Comic-Con Farewell

Well, it’s been a week since I arrived for San Diego Comic-Con,which celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. I’ve seen some of my favourite writers, such as Mark Waid and Alan Burnett. I chatted to people I’ve interviewed for Broken Frontier and Extra Sequential and handed out about 200 business cards. I talked to cover artist Greg Horn about the dangers of kangaroos. I caught a bus with the wife of Doug Murray, who created The ‘Nam for Marvel and now writes Red Sonja for Dynamite. I mentioned to artist David Mack how he’s a gateway drug, and I got mistaken for an Englishman twice. I finally bought the gorgeous Elephantmen Trades and designer JG Roshell let me know that there’s a film in the works, with possible assistance from WETA Workshop. It will be a combination of live action and CGI. I saw a few Hollywood players and I bought  a ton of new comics. Really 4 days isn’t enough for it all, as it is a spectacle. 125 000 people transform the city each year and radio shows, TV news and newspapers all focused on the Con. It’s a mammoth endeavour.

I also managed to talk to a publisher about the exciting future of Extra Sequential, and generally had a blast. It’s tiring, but hopefully I can sleep for my 20 hour flight home.

Darth Busts

Tron/Condorman

Green Lanterns

Ghostbusters

Master Chief

Con Farewell

Empty Con

Ramblings For Early July

Some random thoughts that need escaping from my mind to my keyboard.

Bad Kids Go To Hell #1I read Antarctic Press’s Bad Kids Go To Hell #1 on the train today. It was the name that caught my eye when I saw it in Previews 2 months ago. AP are a great little publisher and with titles like David Huthchison’s Biowulf and Rod Espinosa’s excellent Prince of Heroes they deserve to be noticed. Bad Kids is not of the same ilk, but it’s good to see AP branch out from their manga flavoured digests. It’s written by Matt Spradlin (or Spadlin according to the intro) with art by Anthony Vargas. The premise is The Breakfast Club meets Buffy’s Hellmouth. A construction crew opens up a portal of some sort and then 3 years later the Crestview Library opens on that spot. Six students are brought in on a Saturday morning for detention. It’s an extra-sized debut but there’s no real smattering of the horror to come just yet, and all of the students are somewhat stereotypical (jock, goth, nerd,etc) but when they’re not swearing and talking about sex the dialogue’s not bad. 4 issues should pretty much say all there is to say with the concept and Vargas’ work is realistic enough in this context.

Rapture #2 from Dark Horse is great. The first issue was a splendid intro and Mike Avon Oeming and Taki Soma’s tale of separated lovers in the apocalypse works well. It could just as well work without Evelyn’s calling and her mystical spear and guide, but the emotion really comes through. Oeming is always a master of the page and with this series he looks to be trying different styles throughout the issues, and it works a treat.

Scott Pilgrim Volume 1The Definitive Edition of Codeflesh from Image is far too expensive. $40 for a Hard Cover on flimsy paper? Nah. It’s an OK tale, by writer Joe Casey and artist Charlie Adlard and it’s good to see the series not suffer from its sporadic publication. The tale of a masked bail bondsman chasing jail skipping freaks is a grand idea and Adlard’s art is dark but not jaw dropping.

Alex Robinson’s black and white digest Too Cool To Be Forgotten from Top Shelf. It’s a slow start and the plot is almost straight out of a Disney film, but Robinson takes the tale of a middle-aged man who gets hypnotised to stop smoking and relives his high school years instead a realistic and un-corny tale. It goes beyond the simple art to poke the heart, kinda like that Adam Sandler film, Click.

I read the first two digest sized volumes of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim series from Oni Press in quick succession. Girlfriends with names like Bond girls, a healthy respect for comedic timing, retro video games and a dose of fantasy. I can’t wait to see how all this translates to film. If Kevin Smith was a comics creator instead of a film maker, he’d be making books like Scott Pilgrim.

White Is The New Black

IGN has launched a mini-site dedicated to DC’s Green Lantern event, Blackest Night. The main villain of Geoff John’s epic is Black Hand, who is actually a white guy called William Hand.

Blackest Night Ad

That got me thinking, after watching a recent DVD purchase. I grew up watching Super Friends, and then Super Powers, so nostalgia led me to Amazon. On the Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show DVD there’s a neato feature on the ethnicity of the new characters they introduced. That would be Samurai, El Dorado, Apache Chief and Black Vulcan. They were all original characters created for the cartoon series and were unfortunately quite stereotypical.

There’s a lot of African, or African-American comic characters who have the word Black in their name. Black Panther, Black Lightning, Black Manta and many more. On the flip side of the coin, there’s also many characters who have colours in their names that aren’t related to their race. Green (Lantern, Arrow), Blue (Beetle) and Crimson (Dynamo) are just a few examples. However, there’s not many Black-named characters who aren’t black. I can only think of three – Black Hand and Marvel’s Black Bolt, and Black Tom Cassidy. Come to think of it comics’ first well known character, Yellow Kid was Caucasian, so perhaps there’s some historical reasoning. I’m not trying to make a statement, but as evidenced by this DC Comics survey from 1970 asking if readers would be interested in stories about “black people,”  comics really are a reflection of their times, for better or worse. Oh, and thanks to Brain Cronin (who I interviewed here) for pointing the survey out in his latest Comic Book Legends Revealed column. Actually I can’t remember the last time a Black-named character was created. Those that do exist were created in more un-PC days. It’s just an interesting thought.

Reviews Galore

10688_180x270I’ve come to realise that over the last 18 months, but the last year in particular, I was very busy. In a good way. Going to bed two hours later than my usual time, but being creatively busy, means that I’m surprisingly not tired. Because of my constant writing for Sight, Broken Frontier, this little blog, and now Extra Sequential, I’ve come to realise how much I actually achieved in 2008. An average of a new review every day, and a new interview or article every month. Wow.  That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Of course all it costs me is my time at this stage, but it would be great to be a professional blogger type guy one day. 

Anyway, to kick off the New Year my favourite line from 2008 would have to be from DC’s Secret Six #4. Batman bad guy Bane is asked what he benchpresses, and he replies, “Costumed detectives mostly.” Classic. Here’s a preview of the ish here.

Merry Christmas

646896-dcuholliday001_superAnd a massively happy New Year! I just want to say a huge thank you to all the people that have been reading my humble little blog over the last six months. I just started it as a way to document my first magical trip to San Diego Comic-Con back in late July, and it morphed into something very fun and fulfilling. Climbing towards 11 000 hits is an excellent way to cap off the year so thank you to everyone who’s peeked in at CBJ to see what’s up in the world of comics and pop culture in general, and to the publishers that have quoted my reviews and linked here. Much appreciated. It’s been great for me to have this since the on-line mag Infuze closed down, of which I was the comics department head. It allows me to get my geek on. 2009 will be an even greater year, hopefully, with something that’s been in the works for about 4 months with a mate from work. You can get a peek here, but we’ll be officially launching soon. Writing for Broken Frontier and Sight has been a great opportunity for me too. I’m truly thankful for this year. I’ve already said that, haven’t I? Well, have a great holiday and hope you come to reflect on the real Reason for the season. (That’d be Jesus, the real superhero!) Yep.

It had to be done

Well I guess it was only a matter of time. It’s not like the world needs yet another blog, especially one from a comic book junkie, but I could resist no longer! I used to be the Comics Editor for Infuze, a great little on-line pop culture mag, but that went belly up (not my fault!) It was a tremendous blessing and gave me the opportunity to let people in on the world’s best kept secret – comics rock! I now pull similar duties over at Sight magazine, but I crave more, so here we are, with me rambling, and you reading. Stay tuned.