Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year, New Reading List

I know that a blog post from the panel is long overdue, but it was not for lack of comic love.  In fact, with the introduction of the New 52, I went through a crisis of a sort and felt the need to expand my reading list to include the Marvel world.  I did not expect it to become the huge undertaking that it did, but I have been thoroughly enjoying the ride.  The reason that I’m bringing this up at all, is because I had an odd realization yesterday as I was counting up how many books are on our subs list and the number came to 52.  Four months ago, we read 52 DC comics, today DC only accounts for 32.  Now, granted, that list is ever changing because of new mini-series, cancellations, our own insanity, etc. but Paul and I took a long hard look at what we really like to read and dropped whatever didn’t make the cut and that was easy in some cases and difficult in others.  There is a loyalty that we feel to certain books that we did have to cut out, but there comes a point when you have to stop reading a series because you love what it once was and see it for what it is now.

Loyal readers of the panel will be surprised to know that Green Arrow was never cut.  As much as I complained about the direction of that series, with the announcement that Ann Nocenti was jumping on board, I couldn’t cut it, because I have faith that any well received writer of Daredevil (my new love by the way) can do wonderful things with Ollie.  One thing that I’m not going to do on this blog is complain about the New 52.  It happened, and some really great books have come out of it, and it pushed me to delve into some new series.  I want to focus on comics I love right now and ring the New Year in right. 

So let’s jump into what is great reading out there!  Bear with me on this because I managed to jump into current Marvel continuity in a lot of books single issue, while I’m catching up with graphics and I went back to late 90’s, early 2000’s on most of them.  In other words, my reading list is all over the place. 

Comic Book Resources got it spot on with their top two books of 2011, Daredevil by Mark Waid and Animal Man by Jeff Lemire.  Matt Murdoch and Buddy Baker have to be two of the most enjoyable characters to read period, and Maxine has been so delightful.  Miss Pickles was my favorite comic book  moment this year hands down, all cats get hungry, even dead ones.

The most dangerous words to say in our house are “I will never read _____” because inevitably we will read whatever it is with a vengeance.  That is exactly what happened with X-Men, not because we weren’t interested but because the X-Men world is so vast and honestly a little overwhelming but we have since conquered it!  We went from zero X-books to four on the subs list plus catching up on six series in graphics with more single issue series to be added soon.  The X-Factor graphics are so addicting and I’m having a great time reading X-Men: Legacy and Uncanny X-Men although I have to say the Magneto/Rogue thing is taking some time to get used to.

All things Avengers.  Yes, you read that right.  There are a TON of Avengers books and I’m reading all of them.  I’m a little disappointed that as I’m jumping in, Bendis is jumping off, but I have all the back issues to read, so I’m good for awhile.

If Dinah is my number one kick ass, I’ll read everything she’s in character of DC, then Natasha (Black Widow) fills that role for me in Marvel.  She’s just the coolest cat in town.  Which means of course, that I’m also reading all things Captain America.  Oh Ed Brubaker (swoon).  He’s right up there with Greg Rucka for me now and that is huge!  Speaking of which, one of my favorite presents this year, the Wolverine Ultimate Collection by the man himself. 

Other current Marvel books we’re reading include:
- The Defenders, with Dr. Strange and Danny Rand you really can’t go wrong.
- The Incredible Hulk, I was as surprised as you.  But I’m digging it.
- The Punisher, it’s Greg and it’s great.
- Amazing Spider-Man, another “I will never” moment, but Peter Parker kind of grew on me.

Alright so that’s Marvel, but I know you’re itching to know which of the DC books stuck around.
- Action, duh.
- All-Star Western, so great!
- Animal Man, previously mentioned.
- Aquaman, Paul likes this one better than I do
- Batbooks, pretty much all of them.  Batwing got cut, it wasn’t bad, it just didn’t hold my attention like the rest. 
- Birds of Prey, brilliant.  The reboot did a lot of good things for this book.
- Blue Beetle
- Catwoman, I know I had my yuck moment, but Judd is a really good writer.
- Demon Knights, one of the top for me. 
- The Flash
- Frankenstein
- Green Arrow
- Green Lantern books, all but the Red.  I can’t believe it either after how excited I was, but I think it was better in theory.
- Justice Books, all of them.  Especially Dark, but I’m concerned about where they're going with Madame Xanadu. 
- Nightwing
- Savage Hawkman, mine more than Paul’s.  I got this, he got Aquaman.  It was a good compromise.
- Supes, girl and man.  Boy didn’t make the cut which was a bummer but only because of Rose Wilson.  She is such a great character but I just couldn’t get into the story.
- Swamp Thing
- Wonder Woman
That seems like a ton, it’s hard to believe there are 20 more.  Teen Titans was a hard cut, and a recent one but I honestly don’t miss it. 

Then of course, there are the rest:
- American Vampire
- Buffy, Season 9, very pleased with this season
- Memorial, just started
- Morning Glories
- Sixth Gun, isn’t everyone reading Sixth Gun?  Well, they should be.

So that’s my story and that’s what’s been holding my attention for the past few months.  If anyone’s interested in a 60 page in-depth list of Marvel graphics for the past decade shoot me a note and I can hook you up.  Until next time panel readers, and hopefully there won’t be such a huge gap this time.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Gotham City Sirens: A Conflicted Goodbye

I’ve been thinking about Gotham City Sirens a lot lately.  Mainly because in recent months I have really enjoyed it after being indifferent for most of its run.  As a concept I think it was always doomed to fail for two reasons.  The first being that Catwoman, despite her moral flexibility is not a villain, and the second that Harley Quinn, although lovable, is not sane.

The series began with Catwoman, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy moving in together like some bastardized version of Charlie’s Angels, and right off the bat these three characters lost some of their depth.  One of them would get into a jam and the other two would have to get them out.  Obviously this is a simplification, but to be perfectly honest, not a large one.  I would read it every month and think, “It was okay.”  Selina Kyle and Ivy don’t need partners.  Catwoman is conflicted between looking out for number one and wanting to help the good guys, but she isn’t one to trust people.  Especially not Poison Ivy, who also has severe trust issues.  I will admit, I’m not a lover of Poison Ivy.  She is cold and charmless and was the only character who actually benefited from this series, but that too is a recent occurrence. 

I realize that this is coming across as a very negative outlook, so let me switch over to why lately, this is has become one of the books I really look forward to.  The mirrored relationships of Batman and Catwoman to Joker and Harley Quinn have been established in a brilliant way.  Obviously the issues between Bruce and Selina are staggeringly different from Joker and Harley, but in the end, both are relationships that can’t logically work but can’t end.  The Joker is hands down, the scariest character in the DCU but the unconditional, insane love that Harley Quinn feels for him makes him scarier and her oddly endearing.  We all know that one of these days, he’s actually going to succeed in killing her if the mood strikes him.  Quick sidebar, the implication that Joker and Harley had a sexual relationship was terrifyingly awesome. 

So this most recent arc which is bringing the series to its close has put all three characters at odds because Selina and Harley have chosen the roads we all knew they would choose from the very beginning and Poison Ivy is alone, and more than that, she’s lonely.  What does Poison Ivy do when she’s angry?  She tries to kill someone and right now Selina is at the top of her hit list.  But what’s fascinating is that Poison Ivy is still trying to save Harley, and I like her better for it.

With one issue to go before the relaunch, I have to say that part of me will be sad to see this dynamic trio go.  The new Catwoman series is at the top of my reading list come September but Harley on the Suicide Squad is leaving me feeling hesitant because I can’t help but think it’s going to be the same problem all over again.  


Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Little Bit of Everything

Wow, so I’ve fallen behind.  There has been a lot of big stuff this week.  SDCC is going on right now!  Obviously Paul and I aren’t there, but I’ve been following twitter pretty closely.  Today’s tidbit that left me kind of sad was that Wally West will not be part of the new Flash series.

There have been a TON of released previews of the upcoming relaunch pages and I have to say that despite my relaunch reservations, there is some really beautiful art.  Adam Hughes cover of Batgirl #2 is simply stunning.  I did a bit of a double take today though when looking at the Green Arrow pages, I’m really confused about the direction that series is taking.  It’s moving to a place that is just so far from the things that I love about Green Arrow, but I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll be pleasantly surprised.  Ollie looks a lot younger and the costume changes seem very tech heavy, not as bad as the new Deadshot design though.  I know I’ve talked about that before, but what can I say, I’m still flabbergasted.


Flashpoint has been so much fun.  I know in the midst of the relaunch it’s easy to forget about, but I’m really enjoying it.  The Amazon/Atlantean war is boring, I’m not going to lie, but the Batman story is fantastic!  Who knew that Gotham could get creepier?  The Frankenstein story has completely piqued my interest about the new series.  My indifference has given way to excitement because lets face it, Jeff Lemire is great.

The Amazing Spiderman trailer was released this week.  I know it’s an origin story that we’re all really familiar with, at least in tone, but I still want to see this movie.  Yes, I think Andrew Garfield is a little too pretty to be Peter Parker, but come on, it’s Hollywood and he’s an excellent actor.

The Bane photo…remember the first Bane photo that had great shadows and the promise of something amazing?  Well, seeing the mask full on was a bit of a disappointment.  There is a teaser trailer for The Dark Knight Rises out, but if you’ve seen the first two films, you’ve basically seen the teaser trailer.

The rumor mill is raging and as soon as announcements are confirmed I promise we will be discussing them.  Before I end this post though, I’m curious to know what everyone thinks about the end of The War of the Green Lanterns.  Sinestro back with the corps, how do you think that’s going to go?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Powers Casting

First of all, if you're not reading Powers by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming, you should be.  It is a super fun series about a couple of detectives investigating crimes associated with superheroes.  Obviously there's more to it than that, but I won't ruin it for you.

Recently it was optioned by FX and we've been waiting not so patiently for the casting announcements about who is going to play Deena Pilgrim and Christian Walker and I'm honestly a bit baffled by the choices.

"Maggots, you're eating maggots Michael."
That's right folks, Jason Patric is Walker.  The age doesn't bother me so much, Walker is a character outside of time really, but the bulk of the character is concerning.  When Jason Patric bulks up he loses his chin.  I can't be the only one who has noticed this.  There were rumors floating around that Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights, Super 8) was a front runner and I was on board for that.  I'll say this for Jason Patric though, he is very pretty.

Deena Pilgrim, kick ass hero to women folk everywhere, is not being played by Katee Sackhoff and that is a crime in my humble opinion.  She is being played by Lucy Punch and if you're an anglophile like I am, you have probably seen her pop up in a variety of places.  I don't mind her as an actress, although she has a tendency to go overboard with the kooky expressions, but as Deena Pilgrim?  Can she carry off the ultra sarcastic, sexy character that we know and love?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Issue of Storage

I’m sure this is an issue that every comic collector deals with.  I love my house, but it’s small and the storage space is limited.  Living in Texas, the garage is out of the question because it isn’t air conditioned.  Paul and I are both a little obsessive about organization, I do a happy dance whenever we need new dividers.  We are the kind of people who clean out the closets multiple times throughout the year, so we have a pretty nifty system but with the upcoming DC renumbering shift we’re a little concerned.  Right now we have four boxes in the living room that house all the current ongoing series we are reading.  Then in the guest room closet, we have boxes for series that have ended or have been abandoned.  The tops are numbered so they can be easily rotated between boxes as we move comics from the living room to the closet.  We have a separate box for duplicates, which we actually have quite a few of for various reasons.  (Marlowe insisted on being involved in the picture taking.)


So here is my problem, once the renumbering happens we will have three boxes to add to the closet and that will most likely be full capacity, and our collection is smaller than most.  We’re throwing around ideas of how to handle it, but I want to open it up and I’m curious about how other people deal with this issue.  Do you use a drawer system, build fancy contraptions, or use an off-site space, i.e. your parents house?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

DC Relaunch: The End of the Line

The last two days have brought such disappointing news that I really didn’t even care to comment, but I started this train ride, so I’m seeing it through to the end.  Here we go:

Stormwatch by Paul Cornell and Miguel Sepulveda.  This is a Wildstorm group that is now going to include Martian Manhunter.  Meh.

Blackhawks by Mike Costa and Ken Lashley.  You know what I thought when I initially saw this, “Good, something for Zinda.”  But no!  DCU: The Source describes this as “an elite group of mercenaries made up of brave men from around the world”.  Well, there went that.  I hope the “brave men” have a good time, but I’m out unless Zinda is in the mix.  She’s a riot, and she kicks some serious butt!

Men of War by Ivan Brandon and Tom Derenick.  This is about the grandson of Sgt Rock and the Easy Company.  I came a bit late to the comics party, so my knowledge of this is nil.

All-Star Western by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Moritat.  I’m not the biggest Jonah Hex fan, but this has potential to be fun and I’m really glad that Jimmy Palmiotti still has a place in the DCU.

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Deathstroke by Kyle Higgins, Joe Bennett, and Art Thibert.  I thought I would be more excited about this than I am.  But maybe that’s because Deathstroke got a book when Power Girl and Secret Six were both canceled.  Who am I kidding, I’ll still read it.

Grifter by Nathan Edmondson, CAFU, and BIT.  Another Wildstorm character that I don’t know…why couldn't CAFU be put on one of my books is what I want to know?

Omac by Dan Didio, Keith Giffen, and Scott Koblish.  I have no interest in this at all.

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Suicide Squad by Adam Glass and Marco Rudy.  The team is Harley Quinn, Deadshot, and King Shark.  That is an awesome group, but the cover gives me pause because everyone is redesigned in a way I find a bit offensive.  King Shark is a hammerhead, I can deal with that, but Deadshot is wearing some pretty severe armor which I think is unnecessary.  His indifference to his own survival is his charm.  Harley though, holy sexpot Batman. 

Blue Beetle by Tony Bedard and Ig Guara.  This was expected, but still exciting. 

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Action Comics by Grant Morrison and Rags Morales, yes please!  And you know what else, I am not bothered by the jeans. 

Superman by George Perez and Jesus Merino.  This cover doesn’t ring my bells, hopefully the content will be more interesting.

Supergirl by Michael Green, Mike Johnson, and Mahmud Asrar.  Goody two shoes, that’s what I see and I am not diggin’ it.  Supergirl is supposed to be gritty, she’s conflicted and flawed and that’s her appeal. 

Superboy by Scott Lobdell, R. B. Silva and Rob Lean.  Scott Lobdell got three books in the relaunch.  That’s pretty intense, and I’m curious to see how Conner stands in this new world. 

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So that’s it.  Apparently, there will be further announcements about projects beginning after September, but Secret Six has officially been canceled.  Power Girl, Huntress, Cassandra Cain, and Stephanie Brown, no word about what happens to them.  Dustin Nguyen and Jock aren’t part of any of the announcements and that is unfortunate, but word is Dustin Nguyen has an upcoming project after September.  I’m disappointed in many of the new books, maybe I wouldn’t be if I had read any of the Wildstorm books, but I haven’t.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Teeny Bopper Time

Five titles were announced today that mainly deal with the younger DC teams.  Today was a good day for my pocket book because of the five series I will most likely only be buying two.  Realistically with 52 titles, I have to draw the line somewhere and I don’t read Legion of Superheroes.  I have nothing against it, it’s just not one of my books.  I guess now it’s not two of my books.

Legion Lost and Legion of Superheroes have joined the party.  While I won’t be reading them, the people who do are very lucky to be getting Fabian Nicieza and Pete Woods on Legion Lost
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Teen Titans is back and is being reworked as a vehicle for Tim Drake, who is still Red Robin in a slightly different costume.  He will be joined by Wonder Girl, who now has a completely different backstory, Kid Flash, Superboy, and some characters I don’t recognize.  The creative team on this will be Scott Lobdell, Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund.  This is the same artistic team in charge of the recent JLA: Rise of Eclipso, and hot damn that was beautiful and so is the new Teen Titans cover.  It’s a grittier, sexier group and I’m diggin’ it.

Static Shock has me so completely torn, I’m going to need to ponder before I make any decisions about putting this on my subs list.  This series has been talked about for awhile now, so the announcement wasn’t a shock (no pun intended).  I’m pretty indifferent to Static Shock as a character so I was going to give it a miss and then DC had to go and make John Rozum the writer.  John Rozum is currently writing Xombi which is brillliant and I’m gung ho to support him, but Scott McDaniel is not one of my favorite artists and he’s the second part of this team.  It’s a conundrum, it really is.
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Hawk and Dove by Sterling Gates and Rob Liefeld.  I was pleasantly surprised that Hawk and Dove got their own book.  Hawk I can take or leave, but I’m a big fan of Dove.  I really enjoyed her recent appearances in Brightest Day and Birds of Prey…heavy sigh of sadness.  Anyway, yes, I will definitely be reading this.