Comic Books, Graphic Novels, Sequential Art, & you


OK I read volume 1 of the BLAME! rerelease y’all can release the second one now.



I have been pirating random bits from Bendis’ Ultimate Spiderman. Some observations:

-Ultimate Spiderman does reveal some discernable features of Bendis’ writing beyond wanting to bring snappy lingo to everyone in the Marvel UNiverse from Jarvis to fucken galactus. One of these is trying to set up some sort of little guy vs the military industrial complex theme, most obviously flagged by putting (already established Spidey nemesis) Norman Osbourne and his evil science corporation up front from the beginning. I mean I think he’s trying to go for like entrenched power and its malign influence on ‘just us normal folks’ like you and me. When he tries to push this theme by putting a 4-issue Kingpin storyline early on in the run it works quite well, with Peter railing at the world weariness of the grownups at school and the Bugle in the face of Fisk’s getting away with murder due to ‘the System’. Then he brings down the kingpin by using spidey powers to steal incriminating evidence and posting it to a Bugle reporter. It’s pithy and shows off the thematic potential of a young Peter Parker.

Elsewhere it sort of misses the mark. Sam Jackson Nick Fury, the Ultimates, and other SHIELD people such as Carol Danvers and the sociopoltiical power that they represent are a sporadic presence throughout the run. But they sort of function as weird psuedo mentors/big daddies that are constantly promising to induct Parker into the good old boys metahuman frat club when he’s old enough to share dirty jokes with . Importantly, Peter never tells them to just fuck off. Not putting Ultimate Spidey into explicit conflict, ideological or otherwise with them was a missed opportunity to echo the traditional diversity and broadness of classic Marvel.

  • random thought. Bendis was one of 3 big name indie/vertigo writers that marvel brought in for nu marvel (the other 2 being morrison and millar). He’s obviously the only one that stuck around/ was kept on or however the fuck it all works. Is he the strongest writer of the 3? Probably not but his politics are the least palpably weird, definitely.


So, Parker does have a problem with Fury until Fury and him come to an understanding. It’s not an all out brawl, but there is conflict.

I don’t know what era of Marvel you’re talking about where they only brought in 3 big writers, but yes Bendis was pulled in, and clearly not the ‘strongest’ of the 3, but the highlights of his career were mostly from the early Marvel days, Alias, Daredevil, and Ultimate Spider-Man. I mean also prior Torso, Goldfish,and Powers. He stuck around because he became a company man. Certainly Morrison never would, and Millar would never be a company man, true for other creators like Fraction or Remender. I think the only other guy they’ve kept around for a super long point (writer wise anyways) is Slott.


Torso is a really good comic, but has a couple of weird little anachronisms that nobody that didn’t live in Cleveland in the 1980’s will notice. Some of them are necessary (the area where the first body was found is now completely different, for example), but some are just little Cleveland related shoutouts. I’m OK with it, but it’s a little jarring in context.


So the new Humble Bundle of comics has The Eternaut, and is basically the biggest reason to pick it up. It also gives me hope that one day Mort Cinder will be translated to English and I will be able to recommend it to death.


Torso takes place in the 1930s. So are you saying locals were updated to what it was in the 80’s?


No, not that, just that there are references in it to Cleveland local ads from the 80s/early 90s (though the company is still around, so). Specifically, at one point a character calls the police station, but the phone number he uses is from an old local window company that had a ridiculously catchy jingle that was their phone number (Garfield 1! 23! 23!). Little local references like that that are completely not from the 30’s, but serve as little shout outs to Cleveland.

Also the location of the first murder is no longer really there (it was demolished long before the comic was written), so he relocated it to a park that is in my old neighborhood. Not really noticeable if you aren’t from the area, and he openly acknowledged doing it, so no harm or anything, but it was pretty strange when I first read it.

There was a bit of a resurgence in interest in the case in the 80s/90s, as I recall, that probably prompted the book though, yeah.


Have you read Tezuka’s Phoenix? It’s supposed to be his best work. I think it is 12 volumes long. I am on volume 10. He mixes mythology and science fiction in some very philosophical stories.


I read a bit of the old printing from the library but it was covered it shit / chocolate smudges so I decided not to. Seemed cool though.


My sister got me BLAME! 1 for my birthday and for the very first time in my many readings of this series, I spotted this plug on the far right of this panel.

Keeping my eyes peeled for the Quake logo to pop up next.


The Einsturzende Neubauten logo shows up in Monster.


As well as it should.


I am all caught up with Shinichi Sakamoto’s Innocent, the life of France’s premier executioner in the run up to and during the Revolution

It is ultratrash and it is to taste


I am digging through 100 bullets, it is a gem.



At first I was flipping out about how cool this would be, but I don’t know how well Aliens + neon gradients is going to work

Though I’m definitely going to find out


Today I bought two Gilbert Hernandez books and almost every page had a boner on it, further cementing Beto’s position as greatest living cartoonist.

I also bought Soft City by Pushwagner, and it is a gorgeous, gorgeous book.

The best comic I’ve read all year is Sir Alfred #3. I’ve read like…6 new comics this year, but over my entire lifetime I’ve read a whole lotta comics so believe me, this opinion’s worth something.


After insisting recommendation from my french friends I ended picking up the first volume of Last Man. The premise is a mix of a tournament arc (with fighting game like rules) mixed with “person from modern world goes to fantasy world.” With the twist that the “stranger” is not the protagonist of the story and he seems to know why (and how) he is there. Liked it enough to continue.

I also read again “Murcia” by Magius.

Really strange beast of a comic, but one of my favorite reads of 2015. Reframing of the politics and structures of power of the region of Murcia (the place I am from) as conflict between demonic cults. I like how it start showing how behind very mundane politic conflicts there are supernatural things, that in turn are used as a mean for even more mundane goals.

Also, the scene of the propaganda video of the terrorist group that aims for the independence of Murcia and the ban of christianism is a riot.


Guys the mask is nothing like the movie