Archive for September, 2007
Filed Under black canary, jungle, wonder woman
Still busy, so don’t be surprised if I don’t update tomorrow, but I said I’d be back today with a Warrior Women post and I am. The illustration on this one is from Mike Cavallaro’s contribution to this year’s Wonder Woman Day charity auction benefiting domestic violence shelters.
Jessica Beil is supposedly under consideration to play Wonder Woman in the JLA movie. But then, lots of people have been rumored for that role, so back up that dump truck full of salt to take this with.
If it’s true though, I won’t complain. I’d rather see someone Mediterranean in the role, but at least it’s not Sarah Michelle Gellar.
Rumor also has it that the JLA movie will be a hopeful launchpad for Wonder Woman and Flash franchises.
Thoughts on the Green Arrow/Black Canary Wedding Special:
- Amanda Conner should draw every comic DC makes.
- Apart from some continuity errors (particularly Barbara Gordon’s being excited about the wedding announcement when in Birds of Prey she was clearly the opposite of excited), not a bad story for a Judd Winick issue. I actually laughed out loud in a couple of places.
- I don’t have the same problems with the end that some other folks do. Yes, it came out of nowhere, but that’s sort of the point.
- I don’t believe that was Ollie. If it was, that’s the worst piece of writing ever because, yeah, why did Dinah resort to a lethal option when she had numerous, non-lethal ones available?
- Since it was written by Winick, my confidence that this was completely thought through isn’t 100% here, but assuming a rational DCU, I can see the scenario playing out as it did if Dinah realized that it wasn’t Ollie and freaked out about it enough that she immediately went for the lethal attack.
- But yeah, “rational DCU” might not be a safe assumption considering things like Amazons Attack. Still, I’m willing to keep reading and see where it goes.
I didn’t know about the real life jungle girl in Cambodia. Looks like she’s gone back home.
Filed Under jungle
Too busy for a real post today. I’ll do a Warrior Women post tomorrow.
In the meantime, I’ll send you back over to Victor Santos’ blog for more jungle girl drawings.
Filed Under marketing, writing is hard
Another follow up from last week: I mentioned that it might be interesting to review monthly comics solicits to see how effective their covers are at making me want to buy the books. Since the Image solicits came out right after that, let’s give ‘em a go.
I thought about reviewing every single cover solicited, but that would take way more time than I’ve got to give this, so I’ll just tell you the general reasons why the covers I don’t mention below were ineffective:
A) Too artsy. This is especially a problem with Jonathan Hickman’s books A Red Mass for Mars and Pax Romana. The cover designs are beautiful and serve Hickman’s brand by giving his books a distinctive look, but if you don’t already know his work, they don’t really tell you what the books are about.
B) Too pin-uppy. There are several with this problem, but Spawn #177 immediately comes to mind. All the cover tells you is that this is a Spawn comic. If you’ve already been buying the series, you’re informed that this is the next issue, but there’s no reason for a new reader to pick this up and give it a look.
C) Just not my taste. And there’s the hitch. Some of the covers give a good try at teasing you about what’s in the issue, but taste being subjective, I’m not going to be attracted to each image. Fearless #2, for example, shows the hero surrounded by syringes. That might be a compelling image for some, but it’s a turnoff for me. Same with the whatever-that-is coming out of dude’s mouth on the cover for Overman #1. Totally not fair, but there you go.
These are the ones that make me want to plop down my money:
Bonds #3: Even though it’s the last issue of a mini-series, the
guy (oops; just realized that’s a woman) with the wolf’s head, the tatooed chick with the staff, and the gasmasked bodies are all interesting elements and make me want to at least flip through this book to see what I’ve been missing.
Cryptics #3: I’m a Steve Niles fan, but even if I didn’t know this was one of his books, those monsters and penguins make me giggle enough that I’d want to open the book and see if there were more laughs.
Fantastic Comics #24: I don’t know that this is for me, but the pulp-action cover makes me want to find out. Those red sandals are goofy though.
Steve Niles’ Strange Cases #3: Again, Niles’ name is a selling point, but even if I didn’t know who he was, the Yeti would have me.
Tim Sale: Black and White:This is a pin-up, but it’s for an art book, so it’s appropriate. Actually, even if it was for a comic, my jungle girl fetish is strong enough that I’d still want it.
So, what about you? Which Image covers for December make you want to buy the books?
Filed Under marketing, writing is hard
It’s funny (or not), but Jason Copland and I were just having a conversation a week or so ago about whether Kill All Monsters! would work better as a mini-series or a complete graphic novel. Almost immediately, Marc Bernadin asked his question about the failure of Highwaymen.
Although my thoughts went immediately to branding, others thought that the mini-series format was the key. Steven Grant, for example, said, “As many have pointed out (I did a column on the subject a couple months back) mini-series are now often dismissed out of hand by readers who fully expect any mini-series worth mentioning to show up sooner than later in trade paperback collection. (Though I realize it borders on fraud, if I were a publisher today I’d never again allow the phrase ‘mini-series’ to be used in conjunction with any of my books under any circumstances, regardless of the series’ intended length. From a marketing standpoint, stamping any series as a mini-series except posthumously is getting suicidal and the general level of mini-series success is such that publishers now may as well skip the minis and go straight to the trades, since that’s where all the money is now anyway.)”
One of the “many” he mentions who’ve pointed this out is Johanna Draper Carlson, who points out that the mini-series format was her reason for not buying. And though in the specific case of Highwaymen, my decision was based more on marketing and my not knowing whether or not it was a comic I’d enjoy, I agree with her that there are many comics that I do fully expect to enjoy, but hold off on until the trade collection comes out. So, should we be pitching KAM! as a graphic novel?
This isn’t a new question for us, and I had to think back to a conversation that I had with Josh Fialkov in San Diego last year when I was first pondering it. Josh experienced quite a bit of trouble selling his Elk’s Run mini-series only to have it picked up as a complete graphic novel by Random House. In spite of his adventures, Josh surprised me by saying that he was still for releasing single issues as a mini-series prior to collection.
But his logic was solid. All the promo work he did on the Elk’s Run mini-series and all the critical attention he got from it helped get Random House’s interest. And I dare say that it got readers who passed on the mini-series interested in buying the graphic novel too. I don’t know if Josh still feels that way, but it makes sense to me. I’m interested in seeing how Highwaymen does as a trade collection, and I’m curious about whether it would do better or worse had it not been released first as a mini-series. There’s no way for me to get the answer to that, but I suspect that the mini-series buzz (and all this post mortem attention) will only help the sales of the tpb.
So, maybe mini-series aren’t entirely dead, but should be thought of as loss leaders for the eventual collection? Just thinking out loud.
Filed Under dark crystal, pirates, superman
With the announcement that he’s writing a comic called Pirat Tales, it’s become obvious that Dan Taylor is now writing comics particularly for me. (And just what is this Buster Blaze he teases me with?)
Funniest Superman comic ever: “I only pretended to fall out the window.”
Remember that Dark Crystal manga I mentioned ages and ages ago? It’s still coming out in November, and Publishers Weekly has a preview.
Filed Under dragon wars, giant monsters, giant robots, jason copland, johnny hiro, kill all monsters, monsters vs aliens
For a movie like Dragon Wars, I don’t trust the critics’ opinions of it. I’m not looking for art here, so it’s fan reaction that I’m most interested in.
The Standard Online’s review is by someone who claims to be a giant-monster fan, but warns us away because of a directionless plot, a lame ending, bad fight choreography, and ’90s-level CGI. But then he mentions “all kinds of things stomping around … with rocket launchers on their backs.” How is that incentive not to see it? In the end he admits that “maybe I’ve left my Power Ranger days too far behind me now.” Which makes me wonder if I’d enjoy it if I went in with the mindset that it’s going to be awful, but fun. After all, I liked the absolutely horrible Last Legion.
Sean Collins is much kinder. He defends the less-than-cutting-edge effects (”you could tell King Kong was stop-motion animation, couldn’t you?”) while admitting that the story is lacking and the acting is rather phoned in. But even with a sloppy story, “I mean, I wasn’t expecting Ursula K. LeGuin, I just wanted some basic set-up for the giant monsters, and that’s what I got.” So, I’m encouraged. Not “this-is-going-to-be-the-next-LotR” encouraged, but “I-can-see-not-hating-myself-for-seeing-it” encouraged.
Louis Fowler (who also reviews comics for Bookgasm) goes ahead and pushes me into the theater: “Seriously—if you walked into this fifteen minutes after the credits, you’d think it was Michael Bay filming a rather high-quality episode of Power Rangers. This film is no different, whatsoever, than his horrible Transformers from earlier this summer … Plus it’s seven hours shorter … D-War is by no means a ‘great’ film. But it’s a good enough film, and between this and The Host, it’s a reasonable enough request that the Koreans make nothing but giant monster films for the next twenty or so year, because they’re the only ones doing it right. They should just go ahead and do some giant robot movies as well, because it’s the only way I’ll be pleased.”
Speaking of Korean giant-monster movies, SciFi Japan takes a look at their first one, Yongary, Monster from the Deep.
In other giant-monster news, Dreamwork’s entry in the genre, Monsters vs. Aliens, is being pushed forward a couple of months in order to get a jump on the 2009 summer movie season.
Kevin Church clues us in on Johnny Hiro, a series about a fella who’s known to fight giant monsters.
Not exactly monsters per se, but Ron Mueck’s sculptures of giant humans sure are creepy!
Jason Copland, that sexy Canadian who’s illustrating Kill All Monsters!, has a three part interview at Indie Pulp. He talks about Kill All Monsters! and shares some pages and a look at his process, so definitely check that out.
You know what your baby’s room needs? A giant robot.
Filed Under indiana jones, jungle, star wars
George Lucas was all up in the news this week.
First, he explained why it’s really okay that Sean Connery’s not in Kindom of the Crystal Skull: “In the beginning, he was just in a little bit of it, and I think with the strength of Sean Connery, people would’ve wanted him to go all the way through the whole thing, and the story really didn’t work that way. And so I think there would’ve been some disappointment that [his character] dropped out partway through the movie.” He goes on to explain that they re-wrote the story so that another character now fills the function that Indy’s dad would’ve. He also says that Connery thought about coming out of retirement to do it. “He was very tempted, you know, and we talked for a long time. But in the end, he just said, ‘Eh, I’m playing golf.’”
Next, Lucas gave an update on the Star Wars TV shows: “Well, Clone Wars has got all the characters in it — Yoda and Anakin and Obi Wan and the Emperor and all that — so it’s basically the movie. The live-action [series] is not the movie. It’s the Star Wars universe, but it’s characters from the saga who were [previously] minor, and it follows their stories. It’s set between [movie episodes] III and IV, when the Empire has taken over. It’s like Episode IV in that the Emperor and Darth Vader are heard about — people talk about them — but you never see them because it doesn’t take place where they actually are. There are storm troopers and all that, but there are no Jedis.”
Ah… “No Jedis.” Those magical words. Say what you want about how the acting or the dialogue or Jar Jar Binks was the prequels’ problem. I say, “Too much Jedi; not enough scoundrels.” I’m hoping the live-action series corrects that. Having Vader and the Emperor as background threats is a good move too. It’ll make them that much more mysterious and threatening.
And finally, remember how Lucas had approached David Lynch to direct Return of the Jedi? That’s not the only
whacked out avant garde director he talked to.
And in one, non-Lucas item this week, the Blue Sky Disney blog posted a list of Disney movies in the works, including one that I’ve been curious if someone was thinking about making: a film based on Disney’s Jungle Cruise ride. That could be so cool.
According to the post, “The story involves a journey down a jungle river for a magical cure. No director is attached as yet. The screenplay is being written by Alfred Gough & Miles Millar (Smallville).”
Filed Under meme
I don’t usually do memes, but this one sounds fun (if long) and what the heck — it’s a free day!
First, select your ten fictional characters (from any medium) by whichever method you like best.
I’ll just pick my favorites in the order they occur to me until I reach ten…
- James Bond (the literary one)
- Sherlock Holmes
- Wonder Woman
- Sasquatch from Alpha Flight
- Black Canary
- Shang Chi, Master of Kung Fu
Divide the list up by even and odd.
Team 1: Bond, Tarzan, Sasquatch, Rogue, and Chewbacca
Team 2: Holmes, Wonder Woman, Black Canary, Shang Chi, and Worf
Which group of five would make a better Five Man Band (like a Power Rangers team)? Who would you slot in each position: Leader, Lancer (second-in-command), Big Guy, Smart Guy, The Chick?
Leader: Tarzan– At first I thought maybe he’s too much of a lone wolf, but I was forgetting about the numerous times he’s led groups of men. He’s always the emergent leader wherever he goes. People are naturally impressed by him and look up to him.
Lancer: Bond — It looks like we’re building some kind of strike team and Bond’s got the most field experience.
Big Guy: Chewbacca — Not as strong as Sasquatch, but strong enough. He’d also be a good candidate for the Smart Guy, but…
Smart Guy: Sasquatch — I don’t know that his IQ’s higher than Chewie’s, but he’s certainly had more formal, scientific training.
The Chick: Rogue — I’d love to play against stereotype and not have the only woman on the team be The Chick, but Rogue with all her whiny angst actually fits the role pretty well.
Leader: Wonder Woman — She’s a natural.
Lancer: Black Canary — As much as I like Black Canary’s leading the JLA right now, I’d like to see Wonder Woman do it more. But Canary would make a hell of a lieutenant.
Big Guy: Worf — Not as strong as Wonder Woman, but the strongest of the rest of them.
Smart Guy: Holmes — Easy one.
The Chick: Shang Chi — He sort of falls here by default. I’m not really sure what defines the “Chick” role, but he is the odd man out in the group.
If you think the team would be improved by swapping one character between the even and odd groups, which ones would you switch?
Just because Chewie and Sasquatch are so similar, I’m gonna switch Chewie with Shang Chi. Chewie’s got some feminine qualities and Shang Chi more than makes up in skill what he lacks in brutishness.
So, new teams…
Big Guy: Shang Chi
Smart Guy: Sasquatch
The Chick: Rogue
Leader: Wonder Woman
Lancer: Black Canary
Big Guy: Worf
Smart Guy: Holmes
The Chick: Chewbacca
I think Team B is the healthier, more powerful team.
Gender-swap 2, 8 & 10. Which character would have the most change in their story arc? Which the least? Would any of these characters have to have a complete personality change to be believable as the opposite sex?
That’s Holmes, Shang Chi, and Worf.
Shang Chi would have the most change in his story arc because of his father’s attitude towards women. Fu Manchu had a daughter in the one movie I’ve seen so far and he was pretty willing to just whore her out. Whereas Shang Chi was trained in kung fu in order to be an assassin.
Worf would probably change the least because he was raised in the Federation, which is much more egalitarian in its treatment of women than Victorian society. In other words, Worf would still be able to advance in Starfleet as a woman in the same way he did as a man. Holmes, on the other hand, wouldn’t have been as popular with the police and his other clients.
Compare the matchups of 1 & 8 and 5 & 9. (Ignore canon sexual preferences for the moment.) Which couple would be more compatible?
That’s Bond and Shang Chi; Sasquatch and Chewie.
I can’t imagine a more different pairing culturally than Bond and Shang Chi. And neither are very open people. They’d respect each other, but they’d never be close.
Sasquatch and Chewie, on the other hand, I think would be great friends. They’re very similar.
Which couple would be more plausible to people from either principal’s home culture?
Ironically, the least compatible couple is the most plausible. At least they’re both members of the same species.
Your team is 3, 4 & 9. The mission consists of a social challenge, a mental challenge and a physical challenge. Which team member do you assign to each challenge?
Tarzan, Wonder Woman, and Chewie. Though Wonder Woman would excel in all three, she gets the social challenge because the other two would be so bad at it. Chewie’s pretty smart, but he’s easily rattled, so I’m putting him in the physical challenge and letting the cooler Tarzan take the mental one.
7 becomes 1’s boss for a week in some plausible fashion. How’s their working relationship?
Bond working for Rogue? Heh.
I don’t think Bond’s a misogynist, but he does see women as having definite roles and (Judi Dench aside, since we’re talking about the literary Bond) I don’t see him answering to a woman very well. Nor do I see Rogue putting up with his crap. At all. This isn’t going to be pretty.
2 finds him/her/itself inserted into 6’s continuity. As far as anyone other than 2 or 6 is concerned, they’ve always been there. What role would 2 be presumed to have had in 6’s story, and could they fit in without going wonky?
Holmes visits the modern-day DCU. Didn’t that sort of happen?
As far as fitting Holmes into Canary’s story, that’s pretty easy since they’re both basically in the same line of work. Canary’s cases are more fantastic than Holmes’, but it’s not a stretch to imagine their paths crossing at some point.
3 and 5 get three wishes. The catch is that they have to agree on all three wishes before they get the benefits of any of them. What three wishes would they make?
Tarzan and Sasquatch. This is hard. Tarzan’s a pretty content guy as long as his friends and family are safe. Sasquatch is a seeker of knowledge. Their goals are pretty different.
So, I’m going to cheat and go for easy ones:
- World peace.
- An end to poverty.
- Twenty billion dollars to split between the two of them.
1 and 2 are brainwashed by a one-time artifact that works even on people immune to mind control to attack and kill 4. They keep their normal personality, skills and competence level, except any Code vs. Killing has been turned off. Can 4 survive? How?
Bond and Holmes attack Wonder Woman? Good luck, fellas. The question isn’t how Wonder Woman’s going to survive. It’s, “How will they?”
6, 7, 9 & 10 must help an orphanage full of small and depressed children have a merry Christmas. Who does what, knowing that at the very least the kids will be expecting a visit from Santa?
Black Canary, Rogue, Chewie, and Worf.
Ha! Worf’s the only choice to play Santa and he’d be hilarious! I can see Chewie giving Wookiee rides to all the kids while Black Canary and Rogue entertain them with stories and treats.
3 and 8 are challenged to circumnavigate the Earth in eighty days or less, using only forms of transportation invented before 1900. Can they do it, or will they be fatally distracted by sidequests or their own personality conflicts?
Tarzan and Shang Chi.
These guys would get along pretty well and both have the willpower to stay on task. They also both have personalities that would be intrigued with the challenge. They’d make it.
Filed Under chris sanders, maps, pirates
I’ve been trying to save Thursdays for Dust to Dust-related news and links, but all that’s going on there lately is that The Assassination of Jesse James premiered and apparently there are a lot of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie fans. Who knew?
So, since I kind of have a free day, let’s take care of some odds and ends.
I’ve ordered my Map of Humanity. No idea where I’m going to find wall space to hang it, but I had to have it. I’m a map nerd and it’s so beautiful.
The Funniest Blogger in the Universe wrote a play. It’s probably best if I let him describe it:
First of all, it’s really long. Not so much long for a play, necessarily, but way too long to fit here comfortably; it’s about seven pages according to Microsoft Word, and that seems kind of extravagant for a blog.
Second, it’s not really all that great, taken out of context. I was assigned the first and last lines I was to use (”I didn’t mean to hurt you… really. But it felt so goddamned good” and “I figured it should be less than 3,000 pages… All the best books have less than 3,000 pages,” respectively) and had roughly five hours to write the whole thing (not counting the time I spent fighting with my computer, or getting sidetracked by KIDS director Larry Clark’s endearingly clumsy 2005 film Wassup Rockers, which despite the absence of Lou Barlow or Daniel Johnston songs was pretty interesting). So the best you can say about it is “for something produced under considerable constraints, it succeeds on its own terms!”
Third, it’s called “Jolly Jolly Jinglebeans.” Probably because I hate theatre.
You should definitely read it.
Artist du Jour: Lilo & Stitch director Chris Sanders. Yowza.
It’s no secret that I love pirates, so you might think that I’d be into International Talk Like a Pirate Day (which was yesterday). But you’d be wrong.
I’m all for a day when folks stop to contemplate the glory that is pirates, but the idea of a bunch of pirate nerds talking like pirates all day long irritates me. Not nearly as much as it irritates Mighty Godking, but mostly for the same reasons.
Filed Under cyblade, josh fialkov, jungle, mary marvel, warrior women, wonder woman
Today’s Warrior Woman illustration is by Matthew Allen Smith.
Philippos Fourty-Two is still thinking about Wonder Woman and asks, “What’s with Wondie’s current concept?” He (I think? Sorry if I got that wrong.) seems to have trouble putting his finger on what the problem is exactly, but notes, “it feels really arbitrary, & kind of odd.”
My thought is that I like the concept of her having a secret identity and being a spy, but that gearing up for and being a part of Amazons Attack left zero room for the writers (or us) to settle in and get comfortable with it. It sounds like Gail’s going to be sticking with the concept for a while though, so hopefully she’ll be able to ground it. Right now, it was just sort of thrown at us and we’ve been asked to simply accept it without being invested in it as AA raged on.
No word on pricing yet, but rumor has it that the complete Lynda Carter series will be available on DVD in November. Looks like my procrastination in picking up the individual seasons has paid off. Yay, procrastination!
Tura looks at Golden Age Wonder Woman comics and wonders, “if maybe the comics code was such a bad idea after all.” I can’t tell if she’s joking or not, but if not — as wrong as she is — at least she’s honest about it. I keep hearing that as the subtext to a lot of criticism, but this is the closest I’ve seen to anyone’s stating it outright.
I agree with Kevin Melrose that I’d totally buy an all-ages Mary Marvel series by Colleen Coover.
X-Y-Z-Cosmonaut’s CosmoBlog has a gallery of posters, stills, and covers from various jungle girl comics, movies, and TV shows. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.
Dynamite’s released previews of Jungle Girl #0 and #1, both of which (oddly) come out today. The dinosaurs are encouraging.
Josh Fialkov is a pal of mine, but my real interest in his Cyblade one shot is his description of it as “more or less a spy book” and I am all about spy books right now. I’ve never cared about Cyblade before, but Josh is a talented dude who routinely makes my sides hurt from laughing too hard, so yeah… gettin’ this.