Welcome to the weblog of the writers and artists of Ferret Press (a publisher of fine comix) and PANEL (a Columbus, Ohio comic creators collaborative.) Here you will find our musings on comics, art, the creative process, politics, the web, and life.

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Saturday, February 28, 2009
 
  Posted by Dara on 2/28/2009 11:17:00 PM :

       Star Wars: The Regret



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Friday, February 27, 2009
 
  Posted by Tom on 2/27/2009 07:45:00 PM :

       I want to go to there...

A couple of cool articles over at Wired. An interview with Alan Moore and profiles on comic shop employees. You'll find out a lot of interesting facts and tidbits. Gary Panter's daughter works in a comic shop. Don't know why that suprizes me that Panter has a daughter. Play a drinking game of how many times the shop employees say they have girlfriends. Also, I miss Tom Strong. That shot of Midtown Comics looks really tempting.


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  Posted by Tony on 2/27/2009 02:46:00 PM :

       Quite contrary

Since this Final Crisis discussion started, a lot of us have weighed in with what we think is wrong with comics today. I feel like I've been kind of sniping at them, so let me try to explain myself a little bit more.

I've been listening to all these issues, and I'm trying to determine which ones are matters of taste and which ones are really killing comics. Many of them seem somewhat subjective, so I'm trying to see if there are any bright lines to be drawn. Secondarily, I've been trying to determine which ones apply specifically to Final Crisis.

The question of "good" seems more problematic in superhero comics than in other media. Firstly, comics aren't solely concerned with being good. They must also come out monthly, be entertaining, contain a certain amount of action, be reasonably open to new readers, and maintain the brand equity of certain long-lived characters. All of those are constraints, and the last one is really a killer.

Second, there seems to be a large variety of what's considered "good." I doubt any two Panel members read any three of the same comic books. I love DMZ; Matt Kish hates it. I love Will Eisner; Steve Black is not a fan. I agree with Craig that comics are too decompressed, but I don't have any particular feeling for "myriad paroxysms." I didn't care for Jack Kirby when I was a kid, but I appreciate him more now. I enjoyed Final Crisis; Dara hated it with the fury of a thousand dying suns.

Thirdly, "good" doesn't always seem to be an overriding need for comics, and it is not always a requirement for new readers. One of Dara's formative comics experiences was West Coast Avengers, and Shadowhawk was one of mine. I understand the kids like that manga stuff these days.

So as I talk about categorizing peoples' beefs, let me start with mine: I hate deconstructive comics. I don't like any comic that attempts to show how superheroes "really" would be, or that pokes fun at superhero conventions. I say use the conventions or ignore them. There wasn't much to deconstruct there in the first place.

(I have made this argument in stronger terms in the past. The more writing I do on the internet, the harder I work to avoid hyperbole.)

So here's my question: Which issues are matters of opinion, and which are really serious? Is it possible to come up with a consistent standard of what's a good comic book? Or at least to come to more of a consensus about what's bad?


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  Posted by Craig on 2/27/2009 09:34:00 AM :

       And another thing...

Guys, maybe we could take up a collection?

http://www.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/books/02/26/comic.book.auction/index.html

They left it out of the article, so let me add: BAM! POW!


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  Posted by Craig on 2/27/2009 09:22:00 AM :

       I assume this is a joke. It's just not funny.

I'm sure everyone that's ever bought a comic book on Amazon got the same email I did, but here goes...



http://www.amazon.com/dp/B001O2KSZA/ref=pe_30300_11432460_fe_txt_1/



I don't know about the movie, but the Nite Owl comic character was a chubby guy with self-esteem issues. That's the image that should be on the bag.


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Wednesday, February 25, 2009
 
  Posted by Sean McGurr on 2/25/2009 08:43:00 PM :

       Prepare Your Jazz Hands

While planning your 2010-2011 geek calendar, be sure to save February 18, 2010, for that is the opening of the confusingly named Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, the Broadway musical by Julie Taymor, Bono, and the Edge. Hey, if we can get a group of 12 people together, we can buy tickets now.

I love legitimate theater.


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  Posted by Dara on 2/25/2009 08:26:00 PM :

       Your weird political moment of the day

I was reading this post on the ABC News blog, wherein, as a side note, they mentioned that Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal delivered the Republican response to Obama’s speech last night. Innocent enough, right? But then I spotted this gem in the comments section:
"Jindal is a muslim who claims to have converted to Christianity. We don't need another Barrack Hussein Obama. SARAH PALIN 2012!"

I can't decide if I'm giddy with laughter, or horrified for the future.

Probably the former.

That is, until 2012 rolls around.


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  Posted by Craig on 2/25/2009 10:21:00 AM :

       Way Back Machine: 2nd Golden Age

Mark Waid is one of only a handful of contemporary comic writers who gets how superhero comics should be written. He manages to write stories that provide insights into a character’s persona without losing the sense of reverence and awe that should surround these heroic figures. My favorite of his works will probably always be the “Return of Barry Allen” story from Flash, but a very close second is his run on Captain America with Ron Garney and Andy Kubert.

Waid is very good at providing cliffhanger moments throughout this series; instances where the story pauses long enough for the reader to think “sweet bejezus, how are they going to get out of that?” before turning the page to see the hero step in front of a runaway train and somehow save the day despite impossible odds. Properly done, that kind of storytelling should be what drives a regular superhero comic; excitement, inspiration, idealism, and all those other charmingly naïve emotions. That’s what I took away from Waid’s Captain America.

When writing the “Desert Island Comics” list many moons ago, I cited an issue of Flash in which Wally West throws himself out of an airplane to try to rescue an innocent bystander as an iconic moment capturing the spirit these books are supposed to convey; I neglected to mention that book has a cousin:




Captain America (vol. 3) #22.

A “sonic cancer” is sweeping the globe, a sound wave which is causing the molecules in the super-metal called vibranium to become misaligned. An early casualty is Cap’s own shield, which has been shattered into pieces. For months, Cap went through a series of replicas and substitutes (see those Avengers panels scanned a couple posts below) before Tony Stark identified the problem and delivered some dire news: the sound wave is heading for the vibranium mounds of Wakanda, and will destroy a hefty chunk of planet Earth when it hits. Stark offers a solution, a device that will alter the pitch of the sound wave, rendering it harmless-- but destroying the remnants of cap’s old shield in the process.

Like a good soldier, Cap flies to Wakanda, ready to sacrifice his most cherished possession for the good of the world. But he is met there by Klaw, longtime nemesis of the Black Panther and evil master of sound, who seeks to take advantage of the sonic wave to bolster his own power. The villain destroys Tony Stark’s device and soaks up the power of the sound wave, amplifying his own formidable power a thousand fold, then flies toward the vibranium mounds to destroy the metal which is his own sole weakness. All that stands between him, absolute power, and the destruction of countless lives is one man holding pieces of a shield bound together by duct tape. Sweet bejezus…

I’ll let the following panels speak for themselves:


The Bogarts had just been through a very, very bad time when I first read this; it blew me away when I first read it, and it still gets me today. (If that strikes anyone as cloying and sentimental, I’ll remind you we’re gathered at this weblog because we dig superhero comics. ‘Nuff said.) This is the feeling that every writer who tries to pen a superhero book should be aiming for. Contemporary writers have mistaken the tearing down of that sense of wonder and awe for “realism”, when instead it was always the metaphor of real-life struggles and conflicts these characters embodied that came closer to reality.* Mark Waid gets that, and gave us a big helping here.

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  Posted by Dara on 2/25/2009 08:02:00 AM :

       Comic book geek social calendar 2010-2011

Your slate of comic book movies for 2010 and 2011:

Iron Man 2: May 7th, 2010
Thor: July 16th, 2010
Jonah Hex: August 6th, 2010
Green Lantern: December 17th, 2010
The First Avenger: Captain America: May 6th, 2011
The Avengers: July 15th, 2011

You know, provided there aren't a couple of complete comic book movie bombs between now and then, which would most assuredly prompt Hollywood to deem all comic book movies dead and move on to the next exploitation feeding ground.


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Tuesday, February 24, 2009
 
  Posted by Dara on 2/24/2009 09:39:00 PM :

       And now for some love: Hawkman

Ok, to offset the last couple of negative posts, here's one about a DC book that I'm pretty excited to see (when and if it ever comes out)

My fellow PANEListas know of my love for several of DC comics' B and C-list characters, especially Hawkman. Well, feast your eyes upon these pages, courtesy of the wonderous Kyle Baker:



More pages, and an interview with the man himself over at The Pulse.

DC has confirmed that there's no new Hawkman book in the works, so the rumor (perpetuated by Rich Johnston) is that DC will be publishing a new weekly anthology series called Wednesday Comics, with Hawkman being on of the features stories within its pages. I guess I'll wait and see if that's the case.


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  Posted by Dara on 2/24/2009 09:23:00 PM :

       Because nobody demanded it!

Sorry, I'm feeling a bit jaded about the big comics publishers tonight...

Fusion: Cyberforce/Hunter-Killer/Avengers/Thunderbolts #1 (of 3), coming in May from Marvel (aka the house of "ideas") and Top Cow (aka Image Comics of 1993)



File under: Nobody gives a rat's ass, crossovers nobody asked for, WTF OMG R U SRIOUS!!!!1111, product not art, OMG huge b00bz!!!!

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  Posted by Dara on 2/24/2009 09:06:00 PM :

       My final Final Crisis rant

Well, not much of a rant, but seriously, this is the last time I'm going to mention Final Crisis on this blog.

Still confused as all hell? Couldn't make sense of the characters, timelines, or plot points? Fear not, the Comic Book Resources blog answers all your questions.

36 pages of answers and clarifications.

'Nuff said.

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Monday, February 23, 2009
 
  Posted by Dara on 2/23/2009 07:45:00 AM :

       Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

The Batman theme continues. Bonus: sound effects and boobs.



(click image to enlarge)

(previous weeks: 9/12/2005, 9/19/2005, 9/26/2005, 10/3/2005, 10/10/2005, 10/17/2005, 10/24/2005, 10/31/2005, 11/1/2005, 11/2/2005, 11/3/2005, 11/4/2005, 11/5/2005, 11/6/2005, 11/7/2005, 11/14/2005, 11/21/2005, 11/28/2005, 12/5/2005, 12/12/2005, 12/19/2005, 12/26/2005, 1/2/2006, 1/9/2006, 1/16/2006, 1/23/2006, 1/30/2006, 2/06/2006, 2/13/2006, 2/20/2006, 2/27/2006, 3/6/2006, 3/13/2006, 3/20/2006, 3/27/2006, 4/3/2006, 4/4/2006, 4/5/2006, 4/6/2006, 4/7/2006, 4/8/2006, 4/9/2006, 4/10/2006, 4/17/2006, 4/23/2006, 5/1/2006, 5/8/2006, 5/15/2006, 5/22/2006, 5/29/2006, 6/5/2006, 6/12/2006, 6/19/2006, 6/26/2006, 7/3/2006, 7/10/2006, 7/17/2006, 7/24/2006, 7/31/2006, 8/7/2006, 8/13/2006, 8/21/2006, 8/28/2006, 9/4/2006, 9/11/2006, 9/18/2006, 9/25/2006, 10/2/2006, 10/9/2006, 10/16/2006, 10/23/2006, 10/30/2006, 11/6/2006, 11/13/2006, 11/20/2006, 11/27/2006, 12/4/2006, 12/11/2006, 12/18/2006, 12/25/2006, 1/1/2007, 1/8/2007, 1/15/2007, 1/22/2007, 1/29/2007, 2/5/2007, 2/12/2007, 2/19/2007, 2/26/2007, 3/5/2007, 3/12/2007, 3/19/2007, 3/26/2007, 4/2/2007, 4/5/2007, 4/9/2007, 4/16/2007, 4/23/2007, 4/30/2007, 5/7/2007, 5/14/2007, 5/21/2007, 5/28/2007, 6/4/2007, 6/11/2007, 6/18/2007, 6/25/2007, 7/2/2007, 7/9/2007, 7/16/2007, 7/23/2007, 7/30/2007, 8/6/2007, 8/13/2007, 8/20/2007, 8/27/2007, 9/3/2007, 9/10/2007, 9/17/2007, 9/24/2007, 10/1/2007, 10/8/2007, 10/15/2007, 10/22/2007, 10/29/2007, 11/5/2007, 11/12/2007, 11/19/2007, 11/26/2007, 12/3/2007, 12/10/2007, 12/17/2007, 12/24/2007, 12/31/2007, 1/7/2008, 1/14/2008, 1/21/2008, 1/28/2008, 2/4/2008, 2/11/2008, 2/18/2008, 2/25/2008, 3/3/2008, 3/10/2008, 3/17/2008, 3/24/2008, 3/31/2008, 4/7/2008, 4/14/2008, 4/21/2008, 4/28/2008, 5/8/2008, 5/12/2008, 5/19/2008, 5/27/2008, 6/2/2008, 6/9/2008, 6/16/2008, 6/23/2008, 6/30/2008, 7/7/2008, 7/14/2008, 7/22/2008, 8/4/2008, 8/11/2008, 8/18/2008, 8/25/2008, 9/8/2008, 9/22/2008, 9/29/2008, 10/6/2008, 10/13/2008, 10/20/2008, 10/27/2008, 11/3/2008, 11/10/2008, 11/17/2008, 11/24/2008, 12/1/2008, 12/8/2008, 12/15/2008, 12/22/2008, 12/29/2008, 1/5/2009, 1/12/2009, 1/19/2009, 1/26/2009, 2/2/2009, 2/9/2009, 2/16/2009)

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Saturday, February 21, 2009
 
  Posted by Dara on 2/21/2009 04:31:00 PM :

       Negative Space

One of the skills I'm always in awe of is the ability of artists to use negative space effectively. It's one thing to learn how to draw stuff; that's difficult enough. But to learn how to draw stuff by not drawing the stuff between the stuff? Man, that's something else. Much respect.

For example, what do you see here?









OK, that's not exactly fair, because I'd flipped the original image 180 degrees. Try this:



See the car now?







It's just one piece of this gorgeous illustration by John Paul Leon, which serves as the cover for DMZ #41.

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  Posted by Dara on 2/21/2009 04:23:00 PM :

       Weekend Versus

Since Craig's been blogging about the few good comics to come out of the 90s (aka the Dark Ages), I thought I'd remind everyone what the other 95% of the industry's output was like: Die-Cut vs. G-Force



That's right, a character with the same name as one of the most overused 90s cover gimmicks, versus another hyphenated character. Courtesy of the chaps at Marvel UK. Liam Sharp provides the cover pencils.

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Friday, February 20, 2009
 
  Posted by Craig on 2/20/2009 03:36:00 PM :

       Way Back Machine: 2nd Golden Age

Get this: I was enjoying the comics of the late 1990’s so much, I’ll even list as one of my favorites a second generation X-Men spinoff featuring a character created by Rob Liefeld!

Cable #67

I came into this series rather late, for obvious reasons. The title character was a central figure in the worst books of the early part of the decade, and was a product of the doodlings of one of the hot superstar artists who made things so unbearable in our corner of the world for several years. Not being familiar with much X-Men related comics since before Romita jr. was drawing them, I’ve inferred that the backstory which dragged along behind this guy was one of the more convoluted elements of the mutant universe.

That said, writer Joe Casey made it easy, distilling the basics of the character for someone just coming in. Cable’s from a ruined future world, having traveled back to change history for the better (to this day, that‘s all I know, or need to know, about the character). Arch-villain Apocalypse is the main bad guy who is gearing up for some big nastiness at the coming turn of the millennium, and he’s sent an unstoppable brute to start wiping out the humans as the first stage of his plan. The population of Manhattan has taken refuge in underground shelters while Cable and a few plucky guest stars make a desperate stand against their enemy.

This series is all kinds of old-school Marvel cosmic, which is what initially drew me to try a couple issues. Ancient threats, a sense of discovery, and heroes uttering their lines with as much drama as could be mustered. Great stuff. Mark Millar gives us the Avengers sitting around playing the fan-men game of imagining who might play them in a movie; this book has them battling a foe who is so badass that it finds its way back from another dimension where it had been zapped by Thor in just a handful of pages. Which do you want to read?

Jose Ladronn provides the pencils, which look like a beautiful collision between Jack Kirby and Moebius. I really dig what he does here; it perfectly complements the tone and scope of the story. Even Apocalypse looks cool here in his Aztec getup, rather than his usual look that never did anything for me (if Walt designed the original look, I apologize.)


Either this team had a relatively short stint on this title, or I came in near the end; either way, I wish I'd seen a lot more of Casey & Ladronn on this series, but I did get a handful of really cool issues.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009
 
  Posted by Tom on 2/19/2009 10:08:00 PM :

       galaxy reno

This time Clint gets the Alive treatment. Clint went to CCAD about the same time I did. All around swell guy. He got hooked up in the world of gig posters: creating and selling limited edition silkscreen posters for bands like Coldplay and My Morning Jacket. Locally you may have seen his work on the North Market.

Check out more of his handy work over at his site.


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Wednesday, February 18, 2009
 
  Posted by Craig on 2/18/2009 08:39:00 AM :

       Damn Dirty Ape

3 of 3 from last weeks ebay commissions: Gorilla Grodd.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009
 
  Posted by Craig on 2/17/2009 06:06:00 PM :

       Way Back Machine: 2nd Golden Age

Shortly after the speculator bubble burst in the 1990’s and the Ponzi scheme known as comic collecting had been dealt a brutal blow, I was speaking with a friend whose father owned stock in Marvel (the guy was a comic collector since his own childhood-- I could show you a shed full of old comics you’d love to spend a few hours in) about the state of the industry. He made a remark that rang true to me: for all the talk about the terrible shape Marvel and DC were in, the books they were putting out at the time were as good as they had ever been. Tony wanted some examples of my “second golden age” of comic collecting, so I’ll add to Matt’s impressive list (ooh-- I’d forgotten about Orion. The best non-Kirby Kirby book ever!) with a few weeks of the WBM dwelling in more recent history.


Avengers (vol. 3) #7

The Busiek/Perez Avengers stands right up there with the Thomas/Buscema or Stern/Buscema days in my mind. This issue is the concluding chapter of the four-part “Live Kree or Die” story that wound it’s way through several Avengers-related titles. The strangest thing about this crossover event is that each issue was a self-contained story! Any chapter can be enjoyed as a complete read without having to chase after other titles you might not normally pick up; take that, Grant Morrison. This issue is also wonderfully compressed, giving us a story that would have been spread over four to six issues and cost up to $18 today. I write as if those things were remarkable; back in 1998, that wasn’t the case. These days were the last gasp of accessible, story-driven all-ages books that set the bar for quality pretty high.

The first part of the book deals with the court-martial of Carol Danvers, the once-and-future Ms. Marvel then known as Warbird. She had developed a problem with alcohol that endangered her fellow Avengers on a couple missions, so the team had to drop everything to stage a drumhead trial to determine her fitness to continue with the group. Writer Kurt Busiek uses the trial setting as a device to supply the reader with all the context needed to catch up on the plot and enjoy the story, something which was once taken for granted in just about any comic.



The trial is interrupted by a signal from the moon; a group of Kree fanatics have assembled a weapon that, when aimed at Earth, will alter the genetic structure of any humans that survive its activation, turning them into genetic duplicates of the Kree and making them susceptible to the mind control of the Intelligence Supreme. The Avengers scramble for the Earth-like atmosphere of the moon’s Blue Area, leaving an embittered Warbird behind. She attempts to fly to the moon under her own power in order to prove her worth to her teammates-- and fails spectacularly.
The big battle scene follows! A Bendis Avengers story would stretch the scene over three issues in an effort to rob his readers of their comic buying dollars while delivering much posturing and little story; Busiek confines this most satisfactory climax to the back half of this single issue, and it’s all the more enjoyable for it. Reading these scenes, I was reminded of the awful pinup fight scenes in Secret Invasion, wherein the totally forgettable artist haphazardly crammed a jumble of figures into repeated double page spreads with no regard for backgrounds or storytelling. George Perez, on the other hand, is the master of delivering a host of characters and action while still maintaining a sense of order and context in every panel. This stuff is beautiful as always.


Another great thing about the Busiek/Perez run was it’s longevity; these guys gave us close to forty issues on the series. That’s a lot better than a creative team that cranks out a couple tpb’s worth of issues and then wanders off, calling that two-or-three story contribution (likely never referred to again by the series of unrelated teams to follow) a “run” on the series.

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  Posted by Craig on 2/17/2009 01:18:00 AM :

       Web Swinger

Found a link to this gem over at the Byrne forums:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5xIJAD-Mec&feature=related


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Monday, February 16, 2009
 
  Posted by Dara on 2/16/2009 07:38:00 AM :

       Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

The Batman pin-up theme continues. Have at it:



(click image to enlarge)

(previous weeks: 9/12/2005, 9/19/2005, 9/26/2005, 10/3/2005, 10/10/2005, 10/17/2005, 10/24/2005, 10/31/2005, 11/1/2005, 11/2/2005, 11/3/2005, 11/4/2005, 11/5/2005, 11/6/2005, 11/7/2005, 11/14/2005, 11/21/2005, 11/28/2005, 12/5/2005, 12/12/2005, 12/19/2005, 12/26/2005, 1/2/2006, 1/9/2006, 1/16/2006, 1/23/2006, 1/30/2006, 2/06/2006, 2/13/2006, 2/20/2006, 2/27/2006, 3/6/2006, 3/13/2006, 3/20/2006, 3/27/2006, 4/3/2006, 4/4/2006, 4/5/2006, 4/6/2006, 4/7/2006, 4/8/2006, 4/9/2006, 4/10/2006, 4/17/2006, 4/23/2006, 5/1/2006, 5/8/2006, 5/15/2006, 5/22/2006, 5/29/2006, 6/5/2006, 6/12/2006, 6/19/2006, 6/26/2006, 7/3/2006, 7/10/2006, 7/17/2006, 7/24/2006, 7/31/2006, 8/7/2006, 8/13/2006, 8/21/2006, 8/28/2006, 9/4/2006, 9/11/2006, 9/18/2006, 9/25/2006, 10/2/2006, 10/9/2006, 10/16/2006, 10/23/2006, 10/30/2006, 11/6/2006, 11/13/2006, 11/20/2006, 11/27/2006, 12/4/2006, 12/11/2006, 12/18/2006, 12/25/2006, 1/1/2007, 1/8/2007, 1/15/2007, 1/22/2007, 1/29/2007, 2/5/2007, 2/12/2007, 2/19/2007, 2/26/2007, 3/5/2007, 3/12/2007, 3/19/2007, 3/26/2007, 4/2/2007, 4/5/2007, 4/9/2007, 4/16/2007, 4/23/2007, 4/30/2007, 5/7/2007, 5/14/2007, 5/21/2007, 5/28/2007, 6/4/2007, 6/11/2007, 6/18/2007, 6/25/2007, 7/2/2007, 7/9/2007, 7/16/2007, 7/23/2007, 7/30/2007, 8/6/2007, 8/13/2007, 8/20/2007, 8/27/2007, 9/3/2007, 9/10/2007, 9/17/2007, 9/24/2007, 10/1/2007, 10/8/2007, 10/15/2007, 10/22/2007, 10/29/2007, 11/5/2007, 11/12/2007, 11/19/2007, 11/26/2007, 12/3/2007, 12/10/2007, 12/17/2007, 12/24/2007, 12/31/2007, 1/7/2008, 1/14/2008, 1/21/2008, 1/28/2008, 2/4/2008, 2/11/2008, 2/18/2008, 2/25/2008, 3/3/2008, 3/10/2008, 3/17/2008, 3/24/2008, 3/31/2008, 4/7/2008, 4/14/2008, 4/21/2008, 4/28/2008, 5/8/2008, 5/12/2008, 5/19/2008, 5/27/2008, 6/2/2008, 6/9/2008, 6/16/2008, 6/23/2008, 6/30/2008, 7/7/2008, 7/14/2008, 7/22/2008, 8/4/2008, 8/11/2008, 8/18/2008, 8/25/2008, 9/8/2008, 9/22/2008, 9/29/2008, 10/6/2008, 10/13/2008, 10/20/2008, 10/27/2008, 11/3/2008, 11/10/2008, 11/17/2008, 11/24/2008, 12/1/2008, 12/8/2008, 12/15/2008, 12/22/2008, 12/29/2008, 1/5/2009, 1/12/2009, 1/19/2009, 1/26/2009, 2/2/2009, 2/9/2009)

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Sunday, February 15, 2009
 
  Posted by Dara on 2/15/2009 09:16:00 PM :

       Weekend Versus

Man, with all the rants and state of the comics biz talk, I almost forgot to post this weekend's "versus". Here it is, courtesy of PANELista Craig Bogart:



Superman vs. Muhammad Ali was published in 1978 by DC Comics, from an original story by Dennis O'Neil which was adapted by Neal Adams, with pencils by Adams, and figure inks by Dick Giordano with background inks by Terry Austin.

As the back cover blurb says, "can you spot the celebrities watching the greatest fight of all time and space?" No? Then maybe this Wikipedia page can help.

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  Posted by Craig on 2/15/2009 03:21:00 PM :

       More beach-themed characters

Commission #2 of 3; Matt can probably name the book that inspired this one.

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  Posted by Tom on 2/15/2009 12:28:00 PM :

       The Longbox project.

Rantz finally rolled out his Longbox project at NYCC. He'll be hitting the local cons this year promoting and demoing the software. I'm excited to check it out. *Comics desperately need something to curb the generation gap. This might be it.

*not webcomics. I think they're their own separate animal.


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  Posted by Tom on 2/15/2009 11:40:00 AM :

       Word of mouth

CB Cebulski made a comment that's interesting: Marvel's track record of hiring cold submissions through the mail is 'zero'. More than not, it's through word of mouth and I guess schmoosing /meeting people at cons. For those still interested in breaking into work-for-hire, there you go. He's been spreading little nuggets of helpful info on his twitter feed this weekend.

Illustration/freelancing is not your traditional path to getting a gig. Nobody breaks in the same way. There's no real pat answer to that. So I'd like to pass along some helpful words of wisdom before the convention season really kicks off...

  • Do some research before you go to a con, portfolio in hand. Know your publishers before you go bopping in. With the internet, there's pictures of the editors out there. Some of them have blogs. It's like stalking sort of but this way you know exactly who to look for at a con. I've seriously had people come up to me at cons asking me if I was hiring. I'll look at your book but clearly I'm not a publisher.
  • DO NOT BRING ORIGINALS TO SHOW. Bring copies. It's personally annoying for me, but whipping up specific samples of each company's characters is recommended. Have a mix of talking heads and action sequences. Make a portfolio with leave behinds, or simply have leave behinds. It doesn't have to be fancy, but on each sample I'd put your email, website and phone number on there. I stuff them in a big mailing envelope then make a color label with your art on it. It's a hook, trust me.
  • Pitches. I haven't done much of this but I have looked at a few. Don't pitch it like a tv show for crying out loud. Don't make wild claims about how it's going to make that publisher a crapload of money. Shut the hell up and keep it to the story you're trying to tell. Write up a short synapsis, and 5 to 10 sample pages. Maybe throw in some character outlines. If a company says they're not looking at any pitches, it's just to slow the flood. The lovely *Jen De Guzman's slushpile thread is full of many ways not to pitch a story.

Lastly, there's no such thing as an aspiring cartoonist or artist. Either you're doing it or you're not. With Diamond's wack new minimum policies, it's rough out there. Indy publishers have all but put a kabosh on the serial comic. It's all about the OGN (original graphic novel). Some well before these policies happened. If I were a comic shop, I'd be worried about POD, downloads, and web to print. Diamond's encouraging it and I think it's going to kill them off faster. In my opinion, it's been that way for the past 3 or 5 years. The economy's bad out there, but at the same time everyone cutting back on spending is only going to make it worse. Now go out there and break a leg.

For Christ's sake, buy something!

*I hope I spelled her name right. If I haven't, sorry Jen.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009
 
  Posted by Dara on 2/14/2009 10:38:00 AM :

       Rants and such...it's all about the story

Just a clarification, based on comments from both Matt and Craig to my Final Crisis rant below...

It's not that I'm entirely disillusioned and disgusted with "mainstream" Marvel and DC comics in general, it's more the case that I just found Final Crisis a poorly executed load of horse pucky from a writing and marketing point of view.

I read very few superhero books, and the 2 or 3 that I do read tend to be the B and C-list characters, where the writers still have some creative room to weave non-status quo stories. I read these books partly for the nostalgic factor, partly for the lightweight entertainment value, and partly because I grew up on 4-color heroes and it's just so ingrained in my pleasure system. And that's why I don't normally get fired up over a particular series that I think has "taken a turn for the worse", or an editorial decision that I might feel has "ruined the character". In those cases, I just vote with my wallet and stop buying the book. As former coworkers of mine used to say "chill out, they're not live organs, nobody's going to die".

So why did I get so fired up over Final Crisis?

I've been asking myself that since before writing that whole rant, and as I mentioned above, I think it just boils down to 1) how bad the execution of the story was (from a supposed "superstar" writer who should know better), and 2) how misguided and downright mercenary the packaging and marketing of the book was. I won't talk any more about the latter, since I said all I needed to in my previous rant (e.g. $256).

But the writing...

I don't claim to be a masterful writer, and certainly not an "author". But I'd like to think that since I've been writing and publishing stories on both an amateur and professional level for a few years now, that I at least know a little bit about the craft; story structure, pacing, character development, etc. And I'm blown away by how Morrison violated and discarded every single one of these storytelling conventions, but not in service of some other grand storytelling scheme. Or at least, not a successful one.

Now, I'm actually a huge fan of non-traditional, non-linear, and yes, even "obtuse" storytelling. I love David Lynch films, I loved Memento, I love the manic and psychedelic way that Milligan's Shade the Changing Man unfolded (and yes, even Morrisons's Doom Patrol). But in all of those examples, and dozens more that I could list (Run Lola Run, David Cronenberg films, etc.) the work taken as a whole has a cohesive and unique feel to it, that makes it succeed as a story despite it throwing so many "traditional" elements of storytelling out the window. The sum of the parts becomes something much greater, and conveys the theme or mood of the piece better than a run of the mill 3-act play could.

But FC never achieved this cohesion. It was fractured, stilted, choppy, and at odds with itself. Even Morrison's repeated claim that he's telling the story of "the day evil won" never materialized. Evil kinda' sorta' won, and then was defeated in an anticlimactic one-page sequence. But wait, right after the supreme bad guy, evil mastermind, uber-antagonist of the story, Darkseid, is unceremoniously and abruptly defeated (mostly off-panel), Morrison tacks on a completely unrelated and never-mentioned-before second conflict-and-resolution (in the form of Mandrakk). WTF? Where did this guy come from? Who is he, even? Did we just read 7 issues of the epic struggle between the DC heroes and Darkseid, or was that all just a prelude to this done-in-6-pages sideshow?

I'm sure in his mind, Morrison had a grand design. I'm not saying he's a hack who phoned it in. I'm sure he tried to craft a very poetic take on the good vs. evil struggle, a "thematic" take on DC's various Crisis series, a series that's less about the story and more about the DC universe as an organic sentient force, blah, blah, blah. But at the end of the day, I feel that what he delivered was incomprehensible to even people like me who are open to, and in fact fans of, metaphysical stories.

The closest analogy I can think of is when artists talk about the importance of learning and mastering the rules of good anatomy and perspective first, before deciding which rules to break for a more dynamic effect. I feel that Morrison is certainly talented enough a writer to know the rules and conventions of his craft, and although he'd done it successfully in a few places before, this time he broke all the rules but still utterly and miserably failed in achieving a higher effect. To me, the final product was no different than what an inexperienced, untalented writer would have produced if thrown into the deep end of the DC pool.

Or maybe that's exactly the effect that Morrison was going for. I'm just not smart enough to "get it".

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  Posted by Craig on 2/14/2009 10:12:00 AM :

       No More Myriad Paroxysms

A comment in a post below brought up the “Golen Age is 12” rule of comics nostalgia. I reject that rule (even if it was coined by Roy Thomas), in part because I saw how good comics became in the late 1990’s after years of being awful, and also because there are obvious and quantifiable differences between the way they are made now versus yesteryear. One in particular:

The comics I grew up reading were a synthesis of words and pictures, each equally important. Today we function under the mistaken impression that comics are akin to a cinematic storyboard, dumping the bulk of the exposition on the visual narrative and forgoing expository dialogue and captions. Cinematic techniques certainly have a place in the visual side of comic storytelling, but ceding too much to them has given us car crashes stretched over three pages and entire passages devoted to creating atmosphere rather than driving plot; when you only have 24 pages to grab a new reader who has just picked up a book, the latter is wasted space. (Of course, we’ve given up on “grabbing new readers”, and delivering a fair amount of story for our comic-buying dollar seems out of the question.) Worse, the elimination of captions has removed the ability of the writer to affect a literary tone in their storytelling, which creates a denser, more challenging read; Sean McGurr once compared the time a good Essentials volume sits on the nightstand versus the short time it takes to read a tpb reprinting a newer mini series.

Also popular is the use of natural sounding dialogue, as if the talk across the table at an Avengers meeting would sound like the banter at the beginning of Reservoir Dogs. These guys fight Galactus and Blaastar, they shouldn’t sound like you and me. The most absurd example I’ve seen recently was an Avengers issue showing Doctor Doom as he sees something going wrong on his view screen, yelling “Damn!” repeatedly instead of launching into a flowery diatribe. I might yell “damn”; Doom should not be so pedestrian. (I would scan those panels to contrast with proper Doom dialogue, but I used that piece of crap issue to get a fire started in the fireplace.) Besides the exaggerated drama, the old school way actually allowed for a more sophisticated vocabulary. Moench and Thomas regularly had me running to my dictionary; Bendis sounds like the snarky jackass sitting across the table in the lunch room.

My point being: Today’s comics, allegedly made for an older, more sophisticated audience, are for the most part a dumbed-down reading experience compared to previous decades.


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Friday, February 13, 2009
 
  Posted by Craig on 2/13/2009 04:07:00 PM :

       Why So Serious?

After getting no bites in January, people have picked up a few more commissions on ebay from me. Here's the first, inspired by my favorite Adam West Batman episode:

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Thursday, February 12, 2009
 
  Posted by Dara on 2/12/2009 09:14:00 PM :

       My (late) Final Crisis rant

Well, I thought if I waited a week or so, I'd maybe change my mind a bit, or at least not feel so negatively about the mess that was Final Crisis.

No such luck.

Disclaimers & Disclosures: I'm not a big Grant Morrison fan, save for his Doom Patrol, which I'd actually describe as "brilliant". I'm put off by the fact that people defend his incomprehensible, scattershot, bizarre storytelling approach by claiming his detractor just "don't get it". But, I do like DC comics and I like my occasional "superhero decadence" mega-events. I loved 52.

Now...



I hated FC with the burning passion of a thousand dying suns.

I was not only disappointed and underwhelmed, but actively insulted, offended, and angered by it. And believe me, I realize how silly and ridiculous it is to say so, considering that it's just a comic book; a piece of fiction intended to entertain. But still, this bloated, incomprehensible, poorly planned and hideously executed "story" failed on so many levels, I feel cheated not just because of the money it cost me, but because it robbed me of my time and intelligence. Yes, it actually reduced my capacity for knowledge, as only a metaphysical force like Grant Morrison could.

He had some clever bits in there, floating like a few tiny diamonds in a cesspool the size of Texas (I loved the whole bullet-shot-back-through-time), but that's about it. There were no clear protagonists in it, no character development, no clear resolution...pretty much nothing you'd remotely associate with a story. I'm all for non-traditional and non-linear storytelling, but in this book the whole was much, much weaker than the sum of the parts.

But here's the main thing that burned my britches: I hated the fact that most of the story wasn't even told in the damn series! You have to go buy the ancillary mini-series and one-shots to figure out why all of a sudden Black Lightning shows up as a Justifier, or where the hell Superman's been all this time, or who the hell this Mandrakk character is who shows up out of nowhere in the last issue. It cost $28 to buy this 7-issue series, and for that you got bits and pieces of a story from a dozen disparate books and series. It will be a complete and utter joke when they collect this thing in a TPB.



On this particular gripe, I place the blame entirely on the editorial side. Crossovers and "event" comics are designed to sell lots of books, and get you to go buy other titles. I've been reading comics for 20+ years, I get that. But in general, those other books just complement the main storyline. Not so here. Almost all the major plot elements and turning points of the story are told in books outside of the series! Here's what you'd have to buy to figure out who all the monitors are, what happened to the New Gods, what the deal is with Darkseid, why the Tatto Man is important...basically attempt to make sense of this story:

Death of the New Gods (8 issues = $28)
Countdown (52 issues = $156)
Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds (5 issues = $20)
Final Crisis: Requiem ($4)
Final Crisis: Submit ($4)
Final Crisis: Resist ($4)
Final Crisis: Revelations (5 issues = $20)
Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge (3 issues = $12)
Final Crisis: Superman Beyond (2 issues = $8)

So there you have it: in order to make a modicum of sense out of this $28 comic book mini-series, you'd have to spend an additional $256 on other comics!!!

I'll let that sink in a bit...

This isn't a case of "I don't really follow the Flash and Green Lantern books, so I don't know all their continuity, but it's ok, I can still understand what's going on in this story". It's more a case of "who the f--- is Monitor Nix Uotan?", or "What the hell's going on in Bludhaven?", or "Who's killing all the New Gods, and why?". Plot elements and characters integral to understanding the story, yet only revealed in other books. $256 worth of other books. And the ending? 52 different Supermen showed up and did what, exactly? Aquaman is shown in one panel, even though he's not in the previous 6 issues? Superman whistled into a magical deus ex machina?

Are you f---ing serious? In what reality is this considered remotely good storytelling?

Oh, right. The "Grant Morrison is a Genius and you're an idiot who just DOESN'T GET IT!" reality. My bad.



So just because I'm still flabbergasted how such a bloated corpse could have possibly been approved, produced, and marketed, I feel a few awards are called for:

  • Grant Morrison is awarded the "Epic Fail: Pretentious Wanker" trophy for his incomprehensible, masturbatory piece of fanfic.
  • Associate editor Adam Schlagman and editor Eddie Berganza earn the "Epic Fail: No Balls" award for completely and utterly failing in their jobs as editors to reign in the drug-addled writer.
  • Senior VP and executive editor Dan Didio is awarded an "Epic Fail: Mismanaged Clusterf---" for supposedly overseeing this whole mess.

Yes, I absolutely blame myself for continuing to pick up FC when after #3 it was pretty clear that this was a horrid mess. The only tie-ins I picked up were Submit and Resist, because they were basically issues 3.5 and 4.5 of the series. I don't blame DC for costing me $36. I blame my own stupidity.

But at the same time, I can easily say that I'm done with Grant Morrison for good. No more.

Rating, on a scale of 1 to 10: a gangrene sandwich served with a side of fish vomit.

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  Posted by Dara on 2/12/2009 08:10:00 AM :

       Terminator Salvation #2 out this week

The second issue of my Terminator Salvation movie prequel shipped yesterday. Here's the cover, by Nick Runge:



As always, John Connor humbly requests your purchase, in exchange for another T-600 kill.



Also, stay the f--- out of his light or he'll kick your f---ing a--, you unprofessional f---head.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009
 
  Posted by Craig on 2/11/2009 03:11:00 PM :

       Hopefully this is a trend

I've mentioned here a couple times that the new Spider-Man comics are the answer to all my prayers; twenty years of bad continuity scraped off the bottom of our shoes in favor of an emphasis on a new supporting cast, new villains, actual long-running subplots, and shorter plotlines rather than made-for-tpb writing, all presented in the form of an intelligent all-ages series delivered thrice monthly. It's like the series has been reset to 1983 and everything that once drove me away from my favorite character can be ignored.

Now I get wind of this:


A new X-Men series (bear with me here) written by Chris Claremont... picking up from where he left off on 1991. I repeat: one of the best old-school comic creators allowed to write his own series divorced from the convoluted mess of regular continuity based on the premise that the last decade and a half never happened. A twice-monthly ongoing series, at that. I'll throw in the caveat that the X-Men lost me long before Claremont left the first time, but I'm willing to jump into any series that offers such a back-to-basics reboot. Tom Grummet provides the pencils; he's been a favorite of mine since his days on the Superman titles.
Maybe a Marvel editor has realized how bad their product has become and is starting to make some changes. Perhaps if this concept catches on well enough, they might consider luring Byrne back to an FF series...


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  Posted by Tony on 2/11/2009 01:09:00 PM :

       Leave Geo-Force Alone! A Way Forward

Well, my bid to bring Geo-Force up to the B-List has pretty much come to a close, so I've been brainstorming ways to help him find his niche. DC has plenty of royal heroes, and a few Europeans, so that's not it. It has people with Earth powers , and semi-strong guys, too.

Some new angle ... maybe something that's been there all along.



I've got it! Geo-Force is the male Empowered.



With the Martian Manhunter out of commission, the DC needs someone to do the J-O-B until Superman shows up.



That one's from Gail Simone's Birds of Prey a few years back, so you know this option is viable. Maybe she can do for the Markovian Marvel what she did for Catman?



But I figure if he never makes it in the DCU, maybe he can bounce over to Eros.



Or maybe Tom of Finland is hiring. What do you say, GF? Is that a plan?



So that concludes our look at Geo-Force. Keep flossing, big guy.

Leave Geo-Force Alone, Tonygoins.com

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009
 
  Posted by Tom on 2/10/2009 11:12:00 PM :

       I want what he's on...

This rant amused me this morning. Seems to hit all the notes of what's currently wrong with DC right now. Mostly targets Morrison's hijacking of the DC universe. It looked good on paper, but like Communism, didn't really click. I admit that I haven't read Final Crisis yet. I do need to read it to make sense of what I thought was a self-contained arc in the Batman titles. WTF?!

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Monday, February 09, 2009
 
  Posted by Dara on 2/09/2009 07:58:00 AM :

       Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

We’re going to start a month of Batman related pages. Here’s a pin-up for you:



(click image to enlarge)

(previous weeks: 9/12/2005, 9/19/2005, 9/26/2005, 10/3/2005, 10/10/2005, 10/17/2005, 10/24/2005, 10/31/2005, 11/1/2005, 11/2/2005, 11/3/2005, 11/4/2005, 11/5/2005, 11/6/2005, 11/7/2005, 11/14/2005, 11/21/2005, 11/28/2005, 12/5/2005, 12/12/2005, 12/19/2005, 12/26/2005, 1/2/2006, 1/9/2006, 1/16/2006, 1/23/2006, 1/30/2006, 2/06/2006, 2/13/2006, 2/20/2006, 2/27/2006, 3/6/2006, 3/13/2006, 3/20/2006, 3/27/2006, 4/3/2006, 4/4/2006, 4/5/2006, 4/6/2006, 4/7/2006, 4/8/2006, 4/9/2006, 4/10/2006, 4/17/2006, 4/23/2006, 5/1/2006, 5/8/2006, 5/15/2006, 5/22/2006, 5/29/2006, 6/5/2006, 6/12/2006, 6/19/2006, 6/26/2006, 7/3/2006, 7/10/2006, 7/17/2006, 7/24/2006, 7/31/2006, 8/7/2006, 8/13/2006, 8/21/2006, 8/28/2006, 9/4/2006, 9/11/2006, 9/18/2006, 9/25/2006, 10/2/2006, 10/9/2006, 10/16/2006, 10/23/2006, 10/30/2006, 11/6/2006, 11/13/2006, 11/20/2006, 11/27/2006, 12/4/2006, 12/11/2006, 12/18/2006, 12/25/2006, 1/1/2007, 1/8/2007, 1/15/2007, 1/22/2007, 1/29/2007, 2/5/2007, 2/12/2007, 2/19/2007, 2/26/2007, 3/5/2007, 3/12/2007, 3/19/2007, 3/26/2007, 4/2/2007, 4/5/2007, 4/9/2007, 4/16/2007, 4/23/2007, 4/30/2007, 5/7/2007, 5/14/2007, 5/21/2007, 5/28/2007, 6/4/2007, 6/11/2007, 6/18/2007, 6/25/2007, 7/2/2007, 7/9/2007, 7/16/2007, 7/23/2007, 7/30/2007, 8/6/2007, 8/13/2007, 8/20/2007, 8/27/2007, 9/3/2007, 9/10/2007, 9/17/2007, 9/24/2007, 10/1/2007, 10/8/2007, 10/15/2007, 10/22/2007, 10/29/2007, 11/5/2007, 11/12/2007, 11/19/2007, 11/26/2007, 12/3/2007, 12/10/2007, 12/17/2007, 12/24/2007, 12/31/2007, 1/7/2008, 1/14/2008, 1/21/2008, 1/28/2008, 2/4/2008, 2/11/2008, 2/18/2008, 2/25/2008, 3/3/2008, 3/10/2008, 3/17/2008, 3/24/2008, 3/31/2008, 4/7/2008, 4/14/2008, 4/21/2008, 4/28/2008, 5/8/2008, 5/12/2008, 5/19/2008, 5/27/2008, 6/2/2008, 6/9/2008, 6/16/2008, 6/23/2008, 6/30/2008, 7/7/2008, 7/14/2008, 7/22/2008, 8/4/2008, 8/11/2008, 8/18/2008, 8/25/2008, 9/8/2008, 9/22/2008, 9/29/2008, 10/6/2008, 10/13/2008, 10/20/2008, 10/27/2008, 11/3/2008, 11/10/2008, 11/17/2008, 11/24/2008, 12/1/2008, 12/8/2008, 12/15/2008, 12/22/2008, 12/29/2008, 1/5/2009, 1/12/2009, 1/19/2009, 1/26/2009, 2/2/2009)

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Saturday, February 07, 2009
 
  Posted by Dara on 2/07/2009 05:08:00 PM :

       Iron Man A Go Go

Cartoonist Michael Cho has a side-project blog called Tony Stark: your Go-To Guy where he posts his and other artists' "doodles and drawings of everyone's favourite transistor-powered superhero: TONY STARK-- THE INVINCIBLE IRON MAN!"



Although the site says he accepts submissions, it looks like the last real update was done back in May of 2008. Still, there's a couple years of archived drawings that are fun to look through.


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  Posted by Dara on 2/07/2009 10:13:00 AM :

       Art reference: pics from Hubble space telescope

Working on your own cosmic magnum opus? Drawing sample pages for a Silver Surfer pitch? Or just a fan of astronomy and the wonders of the universe?

Then check out the gorgeous high resolution photos from the Hubble space telescope in the picture album section of HubbleSite.org:



There are hundreds of gorgeous pictures of distant stars, galaxies, and nebulae. You'll look at some of these and swear they just ripped off a Jack Kirby panel background.

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  Posted by Dara on 2/07/2009 09:58:00 AM :

       Weekend Versus

Today's crossover cover is a Sam Raimi lovefest:



Um, yeah. I'm pretty sure nobody asked for this. But hey, thanks for filling in the cult-movie-absurdley-contrived-comic-book-crossover niche.

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  Posted by Dara on 2/07/2009 09:54:00 AM :

       Stahler, Phelps, and Crumb

The Columbus Dispatch's Jeff Stahler on the Michael Phelps bong story:



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Wednesday, February 04, 2009
 
  Posted by Tony on 2/04/2009 03:10:00 PM :

       Leave Geo-Force Alone! My work here is almost done.

In the back of my National Periodicals this month I see that DC Direct is coming out with a Geo-Force action figure!



The Duke of Oil and Madame Ovary can't be far behind.

Update The Laughing Ogre has sold out of its shipment of Geo-Force action figures! All three of them! So I'm wait-listed. Call your Local Comic Shop today and demand your Geo-Force action figure!

Next time: My 6-part series hits its 14th and final episode: A Way Forward!

Be there! It'll be good!

Leave Geo-Force Alone, Tonygoins.com

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Monday, February 02, 2009
 
  Posted by Tom on 2/02/2009 10:08:00 PM :

       Neil Gaiman on News Hour online

Neil talks with Jeffrey Brown on Art Beat. Mostly on his new book The Graveyard Book. Good stuff.


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  Posted by Tony on 2/02/2009 10:18:00 AM :

       Leave Geo-Force Alone! Because you demanded it ... Madame Ovary!

Who is Madame Ovary? Her given name was Dr. Ovarni, and she was a chubby, middle-aged woman who was unable to bear children. But instead of getting a dozen cats, she decided to clone Baron Bedlam ...



... and Adolf Hitler.



For those of you trying to follow along, Geo-Force threw Baron Bedlam into an angry mob here, in Batman and the Outsiders No. 2. Bedlam gets cloned back to life for Adventures of the Outsiders 33-34, again conquering Markovia. A moment in the life of Clone Hitler is here, then Geo-Force kills Baron Bedlam again here.

And if I may go all Craig Bogart on you, Adventures of the Outsiders No. 33 was the first comic book back issue I ever bought. I read about the Outsiders in a mid-1980s RPG manual and wanted to see what they were all about.

I got AOTO33 at one of the comics-and-card shows they used to have at the Zanesville mall, and the next day I went back and got the rest of the Markovian restoration saga. This storyline rocked my socks -- as you can tell, because I've now scanned in about half of it.

One more thing about Madame Ovary: In addition to knowing her way around a nucleus, she also kayoed the Bad Samaritan twice.



Don't get me started on the Bad Samaritan.

Next time: Another brief interlude, and then our 14-part (!) "Leave Geo-Force Alone" series thunders to a finish with: The Way Forward!

Be Here! It'll be good!

Leave Geo-Force Alone, Tonygoins.com

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  Posted by Dara on 2/02/2009 07:59:00 AM :

       Monday Morning "Guess the Artist"

Today's page is provided by PANELista ”Titanic” Tony Goins. Have at it.



(click image to enlarge)

(previous weeks: 9/12/2005, 9/19/2005, 9/26/2005, 10/3/2005, 10/10/2005, 10/17/2005, 10/24/2005, 10/31/2005, 11/1/2005, 11/2/2005, 11/3/2005, 11/4/2005, 11/5/2005, 11/6/2005, 11/7/2005, 11/14/2005, 11/21/2005, 11/28/2005, 12/5/2005, 12/12/2005, 12/19/2005, 12/26/2005, 1/2/2006, 1/9/2006, 1/16/2006, 1/23/2006, 1/30/2006, 2/06/2006, 2/13/2006, 2/20/2006, 2/27/2006, 3/6/2006, 3/13/2006, 3/20/2006, 3/27/2006, 4/3/2006, 4/4/2006, 4/5/2006, 4/6/2006, 4/7/2006, 4/8/2006, 4/9/2006, 4/10/2006, 4/17/2006, 4/23/2006, 5/1/2006, 5/8/2006, 5/15/2006, 5/22/2006, 5/29/2006, 6/5/2006, 6/12/2006, 6/19/2006, 6/26/2006, 7/3/2006, 7/10/2006, 7/17/2006, 7/24/2006, 7/31/2006, 8/7/2006, 8/13/2006, 8/21/2006, 8/28/2006, 9/4/2006, 9/11/2006, 9/18/2006, 9/25/2006, 10/2/2006, 10/9/2006, 10/16/2006, 10/23/2006, 10/30/2006, 11/6/2006, 11/13/2006, 11/20/2006, 11/27/2006, 12/4/2006, 12/11/2006, 12/18/2006, 12/25/2006, 1/1/2007, 1/8/2007, 1/15/2007, 1/22/2007, 1/29/2007, 2/5/2007, 2/12/2007, 2/19/2007, 2/26/2007, 3/5/2007, 3/12/2007, 3/19/2007, 3/26/2007, 4/2/2007, 4/5/2007, 4/9/2007, 4/16/2007, 4/23/2007, 4/30/2007, 5/7/2007, 5/14/2007, 5/21/2007, 5/28/2007, 6/4/2007, 6/11/2007, 6/18/2007, 6/25/2007, 7/2/2007, 7/9/2007, 7/16/2007, 7/23/2007, 7/30/2007, 8/6/2007, 8/13/2007, 8/20/2007, 8/27/2007, 9/3/2007, 9/10/2007, 9/17/2007, 9/24/2007, 10/1/2007, 10/8/2007, 10/15/2007, 10/22/2007, 10/29/2007, 11/5/2007, 11/12/2007, 11/19/2007, 11/26/2007, 12/3/2007, 12/10/2007, 12/17/2007, 12/24/2007, 12/31/2007, 1/7/2008, 1/14/2008, 1/21/2008, 1/28/2008, 2/4/2008, 2/11/2008, 2/18/2008, 2/25/2008, 3/3/2008, 3/10/2008, 3/17/2008, 3/24/2008, 3/31/2008, 4/7/2008, 4/14/2008, 4/21/2008, 4/28/2008, 5/8/2008, 5/12/2008, 5/19/2008, 5/27/2008, 6/2/2008, 6/9/2008, 6/16/2008, 6/23/2008, 6/30/2008, 7/7/2008, 7/14/2008, 7/22/2008, 8/4/2008, 8/11/2008, 8/18/2008, 8/25/2008, 9/8/2008, 9/22/2008, 9/29/2008, 10/6/2008, 10/13/2008, 10/20/2008, 10/27/2008, 11/3/2008, 11/10/2008, 11/17/2008, 11/24/2008, 12/1/2008, 12/8/2008, 12/15/2008, 12/22/2008, 12/29/2008, 1/5/2009, 1/12/2009, 1/19/2009, 1/26/2009)

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Sunday, February 01, 2009
 
  Posted by Dara on 2/01/2009 01:14:00 PM :

       Short Movie Review: RocknRolla

I'm a Guy Ritchie fan. I don't care about his personal life, Madonna, whatever. I just dig his movies. I love the style, the clever camera tricks, the snappy dialogue, the black humor, the endless array of interesting criminal lowlifes, convoluted plots, and cinematic violence that's often over-the-top and subdued at the same time.

And given that laundry list, RocknRolla definitely delivered. This particular "story of sex, thugs, and rock 'n' roll" is set in London and involves a complex real estate scam, scary Russian mobsters, a corrupt city councilman, a bored accountant, a gay lawyer, and of course the trademark Guy Ritchie gang of lovable street thugs. Oh, and a drugged out, psychotic, hard-to-kill punk rocker named Johnny Quid (played brilliantly by the perfectly cast Toby Kebbell, who not only looks the part, but just oozes the worst excesses of the rock lifestyle). As you'd expect, there are half a dozen different plot elements that are slowly woven together, resulting in catastrophic and at times funny collisions between characters. And it's all set to an aggressive, tense rock 'n' roll soundtrack.



Favorite scene: the kinetic, intense foot chase where the scary Russian thugs pursue Gerard Butler and his cohorts through an urban maze of train tracks and tunnels. It's shot perfectly, and features darkly humorous character moments.

Favorite subplot: the one involving One Two (Butler) and Handsome Bob (Tom Hardy). Sorry, don't want to spoil it for you.

Minor complaints: at nearly 2 hours long, the film feels a bit bloated, especially given Ritchie's penchant for quick cuts and a fast paced plot. Also, while they were fun to watch, I could have done without Jeremy Piven and rapper Ludacris . Maybe they were cast to give the film a broader appeal to American audiences, but I would have preferred an all-British cast.

Highly recommended for fans of stylish crime movies.

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  Posted by Tony on 2/01/2009 09:56:00 AM :

       Final Crisis (Tony's take)

I've got my take on Final Crisis ready to go, so let me go first: I think it's an ambitious experiment that often isn't successful.

Writing for superheroes (in my opinion) is always a trade-off between over-explaining things and leaving things too obscure. I think Morrison fell pretty badly on the wrong side of that line several times. But -- if I can engage in a little mind-reading -- I don't think that's what he was going for.

(MANY SPOILERS AHEAD)

I think he was trying to write every crisis/crossover in history, all at once. And to do that, he has to do some unnatural things with the pacing. Final Crisis always feels like it's either too decompressed, or going by too fast. You're always seeing people getting ready to take action, or talking about action, or in mid-action. But you never see the action in any detail. I think he's assuming your knowledge of comic book cliches will help you fill that in.

(Oddly enough, I think this is also Brad Meltzer's approach).

I think Morrison's trying to get away from having a Mr. Terrific say, "Darkseid has mind-controlled the population! They're like his own hands! If we wound Darkseid, all these people will die!" He's counting on you figuring it out.

I think he's trusting that you will know what it means when Batman (a mortal man!) mortally wounds Darkseid. You will know what it means when Superman sings Darkseid out of existence. You will just trust there's some kind of super-scientific reason why a kiss from the Flash frees you from the Anti-Life equation. You will know what it means when Mandrakk the Dark Monitor is Nix Uotan's father. You will know what it means when the Japanese super-team you never heard about (or cared about) has an unrequited love triangle among its ranks. There's no need for him to spend valuable page real estate on it.

I think the best comics kind of get you high. You get hit with all these dizzying ideas, and they create this whole new world in your head. I think Morrison was trying to just freebase that, and he left everything else out.

So what's the answer? A longer page count? A Young Japanese Super-Justice miniseries? I hate to recommend that. Less plot? Yeah, maybe.

And what the heck was Hawkman smashing at the end? Is that explained better in one of the crossovers?

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