The PopCulteer
September 9, 2011

The Mission Begins Tonight!

Mission Coalition kicks off tonight. For all the details check out the following links:

Nick Harrah’s great interview with Roadblock in The Gazz this week.

My rundown of the metal festival from The PopCulteer last month.

The Mission Coalition website.

The production notes for this week’s episode of Radio Free Charleston.

And for good measure, this week’s RFC itself.

Now go see it.

Pepper, as seen in Monday Morning Art

Fandango In Manhattan

One of our RFC and PopCult favorites, Pepper Fandango (you’ve seen her on the show and as a model in Monday Morning Art) is on her way to The Big Apple this weekend to take part in The Tinderbox Festival at The Knitting Factory, spotlighting new artists.

It’s always cool when one of our own gets to perform at a legendary venue like The Knitting Factory in NYC.

Check the website for details and check out this video, directed by Eamon Hardiman, that we included in our fifth anniversary show back in July.

If you’re in the New York area, go check out Pepper, the self-described “angry little chick with a banjo.”

9 11

I will not be doing anything to observe the tenth anniversary of 9 11. My way of taking the day back from the terrorists will be to go about my business as if it were just another day. I don’t feel the need to spend any time reflecting on the tragedy because there’s not a day that goes by where I don’t do that anyway. I plan to spend the day working on the next episode of RFC.

However, there is a great benefit show at The Empty Glass, with proceeds going to the 9 11 Memorial Fund. The show starts at 8:00 p.m. and will include Farnsworth Drive, C2J2, Spurgie Hankins Band, Ghost Fleet and Jeff Ellis. The cover charge is seven dollars.

“The National September 11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center will bear solemn witness to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993. The Museum will honor the nearly 3,000 victims of these attacks and all those who risked their lives to save others. It will further recognize the thousands who survived and all who demonstrated extraordinary compassion in the aftermath. Demonstrating the consequences of terrorism on individual lives and its impact on communities at the local, national, and international levels, the Museum will attest to the triumph of human dignity over human depravity and affirm an unwavering commitment to the fundamental value of human life.”– (The Memorial Museum Mission)

More Of The New 52

Here are the stragglers from this week’s batch of DC Comics’ “New 52.”

Static Shock #1
by Scott McDaniel and John Rozum

Static Shock is a recent transplant into the DC Universe. Originally part of Milestone Comics, an attempt to create a new, minority-owned comics company, which was distributed by DC back in the 1980s, DC recently bought the set of characters outright with the intent to merge them with the DC stalwarts.

The company-wide reboot makes this easier. As for the book, it’s a standard superhero story. A genius teen (African American, in keeping with Milestone’s original focus) gets an after-school job at S.T.A.R. Labs in New York City, and on his first day he has to change into his superhero identity and deal with a crisis.

This isn’t an awful comic, but it’s not great. It’s loud and fast-paced. The characters don’t quite ring true. The lead character is a bit of a retread of DC’s own Black Lightning, complete with electricty-based powers and the same color scheme for his costume.

Fans of the original Milestone version of this book might like it. There was a Saturday morning cartoon based on the property. It might catch on, but I don’t think it’s new or innovative enough to capture any new long-term readers.

Animal Man #1
By Jeff Lemire and Travis Foreman

This is one of the more interesting reboots in the “New 52.” DC has taken a character who has had some very wild interpetations over the years and rebooted him with some minor changes to his powers, but a much deeper change of the character’s personalities. Aside from the ugly new costume, these changes work pretty well.

Animal Man is Buddy Baker, a Hollywood stuntman who can tap into some sort of universal field to take on the powers of members of the animal kingdom. As this book opens, he’s a family man who’s nearly retired from the superhero biz. He gets back into the game, rescuing a hospital ward full of kids from a grieving parent who’s flipped out after losing his daughter, and then he returns home.

Baker goes to sleep and dreams a surreal encounter with his young daughter. When he wakes up, he finds that she may be manifesting some of his powers in a most disturbing way.

This is a good comic, in the tradition of DC’s Vertigo line, with a tight script by Lemire and some nice, offbeat art by Foreman, aided by inker Dan Green. Some of the changes may not sit well with fans of the pre-reboot Animal Man, which had some great moments of reality-bending courtesy of a young Grant Morrison, but this book is well worth keeping an eye on. I think it’ll tell a great story.

Stormwatch #1
by Paul Cornell and Miguel Sepulveda

This book is an old Wildstorm Comics title, rebooted and kicked into the new DC Universe. Wildstorm was originally an imprint of Image Comics, Jim Lee’s part of Image, to be exact, and I have to be honest, not being a fan of Lee’s, I never read the book.

Now it’s being reintroduced as part of the new DC Universe, and aside from the presence of DC’s Martian Manhunter as a new member of the group, there’s nothing here to interest me. It’s a completely standard superhero team story, the likes of which Marvel, DC and Image have cranked out endlessly over the past couple of decades.

Maybe I’m burned out after reading so many comics in the last day, but I just couldn’t get into this book at all. I won’t be picking up issue #2.

Justice League International #1
by Dan Jurgens and Aaron Lopresti

Not to be confused with last week’s Justice League #1, this book is a sort of revival of the late-1980’s light-hearted incarnation of DC’s flagship superhero team. It’s far more interesting than it’s more serious counterpart.

Which is not to say it’s a laugh-a-minute throwback to the “Bwa-ha-ha” days of the original series, but it’s still good fun. This is an offshoot of The Justice League, assembled by The United Nations, and made up of an international group of B-list superheros, with an assist from Batman. Booster Gold has been named team leader, and while this book shares the weakness of Justice League #1 in only telling part of a story, at least this book is more satisfying, with several subplots and some nice character development. Unlike JL #1, we get to see the entire team in costume, not just two or three characters.

Jurgens’ Booster Gold solo book was one of the most-lamented casualties of the DC reboot, so it’s good to seem him continuing with the character (one he created back in the 1980s) in this new book. Lopresti’s art is top-notch work, not unlike the 1980s JLI artists Kevin Maguire and Bart Sears.

This is the Justice League book to follow.

Detective Comics #1
by Tony S. Daniel and Ryan Winn

There have been some rebooty-type changes. Batman is wearing a new, Jim Lee-designed, costume, and it’s pretty awful, with the same thick-soled-shoes and superflouous “armor” lines all over it that mar Lee’s other redesigned superhero uniforms. Batman is not friendly with the Gotham Police Department. Alfred the butler is apparently a hologram that represents a computer program. Other than that, this is pretty much the same post-Frank Miller Batman that DC’s been cranking out for the last couple of decades.

The artwork by Daniel is pretty good. This issue contains a complete story, but with a good cliffhanger. Essentially Batman chases and then catches The Joker. At the end, it seems The Joker has an ulterior motive for letting himself get caught. It’s a good hook for the next issue.

I can see myself sticking with this for a few months at least, which is saying something since I’ve been pretty bored with the Batman comics (and there have been a slew of them) since 1990.

Outta Here

That’s it for this week’s PopCulteer. Next week we have our regular features plus some toy news and bit of Monday Morning Art that I really like.