Super Rich Kids With Nothing But Loose Ends
This is a comic book series that started up yesterday. I read it this morning. I liked it. I liked it so much that I bought a digital copy after my physical copy. I don’t know, I’m irresponsible with money.
“The Green Team: Teen Trillionaires” is similar to the comic plotline of Incorruptible where Max Damage confronts a mad scientist who is selling superpowers to the highest bidder. In Green Team, the main characters are filthy rich and are investigating technologies that will allow them to have powers. Similar ground but otherwise very different stories.
Anyway that’s all elevator pitch, slugline stuff. Basically, The Green Team is a pleasantly fun comic book. There aren’t very many hijinks in the first issue but the characters are pleasant enough and their ambition to attain power despite their youth is a theme that I can get behind. The eagerness of Commodore to find uses for the various technologies that he encounters hints at a spirit of ingenuity which would seem antithetical to the concept of a person whose method is to use money to strongarm his way into his desired position. I’m intrigued.
The story generally takes place inside a musty, grungy warehouse and the the technologies on sale seem roughshod and assembled from real materials. The contrast between the wealth of the protagonists and the underground nature of their enterprise gives the comic an odd dichotomy. It gets odder still when Riot Act, a group of masked villains invade the proceedings and change the entire visual balance of the comic. The Riot Act costumes are somewhere between grungy and clean. The cleanliness of uniformity and singularity of purpose. After spending so much time with the friendly civilians of the main cast, this incursion of white masks is impressive and visually stunning. Their drawn-on faces add a bit of unnerving energy to their sudden appearance.
It’s a comic book. About superheroes. After a spell. The cast is colorful, the theme is interesting enough that I’m very curious to see where it goes. With any luck, The Green Team will find an audience and continue to tell its story.
2:18 pm |
May 23 2013
Frank Quitely, the best superhero cartoonist in the world. Ten years ago, he redesigned the X-Men and made drew some brilliant scenes in the series NEW X MEN. Above is the introductory scene from his final issue on the series, “The Prime of Miss Emma Frost.”
Quitely’s panels tend to move in two directions at once: one-point-perspective, pushing our depth view straight back and straight across our field of vision from left-to-right. The result is a dizzying sense of motion and an immersive sense of space and movement.
My favorite panel above is where Beast (blue guy) has rescued the car passengers and turns to see the flaming guy (Hermann) continue to run down the road. There’s so many different things happening in that panel and all of those things are moving or defined by their lack of moving. Beast and the passengers are still but a raising smoke and dust cloud from Hermann who continues to race away gives the right-hand side of the panel some movement. So as the eye travels from left to right, we see a still scene which gives way to a motion scene. All in the same panel. It’s brilliant.
The panel in which Cyclops skids the car in front of the gas station is also brilliant. It gives me the chills, it’s so good. We read from left to right but the car is moving from our right to left, and it’s trail of telltale motion signs (exhaust fumes, tail light distortion) points away from our reading orientation. These competing stimuli make us read that particular panel both backwards and forwards at the same time. It’s magnificent.
“The Prime of Miss Emma Frost” can be found in volume 4 of NEW X MEN, “Riot at Xavier’s.”
10:54 am |
May 22 2013
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h-monkey asked: I've only recently had a chance to sit down with unrepentant atheists in person and ask when they became that way. It's liberating to share stories, but yours was the first that mirrors my own. I was devotedly religious once, too, more than any atheist I've met, and no grand tragedy made me leave the fold like it does for many. Not that those who did it that way are worse for it, but it's nice to read someone who got there by introspection over time.
I get really creeped out by the league of professional atheists who go around mocking religious people. Besides the fact that 100% of them use anti-religion to cryptically make oppressive statements about nonwhites and about women. That’s bad enough because it could just be misguided arrogance. Misguided fervor for what they *believe* is “science.” But ultimately I dislike those Richard Dawkins folks and his ilk because they don’t just see themselves as “right,” they see others as inferior. And that don’t fly.
I understand the desire to push back against a world that doesn’t support atheists against the masses who see us as “evil,” “amoral,” “arrogant.” But I’m a black man. I don’t believe in giving in and BECOMING amoral because some other fools are intolerant.
6:36 am |
May 22 2013
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Self-Portrait as a Self-Destructing Chocolate Head
Many of us attending the opening of the New Museum’s “NYC 1993” saw visions of our former selves back in the day, but no one had more selves there than Janine Antoni.
On the second floor, on a row of high plinths, are 14 Antoni heads. These are here famous self-portraits, Lick and Lather, casts made in chocolate and soap that were modeled on classical busts and “re-sculpted” by the processes described in the title.
Standing nearby, Antoni enjoyed watching visitors walk up close to the heads, and smell them.
“There’s not a lot of time between smelling and biting,” concedes the artist, whose heads have been attacked that way on several occasions. “It’s a funny thing when you make pieces about desire and people succumb to their desire.”
Antoni is happy to make replacement heads, which she does using FDA-approved latex molds: “Then I have to re-lick it, which is a bummer.”
Read more at ARTnews.com
Detail of Janine Antoni’s Lick and Lather, 1993.
COURTESY THE ARTIST AND LUHRING AUGUSTINE, NEW YORK.
I saw this exhibit last month. Fun fact: the room smells like chocolate :^9
6:27 am |
May 22 2013
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“I inquired about the Glyph Awards this year. Unfortunately I missed the deadline by one day, and was quickly told there were no exceptions. Fair enough; that’s what deadlines are for… but as Johanna mentions, there’s always a flurry of publicity right at the deadline. Info on the awards was forwarded to me by a friend who saw a last-minute notice. By the time I saw his email, however, it was 9am the next morning.”
Brandon Montclare (Halloween Eve)
I must say that I’m Team Johanna on this one. The Glyph Awards, and ECBACC in general, needed and deserved far better promotion than it received.
2:33 pm |
May 21 2013
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(via Panels for People)
Click through for a good read from Darryl Ayo. I asked him what the last comic was that had storytelling that knocked his socks off, and he comes with two examples. It’s well worth reading!
One thing about this Daredevil page, though, drawn by Chris Samnee, scripted by Mark Waid, colors by Javier Rodriguez. This is a total pet peeve and I started this sentence apologizing (“maybe it’s unfair”) but no, it is not unfair: Those aren’t kusarigama. These are just kama. Kusarigama is a chain + sickle + a weight, while the kama are just sickles. Kusarigama are actually an interesting weapon for a Daredevil villain (?) to use, since they’re a kind of a more lethal take on his extendo billy club. (The ways DD traditionally use the club kill me. He’s a budget Spider-Man with ninja skills. He could do so much more.)
It’s weird that kusarigama would be shouted out in the text but wrong in the art. It’s specific enough that I think the creative team was going for a certain mood or effect. Kusarigama aren’t as popular as all the other weapons in TMNT, but if you know the word, you know what they look like, you know? And seeing them described incorrectly snatches you out of the story. It’s like the flip side of verisimilitude, where you’d usually hint at something to make your story feel real, but if you hint at something in the wrong way or get some detail wrong, it turns it into anti-versimilitude-ium, the least popular element. Be careful out there!
Kusarigama were used to marvelous effect in an arc or two of Takehiko Inoue’s Vagabond. I’m trying to think of a movie that used them… they’re in Ninja Gaiden 2, but that’s a video game. I keep thinking of Chinese flicks with meteor hammers (that thing Gogo Yubari rocked in Kill Bill). Anyway, they’re beautiful in motion. You can find some people running through forms on youtube.
12:48 am |
May 21 2013
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jaskneves asked: Tell me your opinions about Hugo Pratt, like in general. Or in specific if you'd like.
I have no real opinion about Pratt.
His drawings look great and I love his use of black (as in ink) but I haven’t read any of his comics. I tried to read that Corto Maltese comic that came out a year or two ago but I’ll be damned it didn’t make much sense to me. I returned it to the library, unfinished and myself uncomprehending.
I would like to give his work another shot at some point in the future but it would have to be some other sort of translation of a project because I felt like I didn’t even know what the heck that book was talking about from panel to panel at times.
European comics are one of my many blind spots. Slowly but surely, I hope to increase my knowledge in Italian comics.
PS: What up, Ron? I got the above image from your blog
11:28 pm |
May 20 2013
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aleskot asked: So, Garth Ennis -- his writing was and is hugely influential for me. I would say "Preacher" formed my ethics to a certain extent, because I read it at the right age (14-16), and I am happy about that -- it gave me a better idea of what friendship can be, of what family can be, of what love can be. It told me that I wasn't the only person in the world that saw love and friendship and family the way I did. My question is, how important is Preacher to you and why?
comicwise: Preacher is important to me because of Steve Dillon. I know that he only did two of the specials but as far as the main series goes, he drew them all and that was a big deal in 1994-2000.
Steve Dillon taught me about the understated about deadpan cartooning. I had access to Preacher before I had access to Daniel Clowes’ Eightball comics so that straight-faced deadpan style had no other obvious parallel to me. Comics being able to do BIG as well as small was a new concept to me. I came out of the Jim Lee/Joe Madureira era of comic books and so Steve Dillon’s approach was just about alien to me.
One thing that Dillon excelled at was the many subtle movements of the human face. His facial expressions are still what I think about when I think of how faces move.
People dream of superpowers: The superpower that I most often daydream about is Jesse Custer’s Word Of God. The absolute savagery that Custer inflicted on people with his powers still bends my mind. Making a group of soldiers run away…forever. Making a guy count every grain of sand on the beach. Telling a guy to fuck himself. It makes the brain reel. The amount of harm that one character was permitted to inflict at his own discretion. What was also interesting is that he never used his powers for sexual purposes. It made the series much easier to tolerate in its brutality when you knew up front that the man who can do anything had some basic sense of boundaries. I think about that detail of the comic a lot, actually.
Which brings us to Tulip: The thing that was sadly ironic is that in the end, Jesse did undermine Tulip’s will in a pretty horrific way. He didn’t use his powers but it was still deeply disappointing (and frankly not well-considered by Ennis).
But still—before all that: The relationship between Jesse and Tulip was fantastic. It was one of the earliest examples of an adult, romantic, sexual relationship that I’d ever seen. I think that I was sixteen years old when I first read an issue of Preacher, though I had heard of the series (it was heavily promoted in Wizard magazine).
The relationships that I saw in movies or in the novels that they had us read in high school were all corroded. The thing about Preacher that was new and different to me was that for the most part, for the meat of the story, Jesse and Tulip’s relationship was good. It was just GOOD. They had rough external experiences, they had internal disagreements and fights but there was something else there. They really didn’t spend a lot of time with the relationship itself in ~TERRIBLE JEOPARDY~ and that is something that opened a new passageway in my brain. That a relationship could just *be* and that external things can effect the members of that relationship, external things can effect the relationship itself, but that a relationship can still have its own consistency and coherence.
I’m going to have to go and reference Johji Manabe’s Drakuun again because I personally read that before Preacher (or maybe approximately the same time? I don’t know) but Drakuun probably opened my mind to adults having sex and still going about their lives (“lives” consisting of adventuring and evil empires, but still).
Getting carried away…
oh goodness the VIOLENCE: so here’s something to go along with my answer to David Brothers. The climactic battle between Jesse and Jody at the end of “Until The End Of The World” is one of my single-digit FAVORITE fight scenes in my reading experience of comics. It was brutal and horrifying and still carried the full weight of emotional payoff that the story had been building up to. I probably wouldn’t put any fight scene in any comic book ahead of this. And only a handful tie with this.
And it’s also regularly funny. Like wow, your stomach muscles are contracting and a sound is coming out! But at the end, all of these elements come together and I just ~cared~ about the characters.
Had to pawn my belief in Christ to find out: I actually was a really religious kid. I was extremely, painfully conflicted about reading this comic at the time and actually tore up a few issues in a fit of god-fearingness.
But I never threw out the pieces. And down the line, I was talking with a friend in college and I made a choice: all those nights that I was talking to God, I was talking to myself. And I should just face what’s inside of me and embrace nothingness.
That might be burying the lede but it takes a bit of working up to reveal something that personal. It isn’t so simple as “I quit God to read more comic books,” but scrutinizing my obsessive compulsive prayer and weighing the logistics of the “god” concept I think that I needed to get out of religion and this comic book was simply one of several keys that unlocked my mind.
At the end of it all, it still comes back to this series being so good at making me think about human emotions. Like so:
10:38 pm |
May 20 2013
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iamdavidbrothers asked: What's the last comic you read with storytelling (whether that means writing, art, some combo of the two, panel-to-panel progression, or whatever the heck you want) that knocked your socks off?
Read from LEFT TO RIGHT like an American comic…
This is from Johji Manabe’s Drakuun: The Revenge of Gustav. The series hero Karula confronts her pursuer Minerva and they hack it out in this dizzying sequence of pages. I actually read this a long time ago in the Dark Horse comic (issue #4 of the Revenge of Gustav series), and to this date, this is one of my favorite fight scenes of all time. I read this at…fifteen, I guess so I think it’s self-explanatory how much this flipped me out. I was practically running around in public pumping my fist in the air.
It just so happens that I was rereading the Revenge of Gustav series today so this is the last comic that I read that knocked my socks off. I realize that this is sort of cheating, to bring in some ringer, a comic that I read half a lifetime ago. So in the interest of fairness, I have to say that I was very impressed by the chase-fight scene between Daredevil and Ikari from the current Daredevil # 25.
Drawn by Chris Samnee (story by Mark Waid), the thing that kills me about this scene in particular and Chris Samnee in general is how much the comic works as a demonstration of all of the storytelling principles of Eddie Campbell.
Campbell’s most important principle (at least to me) is that each panel should contain the entire drama of the scene, distilled. So in these panels, you’ll notice that both men appear together and they also appear in relation to each other, acting on each other and reacting to each other. I love this,
Now between you and me, I know that you’re personally off of the Marvel train and that’s fine. I’ve got one more recent (for me) read: I’ve just recently gotten into Sean Phillips and Ed Brubaker’s CRIMINAL series. The one that I last completed was “Bad Night,” about the comic strip artist:
I cannot tell you how frustrated this made me!
I was literally working on this same gimmick for one of my own comics. Come to find out that a famous comic book did what I was thinking, years before I got the idea. Well, I am not TOO mad because the gimmick has been done by other comic creators before but I really like the contrast in the “Bad Night” book between Phillips’ regular drawing style and the comic-within-comic’s style. I dunno, I’m pretty sure that I’m still going to jack this beat.
9:15 pm |
May 20 2013
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mindless-entertainment asked: How much real life do you put in your comics? As in, consciously, how much do you allow anecdotes and your friends' characteristics to influence and appear in your stories?
This was drawn about my crumbling relationship with my girlfriend, years back. I wasn’t trying to be clever, I was pretty aware that we were falling apart and I was aware that I didn’t have the emotional intelligence to put things right.
The girl named “Anna” in this comic “Taco Town” is my friend Anna who was sitting with me when I was drawing this page. On the previous page (story starts here, click the link) I introduce “Darryl” and “Zoe.” At the point that I did this comic, I had dated a woman named “Zoe” and while that’s an unusual name, this character wasn’t named after my ex. I just really like the name Zoe.
This is from a comic called “Enemies With Benefits,” which I won Honorable Mention in one volume of America’s Best Comics. What I never told anybody is that while I was drawing this comic, I was going through some emotional turmoil with an ex-girlfriend (haha, every ex that I’ve mentioned in this post has been a different person). This particular woman started calling me up but not to start dating again, just for late-night sexual reasons which a lot of people think sounds great on paper but really pressed every single button that I have about emotional availability and intimacy. In any case, I got a six-page comic out of the deal.
This is “Beautiful Monster,” which is about a dinner party. The apartment is based on the apartment that I used to live in, “The Church of Bread & Circuses.” I actually made this comic over a year and a half after I moved out of Bread & Circuses but that place will always be a part of me. I really loved it, even through the bad times (and there were many bad times). The characters in this comic were not based on any of the residents of Bread & Circuses, except obviously me, since I put myself in the comic as a fictional character.
So read “Beautiful Monster” from the first page.
To answer your question, my life is like low-hanging fruit that I reach up and pluck from the branch as I’m drawing and writing. I need a little seasoning, I just pluck something real and toss it into the mix. Sometimes it’s subconscious (like with “Enemies With Benefits”) sometimes it’s directly conscious like making my friend Anna a character in “Taco Town” because we were sitting next to each other and talking at that exact moment.
It’s all very organic.
8:22 pm |
May 20 2013
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