crazy colored glasses

Friday, December 10, 2010

Geoff Johns, Genius!

I'v'e been catching up on the months worth of comics I recently picked up.

Well, let me rewind a little bit as to why I hadn't picked up comics in a month. I picked up my comics last on Wednesday November 10th. That night I read that batch of comics while on my way to Dallas. Why Dallas you may ask... it had nothing to do with a Cowboys game (nor will it, sadly), but had everything to do with the Super Bowl party my magazine throws which I will be working on the design of.

Since the return of said trip, work has been a whirlwind of activity. Designing, illustrating, and concepting have taken just about all of my time. Luckily home life has been nice and easy... oh scratch that. While incredibly busy at work we also moved. All though we moved about 8 feet away (to the house right next door) it wasn't easy. See, I'm a crazy collector, so no move is easy. So boxes and boxes of comics, toys, magazines and other assorted nonsense needed to be organized, packed and moved. On top of everything, its the holiday season.

Luckily we've moved, and although there are still things to be organized, the new place feels like home (especially because we don't have an evil family underneath us anymore). As for Super Bowl, everything is going well. I've lined up the vendor I want to use, gotten the invite approved and have worked up the final illustration for the poster foldout on the invite. I'm starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Which leads us back to the reason for this post... catching up on comics.

I try and read my books in the order that I reserve them. Doing this I was pleasantly surprised with a doubleshot of Geoff Johns (Flash #6, Green Lantern #59). Geoff in my opinion is the best comic writer on the planet. Some who juggles human emotion, as well as fast paced action with a touch of humor. Basically he's a great writer period. Flash #6 was the culmination of the initial story arc, and was nothing short of brilliant. Flash foiling the plot of the future Mirror Master and his renegades while simultaneously clearing the name of a wrongly convicted man and finding time to have lunch with his wife Iris (all of this beautifully illustrated by Francis J. Manapul) was nothing short of amazing. It might seem like there's a lot going on for a single book, but he is the fastest man alive, shouldn't there be a lot crammed into his book. Johns handles the multiple plot threads really well as well as planting seeds for future stories.

Not to be out done was his work on Green Lantern #59. This issue featured Hal's continued pursuit of the Emotional Entities for each the color corps. There are some amazing scenes between Flash and Green Lantern where they stand around and discuss Hal's recent behavior. This wouldn't work as well in a lot of other hero books, but because of John's familiarity with both characters (he brought both back from the dead and made them relevant again) he pulls it off. This book also features amazing artwork by Doug Mahnke. His pencils have never looked better. As good as Van Sciver and Reis were on GL, I think Mahnke's work surpasses them all. This issue has a great surprise ending which leaves me desperately anticipating the next issue.

Johns continues to impress me on a monthly basis. No one does big-budget super heroes better than he does. I recently met Johns at NYCC (which I had a free press-pass for) and he heard my brother and I discussing digital versus print for comics and he chimed in with his own opinions (he like myself thinks theres a spot for both, but loves print). He absolutely couldn't have been nicer. In fact everyone at the DC booth was amazing during NYCC. I spent 90% of the show there after not feeling the love at the Marvel booth. Not only is Johns incredibly humble and down to earth, he is a fantastic writer.


Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Premature Call

Last year, I prematurely called Peyton Manning the greatest quarterback of our generation, if not the greatest quarterback of all time. Yeah, I was picking the Colts to win the Super Bowl, and maybe basking in the bright light that Manning was emanating. Not only was I wrong about that game, but in retrospect I may have been wrong on my call on Manning.

Peyton's pick in the Super Bowl hasn't changed my mind. Nor has his recent string of 11 picks in his last 3 games. What has changed my mind is the excellence of Tom Brady.

I've heard the talking heads the last few weeks trip over themselves defending Manning. "Too many players injured", "he's playing with backups", are two of the most common excuses. While some of that may be true, a transcendent quarterback should be able to overcome a poor supporting cast. Manning historically has been blessed with a much better supporting cast than Brady. Harrison, Wayne, Clark, Faulk, Edgerrin James and Joseph Addai were all stars. Besides Moss and Welker (who was fully developed as a receiver on the Pats) and one very good season from Corey Dillon, Brady has done it with a group of youngsters and castoffs. Deion Branch is a system receiver. He failed as a Seahawk and is enjoying success again as a Patriot. Ben Watson as well. He hasn't played nearly as well on the Browns as he did on the Pats. So while yes, this season with injuries to Garcon, Collie and Clark have hampered Manning's and the Colts effectiveness, hasn't Brady played a whole career with an inferior cast.

Brady just chugs away in a one-dimensional offense. His feature backs have been a collection of retreads, never weres and not ready yet players. Antowain Smith, Corey Dillon (the one star, at least for one season), old Fred Taylor, Lawrence Maroney, Sammy Morris, Danny Woodhead and BenJarvis Green-Ellis. Not to belittle any of them, but who would you rather have, and of those guys or Marshal Faulk (future HOFer), Edgerrin James (best back in the league for a 3 year period), or Joseph Addai (pro-Bowler). Seems like a no-brainer.

Then of course, there are the big games. Brady has won 3 Super Bowls (to Mannings 1) and lost one he should have won. If not for one surreal Tyree helmet catch we'd be talking about Brady in the same breath that people talk about Joe Montana. Manning has a history of choking in the big games (maybe Manning's pick in the Super Bowl changed my mind a little).

It's hard to disregard the stats. And if you look at them, Manning will break just about everyone of Favre's records. Statistically he'll be the best QB ever. But lets take a snap shot of this season. Manning has thrown for almost 700 more yards than Brady, and has 3 more touchdowns, but he also has 11 more picks... 11. Brady is likely to throw for 4,000 yards again this season. It would be the 4th such season he has done so. Manning is getting ready to top 4,000 for a 10th season. That number is staggering. Manning though has been blessed with a vastly superior supporting cast (as already noted).

Of course, all of this is coming on a day right after Brady eviscerated the Jets for 4TDs no picks and vaulted the Pats (in my eyes) over everyone else as the leader in any Super Bowl discussion. The same week that Manning threw 4 picks against the 3-8 Cowboys. Then Manning made excuses about injuries, his cast and hoped to get some help soon. I can't ever imagine Brady having a conference like that. He would simply raise his game and win with the cast he has... hasn't he done that since he got into the lineup.

Brady is a winner, one of the greatest of all time. One who wins with whatever talent surrounds him. For that, I have to go back in the time machine and shelve that talk about Peyton as the greatest of all time and at the best call it a push, until the end of their careers. But leave with this. Brady's post season record 14-4. Manning 9-9. Hmmm... makes you think.