Hellblazer #6 is truly the essence of a John Constantine story. There is wit, twisted monsters courtesy of artist Riley Rossmo, and huge helping of self-loathing and loneliness projected on the people around him with a wink, wisecrack, and flip of a lighter. Writers James Tynion and Ming Doyle also portray Constantine as boldly bisexual (He talks about “shagging” a guy.) without making the whole comic about his sexuality. He is a toxic person, who happens to be attracted to both men and women, and both genders end up ruined by his dabbling in forces too powerful and wild for him.
Working off a story from Scott Snyder and James Tynion, Tim Seeley turns in a script for Batman and Robin Eternal #3 that is simultaneously full of bouncy Bat- (or Robin) banter with some choice douchiness from Red Hood and scenes both past and present featuring the dark psychological effects of the Scarecrow’s fear toxin. This is somehow connected to the “mysterious” Mother, which our heroes are no closer to finding her identity. But there is still plenty of conflict as Dick Grayson’s Spyral colleague Poppy Ashemoore goes off the reservation, and threat level of the series increases when an important supporting character is put in the crosshairs of Mother and her creepy operatives.
The first panel I attended at New York Comic Con was the LGBT in Comics panel on Thursday, October 8. It was sponsored by TimesOUT, an LGBT affiliate of the New York Times. The lineup was quite star-studded and possibly the first time that three bisexual men have sat on a panel at a comics convention together. It consisted of writer Steve Orlando (Midnighter), artist Kris Anka (Uncanny X-Men), writer Jennie Wood (Flutter), artist Babs Tarr (Batgirl), cover artist Kevin Wada (She-Hulk), and writer James Tynion IV (Memetic). They represent a broad spectrum of comics genres from fashion forward superheroes to YA survival stories and even exploitation sub-genres. The panel was moderated by New York Times writer Jude Biersdorfer.
Batman and Robin Eternal #1 is a genre spanning (superhero and possession horror), kick in the pants start to this weekly comic event. Scott Snyder and James Tynion set up a creepy, overarching storyline for the series by exploring the tragic side of being a Robin. (They don’t usually get out alive.) Artists Tony Daniel and Sandu Florea use speed lines, little circles, and every tool in the action cartoonist’s toolbox to give the comic a hyperactive feel as the various Robins swing, kick, and ride into action while wisely utilizing full page spreads for surprise reveals that burst the nostalgia bubble of “Batman and Robin forever”. By the end of Batman and Robin Eternal #1, readers will see the relationship between the Caped Crusader and his various sidekicks in a new, complicated light.
You are reading this review on a laptop, smartphone, tablet… some sort of personal computing device. How did you get here? What else is dancing, pulsing on the outer rim of this review and where will you click to next? How long have you been at it, staring at this screen in front of you? We live in a world overrun with social-networking, buzzfeeds, text messages, viral videos. Earlier today I received one of those “have you seeeen the [insert trending pic/vid/etc*]?” Commonplace in 2014, but James Tynion IV and Eryk Donovan’s new limited series Memetic serves up a somewhat cautionary tale on the new normal.