This is usually the time of year when I pay my taxes. Then again, this is not a usual year, nor was last year. I still made the effort. I did my duty, as a citizen of the United States, to pay my fair share. Naturally, I’m a little sore and a bit jaded, as tends to be the case for anyone who deals with the IRS. That makes this New Comic Book Day all the more enjoyable.
We all have duties and responsibilities that aren’t exactly fun. We still do them because it’s the responsible thing to do, as functioning adults. However, while there’s always a time for duty and responsibility, there’s also a time for fun and relaxation. That’s what new comics do for me. After paying my taxes, I appreciate that feeling even more.
There aren’t a lot of epic stories you can tell about paying your taxes or making it through another year without falling behind on your bills. That’s perfectly fine. Now, I’m eager to follow those stories.
I want to read a comic that involves superheroes beating up invading aliens. I want to read a story about giant monsters fighting giant monsters. I just spent a good chunk of my weekend itemizing deductions and going over my W2 forms. I need this.
If you’ve managed to pay your taxes like I have, more power to you. Enjoy this week more than most. If you haven’t, I strongly encourage you to do so. Tangling with the Joker, Lex Luthor, and Godzilla is arduous, but it’ll never be as scary as dealing with the IRS. I’ve given them my share. Now, here is my pull list and pick of the week. Enjoy!
There are people who think I spend too much money on comics. Those same people will then get defensive when I remind them of how much money they spend on tobacco, shoes, clothes, jewelry, overpriced coffee, and hair care products. I usually try to explain very slowly that comics are relatively cheap, easy to enjoy, and can be consumed with alcohol. I don’t always change someone’s mind, but I think I get my point across.
Do I spend more on comics every week than most people? Yes, I don’t deny that.
Do I feel like that money is well-spent? Yes, I feel I get a great deal of value out of the comics I buy.
As a hobby, I think the cost of a stack of comics every week is very reasonable. After a while, you get a feel for the release schedule and can budget your money accordingly. I made it through college while keeping up with my favorite comics and my budget was a lot tighter back then.
Let’s face it. There are far worse things someone can spend their money on these days. Between crack, meth, and fantasy sports apps, comics aren’t nearly as damaging. They’re simple, cheap fun. Thanks to digital comic apps like Comixology, you can basically enjoy them anywhere with a smartphone and a good Wi-Fi connection. It’s a beautiful thing and it gives me something to look forward to every week.
Now is as good a time as any to get into comics. The internet has made it easier than ever and I encourage anyone with a passing curiosity to try it out. If you’re looking to get started this week, here is my pull list and pick. Enjoy!
I like that the weather is getting warmer. I really do. However, when you have allergies like I do, your excitement about spring and warmer weather generally take a hit. As I write this, the trees outside my window are blooming. They look beautiful and all, but I know what this is going to do to my allergies and I’m not looking forward to it.
I’ve dealt with allergies all my life. I’ve taken medications to deal with them in the past, but medication only goes so far. Sometimes, you need something else to either supplement that effort or help you ignore the sinus congestion. New comics aren’t a cure all. I’m not going to claim that. I’ll just say that, regardless of the medications I take, they’re a welcome distraction.
This stretch of omega level allergy season usually lasts a couple weeks, at most. During those weeks, having a stack of new comics to help me navigate those weeks is a welcome remedy. You don’t need a prescription and you can safely consume them with alcohol. What more do you want in a remedy?
It also helps that this is also the time of year when major comic companies start teasing their big summer events. Last year was such a bust for obvious reasons. This year, every company seems to be trying to compensate and build up some hype. I’m already starting to see it and I expect the pace to pick up in the coming week.
Marvel is doing it. DC is doing it. Image, Top Cow, and Dark Horse are doing it. Some will succeed. Some will fail. In the end, the fans are the winners. Those with allergies just happen to win more than most. Wherever it leads, this week brings us just a bit closer.
To my fellow allergy suffers, hang in there. In the meantime, here’s my pull list and pick of the week. Enjoy!
Whenever there’s an alternate version of an iconic character, writers often try to give them their own unique twist. Most of the time, it’s distinct, but still subtle. They try not to veer too far from the established canon of the character. Unless they’re writing weird fan fiction, writers stick to whatever is most prominent version of the character within the cultural zeitgeist.
However, Grant Morrison is not like most writers.
He doesn’t follow along with the cultural zeitgeist. Instead, he reverses it. When he writes iconic characters, he reshapes and reimagines them in big ways. All the cultural zeitgeist can do is try and keep up.
These stories didn’t simply tell new stories with DC Comics’ most iconic characters. They channeled every element from every era to mold a unique narrative. That’s difficult enough for Superman, given his 80-year history. With Wonder Woman, the challenge is even greater.
Before I get too heavy into spoiler territory, I’ll just say this. Morrison successfully rose to the challenge when reimagining Wonder Woman in the first volume of “Wonder Woman: Earth One.” He succeeds even more in completing that story in “Wonder Woman Earth One: Volume 3.”
It’s challenging because most Wonder Woman fans, including older fans more familiar with her lengthy history, know her mostly as a proud warrior woman. They think Wonder Woman and they see Lynda Carter in the classic 70s show, Gal Gadot in the recent movies, and even the animated version in “Justice League Unlimited” that was voiced by Susan Eisenberg.
These are all great versions of this iconic character. That warrior spirit that makes her one of the fiercest fighters in the DC Universe is a major part of her persona. However, there are other aspects of that persona that have been either retconned or ignored. Morrison makes it a point to embrace those aspects in “Wonder Woman: Earth One.”
Yes, that does include some of the kinkier aspects of Wonder Woman’s origins, which I’ve highlighted before. Namely, it embraces some of the BDSM elements that were woven into the early lore of Wonder Woman by her creator, William Marston.
However, it would be wrong, shallow, and short-sighted to call this aspect of Wonder Woman’s character too crude for modern tastes. These elements aren’t just for sex appeal and titillation. They reflect an important element to Wonder Woman’s philosophy, as defined by Marston.
To use power to dominate over others is inherently cruel and repressive.
To willingly submit with love and compassion is the truth path to peace and justice.
This is the core philosophy that Grant Morrison spends the first two volumes of “Wonder Woman: Earth One” exploring. That philosophy faces its ultimate test in “Wonder Woman Earth One: Volume 3.” I’ll spoil another detail here. It passes with flying colors and in a way that makes for a satisfying conclusion to such a uniquely wonderful story.
The story isn’t just about Wonder Woman facing the worst elements of domination at the hands of arrogant men and powerful gods. It’s about how this unique philosophy ultimately wins.
Now, contrary to what a bunch of whiny trolls may say, this effort is not about “smashing the patriarchy.” Seriously, don’t give these trolls any attention. They’ll say that about any comic that doesn’t cater exclusively to their narrow tastes, which usually involve Wonder Woman being a glorified warrior/stripper.
The story in “Wonder Woman Earth One: Volume 3” is more ambitious. It also has an unusual structure, although not too unusual for Morrison. His writing style often takes advantage of different time periods, using future events to give context to the past. It’s what he did in the first volume of “Wonder Woman: Earth One.” He uses it again, but to tell a very different story.
In the past, Wonder Woman is still sharing her philosophy with man’s world. She continues her fight against what she sees as an endless cycle of domination by the powerful. To her, it’s no different than how the old Greek Gods attempted to dominate the Amazons. It just leads to more conflict and suffering for men and women alike.
This ideology of power domination isn’t exclusive to men, either. Early in the story, it’s established there are women who still fall into this trap, namely Artemis. She doesn’t care for Wonder Woman’s more compassionate approach to dealing with men. She sees them as extensions of Hercules, the man who once brutalized her sisters.
It’s a not-so-subtle nod to the more radical elements of feminism that tend to espouse the same hatred as their anti-feminist counterparts. It’s ironic, but one that Wonder Woman confronts with a unique blend of love, understanding, and warrior spirit.
That’s a potent, but critical combination. It’s very much in line with the persona that William Marston created for her in the early years of her story. While she is certainly capable of fighting with the tenacity of an Amazon warrior, she doesn’t approach conflict the same way as her male counterparts.
For her, fighting isn’t about dominating or subduing an opponent. It’s a way of countering and subsequently tempering their misguided passions. Whether it’s Artemis or Ares, she doesn’t win the battle by knocking them out. She wins it by convincing them to willingly submit. When they do, she embraces them with love and compassion.
This works well for Artemis, but the men outside her homeland are a lot harder to persuade. In both the past and the future, we see male characters trying to cling to or re-establish the domination that they once enjoyed.
In the past, it’s Ares trying to continue his war machine with help from the American military. In the future, it’s a member of an extremist faction of angry men who long for the days when they could dominate women. Given the atrocities committed by angry, misguided men in the real world, this struggle is more relevant now than ever before.
I won’t spoil all the details of how that conflict is confronted and resolved. Those simply looking for Wonder Woman to fight her way through the conflict are only going to get half of what they seek. There is plenty of fighting, courtesy of Ares, but the way those fights end don’t follow the same script as your standard superhero slugfest.
There’s always a larger conversation at play.
There’s always an effort by Wonder Woman and those who support her to confront these misguided passions.
It’s never with force, contempt, or scorn. They all listen with compassion, even to those who spew hate. They let angry men and angry gods voice their grievances, even while fighting back. However, they always counter with love. They understand that you can’t counter anger with more anger or hate with more hate.
Again, that’s a very relevant principle. Anyone who has visited 4chan or a Reddit comments thread understands that.
There’s also a larger story about this world’s version of Steve Trevor. He may not look like Chris Pine from the “Wonder Woman” movie, but the role he plays is just as critical. What he does and what he chooses is instrumental in helping Wonder Woman win the day.
Again, winning in this world doesn’t mean blowing up the bad guys or their weapons. It means winning the argument about which philosophy is more just. More than anything else, “Wonder Woman Earth One: Volume 3” makes the case that a philosophy of loving submission is more palatable than one of angry domination.
Morrison even refines some of Marston ideas from the early Wonder Woman comics. In this world, it’s not men or masculinity that’s the problem. It’s the domineering ideology they’ve embraced and relied on for so long. Letting it go isn’t easy, but convincing men to do so cannot be done with force. That realization must come from within.
In many respects, the philosophy in “Wonder Woman Earth One: Volume 3” transcends gender. Whether you’re a warrior woman or just some normal man with a family, there’s something to be gained by these insights. Loving submission offers something that angry domination does not. Embracing it comes with sacrifices, but Wonder Woman demonstrates that they’re worth making.
It makes for a powerful combination to a power story. Morrison really makes the extra effort to flesh out these ideas that Marston first established while artist, Yanick Paquette, crafts a beautifully colorful world that does justice to all its wonders.
It’ll challenge you perceptions while providing plenty of classic Wonder Woman type entertainment. It’ll also present a different kind of Wonder Woman, one that embraces both her modern iterations and the those of her past. The end result is a true wonder that does justice to this iconic character in a very unique way. If, by the end, you aren’t willing to submit to the loving authority of Wonder Woman, then you’re missing the point.
It’s another beautiful day for comics and the world is inherently better because of the awesome they bring. That’s how I feel when I wake up every Wednesday morning. Even when times are tough, waking up on Wednesdays knowing there’s a glut of digital comics waiting for me on my iPad is a wonderful feeling. It makes waking up at 4:00 a.m. feel like a basic reflex.
It’s a reflex that wouldn’t be possible without Comixology. I’m old enough to remember the days when New Comic Book Day was a lot more stressful because you didn’t know if your books would arrive on time in the mail. Most of the time, it was hit or miss. In the days before Twitter spoilers and Reddit, it made waiting to read your favorite comics that much more agonizing.
I never want to go back to those days.
Those who live near a comic shop may be able to enjoy the luxury of just walking to their favorite store every Wednesday to see what’s new, but most of us have to deal with less favorable circumstances. Don’t get me wrong. I still love going to comic shops to pick up actual, tangible books for my collection. There will always be a place for that. I’ve just come to love waking up early and enjoying new comics through Comixology.
The internet, tablets, and Comixology have genuinely made it easier than ever to get into this world. Even if you only know these characters through movies and cartoons, you need only an internet connection and a couple extra bucks to fully immerse yourself in this world. To that end, here’s my pull list and pick of the week. Hopefully, it gets you started. Enjoy!
The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. It’s a video I never thought I’d get to make. In it, I review Zack Snyder’s “Justice League,” a movie that legions of fans, as well as the cast, fought for. I didn’t think it would succeed, but after years of advocacy, it came out on HBO Max. I made it a point to build my Saturday night around watching it and I’m glad I did. Watch this video to see why. Enjoy!
Top of the morning to ye, my fellow comic book fans. Today is a double holiday, at least for us. For most, it’s St. Patrick’s Day. That’s all well and good. It’s not a major holiday and I doubt many people will get off work for it, especially if they’re teleworking, but it’s an excuse to hang out with friends and get drunk. That’s all you need for a good holiday.
Throw a batch of new comics into the mix and suddenly, any day is better by default, regardless of whether it’s a holiday. I’m not one to make a big deal of St. Patrick’s Day. Most of the time, I celebrate by just hitting up a sports bar, drinking some cold beer, and watching basketball. While last year was a total bust for obvious reasons, I’m ready to make up for it this year.
As it just so happens, St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Wednesday this year. Sometimes, things just work out beautifully.
There may not be any St. Patrick’s Day specials, but reading some awesome comics will put you in a festive mood, regardless of the holiday. I’ve always found reading comics with characters I could see myself sharing a beer with works beautifully.
Characters like Wolverine, Lobo, and Red Sonja come to mind. Maybe you’d prefer drinking with other characters. That’s fine. Comics offer no shortage of drinking buddies. Today might be the best possible day to figure out which characters you’d want to get drunk with at a bar in the middle of the day. In that spirit, here’s my pull list and pick for the week. If you can, try to enjoy them with a cold glass of beer. You’ll do plenty to honor the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day. Enjoy!
The following is a video from my YouTube channel, Jack’s World. I’ve been working on this for a while now. I’m aware of the various criticisms that superhero media has received in recent years, from political pundits to former writers like Alan Moore. I’ve been wanting to respond to that criticism in some comprehensive way. This video is my way of addressing it, as well as reaffirming why I love superheroes and why they mean so much to so many people. Enjoy!
Even in a year not heavily impacted by a global pandemic, this time of year tends to be a real drag. It’s a time devoid of major holidays for which you can get a day off work or school. The weather isn’t always nice. Depending on where you live, it can still be cold, dreary, and miserable for weeks on end. It’s just not an eventful time of year for anyone.
However, if you’re a lifelong comic book fan like me, it doesn’t matter what time of year it is. You’re only ever a week away from New Comic Book Day, a weekly holiday that all comic fans cherish. Thanks to the wonders of Comixology, it doesn’t matter how bad the weather is. You’re never more than a few clicks away from new comics. It’s a beautiful thing.
I like to think it has also helped me endure this time of year better than most. For weeks on end, there just seems to be no relief or distraction from the drudgery. A fresh stock of comics gives me something to look forward to every week.
This is also usually the time of year when major publishing companies start teasing their major summer events. It’s like a preview for summer Hollywood blockbusters and it’s often the most exciting time for fans of major crossover events. This year has more than its share and those first steps towards those events are starting now.
March often feels like the longest month of the year. With new comics, it’s that much easier to endure. To help in that effort, here’s my pull list and pick for the week. Enjoy and endure, my fellow comic fans! Enjoy and endure!
I’m ready for the world to get better. By that, I don’t mean I’m ready for it to return to the way it was before a global pandemic hit that sent the entire world into a pit of misery porn for a year. Just going back to how things were when I could go into a movie theater without a mask isn’t enough. I want things to get better.
What exactly does that entail? I don’t know.
Am I ready and willing to do what I must to get there? Yes, I am.
I hope there are some good, meaningful changes that come out of this year-long nightmare that make the world a better place. I really do. However, even as things get better, some things will not change. That includes how I conduct myself on Wednesday mornings for New Comic Book Day. My love of comics transcends any pandemic.
It’s a big part of what has helped me navigate this mess. Even through the worst parts of the spike that occurred late last year, I was still able to enjoy New Comic Book Day. I still had something to look forward to every week. It helped get me out of bed, especially on Wednesday mornings. For that, I’ll always be grateful to the wonderful writers, artists, and editors of my favorite publishers.
Now, as the world emerges from this darkness, I’m ready look ahead towards something better. However, I will always take time on Wednesday mornings to enjoy New Comic Book Day. Here is my pull list and pick for this week. Hopefully, it’s yet another step in the right direction. Enjoy!