Sunday, May 27, 2012

Moon Knight In The Moon Light or White Batman


"Hello…
I can see you…
Don’t move; it’s alright.  I’ve been watching you for some time…"

    That is an excerpt from my one-man play: “Don’t Look at Me.”  As you can see, I am not Scott.  I’m his brother Hal, and I am glad to be back to discuss comics with you.  Firstly, I would like to start off by saying welcome (back) to Comical Musings.  Secondly, I would like to start off by saying that this blog is not meant to demean anyone whose life is affected by mental illness.  I do not find peoples’ struggles with mental illness enjoyable or amusing.  However, in comics they can make for some entertaining stories.  Thirdly, I would like to start off by saying that Pluto is NOT a planet and this blog may contain spoilers.

    Fourthly, I would like to start off by saying that characters in the comic realm can be grouped into several sub-categories.  There are characters that fight crime but have no actual super powers, like Batman, Iron Man, and Harvey Pekar.  Then there are heroes who are somewhat lacking in the mental health department; the Sentry and Starman come to mind.  The overlap between these two groups is where you will find some of my all-time favorite characters in the comic-book universe. This is where you find the Flaming Carrot as well as the subject of today’s blog: Moon Knight.  The 2011 re-launch of the Moon Knight title changed a few things about the Moon Knight’s back story, but author Brian Michael Bendis and illustrator Alex Maleev did a great job of preserving the disconnect with reality that makes him so interesting.

    Moon Knight is a legit super hero.  He is a member of the (West Coast) Avengers.  He is also insane in the membrane.  His alter-ego is Mark Spector, a wealthy television producer living in L.A.  Like Scott, Mark stays up at night thinking about Captain America, Wolverine, and Spiderman.  Unlike Scott, Mark sometimes thinks he IS Captain America, Wolverine, and Spider-Man.  He seems to have multiple personality syndrome, and these famous names are his alternate personas.  They also appear to him, Beautiful Mind style, to consult about battle strategy.  At least it’s not as weird as when he thought he was avatar of the Egyptian moon-god Khonshu.

    The art is somewhat minimalistic, but very active and compelling.  Bendis does a good job of bringing Moon Knight’s inner dynamic to the reader in an understandable way.  Watch for some great cameos from Mr. Hyde and Bullseye.  Overall, the creative team behind this work made excellent use of an unconventional character to drive a story that is both unusual and captivating.  So, as you might have guessed, Marvel cancelled it after twelve issues.  But fear not, hardcovers of Bendis’ Moon Knight Volumes 1 and 2 are available from Instocktrades.com and the paperback of Volume 1 comes out in June.

    One snarky reviewer claimed that the whole series was just a publicity stunt to cash-in on na├»ve fans as they breathlessly awaited the release of the Avengers movie.  Anyone who has read the series quickly realizes that this is absolutely not true.  However, as a blog author, dropping a few names to capitalize on the popularity of current movies doesn’t seem like such a bad idea; as evidenced by this picture:  

Moon Knight thinks about Hugh Jackman, Chris Evans, and Andrew Garfield a little too much. 

 Thor does make an appearance in Moon Knight, as does Tony StarkCaptain America has a prominent role, and so does Spider-ManScarlet Jo Hansen is not mentioned.  But Moon Knight's brief run does make allusions to the upcoming Ultron War, which I know nothing about.  What I do know, is that if you can unscramble  and decrypt the semi-random sequence of letters at the start and end of each line of this blog, it will explain the plot of the entire Avengers sequel including how they will bring in Kristen Stewart as the Scarlet Witch and Robert Pattinson as Vision.  Good luck.

Fifthly, I would like to start off by closing with my parting words to my tenth grade chemistry teacher:  “Who’s crazy now, you giant, talking sting-ray?”


~ Hal ~

Friday, May 25, 2012

For Those Times When Regular Avengers Won't Do...

    The comics industry is filled with, dominated by, and mostly made for adults.  Sex titillates readers, violence engages readers, and crude humor entertains readers, but what if I were to tell you that today I read a perfectly legitimate comic book with none of those things in it?  What if I were to tell you that Chris Eliopoulos and Ig Guara created a comic book that still delighted me, even with great experience in the medium.  The best part of this comic book is that I could turn around and give the collected volume of Lockjaw and The Pet Avengers to a young person with zero remorse on my part.  The term "all ages" is hard to find these days, but this one is worth a read to young and old readers alike.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dial H For Homosexual


    Not wanting to be out-gayed by Marvel, DC has announced that one of their major heroes will reveal they are gay in June. I, for one, would like to congratulate DC for jumping on the bandwagon and teaching a generation of young readers to try to sniff-out homosexuals based on their traits and appearance. It also seems unwise to indicate that someone's sexuality can be directed by the winds of popular culture or switched at the whim of comic executives. Never the less, this is obviously a major news event. I'm glad to see that gays continue to be the progressive symbol of inclusiveness. I can feign outrage through sarcasm because my wife is gay (lesbian identified bi-sexual).

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Introducing A New Addition To The Writer's Blok

    Welcome to Comical-Musings on this beautiful Wednesday...by beautiful, I mean that it is incredibly hot.  Anyways, I am excited to announce a new writer to enter The Writer's Blok!  Shiera Carter will be bringing her unique perspective and love for forgotten characters to help fulfill Comical-Musings' mission of reaching people with the joy of comic book reading.  Some of her favorite characters are Aquaman, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, Dove, Green Arrow and others from the DC lexicon.  Look for a post from her to be coming sometime in the next month.  To you Shiera, welcome!

The Hottest Issue In Comics This Week

    Welcome to Comical-Musings on a week where comics are in the news!  We try to address things that are going on content-wise in comics when they occur, but I didn't see anything shocking about Northstar being a homosexual since he has been an identified gay character since he came out in 1992.  Then, when I found out this week that after President Obama endorsed gay marriage (for votes), Northstar's same-sex marriage would be occurring in Astonishing X-Men #51 (for sales).  I didn't find myself surprised or inspired to write anything about it at all.  Now I am inspired.



Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Avengers

    Hello all, joyous news!  I finally saw The Avengers movie.  This post about it has spoilers.  It was a great effort to get me to it as I had one friend volunteer to babysit my special needs children and another friend treat me to the film.  Through this great push by my friends to overcome obstacles both social and financial, I found myself in front of the big screen at 1:20p yesterday afternoon.  I can say that after I watched the movie, poured over all of the thoughts that I had, and let it sit for a night, it does not disappoint.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Indefensible and Humor In Comics

    Thanks for reading Comical-Musings' content today.  For your pleasure, we are reviewing the five issue Defenders series "Indefensible," written by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis with art by Kevin Maguire.  This book is funny and if you ask me, worth a read for how dadgum cheap you can get it.



Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dancer

    There are moments that really surprise me in the world of comic books.  These things really halt me dead in my tracks and cause me to say "WOW."  Typically, my next action is to tell someone.  Thank God that I have Comical-Musings and all of you.

    I've always seen myself as more of a comic book fan primarily for the storytelling.  I tend to read comics quickly and my eyes often move from text box to text box.  I develop favorite writers very quickly and have been known to not notice bad art if the story is good.  I am happy to say that this is no longer the case.  I'm developing into a lover of comic book art.  I have read stories recently where the art literally carries it.  I'm becoming a groupie of certain artists and find my computer screen filled with art pages for sale more often than it ever has been.  I'm developing a three hundred and sixty degree appreciation for the medium.

    It is with those two facts that I present to you an artistic moment, in "Dancer" from Image Comics, that made me say "WOW!"  Ladies and gentleman....


Nic Klein can really, really draw guns.  I mean...that is a great gun.  The moment is at a pivotal part in the story of an assassin and he walks down the stairs with a sniper rifle.  That is a fantastic looking gun.  I might even do a Top 5 Illustrations of Weapons post based off of how impressive this gun is.  In that post, it would be number one.  Oh yeah, the plot to "Dancer" is pretty good and it's tone reminded me a lot of Warren Ellis' "Red."  You can check out dancer and it's marvelous depictions of guns digitally at Imagecomics.com or at your local comic book store.

~ Scott Deaux ~

Interviews With The Industry: Rick Cromack

    I am happy to welcome you, the reader, to our very first entry in the "Interviews With The Industry" series.  This monthly post seeks to get you a different look at the people who make comic books work through interviewing some of it's most interesting people.  When you want a comic book, you go to the local comic book store and meet with a retailer, so I thought it best to meet with the most well-spoken retailer that I know.  Today's offering is the fascinating Mr. Rick Cromack.


Rick Cromack, a former Navy submariner, radio personality and entertainment journalist and analyst, is a manager with Lone Star Comics & Games, Texas's largest and oldest retailer of comics, graphic novels, specialty games, and collectibles. He represents Lone Star Comics at various conventions and industry gatherings, and speaks in a variety of public forums about the history of comics, collecting, and other related topics. He is also active in the community, volunteering with his church and local recreational sports organization, and emcees high-profile Metroplex sporting events and other special events. In his early forties, he lives in Allen, Texas with his wife, Holly, and daughter, Becca. Rick and his wife are expecting their second child this Fall.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Could This Be The End To Avengers Vs. X-Men?

    Greetings and salutations!  I'm writing this post because I had a crazy thought spring to mind from left field that I wanted to share with you now and take GREAT HEAPS OF INDULGENT BRAGGING if I'm right later.  I had this random thought whilst listening to an old episode of the weekly podcast from Ifanboy.com and called them immediately to share as well.  So, here it goes.



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Joe The Barbarian

    There are very few comic book creators that could be considered visionaries, but Grant Morrison fits the bill.  He's the subject of an entire comic convention.  He consistently surprises and provides innovative concepts in an extravagant sort of way.  Grant Morrison can be subtly intense with ideas like nearly-silent creatures of mass destruction in WE3.  He can be very metaphysical and take his ideas off of the page in titles like his work on Animal Man or Flex Mentallo.  Grant Morrison broke the mold and did something that many comic book writers never do by writing a prose book called Supergods that challenged the way that people think.  He can take stories to the edges of the universe like he did in his run on New X-Men or into the depths of human fantasy like The Filth.  He is often copied, but wholly original.  Grant Morrison constantly pioneers new thoughts in his readers and Joe The Barbarian is no different.

An Exciting New Monthly Column

    Hello.  As you know, we like to try new things at Comical-Musings and I have decided to begin a new monthly post where I interview someone involved in comic books in some way.  These will be coming out mid-month every month for your enjoyment and will be called "Interviews With The Industry."  I feel that you will enjoy them greatly!  Look for our first to launch soon!!!


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Scarlet Spider #5 and The Sadness That Comes With A Loss of Interest

    Hello to all and welcome to Comical-Musings.  We seek to provide you with good reviews on titles you might have missed or to celebrate the art form that is comic books.  If there were one criticism to be leveled against me, it would be that I am too positive.  There have only been a few posts in the years that I have run this blog that have been negative, but boy, do I have some feelings that I am itching to express today.

The cover to issue 3 of Marvel's Scarlet Spider


    Scarlet Spider is a hot new Marvel property that is surprising everyone by having humble beginnings and frequently high sales numbers.  Christ Yost is writing an intriguing and enigmatic story that centers around a bad boy clone of Spider-Man looking for peace.  He has been trying to escape since the events of Marvel's Spider Island crossover and somehow ended up stuck in Houston, Texas.  This is a fun plot device, because there is no superhuman community to speak of in this southern city, but crime is rampant and immediately effected by Kaine's arrival.  He is a cool customer, doesn't take crap from anyone, and finds himself in an engrossing adventure with twists and turns that you don't see coming.  Scarlet Spider is a true anomaly in comic books as it is not produced by a superstar team, nor does it come from recycled stories.  It is new and it is wonderful...at least the first four issues are.

    I like Scarlet Spider so much that if you go to Ifanboy.com's Pick Of The Week podcast and skip to 47 minutes and 23 seconds into it, you can hear me gush about my love for it and Ryan Stegman...coincidentally, listening to it is where I found out that Ryan Stegman would be leaving the book.  "Oh well.  I'm sure that they will get a comparable artist." I thought.  When I read issue 5, I found out that to my dismay, I was wrong.  It was in reading this issue that I found out how important the art was to me.  I still can see merit in Yost's writing, but without Stegman, he cannot write this comic book into relevance for me.  Oh sure, I am happy that Ryan got promoted and is most likely making more money now, but unless something drastically changes, this book is dead to me.  Reading the first five pages was like choking down dry, white meat turkey...I guess Ryan Stegman was my gravy.

    I'm sad that Marvel decided to kill something that I loved in order to horde talent.  Maybe Ryan's amazing talent will help people to forget that Jonathan Hickman is going to leave Fantastic Four soon.  I understand the purpose, but this isn't communism, this is "good old supply and demand capitalism."  I demand Stegman and apparently I am going to have to go to Fantastic Four to get it.  This is ultimately not a disaster as Jonathan Hickman (a favorite writer of mine) is writing Marvel's first family, but it is sad.  Scarlet Spider was a special feature of an up and coming character being carried by Stegman's genius art, but now it is lost in mediocrity while Fantastic Four becomes a showcase of compounded talent.  That's all I got, but you should click some stuff and go check out: 
Ryan Stegman's Blog or his DeviantArt Page.

  
~ Scott Deaux ~

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Rick Remender's Venom Shocks and Awes

    Welcome to Comical-Musings and thanks for giving us a read on this fine day.  When I told my friends that I was reading a Venom series they all kind of responded in the same way.  "Venom?"  Yes Venom.  This is simply because there is a prejudice that has been born around the character that has pigeon-holed him into scripted actions and obvious storylines.  Well friends, I am here to tell you that Rick Remender's Venom is not as easily typecast.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Things I'd Like To See: The Name Of The Wind Graphic Novel

    I thought I might take a post, and maybe more than one in the future, and write about things I'd like to see happen. You know the type of post I am talking about. It's the type of post where I either talk about comics that would make great movies, play armchair quarterback on comic movie casting decisions, opine on what novels should be made graphic, and so on. Sort of a playground, if you will, for the things in my head that are related to comic books. This is the first of what I hope to be many of this type of post and for this one I want to talk about The Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.

The publisher describes The Name Of The Wind as: This is the riveting first-person narrative of Kvothe, a young man who grows to be one of the most notorious magicians his world has ever seen. From his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic... and I can't say that it's a bad description although it doesn't really grab you and pull you in. Kvothe is obviously, the narrator, but when we meet him he isn't that child traveling with the Edema Ruh he is, rather, an older man running in an inn named The Wayward Stranger while apparently hiding from his past. Bast, obviously more than just his employee, is helping out around the inn when a writer comes in and has figured out the identity of the innkeeper. Without getting in to spoiler territory, the writer convinces Kvothe to tell his story while he transcribes and swears not to change a single word. That's when the real story begins. This is all set in one of the most well crafted worlds I have ever had the pleasure of reading about. Each character, no matter how background, feels real. You can almost smell the taverns and feel the wind as you read through. The prose is absolutely perfect. I really, really want to tell you more but I can't go any farther without getting in to serious spoiler territory. So I'll say that this is the best novel I have read in the past two decades (yes kids I am an old fogey). But why would this make a good graphic novel? Well I will be happy to tell you...

    The Name Of The Wind isn't a graphic novel, yet, or even a movie (which it should be as well). What it is, at this point, is the best fantasy novel I have ever read (I may have mentioned that already). Now that doesn't necessarily mean that it would make a good comic book. There are great books out there that simply wouldn't translate well to the genre. Take A Game Of Thrones, for instance, which is a fine book but the comic adaptation fell flat while the HBO series managed to capture its heart. Now I can't say whether or not it was the writers for the comic that made it fall flat or the sheer amount threads that exist in the novel, and I suspect it's the latter, but the fact is that I feel it fell flat. I personally feel that while I enjoy books full of different viewpoints and multiple threads running simultaneously that these sorts of stories do not translate well in to comic books. So right out of the gate some of my favorite novels would be excluded. The Name Of The Wind doesn't fall in to this category as it is narrated by the main character with occasional breaks to a third person perspective. I really think this point is what would make Rothfuss' work perfect for adaptation. Now just because a story is written in this manner also doesn't make it ripe for the picking. You have to have the right story. I really enjoyed Dan Wells' I Am Not A Serial Killer which is told from much the same perspective however since so much of the dialog takes place in the head of the main character, John Cleaver, I don't think it would be a fun comic book or graphic novel. So it's not just the perspective that makes me want to see this adaptation. Now that I have said all that I can say that the main reason I'd want to see this as a graphic novel, or even a monthly, isn't even the story itself, which is amazing but the writing overall. Patrick Rothfuss is simply an amazing writer and when you combine his skill with words, the perspective, and this storyline I think you would have a truly outstanding graphic novel on your hands.

    Well that's it for the first Things I'd Like To See post and I have to say that I had a lot of fun writing it. For one it finally gave me perspective in to why I didn't enjoy the Game Of Thrones comic series but even more than that it really made me ponder what aspects of a book would indicate that it could possibly be adapted to the comic book genre and not be ruined. I hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it for you!

~ Romeo Sid Vicious ~

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Top 5 Comic Characters That I Would Like To Hang Out

    Hello everyone and welcome to Comical-Musings' Top 5 post for May.  Friendship inspires people...it's true.  Michael W. Smith said "Friends are friends forever" whilst selling many albums and entertaining the contemporary Christian community.  Andrew Gold said "thank you for being a friend" whilst ushering in the beginning of every, now classic, episode of The Golden Girls.  Cheers told us that sometimes we wanted to go "where everybody knows your name."  People long for companionship and a good friend is hard to find.  It is in that strain of thought that I give you the Top 5 Comic Characters That I Would Like To Hang Out With!


5. Matt Murdock

Matt Murdock may "not be Daredevil" (he is) but he is a lovable character with a lot of layers.  When he is not running around doing ninja stuff as a blind guy, he is a snarky and animated lawyer chasing skirts and saving lives.  He has been a crimefighter, a lone wolf, an Avenger, a kingpin, a lover, and a victim.  Through it all, he keeps a smile on his face and stays happy go lucky even though life has dealt him a serious hand.  Pretty cool guy to hang out with.




4. Patrick "Eel" O'Brian
Eel O'Brian started out working for The Kite (terrible villain shtick) when he endured the terrible misfortune of falling into a vat of chemicals.  Shortly after, he gained the ability to manipulate his body into most shapes.  He had become Plastic Man.  This power, coupled with his happy-go-lucky personality makes for some interesting scenarios.  Has the man broken into a prison like a black balloon in a coke mule?  Yes, he has, but he has also transformed into a hang glider, a ball, a mailbox, and various other shapes throughout his tenure on The Justice League of America.  As you can imagine, this power would be very useful and even though there was already an Elongated Man in the DC Universe, Plastic Man carved out his own place in the hearts of comic book fans.  Even Batman, who is notoriously dark and brooding, rarely laughs at Plastic Man, but has always believed in him.  Sounds like a good mix of skill and humor.  I'll take it.





3. Steve Rogers
Evan Shaner is awesome
Steve Rogers is awesome.  That's most of what I have to say.  Whenever I look for friends, I am often attracted to people who are different than me.  Captain America is different than me.  Not that I hate the USA or anything, but he is professional, tactical, and serious.  If I hung out with Cap, I bet it would be fun.  The man has a different perspective on the world having been frozen in ice for years.  We adhere to similar prudish moral codes and so we would probably be into the same movies.  Cap is a cool guy, but would need help acclimating to pop culture.  I could help him there.  When I think of Steve, I'm reminded of Wolverine Weapon X #11 when he and Wolverine go out for drinks.  Steve is able to turn it off and just hang out as guys.  He likes to drink a little bit more than me, but I bet that he would find humor in NBC's the Office and if we can connect on that, then we will be cool.  He is fiercely loyal to his friends and his country.  That's cool in my book.




2. Barbara Thorson
The protagonist of "I Kill Giants" is a cool teenage girl with a lot of imagination and spunk.  When I called her to hang out, I would never know what was going to happen.  Maybe we'd play Dungeons and Dragons in the back of a comic book store.  Maybe we would complete burial rights for an ancient dragon.  As a member of my friendship crew, there would never be a dull moment with Barbara Thorson.



1. Gran'ma Ben
Where to begin with Gran'ma Ben?  She is an integral part of Bone, one of my favorite comic book series from Jeff Smith.  She is a tough, no-nonsense kind of lady who speaks volumes with silence.  She regularly beats cows in foot races.  She is incredibly strong and beneath her deceptively well-aged frame lies the heart of a warrior.  Gran'ma Ben would be a great wildcard friend who could either be sweet or start a fight.  I love the fact that she is so wise, but also strong-willed and down to punch somebody in a pinch.  She gets respect from the Red Dragon and even has a secret past that might suggest that she is even more famous than she is cool.  Gran'ma Ben would provide wisdom, strength, and randomocity to my group of friends.








So, that's it.  If you want to read up on any of these characters, I would urge you to pick up the various books that they are featured in at Instocktrades.com.  See you soon for more great "Comical-Musings Content."

~ Scott Deaux ~