Friday, December 28, 2012

I Saw "Batman Live" Some Weeks Ago And Will Share My Thoughts On It Now

About more than a couple of weeks (but less than a month) ago I saw, "Batman Live," in St. Louis with my girlfriend--who was more than kind enough to buy us tickets as an early Hanukkah/Christmas present. It was quite an enjoyable time even if the "play" had a slow start. I put the word "play" in quotation marks as this wasn't so much a piece of theater as it was a hybrid of acting, acrobatics, magic tricks, and general craziness, but the good kind.
A picture I took of the Gotham city set-piece before the show started.
We open with a young Bruce Wayne cruelly losing his parents, afterward jumping to some crazy circus acrobatics--before Dick Grayson loses his parents too. From this point on we have Batman investigating who was behind the murders as Dick Grayson attempts to help. The first act of the play before intermission had to of course set the stage for Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson to have the motivation to become heroes, and then all of the villains had to be introduced, but still, things just seemed to lag at times in the first act (of two) before right at the end when the Joker appeared. Between the origin stories and a weirdly choreographed roof-top chase and fight between Batman and Catwoman things were sometimes a bit on the duller side. One exception to this is the Penguin's first appearance at his Iceberg lounge. The dancing and aerial-tricks with that were so weird and trippy that scene stood out.
The "Snow Boys" and "Snow Girls" in the best scene of Act 1
Speaking of trippy, this show had a weird mixture of the high-tech Batman of some comics and movies, mixed with the more out-there stuff of Grant Morrison's Batman's comics and some of the zanier silver-age stories. There was also a fair helping of humor, so this was definitely not the grim-and-gritty Batman of some comics or the Nolan films. In the second act with the Joker doing magic-tricks to show how he'll kill Batman, to an attempted hot-air balloon escape, things are quite weird. However, everything stays entertaining enough that it is never too much absurdity.
Batman has some interesting villains.
The show is good family-fun and can be enjoyed by all ages, which makes one extremely-dark scene kind of stand out. Towards the end of the story when Batman goes into Arkham Asylum to fight his rogues gallery he has an encounter with The Scarecrow. The Scarecrow in the show is a huge man on stilts and makes Batman hallucinate (or is it real?) a ton of dead people in weird burlap-sack-type coccons hanging by chains. I'm not making this up, observe:
Yeah, this will give you nightmares.
 Other than that, things never get too violent besides delightfully-choreographed fight scenes where things keep getting switched up to keep the show fresh. From the kung-fu poles people both dance and charge at Batman with, to the great side-by-side fighting Batman and Robin do (once Grayson dons the costume) it is always a hoot to watch the battles that occur.

"Batman Live," was a great time, and if it happens to come to a city near you I would recommend going and seeing it. You will be entertained, laugh, and marvel at the intriguing set design and costumes. It may take the play a bit to kick into gear, but once it does the rest is a rip-roaring time. My girlfriend who doesn't really read comic books enjoyed this too, so even friends and family who just know the bare minimum about Batman should have fun. Check it out if you happen to get the chance, you'll be glad you did.

4 out of 5 stars.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Chirstmas

I enjoyed Hanukkah already with my family, and now am celebrating Christmas with my girlfriend and her folks. I hope you all are able to enjoy whatever holiday you celebrate, and for the large number of people around the world celebrating Christmas today I wish you a merry one.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

So...what is up with the Vertigo comic's imprint, and DC in general?

Will Vertigo Become Vertigone (He asked, realizing it was a terrible pun everyone else has already been using)?

Vertigo comics, the DC imprint that could...until it started to seem like it couldn't.

Headed by Karen Berger since inception until recent announcements I'll discuss more shortly, as DC's editorial-crew kept changing so did the way DC did things (and therefore the way Vertigo did things). Characters that had been folded into Vertigo after starting out sort-of in the DC Universe re-entered DC's main world ("Swamp Thing," "Hellblazer," and "Animal Man," to a lesser degree). Comics that were going to be for Vertigo ended up in the main DC Universe too ("Dial H For Hero"). It just seemed over time Vertigo was losing anything good to read. This is the line that has had, "Sandman", "Preacher", "100 Bullets", "The Invisibles", and, "Transmetropolitan" to name some of the big-time comics. It also had some quality series of less success such as, "American Virgin," and, "The Exterminators." The line produced what is my favorite comic or graphic novel of all time, "The Filth." What is there now, though?
Karen Berger, basically any Vertigo book ever made has involved her in some capacity.

"Fables," is still coming out, that is indeed going strong...but, "American Vampire," is going on break, "Unwritten," is wrapping up, and other than the occasional one-shot or mini-series (such as the enjoyable,  "Spaceman") what does Vertigo have? Adaptations? The line is putting out a comic-version of, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," but what else? Perhaps it really didn't help that the company used to let their creators keep a lot of the intellectual property rights, but various folk at DC decided it would be better to keep those rights and make more money. Problem is, the paradox occurred of such a plan making them less money because people would rather go to Image and own the rights to their comic than, you know, not own the rights at all.

Change is afoot

Now Karen Berger is all but a memory as of March 2013, and that's after her 20 years heading Vertigo and nearly 30 with DC overall--no small amount of time! DC isn't killing Vertigo, they are hiring Shelly Bond to take Berger's place. DC is shuffling so much however, and you occasionally hear about writers being told specifically what they can and can't do because DC has various plans (Zero month, the rumored Villain month) and due to displeasure with DC's methods people are quitting or getting fired. One exception to all this is Gail Simone. She was fired off, "Batgirl," for some reason or another (via email, no less!), but after immense fan outcry the new writer of, "Batgirl," was announced to be Gail Simone. You did not misread that, Gail Simone was re-hired on to the comic after less than two weeks of the internet basically vomiting with rage as if one of those gross red-lanterns.
Gail Simone, the woman the internet was prepared to up and slap DC across the face for.
Many other folk don't fare well if they incur DC's wrath, however (hello, Chris Roberson), but I imagine because Simone was calm, cool, and collected she was able to just let the internet howl for the blood of DC until she got writing duties back on, "Batgirl." It helps she has an immensely passionate fan-base because lord knows people actually celebrated when Rob Liefeld quit/was kicked off his DC books--and then proceeded to utterly lose his mind as he started  insulting anyone he could, but I digress. Also, the fact that Gail Simone is one of the few writers DC has who happens to be female made it look bad they were firing one of their few employees who didn't have a Y chromosome, that didn't help their case for briefly getting rid of her.

What is the "Game-Plan"? Is There Even Any?

DC seems to be randomly changing plans for comics every few months or even weeks. People are getting mad who work there, a line of comics at the company which has produced some of the best comics-work ever is a pale shadow of itself, how long can all of this keep up before DC realizes something's gotta give? Whether that something is getting rid of Vertigo, being kinder to their writers and artists, or realizing that having 52 ongoing books a month is way too many and they should cut it down to 30 or so (which would make coordinating those events they want easier)--whether it is any of that I can't say.

DC has been doing extremely well since their massive re-launch, arguably because they went about it expertly, to give credit where credit is due. However, at this point it seems the company is running without much of a plan if what we occasionally hear from the comic-book press is true about internal-struggles and everything else troublesome. I want DC to be successful, and I also want them to be kind to their employees and former employees ("Before Watchmen," still pisses me off to no end). At this point I'd settle for hearing there is at least some kind of plan in place though. Until then we can only wonder at what the crazy inner-workings of DC Comics would be like. I like to imagine there is cake everyday, because I like cake and would gladly work at an office that supplied it.

Friday, December 21, 2012

My Hobbit Review With Spoilers But The Book Came Out Decades Ago So Suck It Up

I saw, "The Hobbit," although because of course there are going to be multiple hobbit movies this was actually titled, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," with the next film being called, "The Hobbit 2: Die Harder," or something. I'm just going to say, "The Hobbit," to keep things easy though.

As opposed to the, "Lord Of The Rings," movies which seem to be near-universally loved, "The Hobbit," has been dividing critics. It seems the biggest complaint has been that, "The Hobbit," movie is pretty tonally different from the LOTR flicks. Well, people have been saying the same thing about Tolkien's books for a long time too! Perhaps the big issue is that when he made, "The Hobbit," that was meant more as a book for children and youth, infused with humor and whimsy. Then, Tolkien made LOTR, which while drawing from characters and plots from, "The Hobbit," is much darker, full of complexity, and a lot more dramatic than Tolkien's first book, which arguably is just a stage-setter for his LOTR saga. "The Hobbit," is tonally different then, okay, fine. Is it any good in my opinion however? Yes, it is.

This may ruin some of my nerd-credibility but I never read any of the LOTR books. I did read about half of, "The Hobbit," but the only bits I remembered from the book are when Bilbo tricks the trolls (because that scene is funny) and of course the first encounter with Gollum where they play a game of wits and Bilbo gets the famous ring. I was pleased to see both of these moments occur in the film--one earlier on and the other close to the end of this first-flick. Besides these moments I enjoyed the film is good fun all-around. Bilbo, the dwarves, and Gandalf go off adventuring and encounter various obstacles in the form of orcs, rock-giants, and I assume needing to often take breaks so that everyone can brush out their beard (seriously, pretty much everyone has immense facial hair that must take forever to groom). The variety makes things fun but it never gets overly-complicated.

It's a straightforward enough plot. The dwarves want to reclaim their old kingdom and need to fight a dragon, meeting old enemies and making new ones along the way. It's not overly-deep or philosophical as the LOTR films sometimes aspired to be, but it is great for kicking back and munching some popcorn while Orcs get beat-up. I was entertained even if the movie was a bit slow to get going at the start and feel I got my money's worth. Do note that I saw this in 2D as I generally can't stand 3D films. Therefore, if you paid the extra money for 3D I don't know if you should feel pleased or robbed by this movie.

This isn't a perfect film. People went in expecting another, "Lord Of the Rings," and instead got, "The Hobbit." People who read LOTR before, "The Hobbit," probably have been disappointed throughout history too. It's still a good film though, and worth seeing. Just don't go in expecting to be amazed so much as to have a good time. Keep your expectations reasonable and you should be happy.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

I'm Honestly Going to Start Posting Again Now, I Promise.

Finals, travel, and life in general have made posting difficult. I now have time and will be posting a good chunk of stuff to make up for my absence. I saw Batman Live a bit over a week ago and want to tell you all about that, discuss some movies, and do general rants on everything from Vertigo Comics, to Tony Harris, to gun control (my heart goes out to those impacted by the tragedy in Connecticut).

Yes, I've been thinking and have plenty to say. Be prepared, and be afraid.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I Trust Everyone Had A Good Thanksgiving Holiday?

Whether you celebrated Thanksgiving with family and food, or marked it as a national day of mourning, I hope your Thanksgiving weekend was successful. When I say, "successful," I mean in the sense that you had lots of good food, relaxed, and possibly bought a ton of stuff for cheap on Black Friday. I did all of that, with the comics I got inexpensively along with movies and games surely being great enough in number to keep me busy until the next Black Friday (theoretically).

Between being sick or busy it has been a bit harder to keep up with the blog. I know you still see my regular contributions at Nine Panel, however, so as to not go through withdrawal (from my lack of ramblings). As winter approaches I hope to have more free time and just gorge myself on comics whilst writing a bunch of reviews of them and whatever other media I consume. So yeah, you have that to possibly look forward to if nothing else.

Friday, November 16, 2012

What's Up With The Hating on "Female Geeks"?

If you spend any amount of time on the internet you probably by now have seen a lot of talk about geek girls and how they somehow are faking being geeks or something. Things came to a head when Tony Harris decided to, "speak out," against these evil women. Predictably, the internet utterly blew up.

Because I want to save you going to hundreds of news stories, I shall present one that I think sums everything up quite well, the always-hilarious Comics of the Weak by Tucker Stone and friends on TCJ's website (scroll down for the bit on Tony Harris and geek-girls).

Sooooo, I don't know. Why are so many males threatened by the idea of a woman who is attractive and might also like geeky things too? I myself would love to have geeks of all races, colors, genders, and sexual orientations feel like they are welcomed under the "geek" umbrella. I just really find it odd people who talk about being hated-on for being different or weird get upset at someone else coming along and expressing an interest in their hobbies. Is it a thing of wanting to be different and weird, and with mainstream society accepting your hobby that isn't possible anymore? You want to be able to play a victim with other folk talking about how society doesn't understand your love of Spider-Man comics? Well guess what, it isn't embarrassing to read comics in public anymore so get over yourself and celebrate that super-heroes are cool now.

What I wish is that Tony Harris hadn't said such stupid stuff. I also want people to not think of geek-ery as an exclusive club but something all can join, and we need to not be jackasses.

It's not like people are actually going to act like human beings toward each other though, this is a community that sends threatening messages to reviewers when they don't like the new Avenger's movie, after-all. We need to be better.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Why The Presidential Election Turned Out The Way It Did (According To Me, A Random Person On The Internet)

The Election In Retrospect
I've got an addiction. With the usual contents of this blog you may think that addiction is comic-books but it isn't (okay, maybe that is one of my addictions). No, I have an addiction to politics and policy. I love me some news, analysts guessing at what will happen in an election, and otherwise "gaming" it out how I think things will proceed.

From the start of the Republican Primaries I said it would have to be Romney who was the nominee. Everyone besides Romney was basically wrong for the GOP. They were too libertarian (Ron Paul), insane (Michelle Bachman), centrist and dull (Jon Huntsman), seemingly-drugged (Rick Perry), religion-obsessed (Rick Santorum), black (Herman Cain, because you really think Republicans would nominate a black man?), boring (Tim Pawlenty), or just plain unlike-able (Newt Gingrich). Did I forget anyone else notable? Do know that by notable I mean, "For a brief time was getting a lot of buzz in the Republican Party and among the press," so we're just going to ignore Buddy Roemer, Fred Karger, and the rest because everyone else did.
Seemingly so many choices, but really just one.
Yes, clearly the Republicans had to go with Romney, because otherwise defeat was all-but-assured with Moderate voters. In these earlier months I said that if it came to an Obama-Romney race you could flip a coin and that would be as accurate as trying to predict a winner. However, then things became more apparent and a pretty clear picture began being painted of a Romney loss and Obama win, hence my prediction on election day before a single vote had been counted that yeah, this was gonna be an Obama re-election. Let's discuss what made me arrive at this correct assumption.

The List in no particular order:

1. It doesn't help when your own party spends months--no, years--ripping you apart and then suddenly has to support you.
Yes, Mitt Romney had such harsh critics who called him the worst names, and the thing that must have stung the most was that the meanest folk were often within his own party. They said he was a member of a strange cult because he was a Mormon (more on this shortly), they said he was a flip-flopper on issues such as abortion, they said he was an elitist no better than Obama--whom used Romney's state healthcare plan for the basis of the evil health care reform.  There is no doubting they pretty much said whatever they could. Then it became clear he was their only option and they had to hide their lukewarm feelings and act like they loved Mitt all along.
"Ignore that headline, I supported Romney from the start!"
2. Trying to kill immigration proposals does not make you attractive to Latino voters.
Basically, if you say those evil Mexicans or other Latinos are trying to steal all our jobs and government-money, people with Latino heritage may not appreciate all of their race being painted as bad-guys, even if you just mean the illegal immigrants and not US-born citizens or legally immigrated folk. That's pretty obvious.

3. Honestly, you expect to get more than a handful of black voters?
Black individuals mostly voted for Obama. It was not necessarily just because he was black. Black voters have historically voted for Democrats for years, and expecting that to somehow change overnight is silly. Even black individuals who were more conservative and didn't like Obama's endorsement of same-sex marriage generally seemed unable to vote for Romney, either just not voting, or ignoring that issue and supporting Obama. It also probably doesn't help that the Republican party seems to have a made a habit out of the occasional racist comment about our President, or a Tea Party whose shouts of support for the rights of states sound suspiciously like those claims of, "State's Rights," segregationists were so fond of back in the 1950s and 1960s.
I'd imagine 0% of black voters are sad segregation ended.
4. The Mormon issue.
A lot of people don't trust or care for Mormons. Whether they are annoyed at someone knocking at their door in the middle of the day while they are trying to watch their DVR'ed episode of Homeland, or just find the whole, "Jesus came to America," thing a bit strange, Mormon's seem to be regarded as suspicious seeming lot. They banned having multiple-wives long ago but people still think they do that even though just some offshoots of Mormonism engage in bigamy. Plus, they don't drink, gamble, or smoke. It appears people think that's just kind of weird because drinking, gambling, and smoking are many American's favorite pastimes (sometimes all done at once!) and people who don't share our usual "American lifestyle," are often thought of as weird. 
This is the first image you see on Google if you type "Mormon." They look more adorable than scary.
It doesn't help Mormons often are regarded by ultra-conservatives as being better than Jews because they at least believe in Jesus, but worse than Catholics because of their weird traditions. Yeah, folk just don't always trust Mormons (NOTE: The thing about disliking Jews does not apply to Evangelicals. They have a weird affection for us thinking that as long as us Jews control Israel or something it will allow Jesus to come back and we'll all suddenly worship Christ when it happens. Yeah, I think it sounds kind of odd too). Those who didn't like Romney being Mormon didn't necessarily vote for Obama. They could have gone with a third-party candidate (remember those? They do exist!) or done what it is thought some of the aforementioned conservative black folk did and just not have voted.

As much as our country likes to think it is beyond race, religion, and all that other stuff, it isn't. We have people who hold racist thoughts, hate certain religions, and if confronted with two people they don't like either skip voting or vote in a sort-of protest for another person who has zero chance of winning but is better in their mind than Romney and Obama. 

5. People are getting more liberal
It may sound shocking, but more people are okay with homosexual individuals getting married, or having a healthcare system that isn't utterly broken in its functioning because it makes them feel like they have more liberty to have a way of healthcare that every other Western country thinks is utterly barbaric. Yes, people are getting more liberal, and if the majority of Republicans they see are going off about the evils of being gay or how Obama is a socialist-tyrant....well, these folk will think Republicans looks kind of outdated.
Your text says he's bad, but your picture makes him look far too attractive to be evil.
There are moderate Republicans who are doing okay in general elections (Primaries can be a nightmare as that shrinking party base is still super-conservative), but the more extreme ones seem to be failing. Grover Norquist and his, "No Tax," pledge used to be a big deal, now he's on the midnight train to Georgia insignificance. People are okay with the idea of taxing rich folk a bit more, or a mosque being built in their town. Yes, the, "Old America," some people seem to be crying about the ending of is indeed happening. There probably were people bemoaning the end of their great, "Old America," when slavery ended, or woman got the vote. Things change, and for the better.

6. The wildcard of abortion
I just said people are getting more liberal, and that's why abortion is a wildcard. Even though folk are becoming more accepting of higher taxes and gay marriage, one social issue that it seems many are actually moving more to the right on is abortion. More people think it is wrong and shouldn't be allowed except in the case of incest, rape, or the mother's health being threatened. I've been outspoken on this blog about being pro-choice, but it seems there are less and less of us who feel a woman should be the one who decides what happens with her reproductive organs. That makes me sad as an individual but excited as policy-wonk to see what happens in elections.
I think we can all at least agree the blue and red colors compliment each other.
But wait, if people are getting more conservative on this issue how did it help Obama then? Simple, most people may be getting more conservative, but the conservatives are getting utterly insane.

The official platform of the Republican party is that abortion should never be allowed, period. It's been pointed out how even though that is the party's official platform Romney is okay with abortion in the case of those earlier-mentioned big three cases. That allows Republicans to kind of have their policy-cake and eat it too. However, it looks bad when other people in your party go around saying how women don't get pregnant from, "Legitimate rape," or that any baby is a gift from God, so too bad you were raped, you've got to have that baby. Yep, when you are that far to the right, you lose people even if they are getting more conservative. Hence, this issue still helping Obama.

7.Gun-control really was a non-issue
The NRA and certain websites may try to make claims along the lines of, "Obama wants to take all your guns away!" but in actuality that hasn't happened at all. Attempts were made to create an issue out of this, but Obama basically has just let the courts handle this issue and stayed silent. The tragedy in Aurora could have been a moment of serious self-reflection for the nation on its gun-laws, but it wasn't, because Obama just didn't touch the issue. Maybe he knows it could hurt him politically more than help, maybe he honestly doesn't care. Whatever the case, neither candidate were planning to do anything about guns. I'm reminded of a funny scene in an SNL skit spoofing one of the debates where a person in a townhall meeting asks what either would do to prevent AK-47s from ending up on the street (or something like that) and both candidates basically say, "We'd do nothing." Yeah, gun-control didn't matter this election.

8.Romney is just so, so, soooooooooooooo dull.
Look, a lot of people didn't like George W. Bush during his eight years in office. I have many issues with the man and the policies he put in place, myself. However, he is a person you just want to like. He gives people fun nicknames, he seems like someone you could, "sit down and have a beer with (even though he quit drinking when he became Evangelical)," and his ability to speak Spanish gave him some help with Latino voters. People joking that he is dumb helps him--because he actually is pretty smart but by seeming less-than-gifted he is easier to relate to by those who don't like it when it feels like a politician is talking down to them (which basically is 100% of the time, with either party).

 Mitt Romney is the opposite of George Bush. He seems robotic, awkward, and unable to relate to people. Obama is funny, warm, and amazing at speeches. You put Romney next to Obama and it becomes even more apparent that Mitt Romney is just bland. I have relatives who identify as more Republican than Democrat and they didn't hesitate to agree with me, the guy is just boring. 
"Must. Attempt. To. Feel. Something."

Of course, all of these guys pale in comparison to the charisma of the man that is Bill Clinton. I've been told he just lights up a room, is possibly the best public-speaker ever, and otherwise is the kind of person who once you meet you can understand how he got in all that adultery-trouble what with his wit and otherwise being awesome. Still, while the Democratic party can't really have Clinton in office again, they've got someone pretty affable in the form of Obama. Honestly though, a stiff wooden board could have given more emotion on the campaign trail than Romney did.

In Closing
Put all of these factors together and you start to get a pretty clear picture of Obama winning. I didn't think he would trounce Romney quite as thoroughly as he did, but the results speak for themselves.

What will the Republicans do? I honestly don't know. Perhaps they will look to their more moderate members and we will see a shift towards the center-right instead of the far-right. That, or they will go so insanely conservative the party will seem completely bonkers to most voters and get even weaker. We could see a combination of these two possibilities, where the the party actually has a schism and you see the super-conservatives and moderates break apart. A sort of Republican Party versus an actual political option in the form of the Tea Party, or a huge emigration of Republicans to the Libertarian party.
Who knows what the future holds for either party?
What will the Democrats do? Probably what they always seem to do, screw up their wins and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Even if Republicans fall into in-fighting, the Democrats just seem to find a way to lose. The ACA should be okay though. Why? Well, Obama is in power for another 4 years so when the ACA's biggest things come into affect in 2014 that should make it all but safe. The smaller-scale fights of state's not wanting to create insurance exchanges will probably be messy battles, however.

That is what I, someone whose only political credentials are a Political Science Minor, think. You may agree with me, think I'm terribly wrong, or be Mitt Romney and attempting to express the emotion known as anger at my saying you come off as robotic. No matter who you are and what you think just keep in mind that before long we'll be having more elections, so none of this is permanent. In other words, don't get too cocky or depressed, because before long everything will be a-changing yet again.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

I Have Been Really Sick

I realize I haven't posted about why I called the Presidential Election the way I did (and got it right, it was Obama who won). I apologize for that and the only excuse I can offer is that I've been sick for going on a week with some kind of cold/sinus issue that maybe, just maybe, is finally getting better.

That is why there have been no posts other than my Tuesday one. You can still find me on Nine Panel however. Despite being ill I was able to get a review of Deadpool #1 in to them, and record my segment for the podcast even though I sound like death-warmed-over.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

My Presidental Election Prediction

Even though its clear from voter-polls this is a hard election to call, based on all the policy studies I've done, T.V. I've watched, books I've read, and gaming this out theoretically...I think Obama will squeak out a win.

Later, when I am proven right or horribly wrong I will break down my reasoning and what caused me to be correct/way-off.

Election Day!

It is election day. Go out and vote if you're eligible and registered! Even if your vote for President isn't important in your state because it's a given which candidate it will go to, your vote still is important in local and state elections! Have a great day at the polls!

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Letdown of Deadpool #63

This Wednesday a new Deadpool series starts. It looks promising, which is good as the last Deadpool series--which just wrapped up--ended pretty poorly. Daniel Way has written the series the entire time, and some of the tales that he told were great. That's why it is depressing this issues ends the series so poorly.

The series itself had some ups and downs, with certain issues being marvelously good such as #26 that looked deep into the character, and then less-good parts such as the whole sub-par, "Evil Deadpool" business. What is annoying is how this issue feels extremely rushed in its conclusion of, "Oh wait, that serum that made Deadpool human actually wears off and he's going to be the same," with the aforementioned Evil Deadpool showing up at the last minute to announce this. Before that we get the meh story of a former federal agent working her darnedest to take Deadpool down. It's nothing to write home about story-wise, but the biggest insult is the terrible art by Felipe Andrade and Sean Parsons.

It seriously looks like Marvel took rough thumb-nail sketches, blew them up in size, and colored them in the hopes of getting this comic out quickly enough that this Deadpool series could wrap up before the new one started.

Seriously, the art is just ugly, perspective makes no sense, sizes are out of's just one of the ugliest books I've ever seen put out. Do note that I don't just mean ugly in terms of big-players such as Marvel and DC, I mean even compared to some of those independent comics with a great story but horrible art, this is even worse in quality (and there isn't even a very good story to support things).
It's sad because this series had some truly great moments, and to go out with a whimper as this does is just anticlimactic  Then again, we are talking about comic books, where characters in ongoing-story Universes can't really have their stories end, they just keep going on so as to sell more books.

This Deadpool series has been good at times, and I will remember those good issues fondly. I'll just pretend this weak ending didn't occur.
1.5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Go Read My Guest Post On Caffeineforge About Kickstarter!

Just as how today on this website we have a guest-post by Mr. David Winchester, I can be found on the website much of his work is at with my own guest-post. It's called, "What Turns Me Off A Kickstarter, Or Kickstarter Pet Peeves," and in the post I do just what the title indicates--tell readers what makes me not want to fund an otherwise promising-looking Kickstarter. Why not check out that post here, and then look around the rest of Caffeineforge's website? They've got stuff about comics too and know a lot about Kickstarter.

Guest Post: The Mortality of Fiction (Or Vice-Versa)

Hello everyone. My name is David, and when I'm busy running my Kickstarter and Comic book themed blog, Caffeineforge, I spend a lot of time wandering the internet and learning new things. Not too long ago, I came across this fine blog here, and became a regular reader. If you are too, you might even see my name pop up now and then in the comments. Today our host (also) David, has given me the opportunity to chat with his great comic book audience about the comic book related subject of my choice. I was tempted to spend some time telling you how awesome my own comic book, The Wardenclyffe Horror. In that article I probably would have talked at length about the gripping story staring Nikola Tesla and Mark Twain, or the way the Lovecraftian Horror story hits all the right notes of any mythos fan; I might even have told you how it is funding on Kickstarter right now. 

But there is something more important that I think we need to discuss. 

Anyone that reads a loves a good dose of tension in their stories knows that the best way to really make one a page turner is to make the stakes high. In comic books there are several methods of doing this, but the most common one is to put an important character in jeopardy. The fact that a major character might never grace the stage again (except in flashbacks) is serious business. If you are unfamiliar with this concept though--you might be an X-Men reader. the world of Comic Books, only Uncle Ben truly stays dead, but those zany X-Men are a bit more flagrant than most. It's possible that some day they will leave an X-Man (or woman) dead. I admit that. One might just go down for the count and never come back - it could happen. It's possible that might even be a certain high-profile death in a recent highly publicized cross over. But at this point no one is likely to believe it. 

Stories need tension, and stakes, and with the Marvel universe as overcrowded as it is they could let stand to lose a couple of characters, but like any hoarder, they just can't seem to let any of it go. Jean Grey is certainly the most obvious example of characters being brought back to life after they perish at the hands of the plot, but she is not the only X-Men (or villain  to return from the dead, other notables include:
·  Apocalypse
·  Cable
·  Colossus
·  Havok
·  Legion
·  Magik
·  Mystique
·  Psylocke
·  Sabertooth

The list above doesn't include characters who merely lost their powers for a time, or were turned into a drooling vegetables for years like Magneto. It also doesn't include those few characters that end the plot time and time again in a state of 'almost dead' like Mr Sinister, only to re-emerge once more. These are just the ones that actually perished and were returned to life.

Of all of the above the one that bothers me the most is Colossus. He had a great death, saving his sister and the world from the legacy virus. It was noble and driven by story. It would have cemented him as a great character for all time, and left marvel free to develop new heroes. Sadly, this was not to be and they had to bring him back into an already crowded field and start the cycle over again. 

So how about the rest of you? Which resurrection disappointed you the most? Captain America? Super Man? The 14th Phoenix resurrection? 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The, "Before Watchmen," Cash-Grab Has Gotten Even More Sad

Hey, remember the hero, "Dollar Bill," from the Watchmen comic? Neither do I, he was basically mentioned in-passing and served zero purpose within the comic. That hasn't stopped DC from making it even more obvious they are engaging in an utter cash-grab with their, "Before Watchmen," comics by putting out a one-shot entitled, "Before Watchmen: Dollar Bill," which will focus on the titular character as he....does something, I guess?

It seems DC decided to stop yelling, "Fuck You Alan Moore !" choosing instead to just yell, "Fuck You, Comic's Reader Who Keeps Buying Our Terrible Before Watchmen Comics, Buy This Useless Stuff!" Seriously, when I first read about this via the comic "news" website Newsarama I thought it was a sarcastic joke until I remembered Newsrama is too busy kissing the rear-ends of comic-companies to ever dare question them. The way that article ends, asking what could come next in the, "Watchmen," Universe is meant to sound exciting, but just made me groan. It went:

The inclusion of the obscure character in DC's publishing plan for Before Watchmen suggests that virtually any character, big or small, that was mentioned in the original series could potentially be used for their own story. So who might be next? Mothman? Silhouette? Doug Roth in a Marvels style reporter-view tale? Completely original concepts set in the Watchmen-universe?

How about instead of making, "completely original concepts," set in the world of, "Watchmen," DC just make original concepts as Alan Moore did those decades ago when he created, "Watchmen," hmmm?

The thing that makes me the most sad is that the artist is the talented and well-lauded Steve Rude, a legend in the comic's industry. Is he seriously hurting that badly for work he had to take this project? Wait, he has been hurting that badly? Oh, well then I guess I can't hold this against Steve Rude too much. I still find this comic occurring to be a big example of things that are wrong with the comic's industry however, and this can be added to my list of, "Before Watchmen," comics I'm not buying (so, all of them).

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I Finally Saw, "Looper," And Will Share My Thoughts

A short while ago I finally got around to seeing, "Looper." I went with my girlfriend and as we hadn't had dinner I enjoyed a meal at the movie theater (which updated itself recently with a full menu and even a bar) whilst watching the flick. I share this with you to make a point--I was so engrossed in, "Looper," I didn't want to take my eyes off the screen to grab my chicken tenders or some fries. Seriously, I didn't want to miss a moment. I should have known I'd love this, after all, the first film by director Rian Johnson, "Brick," is one of my favorite movies (and also happens to star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, natch).

"Looper," is unique in that it isn't based on a book, isn't a sequel to something, and doesn't come from any licensed property such as a comic, toy, or video-game. This is something purely unique and that alone is admirable. It also helps that this is a really great movie.
Loopers are assassins who kill people sent from even further in the future than the time the movie takes place in (2042). Apparently in the future its pretty much impossible to get rid of body so gangs use the highly-illegal method of time-travel to send someone they need killed into the past. The thing is, if a Looper is still alive in the future there comes a time they are expected to, "kill themselves," as it were. Anyone who has seen a preview for, "Looper," clearly knows that Levitt fails at that task and hence our movie has its conflict. It's a good start to the story and stays interesting all the way to the end. It even makes time-travel work in a way that isn't too confusing--and that's a hard task.

One problem with when you have time-travel as a plot point is that it can get pretty hard to understand, especially if you think too hard about it. "Looper's," rules of time-travel are pretty solid, but the movie itself knows that the concept is just a means for the film to happen and doesn't let itself get bogged down in the details of this beloved trope. At one point when Levitt asks his future self (played wonderfully by Bruce Willis) if he remembers everything because its already happened to him, Willis says how if they tried to figure out all this time-travel stuff they would spend all day making charts out of straws; Willis literally says, "It doesn't matter!" as if making a bit of a meta-commentary about how some science fiction films get so bogged down in their own rules and logic a good story can't be told. Actually, let's talk a bit more about this setting, which allows such a good story.

The majority of, "Looper," is focused on Kansas City and either Missouri's or Kansas' outlying farmland (for those who don't know, Kansas City is right on the border of Missouri and Kansas, with most of the city actually being located in Missouri despite its name).

The near-future setting seems so believable in how its shown that the only thing which is kind of, "out-there," besides time-travel  (and hover-craft vehicles which barely work) is how some of the population has mild telekinesis. Luckily the movie even points out the humor of this saying how when people with, "TK," started being born it was thought there would be super-powers, but instead they got jerks levitating quarters to try and impress women.

One thing that bugged me about the movie is there is a stripper (and prostitute?) who Levitt seems to have a thing for, but after she pops up a bit in the early parts of the movie she just disappears from the plot. Her character seemed mostly unnecessary, she was just there to have a female presence in the film before Emily Blunt shows up. The only other problem I can think of is a small technical one in that an outlying farm grows sugar-cane, something which struck me as odd because I thought sugar-cane needed a hot environment to grow. Sure enough, there actually is no sugar-cane grown around here! I'm also okay with the movie doing this however, as it would make sense that if we have further climate change you could grow sugar cane out in Kansas' farmland.

With items that minimal as complaints I clearly loved this movie. It was full of action, had many suspenseful moments, threw in some humor at times, and we really saw over the film how Levitt's character matured from the selfish brat he starts out as to a much more responsible individual.

Speaking of Levitt, he is great in this movie. At first I didn't think much of him some years ago. I just knew him as the kid on, "3rd Rock From The Sun," but then I saw, "Brick," and realized this fellow definitely had the acting chops to become a star. Once he did a great job in, "Inception," other folk started to recognize that too and with, "Looper," not only being a great movie but doing quite well at the box office I'm pleased someone with Levitt's talent is starting to get so popular.

As for the other actors, the aforementioned Bruce Willis is great with his portrayal of a man who is both hard-as-nails but also has a sweet side as we see with his future-wife. Plus, Jeff Daniel's is great as a man sent from the future to set up the Loopers, and Emily Blunt is superb as the owner of a farm which a fair amount of, "Looper's," action takes place in and around.

This movie is amazing and you need to see it. Even if you don't normally go for science-fiction stuff or hate anything that has to do with time-travel (as I know some people do) you still should get to any theater that is still showing this. If you can't see it in a theater make sure you rent it/buy it once it comes out for home-viewing. This movie is just fantastic, I don't know how many ways I can say it. View it somehow and then thank me later if I'm the one who convinced you to see it--trust me, you'll want to thank me.

5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Rant-Reviews--3 Amazingly Good Books and 1 Mostly Shoddy One

Let's talk about Daredevil #19, Hawkeye #3, Batman #13, and Marvel NOW Point One...because I suppose we have to acknowledge the one great bit in that otherwise mostly-lame comic.

Daredevil #19
Mark Waid has been writing comics for quite some time now, and like a fine wine he seems to just keep getting better with age. This issue of Daredevil answers the question of if Daredevil truly is going insane, looks great thanks to Chris Samnee, and otherwise is a great time. Besides that lousy, "Omega Drive," cross-over business this comic had some time ago, this has been the newer Marvel series to read without question. Well, with the next comic I'm going to review this is still one to definitely read, just not the newest. It's still pretty awesome though (and yes I'm being vague about the plot on purpose to avoid spoiling anything in this comic).
4.5 out of 5 stars.

Hawkeye #3
Matt Fraction found that spark that made some of his stuff amazing (Casanova) and left behind the piece of him that made horrible stuff (Fear Itself) to give us this new series. It is like mana from the heavens, and even if this 3rd issue isn't as utterly amazing as that 1st one, this is still just as awesome as the 2nd. Between Fraction's amazing writing and David Aja's seemingly effortlessly-done art which is so beautiful it makes my eyes gasp in joy, this is some superb stuff. Seriously, it is really hard to draw car-chases well in comics, but Aja illustrates the Hell out of it whilst Fraction spins a really clever yarn (which I'm being vague about again so you get maximum enjoyment from this comic).

As long as this series stays as amazing as it has been so far I will do whatever it takes to keep it coming out (because you know a comic about Hawkeye probably doesn't have the best odds). Do I need to do a bikini car-wash fundraiser to make sure you get enough funds for this comic, Marvel? Tell me if I do, because I will put on that bikini and make it work, baby.
5 out of 5 stars.

Batman #13
This thing was promoted more than the upcoming Presidential Election (woo, topical!) but somehow actually delivered--unlike a candidate's promises (oh snap, I did it again!). Scott Snyder writes a Joker that is genuinely terrifying--something that the character isn't always. Yes, the Joker can be intimidating or a bit spooky, but its been awhile since the character has truly made me feel some fear. From the way he knows where Jim Gordon's last secret stash of cigarettes is to having Batman go to the very place where he was possibly "born" (there are multiple origins for the Joker but this is going by the "Killing Joke" one), the least-scary thing about the Joker may be how he cut off his face and has done a poor job reattaching it--and even that's pretty damn eerie.

Greg Capullo turns in some quality art as he has been doing on this series since its launch, but the back-up with Harely Quinn which is illustrated by the always-amazing Jock is a buffet of beauty--I say its a buffet because you keep coming back for more/to look at it. The only thing that really bugs me about this whole Joker-reappearing business is how its become some big cross-over event for all the books with the slightest relation to Batman. I don't plan to pick up anything else than what I usually do, but as long as the story is contained enough that I can enjoy it in, "Batman," by itself this looks like it will be one amazing story.
5 out of 5 stars.

Marvel NOW Point One #001
I'm going to celebrate how good my new comics are. I mean, even this mostly-bad book had one amazing part in it--the, "Young Avengers," scene. Kieron Gillen is almost always a great writer, and Jaime Mckelvie is a talented artist. When they work together, such as on, "Phonogram," something wonderful is created. When I heard they were teaming up for a Marvel book about some Young Avengers (and were going to use my horribly-mishandled-by-Bendis-in-Avengers Marvel Boy) I was just thrilled. Within this slightly over-sized and quite over-priced comic ($5.99) there is at least some good stuff--yes, we get a hint of the magic we are in store for, and boy I could not be more excited.

What about the rest of the comic though? It was mostly sucky. We have Nick Fury's son who everyone now calls Nick Fury (because even though he spent his whole life as Marcus Johnson, upon finding out his absentee father was Nick Fury, and that was apparently his "real name" too he just switched it up) and Agent Coulson--a less charming Coulson than the one in the movies, if I may say so--talking to some guy from the future who is warning them about impending doom really vaguely while also saying that even if he spoke clearly they wouldn't listen. Well, give it a shot, old man, because you aren't making a tiny lick 'o sense with your babbling.

There are other scenes that are book-ended by that dull Nick Fury Jr. bit, and other than the, "Young Avengers," one I can't say I was impressed. There was something that I only realized was for, "Guardians of The Galaxy," once the title of it clued me in, a weird scene with a crazy man in the future--don't confuse him with the one from the future in the other scenes--named Forge (he's a machine-knowledgeable mutant, for you kids who don't know of him) who bumps into Cable. Both of these bits are entirely forgettable with the only other thing in here approaching an entertainment level even slightly near Young Avengers is an Ant-Man segment (to promote, "FF,") illustrated by Michael Allred which has a cute closing-joke.

Other than the great, "Young Avengers," piece and a somewhat-entertaining bit with Ant-Man this was a pretty poor comic--and one that I had to pay $5.99 to be disappointed by. If you see this at your comic shop, flip to the, "Young Avengers," pages, read them, and then put the book back, that's all you really need to do in order to get maximum enjoyment out of this.
1.5 stars (although that "Young Avengers" piece by itself is 5 out of 5).

Even when you get a bunch of superb comics it seems there has to be some bad with the good. I'm just thankful even the bad thing had something great in it.

UPDATE: I realized I forgot to mention the, "Nova," bit in, "Marvel Now Point One," a couple of minutes after I posted the article. That should tell you all you need to know about the Jeph Loeb-written segment.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Kickstarter Worth Checking Out--The Wardenclyffe Horror

If you ever read the website of the cool guys over at Caffeineforge you know they write about comics, and often discuss Kickstarter too. Well, they have a Kickstarter going themselves for a neat-looking graphic novel that combines the science (and science-fiction) of Telsa with, "Lovecraftian," horror. Plus Mark Twain is involved too. It is called, "The Wardenclyffe Horror," and I myself am very intrigued by this story from what I've heard--and have become a backer too (so I'm putting my money where my mouth is)!

I recommend checking it out and if you like what you see becoming a backer, because I myself would love to see this funded and give it a read!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Things From NYCC I Found Interesting Enough To Comment On

Let's see what I found intriguing/terrible enough to have something to say about from New York Comic-Con

Let's open with something strange. Legendary, a comic-imprint from a movie studio that exists mainly to create comics that can be turned into movies (or for some reason put out Frank Miller's, "Holy Teror,") keeps getting pretty big names. Well-known comic-scribe Grant Morrison is doing a project with them, and famed writer/director Guillermo Del Toro is too. Apparently they also want to make good comics even if they basically movie-pitches. At least that's what I hope the goal is getting talent like that.

Cullen Bunn is bringing us a pseudo-sequel to, "Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe," with, "Deadpool Killustrated," where he goes through various famous stories and kills their well-known fictional characters. This sounds so stupid and absurd that it has the potential to be incredibly awesome. I enjoyed,  "Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe," and it seemed to be quite divisive  with fans either loving or hating it. I imagine this will be the same.

Bleeding Cool had been talking about it forever, and a Scott Snyder and Jim Lee comic about Superman has been officially confirmed on the more "official" sites. My hat off to Rich Johnston and crew for this and knowing about the Frank Cho-illustrated Wolverine comic way in advance too.

I haven't read a solo Spider-Man comic in some time, so I can't muster too much of a feeling either positive or negative about the announcement of a new series for the titular hero--even if the twist might be it isn't Peter Parker behind the mask.

I'm always happy to hear about something new coming out from Jeff Lemire--especially if he is illustrating it. Hence, "Trillium," is something I want to read.

We are getting a comic based upon the video-game Galaga. I assume it will start out easy to read and progressively get harder to enjoy as the story gets faster and introduces sudden swerves and twists until you give up in frustration at how many quarters you wasted on it...that is, if it is faithful to the game.

Nick Spencer will be bringing us a new version of, "Secret Avengers," which might be good, but I'm getting burned out on all these Avengers titles and re-launches of Avengers books. Plus, while I love some of Spencer's stuff his run on Secret Avengers during its, "Fear Itself," cross-over was pretty unimpressive. That might be more because, "Fear Itself," dragged down almost anything else that touched it though.

"Spider-Man 2099," may be brought back someday. The "2099," comics were really more a comic about what the 1990s and early 2000s thought the future was going to be like than anything else, so unless they do a somewhat-different 2099  as was attempted with the Universe  (sorta) in a mini-event from a bit ago, I dunno what can be done to make things not feel too out-dated (an odd thing to say about a comic from the future).

More, "Season One," books from Marvel. I don't see these doing big numbers at comic shops but if they put these into Disney Stores they will probably do gangbusters. It's a series that screams, "Start reading about this character here, you comics-newbie!" and that's admittedly pretty smart if these things continue to do well.

This article talks about a few Marvel comics. Avengers Arena isn't something I'm too excited in and I haven't been reading Xtreme X-Men or some of the other books talked about. However, seeing that Peter David is doing a big story in X-Factor he alluded to 15 years ago is great news in two ways. First, it means, "X-Factor," can keep having its cool long-planned-out-stories with one long in the making. Second, it means I don't have to cry myself to night over, "X-Factor," being cancelled anytime too soon.

Matt Fraction doing more independent work instead of his hit-or-miss Marvel stuff? It's called, "Sex Criminals," you say? I'll bite.

This isn't quite news from NYCC but coincides with it. Well-known director George Romero of the amazing Living Dead films (well, those newer ones are kinda meh, but the earlier ones are incredible) may very well be doing a secret comic project for Marvel. Nice!

Agent Coulson will be on the S.H.I.E.L.D. television show. My interest suddenly increased even more in the program, even if it is kind of corny to bring him back from the dead as comics themselves love to do.

A cover to the upcoming, "Young Avengers," done by that guy who did, "Scott Pilgrimm Versus the Universe." Oh yeah. Also, "Younger Avengers," should in general just be awesome.

"Daredevil," is going to be a part of Marvel NOW without re-launching. As long as the series keeps being good I don't care what label is put on it.

I like the current, "Aquaman," comic, so even though I'm not that familiar with Paul Pelletier, his art looks quite good and I'm pleased to have him coming aboard the title as the artist.

Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy will be doing a new book for the Vertigo line of comics titled, "The Wake." It's apparently going to be full of suspense and horror. Snyder's stuff is almost always good, and often stellar, so I shall be checking this out for sure.

In space-comic news, Bendis and McNiven are doing a comic for, "Guardians of the Galaxy," oh, and, "Nova," by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuiness, but who gives a damn about anything Loeb has made within the last decade or so? Also, Keith Giffen will be doing an ensemble comic set in space for DC comics called, "Threshold." I'm sick of Bendis on team books even if I still like his work that involves solo characters, and Giffen is quite good, so it should be clear which book I'm skipping and which I'll give a shot.

Geoff Johns working with John Goyer on some hush-hush big event comics for DC. My guess is maybe something that will happen after the already-known-about Trinity War that's coming in 2013?

I have really enjoyed Sam Humphries independent work, "Our Love is Real," and, "Sacrifice," (or the issues of it that have come out, that thing hasn't had an new issue in months. I don't read Marvel's Ultimate-line of comics that much, but from what I've seen from news updates and casual skimming, Humphries is at least taking things in fresh and different directions--you know, what the Ultimate Universe was actually meant to do.

Another comic convention has finished, before long another shall start. This is the circle of life for comic-conventions...and of course, "The Lion King."

Hip Flask Ouroborous Is Finally Coming Out Soon-ish!

You remember when I've said how I enjoy the, "Elephantmen," comic but have especially loved any of the, "Hip Flask," comics out there which take place a little further in the future than that comic? I would hope you remember, I had a post about it. Well good news, the newest issue which is only quite a number of years late is finally coming out. That's right, this December of 2012 we are getting the 4th issue of a 5 issue mini-series which has taken longer than can be imagined to be released but is so beautiful I can't be too mad. Seriously, Ladronn is awesome. Plus, Richard Starkings is no slouch when it comes to story-telling so this should be quite the comic. At least, I hope it is.

This Is The Newest Rant--Bridesmaid Death-Stare

This is The Newest Rant. Picking her as your bridesmaid may have been a bad idea.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Interview Time--John Arcudi

John Arcudi is the writer behind quite a lot of stuff. He is known for his past work on, "Major Bummer," all the great, "BPRD," comics he is currently putting out, his newest mini-series, "The Creep," and he is of course the author behind one of my favorite graphic novels ever, "A God Somewhere (I declared it the best OGN of 2010 right when I was starting this whole blog-writing thing)." I conducted an interview with him where we discussed how you strike a balance between adding new things and honoring what exists in, "BPRD, I learned more about "The Creep," and we of course talked about, "A God Somewhere," along with other topics. Read it all below!

1. You've been doing a lot with the BPRD. How has it been working in the world created by Mike Mignola but now being influenced so much by your writing?

It's been great.  Mike mostly leaves me to write my stories my way, and as any writer working anywhere in this industry can tell you, that's huge.  Obviously, most of the characters I work with are Mike's creations and he's going to say yay or nay about some of the bigger things I want to do with those guys, but mostly he just allows me to do my thing.
Arcudi's Captain Daimio.
 2. To continue with that idea of, "Doing your own thing," I've always wondered when working in the "established property," sandbox how much of an urge is there to use the "toys" (so to speak) that are already in there, and how much of a desire is there to kind of make your own? For example in BPRD you have Captain Daimio whom I recall you created, but there are of course all the other characters in the universe you've done extensive work with. To simplify the question, how much of it is making your own new thing and how much is putting your unique stamp on what's already there? 

I just try to write good stories, and stay as true to the characters as is humanly possible.  When they're my characters (like Daimio) that's a lot easier, and in some cases (like Johann) I've written a character far more than Mike or anybody else has, so I really feel like he's mine -- creatively speaking.  The freedom to develop a character like that allows for creative directions that a more rigid environment would not.  But I'm not actively out to reinvent any character.

3. You’ve got “The Creep” coming out now from Dark Horse. Tell me about this PI with a strange deformity. Where did you get the idea? If someone loved the movie The Elephant Man, as I did, and also loves noir stories, would this be right up my alley?

I'd like to think it would be to your taste, but it's more modern noir than classic noir (well, it's 80's noir, anyway as it's set in 1988).  It's probably a bit more deliberately paced than, say, "Out of the Past."   But on the other hand, you have the same weaving together of characters' lives that you would see in classic noir-- where the harrowing situation created by the "crime" (in this case a pair of suicides) creates a kind of desperate struggle to connect with the survivors.  The main character, Oxel, has acromegaly -- a disorder that causes gross deformity of the face and skin, etc., and that certainly contributes to the heightening of emotions -- but I wouldn't otherwise compare it too, too much to "The Elephant Man."  Unless of course that gets you to buy the book!
Oxel may be deformed but his feelings and thoughts make him quite the sympathetic fellow.
 4. Well, your answer sold me on it so I've now read the #0 and #1 issue. It's quite a good read and I've enjoyed it a bunch! I have some questions about it too. For example, I liked how Oxel clearly has something  physically wrong with him but it isn't too exaggerated to a point where he's horribly freakish to see. Did you try to make him look just "different" enough he was unique but not too out-there so that someone reading the story could still identify with him?

Acromegaly is a disease that used to affect a lot of folks (less so today due to effective treatments) so we had to adhere to the real world facts of the illness.  Really, Jonathan is the guy you should be talking to.  Lots of artists would have made the features a broader caricature of the actual disease, which would be a mistake for this kind of story, but Jonathan Case nailed the look we wanted.

5. I have more to ask about, "The Creep." From those early issues it is abundantly clear our hero carries with him a great sadness and feelings of guilt. Without spoiling too much can you say if we're heading toward a happy ending for Oxel or am I going to be depressed upon the series conclusion? In fact, is there a chance that after this we could see more tales about Oxel? I could picture a variety of series where he takes up new cases each mini.

I'd love to do more "Creep" stories, but the market will determine that.  A happy ending for Oxel?  Well, that all depends on what you would consider a happy ending for a 1980's NYC noir story.  I tend to think of it more as a realistic ending rather than "happy" or "sad."  And that may well be your answer right there.
A "Hero" who would rather slack-off than save the world is the best way to describe Major Bummer.
 6. “Major Bummer” was originally a DC comic, but then was re-printed by Dark Horse in a large collection. How did this happen, and does this happen to mean you have rights to it—i.e. there is a slight chance we could see more  Major Bummer stories someday?

Doug Mahnke and I do indeed own the rights to MB, and while it seems unlikely, yes, there's the slight possibility for new stories.

7. Okay, I’ve made it no secret one of my favorite books is, “A God Somewhere.” First off, when writing this story did you set out to make a world where there was no such thing as super-heroes?
Eric is called a hero, but I found it important no one ever says anything, “super”. Was this to make it a more human tale?

It is a human tale, or anyway, I think it is.  For instance, there are no superhumans in our world, so that's the world I wanted to write this story in.  And the real impact made in this story is on Eric's friend,
Sam -- as well as Eric's brother and sister-in-law.  For that matter, on everybody but Eric -- but we see the collateral benefits and damages of being Eric's friend primarily through Sam's eyes.

8. More AGS questions for you, why did you decide to never make it clear how Eric gained his powers? Did you feel it unnecessary to story?  Was it partly to avoid the cliché of aforementioned super-hero stories with their complex origins?

It's not important to the story, I don't think.  I always intended AGS to be more allegorical than literal, and focusing on the ripples the rock creates when it hits the pond's surface is always more rewarding and interesting than analyzing the rock itself (no offense to any geologists out there).  Also, when prodigies do occur in our world, what's the explanation?   When a 9 year girl old graduates from college summa cum laude, does anybody run around asking "How did this happen? What vitamins did her mother and father take?  Was the kid exposed to cosmic rays?"  No, we just accept it as a  fluke, or a miracle -- something like that.  And even if we did ask those questions, there are not real answers, are there? Beyond that, what explanation would have been adequate?  In a story where people get crippled, and raped, and disfigured, and dismembered, what explanation is credible and doesn't trivialize the material? A magic ring? A bite from a radioactive weasel?

9. Another AGS question, it seemed like Eric moved from good to evil a little fast, which is one of my potentially few qualms with the story. Was this due to constraints of space,  or did you want to show how something wonderful can turn terrible pretty quickly?

 I've heard this a lot, but I don' think his transformation to evil is all that quick -- and I also question the use of the word "evil," honestly, but that's a topic for another conversation.
 I don't want to give too much away to any potential readers but there's a scene where Eric foils a bank robbery.  I think for the average comics reader (or action movie enthusiast) what Eric does is perfectly acceptable, but maybe if you read it again you might question that.  Is what Eric does (given his unbelievable power) what Jesus would have done?   And that's a significant question because Eric identifies as a very devout Christian. So while earlier in the story we forgive Eric's violent rescue of Sam (he is, after all, just human at that point) what's his excuse in that bank robbery scene?
And there we see the first hints of what's to come, I think.  Acting in a way that we as a violence- drenched culture find perfectly acceptable an even laudable, but in a way that maybe a true Christian might not.

10. I'm intrigued by your pointing out of Eric being a devout Christian, as in a way it seems as he grows in power he becomes less committed to believing in a God, and just believing in himself as the God-being. The story shows how Eric is indeed religious, but he comes off more as the type of Christian who believes in, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," helping Sam that first time that met and Sam was being attacked. Eric doesn't fit the stereotype of the judgmental Christian who tells people they are going to hell or such, instead being the kind who truly follows the ideas of Jesus' teachings of kindness and love (from what I know of Jesus' words, I'm Jewish so I've only studied the New Testament a bit). That's why it’s all the more striking when Eric turns into a violent entity who seems to have become less of a Jesus-figure and more of a vengeful-God. Was the idea of the story to show how when one stops believing in something--be it religion or just the goodness of human beings, that life loses meaning, and for someone as powerful as Eric that's quite dangerous?

I'm never going to tell anybody else what to think about anything I write.  Whatever folks see, it's valid for them, I guess.  What I will say is that my idea of what a Christian is has always been the faithful "golden rule" kinda man or woman.  Judgmental is just not what a Christian does -- not by any dictionary definition I've ever seen -- so I wasn't going to write that kind of story.  I wanted a complex character who goes through a big, big transformation, and let's be honest.  Eric's first encounter with Sam does not exactly elicit Christ-like behavior.  He's trying, but he's only human.  And maybe that has more to do with what happens to Eric than any faith he may or may not have.

Eric may have powers, but Arcudi points out, "He's only human." His brother hurting his feelings foreshadows trouble...
11. One more AGS question. Without my spoiling too much there is a scene where Eric decides he's done, "playing nice," and wreaks a lot of havoc before leaving a location. Upon this happening Sam points out how if Eric had wanted he could have simply just flown away. That part of the story really struck me as the big turning point in Eric's metamorphosis from loving and kind to harsh and judging. So, my question to you is, why didn't Eric just fly away? Was he trying to make a point? Did he want to display his immense powers so he would be left alone? Was it an idea of him thinking of people as nothing more than insignificant ants whom he didn't care about crushing? Why?

Again, won't tell you what to think, but all of your answers make sense, don't they?  On the other hand, maybe the answer is that Eric is not quite so above the fray as he plays it.  Maybe he's incredibly petty inside after all.

12. We've talked about some of your past work and current projects, but what can you tell about future works we'll be seeing  from you in the upcoming months and year?

More BPRD and plenty of it.  We're really ramping up the apocalypse here, bringing in some more work by James Harren, and Laurence Campbell, along with Tyler Crook.  Some very different sort of stuff for Kate, Johann, Liz etc.  And more Lobster Johnson.  After finishing off the shorter stories, we're planning on going back to a larger arc which will bring back an artist I'm sure everybody will be happy to see return.

I also am working on developing two creator owned projects with two incredibly talented artists.  Very, very early stages stuff, but very exciting for me.  Wish I could say more, but there wouldn't be any point.  Just too early.  One of them may be published overseas, however -- another reason to not talk too much about it now.

13. Thanks so much for your time and engaging in this interview!

Thank you, David.