Friday, March 25, 2011

I miss Dexter's Lab, too.

Don't you?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What I Love About Comics

Well, most of it, anyway. I complain a lot about the state of comics, but I love more things than I hate. For instance:

Small Publishers/ Independent Imprints
Granted, I don't really read anything from Marvel and DC's mainstream lines anymore, and with the muddling of Marvel's Ultimate line, and the obliteration of Wildstorm (not to mention the rumored destruction of Vertigo's John Constantine), I have divorced myself completely as of late out of grief.

Granted, Marvel does have the Icon imprint which you can get your Kick-Ass fix, and Imma let you finish, but Powers is one of the greatest comics of all time.

Don't worry, kids. There is more than just Marvel and DC. Dynamite is nothing less than, and they love to push the envelope. Don't believe me? Pick up The Boys #1. And you're welcome.
Avatar Press is my favorite publisher, so it should be no surprise that they have a GLUT of Ellis' work; Black Summer, No Hero, Supergod, and holy crap, Gravel and FreakAngels. I could go on, but he's doing it anyway.

UK Writers
Think about the most important, most entertaining, most thrilling works of the past thirty years, now I ask you, how many of those came from guys like Grant Morrison, Alan freaking Moore, Neil Gaiman, Garth goddamn Ennis, and yes, I'm going back to the well that is Warren "Give me whiskey or I'll throttle you Ellis.

That's just off the top of my head. I love these guys for really bringing the weird, and consistently challenging what the concept of comics should be. I didn't include Mark Millar out of personal opinion of his current work, but the Authority and Ultimates wouldn't have been as great as they were without him.

Finite Runs
One of my biggest problems with comics is when a story goes on well past its prime, so it doesn't surprise me that my favorites books had finite or extremely short runs. There's Brian K. Vaughn's Y the Last Man, Grant Morrison's Filth (fitting), and I know, I know, Warren Ellis' opus of Transmetropolitan.

Now, there are comics that are in continuous run that I love to read, like Hellblazer, which has been going strong since the eighties, but I am more inclined to call it a 'story' when it has a beginning, middle, and definitive end.

Truly Original Stories
I love the X-Men. I do. The concept of beings who are born with superpowers and choose to serve others when they don't need (or want) to is awesome to me. I love the Justice League and their feeling of family and responsibility to not just themselves, but to their code of honor and the legacy of their namesakes. I love that.

But you know what really gets me to plunk down my 3.95? Stories about the future with rogue journalists that smack slightly of Hunter S. Thompson, or super-powered policemen with moral dilemas, maybe magicians who cheat in every fight and challenge the reader's moral center in every issue.

Not every book needs a Wolverine, kids.

-Mind the gap

Check back here for more rambles about the comics that you love oh so much.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

(Most) of what I really hate in comics


Namaste, bitches.

I have been dragging my feet about this post(mostly because I hate so many things about comics, I found it hard to narrow it down. Here it is, no edits, one take. In no order whatsoever:

Time dilation
Jubilee and the inside jokes. Gah. I understand that it takes money to run comics, and that when you create an iconic character, you don't want them to die. The problem is, I do. I want to pick up my favorite action magazine and see them get wrinkles, gray hairs, discuss the perils of age on their crimefighting. That's interesting to me. The closest that we get to it is the Justice Society, but they don't age.

Women's costumes
Average male costume, almost completely covered and armored, even when they might be physically tough enough to not require it, yet their female counterparts are in fishnets, high heels, and a bikini, and they are expected to jump across rooftops and dodge bullets. Titillating, yes, but also insulting and sexist, and I have to say that the skimpier the bikini, the crappier the story that needs to be covered up.

Women in Refrigerators
Wonder Woman fulfills her role as a warrior goddess and is shunned and... hunted? Every female in the Bat-family is visited by some horrible fate. The Bat-boys come out smelling like a rose. (WIR)

Event comics
I just want to read about my favorite characters and not spend an extra 30 bones a month to keep from knowing what the story is about.

Batman is how old again? He is in his thirties, right? Maybe forties? How old is Dick Grayson, because he started in his early teens, and is a fully grown adult, and I daresay, almost the same age as Bruce Wayne. Then bring up that Tim Drake is also getting up there in years, which forces me to ask; how is this supposed to make sense?
More on that, Batman dies. I rejoice, cue the Battle for the Cowl. I cheer as they pit the various characters who have equal claim to the title of Batman. Dick Grayson comes out on top, and we see Damian Wayne as the new Robin, and Stephanie Brown as the new Batgirl. In the wake of the death of one of the greatest comic characters ever, a new chapter unfolds. We are about to witness something interesting, folks. I am a little less overjoyed, but still holding on. Then I catch wind that Bruce Wayne is *fighting his way from the beginning of time to the present day through time travel*
I am utterly disgusted. DC comic's lack of creative balls once again leaves me with egg on my face. All of that emotional and financial investment into the story, and they brought him back. I imagined everyone at 1700 Broadway laughing at me "silly bastard, Jack. We aren't going to sacrifice Batman for the sake of good storytelling!"

General insults to my intelligence/ dollar.
Chuck Austen is my favorite offender. His Uncanny X-men run was illogical, and rife with too many of his personal issues. Ruined the book.


-Mind the gap

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dwayne McDuffie leaves me a present. R.I.P.

For those unfamiliar, the late Dwayne McDuffie was a comic writer and producer, and one of the brightest stars in the industry. My first exposure to his work was with the Milestone comics, which were multicultural stories. I love them. They had minority-led stories, but without bashing me over the head with the extremely obvious nature of their race. I loved Black Panther, I loved Luke Cage, but too often, in the clumsy hands of a culturally clueless writer, the easy-going Power Man would come off as a ham fisted brute or thug, and the regal T'Challa would be either pompous, aloof, or both. Or worse.

McDuffie didn't stop there, nor did he fall into the rut of creating 'black comics', which I believe would have been career suicide. He moved up in the ranks, and became a top-shelf writer and really showed not only his skill for handling multi-ethnic stories, but for writing clean, intelligent, gripping stories.

He will be missed, and I am pretty much done with DC with his passing.

Mind the gap, kids.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Also, this(more on Writer's block).

Found this gem, thought that I would share with you kids. Once again, why I listen to Warren Ellis, and like ... none of you.

Writer's block

Namaste, bitches!!

I was going to post about not being able to write, but I've been writing for days. A few of my fellow writer/artists have been noting their respective writer's/artist's blocks, which I immediately chided them for, stating that it doesn't exist.

A few years ago, I just started my novel Shades of Jack, and also attempting to write my first comic book script for a now-dead angel story that I have since shot to bits and torn to pieces. I complained about suffering from the aforementioned block, and he replied that it's bullshit and doesn't exist. Writer's block is a temporary lack of creativity, motivation, or inspiration.

So I decided that to prevent me ever experiencing the soul-wrenching pain that accompanies the inability to create, I read more, watched less television for entertainment and more documentaries, and I analyze everything. I pull stories apart viciously like a bear during spawning season, bashing and ripping salmon against rocks so I can feast on their livers and hearts.

Once in a while, I find a musical act that can also help grease the wheels. I listen to music when I write, but normally, it's for their DroneZone or Suburbs of Goa channels. The problems are that I can't listen to them in the car or when I go on my inspiration walks, but they are only good for white noise when I am already writing.

When I write myself into a corner, or just feel like leaving my quill in ink, I listen to the Earthly Frames. One man band, and the kind of haunting tracks that almost make me feel as if he can see into my mind when I sleep. When I first got my hands on it, I would only listen to the album when I needed to, like a secret weapon. I started listening in August, and I can still put in Volume 1 and after the second or third track, my hands are pounding the keyboard, channeling Jerusalem and de Sade. Link at the jump

-Mind the Gap