About Me

A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Funnybook Roundup Sunday

DC Comics recently reversed a decision to go to $3.99 pricing on some books, and all regular monthly titles are now $2.99.  Which is a good thing. Except that a couple of story pages were dropped. 20 pages is still more than the 17 I can remember a long time back, but not 22 or 23. But I am still doubly thrilled because at least one of the pages will be used to restore letter columns to the books.  I loved letter columns. Even had some published back in the day. We will see if they print good letters and bad, or if they use it to have some real dialogue, but just the idea of seeing them back thrills me no end. Even on a limited basis, pushing feedback and dialogue to your readers in the comic instead of having people pull it by visiting a forum or bulletin board or whatever is a welcome return to a better way of doing things.

If the opening issues of the new Superboy series are all that can be good in comics, the first issue of threw Shazam is every bit the opposite. If you haven't picked up a book involving Shazam in a while you'll be surprised to know it isn't Billy Batson and Mary any more; he and his sister lost their powers and a non-entity named Freddy Freeman has. The issue quickly devolved into a fight scene with a demon (well, at least acts a lot like one) who's being double-crossed by Mary in a plot to take Freddy's powers. No real closure, and it is instantly going to crossover with another title. I shan't follow the crossover or be back for issue 2. 

The new team of JT Krul script and Nicola Scott-Doug Hazelwood-Scott Koblish on New Teen Titan is still on probation. Issue #91 winds up a somewhat incoherent plot about a mysterious dude doing genetic experiments on high schoolers with an extended fight scene, evil mastermind gets away. Not good. But there is enough decent characterization about the Titans to keep me interested and reading. Then again just a few issues into the new team and the to be continued is in an issue of Red Robin. I am not sure I am up for a crossover, as inclined to not buy Titans as to now have to start buying Red Robin. We'll see...

On the Bongo front...  I do not like Simpsons mash-ups either on the show or the comic as I have said in my funny book roundups many times before. And yet I loved -- loved!!! -- Simpsons #175. Homer buys a magnet to pull his car into his garage. Homer is soon telling a judge "It was the nineteen seventies. That short time between 3-D movie fads!" Turn the page and Lisa Simpson is green, doing her best Kermit the Frog imitation, and we are off and running with mash-ups of The Muppet Show, Little House on the Prairie and The Rockford Files. I even liked the mash-up of Little House, which I never would have gone near in the seventies. 

Simpsons Super Spectacular tends to disappoint, so happily issue #12 is at least good for the standards of that book. The lead story takes off amusingly enough from a Dial H for Hero thing, and the lead and back-up story both get to be kind of silly, but a kind of silliness I can see others liking even if I didn't entirely.  While not one of the best Simpsons experiences it does exemplify one of the best Simpsons traits, happily working on multiple levels where a younger reader might enjoy the antic energy while I notice they're using Dial H for Hero as the touch-off point and using a more obscure hero like Black Lightning with as much zest as some of the more prominent. Simpsons #174 was an average issue for this book, which is not a bad place to be.  Lisa is saving an owl, Homer is being used by Mr. Burns to drive down property values, Bart is being Bart.  Not the heights of the issue that followed, but more than good enough. Futurama #53 is a good issue of a series often much better than just good. 

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