Posted 31 October 02007 - Permalink
Posted 31 October 02007 - Permalink
Wolverine #58: Really liked this Doc appearance- kudos to Marc Guggenheim. The verbal sparring between Doc and Tony Stark on the SHIELD helicarrier was excellent. Even an Enitharmon the Weaver mention for the old-schoolers! Doc making a pop-culture joke always makes Neilalien wary- every character in superhero comics can't be a snarky Warren Ellis protagonist- but the Star Wars Jedi-mind-trick was fun. Enjoyed Logan's bar afterlife, and Doc's unique ability to meditate upon it and visit, and help Logan against the angel of death. Logan fighting the angel of death every time he needs a big regeneration was an interesting new mythology, but a Wolverine fan would be more qualified to complain about it than Neilalien. Chaykin's art is solid storytelling, literally solid/chunky- maybe a few too close-ups on sets of eyes felt repetitive.
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #24: "One More Day". Neilalien marked out for finally getting the resolution to Straczynski's scene way back in Amazing Spider-Man #42 when Doc had an "appointment with death"! But all is not forgiven: Spider-Man cast a spell. He just repeated the Latin words Doc says. As you know, this is one of those Neilalien Pet Peeves on the level of Doc's Cloak of Levitation appearing in his astral form. Thanks for showing that any idiot can do Doc's powers and use his talismans, that they require no special visualization, skills or training. Remember the healing meme here that Doc can't heal Aunt May, because there will be a quiz on it later. Joey Q's pencils on Doc are once again sweet, except for one nitpick on the big splash page- the overdone Cloak without gold trim evokes Spawn. Loved the old-school cover, but clearly, it's false advertising: this is not the one comic to read if you only read one this decade.
Fantastic Four #550: A more-interesting-than-standard Doc guest appearance, on the metaphagorical level as Doc, the FF, Silver Surfer and Gravity perform "surgery" on Eternity to save the Universe. Neilalien's mixed re: the stumbling upon Doc battling hand-to-hand with a sea of universal antibody Mindless-Onesques. The cool: Doc's already out there fighting, instead of the usual inanity that would have been the FF going to the Sanctum for help, and finding Doc in his pajammies unaware of a threat to the universe. The eh: Immersing himself into a physical brawl is not Doc's style. He would either elegantly avoid the goons for a surgical strike, or go in with his muscle allies like the Defenders or Spider-Man to fight the grunts in a classic brain/brawn team-up. The panel showing only the Cloak with an energy blast coming out of it was interesting.
X-Factor #24 "Endangered Species" backup story: Doc takes Beast on a nothing-to-report tour of Beast's alternate-universe selves to show him that the events of House of M are everywhere and not easily reversed/unwoven from the multiverse's fabric. Doc's merely a vehicle here to show Beast fans some fun alterna-Beasts. Don't know if those are astral forms doing the dimension-hopping- but (a) if yes, the Cloak appears, and (b) the white-liney form does nada for Neilalien, it evokes too much "technical" for a mystical form, like a television screen picking up a bad signal (in fact the same white lines in the art are used in a panel for television monitors).
Spider-Man Family #5: With the help of a talisman and a Darkhold page, Morbius steals Doctor Strange's power in an attempt to heal his friend Dr. Hammond of Lou Gehrig's disease, which allows serpentine baddies into the dimension while Doc is neutered. Really liked the Clayton Henry art and Blambot lettering- Lee Loughridge's moody Vertigo palette felt a little reddy in spots. Doc's magickless for most of the story, but not useless, with psionic-not-magical flying knives and martial arts and staff, that was good. The "forced summoning" of Peter cracked Neilalien up. For Doc scholars searching this website for "unconscious"- yep, for the record, this book in yet another instance when Doc gets knocked out- the guy's gonna have to retire like Steve Young. The yellow and red vest did nada. Neilalien was entertained- the classic brawn/brain jokester/straight man Spider-Man/Doctor Strange team-up button was pushed. At $5 with two reprints he owns already (Marvel Team-Up #21 and Amazing Spider-Man #179), not a bargain.
Onto the major issues: First, it's a bit horrifying that a non-mystical pseudo-vampiric punk like Morbius could pull off stealing the Sorcerer Supreme's powers and leaving the dimension defenseless. It's a great idea, and it doesn't have to be an impossibility. But can we at least have a mystically-oriented character do this? Note that you can't simply plug in anyone: it has to be a morally grey character like Morbius, who would do a bad thing for a good reason. But who else? Another opportunity for Neilalien to complain about Doctor Strange's dire need for a decent rogues gallery, supporting cast and low-level human sorcerers.
Second, the thing about healing.
On Doctor Strange and Healing. Let's try to define this. (A) Should Doc be able to raise the dead? Of course not. (B) Should Doc be able to speak with the dead, or let others speak with their loved ones? It's happened lots of times (Imei for Wong, Uncle Ben for Spidey, consulting the Ancient One, booty calls with Dead Girl, etc.), so okay- but it kicks any writer in the nuts trying to do a murder mystery for Doc when the deceased are on speed dial. A mystical villain could block the communication, or we could make the communication more dangerous- it's a quest into Hades, zombies or Baron Mordo get to return from the dead, the Nightwalker things from FNSM #24, etc.
(C) Should Doc be able to heal his own hands? Neilalien says no. It's a psychologimagickal blind spot for him. The only person who could have healed them was his superior, the Ancient One, and he had other plans for the man.
(D) Neilalien says that writers do need a line where Doc "can do no more". Xandu's chick in Marvel Team-Up #21 (reprinted in SMF #5), Aunt May in "One More Day", Morbius' friend in SMF #5, etc. Their body wouldn't survive the vigorous healing magic surgery, Doc can sense that the person's death is crystallizing as a destiny being set in the space-time continuum, etc. Or if Doc saved the person, then *that same person* would simply die soon of something far more heinous, as their "number is up" and Death will not be denied its prize. Or make the healing a big fat difficult quest, like saving Wong in The Oath.
Which brings us to (E): Should Doc otherwise have regular healing as a standard part of his repertoire? Yes! What an asset. It might explain his ability to stay in fights if he could heal himself. He sadly can't heal everyone off the street- it would exhaust him for his more critical dimension-protecting duties, or it won't cure the person's real problem (their bad diet, their marriage stress), etc. He's conjured water to splash on an exhausted Namor a zillion times- what's the big deal?
Which brings us to what annoys Neilalien: Exhibit (F): In Spider-Man Family #5, Doc says that he can't help Morbius' friend because if he healed him, then the disease would transfer to an *innocent* person in some kind of karmic law of thermodynamics. No no no! What a crappy cosmology to set up. Maybe that's how someone into the Dark Arts like Mordo might heal an ally, via parasitism- but a White Arts healing method has to be possible. It's not only a cheap way to dodge Doc healing Morbius' friend- it opens a Pandora's cootchie. Say that Hammond's too far gone. Say that if Hammond were healed, a truck would just disembowel *Hammond* next week. Say that Doc's read the tea leaves, and he cannot tamper with this destiny. There must be ten other ways. But this story limits the very concept of the good guys' magical healing in the Marvel Universe too much. Under this cosmology, can Doc even guiltlessly repair a Clea hangnail now?
World War Hulk #4: No surprises here. Doctor StrangeZom gets his few good hits, then he's the Illuminati jackass again and innocent lives are threatened that the star of the book saves, and then the star of the book wastes StrangeZom. Nothing offensive to the Doctor Strange fan (the broken hands neutered any magical edge, and Zom was difficult to control, so it all made sense)- #3 was already a huge unexpected pleasure for the Doc fans- we can't ask for more. At this point, Neilalien's just curious how it all ends- hopefully it's not Sentry-centric.
What If? Featuring Planet Hulk #1: Notable here only for showing a Doctor Strange death on paper, his flesh blasted off by a Hulk-wife controlled Black Bolt. If one of you Neilalienistas bought this book for this incident, then you're a sick collector-monkey- but please scan the skeletonizing page and email it to him. :)
Cable & Deadpool #46: High hopes for both a fun and competent appearance by Doctor Strange in the next couple issues of this series, if the great grumpy last-panel cameo here is any indication.
Posted 30 October 02007 - Permalink
Marie Severin is recovering from a stroke [Blog@Newsarama] [Pro reactions collected at Silver Bullet Comics; Comics' First Lady bio from Clifford Meth]
Her first superhero work at Marvel was a Doctor Strange story. Get well soon!
Beefcake Appreciation Week: Sexy Strange [Continuity Error!]
John McCrea art: Doctor Strange as pimp [ComicArtFans]
On Mystical Amulets and the Guardians of the Universe [Eclectic Commons]
Doctor Strange vs. Yoda [Pentheus]
Are Superhero Comics Near-Exhausted? [Comics Reporter]
Why should Spider-Man after 40 years be any less prone to diminishing reboot returns and running out of ideas than Everybody Loves Raymond after ten?
Something in their Form that Dooms them: Times Literary Supplement snobelist says colorful heroics and caped melodrama innate to comics form [Gad, Sir! Comics!]
"[T]he current Marvel Universe is bogged down in some weird Orwellian dark age where the heroes aren't heroes", the books are not escapist (and late), and the villains are nowhere to be found [retailer at ICv2]
Compressed versus decompressed storytelling: when kids actually had a lot to read each month [Comics Should Be Good]
Marvel/DC's bread/butter superheroic monthly singles "still frighteningly inaccessible to the casual reader"; renders the system zero-sum [The Hurting]
The latest example of comics increasingly combining sex and violence: Tigra, bikini and all, getting beaten up by men to a roomful of cheering men in New Avengers #35 [Myriad Issues]
Comics: An Idiosyncratic Examination (Part One) [Blog.Kobek.com]
Part Two: Phonogram as Ideal Comic [Blog.Kobek.com]
Also: While the immediacy of the medium is great, superhero comics and art comix are also both rendered mostly sucky by creators who can't get into fields with higher barriers of entry than comics.
16 Types of Retcons [Lorendiac]
The many ways those shrinking characters can get inside your brain and do shit to you [Polite Dissent]
Peter Paul's allegations of fraud against Hillary Clinton, and the destruction of Stan Lee Media by Bill Clinton, get new airing in Hillary Uncensored documentary [World Net Daily]
In trailer to new anti-Clinton movie, Peter Paul baselessly suggests connection between anti-Clinton lawsuit and detention in Brazilian jail [Media Matters]
Apologies for the late plug, but if you're looking for something wonderfully geeky and artsy to do on a rainy weekend in NYC: "We're Rollin', They're Hatin' is a large-scale contemporary art show that examines the role of Dungeons and Dragons, Escapism and Fantasy in contemporary art and culture. The exhibition is an art show and interactive platform to explore how artists are influenced by fantasy and roll[sic] playing games."
Johnny Bacardi, one of the elder statesmen and nicest people of comics blogging, and he who wrote the reviews Neilalien almost always agreed with so Neilalien didn't have to write reviews, retires upon reaching the five-year point [The Johnny Bacardi Show]
May your amulet never tickle, Johnny! What may have taken its toll: Running out of things to say about the nihilistic comics of the day-- and a "comics blogosphere" that's evolved-- as everything naturally does-- from a place with small-town amateur kitchen-table cross-blog-conversation charm-- into a metropolis so wondrously long-tailedly huge, talented, and diverse-- but so malformedly power-curved, fragmented, looking-glass self-commentboarded, and charmlessly group-blogged-- it must be an unfriendly place for those who have lost their internal motivations to be part of the din self-expressing into the void-- or for those who receive little of the external types such as positive linklove, free comics/access, or corporate acquisition/hosting.
Posted 27 October 02007 - Permalink
It's a Doctor Strange Creepling! [Howard Hallis]
Posted 18 October 02007 - Permalink
Coming in February 02008: The Nearly Complete Essential Hembeck Archives Omnibus
Stan Lee mentioned on last week's 30 Rock
It happened so fast and funny that Neilalien couldn't compose himself to collect the dialogue, but Tony Isabella snagged it:
Devin [Will Arnett]: Are you familiar with the Church of Practicology?
Jack [Alec Baldwin]: You mean the cult that was invented by Stan Lee?
Devin: I mean the religion founded by the alien king living inside Stan Lee. It is my faith in Practicology that has helped me uncover my true, straight self.
Posted 14 October 02007 - Permalink
Dream Team: Spider-Man and The Creeper [Sporadic Sequential]
Who is Steve Ditko? [Daily Texan Online Op-Ed]
"His artwork made an impression on so many people that they respect him too much to impugn upon his wishes [for privacy]."
The Family Dog's Charlatans/A Tribute to Doctor Strange 01965 handbill "from the very first psychedelic concert held in San Francisco" was on Ebay recently [Ebay]
Comics journalism suffers from the dependence on "access" just like political and celebrity journalism [Comics212.net]
Interview with David Yurkovich and Mike Mantlo re: their excellent Mantlo tribute book [Pulse]
Diamond Readies ComicSuite For Fall Release [ICv2]
Diamond's on the cusp of offering an inexpensive computerized POS (Point Of Sale (barcodes)) system that will have a big impact, allow better needed tracking of the DM [Brian Hibbs Tilting At Windmills]
More On That Diamond POS System, Including One Retailer's Reaction [Comics Reporter]
The trends, barcode systems being one, that are killing small press comics in the Direct Market [Permanent Damage]
Will stores sell something without a barcode now?
Posted 11 October 02007 - Permalink
Lots of Doctor Strange this week! [previews of some of Marvel's 10 October books at CBR]
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #24 ("One More Day"; sweet Quesada pencils on Doc again, like Daredevil #5; another preview on Newsarama w/comments); New Avengers #35; Wolverine #58; Fantastic Four #550; X-Factor #24 ("Endangered Species" backup story).
Coverage of Morrison, Kring, Mignola and Lethem at New Yorker Festival panel entitled "Superheroes: Up, Up, and Away" [Comic Book Resources]
Update: More coverage [GalleyCat]
Caped Fanboy Battles Surprise Villain (Tim "Heroes isn't indebted to comic books" Kring) at Superheroes Panel [Vulture]
VicSage.com asks Questions of Greg Rucka [VicSage.com]
Editorial: Face/Fight/Flee The Future! Talking About Webcomics [Comics Reporter]
Posted 8 October 02007 - Permalink
Spider-Man co-creator has secret identity [Franklin Harris column at Decatur Daily]
The Question: Objectivist flighting style! [Scans_daily]
Does Stan Lee keep saying he "considers" Ditko Spidey's "co-creator" just to yank Ditko's chain? [I Only Lurk Here]
Lee/Ditko's 5-pager "Dream World!" from Tales to Astonish #26 December 01961 [Tom Brevoort's Marvel.com blog]
Fred Hembeck love note; on the Ditko documentary [Tom Brevoort] [direct link to new Hembeck Spidey art] [direct link to Hembeck 'the people caught in Spidey's web' art]
Update: Hembeck Creeper vs. Spider-Man
Posted 6 October 02007 - Permalink