February 29, 2012
Probably hundreds of artists have drawn Two-Face over the years. The scarred half of his face ranges from “boilsome and poxy” to “scratched and ridged” to “latex fishman” to “puked-up applesauce” based on who’s doing it. For my money, the one to beat is Klaus Janson’s rendition. Even if it’s not the best Two-Face story by a long shot (that’s the Batman Annual that Andy Helfer and Chris Sprouse did, re-telling his origin and making it brutally grim and tightly-clenched), no artist has ever managed to make Two-Face look quite as horrifically ugly in a way that still conveys the essential nature of his character–keeping him as a human being who’s been partly ruined, rather than a handsome guy with half a Halloween mask.
February 28, 2012
I’m a child of the 90s, so I have a soft spot for Jean-Paul Valley, a.k.a. Azrael, Azbat, Batman II, and that dorky shithead with the ponytail and the voices inside his brain. I fell hook, line and sinker for Knightfall when it happened, and re-reading it as an adult, it actually still holds together for me. Part of it is the relative tightness of the narrative–it reads like a Law & Order episode, if that makes any sense, where all the pieces that aren’t necessary have been stripped away, leaving only the parts that advance an already-sprawling story of Batman getting run into the dirt. Another part of that is the difference between Bruce Wayne and Jean-Paul Valley, when Azrael takes over as the replacement Batman. Suddenly it turns into this gnarly, delirious, super-angry story, like the soundtrack switched from Wagner opera to Slayer–especially in moments like this, where Bane is confronted by the psychotic, ultraviolent Azbat:
February 27, 2012
February 26, 2012
Is it just me, or have there been maybe no more than four stories in the history of the universe to take Maxie Zeus seriously? Yes, I know, his name is “Maxie Zeus,” for one thing, but still. I imagine his first appearance tried to establish him as a credible threat. I know he appeared on Batman: The Animated Series and probably wasn’t a huge fuck-up there, either. Also, he was one of the goons in Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, where Grant Morrison more or less ignored all previous instances of him doing stuff, and pitched him as a delusional Electro. Beyond those three things, this is what we usually see of Maxie Zeus, when we see him at all:
February 25, 2012
Bane is, I’m pretty sure, the only major-motion-picture supervillain whose origin story involves “being a 10-year-old faced with the threat of prison rape.” About two pages later someone tries to intervene and in the process Bane gets knocked over a railing and falls, like, two stories directly onto his head. It’s these sort of things that create people who millionaire Bruce Wayne uses violence against indiscriminately.
February 24, 2012
I dig Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars a lot. It’s got its problems (the story falls out of its rhythm at times, and there are art fill-ins that hurt to look at), but for the most part, it’s a party. The fan-favorite heroes of the 1980s and a wide-cast net’s worth of villains–from stars like Ultron and Dr. Doom, to coulda-beens like the Wrecking Crew, to never-weres like Volcana–go around a weird planet fighting each other, and there’s just enough truly bizarre stuff to keep the story memorable (Hulk supporting the weight of an entire mountain that the heroes are trapped beneath, part of the planet being a cross-section of Denver, etc.).
This is my favorite page, though. Out of the whole thing, this is the moment I look back upon most fondly, just because it’s so weird and cool. You get the sense that this kind of crap happens all the time in the Marvel Universe–Joe Schmoe’s bathtub is a super-villain’s oracle, when a mystic river or whatever isn’t available. The artist, Mike Zeck, really sells the disparity between the Enchantress’s gaudy Asgardian look and the mundanity of a lowly mortal’s bathroom.
February 15, 2012
Everything about this panel is fantastic. From the Thing’s face, to Johnny and Reed just kind of staring blandly like “oh, look, this jerk’s exploding another door,” to the caption saying ‘the handsome attorney,’ to the Thing clearly being halfway into his rant about a spurious lawsuit with no clear defendant by the time he realizes he’s broken the door (and his melodramatic wail), to Matt and Foggy reacting to the motherfucking Thing breaking down their motherfucking door with bored sarcasm and outright sass.
February 14, 2012
February 13, 2012
Back in the 1990s, Greg Fiering did a comic strip called Migraine Boy, about Migraine Boy, a boy who constantly had a migraine. It was great, and even Michael Stipe agreed — R.E.M.’s Monster album had Fiering’s strips in the liner notes.
Something like a decade ago, the best strips were collected into a book called I Don’t Love You!, which made me go into convulsions from laughing so hard. Those strips used to be available on a web page after the book presumably went out of print, but it looks like that website has also gone out of print.
A little before that, Slave Labor Graphics put out two pamphlet-format issues of Migraine Boy. Unlike I Don’t Love You!, it also had strips by Fiering about Matthew, a Christian youth, and Li’l Adult, who was a little adult. This is one of the latter:
February 12, 2012
Posting panels and stuff I like is easier than providing actual content, so it’s a business model I’ve chosen to accept for the time being. Regardless, this is old Gene Colan Daredevil stuff. I love Gene’s work — his character models and action storytelling were just as overblown as Kirby’s, but where Kirby concerned himself with stuff like cosmic energy and techno-raybeam gizmos, Colan was all about muscle and architecture. (The tragedy of his Daredevil work is that a lot of the time, inkers treated him as if he was Kirby, so his linework would get drowned in pools of brutal, blocky black ink. Every now and then, a fill-in inker would be more sensitive to his pencils, and that stuff was light years beyond the rest.)
This stuff is from Daredevil #68, during an era where midway through the story, two pages would be cut in half to make room for more ads.
Still, look at the mise-en-scene, especially in the first panel of page 13. Unbelievable.