Five Answers to Five Questions below!

*And prior to that - bask in the story of, the glory of, LAST WEEK'S REVIEWS:

Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz with illustrations by Stephen Gammell (not a comic, actually, but a vital part of my horror-loving development as a young fellow)

Black Widow #1 (of 6?), Astonishing X-Men #5, Ex Machina #4, Tom Strong #28, and Mister Monster: Worlds War Two

Keep them real!

*I had no clue that was coming out, but the next "Comics Journal Special" will be on the topic of manga, according to this thread. Featuring an interview with artist/filmmaker Hideshi Hino, who will soon have 14 volumes of manga released under the "Hino Horror" label from DH Publishing.

*Five excellent questions have arrived from N! Let's get right to it!

1. Can Sergio Arregones' Groo win fights barehanded, or does he always need a sword?

I am certain that Groo can hand a thousand asses to a thousand warriors with or without his sword. If he says otherwise, he's lying. Except I'd never call Groo a liar to his face. That would be bad for me, since I am weak like the sapling.

2. If Warren Ellis hates superheroes with such a passion, why does he write mainstream comics for the big two? What the hell's wrong with him, anyhow?

Sometimes I think it's like that sequence in the "Ghost World" comic where the two girls run into this former punk rocker all dolled up in a proper suit who's bragging about his prospects in the corporate world, quickly adding that he's gonna fuck things up from the inside. He asks one girl if she's going to college. She says yes so he chews her out since her mommy and daddy must be paying for it. She corrects him by saying that she's paying for it herself, so he sneers that she'll be paying off loans for decades. Then he leaves advising them to get out in the world and make some real money.

And yet, there's nothing particularly wrong with making money doing Big Two superhero work, ideological conflicts aside. I guess if I was a hardcore No Superheroes Never sort of person I'd be more steamed. But I do buy a few Big Two superhero books, and if Ellis wants to work on that kind of thing (regardless of what he says he's interested in) that's fine; maybe he'll put some stories out I want to read. He certainly has the potential to do some interesting stuff with established characters; I'm not a fan of his every book but I love "Planetary" (which is essentially a prolonged series of twists on common pop culture adventure scenarios and icons).

3. Which is better: Watchmen, Jimmy Corrigan, Maus, or Identity Crisis?

Well, "Identity Crisis" is not yet over, so I'd hate to rush to conclusions on that one. The headlines at next year's Pulitzers may well scream the name of DC's 2004 summer epic and I'll have to rush out to my local shop to collect a trade paperback copy, my face covered in shame and all the other patrons pelting me with tomatoes and corn husks for my premature decision.

In terms of sheer resonance with me I'd side with "Jimmy Corrigan" which moved me with its emotions and dazzled me with its execution a little more than the others. It's rare that a work of such ambition succeeds so well, and remains so clear in its drive. Which is not to say the other two weren't well-executed or moving (although even among Alan Moore scripts I'd rank "Watchmen" low in the top five; certainly below "V for Vendetta" and "From Hell")...

4. Do you read Supreme Power, that MAX title written by that guy with the long name who created babylon 5?4a. If so what do you think?

Never read it. Never read any comics by Mr. J Michael Somedifficultname.

5. What should my fifth question be?

You should ask: "Jog, why don't you take a rest and get back to those reviews tomorrow?"

And my answer would be: "Swell idea!"