GeekMom: Comic Book Corner — Batman is 75 and Cars Turn Into Monsters!

Image copyright DC Comics

Happy Comic Release Day and a special, “Happy Birthday!” to Batman, who is 75 this week. This week, we’ll take a look at Batman: A Celebration of 75 Years, the finale of the Batman: Year Zero saga, plus cars that become monsters, a new zombie book from DC, and Archie #656, which introduces Veronica’s fashion designer cousin who happens to need a wheelchair.

And if you’ve ever wanted to make a comic, we have a Tumblr just for you.

Dakster Sullivan — Monster Motors #1 written by Brian Lynch and art by Nick Roche, Leonard O’Grady, and Tom B. Long

Monster Motors  Image: IDW Publishing
Monster Motors Image: IDW Publishing

What do you get when you mix Pixar’s Cars, the story of Dracula, and Frankenstein? Monster Motors of course.

Victor Franke is a new college graduate who makes the mistake of buying a Transylvania junkyard off eBay. Victor intends on turning the junkyard into a car repair shop, but his dreams are fraught with nightmares when Cadillacula comes to suck the gas and life out of all the cars.

Victor is determined to not let this freak of motor nature destroy his new life and builds his own monster motor to stop Cadillacula. Guess what he calls his creation? Frankenride!

At the risk of spoiling anything for you, I’m going to stop here. Let’s just say I’m excited to see how the rest of the monster world is portrayed and who takes Frankenride’s side and who joins up with Cadillacula.

I hesitate to recommend this title for anyone under the age of 8 years old, as the subject matter might freak out younger children.

Curious to know what I’m pulling this week? Check out my pull list on Comixology.

Kelly Knox — The Comics Survival Kit from Gail Simone

If you’ve ever wanted to be a professional in the comic book industry, the Comics Survival Kit should be your first and best resource for getting started. Created by veteran writer Gail Simone, the Tumblr is designed to give advice from other pros with quick, short tips.

Gail Simone
Gail Simone Spotlight at SDCC 2009. Photo by Loren Javier, Licensed by CC BY-ND 2.0

In the Kit you’ll find tips for writers and artists alike, from how to get your book stocked in stores to what editors look for in artist portfolios. Upcoming plans for the site include:

I will be adding a couple mini-tips articles from all over the industry ever couple days. I have, with permission, used some great stuff I have found on the web, but the vast majority of mini-lessons will be new, from colorists, retailers, writers, artists, editors, and lots more. People like Greg Pak, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Jim Zub, Adam Hughes, Pia Guerra, some of the best people in the industry.

Follow Comics Survival Kit to get some of the best comic book advice out there, and maybe you’ll see yourself on GeekMom’s Comic Book Corner someday!

Corrina Lawson  — Batman: A Celebration of 75 years, various writers and artists  

This thick hardcover featuring a cover illustration by Jim Lee is the best of DC’s 75th Anniversary books so far.  Superman’s book was fine, Lois Lane’s celebration left something to be desired, but this one works in every way. It hits all eras of Batman, from the pulp beginnings to the trippy era of the 1960s and then onto the glory days of Batman stories, beginning in the 1970s with Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams. I was pleased with all the creators that are represented.

Writers include Mike Barr, Steve Englehart, Archie Goodwin, Dennis O’Neil, John Broome, Edmond Hamilton, Bill Finger, Various, Scott Snyder, Paul Dini, Chuck Dixon, Greg Rucka, and Doug Moench. I was particular happy to see the highly underrated Moench in this volume.  No Alan Brennert but I’ll give them a pass on that, as the stories in this collection are uniformly excellent.

Then there’s the art. This 1970s diehard Adams fangirl is disappointed that Jim Lee gets the cover, but given Lee is recognized as the best Batman artist of the present day, I can’t complain. Also included is art by the late, great Marshall Rogers who did far too little Batman work, and, of course, Bill Finger, who is widely believed to deserve at least half of the credit for creating Batman that goes instead in full to Bob Kane. Other artists are Greg Capullo, J.H. Williams, III, Jim Aparo, Alan Davis, Michael Golden, Frank Miller, Alex Toth, Carmine Infantino, Dick Sprang, and Bob Kane, truly an all-star lineup.

This is a great book to introduce someone to Batman or for to a long-time fan who wants to revisit their favorite stories.

Age recommendation: All ages, but watch those more recent stories.

Batman #33 by Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo and Mike Plascencia

The long running Zero Year arc concludes this issue with Batman’s final confrontation with the Riddler and with Lucius Fox and Jim Gordon helping to save Gotham. This hasn’t been my favorite storyline, as it contains fantastical elements that strain my suspension of disbelief, but it all looks amazing, thanks to the art team.

But what I want to talk about are the last few pages, which feature a flashback of Bruce Wayne confessing that, when he was a teenager, he tried to get his mind-wiped via electronic shock treatment because he couldn’t stand the pain of his life. Bruce tells Alfred that he must be Batman or risk not being able to handle his life at all. The last few pages show Alfred flashing forward to what Bruce’s life might have been without Batman and concludes with Alfred telling potential love interests that Bruce is “already taken,” meaning by Gotham or Batman.

I feel like Scott Snyder and I need to sit down over a cup of coffee and talk about who Batman really is, because his view of Batman seems to be as a mentally unbalanced person who has to dress up like a Bat and fight crime to stay sane. Whereas I’m far more of the Denny O’Neil version of Batman: The driven but sane Guardian of Gotham who fights crime because someone needs to bring justice to a broken system and prevent another child from being orphaned like he was.

And these two versions of Batman aren’t the same. At all. Snyder has some evidence on his side, like the version of Batman written by Frank Miller in The Dark Knight Returns, but I’ll just point to the movie Batman Begins, which is clearly of the “Gotham’s Guardian” version.

Age recommendation: 10+

Star-Spangled War Stories Featuring G.I. Zombie by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Scott Hampton

This is more sick and twisted fun than it has any right to be for a zombie story. To talk about the plot would give away some of the best parts but, essentially, there’s a zombie, he eats brains, and he’s kinda trying to do the right thing. It’s very violent and gory, as befits a zombie comic, but I also laughed at a couple of spots. Hampton has some great zombie facial expressions. If you like zombies or like Palmiotti/Gray, then you need to buy this comic.

Age recommendation: Teen+

Archie #656 by Dan Parent, story and pencils, and Rich Koslowski, inks

“Here Comes Harper” is the introduction of Veronica’s cousin, a fun-loving fashion designer who is also confined to a wheelchair. At first, I was worried the story would be sacrificed to the message (though it is a good one), but after a few pages of explanation about who Harper is and why she’s visiting, we movie into typical Archie territory with Harper and the whole gang attending a party and then slapstick and fun ensue.

Age recommendation: All ages.

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

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All-Star Western #33
Aquaman #33
Batman #33
Batman ’66 #13
Batman And Robin #33
Batman Beyond Universe #12
Batman Black And White Vol. 4 HC
Batman Eternal #16
Catwoman #33
Dead Boy Detectives #7
Detective Comics #27 (Special Edition)
Flash #33
He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe #15
Injustice Gods Among Us Year Two #8
Justice League Dark #33
Justice League Of America’s Vibe Vol. 1 Breach TP
New 52 Futures End #12
Red Lanterns #33
Secret Origins #4
Star-Spangled War Stories Featuring G.I. Zombie #1
Superman #33
Superman Action Comics Vol. 3 At The End Of Days TP
Superman Action Comics Vol. 4 Hybrid HC
Swamp Thing By Brian K. Vaughan Vol. 2 TP
Trinity Of Sin Pandora #13
Unwritten Vol. 2 Apocalypse #7
Unwritten Vol. 9 The Unwritten Fables TP
Wonder Woman #33
100th Anniversary Special Avengers #1
All-New Doop #4 (Of 5)
All-New Invaders #8
All-New Ultimates #5
Amazing Spider-Man #4 New Series GeekMom Recommended
Avengers Vol. 5 Adapt Or Die HC (Premiere Edition)
Captain America Vol. 2 Castaway In Dimension Z Book 2 TP
Daredevil #6 GeekMom Recommended
Deadpool #32
Deadpool Dracula’s Gauntlet #3 (Of 7)
Deadpool Vol. 5 Wedding Of Deadpool TP
Deadpool Vs X-Force #2 (Of 4)
Disney Kingdoms Seekers Of The Weird HC
Fantastic Four Epic Collection Vol. 20 Into The Timestream TP
George Romero’s Empire Of The Dead Act One TP
Guardians Of The Galaxy By Abnett And Lanning The Complete Collection Vol. 1 TP
Hulk #4 New Series
Loki Agent Of Asgard #2 New Series
Marvel Previews #132 (August 2014 For Products On-Sale October 2014)
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man #28 Kid Friendly
Mighty Avengers #12
Original Sin #5.2
Original Sins #4 (Of 5)
Storm #1 New Series
Thunderbolts Vol. 4 No Mercy TP
War Of Kings TP (New Printing)
Wolverine #8
Wolverine And The X-Men #6
Wolverine By Jason Aaron The Complete Collection Vol. 3 TP
Wolverine Origin II HC
Wolverine Vol. 1 Three Months To Die TP
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Godzilla Rulers Of Earth #14
Kill Shakespeare The Mask Of Night #2 (Of 4)
Memory Collectors HC
Mike Mignola’s Hellboy Artist’s Edition HC
Monster Motors #1 New Kid Friendly Series
My Little Pony Friends Forever #7 Kid Friendly
Popeye Classics #24 Kid Friendly
Ragnarok #1
Star Trek Harlan Ellison’s The City On The Edge Of Forever The Original Teleplay #2 (Of 5)
Super Secret Crisis War Johnny Bravo #1 Kid Friendly
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Heroes Collection Oversized HC
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles New Animated Adventures #13 Kid Friendly GeekMom Recommended
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Turtles In Time #2 (Of 4)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Utrom Empire TP
Transformers Classics Vol. 7 TP
Transformers Vs G.I. JOE #1
Transformers Windblade #4 (Of 4) Final Issue
Wild Blue Yonder #5 (Of 6)
Winterworld #2 New Series
X-Files Season 10 #14 Trigger Sensitive 
Axe Cop The American Choppers #3 (Of 3) Final Issue
Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 10 #5
Conan The Avenger #4 New Series
Dragon Girl And Monkey King The Art Of Katsuya Terada HC
Dream Thief Escape #2 (Of 4)
Elfquest The Final Quest #4 New Series
Gantz Vol. 32 TP
Goon Occasion Of Revenge #1 (Of 4) New Mini-Series
Groo Vs Conan #1 (Of 4) New Mini-Series
Halo Escalation #8
Mass Effect Foundation #13
MPD-Psycho Vol. 11 TP
Sakai Project Artists Celebrate Thirty Years Of Usagi Yojimbo HC
Star Wars Legacy II #17
Star Wars The Lucas Draft HC
Star Wars The Lucas Draft TP
Tomb Raider #6

Acronym Key: VC = Variant Cover / HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback

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Dakster Sullivan is a network administrator by day and a cosplayer by night. She loves discovering new books to read, tech to play with, and ways to express her herself. She has anxiety and depression and strives to educate others about these invisible illnesses.