Features
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Features could be original writing that doesn’t fit into Essays, Reviews, or News – but a feature post will more likely be composed of fun pictures or general nuttiness. We need some place to put it, right?

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By | Sunday, June 27, 2010 | 2:45 am | 2 Comments | Blog > Features

Quote:

“Of course teachers should use comics across the curriculum, just as they might use film or poetry or painting. I can’t imagine teaching the Middle East without Sacco, the holocaust without Spiegelman, gender without Bechdel.”

-Dr. William Ayres, in an interview about his new book To Teach: The Journey, In Comics over at the Graphic Novel Reporter.

I’ll have to check this one out – my long term goal is to teach Visual Culture at a college or grad level, which obviously ties heavily into teaching and comics (and other pop culture product.) So it seems like this book would be right up my alley. The art doesn’t seem amazing at first glance, but I figure it’s worth a look (kind of like a Understanding Comics knock-off, honestly, but also combined with some strip I can’t name.)

I also read Ayres’ Fugitive Days and thought it was really very interesting. Guy got a lot of bad press last election cycle, but it was mainly using him as a tool to smear others – he’s been highly respected in his field for some time and everything I’ve read from him has been pretty good and well reasoned.

Anyway – was surprising to find out he is such a comic fan and just put one out himself!

If anyone has seen this out there, let me know what you think. It will be some time before I actually get to look at it in person, since I’ve got such a huge reading backlog.

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By | Sunday, June 20, 2010 | 10:35 pm | 0 Comments | Blog > Features

Alright, hot on the heels of the list of DC Deluxe Edition hardcovers, here’s what I’ve got for the Absolute editions:

Absolute Dark Knight
Absolute Batman: The Long Halloween
Absolute Batman: Hush
Absolute Crisis On Infinite Earths
Absolute DC: The New Frontier
Absolute Death
Absolute Green Lantern: Rebirth
Absolute Justice
Absolute Kingdom Come
Absolute Sandman 1
Absolute Sandman 2
Absolute Sandman 3
Absolute Sandman 4
Absolute Superman: For Tomorrow
Absolute All Star Superman
Absolute Watchmen
JLA/Avengers: Collector’s Edition (Oversized Hardcover) – Basically an Absolute
The World’s Greatest Super-Heroes (Oversized Hardcover) – Basically an Absolute
Absolute The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume I
Absolute The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume II
Absolute The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Black Dossier
Absolute Promethea Book 1
Absolute Promethea Book 2
Absolute Ronin
Absolute V For Vendetta
Absolute Authority Volume 1
Absolute Authority Volume 2
Absolute Danger Girl
Absolute Planetary 1
Absolute Planetary 2

Also, there are these other hardcover collections. I’m trying to find any hardcovers that collect anything differently (say two trades worth of material) or in a different format (oversized, etc) from the paperbacks. I don’t think I’ll have separate entries for hardcover and softcover release if the only thing that is different is the literal cover, but these ones are labeled differently and vary a lot from the other collections of similar material:

Starman Omnibus, Volume 1
Starman Omnibus, Volume 2
Starman Omnibus, Volume 3
Starman Omnibus, Volume 4
Starman Omnibus, Volume 5
Starman Omnibus, Volume 6
The Death and Return of Superman Omnibus
Seven Soldiers of Victory Book 1 (Hardcover)
Seven Soldiers of Victory Book 2 (Hardcover)
Gotham Central Book 1: In The Line of Duty
Gotham Central Book 2: Jokers and Madmen
Gotham Central Book 3: On The Freak Beat
Gotham Central Book 4: Corrigan

So that’s what I’ve got so far! Obviously there are some other hardcovers already in the database (all the archives, most pre-crisis hardcover collections like the Kirby stuff  and that Deadman collection.) But if there are any post-crisis hardcover collections you know about not listed on this site already, let me know!

Once I’ve got a nod on this from you guys, I’ll finish up this info and get it onto the site!

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By | Friday, June 18, 2010 | 2:24 am | 10 Comments | Blog > Features

The site seems to be pretty stable, so I’m taking some time to work on the next big database update.

As part of this update, I’m trying to compile a complete list of DC Deluxe Editions – there’s a lot of info out there on Absolutes, but less on these. Let me know if I’ve missed any and I’ll add them to the post. I don’t actually own any of these yet myself, but people have asked about them on my site so I’m doing some research.

These are the books I’ve found so far:

And these ones are not DC Universe, but seem to share the format? Or are marked as such?

Know any others? Some don’t seem to come up when you search for deluxe books on amazon – even though they might be marked as such in the release info.

And about the format – is it much different from the regular hardcovers? Why is one thing Deluxe and another an Omnibus? Absolute is huge compared to these, right? I’m so confused about the way DC does hardcovers.

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By | Saturday, June 12, 2010 | 2:41 am | 30 Comments | Blog > Features

The Dark Underbelly of the DCU

Lately, there’s been a lot of news and discussion about the DC rooted titles that make up what I’ve always thought of as the “Vertigo Universe.” Here’s an article about DC Main reclaiming Swamp Thing (and other DCU originating concepts, possibly even one of my personal favorites, The Books Of Magic star Tim Hunter.) This spouted lots of conversation on forums, with some people scared that the Vertigo titles would lose their charm (long running Hellblazer, in particular) and others excited that many new stories could be told that previously weren’t possible. Here’s one such thread over at the CBR forums.

Swampy Is Coming Home

Personally, I’m in that second camp. My absolute favorite stories from Swamp Thing involve his interactions with DCU characters. The crossover with Batman in Gotham is amazing. Likewise, his Superman crossover (the one by Moore, not the one with Solomon Grundy pictured) is really something.

Madame Xanadu, a currently running Vertigo title, is already firmly rooted in the DCU – the stories are love poems to the rich history of DC’s magical and strange universe.

I personally think that the editorial separation of some titles was a mistake. Swamp Thing hasn’t exactly flourished outside of the rest of the DC Universe. While Constantine has maintained a steady run in Hellblazer, no one has been able to use him for a cameo – even when his particular brand of snark could have added a lot to many magical DC events. No one says the tights and capes have to show up in his titles – there are plenty of DCU titles that don’t feature superheroes all the time – but just because he disdains them doesn’t mean their interactions wouldn’t be entertaining.

True, a book like Lucifer, although a sequel to Gaiman’s Sandman, doesn’t really need the DCU to function and reads just fine on its own. However, it’s packed with easter eggs for the DC fan who is paying attention – and this move could free up many of the awesome characters created for that book to be used in relevant story arcs. I’m not concerned about contradictions with DCU mythology – I think it’s been made abundantly clear that DC has room for a flowing canvas of deities and magical systems. Lucifer has even made appearances in DC titles like The Demon.

Does it make sense that The Demon is a DCU character but Lucifer isn’t? Not in this age of comics for mature readers. A book can have a warning on its cover and still be part of the DC imprint. There are a lot of titles currently running that deal with themes more intense than the average Vertigo book from ten years back.

And finally, I think Vertigo will be just fine without their DC rooted books. It’s been kind of confusing for consumers that some Vertigo books interacted inside this strange DC mix while others were totally separate. Vertigo has established itself as a purveyor of fine creator owned and self contained content. It’s received critical acclaim and good sales (especially on the collected editions) with titles like Fables, Transmetropolitan, The Invisibles, Y: The Last Man, etc. I think that’s the direction it should continue to go in. Wildstorm has become almost as convoluted and continuity heavy as the main DCU – Vertigo can continue to be the place for content that can be picked up at book one and read straight through.

What’s The Verdict?

Anyway, that’s my take on it. Since characters like Swamp Thing, Tim Hunter, Cain and Abel, and hopefully even the Endless, will soon be showing up in more books – I think all of their adventures should be folded in. I’ve read almost every DC rooted Vertigo book and I can’t think of any that have more contradictions than your average DC Bullet marked title.

However, I want to see what you think. After answering the poll, feel free to elaborate on your thoughts in the comments!

[poll id=”2″]

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By | Friday, June 4, 2010 | 4:11 pm | 2 Comments | Blog > Features

It seems as though some of you noticed that reviewing every book in this database is too big a job for just one little man. I’ve had a couple kind offers to help. I’m happy to announce that I’ll be taking some of those offers!

Firstly, my gal Beth has offered to review books from the perspective of a new comic fan. She’s very experienced in the arts and a huge story fan (How many times have you watched Buffy all the way through?) but she’s only read a handful of trades since meeting me. She’s taking to it quick and I think her reviews will bring a much needed layman’s perspective to the site (seeing as the rest of us are kind of obsessed nerds.)

Second, you’ve probably noticed Daniel‘s excellent contributions in the comments. I’m happy to hear that he’s also interested in writing some reviews! He’ll probably be getting to more recent stuff while I work through the huge amount of Pre-Crisis material I’m currently reading.

You’ll probably see Daniel’s by-line popping up on this site first, but stay tuned for great reviews from both these people. I’m honored to have the support.

If you are also interested in reviewing for this site, just send me an email.

Full Disclosure: This is an unpaid freelance gig. No one on this site is getting paid right now, including me, though it would be nice to make minimum wage for those full time hours I put in at some point. You can feel free to put it on your resume and to expect links back and support for your other projects, but I can’t offer any monetary compensation right now. We do this for fun!

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