and Dead Tree Comics

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Thad
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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Fri Mar 11, 2022 3:35 pm

Thad wrote:[Tom King's] latest, with artist Greg Smallwood, is Human Target, a neo-noir murder mystery set against the colorful backdrop of the JLI era. The hook: Christopher Chance (whose deal, for those who don't know, is that people who are under some kind of threat hire him to impersonate them) does a job for Lex Luthor, and he fails: he (Chris) gets poisoned and is given twelve days to live. He decides to use those twelve days to solve his own murder. Not an easy task, as the list of people who'd want to kill Lex Luthor is a long one, and includes everybody in the Justice League.


I forgot to mention a key piece of the conceit: it's a twelve-issue miniseries. Twelve days to live, each issue takes place over the course of a day. It's a bit like 52, the weekly series where each issue took place over the course of a week.

#5 is a bit of a puzzlebox and I think it's really well-put-together. It intercuts a bunch of different scenes from different times -- Chris is at dinner with John Jones, passing the salt; then he's a child witnessing his father's murder; then it's the present day again and he's in bed with Ice; then it's some earlier time when he's a young man flirting with a beautiful woman in Bordeaux. It's unclear what these four narratives have to do with one another at first, but it clicks about halfway through the issue: The young woman is Saturn Girl, who taught him how to deal with having his mind probed by a telepath. She told him that in the time it takes you to pass the salt, a telepath can read everything in your mind. And that's just what J'onn is doing; as Chris passes him the salt, he's reading Chris's mind -- but what he doesn't expect is, Chris is also reading his. I think it's a good little mini-mystery within the larger mystery; it's intricately designed and the mystery and its resolution reveal themselves through that design.

And speaking of design:

Here's Smallwood's cover for Human Target #4, in all its '60s-and-'80s-retro glory:

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And here's the cover for #5, where he goes in a completely different direction with a Robert McGinnis pastiche:

Image

Man this guy's good.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Mon Mar 14, 2022 12:08 pm

Priest & Sandoval helm a new BLACK ADAM series this June

There is no forgiveness for Black Adam. This is the reality that Teth-Adam, immortal man of indomitable will, must face when he discovers he’s been infected with an incurable plague, destroying his immortality. Haunted by the specter of centuries of dark deeds, Black Adam transfers his powers to a worthy successor who will redeem Adam’s legacy and defend their ancestral homeland of Kahndaq, only to subsequently become mystically “handcuffed” to him when Adam’s plague is arrested, giving birth to perhaps the most volatile and dysfunctional super-team in DC history!


Oh shit, it's the grim-'n'-gritty Quantum and Woody reboot I never knew I wanted.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Mongrel » Mon Mar 14, 2022 3:42 pm

Wow, literally every time I would click anywhere on that page it considered it a click on the background ad. Holy shit fuck off, I thought Comicsbeat wasn't supposed to be that kind of trash???
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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Mon Mar 14, 2022 4:04 pm

I think the background-ad shit predates the sale to Lion Forge, which was when the site really took a nosedive.

But yeah, the Beat's gotten pretty bad. If anybody can recommend a better comic news site I'm all ears, but AFAICT the rest are either worse (JFC what happened to CBR?), too small to be good regular news sources (Smash Pages, Atomic Junk Shop), or not interested in Big Two capes-and-tights books (TCJ).

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Mongrel » Mon Mar 14, 2022 4:25 pm

Damn. :/
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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Mon Mar 14, 2022 6:56 pm

Well shut my mouth, here's Smash Pages covering the same announcement.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Sun Apr 10, 2022 3:33 pm

Astro City's back. The new ongoing series hasn't hit yet, but there's a new special out called Astro City: That Was Then...

It's more about mood than plot. It's about a group of teen sidekicks taking a road trip the summer after graduation. I remember what that summer felt like, and so do Busiek and Anderson; it's rife with that sense of nostalgia and uncertainty and changing relationships and the possibility that one of your friends might grow up to be a supervillain. You know, stuff we all went through at that age.

It's also about a group of teenage superheroes called the Jayhawks and what happened to them.

Aside from the mood, what stood out to me was the costume design (most of it by Alex Ross, though the interior art is by Brent Anderson). Even incidental characters -- or at least characters who seem incidental; the thing about Astro City is that a character who's incidental today may be the centerpiece of some future issue -- have these really neat, well-designed costumes.

And the last few pages return to the present (the implied This Is Now) and give us a monologue by Samaritan that hints at what's still to come, how the world is changing. It gives a hint that the end is coming. Busiek has acknowledged in interviews that he, Anderson, and Ross have an endpoint in mind for the series -- but that it won't be for awhile yet, either. There are a couple of nods here to past storylines, but as always Astro City remains friendly to new readers; you don't have to know who Samaritan is, or who any of the people he's talking about are. You know who Superman is, you see Samaritan looks a lot like Superman, and that's really all the connection you need.

It feels smaller and quieter than a typical superhero story, even a typical Astro City story. It didn't blow my mind in the way the best AC comics have -- Confession, The Nearness of You, Wish I May -- but it resonated.

It's great to be back in Astro City. Feels like home. Hope I get to stay awhile before the end.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby KingRoyal » Sun Apr 10, 2022 5:16 pm

It's good timing, because Astro City Metrobook Vol 1 released a few days ago, and that includes the Welcome to Astro City volume and Confession (plus the Nearness of You). I recently reread Confession and was floored all over again by how good it is. Vol 2 is out in August, which is good because I can only find Family Album used

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Sun Apr 10, 2022 8:28 pm

If that link is right, Metrobook 1 includes almost everything that's in Family Album, so you'd actually be looking for Tarnished Angel next. (But you're not going to be able to find it new either; they've all been out-of-print for years. Though they're available on Comixology -- and so is the rest of the series up to this point, including collections that haven't actually been available in print yet -- if you're interested in digital versions. They used to be DRM-free, too, but Comixology doesn't sell DRM-free comics anymore, so that's fun.)

Metrobook 1 is vol 1 #1-6, vol 2 #1-12, and #1/2. Family Album is vol 2 #1-3 and #10-13. So #13 is the only one in Family Album that isn't in Metrobook 1.

(For those wondering why it's split up like that: vol 2 #1 is standalone, #2-3 are a two-parter, #4-9 are the "Confession" arc, #10 is standalone, #11-12 are a two-parter, #13 is standalone, and then #14-20 are the "Tarnished Angel" arc. So if you're trying to collect the series roughly in order but split it up into 6- and 7-issue chunks, naturally you'd collect the two long arcs individually and group the other seven issues surrounding them together. #1/2, "The Nearness of You", gets put in the Confession trade even though it's not part of the arc because Confession is 6 issues, compared to 7 issues each in Family Album and Tarnished Angel. But since the new Metrobook collections are bigger and collecting 18 issues or so per book, it makes more sense to include them in original publication order.)

I don't know if they've announced specifically what's in Metrobook 2 yet, but a safe bet would be vol 2 #13 plus everything in vol 4: Tarnished Angel and vol 5: Local Heroes and, at a guess, the Samaritan and Astra specials previously collected in vol 8: Shining Stars. I'm guessing Metrobook 3 will be the entire 16-issue Dark Age arc plus the Silver Agent two-parter and the Beautie one-shot, which would mean Metrobook 4 would be vol 3 #1-20 and Metrobook 5 would round out the series prior to the latest relaunch with #21-40 and sheesh, I have already put way too much thought into this.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Thu Apr 14, 2022 5:03 pm

Thad wrote:and sheesh, I have already put way too much thought into this.

But apparently should have checked my work one more time, because there were 52 issues in vol 3, not 40.

So presumably Metrobooks 4-6 will cover the Vertigo run, with 17-18 issues in each.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Mon Apr 18, 2022 4:29 pm

Comics for Ukraine is an anthology that includes new Astro City, Chew, Star Slammers, American Flagg, Usagi Yojimbo, Grendel, Groo, and Scary Godmother stories, plus stories by Louise Simonson and June Brigman, Dave Gibbons and Chris Sprouse, Mark Waid and Gabriel Rodriguez, and Emil Farris, an article by Joshua Dysart, and political cartoons by Pia Guerra and Peter Kuper.

$40 will get you a paperback; various other tiers are available. All proceeds go to Operation USA.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Mongrel » Fri Apr 22, 2022 7:22 pm

Here's an old classic. #25, 1943.

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Mongrel » Wed Apr 27, 2022 10:01 pm

Woah, this panel is amazing on like 5 different levels (figuratively... and literally!)

Image
Image

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Mon May 02, 2022 1:36 pm


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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Mongrel » Mon May 02, 2022 2:20 pm

I was gonna say "American independent comics" but then he went and added Major Grubert just to make things even more awkward.
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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Thu May 05, 2022 12:16 pm

Thad wrote:On the subject of old comic strips: @DonaldRexJr is flippin' great. Gasoline Alley, Krazy Kat, Gordo, Rudy...he posts some really good stuff.

And I've been hearing for years how great Hal Foster was but never really got into him. Thanks to these daily Prince Valiant posts, now I see why he's such a big deal.


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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Mongrel » Thu May 05, 2022 1:24 pm

Those last two panels are so, so sexy.
Image

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Tue May 10, 2022 12:50 pm

'60s Dick Tracy was weird, yo.


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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Fri May 13, 2022 6:44 pm

A couple bits of the original 1980s JLA/Avengers crossover by Gerry Conway, Roy Thomas, and George Perez that was never completed.

Tom Brevoort has Conway's original plot.

The Beat has an article by KC Carlson titled Hurt Feelings and Lost Opportunities: An oral history of the original, doomed JLA/AVENGERS crossover, Part 1 and Part 2. Carlson wrote the piece in 2004 for the collected version of the Busiek/Perez JLA/Avengers crossover, which included the 20 pages Perez finished on the '80s one before it was canceled, but (according to Brevoort) DC declined to include it. KC Carlson's wife, fellow comics journalist Johanna Draper Carlson, adds that KC has been diagnosed with progressive memory issues and this will likely be his last published piece of writing.

The short version of the story:

Gerry Conway wrote a plot that...look, it's bad; everybody agrees it's bad.

DC EIC Dick Giordano rubber-stamped it without actually reading it.

Marvel EIC Jim Shooter hated it, but did not express his objections clearly; he basically just said "this sucks, start over."

Giordano said he'd work on revisions, and meanwhile gave Perez the go-ahead to start drawing from the plot that Shooter had emphatically not approved.

Shooter found out Perez had started drawing it and blew a gasket.

After numerous arguments and delays, Giordano got Shooter to actually explain what his objections were. Conway had left the project, so Roy Thomas (who'd been hired just to script, not plot it) offered to rewrite the plot into something that would address Shooter's concerns but still fit the pages Perez had already drawn.

By all accounts, Thomas's rewrite was excellent, but Shooter sat on it for months without approving it and the whole thing finally fell apart.

Giordano and Shooter both come out of this looking pretty bad; as Carlson notes, they were two EICs with basically opposite approaches and that's what tanked the book.

(Conway doesn't come out looking great either. I read his plot and nothing anybody does really makes a hell of a lot of sense, but the most egregious scene involves Superman finding out Galactus is going to destroy Krypton -- I guess there's a Marvel Universe version of Krypton? -- and removing it from his list of planets to eat, knowing that that means he'll be going to destroy some other planet instead. It bears noting that DC approved this plot and it was Marvel that balked at it as something horrifyingly out-of-character that Superman would never do.)

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Re: and Dead Tree Comics

Postby Thad » Mon May 16, 2022 2:04 pm

Thad wrote:I put Captain America on my pull list back when Waid and Samnee were doing it, and hung on through the Coates run. When that series ended and gave way to United States of Captain America, I figured I'd drop it, but it turned out I really liked that series. When it ended and gave way to Captain America and Iron Man, I once again figured I'd drop it, but it turns out I'm really enjoying this series too.

And with Captain America: Symbol of Truth #1, it looks like at least one Cap book will be staying on my list for awhile.

(They're doing the two Caps thing again, Symbol of Truth, by Tochi Onyebuchi and RB Silver, starring Sam, and Sentinel of Liberty, by Collin Kelly, Jackson Lanzing, and Carmen Carnero, starring Steve. Can't speak to the latter yet as it's not out until next month.)

I liked this one. It looks like the government's anti-immigrant policies are going to be a major focus; hope Marvel has the guts not to pull any punches.

There's also a good bit where Sam and Misty talk about how they both grew up in Harlem but never met as kids. I took it as a dig at the whole "Black Panther and Storm are childhood friends" story, which I always hated. (There were ways to make it work, like if they'd met as a result of their respective leadership roles -- he was a prince and she was a tribal leader -- but nope, they just ran into each other by chance when they were kids; great job, Claremont.)

And speaking of Black Panther, the big bad in Symbol of Truth appears to be White Wolf, T'Challa's adopted brother and former head of the Wakandan secret police. He's a character from the Priest run who we haven't seen much of since; I'm always excited to see elements of that run come back.

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