Category Archives: comics

Most annoying character.

(New OpinioNations are coming. In the meantime…)

I could have cheated with this one – easily. The immediate possibilities were: any DC character inside canon; any character in an X-title in the 90s; anyone drawn by Rob Liefield.I told you cheating would be easy.

Instead, I’m going to go with a title that was not only a favourite of mine, but is still huge in fandom. And its main protagonist. The thing is, it’s not the character’s fault – it’s the writer’s, & he, too, is one I respect. Here we go.

Kirkman. The Walking Dead. Rick Grimes.

The annoyance & my resulting disillusionment came during TWD’s third TPB collection, Safety Behind Bars. Keep in mind I’ve only read it once, & it might flow better with another reading, though I suspect I’d expect the irritation & forgive it.

Grimes got overly talkative, & he was kinda lame when he did. Frex, this is his soliloquy from a single panel:

“So I guess it’s not an isolated thing – coming back without being bitten. I thought it might be. Julie turned pretty quick, but it took us hours to get you into the ground. So many damn questions. When I realized you might be at the bottom of that hole, alive – or whatever – I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
“I couldn’t sleep – knowing you were down there. Would you have left me? You were a good man, Shane. I don’t know why you did what you did… but you were a good man.”

Kinda kicks the shit out of the 25 (or Moore’s 29) words per panel rule. It’s a standard that I break, too – sometimes you need to have your say – but the dialogue’s out of control throughout the book.

Such a shame, too; the story is excellent. But I haven’t picked up the 4th installment, & it’s been… damn, I think it’s been three years or so since Alice-Ann at The Blue Beetle got me hooked on the title. Just flipping through this comic has me itching to read the further adventures of Grimes et al, so I suppose I will.

This concludes my criticism of IGN’s 2011 selection for 26th Greatest Comic Book Hero of All Time.

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A comic that is underrated, plus a “guilty pleasure” comic.

Underrated

Children of the Atom, by Dave LappI usually have a hard time judging this. Some books (albums, films, etc) sell many but review badly, others review well but sell few; how to judge?

Then I remembered overhearing a conversation at TCAF about how a book that had greatly impressed me was having trouble gaining traction.

That Dave Lapp’s Children of the Atom, a collection of strip comics originally published in Western University’s The Gazette & Vancouver’s Georgia Straight, isn’t in every indie comics fan’s collection is a crime.

I mean, if your favourite characters are Wolverine & Deadpool, don’t bother. But if Calvin (of & Hobbes) or Linus are to your taste, then the innocence & child-like wisdom Lapp harnesses here are certain to engage. An excerpt from the above link:

Franklin Boy and Jim Jam Girl live in an absurdist world of their own making, exchanging philosophies, dancing around any possible love story… Lapp has created his own tightly concieved (sic) but loosely rendered world through poetic language, simple lines and shapes, and surreal settings.

Here’s the way I put it to Dave when I had the good fortune to meet him recently: It is so good & the innocence so compelling that I still haven’t finished it. I only read three, maybe a half-dozen, strips at a time, then I put it down so I have more to enjoy later. I’ve never read anything like it.

Guilty pleasure

Ultimates vol1 by Millar, HitchAs a lifetime (obscure) artist who has embraced the indie side of comics, after realizing the autobiographies of Chester Brown & Adrian Tomine are much more compelling than any fiction, I still check in on superheroes. I stick to what I hear are the outstanding examples – Miller, Millar, Moore, Bendis, Morrison, etc. – not out of snobbery, but because life is too short to read shit.

That’s where The Ultimates comes in. Marvel’s reimagining of the MU as Marvel Ultimate Universe can be dismissed as a marketing ploy, but I believe it was time to update the characters I grew up with. I mean, I can’t read those old comics – they’re so corny! The dialogue is painful!

This treatment is like hearing a great cover version of an old favourite song; Mark Millar’s The Ultimates is to The MU Avengers as Marilyn Manson’s gritty, scary Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) is to The Eurythmics’ safe pop stylings. Captain America is a true man of the 50s, uncomfortable with contemporary notions of romance. The Hulk, Dr. Banner’s Mr. Hyde, is a cannibalistic rapist – a true modern monster worthy of the cultural standards indicated by Cloverfield & Hostel. And Thor is a European pacifist hippy cult leader. Seriously – how can I resist?

When my budget permits (&/or my library gives me access), I plan to consume everything the MUU had to offer while it lasted.

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Day 1 + Day 2 – 30 Day Comic Book Challenge

I’m not a regular blogger, so I may not have the fortitude to post daily, but I’ll give this a shot. If you haven’t heard of this ego-centric exercise, several blogging comic fans are doing it (I’m a joiner!). I first learned about it from this Facebook group.

Day 1 – Your First Comic Book

1978 - For Me, the Year It All Began

1978 – For Me, the Year It All Began

It was my 8th birthday when my Mom blessed me with two a grocery store multipacks of comic books. This was 1978 & I was THRILLED! One issue each of Thor, Green Lantern/Green Arrow, The Amazing Spider-Man & The Human Fly. Spidey & HF lost their covers soon thereafter; Thor got coloured on with ballpoint pen (the great expanses of space on the giant T-H-O-R were begging for graffiti).

GL/GA inspired my longstanding dislike of the DCU. It was incomprehensible (keep in mind I had an undiagnosed, recognized-in-retrospect learning disability); I remember scouring the text for indications of character names & couldn’t match anything up. Hell, I read the cover with the typical English convention of L-R, & so, for years, it was Green Green Lantern Arrow. And trashed & discarded quickly, & memorable for it.

Day 2 – Your Favourite Comic Book Character

American Splendor - Another Dollar

Excerpt from American Splendor – Another Dollar

Wow – that’s a toughy. So, so many; it changes often, depending on what I’ve read lately.

With a library copy of American Splendor: Another Dollar recently enjoyed, I have to go with the young lady who helped Harvey Pekar – a stranger – get his car boosted.  She displays an ideology & openness I try to live up to.

FYI – The 30 Day Comic Challenge challenges, as they will come:

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TCAF

Dave Lapp at TCAF

Dave Draws Dick, a delectible dealio

I had an excellent time at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival.

Day 1

As on most public outings, I was initially a shy, bumbling oaf (specifically Saturday). I had a brief, stuttering face-to-face with Chester Brown before he was *ahem* rescued from the annoying fanboy. When I realized this, I was, & remain, suitably embarrassed. *sigh* He was gracious & apologetic.

Dalton recommended Miss Apple Pie & I introduce ourselves to Dave Lapp. He signed our copy of Children of the Atom with a left-handed penis! Too friggin awesome!

Jim Woodring was also really cool to talk to. And such beautiful, flawless work! Anthro-pomorphic comics rarely appeal to me, but, after hearing him speak on Saturday & then meeting him, I must say I’m driven. This, of course, will be after I read every as-yet-unread book in my possession, which is why Dave Lapp’s book was our only trophy of the weekend.

Day 2

We spent Sunday exclusively at The Pilot. The highlight for me was speaking to Seth for a few moments about perhaps not stressing so much over lack of perfection, quite a humble notion from someone with such an exacting hand.

All in all, we attended several seminars over the two days, & were given a lot to consider. We’ll see what happens.

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FCBD / The Eternals

*big strrrrrretch*

My very lovely & very pregnant daughter, K, just woke me up with a call from school. She’s a damn lucky kid in that all of her teachers but one modified her course structure to allow her to graduate before she pops in the middle of May. Despite loving The Walking Dead, she has continued to contend she’s ‘not really a comics person,’ & yet she’s surprised me by wanting to accompany me down to The Blue Beetle tomorrow & Free Comic Book Day.

FCBD this year is exciting for me in two ways; I get to see if any copies of Lynchpin #1 moved in its first week on the shelf (distro throughout Toronto/Mississauga happens next week), & I’ll get to meet a damned talented local artist (Ryan ‘something’).

– – – – –

I just finished reading The Eternals, by Gaiman & Romita Jr. We’re all somewhat familiar with the Brit’s minor talent in tale-telling (wink-nudge); I’ve been a drooler over JRJR’s artwork ever since his Daredevil run with Ann Nocenti back in the day; his work keeps getting better, in sharp contrast to a couple of my other 80s/90s art heroes (*cough*simonson*cough*byrne*cough*).

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