I know, I know, I should have known better than to pick up this month’s Spider-Gwen, but man, I REALLY want to like this book. I want to like the concept and the quirkyness and I just DON’T. This arc is just full of low effort copy and paste versions of an already derivative character ….AND it’s going on at the same time they’re doing THE EXACT SAME THING with Miles Morales over in What if! Gahhh! (and now I’m going to have to build that Iron Gwen armor for Maddie aren’t I?)
On the other hand, I have to say, I noticed something this month in a lot of the flagship titles. They were fun. Good old fashioned adventure.
Cap is a relaunch, but this run of FF and Iron Man have been going for a bit now so that’s one of the real tests. Can you just drop in to see whats going on, and have some fun in a single issue? You sure can. I can see we’re in the middle of a bigger story in FF, but never felt to lost. Yeah, I can see that there’s some interesting relationship stuff going on with Tony and Patsy in Iron Man, and I can roll with it since it doesn’t take away from main feature – Tony in the suit vs a Gorilla. (It’s the Silver Age at DC all over again!)
Over in Cap, it gets a little introspective- trying to set the tone of the series, but it’s all supporting a good old fashioned bad guy beatdown. Bucky/winter Soldier is back at Caps side for some reason, but okay. Cool. You can see they are setting up for something bigger – I don’t know If i’m up for that much bigger ride yet, but this first issue was great.
And hey…I’m behind on Batgirls aren’t I? It’s weird…I don’t know how I missed issue six, but considering it wraps up that first run, I had to grab it before i started up on number six.
This series has been a been a fun ride, built mainly on the strength of our two young Batgirls. Watching Cass and Steph fight together is always a fun time- there’s a choreography to them, both in action and personality that’s really worked well over these first six issues and now I really want a trade paperback collection.
My only objection is the whole ex-boyfriend drama between babs and the villian. Not even the drama itself as much as how dumb it’s portrayed. Panels like this and the whole “W were never official!” thing….it’s just jr high cringeworthy. This isn’t Friends. You aren’t Ross and Rachel. This is…. *sigh*. It’s a misstep. That’s all. It’s also a perfect example of how Barbara’s best contribution to this dynamic is as mentor and manager, rather than participating directly in adventures.
Still, with that one done, it’s time to move on to issue seven and….wow. Just wow. As much as I was into the style that Jorge Corona was bringing to the series, wow o wow, huge props to Robbie Rodriguez for seriously stepping up the art game on this book. While Corona leaned into the heart and sometimes goofy nature of the ladies, Rodriguez gives the Batgirls a more flowy look that is highly evocative of early Jae Lee and creates a drama that just flies.
There’s not tons to say about the story. We’ve kept the same writing team and it’s a part one that sets things up with a good adventure, but like I said before, the real reason we’re here is to watch Cass and Steph hang out. It’s just us spending time with some friends and perhaps remembering the better parts about being that age… you know. if you were also a superhero.
Dick Grayson shows up at the end to help Babs infiltrate the Iceberg Lounge (Cass watches them from a roof top lamenting how much fun it would have been if she and Steph could have dressed up too!) and I really can wait to see more of that.
Good pulls this week. The world needs more fun comics.
Then again, maybe it needs some more disturbing ones too. I finally got through most of my Free Comic Book Day Stack, and the one book that really stood out to me was a creepy little book called “Bunny Mask” It’s hard to describe. Bunny mask is a strange entity looking fore sickness, and doling out justice as she sees fit. It’s exactly the sort of book Vertigo would have published and it deserves to be just as big as an indie as it would have been with Vertigo. It’s disturbing and creepy and absolutely beautiful. This one is really my highest recommend. It’s on issue two this month so you don’t have to worry about being to far behind. This is the perfect time to jump on board.
I did up a bunch of these From Akron Canton Comic Con last year playing with backgrounds but more importantly with lighting.
You know, when you think of a store “Christmas party” you think”I’ll go in and take advantage of the sale, maybe there’ll be cookies or something.”
When I think of the Christmas party at the comic shop, I think “Oh my God…have I actually been here for three hours?”
The annual Christmas party is one of the two biggest events every year at Carol and John’s – it’s the winter counterbalance to the spring Free Comic Book Day party. There’s sales, give-aways, not to mention a food drive and an art show (Which I usually contribute to). This year I wanted to do something over-the-top for my outfit so insted of just an ugly Christmas sweater, I opted for an entire Elf costume over my Thing suit. It went nicely with the Joker and Santa that showed up for the evening….
It’s always a great time to visit with friends that I never seem to actually see outside of these events, mixed in with my local buddies from the Cleveland comic scene and Pop : the Comic Culture Club. It was also nice to connect with Ryan, a friend I had only previously interacted with on Facebook – from the Charity group Hero’s United that I’ve been doing events with. It’s probably my last trip out in costume until con season ramps up next year but we went out in style.
Cupcakes, choclates, cookies (supergirl cookies! Groot shaped cookes! WHY DIDN’T I GET PHOTOS????), custom brewed beer (I really just wanted the bottle!) and good friends. I mean, honestly, isn’t that what a Christmas party is supposed to be all about?
Akron always impresses me with the caliber of it’s guests. Mike Zeck and John Beatty are pretty great catches. I had comics for Tom Scioli, Rob Davis and Craig Boldman to sign, but the real treat of con for me was Ron Fortier who wrote my favorite version of the Green Hornet and sat and chatted with me for half an hour about the character, the series as well as his run on Terminator the Burning Earth. IT was fascinating to discover he was hesitant about returning to the title after NOW went through a bankruptcy but got wooed back during a particularly pleasant convention. Great to her his opinions on the current run and how glad we both are to see Kato is a girl again. He patiently signed my entire stack of books – most of his run. That’s not something I’d normally do, but the Green Hornet is one of my absolute favorite characters ever. A quick shout out to all of your artists and writers out there; I REALLY appreciate those of you who sign for free. That’s HUGE to me.
I hit the indy comic panel (and discovered I was pretty much doing everything they recommended – though I’ll have to creep around IndyLink a bit) as well as the cosplay panel right before the costume contest. Akron is a HUGE cosplay show and the contest gets bigger every year. Thank God for Jeff Stover who helped me find my place in line after I got the girls through their category.
We of course were the Fantastic Four, and I was so glad that people looked at my Mr. Fantastic backpack and got the joke. Every time someone would ask where Torch was, I’d tell them he had something to do with Captain America and he won;t tell me anything more than that.
I did stop back on Sunday without the girls so I could actually shop…I’ve found better deal in the past. Quarter bins are getting much harder to find. Still, there were a few fifty cent ones hidden amoung the depths of the booths, as well as a booth for the CW where you spun the wheel and got a prize. I got an iZombie brain. I wanted a Flash hat but I can live with this. The Flash hat wouldn’t have gone with my Shadow costume anyhow.
Akron is always a fun time, I saw more people that I know here than anywhere else. Some folks like Riley and Bobbie, I barely ever run into outside of this show. Things like that just make it better.
Another weekend has gone by, and another convention in the can.
Lake effect is a long drive, but usually worth it. We enjoy it because It’s a great place for deals and I love the screenings. Panels have really expanded, though it’s actually very much cut into the movie screenings and I kind of miss that. Still, starting the day off with Scott Pilgrim is absolutely a good thing.
We jumped headfirst into the costume contest. Maddie was always planning on wearing her new Supergirl outfit and Lydia was planning on breaking out her Mermaid costume from the monster walk a month or so ago, but at the last moment (less than a week before the event) Lydia changed her mind and asked if I could create her a H.E.R.B.I.E. costume. Herbie is a little robot that was in the Fantastic Four cartoons and has since been integrated into the comic canon, frequently appearing in more lighthearted fare. I whipped up a quickie costume out of foam and spray paint, with a few finishing touches – button made out of pill boxes and eyes made out of soda bottles.
I asked the girls what I should wear. It was a choice between Mr. Freeze, Voltron…or Spider-Ham. I was kind of shying away from Freeze – I was expecting to see on of my friends show up in that costume and didn’t want to compete with them. I also would king of like more mobility…then again , Voltron is pretty constraing to. It didn’t matter. Both girls voted Spider-Ham. I haven’t had the costume out in a while and that’s who they wanted to see.
Deals. Seriously, I keep saying this, and I mean it. Quarter bins, 3 for a dollar, fifty cent bins. You’ll always find cheap reading comics here. But it’s other stuff too. maddie found a Wonder Woman/Star Sapphire heroclix from the Blackest Night set and that just about blew her mind. She immediately dropped a bunch of her con allowance on it. Across the room, we found a vintage Frosta from the She-Ra line for $3! Sure it’s been well played with, but that’s exactly what my girls are going to do with it too. They were already playing with it before we got to the car!
Just a great day. It’s the small shows we really love and this is one of the best out there. We’ll be back next year!
So blockbuster season is firmly in the past. I saw what I was going to see, and successfully avoided Dark Knight (not a nolan fan, I’ll get around to it on DVD). and I’m wondering how much longer this can last.
Don’t get me wrong. Comic Book films aren’t going away. They never have. There have been comic book films pretty much as long as there has been cinema. I have old Captain America serials and Superman movies from the 40 and 50s. I think there were a grand total of five Shadow movies. But as you look over history, you can see certian…eras. Especially in the last few decades. Usually it’s started off by a Superhero film that redefines the genre. Superman did it, and that was really the model for a good chunk of the 80s, until Batman in 1989. That redefined things as gritty, dark and rubber suits if you were going to go with a costume like in Captain America – but you weren’t allowed to show the suits too much. No costume? You just went dark and grindhousey like in the Punisher. Oh and the supporting cast didn’t really have to resemble their comic book counterparts. You can toss Judge Dredd, The Crow, Spawn and Blade in there, probably even X-Men though around that time things began to change. Specifically, Spider-Man changed all of that. Now we were looking more at making the costume as closely resemble the source material as possible, like Cap and the Avengers and Thor and Green Lantern and Hellboy ect….and it also defined the Superhero movie as THE blockbuster event of the summer.
And that’s where we’ve been for a while. In fact, we’ve kind of gone from a comic book movie being an event because it’s so rare, to any other kind of blockbuster being an event because it’s so rare. Remember Independence Day? Mission Impossible (two was my favorite)? Godzilla? How about the original Total Recal or Terminator 2? Demolition Man? We don’t see these movies so much now because the Superhero movie has taken their place. Indeed, one of the reasons The Expendables has been such a big deal is because the 80’s action movie has become nearly extinct.
Which brings me to my point. How long can this last? We’ve been on the superhero blockbuster ride for a decade now and what really has me thinking about this is The Avengers. It seems to me that with the Avengers, the comic book blockbuster has reached critical mass. It’s a brilliant achievement in of itself, and really the epitome of everything Avi Avrad was trying to do when he set Marvel down the path to making movies (his belief was that film was where Marvel would make it’s money and was the future of the company) in the 90’s.
But where do we go from here? Already the landscape is changing again. The Dark Knight seems to be the new template, judging by the look of The Amazing Spider-Man and Man of Steel. If Superhero film is moving in that direction, then the Avengers is already falling behind. And as DC moves forward to try and duplicate the success from the Avengers, the glut of Superhero movies on the market is only going to get worse, making market fatigue inevitable…and quickining it’s progress.
That’s really my fear. That it becomes so common place it breeds contempt. Without some new innovation, a REAL game changer (not just an tonal change like we got from the Dark Knight) that Hollywood will ride this train into the ground, until Superhero movies become box office poison.
And here’s the really scary thought to me both as a comic fan and as a comic artist on Violent Blue.
Because comics these days are so heavily tied to the movie properties to support them, when the Comic Book movie goes back underground or vanishes completely for a while (like it did in the seventies)…what happens to comic books?
I probably could have consolidated these two, but it’s kind of a diffrent tone. View the new Violent Blue strip here: