Thursday, December 23, 2004

Just Wondering -- Does Gail Simone agree with John Byrne that hispanic women with blonde hair look like whores?

If not, why would she work with him? Why would anyone?

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Best of 2004 -- Click on over to Rich Watson's column at CWN for his excellent year-end wrap-up.

Jesus H. Christ -- How in hell is it that anyone takes David Fiore seriously?

Super-Anticipation -- I'm jazzed as hell for Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's All-Star Superman after reading Matt Brady's excellent interview with Morrison, up now at Newsarama. First of all, Morrison gets to the precise heart of the current problem with floppies:

One gets DC to the masses by putting these books in manga format and making them available in every cinema, record store and bookshop. That's not my job, however. All I can do is make the stories as good as I can. All Frank can do is draw as well as he can. If we still can't sell well-written, well-drawn books at a time when everybody in the world is watching superhero movies and eating superhero cereals, it's because the pricing, format, promotion and availability of comic books is preventing us from cracking the glass ceiling.

Then, Morrison goes on to describe his approach to the character in a way that makes it exquisitely clear that he's the man for this job. In the past ten years, the only Superman comics I've enjoyed are Secret Identity, Birthright and Mark Millar's Superman Adventures. This new interview at Newsarama makes it clear that Morrison gets the character the same way Busiek, Waid and Millar do, and will probably go even further than they did in showing that any character can be magic, in the hands of the right creator with the right ideas.

I've known that for decades. No character was more obsolete or useless than Swamp Thing until Alan Moore got his big, hairy paws on him. It sounds like Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's All-Star Superman could do for Big Blue what Moore and Co. did for Swampy all those years ago. I, for one, can't wait to see it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The Good Sun -- Last year at this time, writer Tom Nattell had a wonderful essay on the Winter Solstice published in Albany, New York's Metroland. Today we welcome the beginning of another year's journey around the sun at 7:42 AM (Eastern Time), and I wanted to share this essay with you.

The winter solstice always leaves me with mixed feelings. While it is great that the amount of daylight is increasing, the earth in these parts is still cooling down, providing prime conditions for months of additional snow, ice and cold. It is the hump date to cross for more light during the day, but it doesn’t mean a concomitant rise in temperatures is in the forecast. In fact, our ground in these parts is still in the process of losing heat and freezing hard. While the amount of light is increasing, my exposure to it generally is not, as I spend more time indoors, feeding the wood stove and trying to stay warm. While I look forward to the increasing light of day, I do not look forward to the months of cold weather that remain.

Read the full essay in the link above, and may this year's Winter Solstice mark the beginning of a new year for you filled with peace, prosperity and happiness.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Prism Comics Fundraiser -- I wish I could do a lot more at the moment than merely link to Prism's donation page, but I do ask that you click over and give, if you can. Thanks.

Still Raging -- It was one year ago this week, more or less, that I guest-wrote All The Rage at Silver Bullet Comic Books. ATR is a rumour column about the comics industry, and I thought it would be interesting to comb through the dirt I dug up and see how well I scored.

Rumour #1: "Joss Whedon is the guy set to write New X-Men." This one was apparently correct, except Marvel decided instead of continuing the numbering to do a new #1 and create a new title for Whedon, although obviously Astonishing is the only true follow-up to Grant Morrison's New X-Men, so, I mostly got that one right. I had originally thought David Hine's District X would be another worthy successor to Morrison's sublime reinvention of the X mythos, but I bailed on that title after the first 6-issue storyline fizzled out rather than sustaining the spark seen in the first couple of issues.

Rumour #2: "John Cassaday will draw Whedon's X-Men." He shoots, he scores.

Rumour #3: "James Kochalka, Dan Clowes, and Jeffrey Brown are working on superhero projects." 100 percent accurate, as in, Super F*ckers, The Death-Ray and Bighead.

Rumour #4: "Formerly Known as the Justice League's Giffen, DeMatteis and Maguire are planning a series for Marvel as well." If they are, I must have missed it. WRONG. Damn it.

Rumour #5: "DC really wants to publish an Ed Brubaker and Trevor Hairsine incarnation of The Authority." Well, split that one down the middle, we got the Brubaker, anyway.

Rumour #6: "Frank Miller's Batman vs. The Terrorists to be a black and white 200-page hardcover." Could still happen, although presumably DC will want to wait until everyone who remembers how badly botched DK2 turned out is dead first.

Rumour #7: "Mark Millar and John Romita JR are working together on...something." That something turned out to be a cranky Canadian superhero with really sharp claws. Which is funny, because at the time of the column, I thought it was gonna be Blade, because -- because -- well, that would be telling.

Rumour #8: "Mark Millar quote brought down Abercrombie & Fitch Quarterly." It may have contributed, but no, as Alan Shore pointed out in last night's divine episode of Boston Legal, it's more the fact that believing in God is now the law in the U.S. that brought down the softcore catalog.

Rumour #9: "Ultimate Clone Saga in the works." This actually happened, and even included Ben Reilly, as I said it would. This was the story that resulted in the creation of Ultimate Carnage and killed off poor teen hottie Ultimate Gwen Stacy.

Rumour #10: "Manga will continue to grow and expand into new and previously unexpected readerships." Well, duh.

Rumour #11: "Image will continue, but will cut back on unwanted and unneeded #1s in favour of more certain hits, stuff with a built-in audience, like just about everything by Robert Kirkman." I'd fall on the side of saying I got this wrong, as Kirkman was pretty much poached by Marvel instead of creating new titles for Image (and more's the pity), and Image did indeed continue to experiment with new titles during 2004, including one of my favourite new superhero books, Ultra.

Rumour #12: "CrossGen titles will make a massive influx into the quarter bins of comics shops around the country in 2004." Well, yeah. The retailers who heavily bought into CrossGen and invested in their once-huge backlist of trade paperbacks really got screwed, from what I can see. Do you want a copy of Meridian Vol. 3 at full cover price? At all?

Rumour #13: "Everything Dan Buckley and Paul Levitz think up will be utter shit." From Identity Crisis to Identity Disc, from New Avengers to, erm, Identity Crisis (also known as Meltzer's Misogynist Assrape Funnies hereabouts), this one was obviously so right it hurts. It's also the only one I am willing to extend to the entirety of calendar year 2005. Happy new year, everybody.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Heart to Hart Chat -- Check out this interview with cartoonist Tom Hart, conducted by Tom Spurgeon. Excellent discussion of webcomics in particular and comics in general. Good stuff.

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