Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween from all the staff here at Dave's Long Box

No big post today; I'm too frickin' busy looking like a total frickin' bad ass in my frickin' Nick Fury costume! I'll have pictures and a full report tomorrow for those who care, because my Nick Fury costume is more than a simple costume - it's a frickin' all-day multi-media extravaganza!

For now, just know that S.H.I.E.L.D. is watching over you and ensuring that everyone has a safe and Hydra-free Halloween.

Yep, nobody at work is going to have the slightest idea who I am. Sometimes it's lonely being a geek...

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Thank you Space Ghost!

Yesterday on my lunch break I was driving along Alkai Beach here in sunny Seattle and I saw this guy rollerblading along the waterfront in a Space Ghost costume.

Chuffed, I honked my horn and pointed at him and gave him a thumbs-up and yelled "Space Ghost! Space Ghost!" The guy returned my thumbs-up and then kept on rollerblading into the hearts of children everywhere. It made me happy.

So wherever you are Space-Ghost-Rollerblading-Guy, I salute you!

Friday, October 28, 2005

THE F*@% YEAH FILES #7: Avengers visit Ultron without an appointment

If I had access to a Wayback Machine and could travel through time, there are a number of things I would do:

1) I would make sure that Kevin Maguire did all the artwork for the Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty mini-series, instead of just the first three issues.
2) I would steal and burn Young Dave’s piano key scarf so that he could never ever wear it again.
3) I would stop Terri Garr from acting again after Tootsie.
4) I would prevent Young Dave from actually standing in line to see Independence Day.
5) I would provide the Spartans at Thermopylae with repeating carbines and grenades, just for fun.
6) And I would make sure that George Perez drew tighter pencils in The Avengers #22.

I don’t know what it is about this issue, but it lacks the clean, tight artwork that I’m accustomed to from George Perez. The art looks rushed and scratchy. Perez is credited with “breakdowns” for this issue and Al Vey is credited with “finished art,” so that might be the problem. Vey inked over Perez’s pencils for most of the Busiek/Perez era, and I always thought the stuff looked great, but perhaps in the crush of looming deadlines Perez only had time for looser pencils. The rendering and composition looks great, but there’s a rough quality to the work that throws me off.

Why would I care? Because The Avengers #22 has like, one of the most kick-ass scenes of any Avengers comic ever! I just think it deserves the full-on Perez magic, that’s all.

The Avengers #22 is the big climax to the Ultron storyline, in which a team of Avengers fights to save their comrades from the clutches of the monstrous robot. In previous issues The Avengers have had to invade the nation of Slorenia (which Ultron has pretty much destroyed), repel a horde of undead cyborgs, slay a giant Ultron robot, and then fight pretty much every model and variant of Ultron that has ever existed. After all that, the battle-weary Avengers bust through a wall and face The Big Boss:

That's a good line, but then Thor can make anything sound cool. "Verily, good man, fill the God of Thunder's tank with five dollars worth of precious petrol from pump number five!"

You know, that’s the thing about Dramatic Entrances – you have to earn them. I remember reading some X-Men comics long ago – I think it was the Xtinction Agenda or something, the one when they were all trapped in Genosha – and there was like, a dramatic entrance or rescue every other page. It was the superheroic equivalent of a horror movie where somebody gets killed every 45 seconds. I ask you, would that be a scary movie? No. No, it would not.

I think there’s a lot to be said for the old-fashioned storytelling values of pacing, varying the tone, building up to a climax, and making the reader invest emotionally in your story. This Avengers storyline accomplishes that – when the rescue team of Avengers finally busts in on Ultron, damn it, you are PSYCHED! Psyched, damn it!

That’s why this scene gets a special kid-friendly magical happy F*$% YeaH!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

THE F*@% YEAH FILES #6: "You're the one who tried to shoot the cat."


Sleep beckons to me like a lover, inviting me into her bed to um, sleep with her. Sleep is a beautiful woman that I cannot touch. Sleep is Rogue and Dave is Gambit, but without the annoying cajun patois.

Anyway, I'm sleepy and lazy so I'll make this quick.

This post is about the big F*$% Yeah moment in Batman: Year One Part 3, brought to us by the Team Supreme of Frank "The Tank" Miller and David "I can draw kick ass flashlights without resorting to stupid lens flare effects like all you young punks" Mazzuchelli.

If you haven't read and enjoyed Year One, you hate freedom and are possibly a terrorist. I'm not going to bother with recapping the entire plot for all the freedom-loving folks out there; I'll just set up the scene:

The cops want Batman dead. They corner him in an abandoned building and drop a bomb on it. A SWAT team from the thoroughly corrupt Gotham City Police searches through the ruins for their wounded quarry. Things don't look good for our hero:

He takes a bullet for a cat! That's almost a F*$% Yeah moment right there.

We have a cat named Po. I tell people she's named after either the Teletubbie or the Italian river - it depends who I'm talking to. She walks on me when I'm sleeping and will suddenly, inexplicably go insane and attack my hand when I'm petting her. Despite her weirdness, I love that cat --

-- and there is no way in hell I would take a bullet for her.

That, my friends, is heroism: getting shot while saving a cat that you don't even know.

And believe me, Batman is plenty pissed about it.

Here's a tip: do not shoot cats in front of Batman. He will punch you through a fucking brick wall.

Oh, F*$% YEAH! That's so awesome that even the people in the comic cheer. Then, a poisonous fluttering of wings, and a mother cries: "Here comes the KING BATS!"

"...and the screaming starts again."

After punching that would-be-cat-killer through a brick wall, Batman makes his escape from the cops under a cloud of flapping, fluttering bats. It was such a good scene that David Goyer cribbed it for Batman Begins. I can't really blame him.

Batman vs. cat hater. Winner: Batman.

Hey, white world-music guy! How about a F*$% Yeah?


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The F*@% YEAH FILES #5: Flash's escape-velocity around-the-world hyper-punch

The Flash makes a second appearance in the hallowed halls of the F*$% Yeah Files, this time courtesy of writer/visionary/possible time-traveler from the future Grant Morrison and artist Howard Porter. That’s right it’s JLA #3, part three of the Hyperclan storyline that returned the League to mythic radness.

In this story, Earth is visited by the Hyperclan, a group of super-powered aliens who appear to be good guys. The aliens immediately set about at massive public works projects with their powers, endearing them to the gullible common man. But the JLA aren’t convinced that The Hyperclan are good guys, a suspicion that is confirmed when the old JLA satellite is attacked by armored superhumans. This sets in motion a series of battles between the Hyperclan and the JLA, during which most of our heroes get their asses kicked and are captured by The Hyperclan. All but Batman, who learns their terrible secret… and then proceeds to kick alien ass.

But no! We’re not focusing on Batman kicking ass today! That’s too easy! Let’s look at the second most F*$% Yeah moment in the Hyperclan saga: Flash’s hyperspeed around-the-world duel with Zum, the alien speedster.

Here they go. Pay attention to the panel in the lower right-hand corner, where the startled guy in India drops the vase. It will come up later. Behold:

Morrison writes a damn good super-chase – you get the feeling that he had this sequence in him, waiting to get out, waiting for the right story. While I’m normally a little indifferent to Howard Porter’s work, I think he nails it during this sequence, and the blur effects and whatnot are well-handled and non-gratuitous.

Let’s keep going. Flash is gaining on Zum, who throws frickin’ bricks at Flash! Dick!

“He must have grabbed them from that building site in Beijing.”

I love that.

The chase continues:

Flash decides to get his game on and accelerates towards lightspeed. You can tell it's lightspeed because that's when you start thinking about hyperdimensional gels and trippy shit like that:

Flash realizes that he’s faster than Zum because I mean - please, he’s Flash.

That’s right, Flash accelerates past Zum, runs around the fucking world – again, he runs around the fucking world-- comes up behind him, and smacks him in the face!!! Check it out:

Flash is going so damn fast that he punches Zum off the planet. He gets hit at Mt. Rushmore, flies into space, comes flaming back down, and lands somewhere with zebras. Flash punched the dude to Africa! Sadly, the page in the comic where this happens is so hideously designed that I couldn’t bear to post it. It’s as if Porter’s urge to experiment with page design won out over the urge to tell a coherent visual story. Oh well, the rest of it is keen.

Then, as a nice little punch line, Flash runs back to India or wherever and stops the vase (remember the vase?) from falling:

That’s right – the entire battle with Zum took place in less time than it would take for a vase to drop to the ground.

Somebody give me a F*$% Yeah.

This sequence is so kick-ass that instead of Celine Dion, I’ve brought in some special guests to help me give it the props it deserves:

Wait for it…

Norwegian death metal band Immortal joins Dave’s Long Box in a hearty F*$% Yeah for JLA #3!

THE F*@% YEAH FILES #4: Skurge's Last Stand

I've already covered this vintage F*$% Yeah moment in a previous post which you can find right here. I wouldn't be doing my job, damn it, if I didn't bring this macho goodness to your attention.

Skurge at Gjallerbru. Go check it out.

Monday, October 24, 2005

THE F*@% YEAH FILES #3: Batman schools Prometheus

Originally I intended the F*$% Yeah Files to be a sporadic ongoing feature, similar to the Lame-Ass Villains thing I occasionally do when I'm feeling lazy and don't want to write up a commentary on an entire comic. However, there was a great hue and cry from the masses, and lest I be torn apart by an angry mob, I decided to post some more F*$% Yeah moments.

I have to take pains to be balanced and spread the F*$% Yeah loving around among different comic book creators, or else this could easily turn into one big I Love Grant Morrison WankFest. With the possible exception of Frank "The Tank" Miller, nobody writes more glorious F*$% Yeah moments than Morrison. He's a hallucinogenically creative writer, he loves comics as much as you do, and he instinctively "gets" that superhero comics should be crazy and fun. Plus, he took the brown acid - you know what I mean? Dude is out there.

JLA #38, by Grant Morrison and artist Howard Porter, has one particularly cool moment in which Batman kicks all sorts of ass. As written by Morrison, Batman is an uber-competent, calculating ninja who always has one more trick up his proverbial sleeve.

In this scene, he goes head-to-head with Prometheus, a cybernetic villain, for the second time. Prometheus gets some good hits in, but this time Batman is ready for the bastard. You see, Batman got a hold of Prometheus' helmet during a previous battle and had a chance to study it and pick it apart. For round two, Batman is prepared:

Who, Batman? Whose nervous and muscular systems are you imprinting into the villain's cyber-helmet? Who, damn you? (Click to enlarge)

Professor Stephen Hawking! Oh, snap! Batman takes that fool back to school!

Sorry about the big seam down the middle of the image but it was a two-page spread, calculated for maximum F*$% Yeah impact. It's followed by this exchange between The Huntress and Batman:

Huntress: "Did I see you cheating?"

Batman: "Winning. First time I ever hit a man with a motor neuron disease."

I'm not sure if he means a) I've never struck a man who has a dehabilitating motor neuron disease before, or b) I've never used a motor neuron disease as a weapon before. Either way, it works. Batman, you sneaky bastard! I would imagine that Professor Stephen Hawking himself would tip his hat to you for being so clever.

So there you have it: JLA #38, a true F*$% Yeah moment. I know Stephen Hawking and Celene Dion have both got my back on this one.

Friday, October 21, 2005

CLANDESTINE #8 Marvel Comics, 1995

ClanDestine was a short-lived Marvel comic created by writer/artist/ninja master Alan Davis about a family of immortals with incredible powers who are the descendents of an indestructible knight and a genie.

The Destine family live in secret, guided by the “Relative Stranger Protocol” that demands they keep their powers on the down-low – which tidily explains why the regular Marvel super heroes have never interacted with them. In the series, strange assailants begin attacking the Clan, forcing them to band together with their progenitor, Adam Destine, who just returned from a self-imposed exile in outer space. There’s a great sequence in one of the books where The Silver Surfer finds Adam Destine drifting through space in a hippy VW bus, sitting behind the wheel staring blankly into the void. I loved that scene.

Anyway, it’s a pity that Alan’s creation didn’t endure – because it was a bright spot of creativity in Marvel’s publishing line-up at the time. It lasted for twelve issues, and then there was two-part X-Men/ClanDestine crossover, one last desperate attempt to kindle interest in the reading public. Alas, ClanDestine retired to four-color limbo, to make way for a Bishop mini-series or some shit. But hey, if kids want to read about Bishop and his hair extensions instead of this work of art, who am I to say that’s wrong?

Stupid fucking kids ruining comics for everybody…

In case I haven’t mentioned this previously, I am a huge Alan Davis fan. He’s a frickin’ master, particularly when paired with inker Mark Farmer, as he is in this issue. Everything about his work is quality – panel layout, page design, the sure-handed mix of words and pictures, the precise line-work – quality, I tell you. Alan Davis rarely missteps, and ClanDestine #8 is no exception.

"...if kids want to read about Bishop and his hair extensions instead of this work of art, who am I to say that’s wrong?"

In this issue, patriarch Adam Destine and his kids Dominic and Walter reminisce about heroic deeds in times past. It’s basically three short stories held together by a somewhat thin framing sequence, but the stories are well-crafted and fun. That’s right – fun.

In the first story, Dominic recalls a strange adventure in the 60’s when he performed as a magician/escape artist. Dominic is this exotic immortal whose senses are so hyper-developed that it’s often painful to him. Isn’t there an issue where he gets all drunk/high after eating a piece of chocolate? Dominic is an excellent character with a unique design – he sort of reminds me of Nightcrawler, The Creeper, and Ziggy Stardust.

Here's Dominic performing as “Hex” in swingin’ sixties New York:

A mysterious puzzle box that opens and unfolds if handled a certain way? Is it ever a good idea to screw with one of those?

Dude! Dominic! Put the box down! Haven’t you seen Hellraiser?

That was the only Hellraiser picture I had handy. Hey, what can I say? Pinhead and I hooked up one night during the 2000 ComiCon in San Diego. Let me tell you though, Pinhead + ether + IcyHot = one crazy evening. There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a Cenobite in the depths of an ether binge.

Moving on: Dominic gets sucked into trippy Ditkoland, a psychedelic landscape that should be familiar to Dr. Strange readers. To make things worse, a bunch of Mindless Ones chase after him.

Run Dominic, run!

Appropriately, Dr. Strange shows up to bail Dominic’s ass out with his Crimson Bands of Cytorrak. Alan Davis draws an elegant Dr. Strange, complete with the patented spotty gloves. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not Dr. Strange if there are no spotty gloves. Behold:

That’s my favorite story of the three because, dude, it’s Alan Davis drawing Dr. Strange. What could be better?

How about… Alan Davis drawing giant Nazi robots?

The panels above are from the second of the three stories. Walter Destine tells a tale set in WWII, when he had a front-row seat for a big battle: The Invaders (Captain America, Namor & The Human Torch) versus a giant Nazi robot. During the battle the robot manages to take out The Invaders, and Walter has to transform into his big blue hulk form and kick some Nazi robot ass.

Nothing wrong with that. The third story is the least interesting, but it’s still well-done. Adam Destine recalls a time during the middle ages when he encountered some mean aliens scouting on Earth in preparation for an invasion. The aliens try to kill Adam, but don’t have a lot of luck:

Adam manages to defeat the aliens, who, thinking that the indestructible Adam is a normal example of the dominant species on Earth, call off their invasion plans. Hah! Stupid aliens.

Well, there you go. A nice, self-contained little bit of comic book goodness. It’s a pity that ClanDestine was cancelled. Thanks, everybody that read Bishop or whatever instead of this!

Thursday, October 20, 2005


Well, it has kind of a cool cover...

I thought I would wordlessly review Arion the Immortal #6 because I am lazy and because sometimes I come across a comic so hideous that words fail me. Here, then, is my review:


* This is international sign language for "this comic made me vomit."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Off Topic: Autobot or Decepticon? You make the call!

Well, this is just brilliant. Dr. Colin Mayhew, a British engineer, made a robot out of a Mini Cooper. Oddly, it's not designed to fight other robots, but with a more benign application in mind:

"I always believed a robot would be the most natural complement to the automobile - a full biped, intelligent version having great strength, dexterity and a library of mechanical knowledge. I imagined a robot with the ability to repair vehicles, direct traffic and watch over high-accident crossroads to preempt accidents."

If I designed that thing, it would have a laser torch, mace hoses for crowd control, and retractable 40 mm grenade launchers. Fortunately for mankind I don't have a technical bone in my body. Fortunately for mankind, Dr. Mayhew has a sense of ethics to match his mechanical genius, and just wants his giant robot to help motorists. (?)

Go check it out HERE. If you scroll down, you can watch the creepy visual tracking video and the impressive car stopping video, wherein the Autobot stops a moving car by grabbing it. It's totally Airwolf - even cooler than the Plustech Forest Walker, if such a thing is possible.

OR... it could be an elaborate hoax and part of a Mini Cooper viral marketing campaign and I could be a total sucker.

Monday, October 17, 2005

THE F*@% YEAH FILES #2: Daredevil Born Again

Here's a true story.

During my last year of school at The Evergreen State College, I took several "individual contracts" in lieu of actual classes. Evergreen was a hippy school that emphasized non-traditional learning and ultimate frisbee. Anyway, these contracts involved creating your own curriculum - readings, projects, papers - in consultation with a faculty sponsor. For many Evergreen students the individual contracts represented a chance to challenge themselves and focus in an academic way on something that engaged them. For others the individual contracts represented a chance to watch The Rockford Files and do bong hits.

I had a writing contract with a faculty member (we didn't call them teachers or professors, that was too hierarchical) who we will call Paul Sparks. Being a passionate young man, excited about writing and fiction and comic books, I brought in some stuff for Paul Sparks to look at. You know, to show him where I'm coming from. Among the books I dropped off were the trades for Batman: Year One and Daredevil: Born Again, both by writer Frank Miller and artist David Mazzuchelli. Paul Sparks thanked me and said he'd check them out.

The next meeting we had, I asked him if he'd checked out the comic books. He handed them back to me, looking vaguely disgusted.

"I didn't read them," Paul Sparks said. "They're violent, adolescent fantasies."

"But... but this one, Born Again, has all these film noir elements, and it's this story about redemp--"

He flipped through Born Again, a little too roughly I thought. I mean, I know it's just a trade, but take it easy, dude. "In this one I see somebody shooting cops, here's a woman hanging, somebody getting beaten to death, more guns, more guns..." Paul Sparks plopped it down dismissively, shaking his head. "I'm not going to read that. Why would I read that?"


"Too violent? Feh. It’s just violent enough."


I did not strike him. No, I just sat there and looked at him and I thought, "You and I are not going to get along."

Put simply, anybody that doesn't like Daredevil: Born Again is no friend of mine.

Too violent? Feh. It’s just violent enough. Adolescent? Only a stupid shithead would think that, Dave said adolescently.

Seriously, this is one of my favorite comic book stories ever, and it has more than a few F*@% Yeah moments, but anybody that has read Born Again will know what scene I’m going to pick. It is perhaps the most satisfying, the most stirring, the most F*@% Yeah moment I can think of.

That’s right, I’m talking about the last page of Daredevil #232.

On the slim chance that you have not read Born Again, I’ll do a quick fly-over. This is the return of Frank Miller to Daredevil, the title he made his name on. The story runs from Daredevil #227 through #233 with art by David Mazzuchelli. In Born Again, blind attorney Matt Murdock (aka Daredevil) has his life completely destroyed when his enemy, the crime lord known only as The Kingpin, learns his identity. Murdock’s ex-girlfriend and secretary Karen Page, now a junkie, sells Daredevil’s secret identity for a fix, setting into motion a horrible chain of events. The Kingpin dismantles Murdock’s life piece by piece, leaving him disgraced, disbarred, and destitute – and more than a little crazy. Finally, the wounded and deranged Murdock is goaded into a confrontation with The Kingpin, who beats the living bejeesus out of him and has his men seal him inside a taxi, which they push into the East River. Daredevil is dead.

Or not.

Of course, Matt Murdock escapes the watery death trap and begins clawing his way back to the life he once had. When they don’t find Murdock’s body, The Kingpin starts to worry.

Murdock is alive. The Kingpin tries to flush him out of hiding by sending a deranged killer in a Daredevil costume to kill Foggy Nelson, his ex-partner. Murdock saves Nelson and Karen Page, who has fled to New York seeking the man she betrayed.

Desperate, The Kingpin brings in Nuke, a super-powered psychopathic soldier to finish his enemy off. Nuke is a rabid, pill-popping dark reflection of Captain America (who appears in #233). He is barking mad, bat-shit crazy.

The plan is crude, but effective. Drop Nuke into Murdock’s neighborhood, Hell’s Kitchen, where he will start killing people until Daredevil shows up to face him.

I didn’t want to scan the whole damn comic, but there’s a great sequence where Murdock – who we haven’t seen in costume since issue #227 – runs through Hell’s Kitchen while Nuke indiscriminately lays waste. With his super-senses, Murdock can hear and feel the carnage happening blocks away. He’s running –

- and you just know he’s going to suit up in the Daredevil costume that the Kingpin’s killer was wearing.

Imagine that you are Young Dave reading this for the first time in a monthly comic book format. Imagine the agony, the anticipation Young Dave must have felt, waiting months for this moment. It’s been half a fricking year since Young Dave has seen his hero in action, and now… now…

I’m getting goosebumps just writing about it. To this day, Daredevil #232 remains one of my most treasured comic books and one of my most memorable reading experiences. Seriously, it’s that fucking good.

He kisses Karen. He takes the costume. He rips open his jacket.

He’s going to do it. He’s going to suit up. Young Dave is breathless with anticipation.

Then --

Then --

F*@% YEAH!

That, my friends, is 100% pure comic book gold. You are dead inside if you don’t feel at least a little stirring of sentiment looking at that triumphant image, remembering when you first read that. It speaks to the part of us that still believes in heroes, that has faith in the power of the human spirit.

And in the next issue? Daredevil kicks the living shit out of Nuke. He mops the floor with the guy! The fricking Avengers have to show up and stop him from killing Nuke! The fricking Avengers, man!

So there you go. If that isn’t a F*@% Yeah moment, I don’t know what is. I know Celine Dion has got my back on this one, right Celine?

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Requiem for Rampage

“You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em
Know when to fold ‘em
Know when to walk away
And know when to run”

-“The Gambler” Kenny Rogers

So I hear one of my favorite blogs ever, Graeme MacMillan’s Fanboy Rampage, is retiring as of tomorrow, and I am distraught – fucking distraught – about the whole thing.

For two years Graeme has hosted a 24/7 snarkfest that casts the stink-eye across the vastness of comic fandom and unwarranted hyperbole. FBR was link-blogging at its best – Graeme trawled the message boards and comic news sites every weekday morning and offered up his fresh catch for the hungry masses waiting on the docks. With a few salient comments, Graeme got the ball rolling then turned things over to the jackals in the comment section (myself included), who would rip into the day’s fodder with glee. Wow, that’s a lot of mixed metaphors in one paragraph - forgive me.

Fanboy Rampage was a daily ritual for me. I didn't always comment, but I always checked out what people were saying. At its best, FBR was a pissing contest in the comments section between wise-ass geeks, each trying to top the last bon mot. On occasions folks like Warren Ellis or Kurt Busiek (who always wins) would stop by and drop some knowledge. On other occasions the comments would get invaded by outraged nerds from whatever message board was being mocked, and sometimes you’d just get assholes spouting off some insane shit. Always lively, always provocative, always snarky, Fanboy Rampage was the Algonquin Round Table of comic fandom, with Graeme as Dorothy Parker. Actually, it was like the Algonquin Round Table with guest appearances by Macho Man Randy Savage and Sam Kinnison.

While I'm bummed for selfish reasons that FBR is going away, I’m of the mind that blogs should be transient or constantly evolving entities. A site that doesn’t adapt soon grows stale or “jumps the shark.” The day will come when I close the doors and turn out the lights on Dave’s Long Box and move on to something else. One should quit while one is ahead, or risk becoming irrelevant or just boring. Don’t you wish they had yanked Friends or The West Wing off the air while they were still at the top of their game? That’s what I’m saying.

Now, I’m not sure that’s why Graeme is pulling the plug. Two years is a long time to run a blog on a daily basis, and if I had to guess, I’d say he just felt it was time to focus on other things. Perhaps the daily immersion in the briny waters of fandom was exhausting, or started to take the fun out of comics for him. Maybe he got tired of offended fanboys emailing hate bombs to him. I don’t know; any of those would be a good reason to move on.

So let me just extend my thanks to Graeme for providing so many of us with a place to gather, a place where we could all speak the same vernacular, a place where we could all sing Kumbaya. I wish him luck and hope to see him online again soon.

You know, I just thought: perhaps I should have waited until Graeme actually pulled the plug. I mean, if FBR doesn’t end on Monday, I’m going to look like a total ass.

Wouldn’t be the first time…

Friday, October 14, 2005

From the Department of Corrections: A new look at Alpha Flight #121

So today I get this email today from a reader who was upset that I took the piss out of artist Craig Brasfield’s work on Alpha Flight #121. Since the original post was back in May, I took a gander at the comments and lo and behold, there’s a comment from Craig Brasfield himself on there which I hadn’t seen.

For those of you who haven’t read the post in question, click here. In the post I take Craig to task for directly swiping John Byrne’s art and slapping a photocopied character into the comic. I believe I say, “All those involved in making this comic should be held as enemy combatants. Indefinitely. In a country that allows torture.” Which is kind of funny, really.

It turns out that Craig had nothing to do with slapping the villain Caliber into the art, as you’ll find out below. It was done by the editor after Craig had turned in his work. Why?

Read Craig’s comments for the real truth behind the infamous Alpha Flight #121:

Hi, Dave & Co.

A friend pointed out your site & I felt the need to come to my own defense, if just a little.

It really should be obvious that the disaster of Caliber was NOT the artists' doing. Really, my stuff may not be your favorite but it IS all mine (I despise swipes).

Avoiding drawing that one character in his 3 or so panels would really not save much time.

The original villain was Black Tom, which I loved drawing in an appropriately Cockrum style. Far after the pencils, inks, & letters, the X-Office denied use of that character. Some other villain was suggested & I was going to have to redraw those panels quickly but then THAT villain was vetoed.

Editor Rob[Tokar] had his back against a deadline and just went w/ a villain HE had control over, pasting a Xerox of previous art over Tom. I've peeled those off the original art I've gotten back.

Interestingly (kinda), the Goblin was there in the crowd scene, covered over by a peculiar black blob after the Spider-Eds objected, but is still seen later fleeing the fight. Also, I drew some of the villains here in that month's New Warriors (#36) arriving at the Vault after their defeat here. I thought that kinda neat.

I honestly always tried to do my best for Marvel, being a huge fan of the characters but my work always looked much better in pencils than finished. The inkers I got tended to be on the scratchy side, sort of unfinished. Also being a freelancer, it often happened that I'd go months with nothing then get 3 books in one month.

Check out AF 113, New Warriors 35-6, Illuminator, the Justice mini, and the Toys R Us '93 X-Men giveaway for some of my better efforts.

Thanks for the forum and special thanks to the one kind soul that complimented that Spider-Man What If.

-Craig Brasfield

So there you go.

I thought I’d post that because while I enjoy mocking comic book badness, I think it’s important to mock with accuracy. Craig’s art work is fair game, but I’d hate to diss somebody for something they have no control over and I’d hate to call somebody a swiper when they clearly are not. That’s just mean, and I’m not about being mean. Much.

So thanks, Craig Brasfield, for setting the record straight on the whole swipe thing and my apologies for any hard feelings.

See? We’re all about The Love here at Dave’s Long Box.