HOLIDAY LEFTOVERS: COLLECTIVE THOUGHTS FOR MARCH 2014

KC Carlson, Jedi.

KC Carlson, Jedi.


by KC Carlson

PICKS OF THE MONTH

Black Canary/Zatanna: Bloodspell

Black Canary/Zatanna: Bloodspell


Black Canary/Zatanna: Bloodspell (DC Comics): According to a recent interview with writer Paul Dini over at Comic Book Resources, this all-new graphic novel has been in the works (on and off) for almost a decade. It sounds like it will have been worth the wait. What intrigues me most about Bloodspell is Dini’s revelation that the story is anchored around the long friendship of two of DC’s best female characters, Zatanna and Black Canary. Female friendships aren’t seen much in the current New 52 era of DC‘s superheroes, especially in these days of corporate stewardship where the potential female audience is often (deliberately) marginalized.

I’m also fascinated by the fact that Dini has Zatanna and Black Canary first meeting as teenagers, something previously not revealed. That’s slightly charming, like the old Silver Age stories of young Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne meeting as teens (now long-forgotten as decades of continuity have been undone). The long friendship between the two women also allows for a wide range of nods to the pasts of both, from glimpses of various JLA line-ups to teammates, long-lost parents, and even questionable fashion choices. Dini has long been a favorite writer of classically characterized DC heroes and (especially) heroines, and Joe Quinones is a wonderful artist who balances modern dynamics with a classic sense of design and storytelling. I am so happy to be looking forward to an upcoming DC project, one that I can wholeheartedly recommend. Black Canary/Zatanna: Bloodspell is a 144-page all-new color hardcover. Available in May.

Wolverine and the X-Men by Jason Aaron Omnibus

Wolverine and the X-Men by Jason Aaron Omnibus


Wolverine and the X-Men by Jason Aaron Omnibus (Marvel Comics): It’s apparently Giant-Size Jason Aaron month, as Marvel is collecting another groundbreaking Aaron series (in addition to Punisher MAX and a new Wolverine by Jason Aaron: The Complete Collection Volume 2), one that initiated the current renaissance of the mutant franchise. Feeling that the X-Men have gotten away from Professor Xavier’s original goal of finding, protecting, and educating young mutants, Wolverine decides to honor Charlie’s dream by launching a school — the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning — with himself as Headmaster and a staff including Beast, Iceman, Kitty Pride, and Rachel Grey. Rebuilt on the original site of the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning (formerly Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters) in Westchester, New York, the institute quickly attracts a diverse and unique student body including former young mutants (Quentin Quire [also known as Kid Omega], Pixie, Hellion, Rockslide, Velocidad, and Oya, now better known as Idie) and a bunch of misfit new characters, including the Broodling Broo (named by Idie, and their sweet relationship is one of the anchors of this series), Kid Gladiator (yes, the son of…), Shark-Girl, and others.

Wolverine and the X-Men #2

Wolverine and the X-Men #2


It’s established early on that Wolverine is in a little over his head, and his frequent absences from the school (he’s also an Avenger and appears in aproximately 47 other Marvel tittles) add to the barely-controlled madness that the series quickly evolves into. Beyond the overworked faculty and students that begin plotting to take over the school, there are other areas of laugh-out-loud madness in the series. The school is quickly overrun by Bamfs, tiny alien Nightcrawlers. Krakoa (The Living Island) first attacks the school before becoming its staunchest defender. Creepy and former Evil Mutant Toad is the school’s disgruntled custodian. The unintelligible (or is he?) Doop is always somewhere and few know why! And what school doesn’t have its rivals? For sheer brilliance, Aaron remakes the much-overused Hellfire Club into the pre-teen Hellfire Academy, featuring some of the creepiest and violent brats you’d never want to meet. Other threats include the Frankenstein Murder Circus, Sabretooth, Mystique, Wolverine’s half-brother Dog, and even S.H.I.E.L.D.! Plus, the series is a major part of the A vs. X storyline, early on, and is also greatly affected by the arrival of the teenage time-displaced original X-Men, who briefly become students.

Wolverine and the X-Men #32

Wolverine and the X-Men #32


With a foundation of pure superheroic action, Wolverine and the X-Men gets an award of academic excellence for its brilliant characterization and extra credit for its outrageous humor! A highly recommended prerequisite to understanding the current Marvel mutant resurgence. Hope Marvel doesn’t forget to include all of the very amusing text pages and organizational charts of the early issues!

Artists include Chris Bachalo, Nick Bradshaw, Jorge Molina, Mike Allred, and others. Collects Wolverine and the X-Men #1-35, 38-42 and Annual #1. (Issues #36 and 37 are X-Men: Battle of the Atom crossover issues not written by Jason Aaron but also recently collected separately.) Cover by Nick Bradshaw. 928-page oversize color hardcover. Available in June.

BOOKS ABOUT COMICS (and Movies)

The Ages of Wonder Woman

The Ages of Wonder Woman


The Ages of Wonder Woman (McFarland): This is a collection of new academic writings about the origins, history, and impact of Wonder Woman as an iconic character in popular culture. Each essay examines a specific period or storyline from Wonder Woman comic books and analyzes that story as it relates to contemporary issues in American society. Specific essays look at Fredric Wertham’s battle against Wonder Woman, the Mod 60s era, “The Twelve Labors” era of the 1970s, Wonder Woman’s various relationships with Superman, and the Wonder Woman series as written by Greg Rucka and Gail Simone. Edited by Joseph J. Darowski, who has also edited books on Superman, the X-Men, and Green Lantern. You may have already seen this book in bookstores. 248-page softcover.

Frozen in Ice: The Story of Walt Disney Productions 1966-1985

Frozen in Ice: The Story of Walt Disney Productions 1966-1985


Frozen in Ice: The Story of Walt Disney Productions 1966-1985 (Bear Manor Media): This is the story of the “What would Walt do?” era of the Walt Disney Companies following the 1966 death of their founder and mentor, Walt Disney. From the back cover: Pop culture historian Mark Arnold explores the major accomplishments of Walt Disney Productions during the years 1966-1985, “paying particular attention to their theatrical film output, but also discussing the various new theme park attractions and the TV shows produced during that period. Things went well until the mid-1970s, when ideas started to run thin and repetition set in, causing shrinking box office success.” I’ve previously read Mark’s books Created and Produced by Total TeleVision productions: The Story of Underdog, Tennessee Tuxedo and the Rest and The Best of the Harveyville Fun Times! (about Harvey Comics) and enjoyed both, so I’m looking forward to see him discuss the Disney Organization during this crucial time. This is not an authorized product of the Walt Disney Company. Also, you already may have seen this book in bookstores. 604-page softcover book.

The Art of Captain America: The Winter Soldier

The Art of Captain America: The Winter Soldier


The Art of Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Marvel Comics): Another in the series of slipcased deluxe movie tie-in books timed for the release of the film in April. Includes exclusive concept artwork, behind-the-scenes photos, production stills, and in-depth interviews with the cast and crew — providing an insider’s look into the making of the highly anticipated film. 240-page color hardcover (w/slipcase). Available in April.

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KC CARLSON: Doesn’t actually look that good in fishnets. .sdrawkcab klat ot evol I tuB

WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you.

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