?" bit in the most recent issue of The Boys (here's my review), but I think the payoff is right there in the issue, in what it says about Butcher and Hughie's offhand banter vs. their actual actions and feelings when confronted with the question up close and personal. It's a two-person character study that I found added an unexpected depth to what is generally seen as a satirical series. Ideas of the richness Ennis and Robertson are mining can't just be seen as merely satire, and that particular subplot shouldn't be seen as just the setup for a gag, the way I read it.

* Neilalien has posted his look at what he got and what he loved at MoCCA. Neil's got some of the best taste in comics, click over to read his thoughts.

* I feel like I am really "in the zone" in this whole back-to-blogging phase of my comics internet life. Not one but two pieces I originally wrote as short notes for today's Briefing actually turned into much longer pieces that I posted yesterday: Butcher, Beguiling and Early Books and Publish and Perish. With Chris Hunter's help, I managed to finally get some of my audio interviews back up online. In fact there's so much Blogospheric Energy in my house these days that my daughter is even blogging now.

* Comics and More takes a much better stroll through Previews for comics coming in September than I recently did.

* I feel like I missed the boat on Canada Day; I hope it was a good one, Jason, Christopher, d., Loren, Blake, and everyone.

* Hey, this is fun: Can you answer these six basic science questions?

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Blogger Matt Brady said...

Hey Alan, thanks for linking and commenting on my reviews. Re: The Boys: after reading your post, I realize that my wording makes it sound like the little character bit between Butcher and Hughie is amusing and a setup for future hilarity. I actually was referring to the issue as a whole there, and I agree that it was a good character moment that brought some unexpected depth to the book. Good catch, and Sorry about the lack of clarity.

02 July, 2007 10:43  

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