Spandexless Reads | 07-14-2012 / by Alec Berry


This week, I contribute nothing while the guys do the honors and line this final column with the words it will contain. Yes, final column, or, well, OUR final column. To avoid the story, I'll sum it up with this: it's time to move on.

Maybe my lack of contribution or effort this week says something bleak about my personality or attitude, but I'd prefer to think that this column really wasn't about the wrangler but more the crew.

The collaboration with my friends made this feature the joy it was to produce. Writing typically requires isolation and solidarity - a locked in your room approach which can both be comforting and tormentive. Luckily, there's such a thing as creative synergy, or the back-and-forth, and luckily that element breaks the confinement.

Spandexless Reads became a key example of that to me for those few, measly weeks, and I find myself now only driven to collaborate more.

With these guys: Shawn Starr, Rick Vance, Chad Nevett, and even the absent Joey Aulisio.

Maybe we don't exactly light the internet on fire or leave your brains impressed with the words we type, but I don't exactly see that to be the point. Of writing. Of blogging. Of being "critics," or as The Hooded Utilitarian would say, "fans." Nah. All we must do is enjoy what we do and challenge ourselves to improve.

And we have much improvement ahead of us (this is the point where Chad mumbles "well, speak for yourself"), but that's writing. The education never ceases. You know that. We all do.

So, fuck, here's to the future. Consider SR a step. A fucking step.

Here's to your future, Column. Let me know how it goes.

- - - america is not the world

Rick Vance / completed the picture

Time to completely flip everything else I have done for this; it's time talk about one page, of one chapter, of an ongoing manga and how it showcases the smaller differences between action based comics from different parts of the world.

Think of the double page spread as you have typically seen it: action sequence, character arriving, huge revelation, explosions - big events that merit the space, which is partly due to time and space constraints, when you have a single book each month and only X pages. Taking up two of them, for a single image, typically will be for a large moment. However, when you look at these two pages from Toriko ...

... it takes place in the middle of a training session.

The double page spread naturally slows the story, to show the path the character is on and give details about the place and the events. It is more atmospheric than dynamic and is something of a major difference between the cultures: scenes meant for dynamic action are used instead for contemplative atmosphere. The information we are given all ties into the location and the specific challenge the character must face, but the surroundings are sparse. Even after the huge top panel there's the panel with a cut up on the left side which further showcases the continual movement. This page is even more strange in placement because of other elements in the comic. While this is going on, and the main character is off training, the opposition assaults the starting place of his journey, adding extra stakes and, theoretically, wanting this stuff to go faster. Yet the series still finds ways through creative page construction to slow down and properly show the lengths of this training.

- - - ocean update

Chad Nevett / honestly doesn't know what you people want.

“The Curse of the Crimson Corsair” Part Six | Len Wein, John Higgins | DC Comics

This is the worst chapter so far. It’s a transitory/introductory chapter as our humble narrator is ‘rescued’ from being adrift on a raft by the eponymous Crimson Corsair. Who introduces himself in a panel that takes up the majority of the second page this week. Up until now, “The Curse of the Crimson Corsair” hasn’t had incredibly dense, packed pages, but it had as much meat on the bones as you’d want from two pages not bogged down by thousands of words of text and crammed with so many panels that you could barely make out the art. It had a nice balance that was not maintained with this chapter, which is disappointing. John Higgins still brings the good stuff, particularly on that first page with a wonderfully moody faraway shot of the raft with a hint of a ship nearing it, just edging in on the panel before these sickly, muscular arms lift the narrator onto the ship. Higgins’s coloring is dull and accentuates his line work with the only real touch of color coming from the ugly green of the arms. It’s hard to see, but the background work on the big Crimson Corsair introduction panel also features some great art: a montage of a skull, someone bound and blindfolded... a general sense that lurking behind the narrator’s rescuer is death and pain and destruction. The writing may have let us down this week, but John Higgins is not a man to be trifled with.

- - - P.S.: I Wrote This on a Self-Destructing Memo

Shawn Starr / don't need no hug

----------------------Batman: Earth 1 ----------------------

The point of the Earth One line of OGN's is to capture the proverbial "new reader" that never seems to appear. My guess as to why, is that comics are by and large expensive and shitty. Fifty Shades of Grey is $10 and, although poorly written, will at least make your mother and sister cum; Batman: Earth One is $24 and will just make you feel empty inside.

Batman has a strict no cum policy in place. AND HE IS THE LAW!

The only moment of emotion felt in Earth One is when Batman sweeps Alfred's leg like Johnny Lawrence in Karate Kid and showed that cripple son of a bitch who's the boss. Because in that moment Alfred (and you, my dear reader) know Bats is really ready for the mean streets of Gotham, because only Batman is so cold that he'd knock the prosthetic limb off of the only man who was ever there for him. He took lassie out behind the shed and put a .22 square between his eyes and became a man in that single moment, because that's how you become a man, by killing the things you love. And Geoff Johns kills everything he loves. Because he is a man.

-----------------Batman #11--------------------

The joke was there was no joke.

------------------Bulletproof Coffin: Disinterred #6--------------

No review, just this.

----------------------Thickness #3 ----------------------

You ever see anal beads shoved up a man's urethra? If not email me, I'll hook you up.

---------------------- Walking Dead #100-------------------

This is going to be the highest selling comic of the year, maybe the decade, and it seems set out to prove to everyone that Marvel and DC do not have a monopoly on shitty comics. It takes a cynical man to write the same comic he did 55 issues ago and think no one will pick up on it, and I guess in between screwing his co-creators out of royalties so he can buy more KFC grease to rub on himself, Kirkman sure got his cynicism down pat.

-----------------------Spider-Men #3-------------------------

The following is an excerpt from the pitch meeting for Spider-Men:

Marvel: "Come on baby, i thought we had something special here, it'll be quick and you won't feel a thing."

Bendis: "I'm not sure... i don't feel comfortable about it..."

Marvel: "Baby, don't you love me?"

Bendis: "Yeah, but..."

Marvel: "Then you'll let me..."

Bendis: "I don't know..."

Marvel: "Baby..."

Bendis: "I just don't know... will it hurt?"

Marvel: "Will it hurt?"

Bendis: "Yeah, will it?"

Marvel:"I would never do anything to hurt you. Never."

Bendis: "Ok."

Marvel: "I love you"

Bendis: "I love you to”



The primary obstacle in comics, for the artist, is to convey motion. Unable to show every action, like animation, artists need to pick out the major beats and convince the reader the character got from one point to another. All in the span of a single gutter. It's a difficult task, and the over-rendered nature of mainstream comics has made it all the more so. Readers expect splash pages and group shots, but inherent in this is a reduction in the spontaneity of the artists line work: when every line is pre-planned and pre-arranged; before ever being put to paper the image just sits there like a stiff corpse. There's a reason why Kirby's panels jump off the page, and it's not because he's laboring over each panel.

One of those silly philosophical questions you're asked as a child is "if a tree falls in the woods, does it make any noise?". The actual answer is no, since sound requires a human (or "living" entity) to register the motion taking place. It is because of this fact that sound in comics is impossible, but for it to even be a possibility it requires the artist to provide the semblance of motion on the page. Which far to many fail to do.

It is for this fact that the use of sound effects is so widespread in comics, they are used as a way to hedge one's bets against the incompetence of so many artists and show explicitly whats occurring on panel. Where the purple prose of Alan Moore's Swamp Thing once secured this fact, writers and editors are now stripped down to this single tool. Which they use as subtlety as Snoop Dog's drug advocacy. This in turn ruins the artwork of competent artists by adding foreign objects into the composition and making each element unbalanced.

There's no real point to this , besides that you shouldn't ruin Jerome Opena's art with sound effects to reinforce the point that he did in fact illustrate someone getting stabbed, but maybe it's OK on a Billy Tan page.

----------------------MORE OF AN ASIDE: Pop that Pussy Patrol =====================

I went to the beach this week; this is what I learn't:

Mandy is supposedly a bitch.

Some girl within earshot had sand in her crotch.

The proper ratio of rum to cola, in a beach setting, is one liter to one pint.

Sand crotch girl doesn't remember where she got all her bruises from... she drinks a lot.

All I learn't about beach life from 1950's movies was a lie. There was in fact, no beach battles, nor a clam shack rock band playing music for all the beach babes to bop to.

I am not a fun beach companion.

-------------------------------BloodStrike #1----------------------

RUBBING THE BLOOD is no longer a provided service. I demand a refund.

------------------------------- LINK DUMP----------------

This was awesome

Additionally Sean Collins has taken up Tom Spurgeon’s call to talk about Love and Rockets during Comic Con pretty seriously. You can read some of his reviews and essays here . I do have to say that Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 was easily the greatest ending to a comic ever published. I read both Locas omnibuses over  two amazing months last year and when you reach the final pages of Love Bunglers its truly a transcendent experience. Jaime Hernandez is one of the mediums greatest artists and produced one of the decade's defining stories, his absence from both the Harveys and Eisner's is a tragedy.

Chad Nevetts posts of Avengers vs X-men are so much more than that shitty comic ever deserved.

For all you’re League of Extraordinary Gentlemen news may I suggest The Mindless Ones and Comic Books ARE BURNING IN HELL

Tucker Stones 10 most anticipated comics of the year are pretty spot on. Although he did neglect those EC archives Fantagraphics are doing and the new Johnny Negron book from Picture Box Negron.

Mickey Zacchilli is selling original artwork from her Thickness strip. (

The Chemical Box put up a new podcast, I attempted to record an episode with them earlier this year, but it was 7 hours long and unusable. This one is much better. (

MOCCA died and no one should give a fuck.

----------- Digression #8-----------

No Black Kiss review, just more Chaykin. See Black Kiss is old and therefore irrelevant. Cheer up though, I've got seven inches of natural blonde on retainer for tonight.

= ==== Random Haunts, Random Digs, Random So Called Lives+++++++++++

The Scatology of Freud. -       #PossibleBandNames The Scatology of Freud -       #MyNewComic The Scatology of Freud -      #MyNewS&MClub The Scatology of Freud -     #MyGraduateThesis The Scatology of Freud -    #NotFunnyAnymore The Scatology of Freud -   #GrandmasFavoriteBook


Well, I got fired from the column this week, see you never.

- - - exit

Yep. We're all done. Thanks for reading, browsing, pursuing, skimming, studying or simply making fun of the work we did here. Now, our time is up. We'd like to thank Spandexless for, well, providing the venue. Very cool of them.

I took on this feature to try and learn something, but in the end all I can say is this: I wrote another few thousand words.

Live on, reader. That's all you can do.