That’s Okay With Me

There’s a misconception that The Simpsons and Family Guy are alike because they reference things. In fact, these days, nearly any show/movie/comic book that references another piece of work risks being labeled as Family Guy-style. Or is explained as “You know, like Family Guy.” Worse yet, someone pulls out “Family Guy-esque.” Yeah, you took a film class or two, Me (or person incredibly similar to me). You’re not that smart! Anyway, The Simpsons, and other works on that level pulled off references, or “allusions,” if you will with skill, precision, and purpose. The gag wasn’t based on you knowing the reference (South Park has shit on Family Guy far better than I ever could, so please view their “Cartoon Wars” episodes if you don’t know what I’m talking about). The gag was based on if it was funny or not, and if you got the reference, all the better for you. And if you didn’t get the reference, but learned it later at college while getting your head filled with literature and foreign films and naive political notions, well then BULLY FOR YOU! That made what The Simpsons writers had pulled off all the more impressive.

Why, Paul? Why are you going off on Simpsons and Family Guy and writing vaguely like a Dusty Rhodes promo on your blog about comics that you haven’t posted on in nearly a year?

Well.

It’s cause of Hawkeye. I know. Groan. Fart. We covered this in 20 other posts. But Hawkeye has expanded in scope in its second year. The first year focused on Hawkeye (Clint Barton), and what he did on his non-super hero-ing days. The creative team was headed up by writer Matt Fraction and artist David Aja, with Javier Pulido taking on issues 4&5. The second year has seen the book grow into almost two books (which will surely converge again into one), following both Barton, and his female protege Kate Bishop, with the focus alternating monthly. Also alternating monthly, are the art teams, with Aja telling Barton’s tale, and Annie Wu telling Bishop’s (Though Pulido got Kate’s tale going in the Annual).

Anyway, we’re talking about the Kate issues. The Annual, and issues 14 and 16.

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 10.04.04 PMThis is from the second to last page in the Annual. I missed the reference at first, but then my friend Jeff pointed it out while we were geekily talking about issue 14 coming out. The cat with a taste for a specific brand of cat food is a call-out to Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye starring Elliott Gould as Raymond Chandler’s Private Eye Phillip Marlowe.

The annual’s tease paid off with cat food aisle conversations in 14 and 16 between Kate and an unnamed P.I. that looks quite a bit like Mr. Gould did back in 1973.

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 7.56.40 PMGoing back to the hippie women for a moment, they also  happen to be dead ringers for Marlowe’s neighbors from the film. And maybe they have his cat? (“What do I need a cat for? I got a girl…”)

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The latest issue also visually references the characters of Dr. Verringer and Roger Wade from the film, while also bringing in a bit of the parasitic relationship as well. Henry Gibson, who played Verringer in The Long Goodbye, is an easy visual shorthand for villain. Just ask Tom Hanks.

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So why does it matter? How is this just not the same thing I derided Family Guy for, except for people who took a film class about the films of Kubrick and Altman? Because rather than dealing in the surface level of “We like the same things,” Fraction, Wu and Pulido are communicating through the reference. It’s part wink, part context, and for those not in on the references, part “Go check these books out at the library Reading Rainbow episode wrap-up” to get readers to take in the art that played a part in influencing this story.

Modern storytelling is constantly derided by lazy people across all mediums as “having been done before.” Well, good for you, enjoy your show about a carefully workshopped marketing construct masquerading as reality. Things have been done before yes, but sometimes there’s an art in acknowledging it, and maybe even in saying that we’re all trying to tell one big story. Yeah. That’s it. My wrap-up is that Fraction and Wu are bringing Altman’s Long Goodbye into the Marvel Universe. I can’t wait til Marlowe brushes off Thanos with a “That’s okay with me” as the Mad Titan wishes half the universe into non-existence one more time.

Going back to the series as a whole, though, it seems to be exploring many of the themes and storytelling techniques that were present in many of Altman’s films: Humanism. Non-conformity. Expansive messed up families. Overlapping dialogue. Telling a story from a dog’s perspective-no, wait. That one doesn’t really fit.

What I’m saying here (if I’m conveying anything coherently at all), is that Fraction and his many talented collaborators are telling a fantastic story, and they’re doing so using the paints, the ingredients, the whatever-metaphor-you-want-to-insert-here elements that make Altman films like The Long Goodbye great to make their story even more richer and satisfying.

 

 

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Read This Comic For Charity: Hawkeye #7

“Paul, you’re always talking about Hawkeye! What’s so great about it?”

Well, anonymous reader that found this site while searching for porn, I believe I’ve written about it extensively. I’ve mostly said things like: “It’s awesome.” “Hawkeye is awesome. Both the character AND the book.” “I have a writer crush on Matt Fraction.” “David Aja is ridiculously talented in his inventive panel layout and storytelling.” “Matt Hollingsworth purples all over the place in a spectacular manner.” And then repeated them with each issue that has come out.

Screen Shot 2012-10-18 at 8.43.57 PMThis panel is from issue #3. The car chase issue. It’s full of action and sexy times.

Screen Shot 2012-10-18 at 8.42.21 PMAnyway, I got you in here with promises of charity (or porn, if you googled “porn” and this came up as a result of me typing “porn” earlier.). Hawkeye #7, which comes out on Wednesday, January 30th, is about Clint Barton and Kate Bishop (both heroes with the codename ‘Hawkeye’) and how they deal with a fictional version of Hurricane Sandy (I do not give any fucks if it’s actually superstorm Sandy or whatever. It does not matter. Shut up, Al Roker). Writer Matt Fraction is donating his royalties to charity, so in buying this comic, you’re not only validating my opinion by listening to my recommendation, but you’re also doing a good thing for people.

You can also get issues #1-6 of Hawkeye at a slight discount, thanks to a sale on Comixology. For those who are lazy or don’t know how to use the internet, here is a link for you: http://www.comixology.com/Hawkeye/comics-series/8445

So to recap, Issues #1-6: Awesome, great comic. Issue #7, haven’t read it yet, but it will likely be pretty damn good, and some of the money goes to charity so you can feel good and stuff.

 

 

It’s Christmas Time in Hollis, Queens

John McClane: “How about some Christmas music?”

Argyle: “MAN, this IS Christmas music!”

– John McTiernan’s Die Hard, 1988

There are few Christmas songs that are better than Run DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis.” There are few songs, period, that are better. Go ahead, play this track down as you read through this post (OR, play down my awesome Xmas playlist on Spotify: Keep Christmas in Die hard).

Christmas comics! So, it’s the holiday season (Note: I will used “Christmas” and “Holiday” interchangeably because I don’t give a shit about being all-inclusive OR about “keeping Christmas” in things. The exception being of course, Die Hard, as all Die Hard films should take place at Christmas), and while some of us like to contemplate realities in which we’ve never been born or look back in the ways that we’ve fallen short in helping our fellow man, some of us just want to relax and enjoy some Yuletide specials in the form of television, movies, or…COMICS!

So I scanned through the comic books that I own. And, it turns out I don’t have a lot of holiday/Xmas comic books anymore (I miss you so much, Howard the Duck Holiday Special!). And on top of that, most of them follow a couple of basic formulas:

1) Hero fights villain or criminal. They stop fighting in recognition of the season, and drink eggnog, or rebuild the orphanage they’ve just wrecked with their super powered fight.

2) Earthbound hero explains holiday customs to alien hero. Alien hero doesn’t get it. BUT THEN THEY DO. “Hark, the herald angels siiiing…”

3) Badass heroes that can’t take part in holiday mushiness are ultimately moved by it and then partake. (Wolverine says “Aw, shucks bub,” and drinks eggnog.)

Sometimes, when done well, these scenarios can work out (Both in Batman: The Animated Series and in the Justice League animated series. Both great, but not comics, so we shan’t be discussing them now!) But most of the time they beat your head in with a hammer with holiday “cheer” like an ABC Family original movie starring Jenny McCarthy.

Exhibit 1: The DC Comics 2009 Holiday Special. There are ten…TEN stories in this comic. Nine of them are the mediocre stuff I’ve described. Some decent artwork that elevates it a bit, but mainly the hammering in the head thing with the messaging and Zuzu’s flowers and such. The one in the bunch that’s good? The one with NO FUCKING WORDS.

Screen Shot 2012-12-21 at 6.03.59 PM

 

Batman pursues a criminal dressed as Santa Claus in this short by Jay Faerber and Peter Nguyen. He chases the criminal into a warehouse full of Santas, who are not the criminal’s buddies, but a pack of innocent Santas that invite Batman to share milk and cookies with them after he’s successfully stopped the robber.

The rest of the comic involves Snow Golems, the Flash not buying a present for his wife (and wackiness ensues!), and some other garbage that’s not worth your time or mine. I’m really going contrary to my own purposes in starting this blog in being so dismissive of this comic, but I feel I need the context of the bad in order to make y’all appreciate the good.

The Last Christmas by Gerry Duggan, Brian Poeshn and Rick Remender is a post-apocalyptic romp, that puts Santa Claus and his crew into a blend of und comedy mixed with a redemption/revenge tale. Marauders attack The North Pole and kill Mrs. Claus. Santa can’t die though, because one kid still believes in him. What starts as an attempt to KILL said child quickly turns into a heartwarming tale in which everyone learns the true meaning of Christmas and to love again. Well, not really, but Santa, his elves, and a bunch of survivors mess some dudes up. And a kid gets a bike.

IMG_0811

 

The Last Christmas contains plenty of one-liner jokes and references to classic Christmas specials and tales, but these are ornaments to a tree built on a hilarious and fucked up concept of a gun toting Santa Claus in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. This comic is doing it’s own thing, and it does it well.

And then there’s Hawkeye #6. It’s been two weeks, right? So it’s about time for me to shower praise yet again on my favorite comic book for delivering a solid holiday jam. There’s a Spotify playlist created by David Aja, the artist of this fine comic book, to go along with it as you read: Hawkeye #6. But anyway, Aja, Matt Fraction, and the rest of the gang (Sorry Chris Eliopoulos and Matt Hollingsworth, carpal tunnel…shit, I typed their names anyway…dammit!).

Screen Shot 2012-12-21 at 6.22.53 PM

Anyway, the whole Hawkeye team puts together a great book that not only builds on the issues that have come before it, but presents a solid standalone tale of a man who feels the need to cut loose from his various entanglements, both for his sake and for the sake of others.

Screen Shot 2012-12-21 at 6.23.32 PM

 

It seems easier for him to leave. But he stays. And watches a Christmas special with some neighbor kids.

Screen Shot 2012-12-21 at 6.24.10 PM

 

It’s kind of the “It’s a Wonderful Life” scenario. A good man talked out of a bad decision by realizing what it is he has, and that he’s not alone, and he should fight for it. But it’s not presented as an homage to that. There’s no point where Clint Barton wishes he had never been born. He’s just a crime fighter who happens to find a sense of responsibility and community during the holidays (after being severely beaten by a gang of trashy gangsters). This is why people refer to films like Die Hard, or Kiss Kiss Bang Bang as their favorite holiday movies. The creators here are just trying to tell a good story that just happens to take place during the holidays. They’re not forcing goodwill or nostalgia for holiday specials past down the reader’s throat.

But anyway, so that’s 2.1 Christmas comics that I like a lot! You can buy Hawkeye or the DC Holiday Special (but don’t read the DC Holiday Special) on Comixology, or at your local comic shop. The Last Christmas seems to only be in print at the moment, so pick that up at your shop or on Amazon.

Also, I seem to recall a classic Superman story where his rocket lands in the North Pole rather than Smallville. Someone please tell me if this exists, as my googling cannot find proof at the moment. If it does exist, it’s pretty enjoyable. If it doesn’t exist…well, then someone get me a job writing DC’s next Holiday Special! Hypocrisy!

 

Things I Loved About Comics This Year Part One

Because I either won’t be able to limit myself to a Top 10 or have enough content to make it to Top 10! Also, why be like everyone else, when I can be a quirky variation on everyone else instead? Ha-HA! Merry Christmas you old building and loan!

Hawkeye

Screen Shot 2012-12-06 at 9.10.23 PM Screen Shot 2012-08-01 at 8.54.12 PM

 

I think I’ve stressed how much I love this comic. IF you’re not a jerk, I will make sure it finds its way into your stocking this year (However, I have very low levels of consideration for jerkdom, so you likely ARE a jerk and will get nothing. Buy your own comics, cheapskate!) Anyway, Matt Fraction, David Aja, Javier Pulido are jamming a metric shit-ton into each and every issue of this series about the “Avenger that’s just a dude.” They’re joined by Matt Hollingsworth on color and Chris Eliopoulos rocking some sick fonts as letterer.

This is like a really advanced “How-to” comic book. In action scenes the characters MOVE, the colors POP (“Pop-pop!” – Magnitude), and other great stuff happens that I would put in CAPITAL LETTERS. The conversation scenes are also a welcome change from the “copy and paste the same head while borrowing the pacing from a Mamet film” scenes that have invaded comics in the past ten years under the guise of “inventive” and “mature.”

Screen Shot 2012-09-08 at 1.29.16 PM

 

Fraction’s take also quickly expands beyond the “Avenger who’s just a dude” logline into “Avenger who’s just a dude and wants to make up for the crappy things he’s done but might still do more crappy things. Oh, and he has a female sidekick who he probably shouldn’t be a role model for, but it totally works and their relationship is screwed up and sweet, but you can’t help but kind of want them to kiss. Once. Even though she’s barely 18 (can’t wait to see what search results that gets me) and he’s 30 something. Oh, and ARROWS and PURPLE!” Ahem. I believe I got a bit carried away, but I’ve been a big fan of Hawkeye for years, mostly based on his look and a “Captain America can’t tell me what to do!” attitude that had carried over the years since Stan Lee was writing him. So it’s nice to have a GREAT Hawkeye book to back up my love of a character who can often be written pretty crappily (see the past 10 years of comics – Smilin’ Stan).

The Sixth Gun

Screen Shot 2012-08-27 at 8.57.12 PM

The Sixth Gun is a western-action-horror (with a smidge of comedy) comic book written by Cullen Bunn with art by Brian Hurtt. Like Hawkeye, its creators know how to do great action, while creating memorable characters that you’ll care about. Drake Sinclair starts out as the typical “man with no name” but quickly becomes “guy with a name and checkered past chock full of self-loathing that maybe has a heart of gold,” and Becky, while starting in the “damsel” role has been slowly growing into her own as well. The first six issues are EPIC and jam packed. Like you’ll feel like the bartender did a couple rounds of buyback. Cullen Bunn and Brian Hurtt, ladies and gents: the generous bartenders of COMICS! Tip them well!

It also has monks with guns, ghouls with guns, creepy hooded guys with guns…AND THE GUNS ARE MAGIC (well, 6 of them).

Screen Shot 2012-08-27 at 8.58.22 PM

Some of you might read this rambling premise summary and say “That sounds like a great movie.”

Jonah-hex-posterNo. Shut up. That would NOT be a great movie. It’s already a great comic book, it doesn’t NEED to be translated to the big screen. None of them do. Didn’t I say shut up already? Shut up.

Saga

Screen Shot 2012-09-12 at 9.21.46 PM Screen Shot 2012-09-12 at 9.20.01 PMBabies giggling! Arms getting cut off! Saga has it all!

No, but seriously, Saga does have it all (most importantly, action und comedy). Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples have BROUGHT the noise and that noise is a Girl Talk-style jam of Action, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror, and Comedy. THEN that jam is backing a classic boy meets girl, boy knocks girl up, girl has (girl) baby,  and they all go on the run (in a spaceship) story. It’s a fairytale. It’s a worthy successor to Star Wars (yeah, I said it Star Wars nerds). It’s a damned good comic that’s executed incredibly well.

So that’s part one of this “not a top ten” list! You know where you can buy all of these things, and if you DON’T, then I’ve given you sufficient information for a quick Googling. Part Two to come tomorrow, maybe with some comics I haven’t already written about in the past 6 months.

 

 

Buy Someone A Comic For The Holidays This Year

This is probably the angriest Holiday Gift Guide you’ll read this year. I’m leaving ugly full URLs up cause I’m in a “people are stupid and won’t understand what to click through” mood.

The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard: I heard “The Walking Dead was a comic book first!?!? too many times recently both at work and at family gatherings for Thanksgiving. Neither the show, nor the book is my cup of tea anymore (But Paul, you LOVE zombies and you used to like this book, you flip flopper! Shut up. I don’t like either anymore. Go get me a drink.), but if someone you know is into this, buy them the first volume or two to check out. They’d read almost any prose book that a show or movie was based on, right? So why not put a comic book in front of their face and show them that comic book doesn’t always mean “funny.”

Buy it in print: http://www.amazon.com/The-Walking-Dead-Vol-Days/dp/1582406723/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1353888562&sr=8-13&keywords=the+walking+dead

Gift it digitally: http://www.comixology.com/The-Walking-Dead-Vol-1-Days-Gone-Bye/digital-comic/FEB041347

Saga by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples:

I’ve written about Saga a bunch of times here. It gets me most of my site hits, as this is a popular new series, and people are looking for intelligent places to discuss it. Sadly, when they land here, they get me yelling at people to read a series, while barely being able to write about it coherently. “It’s awesome, Star Wars, Fantasy, blurghrgargle of enthusiasm” – Paul DeKams But, yes, if you’ve got a friend or family member on your gift list that is into epic tales that blend genres, buy the first volume of Saga for them.

Buy it in print: http://www.amazon.com/Saga-Vol-1-Brian-Vaughan/dp/1607066017/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1353888769&sr=1-1&keywords=saga+volume+1

Buy it digitally: http://www.comixology.com/Saga-Vol-1/digital-comic/AUG120491

Criminal by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips: For those who are into crime and or pulpier stuff. I should stress this is NOT for your Sue Grafton/James Patterson mystery enjoyers. This is for folks who have enjoyed anything made by creators like Tarantino, Chandler, Leonard, Hammett, or Ellroy.

Print: http://www.amazon.com/Coward-Criminal-Vol-Ed-Brubaker/dp/078512439X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1353889092&sr=1-1&keywords=criminal+volume+1

Digital: http://www.comixology.com/Criminal-Vol-1/comics-series/868

Hawkeye by Matt Fraction, David Aja, Javier Pulido, Matt Hollingsworth, Chris Eliopoulos:

YES. I am recommending Hawkeye yet again. Because it is great. This is for anyone who enjoyed Joss Whedon’s Avengers. For anyone who is into detective-y folks getting punched in the face repeatedly while trying to solve a mystery. It’s probably got some crossover with the people who would enjoy Criminal.

Buy it in print at your local comic book store.

Buy it digitally: http://www.comixology.com/Hawkeye/comics-series/8445

Special Batman section!

Christopher Nolan’s Batman series had some serious cred with mainstream audiences for being so serious…so…real (I disagree with both simplistic mis-readings of the films, but enjoyed them immensely). Well, here’s some Batman books that are in a similar “real-worldy Batman” vein.

Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli:

The definitive origin for Batman. An obsessed man who achieves his physical and mental peaks through practice and hard work, beginning a mission to root out corruption in Gotham City. Nothing super hero-y about this tale.

Buy it in print: http://www.amazon.com/Batman-Year-One-Frank-Miller/dp/1401207529/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1353890220&sr=1-1&keywords=batman+year+one

Digitally: http://www.comixology.com/Batman-Year-One/comics-story-arc/52

Catwoman by Ed Brubaker and Darwyn Cooke:

This is a good buy not only for those who have enjoyed the Nolan films, but also the animated series from the 90s, as Cooke’s artwork is very similar to that show. Another simple concept series: a former criminal (Catwoman), seeks to do right and live a better life.

Buy it in print: http://www.amazon.com/Catwoman-Vol-1-Trail/dp/1401233848/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1353890365&sr=1-1&keywords=catwoman+brubaker

Buy it digitally: http://www.comixology.com/Catwoman-2002-2008/comics-series/201

Gotham Central by Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka, and Michael Lark:

The Wire with Batman.

Buy it in print: http://www.amazon.com/Gotham-Central-Book-Line-Duty/dp/1401220371/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1353890597&sr=1-1&keywords=gotham+central

Buy it digitally: http://www.comixology.com/Gotham-Central/comics-series/3035

I’ll probably follow up with some more holiday gift recommendations, including…books about comics! WHAT?  So, spread some holiday and comic cheer, and stay tuned for more. If you’re reading this, and think none of these recommendations really apply to the people in your life, drop a comment about what you’re looking for, and I’ll see if I can come up with anything.

Not, NOW! Then! Not THEN, Now! (Oh, and Hawkeye is still awesome)

Marvel NOW!

Well. It’s maybe slightly better than DC’s New 52 as far as stupid marketing names go, but it’s mostly a stupid marketing name that’s been slapped on a number of good comics.

Last year, DC Comics relaunched their entire superhero line by canceling every title it was publishing, and launching 52 series starting at #1. They also made all the heroes younger and restarted their histories and made me type this goddamn stupid sentence explaining it all.

Now (haha, now), while I have been trumpeting comics that are outside the super hero genre, I am still susceptible to stupid marketing names, and on top of that, Marvel does seem to be pushing this as a creative-team focused relaunch, rather than a “everything you know about the characters is different” approach. This week, I bought a couple issues of from this venture, and I think most of them are pretty good entry points for people looking to check out some good comics.

Fantastic Four seems to offer a continuation of what has come before. That was my first reaction anyway. The challenge presented for a creator on any of these titles is maintaining a faithfulness to the concept while also making it interesting and relevant and interesting for readers new and old. Simply parroting out the core concept of a character or characters without adding anything to it…well, what you get in those instances are forgettable comic books, or memorably shitty comic book films: Fantastic Four, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, The Amazing Spider-Man…I could go on, but that would not help anyone.

Upon re-reading this issue, I feel like it’s a great re-introduction of The Fantastic Four. Writer Matt Fraction (yes, I know I’m all “Fraction, Fraction, Fraction” lately, but, well, Shut up.) and artist Mark Bagley are so far presenting a great looking family adventure comic.

Fraction’s got a pretty good grasp on each character dialogue-wise. In this first issue Reed, Sue, Ben, Johnny and the kids all stand out from each other, and the premise for this run is laid bare: the adults are bringing the kids with them on adventures to be closer to them…and because their powers might be killing them.  While some of Bagley’s “normal” looking people have very similar faces and expressions, he’s really bringing his best work to the bigger, weirder moments and characters, so I can’t wait to see him cut loose on more adventures as the series continues.

Deadpool offers a fast paced and funny comic book, with Tony Moore’s art offering as many visual gags as there are one-liners uttered by Deadpool and almost every other character in the book. Said one-liners are written by Gerry Duggan and Brian Posehn, and while the supporting characters seem to get the better material in the first issue, by issue two nearly every joke by the wise-cracking mercenary is landing, too.

The second issue offers a battle with Teddy Roosevelt (I LOVE TEDDY ROOSEVELT AND ILLUSTRATED CARICATURES OF HIM!!!) that is sprinkled with a few Looney Toons-esque moments. And this slapstick filled smackdown is just a small portion of the greatness that is this issue. There’s also Electricity Ghost Ben Franklin. Let that sink in, then go buy these comics.

X-Men: Legacy is something that didn’t interest me as a concept. “Professor Xavier’s crazy son goes off on his own to fulfill his father’s zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.” But I heard some good buzz about it, so I decided to check it out. Simon Spurrier and Tan Eng Huat have created a book that embraces and rejects the X-Men concept at the same time. Or maybe it doesn’t. I honestly don’t know yet, because in the first issue, these two creators build two worlds and then shatter them, leaving me curious as to what will come next. I honestly think this comic would be even better for someone with almost ZERO knowledge of the X-Men, so if you’ve never read an X-Men comic before, but are interested in exploring the trials and tribulations of a powerful and extremely unstable young man, check out X-Men: Legacy.

And, as my title said, Hawkeye is still running strong. It also technically fits into Marvel’s NOW! initiative of pairing fantastic writers, though it is thankfully free of that silly red all caps branding. This story arc has Javier Pulido subbing in for regular artist (and cover artist) David Aja. According to the letters page, Pulido and Aja will be swapping on story arcs, and after this excellent issue, I am more than OK with that. I’m not going to go into the plot of the issue. Just imagine me projecting you a slideshow of some awesome panels.

THIS

THIS

THIS

and THIS.

Awesome panel slideshow aside, this is shaping up to be a great book that will define Hawkeye as more than “the dumb guy with a bow and arrows.”

So, I’m pretty impressed with Marvel’s…ugh…NOW! efforts that I’ve read thus far. I bought these all on Comixology, and you can too if you’re someone who has been looking for an entry or re-entry point into some Marvel Comic Books. Both the creator focused marketing and the quality of these comics gives me some hope that Marvel isn’t just churning out books soullessly in support of other media endeavors, but is going through a period of experimentation again as they did in the early 2000’s.

Awesome Comics Are Awesome: Comics I Bought, Week of 10/17/12

More Horror!

Bongo Comics has been adding issues of Bart Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror to Comixology and I’ve been buying them. It’s interesting seeing The Simpsons in another medium, and honestly theses horror parodies are a better fit than a “normal” Simpsons comic book seems to be. It also helps that issue #13 which I purchased this week, has contributions from comedians Brian Posehn, Patton Oswalt, and Thomas Lennon. Also, rather than attempting to strictly adhere to the character designs of the show, the artists on this book are given a bit more freedom to blend in the looks from the horror films and comic books that are being parodied.

I’m gonna make you buy this.

Horror, more of it!

Revival #3 continues to world build, or rather town build as we’re introduced to a few more of the characters around town, while checking in on some of the living dead we’ve met so far. The horror is built upon in visual, physical ways like above, and through terrifying comic book sound effects like below. Nookie as your ring tone? Who knows if that girl’s life is in danger or not, but her not being trapped in a room with a douche is DEFINITELY in danger.

So yeah, I am still hearting this comic by Misters Tim Seeley and Mike Norton very muchly. Like I mentioned the last time I talked about Revival, physical copies of it are selling like hotcakes, so I recommend buying some digital hotcakes on Comixology.

Seriously, you’re gonna be all up in this comic book.

Now, onto ACTION! CAR CHASES! ARCHERY! COMICALLY DISGUISED FULL FRONTAL NUDITY!

Issue 3 of Hawkeye, entitled “Cherry,” by the gentlemen listed in the above panel, continues to prove that I am right for buying this comic month after month and you are wrong for ignoring me and not buying it. (If you are reading it, isn’t it totally awesome?????)

Yes, bro. It is awesome. So there’s a new show out called Arrow. I haven’t seen it. It’s based on Green Arrow, but I guess the kids hate adjectives these days, so they lost the “Green.” And it looks super serious in a way that people afraid of genres of any kind can only make things. Anyway, Hawkeye and Green Arrow are the archery based super heroes of Marvel Comics and DC Comics, and aside from that, they have one thing in common: Trick Arrows. Electric arrows, handcuff arrows, sonic arrows, boomerang arrows, ETC. Some creators will deal with it snarkily. The team on Hawkeye embraces the ridiculous, flips it, reverses it, grates some fresh cheese over it, and serves up a meat and potato filled comic book experience of AWESOME. I will overuse the shit out of that word. It will lose meaning, and then be given new meaning, and be defined simply through the use of this comic book.

In addition to taking back trick arrows for everyone, Fraction and Aja also take back comic sound effects. Too often, comic book sound effects are seen as some archaic thing, a sign that the medium is cheesy. Well, when “CRASH” is an integral part of your panel composition like in the panel above, you’re taking sound effects FOR SERIOUS.

The other thing Fraction and Aja are up to is cramming so much action into so many panels onto so few pages, you’ll swear you’re enjoying the nooks and butter filled crannies of a well toasted English Muffin. Does that make sense? It doesn’t matter does it? This is an artfully crafted AND entertaining comic book and it is something that makes me excited about this medium every single month. Even in the quiet, tense moments portrayed below:

And then of course, there are the bat-shit moments that have our main character, Clint Barton, leaping away from gunfire in the nude, his naughty bits obscured by a retro-styled icon representative of his classic look.

All of these comics. I bought them. You should buy them (Especially Hawkeye!). I purchased them on Comixology, but you can also stroll into your Friendly Neighborhood Comic Book Store, and buy them there. Or buy them online and have them shipped to you. I don’t care! Just buy them, you’ll like them.

Buy Hawkeye. Do it. You’ll thank me.

What I Bought: Week of 9/7/12

AKA: Hawkeye is great at boats!

See!

Anyway, here’s a run through of what I purchased this week (on Comixology). Quick, short form recommendations, GO!

(Soundtrack for this post “Caught by the Fuzz” by Supergrass)

First off, Hawkeye #2 by Matt Fraction and David Aja

Aside from the simple “this is what Hawkeye does when not on missions with Avengers” concept, there are hints at something larger for the book and for Hawkeye’s character. He’s a man who’s attempting to make up for his past as a criminal, his past with women, but on top of that, he’s also trying to solve things that are at his level. Fraction and Aja are doing an amazing job at making Hawkeye into more than the stock 60s Marvel hothead character that he’s been for 40+ years, and are telling a hell of an entertaining story while doing so. Also, another amazing job by Matt Hollingsworth on color. The dude is making me love the color purple (the actual color, not the film starring Oprah) even more than I already did.

Seriously, if I’ve told you to read this comic (I Have!) and you haven’t (You probably haven’t!), punch yourself in the face, and then read it. If by next month’s issue, you still haven’t read it, there will be more face punching.

Remember when I told you about Runaways??? Well, if you enjoyed that post, and enjoyed that comic, then my next purchase is for you!

Morning Glories Volume 3: PE by Nick Spencer and Joe Eisma.

This is a series I intend to go more in-depth on, but the basics, here, for you: Six kids start a semester at the exclusive Morning Glory Academy. Things immediately get weird. And not like, climbing the jump rope in gym class weird, but your teachers murdered your parents and are trying to drown you weird. Also, there’s time travel. I will write more about this, but for now, head on over to Comixology and buy the first issue, or the first trade, as it’s all on sale for super cheap this weekend. I’ve been reading this series for about a year, and I’m still totally into ALL of it’s mysteries, both plot and character based. Again, I intend to do a more detailed post on the series, but it’s got a quick, engaging story with snappy dialogue. Eisma’s art is really fun, and he manages to retell scenes from different character POVs without making you feel like you’ve read it already.

Revival #1 by Tim Seeley and Mike Norton. “The Dead Walk.” Put that somewhere in your logline and you’re guaranteed my interest if not my moneys.

 

Now Revival doesn’t appear to be about straight-up zombies. Maybe a little bit more in the Pet Semetary or Re-Animator vein. Dead people seem to come back, and come back wrong, and it’s localized to one small town. No one knows what to make of it, or what to do. No matter what’s going on, Seeley and Norton have me hooked for at least another issue. Seeley’s plot gives just enough, but leaves a lot of mystery intact, while Norton’s art is clean, kinetic, and a bit scary. There’s also a beautiful sequence with a zorse (1/2 zebra, 1/2 horse) that kicks off the issue, and I will not share ANY of it with you, cause I want you to go read it yourself.

 

Ok.

I’ll give you a little taste.

 

A special shout out to “dougvondoom” for recommending Revival in the comments!