Archaia Returns

They used to be known as ASP or Archaia Studios Press. Now it’s just Archaia. They’ve been out of regular comics production for over a year, but are now back, with new and resumed series, such as The Engineer and Robotika, and that’s good news. Right now, on Broken Frontier, there’s a couple of cool Archaia updates. I reviewed David Petersen’s Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 #6. It’s the first issue I’ve read and I was quite impressed. It’s beautiful to look at. There’s also an in-depth roundtable interview with 3 of the guys behind the revamped Archaia, which offers some good (and rare) insights into the decisions behind an indie publisher.


Die Hard at BOOM!

DieHard_001AThose whacky funsters at BOOM! Studios seem to have a knack for headline grabbing (at least on the comics interwebs) franchise acquisitions. Cars, The Incredibles, Muppets, Farscape, Eureka and now Jennifer’s Body (the upcoming Megan Fox film written by Juno’s Diablo Cody) and the classic Die Hard. That’s a diverse line-up. The Die Hard promo is in the latest Previews, for release in July. It stars a rookie John McClane and is written by Howard Chaykin. This could very well work. Here’s the official lowdown on the new series.

BOOM! Studios is proud to present America’s greatest action hero translated into the sequential art form for the first time! Every great action hero got started somewhere: Batman Began. Bond had his Casino Royale. And for John McClane, more than a decade before the first DIE HARD movie, he’s just another rookie cop, an East Coast guy working on earning his badge in New York City during 1976’s Bicentennial celebration. Too bad for John McClane, nothing’s ever that easy. Join legendary industry creator Howard Chaykin on a thrill ride that’s rung up over $1 billion in box office worldwide and become the gold standard for classic action! Yippee Ki Yay!

Jennifer's Body OGN

The Spirit Review

The SpiritFrank Miller is a legend in the comics biz, and rightly so. As writer/artist he re-invigorated Daredevil for Marvel and Batman for DC in the 80s then went on to give the world his own creations such as 300 and Sin City. The film adaptation of the latter is the most faithful comic movie ever made, and Miller used his co-directing credit to launch a career in Hollywood. With The Spirit, it’s Miller’s show all the way, as both writer and director he helms this film. The trailer made it look like Sin City 2, with it’s black and white imagery and over the top action. Sadly, that’s exactly what this film gives you. It’s not individual in its approach, because it’s been done so much better with Sin City. That film is fun, funny and adventurous. The Spirit has none of that. It’s just – dull.

Will Eisner was a legend in comics long before Miller and when he gave the world The Spirit, he used the strip as a groundbreaking tool for sequential storytelling. This film is the opposite of that – disappointing and uninteresting, only because Sin City has already taken the similar green screen manipulation approach and wowed us. The story here is also flat and involves resurrected cop Denny Colt AKA The Spirit and explains his origins, tied in with arch enemy The Octopus and his chase for immortality. Bringing the tale to the modern day doesn’t help. Staying in the 1940s would’ve cemented its noir influence more effectively. There’s a bevy of beauties  with cool names, such as Sand Saref and Lorelei, but even Scarlett Johansson lacks any charm and Samuel L. Jackson as baddie The Octopus (a character whose face was never revealed in the original newspaper strip) is typically boisterous. Nothing saves this film. The CGI backgrounds have been done before, the dialogue is bland and strangely repetitive and The Spirit, played by Gabriel Macht, has the annoying propensity to offer gruff voice-overs, and talk straight to camera. If you want to really know what The Spirit is like, check out DC’s collection of archive editions, or their new Spirit series by new creators.

The best thing about the DVD is a 15 minute feature called Miller on Miller, in which he discusses his comics career and gives a brief history on the artform, with beautiful art dispersed throughout. Here’s a tip – hire the DVD and just watch this doco instead. Miller’s next film project is another adaptation of a classic character – Buck Rogers. I wish he’d just leave Hollywood and come back to comics.