Monthly Archives: October 2011

Thoughts: Moon Knight #5

This is  a post of simple observations and thoughts. Objectivity may not apply.

the quote

This line sums up the issue:

“The lack of control for a guy like me. The randomness of it all. I needed to be the master of my universe.”

– Detective Hall

And it’s delivered by a supporting cast member whom we’ll likely consider just another cop in a super hero comic. Detective Hall hates super powered “crap” as he puts it. The phenomenon disrupts his day and makes his job as cop just a tad bit harder. Though he seems to simply be complaining, Hall does speak a fair amount of truth with his statement. At least, truth for Marc Spector’s character.

series thoughts

I’ve focused mainly on Marc Spector’s psyche in my discussion of the Bendis run, and I don’t really see my focus changing anytime soon.  Like most Moon Knight comics, the book appears to be shaping into another long form study of the character, but I’m giving Bendis some credit because I actually feel he’s taking this misbegotten property into new territory. That’s what really hit me this issue. Moon Knight, besides the here-and-there use of the Avengers cast, is riffing on a fairly new set of components.Whether it’s the setting, supporting cast, or protagonists themselves, this Marvel comic contains an actual bit of world building. And you can feel it. How? Through the simple fact the focus is on a pair of characters you rarely ever read about.

Whether this series runs 50 or 11 issues (which is quite possible when you consider the sales chart), I believe at its end it’ll be safe to say Bendis and Maleev made a legitimate contribution to Moon Knight. So far the series has done a solid job of echoing the character’s known core, but both artists have taken the steps to actually expand upon the concept. We need to remember that Doug Moench’s baby still has plenty of room to grow. Besides Charlie Huston’s first 6 issues, the character hasn’t been developed much at all since the original 80s series. Spector’s just been stuck in a vacuum … left untouched because the character’s been easily labeled Marvel’s Batman. Bendis and Maleev, though  … these dudes see the possibilities, and like the Marvel Universe’s west coast, they see this character as an underdeveloped frontier.

issue specifics

When Hall says super heroes only create confusion and inhibit control, the character really comments on Marc Spector’s condition. I noted in my first post about the series that Bendis took the character’s usual roster of 3 faces and multiplied it by 2 – making Spector the owner of 6 personalities. Up unto this point though, we’ve only known Spector as a TV producer type. We know he wears a costume, but we haven’t seen it; the costume has had little involvement. But now we get to actually see .

Issue 5 dedicates half of its pages to examples of failed super heroics. First, Spector completely goes against local law enforcement and starts a small riot. Second, he abandons his woman of interest as well as partner in order to get to safety. Third, Spector takes several punches to the face when the typical trope would involve a passionate make out session. Three solid instances in which we are exposed to Marc failing as Moon Knight. Three pure instances of induced confusion.

And that’s what it all goes back to, really. Confusion  –  a one word diagnosis of Marc Spector.

“The lack of control for a guy like me.” “I needed to be the master of my own universe.”

That’s Marc Spector’s conflict and motivation broken down into two lines. Super heroes remove the order from his life, but he can only achieve superiority and individuality with them. Let the internal conflict fly. And, think, Bendis hasn’t even dropped Spector’s own personal god Khonshu into the equation yet. When that happens … all bets are off.

I love how Maleev draws Moon Knight’s face under the cowl.  The white eye slits amidst all the black comes off as very abstract. The face itself even seems to move a bit due to a suggested Rorschach quality.I mean, it makes sense. The book is all about shifting identities.

The entire issue shows off a lot of Maleev’s skill as a storyteller. The art here completely removes any notion of his work being stiff. Rather, it’s fluid. The fights move. Pages offer various panel distinctions. I even simply like how Maleev illustrates the character getting around town, whether its via his glider cape or surfing on car tops. Paired with colorist Matthew Wilson, Maleev creates a vibrant, visually striking Moon Knight comic not seen since Sienkiewicz.

I do like that Maya punches Marc in the face. It proves the character’s missteps, but also gives their relationship an interesting dynamic. Once was enough, though. I faced an issue with just how many times she hits him. Not that I find it offensive. And, man, Maleev illustrates the sequence in brutal fashion. I just found it pointless. One, single fist to the face conveyed the point. Repetition only hit the point over the audience’s head. A misstep.

For a guy who created a super hero/crime comic, the interrogation scene was a nice return to form for Bendis, and the scene shows he still has it in him to create a poorly lite, tense back and forth. Maleev draws the talking heads in exciting fashion, and I like how the addition of a simple brick wall really cements the atmosphere.

….

That’s all I have. Issue #5 … in the books.

 

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alec watches movies – Warren Ellis: Captured Ghosts

While it wasn’t the finished film, I caught a sneak peek screening of Warren Ellis: Captured Ghosts in New York City amidst all the convention hubbub, and I thought for the sake of it I’d write a “review.” Or, considering it’s not the finished product, a few words because I guess I can’t really review a film before its final cut. Stuff works that way sometimes.

But from what I understand, the cut I saw comes close to the eventual final version. I believe a few Grant Morrison bits need to be edited in. So, hell with it, this is a review review.

And now that I know what this is, why don’t I talk about the film? That’d be nice, right?

Warren Ellis: Captured Ghosts is a nice extension of Respect Film’s previous work Grant Morrison: Talking with Gods. Like Gods, the film focuses on a staple comics writer and boils down their work into a nice, even statement of what it represents and who, essentially, they are.  The film is cohesive, stylish, and exciting in its approach, and I am yet again impressed at how well the production team takes a comic book writer, with so much background, and presents them in a way a novice of the subject could understand.

However, Captured Ghosts is not just another Gods. The film conveys a very different personality by incorporating the spirit of its subject, Warren Ellis. Surprisingly, Ghosts packs a nice amount of humor via its interviews as well as scripted elements. The film can also gross you out through either witness accounts provided by interviewed guests or its array of dramatizations. Ellis himself supplies much of the humor. He recounts quite a few early experiences that both shock and inspire fits of clap-aided laughter. His personality comes across so strong in some bits the film itself takes on a very abrasive attitude, and I don’t type this to slant the piece. Ellis as “internet Jesus” suggests an air of cool roughness which is beyond everyone, and the documentary plays into that creating a tone fit for a guy on the cutting edge yet still smokes 5 packs a day.

Production wise, the film improves upon Gods. Things looks crisp, clear and professional. The editing holds tight and moves at a swift pace. Hell, even the film’s soundtrack is high standard as sounds range from eerie ambiances to bursting electronics. The film also applies an interesting technique by creating a neat, little atmosphere of its own via the Ellis clips. The crew places Ellis against a solid, black background, and Ellis just fills this empty, dark room with his speech and cigarette smoke. It’s a cool trick to imply, that while watching the Ellis clips, you’re actually in his head scape.

If anything, you will walk away from this documentary possessing a clear appreciation for Warren Ellis and his work. Director Patrick Meaney and crew communicate the big ideas associated with the subject, and hey, it’s entertaining. Multiple, well-known comic book personalities and creators appear throughout to share their Ellis-related thoughts and memories. There’s even a brief segment about Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue DeConnick’s marriage which is both cute and comical.

Plus, as someone who’s read very little Ellis, I walked away extremely interested. For the outsider, this could be the potential hook to make your un-comic book friends,well, read comics.

Transmet, here I come!

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NYCC 2011 – An Interview w/ Erik Larsen

I took the opportunity and used this year’s New York Comic Con as a means to conduct a few interviews. This time around you’ll hear from Erik Larsen.

Larsen is a cartoonist, one of the original founders of Image Comics, and sole creator of the comic book series Savage Dragon.

Larsen still produces Savage Dragon. You could even say the title has entered a new revival period as its creator takes the book and its cast into new directions while remaining on a tight schedule.

Erik was also announced as the artist of the upcoming Supreme relaunch from Extreme Studios … illustrating Alan Moore’s final Supreme script and picking up where the writer left off so long ago.

In the interview, we discuss his work on Savage Dragon as well as cover the basics of the Supreme announcement.

Click the link below to listen, or right click and select “save link as” to download the interview to your hard drive.

NYCC 2011/Erik Larsen/14:52

 

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NYCC 2011 – An Interview w/ Joe Keatinge, Ross Campbell and Andre Szymanowicz

I took the opportunity and used this year’s New York Comic Con as a means to conduct a few interviews. This time around, you’ll hear from Joe Keatinge, Ross Campbell and Andre Szymanowicz.

Keatinge is known as the editor of  Image Comics’ award-winning PopGun anthology, but this year he plans to engage the comics industry as a writer. His new creator-owned project Hell Yeah was announced at the convention this year, and Keatinge will also assume the duty of writer  on Extreme Studios’ relaunch of Glory.

Ross Campbell and Andre Szymanowicz are Keatinge’s collaborative partners for these projects. Campbell will draw Glory, and Szymanowicz will draw Hell Yeah.

In the interview, we discuss the bare bones of these announcements and joke around as the tangents flow.

Click the link below to listen, or right click and select “save link as” to download the interview to your hard drive.

NYCC 2011/Joe Keatinge, Ross Campbell, Andre Szymanowicz/17:17

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NYCC 2011 – An Interview w/ Greg Capullo

I took the opportunity and used this year’s New York Comic Con as a means to conduct a few interviews. This time around, you’ll hear from Greg Capullo.

Capullo currently provides artwork for DC Comic’s Batman, and he has previously worked on such books as Todd McFarlane’s Spawn and Haunt.

Click the link below to listen, or right click and select “save link as” to download the interview to your hard drive.

NYCC 2011/Interview w/ Greg Capullo/7:22

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Con Thoughts: NYCC 2011

I’ve never really reviewed a comic convention before. Well, here it goes.

The New York Comic Con clearly has evolved into a media behemoth on par with the nationally known San Diego show. This year’s show set records, and God, did I certainly feel and experience the “wonderful” sites of that record breaking crowd. But, I did expect such a mass of bodies at this show, so I necessarily can’t hold the crowds against the con. NYCC sets out to draw the mass, 100-thousand crowd. If anything, I have to champion Lance Fensterman and Reed Pop on a successful weekend.

So, the pros and cons?

PROS

– I actually enjoyed the layout of the show floor, and I respect the separation of Artist’s Alley from the rest of the convention. I could care less about video game releases or Avengers panels. Movies will eventually hit the big screen, and I don’t own an Xbox. NYCC got it right when it chose to section off Artist’s Alley, the actual comics portion of the show, because honestly it’s all I came to the show for. And I’m sure many other Artist’s Alley attendees did the same. A separate room for the actual comics made it much easier for me to focus on what I wanted. I could ignore the bullshit and the fat kids in costumes (for the most part), and I could speak to the artists I desired to speak to. In a way, Artist’s Alley felt like its own little con. I was pleased.

-Press passes were waaaaaay easy to acquire. No line. No hassle. Thirty seconds, and the pass was mine.

-A nice array of comics professionals were available to speak to. Remembering the sites of Artist’s Alley, I recall Bill Sienkiewicz, Rob Liefeld, Greg Capullo, Mike Norton, Tim Seeley, Nathan Fox, Gabriel Hardman, Chris Burnham, Jason Aaron, Cliff Chiang, Jill Thompson, Robbi Rodriguez, and John Paul Leon possessing tables. And those are only the names I can remember off the top of my head. Plenty of other “unknowns” held set ups, and this offered some room to explore unfamiliar talent.

– Image Comics and Oni Press presented killer booths. Attractive. Well stocked. Talent to talk to. I met Erik Larsen for pete’s sake!

CONS

-For my personal taste, too much of the Hollywood and gamer culture. Again, I get why it’s there, but I don’t know, such things get in the way of the comics part of “comics convention.”

-Artist’s Alley was cleeeeeeeaar in the back of the convention. I dug the separation, but did it have to be in the back? The nerds will walk miles for their games and zombies. Make them walk through an assortment of artists on their way. You know, promote the comic books. That’s why we go to comic book conventions, right?

Yeah, those are my only complaints.

I honestly had plenty of fun at this show. Hollywood may dominate it, but a true comics reader can see the necessary sights. On a personal level, I would also call the show a success. I had the chance to meet and catch up with many of the people I respect and converse with online. Anymore, this seems to be my reason to go conventions.

Will I go back? Yes, especially if I can acquire the press pass once again. I will  pay $50 for NYCC, but a free entrance ensures any sense of me returning.  The show was fun, but I feel I could attend a smaller con, with less of a crowd, and still receive just as much enjoyment.  Plenty of comic book conventions take place in this nation of ours. It’s easy to find another one. Especially when you hold my interests. If you desire the media attractions, then yes, NYCC should rank high on your list of destinations. This is the east coast “Comic Con.” Reed Pop has them a hit!

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