Wytches: Parenting Fears Made Manifest

I read Wytches back in September before Baltimore Comic-Con because I wanted to be able to talk to Scott Snyder about how it was a personal meditation on what it means to be a parent. Snyder being as popular as he is, I was unable to get a solo interview with him this time, but I did get to ask a question about Wytches during his panel.

During the panel we learned that fatherhood has been on Scott Snyder’s mind quite a bit recently. His recent Batman arcs have explored that relationship between Bruce and Alfred. He also mentioned that he doesn’t do Bruce and Damien stories because it’s too real for him with a son around Damien’s age. I’ve also been thinking about fatherhood quite a bit. When I Wytches I had a 3 year old. But I knew my wife was pregnant with twins. Part of the reason this article is late is because they were born early and part of it is because I knew they were coming so I was trying to jam in every activity I knew would have to leave behind for a while when they arrived. Continue reading Wytches: Parenting Fears Made Manifest

Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour (in Color!)

I read Scott Pilgrim in its original manga-sized, black and white form when it first came out. With the final volume of the color version coming out this year, I thought it would be a great time to revisit the story as well as looking at how the addition of color changes things. I’ll be exploring the story and themes volume by volume. This time,we reach the conclusion with Volume 6.

Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour - Scott being desperate
Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour – Scott being desperate

At this point, it appears that everyone has grown up except Scott Pilgrim. Nowhere is this more apparent than his misguided attempt to figure out if any girl who’s ever shown an interest in him will sleep with him. Of course, in this volume we finally learn why Scott Pilgrim has been such a dummy for the past five volumes – he purged himself of any self-reflection and memories of anything that ever went wrong. In one of the many Gen X/Y references, this is personified by Nega-Scott. Until Scott completes the metaphor by merging with Nega-Scott, he cannot grow up. Because no one can be a true adult if they don’t ever deal with anything they ever do wrong. Continue reading Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour (in Color!)

Alex + Ada

I was sure I knew how this was going to go. I’ve seen plenty of anime with this same plot. Usually the guy gets an android because either he’s too shy around girls or because he’s a loser (at least by cultural standards). However, instead of the main male character (and the ones I’ve seen usually have a male as the main character) taking the easy route and ending up with the android, usually she is just a teacher – a live action female simulator for the boy to get over whatever it was that kept him from getting the girl. To help make the boy less cruel, the android is usually destroyed or has to be returned because the trial period is up or some other reason to make the boy get on with his life and not cruelly end things with the android.

Alex and Ada - Prive Wave
Alex and Ada – Prive Wave

So I avoided reading Alex + Ada. The cover with Alex opening up Ada’s box didn’t help things along. But rather than either the love story I was expecting or a sex romp, it turned out to be one of the most prescient comics I’ve read recently. (Right behind The Private Eye by Brian K Vaughan) We’re presented with a world in which a Google Glass-like technology has reached near ubiquity. Alex, the eponymous main character, has one such device embedded (technically making him and most Americans cyborgs) and uses it to think commands at all the computer devices around him. This is also a world in which the leading tech companies were working on achieving AI sentience. When, some time in the past, one of the companies succeeded, the newly self-aware robot massacred everyone at the factory.  This leads to a law banning sentience. It is also a world in which non-sentient androids are everywhere – as coaches, sex-bots, and companions for the elderly.  Finally, there are self-driving cars controlled via the Google Glass-like tech. Continue reading Alex + Ada

Vamping Around: Vampirella Masters Volume 1

By this time, long-time readers of Comic POW! will know that I have been exploring pulp comic storytelling via Dynamite’s offerings. As the main deal-makers with many of the rights holders of the old pulp characters, Dynamite is leading the way in neo-pulp in comics. So far I’ve really been enjoying Gail Simone’s run on Red Sonja. However, of course she’d be able to do justice to strong female characters with her pedigree on Women in Fridges (the website) and lauded runs on Birds of Prey and Secret Six (among other titles). What would happen with a campy vamp (in both senses of the word) written by one of my favorite writers (Grant Morrison) and a writer that just as often rubs me the wrong way as the right way (Mark Millar) in which they teamed up on the script?

They didn’t go in the same direction as Red Sonja in which she had a less ridiculous outfit within the comic, but that’s OK (while not the best possibility). What I didn’t like about the main story, and perhaps it’s an effect of the way the story was collected, is that it appeared quite disjointed. It went from Vampirella trying to save a mob boss from vampires to being accompanied by a wannabe vampire hunter. Additionally, if this girl can easily fight vampires after like a month of training – just how hard are these vampires to fight, anyway?

Vampirella Masters Vol 1 - Not Much Training
Vampirella Masters Vol 1 – Not Much Training

Overall, it appears they just wanted to create an action romp and there’s nothing wrong with that, but with these guys as the writers I was expecting something groundbreaking in the mythos – especially with how interested in these types of things Grant Morrison tends to be. Instead we got the same tired refrain – the head vampire is Judas Iscariot. Continue reading Vamping Around: Vampirella Masters Volume 1

A Masterpiece worth Reading: The Dark Knight Returns

When I started the relaunch of Comic POW! while taking Christy Blanch’s gender dynamics-based comics MOOC, part of the premise was that comics are a product of the times in which they’re created. This has been true of many of the comics I (and other Comic POW! writers) have explored, but I feel that, among the classics of the 80s Revivals, this is most true of spiritual brothers: Watchmen and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Both are so steeped in the despair of the 1980s and the effects of the Cold War on the psyches of those living through the constant threat of annihilation. Both mine these depths to deconstruct the modern hero mythos (as seen through comic book characters). While Alan Moore has more lattitude with reimaginings of old characters DC Comics had acquired in an IP sale, Frank Miller has somewhat more impact with me given the decades of familiarity with young, mostly optimistic Batman. But it is a testament to the feelings in the Jungian consciousness that both More and Miller have their god-being (Superman/Dr Manhattan) as the ultimate weapon against Soviet agression. It’s also worth exploring how the consequences of their actions lead to both similar and dissimilar results. Continue reading A Masterpiece worth Reading: The Dark Knight Returns