Thursday, June 21, 2007

Random thoughts about comic books, June 21, 2007

I know, I know ... I’m far from the only comic book reader to ever think these types of things, but sometimes it pays to exorcise them from the ol’ system:

- I can’t look at Batman or Superman anymore without thinking, “No capes!” Darn Brad Bird and The Incredibles.

- Speaking of The Incredibles, it would be funny to discover that Pixar and DC/Warners have been embroiled in a lawsuit over the name “Elasti-Girl/Elastigirl.” Kinda like “Captain Marvel/Captain Mar-Vell.”

- I used to love ElfQuest. I miss ElfQuest. Did Wendy and Richard Pini “jump the shark” when they started letting other artists and writers mess with the elves and trolls?

- Jeff Smith’s Bone is always fun to go back and re-read. I’m so glad he had a chance to work his magic on Captain Marvel (Shazam!).

- My patience is a fickle beastie when it comes to comics. I absolutely adore Fables and Y:The Last Man, and yet I’m content to wait for the trade paperback collections to come out, instead of snatching up the individual comics when they roll off the presses. And yet, when a new issue of Green Lantern comes out, I don’t care whether or not it’s going to show up in a book in a mere six months: I want it NOW. I can’t explain it.

- Does Jonah Hex always have to tilt his head to one side in order to drink anything? He’s probably better off with a straw – though drinking whisky that way does look a bit silly.

- Super-hero deaths have become downright yawn-worthy. When Captain America died recently, I pretty much greeted the whole thing with a disinterested shrug. The guys at the local comic store were upset with me for not caring ("Where's the love, sweetheart?!"). Problem is, so many superheroes have died and come back to life now that I'm admittedly jaded about the whole thing. The shock value is long gone, baby.

- Whether or not a super-hero comes back to life seems to depend on a sort of “Tinker Bell” factor. For example, when a super-hero like Captain America dies, whether or not he comes back is seemingly determined by how much the fans clap their hands and yell, "I DO believe in Captain America, I DO believe in Captain America, I do, I do, I DO!"

- Is there a new law in the DC Universe that states there can only be two Flashes (Jay Garrick and whoever else) living on Earth at the same time?

- How does Jay Garrick keep his hat on? I’m sure it’s been explained, but I have yet to hear a plausible explanation.

- I recently picked up the Marvel Essentials collection of the Silver Surfer, and I couldn’t believe how whiney the character was. Surfer was one of my favorite Marvel characters when I was a kid, but I didn’t remember him being so whiney in those old stories. Maybe the Surfer is better suited to low doses rather than a huge 528-page tome.

- It’s been said many times that Alan Scott, the Golden Age Green Lantern, has by far the gaudiest costume in super-hero history -- but DAMN does he ever wear it well. It also takes a brave man to go out in public dressed like that. And to think Green Lantern Hal Jordan was supposedly the man “born without fear.”

- Do Daredevil/Matt Murdock and Green Lantern/Hal Jordan ever get together and argue about who’s more fearless?

- One of my favorite comics these days is Darwyn Cooke’s version of The Spirit. Yes, yes, I know – Cooke isn’t Will Eisner. But darned if Cooke’s interpretation isn’t one of the most entertaining comics out there right now.

- Spider-Girl is almost ALWAYS sold out at the local comic store. Locally, at least, she’s selling better than Spider-Man!

- Ivan Reis is my absolute favorite Green Lantern artist since Neal Adams. I like Ethan Van Sciver, too, but sometimes he’s a little too “horror movie” for me. Reis’s stuff is always gorgeous. Just gorgeous.

- The X-men used to be my favorite super-hero team. I picked up a recent X-men comic, and to my dismay I found it boring. The characters just seem so lackluster now, compared to how they were in the Cockrum/Byrne/Claremont days. Oh, well. I’ll keep trying.

- The Legion of Super-Heroes seem to be all over the DC Universe these days. I know there’s a popular cartoon based on them now, but – sheesh! When I was a kid, I didn’t think the Legionnaires were all that interesting. I still don’t find them interesting, sad to say. I think part of the problem is that there’s too darned many of them. That, and they always come across as insufferably snobbish toward other heroes – even toward Superman. I can’t stand that, or them. Sorry, DC.

- Okay, there’s one exception to my dislike of the Legion of Super-Heroes. I LOVE – absolutely LOVE – Starboy/Thom Kallor reinvented as Starman for the Justice Society of America. My god, what an incredibly funny and touching character. Kudos to Geoff Johns for writing Thom the way he does.

- Would someone please do another Human Target mini-series? Please? Pretty please?