Month: July 2009

Questions for the Week: July 20, 2009

Posted by – July 20, 2009

I rolled in late from the Finger Lakes Wine Festival Sunday (20+ travel hours on the road) and got back to business bright and early this morning. Here’s what’s been on my mind and monitor:

• How many Kindle users out there are comics readers? Archaia announced that they’ll be putting out a new Josh Fialkov graphic novel exclusively for Kindle. I’m all for this and the budget looks promising, I’ll probably be downloading this for my Kindle iPhone app (which has color capabilities). The whole concept of Amazon being able to remotely kill books you’ve paid for still bothers me, but  I have enjoyed using it. It’s great to see publishers testing new markets, and I’ll be anxious to hear what kind of comics readership is lurking out there in front of Kindle screens.

• Is this Complex list of “The 40 Most Violent Comics Ever” one of the best lists ever? Probably. I definitely like it in spirit, and it takes some chances. But I don’t know if I would have put Transmetropolitan on it, let alone so high. Garth Ennis and Frank Miller rightfully own most of the real estate on it, but I’m disappointed to see alt comix and specifically Johnny Ryan left completely off in favor of some ho-hum decisions.

• Is Chris Ware mainstream now? The A.V. Club says yes now, according to this also enjoyable list of “21 artists who changed mainstream comics.” I’m all for citing and celebrating his contributions, but I don’t know what kind of mainstream immitators I’ve seen ripping him off lately. I feel like the paragraph discussing him is a little wishful and arrogant, since including him on the list really should require a justification other than just reinventing with explanation the definition of “mainstream.” But take mainstream out of the title, and I’ll definitely buy this list. It was a good read.

• Is Scribner being irresponsible by reprinting Hemingway’s Moveable Feast according to his grandson’s vision? A.E. Hotchner definitely thinks so and said so much in an NYT op-ed. I’m personally not convinced that the new edition accurately captures Pappa Bear’s original vision, and it’s one of my favorite books of all time, but as long as the other version can still be found, I’m interested to see what changes the grandson made.

Harry Potter series for MTV News

Posted by – July 10, 2009

Harry PotterIt’s my fondest hope that one day some kid writing a book report on the Harry Potter series will use these like Cliff’s Notes. Ramping up for the release of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” this week, I did a five-part retrospective on five the main cast members and their characters for MTV News. For your linking pleasure, here’s where you can findmy “Then and Now”-style recaps on:

• Harry Potter
• Hermione Granger
• Ron Weasley
• Ginny Weasley
• Draco Malfoy

Wednesday Reactions: July 10, 2009

Posted by – July 9, 2009

B.P.R.D. 1947 #1“No. Not unless they’re librarians with machine guns. These men have seen combat… They’ll do.”
–Professor Bruttenholm, B.P.R.D.: 1947 #1

My local shop was fresh out of DC’s new Wednesday Comics #1 this week, which I was quite looking forward to. I did grab five other books off the rack, however. For the record, I’m mostly indiscriminate when it comes to buying books the week they come out these days. In the order I read them:

B.P.R.D.: 1947 #1 (Dark Horse)
Written by Mike Mignola & Joshua Dysart
Artwork by Fábio Moon & Gabriel Bá

BUY IT: There’s artwork that doesn’t work in comics, artwork that passes, and then there’s this Brazilian duo who just force you to believe their stories couldn’t be drawn any other way. I can’t say enough for how much I enjoy artists who give people unique physicalities in their illustrations and still manage to keep shapes defined and movement effortless.

Batman and Robin # 2 (DC)
Written by Grant Morrison
Artwork by Frank Quitely

BUY IT: Morrison and Quitely, along with Adrian Tomine are uniquely responsible for bringing me back into comics following an extended hiatus. Their New X-Men run (immaculately overseen by then-editor Mark Powers) is still one my favorite reads to return to at any given moment. The new issue of Batman and Robin talks about torture, defines what loose cannon Damien is, and pried my eyeballs wide open at the end in anticipation of the third issue.

Green Lantern #43 (DC)
Written by Geoff Johns
Artwork by Doug Mahnke & Christian Alamy

BUY IT: This is one of the most satisfying self-contained issues I’ve read in a long time, which is a strong statement since it’s leading in to “Blackest Night.” Mahnke’s art has reached a new plateau as well. There were a few pages where I found myself blinking, thinking I was looking at Darick Robertson art.

Viking #1 (Image)
Written by Ivan Brandon
Artwork by Nic Klein

I COULD GO EITHER WAY: There’s a design fetishist in me who almost appreciated this book as a total object more than I gravitated to the story or artwork individually when I finished reading this. I love Vikings, and I really dig how Klein’s style is able to modulate between scenes. There’s a high concept at work overall that rated favorably with me, but the stiff, stony faces kept me at arms length from the characters, and even when the dialogue was strongest the sequences still felt like rushed summaries of an extended sequence. It was enough to get me to buy issue #2 though.

Viking #2 (Image)
Written by Ivan Brandon
Artwork by Nic Klein

IF ’30 DAYS OF NIGHT’ MASHED UP WITH ‘PRINCE VALIANT’ FLOATS YOUR BOAT, BUY IT: As great as some pages are in this series so far, some if the art-style change-ups felt arbitrary in the first issue, and the decisions in the second definitely comes off more convincingly intentional. This book didn’t get me excited, but I didn’t regret picking up two issues of it. It’s got a very classic feel to it; I just don’t know if I’m sold on recommending it carte blanche yet. I’m just waiting for the moment the series does something to really set it apart from past reads, and I think it may do it yet.

Today’s quote to blow your mind

Posted by – July 2, 2009

“Rand, the inventor of the philosophical system called Objectivism, never missed an episode of Charlie’s Angels. She was such a Fawcett fan, in fact, that she sought to cast the actress as the lead in a planned TV miniseries version of her best-known work, the gargantuan novel Atlas Shrugged.”

Amy Wallace