Saturday, April 23, 2011

Update on where my blog is.

This may be kind of pointless, but my new blog is here.


Monday, March 17, 2008

swipe from a Seymour Chwast drawing

Monday, April 17, 2006

If there were only 15 comic books around...

Here's a little Meme from Ye Olde Comick Blogge

Hypothetical situation: Due to diminished readership and rising paper costs, it has been decided only fifteen comic titles will be published from this day forward. You have been charged with the decisions of which titles shall be printed and what creative teams will be assigned to them.

Artists may only draw one title; writers may script up to four.

You may also set a creative direction, tone, or other details if you see fit (i.e. choose the Avengers or JLA members who would appear should you decide to have those titles make the final cut).

Of course, I've cheated. 7 of my titles are anthologies more than 20 pages long, and one of 'em is Shonen Jump. Paper shortage? Not really.

Batman –Bendis-Immonen
Bendis’s major talent is his ability to write dialogue, So I’d like to see how he’s handle a more silent character like Batman. Stuart Immonen is an artist who can draw both kinetic action and realistic still scenes, so I think he’d be great for Batman.

Justice League –Robert Kirkman-J.H. Williams
Robert Kirkman occasionally writes an entire universe of super characters in Invincible, so I’d love to see his League. J.H. Williams did some great work on Promethea and Desolation Jones. His innovative layouts and fine art influences would be ideal for a book with the tendency to become very staid and boring. Story arcs would alternate between League Red, made up of Superman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, and Red Tornado and League Blue, made up of Batman, Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, Black Canary, Zatanna, and G’nort.

DC Universe –Morrison-Quitely-Waid-Michael Lark
DC Universe would be an anthology with a feature Superman story by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, with back up tales penned by DC’s biggest fan, Mark Waid, and drawn by Michael Lark, who would be a nice gritty counterpoint to Frank Quitely.

X-Men –JMS/Chris Sprouse
I suggest booting the current TV talent writing X-Men (Joss Whedon) and replacing him with another, J. Michael Straczynski. Chris Sprouse’s clean style would be great for depicting the huge number of X-characters and the strange settings they find themselves in.

Spiderman –Peter David-Gene Ha
Peter David does best on books with a lighter touch and a sense of humor. And anyway, he just got the gig of writing Spidey, I don’t want to take it away. Gene Ha can draw some amazing panoramic cityscapes, which makes me think he’d be great on Spider-Man.

Marvel Universe –Darwyn Cooke/Rucka/Kuberts
The front story would feature core Marvel U characters written and drawn by Darwyn Cooke, The second story would feature second stringers and would be written by Greg Rucka and drawn by Andy or Adam Kubert, the quintessential Marvel artists.

Hellboy-It’s one of the top selling creator owned comics, why fix it? This is written and drawn by Mike Mignola.

Top Shelf Presents -Dan Clowes/Jessica Abel/Adrian Tomine
I know they haven’t been published by Top Shelf, but this would work right? Okay Adrian Tomine couldn’t meet the deadline so his mess ups would be filled in by a Hernandez brother. Contemporary Drama by the creators of Eightball, Artbabe and Optic Nerve. This is a sixty page anthology series, in black and white and color.

Acme Novelty Library -Chris Ware/Scott McCloud/Farel Dalyrmple
This would be a slightly oversize sixty page, color anthology featuring experimental comics that don’t necessarily fit the strict right to left, top to bottom reading path. Chris Ware does brilliant design work, Scott McCloud brings the feel of his online-comics experiments to the page, and Farel Dalyrymple (Pop Gun War, Caper) does surreal masterpieces. Dave McKean shows up for guest issues. What’s not to love?

Kane -Paul Grist
We need a mystery comic, and I nominate the wonderfully hard boiled Kane by Paul Grist. Take that, Sin City.

House of the Unknown –Challengers/Walking Dead/30 Days of Night
House of the Unknown would be an sixty page anthology of horror and weird Sci-Fi, featuring Challengers of the Unknown by Steven Grant and John Paul Leon, Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard, and continuing 30 days of Night stories by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith.

Fables JR JR
Fables continues as it is, but John Romita Jr. takes over the penciling chores from Mark Buckingham.

Fists of Fury –
This would be a sixty page anthology of kung fu, martial arts, samurai, and wuxia stories. It would start off with a Shang Chi story by Chuck Dixon and Scott McDaniel (just like Nightwing and Richard Dragon). The second story would be a color Usagi Yojimbo tale by Stan Sakai. The final piece would be set in ancient China and created by the team of Mark Millar and John Cassady, and would be gor-geous.

Incredible Science Fiction
Incredible Science Fiction would be a sixty page anthology of science fiction series. The lead would be Fear Agent by Rick Remender and Tony Moore, followed by Vimanarama by Grant Morrison and Phillip Bond, and the Surrogates by Robert Venditti and Bret Weldele. That’s a 3-step attack of hard drinkin’ retro action, quirky supernatural hijinks, and unnerving moody speculation.

Shonen Jump
One Piece and Naruto would continue, but Shaman King and Dragonball Z would be replaced by Planetes and Maison Ikkoku, neither of which are truly shonen. But hey, this is my fantasy, right? Right!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Update from Beyond!

I thought I should write a little update, since its been a while and a few people have actually written to comment. David saw V for Vendetta and wants to know what I thought, but... I haven't seen it yet. Meagan, a while back, wanted to know what I thought of Paul Pope's Batman project (Batman: Year 100). It looks gorgeous, and promises to be really cool, but... I haven't read it yet.

Sounds like I'm not fan enough for the role of 'comics blogger.'

Lately I've been enjoying Nextwave #3 and All-Star Superman #3, so far the best issue of the storyline. I also got a couple minicomics, while I was at Chicago Comics on the north side. I've been working through a couple volumes of Essential Marvel: Fantastic Four and Avengers. Reading the Essential Fantastic Four and Essential Avengers books is a challenge, if only for their sheer phone-book girth. Fantastic Four is better by far, in consistency, quality, and tone, But it's not the one I've been reading the most. After reading a few issues of FF, I've committed myself more to the Avengers book. It's interesting, because Roy Thomas is one of the first fan-writers, a guy who came up loving the comics and characters as a kid and wrote them for that reason. And despite all the childishness of the plots and conversations, he almost seems to be aiming for a teen to twenties audience. Fantastic Four, by comparison, definitely has the flavor of boy's adventure stories, similar in a way, to the Tintin comics of Herge.

I've also been geeking out to an awesome graffiti magazine I got at Tower books on Wabash in Chicago. Shout out to Artillery from down under!

Friday, March 24, 2006

Marvel: Civil War

I love this picture. Steve McNiven is a giant among artists. I might actually be excited enough to buy Marvel's Civil War series. Bring it on!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Frenzy from the Vaults! Hawkman

I'm still trying to iron out the format and content for this blog, as well as figure out how to write about comics. Very, very few of my friends are fans, so I don't really talk about comics a lot, even though I love them to death. (Of course, my family might have something else to say... I do talk comics a smidgen. Just a smidgen, I swear!)

From time to time, I'll cherry pick an old comic from my collection and give it read. Today I picked Hawkman #20 from 1994.

Hawkman #20, Stalking the Skies!/Clash of Wings
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: William Messner-Loebs
Penciller: Steve Lieber
Inks: Curt Shoultz
Color: Buzz Setzer

The story starts out with a odd, monochromatic scene at the Adler Planetarium. An elementary school teacher points out Hawkman to her class. As she talks a blue rodent-shaped aura swirls in the air around her. Soon, Hawkman notices the aura, and slices into the teacher with his throwing blade, killing her. The school-kids react with shock, as Hawkman raves to himself "you're all avatars" and proceeds to slice up the kids, off-panel, of course. Whew! On the facing page, we see that all of this is Hawkman's dream, as he lays in his bed in his civilian identity, Katar Hol. His mother walks in the room, and calms him down after he comes to his senses. She goes back to bed, and we see a beautiful shot of Hawkman in the air the following day. He stands with wings outstretched in the sky of Chicago, bouncing a chunk of wood off the flat of his blade.

After receiving a fax that his assistant Lefty hands him, Hawkman is joined into the sky by another winged superhero, Black Condor. After performing displays of knife throwing skill, Hawkman and Black Condor fly to the museum mentioned in the fax. Black Condor explains why he came to Hawkman. Seems his powers and flying ability are the result of his grandfather's experiments (creepy!) and he's come to Hawkman to receive training in the ways of heroism. Hawkman says that he doubts what he has to offer, and they arrive at the museum. An archaeological mission has uncovered a mysterious meteor with the ability to disintegrate whatever touches it. Inexplicably it shoots out a ray of energy which possesses a scientist and transforms her into a humanoid lion. She rampages through the lab, dispatching police officers right and left as Hawkman and Black Condor match her blow for blow. When Hawkman and the scientist reach a standoff, Katar counsels her to let go of her rage. She lets the energy flow through her, and the lion disappears.

After reading hundreds of comics, this story no longer seems extraordinary to me. When I first received it, it blew my mind. It came in a bundle given to me by a Marvel Zombie friend. The exciting world of the super-mortals, the mysterious otherworldy objects, and the stunning art all captivated me. The violence was a shock and a surprise, and the resolution of the story was way stranger than I expected. The comic came out of an era that is now unpopular, and most of the continuity from this era is now being dismantled. Honestly, I don't care. No matter who's behind the mask of Green Lantern, Hawkman, or Flash, I can still read the back issues whenever I want. And isn't that what it's all about?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Doing Church

We've been having some really weird weather up here in Rockford. One day it's really nice, almost warm, and the next the temperature had plunged back down again. One day last week I went outside and there was a kind thick layer of snow on my car. It was really wet stuff, real fluffy snow that you could easily brush away with a snow brush.

Yesterday morning I got up in a weird state: both restful and tired. Blame it on a nap taken right before bed, the night before... I got out the door about 10:20, and drove down to church. I went to New Direction Missionary Baptist Church down town. Its an odd shaped, federalist looking building squeezed between a Walgreen's and a US Bank. I went in a side door, and wound my way around the building, finding all the signs saying, THIS WAY TO THE SANCTUARY. As I got closer and closer I heard the bounding drums, and booming voices of a black gospel choir. The music and sermon blended into a harmonious whole, giving a message from God, that actually started to feel like a message from God, warm, mysterious and powerful. Sharp as a two edged sword.

The sermon was about Leah, Jacob's #2 wife, and how she had 3 sons in the hope that each one would cause Jacob to love her. None of them did. Finally by the time she had her fourth son, Judah, she turned her eyes to God, and blessed him in spite of her loveless relationship with Jacob. Judah was an ancestor of Jesus.

It's got me thinking about comics, and the curious fact that church services are something I've rarely seen comic book. As a Christian from a young age, they are definitely something I'd like to see. I don't have a life that's all that unusual, so its strange to think something so much a part of the fabric of my life isn't represented in my graphic fiction. The only examples I can think of are a strip drawn by David Heatley in the McSweeney's Comics Edition, and a scene in a recent issue of Optic Nerve. Not exactly the highest profile comics, huh?