Top Cow Talent Hunt

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Top Cow finally announced the winners of the Top Cow Talent Hunt and… I came close.

My script  won a “runner up” position in the competition, so I will be paid to write a 6-8 page story for Top Cow, which they will include in an upcoming anthology book.  I’m thankful that a company like Top Cow gives people the opportunity to do this and I’m excited to write a really great 6-8 pages that will hopefully blow some goddamn minds.

That all being said, I’d like to offer up my experience writing, and entering this contest while also allowing you to read the script that I submitted, and the current, final draft which exists  after I took a five month break not looking at or thinking about it, and then found a lot of things I felt could be sharpened up.

Full disclosure: I had never read a Top Cow comic before deciding to enter this contest, so I went and found the first five issues of The Darkness (the only Top Cow property I’m somewhat familiar with – I did read comics in the 90’s after all…)

So, I read the first five issues of The Darkness and… I still didn’t understand anything about the world, mythology or characters. I couldn’t even tell if the main character, Jackie Estacado, was a hero or a villain. I decided to simply  look up the Wikipedia page for The Darkness instead and to write a script based off of the basics that I could glean from these limited sources.

The rules of the Talent Hunt stated that you had to frame the story as a flash-back, one which was narrated by a current character, but one who was not featured in the main story. That made it easier for me, because I could create a character that didn’t have to be a slave to a continuity I was unfamiliar with. It freed me up to only have to know the basics, just enough to couch my story within, so in the end, my unfamiliarity with The Darkness world didn’t matter much.

I have always wanted to write a story which takes place during the great fire of London in 1666, originally I had envisioned it as a separate story involving murder and witchcraft, but I thought that context might fit well for The Darkness too. So I took that germ of an idea, inserted a few real people and locations which were intrinsically linked to said fire, and created a revisionist history that incorporated The Darkness.

After coming up with the initial idea I wrote the script in two days, then I ignored it for a week, went back through doing a quick edit and decided I was done. I’m pretty sure this was a mistake… I didn’t devote any real time to it (I was crazy busy during all of this time, so it was a low-priority for me) and I only did one edit on it before submitting it.

If I could go back I’d make sure to edit, edit, edit edit and tighten that thing up like crazy before I sent it. Perhaps that would have pushed me above “runner up” – perhaps not. All I know is, it was great fun and even though I certainly have some regrets about how seriously I took it, I still think I wrote an interesting little slice of comic fiction.

Without any further adieu here they are for you to read, dissect and shit all over if you so desire:

Enjoy?

CA Reviews: Nova Phase

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Nova Phase would have instantly reminded me of an 8-bit homage to Cowboy Bebop even if it hadn’t listed Bebop in the acknowledgement section which opens the book.

That’s a compliment. Do I have any more compliments in me for this book? Let’s find out – jump in with me, will you?

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The Last of Us – Game of the Generation

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The Last of Us was technically the top PS3 game of the year on the Top Ten PS3 games list – but it is also my game of the generation, as such it deserves some special love. Keep in mind this is not a “best of the year” designation, but literally what I consider to be the best video game of the seventh console generation.

Spoilers ahead and a VERY long read to boot (just under 4,000 words). Due to the unusually long length of this post I’ve also made it available for download as a PDF if you’d prefer to read it outside of your browser.

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Top Ten Playstation 3 Games

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I was late to the PS3 – and once I came on board I really only used the system as a Bluray player for about a year straight before I finally dove into the gaming aspects of the gaming machine. Once I did, I ended up spending more time on the PS3 than any of my other systems. I was burnt out on the 360’s ad-laden dashboards and pay-walls, so slowly, the simple elegance of the PS3 UI won me over. I found myself using the system more and more as my 360 began to collect dust. I still used my Wii, but the lack of HD Netflix content, or any media capabilities to speak of, kept it relegated to being a pure game console, something I increasingly found myself having less and less time to devote towards. Media capabilities were the Trojan horse within which Sony delivered their games into my living room.

Beyond all the video crap though, the games here were really good and like Nintendo, Sony kept supporting their platform with AAA content long after the initial excitement and sheen had worn off the machine. The 360 began to peter out and die a quiet death without any notable exclusives late in its cycle, so Sony stepped in to provide me with the big shiny distractions I slowly started to crave. I have to say, that when all is said and done, the PS3 eventually ended up being my favorite, go-to console of the 7th generation, just barely squeezing the Wii out of my top spot.

So, without any further blather -

Here are my top 10 PS3 Games:

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Top Ten Xbox 360 Games

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Oh, 360… you were the first console of the 7th generation and I remember seeing your launch line-up and thinking “next gen, sucks ass!”… you had some up-rezzed ports of old, original Xbox games and then… Fight Night, which admittedly, looked pretty damn good for the time. But otherwise, I remained nonplussed.

Then there was the whole Xbox gold thing… putting Netflix behind a pay-wall is a pretty shitty move, I think we can all agree. Yet, despite it all, you were a great console; you were powerful and more often than not, third party games performed better on you than on the PS3.

It was a love/hate relationship we had for all these years and now that it’s over… well, it’s just over. If I’m being totally honest, the 360 has the weakest exclusives line-up of all three consoles (according to my personal tastes, that is), so I really had to stretch to even fill out this top ten… where the 360 truly shined was through the awesome third-party support. Still though, after all is said and done, thanks for the memories and thanks for the following games:

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Top Ten Wii Games

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Dear Nintendo, how on earth do you do that voodoo you do so well?

The Wii broke sales records like no one’s business and it blindsided the entire industry. The Wii made motion gaming a standard feature in all consoles and it brought the wonderful term “filthy casuals” into the popular gaming vernacular.

Yet people HATE it. The poor Wii was the whipping boy and laughing stock of the first HD console generation, mainly just because it wasn’t an HD console at all. Screw those people though, because I loved the damn thing and history has proven that Nintendo played it pretty smart in keeping the Wii standard def; that price point was just unbeatable… I mean, shit, they did sell OVER 100 MILLION UNITS!     I said God damn! God damn.

I freely admit that I have a soft spot for Nintendo, but the truth of the matter is, I played a lot of really great games on my Wii that I never could have played on any other platform. The Wii did a hell of a lot wrong, but despite everything that was frustratingly archaic about it – it still changed the industry, and when looked at objectively, had a large catalog of truly amazing games.

The Wii did do a lot of things right too though – Gamecube backwards compatibility was fantastic to have and the virtual console was really great (at first anyway), plus, it brought back the notion of a system shipping with an included game (that was actually really goddamned fun!).

For all its under-powered, standard def warts and basically non-functioning online component, I still loved the Wii. Like the ugly, but super-sweet best friend who is now just collecting dust at grandma’s house… wait…

So here then, is my sincere goodbye to you, sweet Wii – may you go softly into the night as I present my top 10 Nintendo Wii games:

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A Rant (okay fine, a MANIFESTO) Concerning Video Game Journalism

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I have no real personal stake involved with the act of writing about video games – My family will not go hungry if no one reads my thoughts on Mega Man 6 – I do this purely for my own edification. I have nothing to lose or gain and I have no horse in this race. With that basic qualifier out of the way, lend me you ear:

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Top Ten Multi-Platform Games of the 7th Console Generation

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It’s all but over – the Wii has stopped being manufactured and the PS4 and XBox One both debut next month, which means we’re making that bittersweet leap into a new generation. Goodbye to your current back-catalog and hello to your drought of no truly compelling games for about 1-2 years!

Due to that always (usually) lean first year or so of a new console cycle, where developers are still attempting to roll out (upscale) their games onto an entirely new platform, I tend to go back and revisit what I missed from the previous gen. As it turns out you can pick up a ton of really great games for super-cheap once everyone is focusing on the new and shiny boxes – whoda thunkit?. So, bully for us – let’s take a look at the best video games from the seventh generation.

We will only be focusing on home consoles here – no PC and no handhelds (I just don’t play either often enough!), so that means we have three little boxes to dive into – The  XBox 360, the Playstation 3 and the Nintendo Wii.

The next parts of this list (coming soon) will focus on the best console exclusive titles, broken down platform by platform. Today, I present to you the best games (to me) which were available across multiple platforms.

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Music Review : Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks

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Part One – The Frame:

I’m a fan of Nine Inch Nails – one may even say, a bit obsessive. I own every halo (in multiple formats no less), buy merchandise regularly and can tell you pretty much anything about the history of the band and the man himself, Trent Reznor. Like many others I became this big of a fan in… oh, 1994 to be exact- when The Downward Spiral was released. TDS was so unlike anything else that had come out before it, both from NIN and from anyone really, that it immediately stood out, high above the maddening, homogenized crowds of sound pumped through speakers the world over. Now, I was a ‘fan’ before TDS, I had a copy of Broken on cassette tape and I liked Head Like a Hole – but I couldn’t get into Pretty Hate Machine as a whole album. After listening to the album once in the early 90’s I kind of disregarded it and didn’t give it another chance until late into the 90’s, after my TDS obsession started to build.

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Top Ten Grant Morrison Works which don’t involve mainstream superheroes

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With Grant Morrison’s mind-blowingly epic seven year run on Batman recently coming to a close, I thought now may be a good time to talk about a few of his… other works – those that are even freakier, more surrealistic and more fetishistic than his regular mainstream superhero output.

Everyone is familiar with his run on JLA, or All-Star Superman, sure… but let’s focus on the Grant Morrison who is unfettered from the chains of rigorous continuity and pre-established, corporate-owned characters with very particular parameters that you have to stay within, one way or another, while writing them.

Let’s go all out and take a trip into Morrison’s dark and fantastic mind as we look at the top ten Grant Morrison works which don’t involve mainstream superheroes:

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The End… or, The Ouroboros Finally Swallows its’ Tail

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With today’s release of Batman Incorporated, Volume II, #13, Grant Morrison has officially ended his long, seven year(!) tenure on Batman. It has been an incredible ride and for my money, it still stands as the greatest, most intricate, thoughtful and subversive story the character has ever been proxy for.

The real question on everyone’s mind though – did this final ‘double-sized’ issue deliver the payoff that those seven years rightfully deserve? Well…

That’s impossible, right?

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CA Reviews: Batman Incorporated Vol.2 #12

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Jeez, that was a long wait. After last month’s wacky surprise pit-stop in the land of Burnham’s Japan, we finally return to the root story – and thank goodness, it was mostly worth the wait.

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Know Your Enemy – The Xbox One and Your Dwindling Consumer Rights

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UPDATE: Microsoft, did a 180 on most of these policies – so Google that shit for the current standing of these awful sounding features. The people spoke with their pre-order numbers and Microsoft changed tact. But for posterity’s sake, here is the original unaltered article as originally published:

 

Microsoft has shown their hand, finally after weeks of unbridled speculation and misinformation they’ve cleared it all up: They’ve come to fuck us over. They’ve proudly shouted their plans from atop their ivory tower and have allowed their golden nectar of knowledge to trickle down to us, the fortunate, unwashed masses.

This is not an evolution in gaming, this is an evolution in corporate greed; an unmitigated brick to the face of every paying, loyal consumer which Microsoft has cultivated with their last two consoles.

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Next Generation War

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I am a goddamned adult.

I’m in my mid thirties, I have a professional career, two kids, an education, hell, I own a goddamned minivan. Why does this matter? Because I’m an adult and I make decisions based off of intelligent, rational thinking; i.e., I am not a ‘fanboy’. So – keep this in mind as we get into the meat of the following piece. I make decisions based on contemplation; there is no blind fanaticism or brand loyalty shaping the opinions I espouse.

So let the term fanboy die a slow, subtle and idiotic death in your mind before you continue reading.

This is a story of technology, massive global conglomerates and the ethical, social and artistic implications of supporting them. This is “the next generation console war®“- and you gotta serve somebody.

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CA Reviews: Batman Incorporated Vol.2 #11

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What the fuck did I just read?

Seriously, with this internet 3.0 shit again?

The only other issue of Morrison’s ginormous Batman run thus far that I’ve felt this way about was Vol.1 #8, which also felt the need to try and make “internet 3.0” a cool thing. Well, this story is better than the last… but how much and does it really matter if it is just a polished turd? Read on and find out in the full Batman Incorporated #11 review!

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CA Reviews: Batman Incorporated Vol.2 #10

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Well, as always we have a lot going on in this issue – so let’s get to it!

SPOILERS AHEAD!

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CA Reviews: Batman Incorporated Vol.2 #9

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Well, Batman Inc. is kind of getting short shrift from me this month due to other engagements, so this is a stream of consciousness review and not heavily edited – yet, come on, you know what I’m going to say… but hell, continue on reading anyway!

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Bioshock Infinite – Initial Impressions

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These are just some quick, unpremeditated thoughts from my experience with Bioshock Infinite so far.

In a word: wow.

I consider the original Bioshock one of the best games I’ve ever played, mostly because I was so incredibly impressed by how well written, and told, the narrative was. The actual first-person shooting mechanics of the game were cut and paste to me; not offering any innovation that I could ascertain, yet also not feeling archaic or clunky either. It played well and felt competent in comparison to my somewhat limited familiarity with the genre. I hadn’t been keeping up with the then current generation of games, but Bioshock really got me back into modern gaming. It was a bold and deep story, the likes of which I had never witnessed in the medium before. It was a rare beast; I could enumerate on its subtleties and themes as I would a novel or a film, something I had never done with a game before.

So, when (ostensibly) the same team and the head creative director of the original Bioshock announced the “real” spiritual successor to that fabulous experience (the sequel Bioshock 2, was not made by the same people and is not considered true canon for the Ken Levine directed series) I was immediately sold.

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Since the game was first announced I have carefully kept myself in blackout mode, watching only the (really inspiring) official trailers. Otherwise, I’ve purposefully kept myself in the dark in regards to the game’s nature and narrative. I went into the first Bioshock “blind” and it managed to affect me greatly, so I am eager to recreate that sort of feeling afresh with Bioshock Infinite, hence my many year-long blackout mode.

Did it pay off? Well, again: Wow. Holy shit. Fuck, fuck fuckfuckfuckfuck and one thousand more vulgar expletives which are the only recourse for my reeling mind right now.

Already, only a few hours into the game, I’m absolutely blown away by everything on offer. There have been several jaw-dropping moments in terms of aesthetic and narrative – and if it stays the course I can safely say that as much as the original Bioshock impressed me, Infinite is, well… infinitely better in every conceivable way.

The opening sequence was beautiful, deranged and compelling as any I’ve ever experienced in a game. The mysterious and downright frightening way you begin this game is genius; there is obviously something very peculiar about the main character, Booker Dewitt’s circumstance and disposition far beyond the seemingly banal trope you’re first presented with; “Deliver the girl, wipe away the debt”, etc. An existential meditation on reality and existence is at play here, told through the lenses of religious fanaticism and jingoistic bigotry, yet tantalizingly underpinned by an even larger, and more subtle, narrative involving theoretical physics and quantum mechanics (a field of study I’ve always had a deep attraction to).

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At a base level of “set-piece” experiences I have to say, two particular moments really stand out for me so far:

The first was an early scene involving a baptism that struck me as heavily influenced by one of my favorite contemporary films; Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood. The buildup to this moment is incredibly intriguing, stirring, and frankly, rather haunting.

The second is the single most emotionally disturbing moment I’ve ever experienced while playing a video game – something which was revealed so unexpectedly that the only way I can adequately catalog it is to say it is probably the only actual portrayal of the banality of evil ever used in a video game. All I will say to those of you who have played the game so far to suitably clue you into the moment I’m speaking of is “#77”.

Not only is this scene wonderfully written from a structural, narrative-based standpoint, but the way it fits into the larger context of the ‘game’ is brilliant too; it heralds the first “fight” in the game and as such, immediately orients you into Booker’s viewpoint and in one glorious instant bonds you with your avatar in a way that most games cannot manage to achieve throughout their entire durations. In a scene which only lasts a few minutes you are cemented into Booker’s character and the game shifts into a completely new experience than what was expected. It is a medium defining experience and I think it is safe to say that it can be used as definitive proof to end the argument that continues to drag on about whether videogames can be considered art or not.

I grieve for Mr. Levine and the rest of the developers if the media decides to cherry pick this moment and hold it up out of context to further marginalize gaming as a dangerous pastime – yet, in a sense, it could be the best thing to happen to the medium in recent memory. I think exploring this game, and perhaps, the moment I’m speaking of in particular, could once and for all shake people out of their apathy and challenge their predetermined associations with the medium.

In any event, as you can tell, I’m greatly enjoying the experience of Bioshock Infinite so far and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Buy this game and do some thinking with your thumb twiddling.

DONTDISAPPOINT_

Polaris

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It is always a pleasure when unique indie projects like Polaris end up gracing my inbox. Being one of the unwashed masses (a film student/filmmaker) it goes without saying that I am a bit of a film nerd – so, when I receive a comic that lovingly mocks Tarkovsky’s Solaris (which is a film I love, btw)  in the spirited, jocular voice of Woody Allen (who is a genius man-child which I love, btw) then it’s pretty much my sacred duty to help bring attention to the project.

Click through to read my thoughts on this unique creator-owned work!

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CA Reviews: Batman Incorporated Vol.2 #8

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Rest in peace this time? Not Rot in purgatory? Let’s hope.

It’s been spoiled to high heaven already – but this is it, Morrison destroys his creation.

Click through to join in on the memorial –

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The State of the Console Union

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Since I’ll now be writing on a variety of topics outside of comic books, such as video games, I figured I’d serve up a bit of a primer; part personal history, part industry assessment and part prediction on the fast approaching next generation of home consoles.

Sony is holding a (not at all) super secretive press conference tomorrow (Feb. 20th), that all signs point to being the reveal of the “PS4”, so I thought now would be a good time to start saying good bye to this current (and longest) console generation.

- Personal history –

I joined this generation a bit late. True, I stood in line on launch day to buy a Wii, but I didn’t really join the HD generation until I picked up a second hand 360 a few years into its launch. All I used that 360 for was to play Symphony of the Night, a game I’ve played through at least 15 times in my life… so there wasn’t really much excitement for me attached to the “HD” experience. The first true HD game I really played through on that console was Bioshock, which Blew. My. Fucking. Mind.

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Holyshit,Ihavehadthisnightmarebefore!

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Grant Morrison on Fatman on Batman

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If you haven’t heard it yet, head over to Kevin Smith’s Smodcast site and listen to the fantastic interview he has up with Grant Morrison. Part one is there now, with part two coming later in the week.

I really enjoyed the discussion and I think a lot of Morrison detractors will find it difficult to continue dismissing him for the eccentricities that they like harping on him for, if they hear him lucidly explain the why and the how of the kookier legends out there concerning his ‘trips’ and whatnot. Sure it is still all a bit… odd, to say the least. But I’ll be damned if I’ve ever heard someone tell a story like that and still come off sounding reasonable and open-minded about the entire thing.

A few highlights:

(@1:06:00) On the story he was telling in ‘Arkham Asylum: A Serious House On Serious Earth‘:

“This is Bruce Wayne, when he goes to bed at 8 in the morning, this is what he dreams every night. That’s it. It wasn’t meant to be, ‘this actually happened’, this is Bruce Wayne’s dreams this is what happens all the time in that man’s head.”

Smith is a bit blown back by hearing this for the first time, surprising himself when he realizes that he never really knew if it was canon or not.  Morrison continues:

“But it’s a canon dream, it’s the ultimate dream of Batman so you need to know it because that’s what Bruce dreams like; and it’s horrible and he’s ineffectual in a lot of cases, and everything’s a reflection of himself.”

 

Then, at the very tail end of the podcast, in a preview for this week’s second part, while discussing Miller’s TDKR, Morrison explains his thoughts on the ‘psychopathic, dark Batman’ that took hold after Miller’s hugely successful novel – and in turn – how he himself sees and writes the character:

“I like things to make sense, and for me, growing up reading Denny O’Neil and all that stuff, Batman for me was a guy who had been all around the world and he’d had all these amazing fetish girls chasing him, he was super rich, he had the best toys in the world and what he’d done is dealt with his trauma in a very unusual way, but it was a way that totally worked for this guy. …He made it work, he didn’t just get drunk, destroy his life and blow the fortune; he made it useful – and I think, okay, we have to accept that if he’s a super martial arts master and master of meditation and he can slow down his breath and survived for an hour in a coffin… people say ‘well, you’re doing Batgod’, to me I’m being real about who this guy would be at this point in his life. I have to acknowledge, this is the fucking Batman, you know, and he can do all this stuff and honestly, you don’t go through courses in Buddhist meditation and come out an asshole at the end… if you do it right, you know.

So I thought Batman was the most sorted, together, humanist icon on the planet – and that’s where I found myself kind of falling out with people who thought he was tortured, or damned, or depressed, or unable to assuage that guilt. I thought … every night he went out, he dealt with that guilt and just ‘okay, I’m making things better’. So I saw him fundamentally positive and mentally positive and able to inspire people.”

That right there encapsulates the Batman that I grew up reading as well – and to me, explains why Morrison’s characterization rings most true for my tastes; I also see Batman as a healthy and positive character and I am in total agreement with Mr. Morrison that, for the character to truly work, he has to be.

The whole interview was a joy  and is just some brilliantly fun stuff to listen to – give it a look and be sure to check back later this week on the Smodcast site for part two!

Batman is stupid…

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at least according to Scott Snyder…

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Spoilers ahead as we take a look at the epic finale of “The Death of the Family” arc with Batman #17!

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The Long Hiatus

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As you can tell, I’ve basically abandoned the site as of late last year. I’ve been very, very busy with a multitude of things and have not had any real time to devote to producing any content here.

I hope to jump back into the groove soon, but it remains to be seen just when this will happen.

The site still lives and traffic is still steady thanks to popular articles and posts of the past, so as always, thank you for reading.

If anyone would like to help out on the site during this downtime, please contact me
Otherwise, I’ll see you all soon.

Monday Bat-Page

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Every Monday I’ll post a random, but fantastic, page from a Batman comic – this will improve all of our weeks.

No context, no commentary, just:

(Batman/Green Arrow: The Poison Tomorrow – Writer: Dennis O’Neil – Artist: Michael Netzer)

Monday Bat-Page

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Every Monday I’ll post a random, but fantastic, page from a Batman comic – this will improve all of our weeks.

No context, no commentary, just:

 

CA Reviews: Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 # 4

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My unbridled love for Grant Morrison’s Batman is very well documented by now, so if you don’t want to hear this giddy cheerleader shout out a long-winded rally for the team, then please, go read some other comic blog… all you’re going to get from here on out is an extended fangasm… because really, this issue deserves it.

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Monday Bat-Page

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Every Monday I’ll post a random, but fantastic, page from a Batman comic – this will improve all of our weeks.

No context, no commentary, just:

(Batman #227 – Writer: Denny O’Neil – Artists: Irv Novick and Dick Giordano)

Top Ten Geeky Hallowe’en Costumes

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It’s that time of the year again: time to promote juvenile diabetes! Also time to relish the chance for an increasingly non-secular nation to dip their toes into the dark side and openly venerate ghosts, demons, monsters and all things horrific. Halloween! Fuck yeah!

After trudging through innumerable “sexy ___fillintheblank___” costumes, I thought it may be wise to cut through some of the noise by listing what I’ve found online this year to be the coolest geeky Halloween costumes:

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Monday Bat-page

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Every Monday I’ll post a random, but fantastic, page from a Batman comic – this will improve all of our weeks.

No context, no commentary, just:

 

(Batman: Nosferatu – Writers: Randy & Jean-Marc Lofficier – Artist: Ted McKeever)

New Release Tuesday (10-9-12)

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October 9, 2012 (Aliens, murder and magical mystery!)

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Monday Bat-page

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Every Monday I’ll post a random, but fantastic, page from a Batman comic – this will improve all of our weeks.

No context, no commentary, just:

(Batman, Hellboy, Starman #1 – Writer: James Robinson – Artist: Mike Mignola)

 

 

New Release Tuesday (10-02-12)

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October 2, 2012 (Classic monsters, universal masters and being in the mood for love)

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Monday Bat-page

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Every Monday I’ll post a random, but fantastic, page from a Batman comic – this will improve all of our weeks.

No context, no commentary, just:

(Batman Incorporated #0 – Writer: Grant Morrison/Chris Burnham – Artist: Frazier Irving)

Monday Bat-page

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Every Monday I’ll post a random, but fantastic, page from a Batman comic – this will improve all of our weeks.

No context, no commentary, just:

(Batman: Earth One – Writer: Geoff Johns – Artist: Gary Frank)

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September 18, 2012 (Masks, whips and cross-dressing. Kinky!)

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New Release Tuesday (9-18-12)

Planet Gigantic #0

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David Halvorson, the one-man-band behind the inspiring symphony that is Armstrong, alerted me to a new project he is working on, this time collaborating with a writer; one Eric Grissom.

Said collaboration has yielded Planet Gigantic. Planet Gigantic is the story of two test tube superheroes, created to be the most powerful… sample collectors in the universe.

Sample Collectors? Yes, it seems the mundane day to day of scientific research is where our heroes have grown up and learned to hone their powers. The mundane is of course, never truly mundane when you have a good writer relaying it to you, and to that end I can say that Grissom seems to be a damn good writer. The dialog in this issue is natural and pertinent – often times writers pile a lot of superfluous dialog into their books because they think it equates to character/story development, when really all it does is come off as a time-suck and, more often than not, does a disservice to the story by derailing the pacing and obscuring the plotting. Grissom though, seems adept at this writing thing, as there are no throwaways here; everything seems germane and advances character and/or plot. We seem to be in good hands.

In this inaugural #0 sneak peek issue we’re thrown right into the fray as our young heroes are introduced to us and quickly set against some insidious odds. It’s clear, concise and paced well. For instance, we’re treated to a very snappy set piece involving giant space-spiders and it all works very well, ramping up the world building, conveying character and advancing the plot all at once – it’s fun, it’s engrossing and it’s all done in a few simple, clean pages. Again, most independent writers I read would have buried the delivery of this moment in tedious exposition to legitimize why these kids are in space, why there are giants spiders and why they’re being attacked… however, Grissom smartly eschews all of that nonsense and places faith in the sophistication of the readers to orient themselves in the fiction. Thank fuck too – I really wish more writers out there held similar standards.

As on Armstrong, Halvorson’s art is just immensely enjoyable to look at – it’s a bit Darwyn Cooke, a bit Bill Watterson, but still wholly his own; Halvorson’s art is crisp, colorful, full of verve and motion is conveyed quite well. There is weight and dimension and everything just rings true. The spell is in firmly place and you’re never once brought out of the world because of some skewed look to something or someone. It’s all very cohesive and enjoyable. Halvorson’s work is already incredibly inventive and retains an inherently effortless charisma to it, so the idea of having those traits let loose and writ large across the expansive backdrop of a sci-fi space opera is quite exciting.

Overall, this is a great preview – it reveals just enough of all the ingredients a good book contains, so that you come away certain that there is a solid series waiting to be unleashed on the world here.

I can’t wait and I’ll definitely follow these guys into issue #1 and beyond. Immensely enjoyable, lighthearted, yet mature and intelligence – the world needs more creator-owned comics like this. Bravo, gentlemen – now give us the series!

- Download Issue #0 FOR FREE -

Monday Bat-Page

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Every Monday I’ll post a random, but fantastic, page from a Batman comic – this will improve all of our weeks.

No context, no commentary, just:

(Batman: Through the Looking Glass – Writer: Bruce Jones – Artist: Sam Kieth)

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September 11, 2012 (Killer Klowns, Dennis Hopper on a rampage and great music)

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New Release Tuesday (9-11-12)

Monday Bat-page

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Every Monday I’ll post a random, but fantastic, page from a Batman comic – this will improve all of our weeks.

No context, no commentary, just:

(Batman: Night Cries – Writer: Archie Goodwin – Artist: Scott Hampton)

Monday Bat-page

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Every Monday I’ll post a random, but fantastic, page from a Batman comic – this will improve all of our weeks.

No context, no commentary, just:

(Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #2 – Writer: Grant Morrison – Artist: Frazer Irving)

Aside

August 28, 2012 (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Plastic Zombie Head)

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New Release Tuesday (8-28-12)

Monday Bat-page

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Every Monday I’ll post a random, but fantastic, page from a Batman comic – this will improve all of our weeks.

No context, no commentary, just:

(Batman/Joker: Switch – Writer: Devin Grayson – Artist: John Bolton)

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August 21, 2012 (Bowie, dictators and political subversion)

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New Release Tuesday (8-21-12)

Monday Bat-page

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Every Monday I’ll post a random, but fantastic, page from a Batman comic – this will improve all of our weeks.

No context, no commentary, just:

(Batman #668 – Writer: Grant Morrison – Artist: J.H. Williams III)

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August 14, 2012 (Turtles, porno gangs, serial killers and emo awkwardness)

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New Releasae Tuesday (8-14-12)

Monday Bat-page

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Every Monday I’ll post a random, but fantastic, page from a Batman comic – this will improve all of our weeks.

No context, no commentary, just:

(Batman: Mitefall Writer: Alan Grant – Artist: Kevin O’Neill)

CA Reviews: Batman Incorporated Vol. 2 #3

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Holy disappearing Bat-book! There are SPOILERS after the jump! Since most of you definitely haven’t read this issue yet, I’ll  say it again, just to make it perfectly clear:

SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

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My addition to the hype train

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Batman #11

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Notice I’m not calling this a review? That’s because I just cannot find the energy to write a full-on, proper review. I’ve also been trying really hard to not write any negative articles for the site – but after reading the issue a few times and then seeing CBR’s absurdly vague 4 1/2 star corporate ball-licking “review” that didn’t even attempt to mention the story telling, I just couldn’t help it. I felt compelled to rant a bit.

So, please, allow me to level with you right off the bat so that you may either stop reading and/or start writing your hate mail: I think Scott Snyder has successfully completed the worst “big event” Batman story that I have ever read.

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