Casting Internets

I’m actually surprised how long I’ve been sitting on some of these links. Seems like I read a few of these months ago. And awaaaaaaaay we go.

Interviewing pals-turned-cowriters Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft for CBR about their new Image book Severed got me really excited about that book. I also wrote about Epoch and Rodd Racer.

I also wrote about Black Knight’s wonderful wardrobe for Marvel.com.

This isn’t so much of a link, but I discovered while doing some research for that Marvel.com freelance piece that not only did a comic called Hulk Comic exist in the UK, but it also featured Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. stories drawn by Steve Dillon. That’s one of my all time favorite characters drawn by one of my all time favorite artists. How do I now have a collection/issues of this?

Also not a link, but once my daughter starts walking, I kind of want to make her a Godzilla costume and build a tiny city for her to smash. Is that weird or ingenious?

The Beat tells me that the sixth Diary of a Wimpy Kid volume is coming out in November. I think I’m more excited about this than any other comic announcement I’ve heard in a while.

I really liked this Topless Robot list of the 6 best and lamest Planet of the Apes toys.

I’m not much of a risk taker, especially when it comes to potentially getting hurt, but I would absolutely try riding this hoverbike. Just not through a wooded area…at least not on the first try. (via Wired)

According to Rolling Stone, the new Red Hot Chili Peppers album will be rather dark. I’m not really sure how to take that, I’m just hoping it’s got a little more speed behind it than their last few more proggy records.

Speaking of new, dark records from bands I love, apparently Fountains of Wayne will also be less upbeat than previous offerings. They’ve never disappointed me before, so I don’t expect them to now. (via Rolling Stone)

My buddy Chris sent this Video Games vs. Real Life post from Behance to a few friends in an email. It is fantastic.

I’m excited about the possibility of a 100 Bullets TV show, but David Goyer’s involvement is iffy. He was involved with Christopher Nolan’s Batman flicks which is a plus, but the movies he directed himself are not so good. (via /Film)

After reading Brian Hibbs’ most recent Tilting At Windmills where he explains some of the math behind the direct market and considering the crappy financial climate we currently find ourselves in, I’m shocked that the comic book industry hasn’t scaled back more. He makes the point that it’s better to sell lots of copies of a few books instead of a few copies of a lot of books. That makes a lot of sense and you’d think trimming down the number of comics sold each month would not only save you in production costs but also give readers the sense that they can actually keep up on an entire universe if they’re so inclined. Does anyone think that way now? I sure don’t.

The Challenge Rivals Episode 2 “Through The Looking Glass”

I had some problems with tonight’s episode of The Challenge: Rivals and I’m not talking about people playing the game stupidly, pointless fights or them cheering for friends instead of people they should want to be sent home. I’m peeved because MTV has been really sloppy with a lot of the editing and previews they’ve created and how spoiler filled they have been. It’s frustrating. To find out what I’m talking about and what the above picture is, hit the jump! Continue reading The Challenge Rivals Episode 2 “Through The Looking Glass”

Ad It Up: Masters Of The Universe Video Game

It boggles my mind that He-Man hasn’t been more widely exploited by Mattel. The Masters of the Universe Classics figures are fantastic and do a great job of updating the character in figure form for modern consumers and fans, but why isn’t there more? There’s no real reason there shouldn’t be as many versions of the Masters as there are of Transformers out there. It’s a great basic concept with lots of room to grow and expand with an audience that’s always looking for new entertainment. I can see a cartoon being too expensive or risky to produce, but why not a comic book (or at least a digital one) based on the bios on the back of the MOTUC figures or a video game? Consider how epic a He-Man video game could be. Heck, even if it was a fighting game where you chose different Masters to fight! Anyway, all of this is a long winded way of saying that back in 1983 Mattel tried doing a Masters video game. I have no idea how good or bad it was, but it makes me wish that they’ve give it another shot. Anyway, this ad was scanned from 1984’s Hercules #1.

Trade Post: Final Crisis Rogues’ Revenge

FINAL CRISIS: ROGUES’ REVENGE (DC)
Written by Geoff Johns, drawn by Scott Kolins
Collects Final Crisis: Rogues’ Revenge #1-3, Flash #182, 197

To say that Final Crisis was a confusing event would probably be putting it lightly. I was still reading comics on a weekly basis as it rolled on and I had very little clue what was happening. However, after reading all of the Morrison-written stuff together in the FC collection, I actually really enjoyed the story. I don’t think I understand it 100%, but I had a great experience reading it and want to revisit it and hopefully gain a little more insight. I think one of the stumbling blocks for DC was taking a Grant Morrison story–which tend to be weird and wild–and turning it into an event. It probably should have just been it’s own thing, but considering how huge of a story it was, it would have been strange for it to not be referenced anywhere else. Adding the “Final Crisis” tag to books like Rage Of The Red Lanterns which had little-to-nothing to do with it didn’t help.

Anyway, Rogues’ Revenge is kind of one of those books as well, but it does feature Libra one of the big bads in FC, so I guess it makes sense. Johns and Kolins return to the characters they made awesome during their run of Flash and do a pretty damn good job which is saying a lot considering the Rogues just got done murdering a grown-up Bart Allen in Flash: The Fastest Man Alive, a book I didn’t even read for free. There’s also some vague references to Countdown that aren’t that important. But, I think Rogues’ Revenge works really well on its own, but you do need to know a few things. Inertia tricked the Rogues into killing Bart Allen, Libra has killed Martian Manhunter and turned most of the villains of the DCU into an army, but the Rogues want nothing to do with him, which makes him angry. Also, Pied Piper was tied to the original Trickster for a while after the death of Bart Allen, which seems to have messed Piper up. They were both trying to infiltrate the Rogues when Bart got killed. Most of these details are included in the story as it progresses, but I figured I’d throw it out there because the book doesn’t have an intro (which it really should).

Anyway, this book, while it might have a few continuity questions for folks, acts as this awesome revenge action story. Think something like Payback or Crank but with supervillains instead of Mel Gibson or Jason Statham. The Rogues are looking to get out of the villain game because they broke one of their own rules by killing the Flash, but they want to pull one last job: kill Inertia. Captain Cold takes the lead for the most part, but Mirror Master, Heat Wave, Weather Wizard and the kid Trickster all have cool moments as they tear through imposters (originally seen in Batman: Gotham Underground which I thought I reviewed, but apparently not) and deal with an Inertia trained by Zoom as well as Libra himself. These are very bad men doing very bad things very well.

With all the violence, death and rain, the book takes on a kind of noire feel to it, but Kolins’ artwork is as bright and vibrant as ever. The rain is really serious in the book and Kolins makes them look soaked without getting sloppy. It really is a great collaboration between two creators who have great chemistry together. Giving the Rogues the spotlight was a cool move that could have been done at any time and not tied in to Final Crisis, but the elements of that story that are included make sense and actually make them look even more badass. Telling Libra to kiss off more than once is pretty epic, but would have been more so if I could remember what the deal with that character was. Anyone remember?

If you like revenge movies, the Rogues or high quality stories that give villains the spotlight, the this book is definitely up your alley. By not dealing with heroes (Flash only appears in flashbacks and at the very end) the Rogues get to show how dangerous they really are and it’s a wild ride to keep up with.

The Challenge Rivals Episode 1 “Welcome To The Jungle”

Oh man, I’ve been looking forward to The Challenge: Rivals for a while now. In case you were unaware, this season pairs people up who have had a tumultuous history on previous Challenges or Real World seasons. Some of them are pretty dead-on while others seem pretty flimsy, but if you’re not sure why some of these folks dislike each other, they not only run down the history of Challenges past, but also get specific with what happened. A few still left me scratching my head, but everyone can’t be Evan or Paula, am I right? We’re tossed into the beginning of the episode with sound bites of the various contestants dumping on one another with Robin having the best: “You couldn’t pick a bigger cast of assholes.” True enough. Hit the jump to see who the biggest of the bunch is. Continue reading The Challenge Rivals Episode 1 “Welcome To The Jungle”

Ad It Up: Morning Funnies Cereal

My favorite comic ads are the ones that bring back a flood of memories. My second favorite ones seem incredibly inappropriate given the subject matter of the comic they are found in. This one counts for both. Not only do I remember eating Morning Funnies Cereal a few times (the box actually folded open and had comic strips you could read!), but I got a kick out of flipping through an old Punisher issue (#20 from 1989) and coming across the full color visages of Hagar the Horrible, Dennis the Menace, Luann, Beetle Bailey and the rest. Does anyone remember what the actual cereal looked like? The art makes them look like tortured souls screaming out of the comic strip graveyard. Or goofy faces. Whichever you like

Mini Trade Post: Batman Dark Knight, Dark City & Legion 100-Page Spectaculars

DC COMICS PRESENTS BATMAN DARK KNIGHT, DARK CITY 100-PAGE SPECTACULAR (DC)
Written by Peter Milligan, drawn by Kieron Dwyer & Tom Mandrake
Collects Batman #452-454 & Detective Comics #633

Wow, that is one heck of a title, isn’t it? Seems to me you could either ditch “DC Comics Presents” or “100-Page Spectacular” or possibly both. Also, does it really need a #1 on the cover? Anyway, it seems to me this tiny, cheaper collection format was designed to put out random Batman storyarcs from the two core Bat-books, Shadow of the Bat, Legends of the Dark Knight and the myriad minis starring our hero. I would imagine that, for the most part, many of them will land with me how this one did: just alright. It’s a clever tale that features the Riddler finding some old Gothamite cultist’s journal and getting possessed by a demon. Demon Riddler puts Batman through this series of paces that SPOILER winds up putting him through the motions to prepare him for a dark ritual.Well played Eddie.

As you can imagine, the book is pretty dark, darker than I thought for some reason even though this was well into the grim and gritty period. Seeing Batman stab a dog with a knife is pretty intense. Anyway, the story was a little slow and felt familiar to this long-time Bat-reader, though I can’t pinpoint why. The Riddler reveal is pretty interesting, but it’s kind of like watching a movie you’re not that absorbed by with an interesting twist. Oh okay, cool. What’s next?

Meanwhile, the Detective Comics issue which was also written by Milligan with Tom Mandrake art was just the opposite for me: an interesting story about Bruce Wayne trying to figure out why he wasn’t Batman/where the Batcave had gone, but with an ending that made me not care about what I had just read. This collection’s biggest fault, to me, though is not reprinting the Mike Mignola covers between issues. For the record, there are 88 pages of story in this book, some ads, a 4 page The Search For Swamp Thing preview and a DC Nation column which means there was plenty of room to run the covers. But, if you maybe haven’t read a ton of Batman comics and want to read a darker tale that actually does something interesting with the Riddler, you probably will be okay spending $8 on these four issues.

DC COMICS PRESENTS LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES 100-PAGE SPECTACULAR (DC)
Written by Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning, drawn by Oliver Coipel
Collects Legion Of Super-Heroes #122-123, Legionnaires #79-80

Since I complained about the overly-long Dark Knight, Dark City title, I’ll take a moment to complain about this title as well. I actually think this one should have had an additional subtitle, like Legion Of The Damned. I’m guessing that would not fit on the spine, though. Again, not a big deal, just something that popped into my head.

I moved this mini-trade to the top of my “to-read” pile after reading the first adventures of this incarnation of the Legion. I completely forgot to mention this collection in that post, which was funny because I was literally staring at it while I wrote the post. As it turns out, this bad boy practically ends both the regular LoSH book and Legionnaires. There’s one more issue of each book which leads into the epic and well-received Legion Lost (anyone know if those last two issues are collected in the Legion Lost hardcover?).

Okay, enough about the book itself, how about the content? I really dug this story and it makes me want to keep an eye out for single issues of the previous books and the DnA-written Legion book that followed at cons. I have no idea what went on before this, but the first issue opens with Earth being overrun by the Blight a kind of organic Borg that has overrun the planet and even possessed most of the Legionnaires. Just when Chameleon thinks he’s the last of the bunch, Cosmic Boy, Brainiac 5, Monstress and Apparition return from a wild trip in space that kept them out of this mess as it was going on. Now it’s up to them and a few others–who I won’t spoil, but are on the cover, so I guess it’s not spoiling–to defeat the Blight and save the day. It’s a pretty fun, tight story that really screwed up the Earth and Metropolis, something you don’t really see in comics much without some kind of loophole or get-out. By the end of this book, the Blight have been defeated, but it’s not like Earth and Metropolis are back to normal.

It should also be said, that I wasn’t too confused by what was going on, even though there was a pretty huge gap between my reading of this series. Sure, there’s some characters I didn’t know (Monstress) but it’s not hard to jump into the story because the good guys and bad guys are pretty well defined, so even if I don’t know which Legionnaire Monstress has a crush on or whatever, I know she’s a hero fighting the villains. Nuff said. I was also impressed with Coipel’s artwork. It might not be what you think of when you think of him now because it’s a little sketchier and looser, but still really detailed and stylized. I also appreciated how he drew some of the Legionnaires as if they were actual teenagers. I never for a minute thought that any of the kids in the first trade were younger than 17, so it was good to get the feeling some of them actually looked like their younger age. All in all, this was a great book, definitely worth the price of admission for me and a great precursor to get me excited about the Legion Lost collection.

I mentioned this when I talked about Finals, but I really appreciate that DC has created this new format for collecting their comic books. Purists might not refer to them as trades because they have ads and issue numbers on the cover, but I don’t care about that stuff. In fact, it might be kind of fun to look back and see what was being advertised back in the day. Finals is sitting on my trade shelf between Fallen Angel and The Five Fists Of Science, sure there’s a few more inches of gobbledegook than need be on the spine, but that’s no big deal. My only real complaint (that title stuff is mostly grousing) is that they’re not including the covers in these things. I hope DC keeps doing these even with the relaunch.