I Kill Giants

April 11th, 2014

Tasha Robinson makes a strong argument that Joe Kelly and J.M. Ken Niimura's 2008 graphic novel I Kill Giants would work well as an animated film:

[...] I Kill Giants starts in a familiar environment, in this case a fifth-grade classroom on Career Day, where a parade of parents is explaining their jobs to the students. But one kid is reading a book instead of paying attention. When challenged, she says she doesn't need to think about her future career, because she already has one: "I find giants. I hunt giants. I kill giants."

This is Barbara Thorson, a defiant, self-possessed kid with a huge but melancholy personal agenda, and one of the best, most unheralded comics characters of the 2000s. Barbara comes across as weird and immature in some ways, like in her habit of wearing cutesy animal ears to school, and the way her inability to rein in her resentment makes her problems into everyone else's problems. She's a problem kid, but she still comes across as a bit of a wish-fulfillment character in her sureness and her oddball version of nobility. In an era defined by insecure, self-questioning, or clumsy teen-girl heroes, Barbara stands out for her utter fearlessness in the face of generic threats. The problems that define so many school stories – mean teachers, clueless administrators, bullies, trivial concerns like grades or popularity – don't mean anything to Barbara. She's a self-proclaimed giant-slayer. Just incidentally, she's a self-proclaimed giant-slayer in a world where there don't appear to be any giants.

I Kill Giants was one of the last series I finished before I took a break from comics a few years ago and I hadn't thought about it in quite a while, but I've got to say that a good animated version of I Kill Giants would be quite something. Or, failing that, I guess I'll just have to read it again.1

  1. But once I open that box I just know that I'll end up getting sucked back in. Hopeless Savages. Local. Nextwave. Phonogram. Then there's Hellboy: I gather that Mike Mignola is back both writing and doing the art on the current series. How can I resist? Dammit, I can't afford a comics habit again!

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Candid superhero moments

February 22nd, 2014

Candid superhero moments by Phil Noto:

Nothing shows off Phil Noto's ability to place characters in the decade of his choosing better than his candid Marvel sketches. Emulating vintage color pallettes and film stock, each moment is infused with a small slice of Americana. [...]

Some gorgeous work on that page. My favourite has to be the last:

Franklin Richards meets The Hulk

[Via zombieflanders, commenting at MetaFilter]

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Man of Steel

April 17th, 2013

The latest trailer for Man of Steel looks pretty damned good.1

Trouble is, Zack Snyder's films often have impressive-looking trailers; it's only when you get into cinema that you find out how badly the plot falls short of the visuals. Then again, David S Goyer is pretty good at writing comic book movies, and goodness knows they've had enough examples of what not to do. Eventually they have to get Superman right on the big screen again. Why not in 2013?

[Via Mightygodking dot com]

  1. It makes me feel old to see Kevin Costner playing Pa Kent, but that's just something I'm going to have to live with.

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Calvin and Hobbes: The Movie

April 6th, 2013

Calvin and Hobbes: The Movie (Trailer). Too good to be true, sadly.

[Via ComicsAlliance]

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Wonder Woman! Purr! Purr like a tigress!

February 20th, 2013

Chris Sims remembers Dastardly Events Aboard The Hellship!:

Bob Haney and Jim Aparo were the single greatest creative team that has ever worked on Batman, and if anyone says differently, they are wrong and dumb and I hate them forever.

That might be a bit of an extreme reaction, but I stand by it. With over 20 years on the character, Aparo is pretty unassailable as one of the definitive Batman artists, and while Haney's storytelling style might not be for everyone, you have to respect just how much he was able to cram into a single issue. Like, for instance, "Dastardly Events Aboard The Hellship," which features a kidnapped heiress, a boat with a miniature Gotham City and a miniature Old West town inside of it, a fight with an octopus, a fake circus, and Gorilla Surgeons. Also Wonder Woman is in there. It is 17 pages long. It might be the craziest comic book I have ever read.

I realize that I say that a lot and that I employ hyperbole in the same way that other writers employ the comma, but seriously, this one has to be at least in the top five, if only for Haney's commitment to the title. Not only is it an acronym that spells out D.E.A.T.H., but two of those letters stand for "Dastardly" and "Hellship," two words that do not actually appear in the rest of the story. [...]

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'Brains of Braga,' mused Wendy, 'what a mind-twister!'

December 22nd, 2012

Javier Grillo-Marxuach brings us The Middleman and Wendy in …THE PARADOXICALLY FESTIVE MORTALITY:

HIGBEE'S CHRISTMAS PARADE – DOWNTOWN

STARDATE 1212.23

10:00 AM IN A CANONICAL, CREATOR-OWNED REALITY

[...]

Wendy disliked it when the people targeted by the many villains she and The Middleman were tasked with neutralizing blew their Huggies in the face of danger, but even she had to cut this kid some slack: not only had he been put in the crosshairs by a time-traveling superbeing from three hundred years in an alternate future, he had also seen his first day volunteering at the Higbee's Department Store Christmas Parade turn into a Grand Guignol of mayhem at the hands of a hundred foot long inflatable ferret. Also, he'd grown up with the incredibly misguided name "Tiberius Davis." Poor kid, his parents really should have shown him mercy. [...]

The only fault I can find with this epic crossover is that our heroes don't get to interact with the direct descendant of Tiberius Davis whose 5 Year Mission inadvertently caused such mayhem.

By contrast, last year's instalment – THE WIBBLY-WOBBLY, TIMEY-WIMEY JIGGERY-POKERY – spent quite a bit of time showing us how Wendy reacted to Eleven and letting us know which regenerations The Middleman and Ida had already worked with.

[Via MetaFilter]

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Metal versus Prog

October 28th, 2012

We should probably be glad that Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan's story of Dracula fighting the Silver Surfer only took up a single issue of The Tomb of Dracula; with any luck, such brevity should protect it from ever being adapted for the big screen. Chris Sims tells the tale:

[Cult leader Anton Lupeski ...] has dreamed up "quite a unique" means for destroying Dracula. And he ain't kidding.

See, at this point in the series, Dracula had more or less settled down, apart from the occasional murder. He'd married a woman named Domini and gotten her knocked up with his hellish seed, and taken over Lupeski's "Church of the Damned" so that he could sit upon the Throne of Satan. It's all very metal.

So metal, in fact, that Lupeski seems to believe that the only way to battle it is through prog. Thus, his "unique" plan: To magically invade the mind of the Silver Sufer and send him to fight Dracula. Again: If you've got a better plan for dealing with that guy, I'd like to hear it. [...]

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Goddam!

October 17th, 2012

"Take away your Batsuit and what are you?"

[Via LinkMachineGo!]

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Furlough time forfeit

October 8th, 2012

From the Desk of Director Nick Fury:

The agents responsible for taking Captain Rogers to a screening of Quentin Tarantino's 'Inglourious Basterds', and convincing him that was how the war ended, have been identified, and have forfeited their furlough time until they provide him with a proper History textbook and debrief him.

[Via jwz]

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Ancient history

September 12th, 2012

An oldie but a goodie:

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[Via The Medium is Not Enough TV blog]

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A default setting

September 7th, 2012

From a 1999 interview with Alan Moore about the influence of Jack Kirby on his work:

Well, I'll have to go all the way back to my very early childhood for that. I first discovered comics when I was about seven; this would have been around 1959 or 1960. When I said "comics" I meant American comics; I had read the homegrown British fare before that, but when I first came across the Superman and Batman comics of the time, the first couple of appearances of the Flash, things like that, these were a revelation. I became completely addicted to American comics, or specifically to the DC Comics that were available at the time. I can remember that I'd seen this peculiar-looking comic that I knew wasn't DC hanging around on the newsstand and it looked too alien. I didn't want to risk spending money upon it when it wasn't stuff that I was already familiar with. And then I can recall on one day, I think I was ill in bed – I'd been seven or eight at the time – and my mother said that'd she get me a comic to cheer me up while I was confined to the bed. I knew that the only comic that I could think of that I hadn't actually bought was a Blackhawk comic that I'd seen around. So I was trying to convince her to sort of pick up this Blackhawk comic, kind of explaining to her what it was and that it was a bunch of people in blue uniforms. Much to my initial disappointment she brought back Fantastic Four #3, which I read. It did something to me. It was the artwork mainly. It was a kind of texture and style that I've just never seen before. The DC artists at the time, I didn't really know their names, but their style was the one I was accustomed to: Very clean, very wholesome looking, and here was something with craggy shadows with almost a kind of rundown look to a lot of it. It was immediate; literally, from that moment I became a devoted fan of the Fantastic Four and the other Marvel books when they came out – particularly those by Kirby. I mean, it was Kirby's work that I followed more than anybody else as I was growing up. Just the work in Thor and "Tales of Asgard," the Fantastic Four during that long classic stretch in the middle, and then when Kirby went over to DC and the Fourth World books. This was around the time that I was approaching my psychedelic teenage years and the subject matter of these books seems to be changing along with me. I absorbed actively every line he drew in those years, or at least the ones that I was able to lay my hands on. There's something about the dynamism of Kirby's storytelling. You never even think of it as an influence. It's something that you grew up with, kind of understanding that this is just the way that comics were done. So I'd say yeah, that I would account for the influence of Jack Kirby upon my own work. It's almost like a default setting for my own storytelling. It's sort of like if you can tell a story the way Kirby would have, then at least that's proper comics; you're doing your job okay.

[Via LinkMachineGo!]

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The Dark Knight Rises

July 21st, 2012

I think it's fair to say that The Dark Knight Rises evades the three-films-is-one-too-many curse that befell Spider-Man and Blade and the X-Men. It's a long film but didn't feel like one. It deserves to be written about at length: a task I don't have time for right now, but which I think we can rely upon the internet to take care of over the next few days.

Given how nicely the end of this film took care to geg some characters to where they wanted/needed to be and setting up fresh challenges for others, I'd say Christopher Nolan has earned the right to walk away from the series with his head held high, mission accomplished.1

It's going to hurt a lot five or six years from now, when Warner/DC hand the franchise over to Zack Snyder to reboot.

  1. Also, Anne Hathaway won't get the credit she deserves for her take on Selina Kyle.

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#DIRTYLAUNDRY

July 17th, 2012

Having starred in 2004's middling take on The Punisher, Thomas Jane has just directed and starred in a short film #DIRTYLAUNDRY featuring an unnamed-but-strangely-familiar central character.

I wonder if Ben Affleck is off somewhere quiet, shooting A Day In the Life of Matt Murdock.

[Via The Medium is Not Enough TV blog]

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Marvel Movies > DC Movies

July 12th, 2012

The Final Word on Why Marvel Movies > DC Movies.

[Via Electrolite (Sidelights)]

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Avengers Gowns

June 23rd, 2012

Some of kelseymichele's designs for gowns inspired by The Avengers are gorgeous. The Thor one is particularly stunning.

[Via io9, via Alyssa Rosenberg]

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This Is What We Want

May 9th, 2012

In the midst of a discussion on the merits of Marvel's The Avengers Assemble, fridgepunk came up with the greatest idea I've read in a long time:1

The important thing to take away from the Avengers is that the studios have an example to point to that shows that having five movie prologues that lead up to the eventual Big group movie totally works as an approach.

Roll on the Machine Man, Captain Marvel, Elsa Bloodstone: Monster Hunter, Boom Boom and Captain ☠☠☠☠ movies that lead into the inevitable Nextwave movie.

  1. It's not that I think this will ever happen. Not even that I think it would work out very well for Marvel Disney if ever it did come to pass. But I'd dearly love to live in a reality where someone would be willing to give that project a try.

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Avengers Assembled

May 3rd, 2012

Joss Whedon's having a pretty good year. As if seeing The Cabin in the Woods1 finally arrive in cinemas wasn't enough, now he's gone and delivered Avengers Assemble.2

In comics, superhero team-ups and crossovers can work extremely well when done right, but they have the advantage of being able to spread their (frequently ludicrously complicated) back-stories over multiple issues. Fitting half a dozen major characters into 140 minutes of film, giving them all something to do, and keeping the audience on board and entertained is a neat trick, but one Whedon pulled off beautifully. We got just enough information about who the main characters were and what they were capable of to bring those of us who hadn't seen all of the lead-in films up to speed3, and then the fun really started.

When I say 'fun', I of course mean crisis, tension, clashes between characters, conflicting motivations and all that good stuff, mixing big action scenes and little character moments and the odd belly laugh, all to keep the audience entertained.

And then we come to the big battle at the end, when our heroes find themselves outnumbered and outgunned and needing to work together just to stay in the fight. It's beautifully choreographed, coherent and hugely satisfying.4

Unless you're allergic to the very idea of superhero stories being told straight, you're likely to have a hell of a good time with Avengers Assemble. Marvel took a big risk in trying to make the Avengers work on the big screen, and Joss Whedon has made it pay off about as well as it possibly could have.

Finally, three random thoughts:

  • All the main cast members gave good performances, with Tom Hiddleston's Loki coming second only to Mark Ruffalo's Bruce Banner. I'd happily sign a petition to have Mark Ruffalo digitally inserted into the two earlier Hulk films in place of Eric Bana and Edward Norton. Ruffalo was just outstanding in this, not least for providing the entire audience with two huge laughs late in the film.
  • You definitely want to stay in your seat once the credits start rolling. You needn't stay right until the very last credit appears, but there is a mid-credit return to the story that provides a delicious reveal for anyone familiar with the comics.
  • Now can we have a She-Hulk film, please? Preferably directed by Joss Whedon, and based on Dan Slott's Single Green Female storyline.
  1. Previously.
  2. And he still has a Shakespeare adaptation to come this year.
  3. I haven't seen the second Iron Man film, Thor or Captain America. In fairness, I have to acknowledge that I knew all the main players from the comics, but I still think Whedon gave his audience what they needed to follow who had done what and the sort of people they were.
  4. The various Superman films tended to fail in part because their writers and directors were averse to having Superman solve problems by punching them really hard: that isn't a problem Joss Whedon has here. There's something deeply satisfying about seeing the Hulk punch a gigantic space worm to a standstill.

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[Comics reference too obscure for Roy Thomas]

March 5th, 2012

Grant Morrison Comic Bingo.

Excerpt from Grant Morrison Bingo Card

[Via LinkMachineGo!]

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Has it really been 16 years?

October 27th, 2011

MightyGodKing reminds me that it's been far too long since I last watched Kayhryn Bigelow's Strange Days:

[...] Strange Days is great for reasons other than its often impressive precognitive abilities. It's got Angela Bassett in what I would argue is her definitive movie role and one of the baddest-ass female action hero roles ever, which by itself makes the entire catalogue of Angelina Jolie look wussy. It teaches us the secret of making Juliette Lewis tolerable, which is to have her sing rather than speak (seriously: the movie's major flaw is that Lewis' appeal to Ralph Fiennes is only evident when she's singing). It has a killer supporting cast: Sizemore, Michael Wincott, Vincent D'onofrio, William Fichtner, Glenn Plummer. It has an absolutely fantastic soundtrack that sounded in 1993 like what the future of music would sound like, and to an extent still does. It has one of the most beautiful and heartfelt endings I've ever seen in a movie, and begins with what I still hold up to be one of the greatest cold opens in film history (which, lest we forget, was filmed long before lightweight digital cameras were available, and thus had to be filmed entirely on full-sized Steadicams)

I'd have said that Tina Turner was Angela Bassett's definitive role, but would add that1 I reckon that her definitive role should have been Storm. I've nothing against Halle Berry, but failing to cast Angela Bassett was a horrible missed opportunity for all concerned IMHO.

  1. In common with 90% of geekdom.

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'This is the weapon of the enemy. We do not need it. We will not use it.'

October 24th, 2011

Scott Eric Kaufman confirms that Frank Miller's Holy Terror is every bit as dreadful as the whole BatmanCostumed vigilante-versus-Osama bin Laden concept sounded back when he announced the project in 2006:

If you thought his sexism was shameless, you should see his xenophobia [...]

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