Pull list week 3+4/2014

These two weeks only four comics were added to my collection:

Coffin Hill #4Coffin Hill #4 (Vertigo)

This comic is more and more turning into a total joyride. I love the character development, the art, the story, simply everything.

However, I happen to notice that we now have a tremendous number of witches in comic books. But, as long as the stories are so diverse and the witches don’t start to sparkle, bring ’em on, I say!






Pretty Deadly #4Pretty Deadly #4 (Image)

A butterfly and a rabbit’s skeleton telling a story. Intriguing and original. I haven’t read the issue already but I’m definitely looking forward to it, even if western stories normally bore me to death. (No pun intended.)








Black Widow #2Black Widow #2 (Marvel)

The second issue of the new series to give the Marvel Universe a second chance. I felt ambivalent about the first issue. The art was nice, but somehow lacked a punch and the story was nice to read, but not more. I hope the series catches up speed (and my interest) with this issue.

If not, I don’t think I’ll be able to bother about it any more.






Hacktivist #1Hacktivist #1 (Archaia Entertainment)

Being a computer science teacher, I really like to know how activists and hackers are portrait in popular media. Oh, and Alyssa Milano wrote the comic. Both of the reasons are equally valid to try out the book, right? Right?








Spider-Man reboot in April 2014

From what you can read here, Marvel is rebooting the Amazing Spider-Man (with Peter Parker) by issuing a #1 in April 2014.

I don’t know what you think of this, but Peter’s facial expression on the cover does make him look like an imbecile, doesn’t it? The eyes and grin are just creepy. Have a look for yourself:

Amazing Spider-Man #1

Game classifications are stupid?

I feel the need to clarify that, being a parent, I have nothing against the protection of minors. In fact, I’m totally in favour of it. However, while classifying games (and videos) is useful to give unknowing parents, grandparents and other guardians a useful guide as to whether a game or movie is suitable for the intended audience, I sometimes can only wonder how these ratings are justified. Let me give you an example!

I recently bought a Nintendo DS game based on a comic series: Emily the Strange-Strangerous. If you know the comic series you will agree that it is a somewhat darker, cynical and at times depressive series. If you don’t know it, have a look here. It is a good comic and you don’t want to miss it.

Now let’s have a look at how the three major rating agencies rated the game. Here are shots of the box:

Emily the Strange: Strangerous (front) Emily the Strange: Strangerous (back)

The three contestants are:

  • the USK (Unterhaltsungssoftware Selbstkontrolle, Germany)
  • the PEGI (Pan European Game Information, Europe)
  • the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board, Canada and USA)

The three ratings are:

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a loser! How can the German USK differ so much from the others, especially if you keep in mind that the game features violence against others in cartoon form. But violence is not the real problem this rating has. To actually play the game, you have to be able to read. If you can’t, you won’t understand instructions or hints to solve the many puzzles awaiting you. This is misleading. Those ratings should take into account the abilities of the children. Especially when it comes to reading or writing.

Batman’s The Long Halloween as a murder mystery

Batman The Long HalloweenIn his wonderful essay “The Smartest Man in the Morgue: Watchmen And ‘Twelve Notes On The Mystery Story'”, Chad Nevett discusses Raymond Chandler’s categories of a good murder mystery in respect to the comic book Watchmen. It was published in the book: Minutes To Midnight: Twelve Essays on Watchmen.

I’d like to show that Batman’s The Long Halloween might as well be considered a murder mystery following the classical notes by Chandler. However, because I’m neither a literary scholar nor want to spoil reading for you, I’m going to do this with a simple list presenting the notes as given by Nevett and my own thoughts about them concerning this Batman story.

  1. Credible motivation: I’d say that yes, the murderer has a very credible motivation to kill.
  2. Methods of murder and detection must be technically sound: Again, definitely yes.
  3. Honest story: I don’t think any part of the mystery was unhonestly hidden or shaded by false emphasis. So, yes again.
  4. Realistic characters and settings: This is a problematic point. I think we can all agree that superhero comics might have a problem with being realistic. Some superheros have superhuman powers, some have divine ancestors. Batman, however, is just a traumatised millionaire with an oath to protect his hometown. Therefore I’d say yes to this note.
  5. Value beyond the mystery itself: It is a Batman story, so, definitely yes!
  6. Suspense: I was definitely not aware of who the Holiday killer was. I had my suspicions, but those were right where the story lead me to believe. So, another yes.
  7. Reasonable amount of dash: Tricky one. I’m not sure what that is going to mean.
  8. Essential simplicity of the solution: Yes.
  9. Solution baffles an intelligent reader: Yes.
  10. Solution seems inevitable once revealed: Yes.
  11. Mystery story must not try to do everything at once: Again, I’m not sure about this one. There are some subplots in the story, which might be too much to satisfy this one of Chandler’s notes.
  12. Criminal must face a punishment: Oh, this one is hard to talk about without spoilers. I’d say this one is a yes/no, depending on which kind of punishment (moral or judicial) you are looking at.

Let’s keep Chandler’s addenda notes out of the equation. (You can do that yourself after reading The Long Halloween and Nevett’s essay, if you are so enclined.) With 9/12, The Long Halloween might be considered a murder mystery by the grand old mystery master himself. Still, he might not give a damn about comics anyway, so better go and enjoy it yourself!