Sunday, July 29, 2007


The last few days I have been listening to the footnotes episodes of ComicGeekSpeak about the AVENGERS / JLA four issue prestige crossover miniseries written by Kurt Busiek and drawn by George Perez that was published in 2003.

Now you may ask : what is a footnote episode ?

The guys form ComicGeekSpeak do their normal episodes with interviews, off the racks, stump the Rios and the usual stuff and then there are the special episodes. Like Indie spinner rack spotlighting the indie creators, the con specials and of course the Book of the Month episodes which are my favorites and which introduced me to some great comics like DEATHNOTE a true manga masterpiece.

But while the Book of the Month club episodes are pretty lenghty there is sometimes not enough time to talk about every little bit of information about such big comic projects like AVENGERS / JLA. Especially when a writer who knows his continuity so well like Kurt Busiek is involved. I know, there are some comic readers who hate continuity. And that´s just normal. When I was in school I hated geography - because it was something I was not good at. I couldn´t wrap my head around the subject and my father who had served in the U.S. Navy and could have taught me a lot of geography from his first - hand experience pretty much left me alone. So I had bad grades because I was not good at geography.

But that´s okay. And the same is true with continuity. There are some people who never get their head around it and can´t remember all the little bits of trivia that appear in comics now and then. But I like continuity. I just love it when Batman tells Amanda Waller in one comic that he thinks he is better suited to deprogramm somebody and she reminds him with one short line that he was brainwashed in a past adventure. Now that is done with the mention of one name and for the reader who doesn´t know what they are talking about it is strange - but the comic continuity guy just remembers the Batman miniseries THE CULT and instantly sees the cool Bernie Wrightson art flashing before his inner eye.

So the footnote episodes are full of comic book trivia for your inner geek. The two hosts of the show are of course Peter Rios ( walking superhero encyclopedia and the man to beat at stump the rios ) and Adam Murdock ( king of comic book trivia ) who are just two fountains of comic knowledge.

By the way, I hope I spelled Adam Murdock´s name right. I tried but I couldn´t find his name on the ComicGeekSpeak homepage. So I picked the spelling I was familiar with. Now I just wonder if that is the right spelling is he the lost Daredevil brother ? And who was really in the Daredevil costume while Matt was in jail ? Maybe someone from ComicGeekSpeak ?

Unlike the Book of the Month club episodes it´s not so much about the story and more a page by page ( and sometimes panel by panel ! ) review of all the hidden earter eggs in the 4 issues. Because the other reason for this extra episodes was that George Perez packed so much detail into every little panel of the comic that you need a travel guide not to miss it.

George Perez is not only one of the best comic artists ever and a master storyteller. No he also is the wizard of panel layouts with breathtaking perspectives that lesser artists whish they could pull off. But his greates strenght is that nobody packs as many people on a comic page.

Which is the reason why he does so many anniversary promo pieces for the Avengers. Counting in the fact that he was the artist on both books and he was also the artist who should have drawn it 20 years before it was published you know why he put so much work in it.

There are small things in every panel that build on the history of the Avengers or the JLA and on the cover to issue 3 everyone who was ever a member. The footnotes episode on the cover alone is 2 hours and 45 minutes long !!!

And that´s the least you can do for a cover that gave George Perez carpal tunnel syndrome and was the reason why the last issues were delayed. That´s real dedication to his craft.

So if you always wondered who the hairy dude right behind the Invisible Woman on the cover to issue three is or why the DC heroes never intervened in the second World War according to the DC continuity you should check the footnote episodes out. Even if you are not that much of a continuity geek maybe you will enjoy it. Of course it´s full of spoilers like the Book of the Month episodes but the book has been out so long now that you should have read it. Listening to the episodes I remembered why George Perez second run on the Avengers was number two on my list of favorite Avengers runs.

Number one is clearly the second John Buscema / Tom Palmer run that included such great Avengers classics like WAR ON OLYMPUS and UNDER SIEGE the storyline that introduced the THUNDERBOLTS. And number three is the run by Alan Davis which was only six issues long but for me is one of the best.

On the second run of George Perez on Avengers there were some really fantastic stories like the ULTRON story which I bought also in the german version. One of the few things PANINI did right was to put this story in one comic and since it had nice glossy paper I just had to buy it. Because the original version had this paper that made all the color look faded and dark. Anyway it was a brilliant story with outstanding moments like when the battered Avengers confronted Ultron. Or when Justice saved the day though he had broken legs and could not fight.

We also were introduced to Triathlon and Silverclaw who was not only a spanish speaking superhero ( yay ! ) but she also took on Diablo single handedly. She was adopted by the Avengers own butler Jarvis and is one of the most original new characters introduced in the pages of the Avengers.

And of course the run also introduced the Scarlett Witch´s gypsy costume designed by George Perez. No wonder Alan Davis felt the need to use a simpler costume on his issues of Avengers.

Back to AVENGERS / JLA it´s one of my favorite comics. It has everything a big crossover needs. Two superhero teams fighting against each other in little one - on - one or two - on - two fights as well as in a big free - ro - all battle royal.

And of course the two greatest superhero teams finding similarities and working together.

The fate of whole universes and multiverses in the balance.

Cosmic beings like the Watcher or the Grandmaster and plans within plans.

Cameo appearances by guys like the Phantom Stranger or Snapper Carr. Oh.....and giant alien worldconquering starfish monsters. And little facehugging ones too.

Marvel heroes fighting DC heroes. Marvel heroes fighting DC villains and vice versa. DC and Marvel villains teaming up.

And that´s all for today. Tomorrow is my big day and altough it´s one year less than on this picture I want to put it here anyway since I don´t know if I get to post tomorrow. So here´s a happy anniversary to myself.

And since he has his birthday at the same day as me I also want to wish Arnold Schwarzenegger a happy anniversary.

Alles Gute zum 60ten Gebutstag.

Todays clips are made by fans of the JLA and the Avengers. Enjoy !

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