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“Do They Come In KID’S Sizes?” Comics! Sometimes I Get A Bit Grumpy.

John Kane

Whoops. Lost my momentum there. Trying to get it back by looking at some comics and then blurting thoughts out in the form of words. Disaster? I have a recipe for that! Here’s the ingredients:

By Stewart McKenney/Dan Davis(a), Sholly Fisch(w), Guy Major(c) and Dezi Sienty(l)
(DC Comics, $2.99)
“No Exit”
If he is to survive an unending series of death traps of unknown origin The Caped Crusader is going to need a miracle! Luckily he brought one along…MISTER MIRACLE!


“”No…spears!” HAHAHAHAHAHA. Damn, even Kids think that joke is shit. Judgemental buggers.”

This is a comic for Kids, is that alright? Is it alright if Kids have comics too? Because I know comics aren’t for kids anymore. I know that the works of such mature intellects as Mark Millar, Brian Bendis and Geoff Johns have lifted the fights’n’tights funnybook up beyond the meagre intellects of children into a new and special place where they are exactly like comics for Kids but not as good; which in a very real sense is just like growing up. Everything’s the same as when you were a Kid it’s just a bit more shit. Comics for Kids, okay? Is that alright? Because if it isn’t then there’s no place for a PG version of CUBE starring Batman and Mister Miracle in which Batman solves the confounding conundrum bedevilling our two plucky chums by noticing that he doesn’t need a shave and if that’s true then I guess there’s no place for the following exchange:

DOCTOR BEDLAM: However your MEAGER INTELLECT is no match for the brilliance of DOCTOR BEDLAM.

BATMAN: Really? How about my FIST?

There’s always a place for that. Even though they do not use the correct English spelling of “meagre” and plump for the Colonial mutation. Yes, even though Mister Miracle looks creepy without a nose this is still VERY GOOD!

By R.M. Guera(a), Jason Aaron(w), Giulia Brusco(c) and Sal Cipriano(l)
(Vertigo/DC Comics, $2.99)
“Knuckle-Up” Conclusion


“Fact: I, John, actually have a thing about traumatic eye wounds. In that I fear them not that I get off on them. I know this is The Internet but be nice, now.”

Now that’s a fight scene! So that’s GOOD!

By Steve Dillon(a), Jason Aaron(w), Matt Hollingsworth(c) and VC’s Cory Petit(l)(Marvel Comics, $3.99)
“Homeless” Conclusion
Frank and The Kingpin finally collide in a femur shattering confrontation from which only one will walk away! Actually they both walk away but The Kingpin has a hammer stuck in his head and scratches at the glass door of his apartment like a wet brained stray cat before Frank brings him down and then Frank falls over and so I guess it’s really a femur shattering confrontation from which both walk away – but only for a bit!


“The White Male Heterosexual’s Worst Nightmare”

Frank Castle is homeless. And he stands there singing for money. La da dee la dee da. Ladies and gentlemen, Ms. Crystal Waters! Terrible song that but, hey, I was watching THE HURT LOCKER the other night because I like to watch films everyone has already watched and moved on from. It’s important to be timely, to be relevant, I feel. It was okay, really quite a decent film until the end when they did the thing with the guy at home. I didn’t really like that bit because as is usual with cool hard asses we were invited to feel sorry for him because being such a hard ass he could find no pleasure in the real treasures of life such as cleaning out the guttering and shopping for cereal (don’t load the dice too much, eh, Mark Boal) and yet we were also invited to admire him as the romantic lone wolf; true to himself and his manly nature. There are a lot of these films and they seem to fulfil the same function as Chick Flicks. They kind of undermine the gender stereotype while at the same time finding shelter within it. I call the male variation Dick Flicks. PUNISHERMAX is a Dick Flick. Y’know, that weirdly pathetic male wish fulfillment where you can be free at last to be a manly man but it has come at such a cost that you get to be both pitied and feared. Like a baby the size of a tower block crying for Mama to change its nappy. You’d be scared if that turned up outside your window but you’d feel a bit sorry for it as well. Unless you were a manly man in which case you would shoot it in its big fleshy demanding face and turn away before we saw your single, solitary tear.

Someone has to say it, Frank. You are a weak man, Frank. It isn’t a sign of strength to run away from responsibility, Frank. You are a weak man, Frank Castle, to rather have your family die than pick up those toys one more time, rather than sit through The Only Way is Essex one more time, rather than have to sit through those shitty Star Wars films one more time…actually, Frank, I’m starting to see your point.I am a man after all and as a man I found PUNISHERMAX was GOOD! After all, I cannot tell a lie, like most men I like a good Dick Flick.

By Diogenes Neves/Oclair Albert(a), Paul Cornell(w), Marcelo Maiolo(c) and Jared K. Fletcher(l)
(DC Comics, $2.99)
“The Traitor”


“Meet The Twin Fists of Tolerance!”

The best thing about this comic, because it’s important to be positive about comics or so people keep bleating, is the character of Jabr. Now it seems to me that this guy is rational, educated, level-headed, tasty in a fight and quite possibly not of European extraction. He’s all those things and yet not boring, he is fact the best character in this except for “Sir” Justin because us Brits love a bit of crossdressing fun. Deny it to your Mother, pal, don’t waste your breath denying it to me. Astonishingly The Internet has not lost its collective mind over Jabr and it’s this magical fact, this clear indication that we have at last, as a species, grown enough to, finally, recognise the transitory nature of our fragile lives and put aside our differences to become, in effect, tolerant and wise and thus strong enough to forge the collective future all our predecessors suffered and died to accomplish. Or maybe nobody is reading this as it is, after all, just OKAY!


By Moritat, Phil Winslade(a), Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti(w)Gabriel Bautista, Dominic Regan(c) and Rob Leigh(l)
(DC Comics, $2.99)
Jonah Hex in “Gotham Underground” and The Barbary Ghost in, er, “The Barbary Ghost”
In the caverns beneath Gotham Jonah Hex finds not only a fine example of the unfettered free market in action but also ancient evil. And some bats. Because it is Gotham. Also in this issue: The Barbary Ghost makes a spooky debut!


It was kind of okay having Arkham around for a bit but now his role seems to have quickly devolved into basically telling us when Jonah Hex is being an asshole and getting himself in a pickle Jonah has to help him out of. This erodes a large portion of the appeal of Jonah for me. I like not knowing if he is actually going to help whoever’s in trouble or if he’s going to just be an ornery asshole. Obviously he has to save Arkham all the time or the Asylum will never be built and Batman’s continuity will be all wronged-up. Oh noes! And also I like to decide myself when Jonah has been an asshole. On occasion it has taken me several pages to realise just how big an asshole Jonah has been on that occasion several pages previous to the point at which said realisation alights upon my mind. I like that. So, yeah, shut yer fancy yapper, Arkham! And let’s get out of Gotham and light out for the territories; it’s too constrictive, Jonah works best out in The Big Country where he can tread in big shit in all manner of unlikely ways. I like the colours by Bautista they are kind of organic but inorganic at the same time, like laser-pastels or something. Yes, people my age still think putting “laser” in front of something suggests The Future. Aren’t old people just the cutest!

Oh, the backup is The Barbary Ghost; a new creation by Gray, Palmiotti and Winslade. While Winslade’s brittle lines manfully attempt to ground the story in a specific milieu at once both evocative and atmospheric this is somewhat undermined by the fact that The Barbary Ghost’s knockers are kind of flopping about a lot. Now I’m no Henry History but I would have thought that a Chinese lady in the 1870’s would have been personally inclined, in large part due to the mores and customs of both the particular point in history she occupied and the heritage of her own people’s customs and traditions, to keep her tits shut in a bit more. Or maybe I missed the class where we were taught about The Great 1870’s Chinese Tunic Button Shortage. I could have; I was a bit of a git as a kid.

Still, credit given for an original character. After all in 2012 DC’s big old money fountain will be WATCHMEN: HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER. No doubt JMS is going to improve the original by, apparently, so he says,  explaining about how Jon was obsessed with time yet he still went into that time-locked room! I don’t know. I guess I missed the bits in WATCHMEN where Jon was continually asking people what time it was and craning his neck to look at clocks and banging his girlfriend from behind so he could put his hand on the base of her neck in such a way that it seemed erotically stimulating due to its sensual forcefulness but at the same time afforded him an uninterrupted view of his watch. Or maybe his Dad was a watchmaker and he thus believed in Design but he was changed into a God by a complete ACCIDENT! and that was a metaphor or an analogy or even the whole meshuggener point already or, Christ, who gives a shit. Yes, okay, it was strange. Really strange. I need it explaining in a book illustrated by a cheesecake maker. I’m glad it isn’t someone muttonheadly literal who’s got this gig, rather someone as dependable and imaginative as JMS who is going to bless us with a mini-series in which, let’s face it, quite probably Dr Manhattan reaches back trough time to give events a nudge so that he effectively creates himself! SPOILER! Christ. Mind you I know it has always troubled me, raised a question in my mind, why Rorschach wears a woman’s gusset on his face. Hopefully Brian Azzarrello will be setting my mind to rest on that score. Hurm.  In 2013: CAMELOT 3010!

Do you see what I did there? I did an impression of The Internet and played right into DC’s hands and I missed the point. The point about WATCHMEN: BEFORE THEY WERE FAMOUS not being a nice thing is that endorsing this is endorsing DC’s treatment of Alan Moore. DC own WATCHMEN so they can do what they want with WATCHMEN and what they want to do with WATCHMEN is make money because they are a business. I can understand that, I see that, thanks. DC do not own Alan Moore and they have treated him, and continue to treat him, in a shabby fashion unbecoming of adults. That’s the issue here. If they can do that to Alan Moore and it is all right because we get our nice new comics then it is all right for them to continue treating creators in such a fashion. It isn’t all right. It will never be all right. That’s the point here, for me, not whether the books will be any good, or any of that other diversionary horse shit. Nut up or shut up, DC. Nut up or shut up.

ALL-STAR WESTERN was GOOD! if you can remember that far back.

By Rafael Albuquerque(a), Scott Snyder(w), Dave McCaig(c) and Jared K. Fletcher(l)
(Vertigo/DC Comics,$2.99)
“Death Race” Part Two of Four
I haven’t actually read this one. I don’t know if you noticed that bit up there, the boring bit, yeah? The “Part Two of Four” bit? I wouldn’t have; I’d have skipped it and looked at the scan (which isn’t there because I haven’t read it, see) and then read the text I judged most likely to contain a cock joke or insult a noted comic creator. So I can fully understand if you missed the whole “Part Two of Four” bit. I didn’t though and since I have yet to receive “Part One of Four” I am unable to read this comic. I don’t mention that for any other reason than the fact that Mr. Jeff Lester and Mr. Graeme McMillan were talking about how weird their comics reading patterns can be (I mean I’ve got this comic bought and paid for but I’m not going to read it? Saywhanow?!) And I just wanted to mention that I share their sickness; I sup from the same trough of pain as they. Also, just thinking about them both brings me physical pleasure. Hurm.NuuuuhHHHH.


Sorry about this one, folks, hopefully it’ll be better next week.
Have a good weekend with COMICS!

17 Responses to “ “Do They Come In KID’S Sizes?” Comics! Sometimes I Get A Bit Grumpy. ”


    Yeah, would have been a better title, lol. But then DC would have nixed the option of AFTER WATCHMEN, which will be surely follow, so they can do this nice edition of all 3 parts.

    This will be competently done and feature some nice art, no doubt. But it is so damn pointless. I thought this especially when seeing the cover of NITE-OWL. This looks like a generic Batman cover and ripped out of the context of the original NO is just another generic Batman rip-off. Why should I spend money to read about his solo-adventures? But I am the wrong customer for this, I also wouldn´t buy a solo NIGHTHAWK book, especially not for 4.99 the chapter. So what do I know.

    So HEX is still in Gotham? A shame. I have zero interest reading about HEX getting roped into DCU continuity. I really liked the series to this point.

    “it is all right for them to continue treating creators in such a fashion”

    But they will be continue treating creators like that, because that is the nature of the beast. Not that this decade has brought forth creators who have created comics in that category. So what if DC or Marvel will send the lower classes on the Long Walk. In this incestous industry chances are good that they will write again as the re-birth of Lobdell and Mackie and a host of others so aptly prove.

  2. Say what you want about BEFORE WATCHMEN, they did find a really stellar group of creators who were willing to sell out.

    And quit apologizing, John K(UK)! I liked this post just fine, and it enticed me to check out Batman: Brave and the Bold the comic or TV show or both.

  3. It seems like every week either the podcast or one of the writers here is talking about boycotting one of the two major companies, or some books out of the companies, or written by someone they don’t approve of. I know people take comics personally but making every purchase a moral/ethical/whatever decision seems extreme, especially in a world in which there are only two major publishers (limiting your field of choice) and the characters are all copyrighted (as opposed to the multiple John Carter of Mars options available).

    How about Alan Moore deep-sixing a 1963 reprint despite his artist and co-creator Steve Bissette’s wishes? How about Bissette stating that DC has paid him every quarter for reprints while Moore has made it so that he cannot receive another cent from their collaboration? Should we reward DC for supporting Bissette, and not endorse Moore’s shabby treatment of his onetime friend?


  4. @AndyD: Well, yes, it is the nature of the beast but maybe it needs its nose swatting with a rolled up newspaper until it changes its nature. Careful what you say about the achievments of modern North American genre comics creators, sir. One of them might get all manly and tell you to “f-off”; which is the highest form of discourse. Ah, Hex is good but it could be better without the continuity baggage.

    @James Woodward: That’s a nice way of putting it r.e. the creators. I hope you enjoy the B:TB&TB cartoon, I thought it was EXCELLENT!

    @Bad Wolf: Alan Moore and Steve Bissette’s beef is a bit opaque to me; even though I have read about it. It’s something personal, I gather, and that’s not really my business. But even if Alan Moore were stealing food from Steve Bissette’s mouth it wouldn’t excuse DC’s behaviour. Two wrongs don’t make…etc. I think Bissette is doing something with the characters he owns from the 1963 project so it isn’t like he has been left with nothing.

    Whatever his actions r.e. co-creators (and let’s remember he’s usually more than generous)Alan Moore isn’t one of the two major publishers whose actions set the standard and example for all the others to follow. DC are. DC also, as you allude, are quite good with royalties (they pay Jack Kirby’s heirs unlike Marvel etc.) and that just makes it so galling that they remain so obstinate in this instance.

    I was just pointing out that the only reason against WATCHMEN: PREVIOUSLY ON…is the fact that it just brushes another instance of creator abuse under the rug. Believe you me, I wish I didn’t go on about this stuff either. I just want to enjoy my comics but if they rub my nose in this stuff I’m going to get testy. I do take your point though and I really wish this moral dimension wasn’t shifted from the companies onto the consumer; it isn’t really our burden.

    Thanks, everyone!

  5. Great take on JMS’s Dr. Manhattan justification, which seems largely based on a “gap” only he perceives. For my money, Osterman gets trapped in the intrinsic field room because (1) he’s still human and humans make mistakes/have accidents and (2) he’s in love and distracted–and thus also human–in ways he won’t be subsequent to his transformation. I don’t need a four issue series to tell me that!

    The only thing worse I could imagine coming out of JMS’s series is that Moloch and Laurie had sex when she was younger, which led to the birth of evil twins that are now set on revenge!

  6. “I was just pointing out that the only reason against WATCHMEN: PREVIOUSLY ON…is the fact that it just brushes another instance of creator abuse under the rug.”

    What creator abuse? Moore did a work-for-hire job that was based on the old Charlton characters. He was paid for the job. How is he being abused here?


  7. As ever, a good read, thanks John!
    I also loved Batman TB&TB #15, and am also a little bored of Jonah in Gotham. I know All Star Western isn’t sticking to the done in one formula of the last Hex series, but this has gone on a few issues too long.

    @MBunge – Moore and Gibbons were of the belief they weren’t doing work for hire, and after a year, would receive ownership of the original characters they created/issues they had worked on.
    That was the intention of the contract they signed, and what they thought would be happening up until it didn’t.
    DC own Watchmen due to phrasing in a contract – phrasing that, presumably, would have been different had they had an idea of trades staying in print, or the creators wouldn’t have signed.

  8. Dear Internet,

    Please stop talking about “work-for-hire” when you have no clue what the fecking term means,

    Work-for-hire is an EXCEPTION to the usual understanding that the actual creator of a work is its author and owner for copyright purposes. Work-for-hire applies when someone is a recognized employee of a company (not an independent contractor); or when they have signed a contract specifying that a given work is “work-for-hire” and explicitly spelling out what rights have been retained, and which have been given up, and the terms of that assignment.

    Over the years, the vast majority of comicbooks have been created by independent contractors, not full-time employees of a comicbook publisher. In many cases, there have been no explicit contracts specifying work-for-hire — or there have been dubious attempts to legally CYA, such as Marvel’s notorious 1970s era policy of attempting to rubber-stamp a brief “acknowledgement” that payment was made for work-for-hire on the back of freelancers’ checks. (To my knowledge, the merits of this sketchy, after-the-fact “contract” have yet to be legally determined in court — e.g., the Kirby Estate case collapsed because of language in various contracts and negotiations that Kirby signed with Marvel in the contentious years after his ’60s heyday with the company; and Marv Wolfman’s BLADE lawsuit largely hinged on Marvel’s claim that the modern / New Line property was essentially a different character than Wolfman’s original creation.)

    Yes, WATCHMEN was originally inspired by the Charlton characters — but development proceeded in a new direction after Editor-in-Chief Dick Giordano decided that the concept would break the Charlton characters for further use — and so Moore & Gibbons began developing new characters loosely inspired by the originals. Does this automatically give DC full ownership of the story and characters? Probably not.

    For example, a Secret Society of Supervillains mini that Mark Millar pitched to DC was rejected. Subsequently, Millar retooled it, switched out the DC trademarks for analogs, turned it into the successful miniseries WANTED, and sold it to the movies. Knowing this, it’s pretty easy to see the Catwoman / Joker / Clayface / etc. analogs are in WANTED. That doesn’t mean DC owns WANTED or its characters, or has any claim to the profits from its film adaptation. This kind of thing happens in the comics and movie industry ALL the time. Freelancers pitch a story to a company using trademarked characters; the story is bounced, but — unless the company bought and paid for the pitch — all original elements of the storyline still belong to the writer. (In some parallel universe, Moore took his rejected DC / Charlton pitch to a different company and did exactly what Millar did with WANTED.)

    Unless you’ve actually SEEN Moore’s WATCHMEN contract, then you don’t know the details of the copyright assignation. Based on events over the years and Moore’s claims, it does appear that the contract does include language such as requiring royalties for spin-off merchandising, restoration of copyright to Moore & Gibbons if /when the work falls out of print, etc. These kind of clauses suggest that DC was clearly acknowledging that WATCHMEN and its characters were the property of its authors upon creation, and that DC’s control of the intellectual property had to be appropriately negotiated.


  9. Blah blah blah. Alan Moore is angry again. Really? This is what we’re getting worked up over? Show me DC is churning out product in a third world country under sweat shop conditions and then I’ll consider getting angry and boycotting the product. And it’s 2012. Watchmen was groundbreaking a few decades ago. Now it’s above average entertainment. If you still like it and want more then buy the upcoming series. Or don’t. But there are hundreds-I dare say thousands of weightier problems in the world to get angry about than whether AlanMoore was treated fairly by DC.

  10. >know people take comics personally but making every purchase a moral/ethical/whatever decision seems extreme, especially in a world in which there are only two major publishers

    Indeed, if there were but only an IMAGE of a rival publisher, some heretofore unknown DARK HORSE providing a third party alternative; IDWeally wike that.

  11. @Steve D

    I’ve found arguing the complexities of contract law from an educated perspective is not very productive. Superhero fans will rationalize *anything* as long as their favorite company looks good. Good luck to you, sir. Maybe you’ll have more luck!

    @John K(UK)

    For what it’s worth, I thought your Batman: Brave & The Bold review is one of the best things you’ve written yet. So you have nothing to apologize for. I’m also glad to read someone’s opinion on Moore and Watchmen I agree with. It’s a nice change of pace.

    For me, all this Watchmen stuff has just made me incredibly sad. It was the first real shot by a major US comic company to do creator rights and it was with two young, inexperienced creators and the whole thing just went bad. I’m tired of the Monday morning quarterbacking on how Moore and Gibbons should have negotiated, I’m tired of the misconceptions like Dr. Manhattan is Captain Atom waiting for his trousers to finish drying, and I’m tired of every false equivalency like Before Watchmen equals LOEG.

    I gave up all my New 52 comics because most of them weren’t very good. It’s actually really easy to read lots of comics that aren’t from Marvel or DC.

  12. Oh no. The best comment on comic fans ever was deleted. It was posted last night and was such a true statement. I won’t call out the author, but basically he said:

    (he started off quoting this)
    “Show me DC is turning out product in a third world country under sweat shop conditions and I’ll consider getting angry….”

    (then he said something like…)
    I’m so jaded towards comic fans I don’t believe you would. I believe comic fans would rally to the defense of DC saying, “Why can’t you be happy DC is legally finding a way to keep comic prices down” and Twitter would be flooded with comic pros saying “Let’s not judge the product those little Chinese scamps are making until it’s out because it might be awesome.”

  13. @Patrick Hamilton. Quite so! I enjoyed your “he’s in love…” bit. I forgot that. It’s all already there in WATCHMEN isn’t it? Like it was written properly or something? By a writer or something?

    @MBunge: Well, there’s no comeback to that is there. Oh, wait…have you met Ben Lipman and SteveD?

    @Ben Lipman: Cheers, Sir. Only the finest people appreciate B:TB&TB.

    @SteveD: Wow. Let me chuch your cheeks! Wow.

    @Brian: That’s right. Because human beings can only care about one thing at once. Scientific fact, innit. But even though this is a comics site I can talk about Nestle if you want. Although caring about two things might cripple me, I’ll try for you.

    @Michael Hoskins: “IDWeally” is genius. Cheers!

    @Chris Hero: Cheers, sir. I believe the author of the deleted post must have done that himself so I guess we should act in accordance with his wishes; y’know keep publishing his post in a variety of formats and make a thickheaded film version and then get some less talented people to write the post he might have wrote before that post.

    Thanks everyone, as ever!

  14. @John K(UK) Ha ha ha! I missed the irony of me repeating that deleted post. The problem is, I agree 100% with it. But hopefully the author can pop my version in one day in London and enjoy it for what it is. ^_^ (I’m probably the only one who remembers that Zack Snyder quote….)

  15. @Chris Hero: Oh, balls, sorry; I wasn’t getting at you! I guess you were an accidental irony casualty of my rush to make a bad false-equivalence joke! Sorry about that. All I really wanted to get across was the fact I had’t deleted it in some kind of jealous rage. Sir, you know I would never hurt you! Unless money was involved.

  16. I’d just like to say thank you, for making me laugh more in the past 10 minutes than I have in the past 2 days. (Those responsible for their roles in this article and witty responses know who you are.)
    John, you continue to step up your game. Especially your false equivalency comment – caught me completely off guard and I chuckled for moments! Plural!
    And add me to the list of people unhappy with the announcement of Watchmen: The Phantom Menace. While I respect Azz and Cooke, I suspect (and impolitely hope) that JMS’ version will be akin to Nickelback covering Beethoven’s 5th. Not just unnecessary, but actually ruining your ability to appreciate the original in the same way. For those who argue that the original work still stands, I point you to the aforementioned Star Wars prequels. I can’t watch parts IV-VI now without I-III flavoring them with the taste of Hack.

  17. @John K

    No worries. I know you didn’t delete it and I know you weren’t taking a shot at me. I just thought your comment was a hilarious way of pointing out my ironic action. I think the author deleted it due to it being written in anger, but damn if it didn’t capture my feelings exactly.

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