Okay, so zombies may not be everyone’s thing. However, The Walking Dead is so much more than a zombie comic. Especially when it comes to the first volume, “Days Gone Bye,” which collects issues one through six of this monthly series from Image Comics.
Written by Robert Kirkman (who writes the campy Marvel Zombies) and drawn by Tony Moore (who works on Fear Agent and The Exterminators), this is a story you don’t want to miss. You would think that, being a zombie comic, it would be filled with blood and guts. However, there is so much more. A genuine tale of humanity and survival in unforgiving times, the story ends with a huge exclaimation point that should not be missed. That is why we gave Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye five out of five stars.
I start this week’s reviews off with Marvel Apes #1. The basic story is this: Marty Blank (a.k.a. – The Gibbon) has donated his body to science since the Avengers won’t take him and Spiderman laughs at his job inquiry. During the experimentation, the Gibbon (along with the hot scientist) get teleported to a version of the Marvel Universe inhabited by primates. Here we meet the Ape-Vengers and a monkey version of the Fantastic Four. As they try to find their way back to their own world, they discover that this world is a lot more primal that their own.
Written by Karl Kesel, the issue seemed to me as though rather than really putting all his heart into it, he really just looked for any excuse he could to adapt a Marvel name or organization to this new universe. The art by Ramon Bachs is a bit to Saturday morning for my tastes as are the colors by Javier Mena Guerrero.
I picked up this title hoping it would be at least as good as the the Marvel Zombie titles. However, it let me down. Not even The History of the Marvel Apes Universe bonus at the end saved it. In fact, it was just another reason to mangle the names of even more Marvel characters. It earns 2/5 stars.
This week from DC, we look at Secret Six #1. The team is hired to break a murderer out of Alcatraz and deliver her across the country to Gotham. However, it seems this could just be a plot to rid the world of them all. And Junior, the baddie it appears they will be up against, though still a mystery, doesn’t seem like the kind of guy even this group of cold-hearted killers wants to meet in a dark alley.
Gail Simone wrote this first issue of this new ongoing series and he might have succeeded in getting this title added to my pull list. With action, character development, and and excellent cliffhanger endpoint, we can’t wait to see where the plot is going. Nicola Scott drew the issue and we are very pleased with her work.
A promising first issue and we hope to see many more. Secret Six #1 has earned itself a 3 of 5 stars. Later issues might put this title up to regular 4 stars.
Our final title this week comes from Marvel’s creator-owned imprint. Kick-Ass Must Have collects issues 1-3 of this title created by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr. It tells the tale of a high school student who, after years of reading comic books, decides to put on a mask and jumpsuit and hit the streets fighting crime. However, he usually just ends up getting his ass kicked. It reminds me a lot of what would actually happen if some jackass actually went out and tried to fight crime.
Mark Millar wrote the three issues collected in this volume, offering us a funny, action-packed, and moving story. John Romita Jr. provided the artwork and, though it is not award-winning material, he knows very well how to tell a story through artwork and play off of Millar’s tale.
A great story that offers comedy, action, love, and family plotlines, Kick-Ass is definately a title you want to be reading. I award it 4/5 stars.
I know that over the past two or three days I’ve been lax in my posting, and I apologize. There have been some turbulent times here at the old homestead that kept me from posting. However, I assure you that the blog goes on (as well as the writing of our own comics). Though I may miss a post here and there, I am diligent in the fact that I will continue to offer you content. So without further ado…
Usually, when I hear that Hollywood is making a movie based on something I love, I cringe at the ways in which I imagine they are going to ruin it. However, over the past couple years, they have created some really great movies based on some legendary comic books and characters. Here is our top five:
5. This film from Robert Rodriguez is nearly a panel by panel remake of the series written by Frank Miller. With its film noir style, amazing camera work, and an all-star cast, it is no wonder that Sin City has made it onto this list.
4. Groundbreaking is just one of the ways to describe this film from Zack Snyder (based on yet another Frank Miller story). Other ways to describe include: action-packed, bloody, exhilerating, and amazing. Utilizing the bullet time film technique originated from The Matrix in a swords and sandels action film was a wise choice from the director, adding to the granduer of the Spartan warriors in 300.
3. What can we say, watching this movie just makes you want to dress like a pilgrim and overthrow your government. Directed by James McTeigue who worked on all three Matrix films, Dark City, and more is an updated version of Alan Moore’s graphic novel by the same name. It is nothing less than inspiring and features all the strangeness that one would expect from Alan Moore.
2. The first film produced entirely by Marvel, they threw in everything and the kitchen sink when they made this movie. Granted they updated the origin story to fit in more with modern times, but the result was a action-packed, special effects extravaganza that lends itself quite easily to repeat viewing.
1. Having easily proven itself the king of comic book movies, Chris Nolan’s take on Batman has everyone whirling. Bale plays millionare Bruce Wayne and Batman with equal skill, Ledger’s Joker is now legendary, Ekhart as Two-Face by far tops Tommy Lee Jones’ version, and it sits at #2 in all time box office earnings with $504,798,337 and climbing under its belt.
We all like to think about what it would be like if some of our favorite actors played some of our favorite characters. The current rage seems to be the next Batman film. Here at Neorama Comics, we’ve put together our own little fantasy cast for the to-be-released Batman sequel. Of course, we are excited to see Bale in the role of Wayne/Batman, Gary Oldman in the role of Gordon, Ekhart in the role of Two-Face (you don’t really think he’s dead do you?), Michael Caine as Aldred, and Morgan Freeman as Lucias Fox. But everyone knows that a Batfilm is made or broke with villains. Here are four we wanna see (well three, plus an anti-antihero).
We think Johnny Depp would fit the role of The Riddler perfectly. He has the ability to be funny in a whimsical sort of way (a la Jack Sparrow or Willie Wonka), yet able to do serious roles (such as in Secret Window or The Ninth Gate). Mr. Depp also has a knack for bringing any role he sinks into to life, something that any baddie successor to the late Heath Ledger will have to do.
With Rachel Whatsherface out of the picture there is room for another love interest in Bruce’s life. The most obvious choice to us is Selina Kyle, better known as Catwoman. For such a role, Nolan will need someone who is not only sexy, but fierce as well. We suggest Jessica Biel. She proved herself fierce in the remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and is 100% sexy. Oh, and if Nolan seriously casts Cher, I will boycott the film and laugh as it burns in hell.
Now that Batman is being hunted by the police, it is a perfect time to bring in his longtime nemesis, Detective Harvey Bullock, putting him in charge of tracking down and arresting the caped crusader. For this role, we choose Michael Madsen. His body of work proves that he is beyond capable of depicting a rough around the edges, hardboiled detective.
Finally, since we obviously can’t have back the Joker we want, let’s throw his honey into the mix (maybe with just a cameo appearance, promising of another Batfilm). At first we were thinking it would be a role perfect for Jessica Alba. However, the more we thought about it, the more Miss Scarlet Johanson appealed to us. So what do you think?
Okay, so here’s my problem. I have all these great ideas I want to bring to you and I get excited about them. This excitement gets me working on all of them at once. Now, considering I work two jobs, children, and am trying to have something of a social life as well, this leaves me very little time to work on personal projects. I usually do a little bit after writing my post for this blog every night, but with so many projects going on it’s hard to believe that any of them will get done. This tells me I am officially in project overload and that I need to cut back.
It is for this reason that I must cut a few of the projects you might have heard about: The Murder, Readers’ Choice, and the untitled project mentioned about the Babylonian creation story (sorry Nate, I tried to get ahold of you today but you were gone already). What are we working on then? I have started on a script for a comic miniseries that readers of Frank Miller should love. This will actually be part of a trilogy of stories, each one featuring twelve 16-page issues. Also in the pipe are twelve scripts for sketch comedy performances. Once completed, I will try to put together a ragtag comedy troop and produce them for your viewing pleasure.
Sorry to disappoint anyone, especially you Nate (but check your inbox often, I will have character descriptions for you soon). This was a choice I had to make or run the risk of not being able to bring anything to you at all. You can still expect to see daily blog posts here as well. Also, those nixed projects are not gone forever. They’ve been placed on the back burner until I can free up some more time to do them right.
Quite possibly the most famous Batman story out there, Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns is a gritty and violent tale of a man wrestling with inner demons and putting a ruined city back in order. Ten years after Bruce Wayne hung up his cape, Gotham has fallen to pieces. It is overrun by a gang of killers and, as Bruce walks home one night, they wake up something they wish they never had. The Batman returns with a vengence that can only be satisfied when “his” city is safe once again. Taking on gangs, the Joker, a new police comissioner, and even Superman, nothing will stand in his way.
Masterfully written by Frank Miller (300, Sin City, Ronin, and the contraversial All-Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder), we are invited into the mind of a tortured soul who relives watching his parents die every day. This is 5/5 star material that you don’t want to miss folks.
I caught this interview on Wizard’s website and find myself all kinds of giddy. I’ve been on a Batman kick ever since I watched The Dark Knight and I’ve been collecting as many trades as I can. Then I find that DC will be releasing an original hardcover story written by Brian Azzarello (Eisner award-winner for 100 Bullets, Eisner nominee for Hellblazer, Batman: Broken City, Superman: For Tomorrow, and other great stories). Further more, it is being illustrated by Lee Bermejo (an amazing artist who is the regular cover artist for Hellblazer) and Mick Gray. Judging from the sample artwork I have seen, it is going to be feakin’ amazing.
DC’s website offers this synopsis of what to expect from the story:
After yet another stint in Arkham Asylum, The Joker finds “his city” divided among mobsters and costumed villains. Not content to settle for a piece of the pie, The Joker vows to take back the whole damn enchilada by any means necessary. Look for appearances by a slew of Gotham’s most wanted, including gritty takes on Two-Face, Riddler, Killer Croc, Penguin, Harley Quinn and even Batman!
Personally, I can’t wait and there will be an extra twenty bucks missing from my paycheck on October 22nd. Oh, and the scarring on the mouth of the “Clown Price of Crime,” in case you’re wondering, was included in the story before The Dark Knight ever hit movie screens.
This week’s afterthough takes a look at the final installment to Marvel MAX’s adaption of the works of H.P. Lovecraft, Haunts of Horror #3 of 3. I am a longtime fan of this underrated and prolific author of some of the strangest fiction I have ever encountered and jump at the chance to check out anything remotely Lovecraftian. The first issue of this three part series was good an enticed me to pick up the second. That one was not so good. However, being the obsessive fan that I am, I have just got finished with the third and final installment. How did it hold up.
Again, Richard Corben provided the story adaptations and artwork on all three tales. The writing on the first story is smooth enough, though the ending seems a bit rushed and the other two stories seem more like highlights (Cliffnotes, if you will) of the stories they are adapted from. Also in the first story, the art has improved from the other issues despite the obvious disproportions. However, it falters in the later two stories. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, H.P. Lovecraft adaptations need to be shadowy and dark – something that Haunts of Horror lacks.
Again, I find the best part of this issue is the inclusion of the original works by H.P. Lovecraft. I rate this issue 2/5 stars.
After catching this article on Comic Book Resources today, I am feeling a mixture of joy and sadness. For those of you not willing to click on the link, Paramount Pictures reported this week that they will be releasing “mobil” comics based on the studio’s film properties. This includes Eagle Eye and Mission Impossible. Paramount’s digital entertainment division and Singapore-based Omnitoons will create these Manga-styled comics that run four single panels, four screens to a strip, and 20 screens per story episode. Currently available in the United States, Austrailia, Europe, and India as MMS or J2ME formats, PDE says they will be made available through key carriers worldwide. However, they will only be available downloads for your cell phones and will be treated as premium content by service providers and, therefore, you will be charged per download.
On one hand, I am happy to see this happening. It shows that comics are still a strong media in the world and that they are elvolving. As long as they continue to do so, the comic genre will continue to be strong. This proves also that digital comics are growing in strength, making it easier for independent creators to get the stories they toil over endlessly out to the public. Neorama’s own comics are going to take the digital route in the form of PDF downloads. But, this brings me to my other hand.
This also saddens me. As the digital age rises, I expect we will see a decline in print comics. To me there is nothing better about a comic than being able to hold it in your hands and studying each little detail about the artwork or examining the development of a story by pouring through back issues. With digital comics, you get little of that. Leaning in to a computer or cell phone screen will eventually drive you blind and you only have so much memory to store this strips (which have no collectibility due to infinate availability) on your phone. Ultimately, what costs less: another longbox or more memory for your iPhone? Could this rebirth of comics be the death of the incarnation that we have grown to love them in? We hope not, and that is why Neorama will also be offering its collected stories in trade paperback format as well.