New Mutants #87

New Mutants #87

New Mutants #87

New Mutants #87 introduces Cable to the Marvel Universe. It’s not every month a character who is going to have this big an impact on the series debuts every month.

Not only did Cable debut in this issue but his primary nemesis Stryfe does as well. Stryfe is part of a group of terrorist mutants called the Mutant Liberation Front. They’re attempting to rescue the incarcerated New Mutants Rusty and Skids. And by rescue, I mean wind up brainwashing them into joining their ranks.

As this is going on, Cable shows up in an attempt to stop Stryfe from abducting the duo. The book ends with the MLF escaping and Cable being locked up by the government, as he was blamed for the attack.

What this issue did was set up the last year of the series, as well as it’s relaunch/metamorphosis into X-Force. In the issue, it wasn’t very clear why Cable needed to protect Rusty, Skids or the rest of the New Mutants, but it was established that there was some reason he would not accept them joining Stryfe’s forces. There’s a lot of mystery about what is going on and it does get explained in later issues.

New Mutants #87 is also pretty cool in my book, as it’s a collaboration between writer Louise Simonson and artist Rob Liefeld, both of whom I am a pretty big fan of

Deathstroke #12


Rob Liefeld’s run on Deathstroke concludes in this issue, with the end of the Deathstroke/Lobo battle. Bare with me, as I’m still a little sketchy on how this issue ended.

It turns out the that Lobo’s release was orchestrated by Maxim (who hired Deathstroke at the start of this story) were the ones who released Lobo. The goal was to lead him and the Omegas (the alien children of Lobo’s victims) to some sort of spaceship (so Maxim could loot its weapons supply), and Deathstroke’s purpose was to take out Lobo and clean up their mess.

So how does Deathstroke off Lobo? He impaled the Czarnian with the poor alien’s own super motorcycle, flies the two of them into the upper atmosphere, and blows Lobo up. Well that was short-lived. Maybe it’s just because I’m a big fan of the character, but it seems like a cop-out to have killed him off that quickly and easily.

Deathstroke ends the story by telling off Maxim for putting the Omegas in danger for his own personal gain. Before he leaves he stops to flirt with Zealot (the Omega’s bodyguard), awkwardly kissing her and leaves. And that’s it.

Now I know I’m biased; I do like Liefeld’s stuff a lot. But this issue, well, it was pretty confusing plot wise. And that’s a shame, because I think he really over-thought it. The story could have been a lot simpler. The other thing I noticed was that the book was light on backgrounds. There were a noticeable amount of panels without them. But I guess that was a sacrifice that was made to make sure the book came out on time.

The best part of this story was the brief epilogue, where Sheba (Lobo’s girlfriend that was assumed to be deceased) is actually alive and well, albeit in suspended animation. I know the concept is borrowed from Lobo’s Back, but there is definitely something cool about imagining a female Lobo terrorizing the New 52.

Hawkman #9



Hawkman is one of those characters that on the surface seems like he could be really fun to read, but unfortunately years (and years) of crazy continuity make it a daunting task. I picked up Hawkman #9 because of Rob Liefeld, but it was the creative team as a whole that made me enjoy the book so much.

Co-written by Mark Poulton, it starts off a new story arc for Hawkman. As someone who really isn’t up on the character, it was pretty straightforward to get into. Carter Hall has the magical Nth metal armor, except this version has it originating from inside him like the Guyver. Possessing such a weapon makes him quite the target, as he keeps getting harassed by mercenaries trying to forcibly remove his armor. The issue ends with Carter speaking with Emma, a female friend and colleague of his. This wraps up rather quickly as they get attacked; Carter is kidnapped by an “antiquities”/weapons dealer who wants the armor named Xerxes.

The art on this book is by Joe Bennet is pretty sweet; I always seem to forget about him and his projects. This was a quick but fun read. I’ll probably finish the arc at some point later on.

Hawk and Dove #8

Here it is…the final issue of Hawk and Dove. Our avian avatars have teamed up with Xyra to make sure they survive the prophecy that leads to their deaths.

Issue #8 is pretty much a pay-off issue for the story, in a sense that this is where all of the action happens. They storm the cult’s headquarters–conveniently located in Washington, DC just like them. Hawk creates a diversion against the cult, which is a bunch of ninjas clad in white just like Storm Shadow, giving Dove and Xyra breaking in on the other side of the building, fighting even more ninjas.

D’Khan, the avatar of flying lizards (which seems like a natural predator of birds if they were to have existed) finally appears and battles the two women. Dove gets the best of him, but can’t bring herself to kill him which D’Khan takes advantage of and beats the snot out of her. Eventually Hawk catches up with them and he has no qualms killing D’Khan. At no point does Hawk ever wind up in a point where he would kill Dove, so either they forgot about that part of the prophecy or it turned out to just be false. Xyra thanks the duo for their help, saying that they will always have an ally between her and her cult.

The book ends with Hank and Dove sitting on a rooftop, going over the last eight issues and then getting back to work stopping criminals in DC. It’s kind of a flat ending, as the weird relationship tension between the two is never addressed (let alone resolved).

Liefeld had some help on the art by longtime collaborator Marat Mychaels, and it’s amazing how the two draw so similarly. This was the first issue of the series where I had strong feelings negatively about the art. There were a few pages that felt like they were scanned at too low of a resolution and they tried to overcompensate with over the top coloring. That, and there was one page where it’s revealed that Dove and Xyra have exactly the same haircut/face and it looked like they were twins.

As a whole, I enjoyed the Hawk and Dove series while it lasted. Was it groundbreaking and a classic? Definitely not. But by no means it wasn’t a fun read. It’s pure super hero mayhem and nothing more. I  picked up this book solely for the fact that I’ve always liked the characters, an appreciation of Liefeld’s art, and really liking his run on the title back in the early 1990s, before he blew up during his New Mutants/X-Force phase.

Maybe with some stronger writing, this book would have lasted longer. Hell, if it was Geoff Johns and Liefeld’s book, it would have been a blockbuster seller. But for what it was, I enjoyed it and I can’t wait to see the characters surface again.

Hawk and Dove #7

The answer is yes: Hawk and Dove #7 does start out looking like a Dazzler comic book from the early eighties. The next-to-last issue in Rob Liefeld’s series starts out with Dawn and Hank (which I just noticed almost sound like their respective code names) at a very disco-like environment…they’re out at the club.

And as you can see, Liefeld has Dawn all decked out in the most skin-tight dress he could draw. Dawn is pretty bummed; her boyfriend Deadman dumped her so she’s out looking to pick up dudes. And this night she brings Hank along, who only starts a huge brawl once someone gets too close to her for his comfort.

Outside, they get into a huge argument, with Hank getting more and more misogynistic in a rant about why she can’t go dressed out like that and how he always has to protect her because all men are creeps (except for him). The whole scene is awkward, as Hank has never really expressed interest in her romantically. His over-protectiveness is just odd, and thankfully it’s ended when the two are attacked by some random villain that looks like Kraven the Hunter and Deathstroke the Terminator’s lovechild, simply named the Hunter. He kind of beats the crap out of them, cutting off the finger (or as he called it Talon) of Hawk and a bunch of Dawn’s hair. Hunter gets scared off by this woman named Xyra, who looks like a grown up version of Freefall from Gen 13.

While recovering back at their apartment, Xyra explains that she’s part of a long running secret society that has been worshiping the hawk avatar and that the Hunter works for some cleric named D’Yek, who coincidentally is part of an anti-hawk group that plans on destroying him (thus needing their hair/finger for totems in a magical spell). All the while, Dawn is standing around in her bra and panties, and a very open bathrobe showing off her goods. No wonder Hank is so overprotective of her; she’s always throwing herself at people!

The book ends with D’Yek and Hunter talking at their own secret lair discussing how they will destroy the Hawk avatar and that according to old prophecies Hawk will kill Dove, a nod to the prior continuity of how the same happened when Hawk was Monarch during Armageddon 2001. It also makes me feel really old remembering that was in all the comics advertisements of stuff I was reading twenty years ago.

So the stage is set for the final issue of the series. Will Hawk get killed by the Hunter and D’Yek? Will Hawk kill Dove? Probably not. But will I miss this series? That’s a yes.

Spider-Man: Masques

Let’s remember 1991! I just finished reading Spider-Man: Masques, which collects a bunch of issues from the adjective-less Spider-Man book from the Todd McFarlane era. And by judging the art and story in this collection, he’s already got his mind set in the direction he would take with Spawn.

That said, Masques features two stories set in darker, supernatural world. The first one has Spider-Man facing off against Hobgoblin, who is now a demon on a mission from God to rid the world of sinners. The plot gets a little wonky at this point, as Hobgoblin has abducted the son of a woman he murdered. Little Adam believes Hobgoblin is an angel of some sort. Taking a child is enough to get Spider-Man’s attention.

Ghost Rider takes interest in this for two reasons:

  1. Hobgoblin is killing innocent people, which always get his dander.
  2. It’s 1991. Ghost Rider’s popularity is at its peak and he has to make as many cameo appearances as inhumanly possible.

Our heroes wind up chasing Hobgoblin all over New York, with the biggest problem being that Ghost Rider is more concerned with killing Hobgoblin than ensuring the boy’s safety. The story ends kind of abruptly with Spider-Man stopping Ghost Rider, who intends on beating the villain to death. The story ends with Spidey giving a lecture on justice not necessarily meaning vengeance, Ghost Rider blowing him off and McFarlane getting to draw two issues worth of chains all over the place.

The second act is Spider-Man donning the old’ black Venom style suit, as he literally goes underground to investigate people disappearing all over Manhattan. It turns out the homeless people living in the subway have been feeding “sinners” to on-again, off-again hero/villain vampire Morbius to quench his bloodthirsty.

Unfortunately, Spidey has to inform him that he’s been fed people who aren’t criminals. Morbius is pretty upset about this revelation; he goes nuts attacking the homeless people and then runs of on his own, presumably to start his new solo series. Again, this is from the early 1990s, so it’s the second height of Marvel’s super natural hero popularity.

These stories really look like they could have been out of Spawn. The backgrounds, the panel layout, even the homeless people who resembled the Vindicator all show up. The ties between Spider-Man and Spawn aesthetically speaking are really strong.

The final story is a crossover with X-Force. You can’t get much more 1990s comic art then this, with both McFarlane and Rob Liefeld teaming up. This comic just might be the birth of “widescreen” comic books, as the art is laid out on the page lengthwise. This is pretty much what you would expect; its sheer visual mayhem.

What you might not expect is the story; longtime mutant terrorists Juggernaut and Black Tom team up some mercenaries in an attack leading to the destruction of the upper half of one of the World Trade Center’s towers. It’s very uncomfortable reading this story in a post 9/11 world, as the background imagery is eerily similar to the actual. I hadn’t read this since college, and completely forgot about this.

Spider-Man: Masques is a nostalgia book, for anyone who grew up reading comics during the 1990s. It sums up everything in comics at that point on the Marvel end: superstar artists, X-Men characters, supernatural plot lines, everything.  It might not hold up that well, but it’s a great look back at that era.

Hawk and Dove #6

I’ve really been making a dent in my “to read” pile. Hawk and Dove #6 is a one shot with the avatars of peace and war going on a vacation to lovely Gotham City.

They’ve been chasing the New 52-ized Blockbuster who has stolen the Amulet of Ra from the Smithsonian Institute, only to encounter and then team up with Batman and Robin. It’s part of what happens when you visit that city.

So the three birds and the bat team up to stop Blockbuster, who is working with this sorceress Necromancer to collect these mystical totems like the Amulet to get some sort of magical powers. Obviously, our heroes aren’t impressed. They save the day; Hawk and Dove are on their way back home to Washington DC.

The issue was written and drawn by Rob Liefeld and is suited to his strengths. It’s pretty much a full issue of fights and such. I did like the way he had Damien as Robin characterized as being pretty an ass. Stands up on its own decently.

Deathstroke #10

I completely forgot about this. Deathstroke #10 is the second issue of writer/artist Rob Lifeld’s DC comics 1990s tribute series.

Lobo is loose and running wild; the opening scene of him at a diner would make any longtime Lobo fan smile. It’s silly; something that is needed for a character like this.

Deathstroke is investigating the prison that Lobo escaped from along with Zealot and the Omegas (who I think are the New 52-ized version of the Omega Men). After tussling with one of the aliens who had been serving as a warden at that jail, Deathstroke finds out that Lobo has been unleashed to kill off everyone on the planet Earth.

The final scene has Lobo off at some top secret alien crash site in Colorado where he uncloaks a massive spacecraft. One can only assume that its filled with all kinds of weaponry and such. Lobo also mutters something about a Sheba, which I can only assume is a love interest for the frag master.

I guess the next issue is going to be some sort of all action slugfest between Lobo and Deathstroke. I can’t think of anyone better suited to draw this kind of kinetic batle than Liefeld.

Deathstroke #9

Rob Liefeld. Deathstroke the Terminator. Lobo. This comic has everything that was great about the 1990s. With Hawk and Dove cancelled, Rob Liefeld moves over to Deathstroke starting with this issue.

I haven’t been following this title previously, and issue #9 establishes the Deathstroke-verse pretty quickly. Slade is at the grave of his deceased wife reminiscing, even to the point he is carrying a picture of her. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone carry a picture of a loved one when going to the cemetery, but I digress. Anyway, this happy moment is spoiled.

Slade winds up dispatching some commando types and some teen meta-humans called the Omegas (I wonder if this is an allusion to the Omega Men), as apparently some sort of test by a new character named Maxim. His goal is simple: to hire Deathstroke to kill Lobo, who has escaped imprisonment. Along with the Omegas and Zealot from WildCATs fame, our mercenary hero is off to collect his bounty.

This story kind of reminds me when my younger brother and I would play super heroes as kids. We would mix all the toys together, and before you know it, Spider-Man and Batman would be riding a Wheeled Warrior vehicle against Krang from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Anyway, this was light enough to warrant waiting for the next issue. Typical super hero comics stuff. Art wise, the one thing that I noticed was that Liefeld’s backgrounds were kind of sparse. The colorists seemed to have improvised a lot to fill the pages.

Hawk and Dove #5

It really bums me out that this series is getting canceled this summer, but I’m going to enjoy what’s left of this series. The fifth issue of Hawk and Dove finishes up the first story arc with a conclusion to their feud with the villainous Condor.

Obviously they succeed and Deadman survives; there is an issue six you know. But the best part of the story was the relationship between Hawk and Dove. Obviously, they don’t like each other that much. But they do care about each other. Dove gets mad at him when he suggests that being in a relationship with Deadman might not be the healthiest thing for her. We’ve all been in that situation where we’ve had to tell a friend that, or heard that from someone else.

The book ends with Hawk being right, well sort of. Deadman dumps Dove because he feels he’s a threat to her safety. Poor Dove.

As you know, I’ve really been enjoying this series. Sterling Gates’ story has been fun and Rob Liefeld’s art has been bombastic as ever. Next issue sees Liefeld taking complete control of the book, and we get a visit from Batman. Sounds like fun.

Oh, and check out Liefeld’s homage to the original Hawk and the Dove #5 cover by Gil Kane!

Hawk and Dove #3-4

President Barack Obama gets possessed by the ghostly hero Deadman

This series has been such a throwback to fun, over-the-top super hero comics. Last time we checked in with Hawk and Dove, they were trying to save President Obama from the evil Condor and Swan. Did they have get Barack back?

Of course they did. Issue #3 was filled with ridiculous fighting and destruction through the White House. How ridiculous? Deadman even gets involved in the action, “possessing” Obama for a little bit. How crazy is that. Issues like this really show Rob Liefeld’s strength as an artist. The issue ends with Hawk and Dove taking Condor into custody.

The next issue is writer Sterling Gates’ time to shine. Hawk and Dove have an opportunity to interrogate Condor. It’s a very well written, slow burn story that crescendos with Swan rescuing her partner in crime and revealing that this was all an elaborate setup to kidnap Deadman!

Seriously, go read these. Hawk and Dove definitely falls into the comics are fun category. I would say that this and Batgirl are the best of the New 52 books I’ve read.

Hawk and Dove #2

One of the joys of having a rage filled partner is that you never get a chance to fight super villains by yourself. Just ask Dove.

The second issue of Hawk and Dove continues the fun from the last issue. Writer Sterling Gates and artists Rob Liefeld are still at the helm. So what are our avian and emotion avatars up to this time?

They’re still fighting Alexander Quirk’s army of zombie monsters, but they have to take a break to celebrate Judge Hall receiving an award at the White House. President Obama vaguely looks like Obama, in case you were wondering. The book ends with the beige Hawk looking character from last issue crashes the party, and the book ends with Hawk and Dove having to save Hawk’s dad and the president.

The art is very good, so Liefeld deserves some credit. But most of the credit on this book should deservedly be given to Gates. His character building dialogue works well with Liefeld’s over-the-top action.

Plot wise, Gates accomplishes a lot this issue. The beige Hawk looking dude is actually called Condor, and he has a female sidekick named Swan. Apparently they have powers similar to Hawk and Dove. This issue started with the two of them beating up a greyish looking Hawk type (Ostrich?), so I wonder if we’re going to wind up with a bird version of the various Lantern Corps.

The dynamics of Hawk with the supporting characters gets explored as well. Deadman, Dove’s boyfriend, really makes it clear how much of an ass he thinks Hawk is, which puts her in a difficult spot. For some reason, Hawk’s dad invites his ex-girlfriend Ren (who hasn’t been seen or heard from in almost a decade) to the awards ceremony and makes things very awkward for everyone. For whatever reason, Hawk really hates her, and she displaces that hate on Dawn. Very bizarre.

Hawk and Dove has been fun, and I can’t wait to see where they go next, especially with all the Condor and Swan business. This will connect to Quirk at some point, and I cannot wait.

Hawk and Dove #1

Finally! Hawk and Dove #1 was a lot of fun, and I’m not saying that just because I’m a huge Rob Liefeld fan. So now that I’ve finally gotten a chance to read it, did it live up to almost four months worth of expectations?

The answer is yes.

Since Hawk and Dove really hasn’t been around too much in DC comics the last twenty years or so, there was a lot of reintroduction to the concept and how it plays out in the New 52. Hank Hall is still the avatar of war Hawk, and has an uneasy alliance with Dawn Granger, the avatar of peace Dove. He still doesn’t like her, as she replaced his brother Don as Hawk. So I guess that part of Crisis on Infinite Earths is still canonical. They don’t say exactly how done died, but I guess they will address that at some point.

This sets up the first story arc by introducing the new villain Alexander Quirk, a “self-proclaimed science terrorist” (yes, that’s a direct quote) who attempts to invade Washington DC with some weird zombie like creatures. Since this is the beginning and we’re still in the exposition phase of the story, Hawk and Dove quickly dispatch them and wind up denting the Washington Memorial in the process. The book ends with the debut of a new character wearing a Hawk inspired costume that is beige and brown. I guess he’s a more business casual version of Hank.

Art wise, this is some fun Rob Liefeld art. It’s bombastic. It’s kinetic.It’s over the top. But it’s also a lot of fun. It’s really good and I’m sure he was motivated on this.

Story wise, Sterling Gates did a great job. His characterization is spot on, even if you’ve never read any of the previous versions of the characters. There’s a lot of tension between our two heroes. Dove gets a lot of character expansion, as not only is she currently dating Deadman (I have no idea how that works.’s fiancee), but she was previously in a secret relationship with her predecessor Don! Gates has also brought back Hank’s father, Judge Hall, into the equation and he serves as a calming counterpoint to Hank.

Hawk and Dove #1 didn’t disappoint me in the least bit. It was great fun and I can’t wait to continue reading this series.

New York Comic Con 2011: The Last Report

Avengers SetSo New York Comic Con 2011 has come and gone. Let’s talk about all the fun I had in the Javits Center. But first lets talk about this picture of the Marvel section. Yes, that’s an actual set piece from the upcoming Avengers. They used it as a backdrop for their section on the convention floor.

Anyway, the convention itself was fine. I went on the Friday and Saturday. Friday was awesome; Saturday not so much, mostly due to it being over crowded. Let me get some gripes out of the way:

Captain America costume

Captain America's costume/armor was pretty cool to look at.

  1. Non-comic book related stuff tends to do nothing for me. That said, some of the crowds and lines waiting to play whatever new XBox or PS3 games looked horrifically long. This seemed to cause some problems for other exhibitors, as the gamer lines were extending into their space.
  2. Yet again, I didn’t go to any panels. I’m sure there were probably some that I would have enjoyed, but many of them had lines forming hours before. We all like being the first people to find out about something, but in this digital age I am not sure if that’s the best use of your time. I mean, it’s going to be up on the internet seconds after its debuted. Just look at all those movie trailers they have at San Diego. You literally waste a whole day to see three minutes of footage that everyone else will see.
  3. No good swag. I know that promotional budgets are tight across the board but I felt that the con was lacking in that department. Oh well.
  4. Anime/Cosplay seem to be in the middle of everything. Please don’t think I’m knocking them; it’s just not my thing. But at times you felt really bad for the ones wearing elaborate/oversized costumes that made it difficult to navigate the Javits Center in.

The exclusive Metron from Mattel looks wicked. Love the Moebius chair!

But I did have a whole lot of fun at this show. The artist’s alley section was huge and it was great getting to look at so much awesome comics art, whether it be original pages or just interesting sketches and prints.

Night Own and the Baby from the Hangover

Legendary had an interesting assortment of props, including Night Owl's antarctic helmet and the baby from the Hangover.

Artist’s alley is such a weird and awkward social construct. All you see are comics creators of all levels waiting for someone to talk to them, with sad puppy dog eyes.  The worst is that you feel obligated to purchase something. As soon as you make eye contact, you wind up having an awkward conversation about whatever their project is and they try to hard sell it to you. So not fun.

The other weird thing is the arbitrary pricing you see from table to table. At one table, you had Sara Pichelli of the new Ultimate Spider-Man charging a decent amount for a sketch of someone of her stature in the industry. And then, across the way you would find another artist, who’s never had anything not self published CHARGING THE SAME. Head meet desk. It’s just that certain people have a name value that they can use to justify charging more for than others. Just because Adam Hughes’ sketches and convention work starts at $400 means that you can charge that much.

She-Ra riding Swiftwind

She-Ra? A new Swiftwind? Sign me up!

I did have a lot of fun in the artist alley’s section, getting a bunch of really cool sketches and signatures. I’ll be sharing them later this week. Any who, it’s always nice talking to Walt Simonson about comics. NYCC also had ROB LIEFELD~! as a guest, so I was really happy to chit-chat with him. And for all the internet outrage he generates, he always has a decent line and is super nice to his fans.

Voltron Toys

The new Mattel Voltron series does look really cool. Maybe one of you could get your favorite blogger some for Christmas?

As for the goodies I picked up, there weren’t too many purchases that I made. I kept it relatively small, as taking the train in and out of New York makes it more difficult to buy, say a longbox full of post Crisis DC stuff. But I did get some stuff that I’m happy about.

So yes, I had an awesome time and glad that I had a chance to go. How were your NYCC experiences?


Going through the comics last night I came across this little piece of awesomeness. I’m talking about Youngblood/X-Force, where we finally get to see Rob Liefeld’s two super teams from the 1990s collide in a battle for supremacy. Well not really, but this one-shot from 1996 is definitely a fun read.

This story is written by Eric Stephenson (who now currently serves as Image Comics’ publisher) and his script deserves much of the credit why this book was so awesome. Whenever you have a crossover with characters from two different publishers, the 800 pound gorilla is if you can make this meet-up plausible.

Stephenson found a perfect way to do it, using longtime X-Men and Excalibur villain Mojo (basically a grossly obese alien who controls the Mojoverse through television programming. Don’t believe me? Read his bio on In a feud with the much more loved Mojo II, the two fight over who gets the exclusive rights to broadcast the adventures (or misadventures) of Youngblood.

Eventually Youngblood become captured by the feuding Mojo’s, with their leader Shaft escaping to the Marvel Earth. It’s up to him and X-Force to go back to the Mojoverse and save Youngblood. Whacky hijinks ensue.

Again, Stephenson’s script is just awesome. His dialogue and use of Mojo is superb. The spineless villain really is the star in this book. There were a few times I heartily laughed, as Mojo panned some of the not so highlights of 1990s comics history, when he took a slight jab at the Ultraverse (Malibu Comics’ line of super hero comics that Marvel purchased in 1996) for not being cool and that making too many spin offs of Youngblood would ruin the property  (Youngblood had a plethora of spin-off comics including Team Youngblood, Youngblood Strikefile, Youngblood and the Raiders of the Lost Arc [well maybe not that one, but you get the point]).

So why would Marvel and Liefeld allow this? Well, it’s always a good sign to show that you can poke fun at yourself. Self-deprecation is endearing, and that’s how it came off. Anyway, Youngblood/X-Force is certainly a fun read and you should totally track one down. It is proof that there was some really fun comics from the 1990s.

Comic Con ruminations

Walking Dead plush

Assorted Walking Dead merchandise at San Diego Comic Con 2011. Photo courtesy on

So apparently there was a San Diego Comic Con this weekend. Did I miss anything important?

Usually I wind up geeking out in front of the computer, constantly refreshing the web browser to find all the latest gossip. So here’s a recap of SDCC, with what I’m excited about.

  • Matt Fraction’s new Defenders book—This is going to be cool. I’m a fan of Fraction’s writing, and this team up of Namor, Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, Red She Hulk and Silver Surfer just seems like a can’t miss. Did I mention it’s going to be drawn by Terry Dodson?
  • EC Comics—Everyone’s favorite horror comics from the 1950s are going to be reprinted by Fantagraphics next year. I can’t wait to get to read some vintage Wally Wood.
  • More Marvel Television—Sometimes it’s just as much fun to watch comics on the television show. I’m really looking forward to Hulk and the Agents of SMASH, a cartoon show featuring Hulk, She Hulk, Red Hulk and Skaar going around, smashing things and helmed by Paul Dini. I also can’t wait for aka Jessica Jones, an adaptation of Alias.
  • Hawk and Dove Teasers—Yes, I love Rob Liefeld and I love DC’s characters Hawk and Dove. Some of the newly released art has already been adapted into wallpaper for my computer.
  • New Marvel Universe toys—Everyone may have been excited about the return of the Marvel Legends toy line from Hasbro, but I’m still enjoying the smaller Marvel Universe figures, especially the She-Hulk, Scarlet Witch and Punisher. However, the Marvel Legends Build-A-Figure Armin Zola figure is amazing. And while we’re at it, some of the new He-Man and Thundercats stuff makes me very nostalgic.

So what was your favorite part of SDCC?

30 Things I Like About Comics–#24 Rob Liefeld

I’ve always enjoyed Rob Liefeld. Rob Liefeld's Uncanny X-Force

His art, with its over muscled and hyper exaggerated movement, is certainly a style that works in his projects. When you look back at the titles that Liefeld worked on, none of them fall into the serious “comics-as-art” case studies. Instead, his books were always the over-the-top super hero adventures with lots of explosions. His men are drawn with more muscle striation than you could find in a He-Man action figure. On the other side, his ladies had hotter and more unnatural proportions than Barbie.

Liefeld works best when he is teamed up with a strong writer. Case in point, look at his run on Hawk & Dove in the late 1980s/early 1990s. Written by Barbara and Karl Kesel, they created a damn fine series that still holds up to this day. Karl’s inking certainly Rob Liefeld's Hawk and Doveworks well with Liefeld’s art, maintaining the kineticism, but keeping it focused.

His work with Louise Simonson and Fabian Nicieza on New Mutants and X-Force respectively is solid. It also brought us Cable and Deadpool, both of which are cornerstones in the X-franchise. Youngblood was certainly a big deal when it came out, as were his Heroes Reborn takes on Captain America and the Avengers.

His fan reception is certainly polarizing. As successful as he is, there is also a vocal number of people who have an immense dislike of him, finding criticisms of his artistic skill and his storytelling.

I’ve never been one of the cynical fan types, but one thing I have noticed is that everyone is looking for the next Watchmen. Instead of enjoying a book for just being an escapist action/adventure fantasy, they unleash their frustrations on it for not being the next big groundbreaking work or for it not advancing the art form.

I think that Liefeld would find Michael Bay to be a kindred spirits of sorts. They both have a similar storytelling mantra, with big action and bigger effects, and not focusing on the more serious or realistic side. Because of that, they have a lot of vocal detractors.

But ultimately, they have dedicated and loyal fanbases, not to mention the ability to create ‘event’ stories that capture outsiders attention. Bay has grossed over $3 billion worldwide. Granted, Liefeld hasn’t generated money to that level but he’s certainly sold some funny books over the years.

Regardless what you think of him, you have to accept that Liefeld loves comics. Whenever you read any of his interviews or listen to him talk at a convention, you cannot argue that he isn’t a fan. He loves this industry. And not only that, he’s always super friendly to his fans.

And besides, how many comic creators have had television commercials?

Check out Lifeld’s blog for all kinds of arty goodness.