Archive for Comics

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.

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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.

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!