CAPTAIN AMERICA ANNUAL #1
HOMELESSSMAN 2011 indie, looking like a collected webcomic.
KICK-ASS: THE NEW GIRL TPB Millar/JRJR Waited and got!
X-Men Red #9: Waiting for cancellation. But it does seem they're finally addressing that Rachel's constant reversion to her Hound persona is something that needs to be dealt with.
Moon Knight #200: A lot of psychobabble. Frankly, I find the multiple-personality-disorder bit the least interesting thing about Moon Knight, and kinda tune out when it's emphasized. Maybe "least interesting" isn't the right phrase -- I just don't want it to exist. A literally insane character that is played seriously isn't one I can really get behind, because he is a danger to himself and others (and cannot believe Marlene and Frenchie would hang around a crazy person without getting him psychiatric help). Also, for someone to do the things that Moon Knight does, he needs a bit of a boost, so I want Khonshu to be a real god, not just one of the personalities. Yes, it's a comic book trope that anyone can pull on Spandex and instantly become Captain America level, but I call shenanigans on it every time, because it punctures my suspension of disbelief.
Besides, one Deadpool is enough.
Thanos Legacy #1: He's still dead. This is100 percent set-up. For what, I do not know.
Infinity Wars: Soldier Supreme #2 (of 2): This is the last issue, and now I see what all these Amalgam-style characters are for. Judging from how this issue ends, these spinoff books are going to establish the Composite Supermen and then bring them into the battle against Gamora, in answer to Emma Frost's call (from inside the Soul Gem, IIRC, along with Ant-Man, Hulk, Loki and Warlock) for "heroes." So I assume Iron Hammer, Ghost Panther, Weapon Hex and Iron Hammer will all end the same way. Should know soon.
Infinity Wars: Arachknight #1 (of 2): See above.
Infinity Wars: Sleepwalker #2 (of 4): There's some interesting world-building going on here, but everything involving Sleepwalker himself turns me off, because I don't find that particular character engaging in any way. But he visits the inside of the Power Gem, which has an interior world like the Soul Gem, where there's a lot of fighting going on. The guy who runs the place, Dynamus, is the "living emodiment of the power cosmic," and I assume we will see him again. In the meantime, Sleepwalker recruits Little Monster (Ant-Man/Hulk hybrid who gets smaller the madder he gets), and we meet some more hybrids, including Poltergeist (Ghost/Songbird), Janice Jones (Jessica Jones/Beetle), Bullsai (Bullseye/Elektra) and Headman (Leader/Headmen). We also meet the Abomination as a microscopic bacterium, but I dunno what kind of hybrid that's supposed to be. And we also meet Commander Hand and Rick Fury, Agents of S.L.E.E.P., and again, I'm not sure what they're amalgamated from. (I'm guessing Victoria Hand/Maria Hill and Rick Jones/Nick Fury, but I don't really know.) It looks like Sleepwalker is going to visit the other infinity gems so we'll see new and different gem worlds, and probably a lot more amalgams, in the final two issues.
Today I finally read P. Craig Russell's adaptation of Sandman: The Dream Hunters. I must have read the original illustrated prose story from the library, because I didn't find the book in my collection to compare. Not sure how I missed this when it came out in 2010. But it was enjoyable revisiting the original Sandman universe, and as always Russell's illustrations were terrific.
I bought Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking on Saturday so all of my regular reading projects went on hiatus while I read it (review later), but I did manage to “read” (i.e., “look at”)…
MARVELOCITY: The Marvel Comics Art of Alex Ross: This is the Marvel version of Mythology (The DC Comics Art of Alex Ross) from 2003. If you’ve seen that, you have a pretty good idea of what to expect. Even if you haven’t see that I imagine you still have a pretty good idea of what to expect. Extras include a fold-out dust jacket with no less than 14 alternate covers, a Ditko-esque Spider-Man poster and a new story featuring Spider-Man and the Sinister Six.
SANDMAN UNIVERSE: I read all the issues to date, the one-shot Sandman Universe, then Books of Magic #1, House of Whispers #1-2, Lucifer #1 and The Dreaming #1-2. It's a mixed bag, and I could use some help making sense of it.
Books of Magic seems to acknowledge all that happened to Tim Hunter before, except he's a kid again. I'm not sure what to make of that, especially since I don't think I read the final BoM miniseries -- I gave up after the weird one where he and three friends were punk wastrels in London and it turned out one (or more) were made up, or something. Maybe that was the last series, I don't know.
House of Whispers has the old context (Lucius, Cain & Abel, etc.) but adds and emphasizes some voodoo gods/loa. I'm not really interested in them; I think voodoo gets far too much emphasis in comics than exists in real life, because it's edgy or something. Does anyone in the U.S. really practice voodoo? This book makes out that there are hundreds of thousands, or even millions or adherents. If that were true, I might have actually met a voodoo believer, like I have virtually all other living religions. Heck, I've even met Wiccans and Odin believers. But nary a voodoo-ist. So it all feels more made-up than most religions to me, and I don't really care to learn the "rules" of something that nobody but comics writers seem to know.
It connects pretty strongly to The Dreaming, in that the magical houseboat where a couple of loa hang out has fallen through the breach (introduced in Sandman Universe) into The Dreaming, and nobody knows how to send it back. So I'm guessing the houseboat will become the House of Whispers, since one of the loa is the "god" of rumors, or something.
The Dreaming may be my favorite. So far it doesn't live up to its predecessor, but I'm willing to give it time. It deals with the aforementioned breach, a book missing from Lucien's library, a new character named Dora that is probably a nightmare and Matthew's adventures trying to find Daniel, who seems to have quit. I'm not wild about that last part, because it echoes too strongly the through-plot of the early Sandman series, when Morpheus had been captured by Aleister Crowley. But at least I'm familiar with most of these characters and the premise, and the art is the best of the four books.
Lucifer is another book I could use some help on, since once again I didn't read the most recent series by that name. The lead character is trapped in some strange place, and I'm guessing that isn't how the last series ended. Anyway, not much happens in the first issue as we are introduced to this new place and Lucifer fails to escape.
BLACK HAMMER #6-13, BLACK HAMMER: AGE OF DOOM #1-6: This is some great stuff for comics fans, as you just never know what genre or series or character Lemire is going to allude to next. For example, a Golden Age Staman analog shows up named Doctor Star, whose real name is Jimmy Robinson, which is the name of the writer who wrote the Jack Knight Starman. And the whole series is a sort of homage to Golden Age characters, but instead of being trapped fighting Ragnarok forever (like DC once did to the JSA), these characters are trapped in a strange rural town with no idea how they got there or how to get out. It's a good mystery, with a good payoff, and I'm hooked to see what comes next.
There are at least two spinoff series on deck: Doctor Star and Sherlock Frankenstein.
Here is my summary of the conclusion of the previous Lucifer series: "There were several unresolved story lines at the end of the previous collection, and they are all resolved by the series conclusion. Lucifer enlists the aid of a magician named Arabelle Crane–who has something of a female John Constantine air about her, including wearing a trench coat during her first appearance. The story says she and Lucifer have a history, but I don’t recall seeing her before. Mazikeen sorts out the Hell situation (we even see her without her mask at one point) while Lucifer takes on the new god in the Silver City." So I don't see him being trapped, unless it's in the Silver City.
About voudou: it's certainly real in Haiti, judging by my two visits there. I met voudou priests and visited places of worship (never witnessed an actual ceremony, though). There seems to be more emphasis on it being a repository of traditions than the religious aspects with the loa. I would guess places with Haitian emigrants might also be centers for it. They are mostly in Florida, but there are also significant populations in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. I met a journalist from one of the major diaspora news sources, which is based in New York.
...I read three new-to-mw Marvel TRUE BELUEVERS reprints - ALUAS #1, and two WHAT IF?s..." If Spider-Man Had Rescued Gwen Stacy ", and " If The Avengers Had Fought Evil In The 1950s ".
And, the Dynamite BETTIE PAGE and VAMPIRELLA one-shots.
Thanks for the voodoo info, Mark -- you are clearly better traveled than I, and have corrected my parochial, experiential view. This will help me when reading voodoo stories in the future, and alter my opinion of those I've read before. At the very least, House of Whispers will seem less hokey.
Are there any good books about the state of voodoo, or its history in pop culture? I know that Night of the Living Dead had some kind of impact on voodoo in pop culture -- prior to that, if you wanted to do a zombies movie, you pretty much had to set your story in the Caribbean. After George Romero, you could set a zombie story anywhere, and without the use of voodoo, which opened up the genre. I wouldn't doubt that also meant a decline in voodoo-related movies, but I don't know of any non-anecdotal evidence to that effect.
I've been reading through The Monster of Frankenstein tpb. Despite it not lasting nearly as long as Tomb of Dracula and Werewolf By Night and going through at least three changes of direction in its eighteen issues, when it works, it's really good. There is no sugar-coating the Monster's history; he murders several people in the retelling of the novel and he clearly understands the evil he commits. After that, he is more "chaotic good". He battles Dracula in the past, the Werewolf in the present and even meets Spider-Man!
There is also a very bizarre black & white serial that I still don't fully understand!
Next on my pile: more b&w horror with Essential Tales of the Zombie!
...Do these Marvel b&w horror reprints include the prose-and- pictures material the original magazines also had?
I just finished Saga Vol 9. I've always followed it in TPB form and have never been disappointed. It's going to seem like forever until it returns.
Mark Sullivan (Vertiginous Mod) said:
Saga Volume Nine
Fiona Staples, artist; Brian K. Vaughan, writer
Image Comics, 2018
This is the last Saga collection before a year-long hiatus: distressing news for fans and comic shops alike, as this series has been one of the best sellers. But the creative team certainly takes things out with a bang. This installment features a great convergence of the forces that have been trying to track the family down. Ianthe and The Will (who she has basically taken prisoner) are hot on the trail. The journalists Doff and Upsher have already found them, and are trying to convince them to tell their story for publication. Sir Robot steps in with a comparable bombshell about the war. Then when all the principals come together, there are two certain deaths--minor characters I suppose, depending on your perspective. The Will gets free, and that leads to the big cliffhanger. It looks like one of the major characters has been killed. But has he? Tune in next year to find out.
1.There are a number of New World religious traditions with African roots. Wikipedia's article on the subject is titled "Afro-American religion". The site distinguishes Haitian Vodou from Hoodoo and Louisana Voodoo, and has articles on each.
2.Sensational entertainment used to represent Afro-American religions as sinister. I don't know how far back this goes, but it apparently goes way back. Robert Louis Stevenson's More New Arabian Nights: The Dynamiter (1885) parodies such stories. (A woman tells a melodramatic story involving "Hoodoo" in Cuba, and it turns out to be a fabrication.)
3.We don't regard all folk beliefs from Europe as part of Christianity, e.g. belief in brownies. So it might not be right to regard the zombie legend as part of Vodou. I don't know enough about Vodou to say.
4.Reportedly, the zombie legend was publicised in America by William Seabrook's travel book The Magic Island (1929), about Haiti. He claimed some zombies were presented to him and suggested they were really produced by drugging.
5.The first zombie horror movie was White Zombie (1932), starring Bela Lugosi. Not everyone will be able to stand the film's dated qualities, but it's quite stylish in parts. The same filmmakers' Revolt of the Zombies (1936) is instead set in Cambodia and involves psychic mind control.
6.My recollection is in Night of the Living Dead (1968) the living dead are called ghouls. Its follow-up Dawn of the Dead (1978) was called Zombie and similar names in Europe.