Batman Earth One: rebooting the bat

Batman: Earth One is a reboot of the Batman story written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Gary Frank. It's a timely book, coinciding with the conclusion of the trilogy of Christopher Nolan Batman films, and it offers a very good entry to the series for people who haven't followed it closely until now.

We've seen a lot of remixes and retellings of the Batman origin story, and I think this is my favorite to date. Johns dispenses with some of the less plausible aspects of the Batman myth, and presents us with a Gotham that is out of control, corrupt, dark and glorious. There's a haunted house, there are serial killers, Hollywood phonies, and a mayor named Oswald Cobblepot.

The book moves swiftly, hits all the right emotional notes, and is beautifully made and illustrated. I picked my copy up at Secret Headquarters on a recent trip to LA, on staff recommendation (I've never gotten a bum steer from SHQ). It's got me excited about Batman comics for the first time in 20 years.

Batman: Earth One Read the rest

Last Dandy comic to roll off press

The Dandy, Britain's long-running childrens' comic, is to end after 75 years. Publisher DC Thomson promises that plans are afoot for its popular characters; sister comic The Beano will remain in print. [BBC] Read the rest

Kickstarting a fun card-battling game

Darren sez, "Obsidian Abnormal is the creator of Commissioned, a madcap webcomic with zombies, gnomes, ninjas, cats and nerds. So Obsidian and I made a card game that pits them against each other - 3v3: Commissioned. It's a unique spin on deck-building. While every card has the normal attack values, defense values and special abilities on it, you can only use a third of three different cards to cobble together a hand."

Premiums for this Kickstarter include a ride in an airship! Darren's also the guy who did Monster Alphabet, another great Kickstarter project.

3v3 is a unique battling card game. Every hand you draw three cards. Each card has an attack, a defense and a special ability, but you have to pick which card is your attack, which is your defense and which is your ability. Then you play your three cards against your opponent's three cards.

You can score up to three points in a hand, and the first one to 10 points wins the round. But every time your opponent scores a point, you have to remove a card from your deck. This creates a fast-paced and fun gaming environment, with quick thinking needed to pick which cards to send to the scoreboard.

3v3: The Commissioned Comic Card Game Read the rest

XKCD with a very boingy punchline

Daww, that was nice of him: Randall Monroe's made me the punchline of another XKCD!

Update: Hey, this is from 2008! I missed it then. No matter -- it was funny then, it's funny now.

Starwatching Read the rest

Mom makes painted Batman Converse

A redditor called zacch asked his mom to paint him a pair of Batman Converse. She came through with flying (and suitably gloomy) colors.

I couldn't afford a pair of Batman Converse that I wanted so my talented mom said she would paint on some existing shoes. She did not disappoint. (x-post r/batman) (imgur.com) Read the rest

Down in Smoke: through comics, Susie Cagle chronicles the DEA raids on medical marijuana facilities in California

At Cartoon Movement, "graphic journalist" Susie Cagle (Twitter) surveys the impact of recent DEA raids of medical marijuana centers, and legal attacks against Harborside and the like, in 'Down In Smoke'. The work includes sound clips, which is brilliant.

Oakland, California. Ground zero for a medical marijuana fight between states and the federal government that has only been heating up. Incorporating real audio from activists, Cagle portrays what "feels like class war" as local growers, patients and city officials fight against losing their jobs, medicine, and tax revenue.

The whole thing is here, and it's fantastic. Susie has done some of the best reporting I've seen of the Occupy movement and related protests in America—she's been jailed and injured for it. The fact that her reporting is focused through the medium of comics is just so innovative and cool. She takes true risks for her reporting, and what comes out of it is insightful, informative, and funny. I just love her work.

 My Dinner with Marijuana: chemo, cannabis, and haute cuisine ... A rant on marijuana dispensaries, and the quest for a living wage in ... Pot legalization is on the ballot in three US states. What happens ... Osama bin Smokin'? Marijuana found at Abbottabad compound ... Read the rest

Four comics panels that never work

Here's Mark Waid's fitting tribute to Wally Wood's "Twenty-Two Panels That Always Work" -- four panels that don't. Also available as a handsome print, suitable for framing and display near to one's drafting table.

Mark Waid's Four Panels That Never Work (via Making Light) Read the rest

Patrick Farley reboots Cloverfield

The great (and maddeningly erratic) Patrick Farley has a typically awesome new comic up: "Cloverfield Rebooted," in which the monster's true nature is revealed.

Cloverfield Rebooted (via JWZ) Read the rest

Comic legend Mark Waid on the medium's future

Turnstyle's Noah Nelson interviewed comic book great Mark Waid, longtime creator of adventures for Superman, Batman, Spider-man and The Incredibles. He's now mastering the format's transition to digital media such as the iPad.

“That doesn’t change the image but it completely changes the context of what the story is.”

Take the comic Waid wrote for Marvel’s new “Infinite Comics” line. A hero hurtles through space, a red-orange blur behind him. When the reader swipes the screen, the page doesn’t turn. Instead the image shifts focus. The blur becomes the fiery cosmic Phoenix, the X-Men’s most deadly foe.

“I got news for you, I’ve been doing this for 25 years and this is the hardest writing I’ve ever had to do,” Waid said.

Be sure to play the audio at Noah's article: it's fantastically produced. Read the rest

Doonesbury has a new protagonist

Doonesbury has an official new lead character: Alex Doonesbury, the daughter of Mike Doonesbury, who has been the comic's protagonist for more than 40 years. Writing for ThinkProgress, Alyssa Rosenberg does a great job of summing up Alex's appeal, and what it means to have a new generation at the fore of one of the most significant, long-running comic-strips in America:

Daily cartoon strips may not get as much credit as they ought to for shaping the cultural zeitgeist, but throughout her life, and mine, Alex Doonesbury’s been one of the best female characters, of any age, in any medium. She’s a child of divorced parents with a complicated relationship with her mother that made her mature and self-protective rather than the victim of cliche trauma, and loving, collaborative tie to her stepmother, a Vietnamese refugee adopted by American Jews. In addition to both of these women, Alex has a father who spars with her on politics, works with her on business projects, and treats her like a mature person with worthy ideas. She’s been a full member of the cast almost from her birth because she was that important in Mike’s life, and she became so in ours. Alex is a computer genius without falling into sexy hacker tropes, and her skills brought her closer to her parents and all the way to MIT, a point of pride so fierce that MIT students rigged the voting to win her as a fictional fellow student. And her love story with Toggle, a disabled veteran with less education and a decidedly different family background from Alex’s own, has been part of Doonesbury’s transition into a more expansive portrait of American life.

Read the rest

Comics Rack: The Hypo, Snake Oil #7, Drama and Turtie Needs Work

Happy Read Comics in Public month! In honor of the world's fourth favorite made-up geek holiday (August 28th -- happy early birthday, Jack Kirby!) here are some picks to help you get started on your outdoor sequential art consuming skills. This time out, we've got something for the history buffs, something for the kids, something for the metal heads and, of course, something for the unemployed turtles.

The Hypo: The Melancholic Young Lincoln By Noah Van Sciver Fantagraphics Books

That’s short for “hypomania,” Lincoln’s self-prescribed melancholy, a lifelong battle with depression that hit like a ton of bricks in the young lawyer’s mid-20s. For those who have had some trouble accessing one of the most mythologized figures in American history (a category I'd imagine applies to most of us), Noah Van Sciver offers a pretty good place to start -- a young Lincoln moving to a new city, confused and awkward in love and life, given to bouts of darkness and moody poetry. It’s a short small snapshot of the future president’s life -- and it’s in this limited scope that the book finds its success, not beholden to the birth to death summations that often entrap graphic biographers. Instead, The Hypo's relatively limited scope afford the cartoonist the ability to approach the historical giant as a human, offering an empathetic examination of a troubled individual destined for greatness. Read the rest

Music industry, in sum

In three four short panels, the Oatmeal does a fine job of capturing the problem and promise of the music industry in the 21st century.

The state of the music industry - The Oatmeal (via Reddit) Read the rest

Your coloring-in assignment for the evening

I looked at this and thought, "there is probably a lawsuit going on somewhere over who owns this art", then began laughing hysterically. Ah, but no! It just sold at auction for $657,250.

Todd McFarlane’s original art for The Amazing Spider-Man #328 (Marvel, 1990) brought a World Record $657,250 on July 26 as part of Heritage Auctions’ Signature® Comics and Comic Art Auction in Beverly Hills. The artwork, showing Spidey demonstrating his awesome new powers on the Hulk, is now the single most valuable piece of American comic ever sold at auction.

“This is an earth-trembling cover illustration and an equally magnificent price,” said Todd Hignite, Vice President of Heritage Auctions. “McFarlane’s art brims with the raw energy that sky-rocketed McFarlane to the top of the industry and, now, the top of the auction world.”

Read the rest

Trying to hack the rules of wishing

Today's XKCD, the "Eyelash Wish Log," is a bit of design fiction that implies the story of a too-clever-for-his-own-good protagonist who tries to hack the rules and regulations of wishing. It reminded me of Stephen Gould's excellent YA novel Jumper, which rigorously and thoroughly maps out the possibilities of teleportation (which was adapted into a movie that, unfortunately, omitted most of its charm).

Eyelash Wish Log Read the rest

"Childhood Sale," a video about letting go of your comics collection

[Video Link] Filmmaker Casimir Nozkowski, whose work we regularly feature on the Boing Boing in-flight TV channel on Virgin America, tells Boing Boing:

I just made a new short movie about me trying to sell ALL of my childhood comics... IN AN EPIC STOOP SALE.

Here are some of the emotional states I went thru while making this movie: nostalgia, liberation, catharsis, melancholy, confusion, elation, regret, enthusiasm, depression, somewhat dazed...

And finally confirmation that at 35 it's good to get rid of childhood things and not bad to feel a little sad doing it.

Read the rest

XKCD reveals your visual perception quirks

Today's XKCD, "Visual Field," is a terrific mind-bender: a series of optical experiments to try with your computer's screen and a rolled-up piece of paper that demonstrate the quirks of your visual field: your blind-spots, your ability to perceive detail, night vision, the ability to perceive polarization, sprites and floaters, color perception and so on.

Visual Field Read the rest

Fables 17: Inherit the Wind

The latest installment in Bill Willingham's astonishingly, consistently great, long-running graphic novel series Fables is volume 17: Inherit the Wind.

The premise of Fables lets its creators use any mythos, any tradition, any narrative, and mix and match as necessary, and Willingham and his illustrators continue to show that these possibilities are indeed endless. While the long arc of the story continues in this book -- movingly along very snappily and satisfyingly -- the real delight is that what that Oz, Dickens, and highbrow narrative theory all climb around on top of each other in a squirming puppy-pile of greatness.

If you've been following the story for all these volumes, then you can rest assured that the Fables are really cracking along -- but you can also be assured that you'll find all the characteristic funny asides, meandering noodly mini-tales that are there for the sheer exuberance of the thing, and sly asides are not set aside for mere plot.

I'm told that this story definitely has an end, but it's hard to imagine. As Fables subsumes literally every other story ever told, and as Willingham shows no sign of boring with his creations, I can easily imagine reading this until Willingham breathes his last (and may that day come a very, very long time in the future). If he keeps writing them, I'll keep buying 'em.

Fables 17: Inherit the Wind

See also: My reviews of the previous volumes Read the rest

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