Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Hawkman Returns In New Miniseries!

Even as DC Rebirth continues to roll on, Hawkfans had precious little information about Hawkman coming down the pipeline (read: absolutely nothing).  Well, that all changed today with announcement of a new miniseries starring Hawkman and Adam Strange!  Get ready for Out Of Time!

Residing on Earth and out of the hero game, Adam Strange finds himself trying to live a 'normal' life, until he's literally pulled back into adventure again as a seemingly normal Zeta beam transmission returns him to the planet Rann, where he hopes to be reunited with his beloved Alanna. But instead, he finds the once great city of Ranagar in ruins with millions dead, and the once peaceful Alanna is now calling for the blood of Rann's oldest enemy, Thanagar, home of the Hawkmen.

"Sensing something is amiss, Strange enlists the aid of Thanagarian policeman Katar Hol, aka Hawkman, who is also trying anything possible to avert war. Together the two try and uncover who's really behind the destruction of Rann while at the same time preventing Rann and Thanagar from marching into interplanetary armageddon!"

Hawkman and Adam Strange mashed up again! From the description of Thanagar, this definitely sounds like it builds on the New 52 version of the planet, with the hawk motif carrying on.  The description of Hawkman as a "policeman" fits with the post-Justice League of America approach to the character, which is fine as it fits with the general theme of the Rebirth initiative ("That's familiar!").

I like Aaron Lopresti's work from his Garbageman feature from My Greatest Adventure and Weird Worlds, and the idea of him drawing a science fiction space war sounds fantastic!  Marc Andreyko I am less familiar with, although a cursory glance over his credits shows that the stuff of his I have read I did enjoy (including an arc featuring Black Lightning and Blue Devil in DC Universe Presents).  So this is wonderful news for this Hawkfan to see the hero get a little 4 Color attention!

What about you, are you excited about this new Hawkman/Adam Strange team up?

Image: Hawkman and Adam Strange: Out Of Time, 2016, Aaron Lopresti, Newsarama.  

Monday, April 11, 2016

SC Comicon: World's Finest

When I started this blog way back in hallowed antiquity, there was a tremendous amount of Hawkman comics out there for me the hunt down, and hunt I did, at various comic cons and sales.  The upshot of this activity is that eventually you run out of books which you can find easily and cheaply, and with Hawkman, there is a definite schism there.  So, with all of Hawkman volume 2, volume 3, and volume 4 in my possession, and all of volume 1 collected in Showcase Presents books, I have now began to widen my view to the Winged Wonder's non-headliner appearances, namely his runs in Detective Comics and World's Finest Comics.

In the intermezzo between the end of his first title and his second, Hawkman (along with Hawkgirl) made some hay as a backup, first in Detective, but then for a longer term in World's Finest during it's oversized Dollar Comic era. (You can find more information on this era in the wonderful book The Hawkman Companion by Bearer Of The Honor Wings Doug Zawisza!) I had not pursued these books much in the past because, when compared to issues of Hawkman's own titles, these tend be a bit pricier, no doubt due to the presence of other, more popular characters.  And as is typical of my approach to things, waiting until Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice was released, there has been a lot more uptick in discussion and movement on these Batman/Superman books.  

Be that as it may, I did pick up a couple of issues of World's Finest while at SC Comicon 2016 the weekend before last. SC Comicon is rapidly becoming my "home" con, as here in it's third year it has really grown up.  I went only on Sunday this year, and I have to admit that if this growth continues, this may actually turn into a two-day experience for me.  Attendance seemed up but not to the point that it seemed like a crush of people, and the guest list was a nice mix of mainstream and indy folks, plus some media guests as well. The fact that it's a 20 minute drive from my house helps too...

Now then, the books were:

World's Finest Comics #264 -- Have not had a chance to read this issue yet, but I like the cover to this one since it has the hutzpah to only show Batman from the back, as well as the slimy green monster.  Kind of a murderer's row of DC characters here, not that I am complaining about getting Superman, Batman, Captain Marvel, Green Arrow, and Aquaman in addition to the Hawks.

World's Finest Comics #277 -- This cover is pretty unusual, I do not really know what to think of the powder blue backgrounds behind the backup characters, but at the same time I do like the bullseye motif.  The colors in the Superman and Batman image are evocative, but I can't help but thinking that this would be better served with a normal color scheme.  Still, looks like a fun comic, especially as an oversized book.

I was able to pick these two up for $3, so not bad all told.  Admittedly, I did have to dig through quite a number of bins to find this era of World's Finest which weren't $5 apiece or more, and these were both priced at $3, but I got the guy to work with me.   So, the new aspect of my journey into Hawkfandom begins in earnest.  If nothing else, these should be a nice slice of DC Bronze Age comics for my reading pleasure as I start down the backup strip quest...

Monday, March 28, 2016

DC Rebirth: A Distinct Lack Of Hawkman

Well folks, considering that there is nothing Hawkman related in the DC Rebirth information released at WonderCon, you would think this would be a short post, and you'd be correct.  What's shocking is just how short.

I remember when the New 52 was announced.  Amidst all of the cynicism and paranoia, there was a general sense of excitement both from me and my comics-reading friends.  The general idea was that DC was trying to shake things up, streamline a continuity which since the Crisis had become unwieldily without using Wikipedia, and trying to diversify the line by offering different families of titles.  The fact that there was going to be a Hawkman title was icing on the cake, but no doubt played a role in my excitement.

Of course, so did the fact that we were getting 2 War books, a Western book, a Horror-inspired Swamp Thing, and other titles which were not just Superheroes.

Whatever your opinion of the New 52 relaunch -- and this being the Internet, I am going to assume your opinion as you read this is negative -- there was a definite approach of trying to reach as many readers as possible.  

In the intervening years, I have been called a "DC apologist" as well as "not a real DC fan," been told that would "settle for anything" and that I was simply "riding out a rough patch."  I was told to "shut up" since I don't know anything about comics because I am "just [a] Godzilla guy."  I haven't made most of this stuff public because frankly I don't want or need to spread negativity; we have enough of that already. I prefer to try to focus on what I enjoy rather than what I don't.

For instance, I thought Convergence was a great throwback series, a reminder of the "mash up smash up" crossovers from when I was first reading comics back in the 1990s. It was fast and fun, with surprising characters and twists.  I liked it a heck of a lot more than Marvel's boring, inert slog Secret Wars, which I was more than happy to trade in to the used book store as soon as it was over.  That's my opinion and I come to it honestly, so I do not feel the need to defend it with a bullet list about why.  (For the record, Book Of Death was a lot better than both of them... and you could buy ALL of the event for less than half of one month of either the DC or Marvel event... but I digress...)

So what does this have to do with Rebirth? Ultimately not much; I suspect that all of the "Told You I Was Right" and "Victory Lap" articles and blogposts about the end of the New 52 won't amount to much more than a tempest in a teapot since it seems that the New 52 universe is still going to be around... you'll recall seeing similar sentiment after Convergence with the Post-Crisis diehards claiming "victory" and yet the New 52 was still there.  

But looking over these titles and creative teams, I'm sorry, there's just not much here for me to get excited about.  One of the continuous charges leveled at the New 52 books was one of "sameness" or homogeneity. I personally never saw that, but then again the only "mainstream" book I read consistently was The Flash -- the fringe titles I was drawn to were more unique... which is no doubt why they got cancelled.  Be that as it may, the Rebirth titles seem to have doubled down on this, narrowing the focus of DC comics even more, at least at the launch.

To be fair, Geoff Johns did say that groups like the Legion, JSA, etc. have a role going forward but will have their own stories to bring them in.  So that is good.

And if you want to have someone architect your universe, Johns seems like a better choice than Jim Lee and Dan DiDio.  And this is coming from one of the very few avowed Dan DiDio fans.  Exactly how much of the actual creative stuff of the New 52 came from DiDio will probably never be known for sure, but I have always liked the books he has written, and the way that as an executive he puts himself out there as the face, complete with all of the tomatoes and cabbages which get lobbed at said face. But again, there I am being a "DC Apologist" once again.

Anyway, there's so few titles of this group of launches which I am interested in, it's a little surprising and somewhat sad.

-- The Flash: Josh Williamson, Carmine DiGiandomenico, Neil Googe.  Don't think I am familiar with any of these guys beyond a passing recognition.  I'll always buy The Flash though, what can I say?  The little blurb they gave about a bunch of new speedsters sounds intriguing, and the cover art preview they showed appealed.  The fact that said cover includes Wally West wearing his Kid Flash costume as seen during the Future Flash story, and Captain Cold is wearing a vest, suggests this takes place firmly in the New 52 U.  But never mind the facts, the New 52 is dead, VICTORY LAP!!!!!!

-- Action Comics: Dan Jurgens, Patrick Zircher, Tyler Kirkham, Stephen Segovia.  I was a big Superman guy in the 90s.  And you don't get more "Superman in the 90s" than Dan Jurgens.  So, DC, you have my attention.  I know Patrick Zircher from his short stint on Iron Man, as well as his Valiant work, and I am eager to see his take on the Man of Steel.  Will I buy this? I don't know.  Maybe.  But it stood out, like I said, and Jurgens writing style has always appealed to me.  

-- Trinity: Francis Manapul, Clay Mann.  Manapul is a guy who's Flash work I just ate up, whether it was pre- or post-Flashpoint.  So to see him take on the Big Three has got my brain juices flowing. I'm not much of a Batman fan (Batman Minimum Appreciation Index not withstanding), but this seems like a perfect assignment for Manapul and I definitely want to see more of the details.

And... that's it.  3 books, one of which I have been buying in one form or another since I was in high school.  

I get that I am the oddball, the weird-o who liked DC comics in general during the last 4+ years.  And I also get that I am not going to buying any Batman books any time soon (unless they bring Paul Dini back to Detective like they did around 2007 or so), so maybe the line is not for me.  That's fine.  It's disappointing, but not surprising.

I have been leaning more and more away from DC AND Marvel over the last few years, as Marvel moved into the near-constant relaunches which they popularized but DC gets accused of, and DC started getting more tunnel vision with more titles getting focused on less characters, a tactic they stole from Marvel (even as Marvel seems to add more screwball titles each month). Honestly I buy more books from Valiant than DC and Marvel combined, and Rebirth will not change that.  But that's alright, I am seeing people excited about books like Wonder Woman by Greg Rucka (I wonder how much of Brian Azzarello's mythology will be tossed?) or Super Sons (we miss you, Bob Haney), and I am glad that there are new books coming down the pipeline that people are looking forward to.

Nothing snarky here, folks; I've said it for years: Read what you enjoy, and if you don't like it, don't read it.