Comics Ate My Brain

August 29, 2008

Friday Night Fights

Filed under: friday night fights, justice league, meme, new gods, wonder woman — Tom Bondurant @ 9:50 pm
The Fourth World takes on the future as the 853rd Century’s Justice Legion A invades the Justice League Watchtower!

In case you can’t read the captions, Wonder Woman’s bracelets are named Harmony and Charity. Harmony, Charity …


… meet Mega-Rod!


This isn’t the only fight, of course; but by the time we check in with these combatants, it’s pretty much over.


A particle cannon (with Kirby Dots (TM), even!) might seem like cheating, but hey — it’s not like Wonder Woman didn’t know who she might run into, back in the mists of history….

It’s always the right time for Bahlactus!

[From “Prisoners of the Twentieth Century” in JLA #1,000,000, November 85,271. Written by Grant Morrison, pencilled by Howard Porter, inked by John Dell, lettered by Ken Lopez, colored by Pat Garrahy.]

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August 25, 2008

New comics 7/28/08 and 8/6/08

Here are some quick impressions of recent books, as I try to get rid of the accumulated baby-related backlog….

7/28/08

Batman: Death Mask #4: I stand by my original appraisal of this series, which is that it’s more of a read-right-to-left exercise than a demonstration of manga’s storytelling potential. It was a decent Batman story, but (as opposed to those Star Wars manga from ten years ago) nothing which really encouraged me to read more manga. If this were Batman/Punisher or some other outside-the-norm crossover, each “side” would get a chance to “win.” Here, though, Batman is still Batman, just read differently; so he wins decisively.

Green Lantern #33: This was the penultimate chapter of “Secret Origin,” wasn’t it? Good. I get the feeling that “SO” could have been more interesting, and more to the point (leading up to “Blackest Night”), if it had been a couple of oversized issues told from the point of view of someone other than Hal. Also, I really think Johns et al. are pushing it to give Black Hand’s mortuary the Black Lantern symbol.

Justice Society of America Annual #1: I talked about this one in a Grumpy Old Fan.

Teen Titans #61: Not a bad issue, although I am still not convinced that Kid/Red Devil is the breakout character everyone says he is — and I say that as someone who looked forward to his appearances in the old Blue Devil series.

8/6/08

Detective Comics #847: Part 2 of “Heart of Hush” would have been better if it didn’t have so much Hush.

Final Crisis #3: This is a scary, scary miniseries, and I admire its unwavering fatalism. I think I also like the way it paints its terrifying picture through individual snapshots, and not a “widescreen” overview.

House Of Mystery #4: Last month I think I said it’s taking a while for Fig to realize what the readers already know (because it’s the premise of the book). This month does nothing to change that. HOM isn’t badly made, it’s just slow; and I may have to give it another storyline to evaluate it properly.

Manhunter #33: I continue to like this series, and I want to learn more about it, but honestly I couldn’t tell you why I liked this particular issue.

Nightwing #147: Part 1 of a 3-part Two-Face storyline is fairly entertaining, although for various external reasons I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be with the book.

Supergirl #32: However, it looks like I’ll be with this book for a while to come, as long as it ties into the Superman titles.

Tor #s 3 and 4: Tor starts a family in these issues. I’ll probably finish out this miniseries, if only because I enjoy Joe Kubert’s storytelling.

Of course, I also bought Trinity #s 9 and 10, and enjoyed them beyond my self-imposed obligation to annotate.

Back before too long to catch up on the next two weeks!

August 22, 2008

Friday Night Fights

Filed under: friday night fights, meme, star wars — Tom Bondurant @ 11:59 pm
For someone who described her home planet as “peaceful” and “hav[ing] no weapons,” Leia Organa sure is good in a scrap.

Of course, she also famously declared that “someone has to save our skins!”

Bahlactus decrees Ladies’ Night, even in a galaxy far, far away!

[From “To Take The Tarkin!” in Star Wars #52, October 1981. Written by David Michelinie, pencilled by Walter Simonson, inked by Tom Palmer, lettered by John Morelli, colored by David Warfield. Scan from the reprint in Star Wars: A Long Time Ago … Volume 3.]

What voice goes well with "Imperius Rex?"

Filed under: defenders — Tom Bondurant @ 1:25 am
Somewhere along the way I picked up the impression that reading to one’s newborn helps her development, regardless of what one reads.

Since I’ve been re-reading the Essential Defenders books, naturally I tried dramatizing a couple of issues (#s 5 and 6) for Olivia’s benefit. Issue #5 featured Namor, Doctor Strange, and the newly-minted Valkyrie against Omegatron/Yandroth; and #6 pitted the non-team (this time adding the Silver Surfer) against Cyrus Black.

My question is, what can I do to make the voices distinct? Omegatron/Yandroth was easy, because the context indicates how … slowly … he … should … speak. The Doctor Orpheus voice didn’t really fit for Doctor Strange. A Boris Karloff voice worked a little better for the Silver Surfer, but it became harder to sustain. I don’t know what kind of accent Namor would have, and I didn’t do anything special for Valkyrie.

(Thank goodness Olivia was asleep while I read the Avengers/Defenders crossover!)

I’m into the Steve Gerber issues now, with not so much Namor and Surfer but more Hulk and guest-stars. Any suggestions?

August 17, 2008

There are many copies … and they have a Pam.

Filed under: tv — Tom Bondurant @ 1:44 am

No one likes to hear about another person’s dreams, but every now and then mine involve TV or movies, so I figure those might slip through.

Recently I dreamed that Jim Halpert was the Twelfth Cylon. This gives me the same creepy/funny vibe as the revelation of Marge Simpson as Head Vampire in that one Halloween episode.

Anyway, it made perfect sense at the time. Jim has been romancing Pam so that she can (unwittingly) breed little Cylon/human hybrids. I don’t remember exactly how Dwight reacted when he found out, but obviously it would make his life a lot more interesting.

So now, of course, I am mentally trying to match all the US-“Office” characters with “Galactica” roles: Michael = Baltar, Creed = Tigh, Jan = Roslin, etc. I would map Ryan and Kelly to Tyrol and Callie, but I like Kelly too much. Can’t quite figure out where to put Stanley or Kevin, though.

Also, now I’m thinking that no one wants to hear about my TV-related dreams either….

August 15, 2008

Friday Night Fights

Filed under: friday night fights, meme, supergirl — Tom Bondurant @ 11:21 pm
Someday, several years from now, when Olivia Bondurant and her dad sit down to talk about Supergirl — as, inevitably, we will — she’ll bring up the Maid of Might’s less popular fashion choices. She’ll list the headband and perm of the ’80s, the bare midriff of the ’90s and ’00s, and the hot pants of the ’70s.

And I will reply that yes, these were all rather unfortunate to one degree or another; but through it all, Supergirl could still serve up a beatdown.

Strike a pose, Bahlactus!

[From “The Other Side Of Doomsday!” in Super-Team Family #11, June-July 1977. Written by Gerry Conway, pencilled by Alan Weiss, inked by Joe Rubenstein, colored by Jerry Serpe, lettered by Bill Morse.]

Harassment is harassment, even at Comic-Con.

Filed under: meta — Tom Bondurant @ 5:30 pm
John DiBello is a trusted friend of this blog. His disturbing acoount from this year’s Comic-Con is crossposted from his pal Bully’s site:

Overheard at San Diego Comic-Con while I was having lunch on the balcony of the Convention Center on Sunday July 27: a bunch of guys looking at the digital photos on the camera of another, while he narrated: “These were the Ghostbusters girls. That one, I grabbed her ass, ’cause I wanted to see what her reaction was.” This was only one example of several instances of harassment, stalking or assault that I saw at San Diego this time.

1. One of my friends was working at a con booth selling books. She was stalked by a man who came to her booth several times, pestering her to get together for a date that night. One of her co-workers chased him off the final time.

2. On Friday, just before the show closed, this same woman was closing up her tables when a group of four men came to her booth, started taking photographs of her, telling her she was the “prettiest girl at the con.” They they entered the booth, started hugging and kissing her and taking photographs of themselves doing so. She was confused and scared, but they left quickly after doing that.

3. Another friend of mine, a woman running her own booth: on Friday a man came to her booth and openly criticized her drawing ability and sense of design. Reports from others in the same section of the floor confirmed he’d targeted several women with the same sort of abuse and criticism.

Quite simply, this behavior has got to stop at Comic-Con. It should never be a sort of place where anyone, man or woman, feels unsafe or attacked either verbally or physically in any shape or form. There are those, sadly, who get off on this sort of behavior and assault, whether it’s to professional booth models, cosplayers or costumed women, or women who are just there to work. This is not acceptable behavior under any circumstance, no matter what you look like or how you’re dressed, whether you are in a Princess Leia slave girl outfit or business casual for running your booth.

On Saturday, the day after the second event I described above, I pulled out my convention book to investigate what you can do and who you can speak to after such an occurrence. On page two of the book there is a large grey box outlining “Convention Policies,” which contain rules against smoking, live animals, wheeled handcarts, recording at video presentations, drawing or aiming your replica weapon, and giving your badge to others. There is nothing about attendee-to-attendee personal behavior.

Page three of the book contains a “Where Is It?” guide to specific Comic-Con events and services. There’s no general information room or desk listed, nor is there a contact location for security, so I go to the Guest Relations Desk. I speak to a volunteer manning the desk; she’s sympathetic to the situation but who doesn’t have a clear answer to my question: “What’s Comic-Con’s policy and method of dealing with complaints about harassment?” She directs me to the nearest security guard, who is also sympathetic listening to my reports, but short of the women wanting to report the incidents with the names of their harassers, there’s little that can be done.

“I understand that,” I tell them both, “but what I’m asking is more hypothetical and informational: if there is a set Comic-Con policy on harassment and physical and verbal abuse on Con attendees and exhibitors, and if so, what’s the specific procedure by which someone should report it, and specifically where should they go?” But this wasn’t a question either could answer.

So, according to published con policy, there is no tolerance for smoking, drawn weapons, personal pages or selling bootleg videos on the floor, and these rules are written down in black and white in the con booklet. There is not a word in the written rules about harassment or the like. I would like to see something like “Comic-Con has zero tolerance for harassment or violence against any of our attendees or exhibitors. Please report instances to a security guard or the Con Office in room XXX.”

The first step to preventing such harassment is giving its victims the knowledge that they can safely and swiftly report such instances to someone in authority. Having no published guideline, and indeed being unable to give a clear answer to questions about it, gives harassment and violence one more rep-tape loophole to hide behind.

I enjoyed Comic-Con. I’m looking forward to coming back next year. So, in fact, are the two women whose experiences I’ve retold above. Aside from those instances, they had a good time at the show. But those instances of harassment shouldn’t have happened at all, and that they did under no clear-cut instructions about what to do sadly invites the continuation of such behavior, or even worse.

I don’t understand why there’s no such written policy about what is not tolerated and what to do when this happens. Is there anyone at Comic-Con able to explain this? Does a similar written policy exist in the booklets for other conventions (SF, comics or otherwise) that could be used as a model? Can it be adapted or adapted, and enforced, for Comic-Con? As the leading event of the comics and pop culture world, Comic-Con should work to make everyone who attends feel comfortable and safe.

There is no good reason why this kind of behavior is even remotely tolerated, and no excuse for Comic-Con not to take steps to address it. I’ve written sexual-harassment policies myself — trust me, they’re not rocket surgery. If my client had 125,000 attendees’ worth of harassment complaints, I’d want one too, and pronto. It might take a few billable hourse to write, but it’d take a potential plaintiff’s lawyer just a little longer to allege that Comic-Con’s management was liable, even in some small part, for a particular incident.

(sigh) Things like this make it just a little bit easier to stay home from San Diego, even if it means missing out on seeing friends like John.

August 12, 2008

Not a dream! Not a hoax! Not an imaginary story!

Filed under: meta — Tom Bondurant @ 2:49 pm
Yeah, yeah, I know … another weekend gone by with no scans posted, and no new-comics roundups.

Well, this time I have a good excuse … I became a dad! Mary Helen (a/k/a the Best Wife Ever) and I welcomed our daughter Olivia into the world at 8:36 Central time on Saturday, August 9.

We did miss the big “08/08/08” convergence, but that’s OK. Everyone is home from the hospital now and we are getting Olivia adjusted to a good routine. (Obviously we are also adjusting to her.)

Naturally I hope she acquires her dad’s tastes in comics, space operas, etc. I put a Dean Trippe Supergirl print in her nursery, to get her started out right.


Anyway, gotta go — lots to do! Back before too long, I hope.

August 2, 2008

Well, this can’t be right.

Filed under: meta — Tom Bondurant @ 3:27 pm
So I just finished entering about a year’s worth of comics into the Vast Comics Library’s spreadsheet (I still have the nine issues of Trinity and this past week’s books to do), and looking at the bottom line appears to yield just over 10,000 individual issues.

Let me repeat that: Ten. Thousand. Comic. Books.

My Dad called me last week to ask how many I had, because he’d seen someone on “Jeopardy!” with, like, 1,500. I told him I didn’t know, and I ended up lowballing my estimate.

Still, I can’t quite believe it. It’s all there in the spreadsheet, but it’s an awfully big number.

I don’t know if I should feel proud, a little embarrassed, or some weird mixture of both….

August 1, 2008

Friday Night Fights

Filed under: birds of prey, friday night fights, meme — Tom Bondurant @ 11:05 pm
This time around, it’s Ladies’ Night! Bahlactus commands that at least one combatant must be female … but hey, look what I just happened to pull from an unorganized stack:


That’s right, it’s the classic throwdown between Barbara “Call Me Batgirl” Gordon and Katarina “Spy Smasher” Armstrong!


The stakes? How about control of a little ad hoc group of superfolk no one dares call the Birds Of Prey?


“But Tom,” you say, “Babs is in that wheelchair for a reason!” Yes, and that’s why Manhunter zapped Spy Smasher in the leg.


Although really, I tend to think it’s so that Barbara wouldn’t hurt her too badly….

Naturally, the multi-page spread which follows this bout shows that none of Babs’ operatives will go with Spy Smasher under any circumstances — but this isn’t called “Friday Night Friendships,” now is it?

[From “Whitewater Epilogue,” Birds Of Prey #108, September 2007. Written by Gail Simone, pencilled by Nicola Scott, inked by Doug Hazlewood, colored by Hi-Fi Designs, lettered by Travis Lanham.]

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