Monday, September 17, 2007

Castle Waiting (AKA A Comeback, of Sorts)

Long story short, my girlfriend of 8 years and I parted way after a very rough six months. Which is my explanation over not posting for quite awhile.

So, let's get to some comics. Namely Castle Waiting!

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While my passion for reading comics over the last few months has extremely waned, when I finally decided to dive in the Castle Waiting HC I couldn't put it down.

Some of you may recall me mentioning the book before, and I actually reviewed an earlier collection during my Comic Book Galaxy days.

It's the story of, well, a castle, which, over the years has become home to many odd characters. We're introduced to this world through the Jain, who comes to the castle to escape a menacing husband and to give birth to her child.

Once there we meet Henry, the resident smith, Rackham Adjutant, the castles steward, Dinah Lucina & her son Simon, basically the inn keepers, Sister Peace, the castle's theologian, Dr. Fell, and finally Patience, Prudence and Plenty, the only holdovers from the castle's original inhabitants. Eventually we also meet Chess, the resident knight, of sorts.

A tremendous part of the books charm is writer/artist Linda Medley's pace. The book takes its time developing both story and character. Medley follows the group as they go about their day to day activities, and slowly unfolds some of the backstories.

It's weird to read a book that is extremely slow paced by today's standards, yet succeeds where so very many of todays modern comics fail. You don't know how many of these people found their way here, nor why Lady Jain had to leave her home, or who the father of her child really is, but that's not why you're reading anyway. You keep reading because you like these people, you're genuinely interested in their lives.

Medley has done something so few people do in the medium of comics, she has created something real. As you read you can't help but feel that somewhere, at some point in time, these people existed.

Unfortunately the original series didn't last past learning Sister Peace's story (which in turn gives us the story of her order and its founder), but Fantagraphics began publishing new issues last year...those I'll get to later though.

For now, seek out what is without a doubt one of the most beautiful presentations of one of the greatest works of fiction comics has ever seen.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Spiders, Barracudas, Zombies and Gah Lac Tus, Oh My

I've been on a bit of a Marvel kick as of late, having polished off the hardcover collections of Ultimate Fantastic Four Vol. 3, Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 1, Ultimate Galactus Trilogy, The Punisher MAX Vol. 3 and Annhilation Vol. 1-3.

I'm not gonna discuss the last set just yet, but here's what I've got to say about the other four:

Ultimate Fantastic Four Vol. 3

Compared to the previous two volumes I have to say this was a big disappointment. I've been looking forward to reading the introduction to the much hyped Marvel Zombie universe for awhile, especially so since I read the Marvel Zombies HC awhile back (weird how it came out first). Well, other than the absolutely neat (yeah I said it) way Zombie Reed tricks Ultimate Reed into opening the gateway I found myself not caring at all. Ultimate Namor felt like what I have always feared the Ultimate tales would turn into, really poor interpetations of the originals. But, the story with the Skrulls, while far too short in my opinion, was pretty good. Mark Millar is a hit or miss with me for the most part, this goes down in the miss column. The art, by Greg Land and Mitch Breiweiser is fantastic pun intended.

Ultimate Spider-Man Vol. 1

Yes, I have read this before, in floppy format (all of which I recently sold). I remember thinking it was rather good at the time, and maybe compared to the books Marvel was putting out then it was, it doesn't hold up very well though. Where it seemed like Ultimate FF sped by, Spidey moves at a snails pace. The Goblin is as cheesy as his movie counterpart, Mary Jane is as annoying as hers and the death of Uncle Ben is nowhere near as emotional as I remembered it. I never read past the first year of the book, something I'm probably going to rememdy, provided it does actually get better.

Ultimate Galactus Trilogy

This, however, is an absolute page turner of a read. The end kind of fizzles out, which wasa let down, but Ellis' build up is edge-of-your-seat excitement, something that is pretty rare in mainstream comics. For me at least. The X-Men do feel out of place at times, especially in Book 1, but outside of that it's extremely well put together. Ultimate Vision has to be my absolute favorite of all the re-imagined characters, though Captain Marvel is a very close second. Like I said, my only gripe is the end, which I won't spoil (as if I'm not the last person to read the damn thing). I hope Ellis has some more ultimate goodies in store, he seems to have a firmer grasp of the concept than all of his peers.

The Punisher MAX Vol. 3

Oooohhh...Barracuda. No one can do senseless violence like Garth Ennis, so reading his Punisher is always a pleasure (except Kitchen Irish, what the hell was that all about), but never more so than the introduction of Barracuda. The personification of the all out goofiness of a book like this wrapped in a wife beater carrying a gun, that's what Barracuda is. His showdown with Punny is the kind of thing you pray to read in this kind of book. But, really, this title has been review-proof for the most part. So, if you like senselessness and body parts flying about it's a must read.

Eventually to come: Annhilation!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Fourth!

Now, go celebrate like Americans, eat a burger and see the best damn movie ever made- Transformers!!!!!!!!!!!!

Some reviews are coming this week, so stay tuned!


Monday, June 11, 2007

Robots & Rabbits

Two books up for review today, Robot Investigator and Rashy Rabbit...

First, the robot:

Robot Investigator by Vincent Stall

I've never been big on "silent" comics, in fact the only one I've ever cared for is Owly I think. I can now add Robot Investigator to that extremely short list. Like Owly this book explores relationships between creatures who can't communicate. There's an innocence here that's lacking in mainstream entertainment. Looking at the world from an outsider's eyes, it can seem a bit idealized, but when the robot encounters a group of people that knock it uncoscious a harsh reality is imposed. It really is a cute, quirky look at life and relationships.

Then the rabbit:

Rashy Rabbit by Josh Latta

This, on the other hand is a pretty bitter look at life. After finding himself unemployed for over a year, Rashy finds a bit of a distraction in the form of a sexy drug dealer. When things don't go so well he takes a ton of drugs and goes to a strip joint. Not a complex plot for certain, it's really just a harsh look at a stoner's lifestyle. There's no redemption for the character, in fact he doesn't really even learn anything. That probably makes it more true to life than anything. But, in the end, just like Rashy's new drug dealin' pal, the book winds up being more of a distraction than an important life lesson.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Go Lone Racer, Go!

Lone Racer written & drawn by Nicolas Mahler

The latest in my Top Shelf review-a-thon, Lone Racer is the story of, what else, a race car driver, his best friend Rubber and his new love Eleanor. Simplistic, I know, but that's fitting. Mahler's style, both the art and the writing, is simplistic. Perhaps that's one of the reasons it appeals to me so much.

Of all the books I've read recently, Lone Racer is easily the most cinematic. It's basic, matter-of-fact approach to the characters and their actions brings them to life in a way that few can achieve. Sure, they look like obscure little figures, but who can't relate to their situations? Who doesn't dream of a better life? Or of the glories of years past? It's not a story that you can relate to because it speaks to some specific part of your life. It's a story that anyone can relate to because it speaks about moments everyone has experienced.

It may seem simple, but sometimes it's the simplest things that teach the best lessons.


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Y Ask Y, Try UltraVi(olet)

I do have some more Top Shelf books to review, but right now I don't have the time. So, here's two quick reviews.


Well, I've put off watching this for awhile, mostly because of all the negative press. I'd like to say it was undeserved, but sadly, no. It's a gorgeous movie, and a decent enough concept, there's more than enough here to make this at least a good film, if not a great one. but, it never commits to itself, if that makes sense. If all the rumors about studio interference is true then it's understandable. It looks like they set out to make a modern sci-fi epic (a la Blade Runner) and ended up with a rip off of Aeon Flux. Could've been really good though.

Y, the Last Man #56

Five years, and we finally get some real payoff. I can honestly say that the last scene in the book is one of the most emotional pieces in mainstream comics in quite some time. With only a few issues left I'm dying to know how things will wrap up. Looks like far too many plots to tie up, but I've got faith. Vaughan has brought us this far, I'm sure he can bring it home.

Back tomorrow with a review of Lone Racer!


Thursday, May 31, 2007

Down Here on the Farm

Next up on the Top Shelf review list:

Essex County Vol. 1-Tales From The Farm Written and Drawn by Jeff Lemire

I'm a sucker for coming of age stories. Even bad ones. Fortunately this is no "bad one."

For 10-year-old Lester life has been anything but a fairy tale. His Mom has passed away, he's never met his father and now finds himself in the care of his Uncle Ken, a man who means well but is out of his element raising a child. Lester watches hockey in his basement, wears a cape and mask and dreams of becoming a superhero (a fact that is explained with great effect later on). When he meets former NFL player (in one game at least), Jimmy Lebouf, he finds a kindred spirit. Jimmy knows people consider him "slow", but he hold his own in conversations with Lester, and you begin to think maybe he plays a little bit into the "slow" angle.

With Tales, Lemire has crafted a rarity among these types of stories, there's only one kid. Yeah, most C-O-A stories focus on one specific kid, but other children are sometimes a necessity, and more often than not a crutch, for the plot. You need certain archetypes to play against, to show how the main character is unique, why his/her story matters. Lemire never picks up a crutch.

The story is quite moving, and the crafting of the boy-man friendship has become a pretty fine line to walk. Their relationship never feels insincere, with Lebouf filling in the gaps that Lester's Uncle has left. While the two never discuss Lester's life in detail, you begin to understand (and are later shown) that Jimmy knows the details of Lester's situation. Rather than reminding him of it (like his Uncle does, often unintentionally), Jimmy allows the boy to escape into his fantasy world. Then, by joining him, Lester becomes a sort of comrade-in-arms. It never becomes a father-son relationship, or even a brotherly one, but something in between.

The characters aren't the only layered elements in the book either. The plot, which seems relatively simple at first, becomes infinitely more complex as Lester's past begins to unfold. Unfortunately this is the first of a trilogy of books, so there's no too too much that we get to see. If the future volumes are half as touching as this, Essex County is sure to be considered some of the finest the industry has to offer.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Here Come the Superf*ckers!

I've reviewed the first issue of this absolutely fantastic series before, which can be read here.

I got issue #2 awhile back, and I don't remember talking about it, then I got the next two, so I'm gonna talk about all four. First read my review, then head on back.


Well, all those elements are still here, all the insanity, the vulgarity, the goofiness. All still here. In fact, it all seems magnified.

What's most amazing in the books now 4 issues, I think, is that Kochalka has established exactly what he set out to do with the odd numbering system. Instead of a chronology to the story, each issue jumps ahead in the story by a few issues.

I remember Kochalka commenting that one thing he wanted to accomplish was the feeling you got as a kid pulling comics off of grocery store racks. Since there was no direct market, sometime you missed an issue...or four. But what were you gonna do, stop reading? Well, today's collector-focused readers probably would, but I guaruntee you that as kids they certainly did not. So, with each issue you do get a sense that you've missed parts of the story, but Kochalka manages to fill you in and advance the plot along.

That's another thing, plot. You'd think a book about foul mouthed, sexed up cartoonish superheroes would be enough to drive the book, but Kochalka actually infuses it with a plot. Of course, it's as insane as the characters that follow it, but it's there nonetheless.

Still, the comedic value of the issues far outweighs anything else it has to offer. The exchange between Jack Krak and Richard about what is and isn't gay, resulting in Jack bemoaning "Yeah, but...Jack Krak is the muterfucker." has got to be one of the funniest bits ever put to panel. Like some sort of R-Rated Who's on First routine.

Too many people will write these of as lowest-common-demoniator hack tales, appealing to frat boys and stoners. And they're right, kind of. But, there's a lot of highbrow stuff in here too, things you may not see on your first read. Mainly because the cursing and dick jokes overshadow them, but they're there.

That Kochalka can take these kinds of humour and meld them together, simultaneously shining a spotlight on the inane nature of superhero comics past and present, and still tell a viable story just proves the man to be a genius.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Autobiographical is a really long word...

So, book two in my Top Shelf reviews is Feeble Attempts by Jeffrey Brown.

Like yesterdays book, Feeble attempts is a collection of strips about its author, with the occasional oddity thrown in for good measure. Unlike yesterday's book there's a ton more material here. But, more doeasn't mean better of course.

Brown's work here is more along the lines of James Kochalka's Sketchbook Diaries stuff (Vol. 2 of which I'm reading now). But, where Kochalka uses a minimalist approach, Brown loads his pages down with panels. It reminds me very much of reading some of the more serious Sunday comics in the paper.

For me the book's highlights are when Brown deviates from his own life. Strips like Cycloctopus and My Jesus is an Awesome Jesus being the absolute funniest for me. But, given the gigantic range of topics here everyone's sure to have a different favorite. For the uninitiated it's a great introduction to Brown's work, and anyone who enjoys this should pick up AEIOU as a followup. Brown shines most in his more linear storytelling I think, but as collections of strips go Feeble Attempts is a damn good one.

And like yesterday, for another look at this book, check out buddy Johnny B's review (scroll a bit, or read it all, it's good stuff).

Speaking of James Kochalka, tomorrow I'll get to four of my favorite comics of the last few years, Superf*ckers.


Monday, May 28, 2007

Finally, Some Reviews

Sorry guys, been working on some relationship issues with my girlfriend. I haven't had time for reading or watching much of anything. But, we're doing this weird "scheduled visits" thing, so I should have most of my weekdays free now. Hopefully that will lead to more reading, then more posting!

So, I got some stuff from Top Shelf a few weeks back, and I finally had the chance to sit down and read most of it. So, here goes with the first book:

Please Release by Nate Powell

It's a collection of four autobiographical stories that take plave in Powell's life between 2002 and 2005. Music is one of the most prevalent topics throughout the stories, despite never really being the main focus of any of them. The book opens with a string of lyrics, and Powell's art reminds me of some jazzed-up movie title sequences. There's also a lot mentioned about Powell's job at the time, providing help for mentally disabled adults. There's an air of self-deprication that runs through the tales as well, but it never feels like Powell wants you to feel sorry for him. It's not that he hates his life either, on the contrary. What he seems to hate about himself, or what he questions within himself I suppose, are his motives. Does he do this because he loves it, because he really does believe in it, or is it because of the feeling of self-satisfaction it gives him? That Powell questions this about himself shows a humanity that is few and far between these days. It's not often you find someone taking responsibility for their actions, much less questioning the reasons behind those actions.

I mentioned that music plays heavily here, and that's pretty fitting. The stories themselves feel like songs. Please Release is an album with four distinctly different tunes that share certain themes. Humanity, fear, hope, survival, our past, our future, youth, old age, life, death...themes prevelant in all great music. And really, there's not enough great music in the world today.

(For a much better review check out good buddy Alan David Doane's here)

Tomorrow I'm gonna tackle Jeffrey Brown's latest, Feeble Attempts.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Planet Hulk

With wedding season finally over with (for me at least) I hope I can get back to posting at least a few times a week.

So, I read the entire Planet Hulk story line recently. In the span of a few days as a matter of fact, which is a pretty good endorsement from me. Since the accident I seem to have lost my desire for disposable entertainment, so making it through a year long arc in a few days has to say something for the story. Of course, reading it all at once like that takes a little away from the epic scope Pak tried to achieve. But, that's entirely my fault really, the damn thing was so enjoyable I couldn't put it down.

Hulk is tricked by the puny earthlings, gets rocketed into space, becomes a savior to an entire world of people, becomes ruler of said people and then unwittingly becomes the destroyer of said world. Now he's pissed, he's found a way back to Earth and will make the puny humans pay.

Sounds kind of small when you word it that way, but it really is an epic, maybe one of the best storylines Marvel has produced since Morrison took on the X-Men.

And don't any of you Civil War nuts feed me any crap about that line-wide crossover. What little I've been able to make it through of Civil War I've not enjoyed at all. That includes all the lead up stuff such as Avengers Dissassembled, Secret War, House of M and whatever other crap they'll undo in the next year or two.

Pak borrows a bit from some epic films for the story (Ben-Hur and Gladiator especially...though I wouldn't call the latter "Epic"), but the general idea of sending Hulk into space is a pretty good one. In fact it reminds me very much of Hulk: The End that was published a few years back. It was nice to see some new characters in a book for a change. Sure they won't (or didn't) last, but it lends a lot of unpredictability to and already great story.

The art was fantastic too, done by Carlo Pagulayan, a guy I'd never heard of. The action is top notch and his Hulk is simultaneously menacing, regal and gentle. The battle with the Silver Surfer is some of the greatest action work I think I've ever seen

I have high hopes for World War Hulk, hopefully it won't disappoint, and that we at least get too see Hulk smash the hell out of everyone.


Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The post in which I make excuses...and talk about 300 and TMNT!

Seems I can't get back on a regular posting schedule, but I have been busy! My sister's wedding is less than two weeks away so things have been crazy. Believe it or nor I've got more Boom! comics to get too...

Like the title says, I saw 300 (twice) and TMNT, and enjoyed both tremendously. 300 is most assuredly a better film than Sin City (which I did enjoy), and it gives me a little hope for the apparent upcoming Watchmen film that 300 director Zack Snyder has been signed to helm it. The visuals in 300 are amazing, and the changes made from the source material actually enhance the story. Of course the story is an idealized account of the actual battle, but they never set out to film an accurate depiction of what really happened anyway. As good as the visuals are (except for a tad too many slo-mo shots), the acting is what really carries it. I had a few problems with the dialogye, but overall the actors do a fantastic job. Here's hoping a few of them might land in the Watchmen film.

TMNT...well, for die hard fans of the original comic it will most assuredly be a disappointment. But what comic book film isn't in that aspect? I'm not sure why the decision was made to have this work as a followup to the original film (and apparently the third film as well), but it really does work. The villians are pretty much a non-entity, almost an afterthought. Instead the focus is on how the Turtles are a family, and how they seem to have forgotten that. The animation is unbelievable, and I'm confident that the duel between Raph and Leo is some of the best CGI work I've ever seen. Seriously, there was more emotion in that scene than in every single frame of George Lucas' crap-fest trilogy combined. It's a great light hearted family film that's got plenty to satisfy fans (except those that refuse to be placated).

More to come eventually, and if you're lucky it'll be this week!


Monday, March 26, 2007

Here Comes the Boom! -Part 3

....So it turned into a two week event, thanks to this lousy Georgia spring weather (read: pollen, and lots of it). Spent the end of last week knocked out by allergy meds.

To start things off, I found this review of the GN 10, published by Boom! awhile back, but I don't recall ever posting it, so here ya go:


Written by Keith Giffen, Drawn by Andy Kuhn

Everyone’s heard the old saying “Never judge a book by its cover.” Well, never judge a comic by its solicitation either. Before I opened this book to the first page I’d already written it off as just a clone of 100 Bullets. Of course with Giffen and Kuhn’s name on it I knew it would be well written and probably gorgeous, but I had almost no interest in the story.

I didn’t read it so much as devour it. Plot wise it may seem very similar to Brian Azzarello’s 100 Bullets, but the action and pacing make it more akin to an episode of 24. Ten people are given ten guns with ten bullets, nine of them are given the name of one other person with a gun, and the tenth is given a list of all the contestants. The last man standing wins.

The claustrophobic plot lends a lot to its success. Instead of having a story stretched out over dozens of issues we’ve got just this one. The fat has been trimmed; you don’t know anything you don’t need to know. And what you need to know is never what you want to know. The only character that gets any kind of development is Graham Meachum, the book’s main character. Even then we’re only given a small window into his life before everything comes crashing in on him.

Much of the story is told in the art, and Kuhn is well up to the task. The violence is very stylized, but no overly glamorous. Most books would fall into the trap of wanting it to feel real, ending up with more of a gross appeal, but here it is what it is. It all moves so quick that you have little time to think about the blood. And he does a great job of pulling the focus in, adding to the claustrophobia.

Giffen’s dialogue is great, and almost seems like an afterthought. He knows that Kuhn is capable of telling the story and allows him to do so. There’s no need for explanations or long speeches, often it’s just short and to the point. There are occasional bits of humor here too. It’s definitely darker than Giffen’s more recent output.

It’s a menacing look at humanity in the face of adversity. It’s not as twisted and disturbing as it could have been, or maybe even should have been, and leaves more questions than it answers. Still though, 10 is an interesting look into what people are capable of under the most extreme circumstance.

X Isle #1-3

Written by Andrew Cosby & Michael Alan Nelson, Drawn by Greg Scott

Yet another instance of a Boom! team taking an old idea (stranded on an island) and turning it on its head. The character development is pretty swift, and with the exception of one instance (a forced racism remark, felt awkward and unnecessary in this type of story) it all seems natural. I mentioned before about Talent being compared to Lost, funny that this one wasn't. The island here seems far mor dangerous however, with plants that will eat you alive and bugs bigger than your head. But, the story has been primarily focused on the characters (much like Lost), only here you never really care where they are, just about they're survival. I can't wait to see how they wrap this up.

Pirate Tales #1

Written and Drawn by a hell of a lot of people.

Of all the books I've read by Boom!, these Tales books have been among my favorites, and this one was no different. They make for excellent on-the-go reading, the art here is excellent in every story, suiting the tales nicely. The writing is what really shines for me, ranging from the excitingly goofy to the surprisingly romantic, with a few standards thrown in for good measure. As with most Tales books though it comes down to the source material, which makes them almost review proof. So, if you like pirates, then why the hell haven't you read this yet?

Stick around, there's more to come!


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Here Comes the Boom!- Part Two

Part Two of this week long look at all things Boom! falls on a book that I was really sad to find out was a miniseries:

Talent #1-4

Written by Christopher Golden & Tom Sniegoski with art by Azaceta.

If I remember correctly this was originally billed as being similar to 'Lost', or 'Lost' meets...whatever. Anyway, this is NOTHING like 'Lost'. Well, there is a plane crash. It's infinitely more similar to Unbreakable.

Talent is the story of a teacher, Nicholas Dane, the lone survivor of a plane crash. Dane was found twelve hours after the plane crashed into the ocean, drowning. When he wakes up in the hospital he's hailed as both a miracle and a terrorist, and when a man tries to kill him he goes on the run. Dane finds himself engulfed in a bizarre conspiracy involving a force called The Balance. Dane also finds himself in possession of the talents of the many people that died in the plane crash. Boxing, origami, even deadlier arts; he's also taken on (unwillingly of course) the unfinished business of those people.

If Talent was a TV show it would make for damn fine viewing. Of course, it would probably have been canceled six weeks in. Thank God for comics.

The writing here is top notch. Once again Boom! produces a book that's more than the sum of its parts, a mish-mash of ideas from The Bourne Identity, Unbreakable, The DaVinci Code, and so many more. The art is great, though it did take some getting used to, but it fits the tone of the story nicely.

Like I said, I was pretty shocked to see it come to an end in issue four, Dane's story looks to be far from over with so many loose ends to tie up. Not to mention the mystery of the people after him.

I can only hope that it has one more similarity to 'Lost', this is just one of many seasons to come, and that unlike 'Lost' the story doesn't become so damn mundane that I can't be bothered to tune in anymore. But based on what I've read the latter isn't likely to happen, I'll keep hoping for the former.

There ya go, short and sweet.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Here Comes the Boom!- Part One

In what will likely be a weeklong event, I'm going to discuss comics I've read in the last seven months or so, all provided by Boom! Studios. So, here it is:

The Savage Bros. #1-2

Written by Andrew Cosby & Johanna Stokes, with art by Rafael Albuquerque, The Savage Bros. is the story of, well, two brothers, who, in a post apocalyptic world hunt down the zombified remains of anyone, as long as the price is right. When they're sent into Atlanta to find a pretty important zombie, they stumble across a virgin stripper about to be sacrificed by a disembodied head. Action and hilarity ensue.

The writing is pretty good, and the art is great, even if it occasionally looks a little fuzzy. What makes it all work is the fact that it's not a high concept book with a message, but just a high concept book that will give you quite a few chuckles.

The Stardust Kid #3-4

Written by J.M. DeMatteis with art by Mike Ploog, The Stardus kid is the story of a group of kids who must rescue a fantasy realm from the clutches of an evil witch. It has a very "been-there-done-that" feel to it plot wise, but what it lacks in originality Ploog's art more than makes up for.

Probably the best thing I can say about this book is that even after reading the final two issues of the story I want to track down the first two. The characters feel very realistic and grounded, even though, as I said, I missed all the introductions. The narration is pretty hokey, but no more than, say, the narration of The Princess Bride (well, maybe a little hokier than that).

It's pretty hard to come up with any originality when it comes to fantasy tales. This book is a good example of that, but it also shows why and how illustration can (and usually is, even if it's only in your head) a very important part of establishing great fantasy.

Warhammer 40,000: Damnation Crusade #1-2

Written by Dan Abnett and Ian Edgington, art by Lui Atonio (#1) and Greg Boychuck (#2).

I wouldn't even know where to begin describing the story here. The books have a little Warhammer history lesson and dictionary in the back, and thankfully so. Not that it was a confusing read, not at all, there's just so much you need to know. It's a pretty great hodgepodge of tons of sci-fi elements. The switch on art is a little jarring, but the styles are somewhat similar. I'd have liked to seen a little bit more of Raclaw's journey, but I suppose it needed to be shortned to get to the bigger battles. Great story, great art, but it can be confusing for anyone not already heavily into sci-fi.

So, there you go, Part One of my big Boom! review project. Short, for sure, but none of these books are the type to entice any soul searching, just books that are fun to read.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

In the Meantime...

Since I'm still reading/ re-reading a few Boom Comics, and since I just watched this, I figured I'd go ahead and talk about it first, excuse me if I'm a little rusty, it HAS been awhile-


One of the things that has always irked me about biopics like this are the liberties they take with the truth. But, while Hollywoodland did stretch some of the facts it didn't draw its own conclusions.

It reminded me a little of Auto Focus, and much more recently (actually, I think they came out at about the same time) The Black Dahlia. The exception being that Auto Focus and Hollywoodland are pretty good films, despite their liberties, and that The Black Dahlia was about as entertaining as a pile of manure, probably because of its liberties.

For those who don't know, Hollywoodland is the story of George Reeves' supposed suicide. The story is told in flashbacks, most of which come from the mind of Louis Simo (played by Adrienne Brody), a private detective who was hired by Reeves' mother to investigate the suicide. Simo collects facts about the case, and as he uncovers more pieces he begins to imagine scenarios that may or may not have happened.

Reeves is played by Ben Affleck, a man who takes a lot of abuse over his acting, something he and Reeves had in common. Affleck got a Golden Globe nomination for Supporting Actor for the film, a well deserved one I think. Diane Lane stars as Toni Mannix, Reeves' lover and wife of studio exec Eddie Mannix (Bob Hoskins). The scenes between the two of them play very much like a love story straight out of the '50s, sometimes stiff and awkward, and most assuredly melodramatic. But, when you consider that these snippets aren't being presented as fact, but as the conclusions Simo has drawn from his investigation it's easy to see why they play out that way.

Going back to Simo; a large portion of the film is spent examining his life, parralelling it to Reeves. It seems the more he uncovers about the actor the more truthfully he begins to see his situation. They are both men who desperately want to succeed, but they measure they're success by how much exposure they have, both find comfort in the arms of younger women and alcohol. For them fame equals happiness, and in the end, when it doesn't come, both are left sitting alone, looking back at the pieces.

The movie captures the feel of the era perfectly, right down to Reeves pinky ring and automobile. Occasionally the dialogue can be a little punchy, sounding like something out of The Maltese Falcon, but it never takes you out of the movie. The music, on the other hand gets to be a bit too much, especially in the more dramatic scenes. I remember reading once, the best musical scores are the ones that evoke emotion without ever making you awarre of it, but here the music is predictable and mostly uninspired.

Overall, it's at least an entertaining film, but those who know the story of Reeves' death certainly won't find anything new here.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

What the Hell

Just because I recently stumbled on this and decided to make it my background, here's a shiny pic to enjoy:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Not Dead Yet

I'm still alive and kicking...well alive at least.

Almost seven months since my last post, and one week from gloriously depressing birthday #28, today marks my official return into the blogging universe. If there still is such a thing. Sadly, I've neglected just about everything web related in the last seven months. I've occasionally checked my email, but when I have it's been so full of junk that I just delete it all. So, apologies to all those sites out there I've shunned. I'll try and make it up to you.

So, what's the first order of business? I'm thinking, get The House in order, just in case I actually do get some people stopping by. I'm gonna check the blogroll, clean up the side bar, test out some of the new Blogger features...

Coming up after that- The Gigantic Boom Studios Review Session.

Keep your eyes peeled.