ratcreature: Like a spork between the eyes. (spork)
So, I couldn't resist giving the new Animal Man series a chance, because I love the character, and the story may have potential, or at least the opening doesn't seem worse than average, but yikes, that art is seriously bad. (I preordered just based on series title, if I had seen page samples I might not have spent money on this.)

It completely lacks details and textures in the background that would create atmosphere, or even just normal looking rooms and environments. Seriously, it's like empty squares, boxes and tiles, and the artist couldn't be bothered to put in any effort, but not in a deliberate minimalist way, but just because they couldn't think to put something else on a nightstand besides a square clock, or give texture to a windowsill that would make a square look like an actual window and so on. (ETA: I don't necessarily expect excessive detail rendering, considering that there time/effort constraints on a comic production schedule, but there are ways to make panels *look* decent and alive through blacks and dynamic lines and hinting at detail and texture, just look at for example Ditko's art in old Spider-Man comics.)

Then the layout is atrocious with panels being given odd shapes for no good reason, same for some perspective choices. And the artist can't really draw humans well either. All their hair just looks odd, and okay, hair is difficult, but they get paid for this after all. Then there are sometimes odd scribbles on the faces, like in one scene taking place at a hospital I thought Animal Man contracted a weird infectious disease and those were skin sores, but he didn't. I have no idea what that texture on his face was supposed to be.

I honestly have trouble believing that they paid someone for this.
ratcreature: RatCreature is buried in comics, with the text: There's no such thing as too many comics.  (comics)
On the bright side, I'm happy that there is going to be a new Animal Man series. I'll probably give that a try. I also might check out Morrison's Action Comics, because I enjoyed his All-Star Superman.

I haven't really kept up with the recent developments in the Batverse, and the September solicitations don't really entice me to get back to it. For some of these setups I just don't have nearly enough trust in the DC writers, for example that Batwing series by Winick is a disaster waiting to happen, IMHO. I mean, as bad as it is to have whole continents ignored except for occasional fantasy country escapades, it's even less likely to turn out well when they put one Bat character on covering all of Africa, with a headquarter in the Democratic Republic of Congo with excursions into RL issues. I mean, it seems like jumping in at the deep end when it comes to diversifying their universe, mixed with some tokenism.

Perhaps I give Nightwing series a try for old time's sake, because that was really the first DC comic I bought regularly and Dick is still one of my favorite characters. Though I'm slightly disgruntled that they made the new costume black/red instead of black/blue. I guess it could have been worse, looking as what they did to Tim. Seriously, those feathers on Tim's costume have to be the most ridiculous I've seen since Dick's disco era costume.
ratcreature: RatCreature at the drawing board. (drawing)
Fandom: DC Comics
Characters/Pairings: Buddy Baker (Animal Man) & Tofurky
Rating: G
Media used: pencil drawing, inked, colored and combined with bits from an image of Tofurky packaging in GIMP
Warnings: None
Notes: I intended to post this for Christmas, but I didn't finish in time. Before the holidays I was frustrated by the lack of convenient, pre-made veggie roasts in the stores here, which made me think of Tofurky and that Buddy Baker might earn some money from advertising in the DCU, what with him having worked in show biz, and that Tofurky as a brand certainly fits with his image. Which led me to combining the two.
Preview: preview of Animal Man advertising Tofurky
Animal Man advertising Tofurky )
ratcreature: RatCreature as Flash (flash)
Last night I've read the Terminal Velocity arc and the issue after, dealing with its fallout, i.e. Flash #95-101, and when I went to bed I had this thought about how Flash's experience is in a lot of ways similar to Animal Man's (first) death and rebirth through the Red in the Flesh and Blood arc in Animal Man #51-56. Since then I looked at the Animal Man issues again, to write this entry -- it's been a while since I read them -- and it wasn't quite as parallel as my half asleep brain thought, mainly because Animal Man recognized his "power field" before his first death, also Buddy is less able to hold on to his previous personality, while Wally manages to push his new insights into his subconscious. But I still think their "near death experience" stories are similar in a lot of ways, because totally different superpowers work on a similar structure, which I find neat. Also I think it's interesting how differently they and their families deal with these things.

Now, it's not exactly uncommon that superheroes die only to come back, whether through magic, some cosmic entity, timeline anomalies, or whatever plot device is en vogue then, however I think that both Buddy's and Wally's experiences stand out. Not only because they both come back changed and actually remember things (while sometimes superheroes don't remember and don't change much, it's not that unusual that the death/resurrection plot is used to tweak or change the character's powers), but also because both do it by themselves -- through discovering a deeper connection to the source of their powers, i.e. the "Speedforce" for Wally, "The Red" (a.k.a Morphogenetic Field) for Buddy. Subsequently that "rebirth" and with it their new awareness of their respective "field" changes their powers, ends up being a spiritual experience for them (though some will get more extremist about it in the long run than others, I mean it's not like Flash has founded a Speedforce church -- I hope *g*), and also leads to tension in their relationship to their "normal" spouses who remained behind and didn't share that revelation. Even though for both their wish to stay with their loved ones longer, and to protect them, was their primary reason not to surrender to the field, but to cling to life and come back.

a more detailed look at this, cut for lengthy quotes about the Speedforce and The Red, and their nature )
ratcreature: RatCreature as Spidey (spidey)
The Animal Man run of Grant Morrison (pencils by Chas Truog and others, inks by Doug Hazlewood and others) is easily the most meta superhero comic I've ever read. It's one of the most meta comics I've ever read, superhero genre or not. I can come up with very few that are even more meta-textual about the readers reading a comic and the rules that govern that universe on the page (though obviously not in quite the same way), like those by Marc-Antoine Mathieu, but then he could do narrative stuff, like holes cut into the pages for time anomalies, pop-up spirals etc, that is not possible in a regular comic book that stays bound to the page.

I've seen recs for Animal Man as an exceptional and innovative work long before I started reading superhero comics, but I never gave it a try. However with hindsight I'm happy I've only read it now that I have at least a rudimentary knowledge of the DC universe, and know about the general events of the Crisis. I don't think I'd have enjoyed it as much if I hadn't been familiar with the DC multiverse collapse into one universe and that whole retcon. Even now, having neither read Crisis on Infinite Earths itself (yet) nor any familiarity with pre-Crisis DCU, I feel like I probably missed a lot.

I was constantly bewildered at the bizarre leaps, and how the story turned more and more meta, until it culminated in Animal Man meeting Grant Morrison, but I was bewildered in a good way, if that makes sense.

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