Monthly archives: April, 2009

Book of Doom Preview: Blackest Night #0

I’m going a little unconventional this week and picking a book that doesn’t officially come out until Saturday for FREE COMIC BOOK DAY. So you’re all free to choose whatever you want at the shop tomorrow — just be sure to visit your local comic store on Saturday and grab the Book of Doom. Because of the later release, get your reviews in by Saturday night to be included in the roundtable, which we’ll post Sunday.

by Geoff Johns (W) and Ivan Reis (A)

This May, DC Comics will debut its first-ever all-new title for Free Comic Book Day: BLACKEST NIGHT #0, the prelude to “Blackest Night,” the biggest comics event of 2009! Featuring a story by writer Geoff Johns, BLACKEST NIGHT #0 is illustrated by top art teams Ivan Reis & Oclair Albert and Doug Mahnke & Christian Alamy. The issue also features an introductory text page by Johns that sets the stage for new readers and a cover by Ivan Reis. The issue includes a lead story that leads directly into BLACKEST NIGHT #1, as well as a special guide to the various Corps that have recently emerged as forces in the world of GREEN LANTERN.

Book of Doom: Detective Comics #853

When DC was getting ready to relaunch their continuity after Crisis on Infinite Earths, they needed a good farewell to the then-fiftyish years of Superman stories. Thus, we were given Alan Moore’s “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?,” a nostalgic trek down the menagerie of Kryptonian heroes, allies and villains. By the end of the story, Superman found one final task and then disappeared.

Neil Gaiman has given us a follow up of sorts with “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?” With Bruce Wayne gone, we need a farewell to seventy years of Batman stories. Part one gave us the funeral and a disembodied Bruce Wayne wondering how and why he’s watching his own funeral. Part two gave us the answers.

How do we address a long, convoluted history with twists and turns and do-overs and forgotten characters across a few universes? How do we know what did and what didn’t happen?

Simple. We just don’t dwell on it. It all happened and it was all the story of Batman, the idea. When Batman dies, his ultimate fate is that he stays Batman. It’s immutable. A dead Batman is still Batman. And why is Batman watching his own funeral with a calvicade of familiar faces? His brain is in its dying moments.

Like its sort-of predecessor, this is more mythology than continuity. To say goodbye, we have to know what we’re leaving behind. Through each vignette from the friends-or-foes gallery, we have that much more Batman to remember – for anyone who’s picked up the book at any point in its history.

Neil Gaiman did here what he does best – take mythology and find a new way to present it. And the more I think on it, the more I enjoyed this book.

Now, turning it over to Jim Doom: (more…)

Book of Doom Preview: Detective Comics #853

Of any Batdeath / Captain Batcaveman related books, this is seemingly the best. It’s part two in Neil Gaiman’s arc “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?” This book is sure to be as memorable as Alan Moore’s “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” where Superman made his pre-Crisis exit.

“Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?” part 2 of 2! This second part of Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert’s special collaboration is sure to be a BATMAN story for the ages. This extraordinary tale, told as only Gaiman and Kubert can, explores the intricate relationships between Bruce Wayne and his friends and adversaries and builds toward an exciting and unexpected climax. It’s a classic in the making

Jim Doom loved part one, so hopefully it lives up to our expectations. If you want to participate, email

Joe Quesada vs Web 2.0

5:25 p.m.:

I’ve noticed that lately some major websites have been using my Tweets as content without even asking me. Hey guys, where’s my check?

5:26 p.m.:

By the bye, I don’t mind fans circulating stuff and I don’t mind the occasional Tweet used by websites here and there. That’s cool.

5:27 p.m.:

But using Tweet after Tweet without even so much as asking seems kind of uncool. Maybe I’m wrong, it’ not like I would say no.

5:28 p.m.:

But when you’re selling advertisement based on your content and I’m some of that content, pick up the phone, drop me an email, I’m around.

Book of Doom:
Rampaging Wolverine #1

rampaging wolverine 1The thing I’ve always liked most about Wolverine is that he’s a character who, for all intents and purposes, is indestructible, but unlike, say, Superman, he’s able to feel pain. That’s one thing that Marvel’s always been pretty good at – – making their characters relatable to the reader. By tempering Wolverine’s healing factor power with his very humanistic feelings of pain and agony, a new side to him develops and makes it so that the reader can sympathize with him more than they can the Man of Steel (sorry to pick on Supes, but he’s a pretty boring character sometimes).

Unfortunately, this one-shot book with three separate stories kind of ruins that entire concept. Wolverine is brutally shot, again and again, in places like his eyeballs or his neck or his mouth or, hell, right straight through his heart, but he never shows pain or acts as if he’s in any sort of harm (except for during this three-page prose section that pops up midway through the issue that is just ridiculously stupid and a waste of time and space).

What I’m saying is that it turns Wolverine into a Superman that bleeds, and it takes away all of the tension from the story. For example, there’s one little section that has Wolvie being targeted by a HYDRA sniper who repeatedly delivers headshots to the ol’ Canuckle-head, but it never feels like the outcome of the bout is in question. I know that, to a certain extent, we all know the outcome of every comic (the Day Evil Won is invariably followed the next day by the Day Good Came Back and Eventually Beat Evil), but, in this case, the excessive use of gore and violence just took me out of the story and made me feel like there wasn’t much point in my continued reading of it.

Plus, to further tank it, there are quite a few ridiculous lines of dialogue that, again, took me out of the story and/or made me groan. Telling a pack of wild monkeys to, “pack their bananas” is one such example. But that feels like a nitpick, comparatively. I just didn’t care for this thing, at all.

Fortunately, we had one other taker this week, as good ol’ Doominator took a look and has agreed to offer up his own thoughts on the issue. Here we go:

Doominator: (more…)

Q&A: Mike Carey

To many people who read this blog, Mike Carey needs no introduction. At first known for his work on Lucifer, spinning off out of the Sandman mythos, he’s been seen lately putting his own spin on X-Men and Ultimate Fantastic Four. Never straying far from his Vertigo work, he’s got a new series coming out called The Unwritten, reuniting with Lucifer artist Peter Gross. It tells the story of a man forever trapped by his father writing him into his old novels … and then finding that world crashing in on his reality.

Mr. Carey was kind enough to answer some questions for Doomkopf, even divulging that he did, in fact, once write a Pantera comic book …

What was the inspiration behind “The Unwritten”?

It was a lot of things. Peter and I both came on board with ideas for what seemed at first to be entirely different stories – and then somehow they ended up colliding at a high velocity and became The Unwritten. One of the strands that fed into it was definitely the real life experiences of Christopher Robin Milne – the son of A.A.Milne, who became the Christopher Robin of the Winnie the Pooh books. He then grew up having to bear the burden of being famous as a fictional character created by someone else. As he said later in life, he felt as though his childhood had been appropriated by his father for his own purposes. That situation is mirrored in the experiences of our protagonist, Tom Taylor.

But there were other things feeding in, too. Peter and I had talked a lot about the paradox of suspended disbelief – the fact that so many Vertigo writers, ourselves included, are resolute atheists who nonetheless choose to write extended stories built around religious themes. We became fascinated by the two kinds of faith – the faith you have in a system of belief, a religion, and the faith you have in a story while you’re reading (or writing) it. (more…)

Comics Cameos in Politics Land

I need to come up with a good name for what could easily be a recurring feature, because I see stuff like this all the time in political and policy writing (or at least more than I’d expect) and it’s like a special shout-out to the comics fans. This is from Matthew Yglesias at Thinkprogress in a blog today on efficiency and urban building height restrictions:

I said something last weekend about how it was a shame that Newark, New Jersey has a more impressive skline than does our nation’s capital and that Washington ought to revisit its extremely stringent restrictions on the allowed height of downtown office buildings. This prompted a reply about how it’s nice that the DC streets get a lot of sunlight. I was going to fire back that New York is hardly full of Morlocks and it’s not like there are a ton of people taking leisurely strolls through Downtown DC anyway (it’s mostly people working, it’s an office district) but the whole argument about aesthetics really misses the mark.

Book of Doom Preview:
Rampaging Wolverine #1

rampaging wolverine 1“Herman, how could you? We’ve all thought about counterfeiting jeans at one time or another, but what about the victims? Hard-working designers like Calvin Klein, Gloria Vanderbilt, or Antoine Bugle Boy. These are the people who saw an overcrowded marketplace and said, ‘Me too!'”
– Homer Simpson, “The Springfield Connection”

While the analogy doesn’t fit perfectly, it still makes me laugh. Wolverine seems to be in every single Marvel comic book these days, and, yet, here we are, ready for a new ongoing series about even more of his exploits. I’m hoping this is decent, but it’s starting to get a little tired at this point. But, hey, at least it doesn’t have any ads, so it might be worth checking out. Here’s what Marvel says about it:


The Marvel Magazine that never was—three ALL-NEW, ALL-ACTION Wolverine tales, all in fantastic BLACK AND WHITE! Josh Fialkov (ELK’S RUN) and the fantastic gray wash art of Paco Diaz Luque pit Wolverine against South Pacific pirates…and worse. Plus, X-FORCE writer Christopher Yost introduces a sniper with a secret—and a canuckle-head to kill! Finally, comics legend Ted McKeever (METROPOL, EDDIE CURRENT) tells a third island adventure. Plus even more! It’s non-stop Logan—too hot for color to handle—and NO ADS!

Book of Doom: The Warlord #1

So this was a disappointment. I realize Mike Grell and his creation have a loyal following, but I’m hard pressed to understand why from this first issue. From the melodramatic dialogue to the silly situations (“We found this recently deceased dinosaur in a cave, so we chopped off its giant head and brought it to you, but going back will be impossible because of how tightly the government monitors travel in and out”) to the implied sex with a cat, I found nothing at all that gives me any reason why I would want to pick up issue #2. Simple as that.

Maybe advance knowledge of what The Warlord and the world in which it exists would’ve helped. But I kind of picked the first issue in the series thinking it would be a good jumping-on point for those of us with no familiarity.

Doom DeLuise read my copy at McDonald’s. He started cracking up reading the first narration box. We ended up exchanging dramatic readings of the narration to each other. My favorite was the groaner monologue from the pilot in the Blackbird. This wasn’t for me.

The only other member of the posse to join in this week was Doominator, bless the poor sap’s heart. Here’s what he had to say:

Doominator: (more…)

Q&A: Bob Hall

Armed and DangerousBob Hall started moonlighting drawing and writing comics in the ’70s to subsidize his career in the theater. Between the ’70s and ’90s, he’s drawn and written comics for Marvel, DC, and Valiant Comics, including Spider-Man, The Avengers, Batman, Shadowman, and “Armed and Dangerous,” an original series. His art is currently on exhibit at the Project Room in Lincoln, Nebraska.

How’d you get into comics?

I was in New York wanting to be in theater and realized I needed a marketable skill. I’d always drawn, done posters for the theater department and the student union. Somebody suggested, “why don’t you take a lot at comic books?” This was 1972, it happened to be a particularly great time for comics. There were some brilliant people drawing. I decided I wanted to do it, I worked at it for a couple years trying to learn the craft.

John Buscema, one of Mavel’s top artists (Silver Surfer, Fantastic Four, Conan, pretty much every Marvel book) in two years he taught a class on how to do comics. John liked what I was doing and got me a job at Marvel.

When I got to New York I realized people spent their lives doing two careers. Most people never made a major breakthrough. They would work; they’d have a life in theater, I didn’t want to be a career waiter. I saw a lot of people who’d get a day job in the office and slowly they’d never continue with their main desire. The day job would take over their time, the security would make them afraid to go out and look for work. Maybe I could balance two things? Comics being contract labor, theater being intermittent.