Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Ask Ellis

I've got a 1-on-1 interview with Warren Ellis coming up this weekend in Chicago. Anyone an Ellis fan and want to offer up a question you'd like me to ask?

Friday, June 20, 2008

What would you give them?

This came to me last night as I was drifting off to sleep (you'd be surprised at the things I think about when I'm falling asleep).

So let's say you have a friend or acquaintance that has absolutely no history with comic books. He is completely clueless when it comes to the genre. Could maybe pick out Superman in a lineup. Anyhoo, let's say this friend comes to you and is interested in learning about comics. He wants to start reading them, but has no clue where to begin. What do you give him?

Be specific. Don't just say, "Any 'ol Spidey title will do" ('Cause we all know that giving him any issue with the spidey-clone would be a big mistake). Something more like, "Amazing Spiderman #300. Todd McFarlane artwork, good Venom story, etc". The idea here is to find out what each of you think epitomizes the perfect comic book for a new reader. Is it the artwork? The story? Both?

For me, it wouldn't be just one issue. I would have to start with a recognizable character, say Batman or Superman. Then it would have to be a story with some heft, something that defines the hero but isn't bogged down with references to 50 years of history. The artwork is important, but preference in artwork is so subjective that I don't really feel it carries that much weight.

Anyhoo, at the end of the day, I would hand this friend either The Dark Knight Returns or Batman, Year One. Both of them have a recognizable character (Batman, duh), both are excellent stories (and the artwork isn't to shabby either) and after reading either, said friend would probably have his interest piqued enough to wander into a comic book shop.

So what would everyone else do?

Monday, June 16, 2008

St. Patty's Day photos -- the outtakes

Hi guys,

As promised, the rest of the photos of our night out partying with FF # 51. Good times. FF # 51 knows how to DRINK.

These photos are not in time order, as you can tell by my varying levels of drunkeness.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

To all the dads in PL: Happy Father's Day! I hope you get to enjoy your kids and family. To those of you thinking about being a father (even if you're not ready yet) dads make a difference every day in the lives of their kids whether present or not. So do moms. You can be more positive by being there, but being a dad is one of the best jobs you'll ever, EVER have.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Response to 'Criticism'

Clay posted this on his blog yesterday:

If you're a comic book reviewer, ask yourself a question, and answer honestly: What do I hope to achieve with my criticism?

Do you just want your opinion noted? Do you wish to prove people wrong in their assessments of books? Do you hope to point people toward good work they may have missed? Do you hope to steer people away from books you personally don't like?

He raises a good point, and one he's brought up before. I think it would be appropriate to address the issues one by one:

1 - What do I hope to achieve with my criticism? Do you just want your opinion noted?

I honestly believe that most critics on the internet don't want to achieve anything with their criticisms other than just having something to say and saying it. Most of what passes for 'criticism' out there these days is not thoughtful, considered nor insightful. Instead it's full of invective, bile and incites good ol' flame wars with others who don't agree. No more do critics take the position that art for art's sake is something to be treasured or appreciated. In this day and age of fast-food-convenience or bust, art must MEAN something.

What passes for criticism is someone assigning a meaning to a piece of art based on mostly limited experience. One who criticizes who doesn't have any life experience by assigning meaning to something isn't a critic. That person is a loudmouth who can't shut up. In this person's world "this sucks" is meaningful on many levels without explanation.

2 - Do you wish to prove people wrong in their assessments of books? Do you hope to point people toward good work they may have missed?

I would hope that someone who engages in criticism would point to work he felt worthy of further consideration, but I just don't see it happen very often, and not for a long while. Then again, I don't read reviews of comics any more because I've grown tired of the pissing and moaning about why comics can't be great. Basic things like Compare and Contrast have been lost (even by me, to be 100% honest) when folks write about comics. It would be nice if someone reviewed a book they wanted to like, didn't like it, then told us why. That's a simple 500-word essay that can be helpful not only to potential readers, but to the creators as well. I suspect that most 'critics' on the web are merely frustrated wannabe comic book writers.

3 - Do you hope to steer people away from books you personally don't like?

Nail on the head, Clay. I think this is what most 'critics' really want to happen. "I hated this book and you should, too, so we can continue to be in the elitist club that we established long before the rubes who saw 'From Hell' started coming over to comics and then went to manga." Self-importance is a primary condition for anyone who qualifies himself as a 'critic' of comic books on the web.

Now, that doesn't mean there can't be good reviewers who don't like a comic. Not every piece can be gold, but let's show a little respect for the work involved and hope that our words of criticism could be helpful, if not constructive, about what we like, what we don't like, WHY we feel the way we feel and what we base our comments on. It's not hard, and I appreciate folks (like the commenter on Clay's post) who just give shout outs to works they like and why. That's a better 'review' for my money than someone on a 'major' comics news site who gets paid by the hit to be 'entertaining'.

Friday, June 6, 2008

If You've Ever Wondered...

If you've ever wondered what it would be like to microwave a cell phone:


If you've ever wondered what I do for a living, this is a good show of what it's like. It was even created and produced and stars some guys who work at the same place I've been at:

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Comic Blogs Response

I tried responding to Seth's post, but the comments don't accept html tags.

I only go to either CBR or Comics Continuum for comics news and/or reviews.
I mostly go to creators' blogs and I have about a million of those I frequent regularly.
Some of them include:

Warren Ellis

Ashley Wood

Jeff Smith

Character Design

Chris Wahl

Conrad Roset

Asaf and Tomer Hanuka


Sean "Cheeks" Galloway

And even our very own B. Clay Moore to name a few.

comic book blogs

What comic book blogs do you guys enjoy?

One that I visit frequently is "Comic Coverage" by Mark Engblom. The guy is pretty creative, using his own artwork on occasion while writing a fun, unique blog. He has an impressive knowledge of comics that I really enjoy. One of my favorite features of his is "Worst. Cover. Ever." where he displays and picks apart particularly bad comic covers.

You can see his blog here.

What comic book blogs do you all suggest? Jason, I'm sure you have a ton that you're familiar with...

Anyone see Wizard # 201? What did you think of the redesign?