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CSBG Archive

Sunday Brunch: 8/15/10

Your weekly smorgasbord of comics internet things. And a TV review, because I can.

WATCH THIS SPACE for reviews of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Motion Picture and The Expendables.

ITEM! J. Chris Campbell reveals his process for creating comics for anthologies:

Once I’ve run completely out of time I finally draw out the boxes on sheets of paper. That is when I decide that my original idea was no good and force myself to come up with something new. I sit someplace away from my computer and just start making up the story right on the page. I start to sketch pretty tightly while I act out the story in my head. I wade out into the stream of conscious and see what I can catch. Each panel moves the story along as I make it up in my head and try to keep up on the page.

ITEM! I usually assume everyone reading this also reads our sister blog Robot 6, but I am compelled to link to Brigid Alverson’s plea for better websites for comic publishers:

A catalog page for every comic you produce: That seems obvious, doesn’t it? You would be surprised how many websites don’t provide that, though. Just working on this week’s Food or Comics post, I looked for and couldn’t find pages for individual comics from Archie, IDW, and Top Cow—in some cases there was a page for a series but not an individual issue. A catalog page doesn’t have to be an elaborate thing—just a cover image, basic information like authors, price, and ISBN, and the blurb from the back cover. It’s enormously helpful to journalists like me, who like to check their facts, as well as to readers who want to know what they are buying. Also—this is another simple thing that lots of publishers overlook—the catalog page for a single issue or volume should include links to all the others in a series.

OBLIGATORY YOU GET THE PICTURE HERE: Chris Sims takes a look at the world’s most fascinating Archie comic, featuring Archie’s dual married lives, art by Norm Breyfogle, Crisis on Multiples Archies, and a cover appearance by Justin Bieber, of all things:

Michael Uslan and artist Norm Breyfogle –both of whom are probably more well-known to super-hero readers for their work on Batman — are not only taking these ideas to their logical conclusion, they’ve recast them as a character struggling with the problem of modern society. This is an Archie that as a grown-up — or at least as much of a grown-up as you can be while getting paid to write about comic books — I can identify with. He’s living the choice between a well-paying but morally ambiguous job that is literally destroying his friendships, and forsaking the corporate world in favor of creative pursuits that run the risk of leaving him destitute. It’s the problem of my generation, that no matter what we do, we stay up at night wondering if we made the right choices and hoping we didn’t screw it all up, all the time wondering why everyone else seems to have it all together.

ITEM! The Comics Journal features a video of Frank Quitely showing off his craft and process with his magical future Cintiq computer thingy.

ITEM! Another video, this time from Wired, with Grant Morrison talking about meeting Superman, drinking with Bizarro, and how he writes comics. “You’ve got to read the pictures,” he says, and damn, he says it all with just that. I’m also surprised G-Mozz can nail an American accent.

AXE COP MOMENT OF THE WEEK: Context? We don’t need no stinkin’ context! (Click here for stinkin’ context.)

Axe Egg

A BEATON IN YOUR BONNET: Kate Beaton, Andrew Jackson, hilarity. All these things go together like so:

Beaton's Jackson

ITEM! Todd Alcott returns again forever & Robin with a look at Batman Begins, which has me wanting to watch that movie for like the thirtieth time:

Bruce’s father dies, but he never lacks for father figures. At the funeral, Earle offers Bruce his paternal care (while planning to ruin his father’s business). The same day, Alfred takes over as Bruce’s “true” father figure. Falcone gives Bruce fatherly advice in the form of a threat, but Ducard is a more genuinely father-like figure — a teacher and mentor, a guide. In this regard, it’s almost disappointing that Crane isn’t older — but on the other hand, as a man younger than Bruce, he’s an avatar of “things to come,” the kind of demented, costumed freak that will come to be synonymous with Gotham.

PREVIOUSLY, ON COVERED!: Lauren Gregg covers my favorite comic book cover of all time!

Jimmy Olsen by Gregg

REMAKE/REMODEL returns at Whitechapel this week with an Ancient Cover Remodel of Love-Crime Detective #6. The following stunning pieces are by Raid71 and FredG, respectively:

Love-Crime RaidLove-Crime FredG

SHERLOCK DEPT: “A Study in Pink,” “The Blind Banker,” & “The Great Game” Written by Steven Moffat, Steve Thompson, and Mark Gatiss

Sherlock

This has absolutely nothing to do with comics, but I’m going to write about it anyway. Sherlock, a modern-day take on Sherlock Holmes and new BBC series from Doctor Who head writer Steven Moffat and cohort Mark Gatiss recently wrapped up all three 90-minute episodes of its first season on British screens (it will premiere in the US on PBS in October or so). The Doctor Who connection is particularly apt; Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes is as mad, mouthy, and brilliant as that eponymous (or titular?) Doctor, a man who lives to solve. The best aspect of this new Holmes lies in the depiction of Sherlock’s process. Rather than simply be told how brilliant Holmes is, the writers show us, using Cumberbatch’s rapidfire delivery to explain how he came about his conclusions, as well as onscreen text to point out the clues Sherlock finds, and the text messages (rather than telegrams) he often sends. Not to be outmatched, Office alum (and former Arthur Dent) Martin Freeman brings some marvelous understated acting to John Watson, to better counteract Sherlock’s necessary exaggerated nature. In the first episode, Watson serves as our protagonist and viewpoint character, a normal, though highly capable man who finds himself sucked into Sherlock’s world. Freeman knows how to portray compassion, conviction, and exasperation, all of which are needed when dealing with this new Holmes. The pair’s dynamic chemistry perfectly validates other characters’ assumptions that they’re a gay couple.

The writers borrow liberally from the original Arthur Conan Doyle canon; the first episode is primarily based on the original Holmes novel, A Study in Scarlet, with later episodes utilizing quite a bit of material from the short stories. The second episode, written by Thompson, feels like a bit of a dud with its slow pace and less-than-exciting mystery, but Moffat and Gatiss’ episodes are riveting bits of entertainment, filled with humor, drama, mystery, and adventure. Moffat writes a script as great, if not better, than any of his Who scripts from this past year (which you know I loved), and Gatiss knocks my socks off with a dense, thrilling ode to Die Hard with a Vengeance. The music, by David Arnold and Michael Price, is also worth noting, jaunty, haunting, and magnificent all at the same time, not to mention damn catchy. Guy Ritchie and Robert Downey Jr’s take on the Sherlock Holmes mythos surprised me with its high quality, but I may like this even more; certainly, it was the BBC Sherlock that had me running to the bookstore to continue my journey into the world of Holmes.

Essential viewing. Seek it out.

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Well, some of us read newspapers still, and the NY Times for today had a neat article in the business section about how Archie is trying to branch out into other media, etc. Spoiler: there’s going to be a death (in the Life with Archie? I forget already and I only read it a few hours ago)! Actually, they mentioned something interesting (to me, anyway): Archie first appeared in Pep 22 in Dec. ’41. But MLJ (as the publisher was known then) started in 1939. I see that the Shield was done by them (as, I assume, the Mighty Crusaders characters as well), but what else did they publish prior to that?

Here’s a link with a connection to Final Crisis:

http://videogames.yahoo.com/events/plugged-in/study-uncovers-every-possible-rubik-s-cube-solution/1407748

Hope it works right.

Another post to come, but it’s a bit unwieldy for right now. You have been warned.

Yeah, a character will die, but it is in the Life With Archie series, which tells two possible futures. So the character who dies will be dying…

A. In a possible future

and

B. Not even in both of the TWO possible futures shown in the comic.

It’s sort of like Ultimate Doctor Strange being killed off.

Okay, right off the bat, as a reminder (courtesy of that Bill Reed guy’s Sunday Brunch from like 4 months ago):

http://funnybookbabylon.com/2010/04/12/a-reminder-identity-crisis-was-a-terrible-mystery/

I know Bill saw the 75 DC moments (I think 55-46) with the Sue Dibny rape scene. Well, another poster and I got into it. Read it if you want. Basically, this person equated what happened in Killing Joke to the Dr Light raping Sue scene. (I guess, he’s not just unclear, he’s opaque)

And do I really not know what a retcon is? Am I using the term wrong?

But it did help me to pinpoint WHY I prefer Killing Joke to Identity Crisis.

The short reason: Killing Joke has a hero.

Identity Crisis is awful, despite what some posters (ok, just that one guy) think. It’s full of nonsensical plot bits that don’t cohere, and what might be worse is how much the mainstream media went ape for it. Ugh. Luckily Douglas Wolk had clued me in (via a column in the Boston Phoenix) to how bad it was. And yet I still read it.

All of the JLA (except, of course, the big 3 icons) are besmirched, and the retro rape is horrible to those of us that love that Elongated Man 92 mini. The “mystery”, as Chris Eckert so lovingly points out, is WTF, and probably half the book deals with plot lines that don’t matter to the story (why is Firestorm’s death even IN there?). But it sold well and the media liked it, even though some of us who KNOW DC continuity couldn’t follow it, so Meltzer thinks, in the back matter, that he’s hot shit. Because sales = good.

I said on the other post that I didn’t like ANYTHING of IDC. But I do like the Calculator as villain info broker. So I assume it wasn’t Meltzer’s idea.

Anyway, Killing Joke is better because Jim Gordon is a hero. I dislike how Barbara had to “get put in the refrigerator”, if you will, and I still, even after people explained it on the nominating pages of the 75 moments, don’t get/like the laughing at the end.

But Jim has seen his beloved daughter shot in front of him. He’s been stripped and humiliated by the Joker. He’s taunted with nude pictures of his writhing-in-pain daughter, who he doesn’t know if she’s alive, if she’s been raped, if she’s being tortured, what.

And he KNOWS, if he asks, Batman would kill the Joker for him. And yet, he says, no, do it by the book, show him OUR WAY WORKS! That’s heroic.

The “heroes” in IDC get shitscared by crazy Dr Light twisting his mustache and threatening their families, and they lobotomize him magically. Chickenshits.

My other new theory involving this: they mind wiped Sue, too. Because it wasn’t horrible enough. That would explain why it was never dealt with, and why the “oh my god, the villains could get us anytime!” reactions only happened after Sue was killed, not when she was raped.

Yeah, if I had other stuff, I forgot it.

And to tie in to other things you’ve mentioned before, check out Ty Templeton’s blog for previews of Holmes Incorporated, new stories based on the descendents of Holmes and Watson. Looks interesting.

Wait, Ultimate Dr Strange was killed off? SPOILER ALERT, Brian! Jeez :)

Actually, wasn’t the ult. Dr Strange in the Ult. Marvel Team Up (and maybe later in Ult Spidey) the son of who would be “our” (or 616, maybe) Dr Strange? He was dead before we met the “new” Dr Strange?

• I’m amazed you survived the Scott Pilgrim/Expendables double-feature, man. Looking forward to that write-up.

• Will going digital hasten Quitely’s output? Probably not. The quality doesn’t seem to be at all diminished by the switch, though, which is good news.

• New Remake/Remodel is always a plus. These cover challenges seem to bring out the best in the designers. Here’s hoping this becomes a weekly thing again.

• Wait, you saw Scott Pilgrim, The Expendables, and all three Sherlock Holmes eps?! Jesus, dude. You have my envy. I might skip the Thompson ep, since everyone thinks it’s lackluster, but the other two I’ve gotta see. October can’t get here soon enough.

• Not comics, but: Sean Witzke is halfway through his Top 100 Movies countdown, and it’s a fascinating list.

• Also not comics, but: Little, Brown’s new suspense imprint, Mulholland Books, has its own blog, which is well worth a look. Ellis linked to it earlier in the week.

• Actually comics, but everyone’s probably already seen it: Callahan interviewed Jason Latour, so you know that’s worth reading.

• Kinda comics, but mostly what-the-fuck: Jason Flemyng as Azazel? What the fuck?

Oh, and here’s the missing animated scene from Scott Pilgrim. Or, it’s a missing scene that got animated. Or something. Whatever. Just watch it. O’Malley’s art translates to animation very, very well.

What’s up, its pleasant paragraph on the topic of media print, we all be familiar with media is a wonderful source of facts.

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