Sunday, April 28

DC Comics – May 2013 – New 52 Month 19

Reviews, commentary, general reactions, and random notes on the DC Comics that were released during March that I received near the beginning of April. Caution: Spoilers ahead! [ Link to previous month ]

I think the biggest news to come out in recent weeks has been with the on-line previews of the new solicitations that will be published in the next issue of Diamond's Previews. What was assumed to be DC's first “mega” event of the New 52, probably drawing in everything like Blackest Night or Flashpoint did, seems not to be all that. In fact, instead of being presented as an independent miniseries with tie-in issues within various regular series, plus maybe some specials and ancillary miniseries, it is simply rotating through the three Justice League titles – JL itself, Justice League of America, and Justice League Dark. Which is not a good thing. I know for a fact that it is driving at least one new reader away, who had recently came on board Justice League as the putative flagship book of the DCnU starring the big names (well, and Cyborg...) but finds the book steadily departing from that ideal and attempting to compel him to buy two other series that he has no interest in! 'Way to go, DC!

Also notable, although there was little fanfare, was the addition of new verbiage to the “created by” credits for the Superman books. I first noticed it on Smallville Season 11 – “SUPERMAN created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster / By Special Arrangement with the Jerry Siegel Family.” It seems to be a result of recent developments in the ongoing legal case.

DC keeps creating public relations faux pas for itself and giving the real impression that the lunatics are running the asylum. The specific examples are quite frankly too irritating to detail, so I won't.

I'd rather write about the comics....

Tuesday, April 23

Quick Hits

Since for one reason or another, I've been negligent in blogging some of my various readings of late, here's a quick catch-up post, in no particular order.

The Power of Shazam (DC, 1994-1999)

I actually mentioned this a while back, that I took back up reading my two library-bound volumes of this great 1990s series starring the original Captain Marvel (and the entire Marvel Family, plus various other Fawcett characters and cross-overs with contemporary DC characters) about halfway through the first volume back when I was down for a week with what I'm calling The Flu. It's wonderful. While I could quibble with certain decisions that were made in the updating (e.g., “CM3,” Mary Marvel as another “Captain Marvel,” her white costume rather than red, the concept of the Power being divided between however many of the three that have invoked it, to name the most important “quibbles”), as far as I'm concerned this is the best-ever “modernization” of the characters that DC has ever managed to accomplish, largely due to the efforts of Jerry Ordway. It certainly puts the current abomination appearing in Justice League to shame. It captures rather than turns-on-its-head the simple charm of the original, albeit in a way that easily satisfies the modern comics reader.

Thursday, April 18

The Birth of the Modern Mythology

Happy Birthday, Superman!

I couldn't pass this up, taking notice of the official on-sale date* of the original Action Comics #1, dated June 1938 but on-sale 18 April 1938 -- 75 years ago today.

Cheers! ... Now go read it for a mere 99 cents at Comixology!

* Note:  Mike's Amazing World of DC Comics, my customary go-to source for this kind of information, lists the approximate on-sale date as 3 May 1938, but enough other sites are commemorating it today (e.g. here and here) that I'll happily follow suit.  And the fact is that the old newstand distribution "system" was so haphazard that I doubt there was any such thing as a meaningful "official on-sale date."

Wednesday, April 17

MAN OF STEEL Trailer 3

I think this is the first post I've ever made just for a movie trailer, but I want to a) call attention to it (and be able to get back to it easily and quickly -- because I'll be wanting to do that, and frequently, over the next few weeks); and b) make just a couple of off-the-cuff comments.

My comments, in no particular order...

1)  I like it.  My comment on a Facebook thread was simply "WOW.  Just ... WOW."  It looks great.  It does not completely allay my worries, that were just last week rekindled by an Internet article regarding this week's Entertainment Weekly issue.  But in itself, it does seem to strike the right tone and balance of down-to-earth character development and slam-bang super-heroics.  Look at that last scene -- You will believe that's two Kryptonians fighting!

2)  Along those lines, I approve of the excision of the lines from an earlier trailer, where Clark asks Jonathan, "Should I have just let them die?," and Jonathan replies, "Maybe."  I just cannot imagine Pa Kent saying such a thing.  No.  Just No.

3)  I'm always a bit leery when the Christological elements of the Superman mythos are pushed too far (as all too frequently happened in Smallville).  They're very clearly present in the mythos, and very clearly here in this movie, though.  But I really wish a single word had been added to Jor-El's response to Lara:  "How [will they kill him]? -- He will be a god to them."  Yes, I know it's very personal, but I would not have cringed so if Jor-El had said, "He will be like a god to them."

There's plenty else that could be said, but these are my quickest comments.

The Comic Book Blog has a good breakdown of the scenes and images in the trailer.

14 June seems a long ways away....

Cheers! ... and Thanks for reading!

Saturday, April 6

Dynamite Comics – May 2013

Reviews, commentary, general reactions, and random notes on the Dynamite Entertainment comics that were released during March (mostly) that I received near the beginning of April. Caution: Spoilers ahead! [Link to previous month.]

Cover A (25%) by Alex Ross
Masks #5 of 8

This issue seems to be an even more radical departure from the original pulp trilogy, but I guess that's only to be expected given the different dynamic resulting from the protagonists being a “league” of heroes rather than a single central figure. In fact the Spider himself does not appear – he's missing in Albany, and by issue's end the Green Hornet, Green Lama, and Miss Fury have all been captured in their civilian identities, while the Shadow, Black Terror, and Kato are in an intense battle with the Black Police in the same very significant building, whose most notable resident is lamentably absent.  Separately, this issue marks our first time seeing the Black Bat and Zorro in action.

I take the very last page, showing Britt Reid, Jethro Dumont and Marla Drake before what I take to be the mastermind of the Empire State, to also drop a huge hint as to his identity – the Clock, a former hero himself (see issue #3): “In a better world, we would have been allies, you and I. / But it's clear that I'm the only one willing to do what is necessary.”  And he holds a pocket watch.

This issue also seemed to go even more quickly. That's my main complaint with this series – each chapter is too sketchy a read. Would it strike me so had I not read the original? How will it read as a collection?

Monday, April 1

Spinner-Rack Memories!: Action Comics #388 (May 1970)

Not a dream! Not a hoax! And not an “Imaginary Story”! For April Fool's Day, I have posted to my other blog a story that I remember fondly from my childhood, one that is chock-full of zany Silver-Age wackiness. Including yet another marriage between Superman and Lois Lane.

For a few minutes of levity, head on over to Spinner-Rack Memories to see the day Sgt. Rock tried – repeatedly – to kill his rival-in-love Superman by such fool-proof methods as dousing him in chocolate syrup and pelting him with five-day-old garbage (or did he miss a day? – could that be why it didn't work?)...