Monthly archives: July, 2010

Kevin Bacon: The Greatest Threat This Planet Knows

Doom DeLuise and I were talking the other night about the fact that Kevin Bacon is the new X-Men villain. After running down a (short) list, we settled on Mr. Sinister.

This was not exactly a tacit endorsement.

You see, the best reasoning we could trace back was to a particularly bad piece of cinema known as Hollow Man, perhaps the only time we’ve seen Bacon play a mad scientist. And with good reason: he doesn’t always come across as playing the brightest characters. So here we’re to believe Kevin Bacon is the greatest threat anyone has ever faced in the history of ever?

We’ve also got the un-Beastly Nicholas Hoult (who I last saw as a quite rail-thing lad in Skins) as Hank McCoy and some kid from something something Hannah Montana as Havok. I dunno. That link has the names of the people I don’t know.

I’m being a bit flippant here, I realize. It seems that they’re lining this movie up as a franchise saver. I mean, they’re even bringing in Banshee, which isn’t un-exciting. And where Sinister goes, Apocalypse often follows.

Anyway, here’s a Hollow Man clip. Is this the future Mr. Milsbury?:

Without Long Comment: ‘Green Lantern’ Preview Images

Not in the “right” kind of creative for Doomkopf at this moment, but we might as well let our faithful readers get a sneak peek at the cover of an upcoming Entertainment Weekly. Lookin’ alright so far.

Batman R.I.P. won’t die

I picked up Batman #701 today. It’s part 1 of the Lost R.I.P. story, which maybe is going to explain the holes in R.I.P. (what was the ultimate betrayal after all?) or maybe it’ll just be another story.

But what it very clearly is is yet another continuation of the Batman R.I.P. story. I remember finishing Batman #681, the final chapter of Batman R.I.P., only to learn that the actual conclusion to Batman R.I.P. was in Final Crisis #6. But that didn’t really make any sense, because last we saw Batman, he was in an exploding helicopter, then roaming around at the beginning of the continuity-detached Final Crisis solving mysteries, and then here he is all of a sudden in FC #6 pointing a god gun at Darkseid. To that, as a planned, supposedly sequential series of events penned by the same writer, I said “Huh?”

So then there was that two-part series where Grant Morrison went back and explained how Batman got in the clutches of the organized workers of the Evil Factory. It was a nice story and all, but as far as filling the holes between how Batman went from helicopter to Orion-killer hunting, it really did no good. It filled in the wrong part of the story, though it did at least lay some important groundwork.

But now, starting with Batman #701, Grant Morrison is finally telling the post-helicopter story, that really everyone should have been demanding a year and a half ago. I’m actually quite excited about it, as I really love how things are being pieced together in Batman and Robin and The Return of Bruce Wayne (not so much Final Crisis), but it’s just so weird to me how this story is being told. I have no idea if this is going to answer questions and fill in gaps or just tell more out-of-sequence details in the form of semi-interesting story. Maybe the mystery will be solved in another two-issue storyline drawn by Tony Daniel fourteen months down the road. Maybe it’ll never happen.

I don’t even think I’m necessarily complaining about this. I just can’t believe this storyline is still going on, so ridiculously out of sequence! I mean can you imagine someone pitching this to a reader? “You’ll get all the exciting parts up front, but they won’t actually make sense, because the trudging exposition is going to come a few pieces at a time over the next year or two, completely detached from everything else that’s going on around it in the other Bat-books. It’ll be great!”

Sad News: Harvey Pekar passes away at 70

It takes a lot of work to make a comic. But how much more work is it to make yourself into the comic, warts and all?

That’s the career Harvey Pekar had – a filing clerk and friend of Robert Crumb’s who took his day-to-day life and turned himself into the non-hero of American Splendor, later turned into a movie with Paul Giamatti. At times, it seemed a labor of love – a wonderful comic doomed to the underground by its warts-and-all approach to everyday mundanity.

But it’s had a huge influence since, demonstrating that comics weren’t just for the fantastic, but could be for anyone and everyone’s life. Maybe it’s mild hyperbole, but without American Splendor, there would likely be no Craig Thompson.

Mr. Pekar died earlier today. I obviously didn’t know him, but I knew his work. However, the best memorial I’ve read was on the pages of The Bomb Bag, the blog for comic writer and editor Jason Rodriguez, who collaborated with Pekar and his wife Joyce on the anthology Postcards:

I loved working with the two of them. Harvey wasn’t an email guy, our editing and storytelling was done over the phone. He read me the script and asked for edits on the fly. I had to have a drink in hand and two in the belly every time I called him, he was so intimidating to me. I loved his work for most of my life, how do you edit someone that you idolize like that? I gave some suggestions and we sent the story off to Matt Kindt. It was the story of his marriage to Joyce told via postcards. It was touching and sweet and Matt brought life to it. I love the pages. I have one hanging in my office right now.

I fucked up a bit as the book was going through production. Well, fucked up a lot. I was so enthralled with Harvey as the centerpiece that I stopped properly attributing Joyce. Joyce let me know that I was being an asshole and I tried my best to salvage the situation. I apologized. A lot. To Joyce and Harvey. Harvey told me I was making good, just don’t ever do anything stupid like that again. I promised him I wouldn’t.

The book came out and it didn’t do too hot. That, combined with a bunch of other shitty circumstances knocked the wind completely out of me. I lost a lot of enthusiasm for comics. I became embarrassed and quite depressed. I still am, honestly. Whenever I talked to anyone in comics I felt like I was given the opportunity of a lifetime and I completely threw it away and that everyone knew it. So I stopped talking to folks because it was easier. I even stopped talking to Joyce, something that still eats me up. We were working on things, or at least talking about working on things.

Harvey’s death is kicking my ass. On the one hand, he was a great and talented guy who did a lot for me just by agreeing to work on an 8-page story. On the other hand, it makes me think about my perpetual state of anxiety that I’ve been in ever since. Harvey was a guy that did it despite the odds, and I couldn’t even get over a couple of minor hurdles. The man survived cancer, I was sidetracked by a bad review and a string of annoying months.

Thoughts from this week’s trip to the comic shop

I’ve been pretty apathetic about comics lately, even by this blog’s evolvingly negative standards. I’ve maintained a pretty firm boycott of all things $3.99, which means I’m missing out on almost everything new.

I considered Super Soldier #1 and Shadowland #1, but a glance at both sold me on neither. A rush of nostalgia convinced me to pick up X-Men #1 from the shelf, as the 90s X-Men #1 came along during the previous peak in my fandom. But a quick flip through the issue and the casually cartoonish beheading led me to put it back down. Superhero comics are so much more adult and serious now nearly 20 years later, but so shamefully unaware of their lack of maturity.

The only $3.99 book I did decide to take a chance on was Neal Adams’ Batman Odyssey #1 on a pretty Batman-heavy week. I also picked up Batman and Robin #13 (one of the few books I consistently look forward to anymore) and Red Hood #1 and 2. I missed the first issue and have no idea if the series is any good, but I really liked Winick’s run on Batman in the mid ’00s.

Beyond that, Brightest Day #5 was my only other purchase. DC dominated this week, thanks largely to the rapidly disappearing $2.99 price tag.