Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Comics Out 17 January 2007

The new issue of Testament is out this week, as is the collected edition of Paul Pope's Batman: Year 100. The Batman book is exactly what I want right now: someone progressive and edgy doing an established superhero character. I actually know nothing about it beyond that, but I am looking forward to it.

In comics news, Marvel and DC's solicits are both up at Newsarama. Joss Whedon's Runaways hits in April, and I am also very excited to see Jeff Smith on Shazam! has a new series premiering today, called Find Me, for which Brad Winderbaum (Satacracy 88) is the Exec Producer. The site is eventually going to be like a television channel, with lots of different web-content guided by the votes of the audience.

Review. Recommend. Discuss.


Mitch said...

Also-- Gweneth Paltrow is plaing Pepper Potts in "Iron Man in Love"

brad said...

Mitch! That's crazy talk!

Mitch said...

Brad! Sorry, I meant "Iron Man and the World of Tomorrow".

I'm actually really glad to see her in this movie. (I don't know if I've ever loved a fictional person more than Margot Tenenbaum.) Marvel is definitely pulling out all the stops for their first in house production. With Happy, Jarvis and Mandarin yet to be cast, I'm excited to see who else jumps in.

Anonymous said...

I bought Year 100 serialised, but am thinking of getting the collection for the 'Berlin Batman' story included. Apparently, Pope's personal philosophy is libertarian. So just as his Year 100 Batman quotes John Locke, his 1939 version quotes Ludwig von Mises (an Austrian free market economic advocate) who, apparently, was given a hard time by the nazis. I don't know enough about von Mises or the nazis too know how true that is, or if it's Pope's artistic license talking, but he discusses it over on his blog.

In case you're not aware, Geoff, Pope has a blog here on blogspot. It's not listed in your links, but I highly recommend it. The latest entry discusses Pope's upcoming Adhouse Book, which I'm looking forward to.

What I like about his artwork is similar to the quality I enjoy in Frank Quitely's. Both Pope and Quitely draw what I consider 'ugly', but strangely beautiful, too, with intersting layouts and well drawn figures. The faces are also great to look at.

-- craig taylor, nsw, australia

brad said...

I know, man - it's like the most expensive art film ever made...

Geoff Klock said...

Ok, I read Paul Pope's Batman Year 100. I felt underwhelmed. I think someone could convince me this Paul Pope is a genius, but right now I am not seeing it. I see that the art is unique and interesting, and I liked some of it, especially the covers, but it did not blow me away. The story was also just Ok: I didn't see why it needed to be set in 2039, or why Gordon's grandson was so similar to his grandfather, or why Pope felt is necessary to play with the idea that Batman is one 129 year old guy -- am I really supposed to take that idea seriously, because the way he does it it takes me right out of the story. Anyone want to argue with me?

Matt Brady said...

I read Year 100 when it came out, and while I didn't think it was the greatest thing ever, I did enjoy it quite a bit. Apparently I missed the part where they said Batman was 129 years old. I didn't think that's what he was saying. It was mostly the action sequences and the futuristic setting that I thought were pretty cool. If you're looking for proof that Paul Pope is a genius, I would recommend 100% or Heavy Liquid. 100% is especially good, a very human love story set in a dirty future. Really cool.

Anonymous said...

I would recommend 100%, too.

Pope is an artist worth watching, even if his writing isn't all that convincing. I liked the ending of year 100, confirming that his Batman is indeed Bruce Wayne. In terms of comicbook continuity I think Year 100 actually fits into Frank Miller's DK Returns continuity (and Miller's Batman Year One). At one point, in flashback, the police commissioner's name (which I've been trying to remember while writing this paragraph but can't offhand) is mentioned. Probably just a homage to Miller by Pope, but possible. There are so many iterations of Batman that it's better to just accept them all as 'canon' otherwise pick favorites.

The idea that Batman is somehow immortal is not without precedent in the DC Universe. The Golden Age Earth 2 JSA characters Alan Scott (original Green Lantern) Jay Garrick Flash and Wildcat are all somehow immortal, which explains how they're still alive and sprightly. It's sort of lame, but it does explain away the issue of comic book character aging. And before Infinite Crisis there was a rumour that DC were going to remove Bruce Wayne and have a new guy - possibly Dick Grayson - take on the Batman ID. But whether that was true or not, they didn't do it, so until the next mega event we're perhaps stuck with Bruce Wayne.

While I enjoyed Year 100, it didn't blow me away. Then again, not much Batman does. Pope has an interesting expressive style in his work, but I'm not convinced his writing is as good as his art. He is principally a designer, rather than a writer. He happens to like comics, and is enough of an innovator to keep me interested. Year 100 just looks good.

His THB series would probably be the one to judge his work by, because it is Pope's opus, something he's worked on for over a decade now and self-published sporadically whenever Pope has the time (...etc). When he was working for Kodansha the company was interested in THB, but Pope, wanting to keep it for himself, gave them 'Supertrouble' instead.