A Journey of Change: A 24 Hour Comic

It was hard to get back in the 24 Hour Comics swing. I hadn’t done one since 2014, and I hadn’t done one with the Doomkopf crew since 2012. Doom DeLuise and I decided to rekindle some old magic, and we reunited via webcam and hung out remotely for most of the 24 hours.

I got a late start on the East coast (I wasted a lot of time purchasing, attempting to set up, and eventually giving up on a new webcam), and I ended up pooping out at 6:23 a.m., which was the 15-hour point. What was supposed to be a little nap turned into 6.5 hours of sleep. I woke up to find DeLuise chugging away and nearing completion (and he finished — go read it). I worked to the end of our 24 hour period, but I wasn’t finished.

I realize technically — according to the rules of the challenge — I failed, but I was enjoying my story, and out of commitment to DeLuise, I was determined to finish it. So figuring I had 6.5 hours in the bank, I waited until my next opportunity to tackle it. Work and personal travel tied up the next few weeks, but finally today I cashed in those hours and finished it.

The lingering story popped into my head occasionally over the past few weeks, but I did my best to not think about it until I was sitting down and officially resuming. I didn’t want to cheat with the limited time I had left by thinking about it “off the clock,” so to speak. And when I did sit down this afternoon and officially resumed, I realized I had way more work ahead of me than I thought I had.

I only had around 10 pages completely done. I had a bunch of pages either fully drawn and inked (but not lettered) or at least sketched — but I had very little recollection of what some of my intent was with some of these pages. So I spent a lot of my time today just getting reacquainted with what I had produced on 24HCD, trying to make sense of what I intended and trying to figure out what I could do with it.

I usually work non-linearly on 24HCD stories, but this one took that to another level completely. I drew so many pages with no idea where they were going, how they were fitting in or even what they were fitting into. This went to such an extreme that, with about 2 hours left, I realized I had actually laid out a 26-page story. I found one page I could ditch completely, but only one, so I ended up making a 25-page 24-hour comic in 24 hours and 30 minutes. I went over time, but still averaged under one page an hour.

This year, for inspiration, I asked my girlfriend to just tell me some random words. She offered balloon, rake, jungle gym, vacation and feudalism. Also — to honor tradition — Doom DeLuise and I listened to a 90s web radio station all night. Early on, “Sadeness Part 1” by Enigma played, and I started talking about the “monk craze of the early 90s.” He and I both happened to write down “monk craze” as inspiration. You can see it in both of our stories this year.

Working in a non-linear fashion keeps it fun for me. If I figure out too early on where the story is going, I get bored. This one kept me figuring things out to the end (and when I say “figuring things out to the end,” I mean figuring out important things that should happen on page 3, 8, 14, etc.) and more than any other 24 hour comic I’ve done, felt like it was revealing itself to me. Technically a failure, but one of my favorites. I hope you like it!



To Hell and Back: A 24 Hour Comic



Monday Night Raw 2019-2020 “Season Premiere” – Live Thoughts

I will refresh this blog throughout the night.

Full disclosure — I stopped watching Raw probably around the time of Blood Money II, so I couldn’t tell you if this intro was new or not. But the stage and set definitely look new, and I read enough clickbait news sites to know that the pyro is back!

And those are completely new announcers (or in Lawler’s case, old)! I’m very much looking forward to an episode of Raw that doesn’t include Michael Cole or Corey Graves.

I thought they said they were going to start with the Universal Title match, but Rey doesn’t look dressed to compete.

I like that they’re promoting matches to come later tonight. It’s so basic, but they’ve done so little in recent years to acknowledge the power of treating matches like they matter.

Poor Rey — they never e-e-e-ever let Rey Mysterio finish a promo without getting interrupted.

Totally misread Lesnar’s t-shirt as saying “Supper City.” Mmmm.

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Non-Doomino Effect: The Immortal Hulk #18-23

Because of work trips and other general busyness, I fell behind on virtually every comics series I was buying, which then impeded my ability to get back on a weekly schedule. These Non-Doomino Effect entries will be an attempt to chip away at the stack so I can get back to the normal routine. Today, it’s The Immortal Hulk #18-23.

I don’t think I’ve been a regular Hulk reader since the Peter David / Dale Keown days in the early ’90s. I bought World War Hulk but that was a miniseries. I started picking up The Immortal Hulk when the hype became too much to ignore, and I probably had a slow week or something and decided it was time to try something new.

This series is really disturbing and unnerving, but it is fantastic. Also the art is really bad, which only adds to the sense that you’re reading something that is getting away with something. Sometimes I wonder if I would like it more if it had someone with a style like Mark Texeira or Bernie Wrightson illustrating it. But then on the other hand, I think the back-bencher art style somehow enhances the atmosphere of the book.

It feels dirty. It feels like some under-the-radar publisher is releasing a bootleg Hulk series that Marvel clearly must not know about. It’s so good. As the new issues have been coming out to the shop, I’ve been catching up on the old issues in this title on Marvel Unlimited (at the time of writing this, Marvel Unlimited is up to #10 while I started reading the hard copies at #18).

Sometimes you’ll feel sort of gross after reading an issue, but I highly recommend this series. One of my favorites.



Non-Doomino Effect: Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1-2 and The Batman Who Laughs #4-7

Because of work trips and other general busyness, I fell behind on virtually every comics series I was buying, which then impeded my ability to get back on a weekly schedule. These Non-Doomino Effect entries will be an attempt to chip away at the stack so I can get back to the normal routine. Today, it’s Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1-2 and The Batman Who Laughs #4-7.

Scott Snyder’s run on Batman from The New 52 was one of my favorite runs of all time. I loved the horror element he brought to the book, and both of these series have been fantastic.

Batman: Last Knight on Earth reunites him with Greg Capullo, who is great, but still — for whatever reason — seems content being a blatant Todd MacFarlane rip-off. This series is so far probably best described as a Batman take on Old Man Logan. Society has collapsed, the bad guys have won, there are all sorts of spectacles to express the extent of the damage (such as the hills they’re walking on being the cloak of the fallen Spectre) and it’s up to Batman to save the day.

As I mentioned with DCeased, I usually don’t care for Elseworlds / What If stories, but this is done well enough that I’m digging it and very much looking forward to the final issue (I think it’s just three issues, anyway). This would probably be perfect if not for the JRJr cover.

Speaking of people wounded by the cruel laughter of others, that leads me to The Batman Who Laughs #4-7. I was keeping up on this series before my summer derailed me, and I was totally digging it, but the story was dense and twisty enough — and Jock’s art is often ambiguous enough — that I frequently kept putting the later issues aside because I felt like I didn’t have the attention or patience to dedicate to them.

I’m glad I finally sat down and finished this series, though. I wasn’t a huge fan of Metal, even though I admired its attempts to tie together a lot of threads from throughout the years. So even though this was a Scott Snyder book, I didn’t have a lot of emotional buy-in to this, given that The Batman Who Laughs came from that event.

Ultimately that didn’t matter much, though, because this series really just boils down to being a Batman vs. The Joker story, with the added bonus of being a Batman vs. Batman story. Other than a few cameos from the weirdly immortal-or-whatever Joker (another thing I didn’t really care for from Snyder’s Batman run), this felt like an otherwise straightforward (in a good way) cat-and-mouse Batman story. Solid stuff.

BONUS FOOTNOTE: I had seen all the “Year of the Villain” stuff with the Batman Who Laughs all over it, and therefore thought “This series probably won’t have a satisfying ending if the Batman Who Laughs is still out and about” but I was wrong! I felt like this series ended just fine — it was just the pivot out of this series that was lame.

I picked up Batman/Superman #1 a few weeks ago, which spun out of this series and picked up the fight against The Batman Who Laughs; I figured that new series must include an intriguing story of how The Batman Who Laughs escapes and launches his new evil plot!

NOPE.

Even though (SPOILERS) The Batman Who Laughs #7 ends with The Batman Who Laughs captured and securely imprisoned, and then plugs that the story continues in Batman/Superman #1, he’s just out on the loose in that issue, with no mention of how that happened. Lame. I have no intention of continuing with that series.



AEW All Out – live thoughts

I’m catching this show a day late and have so far avoided almost all commentary of any kind and all substantive spoilers. Here’s a repeatedly updated post as I make my way through it.

  • The opening promo package was well-produced, but it’s discouraging to hear this screamy rage-rock soundtrack. It’s one of the elements that WWE seems to have permanently anchored to 1998, and an area where AEW could’ve immediately differentiated themselves.
  • First match is SCU vs Jurassic Express. I love Luchasaurus but I don’t like people (and promotions) having to pretend a guy is really a dinosaur. The camera shakes, SCU selling fright — that’s kind of lame. Why can’t he just be a real guy dressed as a dinosaur?
  • There’s something about the production of AEW’s hard camera that makes it look like there’s a light haze in the arena, which really reminds me of WCW.
  • I would go easy on the commentary saying SCU has a combined 64 years of experience. To me that falls on the wrong side of the “celebrating a career” vs “these guys are old” line.
  • Surprised they’re going to Omega-PAC so early in the show.
  • Another thing AEW needs to fix is the quality of their music going to the audio feed. It sounds like we’re just getting the audio from the arena sometimes, and not well-mic’ed at that. It makes the experience of watching on TV so much less immersive. WWE does a great job of mixing the entrance themes well so that you hear them in full quality.
  • Great match between PAC and Omega, even with some botched spots. They’re both big enough pros to cover for those mistakes. Kind of surprised by the finish; at some point they’re going to need to protect Omega, and hopefully that’s soon.
  • Darby Allin looks like he didn’t finish his makeup before the match.
  • This three-way garbage match is embarrassing. They’re spending all this time on this awful chair-tape-tacks scene and nothing is really going right. Allin and Janella both appear to have never used tape before. Havoc kept his thumbtack-filled mouth taped shut for like 10 minutes until he needed the opportunity to spit tacks.
  • Ok, so I wonder if maybe I’ve just never watched good garbage matches; I actually ended up finding myself enjoying that and getting into the finish. In spite of that, I would still rather never see another of these matches ever.
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Non-Doomino Effect: Savage Avengers #1-4 and Daredevil #6-10

Because of work trips and other general busyness, I fell behind on virtually every comics series I was buying, which then impeded my ability to get back on a weekly schedule. These Non-Doomino Effect entries will be an attempt to chip away at the stack so I can get back to the normal routine. Today, it’s Savage Avengers 1-4 and Daredevil 6-10.

Much like DCeased, I’m not really sure why I picked up Savage Avengers in the first place. As someone who lived through, read comics during, and gave up comics during the worst excesses of the ‘90s, I do not experience ‘90s nostalgia. Yet a book called Savage Avengers that features not only Wolverine, but Venom (!) and The Punisher (!!) just reeks of the worst type of ‘90s nostalgia for over-the-top violence and grittiness for grittiness’ sake.

Oh yeah, and David Finch covers! David Finch obviously didn’t make his career in the ‘90s, but his overly-muscled, overly-hatched Kubert-esque (and not even Adam or Joe, but Andy!) style harkens back to the indulgences of the Image days. I mean just look at the size of the Punisher’s gun on the cover to issue #1 (but in fairness to Finch, he’s at least consistently getting better at what he strives to be good at).

Oh you know what? I now remember exactly why I took a chance on this — Mike Deodato, Jr. He’s evolved into the one of the best artists in comics today, and I would probably read anything he illustrated. Here’s proof!

In spite of the clear call-backs to those ‘90s excesses, though, I’ve found this series pretty enjoyable so far. It’s got a plot that — while making room for violence and slashing and shooting — has its own purpose and doesn’t feel like it exists just for those excesses. Circumstances have drawn this otherwise unrelated hackers, slashers and shooters to the Savage (hence the name) Land, where a cosmic cult attempts to summon a being from the outer edges of the solar system. It’s nothing too special, but the weaving of each character’s path — including the bad guys — is believable enough to feel like the characters are part of the story vs. the story just being there to see Wolverine stab and the Punisher shoot.

The one thing I really don’t care for are the contrived attempts at humor. Fish-out-of-water character contrasts can make for natural laughs, but Duggan’s attempts to leverage Conan for those situations do not work at all. I appreciate the effort to make this something other than dark, gloomy violence, but it’s not working.

Speaking of ‘90s comics, that leads me to Daredevil #6-10, the “No Devils, Only God” arc that follows the supposed death of Daredevil.

There is absolutely nothing overtly ‘90s about this series, but whereas Savage Avengers adopts some overtly ‘90s elements for this otherwise timeless story, this arc of Daredevil reminds me of some of my favorite elements of the less-flashy comics of the ‘90s — somewhat bright and mismatched art adorning earnestly gloomy stories. The inability to really hit the mark on the gloom — in spite of trying so hard to be heavy — sometimes comes off as charming, and this is one of those times.

Matt Murdock is grappling with what it means to leave Daredevil behind, and consequently, so is Mayor Fisk. The parallels are interesting, with much of the action and drama revolving around the story of how _the police_ are reacting and adapting. It’s sort of pulpy but just so committed to telling its story — even though the story just isn’t all that great — and I really admire it for it.

Coming up with new stories for Daredevil has got to be so hard; really since Frank Miller deconstructed the guy, I feel like every writer has had to essentially react to “Born Again,” either by embracing it (Bendis, Brubaker) or pushing hard against it (Waid, and to an extent, Diggle). Zdarsky’s take manages to be familiar without feeling overly constrained by what came before, and I respect it for that.



Non-Doomino Effect: DCeased 1-4

Because of work trips and other general busyness, I fell behind on virtually every comics series I was buying, which then impeded my ability to get back on a weekly schedule. These Non-Doomino Effect entries will be an attempt to chip away at the stack so I can get back to the normal routine. Up next, DCeased 1-4.

I hate zombie stuff.

I used to be sort of indifferent to it, but then there was that phase in the 2000s where Marvel zombified everything, and it just let me to hate the stuff. So I have honestly no idea why I even took a chance on DCeased. Maybe it was a slow week?

But I’m loving DCeased. For the uninitiated, DC’s take on zombies is based on the idea that the anti-life equation is unleashed on humanity, and it spreads through blood and screens. Funny enough, I also tend to really hate things related to Darkseid and the New Gods. Maybe these things are canceling each other out?

I’ve honestly been giving some thought to why on earth I am enjoying this, in spite of my previously stated inclinations against precisely the things this story is about, and I suspect that it’s all about the underlying hope in this series. Don’t get me wrong — this is as bleak, terrifying and gut-wrenching as you would expect from a zombie story, as loved ones turn, families are torn apart, and lives are irrevocably changed by tragic moments.

But there’s an underlying “Ok, things are terrible — so what are we going to do about it?” that propels the story forward and that I find engaging.

I don’t want to get too spoilery on this, but if you’re like me and find yourself typically staying away from a genre that seemed tired 10-15 years ago, this is a surprisingly fun series so far.



Non-Doomino Effect: Thanos 1-4

Because of work trips and other general busyness, I fell behind on virtually every comics series I was buying, which then impeded my ability to get back on a weekly schedule. These Non-Doomino Effect entries will be an attempt to chip away at the stack so I can get back to the normal routine. Up first, Thanos 1-4.

I had been reading the Thanos series by Jeff Lemire and Mike Deodato at some point in the past few years (they all kind of blur together) (the years, that is) (well, and the comics too) and loved it, and to be honest, I’m not entirely sure when that ended and a new one began. Last I really remember, Thanos was dying? But then in one of those other events, I believe Gamora chopped off his head. I do remember him being dead and headless, because that condition seemed to be a catalyst of the new Guardians of the Galaxy series, which I’ve been enjoying.

This series–while titled Thanos–really seems to be an origin-of-Gamora series that just so happens to revolve around Thanos. You’ve got the mad Titan and some “young” members of the Black Order (Ebony Maw and Proxima Midnight to be exact) drifting rather aimlessly–both literally and emotionally–through space, killing people but just not really feeling it. Then this young prisoner/adoptee enters the scene and complicates things for everyone.

So far it’s really kind of a charming story of the genocidal Thanos and his adopted daughter, getting a sense of each other in spite of their terribly misaligned pasts. Tini Howard has so far done a great job with the tone, as that tension can be hard to pull off and hard to keep from teetering into odd-couple humor.

I don’t really remember buying this, but I’m going to keep buying it. Good stuff.



G1 Climax Block A: Kazuchika Okada vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

Okada has grown on me over the past year or so, but I still can’t get over how the profile photo that NJPW uses in the match promotion cards make it look like he’s pushing out a fart.

ZSJ has the most incredible heeling physical charisma. When Okada isn’t making his Rock impersonation faces, he has these fantastic expressions that so infectiously pull you in; but then shortly after he lets his guard down, he quickly pivots back into some contorted fart face with an awkward attempt at an eyebrow raise.

The announcers set the stage by pointing out these two are 1-1 against each other.

ZSJ quickly goes for submission attempts, which is such a great way to quickly establish him as a legitimate threat, given their physical differences. I know some people can’t get over ZSJ’s comparative scrawniness, so I think even though it’s unfortunate, it’s nice when the threat he presents can be established early.

And do they ever do that — ZSJ almost catches Okada early with both submission holds and submission holds turned into pin attempts. Sabre just chips away at people; it’s amazing to watch. One of my favorite things he does when his opponent is down is to just toy with them, kicking them while they’re squirming around on the mat. It’s totally unnecessary and not even damaging, but such a punk thing to do that mostly just communicates what kind of guy you’re up against.

Okada gains a little momentum and goes for a Blackjack, but Sabre reverses it into a Guillotine. Okada goes for the Rainmaker relatively early, with the announcers declaring he’s on his way to going 2-0. Then he lands the Tombstone, but Sabre reverses a Rainmaker attempt and turns it into an incredible Octopus.

In college at parties I used to drunkenly convince other drunk people to let me apply Figure Four Leg-Locks and the Walls of Jericho. I hope that college kids these days are applying Zack Sabre Jr. holds at parties, but in fairness they might be too complicated to pull off after a few drinks. I’m only about 75% drunk now and I can’t figure out how he pulled off these contortions, and that’s just looking at the TV.

Okada uses his power to regain the momentum again, but just as quickly Sabre uses his speed and squirminess to apply submissions converted to pinning positions out of nowhere. And Sabre turns another Rainmaker attempt into another Flying Octopus. This is nuts!

But Okada hits two Rainmakers in a row, and that ends that. Okada is now at four points, and ZSJ has none. That was a fun match, but I felt like it actually could’ve gone quite a bit longer. The crispness and speed of ZSJ’s comebacks never quite diminished, so the finish felt a little premature. Still, absolutely worth watching.