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Savage Symposium: FEAR ITSELF & FLASHPOINT (Part 3 of 3)

Abhay Khosla

The fiery climax of our roundtable Q&A, in which questions about FLASHPOINT #2 are FINALLY ANSWERED, preconceptions are EXPLODED, homes are INVADED, true love is TESTED, and the hope of ALL will fall into the hands of ONE– and in a stunning twist ending, it turns out we were all in monogamous relationships with prostitutes this ENTIRE time.  Who saw that coming?  Well, in my case, everybody.  Everybody saw it coming.  Awwwww.

Savage Symposium: FEAR ITSELF & FLASHPOINT (Part 2 of 3)

Abhay Khosla

Part 2, in which Questions are asked about FLASHPOINT #1 & FEAR ITSELF #3, lessons are learned, truths are revealed, a bloody revenge is discharged and a bloody discharge has its revenge.

Savage Symposium: FEAR ITSELF & FLASHPOINT (Part 1 of 3)

Abhay Khosla

As part of the 10th anniversary of The Savage Critics on the internet, and in conjunction with the 4-part discussion of Chester Brown’s PAYING FOR IT, a more mainstream-oriented “round-table” discussion of Marvel Comics’s multi-title crossover headline series FEAR ITSELF and DC Comics’s multi-title crossover headline series FLASHPOINT was conducted between April 11, 2011 and June 19, 2011, covering slightly less than the first halves of both series. As each issue of FEAR ITSELF #’s 1-3 & FLASHPOINT #’s 1-2 was released, a single question was posed.

And now, a short review.

Joe McCulloch

The Bulletproof Coffin #1 (of 6): This is, on one level, a comic about comics. As our own Abhay Khosla recently said: “I don’t know– do you think that’s interesting, comics about comics? Me, not so often.” But me? A little more so. What sets The Bulletproof Coffin apart from the rest of the pop comics-on-pop comics pack is that it positions itself as genuinely radical in embracing some rather vintage, potentially anathematic ideas about self-expression, and thereby carries the potential to upset. It doesn’t particularly play fair either, nor does it seem to even want to – there’s a lip-smacking, facetious undercurrent to much of the commentary in this first issue, nonetheless presented with such eccentricity it registers instantly…  Read More…

SAVAGE SYMPOSIUM: WILSON by DAN CLOWES

Abhay Khosla

Dan Clowes is the cartoonist and author of a considerable number of the most celebrated comics of the past 20 years, including GHOST WORLD, DAVID BORING, ICE HAVEN and THE DEATH RAY, all of which originated in his EIGHTBALL anthology series.  His most recent publication is WILSON, his first original graphic novel published by DRAWN & QUARTERLY and released on April 28, 2010. WILSON prompted the following Savage Critic round-table discussion, which took place via the internet between May 2 and May 9, 2010.

Comics!

Joe McCulloch

(both from Viz, both $12.99) *** Biomega Vol. 1 (of 6): It’s the 31st century and a virus from Mars is transforming everyone into mutant zombies; a synthetic human dressed in a black uniform and a black helmet rides his talking motorcycle at 666 km/h into a walled city on a mission to find a teenage girl, whom he almost immediately runs over as she crosses his path, tearing her leg most of the way off, only to have it heal herself in a manner perhaps expected of an Accommodator of the virus from Mars – the dazed girl, however, is also the ward of a talking bear with a rifle who shows up and whisks her away to a…  Read More…

My Life is Choked with Comics #20 (Ver. 2.0): Captain Hadacol

Joe McCulloch

This is a song about Louisiana and some of the people in it. Or outside it. Or nearly anywhere in these United States as the 1950s approached, and superheroes declined as charismatic rogues stood tall, proud like they knew we’d miss them once fatedly laid low. It’s a nostalgic record. Let it play. Can I offer you a drink? This is Hadacol. *** Twelve Percent True (Being a second and updated version of a post of January 31, 2010, amended to include exciting superhero art and duly expanded/adjusted text and formatting.) *** Hadacol was a popular ‘patent medicine’ of the late 1940s that transformed into a full-blown national fad as the century’s midpoint arrived. “A Dietary Supplement,” as you can…  Read More…

Startups and follow-ups, five reviews for 1/13 (sorta).

Joe McCulloch

Orc Stain #1: This is a VERY GOOD Image comic about orcs and stealing and penises and conquest. It didn’t come out this week, but I didn’t get hold of a copy until Saturday, which is okay by me; this is a perfect comic to find, to turn around in your hands and marvel at how 32-page all-story comics still exist at $2.99, in color, out of the front of Previews, embodying in their small confines a pure worldview, like the underground genre comics of 40 years ago, and their ‘alternative’ children going all the way forward. These days $2.99 feels like underground pricing too. Tradition is highly pertinent to the case of creator James Stokoe, still in his mid-20s,…  Read More…

Savage Critics on the Reporter!

Brian Hibbs

It is a Savage Critic Four-fer (is that a word?) as Tom Spurgeon interviews Jog on Death Note, Douglas on Invincible Iron Man, Tucker on Ganges, and Sean on Blankets! All of them (as well as all of the non-Savage Critic interviews as well!) are definitely must-read pieces! Spurge initially asked me to do an interview, as well, but then he suddenly decided to do this one-critic-one-book series, and he asked if we could do our general survey of the business of comics later in 2010. I’m certainly looking forward to the chances of doing that sometime in the next month or two, I hope! -B

My Life is Choked with Comics #19b: Manga

Joe McCulloch

(Being part 2 of 2 in a series; part 1 is here) *** III. JAPAN, HIDE YOUR WOMEN! I’ll ask it again, this time with feeling – what the hell is manga? Or more specifically, what the hell is manga today, in comparison to Western professional print comics? (from Hanshin, as presented in The Comics Journal #269; art by Moto Hagio) There’s matters of presentation and distribution, of course. I’ve mentioned that before. Manga is digest-sized paperback books, usually serialized far away from Western eyes in terms of venue — anthology magazines, usually — and often time, in that even the most popular current series have to wait several months for translations to finish or licensing terms to play out….  Read More…

From Today, Four Publishers

Joe McCulloch

Batman and Robin #6: Oh yes, I’m feeling like an old-fashioned omnibus review post tonight. It’s entirely possible the above image might just say it all, but I still feel obliged to point out that the image of Batman & Robin to the right is supposed to be what the people in the inset panel to the left are watching on their monitor. I haven’t been quite as upset with penciller Philip Tan’s work this storyline as some folks — his shortcomings are roughly similar to those of Tony Daniel, who didn’t attract half as much disapprobation with his Grant Morrison collaborations, despite something like R.I.P. needing a steadier visual approach far worse than this thing — but there’s no…  Read More…

A Review of Batwoman in Detective Comics Focusing Mostly on the Art

Joe McCulloch

Detective Comics #858 Here we have the fifth issue of the “Batwoman in…” iteration of this title, and the first chapter in a three-part Origin of Batwoman story. Writer Greg Rucka is on for the duration, as far as I know, but be aware that artist J.H. Williams III will be absent for a while following issue #860; Jock steps in as guest artist for issues #861 through #863, while #864 should see Cully Hamner, artist of the series’ backup feature starring the Question, take that character up front while an unspecified artist (maybe Jock, maybe Williams) does a Batwoman backup. After that, issues #865-#869 should round out Williams’ involvement with the series, god and schedule willing. I don’t know…  Read More…

The Political Fursona

Joe McCulloch

Grandville *** [FEDERAL DISCLOSURE NOTICE: It is with great pride and not inconsiderable pleasure that I hereby certify to having procured the consumer product applicable to the consumer product functionality report (“review”) presented hereafter through a genuine and recognized commercial exchange of the common merchant-consumer practice, facilitated by monies obtained via the efforts of mine own labor, or, to seek the recourse of metaphor, that dolorous transubstantiation of sweat and blood into the liquidity which itself ferries the oxygen of the body capitalism. The reader is hereby assured that my subsequent analysis of said consumer product’s satisfactory or unsatisfactory operation is free of that influence or partiality, however potential, as might be assumed from incidental exposure to the siren’s call,…  Read More…

My Life is Choked with Comics #19a: Manga

Joe McCulloch

(Being part 1 of 2 in a series; part 2 is here) *** What is manga? (from Even a Monkey Can Draw Manga; art by Koji Aihara & Kentaro Takekuma) Japanese comics, right? Maybe a collection of recognizable icons – big eyes, speed lines, etc. Flowers in the background, cartoony art. Except when it’s not. How about format? It’s dozens of little books on the shelves of Borders. Naruto. Nana. Death Note. Pluto. A Drifting Life. A different world, an alternate reality – a foreign industry where comics are more popular and more prolific, escapism of an extra-narrative type. More comics for women, more comics for kids, more comics, beholden to their own traditions and biases, maybe intimidating, maybe interesting….  Read More…

Three Bloody Ones: This week in superhero decadence.

Brian Hibbs

Dark Reign: Zodiac #2 (of 3): Superhero decadence! I love it! You love it! Do you love it? Do you love me? I love you! Even though I disappear for weeks at a time doesn’t mean you aren’t always in my heart! I’ve gotta follow my bliss, babe! Gimme a kiss. Right up to the monitor. Your boss isn’t watching. Or your spouse, housemate. Whatever! Where was I? Right: superhero decadence. Some say all the shared-universe cape comics are decadent, in that they’re made self-absorbed, genre-absorbed from the rigors of the shared universe, the frequent crossovers. Others identify it as superhero comics with a lot of bloody violence, and often some gross sex but never with much nudity, because that’s…  Read More…

Old English #3

Joe McCulloch

Conquering Armies This is a softcover book from 1978, perfect bound and b&w and 64 pages for your post-bicentennial $4.95. It’s big, as in “big as Paul Pope’s old oversized books, like Buzz Buzz Comics Magazine or THB Circus,” or almost as big as that new Seth book, George Sprott (1894-1975), or that recent hardcover he designed, The Collected Doug Wright. You know, the one with the infernally gleaming red cover? Hold that thing up to an adequate light source and you can transform an ordinary bathroom into a scene from Flashdance. Of course, that’s how my bathroom is already, but, like Seth, I’m an old-timey kinda guy. To wit: 1978, big ol’ softcover comic, big like the European albums,…  Read More…

Old English #2

Joe McCulloch

Ashen Victor Here’s a question that comes up every so often: we hear plenty about North American cartoonists inspired by the energy and style of manga, but are there any mangaka crazy about cartoonists from the West? To my knowledge, the answer is “not a ton.” It seems there’s some pretty specific, dominant ideas in Japan about how comics are supposed to ‘work,’ with a strong emphasis placed on visual mechanics. Put simply, Western comics just don’t look right, and to the extent there’s much of a Western comics presence in Japan at all, it tends to dwell on highly individual stylists as self-contained aesthetic forces. Yet some manga artists draw fabulous inspiration from that area. This book is one…  Read More…

Old English #1

Joe McCulloch

Perramus: Escape From the Past #1-2 (of 4) Q: God, what the hell am I going to do with all these old foreign comics I bought in that April research binge? That was addressed to you, God. A: This is a new series of short posts about old English translations of foreign language comics, probably still obtainable through back-issue and/or used book resources. There will be lots of pictures, as per God’s advice. And we might as well start with a veritable legend of sinking into oblivion, Fantagraphics’ late ’80s/early ’90s magazine-sized pamphlet translations of Euro-by-way-of-South-Americomics. The publisher’s five-issue, 1987-90 take on Carlos Sampayo’s & José Muñoz’s Sinner is probably the most prominent of the bunch, but there was a…  Read More…

Désastre Hurlant (T18): À Suivre

Joe McCulloch

(being the final installment of an 18-part series of posts concerning each and every book released as part of the DC/Humanoids publishing alliance, 2004-05; index of posts here and here) JM: Hello all! This is Jog, speaking in the exotic dialect of italics. TS: I’m Tucker, I roll with No Formatting. This is where Jog and I will talk about the Chaland anthologies, the school of the clean line, diacritical markings, and how it’s fun to google By The Numbers and find out the only other person who talked about online happens to be Evan Dorkin. JM: All right, I’m getting the hang of it. Talking to other people, I mean. TS: Portions of this were written while I was…  Read More…

My Life is Choked with Comics #18 – King Smurf

Joe McCulloch

The Politics of Smurfing This is the story of the day the Smurfs became terrorists. *** In 1965, the comics album King Smurf (Le Schtroumpfissime) was released to French-reading audiences. It was drawn by ‘Peyo’ (Pierre Culliford), the artist and animator who had created the Smurfs (Les Schtroumpfs) in 1958 as impish supporting characters for his Johan et Pirlouit medieval adventure series. It was written with Yvan Delporte, editor-in-chief of Le Journal de Spirou, the Belgian comics magazine in which the story had been serialized. In 1978, the Belgian publisher Dupuis licensed an English translation of the album to Random House — sans its original back-up story (Schtroumphonie en Ut) — for simultaneous release in Canada and the United States….  Read More…

Don’t Worry, This Zombie Comic Had a Head Start on the Trend: Jog and a 2/18 comic from half a decade ago

Joe McCulloch

The Zombies That Ate the World #1 (of 8) All right! Early aughts nostalgia, coming in fierce! Some of us do still pine for those bygone days of Les Humanoïdes Associés publishing in English, even if our (by which I mean ‘my’) reading wasn’t nearly as extensive as it should have been, and even after that ill-fated partnership with DC. These days it’s Devil’s Due releasing the stuff, and they’re keeping things pretty conservative – not only are they breaking albums up (and shrinking them down) into $3.50 pamphlets, but they’re focusing keenly on material front-loaded with noteworthy North American talent. Indeed, for now (with this and the John Cassaday-drawn I Am Legion), they’re devoting their energy to stuff DC…  Read More…

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