Pop Culture Gadabout
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
      ( 5/09/2006 09:08:00 AM ) Bill S.  

"I'M SO SICK OF PEOPLE TRYING TO BE MY BABYSITTER!" – So what about the not-so-funny freebies from our local Free Comic Book Day celebration? Well, I've taken a pass through 'em – and after reading the hodgpodge of incomprehensible and incomplete four-pagers that is IDW's Transformers collection, I can't help feeling nostalgic for the days when a Lee & Ditko could whip up a simple self-contained Doc Strange story in five pages. Among the other selections, I'm totally befuddled by DC's decision to reprint the first Superman/Batman - the book may serve to introduce the characters to kds but the continued story suddenly veers into heavy continuityville and isn't all that gripping. (Ohmigosh, Lex Luthor doesn't want to use Superman to stop an approaching kryptonite asteroid!) The stand-alone Justice League Unlimited only serves to remind us how padded these Cartoon Network spin-off comics can be: again, it's a full issue story that any passable Silver Age writer could've give us in seven-eight pages. What does it say when pure "funnybooks" like Donald Duck and Bongo pack more info per page than this stretched-out exercise?

I will admit to being mildly amused by the Runaways snippet in Marvel's X-Men/Runaways sampler: transparent cross-promotion it may be, but scripter Brian K. Vaughn gives his protagonists some decent lines even if artist Skottie Young's take on the X-folk doesn't fully work. I was less entertained by the licensed property books passed out by Dark Horse (Star Wars and Conan), IDW (the aforementioned Transformers and Devil's Due (G.I. Joe: Sigma, which at least had the decency to give us a full story along with a tiny smidgeon of character). Can't imagine being pulled into any of these series as a kid, though, and I used to read Tomahawk comics!

One fragmentary sampler did manage to pique my interest: Image's Future Shock, which gives us four-page fragments from some of its upcoming titles. The offering that got me curious was the four-page offering from Joe Casey & Tom Scioli's fan-fave pastiche Godland, a series that I hadn't previously followed despite a plethora of bloggy recommendations. What got me was the headshot panel where a gaping mouthed Kirby-esque lady astronaut gets caught in some kinda cosmic whatsit and begins flashing back to the time she lost her virginity "in the prep school laundry room." (Now, there's a line that the King woulda never thought to've given us!) Another title to add to my looming list of trades to read . . .
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Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

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