Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Still trying (and probably failing) to catch up

-I think I'm starting to realize why the out-of-context wacky panel is so popular among comics bloggers--it's easy content on days when you have little to say, yet you feel obligated to post. Unfortuantely, the scanner is in my wife's office; otherwise, you'd be looking at a panel from Epileptic or maybe House with a hilarious caption. ("Way to go, spazzmoid" or "Oooh, that's gotta hurt!" would work for either, right?)

-Man, I've made that joke before, haven't I? Was a week a long enough vacation?

-Speaking of that break, I'm still not caught up on the San Diego news. Was the announcement of Warren Ellis on Astonishing X-Men really the big news? Cause there's not a whole lot to say about that which isn't crushingly obvious, really. And the Engine is shutting down? I can't say I ever went there unless Spurgeon or MacDonald or someone linked to a thread there. I just found it very difficult and unpleasant to navigate. Plus it was, you know, a message board. I thought the internet had evolved past these things (and I'm guessing--SPECULATING--Ellis agrees, and that his next major web presence will be via a blog, probably in podcast format or some similar, iPhone-friendly format).

Bonus Ellis content: I'm guessing Bill Willingham is not a fan of Transmetropolitan, based on these comments (re: his doubts about pitching Fables):

"I didn't think it was a really good Vertigo book, since all of their books kind of had a universal look at the time, of pouty teenagers with lots of face shrapnel and tattoos, railing against The Man."

-So I've read exactly one book from this week so far--Batman #667. I assume that, for the next week, bloggers will be occupied with identifying which artist JH Williams is homaging with each character. On my first read, the only one I recognized for certain was Howard Chaykin.* I'm pretty sure Dave Gibbons is in there somewhere as well, but I'm not sure about the rest. I almost want to say Steve Rude and Mike Mignola, but those seem wrong somehow. Anyone?

*Speaking of whom: I flipped through that coffee table book featuring cartoonists in their work spaces, and that's not how I thought he would look.

-I'm still planning on doing the Rob Liefeld retrospective, starting this weekend probably. It looks like the timing is just right, given his impending return to Image. Anyway, I was planning on diving right into the New Mutants material, but it occurs to me that he first gained notoriety on the Hawk & Dove mini. For those who were Liefeld fans back in the day: should I start there?

-I guess that's it, because a quick browse of the usual sites isn't yielding much in the way of viable topics. Are things that slow? Is there some kind of interconventionary torpor plaguing the blogosphere?

EDIT: Okay, here's something (via The Beat): a recap of the "Comics Are Not Literature" panel which I found to be the only really compelling reason for anyone to go to San Diego (in a purely hypothetical sense). I have to say--it seems a little disappointing. "Comics need a space to just be awesome" is not the level of discourse I would have hoped for. But then you read this in the comments:

"Comics not literature? Read "The Death of Captain Marvel" by Jim Starlin and get back to me..."

Oh man. But that's Newsarama for you--I'm way more disappointed by the comments left at The Beat, which (of course) has a much more intelligent readership. Some people just can't seem to understand this is not a highbrow/lowbrow question, despite repeated attempts to explain this to them. There's also a lot of "Aaargh! Semantics! Me am no like!" there. (I don't understand the mentality which causes people to run away from semantics. How on earth do you go about expressing yourself to others if you're so thoroughly repelled by examining the nature of the words you're speaking? Stupid modernists.) And there's also a lot of people wanting to bury their heads in the sand and hide from questions which grown-ups might ask about comics. Very depressing. Maybe my expectations aren't really in line with reality, I don't know.


Jog said...

I read that whole 'pictures of cartoonists' thing at the bookstore... really got me thinking. Was Tony Millionaire's shot a wry joke, or does he really have the drawing board set up right behind what looks to be his front door? Also: why was Moebius on a beach? Now I keep thinking he's got his table set up on the deck of his sea-faring headquarters, just out of the frame...

Dick Hyacinth said...

I didn't see the Millionaire photo (or at least I don't remember it). I did notice that Alex Toth was just kind of hanging out in a doorway and concocted a half-baked story about Toth refusing admission to his studio to all but the most accomplished of artists, punching out the would-be photographer in the process. I'll try to study it in greater detail when I go out to buy Pro Football Prospectus 2007 and Reading Comics next week.

Dan Coyle said...

God, I hate Bill Willingham so much.

Thom said...

I think the Hawk and Dove mini would be a good starting point for a Liefeld Retrospective.

Dick Hyacinth said...

The only Vertigo books I've really ever liked were Fables, Preacher, Hellblazer as written by Ennis, and The Other Side. (Bear in mind that, unlike most, I skipped past Vertigo on the way to Fantagraphics/D&Q). So Willingham is all right with me, cause I don't give a fuck about his run on Robin.

Anonymous said...

If memory serves Liefeld did a fill-in issue of X-men, then Hawk&Dove, which was probably the first thing he was 'noticed' for. H&D would be best (and now i'm looking forward to it).

Dan Coyle said...

He also did a Jennifer Morgan backup in The Warlord #131. Two issues later... THE BOOK WAS CANCELED! Coincidence?

Paul said...

No fan of Invisibles, Dick?

Dick Hyacinth said...

You know, I've never read it. I always meant to, but there's so much stuff out there, you know? This does remind me, however, that I like several other Morrison Vertigo series: Animal Man, Doom Patrol, We3, Seaman, and Vimanarama. That's the problem with making sweeping statements--they're rarely accurate.

Matt Brady said...

What about Shade the Changing Man? 100 Bullets? Sandman is a notable absence, but I'm sure you didn't forget about it, so I'll assume you didn't like it. Same with Y: The Last Man. Proposition Player? Grip: The Strange World of Men? Rogan Gosh? Nevada? Happydale?

Oh, and it's Seaguy, not Seaman. The latter was that weird Dreamcast game that I've never played but always freaks me out when I see pictures.

Dick Hyacinth said...

I've always been interested in playing Seaman. That or I'm manifesting some sublimated desire. Hmmm.

I haven't read a lot of those comics. Never been very interested in Sandman. I was only 11 or 12 years old when it started, so I didn't get in on the ground floor. By the time I was of an age where I might have been interested, I skipped right ahead to stuff like Hate and Eightball. I've tried checking it out from the library, but I just never get around to reading it. Funny enough, I kind of think I'd be more likely to check it out now that it's been recolored.

I haven't heard of a lot of the other titles you've mentioned. 100 Bullets might be up my alley, but I've never liked anything else I've read by Azzarello, but that's all superhero stuff. Well, I also read the first issue of Loveless, but I didn't love it (ha ha). It seems like the kind of thing I would like, though. I should probably give it another shot.

You know how I feel about Y, I think. Transmetropolitan--read the first trade and couldn't stand it. I really dislike cyberpunk as a sub-genre, and tacking a Hunter S. Thompson analogue didn't make me like it any better. Also, I think I share some of Willingham's concerns. I never read Shade, though I'd be more willing to check it out than other Vertigo books. Didn't like DMZ--couldn't finish the first issue. What's that leave? Books of Magic? Not for me. The Losers--got the first trade sitting on my bookshelf, never got around to reading it. Lucifer? Read the first trade, hated it. Testament? Read the first issue, didn't do anything for me.

I don't know, maybe I'm just hard to please.

Matt Brady said...

Yeah, Seaman seems weird but interesting. I heard they wanted to do a sequel, but I don't know if anything ever came of it.

I like 100 Bullets a lot, but I can understand if people don't like Azzarello. He hasn't done much superhero stuff that has been too good, I think. I liked Cage and Banner though. I was reading Loveless at first, but it got so I couldn't follow it from issue to issue. I might try to catch up in trades someday.

I forgot about The Losers. That's a pretty good one, in a crazy action movie style.

As for the others I mentioned, Proposition Player is a miniseries by Bill Willingham. I liked it. Grip is a mini by Gilbert Hernandez. Nevada is by Steve Gerber and Phil Winslade. Happydale was a two-issue mini by Seth Fisher (maybe he only illustrated it; I don't remember). Rogan Gosh is a weird one by Peter Milligan and Brendan McCarthy. Jog wrote about it for his first Savage Critics column, I think.

Oh, and if you like Rick Veitch, he has his crazy Army@Love series coming out right now. That one's fun.