Criticism

The Truth Redefined: Superman and Passing in America

“In Action Comics #41, Clark Kent encounters a predominantly white group of people that almost immediately try to gang up and beat him. These people would have never thought of doing this to the almighty Superman but now that he’s been revealed to be the weakened Clark Kent, they see an opening to express their fear of his otherness. So Clark Kent has to beat up some bigots which is just fine by me since it is a proud tradition for the character (see: Superman versus the Ku Klux Klan). This is contrasted with the welcoming community of “Kentville” that Clark finds when he returns to his old stomping grounds in Metropolis. There he is met with celebration by his decidedly multi-cultural neighbors, who have an understanding that Clark’s heritage doesn’t make him any less of a person or any less of an American. His community is proud to celebrate their neighbor that had been forced to live in secret for so long and they stand with him in solidarity.”

The 100 Best Comics of the First Half of the 2010s: Part 1, 100-81

“Emily Carroll is a cartoonist I wish had illustrated a Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark book with her delicate, haunting figures; The Prince & the Sea carries on the tradition of a story in one of those aforementioned books with its haunting visuals married to prose with a lyrical meter and rhyme. At 12 pages long (the final one is a tad longer than the others) with each page generally comprised of one illustration, you could read this comic in just a couple of minutes, a perfect dosage for something that [sic] published online.

This isn’t the only webcomic on this list and definitely not the only one nominated but I believe that it is the one that uses the medium to the best effect. The final page utilizes the scrolling function of a webpage to have readers follow the titular prince and his mermaid paramour as they travel to the bottom of the sea with a series of tableaus revealed as the reader travels down to the end. It’s simple but it’s effective and more than most creators ever think to do when publishing their work online.”

Daredevil #1 Features Great Art Alongside a Lazy Script

“Milla adds texture and depth reminiscent of Matt Hollingsworth’s work on the title a decade ago and Daniel Freedman’s coloring on the otherwise terrible Daredevil Noir. The dots he employs in his coloring are effective at establishing the grit of the world as they recall the cheaper printing of comics from decades past. It’s a simple technique, yeah, but it’s more work put into creating a sense of tone and place than the script provides. Whites and light beiges that fill in figures stand out as elements of each page as reds and blacks generally dominate the opening sequence. When the next scene rolls around and the environment becomes entrenched in blues, the red and black of Daredevil’s costume stands out that much more as if they’re packed in to contain all of the violence of the previous, all red and black scene. Even at peace and in conversation, Daredevil looks violent.

Review: Moon Knight #5

“From the moment he walks into the building, Moon Knight is in complete control of the situation. He is in no danger of losing as he grapples with thugs. This is symbolized with the white gutters that appear on pages around panels in which Moon Knight delivers devastating blow after devastating blow. At various points, Moon Knight himself bleeds out into the gutters, becoming a part of them, so that the entire page is encased by him to show his complete control. When Moon Knight struggles or hits a bump in the road, the gutters disappear and the panels go for a full-bleed to demonstrate his loss of control for the moment such as when his truncheon breaks or he engages in a fight with a more skilled and armed opponent. Of course, the gutters reappear when he regains his control. And, most interestingly, in a climactic moment of violence the panel goes for the full-bleed and, thanks to a white background, becomes one with the gutters.

For as unstoppable as Moon Knight is, he shows vulnerability throughout the issue as he loses pieces of his stark white, uncolored suit to gradually reveal more of his flesh. This does not, however, break the effect of him appearing as an unnatural specter. If anything, it makes him look that much more upsetting to see the color of his skin, his very humanity, juxtaposed with the absence of color that is Moon Knight. The meaning is clear. Human though he may appear to be, this man is an unstoppable force of nature. The blood that appears on his equally blank truncheon near the beginning serves as an indicator of the way the character is operating as a blank canvas to be acted upon through violence.”

X-Men: Worst X-Man Ever #1 Lives Down to Its Name

“Making things somewhat more difficult is the script’s approach to character. There’s a gay character who fills the role of unnamed best friend that appears on two pages before disappearing from the issue. We know he’s gay because Bailey calls him his ‘condescending gay best friend.’ Ignoring the fact that placing ‘gay’ as a descriptor next to the negatively connotative ‘condescending’ is bad writing because it sort of has the effect of making ‘gay’ appear as if it’s meant to be a bad thing. It screams of checking a box, trying to get a gay character in the book without doing something like letting your original character protagonist be gay. There was a time when getting another character to confirm that another, non-main character was gay was a huge deal in superhero comics but we’re past that point. This isn’t progressive, it’s elementary. It may even be regressive. A writer wanting to include gay characters in their work is still a positive thing in this case, something much better than a writer simply ignoring reality and not acknowledging the existence of the LGBTQ community, but it’s not especially inspiring when this is how they choose to do it.”

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