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Two Questions

  1. What sort of person makes a detailed Wikipedia entry for Luann?
  2. How do I ensure that I never meet that person?

Blue Oyster Cult Songs, Ranked by Plausibility of Association with the Martian Manhunter

12. “Joan Crawford”

11. “Shooting Shark”

10. “Then Came the Last Days of May”

9. “Black Blade”

8. “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper”

7. “Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll”

6. “Flaming Telepaths”

5. “Sole Survivor”

4. “Burnin’ for You”

3. “Fire of Unknown Origin”

2. “Veteran of the Psychic Wars”

1.  “Godzilla”

I Am a Liar

So, the projected release date for “Building a Better Batman” was perhaps a tad overoptimistic. For one thing, the Batman vs. Superman review took a lot out of me. For another, most of my time’s been eaten up by work on a thing I can’t discuss. Probably it’ll be up by mid-May. (“Building a Better Batman,” that is. Though the thing could start by then also.)

Batman v Superman: Review of Justice

Superman is dead.

Superman remains dead.

And we have killed him.

This movie. This fucking movie. This Goddamned fucking miserable amoral shitstain on the Underoos of the superhero genre, blockbuster filmmaking in general, DC Comics, Batman, and Superman. This loathsome hateful excuse for a miserable exercise in audience abuse. This utter Goddamned monstrosity of a movie.

Read More…

On the Latest Controversy Sweeping the Comics World

Let’s be conservative. Say that a lifetime achievement award can only be awarded to a creator with more than twenty-five years of work in the industry. Say further that this twenty-five-year limit extends from their date of first professional publication–no fanac. Would it make sense for a list of nominees, even in a historically male-dominated field such as comics, to completely exclude women?

So, in the interest of showing up the Angoulême Grand Prix jury, I have compiled a list of women who I would hypothetically nominate for such an award:

  • Rumiko Takahashi
  • Ann Nocenti
  • Colleen Doran
  • Wendy Pini
  • Carla Speed McNeil
  • Kaoru Mori
  • Louise Simonson
  • Marie Severin
  • Francoise Mouly
  • Trina Robbins
  • Cat Yronwode
  • Jill Thompson
  • Marjane Satrapi
  • Aline Kominski-Crumb
  • Ramona Fradon
  • Alison Bechdel
  • Amanda Conner
  • Roberta Gregory
  • Julie Doucet
  • Lynda Barry
  • And a heck of a lot of others I can’t come up with at the moment. Chime in with your picks.

[For context.]

[Image from Dimension 13; art by Trina Robbins]

I Give Up

Little hypothetical. Let’s say there’s a cartoonist who’s done work in both comic strips and comic books over the years. He’s pretty good technically. And he specializes in things you like. But this cartoonist–let’s call him Hank Lo–has a problem in that his sense of humour is weirdly puerile. Earlier this year he drew a cartoon mocking a controversial variant cover for a comic book starring a female character. This got him attention, so he repeated the stunt with a few other female superheroes. Then it got boring, and we moved on. A few months later, however, one of the Big Two announced that our Mr. Lo was the main artist on one of their new books, “The Completely Amazing Bulk,” written by, let’s call him Leg Trak. In apparent celebration, Lo produces another cartoon, this one depicting a Big Two superheroine bouncing bullets off her bosoms, one of which ricochets and hits a superheroine from The Other Company (the one that’ll be publishing “Completely Amazing Bulk”) in the head. Let’s say you like Lo’s style, but frankly have reservations about his humour and don’t know if you can support such a trollish and again puerile artist. What do you do? Must you turn off your conscience to enjoy something? It’s a question whose answer I don’t know I have. [Context]

In Reaction to the Recent Death of Bil Keane

Some Thoughts on the Legacy of the Creator of The Family Circus and the State of American Comic Strips in General
First of all, sorry about the erratic-to-nonexistent update schedule. As you probably gathered from the title, I’m writing this post in response to the recent death of Bil Keane, creator of The Family Circus. Keane died on the eighth of congestive heart failure; he was 89. Keane is survived by his son Jeff and the strip itself, which is now being written and drawn by Jeff, so it’ll continue unabated for the foreseeable future. The Internet’s mockery will, too. And now…on to tonight’s main topic: The sad and sorry state of the modern American comics page. I personally agree with PvP creator Scott Kurtz on this one: American strip comics are a moribund business, drained of creativity and with their golden years long behind them. The closest they ever came to a “renaissance” was during the 1980’s and ‘90s, when the industry was renewed, filled with a sense of purpose that made it grow and swell with pride and optimism. From this time spring some of the greatest works of comic-strip storytelling and art: Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side, This Modern World, and FoxTrot’s “golden age” all date back to these years. Sadly, these years of greatness and the earlier blossomings of the 1900’s through the 1970’s are long behind it, and the average comics reader is left to scavenge through the blasted wreckage. Doonesbury. Stone Soup. Peanuts. Mother Goose and Grimm–on a good day, which are few and far between. Non-Sequitor–although the above caveat also applies. These, my friends, are all that remain of the regularly syndicated quality strips. The rest–the word dreck springs to mind all too readily. Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side both stopped publication about a decade and a half ago, and, it seems, so too went all but a few small vestiges of comic strips’ creativity. Now? Maybe a swift death would be less painful than watching this titan grown sterile slowly fall to pieces. In no particular order, here is a sampling of the comics I would most like see vanish from the comics page forever:
  • Beetle Bailey: I know that Beetle Bailey is a beloved American classic—but so is gender-based discrimination, and I for one would like to see that gone forever. It’s just not funny anymore—and that is the kiss of death for a comic strip.
  • Garfield: the humor ran dry on this ‘un a long time ago, and Jim Davis has just been recycling the same seven or eight jokes ever since.
  • Dennis the Menace: another strip where the humor ran dry years back. Moreover, Dennis hasn’t been actually, y’know, menacing in decades, having long since decayed into harmless sap. End it now, man! END IT NOW!
  • The Born Loser: this is the poster-child for cliched, formulaic storytelling. Once you have read one The Born Loser strip you have, in effect, read them all.
  • Blondie: for whatever reason, this is both immortal and obscenely formulaic. It’s just not that good
  • For Better or For Worse: once, this stood as one of the titans of comics. Now…it’s just reprinting old strips, definitely for worse.

See ya in the funny papers!–

Alex Adrian
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