DC News & Views/ PLAN Diego Crossover: The Aftershocks


So, as you might have heard, I spent most of the past week in gorgeous San Diego covering the biggest convention of the year. As such, all the “news” for the week has already been reported on this site. Not much purpose in me repackaging it here, right? Nope, not much at all. Plus, I still owe everyone one last column from San Diego, a wrap of sorts. Thus, in the interest of giving you the most bang for your buck and my exhaustion, I have merged the two.

Also, I had a bit of what I might label a meltdown after I returned from San Diego. I sat down and my computer and quite literally could not write one more word about comics. It was like blood from a stone and my mind was in no mood to help me in the least. And that explains the delay.

So, up here, I’ll give you my views and random recollections from San Diego and then, down below, I’ll give you the reviews and such. Here we go!

Looking Back

I read comics, I write for a website about comics, and I edit that website as well. As far as geek cred goes, I should be pretty comfortable with myself. For the most part, I am. However, I can’t help but feel like a bit of a… fraud at these events.

For one thing, there is the whole dressing up. Up until a week ago, I didn’t even know what the heck “cosplay” meant (it means “costume play”, by the by). Even if I did know what the term meant, I certainly wouldn’t have participated in it (and no, the suit was not me trying to be Lex Luthor. As I told the countless people who asked, I’m not Lex, I just happen to have no hair). Beyond that admittedly small group of fans, there are those with encyclopedic knowledge of comics (a trait that I, despite editing Who’s Who do not share) and their almost slavish devotion or opposition to certain characters. I rarely buy anything at all from the floor and what I do hardly qualifies as big ticket items.

It is odd thing to say, but it is kind of intimidating to be a reporter amongst people who almost certainly have more knowledge of comics then you do. In the real world, it makes no difference to me. But there, man did I feel weak.

Don’t worry though, it was not all that depressing. In fact, most of SD was quite fun. Big ups to Jamie, Danielle, and Jimmy for helping with the coverage and for just being great people.

Now, here are my highlights:

-The DC Panels were almost a 180 degree turn from last year’s. Last year, both Ben (who was sorely missed this year) and I commented that while Marvel’s always seemed loose and fun DC’s were reserved and stilted. What a difference a year (and a few best selling books) make. They were joking, light hearted and relaxed throughout. I’m not sure if there, “We’re all friends here” comments are entirely accurate, but I will tell you that their interplay on stage sold it 100 percent. And let me again say that Steven Wacker is wicked cool.

-Seeing the Superman Returns footage was probably the highlight of our coverage. Others included the news about the Fontana/Chiang collaboration, the Ex Machina film announcement and Stephen King on a comic.

-On a more personal level, it was great to speak to Geoff Johns (very briefly) again, as well Brian K. Vaughan, Greg Rucka, and Dan Jolley (interview to be up soon) for the first time.

-In case you didn’t know, I learned the Six Flags closes down rides to totally f*** with you. Didn’t know that, did you?

-Robots are still awesome and, with that in mind, Transformers is coming in 2007.

-Wedding Crashers is an entertaining film and the perfect way to detox from four days worth of convention coverage.

-Andy Lee is the man to talk to if you ever want someone to assure your girlfriend that it meant nothing that you were in bed with another woman.

-The Hyatt makes REALLY strong rum and cokes. Umm…err…a friend told me that one.

-There is an Ontario in California and it is need of velvet jumpsuit wearing singers.

-Southwest has no problem getting you through the first part of your flight on time. When it comes to the second half though… less successful. They tend to miss the goal by an hour or so.

-Covering comics day in and day out for four days is surprisingly hard work. Then again, my parents always said a little hard work never hurt anyone, so I think I’ll stick with it.

The Loooooooooooooooooooong Story of David Wong’s Sketch

At last the Comic Con, I ended up giving cash to an artist to make a sketch for me. Ben had gotten a Rogue for his lovely lady Megan from this artist, David Wong, and suggested I give it a shot. So, I figured, what the heck, I’ve never commissioned a sketch before and requested a Daredevil v. Bullseye (yes, I’m a total fanboy).

As it turns out David Wong is…easily distracted. Specifically by women. Any women really. Because of this, it wasn’t completed at the end of the convention. Actually, the sketch wasn’t begun by the beginning of the convention.

So, I gave him my address, tossed him some cash for shipping (don’t worry, I snagged a pre-completed Spider-Man sketch for that trouble) and figured I’d see it in about a month. When a month became two, I called Wong. After spending three minutes trying to figure out who I was, he recalled and said he was going to another convention that week but would be back the next. He’d start the sketch then.

I was annoyed, but only mildly so. I mean, it was only one sketch after all. It couldn’t take him more than a few days once started so, no worries. I called back in a month, expecting good things and…

Same song, different day.

He and I repeated this dance for the better part of about 8 months before I just kind of gave up. I was out my shipping and handling money. I wasn’t thrilled about it, but the cost of doing business and all that. Plus, with that Spidey sketch (which is actually quite nice) I wasn’t exactly coming out empty handed.

I forgot all about it until he called my parents’ home out of the blue last week. And did so at like 1 in the morning EST. After clearing up that he was sorry and he didn’t even think about the time zone differences, he left me a message. I called him back, left him a message and told him I’d just see him in San Diego.

I visit him on Thursday, he says to come back at the end of the day. I do. He still hasn’t started. He tells me to visit first thing Friday. I do. Still wasn’t started. Tells me to come back in a half hour. I come back after two. He has sketched out one of the heads. A woman apparently came by looking for a sketch. Finally, midday Saturday I stop by. The sketch is done. Heaven rejoices.

After all that though, you know what kills me most? The thing isn’t even that good. The Spider-Man one from last year is far and away better.

So, if I could make one recommendation to you, it would be this. Do not commission sketches from Mr. Wong. If you’d like to see a man hit on women nonstop, he’s your guy. Otherwise though…just don’t.

COMING ATTRACTIONS

EX MACHINA 13

A week after the movie deal is announced, it seems like a celebration to buy this book. Not like this book is every anything less than great anyway or I had needed a movie deal to celebrate that greatness. It’s just nice to have both, you know.

MANHUNTER #12

I don’t see this book hyped enough, so let me give it a try.

“Parents, lock up your daughters. Get the pets in the storm cellar. Prepare for the end of your comic consciousness because here comes Manhunter to blow the doors off your life. We hesitate to call the book awesome, not because it would be too over the top but because even that word cannot summarize the power this periodical will bring to bear on your life. When that guy said, “Whereas once I was blind, now I see” he was probably talking about this comic. Your three dollars pays for the whole seat (?!) but you’ll only need the edge!!!!!!”

Wow…think I have a future in writing solicitations?

OPINIONS ON THE WORK OF PEOPLE FAR MORE TALENTED THAN I

ALL STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN #1

If one can overlook how DC’s supposed goals with this series (a highly accessible iconic book for “new” readers, such as children) jives with a statueesque Vicki Vale in pink lingerie, this isn’t a bad read. I like that Lee manages to nicely meld his art with Miller’s sensibilities in that final shot of Batman. Actually artwise, I’m pretty pleased with this book.

Writing wise, Miller makes some small choices that I don’t love, but can get over pretty easily. The sniper attack on Grayson’s parents doesn’t improves his origin for me or draw the parellel to Bruce that I was hoping for. The idea of Bruce watching Dick waiting for him to become old enough to “activate” is a bit creepy even for Bats. Finally, the whole “welcome to the war,” thing makes Batman seem pretty heartless, something he does quite a nice job of in the main DCU thank you very much. But eh. They’re minor problems now and most likely won’t even be a thought to me in an issue or two. It’s a decent start overall.

BATMAN #642

Talk about a momentum killer. A Gabrych drop in does little to tie into the current dramatic thrust of Batman and thus is instantly forgettable and unnotable, except in its ability to rob Batman of its head of steam.

BREACH #7

A Villains United tie-in! I am all for raising this book’s sales by any means necessary, so I guess I can’t complain too loudly about that label. Except to say that two villains talking on one pages should not a tie-in make. Again, I’m just saying. Otherwise, no complaints here. Those kids weirded me out though.

JLA #116

Good issue! Much better than last month’s effort. GL still seems lost and purposeless in the story, but with all this story, it is not nearly as bothersome as his, “hey, just happened to drop and ohmygod are you guys fighting?” appearance in the first issue of the arc. Great Batman stuff, especially that, “You could leave” line. Poor Red Tornado though. I hereby nominate Jesse Baker to raise as much holy hell as he did when Vision had a rough time over in Avengers.

NIGHTWING #110

Oh, so that’s why it is a VU tie in. Because, in the third issue of the book to bear that insignia, there was a reference to Deathstroke. I get it now.

My sarcasm aside, I like the book. I’m just finding it harder and harder to buy, month after month, that Grayson wouldn’t think that “going undercover” under his real name was a phenomenally bad idea. Otherwise, I like it.

SEVEN SOLDIERS GUARDIAN #3

Nice juxtaposition between the silly (the evil doctor’s inner monologue is so over the top, it can’t help but make you laugh) and the serious (poor Guardian…the guy can’t win for losing it seems). The Seven Soldier project’s batting average must be like .750 by now. That’s damn good. So is this book.

Yay, I did it. I’m out of my funk. Maybe. Hopefully. See you next week.

Un Gajje cannot be summarized by some witty signoff.