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, October 11, 2017

[SPOILERS] Ragman #1 - Return Fire!

(Photo by Ragman artist Inaki Miranda)
Tatters! This is a day we've been waiting for since the 2010 Ragman Suit of Souls one-shot. DC Comics has published a new Ragman title! 'Ragman #1' is officially available for purchase today! And your's truly was graciously provided with an advance copy so I can tell all the Tatters out there whether this new 2017 take on the classic 1976 character is worth the cover price of admission!

The answer?


Now let's disqualify any notions of outside influence on this review. DC Comics did NOT tell me they'd provide me with an interview and an advance copy for this series, so long as I make sure to sing nothing but it's praises. Nor am I taking a biased approach due to my clearly well documented Ragman fandom. So, that being said, here are my unbiased, unbought opinions on the new series.




Ragman #1 is a good start for the character. Right away we open with Rory's military unit in the Israeli desert setting up his close knit brotherhood with his unit. We see him coping with civilian life in a therapy group. We see his father worried about him getting back into the world. We see his slight detachment from those around him.

Enter the Suit of Souls.

In all I feel that it's a story of purpose and reconnecting. Rory is a man torn from his brotherhood in a violent way. A way which he cannot comprehend. The horrors of his time overseas and the relative confusion he finds himself end leave him in his own head, going through the motions. Home, eat, group therapy, home, out. Nothing seems to have a sense of intent to it. But this thing he cannot explain has somehow followed him back to Gotham. Things he's seeing that he shouldn't.

So when the Suit attaches itself to him he's reunited with his unit, given a purpose. Thrust into a mission and a world which he's only caught a glimpse of previously. Hunting and dispatching this dark supernatural underbelly infecting Gotham. But when the stakes are raised to a more personal level at the end of the issue, the reader feels a sense of foggy confusion on Rory's part lifted. It doesn't matter what's happening to him now, he has a purpose.

Now let's talk about the art. Inaki Miranda KILLS it. Forget the demonic imagery or Ragman's new suit. Just the mundane looks stunning. And I have to give credit here in part to colorist Eva de la Cruz. The colors make this thing pop. From the darkened artificially lit chambers in the Israeli desert, to the fluorescent light in a largely empty group therapy room, to the multicolored light sources in Gotham itself, and the fires in the end of the issue...wow. Seriously, if you've already read the issue while reading this, go back and check out those colors again.

Back to Inaki's artwork, everything pops. I can't deny this mans talents. That being said, let's talk about the new suit. THIS is what every current Ragman fan is going to hyper focus on anyways so we need to have this conversation.

The patchwork rags are gone. The hooded cloak is gone. We're left with something vaguely reminiscent of a mummy that moves like Spawn or (for those who read it) Haunt from Image Comics. For those that miss the patchwork, calm yourself a tad and think a bit. Given how ancient this suit likely is, given the part of the world it's from, wouldn't it make MORE sense to have a suit made of strips of cloth as opposed to patchwork? Remember this is a Ragman suit which is most likely no longer made in close connection to the Golem of Prague from the 16th century or in connection with a war like portrayed in the Keith Giffen/Par Broderick series. It's OLDER than that now (and not the great collector artifact history revealed in ShadowPact #8). I like the addition of the glyph on Ragman's chest. What I'm NOT sure I like yet is the loss of the hooded cloak. Do NOT get me wrong, there were times Ragman was drawn in the past with it and I DID NOT LIKE IT. I really wasn't a fan of the sort of "tail" aspect it was drawn with on occasion. (see below)

That being said, this is only issue one. It's possible the design for the suit will evolve. Or, failing that, it's possible this is what we get and it'll just grow on me! That's entirely possible and has happened numerous times before in the past.

The bottom line? This comic is FAITHFUL. We live in a world where DC did the New 52 and Rebirth. Where things are recycled and retconned and ripped to pieces and put back together again. Where entire portions of a characters identity or personality are erased or reused and updated in a way sometimes unrecognizable to fans. And that's not just from DC! We're fortunate that this comic retains SO MUCH of what makes Ragman a fantastic character.

Ragman is a story about a veteran. A likable but subtly broken man raised in Gotham in a crappy part of a crappy town, by a pawn shop owner just trying to make the community around him better. He finds a sense of purpose in an odd suit with newfound powers and sets about making the community around him better on a larger scale. Sometimes that scale is local and personal (1976 debut series, 1992 post-Crisis series) and sometimes it's on a grander more supernatural scale (Shadowpact).

Take that pitch and break it down. It applies to the debut series, it applies to the Post-Crisis reboot, it applies to this modern re-imagining. And honestly? Can you ask for ANYTHING more?

Ragman #1 is available NOW from DC Comics at your local comic shop. Written by Ray Fawkes, art by Inaki Miranda, colors by Eva De La Cruz, lettered by Josh Reed, covers by Guillem March. Edited by Diego Lopez and Marie Javins.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

An Exclusive Interview with Ray Fawkes & Inaki Miranda!

Hey Tatters! (If you're new here, that's what I call fans of Ragman.) Welcome back! When last we spoke, I was excitedly breaking down all I could about the upcoming Ragman series from DC Comics. The series was announced, the first issue solicit was out, and some interior pages and cover art were available for us to whet our appetites with. So why so long between posts? Well, life happens, series wrap up posts take a bit to coherently write up (since we wrapped coverage of the 1991 Giffen & Broderick run), and I've been working behind the scenes to bring you something very, VERY special. 

I have been given the opportunity to speak with the creative team behind the new, upcoming 'Ragman' series from DC Comics...OFFICIALLY. That is correct. This interview is OFFICIALLY sanctioned by the powers that be at DC Comics. Now I've been extremely fortunate to interview both Pat Broderick and Sholly Fisch here on the blog before. Today we add to that esteemed interview line-up with the writer and artist behind the new 'Ragman' series, Ray Fawkes and Inaki Miranda, asking the questions that we the fans truly want to know the answers to!

(Cover Art for 'Ragman' issue #1 by Guillem March)

THE SUIT OF SOULS: Despite an on again, off again publication history, Ragman has endured since his creation in 1976. Some attribute this to his Judaic roots, others attribute it to the post-crisis supernatural power set. So Ray, I have to start by asking, what was it like taking on this obscure but beloved character?

RAY FAWKES: It’s a pure pleasure, start to finish. I’m a fan of Ragman - both the grounded street-level early stories and the more supernatural version that followed, so I wanted to make sure that we could pay tribute to both while moving forward with a new take. His cultural heritage is also very important to me, and I think that it definitely plays a part in his appeal as a hero!

TSoS: Inaki, in the series, we see Ragman with a new suit! What was that process like and what inspired you to make the changes you did?

INAKI MIRANDA: I love Ray's new premise for Ragman. I was instantly hooked by this new representation and its possibilities. However, my first reaction to the design was that I wasn’t too keen on the “patchwork” vibe of it. The mythology that Ray has come up with gives the suit a new fantastic dimension which I think was asking for a new visual look. The patches and stiches wouldn’t quite fit either the new story or the background of this new Suit of Souls.

So, I asked if I could try a new design and luckily DC said “yes”.  I wanted to make him look more like a first row superhero, one that could totally stand next to Batman and look as tough and cool as him (I know, no one is as cool as the Batman, but still…) and at the same time have his own rough distinctive aura. Of course, it was very important not to drive away from or corrupt what Ragman is at his core and all of the central elements that make him special to the fans. One of the things that Ray asked me from the start was that he wanted the rags to behave wild, showing how Rory isn’t totally controlling them.

Basically I took inspiration from all those creations that I have enjoyed, and that are part of my fan life, that play with the concept of dark hero (Batman, Soul Reaver, Darkness, Spawn.. and I even gave him a bit of a Spider-Man feel to his body language… the long bandages were just asking for that). Ragman is a powerful hero just learning how to control the suit, which has its own life and interacts with Rory through the souls it absorbs (did I mention how much I love the concept?).  So, the idea behind his new look was to play with the Suit of Souls as a live armor made from bandages. I imagine the rags being as rough as sand paper if needed, and impenetrable, he’s wearing no fabric, it’s a suit made in hell. The new suit is tactical, it’s functional. Also, I didn’t want him to look like a mummy, so the rags don’t just wrap around his body, they create an exoskeleton, they follow the logic of the human muscles (not quite but close).

I love how Ray took the design and enhanced it with logic and properties (which I won’t spoil here). I also felt Ragman deserved his own chest symbol, so I gave him one, which is really a glyph from a demonic secret alphabet. If the future is kind, it would be so cool to deepen into the story of the origin of the Suit of Souls and explain the mythological powers of this alphabet.

I’m extremely happy with what Ray and I have re-imagined together. And I’m extremely thankful to DC for the creative freedom they gave us. There’s a lot of love from all the parts involved. I hope it shows and is ultimately in benefit of the final product's enjoyment and the fans.

(Interior Pages by Inaki Miranda, CLICK TO ENLARGE)

TSoS: One of the core elements of Rory Regan's past has always been his status as a veteran. While it influenced his personality, it wasn't part and parcel with his origin. What inspired you to bring the two elements closer together into lockstep with one another?

RF: It just seems like a feature that would be very powerful in his life- a real defining factor. I also wanted to write a story about heroism in the face of trauma, and Rory’s veteran status gave us a perfect route to address that. Rory is selfless at heart - that’s why he served in the military, that’s why he’s a hero even before he gets his hands on the Cloak of Rags, and that’s why he becomes a superhero.

TSoS: Between the Israeli desert and all of the symbolism in the book, the Rags N' Tatter shop, the demonic creatures, and Gotham City itself Inaki, you have a TON of artistic setting to play around with! What's it like for you working on this title when you're playing in all of these various sandboxes?

IM: Gotham is the first reason I wanted to start working on the book as soon as possible. It must be my favorite fictional place of all time. I could spend my whole career drawing stories in Gotham. I think the dark atmosphere is perfect for Ragman. There are a lot of settings in the book, but what’s even cooler is that they all feel very integrated, it’s Gotham, but more importantly, it’s Ragman’s world. A demonic dimension is invading Gotham…Ragman is able to see things that aren’t there for a normal human being. I think that’s really cool. This is something that readers will have to figure out by themselves. “What is there only for Rory’s eyes?”, there’s an open interpretation there, and we play with this concept a little.  Then there’s the color green, Eva did a wonderful job by giving the book (and the character) a personality, tying Rory’s past scenes to the present Ragman through the use of greens. And the neon signs on Gotham are just too cool.

TSoS: What we've seen so far echoes faithfully so many elements of the Ragman everyone knows and loves! So before we wrap up, what can fans look forward to going forward into the series?

RF: Fans can look forward to an action-packed battle against great evil spirits, with our Rory right at the centre, helped by some other DC favourites! As Ragman, he's going to show them all what true heroism really means!

IM: This is an origin story, so readers will follow Ragman through his own “path of the hero”, which will mean discovering new powers and possibilities regarding the suit. And also, a couple of cool DC characters will join the show and will make everything even cooler. Oh, and they can also expect Ragman to rock and be fighting for his life in every issue. It’s relentless. Ultimately, I hope they can experience the same fun we had creating the book.

And that, as they say, is that! Thank you so very much to Ray Fawkes, Inaki Miranda, and DC Comics! It's extremely flattering to be given this opportunity. There is so much to unpack here in this inteview but I really don't want to clutter up this post with my own thoughts.

In the meantime, let's hear YOUR thoughts! Be sure to leave a comment below and tell me what YOU think about the upcoming series and what you're excited for! Ragman is a fantastic character and if you like the series, be sure to tell everyone to pick it up! And let DC Comics know, "We want more Ragman!!" That's all for now Tatters!

Ragman #1 is available starting on October 11th, 2017 from DC Comics, written by Ray Fawkes with art by Inaki Miranda and covers by Guillem March! 

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.


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!