Friday, September 03, 2004

September Five Questions -- Check it out now at Newsarama, my Five Questions for Renee French.

Online Comic Art Exhibit -- Check this out, an online art exhibition including James Kochalka and Ariel Bordeaux.

Augie on Flagg -- Thumbs up to Augie for his tour de force salute to American Flagg today at Comic Book Resources. Augie goes in depth into the reasons why this was such a landmark series, and why Image and Dynamic Forces are to be thanked for re-presenting it after all these years. Like Augie, I'm concerned that the look and reproduction of the new editions will be of prime importance, but recent books like B. Krigstein Comics have shown me that it IS possible to provide pristine reproduction of old comics even in the absence of the original art. So, here's to hoping -- and thanks again, Augie, for such a terrific summary of one of the most significant series in comics history.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Ultra Help Needed -- My shop is out of Image's Ultra #1; if your shop has a copy and you are willing to get it to me (I'll Paypal you for costs), drop me an e-mail. Thanks.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

What's Cooking? -- Good stuff on the way in the next couple of days. Chris Allen and I are working on the next Conversation column, and on Friday the next Five Questions should be up at Newsarama, featuring one of today's best and most interesting comics creators. I also have a stack of stuff I want to get reviewed, hopefully in the next day or so. So that's what's cooking.

The Low Road Takes The High Road -- Big thanks to longtime online pal Ed Cunard for his kind comments about CBG's 4th Anniversary at The Low Road, his new blog. Thrilled to see Ed start a blog, because he is really focused on the best in comics, and he's a damned fine writer, to boot.

Should It Be A Fourth Anniversary? -- Former Galaxy writer Marc Mason has sent in his thoughts on our fourth anniversary. They'd have gone up earlier today, but I didn't realize he had sent this piece days ago and I missed it in my e-mail. Sorry, Marc!

Ahhhh… four years. That’s a pretty long time when it comes to comics-related websites.

I first joined the Galaxy family of lunatics in late 2000. Alan had put out a call for reviewers on the old Brian Bendis message board, and I responded. Why not? I had written for a couple of regional APAs back in the '80s, enjoyed a couple of brief returns to being a pop culture journalist in the meantime, and I spent way too damned much money on comics. It felt like writing about them and getting some shit off my chest was a good idea. Fortunately, ADD agreed.

Those were fun times. I started writing, and more importantly, I started making friendships and relationships that would become important to me as time would pass on. Alan. Chris Allen. Chris Ryall. Rob Vollmar. Smart folks who genuinely cared about not only comics, but each other.

Eventually, I got the urge to get back to covering pop culture again, and I pitched Alan on the idea of a column that would cover pop and how it related to comics. It was called “The Aisle Seat,” and I was immensely proud of it. DVDs, film, television… if it landed in the area of comics or geek culture, it was mine, and it was a gas. I will never forget the Galaxy’s hit counter exploding the week I talked about the television show Angel; a massive fansite for Joss Whedon fanatics linked to it, and every single one of them must have read the column. We were on a high.

Like most families, however, the Galaxy wasn’t without its dysfunctionality. That incarnation of the Galaxy ended, and its writers moved on to other things. My relationship with Alan faltered for a while, too, but fortunately it righted itself. Folks, let me tell you something about Alan David Doane:

He can come across online as the biggest pain in the ass that God ever put on this Earth. There is no doubt about that. Not one. But he loves comics. LOVES them. More than you, more than me. I’d bet money on it. Alan believes in comics as a medium with a lot more passion than you or I, either. He believes that comics can be transcendent things, and who am I to argue with that? But as a side effect of that, he takes bad comics personally. Bad comics take an enormous shit on Alan’s passions, and in Alan’s world, your passion should never, ever, need toilet paper. It’s that simple.

So you shake your head and shrug your shoulders. “That’s Alan.” If you understand him, you just let it go. It might even bug the Hell out of you, yourself, but you let it go. Michael Jordan once described his good friend Charles Barkley as “a little brother that you occasionally want to smack in the back of the head.” I can’t think of a better way to describe my brother-in-arms Mr. Doane. But to deny him who he is? To say that he hates comics, that he’s an elitist snob, or ignore his writing because of how you feel about his online persona? That’s just a stupid idea. But you’ll see it happen. Someone will take up a torch and ignite a flame war with him, thinking they will be the one to finally break him, and I feel sorry for them. Alan is Rorschach, you see, and there will be absolutely no surrendering or compromising, and fuck you for even thinking it.

I went back and worked at Galaxy 2.0, running the blog. It didn’t require much of a time commitment, and that version was pretty low-key, period. That faded, and I entered into some other ventures with ADD as well that have proven fruitful. And now Galaxy 3.0 is up and running and doing quite well. Alan has generously offered me a standing invite to contribute, and I hope to take him up on that, somewhere in between writing my Movie Poop Shoot column, my comics blog, my personal website, the sitcom script I’m working on completing, and the novel I’m hoping to pitch this fall. I just have to find the time.

Wait! I just did. Happy Birthday, Galaxy, and Happy Birthday, Alan. I hope to see you turn ten!

I think being called the Rorschach of online comics writing is a compliment, so, thanks again, Marc!

Four Years Later... -- Today is the fourth anniversary of Comic Book Galaxy's September 1, 2000 launch -- with its dedication to promoting passion, truth and diversity in the global discussion about the comics artform.

While there actually was some discussion of a "five year plan" among the site's founders, I have to be honest and say that I'm as surprised as anyone else that we're now in sight of that half-decade mark. I've actually been writing about comics online for over five years now, but nothing has been as fulfilling or exciting in my writing life as creating, implementing and maintaining Comic Book Galaxy.

Oh, sure, it's been rocky at times -- every website has its highs and lows, but the great comics and graphic novels that have been released recently and the incredibly gratifying reader response to this year's relaunch and redesign of the site have me feeling more positive than ever that this site is not only needed, but wanted. Each and every one of you that has read, supported and enjoyed the site has my undying gratitude for giving me one of the best experiences of my life, and selfishly, one that has led me to discover even more unique, exciting and unusual comics than I otherwise would have been exposed to.

Here's what some possibly familiar names are saying on this fourth anniversary of Comic Book Galaxy:

Growing up I was a Journal kid, but I always read Amazing Heroes and, later, Wizard. Similarly, I'm as happy with all those light, fluffy forums on the net as I ever was reading the old, tabloid mags, but the weighty balance of sites like this are absolutely integral to getting a proper, well-rounded approach to the medium. It's just nice having writers like Alan and Chris, who's opinions I absolutely trust, to point out all the books I'm currently missing and should be shelling out my hard-earned royalties for. Plenty of sites have heart, but CBG has a brain too.

-- Mark Millar

Alan David Doane and Comic Book Galaxy have been a thorn in the side of the
dim-witted and ill-informed for four years now... and here's to another
four... At the very least.

-- Joseph P. Rybandt

I literally came upon Comic Book Galaxy by sheer accident, and it wasn't even the website, it was the old Delphi Forum. Here was agroup of people who not only read my fanboy books, but were also hip to some of the smartest books on the planet. They spouted out names like Kolchalka, Los Bros. Hernandez, Chris Ware, along with names I recognized, Alan Moore, Brian Bendis, Garth Ennis, and even the likes of Chris Claremont, Frank Miller, and many other old favorites.

While I often disagreed (at the time) with some of their views, I finally felt like I'd found a home on the web. Here were people that were interested in meaningful conversations about comics, and they read books that could literally change your life, and in the very next post they'd talk about the X-men, or Spider-Man.

For someone who's always felt out of place in the fanboy world, this was a dream come true. Still, this was before I'd become hooked on ADD's blog, and hung on the words of D. Emerson Eddy (who we definitely don't hear much from these days, which is extremely sad).

Once I found the reviews, blogs, recommendations, I was hooked for life. In the few years I've "known" Alan he's influenced my buying habits more than any other single force. Thanks to him I truly discovered how vast and far comics can reach.

Not to say my mind wasn't always curious, but like most things (be they good are bad), all one needs is a push, and Mr. Doane provided that push. It was like rediscovering comics all over again, like finding there was a whole new, unexplored world out there.

Well, it's been a few years since then, and my tastes have changed, which I'll forever fault Alan for, and here we are, celebrating CBG's anniversary. It's a testament to how wonderful everyone who's been involved with Comic Book Galaxy is, that it has made it through the toughest of times, and even been resurrected from the dead, which fits right into the Comic Book World. In comics dead is never dead, even if you see the headless body.

I'd like to thank everyone at the Galaxy, both past and present contributors, for the tremendous influence it's had on my life. Hopefully we'll see it last through another five years, and if not, I'm sure we're likely to see all the names associated with it in some from or fashion.

You just cannot keep the passion these people have for comics caged for very long.

Thanks guys, best wishes,

-- Logan Polk

I first encountered Comic Book Galaxy and Alan David Doane when Tony Isabella posted a link to Alan's column where he skewered Augie De Blieck. I was hooked.

Alan has mellowed a bit over the years (he apologized to Augie in the Pipeline forum); but just a little bit (see his recent eviscerations of Geoff Johns).

What hasn't changed is his passionate commitment to comic books that engage the mind, heart and soul. CBG has seen contributors come and go over the years but Alan has been the one constant. And thanks to him, myself and many other readers have been introduced to a whole lot of great comics we otherwise wouldn't' have heard of. Palomar, Strangehaven, James Kolchaka, and Joe Matt are just a sample of the comics and creators that I have discovered through Alan and CBG.

Congrats on the 4th anniversary and here's to four more.

Constant Reader,

-- Christopher Jones

About four years ago, a random message board poster made a snide, somewhat
insulting remark about legendary artist, Alan Davis to which a fellow named
Alan David Doane made quick mince meat of the ignorant poster. From this, I
came to know Alan David Doane as one of the most blunt and passionate
persons I've ever known and he just so happened to have his own website.

Over the following nine months or so I became hooked on Comic Book Galaxy
and its cadre of writers striving toward a unified purpose of promoting
truth, passion and diversity to comic readers and non-comic readers. My
enthusiasm for the site grew to the point where I contacted Alan in the
hopes of contributing to the Galaxy in some way which he accepted. My first
assignment was supposed to be a simple comic convention write-up but it
quickly turned into a 5000+ word rambling, incoherent odyssey. I was
eternally grateful Alan didn't just drop me from the staff right then and

Flash-forward to the present time where I've been both a writer and
sometimes editor for the Galaxy for over three years now, on and off, in
every incarnation of the site. I have found my time working under and along
side of Alan David Doane (and in its early days, Editor Chris Allen) and
with the great Galaxy writers, past and present, to be the most rewarding
working experience of my life. Congratulations, Alan. And on to year five...

-- Nick Capetillo

Thanks to everyone who wanted to share their thoughts about Comic Book Galaxy as we enter our fifth year, thanks to everyone who has contributed to the site in every incarnation of its existence, thanks to all the great comics creators and publishers who work so hard to give is our very reason for being here, and most of all, thank you to everyone who has read and supported our efforts since that first day of September in the long-ago year 2000. The world has changed a lot since then, as has this comics internet -- but my personal passion for what we're doing here is greater than ever, and I can't wait to see what the future holds.

-- Alan David Doane

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Critiquing Comics Critics -- Tim O'Neil touches on some extremely interesting points right here. His most cogent paragraph:

The most important aspect of modern comics criticism which remains woefully underdeveloped is the acknowledgement and understanding of art-as-story. Comics are neither literature or art, and although the critical language of both disciplines can and has been appropriated by comics critics, ultimately these languages are woefully insufficient to engage the texts on the intimate critical level they deserve. I will not say that we need to develop a “new” critical language, because that would a silly and self-defeating act, and I’ve no desire to hamstring this conversation by going down the traditional critical cul-de-sac of unspecified semantics. No, it is enough merely to state that a new critical language will naturally follow if enough critics begin to engage the medium with sufficient rigor and enthusiasm.

Don't mistake this for posing or pretension; this, rather, is one of the few qualified online critical minds getting very close to the heart of the problem in recognizing good critical writing that actually moves comics forward.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Friggin' Blogger -- I wrote a long-ass post this morning that went into charming detail about my weekend, my wife's birthday (hi, honey!) and my feelings about the George Clooney version of Solaris...all of which was eaten by Blogger. Crap.

Anyway, I wrote a review of We3 and added some stuff to the sale page...stop by the main page and check out the Most Recent Updates section, and look for our 4th Anniversary observance coming Wednesday, September 1st!

And, oh yeah, Solaris is supercool. I have no idea why that wasn't a huge freaking hit.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

That Voice Again -- One of the most entertaining and visually delightful artists in corporate comics is Mike Wieringo. I recently interviewed him for The Five Questions, and the reason I chose him was that A) I've loved his work for years and B) He is one of the nicest and most honest guys in comics.

He's recently focused his honesty on himself and his career, in a moving analysis of how creatively fulfilled he is in comics after many years illustrating other people's dreams.

It's sobering reading, and I'm sure his thoughts are echoed in the heads of many of the gifted people who create the comics you enjoy. But Mike is actually brave enough to say it in public. The support he gets in his comments section is heartening, but even moreso is the implication in his post that he wants to make the big move into telling his own stories.

Comics has this vast potential to reach its audience by relating resonant human experience in a way that is intimate, personal and devastatingly direct; sorry to say this, fanboys, but the chances of any story accomplishing that with Doctor Doom in it are pretty slim -- and they become even more infinitesimal when you dilute the story's creative power with multiple, necessarily varying creative visions.

Mike, find a way to do what you need to do. As a wise man once said, in every revolution, there's one man with a vision. If you have to create the story one stolen moment at a time, do so -- and you'll leave behind something of substance that will cement your artistic legacy in ways playing in Stan and Jack's sandbox never really will.

(Thanks to AK)

JB's Sleeper Analysis -- Pretty apt analysis at the Johnny Bacardi Show of why Sleeper isn't the huge hit that it, as the very best monthly comic being published today, deserves to be:

Sleeper is simply too smart for the room, and we all know that nobody wants to hang with the kid that's obviously smarter than his other classmates. Sleeper is an utter failure as a superhero book because Brubaker doesn't want to write this like one and Sean Phillips doesn't want to draw it like one. All the Powers trappings are merely window dressing for the character study and espionage thriller that is at its heart- like a kaleidoscope, everything keeps shifting and changing, with Holden Carver at its center, and each shift becomes as interesting as the last. Carver obviously doesn't know who to trust or which way to turn, so he trusts no one and is determined to remain true to himself, as much as possible anyway, and the hell of it is that neither he nor the reader can escape the realization that more than likely there is no happy ending in store for him...

That last part is key. Holden is among the most vividly imagined characters ever to be created for a corporate comics company, but because he demonstrates genuine, complex human emotions, much of the audience is too confused or overwhelmed to understand either him or his plight.

Well, the buzz seems to be that "Season Two" of Sleeper is not a big hit. That's no surprise, given that the very best corporate comics often are not sales successes -- but it is depressing to think that such a passionate, quality comic book might not be around much longer. I'm delighted to hear Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips plan to work on additional projects together even if Sleeper is discontinued, as theirs is one of the most vital and exciting creative partnerships in corporate comics since Stan and Jack, Roy and Barry, or Frank and Klaus. It's just a shame that not enough readers have looked at Sleeper and realized what a gift it is. I'm grateful for what we've gotten, and for whatever there is to come in the future from Brubaker and Phillips.

This page is powered by ADD.