Friday, October 31, 2008

Twice Struck

I went into my comics shop this week and the owner handed me the comics he'd pulled for me and I bought them. Then I got home and realized he'd sold me a comic that he'd already sold me last week. My wife thought it was funny that the comic I now own two copies of happened to be this one:

(And by the way, I do read comics besides The Flash. I'll blog about something non-Flash next time.)

Yes Folks

I'm doing my Sunstone presentation tomorrow. So This I Believe: Spider-Man needs to be married. Forever.

I'm actually feeling like I need to go back to trade paperbacks. Every handful of comics I come home from the store with is a story I haven't read for a month. Except Secret Invasion, in which case I am like, "oh, big fight scenes again."

Runaways. Can you say "lowered expectations?" Chase has become a big dumb jock and the story actually revolves around a homicidal radio jockey. What. The. Crap. This used to be Marvel's best book.

Thor continues to rule, in all its incarnations. I forget the name of the Alan Davis one-shot from this month, but it was great fun.

Spider-Man still needs to be married.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Smallville: Live Coverage!

-Wow. Of all the comics characters who I've imagined looking sexy in a live action shower scene, I never imagined that Doomsday would be one of them.

-I was skeptical when I read about the new characters this season--Tess Mercer as a cross between Miss Tessmacher and Mercy Graves, and Davis Blume as a human version of Doomsday--but I have to admit I'm really liking both of them. And not just because Davis looks good naked. They're interesting characters played by decent actors, and they just might be what saves this series when just about everyone proclaimed it dead.

-Hm. I don't know how I feel about a Jimmy/Chloe/Davis triangle. It might work better if I liked Jimmy, like, at all. As it is, I just want Chloe to call off the wedding and go make little Doomsday babies.

-Ooh, Clark is totally the Patriot Act and Chloe is the privacy-defending librarian. Go librarians!

-Commercial breaks go by faster when I'm blogging.

-Is Feist the oficial spokesperson (sangsperson?) of iPod now or is that someone else? It sounds like Feist to me and I'm too lazy to look it up. I bet all the other artists are jealous.

-I don't think Lori Loughlin should ever be anyone besides Aunt Becky. Believing her as anyone else is about as ridiculous as believing Greg from Dharma and Greg as some FBI dude.

-Okay, this commercial break is lasting forever.

-If I'm lucky, maybe Doomsday will kill Jimmy tonight. Naked. Doomsday, that is, not Jimmy. Definitely not Jimmy.

-Nope, I'm not that lucky.

-"Do you believe we still call these phones?" Yes I do and I find your commercial incredibly annoying.

-Ohhhh, the Patriot Act and the American Library Association make up.

-Foreshadowing has never been subtle on this show. But then, foreshadowing is kind of the whole premise of the show.

-I predict that at some point during this season, Clark will start wearing a mask to protect his identity, then realize the mask makes people distrust him, then decide to find another way to protect his identity.

-I used to stress about how this show will ever make sense as the backstory to the Superman story we all know and love, but I've decided I'm okay with it being a thing of its own. Maybe in this version he never becomes Superman--he's just Clark in a red jacket for the rest of his life. Maybe he becomes Superman and Lex and Lois and everyone immediately figure out who he is. Maybe they all have amnesia. I don't care. I'm enjoying it for what it is.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Green Lantern and Flash:

Working together, hand in hand, to protect gay marriage.

Because if both of their deaths couldn't keep them apart, what makes you think a line added to California's constitution will?

What You're Missing...

...if you're not reading Tiny Titans.

The Amazing Theric


Ben invited me to this blog to be the resident indie snob. I think I'm up for the task. After all, how many of you chose the weird comix out of the Northwest on Free Comic Book Day last year? And how many of you took Tiny Titans? Or that crappy X-Men one?

Yeah. That's what I thought.


Full disclosure: I took all three. And liked two of them. And I also took a whole lot of other stuff too, not all of which was good and not all of which was bad.

Breaking Your Marvel Cherry

Okay, here goes the first official Marvel post... when I haven't written my October column yet. Heh. Uh, what the hell.

Spider-Man's marriage.

I read the first few issues of Brand New Day despite the way One More Day was a total insult to the fans. I wanted to give Dan Slott a chance, and I know that chucking the marriage was Joe Quesada's idea in the first place anyway. But Brand Buy Me was pretty vapid. Spider-Man, according to the dictates of the editors, did not grow as a person or as a character at all, especially not compared the to the paces he'd been through with revealing his identity, getting his marriage back together, and having Aunt May find out his secret.

But still, I'm pissed about One More Day. Spidey's comics have sold just fine for twenty years with the marriage, and lots of writers have made it work. Those who can't are just lazy.

I'm pretty partial to the marriage. I started reading Spidey comics in 1989, one year after he got married. Except for Ultimate Spider-Man, my comic Spidey has always been married. (And no, I didn't read the Ben Reilly issues. I wanted to read about Peter Parker. Peter freaking Parker!) I always liked the Spider-Marriage. In its early years, it really grew and provided some fertile story ideas. Admittedly, some writers did better with it than others.

One of the better marriage storylines (unfortunately buried in an atrocious Spidey story) is in Erik Larsen's "Revenge of the Sinister Six" arc from No Adjective Spider-Man Volume One #18-23. (Man. Comics have really crappy ways of keeping track of what's what.)

MJ gets a part in the new "Arnold Schwarzenheimer" movie, but she has to do nude scenes. She's okay with it, but Peter, of course, is not. At first he's reasonable. "I don't like the idea of you sharing your nakedness with the rest of the world. We have little enough privacy as it is, with you getting recognized on the street." Later he flips out. "I can't believe you took the part! Aunt May will see you naked! J. Jonah Jameson and Flash Thompson will see you naked!"

MJ, in counter, says "It's the 90s, Peter" (snort) and gives a jab at Peter's old high school damage by saying, "You know, sometimes you can be a real square!"

This story really works pretty heavily on the square-takes-himself-too-seriously-and-needs-someone-to-make-him-laugh side of Spidey versus the party-girl-who-needs-a-rock-of-steadfastness-MJ. In one of the truly dated, but still relevant scenes, Peter is shaving while MJ puts a CD on in her spanking new CD played. (This was 1993, in case you're wondering.)

Peter: "Couldn't you put on something more soothing, like maybe a recording of a buzz saw cutting through sheet metal?"

MJ: "You don't like Guns N' Roses? You don't like anything recorded in the last ten years."

Peter: "Sure I do. Billy Joel. Nick Lowe. Dave Edmunds. Elton John."

MJ: "Exactly my point. You don't like anything new or cutting edge."

Peter: "They're cutting edge!"

MJ: "What do you think of Hammer, Extreme, Prince or INXS?"

Peter: "Not much. You forgot your favorite, the Fine Young Cannibals."

MJ: "They're passe."

Peter: "I thought as much."

Okay, it's TOTALLY CHEESY. But replace it with some modern music references (MJ likes the Killers, Arctic Monkeys, Gorillaz, My Chemical Romance, Pete likes... well, the same things) and you see how the whole thing works.

At the end, MJ tries to talk the producers into scrapping the nude scenes. As she does so, it becomes clear that they want her for her body, not her acting ability. She goes back to talk to Peter about it, and while he mentions his latest escapade taking down Dr. Octopus (again, this is a pretty atrocious Spider-Man story, but it's worth your dime for the Pete & MJ story) she tells him about how humiliated she felt in front of them.

Good stuff. This is long, sorry.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I'm Spencer, the Marvel guy on this blog. Together, the Fobster and I will spout our opinions about comics until geek comes out of your screen and rubs you down.

I also have a comics column here. I'm doing this blog partially because I can't write in the column about current issues of comics, only reprints and graphic novels, since there' s a big delay between writing the columns and having them published.

Geoff's Revenge

I imagine that writing serial characters who don't belong to you can be challenging. You put your heart and soul into a character, then you move on to another book and some hack comes along and screws with your baby.

Geoff Johns hasn't had to deal with this problem all that much. He's been writing for DC for about ten years now, and he has a tendency to stick with a character for a long time. He introduced Stargirl Courtney Whitmore in her shortlived series in 1999 and has been writing her in JSA and then Justice Society of America since then. He brought Hal Jordan back to life in 2004 and looks to be writing the character for the foreseeable future. He had a solid five-year run on The Flash, remarkable in how well-received it became, considering that the title was still in the shadow of Mark Waid's then-recent run that had lasted even longer. Johns's run certainly did justice to the character of Wally West, but it's even more memorable for the way he redefined the Flash's rogues gallery. He put a lot into establishing who these characters were, what motivated them, and what rules they lived by.

And then other writers came along and screwed with his babies. The Rogues did all sorts of things Geoff Johns would never write them doing, most notably teaming up with kid psychopath Inertia to kill the then-current Flash, Bart Allen--a character who, ironically, had been made unrecognizable to creator Mark Waid when Geoff Johns recast him as Kid Flash in Teen Titans; Waid has stated that he's since made peace with Johns over this fact. Johns is not so forgiving.

Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge, while just as enjoyable as every other Johns-penned story I've read, is fairly transparent in its metatextual motivations. This is Johns coming back to his Rogues and undoing the harm other writers have done to them. The premise of the story is that the Rogues are pissed off over the crappy year they've had (among other things, they spent a while on a prison planet) and they regret having broken their number one rule: Never kill a Flash. Because the Johns-written Rogues would never have done this, it's made clear that the person responsible for the murder is Inertia, that somehow he talked them into doing something they wouldn't normally do. In other words, Inertia is the two-dimensional effigy representing all the writers who have blasphemed Johns's sacred Rogues. And like any good effigy, Inertia gets the burning he deserves. The moment I saw Inertia's smoking corpse was when I realized what a vengeful bastard Geoff Johns is. You do NOT mess with his characters.

The cherry on this sundae of writer's revenge actually came before Inertia's death. In his final moments, Inertia puts an end to two of Johns's original contributions to the Flash mythos: first he blows up Weather Wizard's baby, introduced in one of Johns's earlier stories, and then he reverts Johns-created villain Zoom back into a wheelchair-bound Hunter Zolomon. As if Johns, having learned not to trust other writers to treat his characters well, is simply taking his toys out of the sandbox and going home.

I'm not sure that last bit was necessary, though. It seems Johns has concluded that if you want a job done right you'd better do it yourself, and has decided to come back to The Flash, after all. As much as I distrust the idea of bringing Barry Allen back, you can count on me buying Rebirth. Spiteful or not, Geoff Johns writes good stories. At the end of the day, that's all I care about.

Friday, October 3, 2008

As it turns out

Smallville is actually pretty good this season. Go figure.