Archives for category: Storytelling

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If you missed the boat on Rick Remender’s Fear Agent, there are two beautiful hardbacks encompassing the entire run. This series is the best kind of pulpy sci-fi: the kind that has tons of heart.

If you haven’t heard about his recent health problems, here is a link to a post from his wife, Kathleen.

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I recently finished The Further Adventures of The Joker, edited by Martin H. Greenburg.  In the past, I tended to stay away from short story collections, thinking that I just didn’t want to handle the constant rolling of the dice.  Sure, you might read one story and really dig it.  But the one right behind it may be a total stinker.  I since realized that was a very dumb thing to do, and I had to be missing out on some gems.   And because I’m the type of guy that tries to avoid doing dumb things, I decided to read The Further Adventures of the Joker.

The book came out right on the heels of the first Tim Burton Batman movie, and you still see a lot of Silver Age influence.  Not that this is a bad thing … as anybody who’s read my work can attest, I enjoy me some campy every now and then.  What did stand out to me about this book was how mature most of the stories were, especially given the time it was released.  I know, I know … Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen had already established a mature ground for this genre, but still–you just didn’t see it much.

I’m not saying everything in this book is great.  Far from it.  But there’s enough good here that–if you’re a Batman fan–you owe to yourself to check it out.

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Space Pulp #2: Menace of the Space Zombies out now!

 

suicide-squad.0.0.jpgPerhaps it was because of all the changes Suicide Squad had at the last minute, but the dialogue really felt off-rhythm a few moments in this movie.  As a result, you would often have long, awkward pauses punctuating some of the wedged-in humor.

Don’t let that keep you from the movie though.  It’s still fun and getting the chance to see a live-action Harley Quinn is worth the price of admission alone. Just don’t go in expecting a dark action comedy on the level of Deadpool.

Space Pulp #2: Plight of the Blood Slaves on sale September 30th!

batman-v-superman-dawn-of-justice_bb788b6f.jpgFinally got to see it last Saturday.  I went into it with one eye shut, simply because of the harsh criticism that’s been leveled against the movie for a while.  A large part of the Internet actually seems to be enjoying reporting the declining percentages in ticket sales, week after week.  Before I get into spoiler territory, let me just say the movie wasn’t bad.  Nor was it mediocre.  It was a good Superhero romp that delivered a lot of interesting ideas and wrapped them in a cool package, full of spectacle and bold artistic choices.

Now, into spoiler land …

In much the same way BvS was a reaction to the Man of Steel, I think a large part of my opinion about the film came out as a reaction to the critics.  A reaction that didn’t seem to surprise Zack Snyder one bit.  But the dude made it for his own inner fanboy which, in the face of such a passionate audience, demands respect from at least an artistic standpoint.  Even if you don’t agree with his choices.

A Batman and Superman that kills people is nothing new.  Keaton’s Batman did it.  So did Reeve’s Superman.  Nobody thought anything about it then. And if you don’t dig this spin on these characters, that’s cool.  Just do what I did when Andrew Garfield put on the Spidey suit: skip it.  Go back to the stuff you enjoyed.  Nobody’s taking that away.  These characters are myth and the thing about myth is that they’re going to be reinterpreted again and again, long after all of us are gone.

Character motivation was also a common problem people had with the film.  The motivations are there for everyone.  They’re just complex in the case of Superman and Batman.  Really simple in the case of Wonder Woman.  And … well, even though we thought we knew Lex’s motivation, we find out in his jail scene that we really don’t.  Not yet.  Which leads to the biggest–or at least loudest–criticism against the film: it being a commercial for future movies.

Like or not, these shared universe flicks are becoming more and more like the comic book counterparts–an ongoing serial.  And serials need hooks.  They need something to maintain interest while story tellers get to work on the next thing.  The major pro is that we always have something to look forward to.  The major con is that, essentially, it’s always act 2.  These stories are never going to finish.

All of this isn’t to say that the movie is perfect.  No story is perfect.  All you can do is tell the best story you can in the amount of time you’re given.  But I think BvS deserves more respect than it’s getting.  If you dug Man of Steel, I would at least give BvS a shot.

If not, just wait.

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Superheroes in Prose #13: A Fabulous Anarchy on sale now!

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I gotta tip my hat to Ridley Scott for the successful adaptation of this novel.  Although storytelling is never easy, there are certain tools that can make a particular kind of story easier within a specific medium.  The idea of The Martian, which is kind of a lonely Macgyver in space, certainly would be easier in first person prose since readers internalize and interpret the author’s ideas anyway.

But to do that kind of story in film is another thing, especially when that character spends a large amount of time alone … mostly just building stuff.  Scott does have to fallback on a quite a few montages, but–in the end–he delivered an awesome adaptation that, on paper, doesn’t seem like it would work that well.

Superheroes in Prose #13: A Fabulous Anarchy, on sale March 1st!

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I haven’t taken the time until now to comment on the new Flash show. Pilots usually garner more comments from me, but–since we’re three episodes deep now–I might as well say some stuff about all of them.

The Pilot: This episode had some really awesome moments: Grant Guston’s sort of Peter Parker take on Barry Allen, the special effects, and just the over all look of the show itself. Unfortunately it was WAY rushed. Characters had no room to breathe and, instead, were forced to characterize themselves. (I’m angry because my fiancee died!) Given what all they had to accomplish, I’m surprised the network didn’t go with a longer episode. Ironically, Barry himself felt way more fleshed out in Arrow last season than he did in his own show.

Second Episode: The first act was abysmal. It did nothing but recap the pilot. It reeked of some execs thumbs on top of the show. And, I mean, come on–with DVRs, hulu, and–heck–just the Internet in general, people almost have to go out of their way to NOT see an episode of something they like. Thankfully, the remaining acts tightened up and delivered a strong story with a real kick-ass climax.

Third Episode: So far, the best of the bunch, but experiencing some cooky story problems. (For instance, the bad guy finds a specific victim in a massive city without the audience ever being told how.) Characters finally get the chance to breathe though, and we’re seeing a few more layers to them.

Bottom line: Flash is a fun show that has the chance to be great if it will just give the characters enough room to do their thing. If the progression of the storytelling is any indication, I think the finale will be lightyears ahead of the pilot in terms of awesomeness.

Superheroes in Prose Volume 10: Two Rocks and a Hard Place on sale October 29th