Comics Archives

October 10, 2002

Forests, Fields & the Falls

I suspect there might be at least one native Minnesotan that reads this weblog from time to time (you know who you are.) Here's a fantastically-executed Flash piece, an interactive comic that you might find interesting: Forests, Fields and the Falls - Connecting Minnesota. (Link courtesy Scott McCloud.)

October 18, 2002

The Hellboy Universe Expands

Dark Horse's Scott Allie recently announced a new anthology of Hellboy and BPRD stories that will -- for the first time ever -- be done without direct supervision or approvals from Mike Mignola. While this might ordinarily make me cringe (one thing I enjoy so much about the characters and the series is Mignola's singular vision) when I hear a teaser like this, I can't help but be excited:

"In Bob Fingerman's story, Hellboy and Abe and Roger are trying to get a soda out of a vending machine. It's hilarious, and it's nothing Mike would've done."

I'm guessing, too, that the coming HB movie -- if it's even half as dope as I think it's gonna be -- will expand the audience for Mignola's creation exponentially. It's a good thing to let talented and creative peers step in to walk a couple of miles in Mike's shoes.

(Link courtesy Bob Duffy.)

November 18, 2002

Suddenly he was Jack Kirby

Linkmachinego has a nice summary of pointers regarding
Stan Lee's lawsuit against Marvel. I particularly like the Ellis quote.

December 1, 2002

Chris Ware makes me want to cry...

0375404538.01.TZZZZZZZ.jpg Both for the aching perfection of his talent, and the naked pain that seems to have birthed it.

I Guess it's just the holiday season that always makes me a little maudlin, but I've been reaching again lately for "Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth" - I'm approaching it a little differently this time. In fits and starts, jumping around a lot, trying to re-de-construct the timelines and plot vagaries. It's an amazing book.

If you've read it already, then you understand that it's a book that rewards the close attention you pay it. In spades. If you haven't read it, then please do.

Resisting to the urge to do a cheesy riff on "Gone in 60 Seconds"

So Nic Cage's marriage to Lisa Marie Presley is headed for the rocks after less than 4 months. Which comes as no surprise.

Fortunately, there're no children to worry about in the all-too-brief union, but don't think for a minute that there haven't been any victims; yes, I'm talking about Cage's various and sundry collectibles. (Most notoriously, his comics, which fetched more than $1 1/2 million.

Read on, as my brother and I correspond and piece the sad tale together, bit by bit (typos lovingly preserved.)

Continue reading "Resisting to the urge to do a cheesy riff on "Gone in 60 Seconds"" »

December 28, 2002

No basis for comparison?

Matt D Johnson, Listmania builder and comics lover: Comics are not orgasms. You only think they are, for the following reasons:
- You enjoy both, frequently
- You have only ever enjoyed them alone
- You keep both hidden away from your mother (for which, I am sure, she is eternally grateful)

Seriously Matt D. -- I like your selections. I really do. But Please. Keep a little perspective.

January 2, 2003

Quimby Cometh

acme16_small.jpg So I've known about this for a couple of months now, but -- as the release date is finally drawing near, I thought I'd trumpet the forthcoming arrival of Chris Ware's Quimby the Mouse.

Most trustworthy Gib at The Laughing Ogre sez that it should collect all the Acme Novelty Library stuff, with hopefully a couple other tasty morsels as well. I was gearing myself up to start shopping for all the Library back-issues (large and small format! I only have #15 so far, by the good graces of a gifting friend.) Gib gave me the red light -- wisely cautioning me that the upcoming Quimby (plus the hardcover Jimmy Corrigan) should complete my collection, with no need to search high and low for the elusive rest of the set. Here's hoping...

In other corners of the Web, there's some good Chris Ware stuff happening:
(1) Niem Tran is an Illustrator and student in San Jose who has actually assembled several of Ware's Acme Novelty Toys! I've thought about doing the Movie Viewer (from the afore-mentioned ANL #15) but just couldn't bring myself to deface that beautiful large-format volume.

(2) At Fantagraphics' Ware Subsite, you can now order a great Jimmy Corrigan vinyl doll. The price is a little steep, but it makes me smile to think of the poor pitiable Jimmy becoming a doll-worthy idol to millions. (Okay, thousands... maybe hundreds.)

January 14, 2003

Hell-bent for Leather

Marvel's Rawhide Kid is being reincarnated as their first openly gay hero (an openly gay cowboy, no less):

"Whenever a straight guy makes fun of him, the next panel is the Rawhide Kid just smashing into the guy's face. But he does it all with great humor and panache, and he's always gracious and well-mannered."

(Link via Robot Wisdom.)

February 6, 2003

Dark Horse Goodies

This looks fun. Dark Horse has a Flash trailer up for Hellboy - Weird Tales. Lobster Johnson cameo + (what appears to be) Hellboy gettin' jiggy -- what're you still readin' this for!?

February 10, 2003

Scott McCloud at Georgia Tech

Hmm. Looks like Scott McCloud will be speaking on Tuesday at my alma mater (in my old department, no less.)

If you're in Atlanta (I know of at least one semi-regular reader who is) then by all means, try to swing by campus. I had the honor of introducing Scott as the keynote speaker at an AOL Design Summit a few years back, and his talk was every bit as engaging as his books.

psst - If they try to turn you away at the door, tell them you're close personal friends with Thomas Winn.

March 6, 2003

Why won't puny humans Shut Up??

Earlier I noted that Warren Ellis's blog now features comments. Well, that didn't last long. Quoth Ellis:

“For those of you watching, I took the
commenting system off Die Puny
Humans last night. It started out
fun, but within a week I was getting
unpleasant echoes of WEF, and the
arsehole magnetism was growing
mighty. The commenting system --
from -- is
very good, and has all kinds of ways
of blocking people, but in the end,
I don't have the time or the interest
in retard farming.”

March 17, 2003

From Hell

Matt Jones points to a lengthy treat(ise) on Moore and Campbell's From Hell. My flagging health prevents me from reading this tonight, but you can bet I'll be printing it out later this week.

Buy it for millions, or read it for free

Action Comics No. 1, scanned in its entirety.

(Link via XBlog.)

March 23, 2003

Lobster Johnson Pin-up

Eric Wight has penned a story for the upcoming Dark Horse Series, Hellboy Weird Tales (I mentioned it back in October.) Check out Eric's cool Lobster Johnson pinup (and check out some of his other stuff. Very cool.)

May 3, 2003

Comics Update

Charles Tokyo and I ventured out to Nancy's Home Cooking for lunch today and stopped off at The Laughing Ogre on the way back to the office. I got a chance to tug at Gib's ear for a couple of minutes...

Here a couple of titles that I've mentioned on Soldier Ant in the past months, along with updates for each:

  • Quimby Mouse from Chris Ware appears to be delayed. Again. (In fact, when it was promised back in July of 2002, it was already being referred to as “long delayed”.) Here's a decent Onion interview with Chris Ware to keep your lips moving until it shows.
  • I picked up Hellboy: Weird Tales #2 (I clean missed #1 dang-nabbit, and Gib tells me its now ungettable.) This is a fun series, albeit pretty disjointed and lightweight. I think my favorite story is “Flight Risk”, wherein BPRD gadget-man Lloyd tries to reclaim his freestyle jet-packing height-endurance record. (If you've seen Hellboy pilot one of Lloyd's creations then you can fairly well guess how Lloyd's attempt will turn out.) Some other great Weird Tales moments: Hellboy dipping a “toe” in the hot springs; Kate Corrigan haunted by Mommy (this is the Weird Tale that Eric Wight illustrated - he gives Kate a certain Bruce-Timm-like curvaceousness that definitely doesn't come across in Mignola's rendition); “Pam-cakes”-era HB let's his curiosity get the better of him; and finally a good-ol' fashioned pulp-style Lobster Johnson 2-page spread. I'd definitely recommend picking up this series.
  • League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. II, No. 5 has apparently also been delayed for awhile. But Gib promises it'll be out next week.
  • Finally, I got issues 6 & 7 of Warren Ellis's Global Frequency. 6 was a bit weak, although it does showcase the urban-Tarzan discipline of Le Parkour quite nicely. 7s story felt tighter, but Ellison does like to pile on the bleak ultra-violence. Gotta love that bit with the buckshot-cell phone, though.

June 2, 2003

Puk U! (Some fun comics.)

I know I was griping about my crappy morning last week, but Derek must've been having a bad day to inspire The Shaft. Here's hoping things have gotten better for him.

And in other comics news.. Jessica Abel's Artbabe does her McCloudian turn in trying to explain What is a Graphic Novel? (over on

Doesn't exactly add much to my understanding, but then McCloud never looked that cute in a tanktop, either...

December 31, 2004


Boy, someone has a hate-on for Wolverine:

Why identify with Wolverine? Granted, Cyclops doesn’t have a lot of interiority either, but he’s certainly a lot closer to the stereotypical comics reader than Wolverine is. It’s argued that comics readers see super-heroes as power fantasies: is Wolverine, then, the fantasy of being the high school jock instead of the high school nerd? Doesn’t the love of Wolverine by thoughtful, introverted readers express a kind of self-hatred? A wish that they could be a badass, perhaps? And a stupid, bragging, unexamined badass at that? A secret desire to be -- dare I say it? -- Flash Thompson?
And it ends on a kinky proposal.

March 5, 2005

Those Uppity Punks from Riverdale

Teasing gallery of curvaceous cartoon women, courtesy Dan DeCarlo:

If you've ever taken a look at Betty or Veronica in an Archie comic, it's almost certain that you've enjoyed the art of Dan DeCarlo. Dan is recognized as the single most defining artist to work on the Archie books, with over 4 decades of drawing the Riverdale gang under his belt between the 60s and 2000.

July 17, 2005

Trolley Delayed by Shark

The Astro City Rocket reports the story behind the story:

When I was in college, my mother sent me this article -- she'd clipped it from the Boston Globe, because it struck her as funny, and she thought I'd get a kick out of it.
This entry will only make sense if you've read the story 'The Scoop' from the first Astro City collection, Life in the Big City.

March 12, 2006

Brainy Fare

My good friend Rich turned me onto this series, and I'm glad as hell he did. The Walking Dead is, in some respects, a classic Zombie-story (yes, they shuffle mindlessly, and yes, brains are on the menu) but it's so much more.

It's really a psychological study of survivors under extreme circumstances, and the lengths they go to to keep their humanity intact. I don't want to spoil anything, so I'll just point out that Amazon is selling all 4 trade paperbacks for a decently-discounted price! (And you can also pick them up one-at-a-time at the infinitely cool World Famous Comics.) Oh, and the artwork is phenomenal, too.

May 21, 2006

Moore On Depp and Dandies

A decent short interview with Alan Moore reveals some more specifics with his problem with the Wachowski brothers. And he also takes a poke at Hollywood's vanity-boys:

Johnny Depp saw fit to play this character as an absinthe-swilling, opium-den-frequenting dandy with a haircut that, in the Metropolitan Police force in 1888, would have gotten him beaten up by the other officers.
Sean Connery, of course, did exactly the opposite, and put Moore's opium-addled Allan Quatermain on the wagon. Ah, Alan, I'm starting to see why you're trying to write the whole mess off.

July 2, 2006

This plumage is too precious to pulverize

"Has anyone ever hated teenagers with the gusto of the writers and artists at Archie Comics?" The Onion AV Club takes on Archie and the gang.

September 20, 2006

4 Summer Flings

Apropos of nothing, and partially to alleviate my guilt at having been such a non-blogging fool lately, here's a small taste of my pop-culture life over the summer.

photo of 'Ryan Adams
★★★★★ Awright, Adams has since proven himself to be a bit of a clown in the intervening years (Summer of '69 taunts and Message-board pissing matches with fake Jeff Tweedies haven't exactly bolstered his 'rock n roll bad boy' image.) But his work with Whiskeytown never fails to please me, so I sought out this, his first solo album, on eMusic. It's really great.. soulful when it should be, rockin' where it needs to be. And guest vocals from Emmylou on 'Oh My Sweet Carolina.' What more could you ask for? Sadly tho, I think this album may be Adams' high-water mark.

photo of 'The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap '

★★★★☆ I've somehow found myself spending a lot of time waiting this summer. Vet's office, doctor appointments (for reasons I'll disclose later.) So I've dug out my Gameboy Advance, which had been gathering some dust of late, and this is the game that convinced me to do it. I loved the old Zelda game for SNES (A Link to the Past, with its fun and engaging overhead perspective and cartoony 2D sprites.) I pretty much lost touch with the franchise since then, though. It's all looked too 3D "immersey" for my tastes. So the Minish Cap has been a pleasant surprise - the 2D style is back from LTTP, as well as referential nods to that game in many of the character designs and dungeon puzzles. But it's been updated in smart ways too (including a fun 'Kinstone Fusing' technique that reveals side-adventures and opens up areas of the map for further exploration.) I would've given this game 5 stars, but the bosses were a bit too easy and there weren't enough dungeons.

photo of 'eMusic'

★★★★☆ I realized a couple of months back that I'd somehow all but eliminated music from my daily life. Which was a painful revelation for me -- I've always enhoyed music. I met my wife when we were both working at a record store.

So eMusic has been my attempt to put myself back on a healthy track: listening to, loving, learning about and living with more music from day to day. I've been pretty pleased so far. The best thing, without a doubt, about emusic is the complete lack of DRM controls on the downloaded tracks. These are straight MP3s, baby. Play 'em anywhere, on anything (I found a nice little set of Applescripts synchronizing iTunes with my Sony Ericsson walkman phone, and the whole setup works like a charm.)

Of course, the whole eMusic catalog consists of small and indie labels, so you won't find your guilty-pleasure Justin Timberlake fix here, but you will find the whole White Stripes catalog, and the Replacements, and a buncha Willie Nelson, and Iron & Wine, and The Decemberists, and... they got a lotta stuff is all I'm sayin.

photo of 'Fables'

★★★★★ The premise is simple, but the series' creator Bill Willingham keeps finding new and deeply satisfying ways to twist it, tatter it and constantly break expectations. And the premise is this: all of our collective cultural Fables are real, across countless dimensions and worlds. And they've been driven from those worlds by a nameless, faceless bogeyman called The Adversary. Now Snow White, and the Big Bad Wolf, and Cinderella, Prince Charming, and the rest live in a quiet, ageless block of New York City where they try to stay hidden from our mundane ('mundy') world.

I'll admit it, this series started slow for me. Volume 1 "Legends in Exile" probably suffered from the same malady that befalls any origin story. A lot of the energy is expelled on just setting up the premise. But there's still enough thrill left in there for a pretty good whodunit, with Bigby ("The Big Bad") Wolf nicely wrapping up all the loose threads by the end. But you've really got to give the whole series a chance. With each successive issue (I've been buying 'em by the trade paperback) this world just gets better and better.

Around the time that Jack o'the Tales and Bigby Wolf blackmail a nosey reporter by staging some ... um, compromising photos of him with the eternally-young "real boy" Pinocchio, I knew this series was going someplace twisted and great. I'm only up to trade #5 right now (I'm trying to dole them out sparingly, cause once I'm all read up, the wait between releases will kill me) but it's been the best of the lot for me. I really admire the way that Willingham has been willing to take risks with his characters: some die; others disappear or move on; still others come to the fore, and grab the spotlight in ways that I wouldn't have imagined when the series began. Willingham even manages to craft something rare in comics today: a really sweet romance that's done just right between Snow White and Bigby Wolf. I can't wait to see how it all turns out, but my suspicion is that it won't be happily ever after.

These hReviews brought to you by the hReview Creator.

January 18, 2007


Awesome. J. Caleb Mozzocco is a local writer that I like a lot (he writes a weekly film review for, amongst other things.)

And he's uncovered a real gem—a reprint of a late-70s Captain Marvel comic, in which the good Captain visits Columbus, Ohio! Heck, he even comes to my very own neighborhood, German Village! And rubs shoulders with (apparently) Columbus' very own resident superhero, Minute-Man (the one man army.)

This, for me, is the most exciting superhero-related development in Columbus since... well, when Big Barda declared herself the town dictator.

April 1, 2007


J. Caleb breaks down Six Things I Learned From 'Justice League of America Hereby Elects...' including this nugget, about the handmade motorcycle that Superman gifted Black Canary with:

Sure, it's a really crappy looking motorcycle but, still—that shit's handmade.
With pictures!

November 28, 2007

Comics Pet Peeve: Character Designs Based on Actors

Something that I think may be getting out of hand lately: comics artists who design their characters in obvious reference to this-or-that Hollywood actor. I'm thinking specifically of J.G. Jones designs for 'Wesley' and The Fox in Wanted (which, yes, is coming out soon as a major motion picture.) It takes about two panels to identify their real-life inspirations as, respectively Eminem and Halle Berry.

But you can find similar examples sprinkled all around comic-dom. Sometimes, it seems done for more specific artistic purposes (eg. Robert Mitchum's face lending Astro City's Steeljack just the right hint of world-weary, beat-down integrity.) But why, specifically, does Mr. Revise reference David Niven in the Jack of Fables books? (Of course he's intended to look like Niven—Willingham even makes a joke about it in Vol. 2 of the series.)

Particularly in the case of Wanted, it bothers me for a couple of reasons. First, it's distracting, and takes me outside the world of the comic. I spent way too much time speculating "Why the hell does he look like Eminem?" rather than focusing on the story.

Secondly, it's creatively lazy. I suspect that these designs are intended as some kind of shorthanded cultural pastiche: by referencing Eminem, Jones and Millar are imbuing Wesley with a dimensionality and 'mouth feel' that they don't have to fully paint for you. But they're also (conveniently) forgoing the need to fully develop a new design, and think about all the facial and emotional variations that will truly make the character work. I mean really—what does an uncanny resemblance to Halle Berry really tell us about the character of The Fox? She's hot? She's black? She can't act?

Finally, I can't help but wonder how the actors themselves feel about such overt identity-ripping. I wonder—did they receive any compensation for the use of their likenesses? (Do you suppose the producers for the upcoming Wanted film even briefly considered Berry for the Fox role? I bet not. That must sting.)

March 21, 2008

Mini-Review: "Crécy" by Warren Ellis

Bloody Frogs, originally uploaded by soldierant.

Tapped out quickly, cause it's on my mind: if you get the chance, you should definitely check out Warren Ellis' Crécy. It's a you-are-there retelling of the humiliating defeat that the French King Philip and his chivalrous army of nobility suffered at hands of… well, what amounted to a 12,000-strong marauding force of armed peasantry. The battle took place at—where else?—Crécy, France in 1346.

The volume is slim (~40 pages, maybe?) but ambitious. In one taught, economical tale Ellis explains exactly why the English hate the French (and the Welsh hate the Cornish. And Suffolks hates 'em all. And… you get the idea) The narrator, William of Stonham, is a foul-mouthed wonder. (Best line—"Old English proverb: if you keep on being their cunt, they'll keep fucking you.")

You learn a lot about warfare and strategy of the day. How longbows work; why crossbows were feared. (Some really nasty strategies for spreading infections to wounds, too. Yick.) In fact, for the educational value, Crécy kind of reminds me of another series of books I really enjoy by illustrator Stephen Biesty The Biesty books, btw, are much more kid-friendly than this one—in fact, don't get this comic for your kid. (Didn't the quote convince you? Also—David Macaulay treads this same territory, too, though I think I've read-but-not-bought some of his works.)

Crécy is great storytelling, and well worth the 6 bucks and change. Check it out! (Or ask me to borrow it.)

May 6, 2008

Jeff Smith at the Wex

I'm making tentative plans with friends to go see the Jeff Smith exhibition at the Wexner Center for the Arts on Saturday (timed to both take in the exhibit and also catch Jeff's conversation with Scott McCloud.) Smith is, of course, a Columbus native. His studio's right in my neighborhood, in fact. Though I'm not sure if he lives down here as well.

I'm playing a bit of catch-up before Saturday, because—I have to admit it—I've only recently caught the Bone bug. Of course, I've been aware of the title: its presence looms large in any indy-friendly comics shop you might walk into. Especially any good comics shop in central Ohio. But something, until now, has just always kept me from reaching for it and diving in. I'm not sure what.

I think it's the design of the Bone family themselves—that kind-of "schmoo-ish" look has always subconsciously said 'for kids!' to me. Of course, now I see the world through Edison's eyes and that's no longer a label that scares me off. And I don't know what the hell I was thinking, anyway!

I picked up trades #1 & 2 the other night at The Book Loft (on one of our weeknight neighborhood jaunts with the Boy) and they're wonderful so far. Gorgeous artwork, and obviously an appeal that extends far beyond 'just kids.' My friend Rob tells me that they're selling the One Volume Edition at the exhibition (which, at $40, is a steal.) So I'm gonna plow through the first couple of trades, then gift them to someone, and hopefully pass the bug along.

Update 5/13: I did indeed attend the talk on Saturday—it was fantastic—and, even better, my go-to comics-blogger-of-choice, J. Caleb Mozzocco, was there as well. Check out Caleb's take on the discussion and his impressions of the related exhibits as well. (Oh—and, the exhibits run until August, so you really do owe it to yourself to check 'em out in person, as well.)

About Comics

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Soldier Ant in the Comics category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Blogging is the previous category.

Dogs is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.


Subscribe to feed Subscribe to my feed
Powered by FeedBurner
Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Powered by
Movable Type 3.33