The Week In Links



I’m back from HeroesCon (and have a week before I’m shipped off to the nightmare that is San Diego), so I figured an update into what I’ve been writing for ComicsAlliance might be in order.

First up, I haven’t been linking to War Rocket Ajax for a while since we’re back on iTunes and presumably sent automagically to your computer every Monday, but our last two episodes were a bit out of the ordinary. In March, Dan DiDio celebrated his 10th anniversary as a DC Comics bigwig by talking about his ten favorite comics from that decade, so Matt and I teamed up with CA’s Andy Khouri to do an exhaustive two-part breakdown: Part One, and Part Two. We got a lot of response on it, so let us know what you think!

Over the past year, I’ve added 17 new pieces to my Jack Kirby-themed sketchbook, and a bunch of them came from this year’s HeroesCon. Go check ’em out!

Speaking of HeroesCon, I picked up a bunch of really awesome indie books, and I can’t wait to actually sit down and read them.

I did a couple of fun interviews this week too: the creators of Trip Fantastic (a comic you should be reading) talked to me about their kickstarter and instead of discussing anything about the protagonists, I asked Cullen Bunn and Barry Kitson a bunch of questions that were all about Batroc the Leaper. As it should be.

Finally, a couple of new installments of Ask Chris: One on why Arcade rules even though he’s not that great at killing good guys, and one on an obscure but very interesting Batman story that reflects the evolution of comic book storytelling.

As always, click on my name on any CA article to bring up the entire archive of stuff that I’ve written (I write two columns a day and don’t always link to them), and enjoy!

Breaking Down the Subtle Themes of Lollipop Chainsaw (Really)



Believe it or not, Grantland has decided to have me back for a second column. This time, I’m breaking down the gender role examination of Suda51 and James Gunn’s Lollipop Chainsaw, and its function as both exploitation and commentary.

It might seem like I’m reading a whole lot into a pretty simple concept, but as I mention in the article, sexuality and gender roles are a recurring theme in Suda51’s work. No More Heroes for example may look like a game about a guy with a lightsaber doing suplexes on enemy assassins (which is, after all, why I bought it), but it’s also about a guy who lives in a video game trying to prove his worth as a sexual being through violence. There’s a lot going on, and LPC follows naturally from that point with an awful lot of symbolism. Gunn’s English translation even gives Juliet and her sisters Shakespearean names, and if there’s a more obvious code for “pay attention to this” in the Writer’s Handbook, I haven’t found it.


This Week’s Links



Time for my usual round of self-promotion with this week’s round of columns:

First up, I deal with the pain and loss of GI Joe: Retaliation being pushed back ’til next year by reminding myself that more Joe is not always a good thing. Case in point: GI Joe: Series 2 and the Joes’ battle with Serpent-Man, the Cobra Super-Hero.

For a cartoon about super-heroes that’s a little less awful, I found Superman vs. The Elite to be surprisingly enjoyable, which is a surprise given how much I hate that original story. Don’t worry, I go into detail about my hate. This is still the Internet, after all.

Uzi and i were going to move on to Superman Returns, but Laura Hudson’s last act as our boss was to find a copy of Shaquille O’Neal’s classic Steel, in all its VHS glory. So that’s what we’re watching now.

For those of you who came away from Batman #10 with questions, I wrote a brief history of Batman’s newly revealed enemy, charting his appearances from the Bronze Age up through today. There aren’t many, for obvious reasons.

In this week’s Ask Chris, a simple question sets me off on a highfalutin’ examination of how comics work and how only I am smart enough to understand them. Wait, that’s every week. This time, it’s about the “Imaginary Story” and why continuity has to work.

And finally, one of my shorter posts, I got an advance review copy of Mountain Dew’s Batman flavor, and tried it out. Please enjoy the moral implications.

As always, you can click on my name at the top of each article and see everything I’ve written. Enjoy!

The Week In Links



Here’s what I wrote this week for CA:

First up, I take a look back at a favorite from my childhood where Spider-Man fights Venom and wins by stripping down and offering his body. There’s an awful lot of subtext in this one, you guys, not the least of which is Eddie Brock making friends with Peter’s aunt and then threatening to out him. I mean, reveal his identity.

David Uzumeri and I continue our breakdown of the Superman films with Superman IV: The Quest For Peace, and while we’ve often run contrary to popular (and wrong) opinions, this one’s just as bad as everyone remembers. Superman is downright creepy.

It’s the end of the month, and that means it’s time for May’s most depressing Funky Winkerbean strips! This time around, Tom Batiuk is doing a story about gay teens attending the prom, and while it’s very uplifting, he still manages to frame it in the context of someone being neglected throughout her childhood by a hateful mother and distant father. It’s a real charmer!

And finally, in this week’s installment of Ask Chris, I talk about why Gunsmith Cats is both one of my favorite comics, and also one of the most problematic. If you’ve read GSC, you probably know where this one is going, but just bear with me. The phrase “Dolemite of Manga” is used.

As always, click on my byline for more articles (including a few short pieces I wrote about some reality show dude and this week’s War Rocket Ajax), and enjoy the weekend!

This Week’s Links



Here’s what I wrote this week!

The dubiously named “One Million Moms” are mad about X-Men getting gay married, because of course they are. I don’t usually link to the shorter articles I write to CA, but I know how much everyone loves it when I do some bitter moralizing, so this one’s sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Also, probably the only response to those idiots that involves references to both the Fresh Prince and Naughty By Nature. You can just mail me the Pulitzer.

Along the same lines, Matt Wilson and I lay odds on who DC’s bringing out of the closet! Keep in mind that these are 100% official, comprehensive odds, and that it will definitely be someone on this list.

Speaking of Matt, have you been listening to War Rocket Ajax? This week we talked to John Rogers about Dungeons & Dragons, Thrillbent, and the two years he spent writing the Catwoman movie. Yes, that Catwoman movie. Also, the show’s in iTunes, so listen, subscribe, write reviews, tell your friends, buy us presents, etc.

In another titanic team-up, David Uzumeri and I finished watching the Supergirl movie, and it somehow got even crazier than it already was.

Also, Superman faces “The Rainbow Doom” in a Bizarro Back Issue from 1955, and it only just now occurs to me that this entire story exists because of the Rainbow Room nightclub.

Finally, back on the mutant marriage tip, this week’s Ask Chris focuses on my favorite super-hero wedding. Long-time ISB readers might remember me talking about this one, but I have a feeling that for most of you, it’s not what you’d expect.

Give ’em a read, enjoy ’em, and enjoy the weekend!

I Wrote Some Things For You To Read



I spent all weekend working to get ahead so that I can go to XCon in Myrtle Beach next weekend with a clear conscience, but now that I’ve got a minute, I figured it was time for my usual brand of self-promotion to return. Here’s what I worked on since the last time I plugged myself (non-sexually):

First up, the Superman Movie Review series continues at ComicsAlliance! David and I were joined by Matt Wilson for our review of Superman III, Part One and Part Two, in which we all came to the conclusion that it is unquestionably the best of the franchise. People reacted about as well as you’d expect. This week, David and I launch into Supergirl starring Helen Slater, which is why there’s an image of Kara Zor-El looking at what appears to be a space-vibrator at the top of this post.

I also made some Mother’s Day Cards for your favorite super-heroes, which… uh… probably would’ve been a little more relevant if I’d linked to them last Sunday. Whoops.

As far as actual comics go, here’s another article about why I love Archie’s Mega Man series, which has replaced IDW’s Dungeons & Dragons as the book I’m surprised that I look forward to the most every month.

In last week’s Ask Chris, I restrain myself and only talk about Why Batman Loves Die Hard for only half the column, before mentioning a few other super-heroes’ favorite movies.

And finally, I saw The Avengers and enjoyed it, but didn’t think it was perfect. So I wrote a review that I thought was pretty positive but pointed out some of the things I didn’t care for, and long story short, I ended up installing Comment Blocker so that I can pretend comment threads just flat-out don’t exist. As always, you guys are cool. It’s all those other people I’m improving my life by ignoring. Promise.

Those are the highlights, but there’s more at CA that you can find by clicking on my byline on any article, or by following me on Twitter, where I constantly plug every single thing I do. I know, I make it sound super-appealing!!

Grantland: John Cena Is Being Beaten



Hey, you know how you’ve been moping about lately, depressed because no one has written a 2500-word breakdown and analysis of John Cena’s character arc over the past year, and how it represents the struggles of the WWE against different aspects of the wrestling industry? Well, don’t worry, my friends: I have written just such an analysis, available to read today at Grantland.

This is my first column for Grantland, and people seem to have enjoyed it, so hopefully I’ll get to do more. Once again, a lifetime of picking out storytelling patterns in media dominated by muscley dudes punching each other has paid off.