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Friday, August 22, 2014

First 5 Pages, Cold Truths (Secret Project 1)

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things: Sleeper

Sleeper is, unquestionably, my favorite Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips work.

What marks Sleeper out from a lot of the other Brubaker/Phillips joints (all of which are extremely high quality) is that Sleeper, at least to me, is much denser with concept than their other collaborations. Brubaker's regular strength is in his strong character work, steady and consistent and engaging, and this can be seen across virtually all of his work. That's no less present in Sleeper than in anything else he's ever done, but it's enhanced with wonderful reworks of superhero, spy, and scifi tropes. It somehow feels much bigger than almost anything else he's done, including his work for the Marvel Universe.

That said, today I wanted to take a look at a particularly layered, complex character who existed in the background, and one of the brilliant mechanisms Brubaker created for the series as a way to understand that complexity.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014

On Mark Millar's Superman Adventures

Mark Millar is sitting pretty, these days. His new comic properties Jupiter’s Children (with superstar Frank Quitely) and Starlight (with veteran Goran Parlov) are highly reviewed and much praised, and with 3 movies from his creator owned projects at his back (Kickass 1&2, Wanted) he’s got another coming forthwith in “Kingsman: Secret Service”.  The future looks bright indeed for Mark Millar, so it feels appropriate to reflect a bit on his past.

Back before Mark Millar was a bonafide in the comics industry, he was a struggling writer just trying to make ends meet. He had a few credits to his name from 2000AD and a number of smallish press endeavors, but he was still trying to hit that big break (a break that would come first in his continuation of Ellis’s Authority, and then fully with Marvel’s Ultimates). Things were so bad, he himself has said, that he very nearly quit the industry; only a loan from Mark Waid – given with good will and without expectation – kept him from losing his house during those days.

This early Mark Millar, hungry and raw and eager to prove himself, was also my favorite Mark Millar. His Swamp Thing run – the first arc co-written with Morrison – remains the strongest entry in his ouevre, but just behind was his work on Superman. Mark Millar’s Red Son is well known and oft cited as one of the better Superman stories in history, but I’m not talking about that (I wouldn’t, as I disagree with that opinion). I am, instead, talking about Mark Millar’s Superman Adventures.  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things: Imagination

One of my favorite runs of recent memory was John Hickman's 'Fantastic Four'. It represents the high point of his work in comics thus far, for me, as it manages to blend his telltale High Concept with a strong emotional core. As Hickman himself says, this is a story primarily about love; the love between parents and children, especially, and the power of that love to transcend all barriers and overcome all obstacles. But no less important is the power of IMAGINATION, the joy of ADVENTURE and EXPLORATION, and this scene in particular sums up that thread perfectly.  

Enjoy it, as I did, after the cut.  

Sneak Peak! (The Modern School)

Welcome to the Modern School. There are no buildings, no diplomas, no teachers. Here we are perpetual students, and there is only one lesson.  The cost of attendance could be your life; the reward for attendance could be yourself. We are not training future bankers, lawyers, doctors; we are training soldiers, for a war fought in spaces where ideas drop like atom bombs.

Welcome to The Modern School. Welcome to the world.

Coming Soon. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things: TAO vs the WildCATS

In recent past posts I've talked about both Alan Moore's work for Image and about the character TAO as a potential future antagonist. It seemed appropriate that this edition of "My Favorite Things" should cover the intersection of those two threads.

Invited by WildCATS creator (and Wildstorm Publisher) Jim Lee, Alan Moore's WildCATS run was his second 'true' american comics run, after Swamp Thing (Captain Britain having been a british serial). It is, as always, structurally tight and engaging, even if it's not the most intellectually complex or thematically dense thing he's ever worked on. One of the few lasting, noteworthy impacts of the run was the introduction of thereafter Wildstorm mainstay character TAO.