Wednesday, November 02, 2005
SEVEN SOLDIERS: THE BULLETEER #1
I picked this book up on a whim today. I had the day off so was looking at one of the local shops, and just thought I'd give it a shot.
A quick synopsis, is this is a story about a beautiful young woman, whose scientist husband is way too obsessed with superheroes and their youth. He invents a protective outer shell to try to become one, but things go bad for him, though not much better for his wife
As with a lot of writer Grant Morrison's writing, there are a lot of non-sensical parts. Sometimes that works, as you don't want to talk down to your audience, and have everything explained to them.
Yet other times, as is the case here, one can't help but wonder at the whys. And not in a "I can't wait to see why that happened." way, but in a "Why on Earth would that happen?" confusion way.
Still the thing that struck me most, was the overriding point of emphasis on the scientist's very scary obsession with youth and superhero porn. While the book itself has its lead nearly naked for much of the book, seeming to cater to that very obsession.
Leaving me wondering if it was feeding a certain audience or trying to show that audience how weird they are.
Where's Fanboy Rampage When You Need It?
From Jacksonville, Florida's News4Jax site:
Two costumed men were arrested after a fight at a Halloween party at a Clay County apartment complex Sunday afternoon.
Deputies called to a disturbance at the Wells Road address said William Griffin, 26, who was dressed as "Belligerent Drunk Man," and Joseph Gilliam, 37, dressed as the Green Lantern, were fighting.
Deputies said Griffin's costume was comprised of a sweat suit, a belt made out of beer can pop-tops, and a Superman-style emblem on his chest that read "BDM.
I'm sure it was over whether Hal or Kyle was the best Green Lantern.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
That Awkward Moment
It happens to just about every one of us. You establish a relationship that seems good for a while, you have good times and good laughs. Then things go sour, at first you try to make it work, but eventually you just have to break it off and move on.
Then comes that awkard moment, where you see them later at a store. You aknowledge it each, tell briefly what you've been up to, and make that non-commital statement of having to meet up. Though you both know you'll like never really do so.
Yup, it can be very weird running into your ex-comic retailer.:)
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
It has been a hell of a week and a half here in Silsbee TX as Hurricane Rita devastated the area. Silsbee and the area is mostly made up of trees, or was I guess I should say now.
There must be nearly 1,000 trees down all around, power lines were down everywhere, holes in businesses. The main grocery store is now operating out of a tent in front, Wal-Mart is running on generators and only open from 9 to 3 p.m. Still a bit of a gas shortage, but things are starting to come together finally.
So of course the little, unimportant things are the things that stand out to me. Like realizing today that I'm in a comic free zone and will be for a long time. With the area the shops were in part of the hardest hit, and even the mall completely shut down for who knows how long.
Kind of weird, but I'm lucky to have power, an undamaged house for the most part and my work one of the few businesses still going.
Friday, August 26, 2005
I seem to be going through a weird period right now and I don't really know why. While one of the biggest conversations pieces going around the blogosphere is about some growing bored with comics. I find myself enjoying comics more than ever, yet find myself in the odd place of not having much to say.
DC and Marvel's offerings are mostly of little interest to me, but rather than being put off by that, I actually find it nice to make such a clean break from them. Yet that doesn't leave me much to talk about when it comes to them.
Yet when I try to ponder a question like Lyle's "What excites you about comics today?" I'm left momentarily flustered to come with a simple answer.
I love series like HOT GIMMICK, SGT. FROG, OWLY, etc., and how every month there seems to be at least one new project that I want to read.
Yet I think the thing that excites me most, is that I know longer worry about comics as a medium. Whether DC and Marvel or all comic shops across the country closed their doors tomorrow. I know I'll still be able to read great comics, because there is so much variety of material and wealth of options to find them at.
Perhaps that's why I'm in sort of a funk in finding a desire to write though. I don't feel like comics need help or saving, so my "activism" feeling just isn't there anymore.
Or perhaps it is just a relationship I'm in that takes much of my creative juices and puts them elsewhere.:)
Monday, July 25, 2005
SHOJO BEAT COMPILATION, Vol. 1
I picked up this compilation, containing chapters of all of the Shojo Beat GN/digest line of series. So I could tell which ones I might want to give a longer look to.
Full Moon O Shagasite - When I first heard the premise for this series, dealing with a young girl who needs a surgery to remove a growth from her throat. Yet refuses because it will mean the loss of her voice, and thus the end to her planned life of a singer.
I thought it sounded dumb and a bit creepy, especially with two agents of death intervening to make sure she doesn't do anything that might help save her life.
Yet the whole thing works somehow, in a way that is cute and yet very emotional impacting. With an ending that does the best job of them all to make me want to find out what happens next.
Fushigi Yugi: Genbu Kaiden - I really enjoy Yuu Watusi's art, as it has such an energy and intuitive sense that makes it a pleasure to read. That is in evidence in abundance here, as well as just a beauty that had me admiring the figure work and backgrounds.
Yet not having reading any of the prior Fushigi Yugi series that this is a prelude to, just had me wondering if I was missing something important here.
It is a fantasy story about a young girl who feels lost after her mother's death. (due to consumption) Whose father's preoccupation with a mysterious book leads her to try to destroy it, only to apparently be sucked into another world.
I couldn't tell if this would be a series I'd like or not, as it just didn't have enough to get a feel for what the series will be like. The art is certainly nice to look at though.
Merupuri - I like the lead character here, a young woman who is obsessed with not being late. Because of a strange legend that says the longer you go with out being tardy, the better boyfriend you'll get. Which just makes me chuckle as of all things I look for in women, punctuality isn't very high on my list.:)
Yet she has a good heart, and when she finds a strange young boy in the street who seems lost. She takes him in for the night in order to help him.
Yet the last page revelation, and how the kid is apparently from a fantasy world just has me wondering if it'll be a book I'll like or not. Given my disinterest in fantasy as a genre.
Ouran High School Host Club - The worst story in the bunch, with art that felt claustrophobic with its almost entire lack of space. Not to mention a panel flow that was all across the board.
Even getting past that, the characters are all 1 dimensional wretches, who have yet to show any redeeming values. I'm glad I didn't waste any money on this series.
Tokyo Boys & Girls - I love the creator's Hot Gimmick series, and while this doesn't live up to that level of quality. It is still an interesting start to the series about young people's internal personal politics. As they try to find ways relate to each other in life as friends, classmates or potential lovers.
The art needs a bit of work on defining the looks for the characters though. There were a few times I found myself questioning who I was looking at, especially in regards to two rival boys after one girl's affections.
Still a good start, and I'm glad to have bought volume 1 of the series.
Ultra Maniac -Witchcraft has gone modern, as the cool and popular Ayu helps a clueless classmate Nina find what turns out to be her pocket computer/spellmaker.
While Ayu doesn't think it a big deal, and moves on with her life as a tennis player and tries to get ready for an upcoming tennis match her friends signed her up for against the best boy's tennis player. (with the fate of whether the boys or girls got access to two or 1 tennis courts to practice on)
Nina decides that Ayu must be her best friend in the world, and tells her about her life as a witch and grants her a wish. Which is a way to be stronger and faster than her male opponent, resulting in an ending that had me laughing and wanting to see what happened next.
While the witchcraft looks to be a big plot device, the first chapter here seems to point to it being much like television's Sabrina show. With it being used for laughs and backstory. While the heart of the story is about school life, popularity and first crushes.
So that's three of the 5 series that I want to try more of, and one that I'm curious enough about to at least look through the volume in stores. Not too bad for the launch of a new line of series.
Newsarama Has a report on DC's upcoming 52 title, which will be a weekly series detailing what happened during the "lost year" that most of DC comics will skip over after its Infinity Crisis miniseries.
I've yet to have any sort of interest in any of this stuff, and have found it easy to move away from series and characters I thought I'd never stop reading. Yet I never really thought about why, beyond just disinterest in the work of most of its contributors.
Yet reading this article it struck me why exactly it is this holds no interest for me. DC's comics has moved towards being more about the whole than their individual parts.
My disinterest in the work of the creators behind IC and such means nothing. Because if I want to follow my series, their work has to be followed in order to understand the parts I do like. To grasp the individual parts, I must work to understand the whole and since I have no interest in that it makes it easy for me to walk away.
Blast From The Past!
Turning channels last night I happen upon the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends show on Cartoon Network. The show was my first exposure to the Marvel superhero world as a little kid, and the episode last night was one of the ones that had stuck with me.
It was the origin of the Firestar character, who I really liked as she one of the first female characters I'd seen who wasn't a female version of a male character or there to be someone's girlfriend. She was just an equal part of the partnership between her, Iceman and Spider-Man, and that was just something I hadn't seen before so she stood out.
I can look back at her origin now and see how much the writers must have been influenced by the Stephen King Carrie story, right down to a certain prom scene. (that doesn't turn out quite as bad obviously)
Yet it was a fun origin, because it still showed that Angelica took joy in her powers. In this day where getting powers just means your life will suck even more than it did before, it is fun to see someone see her powers as a gift.
Something else that was interesting about the episode, was remembering that this was the first time I'd ever heard anything about the X-Men as Spidey and friends must help them against the Juggernaut.
The voices for the X-characters were so horrible, that it was fun to listen to them. From Cyclops's extremely stiff superhero speeches. To the awful Austrailan accent for Wolverine, made especially amusing since this was decades before Aussie Hugh Jackman would take up the role!
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Discount Comic Book Service has updated their site with this month's offerings from Previews. It looks to be a very big month for collections and new GNs meaning some hard choices to make.
From DC I'm thrilled to see the start of their "Essential" like line of black and white collections of older series. The line is off to a great start with SHOWCASE PRESENTS SUPERMAN and SHOWCASE PRESENTS GREEN LANTERN, which DCBS is offering at the incredible price of $8.49 each. 300+ pages of comics for less than $9? How could one pass up such a deal.
Also of interest from DC are manga sized collections of SGT ROCKS COMBAT TALES and SECRET OF THE SWAMP THING at $4.99 a piece. I've never been a big fan of war stories though, and I think Alan Moore (who seems to be the most loved ST writer) threw most of this stuff out when he became writer. So I'm not really sure on these yet.
From Marvel the only book of interest for me is RUNAWAYS VOL 4 TRUE BELIEVERS DIGEST at a discount price of $3.99. Which makes me wonder why anyone follows Marvel comics in pamphlet form, since that is cheaper than 2 issues at cover price.
CBLDF SPX 2005 ANTHOLOGY returns to its roots of a loose talent showcase anthology, after the past few years of themes. The *Support your right to read comic books! * is an odd tag line for it. I does feel a bit odd to have a discount on a charity book, at $7.12 but oh well.
I really enjoy ghost stories, so Del Rey's new Ghost Hunt series could be something I'd be interested in. Yet I can't find any kind of helpful info about it, in order to judge whether I want to pre-order it sight unseen like this.
STEADY BEAT VOL 1 GN (OF 3) $4.99 - The preview Johanna at Cognitive Dissonance linked to. Has me really interested in this series about a younger sister finding what appear to be a love letter from a woman to her older sister while the two are on a road trip together.
Former Oni Press EIC, Jamie S Rich has a new illustrated novella, I WAS SOMEONE DEAD due out. I really enjoyed Rich's CUT MY HAIR novella about young people growing up and falling in love, set in the 1980s punk music culture. Illustrations for this book are by Andi Watson, whose work I simply can not get enough of. Making this a definite must buy for me.
Also from Oni Press, is the fourth BLUE MONDAY collection, PAINTED MOON. I love this high energy comedy series about teens with attitude. And really appreciate that Oni's publishing structure is such that I can wait to read these in the collection format that I prefer.
Last, but certainly not least, is a new Owly GN, OWLY VOL 3 FLYING LESSONS. This fun little series continues to entertain in quiet, subtle ways that never get too cute but are just fun, comforting stories about friendship.
So whew, there we go. I look forward to seeing what Greg and Johanna will have on their Previews rundown listings, though I hope it won't be too much more.:) If any of you spot something I should try or want to offer advice on some of the things I'm not sure on. Then please do!
Saturday, July 02, 2005
It Has Been a While
Wow it has been a while since I've updated here. I have been busy with work and relationship stuff, but mostly it just comes from a lack of inspiration. The spark just isn't there to be creative at the moment for some reason.
I'm not really sure why, perhaps comics have just moved down in my level of importance to the point where they have become something to be consumed and so my mind just isn't putting the same level of attention to them.
I did just turn 30 today (July 2) and I have been thinking on that quite a lot lately. Plus to be honest little in comics has really struck a discord for me in a long time.
DC and Marvel are leaning heavily back on their big crossover leading to deaths that'll be undone in 5 years. Yet I was moving away from most of those anyway, so they really made my decision to leave most of them behind easy.
Indy titles pop up, some stick, most don't. Yet overall I'm pleased with the movement I'm seeing towards more OGN and the like, that make it easier to keep up with the ones worth checking out.
Manga continues to grow, introducing more titles that I want to try than I have the money to do so. Yet has me more excited about comics than I've been in a long time.
Perhaps that's the reason I'm having a difficult time finding something to write about. I'm content with the way things are, life outside of comics is good and active, and the comics I'm reading are fun and enjoyable.
I'm sure something will piss me off before too long though, but I'm enjoying it while it lasts. And I'll try to make it a point to share some of that enjoyment here soon.
Friday, June 17, 2005
I saw the Batman Begins film today and I quite enjoyed the movie. The movie goes really indepth into the motivations and psyche of why Batman who he is. The bad guys are genuinely interesting, with stellar performances by Liam Neeson and Cillian Murphy in their roles.
Neeson had a real dangerous but yet almost heroic persona. You could see why Bruce would be drawn to him for a teacher, and come to admire him for his abilities and beliefs.
While Murphy just makes a perfect Scarecrow from the moment you first see him on screen. I guess they needed to have the mask for the type of movie it is, but he was even scarier without it. With those maniacal eyes and scary obsession for his own hobby.
Christian Bale is the star of the show, and it was great to see an actor come to the role as one would with any other non-comic role. He really seems to get the various roles he has to play, by bringing very different approaches his time as Bruce and as Batman.
If I had one complaint, and perhaps this just comes from having such strong female role models in my life so it really stood out. It is that the female characters come off as very unimportant in the movie.
Bruce's focus in the glimpses of his past are centered on his father, with hardly even a passing thought for his mother. I can accept that his dad was a stronger influence, but the movie hammered that point so hard that it made her seem too unimportant.
Katie Holmes as the love interest/assistant D.A. basically comes off as window dressing to me. I never felt any kind of spark between her character and Bruce, and was just happy to see her get off the screen as soon as possible.
Still it is a very fun movie, and I look forward to owning it on DVD and seeing what they do for the sequel.
Monday, June 13, 2005
Quick JLU Comments
I just caught up with the last two episodes of the Justice League Unlimited series, I love you TIVO, and was quite impressed by both.
The first one written by Gail Simone showcases the Huntress in pursuit of her own style of justice. Despite having to wear that really ridiculous Jim Lee outfit with the bare stomach, I really enjoyed the character's portrayal.
Her origin and motivations are established right off, and thus we get right to the story. I do get tired of everyone being out to get Huntress because she takes a different approach than they do. Her behavior isn't that different from her contemporaries, yet she gets called to the carpet for it more than anyone else.
Still she proves herself in the end while still being true to herself. Her not being yet another square peg hero makes for a much richer character to follow, and I hope we see more of her soon.
The other one introduced Captain Marvel to the show, and at first I didn't like what seemed to be a jealous and bulling portrayal of Superman in his interaction with CM.
Yet the more I thought of it the more the underpinnings worked for me. While the surface level aspects of a conspiracy by Luthor and Co. against the Justice League. I liked the subtext at how un-hero like the other JLA members have become.
While CM has a child like glee for his powers and makes himself a positive force for good in the world with his cheer and positive outlook. The JLA have become darker and look for the bad in everyone. Preferring to bully and over power any obstacle, rather than look at it in another light.
I wonder if this was a subtle jab by writer J.M. Demantiss at the negative portrayals of these very same characters in today's DC Comics? Where events like Identity Crisis and the upcoming Infinity Crisis has left a negative and brutish feel to the world and its heroes. With no room for the child like glee and innocense that superhero comics used to provide.
Or perhaps I'm just seeing things from my own bias.:)
Saturday, June 11, 2005
Direct TV With TIVO Rules!
It is good to have a Direct TV system with TIVO sometimes, as I just got to see a special indepth preview of the upcoming Batman: Begins movie. Complete with interviews with cast and producers, that has me really looking forward to going to see the movie now.
The new DC logo looks really nice as well.
I just realized that I hadn't posted anything here for over a week now. A romantic upheaval has just really got me all out of sorts right now.
I haven't even read a comic in the past week, much less had anything to comment on about them. Once things sort of settle I'll be back, but right now other things are occupying my mind with no room for much else.
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
From the people behind Discount Comic Book Service is a promising new sit for those who prefer trades. So far they only offer DC, Marvel and Image trades, with Dark Horse and the mysterious Other to come soon.
35% off is a good sounding deal, as is the no shipping costs with orders over $50. I'll be curious to check their prices with Amazon once they are a bit more established, to see who offers a better deal.
Saturday, May 28, 2005
Recent Comics Reactions
I picked up an assortment of comics today at a shop near Houston, and wanted to share some quick reactions to them.
Green Lantern Secret Files 2005
Geoff Johns and Darwyn Cooke manage to surprise me by telling a story crossing the time from Hal's days as a kid to his time now as an adult hero who has just returned. It showcases how Hal has gone from a starry eyed kid filled with dreams, to cocky flyboy, to now wiser mentor in a way that is fun and heartwhelming as well.
Good for DC to put the Wizard GL:Rebirth exclusive story in here as well, so readers who don't want to support Wizard could read it as well.
Green Lantern #1
As much as the Secret Files story was a surprise, the start of the new series has to go down as a shocker. Having never been a fan of Hal Jordan, I was surprised by how much I was pulled into Hal's journey to find a place for himself in the world.
It is good to see that Johns doesn't want to just rehash the past, by not going the easy route of sticking him back at Ferris Aircraft with Carol and Tom. Instead he has set Hal up with an entirely new supporting cast, as he seeks to rejoin the US Air Force.
I really like the new potential female love interest's "explosive" entrance, and the idea behind Coast City's return as an empty city the government is trying to repopulate is intriguing.
I was a bit annoyed that after all this new stuff, that the bad guy is such an older one who has been way too overused. Yet perhaps Johns will put a new spin on it, and as of now I'm on board for at least another issue if it keeps being this fresh a book.
DC SPECIAL: THE RETURN OF DONNA TROY #1
While Green Lantern brings a hero back from the past in intriguing, fresh new ways that has a directness to it. This book while trying for similar goals falls flat on its collective face.
For one the book made it feel like I needed a PHD in Greek Mythology to understand any nuance of the story, which has Donna Troy as part of a race of the Titans of myth trying to conquer planets for supposedly peaceful reasons.
The book is a bore both narratively and artistically. Storywise it reads a lot like fan fiction with characters standing around discussing their motives, but not actually doing a heck of a lot.
Visually I was really looking forward to the artistic collaboration of José Luís García-López and George Pérez. Yet with most of the story being either a far off battle scenes with no sense of focus or long conversation scenes which provided no movement or sense of place. It doesn't use either's talent in any meaningful way, and just seems such a waste.
I like Donna Troy, but there has to be something a bit more cohesive of a story and something a bit more human for a reader to latch onto. In order to make this miniseries work, and I'm not sure what I've seen here promises to have any of that happen.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Gail Simone Makes TV Guide
This has probably been talked about elsewhere but I've been too busy to notice. Yet it was neat to see a short article in the newest TV Guide giving props to Gail's upcoming scripted episode of the Justice League Unlimited episode. Which will feature both Black Canary and the Huntress, and has me stoked to see it.
Time & Experience Gives New Perspective
I was listening to an older CD today that I hadn't listened to since I was much younger than I am now. The thing that stuck out to me most was how different I reacted to the songs.
The fast songs were still as fun as they were back then. Yet the slow melodies, especially ones about broken hearts and the like, really surprised me by how different they seemed.
Back in my younger days I could appreciate the beauty of the song, but the emotional impact wasn't there because I hadn't really know love or loss. Yet now I was startled at how much deeper they were to me, as I knew more about what they were talking about.
Which made me wonder if there were comics I could go back to now and have a deeper understanding of. Not negative ones either, as I did that a few years ago when an old favorite G.l. Joe returned and found that memory was much better than reality.
I'm not quite sure which ones to try, though I am tempted to look at The Watchmen for one. Does anyone have any suggestions? Or had similar experiences?
Monday, May 23, 2005
It has come time once again to make out my pre-order for comics from Discount Comic Book Service.
While I was tempted by a number of single comics from the big publishers, like the new Defenders series from the same creators as the wonderful Formerly Known As The Justice League series. Or All Star Batman #1 Frank Miller, who first got me interested in Batman after a very wrong headed impression made by the old TV show.
Yet I decided to wait for the trades on those and go with:
BUMPERBOY LOSES HIS MARBLES - Just sounds very neat, and I learned after Egg Story to trust Johanna on these type of books.
GURU GURU PON CHAN VOL 1 - The creator behind the wonderful OTHELLO series prior work about a dog who gets turned into a young girl sounds bizarrely fun.
NODAME CANTIABILE VOL 2 - I enjoyed the first volume about young musical students a lot.
Tramps Like Us VOL 6- Interesting that this has an of 10 listing, which is a nice change from the seeming never ending runs of other series. That should still leave plenty of room for this series about a young woman in the business world and her "pet boy" Momo.
Wahoo Morris #1 - I just have the feeling that I'll never see this comic in print though because the orders will be so low. I wonder if it might be wiser for them to just do a big GN each year instead.
Yet I'm going to do my part by preordering this great series about young people who have put together a band.
Dead Boy Detectives Digest - Hopefully Jill Thompson doesn't try to ape manga art conventions as much as she did in Death's Door. Because I thought she only captured the surface, but missed the true heart of that style.
Tuxedo Gin Book 3 - I really enjoyed the second volume of this series about a young guy reborn as penguin who still seeks to protect his love. With such light month, it was a good time to get another volume.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
It has been a hectic week here with long hours at work, and trying to squeeze in quality time with a new love. A trend that looks like it will continue for the next several weeks at least, so updates are going to be sporadic at best here.
I was sent a PDF of the upcoming AP COMICS MR.T #1 comic. I was curious about the series from being a fan of Mr.T as kid and writer Chris Bunting's obvious enthusiasm for the project as seen in his brief interview.
Yet while the art team of Neil Edwards, Randy Emberlin and Don Mackinnon turn in a very professional and visually enticing work. Writer Chris Bunting's scripting could use work, especially the dialogue that sounded fake and impractical through out most of this issue.
Also the storyline of a former hero who has cut himself off from others because of a loss of faith. Is handled in far too generic and as such predictable a fashion. Which left me feeling like I'd already read this story many times before.
I debated with myself about writing the above commentary because they seem like a great bunch of people from my dealings with them. Yet they did ask for my honest opinion, and did spend the time to send me all of this info. So it would seem a waste to completely ignore it.
I do wish them well in their future endeavors, and hope that one of them will work better for me.
In other news, I probably will eventually go see the newest Star Wars movie. Yes I know many reviews for it have hammered it, and that after seeing the first two prequels I'm just as likely to hate it myself.
Yet I'm very weird in the way that I like to at least try and keep aware of what's popular in our culture. I've sit through aweful movies, CDs and TV shows, just to be aware of what is sort of hip or popular.
I wonder if anyone else does this, or is this a singular idocity of my own making?
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Foul Play! : The Art and Artists of the Notorious 1950s E.C. Comics!
Author: Grant Geissman
Publisher: Harper Design; $29.95, 272 pages
I was very hesitant about approaching this book. I knew absolutely nothing about the EC Comics line beyond a vague sense of them being well thought of, and that they were at the center of the Wertham comics controversy of the past. So I wondered whether a book highlighting the creators would allow me any point of interest.
Yet when I did finally get around to trying the book, I was amazed at how engrossed I became with it.
First off the design sense is wonderful, with lots of images and artwork dispersed on nearly every page. That not only played well off what was being talked about in the articles, but instilled a compelling interest in me as a reader to want to seek these books out.
The book breaks itself down into individual chapters on the creators who worked for EC during the time. While there are a lot of facts they aren't done in the coldly distilled way of other bio pieces in other such books.
These give light to the work being done, the period they were working in and especially important, who the people were behind the work were. These aren't fluff pieces either, as the negative sides of these personalities are discussed with just as equal attention as the positives.
Which showed me a side of creators of the past that I hadn't saw before.
Be it Ingels's battle with alcohol and his later almost paranoia sounding need to isolate himself from his past. Or Kurtzman's prima donna sounding demands and seeking of power, whether justified or not because of his obvious talent. It gave me new insights into creators behavior in the past and today, and shows that some things never really change.
Most impressive about the book though, were the sample stories after most of the key creators work. These gave a new reader like myself a sense of what the individual's work was like, and brought home the points made in the articles in ways that the words alone couldn't have done.
Not all of the stories won me over, the horror stories especially, were nasty things happen to people are just not my cup of tea. Yet the talent behind them stands out clearly, showing a seriousness and approach that was miles ahead of many of their contemporaries at the time.
This volume is a definite must for fans of the EC Comics line. Yet even the most casual comic fan can pick this up, enjoy and likely even become a fan of that era of comics themselves. I know I myself will be tracking down some of the collections to learn more about and enjoy these treasures of the past.
Monday, May 09, 2005
MR. T COMIC BOOK INTERVIEW
When I first got an e-mail asking if I'd be interested in trying a new Mr. T comic. My first thought was to wonder why and how they would bring back a property from so long ago.
So I sent back some questions to MR. T's writer Chris Bunting and got these answers back:
I, as I'm sure many were, was a huge fan of Mr. T growing up. I never missed an episode of the A-Team and even watched his short lived animated series. Yet I have to wonder how the idea of doing a new Mr. T comic came about now 2 decades later?
CHRIS BUNTING: The easy answer is that I’m both a comic writer and I’m a huge fan of Mr.T and his work. So what could be a cooler idea than a Mr.T comic book?
The deeper answer would be that the time is right for this iconic character to return. His character has relevance now more than ever. Why? We live in an age where people more often than not turn the other way when they see – whether that’s literally or metaphorically – a fellow human being in trouble, rather than get involved. The stories in Mr.T – about a non-super powered man who will take a stand, who will champion the weak, the vulnerable … a guy who does care – have incredible relevance, and I believe readers will genuinely respond to that.
What is the new series going to be about?
CHRIS BUNTING: The opening issue of Mr.T is a mystery thriller that takes place in a very street level setting. A lot of strange stuff is going on, including a dangerous new drug. The neighborhood’s really falling into ruin because of it. Someone needs to pull it out and put things right … but the only person who can do that is nowhere to be seen.
As for what the Mr.T comic is about, it’s going to be a comic with a real entertainment factor. It’ll be contemporary and will be layered with action, adventure, humor and intrigue. It’ll also have depth and substance. And, hey, it’s got a huge star of course!
How much input into the stories and art does Mr. T have?
CHRIS BUNTING: Mr.T’s closely involved every step of the way as Creative Supervisor. He makes sure it meets his approval and that it’s not just good quality … it’s the best! The reaction from him has been terrific, very supportive: Mr.T knows that we want to give readers nothing but the very best with this comic, and he’s as excited about it as we are!
What is it like to fictionalize a real person, rather than writing entirely fictional characters?
CHRIS BUNTING: The Mr.T in the comic is still a fictional character although based on the real-life living legend. While he has no super powers, maybe we have him performing stunts no real person ever could … you get the idea. But the template for the comic book Mr.T is of course the real Mr.T. It just makes the entire process all the more interesting, all the more fun.
Do you have any concerns as to how to balance this for both the people like myself who were fans as kids, and those new readers who perhaps weren't even born when Mr. T was such a huge draw?
CHRIS BUNTING: Not concerns particularly, as a writer it’s more of a creative challenge, and I love challenges.
Many comic book readers and Mr.T fans are adult, and I’ll more than make sure that they’re catered for. The Mr.T comic carries an “all ages” tag, but that’s not any sort of stigma. The majority of current mainstream titles could in truth carry the exact same tag. And think of some of your favourite comic books of all time? I bet most would, in all honesty, be all age reading. I know most of mine are. The trick with this is to handle it in such a way that it’s enjoyable for readers of every age group. This is often the way it’s been done in some of the finest runs of comicdom, such as Peter David’s Incredible Hulk, Chris Claremont’s Uncanny X-Men, Mark Gruenwald’s Captain America. I hope the same will be said of the Mr.T comic too.
Established fans and new fans will be far from disappointed come May 21 2005, when Mr.T #1 blasts into the shops!
A big thank you goes out to Chris for taking the time to answer my questions.
- EXTRA INFO:
- MR.T: 22-PAGE / FULL COLOR COMIC SERIES
- MR.T PUBLISHED MONTHLY BY APCOMICS
- WRITER: CHRIS BUNTING
- ARTIST: NEIL EDWARDS
- INKER: RANDY EMBERLIN
- COLORIST: DON MACKINNON
- CREATIVE SUPERVISOR: MR.T
- MR.T #1: RELEASED WORLDWIDE 21 MAY 2005 (to coincide with Mr.T’s birthday)
- APC DEDICATED MR.T PAGE
- CHRIS BUNTING’S PERSONAL WEBSITE
Sunday, May 08, 2005
Happy Mother's Day!
I just wanted to send good wishes and thanks to all of the mothers out there.
Especially to my mom who despite never really understanding my interest in comics, supported and even encouraged me in my pursuit of them. Not many moms would likely have made the weekly trip for me to the shop while I was in school or sick. Or taken a wish list into the shop for birthday and Christmas time shopping.
Thursday, May 05, 2005
From a Newsarama interview with George Perez:
Pérez has at least one project he’d love to tackle. “It seems inconceivable in my thirty-plus years in this industry that I’ve never drawn a Legion of Super-Heroes story, and that’s a wrong that needs to be addressed. I’ve called that to Mark Waid’s attention, in fact, and he agrees with me. Legion was one of my favorite books as a child, and I’ve never drawn them except when they appeared in Crisis. I think there may be a market for a standalone Waid-Pérez Legion of Super-Heroes story…
I would SO be all over this project, and do find it strange (given George's penchant for big teams) that he's never drawn the team outside of Crisis.
Monday, May 02, 2005
I had today off so went looking around to see if there was anything out I needed to pick up. The only book I picked up was Sgt. Frog #8, which is my favorite comedic title right now.
I was surprised to note two things though. One is about a series I used to follow called BOYS OVER FLOWERS, which I enjoyed when I read it but only to a certain point. Then a friend told me how many more volumes there was in the series (over 20) and it changed the way I looked at the series.
With series like Sgt. Frog or Hot Gimmick I don't care how long the series are, because I enjoy them so much that I want more. With BOF I enjoyed the books I read, but the themes were something that had only a particular length of interest for me. While I might have enough interest to read that story in 10 or 11 volumes, when I started considering 20 to 25 volumes worth of it the appeal lessoned.
The other item I noticed was how the book store chains in my area are apparently doing a manga title turnover. Series I have been following, or planned to pick up more volumes are disappearing in favor of new series.
While I'm all in favor of opening up shelves to new projects, I'm personally find it all very annoying. Since series I want to read more of, like Kindiachi Case Files, Tuxedo Gin and just recently Maison Ikkoku all gone. Meaning that I'll have to hunt them up in other areas or online.
Still it is a wonderful time to be a fan, with so much out there that I want to read. That I have forced myself to be a little more selective since the number of series I'm following is incredibly large.
Sunday, May 01, 2005
Comics In Other Media Comments
I spent the night catching up on some of the comic book tie in shows I had TIVO'd during the week, and was surprised at the number of them.
Cartoon Network's Krypto The Superdog show continues to be a real hoot to watch. With the highlights being episodes like the ultra serious Ace the Bathound having to team with the silly Streaky the Supercat when Krypto is off on a mission with Superman. Plus a hilarious episode where Metallo Cat turns the Space Canine Patrol into puppies, thinking they would be easier to handle.
This series is just a lot of fun, that offers innocent and fun adventure for viewers of all ages who enjoy to laugh.
Meanwhile, Marvel's Man-Thing movie was just atrocious, and one of the worst comic book movies I've ever seen. From stiff acting that never seemed like more than anyone reading a bad script, to a story that was older than dirt and boring to boot.
Add in that the movie barely even shows its title star, and when it does he mainly just stands around. Makes this movie fail in all ways, from a stand alone movie to even just something to make readers wonder about the source material.
Finally I've been tuning in to the new Batman animated series that has been coming on CN Saturday evenings. This series follows a fairly younger Batman than the Dini & Timm series did, who is in his first year or two as a hero.
It is fun to see a Batman who isn't ultra serious, and that can actually laugh at himself at times. Not that he isn't driven, but he is heroically inclined to help people first not scare and intimidate them into doing what he wants.
Plus his relationships are much better explored, from the "father and son" connection he has with Alfred. That even when they bicker still shows a connection that has love from both sides.
Even more surprising is the glimpses that show that Bruce has had a bit of a life outside of his Batman persona. Such as his long time friendship with one of the pair of police officers who have been assigned to arrest Batman.
On the other hand the villains haven't been that interesting at all though. Probably because the show trends towards a younger audience, so the villains all have to be clearly bad and unsympathetic.
This was made especially obvious in last night's episode where Mr. Freeze went from a scientist whose drive was out of tragedy that happened to his wife. To now being just a thief who had an accident involving cryogenics when being pursued by Batman.
I'm curious to see how they handle Catwoman's appearance next week, to see if they have the attraction between the two or not.
It is an enjoyable show that offers a take on Batman that I wish we could see more of in the comics themselves. And with Krypto and the Justice League Unlimited show offers a good time from fans of comics to see their heroes in other media.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
New Del Rey Books
Nodame Cantabile 1
This is a fun series following a young man who desperately wants to be a music conductor, but an event when he was young makes him too afraid to travel abroad to learn. So he finds himself learning various types of musical instruments at home in Japan, all he masters quickly because of his innate genius.
This has made him a bit smug though, and feeling so apart from everyone that he is alone a lot. Until he meets Nodame, a sort of clumsy girl who has astonishing musical ability, but whose genius only really comes out when she plays from the heart not technically sound.
The two start off a bit strained, but quickly begin teaching each other things about music and life. I thought it very interesting to see the correlation between musical partnerships and romantic ones. How both are there to offer support in moments of weakness, and to blend with each other to come together in harmony for a greater whole.
It is a strong start to the series, that leaves me anxious to see what happens next.
Genshiken 1 : The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture
While Nodame is a strong start, this entry is a bit more shaky. It mainly follows the Genshiken club, who is a group of young men with a great interest in manga, anime, video games and cos play.
The group has all the usual fan stereo types, with a too self important leader who doesn't know as much as he thinks, a want to be artist who never put forth the effort required to become more, an over weight guy who loves dressing in costumes, and a fairly normal guy who fits in but finds himself a little out of sorts because he isn't used to knowing others who share his hobby.
Plus a type of fan I haven't seen much in stories, a good looking guy who others think isn't really a fan because he doesn't look the part. He also has a girlfriend who doesn't quite understand his hobby and would like him to spend more time with her. So there is a bit of a struggle there, with her wanting to be with him, but not understanding him.
He and the relatively normal one were the ones that really intrigued me, since they don't fall into the stereo typical behavior quite so much. I even found it sort of intriguing to see a sort of bias against "good looking people" that seemed to be a bit self loathing.
I wonder if the Japanese are a bit more open to laughing at themselves than American comic fans. Since so much of this book was laughing at some of the stranger sides of fandom, like obsession with girls as objects, porn and continuity minutiae. When similar things are done to certain weird sides of American fandom, it usually leads to anger and resentment.
The art itself was very detailed, but quite hard to follow in places. With panel flows going from the traditional side to side flow, to a jarring up to down in the blink of an eye flow.
With so much reliance of fandom fallacies, I was sort of luke warm about the series for a large portion of the book. Yet near the end a new element was addeded, that is sure to spice things up in future volumes especially. A girl from America joins the club, who happens to loves the stuff as much as the guys. Which startles them and also challenges the cute guy's girlfriend perspective on her boyfriend's hobby.
So I'll look forward to seeing #2 of it as well.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Another Cool Manga Series
Tuxedo Gin Book 2
I'd dismissed this series somewhat after a first volume that was okay, but seemed to come to a resolution that I didn't think needed to go any further. Yet volume 2 shows that there are plenty more paths for it to walk before it reaches its conclusion.
The series follows 17 year old boxer Ginji Kusanagi whose life was going perfectly. He'd just made his successful debut as a professional boxer, and met the girl of his dreams in the lovely Minako. Only to be killed in a an apparent accident, and then to his horror be reborn as a penguin.
He doesn't let that get the better of him though as he and the other penguins escape the zoo. Afterwards, he manages to become Minako's pet so he can watch over her and make sure no one hurts her.
In this volume we see how his disappearance has changed things for others in his life. From his former boxing coach, to a young boxer who idealized him. Seeing how much of an effect he's had on others really lets him start seeing a bigger picture.
This series is just so charming. The choice a penguin as the lead is wonderful as they are very cute and active creatures. I was quite impressed by how the artist was able to individualize all of the various penguins visually, while still having them be penguins.
Ginji is such a likeable character with a good heart and strong determination that helps him achieve whatever he sets out to do. Yet the most enduring thing is that everything he does, from keeping close to Minako to what he does for his friends. Is all done out his concern for them, not what he himself can get out of it in return.
Thus making him an engaging hero that is easy to root for.
Cool Stuff This Week
ARCHIE COMIC PUBLICATIONS
Sabrina #66 - Tania Del Rio is doing one of the best monthly series in comics with this title. Which seems to have kept a lot of the classic elements of the past, but with a more modern and fun spin, while forging new paths for the characters as well.
Legion of Super-Heroes #5 - It is so cool to have a Legion comic that is so much fun to read again. It is my favorite book at DC again, and is the only book from the big two that I go out of my way to get each and every month.
Sgt. Frog Vol. 8 - My favorite comedic manga series continues. I can't wait to see what those free-loading alien invaders are up to this month.
Case Closed Vol 5 - I wasn't too keen on the first volume, but as it has gone on the mysteries have gotten more intriguing and the interaction between Conan and his fellow students is priceless.
Sunday, April 24, 2005
Today marks the one year anniversary of my blog. In part to celebrate that, but more to just spend some time with a new friend, I went shopping and got some cool stuff.
Showing my superhero fanboy nature I got:
Crisis on Infinite Earths
The one "everyone dies!" or "everything you know is changing!" crossover event that I actually enjoyed. I'm curious to see what this novelization of the story will be like given how it can't rely on the fantastic artwork of George Perez to bring things together.
Green Lantern Hero's Quest
As a fan of the Kyle Rayner GL, I'm looking forward to this tale that may be the last Kyle focused GL project for a very long time with the return of Hal Jordan in Green Lantern Rebirth miniseries.
Yet of course the main focus for me were the manga series:
Maison Ikkoku Book 3
I wasn't that impressed with volume 1 of this series, so it took me the better part of a year before I gave volume 2 a try. I'm glad I did, as the slow setup of the first volume was gone and the characters were from being apathetic dweebs to more realized characters. I hope for even better things with Volume 3.
Tuxedo Gin Book 2
I enjoyed volume 1 of this series about a young guy who is killed, but is brought back as a penguin so he can look out for the love of his life. Yet at the end of the book I didn't feel like there was much else left to do with the series.
I've finally decided, since this is a light time in terms of new volumes coming out in series I follow regularly, to give volume 2 a look to see if there was anything more to say or not.
Then I decided to take a bit of a risk on two new manga volumes from the Del Rey line:
Nodame Cantabile 1
The son of a famous pianist, rediscovers his love for music with the help of a young girl and fellow music student.
Genshiken 1 : The Society for the Study of Modern Visual Culture
Which follows a young couple, the boy is an anime fan who wants to join a club that will allow him to share his love of comics and anime with others like him. While the girl would like her boyfriend to act more "normal," but in her pursuit to change him learns things about his interests that she wasn't aware of.
Both of these volumes look and sound promising, and I find it sort of cool that I apparently got them early. (Amazon says they aren't due until April 26) I am a bit concerned by the binding though, as I can actually see the glue quite clearly on the edges of the spine.
Which makes me worry whether the books will hold together or not.
Still quite a productive day, now to just find the time to read and write about them. A resolution I'm going to try and make myself keep, as I go into the second year of the blog.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
There likely won't be many updates here during the week, as I'm learning a new computer system at work. After time in a classroom, I got out to take tests that are 45 minutes in length each time, and I must make 98 or above or I must retake the entire test.
Which makes for a stressful time, as they are looking for me to be done with the 10 tests by Friday. I've done 4 so far, so I'm ahead of the curve but with the toughest ones still to come.
If I can manage to get by a comic shop this week I hope to get the following stuff to try and relax a little with:
Adam Strange #7
I've cooled a little on this series over the past couple of issues, but it is still one of DC's best put together titles.
JLA Classified #6
With the way DC has been putting these characters through hell, it is sort of appropriate that Giffen and Co. send them there this issue.
The plotless, but still entertaining fun series about cool teenage androids continues. This is one of the freshest things Marvel's done in years.
I'm sort of surprised that they list the Excelsior team as "fan favorites," but I am curious to see how they and the Runaways deal with each other this issue.
Young Avengers #3
I've really dug the mystery of who these kids are so far, and find them a bit of fresh air counter to the whole "Oh how life sucks!" approach to superhero books lately.
Saturday, April 16, 2005
This series from IDW is the best adaption of another media into comics that I've ever read. The art by Gabriel Rodriguez gets the likenesses close enough that you know who you are looking at, without the awkward stiffness that such efforts usually provide.
Meanwhile, whether Max Allen Collins in previous volumes or Kris Oprisko in this one, the character sound like they do on TV, leaving this feeling like a solid episode from the latest season.
In this volume, a mob hit has gone wrong and now someone is killing everyone connected to one of Vegas's biggest mobsters. It is up to Grissom and company to put together the clues to not only find the identity of the killer, but also try to find the next victim before he does.
It is a very exciting story, that had me caught up with the tension the team were feeling as they always seemed two steps behind the killer. I did sort of miss artist Ashley Wood's detailed flashback pieces, though Steve Perkins serves the story well.
I hope the next trade arrives soon.
Ichitaka has a problem, he has a huge crush on his classmate Iori but doesn't know how to tell her. Especially since she'd just been tricked into posing for some provocative swimsuit photos for a teen magazine. So he worries that he'll look just like any number of the other sleazy guys who are hitting on her because of that.
And so starts the first(I've read anyway) guy targeted romantic manga series, that feels like the story is about something other than how often it can get its female leads nude. (though it does have a couple of fan service moments)
I couldn't help but feel a little sorry for Ichitaka, as he is a good guy, but has no idea how to express his feelings. Not only because he doesn't understand women, but he doesn't understand himself.
He judges everything on how he thinks others will act, rather than how they actually do. Which gets him into trouble, but is an honest look at how many young(and some not so young) boys act when it comes to girls.
The art is very detailed, with individualized faces and body styles for all of the characters. And the story is fun and interesting, with characters I both felt compassion and annoyance at.
Meaning that there is yet one more series I'll have to follow now.
Eyeshield 21 Volume 1
Whether you are a football fan or not, there should be something for everyone in this latest coming of age/slap stick comedy series from Shonen Jump.
I was amazed by how the art portrays the sport of football visually. From the vicious blocks to the sense of movement, as the lead spins and turns his way past the defense. It is a truly inventive way to show the sport in a medium that one would think it wouldn't be a good transfer to.
Yet even if you're not a fan of the sport, the story of a young Sena who is starting his first year at high school. Is enjoyable as you watch him try to find his place in such a bigger world. With his only real connection being his childhood friend Mamori, a cute and very enthusiastic young woman.
She's apparently slightly older than he is, so sort of plays the role of big sister by advising him and coming to his aid when she thinks he needs it. She's a very nifty character that I liked as soon as I saw her given her strong sense of self, and will likely play the role of romantic lead later.
With fun lead characters, and art that is very inventive in style, I can't wait to read future volumes.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Odds and Ends Linkblogging
Ian Brill has an interesting post today about how he's breaking the weekly comic habit. I did something similar a year or so back and have found myself much happier with what I do read.
Oh I still drop by a shop about once a month or so, but it is on my time and money not theirs. Plus it is usually just a bored browse, because anything I MUST have I get from DCBS or Amazon at far better prices. Plus it adds surprises like today when I got DC's Bizarro World HC and The Legend of Grimjack TPB.
Thanks DC! For offering a summary of everything happening in your comics. So I don't have to read them, and yet can still know if something I might want to read ever happens.
DC Ditches Humanoids & 2000AD Lines I was curious about these books, but never saw enough info about what books I might be interested in offered. In these days of less time and a lot of stuff I know I'll want to read, working to find more isn't for me.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Comic Newbie Tries DC's Countdown to Infinity Crisis - Robinson Duffy of the Sun Star is urged to try what would seem to be a book designed for the long term reader. When he does it has a surprising, to me anyway, result.
I suppose someone with no knowledge of comics would be surprised at the leaps and bound comics have made over time. The production values and approach are drastically different than what are commonly thought of.
I still just find it quite strange that even the most die hard superhero fan would recommend such a history(big picture) themed comic as someone's first. Yet perhaps with the direction it takes, with a slightly skewed and darker take on past events. It takes a newbie to appreciate it, because there isn't a "Where did they get that from?" counter there.
I suppose someone with no knowledge of comics would be surprised at the leaps and bound comics have made over time. The production values and approach are drastically different than what are commonly thought of.
I still just find it quite strange that even the most die hard superhero fan would recommend such a history(big picture) themed comic as someone's first. Yet perhaps with the direction it takes, with a slightly skewed and darker take on past events. It takes a newbie to appreciate it, because there isn't a "Where did they get that from?" counter there.
Saturday, April 09, 2005
I need a spark
As any frequent readers have probably noticed, I haven't been updating as much lately. A good part of that is a heavy workload and a new relationship, yet there is also a feeling of not having much to say.
I find myself just disinterested in the stupid moves I see DC and Marvel are doing. The two have always done what I see as fairly dumb things in the past. Yet in recent years especially, the move towards "Roman gladiator games" styled storytelling. Where each new event must be more upsetting and demented than the last to serve and ever growing blood thirsty audience. At first these moves just disgusted me, but now has just made me indifferent to the two companies to the point where they are fast becoming irrelevant to me.
Meanwhile I am LOVING the various manga series I'm reading, from the teen soap opera of HOT GIMMICK to the detective stories of KINDAICHI CASE FILES and others in other genres.
Yet I've found myself slowly falling into kind of a rut of sorts, where I find I don't have much new to say. This was especially evident after catching up with some of my favorite manga series this weekend.
Hot Gimmick volume 8 was a wonderful read again, as the teens continue to deal with emotions they either can't or decide not to deal with. The biggest problem the characters have in the series is the lack of communication, since so much could be solved if they were all honest with each other. Yet since some of the characters won't even allow themselves to be honest with their own selves, honesty with others won't happen either.
Othello volume 3 was a lot of fun as well, with a bigger look at fan devotion taken. By looking at how the split personality character Yaya/Nana deals with both a cocky rockstar who thinks she's dumb for being devoted to him enough to dress like him, and an obsessive fangirl who fears anyone getting too close to the singer she obsesses over.
Those themes along with the Nana side's move towards achieving justice going a bit overboard as she overreacts to someone getting the last muffin for lunch. Make for a fun read, but then I knew these books would be fun reads based on what I'd read in the past.
I wonder about talking about the same books over and over again, as it soon grows to the point where I feel like I'm just talking plot points rather than craft or the like.
So I'm setting myself a challenge for the next few weeks. I'm going to try and find books to read that will challenge my sensibilities a bit more than books right now that seem to only line up to my current tastes. That doesn't mean I'm going to actively seek out thing I know I'll dislike, just try some things that aren't easy choices.
Anyone have any suggestions? (old or new books, as I still haven't read a lot of stuff from the past)
Friday, April 08, 2005
This Week's Comics
G.L.A.#1 - This book just seems to be trying to be too much to too many people, leaving me unsatisfied afterwards.
These were all characters I hadn't seen before and afterwards I still felt like I didn't know enough about any of them. The big "death" had no impact, other than how it affected the male lead which is becoming a FAR too often trend in comics, because there was nothing beforehand to make me care about the character.
Meanwhile the humor rang a bit hollow, because it reflected poorly off all of the serious issues being raised elsewhere in the book.
I wonder at who the target audience was for this, as those like myself looking for a more comedic take were probably put off by all of the doom and gloom. While those looking for a more serious take likely didn't appreciate the humor.
A new pet peeve too. Can we have at least one new Marvel comic that doesn't have anything to do with Avengers Disassembled?
Seven Soldiers: Zatanna #1 - I must say that Ryan Sook's art really surprised me here. In the past when I've seen it there was a certain unrealness to it that kept the figures from looking tangential. Not the case here though, where his figures are solid, and quite attractive.
Story wise, the down to Earth parts with Zatanna attending a support group for down trodden super heroes were fun and entertaining. Especially a particularly funny, and subtle, jab at the way female characters have been treated only as subjects of rape and death lately in comics.
The pseudo magic/alternate reality stuff completely lost me almost as soon as it started. Though the page layouts were quite imaginative and interesting to look and appreciate.
I always wonder something though. I haven't read too many Zatanna stories, but the ones that I have always talk about her strong ties to her dad. Who was her mom though? I have never seen any stories dealing that, and have always wondered about it.
Power Pack #1- I like the theme of the youngest sibling feeling put upon for having to hide her powers from everyone. Since she wants to show everyone how she shines and is ready to shed her "baby" role and become an adult.
It is a very realistic theme that many kids, especially young girls, seem to go through given the expectations for them to become mature faster.
My one complaint is that the dialogue just doesn't sound like kids voices at all. The dialogue seemed to follow more adult speaking patterns than how kids today really talk.
Legion of Super-Heroes #4 - Waid just keeps adding depths to these characters and situations. After last issue, I thought I had a clear picture of Brainy as sort of the over controlling genius who thinks he knows better than everyone else what to do.
With Cosmic Boy there to counter him, bring a more emotional but slightly less confrontational role as leader. This issue kept that dynamic, but turned it on its ear as well by showing the reader that who is right and wrong isn't quite as clear as previously thought.
The art in the first story by Kirk was nice, though not up to the kinetic energy level of Kitson, which given the amount of action in this story was missed. Too often figures looked too static during the battle scenes, though his quiet personal moments which relied on a facial expression as much as dialogue were fine.
The second story's focus on Phantom Girl, with art by Dave (WATCHMEN) Gibbons had much more energy though. I liked the new take on her as a person of two worlds literally quite well. This has been the best part of Waid's run, is his ability to keep the heart of the classic character but approach it in new, unthought of before ways.
There is a sense of wonder as well as heartbreak to Tinya's origin. In how she must balance her roles both with the Legion and in her home dimension at the same time. Especially in dealing with those who feel they need her full attention at all times, even though she is upfront in how that isn't possible.
Gosh I have to wait another month to see what happens next now? There aren't too many comics I can say that the wait seems too long.
Monday, April 04, 2005
Sunday, April 03, 2005
Sin City Movie Thoughts
I just came in from seeing the Sin City movie, and find myself sort of wondering if Frank Miller is some type of accidental comedic genius or not.
Oh when the movie tries to be funny it falls flat on it's collective butt. Yet the rest of the movie, with its really over wrought internal monologue, had me and the rest of the audience just laughing out loud AT it.
This tough guy sounding voice might work better in comic form, where it adds mood to the story that art alone can't convey. Yet aloud it just sounds so corny, that if I didn't know any better I would think it was intentional.
The movie starts off gruesome and get grizzlier as it goes on. To the point that by the end of the movie you are immune to the over the top violence and fairly needless nudity. Which seems to be there just in case you start thinking about the female characters as something other than objects to be protected or revenged.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the experience of seeing the movie. The mostly black and gray film noir look is lovely to be hold, really drawing your attention to the bright colors it highlights. Though I found it really odd that the blood looked like spilt milk.
I suspect my reasons for liking it, the unintentional comedy, to be far different than most fans though.
Friday, April 01, 2005
I've been following the story about a manhunt for armed and dangerous fugitives, here in Silsbee, Texas for the past week. The hunt is taking place just a few miles from where I live, so it is something I'm trying to keep up to date on.
To people in big cities it probably isn't anything new or special, but in the rural little town I live it is big news and a big scare.
Work has been stressful, with the bosses pressuring everyone to work even faster without offering any suggestions as to how but "Just do it!" Which has instead led to just higher stress levels and probably slower production in the end.
I HATE April Fool's day. A day devoted to nothing more than who can tell the biggest lie just isn't that amusing to me.
Comic wise I haven't been able to hit any shops or book chain stores this week to see what is out. Plus I've seemed to hit a glut of stuff in my to be read pile, that is okay but I have little to say on.
A friend sent me all of the FUTURE COMICS first issues, and they were okay if a bit old fashioned in their approach. There was nothing inherently bad about them, but I didn't remember anything about them 5 minutes after reading them.
Geoff Johns did surprise me in METAL HURLANT #2 (from Humanoids Publishing) by telling a sci-fi story that was cynical, mean spirited and perhaps a bit un-American. Yet was a darn interesting read. The art was by the RED STAR team of Christian Gossett and Snakebite, and reminded of why I liked those early issue with the epic detailing.
On a final note, I have gotten strangely addicted to a word game called Text Twist at
It is free to play, and quite addicting in a Scrabble with a time limit sort of way.
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Sometimes I feel like I get a little too set in my reading habits. So I like to take a chance on books that at least on the surface level I don't feel a connection to. Recently the two I took a chance on were
Conan Volume 1: The Frost Giant's Daughter And Other Stories
by Kurt Busiek, Cary Nord (Illustrator), Thomas Yeates (Illustrator), Dave Stewart (Illustrator)
Dark Horse, $15.95, 192 pages (March, 2005)
I've never been much of a fan of sword & sorcery books, though I do recall watching one of the Conan movies and reading one or two novels as a kid. Yet that was more in hopes of seeing some naked chicks than anything else.
Yet this new series has received a lot of praise, and the packaging of the book was really lovely, so I decided to take a chance.
Sadly I'm still not a fan of sword and sorcery books, and found large parts of this story line fairly repugnant. Conan in some respects has a certain amount of honor when it comes to fellow warriors, and I could admire his sense of adventure in wanting to see new places and meet new people.
Yet his treatment of women is down right scary, be it dominating a slave girl who risked much to free him from a drug induced stupor. To his wild pursuit of a female goddess in order to rape her for first taunting him on a battlefield.
I suppose that is done to add depth to the character, showing he is neither hero of villain. Yet that's just a step too far for me to really root for him as I feel I should.
The book and story itself are quite well done though. These mystical worlds are both bigger than life, yet still recognizable and relatable to the reader. Busiek provides unique voices for the various races and characters, and the blood, gore and women in little to no clothing are brought to full life by Nord.
I'm just not the target audience for the book, because it's a genre that just isn't ever going to interest me if this book is any indication.
Inhumans Vol. 1: Culture Shock
by Sean McKeever and Matthew Clark
Marvel, $7.99, 144 pages (April 27, 2005)
I have never liked or cared for The Inhumans characters at all before. Beyond the rather goofy costumes and powers. There's just something inherently creepy about a race of beings who gas their kids with stuff that most likely could kill them or horribly deform them.
So imagine my surprise when I take a chance on this book and find it far different from my expectations.
The creepy stuff with the gas is still there, but it is played with for great effect in how it can take lives in directions that the participants didn't expect. Then how that can change the way they must live and how they interact with those around them.
A big help is that the "goofy stuff" of the Inhumans royal family is downplayed to the point where they are almost out of the book entirely. With the series following a group of new Inhuman characters, who are young and still adjusting to their roles in the Inhumans society as adults.
So when they are ordered by their king to take part in an exchange program, that requires them to live and attend college on Earth. Their lives are all thrown into turmoil as they must not only continue to learn about themselves, but also learn about an entirely new society.
Seeing how both the Earthlings and Inhumans interact with each other was fascinating study of culture clash. From the naive Alaris who gets taken advantage of by those who see an opportunity in his optimistic ignorance. To the brash Nahrees who despite an abrasive personality constantly finds herself interacting with others, and becoming hurt when things don't go well.
I like that neither culture is shown as being inherently better or worse than the other. Each has its positives and negatives that are highlighted.
It showcasea the alienness that the different cultures have when they come together, yet still manages to have the grain of connection that crosses those differences. A common thread, that no matter how different things may seem we can all be very much a like as well.
I got to the end of this book and wanted to see more about the characters, and to see whether the two races could come together or not. Hopefully Marvel finishes the story soon.
Monday, March 28, 2005
I'm looking at the TV Shows on DVD site tonight and have run across this interesting tidbit.
Smallville Season 5 to have Lois Lane Retrospective:
One specific feature which we've received word on is a "Lois Lane Retrospective". This feature will take a look back at the history of Lois Lane, so that today's generation can see that there has been a long line of women who have played this key role in the Superman mythology.
Special guest appearances for this feature include video interviews with Erica Durance (who plays Lois Lane in "Smallville"), Noel Neill (the original Lois Lane from the Kirk Alyn "Superman" serials and "The Adventures of Superman" TV series from the 1950s), and even Dana Delany (who voiced Lois Lane in "Superman: The Animated Series" of the 1990s).
Margot Kidder, who played Lois Lane in four Superman movies and appeared in the Smallville episodes "Crusade" and "Transference," has also been interviewed for the Smallville Season 4 DVD set.
I'm not a huge fan of the show, but it sounds really interesting to get this kind of look at how Lois has been played. Too bad Terri Hatcher isn't involved, though with Lois & Clark The New Adventures of Superman Season One coming out. Well perhaps we'll see something like that from her down the line.
Sunday, March 27, 2005
This Week's Comics Snapshots
JLA Classified #5 - This is just a fun sitcom comedy approach to superheroes, with common events taken to extreme lengths for the joke.
Those worrying about Mary Marvel's intelligence level should definitely be pleased by her showing this issue. When she meets Guy Gardner for the first time, and has to stand up to her over protective brother. Which is the bigger obstacle was surprising.
I did find myself wondering when Blue Beetle and Power Girl became such friends, I must have missed that somewhere. Yet all in all just a fun read, with characters who are goofy and with stories that don't take themselves too seriously.
It'll be a nice reminder of why DC used to be fun before the the whole "whatever DC's latest wallowing in sadism crossover is called" stuff sends everything down the toilet.
Spellbinders #1 - Young people with magic powers at a high school in Salem, MA welcome a new girl whose power may be the greatest they've ever seen.
Nothing happens in this comic that doesn't feel like a slightly different version of The Craft. I was just bored as it all just seemed too familiar, though the last page cliffhanger showed potential but may be too little to late for this reader.
I expect better from writer Mike Carey after his wonderful "My Faith in Frankie" miniseries, but this just lacked a lot of the heart and freshness of that.
Runaways #2 - This comic is kind of annoying because it relies on everyone being idiots of a sort. Not in the goofy sitcom way of the Giffen Justice League, where the goofy behavior is played for laughs.
Yet in a way that the characters have to act stupid in order to forward the plot.
From the former heroes who want to stop the Runaways from ruining their lives by being superheroes. By putting on their superhero to beat them into doing what they say not what they do.
To the Runaways who in trying to stop someone who might kill them 20 years in the future. By picking a fight with him out of the blue today, rather than talk with him to see what he is like first.
Gee I wonder why he might dislike them in the future?
I want to see what happens next, but I felt that it could have been better designed to get to where the writer wanted it to wind up at.
Live Wire #1-2 - It is strange really, the comics lacks a real plot, but that's fine because the characters seem so fresh. They may be teenage robots on deadly missions, but the approach makes it feel like teens going to the beach for a weekend.
Which makes for a strange read that is interesting, but like the characters feelings in the book, nothing really important to spend time worrying over.
Saturday, March 26, 2005
Best Superhero Cartoon?
The best superhero cartoon I've ever seen isn't the Justice League or Batman, but is Cartoon Network's Krypto The Superdog.
From the light hearted fun theme song, to the clever use of the Superman mythos, to the heart filled theme of just a young boy who needs a friend. Who gains the best friend any man or boy could ever have.
This series is just a ton of fun, and in just a minute guestspot shows a more likeable and human Superman than has been seen anywhere else in over a decade worth of comics.
Don't just pass this off as a kiddy cartoon, while it is great for kids, fan of fun superhero adventures of any age should enjoy it as well.
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Viz, $9.99, 192 pages (March 8, 2005)
SOS is a short story manga collection, of young loves.
I like short stories, because they tend to offer unique endings that longer series tend not to. Because if you are working with a limited space the author has to be especially creative in order to get to the end in time.
While with a series there is more room for tangents, yet it also means more responsibility to give the audience the end they need. Since you are asking them to commit to your story for a longer term of time. While in a short story, if the ending isn't popular the audience hasn't invested as much time or money.
SOS started off a bit too familiar though, not that familiarity is bad, but there was nothing to really remark on in its first storyline. Which involves three young teens who are great at making love matches for everyone but themselves. So the three form a dating agency to earn money, yet wind up finding something special among themselves.
The characters are likeable enough, and there is an odd bit about a teacher who has a dating problem that helps add a bit of spice to it all. Yet it was still a standard boy and girl must get past their own emotional baggage together story.
The second storyline is where the book starts earning its keep though. With a poignant tale of tragic love and time lost, that takes place both in the here and now and 1922.
The pacing on the story was very well done, slowly building and twisting until the ending that is one of the most emotional manga moments I've seen. It was one that I should have seen coming, but for some reason it completely took me by surprise.
The final story is about a girl whose boyfriend takes advantage of her devotion to him. She feels strongly for him but he just sees her as another means of making his life easier.
Typically this story would only go a certain way, with her dumping him and finding someone that is more deserving of her love. Yet the breakup is just the start of the story, and who turns out to be the right one for her was surprising.
It is surprising to see a young relationship portrayed that starts out black and white, but moves into many shades of gray. As the lesson is taught that real relationships take work on both sides, and that forgiveness can solve many problems.
I'm not sure if this volume is the first in a series or just a one shot. Yet Hinako Ashihara is certainly a talent who I'll be on the look out for.
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Quick Singles Rundowns
Young Avengers #2 - Quickly becoming my favorite Marvel book, especially since She-Hulk is on hiatus. This second issue continues to build the team in fun interesting ways, that reminds me strongly of the early Legion of Super-Heroes, with new promising members showing up to join.
This time we have "the girls" show up, in the form of a strong willed and athletic heiress (who reminds me of Sue Dibny before Identity Crisis) and Ant Man's daughter. Plus the team's mission is explained, giving them a reason to be together that so many other teams lack.
Adam Strange #6 - I will be very curious to see how readers who are waiting for the trade will react to this series once they read it. Since it is written in a way that makes it better suited for the singles format with slam bang openings and a cliffhanger closing that might not work as well in collected form.
This has sort of becoming more of a travelogue than a story though. With the last two issues being as much about checking in with some very obscure DC outer space characters, as about the mystery of Rann's disappearance.
Yet when the series is discussed in interviews as having the purpose of reestablishing the cosmic aspects of the DCU, then that should be expected I suppose.
Sabrina #65 - This issue resolves around self-centeredness, from Sabrina's jealousness of Llandra and Shinji's relationship, to her aunt not discussing with Sabrina what her new job might mean for their family, to the crook who only cares about making himself a star.
It was a wonderful portrayal of the emotion from different angles, and seeing how some where able to get past that out of love made for a very interesting read.
Samurai: Heaven & Earth #3 - Marz's story is simple and pure, dealing with the samurai Shiro traveling the globe to regain his kidnapped love. It is easy to understand and grasp, while providing settings that show off the wonderful artistic talent of artist Luke Ross.
Ross's attention to detail, provides a strikingly lovely picture of France in the time of the Musketeers. Whom Shiro comes into conflict with, though not just any Musketeers but the famous Three Musketeers from Dumas's book.
As Shiro goes forward he finds himself in even greater conflicts, but never wavers in his goal. Which makes him one of the more admirable new characters in some years, and one I long to see have his goal met.
Monday, March 21, 2005
Miracleman comics have sort of become the "holy grail" of many comic fans out there. With issues hard to find, and usually quite expensive once they are. Its myth has grown in leaps and bounds in the last few years especially with the legal rights battle as wonderfully reported here.
I decided recently to try to hunt up some of the issues for myself as well, to see whether the reality lived up to the myth or not. Through eBay and a friend I was able to get a fairly good sampling I think, to judge their worth.
Issues #1-3 deal first with a sort of "flashback" story hearkening back to the Silver Age era of goofy villains and plots. Where the good guys were good and the bad guys were bad (but not evil) and you knew who would win in the end.
Alan Moore captures the feel of those stories perfectly, without it seeming like just a pastiche of those old stories. This is a style he would later revisit with his flashback Supreme stories, so it was interesting to see that he had an apparent fondness for it even so many years back.
Then comes the meat and potatoes, as we watch Miracleman learn his life was a lie. He and his two junior partners were really experiments of the government. The lives they thought they'd lived were really virtual reality created dreams, and that the government tried to destroy them when they realized how dangerous they were.
Which only led to Miracleman gaining amnesia, that made him forget his magic world of transformation. So he built a new life as a reporter and met and married the love of his life. Living a life of virtual ambiguity for 15 years, until a terrorist attack reawakens who he really is.
We then watch as he must battle his junior partner, who has lived the last 15 years with his powers on and has become corrupted by it.
These early issues are broken up in chapters, as these were colorized reprints of short stories from the UK based WARRIOR book. It was interesting to see how writer Alan Moore worked differently with different artists.
Moore didn't seem to trust the first artist Garry Leach much, with good reason since some of the battle sequences were hard to follow, looking like two colored blobs clashing with each other in murky surroundings. So the narrative was heavily descriptive, annoying so in places.
Even if the art itself was showing exactly the same thing, the text made sure to restate it just to be sure. With Alan Davis, Moore seemed to pull back a little more, with less redundancy type narration boxes and dialogue.
Which made the book an easier read, especially since the early dialogue tended to be heavily over wrought. Such as when describing a huge fight scene in issue 2, as something we as mortals couldn't ever understand.
It was two guys beating the heck out of each other, what is so hard to grasp about that concept? Though having read more now, it is evident that it was the first in a line of things meant to show how different powered individuals are from normal people.
Later issues would explore more about the kind of dreams and lives the characters lived through under their dream state. Before having Miracleman confront the scientist who created him for his own ulterior motives.
Then issue 9 where Miracleman's wife gives birth, was an apparently a controversial story during its time. At least as evidenced by the very angry seeming foreword to book 2 by Catherine Yronwode about whether it was appropriate subject for youths or not.
The nudity and graphic violence of the early issues would seem to have made it evident that it wasn't a book for youths to me anyway. Yet on the graphic depiction of the birth I found myself wondering about the necessity of the visuals shown.
Yes it is a natural thing in life, but then so is using the bathroom or vomiting. Neither of which are things I care to see, and I don't think these graphic scenes added anything to the story but an "eww" factor.
Issue 9 was the last of the Moore stories I've been able to find so far. I do have the Apochypha trade, which is a collection of sort of "Elseworld" tales involving the Miracleman family of characters by some of today's more well known comic talent.
Of them the standout ones are
*"The Scrapbook" by Sarah Byam and Norm Breyfogle, which has Miracleman looking in at a world where things with his family had gone certain other ways. It was a poignant tale of "what might have beens" and hints to me at what he must have to give up in future issues.
*"Stray Thoughts" by Stefan Petrucha and Broderic Macaraeg, features Miraclewoman in a story that bring an interesting spin on the old "Superman's robots" theme. Yet doesn't lose the charm those old stories brought out either.
*"Wishing on a Star" by Steve Moore and Alex Ross, was a true surprise find. Its story on how Miracleman's existence would have a negative effect on human initiative was interesting. Yet more impressive was seeing Alex Ross do art with a softer feel and approach than his typical very stiff work he's done in recent years.
There is also a "What were they thinking?" story by James Robinson and Kelly Jones. That focuses on Miracleman's former junior partner Kid Miracleman, and exactly what his thought process was in going evil. It really seemed to glorify the violence and rape done by the lead character in a very disturbing way that disturbed me by its message.
This is a solid mature superhero story, that explores the superhero tale from a slightly different angle. Unlike other tales, like Superman's, where the characters seek acceptance from others.
Miracleman is instead a journey that has the character have to learn and embrace his apartness from humanity.
Miracleman is a work that still stands up all of these years later. I wouldn't put it up there with Moore's Watchmen work, as it lacks the underlining themes and commentary that it worked with.
I definitely look forward to seeing further volumes, and hope that the legal battles get settled so the books can be reprinted in new volumes. Thus making them open to a wider audience.
Sunday, March 20, 2005
Lunch Hour Comix
Alternative Comics, 64 B&W pages, $5.00
This collection of creator Robert Ullman's comics, done in just one hour a day is remarkably insightful. Usually when I hear about comic challenges surrounding doing things in a time limit. I tend to think "wow a fast food approach to art, how FUN."
Yet the work is of such quality that I wouldn't have known such little time was taken otherwise. Plus the strips don't fall into the humdrum "Today I changed shirts." dullness that many creators looking at everyday life fall into.
10-8-04's strip especially was really clever, as Ullman realizes how your reality is and what you feel can be two entirely different things. Which hit my current mood perfectly, and is the first comics to ring true like that in a while.