I wonder if the answer to the "should the guy have his tongue out?" question is instinctual at this point, or if Nate has to actually stop and consider first. Mind-like-water kind of stuff, you know? I can't be the only one who read that book.
I've been busy lately, with houseguests and family and fighting, none of which I'd say I truly excel at: the column ends up taking a back seat at times like that, and that's not fair to you, and I apologize. This week will be another odd one, an attempt to clear out my inbox of all the comics that have washed ashore since we last saw each other. In honor of an email, which I recently received and will now quote (in an abbreviated fashion, so as not to be unduly cruel to those who might be emotionally caught up in its collateral damage), your column this week is designed--nay, DEVOTED--to working purely as a utilitarian tool for you, the consumer. What's that thing, you ask. Should I buy that thing? Answers: they're coming. First, the missive:
Every artist who ever lived is correct about critics: they are barren nursemaids, never-weres deficient in the slightest authority to dictate the placement of a comma. They are shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, and comics critics are among the very worst, lacking in even the brazen, flatulent delusion that marks the livelier movie types. Yours is a *nice* failure, Tucker, a sweetheart's sigh of continued, contented disappointment, sauntering dignified into worthwhile irrelevancy, beyond which none will remember, nor care, nor will any demerit solemnify the ignorance of anyone who might be moved, through any impossible intercession, to somehow remember.
These are the comics I have read since we last saw each other.
Good Riddance: An Illustrated Memoir of Divorce
By Cynthia Copeland
Published by Abrams Comicarts
222 pages, $17.95
Successful humor author Cynthia Copeland's storybook marriage broke up in quite a bit of drama, and this is the full story of how it went down: cuts and bruises, warts and all! This graphic novel may not be the best medicine for the brokenhearted, but if you keep it around the house for a bit, you're sure to discover what those of us with a thicker skin already know: breaking up may be hard to do, but it sure makes for a compelling read! Highly recommended!
By Billy Burkert
Published by Oily Comics
8 pages, $1.00
With a dip into stand-up comedy AND adventure comics, wild card cartoonist Billy Burkert shows himself to be more than just the "pinball wizard" behind the critically acclaimed (and literally side-splitting!) Too Many Nitrous. And before you cry poverty, give that price a double-take... I'll wait! Now, after your head stops spinning, ask yourself this: is all that change in your couch collecting interest, or what? :)
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
By H.P. Lovecraft & I.N.J. Culbard
Published by SelfMadeHero
128 pages, $19.95
Whoa! Did somebody just walk across my grave? Oh no, now I remember: I made the classic mistake of reading The Case of Charles Dexter Ward too close to bedtime! All kidding aside, this comic-book adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft may not have the sort of graphic violence the kids of today associate with the horror genre, but it brings the spooks nonetheless. This the story of a young man who makes a big mistake and the doctor who has to save him. Don't be surprised if you make the same mistake I did, and find yourself going to bed with the most unwelcome of partners: a nightmare!
Everything Takes Forever
By Victor Kerlow
Published by Koyama Press
60 pages, $10.00
"Objection, Koyama!" That's what I'd be saying if I was at the publisher's office when this book's title came up for discussion--some things may take forever, but Victor Kerlow's comics are NOT one of them. This collection is a smorgasbord of classic black-and-white comics with an "indy" vibe--you'll see some dates go awry, a man with a taco head being silly, and young guys getting a little too fresh with the police. But Victor doesn't stop there--every once in a while, he'll throw in a full page of "just drawing." A pretty girl here, a pretty girl there, and of course, lots of little robots. Everything takes forever? Pshaw. More like "Victor ... Kerlow Forever!"
3 New Stories
By Dash Shaw
Published by Fantagraphics
32 pages, $3.99
One of three major 2013 releases by hipster Brooklynite cartoonist Dash Shaw, 3 New Stories provides exactly what its title promises: you haven't seen any of these stories before! For those of you who have read earlier comics from this popular trendsetter, you might be pleased to know that you won't need your concentration cap this time around--Mr. Shaw has his sights directly aimed at the funny bone. Three shots outta do it!
Fury: My War Gone By #11
By Garth Ennis, Goran Parlov, Lee Loughridge
Published by Marvel Comics
30 pages, $3.99
One of the most common complaints you'll hear from the neighborhood grouch is that comics are too expensive. Next time, you just head him (or her!) off at the pass with a copy of Fury #11--there's a dirty joke, a realistic sounding domestic squabble, deduction worthy of Sherlock, and a nice slice of action. It doesn't need a spooky conclusion as cliffhanger, but it has one anyway, and trust me when I say that won't forget about it anytime soon ... at least, not until you pick your jaw up off the floor!
By Benjamin Marra
Published by Benjamin Marra
8 pages, Free, Is in German
While Mr. Marra certainly can draw like a champ, somebody might want to get the guy a map--you live in America, buddy! I'm just kidding of course, but I can think of a certain Great Generation that might be a little steamed to see a classic English story (Shakespearean too!) in the language of Adolf and wiener schnitzel. Still, free is free, and the sword fighting here is top notch. Just don't wash it down with a Beck's, or you might find yourself waking up in lederhosen.
Young, Dumb, & Full Of Cum: The Autobiography Of Nick Drnaso
By Nick Drnaso
Published by Oily Comics
8 pages, $1.00
While this comic has a pottymouth title to go with its naked pottymouth characters, it also has a couple of pretty good jokes. Writing about oneself is one of the hardest things an artist can do, especially when you've had dealings with insensitive caregivers.
Detective Comics #20
By John Layman, Jason Fabok, Jeromy Cox
Published by DC Comics
This is the final chapter in the saga of Ignatius Ogilvy, otherwise known as the Emperor Penguin--for you lapsed readers, Ignatius is a new character, and he's been given the "Dark Knight" a real run for his money over the last few months, although it's taken a while for our hero to figure that out. This issue serves as the story's conclusion, and while this is a Spoiler-Free Zone, I would advise the curious to give the story's title a close reading: "King For A Day", eh? Why only a day? ;) Anyway, the Emperor Penguin is a real great character and I for one hope he's around forever.
As you can see, things are going pretty well for comics right now, and I bet that means things are going pretty well for you too. (You are at the COMICS Journal after all, amirite?) However, we'd be remiss if we didn't acknowledge that it's not easy street out there for everybody in the funny book biz. For that, we turn to ABHAY KHOSLA:
For the NEWS!
Except Comics Alliance shutting down, no stories stuck out to me as being particularly interesting lately. Just the routine hum of comics being promoted.
Marvel is busy teasing its summer event Infinity (which is not to be confused with its spring event Age of Ultron) (or with the fall event which it recently announced, Battle of the Atom). Infinity will feature the Marvel Universe under attack by the Black Order, who are comprised of Black Dwarf and Ebony Maw (who Marvel promises has a "black tongue"). Other members of the Black Order will hopefully include Black Ceasar, Blacula, Black Belt Jones and Lewis Black who is Back in Black. So, watch out, comics-- t--t-the ... the blacks are attacking?
As for the fall crossover that will change everything after the summer crossover changes everything after the spring crossover has changed everything, Battle of the Atom will be about a "huge sprawling war between all the X-Men" so for fans who wanted to read a crossover about a sprawling war between superheros, finally, there's a crossover for them besides Secret Wars, Secret Wars 2, Civil War, Avengers Vs. X-Men, World War Hulk, DC vs. Marvel, Trinity War, Blackest Night, and all the video games with that premise. It's all for you, Damian.
David Lapham teased his ongoing vampire comic The Fall, "describing the trajectory of The Fall in a single word: 'Down'." Lapham added, "If you thought it couldn't get worse, shame on you." Describing the trajectory of my face in a single word: "en-Smug-ified"? Shame on me, and may God have mercy on my eternal soul, I guess.
There was a C2E2 convention the other day, wherever those happens. C2E2 stands for something, probably. DC creators met with DC fans at one of their celebratory "Steaming Cup of Why Do We Even Do This? Movies People Don't Have to Do This" panels. They call them "All Access" panels. "All Access" isn't a dirty phrase at all, but every time I hear it, part of me (because I'm an idiot) always has a regrettable knee-jerk reaction and thinks of dirty things I heard in rap songs when I was a teenager and/or adult. I always hopes it's going to be a panel of DC creators discussing 2 Live Crew songs. "In Pop That Pussy, Brother Marquis rapped that 'I like the way you lick the champagne glass/ It make me wanna stick my dick in your ass.' Will this be revisited in any future Brother Marquis stories, Len Wein?" Wait and see!
This year's All Access panel? According to CBR, "a young man who has been the victim of severe burning got up and expressed disappointment that anyone who appears in a comic that has burns is always cast as a villain rather than a more empathetic portrayal of the plight." This was followed by a "fan with a Swamp Thing tattoo complete with Wein's signature." Proving definitively a theory I've had for years: at a comic book convention with all other things being equal, a victim of severe burning still might have the best skin in the room.
Most importantly, as CBR reported twice, a fan asked about the Crime Syndicate of America at a DC 101 panel. As a result: "both Cunningham and DC Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras dodged the question, Cunningham said, 'You asked that question about a month before you should have asked it.'" At this point, Bob Harras threw smoke bombs at his feet and disappeared in the ensuing melee. Sirens went off and rabid dogs were loosed into the chaos of the conference room; the dogs had been nourished for months only on a strict diet of half-rotten AIDS-meat, and their jaws were thus especially eager to crush down on the unwary. The elderly were trampled by the exits, but also trampled in the dead center of the room, defying any reasonable explanation. A crowd of cannibalistic humanoid underground dwellers surrounded a nun, but luckily the nun found a handgun that a canine-riddled nurse had dropped onto the floor and blew her brains out, unfortunately dying believing that, out of cowardice and a fear of the depravities that the menacing crowd would surely have inflicted upon her virginal nun-flesh, she was surely consigning her immortal soul to the depths of Hell. And, yes, a single mother lifted her newborn baby into the sky and then threw the crying baby to the ground and crushed it under her boot-- but out of love to make sure that her baby wouldn't grow up in a world like ours. What choice did she have? After all, The Most Important Question, The Question That Dared Not Be Answered Before Lo, It Is Time had been asked! There was no turning back.
Uh, before all that happened though, when asked about video games, Cunningham told fans, "Video games are hot hot hot," and that there were "many projects we know about and I would be shot through the head if I named any of them." Yes, for a DC employee's life is a life of danger and secrets. They can let no man or woman close to their hearts, so for them, it's only a life of anonymous prostitutes and furtive assignations in urine-stenched back-alleyways. Such are the sacrifices. Such is the heroism.