Tag Archives: Batman

Cosplay Fun at Emerald City Comic Con 2014

24 Apr

Photo Mar 28, 4 40 53 PMIt’s been a few weeks.

I have fond memories of Seattle’s great Emerald City Comic Con. Many of them are best summed up by the following pics of con attendees, representing as best one could; by those dressed up in colorful costumes, often as characters familiar to the surrounding fandom.

Let us say hello to a few of our friends…

(IMAGE HEAVY POST)

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Comic(s) of the Day: Injustice-Gods Among Us v2 #1-3

17 Feb

by Orion Tippens, ADC

Injustice 4Comics of the Day Review:

Injustice: Gods Among Us volume 2, #1-3 (single digital issues)

Writer: Tom Taylor

Pencils: Bruno Redondo

Inks: Julien Hugonard-Bert

Published by: DC Comics

Note: The single digital issues of Injustice are later collected and released in print.

Story:

Set in an alternate DC universe and based on a videogame (as a prequel, so far), Injustice: Gods Among Us brings us a familiar continuity gone horribly wrong.

Spoilers ahead:

These issues continue a long story from Injustice Gods: Among Us volume 1, in which Superman is now a megalomaniacal psychopath with murderous tendencies, much later after the death of his wife and unborn child. He declares himself sovereign of Earth and drug dealer of special performance enhancers – all for the making of his “better world.” Meanwhile, Batman is recovering from bad injuries, remains in hiding while building his own insurgency to this super-regime. Also, cosmic forces are showing an increasing interest in this developing situation.

Thoughts:

I am a huge fan of this series, my favorite guilty pleasure in mainstream comics: not so much for the videogame tie-in but for the creative writing and freedom involved. The writer from the very beginning took this control, and the destinies of our familiar DC universe cast, and ran away with it all. Injustice is Continue reading

Upgrade or Downgrade? Black Orchid Deluxe hardcover

4 Dec

by Mike Hansen

Black Orchid Deluxe HCI hadn’t intended to do another Up-or-Down so soon, but I’ve gotten several requests for more, and since they’re easier to do as I’m organizing my comics and cleaning up my place, why not?

As I’ve mentioned, in the late 1980s-early 1990s DC Comics was on to something truly special. Few publishers at the time were turning out classic after classic (Dark Horse is the only one that comes to mind) and, though I was too young to appreciate it at the time, DC proved beyond a doubt that comics post-Watchmen/Maus/Dark Knight Returns were validated as true literature.

One of DC’s earliest projects to demonstrate this was 1988’s Black Orchid by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean, one of their first U.S.-published comics works (along with The Sandman). A strange, short tale about unintended consequences and beauty in a violent world, Black Orchid was the first story to reveal the sophistication of Gaiman’s later self-contained works (his early Sandman stories were strange, cliffhanger- and superhero-populated affairs) and McKean’s sense of story-as-design he later applied to Arkham Asylum and Cages.

Black Orchid TPB 1st printing

The 1993 trade paperback (1st printing). Note the DC logo blotching an otherwise beautiful cover.

THE GOOD: The 2012 oversized Deluxe hardcover edition of Black Orchid is Continue reading

Cool Art: World’s Finest ad by Steve Rude & Karl Kesel

3 Dec

by Mike Hansen

Here’s a preliminary version of Steve Rude’s cover to World’s Finest (1990) #1. Unlike the final, painted version by Rude, this ad version is inked by Karl Kesel and traditionally colored.

To the best of my knowledge, this version has never been collected in any DC book: I know for sure it wasn’t in the original 3-issue miniseries or the recent Deluxe Edition hardcover (I’ve never owned the older trade-paperback collected edition, but I’d be surprised if this was in there).

Anyway, cool art, huh? This is pretty much exactly how Superman and Batman should look, especially in comics aimed at kids under 18. (Remember when superhero comics were aimed at kids?)

World's Finest ad

Upgrade or Downgrade? Animal Man Omnibus

2 Dec

by Mike Hansen

Animal Man OmnibusOkay, this is gonna be a quick one, since I’ve been away… I’ve been recovering from a rather inconvenient surgery (minor skin cancer, fortunately quite curable), so apologies for my infrequent posting over the last few months. One of the few things I’ve been able to do easily over the past several weeks has been to FINALLY organize my comics collection, so expect a lot more stuff in the near future. Onward!

The Animal Man Omnibus is 99% perfect. The story contents remain an essential touchstone for mainstream comics’ transition to more mature and deconstructionist material, and made Grant Morrison (The Invisibles, All-Star Superman, New X-Men, Doom Patrol, Batman, JLA, etc.) one of comics’ biggest names. (John Byrne did a fun, goofy take on a main character that knows it’s a fictional comic-book character in Sensational She-Hulk, which was published at about the same time as this Animal Man material – but Byrne’s mastery of old-school, 1960s/70s-inspired comics storytelling hasn’t received the same accolades as Morrison’s innovations.)

Secret Origins #39 cover

A missing Animal Man piece that’s finally been reprinted.

THE GOOD: This book features Grant Morrison’s entire run on Animal Man, including Animal Man #1-26 and a story from Secret Origins #39. Morrison took a ridiculous character (a guy in orange tights who gains the powers of animals) and built the perfect story around him, one that breaks down the entire idea of the role of superhero stories. The story is a must-read for anyone who appreciates a mature take on the frankly immature superhero concept, and has a permanent place in comics history.

Extras include all Continue reading

Upgrade or Downgrade? Hellblazer: Original Sins

19 Sep

by Mike Hansen

Hellblazer: Original Sins (1st printing)

Hellblazer: Original Sins (1st & 2nd DC Comics printing)

Occasionally, I’ll buy more than one edition of a graphic novel. Sometimes it’s by accident (which is surprisingly easy when one has thousands of books!); sometimes it’s because the newer one looks like a better version…

After a big move five months ago, I’ve finally gotten around to organizing my comics again, and I’ve discovered a LOT of duplicate material in some of my books. So as a Public Service, I thought I’d share what I know, so you can make a more informed decision on which books to buy. I’m a giver.

I’m starting with DC/Vertigo’s Hellblazer books, as I’ve managed to amass most of them over the last 21 years. It’s one of the best horror comics series of all time, so if all you care about is whether it’s good the answer is YES. Hugely imaginative, massively influential, the stories of John Constantine remain as potent today as they did when they were first published over the last 26 years. Even the character’s creator, Alan Moore, has praised the work of writers Jamie Delano and Brian Azzarello on the series, despite his general hatred of DC Comics.

the 1993 Warner Books edition

1993 Warner Books edition

(It’s a shame that DC decided to incorporate its “mature” characters back into its New 52 superhero line. If only DC knew how to properly manage its intellectual property and branding, instead of taking an “all or nothing” approach to its company-owned material, draining the life and power out of ideas that now fall far short of their potential. I’m grateful that a large enough audience exists for the “real” John Constantine so the Hellblazer stories can continue to be reprinted.)

I’ve given DC Comics a hard time a lot lately (because, let’s face it, that company has done a shit-ton of stupid things in public in the last few years – hell, in the last few weeks), but the company hasn’t survived for over 75 years by being stupid all the time. The DC of today doesn’t Continue reading

San Diego Comic-Con 2013 pictures (part 2)

12 Aug

Photos by Orion Tippens

Occasional caption text by Mike Hansen

Photo Jul 19, 9 02 30 AM

Photo Jul 18, 1 29 39 AM

Dustin Nguyen (Li'l Gotham) rocks the stage.

Dustin Nguyen (Li’l Gotham) rocks the stage.

Photo Jul 21, 1 17 33 AM

Photo Jul 18, 2 30 03 AM

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Tonight in Portland: Batman ’66 signing!

2 Aug

by Mike Hansen

At Bridge City Comics, owned and operated by my homie Michael Ring. Check it:

Batman '66 signing poster

 

…Also, note the CORRECT use of the apostrophe in ’66 in the headline: none of this upside-down, lazy smart-quotes crap on this website. ONLY THE BEST FOR YOU.

R.I.P. Robin (Again)

1 Mar

by Orion Tippens

Robin death news

I heard the news today, oh boy…

I think the comics industry took a step back this week.

Batman Incorporated Volume 2, issue #8 happened.

Not so much the story, but the sudden PR blitz behind it, hitting the mass media. Also, the knee-jerk reaction by comic investment speculators. As to the subject, you probably already know. But just in case, spoilers ahead.

Robin is dead…again.

So if you are into comics as much as I am, and actual readers following current Batman comics, then you’ll know him as Damian Wayne. Damian is the son of Batman and Talia al Ghul. If you know Grant Morrison (he is a very famous comic book writer!), than understand he has a lot of power over the DC universe (that’s where Superman and Wonder Woman live), because of his earned trust on writing interesting stories. He created Damian Wayne for the current Batman comics to perhaps add interesting, complex dimension to the familiar mythos. Success, I think. Damian Wayne is an awesome character, and became part of some fantastic stories. Most notably among them, Batman and Robin volume 2, written by Peter Tomasi.

Batman Inc #8 cover detail

Batman Inc #8 cover detail

But never mind that: apparently the mass media informed the greater public masses (probably resulting from a rushed press release) that ROBIN is DEAD! Of course, the “geek” culture has earned enough cred through movies, TV, and video games to be considered this relevant to entertainment reporting. But, wow that is kind of insulting, to just throw it out there like that. I mean, to publicize a development to the story, without the story itself kind of degrades the literature as a whole.

Mainly because: it’s all bad marketing. First off, we are marketing a small point in a far larger story that has spanned YEARS. The Grant Morrison Batman epic is a good story. Hey, CNN, CBS, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly (all show up first in Google News on this): could you tell us why it’s called Batman Incorporated? Could you tell us who or what killed him, or how he died? Could you tell us that Jason Todd is still all alive (his past death and relevance is to the Robin legacy is apparent, but don’t worry: I’m confused, too)? How about not reminding us who played Talia in Dark Knight Rises (also noticed in some write-ups by the mass media).  Has it occurred to the mass media what big suckers they are for shit like this. Remember when Captain America, Spider-Man, and Superman all died – only to be brought back, and reported to a lesser extent?

And the comic itself, arrrrgh! I am happy I obtained this through the legal digital market. I would have been horrified in my lateness to buy this latest issue because of some damn media blitz. I enjoyed the hell out of the Batman Inc. storyline and enjoyed following the Grant Morrison story progression since R.I.P. (that’s where Batman died, or was it Final Crisis, sigh…well, he DIED, the media said so!!!). Anyway, I have been enjoying this story as a whole, BatCow and all!

So, here is the story in brief and its tremendous buildup: Batman is outclassed and fighting for his life inside a locked safe while Talia and her sinister Leviathan organization overpower Gotham City. Talia is on the edge of total victory and global ruin, and it’s up to Damian Wayne to save the day. As the Boy Wonder, he must eventually face his greatest enemy: his clone brother, a.k.a. The Fatherless. The fight is incredibly badass and violent. In the end, there is tragedy. Not the best Batman comic, but certainly riveting.

But, I guess for the comics industry, the death of a prepubescent boy holding iconic relevance means cha-ching! Look at the prices on eBay: WTF? I’ve read reports from fellow Redditors on some immediate comic book-store markups. Really?!

Robin on eBay

Price = scarcity (nope) x demand (maybe)…

There is a positive side, as the comics medium could use the attention and struggling small comics stores will likely appreciate the push. Increased drama from tragedy can be a wonderfully needed shake for comics readers. Let the writers and pencillers do their thing, and leave opinion to the readers. Spoiling that early through news feeds and media marketing, as they make a rushed big deal, seems absurd.

So to any comics retailer who did not mark up these particular Batman comics, cheers to you. If you didn’t order enough and regret it, than too bad; you should place more trust in really good comics. That is an investment enough, I think. Just ask anyone who bought and held on to those early Walking Dead comics.

The Best of 2012

31 Dec

by Orion Tippens

2012 movie imageLooking forward to 2013!! But looking back on 2012, here are my notations.

Best comics series of 2012 – Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Best comic book character of 2013 – Damian Wayne (Batman)

Best single-issue comic story of 2012 – Locke and Key: Grindhouse one-shot

Best cover artist of 2012 – J.H. Williams III (Batwoman)

Best comics writer of 2012 – Can’t decide between Scott Snyder (Batman, Swamp Thing, American Vampire) or John Layman (Chew, Detective Comics, Mars Attacks)

Best ongoing comic series of 2012 – Batman vol. 2 (Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo)

Best colorist of 2012 – John Kalisz on Batman and Robin (vol. 2)

Best comic based on a non-comics franchise – Godzilla: Half Century War by James Stokoe

Most shocking way to end 2012 – I would say Chew #30, but I heard the spoilers to Amazing Spider-Man #700 – DAMN!!

Best apocalypse story of 2012 – Batman Inc. Vol. 2. #5 by Grant Morrison, Chris Burnham

Biggest Disappointment – Doctor Who/ Star Trek: Assimilation crossover of 2012 – Wow, that story really is really going nowhere and really dry. So much potential…sigh.

Best new comics company of 2012 – Madefire Comics (iOS digital app)

Best digital innovation in comics storytelling of 2012 – Bottom of the Ninth by Ryan Woodward

Best traditional comics original series digital exclusive of 2012  – The Lookouts by Ben McCool

Best webcomic series of 2012 – JL8 by Yale Stewart

Best funny webcomic  of 2012 – The Oatmeal by Mathew Inman

Best movie based on a comic book of 2012 – Dredd (Judge Dredd)

Most campiest villain in a movie based on a comic book character of 2012 – Tie between Loki (Avengers) and Bane (Batman)

Most oddly hilarious line used in a movie based on a comic book of 2012 – “Crashing This Plane with No Survivors!” – Bane (Batman: Dark Knight Rises)

Best, most fun comics character to play in a cheap video game that otherwise sucks of 2012– The Flash in the Justice League: Earth’s Final Defense (iOS)

Note: I am sorry I have not caught up with any Marvel Comics and it’s very obvious I am a DC fan. Please recommend me some good Marvel Comics reads for 2013!

– Orion

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