Posts tagged #comics

Josh's Inner Dorkdom Journal - Episode 7

Haven’t done one of these in a while! So to take a little break from the recent Star Trek related articles, I figured I’d once again share some of the things I’ve been digging on lately.

1. Arrow
Have you guys seen this show?! I’ve recently had a strong re-interest in the DC Universe due to the release of Injustice: Gods Among Us. I can honestly say that this is one of the best (if not the best) superhero shows I’ve ever seen. I’ve always liked Green Arrow (I love archer characters and folks in hoods), but this show offers a much more realistic take on the character, much like the Nolan Batman films. It’s tonally based on Mike Grell’s run on the Green Arrow comic starting with, The Long Bow Hunters, with elements of the Green Arrow: Year One arc thrown in for good measure. Wednesday night was the season finale of the CW network show, and man was it awesome! I highly recommend checking this out at some point. The series starts a little slow, but by around the third episode, it really starts gaining momentum. You can either wait for the DVD/Blu-Ray release, or do yourself a favor and watch them now on Amazon Instant Video for $1.99 per episode. It’s worth it! Arrow normally airs on The CW Wednesday nights at 7pm (Central) and will start its second season this fall.

2. The New 52
Speaking of the DC Universe… I’ve started reading a lot of the DC reboot comics under the “New 52” banner. I started with Flashpoint, then moved on to the trade version of The Justice League (both volumes), Justice League Dark (One of the most awesome comics I’ve ever read, in my opinion), and then to Green Arrow. Other than the second volume of Green Arrow which was extremely weak, these comics have been nothing but pure awesome! Oddly enough since I’m a huge Batman fan, I haven’t read any of the New 52 stuff involving Batman characters (other than JL). I plan to rather soon, though. If you have a KindeFire, or any other tablet (heck, a smartphone will do) and don’t care about collecting actual paper (the digital versions are a little cheaper, too), pick ‘em up and have yourself a read of these “funny books.”

3. Defiance
The Sci-Fi Channel (ugh… ok… ‘Syfy’) has never been the greatest place to go when it comes to original programming. Most of the shows and movies are extremely low budget and don’t offer much in the way of good content. Defiance, however, is a welcome exception to the rule. The videogame crossover/concurrently-running show actually has some potential. Reminds me a bit of Firefly in some ways and mixed with a little Eureka (another decent Syfy show). It’s only in its first few episodes, but so far so good. Defiance airs Monday nights on Syfy.

4. Game of Thrones
Man, I wish I had HBO! When I went to the Mortal Kombat tournament in Atlanta, GA last year, I saw an episode of this show in the hotel room… I had no idea what was going on (it was in the middle of the season), but I thought it was great! I’ve always been a fan of medieval fantasy stuff, so Game of Thrones was right up my alley. Once the Blu-Ray of the first season was released, I had to get it. Blown away. I really like compelling television and GOT has it in spades. Political intrigue, sword fighting, brutality, awesome characters and a pretty high budget for TV… It’s all there. In a way, it’s kind of like a live-action version of Skyrim or Dark Souls. It’s hardcore, medieval fantasy. A few months ago, I bought the second season and it continued to impress. The third season is about to wrap up on HBO, but the home video release won’t happen till around September or October. I believe it airs on Sunday nights on, you guessed it… HBO - A channel I do not have, nor will I pay for because of only two shows (True Blood is awesome, too). Keep in mind, though: This show is only for mature audiences. Viewer discretion is highly advised. It’s definitely not for the kiddies.

5. The Office
I have a bad habit of getting into TV shows waaaaaaay too late. Most of the time, the show has already been off the air a couple of years before I actually get around to it (i.e. Jericho, Buffy, Angel, Quantum Leap, Firefly, etc.). Unfortunately, by the time I got into The Office, the ninth and final season was just about to start up. Thank goodness for Hulu. Turns out they have the entire ninth season available and Netflix has seasons 1-8. The show is one that you definitely have to watch from the beginning. I remember seeing sporadic episodes here and there and thinking, “Man, this is dumb.” Started from the beginning, however, you get to know those characters and feel for them pretty early on. That’s what I really like about the show: As hilarious as it is, it really has a lot of heart. The series finale airs tonight on NBC.

6. How I Met Your Mother
Another show with a bit of a twist on the normal sitcom formula. This one has a long running continuity and mythology based around Ted’s (the main character) story of how he met his children’s mother. I got into this one around the sixth season, so not extremely late. The eighth season finale aired Monday night and after eight years, fans finally got to see “the mother.” This was a humongous reveal that will have a pretty big impact on the series as it moves into its ninth and final season. There have been some comments from the show’s producers that the entire next season will take place over the course of Barney and Robin’s wedding and that all of the main characters will meet “the mother” before Ted. In a way, that sounds really cool, but on the other hand, if this is the final season, I would really like to actually see Ted’s relationship with his future wife and how that leads him to marriage. I really hope the series doesn’t end with the two of them saying hello to each other and that’s it. How I Met Your Mother airs Monday nights on CBS and will begin its (likely) final season this fall.
That wraps up another episode. Hopefully, with classes over for the semester and a summer of freedom (except for work), I’ll be able to post more episodes.


Batman: Earth One (Hardcover) Review

First off,I’ll say that I liked this book. Second,I didn’t “love“ it. I’m always down for a new Batman story (he's my favorite superhero, after all) and there have been many takes on his origin in particular, but honestly,this book reads like a rejected Batman Begins movie script. Don’t get me wrong,I think that Geoff Johns is a good writer,but it seems as though Earth One tries a bit too hard to change things and doesn’t really succeed.

With Earth One,Geoff Johns presents a more realistic take on the Batman mythos. Perhaps it’s even more realistic than Chris Nolan’s Batman films. Instead of Bruce being trained by ninja (that’s the plural form of ‘ninja,’ by the way) as in the films, he is trained by a significantly harder edged version of Alfred Pennyworth. Alfred has always had a back story of being a little bit more hard edged than his butler lifestyle might lead one to believe,but here it goes full tilt. Alfred,in this story,is no mere butler; he is ex-royal military,walks with a cane,refers to Bruce as simply, “Bruce,” is Bruce’s legal guardian and his sparring partner.

Bruce as a child is also portrayed quite a bit differently than in previous incarnations. Here,he is played as a severely spoiled child,touting his family’s wealth and bragging about it. He’s also quite whiney.

Jim Gordon is handled a little differently as well. He is a bit more cowardly and accepting of Gotham City being run by crime lords at the beginning of the story, opting not to save a damsel in distress, simply because,“that’s just the way things are.”

I think my main problem with the book is that I just don’t like these new characters. I liked the fact that in previous versions,the characters were a little bit more moral. To me,Batman plays as more like an idiot in a suit rather than someone who generally wants to make criminals fear him. He just seems to have very little motivation throughout the story for donning the cape and cowl and fighting crime. Sure,his parents died and he wants vengeance to a certain degree,it’s just not as emotional as it could have been,or that it has been in something like Year One. I really would have no interest in seeing the rest of these character’s lives play out.

Next thing is the art. All in all,Gary Frank does a good job. The book looks good… except for Batman. I’m not crazy about the costume design,really. It kinda looks like a Ghostbuster jumpsuit with Batman’s cape and mask. That’s essentially it. Also,the decision to show Batman’s eyes rather than white slits is kind of iffy here. I don’t mind a more realistic take that shows the eyes. The “Arkham” game series does that pretty well. It’s just that sometimes,Frank’s version looks creepy for some reason.

I don’t know folks. Based on these criticisms,one might think I hated the book. I didn’t. I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. Alternate takes on characters have always been something that I’ve enjoyed,but this one just felt kind of lacking. In my humble opinion,Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One is still the definitive Batman origin story.

Story: 6/10 Art: 8/10

Total: 7/10


Posted on July 12, 2012 .

Dr. Comiclove Or How I Stopped Worrying And Enjoyed My Comics

I Love Comics (and a little about The Avengers)

I’m a visual person. I love movies because they are visual. I love TV because it is visual. And most importantly I love comics because they are visual. I have been a fan of comics since I first picked up Marvel’s G.I. Joe #1. With that one issue I was hooked. There was no going back. From that point on my collection could only get bigger with each new issue I bought and each new character I was introduced to. For the record, I have no preference as to which comic company that I pledge my loyalty to. I love DC Comics just as much as I love Marvel, Image, or any independent publisher (and we can debate the value of each until Barry Allen comes home, Oh wait… he is back, oh well). As long as the stories and art are good I will read them. Do I have my favorite characters, writers, and artists? Sure I do, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy something new and exciting. In a sense, in the comic book world, you can call me Switzerland.

I use to be very much a single issue to single issue person. When a new comic hit the stands I was there, in the comic shop every week, to pick it up. As you can imagine this can get very expensive. Between the regular ongoing series, the mini-series, the variant and incentive covers, and the spin-offs you could tally up a mound of debt just to fuel your habit. This lead me to back off the single issue train. I began to get the trade paperbacks and then I moved to the hard cover collections. It certainly reduces the cost associated with comic collection and it also alleviates any space concerns one might have. Am I saying that you shouldn’t support your local comic shop? Absolutely not!!! Comic shops are some of the best and most reliable places to buy any form of comics, hard covers, single issues, or trade paperbacks alike. They also provide fandom with a community in which people can talk about all things comic related or just find others who share the same tastes as you do. We all should support our local comic shops as much as possible.

For me the single issue collecting had to end. I had other obligations that took precedence over having every issue and cover of a particular series. Hard covers were the next best thing and could become collectible in their own right. I am also a fan of the oversized collection. To have the artwork in my favorite comics that much more visible and bold was a revelation to my eyes. I never new that comics could look this good. It was like going from VHS tapes to Blu-Ray. It made that big of a difference to me. I could see my favorite artists like never before and wanted as much as I could find. DC and Marvel were more than happy to provide the content (for a fee of course). While DC does a good job with their current output and high profile legacy work, some of the smaller stuff gets the shaft sometimes. Unfortunately, DC once again falls behind Marvel, as they have in the movie department, when it comes to collecting their comics in book form. Marvel’s omnibus editions are the top of the heap in terms of quality and quanity.

Recently I was able to get a few of these omnibuses (or omnibi) and I have been enjoying page after page of these massive editions that Marvel has the good graces to place in my hands. I am seeing comics that I read when they first saw print in an entirely new light. While not all of the art holds up with the improved quality of the paper, Marvel has gone above and beyond to make these editions not only represent the original content but also enhance the reading experience. Marvel doesn’t recolor the actual comics in the collection they just make sure that the art matches the higher quality of the materials used (Note: there is art in the collections that has been recolored but it is used as bonus material only). I could not be happier with these purchases and would highly recommend them to anyone who is a fan of Marvel and their comics. Live, Eat, Purchase, it’s the American way.

Moving on, I was able to catch The Avengers a second time. This is one heck of a movie and it keeps getting better each and every time I see it. The small details that you pick up here and there are astounding and make it that much more enjoyable with repeat viewings. As a professed geek, I am extremely happy that the world finally knows the value of the Marvel characters and these stories without the need to make huge changes to their original intent. Sometimes the first decisions by the creators are truly the best decisions. If you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favor and go now! If you have seen it GO AGAIN! We owe it to the world to knock Titanic out of its position on the box office charts. I think that we are going to do an entire podcast on The Avengers alone so I won/t spoil anything here. So certainly stay tuned

Same Thor time, Same Thor channel.

Supreme Comic Geek (official designation)