Pay Attention! Comics News Round-Up 05/17/10

Philip Bond drawing Velma? Jinkies!Jinkies Philip Bond has a fantastic Flickr, and his picture of Velma is pretty dope. Pretty self-explanatory, right? Bond is an artist who doesn't get enough attention. His work on Vimanarama and Kill Your Boyfriend with Grant Morrison was fantastic. Bond has the kind of skill at facial expressions that mainstream comics needs. Confused, curious, angry–whatever your favorite, Bond has it down pat. I think Red Herring, a Wildstorm series he was drawing, just wrapped. I was waiting for the trade on that one, but what I skimmed in the shop looked great.

Call It Like You See It Bob Temuka has a counterpoint to some of the recent negative commentary on Mark Millar and Garth Ennis's work. Temuka sees some value in the shocking approaches both writers use, and has some pretty interesting points to back up his ideas. I wouldn't exactly call myself a Millar fan, but I love Ennis's books, for the most part. I think that Ennis can dwell on the shock value a little bit too much, but the strain of morality that runs through his work makes him endlessly fascinating. Not to mention that his recent run of Battlefields tales are fantastic. I don't get that from Millar, but I can see how someone else would. Millar sells comics, though, so he must be doing something right.

Savagery The Savage Critics gang dogpiles Dan Clowes's latest book, Wilson. Clowes is one of those artists I should read more often than I do. I loved the Ghost World movie, but I've somehow managed to miss actually reading any of his books. Though, I've got to be honest, the roundtable makes the book sound kinda unpleasant. I'm not sure if I'm up for a story about a misanthrope who may or may not reflect me. Maybe I'll give it a few weeks and see if I'm interested.

American Woman Nina Stone digs American Vampire and explains exactly why. I've been digging American Vampire, too, but didn't really have much to say beyond "Hey, yeah, that book is a good read. Scott Snyder, Stephen King, and Rafael Albuquerque are doing a great job." Nina zooms in on what's working. Skinner Sweet is pretty sleazy, the violence is appropriately brutal, and the straightforward nature of the book makes things that would be otherwise cheesy just kind of… normal. It works really well, and Albuquerque is really showing off his skill with the art. Two styles? Somebody give this guy an Eisner and a bonus on his paycheck.

Racial Politics of Regressive Storytelling This is a little late, but Chris Sims wrote a post about the racial politics of some of DC's recent storytelling decisions. I don't think that anyone actually believes that DC has any race-based motivation behind their recent trend of replacing legacy characters with their white ancestors, but it does make for some uncomfortable situations and questions. DC's thirst for Silver Age nostalgia has the unfortunate side effect of making their universe look whiter than it has recently. The death of Ryan Choi to make way for the theoretically more marketable Ray Palmer looks kinda silly when Ryan Choi has had appeared on the pretty awesome Batman: The Brave & The Bold cartoon. Food for thought, regardless.

Gonna Take This Level To Another Label Tim Callahan's interview with Joe Casey is amazing. Casey pulls no punches, minces no words, and [metaphor for speaks frankly on a number of subjects]. His brief stint on Superman/Batman was bizarrely marketed (Our Worlds At War tie-in?) and his last issue was rewritten heavily. He talks about the pitch process for comics, what kind of work he prefers to do these days (spoiler: the kind he owns) and his recent history in comics. This is one of the most entertaining interviews to come out of comics internet in a while, in part for the trash talk and in part because Casey is a generally entertaining interviewee.

Zodiac's Dark Reign.

Sidebar Joe Casey and Nathan Fox's Dark Reign Zodiac and Zeb Wells and Clay Mann's Dark Reign Elektra, were the best parts of that whole status quo. If you skipped those, give your local comic bookist about fifteen bucks each. You won't regret it.

Viz Layoffs There has been a lot of commentary (and hysteria) regarding the layoffs of 40% of the staff at Viz last week. I thought Melinda Beasi's take was by far the most interesting, with a really measured and optimistic take on the layoffs.

Digital Comics and Irresponsibility Tom Spurgeon has a great take on the likely path the big companies are going to take when it comes to digital comics. I don't know that I can accurately and succintly summarize his argument, but I think he's right. Rather than building an infrastructure that will support a cross-company iTunes-esque store that everyone can get their comics from, it's much more likely that someone is going to jump the gun and just do it on their own. I figure we'll all be saying "Welcome to Thunderdome? I guess?" in about six to twelve months. Look forward to it!

Constructicons Tim Callahan got a really interesting email from a reader that I don't know that I agree with at all, but it certainly prompted some really interesting discussion regarding the careers of Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. Geoff Johns as a Romantic is a particularly interesting point, too. I think that Moore and Morrison are two of the most important creators of the past thirty years or so, and there is definitely some anxiety of influence working in both directions, but I don't think that they are two sides of a coin.

All-New, Mostly-Different

Black Power, Man I'll be honest–I was skeptical when I heard that Fred Van Lente and Mahmud Asrar were creating a new Power Man for Marvel's Shadowland event. But… this interview with CBR pretty much took all of my concerns and skepticism and tossed them out the window. Shades & Comanche back in comics? Cottonmouth and Cockroach Hamilton? Misty Knight? Street level crime book with no angst? Oh Fred. You're writing this just for me, aren't you?

Shaman King Jason Thompson explains why Hiroyuki Takei is "the greatest shonen manga artist working today." A tall claim, but one he backs up pretty dang well with eight well-argued points. I've read some of Shaman King, maybe about four volumes worth, and I liked what I read. This is the kind of thing that makes me want to pick the series up again, though.

Free Comics! Agnes Garbowska launched a webcomic. Go read Waking Up Abbey. Thank me later. If she prints it, buy the book.

Glyph Comics Awards Johanna Draper Carlson covers the 2010 Glyph Comics Awards, and adds some commentary along with the list of winners. I co-judged these and I'm pretty proud of how they turned out.



David Brothers writes at 4thletter!, Comics Alliance, and iFanboy. What is that, like a triple agent? I think that is still punishable by hanging.


  1. Yeah, Zodiac #1 was my pick of the week.  Outstanding writing and art.  Best mini of the pseudo event.

  2. Yea Agnes!!  You go girl!

  3. I find the Chris Sims article rather agreeable overall, but really, citing Kyle Rayner as a minority character because a mixed-raced chracter was retconned to be his father? That doesn’t fly too well.

  4. The "whitening" of DC has been a popular discussion among my friends. The firestorm issue seems particularly odd, The blending of a white Firestorm and a black Firestorm produces a white Firestorm? I thought that was a bit risky on DCs part, Backpedaling on diversity? Funny how the lesbian Batwoman isnt replaced by her straigh silver age self. We joke that DC now stands for "Definitely Caucasian"

    I also dont think that this is actually racist on DCs part, but this is the company that segregated all its black kryptonians to one island on Krypton, and Then didnt allow Legion creators to make a science police character black, (they colored him purple and made him alien, i guess purple skin is ok) because they were planning on introducing a black character soon ( who was also from an all black island in the future that only appears in our dimension for short times. was That DCs idea of an advanced world, first put all the black people on an island, then next time we sorta boot the island out of the universe untill we need it) and didnt want to risk having too many black characters at once.

    Dont forget recently where the evil black lanterns were defeated by good white lanterns with their white power. How long before white lanterns wear pointed hoods and wear their symbol on an armband. 

  5. @ abstractgeek

    To be fair, I’m pretty sure the debacle of Tyroc and future black people in the Legion book was the result of a single racist editor. It’s hard to connect specific policies from thirty years ago to DC’s general outlook today anyway.

    And besides, the struggle between light and dark has been a staple in stories forever, and it just happened to lend itself very easily to the Green Lantern mythos. The "White Power" thing was ultimately nothing more than an amusing coincidence. Going from that to the Ku Klux Klan is a bit of a stretch.

  6. I love this; how you highlight a few awesome articles from around the web. All of which are absolutely fantastic. I am a homebody when it comes to the internet; visit a few familar sites and then just sit on IFanboy. I like how this has links to websites that I would normally never visit. Thats all I have

  7. Sadly, it’s not available to link to at present, but Valerie D’orazio wrote in her blog about working at DC as an editor and seeing first-hand the racial politicking, and now everyone is talking about Sims’ article when he, in a comment to the very same blog post of D’orazio’s, practically laughed at her. As I said, her blog, Occasional Superheroine is down or something, I get a message that it’s open to invited readers only now. Her last post was basically, "My blog is now closed" but with no mention of this invite system, which is not cool of her, but beside the point. Said point being: Chris Sims mocked her for discussing what is essentially the same issue (or perhaps more accurately, mocked her for defending herself against another blogger).

  8. When was that, captbastrd?

  9. @captbastrd You can not like someone and be against the same things they’re against. Odds are good that somebody out there loves the ’70s Luke Cage stories as much as I do, but is a completely reprehensible human being. C’est la vie, you know?

     @razorEdge757 Thanks man, good to know that this is appreciated.

  10. I would’ve said that it was just a coincidence if you say changed your half White, half Asian Green Arrow back to a white guy changed your half Irish half Mexican GL(and yes his Hispanic half had been shoe horned in but it did have an impact for people of color)  back into a white guy but DC has started to establish a pattern that can’t be denied.  It may have been unintentional but with Firestorm Why is he a white guy now? Why not have it switch back and forth between the two? Why kill of the Asian Atom?  Why does DC have to go back to the good old days when everything was right and white when during those same good old days the editors of the time saw that is was white and not right and decided to start making changes?

  11. @BornIn1142 i dont really think, any of this is explicit racism, especially the white/black lantern thing, that was just a joke, kind of a "when it rains it pours" for DC. Even the legion stories i mentioned could just as easily be an editor fearing a backlash agains too many black characters. It may be cowardice, but not racism (though the two can do plenty of damage together)

    It seems like may of the folks at DC (like Didio, Johns, Alex Ross) want DC to be the heroes of their youth, and basically the Super Friends, forgetting that the Super Friends also featured horrible sterotypes when they attempted diversity.  Im reminded of the conservatives who seem to pine away for the good old days when things were simpler, and easier and everyone was nicer. often forgetting (or not caring) that the good old days werent so good for people who are not white males.  

  12. how’d i do that?

  13. I dunno, but that’s pretty impressive.

     And you make a good point. Reminiscing about and paying homage to the Good Old Days kind of sucks for everyone who didn’t actually have Good Old Days.

  14. I haven’t bought Dan Clowes’ Wilson yet, but I know I will.  I opened up to a random page at the book store and could hardly contain the instant laughter. 

  15. @abstractgeek-kind of scary.