Have a drink. It might help that mortis attitude of yours.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Dear Crazy 88's-

It is with a heavy heart that I end my run as the writer of Those Wednesdays. It has been a blast but I realize that things aren't what they used to be.

It is with a soaring heart that I announce that I am part of a new blog. With the minds behind Seven Hells, Facedown in the Gutters and Are You Feelin' Big Mike, I am now part of


This much excitement kind of tastes like a marshmallow fluff sandwich.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


I have problems with people who put video on their blog and then follow it up with something like, "What the hell is this?!" But:


Monday, March 31, 2008

Guest Post

Today we have a guest writer - Mike P., formerly of the Are You Feelin' Big Mike blog. That blog is now unfortunately closed but I invited Mike P. to share some of his thoughts about our mutual love for Blue Beetle. I am not even going to talk about how great I think Mike P.'s writing is - I am just going to let you love it as well.

Fanboy Entitlement From a Blue Beetle Fan

By Mike P.

I remember it like it was yesterday: My dear friend Ben screaming in my face, “Mike P., why aren’t you reading Blue Beetle?!?!?!” Now, Ben screams a lot, so it would be easy for this moment to fade away like any other. But I took it seriously and grabbed the first trade of the current Blue Beetle series.

“Holy crap, Ben Hatton!!!!” I screamed in his face shortly thereafter. “Blue Beetle is the jump off!” What a comic! Great characters, clever dialogue, solid balance of comedy and tragedy, respect for the old with an eye towards the new… basically, Blue Beetle is everything a good DC comic should be. But you already knew that, otherwise you wouldn’t have been able to tolerate Ben’s blog for long. And as a Crazy 88, you also already knew that there is a creative change afoot in the Beetleverse and that Will Pfeifer will be taking the reigns from John Rogers.

Will Pfieffer has done a great job on Catwoman, so I don’t doubt his abilities for even a hot second. But Blue Beetle is no ordinary comic. Writing this series, in my humble opinion, requires for a writer to defy many of the instincts he or she may have developed while reading and writing comics. The formula for Blue Beetle seems simple on the surface, but upon further analysis, we see that it is a well-executed subversion of comic book clichés and a refreshing take on the teen superhero story. So, in a rare exercise of fanboy entitlement, Big Mike is going to give his $.02 about some of the pitfalls he sees for the creator inheriting the best comic on the shelf.

Firstly, Jaime Reyes is a teen, but he’s not Peter Parker. He’s not angsty or self-involved. Jaime listens to his parents and has a strong relationship with his friends. From the very start, he’s smart enough to know that he can’t carry the burden of the Scarab alone, so he enlists the help of those who love him. He has humility without self-loathing. He has wit without cockiness. He garners support without becoming weak. In short, Jaime Reyes is a good kid who comes from a good family. Taking away these pillars would be an easy way to introduce new and potentially interesting conflict, but it could, in the long run, diminish the character’s nobility and appeal.

On that same note, Blue Beetle may be the main character in the story, but he’s certainly not the only hero. In fact, I would argue that Blue Beetle is a book about a community of heroes coming together around one central character. Together, the cast is the body of the American hero: Paco is the muscle, Brenda is the brain, Peacemaker is the guts, Mr. and Mrs. Reyes are the conscience, and Jaime, of course, is the beating heart of the whole thing. Jaime doesn’t just give his best. He brings out the best in those around him, and it’s literally inspiring.

Finally, I believe that Pfeifer should bear in mind that Jaime is a legacy hero who carries a proud, if at times unappreciated, name and history. Rogers’ arc for Jaime has been a long form explanation of how a good kid finds heroism within himself. His interactions with Guy Gardner and Superman have shown time and again that it isn’t the Scarab that makes him special. It’s his heart. The creator should be mindful that the space rock Jaime carries inside him was meant as a tool for conquest and destruction, but it’s proximity to a certain young man subverted its purpose and made it a tool for good. As Jaime himself said of the Blue Beetles, ‘We don’t need no stinking powers.’ What he does need is the moral compass of his friends, family, his heroic legacy, and his own sense of right and wrong. Though he began as a reluctant kid, Jaime is an honorable man apart, even among the noble heroes of the DCU. Among the most compelling journeys for Jaime Reyes is and should continue to be the unending discovery of what it means to carry the mantle of the Blue Beetle. Good luck, Will. Don’t let me down.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A simple one

Alright 88s-

This will be a simple post.

Reactions? Comments? Who is that dude in the red with the wings?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Justice Be Done: Freaking Finally

I am going to come right out and say it – I have not been enjoying Dwayne McDuffie’s run on Justice League of America. It’s boring. I mean who cares about The Key? Who cares if Tangent Flash has made her way into the DCU? Not me. Vixen's powers are out of whack? Totally lame. When McDuffie first took over and I started griping I heard a lot of: “It’s so great! Way better than Meltzer’s.” The second part of that is correct; McDuffie is doing a better job than Meltzer. That doesn’t make it great, just better. Getting punched in the arm is better than getting hit in the stomach, both still hurt though.

In some ways it’s not McDuffie’s fault. He is not a bad writer: his Firestorm and Fantastic Four were both awesome. It is hard to take the preeminent super team in DC Comics and come up with threats that are difficult for them. That’s why Morrison had them fight angels and Kelly sent them back in time. These are characters who on their own should be able to take down large forces of baddies, figuring out a crisis that could tie up the team and not destroy is tough. I have said it before and I will say it again – a hero is only as good as his or her villains. The new Suicide Squad is not worth the Justice League’s time.

Yet, there is something more to the comic than simply high quality bad guys. That something is purpose and purpose is what the JLA have lacked for two years now. Some of that is probably editorial fingers in the pies, but the write has to be responsible on some level. A reader of DC comics should feel the Justice League’s presence everywhere, yes a guest spot in Green Arrow is great or a major role in Amazon’s Attack is fine, but the reader should really feel it in the team’s title. I say again this is THE super team; they should be out solving problems. They should not be getting inklings, ideas, or clues as to the larger goings on. The editors and the writer need to allow the characters to be at the forefront of the events.

Yes, I am for B, C and D-list characters getting their moment to shine. You want Booster Gold to go in there and mix it up? No problem. You want Jimmy Olsen to save the day? Do it. But do not let these things happen at the expense of a solid JLA book. If Giffen and DeMatteis did the “Bwa-ha-ha” League, Meltzer/McDuffie have done the “What’s Going On” League. Their title is where things are introduced (Lightning Saga) only to be solved in other books (Countdown). The line-up right now is too powerful for this to be the case.

So now James Robinson is taking over and shifting things around. Hal Jordan is leading and putting together a “pro-active” team of big names (Green Arrow), well-knowns (Captain Marvel Jr.) and the brand new (an old man named Bill). Their goal is to go out, stopping villainy across space and time. While this feels a little like the Outsiders’ mission statement, I am hopeful. Robinson is one of my all-time tope five and I have faith. I have faith that someday we are going to see a group worthy of being called the Justice League of America. Or maybe I am being set up for a kick in the nuts.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Wow, so I got five comments about my last post and I checked my site traffic for the first time in weeks and I still average twenty hits a day – that is crazy! I mean, super awesome but still crazy, I would have given up on this blog ages ago. It’s nice to know that you guys and gals aren’t as fickle as I am. Super props to all you Crazy 88s that have stuck around.

As I said in my last post there were a few comics that have kept me going, that I have kept reading. Blue Beetle (obviously, but we aren’t here to talk about that), Action Comics, The Boys, the return of Scud (which I might write a post about) and a handful of others. These comics are like grand slams in the middle of a losing streak, those few moments of shining hope that say, “Don’t give up on us yet.”

There have been so many of those comics in my time as a reader: Matt Wagner’s Mage, Kevin Smith’s Green Arrow (nuts to you people who don’t like it), and James Robinson’s Starman. I was just reading Starman the other day. Now I have gone through the entire series in trades but I only own three issues (I plan on some day getting all the singles, but money is tight). I was just rereaing issue #29, the introduction of Jake “Bobo” Benetti. What a great issue.

I know there are a lot of people out there who think Starman was kind of lame duck series. They say it was slowly paced. They say it spent too much time on pointless dialogues about popular culture. They say it was an indulgence piece. I say they are wrong.

Starman was different. Starman was one of the first comics to have what felt like a plan. It was an ongoing, monthly that progressed logically. It was about a hero’s journey, about one man’s search to come into his own as a man. And what happens when he finds it? He contentedly moves on, the series ends. That is freaking beautiful.

Moreover it paid homage to all the characters who had donned the Starman costume before. Robinson did his research, knew his character and his character’s history. Then he melded it together, created the interconnectivity that an icon can have. He paid homage to what everyone else had done with the character while opening so many more doors for the character to go through. It was what made the book a great read for all.

This exactly why Blue Beetle is so great right now. So I lied about this post not being about Jaime Reyes. I haven’t kept up my end of the bargain. You know, a guy who starts a bandwagon better keep it going. But I have not been keeping up my bandwagon of Blue Beetle love even though I got it moving in the first place. The title does everything that Starman did. It creates connections between the character and his family and friends. Things that were set up in early issues come back in fantastic ways. With Jaime’s “Khaji Da” we know that Rogers respects all of what has gone before in the Blue Beetle-verse but is not afraid to add to that mythos.

I know there are a people out there who are bummed out that Rogers is taking a hiatus from the book. While I disagree with the writer saying that McKeever is doing an excellent job with the character in Teen Titans, I am o.k .with him leaving. He has told a great story, one that has had a fantastic beginning, middle and end. Now, like a teary Jack Knight leaving Opal City, he taking off and that’s fine, because he accomplished his goals to tell a great story and is passing the torch on to someone else. It’s better than sticking around and letting his writing get stale.

And I know, Chris, that I am not great about e-mails. But I am still listening.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

So it’s been a bit…

O.k. I don’t even know how many people are reading this anymore, how many of the Crazy 88s are still being crazy for me. Did I just make a Madonna reference? Completely unintentional, I promise. So what happened? Why did I just drop off the face of the blogsphere? Here is my moment of explanation.

The simple explanation: I stopped reading comics and thus had nothing to blog about.

The not so simple explanation: As all my readers came from either The Absorbascon or Seven Hells! I am taking for granted the fact that you guys know well enough about the unfortunate happenings at Big Monkey. Without going into details and or anything, it sucked. It sucked to be in that environment and it was very, very stressful. Every time I picked up a comic I got the same stressed out, knotted up shoulder feeling. So I stopped reading comics. I did not stop buying comics, mind you. I have three foot-high stacks of unread titles that my wife is starting to get on me about bagging and boarding. I did stop reading, with the exception of a few books. So there it is. Not reading comics leads to not having much to say.

That brings us to now. For all of you who have sent me messages asking about a new podcast, I will say nothing is impossible. It will not be the same line up (for obvious reasons) but it may just happen again. As for me and my blogging, well I have started catching up on my weeklies, started cleaning my house, started getting excited again. Except for Secret Invasion, that still looks like some crap.

And I can say that there is something awesome in the works, something very, very awesome. So stay tuned.