Monday, August 29, 2011

How I Spent My Saturday Afternoon, Between 4pm And 5pm

Just a little something I threw together with Clay on the weekend. This is just a work in progress, hopefully Clay will use it and put FX in there, like muzzle flashes and blood and impact hits on the walls etc., but in case he doesn't use it, at least we got to see it here. But when he does, I'm sure we'll post it on youtube for all to see.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Return Of The Jedi Panel Of The Week

Comic Review For Comics Released 3/8/11

Batman Retroactive 1980’s – So I picked up the next one after last weeks 1970’s Retroactive, I think mainly because I enjoyed the last one, and because it looked like it might be fun, and I was curious about the Alan Davis art in the second story, from the 80’s. And it’s got thought balloons. Jason Todd is still Robin in this timeframe, and Batman still hates crime and calls Robin “chum”, which seems a little odd, like a leftover from the Adam West TV show. The story was pretty cool, the return of a masked avenger who hates crime as much as Batman, but takes it a little bit further, killing the criminals rather than just roughing them up. Also , the narrator asked us if we could solve the mystery. But anyway, what I really want to show you are these panels form the original 80’s story. I like this Batman.

Caligula #3 – This issue wasn’t as depraved as the last few issues, but got a little more into the supposed God-like qualities of Caligula. I’m not sure if I’ll keep buying this, but I probably will. I think I find it more interesting than entertaining, but I’m not sure how interested I really am. We’ll see.

Hero Comics 2011 - Apart from the obvious appeal of the Adam Hughes cover, I picked this anthology comic up because it had a few stories from a few series I follow, namely Chew and Elephantmen. Other stories of note were a Neil Gaiman story and a Sam Keith story chronicling the journey of the Neil Gaiman piece. Sam Keith and Mike Dringenberg collaborated on the art for the Neil Gaiman, which is significant because they all worked on the original Sandman issue. It’s a nice painted kind of art, neither strictly one or the other. The Chew story was just a nice little filler, without any real place in the larger story, it could happen anytime. The Elephantmen story was a nice little piece, with a bit of a comment about public health access and the treatment of returned veterans. Sam Keith’s story and art was pretty and somewhat informative.

World of Flashpoint #3 – So this wraps up this short little Flashpoint mini, and it’s pretty much just a Father and Daughter arguing about destroying the world or saving it. We don’t really get to zip around the world and meet different characters like we had in the previous issues, but I guess I didn’t mind, I must’ve gotten invested in the story, because I wanted to know how it turned out. I’ll let you in in on a little secret, it turned out ok.

Flashpoint Batman Knight of Vengeance #3 – The conclusion to this story was pretty good, with Eduardo Risso’s art being the main attraction. Which is not to say Azzarello’s story isn’t good, because it is. It had some great moments, I think my favourite was when Thomas Wayne/Batman is explaining to Martha Wayne/Joker how there’s an alternate reality where Bruce lived. Martha asked him what Bruce did after they died, and Thomas says he follows in his Father’s footsteps. Martha asks if he means doctor, and he says no. Martha realises what he means, and freaks out. It’s like she doesn’t want to wish that on anyone. Anyway, it was pretty good. I suppose I could just show you what I was talking about, instead of telling you.
So here you go.

Flashpoint #4 – This was ok, but I guess the problem I’m having with it is I don’t care about the Flash character and how he wants to put things back the way he knows them, and that’s pretty much the core of the story. But for being the core of the story, they also seem to spend a lot of time not dealing with that. In this issue, we spend a lot of time with a bunch of kids who make Shazam. I thought in the regular DCU it was just one kid who turned into Shazam, but in this one it seems to be about 5 kids. And everybody’s trying to decide if they help with the war between Atlantis and the Amazons, and there is much hand-wringing and back and forth, and it tends to drag the story down somewhat. I’m sounding like I didn’t enjoy, but I did, it’s just I don’t really remember anything about it, and apart from the moment I’m reading it, I don’t really care.

Moon Knight #4 - I think 4 issues is enough of a chance for a book to make an impression on me, and for all I’ve liked it so far, I don’t think I need to keep reading this. Maleev’s art is good, but it doesn’t wow me anymore. But maybe that’s the fault of Bendis, who’s far more interested in character than story. I think it’s the first few pages that did it for me. Echo calls the Avengers to check what the deal is with Moon knight, is he ok or just crazy, and that’s fair enough, it makes sense, but it turns into this whole big thing, who are you? Would you date him? Blah blah blah. And that’s fine, some people want that, but I don’t need it, so I’m just going to walk away from you Moon Knight.

The Punisher #1 – I was a little confused with how this comic opened. If you’re starting a new series, and you’re introducing us to new characters, you might want to give some indication if these panels are happening at the same time or who is who or even where, just something so that I’m not just scratching my head till halfway through the comic. I got it the second time round though. Ok, so a new Punisher series, written by Greg Rucka, whose work on G.C.P.D. I’ve enjoyed, and illustrated by Marco Checchetto, who I’m not so familiar with, but maybe I read some of his Daredevil stuff. Anyway, he’s got a nice style for this kind of book.
So there’s a wedding happening, and some guys with guns bust in and shoot it all to hell, and some cops start to investigate, but one of them seems to be in contact with the Punisher, who’s taken an interest in the case, and he goes shoots a bunch of guys in a bar, but leaves one alive. Pretty basic story, not much happening, and I was kind of wondering, is that it? But no, it wasn’t. There’s a second story, set-up like a police report done via interview, but really showing us the reader the way the events really went down, and it gives us a bit of back story to the younger cop from the main story, and gives a lot more insight into his motivations. It kind of made the whole thing better, and I went back and reread the first story, and it made a lot more sense, because I knew who was who now, but also because there was more depth to the cop. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.

Severed #1 – A new horror comic, co-written by Scott Snyder, who we know and like, and Scot Tuft, who no one’s ever heard of. Set mainly in 1916, it starts in the late 50’s with an old man watching Elvis on TV, who receives a mysterious letter, which kicks off our flashback to when he was a young boy and decides to ride the rails in search of adventure. It’s a bit of slow burn, but I’m looking forward to it. There seems to be some kind of vampireish or serial killer element, but we don’t really know what’s going on just yet.

Snarked #0 - I guess this was an introductory issue, but it felt just like an issue 1 to me. Taking Lewis Carrol’s poems and characters as the start, Roger Langridge is setting up a world and story. Lots of ancillary material in the back, like the original poems and activities for kids. It was fun, but a bit too General Audience for me, so I don’t think I’ll pick this title up in future.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Return Of The Jedi Panel Of The Week

Comic Review For Comics Released A Month Ago

Ok, continuing the theme of lateness from my last entry on comic goodness, I think this is about a month late? Something like that, because the comics I’m writing about here, I just bought the next issues of today. Ok, anyway, lets get on with getting on.

So first up is Batman Retroactive 1970’s, one of the one-shots that DC is putting out trying to cash in on the nostalgia dollars. I wasn’t planning on buying this, but I flicked through it in the shop, and I saw thought balloons, so that made up my mind for me. The current trend in comics is not to do thought balloons, but I grew up on Batman having thought balloons. Well, grew up on is a sleight exaggeration, as I didn’t have regular buying habits, but the ones I did have access to early in my comic reading history had Batman thinking, so this tickled that itch for just fine. Look at this page, the whole page is just thought balloons! Awesome.

The story has a lot more Bruce Wayne than I feel current comics do, and a more personal interaction with other people. And the gizmos Batman has are more crazy than you’ll find in today’s more ‘realistic’ take on the character. For example, Batman drives his Bat-Sub into a boat to prevent some crime, but to stop it from sinking, his Bat-Sub is equipped with some foaming agent to block the hole. And then he tells Commissioner Gordon that he’ll pick it up later. Kind of silly, but good fun. There’s also a back-up story from the 70’s in the back, and it’s got one of my favourite panels of the week in it (see below). So all in all, I was pretty happy with this buy.

Next up we have the re-starting of Daredevil, with Daredevil #1. Just so you know how this is different, allow me to explain. You might remember I told you about Shadowland, and how after that mini-series Matt Murdoch left his regular title, Daredevil The Man Without Fear for a mini-series, and Black Panther stepped into that title, so we now have Black Panther The Man Without Fear. But at the end of the mini-series, Matt Murdoch made it pretty clear he was coming back to pick up the peices of his life, but what comic was he going to go to if Black Panther had his title, and it was selling, so it wasn’t going anywhere? Well that’s why we have the new plain old title of just Daredevil. Matt Murdoch is back, and he’s doing what he said he would, picking up the pieces of his life and getting on with getting on, even though everybody thinks he’s Daredevil. The story is good solid stuff, I like where it’s going and what it’s trying to do. It’s not just ignoring everything that’s gone before, that’s the reality Matt has to live in, but he’s not letting that stop him, he’s just going to have to try harder. You might hear things like it’s a return to the lighter, earlier Daredevil, and I guess it could be seen that way, but I just like to see it as the continuation of the character. Life deals him a giant big pile of crap, and he has to walk through it, but eventually you get to the other side, and clean yourself up, and get on with living. That’s the strength of the character.
Let’s talk about the art by Paolo Rivera. It’s beautiful. It reminded me of a couple former Daredevil artists, John Romita Jr. and Cary Nord. JRJR when he’s using his powers, that thick blocky kind of line, and Cary Nord when it’s the rest, that lighter breezy kind of line. And look at some of these panels, it’s kind of creepy how this guy looks when looked at from Daredevil’s perspective.

And this also kind of creepy, but cool, with Daredevil’s billy clubs sticking out of him like that.

But lets not forget that we’re all here to have fun as well, so we get this moment, which in actual fact was a strategic move to sucker the Spot out, but it’s a fun way of doing it.

The other part of the story focuses more on the Matt Murdoch aspects of his life, particularly the issue of how do you practice law when everyone thinks you’re a costumed vigilante/superhero? There was smaller story included, which gave us a nice insight into Matt’s frame of mind at the moment, but was really just a showcase for Marcos Martin to dazzle us with his excellent art. It’s gives us a great visual insight into the way Matt views the world.

I think this issue was definitely pick of the week for me, and I’m really looking forward to this next chapter in DD’s life.

Ok, now for the surprise hit of last month, or whenever week it came out. Marvel Universe Vs. Wolverine. I didn’t think this was a strong an issue, mainly because it seemed to be fiddling about trying to find a cure, and it seemed kind of sidetracked with a Punisher story, but it was till full of cool panels and story beats, and it left me wanting more, so it succeeded in bring me back, which is kind of what serialised fiction is meant to do. I don’t know if this as true a rule as Batman On A Horse, but Wolverine riding a motorbike was pretty cool.

As was our introduction to Frank Castle, which is typically cool Frank pose. I tend to like anyone holding two pistols.

And like I said, it does have cool beats and moments in it, like this one.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Posters For Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes

Maybe you're sick of me talking about this film already, but I can't help myself, and I thought these were pretty funny.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

YouTube Clip Of The Day: Chimp With An AK-47

I was looking for a Rise of the Planet of the Apes poster that I swore I had seen earlier, when I came across this. Apparently there's an 11 minute video that puts this in context, but who cares about that? A chimp with a gun!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

2 Gifs

I tried posting a GIF, but it wouldn't animate, so instead just follow the links to coolness, of varying degrees, but I really recommend the first one.

The First One

The Second One

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Comic Reviews For Release Date 13/7/11

Wow, what is this, 3 weeks late? Closer to 4? Anyway, a few weeks ago I bought a bunch of comics, and put off reading them, but now I have, and this what I thought of them.

American Vampire: Survival of the Fittest #2 of 5 – While I can’t remember exactly who the lead female character is in this story, I’m finding that doesn’t really matter. She wants to kill vampires, and she along with Cash are going behind Nazi lines to find a scientist who might have the cure, which Cash wants for his son, and maybe Dolly wants for herself. But things do not go well, they’re shot down, and it seems the Nazi’s don’t really trust them, and oh yeah, a whole battalion of Nazi vampires turn up at the end. Good times. Scott Snyder continues to expand the world he’s created with this mini-series, and just like the original series, it’s all good. Art chores are done by Sean Murphy, who has a really nice style. It’s like a mixture of cartoony and something else. There’s a slight cartoonish element to the faces of his characters, but the rest of his work seems more realistic, though obviously not going for a photo-realism. Whatever he’s doing, it’s pretty nice, and his storytelling and panel layout and stuff is pretty good too.

Batgirl #23 – So this series is drawing towards a conclusion, with DC’s new relaunch a month or so away, so this is the penultimate issue. That’s right, isn’t it? Penultimate is next to last? I’ll have to check that later. Anyway, this story continues, and the main appeal is the character to of Batgirl herself, she’s just a really likeable character. The story was fun, with a bunch of young super-heroines showing up to lend a hand, and the revelation that this has all been leading to someone else. The art isn’t by Dustin Ngyuen, but Pere Perez, and it’s pretty solid, with the cast of super-heroines looking pretty good. It’s been a fun series, and I hope the relaunch can keep the same fun tone.

Batman The Dark Knight #3 – Right, David Finch’s vanity project. How long has I been since last issue? Beats me, but it feels like ages. Anyway, it’s pretty good, still, and if it actually had the momentum of a monthly comic, it’d actually be quite enjoyable, I think. But as it is, I feel like I’m playing catch-up with my memory, and none of it really seems to matter. But there’s much to like in his art, and the story’s ok, so hopefully the next one won’t be so long in coming.

Flashpoint- Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown #2 – While I don’t really know any of these characters, as I’ve never read anything with them in before, I’m finding that doesn’t really matter, as this part of the whole new different Flashpoint alternative reality, and the characters are basic horror archetypes, so it’s all pretty easy to follow. In this issue they are trying to track down the lab of the Professor who is the father of the fish-girl, and someone is sent after them to stop them. Pretty straightforward, but I guess my question is, why? I don’t remember what they’re hoping to find, or why someone else wants to stop them. Anyway, only another issue or two till Flashpoint is over, so I’ll keep getting it, I’m enjoying it.

Black Panther: Man Without Fear- 3521 (Fear Itself tie-in) – I thought Black Panther got some new threads from the cover, but that’s not Black Panther, that’s American Panther, who we don’t know who it is yet. This issue is set in the larger event of Fear Itself at Marvel, and frankly, I think it suffers for it. It felt shoe-horned, having all these people keep talking about how they’re afraid, or someone is always mentioning fear. Ok, I get it. Anyway, I still like what’s happening story-wise, it just feels like it’s trying to hard to matter in Fear Itself. Francesco Francavilla’s art continues to impress.

Hellraiser #3 - I think this was the surprise of the week, for me. I kind of had the licensed property doubts, and I’m not sure issue 1 blew me away, but I thought this was pretty solid. Visually, it was excellent, with Stephen Thompson, who I don’t know, doing an excellent job. In fact, even though I don’t usually do this, I’m giving this comic my Panel of the Week.

In case you can’t tell, that’s a crucifix crushing a cenobite, or some other kind of hell spawn. The story is good, no doubt in part due to the involvement of Clive Barker, who wrote the original story and film. I like how involved it is, covering many peoples lives and spanning decades. I’ll have to try remember next time that I’m actually enjoying this series.

Lady Mechanica Collected Edition – This collects the first issue, which I bought, and the zero issue, which I missed; which is why I bought this one. This steampunk tale tells the tale of Lady Mechanica, a bit of an adventurer who happens to have mechanical body parts, and no memory of how she got them or where she comes from. Joe Benitez writes and draws, and it sure is pretty. I like the world he’s creating, I like the character of Lady Mechanica and I like the villains he’s introducing. I also like the moments of violence sprinkled throughout like a well flavoured spice. It was helpful to get this, as I now know who the figure in the first issue is now, and why he has a grudge against Lady Mechanica. Something about her kicking him in the head, and basically ripping of his lower jaw. Ah, there’s that spice I was talking about. Yummy.

Lady Mechanica #2 – How convenient that this was released on the same day as the collected edition. And what a pretty cover, If I had to pick, I’d say this was my Cover of the Week. I’m thinking of blowing it up and sticking it up on my wall. Joe Benitez sure has a pretty line. Anyway, I really quite enjoyed this issue, with an appearance from the flame-haired villainess from last issue, and Lady Mechanica visiting a circus with midget clowns and a monkey and a dude who throws knives. And more of that spice I talked about with the Collected Edition. Lady Mechanica shoots someone’s fingers off. Yeah boy, that’s what I’m talking about. Spicy.

The Red Wing #1 – So this is the first issue of a 4 part mini-series, which no doubt has plans to be an ongoing, written by Jonathon Hickman and illustrated by Nick Pitarra. Hickman I know from his work on S.H.I.E.L.D. and his reputation, but Pitarra I don’t know. He seems to come from a similar school as Frank Quietly, or Chris Burnham, a nice clean line, reasonable level of detail, and let the colourist do the shading. It’s decent enough, though not in Frank Quietly’s level yet. The story seems to be going down two paths. In the first path, there are two pilots who fly their planes in a war that seems to take place throughout time. Their planes are actually equipped to travel through time, so the war seems to be fought anywhere as they slip in and out of different times. Though it does not end well for them, and they are shot down. The second path seems to be following their sons as they sign up for the war, and are beginning their training to follow in their fathers’ footsteps, though one of them is obsessed with the idea that his father is alive. I think I’ll enjoy this series, though so far I have no idea who we’re fighting or what the war is about. The flipping between times is done nicely, as the plane crosses the panel borders from one time to another, a nice use of the medium. Hickman is known for his design sense, and there’s some really nice design going on here, with panel layouts and good use of white blank pages, except for some small, illustrated detail. Didn’t blow me away, but I’m looking forward to the series as a whole, as I think Hickman is someone who tends to build to something, not just try blow your socks off with each issue.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My New Toy (Well, Not Really A Toy)

DC have a line of statues they produce, called Batman Black & White, which has its roots in a comic called the same thing, an anthology comic where out of continuity stories could be told using the medium of black and white comics. They were good, and you should check out my volumes sometime. I have a few of the statues, you might've seen them, if you were ever in my room. This is the latest, based on Lee Bermejo art from the graphic novel by Lee and written by Brian Azzarello. It's good too. But this statue is better than good, it's fantastic.It's so good, I just had to share.