Friday, August 31, 2012

Batman Adventures vs. Batman: Gotham Adventures

Batman Adventures #1 -- No Asylum

Batman: Gotham Adventures #1 -- With a Price on His Head

Based on these two issues I really prefer Adventures over Gotham Adventures. In part it comes down to the character designs. In particular I find the look of the Joker in Gotham Adventures to be jarring. He doesn't look human in that series. The Joker may be twisted but he's a twisted human being.

The addition of Robin, Batgirl, and Nightwing in Gotham Adventures doesn't add much although it certainly changes the dynamic of the series. In some ways the story feels cluttered with the addition of Batman's three protégés. There isn't enough good character interactions among them to justify including them all in this story.

Finally, I'm not crazy about the story in the first issue of Gotham Adventures, whereas I was riveted by the one in Adventures. The one in Gotham Adventures seemed a little too straightforward and formulaic. The one in Adventures begins with a mystery (Penguin is mayor and Batman is a fugitive) and then heaps more mysteries on top of that one. I also liked the character interactions in Adventures better, especially among the inmates of Arkham Asylum.

Despite having fewer pages Adventures also includes a backup story that recaps Batman's origin quite succinctly.

Both of these comics were available for free on Comixology. Both issues were written, penciled, inked and colored by the same team. I'm considering buying more of Batman Adventures. They cost $0.99 each.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

2012 Baltimore Comic Con Panels Announced

The Baltimore Comic Con is just over a week away. The list of panels was announced on Wednesday. I'm pleased to see that there are quite a few that interest me. As usual there are a couple cases where I will have to pick and choose because I can only attend one panel at a time. Here are the ones that interest me the most.


12-1 / Room 302-303 / The British Invasion

1-2 / Room 307-310 / Spotlight on Phil LaMarr

1-2 / Room 301 / Spotlight on Paul Levitz

4-5 / Room 302-303 / The History of Censorship in Comic Books


11-12 / Room 302-303 / Tribute to Joe Kubert

11-12 / Room 301 / Future Approaches to Teaching Comics in the High School Classroom

2012 Baltimore Comic Con Panels

Saturday, August 25, 2012

PunisherMax v1: #5

by Jason Aaron (writer) and Steve Dillon (artist)

Chapter 5

There's a disconnect between chapters 4 and 5. The scene shifts without explanation. At the end of 4 he is at Don Rigoletto's home about to confront him. At the beginning of 5 Fisk goes home to his apartment and confronts Rigoletto there. No explanation is given for the sudden shift in setting.

This story feels as of it could be told more efficiently. Too many panels are devoted to gruesome violence which doesn't forward the story in any way. After the umpteenth such panel the violence tends to carry less weight.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Appreciation: Joe Kubert

Today and for the past 25 years, give or take, I've loved the expressive way Joe Kubert illustrates. I didn't always feel this way about his work. If I remember correctly it was the cover to All-Star Squadron #2 that changed my mind about Kubert's illustrations.

I was looking at it for the umpteenth time when I began to see things in the lines that he put down on the page that I hadn't seen before: motion and expression. After that I went back and re-examined all the other covers to All-Star Squadron that Kubert did. Some I liked more than others but the switch had been flipped. I got it. I understood why people liked his drawings so much or at least learned to appreciate them for own reasons.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

PunisherMax v1: #4

by Jason Aaron (writer) and Steve Dillon (artist)

Chapter 4

Fisk rolls forward with his plans to become the Kingpin. Castle deals with a non-traditional hit man, the Mennonite. (Note: the Mennonite is the man from the previous chapter that I erroneously thought might be Fisk's father.)

There's lots of action. It isn't cerebral in the least bit. There's nothing really to chew on here, just violence. The most interesting part is the layering of the internal monologues of Fisk, Castle, and the Mennonite. Hopefully the final chapter of this arc will add some depth to it.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Stuff I Wanna Read - Aug 16

I don't really need something else to read. I've got plenty on my bookshelf waiting to be read but something I saw online today reminded me of a manga series I've been meaning to read for a number of years: Barefoot Gen.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

PunisherMax v1: #3

by Jason Aaron (writer) and Steve Dillon (artist)

Chapter 3

It's a riveting story but it is still expanding. Pieces are still being placed on the board. The chapter is bookended by the story of someone else. The identity of that person is unclear although it seems as though it may be Fisk's father.

It is still Fisk's story, so far, but for the first time Castle narrates some of it. Castle still lacks the depth that Fisk has.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

PunisherMax v1: #2

by Jason Aaron (writer) and Steve Dillon (artist)

Chapter 2

The focus here is primarily on Wilson Fisk. His backstory is revealed and he is compared and contrasted with Frank Castle. Fisk has had it rough. His experiences have molded him. He isn't a buffoon or afraid to get dirt under his fingernails.

This feels like fresh start. Very little has been revealed about Castle. The way he lurks in the shadows makes him seem like the villain. Both men use violence very liberally but Fisk is the focal point and much more 3-dimensional than Castle.

The story continues to be graphically violent and very R-rated. Some of the most horrifically violent things don't happen on panel. The way in which Aaron and Dillon, through pictures and words inform the reader of what is happening off panel make it just as grim and gritty or possibly worse than if these things were depicted visually.