Friday, October 21, 2011

With a hat tip to some interesting quotes from Obama's mouth.

In case you're wondering who this Obama is, no he isn't some radical in some whacked out country spreading these messages of hate.  He's the guy America voted to become "president" of the United States.

Check these out:

"I ceased to advertise my mother's race at the age of 12 or 13, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites."

"I found a solace in nursing a pervasive sense of grievance and animosity against my mother's race."  

"There was something about her that made me wary, a little too sure of herself, maybe and white."

"It remained necessary to prove which side you were on, to show your loyalty to the black masses, to strike out and name names."

"I never emulate white men and brown men whose fates didn't speak to my own. It was into my father's image, the black man, son of Africa , that I'd packed all the attributes I sought in myself: the attributes of Martin and Malcolm, DuBois and Mandela."  

"I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction."  

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Radical Comics - Damaged

If you aren't reading 'Damaged' the Radical book by David Lapham & Leonardo Manco, you hate comics with a seething, deadly passion and I feel for you, dearly.

Anti-hero meets buddy movie meets Rambo, Damaged delivers all the goods.

No spoilers, so here goes:

Aging detective Frank Lincoln is on the outs with the city big wigs.  He's old, one of his cops may or may not have an ethics problem regarding the Russian mob and he hasn't delivered in a while.  With an election coming, that usually means one thing for the old horses...time to retire or be forced out.  The mayor and his people have their ducks lined up and a new shiny little bauble...literally:

Lieutenant Jack Cassidy, a young go-getter hand picked by the powers that be to move into the leading position of Lincoln's task force.  The task force which currently seems to be unable to bring a massive breakout of violence to an end. Elected officials don't really care about that, unless it's re-election time.  It seems gangs are breaking out in all directions taking each other out with viscous and predatory brutality.  All the big brains can't figure it out.

An entire house, with an army of gangsters inside is burned to the ground...everyone inside shot dead. Jack points out that an army of shooters must have been there. Casings everywhere, bullet holes all over the place, multiple casualties...this had to be a war. Frank walks into the door and knows exactly what he's looking at. No, he's not crooked and involved with the mobsters...Frank has a brother.

Meet Henry Lincoln:

Henry's not your typical cop.  In fact, despite the permanency of a badge upon his chest, Henry's not a cop at all.

Anyway, one person got out of the massacre alive and is in the hospital. Frank and Jack pay him a visit where he sings about an arms shipment coming in that very night.

Knowing Henry's in town and knowing how Henry does business, Frank knows he's one step ahead.  Frank sends Jack on a little treasure hunt while he waits for the inevitable down at the waterfront.

A tugboat approaches and Frank stares out of the front of his windshield.  As it gets closer he gets out, opens his trunk and puts on his body armor, loads his shotgun and waits...

Like I said, no spoilers.

That was just issue 1!

Quit Bitching And Read Your Comics, Or Don't Buy 'Em

Bitch. Bitch. Bitch.  Lighten up Francis...


It seems that's all comic "fans" are able to do lately. Marvel has an event: bitch. DC reboots: bitch. Image is late with a title: bitch. Joe Q. eats a burrito: bitch.

The latest round of repining I've seen on Twitter and message boards alike is that Marvel dared make a seven issue run called "Fear Itself". Every grievance you can imagine from "It started off good but ended badly" (No, that was you being excited at first and realizing you had to get on the "I don't like this event" bandwagon) to "There's too may tie-ins" (Yeah, as if too many choices of books is a bad thing).

So I'll examine Fear Itself. It was a great story, had great art, some cool looking characters and some pretty dramatic results in the end. But all anyone could do was cry about the "deplorable state of comics" and "how dare they make another event". I'll agree partially with the too many events thing, it makes me feel like I have to read it.  But I know I don't...and it's my choice to plop them on the counter and pay for them.

With Fear Itself I'm glad I did, as I am with Shadowland. Granted 'possession' wasn't the most creative way to handle it -- but look at the latest Daredevil volume! It's awesome! But back to Fear Itself. The art throughout was impressive, I'd say it was some of Immonen's best stuff. The action was fast and brutal...the Hulk getting smashed through a building by Thor was a tasty nugget. Cap's shield getting broken by a single hand of the Serpent.  Thor defying his father and siding with humankind. The Thing! Infused with godlike powers! Rampaging up and down Yancy Street! Rambling in hellspeak and basically tearing shit apart!  Yes please, more of that!

But the icing on the cake was page 15 of Book 7.  I'll say that it was one of the best moments in Marvel's recent history. There was Steve Rogers holding Mjölnir over his head, with a cast of regular people from the town of Broxton around him and he shouts, "Avengers Assemble!!". I stared at that page for a good 2 minutes. It was reminiscent of Captain America screaming "Do you think the A on this helmet stands for France?!"  I thought it was that good.

So, obviously I enjoyed it.  But why couldn't the fanbois?  I don't mean to infer that if I like something, everyone should...people have different tastes - but if all you're doing is complaining about something why on earth are you friggin buying it?  Let's examine the most popular complaints:

"That isn't cannon. In FF #9, Reed never used the word "continuum". I know this because I downloaded the entire FF history through a torrent site."

  1. Too many so-called events:
  2. This is the singular most infuriating argument I ever hear. Yes, Marvel's doing it to make a buck and have us buy more books.  They're in the business of selling comic books to people that walk into comic book shops. Just because there's a banner on top of the book that says "EVENT!!" doesn't mean anything different.  It still contains the same characters, writers and art you buy the books to read about anyway.  So if Fear Itself was just, say, Avengers 11-17, or Thor 309-315, would you complain about the story line? Nope, you wouldn't.  You'd call it a "great run".

    Have they changed the game a bit by making the "events" separate books unto themselves instead of having runs happen organically within a title, bringing in supporting cast members to said title? Yes.  But who cares?  Pretend Frank Miller's first issues on Daredevil that started with DD #158 was instead called "Kidnapped!" and numbered 1-5 would it make that run any less exciting?  No, and you know it.

  3. It never changes anything:
  4. Oh please. Of course it changes things. Shadowland we have a new, awesome series.
Go buy this series, it's really, really good.
    Black Panther is running Hell's Kitchen for crying out loud!  What a separation from a blind white guy to a broken down Black king running around on the streets taking names whilst kicking ass. 
    I don't care for Liss as a writer, but uhhh...that's a major change people. Yes, Murdock will be back in Hell's Kitchen but we have an awesome new series examining an entire new side of him.  What's going through his mind during this new series? What will become of Black Panther once Matt comes back to his turf?  What changes will Matt make?  How will he behave differently?  Will he still live by the "Batman code"?  Fellow Daredevil fans, let's see and find out.  And if you hate Daredevil, what were you reading Shadowland for?  The tie-ins you hate so much?  Make sense or STFU please.
     Oh, and Thor's dead. Bucky's dead. Cap broke his shield. I can hear you all now saying, "Oh, they'll be back. Marvel never kills a major character, pfft." No shit Sherlock. Hey, let's kill James Bond in the second film because that would be more realistic. It's the same old song and dance from the fanboi crowd every time something happens. "OMG if that was another clone or LMD I am done with comics forever. I will refuse, on my amazing principle, to ever pay a single red cent again for this drivel they throw at us and expect us to just buy. WAAAAAHHH!"
    So what do you want?  Do you want Marvel to never do anything and just write issue after issue of self-contained stories? Maybe a two parter! Or do you want them to kill these characters off forever, never to be seen again and start making some new characters?
    I see it like this: If you're willing to make the leap of faith to read stories about guys that fly, shoot lasers out of their eyes (I know, they're not lasers!), speak to each other telepathically, teleport through space and time, meeting themselves in the past, or future, meeting people that have been dead -- so on and so forth, you can't make the leap that there's a way in that magical fairy tale world to bring people back from the dead?  You know what that's called?  Bitching for the sake of bitching. 
With all that said. My main two points are: If you don't like "events" don't buy them.  Don't post in threads about the event to tell everyone how horrid it is.  (1. Why are you wasting your money on it if it's so horrid pirate 2.) Don't read it.  Buy what you like.  Events are nothing but a way to keep a story contained in a slot, while continuing the other stories that focus on the characters.  Would I prefer they take these events and just have "good runs" in a title every now and then?  Doesn't bother me, I like comics and I like reading them. If I have a lot of choice, I'm a happy comic buyer.

Oh, and thank you to DC for the New 52.  I'm getting into some titles I was always too scared to jump into, thinking I had to know their entire history in order to jump in.  But you've made me a fan of some great new characters and I can't wait to get home and read Red Hood And The Outlaws #2.