What I’m Reading (29th of June, 2020)

With COVID-19 putting a lot of entertainment on hold and the comic book industry justifiably having took its time to get started up again, I ended up taking the time to read a bunch of older comics. Some of those didn’t work out, while others I’ve stuck with… in pretty big ways. So, here are my thoughts on the older stuff (well, old enough to not be current, anyway) stuff that I’m reading or read recently that I felt was worth talking about. Unlike my reviews, these are quick and dirty and very stream of consciousness… also, typed up on my phone, probably in bed or on public transport.

This time, there’s some sword and sorcery, a sprinkle of cyberpunk and a lot of grittiness.

Continue reading “What I’m Reading (29th of June, 2020)”

The Good and Bad of Dan DiDio

I’ve been working on a post about the state of DC Comics for a while now, and it was an informal rant more than anything. Then news broke that Dan DiDio was no longer employed at DC Comics.

There’s been a variety of reactions. Industry professionals have almost nothing but kind words to say about the man. Fan response has generally been more positive to the news, given his known unpopularity amongst DC fans. There are reasons for both groups to say what they say and things that need to be taken into account when reading those things, from professional courtesy to misaimed fan outrage.

I’m not here to talk about that. Instead, I want to look at some of the notable things that happened under Dan DiDio’s tenure at DC as executive editor and co-publisher, the good and bad. Then you can judge for yourself if his tenure was one worth celebrating or lamenting, or a mix of both. While it’s always hard to determine who had a hand in what at the Big Two, in the positions he occupied, he was a key figure in shaping the DCU and approving what happened.

Note that I’m not including most things that happened under DC Rebirth, which screamed that it was Geoff Johns’ baby more than DiDio’s, and which was almost immediately shifted away from once Johns left his position as Chief Creative Officer at DC.

Continue reading “The Good and Bad of Dan DiDio”

The Best Comic Book Runs of the 2010s

As we near the end of the 2010s, for my final look back at the decade in comics, I’m going to be looking at the best comic runs of the 2010s. This decade had some of the best and worst comic series, but I’m here to celebrate the best runs. The 2010s had a lot of good runs that were somewhat unappreciated, that I feel deserve acknowledgement. This is the decade that I got into comics, so I followed a lot of these when they were ongoing. Yet, there is enough distance from most of these runs — most of which are complete — that I feel comfortable judging them as a whole.

For comic runs, the amount of creators and issues varies, but the general idea should be obvious — a bunch of comics where at least one creator has a big presence in the creative process. To qualify for this list, the run needs to have had most of its issues released in the 2010s. That means Grant Morrison’s Batman and Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern, both of which started in the mid-2000s but ended in the 2010s, are out, but Jonathan Hickman’s Fantastic Four, which started in 2009 and ended in the 2010s, is allowed on. Essentially, the runs will have started in the 2010s, with a small handful of exceptions that had very few issues in the previous decade. The key part of it is that this is “runs” as opposed to a series — I’ll be copying a bit of CBR’s rules and say that miniseries do not count as “runs”, unless it’s a group of miniseries in some way; this is for the the best runs on a comic, not sprints. But it can be one ongoing series, something that had multiple series, or just a specific chunk of a series for whatever reason (maybe the creative team lost the artist or something). To keep things manageable, I’ll be focusing on writers and pencillers — not that inkers, colourists and letterers aren’t important, but it’s hard enough to get every artist down for some runs, and I’ll probably miss some, that this is just the compromise I have to make.

Anyway, with all the rules out of the way, let’s get on with it. Here, arbitrarily ranked, are the best comic runs of the 2010s!

(That I read).

Continue reading “The Best Comic Book Runs of the 2010s”

The Best Comic Book Story Arcs of the 2010s

As I’ve made clear in previous posts, the 2010s were a good time for comics. I’ve looked at the best comic runs, but now I’m taking it a step down and going into the best comic arcs. These aren’t entire series — unless it’s a miniseries or an ongoing that was cut short — or runs, but arcs. Naming these is a bit weird because some writers don’t really name their arcs, but luckily trades exist, and you can usually tell when something is an arc.

To qualify, the first issue of the arc needs to have been released in the 2010s. That limits my options enough while setting strict rules. Hopefully this makes it fair. Also, this is more of a superhero comic thing, so be warned if that bugs you.

Anyway, get your six (most likely) bag and boards ready, because we’re going to be looking at the best comic book story arcs of the 2010s!

Continue reading “The Best Comic Book Story Arcs of the 2010s”

The Best Comic Book Moments of the 2010s

So far, I’ve looked at the biggest shake-ups in comics status quos in the 2010s. Of course, I think those were important. They’re paradigm shifts that allow for different stories. But sometimes, you need to go smaller, and that’s what this is. This time, I’m going to be highlighting specific moments in comics that I feel were the best in the 2010s.

These can range from a single scene to a single panel, but they’re what I consider the best the 2010s have to offer. They might stand on their own or be the payoff for years of storytelling, but these are the ones that had the biggest impact on me as a reader. As a rule: it can’t be an entire issue. I’m also trying to avoid placing similar scenes on this list. So yes, it’s a loose criterion, but it’s mine. Anyway, let’s see what we have for arbitrarily ranked my personal best comic book moments of the 2010s… Continue reading “The Best Comic Book Moments of the 2010s”

The Best Comic Book Shake-Ups of the 2010s

Superhero comics are said to be cyclical, stagnant, unchanging, and all manner of things meant to imply that they love their status quos. But the 2010s gave us a bunch of new ideas and shake-ups that ended up becoming some of the landmark moments for the superhero genre. Sure, the superhero genre loves its status quos, because that’s a part of the brands, but sometimes people shake things up in ways that open the door for great storytelling, adding to the gargantuan mythos of the genre.

I’ve decided I’m going to draw attention to these status quo shifts. This is very broad, obviously, but I think it’s a good way to look back at what the 2010s did to shake things up a bit and innovate. Later, I’ll probably look at best moments, single issues story arcs and maybe even runs. But for now, here are the best comic book shake-ups of the 2010s. Continue reading “The Best Comic Book Shake-Ups of the 2010s”

Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1 Review — Disjointed, Unengaging and Uninteresting

Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils by Jim Lee, Dustin Nguyen, Andrea Sorrentino and Andre Lima Araujo
Inks by Scott Williams, Dustin Nguyen, Andrea Sorrentino and Andre Lima Araujo
Colours by Alex Sinclair, John Kalisz, Dave Stewart and Jordie Bellaire
Letters by Dave Sharpe
Published by DC Comics

Cover price: $4.99 USD

The return of the Legion of Super-Heroes has been a rocky road. After a lacklustre series in the New 52, the team vanished, only making sporadic guest appearances every now and then. DC Rebirth promised the return of the team, who would be given a degree of importance in Geoff Johns’ still ongoing Doomsday Clock miniseries, with promises that the team’s return would be set up in Tom King’s Batman run and even hints at who the writer of their ongoing series would be. Instead, Brian Michael Bendis recently reintroduced the team over in his Superman title and will be writing their ongoing. If Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1 is any indication, DC would have been better off sticking to whatever their original plan was, because this is a disjointed and boring mess of a comic only held up by its art. Continue reading “Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #1 Review — Disjointed, Unengaging and Uninteresting”

Superdads — Fatherhood in Superhero Comics

The 1st of September is Father’s Day in Australia. While I find it weird that we placed it so far away from the rest of the world’s usual date, it is what it is. So, in honour of Father’s Day, I want to take a look at fatherhood in superhero comics.

The idea of characters being “aged” by younger characters around them is a concern of the comics industry. Indeed, a lot has been done to ensure that characters like Spider-Man and Batman remain at a vague age where they can be considered at least somewhat young. Many in the industry have spoken out against allowing characters to grow and age, in fear that this would also age their paternal figures — the most recent example I can recall would be X-Men editor Jordan D. White mentioning that the younger X-Men cannot be allowed to age, as this would make the core group of Cyclops, Wolverine, Rogue and the like older. I think this fundamentally misunderstands superhero comics and their appeal, the stories they can tell and some of the best works in the superhero genre, and how children are vehicles for further development of characters. While comics like Saga and Birthright have excellent portrayals of parenthood, superhero comics lend a greater weight to everyday struggles, to everyday emotions and relationships.

For the purposes of this post, I’ll be looking at specific characters and specific runs on those characters (to a degree). This is just meant to look at the different kinds of fatherhood presented in superhero comics, while focusing on specific works where possible. Anyway, let’s have a look at our superdads. Continue reading “Superdads — Fatherhood in Superhero Comics”

What I’m Reading (25th of August, 2019)

Lately I’ve had a lot of free time, thanks to now being a part-time student. Because of this I’ve spent a lot more time working out, updating this blog and, of course, reading. Because I’ve been reading a lot, and because I like writing about what I read, I’m going to give a quick run through on what comics I’ve been reading — at least the stuff I have anything to say about. This is just quick and dirty stuff, with no real structure going on, similar to when I used to tweet long tweet chains. This stuff is old enough to not really be current, but some stuff will be fairly recent. Continue reading “What I’m Reading (25th of August, 2019)”

Gateway Comics — Batman

Gateway Comics is a recommendation thing I do where I list works in a franchise that are good for new readers, that hopefully make them want to check out more of the franchise or character. It features franchises/characters that I am personally familiar with, although I will be using others’ opinions at times. The key point is that these are recommendations for new readers.

With Detective Comics #1000 only a few weeks away, I decided work on this ahead of Superman (sorry, Big Blue) for the people who will inevitably buy Detective Comics #1000 but not actually be Batman readers, but who do want to read comics. Along with the X-Men, who I covered here, the Batman franchise helped get me into comics. Unlike many, who came into comics from The Dark Knight, I got into the franchise through a combination of Batman: Arkham Asylum (the video game) and Batman: Under the Red Hood (which came bundled with Arkham Asylum) before watching The Dark Knight. I started with a few titles here and there, got big into Scott Snyder’s Batman run, then jumped around a lot. I have a lot of experience with the franchise, so this is something that I’m comfortable talking about.

Anyway, without further delay, here are the comics I recommend to those who want an introduction to the world of the Bat.

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