Posts Tagged ‘animal man’

A Heartbeat At My Feet

I’ve been picking up all the new number one issues for DC’s big relaunch event, and, for the most part: they’re boring.  Maybe boring isn’t the right word… each issue is very clearly the prologue to a much larger arc, so I don’t feel right recommending any of the titles.  Especially when you’re dropping $3.99 for a setup that equates to “Hi Batman! My name’s Green Lantern!”  There is one book I would recommend checking out, though: Animal Man #1.  It could be my affinity for the character, but this book works much better than all the other DC relaunches.  It’s written by Jeff Lemire, who is probably best known for his Vertigo series Sweet Tooth (which I swear I’ll get around reading some day), and focuses on taking Animal Man back to the Grant Morrison version of the character… a meta-fictional animal rights activist who is a superhero on occasion.

Now that I think about it, if you haven’t already you should read the first volume of Grant Morrison’s Animal Man (which costs all of fourteen American dollars on Amazon) before you check this new book out. Because it is good, and because I am obligated to mention the book whenever I discuss Animal Man. Or animals in general. Or men. Close acquaintances will sadly confirm this.


Even victors are by victories undone

DC Comics recently announced their plans to reboot the entire DC Universe and start everything from scratch. You know, like they do every frickin’ summer.  I have grown tired of summer events and DC execs thinking they have to constantly shake things up.  “EVERYTHING IS GOING TO CHANGE FOREVER (UNTIL NEXT SUMMER).” This year it’s Flashpoint, where the Flash wakes up in an alternate universe, last year it was Blackest Night, before that Final Crisis.  I’m burned out, guys!  I’d normally just skip this event and wait for the trade paperback, but there are parts to this announcement that have me thinking.

Mainly: DC isn’t just cleaning up character origins and mythologies like they normally do (“Oh, they had lots of asparagus on Krypton! That’s why Kryptonite is green or something!”), but they’re also trashing every ongoing comic series and starting with new number 1 issues.  That’s pretty drastic, although renumbering comics isn’t unheard of.  What is unheard of is same-day digital releases for all comics, starting with these new number 1 issues.  That doesn’t seem like a summer event reboot.  That seems like a paradigm shift.  As if DC is adjusting their entire brand to tailor to the people who are reading comics right now.  Which is wise, because sustainability trumps legacy.

I believe one of two things will happen as a result of this:

  1. DC will work towards setting the standard for mass-market digital comics.  It’ll be a renaissance of superhero stories, all available cheaply on the device of your choice. They’ll do for digital comics what Amazon’s Kindle did for ebooks. From there, the doors will open for independent artists to sell their own comics digitally… and actually make money doing it.  DC will have singlehandedly saved comics.
  2. DC will reneg on this in six months when it comes time to plan next summer’s big event.  They’ll always treat digital second to physical, even though no one is buying physical comics.  This is the more likely of the two.

It’s sort of amazing that it’s 2011 and no one has done digital comics correctly yet.  There have been attempts from all the major publishers, but there has yet to be an “iTunes of Comics.”  Maybe DC will get it right, but I doubt it. Whatever. I’m just happy that there’s going to be a new Animal Man series (the cover art of which is up at the top of this post).


The best thing we’ve got until DC comes out with “Every Man”


Okay: how can I express how good Grant Morrison’s Animal Man is without spoiling the whole thing? I can’t, really. I could tell you that it’s about our future, and good intentions, and maybe leave it at that and hope you will read it.

I could also tell you that it’s integral to setting up Final Crisis, although no one seems to realize it. I could tell you that it’s one of the best metafictional works I have read, or one of the best comic books I have read. I could tell you that Grant Morrison himself is in the comic. I could tell you a lot of junk about how amazing it is, but, really, I want to tell you this: you should read it. It’s important and ground breaking and wonderful. Why am I experiencing it just now? Are there other mainstream comics as good as this that have slipped by the wayside?


I’m sorry, I can’t read this.

On my train ride back from Portland, I decided to crack open Grant Morrison’s Animal Man run to pass the time. I’ve never read it despite being a huge Morrison fan. I was not prepared.

By the fourth issue I was crying, swearing off meat and otherwise promising myself I’d be a better person. When I think Animal Man, I envision a lamer version of Aquaman. He channels the powers of animals around him. Big deal. But Morrison did something amazing: he took the throwaway concept of this superhero and turned him into a voice for animal rights. “What happens if Animal Man channels the powers of tortured lab animals?” The book goes there, and it is brutal.

That’s not even the tip of the iceberg. Once you reach the Coyote Gospel… I can’t even explain how amazing it is. It makes Watchmen looked like a rushed fill-in story. This is a Vertigo title for a reason. I can’t wait to read the next two volumes.

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