Sunday, September 25, 2011

Grant Morrison's JLA

    Good morrow to you sirs and madams.  You know what site this is as you clicked on it and I'm sure that you are also aware of the fact that Comical-Musings is your resource for good suggestions and reviews of comics past and present.  We pride ourselves on our ability to steer folks to "good" comics.  One of my sources that I read and listen to constantly is the Ifanboy.com website and Pick of The Week Podcast.  The content put out by Josh, Ron, Conor, and all of the other staffers makes my week and entertains me endlessly.  They made me want to make this blog and I love them for it.  It only makes sense that when I, your source for suggestions, need a suggestion on what to read, I consult a higher power and Ifanboy.com is that for me.  The book that all of the guys rave about constantly is Grant Morrison's JLA.  On any given episode of the podcast, you will hear the Fanboys give credit to this run of comics for either catching their attention or re-igniting it.  Either way, Morrison's run on JLA is legendary and I had to give it a read.  I started with issues one through four and dove right in.


Friday, September 23, 2011

Skullkickers

    Hi there! My name is Romeo Sid Vicious and I want to tell you a story. At one point in time I was hug fan of comic books. I had a file at Nan's Games and Comics here in Houston, Texas that I looked forward to picking up every week. At the time I wasn't a huge fan of the standard super-hero genre but leaned more towards titles by Dark Horse and other indies. My favorite at the time was Beautiful Stories for Ugly Children by Dave Louapre and illustrated by Dan Sweetman and the rest of my file was filled up with titles like Grendel, Predator, Transmetropolitan and other titles I deemed worthy. Now there were a couple of exceptions to my usual avoidance of the super hero genre with the most mainstream being Wolverine and I had read quite a bit of the mainstream Marvel and D.C. stuff as well thanks to friends. Over time this hobby grew less and less important and I stopped having a file at Nan's, slowed down on purchases and eventually I wasn't reading comics at all. Then one day I was reading Schlock Mercenary (A daily web based comic-strip) and Howard Taylor mentioned an indie comic called Skullkickers put out by Image. Since I like Howard's work I clicked the link and went over to check it out. Now about that same time Scott Deaux's links to this little corner of the web started showing up in my Facebook feed as well. So to make a long story short (it's probably too late for that) this little perfect storm drug me back in to the world of comic books. Now being an old man I haven't followed any writers, save Warren Ellis, for the years since I stopped reading comics and I don't whose style of inking I like best but I do know when I have come across a fun read and since Scott posted a link on my wall asking for writers I took the hint and will try my hand at writing about comic books.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Welcome Addition To The Writer's Blok

    We are happy to announce the new addition of Romeo Sid Vicious to The Writer's Blok.  It was only a matter of time until he became a member of the family.  He was committed to reading and sharing our blog with his friends and is already a music blogger, so his addition was pretty organic.  Check out his first post "Skullkickers" on Friday!

The Authority

    Hello to all of you who grace us with your presence today.  You have stumbledupon, clicked on, followed, or RSS feeded to Comical-Musings!  We are your source for good comic book suggestions, past and present, on the inter-web.  Today, we take a markedly different turn in the superheroic genres.  Oft-mentioned, rarely understood, incredibly powerful.  The Authority stands as an epic tale of superheroes with a global focus and un-imagined powers.  Created by Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch, these Wildstorm characters flew directly in the face of modern late 90's early 2000's superheroes.  They were mystical, mysterious, and even flawed.  Most hardcore comic book fans have a soft spot for The Authority, but I've only recently developed one with the reading of Volume 1.  Let me tell you why you might like them too.


Monday, September 19, 2011

The Single Issue Adventure Week 1.5, The Resurrection Man

    "Hi" to all of our readers and thank you for checking out The Single Issue Adventure at Comical-Musings.  If you have been reading our posts recently, then you probably know that I am trying something new in my comic reading.  I am purchasing single issue comics monthly, not reading trades at Barnes and Noble or at the library or buying trades from Instocktrades.com or Half Price Books or TFAW.com.  The Single Issue Adventure has begun and where better to begin than issue number one.  I chose to replace the somewhat underwhelming series of Justice League International with an outside the box pick of Resurrection Man.  Ifanboy.com liked it, but what did I think?

Batman Celebrates Resurrect Like a Pirate Day

                Ahoy, me hardy’s.  Welcome aboard Comical Musings, we muse about comics.  As I’m sure you’re well aware, September 19 is internationally recognized as “Talk Like a Pirate Day,” and I hope yours has been resplendent.  I considered writing this entire post in pirate-speak, but it’s not “Blog Like a Pirate Day,” so you arrrrrrrrghhhh spared.

               Remember back in 1992 when Superman was killed?  It was major news, and at the time everyone thought they could achieve permanent financial security by squirreling away a pristine issue of “The Death of Superman” (pictured at right) beneath their mattress.  Now then, do you also remember when Batman died back in 2008?  No?!  Don’t be ashamed, it was easy to miss.  It happened at the end of the Final Crisis crossover after Batman busted a cap in Darkseid.

                But, it has been demonstrated over and over that no one ever really dies in comic books.  Which brings us to today’s review:  Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne.  Initially, I was reluctant to read this set because beyond a vague notion of the plot – Batman comes back from the dead… through time! – my only exposure to it was the cover of issue 3 (pictured at right).  I thought the whole series was contrived to put Batman in a pirate costume and cash in on the popularity of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.  And yet, shiver me timbers, it was actually a great story, and seemed almost tailored to my interests: DC, time-travel, Lovecraftian monsters, etc.

                By the way, I’m not Scott.  I’m his brother Hal, resident science advisor to the Writer’s Blok.  I owe Scott a huge debt of gratitude for recognizing that this series was right up my alley and passing it along to me.  Overall, Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne was very good, and I would recommend checking it out.  It turns out that Batman was never really killed by Darkseid’s omega beams; he was just sent back in time.  (So you can be further excused for missing Batman’s death, since it never really happened.)  As Batman shifts through different time periods and struggles with memory loss he must figure out why he wasn’t killed and leave clues that he is alive in the distant past.  This results in caveman-Batman, pilgrim-Batman, and cowboy-Batman, along with the obligatory cameo by Jonah Hex.  Disappointingly, Batman never really dresses up as a pirate, and while he is altering the past he never prevents the tragedy of Zebra-Batman.  Even so, the art was great, and adds to the notion of bouncing between different time periods.

                The story was written by comic-veteran Grant Morrison.  It can be a little difficult to follow at times, but good time-travel stories are usually somewhat convoluted.  The important thing is that Morrison’s treatment of the story’s timeline is consistent.  It also clearly conveys the message that TIME-TRAVEL CAN HAVE CATACLYSMIC CONSEQUENCES.  So, even with the appearance of Booster Gold, the subject of time-travel was approached in an appropriately serious manner.  Costume shenanigans aside, there are definitely more ridiculous ways to bring popular characters back from the dead, just ask Franken-Castle.

~ Hal ~

Friday, September 16, 2011

What In The World Is A Ghost Box?

    We thank you for bringing your eyes to Comical-Musings on this fine day.  We hope that you will leave satisfied and then bookmark us or add us to your RSS feed.  We love that.  Anyways, I have been trying to spread out my interests/what I read so that I can continue to entertain.  For today's review, I was planning on not liking Astonishing X-Men: Ghost Box and having a bad review to balance out my good ones.  There were many things working against this book.  I don't know if I am eternally optimistic or if my brief "Bone vacation" left a good taste in my mouth, but I found some redeeming things in Ghost Box.  I'm just not sure if it is enough for me to like it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Comical-Musings' Position On The Reboot of Amanda Waller

    Just wanted to write in briefly to state that Comical-Musings is offended by the physical alterations made to the re-booted character of Amanda Waller in DC's The New 52 Suicide Squad #1.  Why do we, as comic book fans, have to prove every single stereotype about us and society at large true?!  I thought we were better than that.  If all anyone wants in life is ultra-thin supermodels, then many comic book fans should give up the idea of ever finding another comic book fan that wants them.

This image was taken from ComicsAlliance's website referenced below.

I think that ComicsAlliance says it well in there response here

~ Scott Deaux ~

Red

    Hello again and welcome to Comical-Musings.  This week, we are honoring some guy with a couple of reviews of a couple of his brilliant independent mini-series.  We have already visited the world of Reload, but today we focus on a different, but similar story.  If you haven't read the Reload review, I recommend clicking here first.  Red, Ellis' Homage Comics series with Cully Hamner on art, has some striking parallels to Reload in it's conspiratorial and anti-government themes, but the stories are very different.  Reload was more of a snapshot into the story of a political issue in a broader world where Red is more of a dying man's last breath.  Both well done, altogether different.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Reload

    Greetings and salutations.  I am happy to have you back at Comical-Musings!  My vacation from violent thoughts ended just in time for my review of Reload by Warren Ellis.  Warren Ellis is a fantastic writer with such credits as Transmetropolitan, Hellblazer, Planetary, and The Authority to his name.  He is typically a very verbose writer with a penchant for swearing and story-boarding in a good bit of realistic and nasty violence.  Warren has never been shy about working with independent publishers and often seems to want to get the story told with whoever is willing to tell it.  There was a short period of time where he was releasing very intense little three issue mini-series that were very good, so I am seeking to highlight two of them this week.  Please be warned that if these were movies, the rating would be R.  If you do not watch R rated movies, please do not "Read More."  The first is:


Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Return Of The Dapper Men

    Welcome to Comical-Musings, your source for suggestions on good excellent comics.  We at The Writer's Blok strive to bring you lots oodles of new content as often as possible and to interest enlighten you to new series that you may not have read or ever even heard of.  One of the comics that should not be a surprise to you is The Return of The Dapper Men by Jim McCann and illustrated by Janet Lee.  The reason that you should not be surprised that I am recommending it is because it is very good awesome in scope and execution.  It won the Eisner (Academy Award of comic books) for "best graphic novel," this year!  The story is sweet and the art is breathtaking.  The Return of The Dapper Men is the perfect collision of "really cool people, who are really good at what they do, doing something that fits them."  Jim McCann's fairy tale writing lends itself to Janet Lee's whimsical cuteness to her art and that is not even half of why you'll like it.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

I Think I Will Take A Vacation

    I read Bone Vol. 1, Out of Boneville today and I have to say "wow!"  I don't know if I am just being a big softie this month or what, but 143 pages later, I am very much into Bone right now.  The subtleties and smoothness with which the story flows and develops are just impressive.  It's not like this will come as a surprise to all of you because bone has sold over 1,000,000 copies in 15 different languages and won 38 international awards.  Heck, the edition that I read was made specially and colored for the U.S. publisher, Scholastic for school children.  This is good stuff.  Wholesome too.  They didn't have to dumb it down for kids because Bone is incredibly honest.  It's cute, it's funny, it's very entertaining and even romantic.
    Bone, like I said about Axe Cop before it, reminds us of what's good about humanity.  Nobody has to kill anyone.  There is no secret government conspiracy around every corner.  People aren't living below the poverty line.  Phoney Bone tries to buy beer with a big wad of cash and Lucius laughs at him. You see, Lucius doesn't know what money is, and demands eggs.  Phoney is not much for poultry and ultimately has to wash dishes.  Warren Ellis wouldn't write that.  That's not edgy enough for today's society.  That wouldn't sell books to the over-sexed, violent, brainwashed masses.  It makes you feel good though...  You can relax a little bit when you read Bone.  Now I liked the crazy doctor cutting people's brains out in Jason Aaron's Wolverine as much as the next guy, but there is something enjoyable about purity and innocence.  Reading Bone feels a bit like a vacation.
    Life is hard for me right now.  Work is difficult, family health is in a weird place and I'm a little bit tired.  I can't get away from it all, but I think I am gonna' take a vacation with Bone for a little bit.  I will let you know how it turns out....

~ Scott Deaux ~  

The Single Issue Adventure: Week 1, Issue 1

    "Hi" to all of our readers and thank you for checking out Comical-Musings.  If you have been reading our posts recently, then you probably know that I am trying something new in my comic reading.  I am purchasing single issue comics monthly, not reading trades at Barnes and Noble or at the library or buying trades from Instocktrades.com or Half Price Books or TFAW.com.  The Single Issue Adventure has begun and where better to begin than issue number one.  I chose to read issue number one of Stormwatch and Justice League International.  I was somewhat apprehensive and excited before I bought them and I am not sure if my fears are relieved or realized.


What If The Alien Costume Had Possessed Spider-Man?

 The first full week in September is "What If Week."  The Writer's Blok is reading and offering thoughts and opinions on some of these gems of the Marvel Universe.  The What If stories are meant to examine what would happen if things went differently than it did canonically in the Marvel Universe.  The subject matter ranges from mundane to grandiose.  When you read a What If comic, it could be something as silly as "What if Wolverine Was a Girl?" or something as serious as "What If Charles Xavier Led The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants?"  You can see how the events in these books are interesting as they are isolated and free from the shackles of continuity.  Today's offering is from The Black Ness Monster and deals with a very hot Marvel property doing some very awkward things, shadowed only by silly responses from the surrounding characters.  That's right, it is "What If The Alien Costume Had Possessed Spider-Man?"

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What If Conan The Barbarian Were Stranded In The 20th Century

The first full week in September is "What If Week."  The Writer's Blok is reading and offering thoughts and opinions on some of these gems of the Marvel Universe.  The What If stories are meant to examine what would happen if things went differently than it did canonically in the Marvel Universe.  The subject matter ranges from mundane to grandiose.  When you read a What If comic, it could be something as silly as "What if Wolverine Was a Girl?" or something as serious as "What If Charles Xavier Led The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants?"  You can see how the events in these books are interesting as they are isolated and free from the shackles of continuity.  Today's offering is from the Cap, and it is "What If Conan The Barbarian Were Stranded In The 20th Century?"

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Single Issue Adventure: Preview Show

    Welcome back to Comical-Musings, your friend in the wide world of comic books.  Tomorrow is the day ladies and gents!  Tomorrow is the day that I, Scott Deaux, descend back into purchasing a comic book issue or two monthly.  This sounds crazy, I know.  "Why wouldn't you wait for 6 months and by the trade paperback" you would say and you would be echoing the sales practices of the majority of comic book readers.  The thing is that Diamond (the distributors) still believe weekly issues work and evaluate what trade trade paperbacks to collect by what sells in weekly issues.  I constantly talk about "supporting the industry" with this blog, but tomorrow I put my money where my mouth is.  Tomorrow I am going to support the industry the way that it thinks works.  I'm not going to the library, Barnes and Noble, or Instocktrades.com.  I am going to buy one or two issues ($6) at my local comic book store and then wait for a month to see what happens next.  This flies in the face of all that our ADD-riddled society holds dear, but I am going to do it.  I'm going to feel anticipation in comics for the first time in a while.  I am going to try something new and something DC for that matter.

    You may recall my post about DC rebooting their universe from last week.  If not, the brief synopsis is that DC comics (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman) is starting over all of their comic books at #1 and mixing things up across the board.  I like new stuff and I like some of the weird changes being made, so I am going to wade into the water.  Tomorrow, I am purchasing two books: Justice League International number one and Stormwatch number one.

    First, I am not ashamed to say that Justice League International has my attention for the dumbest reason ever.  The Justice League International books have always been famous for having interesting team dynamics with unexpected characters working alongside stalwarts, but the line up of the new team flew in the face of reason.  I'm talking about the inclusion of August General In Iron.  You may remember him from my previous post where I discussed the Great Ten, Chinese superheroes with awkward names.  He is the leader of a force that has such heroes as Accomplished Perfect Physician and Immortal Man In Darkness.  Now, he is on the Justice League International.  The team dynamic of seeing how an even-keeled, communist, Chinese superpower works with brash, American, everyman Guy Gardner should be amazing if done right.  I may disappointed by this one, but can't withstand giving it a try.



    Second, Stormwatch is the front runner for favoritism in the New 52.  I loved Warren Ellis' "The Authority" in it's first volume in the Wildstorm (a shoot off company of DC) Universe.  They were deconstructed superheroes with incredibly weird powers and relationships against unstoppable foes.  It was like poetry in motion and I became enamored with the Authority's "different" kind of superhero.  Then, Wildstorm decided to make maturity a point to hang their hat on and things got violent and sexual and I don't fool with nudity or sex in comics much like I do not in real life (extra-maritally) so I dropped it like a bad habit and lost touch with my weird, wonderful new friends.  Well...now the Authority is playing in the DC pool.  That means that they need to play by DC's "mainstream" rules.  It feels like if the R-rated action movie that I really wanted to see in theaters with all of the nudity and sex scenes is now coming onto ABC and will be edited for content.  I am so excited about this series.  They are also adding the Martian Manhunter to the mix and that means that a B- or C+ character in the DC universe is getting a new team to work with.  It has the makings of greatness.

    Anyways, I will let all of you know how they are with reviews monthly.  It feels like Christmas all over again and I hope I can sleep tonight!!! (Is 5 hours really sleep?)  I am hoping for big things.  If you get any of the New 52 and wanna talk about it, let me know what you think in the comments!  Read on, intrepid readers!

~ Scott Deaux ~

What if Iron Man had REALLY been a Traitor, Really?

The first full week in September is "What If Week."  The Writer's Blok is reading and offering thoughts and opinions on some of these gems of the Marvel Universe.  The What If stories are meant to examine what would happen if things went differently than it did canonically in the Marvel Universe.  The subject matter ranges from mundane to grandiose.  When you read a What If comic, it could be something as silly as "What if Wolverine Was a Girl?" or something as serious as "What If Charles Xavier Led The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants?"  You can see how the events in these books are interesting as they are isolated and free from the shackles of continuity.  Today's offering is from Hal and it is "What If Iron Man Had Been A Traitor?"

Monday, September 5, 2011

What If The Impossible Man Obtained The Infinity Gauntlet

The first full week in September is "What If Week."  The Writer's Blok is reading and offering thoughts and opinions on some of these gems of the Marvel Universe.  The What If stories are meant to examine what would happen if things went differently than it did canonically in the Marvel Universe.  The subject matter ranges from mundane to grandiose.  When you read a What If comic, it could be something as silly as "What if Wolverine Was a Girl?" or something as serious as "What If Charles Xavier Led The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants?"  You can see how the events in these books are interesting as they are isolated and free from the shackles of continuity.  Today's offering is from myself, Scott Deaux and it is "What If The Impossible Man Obtained The Infinity Gauntlet"

Friday, September 2, 2011

Sometimes, Stuff Gets Annihilated When It's In Space

    A wise man once said "All the best stuff comes outta' space!"  This always seemed like a maxim that I disagree with heartily.  We had some "Wars" in the "Stars" and some people took a "Trek" to the "Stars" and both of those things were good and provided me great enjoyment.  The problem, I always thought, is when comics go to space.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

An Open Opportunity In The Writer's Blok

    Hello hello hello to all of our friends!  I am writing to let you know that there is an exciting opportunity available to Comical-Musings' readers.  We are having increased demands for bloggers and are happy to extend an invitation to anyone of a like mind that wants to be a part of what we are trying to do.  We would love to read your stuff and post it, ultimately adding a couple more writers to The Blok.  We are not for profit, so there is no compensation.  We are looking for people committed to conveying thoughts and opinions about comic books.  If you would like to submit an article for consideration, please email us HERE.

~ Scott Deaux ~

Top 5 Worst Ways That I Have Seen Someone Die In Comics

    The new Top 5 is here!  It seems like it took forever for us to get to the first of the month, but I am glad to be here!  Last month, we had over 1,000 views of our page which is very exciting.  We are constantly in need of new viewers, so don't be afraid to rate us on Stumbleupon or share us on Facebook.  It would be much appreciated!  Today, our Top 5 is the "Top 5 Worst Ways That I Have Seen Someone Die In Comics."  All credit for the idea to do this Top 5 goes to Aberdeen.  These featured comic book demises range from mundane to ridiculous.  There are some characters that are hard to kill and some that are nearly impervious, but chances are good that if their sales are low or if Bendis is writing them, there is a way for most of them to die.  The images associated with these deaths are gory and not necessarily appropriate for younger viewers.  If you are still interested in reading this post click "read more" below, won't you?