Sunday, January 30th, 2005
Let’s talk comics. I do like my comics.
Merckeda asked in the comments a few days ago what I thought about Jeff Smith’s Bone. Short answer, I loved it. I had bought a couple of the trade paperbacks a few years ago, but didn’t get around to getting the rest of them. Good thing too, because last Summer after the series concluded, they released the wonderful 1300-page single-volume collection. Bone is an old-school fantasy story with lost princesses, heroic woodland creatures, ancient dragons and stupid, stupid rat creatures. Filled with action, humour, warmth, great characters and storytelling, it’s remarkable in that it’s suitable for all ages but is never cloying or ‘kiddified’. It comes with my highest recommendation. Originally presented in black and white, they’ve begun releasing colourized editions of each of the original trade paperback collections. I’d like to take a look through one of these, but I don’t feel that the story suffered one iota for the monochrome presentation – Smith’s strong clean artwork worked really well in that format.
I’ve also started reading through the entire run of what you could call the anti-Bone, Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson’s Transmetropolitan. Rude, cynical and insanely funny at times, I can see why Vic has been agitating me to read the series for years now – Spider Jerusalem is one true bastard. The series started out as little more than a soapbox for Ellis to rant and ruminate on society and technology, but has thankfully developed a larger-scale narrative to carry the series through. It’s quite addictive – I’m about halfway through the series and I expect to be done in another couple days.
Also highly recommended is Brian K Vaughan’s and Tony Harris’ Ex Machina. Easily one of the best new titles of last year, it’s the story of an ex-superhero turned mayor of New York City. It manages the rare feat of being very “talky” yet never boring. There are some conventional action sequences shown in flashback to the mayor’s heroing days as The Great Machine (he can talk to and control any type of machinery), but much of the story is set in present-day (or a few years before present-day) and deals with current events. It’s far less preachy than it sounds, really. But then, I like The West Wing too. The first five issues of the series have just been collected as Ex Machina: The First Hundred Days and is selling for the immensely reasonable price of $12.20 at Amazon (the US cover is $9.95). Definitely worth checking out.
Vaughan is also the writer on Y – The Last Man, which takes far far far too long to come out in paperback form.
And a final Vertigo note, I recently went through all of Bill Willingham’s Fables. I bought the first trade a couple years ago and didn’t really get into it, but upon second visit, I now appreciate its cleverness and charm. I think the first time around, I was put off by how “straight” they were playing the story of fairy tale characters driven from their homeland and forced to live in New York City – I was too used to how Neil Gaiman had handled fairy tales in Sandman, as high fantasy and ancient lore. Willingham is much more down-to-earth in his approach, and now that I get it, it works. And anything with Mark Buckingham artwork is always great.
Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean’s feature film Mirrormask made its debut at the Sundance film festival this past week. It’s still unclear if this will be getting a theatrical release, even limited, or go straight to DVD, but I’m hoping that good press can net it some big-screen release. The Salt Lake Tribune looked at the making of the $4-million dollar fantasy film and the official website has a new trailer online now.
The BBC recently conducted an interview with Alan Moore – you can listen to it on their site or read the transcript at Comic Book Resources. And speaking of Moore’s work, pre-production continues on the film adaptation of Watchmen, now being directed by Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Supremacy), so expect casting rumours/news to start pretty soon. The Beat is excited. And while it’s old news, Natalie Portman has been cast in the adaptation of V For Vendetta, directed by the Wachowski Brothers. I had thought that after the Matrix debacle, they’d never work again. Guess I was wrong. Achtung Baby did a comparison a little while back of the trade paperback cover and the teaser movie poster. If they can stay this faithful to the source material through the whole process, this could be something good.
The so-aweseome-my-head-explodes Justice League Unlimited wrapped up their third season this weekend with the conclusion of “The Once And Future Thing” (Hal Jordan! Hal Jordan!!!), and will be starting their fourth season this coming Saturday. Why they call the first 13 episodes one season and the next 13 episodes following right after a second season, I have no idea. But as long as they keep making em, I’m not complaining. Comics Continuum has a sneak peek at what’s to come.
Ever wonder just where Gotham City and Metropolis were? DC Atlas has the answers – New Jersey and Deleware, respectively. I don’t know, Batman just got far less cool in my estimation. I just can’t picture the Batmobile tooling around with plates that say, “The Garden State”.
np – Bettie Serveert / Attagirl