Monthly Archives: October 2013
Joining the ranks of all the Vertigo titles I’ve been reading of late is the first in a “new” series by noted SFF author Neil Gaiman, The Sandman: Overture. This series is a prequel to The Sandman that Vertigo used to publish a few years back and is one of Gaiman’s earlier works of fiction, and one of his earliest successes to boot. From what I gather, The Sandman is very much a classic series in the industry, and of its greatest successes and yet owing nothing to the superhero genre at all.
I’ve never read anything by Neil Gaiman before, and this pretty much my first experience of his work as a result. Its been mixed. There are some great strengths of this issue, but there are a lot of weaknesses as well. But as someone approaching this world, this setting for the first time, I’m often left in the dark as to what is going on.
More than two years into the New 52 line-wide reboot and we finally get a Nightwing Annual, something I’d been looking forward to for quite a long time. That this annual didn’t come sooner is a missed opportunity on DC’s part, in so far as the relationship between Nightwing and Batgirl goes here, because it was an excellent topic to explore, and at this length no less.
Kyle’s work on Nightwing has made him one of my favourite writers and while the title has had a few ups and downs, it has been a fairly strong title, something that ranks up there with the best in the New 52. Kyle has put Dick through the ringer several times and he has always been a character who has had little time for personal interactions. With this Annual, Kyle has changed that around, pausing the larger ongoing narrative to focus on Dick and Barbara.
More than a year on since I first read a Witchblade comic, and I’m still in love with the character of Sara Pezzini and the entire setting that has grown up around her and the other Artifact-bearers in the Top Cow Universe. While initially it all comes across as very superheroish, its all just the surface details really since none of these characters are what I’d typically call superheroes. They are quite different, and Sara Pezzini/the Witchblade show that off quite handsomely.
I haven’t actually read all that many Witchblade comics, which is why this week’s Witchblade #170 is so significant a read for me. Ron Marz is returning to the title after a long hiatus, replacing Tim Seeley as the series writer and Laura Braga is coming on as the artist, replacing Diego Bernard. As such, this is meant to be a jumping-on point for readers and it starts off a whole new arc.
This week was a bit heavy on DC reading, mostly because a lot of top titles were released, titles I’d been looking forward to all month and so I went all-out for the most part. Some bit of Marvel and Image mixed in as well, which is always great to break up the monotony of reading just the DC-stuff. Read a bit more this week than I usually do, which was a surprise since this week was also marred by reading a really huge science fiction novel, which proved to be a long, long slog, so that’s something I guess.
Also, I finally managed to read a graphic novel, which was great. It wasn’t one that I was really planning to read, but it was on the list for a long time, so it all balances out in the end, which is what matters most. And now I’m pumped on to read more, and this week should be good on that front. Fingers crossed!
I seem to be on some sort of a high of late, reading kids-friendly comics. It opens up a whole new world really. Batman ’66, Lil’ Gotham, Samurai Jack, and a bunch of others. Lil’ Gotham especially looks very interesting and I’ve certainly been hearing great things about it, which is why I bought the first few issues this weekend. Can’t wait to get into them. It appears that what Lil’ Gotham does with Gotham and the Bat-family characters, Itty Bitty Hellboy does with Mike Mignola’s signature creation.
Itty Bitty Hellboy reimagines Hellboy and his gallery of allies and villains for a very young audience, which is a really interesting concept since the Hellboy comics are very adult-oriented and have a very grim and gritty feel to them, from what little I’ve seen while browsing through. Even the two movies that have been made are a great example of that vibe. Itty Bitty Hellboy goes off int he completely opposite direction however.
In just a few short days will begin another Nation Novel Writing Month where tens of thousands of people all over the world will make a head-start on their novel projects, aiming for a monthly word-count of 50,000. Thousands will fall way short. Thousands will make that target, and thousands still will surpass that and end up much higher. From personal experience, its been *relatively* easy for me to break past the goal. In my first year, in 2011, I ended the month with a word-count of 65,866. In my second year, in 2012, I ended the month with 64,001 words committed. But this year, its going to be much different.
There are certain personal things going on that make it a impossible for me to be able to carry on this level of productivity this year. And its not just one thing, its a lot of different things, none of which are the topic of discussion here. Simply put, I’m aiming only for 30,000 words by the end of the month and even then I’m doubtful if I can make it.
No, the topic of discussion here is the reaction of some published authors with respect to this yearly event. To sum, its derision and arrogance and dismissal of the efforts that people make in November every year for this event. And that is something I have a big problem with.
In a bizarre coincidence recently, DC Comics launched Ivan Cohen and Luciano Vecchio’s Beware the Batman #1 just at the same time as Cartoon Network took the show Beware the Batman off-air, with no apparent hope for a return. The show had apparently had low ratings and a cancellation was undoubtedly due, but the suddenness of the fact has left a lot of people dissatisfied. Particularly since Cartoon Network did the same thing last year with Young Justice and Green Lantern: The Animated Series. And this eventually led to a cancellation of the respective comics as well.
DC seems to be in some kind of an abusive relationship with Cartoon Network that it can’t get out of, given the latter’s behaviour and attitude with respect to the former’s television line-up. It sends the wrong message to fans that the shows have a very limited window in which to get on board or forget about the whole thing. I can only hope that these recent events don’t lead to a cancellation of the Beware the Batman comic, since it just launched, for one and two, it wasn’t all that bad really.
As a general rule, I don’t read zombie comics. I have extremely limited interest in the genre and it never really clicks together for me the way fiction in other genres does. But there’s always an exception to a rule right? Its inevitable since nothing is ever absolute. But, with Halloween just a few days from now, I suppose its the perfect time to be reading some horror fiction. And what better way to do that than read what is possibly the most… unexpected mash-up? Archie + Zombies? Whoa….
I used to read Archie comics as a kid. It all started when an older cousin took a novel from me and somehow lost it. In return she gave me Archie comics to read for a long while and got me absolutely hooked. I read the comics for a good long while and really fell in love with all the characters. It shouldn’t be a surprise really, then, that Archie, Betty and Jughead are my three favourite characters from the comic. So watching things go so bloody downhill for them with this issue was stunning to say the least.
Yesterday evening, I read an article on the geek news site The Mary Sue, which touched on an interview that ToonZone had with James Tucker recently (link to article). In this interview, he was asked by Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara’s recent comments that the studio really needs to get on with making a Wonder Woman movie because it is too big a thing to miss out on, essentially. Tucker is a supervising producer of the studio’s DC Animated division and as such, what he says should carry some weight in the discussion that has surrounded this topic of late: Wonder Woman getting her own live action movie, or at least the failed television show being given the go ahead.
I’ve been quite frustrated with all the non-news about the topic, particularly since DC and WB seem to be dragging their heels on the subject. What little comments that have filtered down to the masses, other than Tsujihara’s somewhat positive take, have all been about gender inequality and this notion that Wonder Woman can only work if she has THE perfect script going for her because she is, in a nutshell, too difficult a character to bring to the mainstream cinema audiences. Tucker’s comments fueled that fire further with his own brand of such silliness.
So, in a fit of frustration, I took to Twitter to talk about it and had a very interesting discussion with a few people about what is happening. This post is an offshoot of that entire discussion.
Watching the first four episodes of Leverage about three weeks back proved to be one of the best experiences of television viewing to date. The show began on a really good note, and it brought together some really fun characters, put them in what initially appeared to really tough situations and then showed how they got together, pooled their resources and abilities to come up with some really innovative and bright solutions to these problems.
Outside of a handful of movies, I haven’t really seen any show where confidence men and heists were the big premise, and in that regard the show proved to be extremely fresh for me. Especially since at the time of writing this review, I’ve already finished all thirteen episodes of the first season and have seen the first three episodes of the second season. I had “vowed” to myself not to get into the second season until I finished reviewing the first season but the other day, I just couldn’t hold back anymore and after a valiant 10-day break, I was back into Leverage. That’s how damn good this show has been till now.
Event tie-in comics are often hobbled by the fact that at some point, no matter how separated their story is from the main narrative, they do have to refer to that, and this can be a challenge in how well it is executed. A lot of things in fiction come down to the execution and comics are no different. Infinity: Heist is a 4-issue mini-series that ties into the ongoing Infinity event, where the galaxy is faced with a really big threat and the great majority of Earth’s heroes have left the planet to deal with that threat, leaving behind the villains and the supervillains. And these guys aren’t sitting quiet.
The first issue of this mini-series was really good. Despite being a tie-in, it felt like its own self-contained story and it focused on characters that I’d never read of or knew of before, so it all felt really fresh, especially since I’ve avoided reading the main event after the second issue, preferring to read it all collectively. The second issue however has a few significant connections with the main story, and since I’m not reading the main story, I felt a bit cut off from what’s going on.
Once you have established yourself as a fan favourite and have proven your worth, so to speak, the only way to go is up, unless you massively screw it all up. Its happened to several shows over the years. The big crucible point for a TV show these days is to bring in a high number of viewers every week, to maintain that interest on a high level. Too many shows these days get cut in the early stages of their very first season because the executives don’t have much faith in the property beyond the dollar point. Thankfully, that’s not something that CW’s Arrow is going to be doing any time soon.
The first season was received with great acclaim, despite some fair criticisms from various places and the second season has been doing things bigger and better right from the start and we are only two episodes in. Or we were, until this Wednesday, when the third episode of the season was aired, proving that in Green Arrow & Co. CW has a really hit franchise on its hands and that the people working behind the show are people who know what they are doing and what they want to do. Because damn, Broken Dolls was the best episode of the entire show, to date.