Thursday, July 26, 2012

Wednesday Is Heroic For All I Care #156

Bleeding Cool Magazine #0
Creator-Owned Heroes #01
Dungeons and Dragons: Forgotten Realms #1 (2012)
Hero Comics 2012 #1

Bleeding Cool Magazine #0 (Avatar Press, 2012, $1.49)
I stopped reading Wizard Magazine years before it finally closed shop, aside from the occasional quarter bin purchase or hand me down. The internet had rendered its untimely "news" worthless, and its editorial content was long the subject of industry wide derision. Bleeding Cool was exactly the sort of website that helped kill Wizard, and while I skim the page several times daily, their attempts at long form journalism raise hackles on their own comment board. It's a free avenue for gossip and snark, not something you'd pay money for. So of course, they decided to publish a sub-Wizard magazine without any of the bells and whistles (Casting Call, art commissions) that made the original tolerable, but with all the conflicted interest and insufferable hype.

There's an okay article on the Valiant revival, followed by pages of speculator baiting that incredulously includes Avatar's Crossed as a hot book to watch. There's a price list for The Walking Dead that's insanely unsustainable if it's even remotely accurate. Simon Spurrier is given space to try to talk people into buying Extermination, and then there's an article on BOOM! that makes sure to spotlight Bleeding Cool contributor Grace Randolph. The piece on upcoming summer movie blockbusters that includes 2013's G.I. Joe: Retaliation is entirely missable. By this point, I couldn't motivate myself to do more than scan the Brian Wood The Massive interview, the article on Atomeka (who just provided Bleeding Cool a free digital copy of their first new book,) or the piece on ShiftyLook. There's a strong interview with Len Wein on Before Watchmen that paid the price of admission, but then I checked out again over the three pages focused on Avatar's Crossed series. The final four pages are a list of retailers who carried this preview book.

I get my comics once a month through mail order, so that means I typically get the last week of Month A's books a week or two into Month B. I doubt this book would have felt relevant without the 5-6 week delay in my reading schedule, but its information practically rates carbon dating by the time I get to it. The writing isn't really up to snuff, though at least they seem to have run it through Word for spelling and grammar before publishing, considered a luxury for the web edition. There's too much cozying up to buddies and shilling for the publisher, but most importantly, it's just not that good overall. There's nothing between the covers that deserves to see print, like in-depth interviews, original art, exclusive comics, good ol' fan service, or anything else that provide old copies of Amazing Heroes and Comics Scene with an afterlife. The large font helps conceal a paucity of words, and the next book had about as much to offer in "bonus material" as this endeavor had as a whole...

Creator-Owned Heroes #01 (Image, 2012, $3.99)
I believe in the anthology format and creators uniting to offer an alternative to the ever more suffocating, executive meddling, test marketed ca-ca coming out of the Big Two. That said, this is just a different consistency of the same old indulgent shit sold as "daring independence" since the late '70s. American Muscle is post-apocalyptic car porn with hideous art by Kevin Mellon. Eleven pages barely puts forth a premise that ran out of gas around the same time as the barbarian fad of the '80s. I've never been fond of Steve Niles' Hollywood elevator pitches, especially when his idea of characterization is seven head shots with first names attached in captions. More than even the mainstream schlock, this kind of garbage is choking the industry, because it simply gives the impression that the only alternative to super-heroes is charging several dollars for a video game cut scene.

TriggerGirl 6 isn't much better, but it has nudity and pretty art/coloring by Phil Noto. If American Muscle is a Caliber Press throwback, TriggerGirl 6 at least does it one better by recalling Star*Reach/Pacific/First. Still, it's just a super babe trying to assassinate the caricature of a corrupt politician, coupled with a complete disregard for physics.

The second story ends where the staples bend inward, so C-OH tries to earn its extra dollar through a wealth of back matter. There's a page of editorial by Jimmy Palmiotti that poorly pimps his catalog and the book's conceit. His writing partner Justin Gray offers a more literate if scatterbrained stream of opinions. Palmiotti returns for a solid interview with Neil Gaiman. Steve Bunche (who?) fields two painfully overwrought pages continuing the hard sell of the anthology, and then there's a four page interview/pictorial with a TriggerGirl 6 cosplayer. I like vinyl as much as the next guy, but this seems premature, especially when her wig is compared to the comic art and diverges significantly. Steve Niles takes up two pages with the origins of American Muscle (hint: 3 a.m. AMC Mad Max rerun?) Two relatively sparse pages go to pictures of the book's various creators at conventions, because I sure want to spend money on that. A whole page is devoted to discussing potential cover layouts (not the art, but how the art would be presented,) and I frankly preferred the rejected bifurcated covers over the text heavy ladmag slop all over the finished product. Finally, there's a brief hype piece for Seth Kushner (not a review or interview, but just a resume elaboration.) This stuff ads* value (*Freudian typo left uncorrected,) but it's not exactly golden, and fairly pointless when you breeze past the forgettable comic content.

Dungeons and Dragons: Forgotten Realms #1 (IDW, 2012, $3.99)
A lightweight bit of farce involving two bumbling thieves and a conspiracy. The script has alright comedic timing, but falters as the plot kicks in, indicating that the best has come and gone. The art got the job done, but no more.

Hero Comics 2012 #1 (IDW, 2012, $3.99)
This year's edition was kind of a mess, as evidenced by a throwaway Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles short being the best of the fictional offerings. I frankly didn't get the presumed humor of "Four Fine Days During the Zombie/Robot War." The Red Star story was okay, but just kind of there. I don't know what the Elephantmen tale was all about, except for seeming to take one intricate Dave Sim drawing and zooming in and out of portions to create static panels of various resolutions carried by caption boxes. The pin-ups were fine, but the highlights were as usual the one page biographical features on how the Hero Initiative has assisted creators in need like Tom Ziuko, Russ Heath, Alan Kupperberg and the late Robert Washington. It's a great cause, and seeing their actions illustrated makes the purchase worthwhile.

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