Wednesday, February 25, 2009

BTW: Genius in Comics Marketing

Re-issued books #1-4.

New Comics Day

Just a couple books...

Green Lantern
Wonder Woman

Been looking forward to Green Lantern especially after the awesome cliffhanger from last issue. I'm getting more and more curious of how widespread the Blackest Night storyline will be, but I'm still hoping it will be localized to the Green Lantern books. In the meantime there seems to be all kinds of storypoints popping up right now, so Blackest Night can take its time. It will be hard pressed to deliver more than last year's Sinestro Corps War, but there's a little part of me that's hoping it can be just as good. And bully to all fans and readers if by some chance it does better. But what... what could they possibly do that would really turn everything GL related on its ear?

There is a great trade out this week, Tales of the Green Lantern Corps. I almost picked it up because of the nice reprint quality, but I recalled I do have all the issues in a big 'ol Green Lantern longbox. Maybe I just oughtta dig through there when my new comics pile runs dry. But if you're lacking those old issues and find yourself a Green lantern fan or follower of the Corps, there's alot of good stuff in this trade.

Friday, February 20, 2009

New Label Alert: Bubblicious

Bubblicious was a staple brand of gum while I was growing up. Well, they're still around and have repackaged their block style super-juicy chewing gum to be all hip and fresh with the kids.

Gone is the traditional long pack, in is the 5x2x1 flatpack.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

And the Watchmen movie will be...?

If you're at all like me, you've dreamed of a Watchmen movie for a long time. For that brief period when Terry Gilliam was attached, I believed the book would get the movie it deserved. But Hollywood never quite worked it out, and that was a fan's biggest fear. The last thing any lover of the novel would want is some hokey summer blockbuster or lo-rent direct-to-video. My dream held vision of a Watchmen film that contended for best picture. A bit much to ask, but hey, it's Watchmen.

Well, Hollywood is right good and fucked beyond redemption, so as a blanket attitude I don't expect much. That's why the drizzling of info and imagery from Zack Snyder's production surprised me. That guy is trying to do something as best he can, and its starting to look like he's going to pull it off!

But... as I wrote prior, I just finished re-reading the novel. How the fuck is this going to be adapted to a movie?

Is it really going to follow the story? Can screen time be taken up by vast segments of pure dialog? Will they at least keep all the best dialog, like Dan's thoughts about their past to Laurie? Doctor Manhattan remembering his life? Rorshach's explanation of his origin? Ozymandias' crazy awesome explanation of his master plan?

How do you adapt the nine-panel grid narrative of the comics to much more linear film storytelling. Is the movie going to skip around in the timeline at random intervals or will it be told from front to end?

What are they going to cut out? What are they going to add?

How come Nite Owl looks all buff and cut like Batman? He's supposed to be kinda out of shape, that's part of his charm as he gets back into the action...

Will they keep the ending? Or what did they change it to??? Will it work as well?

It it just an adaptation of the novel? Are they going to try any meta storytelling in regards to film or hollywood? Will the symbolism and metaphors be culled direclty from the novel or instead reflect on the movie? Will they go highbrow or lowbrow? Will there be a car chase? (Never underestimate Hollywood's ability to insert a car chase into a movie)

I think that while I may be looking forward to the movie, I'm really looking forward to some insane director's cut 5-hour DVD that I can sit and watch with the book in my hands. Comparing frames and shots to the comics panels, all geek-like... at least if the movie is half as good as we hope it is.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

My favorite Watchmen chapters

It's always great to talk about Watchmen with different people, because everyone has their own favorite little bits. It's also cool to see the common ones that everyone seems to be attached to. I tend to keep the story organized in its chapters, and have favorite parts within and as a whole.

:: Spoiler Alert ::

Chapter 4, Watchmaker
Always a favorite, and it has been even from early readings. I love the notion of time travel in general, and the split/simultaneous narrative told from Doctor Manhattan's point of view is fascinating stuff. It's so well told-- and well drawn considering the variety of events that need to happen from different viewpoints. It's a tragic origin that speaks volumes on Manhattan's character and how he was destined to detach himslef from fellow man, only to struggle to regain it later. In Manhattan's character Alan Moore creates the ultimate Superman, a near god-like being who has the power to bend his universe to his will. Half straight-man, half deus ex machina, Doctor Manhattan acts as the lynchpin of change Watchmen's world. His sci-fi wrapping is good stuff in a great cast.

Chapter 7, A Brother to Dragons
I remember when I first "got" this chapter. Then I remember when I really got it. Heh. Dan's costume watches intently throughout, beckoning him to the inevitable. It wants to be worn, it wants Dan back. Of course the best part is the blossoming relationship between Dan and Laurie, and their own re-acquaintances with Nite Owl and Silk Spectre. Dan, down in the Owl cave, basically lays it all out as an adult looking back on his youth, setting up future themes of the book and the books message itself. I also love the scene on the couch with the newscast, that still cracks me up (I hope its played out word for word in the movie). Dan's dream sequence is still chilling and profound. And it's hard not to cheer for the guy when he gets the suit back on and finally hooks up with Laurie.

Chapter 11, Look On My Works, Ye Mighty
Veidt as Ozymandias is pretty badass. I usually end up reading this chapter twice because Ozymandias' monologue is just so damn freaky and amazingly cool. And he probably has the best line in the whole book, "I did it thirty-five minutes ago." What's also great about this chapter is that it starts the "gathering of heroes," as everyone begins to merge for the confrontation, tho not what they each expected. Its has a hell of a cliffhanger and it what makes the conclusion in Chapter 12 as satisfying as it is bizarre.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What is Watchmen about again?

"What is watchmen about?" someone may ask. "Well, uh, its kind of a murder mystery with superheroes, there's like a love story in there, and there's this blue dude who can do anything, and there's about to be a world war..."

No, no, that's just the plot. What is Watchmen about?

Watchmen is about fear. It is about loss. It's about the fear of losing that which you love most. It is about nostalgia; the rose colored glasses you look through where that love is involved. And how sometimes you will do almost anything to hang onto it.

Watchmen is about comics.

Really, it is. It's about an industry that cannibalizes itself over and over, where each successive generation of fans grows smaller and smaller. It's about how the longer you read comics, the more you'll hate them because they'll never be as good as when you remember them having the most impact on your childhood imagination. It's about how no crisis, no reboot, no creator, no matter how powerful, will turn the tide. And most of all it's about the foolish notion that any one man has the answer to make it all better. It is here, in what is either a moment of ultimate hubris or ultimate premonition, that writer Alan Moore condemns both himself and the very story he is writing. It's Brilliant, with a capital B.

I certainly won't say the over-arching metaphor doesn't mean different things to different people, but the book is most definitely about comics. On a larger level comics itself is the metaphor for anything that we loved and longed for in "the good old days" and that's what makes Watchmen so powerful. The fact that the hidden metaphor is comic books, and Watchmen itself is a comic book is what brings Watchmen to its level of "whoa."

There are plenty of people who discuss this in depth with far more scholarly aplomb than I. If you've never done so, and look for an inkling that is the depths of Watchmen, I suggest you poke around the web and read up on things a bit. It will certainly enhance your enjoyment.

Wikipedia: Watchmen
Watchmen Wiki
Watchmen Discussion with Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
The Annotated Watchmen
Notes on Watchmen

These are just a few I found in a passive search. You have to dig a little deeper now that the movie info dominates google searches, but it's out there if you're interested.

by Alan Moore + Dave Gibbons

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

New Comics Day

Green Lantern Corps
Wonder Woman
Young Liars

Neal Gaiman on Batman... which may or may not be clean up duty. Okay, I'll bite. Nice Kubert art, too. Andy Kubert, that is, but he throws down the retro with the best of them (with that lineage it's hard to imagine otherwise). And couple cool sketchbook pages in the back that shows a jealousy-inducing level of comfort with the pencil. I'm curious as to the collected future of this story, since at two issues its outside the norm for trade collections, but would make a hefty double-up reprinting. But then, why not wait for that anyways? There's something to be said for including it in Batman proper, since a standalone would look to be a little awkward in current DCU goings on. So mixed feelings on the format, but looking forward to the read.

Mongul slowly inching his way back into the spotlight, and a ton of other great Corps moments in GLC. Man the Green Lantern books are on fire these days. Kind of funny that the cover has to cram both the headers for "Blackest Knight" and "Origins and Omens." Enough with the uber-branding already!

Wonder Woman (shipped couple weeks ago) is getting a little weird as writer Simone continues building the foundation for her personal WW legacy. It certainly has points of interest, but even as a sub-plot the whole Olympian/Amazon origin seems a little rushed. Several other long-embedded plot threads are concluding as well. But Lopresti's art continues to impress. Some great pages here of Wonder Woman in full battle armor, followed by cool battle-ready regalia of both Troia and Wonder Girl!

Young Liars, um, this book is fucking insane. I really hope I'm not in the minority in being someone who enjoys the hell out of this title.

Also on the stands today is the first hardcover collection of All Star Superman, parts 1-6. It is totally worth it, tho I am holding out for a deluxe treatment of the whole series, be that Absolute or some other 12-issue form.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Re-reading Watchmen

Oh, man, what a read. Watchmen is something I take off the shelf every other year or so. I knew I had to get into it again with the pending movie release and gear up on the deep, creamy lore.

I'll admit the first time I read Watchmen, lo those two decades ago, it didn't do too much for me. It was cool in some sense in just being weird and unlike the other funnybooks, but I certainly didn't "get it." I was still a Marvel Zombie, all of 13 years old, and the greater tropes of literature were a ways off.

I'm gonna say it was in high school where my reading kicked into high gear, beyond the Hardy Boys and the childhood classics and into dense sci-fi and academic required reading. My comics reading was also reaching its peak, and Watchmen was starting to see its reprints as ever-present stock in comic book stores. Picking up a trade I dove in anew to try and recall what the fuss was about, and started to see a glimmer of its genius. Now actually conscious of what a metaphor was and how it worked, Watchmen kind of blew my mind. But I still don't think I got it like older readers had.

So as it happens I got older and read it again, and then again, and Watchmen started to become very special. To those points since its publication nothing was working on Watchmen's level of layering, symbolism, dialog, and juxtaposition. More discussion was happening in readers circles, and the burgeoning web was allowing for greater discourse and dissection. I had probably peaked at my comics buying and was growing weary of the industry's circular universes and overall bloated catalog. Soon my brief career move into the comics industry itself would congeal my growing apathy and begin its slow but steady decline. With a long tail of comics buying and reading, plus a greater understanding of comics history as a whole, the meta-story of Watchmen focused like a laser as it had for the generation before mine. Few books add to themselves over repeated reading like Watchmen.

To skirt overselling, the book is a god-damn work of genius and deserves every credit for being so often cited as the best comic ever written. Like Citizen Kane and its own lofty accolades, Watchmen delivers time after time on so many points its kind of scary. What astounds me still is how Watchmen seems releveant now as much as it did the first time around, in terms of world relations and general comics industry shenanigans. There are periods where Watchmen is just a good book, and others like now where it is practically screaming in your face.

The upcoming movie can only be derivative work. Who knows what's in and what's out, because the novel's very nature prevents accurate adaptation in another medium. But damn if I'm not looking forward to it. Re-reading the novel only brought up a hundred other questions, some of which I will explore in my coming posts.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


Scott Pilgrim!

Scott Pilgrim!!

Scott Pilgrim!!!

If you only buy one book this year, buy SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE UNIVERSE.

If you happen to only buy four more books this year, pick up the preceding volumes!

Yes, I like Scott Pilgrim.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Perils of the Modern Age

Recently passing by a local Domino's, I spied a large window trapping of some so-called "American Legends" pizzas. One of which was labeled "Pacific Veggie" that looked halfway tasty.

I made a note to order one when next I felt too lazy to cook, which happened to be just the other day. Ordering pizza online is pretty painless, and I usually do so, but for whatever reason decided to call this one in personally. If only I could have foreseen... When I dialed up and asked for the American Legend Veggie pizza, I first had to clarify it was indeed on the menu after it didn't come up on the computer. I restrained from mentioning said pizza was displayed about 3 feet wide on his front window. After a odd delay on hold, I got this response:

"Sorry sir, the computer is being a bit of a jerk right now. It won't let me select that pizza."

Stupid computers, always being jerks. "So, um, I can't order it?"

"Well the computer won't let me enter it in. I guess you could order the regular veggie pizza."

"Eh, no thanks." (Only the -Pacific- Veggie has feta!)

"Yeah, well, for whatever reason, like I said I can't put in the Pacific Veggie order right now."

"Couldn't you just, you know, write it down?"

"Hold on, let me check with the manager."

Really? Really?? Look, I know how the system works, I know they enter the order into the computer and all the details show up for the cooks in the back. They make your pizza to order and the sticker with your name goes on it and it's all streamlined. But damn if one glitch in the system doesn't cripple the entire process.

Finally the dude came back on. He wasn't being lame about it or anything, he was real nice, just trying to do his job within the constraints of the system. "Okay, we can put your order in, but the order on the box is actually going to say our regular "Big Veggie" even tho the actual pizza we make will be the Pacific Veggie."

"Yea man, whatever works." I had to choose my next words carefully, lest I tug quantum threads too tightly and accidentally rend the fabric of space-time. "Can I request no olives on my order?"

"Sure, no problem." Success! "That will be [ridiculously obscene price for a pizza]." Dammit!

One thing I know from experience is that when ordering by phone, or even in person, pizza guys will always try to screw you on the price. You have to "remind" them to honor their adverts. During our lengthy conversation I actually pulled up the Domino's web site as a backup plan. "Dude," I responded, "I'm looking at the ad right now, it's a large pizza for $12.99."

"Hold on... okay, your total is [miraculously and suddenly accurate]."

And we're done. I chose to pick up the pizza myself to avoid any other potential shenanigans. And I have to say from a mass pizza chain the Pacific Veggie was indeed tasty.