Suddenly/Meanwhile… | First Stop Havana, Go, Go!

In which Peter talks about Women employed by the Batman Incorporated, The Shadow, Who is Jake Ellis and other such things. He also goes off on a weird tangent about Matt Fraction and the Ramones which doesn't really make a whole lot of sense. But hey, you be the judge!

So next time in Batman Incorporated we have Argentina’s #1 crime buster El Gaucho team up to fight against “a terrifying new villain whose world-shaking master plan stretches across 2 decades, 3 countries and 3 interlocked issues, which also feature Batwoman, a whole new team of British heroes and the debut of The Batman of Africa, in a dark and twisted super-espionage thriller” This of course sounds awesome, and I’m very excited to read it. That said I’m noticing that with the exception of Batwoman, Batman Inc is looking like a pretty crazy sausage party.

Now, I’m in no way calling Grant Morrison sexist – far from it – I’m just wondering if any of his recruits will be women. I mean, wouldn’t it be great if we had an Israeli Batwoman? Hell, she’d probably have the best training out of any other recruits.

I love Grant’s female creations Squire and Boy (from the Invisibles) are up there with Hopey, Tara and (the newly added) Dex in terms of my favourite comic characters. Hopefully DC sees what a great opportunity to they have to create strong three-dimensional female additions to their roster.

I get interviewed by Jeffery Klaehn over at the Pop! blog, discussing comic retailing and what I hope 2011 brings to comicsdom. Special thanks to Marc Sims for making me sound like I quasi-know what I’m talking about. Thus ends the shameless self-promotion part of this column.

Did you pick up Who is Jake Ellis #1? You probably should. It’s a nice, quickly paced read with some amazing artwork from Tonci Zonjic. I’m not going to sum it up, or try to explain it because half the fun is reading the book. What I’d like to talk about is the art by Mr. Zonjic. Think Alex Toth minimalism with Krigstein’s use of panels.

This guy knows how to tell a story and Nathan Edmondson gives him a pretty solid script to work with,I’ll definitely be looking forward to the 2nd issue. There seems to be some pretty amazing artists that are coming out of Croatia right now, including he-who-chisels-in-ink Danijel Žeželj, the dynamic Igor Kordey and the best Punisher artist of the last decade Goran Pavlov.

If I wanted to read sycophantic praise or borderline incoherent complaints I’d go to the Newsarama forums. Sorry DC, I appreciate the drop down to 2.99 price point, but don’t feel that giving us a letter column is going to make up for the two pages of content that you’ve gotten rid of.

Again: maybe I’m not the type of person who grew up on the letter columns and thus have no soft spot nostalgia for it like some people do. I should, however point out that your entire company seems to be run on nostalgia for a past that – frankly – wasn’t that great. But the letter column is skipped by everyone except those who wrote it. I feel bad saying this because Steve Wacker seems like a pretty stand up guy, but the only time I read the Spider-Man letter column is if I misjudged the amount of time to reading material on a trip to the toilet.

It’s happened; it’s how I know that a young Joe Casey wrote a fan letter to the Helfer/Baker/Sienkiewicz Shadow run. Damn you gluten intolerance!

Sean Phillips breathtaking artwork before Jess Nevins article on Pulp hero G-8

I just don’t really think it’s that great of an idea. You want a better idea? Look to the back content of Criminal. Essays and reviews on great noir/pulp comics/movies/books, etc. I don’t know about you, but I’d love to have James Robinson write some back content, that’s maybe a smidge less self-congratulatory than his Cry for Justice stuff, about obscure stories, characters, etc. and how they tie in with what they’re trying to do. Think about it. It could help sell some of your SHOWCASE/ARCHIVES/CHRONICLES.

Speaking of the Shadow; how the hell do we not have a Shadow ongoing at this point? You’re telling me that DE hasn’t snapped up the rights? I’ll be honest when DC first announced their plans for First Wave, I was almost 100% certain that it was all a slow burn way to reintroduce ol’ Lamont into the DCU. My big thing was that the evil company Doc Savage/The Bat-Man/Spirit were fighting against was called The Golden Tree ..which would no doubt bear bitter fruit. Yes, I know, but c’mon I don’t see you trying.

In the meantime, you can always check out Franco Francavilla’s Pulp Sunday for a quick Shadow fix, or if you’ve got time dig through quarter bins to find some of the aforementioned Helfer/Baker/Sienkiewicz Shadow run. Check out the panel below for an idea of the morbid pulp glee that’s contained with the pages.

I think I’m going to drop Invincible Iron Man. I’m a HUGE Matt Fraction fan. I’ve been following him since he’d recommend the best books through artbomb. I think that Casanova’s two volumes are the most important series of the 00’s and I will continue to purchase just about any creator owned book that he does. That said, a lot of his recent Marvel output has left me kind of cold. I’ve been purchasing IIM in softcover, and frankly the recently released Stark: Disassembled just didn’t offer any re-read value to me.

I’ve always sort of equated, in my head, Fraction to the Ramones*. When he burst on the scene with Mantooth, it’s the equivalent to the Ramones stepping onto the stage at the CBGBs – just pure unadulterated energy and excitement to do something they totally love. Casanova is Ramones – everything is started to come together and you can tell that talent and passion are coming together to make something really special. Iron Fist is Rocket To Russia – something of an instant classic, that people (who truly love comics/music) are going to talk about and pass around for years to come. So I guess that makes Iron Man his End of the Century – an album that is more Phil Spector’s than the Ramones. Maybe it’s because Tony Stark is Marvel’s #1 movie draw. Maybe that causes it to have to be a bit looser so that it can fit in with the Marvel Universe more easily – after all the last three TPBs have all been major event crossovers, Dark Reign and Siege, so maybe when he’s able to tell HIS stories I’ll have more interest.

This is sort of heartbreaking for me, because I want to support pretty much anything he does. If you read the series in floppies, let me know if it gets better, because I’m really willing to give it another shot.  I’ll hold out hope because the Annual was an absolutely wonderful read.

*for the record here’s how the rest of them play out:

Ed Brubaker = Lou Reed

Alan Moore = Peter Gabriel

Darwyn Cooke = Charles Mingus

Brian Azzarello = Miles Davis (and I for one, cannot wait to get to his Bitches Brew years.. Spaceman, maybe?)

Grant Morrison = Aphex Twins

Garth Ennis = Bruce Springsteen

Warren Ellis = Brian Eno

Peter Milligan = Paul Simon

There are others, but frankly.. wouldn’t you rather do it yourself? Sound off on the comments below.

Peter DeCourcy
Peter DeCourcy

Pete DeCourcy is a man of many talents. If you have any questions or demands of him he can be reached via comment below.

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13 years ago

Oooh I love the idea of an Israeli Batwoman. Or a South Africa Batgirl, or someone completely different from say, Sweden.

Chris Howard
13 years ago

Not sure who should be more flattered, Moore or Gabriel.

13 years ago

If DC wants to cut the cover price and add content that isn’t a letters page maybe “Olympic Prizes or Cash” can get rolling again and everyone can call “Dawn” your friendly Captain O operator. They could also run full page ads for Sea Monkeys. If DC wants to get retro with a letters page, go full retro with old ads as well.

I might skim the first letters page to see what people are writing, but most times you can catch a forum or blog to see what people are thinking.

Walter Durajlija
13 years ago

Hey is this the same El Gaucho that tied up Wonder Woman 30 years ago. He claimed she was no match for a REAL MAN!