This week, Comics of the Weak wasn't able to make it to the store to check out the new titles, and as our home computer and smartphone are fully dedicated to hardcore XXXX pornography, you will have to make due with what came off the To Read stack, which is organized chronologically, because I'm a big time NERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRREVIEWS
Second City #1
By Paul Duncan & Phil Elliott
Published by Harrier, 1986
This is a solid black-and-white comic book about a dystopian city where human contact has been rendered unusual and infrequent, in some cases because a system of doors and Big Brother-y instructions will tell you to take a left to avoid the guy coming up on your right. Whereas most comics use those kinds of touches to conceal what ends up being a pretty generic story, this first issue seems to have a greater purpose. It's that sense of self-possession that will also wash one past art that is, at times, pretty clumsy. There's enough touches that read smartly enough to make it clear that the clumsiness is a symptom of brevity and not of lack of ability, like the Joe's Bar style panels that sees our oddly enraged protagonist go way too far in the settling of his problems, and as a whole, Second City is a comic that just flat out works.
By Pat Mills, John Wagner, Ramon Sola, Juan Arancio
Published by 2000AD
I'm not sure it's humanly possible to make a better boy's comic than Shako, which is why it's financially unfortunate (but not wholly unsurprising) that Jock's 2004 pin-up was used for the cover. Despite the obvious attraction it has for those of us who were going to buy Shako anyway--hey look at how gross that is! I love gross, silly things!--it's also the sort of cover an entire new generation of mothers will wrinkle their nose at in disgust, and Shako is a comic born to please people with moms who wrinkle their noses at things like this in disgust. It's comics like these that keep boys from growing up to be men who read Rawbone, because they teach you all the lessons you need in life, which is that you can do everything in your power--learn to use a gun, have lots of money and a battleship, become a CIA agent and fly a plane, go full Delta Force--and there's still things out there, like polar bears, or actresses, that will rip you limb from fucking limb. There's meat in that lesson, it's cut from the same cloth as learning what it's like to get your ass kicked--try, be the best, go to school, date a pretty girl, build a bookcase, masturbate to orgasm 5 times after calling in sick to work--there's always somebody out there who is tougher and smarter than you, and sometimes it's a bear called Shako that wants revenge for the fact that you're breathing its air.
By Brandon Graham, Giannis Milonogiannis, Simon Roy, Joseph Bergin III
Published by Image Comics
This issue is a lot of talking, too much of it, but there is a shit joke. There's got to be a Comics Journal story in the past about crap in comics. Mad Magazine seems like a place where human feces made a regular appearance. Bodily functions in cartooning. Paging R. Fiore!
By Jim McGreal, Rich Mrozek, Tony Caputo
Published by Now Comics, 1986
This is a comic about a topnotch mystery writer (his last name is Vector, by the way) who is given a mystical computer from a magical disappearing computer store. The presence of the computer gives the guy visions (its not clear in the first issue how) of the near future, specifically of impending disasters and how to respond to them. If you want to get into the mechanics of it, that's going to be a headache, because he sees the events and how he should respond in a figure-it-out kind of way, so it's not really precognition, it's got some kind of personality. It's also total bullshit--this comic was made using "computer graphics" that were "produced on an AT&T Frame Creation System" using "North American Presentation Level Protocol Standard graphics ... primarily used in the Videotex* industry." There's a whole page of that kind of crap. That's the schtick--they pixelate some of the comics panels with 80's computer graphics. The comic needs a plot wherein things get pixelated. The future-computer-vision thing was the best idea they came up with. That's the problem with a lot of the conversations people have about people not reading anything besides super-hero comics--99% of the time, the alternative to Batman usually isn't Yummy Fur. The alternative is usually boring
Mark Siegel comics crap like Vector.
Comics Journal #89
Published by Fantagraphics, 1984
This is an Eisner spotlight issue, so you can imagine what an edge of your seat nail-biter it was to read. There are some excellent take-downs of a bunch of titles that didn't deserve negative attention even then--hey!--but there's some incredible nastiness going on in the letters column, where the author of the Rex Morgan, MD strip (which is so bad a comic strip you'd swear it was originally a webcomic) writes in to complain about the negative review he'd received, a healthy portion of which was about the hysterical way he'd depicted PCP use. As with every single "I have something to say about your response to my work" letter, he comes across like a chump with too much time on his hands, but this one gets into that really special humiliating place when Ted White--the original reviewer--basically obliterates him with a response so badly that I started muttering "that'll do, pig" before I was halfway through. It's like watching a three-year-old throw a rock at a train right before the train turns him into red paste. After that, there's 700 pages of Will Eisner interviews where they talk about how amazing it is that the best Spirit comics barely even feature the character. You can do math, right?
Comics Journal #90
Published by Fantagraphics, 1984
After #89's muckracking "is Will Eisner the best, or merely the bestest" barnburner, this issue focuses on the laugh-a-minute pleasures of talking with Al Williamson, a man who never met a curse word he couldn't say in a more awkward fashion. Oh, whatever. It isn't that bad. It just isn't that interesting. There is a great installment of Funnybook Roulette, 34 separate reviews of Nathanial Dusk (all of which refuse to grade the comic as being anything more than totally average), and an insightful review by Adam Philips on Manga! Manga!, which served as the U.S. introduction of Tezuka's Phoenix. There's also a checklist that you were supposed to use so you wouldn't miss Firestorm issues. Who says people can't change? Besides Neil Simon. That guy was a total cocksucker.
By Dave Sim
Published by Aardvark-Vanaheim, 1980
An excellent issue of Cerebus that consists almost front to back of the character seated in a bed, listening to the goings on around him. Opening with a standard sex comedy set-up--a wounded Cerebus is taken in by a bunch of buxom young women being looked after and lorded over by a crotchety old crone, and the ladies almost immediately begin to persuade our hero to get his good leg thumping--Sim quickly twists it into something way more interesting by forcing a larger story to wedge itself into the gag. It's even more intriguing when one considers the timing--a higher price is on this issue, the beginning of the longer, more serious business is upon the comic, and all of that is here, in the microcosm of one issue. It's also a brilliant looking thing, a comic that takes place in dark rooms, between the light that escapes the blinds, amongst the stoic, unbending faces of the old woman and Cerebus himself. After indicating that the young women are, in fact, desirable, Sim shutters them off to the sides and corners, barely depicting them again, preferring instead to close in on the faces of the drunken forces of an outside world that would do them harm. Nothing fails here.
The Vagabond of Limbo: What Is Reality, Papa?
By Christian Godard, Julio Ribera
Published by Dargaud, 1981
Stupid shit, as bad as any mediocre superhero comic or a failed TV pitch turned Image series, or whatever generic genre flavor you happen to despise. While it's become extremely trendy in the last few years to go online and bitch and moan endlessly about how little the U.S. comics scene acknowledges the precious Angoulême festival--despite the fact that Bart Beaty reminds us how incredibly boring the whole thing is every single year without fail--it's always worth remembering that the only reason French comics are special in America is because we're lucky enough to have people with pretty solid taste responsible for sifting through the detritus. And if ever there was detritus that needed sifting, it's this, the Angoulême prize-winning Vagabond of Limbo, a French science fiction comic following the adventures of Captain Shithead and his moronic sidekick as they travel to Universal Studios and a caterpillar they bring with them makes everybody crazy. It's about as exciting as getting hit in the head with a pretentious pipe wrench, except that it takes longer, and no one will feel sorry for you and ask you how you're doing afterwards. I hated this comic almost as much as Chris Mautner hates EC Comics, but way less than Eddie Campbell hates Faust. If you're making a chart. (I hope you're making a chart.)
Love and Rockets #16
By The Hernandez Brothers
Published by Fantagraphics, 1986
Contains "Love Bites", "House of Raging Women", and "A True Story", the latter two featuring wrestling--I always feel I have to note that, but only because I still don't get it, '90s Jerry Seinfeld style: what's the deal with you comics guys and wrestling? Evan Dorkin, the Hernandez Brothers, that guy with the hat, Jo Jo, Fancy Pants Callahan, Buster Coogler, Dean "Fuck-up" Haspiel--they pass around wrestling references like it's HPV at a retirement home for widowers. I mean, I enjoy reading TMZ articles about that Hulk Hogan guy using cocaine and making his daughter dress like his wife as much as the next asshole, I got plenty of spare time now that I gave up on adult friendships, but comics people are into this shit on a way more extensive level, one that seems suspiciously close to trading card levels of interest. Say it ain't so, BETO!
By Garth Ennis, Carlos Ezquerra, Hector Ezquerra, Tony Avina
Published by Dynamite
Not sure what the hell this was supposed to be, it read like it was assembled out of pages torn out of a longer story that was found on a battleship, and the battleship was full of gruff lunatics. There's this occasional moment in super macho forms of entertainment--the only kind of entertainment I like, if you're keeping notes, although Heidi MacDonald already called it like Alec Baldwin calls it in Royal Tenenbaums ("he realized it was true"), so no notes are needed--where the whole homoerotic Jenga thing tilts over and smothers everything in a big pile of warm kitschy goofiness. Heavy metal vocalists, Top Gun, the locker room scene in that Seagel/DMX movie, and some of Garth's Tankies comics, especially the ones where ugly men talk to pretty men about staying alive and being soldiers and you can just tell that a panel of the two really fucking it out wouldn't be out of place one bit. Someday, Ennis!
ABHAY KHOSLA PRESENTS: ADVENTURES IN PRESS RELEASES
I'm not really sure if I understand this story 100% correctly, but here's what I know: the latest news in mainstream comics is that April will be "Fuck Fuck Oh Fuck!" month at DC Comics. It's sort of a Mad Magazine thing where if fans fold the covers into an origami crane, a shock twist DC Comics surprise is revealed, causing fans from coast to coast to scream out "Violently Fuck My Face, DC Comics!"
And as part of that, the DC Solicitation for every New 52 comic that DC publishes is asking fans a shocking question that this sure-to-be-shocking DC Entertainment experience will shock-tober them with. In April. Here are all the questions being asked by DC's April solicitations, and as a service to you, here are my theories as to the correct answers to the questions:
Green Arrow #19 asks, "What startling secret is revealed on the island that gave Green Arrow birth?" Green Arrow was born with two matching sets of male genitals, one resting on top of the other.
Katana #3 asks, "If Katana's sword is shattered, whose souls are escaping?" Anne Frank.
Justice League of America's Vibe #3 asks, "What is the one super power that is more than a match for Vibe and how can it tear the universe apart?" Is "discovering girls" a super power? In a way, pubescence is the most threatening power in all of comicdom.
Justice League #19 asks, "Who is the one person dangerous enough to use Kryptonite against Superman?" I just hope it's not a mentally challenged person, again. That might be in poor taste. Or I don't know-- it might be inspiring to see Superman finally go down that way. It would depend on the execution, I guess.
Aquaman #19 asks, "The Ice King takes the throne as the true king of Atlantis-- but who will be the first to kneel before him?" I can't answer that in that I don't really know off-hand what kind of fish gives the best blowjob. I'll Bing that and get back to you.
The Flash #19 asks, "What is the latest and greatest threat to The Flash and those closest to him?" Herpes.
Savage Hawkman #19 asks, "The Secret Society strikes again-- but who is the one member strong enough to ground Savage Hawkman?" The Incredible Hulk is pretty strong. Is it the Hulk? People sure like the Hulk.
Wonder Woman #19 asks, "What is the one way Wonder Woman can stop Orion?" She could saw off his head, and then videotape herself using a strap-on on the neck-stump. Even if he survived, somehow, through some kinda superpower hooey, she could threaten to put the video of all that craziness on YouTube? Who'd want that out in the public? People would be pretty weirded out around you after that. Yeah, my answer is definitely bone saw or alternately, blackmail of the neckstump-erotica variety.
The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #19 asks, "What's more deadly to fire than a Killer Frost?" A cup of water. Fire-retardant blankets. Halon gas. Lots of things are deadly to fire. Otherwise, everything would just be on fire all the time?
DC Universe Presents #19 asks, "In this final issue, what time displaced hero has arrived on our world-- and is the destruction he brings the herald to a great disaster?" (a) Captain Who-Gives-a-Shit Man, and (b) yeah, sure, kid, absolutely.
Earth 2 #11 asks, "As Dr. Fate emerges as the latest hero on Earth 2, what other heroes make a most unexpected appearance?" Ughhh, goddamn! That's all modern comics are-- "Then So-and-so shows up!" That's the only move mainstream guys seem to have anymore--just trying to excite the fans who haven't beaten the Pavlov circuit of that yet. Nobody's telling stories-- they're just ringing bells for animals. Does everybody think they're doing the part of Daredevil: Born Again when the Avengers turns up? Why did THAT scene end up being the most influential scene for mainstream comics, of all the damn things that have ever been made? ... Anyways, where was I? Oh right, clown show: uhm, Hammerman? I sure wouldn't see Hammerman coming, you filthy animals.
World's Finest #11 asks, "Mr. Terrific and Power Girl reunited? But if Michael Holt is still on Earth 2, who is kissing Karen Starr?" Your mom's dick.
Action Comics #19: "Lex Luthor is in jail and his battlesuit is back in action. But if he's not wearing it, who is?" Your mom-- she likes to wear men's clothes-- they're more comfortable for her dick.
Superman #19 #19 asks, "Who is the one person with the power to turn Wonder Woman against Superman?" Your mom, using the seductive powers of her dick.
Superboy #19 asks, "Superboy discovers he is more than a clone-- but what is the shocking secret behind his origin and birth?" Your mom ejaculated him from her dick.
Supergirl #19: "In a battle of equals, which girl will reign supreme?" My money is on whichever mom has the thickest, juiciest dick.
Batman Incorporated #10 asks, "They still publish Batman Incorporated? Who knew?" Not me.
Batman and Robin #19 asks, "On the darkest of nights, who is the one person Batman meets that could change his life forever?" A decent writer? On the darkest of nights--- ooooooh, don't dazzle me too much there, e.e. cummings.
Batman #19 asks, "Who could cause Bruce Wayne to use a gun?" Well, Jesus, if he asked nice. What kind of hero would Batman be if he told Jesus to fuck off? Call me old-fashioned but I'm not into any kind of grim & gritty anti-Jesus Batman, personally.
Talon #7 asks, "What is this comic even? Who is reading it? Did you even know this comic existed?"
Batman: The Dark Knight #19 asks, "How many Batman comics do they publish? Who is reading all this shit?"
Detective Comics #19 asks, "Do you think God himself knows that half of these Batman comics exist? Do you think even omniscience would allow God to keep track of all of this shit? And as the answer is surely no, then aren't these comics proof of the non-existence of any kind of all-knowing deity? Aren't we all just overgrown bacteria alone in a meaningless universe?" I don't have ALL the answers.
Batgirl #19 asks, "Will a battle of sibling rivalry lead to a death in the family?" I'm going to answer that question with a question: what the hell is a "battle of sibling rivalry?" What does that even mean? Batgirl #19 responds, "I'm the one asking the questions here!" Then we glare at each other until finally the sexual tension becomes too much and we start making out uncontrollably. Everyone in the comic shop watches, and learns things, about heat, sexy tongue-on-comic heat.
Batwoman #19 asks, "What is the shocking family revelation that can turn Batwoman's world upside down?" Grandparents were brother and sister.
Catwoman #19 asks, "Catwoman needs help-- but what is the only place the Justice League of America can take her?" The butt?
Birds of Prey #19 asks, "There is a traitor on the team-- so who is the member that threatens to tear the Birds of Prey apart?" Your mom's dick is kind of a member.
Batwing #19 asks, "Batwing quits-- and what new member of the Batman family is ready to take his place?" Batwoman's incestuous grandparents.
Nightwing #19 asks, "Death of the Family is over, but the laughs continue to plague Nightwing. But it can't be him -- can it?" According to quantum mechanics, an elephant CAN have murdered JFK-- it's possible, just not probable. At least according to that movie JFK. If I'm remembering JFK correctly, Kevin Costner thought an elephant did it. "Coup d'elephant," Donald Sutherland called it.
Red Hood and the Outlaws #19 asks, "What horrors lie beneath the mask of the Red Hood?" Herpes.
Green Lantern #19: "Which one hero has the power to bring down all the Lantern Corps?" If someone who works for the company that prints Green Lantern were to replace all the dialogue with the n-word over and over, I think they'd have a pretty, pretty good shot at bringing down the Lantern Corps for a little while. That might work.
Green Lantern Corps #19: "One of biggest Green Lanterns rises from the dead? Will he help save the corps or ruin it?" I'm going with ruin it: if one of Biggest Green Lanterns rises from the dead, he'll probably stink like shit. Who'd want to hang around the Green Lantern Corps if it reeks of putrescine. My money is on ruin.
Green Lantern: New Guardians #19: "If that's Kyle, then who is the new White Lantern?" Just some racist guy probably. White Lantern??? Really? Yikes.
Red Lanterns #19 asks, "All the rage of the Red Lanterns is focused on one target. Care to guess who it is?" Nope!
Constantine #2 asks, "Which ghostly menace haunts Constantine today?" Man, even Constantine's solicitations sound bored by Constantine. Ho-hum, which one is it TODAY... yawn.
The Phantom Stranger #7: "Do you dare ask who slayed the Stranger?" Oh, I don't dare! I'm going to be over here daring to eat a sandwich instead.
Sword of Sorcery (...that's the title?) #7 asks, "What is the great evil Constantine unleashes on Gemworld?" Herpes.
Justice League Dark #19 asks, "The House of Mystery is under seige-- can special guest star The Flash help battle this unexpected threat?" No, see above re: busy dealing with herpes.
Swamp Thing #19 asks, "What could Swamp Thing possibly fear more than The Scarecrow?" Herpes.
Animal Man #19 asks, "As Animal Man's popularity grows, the paparazzi follow him everywhere. But is there one place he wishes they just wouldn't go?" The butt.
Dial H #11 asks, "What? The? Flash?" Not? Cancelled? Yet?
Demon Knights #19 asks, "What undead menaces threaten the lives of the Demon Knights?" Anne Frank. She's on the loose when Katana's sword broke, as I understand it.
I, Vampire #19 asks, "With this, the final issue, will Andrew Bennet survive to dawn's light?" I, Don't Care.
Team 7 #7 asks, "What new member, who threatens to tear the team apart, is welcomed into The New 52?" Are you sure you can't jam another meaningless cliche into that solicitation?? Something is being torn apart in the solicitations for Justice League of America Vibe and Birds of Prey, too? Why all the tearing? DC Comic fans love things being torn. DC fans hate these cans! Stay away from the cans!
Threshhold #4 asks, "What is the only cosmic entity strong enough to trap The Hunted in the city they're hiding?" I bet the answer involved someone at DC rolling a 20-sided dice.
All-Star Western #19 asks, "What type of gold means certain death for Jonah Hex?" Farting gold.
Deathstroke #19 asks, "Which teens are the only ones deadly enough to stop Deathstroke?" Farting teenagers who just ate burritos made out of farts.
Suicide Squad #19 asks, "There's a new leader for the Suicide Squad-- but will the team stay or die?" The team will take turns farting into each other's faces, until one of them sharts.
Stormwatch #19 asks, "Team Stormwatch is lost in a dimension shift-- so what team will rise and take their place?" A team that farts hard enough to lift them out of their chairs.
Teen Titans #19 asks, "Which new member of the Teen Titans reveals his true colors?" All of them, as long as if by "reveals his true colors," you're referring to farting.
The Ravagers #19 asks, "The latest creature to escape from NOWHERE brings death to the Ravagers-- but is it animal, vegetable or mineral?" I'm sorry, no, it's a fart. The correct answer is fart. So obvious.
Legion of Super-Heroes #19 asks, "The Legion of Super-Heroes is lost and hurtling into the sun-- is it possible to save them all?" I hope not!
And finally, Ame-Comi Girls #2 asks, "Will Batgirl and Robin help save the world, only to be grounded by their parents?" ... No, that's a pretty good question, actually.
DC Comics: Awww Shit, Motherfucker!