Pay Attention! Comics News Round-up 08/16/10

-Soundtrack Jeff Lester and Graeme McMillan got their Wait, What? podcast on iTunes. It's a mix of comics talk, britpop, and everything under the sun. Queue up the most recent episode and let's dig into the news.

-Hell on Earth Hey, who out there picked up B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: New World #1 last week? If you didn't pick it, that's okay. Just go ahead and call your comic shop right now and reserve a copy. You won't regret it. Here's a preview for you to skim while you make that call.

-Get That Man A Cough Drop The farther I get from The Dark Knight, the less I like it. It does a great job of wrapping you up in its drama while it's on, but when I have time to think about what I just watched, I feel like it doesn't hold together half as well as it should. Todd Alcott disagrees, and has a pretty convincing argument for his position, too. The stuff about unintended alliances is a pretty good catch, and so is Alcott's look at the strong strain of deceit running throughout TDK. I still don't know if I ever want to watch it again (I probably will, because I bought the Blu-ray while under the influence of TDK hysteria like everyone else), but this is good food for thought.

IDW: Silent Hill-There Was A Hole Here. It's Gone Now. Konami's Silent Hill is pretty much the only survival horror series I actually liked. The first was massively creepy, and the sequence set in the school made me put it down for about four months. The second game had the best use of slowly creeping horror I've seen in a game, with several off-handed things that were like icepicks to the heart if you spent any time thinking about them. The comics… not so much. This interview with IDW editor and writer Tom Waltz fascinating, because while he stops short of saying as much, the implication is clear. The prior series just kinda pulled imagery and monsters from the various games, which is the wrong tack to take. The horror in Silent Hill is intensely personal, rather than being composed of generic baddies. Waltz recognizing this fact and promising to do better… well, I'm interested in a Silent Hill comic now. Well done.

-Tastemaking I remember being a rookie on comics internet a handful of years ago and eating up recommendations from various people. I'm pretty sure it was an email or posting from Warren Ellis that put me onto Scott Pilgrim, and now that I've gotten older, I've become much more interested in the idea of "tastemakers." So, Chris Butcher's frank post about a new book (Skullkickers) and tastemaking (with regards to Scott Pilgrim) was right up my alley. He touches on pimping books from friends (just be honest), he has a good example of how to sell books to different kinds of people in his last paragraph, and the post is really just a nice example of someone promoting things they like. (Buy B.P.R.D., King City, and Afrodisiac!)

Peanuts is da best

-It was a dark and stormy night. Click this, go to the second legend, and read it. Thank me later.

-Mlik & Cheese: Odyssey Jim Rugg draws Evan Dorkin's Milk & Cheese beating up Neal Adams's Batman. Is there any part of that sentence that isn't completely wonderful?

Peepo Choo! Sugoi!

-Let's All Make Comics! Jog looks at Bakuman and Peepo Choo, a couple of new manga offerings that are notable for different reasons. Bakuman is the next book from the creators of Death Note, which means that it has a freight train's worth of high expectations behind it, while Peepo Choo is the latest work from former Tokyopop OEL creator Felipe Smith, who ended up being so good at what he does that he got an actual job in Japan doing comics. I was never much for Death Note, and Bakuman looks to indulge in a different type of questionable gender politics as that book, but Peepo Choo sounds like just the kind of mean, funny, and brutal comic I enjoy. For further info on Peepo Choo, check out Ed Sizemore's review, Erica Friedman's take on it, or Kate Dacey's negative take.

Face it, MJ. Sucks to be you.

-Mistah J My buddy Esther Inglis-Arkell points out something you might not have realized. If you want to be a love interest in a comic… be the love interest of a villain, not a hero. Sure, you risk jail, but you're drastically decreasing your chances of getting kidnapped and tossed off a roof. Just sayin'.

-Imagine A Boot Stamping On A Face There's a book where people gain powers due to the fact that they ingest breast milk. It's called The Qwaser of Stigmata, and Kate Dacey reviewed it so I didn't have to. The link's safe for work, by the by. The book sounds like it has several things that are perfectly fine on their own (somewhat slipshod religious iconography, wacky plotting, fan service) but at some point it just tipped over into yuck. But hey, if this is your kinda thing… well.

Gideon you jerk!-Matthew Brady Gets It Together Matthew Brady points out a few things he enjoys about Scott Pilgrim. This kind of bullet point-style review is one of those things I really enjoy picking up and have been trying to get better at, myself.

-Help! I Need Somebody Who wants to help Tom Spurgeon identify the subject of the single most important news story in comics news history? Thanks in advance.

-A Drunken Dream Like shojo manga? David Welsh has a brief look at Moto Hagio's A Drunken Dream. This book is probably going to be my formal introduction to shojo manga (been there, done that, raced home to watch Sailor Moon on Toonami), so I'm expecting big things.

-One Piece Rules Everything Around Me Anime News Network reports on some completely unsurprising news about Eiichiro Oda's One Piece. Shueisha, Oda's publisher, is printing 3.2 million copies of the 59th volume, beating out volume 58 for most copies printed.

-Dear Publishers Follow Brigid Alverson's advice… or else.


David Brothers writes for 4thletter! and is the snobbiest snob to ever have snobbed. I mean, honestly. What is it with this guy?


  1. What does Death Note have to do with gender politics?

  2. Skullkicker looks great – just added it to my pull list.

  3. @BornIn Death Note was basically a really subtle yoai comic, so you can read some gender politics stuff in

  4. A term like "gender politics" implies actual exploration of gender roles or some kind of concrete message. I don’t see how it’s applicable to a series with one or two homoerotic scenes and the standard veneer of shonen sexism.

  5. The how of Silent hill did not come from the visual aspects, but the sound design. Even when the productions value wee superlow, on the PS1, the ringing static of the radio sent chills down my spine. Now I have grown up, and have gone all cynical and do not believe in ghosties and ghoulies anymore, so playing that again does not give me the same feeling, but it still is the the scariest exprience of my life. You can’t recreate it visually.

    Another game that used sound to great effect was Bioshock.

  6. @BornIn1142 Having (or discussing) gender politics isn’t necessarily delivering a polemic on Venus vs Mars. All texts have some level of gender politics in them, because all of them take a position on preconceptions, attitudes, whatever whatever whatever. Death Note has famously awful female characters and terrible sexism. Bakuman includes a several pages long conversation about the worth of certain types of women, and while it maybe doesn’t reflect the values or opinions of the author, it does set up something worth talking in the book itself. That counts as gender politics. Your definition is needlessly narrow.

     @muddi900 Oh, yeah, I hadn’t even thought about that in a while. The thing that creeped me out the most in the first game was the little see-thru children who’d crawl around your feet. In game 2… I’m not sure, but probably the quote I used for the link–"There was a hole here. It’s gone now." It was in a bar around halfway through the game, I think. Something about it just creeps me right out.

  7. @ brothers

    "Death Note has famously awful female characters and terrible sexism."

    What? No, it doesn’t. It’s not "famous" for that at all. Female characters being useless is kind of a standard for shonen manga. Death Note’s depiction of women is pretty bad, but not noteworthy at all in context. Obviously, using words like "awful" and "terrible" is clear hyperbole. Naruto is about ten thousand times worse, and gets the appropriate flak for it.

  8. @BornIn1142 How is it not noteworthy at all in context? Yes, there’s a certain level of sexism in a lot of shonen, but not all shonen manga have crap women. There’s absolutely no reason why the sexism and crap portrayals aren’t worth pointing out when they happen. In this case, "awful" and "terrible" aren’t hyperbole at all, they’re perfectly acceptable value judgments, no different from "good," "bad," and "mediocre."

     No one is saying that Death Note is "famous" (why the scare-quotes?) for being sexist. It’s famous for being a pretty enjoyable and ridiculous story. However, when people talk about Death Note (and by "people" I’m meaning "people on the internet and in real life that I have discussed Death Note with"), they tend to also talk about how odious the treatment and portrayal of women is in the series. It’s no different than how Dragon Ball Z has famously long fight scenes or how The Matrix Reloaded has that famously awful exposition toward the end.

    I’m not really sure why you’re nitpicking my (perfectly valid) word choice, when it seems like you agree with me, more or less?

  9. Half-life 2 also had great sound usage.