Saturday, March 24, 2007

Eisner 2.0

I have been greatly enjoying Darwyn Cooke's new Spirit series; issue #4 came out this week, (re)introducing the hard-as-nails Silk Satin.  It just so happens that I picked up one of the Kitchen Sink Spirit color reprints last week (for 25 cents!), which included one of the Satin stories from 1946.  

Here are the wonderful panels in which she makes her entrance:

The Kitchen Sink reprint, published in 1983, sports a new cover by the master himself.  Given the time difference, this artwork could be considered Eisner v. 1.5:

Although it's an effective cover, it's clearly a take on a manly-man saves the busty babe with torn dress archetype.

Finally, here's Cooke's cover, which leaves no doubt that this is Eisner v. 2.0:

In this take on the same archetype, Satin carries the Spirit.  

The issue is narrated by her, as well.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Double Dosage

Supergirl #15 was out Wednesday, and to multiply the fun, Kara also appeared in The Brave and the Bold #2.

The Pretty Much Good:
In her own title the Maid of Might finally gets down to the urgent business of making out with Power Boy. However, the mood changes when she cuts things short after hearing Boomer call for her from his hospital bed. (He was tortured to within an inch of his life in the previous issue.) Power Boy, who has a special shrine to Kara's awesomeness in his room, goes ballistic and adds physical abuse to his stalker-tendencies. He lays down a beating on Kara the likes of which hasn't been seen in the book since Lex Luthor showed up just before Infinite Crisis.

I suppose the writer believed that the readers needed to see Kara's 'boyfriend' fully deploy his superpowers to beat upon Supergirl in order for us to derive the full satisfaction from her retributive smack-down. (Let's see how good a mimbo you are from here on out with those missing teeth, Apokalips-boy!) I go back and forth on this one, but I'm willing to grant the benefit of the doubt here because Kara does, in the end, utterly pound the crap out of the abusive bastard.

But, having said that, there is an important moment in the flow of things in which the artist chooses to flash Supergirl's panties, which I've got to say almost undermined the whole thing for me.

Marionette had a post a while back titled "Kara's Incredible Super-Skirt" in which she explored the strange fact that even though Kara's skirt was so short, her underoos never came into view; it looks like her clothing now conforms with the laws of physics.

The Thursday Morning Quarterback guys at Wizard noticed this, too. (I swiped the image from them.)

The Ugly:
I was cringing so vigorously as I read The Brave and the Bold #2 that I honestly can't exactly recall the incremental ways the over-arching plot was moved forward. For panels on end, Hal Jordan reminds himself that Kara is 17 years old. For panels on end, Supergirl bats her 17-year-old Kryptonian eye-lashes at him.

I had basically worked out how I was going to comment on this, but Justin, one of the Thursday Morning team at Wizard says it all, here:

JUSTIN: “Wow, this issue is creepy. It isn’t enough that Supergirl continually throws herself at Hal Jordan, who has to keep reminding himself, ‘No bad thoughts. She’s 17.’ No, after GL tells her off and gives her some bizarrely unsolicited romantic advice (‘Maybe you want to find someone, we all do…’) Supergirl decides to fight in an arena match and disguise herself to look non-threatening. So she comes up with…this.”

And, yes, in case you were wondering, this title affords the reader a glimpse of Kara's underwear, too.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Pause That Refreshes


Birds of Prey #104 provided me with just about everything I want in a comic:
— Nice writing, pacing, and plotting.
— Storytelling through characterization, with art complementing this.
— Headliners acting totally badass.
— A surprise guest star who grabs the spotlight, and then just as easily gives it back.
— Over-the-top, totally justifiable violence, with attendant excessive property damage.
— A ball scene, with men and women appearing in formal wear.
— Grudges put into place, with long-term enmities set into motion.

And for good measure, the writer threw in a final splash page that made me want to paraphrase Patton: Simone, I found myself muttering, you magnificent bastard ...!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

I'm Still Here

In my senior year of high school Mr. C., one of the long-time mathematics teachers, suffered a psychotic break or Tourette syndrome-type eruption over some kid drinking a Coke in his class. He grabbed the can from him, hurled it across the room, all the while rhythmically shouting this phrase: Even though you really want to, you're not going to get me, boys! (I went to an all-male Jesuit outfit.) Mr. C. just couldn't get himself to stop repeating this at the top of his voice.

And I can remember thinking: the guy's a teacher, for goodness' sake! It's not like he's a brain surgeon or anything! Get it together, you embarrassing old person!

However, this academic year has been so crammed with teaching, grading, advising, and professional responsibilities, that I find myself in deep sympathy with Mr. C. I can honestly say that I totally understand where he was coming from.

Things I've been reading:
Paul Budnitz, I Am Plastic: The Designer Toy Explosion, (Abrams, 2006).
Willaim Steig, Till Death Do Us Part, (Duell, Sloane, and Pearce, 1947).
Marina Abramovic, The House With the Ocean View, (Charta, 2003).
Joann Sfar, Vampire Loves, (First Second, 2006).
Blain, Sfar, and Trondheim, Dungeon vol. 1: The Night Shirt, (NBM, 2001/5).
Robert Crumb's Heroes of Blues, Jazz & Country, (Abrams, 2006).

Comics I've enjoyed:
(1) Those 2 issues of Ms. Marvel (#9 & #10) in which she meets the alternate version of herself that's been killing all of the alternate Rogues she can find. The second installment of this story came out just when the mailman delivered the 2 disc set of one of my favorite movies, Kristof Kieslowski's Double Life of Veronique, which is also about dual realities and people existing in alternate versions.

(2) Marvel Adventures Avengers #9 had this sublime moment in which the M.O.D.Avengers ridicule an adversary:
SPIDOC: He can barely compute the value of Pi with that tiny brain.
The Leader: I'm really smart ...
SPIDOC: Hah! You'll never rule the world, simpleton. Perhaps go into teaching.
HULKDOC: Fah. He would barely make tenure with that wee skull.
(3-7) Ross and Braithwaite's Justice, Darwyn Cooke's Spirit, All Star Superman #6, Runaways, and Jeff Smith's Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil.

And though I was indeed deflated by the ending of Civil War, it seems to fit Marvel's SOP to deploy a half-conclusion which also serves as the starting point for the next cross-over. I'm a crazy optimist, I know, but I just can't believe that the folks over at Marvel have (unknowingly) crafted a neo-fascist system to serve as the legitimate status quo for their universe. I'm thinking that Iron Man's new world order has got to be the seed for their Next Big Thing.

High point of CW #7: Hercules smashing the bejeeduff out of the Thor clone. (Man, that was satisfying! Though Herc's dialogue while doing the smashing was lame.) Absolute low point: Reed's letter to Sue.

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