Being a public school teacher, one of life's great rewards is the summer vacation. And one of summer vacation's great rewards is the All-Day-Drink-Fest. All-Day-Drink-Fest '05 started today around eleven o'clock and it was one of those days. You know those kickass days where things fall right into place? I don't know about you, but about 80% of my life is lived by luck and coincidence and this day was a prime example.
Soon after breakfast at Absolute Bagel (best bagels in Manhattan, bar none, and that's not counting the cutie little indie rocker behind the counter), I began my drinking day. On bar number 2, Yogi's, I sat with a PBR in one hand and a Maker's in the other. (Don't worry, this eventually gets to comics.) So I'm sitting there, enjoying myself when a fella comes from the back and talks to the bartender. "Holy shit, that looks like Roger," I say to myself. Then it sounds like him, too. I ask the girl and, yes, it's Roger.
Roger, you see, is one of those folks that have taken on mythical significance in my life. He ran a bar called 9C, best goddam bar I've ever known. Bluegrass jams every Sunday, cowpunk and gospel otherwise. Great place, cheap drinks, and the best goddam Bloody Mary's known to man. Well, for a while I was seeing a girl that didn't like me drinking, so I didn't. (Never do that, it's dumb.) Well, by the time that shit was over, I went and took a big group of my friends there and POOF it was closed. Never thought I'd see Roger again but I did today. We shot the shit and talked about how 9C wouldn't be able to be what it was these days, with all the well-meaning think-they're-leftists-but-are-actually-rule-loving-rightists fucking everything up in NY.
Good stuff, I can already tell this'll be a good day. So I go about my business, drink in a few more bars, eat dinner, drink, and head to a comic shop. I get some comics that I'll tell you about in a bit. Run into random Mousy Introvert from college, don't remember her name. Give drunk train guy advice to incoming art school students. And then, as I'm reading Battle Pope, these two black guys start talking to me about Hellboy and shit before singing for change on the train.
The best goddam part is the one guy saying, "You know who I liked? Orion, the New God." That's some obscure shit for random train dudes. "There was this baby trade, right? He and this other guy traded places. He was a good guy, but he was crazy. When he'd start fighting, all his friends even would step back, cause they knew he was crazy. He wasn't as big as the Hulk, but he could really fight."
That right there is fucking awesome. I love you, New York.
As for Battle Pope
? Honestly, I love Kirkman's stuff. But this seemed a little tired. Perhaps it's the Christian in me, but I think it's a little too easy to make fun of Christianity for it to be very funny. There were good parts, don't get me wrong. But this was no Invincible or Walking Dead. As humor comics go, it was pretty good. Hell, it brought me an awesome encounter on the train, so maybe you should all read it, too.Justice League Unlimited
continued to be What Superhero Comics Would Be if Grown-Up Nerds Didn't Want Superporn. Nothing groundbreaking, but a good 3 act structure, where folks take turns rescuing each other and the plot and characters make sense and are likeable. Devon over and Seven Hells! was posting about how he wished DC had a comic that was like the JLU cartoon. Um, well, they do. It's just that it doesn't have enough murder or tits for comic nerds to care.
Speaking of which, Marvel Team Up
is basically the "JLU cartoon" concept set in the Marvel Universe. Rather, it's "Robert Kirkman, here's the Marvel Universe. Do what you want." Consequently, it's fun stuff. Heroes run into each other, their interactions make sense, and generally fun things happen. The art . . .I'm not Kolins fan, but it doesn't get in the way of the fun. Come on, how can you not like a book with lines like, "Friggin' DAREDEVIL? Do you have a villain-getting-the-upper-hand sense or what?!" or "I swear, if you tell me it was the Vulture I will punch you in the face." Fun, folks. There's not that much around in the big two, so enjoy it.
Daredevil and Punisher both show up in MTU, but they also show up (surprisingly) in David Lapham's Daredevil Vs. Punisher
. Stray Bullets this isn't (so far). Ennis' Punisher, this isn't (so far). But there are strong building blocks here for a tight story. That's really all I have to say about it right now.
Speaking of not having much to say about something, there's nothing wrong with Son of Vulcan
other than creepy Bigboob Woman. Actually MARKETING the book towards kids that might give a shit would be a nice step, though.
And Nat Turner
reminds you that as funny as Kyle Baker is, he's first and foremost a top-shelf cartoonist. Mostly "silent" but always expressive and meaningful, this is good comics. As much as I like Plastic Man (WHICH IS A LOT), this is his real work. Enjoy it, think about it.
And enjoy your coindicences, folks. Follow them when you can. Talk to the familiar face and drink that one more beer. Ya never know.