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.

Some Nine Panel Stuff I've Been Doing

You've been reading the other website where you can see my random thoughts, right? You know, Nine Panel.
Nine Panel's logo. Pretty neat, eh?
I hope you are, because otherwise you missed my article where I discuss, "The Problem With Variants," using the countless Uncanny Avengers variants that just came out to discuss the problem. Along with that, the newest Nine Panel podcast where I have a segment discussing variants. It and the article compliment each other nicely so make sure you read and listen to both. Please?

Also, speaking of Uncanny Avengers, just this morning my review of its first issue went up on the site. Spoiler: I thought it was quite good, and you should read the article to find out why.

That's what has been happening, make sure you listen to the newest podcast when it comes out for more comic-book-goodness from the Nine Panel guys and of course to hear my somewhat-annoying voice during, "The Newest Rant," segment.

So, NYCC Is Happening...

New York Comic-Con has started up. I will most likely share my thoughts about all the various news that occurs at it once everything is wrapped up. So...there you go.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

David Liss Has Announced an Interesting-Sounding Comic

I don't usually put up standard press releases, but I'm a fan of David Liss' stuff and he's a friend of the blog (see an interview with him here), so when I heard about a new comic of his that was just announced on the eve of New York Comic-Con I was intrigued.

With Liss' past good stuff I think I'll get me a copy. I mean, who doesn't like cyborgs? Here is the info:

David Liss, bestselling novelist and writer of Black Panther: The Man Without Fear, Mystery Men and The Spider and artist Allen Byrns have teamed up to bring their newest creation to independent publishing company 215 Ink. 

“Liss and Byrns are representative of the new wave of talent we’ve been seeing in the industry,” said 215 Ink President Andrew DelQuadro, “and they’re a welcome addition to the 215 Ink stable.”
Their book, Angelica Tomorrow, is a high school sci-fi romance between a broken high school kid and an equally – if differently – broken cyborg assassin.  Combing slice-of-life humor with action and suspense, Angelica Tomorrow is both an engrossing drama and a gripping page-turner an equally – if differently – broken cyborg assassin.  Combing slice-of-life humor with action and suspense, Angelica Tomorrow is both an engrossing drama and a gripping page-turner

“When we were developing Angelica Tomorrow, 215 Ink immediately came to mind,” said Liss, “they are putting out a number of amazing and original projects, and I’m thrilled that our book is going to part of that exciting lineup.”

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Problem With "Daredevil: End Of Days"

I've been thinking about, "Daredevil: End of Days," and how I was kind of disappointed by it. For a comic long promised by Marvel under various names ("Daredevil: The End" was one that I remember being tossed about) I was underwhelmed.

 It wasn't the art that left me cold, as I absolutely loved that. It was grim-looking as I would want a Daredevil comic to be, while also having a slight old-school feel as if appealing to our nostalgia for the equally-dark Daredevil tales of old (for example: Born Again). The painted parts of the comic and finishes by Bill Sienkiewicz were just gorgeous. No, the fault is on the writing by Brian Michael Bendis. What aspect of the writing, though?

Was it the fact that the story took place somewhat in the future but didn't feel very futuristic? No, I didn't mind that at all either. The near-future won't look very different from today, with just some new pieces of technology but most likely the same vehicles, buildings and such. The biggest change from the 90s to 2000s was arguably the growth of the internet and cell-phones but other than that, things don't look quite different than 20 years I'm cool with this aspect of the story. Plus, it does point out how social media has become even bigger with everyone filming everything, and how newspapers are all but dead in the future so it does take today's trends and expands on them a bit.

Was it Bendis' usual writing tics that upset me? Nah, I'm used to his style of having characters "talk" the way he makes them, or how he does exposition dumps in chunks of text. I even liked the somewhat-choppy way we saw what Ben Urich was writing for his article about the death of Matt Murdock/Daredevil and what he was truly thinking as he wrote it--that was pretty neat.

I think the thing that bugs me is a feeling of, "why now?" I don't mean that as in why did the comic come out now, you could ask that about many comics. My, "why now?" is to how Daredevil decides to kill the Kingpin.

The Kingpin has had Daredevil's girlfriend's murdered, beat Murdock to a pulp, got Murdock sent to prison with an elaborate scheme, and otherwise has ruined our heroes life in countless ways many times--with some of those times being written under the pen of Bendis during his great run on the character. So, why is it that Daredevil suddenly decides to one day just kill the Kingpin because he made a deal with the Federal Government to not be prosecuted for a bunch of past crimes? Why does this push Murdock over the edge when so many times the Kingpin has done things to Murdock that should have made him crack then?

True, our hero does stand over the Kingpin's dead body after killing him and simply exclaim how he had tried everything else, and this was his last resort...but again, why now? It does make sense how after killing the Kingpin, Daredevil/Murdock disappeared for years until the day he was seemingly killed (I say "seemingly" because it appears there is a Daredevil lurking around in the shadows at the end of this first issue). It makes sense because Murdock crossed that line most heroes don't. I imagine the book will fill us in on what happened between the years Daredevil disappeared and reappeared that day he was murdered, but will the book make it any clearer why he chose to murder the Kingpin on that occasion, of all of them he should have killed him, and it would have made more sense?

Bendis did an amazing run of Daredevil, those issues are some of my favorite comics. I went into this trying not to expect too much, but I had a glimmer of hope we'd get some of that old magic back. Right now we have a comic with gorgeous art but a story that strikes me as just kind of weak. Perhaps things will in fact work out wonderfully, but for now I can only say I'm disappointed with this start.
2.5 out of 5 stars (It'd be 2 out of 5, but that art is just so amazing).

Thursday, October 4, 2012

AVX #12 Review Up On Nine Panel.

If you are wondering how I felt about AVX #12, do indeed go to Nine Panel's website and read my review. I'll reveal on thing here; this issue was better than the event itself has been.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

One Sentence Summaries of Some Recent Comics

I've been busy with regular life and doing stuff for the awesome folk over at Nine Panel but that doesn't mean I've forgotten my website/blog and its faithful readers (all 10 of you). Therefore, I am proud to announce I've thought-up a new segment!

I was describing various comics I had read or was going to read to my girlfriend in just a sentence or two and realized that it would make a great bit. I get to describe some comics quickly and maybe make a joke or two and you get to realize what a comic's about without having to read it or a lengthy review. Therefore I proudly present my first-ever one sentence summaries of some recent comics!

Prophet #29
Another clone of the original John Prophet ends up getting caught in a huge space-war, which results in his getting swallowed by a living spaceship before he blows-up the whole thing to gorgeous art.

Daredevil: End of Days #1
Brian Bendis continues to show that if there's one thing he loves, it's making Matt Murdock suffer.

Wolverine and The X-Men #17
Doop is awesome, especially when drawn by Micheal Allred.

Justice League #0
Billy Batson gets the power of Shazam and uses it engage in vandalism, save a lady from a mugger but ask her for some cash, and otherwise act the way an actual teenager (and many adults) would if suddenly gifted with incredible powers.

Venom #25
Writer Cullen Bunn does something he doesn't usually do--make a pretty mediocre comic--that raises the question, "Do we really need a demon-possessed Venom?"

Tarot #76
Tarot fights a naked fairy, is exposed to a plant pheromone that caused her to become aroused and touch herself, then becomes naked, and burns the fairy's wings off--all while coming so close to crossing the line into an adults-only comic you wonder how much longer it is until Jim Balent just calls it a day, drops all the supposed plot, and makes a Tarot comic full of nothing but hardcore sex.

AVX #12
Phoenix-powered Cyclops is defeated, a bunch of people become mutants, and Marvel gets to have another event-comic that in the end kind of feels like a waste of all the money you spent on it just to see the big conclusion is that House of M gets reversed.

And there they are!