Friday, June 27, 2008

Things That Made Me Happy

in my comics this week.

  • I'll say this for Robinson; he's got a good handle on how a dog thinks.
  • Nice use of panels on the Rising Sun segment!
  • The snood of Atlas.
  • Reverse-time bullets are exactly the sort of thing the Flash should be dealing with.
  • "Run!"
  • Every single page -- nearly every panel -- in the DC 100-page Super Spectacular Love Stories.
  • So that's what Turpin is there for. I wouldn't have guessed that!
  • As wonderful as Batman is, it was nice to see him get totally pwned.
  • Now that is a Bloody Mary.
  • "Mrs. Kent"; is that not a dead giveaway?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

We All Screen for I Screen

My newest project is making video CDs for Big Monkey. They play like DVDs do, and we'll be showing them on the big flat screen. You can add audio to them, but I prefer them to be silent; otherwise, they would start to drive the staff crazy, like the old "Welcome to Our World of Toys" jingle that used to play non-stop at FAO Schwartz. Gods, I hated that song.

Each disc is to have six "chapters". Each chapter is essentially a slide show between 11 to 15 minutes longer (at the rate of change and with the transition modes I'm using, that's between 30 to 55 slides).

I want to make many of them (at least eight, to start with), so that the same disc isn't playing every hour of every day. Here are some examples of the slide shows I've already composed.

Character Precis
Designed to familiarize neophytes with various characters. There's two slides for each character: one that's a picture or wallpaper shot with a sentence of two about the character, and another that shows various titles and books in which the characters appears. And which you should buy. A lot of.

Hulk Gallery
Pictures of the Hulk, unannotated, doing Hulk-y things.

History of the Golden Age of Comics
Basically, the "Golden Age for Dummies", presented chronologically.

Memorial to a Martian
Lots of (mostly wacky) pictures of the late Martian Manhunter, unannotated.

The Art of Neal Adams
A picture or two of the artist himself, then lots of examples of his work.

The History of the Black Canary
Kind of like the Character Precis, but focusing on one character, showing and explaining the stages of their evolution.

Lots of panels of stretchy guys doing stretchy things. You know; Mister Fantastic, Elongated Man, Elastic Lad, Madame Rouge.

Romance Comics Covers
Talk about automatic entertainment!

The Senate versus Comic Books
Explaining the Senate hearings, the Comics Code Authority, and how the "Wertham Era" was the transition between the Golden Age and the Silver Age. Lot of work to make, but very educational.

The goal is for the six chapters on any disc to be of different types, for variety's sake. Some light character and content overviews, some deep character profiles, some broad industry history, some creator profiles/galleries, some simple themed galleries of pics. You know; like a mix tape for a party.

Already, I can perceive some "standard" slideshow formats:

The Artist Portfolio
I've already done Gil Kane and Neal Adams. There's plenty more!

The Character History
Particularly useful for focusing people on whose books could use some pumping.

The Themed Gallery
Some simple, like pics of one particular character. Some more topical like "Heroes Getting Hit With Pies". Some combos, like "Hal Jordan Getting Hit in the Head".

Industry History
Having done the Golden Age and the Wertham Era, how can I not do the other ages (Silver, Bronze, Iron, and Platinum)?

Comics Explained
It's so easy to take what we know about comics for granted. Having some of it explained simply would help a lot of newcomers: "Comic Book Terminology"; "The Creator Roles"; "The Anatomy of a Comic Book".

The Character Precis
I think this sort of on-going in-house "Who's Who" project is essential for helping mainstream comics make sense to people.

Genres Explored
All About Western/Sci Fi/Horror/Etc. Comics. A little history but focused toward relationship with other media and What You Can Be Buying Now.

The Quiz
Like they play at the cinema before the film begins.

I have some ideas that particularly tickle me, like the Comics Code Illustrated, clause by clause. "Gallery of Sound Effects". "Villains Screaming". "The Comic Book Family Photo Album".

But I could always use more ideas. If this were at your store, what would you like on the screen? What do you think would be good to edu-tain newcomers to comics?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Questioning the Hulk

Last night I went to see
the Incredible Hulk with a friend.

It wasn't bad. But I'm hard-pressed to say it was good. As my friend put it,
"Why was the Hulk himself the most believable thing in the movie?"

Honestly, I loved the Ang Lee version; very artsy, perfect capturing of the feel of reading a comic book. It just needed 50 to 70 percent less Nick Nolte blathering and 50 to 70 percent more Naked Eric Bana. But I always watch it again if I happen upon it on the television. I'm not sure I'd be as interested in seeing this new version a second time.

This new version just raised too many questions... .

  • So. Mr. Blue just kinda ... never mentioned what he was so excitedly planning?
  • Was Stan Lee's cameo designed with my wish fulfillment in mind, or is that just happy coincidence?
  • Has there ever been a cheaper short-cut to "this guy's an asshole" than tranqing the dog?
  • Isn't "We don't have any condoms and the world's not ready for Skaar: The Movie" a better reason than "Our lovemaking would undoubtedly be so athletically rigorous that it would push my heart rate above 95% of maximum?"
  • Doesn't anyone notice that Betty Ross has been kidnapped and replaced by Natasha from the Bullwinkle Show?
  • Do they really think generals get drunk at public bars in uniform rather than changing or were they just afraid we wouldn't be able to recognize him without it?
  • Could Tim Roth have been more wrong for his role? Couldn't they hire someone more appropriate like, say, Alan Cummings, Paul Reubens, or Tim Curry?
  • Did you too wonder what the exact sequence of events was that took us from Point A (Hulk carrying Betty off out flaming debris in the middle of college campus while surrounded by the military) to Point B (cave, wet, rainy, night)?
  • So, did they loan Blonsky a U.S. uniform 'cuz his British one was, I dunno, at the cleaners?
  • Wait... so that guy's only function in the whole movie is to call General Ross a liar?
  • Are Manhattanites -- even Marvel ones -- that stupid that they don't just get out of the way?
  • Bruce, forget about the Hulk problem; don't you think you should see a cardiologist immediately, given your inappropriate heart rates?
  • Could Ross be any less effective at keeping his soldiers -- to say nothing of his daughter -- out of harm's way?
  • Do you think there's a lot of blood in South American soda?
  • Does the Hulk not know the difference between "smash" and "choke"?
  • And she had a camera with her why, exactly?
  • Is it legal for William Hurt to continue receive an actor salary, even though he's clearly dead?
  • Does Betty Ross have that same disease everybody gets in The Happening?