Archive for DC

Nerd’s Eye Review: Superman Earth One, Volume Two

Posted in Cartoons, Comic Books, Entertainment, movies with tags , , , , on February 15, 2013 by Brandon Melendez

(This review was originally posted at Eat Your Serial)

I literally just put down the new graphic novel from DC Comics Earth 1 line and I have to say that I have been enjoying the three that have come out thus far. There is, obviously, Superman Earth 1 Volume 1 which has some general issues with its KISS-like super-baddie but overall between the two Superman tomes and the Batman one I think that DC has an interesting approach to the “Ultimate Marvel” revamp style. The thing that I really appreciate about the line is that it is released direct to graphic novel format—and hardcover at that—meaning that the stories themselves are not regularly serialized (which we like around here as a rule), but rather sporadically added to at a rate of about one a year so far.

Looking at Superman Earth 1 Volume 2 (warning spoilers be here), the story picks up at a point somewhat close to the end of the first volume but far enough away that the DC equivalent of Damage Inc. has come through town cleaning up the mess left behind by the comic cosmic Gene Simmons from the Rao System at the end of the last book. Clark Kent has found himself making a little bit of money as a bona fide reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper and moves up from living in a crappy room to living in a crappy apartment. The building has a cast of characters including a tattooed bombshell red head with a thang for Mr. Kent with the initials “LL”…though it isn’t Lana Lang as I thought she might be but rather Lisa Lasalle… and a 1995 era long haired junkie who sits on a stoop quote Bob Dylan. I’m not sure why writer J. Michael Straczyinski did that…but I’ll be honest he was never a favorite writer of mine and I’m not sure why he’s done lots of things though characters owning monogrammed towels displaying LL initials is a staple of Superman lore, so I can’t knock that generally.

Some things happen rather abruptly, at they are wont to do in JMS stories, and flippant comments are made by all the characters who are seemingly all very confident and have nothing in their hearts to question—except of course for Superman who traditionally should not. There are many things in this story that, traditionally speaking, Superman would not do. Having a rather complex fantasy about killing a head of state, or leading the rebels in that state to a cache of weapons to hold an “election”, or even saying “crap” and his vernacular speech in dealing with sentient Kryptonian tech seems a little off balance.

But remember, I said I enjoyed the story. The reason for this is because this is a place and a venue for some of these traditions to be loosened, shaken, or even eschewed. “Earth 1” is not “Earth Prime” where…well…even more extreme traditions are currently being balked with The New 52…but rather is a place where this kind of experimentation is not only allowable but also, in my opinion, permissible. For this reason the somewhat emo and whiney Superman who talks like a Buffy character with a splash of Bendis Spider-Man is a refreshing approach. The hardcore journalist buried under the businessman impetus of Perry White is spun well, and even a very confident and sans-bowtie Jimmy Olsen is nice to see. Lois is Lois…and while she has evolved beyond the damsel in distress looking to wed the Man of Steel that core piece of intrepid journalism and moxie is still apparent.

The art is also quite good in my opinion. It has a cartoony feel to it but is realistic and high quality enough that Shane Davis makes his own mark on the mythos while still evoking a sense of, what for me is classic, Dan Jurgens and Brett Breeding style Superman feel. The costume design on Superman is far more appealing than Jim Lee’s high collared monstrosity evoking the sense of Shuster and Siegel’s circus strongman outfit, but having enough detailing and texture to look like it might be actual clothes (stopping just short of the X-Men movies biker leather gas station attendant suits). Overall he does a good job—even if his “energy absorbing pouches” on Parasite are distracting and disgusting. The renderings are really quite good.

At a little under 200 pages the story is a quick read—even for a graphic novel—and can at times be super preachy (pun intended) and heavy handed. However, looking at it through the prism of a novice, early 20s Superman I think JMS and Davis capture the spirit of the times and update the characters rigidity just enough to make him reasonably relatable. While some might say that it makes Big Blue come off dickish and snide at times (and ostensibly misses a huge character trait at the center of decades of precedent and development), we can all be that way and almost any incarnation of Superman would be glad to be related to by the humans he so admires and tries endlessly to protect and emulate. If you are prepared to leave some of your preconceptions at the door and be slightly preached to with a megaphone I suggest giving this book a try (provided of course you read Volume 1 First).

 

 

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Written by Brandon Melendez

Where The Fuck Are My Books DC?

Posted in 80s, Cartoons, Comic Books, Entertainment, movies, Nostaligia, Saturday Morning Cartoons, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2011 by Brandon Melendez

 

As far as nerds go, you might consider that I am a markedly mellow one. Sure, I have a blog devoted to my nerdiness. Certainly, my office is crammed with thousands of comic books. Of course I have a chest containing 99.9% of the video games I ever owned. That is not the mark of my intensity—it is the quality of my pedigree. No, the mark of my intensity is the fact that I am not crippled by my nerdiness—I define it as opposed to the opposite. My life does not begin and end in my interests and endeavors—I have a profession, I have wife, I have two children, and a mortgage. My pursuits into the realms of fantasy and escapism have bounds and limits. Take this opening as a baseline for the comments that follow.

WHERE THE FUCK ARE MY COMIC BOOKS DC?

You see with fair and honest deference to the aforementioned intensity of my nerditude, I can only be pushed so far. In an attempt to continue the pursuit of my interests in a limited capacity I found myself at something of a crossroads. It became blaringly apparent that on a week to week basis I would no longer be able to afford myself the luxury of going to my local comic book provider, peruse the shelves and spend my customary eighty to one hundred and twenty dollars a week on comic books.

This became apparent in the late spring of 2010 when I began my masters. I made some provisions and was able to once every month or so drop twenty or thirty dollars on my vice, but this was small pittance for an almost insatiable habit. Fortunately, though I missed the large quantity of comics terribly, in a rigorous graduate program I had little (mind you that’s “little” not “no”) time for comic book reading. After completion of my course of study I found myself in the gleeful position of expecting a second child from my wife by years’ end and the coming responsibility of a mortgage payment. This was May 2011.

As luck would happen to have it May 2011 also saw the announcement of the “New 52” FROM Boss DiDio and Boss Lee over at DC Comics. I saw this as fortuitous. I would not really be bringing any money until September and that was when the new DCU or DCnU would be launched. It was fortuitous because it incidentally followed my birthday in late August and I knew I could count on my mother, even in my late twenties, to give me comic book money for my birthday. I decided it would be best to invest in a few subscriptions and at least I would know that I would have a meting out comic book escapism every week at regular intervals.

When the time came I subscribed to four titles and received a fifth free, as was the promotion at the time. I expected a week or two might pass before I started receiving comics in the mail. DC was even touting that a LIMITED NUMBER of first run number ones would be held for new subscription customers while supplies lasted. Hurrah, hope sprang up.

Weeks passed.

In mid-October I gave DC a call. They informed me that delivery took 6-8 weeks. I was dismayed as this was a long delay from release to reception on my part. I don’t live in Myanmar thirty-five years ago. This seemed like an incredible amount of time to wait for an issue to be delivered. I had actually ordered my subscriptions in late September, so I expected I might miss a few number ones, but certainly I expected second issues to arrive the week the came out. Wasn’t that the beauty of subscription service? The newspaper, People Magazine, and other periodicals come in a reasonable amount of time—why would comic books take so long? The idiot on the phone assured me that this was all explained to me when I ordered my subscriptions online. I walked through the process to double check that and I saw none of it. I will gladly stand corrected if someone can point out such an amazing wait disclaimer. I informed the moron on the line that I certainly would not have opted for the service if I thought that my comics would be 6-8 weeks late forever. The angry nerd in me came out. I hung up the phone having figured I had only two more weeks to wait for my comics to arrive.

More weeks passed.

It was now Halloween weekend. Lo and behold in my mailbox was Green Lantern number 3. I was confused. Certainly that comic book must have come out that week. It matter not that it was Saturday and comics are issued on Wednesday. I thrilled at receiving a new comic book. The imbecile I spoke to misinformed me—it took 6-8 for service to begin not for delivery. While still a long processing time the minute difference in explanation amounts to a very different matter. Regardless, I was now happy as my comic book service would now begin.

Two weeks passed.

After what I attributed to be a skip week two comics came in the mail. Superman and Batman. I was fine with two arriving in one week. If those books are on the same release week I could cope—it wasn’t ideal but it was something. The next week to my amazement Justice League number 3  arrived on Wednesday. WOOHOO! I read it with vigor.

I have not received any comics since then.  I know for a fact I should have received Action Comics number 3 two weeks ago, and probably should have received Green Lantern by now. The timing of these comics arrival is confusing and annoying to me. I am displeased with the accountability of DC with their delivery. I saw Action Comics number 3 in the goddamned supermarket the other day. THE SUPERMARKET. Why should I EVER see a comic book in the aisles of a third tier comic book vendor before my pre-paid subscription title is received?

So I pose the question—is this some plot? Is it a ploy to have me switch to an inferior digital model? It’s the only viable reason for a USPS based delivery of a comic book to be so inconsistent. It doesn’t take 6-8 weeks to process a mailing request if a digital copy can be delivered instantaneously. At least 2-3 would be a reasonable amount of time that I wouldn’t have wanted to wait but as I said…I’m mellow. This has me pissed.

I’m a life-long DC reader. By ordering directly from them, at a time when they are promising timeliness and accountability has turned me off incredibly from future dealings with subscription service (though I may give it a second shot should I get some money to do so—but probably with Marvel to see if it’s a consistent trend). So I ask:

WHERE THE FUCK ARE MY BOOKS?

More as this story develops.

Batman Right Guard Ad for DARK KNIGHT RISING

Posted in 80s, Cartoons, Comic Books, Entertainment, movies, Nostaligia, Saturday Morning Cartoons, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 1, 2011 by Brandon Melendez

As we all know Batman is the hero that Gotham needs not the one she deserves…however being the strongest doesn’t mean having the strongest body odor.