Friday, May 02, 2008

Comics Out April 29, 2008

DC Universe 0. I really enjoyed this. I love the concept of a comic book framed by narration -- which is itself the big twist -- that is basically a preview for other comics (hence the in-house adds, which are nicely designed), like trailers in front of a movie -- trailers that often turn out to be better than the movie you are about to watch, and better than the full length features they are advertising. Some of the snip-its were weak -- Superman's, Batman's, and the Specter's in particular -- but they are over so quick you barely notice. The Green Lantern preview was the standout, and the Libra bit was pretty good (though the obvious reversal of Christianity in the Bible of Crime is an almost tragically weak idea I have hated since I saw it in 52) -- Jones seems sold for Final Crisis, even if his layouts are a little dull. The final image was big and weird and striking but almost subtle. There was some real magic on that final page, and I hope I get the Morrison I want for Final Crisis -- the JLA Morrison -- rather than the Batman Morrison I have come to loathe.

Iron Fist 14.
I am incapable of seeing anything other than the absence of David Aja. I probably would love the book if he had never been a part of it, but there you go. The guy is so good he has ruined me. As for the script -- the ending was really touching, and I loved all of the crazy names for the fighting moves. Fraction must come up with a slew when he started this book and now that he is going to be gone, he must have emptied his notebook out. That was fun.

The Order 10. You have to admire the confidence that Fraction has, choosing as one of his epigrams "I had in mind to do something big and I did it." The Order get a kind of a happy ending that is not entirely persuasive, but is also not supposed to be since the book was sort of abandoned/cancelled. Smart, on Fraction's part, was the promise that these threads will continue in his Iron Man run.

Thor: Ages of Thunder. Like a Classics Illustrated with way too much talent. Not my genre, and I wonder how the thing would have read had it been written with the ironies of Iron Fist 8, but pretty good.

Glamourpuss 1.
I sort of never got into the whole Cerebus thing, and I randomly thought I would get in on the ground floor of Sim's new project, even though, I think, it is about women and he -- am I getting this right -- thinks all women are Satan's Handmaidens. I was expecting something offensive and pretty, but what I got was an essay on comics coming out of the mouths of women who were drawn to illustrate a technique. Not really the kind of thing I want to read for fun, I think. Seemed like his audience was more professional artists.

Not exactly comics related, but one of my favorite TV shows, Avatar, will finish with straight to DVDs released May 6 and July 29.

I have not seen Iron Man, and might not for two weeks. You are welcome to review it here, and I might promote your comment to its own blog post.


Pat said...

I'm pretty sure Jones only did a single panel in DCU #0.

Kinda hard to gauge his stuff so far.

hcduvall said...

Man, I do love Avatar.

Geoff Klock said...

Pat -- oh, I thought he did the whole Libra sequence.

Pat said...

I could be wrong, but I'm 99% sure that the Libra sequence was Mahnke. Look at some of the faces (particularly Dr. Light) again, very Mahnke-esque.

I believe the only Jones art in the issue was the one close-up panel of Darkseid's eyes that they've been using as a promo for a while, which I found pretty disappointing. Hopefully the sketchbook has maybe one piece of finished art. I'm very interested to get a look at how his interiors will look.

scott91777 said...

It doesn't surprise me that Sim's new work was basically an essay... the reads volume of Cerebus was basically a treatise on creator's rights... and it was more text than comics. I suggest scrapping glamour puss and reading Cerebus... read High Society and Church and State I & II... maybe even Jaka's story. Then stop, poke around and see if you might like to go further...

Matthew J. Brady said...

From what I know about Sim (which isn't much more than Geoff), he's a pretty bad misogynist, referring to the "feminine void" which attempts to drown out the "male light". You can find a lot of his essays on the subject online, and it's some awful, nasty stuff. I didn't mind Glamourpuss, but, yeah, it was really just an illustrated essay. I'll probably keep getting it out of curiosity, since the art is really good, but it's definitely a niche project.

I feel dumb after reading DCU0, since I apparently totally missed the big reveal. After I read it, and then read people talking about the big resurrection, I had no idea what they were talking about. Apparently a bolt of lightning on the last page means that Barry Allen has been resurrected. Huh.

As for the "boring" layouts, that one page of the guy on fire falling through window-like panel borders was kind of cool. But yeah, I felt mostly lost throughout the whole thing. I'm hoping Final Crisis doesn't leave me this confused.

Jason said...

Sim's company line is that he's not a misogynist, he simply is an anti-feminist. Which is mostly hairsplitting. Essentially that translates to, "I don't hate women, but they should, of course, know their place."

I like some of Sim's essays. Mixed amongst all the sexist stuff are some very neat ideas, I think. If I were going to get on my soapbox, I'd probably go off on a jag about how Morrison's so-called "crazy ideas" are actually bland and tame compared to a lot of Sim's. But it's so nice and sunny out today, it just doesn't feel appropriate. :)

Still, I continue to be of the opinion that that the comic-book community contains, at the moment, only two true geniuses, and that they are Alan Moore and Dave Sim.

Matthew J. Brady said...

Having read some of Sim's comments (mostly taken out of context, but I doubt reading the full essays would lessen their awfulness), I never thought much of him. But then I read some of Cerebus, and I agree, the man is an artistic genius. I guess it all depends on whether you can separate the artist from their work; if so, he deserves to be counted as one of the greatest comics creators in the history of the medium.

scott91777 said...

I agree with Jason... Reads (which is the most notorious of his 'anti-feminist' rants) aslo contains some really neat stuff on the nature of reality, creator's rights, the relationship between creator and creation etc. If you read around the misogynist stuff... it's quite fascinating.

Geoff Klock said...

Matt -- not just the lightning: the red sky and white moon creates the flash logo.

Stephen said...

I suggest scrapping glamour puss and reading Cerebus... read High Society and Church and State I & II... maybe even Jaka's story.

I second the suggestion, except I'd say definitely Jaka's story. Those four books are clearly worth reading -- at least for the Comics fan (since so much of the pleasure is A) parodies of comics, and B) watching what he does with the medium; I'd be more hesitant to recommend them to a non-comics fan since they wouldn't get those elements.)

The other point to make is that Sim didn't start out as a misogynist: he went off the deep end at some point, and it's a point after Jaka's Story. Through then (and a bit thereafter) he actually had a reputation as a really good creator of women characters. Anyway, his blatantly offensive (and blatantly nutty (overlapping but not identical categories, at least in Sim's case)) ideas don't enter Cerebus until later. So, again, yeah, read vols. 2-5. Then decide if you want to go further.

(I just gave away the bottom line, but perhaps I can plug my eight part series on Cerebus while we're on the topic.)