Monday, March 12, 2012


John Carter is doing well in the international market, but it seems to be tanking domestically. People, go and see this movie. It's the kind of epic for which theaters exist. My girlfriend knew absolutely nothing about any of the characters or concept, and she liked it quite a bit. Same with my 13-year-old nephew. It really is a big, epic, fun movie for the entire age spectrum. It's disheartening that the latest rape of a Dr. Seuss classic-- "The Lorax," which is being used to sell SUVs, for crhissake-- is doing much better. We don't get big action movies with a brain very often.
 And for anyone who thinks some aspects of John Carter look derivative: Edgar Rice Burroughs INVENTED this stuff with his John Carter of Mars work. Without John Carter, there would be no Buck Rogers, no Flash Gordon, and certainly no Star Wars. (And that's exactly how SW family tree looks: John Carter --> Buck Rogers --> Star Wars.)
 If you like movies that take you on a grand adventure without insulting your intelligence, GO AND SEE JOHN CARTER. When garbage like Michael Bay's Transformers abominations rake in countless hundreds of millions of dollars and we let quality films like John Carter wither and die on the vine, we have no one but ourselves to blame when we just keep getting more of the same crap.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Rant Review: Showcase Presents Batman, Volume 1

Five and a half short years after its publication, here are my thoughts on the first volume dedicated to Batman in DC's phone book-sized Showcase Presents reprint series. This is an expanded version of the review I posted on Goodreads.

This collection shows a Batman who is in a transitionary phase, slowly leaving behind the goofier elements common to superhero comics of the 1930s-50s. Beginning with the debut of the "new look" Batman in Detective Comics #327, this volume slows a slightly more down-to-earth Batman; gone are the strange transformations and travels to alien worlds. There is still plenty of lovable Silver Age goofiness though, and there is rarely a dull moment. Stories from this era provide a nice balance to the dark, "gritty" Batman that has been common the past few decades. I prefer the darker interpretation myself, but I also enjoy these more light-hearted tales quite a bit.

What is the "new look" Batman, you ask? When DC editorial decided to get rid of the over-the-top fantasy and sci-fi elements and bring the Batman books back to a more grounded level, the shift was personified in a costume tweak for the Caped Crusader; this was the debut of the yellow oval bat symbol we're all familiar with. The art style also changed; instead of a legion of ghost artists delivering art in the house style for Bob Kane to pretend he had drawn, Carmine Infantino started illustrating some of the Batman adventures, beginning with issue #327 of Detective Comics. Longtime Kane ghost artist Sheldon Moldoff (who tragically passed away a week ago) altered his art style to better fit the more realistic stories, and the overall look of the books improved a great deal, in my not-so-humble opinion.(It shows just how versatile Moldoff was that he shifted his art to such a large degree practically overnight, without missing a beat!)

To be sure, these stories still contain quite a bit of goofiness and ham-fisted narration and dialogue, but it was a drastic change from what had gone before, and a big step in the right direction. There was even a long-running story featuring the mysterious Outsider that unfolded over the course of a couple of years, which was highly unusual for the time. Things were going quite well in the Batman books, and then a certain TV show debuted... but that's something to discuss another time.

Bottom line: if you enjoy the inspired goofiness that pops up frequently in Silver Age comics, you'll enjoy this book. If you're a fan of the animated Batman: The Brave and the Bold TV series, this book is right up your alley.
My score:
Check this book out, fool!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Today is Creator-Owned Day!

As detailed here, March 1 is creator-owned day. I only just found out today, so I took a half hour to whip up some art of one of my favorite characters I've created, Penumbra. Here's the original black & white drawing, and a red-tinted version. You can open each one in a new tab to see the full-size versions.

Penumbra is wielding his sword Golgothar, which assembles around his hand from components housed in his gauntlet. Everyone be sure to check #CreatorOwnedDay on Twitter to see what everyone has posted!