Sunday, May 24, 2009

Cover Review: Blowjob #10

This cover is one of the better Blowjob covers. While the comic series was full of hit or miss moments,the covers were mostly misses. This one, however, stands out, and it does so because of what it doesn't show.

Most comic book stores would not put this comic out in the open, so the covers weren't necessarily used to draw readers, and the publisher, Eros, had to know that. Therefore the covers should have been artistic. Most of them were just plain bad and weren't all that graphic. (It was almost as if the publisher was afraid to be graphic on the cover.) While they weren't graphic, they were suggestive. This one is suggestive in all the right ways.

First of all, this cover puts the viewer in the role of the guy getting the hummer. That's always a good position to be in no matter what you are doing. And while the thong is tasteful, I could do without the blond hair (just my personal preference). The cover says a lot. Any guy would know what is going on without seeing the comic's title. The title, however, when mixed with the cover art lets the reader know exactly what kind of stories they are going to get.

Other covers in the comic series had females with milk splashed on them, glory hole shots (which was one of the most terrifying covers on a comic I have ever seen), and generally juvenile moments. This one stands out because it is tasteful, subtle (for the series) and erotic. In fact, I'd bet most females wouldn't have a problem with this cover, either, as it is erotically done.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Beware The Architects!

The Doctor 13 trade paperback Architecture & Morality was loaned to me by a friend who thought I might enjoy it. His taste in comics, while not the same as mine, is close enough for me to take what he says seriously. I thought the concept (obscure DC characters meet Doctor 13 who makes normal skeptics seem too accepting) sounded interesting. When he gave me the book and I saw that Brian Azzarello was the writer, I figured I was in for something good.

Azzarello does one of my favorite comic series, 100 Bullets. I'll admit it can be confusing at times, but I love the characters (especially Lono), and the story keeps me interested. His name on a book is a plus for me. Then there's the artist.

The artwork is by Cliff Chiang. I don't really care for his work one way or another (he seems like a poor man's Mike Allred), but here it really fits the story, and in hindsight may be the best part of the book.

If you couldn't guess by that last paragraph, I wasn't super impressed. It's not that I hated it. I was just expecting more. The concept is sound. The characters obscure enough to make it interesting, and the final act was a clever take on what has been going on not only in the DC universe, but comics as a whole. Azzarello is making a statement here (one I can't really give away without ruining things), and it is a bold one, but his message is tempered by a story that doesn't quite live up to what he's trying to say. Yes, it was cool to see Infectious Lass, but Doctor 13 bothered the hell out of me.

When you get to the end of the story and you realize what Azzarello is trying to say, you will either agree with him or disagree. Your stance kind of mirrors what you think about comics today. Are you a purist, a realist, or just along for the ride? Azzarello makes you question that, and for that I applaud him. I just wish it would've been ... better.

Ironically, considering the story, I think Grant Morrison could've pulled this off better. Azzarello, as proven with 100 Bullets, is at his best when he is doing something gritty, violent and vile. This book is none of those things. He's holding back and that feels forced, which is usually the opposite complaint when it comes to writers.

I like this book's art, message and the attempt to actually make a statement with it. I respect that and appreciate it. In the end, however, I think the effort kind of falls flat. The points it raises are fine and worthy of debate, the way they are raised fails to impress, and that's an assertion even Doctor 13 could believe in.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Supernatural Is Embararssing

A woman with whom I work had a secret. She tried to hide it. Made remarks that I'd think she was "weird." (I really like this woman, and there are few things she could do to make me say that.) She slipped something into her desk and said, "You'd make fun of me for my comic books."

This woman had no idea I liked comics.

After I assured her that was not the case, I asked to see what she had. She produced two Supernatural trade paperbacks from Wildstorm.

I'm not a fan of the show. Have never seen it, actually. I do know it has a large fan base, and this woman was one of them. She explained, as if I had no concept of a trade paperback, that the books were originally single issues of comics, but these books collected them.

I actually found it pretty neat.

This woman is a bit older than me (I'm 38), and she was kind of proud of what she was reading, despite the fact that she hid it from me.

I wish American culture was more like Japanese culture insomuch that comic books were not objects of shame, but widely accepted forms of entertainment and literature. That's starting to change somewhat and probably will be the norm in another ten to twenty years, but I wish it were now. I wish adults could read something like Preacher in public without having to explain. Granted, there are those who would say their special little books were no longer so special since everyone liked them, but it's not punk rock -- it's fucking comic books! They're meant to appeal to the masses. Hence the popularity of Supernatural and its translation to comic book form.

When I read the Lady Snowblood books in public I often had to explain. The cover color scheme had people asking me if it had anything to do with Kill Bill, and that leads to more explanation. I don't hide my entertainment/artistic choices in shame, however. I feel like it's my duty to be ambassador for things I like. If I don't do it, who will?

The woman was pretty damn excited about her purchases. She was going to take them home and devour them, most likely in one sitting. And I hope she caught an ad or two in the back of the book for other books that looked intriguing ... though it's Wildstorm, so you can't get your hopes too high.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Cover Review: Alpha Flight #110

One word comes to mind when looking at this 1992 cover: typical. Typical bland art and typical bland team shot. Everyone has a glint of evil, which is fine, but all the evil comes out in their eyes because all the eyes pretty much look the same.

I dislike boring covers. This cover would never get me to pick up the book. Alpha Flight was never a favorite of mine, and this cover would not have changed anything. Did anyone pick up this book because of the cover? Does it tell you anything about what is going on inside? What makes it stand out on the stand? Nothing. The colors are unappealing, the characters generic. And in 1992 every other cover had the same vibe, same art style. While it house an excellent story, the art tells potential readers to stay away unless they want more of the same.

Back when this series first started, the covers were something that were talked about. Remember the one that was almost all white? The one with all the rods? The one with Wolverine about to go nuts? Those were good covers, exciting covers. They were covers that made you want to at least look inside the issue. This cover does the exact opposite. By all accounts, the series was horrible at this time, and this cover presents no hope for the story inside. Pat Broderick was the artist behind it. The art lover in me says he should be shot. The comic fan in me thinks he should have been banned from ever doing another cover. The human in me wishes he would have picked another career. I wonder what he is doing now?

I hope it's not working on any new covers.

Friday, May 8, 2009


Moonstone. When I first came across her she was fighting the Hulk. I don't remember much more than that, and I haven't kept up on her adventures with the Thunderbolts, but I've always been interested in the character.

First there's this costume. I can't put my finger on why it works, but it does. Especially with the hair. If the hair were any other color it wouldn't work. The entire thing looks almost alien. Kree, perhaps?

I don't remember much about her powers or origin. Actually, I'm not even sure I ever knew her origin. All I remember is that she looked cool, gave the Hulk a run for his money, and had something about her that has stuck with me all these years.

Of course, Moonstone could be a lot like my "love" of the TV show "Get A Life." I remember thinking that show was great, and then years after it went off the air I ended up getting home copies of every episode from a guy. You know what? The show sucked. I couldn't figure out what I liked about it in the first place, and maybe that's why I haven't been too keen to read much with Moonstone in it. I know Daredevil will always be good, and so will Batman. Those characters change, but the core is solid. Moonstone? I didn't know her that well in the first place, so maturity may have tarnished my decidedly sketchy memories.

Either way, the costume's still cool.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Scary Tales#18 -- A Cover Review

Forgive me, Lord, but I have a soft spot for Charlton Comics, and while Scary Tales was not one of my favorite series, it was sometimes enjoyable.

This cover, however, is not.

Comic book covers have to catch your eye. They have to grab you and not let go. To stand out from the other comics on the rack/shelf, they have to be something special. The cover pictured here is so fucking far from special that I had to wonder what someone was thinking.

Not a single thing about this cover says, "Buy me!" Especially not to some kid. You got some chap telling these weird looking people that this moment wasn't in the script. I don't have this issue of the comic, so I can't even tell you if this is in the comic script, but I would hope not.

At what point does this cover say it may be scary? Because the four misfits are advancing in a semi-threatening manner? Because they look funny? Because there is a weird, out-of-time pop art feel to part of it? Beats the holy hell out of me. If I was a kid enountering this issue I would have stayed the hell away.

Charlton was never known for quality, but this is substandard even by that company's ... well, standards. Honestly, it feels like the publisher didn't want anyone buying this issue. "Let's make the cover as bland as humanly possible. It's the choice between this one and the black cover. Black says too 'arty.' Let's go with this one."

Come to think of it, the first issue's cover wasn't much better, either.

Monday, May 4, 2009


My friend and I have this common fondness for archer superheroes. We both are fans of Hawkeye and Green Arrow. I don't know where his love of these characters came from, but I think I've pinpointed mine.

I used to use a bow to hunt. Due to that, I had to do a lot of target practice with the weapon. There is something methodical and primitive about pulling back the string, aiming, holding steady and then letting go. I never killed anything with the bow, and I have long since given up hunting, but that bloodlust remains.

These archer characters have something a lot of other heroes lack: realism. Superman could never happen. Wolverine is a myth. But Hawkeye and Green Arrow are (essentially) guys with bows fighting crime. Granted, they do some amazing things, and well know most of those trick arrows would never fly straight, but at their core these are just guys in suits with a weapon that is by all standards fairly archaic. (How many armies use bows and arrows these days? None. They all died.) Going into a fight against Ultron with only a bow and superhuman aim takes guts. That is why these characters appeal to me.

Hawkeye, in my opinion, was at his best leading the West Coast Avengers. For some reason I thought he always worked better as a team player, even though he always felt like an outsider there. I think of Green Arrow in the exact opposite way. In a team he tends to get overshadowed by just about everyone else. His solo series from Kevin Smith, who later left it, was pretty damn good despite some art that took a little getting used to.

I never cared too much about characters with big guns. I am more attracted to the ones who seem more honest, more real. Daredevil, Batman, Hawkeye, Green Arrow, Silver Surfer (that one is a joke). Their characters, when written properly, give the story something a Cyclops story can never have. A feeling of realistic urgency. Yes, comic books are largely about escape, but an escape based in reality is a far more therapeutic escape than one based in fantasy. And that works for me any day.