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Three comic book reviews: Pull List #5 (‘Avengers Academy,’ ‘Hack/Slash’ and ‘TMNT’)

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Well, here’s number five of the series, which is two after the invitation for other writers to add their two cents to the “what comic books are you reading?” discussion. Nobody else threw their hat into the ring, so I guess you all just really hate comic books, then, huh?

Avengers Academy #39 Avengers Academy #39

I keep my comic books in binders of 40 issues; I feel accomplished when I fill up a binder with all one series, for some strange reason. So, of course, Avengers Academy would go out after 39 issues. That is so annoying.

Though I am a big fan of this series in particular and writer Christos Gage in general (I think I might have mentioned that before), this ending feels like a bit of a letdown. I did like how the two furriest Academy students, Reptil and White Tiger, are apparently on the verge of a relationship at this ending. And I liked how perpetual grumpy Avenger Quicksilver gets a nice moment of humanity in this final issue. But the actual final pages are a different matter. “Cured” hero Veil returning to high school is a nice bookend to the series (Veil in school was how the series started), but her then beating up a pair of bullies is a bit, well, inappropriate seems to be the right word for the feeling I got from this ending.

The “they could go evil at the drop of the hat” twist, ballyhooed at the beginning of the run as “a bigger surprise than Thunderbolts #1” (and thankfully dropped soon after) gets one last hurrah. Funny, that. The book was sold on a twist, but managed to go almost 40 issues on strength of characterization instead.

Hack/Slash #20 Hack/Slash #20

This is another Cat and Dog Detective issue of Tim Seeley ’s Hack/Slash, though this time it more directly involves the two main characters, the slasher hunters Cassie Hack and her strange partner Vlad.

Cat has been doing some detective work, and has found out some rather disturbing new information for Cassie. Meanwhile, Cassie and Vlad are having issues in their relationship, due mostly to the fact that they aren’t even sure what kind of relationship they have. Cat, with Pooch in tow, reveals her findings to Cassie, which puts Cassie in a dark place, and Vlad must find a way to save her from herself.

I like this series so much because it swerves erratically from broad humor to ultra violence to quiet character moments, but still manages to hit those marks perfectly. One minute, you’re laughing at Pooch’s comic antics, next you’re reacting to the frankly touching friendship between the two unlikely leads.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #15 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #15

This issue introduces a new mutant character to the universe, though he’s another turtle. A snapping turtle, to be exact. He seems to be inspired by the Tokka character from the second movie; at the very least, the writers of this series have got to be aware that is the character most readers will be reminded of. He’s a big mutant snapping turtle that does not have the human intelligence of the titular turtles, after all.

However, he’s named Slash for this series, and the first part of the issue involves his backstory. The next part of the story involves the four turtles out on patrol. It seems Donatello has scoped out a new place for them to hide in; perhaps a new home base for this incarnation of the turtles. Unfortunately, Slash seems to like it, too, so there is a confrontation.

I’ve gone on and on about how I don’t actually like the art in this series that much; this issue is much better suited to it, however. Andy Kuhn’s dark and linear drawings give the proceedings a horror comic feel, which is exactly the tone this issue strives for.

Comments

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It's not so much hate in my case — more that I grew up on Internet comics, and in general paper versions are less convenient and don't have the content I want. I took my copies of Ozy and Millie camping once, I guess . . .

Online distribution brought down a lot of barriers, and the diversity and availability of work is so much greater because of it. (Heck, one of the first online comics was furry.)

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I grew up on print comics: Disney's (I know now they were Western Printing's) Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse and Li'l Bad Wolf and Scamp, and Walter Lantz's Andy Panda and Charlie Chicken and Oswald Rabbit, and all too rarely Walt Kelly's Pogo Possum, and the even more rarely WB's Porky Pig adventure comics (I never cared much for the funny animals who appeared mostly in short gag comics and not stories, like Bugs Bunny and Tom and Jerry), and DC's The Three Mouseketeers and Dizzy Dog and Doodles Duck and Amster the Hamster and Peter Porkchops, and Fauntleroy Fox and Crawford Crow, and the Dodo and the Frog and Nutsy Squirrel, and ACG's Superkatt and Robespierre, and Terrytoons' Mighty Mouse and Heckle and Jeckle (today I see animation and comics fans' raving about cartoonist Jim Tyer's overexaggerated art; back then I just thought he was a sloppy cartoonist), and ... who published 'Red' Rabbit, and Superduck and Super Rabbit and Supermouse and ...?

Fred Patten

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@ Green Reaper: I'm preemptively grousing at the 1 star assholes. Duh. Though, I will say, there is a bit of difference between a "comic strip" and a "comic book."

@ Fred: There really are just not as many funny animal comics in print as there used to be, mostly because comics today are not only often not for kids, but actually probably mostly not for kids. Funny animals in the traditional comic system mostly didn't survive the eighties, which is when superhero comics started specifically targeting adult readers at the expense of younger readers. Then the nineties came and holy crap, any survivors were systematically eradicated. Seriously, you just don't want to know about the 90s.

Nowadays, any ongoing funny animal books are either hybrid superhero books (TMNT) or are tie-ins to already popular franchise, usually animation (Boom!'s Garfield, IDW's My Little Pony and TMNT again, Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog, DC's Looney Tunes), plus Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo, which is delightfully hard to categorize (though it's been on hiatus for over a year now as Sakai works on the non-furry 47 Ronin) and none of these titles (with the recent and unproven in the long run exception of My Little Pony) are major sellers, as are few other "all ages" titles.

I see the legitamacy of a lot of people complaining what I'm reviewing are not specifically furry, but maybe they should stop complaining about furry reviewer reviewing non-furry things and ask themselves why a furry reviewer known for his hard line definition of furry reviewing a medium known for its use of funny animals in the past has to fudge the definition in order to have anything to review at all.

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Cause they're all printing their things online?

It's more an era thing then a lack of content, the comic industry just as the hard print newspaper business faces the same beast; for better or worse.

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Uh, no.

I've tried webcomics, which are free, and ... decided to spend because, no, I can't get comic books onlie. I can get comic strips, but not comic books. The comic book industry is ... weird, but not really comparable to newspapers. You really can't get better content for free.

Also, I'm talking about one type of comic book, not comic books in general. Funny animals have died off, not comic books.

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I guess that all falls on the definition of a strip versus a book.

I mean there are obvious ones where like Garfield is a strip. Basically that each strip can be taken apart and mostly nothing is lost from reading one mid-field.

However, there are strips that play as soap operas or blur that line where you need to have been reading from a certain point to understand the story. (Annie, Doonesbury, Housepets to a certain degree) Typically there may be 'chunks' where there is a new plot just so it doesn't get too complicated to pick up and go.

Then there are books where you kind of have to read the whole thing at once as the story is lengthy. There are online versions of these as well, they're just rarer then strips obviously; like Red Lantern.

It is important to note however that the Ursas do not have a "Comic Book" Category so that may work into your favor for argument sake. However I would counter that argument with that there is no category for best porn (of course to be more PC "best adult work") and I don't think one could argue there's any shortage of that.

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Are you implying, with the porn comparison, that there are in factfunny animal comic books I may be missing?

Oh, there are some I am not reading; I can't stand Sonic the Hedgehog in any medium. But missing? No.

There are not any new funny animal comic books coming out. Period. Free alternatives may be part of this reason, but, as I already mentioned, I've taken the Pepsi challenge with both, and the free shit is free for a reason. Also, mostly shit.

But the thing I keep hearing is, "Oh, furries can do this themselves." Okay. Then why don't you? "We don't need the mainstream. We do our own thing, and it's wonderful!" Okay. I've seen your FurAffinity, guy. Maybe you should look up wonderful in the dictionary (this is addressed to an imaginary generic furry, not Sonious, who I don't know if he even has a FurAffinity), because "adequate" would be overselling it.

Furry fandom fucks creators. Right up the ass. Without permission, if that wasn't clear, and you can forget the fucking Vaseline. Why do you really think Kyell Gold just suddenly decided to write supernatural romance that ain't even gay? He'll never admit because he's smart enough to not burn his bridges, but he's making a break for it, mark my words. Because there ain't no money here, because furries fuck creators.

We'll spend a thousand dollars on disposable pony porn, but can't be assed to drop $3.99 on an issue of Usagi Yojimbo. Did I mention Stan Sakai has not touched that property in a year so he can go do a non-furry comic?

Because he totally did that.

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See my review just two days ago of "Iron" by S. M. Vidaurri, published as a de luxe hardcover by Archaia Entertainment. Or the Blacksad albums, published in this country by Dark Horse. Fantagraphics is also publishing some nifty funny animal comics, especially translations from the French. There are funny animal comic books out there, but very few in the traditional comic-book format; "Usagi Yojimbo" being one of the notable exceptions. (And almost none for little kids to buy for themselves, unfortunately.)

I agree with you totally about the "Sonic the Hedgehog" comic book. "Teenage Mutant Turtle Adventures" I enjoyed (especially after Ninjara joined the cast), but the Sonic comic book sucks.

Fred Patten

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Well I guess one could always look on the bright side. If there is a lack of awesome furry works out there, then there isn't much entertainment that a furry needs to buy, they should be rich in no time...

Oh wait, there's always the hotels that can suck up our convention going money...

Drat.

I do have a FurAffinity, it's that Paw icon at the bottom of my comments.

As far as "furries doing this themselves" thing, I for one have been working on something, should be released this year sometime; depends on how long the publishing process takes, as far as writing it's done though. It's why I haven't been commenting so much. That and working 50+ hour weeks during the holiday season. Won't be a comic (cause I have no artistic talents), though I promise this book shall be... above average!

We'll see how it goes.

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Yeah, I stopped the rant before I got to the conventions and the God awful amount of money some furries seem to spend for no other reason than to pretend they have a social circle/life (and if they end up having sex in a fursuit it actually makes it less sad, because that's at least something you don't get outside the furry fandom) ... but now I've worked it in, so I guess we're good to go.

Anyway, congratulations on the thing; I'ma give you a link you'll either appreciate or hate but is meant in solidarity (or something) after I get to a real computer, okay.

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Link?

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Link's in reply to Anon (on the cell phone again).

Idiot one starred it, which caused all his comments to fold automatically his karma's so bad.

Not only did he choose to lose, but he found the most spectacular way to prove how terrible he is while doing it.

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We all lose eventually, crossie.

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Hasn't Sakai been doing Usagi Yojimbo pretty much continuously for, what, 30 years now? Let the guy try something else for a change.

"Furry fandom fucks creators. Right up the ass. Without permission..."

Oh murr..!

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Sorry about that Sonious, work was workier than expected, and I have been sleeping or working for money or working on my own projects and forgetting; sorry for the suspense for what is probably now almost an inevitable letdown, but have you read this yet?

I mean, apparently half the Internet already has, but anyway, I signed up (there's a link to the forum in the article which I think you might have to be member to actually get there) and have committed to draw one pony every day for 365 days, not because I'm good, but because I can't draw either (in fact, today's pony, pony 20, sucked balls) and, as the author points out, repetition.

I don't know, since you feel you can't draw either, a bit of friendly rivalry might help us both, and you're already a go getter with your project, so if you still need a year's resolution (or already need to re-resolve), well, there you go. At the very least now another group knows I'm doing the 365 ponies thing, so that's more pressure on me, including someone who has proven he will try and use damaging information, which brings me why I replied to desiring_change here instead of directly to you, Sonious. Now, I'm going to talk to him for a while, so if you want to quit reading, now's a good time.

Hi, desiring_change! At least, I'm pretty sure you're desiring_change; at the very least, you're someone who's so unpopular that your posts are semi-transparent automatically (Green Reaper has karma follow anonymous posters too, now, and since it turned out the anonymous poster who spent a year bugging everyone about Crusader Cat while accruing a quite astounding collection of 1 stars and not much else was actually desiring_change the entire time, I'm assuming your desiring_change). Anyway, hi person who is probably desiring_change!

You posting this reply is proof that God is real, and He loves me, but He does still test me. I'd like to offer you a proposition; not the same one I made to Sonious, but you should probably read the link too. At the very least, I may end up using the phrase "If you want to work here, close!" and unless you are just a big Alec Baldwin fan (which would be perfectly understandable) you may not get it.

Anyway, we had a talk recently, when it was revealed you were "annoying Crusader Cat obsessive," when I pointed you may get a bit more respect if you try and contribute on-topic. You're doing better; you're starting to get the on-topic part. I mean, the Nala thing was actually a bit off-topic, but that was Rakuen Growlithe, not you. You're just still not contributing. You're just attacking the same old target obsessively; not Crusader Cat, but, you know, me.

Well, you're annoying me (congratulations on that, by the way), but I think I'm going to take a page out of Stephen Covey's 7 habits playbook and go about this "win/win," how about that? See, you're not contributing, you're just attacking; I, on the other hand, contribute. Literally; right now, I am tied for second with Green Reaper on the Recent Contributions sidebar (and keep in mind I was unable to submit for an entire month during the time covered) for the most stories submitted behind Fred, not counting Mink, who technically doesn't submit to Flayrah.

Now, you think I'm a weak target because, let's face it, my opinions about furry are not very popular. That's true, and to top it off, I am a complete asshole in the comments. Case in point, this thread. But I contribute.

Do you know why Flayrah won Best Magazine at the Ursa Majors Awards last year, and will probably have no problem winning it again despite, well, a lot of our regular contributors kind of being assholes to our readers this year (me, Patch Packrat got into a big, ugly fight with Perri_Rhoades about a video, me, Fred actually posted a story with the phrase "sue me" in it, me, even Green Reaper pissed everyone off with that "vote for Obama!" story and me)? It's not because we have better content; it's because we have content. Period.

We are constantly updating; you may not like our stories, but at least we have them. Look at Furry News Network; when they had original content, it was just as good as ours, if not better. But they stopped creating original content; seriously, it's a good thing we keep updating, because now there are not one, but two sites that count on us to keep their main page refreshing. The only furry news site that can compete with us update wise is the aforementioned Mink's In-Fur-Nation, so Green Reaper made it a part of our site, too.

And, on one hand, any Flayrah contributor who regularly has double digits in the Recent Contributors sidebar is almost automatically singled out for attack; Fred and me probably single-handedly account for 75% of all 1-star folds, but Isaiah Jacobs is also frequently targeted, and while Higgs Raccoon does not regularly have to fear folding stories, he accounts for a good third of "why did you post this?" comments, and even Green Reaper gets a shit load of those, and thanks to the aforementioned story about voting, even he has had the dubious honor of being folded. As the linked article points out, people hate doers, because it makes them feel bad about not doing themselves.

But what you have to realize is that, even if you don't think a certain story is 100%, grade-A furry or even that good, it is still infinitely better to run the story than not run it; if that wasn't true, you'd be replying to this article on Furry News Network instead of here. David Wong knows this; he's an editor for a popular humor website that updates every day and is constantly asking for its readers to contribute. Because he knows if you only publish the 100%, grade-A material, you're going to update once a year, at best. And then nobody is going to be watching, because nobody expects the site that never updates to actually update.

On the other hand, people do respect contributors. Yeah, I'm an asshole in the comments, but I do the work. I submit content; I do the boring shit nobody wants to do like the comic Previews and the Newsbytes archives (on my own initiative, I might add). And occasionally, I write something someone actually likes. It happens. And people put up with me being an asshole because they know I contribute. And, yes, there are non-contributors who hate themselves and take it out on the top contributors, but if you look at the top three contributors right now on the Recent Contributors sidebar and the top three highest rated comments of the month sidebar, you'll see that these sidebars highlight the exact same people.

I said this was a win/win proposition, but I've already won. You think people read the comments after a year? I've read the archives, and a quadruple amputee could count the number of comments I read on his fingers! You'll never get famous in the comments; you'll never get noticed in the comments; you'll never get respect in the comments; you'll never win in the comments.

Now, just in case you haven't fucking figured it out, all I'm proposing is that you write a story and submit it. Simple. Easy. Anyone can do it. And I guarantee you, Green Reaper will run it. He may edit the shit out of it, and I guess if you write an opinion piece explaining Crusader Cat needs to die screaming, well, you voided the warrantee.

We don't have to be enemies; I mean, you can still hate me and all, that's okay, but I said before, what you really want is respect. From anybody. And that's all I'm offering. A chance to earn my respect. I hate Rakuen Growlithe's opinions, I hate what he represents, but I respect him. Because he did good work (admittedly, his stock-in-trade was cute animal stories and Newsbytes royally fucked up that for him, but whatever).

Hell, I'll even sweeten the deal; I throw in some story ideas. Seriously, that's the hard part. I'm doing most of the work for you. Oh, and you might want to jump on these, 'cause it's not like these are hidden.

1. Jan. 29th, Shout! Factory is releasing a new My Little Pony: Friedship is Magic DVD themed around Pinkie Pie. You can easily find a source on Equestria Daily to get the details. I'm suggesting this as a news piece, so if you want to go with this, you need to jump on it. Furthermore, I don't care if you don't like MLP:FiM; that's an excuse. If you want to work here, close. (Finally worked it in!)

2. This March, Archie Comics is beginning a crossover between their two Sonic the Hedgehog comic titles (Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic Universe) and their Mega Man comic. I read about this in Previews, which is a dead tree magazine, so that's not nearly as much help; however, you have Internet access, so you might have heard of this thing called Google. It's helpful. Once again, liking Sonic the Hedgehog or not is beside the point; that's an excuse, and besides, it's an excuse I'm already using, so at least come up with something original. Time is not as big a factor here.

So, my challenge to you is to write and submit a story; you can do one of those two, both of them, something completely different, or nothing at all. However, if you choose that last option, you lose.

And let's be clear here, I'm being more than a bit manipulative; when I say I'm thinking win/win, I mean I win either way. You do it; I win. You don't do it; I win. You can lose.

Balls in your court.

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I think I've discovered Darkseid's Anti-Life Equation:

Crossie + 1667 words = tl;dr

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Sure, but only one of us loses all the time.

And why'd you 1 star Sonious? That's just an asshole move.

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Dude, you seriously one starred everyone in this story's comment except yourself.

And noone folded but you!

Holy shit dude, you suck!

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"Holy shit dude, you suck!"

LOL.

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About the author

crossaffliction (Brendan Kachel)read storiescontact (login required)

a reporter and Red Fox from Hooker, Oklahoma, interested in movies, horror, stand up comedy

Formerly Wichita's only furry comic.