Friday, June 30, 2006

Transformers The Movie Teaser Trailer

Who is this Transformer???


Thursday, June 29, 2006

Spider-Man Unmasking - Good or Bad?

If only the answer was as black and white as Venom's costume.

Like so many things in life, the true answer lies somewhere in the gray.
While I love Civil War and all its tie-in's, and can easily say just two issues in that I much prefer it to last years "House of M", and while I can honestly say I am really enjoying the concept of Spider-man unmasking for the new story line possibilities it opens up, I have to go against the idea if only for one simple reason:

It won't last.

Whether it takes one year or ten years, this will be undone. Even if they have to wait till Joe Q's dead (and no offence to the guy, but he's not looking like a candidate for "healthiest guy of the year"), someone will undo it.
You name one thing that has happened in Spider-man that has stuck which wasn't the status quo when the series began?
The Death of Gwen.
The death of Norman Osborn.
The black costume.
The "return" of Peter's parents.
Spider-man being the clone.
Peter Parker losing his powers and retiring.
The Spider-baby.
Aunt May dying.
MJ dying.

What's next? Spider-mans marriage??? According to Joe Q this will be going the way of the dodo soon. Most people didn't like the Gwen / Norman affair, will that suffer a Superboy punch too?

Even the little things like the end of MJ's modelling career, Sandman reforming into a hero (and Avenger no less) or Peter's job at the school seem to be ignored / retconned eventually.

So here we see the deep-seated problem with Marvel, and in many respects DC too. They refuse to let their characters progress. If Marvel had their way Peter would still be unmarried, working for the bugle (or attending school) trapped in a frustrating love-life as the little geek that sometimes can.

Now the argument has been made that as the characters are ICONS, they belong to every generation so it is unfair for the characters to evolve, as it denies the next generation of these icons. Which leads us into another massive flaw of American comics, but also their greatest quality.
In any other country, the guys who create the characters tell the story, and when they die, the stories die with them. Sounds great in theory as it means the purity of the characters is dictated by their creators throughout the years, and as the creators grow and evolve so can the characters (Cerebus the Mysoganystic rant) or they can press a status quo reset button at the end of every issue (like Tin Tin or Asterix).
But to do that would be to deny the world Dark Knight Returns, Mark Waid's Fantastic Four, Ultimate Spider-man, Joe Kelly's What's So funny about truth, justice and the American way?", Ennis' Hellblazer run. Hell, even the irreverent Nextwave wouldn't exist.

So what is the solution?
The only way I can see it is separate continuities with an eventual end.
Think about it. It's not too dissimilar to what DC do with there Crises every 20 years or so. There is what Alan Moore thinks of as Superman (crazy zany silver age stuff), our generations Superman (for arguments sake, the John Brynes Supes) and now we are seeing the start of this eras Supes as part of One year Later.
Why not let Spider-man evolve, have kids and eventually turn the series into Spider-girl. If you want to read the adventures of Spider-man in school, there are hundreds of back issues and the Ultimate series to get through. Wouldn't it be nice to see the conclusive tale of "your" Spider-man before you die? Because lets face it, when I am dead and gone, Spider-mans stories will still be continuing, which is great and all, but I have put a lot of time and money into Spider-man, I would like to see how it all works out for him. Its why I like "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow" even though I hate silver age Superman.
Wouldn't it be cool to see the DCU head towards Kingdom come before a reboot? Wouldn't it be nice to see Nightwing take over as Bats, even if its only for ten twenty years and then a new Batman series starts for the next generation, maybe even lead it into Batman Beyond

Would it make any less sense having two different continuity running then having all the What Ifs, Elseworlds, LOTDK, Unlimiteds, Ultimate, All-star, Classifieds and the core universe's running concurrently?
It would take a little getting used to to start, and without the right labelling it would be a bitch for newcomers to the industry, but you only have to look at the branding of the Ultimate books to see that it can work, if approached properly.

With this idea, its not so much a retcon as a newcon.

See, and you thought the question of Spidey's unmasking was a simple one.

At the end of the day, I will keep reading Spider-man regardless if his identity is public knowledge or not, because I love Spider-man and I love comics. But every time we make fake promises to the non-comic world, like we did with the Death of Superman it causes mistrust. 1 million people bought the Death of Supes in Superman #75, and 95% of them thought the ending was a cop-out.
I still get people coming into the shop seeing Superman comics and proclaiming "isn't he dead", only to see their interest and sanity drain away as I try to explain how "he wasn't really dead...".

Of course, this separate continuity thing wouldn't work for everything. I can't imagine a Preacher or Watchmen reboot every 20 years without tasting vomit at the back of my mouth. But for the more Iconic characters, it would be a way of taking risks and keeping the characters iconic for every generation. Its exactly what Chris Nolan did with the Batman film franchise, or what Bendis did with the Ultimate series.

So, although a lot of people would hate the idea initially, historically, its already been proven to work.

So, in conclusion: If Marvel keep Spider-mans identity revealed for the rest of this versions life span, without it being a dream, hoax or imaginary tale; I will be a happy man. But it they just retcon with a random issue (say Amazing Spider-man #587) just because a new writer doesn't like it; then its shit and flawed.

But having said that, a good story is a good story, right? Marvel have publicly stated that they won't let continuity get in the way of a good story.
Wasn't that DC's policy in the '70s and 80's? And didn't that lead to a crisis?

No-one said the solution would be easy.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Spider-man 3 Trailer


In other news, Superman returns opens in about 3 and a half hours, here in the UK though, we have to wait another two weeks.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Comics you should be reading - The Exterminators

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Writer: Simon Oliver
Artist: Tony Moore
Cover: Philip Bond

Officially the Vertigo imprint has been running for 13 years and we’ve had some fantastic comics including Sandman, Transmetropolitan and Preacher. Still running, we have Y the Last man and Fables, but recently Vertigo launched a new set of titles, DMZ, American Virgin, Testament and most importantly to this blog entry, The Exterminators.

It’s an intelligently dark and very funny story about the dysfunctional bug killers of Bug-Bee-Gone Co. and the filth they're up against. We’re not talking regular filth here, sure we have the usual finds of rabid rats and racoons, but here we meet the mother of all pests.
The cockroach, and they’re not what you expect.

We’ve long thought that the cockroach will be last thing left on earth when we eventually suffer that nuclear war, but these cockroaches aren’t the kind to sit and wait for this to eventually happen. These guys are proactive bugs, adapting to the methods we use in extermination, mutating from the use of a new chemical to a new height of survival, they're working together.
And now they’re coming after us.

But to say ‘The Exterminators’ is just about pest control, would be like saying 'Watchmen' was just about Superheroes.

As with every successful story there is so much more going on in its underbelly, we have an ancient mystery, shady pasts, a sacred scarab and an ominous box yet to be opened. More importantly it’s being handled in an effective way, giving us plenty of new information and twists each issue to make sure we come back for more.

It’s fantastically off the wall, reaching new heights of grossness every couple of issues. With us so far witnessing a man rip the heart from a rat in pure rage, maggots feeding on a bed tied OAP, and most importantly, exploding people, all drawn with the fantastic pencils of Tony Moore.

We’ve just passed the first arc and we have been set up with a great premise, which is already expanding well in issue 6, with the introduction of the most bizarre library/brothel in history.
And if that doesn’t draw at least some enthusiasm, nothing will.

So for a preview of the first few pages follow the link
And if you like it, make sure to pick up the singles, Vertigo titles always need single support in their beginnings.
Or at least try the first trade collecting the first 5 issues, Bug Brothers.
On sale the beginning of August

Who needs a mark scheme.
Just an honest opinion that whilst this may be one of the most vulgar comics I’ve read under the Vertigo imprint in a while, it’s also one of the freshest, funniest and well written comics that I've had the pleasure to read.

It’s a bug’s world. We just live in it.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Superman / Batman compared to All Star Superman: The similaritys and differences.

Ryan Says:

So originally I sat down to comment on both of these articles of yours and then it slowly dawned on me that actually they're kind of linked, not just through inclusion of the man in red and blue.

I read Superman/Batman for 8 issues total, the best thing that came out of it in those issues? The Robin and Superboy team up and saying that it wasn't fantastic, it had Superman and Robin fighting in battle suits, enough said. It gave us a better look into the new Toyman (how many of these guys are hanging around now, it must be a least three), I think this incarnation has only been brought up again in Sam Loeb's 1 issue. Then I read the first issue with Supergirl, and then I dropped it like a rock, missing all of these subsequent issues you've been talking about. Though I have scanned through a copy every now and then, just to see what was happening.

But here's where it gets interesting, I'm sat here with my all star #4, and reading it, it is clearly a silver age homage, no getting away from that, it takes these old concepts and then just makes them readable. From reading this we know that this comes from Morrison's writing rather than the reintroduction of the idea, because as you said Loeb did it in Superman/Batman, and it just wasn't any good.

'Along the way, Jeph Loeb reintroduced another un-missed silver age facet of Superman lore: multiple colour Kryptonite with there own effects on Supes. great.'

All Star Superman
'It's fantastic fun isn't it? I mean, really? There are just tons of ideas, and its all filled with a sense of wonder and freshness that hasn't been seen in comics since, well, the silver age when it was all new and fresh'

-For anyone who's yet to read ASS#4, the issue was based around Superman being exposed to black kryptonite which made him all evil and junk.

So in your opinion is the concept of multicoloured Kryptonite just plain bad, or does it rely on the writer?
Are silver age concepts to far out to ever be used seriously now?

I'm thinking at the moment that it relies on the book, the all star line is a ramped up action film in every way, it's a line where you can get away with these concepts, just look at 'All Star Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder'- and that's a mouth full.
But then again wasn't that what Superman/Batman was originally meant to be? It should never have been in continuity, which would have helped it no end.

I think that Superman/Batman has been the inferior predecessor to All Star Superman, it had all the concepts, these big ideas, but when tied into continuity and an arced story structure it fell flat on its face. Jeph should have written an Elseworlds tale and left it at that.
All Star Superman manages to soar with these silver age ideas, and I think a large part of this comes through the format of the book. It's almost the fell format again really (well slightly), you can read any issue and get a complete story out of it, but there are elements we learn in each issue which build towards the end of the story. So as wacky as any of these issues are, the pay off comes in the book you buy, not in a 6 issue arc, and I think it's that which makes the All Star Superman the comic it is.

Other notes
I might take a look at Superman/Batman #27 next time I'm in.
I can't remember which colour eyes were which Luther
Looking at one of those covers it really dawns that Turner can't draw feet.

As for any thing that I noticed in this weeks comics I bought, after only reading a couple the big thing that stuck out again was 52, not in a good way. Well if you're really anal anyway.
Start Rant
In the last few issues the 52 letterers have been working their socks off, and as have the writers, giving little newspaper clippings significance with real text. But with this issue we are again back to the 'hg hjg jhvbiuag oiuywe ihirug iugqu' text below the headline. It probably doesn't bother anyone else, but I think that if the 52 writers (or shadow writers) are working on a website full of new articles each week, they could at least write some main body text for a newspaper featured in the actual comic.
End Rant

Sid Says:

"So in your opinion is the concept of multicoloured Kryptonite just plain bad, or does it rely on the writer?
Are silver age concepts to far out to ever be used seriously now?"

Excellent question, and straight away on your first post you have nailed an inconsistency in my text. Way to make me look shit.

Well, a big fat "no prize" goes to you for answering the query yourself. The thing that makes the quirky nature of AS Superman work is the freedom that comes with a non-continuity title. It has a wonderful way of taking all the really shit silver age concepts which didn't work well in the basis of a shared universe, and making them work.
In one self contained issue Grant Morrison has proven that multi-colored Kryptonite can be used to good effect, much like Mark Waid proved with synthetic red (or crimson) Kryptonite way back in JLA.
Grant Morrisons approach to the sillyness of the silver age Supes is miles apart from the Jeph Loeb approach, because Morrison's knows its being silly, wearing its campness on its sleeve for the entire world to see. A far juxtaposition from the riddled with in jokes, Bat-mite / Bizarro action / adventure romp which is Superman / Batman, which is supposed to be set in the DC universe. Are we really believing these are the same characters who've been put through the emotional ringer in Infinite Crisis? You absolutely nailed it when you said that Supes / Bats should have been out of continuity, but wasn't the whole point of (both) Crises to stop multiple world and dimension hopping stories?
Good comparison with AS Superman to Fell, they are very similar but at the same time completely different.

Onto your other points:

"Looking at one of those covers it really dawns that Turner can't draw feet." - You could have omited the word "feet" and had just as accurate a sentence.

52 Newspaper text - You know, I am just so impressed with the quality of 52 I can live without reams of prose, if only to speed up my reading time. It looks like the 52 series is going to be broken into kind of mini-story arcs liek 24, each interlacing and leading into the next issue. Textbook "How to Write the DC way" - Denny O Neil would be proud (the big racist).

And now my rant, also about textual inaccuracies. Does anyone else think its odd - or at least a tiny bit convenient - that a race as advanced as the Kryptonians used the same base concept of a 26 letter structured alphabet? Wow, how geeky a question was that?

New Site Contributor

I said changes would be-a-coming, and it helps the continual evolvement of this site and to keep me on my toes. So with great pleasure I introduce you to new site writer Ryan Grant.
Ryan has been a frequent commenter, someone who has his own strong tastes and opinions on comics, many of which contradict my own. So it should keep things interesting, and in many ways its taking a step backwards to what the site was when Sam and I first formed it: A place to talk about comics and to have intelligent discussions about them.

Welcome aboard Ryan!

Superman / Batman? Superman / Shat-man more like.

You know what you never hear people talking about? How shit the Superman / Batman team-up title is.
It is though. The reason people don't mention it is because it sells so well. I might be hurting my pocket here because its one of our biggest DC sellers, but you know what? It needs to be said.
Lets look at the facts. (I say facts, these are from memory so don't quote me)

Issues 1-6
The best run on the title. Superman and Batman team up in the first of 25 tiring dual-monologue issues to fight the combined evils of Kingdom Come Superman (albeit for altruistic purposes) and a mad, bad Luthor. Nothing much really happens for a six issue story except pointless exposition, but the striking bold art from Ed McGuiness, and the fact that he's finally doing a monthly title again keeps people from noticing the lacklustre story contained within as people are too busy grinning like fools at Batman's swirly elbows. After all, people have been waiting AGES to see E=MC2 draw Batman after his appearances in the Emporer Joker storyline, another pointless and shit "is it elseworlds or not" story written by Jeph Loeb that people mistakenly confused for a good story due to the pretty pretty art and the fact that Joker was in it.
The story ends with a crazed Luthor announcing a crisis is coming. A great cliffhanger, but is this our Lex, or is it Alexander? Hang on, which one has what colour eyes? I've got confused. Still, nice battle suit Luthor, haven't seen that since...oh, the last Crisis.

Issue 7
Fun romp with the late Superboy and Robin as they battle against the evil forces of Pat Lee's poor artwork.

Issue 8 -13
Another in a long line of Jeph Loeb "I miss the silver age" ret-con. Supergirl returns, the original; Kara. she is from Krypton, from Argo city, related to Superman, just like the dead pre-crisis one. The story limps from a to b with shitty Michael Turner artwork and cover, as Supergirl struggles with her dark side and its revealed that she is somehow more powerful than Superman. Then Darkseid kills her, then brings her back. Superman is possessive, Batman disagrees with his handling of the situation, Wonder Woman shows up and takes her to an island full of lesbians, who all appreciate her mini-skirt just as much as anyone else but are less likely to date-rape a (pre-legal) teen.
And just having the words pre-legal teen in a sentence will do wonders with my sites search engine ratings.
Along the way, Jeph Loeb reintroduced another un-missed silver age facet of Superman lore: multiple colour Kryptonite with there own effects on Supes. great.

Issues 14 - 19
Another great artist wasted on a piss poor story. Carlos Pacheco struggles to tell the convoluted story of another dimensions superman and Batman, who kill people for fun. You know what? this story line made no sense to me at the time and I know if I reread it, it wouldn't be any clearer to me, so I am just going to skip the entire thing and focus on the fact that a) it's 4 am, b) I should be asleep, c) I probably won't sleep, I'll probably just read some comics instead and d) when it gets this late I forget how to use capitals.
To summarise, nice art. What story?

Issues 20 - 25
Wtf? Why are the Ultimates in this? Is this supposed to be funny?
The idea of any comic using an alternate world equivalent of the JLA or Avengers is so overused, and just doing another world version of the Ultimates is THE SAME FUCKING THING. Learn a new trick.
The story is so pointless, it actually makes the art quite forgettable.
I think Myxlzptlk is in it, and it references Emporer Joker, an unsubtle nod that only really meant anything to Jeph Loeb.
Is this a way to end your career at a company or what? And frankly, it doesn't bode well for the Ultimates 3 series, if the first story he used those characters in was a shitty story for a different company.
Maybe I'm wrong? did anyone get anything from the first 25 issues of this series?

Issues 26
Pretty decent single issue to be fair. It's a hard one for anyone to slate because it's in memory of Sam Loeb, Jeph's son who died of cancer far too young. It touched nicely on the Superboy / Robin dynamic which was nice to see, as it almost got lost in the shuffle of Crisis and OYL.
A veritable smorgasbord of artists save this book from its original plan of using Pat Lee for the entire thing. Thank god that didn't happen.


So, I've done something different here. I try not to just openly slate anything without putting a positive spin on things (except spider-man The Other, but fuck them, they did that to themselves), as I really hate to be another negative comic fan.
As tempting as it is to leave this as a hate filled rant, here comes the positive spin.


Issue #27 shipped today, with the new creative team of Mark Verheiden and Kevin Maguire. Maguire is a competent artist when given half a chance (despite having to redraw one Wizard cover like, 13 times) and I think all he needs is a book to really showcase his work. Mark Verheiden came from nowhere (okay, a little place called Hollywood where he worked on Smallville) to do a small, and excellent run on thepre-Johns/Busiek relaunch Superman.
Their work on Supes / Batman could be brilliant, but I've spent so long typing I'm too tired to read now, we'll have to see tomorrow.

Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely.

I was never a massive fan of Grant Morrison, I have read his two previous Batman stories (Arkham Asylum and the LOTDK 5 issue storyline I was talking about recently) and they were okay. I missed his Swamp thing run with Millar completely, The Invisibles never held my attention enough for me to warrant reading the second volume and his long running JLA stint left me less than enamoured contrary to most peoples opinion of the JLA holy grail. I don't know what it is about the guys work but it never clicked with me, none more so than his New X-men run, which did NOTHING for me.
At the time.

I actually look back on that period of X-men with quite a lot of affection, despite my qualms at the time. It was different to a lot of X-men stuff I have read and it did a few things which didn't agree with me, such as Magneto taking drugs to become more powerful (how much power does one guy need), the whole "kick" thing, secondary mutations and the emergence of millions of mutants, most of whom had outward mutations (he looks like a fish, he has crocodile skin etc...).
But despite the "flaws" in story, the series was a hell of a lot of fun, and nostalgia has done it a lot of favours in my mind as somethign I take with a pinch of salt almost outside of X continuity. I have always thought of Grant Morrison as an ideas machine, someone who is great at coming up with plot ideas and high concept, but someone who falls short on execution.
This is something that has changed over the last few years.

More and more "short" story ideas of his caught my eye. WE3 and Vinarama are good examples, similar to his earlier work in the long-and curiously-out of print "Kill your Boyfriend" GN, featuring self contained short stories, with no pre-estasblished characters. I hear Flex Mentallo fits this role too, but will I ever get to read it???
Not everything he does works for me. Seven Soldiers for example just didn't grab me. Maybe it was the length, the format or the use of characters I just didn't give two shits about, but something made me say "wait for trade", and something since then has made me think "the trade can wait too".

By and large I find his work with Frank Quitely to be his best. I find him to be an incredibly quirky artist, none too perfect either, but when it all clicks into place it all clicks into place. Don't believe me? His first Authority run with Millar, Bite Club covers,WE3 and the more recent All Star Superman are all proof.

To be fair, AS Supes is the reason I wrote this column, having just read issue #4. It's fantastic fun isn't it? I mean, really? There are just tons of ideas, and its all filled with a sense of wonder and freshness that hasn't been seen in comics since, well, the silver age when it was all new and fresh (and Planetary).

I don't really have much to say about the book, and I try not to gush if I don't have something interesting to say. But yeah, it's just sooo good. A Superman book that you wouldn't be embarassed to lend to your non-comic reading mates...they don't come around often so enjoy it.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

RE: Launch

Hey everyone and welcome to the new and improved Across the Counter.

What's improved?

Well, the links to my right are ALL fixed for one. There's a lot of good stuff out there and these are just some of the sites I use / visit often.

What, you want more? Fine.

The new URL is, this means you will never have to type in blogspot again (unless you really want to, in which case you still can. See, choices, it's what life is all about).

So what's new?

The header up above was designed by top-notch graphic illustrator Matt Boyce, as I'm sure you could tell from his previous comic work he has quite an eye for design and sequential story-telling. So, three cheers for Boyce.

But these are all just surface changes surely?

Yes, they are. For if it's not broke, don't fix it. But that's hardly the same thing as never evolving is it ;) Watch this space.

Superman Returns

Last year; Batman Begun. Next year; Spider-man runs three. This year? Superman Returns.

Early reviews are coming in already on the comic websites, and according to one review over at Newsarama, its not going to be one for comic purists.

"Bottom line, if you love the first two Superman movies and like the idea of a tribute to those movies with new actors, go see Superman Returns, you'll love it. Otherwise, Superman fans beware - put a DVD of the animated series in and wait for the fuss to pass."

The article gives away minor details but holds off on the BIG spoiler. Time magazine - owned by Timer Warner who also own DC and the inclusive rights to all characters within - were not so generous with the BIG one. And neither am I. The following text needs to be highlighted to be read.

Lois' son, Jason, is Supes' kid.

No big secret really, if you really wanted to know I'm sure you could have read the novel (available for two weeks or so now) or the forthcoming comic adaption (available in the UK before the film release in mid-July). Having said that I'm sure it'll be all over the 'net soon anyway.

Either way, expect Son of Superman to remain in print for the foreseeable.

However, with these things, the proof will be in the pudding. Until I see the movie, I reserve judgement. But the important question to ask is: how will the BIG spoiler affect the comic? Wolverines Origin was revealed because Marvel were scared that if they didn't do it, the movie franchise would. Spider-man was married off in a knee-jerk reaction to the newspaper strip version of Peter Parker getting married.

Lets hope that DC remembers what works in one medium doesn't work in all mediums.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The end of Civil War #2


I mean, I kind of saw it coming, but not really.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Inane Comic Moments #6,782

Somedays I really sympathise with Wonder Woman, the other day I was in a situation where I needed to dress up as a baby elephant, but I didn't go through with it and I let everyone down. I guess thats what seperates us mortals from Themyscrian legends.

I wish I was Wonder Woman.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

So, just what have I been up to for the last few weeks.

Busy busy.

But here a few things that I have managed to enjoy with my rapidly diminishing spare time.

Punisher: The Tyger

It's a fact that I haven't really enjoyed the Garth Ennis run of Punisher for some time now. I loved the 12 issue Knights miniseries, and I got some good cheap laughs from the 37 issue follow on run, despite the fact that Dillon only drew a handful of the stories. I know that Ennis was keen to make it mature readers so he could play the character more realistically, but for the most part it just hasn't worked for me, especially with the often throwaway art team and the super-deconstructed-intended-for-trade-isn't-it-convenient-6-issues-to-a-story-format.
So it was with surprise that I enjoyed this one-shot after the lacklustre Christmas and valentine one-shots. It was a good solid tale, reminiscent of Heartland (the Hellblazer spin-off with Kit back in Ireland) which added another layer to the increasingly-less likely vietnam vet's back story. Recomended for oldskool Ennis fans (HB and Preacher) rather than his comedy fans (Pro, Hitman).


Easily the best written TV show of all time, I'm surprised I haven't waxed on about this on this blog more often. I first watched this show after hearing Straczynski describe it as his favourite TV show. If it was good enough for the creator of my then-favouriote TV show, it would good enough for me. And it was.
The layer of depth to the characters and story, not to mention its incredible level of detail in continuity make this an absolute joy to watch, even on the second run through (and given how much time I put into TV shows, a second run through is fucking rare). The subtext and subtleties in the dialogue will make this series go down in history as the text gets analysed over the next 50 years. Awesome show. Just watch it.

Story by Robert McKee

An excellent book detailing the do's and do-not's of writing for Hollywood. Primarily a book for screen-writing, but its lessons on creating characters and storys can be applied to any medium of story-telling (just ask Bendis, who swears by this book). Any encapsulating review would fail to do this justice, if you've ever entertained thoughts about being a writer, just hit amazon and invest £20.

Auto Assembly

I thought comic fans were weird, but after spending a few hours with rabid Transformer fans I've been introduced to a whole new world. I feel sorry for the girls who got dragged along by their boyfriends. All in all a good show, as I picked up some new toys, traded some old ones, hung out with David Kaye (Beast Wars Megatron) and generally networked. Have to make this about comics...Furman and Wildman were there too.

Warren Ellis

People still always ask me what I think of his recent work, so in a nutshell, here are some very quick reviews which I hope don't expand beyond all control as soon as I start thinking about them too much.

Fell - just brilliant, and #5 is partly inspired by 12 Angry Men, which you should ALL watch. or something.
Nextwave - yeah, okay. He is capable of so much more and at times it reeks of Warren Ellis parodying Warren Ellis, but its still good fun. Immomens artwork has changed though, and although it suits this title, I already miss his old style.
Wolfskin - A Conan book, with lots of blood. Ehhh. Wait for the tpb.
Black Gas - More Zombies. Great. Bored. Walking dead is ace. Marvel Zombies was fucking fun. This was lacking.
Ultimate Extinction - Like, 15 issues in and finally we have a good issue. This is the one I am liable to go on and on about, so feel free to skip to the next paragraph if I bore you. Fun, Ellis dialogue "Your thoughts and creativity are bullets, and I've got the gun" and the master stroke of Reed Richards birthing a baby universe to destroy Galactus's (Galacti??? As there were more than one?) advancing hive was genius, but stolen from Superman: Our Worlds At War. - which is now avilable in one Tpb and well worth it, Ed McGuiness and Weiringo on one story!!! Anyway, UE; Couldn't care less for the characters like the Silver men, the shitty clones and the new wank Captain Marvel. You know, this is probably the big pay cheque for Mr. Ellis, and if a series like this enables him to keep writing Fell and Apparat stuff then yay, way to go Joe Q.
Planetary - Just my favourite comic. Quite good.
Desolation Jones - I should have waited for tpb, good artist for the next series though, although I forget who now.


It works for me, B through to Z list DC characters farting around in shared universe. What can I say, I love superhero comics.

Civil War

Shaping up quite nicely, I think it will be a lot better than House of M when all is said and done. Having said that, this IS an internet column so I feel obliged to point out that they already did this in the Incredibles movie. Although that didn't have cap or Iron Man in an ongoing story narrative which will have lasting consequences lasting well outside its 2 hours time frame. Unless that shitty looking Cars film is set in the same universe, which I doubt.
The Amazing spider-man issues are very important to the whole thing so far, so I recommend you check them out too.

Battlestar Galactica

No, I don't watch this. Yes, I hear that its very good. Fine, I'll start watching it over the next few weeks then.


This is like $10, you have no excuse.

And a big FUCK OFF goes to: Big Brother, the Da Vinci Code, X-Men 3, footballers doing the "robot" and the human interest stories which are supposed to be light-hearted and funny at the end of the news.

I might add pictures to this tomorrow, at the moment my computer is slower than Hitch's drawing hand.

Friday, June 09, 2006

To Afghanistan and Back by Ted Rall

I’m just over half way through this book, interesting stuff. Like many people, he too suspected that the "war" was more about the price of oil than stopping terrorists, and he had his doubts about the "pinpoint accuracy" of American bombs So the award winning reporter and cartoonist decided to fly over to Afghanistan at the start of the US bombing to see what life was really like over there.

Informative and cynical, let at the same time there is a sense of the author distancing himself from the whole situation despite the fact that he lived through the harrowing tale. He approaches the material with an unbiased view of affairs, never latching on to the current trend for anti-American sentiment but never blindly touting patriotism. He reports on the facts as and how they come to him, never dwelling on finding the altruistic holy grail of journalism: the urban myth that is the "truth".

The interesting thing about this book is its format. It literally is a blend of graphic novella and factual reporting. Its also an incredibly hard book to display. What section of the shop does it go in? It’s easy for me as I store it in the independent comics section, but lets face it most comic stores are going to be more interested in Wonder Woman relaunchs than this comic, so for the most part this is going to do better in the bookstores than speciality stores. I wonder: will it be displayed in the War section, the News Section, the Comic section? If its anything like my local library it will be in the kids section because its "Full of cartoons".
Its hardly current affairs anymore, as this book was first printed in 2002, but it is still an interesting look at the effect that the US’s oil war had on the people that live with the unimaginable every day, where the line between ally and Taliban can be blurred with little more than a pay check or a bribe.

There is little in this book that hasn’t been said elsewhere, on the Internet or other non-biased news sources, but what this book does with the facts it does well, confirming suspicions and fears about the US war machine. The underlying point of this book isn’t that any one side is right or wrong, but that at the end of the day, it’s all so pointless.

Available in all good bookstores and up-their-own-arse elitist comic shops like mine for $10.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Bristol Follow-up: Shit Spider-man

Here he is: Shit Spider-man!
The guy who is stood to his left (our right), was the guy who was dressed as maybe Blade the day before. So, I guess he is Batman here.
I don't understand cosplay.
Except of course, in wrestling.