Robot 6

Everyone’s A Critic: A round-up of comic book reviews and thinkpieces

Ng Suat Tong time again! This time he’s over at the Comics Reporter, talking about how mainstream (i.e. DC and Marvel) comics tend to mostly be writer-driven these days, and how few of these big-name writers fail to utilize the medium well, using Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s Born Again saga as a comparison point.

From Miller and Mazzucchelli's 'Born Again

From Miller and Mazzucchelli's 'Born Again

If Bendis and Maleev’s take on Daredevil falters at times in its disregard for the formal properties of comics, it is also guilty of rolling out age old tropes for the “revival” of superhero titles. One is left with the impression that mainstream comics writing has not only stagnated but in all likelihood regressed in the last decade becoming competent yet mediocre.

Lots more good stuff at the link.

Abhay Khosla declares the “3 Jacks” story from Daredevil #500 “pretty much the best Marvel comic of the year so far, right?”

Jog looks at Jacques Tardi’s West Coast Blues and compares/contrasts its noirist tendencies to Darwyn Cooke’s recent Parker adaptation: “Both books contain framing images of Our Man on the road, a socio-economic subtext, and a dénouement that nod toward the inscrutability of these hard men and their achievements. You’d swear this was a response to Cooke’s book, if you didn’t know it was an English translation of a French album from 2005.”

• The Comics Comics site has really been busting the mad skillz lately. Here’s what went down over the weekend: Jeet Heer examined John Stanley’s influence on Seth, among other things; and Dan Nadel raves about the new Prince Valiant collection.

David Welsh examines the tricky business of translating a culture-specific manga like Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei: The Power of Negative Thinking: “Depending on the translator’s thirst for a challenge, it sounds like either a dream job or a nightmare.”

Shaenon Garrity uses the upcoming release of issue #300 of the Comics Journal to muse on the magazine’s history:

The Internet has, alas, killed off one of the other reliable sources of entertainment in TCJ, the “Blood and Thunder” letters column. Seen today, the old “Blood and Thunder”s form a near-complete record of everyone remotely interesting in comics for the last thirty years. Some great arguments raged in the dawn times. My personal favorite remains the long-running battle, waged over months of columns, between Harvey Pekar and everyone else. Pekar ultimately won, in my opinion, by arguing that modern indie comics would be better if cartoonists had taken their inspiration from Spain rather than Robert Crumb. He was right. Imagine how much less annoyingly emo everything would be, and how much more fun Seth would be at conventions.

Rob Clough priases the Ed Emberly-themed anthology, Emberly Galaxy: “Even those unfamiliar with the artist will find something to enjoy.”

Derik Badman recommends the comics of Aidan Koch.

Katherine Dacey rounds up the manga of note, while Tucker Stone just … rounds ‘em up. Then shoots ‘em.



Abhay said: “So, “3 Jacks”—pretty much the best Marvel comic of the year so far, right?”

In that you have quoted him correctly, but he also says in the next paragraph:

“The rest of the comic is inert; not worth anyone’s time.”

3 Jacks may very well be the best story of the year. I can’t judge, as I haven’t yet read it, but, according to Abhay, it is 13 pages of creamy filling delight in a huge book of moldy golden sponge cake.

And when Abhay is on, can anybody write a better review — with or without snark?

3 Jacks was pretty lame, I much preferred the main Brubaker and Lark story.

I thought that Tong piece was pretty rotten top to bottom, never mind that he started on a point that almost anyone with a smart eye towards comics would agree on (artists don’t get enough credit). The rest was a total mess.

I think there’s a lot of people out there who would agree with you Kiel. I didn’t agree with the piece wholeheartedly — he’s way too dismissive about Ed Brubaker — but I thought he had some notable points about how a lot of writers don’t think about the visual elements of the medium often enough.

I totally agree, Kiel. That was a complete waste of my time.

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