Posts by rbpropst:
Time for a very on-topic (yet undeservingly-short) plug for a documentary being produced by a good friend from film school:
Dibujante de Munequitos explores the life, career, artwork and relationships of Ric Estrada, former comic book penciler who spent much of his career working at DC Comics and was the first artist to draw such popular characters as Power Girl. Ric has led a very interesting life filled with connections with interesting people, such as the late Ernest Hemingway.
In viewing some of the unedited footage of the film (such as this interview with Paul Levitz, president of DC Comics), what intrigues me most about Ric is his religious convictions and how he implemented them in his every day life and work. The comics industry is rampant with atheism, and Ric stands out as a man who isn’t afraid to make his convictions a part of his projects and known to his coworkers.
Seth, Ric’s son and my friend, is striving to raise funds for this film to pay tribute to his father, who is currently undergoing radiation treatments for cancer. Ric is currently in good spirits, according to Seth, but the nature of cancer is such that nobody can be sure how much longer he’ll be around, therefore time is of the essence in securing these funds and completing this project.
If it is within your means, support this film and show your support for artistic expression through the comics medium. See the links in this post for more detailed information on Ric’s life, the film’s progress & content, and benefits of donating.
Take Country singer Brad Paisley’s recent single “Letter to Me”, add some selective clips from all 6 Star Wars movies, do some creative editing and you wind up with an entertaining video.
This week the nominations for Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Awards were announced. In the “Book” category the first trade paperback collection of Dark Horse Comics’ Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, The Long Way Home, earned a nod. I’m not sure how the nominees are chosen (the winners are chosen thru online voting) but this TPB must be pulling in a number of young readers to garner a nomination. Granted, I don’t think it’s going to beat the Harry Potter series for the win, but just getting nominated is a step in the right direction for securing the next generation of comics readers.
The next James Bond movie has received a name, Quantum of Solace. It sees Daniel Craig return as Bond in a follow-up to his critically-acclaimed Casino Royale. The new film finds new Bond girl Camille leading the secret agent to Dominic Greene, a member of a mysterious organization and ruthless businessman who is conspiring to control huge natural resources. Bond will also be trying to uncover the truth about Vesper, who seemingly betrayed him in Casino Royale. It’s due for release in November.
In comics most contests are geared toward artists. It’s just the nature of the beast that aspiring writers don’t have the opportunities to get their stuff seen like artists do. Well, Image Comics’ Shadowline imprint (Jim Valentino’s publishing house) and Newsarama mean to change this by creating a contest to find a new 21st century super-heroine to balance out the Bomb Queen character. But you better hurry as the first round of submissions must be in by January 31, 2008.
Dabel Brothers, the comics publisher best known for the Sci Fi/Fantasy book adaptions, made official today what has been known since the author announced it on his website several weeks ago. They will be adapting Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files series of novels. But before the first direct adaption comes out in mid-2008, the first book Storm Front, Jim Butcher will write an original 4 issue mini-series which will begin shipping in April. Jim Butcher is a big comics fan and has worked numerous references into the series, from numerous comparisons of Harry to Batman to his transportation, a VW Beetle aptly named the Blue Beetle.
For those out of the know The Dresden Files series follows Chicago’s only wizard PI Harry Dresden as he investigates the supernatural, either for his clients or when the Chicago PD employs him as a consultant.
(Yes, I know the headline’s cliched and most everybody else has used a version of it in their report. But not knoing the character real well it’s the best I could come up with.)
The first trailer for next summer’s Iron Man movie has been released. I don’t know enough about Marvel continuity to know if they got Tony’s characterization right, but I really liked what I saw. Robert Downey Jr. looks great. And the special effects are spectacular (especially the flying). This is the first Marvel movie since the X-Men franchise I would go to the theater to see. And it could easily be the best of the Marvel movies. I guess time (and more in depth trailers) will tell.
In a move that mimics Joss Whedon Veronica Mars series creator Rob Thomas is in talks with DC Comics to bring the “4th season” of the recently-cancelled show there. With the success Whedon’s found at Dark Horse with the recently launched “season 8″ of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and the Firefly/Serenity continuation I don’t see why Thomas can’t do the same with Veronica and crew.
As some of you may know from the previous postings, I spent my Free Comic Book Day at Green Brain Comics, the best comic book store in Michigan. (Eat it, Vault of Midnight!)
I got to speak with such local luminaries as Matt Feazell, Suzanne Baumann, and Marty Hirchak, as well as owner/Lil’ Lulu advocate Dan Merritt. Scott McCloud was there, as was John Hickey.
Who is John Hickey? John’s another filmmaker/gamer/fanboy like myself, and I was very pleased to meet such a like-minded spirit. John also documented Free Comic Book Day at Green Brain Comics, and so I present to you
First, here’s mine:
It’s the shorter of the two, clocking in at 2:32. Most of my youtube videos are between 1 to 3 minutes long, simply because I can’t make them any longer without going over the 100 MB limit, at least not without sacraficing the quality of the video/audio itself. I find it challenging and a bit restricting at the same time.
John’s documentary, by contrast, is nearly nine minutes long. And I think it looks pretty good, even with the compression. I like the structure of it, which pretty neatly divides the film into two halves, and I like the general overview of the Free Comic Book Day event. Mine kinda assumes that you know what Free Comic Book Day is already. And so, here’s John’s:
And there you have it. Two very different perspectives on one cool event.
Finally, an answer to the ultimate who’d win?
I did a short interview today with Scott McCloud. Nothing terribly in-depth; really, he communicates so well in his work that any questions one has about his ideas are generally answered within the text. But it was nice to meet him, nice to talk with him, and nice to share it with you.
For approximately fourteen years, I’ve been reading comic books. And for about that length of time, I have tried– and tried– and tried– to get a letter published in a letter column.
And now it’s happened. I direct you all to your copies of this week’s Astro City: The Dark Age, Book Two # 3– and you all are reading Astro City, aren’t you?– where I have, at last, achieved the pinnacle of comics glory. I feel like I’ve come of age– it’s like puberty all over again, only without the hair growing in new and strange places.
I picked up the first issue of the Heinberg-Dodson run of Wonder Woman, not because I was a fan of the character or those creators, but to give the character a shot. I was, to put it nicely, decidedly underwhelmed, and I was not surprised when I heard Heinberg was getting yanked from the book.
What did surprise me– and excite my interest– was the announcement that novelist Jodi Picoult was going to be writing it. She’s a very popular writer and, from what little I’ve read, very good with complex issues of identity and morality. She’s lauded for her convincing female characters, and so I thought I’d give it a try.
As always with Wonder Woman, I found myself once again underwhelmed.
I’ve heard a lot of good things about Pride of Baghdad, the “graphic novel” by Brian K. Vaughn and Niko Henrichon. It got a big push in my neck of the woods; Vaughn came to Dearborn to speak at the Arab-American National Museum, did a Q & A, even hung out at Green Brain Comics (The Best Comic Book Store in Michigan) afterwards.
I didn’t attend the event, because I hadn’t read the book. And it’s neither in my nature or my budget to shell out twenty bucks for a book I’ve never read by an author I’ve never read, no matter how pretty the pictures are. And so I waited for the book to come to my library.
I’m glad I did.
There are spoilers for both Pride of Baghdad and Justice League of America 1-6 within, along with potentially disturbing images from both.
Today was the election for Mayor of Dearborn.
Spoilers behind cut.
When I first heard of Identity Crisis, I was livid.
As a fan of the Dibneys, I had an immediate and visceral reaction to the news that Brad Meltzer had murdered Sue in one issue and raped her in the next, the retcon equivalent of necrophilia. And then there was the whole mind-wiping thing…
And then I read it, and I found it, for the most part, to be genuinely compelling and thoughtful. There were some parts that were a little silly (here, Jean, have this crossbow…?) and some parts that were a clichéd and underdeveloped (Captain Boomerang and Son!). But it was a superhero story that took superheroes seriously and enthusiastically, both as icons and as people. They make difficult decisions but I didn’t feel that those decisions tainted them in anyway: I didn’t feel that I was reading another tiresome adventure into the Dirty Spandex sub-genre.
As a story, it’s deeper and more pleasurable to read than, say, Infinite Crisis. No gore or nihilism in Identity Crisis. The trauma is largely off-camera– largely emotional.
At the same time, they still killed Sue. They still took a giant dump on my childhood. And I’m largely skeptical about any superhero story that requires that level of transgression to get its desired impact.
And yet– I’m very, very glad that Brad Meltzer wrote it. Not that it was written. I hate the fact that it was written. But I’m glad that Meltzer was the one who did it.
Because nothing says I love you like M.O.D.O.K.
Just kidding, Hutch. Hutch? What are you doing with that flame thrower…? Ahhhhhhhh!
The question was, could changes in the dialogue and captions make it a “workable” mystery story. Brian Cronin explains,
I can get behind "I liked it even though it wasn’t," or "I didn’t really care about mystery aspect, because I liked it for the character work," or "The mystery was not the point of Identity Crisis, the point was the examination of the heroes vis a vis the mind-wipes, so the murder was secondary, so the fact that it didn’t work was unimportant," or something like that.
That stuff is totally subjective. I wouldn’t dream of saying you shouldn’t like Identity Crisis.
But "workable mystery," I believe, is an objective thing.
So I don’t think "it worked for me" cuts the mostard here. The complaint about the mystery in Identity Crisis is that it was a puzzle whose solution did not make sense. Based on the facts presented to us, you simply could not solve the mystery.
And he’s right: as a mystery story, it doesn’t play fair.
Spoiler for The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926) by Agatha Christie below.
Some time ago, I posted a video here from my youtube series, “Tom for Mayor”, about my employment status. It has come to my attention that some of the assertions I made in that video were factually incorrect.
I am clearing them up with this video, and posting it to every place I posted the original– which includes Monitor Duty. Thank you.