Danger Club #1 just came out  from Image last week, and I have to say that even though the book was recommended to me, I purchased it with a little trepidation. Here was yet another sort of reality take on the super hero world AND it was all about children being super heroes to boot. Now, where have I heard of that Kick Ass idea before? Hmm… But then I read the story, and looked at the artwork. And, I have to say, the book is pretty good on both counts. I’m not going to spoil anything, but the setup is that all of the world’s adult super heroes have left the planet to fight some galactic threat. The book opens up with the statement that none of the heroes ever returned. And so, the only people left to fight the baddies are the sidekicks.

Now, since this is Image, and not DC for instance, there is no character named Robin per se, but there sure is a character who looks like Robin and who acts a lot like a miniature version of Batman. More so than Robin does, if truth be told. And then there’s young Yoshimi, a girl who pilots a flying robot. Any Flaming Lips fans out there? If there are, you will understand why I thought this kinda straddled the line between being funny and just being annoying. Now, I have to give a warning to any parents who read this blog (yeah, right), that the book is bloody. It’s just as bloody as Kick Ass even, although in this story the kids are real super-powered heroes (most of them, at least), versus just being vigilante kidsters dressing up in poorly made costumes.

All in all, a solid read with a kinda “Hmm, that’s a good point” ending. I recommend picking this title up and seeing where it goes. I know I will.

Peace,

M

Hi there kind readers. Let me start today’s post out with a few questions. What do you expect to find on TV? Television programs! And commercials, of course. Good. Good. Now, what do you expect to find on the radio? OK, this one is tougher. I will accept either songs (music) or talk shows. And, of course, commercials. Now here is the tricky question. What do you expect to see when you open a comic book? And the answer is…images, drawings, superheroes, action, dialogue, etc. etc.

Unfortunately, however, I find myself more and more bombarded with ultra-dense dialogue balloons stuffed with words, and more words! Listen, I have an English degree. I read all the time, and I have no fear or dislike of words, but I do not buy comics to read tons of words. Most of the books I have been getting lately resemble illustrated stories more than they resemble comics. And this isn’t just me going off on a rant! Just like in books, good stories SHOW without having to TELL everything. Plus, these diatribes usually occur (we are to believe) in the time it takes to swing a hammer, or to punch a villain. Having so much text shoved into these shrinking comic books is just a sign of lazy storytelling.

I am very close to discontinuing every title I have that uses ultra dense text bubbles, and keeping only the titles that actually have an effective balance of text and sequential art. OK, here’s your last question for the night. What do you expect to see when you open up…a book? That’s right. Words. And I think I am going to go read one of those now. Thanks for listening. Peace.

M

Happy New Year, Everyone. I know. I know. I haven’t written an entry in a while. My excuse? Lyme Disease! And to think, one of my all-time favorite animated characters is (was) the Tick.

I’m a bit rusty at this, so I’m gonna start out slowly. Well…I’ve been reading my comics like a good little adult nerd (proudly so!). Without any of them in front of me, I know that I have been enjoying, in no particular order, the new Bionic Man series, Green Lantern, The Strange Talent of Luther Strode (interesting read so far), The Incredible Hulk (although not liking the new artist), the Legion of Superheroes, Superman, Superboy, one of the Batman titles (the one where the new Robin goes rogue), Animal Man (still very good), and Wolverine (um Professor Wolverine, sorry).

But really I’ve been more interested in watching the first and only season of ABC’s No Ordinary Family. Maybe it’s the strong meds I’m on, but I really enjoyed the show. Sometimes predictable, but at times also fresh. It’s a story about a normal family (mom, dad, son, and daughter) who are in a plane crash in the Amazon and come away with super powers. The main guy is Michael Chiklis from The Shield, and his D.A. co-hort/ sidekick is Romany Malco of 40 Year Old Virgin fame. Not only do we get to see the whole family come to terms with their new powers, but the story gets a little more interesting when we discover that there are other “supers” in town, and all of them are villains. The season ends on a sorta cliff-hanger, but since the show ended up being cancelled, even though the setup for the second season was pretty good, we will just never know exactly what the writers intended. Probably. Unless they posted in on a blog somewhere…

Like I said, the show isn’t the most amazing thing you will ever watch, but the acting is ok, the plot lines try to do good things, and overall, the series is just plain, mindless fun. And all the episodes are streaming on Netflix. Total bonus!

So by all means, keep reading your (comic) books, but if you get bored one night, check out No Ordinary Family, and let your mind wander as it wonders what you would do if you suddenly had super powers of your own…

M

 

The latest Hulk book, The Incredible Hulk, has what I think is beautiful artwork by the well-known Marc Silvestri. His work in this one has echoes of old Bernie Wrightson when he used to mimic wood block printing in his illustrations for the classic Frankenstein story. Helping Marc more than I ever knew an artist to need help, the series also has a crap-ton of pencilers, pencil assists, finishers, inkers and a colorist! Whew! That’s a lot of people all working to make the finished art in this book look pretty raw, but still full of energy and inviting.

But what has equally kept me tuned into this book so far is the storyline. The writer, Jason Aaron, has done a pretty good job so far of separating the Hulk and the Banner characters, and of switching it so that Banner is much more the monster than his big green alter-ego. It’s as if without the Hulk for his anger management outlet, Bruce Banner has no alternative but to…well, become kind of a wacked-out, mad scientist a la Dr. Moreau. I’m not going to give too much away here, but we’re talking about stuff on the level of cats sleeping with dogs. Real Biblical-level shizzle!

Turns out that Dr. Banner can’t seem to fully let go of the huge green monkey on his shoulder that he’s been complaining about for the last several decades, and now he’s doing everything his demented mind can think of to bring the two of them back together. Meanwhile, the Hulkster seems to be getting along just fine without Bruce as he (sorta) enjoys his new-found family and his role as their protector and provider. Gee, I’d really hate to be Banner if he ever decided to mess around with the Hulk’s serenity…Oops! I may have said to much already. :-) forget you read that last part. Just go pick up the first and second issues of the Incredible Hulk and give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.

Later,

– M

Hi Kiddies,

Today, I’m not gonna talk about comic books. Instead, I wanna tell you about a pretty good little movie called Real Steel. And I’m not even going to spoil it, just in case you haven’t seen it yet.

Now, it’s not the greatest movie that was ever made. Not even close. But, it’s well done, and although the story is basic, it still holds water. The movie is definitely science fiction and exists in a not too distant future where human boxing has been replaced by robot boxing. Hugh Jackman stars along with Evangeline Lilly (Kate from Lost, duh) and with relative newcomer, Canadian child actor, Dakota Goya (at age 12 it’s ONLY his third major motion picture to co-star in-slacker!) But seriously, the plot is all about the characters, and it maintains this near perfect balance of sci fi and down-to-earth. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of cool things to look at in this movie (besides Evangeline), with the movie more than a little reminding me of a game from my childhood, Rock’em Sock’em Robots (Look it up–It was loads of fun).

So, here’s the thing. The movie was good. The acting was good. The special effects were very cool. They blended in perfectly with the rest of the normal world of the movie. But really, the premise and the real heart of the humans were what made this movie. And who do you think came up with the premise and the real-world dilemmas the characters faced in this not-so-normal backdrop? Just this guy named Richard Matheson, that’s who. Matheson wrote a couple of stories here and there. A few of them were even adapted into movies.

Ever heard of A Stir of Echoes? The Incredible Shrinking Man? The Box? Somewhere in Time? The Legend of Hell House? I AM FRIGGIN LEGEND? (Made into not one, but three different movies through the years). Those were all his. And you know what else the guy wrote? Just one of the best episodes of the original Star Trek ever–The Enemy Within. The one with the evil Kirk! And fourteen episodes for The Twilight Zone series, including Steel (from which “Real Steel” was adapted), and…wait for it…the famous episode (Nightmare at 20,000 Feet) with the creepy monster on the wing of the plane driving a young and relatively unknown actor named William Shatner out of his mind with horror. Oh and, Matheson also wrote the introductory and closing statements spoken by Rod Serling.

This guy friggin rocks. And for that reason alone, if for no other, you should go see Real Steel, or at the very least, watch it when it comes out on DVD and BluRay, etc. They don’t make too many science fiction stories like this anymore, just like they don’t make too many science fiction writers like Richard Matheson anymore either.

M