Best of 7 Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources

Return of ‘Stumptown’ makes me miss James Garner a little less

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[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

The manner in which a comic series resonates with me often lacks sense. In the case of the launch of Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth’s Stumptown, I distinctly remember  a mid-2007 CBR article where Rucka described it as “my love letter to ‘The Rockford Files.’” From that moment on, I have been a huge fan of Stumptown.

Portland private investigator Dex Parios is not a perfect character; investigations rarely go smoothly for her. But she always succeeds on some level. Her family is important to her, more exactly her special needs brother Ansel Parios means the world to her. For me, the value of family is another homage to the James Garner 1970s series.

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Yang, Simone and the triumph of ‘Saga’

saga15-cover[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

In some ways, this is the best of times and the worst of times for those who are interested in bringing comics to a broader audience. As the hubbub died down over Milo Manara’s Spider-Woman cover, another story went viral, about a comic shop where an employee allegedly made a crude joke about a “rape room” and then fired a trainee who complained about it. While debate continues to rage over what exactly happened there (the store owner denies it), Bloomberg did a big story on how the number of women comics readers is growing and becoming an ever more important sector of the industry.

With this in mind, I want to call out three things that happened this week.

The first is Gene Luen Yang’s speech at the National Book Festival. First of all, it’s impressive that a comics creator is given such a prominent platform at an event that isn’t actually focused on comics. What Yang had to say was even more impressive. He spoke about the African-American creator Dwayne McDuffie, whose love of comics first caught fire when he encountered the Black Panther, a black character created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The Black Panther wasn’t perfect, but, Yang said,

All of these flaws were lost on Dwayne McDuffie when he first encountered the Black Panther in 1973, at the age of 11. What struck him was the character’s commanding sense of dignity. The Black Panther wasn’t anyone’s sidekick. He wasn’t an angry thug. He wasn’t a victim. He was his own hero, his own man. As Dwayne describes it, “In the space of 15 pages, black people moved from invisible to inevitable.”

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Simone, Lashley want to ‘Six’ you up

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[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

The Movement was cancelled and she’s almost done with Batgirl, but fans of Gail Simone’s DC work can now look forward to the return of Secret Six. Launched in 2005 as a big-event tie-in, the fan-favorite series ended in the summer of 2011 and had yet to reappear in a New 52 context.

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‘Shazam!’ film seeks ‘a sense of fun and a sense of humor’

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[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

Hot on the heels of the high publicized and false rumor that DC movies would be adopting a “no jokes” policy came that shining glimmer of hope, like a Big Red Cheese riding a gigantic ammunition shell through the sky. This week we got more details about the Shazam! movie, most of it serving just to whet my hunger for a major motion picture starring that most stalwart of Fawcett Comics heroes.

Will this be the much feared “grim and gritty” version that many fans had been envisioning since David Goyer and Zach Snyder took the helm of the Justice League, subsequently releasing image after image of scowling, unhappy superheroes? As the news came rolling in, it seemed more and more that it will not. First, it’s going to be produced under New Line, and not the parent Warner Bros. studio that will produce the Justice League movies. New Line president Toby Emmerich, in fact, stated in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that “It’s a DC comic, but it’s not a Justice League character” and that it “will have a sense of fun and a sense of humor.” Oh, Toby… your words are like honey to my ears.

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In ‘Southern Bastards,’ Aaron & Latour write a love letter to the South

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[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

This week saw the first arc of Jason Aaron and Jason Latour‘s Southern Bastards wrap with the release of issue #4. After spending the past three issues laying the foundation for lead character Earl Tubb to confront Dixie Mafia (and football coach) Boss, readers get what they want–and much much more.

As a native of the South (born, raised and still live in Atlanta), I have a deep appreciation for the story the Jasons aim to tell. It is 2014, but as a man who has sat in traffic in a metropolitan Southern city and witnessed a teenager driving a pickup truck with a giant Confederate flag waving from a pole in his truck bed can tell you, not everyone cares what year it is. It is 2014, but AutoTrader recruited Bo and Luke Duke to sell their new phone-app based platform. Right or wrong, those characters likely typify the South for many people who have never lived here. I think while some of my fellow Southerners live in and relish the wrongheaded trappings of the past (and yet, no, I am not calling the Dukes of Hazard racist), many folks are like me, proud of being from the South, but with no desire to rehash why and how the Civil War was fought. In 2014, there is no such thing as a typical Southerner. Thankfully, there is diversity in the 2014 South.

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‘I don’t measure peoples’ lives. I save them.’

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[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

Note: This post contains spoilers for Avengers #34.

The last couple weeks have been, to put it mildly, kind of crappy. Not just on a macro level — and there’s certainly been enough on the macro level to designate the last two weeks as crappy, as you can see on this handy chart courtesy of the excellent The System webcomic. But also on a personal level. Ferguson. My cat dying. Robin Williams. Ebola. Crap at work. Ugh.

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Pires reaches the final leg of his music trilogy

Pop-banner[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

It’s intriguing to see writer Curt Pires reach the third leg of his music trilogy, Pop (the first two legs were LP and Theremin). When I interviewed Pires about LP nearly two years ago, it was a project he self-published. So I was immensely pleased to see that the recognition of Pires’ talent had grown since that first leg to the point Dark Horse is publishing this new four-issue limited series.

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Little moments add up in Lucy Knisley’s ‘An Age of License’

An Age of License[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

It took me a while to figure out why I liked Lucy Knisley’s An Age of License so much better than her last book, Relish, but eventually it came to me: Relish is a memoir, An Age of License is a diary comic.

Knisley was in her mid- to late 20s when she made Relish, and that is a bit young to be doing a memoir, even one that focuses on childhood. There’s a certain fullness of perspective that comes with time and distance, and while Relish was technically a very accomplished book, it felt a bit thin.

An Age of License, on the other hand, has an immediacy to it that makes it much more compelling. It’s more diary than memoir, a travelogue comic about Knisley’s trip through Europe in 2011, when she was a guest at the Raptus Comic Fest in Norway. Her plan is to travel alone, but not entirely: A few weeks before she leaves, she meets a handsome Swedish guy, Henrik, and they hit it off. So she plans to head off to Stockholm after the comics fest, spend some time with Henrik, and then push on to Berlin and visit friends and family in France.

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Alonso apologizes for mixed messages of Manara’s Spider-Woman cover

spider-woman-manara[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

I was pleased to see Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso acknowledge concerns over the variant cover by Milo Manara for Spider-Woman #1, and even go so far as to explicitly apologize for the mixed message the cover caused.

“We always listen to fans’ concerns so we can do better by them,” Alonso stated to CBR for Friday’s installment of the weekly Axel-in-Charge interview column. “We want everyone — the widest breadth of fans — to feel welcome to read Spider-Woman. We apologize — I apologize — for the mixed messaging that this variant caused.”

He went on to note that it is not the official cover for the series, and is equally not as representative of the title as a pet variant by Skottie Young might be. That’s a fair point. However, I would argue that there is a difference between a Milo Manara variant and any other random variant. That cover exists within the context of the title character of the comic and the historical depiction of women in comics, if not media in general, juxtaposed with a cartoonist known for erotica being commissioned to provide material for a comic with a T+ rating (13 and above).

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Donald Glover (sort of) gets his Spider-Man wish

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[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

Nothing can bring quite as big a smile to my face as reading the words “Donald Glover to play Spider-Man.” Sure, sure, it’s voice work for a cartoon. However, the unlikelihood of this announcement struck me with the same amusement and bonhomie as hearing that, say, Community was going to be renewed for a sixth season.

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The triumphant return of Captain Carrot

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[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

Grant Morrison, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and the rest of the team behind the long-awaited Multiversity miniseries deliver some great moments in the first issue, including an homage to the satellite scene in the original Crisis on Infinite Earths #1. That first issue was rich in DC universe history, as Marv Wolfman and George Perez introduced a ragtag group of heroes and villains brought together by the Monitor from various eras and Earths to battle the Anti-Monitor’s universe-destroying forces.

Morrison and Reis do something similar here, as we return to the Monitor’s satellite and are introduced to heroes like the Savage Dragon-esque Dino-Cop and the fanboy Flash analogue Red Racer; witness the return of President Calvin Ellis, the Superman of Earth-23; and are treated to cameos by original Crisis heroes like Lady Quark and Harbinger. But my favorite was seeing the return of Captain Carrot:

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‘Ms. Marvel’ puts Logan to good use

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[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

The conclusion of the two-part Wolverine guest-shot in Ms. Marvel #7 is not just one of the best issues of the series to date, it’s one of the most fun superhero comics I’ve read in a while. Writer G. Willow Wilson, artist Jacob Wyatt and colorist Ian Herring start with a giant sewer alligator, throw in a Family Circus-esque climb, and end with a couple of high-profile cameos ruminating on Kamala Khan’s potential.

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For Gail Simone, an ending and (sort of) a beginning

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[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

Gail Simone brought to a close her tenure as Batgirl writer and helped kick off the digital-first Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman series this week. Both issues were well within her comfort zone, featuring large casts of characters locked in spirited combat a la Wonder Woman #600 and Secret Six #36. Both had callbacks to previous Simone successes, one of which pleased this longtime fan immeasurably. (No spoilers, but let’s just say she’s a Bird of Prey I didn’t think I’d see in the New 52.) Perhaps most importantly, both showed their headliners fully in control of their respective situations. For Batgirl that came at the end of a long, somewhat depressing series of subplots, and in Sensation it was a well-executed rebuttal to anyone who thinks Wonder Woman can’t be as hardcore as her gothic-avenger colleague.

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Cunningham delivers a message of hope after unexpected tragedy

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[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

The unexpected death of Robin Williams was shocking enough, but the news that it was suicide was a punch to the gut.

For better or for worse (and it can work both ways), we look for redemption in tragedies. As soon as the news got out, people started sharing information about suicide help lines on Twitter and Facebook, and as the week went on, many people used the moment to reflect publicly on their own struggles with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.

In that context, I really appreciated “You Might as Well Live,” the little cartoon Darryl Cunningham posted this week: He depicts a man who realizes, in the split second after jumping off a bridge, that he has made a terrible mistake: “All the actions he had taken in his life were fixable, he realised, except for the action he’d just taken.”

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‘Anderson: Psi Division’ flies solo in new series

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[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

In my years of reading comics, Judge Dredd has been a pretty big blind spot for me. That is until the 2012 movie. I loved the relatively low-scale stakes that still managed to pack a lot of character in its limited environment. People like to say that Dredd is about a fascist society, but to me it felt more like the Wild West. Dredd (Karl Urban) and Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) were more like sheriffs enforcing the law in a lawless society, and certain scenes — like Dredd walking down an empty hallway with people left and right — definitely recalled Western imagery. I started to dig into the 2000AD comics and the new IDW series.

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