Thee Comic Column #115: Leaving Marvel Monthly

sad hulkThe last time I stopped buying Marvel books was maybe 2010 or 2011; Bendis was writing Avengers but after trying to keep up only to have my wallet smacked out of my hand again and again as he added more and more titles to his workload and the endless events began happening I just could not keep up (that’s not a Bendis-oriented compliant – I love that he can write so much so well and weave such intricate, multi-act, multi-book story scaffolding. I just can’t afford to keep up with buying it all). Other than that, the needle at the self-proclaimed “House of Ideas” really seemed to be skipping. Then a friend introduced me to Rick Remender and both his Uncanny X-Force and Venom titles and soon I realized Marvel was really putting their game back together. Ever since I feel as though they’ve done an amazing job streamlining their Universe, putting it into a real tight working order that keeps most of the old school fans like myself happy and helps usher in newcomers brought in by the sheer perfection of Kevin Feige’s Marvel Movie Universe. I’ve read all Remender’s stuff, tried to read all BMB’s X-Men stuff (and just generally found his mechanism of bringing the young first class into the present day was a potentially terrible idea that he made absolutely amazing), have followed the Hickman Avengers stuff from a distance and really wanted to jump in on the Guardians of the Galaxy stuff. However, even as we prepare for this Spring’s next big step in the evolution of the MCU, I am bidding buying monthly Marvel Comics goodbye.

Thee Comic Column #114: My Favorite Comics of 2014

a-voice-in-the-dark-04Wow. I read a lot of comics this year. Not just the stuff I’ve been reading, continually from year to year (there’s less and less of that with ‘classic’ titles/characters as reboots continue to constantly re-boot, rejuvenate (?) and re-evaluate the ongoing properties of the big 2) but there was a literal flood of great, new comics that hit the shelves this year. And some old friends of course; not everyone is interesting in covering up old scars. And even with all that I did read it’s clear I didn’t get to them all – reading fellow Joupitter Tommy’s year end blow-out spectacular I was shocked to see his favorite was Spread. Shocked because, well, I don’t remember even hearing about this book! Couple with that quite a few other titles on my radar that I missed out on and you’ll see this isn’t  a list compiled by someone who read everything there was to read in the 2014 world of comics, but by someone who tried really hard to read as much of it as he could. All that said, this list isn’t only for new books, simply the best comic series I read in 2014, continuing or new.

The Joup 2014 Year-End Blow-Out Spectacular: Tommy’s Picks

So we’ve reached the end of another year, and we’re all a little older, a little wiser, and starting to go a little gray…at least I am. Looking back, it seems like a whole lot of terrible shit went down this year, and it most certainly did. Ebola is wreaking havoc in Africa and rearing its ugly mug stateside, we keep losing airplanes, there are naked pictures of everyone everywhere, the Cold War is beginning anew, and race relations seem to be in the same state that they were 50 years ago. It’s all a mess. And it’s enough to make you want to turn in and just escape the world. And to a degree, that’s what we do, and that’s what we’re all about. So, horrible introductions aside, I still consumed a lot of pop culture this year, and as to whether it served as some sort of escape or not doesn’t really matter. I still listened to it. I still watched it. I still read it. These are the things I liked the most…

Thee Comic Column #113: Elephantmen

2089608-elephantmen_036__2011__pagecoverOne of the most difficult truths for me to accept is that due to the nature of our perceived reality, to money and, increasingly, time, there is simply no way I am going to be able to read everything I want to during my lifetime.

First world problems, I know. Still…

Thee Comic Column #112: She Makes Comics

She-Makes-Comics-Logo-Medium-660x880I’ve been reading comics for more of my life than not and since almost day 1 there have always been women’s names I associated as key creators within the medium. For me Ann Nocenti and Louise Simonson were first, Karen Berger was a little bit later. These are women who actively helped define my world by defining the books that I read, books that helped shape the interior landscape I then in turn used to define the world around me as I grew up in the 80s and 90s. Ms. Nocenti’s work on Daredevil and Spiderman and Mrs. Simonson’s work as both editor and later writer on the X-books were among the earliest comics I fell in love with preadolescence. Later, in high school, many of the key books and creators that Karen Berger brought to her Vertigo imprint at DC etched their way into my very soul, most especially Sandman. That may sound a bit overly dramatic but it’s not; in a very real way the person I am today has roots in those books. Comics have never been any different than prose to me, every bit as important as the fiction I love; every once in a while along comes a Louise Simonson, an Irvine Welsh, a Neil Gaimen or a Donna Tartt and an entire new wing is added to the ego-scaffolding that is, more or less, Me. To me, both comics and prose are literature and literature is food for the soul. So the idea that women may not have a level playing field in the world of comics when they are so revered everywhere else in writing is insane to me and perhaps a little bit of a clue that the comics industry isn’t quite as established or ‘grown up’ as the world of prose.

Your Fucked Up Childhood #3: The Snowman

tumblr_inline_nfzu25X0UK1qzwijzLooking forward to it snowing this year? No?! Can you pinpoint the exact moment at which your sense of wonder blackened, crumbled and blew away on the breeze? Maybe it was the day you saw Channel 4’s 1982 animated adaptation of Raymond Briggs’ ‘The Snowman’. Every time the subject of snow comes up at this time of year I inevitably end up gnawing on the knuckles of my clenched fist as a means of both plugging my mouth and preventing me from raining a flurry of punches upon those balking at the fact that this astonishing annual phenomenon might prevent them from, wait for it, getting to work.

Thee Comic Column #111: The Real John Constantine

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 12.30.20 AMHoly cow. Now this my friends, this is John Constantine. I mean, if you can hold in your mind’s eye the *eck* movie version from 2005, add to it the current NBC version and then watch this short made with a super small budget and barely any effects at all, well, I think you’ll agree that this isn’t just John Constantine done right, this is John Constantine done probably as close to perfect as we’re ever going to get in our lifetime by a video production company.

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