Thursday, July 28, 2011

My Review Featured on IGN: Fables #107

Fables #107

The story works well enough as it follows the day of a wannabe emperor attempting to awaken Sleeping Beauty, but takes too long to get to the good part (the aforementioned black ops goblins) and ultimately feels like setup for a bigger story, as Willingham is often wont to do (I’m looking at you, Forsworn Knight). Regardless, Moore turns this average tale into something where your eyes will find something new every read. Oh look, the cutest elephant fountain you’ve ever seen! Check out the rest at IGN!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Enrica Jang's Azteca: A Page-Turner from Start to Finish

Azteca #1
I visited the Miami SuperCon two weeks ago. It was full of traditional comic convention fare: lots of panels to listen to, a wide selection of merchandise to buy, and no shortage of teenagers dressed as Naruto running amok down the aisles. Among the chaos, one independently produced comic book had a lot of buzz on the floor: Azteca by Enrica Jang. Check out the rest on Broken Frontier!

Check out my SDCC 2011 Coverage!

Locke and Key Pilot Screening

The pilot of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez's fantasy horror series Locke and Key was shown at San Diego Comic Con. The pilot was passed on by FOX and will not be aired on television, but the studio agreed to let the creators air it for fans at SDCC. Studios normally prefer not to show failed pilots (notice that there was no Wonder Woman pilot screening at SDCC), so this proved to be a rare treat for fans of the critically acclaimed series.





Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards

The 23rd annual Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards (think of them as the Oscars for comic books) went down with IDW taking home the most awards (5), including a well-earned Best Writer Eisner for Joe Hill for Locke and Key

Captain America's Avengers costume was on display at Marvel's booth during San Diego Comic Con.

Review: X-Men: Schism #2

X-Men: Schism #2

Unknown to the X-Men, twelve year-old Kade Kilgore has killed his father, taken over the Hellfire Club, and orchestrated this global backlash against all mutants. Here lies the real threat in lieu of the broken Sentinels. Kade’s character feels fresh and dynamic: he’s got daddy issues, a chilling sinister feel to his words, and the way he lets everyone know he’s two steps ahead of the game makes him feel all the more dangerous. He meets up with a group of kids as unflinchingly evil as he is, with the little girl in a pink dress taking the cake for most disturbing child character in recent memory. It’s unbelievable what she pulls out of her matching pink purse, or what she does when she doesn’t like someone’s face. Check out the rest on Broken Frontier!

SDCC 2011: Lines Suck, but Creators are Awesome!

I attended my first ever San Diego Comic Con this month and it was an experience unlike any other.

Let me get the bad stuff out of the way first. Lines suck! If you wanted to see any of the big panels such as Game of Thrones, Steven Spielberg's Tintin, The Amazing Spider-Man, or any of the other big-name presentations, you have to get in line the night before and camp out in a shanty town, or wait in line all day for hours and hours. I got in line 3 hours ahead of time to try and get into the Game of Thrones panel, but there were over 2000 people in front of me by the time it started. I also tried getting into the Grant Morrison panel by waiting in line 2 hours in advance, but they cut the line off when I was 5 people from the door. Lesson learned: if you're there for panels, you don't get to walk around and enjoy the convention, you get to sit in line for hours on end.

The Game of Thrones line for Ballroom 20A went down a long hallway, outside, down a flight of stairs, through a series of tents, down some more stairs, off the convention center grounds, and past a local marina (as you can see from the water on the left). 
The next day I learned my lesson and got there super early and was front and center for the Locke and Key pilot screening and creator panel. I will be doing an in-depth review of the pilot on Broken Frontier this week, but suffice to say it was amazing. It felt like watching Pan's Labyrinth for the first time again, and I consider that my second favorite movie of all time (just behind The Fifth Element).

Afterward I went to some interesting panels, and one of the highlights was listening to X-Men: First Class co-writer Zack Lentz talk about his experiences writing the movie. He was a riot (as were all of the others on the panel) and made some great points about how homo-driven Charles and Erik's relationship is.

I spent the rest of the day walking around the convention floor picking up various pieces of swag, talking to writers and artists, and paying nine dollars to eat a tiny pizza. One graphic novel I picked up of note was Bad Kids Go To Hell, which - you guessed it - will be getting a review from me on Broken Frontier. It's like The Breakfast Club except the kids start dying instead of learning life lessons.

I've said this before and I'll say it again: to get into this industry (or any industry, really) you have to be a nice person. The biggest thing that stands out among most of the writers and artists is that they are kind, have good memories, behave sociably, and have the ability to carry on a thoughtful conversation. I bumped into Geoff Johns on the way to a bar and he remembered me as "that guy who wrote that article and dressed up as Kyle Rayner" and we had a funny conversation about Lebanese food. See what I mean? You must have talent, of course, but on top of that you have to be someone who others want to work with, and making good first impressions on artists, writers, and editors at these types of conventions is the first step. Not everyone I met at SDCC was a shining example of this, in fact a few were quite rude, and I'd bet that their careers won't have as much longevity as those with good personalities. So be good, be engaging, and smile big!

The next day I attended the Green Lantern and DC: The New 52 panels. Johns was not on the list of panelists but he made a "surprise" appearance for both of them anyway. The most exciting news to come from the GL panel was that we would finally learn the mysteries of the Indigo Tribe in the first issues of the relaunched GL book. As for the New 52 panel, no real news was dropped. The various creators just talked about their new books and showed off some art. Still, it was amazing to sit for an hour and listen to Jim Lee, Johns, and Grant Morrison chat about comics.

At one point a feisty young woman dressed as Batgirl got up and pointedly asked the panel if they were committed to hiring more women. Looking at the panel consisting of 10 white straight males, the question was not undeserved, but her question could have been posed differently to better help her cause. In the end, Morrison ended the conversation by saying, "Are there women who want to work for this company? Then tell them to send their stuff in." While that is a fine statement - especially in his amazing Scottish accent - it doesn't address the discrimination against women in comics and how it appears to be harder for a woman to get the same writing job so many men have.

Overall, the con was amazing even with the awful first day I had due to my ignorance about line wait times. I'd definitely recommend it to any comic book fan - just be prepared to deal with suffocating masses of people, long lines, and angry Bat-women.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Touched For the Very First Time: Crawl To Me

In a Joshua Yehl-first, something I said in a review was used to promote a book!!!

Reviews: X-Men: Schism #1, Hellboy: The Fury #2, Crawl To Me #1

X-Men: Schism #1

The teasers for Schism said that this event will split the X-Men, half siding with the ready-for-war Cyclops and the others joining the let's-solve-this-peacefully Wolverine. Wolverine adopting Professor X’s more passive point of view seemed strange, but after reading the first issue, it’s clear that Wolverine is not a bloodthirsty fanged cat; rather, he’s a mother wolf fiercely protecting her young. Keep reading at Broken Frontier!

Hellboy: The Fury #2

The main conflict features Hellboy beating the, well, hell out of the Dragon. Fegredo makes each punch with Hellboy’s oversized fist feel harder and more devastating than the last. Just looking at it will make your knuckles hurt. Finish reading at Broken Frontier!

Crawl To Me #1

When I sat down to read Crawl to Me, I had just taken a big bite out of a ham and turkey sandwich with white American, avocado spread, and a thick tomato slice – the perfect meal to satisfy me after a long day where I had to skip lunch. The story was so gripping that I hadn’t even taken a second bite out of my sandwich by the time I was done. But when I looked at it afterward, the meat on the sandwich covered in the gooey red insides from the tomato vividly reminded me of countless dead bodies littered across a pedophile’s lawn. Let’s just say that I didn’t finish the sandwich.  Read the rest at Broken Frontier!

War of the Green Lanterns Proves It: Sinestro is Darth Vader

War of the Green Lanterns Proves It: Sinestro is Darth Vader

Who would have ever thought the new Green Lantern of sector 2814 would be Sinestro? It came as a big surprise to me, but looking back it makes perfect sense because Sinestro is the Darth Vader of the Green Lantern Saga. Read the rest at Broken Frontier!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Reviews: Flashpoint: Batman - Knight of Vengeance #2, Shinku #2

Flashpoint: Batman - Knight of Vengeance #2

A lot of the fun with reading Flashpoint tie-ins is seeing how long-standing characters have drastically changed in this altered universe. Catwoman, the Joker, and Batman himself are obvious standouts, but Azzarello goes one further and twists the usually collaborative Gordon into a detective who prefers to work solo without Batman’s help. Watching him attempt to locate the Joker makes for a page-turning plotline that climaxes into a huge reveal. The reveal is shocking at first, but the theme of this Flashpoint Batman series makes it feel intuitive; Azzarello perfectly set up all the pins and delivers an earth-shattering strike. Keep reading at Broken Frontier!

Shinku #2

Shinku, who wears a permanent scowl with high-arching eyebrows at all times, violently slays vampire after vampire in an attempt to get to Asano, who is responsible for the death of her clan over 400 years ago. This second installment has more blood, more action, and more vampires, but still makes some of the same mistakes as the first. Keep reading at Broken Frontier!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Thunderbolts #160 Review was Featured on IGN!

Thunderbolts #160

With so many characters stuffed into this issue, Shavley does a praiseworthy job of creating unique settings for them to plot and fight in; a particularly funny scene shows the B Team sitting around eating emergency rations while Mr. Hyde lays passed out naked on a crate. Later, even though Parker's scripting takes a confusing turn when Songbird somehow uses her power to make the Juggernaut run up a spiraling pink treadmill, Shavley saves the scene by making it a visual wonder. Read the rest at IGN!

Reviews: Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Force #1

Fear Itself: Uncanny X-Force #1

A young superhero has been taken hostage by mutant-hating religious fanatics called the Purifiers and X-Force must slice, dice, and “stabby stabby” their way to save him. Williams handles the team with such a great balance of violent action, deft characterization, and black humor that one would be hard-pressed to notice it’s not main series regular Rick Remender writing the book. Read the rest at Broken Frontier!