Thursday, September 30, 2010

World's Finest Crap

So in my tireless quest to figure out who really was the most humiliated character in the history of funnybook covers, I finally settled upon the series Superman and Batman co-starred in for something like 40 years: World's Finest Comics. And here, at last, I hit the motherlode. This book was the king (the KING, I say!) of batshit crazy cover images. I am in awe of its horrible glory. And now, I share a taste of it with you...

1. Early on, the World's Finest covers were relatively tame. They showed Superman, Batman, and Robin palling around together, engaging in any number of wholesome sporting activities, such as... log-rolling!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


So I guess I should finish my funnybook review catch-up. Just in time for you not to be able to find any of these books at the funnybook store tomorrow because they all sold out...

Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis #3 (of 5)
by Warren Ellis and Kaare Andrews

Can I just go on record as saying that I freaking love this cover?

(please oh please click to embiggen)

It has absolutely nothing (NOTHING!) to do with what happens inside. There's barely even any reference to Emma licking people, much less the insane (yet somehow wholesome) fetish sex foreplay we're seeing here. I mean, just look at that: humans-as-furniture fetish, food fetish, kinky-boot fetish, Crystal Gayle fetish, that whole thing with the tongue, whatever the hell's going on with the boob window and visible bra cups... And that's not even getting into Cyclops' whole scruffy bohunk trucker-hat thing he's got going on there. Seriously, man. What. The. Fuck! Such an hysterical, unsexy parody of every horrible, gratuitous "sex sells" funnybook cover on the racks. It's bloody perfect! Kudos to Kaare Andrews for putting that one together.

And then the story, of course, is all about helpless African children getting slaughtered by their own government. Ouch.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Revisiting RIP

So here I am, writing about Batman again. Sorry. I’ll get off this kick eventually, I’m sure. But for now, it’s the best-written funnybook on the stands today, so much so that I’ve been doing research and re-reading to really, firmly unpack all its hidden meanings. And to that end, I’ve just completed a re-read of the “first act” of Grant Morrison’s Batman run, culminating in the “Batman RIP” arc, and including the recently-published “Missing Chapter.” Those two issues add a lot more to the story (and to Morrison’s run as a whole) than I’d given them credit for on first blush, so I thought I‘d come back to them for a few minutes.

In some ways they’re spackle, something to make the final collected edition of all these comics read better. They attach “RIP” to “Return of Bruce Wayne,” and they seem intended give you just enough of the Final Crisis part of the story that you don’t have to read Final Crisis itself to understand the Batman run. In that, I suspect they fail rather badly: if I hadn’t read Final Crisis, I don’t know that “The Missing Chapter” would entirely make sense. But it’s a noble effort anyway, and if you read things in the right order, they illuminate Morrison’s larger plots and themes quite well.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


So it's been awhile, I notice, since I last discussed my weekly funnybook haulings. Which can only mean that, once again...


Joe the Barbarian #7 (of 8)
by Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy

As many have noted in the past, Grant Morrison tends to deal with similar (or, okay, identical) themes across several works, often at the same time. Thus, ten years ago, Invisibles and JLA both wound up being about humanity transcending into a higher state of being. Now, having gotten his millennial jones out of the way, Morrison's dealing with the death of his father. We got a preview of it in All-Star Superman, where humanity had to cope with the imminent demise of everybody's dad, Superman. But now, in both Joe and Morrison's Batman work, we're dealing with the aftermath. Not the mourning so much, but the effort of the sons to honor their fathers while still moving forward in their own way. And in that, they're both stories about finding yourself, discovering your own personal mythology and using it to shape yourself into something better: an adult in your own right.

Just, you know. With a lot of kicking.

Grade: A

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Wildstorm: RIP

So DC has shut down Wildstorm. Now, I’m not a Jim Lee fan. The guy can really draw when he puts his mind to it, but too often he gets sloppy on things like storytelling and anatomy, and I don’t like his base style enough to forgive him that. I don’t hold any particular love for the Wildstorm characters, either. Too many post-Watchmen / post-X-Men funnybook clich├ęs on display, and the early books were not well-written. But, damn. DAMN. Once you get past the desperate money-grabbing years of the early 90s, Wildstorm ushered in the shocking idea of producing quality comics, and changed the course of funnybook history. And for that, if nothing else, I will miss them.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Superman, Indeed, Puts Up With An Awful Lot of Crap

So I've been digging through Cover Brower again, this time checking out Action Comics covers in an effort to determine, once and for all, who really did have to put up with the most crap: Superman or Batman. Honestly, I think it's a toss-up. Batman found himself in some pretty embarrassing situations, sure. But at least he didn't spend the 40s primarily fighting the Prankster.

(Seriously! I think the Prankster was on every fifth Action Comics cover in the 40s. I had no idea he was such a hugely popular villain. By contrast, Luthor doesn't make a cover appearance til well after issue 100! No wonder the Superman rogues gallery sucks!)

Anyway. Since I was digging, I thought I might as well post up some of my favorite Action Comics covers while I was at it. They lack the style of the Batman covers, I think. There's no early Superman cover even half as cool as that one with Batman and Robin jumping through a flaming hoop on a motorcycle, for instance. Superman was far more whitebread, even from the beginning, when he was tossing corrupt landlords out of windows in the name of liberty. But there's still some fun stuff in the mix. Again, there's no particular order here, except whatever I thought was funniest. Or, in the case of this first one, the most offensive...

1. No matter how much degrading crap Superman went through, he earned every bit of it with this cover right here:

Sure, we were at war. But DAMMIT, Superman! Makes me feel a lot better about crap like this...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Batman DOES Have to Put Up With This Kind of Crap!

So I found a big gallery of Batman covers the other day, and kinda got sucked in. Amazing what the combination of "exhausted brain" and "time off" will do. I looked at every Batman cover ever published in the space of an hour, and it's some dizzying stuff. Here, in no particular order, are a few of my favorites...

1. Proof that Batman is a scientist!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

This Isn't About Batman! (Oh, It Totally Is!)

It's last week's comics today! FUNNYBOOKSINREVIEWAREGO!!!

Batman and Robin #14
by Grant Morrison and Frazer Irving

In this issue, at long last, the real battle of the Batman and Robin series is finally defined. And it's not Joker vs Batman, or Batman vs Dr. Hurt, oh no. Batman, really, is only peripherally connected to things here in his own book. Because, from day one, this series has been all about Joker vs Hurt. Oh, sure. There were Batman-centric stories along the way. And, granted, the series has also been about Dick Grayson learning Batman, and Damian Wayne learning Robin. But the contest that's tied it all together, the competition going on in the background of all that, has been Dr. Hurt and the Joker preparing to fight over Gotham City's soul.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Borloff and Lobo

Which would be better: A buddy cop show starring horror hosts Karlos Borloff and Mr. Lobo? Or the two of them in a sitcom as Odd-Couple-style roommates? I'd watch either. But then, I'm a very strange man...

(Photo found at Terror from Beyond the Daves)

HP Lovecraft Was Right!

Also, courtesy my friend Gregory's blog, here's the best picture I've seen all week:

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Alan Moore vs Comics

Alan Moore's done a rather lengthy interview over at Bleeding Cool about the "Watchmen 2" rumors, and what DC / Warner Brothers offered him in return for his okay to do sequels, prequels, and etc. It's a great look at Moore's mindset on the Watchmen situation, and on the comics industry in general. Go read it. Now. Then come back here...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

This Was the (Funnybook) Month That Wasn't

So it was a long, hard August here on the Dork Forty. Hot. Dusty. Exhausting. Lots of funnybooks went by unremarked. But now it's September. The crops are in. Nobody's wearin' white anymore. And I'm starin' down the barrel of actual free time. So, yep. It's time to rectify my oversights. Time to review the cream of August's neglected crop. And that means... FUNNYBOOKSINREVIEWAREGO!!!

In no particular order...

The Bulletproof Coffin #3 (of 6)
by David Hine and Shaky Kane

The big sexploitation issue, guest-starring Ramona, Queen of the Stone Age! Who looks an awful lot like Our Hero's terrifyingly sexy wife! In a ... rawhide bikini. Hmm. Also! The Hateful Dead! A group of zombie soldiers from the 'Nam! And a big pink dinosaur! Seriously strange! Ridiculously brutal! Still one of the most intriguing comics on the racks today!

Grade: A-

Ex Machina #50
by Brian K Vaughn and Tony Harris

Well. I wasn't sure exactly how this series was going to end, but this final issue really took the story, and Mitchell Hundred, into places I wasn't expecting. [SPOILER] Well, okay. I'll actually avoid the big big big spoilers. But still. You have been warned...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

This Was the Month That Wasn't

So as I’ve mentioned, my day job has been sufficiently busy of late that I haven’t had much time for the blog. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t had time to, like, enjoy stuff. Every evening, I’ve come home and plopped exhaustedly down in front of some form of entertainment before trudging off to bed. Not all of it’s worth a post, but I figured, now that things are finally starting to slow down again, it might be fun to give an overview of what went on around the Dork 40 in the month of August. Mostly, it was…

Movies! Nothing better for a tired brain than flickering images on the teevee screen. Of course, being tired also means I didn’t go for anything of great quality. B-Movies have been the entertainment of choice around the Dork Forty of late, and I‘ve come across some real gems. To whit:

Danger: Diabolik! Brilliant bit of late-60s spy-camp goofiness from Mario freaking Bava! Diabolik is the king of all master thieves, and was the star of a fabulously popular Italian comic. The film is all about sex and money and freedom and gorgeous cinematography. Glorious.