Posts Tagged ‘Vertigo’

Spam Hawaii... Book me a can, Danno!

I shouldn’t be surprised by SPAM. We all get enough just by having simple email accounts. You can imagine the type of spam a Blog gets… Even fledgling blogs like this one.

Look how cute! A SPAM iPod!

Word Press does a great job blocking almost all the spam… The fun part? I can still read them before I delete them.

Therefore, I would love to know WHAT in my review for Neil Young’s Greendale Hardcover prompted some spammer to send me this list:

gagged asian woman
real schoolgirls fucked
femdom sissification feminization
men wear bikinis
horny big tit sluts
persian lesbian homepage
free black and blonde galleries
natural big boob pornstars
big womans breasts
maryland strip clubs westminster

The list went on (I decided to spare our most sensitive of readers). Plus, the only link I could maybe use sometime in the future is maryland strip clubs westminster If I were to ever find myself there.

And remember, this email came in direct response to my Greendale review… Which, to my knowledge, had no accounts of men wearing bikinis or women having big breasts anywhere in it.

Thanks, Neil Young.

The book that started it all

HOW ARE THESE DIFFERENT?

What's to compare? Aren't these 2 books just different children of the SAME medium?

Recently, I came across an article entitled MANGA VS COMICSI know. I know... What’s weird– there are a ton of articles just like this out there… All comparing Manga to American Comic Books.

Truth be told, I am not in agreement with most of their content. First off, let’s make this clear– Manga MEANS Comic, okay? Second, why are people bothering to compare these?

Most people in the CCW Nation know me as Mike F. I’m a proudly confessed Manga, Video Game and Comic Book fanatic… And clearly, I have passionate thoughts on these subjects.

Here are statements made from one of the articles mentioned above (I have added a few of my own thoughts as well):

“American comics are all capes.”

WRONG.

“American comics are all about prolonging a dead franchise.”

WRONG.

Everyone knows American comics are all about retconning. (Unless you’re Geoff Johns, of course… But that’s completely different post.)

ANIME LEADS TO MANGA

I watched anime for years– never once venturing into comics. Turned out to be a good thing too. I wouldn’t have had the first clue where to start.

My first ever experience with comics was with a Manga book. And like many people– like the articles I so strongly disagree with now… At the time, I just assumed that American comics were only about superheroes.

A challenging tale that highlights the difference between lust and true love

The first manga I ever read was Chobits– by the 4 female mangakas CLAMP. I loved this unique story about a robotic female (called a persocom) named Chii whose vagina holds her on/off switch. The internal chip is located there so if someone makes love to her– the chip inside turns her off and wipes her memories.

When Hideki– the horniest of horn dogs (the subject of his vast porn collection is a focus in the first few volumes)– discovers a completely wiped Chii in the trash, he can’t believe his good luck and takes her home… Eventually falling in love.

But he doesn’t want to risk the possibility of Chii losing her memories again… So he resigns himself to never having sex with the woman he loves for the rest of his life. It’s a charming story about virginity… And the line between common lust and pure love.

The female artists of CLAMP created a challenging premise that moved me and really made me think. I’d never been exposed to a story like this before. The panel placement, the clever jokes, the stunning artwork. Chobits became an instant favorite of mine and spawned my love for comics. Wanting to experience more, I searched extensively until I found other great Manga titles like Gunsmith Cats and Battle Angel Alita.

And then, again, I was content to stay exactly where I was. Years and years would pass before I would come across an American comic book that would change me forever. That book was WE3–  a small masterpiece written by oft-praised Scottish comic messiah Grant Morrison.

As good as it gets

When I first saw this book on Amazon, I thought, “Hmmm… What in the world could this be about?”

What a joy it was to read– watching 3 captured animals used by the government attempt to escape back home. I literally shouted “Yes!” at the end of the first issue– when WE1 says: “We go home, home now.” Completely arrested by the spirit of the comic’s overall story,  I became hooked on Morrison’s other comics work. This eventually led to my reading Green Lantern, Batman and Superman.

Not too long after that,  I began reading Marvel comics too. By then, I was well into all type of comic book genres.

Which leads me back to my original question: WHY ARE PEOPLE SO INTENT ON COMPARING MANGA TO COMIC BOOKS?

Yes, Marvel and DC comics can get lost in their prolonged continuity and yes, Manga can get ridiculous with its “cute” or KAWAII random sense of humor… But why compare two things that are basically the same? Vertigo, Image– even Marvel’s Icon imprint– publish plenty of non-superhero related comics from such great writers as Brian Vaughn and Ed Brubaker… But no one is foolish enough to say those books aren’t comics.

The current Akira Reprint Series

Japanese comic legend Katshuiro Otomo (creator of AKIRA) has stated he found inspiration in some DC comics… And felt delighted when given the chance to write a short 8-page Batman story in the BATMAN: Black and White limited series.

Even more frustrating: The people commenting on this article all wrote things that proved they were as ignorant as the article’s authors.

My roommate is from Japan and was a comic reader back in the day. She confirmed the similarities for me. She even felt it foolish to compare Manga and American comics– as they are, again, the same thing.

As you can tell, I love the comics of America and Japan. Even France, the UK and other countries have some great titles.

But I feel no need to compare these two genres because really– it’s just wasting my time. Time better spent reading great books like 20th Century Boys or Daredevil and not noticing any difference.

Mike F is a citizen of the CCW*TV Nation– a regular poster on the CCW*TV Companion Blog. He reads comics because he wants to and obviously couldn’t care less if a comic was in color or black and white. While normally we would say a Guest Columnist’s views are exclusively his or her own… We totally agree with everything he’s written.

Since I am a 99.9% “Wait for the Hardcover or the Trade Paperback” kind of guy, I’m going to put my money where my mouth is and let you know what I’m buying every week. Since people keep asking why I buy so many books every week, I expect all you floppy readers to tell me what I am doing right and what I am doing wrong… And I may even chime in on occasion and defend my choices. Not that a personal preference should need defending, mind you…

I might also point out why I am not buying some stuff as well… And the list may also generate a rant or expose a pet peeve… So watch out for that!

THIS WEEK’S HARDCOVERS, GRAPHIC NOVELS & MANGA

The titles in blue are either new items or items I decided against:

Adventures of Superboy Vol 1 HCI just stopped myself. Maybe next week ;-)
Big Book O’ Ditko This is going to sound horrible… I don’t like Ditko’s art
Bone Tall Tales – I got the softcover… CHEAPER!
Chew Vol 1 Omnivore HC – Own both already. Still couldn’t resist
Classic Transformers Vol 6
Daredevil The Devils Hand – What’s up, Andy Diggle?
Felix the Cats Greatest Comic Book Tails HC Torn again but my heart says, “COMIC BOOK REPRINTS… Uh, no.”
Final Crisis Revelations I own the hardcover already

Hey Dark Horse! Next time you charge $49.99 for a book-- reprint something that critics aren't calling "Boring"!

Flash Gordon Comic Book Archives Vol 1 HC Saw several reviews that called these “COMIC BOOK REPRINTS” boring!
Garth Ennis Battlefields Vol 5 The Firefly & His Majesty – I luv this series.
GI Joe Best of Scarlett
Invaders Eve of Destruction
Locke & Key Vol 3 Crown Of Shadows HC – I luv this series too!
Marvelman Classic Vol 1 HCAgain, maybe next week.
Myspace Dark Horse Presents Vol 5
Penny Arcade Vol 6 Halls Below
Siege Avengers Initiative HC
Star Trek Original Series Omnibus
Street Fighter Vol 6 Final Round
Team-Ups of the Brave and the Bold HC – What a weird title!
Ultimates II Ultimate Collection Oh Hell No!

Love the shout out! Thanks, Mike!

Unwritten Vol 2 Inside Man- Really? How could I resist? (I bought the first volume already. Loved it!)
Wolverine Dark Wolverine Vol 2 My Hero I own the hardcover already
X-Men Forever Vol 4 Devil in a White Dress- I guess

MANGA

Gossip Girl Manga Vol 1 – You damn well better believe I’m buying this! I’m MAD for MANGA!
Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys Vol 10 – Oh my!
Ooku Inner Chambers Vol 4

Some Additions:
Amy Devlin Mystery HC Vol 1 Past Lies (2nd Print)
Dorohedoro Vol 2
My Monkey’s Name is Jennifer (2nd Print)

I'm amazed that no one has figured out I'm Jodie Foster yet

Since I am a 99.9% “Wait for the Hardcover or the Trade Paperback” kind of guy, I’m going to put my money where my mouth is and let you know what I’m buying every week. Since people keep asking why I buy so many books every week, I expect all you floppy readers to tell me what I am doing right and what I am doing wrong… And I may even chime in on occasion and defend my choices. Not that a personal preference should need defending, mind you…

I might also point out why I am not buying some stuff as well… And the list may also generate a rant or expose a pet peeve… Just like this week’s list did (again)… So watch out for that!

I truly have to question what a publisher is thinking when they willfully release 5 “Campfire” Editions in one week… And what distributor allows it to happen. Seems awfully excessive and counter productive. I bet they could have sold twice as many of these books if someone had the damned foresight to understand they were overloading the distribution pipeline with this particular product type. Of course, the distributor and the publisher don’t care. They sold their books as non-returnable to comic book stores– so they’ll do just fine. It’s the comic store owner that’ll take it in the “shorts” with this book line this week– as customers quickly realize they cannot afford to buy 5 classic adaptations at one time. This bullshit dumping is the exact subject of my recent post, COMIC BOOK RELEASE BS*.

I’m also finally holding strong with my promise to stop buying books that no longer entertain or impress me.

I have noticed that with the rise of the personal computer– even “5th rate” shitty artists and writers now have access to tools that disguise the amateur nature of their art and story. Some of these books that I– and many other comic fans– have paid good money for do not come remotely close to surpassing the quality that I’ve seen in some of the crudest homegrown “fanzines” produced in the 70’s and ’80’s. If some person wouldn’t pay 25 cents for a quality fanzine in 1974… Then it’s time for me to stop rewarding crappy artists and writers by paying $19.99 for their shit collections today.

I’m all for supporting the indie scene. In fact, most of my book purchases fall outside of the Big Two publishers. But now it seems like every ass with an Intel processor and $3k burning a whole in his or her pocket fancies themselves a top-notch comic book entrepreneur.

So I’m here to put such deluded “creators” on notice: If you make it near impossible for me to find “art previews” for your collections, I will not buy them anymore. I tire of being shocked by pathetic art and a juvenile story sense. If you burn me with a shit trade or hardcover once– do not expect me to continue to pay for your graphic arts or creative writing educations.

That’s what Student Loans are for… And this “easy mark” has finally started closing his wallet.

THIS WEEK’S HARDCOVERS, GRAPHIC NOVELS & MANGA

Alice in Wonderland Campfire (#1)
Amory Wars Ultimate Edition HC (Was not impressed with Volume 1, passing on the Ultimate Edition)
Angel Hole In The World (I’ve given up on IDW’s Angel. Certainly don’t need an episode retread)
Avengers Invaders (Already own the hardcover)
Batman Arkham Reborn
Brain Camp
Captain America Theater of War (Already own the hardcover)
Cinderella From Fabletown With Love (Shawn McManus is one of my favorite artists. I wish he drew more comics!)

Shawn McManus' art is the shit, baby!

Complete Dracula (Already own the hardcover)
Corrective Measures Vol 2 (The first volume stank… No second chances here)
Creature Tech (Image Edition)
Cyberforce Hunter Killer
Dark Tower Battle Of Jericho Hill HC
El Arsenal Vol 1 (This looks really cool)

Escape From Terra Vol 1 (This looks possibly cool too)
Fogtown HC (I have been enjoying ALL of the Vertigo Crime books)
Frankenstein Campfire
GI Joe Origins Vol 3 (Started reading these. Don’t know why. They are really fun sometimes.)
Harry Houdini Campfire (#2)
Hellspawn Complete Collection HC (Should I buy this? Maybe I will. Maybe I won’t.)
Hulk Fall Of The Hulks Savage She-Hulks
John Stanley Library Nancy Vol 2 HC
Losers Book 2 (Great books. Forget the movie. Read the books!)
Luke Cage Noir (Already own the hardcover)
Magog Lethal Force
Milo Ventimiglia Presents Berserker Vol 1 (We’ll see…)

Sign me up... Even though I have NO IDEA what I am getting into!

Moby Dick Campfire (#3)
Punisher Max Naked Kills (I love Punisher Max)
Robinson Crusoe Campfire (#4)
Robocop Vol 1 Revolution (We’ll see…)

Shadoweyes Vol 1 (From the creator of Wet Moon. Looking forward to it!)
Sherlock Holmes Study in Scarlet (Already own it and The Hound of the Baskervilles)
Sonic The Hedgehog Archives Vol 13
Spider-Man Gauntlet Vol 4 Juggernaut HC
Starmaker Leviathan (This is one of those leap of faiths that I am less and less inclined to take lately)
Tarzan the Jesse March Years Vol 6 HC (Great series. Art is not for me)
Thief Of Always (Read a previous edition. Was not taken with the pencils-only art)
Treasure Island Campfire (#5!)
Walord of IO Vol 1 (Just didn’t like the art-deco style art)

MANGA

Bakuman Vol 1 (I hear good things…)
Ikigami Ultimate Limit Vol 6
InuYasha Vol 51
Negima Vol 27
Starcraft Ghost Academy Vol 2 (Amazed this is coming out! Volume 2 took so long to come out, I thought it was canceled!)

I put "Shadoweyes" into a Google Search and THIS PHOTO came up... So I'm rolling with it!

Tezuka’s Black Jack Vol 12 (I should read this, huh? Almost everybody seems to praise it!)

What if the WORLD ENDED and NOBODY gave a shit?

Let’s just get on with it: I did not like Revolver by Matt Kindt. Not in the least. Not even a little.

(WARNING: Moderate– but ultimately insignificant– SPOILERS ahead!)

Revolver operates around the premise that Sam– Kindt’s main character– a disenfranchised, down-on-his-luck nebbish who goes to sleep one night and wakes the next morning to discover that he’s now one of the few survivors in a post-apocalyptic, dystopian world.

Check out the ANNOYING "news feed" at the bottom of EVERY page-- or not!

Sam finally sleeps in his new-found Hell, only to wake the next day to find he’s back in the “normal” world– a place where life is still sane but also plods along at a monumentally tedious pace.

From that moment forward, Sam “revolves” between these two worlds– with one day spent executing a massively boring  routine and next day chock-full of terrifying experiences.

As the narrative progresses, Sam starts to look for– and learn about– things in the “regular” world that will help him in his alternate existence. He begins paying more attention to every aspect of his life and surroundings– noting, for example,  the location of a handy boat or learning how to hot-wire a car.

Tension and anticipation build nicely– only to be ultimately  destroyed when Kindt shows no intention of forcing his characters to evolve or grow past their petty idiosyncratic “real world” insecurities… Despite they’re being dumped into the middle of such a harsh habitat.

In Normalville, Sam can’t stand his job and dislikes his boss even more… Yet screws the same woman with gusto in apocalyptic land. Sam kills in self-defense and winces as people suffer in the bombed-out city but can barely raise his voice to help– let alone care for– the same people in his placid existence. This pattern continues day after day, over and over– until Sam’s disdain for his crushing banality reaches a tipping point.

But just when you think Revolver’s intriguing premise will finally take off,  it implodes.

Kindt’s Revolver attempts to showcase the indomitable will of the human psyche. How one insignificant man– faced with unbeatable forces– can rise, control and even conquer his indifference. Unfortunately, that’s not what really happens here. The author confuses Sam’s deciding to “man up” with maturation and a sense of caring… When the former is simply a reaction to his unavoidable circumstances and the latter feelings are actual choices.

At his best, Sam is just a reactionary soul no matter what world he resides in– allowing forces he cannot control in each world to dictate his actions.

Somehow, understanding this causes Sam to become even more insufferable and unlikable than ever before.

The first MAJOR problem with Matt Kindt’s Revolver surfaces with the painful smear of banality that permeates his main character– and every other character in the story too. I don’t know who edited this mish-mash of disconnected scenes posing as revelatory genius… But if anyone did, they needed to tell the author that if he wanted us to feel for his characters– or anything for his graphic novel at all– that he had to have at least one character in his story worth giving two shits about.

And there isn’t one anywhere in Revolver… In either world.

In his mundane life, Sam treats his girlfriend Maria with overriding disaffection– only to insist on searching for her in the other world after the bombs fall. Why? What is Sam’s reasoning here? He expresses little–if any– love for Maria in his regular life. Would he not then feel relieved to finally be rid of her in his other life? The answer is he would… So the reader is left to assume that Sam only wants to find Maria in the bombed-out world because he either feels guilty (what for we are never privy to)–  or worse– he misses having somebody to treat like a doormat.

At this point, the last shards of Kindt’s story disintegrate. There are no likable characters or character development, no real story progression and worst of all– a sense that NONE of it matters… Especially when Sam discovers he can always return to his normal existence without consequence (no matter what happens in the alternate reality). When Sam then also finds that he can choose which world to live in simply at will… All integral story tension disappears within a panel or two.

How can BOMBS be BORING?

But like any bad huckster who has no sense when to stop his failing pitch, Kindt places a ticker-tape line of information at the bottom of

every page that supposedly relates “news” from each world. After a scant 5 pages, the device becomes trite and tiresome– yet continues

for the entire story. Sadly, these incessant, innocuous– sometimes sardonic– made-up “facts” do something truly horrific to the overall narrative… They force the reader’s eye off the main story– causing you to constantly disconnect from the plot and characters.

The existence of this continual “news feed” in the alternate reality is even more puzzling– since there are supposedly no viable news outlets left in the apocalyptic world. If that’s true, where is all this “news” coming from? Isn’t that why the main characters are attempting to write a newspaper in the first place– to fill the news vacuum created by these horrendous events?

It’s all unlikely bullshit. Bad storytelling riddled with flawed plot holes big enough to drive a semi tractor-trailer through.

Yet amazingly, it is still not the worst thing about Revolver. I leave my biggest disdain for the art– especially the coloring.

(Now before you think, “Wow! You really didn’t like this at all, did you? You’re one of those non-superhero comic haters!” Please allow me to direct you to my first review on this site for Neil Young’s Greendale. This review should prove the opposite is true.)

In truth, I can live with Revolver’s art. Every artist has their own particular style– which is what makes art appreciation so cool… Because you may discover you like Kindt’s art more than me or find you dislike it more than me.

My problem with Kindt’s art: There are no real dramatic thematic shifts between the look of Sam’s bored existence and his apocalyptic nightmare. The only differences: bombed out buildings abound and some character appearances change (broken nose, cut on face) in the alternate reality. Kindt’s line work is so unfortunately casual here, that the fine details differentiating Sam’s two lives are often lost for the first few panels of each transition between worlds.

That means I save my biggest slam, however, for the book’s coloring– or in this case, the lack of coloring. Kindt’s inks are tinted blue in the real world and brownish in the bombed world… Yet throughout, he uses unattractive light blue and light tan colors for shading– increasing the difficultly of determining which world Sam is inhabiting on each page.

Simply put, Kindt’s color bores and does not deliver. Maybe he wanted to create a bland palette to further enhance certain blasé elements in the story or maybe he was just rushed or just lazy… Who knows? But the coloring on the book’s cover shows what could– and should– have been… And evokes more emotion in the one drawing– than any of the washed out panels could possibly achieve inside.

Sad to say– but Revolver is sloppy. Sloppy storyline, sloppy art, sloppy coloring.

The only thing not sloppy about the book? Its’ mind-boggling primo price point of $24.99 USD ($28.99 in Canada).

By now you certainly know where I stand on this: The man who’ll read almost anything, in hindsight, wishes he had never purchased Revolver at all.

DC CANCELS MADAME XANADU

Has everyone at DC lost their FUCKING MINDS?

BleedingCool.com is reporting that Matt Wagner’s DC/Vertigo comic, Madame Xanadu, is on the cancellation road.

This makes PERFECT SENSE for 3 Reasons:

Madame Xanadu: One of the BEST BOOKS DC’s Vertigo Imprint has launched in 10 Years.

Madame Xanadu: Supposedly NOT Vertigo’s lowest selling book. (That book’s still being published!)

Madame Xanadu: Quite possibly Matt Wagner’s FINEST CREATIVE ENDEAVOR.

This idiotic news is on the heels of DC also canceling the excellent Vertigo titles Unknown Soldier & Greek Street.

Somewhere, Marvel Comics employees are laughing.

Rich Johnston reports that Madame Xanadu’s cancellation can partially be blamed on some sort of Geoff John/Dan Didio edict to fold certain “currently Vertigo” characters back into regular, mainstream DC continuity. The PTB (Powers That Be) supposedly feel these characters will thrive and sell better under the DC Logo– firmly planted in the DC UniverseEven though the same DC Comics Universe has run second in overall book sales to the Marvel Comics Universe for decades now.

Let me clue ALL these DC Dipshits into something: You don’t have to run a fucking comic book company to deadass know that canceling Madame Xanadu– and putting her back in the DC Universe– is NOT going to do flying fuck to improve your sales.

NOTHING.

All you’ve done is take a massive artistic success and SHIT on it. That’s it.

Meanwhile your First Wave Pulp Hero books (recently launched to much fanfare and promotion) and your Brightest Day series (recently launched to much fanfare and promotion) are for shit… And fans of DC’s Magic Characters are left with the mediocre Zatanna comic (another shameful misstep) to fall back on? SCREW THAT. Anything short of relaunching Madame’s book in the mainstream DCU with the SAME Creative Team will be seen as a massive fail by anybody who enjoys good comics.

Sadly, here’s all you had to do to make Madame Xanadu a hit: PROMOTE THE SHIT OUT OF IT. When you have such a GREAT COMIC– obviously staffed by creators who care– BUILD A BUZZ… Just like you always have on all the other POS books that you’ve chosen to manufacture into “events”. Force comic collectors to stand up and take notice! That’s all you needed to do and you never came close to doing any of it!

Recently, D-D-Didio said that it is DC’s goal to be NUMBER ONE in sales and market share.

Treating your QUALITY BOOKS like bastard stepchildren ain’t gonna get you there… EVER!

DEFINITELY Eisner Award Worthy!

I wanted to bring this review of Neil Young’s Greendale Hardcover over from my original post on CCW*TV.

I’m not planning on doing this very often– but I really liked this book.

Previous readers: Please note I have added a lot of extra opinion and content in this revised review.

For about three years, I was the main Film Critic for a major film magazine– so I’m fairly certain I know how to write an interesting review with ruining your experience WITHOUT SPOILERS.

So that will be the way I will attempt to write my reviews.

If there are MAJOR SPOILERS I will always try to warn you!

Just finished Neil Young’s Greendale Hardcover… and I loved it.

Never been a huge fan of Neil Young (have to side with Ronnie Van Zant and his “Sweet Home Alabama” description of Neil). So I was very skeptical– wondering what I was about to get into– when I read Neil’s one paragraph blurb in the front of the book… Where he basically professes to not know exactly what his story is about.

The internal alarm bells began ringing immediately.

Neil needs to lay off the peyote– or any other hallucinogen he might be partaking in… Because Joshua Dysart writes an unbelievably compelling, intelligent, multi-layered narrative. I understood it perfectly (at least how I believe I was meant to understand and relate to the story). There were several spots where the narrative could have easy derailed and devolved into pedantic preachy bullshit– but Dysart ALWAYS resists the urge to slide into easy clichés or quirky, unintelligible storytelling.

Cliff Chiang’s art is wonderful. Each line is meticulously considered– without ever seeming mechanical. Chiang somehow makes his art flow seamlessly with the quietude the story demands. Dave Stewart’s coloring is perfection as usual.

MY ONLY BEEF

I did not like that one of the characters looked exactly like a younger version of Neil Young. I understood the conceit behind it– but the appearance of Neil’s famous mug dragged me out of the story almost every time his character appeared. That’s a very minor slag though. Once you accept the vanity (whether someone insisted on this or it was just a loving homage from the comic’s creators) it is relatively easy to just forget about this misstep and move on.

The book design is impeccable. It is one of the few times in recent memory that I felt like I was holding a piece of printed art that had not just NEEDLESSLY DESTROYED hundreds of trees to exist… This feeling is VERY IMPORTANT given the storyline.

I really admire seeing this kind of awareness from Book Designer. Book Design is an art. And it is apparent this designer was quite aware of the story inside–- even when deciding on what paper stock to use for the book’s interior and exterior pages.

Overall, I loved Neil Young’s Greendale. Maybe even more so because I wasn’t expecting to. Would definitely recommend this work to anyone who is in the mood to read a GREAT GRAPHIC NOVEL.

Sure, you could read a Deadpool Hardcover (or something like it) instead. Free world. But you would really be making a decision between reading a wonderful modern-day fairytale or reading a piece of mainstream mutant corporate crap. Your choice.