Impressions of More Comics Given by Jason
Jason had some other comic books that he finished reading and decided to give to me to use however I see fit. He even said that I could sell them for all he cared. I thought that I would slowly work on a text to describe them.
He gave me four issues of an anthology series called Open Space. I haven’t been able to dig up any real information other than that it was a short-lived series from Marvel which paired known science-fiction prose writers of the time with different comic artists. It was an anthology of different short stories loosely connected by settings, entities, characters, and motifs.
Obviously, given the inherent uneven nature of genre anthologies, some stories are bound to be better than others. The artwork is similarly varied; sometimes it looks off-kilter and cartoonish and sometimes it looks painterly and lush. Still I have to respect that Marvel tried to put out straightforward science fiction that makes real efforts to examine human nature and society.
A more distinctly pulpish bit of sci-fi is Martha Washington Saves the World. This isn’t like Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter—this comic features a very different Martha Washington, a captain in the distant future. This comic is written by Frank Miller (the same Frank Miller whose recent turns in writing and personality have been well-documented) and illustrated by Dave Gibbons (who is best known for illustrating Watchmen).
The plot deals with a worldwide artificial intelligence that goes rouge and attempts to enslave humanity. There isn’t much to say beyond that without spoiling any of the plot’s details. It’s a basic pulp sci-fi adventure anyway. However, I’m sure that many of you might like to see a black heroine, a surprisingly respectfully written one given Frank Miller’s current reputation.
Next up is Terminator: the Burning Earth. As the title implies, it is connected to the motion picture The Terminator. This comic is meant to tell the story of John Connor’s final battle against Skynet’s machines. Actually, I didn’t see much of a story aside from a ragtag group of rebels going into an archenemy’s hideout before said archenemy destroys everything. The characters feel like a bunch of ordinary stock characters. The comic is much like a stereotypical big dumb action movie. It is notable, however, for having the first published work of the respected painter Alex Ross; even this very early work shows a solid painterly style.
An old adage warns us to not judge a book by its cover. Sometimes, however, a cover can give us a clue of what to expect, such as in the case of E.V.E. Proto Mecha. The cover features a woman in a very impractical metal and vacuum-sealed-for-freshness-tights outfit drawn in a wild boobs-and-butt pose in a wonky pseudo-manga style. Indeed, the comic is a bit of rather cartoony sci-fi about an elderly widower scientist who builds a feminine cyborg, given life by a spiritual entity, who is soon turned into a destructive assassin.
The story feels like the product of an anime-addicted fourteen-year-old who tries too hard to throw in all sorts of super-duper-cool tropes and thingamajigs with little regard for how well they gel together. Even the attempts to real give substance to the characters and plot come off as just plain trite, with the possible exception of one very small moment between the scientist and his captured “daughter”. As mentioned earlier, the artwork has a very wonky style (I plan to scan some pictures and then submit them to Escher Girls, a blog for poking fun at odd drawings and renderings of women), though the detailing is nice enough and the hyperactive action scenes are competently drawn. I found even less information for this one than for Open Space, which should tell you how forgettable this comic is.
Jason, it was a very nice thought. I really do appreciate the thoughtful gesture. I honestly didn’t care much for these. Still, they were worth a look if only to see more of the variety of comics out there and ponder what I might do better as a writer and storyteller. I’ll go ahead and try to hock these and make a bit more money at my family’s garage sale next month.
Album for Gen Con 2014
As part of the festivities for my coming birthday I went out to Gen Con. Granted, my enthusiasm started to wane after a while, considering that this convention isn’t anywhere near as large as San Diego Comic-Con and there were no panels that truly interested me. Still I got plenty of nice pictures. Instead of putting them in the order in which they were taken, I grouped like pictures together where feasible.
If you’re expecting to see more of my drawings soon, I ask that you be patient. Tomorrow I plan to start doodling the thumbnails for the pages of Matron Paladin Lux-Luna. I will try to get smaller drawings in here too.
Impression of Claymore
I discovered that there was anime- and manga-themed programming for GenCon in the hotel next to the convention center. Among that programming is a “manga library” where people could sit inside and read manga books. At the end of today’s venture in GenCon I read a couple of volumes of Claymore.
What is Claymore? In a vaguely medieval-European setting, there are monsters stalking and killing the populace of different villages and towns. Only half-human, half-monster women have the power to destroy those monsters in bloody battles.
Does that sound familiar? The half-human, half-monster hero repressing the monster inside while fighting the same type of monster is surprisingly common trope in popular fiction (though in this case, the women have been infused with the flesh and blood of those monsters, not born of a parent of each type). Still, the two volumes that I read had some qualities that made them worth a look. Though the drawings of the character’s faces seem rather off, the artwork is otherwise very good. The scenery is done with really great detail, and sometimes atmospheric toning and shading show up in key scenes. The story also shows a serious budding friendship between one of the aforementioned monster-slaying women and a boy who was banished from his village and thus started following her.
Impression of The Underwater Welder
Now I’ve read The Underwater Welder. It is the story of a man who welds underwater pipes at an oil rig. He and his wife expect a child to come soon. However, near Hallowe’en he is not only haunted by memories which not only strain his marriage and his livelihood but also takes some ghostly turns.
It tells a thoughtful story of how your parents’ lives can have a serious impact on your own life for many years to come. The artwork does become sketchy and oftentimes borders on being mere scribbles, though there is solid detailing at the same time. The panoramas and expanded panels truly aid the story taking place in a coastal town and under a sea. The writing itself is somewhat typical for a domestic drama, but the images within the panels, rough artwork aside, do much of the heavy lifting for conveying real human emotion.
Impression of Guardians of the Galaxy: the Movie
Who else was introduced to Rocket Raccoon through Marvel vs. Capcom? In any case, Guardians of the Galaxy is another movie that I have been looking forward to seeing. So have two of my friends. This time, though Aejay ran late, he was able to join me and Jason at the theater. That’s a good thing—we all had a good time.
Frankly, I don’t think that I can type much. It is alternately intense and funny all the way to the end. The designs, graphics, and effects are brilliant even without a 3D screen. (Again, Aejay has serious issues with 3D movies so I opted for a 2D screening, though I hear that it truly looks great on Imax screens.) The rogues turned heroes are memorable, bolstered by zingy dialog, even if Rocket Raccoon and Groot are the real highlights. I concur with Aejay when he says that Marvel Studios hit a proverbial home run with Guardians of the Galaxy.