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All posts for the month December, 2013

animalman

This week on View from the Gutters our topic work is Animal Man, written by Grant Morrison with art by Chas Truog and Doug Hazlewood. Prior to the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, Animal Man was a D-list superhero with less than a dozen appearances in total over the course of the silver age. Published in 1988 in the wake of the first crisis, Morrison reimagines Buddy Baker as a much younger man with a wife and young children, who decides to relaunch his superhero career in search of wealth and recognition.

However, Buddy soon finds himself drawn into real-world issues of the time like animal rights, vegetarianism, apartheid, for which he finds no easy punchable solution. Meanwhile, a weird meta-textual undercurrent runs through the background of the series regarding the events of the crisis and the very fundament of reality, ultimately culminating in one of the oddest conclusions possible for a superhero comic.

Animal Man is a strange, surreal story, one of a handful of books printed by DC at the time (along with Sandman, Swamp Thing, Hellblazer, and Morrison’s concurrent work, Doom Patrol) that ultimately led to the creation of Vertigo Comics. It’s a must-read for any fan of Morrison’s work, and a great introduction for someone who’s never read a Grant Morrison book before.

In our recommendation section our hosts nominated Sandman,Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes, Pedro and Me, Agents of Atlas, and Superior Foes of Spider-Man??for discussion on the next episode, and our selected title is Superior Foes of Spider-Man (#1-6).

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

towerofbabel

This week on View from the Gutters, our topic work is JLA: Tower of Babel, by Mark Waid and Howard Porter. Following Grant Morrison’s revival of the “Big 7” Justice League team in the mid-90s, Mark Waid took over writing duties on the book with issue 43.??Tower of Babel is the critic and fan-acclaimed first arc of Waid’s run, which was recently adapted as the direct-to-video??Justice League: Doom.

This story sees dissent and disorder amongst the JLA, as they try to deal with a global threat while also trying to defend against a series of coordinated attacks against league members, as planned by Batman! It was an incredibly important story for DC at the time, as the repercussions from this arc reverberate throughout the DC Universe, and are directly linked to both??Identity Crisis and the events leading up to??Infinite Crisis.

In our recommendation section our hosts nominated The Animal Man Omnibus, North 40, Fearless Defenders, Old City Blues, and Supercrooks??for discussion on the next episode, and our selected title is??The Animal Man Omnibus.

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

billi99

This week on View from the Gutters, our topic work is Billi 99, by Sarah Byam and Time Sale. It’s a great story from twenty years ago which carries an amazing amount of resonance for the world of today. But since it was a fan recommendation, I’ll just let the person who pitched it summarize the book:

Billi 99 is a collection of a 4 issue mini series from the early 90’s. It’s a different take on a near-future inspired by Sarah Byam’s experiences with the rapidly decaying Detroit of the 1980’s. Billi Chadam, the heiress of a mega-corporation, is framed for her father’s murder and becomes the vigilante The Sword of Toleado, roaming the streets of the poverty stricken part of the city called “The Cordon”. A series of rapes/murders, as well as the increasingly unstable situation at her father’s former corporation and it’s workers union draws her back into the world of her father’s murder mystery??and corporate espionage to put an end to the chaos and clear her name.

In our recommendation section our hosts nominated Daredevil, Vol.1, JLA: Tower of Babel, Alias, Masks and Mobsters, and Atomic Robo, Vol. 3 for discussion on the next episode, and our selected title is JLA: Tower of Babel.

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

usm

The Long Run takes place outside of our normal continuity of episodes, and features table discussion of an entire work or long selection of a series. In the third episode of this bonus series, we talk about Issues #1-160 of Ultimate Spider-Man (the Peter Parker years).

First published in 2000, the Ultimate Universe was conceived as a launching ground for new, modern interpretations of the classic Marvel Super-Heroes, divested of their continuity baggage and re-imagined for the 21st century. Spider-Man was one of the launch titles for Ultimate Marvel, and returned to Peter Parker’s roots as a nerdy high-schooler once again learning the ropes of being a super-hero while trying (and failing) to find a balance between the burdens of being Spider-Man and Peter Parker’s ordinary life.

USM also features one of the longest continuous runs of a single creative team on a book, with Brian Michael Bendis writing and Mark Bagley penciling. After Bagley’s departure the book was drawn by first by??Stuart Immonen, then David LaFuente, and finally Sara Pichelli, who continues to draw with Bendis writing into the Miles Morales era.

In this episode we discuss the entirety of Peter Parker’s story in this series.

Our hosts on this episode are Andrew Chard, Joe Preti, Tobiah Panshin, and Cade Reynolds

scud1

This week on View from the Gutters, our topic work is??Scud: The Disposable Assassin??by Rob Schrab. Published from 1994 to 1998 (with the final issues only being released in 2008), Scud??is a wild, weird, frenetic??story about a robotic assassin hired out of a vending machine who decides that he doesn’t want to die, and then searches for a reason to live.

It contains shades of other indie comics of the time, including The Tick, and is an excellent example of the nineties indie comic scene. It manages to be both hilarious and poignant (occasionally at the same time), with mind-bending character designs. Although not credited on the cover, parts of this series were also written by Dan Harmon, creator of the TV-series??Community.

In our recommendation section our hosts nominated The OMAC Project, The Umbrella Academy, Stumptown, The Last Christmas, and Billi 99??for discussion on the next episode, and our selected title is??Billi 99.

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