and Dead Tree Comics

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zaratustra
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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby zaratustra » Thu Jun 18, 2020 4:47 pm

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i think the point DC comics really went off the rails is when they decided their excessive use of events deserved an in-universe explanation, which led to an event itself

also referring to the Good Power of "connection to our roots" and the Bad Power of "disruption, the evil power that makes only one moment important, makes it only about us"

jesus christ is this phenomenally bad timing to try for this concept

edit: read a review and HOT DAMN THE SUBTITLE TO THIS ISSUE IS "IT ALL MATTERS"

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Mongrel
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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Mongrel » Thu Jun 18, 2020 5:57 pm

"lol DC"

is all I can muster for them at this point.
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Thad
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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Thu Jun 18, 2020 7:31 pm

Remember how I've been saying for years that I hope there's a complete collection of Ditko's Four-Page Series?

Welp: The Complete Four-Page Series And Other Essays

This collection offers a fresh insight into the mind of innovative writer and artist, Steve Ditko. Part I collects all nine issues of The Four-Page Series, a newsletter he originally published between 2012 and 2015. Essay topics include flawed thinking and misbehavior of some comic book fans; choice, rationality, logic, emotion and the nature of artistic creation when more than one person is involved; how he made various decisions regarding his work; his thoughts and actions in developing prominent comics characters such as Spider-Man and Dr. Strange. The latter has been the subject of speculation (and outright fabrication) among fans in the decades since, but Ditko gives his first-hand accounts here.

Part II includes over 20 additional essays in which Ditko explores history, philosophy, uncommon sense, the Law of Identity, the Founding Fathers, nature, comics and the creation of other characters he wrote and drew. Robin Snyder provides an introduction and other essays. Rodney Schroeter offers his thoughts in "Metaphysics and Fantasy." This book is part of a new, ongoing series: Ditko Complains.


I have most of the Four-Page Series, but I've still never read "Why I Left Spider-Man, Marvel" (which, among other things, apparently finally takes on the longstanding rumors that Ditko left over a disagreement with Stan Lee over the reveal of either Mary Jane or the Green Goblin; Ditko says there were no disagreements because he and Lee weren't collaborating, or even speaking, at all by that point).

And look, Ditko essays are, shall we say, an acquired taste. They're elliptical as fuck and littered with Objectivist digressions -- and actually, those two things are directly related; Ditko doesn't simply tell stories, he lays out claims, evidence, and supporting arguments like he's constructing a scientific proof, not merely describing his recollections.

But, for all that? If you want a primary-source account of what was going on at Marvel when everything happened in the '60s, there aren't very many of them, and fewer still that are reliable. This is really the only reliable firsthand account of the creation of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, and I think it's a goddamn treasure for that alone.

The rest of the stuff, though, is a peek inside Ditko's head, and it's a fascinating place to be. I've said before that, for all that I disagree with his politics, the points where our views overlap -- which, generally, are about the grim-'n'-gritty direction of the superhero genre and the industry's lack of respect for creators' rights -- make for some fascinating insights. And for all that Ditko had a(n exaggerated) reputation as a recluse, he had a lot to say.

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Mongrel
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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Mongrel » Thu Jun 18, 2020 9:15 pm

"Ditko Complains"

ahahaha really now
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Büge
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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Büge » Thu Jun 18, 2020 11:05 pm

Does he talk about the times he and Eric Stanton would help each other out with their comics?
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Thad
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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Fri Jun 19, 2020 12:37 pm

I don't believe he mentioned Stanton in the 4-Page entries I read, but again, I haven't read all of them.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Fri Jun 19, 2020 7:19 pm

Evan Dorkin returns to Bill and Ted in Bill and Ted are Doomed. Credits on the cover are Ed Solomon, Evan Dorkin, and Roger Langridge; it's unclear who's doing what but my guess would be Solomon wrote the plot, Dorkin turned it into a script, and Langridge drew it (and there are covers by both Dorkin and Langridge).

I haven't read Dorkin's Bill and Ted comic since it was first published, but I remember it being quite good and critical consensus seems to agree with 9-year-old me. It's been reprinted recently; IIRC first in a reduced-size black-and-white version and then a few years later at standard size in color.

(I wonder if he ever got around to seeing the first movie.)

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Thad
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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Mon Jun 22, 2020 2:29 pm

Thad wrote:Credits on the cover are Ed Solomon, Evan Dorkin, and Roger Langridge; it's unclear who's doing what but my guess would be Solomon wrote the plot, Dorkin turned it into a script, and Langridge drew it

Langridge confirms. (He's also inking, coloring, and lettering.)

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Thad
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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:13 pm

Dark Horse severs ties with Scott Allie after sexual assault accusations (CW: said accusations are quoted in the article)

Pointed quote from the article:

Some of you may be asking, “Didn’t Dark Horse already fire Allie over sexual misconduct?”


Short answer is "kind of, two years after the first allegations went public, but they let him keep freelancing for them." To put it mildly, this does not reflect well on Mike Richardson, Mike Mignola, or anybody else who continued to give him work. The public has known about this shit for five years; the people who work there have clearly known about it for a lot longer than that. I dunno what the hell's gotta go through somebody's head to protect somebody like that, and I don't wanna know.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Sat Jul 04, 2020 2:16 pm

I think I like Strange Adventures by Tom King, Mitch Gerads, and Evan Shaner, but two issues in I'm still not entirely sure what to make of it, and it's going to depend a lot on how the mystery ends up being revealed.

It's got a good hook, and that hook is loosely based in King's own experiences. King is ex-CIA, and awhile back a fan accused him of lying about his history with the Company and said he was a war criminal. King thought that would be a good story for a comic, so that's where Strange Adventures starts: Adam Strange has written a bestselling autobiography; someone comes to a signing and accuses him of being a liar and a war criminal. (Not for nothin', this is also a little bit like the first issue of The Unwritten by Mike Carey and Peter Gross.)

So right on the surface, we've got a mystery story, told out of sequence, revealing Strange's past, what he's hiding, and how much of the accusations against him are true. On a metanarrative level, it's also a critique of the pulp space hero genre that Adam Strange belongs to, which largely amounted to a colonialist narrative dressed up with lasers and rocketships. King uses the story hook -- "Adam Strange is lying about the past and hiding the ugly truth" -- as a critique of the likes of John Carter and Buck Rogers and how they advanced a colonialist narrative while hiding its ugly truths.

On top of that, issue #2 makes the racial subtext text. Batman asks Mister Terrific to investigate the allegations against Adam Strange; Mister Terrific responds, "People don't like it when people like me question people like him."

Thing that bugs me and that I'm probably reading too much into: throughout the issue, the T-Spheres ask Mister Terrific questions -- sources of quotes, historical trivia, etc. On page 1, one of them says, "In the equation x^2 + mx + n = 0, m and n are integers. The only possible value of x is -3. What is the value of m?" Michael responds, "Six," and another sphere says "Correct."

And I spent the rest of the issue thinking "Okay, did King fuck up, or did the letterer fuck up, or is King fucking with us?" The problem doesn't define n. From the information we're provided, m could be literally any integer. m could be 756 (in which case n would be 2,268). It could be 0 (in which case n = -9). It could be -32 (n = -105). So I'm left wondering if Tom King fucked up an eighth-grade algebra problem, or Clayton Cowles accidentally omitted a sentence that was in King's script, or if this is part of the "something is wrong with reality" metanarrative.

Sometimes I spend too much time staring at incidentals like that. But occasionally it pays off. There's a fantastic sequence in X-Men: Grand Design where Xavier and Magneto are playing chess; I stared at the page, move-to-move, for awhile, and eventually realized that Magneto is one move away from winning but Xavier forces him into a stalemate. I love details like that -- and I don't know about the algebra part, but the various other questions the spheres ask throughout the issue (about subjects like history, philosophy, and folklore) are all deliberately chosen for thematic significance to the story.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Fri Jul 10, 2020 1:19 pm

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Mon Jul 20, 2020 7:29 pm

Evanier links to the SDCC 2020 Souvernir Book and panel list.

I've really been enjoying seeing Evanier do the sorts of interviews and panels he usually does at conventions. I'm looking forward to watching a lot more panels that I'd never get to see ordinarily.

One of the themes this year is that it's the fiftieth anniversary of Jack Kirby's Fourth World. Evanier has an article on the subject in the Souvenir Book, as well as a panel where he talks Kirby with John Morrow and Alex Ross.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Mongrel » Tue Jul 21, 2020 1:54 pm

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Thad
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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Fri Aug 21, 2020 11:51 am

Kirkman and Samnee have a new series from Image, Fire Power. It's a martial arts/magic story.

And they kicked it off with what would have been a solid hook if the plague hadn't scuttled it: they were going to give the first issue away for FCBD and release an OGN on the same day.

The setup is this: Owen Johnson is a suburban dad with a wife, two kids, and a dog; as we meet them all, they're having a cookout and we meet some of their family and friends. But Owen's approached by an old friend, Ma Guang. There's some exposition; the two of them trained together 15 years ago. Owen's left that life behind but Ma asks him to come back; there's a war brewing between clans.

Rather than explain Owen's backstory in a series of flashbacks (I'm sure there are still plenty of those coming), Kirkman and Samnee decided to put it in its own book, which eventually grew to OGN size; it's called Fire Power: Prelude. It takes place 15 years before issue #1 and tells the story of Owen finding a hidden monastery in the Himalayas and training there. It's all pretty familiar stuff, but it's well-executed; I'm always a little wary of Asia-centric books like this being created by white guys, but then again, Kirkman did give us one of the most memorable Asian-American characters in the last couple decades of comics in Glenn Rhee. And for whatever this white boy's opinion is worth: while this book is fundamentally rooted in orientalist tropes about Asians and martial arts, I think it does a solid job of poking at stereotypical assumptions; there's a running gag early on where Owen keeps assuming that Wei Lun, the master of the clan, doesn't know what an iPod is or what basketball is, and Lun keeps making fun of him for it.

Prelude tells us the beginning of Owen's backstory; it sets the stage. But it doesn't fill in the entire story. From the conversations between Owen and Ma, it certainly sounds like Owen's love interest, Ling Zan, ended up in a refrigerator -- but I kept waiting for that to happen in Prelude and it doesn't; she's still alive by the end of it. Call me crazy you guys but I think this comic book character who everyone thinks is dead might turn out to not be dead after all.

Now, you might hear "Robert Kirkman" and "martial arts book" and wonder how that works, given Kirkman's well-earned reputation as the guy who writes scenes of people sitting around talking -- and there's certainly some of that; issue #1 has 16 pages of a family barbecue. But then it leads into issue #2, which opens with 16 pages of an almost-silent fight with ninjas. Samnee does some great work; it feels like a Jackie Chan fight scene in places, with Owen not only fighting the ninjas but trying to keep everything quiet so he doesn't wake his family.

And there's a lot of that, especially in the OGN: long, wordless sequences where Samnee just gets to do his thing. And it's not all ninja fights, either; the OGN starts out with several pages of Owen lost in the mountains.

And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Matt Wilson's colors. He's been Samnee's colorist all the way back to Thor: The Mighty Avenger and he's one of my favorites.

Anyhow, one OGN and two issues in, I like this one. The art's great and the story has some compelling mysteries -- What happened during that 15-year time jump? What's going to happen next? How will Owen's family figure into it? And what did any of that sequence where Owen broke into the forbidden room mean? -- that make me want to keep reading.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Wed Sep 02, 2020 10:21 am

The Death-Defying 'Devil (Simone/Geovani) and The Question: The Deaths of Vic Sage (Lemire/Cowan) are one of those weird coincidences of two pretty similar books being released around the same time. They both involve a story hopping through different eras and genres and leading to a confrontation with the Devil.

They're both good solid books and well worth reading. But it's always kinda funny when that happens. I don't think there was any communication or collaboration here; I just think it's a case of different creators having similar ideas at the same time.

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