Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Wash: 04/20/10

o "One Very Deeply Odd Comic Book Series"

Tom Spurgeon reviews Robert Morales and Kyle Baker's Truth: Red, White & Black, Marvel's rather bleak 2003 miniseries about a group of black soldiers abused as guinea pigs in a proto-Captain America super-soldier program by the American government.

Along with Morales' subsequent seven-issue run on Captain America proper (art by Chris Bachalo and Eddie Campbell), it's one of the most memorable superhero comics of the 2000s.

Whereas Truth came out at the apex of the fearless, frequently nutty Bill Jemas regime, though, Morales' Captain America wasn't as fortunate. Initially meant to be a much longer, much more controversial run with an appearance by Fidel Castro and Steve Rogers as PotUS, it fell right into the phase where Jemas was ousted and Marvel, having finally overcome its financial woes, ended up growing more conservative in its publishing choices again. After a four-issue fill-in by Robert Kirkman, Captain America wound up being relaunched by someone named Ed Brubaker instead.

o "How Can Superman Possibly Continue His Battle for Truth, Justice and the American Way?"

DC Comics' advertisements for its July 2010 publications include the start of J. Michael Stryczynski and Paul Cornell's runs on Superman and Action Comics, respectively—the former with cover art by John Cassaday, as you can see to the right.

In other news, the creative team of Justice League hijacks Justice Society for the duration of a crossover between the two books, writer/artist Neal Adams launches the six-part miniseries Batman: Odyssey, Mike Grell's Warlord is canceled and The Great Ten, formerly a 10-issue series, is now a nine-issue series, no doubt thanks to its less than impressive sales figures. Speaking of which, The Mighty Crusaders is a new ongoing series starring the Red Circle characters; good luck with that. And now that I've seen Andy Clarke's splendid art in Batman and Robin, I'm tempted by Batman: The Bat and the Beast, a collection of the recent Batman Confidential arc Clarke worked on with writer Peter Milligan.

At WildStorm, the Brian K. Vaughan/Tony Harris superhero-turns-NYC-mayor series Ex Machina concludes with its 50th issue, in addition to a lot of other stuff that doesn't look like it's going to do much for the imprint's abysmal direct-market comic-book sales. (Yes, I'm aware of the rumors that they're selling a lot of copies of their videogame adaptations in videogame stores; I haven't heard any hard and reliable facts bout that, though, and in any case, the game stuff is only part of WildStorm's flagging line of comic books.)

At Vertigo, finally, there's Cuba: My Revolution, a new book-length work drawn by Dean Haspiel, who's always worth a look, as well as a whole range of repackaged material that may be worth checking out, including but not limited to the first hardcover collection of American Vampire (note the departure from the usual Vertigo practice of coming out with a cheap paperback first; Stephen King's "writer" credit does that for you) and the second collection of Mike Carey and Peter Gross' acclaimed The Unwritten.

o "The Sort of Team That Reacts to Whatever Is Out There"

Whoever suggested that what Marvel's X-Men line needs is another ongoing monthly series titled X-Men was wrong. Whoever decided that its first storyline should be "The X-Men vs. Vampires" should consider a career in wood-chopping.

I know, I know: Nothing screams "relevance" and "urgency" quite like an X-Men series that starts off with the X-Men fighting vampires for a few issues, so I should not mock. No werewolves, though?

o "Great, Talented Professionals"

I have to admit, the comments by Gail Simone and Geoff Johns quoted and collected in this message-board post, which are in reference to a freshly mischievous Marvel publicity stunt from earlier this year, sound awfully self-important.

Looking at these comments, you could get the impression that DC is a company committed to curing cancer, rather than one which produces comic books about such deeply serious issues as people rising from their graves as zombies.

o "The Droolings of an Idiot"

Not comics: The New York Times has an amusing look at some things Mark Twain used to scrawl into his own books.

I'm not sure I'd call it "literary criticism," but it's hilarious and totally in character for Twain.

o "Probably from Pennsylvania"

Speaking of books Mark Twain loved to mock with a passion: Greg Rucka and Rick Burchett are working on a comics adaptation of the Leatherstocking, evidently.

o "As We Intended to Do It"

At this stage, Matt Fraction is announcing the return of Casanova for the third time in as many years, I think, so forgive me if I'm a wee bit skeptical. I am pondering the addition of the newly colored, newly lettered, newly collected first two volumes to my bookshelf, however.


matches said...

Wow, Bleeding Cool comments actually DO make one's eyes bleed!

Cool to see Casanova return. Now I have the dillemma of whether to replace my "Luxuria" HC with the new full-color version.

Yan Basque said...

I think Mighty Crusaders is going to be a mini-series, not an ongoing. The initial announcement was vague, but on DC's website, it says 1 of 6.

See here: http://dccomics.com/dcu/comics/?cm=15182

Marc-Oliver Frisch said...


The PREVIEWS copy says it's a "new monthly series," so maybe they changed their minds (came to their senses?) since writing up the solicitations.

Then again, miniseries are generally monthly, too, of course.

Yan Basque said...

Yeah. I assumed it was either a mistake or they changed their minds about it. It would make sense for the information on the website to be the most up-to-date.