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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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Sat Nov 02, 2019 3:01 pm

Thad wrote: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.

If there's an argument against picking up Fantastic Four: Grand Design, it's "wait for the trade."

Specifically, I saw the collected edition of X-Men: Grand Design in the shop the other day, and it's bigger than the standard comic-book dimensions of the original release. I'm assuming they'll do the same thing with FF:GD, and it may be better to wait for that.

Scioli loves him some tiny panels; he uses a 25-panel grid. The book's a goddamn delight, but it'd be more delightful still if the art weren't so damn small.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Büge » Thu Nov 14, 2019 7:42 am

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Mongrel » Thu Nov 14, 2019 2:55 pm

I remember entirely too many of those panels. I remember entirely too many of those bizarre facts.

My brother kept his Sonic collection; I wonder what he thinks of it now?
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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby beatbandito » Thu Nov 14, 2019 3:42 pm

I'll always remember going into a classic comic store dedicated to single issues, no trades or other collections, that insisted I was making up that an Archie Sonic the Hedgehog series ever existed and pushed pretty hard that they'd like me to leave.

And I'm still not sure if they were completely daft or just wanted to keep that evil out.
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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Thu Nov 14, 2019 4:01 pm


Part of me still wants to excavate my old hard drives, find my contemporaneous reviews, and inflict them upon the world.

On the other hand, the other night I stumbled across a Sonic Retro post that linked one of my old posts on alt.fan.sonic-hedgehog and discovered that I am still capable of feeling the emotion of embarrassment.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Thu Nov 14, 2019 4:16 pm

Oh snap, I just reread the blog post where I described recovering my old emails, and I caught this bit:

Booting to DOS from Win98 shutdown still didn't work, but it turned out that picking it from the boot menu worked just fine -- once I went into OSX's keyboard settings and disabled F8 for pulling up Spaces so I could use it in VMWare.


They're on my old Mac boot drive.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Brentai » Thu Nov 14, 2019 5:46 pm

The Sonic the Hedgehog comic reviews are coming from inside the house!
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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Sat Dec 21, 2019 12:31 pm

Blackstars #2 is Grant Morrison at his Grant Morrisoniest. It's self-referential AF; page 1 has a joke about Batman constantly being replaced ("His 63-year-old Aunt Harriet had to pinch-hit for a month and still he won't ask for help.") and then later on we've got this, from Superman:

"The Justice League? Wrapped up in interminable battles with ever more gargantuan, more primordial, and above all, more reliably anthropomorphic cosmic supernonentities. Every month it seems, these hyper-creatures, or their close relatives, attack from some hitherto unsuspected, barely-thought-out region of this new Depressoverse scientists have discovered."

On the one hand, I always love these little jabs at the DC treadmill. On the other, Grant clearly knows he's part of the problem; this is yet another dystopian parallel universe story, for God's sake.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby zaratustra » Sun Dec 22, 2019 9:54 am

Thad wrote:Blackstars #2 is Grant Morrison at his Grant Morrisoniest. It's self-referential AF; page 1 has a joke about Batman constantly being replaced ("His 63-year-old Aunt Harriet had to pinch-hit for a mont and still he won't ask for help.") and then later on we've got this, from Superman:

"The Justice League? Wrapped up in interminable battles with ever more gargantuan, more primordial, and above all, more reliably anthropomorphic cosmic supernonentities. Every month it seems, these hyper-creatures, or their close relatives, attack from some hitherto unsuspected, barely-thought-out region of this new Depressoverse scientists have discovered."

On the one hand, I always love these little jabs at the DC treadmill. On the other, Grant clearly knows he's part of the problem; this is yet another dystopian parallel universe story, for God's sake.


and let's not mention his obsession with vampires

Bat-Manson was fantastic though

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Sun Dec 22, 2019 12:00 pm

zaratustra wrote:and let's not mention his obsession with vampires

Vampires who turn out to also be the sun-eaters he keeps bringing back. Like, not just the same race as the sun-eaters, but the same sun-eaters; "Superman killed my beloved grandmater." Ever more reliably anthropomorphic indeed.

I liked the crowd scene with Blade and the cast of What We Do in the Shadows in there, though.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Büge » Fri Jan 31, 2020 7:29 pm

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Friday » Fri Jan 31, 2020 7:47 pm

On the other hand, the other night I stumbled across a Sonic Retro post that linked one of my old posts on alt.fan.sonic-hedgehog and discovered that I am still capable of feeling the emotion of embarrassment.


You're not truly emotionally dead until you can read a post you made as a 20 year old and feel nothing.
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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Sat Feb 01, 2020 12:01 pm

Thad wrote:Quantum and Woody by Chris Hastings sounds like something I'm going to enjoy the fuck out of.

I picked the wrong day to read a comic where the heroes save a senator from Alaska.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Büge » Thu Feb 06, 2020 1:09 pm

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