and Dead Tree Comics

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Thad
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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Tue Sep 03, 2019 10:49 am

This news is a few weeks old but I just heard it: Marvel is following up Ed Piskor's X-Men: Grand Design with Fantastic Four: Grand Design by Tom Scioli.

This is fucking delightful news. I love Scioli. Here is a post with a couple pages of his Go-Bots comic. And as much as part of the appeal of Piskor doing X-Men was that it was so unexpected, Scioli on FF is very much the opposite; he's an obvious pick. Everything he does pops with Kirby weirdness. How much is Scioli associated with Kirby? Well, if you go to Scioli's website, it says "KIRBY" across the top and the top post is a Jack Kirby biography. (I thought at first, "Well, Kirby's birthday was a week or two ago; I bet that's why it's up there." Nope. Post is dated March 2018.)

I'll buy anything with Scioli's name on it (as I may have already made clear from "Go-Bots"). And I love the Grand Design format, reinterpreting classic Marvel through the eyes of offbeat indie artists. And Scioli retelling what many folks consider to be Kirby's definitive work (certainly his most influential)? Well, of course. It's obvious -- but obvious doesn't always mean bad.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Sat Sep 14, 2019 1:41 pm

Starcadia Quest is a comic book based on a tabletop game. I am not familiar with the game, but I picked up the comic because it's James Roberts's followup to Transformers: Lost Light, and have I mentioned lately that was one of the greatest comics I've ever read?

The first issue is table-setting. Characters are introduced, origin stories are exposited, we get a picture of our setting -- satirical dystopia; we're introduced to our first lead character, Nixie O'Fix, running from the cops in an extended chase sequence that turns out to be the result of failing to properly shield her PIN when she used her ATM.

I think it's a promising start. Roberts does a good job introducing the cast, and given that his Transformers work made me care about back-benchers like Chromedome and Rewind, I think he'll do just fine with a new cast.

I don't care as much for the art, by Aurelio Mazzara. A big part of the problem is the character models -- I think the chibi look is great for figurines, but it really doesn't translate well into a comic; it'd be like if somebody did an adaptation of Final Fantasy 4 and every character looked like their field model. (There's a line where Digits describes Starkid as 5'10" and 160 pounds; I assume that's a wink-at-the-fourth-wall joke? Because ain't no way any of the dimensions of anything in this comic correspond to real-world human heights and weights.) And everybody looks sort of androgynous; I was halfway through the issue before I realized Starkid was a boy. On top of that, the action sequences are often busy and confusing. (And, to be fair to Mazzara, Roberts gives him a lot of talking-head sequences. First issue, exposition, etc.)

But it's a promising start, and hey, by the end they've got a ship and a quest, which sounds an awful lot like Lost Light. This is a miniseries and there are only two more issues coming; that's not a lot of time to tell a story, but, much as Lost Light was a series that played the long game, it was also a series built on short story arcs and giving a lot of depth to characters who hadn't seen much play before. I'm onboard. For this and whatever Roberts does next -- if this mini does well enough for a followup, great; if not, I'm sure he'll have other work on the horizon.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Sun Sep 15, 2019 1:22 am

Squirrel Girl #48 has a supervillain monologue that culminates in "Should've read your Ken Thompson, Tony."

God damn I am going to miss this comic (which is ending with issue #50).

I'm looking forward to what North does next -- his runs on Adventure Time and Jughead were both great, and of course I've been a fan all the way back to Dinosaur Comics -- but Squirrel Girl has really been something unique and special, and I don't think we'll be seeing anything quite like it again for awhile.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Sat Sep 28, 2019 11:51 pm

Speaking of Marvel series ending, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #47 is an abrupt finale I wasn't expecting and the creative team doesn't appear to have been expecting either. I suppose it's less surprising that it's canceled than that it made it as long as it did; it's laudable that Marvel keeps trying to market to preteen girls, but it continues to have trouble doing so on the periodical market (the trades at bookstores and Scholastic book fairs do a lot better).

The series has been picked up for an animated adaptation, so I'd expect a new comic to launch whenever that does.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Wed Oct 02, 2019 6:51 pm

‘Quantum & Woody’ returns by Hastings and Browne

On the one hand, Quantum and Woody by Chris Hastings sounds like something I'm going to enjoy the fuck out of.

On the other...has Q&W had a single black writer since its relaunch 6 years ago? Not counting bringing Priest and Bright back for a miniseries set in the original continuity.

Not to disparage Asmus, Kibblesmith, or Hastings, but "Quantum and Woody by a series of white writers" really sounds like a hiring decision by somebody who never actually read a single issue of the original series.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Sat Oct 12, 2019 1:10 pm

The Batman's Grave is a decent reunion for Ellis and Hitch. It's not going to change comics like The Authority did twenty years ago, but it's a decent start.

Ellis can't resist poking at the tropes. Alfred spends two pages asking "wouldn't it be cheaper just to buy up the entire city?" and "why don't you just kill the criminals?" I find that shit intensely tedious at this point in my life. "And why can't anyone tell Clark Kent is just Superman with glasses?" Yes, Warren. We know.

Other than that, though, I like his book's approach to Batman and to Alfred. There's some good banter early on, but where it really gets good is Batman's detective work. Alfred asks "Can't you just get into the head of the killer, like those detectives on television?" Bruce responds, "I can't think like a killer, Alfred. I can only think like a victim." Over the pages that follow, it turns out Ellis means this quite literally; Bruce goes down to the Batcave, where he's created a nifty holographic reproduction of the crime scene, and as he walks around and examines the clues, he begins narrating the victim's life, and the circumstances leading up to his murder, in the first person. It's an interesting hook and I look forward to seeing where Ellis goes with it.

Hitch is Hitch. His widescreen action scenes aren't as novel now that everyone's spent the past twenty years imitating them, but they're still dynamic; he manages to keep the talky bits interesting, too (much as I didn't care for Alfred's monologue, Hitch's staging kept it dramatic). I find his work too fussy in places -- he's still drawing the bat-suit with a bunch of extra seams and shit that I find distracting, even as DC's house style seems to be drifting in the other direction and back to a more classic briefs-and-tights look, and I think his Batmobile is too Nolan-y -- and you can still get bogged down in trying to guess which actors he's drawing (Alfred seems like a mix between Vincent Price and Paul Newman, and Bruce looks like a young Bruce Willis with Tom Cruise's haircut), but it's not as distracting as, say, that comic he did with Sarah Palin and David Tennant in it.

All in all, a decent start. Even if I don't know what the fuck the reveal on the last page is supposed to be telling me. I'll be sticking around for #2.

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