Infinite Hiatus
Sunday June 23rd, 2013

Infinite Hiatus

Comic Critics blog

7/25/2012 – Just pretend I was in a hole for 6 months.

by Sean Whitmore

So, I’ve been a bit lax in doing these. I meant to do one about Amazing Spider-Man to go along with that strip, but my review could never decide if it wanted to be focused on the movie itself or on comparing it to the Raimi movie or on reboots in general, so I ran out of steam and let it lapse.

And at that point, Dark Knight Rises was almost upon us, and like most people, I was all “Amazing what?”

Anyway, to sum up: Amazing Spider-Man was decent, did a couple things better than the Raimi movie but overall not as epic. Dark Knight Rises was a fantastic end to the trilogy, but if you haven’t liked Nolan’s take up till now (and I can totally understand why some don’t), it won’t change your mind.

On that note, we chose not to focus on any of the common nitpicks of Nolan’s Batman (his lack of detective skills, his perhaps over-willingness to retire, that goddamn voice) and instead focus on the fans. Not all the fans, mind, just the ones that make discussing the Nolan movies so goddamn annoying. You know the ones. The ones that are a bit too into it. The ones who suck all the fun out of the discussion…and I’m gonna reiterate that part, because it’s vaguely important…the ones who take the FUN OUT of talking about BATMAN.

The idea came after what happened to critic Marshall Fine when he dared to post a negative review of the movie. If it could happen to him, why not previous Nolan-critic Marissa?

(And just to preempt any weird suspicions, none of this has anything to do with the tragedy in Colorado. Discussion of that magnitude really has no place in a strip as goofy as ours, or a blog as half-assed as this, except to say that our hearts go out to the victims, and that that guy should already be hanging from the end of a rope by now)


Quotable quotes from @JoshCritic:

“Dark Knight Rises saved a lot of time by adapting Dark Knight Returns, Knightfall, and No Man’s Land all at once. That’s bang for your buck.”



6/21/2012 – In Europe, the name of this strip has to be “HT”.

by Sean Whitmore

Man, GI Joe, World War Z, AND Ninja Turtles all getting pushed back? How’s that Paramount stock looking, guys?

(No, seriously, I’m asking. Google is being extremely unhelpful in the matter)

Like with GI Joe, there are several variations of the story floating around. Some report that the script isn’t up to snuff, others report that it just needs to be made less expensive to shoot, and some even say the thing’s been shelved indefinitely. And the only thing all those stories have in common is I don’t care about any of them. Or the movie. Or even Michael Bay making them aliens. Don’t get me wrong, I still think it’s dumb (for the same reason as Josh), I just…don’t care.

And I like the Turtles, I guess I’m just…satisfied with the amount of Turtle material we’ve already gotten? It sounds weird, I know, but I think I am. I loved the first two movies, I loved the Fox cartoon, I loved the Archie comics, and I loved the original comics (well, mostly…they got weird after the creators left). I even liked that weirdly-plotted CGI movie from a few years ago. And while the 80s cartoon as a whole does not hold up well, the first season and a half was pretty good.

Maybe it’s just reboot fatigue. I’d be a lot less apathetic if I thought a movie might have the Turtles meeting guys like Leatherhead, Slash, Armaggon, Man-Ray, Metalhead, or Wingnut & Screwloose. Or fight in the Intergalactic Wrestling circuit. Or team up with Cerebus or Usagi Yojimbo…okay, now we’re entering pipe-dream territory. But for them to be meeting April O’Neil and the Shredder again? Hell, push it back to 2020, maybe then enough time will have passed to make me excited for it again.


Quotable quotes from @JoshCritic:

“Avengers vs X-Men #6: In which the fact that I’m not reading the Iron Fist tie-in stuff in New Avengers comes back to punish me.”



6/15/2012 – You gotta wonder which Green Lantern pisses off the Midwest more.

by Sean Whitmore

My favorite thing about the kerfuffle surrounding the mystery GL being teased in Green Lantern #0 is how it’s begun to feed on itself. The first wave of responders criticized DC’s racial insensitivity in introducing a new Muslim character with a gun and what looks like a ski mask. And then the second wave of responders criticized the first wave’s racial insensitivity in immediately assuming any dark-skinned character with a gun is inherently a thug.

And we here at Comic Critics are never content to take a side when we can poke fun at both. I like how we seem to be unconsciously creating a continuity where Batman just doesn’t know how to react to black people.

I will say this, though. I haven’t given the image of the new GL a LOT of thought, but every thought I have given it centers on how ludicrously out of place the gun is. The people pointing out that other comic characters use guns are missing the point spectacularly, as those other characters generally do not have the “most powerful weapon in the universe” (direct quote from about 64% of all GL stories ever written) sitting snugly on their finger. War Machine has guns built into his armor, he’s not holding a gat.

(And if he ever was holding one, you can be damn sure he wouldn’t be holding it at an angle. Because, in the immortal words of the Punisher, “they put the sights on top for a reason.”)

Maybe it’ll turn out that there’s a great in-story reason for the gun, like it’s a badass space gun that shoots space bullets and fucks up space monsters. Or maybe it’s just got some connection to #0’s story and makes zero appearance afterward. I dunno. But that’s kind of irrelevant right now, since all we have to go on is this one image. Which is why you’ve gotta put a lot of thought into such images. Minus the gun, nobody’s having this conversation. Hell, even make the gun green and glowing, and we’re probably not having this conversation.

But hey, at least DC’s past the point where they’d rather scrap a story completely than publish one with a Muslim character in it.


Quotable quotes from @JoshCritic:

“I can’t wait for the issue where the Guardians have to update the Book of Oa with gun control laws.”



6/9/2012 – No, “Faerie” with an “e”, like Neil Gaiman would write it.

by Sean Whitmore

Someday, someone’s gotta write a comprehensive book about Jim Shooter. During his time as editor-in-chief for Marvel, there’s no denying he had an incredible impact on not just the company, but the entire industry. And depending on who in the industry you ask, this impact was either disastrous or fantastic or some mixture of the two. It’s pretty tough to find someone with real knowledge of the Shooter reign who doesn’t hold pretty strong opinions on the man. (Hell, it’s hard to find someone with hearsay knowledge who doesn’t have an opinion)

This strip goofs on Shooter’s policy of disallowing gay characters in Marvel comics, which resulted in the rewrite of a long-running Alpha Flight sub-plot. Northstar was still officially in the closet in those days, although creator John Byrne and later Alpha Flight writer Bill Mantlo would drop what hints they were allowed to make. Mantlo intended to go a lot further than hints, and over the course of several issues had Northstar suffer from a progressively-worsening sickness that was eventually to have been revealed as AIDS (Because he was gay, you see. Let’s not dwell on the appropriateness of the storyline as planned, lest we stray too far from our point).

Between Shooter’s policy and the Comics Code, the revelation was squelched. A new explanation had to be given for why Northstar was so sick, and Mantlo rose to the challenge by revealing that Northstar was actually part elf (or “fairy”, as it’s commonly told in the retelling. But again, let us not get bogged down by Mantlo and stay on-point). So he was an elf and he was dying of an elf disease and magic saved him and yay it was over. Northstar wouldn’t come out of the closet officially for another, what, 60 issues of Alpha Flight?

Some people take this and other instances (Google “Hulk” and “YMCA” and see what you find) as evidence that Shooter had a personal problem with homosexuality. I dunno, I think it’s just as likely he was afraid to go up against the Code or that allowing gay characters would lead to controversy that cost them readers. But the thing it, the reason why is largely irrelevant. If you’re the guy making the edict that _____ group is not allowed to appear in your company’s product, then whatever the reasoning behind it, you’re the guy who gets to hold the shit-bucket for as long as people care to recount it.


Quotable quotes from @JoshCritic:

“Before Marvel made an announcement about Northstar’s marriage, they should have made one reminding everyone he was still with the X-Men.”


6/5/2012 – Leave the “vulnerable to wood” jokes to Kevin Smith’s crew.

by Sean Whitmore

I can’t take credit for this one; the “Rainbow Lantern” line came from my girlfriend. And she doesn’t even read comics, so that she thought of it before me just goes to show how out of it I’ve been lately.

Prior to that, we didn’t have any plan to mention the Alan Scott thing at all. I didn’t have anything particularly insightful to add, and I really wanted to avoid the increasingly tired formula of  “prejudiced guy says something ignorant and our wise and evolved hero points out why he’s wrong”. I’m not saying we’ve never gone to that well (though we have always tried to add a little twist to the exercise), just that I’m conscious about not repeating it at every opportunity.

I’m kind of interested to check out Earth 2 now, where I wasn’t before. I mean…James Robinson has NOT had a great track record for, like, a little while now. But I like his approach to this change. It was precipitated by the realization that de-aging the JSA would remove one of DC’s existing gay characters from canon: Alan’s son, Obsidian. So why not balance the scales and make Alan gay? And when asked if Robinson would be writing this version of Alan any differen, his response has been simply, “No. He’s attracted to men, and that’s the only difference.” That appeals to me, as does the knowledge that Alan won’t just be “the gay one” on the team, swallowed back into the roster when nobody has a particular use for him.  (Northstar, I’m staring a hole right through you) No, he’s the square-jawed leader of this world’s premiere superhero team, and possibly the most powerful mortal on the planet. That’ll certainly make those “Gay Superheroes in Comics” lists less of a lame read.

Of course, anyone put off by DC’s “Look at us! Look at us!” patting-themselves-on-the-back parade, it’s hard to blame you. Promotion is one thing, but it’s not terribly classy to be THAT proud of yourself for doing the right thing. Act like you’ve been there before, y’know?


Quotable quotes from @JoshCritic:

“Wonder if the mainstream news is more surprised about the original Green Lantern being gay or about there being more than one Green Lantern.”