Friday, November 21, 2014


So Comic Book Resources has released the variant covers for Mark Waid's upcoming Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. comic, and like... Ming-Na Wen versus the Marvel Universe is something I have VERY GOOD feelings about, you guys.

(Art by David Marquez & Frank Martin)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Something I Hate!

So here is something I truly hate seeing repeated in the narrative of superheroes:

"I love you, and that is why WE CAN NEVER, EVER, EVER BE TOGETHER."

It always is presented by the superhero character as somehow protecting the love-interest character (who is basically always female) from harm, but I always read it as an admission from the writers that they don't know how to write romance, and therefor know that if they allowed an actual romance to blossom it'd fall short and bore the audience and ruin the characters. It's like the writers themselves are trying to protect the love-interest character from all the horrible things they'd do to her (all of which would require a Trigger Warning) within the story to avoid having to actually write convincing dialogue for a couple.

It also always results in these situations where the male character is telling the female character - in effect - that her status as supporting cast is going to force her to be handy at all times for his unreasonable requests, emotional development/daddy issues, convoluted webs of lies, and occasional awkward makeouts, and that she just needs to deal with that because she is less important to the narrative. This happens in real life, and it is called abuse. I will be glad when it stops turning up in my comics/movies/shows/etc.

Felicity needs to find and hook up with Firestorm's Dad, is what I'm saying here.

Who is YOUR favorite FUNCTIONAL comic book couple???


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Marvel Reveals "Stomp Out Bullying" Variant Covers, I Have Opinions (AND FEELINGS!)

So a little under a year ago, Marvel announced that it would be teaming with STOMP Out Bullying (an organization with a weirdly violent name, I feel) to release 10 variant covers honoring National Bullying Prevention Month.

Now for some reason the number is down to 7 covers. It feels sort of surprising, especially since Amazing Spider-Man #7 was one of the comics cut from the campaign, and having been one of the most prominent bullied teens in all of pop culture, Spidey would seem to be the most obvious candidate? Ditto for All-New X-Men #33, a comic that is literally about teenagers being harassed by their peers (as well as persecuted by the law, hunted by aliens, and feared and hated by a world that doesn't understand mutantkind, obvs). The three comics that got the bump seem to be getting variant covers that advertise Hasbro's Marvel Legends action figure line* instead, which... I am a dude who fucking loves action figures and ESPECIALLY loves the Marvel Legends action figures, but like maybe choosing an ad over an anti-bullying campaign isn't a good look?

I mean I get it that there was probably a good reason (or a bad one, like artists not meeting deadlines or something) for the change, it just comes across badly to Average Joe Dork a.k.a. ME.

I honestly don't know much about STOMP Out Bullying as an organization, so um here's how they describe themselves:
STOMP Out Bullying™ focuses on reducing and preventing bullying, cyberbullying, sexting and other digital abuse, educating against homophobia, racism and hatred, decreasing school absenteeism, and deterring violence in schools, online and in communities across the country. It teaches effective solutions on how to respond to all forms of bullying. It educates kids and teens in school and online, provides help for those in need and at risk of suicide, raises awareness, conducts peer mentoring programs in schools, creates and distributes public service announcements by noted celebrities, and engages in social media campaigns. An additional focus educates parents on how to keep their children safe and responsible online.
In 2008, the organization created Blue Shirt Day® World Day of Bullying Prevention to signify the importance and bring awareness to the fight to stop bullying and cyberbullying. Taking place the first Monday of October – this year on October 6, 2014 – Blue Shirt Day® World Day of Bullying Prevention is designed as a sign of solidarity against bullying by having kids, teens and adults wear blue and make that the day that bullying prevention is heard around the world.
It's kind of weird that they trademarked the phrase blue shirt day. Also, sexting can be fun if it's consensual! I kid, of course: Bullying and cyber-bullying are extremely important issues and I definitely support any effort to raise awareness. I personally struggled with bullying as a child, and despite my parents' best genuine efforts, it was always an uphill battle for them to get any of the other adults in my life to even give half of a shit about what was going on with their children, in their schools, in their classrooms, on their playgrounds, etc. And as a white straight able-bodied cisgendered man, I can say with absolute certainty that whatever trauma I endured from childhood bullying, I still got off much lighter than a LOT of folks. So please don't take the joke-y tone of my writing to mean that I don't take the issue at hand seriously! I probably won't remember to wear a blue shirt though, and even if I do I might not leave the house anyway.

MOVING ALONG! The current list of comics with the anti-bullying variants is: Guardians of the Galaxy #20, by Stephanie Hans, Avengers #36 by Sean Chen, Inhuman #7 by John Tyler Christopher, Captain America #25 by Kalman Andrasofszky, Legendary Star-Lord #4 by Paul Renaud, and Rocket Raccoon #4 and Hulk #7, both by Pascal Campion. 

Marvel has so far revealed 5 of the 7 covers, so here are my Opinions!

Guardians of the Galaxy #7 - Stephanie Hans

This is a really sweet image and perfect for the campaign, but I can't help but feel like it's an odd fit for GAMORA: THE DEADLIEST WOMAN IN THE GALAXY. Like I mean she is a professional assassin - arguably the greatest assassin ever - and literally murders people without remorse. I understand that the GotG movie has given her a good standing with the kiddos, but in the Marvel Comics Universe she probably wouldn't even be hanging out on Earth? Also I sort of imagine her teaching that little kid the best ways to silently kill off all the other little kids and escape without being caught, and I'm pretty sure that's not what it's meant to inspire. I know I'm being way too literal here, I just think She-Hulk or Captain Marvel might have been a better fit for this cover, is all. Gorgeous art from Stephanie Hans, though. I wasn't really familiar with her work before this, but here is a link to her portfolio page because her art is fantastic! I hope she gets a lot more cover work from Marvel in the future.

Captain America #25 - Kalman Andrasofszky

Before I start making fun of this cover, I want to make it clear that I normally think Kalman Andrasofszky's cover work is great. I literally used one of his covers in my very last post as an example of a comic that I absolutely loved, so Kalman, if you somehow end up reading this: My teasing is all in good fun, and I hope that they bring back the X-23 solo series and that you can draw every single cover for it. That being said, this cover is silly. No kid has ever dressed like that in the history of this or any other universe. I mean what is even happening with that outfit? Facial piercings, a snap-back trucker cap with stickers and buttons on it, a pink polo shirt with a popped collar, dog tags, sagged drawers, slip-on kicks, a flannel around the waist, and a Livestrong bracelet? In fact, props to that kid for combining like 25 years of fashion into one outfit. To be fair, highwater track-pants and an ugly shirt is pretty standard for bullied nerds (speaking from experience here). Also I sort of hope Cap isn't about to punch that kid.

Legendary Star-Lord #4 - Paul Renaud

This cover is well-drawn, and kind of funny, but it also is problematic to my nerd-brain. See, Star-Lord's origin story has been retconned, but originally HE was a bully. He was an astronaut who treated his coworkers like shit, and when he got rejected for the position of being the Star-Lord by "The Master of the Sun" he just stole all the gear and ran off to be Star-Lord anyways because he was a dick and he wanted to murder aliens. That was his whole origin story. I mean all that stuff has been tossed in the trash at this point (much to creator Steve Englehart's chagrin, I'm sure) and now Star-Lord is basically Andy Dwyer in Space, but it still feels like maybe Spider-Man would have been a better choice, biggest movie of the summer notwithstanding.

Rocket Raccoon #4 and Hulk #7 - Pascal Campion

Okay, I chose to end with these two, because there is no snark here: I legit LOVE both of these covers. Groot (the exiled Monarch of Planet X) and Rocky (the exiled Ranger of Halfworld) are both characters that totally understand alienation. And I mean alienation is basically 95% of Hulk's whole schtick... Like, his unofficial catch-phrase has always been "LEAVE HULK ALONE!" I also love that both these covers are taking characters known for extreme rage and violence and using them as nurturers and protectors. Superheroes on the whole spend way too much time solving problems via hitting and shooting, and I really feel like Pascal Campion has managed to push all that aside and show two much gentler images that are no less heroic. Genuinely lovely stuff, and a great reminder that standing up to bullies doesn't always mean learning karate or something. Sometimes compassion is way more powerful.

*I don't want to link to Hasbro's website because it divides their toys into "boy toys" and "girl toys" which I find deplorable. But also I still give them my money on the regular because superheroes. That could probably be another post entirely.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Opinions About Things: One Year Later

Yeah, remember when DC did the One Year Later event? God that pissed me off. It really interrupted a lot of the stories I was trying to follow, and with a nonsensical time-jump, no less!

So anyways I'm back. It's been a whole year since I updated this blog. Trying to follow all the comics all the time just turned into a major source of anxiety, to be honest. And not because they suck! Unlike a lot of comics bloggers, I really love most comics! It's just that there are way too many to read in one week, even for an unemployed dork like me!

But I still really DO have a lot of Opinions About Things. So while I doubt I'll be bringing back the weekly reviews, I do want to start writing about comics again. I have a lot to tell you!

There are some current books that are really amazing, like the almost-too-smart-for-its-own-good Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson and Jacob Wyatt, a comic that is currently giving me ALL the emotions...

The NSFW time-stopping antics of Suzie and Jon in Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky...

All of the "Oh my God I can't believe they're actually making this comic! Did they do this just for me!?" feelings I get from Spider-Man 2099 by Peter David and Will Sliney...

And She-Hulk's glorious return to super-powered lawyering in her eponymous book by Charles Soule and Javier Pulido... which also features Hellcat, who is one of my favorite superheroes of ALL TIME.

There are also some comics, both ongoing and limited, that came out over the past year and really need some discussing. Like the COMPLETELY FUCKING BONKERS DC Universe Versus Masters of the Universe by Keith Giffen and Dexter Soy, wherein a fight between Superman and He-Man is treated with a grave and deadly seriousness which only serves to make it even more hilarious...

Or the final arc of Avengers Assemble, which was written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Warren Ellis (two of my absolute favorite comics writers in the world!) and drawn by Matteo Buffagni, and starred the oft-overlooked Spider-Girl.

And then of course there are older things that I've only just read recently and NEED to talk about. Like X-Treme X-Men by Greg Pak and Paco Diaz. This was a comic where Dazzler led a motley team of dimensionally-displaced X-Men (including a gay Wolverine who got a magical golden adamantine skeleton from his lover, Hercules, and is probably one of my favorite new characters of the past 15 years) in a search for several Evil Xaviers scattered across the Multiverse...

And - of course - the 1970s majesty of Spidey Super Stories. Yes, I know that every fucking comics blog on the fucking planet talks about Spidey Super Stories, but you really fucking can't expect me to ignore a comic where Spider-Man teams up with Morgan Freeman on the regular, you guys.

So yeah. Lots of things to discuss!

I don't know for sure when my next post will be, but I am positive that it won't take me another year to write it!

I love you all. I hope you know that.