Friday, September 2, 2011

So, it seems like comic-fans have no respect for the history of their own preferred medium

A few things are becoming clear as we head toward the release of the all new Action Comics #1 this coming week. 

1.  Newsarama either doesn't understand what the world "cynical" means
2.  or they're still sweetly young and naive enough that they've mistaken the gregarious energy of Superman's over exuberance and naive idealism for cool cynicism
3.  85% of comics "journalists" and 95% of commenters have absolutely no familiarity with Superman's earliest phase in the Golden Age, or any other age

Today I looked at the article from Newsarama entitled "DC's New Superman is a Modern, Cynical Hero".  There's a lot of speculation here based upon the 7 page preview released by DC today to Newsarama.  From looking at the pages, this is pretty clearly NOT the Superman we know from the Silver Age onward, the Superman we think of as a sort of jolly, invulnerable pal or uncle.

I'm expecting a lot of comics fans are looking at these pages and saying to themselves "this isn't Superman!".  Sure, they can name the Superman creators and tut-tut about the Siegel lawsuit, and they know Superman kicked off the concept of superheroes in earnest with Action Comics #1 (1938), but they've not done their homework.

I'm excited by how excited YOU guys are over the New 52

Guys, its no secret I love comics, and especially the DCU.  One of the major goals of my blogging since I started way, way back in April of 2003 was to share my interest in comics of all sorts, share my interest in the colorful world of DC Comics and Superman, and see if that interest couldn't rub off on anybody else.

Its been no small bit of joy to me the past few days as a couple of you guys have emailed me or side-barred with me asking about the new Justice League comic or the New 52.  I think this is the point of DC's exercise in rebooting, in giving folks who either quit reading comics or never read comics a window and an opportunity to check out comics in a really easy way.

Austin Books Sale is On like Megatron

Jamie is a good person.

This evening she picked me up from work, we went to Austin Burger/Pizza/whatever joint, EZ's, had a bite and then headed up to Austin Books and Comics Sidekick Store.  This is where the action is for the sale, in many ways.

I picked up some Bronze Age Superman (man, that era is just good fun, too), an issue of Men of War, finally picked up the last few issues of Superman/ Supergirl: Maelstrom, and found out there was a second Icon trade that I didn't even know existed.  I really liked the first volume and...  I never reviewed that, did I?

Well, anyway, the big buy for me was a complete run of Volume 1 of Alien Legion and a handful of the prestige -related issues that came later.  Yes, I love Alien Legion.  Because it is awesome.

that Legion?  of Aliens?  Totally rad.

If you're in Austin, head on down and see what you can find on sale (cheap, people). The sale goes all the way through the weekend.

Now, Jamie didn't buy anything, but she just wanted to come see.

 "Don't you want anything?" I said. "I think you've got plenty I can read," she replied. Will I get Jamie to read Alien Legion?

 Only time will tell.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Signal Watch Sports: College Football Ready to Go (and being a Longhorn fan at the moment)

Its almost Game Day! 

I imagine our friends Jake Shore and Fantomenos are quite excited about Oregon's prospects this year.  I know I am, and I'll be watching. 

I'll also be watching Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and a lot of others as well. 

But, oh my, my Longhorns.  And the Big XII.  And the @#$%ing Longhorn Network.

No doubt many are currently thrilled to hear that Texas A&M has left the Big 12 Conference, delighted that somehow this diminishes UT.  To this, I say:  quit listening to sports radio.  Its making you crazy and ignores the bigger picture.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Signal Watch Reads: Justice League #1 (welcome to the DCNu)

Justice League #1
Part One
writer - Geoff Johns
penciler - Jim Lee
inker - Scott Williams
colorist - Alex Sinclair
letterer - Patrick Brosseau
associate editor - Rex Ogle
editor - Eddie Berganza
cover - Jim Lee, Scott Williams, Alex Sinclair
variant cover - David Finch, Richard Friend, Peter Steigerwald
this review is of the print version, standard cover, read 09/01/2011 1:30 am

So, Justice League #1.  Its been a long time in coming.

To contextualize, my reading of Flashpoint #5 concluded about two minutes before I picked up Justice League #1.  DC's decision to release the two simultaneously makes perfect sense, and I was more than delighted to have them both to read back to back.  especially as both are written by Geoff Johns and it was great to make the transition with the same writer.

The problem is that as someone who has been a fan of DC Comics since late middle school, how do you read this comic as something that you'd put in somebody's hands who doesn't know much about Batman and Green Lantern except what they'd seen at the cinema?  I can't really make that call.  And the more I think about it, I don't know that I can write a useful review.  Say you're from the Amazon jungle and you meet a fellow Saudi Arabia who has seen a movie or two with jungles...  once you get him off a plane on the Amazon, what does that guy see that you don't?  And what are the million things you see that he hasn't learned to see yet?

Signal Watch bears Witness: Midnight Release of Justice League #1 at Austin Books

So, I wasn't going to go to the midnight release of Justice League #1.  And then, mid-afternoon, I had this thought that "gee, this sort of thing only happens every so often.  I don't go to midnight movies anymore, I don't go to late concerts, and hopefully DC won't be re-launching their entire universe again in the next twenty years.  At which point I'll be 56, and there will be no way in hell I'll be showing up for midnight releases then..."

So at 11:00 I hopped in the car and drove up to Austin Books, arriving around 11:30ish.

The deal was that ABC wasn't just having Flashpoint 5 and Justice League 1 available, they were also putting back issues on sale, and all DC Superhero trades were 25% off. 

I ran into Brandon outside, came inside and paid my $8 cover charge, which got me a receipt, which would get me my comics at 12:00. 
Comc Book Brandon shows off a comic I will never be able to afford.
I did take advantage of the 1/2 off sale and picked up a few issues of Men of War to work on my Enemy Ace collection.  Truth is, there's a big sale at Austin Books this weekend, and I plan tos pend time hitting the dollar bins, so I'm watching my pennies a bit.

So many nerds packing in so tightly.  It must be New Justice League Day!  EEEEEEE!!!!

This was still before midnight, and people were sort of lurking about, very ready for their brand new Justice League.  I heard some people standinga round me talking about how they'd never bought a DC Comic before, which I found exciting/ bizarre.  But I think that's what the relaunch is all about:  get some folks to try the comic that they've never tried before and get people reading some DC.

But to the one guy criticizing his friend for being into Aquaman: let it go, dude.  There's no one right answer in superheroes, and especially in comics.  Also, Namor is one of the oldest characters in superhero comics. 

Kids today.  No respect for history.

The crush to the register was more of a slow mosey to the register.

There was a bit of a line to checkout after midnight, but everyone was in such a good mood, it all went off without a hitch. 

Via Twitter I've talked a bit to the brains behind website The Kryptonian, Aaron.  I happened to run into he and his lovely fiance, Michele.  You can see Aaron's report here.  Youc an read his review here.  And see his enthusiasm at nabbing an alternate cover here:

that dude in the back was really excited about photobombing the happy couple

I went home, read some comics, and crawled into bed in the wee hours. I'll write up some on both Flashpoint 5 and Justice League 1 in short order.

Austin Books once again did a fantastic job hosting, and it was great to have the opportunity to share in the anticipatory atmosphere DC has been working so hard to build. ABC made the event easy and fun, and I think that's a pretty big success.

No Post Wednesday

So I went to the midnight DCNu Justice League #1 release party.  It was fun!  I met Aaron Ortega who runs The Kryptonian and his lovely fiance, Michele.  I saw the first Hal Jordan comic, picked up my Flashpoint and Justice League comics, and bought a few issues of old school Men of War for 1/2 off (it features a lot of Enemy Ace).  And I briefly chatted with Brandon.

I'm calling it a win.

We'll talk Flashpoint and Justice League later this week, if that's cool with you.

Here's Marie Windsor to keep you company while I go do other stuff.

Ms. Windsor will have none of your shenanigans.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Everyone say good-bye to Superman's red trunks. It is the end of an era.

Just look at those trunks, people. Those terrific, red trunks that were the source of so many people snickering.

After 73 years of freaking out the squares, come this evening, Superman is storing his underwear on the inside.

This here picture above is a "turn-around" by comics artist Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, a personal favorite of mine. They use these to show characters from all sides for reference for artists.
One aspect of the DC Relaunch is that Superman is getting a costume that won't be the source of jokes, thanks to those red undies.  It likely also is being done to combat the potential effects of a lawsuit by the Siegel estate, which could claim they own the original look of shorts and belt over blue.

As a reminder, as of midnight, Superman is supposed to look like this:

In time, I guess I'll get used to it, though I have a hard time believing it will be the permanent solution once a new regime comes to DC. And I really, really don't know how this works with their massive licensing group where most of DC's real money is made.

Anyway, we hate to think we cannot deal with change, so we're embracing the new uniform on our Man of Steel.  But we just can't quite let it go...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Adios to the Old DCU

This week we'll see the last of DC's continuity as its been for the last 25 years.

But let's raise a glass, shall we?

Here's to 25 years of recent continuity.

It was a mess, it didn't make sense a lot of the time, it included the personification of lousy fanboy behavior punching the walls of reality in a hissy fit and accidentally bringing Jason Todd back from the dead...  But if it weren't a totally screwed up timeline and it didn't drive us all crazy, it wouldn't be the DC Universe.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Signal Watch Watches: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Anyone who brings up the Planet of the Apes franchise around me is going to regret that slip of the tongue. I love the Apes. I love not just the premise of Cheston landing on a strange planet where Apes evolved and man did not (ahem, SPOILERS) but the twist ending that lets you know this was a Rod Serling Joint.

I love that there are four more Apes movies of varying quality with a bizarre and twisted time-travel logic to them. I love Roddy McDowell as Cornelius and Caesar, and Kim Hunter as Zira. I love Cheston as Cheston on a planet full of intelligent Apes. I love the fact that Beneath the Planet of the Apes stars James Franciscus, who is sort of a mini-Cheston AND Cheston.

I'm not old enough to have participated in the Apes phenomenon the first time around, and while I watched the movies as a kid (and liked them), it was in college that I became obsessed. Like all good sci-fi, it was a terrific inversion of our world and our way of looking at our fellow beings.

Today would be Jack Kirby's 94th Birthday

Did you enjoy the movie of Thor? Captain America? The Fantastic Four movies? The X-Men?

aw yeaaaah, Kirby!

What about Thundarr the Barbarian, the 1980's kid's cartoon?

All originated by Jack "King" Kirby. Today would be Kirby's 94th Birthday.

You can visit the online museum dedicated to Jack Kirby right now.

In the future, Kirby will suffer from the same rumors that plague Shakespeare today. How could one man come up with so many ideas? Produce such a volume of work? How could one man have contributed so much to the story-telling mythology of America and the World? He makes Hans Christian Andersen seem like a slacker.