Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Watchmen Movie

Did I never post a real review of The Watchmen?

I really should get around to doing that.

I'll have to re-watch it though. Sometime after the holidays, I suppose.

The preview of the review: It was good.

The Spirit

I watched Frank Miller's "The Spirit" a couple of weeks ago on DVD. I had heard terrible, horrible things about it, and that led me to avoid it in theatres, but I scored a cheap copy at Blockbuster, so I figured, why not.

It was pretty bad.

The longer I thought about it, in the days since seeing it, the more I disliked it.

Frank Miller wrote Sin City. He wrote the Dark Knight Returns. He wrote some of the greatest Daredevil comics ever.

But he also wrote Robocop 2. Worse, he wrote Robocop 3. The Spirit's script is far closer to his Robocop stuff than his great comics. The Spirit is a comically dumb movie, with no drama, over the top fight scenes, and things played for yuks at every possible turn. Mix that in with his directorial vision to make this movie and noir as possible visually, and you end up with a film that is disconcerting to watch and not involving in the slightest.

Now, if this was just any old movie Miller had thrown together, I could sort of get behind it. I could see it as campy fun, a lovable loser of a movie. But The Spirit is Will Eisner's signature creation, and Frank Miller should feel shame for what he did to the franchise. Actual shame. Frank Miller should blush and get evasive if people ask him about this movie, and get all dodgy and try to direct the conversation to Batman or Marv. Frank Miller should feel awkward if he even sees a guy in a blue suit with a red tie.

Is anyone reading this friendly with Frank Miller? Can you tell me if he has any, like, conversations with people? Because the dialogue was terrible in this movie. I mean, seriously, Does he not go outside ever, even just to the grocery store or bus station, just to listen to people and learn how they talk to one another.

The Spirit is a movie that is just to east to rant about and critique all over. But I'm comforted that I am not alone. Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic pooped all over it too, and it takned in the box office too:
Budget $53,000,000
Gross revenue $39,031,337
Being a comic geek is one thing, but I'm also "the" comic geek in my social circles, so when a movie based on a comic comes out, it is often that I will get asked about it by friends and coworkers. This movie made me feel dirty, and like I should have to make excuses for liking comics as a genre.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Autumn Came and Left

Things got outta hand there for a while, and I haven't had the inclination to write about comics.

Not that I've stopped reading about them.

I went to Expozine here in Montreal about a month ago, to check out the indy comics and fanzine scene. The show, which was free, was a great success, both for organizers and for me. I got some very cool artwork that I must get around to framing and putting up soon. I also got a copy of P-Brane which I need to get around to, as it looks pretty cool.

The con itself was crowded, had lots of vendors tables, and was really rich in art prints for sale. Everyone I went with left with some artwork. I also ran into old friends there. Seems like it was the place to be.

Though it must be said that a room that has hundreds of hippies and hipsters squeezed into it like that venue did needs better ventilation, because it smelled like armpits and wet beards in there. Bleargh. It was pretty thick in there.

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In other comics news, I've been reading a lot of mainstream stuff lately. Astonishing X-Men continues to be good, late, and a little confusing. X-Men Forever is nostalgia goodness, if not sloppily drawn. The Deadpool stuff is a guilty pleasure, and Deadpool Team-Up has been fun. Bendis' Avengers has been rolling along, but I'm starting to feel that the title has been watered down by events happening all the time in other titles that I don't read. Conan has been okay, but hasn't been special for a while. I dropped Red Hulk because I don't enjoy being jerked around like that, and the novelty has worn off for me.

That's all for now. I'll try and be better as the winter cold will keep me inside and near my computer more often now.

Monday, July 13, 2009

New Avengers #54

I read New Avengers #54 this past weekend, which is the culmination of a few plot lines, all in one issue. It was fun to see things start to get wrapped up as other stories are being spun out. Leaving things dangling is a real pet peeve of mine, so it's fun to see the writer (Brian Michael Bendis) actually wrap up a few things here.

The search for the next Sorcerer Supreme is concluded, and Jericho Drumm, aka Brother Voodoo (and his ghostly brother) has been chosen and accepted.

The deal between The Hood and the Dread Dormammu has also been played out, as the New Avengers alongside Brother Voodoo and Damien Hellstrom fought off The Hood, then Dormammu in the middle of New Orleans.

The fight was pretty cool, but I really am missing both Lenil Yu and Jimmy Chung on this book, as the art has gotten darker and more static since their departure.

So now the story of Brother Voodoo, sorcerer supreme begins. The war of words in the media between Ronin and Norman Osborn continues, and the fight between the New and Dark Avengers builds up a little more.

The team continues to lack a certain chemistry for me, though. It's not about the moments of levity or down time, but rather in the way they fight. I think they need to get a little more organized, and start using tactics a little more interesting than "dog pile the bad guy!" They need their own "Fastball Special", as it were. I mean, guys like Spider-Man and Luke Cage might not have tons of team work behind them, but Wolverine and Ms. Marvel should. Same for Ronin and Mockingbird.

Despite that small gripe, this series continues to be a must read for me, and is what I consider the flagship title for the Marvel Universe.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Draw! Magazine

Draw! Magazine has a new blog here on Blogger.

I've always liked Draw!, and I hope that the content on this blog is just as good as the mag. The last issue had features on Bryan Lee O'Malley and Guy Davis, of Scott Pilgrim and BPRD fame, respectively. Cool sketches, behind the scenes stuff that's really fun to read and reread.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Just can't get going

It's been rough trying to keep going 'round these parts. Sorry for the delays.

Just a quick review today.

Tank Girl: One has been a very interesting read, starting right at the beginning of her creation. Hewlett was a very gifted artist almost right off the bat here, and it's easy to see that the strength of the character comes from his amazing line work. It's inspiring, and it made me want to draw (and ape his style for a few sketches).

The writing is less than stellar, very indie, and adolescent.

The book itself does do a few things that make me all weak in the knees. Mat-finish on the cover is my favorite thing ever for a graphic novel. It feels better to hold than a glossy cover. The art is remastered and very crisp, and the print quality is top notch.

The storytelling is short, sporadic, and crude. The art is sharp, crisp, and stylish. The features in the book are decent, with a good amount of coverage on the back story behind Tank Girl. You can see why she caught on in this volume; she's cool, tough, dressed funky, hot as hell.

Thanks go out to Hewlett for inspiring a generation of girls to dress like his heroine. I know I'm in his debt.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Quick hits

I read "New Mutants #2" and "Wolverine: Revolver" last night.

NM#2 was a bit of a let down, not enough action, too much decompressed storytelling. This was not the new mutants book I loved as a youth. Time to pick up the pace.

Victor Girschler, who is a good pulp fiction writer, penned this Wolverine one-shot. It was cool, I guess, but sort of generic. Probably would have fit better in the old "X-Men Unlimited" book. It was sort of the opposite of New Mutants this week, all flash, no meat.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Kick-Ass #6

I just read "Kick-Ass" #6 last night.

I like Kick-Ass. I like Mark Millar and I have always like John Romita jr. I'm just not sure how much I liked this particular issue.

JRjr draws mobsters like no one else. Eversince his work on "Punnisher: War Zone", I have thought that gritty, street level heroes were his forte. He's okay on X-Men and Spidey, but Romita does suits and blood like no one else in the business.

I thought the inking by Tom Palmer was a little overly loose on this issue. I think Romita needs tighter inks in order to prevent the art from looking sloppy.

I like this series, but I'm seeing more and more decompression in the writing and the art, and I think that they could pack a little more into each book to help pick up the pace. the first couple of issues kept the tempo high, but it's been slacking up lately. Millar has written high-action, yet dense comics before (see the first six issues of The Ultimates), so I don't know what he's trying to do here. I would guess that he's having a tough time filling 22 pages of script, and it feels like he's cheating here, and pulling 17 pages and drawing them out.

In any case, I like the origin of Big Daddy, but I think it could have been better. I think that they could have gone further back in time to see an even younger Hit Girl, and really take the time to flush out their story and characters.

I like the comic, I like the creators and I like the characters, I just think that this latest issue is the weakest one thus far, and it was especially disappointing considering how late the book was. I hope that Millar is able to pick up the pace a little next issue, and that the inks get a little tighter to make the book feel more crisp and sharp.

I also find it very amusing that the movie has already started casting, considering the origin and nature of the characters is only now being looked at in the comic. Millar must be a hell of a salesman.

Friday, May 8, 2009

New Mutants #1

My favorite comic growing up was X-Men. A close second to that was The New Mutants. To this day, my favorite comic character is Cannonball, and just his presence on a comic cover makes me want to pick it up.

As such, the relaunch of New Mutants, starring all my old favorite characters, was pretty much a lock on my pull list.

I read the first issue yesterday over my lunch hour, and I will say, straight away, that I enjoyed it. This book looks to take the place that Jim Shooter's departure on Legion of Super-Heroes left in my pull list, and has a similar feel to it.

Illyana, 'Berto, Xian, Amara and Sam all make the team, and set up the book against an old X-Foe in Legion, and I'm excited to see where it goes from here. I also like the present, but not overly heavy-handed placement of this book firmly grounded in the current continuity of the X-Books.

The art was nice, but not great. I'm hoping they can get Bret Blevins, even if only for an alternate cover. The story was okay, too, if not fantastic. But the nostalgia was fantastic.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

I went to see it last night.

I wish I had something awesome and insightful to offer that wasn't completely covered by the rest of the blogosphere already. The first 5 minutes of the movie really are the best five minutes of the movie, and the rest of the film really just lets you down from the high expectations it set.

The rest of the movie was a convoluted mess. It at times adhered to the continuity of the X-Trilogy, and other times it just chucked it out the window. It had a cool cast, but it watered everyone down so much, that no one got enough screen time to really be cool. This movie needed 4 characters to work: Wolverine, Stryker, Sabretooth and Silverfox. That's it. If this movie was recut, and done to really flush out the characters, then the drama of the action would have been fantastic.

Ryan Reynolds as Wade Wilson was cool, but "Deadpool" was 9 kinds of lame. Have him in one or two scenes, let him mouth off a little, and then leave the rest alone. He ended up being to this movie what Angel was to X3, just in the way of the real story.

Same goes for Gambit and Blob, who were both there for no good story telling reason. They just ate up screen time that should have been reserved for exposition.

Wolverine says, in the movie, he was the best there is at what he does, but at no point in the film before he says that is there any reason to believe it. He mostly has just moped around and got in his team's way. It would have been nice to see him actually do something that would make Stryker's gamble with the adamantium make sense.

All in all, it had a few bright spots, but I think Wolverine was an exercise in wasted potential, choosing to try and fill the movie with as much "cool stuff" as possible rather than trying to tell a simple story of love lost and revenge.

As far as hero movies go, this one ranks around Blade III, Spider-Man III, and Elektra.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Who watches what?

I totally missed the Watchmen wave, but I did go see it opening night. Everyone else has said everything there is to be said about it, but I will still add that it amused me to no end that it was rated 13+ here in Quebec.

Keith went to see it at Cavendish Mall (read: Old Jewish people-mall) and said by the time you saw Doc Manhattan in all his...splendor, half the audience had walked out. Glorious.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Mished-Mash

Just a couple of quick hits this time around.

IDW has relaunched a ton of G.I.Joe books this year, and the first issues were all pretty good. I 've always been a Joe fan, and I quite liked the Devil's Due stuff from 7-8 years ago, but it got a little tangled up there at the end. It was really time for a fresh start.

The three books are all different, and so far the "Cobra" book, staring Chuckles has been the best of the bunch, but they're all good reading and worth checking out.

I also picked up the Oni Press' "True Tales of Roller Derby: Doppelganger at the Hangar", which was wacky fun, but as an announcer for the 'Derby, I'm a little biased to all things involving Roller Skates. Plenty of derby goodness in this book, as it even takes up much of the ad space in the book. Good times.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Why I stopped reading Spider-Man

Without getting into "One More Day", which is a fun debate, but one I can have elsewhere, I know very clearly why I dropped Amazing Spider-Man.

The promise of impact.

I feel like Amazing Spider-Man has removed the promise to me, the reader, that the events that happen in the book will be important to the character, and through him, important to me.

This isn't the first time this has happened to me in reading comic books either. The death and rebirth of Jean Grey is probably the best example, though there are others. When the reality of "drama" is removed from a comic book, often shown through the death of a character, but not always, then I am no longer as invested in the story telling.

I understand that some people will say that they are able to just digest the new material for what it is, as fun entertainment, and that's great for them, but I don't feel the same way.

Take for example, a television series. Let's use "ER" for this example, as I think it's got a pretty good track record for maintaining it's continuity. If, this season, they had said "Doctor Greene didn't die of cancer, that was his twin brother!" then the reality of the "drama" would be challenged, and it would feel to me that the emotional investment I had made in the events surrounding the death of the character were cheated out of me, and I would feel bad about being a consumer of the television show.

So, as a reader of Spider-Man, or any comic book, for that matter, I feel that there is an unspoken deal between myself and the publisher that I will give them not only my dollars, but an emotional investment in their characters, and in return, I expect fine art and writing, and some care not to disregard the feelings that they've evoked from me previously.

That's not always the case, but I'd like to think it is.

And that is why I stopped buying Amazing Spider-Man.

Spider-Man, in challenging the reality and promised impact of the events that occur within it's pages, broke that unwritten contract with me. It suddenly said "Hey Scott, I know we told you earlier that this was important, but *sike!* it wasn't! We don't think that story we told you before was good enough, so it doesn't matter how much emotion you put into it, we're undoing it all. Hope you give us your money next month." I won't. I dropped the book, and I don't feel bad about it at all.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

2009 - The Rise of Cobra

I was in Keith's car this past weekend and I decided that my life actually took a turn for the worse when I was a young teenager and gave up on my original life's goal of becoming a Dreadnok. I believe that had I continued my quest to join a fictional gang of swamp-dwelling, uneducated mercenaries that have a penchant for combining power tools with laser rifles, that I would be happier today. Keith and I agreed that it's not too late for me yet, and that the first steps in pursuit of this dream are to me the dreadlocking of my hair, and the choice to speak like Vinnie Jones 24-7.

Sadly, neither has happened in the week since. I'm sorry Zartan, I've failed you again.

In other G.I.Joe news, there is a new comic out, and I haven't had a chace to read it yet. I need to get my butt to ye olde comic shoppe. Also, the movie is due outin a few months. 2009 is truly the year of the Rise of Cobra.

"A gem of that size answers all my questions." - Zartan, G.I. Joe, the Movie