Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Comic Book Pitt #58 - Twenty Eleven!

The first CBP episode of the new year is finally here and with it comes some breaking news regarding the future of Wizard Magazine. We also talk about the new direction for the CBP website and the new content you can find there along with the audio podcast.

Of course, it wouldn't be an episode of CBP without some thoughtful, insightful, in-depth comic book reviews. Dang and Duke talk about Batman Beyond #1, G.I. Joe/Cobra #12, Ultimate Captain America #1 and Serenity: The Shepherd's Tale hardcover.

Comic Book Pitt theme music is by Nik Furious. You can find more of Nik's music on iTunes.

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Thanks for listening!

Monday, January 24, 2011

DanG's Reading Resolution for 2011

So we're almost one month into 2011 and I haven't really changed anything about my life, my diet, my job, my lack of exercise, etc. I've never been one for resolutions, but this year there is one thing I wanted to work on and that is the backlog of reading material that I've accumulated over the past year or two.

Individual comics are easy for me to knock out, but trade paperbacks, graphic novels, collections...those require more of my time and attention in order to fully appreciate the work. I'm sure that's why I have many books on my shelves that haven't been handled since the first day I got them.

Well that's going to change. I've compiled a list of books purchased or obtained prior to 2011 that I intend on finishing before 2012, because, let's face it, the world will end that year anyway.

So, in no particular order...

Crisis on Infinite Earths/Marv Wolfman & George Perez/DC Comics

Crisis on Infinite Earths

The Waiting Place: The Definitive Edition/Sean McKeever & Mike Norton, Brendon Fraim, Brian Fraim, David Yurkovich /IDW

The Waiting Place: The Definitive Edition

Stagger Lee/Derek McCulloch & Shepherd Hendrix/Image

Stagger Lee 

The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures/Dave Stevens/IDW

The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures 

Richard Stark's Parker, Vol 2: The Outfit/Darwyn Cooke/IDW

Richard Stark's Parker, Vol. 2: The Outfit

Locke & Key Volume 2: Head Games/Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez/IDW
Locke & Key Volume 2: Head Games HC 

Last of the Independents/Matt Fraction & Kieron Dwyer/AiT/PlanetLar

Last Of The Independents

Comic Book Tattoo/Various/Image

Comic Book Tattoo [COMIC BK TATTOO]

Journey Volume 1/William Messner-Loebs/IDW

Journey Volume 1 (v. 1)

Johnny Hiro/Fred Chao/AdHouse Books

Johnny Hiro

Incognegro/Mat Johnson & Warren Pleece/Vertigo
Incognegro SC 

I Kill Giants/Joe Kelly & J. M. Ken Niimura/Image
I Kill Giants 

American Widow/Alissa Torres & Sungyoon Choi/Villard
American Widow 

After The Cape/Jim Valentino, Howard Wong, Marco Rudy & Manny Trembley/Image

After the Cape, Vol. 1 (v. 1)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Next Great Superhero Team

Despite living in Pittsburgh for nearly all my life and having a traditional Polish family that grew up in the South Side and worked in the steel mills, I really didn't come on as a Pittsburgh Steelers fan until the mid-90's when they played "America's Team", the Dallas Cowboys, in Super Bowl XXX, a game which they lost, sadly. A couple of years later, I started playing fantasy football and I've been a fan of professional football ever since. Now the Steelers are poised to make another run at the Super Bowl, to win their seventh championship. This week leading up to the AFC Championship game against the New York Jets has given me the opportunity to think about a thing or two.

Being a reader of comic books since 1986 and watching football pretty closely for the past decade, I couldn't help but notice the similarities between football teams and superhero teams. Like the groups of heroes and villains in comics, most football teams have very strong personalities that carry with them from game to game, even season to season. There are veteran teams that have a great legacy and newer teams that are still learning their way. You have teams full of heroes and legends and teams rife with scum and villainy. Some are considered dark horses, some are looked at as outlaws, and some are just plain losers. But week in and week out, these teams do battle against each other...honed skill versus raw talent, hero versus villain, legend versus legend.

Which brings me back to my original idea, that football teams and superhero teams share many of the typical types of team members. If you'll indulge me...


On a superhero team, when you think of great team leaders, you might think of Captain America or Superman. On the Pittsburgh Steelers, we have Ben Roethlisberger. Ben may have had some morally questionable off-season activities, but on the field, when it counts, he is unquestionably the leader of the team.


Let's face it, you can't have a superhero team with out some muscle, right? Comic book geeks might think of The Hulk, The Thing, Colossus, She Hulk, Thor, or Power Girl to name a few. In the case of the Pittsburgh Steelers, I can think of few players who match James Harrison for sheer power and intimidation.


Some characters who excel at using the power of their mind are Batman, Mr. Fantastic, The Beast, Iron Man, and The Atom. These are men who have studied endlessly and use that knowledge to help their team in many ways. It's been said that Troy Polamalu is a true student of the game of football. He studies opposing defenses tirelessly and becomes an unpredictable part of the Steelers' defensive unit, an x-factor that other teams have trouble accounting for.


Wolverine, Midnighter, Wildcat, Grifter...these are guys who are born to scrap, to give as good as they get. They never back down, no matter the size, speed or skill of their opponent. When Hines Ward takes the field, defenses respect his skill and experience, but they also know they're in for one hell of a fight.


Many teams have an acrobat, an infiltrator, someone who's fast on their feet...otherwise known as a quick, sneaky bastard. Marvel has Spider-Man, Daredevil, Nightcrawler, Quicksilver, DC has The Flash, Catwoman, Nightwing, and the Pittsburgh Steelers have Mike Wallace, considered by some to be one of the fastest deep threats in the NFL.


Sometimes sheer power, speed or brains just isn't enough, sometimes you need a specialist, a professional, a person who can hit a bullseye in the worst conditions and under tremendous pressure. We're used to guys like Hawkeye, Deadshot, Green Arrow and Mister Miracle, but Shaun Suisham, recently acquired by the Steelers, is the man now called upon to deliver the killshot.

Feel free to agree, disagree or debate, but that's what I see when I watch the Steelers. Instead of a bunch of millionaire athletes, I see a team of heroes...in fact, I think I'll call them...


Monday, January 10, 2011

Whatcha Readin'?

Gotham City Sirens 1-16

I'll admit, I started picking up this book purely for the art. Let's face it, Guillem March draws some damn fine women. But I was also intrigued by this "team" of femme fatales that are part of Batman's rogues gallery. I'm one of those comics readers who has a soft spot for team-ups that shouldn't work or groups that are comprised of B and C-list characters, hence my love for titles like L.E.G.I.O.N., Captain Britain and MI13, Justice League International, and Guardians of the Galaxy.

To be honest though, I actually stopped buying this book on a monthly basis, but then I found a small run of issues in a dollar bin so I got caught up to the current numbering.

This series picks up shortly after the Heart of Hush, Batman R.I.P., Final Crisis, and Battle for the Cowl storylines, none of which I read. Basically, Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn all find themselves in a situation where there is strength in numbers, so the girls decide to stick together.

At first, the stories are enjoyable enough, there are a couple of cool Riddler stories, but then things start to meander. There are a few two-issue stories that are mediocre, and so the series never really gains an identity of its own. Then Guillem March left the book as the regular artist and was replaced by Andres Guinaldo and the transition is rather jarring. (March is still the cover artist at least)

There is somewhat of a revolving door of writers too. Paul Dini starts the series, but two issues later, Scott Lobdell steps in and writes an issue, then it goes back to Dini for a while. Marc Andreyko/Guillem March writes an issue, then it's back to Dini until issue #12 when Tony Bedard jumps in. Bedard writes until #16, then Peter Calloway is listed as the writer.

Quite frankly, given the current market, I'm surprised that Gotham City Sirens is still being published. It doesn't have a star creative team and it's not specifically tied into the current Batman continuity. In a sense, it's not a bad book to jump on to because there's very little to invest in, story-wise, but at the same time, because there's no definite direction, the book sometimes feels more like an anthology.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Falling Skies - The next American Revolution?

I'm not sure how I missed this when it was announced at the 2010 San Diego Comic Con, but I just recently watched the trailer for TNT's new summer series, Falling Skies.

The series doesn't debut until June, but Dark Horse Comics has already been hard at work on a webcomic, written by Paul Tobin and art by Juan Ferreyra.

From what I've seen of the trailer and the webcomic, this looks like it could have some potential, working with the post-apocalyptic/fight-for-survival formula that was very popular with AMC's The Walking Dead.

Also, I couldn't help but be reminded of Oni Press' post-alien invasion comic book, Resurrection. It's an excellent series, also reminiscent of The Walking Dead, but the story shows a wider range of characters.