Home Columns Kibbles 'n' Bits Kingdom of the links

Kingdom of the links


A look back at the week in links! We figure that after this, everyone is going into San Diego Panic mode, so read ’em while you can.

§ TOP STORY: Late last week, Mark Waid made headlines when he decided to stop reading superhero comics. Perhaps that is because at some point mature people are not meant to read the adventures of characters that they have been reading for 40 years every month. While the exact comic that killed Waid’s love of the genre is not known, Tucker Stone had lots of suspects.

§ Fans discuss Comic-Con’s greatest moments, none of which have anything whatsoever to do with comics. Unsurprising but grim all the same.

§ Michael Cho drew a Superboy collection cover and Michael Cho is fantastic. [Via Chris Sims]

§ Cliff Chiang drew a series of Star Wars posters in the style of old propaganda posters, and a limited edition will be on sale at SDCC. via Robot 6.

§ More pictures of Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan and Blake Lively as Carol Ferris have been scanned in from that EW article.

§ Chris Butcher explains why the cover of TWIN SPICA probably isn’t going to sell many copies.

The audience for the book in North America is probably older teens and people in their 20s (at least I hope so because the teen market is saturated and full of thieves…). But more importantly, as part of Vertical’s line (folks who have heretofore only published work intended for adults, primarily by Osamu Tezuka) there’s a natural adult crossover. As a bookseller, I look at the people who enjoy Sci-Fi and Drama, people who might’ve really loved the critical-hit / sales-flop PLANETES and want something new to read. But every time I put a copy of Twin Spica in someone’s hands, they take one look at the cover and go “that’s not really my thing”. Why? Well it’s got a moe little girl on a magical background holding glowing orbs… It’s precious, and awkward, and looks verrrrry young by North American standards.

§ Recently, Noah Berlatsky was the recipient of an old school Gary Groth beat down. A lot of people seemed pleased to witness the beat down, probably because Berlatsky’s debating tactics are kind of weak and annoying.

Luckily, Groth did not use other means at his disposal.

§ The Fantagraphics company shooting day included the works of Patrick Nagel as a target, because the ’80s didn’t punish us enough.

§ Neil Gaiman saw a double rainbow. Oh my God. All the way.

§ David Brothers has been following up his 7 Artists feature with 6 Writers, all of whom so far have also been cartoonists, like Stan Sakai:

If I were on the outside looking in, I wouldn’t expect myself to like Usagi Yojimbo. There’s not a lot of space for casually brutal violence, curse words, and femmes fatale in funny talking animal comics, y’know? But, no– it turns out that this book is right up my alley. Sakai isn’t trying to tell some continuity-tangled epic or reinvent an old genre. He just wants to tell chambara tales, and he created a character and a world that’s flexible enough to support anything he wants to do. I don’t think I’ve ever read a volume of Usagi Yojimbo that I disliked.

§ Attention should be paid to this very long interview with Matt Fraction from GQ of all places.

§ Cleveland’s woes in recent weeks were not helped by the fact that the owner of the Cavaliers used ComicSans to pen his ‘We shall never surrender!” letter.

Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.


§ The nerdlebrity comic gets demerits for having the characters dress like people from the Nerdlebrity’s old TV show, but gets brownie points for being about CERN!!!

LeVar Burton: One of the aspects that has defined “Star Trek” as really fine storytelling is that the science in “Star Trek” is always considered to be realistic, but secondary to story. So Mark [Wolfe] suggested, “Let’s go that way.” Having superheroes is great, but I think some of the most powerful storytelling involves ordinary people doing extraordinary things and so with those two objectives in mind, Mark lead us in the direction of the LHC. It was serendipity, really. It was around the time that the LHC was starting up and they were beginning to smash particles and people were nervous and concerned and excited and [the idea] just worked. It worked as a storytelling device and it put our hero in a precarious situation where he had to respond to extraordinary circumstances.

§ Superman’s trek across America started badly when he incorrectly identified a Philadelphia neighborhood.

Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Michael Klein takes note of a caption box in Superman #701 that sets the scene in “Philadelphia, Pennsylvania … the South Side,” specifically, on the 500 block of S. 48th St. The thing is, the city doesn’t have a “South Side” — it’s South Philadelphia or, more commonly, “South Philly” — and even if it did, that block wouldn’t be in it. You see, the intersection of 48th and Larchwood streets is in West Philadelphia (aka University City, aka where the Fresh Prince of Bel Air was born and raised).

Knowing a little about people from South Philly, I’d say Superman is in some jeopardy now.

  1. Love that Michael Cho cover. This dates me, but the colouring and line art style remind me of hardcover book illustrations I used to enjoy as a kid.

  2. I’m *really* tired of people taking shots at the font used in Gilbert’s reactionary letter over the LeBron debacle. I mean, seriously, who the Hell cares? It would be like being at the prom in Carrie and critiquing the type of blood dumped on Carrie.

    The LeBron thing is *still* soul crushing to us Clevelanders and the font Gilbert uses when writing tantrums is really…who cares….

    And I think a better question than what book was Waid talking about it why does Tucker obsess on hating on superhero comics? Does he have nothing better to do? At some point, it goes from funny to kinda creepy.

  3. And I think a better question than what book was Waid talking about it why does Tucker obsess on hating on superhero comics? Does he have nothing better to do? At some point, it goes from funny to kinda creepy.

    Doing that provides a niche among commentators. He “hates” superhero comics; I, for example, dissect story structure, partly because few people seem to do that. Waid touched on an unpleasant truth that too few people want to deal with. The repetition in superhero comics storytelling is mind-numbing, if one considers it seriously. More than 90 percent of the DC and Marvel characters have been done to death. Reading superhero comics for the stories is like watching TV soap operas for the human drama. Waid could have made the statement 25 years ago, and found wide agreement.

    The comics artwork provides a visual dimension that makes familiar stories entertaining, and now movies are as good or better than comics at providing visual thrills, so superhero movies can be tremendously successful.


  4. Not just the Fresh Prince; believe it or not, I actually lived on that very block for 2.5 years back in the 80s (and yes, I did a major double take at that panel). It’s very definitely West Philly and isn’t anywhere near South Philly.

    Sort of related, I found it strange that later on, in what’s supposed to be a diner in Philly (which are much more common in Jersey), Superman says he’d like to eat “a Philly cheesesteak”…which first struck me as redundant since, y’know, he’s in Philly where it’s just a cheesesteak. And the waitress also uses the phrase. But the phrasing is such that it could be interpreted as meaning that while he’s there, he wants “a *Philly* cheesesteak” as opposed to the pale imitations available outside the area.

    Still, he’s never asked or says whether he wants Cheez Whiz or provolone, fried onions, or the lesser addons of peppers, mushrooms, or sauce. His order, if he’d done research or been there before, should’ve been something like “Cheesesteak, provolone, wit'”, my personal preference of provolone cheese, with fried onions, nothing else.

    Seriously, the versimatude was a lot less than I’d’ve expected for a storyline where the lead character’s doing a “discover America” riff. Particular in these days of being able to easily ask for suggestions/comments from folk living in the city, and Google Street View for artists to get locations right.

  5. “…at some point mature people are not meant to read the adventures of characters that they have been reading for 40 years every month.”

    Wow. I can’t think of a single superhero fan who’s been reading the same monthly book for 40 years….but I suspect that’s a little hyperbole coming from The Beat.

    As for Waid’s bizarre Tweets, this one stands out:

    “…there is a new, recent cynicism to many (superhero comics) that I find exhausting and mean-spirited and uninspiring and life-denying.”

    This is funny.

    Is this the same Mark Waid who wrote a scene for Irredeemable in which the Plutonian kills a mentally retarded man’s parents and leaves him to starve to death in his own home? Or the same guy who (according to a 4/17/10 interview with Newsarama) wrote this opening scene to Irredeemable #1 (emphasis mine):

    “‘…the original opening to that issue was much different. It was Plutonian with ostensibly Bette Noir in the skies, among the clouds, making love. And then in his moment of climax he jerks and he snaps her spine, and fall, fall, fall to the earth.’ And that’s when, Waid said, the reader would learn that that was just a costumed impersonator — and not even the first. ‘He’s done that a lot.’

    “But this sequence was excised — and replaced with perhaps an even more unsettling scene — at the request of artist Peter Krause. ‘[He] called me, and said ‘I can’t draw this… I just feel bad about that.’ And y’know what? He was right. It’s not that it was too graphic, but it wouldn’t get the message across.’ The finished scene, which had the Plutonian watching people have sex while dressed as him and Bette Noir, Waid said fit more into the general theme of the series.”

    So…which book sent Waid over the edge?

    Possibly his own.

  6. @Tom

    “Seriously, the versimatude was a lot less than I’d’ve expected for a storyline where the lead character’s doing a “discover America” riff. ”

    To me, DC seems like Microsoft in that they try, just not very hard. You’re right, it would have been a trivial thing to make the story seem authentic, but that would require effort on the part of the writer and editor. DC seems to operate under the assumption that if they try at all, people should run to them and make up the distance themselves.

    It’s the same amount of effort that was put into Zuda. DC promoted the shit out of Zuda in DC house ads, but they didn’t spend the time or money trying to establish the brand name anywhere else.

    In the case of Zuda, it didn’t matter how hard the editors or creators tried because DC wasn’t trying to appeal to anyone outside of their already established audience. It’s the same with this issue of Superman – why bother trying when you’re only preaching to the choir? JMS and team already know it doesn’t matter how good the sermon is, no one new is walking through those doors.

  7. Seriously, the versimilitude was a lot less than I’d’ve expected for a storyline where the lead character’s doing a “discover America” riff.

    After hearing about this, I just can’t wait to see how they show Iowa. I’m expecting frontier days. That, or they’ll have him join RAGBRAI and ride along from east to west.

    And in Chicago, you know Superman will visit the Billy Goat and politely ask for a “hamburger sandwich with cheese, with some french-fried potatoes if you have them.”

  8. Now I’m kinda hoping he goes through Detroit and sees a bustling economy building cars!

    @The Beat:

    People like you. You’re nice and generally say things that are well thought out. Even your slips have been good faith. Noah’s a pretentious asshole who needed to be knocked down a few pegs.

  9. “The LeBron thing is *still* soul crushing to us Clevelanders”

    You know what I find soul crushing? The fact that anybody thinks that some pro athlete going to work for a different franchise is worth the kind of wailing and sobbing that I’ve heard over this LeBron person. Losing Pekar, I get the angst, because HE’S FUCKING DEAD. This “LeBron is leaving” pity party is just childish crap that anyone over the age of 12 should be ashamed of.

Exit mobile version