Unilaterally Sarcastic, Dangerously Cheesy

Posts tagged “Rich Johnston

Repurposing The Site

I am sure that most of you who read this blog are familiar with Rich Johnston. He of Lying in the Gutters and BleedingCool infamy. He was one of the first community personalities to comment on one of my stories when I reviewed a book he wrote for Image when this blog first got underway. I basically accused him of being a gossip-monger masquerading a journalist in the comments he pretty much said that he rejects the idea of himself as a journalist. Which is good because the way he conducts himself sometimes makes him seem more like a court jester than a reporter. But looking back at that and looking at the way I run this blog I had to think of how I look at myself and what my goals are in bothering to post anything on this site.

I’ve obviously reported the news in the past. When something big happened I tried to make sure that I got it posted and spread around. I know that I’ve never broken any important stories but I felt that it was an obligation to treat stories about major happenings in a certain way. I guess I hoped my little blog would be something akin to an underground ComicsAlliance. I may not agree with their snark 50% of the time but I won’t deny that they have the contacts and the resources to handle the journalistic side of the medium. They’re 100x better than what we got with Wizard, anyhow.

But looking at this past year I’ve been posting fewer and fewer big news items unless they strike me as important enough to write a real opinion piece about. I still write reviews because I enjoy getting my opinion on the record and establishing why I feel a certain way. It’s not a matter of routine for me the way the news posts were. And so I’ve come to the conclusion that CCQ is, at its heart, a blog. And as such I have begun making plans to transition it into a full blown commentary hub. In the coming weeks I hope to be posting far more smaller pieces just to start discussion among my readers. And despite my slowdown in posting I’m still getting a sizeable amount of traffic for a small one-man operation such as this. It’s not a million unique visitors a day but it’s still enough to make me happy I bother to type these things out.

So expect things to go a little differently around here soon. Hopefully for the better.

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Spider-Girl Ongoing Downgraded to Mini-Series; or Curse You Marvel, Why Do You Hate My Soul?

Rich over at Bleeding Cool has once again broken some interesting Spider-Girl news. This time, though, it seems as if the news is not happy and as such that popping sound you just heard was every blood vessel in my brain exploding in unison. You’ll have to excuse me for a moment while I mop up the mess that just globbed out of my ear canal.

Now that I’m back, let me state emphatically that I’m a heavy Marvel guy. In my recent paring down of my pull list, where I cut back on books that simply felt superfluous, I was surprised how many of those books had a DC logo on them. I’m not anti-DC by any means, but I was a little surpised at how far my list skewed to the Marvel side. Now, that having been said, I’m starting to feel like their company has started a division simply aimed at frustrating me on a personal level. Like someone reads this blog on a daily basis, reading my nitpicky criticisms and storing them away to use against me in some Machiavellian plot of doom.

A while back I posted about SWORD’s cancellation and it bothered me that Marvel didn’t even give the series a chance to sell in trade to make up its audience and keep it going on a monthly basis. I felt that such a move was short-sighted and not in the best interest of the company. Falling back to the old standbys and relying on overhyped event books will only keep them afloat for so long. People need diversity in publication to remain interested. It makes Marvel look weak when they cut the life of any book short before giving it any real chance to find its legs.

Marvel has decided to cut the new Spider-Girl series down from an ongoing into a mini-series, which to me indicates a total lack of faith in the book, even pre-launch. The problem with this of course, is why even produce the series in the first place if you’re going to backpedal and essentially show your consumers that you could care less about the property. Moves like this show a lack of backbone on the part of the publisher. Some critics would argue that we should be happy to be getting whatever we can get, but I say that we deserve better than an afterthought.

It’s a slap in the face to the fans who supported the character through a hundred issues the first time around and twenty five issues in her last incarnation. Find a way to make us feel like we matter. Because we do.


Weekly Comic Reviews

I Do Not Actually Look Like Jesse Custer

So I’ve been battling a cold that’s primary affliction to my system has been a severe sense of apathy. I don’t think I’ve ever moved slower on a Wednesday than I did at work yesterday, but when the fever broke in the night I realized that I had a blog to update, and thus I started work on this week’s reviews, which will begin momentarily.

THE PULL LIST: 2-17-2010

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #621 GNTLT 2.99
BATMAN #696 2.99
BATMAN STREETS OF GOTHAM #9 3.99
BLACK WIDOW AND MARVEL GIRLS #4 (OF 4) 2.99
BLACK WIDOW DEADLY ORIGIN #4 (OF 4) 3.99
CAPTAIN AMERICA #603 3.99
CHASE VARIANT ONE SHOT IS ALL I NEED (ONE SHOT) 3.99
DAREDEVIL #505 2.99
DARK AVENGERS #14 SIEGE 3.99
DEADPOOL #19 2.99
DEADPOOL MERC WITH A MOUTH #8 2.99
DOOMWAR #1 (OF 6) 3.99
GREEN LANTERN #51 (BLACKEST NIGHT) 2.99
GREEN LANTERN CORPS #45 (BLACKEST NIGHT) 2.99
HULK #20 FOH 3.99
IGNITION CITY TP 19.99
INCORRUPTIBLE #3 3.99
INCREDIBLE HULK #607 FOH 3.99
JOE THE BARBARIAN #2 2.99
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #42 3.99
POWER GIRL #9 2.99
PSYLOCKE #4 (OF 4) 3.99
PUNISHER #14 2.99
SPIDER-WOMAN #6 2.99
STARMAN OMNIBUS VOL. 4 49.99
SUPERGIRL #50 (NOTE PRICE) 4.99
THOR BY DAN JURGENS & JOHN ROMITA JR TP VOL 02 24.99
UNCANNY X-MEN #521 2.99

And so, I begin:

Amazing Spider-Man 621

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN # 621

I feel like I’ve heaped sufficient praise on this book over the course of it’s “Gauntlet” storyline. This issue is worth picking up for Michael Lark’s art alone. That man could draw Daredevil making a sandwich for 32 pages and I’d buy two copies. (Grilled cheese variant?)

This issue catered to me in numerous ways. It had Black Cat, who I effing love. It had Mr. Negative, who I honestly believe is one of the better additions to Spidey’s rogues gallery that we’ve seen in the last few years. Honestly, it was just a good Spider-Man comic. And while the previous few issues have felt decisively like old-school Spidey, this one feels frighteningly modern, and I think alot of that comes from Michael Lark’s artwork. While not overly realistic, the tones are muddied and contrasting as opposed to the clean cut-and-dry work of the last few issues. I like both styles, and the art definately worked for this story, but the change is a litle jarring when held up to what had come before. The saving grace comes in the form of the writing, which doesn’t shift tone nearly as radically and keeps the story on course.

Again, I really only have good things to say about this series at this point, and if you’re not picking it up I think you’re probably just still bitter over the One More Day angle. We get it, you feel slighted, but at this point you’re just denying yourself some quality entertainment with a character you claimed to love.

Chase Variant
CHASE VARIANT ONE SHOT

Rich Johnston is basically what would happen if I went around shouting a bunch of stuff I heard and considered it hard journalism. I won’t deny that the man gets his shit right every so often, as the man does have some sweet hookups and his site is a go-to for many people. I consider him and people like him to be the reason that Wizard has lost it’s relevance to the comic community and that in itself sort of makes him relevant.

Does any of that qualify him to write a comic book?

I don’t know. If it does, I’m hoping someone at Image calls me because I’ve got a great pitch about a Texas ranger who fights ronin-Samurai in a post-apocalyptic California with the help of a cat named Asshole. (Seriously, call me.)

I don’t know if he’s ever written anything outside of an editorial before this book, but if he’s a newbie he didn’t do too bad for his opening shot. If nothing else, the book has a pretty cool framing device, with unseen hands dealing magic-style dueling cards that shape the flow of the narrative. Such a framing device would be especially interesting in an ongoing series, where it could be explained in detail, but as it is not an ongoing and simply a one-and-done sort of deal, part of me wonders what their purpose was. Though that’s just me contemplating what could be or should have been and not what is.

As far as what the book is, I would say that Chase Variant is decent but it feels like an anachronism. A sort of throwback to the 90’s Image that I never really got into. There’s no character development or plot that runs beyond a few lines of dialogue, but there is some well-developed imagery and the potential for impressive worldbuilding. Environment and aesthetic over true content, honestly.

That doesn’t mean that it’s rubbish, because at least the book feels like it moves forward given it’s limited frame of existence. It’s not like it treads water trying to stay afloat. The book may not be the best thing ever written, but none of the effort was phoned in and it feels genuine, which is more than can be said for some books.

Merc With A Mouth 8
DEADPOOL : MERC WITH A MOUTH # 8

I’ve gotta nominate this one for turnaround book of the month, because the last issue to hit stands was downright atrocious. I was literally floored by how asinine that book was. This issue on the other hand seems to work well to regain focus and present a singular path for the book that I hope isn’t lost next month for some reason nobody can explain to me.

Instead of disjointed mini-sodes with a hodge-podge of different artists breaking up the flow, we get Deadpool and co. sucked into the Marvel Zombies universe where Deadpool goes all Tom Savini on a bunch of undead superheroes. The art is clean, crisp, and fits the tone preented by the writing and the jokes don’t completely suck the life out of the book.

Thank god, I was afraid I was going to have to drop this book. And how damned ironic would it be if after clinging to Cable and Deadpool because I didn’t want to see DP’s only book get cancelled would it be for me to be able to drop a Deadpool book and not be concerned because he has two other books I could read? I’d love to go back to the 90’s and drop that bombshell on someone. The look on their face would be priceless.

SUPERGIRL # 50

I’m glad that we have a Supergirl book that isn’t a horrible trainwreck. The current team has been doing a bang up job with the character, and though I’m not a big fan of the huge line-wide crossovers the Superman family seems to be enduring until the end of time, this book has been doing the best with what it’s been given from the get-go. The character development they’ve been working with Kara and Lana is refreshing, as both of them have drastically needed to be refocused for quite some time.

This issue feels like a good old fashioned Superman story to me. I mean, replace Supergirl with Clark and you would swear that this story belonged in one of those Black and White SHOWCASE books. Giant wasps? Lazer beams! GANGBUSTER?!?!?!

Yeah, epic.

The backup story is short and essentially unnecessary, but the tone was on the money and I’m sure putting Helen Slater’s name on the book bumped sales by a fair margin, though what size that margin is could be anybody’s guess. Either way, the total package was worth the extra dollar on the price tag.

Uncanny 521
UNCANNY X-MEN # 521

If all they had printed in this book was that final page, I still would have loved it. I won’t spoil it, but they made me a very happy nerd.

Very very happy nerd.

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And I’m done for this week. Check back next time, when maybe I’ll review a comic that totally sucks. It’s kind of odd when I don’t read anything that makes me wanna hurl.