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Thursday, May 25, 2006
  Forgotten Flagpole Checks, I Love You

Last week the missus discovered forty bucks (in check form) that I had forgotten about. Once upon a time that meant a trip to Twisted Village, or the beer haus; today, though, it can only lead to an impromptu comics splurge. Forty bucks at NEC got me these beauties:


AGE OF BRONZE Vol. 1: A Thousand Ships
by Eric Shanower

The experts love it. Eric Shanower’s won all tons of awards within the comics world, as well as accolades from archaeologists, historians, and Trojan War re-enactors. I’m no expert, except on what’s awesome, and Age of Bronze is most assuredly that. Shanower’s black-and-white art occasionally looks like something out of a Jack Chick tract, but without the intolerance and insanity that really make those books zing. It’s definitely a fairly classic visual style, in funny book terms, and one that’s utterly appropriate for the ancient subject matter. Story-wise Shanower takes it slow; the Greeks aren’t ready to shove off towards the Hellespont until the end of this first volume. He resists limiting each character to their most defining trait, a problem that helped do in that semi-shitty Troy movie from a couple years ago. Yeah, Paris is an obnoxious, pretentious brat, but Shanower succeeds in making him a fully developed obnoxious, pretentious brat. At first you almost want to feel sympathetic towards the dude, but that sympathy quickly becomes untenable in the face of his complete self-obsessed idiocy. The scene of Odysseus feigning madness in order to negate his oath beautifully foreshadows the depth of the personal tragedies he would be forced to endure. It’s also one of several moments that I assume exist in the original legends but that I was heretofore ignorant of. And that’s a part of this work’s greatness: it provides much background information that’s otherwise left out of the Iliad or mentioned only in passing, and that Homer probably would have expected his intended audience to have been familiar with. I was a minor classics dude in high school, going to GHP in Latin and shit, but I know I’ve never encountered a significant portion of the recovered folklore / history, and Age of Bronze is helping to fill some of those gaps. Shanower intends to make it seven books in all, but I fear he’ll be hard-pressed to finish. The book’s been coming out since ’97, and he’s currently only on issue #21. The first two trades both contain nine issues each, so if he plans to keep ‘em at that length we’ll be waiting on book seven for a few decades, at least.


DC: THE NEW FRONTIER Volume One
by Darwyn Cooke

Okay, yes, this is absolutely gorgeous. You should recognize Cooke’s work; he was one of the main art designers on the ‘90’s Batman cartoon. He also did that weird Wolverine/Doop two-parter that replaced the regularly scheduled issues of X-Statix a few summers ago. I sorta hated his Wolverine, but his DC work is absolutely undeniable. DC: The New Frontier is a beautiful and frequently brilliant jaunt across the DC universe, throwing references to and appearances by a remarkable number of DC characters into an overarching story that bridges the Golden and Silver Ages. It tackles some of the trickier continuity issues dealt with in the original Crisis, explaining why Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman continued to exist unchanged after the original Golden Age Green Lantern and Flash were replaced by new characters after years of dormancy. Name a classic DC property and odds are it’s touched on in The New Frontier, including non-superheroes like the Challengers of the Unknown and the Suicide Squad. The first chapter, in which Cooke touches on both war comics and ‘50’s monster books with a precursor to the Suicide Squad, is particularly brilliant. The highlight of this volume, though, is the extended sequence in Las Vegas, wherein boxing champ Ted “Wildcat” Grant takes on a young Cassius Clay in front of an audience that includes almost every other character seen in the book. They’re just kickin’ back in Vegas at the end of the ‘50’s, and it’s a beautiful thing. Finally, Darwyn Cooke should be mandated to draw every woman in every comic book ever for the rest of his life. His Carol Ferris is especially quite fetching.
 

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MESMERIZATION ECLIPSE RADIO:
Elliott is on AM 1690 the Voice of the Arts on Monday nights from 7-9PM for Radio Undefined
Crews is on WXDU on Tuesday mornings from ten to noon

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Dark doesn't want to own her, but he can't let her have it both ways.

Cocaine Bref is proud of his island heritage & will riff with you.

Elliott is sufficiently breakfast.
PS3 ID: ATLbloodfeast

Crog works in the bullshit industry in Hollywood. He was born on May 7th, 1978.

Jerkwater Johnson (friend to CT Jake Motherfucker) lives in San Francisco. He likes snacking, and the Mets, and is the proprietor of a bar called Duck Camp.

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