Archive for August, 2011

This has come up a couple times now, in which I’ve found myself inadvertently defending George R. R. Martin’s series A Game of Thrones, based on the notion that there’s a dramatic and important difference between a misogynist book, and a book about a misogynist culture. No ill will meant to anyone with whom I’ve argued, it’s all part of the process, &c. and so forth.

But Sady Doyle wrote this piece about it, and Alyssa Rosenberg at Think Progress wrote this piece in response, and now I want to make my own limited contribution.


A friend of mine mentioned that her co-worker was starting to read Batman comics for the first time in his life, and that got me thinking about how I would approach reading Batman if I’d never done it before, and what I’d recommend to an adult new-reader (we are going to call him Seamus, because I am sick of typing “new reader”).

Which is to say, if Seamus were just buying collected editions that were readily available online, rather than going to a comic store every Wednesday in the 90’s and early 2000’s.

I’d like your help on this one. Because while I think I’m on the right track, I’d like to see what everyone else considers “essential” Batman reading.

But also keep in mind the rule here – Seamus has NEVER READ A BATMAN COMIC BEFORE, and is probably going to hit Amazon before he visits his LCS. This is the audience you have to consider.

That said, I’m all for hearing about some “deep cuts” (good runs that you can only find in the back-issue bins – or more likely and the like) that will give Seamus that treasure-hunter feeling we all get when we dig around a little.

For this experiment, I’m using the format of the AV Club’s “Gateways to Geekery,” which means starting with one essential book, then some next steps, and a few advisories on what to avoid:

To me, the obvious place for Seamus to start – since the majority of Batman comics written in the last 25 years has used this as a tonal template – is Miller and Mazzucelli’s Batman: Year One, both for its status as the “modern” origin story, and for investing Seamus in James Gordon as much as he would Batman.

NEXT STEPS  (more…)

This is probably pretty boring for you guys, but it’s been super-fun for me so far, so I guess you can all suck it.

Anyway, last part on this fight from Lady Sabre and the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether.  If the mood strikes me, maybe I’ll look at something else, later on.  Maybe I’ll do a whole series of talk posts about obscure aspects of western swordplay that no one at all gives a crap about.  Maybe I’ll write about why I hate that duel in the Firefly, “Shindig” so much.


Because I like swords, and I want everyone to like swords as much as I do, I am offering up some of my own thoughts on the subject of swordplay, for use perhaps by artists interested in drawing good duels, or stage combat persons interested in choreographing fights, or writers who want to write about it.  I’m starting off with this fight on page 8 of Lady Sabre and the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether, but I will probably go wildly off the rails at some point.


Greg Rucka and Rick Burchett have launched a new Steampunk webcomic that looks pretty rad.  I am pretty excited for it, but I don’t know if I have the patience to read just two pages a week; this was kind of the same problem that I suffered with Freakangels.  If all goes well, probably what will happen is that I’ll just check in every couple of months or so and then read a whole bunch of pages at once.  Which, just as well.

Anyway, something like 80% of the pages so far are swordfights, and I love the HELL out of swordfights.  And there are some particulars about sword-fighting — especially this Western European-style fencing — that I am interested in and that I don’t think quite jive, and so I’m just going to write about them for a while.


A question for…I was about to write “superhero fans,” but really I guess this applies to any protagonist that’s had multiple interpretations over the years -

You ever fall in love with a character, only to grow frustrated that nobody who’s working on him or her seems to do anything to validate that opinion?

I was putting together a “beginner’s list” to good Batman stories (which I’ll post next week, and would like some input on), and it struck me how few really knock-it-out-of-the-park Batman stories I’ve seen within my own lifetime. (more…)

Brass Knuckle Books

Posted: August 19, 2011 in Braak
Tags: , , ,

Brass Knuckle Books

The World Leader in Weaponized Reading Material

I don’t generally like to talk about politics here, since that’s usually when assholes show up and threaten to disrupt my naturally cool demeanor.  But Penn Jillette wrote this piece for CNN, and I felt like I had to answer it.  I felt this way for two reasons:  the first is that I really like Penn & Teller, and the second is that I think he’s cheating.


This goes against every instinct I have. Every shred of my being for the last 14 years, every bit of movie and comic book based understanding that has told me that this movie was utterly terrible and directly contributed to the early demise of the superhero movie AND POSSIBLY SOCIETY.

But having rewatched it for a critical reappraisal, I must admit that Comics Alliance was right: Batman & Robin is actually not a bad movie.

I don’t even mean, “Not quite as bad as people say it is.” I mean, by the standards we judge movies by, it’s…actually pretty enjoyable.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a capital-G Good movie – it’s surely not something you’d recommend to some delightful hermit who just ventured out of a cave and said, “I’ve heard tell of this ‘Bat-Fellow’ you people seem to enjoy, what can you tell me of him?” – but it doesn’t deserve the reputation it’s gotten (mostly by people like me, granted).

Viewing it as a “not all that bad of a movie” does require us to accept that there are, in fact, different ways of watching movies, and of accepting variations on a theme. And with Batman, a character that has been built a dozen different ways in his lifetime, that’s an important caveat.

But let’s dispense with what is still undisputedly bad about it, before singing its modest praises.

Mr. Freeze is still ridiculous. (more…)

Last night, I wanted to watch The Running Man, but it is not available on Netflix instant.  And so, since I couldn’t watch two US governors BATTLE TO THE DEATH, then I wanted to watch a movie with nice people for whom everything just works out.  Also, I really felt like watching a movie that was two-thirds gerund.

Anyway, it made me realize the essential appeal of Julia Roberts.