Thursday, January 31, 2008

The OS Hot Ten For 1/31/08

10. Catwoman Lip-Ripping Cat-Fight Cover

9. Batman: Rest In Peace?

8. Marjorie Satrapi

7. Spider-Bitch
6. Joe Quesada on Colbert Report


4. Transformers Anniversary Ad: "They Were Always Real To Me"

3. Return Of Ambush Bug

(If only Ambush Bug had his own series on the Cartoon Network! *sigh*)

2. Y: The Last Issue / Season Four of "Lost"

(Picture of Matthew Fox barely trumps picture of the awesome Brian K. Vaughan)

1. The Return of Captain America

There it is, the Hot List
Let the debating begin...


  1. At first, I was wondering why you were considering a fan film that's at least five years old "hot", but then I realized you were just illustrating something. I love Grant Morrison on Batman!

  2. Catwoman Lip-Ripping Cat-Fight Cover

    Comic book companies never want to say. If this was done with male characters would it be the same? It would be different if both characters were nuts I think a sick but crazy cool way but.....I don't know, I'm going to show this to my girlfriend and New York will hear her scream from Florida I think.

  3. Colbert rules!!! He looked pretty comfy sporting that shield... Love the old Cap trailer btw, badass as hell.

  4. Spider-Bitch!!! AWESOME!!! Thank you, Valarie!!!! You're the ginchiest!!!!

  5. umm LOST Season 4 tonight!

    This is me so excited I just wish this damn day would end!

  6. Satrapi's first name is Marjane, not Marjorie. Or were you doing some kind of in-joke? I'm so out of it...

  7. ...Ambush Bug on Cartoon Network.


    Hey, didn't Warner Bros used to make cartoons, once?


  8. Robots in disguise!

    Their comics could be better, but the action figures are great.

  9. elayne beat me to correcting Satrapi's first name.

    owesome beat me to gushing over the idea of Ambush Bug on CN.

    now i have nothing to say.

    er.... what's up?

  10. Ambush Bug is Back! I'm so turned on right now!

  11. I skimmed through CAPTAIN AMERICA #34 at a shop, and I might buy it, out of curiosity. I briefly bought CA as a series in the ‘70s, when Englehart and Robbins were doing it, but the character has always been too cartoonish for my tastes. He worked better as an Avenger, I thought, than as a solo hero; Iron Man works better as an Avenger than as a solo character too.

    But the current version. . . With his guns and mission, he seems to have been changed into an action movie hero. Given Bendis’s attitudes toward crime fiction and superheroes, and Brubaker’s experience with crime fiction, it’s all too easy to imagine Bendis, Brubaker, Quesada, and others sitting around talking about how silly and crappy superheroes and their stories are, and how much nicer it would be if they could just write crime fiction stories instead. With the directions various titles have taken, they’re on their way to doing that. The perception that superheroes and their stories really *are* junk is fairly common, but the biggest reasons for that, IMO, are that the creators have routinely aimed the stories at children, or indulged juvenile tastes. Given sufficient attention to detail, sufficient knowledge of science, and writing ability, it’s not difficult to write superhero stories as a type of SF. SF writers have done that, as have comics writers (Englehart, notably). The costumes and the stereotyped opponents the heroes face have had too many negative effects on their perceived potential.


  12. Stephen:

    Sorry, Bendis and Brubaker love superheroes. They write superhero comics. People use superpowers and wear tights and fight aliens and use magic and have crazy gadgets and call each other by crazy names and big crazy things happen and everything that you would expect from a superhero comic happens. Also sometimes things happen that are not exactly what you expect in a superhero comic, and everyone rushes to the internet to complain about how they hate superheroes. It's getting really tiresome.

    I could understand the theory that they're just working on Spider-Man/X-Men/whatever for a cash grab and cynically dislike the material (although that wouldn't really bear out by an actual look at the facts), but why on Earth would either of them spend so much time and thought rehabilitating old unpopular superheroes if they hate them?

  13. Stephen:

    Captain America: Cartoonish? Really? Prior to actually reading some comics featuring him, I had thought him to be a jingoist figure, and therefore uninteresting to me. However, with hubub surrounding Brubaker's run, I took a look and was pleasantly surprised. In fact, it quickly took its place at the top of my reading stack each week it came out, and made me look into more of Brubaker's work (having previously read some of Sleeper).

    Frankly, it's bizarre to read someone of the opinion that he hates superheroes. Ok, you might think that from looking at the entirety of both his and Bendis' run on Daredevil, but the fact is that Matt has always been most interesting when being pulled through the wringer. If you actually read his Cap run, (or X-Men) you'll (hopefully) realise how wrong you are. Similarly, Bendis has taken the Avengers, which was at the time a fairly dull and poorly-selling title, and actually made the book interesting again, not through any sort of crime fiction-style writing, or any sort of juvenile manner, but through old-fashioned super-heroics.

  14. Actually on 1/28, a commenter (re the “Blue Velvet” blog entry) pointed out that on the POWERS #50 letters page, Bendis stated that he’d rather be writing crime fiction than about superheroes.

    If you look at what’s been published in NEW AVENGERS over the last several issues, it’s been evident that Bendis is doing crime fiction within the series to the extent that he can. He favors the villains over the heroes, the heroes and villains slug each other and fire guns, rather than use powers; the goal of the Hood and his gang was to rob a bank and get money, not to achieve political or domination goals. Bendis has generally avoided having his characters use powers since he started writing NEW AVENGERS, but the crime fiction plot elements became much more evident after the Hood came on the scene.

    Many readers’ expectations for plot content are so low that they’ll accept practically anything that’s readable. If a reader loves a particular character, one good sequence can make the issue for him. As long as characters are in costume, heroes who quip entertainingly (e.g., Spider-Man) do so, and the art is good, many readers might be satisfied. They don’t go to the extent of replotting failed stories, or thinking of other stories the heroes might be involved in.

    There are practical consequences though, when writers write about characters they shouldn’t be using. In NEW AVENGERS ANNUAL #2, the ending is a disaster, because it relies on a complete misinterpretation of Dr. Strange. The state of his hands wouldn’t affect Strange’s ability to cast spells; he wouldn’t invoke demons in any case; there’s no such thing as the “reversal spell” taking back the “defense spell,” so Wong couldn’t do what he did. Bendis’s version of Dr. Strange has nothing to do with any previous version of the character; it’s just an example of a writer who doesn’t know how to write fantasy fiction attempting to do so. In that respect, it’s very similar to Quesada’s mishandling of the plot for “One More Day.” If Dr. Strange is to be redefined, Bendis is the last person who should be doing that.

    Brubaker is a better writer, so the problems with his UXM stories are less apparent, but there were plot problems with “Deadly Genesis” and his first UXM arc. They just weren’t fatal.

    If you look at the reactions from some pro writers to the “One More Day” controversy, you’ll see that they consider writing a job. It’s not as boring and stressful as a job in the “real world” would be, and it pays well, but it’s still a a job, not living a fantasy life. If Brevoort lets Bendis and other writers treat heroes as roleplayers in crime fiction plots, they’ll do it. Fantasy and SF writers who took the superhero characters and their milieus seriously, though, would be much, much better for the readers.


  15. I realize you're trying to MENSA-troll here or something, so to be brief:

    1. Even if Bendis said he'd "rather" be writing crime fiction than superheroes, this means nothing other than exactly that. If, say, I'd "rather" be teaching contemporary authors than modernists, that doesn't mean I hate all non-contemporary authors, or that I am incapable of teaching a class about them.

    2. Although you've clearly decided that this is the case, and so you've pulled out insane things like "guns" and "robbery" and declared these things that do not belong in superhero comics, despite their inclusion in superhero comics since their inception -- why do you think Superman is "faster than a speeding bullet" and famously bounces bullets off his chest? Because Siegel, Shuster, Boring, etc. secretly wanted to do crime comics?

    I understand that you hate Bendis but dang.

  16. Stan Lee's Villains use to rob banks all the time.

    Mighty Avengers pretty much negates everything you say.

    Strange has used demons before, in fact the reference is to the demon ZOM that he used in World World Hulk.

    Which must be some sort of Noir Fiction.

    I don't disagree that Bendis is using elements of Noir within his New Avengers run, but the guy fucking goes to sleep in Power Man Underoos and his house is wallpapered with old Marvel 2 in 1's.

    It's pretty obvious you don't like these elements. You want your books with less shades of dark. We all get it. But can you do it without saying things about Writers that are not fucking true?

    Grow up. Stop grinding an axe just because the books are not what you like. Don't say that it's bad for business when it's obvious that it's better for business.

    You are just making a fool of yourself.

  17. Just to add to the above, I'm pretty sure the only characters who have really fired a gun (other than say, SHIELD Agents or thugs) in New Avengers are The Hood and Madame Masque. You make it sound like Bendis had Spider-Man and Wolverine running around shooting people.

    Additionally, I haven't read New Avengers Annual #2 yet, so I can't really respond to your comments on the ending. However, Bendis said when he introduced Dr. Strange that he wanted to make him not as powerful as he had been, because writers in the past have relied on him too much as a deus ex machina. And that shit is lazy writing.

    Finally, I have never heard of a comic writer, artist, letterer, colourist or editor refer to what they do as anything *but* a job, so I'm not entirely sure where you're coming from there. I'm not a writer, but if you think that writers have it easy, you're pretty naive. Maybe the ones attached to the Big Two with Exclusives have it easier than they used to, but I'm sure putting out 6 books a month is an exercise in stress. Why do you think Bendis has no hair? ;-)

  18. Chris, you don’t cite any evidence that you’ve read crime fiction. If you haven’t, you wouldn’t recognize the plot elements in Bendis’s NEW AVENGERS stories as they appear. If you haven’t read SF and fantasy, you wouldn’t recognize those elements in superhero fiction as they appear. If you don’t read Bendis’s stories critically, you wouldn’t have noticed the plotting problems that have appeared in NEW AVENGERS repeatedly and rendered the entire MIGHTY AVENGERS arc an editorial disaster, because Bendis tried to use real-world plot elements (EMP, launch control centers, computer virus) and used them as if he had no idea what they actually were. If you and others here aren’t familiar with Dr. Strange, you wouldn’t know that he’s historically recited spells in plain English, not gobbledygook, and that hand motions aren’t factors in his spells. Pak misinterpreted Strange in WORLD WAR HULK #3 in that respect, and blew up the entire Hulk-Strange sequence in that issue because he confused telepathic avatars with ectoplasmic forms. The idea that the Hulk’s ectoplasmic form could “crush” Strange’s ectoplasmic hands was as nonsensical as the idea of ghosts having a fistfight.

    So, there’s no validity to the use of Strange in NEW AVENGERS ANNUAL #2 whatsoever, and there’s precious little evidence that Bendis’s fans read fiction at an adult level. Criticizing fiction requires more than saying you “like” or “dislike” something; it requires the ability to dissect plots, to recognize when plot devices are used inappropriately, to recognize mischaracterization, and to consider stories as abstractions. Since Bendis started writing NEW AVENGERS, I haven’t seen a fan of his online who can criticize writing well enough to do a college paper.


  19. Steven, you have not cited that you have read any comic books before, or passed sixth grade. I'm afraid I can't continue this conversation until I see some diplomas. I need some proof I'm not arguing with a twelve year old dropout.


  20. Stephen, I "dislike" your posts because you are making an awful lot of wild claims and not backing them up in the slightest, meanwhile you are apparently ignoring any responses given to you, instead hiding behind phrases like "plotting problems" and "editorial disaster". I don't see how Bendis' use of any of the plot devices you mention conflicts with their use in any previous fictional story (although I fail to see how a Launch Control Centre could be used incorrectly or inappropriately).

    You're using an awful lot of big words and throwing around a lot of accusations about the level at which Bendis' fans read fiction. However, given the fact that you can barely make any arguments against him yourself (and are mostly nitpicking at continuity issues), I really have to question the level that you are reading the books at.

  21. I'm not sure how utilizing plot elements from crime fiction in superhero comics is any less valid than utilizing plot elements from Sci-Fi or Fantasy. They're superheroes. They deal with crime on a regular basis. There is a precedent there, especially when you're dealing with considerably more "street level" characters, who regularly go up against thugs and bank robbers.

  22. I just wanted to say that Bendis *never* said that in Powers #50, I just reread that interview. Twice.

    Now, *Mike Oeming* said that he didn't like superheroes. But Mike Oeming is not Brian Bendis.

  23. So the more I look at that Catwoman cover, the more confusing it becomes. I have seen alot of fights in alot of different media, and I don't think I have ever seen anybody, male or female bite the other persons lips like that.