Montag, 28. Januar 2013

Panel of the week #12

Hello comic friends,

it's time for another panel of the week.The last two weeks i've reread the 52 crossover. These four books are quite good, but inhabits a lot of rush artwork. The focus lies on the sometimes twisted story and with the big task to produce an issue every week the quality in the art suffers. But there are still some gems hidden.

One of my favorites is the panel of the week displaying Black Adam holding dead Isis in his arms looking in the rainy sky. Black Adam is one of the most important characters in this series and I love his cold blooded nature. His slowly social recovery forced by the black marvel family works very well and you're really feeling lucky for this guy. But it just makes the fall higher. This picture defines the last moment of goodness in him. It's the unspoken prayer to higher forces for justice just to realize that he is at the mercy of fortune. In the next panel Black Adam is trapped deep down in his inner rage with the cruel desire to see the whole world burning. This also is a great sequence. Just a little gap represents the entire fall of one of the mightiest characters in the DCU.

What is your favorite panel or sequence in 52?

Montag, 21. Januar 2013

Modern comic book culture

Hello comic friends,

nowadays comic books are a high invest and wide spread pop cultural media. The big movie production in the last years, and the popularization of the "nerd-culture" have reignited the market. It seems that now it is getting "in" to read comics and nothing to be ashamed about. Even for adults. So I asked myself: is it really cool to read comics without all those influences and marketing tactics of the industry? Is it the art I appreciate or am I swimming with the tide?

First I have to confess that about three years ago in 2009 I also saw "The Big Bang Theory". In this Sit-Com the comic-culture is directly connected to those real intelligent characters. It is a charter for all readers of comics to say "Hey! Those dudes are like me! They're just high-flyer scientists but we have something in common." So it gives all of them a push to their self-esteem. Around this time I met people who shared my long forgotten passion for comics. They brought me Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Jim Lee and all those other great artists and writers and a dozen stories with an intelligent plot. In this time I focused once more on this media and started again to read. At work we build up a kind of reader circle and spoke at lunch about Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns. It was really great and I explored new titles, writers and artist.

So there were the upcoming Nerd-culture, big film adaptions of comic books and a history of good works in this media which waited for a new generation of readers. And a really big bunch of crap. In all those surprisingly good titles there were bad periods of uninspired and ugly art and stories. All of it was worn out and there was nothing worth to be deeper explored. After reading those stories I nearly lost hope to find other good stories in the mainstream. But going backwards in comic history I found "Man of Steel", "A   Death in the family" or "Secret Wars" and was surprised that every era has good comics stories. A new hope. And I learned that you must carry this hope with you, when you want to read good superhero stories in the mainstream.

Today we've got a much better quality of mainstream comic books. A good example is the big DC reboot and the following Marvel Now! revision. Bad titles were canceled short after start or the creative team was recasted. We've got a very good Batman run and Morrison revived the Man of Steel right in time for the next movie in 2013. The Avengers and X-Men titles are on top positions in sales stats. The pressure on the "big two" publishers in the market is high. Readers are expecting complex and deep writing of those leaders of the market and not only of the independent publishers. That's good for both fractions and builds up a win-win situation. Also the independent publishers are gaining more ground like Image proved with the outstanding "The Walking Dead" title. Too the other media support those trends.

So comics works. But please don't misunderstand me here. Not every title out there is the next Watchmen. And it doesn't need to be! The spectrum is very wide and goes from dumb action titles to lyric and visual stunning peaces of art. Like in every other media too. And in my comeback to comics I realized the first time, that comic books are a way more than meets the eye. So I finally came to the conclusion that all this buzz about comics in other media shouldn't be worried about. Maybe without it I never would have rejoined the hobby and when you really like comics you can focus on them and ignore the rest. Like listening to the music you like without caring about the charts, gossip and films around the artist. What counts is the art.

So what do you think? Is the comic media going to change a lot under the influence of other media and the intensive marketing about it? Is the comic community changing in a hip-nerd culture with a fable for childish retrodreams on the wave of a soon fading hype?

Comments are very welcome.

Greetings Andy

Sonntag, 20. Januar 2013

Worldwide reading Sequenz

Hello comic friends,

like you might already have noticed, newly I'm writing in English only. It's less work for me to create new posts and I can reach a wider readership all around the world. I hope this is well received by you.

But there is another question. Many of my old post and reviews are in German. Would you appreciate it if I would translate them into English so you can grub in the whole collection of articles?

Please give a short response if there is a demand for this.

Bye for now,


Samstag, 19. Januar 2013

Panel of the week #11

Hello comic friends,

this panel of the week is from Batman #13. The beginning of the "Death of the Family" event. Given that I'm running behind the actual issues this could be a little vintage for some readers. But so I still have some issues to be excited about ;).

After the "Night of the Owl" story line everybody has been waiting for the next major Joker appearance. And here it is. The hole cinematic introduction with the rain in the night and a broody grim Gordon are perfectly staged. The first panel of this issue, just the dropping rain on concrete, said to me: there's something bad to happen. It was very close to end up as my panel of the week but the foot of the Joker into the rainy street exceeded it. I love Capullos style to draw and the use of digital blur and light effects work very well in this hole issue. Especially in this panel. It sets a perfect dark mood for the upcoming story. By now I think this could become one of the best Batman tales ever told.

Samstag, 12. Januar 2013

Action Comics #13

Hello comic friends,

quite some time has past since my last post about a normal comic issue. But the vacation of a friend of mine in an English-speaking foreign country provided me with "fresh" stuff. Action Comics #13 is again, like #9 a standalone story. Only the twist on the last page connects the story to the main plot of Morrison. I will really miss him on this title when he quits writing after the 17th issue.

I really liked the introduction of Jor-El imprisoning Doctor Xa-Du. It's dark, cruel and a historic incident because it's the first time someone has been locked up in the phantom zone. In the first place the story develops into a classic plot of an unconsciousness Superman trapped in the phantom zone without a possibility to break free. With the help of the Phantom Strange, who is trapped in the zone too, and his dog Krypto Superman success to break free. After Superman has rescued Krypto from the Phantom Zone too, Dr. Xa-Du enlist into the group of superman-enemy and the bow to the main plot is laid out. The implied Halloween theme doesn't work a second an is really annoying. The book would have worked fine without this, too.

The drawing and coloring is wonderful and a welcome change to Rags Morales "normal" art. Travel Foreman works really good on this title and I liked him as well as in the Animal Man books. His clear, edgy and thin lines are great on Superman and i would welcome him to take over a superman title.

The introduction of Krypto, a character i never really liked and which was in my opinion at all ways a little cheesy, was great. In this form of expression and without the damn cape (a dog with a cape..?) he put down this dusty "Superman-Family" heritage and stepped into the future. I hope Krypto will become more of a serious character than a cute Superman sidekick with fur.

The backup story is not worth to be mentioned here any further. Please DC, stop to spend your money on this crap at the end and invest it in the main-plot or put down the price for the issue.