Sunday, September 19, 2010

7 reasons Tracie Mauk & other comic fans should like Football!!

Ok, from time to time, I've teased Tracie that she should watch football for one reason or another. Well I've complied a list that any geek can rally behind. Comic readers, yes YOU! Are you ready for some FOOTBALL??!

Reason #1
The Ravens
Bet you didn't know that the goth girl from the Teen Titans had her own football team?

Reason #2
The Falcons
That's right, Captain America's buddy has his own team, too!

Reason# 3
Booster Gold & Guy Gardner
Yes, Booster player "future" football and cheated, only to have to give his "Legion" Heisman award back. And everyone knows that in college, Guy Gardner was a Defensive All Star player back in college. (I couldn't find which school)

Reason# 4

Nuff, Said. All Heroes have shoulder pads?

Reason# 5
Spartans of Michigan State
THIS IS SPARTA!!!!!!!! Too bad you're not allowed 300 players on a team.

Reason# 6
Titans are go!

Reason #7
Hey Bub, They are the best at what they do.

Superman Secret Origins - Re-reviewed

Originally I posted this on our other blog. But I wanted to revisit this for the 6th issue that came out last month. I really didn't change anything, if you read this, but I wanted to emphasis just how good this mini sereis was. Check it out, or wait for the trade.

Superman Secret Origins #5 hit the stands last week, and much has been written and debated about by my peers. I usually jump right away and make my thoughts known before I’ve had time to absorb something over time. I was quick to praise Superman Returns, but had I given it some time, I feel I would have been a lot more critical. I still love the movie, but with time, I’m, able to see more of its true flaws. Avoiding the same mistake with Superman Secret origins, I was waiting for this series to end before I added my 2 cents, but after reading issue #5, I felt the time was now to voice my opinion.

To take on the task of retelling his origin story, a story that has been done over, time and time again, has to be intimidating. Especially for a character as iconic as Superman. There are few other characters that have been molded and remolded to fit into modern times such as Batman, Woman Woman, James Bond, Captain America, Buck Rogers, The Lone Ranger, and Superman. What can a writer tell that hasn’t been told already? How many ways can one write, “Stranger Visitor raised by mid-western farming couple… Powers beyond mortal man… Mild manner reporter at a… Truth, Justice, and the American way? Been there, done that… ten fold! What I can say is that Geoff Johns and Gary Frank are both masters of their craft and have done something really special here. They have merged the best traits of what made me like John Byrne’s Man of Steel, and Mark Waid’s Birthright to have the most fulfilling, and compact Origin of Superman. At this point, only issues one through five have hit the stands, and Secret Origins has covered Superman’s discovery in the field, the introduction to the Legion, the first days of employment at the Daily Planet and introduction to Lex Luthor. Each one of these “first”, found me getting goose bumps as if I was seeing a bit of history unfolding right before my eyes. We all know the major details of Kal-el’s plot to Clark, then to Superman, but the tiny moments between Superman and Jimmy having an awkward discussion about taking his picture, or Lois getting mad at Clark for showing signs of a backbone and relating to a parental situation, only to spill milk all over her to cover up a thoughtful revealing moment. Honestly, I feel like I’m looking into a DC History window and learning about the moments, in between the “big” moments. I really am enjoying this series.

This creative team first joined forces on the comic title, Action Comics, where they re-introduced the modern Legion of Super-Heroes, and re-told the background on Brainiac, and the bottled city of Kandor. Not only was this a compelling story that unleashed the “New Krypton” story arch, it also renewed Brainiac as one of Superman’s greatest enemies. This was amplified ten fold when at the end of the story, where Brainiac’s actions lead to the death of Clark’s adopted father, Jonathan Kent. In fact I can say that the first issue in that new Brainiac story line (Action Comics issue #866), was my favorite single Superman issue of all time.

Gary Frank’s style of drawing Superman, is a perfect homage to Christopher Reeve’s face and body style of the Superman movies. Haunting and unique, Frank’s art takes me back to what made me fall in love with the Heroic, olympic build of Superman, and the bumbling oafish mannerisms of Clark Kent. Along with John’s storytelling and realistic dialog, I found their run on Superman to rekindle and fix the ho hum/status quo Superman that had plagued the title after the One Year Later story arch. I was enjoying John’s Superman stories before his team-up with Frank, but Gary’s art was such a spark of realism and energy that I’ve not felt with Superman ever. So when I heard Johns and Frank were leaving Action Comics to create “Superman Secret Origins”, I felt, who better to usher in and re-introduce Superman to the newest modern age?

I have heard many arguments against making Clark look like Christopher Reeve, but this isn’t new in comics. Nick Fury looks like Samuel L. Jackson in the Ultimates, Norman Osborne is drawn to look like Tommy Lee Jones, by Mike Deodato, in Dark Avengers. Every know’s that Alex Ross models many of his renditions to look like famous faces to add a bit of realism and movie star power to his art. Why is it so different to have the first real Comic book movie star immortalized as the icon he helped to make larger than life? To many people, when you say Superman, Reeve’s face pop’s in their minds. I find it fitting and so visually unique to any version I’ve seen done before, I can’t help but like the power behind Gary Frank’s pencil. I have been a fan of Frank’s art, since his days on Peter David’s Supergirl. He drew a different Superman then, and was a quality artist, but it wasn’t until I saw his art on Supreme Powers, that I began to really take note of his skill. Hovering on the verge of realistic, Frank’s visual storytelling ability is worth buying any comic for his art, alone. And just be thankful Gary isn’t a fan of the 70’s Superman musical.

My one complaint about the series, is that so far, they haven’t really focused on the “Krypton” side of Superman’s birth. They really didn’t go into Jor-El and Lara’s fateful launch of baby Kal-el as the Planet Begins to crumble around them. The only real reason I can come up with for this, is due to the fact that over the last year in all the Superman books, the “New Krypton” story has touched details of this aspect and I’m sure Geoff is avoiding retelling what has been told recently. I guess this seems ok, but as the years go by and people read this great story in trade paperback and other formats, the lack of a Krypton background will seem lacking and I feel will hurt the overall layout of who Superman is. For now, though, the core books have done a great job filling in this gap.

Trying to detach myself and come off as an unbiased comic book nerd was difficult for this particular story. As many of you know, I’m a very large Superman Fanboy. He’s the character who got me into comics, and was the “gateway” drug that lead me into reading all the other comics I read today. I feel I’m more critical and caring of this character then I would be for any other title I read. I’ve seen/read just about every “origin” story done on Clark, in any medium. From the 1978 Superman movie, The Superman cartoons, The Man of Steel Mini-Series by John Byrne, The television show Smallville, The Mini-Series Birthright by Mark Waid, and many random Annuals and Specials through the years, each re-hashing specific details of Superman’s beginnings. Without using too much hyperbole, Geoff Johns and Gary Frank have combined to make what has been the most enjoyable read of Superman I can ever remember collecting. Let me sum up Superman Secret Origins in one word. “Awesome”. The story really feels like a layout and screen play for a Superman movie. DC Comics, do not break up this team, and maybe see about a film adaptation, or a run on the very dull Justice League?
If you are a fan of Superman, I can’t recommend this book enough.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

This Makes Me So Happy Right Now

Welcome to another edition of "I Love Comics So Much, You Guys."

Comic Book Resources unveiled some of the interior art from the "Big Time" Amazing Spider-Man storyline, featuring the return of artist Humberto Ramos.

I know his stuff isn't for everyone these days but man it makes me happy.

And I am at a point where I will take any happy I can get.