Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Young Avengers #13: We Are Noh-Varr Ev-arr Getting Back Togeth-arr

Being punched by Miss America is a privilege.

Lucky number 13! Only two issues left after this! 

What happened?

A bunch of expository banter with other young Marvel heroes we don't care about happens for one whole excruciating page, but then we are blessedly reunited with our main bunch, who are busy fighting Mother and the exes. Sadly, we're immediately met with hot, hipsterish, dashing, but cadish Noh-Varr breaking up with Kate in favor of evil, S&M-themed Oubliette. I feel for them both. Kate deserves smarter and Noh-Varr was probably never going to be a long-term thing. Noh-Varr is like the most beautiful purebred yellow lab ever who also loves 60s girl groups and probably shouldn't be left to make decisions for himself.

Pat, pat.

But then we get the big revelation. Leah and the rest of the exes were Sorta-Kid-Loki the whole time! Obviously this raises a lot of questions, but I think the most important point is that it was actually Sorta-Kid-Loki, and not Oubliette, who convinced Noh-Varr via sexting to shave off his beard, and he is a goddamn hero. At Loki's confession that he's been manipulating them all along to control Billy's cool demiurge power, all the exes disappear, making Kate and Noh-Varr's in-battle break-up just that much more awkward. Loki cries on the floor and once again makes someone the offer of killing him (this time America instead of Thor) and is once again denied. Which is good, at least for the moment, because he's the only one who can save Teddy from being a chair.

Kate is a natural at delegation.

Teddy saves Billy, and thus everyone, with true love. Billy defeats Mother and checks out his new universe-controlling powers in an imaginative spread.

Actually, you're just departing editor Lauren Sankovitch's replacement.

The universe is saved, Billy is reunited with his parents, and Loki, feeling shame for perhaps once in his various lives, Mary Poppins/Gokus it out of there on a cloud.

And Tommy?


Random Notes:

-So...what about the Leah the gang saw in the multiverse? She's just kinda...hanging out? I hope this gets resolved within the next two (final) issues. I think I trust Gillen to not leave her hanging. I mean, she's not Tommy.

-America finally gets the blood-spattered punch-fest she's been waiting for all series.

-Loved the clever credits at the end to help clear up any confusion.

"Dear Noh-Varr, sorry the ghost of the good half of myself that I murdered sexted you."

 -Despite everything, Billy still introduces Loki to his parents (or tries to) as his friend. Billy, that is either really sweet or really stupid. Or both. I guess practicing magic with potato chips really bonds people.

-Nice segue for Loki for Loki: Agent of Asgard. We know from writer Al Ewing that in that forthcoming series he is trying (for reals!) to be better and is back with his mom, stepmoms, and Thor, and Young Avengers is setting that up nicely.

What's next?

Young Avengers #14 will be out on December 18. And then the book's finale, Afterparty, will be out in January. I'm gonna miss these kids. :'(

Like you totally didn't copy his hairstyle.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Young Avengers #12 and Afterlife With Archie #2: Kids in Costumes Have it Hard

Archie isn't so wholesome in this Tim Seeley variant.

It's was a busy Wednesday for young people in peril! Both Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie's Young Avengers #12 and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla's Afterlife With Archie #2 came out today. AWA 2 had actually sold out on the shelves by the time I got to the comics shop at 1:30, but a kind clerk found me a variant behind the register. Hero.

Let's start with YA 12...

...cause Leah wants to finish this hand.
What happened:

With the adults still under Mother's control, the Young Avengers have no choice but to go forward with David's plan of attacking the parasite and her army using every teenesque Marvel character he could scrounge up. The league of evil exes know of this plan, and are pretty sure it ain't no thing, but also aren't going into battle unprepared. Leah and Fake Patriot examine tarot cards while maintaining excellent posture, and Oubliette gets a killer poison manicure.

Our team, on the other hand, is not totally, completely confident in this endeavor. Noh-Varr and Kate fret (Noh-Varr while glancing at selfies of Oubliette), Loki does some literal-and-otherwise handholding with Billy, and David is coolly pragmatic and not optimistic.

"Only together can we survive this chick's shitty iPhone photos."

Once again we're reminded that Loki and America both know something about Billy that neither he nor we know. We also go back to the storytelling themes Gillen explored in Journey Into Mystery. "He can't die," says Loki. "This story has a happier ending than that." "His story," America reminds him.

Girl, you're in a Gillen book.

And then...the battle begins! The army of Marvel bit characters fights the other dimensional army, hoping that maybe, just maybe, they'll get picked up for a future Young Avengers story. Meanwhile, our heroes take on Mother and the exes, giving McKelvie another excuse to have a ball with form and composition.

And then! Gillen starts unveiling one of his twists. While squaring off against Loki, Leah brings up his early conversation with Teddy about the power of reality warpers and wishful thinking...and then she seems to merge with Sorta-Kid-Loki. It's probably useless trying to guess, as I'm always wrong, but to ruminate...perhaps Kid Loki is finally getting his revenge?  He did change. He did win. Somehow? Because Loki's guilty conscience wished it so? In this interview with Al Ewing who will be writing the forthcoming Loki: Agent of Asgard series, he says Loki's greatest fear is "sliding back into his old persona, getting trapped again in an endless cycle of fighting superheroes and getting beaten by them - especially after everything he did to escape that cycle." That certainly sounds like Kid Loki, who in the JIM finale begged Thor to kill him if he ever turned evil. Maybe Kid Loki or Sorta-Kid-Loki is finally getting his (sexier) body back, or at least will be more equitably sharing it with Loki-Loki? I'll stop now since this is turning into the end of that Louis CK skit on "Why?"

Was the kidnapped Tommy rescued or mentioned?


What's next:

Tragically, we only have three more issues of Gillen and McKelvie's Young Avengers, which Gillen writes about a little here. As aforementioned, extreme prodigal son Loki will be returning to Asgard as a secret agent for his mom(s) in Loki: Agent of Asgard, which comes out in February 2014. Will he finally get that cool car? At first I was a little nervous to see a writer other than Gillen take the reins on Loki, but hey, that's mainstream comics, and the interviews with Ewing have been encouraging. I hope Loki stays in touch with America, Kate, et al.; the chemistry in this little group was great. We'll always have noodles and revolutionary moon kisses, right? :'( 

This looks good 'cause it's from Francavilla's twitter.

That panel's so damn pretty I couldn't bear to use my crappy iPhone pic. All right, so, moving on to a different set of endangered kids. With the Archie Comics world pretty stagnant since the 1940s, minus the recent and welcome addition of gay teen Kevin Keller, the announcement that there would be a serious horror Archie book was a surprise. Afterlife With Archie #1 was a smash hit, and Aguirre-Sacasa and Francavilla impressed critics and Archie fans alike with their ability to stay true to the Archie mythology while ruthlessly twisting its conventions.

We already saw scenes of horror (a mouthless Sabrina exiled by her aunts) and violence-with-consequences (a jealous Moose beat up Reggie as he's done for decades, but this time it led to a dazed Reggie running over and killing Hot Dog) in the first issue. In AWA 2, the creative team shows us just how much leeway they've been given by opening the issue with a scene of emotional incest between rich twins Cheryl and Jason Blossom.

In "dead Raggedy Ann and Andy" costumes, no less.

It's a little eye-rolling and tawdry as a way to shock, but whatever, we get it, you're going HBO. The twins wisely decide not to crash Riverdale High's Halloween party after learning that mass cannibalism is taking place inside.

We see some more mature maturity in the interlude, a moody scene set at Pop Tate's. Ginger and Nancy are having a quiet, joyless dinner away from the party. They've been secretly dating (sorry, Chuck), and the closeted nature of their relationship is wearing on Ginger. Nancy isn't ready to come out. It's a pretty typical plot for a gay teen romance, but it gets interesting when they bring up out-and-happy Kevin. "Look in the mirror, Ginger. We're nothing like him," says Nancy. What does she mean? Is she (and the writer) acknowledging that as women of color, their experience of coming out might be different than Kevin's? But their discussion is interrupted the arrival of Jughead's father...who has been zombiefied!

Back at the dance, zombie Jughead has started his rampage, and his first partygoer victim is awkward one-sided love interest Ethel, heartbreakingly naive and sweet in her Snow White costume. When Jughead attacks her, the kids think it's a prank at first, and catch on to what's actually happening at various times, leading to a supremely satisfying moment when Veronica, who has been in all her bitchy, scheming glory, steps up and saves eternal rival/BFF Betty by taking a fire extinguisher to zombie Ethel's head.

Girl went all America Chavez on us.

 A core group of Archie characters - Archie, Betty, Veronica, Reggie, Moose, Midge, Chuck, Dilton, and Kevin - flee the school and make it to Veronica's mansion. ("Mr. Lodge, I've been trying to sneak into your daughter's room for as long as I can remember, and I know what a fortress this place is," says Archie reassuringly.)

But of course, they're not safe yet...

Alas, we don't get the next issue until 1/1/14, presumably because Francavilla fills in all the shadows by hand with half-dead ballpoint pens.

The gang in simpler times, when they were an extremely unprofessional band, what with half the members wandering away and the drummer not showing up until partway through the song:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Young Avengers #11: Loki and Leah Would Be the Hottest Hunger Games Tributes

Just gonna assume McKelvie & Gillen broke Tumblr.

What happened:


So, Loki doesn't exactly come clean...ok, he doesn't come clean at all, to readers or his teammates, but he sort of fesses up to some relatively minor lies of his. And yet somehow still convinces Billy again to give him power, which either works exactly how he expected or not at all how he expected by giving him a hot new emo-boy teen look, complete with Classic McKelvie Loki black nail polish. He seems to have moved from 14ish to late teens, so now some ickiness can perhaps be avoided if he hooks up with America or also-young-adultified Leah, with whom he is now very matchy-matchy. And he won't have to pretend to have a hormone disorder in order to live it up at clubs with his fake ID.

In other exciting makeover news, Noh-Varr shaves his beard after being mocked by an ex. Also, he's chatting with his exes. Damn good thing Kate isn't pregnant. Don't be a cad, dude.

Anyhoo, they're going to attack Mother again and Teddy's a chair.

What didn't happen:

Saving Tommy, mentioning Tommy, vaguely remembering someone named Tommy exists. Tommy, you are the Egg of Young Avengers.

No, you're so cute, Kate.

Random Notes:

-Hunger Games Leah and Loki are so hot. They can be evil; I don't even care. Work through your differences, you alternative-fashion-loving kids! The only way a villain couple could challenge them in hotness is if The Dark Knight Joker and Arkham City Harley Quinn met up. Those couples should hang out anyways. They have so much to talk about: trickster archetypes, therapist clipboards.

-Did Kid Loki have a grander plan in mind when sending Leah to the beginning of time to protect her from Loki-Loki? If not, he could have at least sent her with herd of dairy cows and the blueprints for a milkshake machine.

-The razor blade panel is the panel everyone's been waiting for. Thanks, Oubliette!

Buh-bye, St. Nick-Varr...sorry...

-Now we don't have to worry about Kate becoming mind-controlled by Mother as long as she...thinks she's young? Is young at heart? Will that even work since Kate tends to be the most mature and motherly of the Young Avengers?

-Not surprised that out of the denizens of Asgard, Fandral's the one who's figured out how to use a cellphone. When you have new maidens to chat up, you adapt.

-What's David up to? David is so cool. I hope he wears a sweater vest again.

-Best makeovers during the series so far: Leah, Billy, Loki, Noh-Varr (Noh-Varr gets points knocked off for growing the beard in the first place).

-I thought it was my imagination at first, but there definitely seems to be an ongoing eyes-in-shadow/eyes-in-light thing going on with Loki-Loki and Sorta-Kid-Loki.

You're just jealous of his jacket.

What's next?

Young Avengers #12 is out in November. Presumably Tommy is not rescued.

Ultimate Nullifier's still here? Oh.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Young Avengers #10 & Afterlife with Archie #1: I Care About Nothing Post-Breaking Bad Edition

"I wanted to leave the runes on the mewling quim."

I missed doing a recap for Young Avengers #10, which isn't really a problem since I'm just me rambling to myself. It came out on September 25, right in peak Breaking Bad freakout time, and the plights of the fictional denizens of non-fictional Albuquerque occupied all my fictional character headspace. Sorry, Kieron Gillen. Unless Loki and Doctor Doom teamed up to make and sell magical meth (which would be perfect), it just wasn't happening for me.

Anyways, I decided to finally get this up and to group it with Afterlife with Archie #1, out today. This is also related to Breaking Bad, because everything is. The issue is illustrated by Francesco Francavilla, whose  pulpy, noirish work I first saw in Hawkeye. Francavilla is also a Breaking Bad superfan, and he has made minimalist posters for each episode (totally scored one of his limited edition prints of the first episode, bitch). So when I saw he was the artist for a new horror version of the Archie comics I read as a kid, I had to check it out.

Don't do meth, kids.

What happened:

Meta stuff. Loki's been working with Mother, in typical Loki fashion (i.e. in devious ways that serve him and only him well at the moment but add to his ever-growing list of enemies). There's a mention of him "escaping," and we don't know what that means yet. Sorta-Kid-Loki makes a sorta appearance. We also get to see all of Loki's moms, as portrayed by Mother: Jotun queen Farbauti, plus jointly-ruling Asgardian goddesses Freya, Gaea, and Idunn. Props to proudly feminist Gillen and McKelvie for deciding to make the almost-never seen Farbauti a beefcake warrior with icicle hair. Anyhoo, Loki's been messing with Billy's head because of complicated reasons that we'll just have to ride out Gillen explaining in his own special way. And Fake Patriot and Leah are both working with Mother.


Meanwhile, Teddy and Leah go to the superhero-exes support group, which consists of Leah, America's ex, Noh-Varr's exes, and, uh, Fake Patriot. Noh-Varr, as everyone already knew, is a Don Juan of space and time. And America's ex, Ultimate Nullifier...oh, honey, why? I just kinda assumed America was into the ladies. Maybe she has realized this too since dating this dude. I do feel he was a little shortchanged, though, since his dialogue is basically clumsily inserted Hipster Ariel. At least Gillen and McKelvie nixed the planned-upon fedora. All we learn about Fake Patriot is that he or she is creepy. Teddy is understandably freaked out by the group and tries to leave, probably to watch Breaking Bad. But he can't, because the group is the kind of malevolent entity that would try to stop you from watching Breaking Bad.

Leah's got a clipboard and Beth Ditto makeup. Watch out.

What's next:

Young Avengers #11 should be out later this month, but I haven't been able to find a release date. Judging from the cover, Loki's in trubs. Or at least naked, since his clothes are burning. And maybe Thor is involved? I can only assume Thor looks so mad in that leaked variant cover because he found out Loki is cooking magical meth with Doctor Doom, probably in an old Skrull spaceship in the wilds of Latveria.

Really, don't do meth, kids.

To be honest, I actually thought this was a comic I'd just buy the first of, mostly to take a gander at Francavilla's art. But I'm hooked! Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has written an engaging, unsettling comic. The book tackles the most obvious question - zombies in Riverdale? - with aplomb. Jughead's beloved dog Hot Dog is killed, and instead of writing poetry about it like Mary Oliver, he turns to Sabrina, Riverdale's resident teen witch. Against her aunts' orders, she helps Jughead revive his pet...which doesn't go well.

Dogs, don't do meth either.

What I like most about this book (so far) is how true it stays to the Archie canon, and yet how different it is from the Archie canon. Archie Comics have been around since the 1940s, and they've stayed pretty static all those years. No one is ever going to graduate. No one is ever going to change. And Aguirre-Sacasa keeps to those Archie constants (the Betty-Veronica-Archie triangle, the Moose-Reggie-Midge triangle, Jughead loves food, etc) while, with the help of Francavilla's art, casting a dark shadow over them. With inky chiaroscuro and jarring POVs, Francavilla weaves a sense of unease throughout. It's still Riverdale, but it's creepy, creepy, creepy.

So creepy that build-ups to swinging are immediately forgotten.

Big kudos to Francavilla and Aguirre-Sacasa. This could have easily turned into this (which is hilarious, and also features Jughead carrying a bloodied Hot Dog), but it looks like they've got it under control.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Gale Boetticher's Sing-Along Fun Time

Confession: I can't watch this without tearing up.

Wow. So. Well. Are you vomiting and shaking right now? I have leftover cheesecake and I don't even know if I can eat it. I thought things were tense during last week's shoot-out, but holy shit, that was some laser tag compared to tonight. I don't are we supposed to cope until next week? How are we supposed to process two more episodes?

Deep breaths. Let's relax. 'bout some comic relief and a reminder of the fun that can co-exist with this show? Sometimes? When things are not horrific? Four of these are even Gale-approved music-and-dance...oh, God, I don't even know if this will make it better or worse.

Breaking Swift

It turns out the turbulent relationship between Walt and Jesse is a perfect fit for the perpetual break-up songs of Taylor Swift, even if Tay-Tay has never (yet) watched a romantic rival choke to death on vomit or SPOILER sent an ex off to be tortured by goddamn neo-nazis. Geezus, I'm never recovering from that. Anyways, taking on the moving setpieces concept of Declan Whitebloom's video for Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," Teddie Films chronicles the drama surrounding Walt and Jesse's (then) latest falling-out. Major props to Eddie King for nailing Jesse's stoner voice and to the guy playing Hector for managing to look so darn deadpan throughout.

Breaking Bad: The Middle School Musical

How freakin' charming is this mini-musical by YouTube greats Rhett & Link? With its faux DIY aesthetic and super-talented kids, it looks like Breaking Bad as directed by Wes Anderson. See if you can manage to not start laughing manically during mini Gus Fring's musical number. Oddly, both these first two videos change one small plot point by having Walt not spare Jesse the horror of putting Drew Sharp (aka dirt bike boy) in the acid barrel. I guess when these videos were made, Meth Damon wasn't enough of a breakout to bother parodying. 

Breaking Bad Thanksgiving

Jesse and Walt have a cooking show (apparently shot in a Google kitchen), but instead of Blue Sky, they're making pumpkin pie and turducken. Mark Douglas of Barely Political does the angry "Jesse!" hiss, and of course there's a montage with unexpected music choices and POV shots. And even Fake Jesse gets all the best lines.

Honest Trailer: Breaking Bad

We joke because we love, right? This entry in Screen Junkies' Honest Trailer series is heavy on the honesty, particularly with fans' obsessive behavior (cough) and the show's sometimes uncomfortable racial politics (this was before this half of the season's white power prison gang plot). But seriously, have you seen this show? How about we just watch the pilot? I promise you'll like it.

Joking Bad

And here is Jimmy Fallon's Breaking Bad love letter, a 12+ minute parody set in the cutthroat stand-up world. With painstakingly reproduced shots and Breaking Bad's trademark callbacks ("no end"), this long skit was clearly a labor of love.

Walter White and the Amazing Blue Crystal Meth

But really, who stops at under 13 minutes for a Breaking Bad parody? And doesn't even include musical numbers? A rat, that's who. Low budget and joyous, this hour-long musical by Jackie Johnson and Nadia Osman is a fan magnum opus. And there's a Gale song! There are also interpretive dance murders, a pretty hot Jesse, and terrible bald caps. It's at least 96% pure fun!

Weird Al's Albuquerque

Weird Al Yankovic and Breaking Bad go together. Ok, not really. But Aaron Paul did portray Weird Al in Funny or Die's Weird: The Al Yankovic Story. And then Slacktory went and used Breaking Bad clips to meticulously craft a music video for Weird Al's appropriately weird lengthy ode to Albuquerque. Lydia is the girl of everyone's dreams (especially Todd's).

There. Wasn't that fun? Don't you feel totally better now? Jesse? Jesse?

Jesse, we're paging Captain America and Magneto right now. Then we'll do go-karts.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Lil Bub: the Art Show

I've long been a fan of famous kitty Lil Bub. I wrote about her over a year ago, and have been following her on social media ever since. But when I learned there would be a Lil Bub appearance and art show at San Francisco gallery Spoke Art, I was conflicted. On one hand, I really wanted to go. On the other, I didn't know if I wanted to admit to myself and others that I would pay over $20 to meet a famous cat. But finally I decided, "Fine. I will be the sort of person who pays over $20 to meet a famous cat." Fortunately, I wasn't the only  one.

Line reached nearly all the way from Jones to Leavenworth.

We're having a heat wave in SF (fyi that means in the 80s), and I am also apparently the sort of person - and in good company - who will stand in the blazing sun for over an hour and a half to meet a famous cat. Massive thanks to the lady who held my spot so I could go get a cold drink, since, winner that I am, I went alone.

I had been doing a lot of soul-searching regarding this famous cat visit (can one feel outrage about the NSA, concern over Syria, and still pay money to visit a famous cat?) and even more soul-searching regarding the art show. It reminded me of Gallery 1988's frequent themed events. I'd loved to have attended their Breaking Bad show (talked about here) if I lived in LA, but it also kinda feels like marketing. And that's a line pop surrealism/low brow has always skirted along. How are these images of pop culture being used? As satire, homage, metaphor, promotion? For fun? And if for fun, is there substance behind it as well? A friend and I wondered this when we attended a Todd Schorr exhibit at the San Jose Museum of Art in 2009. Schorr's work often features recognizable characters from film and cartoons. His large-scale paintings take exacting skill, but while some works used those characters to create deeper meanings, some seemed to be more along the lines of "I like movie monsters so I painted a whole bunch of movie monsters."

I wondered what the range of the art in this show would be. From what I could see of the works from the Breaking Bad show (and other pop culture shows), some artists really explored the themes and ideas in the series, and some just kinda drew Walt and Jesse. I also wondered if I were being too judgmental. After all, what is the substance of a still life?

However, I really enjoyed the Lil Bub art show. There are over 50 works, and they gave me a lot to think about: art, genre, intention. Also, they were, you know, pictures of a cute cat. So, on with the cat art!

Supersonic Space Princess by Arabella Proffer

Now here's a piece where I think, "Style versus substance? Who fucking cares!" I love this piece's Tara McPherson/Lisa Frank sensibility. Here's "space cat" Lil Bub, with a floating crown, in a beautifully colored landscape. There were a lot of "Lil Bub in space" paintings, since part of the "story" is that Lil Bub comes from another planet, but this was my favorite.

Companions of Whimsy, Nicomi Nix Turner

Sorry for the crappy pic, by the way. There were also a lot of "Lil Bub's head surrounded by flowers" pieces, but I liked what Nix Turner did here. Bub's graphite face and bow are pure kitsch, but instead of daisies and butterflies we get mushrooms and less "appealing" insects. I like this exploration of oddness and cuteness and how the two can oppose each other or intersect.

Frail Caress, kikyz1313

I feel like this piece made similar explorations. Lil Bub, while adorable, is a medical oddity. She was a "special needs" kitten and, while currently healthy, continues to need special care. With its depiction of fragility, beauty, decay, and kindness, this piece reminded me of Mary Oliver's poem "The Kitten."

Bub Paints a Space Beetle, Lilly Piri

Although real-life Bub has been known to ruthlessly attack bugs, another artist, Lilly Piri, depicts "different" kitty Bub and insects as kindred spirits. It's suiting - after all, Bub the champion of the strange is different than Bub the actual cat, who just wants pets and yogurt and would maybe like to eat a bug. I liked this charming contribution in Piri's delicate style.

By the Power of Bub by Aaron Jasinski

I had deemed this a "pop surrealism masterpiece" in my mind before I even saw it was by the great Aaron Jasinski. An internet-famous cat. 80s cartoon nostalgia. Celebrities. Pop-tarts. If this isn't a slide in an art history class someday, I will be disappointed.

Lil Bub's Moonlight Ride, Isabel Samaras

Isabel Samaras was another big name in the show. Her work is generally "pop culture figure in unexpected setting," and that's what we get here with Bub replacing E.T. I would not have had so many nightmares about that movie as a kid if the alien had been Bub instead!

Cult of Bub, Heiko Windisch

This was one of the few pieces that looked critically at Lil Bub's fame, though none too harshly. With a quirky storybook style, Windisch shows both the silliness and joy in being a Bub fan.

Lil Bub in Love, Christine Hostetler 

There were two more watercolors by Hostetler of two of Bub's celebrity encounters, but this one, a portrait of Lil Bub and her "dude" (aka owner Mike), was one of my favorites of the show. It's a sweet reminder that at the heart of the Bub frenzy is just a guy and his beloved cat who loves him back. It's easy to forget that despite the fame, this story started off with a man who took in a stray, medically fragile kitten. His love and respect for Bub was shown in how this event was structured (more on that at the end of this post).

Purring, Rebecca Rose

This fun silver ring of Bub popping out of a computer was one of the few non-paintings in the show (others included some yarnwork and a series of photos of a naked woman in a Bub mask). I'm not sure how comfortable it would be to wear, but it would be great for self-defense!

Three pieces by Johanna O'Donnell

Here's another one of those "style versus substance"questions where I'm on the side of style. The project was to make art of Lil Bub, and O'Donnell did that in a gorgeous, entertaining way. Why not have a beautiful triangular painting of Lil Bub and geometric shapes in your living room instead of a painting of flowers? Why the hell not?

These are just a few of the many, many pieces at the show that stood out to me in some way. I'm sure others will have different favorites. There's a play on Schrodinger's Cat, Bub as a comic book character - even a "Heisenbub" for us Breaking Bad fans. I'm glad I decided to wave my crazy cat lady flag and get a ticket.

Update 9/11: Spoke Art posted all of the works here!

More about the event:

The event was limited to 300 people, which was probably too many, simply because of time constraints. While the wait was long and I'm not sure everyone got in, the slowness was for a good reason: Lil Bub's comfort and safety. Bub and her dude were stationed in a smaller gallery. They only let a few people in at a time so that it wouldn't get too crowded and overwhelming for Bub, and you were limited to one gentle pet. Bub was sitting on a blankie, and her dude was within arm's reach signing the books that were included with ticket purchase. She was very calm, but not lethargic - when an assistant waved a feather wand so she'd look at the camera for the family in front of me, she snapped to attention! I don't remember what compliments I babbled to the dude, but I told Bub she was a very good girl.

Bub poses for photos while her dude signs books.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Young Avengers #9: I Drink Your Milkshake

Let's see...Jotun Loki, Fascist Kate, Pirate Noh-Varr, and...AHHH CREEPY SKIN MASK LOKI

Young Avengers #9 came out today. And, if you need to catch up, the trade, Young Avengers: Style > Substance, did as well!

What happened:

David explains his Teddy-kiss. He's bi, because of, like, the powers he absorbed or something, and he is crushing on Teddy even though Teddy, like Loki, refuses to wash his damn face. David also joins Loki in the "meddling in Teddy and Billy's relationship" club. Leah and Loki explain why she's in some volcanic hellscape - Loki sent her there to save her from himself - and the rest of the gang is pretty much okay with it. They then round up a bunch of different multiverse versions of themselves to save Teddy and David, and then go back to their own universe and get ramen. Loki and America clearly know more about this whole "Billy is a multiverse god" thing than they're letting on, though America seems pretty peeved about it. Teddy and Billy break up with more Lichtenstein tears. Then later we find Teddy in Texas, where he's commiserating with...Leah! Oh, and the Mother parasite is still out there. And they still haven't rescued Tommy.

Billy and Teddy: incapable of having a fight without creating pop art.

Random Notes: 

-Ok, so they already don't trust Loki that much, and then when he's like, "Oh, yeah, this is my sorta-ex I sent to this barren wasteland to protect her from myself, you know, me, the person with you," everyone's like, "whatevs"?

-Sorta-Kid-Loki's still antagonizing Loki-Loki. I'm rooting for you, kid.

-Bravo to Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie for being all "no1curr" to the homophobic reactions this book has seen. Yeah, some people are upset because they saw gay people on paper. Christina Weir and Nunzio DeFilippis also had this great response to David's kiss with Teddy.

Right on, Billy.

-If eldest Young Avenger Kate becomes an adult while Mother's spell is still intact, she'll be under Mother's control too. Sort of like Codename: Kids Next Door!

-America's pretty pressed about this "Billy is a god" thing. We don't know much about her past. Did he unknowingly usurp her or something? Is she a staunch atheist? Does it have something to do with the death of her parents? Looking forward to more being revealed.

Yeah, and close your mouth.

-Are Kate and Noh-Varr in a rough patch? It's probably because of your beard, stupid.

-Another mystery to be revealed: who is Fake Patriot? I almost forgot that's why they were running around beautifully detailed set pieces.

-Leah's (still) back! And she still loves milkshakes, the irresistible beverage Loki introduced her to! What's she doing back in the American southwest? What is this support group she and Teddy are talking about? A group for people accidentally screwed over by their magical boyfriends?

I love Leah's puffed-sleeve dresses. Eat your heart out,
Anne of Green Gables. 

-Along with the milkshake, Leah's closing line, "We all get to write our own happy ending," echoes back to the storytelling themes of Gillen's run on Journey Into Mystery.

What's next:

Looks like Mother's back in Young Avengers #10, out September 25. In this Young Avengers #12 preview, it looks like Leah's stuck around, but the cover is Lokiless! And that's after Young Avengers #11, which looks...ominous. Ugh, Gillen's such a tease. But seriously, if they off Loki just for so they can lol at fans' angst, I'll stop reading (even though I already said that after Journey Into Mystery). Come on, Gillen. Just let the poor kids buy a milkshake night club and have small business owner battles with Mary Jane.

Leah, Loki, and a milkshake in Journey Into Mystery #639

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Young Avengers #8: Noh-Varr is Buff Santa Claus and Loki Gets a Shock So Big His Tiara Falls Off

Did Loki break his hand on Miss America's thigh?
Boy, you don't play punch-buggy with Chavez.

Deep breaths, fandom. Deep, deep breaths. You're only spurring Gillen on with those screams.

What happened:

The Young Avengers have set out to the multiverse to rescue Tommy which has been very traumatic and Noh-Varr grew a beard. The beard was in this issue's preview, when artist Jamie McKelvie mentioned it on Twitter, there were mixed reactions. I didn't mind, because I thought, "Haha, in one of the dimensions there's an older alterna-Noh-Varr who has a beard." But no. Our Noh-Varr. Our Noh-Varr has a beard. No. Kate, make him stop. You can't be dating a buff Santa Claus.

Cash would also hate your beard, Noh-Varr. Everyone does.

Moving on, there's a nice little callback in the opening pages, as the team is having Korean in the same New York restaurant where America threw Loki through a wall, only in an alternate universe New York where the cars fly (America's still not allowed in the restaurant though). After dinner, they continue the search for fake-Patriot, landing in a hellscape with Noh-Varr's ex and then a world with cute little Pokemon-type aliens who seem to think Billy is their god. For some unspoken reason, Loki and America are not okay with this, and then they move on to...the Mother Parasite's dimension! Loki has rescued Teddy and Billy from there before, and as then, it's a meta comics-world of white panels. Oh my God. It's Aha's "Take On Me" video. Isn't it, Gillen???

America gets almost everyone out except for David and Teddy, meaning Teddy and Billy are TRAGICALLY SEPARATED. But who's this in the dimension most of the Young Avengers are in? It's LEAH! I was hoping for her when Gillen said that issue #8 would make Journey Into Mystery fans "scream," and I'm both excited and wary about her return. "Who is Leah?" you might ask if you didn't read JIM. She is Loki's mythological daughter's severed hand. But she and Loki aren't related by blood, which is good, since she and Kid Loki were in the very buds of young love. Also, there are kinda two versions of her. And...stuff happened. Bad stuff. It's complicated. Anyways, her presence is rather ominous, but I'm hoping that she's not just a few-issues villain, because she's an awesome character, she and Loki were great together, and I think she and America could be sharp-tongued, Loki-dominating BFFs.

I <3 you, gurl, please don't kill everyone.

Meanwhile, in the Mother Parasite universe, David and Teddy decide to fight the Mother Parasite to the death, and then...DAVID KISSES TEDDY. Is it part of a master plan? Was David just really hot for Teddy? Will Leah kill everyone? If so can she please shave Noh-Varr's face first so he doesn't die as Buff Santa Claus?

Random Notes:

-Kudos, as always, to McKelvie for his art. This visually lush issue must have been especially challenging, and the cover is an instant classic.

-Where is Kate keeping her journal?

-Loki cries in the universe where it appears he conquered Asgard and then he and his family died. Crocodile tears, or is sorta-Kid-Loki still in there?

-Kree: the British of the multiverse.

-Loki has an ROUS moment.

-Loki is also the king of distractions.

Disappointed we don't get Teddy and Billy's expressions here.

-Nice touch with Kate playfully pushing Loki's crown (Or is it a tiara? Is tiara gender-neutral?) askew in the first pages and Loki's crown flying off when he jumps back in surprise upon seeing Leah near the end.

-I don't know what David's up to, but, Teddy, he's pretty smooth. And hasn't made dramaface once yet. Just sayin'.

What's next:

After being spoiled this month with bi-weekly issues, we have to wait a whole month for Young Avengers #9 to come out on August 28. It is about Teddy being sad on a chaise lounge.

And farther in the future...the fact that Loki isn't on the promotional art for the end of this "season" of Young Avengers worries me. His crest is on the club's sign, though, so maybe he buys the place from Mary Jane and is boozing it up inside.