Archive for the Comics Category

Lil Depressed Boy

Posted in Comics with tags , , on June 27, 2011 by Parker Connell

Lil Depressed Boy

 

The first four issues of Image comics Lil Depressed Boy written by S. Steven Struble with art by Sina Grace have been collected into a trade paperback. Before I found this trade I had never heard of LDB but my friend picked it up and I gave it a read.

After finishing the book I was confused, not due to plot or too many characters, actually the structure and story of LDB are beautifully small, I was confused as to how others felt about it. Some aspects of it I thought were good to great, and others I found to be cliché and trite.

Starting with the good LDB himself is a pretty good creation, he is a simple white anthropomorphic rag doll that exists in a world of real people, which could possibly turn out to be a Bottomless Belly Button style switch up (i.e. this is how LDB sees himself, while the rest of the world sees a normal dude), his personality is also solid if you ignore the similarities between him and Scott Pilgrim (although Scott was never so depressed).

That’s probably my biggest issue with Lil Depressed Boy; it’s a blatant Scott Pilgrim rip off, except instead of interesting music references and a deep love for video games, Lil Depressed Boy has really obvious music references (True Love Will Find You In the End by Daniel Johnston, really?) and a deep love for Garden State. This is none more obvious than in the Manic Pixie Dream Girl who LDB falls in love with, she is like Ramona Flowers, from the alt chick suicide girls lite wardrobe to the way she knows just what to say right at the perfect moment to make LDB feel better about himself. It’s lazy, cliché, and I’m pretty well over this lazy device.

At the end of the trade they have some pages by other artists and one of them is of LDB and Jazmin (MPDG) in the style of a Scott Pilgrim cover. Some might argue that this is a way to shake off any complaints about aping SP’s style but I really don’t think the creators have a case, just because you reference the thing you are copying doesn’t make it good.
I did find the art to be very good in it’s own way. The simplistic art perfectly compliments the story being told, and I like that, so good job Sina Grace.

So back to my initial question: What did other people think? Well it seems other people are oblivious. After reading every review I could find online I did not see a single one mention the over used Manic Pixie Dream Girl cliché or the fact that this is a retread of Scott Pilgrim with Zach Braff instead of Michael Cera in the lead role. I was really hoping to find some intelligent discussion on whether or not we should hold comics to the same standard we hold movies or novels, especially now that comics are beginning to ape stale movie tropes to gain cred.

Anyway the ending of the fourth issue piqued my interest enough to keep going with the series as it comes out, but it’s certainly on a probationary period until it steps up it’s game and does something to move away from my Garden State comparison.

Kick-Ass: Disappointment Wears a Wetsuit

Posted in Comics, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2010 by Parker Connell

Late last night while the little boy and girls were laying their lice ridden heads down on their dirty blood soaked pillows I was sitting down in a theater with a group of friends, including fellow “writer” Louie, we were preparing to see one of my most anticipated films of 2010, Kick-Ass. It was a good night with friends, there was laughter, mockery, and apparently love was also had. I saw the Scott Pilgrim trailer on a big screen, the 16th time I have seen it, and it was great. Also I may have ignored a crippled kid, for that i am sorry, and I am very glad despite me being an asshole, he made it.

Well the movie starts and 2 hours later all I can really feel is, in the parlance of our times, “meh”. It’s not necessarily  a bad movie it’s just not very good, it’s a perfectly mediocre flick. Now the hype on this flick from Ain’t It Cool News, Empire, and a few others, was insane. Heralding it as the ultimate deconstruction of superhero films, it would make all future comic book movies redundant because Kick Ass is so god damned brutal, plus it would be the most fun you’ll have in a theater this spring. None of those things are true.

The deconstruction of superhero movies is bullshit because the Kick-Ass storyline is Spider-man with no science and more violence, it’s not a deconstruction of Spider-man it’s a slave to that storyline, guy likes girl, guy becomes superhero, guy impresses girl, guy gets girl. Then the Hit Girl, Big Daddy stuff is just The Punisher, it’s the best part but it’s not all that original, you know what I’m gonna take a guess and say Kick-Ass is going to be the highest grossing Punisher movie ever.

I liked this movie more than Kick-Ass

Okay before I go any further I want to say that I’m really good about not falling for hype, ever since Soul Caliber 2 on Gamecube didn’t live up to the pre-release hype I’ve challenged the hype but the Kick Ass hype  such that even if I took the hype down 80% Kick Ass was still going to be unbelievably great.

Don't trust the hype

Kick Ass isn’t all bad though, there are certainly numerous parts that made me happy. Almost everything with Hit_Girl and all the parts with Hit-Girl and Big Daddy out of costume being a family were great. The hallway fight is great fun and who doesn’t like an 11-year-old flipping off walls shooting dudes. Mark Strong was also great, I’ve liked Mark Strong since Stardust (also directed by Matthew Vaughn) and his performance as Frank D’Amico in Kick Ass was menacing, violent and funny, this movie definitely makes me excited for the Robin Hood and Green Lantern movies where Strong is playing The Sheriff of Nottingham and Sinestro respectively. He also looks like a John Romita Jr. drawing which was kind of cool.

Speaking of Romita Jr. art Kick-Ass has possibly the ugliest animated sequence I’ve ever seen. The secret origin of big Daddy and Hit Girl is told through a comic book that we are given the horrible privelige of watching in motion, it’s awkward, unattractive, and really unneccessary, why they didn’t just give us straight Romita art is anyone’s guess because that would have been way cooler than to have crappy CG.

Let’s talk about Nic Cage. He’s in this, he plays Big Daddy. Whenever he is out of costume and interacting with his daughter it’s entertaining and really touching, Cage does a good job of showing that he loves his daughter more than anything. Then the mask comes on and he starts talking stupid and it’s annoying which sucks because I love Nic Cage, he’s been one of my favorite actors since I saw Raising Arizona when I was eight, so to see him get a role that is so cool and to have him fuck up is kind of upsetting.

Here’s the thing, I like to think about movies and the more I think about Kick-Ass the more I’m disappointed by it. It had so much potential and instead of making a continually great flick, Vaughn blew his load in two or three really cool bits, and then left us with uninteresting drama, unbelievable relationships, and an underused Christopher Mintz-Plasse who’s Red Mist character could have been great. Oh well it ends with a set up for a sequel and maybe that will be as good as people seem to think this one is.

WANTED: The Comic Book

Posted in Comics with tags , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2010 by Parker Connell

Mark Millar is a hot ticket in Hollywood these days with the upcoming KICK-ASS film and the rumors that his latest comic NEMESIS was being developed into a film before it even released. It all kind of started with the James McAvoy, Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman movie that came out in 2008. I liked that flick I thought it was some good ultraviolence wrapped around a ridiculous summer action story. I hadn’t read the comic at the time but my Amazon order finally came in and I got the trade yesterday and finished it that very night.

Millar writes incredibly readable comics from KICK-ASS to Old Man Logan to The Ultimates, WANTED is no different, it zips by with a great action movie pace. The writing is pretty good, it is a little over the top with the expletives and you can kind of tell that Millar really wanted to shock the establishment, but the establishment doesn’t really read comics, especially not Top Cow comics, so the swearing seems a little desperate at times, but if you look at WANTED as a warning against violence and being an asshole it works better, but I’m going to say that Mark Millar just learned how to talk from teenage boys.

So the movie Wanted is about a fraternity of assassins who have a magic cloth that tells them who needs to die. This has nothing to do with the comic, the beginning is the same, we have Wesley Gibson and he is a shmuck who everyone takes advantage of and some random dude who we don’t know is shot to death, then we find out that the random dude is Wesley’s dad, but instead of assassins the comic is about supervillians, and they have taken over the world and killed all the superheroes. So it’s like Old Man Logan.

but Logan doesn't call everyone "faggot" in Old Man Logan

Actually my best description of WANTED is it’s like if a fourteen year old boy combined Old Man Logan and Watchmen. Like Watchmen, WANTED can be read as a commentary of comics, Wanted just isn’t nearly as subtle. There is this running commentary on post ’86 comic books and “gritty realism” which, if you know your comics history 1986 is the year that The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen where set upon the world, and these comics started the wave of ultraviolent comics about superheroes that question their motivations and shit, it seems that WANTED is against this but without the birth of “gritty realism” WANTED could not exist because WANTED is both extremely gritty and ridiculously real.

If violence and swears are your thing or you like deconstruction of superhero mythos you’ll enjoy WANTED, and you can find it on the web for less than ten bucks and it’s certainly worth that.

Oh yeah and The RZA isn’t in it, but the main character looks like Eminem.

Webcomics: The Next Step?

Posted in Comics, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2010 by Parker Connell

With the upcoming release of Iron Man 2 and Kick-Ass as well as the end of the summer release of Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World comic book movies are once again on my mind. But I had a thought, what about the mumblecore of comic books the webcomic, the niche market of free comics on the internets. How long before we see Dinosaur Comics on the big screen (okay bad example).

What about Axe Cop, that could be great, get Tony Scott or better yet Zack Snyder to direct (because Axe Cop would look bad ass swinging his axe really… really… slowly thenspeedingupsuperfast) but you’d have to keep the 5-year-old writer or maybe a group of five-year-olds.

and no Paul Haggis even though Crash seems like it was written by a 5-year-old

There are some really great stories being told on the internets, right now I’m reading 3 or 4 webcomic regularly and One that I check out every couple of months (Freakangels by Warren Ellis my favorite comics writer doing free comics online!). My current favorite webcomic is Questionable Content a really simple story about love, life, coffee, indie music and robots. This shit is ripe for film adaptation… just thought I would throw this out there.

Oh yeah and just in case you haven’t seen it here is the Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World trailer which I’ve watched 14 times because I’m really excited for the movie.

Akira

Posted in Comics, movies with tags , , , , , , , on March 11, 2010 by Parker Connell

Culturally Akira is one of the most important animated films ever made. It brought Japanese animation to the attention of the rest of the world. It cemented science fiction as more than just frivolous b movie and has influenced everyone from Frank Quietly to The Wachowski’s.

All I really have to say about it is that on Blu Ray it looks really good, also you should see it.

Nolan Bro’s Superman

Posted in Comics, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2010 by Parker Connell

So the internets are ablaze with the news that Christopher Nolan is working on both a third Batman flick as well as acting as a “mentor” for the next Supes picture. The Batman news is pretty rad because I really do enjoy Nolan’s work on The Caped Crusader, however, I am wary of Nolan doing whatever a movie mentor will do.

This is the first image that came up when I googled "movie mentor"

First and foremost let us get this out-of-the-way, I don’t really like Superman. Never really have, even as a child Ninja Turtles, Transformers, and Biker Mice from Mars were my go to cartoon bad asses, then Spawn took over when I was like 8.

Significantly more rad than Superman

I was 11 when I saw the first 2 Christopher Reeve Superman flicks from back in the day, and even then I was rooting for Gene Hackman to win, even though I  totally knew that Superman won’t lose, because he can’t lose, because he wasn’t an interesting character. Superman is static to me.

Over the years I’ve learned to at least appreciate the cultural reasoning behind Superman’s popularity, but I still can’t bring myself to give a shit about a guy who can’t lose. So one would think that a darker, grittier, Dark Knight-esque Superman would be the thing to bring me into the Man of Steel fold, however, that could not be any further from the truth.

I have voiced my disdain for Superman but everyone keep in mind that one of my favorite comic series of all time is Grant Morrison and Frank Quitley’s All-Star Superman. Morrison actually gives Superman an interesting reason to exist and plays to the only interesting facet of Superman: the fact that Superman at this point exists as a Deity an all-knowing, all-seeing, benevolent being who just want to help. If a Superman movie actually needs to happen in 3-5 years why not make that and instead of Nolan “mentoring” why not get Grant Morrison because he knows his Superman, also I want to see a big screen evil sun!