Tuesday, July 8, 2008
In much the same way as I found Meta4orce without actually looking for it, I found Sanctuary. I wasn't actually looking for it, but the internet can lead you anywhere. All I was doing was browsing Newsarama. Yes, I was. No, not the message boards(I wouldn't dare), just the site. As I mentioned before, I like to browse around to possibly find interviews, news items or anything in general on comics that catches my eye. So, while I was looking for anything in general I found an interview that had nothing to do with comics but I saw the line "innovative new Sci-Fi series". That intrigued me, as I am a sucker for Sci-Fi and who isn't one for "innovative". The interview was basically about the actor sharing his experiences while working on the show, and the line where it says that it was launched on the internet is where I went for Google, my trusty sidekick.
It seems that the show was originally meant for the internet and that there were 8 episodes, 4 of which were available for free, and if you liked them, you would have to pay to watch the rest. Now this was back in July 2007, or thereabouts. Since then, this show has been picked up by Sci-Fi for 13 episodes, because of its "cult following"(Boy, is that term overused or what, I could say my blog here has a cult following, cause I am the only reader, but I follow it religiously, but I digress). But I like to think that it had more to do with the show actually being good.
Now, the show isn't available on the site anymore. But if you use my trusty sidekick, you'll inevitably find places where you can watch it. And I did watch the episodes, all 8 of them. While the show's low budget is immediately apparent in the graphics, its obviously ambitious as the entirety of the show is done on green screen. While not a new concept, it does seem to be new for a show launched on the internet. Lead by Amanda Tapping, who people may recall from another Sci-Fi show, the show is based on a concept that comic book fans may not be new to. I would say its a mix between BPRD, and X-Men. Amanda Tapping is an immortal woman who roams the world finding freaks, urban myths, and giving them shelter. She has an entirely cliched daughter,played by Emilie Ullerup, who seems to remind me of Alba's role from Dark Angel for some reason, but she's obviously modeled after Buffy, Xena and the ilk. She's the one character in the show that doesn't sit right with me, but that may change. Robin Dunne plays the new recruit. And he's recruited as a psychologist, and at other times as the damsel in distress, or empathizing angel of kindness, as the situation demands.
The first four episodes deal with Dunne getting recruited, and Emilie finding out about her EVIL father. In the meantime we have flashbacks dealing with the good Doctor's (Tapping) role as "----ist" and "-----ist" and "Xenobiologist"(Fill up the blanks if you want to). She's apparently immortal, 157 years of age, but sexy as hell in those black trenchcoats. She actually wears a tie later in the show. Whats with that? And we go into flashbacks to look at the father - mother relationship. In short it all sounds very cliched. Well, atleast as much as I can make it feel like one. But its handled in great manner. The acting, especially from Tapping, and the shrink guy, as well as the EVIL father, is excellent, and while the show obviously look cheap, its darkened enough so that you may not even notice it. But the actual presence of a shrink is what intrigues me the most. It can lead to plenty of possibilities beyond the familiar psycho-babble bits, and episodes 5 - 8 hint at actually using those possibilities. Obviously its used to a limited extent, but hopefully its used as plot devices, instead of a kinda plot twist as is used in those episodes.
All in all, I think this show is promising. And hopefully the Sci-Fi deal will mean that the show runners can really run with the concept. I am looking forward to October when it starts airing.
By the way, a warning. If you do find episodes 5 to 8, episode 8 was left on a cliffhanger. And the website provides no information. So if you don't like your shows incomplete, you may want to watch only upto episode 4.
Monday, July 7, 2008
I came across it accidentally while I was searching for Peter Milligan interviews to read and google brought me to this interview. Actually I only clicked it because it was dated 12 June, 2008 and I thought why have I never read an interview that he did so recently. Turns out that it was not done in relation to comic books hence my familiar haunts would not carry it. But what it did lead me to, was this new Animated Series from BBC. It seems to be one of those new type of made for the web shows with games thrown in to give the "Interactive Experience". But thats not what interests me in the least. What interests me is the writing.
While the concept seems to be a little derivative, its set in a different kind of environment. And that seems to have been something given to Milligan rather than him coming up with it. Whoever decided to come up with the concept of 2034 London, where everything has been submerged under water seemed to have global warming as a plot point in his mind for the show. But Milligan obviously wasn't interested. The series starts off with introductions for all the characters comprising the team Meta4orce which obviously stands for Meta + Force as the team members are biogenetically augmented as the tagline of the show mentions. Its a murder mystery and for a very brief period I was afraid it might turn out to be a very generic show. After all Milligan seems to have been handed down the concept, as well as having to self censor as the show is aimed at kids, but I needn't have worried. The all too familiar themes of Milligan are all present here. The victim's identity crisis, that of the team members themselves, and that cruel twist in the end are all evidences of Milligan's talent. And all of it done in a very compressed manner of storytelling, with some assist from the 2D over 3D animation.
But its Milligan's writing that makes me want to watch more of this. Although it seems that decision is entirely upto BBC. Lets hope they don't go the way DC have, with Milligan's exclusive.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
Go under Head where Morrison tells you what he has been upto as well as spelling out the names of the projects he has been upto. As for me, I can't wait to find out what he and Quitely have for us, next.
Friday, June 20, 2008
The last time a major American writer wrote Hellblazer, was the beginning of perhaps the worst time in this title's history. Having gone through a number of British writers, Hellblazer has a history of great stories. Writers like Jamie Delano, Garth Ennis, even Warren Ellis, in his short run, have left an indelible mark on the character of John Constantine. But Brian Azzarello isn't one of them.
Lately Hellblazer has been on the up and up. Andy Diggle is one of the best writers of this generation, even though, not many seem to realize it. The Losers was one of the best series from Vertigo in recent times. Hellblazer was a natural fit for Diggle's writing style. And he has proven beyond doubt in his short run, that he's here to have his name included on the list of great Hellblazer authors. And that takes us to this issue which is part 1 of a 2 part fill in. Now I have no idea why a fill in was required since I don't see Diggle writing any other series, neverthless a fill-in it is. If I had to select any author to do a fill-in for Hellblazer, I would instinctively think of all the British authors available. I really don't see how an American writer could get Constantine's voice right. And in steps Jason Aaron. Possibly the most exciting comic book writer right now, Aaron is doing some great work both at Vertigo as well as Marvel. But Hellblazer. That seemed like an odd fit. But I love it when I am proved wrong, because ultimately proving me wrong involves writing great comics, and for that, I am game.
Aaron decided to visit a part of Constantine lore, that is often obliquely mentioned but has never been explored. His days as part of a music band. The story involves a TV crew who document little known bands who have been forgotten and here their attention turns to Mucous Membrane, Constantine's band, with a very dark past. The story is set in the band's haunt, in Constantine's favorite place. Yes, Newcastle. Switching back and forth between the TV crew and the interviews involving views on the band and Constantine, we slowly realize that there's something sinister lurking beneath the Casanova Club. While thats a familiar story, it is the execution that sets this issue apart. The front half of the book is loaded with foreboding, yet, the atmosphere is pretty casual, with generic characters and relationships. But when the horrors start piling up, they do so with an alarming speed and gruesomeness that characterizes British horror.
And all this without even the presence of Constantine in the story, who only manages to enter the picture on the last two pages, as he prepares to return to Newcastle. But this has been done before, even recently by Diggle and it hasn't managed to get old, yet. Aaron knows about Constantine, what makes him tick and what has made his series last for 20 years. The specter of Constantine is present throughout the story, even though he's personally not present. He builds up the inevitable meeting between the horrors that reside under the Casanova Club and Constantine, using horror that Hellblazer fans are all too familiar with. Sean Murphy's scratchy pencils complement Aaron's story as we are served another solid Hellblazer issue. This has become a habit, and I couldn't be happier.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Amazingly there were two solid #1's that came out from Image this week. And though I am writing about only Charlatan Ball, I liked Red Mass for Mars more than I did Charlatan Ball. A little baffling, but then again, this is not the first time I have been baffled by Hickman's writing. That he finds time to write multiple comics, draw one, and still color this, delays notwithstanding is still more baffling. But I digress, I still want to talk about Charlatan Ball, because even though I liked Red Mass more, Charlatan Ball had that vibe going for it that makes books grow on me with time. And any Casey comic I can think of does the same to me.
The highlight of Casey's writing in this issue is the narration. Its not very clear whether there's actually a narrator from the fictional world of Charlatan Ball, or its simply Casey narrating in "True Believers" style, but its done in an interesting manner. This first issue is obviously a setup issue but the setup is done more obliquely than is the norm these days. Its not filled with story heavy exposition, but it introduces the protagonist, as well as the big bad. And we get to see a few pages from each. But while the bad guy, Demon Empty(yeah, thats his name) seems pretty generic, our hero Chuck Amok, while also a little cliched, seems to have more personality than the typical loser. He's got a sense of humor, and whats more, he doesn't fail to use himself as the subject of humor. He's got a rabbit sidekick, who becomes, well, I don't have words for what he becomes. Maybe I can call it Super-rabbit. So we do get introduced to the main players, get an idea of the overarching plot, as well as get an idea of what sort of tone Casey is going to use.
But I do think that the best thing about this issue is the art. As I said before, its groovy. And although there's an obvious Kirby influence, the art has a very distinct style. And the coloring adds a lot to it. I look forward to what crazy panels Andy gets to draw in future issues. Because all those covers look out of this world.
As I said before, this was a good issue, but not as good as I had expected it to be. I can't help but think how different it would have been if it was a regular sized issue. All complaints aside I look forward to future issues.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Its still a month before Earth's wackiest(yeah I know it sounds corny) returns but DC has already released a one page preview featuring Ambush Bug and his favorite companion. Yes, the mighty Darkseid. Take a look if you don't believe me. With JH Williams III doing cover duty for the first issue, Jim Starlin for the second issue, I can't wait to find out who gets to do the others.
Monday, June 9, 2008
There was this small comic that came out a couple of weeks ago, that furiously divided people into two warring camps. On the one side there were people who flat out loved it, and on the other those who flat out loathed it. Then there were other camps who commented on and on about how impenetrable it was for the new reader, or those who bemoaned how much this comic didn't fit with Countdown or Death of the New Gods. And now we get an interview from Grant Morrison.
There are a number of points to note in the interview, not least among them being the clarifications that Grant provides for the various discrepancies.
1. It seems that Grant seems to regard Countdown and Death of the New Gods on two different levels. While he consciously tries to be inclusive of Jim Starlin's series, his attitude towards Countdown is more "I don't care". And quite rightly. But even Starlin's series required no consideration. Maybe Grant has a lot of respect for Starlin. The way I see it, both series have DC Editorial written all over it, and frankly I don't care for either. And unlike his interview with The Comic Foundry, he sounds more resigned to the fact that DC Editorial was going to mess with all of his plans and they did.
2. Morrison mentions that JG Jones was on #3 atleast 2 months ago, which heavily discounts Rich Johnston's theory. I am now pretty sure that all of Final Crisis will come out on time.
3. Morrison cites online commentators in general terms. I didn't think he actually read what online commentators ever said, because most of the time, online commentators have no idea what is going on in a Morrison comic unless its spoon fed to them, but not only does he cite what they are trying to say, but he even tries to annotate some things, and confirm plot points, like the last page.
4. Even though he originally said Final Crisis would be self contained, I begin to get the feeling that to get the full impact of the story, I'll have to read Revelations and Superman Beyond. Not that I wasn't going to, but it just seems a departure from his previous stance.
5. Furthermore, Grant announced the relaunch of his site with new content. His site has been defunct now for probably 4-5 years now, and it seems like a welcome move.
All in all, interesting interview. He didn't sound his typical enthused self, and was obviously more than pissed at what DC has done to his plans. But knowing Morrison, I know that I am in for an epic ride. Personally, for Countdown, I blame Mike Carlin. Maybe someday I'll make an exhaustive post about what projects Mike Carlin has been on, and how I can make a direct relationship between the degree of suckitude of a project and Mike Carlin.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Army@Love returns in August in the form of a new mini. This was one of the strongest series from Vertigo in recent years, but sales killed it. Thankfully Vertigo persisted with it, and this is now back, with chances of more in the future. Rick Veitch has a preview up as well as a link to a great article on possible background sources for the book. It makes for interesting reading, and hopefully creates more interest for this must read book.
Friday, June 6, 2008
This is a new comic from Joe Casey that looks and feels groovy. I have never heard of Andy Suriano but the art has a Kirby flavor with the added incentive of modern coloring. Everything about this book feels over the top fun, and it sure as hell has me hooked already, without even reading an issue. But thats what previews are for.
Here's how Image describes it
- Story by Joe Casey
- Art by Andy Suriano
Meet Chuck Amok, a down-and-out stage magician pumping the sleaze 'n' peanut circuit. When he and his trusty rabbit, Caesar, are transported to a reality where magic actually works, Chuck’s showbiz compulsions take on a whole new meaning. But why was this wayward chucker picked? Only the vile Demon Empty knows for sure! Take your comic book rulebook and tear it up, y'all! This is graphic fiction on shrooms, True Believer!