The Violent Blue blog***Comics, Horror and Pop Culture***Updates Tuesday through Friday (and occasionally at random)

Green Lantern

Catching up on autographs

AutographsYou know, I never posted any of the autos I got at the Akron Comic Con last year, and that’s something I’ve really been meaning to do. So here we are. I want to start with the ones from Gerry Conway because they are just my absolute favorites. The fact that I not only have these comics, but have signed copies of them just makes me want to squee everytime I see them.

conway 1 conway 2

Mike W Barr was a delight. I loved his run on Star Trek and especially love his Batman and the Outsiders, so it’s a great pleasure to have them both signed. Id didn’t just go with number ones though, I went with an issue of Trek that was special to me as well….the first one I ever got.

barr 1 barr 2 barr 3

Tony Isabella created something special in Black Lightning, and I don’t know if we ever really appreciate it enough. I especially loved the 90’s version. They made a figure of it, but other than that, it got almost no attention at all. I never even knew about the series until long after it was over.

Isabella

Breyfogal. enough said.

breyfogal 1 breyfogal 2

I’m a fan of Joe Staton’s Green Lantern and have to wonder why he isn’t a bigger personality in the field…It’s not that Dick Tracy is a bad gig, but it seems like he should be doing more.

stanton1 stanton2

Kyle Rayner is another underappreciated character. Polarlizing I guess. I hated him at first too, just because he took the place of Hal Jordan. Once my friend Ben got me actually reading the book though, I really grew to love him and realized my ire was more a reaction to how poorly Jordan was treated in Emrald Twilight. I got Daryl Banks, the costume designer, to sign a couple of great covers both with a lot of characters crammed into them!banks1

banks2

A couple more to throw in here, Cameron Diaz was nice enough to sign a Green Hornet picture for me. Tara Strong signed a collage for me and a pony picture for my girls. Maddie sleeps with it….I kid you not.

diaz Tara Strong

Finally there is…this. How do I properly describe this and the joy it brings me?

About a year or so ago my friend Johnny Em bought an animation cell off ebay. The seller shipped it in this envelope to protect it. As soon as he saw it he thought of me. My wife couldn’t understand why I was so excited over a dirty old envelope. Well you see that Filmation logo on the corner? As in the people who made He-Man? This carried proofs or cells at one time while they were making the series – you can see the notes “young hordak, Sorceress, and (I think) Marlana scrawled up in the corner by the logo. It’;s signed by every person who when through the production phases – each signing off on thier work.Definitely one of the coolest pieces of He-Man Memorabilia I’ve ever gotten!

100_3541


Happy Halloween!

If you’re not sure exactly what is going on, check out this week’s Violent Blue.

The Spider-Man costume is real. What happend is we were given a box of custumes for the girls, and someone threw in an adult Spider-Man costume for me. No mask or gloves, but not a big deal.

Except I was broke.

So I was looking at this Spider-Man costume and trying to figure out what to do with it. I had a costume party coming up and wanted to wear it, but the mask and gloves were a problem. I considered doing the mask in facepaint, but my hair would still be showing. I don’t currently have a bald cap and it just looks band anyhow. I could do a Marvel Zombie, but to be comic accurate, I need a torn up mask. I don’t have an intact Spidey mask, much less a torn one.

Zombies still seemed like a good idea. I was thinking about the “Blackest Night” event DC had done in the Green Lantern comics a year ago. Those zombies weren’t just dead people, the black lantern rings kind of took them and turned them into gruesomely distorted versions of themselves. I came up with the idea of etching the spider web on my face and creating dark circles around my eyes in the shape of his goggles from the mask, then adding my black lantern ring to explain the lack of gloves.

I like it. The makeup was crazy long – over two hours. I could probably chalk that up to me trying out some new techniques. The cuts are cotten, colored with fake blood and the edges cleaned up with flesh tone greaspaint. A little black in there too to dirty it up and make it look infected. I could probably do it quicker now. I also added a little pink to the skin where the cuts join to add some trauma. Over all, I think it works well, and I like the idea of a costume that is in of itself a crossover. I like the idea though, that Taylor is wearing to to cause trouble. I used to wear Doctor Who costumes to Star Trek conventions for that EXACT SAME REASON!

Head on over to see this week’s Halloween hijinks at Violent Blue!


The future of Comic Book movies

So blockbuster season is firmly in  the past. I saw what I was going to see, and successfully avoided Dark Knight (not a nolan fan, I’ll get around to it on DVD). and I’m wondering how much longer this can last.

Don’t get me wrong. Comic Book films aren’t going away. They never have. There have been comic book films pretty much as long as there has been cinema. I have old Captain America serials and Superman movies from the 40 and 50s. I think there were a grand total of five Shadow movies. But as you look over history, you can see certian…eras. Especially in the last few decades. Usually it’s started off by a Superhero film that redefines the genre. Superman did it, and that was really the model for a good chunk of the 80s, until Batman in 1989. That redefined things as gritty, dark and rubber suits if you were going to go with a costume like in Captain America – but you weren’t allowed to show the suits too much. No costume? You just went dark and grindhousey like in the Punisher. Oh and the supporting cast didn’t really have to resemble their comic book counterparts. You can toss Judge Dredd, The Crow, Spawn and Blade in there, probably even X-Men though around that time things began to change. Specifically, Spider-Man changed all of that. Now we were looking more at making the costume as closely resemble the source material as possible, like Cap and the Avengers and Thor and Green Lantern and Hellboy ect….and it also defined the Superhero movie as THE blockbuster event of the summer.

And that’s where we’ve been for a while. In fact, we’ve kind of gone from a comic book movie being an event because it’s so rare, to any other kind of blockbuster being an event because it’s so rare. Remember Independence Day? Mission Impossible (two was my favorite)? Godzilla? How about the original Total Recal or Terminator 2? Demolition Man? We don’t see these movies so much now because the Superhero movie has taken their place. Indeed, one of the reasons The Expendables has been such a big deal is because the 80’s action movie has become nearly extinct.

Which brings me to my point. How long can this last? We’ve been on the superhero blockbuster ride for a decade now and what really has me thinking about this is The Avengers. It seems to me that with the Avengers, the comic book blockbuster has reached critical mass. It’s a brilliant achievement in of itself, and really the epitome of everything Avi Avrad was trying to do when he set Marvel down  the path to making movies (his belief was that film was where Marvel would make it’s money and was the future of the company) in the 90’s.

But where do we go from here? Already the landscape is changing again. The Dark Knight seems to be the new template, judging by the look of The Amazing Spider-Man and Man of Steel. If Superhero film is moving in that direction, then the Avengers is already falling behind. And as DC moves forward to try and duplicate the success from the Avengers, the glut of Superhero movies on the market is only going to get worse, making market fatigue inevitable…and quickining it’s progress.

That’s really my fear. That it becomes so common place it breeds contempt. Without some new innovation, a REAL game changer (not just an tonal change like we got from the Dark Knight) that Hollywood will ride this train into the ground, until Superhero movies become box office poison. 

And here’s the really scary thought to me both as a comic fan and as a comic artist on Violent Blue

Because comics these days are so heavily tied to the movie properties to support them, when the Comic Book movie goes back underground or vanishes completely for a while (like it did in the seventies)…what happens to comic books?


Last week’s pulls

You know what? Green Lantern just pisses me right off. I did catch up on the series, and it started off alright. It actually has had some great moments and I was kind of excited for the return of Black Hand, but then we fall right back into this mulit-colored lantern corps dreck. I don’t care about any color lantern but green and that’s really what I’m waiting for.  On the plus side though, Hal is slowly beginning to feel more and more familiar to me again. I guess after seven or eight years, he ought to be.

I’m glad I’m still with the Shadow. Issue five has a lot more of what I really like about the character, though I’d still prefer to see him back in New York. A lot of action and atmosphere in this one. I think however, the most exciting part of this issue was the advertisement for “Masks” – Dynamites crossover event using all these Golden age pulp heroes like the Green Hornet, the Shadow and the Spider. I’m going to be all over this series. The Shadow / Doc Savage crossover from DC in the 90’s was a bit disappointing, and I’ve never gotten my hands on the Shadow / Ghost one from Dark Horse. It seems like a tough sell, crossing over the Shadow….well actually, it’s an easy SELL, but rather a tough thing to execute correctly. Still, with an Alex Ross fully painted first issue… you just can’t go wrong here.

My first impressions of the New Star Trek : The Next Generation series is overwhelmingly positive. I love that it’s the Borg, and I love that it’s TNG movie period – in fact it’s post-movie period. Riker is captain of the Titan and Data is still dead. I’ve always believed that this is the best period to focus on because there’s so little material for it. I always believed the same of the original series. It was one of the reasons I enjoyed DC’s comic series and one of the reasons I think the current IDW series focusing on the tangent universe is an extremely good idea.

The only problem I see with the Star Trek : Hive series is the feeling I’ve seen it all before. The first issue is half “Scorpion” from Voyager and “The Worst of Both Worlds” from the DC TNG run. I’m hoping I get more out of the rest of the series. Still, it’s nice to be back in the TNG movie period and I’m definitely following this run.

Finally, I dipped my toe once again into DC’s zero issues. Why do I keep doing this to myself? Seriously. Why? I picked up Phantom Stranger, and get this : It’s an origin story.

Ugh.

See, the thing about the Phantom stranger, especially in the modern age is his mystery. We’re not sure where he came from or why he is what he is. That is a huge component of the characters mythos and appeal. Not only do we get a clear-cut, well defined origin for him, we also get one for the Spectre. DC! Pay attention! Not every question requires an answer! To Quote Neil Gaimen from one of his Sandman stories “I keep TELLING you: It’s the MYSTERY that endures, NOT the explanation.  A good mystery can last for EVER. The mysterious corpse has a magic all its own. Nobody really CARES who-done-it. They’ll peck you to pieces if you tell them” And that DC, is why I keep kevetching. That’s what you’ve messed up, and if you keep messing this kind of elementary stuff up, the fans and I will absolutely peck you to pieces. Someone, please wake up and revert us out of this new 52 nightmare.

I’m going to go read some Violent Blue.


Catching up on Comics (part one)

Sheesh. It’s been at least four months since I was in a comic shop. A whole freaking lot can happen in that time……

I was aware that Valiant was coming back. I was also somewhat aware of the new Shadow series that Dynamite was going to start, but I was a little hazy on exactly WHEN any of this would be happening. I had no CLUE that DC had the rights to Masters of the Universe again. I also really wasn’ t aware that the Extreme universe was relaunching under Image comics.

So I stopped to grab a stack of comics and catch up. I had NO IDEA how much I missed. Let’s start off with the small stuff, I’ll leave the titles I really want to talk about untill tomorrow.

The New 52

I still hate Superman’s new costume. It’s been a year. You’d think it would grow on me, but I just hate it. It’s kind of like the way Matt Smiths costume in Doctor Who bugs me….wait. No it’s not. I got used to that….and the longer coat he sometimes wears is a great improvement. Superman just looks….wrong. Superman doesn’t need armor…or “Kryptonian bio-tech”. He looks like a bad Extreme villain from the 90s (Oh and just you wait. We’ll get to that.) It’s a pity too, becasue I kind of like Clark Kent’s new look….and that’s about it. I just don’t recognize this guy as Superman. He fails to instill that sense of awe in me. This Superman isn’t the aspirational figure I’m used to to and that’s a shame. We are all lessened by it.

Really digging the Ame-Con girls series. It’s fluff and it knows it is, but it’s fun fluff and gives those figures a purpose at least.

All Star Western is a GREAT idea, but so poorly realized that it’s almost heartbreaking. I love the western Gotham. I love bringing in a bunch of old DC western heroes, but lose Wayne and give me a more compelling story. It just didn’t work.

Not digging the new Green Lantern. Seems too much like pandering to me. I still need to catch up on Grifter and Justice League and Wonder Woman may be worth a second look too. Batman is okay, but just….meh.
On to Extreme.

See, here’s the thing with Extreme. I liked Extreme, but never bought into the hype when Image was at it’s height. I bought all of my Image second hand, after the industry crash and got them for .50 – .25 or less.  It’s fun stuff. It’s flashy and violent and loaded with belt pouch goodness, but let’s not take ourselves too seriously. You’re not reading this stuff for the same reason you read The Sandman. You’re reading it to see big fights, big racks and lots of lens flares.

I’m not sure if Image understands that. Bloodstrike is a prime example. This was a weird series that started as a team book, then was reworked to a solo book, and then reworked again back into a team book when we learned the mysterious title character of the solo book was the leader of the old team-book version…..

*pauses to catch breath*

It’s back to a team book now, they are trying to pick up where they left off and  bringing back all the old characters from the beginning of the series,  but the art is merly mediocre, and the costumes are a little more 2012….and that’s not good. just about everything that was fun about this book has been sucked out of it, and we’re only three or four issues in.

The relaunched Youngblood on the other hand is a bit better handled. I think they are relying a little to much on a couple of the previous relaunches and it seems like a bit of a Frankenstein project. A bit of the YB that was a media satire, a bit of the ’93 YB,  bit of team YB…I’m not sure how to feel here. I like the idea that Shaft has been replaced. Not so sure I like the team being considered a joke by pop culture in general (remember, along with Spawn, this was one of Image’s primary flagship titles). Serious props for that panel where Diehard rips off his mask. At first the way they were handling Vogue was a little upsetting, but they’ve gone just a little deeper and shown some reasons for it….I can handle it. Great line from her to Diehard: “One night  is a mistake. One year is just a guy breaking a girls heart”. That’s better writing that this title deserves. It’s interesting that they are still following Jeff Terral even though he’s not Shaft right now and this title has a lot of potential. I hope they don’t mess it up.

I don’t want to even talk about Prophet. I think the vision for this series has always been a little hazy and it’s lost its way to such an extent that it’s unrecognizable from the series I knew and loved when it began in the 90’s.

Valiant is a whole other story.I was really disappointed in the Acclaim version of Valient, I realized why they had to change everything (weird contractual obligations…I don’t have the space here….)but it was a real drag. The new valiant is so much better. X-O Manoowar is a perfect example. The art and designs are so much more clean and polished- modern. But the look and the story do the source material justice. The new suit looks very cool, and a little shocking when you see a spider alien in it. Even more shocking is Aric loosing a hand. It’s all good stuff. Every bit as good as Valiant in the 90’s. Not necessarily better, and that’s okay. Valiant in the 90’s was good stuff in of itself.

BloodShot has a similar premise to Bloodstrike. Reanimating the dead, occasionally messing with thier memories and turning them into  the perfect soldier. Bloodshot makes it work, something Bloodstrike 2012 fails to do. I didn’t read much Bloodshot back in the day, I’ve come across him here and there in crossovers but don’t have enough history with the character to have an opinion on how well he’s being handled. I’ll thell you this though, the art? This title LOOKS better than it ever has before. Speaking of art,  Archer and Armstrong also comes to mind

Archer and Armstrong crossed over with my favorite Valiant title Shadowman a bunch of times. I’m well familiar with t he guys. I even have a small collection of their title because I’m a bit of a valiant fanboy and I KIND OF liked what I saw in Shadowman.

I’m really liking the relaunch. It looks better than before and it reads really easily. I’m interested in the quest and really like the renewed dynamic between the two title characters. I’m interested in where they are going with this one and I expect to actually stick with this series for a while.

That’s it for today. Go read some Violent Blue and I’ll be back tomorrow to talk about the comics that REALLY caught my attention.


Lego Batman

gamerI’d just like to say, I’m SO digging Lego Batman 2. I like these characters and I think the lego ideas are fun and you KNOW it’s one of the games Steve and Chloe are playing over at the Violent Blue comic strip, but my main beef with the Lego games was that there wern’t NEARLY enough save points. I don’t usually have 40 minuets to sit and play through a level before I get my next save point. That was killing me with the first Lego Batman game and they’ve really fixed that this time around.

This one has an interesting feature, certian objects can only be manipulated by certian characters. Perhaps you can only pick this thing up with a power ring, or only move through these ducts if your are an acrobat. It works well and really helps showcase the vast aray of DC superheros available in this game.

It’s cross platform and available for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo 3DS, Wii, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows.


Cap and GL

So I was finishing up watching movies I got for Christmas. It was a nice year last year, I saw every blockbuster I wanted to in the theatre…a feat I haven’t preformed in a long time (discovering the underground film scene in Cleveland and three $3-$5 theatres clsoe to my house helped a lot). Of those summer films, I only asked for two for Christmas; Green Lantern and Captian America.

Something strange occured to me.

Most of you know, my first action figure ever was Green Lantern from Kenner’s Super Powers line.

Did anyone know that my SECOND action figure ever was Captian America from the Secret Wars line?

 Not only that, I used to play with them together…they were thier own special super-team. It’s a wierd thing, I’m the only one who really associates these two together because of the toys I had as a child, but here are both of these characters with films being released a month or two apart this year, and both in my hands today. It’s a fun kind of syncronicity that I’m probably overthinking, but it makes these two movies all the more special to me. (Thanks to my wife for finding  them both for me!)

By the way, There’s new Violent Blue up! Go check it out!


Faith, horror and comics….

I see that no one has taken a stab at that Whose Line caption yet. I feel really bad about that. Usually I can whip up two or three, but just haven’t had any inspiration over there. I hope someone can throw a strip or two up there before Ben has to change it.

However, we do have a new Violent Blue up, talking about how Christians seem to find each other in the strangest places. I was a little surprised the first time this happened at The Chamber Nightclub, but at this point it no longer freaks me out. It’s not just clubs either…I find the people of faith at Horror cons, comic shops, film and art festivals…and it’s never when I’m expecting it.

Speaking of comic shops, one of the guys I was playing Heroclix with Monday night told me there was a new one out in Lorain, so I slipped out there this week. Not a lot of local places sell modern Heroclix singles so I really wanted to check out the selection. The place is nice, clean and friendly, in fact, they were kind enough to hook me up with that FCDB Green lantern I missed out on! I’m thinking of stopping out there for game nights on the off weeks I don’t play at Warzone (Like the week of my wife’s monthly game night). Check out Get ‘Em Comics at this address :

http://getem-comics–games.webstorepowered.com/ref=sample_one

Finally, we got Taversia Top list back up on the comic site, so do me a favor and vote me up a bit over there huh? I’ve got some lost time to make up for.

 

You can find today’s Violent Blue here:

http://violentblue.thecomicseries.com/comics/271


Rain Day and new comics

So  the art show got rained out yesterday. I’m a little upset about that. However, I guess it gives me more time to prep. On the other hand, the date  that was mentioned for the rain date is the last day of Cinema Wasteland. I’m even more upset about that. Grrrr. I guess I’ll live.

Any how, a new Violent Blue is up, and if that’s not enough Violent Blue, there’s also a VB strip up today over at Whose Line is it Anywhoo

See todays strip here :

http://violentblue.thecomicseries.com/comics/255

and my guest strip over at Whose Line here :

http://www.whoseline.thecomicseries.com/comics/141

Now I’m off to meet up for Heroclix at War Zone games in Parma. I should be there around six or so if anyone else wants to play.


I see Green Lantern is getting pounded by the critics – even the comic media is ripping it apart. That’s a pity, because it’s not nearly as bad a film as they make it out to be. I stand by my statements, It’s a great GL movie, it’s a good comic film, but not a good blockbuster. I think the biggest disappointment is that for a 300 Million dollar film, we don’t realy see that money on the screen. The CGI is subpar in places, the sets aren’t that extraordinary, and there’s actually too much green screen. It ends up feeling like a direct to video movie than a summer night out at the theatre. Still, I can’t believe that writer Mark Millar called this “The worst superhero film ever”. Did he miss Batman and Robin? Perhaps he wasn’t aware of the Nick fury movie starring David Hasselhoff? Really? Green Lantern is worse thant the 1990 Captian America???

Hmmmm. I think there’s a comic strip in all of this……We’ll see what happens in Violent Blue on Monday.


Green Lantern continued

SO I watched green lantern’s numbers this weekend. Not bad, but still a weak showing. People are comparing the weekend receipts to X-Men : First Class, but that’s not really a fair comparison. X-Men is the fifth in a series and may well be suffering from a bit of sequel fatigue. It’s also the first one without the most beloved character (Except by me), Wolverine. GL on the other hand is a brand new movie with a character being seen by the general public for the first time. It’s supposed to be the beginning of a series, not the ending. A more accurate comparison would be with Thor, which made about a third more in it’s first weekend, and was to be fair….a better movie. This is coming from someone who likes Green Lantern and doesn’t actually care for Thor as a character.

On the whole, I’m not totally pessimistic as to wether or not we get more GL movies. We got a second Garfield movie after week profits on the first one, and the toys are selling well enough that I still can’t find an Abin Sur on the shelves (I want to customize him into a little TV Flash). Anyhow, I did my part. I saw Thor at the Palace and paid 3.00 to get in. I saw GL at a big movie theater and paid more than twice that to see it and bought a figure. The rest is up to you guys. Green Lantern week over at Violent Blue is over!

 


Green Lantern

So we went to see the new GL movie last night. I didn’t hate it. It’s actually a really good Green lantern movie. It’s a good comic book movie.

It’s not a good summer blockbuster.

There’s no mainstream appeal, if your’e not into comics or superheroes, there’s nothing here for you. I find this distressing, because it’s this kind of thing that will kill it at the box office. We watched it in a half full theatre and I know from listening to the crowd that a lot of them were fans.

The real shame is that’s I really want another of these. The entire cast was perfect. Thre wasn’t a single misstep in casting any of the characters. I believed that was Hal and Carol and Tom from the word go. The chemistry between the main three was ideal. But I don’t know that the numbers will justify another movie. Moreover, if there’s a sequal, they need ot bump up the FX budget and get rid of some of the cheaper looking CGI.

We’ll be watching the box office numbers this weekend to see what happens.


New Violent Blue

New Violent Blue up, and as much as I hate to admit it, the Squirrel has a point.

Visit us here; http://violentblue.thecomicseries.com/comics/229


Green Lantern Week!

THat’s right, Green Lantern week has begun over at Violent Blue!

Visit our first part here; http://violentblue.thecomicseries.com/comics/228