Saturday, March 3, 2012

Signal Watch attends: Staple! - The independent media expo

So, every year since moving back to Austin I have wanted to attend the Staple! Independent Media Expo.  That's the name, but its really mostly about self-published comics on a regional level.  That doesn't mean that Austin's KO-OP radio didn't have a table, and a few others things like The New Movement Theater.

But, mostly, self-published (and self-stapled - thus the name) comics.

I have mixed feelings on the whole thing, but a few caveats:

1)  I attended by myself
2)  I have mild social anxiety issues, so I really didn't talk to anybody there
3)  As at all conventions (including the ones I've attended for work), I am not a huge fan of the table approach.  I don't know how to improve it, but there's really no polite way to approach a table and explore what is on said table without clearly raising the hopes of the seller or without feeling like you need to buy something.  There's some weird desperation going on there.  And if its not, then there's just a very bored person sitting behind the table contemptuously eyeing you for spending time at their table and not buying anything.

You cannot win.

But I figured if I was going to be serious about sticking around comics even if I'm pulling out of the monthly  superhero thing, I should probably check out what's going on with indie books.

Signal Watch Re-Watches: DUNE (1984)

A few years back I finally read Frank Herbert's Dune, and then watched the David Lynch film adaptation that's a bit of a cult movie, but which showed up DOA in 1984.

The Alamo Ritz had a late night screening of the movie, starting at 11:30 PM on Friday in glorious 35mm which Jason recruited me for (the man likes his Dune).

Whether you're a fan of the book or not, when seen on the big screen, you have to admire the sheer audacity of the movie, of trying to bring the insanely detailed world of Herbert's Arrakis to a 2.5 hour movie.

It's a bit telling they try to start explaining themselves starting on the poster

Friday, March 2, 2012

Signal Watch Watches: Justice League - Doom

A few items before we begin.

1.  This movie was based on Mark Waid's tremendous Tower of Babel storyline in JLA that was amazing enough that it was adapted for the movie.  The story was powerful enough that it crept into the entire DCU, and launched us into Infinite Crisis circa 2006.

Oddly, this story is rarely discussed, and Mark Waid is featured not-at-all on the Blu-Ray, and in my viewing, I missed his name, and I was looking for it.

2.  This was also the final work by writer Dwayne McDuffie, who adapted Waid's story.  It shows his trademark ability to translate continuity-heavy DC work into much more workable stories for the 85 minute films.  It also demonstrates his ability to make the dialog sound plausible and build genuine character moments.  And I am going to miss the hell out of seeing his name on motion pictures, television and comics.

3.  On the heels of yesterday's post, I am reminded that there will be no shortage of DCE material for me to enjoy, and the small fee I paid for this Blu-Ray was less than what I'd pay for a tradepaperback.  I believe I paid about $15.

So, yesterday I purchased and read Justice League #6 by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee*, and I'd submit to them that they wrote just about the least interesting Justice League story I'd paged through since...  I dunno, maybe the 80's.  While I am torn regarding my loyalty to Mark Waid and my love of the original comics the movie Justice League: Doom was based upon, I can say - Johns and Lee did nothing over 6 issues but demonstrate that they don't know how to put together a compelling story with stakes, character or motivations, nor did they seem to understand that a hallmark of Justice League stories since Grant Morrison took the Pepsi Challenge circa 1997 was a constant ratcheting up of stakes and intensity.  I give you Morrison's insane epic, World War III or, for that matter, Final Crisis.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thanks to Randy!

The Amazing Rando, our own RandyT, sent me a surprise package in the mail.  No idea what inspired this outpouring of generosity, but with two Jill Thompson books and a vintage Planet of the Apes book, Randy wins the week for being my favorite person with whom I do not share a house or who is not related to me in some way.

Way to go, Rando!

 Step it up, Jim.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

TL; DR: On Giving Up Superhero Comics

Over the past few months I've started and stopped writing the same post a dozen times, but as March arrives and marks the 7th month of DC's New 52 effort, I had always planned to talk a bit about where I landed vis-a-vis DC Comics after half a year, so I've just held on to the mega-post on the topic.

And then, today, I read this blogpost from Bags and Boards.  He's been a writer on superhero comics and other comics for years, including working for Variety.  But in the post, he states that he's given up on the habits of superhero comics reading, and tied to that, the weekly trip to the comic shop.

I don't know that I'm giving up superheroes altogether, but the tone of the article and the white flag raising certainly resonates.  Frankly, if you're reading the site regularly, or you don't find all of my comics posts "too long; didn't read", none of this should come as a huge shock.  But I'm also starting to drift away from habits so ingrained that I am sure that for many of you who know me primarily through this blog or social media, you'd begin to think something was wrong.  And in some ways, I have to do some self-evaluation to wonder:  superhero comics, is it you or is it me?  And like all great romances that fail, we're likely both to blame.

Happy Leap Day, People

You think of leaping how you want to.  I'll be thinking of it as in "tall buildings in a single bound".

Also - today is one of the many days listed as Superman's B-Day.  So have a slice of cake in honor of The Man of Steel.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

No Post Tuesday - TR edition

One of the first disagreements Jamie and I had when moving in together was about whether or not I could purchase and hang a portrait of Theodore Roosevelt in the living room.  I was told I could not.  Eventually, I married her anyway.

I think that one day I will get my Roosevelt portrait.

Also, its probably time to crack that 3rd Roosevelt volume.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Signal Watch Reads - "Donald Duck - Lost in the Andes"

Wow.  You can tell a lot of love went into this book just by picking it up, looking at the binding, the reprint quality, the paper stock and the supplementary material.

I finally finished Walt Disney's Donald Duck: Lost in the Andes from Fantagraphics Books over the weekend, and I am busting.  Not just about the actual comics, which were thoroughly enjoyable, but the whole package of the volume.

As I'm learning, you may be a fan of your favorite comic characters, but few American comics characters draw the kind of devotion that you see from Disney Duck fans, especially when it comes to the works of Carl Barks and Don Rosa.  And its not just been here in North America that you see that kind of enthusiasm.  The Ducks are a global phenomena, and I've come to really enjoy some of the work you see originating from Scandanavia as well.

The collection isn't a chronological reprinting of Carl Barks' work, but a sort of greatest hits package from the period with feature length stories such as "The Golden Christmas Tree" and a lot of shorts as well as one page gags, all circa 1948 or so.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Some items about which I do not give a @#$%

Folks who've been floating around for a while will know this about my approach to the Academy Awards:  I read the results in the morning after skipping the telecast, and sometimes I even flip through a gallery of "celebs" on the red carpet, because, hey why not?  I want to see ScarJo all dolled up, too.  But I can do it without suffering through any programming by E!

But that's the way it is.  We all have things we just don't give a @#$% about that are very important to our loved ones, our friends, our co-workers, and whomever is running what I see at Yahoo! and often on Twitter.

Perusing this blog will tell you - I obviously care deeply about a lot of things that absolutely do not matter.  Clearly I'm bummed about things like the appearance or disappearance of Superman's outer/underwear.  I care about the fate of imaginary superdogs.  I get huffy that more people don't go to see movies at 11:00 in the morning.  I wonder why there are so few images of Marie Windsor for me to re-post from the internet.

Here is a list of things I supposed to care about that I basically do not give a @#$% about.  Not "I am hostile and am angry" but, "no, I heard you.  I understand, but when I think about those things, the neurons are barely firing here behind my eyeballs":

  • The Oscars
  • video games
  • pro-wrestling
  • Dr. Who
  • Anything by Joss Whedon
  • Kevin Smith and any of his projects
  • seeing Ghost Rider 2
  • that the new Star Trek is totally different from old Star Trek and makes no sense
  • Downton Abbey
  • Adele
  • Woody Allen since 1996 or so
  • being mad at George Lucas
  • Star Wars, I guess, now that I think about it
  • Several bands that people (Randy and JimD) think I hate - REM, Nirvana, etc...
  • the resurgence of Jem and My Little Pony
  • any zombies in comics that aren't in iZombie or Bombie the Zombie
  • Avengers vs. X-Men
  • Sales figures on comics

I think that's probably a pretty good sampling.  At least as its related to this blog.

I was going to erase this post, because it seems kind of half-assed, but that's what you guys get tonight.

I'm going to go do something else.