Did I really miss a whole month of comics? Because it sure seems like it… I had a lot of two issue runs waiting for me when I finally headed to the comic shop to catch up. That’s gonna happen again in the near future I suspect, I tend to get really busy around Halloween and just forget about everything else. Still, I had a pretty free weekend and it seemed like the right time to catch up on television and comic books.
Along with some of my other usual suspects, I actually decided to take a chance on Ms. Marvel and venom. It’s such a weird team up that I kind of had to take a peek. I think about Miss Marvel is it really all depends on who’s writing her. Some people write her as a wide eyed teenager, some people write her as a full grown adult, some people only want to write her as a crusading social justice warrior. You gotta get the right balance with her or else she becomes insufferable. Venom too, he’s not an easy character to write… But he learned some self well to one shot like this, and the book ends up being very solid and entertaining.
Also solid and entertaining our old standards like Iron Man and Elvira. These are good books that are pretty much delivering exactly what I want. Nothing earth shaking, nothing it’s gonna change the world, but engaging and entertaining stories that keep me coming back every month. I do still feel Like I missed something in Iron Man, the way they’re kind of shifting backwards to tell the story from the past to the present is a little confusing, but it’s been good reliable fun with Tony and Roady. Elvira too, a lot of fun as this month she is in nightmare in street, although we get a really strange cameo from the time displacement authority from Loki…. They are just pushing the boundaries of copyright as far as they can aren’t they?
So remember when I was talking about worlds finest last time and mentioning that it felt like they had wrapped their story up in five issues, and suddenly had to put together a filler issue…like a weird epilogue? But that was perhaps why Robin got lost in time? Well, I still stand by that opinion. This story feels very much like a standalone filling issue. It’s Robin trying to make do stuck in the time period that he’s in, but it’s not like we’ve got any real epic quest for survival on his end or a long arduous search for him on the part of our heroes. Robin basically leave them a note etched in stone, and they were able to travel back in time to the correct moment and bring him back.
It’s so anticlimactic that I almost wish they hadn’t bothered at all. Then again, as part of a greater hole, it’s still retains the fun familiar feel that I’ve been getting from worlds finest, and it Times up all the loose ends so that I can now move on to the next story arc.
It’s a Multiverse story, we’ve got basically a Superman like figure on a dying planet sent to our dimension. Superman‘s trying to take care of him, and Batman suspicious. All of this is pretty standard operating procedure.
The thing that I really enjoy about this one though, is it gives us another one of those rare glimpses of just how much fun Robin can be when he’s in the right hands. Indeed Robbins always been fun when paired up with Superman. The fact that he’s kind of Batman‘s light side… Designed a balancing out means that he matches really well with Superman, and I remember very fondly some early Tim Drake adventures with him, as well as really enjoying seeing him team up with Nightwing. These guys aren’t quite as cynical as Bruce and are able to enjoy Superman‘s company in a way that Bruce never could.
Daredevils doing some interesting stuff too. I feel like this title is very slowly ramping up to its story arc, and that’s nice. Issue two still gives us some good daredevil action in New York, and has been butting heads a little bit with the newly elected mayor Luke Cage. It’s good stuff, and really my only complaint is I do still miss the secret identity. I always liked the juxtaposition of Matt Murdock; lawyer, versus daredevil; vigilante. Still, they’re keeping up the intrigue and the almost detective bit, and it works. And then….there’s that moment, when it REALLY works.
I’ve talked a little about what’s going on over in the Punisher. It’s actually right up there with Iron man and Elvira….solid storytelling (Though it still feels more like a gimmicky mini-series rather than a return to any kind of status quo). DD and Frank have always had a complicated relationship with each other. Some writers like to portray them as two sides of the same coin…I’m not sure that I entirely agree with that though. They really have diffrent aims. Daredevil is out for justice, while The Punisher is out for revenge. THAT’S what really disturbs Matt about him. Not the killing in of itself, but the darker motives.
And that’s why you can see sheer terror on his face when he’s informed that Frank is now in charge of the Hand. I should have seen this coming, but I didn’t and I love that they can still get me once in a while. It’s just a great moment.
Much to my surprise, I’m still sticking with Nightwing.
This has been a really pleasant run, reminding me a lot about all the things I really enjoy with this character. The main thing that has reall appealed to me in this particular run has been the way they are reestablishing the relationship between Dick and Babs. I mentioned noting this in both previous issues of nightwing as well as it also showing up in Batgirls.
We get a potentially heavy moment regarding that relationship kind of subverted in this issue, but it provides me a lot of anticipation for what may be coming up in both titles.
Or is it? Because I saw this ad in the back of the book and it really REALLY bothers me….
Maybe we’ll talk about why next week.
It’s been a busy few weeks, so I’ve fallen behind on stuff like comics and television, but I finally made it back out to the shop to pick up my pull list, and a couple of things off the shelf. Nevertheless, my stack was significantly smaller than I would’ve expected.
I’d actually forgotten about the Human Target. It’s been a while since the last issue came out… And seeing this on the shelf made me wonder if I had just missed a few months and the series had wrapped up without me? No. It’s still solicits issue seven at the back, so apparently the title was just paused or late. I’ve got a bone to pick though, with calling this tales of the human target. This is not a human target book. This is a justice league international book. That’s a problem. Not just the branding, but dropping a JLI book into this run, because the thing about justice league international was the book was funny. It was at just the right time, right in the middle of the comics boom, and shortly before the implosion… At a perfect time for an experiment. A perfect time for a silly book that could play with superhero tropes and give us something a little more lighthearted. It worked in that context for a while, but as the market shrink, we would see the pendulum swing back towards adventure and playing it straight with Gran morrison’s JLA.
Human target is not a funny series. And when you drop a group like the JLI into a slightly nihilistic deconstruction, it’s just awful. Justice league international when written as a satire is goofy and silly and fun. But when written as a straight up deconstruction, it makes the heroes look sad and incompetent. It’s just not a fun book.
What’s even more frustrating, is that I was warned. I’ve been enjoying human target, with a quibble here or there, a few decisions I wasn’t big on, but for the most part Tom King has just slightly touched these characters bringing them into visit as side characters in the background.They told me Tom King was up to no good, and I should’ve listened. Because this book right here is no good. I don’t know if it was planned as a bunch of back up stories or a companion piece, maybe something to throw in the back of the tree paper back… Dropping it right here in the middle when you’re already late feels like a misstep. It stops everything dead cold, and quite frankly turns me off enough that I’m not so sure I’m interested in continuing the series. Maybe I’ll just take a peek when it’s over.
Ghost Rider on the other hand continues to be good. It’s an interesting supernatural adventure… And one that’s very much in ghost riders wheelhouse. Out in the wastes we called the devils backbone, there is an annual motorcycle race… At the end of the race, you meet the devil. When you meet him, you can ask a question or a boon or something… And it’s just a cool concept well done. We need more of that. It’s interesting, because you look at some of the faces here, Dr. doom, wolverine, a lot of familiar marvel characters and it makes sense to put them in this context, that’s sort of desperation. It’s almost reminiscent of the secret six story arc about the various villains chasing after what basically amounted to a get out of jail free card, only for hell. I like this. It’s one of the better runs of Ghost Rider I’ve ever seen, and I hope they keep the creep and the quality up.
Over at Iron Man I am again a little confused, because it felt like I missed an issue. No, this is actually going back in time a bit. Before the previous issue where Tony’s captured and fighting for his life, we’ve got a rewind to remind ourselves of his relationship with war machine. That’s gonna be important, because war machine someone coming after him, complete with that black stealth suit that we see painted onto the cover. It’s a set up and a pause and again, I have to note that these sort of stories really do killed him I meant about the title, but at least in this case, it’s done well and stays engaging. Unlike that pause in human target, this issue does a good job of setting up where we’re going next.
And then there’s Batgirls. This title is also in the middle of what feels like a bridge story. We’re kind of done with the last arc, and setting up the next one, which gives us a nice excuse to hang out with the Batgirls for shenanigans. And shenanigans it is. Look, one of things I’m really enjoying here is the character development. You know, I dipped in and out of Cassie‘s Batgirl series back in the day. I was particularly interested in the brief “will they or one day“ with Superboy, and shocked by the whole “getting fired“ storyline. There was good stuff here and there on the cruise ship, things that helped us get to know Cassie, but the entire point of her character is that she doesn’t have any character. She’s basically a blank slate, and it’s harder to develop that and draw it out when you’ve just got her paired up with a mentor like Barbara. Pairing her up with Stephanie, I feel like we see so much more character development here in these nine issues than I’ve seen in the past 10 years with the various appearances in and out of her own series.
There’s also some interesting character development going on over in Spider-Man. We’re starting to see some carryover from the past series, particularly in how they’re handling Norman Osborne. It’s interesting, I’ll definitely give you that. There’s so much here that I like, and yet I’m still not sure if it’s enough to balance out the frustration over what I don’t know. This is one of those titles where I find myself more often than not dipping in and out of i’m not consistent with my reading on this one, simply because without enough information, I just don’t feel committed. The JR JR art isn’t helping me any either, but I’ve looked past that before and the colorists really does help prop him up.
Nevertheless, the writer definately has a handle on Peter’s voice. Spidey is always at his best when the writer gets him and his humor, and I think my single favorite moment in this issue is when the Vulture complains about Spidey telling someone he’s a murderer –
“But aren’t you trying to murder me right now?”
Then there’s She Hulk. Not necessarily a comic, but certainly a comic property. The first episode was OK. I think OK is really the operative word, otherwise some things that I didn’t care for. In particular, don’t let your kids watch the after credit sequence. Dropping that F bomb was a little bit shocking and didn’t make any of us particularly happy. The series has of course gotten the majority of his coverage over Jennifer‘s rant about how she does being angry better than Bruce… I don’t need to cover that here, except to say it was a dumb thing to insert. It’s not compelling, if anything it’s a self-inflicted wound. I can blow it off though, because this Jennifer Walters… She’s not a good person. She’s narcissistic self involved and aspires to victimhood. “She Hulk? That name better not stick. I can’t even exist without being a derivative of the Hulk?“ Well no. You can’t. Because that’s exactly what you are… A derivative of the Hulk. That’s what the character always was! It’s stuff like this it just turns me right off and sours the stuff that actually manages to be funny. I think Mecharandom42 on Youtube put it best – “Stop lecturing me about how bad you have it.” I agree. You office and home are WAY nicer than anything I’ve ever had. It’s just…..*sigh*.
And the funny parts? You’ve already seen all of episode one in commercials basically. It’s not untill we get into part two that we really start to get in to the story, but even then, the pity party continues. Jen is hired by a firm developing a new superhuman division. However, they want her because she’s She-hulk. She walks through the halls, bitter and angry; “I’lll never know if they hired me for my skill or just because I’m She-Hulk!”. No, you do know. You ABSOLUTELY were hired because you’re She-Hulk. And it’s gotten you a massive corner office and high salary. Here I’m just hoping that this is a character arc and that she’s a better person on the other end of this, because right now- she LOOKS like She-Hulk, but the character is still utterly unrecognizable. The Jen Walters I know, doesn’t resent being She-Hulk. Big and green actually gives her confidence and makes her feel beautiful and empowered, not….whatever this is.
Disney/Marvel? In the words of Sam Wilson – “Do better”.
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.
Free comic book Day was this weekend. It’s a little different these days since the pandemic, and those of us in Cleveland very much miss the midnight release party that Carol and John’s used to throw. It looks like that may be gone for good, it’s a hard event for the staff to do, and John’s literally said flat out he doesn’t know if he’s bringing it back. On the other hand, he’s shifted more towards trying to bring in a high profile guest every year. Last year was Chris Claremont, and this year of course was Jim Shooter. I have a great and abiding respect her Jim Shooter, despite what many, professionals say behind his back. He created the valiant universe which brought me Shadow Man… One of my all-time top favorite characters ever. The man was a prodigy, writing Legion of superheroes as a teenager, and shepherded marvel into the 80s, finally establishing royalties for creators, and trying to make comics more familiar. He also created one of the first high profile company wide crossover events in Secret Wars… Which is what Carol and Johns were celebrating this year, complete with mock ups of the cover that you could pose in front of.
But before we hit them, we stopped by Comics Are Go… a shop closer to my home, and the other one of my regular comic shops. These are the same guys who throw NEO comic con every year, and hitting both shops would assure that Maddie and I both got the books that we were looking for, as well as a couple of duplicates to give away to kids we know. Maddie was eager to break out her new female Iron Man cosplay – one we’ve dubbed “Toni Stark” It’s a simple, casual one, with just one gauntlet and the arc reactor, as well as a wig and E.D.I.T.H. glasses.
Comics Are Go is a little bit more subdued of a environment, focusing on local artists and not so much on cosplay. Still, they’re friendly and this is a great way to get people into that shop. It’s a hole in the wall, and the more people who know about it the better.
Over at Carol and John’s, this year‘s mural was being painted upfront, while we headed into the side room to grab comics and look over the various artists wares. I pulled out my venom costume again. This was a nice little find right around the end of Halloween last year… Four dollars and it came with a mask. It’s about a half size too small,… A little tight and doesn’t want to close correctly in the back, but otherwise looks fairly good. I ended up doing a new mask for it using the plastic shell the costumes mask had come packaged in. A little bit of spray paint and some marker letting the paint just drip over the clear plastic. It gives an altogether uncomfortable look and makes it a bit more terrifying of a venom. I only scared one child… That’s a good thing. But one little boy did see me coming and just started backing up behind his father going “nope, nope, nope!“
All in all, it was a fun day. Maddie found buttons and stickers she wanted for her school bag and folders. We hit the ice cream store around the corner from Carol and John’s – they were offering an “Infinity Gauntlet” flavor with multi colors and rock candy on top. I found some interesting comics, including a deadpooh issue from one of the artists over at Comics Are Go. It’s amazing. We were in and out in just a few hours, but a nice chance to catch up with friends and get back into the scene a little.
One of the problems with kids, is that they grow – and neither we nor they realize how fast.
Ages ago, Maddie asked for Iron Man armor, but done up as a Star Sapphire.
Well she decided she wanted to pull it out again a few years later, only to discover….it didn’t fit. We ended up completely reworking what we could to break it out one more time!
Out of nowhere, Maddie asked me to redo her Iron Sapphire armor! I’ve always been leased with it, but we had to completely remake the midplate expand the legs because she’s grown so much since the last time she wore it!
Despite being a realitvely simple costume (that is, no armor), my reinterpretation of the original and filmation Ghostbusters Ape as a modern Columbia Ghostbuster quickly became one of my favorite suits and ended up showing up a LOT.
Tracy learned his lesson from his tussle with Iron Man on Asguard, and went to build his own armor!
Out of nowhere, Maddie asked me to redo her Iron Sapphire armor! I’ve always been leased with it, but we had to completely remake the midplate expand the legs because she’s grown so much since the last time she wore it!
I thought the Bones suit would go well with the Star Wars people… but the lens flares! Wow!
(I’m also so proud that the visor finally goes up and down!)
Have I mentioned that Iron Man has gotten zombified just like Batman did? Amazing how often that happens…..
You never know who’s going to show up at those Avengers meetings!
When I made Maddie’s Iron Sapphire suit, I was dismayed that it was more detailed and better looking than my Iron Man armor! That led me to build the single most detailed suit I’ve ever done! The Bones model shows up for about three seconds in IM3, but all that exposed circuitry really makes it the most interesting one to me!
It was about 4:30 when the boss poked his head in my office. He said it wasn’t very busy right now and he didn’t expect anybody else to shop today – that I could head out early if I wanted to. I grabbed my Iron Man helmet and was out the door like a shot, on my way to Carol and John’s. About 5 o’clock I put down my lawn chairs, set up the TV tray and made myself a nest in line. Just like every year, I looked at the clock and wondered what was I doing? I mean, honestly what am I going to do for the next SEVEN HOURS? Of course, then the next time I checked the clock I was shocked to see it was already 11:30…
There are Free Comic Book Day celebrations to one extent or another all over The United States on the first Saturday every May. Even here in the Cleveland area, Comics Are Go brought in my friend Marc Sumerak from Marvel comics as well as local artist Rick Lozano to sign pieces and sell their work. Imaginary Worlds in Cleveland Heights seems to have picked up the baton from York comics, utilizing FCBD as a food drive and offering extra free comics to anyone who brings in canned goods. I always liked this approach, I’m glad to see somebody is still doing it.
Still, the fact is that nobody does Free Comic Book Day like Carol and John’s. The event the night before officially begins around 10 o’clock, but the line starts long before that. I mentioned that I got in around five, and there were already 20 people ahead of me. Card tables had popped up for people to play board games on, Magic tournaments were going on. Cards against humanity was out and in the streets there was dancing. A podcaster set up in the corner and was interviewing avengers as they walked by. As the day turned to evening and the skies got darker, Jedi and stormtroopers marched along the road – lightsaber battles took place in the night air. The Ghostbusters arrived, and super heroes were everywhere you looked.
At my nest in line, my friend Mayday was the first to arrive with his lovely bride Pam. We chatted for a while before joining the rest of the Scooby gang at the Red Lantern, two doors down. I grabbed an appetizer with them, and when I got back to my place in line my friend Jen had arrived with pizza for all of us.
When the doors opened at 10, we hit the bar for free beers, thier bottles adorned with artwork reminiscent of this years guest of honor comics legend Jim Sternanko. Across town, the comic shop had arranged a dinner with him and about 20 guests – my friends Nick and Taylor arrived back at the shop late from that dinner and just a few minutes ahead of Jim himself.
In the meantime we hung out at the art show and I was delighted to see one of the artists had contributed a painting of the Shadow! Stetnanko is famous for is Shadow covers, indeed the one piece of his that I have signed is one of his Shadow illustrations. It made my day to see this homage, and I grabbed a print of it for myself. Before I made it out of the art show, I ran into my buddy Ryan, his wife and new baby… I played peekaboo with the little one, using the visor on the Ironman helmet. While in line in there, a tiny Darth Vader chatted me up, fascinated by my “Bones” Iron Man suit and showing me the lights on his Vader costume. I caught him later, getting into a lightsaber fight with Kylo Ren outside.
I made it back to the nest and gathered everybody up for a group photo over at the Rubber City booth, a little something to remember the night from before it was time to lineup for the free comic giveaway. As we got back, people in giant donut costumes wandered up and offered us tiny cupcakes. We packed up the nest, tossed the chairs in my car and got ready to go through. It’s always surprising how quickly the night goes, and I’ll be honest – as soon as I’ve gotten out of the comics line I vanish back home because I’m only going to get a few hours sleep before it’s time to do it all again properly on Saturday morning!
Saturday; the actual Free Comic Book Day, is always a much different kind of event in the evening one. There are more kids, and they were absolutely enchanted by my Slimer costume. My daughter Maddie came with me, donning her now–too– small Supergirl costume and on the hunt for Pokémon, Simpsons, and DC superhero girls, and of course Marvel zombies once we got into the shop.
I ran into my friend Rhonda while making the rounds, and we all made sure to get our photos in the pop figure box… I wasn’t confident of my ability to get in and out of the box Friday night, and the photos showed up better during the day anyhow. Even in Slimer though, it looked a little tricky – I ended up taking off the costume and setting it inside the box and just taking a photo of that.
In the end I only hit three shops this FCBD. C&J’s, Comics are Go (Where they recognized Maddie from the Backyard Zombie Movie series) and Imaginary Worlds. I got all but about three books I wanted. As we headed home, Maddie was digging into her comics, and recommended sparks to me. She was right about how funny the story of two cats in a robotic dog suit was. She also pulled out the Doctor Who book and exclaimed “Dad, isn’t this your favorite Doctor?” Number seven is in fact, not my favorite, but certainly ranks among the top four. She brought home two books specifically for her sister as well, Invader Zim and Street Angel’s Dog. This is really cool to watch ger recommending stories to me and other people. For herself, Maddie found a copy of Supergirl meets Scooby Doo and it blew her mind.
And of course this is really the whole point of Free Comic Book Day – to support the local shops, and get involved in the community. Hope yours was just as amazing.
Friday was our premiere event for Avengers Infinity War and we gathered up at the Midway Atlas Cinemas near my home to celebrate.
I’ve got to say, after the frustrating armor malfunction at the last charity event I wore Iron Man to, I was ready to retire it. Just not worth repairing again. I got a request from my friend Taylor to bring it out for the Infinity War premier though so I decided to give it one more chance.
During the repairs I completely reworked the midplate and made a few long overdue upgrades to the chestplate getting around to putting the elastic panels in the breastplate (which makes it WAY easier to get on – it’s been a standard feature of my armors since trying it out with Man-At-Arms) as well as making the collar breakaway. An interesting side benefit to the breakaway collar was that it gave me greater access to the upper arms, allowing me to properly attach them farther up and more securely.
Photos from that event are reminding me how much I really do like this armor, and I may keep it around a bit longer now. I’ll still have to detail the back of the midplate and perhaps do some extra scoring but I’m happy with the further evolution of my oldest armor.
So, Infinity War.
Is it just me or was that two and a half hours of superhero themed torture porn?
No, I mean it. There’s some Saw level grotesque brutality here. This is trauma equivalent to what we felt as kids watching the melting faces in Raiders of the Lost Ark. I’m genuinely not sure I want to take my children to this. I’m not opposed to violence in general. I’m not opposed to it in Superhero movies either. But this was a little more than what I’m comfortable with in this context. It’s much the same thing I felt during the beat-down of Brandon Routh in Superman Returns. It crosses the line from adventure and peril over to the squirm inducing pornography of violence and far more than what I expect from a PG-13 film.
I’m not completely down on Infinity War though. The movie has it’s fun moments. Rocket, Groot and Thor’s team up is some of the best stuff here. I’m also realizing that I REALLY like Doctor Strange when he’s in other people’s movies…way more than when he’s in his own film (I’ve said the same thing about Iron Man – and it’s still true). And then there’s the moment Buckey grabs Rocket and just…twirls. It’s easily light years better than Age of Ultron, and just about as good as Civil War.
At the end of the day though…I’m seeing all of these memes with everyone feeling empty and depressed when they leave the theater. I don’t get it. With an ending that is as cataclysmic as this, basically the next film gets to reset everything, as much as it wants. This movie shouldn’t have been called Infinity War, it should have been called “Avengers : Mulligan”, because a year from now, none of it will matter.
All in all though, it was a nice night, and after the movie we took a few more photos, then our own merry band of Avengers retired to Ihop for our own personal shwarma scene. That’s the great thing about this kind of film. It’s meant to be experienced together and talked about afterwards, and I have no doubt that it will be the main topic of discussion this weekend at Free Comic Book Day.
This may be stretching the definition of commission, but it’s really a sketch that I can use as a guide to design this armor. I have to visualize it before I can craft it. Here is my first sketch of the Infernal Iron Man!
So why aren’t I one of them?
I eagerly anticipated the release of the film, eating up all of the commercials enthusiastically. Even though I’m very much a practical effects apologist, this is one circumstance where CG was essential. There was just no way to properly capture that suit outside it and what we got looked better than anything I could imagine.
Pity we see so little of it.
I think that’s the crux of it. I realize you’ve got a big name actor who you don’t want to hide behind pounds of armor, but the balance of Tony in the suit and Tony out of costume is so off that it feels like I’m just forever waiting. Indeed, it seems like the entire point of the third film is to have Tony in the suit as little as possible.
We get War Machine or other stripped down versions as a consolation prize occasionally, but you’re not kidding anyone. The name of the film is Iron Man. That’s who I’m here to see. That’s what’s on the posters. That’s what these movies stubbornly refuse to give me.
What’s infuriating is that it can be done. It really can. You can get that pathos and story and character development and still have a better balance of action and armor hijinks. They managed it beautifully in the Avengers movies. Indeed, I’ve often said that The Avengers is the best of all the Iron Man movies. It may also be the reason three is my favorite, as it feels like a direct epilogue to the Avengers.
Here’s the thing. I don’t hate the Iron Man movies. If I’m flipping through the channels on TV and I come across Tony-in-the-suit fighting an evil behemoth, I’m going to stop and watch for a while. But I’m not going to stay. When the fight is over and the next commercial comes on, I’m back to flipping. I don’t do that with Thor or Captain America : The First Avenger. I’ll sit an watch those all day…and that’s the point. Iron man should be better than this. I’m sad that it isn’t, but that’s okay.
I can always go watch Avengers instead.
Not a hoax, not an imaginary story! I actually broke down and went to a Jeff Harper show. I’ve talked a lot of smack about these shows. They’re basically flea markets (no programing), and one that I am charged admission for access to. That kind of thing irritates me a little. MY first encouter with this promoter’s cons was at a show in North Olmsted – you will find that review over here (https://argocitycomics.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/didnt-i-say-sketchy/). My big gripe was that it wouldn’t have taken much to transform this from a bazaar into a con. Just a couple of TVs playing movies or trailer, a video tournament or a couple of panels – just stuff organized with the bare minimum of care could have pushed that show in to something more than just a tradeshows. Still, over the last year or so I’d heard whispers that they were trying to do something different…(more than just the failed attempt at a VERY similar type of show I encountered here -https://argocitycomics.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/why-i-drove-out-to-north-coas-comic-con-and-didnt-go-in/ )The flyer for this year’s Akron-canton comic con, had cosplay prominently featured – they were really trying to promote it so I gritted my teeth and decided to give them another chance.
Chapperells is best described as a large bingo hall. It’s a step up from the American Legion Hall is that Jeff Harper Productions seems to favor, but not by much. There’s still a Sketchy feel to the place. As you enter, you find yourself on an elevated platform where the registration table and a few artist tables are set up. there’s a snack bar at this venue and that’s actually a nice touch (It was invaluable at AllAmericon last year!). This space overlooks the main floor and was actually a nicely touch.
I had chosen my new mark 41 ironman suit for this event. Bones is about 95% done and I wanted to test it out in a small back water show. I may have underestimated the size of the event, but then again I was still nursing a trepidation that I would wander in and be the only person there in costume… That all of the “true collectors” would turn and stare at me, and collectively sighing “ugh, it’s one of THOSE kind of people…”
My fear was unfounded though, and as soon as I arrived – before I even made it onto the floor I ran into a group of Anime cosplayers, complete with a Naruto Akatsuki Deadpool (who gleefully kept fistbumping me through the entire show whenever he’d run into me) We chatted and caught up – I had seen several of these people at Zip Con, and as I finally made it to the floor right now myself slept up in the Conga line made up of costumed characters! It was one of the strange thing happened to me on the convention seen, and possibly the most fun I had that day God we danced from one end of the hall to the next, weaving our way through the dealers tables up and down the platform and making a continuous circuit – with an NCIS scientist ahead of me and a Harley Quinn ahead of her, the line streched ahead as far as my eyes could see. We beckoned a Pikachu and Black Canary to join us as we passed by, kicking out heals up and humming along.
The venue was decked out in a very inviting way. The floor plan worked, it was logical, not too crowded. Above where the registration table was there were large stand-ups of super heroes – Captain America, Superman, and Stormtroopers. Perfect for photo ops if anybody was interested. As I plunked down my five dollars for admission, the promoter trying to look at me was struck speechless, searching for the words and unable to find the expression to relate to me until I complimented his stark industries T-shirt that it was a good way to start.
Akron-Canton is not the deal factory that other small shows like Lake Effect are. Still I managed to find a 25 cent bin to plunder, as well as scoring a beautiful hardback edition of Jenny Breeden’s The Devils Panties from one of the discount boxes. It was fun to chat with some of the dealers, Scott from Comics Are Go (my preferred comic bookshop) was set up and mention that he was about halfway through his stock of the new comic he had put out for FCBD. I’m seriously hoping for a second volume of this. I spoke with another familiar face who mentioned the turnout at Lake Effect this year had actually been lower than he had expected – not quite as profitable as when it was back the old theatre. That was one of those things that had kind of worried me, that the move might not be the most successful tactic . Interesting to hear their perspective. Another dealer asked if I was a big fan of iron man – expecting the obvious “yes “. The thing is, I had to admit that I’m more a fan of the movies – and that I hate being THAT guy, but let’s face it… We’re more of a DC family. Still, this particular suit allowed me to do what I really wanted to do, that is – revisit the Ironman form, while going absolutely crazy with details. God bless that one guy that I spoke to that day who actually recognized it as the “Bones” model. That’s one more person then I expected to know what it was…
The costume contest is a new component to this show – it’s been sponsored by Heroic Adventures, a comic book shop out of Massillon . For the first year, there are actually some beautiful and impressive suits. Threre were perfect versions of the DCs bombshell Harley, The TV version of Arrow, along with fun interpretations of the Punisher and Black Canary . There was one young woman in a Kylo Ren costume – black robe, light saber and mask. she made her way through thecostume contest like everyone else, enthusiastic and happy to be there. Towards the end of the line, out of nowhere came this tall man, also in a Kylo Ren costume towering over The other contestants. The slightly more Diminutive Kylo Ren was moved forward from the crowd, and lept back up on to stage to confront her double, backed up by jubilant, raucous cries of “take him down!”, “Go get him!”. It was pandemonium and it was glorious.
This ended up being a fun afternoon.it’s still very much a five dollar show, with the dealers room being the central focus – but it feels like they’re trying to do more. It seems like they’re seeing a benefit to adding a little bit of programming, even if it’s just running a Superman movie on the TV screens on the walls, and bringing in cosplayers. It can’t hurt,I don’t think they would have brought in that Anime group without the cosplay component and it certainly brought me – and more people means more people spending money at the dealer’s table. I know I certainly did. I’m not quite ready to declare this a regular stop for me on the convention circuit, but it might just be enough to keep me from rolling my eyes in exasperation next time somebody tells me they’re heading to one of Jeff Harper’s shows.
Joe Ostrica and Old School Sinema have been putting on Zombie walks for as long as I can remember. They started over at the Five O’Clock, then more recently had moved the event over to Mahalls. This time around we met at the Spitfire Saloon.
The Spitfire is a Cleveland favorite for many people, featuring 50 diffrent types of beer and reguarly showcasing punk bands, and a zombie walk seems like a logical pairing.
It was a lighter turnout, possibly because it was the first time at this venue, but a beautiful day and you could still see some of the FCBD influence in the crowd with the Joker and of course my zombie Iron man. I wasn’t able t ostay as long as I wanted to seeing this was sandwiched inbetween my FCBD activities and the later 12 hours of terrible marathon, but still managed to get in, haunt and run. Pictures below!
Summer is almost over and this weekend here in my hometown of Elyria there was a free concert by Cleveland Pops.
And a bunch of Superheroes.
The city coordinated the Orchestra’s visit with a local volunteer group called Superheroes to Kids in Ohio who work with kids in hospitals and terminally ill patients. They introduced sets and worked the crowd as the orchestra played selections from superhero films such as Avengers, The Dark Knight and Spider-Man. There was even a Frozen set.
This was a good time, in the middle of the city, surrounded by superheros, with the orchestral score playing in the background and fireworks in the sky. It’s also EXACTLY the sort of thing Elyria needs more of.
Happy Labor Day.
By the way, even though it’s Labor Day there IS still a new Violent Blue up today!
We had a good time this year at Lake Effect Comic Con. I really dig this con, not just because it’s a free one, but because it’s a small con that still really pulls out all the stops. A great artist’s alley including my acquaintance from the Pop! Culture Club Marc Sumerak (Marvel writer and former editor). Chris Yambar (bongo comics), Bob Ingersol (DC editor) and Craig Boldman (Archie) not to mention a bunch of others.
Madeline and I both came in costume, me in my new Iron Man armor and her in her She-Ra costume. We both entered the costume contest, and we both got defeated! Maddie lost to a cute litle girl Jedi and I lost out to the golden age Sandman. The winner in the boys division was the coolest little David Bowie (from Labrynth) that I have ever seen. Even though we didn’t win, we were both awarded heroclix for participating and that was great. I pulled a Super Nova I didn’t have and Maddie got a Terraix.
A number of my Heroclix buddies were there as well for the tournament. Sean spotted me and drug me into the tourney room where I declared “okay, who wants to play me? I better warn you though, I may take up more than one square on the map….”
We spend some time shopping as well, Maddie came away a bit dissapointed because she couldn’t find a Supergirl or Star Sapphire figure. She did however grab two issues of Super Mom signed by the creator Scott Bachmann. I pawed through discount bins and bought about thirty comics ( a LOT of silver age Daredevil and a bunch of X-Men right around and before the X-Cecutioner’s song). We shopped so long we missed the panel on worst kid sidekicks….but that’s okay.
Finally we ended the day with a screening of A Little Snow Fairy Sugar an adorable little anime which they were showing on the big screen (If I hadn’t had Maddie I would have shown up earlier for Big Trouble in Little China).
Maddie had a nice day, and for this being her first comic con, she did very well. My Iron Man costume really diminished my dexterity – she ended up being my hands, paying people, rifling through boxes and pulling things off tables, not to mention taking photos (okay, some are blurry, but she did a good job for seven years old!) We can’t wait to go back next year! Until then though, there’s new Violent Blue up today!
Just a reminder, Lake Effect Comic-Con is this Sunday. There’s free admission, free movie screenings, a costume contest, comic creators and TONS of sales. I want last year (https://argocitycomics.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/lake-effect-comic-con-need-to-update/) and it was a great time, not to mention finding great deals. Maddie will be coming with me this year and it will be her first comic book convention! She’ wearing her She-Ra costume and I’m wearing my new Iron Man costume. Hope to see you there, then back here for new Violent Blue on Monday!
I started my Free Comic Book Day this year at Midnight. Well, actually a little before, heading out to Carol and John’s comic shop for the Midnight release party.The midnight party features free comics, specially brewed drinks and food along with sales and costumes. I went to this a couple of years ago with my friends John and Carl, and remembered not liking it, but didn’t quite remember why.
The two and a half hour wait in line may have had something to do with it. I remember it being crowded, but not this crowded….and we were waiting forever. The young lady in the great Doctor Who shirt (Complete with a button that said “come along Pond!”) that I was in line with was getting a little worried that there might not be much left if we ever go in. (By the way, if your reading this, I owe you an apology. I was in a bad mood and didn’t realize we would be out there so long. I should have talked to you more and been friendlier. I was rude to just stand and read my book as much as I did). On Facebook I joked with folks that we should have headed to the party and played a game of Heroclix while we waited. Seriously, there was enough time to get in a full game while in line. If I do this party again next year, I’m planning something like that. Cards or heroclix or SOMETHING.
Still, we eventually got in and I got my first selections, including the Cleveland edition of Superman. That was one I definitely wanted, especially since we’re celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the character – or trying to at least.
Madeline had ballet the next morning and we weren’t about to let her take off just to trot around town trolling for comic books with Daddy. We suited Lydia up and were ready when Maddie got home at 11. We tossed her costume on, packed a lunch and headed back to Carol and John’s for the costume contests.
We had no idea that half of the places we went for Free Comic Book Day would be OUT by the time we got there. Perhaps we need to start earlier, but it also seemed like there were a bunch more people out this year than before.
I saw the line at Carol and Johns and my heart sank a little. It was as long this afternoon as it was at midnight. Ugh. The girls wouldn’t last an hour or two of waiting like that. Still, we were there in time for the costume contest, so the girls got their numbers and headed up. Maddie and Lydia were in different age categories, so they weren’t competing against each other. I think I’ve very glad for that.
To my great delight (and perhaps a little surprise) both of my girls placed. Lydia got third (and lost out to the cutiest set Power Puff girls EVER) while Maddie got second in her division. I couldn’t be happier.
Next off, we headed out to Parma to swoop down the Polish corridor. B and L comics was out, however he had a few ones from last year and older on the counter to try and still have something for people….my girls and I were at the counter making our purchases (we raided the .50 box) and were asking about which free ones he still had and folks were reaching around us to snatch them away before my two little girls could get anything! How rude!
Traffic was bad enough that we skipped Northcoast Nostalga…a shame too, because they always have great discount bins – .25 and .35 bins, and I always rummage through those. York was running out, but the girls got some Strawberry Shortcake there and we bought some Trinity (because they had Wonder Woman on the cover). I also got my Uglydoll comic here. This was just the coolest offering the FCBD! The girls loved looking at the statues and figures. York was running out too, so they pulled stacks of old issues from the back and set them up on the free table so everyone could still get something. Very cool guys. On the way to our next stop, I became aware of Maddie talking in the back seat. Not to me….no she was reading on of the strawberry shortcake comics she had just gotten to her sister.
Thank God for Comics are Go! in Sheffield. They still had a decent stock and had save me one of the FCBD Iron Man 3 heroclix! You guys saved the day. Seriously. The girls had been getting a little discouraged. The other thing Comics Are Go! managed to find for me was a copy of the Walking Dead comic for this year. Not one place we went had that one still in stock. In fact, Mike ran into the back and dug that and a Judge Dread out for me I wouldn’t have gotten these comics otherwise. Then again, that’s one of the things about having a shop you go to regularly. In fact, I think next year, we may mostly just do Comics Are Go. (Maybe the midnight party at Carol and Johns, but maybe not).
While we were in Comics are Go! Maddie kept looking around at the toys and other comics, and she discovered the My Little Pony comic book. She asked me if we could get that one too, and I said yes (like last year, we want to buy something at every stop to do what little we can to support these places). She was also looking at the figures and discovered the Wonder Woman line – A Circe figure and a special agent Diana Prince figure. She brought those up the Scott, the store owner and asked why the boxes said “Wonder Woman” when it didn’t look like Wonder Woman inside. He smiled and explained who the figures were. It was unbearably cute.
Of course we dressed up. Me too. I tried something different this year, my costume was Perry White, with Maddie as She-Ra and Lydia as Batgirl. Funny, Lydia’s always refused to wear masks, but this year she came up to me first thing in the morning and asked me to make her a mask for her costume! Rushed in to the basement to find some foam and elastic, but we got it done!
By the time we got home we were all tired and Maddie was eager to tear into the Lego set she won in the costume contest. The girls asked for a Wonder Woman cartoon so I fired up Netflix and turned on the Wonder-Woman centric episodes of Justice League. We played with Legos and plowed through our piles of comics. We didn’t bring home as many this year. The girls had about seven each. I had about twenty. I know they were a little disappointed by that, but we still had a fun day out and I still had plans for the evening. After all, what better way to end FCBD than with Iron Man 3 at Amherst Cinemas? I still had a dollar left over from comic book shopping and managed to scrape together two more dollars in change (remember the days when you could still hit a movie using the change you found in you couch or car seats?)
I got to the theatre just before the movie was supposed to start. Just in time to see them put the “Sold Out” sign up.
Comics shops running out of comics? Comic movie running out of tickets? I’m beginning to see a theme here. Time to pop in the Scott Pilgrim DVD I borrowed from the Library and try again tomorrow.
I did make it in on Sunday. Probably the best Iron Man movie of all of them, I prefer this director. However, while I liked it better than any of the other Iron Man movies, but I still think it needed 30% more Tony-in-the-suit. It seems like the entire point of these films is to get tony out of the armor….I get that they are trying to make up for it by throwing in War Machine/ Iron Patriot, but honestly, for a film called “Iron Man” Iron man is actually not in it very much. I think we had more screen time with Tony-in-the-suit in Avengers. And poor Tony, he was getting tossed around worse than Bruce Campbell in an old cabin.
I really like the Iron Patriot suit though. I’ve got a bunch of foam in my attic. Wondering if I could make a suit….I think my cosplay for Lake Effect Comic Con might be Tony with just the arm and leg armor from the escape sequence. We’ll see.
We’ll close this with some photos from the midnight party and FCBD. Some of these are mine, some are culled from around Facebook. And remember, new Violent Blue is up today!
Don’t forget, Free Comic Book Day tomorrow! Head out and support you local Comic Book Shop! I’ve already got the girls costumes ready for them!
Then that afternoon I’ll be hading down to Amherst Cinemas for Iron Man 3! Remember, Amherst is a $3.00 theatre, leaving me enough to go see Godzilla at the Cedar Lee! (If I don’t head over to Comics are Go for Heroclix that is)