Monday, Monday: can’t trust that day.

This link has no relevance to the subject of comics. It does, however, relate to things near and dear to my heart and the hearts of many that read this blog. In a tangential sort of way, our friend David hipped me to this page of random beauty. The odd thing is that David alternately encourages and bemoans my interests and odd flights of fancy. There aren’t many truer friends around.

Anyway… I don’t really want to say more as the joy is in the discovery.

Check it out. It’s totally safe for work. I guarantee it.

Random Links for Your Weekend

It’s been a while, so here’s a healthy batch of linkage.  This’ll keep you busy for a while!

  • I’ve talked a lot about the Incredible Hercules, but less about his sidekick Amadeus Cho.  That’s unfortunate, because he brings a huge amount of heart to the book.  Comics Alliance gives us his 7 Most Brilliant Moments.
  • Chris Sims has a solid post on jumping into the Legion.  I can’t stand them them but Matt’s been getting sucked in, and sometimes you just have to love the people your friends love.
  • The finger-pointing and back-stabbing begins.  Sure, they’re trying to cover it up (for now), but it’s only a matter of time.  It will come to no surprise to anyone who followed the daga of the Image 10th Anniversary Hardcover that Todd McFarlane is behind the delays.
  • Jeff Parker talks Agents of Atlas.
  • In Transformers news, Shia La Boef (French for “Shia the Beef”) acknowledges that Transformers 2 (and the latest Indiana Jones) were stinky piles of crap.  In other “Dept of the Obvious News,” Megan Fox and Jive-Talking Robot Twins are out of TF3.
  • Is it just me, or does this Jonah Hex trailer look…I dunno…Awful?  Note to Hollywood: Yes, Megan Fox is a mostly-functional fembot, but go for human women who can act.  Still, she’s just what a Fathom movie would require. 
  • It’s a little too “here’s a story about me” for my taste, but The Onion also has a nice piece on Mystery Science Theater 3000, and what makes it so special.
  • They’ve also got a great interview with Grant Morrison, where he strikes just the right amount of honesty about how awesome All-Star Superman is.
  • In the interest of self-promotion while I’m sending you elsewhere in the Intarwebz, don’t forget to hit us up on Facebook.

And that’s it for this go-round.  I think I’ve set some sort of link record for myself here…

The LIST – Course Catalog for Xavier’s

Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters is the premier place for a young mutant to learn how to used his or her gifts. The courses are designed specifically to cater to the special needs of it’s student population.

Grooming 101 – It’s a special time in a youngster’s life when he or she discovers hair/ feathers/ scales/ bony protuberances growing in new places. This course is designed to teach young mutants how to properly manage this new growth. Topics include: Flea Bath or Sheep dip? Which is best for me?, Molting and Shedding, Man-scaping, and Do I Still need Clothes? Instructor: TBA

Resurrection 740 – An upper level seminar for 6th year students. This course is designed to address special concerns about coming back from the dead. Because of the sensitive and controversial subject matter, parental permission is required. Controlling Zombie Rage, Dealing with Doppelgangers, and Suspended Animation, Somewhat Dead, Mostly Dead and All Dead Where do I stand Legally? are among the seminars presented by Ms. Grey and Mr. Rasputin

Elemental Powers and You 380 – The third in a series of courses intended to assist students with power over fire, water (ice), weather, and earth. By the end of this course, students should be able to demonstrate basics of natural disasters and natural disaster abatement.

Healing 215 – I have a healing factor…Now where do I go???  Learn
what you can and can’t bounce back from, what will kill you, and what
will just piss you off.  Prof. Logan’s course will include guest
lectures by any mutant that’s shown up in the past 20 years.

Advanced Energy Projection 550 – Regardless of how energy leaves your
body, this class will teach you how to manage it.  If hands are your
thing, you’ll learn closed-fist vs finger-pointing methods.  If you
have an embarrassing orifice issue, you’ll learn how to re-route to a
more “acceptable” location.  Learn when a fraction of an inch is too
much or just enough!  Visors and containment suits are strongly
recommended but not required.


Blackbird Maintenance 410 – Learn the ins and outs of keeping your
plane in the air.  Topics include “rebuilding after explosions,”
“psychic shields and heat tiles,” “Stowaways?  Put ’em on the team!,”
and “preventative tire maintenance”.  Required for 4th-year students.
Pre-requisite for pilot courses.  Additional Quinjet credits can be
earned.

Monitor Duty 100 – This course is a requisite for all students entering the school. It will offer methods and tips on how best to use sophisticated computers and media-feeds to monitor global situations. In addition, students will become familiar with mutant and superhuman issues across the globe. This can count as a careers course for those with non-combative (read: useless) powers. Professor Ramsey can also offer counseling for students on off-planet careers as an extra-curricular activity.

Welcome to the X-Men 101 – Incoming students are required to take this
course as an orientation to life at Xavier’s. Procedures and protocol
are covered to aid the new student in a smooth transition into the
school. New students must also enroll in the weekly 2 hour lab: Hope
You Survive the Experience 102.

Team-Ups 510 – You meet, you fight, then…you team up!  Learn what to
do, what not to do, and how to keep your feelings from being hurt when
friend thinks you’re a foe.  Required for Crossovers 520.

Crossovers 520 – You’ve mastered the team-up?  Now what?  Join Prof.
McCoy as he takes you through the ins and outs of crossovers.  Whether
it’s with another team or another you, you’ll learn how to take care
of business and still make it home for 4th period.  Pre-Requisite:
Team-Ups 510.  Inter-Universe/Dimension thesis option available for
additional credit.

Quips 110 – Learn how to use humor to mask feelings of anxiety and
insecurity.  1/2 credit only

Game Tape: short-shorts

There’s not much new to talk about this week. I’ll be brief on the books that sound like I’m repeating myself.

Robinson’s Justice League of America is disjointed and unsure whether it wants to be a JSA or a JLA book. The pacing of the story is off here again too. Character wise, the team still isn’t a team; too many people acting as lone agents. So we’re still waiting for people and things to gel.

A couple of years ago in Charlotte, I got to talk to Jeff Parker, and we had a conversation about the Agents of Atlas characters appearing in an issue of What If…?. We specifically talked about 3-D Man/ Triathlete and his status as a retcon. So basically, “I’m a PC and Atlas #1 was my idea.” It’s a swell start with a good mystery going for it despite having a lack of Atlas members. The issue focuses on the current 3-D Man tracking our kookie gang. Woo and company play a secondary role. The back-up material is good too. The 2nd feature has some nice overtones of “Plan 9 from Outer Space.” And we’ll leave it at that.

On a whim, I picked up Avengers #1. It sets a more positive tone than we’ve seen in the Marvel Universe. It builds directly off of the events in Siege #4. Fences are being mended and people are figuring out their purpose in the world. Before Siege, I probably hadn’t picked up a Bendis book since Powers went on hiatus over at Image. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the sharpness of the story-telling. Will I pick up more of the series? We’ll see. From previews, I’m much more interested in Brubaker’s Secret Avengers. And since when did Spider-Man get such a potty mouth? Damns and $#*&!’s all over the place.

On a side note, it’s early in the game, but this company wide theme of “The Heroic Age” might live up to it’s name more so than any bright days that we’ve been promised.

This week’s GI Joe was a fun read. Muppet Snow White was solid too, but I’m not sold on this particular artist. It’s too cartoony.


Booster Gold — SECRETS!

Before I was part of the "Blue and Gold" team, I was on the "Red and Gold" team. Yup! Me and Ma Hunkle!

Secrets…

You know what's great about living in the past? The fresh, minty smells of the New York subways!

Secrets…

I found Gorilla City once, but when I knocked on the door they pretended they weren't home.

Secrets!

Rip Hunter makes me sleep curled up in a ball under the chair in his time bubble. Like a DOG!

Secrets!

Most people think I'm an unintelligent pinhead, but I'm really an unintelligent pinhead with a heart of gold. Take THAT!

SECRETS!!!

The New Writeness

Matt wrote a great piece on Superman last Tuesday, and how nobody gets what makes him great any more. I agree with almost all of it, but I do think there are a few writers out there who could get him right. Despite a lot of wailing and whining about dull books that shouldn’t be (I’m looking at you, Judd Winick), there are some really talented writers creating some of the most original books on the stands right now…And they’re doing it with superheroes and for the Big 2.  If Warren Ellis, Garth Ennis, and James Robinson represent the last generation of great comic writers, here’s the new generation of folks taking comics in their best direction.

  • Jeff ParkerAnyone who’s spent even a few minutes here knows that some days are just odes to Jeff Parker, but there’s a good reason for that.  More than anyone else, Parker is making comics FUN again.  Sure, there’s a time and place for angst and darkness, but comics don’t have to be JUST that.
Places to Start: Agents of Atlas, hands-down the best comic book on the stands right now.
  • Jonathan Hickman From critically-plauded Secret Warriors to the incredible new S.H.I.E.L.D. series, Hickman knows how to take a Big Idea and infuse it with personality.  Even his Dark Reign FF mini-series had heart and personality in what would have otherwise been a typical romp into the Negative Zone.  He gets the most credit here for making Franklin and Valeria actually interesting.

Places to Start: Fantastic Four, where Hickman turned the traditionally-boring First Family of Marvel back into the madcap adventurers they are.

  • Jason Aaron I was surprised as anyone else to find out exactly how good Ghost Rider could be when I read his run on the title last year. Aaron focuses on the darker side of the Marvel U and applies a grindhouse sensibility that works remarkably well.  His book for Vertigo, Scalped, is supposed to be incredible, and is at the top of my list to check out next.

Places to Start: Ghost Rider or Wolverine: Weapon X.  His second arc, with Wolverine in an asylum, was one of the scariest things I’ve ever read.

  • Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak Both of these gentlemen write fantastic books on their own, but their coming together on Incredible Hercules created a two-headed, four-armed monster that writes some of the best (and funniest) action scenes in comics.
Places to Start: The Incredible Hercules, featuring the strongest man alive and his sidekick Amadeus Cho, the 7-th smartest person in the world.
What makes these guys stand out so much?  It definitely starts with the Big Idea.  Whether it’s assembling a new pantheon to the kill Skrull gods or revealing there’s a Ghost Rider out there on a shark, there’s always a new idea that’s FUN, rather than “Batman fights everyone in the Rogue’s Gallery because I want to use them and then he meets up with Superman but they’re friends now”.

It used to be that on a good day, out of smart, funny, and action-packed you might get two out three, but not any more.  And comics is all the better for it.  I just wish I could figure out why these guys are almost exclusively working for Marvel right now and not, say, writing Superman.

Am I missing anyone?  Am I an idiot for not mentioning Rick Remender?  Or Andy Diggle?  Chastise my lack of vision in the comments section…