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Comics…Deconstructed

Creator Chronicles

The video/audio quality is not the greatest, but the Creator Chronicles DVDs are looking like a must-own for any comics aficionado. The list of artists and writers interviewed is deep, including Bill Sienkiewicz (see video above), Michael Golden, George Perez and more.  It’s gratifying to see some of these old-school artists finally getting the respect they are due, since they laid the groundwork for much of what is going on now in comics.

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March 31, 2007 Posted by | Comics, Movies | Leave a comment

Ultimately Doomed?

IGN has an interesting article discussing whether or not the Marvel Ultimate line has outlived its purposes. Some of the article’s contributors call for the end of all things Ultimate, while others still see the need for these cooler, hipper versions of classic Marvel characters.

As for me, the Ultimate line still works for the most part. I’ll admit that I don’t read all of the books – I gave up on Ultimate Fantastic Four and Ultimate X-Men after about the first year or so of each – but Ultimate Spider-Man and The Ultimates are still the best takes on Spidey and the Avengers around. As for the various Ultimate mini-series, I just say “meh”. So, it’s been a mixed bag, but on a whole the Ultimate Marvel line been one of the better comics experiments around – certainly superior to the M2 line launched (and still around, amazingly) several years before the Ultimates came about.

So what do you think? Trash ’em or keep ’em?

March 31, 2007 Posted by | Comics | Leave a comment

Fanboys Destroy Spider-man Weekend

 

Cable television has been littered with ads for the Web Slinger Weekends at Target, Walmart and Toys R Us, so I suppose I should have anticipated the fanboy reaction even before my wife and I decided to check out the spider-offerings at our local Target (our sad little home town can’t even support a Toys R Us, and we won’t darken the door of a Walmart). I’m naïve, I suppose; I actually thought there would be SOMETHING left on the shelves. Unfortunately, that was not the case, as clearly the snot-slinging, zit-popping armies of mint-condition spider-groupies must have descended on the store right as it opened. At most, I wanted to pick up maybe one toy (a black-outfitted Spidey for my office), so it wasn’t all that crushing a moment for me. Instead, I started thinking about all of the kids who were excited about picking up the new Spider-man toys, only to find that all of them were already gone before even 10am. I’m for a free market economy and all, but don’t you think the store managers could have put the kibosh on the uber-geeks who bought the entire shipment?

March 27, 2007 Posted by | Commentary | 1 Comment

Everyone Laughs at the Joker’s Boner

This has certainly been making the rounds online, so far it be from me to stop the great freight train that is the blogosphere. The 15 Most Unintentionally Funny Comic Book Panels is riotously funny, even if the material was swiped from the equally worthwhile superdickery.com. My personal favorite is the one featuring Lois and Clark. Ah, those long-lost days of innocence….

March 26, 2007 Posted by | Comics | Leave a comment

Writing Four Years of Books in One

With DC’s groundbreaking weekly 52 series about to end, Comic Book Resources took time to sit down with scribe Greg Rucka and discuss his role in crafting the book. Unlike so many interviews that seem to merely skim the surface, ultimately making the article more of a promo piece than anything else, this interview is amazingly deep, honest and challenging. Rucka even takes the time to assess his fellow 52 writers’ strengths and weaknesses:

Grant Morrison: He brings the high concept. He brings the idea that none of us can have. He has this capacity to bring in something from left field that we realize is really cool. It doesn’t always work, and he’d be the first to admit it, but he shoots out more good ideas over the course of a week than I do over the course of a year. And no one who has worked with Grant can disagree with that.

But at the same time, Grant throws out his big idea and then moves on to the next big thing and if you don’t get it, you are screwed. We need him to come back and explain it, but he’s already gone!

Geoff Johns: I think Geoff does superheroes like nobody’s business. He does great action and heroism and excitement and stuff that is really cool, and he does it expertly.

I think sometimes that runs the risk of doing cool for the sake of cool, which might not be a criticism. There was an email exchange at one point, where he said it was okay to do the cool thing because it is cool. I wish I had the presence of mind to respond, because I realized that my reaction should have been, “But if you do that, you have ‘Phantom Menace.'” [laughs] I do think that can be a problem.

Mark Waid: Mark gets labeled as the historian, but people ignore what a phenomenal writer he is. He is probably the hardest working of all of us, just with the time and effort he puts into each page. He has an understanding of how a comic book works and how you can put one perfect detail in a panel, and it will just sing.

When I was asked what my favorite “52” moment was, I chose the one where Clark throws himself out the window to get the interview with Supernova. That is an example of Mark Waid’s brilliance.

There is another moment in issue 52, and it was Mark’s suggestion, and it is dead on perfect. When people see it, they will get a chill and a smile. It’s simply one change that Mark did.

And he can do that with alarming consistency, and he’s that good.

I think that the biggest weakness, and I could be totally wrong, is that sense of history as well. He is so aware of the legacy, that sometimes it throws a roadblock in front of him. He doesn’t get resistant to new ideas, but he wants certain things preserved.

Greg Rucka: And then there is me. I think what I am probably best at are, for lack of a better phrase, those humanizing beats. In a world of gods, the street level is what I love playing in.

Conversely, you can see where the weakness is. I don’t write big very well. Comics are a medium where you need to write large scale really well.

Like I said…it’s honest, and really accurate when you critically assess any of these writers’ books. As Rucka says at one point in the article, you have to know your fellow writer’s weaknesses and strengths in order to successfully write a book with them over the course of only one year. To be certain, 52 has raised the stakes of what an event comic can truly be. Too bad this amazing cadre of writers isn’t working on DC’s next event…Countdown.

Read the full CBR article here.

March 18, 2007 Posted by | Comics | Leave a comment

The League of Unfortunate Forgettables

There’s an interesting post here about underused/ignored comic book characters from the mainstream publishers and why so many seem to be returning recently. There’s Moon Knight, of course, but also Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Cloak and Dagger (courtesy of Civil War), and the vast array of cult characters that make up the new Omega Flight team for Marvel. At DC, the trend is decidedly less noticeable, although Brad Metzler’s Justice League of America has strangely focused on marginal characters such as Speedy (or is it Arsenal, or something else now?), Vixen and Red Tornado. Likewise, the 52 event comic has spent a year following the exploits of Ralph Dibney, Booster Gold, Rip Hunter, Steel and the Question, just to name a few.

What do you think about this trend? Are there any characters you’d like to see return from relative obscurity?

March 17, 2007 Posted by | Comics | Leave a comment

A Test for Rorshach

How this happened, or how it was discovered, I have no idea, but someone, somewhere noticed that there was a test image for Watchmen character Rorshach embedded in a recent theatrical trailer for 300. Now, of course, it’s everywhere (including here), leading me to think that this is more a case of viral marketing than a happenstance occurrence. That’s ok though. We’ve all been waiting for a Watchmen movie for years. It seems a little surreal that it’s so close to becoming a reality. Clearly the intention is to virtually generate the sets and environments, a-la Sin City and the aforementioned 300, but is that a good idea? Is this the only way we’re going to see comic book movies anymore? Has anyone seen a movie with predominantly virtual scenery where the acting was exceptional or even merely passable (and yes, I’m lookin’ your way, Star Wars: Episodes I-III, Sky Captain, etc, etc, etc…)?

Add to all of this the fact that director Zach Snyder is already warning fans that there will be some changes from the comic to the big screen. While this fact is expected, some of the changes he mentions are of questionable taste, such as making the female character’s costumes “sexier” and making Nite-Owl “more terrifying” (correct me if I’m wrong here, but isn’t he SUPPOSED to be an overweight, geeky has-been?). While I’m looking forward to seeing these characters finally make it to a film, I also understand why Alan Moore has distanced himself from the films of his work.

March 16, 2007 Posted by | Comics, Movies | Leave a comment

Digital Justice

An interesting post justifying one comic fan’s downloading of digital comics can be read by clicking here.

And yet another compelling argument (this time promoting an iTunes-like program for selling and distributing digital comics) can be read here.

Add your opinion about the rise of downloadable comics below…

March 11, 2007 Posted by | Comics | 1 Comment

Starry Starry Knight

An excellent treatise on the 60s-70s treatment of superheroes in popular media versus the new “golden age” of comics movies can be read here:

http://circumstantial.wordpress.com/2007/03/10/the-joy-of-cheese-and-stars/

While I don’t necessarily subscribe to all of the author’s views, it’s an interesting read – and I certainly think the James Robinson/Tony Harris era Starman would make a decent television show.

March 11, 2007 Posted by | Comics, Commentary | 1 Comment

Invade Your Feet

Not comics-related, I realize. Just plain cool. Click the link below for a site that teaches you how to create your own Space Invaders socks. Hmmmm….I sense a potential cottage industry here. Anyone for a Sinistar scarf?  I HUNGER for  one………………

http://www.thebbps.com/blog/2007/03/09/space-invader-socks/

March 11, 2007 Posted by | Games | Leave a comment