A world with superheroes might seem like a fantasy, but it is actually a bleak nightmare.
We’ve all at points wished superheroes were real. Whether it be through childhood whimsy or a casual thought while watching an Avengers movie, it’s graced our minds before: “Man, it’d be so dope if superheroes were real.” We picture the thought of walking around New York and seeing Spider-Man swinging around or possibly turning on the news to hear about the exploits of Wonder Woman. Granted, more often than not we have this imagination with a caveat of “and I also had super powers,” but occasionally we just want to live in a world where super people are possible. Where billionaires spend their money on saving the world, not just squeezing more and more money from it. Where the little guy can go on to do amazing things, like punching a world-shattering dictator in the groin. On the outside, it feels like a world of hope. A world of justice. A world of HEROES! *Cue Stan Lee cameo*
“Every Mutant Ever” drawn across six comics might not fly on Krakoa.
Post contains mild spoilers for House of X and Powers of X.
Post also contains gluten.
Early last month, Marvel officially relaunched their line of X-Men books with X-Men #1. These books are spinning out of the super exciting and critically-acclaimed (and sometimes kind of culty) House of X and Powers of X combo mini series. Under the banner of “Dawn of X,” Marvel is kicking off the new generation of X-Men books with six titles released over a month and a half: X-Men, Marauders, Exclaibur, New Mutants, X-Force and Fallen Angels. If you happen to be curious about how I feel about each of these, you can find out on my podcast, Cover B, where I talk about each of these. Today, however, I’m not going to be discussing the titles themselves. Instead, I want to talk about the connecting covers by Mark Bagley.
Coffin Bound from Image Comics deserves a place at the absolute top of everyone’s reading list.
Let’s chat about my new favorite book. I’ll just go ahead and say it outright: if you have any interest in comics, Coffin Bound needs to be on your radar. This book is INCREDIBLE, and while only two issues in at this point, it has absolutely blown me away. I absolutely cannot express enough how much love I have for this book. Stop reading this. THIS IS TIME YOU COULD BE USING TO GO BUY COFFIN BOUND AND READ THAT INSTEAD. WHAT ARE YOU DOING? GO GO GO!
…..Okay maybe I should elaborate a bit more.
On the surface, Coffin Bound doesn’t seem like anything that hasn’t been done in the scope of neo-noir before. Our protagonist, Izzy Tyburn, is targeted by a notorious killer and hits the road as the killer pursues. Along the way we meet various criminal groups, crime bosses, down-on-their-luck people just trying to get by, and various forms of sex, drugs and violence we’d expect from the derelict landscapes surrounding the story, populated by dilapidated buildings and absolutely covered in litter and graffiti. However, the surface is where familiarity stops, and as we dig deeper the true surreal nature of Coffin Bound blasts its way into our brains.
We get it DC, Batman is popular.
So, here I am reading through a new comic I was super excited about: Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #1. Written by Matt Fraction, this book is a fun and very self-aware romp of cheesy dialogue and wacky scenarios. Overall it was a fun read. Then the book closes with Jimmy moving/being kicked out of Metropolis. Where does he end up? Well, Gotham City of course. Yes that’s right, Gotham: The home to such well-known superheroes like Flamebird, the Creeper and Freight Train. Also, there’s a dude dressed like a bat who has a severely hard time dealing with grief.
Anywho, as I read the end of this book, I thought back to something I recently heard at a symposium (twitter rant) by the enlightened sage of the comics industry and hobby podiatrist, Rob Liefeld,
DC Comics gonna drive off a cliff here real soon…..gotta get my popcorn…
I ain’t never seen a company in as much disarray as DC Comics. Thank God they have Batman to act as their Tylenol, Asprin, laughing gas… ‘more Batman will fix it!
~ Rob “Notice Me” Liefeld
Now, I don’t agree with Rob’s general message: That DC is somehow in the shitter and desperately grabbing any Batman themed rope they can to keep from tipping over the edge.
But there has been an AWFUL lot of Batman lately…
Lemme tell ya a little bit about one of my favorite comics.
Lazarus, written by Greg Rucka with art by Michael Lark, is a phenomenal book. It’s set in a dystopian future where the world has been divided up amongst various pharmaceutical “families.” These groups control their portion of the world, running things how they see fit in caste-based societies that range from generally utilitarian to full on tyrannical. The series focuses on Forever Carlyle, who is the Lazarus for the Carlyle family.
From time to time, it’s good to salute the fine, hardworking men and women that give life to the comics we know and love.
This week I wanted to point out Phil Noto. Currently, Noto is doing a run of Marvel 80th Anniversary variants that combine to make the absolutely lovely full image posted above.
Interesting trend in covers this week. It seems many people just wanted to go about their day and enjoy their lives when suddenly SOMEONE SNEAKS UP BEHIND THEM AND FUCKS ‘EM UP PROPER.
Me thinks comic characters really need to be more aware of their surroundings.
I like to think this is a metaphor and the comics industry is trying to keep us mindful of the truth. It’s a new year, and we’re all making resolutions or introspectively planning out how to better ourselves. It’s nice to be reminded that you’ll be strolling along with the best intentions when life and the real world will pop out from behind a bush or partition and kick you in the spine. Gotta be ready for that.
Thank you, comics, for reminding us all of the inevitability of getting ambushed from behind!
Good lookin’ out.
On second thought, this could be a cry for help. Comics industry, are you okay? Do we need to call someone? If you need assistance, next week have your covers featuring characters blinking twice. That’s how we’ll know.
Poor comics industry. I told you that you were hanging with a bad crowd.
Scenario: Your friend of many years, someone who you have shared many laughs and hard times with, possibly even been intimate with, dies. A few years later, you find that someone has exhumed your friend’s body and later find that this person is actually alive after all, though you aren’t entirely sure how. How would you react when coming face to face with that person? Bursting with joy? Overcome by sadness? Generally overflowing with questions?
Well, if you’re a member of the X-Men, you’ve definitely had this experience…. Probably a few times. I mean, the X-Men have a tendency to just up and die only to be back later like “what’s for lunch, guys?” It’s understandable that after a few times losing teammates to hell or giant space bullets, you’d probably get a little desensitized at some point. Case point:
Things I am thankful for:
- Fallout 76. Thank you for reminding me that even things that I love will one day disappoint and betray me.
- Donny Cates. For showing that sometimes the best way to create something new is by simply cramming two old things together and going with whatever the result is.
- Netflix. Thanks for doing that jumpscare intro for a month or so around halloween. It’s good to know my heart is still healthy.
- Leftovers. A month from now I will have something to do when I open the fridge, see the dozen or so tupperware and say “oh, ew, we still have leftovers.”
- The 2018 Election. Thank you for showing that we live in a country where a state that is very evenly split between two parties will receive mockery and ire from the rest of the country instead of being praised as a prime example of democracy at work.
- Keyforge. Randomly generate names for decks in an incredibly random card game? Cool idea. Who knew it would be the source of such simplistic comedy.
- Food Network Cooking Challenges. Thank you for the opportunity to sit and be loudly judgmental of someone else’s culinary abilities and choices. It’s the perfect accompaniment to my microwaved Spaghetti-O’s.
- Sony’s Spider-Man. Not really anything funny to say, just thank you. The whimsy and joy this game gave me was remarkable. I felt like I kid again the whole time. I can’t wait to play the DLC.
- My three cats. Honestly, that whole desire to have a clean home was just getting in the way anyway. Good lookin’ out, cats.
- Bradley Cooper. Thank you for making the bar of attractive male so incredibly high. Seriously, I was worried it would be too easy to be considered attractive. Handsome, funny, great beard, Well educated, multi-lingual, talented actor, talented voice actor and, thanks to A Star is Born, musically talented both on an instrument and in voice. Awesome. Thank you SOOOOO much, you ass.
- The Haunting of Hill House. Thank you for bringing the hidden ghost concept to mind so now I can’t watch any show or movie or even walk through my own home without looking for subtle ghosts hiding somewhere.
- White Barn 3-Wick Candles. It’s nice to have an addiction that at least smells good. Still an addiction, though. Seriously. This is a cry for help.
- The people of New Orleans. I thought I knew what drinking was, but you guys showed me there is just like a whole other tier of drinking I didn’t know existed.
And of course, I am thankful for my awesome friends, wonderful family, and my lovely wife. Thank you to all those people for being in my life.
Now I better start cooking or those friends are going to beat me.
Occasionally, a cover comes along that just perfectly summarizes the direction the comic market is going oh so perfectly.
Case in point, Marvel and this week’s cover to West Coast Avengers #1.
Let’s look at the characters on that scooter, real quick:
Hawkeye (Kate Bishop) = Solo Title – Cancelled – Last Issue 3/7/18
Gwenpool = Solo Title – Cancelled – Last Issue 2/28/18
America Chavez = Solo Title – Cancelled – Last Issue 2/28/18
Quentin Quire = Team Series (Generation X) – Cancelled – Last issue 2/21/18
Fuse = Brand new to the series, was also in Kate Bishop’s solo series (?)