ComicsAlliance: Cloning Around



For this week’s article at ComicsAlliance, I turn the spotlight onto duplicates both perfect and imperfect in a round-up of the greatest clones in comics!

There’s a pretty wide selection there (ranging, as it does, from Judge Dredd to Ben Franklin II), but as it’s done in (dubious) honor of Marvel revisiting the Spider-Man Clone Saga this week with an all-new miniseries–yes, really–it gave me the opportunity to put the greatest Spider-Clone of all in there: Webby and Webby-2, the magic mirror duplicates that Dr. Doom made in Spidey Super Stories #25!

Yes: They are even better than Kaine.

So please, enjoy, and if you’ve got a favorite clone in comics… Well, if you can honestly say that you’ve got a favorite clone in comics, I don’t know what to tell you, kiddo.


The Worst of Netflix: Fencer of Minerva



For my latest Worst of Netflix column at, I take on the charming sword-and-sorcery-and-bondage epic, Fencer of Minerva! It’s a tale of rape and romance in a vaguely European fantasy setting with tauntauns and flying piranha as only mid-90s anime could do it, and as you might expect, it is not very good.

So click on over and sit back as I watch terrible hentai so that you don’t have to.

War Rocket Ajax #6: The Hard Questions with Laura Hudson



The most destructive comic book podcast in the universe slams into its sixth scintillating episode as Euge and I sit down with Laura Hudson, the former editor of Comic Foundry and current lead blogger of ComicsAlliance to talk about her life in the industry, the strangeness of getting voicemails from Nic Cage and Jenna Jameson, and what it’s like to call out fans and retailers when they act like jerks.

But that’s not what makes this the sexiest episode of Ajax yet! No, that happens when Euge and I are joined by our pal Matt Wilson, putting the Ajax Triple-Play™ in effect for a twenty-minute discussion of Marvel’s mid-90s swimsuit issues! And yes: we discuss Dr. Strange’s banana hammock.

And there’s more! You’ll hear about our rap battles with the Awesomed By Comics crew, who responded to Euge’s dynamic debut track with a rap of their own that opens up their latest episode! Plus, more talk about Jonathan Hickman and Dale Eaglesham’s run on Fantastic Four, my final thoughts on Ultimate Alliance 2 and why the first one remains superior, and another incredible piece of art from Rusty Shackles!

The show’s up now on to stream or download, and if you’re subscribed via iTunes, it should be up there tonight. So listen, enjoy, and if you like it, write us a review at the iTunes store to help get the word out!

The Annotated Anita Blake: The Laughing Corpse: Necromancer #5

What a week it’s been for comics!

Not only did my own comic, Woman of A.C.T.I.O.N., make its print debut at this year’s Small Press Expo, but we also saw the release of the final issue of Laurenn J. Framingham’s Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter: The Laughing Corpse: Book 2: Necromancer!

Of course, this is assuming that you’re operating in a world where the word “final” means that there’s going to be yet another five-issue mini-series before we’re done with the same damn story, which itself represents less than 6% of the Anita Blake series entire. Which apparently we are.

But the ISB Research Department isn’t here to nitpick! We’re here to… well, I guess we are here to nitpick, but we assure you that it is for the highly scholarly purpose of exploring the many “fascinating” mysteries of the series!

Grab a copy of your own and follow along!



1.1: And it begins.



This is the very first panel of this issue of Anita Blake, and already we are faced with problems. Let’s take a closer look at that caption, shall we?



And now let’s have one more look at the art of the exact same panel which I assume will have Anita with her forehead “against the cool linoleum of the floor,” just as it says in the caption, which–again–is in the exact same panel.



Yep. It’s gonna be one of those issues, folks.


1.2: All told, I’ve been annotating the Anita Blake books since 2006. That is literally years of my life spent reading this book. Normally, this thought would be depressing enough to paralyze me in bed with an intravenous drip of Jack and Coke, but as the author is quick to point out…



…it is not a book about Anita Blake vomiting on corpses.



2.5: Apparently the muder that Anita has spent the last two pages not investigating could’ve been prevented by a nieghbor, who, thinking it was a domestic dispute, chose not to get involved.



The irony of Anita Blake lamenting that someone else did not take action is staggering.


5.3: My only exposure to the universe of Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter is the comics, but apparently one of the key selling points of the setting is the way that supernatural creatures like vampires are treated in a more realistic fashion as it relates to the law. Which means that the only thing more frustrating than this scene, where the idea of a group of armed men chasing down a killer zombie is reduced to a procedural that occurs off-panel, is that there are actually people who think that’s a good thing.


7.1: Despite the fact that it’s actually just the middle third of a story that’s being stretched like salt water taffy, the number on the cover of this issue says “Vampire Hunter” and “5 of 5,” and it should, by all rights, be the action-packed climax of a story where at least one vampire is hunted.



Anita and Dolph have been talking in a goddamn bathroom for seven pages. At least it looks like the colorist is having a fun game of Tetris in the background.


8.3: Finally, a scene change with some potential!



Anita has brought another animator, John Burke, to the city morgue and I’ve got to admit, a morgue in a world of zombies and vampires that has machine-guns mounted on the wall to prevent a mass breakout is actually a pretty good idea. In fact, I’d venture to say that it fills me with hope for the rest of the book, because there’s no possible way that a story about corpses rising from the dead could have a scene where two people whose entire function is to raise people from the dead (including one for whom this is a primary source of income) could go to a place where there are a bunch of dead bodies and not get into some trouble, right? There’s no way this could possibly turn into thirteen more pages of investigation so boring it makes Matlock look intense, right? Right?


9.1: Son of a bitch.


10.5: Soulpatch aside, the man’s got a point.



Save your breath, Johnny. I’ve been saying that for three years now and they just don’t listen.


11.5: At this point, this story–which, remember, could have been about lost zombie pirate treasure–is now revolving entirely around a charm bracelet.



Also of note: Anita Blake, who uses a machete to slit the throats of chickens so that she can resurrect the dead, is apparently only casually into voodoo.


12.5: And now, my favorite panel in the entire series thus far:



How borrow indeed, Anita. How borrow indeed.

21.1: And nine pages later, after a medical examination that could’ve passed as the most boring episode of Quincy ever filmed, Anita and Severus Soulpatch up there finally leave the morgue so that they can go back to Aunt May’s house, presumably for wheatcakes:



And that is where this–which I remind you is the last issue of a mini-series–ends: With the heroine threatening an old woman in front of her grandchildren.

You stay classy, Anita Blake.

Woman of A.C.T.I.O.N. at SPX!



I have no doubt that many of you have been reading my comics and thought “you know, it’s great to be able to read these for free, but I wish there was some way I could give someone money for it.”

Well, if you’re in Bethesda, Maryland this weekend for the Small Press Expo, your dreams have come true! Woman of A.C.T.I.O.N. artist Chris Piers is in attendance with his pals at the DC Conspiracy, and he’s got actual print copies of WOA #1 for sale at the show!

This is your chance to not only support the Action Age, but–since the books went straight from the printer to Piers–to get a copy of something I wrote before I get it! Piers is set up in Section F (he’s got a map posted here for your cartographic convenience), and while copies are limited, he should have enough for anyone who makes it out to SPX today and tomorrow.

Enjoy it, folks, and if you do pick up a copy, thanks!