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 as Superman (superman)
I was perusing DC's June solictations, trying to decide whether I should get Trinity or not -- on one hand I quite like Busiek, and also like stories featuring Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, otoh it's another weekly title from DC, so that's a lot of additional comics to buy -- when I got stuck on how Superman's hair looks on that cover: As if he was channeling Wolverine (well, minus the cool claws, but still).
ratcreature: RatCreature as Batman (batman)
So, I still haven't progressed into following the current DC main continuity, but I've read the first eight issues of Batman Confidential. The art is kind of mediocre -- both art teams actually, they switched teams when the new storyline started in issue #7 -- but not really bad. I think mostly it bothers me that it looks, um, squirrelly? Somehow there isn't really a clean line, or maybe it's that the shadows aren't really mood setting, I just rarely like that kind of style in comics but favor either a "cleaner" look or something that has a really distinct style otherwise.

Like many other Batman (mini-)series not tying directly into the current timeline it is also set in the ever more crowded early days of Batman's career, before he was joined by a Robin, so it is just him, Alfred and Gordon. I don't really have a problem with that, at least not as long as Ican turn off the obsessive inner comic geek who wants to figure out how all this could possibly fit. It's not as if I don't know that comic timelines are kind of hopeless, but obviously that never stops a fan from wanting to try...

Anyway, the first story, Rules of Engagement, in issues #1-6 (written by Andy Diggle, pencils by Whilce Portacio, inks by Richard Friend), deals with Bruce/Batman, as well as Wayne Enterprises, facing off against Luthor and his company. The story is fairly action heavy, but the action is rather fun not pointless, like this weird endless snowmobile chase I lamented about in the R'as Al Ghul Year One. The main thing I don't get is how Superman could not make an appearance in this scenario, and without any mention or explanation too. Still, other than that I enjoyed it, and I kind of like stories with Wayne Enterprises and Bruce and Lucius Fox working together in particular. Actually if it was for me Lucius could have had a bigger part. And well, there are battle robots, which counts as a plus for me. (What? I like Batman fighting robots...)

The current story, Lovers & Madmen (written by Michel Green, pencils by Denys Cowen, inks by John Floyd), is apparently another Joker origin, though so far he isn't the Joker yet. On principle I'm kind of wary of such Joker stories, but so far it is decent. The scenes with Bruce and Alfred are a lot of fun, and I like the crime spree plot okay so far. I'm a bit dubious about the girlfriend plot, though. I didn't like the "mental healing through sex" vibes I got -- you know, Bruce feeling "at peace" after he sleeps with her described in ways that imply more than that getting laid is good against insomnia. And it looks like she's going to be the damsel in distress next issue, and I half expect her to end up dead for his angst. Also, these "the blight of drugs in Gotham" plots always are somewhat cringe-worthy. Still, so far the fun bits outweigh the rest.

I've also read the first five issues of Superman Confidential, an obvious choice since I'm a Tim Sale fan, but I figure I wait talking about these until the first story ends in the next issue.
ratcreature: What? Who? When? Yes, I have been living under a rock... (under a rock)
Somehow this month I have a hard time deciding which new (mini-)series are worth giving a try. I probably should wait until this stuff is actually published when in doubt, so that I can take a look at the comic or maybe read reviews, but my store doesn't always order a huge surplus number of all these series.

In particular I'm wondering what you think about the Outsiders relaunch as Batman and the Outsiders (written by Tony Bedard), the Gotham Underground mini-series (written by Frank Tieri), and that Simon Dark series by Steve Niles and Scott Hampton.

I'm also waffling about getting this Crime Bible: The Five Lessons of Blood mini-series by Greg Rucka. I mean, I like his writing more often than not, but the blurb kind of confuses me on what this is about, maybe because I'm still lagging so far behind with the current DC events?

Any opinions on these? Predictions or tea leave readings on their likely readability? Any other thoughts on DC's October solicitations? Like, what is it with this bazillion of Countdown tie-in mini-series, anyway?
ratcreature: Procrastination is a Lifestyle. RatCreature in a hammock doing nothing. (procrastination)
Well, since I won't get my copy of DH until tomorrow morning, and it's not like I could randomly surf to pass time lest I ruin my unspoilt state this late, I've been reading another comic:

Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil #1-4 (written and drawn by Jeff Smith)

This is the first Captain Marvel comic I've read. I've come across the character a couple of times in ensemble stories (like in the Justice limited series), but in general I'm not that much into the magic DC characters. However I really like Jeff Smith's work (in case you couldn't tell from my pseud *g*), so I got the series because of that.

Since I had no clue about the character beyond that he says "Shazam!" and then transforms, it was fortunate that this mini-series retells the origin story (or maybe retcons it? I've no idea whether this is in continuity or not). So I can't tell how this story would come across for long time fans of the character, but I found it was quite a lot of fun, in an entertaining, angst-free adventure story way.

I mean, it's not heavy on any mythology for the character, so after reading it I still don't know why there's some wizard bestowing powers from gods to a boy, or what kind of entity this Captain Marvel is. Before reading this I had always thought that Captain Marvel was Billy, just with added powers, but apparently he is something else and just uses Billy as a host. Kind of like a Tok'ra maybe. I also still don't know why Billy and Mary were split up or any kind of background. But I didn't really care. The comic worked much like a children's book that way, that is there isn't any attempt to reconcile it with more realist constraints.

Basically I liked the art, the transformed monsters where fun, there was a talking tiger, and the Dr. Sivana guy was hilarious.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Batman (batman)
I've read both six issue series falling under this umbrella, i.e. Batman & The Monster Men and Batman & The Mad Monk. From what I've heard these are supposed to take place after Year One, but before that new Joker origin story that I haven't read (yet), but as I've said before, it is kind of tricky to make the overcrowded timeline of Batman's early career work, so I found it best not to worry too much.

Batman & The Monster Men (by Matt Wagner)

I liked this one. The combination of the mafia story with the creepiness of Hugo Strange worked well for me, and Strange made a good foil for Batman. I liked Bruce's girlfriend, Julie Madison too, and how she gets frustrated and suspicious with him.

Also, I just <3 the younger Jim Gordon, because among other things his expression when he says to Batman: "Giant mutant cannibals... you... you're serious?" was priceless. The poor guy will get used to a lot through his association with Batman over the years.

Alfred's dry humor is great here, e.g.: "And so, in keeping with conventional wisdom, you've chosen to secretly drug your girlfriend."

And not that I'm complaining exactly, but-- wow, this was rather more bloody than a usual Batman comic. So you should probably avoid it if you have problems with gore, but otherwise it's a good read.

Batman & The Mad Monk (by Matt Wagner)

This is also a mix of Batman vs. mafia and an encounter with the "new kind" of creepier villain. I liked that Batman worries whether he inspires or encourages the costumed villains. True, that angst is somewhat of a classic theme, but it works for me.

I also enjoyed the tension that comes from Gordon still working within a widely corrupt police force, and that Batman was shown doing detective work. To get some nod to the pre-Two-Face Harvey Dent was pretty cool as well.

I found Norman Madison's fear of Batman quite believable. However the (fake?) vampire cult didn't work as well for me as Hugo Strange did in the first series. While it was plenty gruesome, it just didn't build up as much terror somehow as I would have expected with the threat to Julie and the whole bunch of injuries Bruce suffers while fighting them. Still the plot overall was engaging enough, and some of the scenes in the castle were bizarre yet worked.

Anyway, I enjoyed both series but liked the first better.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Batman (batman)
Year One: Batman/Scarecrow #1-2 (written by Bruce Jones, art by Sean Murphy)

This was pretty good. I really liked the art, and I actually recognized several panels from icons I've seen around, so I guess I'm not alone in my fondness for Murphy's art.

I'm a bit tired of yet another psychopath getting a cliched backstory with an evil mother (or rather grandmother in this case) figure warping him, aided by the ubiquitous bullies, at but least the specifics of his case with the birds were rather cool and creepy, and I liked the Scarecrow overall.

In particular I liked the visual parallels between the young proto-Scarecrow's defining scene with the birds swooping down on him through a broken skylight, and the typical iconic panels in Batman's origin stories of bats coming down on young Bruce and such. That nicely sets up the following scenes where Bruce angsts about his similarities to costumed villains dressing up as something scary.

I also liked that this story, despite being set earlier, already includes Robin, though it would have been nice if Alfred had been present as well. Also it seemed that for information gathering purposes this particular early version of Batman could have used Oracle's talents with the way their investigation progresses. But I didn't mind that much, overall the plot was okay, and the art and atmosphere made the comic as a whole really enjoyable for me.
ratcreature: RatCreature as zombie. (zombie)
First, the whole Harry Potter thing is making me jittery. I haven't sought out the leaked copy because I'm not about to slog through hundreds of pages as crappy photographs, that's just unpleasant for reading. Not to mention that I don't really reread the HP books, so I'd rather read it the one time as proper book. But it is hard to keep away, knowing other fans have already read the book and are talking about it, even though my f-list is good with not spoiling me so far. (*insert the obligatory dire threats here*).

I will only get my copy on Saturday and I'm not the fastest reader, so at the earliest I'm going to talk about Deathly Hollows on Sunday if at all, and then I will of course use cut-tags and be very careful not to mess them up accidentally.

But until then I definitely need to distract myself with fandoms besides HP-- those still exist after all, even if half of my f-list apparently decided to avoid LJ and sometimes the internet entirely to be on the safe side. Anyway, thus I'm going to talk some more about Batman comics, in particular:

Year One: Batman/Ra's al Ghul #1-2 (written by Devin Grayson, pencils by Paul Gulacy, inks by Jimmy Palmiotti)

One of my main reasons to buy these (besides being a general sucker for all Batman comics DC publishes) was actually that I found the three color covers (black, white, and red) really attractive. I like the interior art okay too, but not as much as the covers (take a look at cover #1 and cover #2). If only the story had lived up to the packaging...

For the sake of my sanity I didn't even try to figure out why this is published as "Year One". I don't think this is supposed to fit in Batman's "Year One" or even just his early career, but rather after Batman: Death and the Maidens? But I don't have Ra's al Ghul's backstory that present. Maybe it is because of some flashbacks in the comic, and those could be made to work somehow in his first year.

First, while the basic idea that the Lazarus Pits affect death and life's balance in general was neat (even if what exactly their connection is was never really explained in any remotely consistent or logical way), the plot built around this was too thin for 96 pages. On the bright side, it had zombies, which is always a plus, but I can't say I enjoyed much else.

And even the zombies weren't particularly great specimens. Okay, so destroying the Lazarus Pits somehow stopped and even reversed death, thus the zombie problem, but I didn't really get why that particular horde of disgruntled undead was after Batman.

The action sequences were plain confusing sometimes, like when Batman was running from the zombies I had no idea how he suddenly got into the Batmobile again after, or if that even was still the vehicle he started out in earlier that night, which was definitely a car not some sort of glider. Yet later his vehicle could suddenly fly. Traditionally the car can't, right? So maybe what he used then wasn't the car, but some magically appearing Bat-Glider or whatever that was supposed to be, that we don't even see him remote call as far as I could tell. Maybe the Batmobile car transformed into a glider.

I also didn't understand what happened to the zombies he lured into that supermarket, did he lock them up there somehow? I couldn't tell, later it seemed he did lock them up, leaving them to rampage there, but why didn't they smash the glass?

Other times the action was just boring. You can tell that a comic has too little plot if it shows a frelling snowmobile chase over eight(!!) pages. Eight. I like certain kinds of action in comics, but snowmobile chases just don't come across that well in this medium. Certainly not if they last eight of the 48 pages in an issue and that on top of other chase scenes. And in a fairly pointless flashback at that.

Anyway while we get zombies, we don't really get to see Batman fight them for plain zombie fun, he flies flies around the globe interspersed with boring Ra's al Ghul flashbacks about some magical peach, and then Batman happens to find a monk chanting the Lazarus Pit formula, yet Ra's al Ghul followers were too stupid to figure that out... The whole thing made no sense to me.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Batman (batman)
I actually read this a few days ago, but didn't get around to take notes right away, so this is lacking detail. (me = sloth)

Batman: Journey Into Knight (written by Andrew Helfer, art by Tan Eng Huat)

Overall I enjoyed reading this limited series quite a lot. There were some elements that bugged me (like that hypnotist was cringe-worthy), but in the end those didn't overshadow my enjoyment.

The first major problem of this series is of course that Bruce Wayne's early career as Batman is already kind of "overcrowded" so it is hard to fit yet another thing into the continuity, especially if it covers things that were addressed previously (like Bruce getting involved in Wayne Enterprises) and presents them differently. But if you read with a relaxed attitude and don't view it as a canon puzzle this story is quite cool.

I liked that Bruce wasn't yet fully competent and equipped to deal with the criminals he encounters, especially the crazy ones, because he expected to fight "normal" crime. He still makes mistakes and still learns. In some instances he made mistakes that I couldn't quite believe Bruce would make, even this early, and thought he should be more competent, but overall I liked this view. I also liked that he just acted plain younger. I also liked Alfred and Bruce's relationship with Gordon. I could have done without the Joker though.

Still, I think it's worth picking up.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Two-Face flipping a coin. (twoface)
Batman: Jekyll & Hyde #1-6 (written by Paul Jenkins, art by Jae Lee)

I didn't like the art much, the inking in particular. The black areas--and there were many of them--seemed more randomly dumped than being placed deliberately for either consistent composition, drama or lightening reasons, so there was a lot of black scattered around making the page look flat and dark, and the shapes harder to see for the lack of a clear line, and the many smallish black areas didn't help guide the eyes through the panels and pages either. All of which made the reading slower and more tedious than it needed to be, with no equal gain on the "dark and gloomy" mood scale.

That said, I quite liked the mini-series otherwise. Okay, so there didn't really need to be yet another origin story for Two-Face making his history even more complicated, and the mad scientist running creepy gothic labs in Gotham (in cooperation with Two-Face no less) isn't the most original thing either, but the basic set-up of the drug plot worked for me.

And while I don't have all the details of the various Two-Face background stories very present, this expansion still goes with the general stuff I recalled from the others, so it's probably not a retcon or intended to be outside of continuity. It made about as much sense as these attempts at supervillain psychology ever do, and is IMO actually one of the better examples for this kind of plot. (I'm kind of ambivalent about the trend to somehow rationalize supervillain behavior through some cobbled together (pseudo-)psychology because it almost never works well.)

And it was nice to see Batman working with Gordon, and there was plenty of Alfred too, so overall I think this was a solid mini-series.

Also, I made a Two-Face!RatCreature icon, because I don't have any Batman villain icons yet.

pencils and larger inked version )
ratcreature: RatCreature is buried in comics, with the text: There's no such thing as too many comics.  (comics)
I spent much of last night catching up with 30 issues of Y: The Last Man.

First, I didn't notice this as much in monthly reading, but I really like the series' structure that alternates between single shot stories giving more background on the characters or focus on minor characters elsewhere, and the multi-issue stories.

Y: The Last Man #27-57 (written by Brian K. Vaughan, pencils by Pia Guerra and Goran Sud┼żuka, inks by Jose Marzan, Jr.)

my reactions while reading, cut for length and spoilers )
ratcreature: RatCreature as Superman (superman)
When I asked what next to read from my waiting comic pile, Y: The Last Man topped the list, followed by All Star Superman and Fables. Since of these three All Star Superman didn't involve me remembering the place where I stopped and previous plots, I decided to go with that firstt.

All Star Superman #1-8 (written by Grant Morrison, pencils by Frank Quietly, inks by Jamie Grant)

I am less enamored with this than I thought I'd be. It is a lot of fun, but I think it is a bit too whimsical for my taste. Or rather... it's not that I mind the absurd, but I think I miss the underlying angst that I appreciate in mainstream superhero comics, which is strangely absent, and that despite the overarching plot being Superman facing his death from Lex Luthor's cunning plan to overload his system with solar radiation, and subplots like flashbacks to when Jonathan Kent died. Also, the art is okay, but not outstanding, that is, I can't really find anything wrong with it, but it didn't grab me on a visceral level or really connected with me.

That said, the series is definitely entertaining to read, and there's a lot of humor, both in the dialog and in visual jokes. From the start we get hilarious lines, like Luthor's exploding monster telling Superman "The purpose of my existence is to explode! You have no right to limit my ambitions, fascist! No right at all to stand in the way of my self-realization!" or the visual jokes, like when Clark, without disguise, saves people by being clumsy, e.g. when he saves someone from a dropping part of a flying vehicle by stumbling into him, without anyone even realizing it. Or the punchline with the key to his fortress being regularly sized (for being more secure) but actually turning out to be superdense and thus even heavier, and impossible to lift by anyone but him etc. The series is packed with funny details.

And I enjoyed the wacky hijinks in the plots, like the dinosaurs at earth's center, the Frankenstein scientist in a rainbow coat, who is actually kind of creepy if you stop to think about what he does, Jimmy Olsen crossdressing, the Bizarros zombiefying lots of people... and while I wasn't too impressed with the art, it does very well with illustrating all the quirky and bizarre stuff, like that Chronovore rampaging through Smallville.

Anyway, if you like wacky and funny superhero comics, and don't need baseline angst in the genre, this series is perfect.
ratcreature: RatCreature is buried in comics, with the text: There's no such thing as too many comics.  (comics)
As evident from my last couple of posts I seem to be drifting back into a frame of mind for regular comic reading again. For a long time (well in fandom cycles anyway), I didn't keep up with monthly comics. That was only in part because of the various, never-ending "event" messes, but also simply because my interest in things and my fannish mental space tend to be somewhat cyclic-- possibly governed by mysterious and opaque mechanisms, that I'm never quite able to predict myself. (Hence the phrasing "seem to be" above.)

Anyway, anticipating the eventual return of my interest, I continued to get several of my subscriptions and orders, mostly based on a mix of which characters I'm into in principle, which writers I frequently liked before, and at least in the case of DC, which issues seemed kind of central to their universe restructuring (I know it is weird, not to mention the path to bankruptcy to buy a bunch of comics for well over a year, or more like over two I guess, even though you are not even reading them, but I was certain that I eventually feel interested again, and from a collecting standpoint I like single issues just better than getting trades later on, besides the expenses stretch out this way when you buy a bit every week).

So now I have a large pile (well, actually it's some shortboxes) of comic backissues that is somewhat intimidating, and I'm not sure which order would be best to read, whether I should just plod on reading weekly issues consecutively in publishing order or read some arcs first, or something else.

Since I'm more involved with DC I (used to) follow more series there making catching up more complicated. Obviously even from just being on LJ with a partly comic fandom f-list I've gathered that DC canon in particular is somewhat, um...fraught? at the moment, and has been for a while, and I don't want to kill my reemerging interest through aggravation either, though I suspect what exactly is found to be aggravating and horrible is bound to differ from fan to fan to some extent at least, and I think I'm already spoiled for most (un)deaths and several other things that put people off, since I mind spoilers for comics less myself, especially considering my longish reading abscnce which made staying spoiler free and in fandom not feasible. And well, obviously some things you just have to get through to follow other parts, that are hopefully better.

Anyway, my main focus of my DC interests are the extended Batfamily, the "core" Justice League, anything with Dick Grayson (even when not connected to Batman stuff), Barbara Gordon and Roy Harper, the Flash (mainly Wally, but I like the others too), and to some extent Tim Drake. And well, I also really like Animal Man. I stopped reading somewhere during or maybe in the build-up of the War Games crossover in the Batverse books, and in the middle of that Identity Crisis mini series in the JLA. The comics that I continued to get through my "reading hiatus" and thus don't have to track down, are the Batverse books, the Identity Crisis and Infinity Crises mini series (including some of the "countdown to" and "aftermath" books, but not all, like, I got the one with Nightwing, the OMAC Project miniseries and Villains United and I think I bought the Donna Troy special, but not the Rann-Thanagar war thing or the Spectre stuff), the main JLA series and the Justice League of America relaunch of it, Flash, Green Arrow, Teen Titans, Outsiders, Superman/Batman, Checkmate, that new Atom series and 52.

Because I tend to really like Grant Morrison I also have all of the Seven Soldiers series. Well except for one issue missing from one of the series that I somehow didn't notice was absent in my comic pile that week, and couldn't find later on yet, so I'd probably need to find a scan of that one somewhere before reading, but I don't think it is part of the continuity anyway.

As far as Marvel goes, I mostly follow Daredevil and Spider-Man, and also get Astonishing X-Men, and since I'm caught up with DD, that mostly just leaves me with a decision whether to read these Civil War and Civil War: Front Line limited series I've gotten parallel to the Spider-Man and X-Men stuff or separately, but I didn't get all the tie-ins and such. Actually I think I may have bought some of the Avenger issues relating to Civil War (I had tried to get into the Avengers during that "Disassembled" thing, because I liked them in the JLA/Avengers x-over, but the Scarlet Witch plot annoyed me, so I didn't really get into the series). Still it shouldn't be as complicated as sorting out the best reading order for my DC backlog. I also have the Supreme Power and Squadron Supreme stuff and Next Wave series (though iirc I'm missing Next Wave #9 for some incomprehensible reason, that is while I'm fairly sure I had it ordered, by the time I bagged the accumulating pile of comics I found all issues except for #9, which is why I haven't read it yet.)

So, any advice for the paths of least frustration resistance to slowly tackle my considerable comic pile with a sound strategy? Or should I just go stoically by publication date to recreate the initial reading experience?
ratcreature: RatCreature begs, holding a sign, that says: Will work for food, with "food" crossed out and replaced with  "comics". (work)
Since finally #12 of the Justice maxiseries (written by Jim Krueger and Alex Ross, art by Alex Ross and Doug Braithwaite) has come out I got around to reading the series.

cut for spoilers )
ratcreature: Who needs talent? Enthusiasm is fun!  (talent/enthusiasm)
Fandom: DC Comics
Characters/Pairings: Tim Drake (Robin III)/Kon-El (Superboy), vaguely during their Young Justice era
Rating: PG? (kissing, but no nudity)
Media used: Wacom tablet and GIMP
Warnings: none
Notes: I tried drawing completely with a tablet for the first time, which turned out to be much harder than expected, so for practice I started drawing with a photo as guide for posture and then added costumes, changing hair and faces a bit and such, rather than sketching directly without tracing anything. The underlying photo base I started from was this gay wallpaper.
Preview: preview of Tim/Kon
Tim and Kon kissing )
ratcreature: RatCreature as Robin (robin)
It's about Tim Drake's costume, the old one. It has these three yellow strips on the chest, which are supposedly involved in fastening the tunic, or maybe just decorative. Anyway, if he were making out with someone, who was kind of groping him and tried to reach inside the tunic, how would these strips become unfastened? On which side would they stay attached, if any? I am kind of trying to draw Tim making out with Kon, and it turns out I never thought about the logistical details of his costume, but there must be people out there who know, and have thought about undressing Tim more than I have.
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 smokes Crack (crack)
I updated my AU recs page with the following recs:

Stargate: Atlantis

All You Can Be, by [livejournal.com profile] beingothrwrldly. Slash, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. (ca. 4,350 words)
Rodney is a music teacher, John was a pilot and gets recalled for war.

The Convenient Husband (part 2 is here), by [livejournal.com profile] brighidestone. Slash, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. (ca. 12,400 words)
It's another response to the Harlequin challenge. John has to marry to inherit his share of his family's aerospace company, and his childhood friend Rodney seems the most convenient choice.

Atlantis Wasn't Built in a Day, by [livejournal.com profile] eleveninches. Slash, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. (ca. 3,600 words)
What if they hadn't found a way to save Atlantis from the hurricane during The Storm? This scenario could have been played very angsty, but this story goes for a more lighthearted look at the expedition having to cope with wilderness survival.

Dead Like Them, by [livejournal.com profile] forcryinoutloud and Layton Colt ([livejournal.com profile] nixa_jane). Slash, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. WIP
It's a fusion with the series Dead Like Me. John, Rodney, Ronon, Jack and Daniel are grim reapers.

Separation Anxiety, by [livejournal.com profile] fydyan. Gen, John Sheppard. (ca. 1,000 words)
This short vignette explores why John might have decided not to join the expedition.

Strangerverse, by Jenn ([livejournal.com profile] seperis). Slash, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. The individual stories are finished, but the universe is still a WIP.
It's a quantum mirror story in which a Rodney from an alternate reality ends up in the canon universe, albeit at a point in the future after canon!Rodney has died. It is really interesting to see the familiar universe through the eyes of the other Rodney, and to slowly piece together all the ways how that universe, in which John was a mathematician and working as a scientist for the SGC, is different from the familiar one.

String Theory, A Concerto for Violin in D Minor, by [livejournal.com profile] toft_froggy. Slash, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. (ca. 11,700 words)
Rodney is a composer/conductor, John plays the violin, other characters have minor appearances as musicians too. I'm completely clueless about music, but still this one drew me in and even made their music and performance meaningful for me.

X, by [livejournal.com profile] trinityofone. Gen. (ca. 3,700 words)
It's a fusion with the X-Men (movie) universe. The members of the Atlantis team are all mutants.

Supernatural

No, Make Something Up, by [livejournal.com profile] trollprincess. Het, Sam/Jess. (ca. 3,750 words)
What if Sam had come clear with Jessica about his family while he was at Stanford?

Also, [livejournal.com profile] ficbyzee posted Take The Black Off A Crow, a sequel to the AU story The Compass That You Gave Me, which I had previously recced. In this universe Kon has been taken in by Dick after he escaped Cadmus Labs.
ratcreature: RatCreature smokes Crack (crack)
Fandom: DC Comics/Muppets
Characters/Pairings: Gonzo (as Nightwing)
Rating: G
Media used: Pencil sketch, some quick and sloppy coloring in GIMP
Warnings: Um... crack!doodle?
Notes: This is the fourth and last (so far) of my Muppets/DCU fusion doodles. In case you're wondering why I cast Gonzo as Dick Grayson/Nightwing, there are several ways they resonate with each other (at least in my strange brain): Gonzo's history as a daredevil performance artist (granted his colors aren't the same as the Flying Graysons', but still) and as stuntman, Gonzo's romance life, and that in a world withouth Kermit Gonzo would have been become "a depressed street performer that plays the guitar for a dancing brick", and considering I cast Kermit as Superman, I find the parallels fitting. (I don't know if Dick would have become a depressed circus artist instead of staying a superhero without Clark exactly, but he wouldn't have been Nightwing as we know him.)
Preview: preview of Gonzo!Nightwing
Gonzo (as Nightwing), ca. 110k )
ratcreature: RatCreature at the drawing board. (drawing)
Fandom: DC Comics/Muppets
Characters/Pairings: Fozzie Bear (as Jimmy Olson)
Rating: G
Media used: Pencil sketch, some quick and sloppy coloring in GIMP
Warnings: Um... crack!doodle?
Notes: This is the third of my Muppets/DCU fusion doodles. Again, it was inspired by [livejournal.com profile] brown_betty and [livejournal.com profile] thete1.
Preview: preview of Jimmy!Fozzie
Fozzie Bear (as Jimmy Olson), ca. 85k )
ratcreature: Who needs talent? Enthusiasm is fun!  (talent/enthusiasm)
Fandom: DC Comics/Muppets
Characters/Pairings: Kermit the Frog (as Superman) and Miss Piggy (as Lois Lane)
Rating: G
Media used: Pencil sketch, some quick and sloppy coloring in GIMP (because Muppets should be colorful)
Warnings: Um... crack!doodle?
Notes: This is the first two of my doodles I threatened you with in my previous post. They were inspired by [livejournal.com profile] brown_betty and [livejournal.com profile] thete1. (The others aren't colored yet, and it's too late at night to finish them tonight.)
Preview: preview of Superman!Kermit
Kermit the Frog (as Superman) and Miss Piggy (as Lois Lane), ca. 140k )
ratcreature: RatCreature smokes Crack (crack)
[livejournal.com profile] brown_betty discussed a story that somehow featured Clark identifying with Kermit the frog, and I read that post (not the story though) and chatted a bit with [livejournal.com profile] thete1 about DC/Muppets fusion possibilities in the comments, and as a result I had the image of Superman!Kermit and Lois!Piggy stuck in my head. Worse I now actually have committed both to paper in cracktastic doodles. All that's missing now is Jimmy!Fozzie and Nightwing!Gonzo. Both of which I might actually draw next. *headdesk*

Fandom is not good for my sanity.

ETA: While looking for Gonzo pictures to draw him, I saw that he was cast as Darth Vader Nadir in the Muppet SW parody. Why didn't I know about this before?
ratcreature: RatCreature smokes Crack (crack)
I updated my AU recs page with the following recs:

DCU

The Compass That You Gave Me, by Zee ([livejournal.com profile] ficbyzee). Gen, Dick, Kon. (ca. 19,000 words)
What if Dick had found Superboy after he escaped from Cadmus Labs and taken him in?

Stargate: Atlantis

A Farm in Iowa and its sequel And Then There Was Finn, by Cate ([livejournal.com profile] sheafrotherdon). Slash, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. (ca. 12,000 and 8,000 words)
The idea to have John leave the military after some time in Antarctica, but before meeting O'Neill, just to move to a farm in Iowa he inherited from his grandfather may seem a bit odd, but in this case it really works. Since it's a slash story Rodney's car breaks down near John's farm, and a friendship starts to develop. This story is a delightful slowly building romance, fun to read, and has a great atmosphere with lots of vivid little details.

As Lost As You Get, by [livejournal.com profile] lilysaid. Slash, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. (ca. 10,000 words)
This is an Epiphany AU. It is not a radical AU, but expands the episode so that after Rodney and the others arrive to rescue Sheppard not all villagers ascend promptly and the Atlantis team can't escape right away, but remains trapped for a while as well. That way the story gives us a look at how Sheppard has changed and at Ascension in general from Rodney's POV.

In the Zone, by [livejournal.com profile] littera_abactor. Gen, John Sheppard (though there's slash and het implied, Ronon Dex/Teyla Emmagan, John Sheppard/Ronon Dex and John Sheppard/Teyla Emmagan). (ca. 2,000 words)
It's a fusion with the concept of The Dead Zone. Here John Sheppard has been in a coma for seven years and now experiences psychic episodes when he touches people.

The Dark Side, by shalott ([livejournal.com profile] astolat). Slash, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. (ca. 7,450 words).
This is a fusion with Star Wars. Rodney is a Jedi, John a Sith, though both are a bit unconventional. This story has lot of great funny moments, and it's surprisingly non-angsty for a Jedi/Sith pairing, yet their respective backstories that we find out over the course of the story still make a lot of sense.
ratcreature: RatCreature smokes Crack (crack)
Apparently I'm in a spammy mood today, sorry about that, I don't usually inflict three posts in such a short time.

But while going through my bookmarks for the next AU recs update, I thought that maybe non-AU recs also might be of interest. And since crossovers delight me almost as much as AUs I decided to point out a couple of crossovers I've read and liked over the last few months.

Five Superheroes Dean Winchester Never Slept With, by [livejournal.com profile] derryderrydown. Slash and het, Dean Winchester/Roy Harper, Dean Winchester/Stephanie Brown, Dean Winchester/Grace Choi, Dean Winchester/Dick Grayson, Dean Winchester/Jason Todd. (ca. 3,250 words)
DCU/Supernatural
The title really says it all. Dean just fits so very well into the DCU. The idea behind the Dean/Steph snippet is especially cool, but Dick and Dean bonding over their scars and Dean working with Roy were also great.

Stopping for Pancakes and its sequel Looking for Salt, by [livejournal.com profile] dotfic. Gen, Sam Winchester, Dean Winchester, Dana Scully, Fox Mulder. (ca. 950 and 5,800 words)
Supernatural/The X-Files
If you're interested at all in Supernatural you probably have already read those two. Anyway, it's great to have Mulder and Scully interact with the Winchesters. The first takes place pre-series when Sam and Dean are still kids and Mulder and Scully are still working for the FBI, and in the second they run across each other again years later, some time during the first SPN season, and are fighting zombies together. I mean, zombies, how could you resist that? *g*

Once Upon a Time in the West, by [livejournal.com profile] marinarusalka. Het, John Winchester/Sarah Connor. (ca. 7,660 words)
Supernatural/Terminator
John and Sarah meet while buying weapons and ammunition. This makes for an awesome and very fitting pairing (not to mention hot), also Sam and Dean have some hilarious lines. As usual with [livejournal.com profile] marinarusalka's SPN fic the view we get of the Winchesters' pre-series family life is great, even if this is John-centric and not focused on the brothers.

Stray Cat Blues, by [livejournal.com profile] monkeycrackmary. Gen, Faith, Sam, Dean, and John Winchester. (ca. 3,500 words)
Supernatural/Buffy the Vampire Slayer
This takes place pre-series for Supernatural. The Winchesters run into Faith while on the road.

Rollin', by [livejournal.com profile] tzi and [livejournal.com profile] zaganthi. Slash, Rodney McKay/Dean Winchester. (8,256 words)
Supernatural/Stargate Atlantis
This isn't a pairing or crossover that would have occurred to me, but strangely it works.

White Rabbit, by [livejournal.com profile] valderys. Gen, John Sheppard, Grant Jansky (the author labelled it as being "pre-slash if you squint" for a bunch of pairings, but I read it as gen). (8,866 words)
Traders/Stargate Atlantis
This was done for the [livejournal.com profile] reel_sga challenge and adapts the movie Harvey. After an Ancient technology mishap John finds himself back on earth and in the past, and only Grant Jansky can see him. Donald's, Jack's and Adam's reactions to Grant seeing an invisible Air Force Colonel are great, it is a lot of fun to read.
ratcreature: RatCreature as Arsenal. (arsenal)
I've been wondering whether there's any decent "Roy as a hooker" fanfic out there. I mean, there should be, right? What with Roy being a junkie for a while? And with hooker fic being such a classic slash cliche? I'm the first to admit that I'm not all that versed in the details of his history, but I image there ought to be some way to fit hooker fic into his character continuity, or at least good points for such AUs to branch off from.

Thinking about this I find it actually rather strange that I can't recall reading any Hooker!Roy. Also I have this bizarre urge to do a Junkie!Roy drawing. Gah. I pretty sure I can't even draw drug addition convincingly, why do I get these kinds of ideas?! I don't even remember when he got his tattoos in canon, though I think I've read about it in some flashback or other, maybe in the Arsenal mini? But anyway, he got those tattoos after his junkie phase, no? (So if I were -- hypothetically -- to draw him then he wouldn't have those those yet?)
ratcreature: RatCreature as Superman (superman)
I've made some icons from Superman #210 (written by Brian Azzarello, pencils by Jim Lee, inks by Scott Williams). As usual, comment if you claim one, say if you're willing to share, otherwise the icon belongs to the first person to claim it, and of course you can modify them in any way you want:

eleven icons from Superman #210 )
ratcreature: RatCreature as Batman (batman)
I've just read Batman: Death and the Maidens #9 (written by Greg Rucka, art by Klaus Janson) and spoilers... )
ratcreature: RatCreature as Batman (batman)
After reading about Huntress, I've now read the 2000 retcon of her origin story myself, Batman/Huntress: Cry For Blood (written by Greg Rucka, pencils and inks by Rick Burchett, except in #5 and #6 which have inks by Terry Beatty), and overall I liked the story. I was of course spoiled by reading summaries, but I have to say that from just knowing Huntress from guest appearances in BOP and such, and the Nightwing/Huntress series, I wouldn't have expected her to act like this.

Even having read summaries, the end still had something of a sucker punch effect on me. I mean, she doesn't do it herself, but she arranges for Santo Cassamento, the man who ordered her family to be wiped out and also her biological father, to be killed, because she wants revenge, because "blood cries for blood." She asks her uncle Tomaso Panessa for a favor, and while we don't hear her words then (I guess mostly so that it'll hit you harder as a reader later on), it becomes clear that she asks him to kill Santo, and tells him where he'll be able to find him, or something to that effect. Then she arranges it so that Santo has to be at that drug shipment personally, by beating up on his goons, meets Santo outside, letting him believe that he's still blackmailing her with his knowledge of her identity, calmly takes off her vigilante garb after he went inside, and stands by outside while he is murdered, not swayed in the least by the Question/Vic's pleas to stop it either. She also placed an anonymous tip so that Tomaso will go to jail. And as her final act we see her throwing her crucifix down into the water by the pier (which, as far as I can see doesn't reappear in her guest appearances in Batman and Detective after this series, even though she still wears her old costume, not the current one).

I think what hit me, is how she takes off her costume before standing by his murder, as if she somehow doesn't want her vigilante persona tainted by this revenge killing she arranged. It was a really powerful scene, but it changed my view of her.

Unrelated to the Huntress stuff, what's up with Tim and Barbara in this series? Here Barbara knows Tim's identity, when she didn't in BOP #19 which was published the same month as #2 of this series. It's not so much that I have a problem with her knowing, I mean, in a way it's kind of weird that we were supposed to believe she didn't in BOP #19, despite things like Tim's rescue from NML, which should have made the connection between Robin and Tim quite obvious to Oracle, I think. It just doesn't fit.

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