DID YOU READ

Our favorite comic book moments from 2011

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In a year that gave us big screen blockbusters like “Captain America,” “Thor,” “Green Lantern” and “Transformers,” sometimes it’s nice to take a step back and appreciate the medium where these stories got their start.

With the book officially closed on 2011, I and my fellow contributor, Matt Singer, thought we’d offer up what were some of the best things we saw in comics over the last twelve months. If you are behind on your monthly reads or trade/digital waiting any series, please be advised that there are significant spoilers ahead.


Aunt May Gets A Hug

From “Ultimate Fallout #1”

Let’s face it, at this point, the only truly sad thing about most comic book deaths is the degree of desperation on the part of comic book companies who try to drum up interest in their characters by killing them off. The death of the Ultimate Universe’s Peter Parker in the pages of “Ultimate Spider-Man” is this year’s one notable exception. You could reassure yourself after Peter’s death at the hands of the Green Goblin by reminding yourself that the “real” Spider-Man was still alive and well in the pages of “Amazing Spider-Man,” but that didn’t make writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mark Bagley’s work in the pages of the follow-up mini-series “Ultimate Fallout” any less devastating. In the best scene — one that literally brought tears to my eyes — Peter’s Aunt May reluctantly attends a public funeral for Spider-Man. As she walks into St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a little girl calls out to her. It turns out that Peter had saved this girl from a fire years earlier. If he hadn’t become Spider-Man — if he hadn’t made the same sort of heroic sacrifice that eventually took his life — she would be dead. She offers May a hug and they embrace. Aaaaaaand cue the embarrassing waterworks (“Oh, no, I’m not crying. No, it’s my allergies. Yes, in the dead of winter.”). I’ve been a die-hard Spider-Man fan my entire life and Bendis’ version of Peter Parker might be the best I’ve ever read. I’m going to miss reading his adventures. But it was worth losing him for a scene like that. – MS


A Cowboy in Gotham

From “All-Star Western #1

Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti had been writing the adventures of DC Western bounty hunter Jonah Hex for several years by the time they were handed the reins of “All-Star Western.” Plenty of their earlier Hex books are worth reading, but they really knocked it out of the park with this story, in which Hex comes to Gotham City in the late 1880s to solve a mystery and gets paired with an unlikely partner: criminal psychologist Amadeus Arkham (if you’ve played any Batman games on PS3 or Xbox lately, that name probably rings a bell). It’s an ingenious riff on Westerns and Holmesian detective fiction, with fittingly rough-hewn art by artist Moritat. DC cancelled all of their titles this year and replaced them with 52 new ones. Some were good, some were bad, some were great. Even though it’s set over a hundred years in the past, “All-Star Western” is one of the few that truly feels new. – MS


An Unexpected Sequel

From “Archie #627”

I love bad movies, and one of the best worst ones ever made is “KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park,” a 1978 live action TV movie about the hottest band in the world and their poorly written, even-more-poorly acted battle with an evil amusement park inventor. Everything about “KISS Meets the Phantom” is bad. Even the stunt doubles are bad (unless the movie was made during a brief, otherwise undocumented period of time when Ace Frehley became a black man). This, of course, makes it sublime. Technically the new “Archie Meets KISS” comic isn’t a sequel to “KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park,” but I’d be shocked if writer Alex Segura wasn’t a fan. Instead of a predictable storyline about the band playing a gig in Riverdale with Josie and the Pussycats or something, he concocted a story about the group getting accidentally summoned from another dimension by Sabrina the Teenage Witch. He even gave Gene “The Demon” Simmons “KISS Meets the Phantom”-tastic lines like “We can only slow them down. They have the DYNASTY AMULET!” There’s still a couple issues left to go in this crossover, but I’m already hanging on ever panel. A word of warning: if at some point in the story Space Ace is replaced for a page or two by an African American, my brain might explode. – MS


A Crossover Flies Under the Radar

In “Swamp Thing” and “Animal Man”

We can’t just pick one particular scene here, because different readers discovered this little bit of awesomeness one at different times. If you read “Swamp Thing” first, you discovered about the battle between The Green, The Red and The Rot alongside scientist Alec Holland. If you favor “Animal Man” on your pull list, you made your first journey into The Red with superhero Buddy Baker and his daughter Maxine. The crossover here by “Swamp Thing” writer Scott Snyder and “Animal Man” writer Jeff Lemire is so low-key that you don’t feel penalized if you only read one of the two books. But loyal readers of both were rewarded with an ultra-cool moment of realization when they discovered that these two books — two of the best of DC’s new universe — were covertly working together to lay the groundwork for what looks to be a massive and massively interesting storyline. I fully expect the payoff the wind up on our list of the best comic book moments of 2012. – MS


Meet the Mighty

From “Fear Itself #7”

It was probably inevitable from the moment in “Fear Itself #1” that the bad guys got their own versions of Thor’s enchanted hammer that the heroes would eventually get some badass Asgardian — “badasgardian” — weapons of their own. And they did, at last, in “Fear Itself #7, when Spider-Man, Iron Man, Wolverine, Dr. Strange, received some much-needed Odin-infused armaments and became The Mighty. Admittedly, The Mighty’s role in the “Fear Itself” finale was mighty anti-climactic, and I’m afraid the other sweeping changes made here to the company’s continuity won’t even last a year (some didn’t even last through the end of the series: see the death and return of Bucky). But the sight of all those classic Marvel do-gooders decked out in Stuart Immonen-designed Asgardian finery made for perhaps the coolest visual of the year in super hero comics. – MS

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.

via GIPHY

It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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