So it’s been a while since I last bought an X-Men book, and I had absolutely no intention of picking up Amazing X-Men
until I actually held it in my hand. I’ve liked writer Jason Aaron’s work in the past, I enjoy Ed McGuinness’s art, and I have enough fond memories of the classic Dave Cockrum Nightcrawler mini
, which the cover and parts of the story somewhat invoke, to decide to take it home. It’s a light enough adventure, with minimal wallowing in current X-continuity that even a dabbler like me can dive into the setting with only the slightest exposition. And then there’s the bonus oddball theological aspects that always crop up when you have superheroes bouncing in and out of the afterlife, which can be embarrassingly campy when handled poorly
, but goofy and fun when handled right, like here. Well, they’ve got me for five issues, anyway, which is how long this initial arc is apparently going to last. We’ll see what happens when the inevitable crossover tie-ins begin to invade, but I am going to continue hoping this remains a fun Nightcrawler book, the other X-Men just supporting characters, becoming a solo title in all but name only. I’m not going to bet on it, but it’s nice to think about.
In other news:
- How Did This Get Made is an entertaining podcast where the comedian hosts of the show spend an hour shouting at each other about a different terrible movie every couple of weeks, and it’s always hilarious. This week the film of choice is Daredevil, and some of you may be interested to note that comics writer Ed Brubaker (whom you may recall wrote the Daredevil series for a while) joins in on the fun, bringing his funnybook knowledge to the proceedings.
- Hey. Hey, you. Awesome Hospital is back with an all-new two-part adventure. Go check it out.
So I recently acquired a comic that’s been haunting the back of my mind for nearly thirty years:
I glanced through this comic in the shop back when it was released in 1986, and two parts of the book have lingered with me all this time. One, the pronunciation guide on the cover (and repeated several times inside as a running gag):
I have been sort of privately pronouncing the name “X-Men” this way in my head for years
. I usually don’t say it out loud, unlike “Defect
ive Comics,” which I say every time I pull down the Detective Comics
box because I think I’m hilarious.
…the shocking Cerebus cameo has stuck with me, because, you see, in the regular X-Men books, Professor X uses Cerebro, a big ol’ computer thingie, to enhance his mutant psychic abilities to find mutants. However, in Xmen
(pronounced ZHMEN, one syllable) it is, of course, Cerebus
who tracks mutants for Professor X, because “Cerebus” sounds sorta like “Cerebro.” Or, excuse me, “Cerebos,” as the clearly-edited-after-the-fact Us in these word balloons would have it:
I’m not even really sure why
I kept this comic, which showed up in a collection recently. It’s not as if I haven’t had opportunities to pick it up in the past, since copies turned up at the shop from time to time. The comic itself as a parody doesn’t really do anything for me. There’s the funny names for the characters, the poking at X-Men tropes, the satirizing of then-current X-Men plot twists and character quirks, and so on, which might play a little better for someone more invested in the X-universe. The comic does feature some nice early work by Charles Troug, who would go on to illustrate Grant Morrison’s run on Animal Man
, so there’s that.
I suppose I mostly kept this comic to finally have a physical representation of those two wires this comic crossed in my head so long ago, a print version of the memories still echoing from that brief exposure.
Speaking of Cerebus, this comic came out last week:
…an anthology of parody/tribute stories by cartoonist Cerebus
fans, using the Cerebus character as per creator Dave Sim’s decision to allow other folks to use it in new creative works. For the cover alone this probably deserves a place in your Cerebus collection, and you can read about its creation here
(and buy a color print here
!). The contents are amusing as well, with even the…less polished entries still having an undeniable and entertaining enthusiasm. Like the Xmen
book above, it’s probably best appreciated by those folks still in the bag for the property being parodied, and a little too much “reading someone else’s mail” for the uninitiated. But, I’m still game for new Cerebus spin-off stuff, making me the target audience, I guess.
Almost universal reaction from customers at the shop (and even an employee or two) to seeing Low Society on the stands has been “a Cerebus parody comic…now?” which, well, fair enough. It has been nearly ten years since the series ended, but I do have to note that I’m seeing a small uptick in sales on Cerebus trade paperback collections lately, so someone out there is still discovering and reading it. Or, at the very least, upgrading their collections from the pamphlets to the phonebooks. At any rate, I did fear that once it was over, Cerebus would fade into memory, but there appears to be a little life sticking to it yet. It’s a complex, multilayered, and (especially in the latter half) divisive, problematic and controversial work, and still contains a wealth of material to be mined, discussed, criticized, and, yes, parodied.
Anyway, Cerebus: I still need to reread that someday.
Recently acquired at the shop…issue #59 of X-Men (August 1969), with a special message for you X-fans scribbled onto the logo by some anonymous comics critic:
And apparently our critic wasn’t satisfied with warning you on the cover…he hit the first page, too:
Just what we needed…a back issue that deliberately insults possible buyers. …Surely that’s my
…and I’ll read my 1993 trade paperback of X-Men Versus The Avengers:
I kind of miss the days when Marvel would put spangly foil logos on their trade paperbacks. (Of course, this ain’t a patch on those all
-foil covers Marvel put on their Age of Apocalypse trades
ALSO: haven’t looked at panel one of any of these new Avengers Vs. The X-Men comics or tie-ins, but I feel pretty safe in saying there probably isn’t anything in them as cool as that battle between Ursa Major and Doctor Druid from the older series:
I’m sure there are only another, oh, three or four dozen more comics to go in this current Avengers/X-Men hoohar…hopefully there’ll be room to revisit this classic rivalry.
Came across a few of these while going through some boxes at the store:
“Do you have a small metal pin with a close-up of Cyclops’ grimacing, visorless face in a snowstorm?” “Why, as a matter o’fact….”
BEHOLD: cloisonné stubble:
That may have been too much
detail, but on the other hand…granted, this next pin’s actual size is only about an inch tall, so there’s only so much detail they can put in. Still, Cable’s near-featureless face and its soul-sucking gaping maw are just plain creepy:
“Limited to 2,500” says the back of this next pin:
I’m pretty sure they did pins for the other covers, too, but I sure hope they did an extra-wide pin for the fold-out version
My pal Dorian, after looking at the preview copy of next week’s New X-Men #150: “Boy, the hardcore X-Men fans are going to hate this issue.”
Me: “Why, does something fun and interesting happen?”
(post updated 7/2016)
Some people really don’t like Grant Morrison’s X-Men. [EDIT: link dead] Some people also have absolutely no sense of humor, apparently.
Too often in the past, reading the X-Men was like reading someone else’s mail…you understand the words, certainly, but darned if you know what’s going on. Morrison stripped the comic down to its basics, and kept the stories moving with snappy dialogue, fast action, and a healthy dose of silliness (and if there’s one thing the hardcore X-fans don’t like, it’s silliness). He even took generic characters like Bishop and the White Queen and made them interesting, for once. Makes one wonder what he could have done with a character like Gambit…but perhaps some challenges are too great.
Of course, my interest in the X-Men will most certainly go away with Morrison’s departure, but that’s okay. Pretty much all the X-Men adventure you’ll ever need to read is contained in the issues he wrote.
(post updated 7/2016)