In a recent episode of the podcast we spoke in passing about the “future of comics,” in the context of digital releases. In that conversation we touched on both motion comics and infinite comics, and I wanted to speak about both types of comics a little bit more and the future of digital comics in general, because I think we are in an important moment of transition right now in terms of the way that graphic narratives are presented.

Comics possess an entire visual language with its own particular lexicon and kind of grammar. Word balloons, for example, are a piece of visual grammar. They do not correspond to anything in reality, but they are a commonly understood element of the visual language of comics. By the same measure so are the breakdowns of panels and pages, as well as graphic elements such as motion lines, swirlies, anger fumes, and any number of other visual flourishes which artists employ to depict certain actions or emotions. There are even dialects, of sorts, within comics. Japanese comics depict rapid motion differently than western comics do. They also have their own visual language for depicting emotions like embarrassment or extreme anger, such as the enormous sweat drop.

But imagine for a moment a comic which could change to reflect where the reader is when it is read. Read it in one place, and it is set in New York City. Read it in another and the panels magically change and it is set in Seattle. Read a panel and watch a character actually blushing red, or hear the click as a gun is cocked. Instead of turning a page, tap on a panel and watch it expand to fill the screen as a whole new page. Continue Reading

Top of the Stack is a weekly show presented by View from the Gutters that highlights single issue comics that were released that week.

Hosts: Andrew Chard, Eric Manix, Chris Johnson

Title card designed by: Eric Trautmann http://www.erictrautmann.us/

This episode we discuss:
0:22 Batman Eternal #2
5:19 Hulk #1
7:14 Translucid #1
12:11 Star Mage #1
14:10 Genesis GN
16:28 Batman #30
17:54 Ultimate FF #1
20:41 Sinestro #1
22:06 Caption Action Cat #1
23:23 Solar Man of the Atom #1
25:19 Ms Marvel #3
28:22 Stray Bullets Killers #2
30:38 American Vampire Second Cycle #2
31:42 Winter Soldier #3
34:01 Thor God of Thunder #21
34:46 Superior Spider-Man #31
36:10 Mega Man #35
37:01 Mercenary Sea #3
40:26 Skinned #1
41:13 X-Men Rant

Collected Editions:
43:16 Gaijin American Prisoner of War GN
44:16 Family Ties GN
46:10 Daytripper Deluxe Edition HC
46:41 Justice League of America Omnibus HC
47:43 Sex Criminal vol. 1
47:57 Daredevil HC vol 7
48:23 Superior Spider-Man vol 5
48:41 Uncanny X-Men Omnibus HC vol 2

49: 30 Top of the Stack: Ms. Marvel #3, Mercenary Sea #3, Translucid #1

darkknight

On this giant-sized episode of View from the Gutters our topic work is Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, written and penciled by Frank Miller, with inks by Klaus Janson and colors by Lynn Varley. The Dark Knight Returns is one of the seminal Batman works, and along with Year One (released the following year, also written by Miller) not only helped redefine Batman in the post-Silver Age period but also inspired a generation of comic creators. It is credited as one of the books that ended the Silver Age itself, along with Watchmen and Crisis on Infinite Earths.

In The Dark Knight Returns we find a 55-year old Bruce Wayne, retired from his Batman persona, struggling to find meaning in his life without the crusade. Shortly after the book begins Wayne puts on the Batman again for the first time in years, once again trying to save a Gotham City on the brink of anarchy, but this time struggling not just against criminality gone rampant, not just against the police, but against his own mortality.

The Dark Knight Returns is a dark and violent book, which demonstrates Miller’s brilliance as a writer and artist, as well as many of his worst flaws—not least of which is the pervasive undertone of misogyny which permeates so much of Miller’s work. This is a very conflicted piece of work, but it’s also critical to understanding the evolution both of Batman as a character and superheroes as a genre.

In our recommendation section, our hosts nominated Heck; The Red Wing; The Hedge Knight, Vol. 1 & 2; and The Superior Spider-Man #1-31, for discussion on the next episode, and our selected title is The Superior Spider-Man #1-31.

Our hosts for this episode were Andrew Chard, Joe Preti, Tobiah Panshin, and Cade Reynolds.

 annihilation

This week on View from the Gutters our topic work is Annihilation, Vol. 1-3, primarily by Keith Giffen (with Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning), and art by Andrea Di Vito and others. Annihilation is the 2006 event book that kicked off the modern era of Marvel’s cosmic-level characters, featuring appearances from Nova, Starlord (of later Guardians of the Galaxy fame), Thanos, Galactus, like 5 heralds of Galactus, Annihilus, and too many others to mention.

It is an epic tale of inter-galactic war and death on a scale never before realized. The Annihilation Wave—a vast army from the Negative Zone, lead by Annihilus—cuts a bloody swath across the universe destroying everything in its path. Those few heroes (and not so heroic individuals) band together in order to stop the unstoppable, no matter the cost.

This is one of the best Marvel event books of the past decade, and for anyone interested in the forth-coming Guardians of the Galaxy movie, or the Marvel cosmos in general, it’s the perfect place to get started as this event retooled and relaunched many of these characters who had not been seen in some time.

In our recommendation section, our hosts nominated Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, The Sixth Gun, Captain America and Falcon: Secret Empire, and Trillium for discussion on the next episode, and our selected title is Batman: The Dark Knight Returns.

Our hosts for this episode were Andrew Chard, Joe Preti, Tobiah Panshin, and Cade Reynolds.

Comic books have issues. Or perhaps I should say that I have issues with issues of comics? No that’s not right.

I have a problem with the way in which comic books are numbered. There it is.

If I haven’t mentioned it before (and I have), I’ve been reading comics for a long time—as I would suspect a fair number of you have as well. And as a long-time comic reader it’s sometimes easy to forget that comics—and I’m talking specifically about superhero comics here—can be incredibly intimidating to the uninitiated reader. Continue Reading

ECCC
Back Matter is a new comic book roundtable discussion show focused on all things news worthy in the world of comics. From the big buzz around the latest comics to comic book movies and TV shows. Look forward to a rotating panel of hosts on this semi weekly podcast. Feel free to email us discussion ideas or any comments or questions you might have at contact@viewfromthegutters.com

This week, on Back Matter, Eric Manx gives us his report on all of the panels he attended at Emerald City Comic Con.

Our hosts for this episode are Andrew Chard, and Eric Manix

Top of the Stack is a weekly show presented by View from the Gutters that highlights single issue comics that were released that week.

This episode we discuss: Detective Comics #30, Inhuman #1, Caliban #1, Trillium #8, The Field #1, Dead Letters #1, Veil #2, She Hulk #3, Apocalypse Al #3, Black Widow #5, Punisher #4, Lobster Johnson Get the Lobster #3, Black Science #5, Invincible Universe #12, Judge Dredd Mega City 2 #3, Moon Knight #2, Loki Agent of asguard #3, Starlight #2, Aquaman and the Others #1, Ultimate Spider-Man #200

Collected Editions: Batman ’66 HC vol 1, Judge Dredd Complete Cam Kenedy HC vol 2, Marvel Knights Spider-Man Fight Nights, Fear Agent vol 1, Superman Red Son, Guardians of the Galaxy vol 1 TP, Lone Wolf and Cub omnibus vol 4, Superior Spider-Man vol 2 HC, Spider-Man Family Business OGN

Top Picks: Moon Knight #2, She-Hulk #3

Hosts: Andrew Chard, Eric Manix