random comic review – “Batwoman: Elegy”

If your only exposure to the modern Batwoman character has been through cruising the Internet’s various blogs, message boards, Tumblrs, blah blah blah, then it’s pretty easy  to fall into one of two categories regarding how you view Kate Kane, the black-and-red-clad Gothamite vigilante known as the Batwoman;

She’s either a tool of the liberal cartooning elite trying to push their evil homosexual agenda on us by virtue of being a hero who is also gay and not somehow  burning in Hell for it or making out with other women JUST to titillate us male readers…

Or she’s a secondary-side character meant to be relegated to backups, crowd scenes, one-offs, and the weirdly amateur and frankly unimaginative fanfiction epics of secretly misogynistic fans everywhere who claim that they, who have never gotten anywhere in comics beyond their lifelong commitment to the Scans_Daily pirate community, would be able to write a WICKED AWESOME Batwoman run.

Either way, both of those viewpoints are highlighting your own inner biases, either outright homophobia, misogyny hidden underneath an equally-creepy veneer of so-called “fandom”, or a definite fear of change in the comics you claim to love for their imagination but scare you the instant that they deviate from a pre-determined norm of character standards that reflect standard and stifling character norms within “normal” behavior (like heterosexuality as the mainstream and homosexuality as a deviation, said “deviant” sexuality being the sole defining characterization of said character, blah blah blah).

It’s pretty easy to forget that underneath all that, underneath the hype over a gay character in a Batman-related title (nevermind that the statistics on the American population puts us somewhere between one in four to one in ten Americans self-identifying as gay), over the shock and awe over a female superhero character having her own book, and over the confusion of what seemed like a bit character rising out of a controversial yearlong comic book event, that what Greg Rucka and JH Williams III crafted is probably one of the most amazing capes-n-cowl comic book ever.

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Posted in batwoman elegy, blogging, books, comic book criticism, comic books, DC, detective comics, random, random comic review, reviews | 1 Comment

random comic review – “Rat Catcher”

My opinion on DC’s VERTIGO CRIME series is no secret. I love them, I think that they’re an amazing concept with great stories, great themes,an awesome little hardcover format, it’s the perfect crime comic package.

As crime and noir comics have been making a critical an commercial comeback in the past few years, this series has helped fill in the gap that the end of 100 Bullets, Stray Bullets, and somewhat irregular release of the newer Criminal issues.

Anyway…in this latest little bit by the amazing author Andy Diggle and artist Victor Ibanez, the FBI and US Marshal Service square off against the underground urban legend known as the Rat Catcher.  A mysterious and unseen mob hitman with secret ties to federal law enforcement information sources, he makes it his mission to target mob informants set to testify against their former employers.  The name’s barely whispered even by the ugliest and scummiest of crooks.  He’s a sword of Damocles over the underground, someone to always look over your shoulder for in case you ever even THINK about snitching.

No one’s ever actually found evidence of the Rat Catcher’s existence, and FBI agents who do believe in him are laughed at, but when a federal safehouse in Texas goes up in flames it starts a chain reaction that can only end in bullets and blood.  And of course, as every good mystery goes, there’s twists and double twists in this story, where the Southwest sun seems to seep through the pages and really make you feel like you’re in this mile-a-minute crime thriller.

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Posted in blogging, books, comic book criticism, comic books, comics, DC, random, random comic review, ratcatcher, reviews, Vertigo, vertigo crime series | Leave a comment

random comic review – Tales Of The Multiverse “Batman: Vampire”

I have been wanting to read this collection forever.

There’s definitely an aspect of reading and discussing comics where you realize that the work as a whole is more than simply the sum of its parts.  It’s more than just writing, and it’s more than just artwork.

Then again, there will undoubtedly always be comics that are read and appreciated where one individual aspect is higher-up than the other in the mind of the reader.  And while Dough Moench’s story is bone-chilling, spine-tingling, and absolutely amazing…to me, Kelley Jones’ art is what MAKES this collection.

I can’t remember where the interview was so I’m going to paraphrase the shit out of it, but listening to Jones talk about his take on drawing Batman once was pretty interesting. As he said (as I remember and paraphrase), he didn’t understand the more modern artistic takes of Batman in comics. According to him, they visually take away from the “urban myth” and terror aspects of Batman, psychological weapons in the fictional character’s arsenal against crime blah blah blah…

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Random Record Review – Brick Mower, “Under The Stairs”

Brick Mower

Under The Stairs

Viking On Campus Records /Stumprunner Records (2011)

I’m pretty self-aware of my musical shortcomings taste-wise. I like music about ugly guys by ugly guys, music about mistakes and alcohol and bitter friendships and jokes that would probably get you kicked out of some sorta peacenik political punk show.

OK, that’s a gross oversimplification of the range of music I listen to, but it’s an oversimilification because these days it’s impossible to fully narrow down “what I listen to” anymore, for anyone.  Even when I sit and think about it simply to have a frame of reference for myself, it’s almost impossible.  The best way I can describe it anymore is that I like what I like, and I don’t like what I don’t like.  It’s no longer possible anymore for me to just say “I listen to a lot of punk” or “I mostly just like hardcore bands ” because it’s no longer true.  In fact, I honestly can’t remember the last time I actively sat around listening to “just” punk music.

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RIP Dwayne McDuffie

mcduffie by denys cowan

I’m a little in shock.

Dwayne McDuffie, probably best known as the creator of the Milestone Universe and characters like Static (of Static Shock fame), has died today.  CBR has the announcement. A representative of his family states that McDuffie’s death was due to complications from an unnamed surgical procedure he had Monday night.

McDuffie’s also best known as one of the powerhouses of the DC Animated Universe, he wrote the script for the animated DVD adaptation of Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly’s All-Star Superman (released in the US today).

Twitter’s abuzz from comic creators mourning the loss of McDuffie, who’d also worked for both DC proper and Marvel, and for good reason. His impact on comics and animation writing in the post-Bruce Timm world has been huge, and thinking about it I’ve probably seen and enjoyed just about every animation project he’s worked on (“Justice League Unlimited” is top-notch action adventure cartoon storytelling for all ages), not to mention always greatly enjoying Milestone stuff and his run on Justice League.

Thoughts and condolences go out to his family and friends.  Comics and humanity in general has lost a great talent and a great person too soon.

Posted in blogging, comic books, comic news, comics, dwayne mcduffie, In Memorium, random, what the fuck? | 1 Comment

random record review – Carpenter, “Sea To Sky”


Sea To Sky

Gold Stock (2011)

I was having a conversation with my fiancee about a friend’s recent joke regarding some sort of hip-hop meme floating around the Internet, based off a popular rap song from a few years ago. And the thing is, we both knew that this friend wasn’t just being ironic, but despite being into the same fields of independent punk and rock that we grew up in, had an abiding love of hip-hop music. The DIY nature and anti-establishment history in of itself is incredibly “punk rock” (for lack of a better way to describe that sort of background and ethos into a few simple words)

There’s a certain point in the musical lives of most people who listen to indie music like punk and hardcore where, for lack of a better term, you grow up. Not in a “I can’t believe I used to ever like/listen to/believe in all this shit” though, but more in a “Hey, there’s more out there musically!” you embrace the revolutionary and DIY aspects of more than just a bunch of stupid kids sitting around in spikes, bad hair, and leathers, listening to terribly dated British bands.

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Posted in blogging, carpenter, indie, music, music reviews, post-hardcore, post-punk, punk, random, random record review, record review, reviews, rock 'n roll | 3 Comments