This Week’s Comics

For some reason, I’m not feeling especially fired up with this week, but there are still solid comics coming out this Wednesday.  Here’s this week’s new and noteworthy titles.

  • ADVENTURE TIME #3
  •  FANTASTIC FOUR #605 – Last month’s issue was $3.99 and now this month’s* is back to $2.99.  Does anyone know what the difference is?Was the last issue double-sized?  Is marvel just assuming (probably correctly) that nobody looks at cover prices?
  • GLORY #25 – I’m seriously digging this book, and unlike many Image titles, the mystery isn’t unfolding, the story is.  A nice change of pace.
  • SAGA #2 – Brian K. Vaughn’s new series spent the first couple pages making me think it was a rehash of Preacher before turning into a really interesting sci-fi story.  I’m digging it a lot, as Vaughn fills the pages with new ideas.  I’ll probably pick up the first arc as floppies before going to TPB’s, though.  I suspect it will read better that way.
  • SAUCER COUNTRY #2 – Paul Cornell’s Saucer Country is a strange mix, taking the best parts of West wing and building a comic around it.  In this case, it’s a female, hispanic governor running for president. The catch?  She’s been abducted by aliens multiple times.  It’s an intriguing concept, but will have to speed up to keep me.  Like Saga, I’ll stick around for the first arc, then probably move to TPB’s or move on.
  • THIEF OF THIEVES #3

News also came out today that DC is launching a new title called National Comics, a series of done-in-one stories flushing out the new DCU by telling stories of lesser DC characters.  This is a great idea, but also admits to the flaw of launching a new universe today.  With the current model more or less requiring 6-issue story arcs for collections, it could take decades for the new world to fill out.  When DC launched it’s post-Crisis reboot, done-in-one stories were still a big part of comics, so each month a new character could be introduced or rounded out.  This meant in a year you got about 12 stories per title, so it was fairly easy to get a sense of the DCU pretty quickly.  Now, with six-issue arcs the norm it will take SIX TIMES AS LONG to get to the same place.  It’s a ridiculous way to universe-build, and we need only look at Crossgen as proof.  DC would never have been able to pull this off without characters we’re already attached to.

In other news I also took the time to get a good look at DC’s cover dress this weekend, and man, is it dull!  It looks like it was put together by comic-designing robots.

I can’t help but feel it’s cruel (and repetitive) to keep dumping on DC at every turn, but I get the vibe that DC has turned into a cynical trend-machine and can’t I keep it in check all the time.  That’s it for me this week, what looks good to you?

Get Down and Get Funky

Everybody and their mother knows about (and has most likely done) the Batusi.  “Doin’ the Metamorpho” was it’s own craze in the Swingin’ Sixties.  But more superheroes than that had their own dances.  For this week’s LIST we submit a sample of the most overlooked or lost superhero dances.

In larger cities, in the 1940’s, a popular dance craze was the Miraclo Shuffle. While there was no set of steps for the dance, there were rules. Simply, a mob of dancers and a group of musicians would get hopped up on cocaine or some other upper. They would then proceed to dance non-stop for an hour. No breaks, no switching songs, just drug fueled dancing…and occasional accidental trampling.

When doing The M11, a version of the Robot for competition, dancers shoot death rays at other competitors.

The Joker is a dance that has come and gone in several eras of music. Dancers alternately mimic hitting their partners over the head with giant pantomime mallets and squirting each other with pantomimed acid flowers. More advanced dancers will actually bring mallets and squirting acid flowers to the dance club.

The Flash, a staple of the late-80’s and early 90’s, was essentially the Running Man, except it requires tapping into the Speed Force and approaching the speed of light.
Hotsteppers doing The Shazam are really doing a modified two-step in which one of the dance partners hits the other with a taser, thereby simulating a bolt of lightning that will transform them into The World’s Mightiest Mortal.

The Bat-Bomb has dancers rhythmically moving to the music while pretending to run with a giant bomb hoisted over their heads.

The Sandman (now called The Golden Age Sandman), was especially popular at after-hours parties because participants pulled out pillows and napped on the dance floor for 6 minutes.

Many of these dances included special costumes, but only The Mxyzptlk required covering your entire head with an animal mask so you could party like a lycanthrope.  Some revelers opted to go with the enlarged cranium, but that tended to be a Central City variation.

A popular punk rock dance from the 1980’s was the Shadowcat. Participants would vigorously throw themselves at the walls and other hard surfaces in attempts to pass through them.

The Super-Samba was the only dance where a key step is twirling your partner so fast they spin the Earth backwards and turn back time.

Where was the best place to see the best super-heroic dance steps in the 60’s?  Why, on Ben Grimm’s local New York City dance show “It’s Polka’in’ Time!” A combination of American Bandstand and The Lawrence Welk Show, this was the first television show to showcase the dances themselves and not the songs accompanying them.  Only Mr. Grimm and his frequent co-host Aunt Petunia could make a show with polka in the title cool for the kids.

Of the many dances to appear on “It’s Polka’in’ Time!,” none received more fan-mail that the Paste-Pot Pete Polka. This dance involved covering both partners in mucilage, polka dancing around the floor and attempting to pick up as many other couples, tables, chairs, band members, and others items. The couple at the center of the largest ball of stuff won a silver-loving cup.

If the Paste-Pot Pete Polka was the most popular polka on Ben Grimm’s show, the least popular came about when the show and its host were hijacked by Dr. Victor Von Doom. Set to a cacophonous song, “Richards
is a fool,”
those forced to participate were expected to alternately laugh maniacally over each other and raise their arms in the air in frustration… mimicking Doom’s triumph and the inevitable defeat of Reed Richards.

This Week’s Comics — And a long nap

Well, it’s back to another light week for me. This is bittersweet because there are 3 (!) Batman books out this week, This guy gets around almost as much as Wolverineand yet I’m not excited about any of them.

  • BATMAN #691 – Hey look, it’s Judd Winick not showing you it’s Black Mask!
  • BLACKEST NIGHT BATMAN #3 (OF 3) – Why am I doing this to myself? I think I just want to see a conclusion to a Blackest Night story.
  • DETECTIVE COMICS ANNUAL #11 – Last week’s Batman annual didn’t pass the flip test, even with the introduction of a new Azrael. Maybe this one will.

Congratulations to IDW for putting out a downright beautiful Bloom County collection last week! I haven’t picked it up yet, but it’s 3 years of strips on heavy paper, nicely bound and annotated. I don’t know why I love annotated comic strip collections so much, but I really enjoy the “director’s commentary”. It started with a Dilbert collection years ago, and I’ve really enjoyed the ones also put out for Pearls Before Swine and Boondocks.

I also finally got a chance to read Blackest Night #2, but for the life of me, I don’t think anything happened in it. Last week’s Batman and Robin was a very strong showing. They’re starting to make Jason Todd his own character and I *LOVE* the Silver Age-inspired Red Hood costume, with the cape and skull logo.

We'll be hibernating together, NOT sleeping together!  It's different!And that’s about it for me.  I’m going to consider the past 9 days a successful experiment and a lesson learned.



This is the cup of a carpenter

Matt’s talk of grails the other day made me take a look at my “to buy” list and see what mine were.  There are plenty of books there I can’t (or more likely, don’t want) to afford, but these are the ones I can never, ever seem to find.

  • Aztek – This book shouldn’t be near as hard to find as it is. There’s nothing spectacular about it, except Morrison and Millar writing it (together, back when they did that) exceptionally well in the mid-90’s wasteland.  It tied in at the end with Morrison’s stellar JLA run, which is a little noteworthy. I’ve managed to find most of them, but 7 and 8 remain elusive.
  • Flex Mentallo – Another Morrison book, this one a spin-off mini from Doom Patrol involving a Charles Atlas-esque character that got DC sued. The judgment was that the mini could never be reprinted, so that makes finding it impossible at any price. I stumbled across issue #4 in a $.50 bin, though, so I know it’s possible to finish it off if I just. keep. hunting.
  • Last Avengers Story 2 & Ruins 2 – There are two strange things about this, that Marvel kept tapping writers for apocalyptic stories about their characters, and that the first issues are so easy to find and the last issues are so not.
  • StormWatch (the Ellis run) – The fortunate thing about Stormwatch is that Wildstorm has been good about keeping the Ellis run in print, but if you want the individual issues? Well, good luck. I’m stuck with a pretty big range of issues left to fill in; you’d think that would make finding one or two here and there easier, but you’d be wrong. Every once in a while I can cross one more off the list, but it’s not often.

In the future I see myself writing about grails I’ve already found, but that would requre taking a longer, harder look at ComicBase than I feel comfortable with.  The one that immediately springs to mind, though, is when I found the third Miracleman TPB for cover price.  WIN!