Friday, April 29, 2005

Where's the Music?

Well, a while back I started a new feature where I review an indie album and post an mp3 or two to get more people interested. The albums I reviewed were cds I had purchased, myself, on payday.

So far, I've done Arcade Fire, Robbers on High Street and Iron & Wine. Since I get paid every two weeks and can only afford one album at a time it's been pretty slow.
This last payday I was going to get a new cd but decided to wait until I went to College Station. I thought perhaps I'd find something there that I can't locate here.

Unfortunately, I didn't see any record stores. When we stopped at the mall, I asked a lady if there was a record shop there. Her reply was, "No. Isn't that so bunk?"
Followed by, "You'd think that in a mall like this there'd be one. Wouldn't you? That's just so bunk, don't you think?"

I'm sure there were a few more "like"s in there somewhere. I just couldn't comprehend too well what she was saying. But I did get "no" out of it.

So, after I figured out that she goes to Hastings in College Station to get music I decided I could wait since my friends weren't going there. And if I suggested it, they'd simply say, "We have one."

What this boils down to is that there is no new music this pay period. I ended up spending all my extra money at Aggie Con and now I must live for another week on ten dollars in my checking account.

Hopefully, next weekend I'll be getting a new album or two.

Meanwhile, Hellthy has a track by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the Shins.
They also have "Greetings in Braille", by The Elected. This one is a real nice track that I first heard on one of the podcast shows I listen to.

Odds and Ends

Trying to catch up with the rest of the world...

First and formost: Serenity!!!
Check out the trailer!!!
Bouncing around now.

Okay...
What else..?

Butch Guice returns to maistream comics drawing Batman and the JLA in a story written by Warren Ellis.

Manga has become the hot thing for PSP owners.

Yet another COUNTDOWN TO CRISIS title has sold out. DAY OF VENGEANCE #1 sold out and will get a second printing. Thankfully with a much better cover.

Peter David takes on Spider-Man.

No, it's not Shadow Lass from the LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES. It's Blacklight, a new character by Jim Valentino (Shadowhawk).

In what's probably the most shocking news of the week, Rob Liefeld will be drawing Teen Titans. Not Teen Titans Go! No... the real Teen Titans.
Fortunately, for only two issues.
And Gail Simone's writing the story.

Even Yahoo news is covering the Marvel/Stan Lee settlement. Good to hear Stan got a good deal out of it. Congratulations to him!

GREEN LANTERN CORPS: RECHARGE is a five issue mini-series that begins in September. Written by Dave Gibbons and drawn by Patrick Gleason, it'll re-establish the GL Corps as a part of the DC Universe.
I've been pulled into DC's cosmic side with ADAM STRANGE and the RANN/THANAGAR WAR and this looks like it's right up my alley.

Don't miss Man-Thing, April 30th on the Sci-Fi Channel. Of course, if you do... I won't hold it against you.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Review: Klarion the Witch Boy #1


Okay, so the book's been out over a week now.
I picked it up the day before leaving for Aggie Con (Woot!) and I'm still recovering from the trip.

KLARION THE WITCH BOY, written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Frazer Irving, feels more like a dark fairytale than anything else. The art in this book not only compliments the story but makes it stand out with a dreamlike quality.

I really liked Morrison's use of Solomon Grundy in this book as I have always felt that the character could use a bit more backstory other than "Born on a Monday..."
If this really is in DC's continuity then this is one of the best updates I've seen so far.

KLARION reads different from the other SEVEN SOLDIERS books. It moves at a much slower pace. The focus in this book is on Klarion and the society he lives in.

The Sheeda make an appearance as they set forth a chain of events that keeps the comic moving while showing glimpses of the world Klarion is part of.


While I liked the premise behind Grundy (or the Grundies) and loved the art, I felt the story (while also quite good) ended with a cheesy cliffhanger. I was a little put off by the last page. And that normally would be a bad thing.

However, the reason why the last page let me down was because up until then Morrison had been keeping me enthralled with his wonderful storytelling capabilities. I was so high up in fantasy comic land that the (almost cliched) ending brought it back down to "just above normal" levels.

It reminded me of the last page of GUARDIAN #1 in a way, feeling more like a cliffhanger for the sake of having a cliffhanging.


It did keep me interested, though. And you better believe I'll be getting the next issue. I just hope Morrison doesn't pause the story again to set up another "to be continued..." moment.

For more info about Grant Morrison's SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY, check out my continually updated feature.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Marvel Revives the Annual

So now we have 7-Eleven distribution, flip-books, dolor digests and now Annuals!?

Marvel has announced that Tom Raney (yes, the same Tom Raney who left them to launch DC's OUTSIDERS series) will be working on an ULTIMATE X-MEN ANNUAL this year.

Did Marvel change ownership or something?
Someone pinch me.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

More Aggie Con Info

I was just checking out the Aggie Con website to see if anything's changed.

Looks like they've added their gaming schedule, their anime schedule and their panel schedule.

Major guests include:

Elizabeth Moon
Red vs. Blue
Michael Moorcock
Todd McCaffrey
Greg Ayres (FUNimation)
Daniel Katsuk (FUNimation)
Caitlin Glass (FUNimation)
Brobdingnagian Bards

Regional guests include:

Jayme Blaschke
David Carren
Cat Conrad
Rachel Caine
Scott Cupp
Bill Crider
Mark Finn
Melaine Fletcher
Dr. Tim Glover
Becky Matthews Haynie
Katharine E. Kimbriel
Rick Klaw
Tom Knowles
Joe Lansdale
Lunar Comics
Ardath Mayhar
Teresa Patterson
Rie Sheridan
Joe Singleton
Brian Stelfreeze
Jeff Turner
Victory
Martha Wells
Mark O. Worrell

Gaming highlights:

Dragonlance
World of Darkness, White Wolf
Heroclix
AD&D 2nd Edition Tournament
Ultimate Munchkin
Legend of the Five Rings CCG
RPGA

Anime highlights:

Bio Hunter
D.N.Angel
Final Fantasy Unlimited
Fullmetal Alchemist
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
Metropolis
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
Ninja Scroll TV
Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
Vampire Hunter D: Special Edition
Wicked City

Panel highlights:

Iron Artist (Flores, Victory, Stelfreeze)
Machinima in Action (Red vs. Blue)
Rocky Horror Picture Show
Writing for Younger Audiences (Mayhar, Sheridan, Kimbiel)
What the Filk? (Brobdingnagian Bards)
Late-Night Filking
Red vs. Blue Season 1 and Q&A
Comic Page Layout and Design (Lloyd, Singleton, Stelfreeze)
Brobdingnagian Bards Unplugged
Low-Budget Films (Carren)
Anatomy Study (Flores, Griffin, Singleton)
Comic Creations (Flores, Freeman, Lloyd)

Works been rough and I've not quite gotten my comic ready.
Regardless, I can't wait!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Dollar Days!

(From Newsarama)

Marvel Comics already has a successful high-end Masterworks program and an affordable phonebook Essentials program for fans of their classic early stories. But now readers on a real tight budget can get in on the action too.

In July Marvel is offering six new dollar digests to the direct market with a suggesting retail price of $1.00. These b&w, newsprint 4-7/8 x 6-9/16 are not Marvel’s standard digest format. Each volume is 64 pages and according to the publisher contains approximately three classic Marvel Comics stories, some perhaps abridged to fit the format.

Offered to retailers as a “Previews Plus” item, the special digests all go on sale July 6th and are as follows

SPIDER-MAN: AMAZING FANTASY DOLLAR DIGEST
Collects AMAZING FANTASY #15, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1, #2

FANTASTIC FOUR: FIRST FAMILY DOLLAR DIGEST
Collects FANTASTIC FOUR #1-#3

AVENGERS: ASSEMBLE DOLLAR DIGEST
Collects AVENGERS #1-#3

SPIDER-MAN: DOCTOR OCTOPUS DOLLAR DIGEST
Collects AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3,#4,#5

HULK: HULK SMASH DOLLAR DIGEST
Collects HULK #1-#3

X-MEN: CHILDREN OF THE ATOM
Collects X-MEN #1-#3

More Aggie Con and Related Stuff

Highlights of the past conventions and more links for indie comics.

First, there's Ghostwerks. I've met them twice. They publish comics for a modern audience. The general style of one of the main artists is kinda like Humberto Ramos. Really nice guys.

Then we have Young American Comics. I met them at Wizard World. They do a lot of jam comics where they choose a theme for an anthology and let people submit work. Check them out.


Instant Press Comics features a character named "The Unbelievable Laundrey Detergent Man". I've chatted with the creator, Nino, and he's pretty cool.

Excaliber Press is one of the few places I've actually submitted work to. I even got an article printed in their DC fanzine.

And then, there's a friend of mine, Renzo (aka Locohead), who does The Power Mojo. While not a print comic, but rather a web-only series, his work is remarkable and he keeps getting better. Plus he has a few of my drawings in a gallery there.

Oh, and let's not forget Skunk Comics which, according to their website, is now called "Starline Media". Maybe some of you guys remember them? I haven't seen them since Aggie Con 2002. Hope the new name and look helps them.
I remember the highlight of Aggie Con 2002 (besides seeing Neil Gaiman's back) was watching Young Frankenstein at their booth.

Speaking of highlights...
Here are the key moments of each convention I've been to so far...

Aggie Con 2002
Saw Neil Gaiman's back.
Met Ghostwerks, Twisted Ink and Skunk Comics.
Drew a sketch of my Mis-Adventure! characters with them gawking at Neil Gaiman's silhouette.

Aggie Con 2003
Met Marv Wolfman. He signed NEW TEEN TITANS (1980) #1 for me. We talked for a long time. Very pleasant to chat with.
Saw an actress from Farscape. The one that plays the blue alien.


Wizard World 2003
George Perez signed the same copy of NEW TEEN TITANS #1.
Met Young American comics.
Sold on e-bay my premium WOLVERINE comic that I got for preregistrating. It more than paid for admission.


Aggie Con 2004
Met Joe Singleton. He gave me my first blue pencil. And I bought a sketch (Fire of JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL) from him.




Wizard World 2004
Didn't preregister this year, so no good freebies.
Met Michael Lark and got several issues of GOTHAM CENTRAL and SCENE OF THE CRIME signed. Even picked up his "sketchbook" and he showed me the original art for the first few pages of his (not yet released) WHAT IF KAREN PAGE HAD LIVED? comic. He also broke the news to me that he was leaving GOTHAM CENTRAL.
Had a hard time finding Artist Alley as it was moved away from the main dealer room and mixed with wrestlers and pornstar models.
Saw Joe Singleton again.
Went to the Texas Renaissance Fair the next day. Loved it!
Great weekend.

Monday, April 18, 2005

To Maleev or Not to Maleev




Working on getting a similar effect as Alex Maleev's art. I really like his work on Daredevil.
Pretty close, I think.

Marvel Comics for July



Only one thing really worth mentioning:

Giffen.
DeMatteis.
Maguire.
DEFENDERS.

Five issue mini-series.

Can it happen again?

Saturday, April 16, 2005

The Future's Looking Brighter

Late last year, I posted the following on a message board:

Best Marketing Tactics for 2004

I know it's a little early but...
I see two seperate ideas coming from both Marvel and DC and I think they both demand a bit of applause or at least a nod for being good ideas.

First, Marvel's "Handbook 2004" series. Each month it spotlights a character or team and does essentially what DC's Secret Files and Origins does. Except one thing- timed to co-incide with major starting points or jump-on issues. While the DC Secret Files and Origins usually comes out either during or after a major event, Marvel's helps generate interest in the character(s) at a time it's more beneficial to the regular monthly books.
Great idea.

Second, DC's "Johnny DC" mascot. Who?
Johnny DC.
I think one thing that the comics industry needs is new younger readers. Johnny DC, while nothing more than a little icon on a cover, will help in two ways. One way is to help parents identify which comics are kid-friendly. "If it has Johnny DC on it..." And another way is by association. Kids like to collect (at least I did). And if they like Justice League and Powerpuff Girls and notice the Johnny DC logo on the front of them they're more likely to try out another Johnny DC imprinted book before another kind.
Of course, I also understand that Johnny DC will be "hosting" the returning letters pages in those books, too. Which will give them a "clubhouse" feel. (Ahhh... Letters pages... not only a good place to find out official info on characters and stories... but also a terrific place to PLUG other similar books!)

There you are. My choices for the best marketing tactics of 2004.


I bring this up because we are seeing another great idea coming soon. That being the Marvel Flip Books and 7-11 deal.

The 7-11 connection will give Marvel Comics a massive jump in consumer presence and recognition and may just help save the industry. I can already hear the people saying, "I thought they quit making comics a long time ago."

The Flip Books are a good idea, too.
Several people I know wish the comics companies would bring out some form of anthology. Something that gives more bang for the buck.

Now they'll be able to get two related comics in one package with a price that's still lower than buying them seperate.

The tagline in Marvel's solicitations for the line goes like this:

"Kicking yourself for missing an early issue of a popular book? Wanting to get your friends hooked on your favorite titles? Have no fear, Marvel Flip Books are here! Perfect for bringing in new readers, these newsstand titles are now being offered to the Direct Market!"

Excuse me for a second if I'm a bit confused by that last sentence. It makes me assume that they're already available on newsstands. And as far as I know... They're not. Yet.

Anyway, I won't look a gift horse in the mouth.

Here's the line-up for the six books:

ULTIMATE MARVEL #1

Ultimate X-Men #1
Written by MARK MILLAR
Pencils by ADAM KUBERT
Cover by JOE QUESADA
Ultimate Fantastic Four #1
Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS &
MARK MILLAR
Pencils by ADAM KUBERT
Cover by BRYAN HITCH
64 pgs / 3.99
June 1, 2005

MARVEL HEROES #1

New Avengers #1
Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
Pencils & Cover by DAVID FINCH
Captain America #1
Written by ED BRUBAKER
Art & Cover by STEVE EPTING
64 pgs / 3.99
June 8, 2005

ULTIMATE TALES #1

Ultimate Spider-Man #0
(First half of Ultimate Spider-Man #1)
Ultimate Spider-Man #1
(Second half of Ultimate Spider-Man #1)
Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
Pencils by MARK BAGLEY
Covers by JOE QUESADA
64 pgs / 3.99
June 1, 2005

MARVEL TALES #1

Amazing Spider-Man #34
Written by J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI
Pencils by JOHN ROMITA JR.
Cover by J. SCOTT CAMPBELL
Amazing Fantasy #1
Written by FIONA AVERY
Pencils & Cover by MARK BROOKS
64 pgs / 3.99
June 8, 2005

MARVEL ADVENTURES #1

Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man #1
Written by KITTY FROSS
Penciled by PATRICK SCHERBERGER
Cover by ROGER CRUZ
Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four #1
Written by AKIRA YOSHIDA
Penciled by CARLO PAGULAYAN
Cover by MICHAEL RYAN
64 pgs / 3.99
June 15, 2005

MARVEL SELECT #1

Astonishing X-Men #1
Written by JOSS WHEDON
Pencils & Cover by JOHN CASSADAY
New X-Men: Academy X #1
Written by NUNZIO DEFILIPPIS & CHRISTINA WEIR
Pencils & Cover by RANDY GREEN
64 pgs / 3.99
June 8, 2005

Oddly enough, it reminds me of when the Direct Market first got booming. DC Comics had launched a number of new Direct Only titles, including New Teen Titans and Legion of Super-Heroes. Titans and Legion both had series running already and they were converted into newsstand reprints of the Direct Market versions.

While a few have been endlessly reprinted already (like Ultimate Spider-Man and Ultimate X-Men), a few aren't that old, yet (like New Avengers and Captain America).
Marvel Adventures Fantastic Four #1 ships the same month as the flip book that features it, too. The same week even!

All in all a nice move and I hope that Marvel continues with it.
It's already on my list as one of the best marketing tactics of 2005.

Viva la revolution!

Sin City Wallpaper



This was my wallpaper for the first half of April. Made from the various promo posters.

Here I Thought it Was Just Me

From Onion News, regarding the current cost of living:

WASHINGTON, DC—A report released Monday by the Federal Consumer Quality-Of-Life Control Board indicates that the cost of living now outstrips life's benefits for many Americans.
Cost Of Living Now Outweighs Benefits

"This is sobering news," said study director Jack Farness. "For the first time, we have statistical evidence of what we've suspected for the past 40 years: Life really isn't worth living."

To arrive at their conclusions, study directors first identified the average yearly costs and benefits of life. Tangible benefits such as median income ($43,000) were weighed against such tangible costs as home-ownership ($18,000). Next, scientists assigned a financial value to intangibles such as finding inner peace ($15,000), establishing emotional closeness with family members ($3,000), and brief moments of joy ($5 each). Taken together, the study results indicate that "it is unwise to go on living."


Read the rest here.

I know this is supposed to be funny, but when you're making $9,000 a year like me... It's not that far from the truth.

They also have the Pope's "report from beyond" on the state of Heaven.

And in related, real world, news:
Wages Lagging Behind Prices
Basic needs and cost of living outpace wages
For many Americans, it's time to go on a financial diet

Friday, April 15, 2005

Comics to Check Out, Take 2

I previously did a post that revealed which comics I pick up on a regular basis and why.
Of course, that post, "Comics to Check Out" was over six months ago. While not much has changed, my list is still a bit different.

Gone are The Ultimates, Manhunter and Bloodhound.
Black Widow is finished.
And Birds of Prey has lowered itself to "maybe I'll drop it" and back up to "maybe I'll keep it"...

I've organized them into three categories: The Hit List (books that are pretty much guaranteed to stay on my list for now), The Danger Zone (books that are in peril and may be dropped any second) and The Rookies (books that I'm currently trying out).

The Hit List

First we have 100 Bullets, by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso. I started reading 100 Bullets around issue 26. I didn't know what the hell was going on. But I thought the characterization and dialogue were both great. So great that I went and found the first couple of trade paperbacks that reprinted the first year or so and from there I was hooked.
I even went back and got Jonny Double, a trade that reprinted Azzarello and Risso's mini-series that they did before 100 Bullets. It has a lot of the same feel as 100 Bullets and it's also reccomended.
Nothing new to add.
Still the same good shit.


Next is Daredevil, by Brian Micael Bendis and Alex Maleev. Bendis and Maleev have done a splendid job of taking a "just another superhero" and turning him into a living and breathing character that grows emotionally. Turning the book into the comic equivalent of The Sopranos, Daredevil (in no short time) sets himself up as the Kingpin (translated as the Godfather) of Hell's Kitchen. Why? Because someone else would have if he didn't. Maleev's art keeps the story grounded in reality, even when some weird stuff does happen at times.
Bendis and Maleev are set to leave the title at the end of the year. Until then, I expect to still be picking it up.
After that? Who knows.
No word yet on who's to follow them.


Gotham Central, written by Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka and drawn by Michael Lark, tells the story of the cops of Gotham City, the stomping ground of Batman, Catwoman and other costumed menaces. You would expect a cominc book that was set in such a place would cater to Bat-fans and play up the super-heroics of the environment. Nope. What we get here is in-depth character stories of the people who are at the very bottom of the Bat-food chain: the cops. Kinda like Law and Order or CSI meets very dark city with crazy people who wield more than just guns.
The characters are given more dimension than you see in most other comics and you really start to care for them after a while.
Brubaker and Lark have left the book, both defecting to Marvel.
Rucka, with newcomer Kano on art, has a pretty rough ride to keep the fans on the book after such a major change.


Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers of Victory is only a few months old and has impressed me so much that I look forward to picking up the rest of the massive thirty-issue mini-series.
Morrison has demonstrated how to take old characters, breath new life into them and tell an entertaining story. And do it all within one issue! No decompression here.
Shining Knight, Guardian, and Zatanna have each been a fun ride so far.
This series has gotten most of it's publicity of late by being the anti-Infinite Crisis. If you don't like one, you may just like the other.

The Danger Zone

Birds of Prey, written by Gail Simone and drawn by Ed Benes and Alex Lei, fills my need of plain fun storytelling. I find that throughout my comics reading experience I've had at least one book that was lighthearted that balanced all the other books I was reading. Birds of Prey seems to be the one at the moment. And Gail Simone has proven herself to be a great character writer with this book and Rose & Thorn.
I recently dropped this title but picked it back up.
Gail Simone has branched out and is now doing three monthly books instead of one. While I don't perceive any change in her work because of it, I find myself wanting to either get them all or none.
With that and the stories not grabbing me anymore, plus the departure of Benes (who took me a long time to adjust to), I wasn't sure if I'd be keeping it.
I just started reading Hawkman which is drawn by the new Birds of Prey artist, Joe Bennett. I liked his work on the few issues of Captain America and Falcon that I picked up during the Avengers: Disgraced storyline. And his work on Hawkman surpasses even that.
So his being on Birds may keep it from dropping off my list anytime soon.


Legion of Super-Heroes, by Mark Waid and Barry Kitson, started off with a shocking new take on the classic team. I quickly warmed up to their version of the teenage heroes but have recently found the book to be spinning it's wheels.
I think the writing is good and the art is great, but it's not keeping me excited.
Add to this Waid's "bizarro"-style reworkings of the powers of most of the characters and the hard to swallow kids vs. adults theme, and it gets kinda muddy.
Still getting it, but not sure for how long.

The Rookies

Hawkman, written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti with art by Joe Bennett and Ruy Jose, has been added to my monthly reading list mostly because of sneaky marketing.
The Rann/Thanagar War is starting soon and it's really gained my interest. DC says that the mini-series will re-establish the sci-fi side of their colorful universe.
The War will feature three prominent heroes: Adam Strange, Hawkman and a Green Lantern (in the form of Kyle Rayner).
Fortunately, Adam Strange recently had a mini-series that leads into the War, Hawkman just started a year-long storyline with the addition of a new regular artist (Bennett) and Green Lantern is relaunching with a new #1 in just a few short months.
What does this mean?
Perfect timing.
So I jumped on Hawkman with the start of the year-long storyline and I haven't been disappointed, yet. I was so impressed with Bennett's art that it's kept me from dropping Birds of Prey, even.
I've also begun tracking down issues of Adam Strange and I'll be checking out Green Lantern when it starts.
Call me a sucker.


Solo is a book that deserves it's own spot. This anthology series that focuses on individual artists is a project that me grinning from ear to ear, which means it probably won't last.
It's a great concept, however.
Each issue is devoted to one artist and they either write their own stories or have someone else write for them. So far, the line-up's consisted of Tim Sale, Richard Corben, Paul Pope and Howard Chaykin. Darwyn Cooke's issue is set to come out in June.
It surprises me that a mainstream publisher would try something so... artsy. But I'm pleased, nontheless.

Midnite Movies in Jeopardy

"Sony has recently acquired the MGM film library. As part of their acquisition, they will be responsible for all the releases that come out on DVD, including MGM's "Midnite Movies" line, which may or may not continue to exist. The future is uncertain, so this is a petition for Sony to keep the Midnite Movies line going for years to come. There are many classic horror/sci-fi/cult films yet to be released from this library, which includes titles from AIP, UA and Cannon. We ask everyone who reads this to sign the petition in order to show Sony that great interest in the Midnite Movies series exists."

Go here to sign the petition!

Keep the fun alive!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Alan Moore's Albion


I may be starting to get interested in Alan Moore's Albion mini-series. Starting in June, the six-issue title will re-imagine several classic British characters.

When I saw the solicits for #1, I had pretty much forgotten what Albion was. I had read something on it once, but it was so long ago.
The cover didn't do anything for me, either, as it gave me a "Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot" feel.

But then the solicits for #2 came out and this time I read the blurb a little more carefully and lingered on the cover a bit longer.

Hmmm...
Interesting...

However, I was beginning to see a trend in Moore's choices for characters.
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the obscure public domain heroes that appeared in Tom Strong/Terra Obscura and now these characters in Albion...

Except, I had forgotten that I read something a long time ago. Something that had originally piqued my interest in this comic. Unfortunately, with no news about it for so long I had completely forgotten all I had read.


In August of last year, it was announced that DC Comics, through Wildstorm, had acquired the rights to the IPC library of characters, with Alan and Leah Moore, John Reppion, Shane Oakley and Dave Gibbons already teamed to create the first miniseries.

Albion.

Here's the article that I had read back then. I just happened upon it again today and it's reminded me of why it excited me the first time.

DC has preview art for #1 available here.

Read the solicitations:
Albion #1
Albion #2

Aggie Con Cometh

As Aggie Con approaches, I'm going to start sharing with you the stuff I've found through the last few years at both Aggie Con and Wizard World Texas. I'll also be throwing in a few of my finds from off the 'net.


We begin with My Favorite Bullet. It's an independent poetry magazine that's published in the same dimensions as a digest sized comic (8"x11" pages, folded in half) and features some very impressive amateur/alternative writing.
The issue that I picked up at last year's Aggie Con was Volume Five, Number One. The punkish cover really grabbed my attention and the people who were there promoting it were pretty nice.

The bits of literature found within these books can be considered much like a verbal counterpart to graphiti. In these pages are images of the urban soul conveyed in literal terms. At times it can be crude, naked and unapoligizing. And at all times real.

You can read most (if not all) of the issues online, but it's recommended that you at least check out one issue in paper form to help support the series.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Who's the Audience?


I was reading the latest Basement Tapes and I started pondering on one of my little gripes about the current state of comics.
That being "who the target audience is".

Right now it would appear to be late 20s to mid 30s male readers.
Why? Because that is who they think is reading it.
Because they themselves are 20s to 30s male creators.
They can't perceive readers under 20 or over 40. They can barely perceive female readers.

Begin soapbox...

They say they want to attract a younger audience but what they put out for them downtalks them as if they don't care to be bothered with creating it.
Kids want entertainment, hand them a video game.
Comics are for sophisticated people. Those who can be written for without having to self-censor or restrain creative rights.
Plus, kids can't affiord comics.
So why bother?

I remember when I was a kid. I read Marvel and DC comics back then, as I still do today.
I didn't feel talked down to when I was reading them. Matter of fact I learned a lot of words and phrases from those books.
And they weren't over my head or "parental advisory" rated, either.
Ratings were a "non-issue" back then.

It's my belief that in an attempt to recapture the audience of their prime they're looking at things the wrong way. And burying themselves.

Let me explain.

They seem to be focusing on the audience they created in the past. While tailor-making these new stories with nostalgic bits here and there to tug at that (waning) audience's emotions they're not gaining any new readers. They're pandering to the readers they had by making the characters "grow up" with them.
Have problems at work? So does your favorite hero.
Have problems with finances? So does your hero.
Have a relative with a deadly disease or handicap? Surprise! So does your hero.
The hero of your past becomes someone you can relate to and not be embarrassed to read about.
See, comics aren't just for kids anymore!

However, I think they shouldn't be focusing on the resultant audience of their past but rather the audience they were trying to reach with those old stories.
Sounds confusing, doesn't it?
What does it mean?
And can it be done?

They say that that audience no longer exists. I say it does. They just don't see it. Or don't want to see it.
Maybe they can't grasp it.
They need to look at things from the eyes of the creators back then.
Who were they (the old creators) trying to appeal to?
What did they (the old creators) think made a good story then?
Both of the answers are still valid today.

If they were to take a good look at who the creators were writing for back then and not get caught up with the readers that were brought in but rather the readers they were aiming for, we may get something revolutionary.

Unfortunately, the current creators are too busy either targeting their comfort-zone of peers and fan-boys or stroking their "Wizard Top-Ten" egos (another problem with modern comics).
They could care less about gaining a new audience.
Comics should be an elitist club, right?
Something sacred to those who've been here the longest.
Right?

Just another reason why I'm enjoying Seven Soldiers of Victory over DC's Countdown event.
Grant Morrison gets it.
Why can't the rest of them?

Monday, April 11, 2005

Porn Star Quote of the Week


A friend brought this to my attention.

Courtesy Movie Poop Shoot:

"I would say that it was one of the best experiences I have ever had, on- or off-screen. He threw me around he was passionate and intense. Lee [makes love] so good. You can see in the behind the scenes footage that we just wouldn't stop. We started [making love] before the scene started, we [made love] when they said cut and when the scene was over we kept [making love]. We even [made love] in the shower while we were getting cleaned up."
-Jesse Jane on doing scenes with the hugely endowed Lee Stone


Good to know I'm making an impression...

College Radio Station of the Week

WCBS - Cleveland State University

"WCSB 89.3 FM is the student-run radio station of Cleveland State University. We have been providing northeast Ohio with the finest alternative entertainment and information for over a quarter of a century. WCSB provides a truly unique listening experience. In a country rife with the corporatization of the public airwaves, we pride ourselves on our eclectic, quality broadcasting. Musically, WCSB's programming covers jazz, blues, noise, electronica, metal, folk, country, hip hop, garage, reggae, and indie rock just to name a few. It's not unusual to listen a whole week and never hear the same song twice!

"WCSB also prides itself in its commitment to programming news and information for the numerous ethnic communities represented by the Greater Cleveland area. We feature Latin, Hispanic, German, Hungarian, Polish, Serbian, Macedonian, Arabic, and Slovenian programs. WCSB also runs many public affairs programs ranging in topic from issues affecting African-Americans, women, to environmental and literary issues."

They have 128k streams available in Real Audio, Windows Media and MP3.

Take a look at their schedule and see if you can find something of interest. Each show has information on it which helps you find a show that serves your tastes.

They also have a chart showing their Top 30 songs.

DC Comics For July


Looky, looky!
The solicitations for DC's July comics are up.

Let's see what looks interesting...

First, what I'm not getting (as far as I know):

Simonson's covers on Day of Vengeance still do nothing for me.
Cool Tron-ish Firestorm cover.
Flash's cover looks interesting, considering there's gotta be a reason he's on the treadmill...
JSA Classified has two covers?? And they both look awesome.
And there's gotta be more to that JSA cover... right?
Manhunter has Robin with her?
Katana's back in the Outsiders! Too bad the cover art isn't too flattering...
Villians United... Hmmmm.....
Wonder Woman's still blind.
Looks like Batman's not who Catwoman thought he was. And I have to say that the modification to her costume vastly improves her effectiveness in combat. Did she gain some weight?

Seems like Robin is now studying under Cable? I thought he was Batman's sidekick...

Yay! 100 Bullets Volume 8!!!

Now a first-glance impulse list of what I may be getting:

Gotham Central #33
Hmmm... the cover looks remarkably alot like 32's. I'm thinking it's either a) there's a rash of Robin look-alikes being killed or b) there's clues in the slight differences between the two cover (like Slylock Fox). Or perhaps it's just a goof.

All-Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder #1
Try saying that ten times fast. As probably the book with the longest name of the month, it also boasts two of the biggest headliners in comics currently.
Frank Miller and Jim Lee would normally turn me away from something like this, but DC has said that this will be an All-Ages series and should be fun. We'll see...

Hawkman #42
I just started reading Hawkman in anticipation of the Rann/Thanagar War. Joe Bennett's art is amazing and DC is smart to have snagged him from Marvel. He even has me still interested in Birds of Prey as I've been slowly losing interest.

The Rann/Thanagar War #3
Action! Action! Lots of action! Looks great, too. I was mildly interested in this series until I checked out the first couple issues of Adam Strange. With Green Lantern relaunching and Hawkman's new direction, Rann/Thanagar War comes at a very opportune time.

Seven Soldiers: Guardian #3
Loving the Seven Soldiers books. Guardian is shaping to be a fun title with nods to both Kirby and Eisner in the storytelling.

Birds of Prey #84
I dropped this book just last month, but now I'm picking it back up. Mostly because of Joe Bennett. And it looks like Huntress is in a new costume.

Green Lantern #3
I'm entranced by the Rann/Thanagar War and Adam Strange. I'll be giving Hal Jordan a chance to win me over.

Legion of Super-Heroes #8
Still sitting on the fence. While the character power changes are nice, the conflict within the team and young vs. old plotlines are leaving me a bit... Unexcited...
Kitson's art, however, is great.

Seven Soldiers: Zatanna #3
More supernatural shenanigans with Zee and her new apprentice. Featuring yet another striking cover by Ryan Sook!

100 Bullets #62
Has a simple, yet striking cover. Nice.

Desolation Jones #2
Mostly picking this up for Williams but Ellis may grab me.

Albion #2
Missed out on #1. Thinking of picking this series up. The first issue's cover kinda misled me.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

So Good, It's Hellthy!

Hellthy: Indie Rock/Pop has become one of my favorite resources on the net to discover new music.
Just this last week they've posted the following selections:

The Clientele - An Hour Before The Light
Spoon - I Turn My Camera On
Neutral Milk Hotel - Holland 1945
Enon - Kanon
High On Fire - 10,000 Years
Timonium - Crushed Discs
Magnolia Electric Co. - The Dark Don't Hide It

They not only post the tracks, but also give links for each artist and their label.
And if you receive podcasts, they have one with all their downloads on it. You never miss a thing.

Highly reccomended!

Iron & Wine


On my bi-weekly trip to the record store I picked up Iron & Wine's latest EP, Woman King.
Aside from Ben Folds, I don't think I've ever heard a man be as poetic as this. Some parts of his music even struck me as a bit like Tori Amos.

Iron & Wine is one man, Sam Beam, and Woman King is recorded on Sub Pop Records.

The title track starts off the batch of songs and proves why it's become as popular as it has. I know I turn the stereo up whenever it comes on. It's just so powerful. Almost like a new breed of southern rock. And I mean southern.

"Jezebel" starts off sounding a bit like Jewel but easily becomes one of the best songs on the cd. A beautiful track that truly shows off Beam's talent with emotional ballads.

"Freedom Hangs Like Heaven" has become my second favorite song on the album. Giving the story of Jesus and Mary a nice refreshing (and non-preachy) take it also has a sound that seems reminiscent of old folksongs. It could easily pass as a modern day (corporate) slave song, sounding a bit like a mix of Tracy Chapman and latter day Emmylou Harris. Excellent writing.

Woman King only has six tracks on it as it is an EP, but it's well worth picking up. Beam is a great singer/songwriter who deserves to be heard.
Since there are so few songs on the EP, I'll only be offering one mp3 from it.
Woman King

This is the same song that's available on Sub Pop's Iron & Wine page.
There are a few more older tracks there also for download.

Another good place for downloads is Hellthy. They have a free download of "Woman King", too.

It's good to see a talent such as this garner so much exposure. And once you have a listen you'll see what the fuss is all about.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Review: Zatanna #1


Grant Morrison and Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman. What comes to mind when you say these names in one breath? Well, besides strange philosophical views and beliefs in magick?
Profound writing, perhaps?
Perhaps.

ZATANNA may not be PROMETHEA, but she is off to a good start in this first issue.

I was quite pleased to see Grant make reference to the SWAMP THING story that killed her father, even bringing Zatanna back to the place where he had died. That story, which culminated in SWAMP THING #50, featured the then-current mystical forces of the DC Universe as they combatted an evil that was spawned from the CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS maxi-series. Zatara was not the only one who met his demise in that tale and Baron Winter's comment near the end of this book comes off darkly humorous.
That SWAMP THING story has since become a cornerstone in the writing of these characters. Up until then, no one could ever get a handle on mystical or magical heroes. Writers couldn't come up with ways to make them compelling. They were deemed too powerful and left to wander in the backgrounds, brought in usually as a deus ex machina in large scale stories.

The only other mainstream attempt that succeeded at grasping the concept and telling an interesting story was Neil Gaiman's BOOKS OF MAGIC, which introduced the young Tim Hunter.

It's long been my belief that if you like these characters and want to collect and read their appearances then that SWAMP THING story (SWAMP THING VOL. 4: MURDER OF CROWS) and the BOOKS OF MAGIC mini-series were the end-all, be-all. Nothing else even comes remotely close.

Alan Moore's done some interesting stuff with PROMETHEA, and I'll admit that I just recently started reading it as I picked up Volume 1 only a few weeks ago. However, it's a bit more involved since the series stems mostly from Moore's own personal study of magick. And it isn't in the DC Universe.


ZATANNA #1 is a bit more accessable. It brings the reader into her world in a comfortable fashion. The journey from the material world to the astral plane is done in such a way that it enhances the illusion of storytelling.

I also felt the use of two seperate groups of characters to tell the story was a great touch, as well, as it helped seperate the events nicely.
I found the book almost... intoxicating.
Almost.
Grant firmly kept one foot on the ground at all times so the reader wouldn't get uncomfortable. Pretty cool ride, nevertheless.

I also thought that her "support group" (which includes Gimmix from SEVEN SOLDIERS #0), reminded me a bit of the movie Mystery Men as far as how they saw themselves. And my personal interpretation of it gave it a whole other level of entertainment as I saw Zatanna as an everyman, err... everywoman, mingling with these self-appointed losers.

I did not expect the adventure at Baron Winter's to end the way it did. Likewise, I didn't expect the last two pages of the comic, either. Grant did a great job of surprising and I'm looking forward to the next issue.

Ryan Sook did a fantastic job on all of the various characters and I really must give him credit for me drawing the Mystery Men connection as it's his characterizations of these misfits that inspired it. Each person in the comic had their own personality and it was conveyed flawlessly. I don't think I've ever seen Zatanna look so human. Or Zatara so imposing.
He also did a wonderful job on the astral journey pages. That stuff was just beautiful.


On a side note, I just read ALAN MOORE'S WRITING FOR COMICS and I feel that either he and Grant share the same comic book theories or Grant read it, as well.
This Seven Soldiers project is definitely something I would consider creatively challenging. And I'm sure Mr. Moore would agree.
Hell, Moore would probably even like this.

I'm also expecting Grant to be at least nominated for an Eisner or a Harvey next year for the SEVEN SOLDIERS books. If he isn't then there is no justice in the world.

For more info about Grant Morrison's SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY, check out my continually updated feature.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Some Quickies

Jeph Loeb will adapt Will Eisner's Spirit for the screen. Remember the ABC movie? This is supposed to be better!

Top Shelf Comics tries out bi-monthly series. I've just recently discovered Top Shelf (Thanks, Johnny!) and the SURROGATES looks interesting.

Darwyn Cooke headline's SOLO #5. If you liked CATWOMAN: SELINA'S BIG SCORE or DC: THE NEW FRONTIER, you better pick this puppy up. SOLO is a great series and deserves everyone's support. I'm pleasantly surprised to see a big publisher willing to try this out.

A book I should be reading gets 2nd print after selling out. Thinking about jumping on...

The 6-part Nightwing: Year One story (NIGHTWING #101-106) sold out at DC Comics and they've announced that it will be collected in trade paperback form in July. The story was written by Chuck Dixon and Scott Beatty and illustrated by Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens.
Dixon and McDaniel were the ones that launched NIGHTWING a hundred issues earlier. Quite a contrast when you take in that their current series, RICHARD DRAGON, is being cancelled. What does that tell you?

So is Daniel Craig the new Bond or not??? And if he isn't can we at least get a confirmation that Pierce Brosnan has left the role?

Dark Horse Comics will begin publishing in July a three issue mini-series adapting Joss Whedon's Serenity movie based on the very popular short-lived television show.
Each issue will have three covers with each character getting their own cover.

Just added Warren Ellis' Superburst Mixtape podcasts to my subscribed list.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The New Gilligan's Island


An undisclosed movie studio is working on a film to update the classic '60s television comedy, Gilligan's Island, for the modern audience. A rare glance at the first draft of the script gives a firsthand look at what to expect.

WARNING: SPOILERS!!!






Gilligan's Island, working title "Gilligan's Island: Return to the Isles" features the cast returning to the island for a reunion.

Of course, since all the actors who previously played the roles are either too old to play the characters currently or dead, there will be all new actors to play the roles. Rumor has it that Beyonce Knowles is being approached for a role as well as to sing the theme song.

Pretty fitting, considering the theme song, too, has been updated. An excerpt:

"Just sit right back, uh-oh-uh-oh-uh-oh, and you'll hear a tale, uh-oh-uh-oh..."
I'm assuming there's a bouncy beat in there somewhere.

Anyway, from what I've read, we have the cast returning to the island with supposedly Beyonce playing the role of Cinnamon who replaces Ginger as the sexpot. Ginger, it is revealed, died of AIDS a couple years after being rescued from the island.


Over the course of the weekend, Mrs. Howell is killed by a headhunter.
After a frantic search for the savages, the islanders discover that Mrs. Howell had kept a diary (which was still on the island and was the real reason that the reunion was taking place -so she could find it). In this diary it is revealed that Mrs. Howell was raped and tortured by the look-alike Gilligan waaaay back when they were previously on the island.
Cue in flashback sequence with graphic depiction of look-alike Gilligan forcing Mrs. Howell to have sex with him while the others are having dinner.


Unwilling to accept this, Mr. Howell almost commits suicide by swimming out to the sea, but he's stopped when the Skipper uncovers the truth while making out with Mary Ann. Turns out Mary Ann was jealous of Mrs. Howell's wealth and didn't want her diary to be found (she wanted to find it for herself) so she killed her and shrunk her head to cover her tracks.


The diary, it turns out, falls into the hands of the Professor who had set up surveillance cameras all over the island as a sort of prototype of a "big brother" project. Gilligan overhears the Professor talking to himself about his plan to take over the world with satellites and confronts him. When asked to join the Professor or die, Gilligan refuses and is shot in the head.

The diary also reveals that the Professor had used hypnosis to erase ideas like "boat" from the minds of the castaways so they would never wonder why he never made one. He also mind-wiped the Skipper so he couldn't accurately pinpoint where the island may be located. This was done so he would have more time to study the group.


Of course the others find out about all of this and corner the Professor into an active volcano. The volcano starts to erupt as the Skipper, Cinnamon and Mr. Howell manage to launch a raft out to sea.
Mary Ann tries to save the Professor and is killed (very graphicly) by a giant spider.
The island burns in the background as the raft floats away.

Cue in Beyonce's music again.


If your stomach didn't turn at least once in the reading of this then you, my friend, may have what it takes to make movies or comics these days.
Hell, you may even enjoy DC Comics' IDENTITY CRISIS and INFINITE CRISIS!

Oh, and all of the above was fabricated by yours truly. However, I'm pretty sure that there's a writer out there somewhere screaming, "Dammit! He stole my idea!!"

Great Mini-Comics Feature

Here's a column, called Can't You Hear Me Knocking, that focuses on independent comics.
It's written by a fella named Jason McNamara and I found it to be very informative and supportive of the indie comics scene.
Go see what he's gotta say about it.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Reminder! Vertigo: First Taste TPB


The Vertigo: First Taste TPB is due out this week.
Follow the link to see my original post about this amazing book.

Read the first issues of six critically acclaimed titles for only $5!!!
What are you waiting for?
Check it out!

Seven Soldiers of Victory #0 Sells Out


DC Comics has announced that SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY #0, the book that began Grant Morrison's epic maxi-series has sold out and a 2nd print is on the way.

The 2nd print will feature a new cover (pictured above) replacing the original characters from the first print with the seven characters that headline the individual parts of the series.

It will arrive in stores April 20th and supplies will be limited. You can pre-order them at your local comic shop until April 10th.

"Thanks to all the readers who took a chance on Seven Soldiers and helped the book become a hit," Morrison said. "No one was really sure how a story about super-hero losers and also-rans would be received, so the success of the project has been very gratifying. Much appreciated, and we hope readers will stick with us through the twists, turns and shocks that lie ahead!"

For more info about Grant Morrison's SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY, check out my continually updated feature.

College Radio Station of the Week

This week we're taking a look at last week's suggestion by Mike: KTRU - Rice University out of Houston, TX.

"KTRU doesn't sound like other Houston radio stations. We put on strange music. Sometimes people say that we sound funny. That's because we are a free-form, eclectic radio station that thinks it's a bad thing to play the same song twice in a span of an hour. We play lots of music that isn't what you're probably used to hearing."

They have a wide variety of choices as made evident by their schedule.

Their audio streams are in either Real Audio or Windows Media, so be sure you have one of these players. You can tune in here.

And like last week's station, KTRU has a chart showing their most played albums. Take a look at it to get a sample of what kind of music they play.

I'll be listening to KTRU this week. You should, too.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Comic Monsters Contest


ComicMonsters.com, (www.comicmonsters.com) the internets leading news and information site for horror and monster comics announces its April contest.

ComicMonsters.com and Chanting Monks Press president and horror writer Joe Monks are joining forces for a month long promotion that features an exclusive interview, special project announcements, and a month of giveaways of Chanting Monks Press prizes.

Week 1: Signed copies of Roadkills & The Night Terrors and a copy of Zacherley's Midnite Terrors #1

Week 2: Signed copies of Roadkills, Stuff Out'a My Head paperback and ZMT #2

Week 3: Roadkills, Stuff Paperback, and copies of Night Terrors and ZMT 1 & 2

Week 4: Roadkills, Stuff, ZMT 1 & 2 and Night Terrors with tee shirt

Week 5: ZMT 1, 2, and 3 signed, Stuff Out'a My Head paperback and copy of the Flowers on the Razorwire DVD.

For a chance to win any of the cool prizes involved in this promotion, all you will need to do is go to ComicMonsters.com and register, its free. A winner will be picked each Saturday. Use this link to register for a chance to win: You will get an email confirmation of your registration that you will have to click to activate your membership.

Blue Beetle, the Pope and My Thumb

This weekend has been pretty eventful. Not only did we lose a fictitious character that I almost grew up with but we lost the Pope who's been the Pope almost as long as I've been alive.
And how do I mark this occasion so I'll always remember it?
I slam my fuckin' thumb in my fuckin' truck door!

Of course, I feel like such an idiot now for having done it. But accidents tend to do that to you. You always feel like an idiot afterwards. When it's happening you're generally too busy trying not to bleed all over the place and pass out.

So anyway, I went to the hospital and they gave me a tetnis shot, which is good 'cause I think the last time I had one was in 1994 when I stuck a nail through my foot searching for a "noise" behind a friend's house. Another one of those idiot moments.

They also told me that since I injured it right where the nail grows out it will cause permanent scarring and that I may lose the thumbnail.

What a great way to mark the weekend, huh?

I wonder if I can wear a glove to work?

Friday, April 01, 2005

Review: DC Countdown #1


It's time once again.
Ever since 1986 when comics were turned inside out by the appearance of Alan Moore's THE WATCHMEN and Frank Miller's BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS there's been a sort of self-awareness. Some call it relevance.

Between those two events and DC's CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS comics were put into a new age closing the door on what had come before and forging a new trail. One of darkness and gloom.

THE WATCHMEN and DARK KNIGHT were assumed to have been hits because of how they portrayed heroes in a sort of anti-hero way. A more darker and violent way. Thus began the era of comics where it was cooler to be angst-ridden and bloody.

Now we're on the verge of another era. One that seems to be taking that last movement and cementing it into the foundation for everything to come next.

After reading DC COUNTDOWN #1 I'm not sure where I stand on this.

There's a lot of debate on whether or not Dan Didio has a mean-on towards Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis as he's already killed off Sue Dibney in IDENTITY CRISIS last year and proceeds to radically tear apart the cult classic JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL team with COUNTDOWN.

The writing is decent and makes the death of a hero seem not as forced. I could see the death as a necessary evil to progress the story and so I don't feel as defensive as I could be considering the character who died was a favorite of mine for years. And the only reason I didn't scream all kinds of obscenities was because the writing set it up where it was necessary. And the character's death won't go unnoticed.

The other character involved in this book who takes a dramatic turn is another from my old days of comic reading. While I'm shocked that this character would propel himself to the heights he is now at, I see it still fitting into his personality and it does seem right for him.

It's just a shame that things turn out the way they do.

The sad part of this is that between COUNTDOWN and IDENTITY CRISIS, the JLI of old is forever scarred.

I'd read somewhere that DC has offered Giffen and DeMatteis a regular series again featuring the characters from their FORMERLY KNOWN AS THE JUSTICE LEAGUE. This after the success of both that mini-series and the sequel in JLA: CLASSIFIED featuring the characters from their JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL series.
One has to wonder who Giffen and DeMatteis would use in their ongoing book now.

DC COUNTDOWN serves many other purposes beyond that of destroying the old JUSTICE LEAGUE of the '80s. It also leads into four mini-series that in turn lead into INFINITE CRISIS, the sequel to 1985's CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, in time to celebrate the 20th anniversary of CRISIS.

According to DC big changes are afoot. Including heroes not trusting each other, characters coming back to life, second stringers becoming more important and magic and sci-fi becoming crucial elements of the DC Universe again.
Oh, and less JLI.

As an event DC COUNTDOWN is a great book. It sets up the premise quite well and leads into each spin-off equally well. There's even full-page ads for each mini-series and an editorial that explains the purpose behind it.

Between it and SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY, however, I'd have to say SEVEN SOLDIERS has garnered more of my interest. But it can be pretty much guaranteed that COUNTDOWN will have far more lasting effects on DC's comics than SEVEN SOLDIERS. At least until the next major event.

Review: Sin City


I saw Sin City last night.

Was it the best movie ever made? No.
Was it the worst movie ever made? No.

Sin City is a very stylish film. If you were to take the best elements of the 1989 Batman, the Dick Tracy film with Warren Beatty and Kill Bill and put them in a blender, the resulting mixture would be Sin City. Although, even with all this going for it, it still has one problem in particular.

Violence is handed out routinely from character to character in this film in a very Kill Bill-ish manner and will probably draw the most comparisons between the two movies. But there is one important difference between the two. In Kill Bill you are given well-rounded characters that are killing and/or being killed. You actually have a bit more build up of character in the Kill Bill movies to make the killings more substantial. In this film they all seem to blend together.
I'm not sure if the problem stems from having too many characters or from not giving any one of them more development than they receive. It may even be a combination of the two. But you don't get any character to relate to or even care for.

I didn't think the movie was bad but I felt it could have been made a bit more compelling. It's nice to see a comic come to life in film but aside from that novelty there's not much else to get excited about in Sin City.
I had only read one Sin City book previously and that was the first one. So when I saw the scenes with Marv and Lucille I felt I was having deja-vu and it was a pretty cool experience. But since I'd never read the other books, I had no familiarity with the other characters and no connection.

Comic fans (and Frank Miller fans) will give the movie an A rating, critics will give it a B, average movie-goers will give it a C and church-goers will definitely give it an F.

I give it a B+.