Monthly Archives: April 2009

Speed Reading: Rebirth and Revamps

The webcomic Comic Critics takes on Flash: Rebirth.

I’m Just Sayin’… is extremely unhappy with Flash: Rebirth #1, particularly in terms of characterization. I particularly like his point about Savitar, whose entire motivation was that he wanted to become one with the speed force. Watch out, though: the post starts with spoilers for the latest Spider-Man.

Rikdad looks at DC’s history of revamps starting with the transition from the Golden Age to the Silver Age.

The Absorbascon contemplates labeling of comics ages, concluding that the Iron Age ran from 1985-2005, and that we’re now in the Platinum Age — all about bringing back the brightness of the Silver Age that was thrown out for Iron.

Gentlemen of Leisure profiles the Flash with an emphasis on Barry Allen and his legacy.

Amalgam: Speed DemonLetterer and logo designer Todd Klein discusses the design of the Amalgam Comics logos, including the Flash/Demon/Ghost Rider mash-up Speed Demon.

Slightly off-topic: ICV2 talks about old pop culture icons — the ones who, rather than having a nearly-continuous history like Superman or Batman (or, really, the Flash, who despite a couple of breaks in publication has had a regular presence from 1960 onward), keep getting reinvented from time to time like Zorro, Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers or the Phantom.

Speed Reading: Geoff and the Marks

Comic Book Resources is launching Geoff Johns Prime, a bimonthly question-and-answer feature. Questions for the first column are open until April 27.

Newsarama interviews Minck Oosterveer, artist on the upcoming miniseries The Unknown with writer Mark Waid.

CBR has a video interview with Marc Guggenheim and a 12-page preview of Resurrection #1, the first ongoing issue of his series at Oni. (See also part 2 of the interview.)

Update: Newsarama also has a two-part interview with Ethan Van Sciver about his design work for Blackest Night.

Quick Reviews: Ignition City #2, Detective Comics #853, Dynamo 5 #21

Some thoughts on comics I picked up this week:

Dynamo 5 #21

Dynamo 5 #21Jay Faerber, Mahmud A. Asrar, Yildiray Cinar, Ron Riley.

A fun in-between issue. It’s amazing how much actually happens, now that I think about it. The team takes on a group of thugs hopped up on super-steroids, Scrap goes on a date with a guy she met online, Visionary goes on a date with the younger Firebird (and of course, both of them being super-heroes…), Maddie investigates a series of disappearances, Myriad reveals a secret, and a new villain makes his appearance.

I particularly liked the banter between Bridget and her date about the importance of sentence structure and grammar in a prospective date.

On a related note, I’d like to recommend the 2004 one-shot Firebirds by Jay Faerber and Andres Ponce (there’s a preview on Faerber’s website). It tells the story of how a teenager discovers that her mother is actually a super-hero, and the mother discovers that her daughter has inherited her powers. It’s one of the few one-shots that I finished and thought, “Wow, I really wish that was the start of an ongoing series.” It’s nice that the characters have shown up in Noble Causes and Dynamo 5.

Detective Comics #853

Detective Comics #853Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert
“Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?” Part 2 of 2

On first read I didn’t like this as much as I did the first half of the story — at least not as a story — though I did like the themes it presented. As I’ve thought about it, I’ve found myself comparing it to Alan Moore and Curt Swan’s “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” which this is obviously meant to evoke. It approaches the end of an iconic superhero from a completely different direction, though: While Moore told in detail the final adventure of a specific version of Superman, Gaiman instead tells in general terms the way every version of Batman would end: he goes down fighting, because that’s what Batman does. In some ways it reminded me a bit of the Planetary/Batman crossover, only taken more seriously.

I’ll have to dig out Part 1 and re-read the whole story at once.

Incidentally: Wholly appropriate for a Coraline ad to appear on the back cover.

Ignition City #2

Ignition City #2Warren Ellis and Gianluca Pagliarani

Warren Ellis is really hit-or-miss for me. I absolutely loved Planetary, and usually enjoy his work when he’s doing out-there science fiction (Orbiter, Ocean, etc.) So the idea of writing about the breakdown of the retro-future, taking all the pulp space heroes like Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers and showing what happens when they’re robbed of their reason for being, sounded fascinating. The meta-element of revisiting a (mostly) dead genre also reminded me of his Apparat book on aviation heroes, Quit City.

But the first issue seemed like little more than scatalogical humor and swearing.

I picked up the second issue. Partly because I had an idea what to expect, and partly because the story has actually gotten going, I enjoyed this one a lot more. It also made me rethink the first issue and realize that it was primarily scene-setting: set up the glory days, then show just how far these people have fallen. They’ve gone from winning interplanetary wars to drinking themselves to death and bragging about the contents of chamberpots.

Interesting to note: The other two books both gave the and artist(s) equal billing. This one is clearly all about Warren Ellis, whose name appears above the title in about twice the size type as Gianluca Pagliarani.

Mark Waid and Marc Guggenheim SoCal Signings

Two signings with former Flash writers named Mark coming up in Southern California over the next two weeks

Mark Waid will be signing at the BOOM! Studios booth at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (on the UCLA campus) on Saturday, April 25.

Waid will join Marc Guggenheim and others for a signing at Collector’s Paradise in Winnetka, California on Saturday, May 2 for Free Comic Book Day.

Why Blackest Night #0 is a Free Comic Book

Blackest Night #0I took a quick look at a site where people were discussing scans of a few pages of Blackest Night #0, one of DC’s offerings for Free Comic Book Day. While there I noticed a discussion as to why this continuity-heavy lead-in to the big 2009 event was not suitable for a new reader who has just wandered into a comic store for the first time (or the first time in several years) to check out the free stuff (that being the primary purpose of FCBD).

Here’s the thing: I don’t think it’s intended for that audience.

I think DC has realized that Free Comic Book Day brings in a lot of regular comics readers looking for something free, like a sale, and they’re going after that audience. This isn’t aimed at people who have never read a comic book. It’s aimed at people who are at least somewhat familiar with DC Comics but maybe haven’t been reading Green Lantern and need a primer for the multiple Corps and the Blackest Night prophecy so that they can jump into the event. It’s aimed at people who read some DC Comics, but weren’t planning on picking up the next big event, but hey, since this one’s free, why not take a look?

And given that it sounds like DC’s entire line is going to be involved in this event over the next 8 months or so, it still works as an introduction to their output.