Saturday, November 03, 2007

X-Men First Halloween

Jeff Parker has uploaded the entire two-page Halloween story he did with Colleen Coover in the latest X-Men: First Class.

Have a look here.

Happy belated Halloween! I'm off to our costume party tonight, will try to sneak a photo in later ;)
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SCALPED: so good it comes with a Money Back guarantee!



A message from SCALPED writer Jason Aaron:

If you're not reading SCALPED, I want to make it as easy as possible for you to at least give the series a shot, so I'm now offering a money back guarantee on the first trade paperback, "Indian Country." That's the first five issues of the series, for only $9.99, and if you don't like it, you can send it to me and I'll give you your money back. It's as simple as that. Here's my address and email:

Jason Aaron
P.O. Box 8620
Prairie Village, KS 66208-0620
everywhere73 at yahoo.com

Try SCALPED, you might like it. And if you don't believe me, listen to these guys:

"This Native American noir is the best crime book you're not reading. If you're looking for a new Vertigo series to try with Y ending in a few months, SCALPED is an excellent place to start. "
--Brian K. Vaughan

"SCALPED is some of the most compelling character work and crime writing I've seen in a long time."
--Ed Brubaker

"As perfect a comic book as I've ever read."
--Brian Wood

"The best new series in years. Spread the word. Tell your friends. Talk about it. Blog about it."
--Garth Ennis

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Friday, November 02, 2007

Diamonds


Astonishing X-Men #23 is a perfect 10/10 of an issue, but I can't say anything more before Sunday.

I can still tease though. See you in 2.
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LOST teaser video: the Orchid

... is NOT a botanical station


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Chris Ware - This American Life



Chris Ware animated a short clip for Showtime's This American Life earlier this year

People act differently if they're behind a camera, even if the fake camera isn't real.

And you're overtaken, you're doling things that you normally wouldn't.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Action Comics #857

Writers: Geoff Johns, Richard Donner

Artist: Eric Powell

DC Comics

It's finally over!

Geoff Johns and Richard Donner tried to go all Sleepy Hollow on Bizarro World's ass for the last three issues, but the end result was a load of Frankenweeners. Bizarro Speak isn't such a hard language to master, only a bit annoying, but this pair managed to break the basic rules at every turn and achieve total incoherence, managing to make even Bizarro boring.

Courtesy of Wikipedia:

Bizarro and the other inhabitants of the Bizarro world used an odd but predictable form of English. The most notable characteristics were:

  • The lack of nominative case when using pronouns; Bizarro replaces pronouns that should be nominative with their analogues in the accusative case. Bizarro might introduce himself by saying "Me am Bizarro" instead of "I am Bizarro," for example.
  • The lack of proper verb conjugation; Bizarro only uses the first person conjugation for any verb. For example, the verb "is" is always conjugated as "am", leading to sentences like "This am great".
  • Speaking the opposite of what is really meant in a situation. Thus, "This am great" would mean that the thing isn't great at all. The exception would be "Me am Bizarro", which would actually mean what was said. Bizarro-English words are thus antonyms of the corresponding English words.
See? Fun! This issue on the other hand:



Eric Powell's art still shines through, constructing a Bizarro World with architecture and palette that would make Tim Burton drool. Pity about the script really, although the final installment did have such nice little moments like Superman Vision, Bizarro Vision and the Sinestro Corps ring recruiting the Bizarro Yellow Lantern! The finale was touching, but I'm crying over the lost fun potential.



Having this story run so close to the All-Star Superman take on Bizarro only makes Johns and Donner look bad.

Grade: 5/10





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This is Halloween

Before I head out to the Halloween party, here is the quintessential song of the day, from my all-time favourite movie



Source: The Nightmare Before Christmas

[SHADOW]
Boys and girls of every age
Wouldn't you like to see something strange?

[SIAMESE SHADOW]
Come with us and you will see
This, our town of Halloween

[PUMPKIN PATCH CHORUS]
This is Halloween, this is Halloween
Pumpkins scream in the dead of night

[GHOSTS]
This is Halloween, everybody make a scene
Trick or treat till the neighbors gonna die of fright
It's our town, everybody screm
In this town of Halloween

[CREATURE UNDER THE BED]
I am the one hiding under your bed
Teeth ground sharp and eyes glowing red

[MAN UNDER THE STAIRS]
I am the one hiding under yours stairs
Fingers like snakes and spiders in my hair

[CORPSE CHORUS]
This is Halloween, this is Halloween

[VAMPIRES]
Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! Halloween!
In this town we call home
Everyone hail to the pumpkin song

[MAYOR]
In this town, don't we love it now?
Everybody's waiting for the next surprise

[CORPSE CHORUS]
Round that corner, man hiding in the trash cam
Something's waiting no to pounce, and how you'll...

[HARLEQUIN DEMON, WEREWOLF & MELTING MAN]
Scream! This is Halloween
Red 'n' black, slimy green

[WEREWOLF]
Aren't you scared?

[WITCHES]
Well, that's just fine
Say it once, say it twice
Take a chance and roll the dice
Ride with the moon in the dead of night

[HANGING TREE]
Everybody scream, everbody scream

[HANGED MEN]
In our town of Halloween!

[CLOWN]
I am the clown with the tear-away face
Here in a flash and gone without a trace

[SECOND GHOUL]
I am the "who" when you call, "Who's there?"
I am the wind blowing through your hair

[OOGIE BOOGIE SHADOW]
I am the shadow on the moon at night
Filling your dreams to the brim with fright

[CORPSE CHORUS]
This is Halloween, this is Halloween
Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! Halloween!
Halloween! Halloween!

[CHILD CORPSE TRIO]
Tender lumplings everywhere
Life's no fun without a good scare

[PARENT CORPSES]
That's our job, but we're not mean
In our town of Halloween

[CORPSE CHORUS]
In this town

[MAYOR]
Don't we love it now?

[CORPSE CHORUS]
Skeleton Jack might catch you in the back
And scream like a banshee
Make you jump out of your skin
This is Halloween, everyone scream
Wont' ya please make way for a very special guy

Our man jack is King of the Pumpkin patch
Everyone hail to the Pumpkin King

[EVERYONE]
This is Halloween, this is Halloween
Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! Halloween!

[CORPSE CHILD TRIO]
In this town we call home
Everyone hail to the pumpkin song

[EVERYONE]
La la-la la, Halloween! Halloween! [Repeat]

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Gen13 v.2 #13

Writer: Gail Simone
Artists: Kevin West & Sunny Lee

Wildstorm
DC Comics


This issue marks Gail Simone's swan song on the title she helped relaunch.

Looking back, this certainly hasn't been one of her finest efforts. But is it really her fault? Gail is a stellar writer, when she's paired with a capable editor and creative team, but throughout 2007 she seems to have been lacking in both; Gail has made some questionable career decisions, quitting the critical darling Birds of Prey to focus on the Atom, and the botched Wildstorm relaunch. There's always Wonder Woman in her horizon so things can only get better!

In the closing sequence of the issue, she pretty much lays out the characterization approach she took for each character, but it has all been too cut and dry and obvious throughout the run. Where she did succeed, was in getting each character's personal voice, through their individual narrations throughout the series. It was a bit gimmicky from time to time, but it did have tis moments, and managed to breathe some life into these -let's admit it- formulaic characters.


This issue quickly wraps up the Authoriteens plot (can we pleeeease see them again!) and moves the long-running Megan+Gen14 plot to the forefront for the big bang finale. The Gen13 kids face off against their (also) lab-grown clones to an anti-climactic emotional and tragic end.


Well, according to the script at least.

The fill-in art was so bad that it sucked away any emotional resonance that Simone might have intended for the issue and left it a dry husk. Kevin West is a tried and once-successful artist (Guardians of the Galaxy alumni) and Sunny Lee has had some experience through this title, but from the result here, they might have both been doing a sequential issue for te first time; especially Lee totally drops the ball, delivering unreadable sequentials and empty lifeless characters in the most uninspired breakdowns and storytelling choices. If I could wager, I would say this issue can't have taken more than 4 days to complete, judging from the quality of the art. Dear Wildstorm editors, this isn't Countdown, and there's many actually capable sequential artists, inkers and colourists out there who could do a good job of this issue. Just saying. If you're looking for someone to blame for the commercial failure of this relaunch, it's certainly not the writers' fault.


Grade: 3/10


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X-Men: Messiah CompleX

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Marc Silvestri

Marvel Comics


Off we go again!

Messiah CompleX is Marvel's newest crossover, hot on the heels of the as-yet-uncompleted Planet Hulk.

And yet, I've found myself eagerly awaiting its launch?

See, it's not just another crossover. it's an X-over, a crossover in the style popularized by the 90s X-titles, where the story is framed by two oneshots, but unfolds over the 4 or so main monthly titles, with each title's regular team handling the chores of their respective chapters, and all teams getting their involvement in the event.

Think Age of Apocalypse, the Phalanx Covenant, Onslaught. Think Scott Lobdell, and write the guy a royalty cheque.

Recap in brief: a stupidly-overpowered mutant witch decided to erase the mutant gene in existence; in an editorial fluke missed a couple hundred best-selling mutants, although she did manage to halt any new mutants from springing forward. Until now. Professor X has just registered a new mutant manifestation, so powerful it gave him a nosebleed (like, wow). The X-Men arrive on location too late, finding the area of the manifestation a burning holocaust, littered with the dead carcasses of kids and d-list villains: Reverend Stryker's remaining Purifiers (search Wikipedia under 'anti-mutant religious fanatics with big flamethrowers') taskforce has already been on the scene -before the X-Men's super-sonic alien technology plane, fliers and teleporters- playing Herod on the under-PG13 demographic, and engaging in a behind-the-scenes bloodbath with Mr Sinister's Marauders (see 'cloned mutant super-killers created by Silvestri in the 80s') -who also made it on the scene before the X-Men's super-sonic yadda yadda yak. Oh, and the new super-mutant is a newborn baby.


Marvel had requested an information and spoiler ban on the advance reviews of the issue, although it didn't hinder my writing this. The issue suffers from the same problems as the opening issue of Civil War. Marvel is so eager to promote the title that it has flooded the internet with information through the solicitations and interviews; there is nothing left for the issue to bring forward and surprise or entice the reader. We've known everything that's happening in here from a month ago. Marauders, Purifiers, new mutant birth, abduction, blah blah.

There's more review coming, so if you want to be spared the details:

Pretty but empty art, unsurprising and boring plot, forced emotional core, brings back creepy memories of Civil War #1.

And if you still want the long laundry list:

The Writing: This was an Ed Brubaker book? Is this what he's come to, really?

The issue serves as the opening salvo of the crossover, but it is strictly that, like an editorially directed shopping list of bullet points that have to be ticked off within a certain number of pages. There's no emotion, no snappy dialogue, not even any engaging action. It's a comic version of a press release announcing the crossover and its premise.

Not to say Bru isn't really pushing for an emotional reaction here. Burning holocaust, showing a dead kid, then going back in a flashback to show how the kid got charred, then more massacre, and when all that hasn't moved his point home, he goes ahead and plays the burning newborn babies card to really clinch in the drama. A bit over-done, when medium-baked would have sufficed. Just a few months ago Mike Carey managed to get tears in my eye with one terrifying scene 'killing' a Guthrie kid I had never heard of before, all within 7 pages of back-up story (X-Men Endangered Species). That was storytelling grace. Here we have the bludgeon effect, beating us into emotional submission until we 'cry' uncle. For the opening chapter of a crossover titled Messiah complex, the Herod analogies in the plot couldn't be more obvious if they stod up and spit in ur face.

It seems you can't open a proper crossover these days without at least leveling one fictional city and exploding a truckload of kids. Bru takes a page from Peter David's Writing handbook, and drops a reference to Civil War's Stamford in the opening chapter to play it safe an avoid other critics chastising him for the similarities.


At least this crossover isn't shy on actual villains like recent ones. The Marauders are back, as a random collage of the Acolytes, the Brotherhood and the original Mutant Massacre roster; the tables havesurely turned since their glory days in the 80s, since now the Marauders are the ones used as expendable cannon fodder.

The Purifiers and Predator-X also have a prominent role. Who? If we were supposed to be paying attention to New X-Men (of all titles!) all along, someone should have said something earlier... Bru doesn't explain more than a few morsels about who all these new names are, so you'd have to be patient to get to the pin-ups and bios in the back of the issue for more info. Lazy writing, not something I'd have associated with Bru before this. Narrative captions would sure have come in handy throughout this 'introductory' issue, although they're nowhere to be found. (btw: 'PREDATOR-X'?!? How very 90s of you mrKyle, mr Yost)

...until the last page that is, which feels entirely tacked on and editorially implemented, introducing the last player in the puzzle, the Predator-X. It's the only page in the entire issue to feature narration, and in the style reminiscent of the worst the 90s had to offer.

On to the art. Marc Silvestri is still considered a 'big' name and Marvel is obviouly proud to have him on board the crossover, providing muddy art, busy trite covers and poor storytelling. Well, not totally -Philip-Tan-bad, but still inappropriate for such big fracas.

Once more female characters enter the scene, it starts feeling like the invasion of the mutant Pamela Andersons! All the girls have perky boobs, apple-perfect bums, fluffy 90s hair and identical flawless faces.


Despite his butchering of Emma Frost, Nightcrawler and poor poor poor Beast (more like Bast here, although Silvestri had done an admirable job on the feline design during Morrison's closing arc of New X-Men), M.S. still manages to warm my heart with a stunning rendition of Angel - who is making his dynamic return with this issue. Not one chance is missed to feature Warren alone in a wide detailed panel, soaring in some sexy pose. Pity it probably took him as much time to do as the rest of the issue combined.

The storytelling is suffering throughout, going from one uninspired camera angle to the next, and the facial expressions are all frozen and unreadable. When Xavier first learns of the new mutant, I'm reading between the lines he's supposed to look content/happy/excited, but instead turns out evil, scheming, and twisted. Unless this is a shade of things to come?



The issue is closed by an array of gorgeous pin-ups by the best Marvel has to offer. The Simone Bianchi Marauders especially need to be made into a poster toute d'suite.

Grade: 4.5/10


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Marvel Zombies 2 #1

They're back, and they're hungry -- cosmic energy hungry!

After devouring the Devourer of Worlds in the end of the last mini, the Marvel Zombies have now scoured the galaxy and eaten everything in their path (including Ego the Living Planet, in a delightfully geeky segment), so they start to make their way back to earth. Their numbers include: Giant-Man, Spidey, Wolvie, the Hulk, Power-Man and new recruits: Phoenix, Thanos and Firelord -- although the newbies don't get much screentime as of yet.

Back on Earth, Kirkman loses the game by insisting on focusing on the mutants the 90s forgot: Forge, Fabian Cortez and the Acolytes. Barely anyone paid attention to them back in their glory days, so I see this as nothing more than geekboy masturbation, miring a story with great crossover appeal into unnecessary continuity.

Sean Phillips returns to the art duties, in his usual gory brilliance. He along with art buddy Charlie Adlard (Walking Dead) are responsible for the big Zombie fever currently taking over our medium, where it seems every month is Halloween! They deserve all the accolades they get.




Grade: 5/10

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Brave & the Bold #7

Power Girl and Wonder Woman have a girls' fight night out, squaring off against a trumped up Dr Alchemy. Superman acts as the damsel in distress, while the Challengers of the Unknown trudge on the complicated main storyline (do we really need it?).

Mark Waid forces the dialogue to project the differences between the two Super-Ladies (besides the neckline), making his hand too obvious. Just a one-off by-the-book crossover between these two leading ladies, without straying too far from expectations.

George Perez
is still the selling force behind this title, bringing his timeless style to the DCU. Although he does Power girl a disservice on the cover, his rendition of Kara inside the issue is something else.

For your enjoyment, a slashfic moment from the issue:



Grade: 6/10

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Alanis Morissette - Underneath



New original Alanis song after 3 years. Excuse the pirated video quality.

Wikipedia reveals the nitty gritty:


"Underneath" is the second song known to be written and recorded during the 2007 sessions. The song had an unofficial premiere on September 15, 2007 at The Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, at the Elevate Film Festival. The purpose of the festival was to create documentaries, music videos, narratives and shorts - regarding subjects to raise the level of human consciousness on the earth.

Morissette submitted her song, and then (like all other 14 videos) had the song's video written, directed, shot and edited in two days. The music video, while not having too much of a known plot - features Morissette and a few other characters around a pool, and swimming. The key symbol in the video tends to be water. Morissette also walks around, or lays down as she sings - either into or off camera. The song and video was met by a very receptive crowd. It is unknown whether this song will serve as an official single, and if so - if this video will be used or not. There is still no official announcement of the new album or when it may be released.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Wolverine





From Vasilis Lolos' upcoming Wolverine short story, some concept sketches

Logan should always look this rugged.
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Monday, October 29, 2007

The Ultimate Anti-Piracy Ad



Source: The I.T. Crowd s02e03 (pirated)
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Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Boys - Dragonette



I like them boys

Hot dog - God damn!
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