House of Miscellany!

*Say! I’ve been told that you have a few seconds of free time, dear reader! Why not expend those whispers of eyelash on entering the Big Bad Comic Book Galaxy “Project Superior” Contest Event? All it takes is an e-mail and you can win one of three lovely prizes, all of them featuring signed James Jean doodads, and the Grand Prix bearing a rare “Project Superior” hardcover, which I didn’t even know existed until this contest was announced - THAT’S HOW RARE IT IS. Deadline is Friday, May 6th.

And while you’re at it, there’s still over three days left to enter the “Super-F*ckers” contest at the very same site. Be a strong and tasty winner today!

*Interesting stuff over at Joe Casey and Matt Fraction’s column right now, breaking down the fall-out from “Sin City” the movie. I’ve gotta say that I’m pretty in-tune with Fraction’s attitudes toward ‘literal’ adaptations of comics to cinema, describing the “Sin City” adaptation as “paralytic” (one could guess as much about my feelings given earlier comments, though I certainly cannot comment on "Sin City" directly, having not seen it). Actually, I think Fraction is the first comics pro I’ve heard from to articulate a strongly negative reaction to the film (“pretty terrible” and “jesus lord god what a lousy movie” are among his quotes), though there’s much respect for the sheer achievement of what Frank Miller has done as a comics creator, especially in a pure ‘artistic control’ sense. Worth reading.

*Oooh, they slipped my free “House of M” sketchbook thing into my bag this New Comics Day. And smiling right there by the Table of Contests is El Imán himself, clad in his royal sash and bejeweled with military accolade. I immediately pulled up the original comparisons to see if anything had been altered, but I guess the horse was out of the stable by the time the controversy struck - it’s very much the same, albeit in glorious negro y blanco. Well, at least the uproar gave the book one interesting element, unless you count the fact that Johnny Depp apparently joins the Fantastic Four in their particular tie-in. You know, didn’t the last “Age of Apocalypse” revival issue arrive only today? And already we’re hyping up months of additional What If? Sheesh. EDIT 4/28 2:11 AM: Oh, maybe they're doing it because "Age of Apocalypse" was a huge financial success, with related books taking up a full 1/4 of the Top 20 Direct Market sales for March? Probably aided by the fact that most of the (weekly) books had to be ordered without time for normal miniseries adjustment. That could be it...

*How about a short round of New Comics?

The Punisher MAX #20

Well slap my teeth and paint me purple, we’ve got us a good ol’ fashioned Origin Issue here! And not a recap of the title character’s origin! A gold star for Marvel!

Theoretically this issue could stand alone quite nicely, though it’s technically part 2 of the latest 6-issue spree. Frank does not appear this issue, so all of you wondering exactly how berzerk he’s gonna go will just have to stay patient. Instead, we have the blackly comic childhood saga of Nicky Cavella, world-class psychopath and soon-to-be mob overboss. The first three pages set the tone, as Nicky delightedly flashes back to executing his father in the snowy winter woods at age eight; the look on his face makes all the difference, though folks who don’t find chipper patricide via preadolescents to be terribly amusing, well, how exactly did you stick with this book this far? There’s much more: amateur spinal tapping, incest, delicious sweet and sour chicken, and a good gag page where a minion drives to great lengths to dispose of a body, then has to ride the subway all the way home. Sure some of the mob stuff near the end feels kind of worn out, but there’s enough poisoned wit and pretty pictures (Dan Brown’s colors give the art by Leandro Fernandez and Scott Hanna an almost painted feel) to carry us over to the lovely final page.

And when I get to heaven, I’ll tell them fuck you too.”

Nice issue, “Punisher”-wise.

*Also out was the last issue of “Wild Girl”, which amazingly managed to maintain the structural formula of the last three issues (plot/journey/J.H. Williams III-illustrated fable/enlightenment/plot) despite being the conclusion to the story. I can infer generally what happened, despite a pronounced lack of direct explanation for what’s going on (not necessarily a bad thing), but it was mighty tough to care, so routine it was. Better luck with “Albion” for the writing team.

*Tomorrow: a Chaykin celebration! His “Solo” may be the best one yet, but I‘m not through with it…