Tom and Tom: A Wake

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After nearly four years it’s time for me to say goodbye.

Tom is doing great work right now, and I have a lot of stories in me that I can’t wait to share. But I was doing a lot of things at once, and I can’t keep all the balls in the air.

Also, in the back of my head, I’ve always wondered if this was sort of a failure.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always said that if we entertained one person for one moment then it justified every bit of work we did. And although we weren’t trying to write the Great American Novel, I think there’s some decent stuff on here. I also don’t want to minimize the great work of everyone who contributed, Tom, Jasmine, Arin, I’m proud of what we’ve done. We also got a lot more traffic then I ever thought we would. My advice to future bloggers is to write something about Pete Rose.

And along the way, I formed an incredible working relationship with Tom, and as a sort of solitary creative person to have Tom AND Jasmine is really amazing. I’m a high-energy, difficult person, and Tom is a deliberate, contemplative person and it just sort of clicked. You couldn’t imagine how many hours we spent putting things together, bouncing ideas off of each other and how many unfinished drafts there are on WordPress.

But its not quite what I wanted.

See it wasn’t supposed to be about me really. In the beginning, we wanted to establish a brand, but this blog was supposed to be for other people. In my head it was going to be a bazaar of sorts, a place where people who usually didn’t have an outlet for their creativity could do their thing under our umbrella. Aside from being kinda worksafe, and maintaining a level of writing competency we would stay out of the way and let people do their thing.

I knew a ton of people that I thought really had something special to share. I wanted a place where they could do it, and everyone could see the same spark I saw. In fact, I really wanted a female presence here.

In sort of poking around, I kept hearing about the lack of opportunities for women in a lot of creative contexts, and I understand being left out of the boy’s club. I saw a lot of films, comics, stories and blogs that didn’t have female voices included in the discussion, and when there were outlets for women, they were sort of homogeneous. I believe in diversity and I wanted a chance to show it.

It was a colossal flop.

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I’d like to give you reasons for it, but I don’t know. Maybe people didn’t see any upside of doing it, especially with us. I know that actual creative output has been sort of devalued, it’s easier to play a video game, or watch television, or dick around on the Internet, than to actually make something, but to me a writer is a person that has to write, there is no choice on the matter. It doesn’t matter if anyone sees it, it’s just what they do. And I don’t see a lot of writers.

I can tell you I’ve been trying to get women to participate in this for years, and the overwhelming majority flaked out on me spectacularly. I still don’t know what I’ve learned from this, but it has affected how I feel about inclusion, I wish I could say it hasn’t.

Tom and Tom: Black Like You was supposed to be an inclusive site that welcomed everyone. We’re black, but we wrote a jokey preamble on being post-racial and moved on with it.

People thought it was a ‘black’ site and avoided it like the plague.

We might as well have put this up.

We might as well have put this up.

I eventually put a banner up that read ‘We Are All One’ out of desperation, and I got a better response. But for years, I got feedback that people didn’t want to read or participate with us because this was a ‘black’ site.

People that knew me personally. And my white wife.

Thought they weren’t welcome. That if something even had the word Black, they wanted nothing to do with it. The title of this site is a joke that references In Living Color, which I suppose is too black for those same people. But it sort of ate at us that this was happening.

Finally, this was supposed to be about satire, but satire presupposes that there is an established object of mockery or something that is inherently absurd. Right now there is a billionaire running for President that inherited all his money, ran most of his businesses into the ground through sheer incompetence, only succeeded by using public money to fund his enterprises, typically through illegal means and is supported by hate groups he refuses to denounce and roughly one in five Americans wants to give him the keys to the missile silos. I have the growing feeling that satire is pointless in this environment.

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So all the reasons I wanted to do this feel stupid, honestly. I still have stories to tell, but I’m doing to do them differently, less publicly. There are stray things I wanted to do here to wrap up, and I may get to them, but it’s not a priority.

But the thing I want to leave every one of you with is a thank you. Whether you liked us or you didn’t, I appreciate your time, it’s the most irreplaceable asset we have, and you gave me some of yours and that means a lot. You also gave us great feedback, which is the only way an artist can get better, and you helped me get better.

Goodbye, and one way or another, I hope to see you again.

Tom

Totally Worth It: Winter Season Survival Edition Part II

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I really did mean to continue this for the Chrismahanukwanzakah season.

I failed you, and I’m sorry. If you’re the winter season gifting type, hopefully you remembered my winter recommendations from last year. But if not, just remember: it is never too late to give the gift of toasty buns.

(There was a great joke here about the record-breaking warm Christmas we had, but now Snowzilla has hit, the sarcasm gets a little lost.)

With that said, I’d like to usher in:

Totally Worth It: Winter Season Survival Edition
Part II: Electric Skincare Boogaloo

There’s a super long article about lotion in the works, but first, let’s talk soap.

– Kirk’s Original Cocoa Castile Soap

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That’s right, talkin’ ’bout soap, son!

Long hot showers and harsh soaps are murder on your skin.

You could take a quick shower. You could use tepid or cold water. Or… you could switch to a gentle, moisturizing soap. I mean technically you should probably do all three. But forget that noise. Guess which one I’m going with.

There are a lot of great brands of soap that won’t dry out your skin, but by and far my favorite is Kirk’s Original Cocoa Castile Soap.

It’s moisturizing and it smells nice. It’s hypoallergenic, SLS-free, and vegan. It’s natural. Seriously though, it has five ingredients (coconut soap, water, vegetable glycerin, coconut oil, natural fragrance).

Normally you’d be paying a high price for an all natural soap (for example: Dr. Bronners at $4 – $5 a pop).

I get this stuff at Family Dollar at $3.33 for three ($1.11 per bar).

And here it is at Wal-Mart at $3.28 for three.


– Lip Balm

Here’s the deal: I’ve had a terrible time with lip balms and developed a reaction to commonly used fragrance(s) linalool and/or limonene.

The worst thing about this is that most people use lip balm in winter when their skin is already dry and irritated. And when your lips are painful and cracking, what are you going to do? Slather on more lip balm, of course! Which then causes more irritation. Such a vicious cycle.

For many, it’s a problem that develops over time, after months of using a product, so “new lip balm” isn’t the first thing to come to mind.

If you think you might be having a reaction, your best bet is to use hypoallergenic, one-ingredient products like 100% shea butter or Vaseline.

If it’s a reaction, your lips will start to heal. Once they’re healed you can start
trying other lip products, narrow down what it is that doesn’t agree with you, and avoid it. Linalool, limonene, and peppermint oil are common ingredients… and common irritants.

That is what happened to me. After some 6+ months of using EOS, over the last few weeks my lips started getting increasingly irritated, dry, cracking, and developed little white dots (milia). Everything cleared up within a couple days of switching to Vaseline.

Shea butter is very, very unlikely to cause any kind of reaction. It is absorbed by the skin and is healing – in fact, it helps heal scarring and burns. On the down side, it’s super greasy, wears off very quickly, and has a mild nutty smell.

Vaseline / Petroleum jelly is hypoallergenic, it tends to get a bad rap, but the fact is, it is inert and /can not/ be absorbed by your body. It is also greasy but not as much as Shea butter, is longer wearing, and has no smell at all.

I stuck with these for the past year and have finally started using other lip balms. Here are mini-reviews and recommendations.

Jack Black is a really nice balm, probably the best I’ve tried. It’s not greasy, doesn’t leave a sticky feeling, and offers SPF 25 protection. However, it costs at least twice as much as other balms (and /many/ more times for petroleum jelly), and SPF is a non-issue when you’re putting it on before bed. I think it’s worth it for daytime use, as long as you don’t loose your balm all the time and go through an average of two a week, like Tom does.

I got “Grapefruit & Ginger” flavor. It smells great, like citrus with a hint of ginger. Warning: the taste is 110% grapefruit, scientifically proven to be the worst fruit.

Burt’s Bees is moisturizing and feels smooth, slightly greasy. It lasts longer than Shea Butter but wears off quicker than the others. Vanilla Bean is the only one I know is free of linalool and limonene.

There are also a number of nice tinted balms out there.

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Universally flattering color: check

Clinique’s Black Honey is a cult favorite for good reason, with a gorgeous, universally flattering color. It’s twice as much as Jack Black, and has a slight tackiness, but did I mention that color? It’s also pretty long lasting. The color is nicely build-able and can be (carefully) applied without a mirror.

Palladio Herb Infused Tinted Balm is smooth and “slippery” feeling without being greasy. It’s not as long lasting but it feels really nice. “Sangria” is a rich, warm red that looks similar to Cliniques Black Honey for a fraction of the price.

Revlon Just Bitten Balm Stain is a longer-lasting option, which I’ve never had a reaction to, but does contain limonene and peppermint oil (another irritant), so I haven’t used it consistently since this problem arose. It’s not as moisturizing, but it’s stain leaves an all-day color after the balm has worn off. I found this to need a mirror, it’s too pigmented to wing it.

Ironically I still liked and recommend the two balms that caused me such problems: EOS Evolution of Smooth and Maybelline Baby Lips. EOS is natural, feels great, and is long-lasting. Baby Lips are a slippery feeling tinted balm, much like the Palladio, but with a huge selection of colors. They’re both good balms if you’re not sensitive to those ingredients.

The Fury of Firestorm: Issue 28

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This is sort of a perfect storm. (See what I did there!) Looking at the John Ostrander Suicide Squad run, Slipknot doesn’t appear beyond what I’ve already scanned, so if these articles are supposed to serve as introductions to characters that are going to appear in the movies you haven’t really gotten a lot to go on.

Also, this is a taste of Firestorm, a character that I always liked but that never had the impact in DC that he could have. Right now the character appears on the surprisingly entertaining Legends of Tomorrow on the CW, and they have done a great job adapting the character from the comic.

It all comes together here, in Fury of Firestorm issue 28 written by comics legend Gerry Conway and Joey Cavalieri. Its also a bad comic which is not the fault of penciler Rafael Kayanan or anyone responsible for the art.

You see Firestorm is a combination of two people: Professor Martin Stein, an insufferable prat, and basketball player Ronnie Raymond, an unlikable jackass. Legends of Tomorrow has done a great job capturing the essence of their conflict, but making them watchable, but in Fury it is nearly impossible to root for the protagonist of the book because he’s so annoying.

Also this issue pits a guy with near god-like power over the building blocks of the universe against a guy that’s good with ropes.

This is why we can’t act like comics are some sort of holy text that can’t be changed for any other medium. Because sometimes an idiot with his head on fire fights a guy that ties knots.

Let’s skip the horrible soap opera of this book and get straight to the fight.

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The Professor immediately does his shtick of freaking out and babbling about the obvious. You’re being choked and you need to something. Thanks Professor. What I need during a life or death emergency is a old guy in my head screaming useless information at me.

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For all the people that complain about pointlessly revealing female comic costumes, here is one of the male entries. For some reason Slipknot has giant holes that expose his chest but has heavy armor on his forearms and shins. Ye Gods.

Now the girl he was with has superpowers and goes to help but…

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She ends up getting kidnapped. Meanwhile Firestorm finds out that he has no idea what to do when people dodge his blasts, and despite being an athlete immediately gets gassed like Bob Sapp after the first 30 seconds.

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Losing track of him Firestorm is for another surprise.

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It gets worse. For all of us.

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After being thoroughly beaten by a guy with the emblem of a rope across his face, the Professor chimes in with more useless panic. Did you know that if you fall off of a building you’ll probably die?

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The Professor keeps talking. At this point I’m rooting Firestorm to die.

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Finally Slipknot realizes that taking on a job where he attacks a demi-god might be a bad idea.

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Slipknot is easily defeated. Honestly Slipknot is sort of a loser in the comics and his chances of survival in the movie aren’t very high, which is why Suicide Squad is so compelling. With a lineup of third tier villains that no one cares about things can get very unpredictable, but hopefully you have a little more context for him now.

 

We Watch Comic Book Trailers: Captain America – Civil War

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Thomas Hamilton: HELL. YES.

 R-Son: YES LAWD!

 Jd Korejko: I think for a first trailer, it looks a lot like BUCKY THE MOVIE. But nothing in the trailer really spoke to me other than Stark’s “So Was I”

That hit me, hard. But otherwise it’s “Hey, here’s more Marvel stuff that you love” so I’m in.

 Tom Moore III: Awesome in every way that something can be awesome.

 Thomas Hamilton: If Apocalypse is Godfather III, This might be part I.

 R-Son: Stop.

Thomas Hamilton: With the Dark Knight being part 2, that is.

R-Son: I hate the Godfather so…

Thomas Hamilton: What?

 Tom Moore III: Can I just add that I am so relieved to have cool black heroes? Like, the Falcon is pretty lame.

Thomas Hamilton: What?

Jd Korejko: Lol

Tom Moore III: The Falcon is lame.

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R-Son: No he’s not!

Jd Korejko: I’m stoked as hell for Black Panther.

Tom Moore III: I’m going into a life or death battle, I don’t want the Falcon. Yay. He can fly. He got beat by Ant-Man.

Jd Korejko: Ooooooo snap.

 Thomas Hamilton: The character isn’t typically good, but Anthony Mackie is doing a great job.

 Tom Moore III: He was lame in the comics. Name one great Falcon moment in a comic.

I like Mackie. But he’s just Caps pal.

 R-Son: Falcon saves the world. Cap, volume 36 or whatever, issue 24

 Tom Moore III: War Machine has more potential. But Black panther is something completely different.

 R-Son: Black Panther looks epic.

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Thomas Hamilton: Also, I would argue that besides Civil War, Cap is a bit lacking in that department too.

 Tom Moore III: No, Cap has established himself as the guy who hands out beatings

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R-Son: Cap is lacking in what department?

Thomas Hamilton: His story lines were never amazing in the comics, at least not to me.

 R-Son: WHAT? Really? That blows my mind

 Thomas Hamilton: I’m not saying he doesn’t have any, I just don’t think he has a lot.

 Jd Korejko: Sorry, I was never a Cap guy either. Or an Avengers guy, really, until Bendis came along. I’m a heathen, I know

 Tom Moore III: What? Cap is amazing.

 Jd Korejko: Yeah! That time he was a …..wolf…! I have grown to appreciate him though.

 

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We don’t talk about Capwolf.

Thomas Hamilton: Cap is a great character, not many compelling story lines. Sorry.

 Tom Moore III: I knew you would bring up Capwolf. But around that time was the whole John Walker storyline which was old school gold.

 Jd Korejko: Oh man! John Walker! That story was the STUFF. I forgot about that. The story, the art. That was awesome.

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Image thanks to whennerdscollide.net

We Watch Comic Book Trailers: X-Men: Apocalypse

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Tom Moore III: Staying with Fox…

Jd Korejko: Ohhhhh. This one. Hmmm.

R-Son the Voice of Reason: Apocalypse looks great!

Jd Korejko: I want to be excited for this.

Tom Moore III: Umm.

R-Son the Voice of Reason: The part when he’s a giant? COOL!

Tom Moore III: The best bit.

Jd Korejko: I wasn’t as into the last one either. It had some great stuff, but I feel like these movies are delivering diminishing returns for me. And showing bald Prof X at the end? That’s the big dramatic reveal?

I do love that we worked in a whole new cast to take over for the older actors though, I love resets like that.

Tom Moore III: Days of Future Past was only good because it erased the plot of X3. I have never seen a superhero movie without a feel good moment.

Jd Korejko: Yeah! That was the biggest moment for me. Not to say that the movie was BAD. It was just fine.

Tom Moore III: Apocalypse feels all wrong. He looks better than the Power Ranger villain we saw in the still photos, but this is not the guy that Walt Simonson designed.

R-Son the Voice of Reason: I’ve seen every X movie and I still say the biggest flaw was the Darwin death.

Jd Korejko: I’m holding off judgement of his look until I see how he looks in the final film.

R-Son the Voice of Reason: Been waiting for him to show up again.

Jd Korejko: Darwin’s death MADE NO SENSE. lol

R-Son the Voice of Reason: Yes it did….black dude…

Jd Korejko: Hey, this guy adapts to EVERYTHING except, I guess this one thing, because….reasons.”

“because ….black.”

R-Son the Voice of Reason: Yep!

Tom Moore III: (I forgot completely about First Class)

Jd Korejko: Yeah, it’s getting to the point that they are pumping out so many X films that they are getting jumbled in my brain-meats.

Tom Moore III: I was trying to purge my mind from January Jones and Zoe Kravitz stinking up Michael Fassbender’s film

Jd Korejko: First Class was probably my favorite, next to X2

Tom Moore III: This is the Godfather III of superhero movies.

R-Son the Voice of Reason: The thing I liked about the X movies is that the weren’t trying to do exact stories.

Jd Korejko: Awwww man. Jan Jones. Yikes. What a mess.

R-Son the Voice of Reason: Who was she?

Jd Korejko: She was Emma Frost.

Do you think other superhero films are trying to do exact stories? (Besides Watchmen, and the like?)

Tom Moore III: I think the best films capture the spirit of the comic, like Hellboy. There is so much time between each panel and page in a comic, I don’t think the story can translate to other mediums if you do it in a slavish way.

Jd Korejko: I think that’s the best way to do it. Capture the spirit. But that seems to be what is most upsetting to the fanboy crowds. “Aw man they changed XY and Z about that story I ready 20 years ago! That’s not right!”

R-Son the Voice of Reason: I think the MCU is trying enough. And at the same time trying to make EVERYTHING into a commercial for the movies

Tom Moore III: I think fans are scared. It’s not always changing the story, it’s about respecting the original property, and changes could potentially be an indication that the studio doesn’t care. I know why they freak out.

Jd Korejko: Oh, I know WHY. I just don’t approve. And if the studio captures the spirit of the thing than changing the story doesn’t bother me.

Tom Moore III: You do tend to make the movie in your head. Like my version of Apocalypse is so overwhelming no one would think of attacking him, as opposed to this blue guy they have now. Oscar Issac is a good actor though.

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No, actually I described the comic book version pretty well. The little guy? That’s THOR.

R-Son the Voice of Reason: So when DIDN’T the spirit get captured?

Tom Moore III: Pretty much anything with Alan Moore’s name on it, lol

R-Son the Voice of Reason: Bull! Watchmen was nailed!

Jd Korejko: How about THE SPIRIT? The spirit of The Spirit, lol.

Tom Moore III: Oh God, The Spirit.

Thomas Hamilton: The Spirit was the one movie Tom and I agreed was trash.

Jd Korejko: I don’t know, I liked Watchmen a lot. Not so much, LXG though

Tom Moore III: From Hell? Yikes.

Thomas Hamilton: Eh … LXG was worse than that. I also hated Watchmen.

R-Son the Voice of Reason: The more you mess with his stuff the better as far as I’m concerned. Fuck Alan Moore

Tom Moore III: What?

Thomas Hamilton: This might get hate, bit I thought V for Vendetta wasn’t that bad.

Tom Moore III: I saw it in the theater and walked out.

Jd Korejko: Alan Moore doesn’t like movies of his stuff because they need more rape.

R-Son the Voice of Reason: I liked V

Jd Korejko: Oh I loved V too

Tom Moore III: Oh God, the rape thing.

R-Son the Voice of Reason: Alan Moore can eat a bag of moose dicks…

Jd Korejko: That’s my reaction to Alan Moore as well. “Oh God, The Rape Thing”

Thomas Hamilton: Didn’t Tom sawyer get raped in LXG? The comic I mean. On some Oz shit, if I recall.

Tom Moore III: Where would one get a bag of – Randy what do you have against Alan Moore?

@Tom, Tom Sawyer wasn’t in the comic, they added an American because they thought no one would root for a British team.

R-Son the Voice of Reason: I think he’s overrated as fuck and a tremendous douchebag.

Tom Moore III: Invisible man got raped by Mr. Hyde. Rape has come up a few times in Moore’s oeuvre, but it’s always handled pretty well.

Thomas Hamilton: Pretty sure someone got raped in something. That’s just how he gets down.

Tom Moore III: Well that conversation took a turn.

We Watch Comic Book Trailers: Deadpool

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Tom Moore III: Let’s start with something easy. Deadpool.

Out of all the properties Fox has screwed up, THIS is the thing they seem to get right. A couple of the trailers have hinted at a little bit of heart too, which keeps Deadpool from being tedious.

R-Son: It’s not easy to screw up. Deadpool makes bad jokes and shoots/stabs stuff. The end

Tom Moore III: They screwed up the Punisher though. Its Fox.

Jd Korejko: They screwed up the Punisher SEVERAL times.

I think Deadpool looks pretty fun, and I’m not even a Deadpool guy. I usually find his character to be annoying

R-Son: Punisher wasn’t bad. The Thomas Jane one was close enough to Welcome Back, Frank to be good.

The rest, eh.

Tom Moore III (at Jd): Same here. And they’re redeeming Ryan Reynolds. Extra points for the Green Lantern joke.

(at Randy) I have a soft spot for War Zone, it’s the only one that delivered on the action and the character.

Jd Korejko: There was solid stuff in the last two Punisher movies…if you took them both and smoothed them together, you’d have one good one.

Tom Moore III: I can see that. Ray Stevenson was perfect.

Jd Korejko: Aw see, I think the Green Lantern joke fell flat, but I do like that he’s making jokes that break the fourth wall!

Yeah, Ray Stevenson was in his own movie, that sadly, none of the other actors showed up for.

R-Son: I still say GL wasn’t as bad as everyone else thought.

Jd Korejko: GL had its moments. But again, not enough of them.

Tom Moore III: I can think of a better way to spend 300 million.

Jd Korejko: lol, RIGHT?

R-Son: They just went too far too fast.

Tom Moore III: Good point. Had they built to the wars, and then maybe Black Lanterns-

Jd Korejko: And a giant yellow fart cloud as the enemy didn’t really work as well as they hoped.

But Ryan Reynolds I thought made a perfect Hal Jordan, just as he’s a perfect Wade Wilson.

R-Son: Make it a Hector Hammond/fall of Sinestro movie and it works.

Tom Moore III: Ryan Reynolds keeps getting wasted.

Jd Korejko: I don’t think Reynolds is ever the problem, in any of the bad films he’s been in.

EXACTLY

R-Son: That’s for sure

Tom Moore III: Randy is right too. And I agree, I think they use Ryan to bail out a sinking movie and not vice versa.

We Watch Comic Book Trailers Pt. 1

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Of course, I forgot to include the movie that I wanted to see. Smh

2016 is going to be another big year for comic book movies (which is okay with me) but fanbases are conflicted about those movies. So I sought out a range of opinions from other people more than qualified to offer a very educated opinion on the trailers AND on comics and then we argued like teenagers trapped on a long car ride.

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Black Elvis

The first thing people notice me about anywhere I’ve lived is how many comics I have. I have a larger collection than anyone I know. If this place ever catches fire its going to be a four alarmer for the whole block.

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Tommy

Of course, I included my writing partner Thomas Hamilton, mostly because he can see when I’m writing a draft and its awkward to explain why I’m not including him on a panel and because we’re still too burned out to do socially conscious content.

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Randy

We included R-Son the Voice of Reason who is overqualified to chime in. He’s Super Tribble of the Black Tribbles who have made huge contributions to Philadelphia and geek culture. (You need to check them out.) Also he’s been a long-time comic book shop employee/manager and he’s part of an exciting new venture in Amalgam Comics.

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JD

JD Korejko runs Jd’s Hero Complex after quite a few years working elsewhere in a comic shop. Also, he is a gifted comic artist and illustrator and a Tom and Tom Affirmative Action hire. (Stinking Obama.) He also runs a rather popular comic book podcast Poptards which runs on Aint it Cool News, a site that people actually visit.

Next…we do the trailers.

Suicide Squad Issue Twelve

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Under heavy fire, Nightshade, Speedy and June Moone bail out of Sheba.

12--1

Uzis versus a bow and arrow. Hmmm. Better work fast ladies. Sadly, I had to omit some great Black Orchid stuff for pacing, but things fall apart for Boomerang and the gang.

12--2

Thankfully, Black Orchid returns and she’s ready to throw down. Also this page illustrates something the movie is going to have to get right, Boomerang is often presented as a joke…but he is a killer and quite good at it.

You know who else is good at what she does? Nightshade. Again, where most books can only manage one capable female at best, Ostrander gives you plenty in this title, and this is one of many comics that are ignored when we characterize gender and roles in comics.

12--5

After dispatching the guards, Nightshade calls the Enchantress. We know where this is going, right?

12--6

This is resolved by an absolute throwdown, of which I included the end.

12--7

While Nightshade is able to pull the Enchantress from the edge, no one is there to stop Vixen.

12--8

The mission complete, they head back to Belle Reve only to find out that Rick Flag’s mission with the Doom Patrol didn’t go so good. They aren’t called the DOOM Patrol for nothing after all.

12--10

In another comic, this mission would be a success. But in a comic with silly costumes and the occasionally far out plot, the next two pages are a shock to the system.

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12--12

 

Suicide Squad Issue Eleven

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This issue has guest stars Vixen and former drug-addicted Green Arrow sidekick Speedy. Speedy was part of a great arc, and then no one knew what to do with him afterwards.

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Vixen is a highly sought after model and when the issue begins she is taking a break at work, having left the superhero game.

11--1

There is a quick rundown of her origin and what’s she been doing and then-

11--2

It turns out that there was a drug transaction being done across the water and since the photographer could have captured some of it, they decided to wipe everyone out.

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Realizing that prison is pointless (this is decades before El Chapo, mind you) they come up with solution of their own.

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Part of the plan is to have Captain Boomerang take Vixen and Black Orchid and pose as another dealer with two prostitutes. As humiliating as being a hooker is for Vixen its still a step up from Justice League Detroit.

Meanwhile a panicked Derek Tolliver reaches out for a political ally in Joe Cray.

11--5

Elsewhere Nightshade and Speedy bond over their mixed emotions on their job and their terrible costumes. June Moone has been cooped up in Belle Reve and she puts the move on Briscoe.

11--6

Briscoe’s daughter died and Sheba is a VERY unhealthy replacement. Then again, it is handy to have an attack helicopter that can respond remotely to complex commands.

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Although initially ambushed and outnumbered, Sheba gets the rest of the team out of trouble. But all the noise blows the timing of the mission.

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The bad news is the drug lord has jets.

11--9

And muscular guards with no shirts, headbands and camouflage pants. Is this a David DeCoteau movie? What is the advantage of not wearing full-body camouflage if it actually concealed you? Just wearing the pants would make it look like your upper body was floating around with no support like a Pacman ghost.

Eh, it was the 80’s. Also another panel from that Speedy arc. Depressing that Neal Adams and Dick Giordano’s work here is stronger than than anything we’ve seen yet from Suicide Squad, even though its 15 years later.

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Suicide Squad Issue Ten

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We already had the event comics. Now its time to do the other time-honored tradition of having a really popular comic character guest star in your book. But even though Batman appears in this book, the most important thing that happens is the addition of Father Craemer, a character that Ostrander created and used well (most notably in the Spectre run).

10 - 1

Its worth noting although I skip pages, Suicide Squad focuses on all of the staff, which is something that subsequent books didn’t get right. This issue also introduces Duchess, and we have to pretend we don’t know who she is. (She is clearly Lashina)

Meanwhile, Waller explains why she never liked Rick Flag, and Flo expresses a desire to participate in missions…mostly because she likes Bronze Tiger.

10 - 3

Mark Shaw decides to go private and become the Manhunter again, and Flag is too traumatized to join him. Meanwhile a prisoner they are transporting to Gotham escapes rather easily. I think you know where this is going.

10 - 4

Batman easily slips around and hacks their main computer.

10 - 5

Not the most essential page but I rarely give artist Luke McDonnell any credit, and he preserves the idea of Batman as a shape, almost like Michael Myers for a lot of this book, and it really works.

10- 6

Belle Reve is not set up for an A-lister. Batman carves through the guard, and although Duchess gives him some trouble initially, this is the Batman we’re talking about.

10 - 7

Batman beats the rest of the Squad that’s available until its just a standoff with Waller.

10 - 8

This is the part that’s hard.

There’s a brilliant bit where Batman explains to Deadshot that Deadshot is incapable of killing him. Its not that Deadshot is missing his shots on Batman, its a subconscious hitch, which explains all the times a master sniper missed Batman when he was waiting to ambush him.

But its followed by a REALLY stupid bit, where Waller explains that Batman revealed his alias, his relationship with the Gotham police – oh and he put his fingerprints on everything while he was in his cell.

And Batman basically goes – ‘aw shucks, I didn’t think about ANY of that,’ and gives the disc back. That’s what happens. Seriously. The whole ending of this comic is predicated on Batman being an idiot. But then Flag shows Waller some fire.

10 - 9

Now Waller has her team leader.

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