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Tuesday, April 25, 2006


For The Strong Of Stomach Or Weak Of Head

TV Guide has an exhaustive, and fairly exhausting four-page interview with Dan and Amy Sherman-Palladino on their exit from Gilmore Girls at the end of this season. It's heavy on the backroom Hollywood dealmaking aspect of the situation, but answers many of my questions--as of now, the duo have no creative input whatsoever on the future direction of the show, so AS-P's famous (all things being relative) mystery plan for the series' final four words of dialogue will only be broadcast on Earth 3, where the Crime Syndicate rules. Oh wait, it's our earth that's ruled by the Crime Syndicate.

Spoilers abound, so you can't say you weren't warned.

Monday, April 24, 2006


New Batman Writer

If Grant Morrison has to leave Batman for any reason, I recommend my three-year-old, Abe, as his replacement. He dictated two plots to us today:

Robin and Batman. They are on the boat and Robin throws his sword to Batman. Then Batman battles the bad guys and Catwoman's cat is on the boat. More battling. Then they go home to the Batcave.

Okay, that one is "inspired" by the 1966 Batman movie. Still, it has verve, and with the right artist--I'm thinking Mike Golden--it could be stretched into 6 issues for the trade. Here's another:

Batman and Robin are on a mission. The mission is to try to find bad guys. They look in trees and in bushes. They find some bad guys: the Joker, the Penguin and all the bad guys. Then they fight. The fight is going good. And Robin finds a well and kicks the bad guys into a well. And Batman kicks more bad guys in. That's the end of the story.

Or is it only the beginning? Hey, Frank Miller, I've got your All-Star right here.


Comics Avalanche

I'm drowning in funny paper. This weekend I made my monthly trip to Toy City, and in addition to 15-20 monthly comics, my save box contained the new Little Lulu collection, Essential Moon Knight Vol. 1, Essential Avengers Vol. 5, the Jimmy Olsen Showcase and the brilliant Kevin Huizenga's Or Else #4. Further, the clerk, Rob had just cut a deal with a distributor for 4,000 assorted books from the 80s and 90s ahead of Free Comic Book Day, and he let me take one free for every title on my pull list. Hence my proud ownership of Kid N' Play #4, Official Index to Marvel Team-Up #2 and 23 other deathless classics. That already puts me over a hundred comics.

On top of that, my pal Chris stopped by Saturday night and gave me the first two-and-a-half years of Geoff Johns' current Teen Titans. Chris actually is that rare animal one hears rumors about--a comics fan who enjoys reading the books, but who has no interest whatsoever in keeping them. I believe he may even--and this is difficult for me to type--throw some out when he's done. When Grant Morrison made that suggestion (tongue-in-cheek, I think) in an early Invisibles letter column, I laughed. Little did I know I would someday become friends with one of these people.

Chris's generosity made me realize something. That his attitude is perfectly healthy and that I have a sickness? That we should not be ruled by our possessions? That I should forgive my parents for tearing in half my issue of Super-Villain Team Up when I was five? That Teen Titans is actually, surprisingly kind of awesome? (No, No, Never! and Yes.)

I don't write a whole lot about new comics, given that I get most of them weeks after they come out, and Kevin, Graeme and Mike Sterling have already told all the good jokes. When I do mention new stuff, it tends to be crabby old fanguy grousing about how bad or misguided certain books are. But halfway through my stack of books from late March and early April, and 12 issues into the Teen Titans run, I'm surprised by how well-made and entertaining so many mainstream comics are right now. Kurt Busiek and Pete Woods' Superman comics are wonderful; not as deliberately crafted, timeless or epic as Morrison/Quitely's All-Star Superman, but every bit as enjoyable. The people on the various Superman books are simply getting it right, something which hasn't been true for decades. The recent Injustice Society arc in JSA Classified was as good as it was unhyped. Peter Milligan's Dead Girl mini-series is amazing, with the most engaging take on Dr. Strange in a long time, and reminds me how much I and Marvel miss the monthly presence of an X-Statix book. Planetary just gets better as it reaches its end, Morrison's Seven Soldiers is a wonder, and now that the book is up to speed I'm even getting a kick out of Johns' Green Lantern.

Where Geoff Johns really shines, though, is on the Titans book. I read and liked his Flash, and I still get JSA, but I steered clear of Teen Titans because A) I can't buy everything and B) I have no real interest in most of the characters. Now that I'm reading it all for free (thanks, Chris!), it turns out that my lack of interest works strongly in the book's favor. I don't care if anyone's characterization is "off" from their other appearances, and I'm not bothered by anything that might happen to any of the cast--most of whom are new to me. It's simply well-executed team book fun. And while it has exactly none of the thematic ambition as Morrison's New X-Men, it accomplishes the same feat of making all the continuity I missed since 1984 seem unneccesary. Whatever may have happened to the Titans in the intervening 20 years, the new book doesn't make me feel like I need to know. Just a bunch of plot churn, worlds lived, worlds died, now let's just set reset everything to vaguely resemble the Titans cartoon. Johns even managed to make the insufferable modern Superboy a readable, sympathetic character--which has raised my estimation of Infinite Crisis #6 from rushed, overy noisy hackwork to rushed, overly noisy hackwork with a genuinely effective death scene.

For the first time in years, I'm faced with the dilemma that I can't really justify the expense of all the books I genuinely like. Which is a good problem to have. All the complaining about how the industry needs better quality comics seems out of date now, at least from the perspective of my monthly saves. Good superhero comics are here now.

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