Up, up and away! A place for comic-book fans to gather.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

One more part for "One More Day"

The delivery of new comics for the week was a day later than usual because of last week’s Thanksgiving holiday, but it was worth the wait. Got a fairly big stack of comics this afternoon from Bargain Comics. On the top of the pile: “Sensational Spider-Man” No. 41, with part 3 of the four-part “One More Day” story arc. This is the one where Peter and Mary Jane find the choice they face if they want to save Aunt May. I admire the emotional struggle that writer J. Michael Straczynski is putting the couple through, but I still resent the idea that much of Spidey’s past may be erased with essentially a wave of the magic wand. We’ll find out for sure in a few weeks when the arc concludes.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Brubaker's new Cap

I talked this afternoon with Eisner award-winning writer Ed Brubaker, writer of Marvel’s “Captain America” and a whole bunch of other monthly titles.

He killed off Steve Rogers earlier this year and early next year a new Captain America debuts. Much has been made of the fact that this new Cap carries a gun. Too much, perhaps, Brubaker says. After all, Captain America is a super-soldier.

“If you look back at Captain America comics in the ‘40s, you’ll see plenty of images of Captain America just chugging away on a machine gun there, or a flame-thrower,” Brubaker notes.

Of course, this new Captain America isn’t at war. “Part of the whole new Cap is taking a guy who isn’t Steve Rogers, who had a different upbringing, and putting him into that place. How do you fill those shoes, and can you?”

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"Wonder Woman: Love and Murder"

Before NBC’s must-see Monday night TV, I sat down last night with “Wonder Woman: Love and Murder,” a hardcover collecting best-selling author Jodi Picoult’s run on “Wonder Woman.” Picoult had a big challenge in front of her when she took on the series. She was taking over after a delay-plagued run by Allan Heinberg that didn’t get around to actually concluding until much later and her story had to plug into the “Amazons Attack” miniseries. Within that framework, she came up with a story about Wonder Woman and her formerly dead mom and meeting parents’ expectations, a theme we non-superheroes can relate with. But there were a lot of humorous bits that didn’t work for me, like Wonder Woman dropping the nearly dead but still-wiscracking Nemesis with a thud. It also seemed strange that Wonder Woman was having so much trouble figuring her place in the world. After all, she’d just had a year off to contemplate just that.

Monday, November 19, 2007

"The Black Dossier"

I spent part of my weekend reading Alan Moore’s “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier,” and boy, what a strange trip it takes readers on.It’s a book within a book, I guess you’d say. The characters of Mina Murray and Allan Quatermain retrieve “The Black Dossier,” a book with details from the hidden history of the league, and we read it as they do. So there’s some traditional comic book narrative, but also a lot of prose pieces and special features. Warning: for mature readers, as they say, with some “adult” drawings by Kevin O’Neill.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Another Luthor

Last night’s “Smallville” would have been a good Mother’s Day episode, as Clark got to meet his long-dead biological mom (well, kind of). But the big news is that the annoyingly smug editor of the Daily Planet suddenly got interesting. He’s Lex Luthor’s presumed-dead brother? Am I the only one who didn’t see that coming?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

"World War Hulk"

The final issue of “World War Hulk” is out today. I got my copy from Bargain Comics and couldn’t resist a quick read, including hopping to the last page or two. It looks like another combination of pathos and slam-bang action. And it's definitely ending one chapter in the life of the Hulk while opening up several new vistas. Newsarama.com has some teaser images from the book that hint at future developments.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Marvel Comics online

So you all saw the Associated Press story today on Marvel Comics new online venture, right? It was on The Gazette's Pop page. I may be too impatient for the digital age. I tried twice today to go to the Digital Comics Unlimited site at Marvel.com and, after several minutes of trying to just get to the main page, gave up. Anyone have better luck?

Friday, November 09, 2007

Lana and Clark, together again

Fun episode of "Smallville" last night. Lana got to share in Clark's powers and, of course, soon turned to the dark side. But first Clark and Lana decided to, uh, exert their powers in a mutually satisfying way, which made for some seismic activity in the Kansas plains. On another romantic front, does anyone else find the new editor of the Daily Planet (Lois' new love interest) annoyingly smug and condescending?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Comic news in TV Guide

Check out the Nov. 12-18 TV Guide with "4 exclusive covers by 4 top artists." As in comic-book artists. Jim Lee, Phil Jimenez, Michael Turner and Tim Sale all provided covers depicting characters from NBC's "Heroes."

The issue also reveals that Black Canary will be the latest character from the DC Universe to drop in on TV's "Smallville." Look for Alaina Huffman as Black Canary in the Jan. 10 episode.

And, finally, check out this episode description for the Nov. 18 episode of "The Simpsons." "Jack Black voices a new comic-book-store owner who lures Bart, Lisa and Milhouse away from the Comic Book Guy's shop. Comic-book scribes Alan Moore, Art Spiegelman and Dan Clowes have voice cameos."

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

"The Gunslinger Born"

The hardcover edition of Marvel’s “The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born” hits comic book shops tomorrow, collecting the seven-issue miniseries writen by Robin Furth and Peter David and illustrated in stunning style by Jae Lee and Richard Isanove. While I’m a Stephen King fan, I never got into King’s series of “Dark Tower” novels. Even so, I found myself pulled into the comics. Definitely a worthwhile addition to any comics fan’s bookshelf.

Monday, November 05, 2007

A new Batman?

Well, I sure hope Rich Johnston is wrong this time. In his Lying in the Gutters rumor column today, he reports that DC will be killing Bruce Wayne next summer, with someone else taking over as Batman. Years ago, Batman was replaced after his back was broken by Bane, but of course he got better. And we’ve already been through this with Hal “Green Lantern” Jordan and Oliver “Green Arrow” Queen dying, being replaced and returning from the dead. Over at Marvel, Steve Rogers is dead (for now) and a new Captain America takes over in January. Stop it already.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Phoenix rises

And we have a winner! Well, Marvel has a winner, anyway, in its first costume contest. Ruby Rocket (is that a real name or a comic book name?) of Austin, Texas, was crowned champ for her Phoenix costume. She gets a “Captain America Omnibus” Vol. 1 signed by writer Ed Brubaker and her own “handbook-style” page to appear in a Marvel Comic. Check out all 30 finalists at www.marvel.com/costumecontest.

"Spider-Man 3"

The “Spider-Man 3” DVD was released this week and I’ll probably buy a copy this weekend, but I can’t say I’m particularly enthused. Too disjointed, too many villains, a bothersome personality change for Peter Parker even before donning the black costume. But there were some good points ... I think. I liked the Sandman special effects, as I recall.

Wizard magazine has an article on "Spider-Man 4," but there’s not a lot of new info there. Looks like Sam Raimi will be involved in some capacity, though, even if he doesn’t direct.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

"Death of Superman" revisited

The latest Wizard magazine has an intriguing look back at “The Death of Superman” 15 years ago. I had read before that it wasn’t intended to be a big event and that the mainstream interest caught DC Comics by surprise, but it was still interesting to read comments from the editors, writers and artists who wound up in the whirlwind of attention. Heck, I knew Superman would be back, but I was caught up in the excitement too, standing in a line outside a comics store in the cold waiting to buy my copy.