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

Monday, March 31, 2008

"Batman: The Killing Joke" revisited

DC sent me a copy of its 20th anniversary deluxe edition of “Batman: The Killing Joke.” Wow, 20 years. If you already own “The Killing Joke,” I don’t know that the deluxe edition is worth picking up: The extras include new coloring by artist Brian Bolland, the story “An Innocent Man” from “Batman: Black and White” and an introduction by artist Tim Sale. On the other hand, if you don’t own “The Killing Joke,” you should. Alan Moore’s take on the origin of the Joker and the effects of "one bad day" is a riveting read (though I never accepted Batman and the Joker sharing a laugh at the end), and one that has had significant impact on continuity ever since, such as the crippling of Barbara Gordon. And Bolland’s art shouldn’t be missed.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

"Blue Beetle" writer also a fan

I talked this morning with Jai Nitz, who’s writing next month’s “Blue Beetle” No. 26 — a special Spanish-language issue. Nitz’s big message: You should be reading “Blue Beetle,” not just his one issue, but every month.

He said he was dubious when DC killed off the previous Blue Beetle, Ted Kord, and set up El Paso teenager Jaime Reyes as the new Blue Beetle. “I did what I said you should never do,” Nitz said — write off a new title sight unseen. But he’s become a fan of the book after all. “It really is a good book,” he says.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Who do you trust?

Entertainment Weekly has posted the first 10 pages of next week's "Secret Invasion" No. 1 at its Web site. For those who can't wait until my interview with writer Brian Bendis runs this Sunday, EW also has an interview. Meanwhile, I got a package today from Marvel that includes some "Secret Invasion" goodies - my favorite being my very own Skrull mask!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


I’m reading “Superheroes! Capes and Crusaders in Comics and Film,” by Roz Kaveney. Kaveney, apparently, is “an acclaimed cultural commentator” in the U.K. The book, to some extent, seems to be a defense of superhero comics, which is often viewed as fodder for summer movies at best. Kaveney goes beyond the typical exams of high-profile heroes such as Batman and Spider-Man. In fact, one chapter is devoted to “Alias” — not the TV show, but the Marvel comic by Brian Bendis that introduced Jessica Jones to the Marvel universe and which no one outside comic book circles has probably ever heard of.

Friday, March 21, 2008

It's bombshells away in "Secret Invasion"

I talked with Brian Bendis this afternoon about Marvel’s “Secret Invasion.” He’s certainly got me psyched about the eight-issue blockbuster event. For one thing, he says he flips over most of his cards in the very first issue, with several big Skrull reveals. So instead of parceling them out issue by issue, he drops lots of bombshells by the third page of issue No. 1. So we’ll find out soon which Marvel heroes have been replaced by those sneaky, shape-shifting Skrulls.

Who was that non-masked man?

So, you did catch the last page of this week's "Captain America" No. 36, right? So is it Steve Rogers that Sharon stumbles across? I (and everyone else) always assumed the real Cap would come back at some point, but I'm thinking that it's too soon after Bucky becoming the new Cap, that this isn't really Steve. But what do I know? Writer Ed Brubaker answers a few of your burning questions at Newsarama.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

And the geeks will inherit the Earth ....

The geek word again. Zap2it.com reports that the Sci-Fi Channel has greenlit several pilots, including one executive-produced by actress (and comic book fan) Rosario Dawson. "True Believer," the report says, "centers on a comic-book geek who hires a down-on-his-luck superhero to teach him the basics of crime-fighting."

Monday, March 17, 2008

Praise for "The Ten-Cent Plague"

Entertainment Weekly has a rave review of David Hajdu's "The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America," which I wrote about a few weeks ago. EW calls the book "a staggeringly well-reported account," and I agree completely. Hajdu's level of detail is astounding, yet it doesn't bog down the pace at all.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Pete Ross returns to "Smallville"

It was nice to see Pete Ross (Sam Jones III) back for an episode of “Smallville” last night, even if he was a bit whiney. (Blame the kryptonite gum.) Clark, with his dad gone, Lex transformed from friend to foe and Green Arrow away doing whatever he does, needs all the chances he can get for some male-bonding.

For us long-time comics fan, it was fun to have Pete develop elastic powers. In the comics, of course, it was Superman’s pal Jimmy Olsen that had such powers for a time.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

"Secret Invasion Saga"

I noticed a stack of copies of Marvel’s “Secret Invasion Saga” on the front counter of Bargain Comics last week and this week I finally got around to picking up one. (I would have grabbed it faster if I’d realized it was for the low, low price of FREE!)

Anyway, pick up a copy yourself. It’ll tell you everything you need to know about the long history of the shape-shifting Skrull race — a worthwhile education since the Skrulls take center-stage in next month’s “Secret Invasion.”

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Lex? Lana? Come back!

TV Guide reports big changes ahead for “Smallville.” Mainly, the contracts for Michael Rosenbaum (Lex Luthor) and Kristin Kreuk (Lana Lang) run out this season. So next season, it looks like Lex and Lana will be around some, but not as regulars. I have trouble envisioning “Smallville” without Clark’s main love and main enemy not around all the time.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Buffy, Buffy, Buffy

Well, I missed out on the headline-making comic book of the week: “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” No. 12. Guess I’ll need to drop in on Bargain Comics and see if there are any copies left. The comic features Buffy having a lesbian encounter or fling or something. Whatever you want to call it, it involved sweaty sheets - and got the attention of big-time media like The New York Times and ABC News. Newsarama has a nice interview with “Buffy” creator Joss Whedon about the issue and the series in general.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

"Kick-Ass" goes back to press

With “Kick-Ass” No. 1 selling out at Diamond, Marvel is going back to press with a second printing. The new series, by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr., is about a comics-obsessed kid who decides to become a superhero. He’s not much of a hero — no powers, no burning desire to do good. And the story’s pretty brutal in action and language. (When the story opens with the hero’s testicles in danger, you know it’s not your everyday book.) But I’ll keep reading, if for no other reason to see how the story even goes on after the hero’s plight on the last page.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Cap and the real world

Caught up, partly anyway, on my comics reading over the weekend, including last week’s “Captain America” No. 35 and last month’s (yes, I’ve been behind) “Captain America” No. 34, which saw Bucky Barnes don the Cap costume for the first time. One thing I like about Ed Brubaker’s story is how rooted in the real world it seems, such as the economic ills plaguing America. It’d be nice if the housing downtown and credit crunch and all that were really the work of the Red Skull. Might be easier to take care of it all, then. No need for an economic stimulus package: Just get rid of that pesky Red Skull.