Saturday, March 8, 2008

Mingus in the New Frontier

The last couple of weeks have been good comic weeks for me.

I'm back on board with Birds of Prey. I've always loved Black Alice and wished Gail had used her more. I'm finally warming to Misfit and am over the ridiculous robot destruction of Metropolis.

I am also surprisingly enjoying Teen Titans: Year One. Okay, maybe that's not surprising as I am a sucker for all Year One stories.

More accurate is the kick I got out of Tiny Titans. Maybe I've been teaching elementary school too long now, but I found the little tykes adorable and the light story lines refreshing.

I am also psyched about the return of The Gunslinger. I love Jae Lee and Richard Isanove's art and don't think I could have imagined Hambry or it's inhabitants any better. I loved reading the Dark Tower and book 4, though a slower read then the last 3, was one of my favorite of King's worlds. I haven't started The Long Road Home yet, but look forward immensely to it.

However... the highlight of the past few Midtown trips has by far been Justice League: The New Frontier.

I became a huge fan of JLTNF a couple years ago when a friend loaned me the original singles. I am currently saving up for the $75 Absolute HC edition.

I thoroughly enjoyed the animated version that just came out and regret not springing for the extra bonus edition DVD. I thought the art stayed consistent with the original comics, and loved the opening music (though found some of the later scoring to be a little too cliche superhero fanfarish). The total running time was around an hour and half and so a lot of the supporting story lines were cut, which was the only real downfall.

In addition to the DVD, I picked up the supplemental Justice League: The New Frontier Special. I read this while in the laundromat and shared it with a little 4 or 5 year old that was hanging out while his mom was doing laundry. He was really into it and I considered giving him the comic, but then got really greedy and kept it for myself.

My favorite out of the three stories was the last one, featuring Wonder Woman and Black Canary (SPOILERS) infiltrating a Playboy type night club (will WW never be able to escape association with Playboy?!) It was my favorite only for the following two reasons:

Wonder Woman's Burning Breastplate


Charlie Mingus Cameo... sorta

Now, this is the Mingus Trio as drawn by J. Bone:

Here is a picture of the Mingus Trio circa 1951:

Notice a distinct difference in instruments and, um, race? The bass player in the comic definitely looks white to me, but if Cooke was in fact referencing Charles Mingus, then he should have been drawn to match Mingus's mixed heritage of Chinese, Swiss, and African-American decent (this according to Wikipedia.)

I did a cursory Internet search of trios that Mingus played with in the 50's and could find no instance of him playing in a trio with a pianist and trumpet. Not that he didn't. In fact, if anyone knows of such an ensemble, please let me know! The trio that I did come across most often is the one pictured above, with Tal Farlow (guitar) and Red Norvo (vibes) in 1950 and 1951.

While I appreciate the nod to one of my favorite jazz musicians, I do wish the proper research had been done to assure authenticity.


Andrew Durkin... said...

This is great -- the Mingus reference is fascinating. One wonders what they were thinking.

BTW, have you seen the Mingus comic on bootlegging? (It's included in More Than a Fakebook...)

Andrew Durkin... said...
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D0nnaTr0y said...

NO! I haven't seen it! But now I must! Thanks for letting me know!