Saturday, November 9, 2013

Journey Into Amazing - episodes 1 to 5!

I have been doing a pretty terrible job of promoting it here, but the first five issues of the podcast I started with a friend of mine, Journey Into Amazing, are all available now for your listening pleasure.

There are many ways to listen:

  1. Using the player above
  2. On our official Tumblr page
  3. On our official Face page
  4. On iTunes
The podcast follows the adventures of two guys reading their way through all 700 issues of Amazing Spider-Man. In the first five episodes, we cover almost the full run of Steve Ditko, bringing us up to issue #34. Both of us were fairly new to Ditko's art and if nothing else this experience has turned us both into huge fans. I think if you listen (and especially if you read along) you will also be convinced!

Each episode also features some reviews of current comics in the second act of the show. You can skip that part if you want.

If you listen, we'd love to hear from you, so please leave comments here or on any of our other platforms listed above. Reviews on iTunes would be particularly appreciated, as it really helps us find an audience.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Random Thoughts on Previews #302


  • So after "Marvel Now" comes "All-New Marvel Now"? And they're still doing "point ones"? When will the insanity end? 
  • Inhuman #1 - I'll probably get the first issue. I'm reluctant to add more Marvel books to my pull list after finally cutting it down to a reasonable size, but I can't help it. I'm weak. 
  • All-New Invaders #1 - When did James Robinson switch over to Marvel? I'm always happy when people leave DC, but this book doesn't really have any appeal to me otherwise. John Cassaday covers, urgh.
  • Okay, that whole " = #1" makes no fucking sense. Who dreams up these gimmicks at Marvel? 
  • Avengers World #1 & 2 - Jonathan Hickman's Avengers epic is getting pretty freaking expensive to follow. Or, wait, is this replacing New Avengers? Hmm. All I know is that I'm not going to buy three Hickman Avengers books anymore after Infinity ends. Especially not $4 dollar ones that double-ship half the time. 
  • Black Widow #1 & 2 - Phil Noto on art. Sold. 
  • All-New X-Factor #1 & 2 - Peter David and Carmine Di Giandomenico. Tempting. But why is Gambit on this team? Blargh. 
  • Mighty Avengers #5 - I'm super into this series so far, so yeah, I'm in. Despite Greg Land's art.
  • There's a whole section of Inhumanity tie-ins and I don't really know what that is. I didn't realize there was some kind of event on top of the Inhuman series, and why isn't Inhuman #1 in the Inhumanity section? Confusing. Anyway, I'm probably just going to ignore all this.
  • Miracleman #1 & 2 - Alan Moore is credited as "the original writer," as in, his name doesn't appear in the description because he specifically requested not to be mentioned. This whole thing makes me a little uncomfortable. Don't think I'm gonna get this. Some of those covers are really nice, though. 
  • Empire of the Dead: Act One #1 - Written by George Romero with art by Alex Maleev. Meh, I don't know. I like Maleev, but do we really need this?
  • New Avengers #14 - Oh no, hey, this series is still going, and for some reason it's in a completely different section than the other Hickman Avengers titles. I don't get it. Also, which one of these books will I have to drop?
  • The Amazing Spider-Man: The Movie Adaptation #1 - WHY?
  • Daredevil #35 - Man, Chris Samnee is still drawing this? This is the book that I most regret dropping this year. Why did I do that?!
  • I kinda want that Warlock collection.
Dark Horse
  • I don't really have anything to say about any of these books. Except maybe that Brian Wood's run on Conan the Barbarian better end soon because I'm like 15 issues behind and for some reason I can't stop buying it anyway and the issues are just gonna keep piling up until it ends.
DC Comics
  • Everything looks awful.
  • Gothtopia lolz
  • Catwoman is the new Robin?!
  • What's wrong with Hal Jordan's face?!
  • Deadly Class #1 - I don't know, I'm not really feeling it, but I'll probably try the first issue.
  • EGOs #1 - Same.
  • Bad Dog #6 - OMG, why did it take like a million years for this last issue to come out!?
  • Final issue of Prophet! Sad. Such a great book. 
  • The Midas Flesh #2 (of 8) (Boom) - That looks kinda cool. Never saw the solicits for the first issue, but I'll try to remember to pick it up if they have it in the store. 
  • RASL: The Complete Edition HC - I want that.
  • I don't really understand the appeal of a Twilight Zone ongoing series.
  • Bad Ass #1 (Dynamite) - "If Kick-Ass and Deadpool had  a baby, it would be bad ass!" That sounds awful.
  • Apparently Al Ewing's run on Jennifer Blood is pretty good. I should check that out.
  • Everything that Valiant is publishing right now looks like all right. I kinda wish I hadn't dropped Harbinger.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Review: Superman/Wonder Woman #1

This post was adapted and expanded from some tweets I tweeted earlier. It is also getting cross-posted to Tumblr.

There was a guy at the comic book shop this evening when I went to pick up my comics. He's often there. He's kinda cool. I like him. We talked. He convinced me to buy a comic book that I would never in a million years have picked up otherwise. Superman/Wonder Woman #1. 

Disclaimer #1: This is the first DC book I've bought in forever. I can't even remember the last time I bought a DC book. 

Disclaimer #2: I have zero interest in Superman and Wonder Woman as a couple. The idea does nothing for me. In fact, when it was first announced, I found it kind of revolting and it left a bad taste in my mouth. 

Disclaimer #3: I hate Tony Daniel's art. 

Disclaimer #4: I expected to hate this in every way imaginable. But the dude was so enthusiastic about it. He said it was his favourite single issue of the year and he's a huge Wonder Woman fan and he was skeptical about the whole super-couple thing, too, and as far as I can tell, he's a discerning comic reader with a fine taste. So I thought, sure, why not?

Anyway, I read it. And it was... kinda meh? The art is exactly as bad as I expected it to be, but I kind of enjoyed the characters voices. Both of them. I think Charles Soule is a good writer and he has a pretty good grasp of these characters. As much as I can tell from a first issue anyway. He makes the super-couple idea work better than thought possible. I could almost buy the idea if I tried to forget that it's so completely unnecessary.

But where it fell apart for me was the panels where Superman and Wonder Woman kinda almost but not really have sex in silhouette with the red background, superimposed on the fight with Doomsday. There are at least three things wrong with just those two pages:

1. The silhouette thing is just cheesy and awful, not to mention that Tony Daniel apparently doesn't understand how silhouettes work. Like, he doesn't get the concept of characters being lit from behind? It would have been easy enough to set the scene in front of a window or by candle light or something, but no, they're actually lying on the bed and they're wearing clothes and the clothes are lit normally but their skin is pitch black for some reason? I don't even know if I'm explaining this properly but it makes NO SENSE.

2. It's just unnecessary. Like, yeah, we get it. They're a couple. They're dating. That implies that they're probably being intimate with each other in one way or another. If they had given us some gratuitous money shot, that would've been something. It would have been an awful thing, but still at thing. But this tacky softcore mildly suggestive interrupted coitus scene just adds nothing.

3. The whole cutting back and forth between violence and a (non-)sex scene... I've seen it before and I'm tired of it.

Aside from that, it was an okay issue with some decent writing and some mediocre-to-bad art. Also, Dooomsday, who is the most boring villain ever. 

Something I had forgotten about DC Comics that I really dislike: Those colour-coded captions for the interior monologues with the character logos. Like, yeah, I get it, it's Superman's thoughts. You didn't have to make it that obvious, I could've figured it out on my own. 

Also, I guess people still hate the Justice League in the New 52. Like civilians, I mean. Normal people inside the fictional universe. They hate super-heroes. Probably because super-heroes in the New 52 are jerks. That was something I really hated about the reboot but I figured it would have changed by now. Apparently not.

The more I think about this, the more I regret buying this comic. I also realize now that some part of me was genuinely (and almost secretly) hoping that this comic would surprise me and win me over. I really miss these characters. I haven't touched DC's books for ages but I wanted to read this and find out that I'd been missing something. I wanted DC to prove me wrong. But no, not reading DC comics was absolutely the right decision to make.

In a way, the fact that this comic book didn't turn out that bad in spite of everything is almost worst. If it had been a truly horrible comic with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, I'd just be like, whatever, DC sucks. But this was almost halfway decent. I could at least see that there was some potential there, but that just ends up being a total bummer because it's dragged down by the sheer DC-ness of it, by which I mean everything that I've come to associate with DC Comics since the New 52, like what a grim and depressing world it is and how awful and unhappy all the characters seem to be and the shitty Jim Lee clone art that's so dreary it makes you want to never look at a comic book again.

Ugh. Don't read the New 52, kids. It's depressing.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Journey Into Amazing Episode 001

Well, I have been busy doing things. Things like moving and working and just about anything other than writing about comics on this blog. But I warned you something was coming, and now it has arrived.

Welcome to the first episode of Journey Into Amazing, a new podcast about two dudes (myself and co-host Ariel Esteban Cayer) reading their way through all 700 issues of Amazing Spider-Man.

This week we jump right in with the first five issues, written by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, and featuring the first appearances of The Chameleon, The Vulture, Dr. Octopus and The Sandman.

In the second half of the show, we talk about some more recent comics, including Trillium #3, Mara #6, some Robocop mini-series and Mighty Avengers #1 and #2.

I'm super-excited about this project and it seems like the perfect excuse for me to start posting on this blog again. Rising from the ashes, etc.

Please help spread the word by sharing, tweeting, tumblring and facebooking. And tell us what you think in the comments below. In the near-future, we'll have a dedicated page for this podcast on tumblr, where we will also be posting panels from the comic books we review, but I will continue to cross-post new episodes to this blog each week.


00:00:00 - intro & theme song


00:01:30 - jumping right into our discussion of AMS #1-5
00:04:45 - Spidey’s first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15
00:13:55 - AMS #1: first appearance of The Chameleon, guest appearance by the Fantastic Four, Spidey and Johnny Storm BFFs
00:21:16 - ASM #2: first appearance of The Vulture, first appearance of the Tinkerer
00:22:13 - ASM #3: first appearance of Dr. Octopus, Steve Ditko’s art
00:28:39 - ASM #4: first appearance of Sandman, J. Jonah Jameson as antagonist
00:37:58 - ASM #5: guest appearances by Dr. Doom and the Fantastic Four
00:41:30 - closing words on AMS #1-5, what’s up with the spidey signal?


00:43:32 - moving on to weekly comic reviews
00:44:05 - Trillium #1-3, by Jeff Lemire and Jose Vilarrubia
00:52:10 - Mara #1-6, by Brian Wood, Ming Doyle, Jordie Bellaire
01:00:30 - Robocop: Last Stand #1-3, by Frank Miller, Steven Grant, Korkut Oztekin, Michael Garland, with covers by Declan Shalvey
01:04:55 - Mighty Avengers #1-2, by Al Ewing, Greg Land, Jay Leisten, Frank D’Armata

01:18:50 - closing comments

Sunday, September 29, 2013


Hey, everyone. I haven't updated this blog in about 20 months. But I'm preparing a comeback. And it's going to be... amazing.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The obligatory "Before Watchmen" reaction post

Might as well get this one out of the way.

The story is splattered all over the internet this morning, including on DC's official blog, The Source, (which appears to be unable to deal with the heavy traffic as I write this), various mainstream entertainment news sites and the usual suspects in the comics web. But in case you haven't heard, it boils down to this: DC is releasing a series of miniseries collectively called "Before Watchmen" (I guess they couldn't come up with anything better than an obvious working title) by various writers and artists. Each series focuses on a different character from the original series/graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Among the creators involved are Brian Azzarello, J. Michael Straczynski, Darwyn Cooke and Amanda Conner.

Here's a quote from the announcement on The Source:

“It’s our responsibility as publishers to find new ways to keep all of our characters relevant,” said DC Entertainment Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee. “After twenty five years, the Watchmen are classic characters whose time has come for new stories to be told. We sought out the best writers and artists in the industry to build on the complex mythology of the original.”
It's times like these that I'm so happy I decided to name this blog "Irrelevant Comics." I'm so glad that DiDio and Lee hired JMS to make this classic work "relevant" again. Remember when he was hired to make Superman relevant? That was the time Superman went on a long, boring walk across America where nothing happened and nobody gave a shit. Not even JMS, apparently, since he couldn't be bothered to finish it.

Yeah, it's pretty depressing that JMS is considered one of the "best writers in the industry," but it's not like it makes a big difference to me in the end, since I wasn't planning on reading these books anyway.

What I find more upsetting about the announcement is the confirmation of Darwyn Cooke's involvement in the project. Other than Amanda Connor, he's the only creator involved I really give a shit about, and sadly I am going to find it incredibly difficult to take him seriously after this. Remember this video?

In it, Cooke talks about how he doesn't plan to return to superhero comics "in any big way" (what could be bigger than a Watchmen prequel?!), at least not until the industry stops "catering to the perverted needs of 45-year-old men."

I remember when this video was first posted, a lot of people were upset about his comment on lesbian heroes. It bothered me too, but I chose to give him the benefit of the doubt at the time because I still had respect for him as a creator and thought his point was mostly about superhero comics not being for kids anymore. (Who says lesbian characters can't be for kids? But let's not get into that right now.)

But now that we know he's a hypocrite and a profiteer? I'm not feeling so generous. Watchmen (along with Frank Miller's Batman work in the 1980s) is one of the seminal works responsible for the "maturing" of superhero comics' content. It features graphic violence, foul language, sex and even rape - all the things Cooke claims have no place in superhero comics. So what the fuck?

That DC would eventually go back to milk the Watchmen cash cow seemed like an inevitability. The question was when it and how it would happen. And with or without Alan Moore's blessings. There's a lot of history here, and I'm not sure there's much point in me going over it again. In a nutshell, relations between Moore and DC have been bad ever since he stopped working for them, and a lot of it was directly related who owns the rights to these characters.

My friend and fellow blogger Alan David Doane has written a very persuasive short piece on why DC's decision to go ahead with the Watchmen prequels despite Alan Moore's objections is (in his opinion) unethical. You can read it here, and if you agree with it you can also sign the petition.

I agree with a lot of what that petition says, and that's why I'm sharing it here and encouraging people to read it and decide for themselves. Personally, I don't feel strongly enough about it to add my name to the list. I think the prequels are in very poor taste. I think Alan Moore got the shitty end of the stick. But it's also not that different from the way Marvel treated Kirby, or the way DC treated Siegel and Shuster. I'm not saying that two or three wrongs make a right, or that we should ignore one injustice because there are other injustices out there. It's just that I've realized and more or less come to terms with the fact that DC and Marvel are big, ugly, profit-driven corporations, which is pretty much synonymous with unethical behaviour. What they're doing here is ugly, but so is everything else they do. And if I'm going to start signing petitions over this case, then I might as well stop supporting them completely and never buy another one of their books, or else I'm going to feel like a total hypocrite.

That's just my take on it. I think being a fan of (or consumer of) any mass entertainment necessarily involves a certain amount of cognitive dissonance and ethical negotiations with oneself. I feel the same way about television and Hollywood and video games. Hell, I feel that way about EVERYTHING I spend my money on, since it's all part of a giant system I am generally opposed to. (Call it capitalism, I suppose.) Again, I'm not saying the way to deal with these concerns is to shove them at the bottom of your psyche and ignore them. It's important to be aware of these things that make us uncomfortable, and to think and write and talk about them, and whenever possible try to fight them. And if you decide that the best way to do this is for you to sign the petition, then sign it. For me, it isn't.

(Whoa! Did I ever get side-tracked, there!)

I'm not going to buy any of these Watchmen prequels, and I feel this is the best way to send a message to DC. A few hundred names on a petition is not going to do much. The only thing that's going to make a difference at the end of the day is whether the books sell well or not.

And here comes the depressing part: Of course they're going to sell well. They're going to be at the top of the charts and (like the New 52) they will be deemed a success. Before the books come out, Dan DiDio is going to be quoted saying he's puzzled that fans are reacting negatively without having read the books. Guaranteed. And then after the books have come out, if anybody points out that they sucked (after having read them), he's going to point out that they were best-sellers, so obviously the opinion of that reader doesn't matter.

Notice the catch-22 here? Our opinion doesn't matter until we've bought and read the book. And once we've bought and read the book, our opinion doesn't matter because we've already paid for it.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Is It Wednesday Yet?

I'm glad I managed to write some comics reviews last week and I hope I can keep the momentum going. But as always, there are things happening in live that could possibly get in the way.

Plus, I thought I'd have lots of time to read comics after finishing A Clash of Kings, but I couldn't help it and bought A Storm of Swords and started reading it this morning on the way to work. I'm sorry.

Anyway. Some new comics this week:

  • Animal Man #6 (DC)
  • Swamp Thing #6 (DC)
  • Sweet Tooth #30 (DC)
  • Alpha Girl #1 (Image)
  • Fatale #2 (Image)
  • Amazing Spider-Man #679 (Marvel)
  • Punisher #8 (Marvel)
  • Winter Soldier #1 (Marvel)
I've fallen behind on both of those DC titles, so I hope they haven't started sucking and I'm not even aware of it. I'll try to catch up on them before Wednesday and let you know what I think.

Sweet Tooth is back on track now after a brief flashback story about the origins of the plague, which was illustrated (quite nicely) by Matt Kindt. That flashback made me a little uncomfortable for reasons that I still want to write about someday, but probably not today. (Hint: cultural appropriation.) But I'm not letting that turn me off too much, because other than that one thing, Sweet Tooth is still my favourite comic.

I've put Alpha Girl on the list even though I'm not totally convinced that I'm going to get it myself, but it's a new series from Image so it's probably at least worth flipping through at the store. Something to do with zombies, unfortunately. I'm a bit tired of zombies and vampires.

Fatale #1 was great, so I'm really looking forward to the second issue.

And Winter Soldier... Blargh. I'm about 90% sure I'm not going to buy that, unless I get a sudden urge to spend more money than I should. which happens a lot, so it's not completely out of the question.

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