Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Creature Features!

This week's post focuses on creatures big and small -- from the ankle-biters that plague suburban Phoenix streets to the dinosaurs of Route 66 and beyond!

Coming Soon: Amazing Arizona Comics Quarterly #1 & America's Super Secret Service #1

Amazing Arizona Comics Quarterly is still scheduled to drop this month, but in the meantime here's a detail from the first page of Amazing Arizona Comics #10/America's Super Secret Service #1.  How does a routine chihuahua attack in Phoenix lead to the biggest threat our country has ever faced?  Coming soon!

Amazing Arizona Research

Earlier this month, my wife and I toured the Arizona section of Route 66, and the last leg of our trip unearthed a lot of dinosaurs.  Stewart's Petrified Wood, a trading post just outside of Holbrook, is one of the most famous spots starring Arizona's prehistoric pests, specifically the homemade variety.  While I'm leaning toward not posting all of the pics I took on Route 66, because you really should see it all yourself, consider this comprehensive collage a gift so you won't have to experience the creepy shopkeepers of Stewart's.  Sometimes the beasts of a region are more evolved than the humans in their midst.

Cool Cosplay

I get to see a lot of cool cosplay at the cons I attend, and rather than post endless slideshows of fat Batmen, I like to feature one great costume at a time, ideally revealing the wearer's creativity, originality, and most importantly to me practicality.  Keeping with the creature theme, here's Sharknado, the Sci-Fi Network's most successful passing fad yet.  Thankfully, Sharknado will always live on in cosplay form.

This Week's Intake

This week's intake didn't vary much from previous weeks' intake.  In fact, I read another issue of Kirby's Captain America, which introduced a new bad guy called the Baron (I think), whose core villainy seems centered on recruiting slaves for manual labor, confirming that overarching theme in the King's comics: that the greatest evil is making someone work.  I also picked up Dean Haspiel's The Fox #5, which concluded his excellent Freak Magnet miniseries with a team-up with the Shield.  The tone wasn't as scatterbrained as previous issues, thanks in large part to J.M DeMatteis' script, but I still loved it and am excited for more.

I think the most mind-consuming intake I'm still processing is Eric Stephenson's speech to comic book retailers at a recent industry convention about the importance of brick and mortar stores.  Comic Book Resources posted a transcript of the speech, and I'm still mulling over the subtexts about the importance of superheroes in today's culture.  As I prepare of SPX in September, I accept I might be in the minority of self-publishers still doling out superhero stuff.  I'm definitely comfortable with that -- it's just an interesting phenomenon to experience superheroes become less counter-culture as they become more mainstream . . . at least in perception.  I believe superheroes are still the epitome of counter-culture, despite their new place in pop culture as box office blockbusters.  I won't explore too much further, because I think the subject is worthy of a post all by itself, only to leave it with what would undoubtedly be that post's first sentence:

At its best, the superhero is an all-ages escape fantasy for reality's troubles, shameless in its ethical simplicity, yet daring in the complexity that presents a graphic narrative with such a blurred fourth wall.

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