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Grumpy Old Fan | New 52, week 1: These boots are made for leaping

Static Shock #1

It was the strangest thing — when I woke up this morning I was younger, single, and most of my clothes had high collars and funky seams….

Okay, let’s cut that out right now. Don’t worry, I’m still middle-aged and married, with the same beat-up wardrobe. However, I have read all but one of this week’s New-52 books, and now I get to share them with you. (The local comics shop got shorted on Batwing #1, which is too bad, because as one of the few sort-of new concepts being offered, I was especially looking forward to it. Next week for sure!) Generally I thought most had at least some potential, and I was mostly impressed with the efforts the various creative teams made. Of course, that doesn’t mean I liked everything, but I did like more than I thought I would.


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New 52 Pickup | Week 2

It’s finally here: The first full week of DC’s New 52 brought 13 brand-new titles – only the tip of the iceberg as September progresses. If the quality of this week’s books is any indication of the rest of the New 52, there will be some very difficult cuts to make at the end of the month.

From now through the end of September, I’ll provide brief overviews of each book with the pull-list status at the end. With no further ado, it’s time to jump into Week 2 of the New 52! Prepare for a number of Bat-family books, the new JLI, Sgt. Rock for the modern age and more!

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

Animal Man
Written by Jeff Lemire with art by Travel Foreman

This book sets the benchmark for this week as to what a New 52 #1 should be. Jeff Lemire brings new life to Buddy Baker in an incredible story that both takes advantage of the character’s rich history and introduces new elements in the spirit of DC’s relaunch. Not only does Lemire give readers a welcome reintroduction to Animal Man with a stunning cliffhanger that will leave them wanting more, Travel Foreman’s interior pencils are gorgeous, only adding to the unique feel that Lemire gives this title. It’s a great first issue, and I can’t wait to read more. If I could read only one New 52 issue this week, this would be it.

Status: IN

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Some thoughts on DC’s first wave of relaunched creative teams

Wonder Woman by Cliff Chiang

Following their announcement that they were starting everything over and relaunching all their titles with new first issues this fall, DC Comics today announced the creative teams for ten of the titles.

And while Tom may have other thoughts on his mind this week, here are some of my quick thoughts on those announcements:

Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang on Wonder Woman: Now all we need to know is whether she’s forming a rock band or not … but seriously, art wise, in my eyes, perfect choice. I’m a huge fan of Chiang’s, so I was just hoping we’d see him on any regular title. And Wonder Woman seems like a great fit. Azzarello, meanwhile, probably isn’t the first name I would have thought of when thinking about Wonder Woman, but the more I think about it, the more I like the idea. Of the creative teams revealed so far, this is probably becoming my favorite, or is at least tied with …

Ethan Van Sciver, Gail Simone and Yildiray Cinar on Firestorm: Back at WonderCon in 2010, Simone and Van Sciver teased that they were working together on something. Could they have been talking about Firestorm? Maybe; Simone also said on Twitter that she and Van Sciver have another as-yet-unannounced project they’re working on, so it could have been something else. I like the fact that Van Sciver is co-writing the book (rather than drawing it), and it’s getting a bit of a reboot. “Jason Rusch and Ronnie Raymond are two high school students, worlds apart – and now they’re drawn into a conspiracy of super science that bonds them forever in a way they can’t explain or control.” So you have two writers with very different worldviews writing a character composed of two other characters with wildly different worldviews. That’s actually pretty cool. Yildiray Cinar, meanwhile, has been killing it on Legion, so he’s a plus to a team I was already liking.

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What Are You Reading?

Deadpool Team-Up #886

Hello and welcome to a special “birthday bash” edition of our weekly “What Are You Reading” feature, where the Robot 6 crew talks about what books we’ve read recently. Usually we invite a special guest to share what they’ve been reading, but since today isn’t just an ordinary day for us, we thought we’d invite a whole bunch of special guests to help us out — our friends and colleagues from Comic Book Resources, Spinoff and Comics Should Be Good!

To see what everyone has been reading, click below …

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Send Us Your Shelf Porn!

No new comics in the United States today? Well, that’s ok … because we still have some Shelf Porn for you. Today’s Shelf Porn comes from Graham Apperly, who lives in England and shows us his library of graphic novels and collection of wargame miniatures.

If you’d like to contribute to Shelf Porn, it’s easy — just send your photos and write-up to jkparkin@yahoo.com. Also, if you’re decorating for the holidays and using any sort of comic book theme on your tree or around the house, we want to see those too! So take some photos and send them to me.

And now here’s Graham …

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Is it still a comic if I can’t crease the pages? Thoughts on digital and the iPad

DC Comics App on the iPad

DC Comics App on the iPad

With DC Comics revealing its digital strategy yesterday, all of the major players now have some sort of digital comics plan, allowing folks who have an Apple devices (iPad, iPhone, etc.), a PlayStation Portable or even just access to the web to read at least some of their comics in a digital format.

I’ve had an iPhone for a while now, and I’ve downloaded free comic apps from distributors like comiXology, Panelfly and iVerse. I’ve used them to download free samples of comics they were offering (sampling Jersey Gods on the iPhone, for example, led to me purchasing the trades). But I never actually bought comics on it. And there’s a big difference between downloading something because it’s free, and actually becoming a paying customer and spending real money on it.

So what held me back? Part of it was because of what was available — most of the material I would have been interested in downloading I already owned in print, and I couldn’t justify buying it again. And part of it was that I just didn’t enjoy the experience of reading a comic on my iPhone as much as I did a print comic, mostly because of the size restrictions. The app developers, of course, tried to make it easy to adjust, offering zoom features and panel-to-panel scrolling, but there’s just something about not seeing the whole page of a comic at a time, versus just seeing each panel, that was the hump I couldn’t get over. I need the forest, and I need the trees.

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Picnic time for teddy bears

Grumpy Old Fan

Grumpy Old Fan

I lived at home for a few years during college and law school, and soon fell into the habit of watching new Star Trek episodes (various series) with my parents. Every so often, at a particularly cliffhanging commercial break, my mom would turn to me and ask, perfectly serious, what was going to happen next. Of course I didn’t know, and eventually I said something like “oh, this is the one where they beam down to the Cuddly Teddy Bear Planet for tea and scones.” Soon the phrase “teddy bears” became shorthand for “invasion,” “warp core breach,” “musical number,” etc. Indeed, when Voyager’s crew was marooned on a primordial world at the end of the second season, I noted the nasty-looking lizards prowling around and said “look, Mom — there are the teddy bears!”

Accordingly, it is not in my nature to be optimistic about such things; and so I am experiencing a bit of cognitive dissonance with all this Brightest Day news coming out of DC. It’s like the publisher has traded so heavily in grim ‘n’ gritty that scrubbing it away will involve a year-long biweekly miniseries which (of course) ties into some of the publisher’s most recognizable titles.  Apparently happiness has gotten so far from the DC norm that it’s become a brand.

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