In Which I Discuss Captain America Comics Again.

I have a confession to make. I haven't read an issue of Captain America in months. I bought all the issues, and I'm sure that, some day, I'll go back and read them but, upon their purchase, I wasn't all that interested.

I'm not quite sure why. It was after that big Captain America tea-partier blow up back in February, so that may have had something to do with it. Maybe I was just a little tired- I've been living with these comics for a long time now. I've read them, re-read them, parsed them, wrote about them; I'm sort of surprised that I didn't burn out a long time ago. This week's issue #606, however, was the start of a brand new story line, featuring the return of Baron Zemo to the pages of Captain America, as well as the beginning of a new art era for the book (with Butch Guice taking over pencils from Luke Ross), and so I decided that it was, perhaps, time to return to the pages of my favorite comic book.

I was not disappointed.

Cap's had a little bit of a rough patch since the mess that was Reborn started, but I'm glad to see it's over- everything about this comic is pitch-perfect and spot on. Ed Brubaker is writing this book brilliantly again. That Brubaker has managed to seamlessly integrate Steve into the book as a supporting character is a feat on its own- he used to be the star of this book, remember. He plays Falcon off of Steve and both of them off of Bucky in a way that almost makes me wish that Ed had given us a whole issue of the three of them sitting around talking in a bar- this is how superheroes should interact with each other, out of costume. This is how superhero comic books should be written.

Brubaker's return to form was not very much of a surprise- he's done nothing but write brilliant comics for years, so a misstep or two was to be expected, sooner or later. What is something of a surprise is Butch Guice's art. My only previous experience with Guice was his inks on Reborn, and to say that they left something to be desired would be a significant understatement: Bryan Hitch's art was bad, and the inking didn't do it any favors.

Here, though, Guice proves that he knows his Captain America- at its best moments, the art references both Cap co-creator Jack Kirby and the artist responsible for perhaps the most famous Captain America page ever, Jim Steranko. This art is cartoony, kinetic, yet also impossibly realistic, which is the Kirby influence (I think there's even some Kirby Krackle in there!) and the design and surrealist elements are full-dose Steranko. Butch Guice does for Captain America's art what Ed Brubaker did for his writing- he is reexamining Cap's history, radically retelling it, in order that we may understand his present, his future. I'm in love with the technique in both art and writing- this is a hell of a book, if you like great comic art.

There's only one page that's kind of silly, and that's the oddly placed Steranko-style page near the beginning; it's not that the art's bad, it just doesn't make very much sense.

If you're looking to get into Captain America, now's a good time. If you're looking for something new? This is a good choice for that, too. This is a damn good comic book- I wish they were all this good.

Paolo Rivera, Gentleman Artist!

I had the unique pleasure of meeting the truly amazing artist Paolo Rivera a few weeks ago at a signing event at Jim Hanley's Universe in Manhattan! Rivera has done a great deal of excellent work for Marvel over the past few years including his very cool origin-retelling project with writer Paul Jenkins: "Mythos".

Paolo Rivera with his sketches!

The sketch he's holding is preliminary work for the covers he did on "The Amazing Spider-Man" issues #615-616, which I reviewed a few months ago here!

Meeting people who have a 'public face' for the first time is a strange experience. You 'feel' like you know them, even though you know you don't. Mr. Rivera was generous with his time and his work: He was sketching for a number of fans while chatting with many others. There were three of us standing there flipping through the sketches he had placed on the table... and talking about them. In front of him. I realized suddenly that although we were just saying "Paolo Rivera is awesome!" we were rather rudely talking about him in the third person. In front of him.

So I apologetically said as much and he immediately said that hearing us right there talking about him was kind of cool as it was at least a sort of physically immediate feedback. Sort of like hearing his blog's post comments read out loud. Like I wrote in the title of this post: Paolo Rivera, gentleman artist.

Let that be a lesson to you: Don't be an idiot like Gorga was, engage with these people at cons and signing events. Treat them with respect but not a damn religious reverence, just like you would anyone else.

Rivera is the artist on the upcoming big (possibly huge) Spider-Man story written by Joe Quesada to run in "Amazing" #637-640 in July of this year. We Spidey fans are dreading it, but for reasons completely unrelated to his art. It's another chance for Joe Quesada to change his mind/give the fans what they want/make sense of a two-year-old groaner of a story. Whether he takes that chance (he's had several already), is yet to be seen. Quesada was interviewed about it here on We're not holding our breath. At least it's going to look gorgeous!

A dynamic figure artist with a sensitive color palette, Rivera really is one of the best talents making comics in the mainstream today! Do not pass up a chance to look at his stuff, read his stuff, or meet him! His bloody brilliant art can be seen on his blog The Self-Absorbing Man!

~ @JonGorga

EDIT (11/28/2o1o):
Oops. "One Moment in Time" was in "The Amazing Spider-Man" #638 #639 #640 and #641.

In brightest day....

In blackest night
No teaser poster shall escape my sight.
Let all who worship movie critics' might
Beware my power
Green Lantern's light poster.

Okay, so I couldn't make it rhyme. Deal with it. You get the gist. I'm excited for this movie. I really am. Though in my heart of hearts I know it will probably disappoint me, like an ex-boyfriend that claims to have changed. But the flashy teaser poster and the promise of Mark Long as Sinestro keeps drawing me in. Then I remember the fact that they cast Blake Lively as Carol Ferris and I'm torn again.

But besides the truly baffling choice of having skinny, blonde Lively playing a tough, pilot chick like Carol, my major fear about the Green Lantern movie is that I'm worried there won't be enough of, you know, everyone else. Now I'm not expecting John or Guy or Kyle (that would be dumb, because they came later) but what I want to see is Kilowog, Tomar Re, maybe even Katma Tui. You know, the Lanterns from other sectors that make the comic book so much fun. Little known fact, Kilowog is totally my favorite Lantern.

So far IMDB isn't listening any non-earthlings besides Abin Sur and Sinestro, which doesn't look good for me. Now I'm assuming we'll at least get The Guardians, but what I love so much about the Green Lantern comics is the range of characters. I want to see Hal become a Lantern, but dammit, I want dudes from space too. So please don't break my heart DC, and deliver me a Green Lantern movie as awesome as the comics (and as awesome as that poster).

Later, poozers. Lantern Sector 2814.5 out.