Archives

Music blog

Comic Blog Elite

Navigation Menu
a little bit of BK in VA

Posts Tagged "Grant Morrison Sucks"

THE BEST OF THE REST: MY TEN FAVORITE DC MINISERIES OF THIS CENTURY (so far)

So I did a top 10 of my favorite 1980s DC miniseries because the 1980s remain my favorite decade for comic books. I skipped the 1990s because there was Kingdom Come but not many other minis that really thrilled me. So DC, what have you done for us lately?

Here’s my faves of the 2K century.

And if you want to see the other entries in my miniseries of posts about miniseries, check out this link.

10. Arkham Asylum: Living Hell (6 issues, 2003)

I’m thrilled to be able to recognize Dan Slott. He writes “typical” superhero stories: Nothing metaphysical or groundbreaking, just damn good plotting and writing. People like Slott and Mark Waid can be overlooked when “great” writers like Grant Morrison or Frank Miller are being discussed, but they shouldn’t be. The stories Dan Slott writes are the meat and potatoes of the comic book industry.

In this mini, he and Ryan Sook went off the beaten path to focus on Batman’s rogues gallery. It’s funny, scary, and fabulous.

More

THE TOP 10 NON-MARVEL, NON-DC MINISERIES

I recently posted my ten favorite Marvel minis of the 1980s, and then a DC version—both looking exclusively at the 1980s, which I consider “the era of my youth.” Those were the books I read and reread, memorized numbers and creators, and obsessed over when I couldn’t get laid. Which was often.

My comic book reading is much different now, as is the business. The days of long-term numbering, casual cameos, and generalized hammy fun are long gone, replaced by an environment that uses miniseries primarily as “event books” to separate you from more money than your regular pull-list, or as storyboards for movie ideas. You really have to turn to the independent publisher, or Vertigo/Icon, to find the kind of innovation and risk-taking that Marvel and DC displayed in the 1980s with books like Watchmen, Dark Knight Returns, Longshot, etc.

And so turn I have.

But the world of indie books is vast, and my experience with it cannot possible be all-encompassing. Whereas I’m fairly sure I read 90% of the Marvel miniseries output of the 1980s—and probably 75% of DC’s—I can’t even find a comprehensive list of all the indie minis from that era, or any era. Plus, it’s really from the early 2000s to now—not the 1980s—that indie publishers really have been able to shine.

And so, there are my 10 favorite non-Marvel, non-DC miniseries, without a “year” or “decade” limitation…If I missed any of your favorites, please drop me a comment and I’ll certainly track them down and check ‘em out.

One more thing: I know that Vertigo and Wildstorm are DC imprints, and Icon is Marvel. But they’re also not DC or Marvel. So they’re here. So there.

10. Black Hole (12 issues) (Kitchen Sink Press/Fantagraphics, 1995)

Picking number ten is so hard. It means I have to make cuts. Some notable ones: Warren Ellis’ one-shots from Avatar Press under the “Apparat” imprint, which I discounted because they were really one-offs, not miniseries. Also, Ellis and Ben Templesmith’s “Fell,” which wasn’t intended as a limited series even though it only ran for seven issues. And a whole bunch of Grant Morrison because he can’t appear more than twice on the list—it just wouldn’t be right. I couldn’t include Punk Rock Jesus because it’s too recent to have had a lasting impact on me, even though I think I’ll be revisiting that book soon. I also eliminated Garth Ennis and Carlos Ezquerra’s “Just a Pilgrim,” because it’s a little too similar to another Ennis miniseries that did make my list. And this one killed me: I couldn’t include Butcher Baker, the Righteous Maker, by Joe Casey and Mike Huddleston, even though it was basically flawless.

So why Black Hole? Because, more than the others mentioned above, it is a truly different kind of book. In twelve issues, writer/artist Charles Burns created an entire world of horror and darkness. In short: An STD mutates teenagers into … Really horrifying creatures. It confronts sex, conformity, revolution, alienation—everything most people first turn to comic books to help them escape from. It’s comics-as-art, in the truest sense.

More

BERKELEY PLACE’S TOP 10 GRANT MORRISON COMICS!

grant morrison with his creations

This is probably the hardest top 10 I’ve made so far, mostly because he’s written a lot. A LOT. And it seems unfair to rate his corporate work against genre-busting experiments like Kill Your Boyfriend. Also, everyone who has a favorite GM story thinks that they’re right and everyone else is wrong. Like “The Invisibles” for example. People who love that comic LOVE that comic—like it’s their own child. But it didn’t work for me. I liked the first four or five issues, but then the series just seemed to drag on and the characters didn’t click. I didn’t hate it, but it’s not in my top 10. Or even my top 20. My shame about that has led me to try to reread it a few times, but I have to accept reality: I’m just not a fan.

But what do I like? Let’s find out.

More

MARVEL’S NEW #1 BUSINESS CYCLE, AND MUCH MORE!


Marvel is now in the business of cancelling and reviving series all the time.  Not a month shall go by without a #1.  Some books, like Hulk, are being cancelled in one month and brought back the next one with the same writer.  I’m not complaining—it helps me identify whether I want to read a particular arc, and it’s consistent with Marvel’s philosophy from way back in the Stan Lee days that “every comic is somebody’s first comic,” so every comic should be a jump-in point.  More details on some of these cancellalaunches below (at least the ones I’m interested in), but I wanted to take extra time for my favorite: X-Factor.

Peter David is back as the writer, with regular artist Carmine di Giandomenico.  The prior volume suffered from frequent artist changes (and fill-ins by, frankly, terrible artists).  Let’s hope Carmine is in for at least 6-10 issues.  The new team is corporate—kind of like that commercial iteration of New Warriors—and consists of Polaris, Quicksilver, Gambit, Warlock, Cypher and Danger.  No Madrox.  No Layla.  No Rahne. They were my favorites from the last X-Factor.  But Peter David is, in my opinion, one of the most underrated series writers in the business—so this is on my “must read” list.  Issue #1 was terrific: Part mystery, part corporate intrigue, all character driven…It’s exactly what I’ve come to expect from Peter David.  And CdiG’s art is perfect for this book: It’s realistic in a noir-ish way, enhancing the “mystery” feel of the title, but he’s capable of some “big” panels, too, busting out with action and being all explosion-y.
I love this book.  Thank you Peter David!
And now, other news…
STAR WARS COMES TO MARVEL.  Disney has decided that owning the Star Wars movies means moving the comics from Dark Horse to its own, in-house comic book creators: Marvel.  I haven’t read a Star Wars comic since the 1970s, when they were Marvel anyway, but I understand that Dark Horse has been doing a great job with the books so fans of the franchise might be sad.  But think of it this way: Now Rocket Raccoon can meet Yoda!
MARVEL’S 2014 EVENT: “ORIGINAL SIN.”  It seems like everything at Marvel is an “event” these days.  (Which is why I always enjoy books like Spider-Man and X-Factor: Not many events corrupt the creators’ vision and storyline.)  This year, they’re kicking it off by killing Uatu, The Watcher.  I’m not too happy about that, but if they handle it well it could be a neat little “space mystery.”  I just wish they didn’t have to kill Uatu to do it.  He was always one of those nice, underused characters that was always a welcome sight.  Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato will be the team behind the 8-issue, biweekly series that begins in May (with a “zero issue” in April from Mark Waid and Jim Cheung).  Nick Fury (the real one, not the lame black-kid-with-eyepatch-who-isn’t-Ultimate-Nick-Fury-but-is-still-Nick-Fury-because-of-the-movie Nick Fury) will head up the investigation. Oh, and you want new #1s?  Don’t worry.  Marvel promises lots and lots of tie-ins.
HULK #1.  And speaking of #1s, Marvel is finally pulling the plug on Indestructible Hulk.  I love Mark Waid, but his “Hulk as armored SHIELD agent” comic never really clicked.  Marvel is letting him try again with Hulk #1, where Waid will be paired with artist Mark Bagley.
MORE STUMPTOWN!  There have been a couple really good miniseries about Dex, the lowlife, good-hearted lesbian at the center of Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth‘s detective comic book, and Oni Press promises a third installment toward the end of the year.
INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US.  The DC digital-only book, and one of the best comics of 2013 [LINK TO MY BEST OF 20313 POST] has with the same writer (Tom Taylor) for a second season.  This time, the story will go beyond Earth into outer space. I can’t wait.  Injustice is probably the best-selling digital comic ever—nearly 2 million issues sold.
DOOP #1?  Remember when I said X-Factor #1 was the “one” I was most excited about?  (If you don’t remember, I just said it, right up top.)  Well, X-Statix creator Peter Milligan writing a new Doop series is a close second.  It’ll just be five issues and will take place during the Battle for the Atom miniseries.
IRON FIST #1.  Daniel Rand hasn’t had his own book since Brubaker, Lark and Fraction’s legendary “Immortal Iron Fist” saga (I don’t count the last issues of the series, which went out with a whimper not a bang by a different creative team), but he’ll return in March under the singular vision of Kaare Andrews.  The previous work of the writer/artist hasn’t been without controversy, particularly his Dark Knight-ish take on Spider-Man titled, Spider-Man: Reign, but his work with Zeb Wells on Doctor Octopus: Year One is one of the better comics of its kind (it won a Schuster Award in 2004).

Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham reteam on Nameless

IMAGE EXPO NEWS.  The only comic publisher that has its own comic-con, Image announced many exciting new projects for the coming year ranging from bizarre horror to slam-bang superheroics:
  • “Wytches” by Scott Snyder and Jock!
  • “Nailbiter” by Josh Williamson and Mike Henderson, about a serial killer who eats his victims’ fingernails.
  • “Airboy” a fact-meets-fiction-meets-fact comic about two comic creators who try to revive a comic about a Golden Age superhero.  The book will be created by and star James Robinson and Greg Hinkle.
  • Expansion of Robert Kirkman’s “Invincible” universe.
  • “Nameless,” a horror book by Batman, Inc., team Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham.
  • A sexploitation/women’s prison book called, “Bitch Planet,” by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro.
  • A new Cassanova series, moving from Marvel’s Icon to Image, but still by Matt Fraction and Gabriel Ba.
  • Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips doing…Whatever they want.  They signed a 5-year deal to publish anything they create, with full creative control.  Plans include new Criminal and Incognito books (like Cassanova, these were formerly under Marvel’s Icon imprint).  Makes you wonder if there’s trouble in the Marvel house vis-à-vis support of creator-owned products?
DEADPOOL IS GETTING MARRIED.  Normally, weddings are a good spot to put on water skis and sail over a shark tank, but Deadpool jumped long ago—during the last issues of Daniel Way’s run.  But sales are still good.  So it’s going weekly starting this month, side-by-side with an internet-only digital comic, all as a build up to an April 1st wedding issue (#27).  And yeah, I’m sure the Fool’s Day release date is intentional.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1.  The title is coming back in April, and the credits say it will be by “Superior” team Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos.  Of course Marvel’s not telling if this means Peter Parker is back, or whether Superior Spider-Man is ending, but it seems about time.  The Otto Octavius identity is unraveling, and the story is starting to wear out its welcome.  It’s still a great book—one of the best Marvel titles out there—but it’d be good to end it before we have a chance to get sick of it.  And on that note, I’ll end before you all get sick of me!
More

BATMAN INCORPORATED #13 AND THE END OF GRANT MORRISON’S BATMAN

IMG_5017Seven plus years in the making, this is how Grant Morrison’s Batman ends.  Gotham is on the brink of explosion.  Damian is dead.  Batman is wanted by the GCPD.  How will he get out of this one?

The influences of the recent film trilogy are evident here, and clearly intentional.  Like the movie, a long, brooding story ends with a huge knock-down-drag-out full of explosions and mayhem.  Hell, the final word in the comic book is “Rise!”

Morrison has said how much he admires Christopher Nolan’s films but, more importantly, he appears to be connecting on an artistic level.  Like them or hate them, there is no denying that Nolan’s films have a broad theme and a progressive character arc that logically takes Batman from inception to retirement.  So, too, does Morrison’s comic book epic.

And now that Nolan is done, someone else will reboot Batman and start all over–as if Nolan’s films never existed.  And so, too, is Scott Snyder erasing not only Morrison’s work but Frank Miller’s seminal, career-defining work on Batman: Year One.

Perhaps one of the saddest things about this last issue is the effect on Batman, Incorporated.  It was announced at the end of a triumphant, shattering run of Batman and Robin in which Morrison replaced Bruce with Dick and Dick with Damian, and made the DCU a better place for it.  Not so, Batman, Inc.  Unlike Damian Wayne and Dick Grayson’s Batman, who appeared all over the DCU, I don’t think any other DC comics even mentioned Batman, Inc.  Yeah, there’s that Batwing book but nobody’s reading it and it doesn’t tie in with anything.  So in this final issue of the series, Morrison has Bruce Wayne “quit” (for about a page) as Batman and fold his international organization after being told by Kathy “Batwoman” Kane to butt out of international affairs and stay in his Gotham City foxhole.  I can’t say with surety, but I’d bet anything that this is a reflection of Morrison’s view of the New 52.  He had a grand vision to transform Batman for the 21st Century into DC’s true flagship character.  The Nolan films only encouraged that plan.  And then Geoff Johns and his ilk decided to destroy everything, and suddenly there was no room for the gradual, decompressed character change Morrison had been engaging in for seven years.  Instead, he was forced to turn the character over to fit Scott Snyder’s grossly inferior vision. 

IMG_5019
It’s as if Morrison recognizes that no matter how well he writes, or how brilliantly he develops Batman, as soon as he’s done Bruce Wayne will be back in the cowl matching wits with the same old villains.

IMG_5027

But Morrison doesn’t appear to be bitter about it.  He makes lots of connections to what Snyder is doing.  He’s more matter-of-fact, almost Zen about it.  Enlightened.  Just like his hero, who proceeded through the steps of the Goat Herder to recognize and accept his own place in the world.

There are many who will dislike this issue for not having enough of an ending, or for not including Batman’s greatest foe, The Joker.  But all of Batman, Inc. volume 2 has been about the Ouroboros–a snake eating it’s own tail.  A circle that consumes itself.  Morrison makes the circular nature of his story clear in many ways: Both the first and last issues of Batman Inc. volume 2 show James Gordon arresting Bruce Wayne (although there are some continuity errors—Bruce is completely beat up in #13, but not #1).  The first arc involved mutated versions of man bats and Batmen, as does this last issue.  In this regard, having the book end with more of a whimper–and a promise of more of the same to come–makes complete sense.  By showing us empty graves, Morrison forces us to acknowledge that Talia and Damian will be back, even though we’ve not had any time to accept their deaths.

IMG_5023

A final word, about the “hole in things” that Dr. Hurt mentioned in his first appearance, in which he said that by being a bad guy, he was the hole that could never be filled: There will always be villains.  The words rang through Batman’s head during his journey through time, such that it started to seem as if Bruce Wayne was the hole in things: The hero, not the villain, was the one that could never fit.  But then he traveled through time and insinuated himself everywhere.  Therefore, in this last issue, we do believe there always has been, and always be, a Batman.  But there will always be villains, too.  The empty graves are both Damian and his mother: The hero who gave his live to save Gotham, and the villain who killed her son(s) trying to destroy it.

And so Morrison says goodbye to Batman and, soon, to DC Comics and all superheroics.  At least for a while.

Will DC be recycling Talia and Damian soon?  Sure.  I’d bet within the next 12 months.  But one thing is clear: Morrison won’t be.  He’s done.

More

Twitter

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 9 other subscribers