Obituary for Swamp Thing

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Goodbye Swampy-By Hank Van Hawkins

 Noooooo. So Swampy gets cancelled in March?!! Thanks alot Convergence. Truth be told I am distraught!  By now you have also read this head line. Personally I have refused to believe it.  It has me holding back the current issues of Swampy out of both fear and excitement. So, I have been grappling with this decision for a little while now. Then I decided to write a review about the Justice League Dark where so many of favorite axed characters (Swampy included) are currently residing and working only to discover a few days after posting that article, that it too is getting cancelled ! What is going on ??  DC, are you trying to mirror Marvel’s Disney excesses now? Who knows how long I will be blaming this Convergence event for putting out to pasture some of my favorite titles. I also dislike the choice to cancel Aquaman and the Others, but I will be addressing that in my next article. For all the success that the DC TV shows are breeding, they have also been holding their own with the brevity of many of their current comic book titles. I have no idea why they are throwing out so many babies with the bath water. 
 
  Swamp Thing is by far my favorite title ever and with its most current run, it adds yet another stellar chapter to his history in the comic books as well as further establishing his place in the DC universe. I have never picked up a title or issue of swampy that I wasn’t thrilled and enthralled by. I have too many good things to say to be objective. In fact, that’s why I have never attempted to review it because I love it so much.
I read and heard some rumblings about Swampy being a part of the Convergence, but I have yet to hear the title under which he will now dwell. I’d be delighted if anyone could share this info with me. From the very beginning of the New 52 Swampy has been right on and has been a fantastic vehicle for a slew of awesome writers! I cannot say enough good things about the Rot World arc, because it was a difficult battle for Swampy and he had to call on a lot of friends to eventually get the dirty work done.  I find little fault in Swampy’s adventures, so I had no need to review something I already loved? Yet with the sudden developments I knew I had to do this review/obituary to indeed to not only confess my love for Swamp Thing as well as clearly express my doubts about this so called Convergence event. Which, at first glance appears to be nothing close to the success, mystery, and excitement of the Blackest Night event which accomplished a lot creatively and set the stage pretty solidly for The New 52 relaunch. 
 
 Now this is less of a review and more of an obituary. I also felt the need to share my disgust in a scathing criticism of the current state of affairs with DC. It appears to be somewhat chaotic and scrambling and for what reason? Why is DC compelled to reboot everything ? Personally I think this will work to get the smaller presses and their titles into the hands of readers and comic book lovers. Dark horse has always been  adept at doing so, thus their longevity.  Same with Boom and IDW, because they all have pretty strong rosters these days and I think they will all do even better this year than all the years previously due to all the confusion DC and Marvel have now started to seed on a weekly basis. With big promises and promotions that never really deliver on what they say they will, Over promising and under delivering is bad for any business.  It is a both a compelling and sad state for the big boys of the comic book world however we can never underestimate the power of the little guys that have now an opportunity to by pass up the big boys. Yet on the other hand, we might  have just flown past the current sweet spot comics has been in for a few years now. Alot of that success has been a byproduct of branching out and giving some of the lesser heroes their own titles. Doing so also helps to break in a lot of good writers who would otherwise never have a chance to break in with the big boys.  I also like it when the titles keep it simple. 
Swampy has always kept it simple and straightforward even when juggling different battles in different worlds, all the while sharing the pages with other DC characters. He has never gotten too busy. In fact  Swamp Thing has always been accessible and relate able in any one issue no matter where it happens to be in a particular arc. So it’s sad by all means yet at the same time it seems to be a fertile field this year where the smaller guys are set up to make leaps and bounds over the big boys.  Hopefully this will lead to a breath of fresh air in the comic world while giving birth to some new heroes and new titles.  And until then if you get a chance show Swampy some love by telling DC they are making a huge mistake by removing one of their most iconic, popular, and useful hero’s from their universe. 
 
 -Hank Van Hawkins 
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Justice League Dark Review: The devils that you know

Justice League Dark Review Trades 1-4

By Hank Van Hawkins

JUSTLD_Cv20_6n9gwkxwyb_ Well, my last review was of the TV show and DC character Constantine. Strangely enough, he has a huge part in the Justice League Dark. Of course it has only been recently that I have worked through the first 4 graphic novels and I have to say that it is not only a great concept but it is enthralling and very well executed all the way through.  I saved my judgment as well as my excitement until I at least got through the most current graphic novels.  Personally I was at a loss when Deadman and Frankenstein “Agent of Shade” solo titles we’re cancelled early on the New 52. I have always found these two characters enthralling for a number of reasons. After fretting awhile I realized almost immediately that Deadman also has a prominent part in The Justice League Dark! I was excited if just for his membership alone. Suddenly I was upset for not picking this title up sooner. Then as I began to collect and really get into the graphic novels soon enough low and behold Frankenstein has also become part of the Justice League Dark team. Not to mention the fact that my all time favorite Swamp Thing has now made his appearance. I also love the fact that The House of Mystery serves as The Dark League Justice’s defacto headquarters. That is yet another title I always love to see rebooted. 
 
    That all being said, and with unbridled enthusiasm, I totally dove right in and it’s getting pretty safe to say it is one of my new favorite titles now. As always, I had my doubts at first despite having so many favorite characters of mine. Also seeing how I have never really read much of the Justice League title itself because it always seemed to be so busy to me with our heroes constantly coming and going. Yet, now I understand the appeal of a title like Justice League Dark, even though it sounds like an overly busy idea. They keep the story line flowing right along with the character appearances, which are sometimes brief but, always poignant in tying together the stories. I have been introduced to characters I never knew of before as well. It is great how DC has brought together all of these darker more supernatural figures in their universe into one team. This title generates and maintains excitement from issue to issue. I guess one of the cool factors about the regular Justice League title is having so many heroes in one place on one team fighting a common foe. Now with the Justice League dark, the other characters who are not quite heroes can come together on their own as well as with their Justice League counterparts. 
  
JUSTLD_v4-DC-Cv_534dd4e1608ee3.95157135The art work is sharp and the covers of the comic books have been very eye pleasing, which is a large part of their appeal on the newsstand as well. The aesthetics work great and the characters not only fit with one another, they strangely relate easily since they are indeed all outcasts. The directions and liberties they take with my beloved characters is great. A part of the arc has the team getting separated for a bit from one another and the direction it takes is awesome and constantly refreshing. I am a comic reader that so often times will put the book down when it gets to a critical  or exciting point to save the excitement for later.  Despite having the Graphic novel, I still try to read one issue at a time. The action is lightning fast and non-stop and makes it hard to refrain from the issues because the complexity of what is about to happen next. It literally keeps me on the edge of my seat. One could read it so fast, but I choose not to, to savor these moments. I don’t think a title has covered so much ground and brought such engaging characters together like this before. The shadowy grey area between this world and the next is explored in grave detail. It is a very complex title but one that pays off in sure fire adaptions and suspense-holding arcs. I know I am going to sound like a blushing fan boy but this is a serious title that will enthrall readers for years to come. I can’t wait for the movie to hit the big screen either! I can’t wait to see that day. In the mean time I will stay up to date with the comic books. Justice League Dark is a winner.  
 For more about DC comics, stop by DCcomics.com

Back from The holiday hole

My darling with our new favorite morning coffee containment units
My darling with our new favorite morning coffee containment units

Hey all of you. It’s been a bit here since we’ve done anything. Recovering from surgery and the holidays took a lot out of us, especially me (Richard) but we’re hoping to get on track again.

We’re restarting the podcast SOBS tonight. We’re going to be talking comics and baseball of course, and we might tackle Gotham, though I haven’t caught an episode since they took their little sabbatical over the holidays. A couple comic book that we will discuss are Swamp thing #32, and Gotham by Midnight. We were supposed to talk about Hellboy and the BPRD, but I’m late to that game and couldn’t find the first issue.

I’ve had some adventures here lately, in and around Seattle. I was able to meet with Ed Brisson, an indie writer of comics who was quite an interview. I hope to get that up and available soon via podcast and written transcript. I also have been able to find some neat little places around Seattle. A couple are below.

AFK Tavern.

Everett, WA.

A place for nerds and geeks, and actually people working or reading on their laptops. It’s advertised as the above, and it definitely is that. We were warned to sit in the bar area if we wanted quiet, because trivia was going on. It was a little loud, and brighter than a normal place. It was a lot more laid back and less…”drunky” than most other bars. People were drinking a lot of soda and playing trivia, fighting games with old-school arcade joysticks. There were tables of people playing Warcraft and Star-craft, and working with headphones. The bar area was indeed quiet, with a not-so-interested bartender named Anna. I’m sure that she is a great person, gamer and American. I’m sure that she doesn’t get alot of business in the AFk Tavern though. I’m reminded by my dear Sparrow that, it’s likely that since her bar is tucked away form the restaurant and the action, and that gamers aren’t known for tipping or drinking much, we were moot as a checkbook at an ATM. But, even though we love good customer service and a chatty bartender, we were there to be around some like-minded folks who just wanted to do the same.

The menu is deliciously tongue-in-cheek and is overflowing with game, movie and television references for the names of their drinks and food items. I ordered a Green Goblin ale, which was decidedly NOT-green, and Kris ordered a Naughty Wood-Elf. ANYWAY, this won’t devolve into a personal blog.

Here are some pictures from the evening

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This is the AFK tavern, and the back of our bartender whom was nowhere near us in the bar. Hey, Anna! AAAAaaaaNNa!
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Purple Haze

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So yeah, we found Purple Haze where I was able to procure myself some adult products. I use them for medicine, but, yeah. That’s not really anyone’s business is it?

 

So, on to the podcast; We are back, we are read to write, read and explore all of our favorite things. On to glory!

The management

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Another great location in Seattle-The Comet Tavern

 

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Every place should adopt this credo

 

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