Thursday, June 30, 2011

Batman: Gothic

Cover by Klaus Janson
Batman: Gothic (1990)
Writer: Grant Morrison
Penciller: Klaus Janson
Colorist: Steve Buccellato
Letterer: John Costanza

In my blind desire to read as much Batman as humanly possible in as short a time as possible, I got my hands on Batman: Gothic, a relatively famous story arc written by the ultra famous Grant Morrison. In the comic book world, he’s kind of a big deal (he has many leather-bound books and his apartment smells of rich mahogany [citation needed]), though I have only read one other his works, the very influential and extremely pretentious Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth. Seriously, it’s so pretentious that I wanted to punch it in the face repeatedly.

But, as I was fully aware of Morrison’s influence as a comic book writer, I knew I wanted to give Batman: Gothic a chance. I figured with a title like that and with Morrison as a writer, it would just be an extremely dark story that would try very hard to be deep and smart. Well, it was dark… so dark that Satan was an actual character; and it did try hard to be very deep but in doing so, the story was buried under ill-fitting supernatural elements and a profound suspension of disbelief.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Flashpoint #1

Cover by Andy Kubert,
Ivan Reis, George Perez
Flashpoint #1 (May 11, 2011)
Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Andy Kubert, Sandra Hope
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Nick J. Napolitano

I was originally planning on reading another Marvel comic for today, preferably one that featured a solo hero like Spider-Man or Captain America. I ended up changing my mind at the last minute, however, and decided to read an entirely new character for me: the Flash.

My only previous experience with the Flash (like most of my DC hero experience) comes from the show Justice League Unlimited. I remember the Flash being portrayed as very light and sort of goofy; like the smart aleck sidekick in a sitcom or romantic comedy. I liked him enough but I really knew nothing of his background or his powers except that obviously, he’s really, really fast. I also picked up this particular work, Flashpoint, because it proclaimed right on the cover that this was Chapter 1 of 5 and I figured this would be as good a place as any to start.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The New Avengers: Nannies and Nazis

Cover by Stuart Immonen
The New Avengers: Nannies and Nazis (June 8, 2011)
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller: Stuart Immonen, Daniel Acuna, Mike Deodato, Howard Chaykin
Inker: Wade von Grawbadger
Colorist: Laura Martin, Rain Beredo, Edgar Delgado

After my success with the Avengers Academy, I decided to return to Marvel and this time turn towards the “grown-up” Avengers. This was a bit harder than I initially thought as there are like 8,000 (give or take) Avengers comics. There’s the Avengers Academy, the New Avengers, the just plain Avengers, etc. I can barely handle the fact that there’s like four separate Batman story arcs at any given time so when I’m facing the same challenge with unfamiliar characters, I get a bit overwhelmed.

I have to be honest though and admit that what compelled me to this issue of the New Avengers (which contained issues #7-9, all written by Brian Michael Bendis) was purely the title: NANNIES AND NAZIS. How could I turn that down?

Monday, June 27, 2011

Wonder Woman: A Piece of You

Cover by Adam Hughes
Something about this cover
intrinsically pisses me off.

Wonder Woman: A Piece of You
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Penciller: Scott Kolins
Inker: Dan Panosian
Colorist: Pamela Rambo
Letterer: John Costanza

I stumbled upon this Wonder Woman comic in a volume entitled Batman: False Faces. There were four comics in this volume, all of which were written by Brian K. Vaughan, author of Y: The Last Man, a work that several people have insisted I read. I will one of this days.

So due to the overwhelming praise I have heard for Y: The Last Man, I was expecting the stories to be well-written and smart. For the most part, I wasn’t terribly disappointed. Each comic had a clear and well-defined narrative and I liked that Vaughan, who is clearly talented at fleshing out a very long graphic novel-length work, didn’t try to bombard the reader with a ton of subplots or character overload. While each story was not exactly memorable (except for maybe Close Before Striking but that could just be because there was hot Nightwing and Oracle scene in it), none of them were very weak either.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Batman: Arkham Reborn

Batman: Arkham Reborn (2009)
Writer: David Hine
Penciller: Jeremy Haun
Inker: Jack Purcell, John Lucas
Colorist: John Kalisz, Richard and Tanya Horie, David Baron
Letterer: Pat Brosseau, Sal Cipriano

I have to neglect my quest to expand my comic book knowledge and return to the Batman… simply because I took out nearly a dozen Batman graphic novels from my local library and they’ve just been sitting in my room for a while now.

Also, having been playing a LOT of Arkham Asylum on my Xbox, I’ve become more and more interested in the story of the Asylum. I’ve read a good number of comics that focused on Arkham’s history and its inmates and I have always enjoyed the idea of Arkham Asylum, though there have been plenty of times where I’ve read comics and wondered how it could possibly get funding as there seems to be no social workers or real sense of rehabilitation.

Anyway, I picked up Arkham Reborn without any big expectations. I was surprised, however, and a little embarrassed, by how sad it made me.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Avengers Academy #14.1

Cover by Billy Tan,
Leonardo Olea
Avengers Academy #14.1
Writer: Christos Gage
Penciller: Sean Chen, Scott Hanna
Colorist: Jeromy Cox
Letterer: Joe Caramagna


I have actually read a Marvel comic and enjoyed it!

That’s a pretty big deal for me as I have always been a strictly DC fan (as if you couldn’t already presume that) and have always been unimpressed with the Marvel universe. Nothing about it particularly appealed to me though I have been told by more than one source that Marvel’s writing tends to trump DC’s. I was willing to believe that but I was never interested in reading about Spiderman or Iron Man when DC has the holy trinity of heroes: Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.

But if I am to become more versed in comic books, I need to branch out and try other heroes on for size and that means taking the plunge and reading some Marvel. So with a great deal to pick from, I rather randomly decided to try on Avengers Academy and I am so glad I did!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Birds of Prey #13

Cover by Jesus Saiz
Birds of Prey #13 (June 8, 2011)
Writer: Gail Simone
Penciller: Diego Olmos
Colorist: Nei Ruffino
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual

I have another confession to make. The  only reason why I picked up and read Birds of Prey #12 was because I had initially picked up Birds of Prey #13 and that was purely because of the cover. Seeing my beloved Huntress on a cover caught my eye and when I saw that it was “Featuring the Question,” I knew I had to have it. I quickly realized that this issue was the conclusion of a two-part story arc beginning in #12 so I backtracked. As I said in my previous post, I was very much intrigued by this story and excited to find out more about the villain aka Junior and what befalls our heroes as they attempt to save one another from her clutches.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Birds of Prey #12

Cover by Jesus Saiz
Birds of Prey #12 (May 11, 2011)
Writer: Gail Simone
Penciller: Jesus Saiz
Colorist: Nei Ruffino
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual

I’ve decided to try my hand at actual comic issues, a medium that I am still completely new to. Aside from buying Wonder Woman #600 last summer, I’ve only ever read graphic novels so I am very eager to become more familiar with the reading process of waiting for new issues to be published to continue a story arc.

I’ve always been slightly confused about how one starts reading comic books in this manner since it seems like jumping head first into a story and playing catch-up with unfamiliar conflicts and plots. But I figured charging blindly into a story arc can’t hurt me and when I saw the great Gail Simone’s name as the writer, I knew I had to give Birds of Prey #12 a shot.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Nightwing: Year One

Nightwing: Year One (2005)
Writer: Scott Beatty, Chuck Dixon
Penciller: Scott McDaniel
Inker: Andy Owens
Colorist: Gregory Wright
Letterer: Phil Balsman

I have a somewhat embarrassing confession to make.

I have a crush on Nightwing. But my sister totally does too so I’m not going to let it bother me.

I don’t know what it is because I haven’t read too many Nightwing comics but there’s something about that costume. And perhaps the fact that he was voiced by Neil Patrick Harris in “Batman: Under the Red Hood” (which if you haven’t watched yet, watch it).

So because of this fangirl crush, I picked up Nightwing: Year One but also because of the fact that I really enjoyed Batman: Year One and Batgirl: Year One. Year One comics are just easy to me for some reason.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Batman: Lovers & Madmen

Batman: Lovers & Madmen (2008)
Writer: Michael Green
Peciller: Denys Cowan
Inker: John Floyd
Colorist: I.L.L.
Letterer: Travis Lanham, Ken Lopez

My instinct is to automatically dismiss Joker origin stories. There is something cheapening about attempting to explore who the Joker was before he fell into that vat of acid or the whys and hows he became the ultimate villain of Gotham. For me, what has always made the Joker so perfect, so universal was that we didn’t know where he came from: he just is.

So, I was completely thrown for a surprise when I read “Batman: Lovers & Madmen” and genuinely loved the origin of both the Joker and his relationship with Batman. I do have some issues with this story, but as someone who is always looking for new explorations of the dynamic between Batman and the Joker, I really favored this comic.

Fangirling Daily

After months of hesitation and throwing ideas around, I finally have a blog. The purpose of this place is to provide a space for my personal summer project: read a comic book a day.

The Nerd Journal.
Am I cheating on Star Trek by
predominantly writing
about Batman in this?
Since I’ve started reading comic books fairly regularly two years ago, I’ve been keeping track of my readings and reactions in my aptly titled Nerd Journal. As my interest in the comic book industry has increased, I’ve decided to do something about these reactions and also set a goal for myself to expand my horizons as a comic book fan.

I’ve decided that for the course of the summer, I will attempt to read a comic a day from the various distributors and from different genres. My instinct is to admittedly stick with Batman comics but having become more interested in this medium, I know that the only way to grow as a fan is to read as many different works as possible.

I should warn you, however, that since I am a relatively new comic book reader, a great deal of my knowledge of comic books comes not only from actually reading works but also reading copious amounts of Wikipedia entries, watching “Justice League Unlimited” and the occasional fanfiction. My enthusiasm will hopefully make up for this.

My ultimate goal is to post daily, or double up when I miss a day. Hopefully, this project will teach me some discipline when it comes to reading and writing, especially before the fall starts and I have to return to classes and pretend to be an adult again.

So, with today being the official start of summer, this project commences. Wish me luck!