Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

May 16, 2012

Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Bob Temuka writes about all of the positive things he sees in comics right now.

image* there's hasn't been a ton of reconsideration of Watchmen as a response to new of Before Watchmen; here's one web site that is hosting at least one super-close reading. I think I also saw some stuff over on Hooded Utilitarian, maybe? One reason it might be nice for critics to take a look back at the original book right now is that despite claims to the contrary, these new works will for most audiences have some sort of impact on the original -- if only by providing narrative detail on story events from the original whose power derives in part from their ambiguity, a filling-in-the-blanks that will be hard to shake.

* I probably should have paired something up with yesterday's news of a Watchmen toaster, but there are some nice Spain Rodriguez originals here.

* Greg McElhatton on Frankenstein Alive, Alive! Sean Gaffney on FLCL Omnibus. Rob Wells on two new Popeye-related releases. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors. Bart Croonenborghs on Otto: Keep On Rowing. Johanna Draper Carlson on Courtney Crumrin #2. Some person named Ben on Dear Creature and Hotwire Vol. 1.

* this is the banner for Hope Larson's A Wrinkle In Time effort you'll soon see behind her signing space at various conventions and bookstores.

* Mike Dawson and Alex Robinson talk to Tony Consiglio.

image* I don't always read J. Caleb Mozzocco's walk-throughs of solicitation copy for forthcoming mainstream comic books -- okay, I never do -- but I did this time because it's #12 issues on various titles DC Comics relaunched last year. His guess that they've pushed Martian Manhunter into a heel turn seems worth noting: I thought that character could have used one at some point just to help get him over as a crazy powerhouse to be taken more seriously. Yet I also imagine this will be less effective in a "new" universe because everyone has seemingly arbitrary motivations and moral standing. I have a very limited appetite for musing on superhero stories, but one thing that's interesting to me about DC storytelling generally is the underlying assumption that soaks these books that its characters are awesome. Every single event series they did in the last dozen years was about recognizing the fundamental awesomeness of its biggest characters; this new 52 is about using this notion as a springboard towards new permutations of that awesomeness. The problem is, after multiple relaunches including a continuity-severing one across the board, those characters no longer have much of a connection if any at all to the thirty years of mostly goody-good stories that provided the baseline against which these more "realistic" depictions push. Instead of providing a very clear reason for these characters doing what they do in these initial issues, the creative hivemind seems to just kind of assume everyone will get where Batman is coming from because, well, "it's Batman." With other heroes, where there's a departure of a complicating of their original motives and motivations, the assumption is that readers will stick with it because "it's still Superman" (or whomever). That might be true, people might largely figure that, but I don't think these assumptions are as powerful and versatile in terms of allowing other characters to react to them as was a cushion of decades of comics establishing this as so.

* Alyssa Rosenberg looks at the Grant Morrison book on superheroes and does the kind of thing I largely failed to do in the previous paragraph.

* finally, Sean Kleefeld is one of several comics culture commentators to pick up on some photos of Jack Kirby enjoying himself, even dancing.
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