Saturday, October 27, 2007

Two Great Tastes...

Comic Book Postulate 1:
No panel can contain any more glory than naked Travis Morgan fighting a gorilla.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Home Is Where The Heart Was

If you haven't read "The Death of the New Gods" yet, then you may want to wait until you do to read this.

That said,

I am so glad Barda got to die in her kitchen.

Raised in the cruel environment of Apokolips, poor Barda didn't grow up with the same secure home that so many of us Earthlings take for granted. She grew up in strife, trained from birth for combat, violence, killing. But, she got to leave all that behind and come to Earth to make a new home for herself with the person she loved.

I remember her most from her series with Mister Miracle, where they were living in, mm, Vermont, I believe it was. One of the running comedy bits was that Barda's upbringing hadn't really prepared her well for the kind of domestic life she had chosen for herself. But Barda strove to be more than just the killing machine she was raised to be; she worked had to be a respected costumed adventurer in her own right, and good partner with her husband, in both their professional and homemaking goals. When Barda finally had a home, she didn't take it for granted, and sought to make the most of it.

How I used to chuckle at Barda padding around the house in bunny slippers screaming at Scott on the phone about his needing to come home for dinner! You could take the girl out of Apokolips, but not Apokolips out of the girl. But she always remembered what sometimes seemed to slip Scott's mind: how important and special it was for them to have a home together and to make that a priority in their lives. I was glad to see she remained in character in her final story: Barda was concerned about getting home to prepare for their guests but Scott was focused on doing some crimestopping.

I know a lot of readers, particular female ones, may have seen Barda as a role model of the tough warrior woman. She was. But it was always pretty clear in most stories that Barda saw herself as much more than that; indeed, she never would have left Apokolips if she hadn't. She saw herself as a well rounded person who may have fought for a living, but who lived for her home life, not for fighting.

Her home life was her focus. Do you know where the word "focus" comes from, by the way? It's the Latin word for "hearth", the kitchen fireplace where meals were prepared and shared, in that most intimate of family traditions, the family meal. Barda sought to put hearth and home at the focus of her life, and while she was never a whiz at cooking (!), that was never the point.

Bored readers like us dream us of grand battles and grander deaths. But Barda dreamt of a quiet life at home. And, while, having your heart ripped out isn't a completely, er, peaceful way to go, at least her death wasn't a battle. At least her death was at home. At least it wasn't a titanic gritty slugfest rendered in detail for our prurient amusement.

You may think you deserved for her to die to differently, but I think she deserved to die in her kitchen, in the home that she worked so hard for and meant so much to her.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Listen up!

Please join us at the Big Monkey Podcast, wherein we discuss Grant Morrison, Brian Michael Bendis, and What Makes A Good Comic Book Writer ('cuz we, of course, know).

Also, when you have a moment, check in on the Man With The Biggest Balls on the Internet (before they get cut off).

Things That Made Me Happy

... in my comics this week.

  • The Riddler drinks martinis.
  • Blue Beetle versus the Flash!
  • The Ironic Comeuppance of China White. Now, that, folks, is comics.
  • Oh my god, the Third Kryptonian is ... my mom.
  • Two-Face in two different comic books.
  • Superman vision? Cool. Crazy, but cool.
  • Jay Garrick, who, upon being transported from his girlfriend's front porch to an alien dimension says, "Where the hey am I?"
  • Alfred with a broken bottle.
  • Superman-Prime disarming an opponent.
  • Freddie E. Willaims' art in Robin. Great stuff.
  • Robin's angry dog.
  • You know, if they'd bothered to take Obsidian with them, they could have kept the kid in shadow... .
  • Peacemaker versus the Sinestro Corps.
  • Tobias freakin' Whale.
  • Kristen Wells? Heh; nice one, Kurt.
  • Hey, Flash-- would been nice to have had the real Aquaman to deal with those monsters, huh?
  • The shoulders of Black Condor. Sigh.
  • Tell the truth; you wonder what the Anti-Monitor looks like naked, don't you?
  • The Bat-Treehouse.
  • New Themyscira, Planet of the Babes.
  • So ... that's who Superwoman of Earth 3 married.
  • Jason Todd would never have been able to take out the real Aquaman.
  • The Bizarro Green Lantern is in the Sinestro Corps...?!
  • Stormy's intervention.
  • Thank god someone took the care not to write the Penguin as a boor.
  • Nadia, at a loss.
  • Pa Kent running around the farm in a homemade Superman costume.
  • Peacemaker's homemade backscratcher.
  • The Guardians' Greatest Weapon is darned impressive. They can unleash him on me any day.
  • Maybe to Young Clark, all his victims are "just comic book characters"...? I like seeing things from his perspective.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Great Corpses: Jarrick

Hello, kids; Pantha, here! Back with another installment in my on-going series of "Great Corpses in Comic Book History".

Today's lesson comes from a time I haven't explained to you yet, but you may have overheard your parents discussing in hushed tones with other adults after they thought you'd already gone to bed: The Vertigo Plague.

In the mid to late 1980s (perhaps even before your parents met!), a disturbed genius named Alan Moore started writing disturbingly ingenious stories of horror, with gore and body counts rivaling the long-forgotten days of EC Comics (from even before your parents were born!). The stories usually combined dismemberment or exploding body parts, with bizarre sex (including the molestation of children), satanism, and plants.

Naturally, kids ate this up. [So, apparently, did Kevin Smith, but that's another story... .]

Just as gorillas once filled the pages of comics when editors noticed that gorillas sold comics, so too truly graphic horror started to pop up in all manner of titles. Eventually, editors recognized the danger of a literary pandemic, and naming the plague "Vertigo", they isolated the virus and sent the irreversibly infected characters off to live in permanent quarantine so as not to affect their Underoo-selling icons.

But before they did, some characters (and readers) suffered. Oh, how they suffered... .

Today's Great Corpse from the time of the Vertigo Plague is a little child name Jarrick. How did he earn his place as a Great Corpse, you ask?

It wasn't just because he came back from the dead as a zombie with maggots falling from his eyes.

Gee, I wonder where this is headed.

Or even because he killed his mother by biting out her throat. Impressive though that is.

Why do zombies always want to eat people, particularly their loved ones?

What really puts Jarrick among the Great Corpses is that his father split his head with an axe afterwards.

The lesson? There's a reason graves are six feet deep.

That level of pathos and gore also earns Jarrick a score of FIVE on the Rolling Head of Pantha Scale of Comic Book Violence.

Avoid the Rush

After centuries of practice, the Rannies have perfected the art of surrender...

After all, once you've noticed that Adam Strange isn't around,
why waste time waiting for an enemy?

Surrender first.
An enemy will turn up eventually... .