Category: Comics

A Love Letter to Superman Done Right

A Love Letter to Superman Done Right

Dropped off the radar for a bit there, I know.  Look, I’m not an exciting guy. If I don’t have stuff to say (about Justice League, Superman, The DCEU – important shit like that) and I try to force it, well… it turns out like this.

See what I mean?

Plus, I’ve taken a rockstar skid right into writing fiction again. Believe me, when I’m on a roll, when I’ve got my mojo back, when I’m writing like a man possessed, it is vital that I’m not disturbed. There’s been no blog for two weeks, but next year there’s plenty of fiction coming at you, and I’m very excited.

Alas, the lull comes to an end. If there’s anything to shake a blog hiatus, oh man you best believe it’s writing about superhero flicks. I managed to control myself with the two-thirds fantastic Wonder Woman, and I kept myself to a hundred words for the four-fifths (is that more than two thirds?) AMAZING Thor: Ragnarok, but I cannot and will not let the opportunity to talk about Justice League pass me by.

Spoilers to follow – let’s go.

It's Superman, in case that big photo of him in the background confused you.

The DCEU is not Good

I go pretty hard on the DCEU, like most of the world, I suppose. Wanna know why? Well, for a start, the films are shit. (Oh, don’t you dare defend them. I see you. The main problem I have arguing about the GULF in quality between the Marvel and DC flicks is the fact that half the time the DC side know their films suck but are too married to the cause to admit it.) But for a reason with a little more weight, I’m a Superman fan.

Y’know who isn’t a Superman fan? Zack Snyder, director of (fart) Batman v Superman and (less amusing fart, but doesn’t smell as bad) Man of Steel.

Since Man of Steel, it’s been clear that Zack Snyder doesn’t like Superman. It’s written all over both his films. Superman is painted as a villain in his own movie, an invader from outer space, friend or foe, what happens if he turns on us BLAH BLAH BLAH. He’s the good guy, you twit. Zack Snyder’s desperation to write the tortured anti-hero (read: why didn’t they ever pick me to direct the Batman films??) is blatant in Man of Steel, and it suffered for it.

And let’s not get into Batman v Superman (read: oh yay! I get to direct a Batman film! Let’s make Superman the villain in it!). I fear I’ll never stop.

Superman is My Hero

I’m a Superman fan. I was raised on Christopher Reeve. Give me a bright colour scheme, red pants, saving cats from trees and families from fires. Give me a hero with a moral compass pointed firmly the right way. Give me Captain America, Cyclops, Rick Grimes, Luke Skywalker or any other hero shunted and deemed uncool because of the rogue charmer that’s supposed to be on his side.

I thought I knew how Justice League was going to go. I thought Superman was gonna get brought back, mind-controlled by the baddie (I seriously can’t remember his name, and I refuse to Google it because I want to make the point that he was forgettable) and the heroes were going to have to turn him back. He’d be on the right side in the end, but he’d spend the film as the villain – as per Zack Snyder.

I would’ve put money on this. Hoo boy, I’m glad I didn’t.

The heroes brought him back because – and Jesus Christ I didn’t see this coming – Batman admitted he needed him! Batman, in this narrative, understood something that most of his fans don’t. Shoot me.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There was that brief (but necessary for the fanboys, I’ll admit) smackdown between the heroes when he first came back. He certainly looked like the baddie there, but it didn’t last long enough to worry about.

In no time he was pounding on… that lousy demon axe guy, saving a house of civilians from inevitable destruction, making genuine quips (LIKE AN ACTUAL COMIC BOOK CHARACTER), and doing it all in a costume looking considerably less miserable and washed-out than either of his previous two outings and still absolutely iconic when exposed beneath a ripped-open shirt. (I fucking love the tear-open-the-shirt-to-reveal-the-logo cliché). There’s my Superman. Even with a weird CGI jaw, that’s what my Superman looks like.

Uphill from Here?

So look, yeah… I guess I liked Justice League mainly because it treated Superman right. Aside from that, I do understand it was a bit of a mess. It was full of crucial, gaping plot-holes that don’t marry up with previous films in the series, and the CGI was the ugliest I’ve seen in a while; the film was far from perfect. But hey, Wonder Woman was great and this was a step in the right direction… for the first time, colour me excited about the future of the DCEU!

It’s a cruel twist of the knife that the film brought in just (yes, just) $93.8M on its opening weekend, and that is the lowest of any of the DCEU efforts. The content of the films is finally starting to look decent, but I can see the studio losing enthusiasm now that this major project has definitely underperformed.

I remember feeling the same with regards to Logan. Hugh Jackman’s last hurrah as the definitive Wolverine (and I fucking hate Wolverine) was the one film that was absolutely perfect. They finally got the character right, just in time to kill him off.

The next few years are going to make or break the DCEU… and I want a good Superman film out of Henry Cavill, because I do think the guy is excellent in the role. I’m owed a decent Superman film, goddammit. Henry Cavill deserves a Logan! If I could get one modern Superman film that invokes the sense of joy, optimism and (oh no, I’m going to say it) hope that’s classically synonymous with the big blue boy scout, I’d backflip on the spot.

Just one decent Superman film.

…It’s not gonna happen, is it? We’re just going to get a string of films for the rest of the Justice League, aren’t we? About characters Justice League did a pretty average job of building. A Wonder Woman sequel (which she definitely deserves) and *sigh* another trilogy of Batman films.

I’m tired of Batman films.

Is anyone else? (Oh God, stop throwing things at me!)

Funny thing…

What’s in equal parts heartbreaking and hilarious is that I know there is a five-star Superman film waiting to be made and adored by audiences of all ages across the globe – all DC would have to do is sell Superman to Marvel.

Nothing’s impossible, I suppose…

What did you think of Justice League? Let me know! Here’s Twitter and Facebook, or let me know down yonder in the comments.

Take it easy now, I’ll be back next week with my November round-up because – apparently – it’s December today.

Yep.

It’s Gavin.

That Infinity War Trailer Though

That Infinity War Trailer Though

Have we all seen the Infinity War trailer?

THIS ONE?? https://youtu.be/6ZfuNTqbHE8

Colour me so excited that fluids won’t stop coming from me. All orifices, all angles. It’s happening to me RIGHT NOW.

I’ll be back on Friday to talk about Justice League but it seems pretty fucking pointless now.

It’s Gavin

Review: Batman takes a backseat to Bane

Review: Batman takes a backseat to Bane

I’m actually quite proud of myself that I haven’t reviewed an Image comic yet. I know it seems easy to just write about ‘the big two,’ but I read a lot of Image. Regardless, I’m with DC today, and not only am I with DC, I’m with Batman and Bane.

Bane so scary - lookit dem eyes. Eff that,

 

The Details

Batman Vol 3. “I Am Bane” – A DC Comic
Released 30th August 2017
Writer: Tom King
Artist: David Finch, Mitch Gerads, Clay Mann
Inks: Danny Miki, David Finch, Sandra Hope, Mitch Gerads, Seth Mann
Colourist: Jordie Bellaire, Mith Gerads, Gave Eltaeb
Letters: Deron Bennett, John Workman, Clayton Cowles

He is not a joke. He is not a riddle. He is not a bird or a cat or a penguin, not a scarecrow or a plant or a puppet. He is not a fairy tale or a circus act, a broken friend or a regretful mentor. He is no rich boy pretending to be a knight.

He is Bane. The Batman invaded his home, scarred his mind and broke his back. Now Bane has returned to Gotham City for a single purpose: break the Batman once and for all. But first, he’ll destroy everyone the Dark Knight has ever loved…or loathed.

The young heroes who’ve worn the mantle of Robin. The cops, crime-fighters and vigilantes who make up Batman’s army of allies. Even the madmen and monsters that haunt the halls of Arkham Asylum. Batman will need all of their help—and more—to fend off this unstoppable challenger.

Because both Bane and Batman know one thing: only one of them will walk away from their final confrontation unbroken…

Tom King with Batman is Wonderful

I’ve mentioned Tom King before. Tom King is a very talented man. A slick writer, a pretty writer, a dark, emotive writer. A writer who made me care more about the emotions of a family of cyborgs than I had done for most of the Avengers in years. He’s good. When I read his run of Vision, I remembered thinking what he could do if he had a character I love. Then DC went and gave him Batman, and the results are decent.

Bane is Wonderful

As per the blurb up there, Batman came into Bane’s home, broke his back and took from him the man who helped him keep his venom withdrawal under wraps. Bane wants this man back. I like Bane, and it’s clear that the writer likes Bane. He’s treated throughout the whole book as both the unstoppable force and the immovable object. There is nothing Bane cannot and will not do to get this man back from Batman, and at two different points in the comic, he beats the bat to within an inch of his life to get it.

Bane written like this is the only way Bane should be written. Vicious, determined and desperate. A raw depiction of an addict, fully off the wagon and determined to haul himself back onto it.

The book is brutal throughout, and I don’t think this would have had the same impact in the hands of any other artistic team. Bane is in full HULK mode, breaking teeth and spraying blood across the panels. He fills every page to its rims, determined to force his presence on us. Determined to show us the destruction he’s caused. It’s dark like Batman should be, and bloody enough to induce the odd wince.

The Shorts are Wonderful

Outwith the I am Bane story, the back of this book is padded with two Batman short stories which are every bit as good. One about the taming of one of the Joker’s rabid dogs that’s suitable for any heart strings you might have let come loose, and one about Swamp Thing on the hunt for his father’s killer. I’d be very interested in some more Swamp Thing written like this. Both stories are tight, succinct and easy to digest. I found myself reading each of them twice. Tom King doesn’t need three full graphic novels to tell an effective story, here he’s proven he can do it in pages.

I mean, some of it isn’t wonderful

No book is without flaw, though. As much as I’ve gushed about the writer here, I’m not sure I agree with the… poetry, I guess, that he allows each character. King likes repetition. He likes to put together a catchy, impactful phrase and make sure we hear it – LOADS. He writes comics like Bon Jovi writes songs. Everybody loves the chorus of a Bon Jovi song, but sometimes they get so catchy you can’t remember a verse. This is effective, don’t get me wrong. Bane screaming I AM BANE as anyone who will listen as he breaks them in half is spectacular. Similarly, when Batman – in I am Suicide – brought his little speech to Bane’s home about how he was going to break his back, I got hyped to see it happen. The issue is that the poetry wears thin when every character is a poet.

Additionally, Bane literally bursts through walls in Arkham, obliterating about forty percent of Batman’s rogues gallery. While we’re told that it takes him a full day to do this, as readers all see is some of the most compelling villains in comic book history getting spanked by Bane with minimal effort. King’s telling over his showing has been documented in other reviews, and a lot of the time I don’t feel it’s fair. In this instance, though, I’m feeling it.

But mostly, yeah… Wonderful

I don’t want to do half stars, and because of that I’m forcing myself to say four out of five on this one. A brilliant read, only held back at points by being a touch too pretty.

Have you read it? What are your thoughts? Let me know down below and follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Insta for updates as and when they happen.

I’ll be back on Friday for some chatter about four boys and some hot sauce.

It’s Gavin

 

Trailers, I’m so done with trailers

Trailers, I’m so done with trailers

Do you remember the first film trailer you ever saw? Not a question that pops up too often, I hope. There’s a valid argument that it’s barely worth the conversation. I mean, who cares, right? Well, these days, a lot of people. Trailers are everywhere now. They’re an unstoppable force ruining films whether you like it or not. And man, I’m tired of it.

Trailers are big deal, you'd best answer me. Rude not to.

Trailers back then

The very first trailer I remember seeing was for Power Rangers The Movie. I nearly wet myself with glee at the time. I don’t remember being excited for a film before its release, at that age I never knew films were actually coming out, so much as I just knew that they came out and I went to see them. Seeing a trailer for a film that I actually wanted to see was mindblowing. Suddenly, all I could talk about was Power Rangers The Movie. I assume my parents were done hearing it pretty early on, but I just didn’t understand why the film wasn’t OUT RIGHT NOW. Similarly, after I’d been to see it in the pictures, I couldn’t understand why it wasn’t OUT ON VIDEO RIGHT NOW. I was never a patient child.

Back in a time when trailers were seen mainly at cinemas, they weren’t nearly as big a deal. If I were to ask my Mum and Dad if they saw the trailer for the new Thor film, they would still have to pause and realise I meant on the internet. Trailers were just things that happened, you might fancy that film on your next trip to the cinema, if you remember, but it was an entirely different time where you couldn’t just fill yourself with previews, reviews, clips and featurettes before making an educated decision on whether or not you wanted to go see a film.

But then came the internet

The internet brought this information. It brought us almost into the process of making the film itself. These days it’s possible to track a film from concept to release with only a Google search in the way. And with people following their favourite franchise or actors and actresses, it’s nice to give us something pretty to look at when there’s something pretty to look at available. Right?

So… more trailers. Trailers everywhere. First, there’s the teaser, then there’s the first trailer, then there’s the international trailer, then there’s the second trailer, then there’s the second international trailer. That’s not including the posters (mainly of each of the film’s characters looking a touch moody) and – of course – trailers advertising the release of a trailer. Can’t forget that.

It’s just all a bit much!

It’s 2017. I feel like I’ve come out the other side. Growing up like with the internet like the good little millennial I am, I was around at its birth and saw it swell, growing with it. I watched films when trailers weren’t a big deal – when information had to be dug for if you wanted it. I saw it through the period where we were able to use the internet to paw around for it and watched the internet hand it to me in increasingly sickening courses, and now I’m here – officially complaining about trailers.

But it’s not the number of trailers I’m moaning about, it’s the content.

I went to see Spider-man earlier this year – remember? – I was very excited by it. I leapt at the release of every trailer like the desperate Marvel fanboy I’ve proven to be in the past, and I absorbed each of them and collapsed in glee at the end. Spider-man thrilled me, but there was a problem: I’d seen most of it.

It ruined the experience a bit. The issue is – when you’ve seen all the trailers – you’re always waiting on that bit from the trailer. I knew that Spider-man was going to surf a fucking jet at some point in the film, and I knew he’d be doing it in his pre-Tony Stark, street-level outfit. So as long as he was still wearing his Stark suit, I wasn’t going to get to see him surf a jet. I wasn’t going to see a film, so much as I was going to see a collection of clips I’d already seen – assembled in chronological order and expanded upon – and there are videos on Youtube that actually do this!

I quit… I tried to quit

I decided I was done with trailers. I tried to be done with trailers. I decided I was done with any more than ONE TRAILER per film. I was confident I could stick to it. I was strong.

And then Comic-con weekend came round and I folded like McGregor in the tenth round (SPORTS) (did he even fold? Is that a thing? It’s not, is it?).

I heard there was a new Justice League trailer, and I was able to resist. You won’t get me again, DC comics! You fooled me with Batman V Superman and then Suicide Squad, but I won’t be fooled again! Then I heard there was also a new Thor trailer and, yeah. Folding. I’m weak. I’m so weak. Worse still, because I’d already jumped off the wagon, I went around absorbing all of the trailers I managed to resist before! AND JUSTICE LEAGUE LOOKS PRETTY GOOD, OKAY!?

The problem persists, though. I feel like I’ve seen most of Thor, now. Going by the three (?) trailers, I can put the plot together. It’s a bummer.

One of these days, I’d like to see a trailer that uses entirely different footage. The ultimate red-herring. A trailer that shows nothing that’s in the film – a totally different plot!* I know that’s missing the point of trailers, but the comic flicks could easily get away with it. Marvel and DC aren’t selling a story anymore, they’re just selling the characters at this stage. People aren’t going to be pissed-off by a brand new plot they never saw coming, so long as everyone they were expecting to be in it, is in it.

Maybe one day, eh?

What do you think?

Too many trailers these days? Not enough? Let me know!

I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, or you could just comment down there. No hard feelings.

I’m back on Monday with a review of the stellar Tom King’s Batman, Vol 3: I am Bane. I don’t expect to be disappointed.

And next week’s Friday blog is gonna be special, I can’t say anything about it, but it’s going to be special. I should put together a few trailers for it.

It’s Gavin

*On a second read through, I’ve realised how fucking ridiculous this idea is, but I refuse to remove it. I’m not strong enough to resist trailers, and then I moan about getting too much info – so the people making the films need to lie to me so I can enjoy myself. That’s what I’m saying here. That’s the depths of unreasonable bullshit I’m sinking to. Jesus.

Review: X-Men keeping it light

Review: X-Men keeping it light

That ‘new comic Wednesday’ thing lasted a while, didn’t it? On Wednesday I was off seeing the enigmatic Lana Del Rey and just couldn’t make a review happen. New comic reviews are on Monday now. It’s new comic Monday. This is my party and that’s the decision I’ve made.  X-Men Blue Volume 1. Let’s go.

X-Men Blue DABADEEDABADIE

The Details

X-Men Blue Vol 1. “Strangest” – A Marvel Comic
Released 23rd August 2017
Writer: Cullen Bunn
Artist: Jorge Molina, Matteo Buffagni, Ray-Anthony Height, Julian Lopez, Cory Smith, Ramon Bachs
Colourist: Matt Milla, Irma Kniivila
Letters: Cory Petit

Like a bolt from the blue, the original X-Men reunite – like never before! This time, Jean Grey takes her place as leader, and Cyclops, Iceman, Angel and Beast must follow her into action as they seek to bring mutant criminals to justice and restore a heroic sheen to their team. But how can they do that when their new mentor is their old mentor’s arch-frenemy? That’s right – Magneto has joined the original X-Men! But due to their long history with the Master of Magnetism, not everyone on the squad can put old rivalries aside… With tensions rising, can the X-Men come together to be a cohesive force for good? Or will ulterior motives and personal quests derail the entire enterprise? At the end of the day…who can be trusted?

X-Men in light, bitesize episodes

One of the things that terrifies me about Marvel and DC comics is its history. Every few months another #1 issue comes along and assures you it’s the ideal jumping-in spot for a new reader, and then it’s not.

X-Men Blue was okay on this front.

If you know absolutely nothing about the X-Men, then yeah you’re in trouble. Why did you buy this book? But with a touch of background knowledge (Magneto = Bad) and the helpful blurb at the book’s front, it’s easy to pick up.

These X-Men are the original line-up of X-Men, back with they were teenagers, pulled forward into modern day. Time-wimey crap out the way, the book is pretty delightful. What we have here are some standalone stories with only a few connections to the grand world of Marvel.

It’s light. It reminds me of volume one of Champions from a few months back (only much less SJW). These are just five kids trying to save the day. The banter between them feels genuine, and I find it hard to say a bad word about the writing on this point.

These X-Men, who remember Magneto being the psychotic bad guy, have trouble dealing with leadership from said reformed psychotic bad guy. It’s a fun and tense dynamic, though I feel it should have been explored long before now. These X-Men have been kicking around the current timeline for a few years now, and Magneto’s been a sort-of goodie for ages.

Alternate Versions of Blahblahblah

All it takes is one mention of an alternate dimension son of Wolverine to make me much less interested. I wish they’d left the dimension-hopping time-travel crap alone, I really do. Additionally, the lovely, breezy, episodic nature I was just praising makes the book a touch forgettable. Can’t have it both ways, I know, but I won’t be in a hurry to reread this.

Another bug-bear is the abuse of thought-bubbles. It could be argued that the constant reminders of the thoughts of these characters give the book an old-school feel, but it annoyed me. At one point Jean managed to open a psychic chat-room between the team while having a showdown with the baddies. It felt clumsy and heavy-handed.

The art is good. What I don’t like about a lot of comics depicting teenagers is that they usually look like adults. The artists here do well to make them look their age. It’s crisp and consistent, though Jean’s head shape-hops a bit at times. The last issue of the book sees the art take a dive though. Call me picky, but limbs aren’t supposed to be so… long.

Rated: 3/5

There’s potential for these guys to do brilliant things, they’re probably just getting warmed up.

X-Men Blue Vol. 1 is out now and available on Amazon RIGHT HERE.

That’s me for this week – but if you missed last week’s story, you should go give it a read. It’s controversial!

Also, here’s the social media blurb that I stole directly from that blog because I couldn’t be bothered to type it all out again:

Follow me on Twitter here, or Facebook here, or here’s my Insta where I recently posted the most devastating picture of a cheese toastie you ever did see,or here’s my BILLION Pinterest boards, or just comment down there if you’re not feeling any of that crap. I get it.

It’s Gavin

 

Just Spider-man stuff

Just Spider-man stuff

Hey, so listen, I need the traffic and all that, but it’s about to get NERDY up in this bitch – you’ve been warned.

I’m not worried about- right, really but. I’m going full nerd here. Here’s the TL;DR – I’m going to see Spider-man next week and I’ve very excited about it.

That’s it.

Still here? Okay.

I’m not worried about Spider-man: Homecoming.

I have absolutely no reason to be worried about Spider-man: Homecoming.

If you’re on the superhero hype train – and I’m well aware there are plenty of people feeling justifiably fatigued by the endless slew of these films – then you’re likely in agreement that it’s difficult for Marvel to put a foot wrong. Difficult, not impossible (looking at you Iron Man 2 and Thor 2) but even at their worst, I’m still watching Marvel over anything DC has done since The Dark Knight Rises.

(Oh shit, that’s not true anymore! I loved Wonder Woman! Fuck. Okay, anything between The Dark Knight Rises and Wonder Woman – that gap.)

Marvel has done it with franchises that were unknown like Guardians and films that didn’t appear to stand a chance like Ant-Man. They have Spider-man here, they will not struggle to make a good movie. So confident am I in Marvel’s spectacular film-making prowess, that I guarantee that they could get a good movie out of Superman. I’m saying it. Give that hero – who thrives on levity – to Marvel and watch him break the box office.

I’m not worried about Spider-man: Homecoming.

Let’s cast aside Robert Downey Jr, who leaks charisma like I leak urine any time my half-my-size girlfriend jumps out at me as I’m leaving the bathroom. Let’s hope he doesn’t hog the screen too much and put him to one side (though I’m coming back for him later). While we’re at it, get rid of Keaton too. Let’s quietly hope he’s a rare exception to the ‘Marvel can’t write a compelling villain to save their bank account’ rule and put him aside too.

Let’s focus on Spider-man himself. Tom Holland.

Everybody see his cameo in Captain America: Civil War? Yeah? Wanna tell me he’s not going to kill it as your friendly neighbourhood Spider-man?

Spider-man is my favourite superhero ever. It doesn’t matter why, really. Just a bunch of tired clichés. Just that crap you’ve heard a BILLION times about Spider-man being the relatable hero for nerds in a Marvel world of gods.

As a result, I’m protective of Spider-man because I want him to be done right. And so far, he just hasn’t.

‘What do you mean, Gav?’ you might be saying, ‘didn’t [Tobey Maguire or Andrew Garfield] do a solid job?’

In parts… sure.

By that I mean the parts of the character they’re playing: Peter Parker and Spider-man, effectively two characters under one role.

Tobey Maguire was consistently intense to the point of being a bit creepy (watch this video if you disagree).While I never want him to be creepy, Peter Parker isn’t supposed to be a comfortable presence. He says things that make you cringe because he’s cheesy and weird, and it’s entirely believable that he starts to act the wank when he gets the spider powers. I like Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker because he pulled off awkward and antsy correctly. He let us down with his performance of Spider-man, though. When he put the mask on, he lost it. He played it closer to fifties Spider-man, complete with bad (bad) jokes that didn’t land.

Andrew Garfield… okay, look I get it. He’s the anti-Tobey. He’s the most likeable guy in most rooms – but he isn’t Peter Parker. Look, Peter Parker isn’t good-looking and athletic. He’s not brave, he’s the victim. It’s a hundred percent believable that Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker could land a Gwen Stacey – it’s supposed to be UNBELIEVABLE. He tries to act bumbly and weird and awkward and dorky but when you look like Andrew Garfield, that behaviour is endearing. Garfield’s Spider-man was excellent though. He’s got all the quips that are funny and up-to-date and burn like hell. The suit fits Andrew Garfield’s swagger comfortably, he pulls it off.

Now we have our Tom. Tom’s got the awkward and clumsy down without overdoing it (Maguire) or looking too bloody pretty to pull it off (Garfield). And then when he’s Spider-man, he’s hilarious like others weren’t (Maguire) and he isn’t well… kind of a dick (Garfield’s Spider-man teetered on bullying criminals at points).

He’s got the best of both worlds. I’ve got all sorts of faith in Tom Holland, I think he’s going to be the definitive Spider-man. A Spider-man I can get A HUNDRED PERCENT behind, and I’m so fucking happy about that.

So, I’m not worried.

…Okay there’s one thing.

I’m sure it’ll be fine. I’m sure it’ll be fine. I’m sure it’ll be fine.

But… let’s go back to Robert Downey Jnr.

I’m all for the mentor-mentee thing between Peter and Tony Stark. I love that dynamic. (Just like DC loved that dynamic… yeah, Justice League trailer, I saw Batman and The Flash there. I know what you’re doing. Stop it.) I’m just a tad weary of a potential ‘team-up.’

A team-up is a good way of transferring popularity between two characters who can’t really get it done themselves. See The Hulk’s apparent role in the next Thor flick later this year, or Batman’s appearance in what was originally supposed to be a Man of Steel sequel last year. It’s usually effective.

I don’t think Spider-man needs it. I haven’t seen the film but I don’t want to see too much Tony Stark in this film, and I definitely don’t want to see too much Iron Man. Fuck that.

That’s my one worry. Too much Tony.

But here’s the thing: Marvel are smart. They know. I’m confident Marvel are going to get this right. I’m so confident that I’m writing a blog about it. I don’t want to have to come back here in two week’s time and eat these words (though I might have something else to talk about in two weeks time). I especially don’t want to come back here in two years time and write a piece about how DC films turned their whole game around and started to annihilate Marvel films.

That would destroy me.

I’m not worried about Spider-man Homecoming.

The point of this whole post: I’m going to see Spider-man next week and I’ve very excited about it.

It’s Gavin

The TITTYFLICK: Advice for Reading Image

The TITTYFLICK: Advice for Reading Image

I started reading Image comics a few years ago.

Why? Oh-

No wait, hang on. I have some thoughts to briefly share:

  • I figured out my problem with Ed Sheeran. His songs about girls all seem to have a voyeuristic edge to them. Like he’s singing from the end of a pair of binoculars at a court-mandated distance. Y’know? He’s in love with your body.
  • I went to see Wonder Woman last night. Save for it slipping into cheese in the third act, it’s splendid. Y’know that feeling that we – the men – have when we walk out of an action or any typical superhero flick where we want to cartwheel and kick and punch and just be bad-ass at everything? My girlfriend came out feeling like that. It must have been refreshing.

Okay sorry, I’m back.

I started reading Image comics a few years ago.

Why? Uh, that’s a whole thing. Marvel and DC are my bread and butter, I owe them so much for Spider-Man and Superman and every other superhero I admired growing up. But, like… I’m tired. Tired of nothing ever changing, and trying to keep up with the billion team-ups, and characters dying but never actually dying, and the MONEY, and the films interfering, and the billion different heroes with one name, and oh Jesus Christ the REBOOTS. I dunno. I still read the occasional book (I’ve just finished Champions #1 and the Tom King run of Vision which were AMAZING), but I’m probably an Image boy now.

It’s nice to be able to pick up a book that’s got number 1 on it and not have to know anything before that. That’s kind of the point in NUMBER 1, right? It’s the first? I should be meeting new characters in a new story I know nothing about? BATMAN REBIRTH #1, but I need to know the past fifty years of backstory? No? Am I taking fucking crazy pills?

Whatever, that’s a rant for another day. But as a shrugging point, I feel the need to mention that I’ve been keeping up with comics since the nineties and I’m still too intimidated to pick up a book in the middle of a run. I can only imagine how a complete stranger feels. Do yourself a favour, stranger, pick up Image.

Fuck, I’ve lost the thread again.

Sigh.

I started reading Image comics a few years ago.

Why? Doesn’t matter. I just did.

As a result of moving on to Image, I had to learn a new skill. A skill that’s proven very useful on the train or at work.

The skill I learned? I call it the TITTYFLICK.

Yes, the TITTYFLICK.

Now, dear reader, you might imagine something entirely different from the action to which I refer. Oh reader, rubbing the sleep from your weary eyes on this glorious Friday morning, struggling to approach your day, what do you imagine? Lovely reader! Eagerly awaiting the weekend to come and kick piss out your organs, you might picture something that puts a damper on your weekend – an image perhaps of your boy, It’s Gavin – tubby and topless with chest-hair coiling its way from neck to belly, tipping over a tattered belt – flicking his own titty. Did you imagine that, handsome reader? If you didn’t, do you now? Scarce reader, I shouldn’t be so keen to scare off with awful, hairy and wet (yes, wet) imagery, do you imagine me, flicking my titty?

Flickin’ it.

Well that’s not what this is, you might be happy to know (might).

I got on a train earlier this year with the latest edition of Saga (Saga is the fucking best). Saga is a comic by Image. Everything about Saga is exceptional. I love Saga. I didn’t want to have to wait until I got home before I started reading it.

It was my mistake. I should have known better.

I’m reading Saga on a crowded train, with a long-faced woman next to me who doesn’t have a book to read or a phone peruse. I turn the page, and I’m smacked in the face by erect. Robot. Penis. A very nearly full-page spread of an erect, robot penis. It was obscene, and wrong, and damaging.

I slapped the book shut and turned around to find out if anybody had seen it. The long-faced woman saw. She made her thoughts known with a dutiful tut.

The TITTYFLICK is something I need to do before I consider opening an Image comic in public.

See, Image comics aren’t Marvel or DC. They’re creator-owned. They don’t have an editorial staff of moneymakers around to tell them they can’t put excessive violence, swearing or nudity in their comics.

It can catch you off guard on your first Image experience.

Let’s be honest, if you’re reading a comic book, you’ve at one point felt a touch defensive about your social status, right? In spite of the fact that the people writing comics are some of the best storytellers in the world and the amount of work that goes into every single panel is baffling at least, people are still going to see you as too old for comics. I understand how it can be confusing to lower your internal age to pick up a comic, only to open it up for a Game of Thrones amount of nipple across the first five pages.

I’m used to it now, and I’m here with advice: The TITTYFLICK.

It’s not difficult. It takes seconds. A quick flick through like there’s a picture in the bottom corner that moves. Only instead of looking at the bottom corner, we’re looking for genitalia or excessive blood.

Decide, from that flick, what kind of person you want to be.

None of the above present? Then feel safe reading the comic at your desk in work, but y’know… you’ll be the guy that reads comics at your desk in work. Boobs all over the place during that flick? I wouldn’t read that anywhere but at home. Otherwise, you’re the guy that reads a comic at your desk in work that’s also a pervert.

Regardless, do not start reading an Image comic without first doing the TITTYFLICK.

It’ll surprise you, too. Never make an assumption on an Image comic.

I picked up the most recent issue of Sex Criminals last week. Yes, the book is called Sex Criminals. No TITTYFLICK required, right? The book is about people who can stop time every time they have an orgasm (it’s funny, I swear). It has “FOR MATURE READERS. DUH” in large print on the back. I can’t unsee the things I’ve seen in Sex Criminals. I don’t even bother with the TITTYFLICK on Sex Criminals anymore, I just wait until I get home. When I did, I settled down in my dark little room at the back of my little flat with a can of cider, like a good little pervert, and settle into my dirty little book. But guess what? It’s easily one of the tamer comics I’ve ever read. Not a single boob. Mad.

I think the creators at Image are clever with it, though. I think they believe in the TITTYFLICK differently.

I mean, sex sells.

They rely on their graphic content to sell the books in the first place. They rely on people picking up a comic at issues 1-5 and performing the TITTYFLICK in the middle of a comic shop. Maybe they won’t judge a book by its cover, but they’ll definitely judge a book by the TITTYFLICK.

Oh, let’s take a look at this book here, flashy cover on it, let’s see… *TITTYFLICK* OH HELLO VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL CONTENT! Add that to basket, job done.

Now, am I generalising an awful lot? Yes. Have I sold Image comics to you as sheer smut? Probably. It’s not the case at all. My favourite comic, The Wicked and Divine hasn’t featured any nudity, only heads exploding an awful lot. Black Science is a sci-fi wet dream, but that’s it. Southern Bastards has the innate ability to transfer you to an honest-to-God barbeque in the middle of Texas with its content, but it’s fairly (fairly) clean.

All I’m saying is, as a general rule, y’know? Just flick through the bloody pages before you read it on a train. Don’t go into any Image comic under the assumption it’s okay to read in public. Image comics are comic creators let off the leash. A lot of them write for Marvel and DC as well as do their own thing at Image. They like the freedom, and they will use it.

And look, like… whatever you do, just… maybe gauge the strength of your relationship before you read an Image comic in front of your partner.

I don’t think my girlfriend has ever really looked at me the same way since I read Saga in the same room as her.

It’s Gavin

PS. I’m probably a bit late in mentioning this now… but Image is the name of the comic company. It’s not some new weird type of media. You got that, right?