What do you get when you combine Marvel and Bond? These fantastic designs by deviantart artist Bill Walko.
Have you seen Kick-Ass yet? If not, why the hell not? It’s an awesome movie and everybody should go to the cinema to watch it (see my review here). If you have seen it and thought it was as awesome as I did, you might want to get your hands on this movie/comic tie-in (actually… on second thought, you should go and get the comic first, read that, and then this).
Kick-Ass: Creating The Comic, Making The Movie is a gorgeous book about how both the comic and the movie were developed. Mark Millar mainly tells the tale of the entire process, but throughout the book you get snippets from tons of others who were involved in the comic or the movie. You get to read about the collaboration between Millar, Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman, how they created the movie script while the comic wasn’t even finished yet. How the casting went for all the different characters. And how the look for the movie and the comic was created.
Visually this book is full of eye candy. There’s early concept art for both the comic and movie, from costume design to set design (it’s fun to see the thought processes behind the difference between the comic and movie outfits of Big Daddy and Hit Girl). Pieces of storyboards and sketches. Photos of the sets and during the shooting. There’s tons of it.
I had as much fun reading this book, as I had watching the movie and reading the comic. It’s not a boring read at all, which admittedly a lot of movie tie-ins are. It’s great to discover what goes into making a comic/movie like this, yet how different it was because it was independently made without a studio. One thing though: there are spoilers in this book for the movie and the comic (specifically the differences in plot between the two); I suggest reading this once you seen/read both.
If you loved Kick-Ass as much as I did, then this book is a must-have for your library. It’s a great read, and something every Kick-Ass fan should own.
I’ve always liked the idea of movies and comics telling different parts of the same story, but I can’t think of many that have pulled it off properly (the one that comes to mind that didn’t work was Southland Tales. That movie doesn’t make sense at all, but apparently you have to have read the prequel comic before it…).
With Star Trek we first got the sort of prequel comic that explained the events before the movie (but still set in the future). It worked out great, giving a more detailed backstory for the fans who wanted to hear more about it, without it being a prerequisite for the movie. Now a new graphic novel is being released titled Star Trek: Nero following the character of Nero and his crew in the time between the destruction of the USS Kelvin and the reappearance of the Narada in the new timeline (so pretty early on in the movie).
Thanks to the wonderful guys at Titan, I’ve gotten a couple of copies to give away to my dear readers! To enter fill in the form below with your details and answer the question “What is your favourite Star Trek show or movie?” (Don’t forget to hit the Submit button!) Sorry to disappoint my international readers, but this competition is UK only. Entries must be in before Tuesday March 30th 16:00.
I’ve never really watched the original (never had the patience for it), but have seen most of everything else. My favourite was Deep Space 9, despite never watching it completely, cause the Dutch channel it was on messed up the programming (showing episodes in the wrong order, going on breaks and then starting up again without any announcements, causing me to miss episodes… and no internet to find out what I was missing). I always thought I’d watch it properly once I had the time, but still haven’t got around to that. Birthday present idea for next year perhaps?
Episode 165: “We are young, we are strong”
I loved Kick-Ass, and can’t wait for everyone else to see it (see my review here)! The red carpet premiere is in a couple of hours at London’s Leicester Square, so in honour of that, here’s the music video from Mika’s Kick-Ass title track:
I kind of like the song, but I hate the clip. When I first heard it during the end credits after watching Kick-Ass, it felt as if it fit with the movie. But this clip?? Nope, not liking it at all.
A comic book store in Nova Scotia is holding their first Ladies Night tomorrow; only women will be allowed in, only women will be working in the store, and a few local female cartoonists will come in to talk about their work. On the one hand, I like the idea of this, cause I know how intimidating it can be for girls to walk into a comic book store the first time. On the other hand… I wish we didn’t need things like Ladies Night to make it *not* intimidating.
To be honest, my first experiences with comic stores were pretty good. I never felt intimidated or scared to walk in, but I kind of have a feeling that was because the ones I visited in the Netherlands were aimed at a less geeky crowd. Those shops were full with the European comics and stuff like Donald Duck and Suske and Wiske, which are aimed at quite a young audience.
As a girl pursuing the more geeky pursuits though, there have been quite a few occasions where I can relate to being a bit intimidated by entering a new unknown place, be it a store, school, or networking event. The first thing that came to mind when hearing about the Ladies Night was my own experiences going to board game stores and fantasy stores. It happened so often that they were only filled with guys, all staring at me as if I was some weird alien creature that didn’t belong there… and then acting as if I couldn’t possibly know what I was talking about because I was a girl.
Same goes with studying computer science at university, being 1 of 5 girls and 90 guys. There’s one encounter that still riles me up, and I wish I had said something at the time. I had just completed an assignment, one that a lot of people was struggling with and had it signed off by the student assistant. I was pretty chuffed with myself, being one of the first people to have finished it. Moments later that was ruined by the student assistant telling another (male) student: “if she can do it, you certainly can”. Most of it wasn’t that bad, especially cause I proved pretty quickly that I was smart and belonged there (but again: why did I have to prove I belonged there?).
What annoys me though is that stuff like that still happens. Since moving to London, I’ve visited the Forbidden Planet tons of times. I love the place, it’s filled with wonderful geeky delights, and if I could I’d buy everything that caught my eye. And yet… almost every single time I go there by myself I get hit on. Okay, I kind of get that (geek store, geeky girl, chances of possible perfect match increases). But half of the time they open with something along the lines of whether I “needed help in finding a present” or something else that completely neglects the fact that I might be there for myself. The thing is it almost always happens when I’m browsing the comics. If I’m at any other part of the store (like the fantasy/scifi books section or the manga section) that type of stuff doesn’t happen. It’s as if most geeks have accepted that girls are into geeky things, like fantasy and manga, but comics… then it’s suddenly “you don’t belong here”.
Seriously, guys? Why assume straightaway that a girl doesn’t belong there? I thought that by now it should be obvious for guy geeks that the geek girl does exist, but it’s moments like I’ve described above that some guys are completely oblivious to that fact. And it’s those guys that are making it difficult for new geeky girls to feel comfortable with being a geek and going to places like comic stores. I know there are tons of guys out there who do understand and don’t make stupid remarks like those above to girls, but it’s that small oblivious group that do that mess it up for everyone.
So to wrap things up: yeah, I like the idea of the Ladies Night. It’s a great way to get those girls involved who never dared stepping into a comic book store filled with mainly guys. But the mentality of some of the guy geeks out there has to change; they have to realize that girls can be into comics (and whatever other geeky pursuits), and that they have a right to be at comic stores without being stared at as some weird seven-legged two-headed panda. Until then, things like Ladies Night will have to be around to get girls who get intimidated, along to comic stores.
I was sent a review copy of this book a couple of weeks ago (hmm, actually it might have been months ago, now I think about it), and I’ve only now finally had the chance to write my review about it. I had never came across Lenore before, but when hearing it was like an “unholy union between Tim Burton and Dr Seuss” I just knew I had to try it.
Lenore: Noogies is the first volume of Roman Dirge’s Lenore the Cute Little Dead series. It’s a collection of 1-3 page mini stories, starring Lenore, a 10 year old dead girl who lives in a mansion with her creepy friends. The stories are delightfully dark and twisted, with a weird dark humour. A part of me knows some of the jokes are just gruesome, but I can’t help but find it funny.
Some of the comics are twists on known stories like children’s songs, games, and nursery rhymes, turning them into something more macabre, like the Raven and the Crooked Man. Other stories just have unexpected dark endings, like Little Bunny Foo Foo. Here’s an example:
It’s a great book for those of you that are dark and twisty. It’s not everybody’s type of humour, but if you liked the above example, this might be something for you.
Lenore: Noogies is available on Amazon.co.uk for £7.75.
Now for the second part of my Christmas wish list. I already blogged about the normal books last week and this time I’ve listed the comics/graphic novels I want. I’ll try to be a bit more informative than the previous post, actually writing a bit about the books (was impossible last time with the amount of books in that list). The main reason I’m writing about these is that they all look like great books and you might get inspired to get these for the geeky gal or guy in your life.
This series has been on my list for some time now; it’s about Scott Pilgrim, a guy who falls in love with a girl, but has to beat her 7 evil ex-boyfriends in battle before he can date her. A film adaption is currently being made based on it, and it looks awesome! Here’s the description:
Scott Pilgrim’s life is totally sweet. He’s 23 years old, he’s in a rock band, he’s “between jobs,” and he’s dating a cute high school girl. Nothing could possibly go wrong, unless a seriously mind-blowing, dangerously fashionable, rollerblading delivery girl named Ramona Flowers starts cruising through his dreams and sailing by him at parties. Will Scott’s awesome life get turned upside-down? Will he have to face Ramona’s seven evil ex-boyfriends in battle? The short answer is yes. The long answer is Scott Pilgrim, Volume 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life.
The first volume Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life is available on Book Depository for £6.07.
I love stories with people discovering they have special powers and Runaways has an interesting slant to it: a group of kids find out their parents are “The Pride”, a criminal group of mob-bosses, dark wizards and ‘more evilness’. They runaway and learn that they’ve inherited their parents powers.
All young people believe their parents are evil… but what if they really are? Meet Alex, Karolina, Gert, Chase, Molly and Nico – whose lives are about to take an unexpected turn. When these six young friends discover their parents are all secretly super-powered villains, the shocked teens find strength in one another.
The first collected edition Runaways vol 1: Pride and Joy is available on Book Depository for £4.08.
J. Michael Straczynski! Ever since Babylon 5 I’ve wanted to read some of his non TV show stuff, and Rising Stars looks like something right down my alley. It’s about 113, called “Specials”, born with special abilities after a comet struck near their hometown while they were in utero. The series explores how society may react to the advent of superpowers and how those who are Specials may react towards society and each other.
There are multiple editions of this series and it can be kind of confusing what exactly is what. The easiest to get is the Rising Stars Compendium, which collects all publications in one volume (£27.93 on Book Depository for the paperback, £56.30 for the hardcover). This version covers everything, so you don’t have to get anything besides that. Besides that though, they still also sell the thinner volumes, each covering parts of the story (5 volumes in total), but I’d suggest the compendium is easier (plus cheaper on the long run).
Buffy Season 8
I loved how Buffy ended it’s TV show, but still I was happy to find out that it would continue in comic book form. I’ve read the first three collected editions so far, and want the fourth and fifth ones that are out now (Time of Your Life and Predators and Prey).
The actual issues have been coming out almost once every month since March 2007, and in total there are now 30 issues. I tried collecting these issues, but it was easier to just wait for the collected editions. Each collected edition bundles 5 of the issues together (so far there are 5 of these, covering issues #1-#25). I’m not sure how much more I can say about this, it’s a definite must-have for every Buffy fan.
The first collected edition The Long Way Home is available on Book Depository for £6.51.
Yep, another Buffy/Joss Whedon comic. Well, technically it’s not ‘Buffy’, but it is part of the Buffy-verse. Set in the future, Manhattan is now a slum, run by mutant crime lords and disinterested cops. Stuck in the middle of this all, is Melaka Fray, a vampire Slayer.
I adore re-interpretations of mythology, fairy tales, and other old stories. While it’s not that difficult to find good re-imaginings of mythology, it always is a bit trickier with fairy tales. Fables though seems like exactly the type of re-interpretation that I’m interested in.
The series deals with various characters from fairy tales and folklore – referring to themselves as “Fables” – who have been forced out of their Homelands by “The Adversary” who has conquered the realm. The Fables have traveled to our world and formed a clandestine community in New York City known as Fabletown. Fables who are unable to blend in with human society (such as monsters and anthropomorphic animals) live at “the Farm” in upstate New York.
The first volume of Fables (Legends in Exile) is available on Book Depository for £5.16.
I blogged about this series last week, and as I said then I would love to have these in English (so that I can lend them out and show people how awesome it is). If you haven’t seen that post and are too lazy to click through and read there what it’s all about, it’s about a young Japanese electrical engineer who gets mixed up in time travel, space and all sorts of other sci-fi-y adventures.
The first volume On The Edge of Life (weird, it’s actually not really the first volume, not according to the original French version, but it’s the one they started publishing in English first and is numbered as #1) is available on Book Depository for £4.45.
Any tips on what other comics I should get? Or I should put on my wish list next time?
Ages ago back in March 2008 I wrote a blog post about how I was a comic book newbie, and needed some help in figuring out where to start. Then last week it hit me. I was never a newbie. Not at all. I don’t even know how I could have overlooked it, but I grew up with comic books. Lots of them, in fact. Just not the typical US/UK type comic books, which is why I kind of “forgot” and regarded myself a comic book newbie (weird how your mind works sometimes, but in my mind these ‘comics’ I used to read, just didn’t register as comics).
The comic books I grew up with were mainly European ones. My mum collected all types of comic books since she was a kid, but when she “grew up” got rid of most of her collection (like 90% of them, I believe), keeping only a fraction of the huge collection she used to own. I called her last night to ask again what comics she used to have and it was even more than I initially had thought. Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Fantastic Four, and more, she bought all of them when they were first published in the Netherlands (so all in Dutch, of course). Then also the French and Belgium comics, like Michel Valiant, Tintin, and stuff that I had never even heard of before.
Her collection must have been massive (she got rid of a part of them when she was sixteen, getting rid of the ‘childish’ ones. Then later when she was about my age it got trimmed again. And then once more when she moved to Australia with my dad) and I’m a bit sad I never got to experience her full collection, I truly wish I had. I grew up with about 200 of her comics, and, like I said before, that was only a tiny bit of what she once used to own.
So, yeah, I’m not really a comic book newbie. Not really. I am when it comes to the US/UK ones, the ones that most people here will be familiar with. But I’ve actually been reading comic books for ages, and stupidly enough it took me until last week to really realize that.
Here’s a short list of my favourite comic books that I devoured as a kid/teenager, and I have a feeling most of them may be unfamiliar to you.
1. Yoko Tsuno
Yoko Tsuno is a Belgian series (written in French) which started in 1970 of which there are 24 volumes in total (with a 25th one on the way). I love this series, and have read all of them, except for the latest volume. The series tell the story of Yoko Tsuno, an electrical engineer, who was raised in Japan now living in Belgium. How cool is that, right? A main female character who’s an electrical engineer!
The stories were a great mix of sci-fi and fantasy, featuring things like outer space, time travel and robot dragons. There was a whole storyline devoted to the Vineans, a blue skinned alien race that have come to Earth in the distant past due to catastrophic changes to their own planet.
So far there have been four volumes translated into English (although not in the same order as originally written, which is weird) and I highly recommend them if you want to try out something new: On the Edge of Life, The Time Spiral, The Prey and the Ghost, and Daughter of the Wind (Amazon US, Amazon UK, Book Depository).
Franka is a Dutch comic books series that also started in the 1970s by the graphic artist Henk Kuijpers. The lead character is Franka, a young adventurous private investigator from Amsterdam. The cases she solves often take place in the worlds of art, antiquities, fashion and film, and also often feature exotic locales full of smugglers, pirates and other shady businessmen.
The latest volume came out last year, and I think they’re still continuing with it. In total there are 20 volumes, with one being published every 1-2 years. I love the drawing style in this; some of the ‘sets’ and clothes are gorgeous. I’ve had a look to see if there are English translations, but I couldn’t find any; it has, however, been translated in German, Spanish and French.
3. Suske en Wiske
Suske en Wiske might be the most well-known one on this list, being translated into English under different names: Spike and Suzy (UK), Willy and Wanda (US) and Bob and Bobette (Australia). This series started in 1946, and as of today there are over 300 titles. From what I understood from my mum she started collecting these from an early age and had over a 100 of them, including some of the rare early editions. She got rid of all of them.
When I turned 8, a week before moving to the Netherlands from Australia, I got 2 English translations of Suske and Wiske for my birthday. Ever since then my family started collecting Suske and Wiskes again, and I think our collection is almost complete again.
The series is about the adventures of two kids Suske and Wiske, and their friends Aunt Sidonia, Lambik and Jerom. The stories combine elements of comedy, fantasy and science fiction, like talking animals, time travel and ghosts. It wasn’t my favourite series, but it was the one we had the most of just because it was so popular (300 volumes in 50 years, in comparison to the above 2 series, which each only had 20-30 in 30 years).
4. Rik Ringers (Ric Hochet)
This one I’ve only read in Dutch, and it was only now that I discovered the terrible pun of the French name of this. Ric Hochet is a French detective comic book series about the reporter Rik Hochet. It started in 1955 and currently has 75 albums. I think I made it to album 50 or so, up until the point where my mum stopped collecting. Unlike the other series I don’t remember much of the actual story lines, just that I did read these more than once.
5. Natasja (Natacha)
Natasja is another French-Belgium comic from the 1970s. It tells the adventures of a young sexy air hostess and her colleague and on-again off-again boyfriend Walter. Again I don’t remember that much of this series, just that I did read it a lot.
So that’s it; those are the 5 main comics I grew up with. There are a couple more, like Michel Valiant and Barbara, but the above 5 are the ones I remember reading and re-reading and re-reading. Looking at the covers above makes me want to read them all again. I know what I’ll be doing during my Christmas holiday!
Which comic books did you grow up with? What were the ones you read over and over again?
Last Tuesday to celebrate the release of the Watchmen DVD, Paramount arranged a special art exhibition. Below the Southbank Centre in the skate park, graffiti artist Chu showcased his artistic talents, as he and the Watchmen illustrator, Dave Gibbons worked alongside each other giving fans a one-off Watchmen experience to remember.
I arrived during Chu and Gibbon’s break (of course), so I didn’t get to see them creating anything. However when I got there most of the graffiti mural was already done:
It was pretty cool, although I would have loved to see the artists actually at work. I still managed to grab some pics of Dave Gibbons, when he was posing for one of the other (official) photographers:
Check out this Twitpic for the finished product. I don’t think there’s that much difference; most of it was done already, except the polaroid photo in bottom left corner. One thing I’m not too sure about is what was done with the graffiti after the event. I was there during the past weekend for the Hide & Seek fest and I don’t remember seeing it (or was I just blind?).
I’ve been looking forward to Watchmen for months. Ever since seeing that first trailer, I’ve been psyched to watch this movie. I’ve never read the graphic novel, but every comic book geek I know has been declaring their love for Watchmen for ages.
Here’s a bit of backstory first. I hadn’t read the graphic novel before watching the movie. I had bought it quite some time ago, but just never got around to picking it up and actually reading it. Eventually I just decided to go see the movie first and read it later. Then I got the invite to the bloggers screening, while I already had booked tickets to the IMAX. So I thought I’d go see the movie at the bloggers screening first, then read the novel and then see it again at the IMAX.
So this review is mainly written from the perspective of someone who hasn’t read the comic before the movie, but (because I’ve read a bit of it by now), can kind of compare how the two relate. I won’t be giving any spoilers at all about the plot, just general remarks of what I found of Watchmen.
Watchmen is set in 1985, in an alternative reality, where super heroes are real, America has won the Vietnam war, and Nixon has been elected to a third term. When a retired superhero is murdered, the members of his former team try to uncover why someone is targeting costumed heroes.
Now most of the time with the movies that I come to love, I get a sort of a high during the movie; your heart beat races, you’re holding your breath during key scenes, you get that roller-coaster ride, exhilarating feeling and the entire time you’re just amazed and awed at the things happening on the screen. Once out of the cinema, you’re just geeking out over the things you’ve just seen and keep replaying it over and over again in your mind. And you’re itching to jump right back into the cinema and see it all a second time. Depending on the movie, this “high” can last a couple of hours, or even a couple of days. Sometimes you only get them during a couple of scenes or key sounds (one that comes to mind for me was the transforming sound in Transformers). (sidenote: I really would like to know if other people get these type of highs too; most friends I’ve mentioned this too look at me as if I’m completely crazy)
So did I get this with Watchmen? During the movie itself not a single time. Heck, even during the discussion with the other bloggers afterwards that feeling was still missing. No, it came way later on the tube ride back, that I really started thinking about the movie and since then my mind keeps going back to it. I still can’t put my finger on what it is exactly, but since starting with the graphic novel I’m realizing it’s more about the concepts within the movie (and the graphic novel) than the actual movie experience. It’s not that it’s a bad movie (although some of the bloggers at the screening may disagree), not at all, but here it’s not about the visual effects, the acting, or even how the story unfolds on screen or how much you care about the characters. It’s about the questions and issues the story raises and how you start analyzing the movie and its characters.
That being said though, the visual effects, the acting and everything all do work in this movie. Yes, there is a lot of CGI, but from the start you’re transported to this other world and, just like with 300, there’s a surreal fantastical feel to this world you’re seeing. The actors are all perfectly cast, even more so after reading the start of the graphic novel; some of them are are eerily similar to their paper counterparts. From what I’ve seen of the graphic novel, the scenes too are uncannily lifted from the pages, with details such as background posters and graffiti being copied to a T.
I think Watchmen is truly a movie you’ll have to see twice. Or you have to have read the comic book beforehand. For someone watching it for the first time, you do have a feeling you’re missing information and that you have to piece stuff together. It’s just simple things like realizing what the name is of each character, and what everyones relationship is. I think (although I haven’t gone a second time yet), a second viewing would help a lot. I can’t wait to see it again at the IMAX tomorrow.
This is a movie you have to see in the cinema. With all the different opinions about it already floating around, you’ve got to see to create your own. You might end up hating this movie, you might end up loving it. But however you end up feeling about it, Watchmen will make you think.