About Me

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I started reading comics regularly after 'Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns'. Since then, I've become a co-host on 'The LanternCast' (a podcast dedicated to Green Lantern that's been on the air since 2008), started a new podcast covering the late 1980's DC series Action Comics Weekly (appropriately titled The Action Comics Weekly Podcast), and have been the curator of THE blog on the internet dedicated to the character of Ragman, created by Robert Kanigher and Joe Kubert published by DC Comics starting in 1976 and currently appearing on The CW show 'Arrow' as portrayed by actor Joe Dinicol. I'm an avid fan of comics, classic rock, and speaking my mind. Welcome!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

BREAKING NEWS BREAKDOWN - 'Ragman' to Return to the Pages of DC Comics this October 2017!


Good day Tatters!

As you’ve probably already heard, DC Comics will be bringing their live action star and Tatterdemalion of justice back to the comic page in a six issue mini-series due out this October! The series will be written by Ray Fawkes with pencils by Inaki Miranda, colors by Eva de la Cruz, and covers by Guillem March. (You can see the first cover here on this post!)

The press release, initially shown HERE by Comic Book Resources, provided the following description:

War vet Rory Regan is plagued by the death of his time after a failed mission to find a hidden treasure in the Israeli desert. While battling survivor’s guilt back home in Gotham City, Regan discovers that he actually bought the treasure back home with him, in the form of the Suit of Souls. The Suit of Souls has the ability to trap and collect the souls of others, including those of his dead partners.

With the aid of his dead teammates, Rory begins to learn more about the abilities of the suit, when something evil begins to brew in Gotham. An evil demon from hell wants the Suit of Souls, and is sending his minions to retrieve it for him. Now Rory must learn how to use the suit and its powers to stop these evil forces from invading Gotham City before it’s too late.

Since this is THE spot on the net for all things Ragman, it would be my duty to dissect that for us! Let’s start with the first four words. Yep, it’s going to be like that.

War vet Rory Regan” - Perfect. We know we’re sticking with our usual guy Rory! This isn’t his father Gerry or anyone else from the Regan family nor is it anyone new. Additionally, Rory is still a veteran. Based on what we hear later on in the description, we know it’s not Vietnam as has been portrayed before, but when you’re updating the Ragman character for the modern generation, the specific war isn’t necessarily as important as the fact that he’s a soldier.

…is plagued by the death of his time (I assume they mean ‘team’, is the whole world running low on editors BTW?) after a failed mission to find a hidden treasure in the Israeli desert.” Some good information here. In the first post-crisis Ragman series, Rory was struggling with some PTSD issues. They weren’t a huge part of the story, but Pat Broderick and Keith Giffen took up some panels to make sure it was a part of his character. Additionally, we get the “hidden treasure in the Israeli desert”. Keep that in mind.

While battling survivor’s guilt back in Gotham City, Regan discovers that he actually brought the treasure back home with him, in the form of the Suit of Souls.” We’re back in Gotham! Fantastic! I’ve always loved the idea that Ragman is a Gotham based hero. Batman started out protecting Gotham but let’s admit it, Batmans focus is now much more big picture these days. Having Rory start out in a little slum corner of Gotham grounds him in a very realistic way. I’m glad that is staying a part of his origins. So the “treasure in the Israeli desert” is the Suit of Souls! This means two things. The first being that the Ragman suit is no longer a part of Rory’s family history. In the comics before this, Rorys father Gerry wore the suit before Rory ever knew it existed. The second thing it means is that it’s still very likely that the suit maintains it’s mythological Judaic origins in relation to it’s creation following the legendary Golem. Even if the sequence of events of the suits origin may be tweaked, I know a lot of Ragman fans enjoy the Judaic ties the character has.

The Suit of Souls has the ability to trap and collect the souls of others, including those of his dead partners.” Hmm, ok here we run across something I’m not entirely sure I’m going to like. The suit can trap and collect the souls of MORE than just evil doers now. It can trap ANY soul it sounds like. Now on the one hand, that opens up some story telling potential in a significant way without changing the core powers of the character. On the other, it makes the suit of souls dangerous and malignant in a way I’m not sure I’ll enjoy. But here’s what I will keep in mind going forward (and you should too) it’s a suit worn by an individual. I’m going to take solace in the idea that Rory can then influence who it traps going forward.

With the aid of his dead teammates, Rory begins to learn more about the abilities of the suit, when something evil begins to brew in Gotham.” Nice. So it looks like Rory can still communicate with the souls in the suit. That was always a fun aspect of the story to have Rory able to gain insight from the souls. Additionally, Rory was able to call on their strengths and abilities too in the past. It remains to be seen if that will remain true.

An evil demon from hell wants the Suit of Souls, and is sending his minions to retrieve it for him.” Interesting. Certainly the encounters with the purely supernatural went through the roof for Ragman during his ties to the Shadowpact. So it’s definitely not out of left field for him to deal with a problem like this. I’m curious to see how it affects the tone of the story. Will it maintain a purely supernatural tone? Or will the inclusion of demons from hell give it a horror bent?

Now Rory must learn how to use the suit and its powers to stop these evil forces from invading Gotham City before it’s too late.” Nice. That’s our hero line. Origin story plus heroic mission. I wonder also at the involvement any other DC character will play in the story. While cameos like Batman or someone from the Bat family are cool (and DC can’t seem to not mention Gotham without them these days) I would still like an opportunity for Ragman’s story to stand on it’s own without the added push from “Oh! Batman shows up this issue guys! Make sure to get it!”. But again, that hasn’t been announced so let’s judge it on it’s own merits.

Speaking of the story itself, DC released some interior pages (sans lettering) for us to take in, so let’s take a look at those! (Click images to enlarge!)




Excellent! Rags N’ Tatters guys! It’s still there! And that definitely looks like Hebrew on the box they find the Suit of Souls in!

All in all, based solely on this description, it sounds like Rory Regan/Ragman are in good and faithful hands. The adaptations being made are not being made at the sacrifice of an important character aspect or history. I cannot be happier with what we’re seeing so far!

So head on over to Twitter and follow the creative team @rayfawkes and @InakiMiranda and give them some much needed support! And don’t forget to buy the series everywhere you can in October! Tell DC how much you love their Tatterdemalion and vote with your dollars! Don't forget to comment here DIRECTLY on the post! The more traction we get, the more likely we can get Ray Fawkes and Inaki Miranda here for an interview when the series wraps! (Or before if we're lucky!) So share the post far and wide too!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Ragman #8 - Winds of Change!

Welcome back into the fray Tatters! Today's post is a bittersweet one as we are wrapping up the coverage of the 1991/1992 Ragman series by Keith Giffen, Robert Loren Fleming, and Pat Broderick. Which, of course, means we're talking issue #8 entitled 'Who Protects Gotham?' (or 'Winds of Change' to be more accurate)

We open on the cliffhanger of a confrontation we left behind last issue, Batman VS Ragman. The two heroes stare one another down up on the snowy rooftops of Gotham. Utter silence envelops them as Ragman turns to leave. However Batman remains determined as his hand clamps down on the shoulder of the Ragman, inciting a fight. Instead of dissipating into the air, Rory instead plans to let Batman hunt him deeper into the neighborhood.

Meanwhile, on a flight to Tel Aviv, the Rabbi is looking out at the clouds and thinking of home. After turning down a friendly offer of a pillow from the stewardess, the Rabbi slowly closes his eyes reflecting upon his long journey. A fellow passenger approaches the Rabbi asking if he can sit next to him to avoid a teething baby...when he suddenly notices that the Rabbi is dead. Passed away in his sleep.




While the fight continues, back at Rags N' Tatters Bette feels a strange urge to head outside and look up at the rooftops when she comes across a man with a similar compulsion. She shakes it off and heads back inside.

As the fight makes its way across the neighborhood, Ragman thinks to himself of all the individuals he's helped in the various locations of the community. That time he stopped an armed robber. The time he caught a little girl who fell from an upstairs window. The alley where he saved an old man from dying from exposure. The tenement fire where he pulled the remaining families out of the building, despite his suits weakness to the flame. He reflects on all of these moments, desperately hoping they remember all he as done for them. Across the neighborhood, each and every person who has benefited from the Ragman's presence feels the pull outside. The call to help. And heads towards the pull, all including Betty.

Across the rooftops nearby, Ragman settles in one final spot where he stopped a rumble between two rival gangs, letting them take their anger out on him instead of each other, so all could go home alive. "I know this place. It is called poverty."



Ragman leaps off the rooftops toward the gathered neighbors below as they begin to surround him blocking him from the Batman. "They either love me or not. It is all up to them. I put myself in their good hands. I, who am The Protector..."


The neighbors chide Batman, telling him to leave Ragman alone. That's he's their friend. That he saved their children, their families, their tenants. "Where were YOU when we needed help? We don't see you very often...in this neighborhood." Meanwhile, Bette tells Rory that the Rabbi has left town and that he loved him and knew the feeling was mutual. At this point, Ragman dissipates into the rags on the wind. The neighborhood leaves Batman to stand in silence, all except Bette who says, "Don't let it getcha down pal. It's not dat we dont t'ink yer a hero, but da Ragman taught us dat kin all be heroes! It's like my old boss used ta say: 'Ask not whatcher country kin do fer you...'




And that is that. The end.

Wow. So some great things about this issue. First and foremost the silence of Batman. There's a panel when it's mentioned that Batman is trying to speak to Ragman, but it's dismissed by the internal narrative as something Ragman just isn't focusing on. And the fact that not ONE WORD comes from Batmans mouth definitely amps this story up a bit. And speaking of the internal narrative, the sheer amount of focus on Rory/Ragmans thoughts really helps steer your mind in a specific direction. The compulsion of the neighborhood to help Ragman, while odd, wasn't odd enough to be off putting. It actually lent itself to the supernatural nature of the character while not being so out of left field you could no longer suspend disbelief. Lastly of course, Pat nails the art, proving that despite Keith Giffens propensity for the nine panel grid, a good artist is a good artist.

As for the series as a whole? Well, I feel each run of the character in his own series deserves it's own wrap up post. So we'll have to save those thoughts for next time.

ON TO THE ADS!







Wow. So where to start? Cool World? How about that Guy Gardner ad? You know as a Green Lantern guy I definitely thrilled at seeing that particular ad. Those DC Cosmic cards are AWESOME aren't they? I got some not too long ago, and hey, there's a Ragman card in that collection somewhere!

Now into the letters page!



Seems everyone loves the Ragman and want's his story to continue, though I'm not sure about that suggestion of putting him in the Justice League. With all of that support, I wonder if Ragman will continue?

OF COURSE he will! Keep an eye peeled for the next review series to be featured on this blog, RAGMAN: CRY OF THE DEAD!!!! And as always, PLEASE don't forget to leave your comments here DIRECTLY on the blog post telling me what you think! Til next time!