Showing posts with label comics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label comics. Show all posts

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Ramona Fradon Merges With The Infinite



Literally just yesterday I pre-ordered three comics as they had covers by Ramona Fradon.  Today I have learned Fradon has passed.

Fradon had just retired this January at the age of 97 - and I assumed those covers were her last for DC.  That's a career, friends.  So, clearly, she was well and working right up til recent days.  Thanks to some good people on the internet, she'd been recognized for her role as a woman in comics during the Silver and Bronze Age - in a vastly male-dominated industry.  She was the right artist for many-a-project, and I'm glad she had a sort of late-career renaissance when folks recognized her.  And, frankly, her art was still great right up til January.




If you're unfamiliar with Fradon's style, she's credited with the original design for Metamorpho, a DC hero, and I tend to think of her work as tilting more towards cartoony than illustrative, with an excellent use of line to suggest character.  She's probably almost as famous for her work on Aquaman as Metamorpho, 

In addition to work across genres at DC, she also worked on Brenda Starr, Reporter, a newspaper strip.  

I'm sorry she has passed, but glad she had such a long life bringing so much great art to the world, and really enjoy a new generation of fans the last decade or so.


Sunday, January 21, 2024

"Glory Boat" Splash Page Goes Up For Auction


A while back, Stuart asked me what original comics art I would like to own.  And the answer to that includes complex math in my head, but for simplicity's sake, I'd cut to the chase and say - probably the Glory Boat splash page from New Gods #6.  See above.

seen here in full color


Starting around 1971, The Fourth World Saga was Jack Kirby's original epic/ opus when he returned to DC from starting Marvel, the work spanning four titles:  New Gods, Forever People, Mister Miracle and Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen.  Unthinkable in the last thirty years, Jack Kirby, then 54 years old, pulled this off by drawing, plotting and writing 4 titles per month, in the process creating a universe on top of the DC continuity that had started, sort of, around 1938, give or take.  

Thursday, November 2, 2023

PodCast 258: "Batman" (1989) - a Kryptonian Thought Beast PodCast w/ Jamie and Ryan




Watched:  09/30/2023
Format:  Max
Viewing: Unknown
Decade:  1980s
Director: Tim Burton




Jamie and Ryan go back to a simpler era of superhero movies where a hero didn't have to turn their neck to stop crime! It's the world's greatest detective in a rubber suit, and busily recreating film language for the next few decades. We talk the 1989 smash that changed how the world saw superheroes and made everyone take a guy in a pointy hat very seriously, indeed!


SoundCloud 


YouTube


Music:
Batman Main Title - Danny Elfman 
Batdance - Prince


DC Movies and TV

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Keith Giffen Merges With the Infinite



Comics legend Keith Giffen has passed.  

I can't begin to quantify how much an impact Giffen had on the industry and on me as a reader.

I knew Giffen first as one of the talents on the famed mid-80's Justice League America and I am the guy who still thinks we all dropped the ball not making The Heckler a top seller.  

He's responsible for so, so many characters and stories that make up the DCU, with amazing runs on Legion of Super-Heroes and innumerable other titles.  If Giffen's name was on it, it was worth checking out.  Just last week I was pricing a collection of his Doom Patrol on eBay. 

I'll just drop this wikipedia link here, because it's just way too much for me to repeat here.  The man was a giant, and responsible for countless ideas, many of which are the best at multiple comics publishers.  He gave us worlds upon worlds.  

I'm finding myself surprisingly shaken by Giffen's passing. He was one of the pros I always wanted to meet, and he was just in Austin, but I didn't make it to the Con.  I am sure the industry is going to be in deep mourning this week as folks say goodbye to their friend and inspiration.

Y'all take a minute to remember Mr. Giffen and all he brought to these worlds and this medium we love.



 

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

John Romita, Sr. Merges With the Infinite




Much as Carl Barks was "the Good Duck Artist" to a generation or three, Romita was, to me, THE Spider-Man artist.  Sure, he did plenty else, but his work on Spider-Man was so foundational to the character, his design and humanity brought to each panel, a key player in re-figuring the style at Marvel, and therefore the style of modern comics.  



The world of Spider-Man was surely full of colorful characters, but they weren't defined by their powers, they had unique personalities and character, and Romita brought it right to the surface.  

He was also the artist who brought classic moments we're still dealing with in comics.

Like, the intro of Mary Jane Watson.



and, of course, everything with the Stacy's.

And that's how everything ended up with Gwen and Captain Stacy.  Everyone cool and living happily ever after.

I love this era of Spidey.  It's the height of personal and super-hero drama, and has Spidey working in a milieu I think he operates in best.  And when I think of this era, sure I think the title is well written, but it's also the Marvel Method, which means Stan worked out a storyline with the artist and cut them loose, to come back and fill in dialog later.  So it's artistic storytelling, refusing to rely on text or words.

We'll miss knowing Romita Sr. was out there.  We lost a giant this week.


Tuesday, January 24, 2023

PodCast 229: "The Addams Family" Comics, TV, Movies and More - Jamie and Ryan



Movies/ TV Watched:  
  • Addams Family (1991) 01/16/2023
  • Addams Family Values (1993)  01/17/2023
  • Addams Family (animated - 2019) 01/19/2023
  • Wednesday (2022)
  • The Addams Family (original series, 1964-1966)
Format:
  • Addams Family/ Values/ Wednesday - Netflix
  • Addams Family (animated film)/ original series - YouTube
Viewing:
  • Addams Family/ Values - Unknown
  • Addams Family (animated) - First
Director:
  • Addams Family/ Values/ Wednesday - Barry Sonenfeld
  • Addams Family (animated film) - Greg Tiernan/ Conrad Vernon



Join us as we get creepy and kooky, mysterious and spooky, and all together ooky, as Jamie and Ryan talk Addams Family comic strips, television, movies and more! We ponder questions of family values, romance, and what makes an ever-evolving franchise work when it passes through so many hands as new generations get involved. And what IS movie perfection, and why is it only seen in the two Addams Family films?


SoundCloud 


YouTube



Shakespeare!


Music:
The Addams Family Theme - Vic Mizzy
Addams Groove - Hammer


What is Love? Playlist




Saturday, December 10, 2022

PodCast 224: "Lois And Clark- S4E11" - a Superheroes Every Day Holiday Episode



Watched:  12/03/2022
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing: First
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Michael Vejar




Danny returns! To talk the 1996 Holiday installment of a Super-favorite. Join us as we get merry in both the 5th and 3rd dimension, talk all-things Superman, where this show fits in to the expansive history of The Man of Steel and how this episode works as a Superman story. So what happens when Howie Mandel arrives and wants to conquer the world? Our man picked the wrong holiday to try that one.


SoundCloud 


YouTube


Music:
Lois and Clark Main Title - Jay Gruska


Holidays 2022

Thursday, September 8, 2022

PodCast 209: "The Sandman" - Season 1 discussion w/ MRSHL and Ryan






MRSHL and Ryan step into the dream-realm to talk Netflix's gigantic gamble - adapting a comic property that isn't based on superheroes, is written for older readers, has nuance and complexity, and doesn't talk down to the audience. It's the thing fans didn't believe could ever be adapted faithfully. Do we dare dream?


SoundCloud 


YouTube


Music:
The Kingdom of Dreams - David Buckley
Mr. Sandman - The Chordettes 


DC Comics Playlist

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Tim Sale Merges With The Infinite




Comics artist and illustrator Tim Sale has passed.  




Sale's work was singular, unmistakable, and reminded an industry what could be done with a certain minimalism if you knew how to capture the essence of character in gesture, expression and motion in a line.  He volleyed between Marvel and DC for a good bit, but I believe I remember learning of his work through Haunted Knight and then the superlative Long Halloween.  

His work at Marvel provided a depth to characters with whom we're all familiar on multiple series, such as Daredevil: Yellow and Spider-Man: Blue.  

As a Superman reader, it's hard not to point to the defining work of A Superman For All Seasons, a new chapter to the life of a young Man of Steel finding his place in the world.  It's a beautiful comic with a deeply sympathetic take on Superman that you simply wanted to comfort as he sought his place in the world.











Wednesday, May 18, 2022

"She-Hulk, Attorney-at-Law" is Coming to Disney+

It's not easy being green whilst filing writs of habeas corpus



On May 17th, the trailer hit for Marvel's She-Hulk: Attorney-at-Law multi-episode series, which is set to begin on Disney+ in the coming months.  

When talking to pal GadK about the trailer last night, I had to put aside 30-something years of personal knowledge and history and consider what the hell She-Hulk looks like to someone unversed in the character.  Which, for us old man comic nerds, is an increasingly common occurrence.

Here's that trailer.




We're just in a weird, weird part of whatever the arc will be for superheroes media in our very own reality and continuity.  We're moving rapidly away from how superheroes were understood by the broad population as costumed do-gooders who fight obvious bad-guys in melodramatic four-color battles, an impression derived from barely understood comics of a by-gone era.  

What a non-comics person should know:  At some point, the various genres of comics that appeared across a range of comics (romance, western, etc...) seeped into various genres of the booming superhero genre and sparked endless iterations and permutations - and that is what you will now get at your local comics shoppe.  And it means things in Marvel and DC comics adapted to TV and movies will get weirder than a sarcastic space raccoon post haste.  

Friday, May 13, 2022

PodCast 199: "The Batman" (2022)- a Kryptonian Thought Beast Episode w/ JAL and Ryan




Watched:  05/01/2022
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing: First
Decade: 2020's
Director:  Matt Reeves




It's no riddle which flying rodent-enthusiast had a blockbuster in 2022. The Dynamic Duo of JAL and Ryan get back to the Batcave to talk all about the latest take on the Dark Knight Detective. It's time to get broody as we go batty talking how this one fits in with the big picture, and what makes it unique.


SoundCloud 


YouTube


Music:
The Batman - Michael Giacchino, The Batman OST 
Batman - Neal Helfi
Something In the Way - Nirvana, Nevermind 

DC Movies Playlist

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Comic Artist George Pérez Merges With The Infinite



One of the first comics I read that turned me into a comics fan was in a DC Blue Ribbon Digest (1984), a reprinting of Tales of the Teen Titians #50, one of several landmark issues of the famous run by George Pérez and Marv Wolfman.  Even in that reduced size, I was blown away by the art - in detail, character design, and ability to convey and carry emotion.  And Tales of the Teen Titans was always full of emotion.  

a page from Tales of the Teen Titans 50



Hence, the name George Pérez was one I always took seriously and who made me realize the contribution of the artist in a comic book - both in partnering with the writers, but also how good work absolutely elevated everything in a comic.  

I was a boy when Wonder Woman was rebooted post-Crisis, and boys did not read Wonder Woman (this is the dumbest thing, but it was true).  So it's to my eternal regret that I missed the initial run of George Pérez's solo work on the title, which, if you've never seen it, is achingly gorgeous and simultaneously spawned a generation of artists trying to be Pérez. In the meantime, I've collected every issue and likely have most of it in 2-3 versions of collections.  I may love Kirby and his dynamic flow and over-the-top energy, but Pérez's vision of Themyscira, Olympus, of a professor's home - and his shockingly grounded writing of the series filled with Greek Gods and supernatural terrors also gave way to the emotions of tween girls, middle-aged military brass, and the brave face of a fish-out-of-water Princess making her way through modern-day Boston.  It's so good.

Pérez's Wonder Woman



With his work we don't talk about issues or runs, we talk about "eras".  That's the impact.  

Whether it was Avengers, the phenomenal work of JLA/Avengers or even his indie work - his look and his eye changed everything.

In recent years, it was known his eyesight wasn't great and his health was not good.  And in recent months he announced he was terminal, and would pass.  Unlike so many deaths, which happen as a surprise to the public, Perez's announcement allowed the fans to celebrate him and let him know the impact he'd made on them.  

There is no picture of modern comics I can muster that doesn't include Pérez.  He picked up the torch and the challenge Neal Adams put before everyone to push their work as hard as they could.  And it's unbelievable we'd lose two such giants within days of each other.  

But I am glad the industry and fans got to let him know what he meant.  Godspeed.



Tuesday, May 3, 2022

80's TV Movie Watch: The Spirit (1987)




Watched:  05/02/2022
Format:  DVD from Warner Archive
Viewing:  First
Decade:  1980's
Director:  Michael Schultz

Way back in the 1980's, I ordered a Bud Plant catalog so I could get an idea of what all was out there in the world of comics.  I remember two things that really stuck out - a Mike Kaluta image of The Shadow (the first time I'd heard of the character) - and an image for a collection of The Spirit strips with P'gell prominently featured.  You know the one.

I didn't know what the hell The Spirit was, but to my 11 year old brain, this seemed very sexy indeed, and I assumed The Spirit was some sort of soft-core comic.  

Flash forward probably only a matter of months, and I read in Comics Scene that someone was making a TV movie of The Spirit, learned more about it (not a softcore book!) and back in the days when we weren't having superhero media rained down upon us, I was very interested.  

Finally the movie was slated to air, and of course there was some scheduling conflict (we just missed TV in those days), but I could probably catch the last hour or so.  I don't remember where we were or what was up, but I do remember my mom ran into a friend and started talking.  And I just had to stand there while the clock spun and my 1980's chances with no DVR faded away of seeing any of the movie.  

I walked in the door, watched the last five minutes, and then went to do homework.

Friday, April 29, 2022

Comics Great Neal Adams Merges With The Infinite

Meeting Adams in November, 2013 



I am shocked and saddened to hear that Neal Adams passed on Thursday.


Adams' work looms large for all comics fans, and for us Superman and Batman fans, it's seminal work.  Of course he's covered all sorts of other things.  Jamie has an Adams' Wonder Woman print on her office wall.  But to me he's the guy who brought Muhammad Ali to the DCU and advocated for Siegel and Shuster to be recognized financially and as creators when Superman: The Movie was in production.  



He brought an illustrative realism and humanity to his characters that pushed all of comics to a new level when he arrived, and he never quit pushing boundaries as an active creator right up to his passing.  

Do yourself a favor and look for some Neal Adams comics.  






Friday, November 12, 2021

Supergirl on the CW Ends




I started watching Supergirl from the pilot when the show had big ambitions and was going to air on CBS.  The pilot of the show is... not great.  You could feel the hands of CBS, home to a wide array of boring shows I don't watch, all over the show and kind of wringing themselves with all this superhero weirdness.  But they did bring in a decent cast, and seemed to have some ideas for modernizing the Maid of Might from her incredibly goofy origins in Action Comics 252.  

I won't get into it here, but Supergirl as a property allows for some flexibility as the character's titles never last, no one working on the latest iterations seems aware of prior incarnations, and once on the title, never seems to know what to do with the character for more than 3-6 issues.  I have probably hundreds of Supergirl comics, and there's been exactly two modern runs that I would recommend.

The show started off on CBS, which was always an awkward fit and probably one of the things that drove DC and WB to realize that working with network suits was more trouble than it's worth.  For the first half of the first season, the show felt deeply uncomfortable with itself, bucking against old network tropes and trying to make the domestic life of Kara Zor-El as basic as possible.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Superman Stuff: Let's Talk That Jonathan Kent News




If you came here because you're under the impression that the character known as Superman - who goes by Clark Kent in his everyday life as a mild-mannered reporter for a major metropolitan newspaper - is now categorized as bisexual:  he's not.  Hang in here with me.  

Let's start by clarifying - at this time, Clark Kent, Kal-El of Krypton, is still into women as far as the comics have indicated.*  The "Superman" in question is - in current Superman comics - the young-adult son of Lois Lane and Clark Kent, one Jonathan "Jon" Kent.  In the comics, as Clark Kent has had to take care of some business elsewhere, Jon Kent has been promoted from Superboy to Superman.  

It happens. I don't make the rules, I just report them.  But, yes, there are now two Supermans.  Mens.  Whatever.  It's less and more complicated than who is and is not a Green Lantern.

I don't think it's any surprise to folks that know me or follow this site where I stand on certain topics.  

In coming issues of Superman: Son of Kal-El, a maxi series based on current events in Superman comics, it seems our guy Jon is finding love with a male reporter.  Jon Kent's sexuality is not an issue for me as a reader.  He's a character reflecting both science-fantasy ideals but also a character who will be defined by many characteristics as a person which will appear in his serialized adventures hopefully for many years to come.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Action-Ween Watch: Blade (1998)




Watched:  10/07/2021
Format:  HBOmax, I think
Viewing:  Fourth?  5th?
Decade:  1990's
Director:  Stephen Norrington

So.

I saw Blade (1998) the first time in a theater full of people who had apparently had a LOT of sugar.  It was one of the theaters in town at the time where there was a higher than likely chance people would talk at the screen, and that was fine by me for a movie about Wesley Snipes killing 90's sexy vampires.  

Mostly I remember at the end of the opening sequence, the place went crazy.  Like after a killer guitar solo at a concert.  I mean - Traci Lords at a rave as a vampire and then blood sprinklers at the drop, followed by Blade tearing the place up?  Yes sir.  

I was never really able to separate the fun I had watching the film from whether the film was actually "good", but sometimes a movie is "good" because you had a great time watching it.

Monday, October 4, 2021

DCU Animated Bat-Watch: The Killing Joke (2016)




Watched:  10/03/2021
Format:  HBOmax
Viewing:  First
Decade:  2010's
Director:  Sam Liu

Look.  This... should never have been a movie.  I know what DC/ WB Animation was thinking, but I have no idea what DC/ WB Animation was thinking.

Winding it way back, in 1988 I would have been about 13 when I stumbled across The Killing Joke as a comic book.  And, yes, at one point I had a first printing of the comic, which rises and falls in value on a regular basis.  

It's worth noting - Moore and Bolland were commissioned to do the comic en route to the Keaton-starring Batman movie.  Moore now distances himself from the comic as he has all things DC.  It was, I assume meant to be something of the moment and to give people curious about Batman and the Joker and modern comics something they could pick up as a "graphic novel" at B. Dalton Booksellers.  

This was the era just before 1989's Batman movie, and DC was pushing occasional random things out there and making sure to have collections on the shelf of Year One, Year Two, Dark Knight Returns and the ever popular Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told.  A beautifully crafted story by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland was a slam dunk - focusing on Batman and the Joker to give it synergy - what could go wrong?

Your answers are multiple choice.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

TL;DR: The New 52 - 10 Years later - from a guy who just buys comics




Polygon recently ran an oral history of the New 52 effort from DC Comics.  It features then DC Co-Publisher, Dan Didio, as well as a number of writers from the era.  It's a fascinating article for a lot of reasons, in part because of what those interviewed considered success and good ideas, and it seems that at least one person seems to have some difficulty separating fact from fiction on a few points.

A lot of talent - writers, artists and editors - seem to have turned down Polygon's request for an interview, some even citing that working on the New 52/ Nu52 was so unpleasant, they'd rather not talk about it.  So the number of voices that you'll see represented are minimal and probably well insulated from being seen as "difficult" or "willing to talk" by the current folks in charge.  After all, it's a tiny industry, and speaking out of turn even about deposed rulers can still label you as a problem.

In my opinion, reading the article, it's shocking how little self-reflection has occurred and how little awareness at least Dan Didio has about how it all ended - eg: being shown the door in early 2020 - just as he was gearing up to do a redux of New 52 and literally needed to be stopped.

Well, here's my history of DC's  New 52 publishing adventure as I remember it.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Watch Party Watch: Annie (1982)

pretty sure that's Aileen Quinn's head photoshopped onto someone else's body



Watched:  08/14/2021
Format:  Amazon Watch Party
Viewing:  Unknown
Decade:  1980's
Director:  John Huston

Little Orphan Annie is a weird property that, frankly, I can't believe hasn't resurfaced in the past decade of "re-imaginings".  If you can have Archie Andrews battling supernatural forces, and... the same with Nancy Drew, it seems like a junior, globe-trotting adventurer with a dog and a potentially diverse cast seems like a pretty easy sell for a franchise.  

But for people to know that was what the strip was about would mean people read newspapers and therefore comic strips.  Instead, most of my generation knows the character from either the 1982 film Annie, or from one of the thousands of local theatre group productions of the musical upon which the movie is based (I've never seen it live).