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That's That Shit: Week of 08-28-12: Liefeld Unfiltered, Diamond Gets Ditched and Guns, Yo

A comics news article

That's That Shit:

Last Week's News, This Week's Comics for 8/28/2012

Hi. That's That Shit is exactly what it says above -- we talk in-depth about everything that happened in the comics world last week, and then look forward to some notable releases slated for this coming Wednesday.

Your panel of judges are Comics Bulletin Managing Editors Danny Djeljosevic and Nick Hanover, who pretty much have paper and ink in their blood, and CB Columns Editor Andrew Tan, who got his start in comics late in life through Adrian Tomine and is slowly dipping his toes into the broader aspects of the medium. So we deliver the news, Andrew asks the questions and hopefully everyone learns something.

Bang on.


First, this week's theme music:

 

LAST WEEK'S NEWS

 

Rob Liefeld Quits DC Comics, Gives the Gas Face to Editorial

 

Danny: One of the decisions most indicative of the kind of vibe and aesthetic DC Comics' New 52 relaunch was going for wasn't the hiring of Rob Liefeld on Hawk and Dove, but the hiring of Rob Liefeld on three other books in the wake of said book's cancellation and a series of opportune creative departures: Savage Hawkman, Deathstroke, and Grifter. This past week Liefeld announced that he was quitting DC Comics sooner than planned, with September's #0 issues being his last.

Liefeld took to Twitter to explain himself:

 

Reasons are the same as everyone's that you hear. I lasted a few months longer than I thought possible.

Massive indecision, last minute and I mean LAST minute changes that alter everything. Editor pissing contests... No thxnjs [sic]

Last week my editor said " early on we had a lot of indie talent that weren't used to re-writes and changes..made it hard". Uh, no, it's you

 

I won't hold it against him for sending out these tweets during a screening of Expendables 2. In life, as in art -- Liefeld do what Liefeld do, it's Rob's world, etc.

This is the biggest of three departures that made the news this week, the others being digital editor Ben Abernathy leaving DC as well, and Ed Brubaker leaving Marvel with Winter Soldier #14 and Captain America #19 which we already knew about when Tom Spurgeon talked to him back in June. Abernathy seems to be moving on to another job and Brubaker wants to focus on creator-owned work and screenwriting, so the news is less "juicy," so to speak.

Nick: It's funny you bring up Expendables 2, Danny, because with Todd McFarlane trying to get some of that Election 2012 money and Whilce Portacio trying to get some of that creator owned money, comics almost has its very own "'80s action stars return to the headlines in order to pay off IRS debts" reunion. But on a more serious note, the Liefeld news appears to make it absolutely clear that DC has a major problem holding onto talent in the New 52 and the attempts to let editorial have more control of the product is threatening to blow up in their face.

Danny: We already had our Expendables in the form of Image United, complete with people who should have been there but weren't (Lee) and younger people who aren't aging action starts but fit in with the group well enough (Kirkman).

Nick: While that editorial control must sound appealing from a branding perspective -- all the titles are coming out on time! Superman isn't walking across the continent acting like a bipolar hobo! -- the drawback is that DC is hemorrhaging stars and up-and-comers, which is great news for Image but not for the Big Two. And say what you will about Liefeld's skills as an artist, the man has a devoted fanbase and knows how to get attention.

Andrew: Does Liefeld have a reputation for being kind of a pain? I know Liefeld has a big story about when he announced he was leaving Marvel to found Image, but is announcing his intentions via Twitter an expected thing for him to do? Do you think Liefeld threw up his pencil and shouted “I’m out!” at the DC offices? Or maybe he shouted “Y’ALL ARE EXPENDABLES … TOO.”

Danny: Liefeld is pretty honest on Twitter, sometimes to his detriment, like the time he openly disapproved of how Marvel only hires "D-list" talent (meaning lesser-known talent like, ahem, Brian Posehn, as opposed to Marvel Superstars) to work on his most enduring creation, Deadpool -- which led to the entire Comics Internet turning on him. 

Nick: And then he really kicked into high gear by going after Tom Brevoort as well. Because, hey, when you're burning bridges, you may as well light both ends, right?

Major Indie Publisher Ditches Diamond! It's...Bluewater?

 

Nick: If you follow the behind the scenes of the comic industry, then you probably know about Diamond, the company that more or less holds a monopoly on comic distribution. Diamond has long been a controversial entity in comics, though they've been struggling for control as digital comics have become more popular. Adding to their woes is the recent announcement that one of the larger independent comic book publishers would no longer be using them in favor of Comic Flea Market. For people who support more competition in the industry, this seems like a big platter of good news. But there are a few things you should know.

First up is the fact that Bluewater is the publisher ditching Diamond. Bluewater is perhaps most famous for its celebrity bio comics and has long suffered from allegations of misconduct, specifically in regards to payment of its writers and artists. Bluewater's reputation problems go a long way towards diminishing the impact of what might otherwise be a huge blow to Diamond; had Image made this move instead, there's a very good chance a domino effect would have been the immediate result.

The other is that Comic Flea Market, the competitor that Bluewater will now be utilizing, is a new and untested entity that has spun off from Comic Book Printing, itself only four years old. Comic Flea Market's business strategy is certainly interesting, with CEO Nick Sachs stating that "Not only will we be handling the printing of the titles, we will also handle distribution to comic book stores at the similar discounts. This dynamic will secure the place for printed material in comic book stores." It's what's called a print on demand model and it's mostly utilized by self-publishing authors and niche archival services. In other words, if you're used to selling even just tens of thousands of issues, this service might not help you out, particularly since if you print your comic elsewhere and then attempt to use Comic Flea Market as your distributor, you will be charged $1.00 per issue

Essentially, Comic Book Printing is forcing you to use their service if you want to make a profit on your comic through Comic Flea Market and even then, since they're utilizing the US Mail as their shipper, you better keep your production numbers extremely low. Given those details, I'm not sure Comic Flea Market qualifies as a quartz killer let alone a Diamond killer.

Andrew: I know people have always told me whenever I was looking for a new issue to check if Diamond had released it yet. I assumed they were huge, but I had no idea they had nearly complete control of distribution. I’ll deny my urge to make a litany of diamond puns here (man I can’t imagine how hard it must be to break away from Diamond), but what are some of the allegations Bluewater has faced?

Danny: Mostly they have a reputation for not paying their creators. Also -- and I know this from experience -- their comics smell funny.

Image Comics Announce Release Dates for Two Horror Books

Danny: From Nick Spencer of Morning Glories and Riley Rossmo of Green Wake, Wild Children and about a dozen other Image books comes Bedlam, an ongoing horror comic set to debut on October 31 with a 48-page first issue.

Image's press release says:

 

[Bedlam is] is set in a city that has been terrorized by a maniacal killer and crime boss called Madder Red.

The killer has been rehabilitated and has reclaimed his given name, Filmore Press, but the city of Bedlam is still soaked with the blood and madness he left in his wake.

 

Then there's Witch Doctor. The first miniseries from Brandon Seifert and Lukas Ketner debuted last summer to critical acclaim and general amusement, and now Image Comics and Skybound have announced a release date of November 28 for the first issue of the second series, Witch Doctor: Mal Practice.

Roll the clip, Jimmy:

 

Even the world's leading expert in supernatural disease needs to unwind sometimes. But when Dr. Morrow wakes up with no memory of what (and who!) he did last night, is it a case of partying too hard or something more malignant?

 

Nick: I really hope that Rossmo can help Spencer reclaim some of the star power he lost when he went exclusive over at Marvel. Spencer needs a new hit badly, preferably one that can function as a more focused counterpart to Morning Glories. And about Witch Doctor: Mal Practice, what more can I say than "Gee, I hope Ray Tate won't give Brandon Seifert an anatomy lesson again." By which I mean I am of course excited about this new series and really couldn't give less of a shit where kidneys are or aren't located.

Andrew: I’ve been told a bunch to read Morning Glories and I plan to one day, but for right now high school is a topic I’d rather not revisit unless it’s absolutely necessary. I know Spencer kind of came out of nowhere with it and that it’s well regarded, but what happened between him and Marvel? Also, why is Spencer in need of a new hit? I had assumed Morning Glories was doing well.

Danny: Spencer's doing just fine -- going from being the hot new wunderkind to a brief stint writing Marvel books to co-writing the first arc of Thief of Thieves with Robert Kirkman ain't too shabby.

Nick: Too bad that series is mostly full of Kirkmanisms, most notably hamfisted, overly talky dialogue. But hey, AMC's turning it into the next Rubicon, so what do I know?

Danny: The only problem with his Marvel run was that he never really came out with a book that popped with readers. I loved his Cloak & Dagger mini with Emma Rios, but I don't think anyone else read that. I'm still hoping his unproduced Victor Von Doom with Becky Cloonan happens.

 

That New Green Lantern? The One with the Gun? He's Arab-American

 

Nick: DC continues its bizarre track record with diversity with Geoff Johns' recent announcement that the gun toting Green Lantern on the cover of Green Lantern #0 is an Arab-American named Baz. On the surface, it's great that DC has decided to put someone who isn't a white douchebag behind the iconic Green Lantern costume, but then you remember that John Stewart already exists and is already getting enough of the cold shoulder treatment from DC over in JLI, where he's been ditched in favor of everyone's least favorite Green Lantern, Guy Gardner. And then, of course, there's the fact that this act of racial expansion in the DCU comes with an introduction that has the guy leaping at us with a scowl and a gun. Ignoring the obvious question of "Why the fuck would a Green Lantern need a goddamn gun?" there's the equally obvious question of "Couldn't we give our first Arab-American Green Lantern a less questionable and potentially offensive first appearance?" Then we remember we're talking about DC, where iconic female characters get turned into Juggalettes and strangely vacant walking sex dolls.

Andrew: Wait, DC can have a Green Lantern that is someone other than Hal Jordan? I thought the people behind the masks tended to be pretty stagnant/immortal. Also, does Green Lantern actually kill people? Otherwise I have no idea why he’d have a gun that didn’t shoot water or maybe pepper water. I know it’s pretty unfair to judge a comic before it’s come out, but what do you think inspired this move?

Danny: Hal Jordan is actually the second Green Lantern, introduced in the 1950s after the original version was dormant for a while. Over the years writers have made other humans be secondary GLs like John Stewart and Guy Gardner, and for a period in the 1990s and early 2000s, they replaced Hal outright with an out-of-his-element freelance artist named Kyle Rayner before nostalgia prevailed and Hal came back.

That's part of the thing about characters like the Flash, Green Lantern and the Atom -- they had previous iterations in the '40s and then got reintroduced with new guys behind the masks in the '50s, so it had become kind of been a tradition to replace them every couple decades -- that is, until Geoff Johns decided to bring back Barry Allen as the Flash and Hal Jordan as Green Lantern.

Andrew: Also, I can’t help but be a bit bothered that Geoff Johns is appearing at the Arab American National Museum. That just reeks of “Hey! Let’s use the veil of cultural diversity to promote our product.” I really feel like the correct way to do stuff like this is just to promote it as “We have a new Green Lantern, he’s really confident/not-able-to-be-played-by-Ryan-Reynolds and he just happens to be Arab American.” The fact that DC is playing this up as some kind of good-natured hand feels problematic and at its worst, condescending.

Danny: It's weird -- DC wants to promote their books, obviously, but it's gotta be hard to do that stuff without one side saying "You're pandering and changing the comics I love for no reason! Give me my White Green Lantern!" while the other's saying "This is a potentially offensive stereotype! Why can't you do it right, DC?" I can't blame them for doing some outreach stuff, especially when the New 52 seemed only be concerned with  reaching out to people who remember the '90s.

On the other hand, Geoff Johns is apparently of Lebanese descent -- I had no idea until they announced Baz, but apparently he's discussed it in interviews before -- and hails from Michigan, so to some extent this is hometown hero stuff. And, the nature of the signing and museum workshops means that people will be paying attention to the Arab-American community without outrage for once. Ultimately, I'm hoping some Arab-American kids pick up Green Lantern #0, see that gun-toting, gimp-masked Baz and think, "This superhero looks like me and is a fucking badass."

Never forget: this shit is for 12-year-olds.

Andrew: I didn’t know that about Johns, thanks for pointing that out Danny. I do see what you mean and the whole situation sounds potentially awesome.

 

Nick: 12-year-olds wear gimp masks and carry guns around these days? Well shit, what the fuck do I know about cultural representation, then.

 

Found: Golden Age Artist Fran Hopper

 

 

Danny: Fascinating stuff from an era I don't know quite as much about, via The Beat: Trina Robbins and Ladies Making Comics' Alexa Dickman teamed up to track down Fran Hopper, a forgotten female comic book artist who used to work for Fiction House, a publisher notable for how often they hired women to draw comics (for the Golden Age, I found this very surprising). They even got a picture (above) of the 90-year-old artist with a self-portrait made in the 1940s.

 

 

And, because all of Fiction House's comics are in the public domain now, you can read some of Hopper's work online. She's really good, and her layouts shatter my belief that every Golden Age comic was composed of 15 panels and way too many words.

Nick: One of the more fascinating parts of The Ten Cent Plague (which actually mentions Hopper at several points) for me was the revelation that a good number of female writers and artists were active in comics' Golden Age, but the combination of the post-WWII elimination of the female workforce and the controversies of the Fredric Wertham witch hunt forced them to quit and cover up the fact that they had ever worked in the industry. Here's hoping more stories like this emerge this aspect of the history of comics is expanded.

Andrew: When it was published, was it hidden that a woman drew those comics? Was it like the S.E. Hinton thing where they were afraid that if it was clear that a woman was involved, they were afraid boys would hate it?

Danny: Credits weren't as common back then as they are today. I know I've read '50s Captain America stories where it was not clear who wrote or drew them, Mickey Mouse comic strips were always credited to Walt Disney and nobody knows who inked the cover to Fantastic Four #1. In many cases you have to hunt for the signature. Check out the above link to Hopper's story, particularly the first page. The writer's name is at the top right under the title, but Hopper's name is in the bottom left corner. They certainly made it no secret that she drew the thing. I guarantee the mentality of that age is that these stories are being made for children and deranged simpletons, so it didn't really matter who drew it.

Nick: Not to plug The Ten Cent Plague too much or anything, but if you read that book, that's actually not what the mentality of the age was. Creators mostly didn't seek credit because they viewed comics as a stepping stone towards the careers they were actually pursuing, whether that was being a novelist, or ad exec, or art director. But those in the industry were pretty well aware of the fact that a good chunk of their audience was adult and normal, specifically GIs and morning commuters. Just saying. Seriously, go read that book. My rent depends on it.

 

Thor Film Franchise Continues to Piss Off White Supremacists Everywhere

 

 

Nick: Lost fans across the globe should be excited to hear that fan favorite Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Mr. Eko!) has joined Thor 2, as Algrim the Strong/Kurse, a powerful Dark Elf who is tricked into fighting Thor. Of course, fans will likely remember that the first Thor film ran into controversy over the casting of Idris Elba. And then fans will hopefully remember that they aren't racist assholes and will go straight back to cheering.

Andrew: Is the cast of Thor primarily Caucasian alien demi-gods? Between this and the outrage Donald Glover had to face during the campaign to have him play Peter Parker, how important is it that characters look exactly like their illustrations? Isn’t there some variation in each character’s look from series to series since illustrators and colorists are constantly changing?

Danny: In the normal Marvel universe, the Norse Gods are, as you might expect, a race  of superpowered honkies. Which I guess kind of makes sense if you are a Viking who's worshipping Odin, but when you're making a movie in the 21st century with 21st century values, it's just plain foolish. So, naturally, you get awesome people like Idris Elba and Tadanobu Asano to play your crazy awesome god characters. But Glover himself has said it best -- nerds hate it when people change stuff from the source material, no matter how much it streamlines, makes sense or ultimately doesn't matter. It's best to ignore those people.

As for your question about how appearances change in the comics, artists generally work from character models sheets, as I understand it. I know back in the '80s DC Comics had a style guide drawn by José Luis Garcia-Lopéz, so things generally don't change a whole lot when a new artist or colorist comes aboard.

But comics fans will still complain when stuff changes.

 

Invincible #100 Is Probably Going to be Really Violent

 

 

Danny: I already posted about this the other day, but it's worth talking about -- Robert Kirkman, Cory Walker and Ryan Ottley's ultraviolent superhero comic Invincible is about to hit issue #100, and Image Comics have released some Ottley-illustrated teasers promising a major death(s) in the centennial issue. If you read Walking Dead #100, Kirkman and Charlie Adlard dropped a major murder-bomb on the reader, and considering Invincible is a comic where people fly around and punch giant holes in one another, I think we're in for a DOOZY, my friends.

Nick: Spoiler: The Walking Dead is actually just the sequel to Invincible #100 and everyone is a zombie because of aliens and punching and mustaches.

Andrew: I know barely anything about Invincible but do you think it’s possible for a person to have so many holes punched in them that the mass that they once were becomes nothingness? Like, what if this person that dies were to get punched all over his/her body until there was nothing left?

Danny: I think you just gave Robert Kirkman a solution to defeating the series' major villain.

 

James Gunn May Direct Guardians of the Galaxy Film, If All is Just in the Universe

 

 

Nick: A lot of people were probably scratching their heads when Marvel announced that they would be developing a Guardians of the Galaxy movie. But then everybody used their smartphones to discover that the Guardians of the Galaxy (well, the most recent incarnation, at least) will have a smartass, gun-toting talking raccoon on their roster and a million new fetishes were unleashed upon the world. So who better to direct that movie than James Gunn? The answer is no one, of course.

That's because Gunn is the mastermind behind not just Tromeo and Juliet but also Super and, oh yeah, Slither, the greatest sci-fi horror film none of you assholes watched. I have no idea how Marvel is going to approach Guardians of the Galaxy, but I'm guessing that it will either feature Nathan Fillion as the voice of Rocket Raccoon or, failing that, as Vance Astrovik himself.

Danny: Jon Favreau, Joe Johnston, Shane Black, Kenneth Branagh, Joss Whedon and now (hopefully) James Gunn -- boy, even if the films don't always turn out great, Marvel certainly taps interesting directors to handle their material. James Gunn is no exception -- nobody deserves a huge breakthrough gig like this as much as he does, and considering he made Super on a budget of about zero dollars, I think he could really turn out something special with the low budgets that Marvel insists on.

Andrew: I’ve only seen the teaser image and I know a very small amount about Guardians of the Galaxy, but how the fuck can you make that a live action movie? Have they actually confirmed that it’ll be a blend of CGI and live action? Also, I think it’s fair to say this will be the most bizarre mainstream comic book movie. Do you think it’ll get similar (anywhere in the same zip code) attention to The Avengers?

Danny: Once they revealed Thanos as the big villain of the Marvel movie universe, it suddenly made sense why they were making a Guardians movie, which will likely lead into Avengers 2. But Marvel is also notoriously cheap when it comes to their movies (even The Avengers, for all its greatness, culminates with an epic defense of a single city block), so I have no idea how they're going to pull off such an incredibly CG-dependent movie on an untested property that even the fans aren't totally enthusiastic about. Maybe mainstream audiences will be more receptive.

 

CW Gives Arrow a Huntress

 

 

Nick: We've already preemptively declared our love for the CW's Arrow over here at CB (or at least Dylan Garsee has), but now things are getting a little more interesting as EW has announced that the show has decided to cast Australian actress Jessica de Gouw as the Huntress. Comic fans already know that the Huntress is primarily a part of the Bat-family, but EW quotes an "official character description" that claims the character will be utilized as a love interest for Oliver Queen. It's not exactly clear how that will play out, but this is a pretty clear indication that Arrow will integrate more notable characters from DC lore who aren't necessarily connected to the traditional Green Arrow world.

Andrew: I know this is a terrible a thing to ask, but I have to. What are the differences between Green Arrow and The Avengers’ Hawkeye?

Danny: No, that's a very important question to ask. The origin's been tweaked and revamped over the years, but basically Green Arrow is a former millionaire turned left-wing progressive loudmouth, who, depending on the era, fights crime with either regular arrows or "trick arrows" like boxing glove arrows, handcuff arrows and other ludicrous gimmicks. One time he was Mayor of DC's fictional Star City.

Hawkeye is a former carnie turned reluctant villain turned superhero. He also uses trick arrows from time to time, but they've never been a point of mockery for him probably because he's never had a boxing glove arrow. He's more closely associated with his superhero team, the Avengers, than Green Arrow is associated with the Justice League because Green Arrow had his start as a solo hero long before there was a JLA. 

Also, Hawkeye wears purple and Green Arrow wears green.

 

Hey, Here's a Picture of Stan Lee Naked

 

Danny: You have CB's very own Steve Morris to thank for this one, as he wrote about it over at The Beat. Sean Howe posted it on Tumblr as promotion for his book Marvel Comics: The Untold Story. Apparently the photo was taken as part of a book that would showcase Marvel's office hijinks.

That's not my favorite Sleazy Stan photo, though:

I love this guy. So much.

Nick: Last time I posed like that for an editorial spread, I was fired and wound up forced into indentured servitude at Spectrum Culture.

Andrew: I don’t know what I expected when I clicked the link, but yep, there’s Stan Lee naked.

 

THIS WEEK'S COMICS-

Your Five Wednesday Picks

Scam #1

(Joe Mulvey, Comixtribe)

 

"Scam is 'X-Men meets Ocean's 11" and involves a team of super-powered grifters on the biggest con of their lives -- taking down a Vegas casino and getting revenge on a former teammate who double-crossed them!"

 

Danny: From Comics Bulletin columnist Joe Mulvey comes Scam #1, which I reviewed one time and mostly liked. Joe wrote and drew this jam, which I thought would have been a pretty compelling heist comic even if the characters didn't have superpowers. Obviously it's hard not to sound biased when you're writing about a comic made by someone who writes for your comics criticism website, but if I thought it was crap I wouldn't have said anything at all.

Nick: What I find most intriguing about this series is its location, because for as fake and unsettling as Las Vegas is, it's underutilized in comics. I also suspect that this will be a series that will grow into its self, which is typical of heist works in general and even more typical of labor-of-love projects. Joe's a smart guy and more than anything he's a master at selling comics as a medium, as his columns show. And I think with Scam, he's taken to heart the things he's heard from non-comic fans about comics and applied it to a work that could feasibly function as a gateway drug. And right now, we really need gateway drugs in comics.

 

BPRD: Hell on Earth: Return of the Master #1 (of 5)

(Mike Mignola/John Arcudi/Tyler Crook, Dark Horse)

 

"In the Scottish Highlands, a rogue scientist who escaped the bloody massacre in B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: Russia assembles a paranormal cult bent on world destruction. Can the B.P.R.D. hunt down this group in time, or will demons be released into a world already teetering on the edge of apocalypse?"

Danny: I don't keep up with B.P.R.D. as much as I should even though I always enjoy it when I get around to it. I'll probably pick up a Hell on Earth omnibus because this ongoing story sounds like hot fire. For what it's worth, Zack Davisson liked this issue.

Nick: All I needed to see to convince me to pick this up was the credits. Seriously, look at that assemblage there! That's like a JLA of creepy creators! 

 

Spaceman #9 (of 9)

(Brian Azzarello/Eduardo Risso, Vertigo/DC)

 

"'It's over, Orson... Over!' Vertigo's noir-fi series comes to an end as Orson's life crumbles around him - but everything's not as bad as it seems. No, gentle reader... it's much, much worse. Earth sucks. Mars, though..."

 

Danny: Oh, hey, another comic I don't keep up with! I loved the first issue of Spaceman, but am trade-waiting this series because that's what you do with Vertigo books.

Andrew: I’ll neglect the urge to make the obvious "Dr. Spaceman" joke, but this sounds incredibly tempting. Does Vertigo tend to put more effort into their trades than their single issues? Or is there no advantage to buying the single issues?

Danny: I often refer to this title as "Spuh-che-min," so I don't blame you there. I wouldn't say Vertigo puts "more effort" in their trades per se, but they generally sell better than the single issues leading up to them just because they appeal to people outside of the Wednesday release day crowd. I mean, both you and I read Y: The Last Man in trade form rather than collecting singles, which is pretty common for those books.

The way the industry works these days, for Vertigo the singles basically are a loss-leader for the trade, but the comics are also in an unfortunate position where if too many people trade-wait and don't buy single issues, a series may likely get cancelled.

Some comics outside of Vertigo combat this by offering exclusive content in the singles such as backmatter (Casanova, Criminal) or comics that won't be in the trades (Prophet, Mind MGMT). That kind of catering to obsessive people like me ensures that I pick up the singles.

Nick: I'm in the same boat as Danny, but mostly because I was a lot less enthusiastic about the first issue. As the review he links shows, I was more cautiously optimistic about the series, which started out strongly enough, with fantastic art by Risso, but was more than a little disappointing in regards to its central story. I found that it was too cliche and gimmicky, particularly in regards to how focused Azzarello was on playing with language in the series in a way that recalled but did not improve upon Heinelin's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. But I enjoyed that first issue enough to check back now that all is said and done and I'm ready to finally be blown away.

 

Mudman #5

(Paul Grist, Image)

 

"Owen Craig is Mudman. He thought he could control the mud. It seems the mud has other ideas!"

 

Danny: At this point it's obvious that the schedule of Mudman amounts to "whenever Paul Grist finishes an issue," and that's fine by me. I buy too many comics every month, and so the erratic release schedule of Mudman not only means that I can save $3.50 most months of the year, but also that this comic is a special treat whenever it finally comes out and that Grist didn't just crap it out that month, but took his time to get it right.

Andrew: I know some alternative comics tend to have an irregular publishing schedule if they’re a series at all, but do you think that ultimately hurts Mudman to not have a regular schedule or is it the kind of thing where if you’re reading Mudman you probably already have a pull list anyway?

Danny: Creatively, it generally benefits an artist to release a book when it's done rather than rushing it out. Financially, not so much. It's tough to build a casual audience that way when you're doing something mainstream-friendly. Look at Robert Kirkman, who pretty much cranks out an issue each of Walking Dead and Invincible every month. Keeping to a schedule means consistent sales, and an audience that knows they can go to the shop and find it there waiting for them, among other things, probably.

Comparatively, Paul Grist's stuff is more "off-beat," which in the comics world means low sales and Grist can't afford to spend 24/7 working on a comic that doesn't sell. Sad but true.

 

Infernal Man-Thing #3 (of 3)

(Steve Gerber/Kevin Nowlan/Marvel)

 

"The startling conclusion of Steve Gerber's last MAN-THING epic!!! Also featuring a classic MAN-THING story from SAVAGE TALES!"

 

Danny: I have a feeling that, even though he tragically died a few years ago, people still aren't appreciating Steve Gerber as they should. This guy was the Grant Morrison of his day – a Bronze Age writer who made bizarro Marvel comics like Omega the Unknown, Defenders, Howard the Duck and Man-Thing. Originally intended as a graphic novel, Infernal Man-Thing is a project Gerber wrote a long-ass time ago and artist Kevin Nowlan had been working on for years and years, and only just completed. Now it's coming out as a three-issue mini and nobody seems to be talking about it.

Andrew: CB’s own Daniel Elkin and Jason Sacks have talked a lot about how great Man-Thing is so this sounds great on Gerber’s involvement alone. What is the difference between Man-Thing and Infernal Man-Thing? Also, that’s fascinating how long it can take to illustrate an issue. This, along with my love of my local shop, is why I never feel bad buying comics.

Danny: Same Man-Thing. The "Infernal" is just one of those adjectives that Marvel uses to jazz up their titles like Uncanny X-Men or Amazing Spider-Man. Personally, I think it's kind of a disappointing title for this kind of comic though. If it was published back when it was conceived, it probably would have come out with a kooky highfalutin title like Man-Thing: What Price, Moss?

Artists work at different speeds. Kirby could put out a dozen bangers a month, Stuart Immonen is a pretty speedy guy and somebody like Quitely only seems able to do about three issues before falling off a monthly schedule. This goes back to the Mudman thing -- I'd rather an artist took his or her time to craft something awesome rather than get it out just because I want it now.

And that's it for this week, folks! Let us know what you think of this new feature in the comments!

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