Pop Culture Gadabout
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
      ( 12/27/2006 01:07:00 PM ) Bill S.  

THE FIFTEEN-MINUTE COMIC – Year's almost up, so we'd best catch up on a few mainstream books from '06 'fore they start to smell like those last pieces of turkey leftover nobody wants.
  • Action Comics #845 (DC): Aside from its use as a marketing tool for the ballyhooed Richard Donner cut DVD of Superman II (am I the only one who preferred Richard Lester's slapstick additions to the campy approach Donner took with Luthor and his minions?), I'm personally nonplussed by the director's publicized "involvement" in this current story arc – it's not as if the director who gave us the fence-straddling compromise that was Superman: The Movie had anything profound to add to the mythos in the first place. That noted, I wasn't bored reading the first chapter of Geoff Johns' (who I presume did the actual scriptwork) & Donner's story, which centers around yet another survivor of Krypton, this time the offspring of former Phantom Zone prisoner General Zod. It presents its initial dilemma clearly – what do Lois & Clark do with this seemingly orphaned superkid, anyway? – and if it doesn't take full advantage of the risks of bringing this naïve young thing into Metropolis (takes our hero – who's spent years trying to hide his secret identity from the world – a remarkably long time to even consider the possibility that "Christopher" might blurt his identity out to the world, f'rinstance), it does provide a decent fight scene 'twixt the Man of Steel and a Bizarro who doesn't think twice (or even once) about snapping some innocent kid's arm. Me, I prefer my Bizarros goofy (just like my slapstick), but what're you gonna do? I'm not the audience for this book . . .

  • Damnation Crusade #1 (Boom!): . . . or for this 'un either, for that matter. A comic book spin-off of a popular game (Warhammer 40,000) that I've never played, Crusade (scripted by Dan Abnett & Ian Edgington, muscle-clenchingly illustrated by Lui Antonio) takes us to a future of non-stop fighting and suitably smoky, desolate landscapes. Zipping back and forth through a series of confusingly delineated conflicts ("Third Year of the Torment Crusade," "Thirteen Years after the Sanguin Liberation," et al) that may make sense to gamers, but meant bupkiss to this reader, the opening volume gives us a group of indistinguishable "heroes" fighting because – well, that's just what these guys do. If there are any particular stakes in these conflicts, we're made not privy to 'em because war's just a game and "It's always time for war!" and, aw hell, I'm getting irritated just typing about this crap. Hope Ross Richie and his company make big bucks on this title – much like Fantagraphics was once able to sustain itself with Eros Comics that I largely ignored, I'm suspecting there is a good-sized audience for this material – so Boom! can continue producing mainstream entertainments with a skosh more wit and character in 'em.

  • Jeremiah Harm #5 (Boom!): Take this Boom! title, for example, which wraps up its initial five-part story arc with a showdown 'tween its surly title lead and the lunatic alien who wants to use an artifact called the Basal Shard to wipe out the entire universe. (Why? Because he thinks of himself as an artist – which automatically means that he's nuts!) If the showdown itself is a bit of a letdown (with a reeeal unbelievable last-minute rescue in it), scripter Alan Grant still continues to have fun with the characters Keith Giffen gave him, even if he makes big-mouthed nurse Emma more stereotypically strident than she needs to be. You're gonna do brutal sci-fi action, give us distinct enough figures so we'll be willing to squint through all the earth-tone coloration to see what's happening to 'em. Giffen, Grant & artist Rafael Alburqueque clearly know how to do this.

  • The Spirit #1 (DC): They're all pikers compared to Will Eisner, of course, who set a standard for meshing character, wit and violence on a comics page that's rarely been matched in the history of comics pulp storytelling (perhaps Steranko at his peak? I refuse to entertain the notion of Frank Miller!) Which, I know, is the primary reason I've had so much difficulty initially getting behind Darwyn Cooke's new comic book revival of Eisner's "Spirit." Having zipped through it several times now, I'm ready to give Cooke credit for producing a snappy li'l action comic that owes more to earlier DC productions than it does Eisner. (Give artist Cooke credit for capturing Denny Colt's wryness – both in the casual way he holds his hands in his pockets and in the sidelong glances he gives his surroundings.) From the looks of things, he's even found his way around the Ebony White Conundrum – though I've gotta admit that naming your sexy teevee reporter Ginger Coffee is pretty cheeky.
Looks like that's it for '06 . . .
# |

Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

On Sale Now!
Measure by Measure:

A Romantic Romp with the Fat and Fabulous
By Rebecca Fox & William Sherman

(Available through Amazon)

Measure by Measure Web Page

Ask for These Fine Cultural Blogs & Journals by Name!

aaronneathery.com News
Aaron Neathery

American Sideshow Blow-Off
Marc Hartzman

Arf Lovers
Craig Yoe

Sean T. Collins

Barbers Blog
Wilson Barbers

The Bastard Machine
Tim Goodman

The Beat
Heidi MacDonald

Kevin Church

Big Fat Blog
Paul McAleer

Big Mouth Types Again
Evan Dorkin

Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag

Blog This, Pal!
Gordon Dymowski

Rod Lott

Cartoon Brew
Amid Amidi & Jerry Beck

Cartoon Web Log!
Daryl Cagle

Clea's Cave
Juana Moore-Overmyer

Collected Editions

The Comics Curmudgeon
Josh Fruhlinger

The Comics Reporter
Tom Spurgeon

Christopher Butcher

Comics Waiting Room
Marc Mason

Comics Worth Reading
Johanna Draper Carlson

a dragon dancing with the Buddha
Ben Varkentine


Electromatic Radio
Matt Appleyard Aaron Neathery


Eye of the Goof
Mr. Bali Hai

Fred Sez
Fred Hembeck

Greenbriar Picture Shows
John McElwee

The Groovy Age of Horror
Curt Purcell

The Hooded Utilitarian
Noah Berlatsky

Hooray for Captain Spaulding
Daniel Frank

The Horn Section

The House Next Door
Matt Zoller Seitz

Howling Curmudgeons
Greg Morrow & Friends

The Hurting
Tim O'Neil

I Am A Child of Television
Brent McKee

I Am NOT the Beastmaster
Marc Singer

In Sequence
Teresa Ortega

Innocent Bystander
Gary Sassaman

Irresponsible Pictures

Jog - The Blog
Joe McCulloch

The Johnny Bacardi Show
David Allen Jones

Dirk Deppey

King's Chronicles
Paul Dini

Let's You And Him Fight
One of the Jones Boys

Mah Two Cents
Tony Collett


Michael's Movie Palace

Nat's TV
Nat Gertler

Ned Sonntag


News from ME
Mark Evanier

No Rock&Roll Fun
Simon B

Omega Channel
Matt Bradshaw

Pen-Elayne on the Web
Elayne Riggs

Peter David

Dorian White

Progressive Ruin
Mike Sterling

Punk Rock Graffiti
Cindy Johnson & Autumn Meredith

Revoltin' Developments
Ken Cuperus

Marc Bernardin

Matt Hinrichs

Self-Styled Siren

Spatula Forum
Nik Dirga

Tales from the Longbox
Chris Mosby


The Third Banana
Aaron Neathery & Friends

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear
Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.

Toner Mishap
B2 et al

Trusty Plinko Stick
Bill Doughty

TV Barn
Aaron Barnhart et al

Unqualified Offerings
Jim Henley

Various And Sundry
Augie De Blieck

Video WatchBlog
Tim Lucas

When Fangirls Attack
Kalinara & Ragnell

X-Ray Spex
Will Pfeifer

Yet Another Comics Blog
Dave Carter

A Brief Political Disclaimer:

If this blog does not discuss a specific political issue or event, it is not because this writer finds said event politically inconvenient to acknowledge - it's simply because he's scatterbrained and irresponsible.

My Token List of Poli-Blogs:

Roy Edroso


Jane Hamsher

James Wolcott

Lance Mannion

The Moderate Voice
Joe Gandelman


Amanda Marcotte & Friends

The Sideshow
Avedon Carol

Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo

Talking Points Memo
Joshua Micah Marshall

This Modern World
Tom Tomorrow

Welcome to Shakesville
Melissa McEwan & Friends

Blogcritics: news and reviews
Site Feed

Powered by Blogger

    follow me on Twitter