June, 2012 Monthly archive

Because a few people have asked what I think of Before Watchmen, besides “Everything and everyone connected to that project are beneath contempt,” I thought I’d collect my snappy comments in one spot before we look at some real comics:

Comic-book prequels to action movies are fine, but 35 issues about what happened before the start of Zack Snyder’s Watchmen seems a bit much.

The need to inject new blood, new ideas, new approaches, is the only thing that keeps our readers coming back for more.” — A 63-year-old corporate freelancer, who has not had a new idea in nearly 40 years, regarding a new slate of derivative works taken from a 26-year-old graphic novel. A friend just pointed out something that has always irritated me about this particular corporatespeak cliche; only the dangerously ill and outright dying need injections of new blood.

It’s a shame that the average fanboy is incapable for seeing the forest for the trees; Paul Levitz will still be seen as the evil bastard who pulped that “Marvel Mystery Douche” issue of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, among other senseless malicious things, and not as the executive who never had to reset the OSHA-style “____ Days Without a Transparently Desperate Stunt To Cash In and Reduce Our Highwater Mark as a Publisher To Just Another Pile of Our Usual Monthly Bullshit” sign in the office. Someone should do the math on this, how many days between Watchmen #12′s release and today; must be 8,000-something.

And now, actual comics: Al Wiseman!

It’s D-Day plus 68 years, so a nice army story seems in order.

Dennis misunderstands. The general takes a moment to set the boy straight. Interesting that Wiseman chooses to present this in a borderless, “open” panel.

I know I said I would start showing more sequences and pages of Wiseman art instead of just panels, but these are from the same issue of Dennis The Menace [#37, August 1959] as the Western story that I clipped. Sorry. Next time. Anyway, there’s the makings of a snazzy user icon if I never saw one. Speaking of which:


I love that you don’t even have to ask which set of Dennis grandparents these are. The one knock you might give Wiseman’s art is that sometimes he just didn’t care to get some sets of hands perfect, but it’s only noticeable when they’re close to a set he got right.

AW YEAH TOTALLY HOT FULL-PAGE ACTION. Not really wild about this layout, which pops up a lot in the comic books — maybe it’s just because it’s often used on inside covers and filler pages to present four of the Ketcham team’s daily panels. These just aren’t as masterfully staged/drawn as the panels generally were, although that drawing of the half-track on the upper right is amazing.

I bet you never thought you’d see a mushroom cloud and military transport choppers in a Dennis comic, did you.

Then everything goes bananas and then apeshit.

Provides a good counter to the argument that cartoony art can’t be used for “serious” genres, doesn’t it? The composition of that image of tanks on the move would have been a bit excessive for Alex Toth, but its cartoony realism makes it look like something he would have drawn for a DC war comic … ten to fifteen years later.

Even when Dennis learns a valuable life lesson, Henry looks even more beaten down by his awful life than he was before. I don’t spend much time in ’50s cars, but the interior of this one looks a bit off to me.

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A lot of webcomic talk in the world the last couple weeks; that NY Times article on Waid’s thing or Ellis’s interesting thing.  Ellis’s thing was decent— obviously, having made Freakangels, anything he’d say on webcomics is worth some thought.  But I feel like all the talk has been premised on scrolling being somehow defective… which … I guess I just don’t understand. Seems like talk for the olds, really— some teenager on tumblr who’s scrolling constantly going to have those same problems?  Doubtful.

— Abhay Kholsa

The Warren Ellis thing he talks about is here. It’s interesting to me that people are taking an “anti-scrolling” party line w/regards to webcomics, because we obviously doubled down on scrolling for the Study Group site.. But also because it just seems weird to me, I guess? The scrolling was one thing I took away from both Body World and What Things Do as being a strength of webcomics, or how those sites presented webcomics, at least. Scrolling comics also look great (to me) on an iPad or Kindle Fire..

I guess I also don’t have a lot of interest in “guided view” modes of reading comics or tapping a screen a billion times, but that doesn’t mean those ways of reading comics can’t be engaging and enjoyable in their own way. I would probably be into experimenting with that mode at some point, and I have a project boiling on the back-burner that’s very likely going to be a click-through, page at a time experience, so the 4-tier mode is worth noting on that level.

Still, the idea that scrolling doesn’t work on the web is refuted pretty deftly by Abhay’s citation of the Tumblr dashboard, as well as sites that utilize it to great effect, like BW, WTD, and perhaps SG itself (your mileage and all that).


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