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Comic Reviews… for the Internet. OR “I’ve Got a Ticket to Snide!” So, hey, guy, how long do you think these subject lines can be? Here’s the first paragraph of Dickens’s David Copperfield– let’s find out: Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday, at twelve o’clock at night. It was remarked that the clock began to strike, and I began to cry, simultaneously.

Abhay Khosla

I went to a shop yesterday and did my impulse buying.  Now, because I’ve had a long day, I will write sloppily about those impulse buys, from the back of my motorcycle, which I have ridden to a cliff, one of those cliffs that you see in Tom Cruise movies.  Look at this view!  Oh no, my motorcycle is on fire!  Damn, sometimes my lifestyle is almost TOO dangerous.  COMIC BOOKS!

SEX CRIMINALS #1:  I had thought this comic was going to be a comedy, and I guess it is one, but.  The first issue starts with the main character’s dad dying in a shooting rampage and then her screaming impotently at her alcoholic, emotionally walled-off mother from a place the mother can’t hear her wails.  So… you know: comedy.

I like comedies more than anything else because comedies can be anything and can go anywhere, as long as a thing is funny.  Comedies can be Hunderby or they can be Bad Education; This is the End or In a World(…), Celeste & Jesse Forever or Eagleheart. There’s a zillion different ways for something to be funny, and they’re all great if they make you laugh.  (And if they don’t– well, I always thought it was hard to get too upset about a person trying to make you laugh, but I guess the internet proved me wrong on that one, lately).    So, I wouldn’t say digging a hole like “dad murdered in shooting rampage” on page 1 issue #1 is a “mistake”, necessarily, or insurmountable.

But boy, that’s a pretty, pretty deep hole.  The underlying math seems sounds: “sex as escape from family dysfunction” seems like an honest, relatable thing, and I think honest, relatable things are a good foundation to build comedies on… But the bummer seriousness of “child screams helplessly at mother” plus a needlessly fractured timeline plus a joke deficit plus a lengthy quotation of Nabokov plus… (I quite like the art and so don’t interpret anything I say here to mean that I don’t; one panel of a guy in the dark, taking the main character’s virginity, from the main character’s POV, in particular, is worth seeking out and being horrified by) but plus art where all of the panels seem to have been labored over in Photoshop (a lot of panels that were shrunk down?), everything seems to have this level of detail that (this is why I don’t write about art, “why don’t people write about art more??” people!  BECAUSE I’M BLOWING IT!  This is you watch me blow it in real time!)…

It just all adds up to a very anxious comic.  There’s bits around it that aren’t– the back cover’s got a loose gag to it; the dedication’s got a gag that feels loose; but the comic itself just seems… anxious that you be impressed with it. I say that knowing that was always the rap people would lay on Casanova and I remember thinking it was unfair there, so maybe I’m being unfair here, maybe there’s a Comics Alliance reviewer out there somewhere about to drop a “This comic is the greatest thing that will ever be made so I’m going to blow my brains out because everything is downhill from here, goodbye cruel world” essay that’ll school me but good, but… but… But I’m just not entirely sure that the flop-sweat anxiety is the best soil for laughs, necessarily…?

Maybe it’s not a comedy though and I misunderstood and I’m actually reading a serous comic about people who stop time when they orgasm…?  I don’t think I’d be reading that long. That’d make for a pretty unpleasant one-two punch with Satellite Sam (a.k.a. “who knew a comic about a lady getting eaten out could be so boring?”).

PARASITE #1 Or Some Ridiculous Decimal Point I Didn’t Really Understand What Was Going On:  This is a DC Comic about a Superman villain.  I was curious what this whole Forever in Blue Jeans DC stunt-event was even supposed to be, once you got past the 3d Cover Incompetence Hooplah Spectacular.  Plus, I was in the mood to read a Superman comic after reading this story about a screenwriter guy, one of the guys who wrote that new movie where Superman is all killing people while System of the Down music plays (didn’t see it; wild guess based on how people talk about that movie).  In the article, that screenwriter guy said, “Yeah, Superman would totally kill all sorts of people while listening to System of the Down.  That’s the logical way people should perceive a character named Superman.”  Put me in the mood to see what the comics were like…

Anyways,  I went with this one because it had a writer/artist on it (Aaron Kuder?), and I have a kneejerk belief in the inherent superiority of writer/artists that isn’t really intellectually defensible, but what can you do. It was just an origin story, though.  In the Didioverse, Parasite is now an irritable bike messenger who got evil-Parasite-man powers from having electrocuted a monstrous squid-octopus-monster thing…?  I guess.  That’s basically the whole comic.  I just told you the whole comic.

Some people say that superhero comics are made for older fans now, but when I look at these comics “as an old person”, as a card carrying old … With Marvel comics, I don’t recognize half the characters in crowd shots anymore (that big yellow guy with the horns and a gaping asshole on his forehead?  who is that guy?), whereas with DC … Why would I want to see a new origin for a character I already thought I knew…?  What would the “fun part” of that be, exactly?  So, I don’t think superhero comics are made for old fans because I usually don’t even know what the fuck I’m looking at.  I just think they’re made for hyper-obsessive goon squads. (But I love you!  I love every one of you).

This comic though, being from a writer/artist– you get that thing of seeing a guy trying to liven up stuff that’s just structurally DOA.  It’s an origin story of a character no one anywhere cares about!  The best case scenario for that comic is still a pretty shitty comic.  But poor guy tries!  He tries to “fun” it up with playful layouts, a lot of playing around with sound effects, interesting panel borders, all that shit.  He really, really tries.  (You can see a page of what I mean over here).  I admire the effort of it at least, even if it all seems dishonest, like he’s dressing up this pointless boring thing to make it seem “fun,” draping same-old same-old with the “signifiers” of a “fun comic” to try to falsely mislead the reader that they’ve seen something fun…?  Was any of that English?  I think he’s created a facsimile of a fun comic instead of a fun comic, basically.  There’s kind of something admirable about that, even if there’s something sad about it…? That’s basically the job.

It’s almost interesting being an older person reading DC right now because when I was a younger fella, the dudes who were like… not over Crisis of Infinite Earths?  Not over the fact that series had happened?  Those people always seemed kinda sad / C-R-A-Z-Y to me, to be honest.  But I get it a little more now, I guess.  What’s the point of any of these comics?  What’s the point of finding out Parasite’s new origin?  They’re trying to tell some epic crossover story, I guess, but in a completely weightless space.  What could possibly have weight when every character in your “universe” is now two years old?  But … But:  I sound like one of those Crisis cats!  I know that’s what I sound like.  (Up to and including the “ignoring DC can’t build a business on people like me who don’t even care, don’t even show up to a show up to a shop every week”, etc.).

I mean, even now– I see dudes sometimes online going, “Reverse the New 52 and get back to what it was.”  But What it Was?  That was POST-CRISIS.  That’s what you’re trying to get back to.  So ultimately the thing that makes a DC Comic feel most like a real DC comic now (besides being dull) is that feeling of “everything would be better if my time machine could take us back in time” which is the most DC thing there is left, now, for me.  So, so DC, that.  I know it’s been said before by other people, but:  they didn’t just create a new universe; they created a new old-universe-that-it-was-a-mistake-to-throw-away.  You know?  I kinda find the poetry of it all interesting, if not the reading the DC comics part. (I tried to read the new Levitz-Giffen LEGION so… I bought that one issue…)

Also: Dan Didio and Bob Harras should be fired and driven out of comics.  That doesn’t really have anything to do with this comic.  We should all just say that more often, generally.  Also, we should all live in teepees because in a lot of ways, that’d be better.

PROPHET # Man, I don’t know what number it is because they re-started this bullshit with some arbitrary number which is still tripping me up on the regular and … like, I’m convinced I missed some issues but which ones??  I have no idea because what am I, sitting around remembering double-digit numbers in my spare time? Is that really what’s expected of me?  Go fuck yourself, numbers!  I don’t have enough stress in my life??:  Oh, this one was really great.  The issue about Die Hard (the Rob Liefeld character, not the movie)?  You should track that one down, issue # whatever.  There’s a whole bunch of artists, jamming out a millenia-spanning biography for this shitty old Rob Liefeld character.

I think I’ve missed some issues– I’m not sure which or how many, for reasons set forth above, but it highlights how what I think I appreciate most with this comic is how much the pleasures of it are the pleasures of the moment.  A page, a panel, a drawing…?  Do you know what I mean?  Like, by comparison, I still enjoy that comic SAGA, I think that’s going along pretty swell (I especially like how he’s set-up The Will’s shadow-family). Still, SAGA is a more traditional comic in that … each issue is fun but there’s a sense (maybe illusory or “wrong”) that each issue is a small part of some greater story, and so ultimately the real “fun” of it is to come, when the thing is complete and we possess the whole of it.  Whereas PROPHET… I could give a shit about the whole of it, because … it’s about Rob Liefeld characters in outer space…?  It’s a nice way to mark time waiting for MULTIPLE WARHEADS to start back up again…?  But it doesn’t matter because the actual sitting down and reading of it is such a pleasant thing.

ASTRO CITY #4: I quite liked this one.  At least, on the “I’d read another story about that character” level, that one worked out pretty good, I thought.  But the ending was a little too NICE again?  Same issue I had with #3.  In my hazy recollection of the Astro City issues that I’ve liked the most, in years past, as a younger fella, I remember the comic being a little more willing to have rougher edges to its characters, things they were unhappy about, endings that weren’t perfect happy endings.

This flirted with that, with the main character’s guilt about not having lived up to her potential.  There’s a darkness to that idea– my skin crawls when I hear the “living up to his potential” phrase anyways.  That’s just Anxiety Juice to me, that phrase.  But the ending seems to veer away from that at the end; the end is again, like #3, “the main character reassured.” Maybe it’s a failing of me as a reader, but I’m not sure why that felt necessary.  Maybe that’s the right choice for the book’s audience, though– maybe that’s how other people who read Astro City want to see that story end…?  Maybe bolder, clearer emotions are a smart choice commercially, after years away, reentering this market.  It’d be a stingy thing not to be willing to give it that time.  Anyways, I liked it besides.

Gundam Origin Volume 2:  Oh, I read this a while back.  It was just a fun action manga thing, some nonsense with robots.  That’s all.  I just remembered this while I was sitting here typing.  I wanted to read super-fast action shit, and this had a quote from Jog on it saying this was good, so.  What more do you need than that?  Seconded.  (Volume 1 sold out at the store I went to, though.  It didn’t seem to matter any).  Oh, though why did they decide that manga about robots should have the shittiest, whiniest twerp main characters possible?  Why is that a staple for that genre?  I can’t really figure the math on that.

That Marvel Crossover #2:  The one with Thanos?  I forgot the name.  Which– I think there’s two other crossovers going on right now so sorry about that; “the marvel one” doesn’t really narrow it down!  Anyways, I picked it up, the Thanos one. I’d impulse bought #1 before, too, even though, at least for me, as a reader, just for me, maybe not for you, but for me, Jonathan Hickman has never met a zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz he couldn’t snoooooooooooreeeee.

I tried to give that Jonathan Hickman a chance this year; tried to read a run from the guy, and it… I didn’t make it too far.  I’ve tried his independent stuff.  I’ve tried his mainstream stuff.  We’re just not meant to be.  He seems like he’s aggressively pursuing his vision, and I admire that; good for him; keep at it.  Uhm.  It’s not a vision I’d want to ever share in or be aware of or know about.

I’m not sure if I can articulate it past that, though. I mean… are they my least favorite comics I’ve read this year, or anything like that?  I wouldn’t say that because I feel so emotionally detached from the work I saw.  (Plus: I just get really, really irritated by that Greg Rucka / Michael Lark comic LAZARUS, for reasons I maybe don’t even myself know and certainly can’t even articulate, so that’s the clear winner of 2013 so far).  Like… if we were to sit down, and I had to describe Hickman work, I’d say it’s schematic and inauthenetic and emotionally autistic and all that stuff; I’d make hand gestures like a bird that’s flying but then crashing into a helicopter blades and falling to the ground; then, I’d take off my pants and warm my hands between my buttocks (that last bit wouldn’t have anything to do with Jonathan Hickman comics; that’s just how I live my life, one quarter-mile at a time, one quarter-mile of buttock).

But if we were to sit here and try to anatomize the whole thing, what would make… What should he put in there that’d make it not feel schematic? What’s the missing ingredient?  I don’t really know. I saw some of those Fantastic Four comics and there were scenes that were like, “Here are the characters having human emotions.”   I just didn’t buy those scenes.  So I’m not sure what the “missing bit” is…

ANYWAYS, this comic– uhhhhh, It’s that thing where… like, for a while, if you were to randomly pick up X-Men comics, the X-Men cared a lot about a Marvel universe version of Hamsterdam– you know, Hamsterdam from that show The Wire– from the because the people who made X-Men comics obviously had just bought The Wire on DVD.  Or there were those Captain America comics where Captain America ran around yelling “Grawr, I watch the TV Show LOST!”  Do you remember those?  Or there was that crossover where they’d just bought the Battlestar Galactica DVDs, and suddenly Iron Man was like, “Cyclons have a plan!

The news here is they got Game of Thrones on DVD so this is just all Game of Thrones-y, it’s gamey, except without Dinklage.  Suddenly, the Marvel Universe cares a lot about KINGS and SONS and TRIBUTE and NAKED WHORES.  (Well, okay, not that last one)(Yet).  It’s all pretty silly and inorganic; these crossovers always seem to work when they focus on the characters people care about interacting with one another– that seems like it’s been the obvious winning strategy since Secret Wars (though I didn’t read Avengers v. X-Men); these Massive War / Invasion-based crossovers always seem like a misfire…

Every couple pages in this story they advertise spinoffs.  There’s a chunk of this comic that’s just a recap of spinoffs (I think), plus it ends with ads for more spinoffs.  The message is very clear, that you only get the whole story by purchasing the spin-offs.  Which is just what Marvel and its people do in these comics.  I find that disgusting incidentally, just no-joke disgusting behavior.  If you really delve into the fandoms of these characters, if you ever sit on the internet and do that.. Man, the fans of these comics love those characters so goddamn much.  It– it can be moving.  And to imagine writers looking at those people, seeing them at conventions, talking to them on twitter, to imagine the writers turning around and selling those people advertising instead of stories…?  I just think it’s all so gross.  I don’t think crossovers have to be that way; it’s gross that’s how they are.

Blah blah blah– what happened in this one?  Uhm, Thanos wants Inhuman babies or something? Oh, there’s a scene where aliens destroy a planet but the only way to find out that happened is by reading the narration captions. (Have you ever skipped all the captions in a comic as an experiment, to see how it reads when you skip those?  It’s fun; I recommend trying it sometime). Uhm.  There were spaceships; there was a part with spaceships…?  I read it last night– it didn’t stick.  The guy who draws these, Something Cheung?  Jim?  John?, he does a good job of making it all look like a Star War– it’s certainly very, very slick looking.  Maybe too much so– it looks like one of the prequels, you know?  Past a certain amount of slick, it’s hard to see a human heart beating anywhere.  (oooooh look at me with the human heart… the hell am I talking about??  THIS IS WHY I DON’T WRITE ABOUT ART!)

I don’t know who the big yellow guy with the asshole-forehead is though.  What is going on with that?

Powers — Volume Something? # I’m not sure — I’m too surprised it’s still coming out on time to know the number: I know that there’s not a comic info-tainment fan-press that “takes requests,” and I know no one gives real interviews… but boy, I’d really love to read an interview with Mike Oeming about the art in Powers lately.

It seems… I’ve seen some of the pages he’s done for his day job for Valve (does he still have that Valve gig?), and they’ve been detailed and careful “proper comic pages”.  While with Powers he’s gotten– everything feels really rough and straight from the drawing board.  I’m guessing a lot of these pages… no-pencil, no thumbnail, straight to ink?  Like, there are these silhouette panels– characters standing in silhouette where… I can’t even properly call them “silhouette panels” because the figures are just these blobs of blank ink.  There’s a panel in this new one where it looks like a breakdown that never got fully drawn in.  A certain level of surface detail that you used to see in POWERS, he’s not bothering with anymore and it’s sort of like he’s focusing more on composition and seeing how much he can do with blacks and…

It all seems deliberate.  I find it interesting, at least. And… I mean, as I think I’ve mentioned before, it’s not a comic whose plotting has ever seemed very careful i.e. I can’t follow the plot anymore, so if anything Oeming’s art becoming more improvisational maybe feels truer to the spirit of how messy this comic has become.

I’d just really like to read that interview.

28 Responses to “ Comic Reviews… for the Internet. OR “I’ve Got a Ticket to Snide!” So, hey, guy, how long do you think these subject lines can be? Here’s the first paragraph of Dickens’s David Copperfield– let’s find out: Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show. To begin my life with the beginning of my life, I record that I was born (as I have been informed and believe) on a Friday, at twelve o’clock at night. It was remarked that the clock began to strike, and I began to cry, simultaneously. ”

  1. Let’s Get Simonized! Or not….! We Love SavCrit, Heck almighty Gawd!

  2. absolutely agree on Sex Criminals. For what has been pitched as a Sex Comedy for Comics, there wasn’t really a lot of comedy, sex or otherwise. However first issue and all that. Maybe things go off the rails later?

    I think the whiny protagonists in Gundam may be because they want to be an anti-war war comic and the shortest way to get that message across is to show the human cost of things. The protagonist does get a bit stronger as he goes along.

  3. “Why is that a staple for that genre?”

    Because of Gundam, basically….

  4. They took a little more care after COIE. This New 52 shit is sloppy. Also: Dan Didio and Bob Harras should be fired and driven out of comics.

    I’ve been enjoying Vertigo’s Astro City, but it hasn’t turned me on like the other volumes used to. I’m very much looking forward to the Confessor/Samaritan/Winged Angel trinity riff coming up soon, though.

  5. @Other Chris Actually, the character’s name is Winged Victory. And I wonder how different the new storyline will be from Busiek’s “Trinity?”

  6. Re: yellow guy with the forehead

    I have no idea who this is – I’m not even reading this comic. But this strikes me as a cool idea – just put a character into your comics, have him standing in the background, then the foreground, then give him lines now and then – but never ever explain who this character is. Make it so the entire audience wonders “who the hell IS this guy? did I miss something?”

    Kind of like the Sentry, or Triumph in a way.

  7. I missed COIE and the immediate aftermath when it happened, but it DOES seem like they were really thinking about what to do with their characters. Like, John Byrne’s Superman wasn’t my cup of tea, but they got one guy and some collaborators to run the franchise and address what they saw as problems with it. This time, they had two Superman books and Superman in Justice League, and they seemed like three different guys. And the creative teams changed on average, what, like every three issues or so?

    I think Scott Snyder’s Batman is A-OK, but it’s not BATMAN: YEAR ONE, is it? And Savage Hawkman wasn’t Hawkworld and (insert 49 more examples of your own here).

    Someone tell Abhay who the Marvel guy with the A-hole on his head is! Now I wanna know too!

  8. Yeah, the whole thing with male robot leads pretty much boils down “Yoshiyuki Tomino is depressive.” However, he was an influential depressive, who gave the giant robot genre a particular gloss of sophistication… but sophistication typically becomes codified into generic devices…

  9. “However first issue and all that. Maybe things go off the rails later?”

    Probably. I could write about a million, billion words on the challenges of doing character comedies in comics at this point– you subtract out the performance part of it (which isn’t nothing, with jokes), and you end up with all these timing issues (that make rewriting a special headache). Then again, comic strips have been doing fine for years, so– if Cathy can do it, ACK. I don’t know, though.

    “yellow guy with the forehead”

    Andrew Wheeler’s got a picture of him in one of his recaps (which are great, by the way): http://comicsalliance.com/infinity-plus-one-marvel-comics-review-spoilers-jonathan-hickman-jim-cheung/. That thing on his forehead looks creepier in #2, though.

    “he was an influential depressive, who gave the giant robot genre a particular gloss of sophistication”

    Yeah, I just know giant robots from Robotech and Evangelion so it’s … I get that it’s this big huge thing but I’ve never understood it. I don’t know as blind spots go how big it is even– the Wikipedia page for Gundam sure seems crazy and is all huge, but that’s probably true for, like– Quickdraw McGraw’s Wikipedia page is probably huge too. (He was also El Kabong sometimes so that’d probably be pretty complicated, wikipedically speaking). That’s probably true for all kinds of stuff. I just like how that guy draws though, the speed and flow of it…

  10. You write too much.

    Wayyyyyy too much.

  11. I like what the long title did to the “recent comments” sidebar!

    -B

  12. Post-COIE was pretty messy at the start, too. DC couldn’t get its act together about Superboy, changing the Legion’s continuity left and right in order to accommodate shifting editorial whims. Hawkworld, which caleb cites above, was told in the present tense, not the past… leading to decades of confusion with those characters. Wonder Woman lost her entire history, making her a much less experienced hero than Batman or Superman (or even Wally West). Books like All-Star Squadron and Infinity Inc. were cut off at the knees. And for all the later talk of “legacy” in the DCU, that was largely a backpedaled invention once fans wouldn’t let DC shuffle the JSA under the rug completely.

    It was a work in progress that eventually gelled. The New 52 universe might do the same. With so many books — and 30 more years of publishing history than the last time — it’s a more complicated job this time. (Especially when other media get added into the mix.) Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t. But I’d bet if we had today’s transparency in 1985, there’d be every bit as much chaos apparent in the process.

  13. The Yellow Guy With The Forehead is named Ex Nihilo and he showed up for the first time in Avengers #1 (the most recent Avengers #1). He killed a bunch of people on Earth with bombs from space but they didn’t live anywhere important (parts of Canada and Australia and, I think, Tokyo). The Avengers let him go and let him and the lady who talks in black speech baloons live on Mars and continue their weird science-ish stuff and now, since they’re fighting Thanos and some other weird science-ish guys from distant space, have invited them both to join up and fight together.

  14. “schematic and inauthenetic and emotionally autistic and all that stuff”

    Yes! Yes! Yes! This is Jonathan Hickman’s writing in a nutshell!

    He’s very good at moving around the chess pieces that comprise a story, but you never feel like you’re reading a story. You feel like you’re watching a writer play chess with himself.

  15. The thing about post-COIE, though, is that unless it really bothered somebody that Power Girl was now the granddaughter of Arion, or that Hawkworld wasn’t set “ten years ago” (Mark Waid insisted turning it into a prequel would magically fix everything), or that Superman was never Superboy (making his backstory more like how it was originally back in the 1930s and early ’40s, actually, but that’s not important now), it was pretty easy to find enjoyable comics published by DC.

    There were some misfires from ’86 until DiDio started ruining everything, certainly, but still… Some people really loved the Perez Wonder Woman reboot and the Giffen/DeMatties Justice League. Ostrander’s Suicide Squad was fantastic. If someone wasn’t into the Morrison JLA, or Peter David’s Aquaman, or whatever was going on with Superman and Batman, there were all kinds of funky “second tier” books such as Starman, the Kents, Major Bummer, Vext, the Ostrander/Yale Manhunter series, Chronos, Chase or Young Heroes in Love that were pretty good and might appeal to him or her more.

    DC used to have some great writers working for them back during the Cold War. Frank Miller used to be able to do stuff like “Batman: Year One.” Roger Stern managed to make the Silver Age Atom more interesting and likeable, and that takes some real talent. They used to publish really well done crossovers like “The Janus Directive” or “Invasion.” Paul Levitz used to write awesome Legion of Superheroes stories back in the day. Chuck Dixon consistently did stuff that some people really liked. The Outsiders were even halfway cool for several years.

    These days… Does anybody actually like the writing in DC comics beside Dan DiDio?

    What does DC really have going for them now? Whatever Geoff Johns is currently doing? A few titles here and there that suck less than people thought they would?

    Compared to stuff they’re doing now, a lot of the comics people hated back in the Nineties look pretty good. And DC’s output from the Eighties looks like Shakespeare.

    Also: Dan DiDio and Bob Harras should be fired and driven out of comics.

  16. “Probably. I could write about a million, billion words”

    —we know you can. so can a chimp with a typewriter, by the way.

  17. The yellow arsehole dude was in Hickman’s first Avengers arc. He talked for two issues, captured some Avengers and then Captain Universe’s costume beat him. I don’t know who Captain Universe is or how that happened, and the story didn’t tell me. Captain Universe wasn’t even mentioned in dialogue until the third issue.
    Sex Criminals wasn’t funny, you’re right. Maybe it’s too much to expect a book advertised as a sex comedy to be funny? We all thought Fear Itself would be exciting and self-contained as advertised, only to be told later we were silly to think that.

  18. “These days… Does anybody actually like the writing in DC comics beside Dan DiDio?”

    I am not Dan Didio, and I do. Specific comics, not all of them.

    You don’t HAVE to like every comic, you know.

  19. “we know you can. so can a chimp with a typewriter, by the way.”

    I think you’re confusing letters with words.

  20. And typewriters? In 2013? Most chimps upgraded to laptops about a decade ago.

  21. From Abhay’s Astro City #4 review:

    “…But the ending seems to veer away from that at the end; the end is again, like #3, “the main character reassured.” Maybe it’s a failing of me as a reader, but I’m not sure why that felt necessary. Maybe that’s the right choice for the book’s audience, though– maybe that’s how other people who read Astro City want to see that story end…? Maybe bolder, clearer emotions are a smart choice commercially, after years away, reentering this market. It’d be a stingy thing not to be willing to give it that time. Anyways, I liked it besides.”

    I liked it too, but I know what you’re talking about. The main character Sully didn’t have an arc in this story. She started in one place (the cafe), had some trouble, then ended up back in the same place both physically and emotionally.

    But every story doesn’t have to have a character arc. Astro City is a huge ensemble series that’s really about the world it exists in more than any single character, and in that context there’s room for lots of different story types. Some are about character change, while others are more about building the universe. This one was like that. Its purpose was to introduce Sully and her Sideliner friends, and integrate them into the world.

    In the end, the story was entertaining and it made Astro City a richer world. So it’s all right with me.

  22. @Oh well: “You don’t HAVE to like every comic, you know.”

    I agree. However, it would be nice to like some of them. Dan DiDio has been helping me save money for a long time now by systematically ruining everything I used to love about DC comics.

    Before Infinite Crisis, I was spending more than I should have been on DC comics because there was a bunch of stuff I liked coming out of DC, Wildstorm, Homage and occasionally the Vertigo line. Now? I buy none of their comics. It’s mostly Dan DiDio’s fault, although Geoff Johns and Grant Morrison get some of the blame as well.

    DiDio is saving me something like forty bucks a month by continuing to do the stuff you like. I should probably thank him for that.

  23. Some of this is quite funny and I enjoyed reading it. But a great deal of it is an obvious, calculated, “Look how irreverent I am for not even knowing the names of the comics I’m reviewing because I like to make it sound like I can’t be bothered” schtick which is just annoying and exhausting. That kind of thing takes away from what is otherwise entertainingly scathing commentary.

  24. “Before Infinite Crisis, I was . . .”

    Younger with less sophisticated tastes. Maybe you’ve just outgrown superhero fluff. Give yourself some credit and stop blaming others.

  25. “Look how irreverent I am for not even knowing the names of the comics I’m reviewing because I like to make it sound like I can’t be bothered” schtick which is just annoying and exhausting.

    Especially since Ahbhay’s been doing this schtick for over a decade, and being that he’s a lawyer with a day job, it stands to reason he’s not that addled for realsies.

  26. Oh, I’m actually more addled thanks to my job– I’m pretty exhausted lately; I’ve usually got lawyerin’ on my mind, so I’m basically chasing my own tail most of the week. Books coming out monthly– I don’t know how many times I’ve forgotten what happened the month before when I’m reading something. Plus, buying books and then not reading them immediately because my energy is so low, that causes a mess of problems. Buying the same book twice!– that’s a big one. I bought THREE copies of Batwoman #2 (and I eventually figured out I shouldn’t have bought any– it wasn’t very good).

    My internet was down when I wrote this one so I wrote it at the office; didn’t have the books handy to check the #’s or the creative teams or anything else (I usually like to do full credits for all the creative teams, since that only seems polite, but couldn’t do that, say).

  27. You don’t have to cut your finger to know it’ll bleed then, dude.

  28. Also, I have to ask, especially since you highlighted that anonymous jackass DC creator’s quote on tumblr: Why are you still here? Obviously now that Tuckaloosa slim has drunk the Kool-Aid and joined a comic company, something less than two years ago he swore up and down he’d never do, you’re not at TCJ anymore, and you seem to be bored with and dislike every comic you come across at this point, you’re not getting paid, so…

    Why are you here, Abhay?

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