Thursday, May 28, 2009

Episode 26 - Talking The Contingent #2

This week I sit in a relaxing setting and discuss an independent book that I recently found myself reading. Nothing like a 15 minute show!

Music featured is by Nirvana

http://hardcastleindustries.com/


Download / iTunes / Forum

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Ford's Focus - May 19th 2009 to May 24th 2009

Written By: Ford Thomas


COMICS BOUGHT:
*The Poor Bastard TP (library)
*Monster Attack Network TP (library)
*Crawl Space: XXX Zombies TP (library)
*Breach #5, 9, 10, 11
*League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century: 1910
*Agents Of Atlas #5
*Air #9
*Batman: Battle For Cowl #3(of 3)
*Captain America #50
*Doctor Who: The Time Machination
*Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance #1(of 6)
*Four Eyes #3
*Jack Of Fables #34
*Locke And Key: Head Games #5
*Outsiders #18
*Supergirl #41
*Superman/Batman #60
*Overlook #2(of 3)
*Johnny Hiro TP
*Oishinbo: Ramen and Gyoza TP
*Daredevil: Yellow TP (library)
*Moon Knight: The Bottom HC (library)

COMICS READ:
*Zombie World: Champion of Worms #1-3
*Anna Mercury #5
*Air Boy: 1942: Best Of Enemies
*Hip Flask: Concrete Jungle HC (library)
*Batman: The Joker’s Last Laugh TP (library)
*Everything ‘bought’ except for Johnny Hiro, Oishinbo, Breach and League Of
Extraordinary Gentlemen

Hip Flask: Concrete Jungle is one of those rare books that not only pulls you into the story and the world the characters inhabit, but it contains some incredible art as well as being packaged in an oversized hardcover which really makes this something special.
Hip Flask is a character I used to see in one page strips in the back of Image (?) books in the late 90’s which seemed to just be ads for the author Richard Starkings design and lettering agency Comicraft. So when the Hip Flask and Elephantmen comics started coming out I didn’t think much of it.
The oversized pages show off the detail in Ladronn’s artwork and he seems to make the most it. The darker colour palette at first glance is similar to that of many Marvel books at the moment, which occasionally is too dark and the art suffers, but the colouring in Hip Flask couldn’t be further from that! You can see the labour and control put into the colouring and the pages really shine.
One of my big pet peeves in comics is either TV or radio captions, they bore me endlessly, I don’t know why, they bog the story down for me even when they are relevant to the story progression which they rarely seem to be. But in Hip Flask, the radio was very well dialogued, funny, and enjoyable to read, and before it had a chance to get away from the writer/s (pages 6-36 are co-written by Starkings and Joe Casey) it was also relevant to the story giving the reader a better insight to the world that Hip Flask inhabits, a device which isn’t over used.

Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s Daredevil: Yellow was the first in their ‘colour’ series for Marvel. It begins with Daredevil in current time going back to a burnt out Fogwell’s Gym, the place where Daredvil/Matt Murdock’s father used to train. An old boxing poster on the wall takes us to the real beginning of the story, with a nice little transition from the poster to a newspaper headline about the advertised match.
Through out all the issues the candid narration in the form of an ongoing letter from Matt Murdock to Karen Page makes you feel like you’re there. As well as the story consisting of retold elements that are familiar with most Daredevil readers reinforcing the nostalgia.
A nice omission was that of the Daredevil origin sequence of young Matt Murdock pushing a blind man out from in front of an oncoming truck carrying radioactive waste, which crashed spilling some of the waste on Matt’s eyes making him blind but heightening his remaining senses.
About halfway through there seemed to be a slight drop in the arts quality which could relate to time constraints, or Sale’s general familiarity with his subject making for a more relaxed and loose style. Around this point there were a few sentences/paragraphs that were worded in a peculiar way, which took me out of the story and required multiply re-readings. At first, I thought it was written in a certain way to suit a character’s speech and thought rhythms, but the re-readings made that not seem to be the case, a minor complaint if one at all.
Sale’s art is a little inconsistent in the character portrayals but that adds to their personalities and there are never times when you are not sure who is who. The most enjoyable part of the reading experience would have to be Sale’s depictions of the city, buildings and interiors as well as his use of space in certain panels to give added ‘weight’ to certain moments.
It was funny how reading Daredevil: Yellow made me miss Karen Page more than ever. She’s a character I’ve never really got to know except for in Kevin Smith’s run (where my love of Daredevil began) in which she was killed off. Even the revealing, or at least to me, of her less than wholesome past for some reason didn’t tarnish my love of her.
At the end of part 5 you witness Matt’s ‘true colours’ as he lets out his feelings for Karen even though he knows Foggy is going to propose to her, a moment where you quickly remember how selfish he is. Which, once again, made me wonder why I’ve been reading the adventures of this dislikeable jerk for as long as I have with such affection.
At the end of Daredevil: Yellow, you find out that Matt has been writing his letter/narration to Karen after her death which gives it a nice place in continuity that seemed unnecessary to me, but at the same time gives reason to Matt looking back on his past.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Episode 25 - A World of Burden

Number 25! This week I am joined by good friend Mr. Matt Burden as we discuss movies, comics, and just shoot the shit. Plus, the dude is British!

Download / iTunes / Forum

Star Trek: A Theatrical Experience

Written By: Devyn Rodriguez

I have no real familiarity with Star Trek. I can pick up a Star Trek reference when it is show in some other type of media. I didn’t think much of Star Trek. Great ideas, but often I thought the execution of said ideas were often very boring or uninteresting. That being said, this movie was all sorts of awesome.
I saw the movie in Imax, and it kicked all sorts of ass. The Imax experience was truly that, an experience. The movie is visually amazing, from the opening shot to the final images. The inside of the Enterprise looks crisp and has brilliant lighting, and the movie overall was a visual treat. The special effects really have to be experienced first hand, because this is one of the best visually looking films in a very long time.
The plot was very fast paced. The plot moves along at a very fast pace but at no time does the film not spend enough time at certain character moments. The characters are fleshed out and the crew interaction is exceptional. The movie is never dragged on by exposition in the traditional “talking head” sense, but instead we see the result the plot has on the characters and learn a lot more through their actions than their speech. The story has a truly brilliant plot that allows the franchise to go in new directions and keep Trekkie continuity intact. I believe the story was really great. The movie made the wise decision of making a lot of the beginning scenes in Iowa. It allowed for there to be a great space story but give the world a certain relatable feeling. This is not some galaxy far, far away. This is the future. And lets face it, when Kirk and Spock are beamed into the main deck of the Romulan ship; you get one of the best gun fights in sci-fi cinema. The story was funny when it needed to be, yet always took itself seriously and was even sad at points.
The acting was superb. Chris Pine played a great Captain Kirk. Lets face it, the best protagonist are often the ones that are the “wild cannon”. Pine played the role brilliantly, as he was always charismatic and active, but was never to eccentric to the point of becoming a nuisance to the audience. The scene where he warns Captain Pike of a potential Romulan attack is a great example of everything Kirk should be as a leading protagonist. His interactions with Spock are great, and Zachary Quinto plays a great Spock that can arguably be looked at as the second main protagonist. They had a great back and forth relationship that slowly changed throughout the course of the movie. The whole crew of the Enterprise was both great on an individual level and interacting with each other.
J.J. Abrams and the whole Bad Robot crew did a great job in making the film accessible but also giving old fans of the series easter eggs to geek out over. A lot of Trekkies that I sat around in the audience loved it, but the uninitiated also enjoyed the movie (there was a red shirt, and he did bite the dust much to the audiences delight). This was everything the Star Wars Prequels could have been. This was a big budget action movie with a heart, and I am officially a fan of the series. I hope that this will start a new film series that will both live long and prosper.

I give it a ten “Teenage Wasted Lands” out of ten.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Back to the Bins - Episode 6

Pulling out the Long Boxes once again this week to get our Back Issue fix!

Download

Monday, May 18, 2009

Ford's Focus - May 11th 2009 to May 18th 2009

Written By: Thomas Ford

COMICS BOUGHT:
*Action Comics #877
*Azrael: Death’s Dark Knight #3(of 3)
*B.P.R.D.: The Black Goddess #5(of 5)
*Echo #12
*Fables #84
*Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape #1(of 6)
*Green Lantern Corps #36
*Guerrillas #4(of 9)
*House Of Mystery #13
*Jack Staff #20
*Oracle: The Cure #3(of 3)
*R.E.B.E.L.S. #4
*Super Human Resources #4(of 4)
*The Unwritten #1
*Blazing Combat HC
*Oishinbo: Sake TP
*The Walking Dead: Compendium TP
*Hip Flask: Concete Jungle HC (library)
*Spider-Man: Kraven’s Last Hunt HC(library)
*Thor Visionaries: Walter Simonson TP (library)
*Batman: The Joker’s Last Laugh TP (library)
*Across The Universe: The DC Universe Stories Of Alan Moore TP (library)

COMICS READ:
*Ms Tree Quarterly #5
*Omega The Unknown #7-10
*Pigeons From Hell #2
*Elongated Man: Europe ’92 #1-4
*Anna Mercury #1-4
*Superman: Speeding Bullets
*Nancy/Melvin Monster FCBD
*Johnny Dynamite: Underground TP(library)
*Stray Bullets Vol. 1:Innocence Of
Nihilism TP (library)
*Superman: Secret Identity TP (library)
*Clumsy GN (library)
*All bought single issues

Max Allan Collins is one of those names that you hear about a lot before finding out who he is or what he does, or at least for me. Having never read Road to Perdition or seen the movie, only recently did I find out that Collins was the writer. Still he did seem like someone who only stopped by the comics world. Little did I know that not only has he done quite a lot of comics work, but it is also really good from the little that I’ve read.
I first came across Ms Tree last year in The Mammoth Book of Best Crime Comics. I thought that the story featured in it was a one off until I started seeing ads for Ms Tree Quarterly in the back of late ‘80’s/early ‘90’s DC Comics which got me interested in tracking down some back issues. It wasn’t until I crack opened an Ms Tree Quarterly a few months ago did I realise that it was the same character from The Mammoth Book…
Accompanying Collins on all things Ms Tree is artist Terry Beatty. At first Beatty’s clean lines and consistent character depictions only seemed serviceable, but upon further reading, his thick and confident lines really grew on me. Shadows/shading are rarely used and if so are usually depicted as a few lines leaving quite a lot of the mood setting to colourist Tom Ziuko(at least in Ms Tree Quarterly #5). Facial expressions are definitely one of Beatty’s strengths, figures occasionally seem stiff but that could be due the heavy lines, which is one my favourite aspects of his art.
The story in MTQ #5 has Ms Tree tracking down a strangler/rapist on the campus of her stepson’s (who shares the same name of Michael Tree with her) college. The subject matter is strongly handled but comes across almost like a public service announcement which could hold back most stories, but here the story and characterization are handled with great skill and come together as a thrilling read.
The issue also contains a Midnight back up feature by Edward Gorman and Rick Burchett. Midnight is a vigilante who disguise/costume is basically a navy blue parker and fedora that conveniently shadows his eyes.
Johnny Dynamite, a title picked up by Charlton Comics in the ‘50’s, was purchased (character and existing stories) by Collins and Beatty during the ‘80’s at what I assume was the same time DC were buying up other Charlton characters for their own purposes. They soon started featuring Johnny Dynamite reprints in the back of Ms Tree and in 1994 they created a new tale for Johnny Dynamite.
Johnny Dynamite: Underworld is the kind of Private Dick meets B-movie madness that never seems to be pulled off just right, but here there is rarely a beat missed and it delivers on all fronts. Beatty’s line work is a lot finer in her than his previous work in Ms Tree: that results in the figures being looser and separates it nicely from his Ms Tree work. To conclude, this book is filled with mystery, zombies, deals with the devil and all other odd quirks of horror/suspense fiction that adds up to be quite an excellent read – not to be missed!

The best looking book I picked up this week would have to be Blazing Combat. A great deal of care has been put into the presentation and the page reproduction is extremely clean. The art makes this one of those distracting books where every time you open it to read you just get carried away looking at the pictures. From this and to last years Bat Lash mini series, John Severin is fast becoming one of my favourite artists.

A couple of surprises this week were Stray Bullets Vol. 1 and Superman: Secret Identity. SB was sort of my last chance with David Lapham, someone I’ve wanted to like but have almost always had negative reaction to. I can say that he definitely came through here with slowly intertwining “done in one” stories set from ‘70’s - ‘90’s featuring down and out/victims of circumstance characters. The characters, some of which are reoccurring, are introduced in the middle of committing or witnessing crimes or generally getting led astray. A very tight rope is walked between stories being too bleak and disturbing and thoroughly entertaining, and Lapham’s nice brushwork doesn’t hurt.

Superman: Secret Identity is an Elseworlds type of set up staring the son of David and Laura Kent, Clark, named after the comic character Superman who eventually develops similar powers. Kurt Busiek fills every balloon and caption with the charm which sometimes showed through in his recent run on Superman, showing his great knowledge and affection for the character. And when it couldn’t get any better you get to Stuart Immonen’s art, which is all pencils, and works so well here because he tackles the colouring chores using a great range of colours and gets the right balance in all aspects of the art. My favourite pages were the ones featuring great, sprawling cityscapes that really make you slow down and appreciate everything about the story. Splash pages and double pages spreads are greatly utilised for grand and exciting scenes as they should be.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Twitter

Follow me on The Twitters and keep in touch with my inner randomness.

http://twitter.com/Alec_Berry

Friday, May 15, 2009

Episode 24 - Movie Review: Star Trek

I go over a listener e-mail this week along with a few announcements, and I express my thoughts on the new adaption of Star Trek from the mind of J.J. Abrams. Beam me up, Scottie!

Music featured by Flogging Molly

Download / iTunes / Forum

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Friday, May 8, 2009

DC COMICS Experimenting…WHAT?


Written By: Allen Ribsey


In the last few years, DC Comics’ weakness has been defining a new crop of talent, be it writing or art. The last buzz we had about “fresh new talent” was when…I don’t know, Grant Morrison and his Seven Soldiers project? Now, I may be simply underestimating in my comments, but let’s be honest- if we eliminated its divisions (Vertigo, Wildstorm) and talked about the two-letter company on its own, most of its talent has been working for numerous years. Now, I feel compelled to make a comparison to Marvel Comics, who has drawn a significant amount of talent, both writing and art, into projects that put them at their strengths. SO, why is it that DC Comics, the same company that gave us the trinity of heroes, and historically have made leaps and bounds in its books…lost its way?

We can make guesses, theories on either the editorial powers-that-be, executive editor Dan DiDio or whoever rules the company (insert opinion and rant and ramble here) and blame them for mistakes and the things that readers have suffered from. But, that isn’t my intent. It seems to me that DC Comics is making a leap forward with the Final Crisis: Aftermath line as well as a new weekly series called Wednesday Comics.

I recently came across the news of Wednesday Comics, a 12-part weekly series that spans the entire DC Universe. The artists and writers participating in this project include Brian Azzarello, Paul Pope, Walt Simonson, Dave Bullock, Dave Gibbons, Ryan Sook, John Arcudi, Lee Bermejo, Joe Kubert, Ben Caldwell, Kurt Busiek, Eddie Berganza, Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner and Karl Kerschl. It is not based on continuity, but rather, intended to be accessible and more of the “fantastic”. As a reader, the idea excites me as something fresh, perhaps a new and experimental take that whether they succeed or not, I applaud them for trying. But it doesn’t end there- Final Crisis, a crossover miniseries that depicted a dark day for the DC universe, are filling the gaps of the event with a follow-up, Final Crisis: Aftermath. This will consist of 4 titles: RUN!, ESCAPE, DANCE and INK. What stuck out in particular for me was when I saw the cover for DANCE…Stanley Lau. Now he may be “new” but has done much of his work through Imaginary Friends Studios and is one of the many popular digital illustrators in DeviantArt and has done work through Radical Comics with the title Caliber. It surprised me that his art would end up in DC Comics, but it made me feel obliged to give them some kudos, and I can’t wait what else he will do. Ivan Brandon, who is the writer for ESCAPE, has done a majority of his comics work at Image with an interest mostly keen towards futuristic societies with robots, and applying human-like esthetics to them Such works include CrossBronx and NYC Mech, and he also edited two volumes of the 24 Seven anthology books, and recently collaborated with illustrator Nic Klein on Vikings. The point I’m getting to here is how it pleases me to see him doing some more work in DC (note: I have yet to read his FC tie-in, so I might get some flak on that!).

DC Comics is making an experimental leap forward. It excites me and makes me smile as a fan to know that with enough patience and a little risk, they may just reach out to more than just your average, Wednesday-buying, middle-age crowd. After all, comics should be shared like any other literature and should reach people of different ages without forcing it down their throats. I can’t make assumptions on how well these books will turn out, but it is good to know that they want to try something new.

Teenage Wasteland: Episode 23

A classic comic book/music discussion episode plus some talk of Wired Magazine! Georgia Guidestones are a calling!

Download / iTunes / Forum