Tuesday, February 28, 2012
OSCAR, OSCAR, OSCAR
#376 [February-March 1952] starring Bugs Bunny. This long-running
title launched in the early 1940s and continued into 1962. It was
essentially a “try-out” venue for Dell Comics. Various characters
and concepts would get their start in this anthology series before
graduating, if successful, into their own titles. The Four Color
series also included holiday specials, movie adaptations, and one-
In The Four-Color Four Color Index, Gary Brown and Alan Hutchinson
identify Ralph Heimdahl as the cover artist of this issue with the
26-page cover story being written by Don R. Christensen and drawn
by Tony Strobl. The issue also has a six-page Bugs Bunny tale and
a trio of one-page Bugs Bunny strips.
Sainted Wife Barb and I had a just the two of us Oscar party Sunday
night. We try to have at least one evening like this every week to
keep ourselves from rattling around in different parts of stately
Isabella mansion. It’s gotten a little easier to plan these since
I stopped getting any work, so at least something good has come out
of my severe underemployment.
We cooked a nice dinner of chicken, red-skinned potatoes, and mixed
vegetables, then say down to watch the Oscar red carpet stuff and
predict which one of us would fall asleep first. We’re crazy wild,
The fashion stuff and red carpet interviews were less than engaging
for me. However, by the third or fourth time someone was asked who
they were wearing, I was making Ed Gein jokes to amuse myself and,
yes, I had to explain who Gein was to Barb. The woman loves me in
spite of my twisted sense of humor.
Though I hadn’t seen any of the nominated films and performances,
I was still able to predict the winner in the 24 categories a bit
more than half the time. I would’ve done better if I’d more faith
in Hugo and The Artist. Both films are on my list of movies I want
to see when they become available for home viewing.
The show itself was perfectly pleasant. Billy Crystal didn’t break
any new ground with his routines, but they were somehow comforting
in these scary times. Most of the presenters were fine, though I
think Robert Downey was playing “drunk Tony Stark” when he was at
the dias. Emma Stone pushed it as well, but she’s just so cute and
charming that she got a pass from us. Some nice emotional moments
reminded me that these awards do occasionally change the lives of
those who receive them.
It was a nice evening with the woman I love...and we both managed
to stay awake until the final credits. “Nice” has a lot going for
it. I recommend it.
Mark Waid’s Irredeemable and Incorruptible are coming to a close.
The titles represent one of the best dark super-hero sagas of the
decade and I hope their collected editions remain in print for many
years to come. Comics readers have been talking about these books
since they were launched at Boom! Studios and I think new readers
will be talking about them for those aforementioned many years to
come. They represented their creator’s singular vision of a super-
hero world gone mad.
In Irredeemable, the Plutonian, Earth’s most beloved and powerful
super-hero, suddenly turns into the greatest mass murderer in all
history. His former teammates fall to his rampages as don entire
cities and countries. He will kill every living thing on Earth if
he’s not stopped.
In Incorruptible, in the wake of the Plutonian’s murderous rage,
super-villain Max Damage, a despicable monster on so many levels,
decides he needs to balance things. He disavows his life of crime
and all its ill-gotten gains and becomes a hero.
From the start, Waid has thrown surprise after terrible surprise at
readers of these titles. Yet, in the midst of all the carnage, he
has never extinguished hope or the notion that there are brave and
good people who will fight to protect others. This is a dark saga,
but there is light within the darkness.
I don’t know how this saga ends. I do know I’ll be reading it when
it does. In an industry with so many mediocre super-hero titles,
Irredeemable and Incorruptible show us how much life remains in the
genre that built the comics industry. Well done, Mark.
My Avengers reading hit the extremes over the weekend. I started
a four-issue series called Avengers & The Infinity Gauntlet, but it
was so poorly written and drawn that I abandoned the effort halfway
through the first issue.
On the end of the spectrum, I read Avengers Prime, a rather spiffy
five-issue series by Brian Michael Bendis with Alan Davis (pencils)
and Mark Farmer (inks) on the art. The core purpose of the series
was to get the friendships of Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor
back on track. This imperative was wrapped around a tale wherein
Hela, Goddess of Death, has gained great power and must be defeated
to restore the Nine Realms. I used to know the names of all nine
realms back in school, but now I can only remember Asgard, Midgard,
Avengers Prime was a fun mini-series. Exciting action, interesting
character play, and beautiful art. Kudos to Javier Rodriguez for
the colors and Chris Eliopoulos for the lettering and production.
The only annoying note was Bendis frequent lapsing into adolescent
sexual humor, such as when the heroes banter about which of them
may have slept with Patsy Walker. It came off as pandering to the
too many men-children who read and work in comics. Bendis should
be and is a better writer than that.
I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.
© 2012 Tony Isabella