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)
I haven't seen any new issues of newuniversal (written by Warren Ellis, art by Salvador Larroca) in the last couple of solicitations, which led me to believe that it may have been a miniseries rather than an ongoing one as I thought, but then I actually read the first six issues-- I had read the first issue when it came out, but it seemed very much a comic that is better read in larger chunks, so I waited-- and it turns out that it isn't, not even the end of a clear arc, #6 just stops with a "to be continued..." So does anyone know what's up with the series? Is it on hiatus? Cancelled?

It would kind of suck if the series stopped prematurely. While it isn't exactly an awesome comic, it's not awful either, and I'm quite enjoying it so far. The story isn't original (not even in the "new twist on old idea" way), which isn't surprising since I understand it is some kind of remake of a short-lived old Marvel alternate universe (that I had never heard about) or something like that. Basically it's just an "superpowers emerge because of mysterious event, what happens next?" setup, with some mythology stuff abut the nature of those superpowers and their trigger (the "White Event") thrown in, and the art isn't memorable either (though not awful or anything), but I'd still like to see the rest. It may have taken a bit, but after six issues I'm now actually somewhat interested in the characters and the plot.

On a somewhat random and ranty note: why is Marvel so fond of pasting "new" in their titles anyway? Like, there's "New Avengers", "New X-Men", "New Excalibur", "New Warriors"... far more than DC does. I find it annoying, and it makes collecting series a pain because you first have "Team Blah" then it changes to "New Team Blah" for a bit, then it either goes back to "Team Blah" directly or first to "Fabulous Team Blah" if they feel inspired before it reverts to "Team Blah" again, possibly with messed up numbers, and if you try to figure out in which order the story lines were published a while later, you need several hours of web research to untangle the mess. Not to mention that you risk getting the wrong comics when you try to get them via mail order, because you didn't realize that the website actually offered "The Fabulous New Team Blah" (say the Volume 2 incarnation of Team Blah) when you wanted that issue of "The New Fabulous Team Blah" (say the Volume 4 incarnation of the same). Does this actually help immediate sales? I mean these restarts are just as likely to give me an excuse to drop a series from my pull list and not add the new one if I'd been already following it, as to add it when I didn't, it really depends on the artists and writers, and well the inertia of having a a comic on my list and being completist about it goes actually a long way to stick with a series through a run by a team I dislike, whereas name changes give me an easy out. And like I said, retrospectively they get really confusing fast.
ratcreature: ROTFL (rotfl)
So I'm reading Daredevil #66, and rather contrary to the mood of the issue I find myself giggling constantly. You see, it has flashback sequences to the 1940s, and there's some villains talking "German", unfortunately too frequently for me to just overlook the dialog, i.e. it's not just one isolated speech balloon, but goes on for a few pages. And it's just... I don't have words. *still in giggles*

I mean, in some cases I can figure out what the speech balloon was supposed to say by translating it word for word back into English, and it becomes clear which words were meant, even if the German translation of the English term that was chosen doesn't have the meaning of the English word that was meant in the context as all, as of course both German and English words all have multiple meanings and not all of them match 1:1. And it's not just with figurative vocabulary either, though those examples are the funniest (like in German you just don't call a crazy person "Fruchtkuchen" no matter that it's a correct translation for the English "fruitcake"). Not to mention that the sentence structure is frequently wrong. And yet in some cases I can't figure out at all what the speech balloon was supposed to say. As a whole it's just totally hilarious, and not at all conducive to a gritty crime sequence feeling.
ratcreature: RatCreature begs, holding a sign, that says: Will work for food, with "food" crossed out and replaced with  "comics". (work)
A recent post by [livejournal.com profile] buggery reminded me that I still hadn't read Batman: Family #1-8 (written by John Francis Moore, art by Stefan Gaudiano and by Rick Hoberg). So today I remedied that.

It's a good story and I recommend it also. First, it has an interesting, complex crime plot that you can actually follow (though I think I would have appreciated the exposition recaps more had I read it in monthly installments, but even so they weren't tedious, and helped to stay on top of the developments). Second, it included *all* of the Batfamily in a (mostly) organic way into that plot, and it is always great to see all of them relate to each other. Third, all of the main members of the villain group had distinct personalities and there were glimpses of their motivations and backgrounds, while at the same time they remained scary, or very scary, with a dash of disturbing. Several of them were clearly psychopaths, and the rest wasn't exactly sane either, but they weren't costumes, unless it suited them for convenience, they were rational and had goals that weren't centered around battling with Batman. And that made them more dangerous, and scarier.

I mean, Mr. Fun? Made me shiver, how he had those bizarre motivational slogans for better job performance running through his head while he was killing people. And Celia Kazantkakis/Athena is a psychopath but scarily competent, and nearly perfect at passing for normal. I had varied reactions to all of the villains, they read as full personalities to me. There were little details that made them real to me, like that the Technician wasn't just into his techno-toys, but also into Gotham history, especially the history of crime in Gotham (and I liked the kid).

Actually all of the minor and supporting characters worked surprisingly well, they were vivid, without hogging too much attention or storytime, and that made Gotham seem populated with lots of real people besides the heroes and the villains.

I also read JLA: Year One (by Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn and Barry Kitson), and that was lots of fun. I liked seeing the early team together, and much to my surprise I even liked this Aquaman. It was also great to see Barry and Hal early in their career rather than as larger-than-life heroes (even if GL was somewhat of a chauvinist jerk, I still like him). Their fights were a bit on the bizarre side, but I suspect that is because the series might adapt/retell their early Silver Age exploits. I haven't read those, so I didn't recognize the stories, but somehow they had that logic-defying feel to them. Like that strange ray gun that took body parts and meshed them together to be controlled by the Brain, yet they didn't die (or were near death) even if half their body was missing, and it was easily reversible too. If their adventures aren't retellings, they certainly are in the same spirit. However those really only serve as backdrop for their personal lives, the developing team dynamic, and the conflicts that come from both, and those parts are very much *not* like Silver Age camp. I felt sometimes a bit lost, for example I have no clue about the Doom Patrol or the Blackhawks, but I could still follow the story.

And not related to any of the above: I looked at a preview for an upcoming Batman Elseworld The Order of Beasts, and can someone explain to me why, if the writer feels the need to have someone shout a German word, he can't look up the proper article? It can't be that hard to go to a dictionary website if you want someone shout "The Bat!" in German and find out that "Fledermaus" is feminine, and put the right article in front of the word. It's not like it's rocket science. It wouldn't aggravate me so, if this kind of thing didn't happen in a lot of cases where the authors feel the need to sprinkle some foreign language bits throughout their comic, instead of just indicating foreign languages with "< >" or similar markers. I've notice butchered French sometimes too (and my French is really bad, so it's not as if I'd even notice less than blatant mistakes), not just German. Often Spanish bits seem a better to me, which could be either because I know even less Spanish than French, or because Spanish is more widely spoken and read in the US, so that in the case of Spanish writers actually know what they're doing. But still it really throws me out of the story every time when the very thing that is supposedly there to make it look/sound more "authentic" just comes across as ridiculous.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Spidey (spidey)
I'm annoyed with my comic store this week. I didn't get my whole order. Some wasn't too bad, they still had extra copies of Superman: Birthright #3 and Arkham Asylum: Living Hell #5, so that was easily fixable, but I ordered Supreme Power #2 and it wasn't in my order, nor did I see any extra copies when I browsed through the box with new stuff, yet it was due this week. Now I have to try to track it down somewhere, which sucks. I mean, I was looking forward to reading the second part. I'm also fairly sure I ordered Superman/Batman Secret Files #1, which also was nowhere in evidence. And I know I ordered the JLA-Z #1 guide to the JLA, which also didn't arrive. Actually I didn't inquire about Supreme Power, the Secret Files or JLA-Z because I'm not always sure in which week what is due to arrive, and since I didn't see any copies when I browsed through the new arrivals for any of them, some or all could just be late, as it sometimes happens, however I don't think so, especially not with the other problems with my order (about which I did complain, so it didn't went totally unnoticed anyway). Has someone else bought these comic books this week and seen that they arrived on their due date? On the bright side I got the last available copy of the JLA/Avengers #1, which I hadn't ordered. Still.

Now I have to go to the only other comic store I know carrying US comics, the scary* one in the basement with the huge dog, which somehow is never open even during their opening hours, in the hope of finding some extra copies there.

(*)Note that I'm not easily intimidated by comic stores that are worse than the one in the Simpsons, these guys somehow really don't want to do business with regular or even geeky customers. When I was looking for some Batman backissues and wanted to browse there, there was tons of stuff (mostly packages with action figures) on top of the boxes with comics, and it was extremely cramped, and I mustered the courage to ask the person behind the counter, who was listening to some awful trash metal and talking with a friend about, I think, porn movies, saying something along the line of "I'm looking for some Batman comics..." and then this guy asks me in a disbelieving tone whether I'm looking for US Batman comics. Snort. No I just ventured into a dark cellar with a sign advertising US comics, walked through a narrow even dimmer corridor littered with boxes to arrive inside a one-room store that obviously only has US comics and merchandise, because I'm looking for German editions, which I could have gotten in that friendly, bright ground level comic store around the corner. *eye-roll* Anyway, after I convinced the guy that I'm really looking for what they are supposedly selling he explains to me, that it would be really difficult to get to them, because they hadn't put away the merchandise lying on top of it, and that Thursdays and Fridays are really a bad time to come to their store to browse through the older issues. Note, however that when I came back on Tuesday it was closed, despite their opening hours, and on Saturdays and Wednesdays there always was still stuff lying on the boxes just marginally less stuff, so I could sort of shift around things a bit. And as I mentioned there's also this dog over which you have to step... Anyway, it is not a pleasant shopping experience, and I try to avoid it whenever possible.
ratcreature: argh (argh)
After reading this interview with Chuck Austen (on the occasion of his upcoming run on Action Comics) I hope he'll never get his hands on a Batman title. The interview also shows that not only fan writers have problems sometimes to take criticism graciously. I mean, I like some of the comics he wrote okay (though I'm not thrilled with the recent issues of Uncanny X-Men), but that were all series where I'm not very invested with the characters or the continuity. I also get what he means with making Superman more human, and less a perfect "boy scout." At least up to a point. However his views on continuity are sort of frightening.

His statements on people who don't like his writing and fans in general are less than complimentary (to put it mildly), and really how lame is it that he feels he has to resort to name calling and claiming comic fans who don't like the way he writes (or index comics for that matter) have no sex live?


"Continuity and much of the market as it stands are for die-hard fans who have every issue of every comic indexed and categorized, and give me hell every single day of the week online because they have no life, and no one who loves them, or will touch them naked, and they have nothing better to do with their day once they've indexed last Wednesdays shipment. The more we cater to that inbred mindset, the less we will appeal to real readers, or casual fans who enjoy a good story with good characters. Those casual fans will eventually move on as they have been steadily for the last many years, leaving us with only the twelve trolls online, who will have nothing to complain about, because Marvel and DC will be gone."
ratcreature: RatCreature as Batman (batman)
To keep track of minor characters through DC crossovers drawn by several different artists it would be really helpful, if each character kept the same appearance, hair color, and general skin tone through out. I mean for example in Robin #86 Vincent Del Arrazzio has sometimes brown sometimes blond hair, not black though, in Detective Comics #754 definitely black hair. Which so far isn't problematic, since in both issues he's called by name. However, I'm trying to figure out who the blond detective in Gotham Knights #13 is (with a vaguely similar haircut to the black haired detective), and I would have figured this to be Tommy Burke, however in Batman #587, the black haired guy is called Burke. I mean, I have a number of names and a number of members of the M.C.U. and I'm trying to match them consistently, and it doesn't work. I tried to look them up in other issues, and I have found one other instance of Del Arazzio, in Joker Last Laugh #6, where he is called by name and definitely has blond hair and the looks close to the blond guy in Batman #587 and Gotham Knights #13. I've found another one in Detective Comics #765, but there he's not looking much like anyone familiar, and the whole hue of the scene is mostly greenish, so no reliable color reference is possible. My best guess is that the black hair in Detective Comics #754 is a mistake. That's just one example, I could continue this griping for a couple of others too.

I know people don't always wear the same type of clothes in RL, but it would really help, if the M.C.U. detectives were drawn somewhat more consistently. Like, you can almost always recognize Eric Cohen because of his skullcap (though why he doesn't always wears glasses remains a mystery), Crispus Allen almost always wears an impeccable three piece suit, glasses and is bald, and has a beard (that he's black also helps somewhat, though skin color really isn't a reliable indicator, since it can change quite a lot depending on who's doing the coloring and what the color scheme of the scene is), Harvey Bullock is easily recognizable because he's disheveled, not clean shaven and always wears a loose striped tie etc. But some others are much harder to recognize.

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