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JasonT

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Family Tree #1-I wasn't that much of a fan of this book. It's definitely not bad and is well-written, but I feel like I've seen this from Jeff Lemire before. It reads very much like a cross of Sweet Tooth and Royal City.

I mean, if you want something safe from Lemire that you know he can do a good job with the premise, you'll know what to expect. It's not as if the comic book world is overflowing with these types of plots.

It's not that I didn't like the story, it's just that I don't see much here that makes me want to continue reading, because it feels like well-worn territory from Lemire.

Still, if you love Jeff Lemire's creator-owned writing, I'd say you would enjoy this book. I just don't feel I need another series to collect, unless I find it unique.

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I liked Family Tree.

It sets up a much darker tale but definitely in the same vein as Sweet Tooth.

 

I read Vampire State 1 and 2 and it's not for me. Nice storytelling art as you'd expect from Charlie Adlard, but that zombie film in that tall building was more f.u.n.

 

Marked by David Hine and Brian Haberlin is enjoyable in the hinterland betwixt Warren Ellis goth superheroes and Umbrella Academy. 

Oh and nice teasy end to BH/JLA miniseries.

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Re-read Jamie Dleano and Richard Case's Ghostdancing from the old Vertigo days. It was fun. A bit much of the trippy hippy stuff but I loved Coyote Old Man's character. Really liked the ending too, which sets up for future tales, but I doubt that will ever happen. 

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Don't know if I've mentioned it in here before, but I reread Rob Rogers' Enemy of the People last night.

He's an editorial cartoonist who got fired when the paper that published him went aggressively pro-Trump. It's a quick but depressing read (as collections of cartoons often are), though the most worrying thing about it is that the book was published by IDW, rather than one of the non comics publishers who are known for their coffee table books.

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I read Brian K. Vaughan's Swamp Thing run after picking up the digital trades on sale a couple weeks back... and it was... competently average. I enjoyed Tefe's anti-hero characterization (which is honestly what kept me going with the book). The two issues where she encounters her fathers were highlights, but I found the bulk of the supporting cast Vaughan built around Tefe forgettable caricatures and a good deal of what happened in his twenty or so issues just blurs together.

I was annoyed by his penultimate storyline where he sets up some future plot threads that he immediately waves off with a line of dialogue in the next issue cause the book got cancelled, I imagine I'd be a wee bit more incensed if I'd been buying his run when it was coming out.

If nothing else, I wouldn't mind seeing some writer (well, maybe not all writers) take a crack at bringing Tefe back. There's much potential with her character that I feel Vaughan only brushed the surface of.

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With all the talk about Iron Man 2020, I think most comic readers have forgotten another comic that revolves around the year 2020....2020 Visions by Jamie Delano!

Can we see Delano revisit his dystopian America of 2020 during this year, along with Marvel's revival of Iron Man 2020?

How well did Delano predict that far-away year of 2020 back in the '90s? I don't think that well.

I don't remember any predictions about a megalomaniacal sawdust Mussolini farce running the country.

He was probably closest with his satire of Christian fundies anti-abortion story...I think that's pretty close to what's going on in Georgia now....

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Just gone through Barbara Slate's Yuppies From Hell trilogy. Bit less topical than the Delano, but probably a lot funnier.

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I read a few older things recently:

 

The Judge Dredd and Lobo crossover. It was mostly just a simplistic Lobo story with Dredd showing up for a panel every couple of pages and barely interacting with Lobo at all, the antagonist is kind of forgettable and it felt like a bit of a wasted opportunity.

Finally read all the Devlin Waugh shorts written by Smith. I definitely enjoyed "Mouthful of Dust" as an interesting little story, but Bite Fight was dreadful, it made Devlin into a snarling beast that got easily caught by the bad guys, used in cage fights and then easily knocked out by Dredd.

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Mark Russell is going to be writing a Captain America one-shot as part of this Kurt Busiek Marvels spin-off project also. Russell on Cap should be very, very interesting I would imagine.

Coming this Spring....

Jeff Lemire will be returning to the Black Hammer Universe with another mini-series. One that sounds promising.

Kieron Gillen has a new series coming up from Image. That should be worth a look.

Plus, Mike Mignola (and Scott Allie) will be writing a Knights of Saint Hagan mini-series (this ties in to the Hellboy Universe).

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I am enjoying all the Joe Hill horror books, which are horror,  and the latest one I started, Plunge, just surprised me with its opening issue.

Nice to have spooky ghosts and scifi on the scene.

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It was released? When? I never saw it on any of the new comics lists, and it certainly never showed up at the comic store I visit.

 

Nevermind! I went to that other comic book store....the one that no one ever goes to...oooh, spooky!...and they had two copies left. So, I bought one. I just mentioned that they had two copies. That wasn't supposed to give you the idea that I actually bought both of them. Just in case anyone thought that.

So....I wasn't that impressed, to be honest. I feel like I've seen this done before (even by Russell too). I feel that Russell is better when he uses a lot of humour and satire, and maybe doesn't make that commentary so much the whole meat of the plot.

I enjoyed the first couple of pages, where it was just Russell's usual biting satire against the plutocracy and our dystopian world.

Then, when he kept going, and it stopped being funny, it sort of lost me. There was a series from Image not too long ago about a "Punisher from the Occupy: Wall Street movement" taking revenge against the Capitalist fat-cats who were untouchable by the law*, and this book steered a bit too close in that direction.

*The One % it was called.

Plus, do we really need to turn these characters in to super-villains? I give him credit that he doesn't treat his ruthless billionaire antagonist too seriously, unlike that supposed parody of Trump from that late unlamented Cali-Exit series, which just took you right out of the fiction.

However, it does sort of defeat the satire when the villain is, basically, Lex Luthor.

I think it shows a problem with short-sightedness in these types of stories being done in comics that they always return back to stock superhero tropes.

At least that series from Image, what it lacked in subtlety, it accomplished in avoiding making the series steeped in morality battles of "good versus evil".

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I wonder if Peter Milligan's Tomorrow comic is going to be postponed now?

It's about a virus which kills off all the world's population over a certain age, leaving only the youngsters alive.

It might be considered a bit too close-to-home with a virus that is largely (although not solely) a threat to the elderly.

Vertigo canceled Ellis' "Shoot" after the Columbine school shooting, and a number of comics were rewritten or postponed after the 9/11/01 attacks, due to fears of the American population being too sensitive.

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20 hours ago, Christian said:

I wonder if Peter Milligan's Tomorrow comic is going to be postponed now?

It's about a virus which kills off all the world's population over a certain age, leaving only the youngsters alive.

They should keep it going just to see what Milligan saw in the future - maybe we can learn something. But seriously, it seems the virus part got covered in the first issue, and it's too late to cancel that, i think we will move forward to the repercussions and see how the young generation moves forward. I thought his portrayal of different generations and the main character being on the autism spectrum basically, was ballsy and honest. 

Isn't it a bit similar to when a bunch of writers had smoldering rubble of collapsed buildings BEFORE or right around 9/11. I hope the sunspots are ok - Grant Morrison mentioned in his book that every 11 years we change the phase - btwn bummer and happy. Now we are close to the end of the happy. God damn you Morrison, why do you have to be so clever?

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When exactly were we ever happy?

It seems that something wants us to know that the future isn't going to get better. The beginning of every decade in the 21st century has given us more trauma.

A lot of people called the 20th century a "nightmare century". So, we finally got to the 21st century. Then, 9/11/01 happened....they made sure to let us know not to have any hope. The economic collapse happened in 2008, but that was close to 2010, and the economy was still in the gutter come 2010. Now, we get to the "far future" of 2020, and by March, we have the worst pandemic since 1918. Yeah, something's trying to tell us something.

Anyway, that's completely off-topic.

Yeah, I have a feeling that Milligan's series isn't going anywhere happy, so we might not want to see where his predictions are taking us with this book!

I thought it was a good first issue and well-done, but the premise is kind of dubious to me. Is the next generation of humanity going to be better than their elders? Haven't we addressed this multiple times in our actual history? Everything was supposed to change with the '60s generation, then we got Yuppies and Reagan. Generation X wasn't exactly as politically motivated to change the world as the hippie-generation, of course, but we were supposed to be more enlightened about things like race and sex and peace....then, we got Trump. Now, we have the millennials. They're tired of the way us "old folks" have fucked up the planet, and they're not going to make the same mistakes, right? Yeah.

Part of the problem too is defining an entire generation with labels. Sure, there was a politically-motivated youth generation during the 1960s, but they were also a minority. Same with millennials today....Sure, there's the one who say that "boomers messed up the planet", but there's also the alt-Right, which is also of major appeal to millennials.

You're going to get activists wanting to make a better world and people wanting to continue the status quo and people who just don't care and want to be left alone to live their own lives in any generation. I don't expect that will ever change. So, the premise of Milligan's plot seems kind of dubious to me.

He's made an entertaining story out of it, but I feel you have to use suspension of disbelief for the premise.

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I think maybe he wants to examine not answer that question - whether they will do things better? The obvious answer is no, and Milligan must know it would be too naive to think otherwise. It would be also too preachy just to point out "listen to your elders, they may have fucked up a lot - but they have also learned something from their mistakes". 

I think the interesting angle here is the autism and how technology has shaped the younger generation. What kind of world would they build? Maybe they are immune to the techno-virus because they have neurological changes because of being exposed to technology so much? I'm not sure what he is trying to say here - but i'm curious and trust him to avoid being cliche or ignorant.

I really liked and was impressed with how he handled the techno virus in The Names. He does his research.

 

I don't know if happy is the right word,  but i do think the 2000s were a horrible downer (and time of a lot of shitty gritty comics) and 2010s were a big creative upswing and positive, lighter themes (Squirrel Girl?? I didn't read it but that would never fly in the 2000s). Now it seems like we are going back to gritty realism and being worried all the time.

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Oh, in the comic book world? Yeah, stuff like Mark Millar's Civil War were just a complete downer. Really hurt the Marvel Universe for a number of years.

It was nice to see some comics that were more fun, where everything didn't have to be treated so seriously. Although, there was still stuff like Marvel's Secret Empire cross-over, which harkened back to the "shitty gritty".

Nice term for the 2000s, by the way. The "shitty gritty" era of comics!

The techno-aspect of the story sort of confused me, but you might have gotten the point, yeah. I was thinking, "Surely youth would be effected more than those older by something involving technology." Seemed weird to me. It may be based on neurological changes though, and one of the main characters being autistic may definitely point to that being how we're supposed to read it.

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There is always some overlap 🙂 not all of 2000s were shitty ( Ennis Punisher Max) or even gritty (umm.. Nextwave? X-Statix. All-Star Superman!) but about 90 % ratio is probably true for both decades.

Glad you like the term 😄 it just came out out of writing fast

 

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I dunno if you can really separate out Nextwave from the gritty shittiness of the tweenies, though, as it was a blatant send up of that stuff.

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It did have a direct reference to Civil War, so you may be right it's a riff on grim and gritty/ heroes fighting heroes ( or are they heroes at all? The doubt.. the regret..). It might be just Ellis going agains the grain."Ruins" from the 90s is the same thing, but in reverse - a grim take on silly superhero ideas if i remember correctly

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It actually had a "Not a Civil War Tie-In" issue!

I remember that issue sold out at the stores, because gullible fans thought it was a Civil War tie-in, and stores didn't order enough copies for the sales bump.

So, I had a hard time finding that issue, even though I never had trouble finding copies of NextWave outside of that issue.

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There's a lot more to that comparison than the goat licking accusations aimed at Miller, though. It's a comic about a rogue black ops team fighting a government backed corporate conspiracy who are testing WMDs on the population and are headed by an evil genius who isn't seen until the final issue but is an obscure good guy from a cult comic who's turned nasty while he was out of print: done straight it'd have been exactly the same sort of shit Marvel was taking seriously at the time. In fact, if you just described the plot (rather than the jokes) people might be surprised it was written by Ellis rather than Bendis or Miller...

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It does sound like he is throwing a bunch of cliches of the time together - but unlike some other "top" writers of that period - he is aware of the humor in it.

The silver age - not so innocent in the 2000s. Robin? Nah, he is a killer now (or whatever that was with Red Hood). Dr Light - you think he is silly huh? No.. he is actually a rapist... etc. It makes sense that he would use an old character turned EVIL now..

Also, the colorful cartoony art really helps to separate it from the muddy brown palettes of the time. 

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