Saturday, November 29, 2008

An Irregular Comics Review - 29/11/08

Amazing Spider-Man 578
writer: Mark Waid
artist: Marcos Martin

This seriously is about as good as Spider-Man gets. I was as skeptical as anyone else when Brand New Day began, but it's bearing fruit. Mark Waid brings a lightness of touch and consistency to Peter Parker not seen since the time of Roger Stern, and Marcos Martin's Ditko-esque flourishes and distinctive style are a perfect fit with the character. I'm looking forward to seeing what's made of the new supporting character.

Captain America 44
writer: Ed Brubaker
penciller: Luke Ross

The title really suffers when Steve Epting isn't on art chores, and although Luke Ross is leaps and bounds a better artist than he was when on Spectacular Spider-Man in the 90s, he isn't a fully comfortable fit with master writer Brubaker. Brubaker's pulpy dialogue is as strong a narrative voice as ever, and his transformation of the title into a legacy book was a masterstroke, but the edge the book had during the Death of Captain America arcs isn't here. That said the mysterious UN cargo which Batroc is pursuing is intriguing, as is the conspiracy around it!

Invincible Iron Man 7
writer: Matt Fraction
artist: Salvador Larroca

I was dead set on enjoying a nice, long, espionage-based run by the Knaufs and Rob DeLaTorre, but it sadly wasn't to be. This however is a delight - Fraction proving himself quickly one of the freshest and most accessible new mainstream writers in decades, taking the new edge given to Tony Stark in the Civil War, whilst blissfully retaining the humanity and warmth the character enjoyed in the 80s. Sal Larroca's been looking for a perfect fit for some time - this is it. Using Spider-Man to tell a character piece about Tony Stark is a masterstroke. Great title.

Thunderbolts 126
writer: Andy Diggle
artist: Roberto DeLaTorre

Diggle and DeLaTorre in one episode make up for the loss of Ellis and Deodato, and even run with their open subplots. They both play to their dark, espionage-orientated strengths, pushing Norman Osborn's post-Secret Invasion status quo in an unnerving and quite believable direction. I'm looking forward to seeing if the breakup of the team causes the Dark Avengers to form, and if so what Norman is going to do with the Thunderbolts. Darkness works well in comics with those who know how to use it - these two do.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sarah Palin's Phone Goes Ringy

A perfect post-script to a general election which is hard to come down from!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Ellen De Generes Attacks Proposition 8

Ellen De Generes of course is famously gay and married to her partner Portia de Rossi, and is directly affected by the passing (at least for now) of homophobic ballot Proposition 8 in California. It's unthinkable to me as well that anyone could vote for people's rights to be rescinded. Gay people getting married threatens noone and undermines nothing. I remain hopeful that the legal challenges against Prop 8 bring about a happy ending to this battle for civil rights and equality before the law.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Studs Terkel Dies

One of the big names I came across in my sociology degree when it came time for independent research was Studs Terkel. Very sad news that he's died. His own account of what he did best:
For his oral histories, Terkel interviewed his subjects on tape, then transcribed and sifted. "What first comes out of an interview are tons of ore; you have to get that gold dust in your hands," he wrote in his memoir. "Now, how does it become a necklace or a ring or a gold watch? You have to get the form; you have to mold the gold dust."

Exit Austin Drage

Silly silly Great British public. Sure he didn't look remotely comfortable in his disco night performance on the X-Factor last night, but with a smile like that and arms like that who really cares? Yum yum is what I say.

And to add insult to injury:

Saturday, November 01, 2008

John Barrowman: What About Us? (Video)

√úbergay John 'Captain Jack' Barrowman's video for his new pop song "What About Us?", released 17th November: