You Know What I Love?

As some of you may have noticed, the ol’ meme where you list fifty things you love about comics is making the rounds again. In the time I’ve been doing the ISB, I’ve seen this one come around at least twice–I actually think Sterling has a list that goes up to around four thousand or something–but I’ve always held back.

I do, after all, tend to talk about that stuff on a daily basis, so my thinking’s always been that if you really want to hear about fifty things I love about comics, hang around for a month or so and I’ll probably get ’em all.

Still, it’s always nice to have it all in once place.

 


 

Fifty Things I Love About Comics

 

1. The pure, unmatched beauty that is this page:

 

 

2. DEVILS OF DARKSEID!! THE TERRAIN ITSELF IS “TECHNO-ACTIVE!”

3. Mr. Fantastic hooking Thor’s hammer up to Iron Man’s armor and powers up his Time Sled so that they can all team up with Galactus to fight the Black Celestial.

4. A tank haunted by the ghost of a Confederate general that fights Nazis, occasionally doing so with a gorilla.

5. Batman keeps a Dalek in his basement, just in case.

 

 

6. Clobberin’ Time.

7. Jimmy Olsen, who was a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes and had an International Fan Club, based solely on the fact that he hung out with Superman sometimes.

8. All Things MODOK.

9. Karl:

 

 

11. Nick Fury’s Rocket Powered Motorcycle.

12. Batman, the Punisher, and Darkhawk all have perfect records when fighting against bears.

13. The Warriors Three.

14. Well, mostly Volstagg, but still.

15. “Don’t be silly, I’m the most powerful man in Metropolis.” “Not anymore.”

16. SCIENCE!

 

 

17. Bill Mantlo on Marvel Two-In-One.

18. Kevin Maguire on Justice League International.

19. Bob Haney on some unidentifiable mix of jive-talk-inducing chemicals.

20. Kirby Dots (or Kirby Krackle, both of which would be fantastic names for delicious candy).

21. Spidey Super Stories:

 

 

22. Batroc Ze Leapair!

23. The Joker’s Five-Way Revenge.

24. “OKAY! I had to fight a dude to get with her! I fought a crazy seven-foot-tall purple-suited dude! And I had to fight 96 guys to get to him, too! He was flying and shooting lightning bolts from his eyes and he could make people do whatever he said automatically! He was totally awesome! And I kicked him so far he saw the curvature of the Earth!!

25. “No rest for the wicked awesome.”

26. “You dare to beg for mercy? You–who have none in your wretched heart? You–who have caused death and grief and suffering–with no pity save for yourself? You are vermin, Jock Parker! You are human slime! I’ll waste no hell-fire on the likes of you! No…I’ll send you into death’s icy embrace–WITH MY OWN BARE HANDS!

27. “I have heard the word… and it is battle.”

28. Balder the Brave.

29. The greatest team in comics history: Section 8.

30. Every Single Thing About This Panel:

 

 

31. Power Man.

32. Iron Fist.

33. Power Man and Iron Fist.

34. The Suicide Squad.

35. Slam Bradley.

36. In Avengers #1, the Hulk disguises himself as a robot clown who can juggle elephants. Because apparently, robot clowns that could juggle elephants were common enough in 1963 that nobody would stop to think that maybe that was actually the Hulk.

37. The Ever-Constant Citizens of Riverdale, USA.

38. The Planetary Chance Machine.

39. The Legion of Substitute Heroes.

40. GODDAMN NAZI FRANKENSTEIN MONKEY!!

 

 

41. Firestorm and his infinitely terrible rogues gallery.

42. “And towering above all… CONAN!

43. The Spirit and his nigh-constant head injuries.

44. The Cowboy Wally Show.

45. Ambush Bug’s political affiliation:

 

 

46. OMAC #2, Pages 2 and 3.

47. “Look Out, Alpha! The Wrecking Crew’s Gonna @#%$ You Up!”

48. Watchmen #5.

49. Count Dante.

50. The fact that Thor can’t lift it, the Hulk can’t lift it, but by God, when Aunt May’s life is on the line Spider-Man Can!

 

 

And a heck of a lot more besides.

After-Action Report: HeroesCon 2007

So I’m going down the escalator into HeroesCon on the first day, and it’s a little bit awkward because I’m carrying my poster-sized blow-up of the Count Dante ad, and this guy right behind me notices it.

“Hey, is that for sale?”

“This?” I say, nodding to the ad. “Nah, this one’s mine. It’s… precious to me.”

“Oh, that’s cool. Hey, are you Chris?”

“Yeah?”

“Hey man, I’m Matt Fraction.”

I think it’s safe to say that from that moment forward, HeroesCon was freakin’ awesome.

It was, without question, one of the most fun weekends I’ve had in quite some time, and that’s only partially because I was wearing a badge featuring Batroc Ze Leapair for three days. Like I mentioned, I was ostensibly there with Jim Shelley to promote Flashback Universe and my upcoming story there, but to be perfectly honest, I spent most of my time just bumming around the show trying to fill out my Legion run. And yes, as you may have read over at Phil’s, I did indeed spread them out on my bed at the hotel and roll around on them like Scrooge McDuck.

That, my friends, is just how I roll.

Of course, that’s not to say I didn’t spend some time at the booth, too, no matter what you may have heard from Jim. See? I’ve got evidence.

 

 

That’s me in the front hogging the spotlight, and behind me are frequent ISB commenter Dr. K, “Rad” Chad Bowers, Flashback artist Pierre Villeneuve, and Jim there on the right.

Pierre, incidentally, is one of the nicest guys I ever met, in addition to being a pretty fantastic artist. The guy spent 27 hours on a bus to get to Charlotte from Quebec, and was funnier and more charming right after that ordeal than anyone probably has a right to be.

As for me, I ended up doing a surprising amount of what could probably be considered the worst sketches ever for people, including a Shrinking Violet to remind Johanna Draper Carlson of her cosplaying days, and a pretty awesome “Hulk eating a sandwich” for a friend of Matt Wilson.

Yes, that’s right: CRACKED Magazine‘s MW himself, and in addition to being every bit as funny in real life as he is on his blog, he’s also the first person I’ve actually met from the magazine. Clearly, this was a meeting that had to be recorded in a photograph attempting–at my suggestion–to parody the Camp David Accords:

 

 

It’s the new face of Internet Comedy, suckers. Believe it!

Also, in one of the most surreal moments of my life, I did a sketch for Cliff Chiang.

Let’s go through that one more time: I, a man so bad at art that he had to rip someone off just to do stick figures, did a sketch for Cliff Chiang, the mind-blowing artist of Human Target and Dr. Thirteen. I mean, it’s not like he sought me out to get me to do one, but still, it was a wierd feeling:

 

 

Incidentally, it was a picture of All-Star Wonder Woman uppercutting a bear.

It wasn’t all crayon drawings and Legion back issues, though: I caught the DC Nation panel on Saturday, and I’ve got to say: Dan Didio is a really likeable guy on those things, even when he gets to the point where I’m pretty sure he’s totally lying about the Flash. He’s extremely affable and if he’s not genuinely excited about the things coming up from his company, he’s awfully good at acting like it. I didn’t manage to ask (read: totally chickened out) why he said Swamp Thing couldn’t cross over to the DCU because he was a “Mature Readers” character when the biggest DCU story of 2004 featured Superman on the cover of a book where a character got raped on the freakin’ Justice League Satellite, but I did ask whether we were ever going to see that last Bob Haney Teen Titans story with art by Mike Allred that they have just sitting in a drawer somewhere.

Answer: No. There is, as it turns out, no balm in Gilead whatsoever.

The biggest news, at least for me, was that Dwayne McDuffie’s going to be coming on Justice League, thus ensuring that a) Firestorm’s going to be on the team, and b) that book’s actually going to be readable again.

 

After the panel, I was walking back to the booth when a mini-comic caught my eye with a title that I just had to ask about: Ninjasaur. I walked over, picked it up, and leafed through while I had the following conversation with creator Jason Horn:

“So, he’s a dinosaur that is also a ninja?”

“Yeah, and he fights a ninja who is also a Nazi.”

SOLD.

 

Of course, the best part of the con for a fan–aside from finding out that there is, in fact, a such thing as the Bizarro Legion–is getting to meet the creators, and they were great. I got to fulfill a lifelong dream of meeting Kyle Baker (and got an awesome sketch of Cowboy Wally) and got John Workman to put a big “KRAKADOOM!” in my sketchbook. And appropriately enough, that one comes right after a piece by Don Rosa, where I requested “Donald Duck as mad as he gets.”

Really, everyone was great, but I just have to say: Matt Fraction and Jeff Parker are probably two of the nicest guys I have ever met in my life.

I posted my picture with Parker last night, but what I didn’t mention–at least, to you guys; I totally told Campbell–that the sign was actually his idea, and that he wrote it after he literally jumped over his table when I asked to get a picture with him. And that was after he did a great sketch of the happiest MODOK anyone has ever seen for me.

As for Fraction, man, that guy is on point. At one point, I was loitering over at his booth when someone brought over a Marvel Encyclopedia that he was getting Marvel creators to sign the title page of, and I pointed out that Christina Strain–the awesome colorist of Runaways among other things–had caught onto the fact that it looked just like a yearbook, and written “Have a great summer,” to which Fraction responded with the classic:

2 Cool
2 Be
4 Gotten

Long story short: I now have a copy of the Casanova hardcover that advises me, on the title page, to Raise Hell This Summer. Those guys are awesome.

 

(NOTE: This picture may have been edited to further convey the sheer amount of radness it is depicting. Not pictured: Ten thousand wailing guitars)

 


 

Special thanks to Dr. K for providing a picture of me with Matt Fraction where I do not look like a platypus.

An Important Reminder

I’m swamped tonight trying to meet a couple of deadlines before I leave for HeroesCon on Thursday, but something came up tonight that I think you should all be aware of.

It seems that some of you may have forgotten an important fact about this time of year, and that is this:

Summertime… belongs to Günther:

 

 

The ISB is a proud participant of Güntherfest ’07
Champagne, Glamour, Sex, Respect!

Fan-Film Roundup: End of the Trilogy

Today I received an email that may well change my life.

Here, take a look:

 

Chris,

I know you have seen our first film, Batman: Defenders of the Night. Perhaps you have seen our second film, Batman: Dark Betrayals. But I am about to unleash upon you what only a few men have ever seen before. I give you the final chapter in our legacy, Batman: Return of the Dark Knight.

Here is the link to the trilogy.

Be careful in this journey. Do not underestimate the power you hold.

Regards,
Dick Grayson

 

Yes, friends, your eyes do not deceive you: Not only have I gotten an email from Robin himself, but the epic trilogy that began with Batman: Defenders of the Night has finished.

And rest assured, friends: I do not underestimate the power that I hold:

 

 

And now, my commentary:

0.16: Apparently, Batman’s delivering this monologue via satellite from Brazil.

0.54: Okay, seriously: If you can tell me that this line…

“Our major products last year were smoke bombs and grappling hooks! You’re our only cusomter for grappling hooks! People don’t want grappling hooks, they want iPods!”

…is not the funniest joke about Batman and his corporate holdings ever written, then you are both a fool and a liar.

1.31: Bruce Wayne: International Playa.

1.36: The fact that Bruce Wayne’s would-be girlfriend finishes her line, snaps her phone shut, and then smiles directly into the camera makes me believe in joy again.

2.15: Believe it or not, there was a brief period in 1948 where “the Sinister Cuban” was listed at the forefront of the Dark Knight’s Rogues Gallery, thus confirming the filmmakers’ constant commitment to accuracy. Also, probably the most awesome fight music in the history of cinema.

2.53: Ah, the famous Gotham City skyline, with its towering three-story buildings.

3.05-3.50: BEST. ALFRED. EVER.

4.06: I wanted my commentary to be more than just quoting lines from this video and saying how awesome they were, but c’mon: “I ain’t comin’ back! I’m a lawyer that makes $30,000 a night!”? That is awesome.

5.18: What can I say about this video’s Joker that hasn’t already been said about Australian cult film icon Yahoo Serious?

5.36: These galoshes strike for justice!

7.04: At this point in the film, Batman and Robin inexplicably start speaking directly to the camera and giving updates on their search for the Joker. Why? No idea. Maybe in the movie, Batman and Robin have a popular reality show or something. Man, this thing’s got more layers than Heart of Darkness!

7.46: Walgreens paid an estimated $4.6 million for product placement in this movie. Starbucks? $8.9 million.

8.47: The Joker’s “What did I do to you?!” seems like just normal super-villain whining at first, but now that I think of it, I’m not sure what the Joker did to make Batman come after him. Sometimes you just gotta punch a clown, I guess.

8.56: Once again, Robin is inexplicably homicidal, but judging by his huge grin when Batman takes the gun away, I think he’s glad he didn’t pull the trigger. Also glad: That newspaper salesman from 2 minutes ago.

9.25: Have I mentioned my pure, undying love for this Alfred?

“Thank You, Batman. You’re a Superstar.”