Category Archives: Comics

Batman, Grant Morrison, and Inertia

batmaninc13

Today, July 31st, 2013, was a big day for me.

As any of you who have even cursorily perused this blog have likely surmised, I am a massive fan of Batman. The character and iconography both hold very deep resonance for me, for reasons I’m not entirely sure I can begin to fully explain. It’s long been a part of my life, and one I have never regretted sinking time and money into. And today, the longest single Batman arc that I’ve experienced, the one that has contained my single favorite character and a large multiple of other favorites, came to its conclusion. As I held Batman, Incorporated #13 in my hands, preparing to read Grant Morrison’s final issue as the scribe of the Dark Knight, there was no sadness, no feel of the end of an era as there was when I read Geoff Johns’ final issue of Green Lantern. Instead, there was only the desire to see this story through to its end, to see Grant’s final impression on this 74-year-old character, and to see who next will leave their mark.

Continue reading

Saga #12 Pulled From iOS Apps

saga12

Forgive me: I’m about to get political and righteously angry.

As I’ve stated here in the past, Saga is quite possibly my favorite comic book at the moment. It’s been consistently amazing, possessing a unique charm and wit even in the saddest and darkest of moments. Its characters are as richly drawn and interesting as the world they inhabit – and I mean drawn both literally and figuratively – and it’s always a joy to read.

It also has a lot of sex. A LOT of sex.

Its not gratuitous sex in any case. It’s usually rather tasteful visually, if the dialogue is a little less so, but in every instance of it the sex has been in the service of developing the characters. We see these characters from all angles: quiet moments to moments of intensity and combat, moments of fear and moments of joy. These depictions of sex give us insight into the relationships between these characters that you can’t get outside of intimate moments. Yes, it’s sex. No, it’s not pornography.

But I hardly need to defend the series for this reason; despite these depictions, it’s constantly been among the best selling comics each month since its debut. People don’t seem to mind, and nor do retailers: except for Amazon taking the series down briefly while its content was reviewed, it’s been carried by most major digital and physical comics retailers.

Well, that has changed with #12, which hits the shelves tomorrow.

Today, Brian K. Vaughan shared with the world that Apple was blocking sales of Saga #12 from all apps in the iOS store. In his words:

As has hopefully been clear from the first page of our first issue, SAGA is a series for the proverbial “mature reader.” Unfortunately, because of two postage stamp-sized images of gay sex, Apple is banning tomorrow’s SAGA #12 from being sold through any iOS apps. This is a drag, especially because our book has featured what I would consider much more graphic imagery in the past, but there you go. Fiona and I could always edit the images in question, but everything we put into the book is there to advance our story, not (just) to shock or titillate, so we’re not changing shit.

He’s not changing shit, and he is completely justified in this decision. My respect for this man, which was already pretty damned high, just shot through the roof.

But there’s the larger question of censorship looming overhead here. Though I’ve not seen the issue in question, and won’t be seeing it for at the very least another week (since my local comic shop, hands tied by the strict laws of the state, is unable to carry the issue as well), I am fully prepared to trust Vaughan’s assessment regarding its purpose. He’s not writing a porno comic and Fiona Staples isn’t drawing one. Why are they being censored? Is it a double standard on gay sex, which wouldn’t be unheard of but is still pretty terribly unfair and unjust? I cannot fathom why they are suddenly being pulled from shelves, digital and physical, for this issue when all the past issues were acceptable.

I’ve grown really tired of art being censored due to some arbitrary obscenity standards. Who gets to decide that? I would hope that the only person who has the right to decide what is too obscene is the consumer, the person who is purchasing and experiencing the art in question, not a third party. If the artist doesn’t think it too obscene (or even if he does and is using it to make a point) and the patron doesn’t think it too obscene, there need be no problem.

It has been suggested to me that I e-mail Image Comics’ president asking them to recall the book and edit the images out so that it can be sold everywhere. I am not going to do that. Instead, I am going to e-mail Image Comics’ president and ask them to keep the image as is, while also e-mailing the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. I will happily stand with the creators of this comic, fight for their first amendment rights and fight against the censorship of art. It’s absolute and utter nonsense that this book cannot be sold in stores because it may possibly offend some people who, frankly, know what they’re getting into after the first issue of the series.

Let’s make a fuss out of this even outside the comics community. Censorship of art is wrong. Period.

UPDATE [4:10 PM]: I found the offending images, which are on the first two pages of the comic. Here’s the full preview from Comic Book Resources. Be warned that naturally the images are not work safe.]

Tagged , , ,

The Great Comic Implosion of February 2013

popcultImplosion

[Spoiler Alert: The following post contains spoilers for the end of Scott Snyder’s Batman storyline, “Death of the Family”, as well as spoilers for Grant Morrison’s upcoming Batman Incorporated #8 and Peter Tomasi’s Batman and Robin. Additionally, the following post is alarmist, reactionary, and somber. Do not read if you do not wish to experience the ramblings of an author saddened by developments in things that he loves, or if such a perfectly acceptable thing somehow offends you.]

I’ve been living in a comic book paradise for a while now.

Honestly, the past few months have been filled with some of the best comics I’ve ever had the pleasure to consume. Between Scott Snyder’s unbelievably great run on Batman (in particular the “Death of the Family” arc that has been running since October), my sudden fixation with the stellar creator-owned series Saga by the incomparable Brian K. Vaughn, the continued drive forward of Geoff Johns’ legendary tenure as the author of the Green Lantern universe, the admittedly hit and miss Before Watchmen limited series, from which we’ve received such gems as Darwyn Cooke’s Minutemen and Silk Spectre (the latter of which drawn by Amanda Conner, in some of the best art of comic-bookdom), Len Wein’s Ozymandias (along with its unparalleled art), and my rediscovery of some of the Batman classics (Hush, The Long Halloween, and The Dark Knight Returns have been on my reading list lately), I’ve never wanted for great comic books. I couldn’t sneeze without running into a great book.

But, alas, I fear that all of that comes at a price. And that price is the Great Comic Book Implosion of February 2013, an event with such an unwieldy name that I should probably come up with a better name for it. We’ll just use “Implosion” here on out. But rest assured, the event deserves a name with such gravitas: the components that have merged to form this massive Implosion are large, paradigm altering events that will have far reaching implications for comics for years to come.

Continue reading