This Week’s Comics

A ridiculously light week this time around.  Here are this week’s new and noteworthy titles…minus Garfield, of course.

  • MIND THE GAP #1 – Not that I know what it’s about, but MtG is running the risk of being dangerously over-hyped.  However, coming out during such a light week (and backed by Image’s insanely good track record lately) I may still give it a shot.
  • PIGS #7
  • SUPREME #64 – Here’s where we really see if I keep Supreme on my pull list.  Alan Moore’s scripts have run out and Erik Larsen takes over the writing details and goes back the “Superman as a dick” mode.  Either he finds a novel new angle or I drop the book.
  • DAREDEVIL #12 – The best comic out right now, hands down.  The only downside is that the crossovers have included $3.99 comics I haven’t picked up yet, so there are still a few issues I haven’t read.
  • TEEN BOAT HC GN – The ANGST of Being a Teen…The THRILL of Being a Boat!  Sign me up!

No reviews this week, but don’t forget this Saturday is Geek Christmas, FREE COMIC BOOK DAY!

You Should Be Reading: Hark! A Vagrant

I’m pretty bad about reading webcomics.  Sure, I know they’re the big new thing, but with so much other stuff to keep track of online they wind up on the bottom of my surfing pile.  Ironically, I tend to pick them up when the print collections come out because, obviously, I do everything the wrong way.

And so it is with Kate Beaton’s webcomic Hark! A Vagrant, which I just recently snagged after hearing too many good things about it to keep ignoring.  And sure, there are the occasional superhero gags, like this great one about my buddy Aquaman:

But it’s just as likely to be about Canadian historical figures and Victorian literature, as evidenced by this amazing strip based around Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper.” At first I thought I had to be misreading something, or misremembering some long-ago reading assignment but no, Beaton went there.  And thank goodness she did, because there aren’t nearly enough comics that appeal to the literary nerd in me and still manage to be outright hilarious.

While there’s likely a chance the literary/historical focus could alienate some readers who are more into comics featuring Final Fantasy sprites, I found it a breath of fresh air.  Much like R. Sikoryak’s Masterpiece Comics, I found the pieces much easier to appreciate when I was familiar with the material they reference, but still easy to follow and get the joke even if I didn’t know the Canadian politician in question or (I know, I know) read Jane Eyre. 

Please, check out Hark! A Vagrant.  Besides, unless you’re weird like me, it’s free!

Science FAIL

The best origins (ie: everyone Peter Parker has EVER come in contact with) come from doing science…Or more specifically, doing science badly.  For every functioning Doctor Octopus or Parasite there’s a Human Tongue or Crazy Quilt taking up oxygen that the rest of us could be using.  This week we present Lesser-Known Comic Book Science Mishaps.

If you hang out with this guy, expect a science-related mishap sooner rather than later.

  • Vincent Van Dome’s passion was to build a machine to transport him beyond the vail of life and death and back again. Little is known about what exactly happened. Suffice it to say, he succeeded in inventing a device that gave him a one way trip.
  • Gaining badger powers after a prison experiment gone awry, Rick Jackson fights against crime and for equal rights as the Gay Badger. (Note: this is different from the Golden Age Gay Badger, who had a totally different deal.)
  • Dayshift janitor Wendel Mintz accidentally ate an experimental fried pie at the Hostess Labs. He gained the proportionate strength and digestibility of a high caloric snack cake. Not to mention that he now smells like cinnamon apples.
  • An explosion at the petting zoo gave Milton Koontz the powers of every animal in his exhibit.  Now he fights never-ending boredom (and not much else) as the Heavy Petter.
  • While attempting to stop a robbery at the Purina test laboratories, rent-a-cop Jeff Perro was forced to eat an experimental “vitamin-fortified” dog chow. Never intended for human consumption, the chow altered Jeff’s brain chemistry. He now solves petty crimes with his new hunting and herding instincts as “Golden Retreiver.”
  • When nuclear fallout touches down on Max Danish after an excessively-long bath, his skin becomes permanently wrinkled. Adopting a guise as a senior citizen, he commits crime as The Prune.
  • While doing science in his home laboratory, something happened to Joe Blank when a kajigger went kablewy. The vague accident drove Blank to a life of some manner of crime as “That Guy.” He would later join a group of similarly non-specific villains called “Those People.”
  • An explosion at the library (it happens!) fuses two secret fornicators into one body!  They harness the power of Information Sciences to fight crime (and each other) as the Bibliophile!
  • Inspired by her hero, Ant-Man, Georgette Lewis set out to develop a helmet to allow her to communicate with bees. Her hope was to use them to solve and fight crimes. With limited to no expertise in electronics and micro circuitry, to date the best she has mustered is a helmet allowing her to communicate with other humans.

Game Tape

There comes a time in a man’s life when he looks back wistfully and reviews the choices that he has made. For me that time happens most Thursday. This is the Game Tape; let’s review shall we?

First up is a look at the best issue of any book that I’ve read in a long time. Goon #39 points out every gimmicky things that Powell sees as being wrong with big company comics today, and for my money he’s not wrong. From reboots and seeming pointless costume changes to poor story craft and jab at a certain rainbow corps, this issue lampoons with a sharp wit.

Next up was an enjoyable done-in-one issue of FF. Without going into detail, this is Peter Parker and Johnny Storm being Peter and Johnny. One’s frustrated, and one is oblivious. I won’t spoil it, but the last two pages are the funniest I’ve seen in a Marvel book since Ego the Living Planet fell in love with Earth. The last page is so great and weird that I’m probably going to use it as my facebook profile pic.

Secret Avengers #26 was fairly meh. It had potential and great art, but it wasted an inordinate amount of time throwing Thor and some b-listers at the Phoenix Force.

All-Star Western #8’s minimal use of the simpering Dr. Arkham was a pleasant read. It’s hampered a little by plot exposition, but it was a decent read.

I also found a copy of Supreme #63. It was as enjoyable as I remembered earlier issues to be. That’s certainly a pleasant surprise, as I’ve recently been burned on things I’ve reread early last decade.

Metamorpho… SECRETS

I haven't hung out with ULTRA the Multi-alien since that time some chippy thought I was his dad. WTH?!?

secret…

Turns out there's a tiny amount of Solaranite in the human body. Yup... solaranite.

Secret…

I love crapping gold nuggets.

SECRET…

I used to like turning into a fart when Stagg and I were alone in an elevator. He hated that.

SECRET…

I hate that Firestorm kid. Puffy sleeves? Really kid?

SECRETS!

This Week’s Comics

Monday in the Spring!  The time when a young man’s thoughts turn to love, and a young geek’s heart looks to New Comic Day.  Here are this week’s new and noteworthy releases.

  • BLOODSTRIKE #27 – I thought the Bloodstrike relaunch was decent, but it’s also the Extreme title that stayed most faithful to it’s original concept.  In most circumstances that would be a plus, but since we’re talking about Extreme here, the more a title strays the better I’m finding it.  So I think I’ll pass.
  • DAREDEVIL #11
  • FF #17
  • GOON #39
  • POPEYE #1 (OF 4) – I mention this specifically for certain Popeye-loving readers of the blog.  I’ll pick it up because Roger Langridge is writing, but it will have to be unquestionably strong for me to keep going with it.
  • TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES ONGOING #9
  • TWELVE #12 (OF 12) – I mention this in the hopes that Matt will let me know how long it’s been since the first issue came out.  It’s got to be closing in on 4 years, doesn’t it?
  • ROGER LANGRIDGES SNARKED #7 – It feels like we’re starting to sail toward a conclusion.  And while that’s undoubtedly a good thing (all stories need resolution, after all), I hope it’s not an ENDING.

I’ve apparently betrayed my inability to repeat myself ad infinitum by not being able to come up with more to say about DD, FF, or TMNT, but rest assured they still come highly recommended. That’s it for this week.  What looks good to you?

The… NSFW… List

As promised this weeks list is the poll winner: Superheroes that are also entries on Urban Dictionary. Turns out there are quite a few actual entries on Urban Dictionary that are comic and superhero related. As you might expect, most of them are graphically (frequently offensively) related to sex. Soooo… I’ll post links to the safe entries here, and I’ll leave you to look up the others on your own… take offense at your own risk.

 

Trust me on this one gang; this is nothing you want to know.

Squirrel Girl

Comics

X-Men

Wonder Woman

Human Torch

Wolverine

Invisible Woman

Green Lantern

Captain America*

Optimus Prime

Cobra Commander

* This was the only non-sexual, non-comic related entry on Cap. An advanced technique of table hockey, in which a player throws his or her mallet, similar to how Captain America throws his shield, at an unprotected puck lying close to the opposing player’s goal. Opinions on the legality of this technique vary: some say the mallet crossing the halfway line is an illegal move, but others contend that while the mallet is in motion, the throwing player’s hands do not cross the line.

“Dude, you just Captain America’d that ho!”

Do not look up Doc Ock.. you will hate yourself.

Denver Comic Con: A Legend is Born!

As regular readers know, I’ve been pretty pumped about the Denver Comic Con (two words, thank you) and Literary Convention, set to come to the Mile High City in June.  We got the chance to chat with Matt Deragisch, DCC’s Social Media Coordinator, to talk about the con, the literary conference, and try twisting his arm into giving us a guest exclusive.

L.E.M.U.R. – There have been plenty of hotel cons and indie gatherings in the Denver area, but as far as I know this is the first time anyone has tried to put together something of this size and scope.  Why is now the right time for a large-scale convention in Denver and how did DCC come about?

Matt Deragisch – Now is the right time for this kind of comic convention because the comic scene in the greater Denver area and Colorado at large has been brewing. It’s time to showcase that body of interest. There’s so many different angles and interests that come from the people organizing this convention, yet they all share the same passion for comics. That’s the place this convention is coming from as it’s all to support the Comic Book Classroom.

L.E.M.U.R. – Since the con is a fundraiser for it, what is Comic Book Classroom?

MD – Comic Book Classroom is a 6 week curriculum where students learn to read or advance their reading proficiency through the use of comics then are tasked to create a comic themselves. CBC uses state standards and has put together a curriculum that is being asked for across the state, and starting to be asked for outside the state faster than materials and teachers can be tapped. There’s clearly a need and a desire for this program and part of Denver Comic Con is to showcase that.

L.E.M.U.R. – Comic conventions are no longer only the province of San Diego or Chicago.  Other than a good cause, what will DCC offer that no other con has?

MD – Passion. We’re not another ReedPOP convention, or a simple vendor floor convention now in Denver. Those cons are great as well, but at the end of the day everything they’re doing is to throw a great show and make some money. We also want to have a great show, but we’re raising money for Comic Book Classroom, nobody behind this con will directly make any money from Denver Comic Con. We care about comics, we care about the program we’re promoting. We care about putting together the best show we can possibly give Denver. I think our attendees will feel that difference come June.

L.E.M.U.R. – Most people think of comic cons as just a fun weekend, but there’s also a literary conference attached to this one.  What was the motivation behind adding the literary component, and what is the goal of those three days? Is it a lit conference attached to a con or is it the other way around?

MD – The Literary Conference is its own animal. It takes place June 13-15, Wednesday through Friday, while the Convention will 15-17 Friday through Sunday. Dr. Christina Angel has been the real heart and soul of the Literary Conference. I think it’s great that we can have this component as well, to show  the literary potential held in comics. With this conference in one hand and supporting the Comic Book Classroom in the other, all being headed by Denver Comic Con, we really embody this full argument that comics are a noteworthy medium. We can get people reading with comics, they can be great forms of entertainment and fanfare, then we can show that they have the same potential for artistic and literary creativity as any other medium.

Good luck talking to Jason Aaron; I'll be the one hogging all his time asking questions about Shark Rider.

L.E.M.U.R. – What kind of community/retailer involvement do you have lined up?

MD – We are working very closely with local retailers to make sure this convention will be as successful as it can be. We know that our first line of interest, and our most vocal supporters will be all the local comic book stores. Ideally we can make a big enough spark locally to garner some new customers as well, and that’s what the retailers are hoping for, it creates a great synergy. We’re even working with locally started Drawer Boxes to make the most of what the local scene can offer.

We’re tied to the community beyond that though. We have ties to the Denver Drink and Draw, and to Homebrew Comics from Boulder. There’s a lot of different people from different walks of life working to make sure this convention succeeds.

L.E.M.U.R. – Which panels are you looking forward to the most?

MD – I’m going to break form on this question and answer this personally, as we’ll be covering so much fandom between our animation, media, and comic guests. If you look closely we have an amazing line of Vertigo talent and seeing if we can fit all of that talent in one room would be a blast. Also Zach Howard who’s a local talent did the art for an amazing IDW mini, “The Cape” and having the opportunity to hear him talk about that process is something I’m looking forward to.

Come get your mint-in-box Star Trek: The Next Generation Wesley Crusher action figure signed...

L.E.M.U.R. –  What kind of experience can fans expect on the convention floor? Publishers? Retailers? Pros?

MD – You’ll see the Retailers, Pros, local artists, and a little bit more. Despite everything we’re still a first year con. We’ve had a lot of interest and it’s been one of our hardest struggles to try and get publishers on the floor. We have a great deal lined up and are fitting in everything we can, I feel positive that we’ll have something lined up by the convention weekend. Something you can expect to see is the graduates of the Comic Book Classroom on the floor signing their work side by side with the pros.

L.E.M.U.R. – What are you most looking forward to showcasing?

MD – The community. Having lived in Colorado my entire life it always felt odd that Denver didn’t have a big comic convention. Having the chance to show that there is a community and there is an interest here in Colorado is huge, and it feels like a victory to see this whole event coming together.

L.E.M.U.R. –  There have been several big-name guests announced from all areas: Jason Aaron, Mike Allred, Billy West, Wil Wheaton…Can we convince you to tell us someone who hasn’t been announced yet?

MD – I wish! I really do, but when we announce and how we announce guests can be ‘a thing’ with agents and contracts involved.

While he’s already been announced I can say our most overlooked guest is Noah Van Sciver He has a graphic novel about Lincoln coming out soon called, “The Hypo”. He also has an amazing indy comic series named “Blammo”. He’s even still turning out weekly strips for the Westword, well worth your time to check out his work.


Denver Comic Con runs June 15-17 and the Literary Convention is June 13-15.  Tickets, guest lists, and more info can be found at denvercomiccon.com.  For the latest breaking info, follow @DenverComicCon on Twitter and hit their page on Facebook.