I had big plans for my first edition of “Meanwhile,” our weekly tour of the comics blogosphere. Big plans. New mini-features (featurettes?). New graphics. The works.
But then my Internet service provider struck, leaving me with an intermittent connection for the past three days. So, all of the bells and whistles will have to wait until next week.
Enough of my excuses, though. Let’s just dive into what’s making the rounds in the blogosphere, from the “new” Supergirl to a new arrival. (Congratulations, Dr. Scott!)
Hot Topic: Supergirl, now with “a brain and a waist”
Last week saw the release of Supergirl #20, featuring the new creative team of Tony Bedard and Renato Guedes, and starring a far less Bratz-like Maid of Might. In the words of one commenter at Scans Daily, “God, I love the fact that she has a waist now.”
For a dissenting opinion, you can read a quote that Valerie D’Orazio of Occasional Superheroine dug up from the DC Comics message board: “Art is the worst we’ve seen on this title by far (they actually made Supergirl fat and ugly) … Making her fatter and uglier with those biker shorts… it just annoyed me and made me feel like Supergirl and her fans are getting punished.”
Yes, by drawing shorts under the miniskirt, and giving the character a full set of ribs, the new creative team is punishing Supergirl and her fans.
Heidi Meeley at Comics Fairplay also bravely wades into the DC boards, and wonders “if some of the hatred towards the new art is a revenge of the fanboys for all the opinions we as women have given out. Do they feel like it is their shot now? Or is the art just plain unappealing? It seemed like both men and women were dissatisfied on the DC board.”
Thankfully, Steve Flanagan of Gad, Sir! Comics! goes into more detail than the message-board posters as he examines Guedes’ use of color in his first issue: “His technique is quite different from the norm. Generally speaking, he deploys each colour in two sharply contrasted tones, one light and one dark, rather than providing continuous modelling. The effect is as if everything was seen by bright sunlight, casting sharp shadows – or perhaps, since the darker tones often dominate, bright sunlight seen through sunglasses.”
Will Kara be Smallville‘s Oliver twist?
Meanwhile, the Fortress Keeper at the Fortress of Fortitude has a different Supergirl on his mind: the one set to appear in the new season of Smallville. And he’s a little concerned.
It’s obvious that Smallville producers hope that Kara will boost the aging show’s ratings, but presenting the character in such a splashy fashion makes us wonder if Supergirl will ultimately be the program’s answer to the Brady Bunch’s infamous Cousin Oliver.
For those of you born after 1974, Cousin Oliver was an irritatingly cute character added to the Brady clan in a vain attempt to boost ratings. Despite its failure, the attempt was so memorable that child actors added to subsequent — and equally desperate — shows have been branded “Cousin Olivers.”
Strangely enough, although I hated Cousin Oliver, I liked actor Robbie Rist in the Saturday-morning TV series Big John, Little John. Stranger still, Rist voiced Michaelangelo in the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, and plays Choji Akimichi in the English-language dub of Naruto.
Get your free comic here: Templar
Dave Campbell of Dave’s Long Box fame has posted online an entire issue of Templar, the black ops-supernatural-action-adventure he created with artist Ken Christiansen. Why would you do something so nice, Dave? “Because we are pure of heart.”
Every time I see “Ning,” Ana Ng gets stuck in my head
“It’s much more of a two-way street than a blog, although not a full blown forum,” he writes. “I dunno, it’ll be interesting. I miss chatting back and forth with people — I sometimes feel blog commenting is stilted.”
A new addition to the Polite Family
Initially, I was going to link to Polite Dissent just for “New Comic Day BINGO,” but now Dr. Scott has announced he’s the proud father Aidan, born yesterday at 5:28 p.m. Congratulations, Polite Family!
Looks are everything
On store closings and deep discounts
At Sequentially Speaking, retailer Lisa Lopacinski wonders whether the shuttering of Silver Bullet Comics’ brick-and-mortar location, and talk of other downsizings and closings, is a grim sign of things to come:
It’s one thing when a grungy, poorly run store closes. But it’s different when good stores go down. But, they say the book market isn’t doing well (after all, Amazon.com now sells groceries) and the movie viewership is supposedly down too. Here at Neptune we continue to see our sales numbers grow, which is a good thing. But, sometimes Wisconsin is behind the curve. So, is it a sign that the comic book market is consolidating when stores begin to close? Or, is it a sign that only the best will survive and maybe the comic book store won’t be thought of as a dark and dingy place full of porn and dirt and rude people? Maybe a signal that it’s time for a national chain? Or just the opposite — a sign that there is no profit to be made selling comics and therefore no chance a chain would emerge and be successful?
She also delves into the dangers of deep discounting, noting that, “When you continue to shop at a store that gives you 25% or more off of everything you buy, keep in mind that you are potentially putting that store out of business. A responsible comic book store owner will tell you that we simply cannot afford to offer those kind of discounts and continue to be profitable with all of the overhead we have.”
“Matsumoto can draw the hell out of anything”
Shaenon Garrity turns the “Overlooked Manga Festival” spotlight on Taiyo Matsumoto’s Tekkon Kinkreet, which Viz is rereleasing next month in a mammoth omnibus edition called Black & White (and that makes me very happy):
Tekkon Kinkreet is one of the most visually stunning comics I know. Matsumoto can draw the hell out of anything, and the warped, kinetic, graffiti-influenced style he uses here is perfect for the loopy action-packed story. (Of course, if you want great Matsumoto graffiti, check out Blue Spring.) In one exhilarating page after another, Black and White soar through their cartoon city like superheroes, cut loose from gravity, or perch like birds atop skyscrapers and power lines.
September can’t come soon enough.
Garrity also takes a look at Takashi Hashiguchi’s Yakitate! Japan.