What We’re Reading Wednesday

Wednesday! Glorious comic book day! Check out our post to see what we’re looking forward to reading this week, and let us know what you’re picking up as well.

Our pick of the week:

detail (1)
Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man #6

Story: Brian Michael Bendis
Art: David Marquez
Publisher: Marvel Comics

• Miles’ life has been turned upside down in every conceivable level!

• New villains are coming out of the woodwork.

• Miles makes a life-changing decision!

 

Ms. Marvel #9 detail (2)
Story: G. Willow Wilson
Art: Adrian Alphona
Publisher: Marvel Comics

• As Kamala discovers more about her past, the Inventor threatens her future.

• Why is Lockjaw really with Kamala?

• The fan-favorite, critically-acclaimed, amazing new series continues as Kamala proves why she’s the best (and most adorable) new super hero there is!

 

Keep reading for our picks!

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NYCC 2014: To Wristband or not to Wristband?

500px-Nycc-logo-hi-res

In addition to all of the comic book announcements and sneak peaks from New York Comic Con 2014, one of the things I was most looking forward to was seeing just how Reed Pop’s new system of clearing their main stage between panels was going to work out. It’s a crowd control measure that has been sorely needed at both New York Comic Con and the ever-growing San Diego Comic Con for some time now, but it remained to be seen if this was the answer to the long lines and wait times that the larger panels at these conventions attract.

The Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. line on Friday.

The Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. line on Friday.

Let’s be honest here, the system of not clearing rooms between panels sucks. If you want to see a single panel in a room, you’ve basically committed to spending the entire day up until that panel either waiting in line or room-sitting. It means missing out on everything else at the convention that day, and it’s never been a system that I’ve liked. However, I was skeptical about New York Comic Con’s main stage clearing policy.

The policy involved going down to the bottom floor of the convention center, or the “queue hall”, and lining up to get a wristband for the panel of your choice. Only a certain number of wristbands were given out, and attendees were free to leave the line after getting their wristband. Getting to leave the line is the part that makes this entire system worth it, because in the past, I’ve personally had to plan out convention days over whether I’d spend them waiting in line or actually getting to enjoy the convention.

NYCC’s policy appears to have been a success in a lot of ways. I noticed that on several days, it cut down on crowds waiting for the Main Stage. On Friday, I was able to quickly get my wristband, and not show up until several hours later for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. panel. I got to enjoy the convention, walk the floor and Artists Alley, and not being chained to a single room to get to see the one thing I wanted to see was definitely an improvement over past cons.

Getting a wristband meant going immediately to the Queue Hall.

Getting a wristband meant going immediately to the Queue Hall.

However, the system isn’t without its flaws. It doesn’t prevent people lining up in the middle of the night to be the first inside the convention center for wristbands. If the success that NYCC had with this year gives Comic Con International the idea to implement a similar system in San Diego, camping out all night for Hall H will just become camping out all night for Hall H wristbands. Yes, the problem of having to room-sit could be solved, but that still means that fans not willing to wait outside at four in the morning will be completely out of luck. That turned out to be the case with the Walking Dead panel at NYCC this year– some convention-goers got in line as early as 5 a.m. to be first in line for wristbands when the Javits Center opened its doors at 10. There were also reports of volunteers offering to sell wristbands to popular panels. There’s also the problem of wanting to see two popular panels on the same day. With NYCC’s current system, you can’t grab a wristband for someone else, so the current system has the advantage there. It’s a win/lose situation, either way you look at it.

But with both New York Comic Con and San Diego Comic Con growing in popularity every year– NYCC actually surpassed SDCC in attendance in 2014– hopefully the organizers of both events will be able to find a happy medium that will let the fans enjoy the convention without being stuck waiting in line the entire weekend.

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Art Love: X-Men

X-Sunday by apocalypse-polakiewicz

X-Men by Glen Brogan

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Art Love: Black Widow

Black Widow by Irene Flores

Black Widow by Irene Flores

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What We’re Reading Wednesday

Wednesday! Glorious comic book day! Check out our post to see what we’re looking forward to reading this week, and let us know what you’re picking up as well.

Our picks of the week:

sexcriminals_08Sex Criminals #8
Story: Matt Fraction
Art: Chip Zdarsky
Publisher: Image Comics

Jon and Suzie have had to deal with a whole lot in their time together but nothing can prepare them for…Robert Rainbow. Actually he’s a pretty cool guy. And that’s the problem. Come along and laff and love with the Eisner Award nominated SEX CRIMINALS by MATT FRACTION (SATELLITE SAM, HAWKEYE) and special guest artist CHIP ZDARSKY (SPAWN*, THE WALKING DEAD*) 

*avid reader of

 

Sabrinacover1-2ba41Sabrina #1
Story: Roberto-Aguirre Sacasa
Art: Robert Hack, Rachel Deering
Publisher: Archie Comics

Terror is born anew in this dark reimagining of Sabrina the Teenage Witch’s origin. On the eve of her sixteenth birthday, the young sorceress finds herself at a crossroads, having to choose between an unearthly destiny and her mortal boyfriend, Harvey.

But a foe from her family’s past has arrived in Greendale, Madame Satan, and she has her own deadly agenda. Archie Comic’s latest horror sensation starts here!

 

Keep reading for our picks!

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Art Love: Jubilee & X-23

Jubilee & X-23

Jubilee and X-23, by Thatters

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Let’s All Go Nuts (for a Squirrel Girl Ongoing)!

Before I get started, I would like to take the time to help everyone visualize my reaction to finding out that Squirrel Girl is receiving her own ongoing. Please see below.

cartoon_squirrelgirljstorm

I’m definitely Squirrel Girl in this. Complete with sliding motion.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get down to business. As you probably have already heard, Marvel announced that Squirrel Girl will be getting her own ongoing, “Unbeatable Squirrel Girl” via EW this morning.  It will feature the dream team of Ryan North (of “Dinosaur Comics” fame) and Erica Henderson (just look at her awesome tumblr! Look!), both of whom are more than capable of handling the built in situation comedy that comes along with the character.

Now if you were a fan of Squirrel Girl before, you probably understand the enthusiasm that seems to be pouring out of everyone’s ears. It’s a bubbly, infectious sort of giddiness that probably should be heralded on embossed acorns or something equally twee. If you’re not, then you’re probably scrambling to Google why this is such a big deal.

The answer is, you might not necessarily be able to figure out why people are freaking out about a teenaged girl with squirrel-like powers and a squirrel best friend named Tippy-Toe getting her own ongoing. It’s kind of hard to boil it down to anything other than enthusiastic chittering noises. But I’ll try.

Cover of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 by Erica Henderson

Cover of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 by Erica Henderson

Doreen Green (aka Squirrel Girl), despite having defeated Doctor Doom and Thanos all on her own (including multiple other Big Bads) is still a relatively normal teenaged girl. Sure, she’s been a nanny for Dani Cage (Luke Cage and Jessica Jones’ daughter) and probably had a fling with Wolverine, but she’s not over-hyped or over-exposed. She takes her job seriously, takes being a part of a bigger team seriously and has dramatically risen above her Great Lakes Avengers roots.

The premise of the new ongoing suggests that we’re  to follow her to college and there’s something to be said about going after that kind of story. Doreen doesn’t have a Great Destiny Laid Upon Her or time travel, inter-galatic shenanigans to contend with unless she wants to. Having a hero that doesn’t come from money or have had an accident, but picks this life is important. It’s even more important when that hero happens to be a teenaged girl whose powers aren’t something that inherently sexual.

I hope this series picks up on the fact that there can be just much drama and hilarity mined from figuring out which group of people to hang out with and how you’re going to survive that class with that professor who just doesn’t get it as there is from saving the world. College is about finding out who you are — even if you’ve kind of had that handled since you were 14. Transitions (especially when it means getting out of your comfort zone) are difficult no matter who you are which is something that most people can relate to. It’s about time Squirrel Girl had the chance to show she was worthy of her own title. Which is totally is. It’s called Unbeatable for a seriously good reason.

Long story short: this announcement is kind of a big deal. So big, it feels almost on the level of “New Thor is a Woman” epicness. It seems like it is something that should’ve happened five years ago, but has always been worth the wait. I can’t wait until January to check it out!

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Art Love: Hawkguy and Lady Hawkman

Hawkguy and Lady Hawkman

Hawkguy and Lady Hawkman by Pseude

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Art Love: Zatanna & Batman

Zatanna & Batman by astro

“Not funny, Zatanna.”, by Astro

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ALL-TRASH X-MEN

Brian Michael Bendis likes to do a thing where he posts a tease of an upcoming project to his tumblr. His latest one was the picture below, and a few of us at GRCT have not been able to stop talking about. Mostly, about how weird it is.

Bendis what is this

I mean, look at it. Fine, Pixie, Colossus, even Marrow. But then, BAM, Stacy X. Stacy fuckin’ X! Double entendre intentional. Spiral, Ink. Forge. ADAM X THE X-TREME, Shatterstar-but-the-old-dumb-Shatterstar, Callisto and Sage. It looks almost like a team deliberately built out of cast-offs and jokes.

Almost. Because if it was going to be that, there’s a few weird omissions. And so we at GRCT decided that as line-ups of the dumbest, lamest, most ill-considered X-Men go, this one just doesn’t have the purity of concept to really make it. So we’re going to make our own.

GIRLS READ COMICS TOO PRESENTS:

THE ALL-TRASH X-MEN

THE RULES

  • 5-7 members, all of whom must be mutants featured on an X-Team at some point. One or two may be non-mutants, as non-mutants inexplicably serving on an X-Team is also traditional, but again they must have done so previously. Yes, there’s more in the image above, but most teams are about this, and since we’re going for basically X-WAVE, this is our number.
  • As this is the ALL-TRASH X-MEN, you are allowed at most one A-Lister, whose status as trash you must be prepared to defend.
  • They can be shitty but lovable or just plain shitty, dealer’s choice, but they must be recognized as (or an argument provided for them being) basically useless or terribly conceived or just terrible for whatever reason.
  • I was going to say “616 only” but then realized that would exclude Nate Grey from all teams on a technicality, which would make the entire exercise pointless. So, instead:
  • The team must be built from characters introduced by at list three different creators; no just grabbing a bunch of Morrisons and slapping them in a team.

And so, with much fanfare, HERE WE ARE:

scott2014goldballs1First up, in honour of Brian Michael Bendis, the latest and greatest of the joke mutants: GOLDBALLS. His power is gold balls. The very definition of what this is about: He’s awful, I mean, he makes gold balls, but you can’t help but love him, partly because… gold balls. Gold balls.

Maggott-on-MarvelNext up, we have Maggott, whose exclusion from the picture above served as the impetus for this article. What’s the point having a team of shitty cast-off X-Men if you don’t have Maggott? His power is he has a pair of slugs that crawl out of his chest and eat stuff for him. Slugs, man. Slugs. There’s even an Ultimate Maggott who was adorable! But is probably dead, like everyone in the Ultimate U. Also, because Ultimate Maggott is adorable he’s excluded. Original, hilariously bad Maggott only.

beak-nxm65Now, while their powers are ridiculous, they can have some practical use, so let’s balance it up a little, by adding BEAK. Not non-mutant Beak or the one that was on the New Warriors somehow, for this team we need original Beak, brought to the future by time-travel chicanery like the OG X-Men. Dude with a giant beak and I guess a bug girl fetish? I forget. Man, Morrison was weird. Now, sure, the point of Beak was that he was useless and kind of off-putting, since that was the deal with the New X-Men, but there ain’t no rule against it, and I think the way his nose and uselessness got gradually smaller over time was an injustice that must be corrected by this random article.

Samuel_Pare_(Earth-616)_from_Uncanny_X-Men_Vol_1_410The next addition might be considered too much use, which is why I’m adding them as a pair: Juggernaut and Sammy the Fish Boy. Remember them? If so you’re doing better than me, since I think his code name is actually Squid-Boy, now that I think about it? NONETHELESS. From Chuck Austen’s run, where Juggernaut banged She-Hulk* and had an adorable dynamic with a ten year old kid who looked like a goldfish squid person. Because that’s what everyone wants out of the Juggernaut.

(*’s twin from another dimension visiting 616 for tourism)

No, seriously, that’s what I want. I loved them, that’s why they’re here. So shitty, so lovable. Watered down kids’ movie Juggernaut qualifies for the team, along with a squid-looking kid who swims real good and died real bad.

m-twins-1That’s a lot of dudes, huh? So finally, to round them out, let’s have some throwaway semi-obscure lady characters: THE M-TWINS, Nicole and Claudette St. Croix, from Generation X. They have the power to merge together to look like Monet, I guess. No, really, for a fair portion of Generation X the person everyone thought was Monet was actually these two, it was a big reveal. I think having a power that is basically “being two kids hiding under a trenchcoat pretending to be an adult” definitely qualifies them for this team.

So, guys, what’re your line-ups?


LeshiaAh, shitty X-Men.  Bane of some, delight of others, I think we all know what camp most of us fall into, right?  I actually had a bit of trouble with this list, because it’s very easy to conflate the genuinely garbage characters with the ones who are total D-listers but are nonetheless kinda great?  Also, I realized about halfway through writing this that a Birds of Prey-style title starring Ariel, Cerise, and Lifeguard would literally be my favourite comic ever and had to start over.  Here we go.

Stacy-X

Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with the idea of a mutant prostitute superhero, but Stacy X was just… ecch from the beginning.  Terrible personality, terrible visual (mostly due to the terrible blandness of the X-Men costumes that came immediately following the first film, granted, but ‘snake lady’ only gets you so far on its own), super sketchy powers that made her about as useful as Cypher in a fight, idiotic codename… yep, she takes the cake.  Hey, remember that time she was depowered and eventually killed off in New Warriors and then randomly showed up having a threesome with Chamber’s old pop tart girlfriend, inexplicably a mutant again?  Stacy X, everybody!

Then, of course, there’s everyone’s favourite punchline, Maggott.  RIP sweet prince, you were too stupid for this world, at least until someone randomly decides to bring you back with no explanation because the writer wanted someone obscure and didn’t realize you were dead.  Did you know his digestive system slugs had names?  Eeny and Meeny.  You’re welcome.

108958-138593-revanche

I’ve been reading a lot of early 90s X-Men lately, and one character who made an immediate impression on me was Revanche.  I’d always been vaguely aware of her and her complicated history with Psylocke, but I had always assumed it was just one of those standard comic book things where sure it’s convoluted as all get out, but it all makes sense if you pay attention.  Having now read every one of her appearances in roughly the order in which they were meant to be read, I can honestly say that NOPE, she really was just as poorly conceived and executed a character/plot device as has ever graced the hallowed pages of Marvel’s Merry Mutants.  One day she just showed up, said she was Psylocke, joined the X-Men with a new codename, and nobody really talked much about it until she died of something completely unrelated to any of it.  What a waste of ink.  Good for her.

And speaking of bland knockoffs of far better characters, who can ever forget that lovable scamp Joseph?  Everyone.  Everyone, that’s who.  You know Joseph, right, Magneto’s doofy young clone-oh-but-maybe-he-isn’t-but-then-what-else-could-he-be-oh-this-is-so-compelling who mostly just hit on Rogue a lot and then died?  You probably don’t remember him, on second thought, at least not nearly as well as you remember Madelyne Pryor, who had this exact same storyline less than ten years earlier.  Yeop.

862178-adam_x_01

ADAM X, THE X-TREME.  Get the hell out, Vulcan, we all know who the real third Summers brother is.  HIS POWER IS THAT HE MAKES PEOPLE’S BLOOD BURN.  HE IS THE MOST GLORIOUS PIECE OF 90s TRASH TO EVER SPORT A BACKWARDS BASEBALL CAP AND I WILL BROOK NO ARGUMENTS TO THE CONTRARY.  Also, if his name is not written all in caps every time, head back to the drawing board, because lowercase letters are nowhere near X-TREME enough for ADAM X, THE X-TREME.

In more modern exercises in mediocrity, how about that Hope Summers, huh?  Good lord, if a character was defined by how amazing and world-changing everyone is constantly saying they are, Hope would have been Mecha Batman by the time she was at the centre of her third massive crossover or so.  And yet, at the end of the day, she’s still just Peter Petrelli with the added power of trolling Jean Grey fans for as long as humanly possible.

x-men-days-of-future-past-bishop

Finally, gonna go a little more mainstream and cap off my lineup with Bishop, a dude who is only as big a name as he is because someone high up said “We need another black X-Man.  Make one.  Also, he should be able to blast things.”  Now, editorial mandate is certainly not the best way for a character to come into being, but a character’s origins aren’t the end-all, be-all when it comes to determining whether they’re trash or not.  My dearest darling Dazzler was created via a similarly tone-deaf edict, and any attempt at increasing diversity in comics is a good thing, as far as I’m concerned.  The problem with Bishop, however, is that literally no writer ever has known what the hell to do with him.  He is a house built on sand, there’s just nothing to work with there.  Is he a gritty future soldier learning to work alongside the legends of his time?  Yeah, but that got old super fast.  So maybe he can just be a generic cop or something?  No, no, that’s not much better.  Maybe he’s evil!  And crazy!  Well, whatever the hell he is, it is not and has never been anything remotely resembling interesting.  But hey, at least he blasts things.

In conclusion:

alienbirdsofprey

Holy hell, Marvel, please give me FABULOUS ALIEN BIRD LADIES OF PREY. I won’t ask for any other Christmas presents or anything!


Sarah2014

Confession time: my X-Men knowledge doesn’t run nearly as deep as my fellow contributors’. So when I heard of this project, my very first thought was, “I don’t know, pretty much any X-Factor line-up Peter David’s put together?”

Because if PAD had a superpower, it would be making “trash” characters into loveable scamps you can’t help but care about. Case in point, I once took an 8-hour road trip after school because there was a lone copy of the Madrox trade available at a comic book shop in a nearby city, and I didn’t know when I’d be able to find one again.

That’s a lot of dedication to a character whose only power is to create a bunch of regular guys by hitting himself. (Yes, I know it’s more nuanced than that, but… That’s what it boils down to. Let’s not get picky.)

So in honour of my beloved Madrox, my All-Trash X-Men team is… Well, a lot of Madrox.

  1. Original Flavour Madrox: I don’t mean regular Jamie Prime. I mean Madrox the MultipleMULTIPLE_MAN_first_appearance Menace, first introduced by Len Wein, Chris Claremont, and John Buscema, all the way back in Giant Size Fantastic Four #4. (Coincidentally, the oldest single issue I own.) If the O5 X-Men can come back from the past, I see no reason why the socially awkward, Mr. Spock rip-off version of Jamie can’t make an appearance.
  2. The X-Factor Dupe: Also known as the dupe that once pushed Rictor off a building in X-Factor #1. (Sidebar: I’ve always sort of figured that this was the same dupe who temporarily absorbed Jamie Prime in PAD’s original X-Factor run, but that goes beyond the scope of this article.) He’s the perfect foil for Madrox the Multiple Menace, as he’s the polar opposite of socially awkward.
  3. Matt Rocks: The newest character on the team, spray-tanned entertainment lawyer, Matt Rocks, is a Charles Soule creation who only just debuted in a recent issue of She-Hulk. He’s also the dupe that’s funding Jamie Prime’s current retirement. I’m of the opinion that every superhero team should have a lawyer on standby, making Matt Rocks the best (and only) choice for my All-Madrox All-Trash X-Men.
  4. John Maddox: Of all Jamie’s dupes, John Maddox is probably the most normal of the bunch. Since every team needs an Everyman, he’s my pick for the slot.
  5. Jamie Prime: C’mon, like I’d forget about the original. How else are we going to contrast the character development he’s gone through since the ol’ condom head days? Plus, the All-Madrox Squad needs a leader, and who else was gonna get that job? I guess he’s stepping out of retirement for one last adventure.

Now, since Maggott is obviously not one of Madrox’s Dupes, he doesn’t qualify for membership on the All-Madrox All-Trash X-Men, but maybe he could be the team’s arch-nemesis. Stranger things have happened. A lot of them to Madrox.

(Case in point, The Baby Dupe Jamie Absorbed That One Time AKA Sean Madrox would clearly be the All-Madrox team’s equivalent to the Death of Professor X. Just think about it.)

madroxbaby

“OH MY HOLY GOD!”

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