- Posted by Johanna on May 17, 2013 at 3:52 pm
- Category: Movies/TV
This seems like such a bad idea…
If you want to see the new Superman movie Man of Steel on Thursday, June 13 (instead of its opening day of June 14), you have to buy tickets in store at a Wal*Mart.
I’m sure someone is making lots of money from this advertising deal, but for me, since I refuse to shop at Wal*Mart, it’s just one more reason on the list of why I don’t care about this movie.
- It’s directed by the guy who made Sucker Punch (and Watchmen).
- It’s PG-13, which makes me wonder how violent it will be.
- They don’t seem to have learned their lesson from the downbeat Superman Returns.
There’s already a lot of concern in Hollywood about there being too many blockbusters planned for this summer, so I’m sure Warner is doing whatever they can to drive ticket sales, and they think teaming up with the nation’s biggest retailer is good for that. I know a lot’s riding on this movie for DC, but it just doesn’t look like a must-see for me. I want my superheroes to have humor and a sense of fun, not be so damned dark and depressing.
- Posted by Johanna on May 17, 2013 at 3:28 pm
- Category: LinkBlogging
From the lengthy TCJ.com piece on why the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival is no more, as said by Bill Kartalopoulos:
“There’s a bigger infrastructural point here which is that a big part of the indie comics economy at this point seems to rest on the shoulders of people who work very hard for very little reward to create these festivals…. No one is making money personally doing these things, and you can’t have an industry that depends on volunteer labor forever…. This whole industry is not financially sound. If it weren’t for people working against their financial interests we wouldn’t have an indie comics world.”
That’s why comics is in many ways a young person’s game — most of the older folks have wised up and gotten out in order to support themselves. Which is why you see the same problems and scams over and over again. There’s a loss of institutional memory. The problem is, what do you do about it? Where does real money come from?
- Posted by Johanna on May 17, 2013 at 3:18 pm
- Category: LinkBlogging
Is there any point in renting graphic novels through the mail? No, not so long as my library will get me anything I want to read, without worrying about postal damage. I’m not sure that the plans are economical, either, since only having one book at a time will mean you’re not able to get through very many in a month. Maybe it’s just my reading speed, but it would seem like you’d spend a lot more time waiting to get a book than enjoying one. That assumes that they even have the comics you want to read in stock or available. Books are so much heavier (and costlier) to mail than DVDs, so aiming to be the “Netflix of comics” seems like a decent idea but will likely fail in execution. As a commenter points out, this makes most sense for books too expensive to buy and too rare to find easily, and what’s the likelihood a new company will have any of those?
Should publishers stop making miniseries? I think so, in favor of original graphic novels, but Brian Hibbs doesn’t care for either format, because it’s hard to predict sales. The only virtue miniseries have is the possibility of a real ending, but the corporate publishers have even backed away from that. (Mystery Men from Marvel, I’m looking HARD at you. Most disappointing lack of ending in a long time, after a promising beginning. That series flat-out asked to become an ongoing, but clearly, sales weren’t there — and I was so turned off by the taunting “want to see what happened? hope for more” that I wouldn’t be interested in following a series anyway.)
Since Hibbs seems to be talking mostly about the corporate superhero universes (including such works as BPRD), the question of “which stories matter?” winds up playing a role. And with restarts and reboots and relaunches, fans have been taught the hard way that there’s no point in getting too invested, because it can all be taken away next time they need to goose sales artificially. So they stick with the characters they’ve loved a long time.
If a miniseries looks interesting, why not wait for the trade collection? By that point, you’ll find out whether it really fulfilled its promise (unlikely) or simply forget about buying it, thus saving yourself time and money.
Why can’t Marvel sell books starring women, as Graeme asks? Could it be that the stories just aren’t very good? This is an interest of mine, as you might expect, but I found the recent relaunch of Captain Marvel incomprehensible, Red She-Hulk boring when it wasn’t mired in continuity, and the Fearless Defenders just plain bad. Having a woman star isn’t enough — you have to tell interesting stories that new readers can understand and (more importantly) enjoy. That means introducing your characters, giving readers some reason to care about them (beyond “they used to be…” or “they’re related to…” or “Marvel has this trademark…”), and doing more with them than having them punch things. Attractive, readable art is helpful, too. (In response to a particular point Graeme makes: what a long-time comic reader considers a good book and what a casual reader does may not be as close as one would hope.)
Has Yale Stewart got the best take currently going on the JLA cast, even though he draws them as eight years old? For my money, yes. Of course a baby Wonder Woman would want to play “truth or dare”! And when feelings get revealed, watch out. Power Girl’s got a crush on Superman (they aren’t cousins here), while he cares about Diana and is being counseled by baby Batman. (Not the best idea.) Lots of drama still to come, I’m sure.
Not comics, but fascinating: when did we start sleeping in only one session? Culturally, people used to expect to wake up midway through the night. They’d read, pray, talk, think, make out, and then go back for a “second sleep”. This explains so much!
- Posted by Johanna on May 17, 2013 at 2:57 pm
- Category: Animation
Shout! Factory is putting Heavy Traffic on Blu-ray on July 16. This animated film was Ralph Bakshi’s second feature, after Fritz the Cat. It doesn’t stray far, being the story of a New York cartoonist who lives with his parents while drawing images of the city.
Based on reviews, the movie is worth watching more for the animation techniques, which incorporate live-action sequences and film clips, than the dated-sounding story about urban life in that era and the struggles of being an artist, man.
- Posted by Johanna on May 17, 2013 at 1:59 pm
- Category: Animation
To increase enthusiasm for Planes, opening August 9, Disney has released the following video highlighting the music by composer Mark Mancina. I love the classic sound of Americana and wide-open spaces, but I’m a little concerned by how plastic-y the vehicles look. At some points, they appear pasted onto the backgrounds, not integrated. I guess I need to remember that this isn’t a Pixar movie, just a follow-up to one. Some gorgeous global scenery, though.
- Posted by Johanna on May 16, 2013 at 9:27 pm
- Category: Superhero Reviews
- CREDITS: written by Michael Alan Nelson; art by Mahmud Asrar; cover by Emanuela Lupacchino
- PUBLISHER: DC Comics; $2.99 US
Who would have thought that seeing Supergirl and Power Girl argue with Supergirl’s house would be so entertaining? I have no idea what’s been going on in this series — or even who Supergirl *is* — but I enjoyed the dialogue between the two women.
Yes, it’s an obvious joke that Power Girl takes offense to being considered “old”, compared to the teen version. And I don’t know why the house (Sanctuary) thinks that one of them is a clone, or why anyone cares, or where the house came from, or why it’s so snarky (although that part is entertaining). All of this (of course) leads to a big fight, which could have taken up fewer pages to make me happier, but today’s DC superhero comics seem to value punching over characterization, so I should be glad we got as much conversation as we did.
I like how these women look cute (particularly the younger one) and active and related without the story ever taking second place to posing them. I hate to praise the art in part by what it’s not, but any time we have a Power Girl story, it’s a concern.
I would have really appreciated a “story so far” page explaining why Power Girl is hanging out with Supergirl instead of the Huntress, which is where I’ve seen her so far in the new DCU. I guess we’re supposed to use the internet for that now.
- Posted by Johanna on May 16, 2013 at 4:10 pm
- Category: KC
KC’s latest Westfield column tackles two recent areas of discussion: whether Marvel knows what “first” means and the cancellation of the Legion of Super-Heroes comic. He provides a brief history of the Marvel graphic novel line and reflects on why the LSH concept may have some problems these days. (I helped with that part, because we love to talk Legion together. After all, that’s why we’re married.) There’s also a prediction of what DC’s comic line might look like in the future.
Fun trivia: the case numbers he uses are based around the company’s old New York street addresses. In case you were wondering.
If you’re curious to read another (much lengthier) take on the Legion and what it’s got right and wrong over the years, someone calling himself Astro has posted an essay analyzing series high points and strategies over the decades, with some recommendations for the future. If the series has one.
- Posted by Johanna on May 16, 2013 at 8:06 am
- Category: Manga Reviews
- CREDITS: by Io Sakisaka; adapted by Ysabet MacFarlane
- PUBLISHER: Viz; $9.99 US
This school-age romance is rather predictable, but the characters are so charming that I’m left with a good feeling after reading.
I appreciate the way Ninako is so in touch with and direct about her feelings. Ando is pursuing her, but she’s clear that she’s in love with Ren. Even though he’s dating someone else, she’d rather be honest and not settle for someone else. And although Ando is considered something of a player and a rival to Ren, it seems as though he really cares about Ninako. He’s not trying to talk her out of waiting for Ren as a way of scoring points, but because he’s convinced she’s going to eventually be hurt by caring about someone who doesn’t return her feelings.
What the reader knows, though, is that Ren does care about her. As does one of their classmates, who’s gently pushing them into situations together. We’re shown how they’re meant to be together when, for example, Ninako is the only one who notices that he’s sick, because he’s putting up a good front for everyone else, but she knows he’s not quite himself.
Meanwhile, Daiki (the original third side of the triangle, who was paired up with someone else early on) is being talked into buying his girlfriend an expensive necklace. Their pairing is complicated by Daiki’s dad moving to get remarried, which causes disruption for Daiki, as he ponders whether to move with him. Daiki’s sister is Ren’s girlfriend, so that relationship is affected, too. This isn’t a volume you can jump into — I had to reread previous reviews to remember who some of these characters are — but for those following the series, this is a rewarding volume that deepens cast interactions.
Artistically, the figures are cute and expressive without being overly exaggerated, and there are enough backgrounds for us to know where they are in settings. It’s a smooth, well-paced read. The silent sections, as characters are surprised by how they feel simply being close to each other, are particularly impressive, since they provide key moments of reflection for both the characters and the readers.
Although simple in structure, Strobe Edge can be sophisticated about emotions and their ramifications. It’s a comfortable, reassuring read that I find myself looking forward to more with each volume.