Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Couple of Things at Fanboy Comics

My latest article is up at Fanboy Comics. It's a review of my experience seeing "Re-Animator: The Musical" last week here in LA.

While I'm at it, let me go ahead and post the link to the second installment of "If Superheroes Were More Realistic," since I'm a negligent poster and forgot to last time.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I Contribute!

I am now a fully-fledged contributor over at Fanboy Comics, and my first act was to write a bizarre little piece about superheroes having crappy days. Enjoy or something!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Holy 90's Cartoon Series, Batman!

I make my open-minded and well-reasoned case over at Fanboy Comics this week about everyone's favorite animated series:


Cuz if you don't, I will come to where you live, and I will cut you.

And I will be in no way sorry.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Ask the Question Asker 3/23/2012

Ah, so YOU might not be a complete moron. Watch this space in future installments for more secret missives.Greetings, troglodytes!

It is I, the Question Asker, come to address your various and sundry queries! I must admit, I was a bit overwhelmed by your response: three comments! That's more than triple what I was expecting, since I assumed that the vast majority of you were illiterate. Enough dithering! Let's get to your questions!

Dear QA,

Which superhero movie this summer, will be the best? Avengers, Dark Knight Rises, or Amazing Spider-Man?

Comics Fan 

Thank you so much for your stupid question, Comics Fan! The answer is, of course, none of those movies. Why you normals insist on continually glorifying these trumped up meatheads by committing their ridiculous escapades to celluloid is beyond me. Why even bother paying to see these films? I can tell you how they're all going to play out: a villain emerges. The heroes are defeated. The heroes regroup. The heroes triumph. Roll credits. It doesn't even matter what happens in between these plot points because it will almost certainly consist of nothing but inane prattling about responsibility and honor and oh my god, just thinking about it is making my eye twitch. Let's break this down.

The Avengers: A whole team of Earth's supposed "Mightiest Heroes" is needed to take on one threat. Six heroes for one adversary. Is that supposed to be impressive? If any one of them displayed even a modicum of intelligence, they could surely find a way to outwit a more powerful foe. However, as all these hero-types rely on punching things into submission, it will apparently take all six of them to punch the antagonist hard enough to end his machinations. Meanwhile, I can solve any problem with half an hour and $8.95 (depending on local sales tax), so forgive me if I remain unimpressed.

The Dark Knight Rises: I can't even get past the title of this one. The Dark Knight Rises? What does that even mean? Didn't he already "rise" in the previous two films? How is it that he's rising again in this installment? Did he fall in between movies? Are we supposed to believe that he lives his life just bobbing up and down like a chunk of cork with daddy issues? This is just another piece of evidence supporting my theory that Hollywood utilizes Mad Libs when naming films.

The Amazing Spider-Man: I have nothing negative to say about this movie, since it is CLEARLY such a fresh and original idea. A Spider-Man origin story? I wish I wasn't out of gold stars so that I could give one to the creative titan who was brave enough to pitch this film. In fact, let's all clap for that person. You can't see me, but I am definitely clapping right now.

My pick for the best superhero film of the summer is Death of a Superhero, coming May 4th. I have no idea what it is about, but based on the title, it has my vote. Next question.

I was going to post a question but ^ this guy has a much better one that might spark a more interesting response. 

This would be adorable if it wasn't so imbecilic. What you have typed is more accurately referred to as a "statement". Now, bear with me, as this may be difficult for you to follow: a "question" is normally a sentence in an interrogative form, posed to someone else in an effort to receive a reply and gain information. What you did was just bash on the keyboard with your sausage fingers until the law of averages gifted you with a semi-coherent phrase, which you then accidentally posted online. At least, that's what I assume must have happened, since surely you aren't so lazy as to have taken the time to post a response, but not enough time to bother coming up with a question of your own. That just wouldn't make sense, since you'd only have wasted my time and yours. No, it's much more likely that you are in fact a toddler who spilled juice on your mother's keyboard, inadvertently creating words.

Then again, you're probably just an idiot. Next question.

Who exactly is the new Marvel comic, "Age of Apocalypse" supposed to appeal to? 
Also, is pretension enough of an explanation for why so many comic fans defend Jonathon Hickman's "Shield?" 

Your mind-numbing mewling is familiar...have I destroyed you before?

In any case, a quick Google search reveals that the answer to your first question is "fans of the original Age of Apocalypse". I mean, really, you're asking me this question on the internet---have you seriously never heard of a search engine before? Here, let me link you to one. The link is that word to left that is underlined and a different color. You're welcome.

Concerning your second query, the pretentiousness of the question itself leads me to believe that your justification for anything that you are not intelligent enough to understand is,"It's not that I'm a simpleton, it's that this is pretentious." Therefore, I assume you would also describe Rainbow Brite and the Alphabet Song as "pretentious".

 But to answer your question, sure.

Just understand that I rolled my eyes while typing that.

Well, that's my time, but this was fun! Wasn't this fun? I'm sure you all learned a lot. Please post your questions for the next installment below, and no need to be shy about it! Thus far, the bar has been set incredibly low.

And always remember, Dear Readers: I am way smarter than you.

The Question Asker

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

My Weekend at Wonder-Con, by Jordan, age 25

Attending Wonder-Con 2012 in Los Angeles this past weekend was my first-and-a-half convention experience (I somehow managed to just casually go to Comic-Con for one day three years ago, but that's a whole other thing).

I went to all three days, and even though there was a goodly amount to see and do, I will say that it would probably take only two days to fully explore the convention, or one if you're extremely energetic and don't have many panels you want to see.
Less if you belong to the family Erinaceidae 
I am told that it's on the upper end of a medium-sized con, so if you've ever been to Comic-Con, it's not going to blow your mind. Wonder-Con is, however, a good event to attend if you're new to the whole geek convention experience, unlike the far less newbie-friendly Comic-Con.

So what were some of the highlights of my first full-fledged con experience?


Holy crap, you guys, so much stuff. If you have any sort of acquisitive drive, be prepared to drop a hundred bucks as soon as you set foot on the exhibit hall floor. Being the more discerning consumer that I am (read: broke), I managed to only spend $90 over the course of the weekend, but that's still about twice what I intended to drop. There's just so much of it!

Wall-to-wall capitalism, as far as the eye can see!
T-shirts, assorted apparel, toys, games, movies, original art, unoriginal art, novelties, and, of course, comics and graphic novels...all in abundance. Granted, a lot of the booths had some similar merchandise, but at times the pricing was wildly different. I would encourage any Wonder-Con shopper to walk the entire floor and engage in some comparison shopping to find the best deals. And you know how to haggle? Seriously, do you? Because I don't, so come with me next time! I witnessed some awesome bartering on the floor, which adds a cool bazaar-type feel to the whole event. The real consumer fun was over in the Artists Alley and Small Press areas, where individual creators set up shop and were hawking their wares. This was the place to get some really cool and unique items, like self-published comics or artistic prints. It's here that you're afforded the opportunity to talk to artists and all manner of other creative people, and maybe support their efforts by picking up something awesome for yourself. For instance, I had a fun conversation with the creator of the comic Penguins vs. Possums, who totally sold me on buying the first issue (to be fair, I had already decided to purchase it based on the name). Some of the bigger publishers were also worth visiting: although DC and Marvel made a fairly lackluster showing, Archaia Comics had an amazing "buy 2, get 3 free" deal on their hardcover graphic novels!
You don't have to spend a fortune, but you will definitely have more fun if you bring a bit of money, since you never know what sort of treasures you might stumble upon next.
A sampling of my swag

I only went to one panel the time I went Comic-Con, since I had so very little knowledge of what in the hell was happening around me, so I resolved to be better prepared this time. Looking over the Wonder-Con panels in advance, I didn't find a whole lot that caught my eye. I didn't feel like waiting in line for one of the bigger movie panels, and I knew I was just going to read about the DC and Marvel panels online, so I decided to try and hit up a few of the more obscure ones that sounded interesting. I only ended up going to four panels (what if I missed something cool on the show floor?!): two on voice-over actors, one on the psychology of Batman, and my personal favorite, Quick Draw.

In the Quick Draw panel, three professional cartoonists with projectors over their sketchpads were asked by the panel moderator to rapidly sketch out a crazy number of random things---it was like watching improv comedy, only the jokes were drawn. The challenges ranged from drawing the child of two cartoon characters selected by audience members (the child of Gumby and Ursula from The Little Mermaid was one of my favorites) to playing a game of Pictionary with special guest Len Wein, but with difficult words like "anxiety" and "deja vu". The whole thing was ridiculously entertaining.
Cartoons: Serious Business.

In a word, overwhelming. Booths everywhere, people in ridiculously cool or just plain ridiculous costumes, crowds, mobile R2 units, and Lou took me a few hours just to interpret enough of what I was seeing to get my bearings on the show floor. Over the course of the weekend I was assaulted by both Deadpool and enough cleavage to satisfy even the most depraved 13 year old boy. I played a demo of the Penny Arcade card game (awesome) and managed to thoroughly misunderstand what I was supposed to be doing at the Game of Thrones booth.

I just remembered frozen yogurt is a thing!
All in all, much fun was had. Would I recommend attending? Most definitely. Bring cash, a packed lunch, snacks, and comfortable shoes, and prepare to geek out for hours on end. Wonder-Con is more modest in scope than Comic-Con, so it isn't as stressful or as difficult to navigate. Just relax, take in the sights, and support some awesome creative works. 

Oh, and don't pay $30 for an autographed photo of Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca...I know a booth two rows over where you can buy one for $25.
I will leave you with this gigantic Optimus Prime costume.
You're welcome.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Still Plugging Along

Hey there! My new article is up at Fanboy Comics:

This one was hard for me to write, since step one is admitting that you have a problem...

Once things slow down a little bit, I'll be able to update a bit more regularly, so stay tuned!

Friday, March 2, 2012


Greetings, you mass of glorified orangutans! It is I, the Question Asker! Greatest criminal mind in the greater Burbank area! If by some amazing chance you've never heard of me, here is a small sampling of my most recent accomplishments:

Destroyed Dicker Man (2011)
Best Overall Villain (2010)
Most Devious Deathtrap (2001-Present)
Most Unsolvable Riddles-Resulting in the Death of the Riddled Individual Category- (2007)
Daytime Drama Emmy (2003)

But cease your chihuahua-like shaking, cretins! I have not infiltrated this insipid blog as a means of perpetuating yet another awe-inspiring villainous scheme. You are in no immediate danger; rather, I am in need of your...assistance.

Having recently destroyed my arch-nemesis, I found my life now curiously lacking in purpose and direction. What remained for me to accomplish now that the goal to which I had previously dedicated my existence had been achieved? So I set out into the world, searching for meaning...

And sweet Christmas, are you people hard to be around. Always so confused and irate, always some petty new conundrum fueling your perpetual whining. The stench of your collective failure is quite literally sickening.

So it is with great pleasure, and modest condescension, that I magnanimously announce my latest pursuit: a regular advice column in this hi-jacked space entitled, "Ask the Question Asker."

The premiere mind of the 21st century is at your disposal! Involved in a meaningless squabble with your insignificant other? I can help! Unsure of which color to paint the squalid domicile of your mewling offspring? I'm the man! Uncertain of how to approach your worthless superior regarding a paltry increase in pay at your useless job? I am AMAZING!

But it all starts with you people. Leave your moronic questions and concerns in the comments below. No subject is any further beneath me than any other, so ask me anything! And if you are lucky, perhaps I will choose your pitiful life as a brief recipient of the light of my genius! Until next time, insects!

The Question Asker

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I Just Doubled My Workload!

Hey everyone! Just a shameless plug to let you know that I am now a contributor of sorts for Fanboy Comics, and my first article there posted today:

It's sort of a companion piece to my last blog post about Double Fine's Kickstarter. Feel free to leave a comment on the article if you feel inspired (between you and me, it might make me look a bit better, but that's just between you and me).

Thanks, and I hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Let's Get Kickstarted in Hah!

So if you don't already know due to ignorance, a series of consecutive family emergencies, or simple apathy, game development studio Double Fine has broken $2 million in Kickstarter donations as of this week. If you've never heard of them, they are the makers of such games as Costume Quest, Brutal LegendPsychonauts, and others. You've probably never heard of their games either, and that's the problem. The company is headed up by veteran game designer Tim Schafer, and though their games are not without issues, they are consistently stellar. Imaginative worlds filled with incredible characters, all hilariously offbeat in tone, a new Double Fine game is always something to be excited about. But despite their critical acclaim, very few of their games are runaway financial successes. As a result, they sometimes have trouble getting the financial backing to create new games.

I guess not everyone wants to play a game in which you enter the mind of an anachronistic 50's milkman to battle the personifications of his paranoid psychosis. And that is what's wrong with America.
So when Double Fine decided to make an old school point-and-click adventure game, they turned to crowdsourcing via Kickstarter.  Initially, they asked for $400,000 to make the game and film a documentary of the process. They explained on their page that this was a fairly modest sum for even a small game, but that it was doable. Flash forward to about two weeks later, and they've made a couple of million dollars, with 19 days of donation remaining. Double Fine announced that they would now be able to add voice acting, foreign language translations, and multi-platform support to the game. To recap, they are now able to make a full scale adventure game entirely free of studio oversight, and deliver it directly to their fans.

And that is awesome.

The game could be 10 hours of this and NO ONE COULD STOP THEM FROM MAKING IT.
Other industry professionals are taking note, and soon there will be several more projects like this on Kickstarter, because now designers can make the games that they want to make, funded by the gamers who want to play them. In the case of Double Fine's adventure game project, a $15 donation gets you a copy of the completed game and access to the documentary. As a huge fan of point-and-click adventure made by awesome people, this is a small price to pay for me, especially since it's comparable to the going rate for smaller downloadable games.

And with non-physical media becoming increasingly legitimized, the sky is really the limit here. Big budget games often have to play it safe in order to ensure financial success, but this could be an entire market sub-culture built on the interaction between gamers and designers, where ideas from either end can kick off the creation of full scale games.

So if this sounds as exciting to you as it is to me, get a piece of it! Visit Double Fine's Kickstarter page and pledge your 15 bucks. And if you're an old school adventure fan like me, why not play these free King's Quest remakes to tide you over?

What do you guys think of crowdsourcing games? And are there any games you'd like to see made this way? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, February 10, 2012

The One With The Comic Reviews II: This Time, It Happens Again!

The passing of another Wednesday heralds the coming of a new review post!

I'm experimenting with melodrama. Anyway, I wanted to post my thoughts on the comics I picked up this week. After giving it some thought, I decided I might try a shorter format. I don't really want to write an entire paragraph or three about each title, and I'm pretty sure that you don't want to read all of that. So, in an effort to streamline the reviews, I'm tweaking the format. The One Word Review and the Most Awesome will stay, but the TL;DR section of each review will be replaced by Least Awesome. Not bad, mind you, just the least awesome part of any given book. I am still trying to keep things positive, after all. Engage!

The haul:

This week it was all DC titles, in case you couldn't tell. And I forgot to pick up Suicide Squad like an idiot, so I'll be lumping that one in next time.

Batgirl #6
One Word Review: Endearing
Most Awesome: A touching scene that offers a brief glimpse of the softer side of Growly McBatSharkRepellent
Least Awesome: Batgirl's dialogue can often get a little corny, but with a character so relentlessly effervescent, it's forgivable

Batwoman #6
One Word Review: Disjointed
Most Awesome: Batwoman reveling in the coolness of her new suit upgrade
Least Awesome: Guest artist Amy Reeder does her best to maintain the books style, but after being spoiled by five issues of gorgeousness, it just isn't the same

Demon Knights #6
One Word Review: ACTION!
Most Awesome: Did you see the cover?! It was that!
Least Awesome: The characters and their interactions with each other are finally becoming more clear, and it only took 6 issues!

Green Lantern #6
One Word Review: Awww...(<--sitcom style)
Most Awesome: Hal engages in some impressive heroics without the use of his ring
Least Awesome: Another guest artist complaint, but Mike Choi's art looks more webcomic quality than big name comic quality; however, there are a few really nice panels

Resurrection Man #6
One Word Review: Finally!
Most Awesome: After delving into his sordid past, this issue spotlights Mitch Shelley, indomitable force of justice! At last, an issue that lives up to the promise of issue 1!
Least Awesome: The worry that this was only a bright moment before the series descends back into a weird mediocrity

Superboy #6
One Word Review: Almost
Most Awesome: Superboy taking new and strange developments with his powers in stride
Least Awesome: Another cool character design reduced to Chunky Boots

So that's it for this week's reviews. What did you think? This time I'm feeling like I wrote too little. I'll keep puttering around with it. Need me to elaborate on anything? Agree? Disagree? Or do you have anything you'd like me to write about next? I welcome your suggestions!

Parting joke!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Doctor What Now?

As I mentioned in my first post, I have never seen a single episode of Dr. Who. If you didn't read my first post and are only now feeling outraged at me about this, go ahead, let it all out. I'll wait.
I know, sir. Yes, I'm very sorry...
All right, now that we've got that out of the way, I'll continue.

I knew a little about Dr. Who. It's kind of hard to use the internet and not pick up at least some information about the show. Here is what I knew, or thought I knew, about the show:

-The Doctor is an immortal alien who is reincarnated into a new body when he dies, because the writers apparently decided that the James Bond franchise already had the market cornered on utilizing the "Meh" approach when it came to explaining a constant lead actor rotation
-He travels through time and space in the TARDIS, a ship much larger inside than out, and cleverly disguised as a police call box, which is incredibly effective camouflage
-The Doctor possesses a portable deus ex machina device known as a sonic screwdriver
-The primary antagonists on the show are an alien race known as the Daleks---sentient trashcans with guns glued to their faces
-The Doctor always travels with a companion, typically an attractive human female
Science Fiction: Legitimate genre
And that's it. I've heard nothing but good things about the show from a variety of sources, and I'd always meant to start watching. I just never got around to it. But after Scott commented on my first blog post, forbidding me from writing any more posts until I did so, I decided to give it a go. Even though most people have told me I needed to watch David Tennant's run on the show, Scott recommended I begin with Christoper Eccleston's tenure as the Doctor from 2005, when the show was relaunched. Since I am nothing if not chronological, I decided to begin there. So I pulled the first episode up on Netflix, and gave it a watch.

My initial impression:
Look out! The world is ending!
But let's not be too serious about it.
But really, though, this is bad.
And that's pretty much it. I had seen Dr. Who lampooned many times, but I wasn't prepared for those parodies to be so close to what the show was actually like. It was B-movie grade! The acting was ridiculous! It was just too silly!

And yet...

There's something kind of charming about it, isn't there? I mean, yeah, it's goofy, but there's some legitimate intrigue, some hint of greater character depth below the surface. And the clips from the next episode look a tiny bit interesting...I mean, it would be unfair of me to judge the show after only one episode. I'll just watch one more...

Ok, that was just bizarre. And the special effects are weird. And what is the tone of this show? One minute we're being all cavalier and joke-y about Earth blowing up, and the next we've got our serious face on as we watch someone slowly and gruesomely die. I mean, it was interesting, but...oh, looks like they go to 1860 in the next episode and meet a weird ghost. That actually looks kind of cool...

And that's the thing. Yes, it has all of the flaws I've just pointed out. Maybe more, since I've only seen two episodes so far. But when I let go of all of my expectations, all of my modern sensibilities and the things I demand of modern entertainment, I realized that I was having fun watching this show. A lot of fun. The kind of limitless creativity that can come from having all of time and space to explore is the same kind of freedom you had playing made-up games as a kid. Watching Dr. Who was like watching some precocious children play in the sandbox of their own imaginations. And I dug that.

So, there it is. I finally watched some Dr. Who. Did it blow me away? No. But will I continue to watch it? Probably, yes. Everyone could use 45 minutes of fun and adventure from time to time.

What do you think? Should I keep watching the show in order? Should I jump ahead to David Tennant? And what has been your experience with the show? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The One With the Comic Reviews

So, another Wednesday has come and gone. Ordinarily, this would be meaningless to me, but ever since I got back into reading comics this past summer, Wednesday has rapidly become my favorite day of the week. And since my arbitrary work schedule has rendered the relative meaning of any day of the week essentially moot, I now mostly think of Wednesdays as New Comic Book-day. In the spirit of regularly scheduled weekly excitement, I present to you the first installment in a (hopefully) ongoing segment: Comic Reviews*.

*Segment title and format subject to changes at whim.

First, this weeks haul:

Why yes, I am an amateur photographer! Thank you for asking. I find carpet to be a very satisfying universal background.
You will be seeing a lot of carpet, is what I'm saying.

Let's get started!

Action Comics #6
One Word Review: Dense
TL;DR Version: Don't get me wrong---I'm really enjoying Action Comics. Despite some weirdness from Rags Morales's art and the occasional bit of strange story pacing, I've been on board with this reworking of Superman's early career from the get go. This was one of the books I most looked forward to. And when I heard Andy Kubert was going to be taking over the pencils for issues 5 and 6, I was psyched. Then I realized that those two issues were going to interrupt the main story line, rather than continue it. Basically, Action #4 ends on a climactic story beat, and then the next two issues decide to talk about something else for a bit. Something that is seemingly completely unrelated. That's weird story structure to me. I don't know what's going on behind the scenes of this decision, all I know is that this is the second month in a row that I haven't understood a single thing that happened in Action Comics. I would like to lift a couple of lines of dialogue directly off the page for you to illustrate my point (spoiler-ish?):

"Nimrod the Hunter used a teleport rifle to fire a microscopic lead pellet into your brain. The pellet's hollow, and inside, there's a Tesseract space big enough to fit 30 people. I need to access your memory immediately."

That little nugget is courtesy of Saturn Girl, who is apparently a member of the Legion of Superheroes (along with Snowjob, perhaps? Don't quote me on that). But here is the thing: as a casual comics reader, those few sentences might as well have been Farsi to me. Now, I get the basics of it...someone fired an inhabited time machine into your brain. That's bad. But there's a lot of things that elude me. Who is Nimrod the Hunter? What is a teleport rifle? What the hell, any of this? That chunk of text basically represents this couple of issues of Action for me, in that I get what is loosely going on, but I feel like I'm missing out on the nuances of the story and what they have to do with anything. I will be glad to pick up next month's issue when the main story resumes.
Most Awesome: Superman gets VIOLENT Kryptonite poisoning. It's intense. You will believe this stuff is lethal.

Animal Man #6
One Word Review: Tangential
TL;DR Version: Another comic that takes a little vacation from the main story this week is Animal Man. In an effort to (I assume) give penciller Travel Foreman a bit of a break, this book brings in a guest penciller to handle all but the last few pages of the book. I think they wanted to make an effort to maintain a sense of artistic continuity in the book, so they opted to turn this issue into a viewing of Buddy Baker's (Animal Man) superhero indie film, Tights. It's an interesting device, but I came into this issue expecting another week of full-on Animal Man weirdness, and this wasn't it. This is a one-shot story that serves as a bit of a breather from the typhoon of crazy that has been assailing the Baker family (<---legit writing). It's an interesting enough read, but it just didn't do a whole lot for me. The films opening credits indicate it was directed by an Aronofsky type, and that is exactly what it feels like. This issue is essentially a reimagining of The Wrestler, and that's about it. Until the last few pages, that is. Eventually, the real world starts to disrupt the film world, and you realize why it is exactly that you've been "watching" this movie, and with whom you've been watching it. It's a nice move on the part of Jeff Lemire that has me even more invested in Buddy and his family, and ready to see them through whatever dangers await.
Most Awesome: I think I've seen this movie...

Batwing #6
One Word Review: Gripping
TL;DR Version: Batwing is an awesome series. If you are not reading it, I highly recommend that you pick up the previous issues and jump on board. This book is so much more than "Batman, but in Africa," which is what I initially wrote it off as. Compelling characters, an engrossing story, and unique artwork make Batwing much more than just another Bat-book. In fact, I would have to say that my least favorite parts of this book are the times when Batman shows up. David Zavimbe (Batwing) is a conflicted character with a legitimately disturbing past and a believable struggle for redemption, all of which is brought to the surface as the unstoppable Massacre continues his agenda to assassinate Africa's greatest heroes. Batwing is beginning to understand how to combat Massacre, and perhaps even who might be beneath the villain's mask. But somehow, with either meta-human resources or just an indomitable will, Massacre always seems to gain the upper hand. This interplay between the two feels consistently fresh, never predictable, and as the mystery behind Massacre's agenda deepens, I find myself waiting impatiently to discover what will happen next.
Most Awesome: Massacre's single-minded determination allows him to throw one hell of an explosive monkey wrench into Batwing's rescue attempt. If Batwing wasn't so cool, I'd be rooting for Massacre at this point. The dude is a BAD ASS.

Detective Comics #6
One Word Review: Meh
TL;DR Version: Detective Comics #1 was awesome. Grim, moody, and intense, you were riding shotgun with Batman, and he was having a ROUGH day. But with each successive issue, I find I care about what's going on less and less. All the characters blend together into an amorphous grey lump, and I find myself wondering about things like how Batman can so thoroughly furrow his brow through his mask, instead of being invested in what is happening. Like Action Comics, this is another book in which I feel like I don't understand what is going on. But this time, it isn't because the writer is going over my head. It's because Tony S. Daniel is telling a very muddy story. An important(?) character is pretty brutally attacked in this book, and while I responded viscerally to the brutality, I didn't particularly care about the characters predicament. The best thing I can say about this title is that it portrays Batman as ruthless and driven; you really can understand why criminals would be terrified by his presence. But does he do any detecting in Detective Comics? Not really. I have a sentimental attachment to this series, since the first comic I ever experienced was an issue of Detective. But I'm already reading Batman, which has been consistently impressive, so if Detective Comics doesn't turn around soon, I'll probably be forced to drop it.
Most Awesome: Batman "indirectly" causes a self-inflicted shotgun wound and then is all like, "Yeah. Deal with that."

Swamp Thing #6
One Word Review: Disturbing
TL;DR Version: You know, for a book in which the titular character has yet to appear, this series is kicking some serious ass. Yes, Alec Holland is the star, but he has yet to transform into Swamp Thing. The Rot makes for a horrifying force to be reckoned with, and between Swamp Thing and Animal Man, my nightmares should be fully stocked for the next few years. The urgency and the danger in Swamp Thing are ever-present, and that in itself is pretty cool. When I say this book is disturbing, I mean on several levels. Visually, yes, of course, but also in ways that affect your human core as you're reading. The last few pages of this issue are haunting and lonely, and despite the specifics of the situation, evocative of emotions that are immediately familiar to anyone. That's a cool thing to experience when you're reading a comic book. With the epic Red and Green vs the Rot showdown looming, and the cards seemingly stacked against the good guys, there is no reason to not be reading this book. Especially if you're willing to experience some aggressively weird things, because good lord...
Most Awesome: Abigail's creepy little brother tells a 2-page story about a chessboard for seemingly no reason, until you and Alec simultaneously realize what he's driving at...

Reed Gunther, the Bear-Riding Cowboy #6, #7, and #8
One Word Review: Funtastic; Clever; Awkward
TL;DR Version: Let me plug Reed Gunther for just a moment, since I really believe in what these guys are trying to do. Reed is an all-ages book. Not a kids book, but a book that is legitimately enjoyable for any age group. Think of it as a Pixar movie in comic book form: there's more than enough here to entertain anyone, young or old. And for that reason, you should give this book a try; or better yet, give it to someone you know who has never read a comic before. Having said that, I recently read the trade paperback which collected issues 1-5, and while I enjoyed reading them, I was not terribly compelled to keep going. But so many people I know continue to sing the praises of this book that when I saw issue #8 had come out this week, I picked it up, along with 6 and 7. I figured the least I could do was give it another shot, since brothers Shane and Chris Houghton are attempting something admirable with this title. I read #6 and enjoyed it very much. It's a cute origin story for the characters, with the series trademark expressive artwork and good-natured humor. There were some genuinely funny moments, and I was thinking that maybe I had been too quick to judge the title. Until I read issue #7. It was a clever story, with the same elements present that were in the previous issue (albeit a rather rushed conclusion), but something was missing. Issue #8 was even worse. Without getting too spoiler-y, one of the characters acts extremely differently for unclear reasons. At first it appears to be put on, but then you come to realize it's genuine, and it honestly just doesn't make sense. I get that the stories are supposed to be light and fluffy, but it's such a sudden and marked absence of any sort of psychology that I just couldn't get past it. Maybe I'm expecting too much from this title, but I don't think that's the case. It feels more like sloppiness in the writing to me at this point, and that is something that might disappear as the series continues and the creators get a bit more comfortable. For now, I can recognize that Reed Gunther is an entertaining book with a lot going for it, and I would definitely recommend it to others. It just isn't for me.
Most Awesome: Young Reed discovers the definition of "guff"; real men take shots of whiskey with bullets in them!; Sterling gets in touch with his feminine side

So those are my reviews. Already I don't think this will be my on-going review format, but hey, I tried. Some of these got a bit long-winded, huh? Well, thanks for reading this far, and please feel free to sound off in the comments. Anything you liked, or didn't like, about my opinions or my format? I promise to keep things's kind of my thing. 

And since I apparently need to cease any and all blogging until I have seen at least one episode of Dr. Who, that is exactly what I shall do (<----awesome rhyming). Join me next time to see what that experience was like! Or will have been like? Maybe after watching I'll learn a bit more about time tenses.

EDIT: My buddy Jason has posted an advance review of the upcoming graphic novel Womanthology over at Fanboy Comics. You should check it out if you want to learn more about this book:

Monday, January 30, 2012

I'm A Geek...Wanna Fight About It?

I've been a geek for, man...close to 26 years now? And a practicing one, at that. I was the kid on the playground who got his friends to enact a real-life version of Sonic the Hedgehog. I had a little notebook where I drew pictures of people I knew as their superhero alter-egos (of my own choosing, of course. Sorry about that, Annoying Boy). I gave one of my high school girlfriends my Green Lantern ring as a good luck charm for a test.

Which she immediately lost! I'm looking at you, Jerin...
I have credentials, is what I'm saying. I am not a geek because it's currently fashionable, or because I want to fit in (incidentally, can you imagine anyone typing that sentence 10 years ago?). Nope, I am a true, full-blooded nerd.

And immediately you've formed a mental picture of me.

Maybe not what I look like, but my attitude, my personality. I have strong feelings on everything. Marvel vs DC. Kirk vs Picard. Tommy the clearly superior Green Ranger vs Jason the "de facto leader" Red Ranger.  You know I have opinions on everything and will argue loudly with anyone who thinks differently, probably while sweating profusely. But here's the're wrong about me. Except for the sweating.

Also, I think we can all agree that the Green Ranger is objectively awesome.
See, I don't believe it has to be like that.

Geeks, nerds, dorks---we all tend to get a bit wrapped up in the things that interest us. We take ownership of them, and for better or worse, whatever affects the things we care about affects us, too. So we get angry when Kyle Rayner is brought in to replace Hal Jordan, or when Superman turns all blue and electric-y. Then we get angry again when Hal Jordan is brought back in to replace Kyle Rayner. But not when Superman is returned to normal, because come on, there's only like one guy who thought that was cool (hint: it was me). I'm getting off subject, but the point is, somewhere in the midst of all of our outrage, we forget that we're supposed to be having fun with this. Yes, we are paying customers, and yes, we do have a right to voice our opinions, but you have to admit that as a whole we are almost impossible to please.

Maybe they'll be happy if there are two of him?
Why do we have to be the volatile hobbyists? Do home beer brewers get up in arms over new brewing techniques? Do stamp collectors threaten to strike when the post office changes the design on forever stamps? Seriously, do they? Because I don't know. All I know is that geekdom is becoming more and more mainstream. Some may like that, some may not, but it is definitely happening. Suddenly, we have to share this stuff with the general public. And even though they may not "appreciate it like we do", shouldn't we be psyched that they're interested at all? It's legitimate now. WE are legitimate now. Mostly. So maybe we should try to move out of the fog of cynicism and negativity that can sometimes cloud our collective vision, and approach these nerdy things that we love with fresh eyes. After all, while we know that Han shot first, there is now a whole generation of kids that know him as a disaffected, bad-ass starship pilot who can dodge lasers. When you think about it like that, it's pretty cool.

Tune in next time, when I'll be posting reviews of the comics I pick up this week. And feel free to comment with any suggestions on books I should check out. Or if you want to talk about how awesome electric Superman was.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Gasp! Got To Make A First Post! And Fast!

Hello people of the internet, and welcome!

I'm starting this blog because I recently got back into comics due to DC's New 52 initiative, and that has proven to be a bit of a rabbit hole for me. Granted, that's mostly in regard to comics, but I'm pretty late to the party in most things. For instance, I only recently made a Steam account, I just started playing Portal 2, and I've yet to see a single episode of Doctor Who (it's on my list, I swear!). So join me as I discover some things that most of you have known about for years, as well as a few new things. I guarantee that whatever it is, odds are I'll think it's pretty awesome.
Within reason, of course.
Some things to know about me:
-The first comics character I ever followed was Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern
-The first comic series I ever collected was Ultimate Spider-Man (I have 115 issues of the original run, and I love literally every one of them)
-I have a PS3, and I'm currently playing Skyrim (and Portal 2)
-I used to play Magic, then I stopped, then I decided I would start up again, then I was like, nevermind, this is expensive and hard
-D&D? Yes, please!

Feel free to suggest things I should try, and they don't even have to be geeky! Let's keep this casual.