Neilalien : A Doctor Strange Fansite : A Comic Book Weblog  

02008 Neilalien Awards

Best Dr. Strange Appearance: Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #5
The largest (outside of New Avengers), most creative and competent appearance of Doctor Strange himself for the year- but that's despite being a non-616 non-solo kiddie appearance with another origin retelling and Wong and Ancient One retooling.

Worst Dr. Strange Appearance: New Avengers Annual #2 [Neilalien rants]

Worst Dr. Strange Appearance, Runners-Up: Several blatantly useless ones: Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1 ("I'm not at my peak..." OUT); Amazing Spider-Man #555 ("spent..." OUT); What If? Secret Wars #1 ("I've prepped for 25 years..." OUT)

Other Notable Dr. Strange Appearances: Cable & Deadpool #47 (this app is unliked as "Doc orders killing to bring a villain back to life" by Sanctum, but Neilalien enjoyed the funny, and read it more as "Deadpool has to bloody his sword with certain life essences to repair dimensional-barrier damage" (maybe Neilalien is squinting to see what he wants, but except for the beheading of an obviously evil succubus, mostly the victim creatures are clearly shown non-dead or otherwise too large, tough or misty (one has only a hand sliced off- not that maiming is the purview of good guys either, so Sanctum has a point) to be killed with one katana blow), and the main purpose is to repair dimensional boundaries, not resurrect the villain, that's just a fun side-effect to bring the villain back)

Best Appearance of a Dr.-Strange-Affiliated Character, Accoutrement, Parody, etc., Tie: Magic Super-Skrull in Captain Britain and MI:13

Best Appearance of a Dr.-Strange-Affiliated Character, Accoutrement, Parody, etc., Tie: Clea in "Un-Enchanted Evening", King-Size Spider-Man Summer Special, by Paul Tobin (who also wrote Marvel Adventures Super Heroes #5) and Colleen Coover

Best Appearance of a Dr.-Strange-Affiliated Character, Accoutrement, Parody, etc., Runner-Up: Plokta and the Mindless Ones in Captain Britain and MI:13

Worst Appearance of a Dr.-Strange-Affiliated Character, Accoutrement, Parody, etc.: Last Defenders #1: the revelation that Son of Satan had visited the Ancient One before Stephen Strange (the list of characters who have done this seems to grow by the year), the Ancient One talking with foreknowledge of Stephen Strange being the Chosen One (the original, better, non-Neo Doc origin seems to fade away by the year), the talk as if the Son of Satan's occult power, which granted should be immense, essentially eclipsing Doctor Strange's

Other Appearances of a Dr.-Strange-Affiliated Character, Accoutrement, Parody, etc.: Nightmare in both Incredible Hercules #118 and Fantastic Four: True Story; Dormammu revealed as the Hood's patron in New Avengers

Biggest Disappointment to Dr. Strange Fans: Doc mostly out of the picture for 02008 and Secret Invasion

Greatest Hope for Dr. Strange Fans: the triumphant return of Doctor Strange in the New Avengers "New Sorcerer Supreme" storyline

The Comic Book of 02008: Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko by Blake Bell

Some More Comic Books That Brought Neilalien Much Joy in 02008:

All-Star Superman by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely
Captain Britain and MI:13 by Paul Cornell and Leonard Kirk
Johnny Hiro by Fred Chao [AdHouse to move Johnny Hiro from floppies to a trade re: Diamond's new rules]
The Nearly Infamous Zango by Rob Osborne
Atomic Robo by Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener

Neilalien might populate this list with a couple more items over the next week as he re-reads more of the year's comics and Doc appearances.

Please see Sanctum's Doctor Strange Awards for the year

Posted 31 January 02009 - Permalink

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"Eye Of Agamotto", neat abstract art by Rhonda Walker [RedBubble] [her full gallery]

Posted 26 January 02009 - Permalink

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The Hood Marvel solicitations for April 02009 include an interesting Agamotto-Eyed Hood cover of New Avengers #52 ('New Sorcerer Supreme' storyline) [Comic Book Resources] [Sanctum Sanctorum Comix]
Solicit text: "Who is the new Sorcerer Supreme? The entire Marvel Universe hangs in the balance as the Avengers race to help the fallen Doctor Strange battle the forces of the Dark Dimension as they make their earthly power play." Looking better...
Also: Defenders in Hulk #11, Doc possibly in Avengers/Invaders #10.

26-year retailer is sickened re: the current state of the comic market; "Marvel and DC have done everything possible over the years to reduce the number of customers walking into our stores" [ICv2]
Also: "There should be monthly books for second tier characters like Captain Marvel and Dr. Strange."

Marvel maybe looking for cheaper than Samuel L. Jackson to play Nick Fury in movies [Hero Complex]
Interesting point about how if Marvel does all the individual superhero movies with stars, then how much is bringing them all together for The Avengers gonna cost?

Comics Have a Strong December; Down Slightly for the Year [ICv2]
Periodical comics down 3% for the year; the top 100 graphic novels were up 4% for the year; 02008 overall down 1% from 02007 (as well as they can determine sales numbers, which of course isn't very well).
Recession is a tough villain as comic book sales slump [Charlotte Observer]
Comic books sold well in [0]2008; graphic novels did, too [USA Today]
The numbers from comic stores are "holding up really well" so far [ICv2]
Early in this down economy so far, the comic book industry has held up relatively better- Lehman Brothers wouldn't have minded being down only 1%- but any small business apart from a pawn shop- especially the classically undercapitalized comic shop or comics publisher- if not the entire economy- is in a very perilous situation.

Batman killed twice to ensure readers of the collected editions got full stories [Newsarama]
Batman's recent death overshadowed by (1) Obama in Spidey and (2) no one believing supercomic deaths anymore [, #2]
Neilalien's not much of (1) a big-event guy, nor (2) a DC guy, and even less of a DC-big-event guy- but one would think that he would have heard more about this, and sooner, and wouldn't have needed the Batman Wikipedia page's help to figure it all out. So super-icon Batman has been killed. Was there even half the news and buzz and general-public interest in this as there was with Captain America's death? Marvel really beats DC re: getting heat for its events. And then/even, they killed Bats twice. Once via helicopter crash in Batman #681 to give Morrison's famous R.I.P. storyline a future trade-paperback conclusion for/in itself, but he survived that to then die a month later in Final Crisis #6 via Darkseid's eyebeams. "Battle For The Cowl" storyline coming to see who replaces Bruce Wayne. Is that right? Sounds messed up. And the Newsarama article mentions a "cloning chamber"- ha, so that's where the ace is probably hiding, no? Neilalien smells a meta point here: the floppy format and its readers have been "suffering" for years at the hands of the evolution towards the graphic novel format, via decompression, pricing, etc., and now it's getting worse, as floppy stories do bonker things like the above to accommodate the collected editions.

Posted 24 January 02009 - Permalink

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A stage magician muses about ideas for tricks inspired by the Eye of Agamotto [The Magic Cafe Forum]

Neat! But the magician says this:

There was one particular instance where [the Eye] did something innovative. At first glance, it appears to be X-ray vision but it's different. What happened was that Ste[ph]en Strange ran across a Photograph taken of a criminal wearing a mask, a hood. The hood covered the whole face so that ONLY the criminal's eyes could be seen. Using his amulet, Steven Strange made the Eye of Agamotto shine on the Photograph and "expose" the face of the hooded man. Note that what makes this entirely DIFFERENT from X-ray vision (e.g., Superman) is that X-ray vision can see through only a 3-d object, e.g., a LIVE person. That is, X-ray vision would "expose" only if the hooded man was actually present IN-PERSON. But in the case of the PHOTOGRAPH, there is actually NO face underneath the hood in that photograph at all. In other words, what is captured in the Photograph is just the surface... With that in mind, you could also differentiate that X-ray vision (Superman) is science whereas the "exposure" of the photograph is magic.

Hrm. Neilalien turns his Eye of Truth, debunker of online Doctor Strange claims stated as fact but not in the comic record, upon the above passage, and is left wanting (granted, he doesn't have every single Doc appearance, and he is more prone to brainfarts as he approaches Ancient One status). The Doctor Strange Scholar Cabal- of course that includes Sanctum- is also stumped. A massive new Googling of "agamotto"- nor any of the hundred lists of the Eye of Agamotto's powers that now reside online (granted, most seem to be the same text cut-and-pasted on any wiki that will accept it)- mention the above ability either. Please help, Neilalienistas: Do any of you recall the above use of the Eye? Pending the comic book title, issue number, and page/panel, Neilalien's calling bullshit on the above. But he'd be happy to take it back and expand the Doctor Strange knowledgebase. If last night's episode of Supernatural with Barry Bostwick is any indication, those stage magicians are a tricky bunch...

Posted 23 January 02009 - Permalink

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Kurt Busiek on shared universes [at Hooded Utilitarian] [via ADDTF]:

The stories are the cake, and the shared-universe stuff is frosting. Things tend to go horribly wrong when people start to think the frosting is more important than the cake, and then get better when they remember that it's about the cake after all... The real answer to questions like, "Why doesn't the Flash clean up Gotham City, too?" is "It would make Batman's cake lousy. People read BATMAN because they like crimefighter stuff where Batman's cool, and don't really want to see Superman or the Flash or Green Lantern mess with that particular cake." On the other hand, people who like stories where Batman and Superman and Green Lantern work together have the JLA cake, and some people like both kinds of cake.

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Archive NBS Nightly News report from 01970 on Dr. Manhattan [YouTube]

Viral marketing stuff for the Watchmen movie, but fun and well done. From Rorschach's favorite magazine, The New Frontiersman. [via Ghost In The Machine]

Posted 22 January 02009 - Permalink

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Strange We Can Believe In

Strange We Can Believe In


Great fun tweaking Shepard Fairey's iconic Barack Obama 'Hope' poster and the campaign slogans at Obamicon.Me [gallery]! [via Ghost In The Machine]

No bungled Oaths here...

Posted 21 January 02009 - Permalink

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New distributor rules risk the death of independent comics and the Direct Market
Major increase in minimum sales required ($2,500 wholesale (was $1,500), which means a book must now do about $6,250 retail business, 2,100 copies of a $3 book, and not even many small-press graphic novels reach $6,250) for monopolistic Direct Market distributor Diamond to reorder/relist a book; inspires dire predictions of the deaths of comics' legendarily low barrier to entry, any indie pamphlets/series, the whole pamphlet format, cheap comics, any lingering resistance to webcomics/moving online to sell one's comics, many publishers, maybe the DM itself, especially in this economy [Comics Reporter] [The Beat] [Icarus Publishing, update] [Comics212] [Newsarama] [Comic Book Resources] [Precocious Curmudgeon on the other bit of news: Diamond's pr0n catalog ending as print, now a PDF] [Lying In The Gutters]

Diamond VP interviewed: At $1,500 Diamond loses money on every purchase order [ICv2]
Retailer: Time for a new distributor to emerge [ICv2]
The death of independent comics [Confessions of a Comic Book Guy column at ICv2]

New distributor rules = Game Over for the Direct Market system [Permanent Damage]
Also: Superhero "degeneracy", and when the good guys were good and the bad guys bad.

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Doctor Strange by Jemma Salume Fun Doctor Strange illo by Jemma Salume [Fluffy Muffinface] [thanks Johnny B!]

"That's not web on her face": Great elucidation of how Marvel and DC cockblocked themselves re: Spidey/Obama Team-Up and Final Crisis #6 golden big-event opportunities, with crappy solicitation texts and processes [Brian Hibbs Tilting At Windmills at CBR]

Yay! Anticipated Morrison/Stewart sequel Seaguy: The Slaves of Mickey Eye in April [BeaucoupKevin]

Vice Presidential Handlers Lure Cheney Into Traveling Crate [The Onion]
For Obama's historic Inauguration Day.

Posted 20 January 02009 - Permalink

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Rundown of recent Doctor Strange and related appearances [Sanctum Sanctorum Comix]

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Star Wars adorably, hilariously, and so-close-but-in-a-galaxy-far-far-away-ly retold by a girl who hasn't seen it [Vimeo] [via Triptych Cryptic]

Posted 19 January 02009 - Permalink

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Hulk like Wong's drumsticks in Giant-Size Defenders #1 [Giant Size Marvel Comics]

Squeaky-clean superheroes or grim n' gritty anti-heroes: it all comes down to good stories and sales [Permanent Damage]

Lovenote to criminally misused Marvel character The Wasp [The Hurting]

Posted 17 January 02009 - Permalink

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The final episodes of Battlestar Galactica premiere tonight, SciFi Channel, 10 PM. Watch out for geese. That is all.

Posted 16 January 02009 - Permalink

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Thorough overview of Marvel Calendars by Sanctum Sanctorum Comix [Part 1: Classics] [Part 2: Moderns] [Must-see for all Doc fans: Part 3: The Occult World of Doctor Strange 01980 Marvel Calendar]

"The difference between a graphic novel and a comic is that the bus takes four panels to arrive in a graphic novel." [L23 on Flickr] [via Robot Wisdom]

Posted 15 January 02009 - Permalink

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Be seeing you: Patrick McGoohan, The Prisoner, has died [Wired]
Update: New York Times obituary

Jack Kirby's Prisoner [from Jack Kirby Collector #11] [via The Beat]

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Ricardo Montalban, Khan, has died: he spits his last breath at thee [Wired]
Update: New York Times obituary

"With his fierce profile, long white hair, manful decolletage and Space Age jewelry, Mr. Montalban looks like either the world's oldest rock star or its hippest Indian chief," Janet Maslin wrote, reviewing [Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan] in The New York Times. "Either way, he looks terrific."

Montalban was 61 years old in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

Posted 14 January 02009 - Permalink

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Wow: "The Death of Doctor Strange" Frank Brunner commission

On today's Diamond Shipping List: Steve Ditko: Edge of Genius [more reprints from Pure Imagination]

Neilalien didn't see it in the shop today. That's because he didn't even get into the shop today! The line at Midtown Comics in Times Square went halfway down the block. Guess it was for the Barack Obama appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #583, out today? Yikes. Shameless publisher stunt? But only possibly good for comics and business if retailers have enough to sell today.
Lining Up for Obama and Spider-Man [ City Room Blog]

Update: Obama/Spidey team-up stolen from Obama's appearance already in Erik Larsen's Savage Dragon #137? [Robot 6]

Posted 14 January 02009 - Permalink

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Doctor Strange custom Mighty Muggs figure Doctor Strange custom Mighty Muggs figure [recently sold on Ebay] [thanks Howard!]

Superhero prose novel Soon I Will be Invincible includes Mister Mystic, a Doctor Strange analogue [this review at Philanthropic Vengeance is what hit Neilalien's scanners]

The Neilalien Website now has a Fan Page on Facebook
Cry havok, add yourself as a Fan, and let the money pour in! (URL redirect created so one doesn't have to remember any ugly set of numbers while out on the road.)

Posted 13 January 02009 - Permalink

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Uncle Stan says There's Money In Comics! Is Dr. Strange a Defender because at one time only Stan Lee allowed himself to write the Silver Surfer? [Comic Book Legends Revealed #189 at Comics Should Be Good]

Celebratory: 25 Great Things About Being A Comics Fan [Comics Reporter]

New book from Craig Yoe: Secret Identity: The Fetish Art of Superman's Co-creator Joe Shuster [official website, slideshow preview] [NSFW]
"Created in the early [0]1950s when Shuster was down on his luck after trying to reclaim the copyright for Superman, he illustrated these [S&M] images for an obscure series of magazines called Nights of Horror, sold under the counter until they were banned by the U.S. Supreme Court."

Posted 12 January 02009 - Permalink

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Balzaroth The Top 24 Worst Special Effects of All Time: Balzaroth (Dormammu) from the Doctor Strange 70's TV movie makes list [Den of Geek] [direct link to video]

At long last, Kryptonians of Color are getting off Vathlo Island [Newsarama]

Posted 11 January 02009 - Permalink

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The Supervisor New official message board of the fanzine Ditkomania [Yahoo Groups]

Neilalien fave classic TV show The Prisoner: entire series now available for viewing online legitimately [AMC] [via Technoccult]

Posted 10 January 02009 - Permalink

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Bill Willingham art in classic Dungeons & Dragons module Descent into the Depths of the Earth includes Spider-Man face, Captain America shield, Iron Man helmet [Grognardia]

Also: Hilarious old-school D&D urban legend that demon prince of gnolls and ghouls Yeenoghu was created by Gary Gygax to thwart players who were avoiding accidentally summoning demons by name by saying "You Know Who" instead [Grognardia]

Posted 9 January 02009 - Permalink

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Barack Obama in Amazing Spider-Man #583 New York Comic-Con approaching fast: 6-8 February! [NYCC panel schedule is online]

Barack Obama to appear in Amazing Spider-Man #583, cover, team-up, fist bump [USA Today] [via Memeorandum]

Veteran letterer Tom Orzechowski is hand-lettering Savage Dragon [Todd Klein] [via Alan David Doane]

Posted 8 January 02009 - Permalink

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Zack Overkill Wrapup of Ditko in 02008 [Ditko Comics]
Also, Neilalien didn't realize that Ditko Continued is already available. He'll have to stop by Jim Hanley's Universe soon to see if they have it, as they usually carry Ditko's self-published stuff.

Kudos to Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips: Neilalien gives a big thumbs up of comics joy for Incognito #1 [Comic Book Resources review]
Update: Ed Brubaker: 7 Things to Know About 'Incognito' [Newsarama]

Posted 7 January 02009 - Permalink

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George Clooney and Ridley Scott spotted in a business meeting with the Marvel Studios Chairman: the Doctor Strange movie's star and director? [/Film]
Paris Hilton also in attendance: Clea!?

Canada's first comic book store: video from 20 May 01970 [CBC Digital Archives]
"The people aren't embarrassed anymore about admitting that they collect comic books."

Bert & Ernie gangsta rap M.O.P.'s "Ante Up" [YouTube] [NSFW]

Posted 6 January 02009 - Permalink

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Rorschach Heart Charm Watch The Rorschach Heart Charm Watch is so wrong on so many levels [EBay] [Progressive Ruin]

"For now, and possibly for all time, Strange and Stranger: The World of Steve Ditko is our best look at this amazing artist" [Tony Isabella's review]

Comics booming in schools and libraries; comics publishers unprepared to capitalize [Publishers Weekly] [by Myriad Issues]

Posted 5 January 02009 - Permalink

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Mini-Rant: Doctor Strange in What If? Secret Wars #1, "What if Doctor Doom kept the Beyonder's Power?"

Doctor Strange in What If Secret Wars #1

First off, +1 to the writer for having Doctor Strange do something interesting that few other heroes can do: hide in a pocket dimension where 25 years pass faster (reminiscent of the Seven Spheres War) studying for his confrontation with a Beyonder-powered Dr. Doom. But then... Doom just mystically clamps his mouth and hands!? Grrr. There's nothing inherently wrong with the procedure- Neilalien's a proponent of a Dr. Strange who isn't so omnipotent that he can't be in any danger nor in any stories- and requiring that spellcasting have verbal, somatic and material components (thank you Gary Gygax) is one fine way of getting there- and Ye Olde Mouthe Clampe (reminiscent of Strange's origin) has its place. But what a dud using it here! Is this what beats "enhanced forms of magic"? It looks like Strange is using sparklers against Doom. With such elaborate preparation- and the element of surprise, you'd only get one shot at Doom- Neilalien would have preferred to see Strange do a massive surprise killing strike. The Super-Sunbolt of Ra if it must be an energy blast. Then the smoke clears, show Doom still standing untouched, and then have Doom do something interesting in return to remove Strange's threat (like the way he makes Tony Stark's alcohol level permanently high (that's why Stark's puking in that panel))- maybe literally remove his mouth, or change the magical laws of physics so Strange can't call on the powers and principalities anymore, or banish Strange to that pocket dimension permanently, etc. Ye Olde Mouthe Clampe should not be able to be applied on a mystic of Strange's prowess (granted Doom is God in this case) mundanely (do it when he's poisoned, massively distracted, etc.), nor when his preparation is so hyped, it's a boring way for Doom to defeat Strange- and it makes Strange look like a yutz who stupidly overlooked the obvious for 25 years, not much of a "wonder" with "unconventional strategy" at all.

Posted 4 January 02009 - Permalink

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Doctor Strange: One of "9 comic book characters to watch in 02009" [MSNBC] [Newsarama]

By far one of the most enigmatic characters as of late in the Marvel Universe, if solicitations are to be trusted the good Doctor is in for his own life-changing experience in [0]2009. According to interview with Marvel architect Brian Michael Bendis, Dr. Strange is to lose his role as Sorcerer Supreme as a response to using dark magic as seen in New Avengers Annual #2. He's been off the playing field for most of Secret Invasion, but his [0]2009 looks to see him back in the mix. The mantle of Sorcerer Supreme is up for grabs, and one of his most formidable foes, Dormammu, has reappeared as the benefactor of the Hood. And Hollywood might be in Dr. Strange's future too, with a tentative [0]2012 movie planned to be directed by Guillermo Del Toro and possibly scripted by Neil Gaiman. There's a lot of questions out there for Doctor Strange, but that's how he seems to like it.

Neilalien's a bit wary about how those questions will be answered, but this solid paragraph by Chris Arrant makes Doc's current predicament sound exciting!

Posted 3 January 02009 - Permalink

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Blue Hat Man Doctor Strange, merely a pawn... in this awesome homemade Marvel Comics chess set! [heroes side] [villains side] [by Greybishop] [thanks Howard!]

Ditko's Darkroom [Again With The Comics]
"From All Our Darkrooms", Out Of This World #4, November 01957.

Kurt Busiek: consistently good interviewee about comics creation/industry/superheroes [Comics Reporter (btw, consistently good interviewer)]

How to do superhero comics criticism [The Hurting]
Re: the "presumed target audience"- speaking for it, being in it- and going beyond what's on a concrete creative page and speculating/mindreading/criticizing antecedent/larger editorial/commercial decisions. (Alternate link title: Neilalien will always link to The Hurting's "shameful confessions" and "the corpse of his critical reputation". :) )

When Batman Was Gay [The Bilerico Project]
There's likely absolutely nothing new that a comic book weblog can link to re: Batman-Robin homoeroticism (although Neilalien doesn't recall ever seeing this leather-thong-still-has-your-teeth-marks panel before), but this article is a great overview.

Posted 2 January 02009 - Permalink

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Marvel's still looking for that "redefining new approach" for Doctor Strange [Joe Quesada at]

JM: March also sees New Avengers #51 and the "Search for the new Sorcerer Supreme." Dr. Strange has been synonymous as that guy for so long... what's behind the impetus to change it?
JQ: The Marvel Universe is an unpredictable place. We have some very cool ideas for Dr. Strange and the world of the Sorcerer Supreme. I don't think I'm telling you anything you don't already know when I say that whenever Dr. Strange shows up as a supporting character, you go "Yes! This guy is so cool! Why doesn't he get his own book?" And then when we give him his own book…it doesn't seem to do all that much…
JM: Yeah, we talked about this before as "The Scottie Pippen Syndrome." He's great when Michael Jordan's around.
JQ: Yeah, exactly. There's a whole category of those guys. Dr. Strange is in that category, Nick Fury and SHIELD have always been in that category, Namor's a guy who kinda falls into that category... who else? The Silver Surfer, maybe. So every now and then, we try to look for a new way to approach these characters, and maybe find a new tone for story for these characters that might inject that... that "thing," that magic- pardon the pun- that will take them to a higher level where maybe we can launch them into a new book that will be compelling. You know, Moon Knight was one of those characters, too, for a long time. We really got lucky with the [writer] Charlie Huston launch, and now that character's been stable and in his own series for years. If you asked me if we'd still be publishing Moon Knight several years down the road... I might have bet against it. But I love when stuff like that happens. So the search for a new sorcerer supreme will be a wonderful, redefining story for Dr. Strange, and... well, there are some big surprises coming for our fans in it.

Neilalien's dreading this whole storyline. We shall see. A new year, a new chance... [via Sanctum]

Posted 1 January 02009 - Permalink

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