Monday, July 29, 2013

See You Next Week

Between work and taking care of The Child, who has now learned how to crawl somewhat and is getting into general mischief, I am swamped.  I'll be taking the week off to regroup, and I'll see you next week with... something.  You'll just have to see then.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Science! Week, Problematic Powers Edition: Super Intelligence

As I mentioned in my previous Problematic Powers post, this series is about the difficulties involved in writing for characters with various powers; it's not a "clever" attempt to point out the infeasability of a given power, because pretty much all of them are ridiculous. However, super intelligence is one of those ones that almost seems like it could exist in the real world.  We all know that guy who is far smarter than any of his peers, and we've all heard of kids graduating college at 16 with a doctorate in Things You'll Never Understand.  That's part of what makes a superhumanly intelligent character so hard to write.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Science! Week: Go Read Indestructible Hulk

This is the size of the of grin I get about this book
I have never been a big fan of the Hulk as a character, or of his alter ego, Bruce Banner. It's one of those cases where I got the concept of the character, but the themes most folks tried to explore with it always left me cold.  Maybe it's because Hulk was one of the last holdovers from the "monster" books that Marvel was putting out previous to their superhero resurgence, or because Bruce Banner always seemed like a hopeless sadsack, but the character just never resonated with me. I liked the occasional walks off the beaten path, like the Hulk-as-Conan riff in Planet Hulk and World War Hulk, but the character didn't really work for me most of the time.  That's all changed with the new series, Indestructible Hulk. Minor spoilers for the first story arc follow.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Science! Week: There's No Superscience In Marvel Movies (And That's A Good Thing)

Okay, so maybe "no" superscience is overselling it a bit.  You do have the engineering feats of the Stark family, and the biochemistry of Bruce Banner and Dr. Erskine.  There's even the dimensional science from Thor, based on Asgardian tech and investigated by Dr. Selvig.  But there isn't a Reed Richards- or Hank Pym-style polymath to be found anywhere.  And that's a good thing.

There are some minor spoilers for Iron Man 3 and what's been revealed about the second Avengers movie below.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Go Read Superior Foes of Spider-Man

Our protagonists, in all their glory
Seriously, it's great.  The first issue came out a couple of weeks back, and it's one of the funniest comics I've read in some time.  It focuses on a group of Spider-Man enemies called the Sinister Six (even though there's currently only five of them) and their day-to-day trials and tribulations, many of which are caused by each other.  If this sounds familiar, it's because it's basically Hawkeye, but re-tooled for supervillains.  And that's fine, because it works, really, really well.  Minor spoilers below.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Problematic Powers: Super Speed

Before I start, the Problematic Powers posts are not going to be "lol superhero physics don't work in the real world you guys." Thanks professor, I don't think we could have figured that out by the fact that there's, you know, no one in the world with superpowers. No, these powers are problematic in terms of story. The very thing that helps to make the character interesting and entertaining for the reader (besides all that "personality" and "drama" stuff) also makes them difficult to write. Near the top of the list, probably duking it out with telepathy, is super speed.

Monday, July 15, 2013

New Project

I'm working on a new, top secret project that I hope to announce in a month or so.  Unfortunately, because the planning went long last night, I didn't get a chance to write anything for the blog.  I'll try to avoid that in the future, but I'd rather just come clean this time instead of slapping something together.  See you on Wednesday, when we'll be discussing the Flash and why speedsters are so hard to write.

Friday, July 12, 2013

All The Golden Age Comics You Can Stand

While I was looking for some things for a work project, I stumbled across Comic Book Plus, a huge, legal archive of golden age comics. They've got tons of stuff in there, including early Captain Marvel family stuff, Black Terror, The Fighting Yank, a bunch of western, romance, and sci-fi comics and a whole lot more. A word of warning: they're golden age comics, and that means there's a whole lot of stuff that is racist and sexist in there, so be aware that you are almost certainly going to stumble across some pretty vile things in there once in a while.  And they're golden age, so the art and writing is often... not so great.  But there are worse ways to spend a bit of your weekend than looking at some sterling examples of the history of the medium.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Great Comics You May Have Missed: Taskmaster: Unthinkable

A lot of people's favorite villains are the heavy hitters. Dr. Doom. Darkseid. Magneto. But I've always had a fondness for the working class villains, the ones that just want to rob a jewelry store, get out without hurting anyone they don't have to, then go blow their paycheck upgrading their gear or gambling or paying their child support. There's a lot of guys like this, from the Flash's Rogues to Batroc the Leaper, but one of my consistent favorites is Taskmaster, and they finally gave him a miniseries a few years back. And it's great.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Cutting Back A Bit

Work has gone crazy, and I'm going to be cutting back for the next couple of weeks.  Expect stuff generally Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the next few weeks.  Monday's post next week should be about whether comic book movies actually influence sales of comic books.  See you then.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Awesome Losers: Aquaman and Hank Pym

Before anyone loses their mind in the comments section, let's be clear here:  I like both of these characters a whole lot.  But they are kind of problematic, often in some very similar ways.  They're both awesome characters, and they each had something happen to them in the 70s or early 80s that made them losers, whether that's in the eyes of comics readers, the general public, their own universe, or some combination.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Bad Art Theater: Injustice #17

Michael Richards IS Stanley Spudowski IN Batman Attacks a Telephone Pole

They couldn't even bother to have the 'U' in 'THUD'

Monday, July 01, 2013

Hoedown Breakdown: Diversity in Marvel and DC Titles

An interesting question came up on /r/comicbooks last night:  does Marvel or DC have greater diversity in its books?  I decided to do a quantitative and qualitative analysis of each company's projected superhero output for July 2013, and while I can't say I was terribly surprised overall, there were some interesting bits of data. The TL;DR for those of you that just want the good stuff is that, percentage-wise, Marvel blows DC away on race, DC wins on GLBT representation, and Marvel barely noses out DC on gender.  However, the qualitative analysis mostly goes Marvel's way.