Monday, June 6, 2011

Indian taboos, skullkickers and a lousy superman cop-out to defeat zombies

Here's page 55 of Tomb of the Undead from the scene I don't trust those lazy bastards. I liked this scene, mostly because I really like Darrell Starkwood, and writing for him is a lot of fun. I'm not sure what anyone else thinks of him, as I've never heard (really) any feedback on the graphic novel so far ... but I like Starkwood.
Dr. Starkwood suspects that Barnum Mantell might not have the museum's best interests in mind in I Don't Trust those Lazy Bastards.
I'm not sure if people can tell, but Starkwood is based on the Buffalo Sabre's head coach Lindy Ruff (in the NHL). I have no idea what Ruff's character is like, but he resembles Starkwood in many ways. I might have mentioned it before, but Barnum Mantell is based on Sidney Poitier, which you may or may not be able to tell. He's named after two very important paleontologists, too, which doesn't make much sense considering he's helping archaeologists, but I'm a super fan of paleontologists, so it makes sense to me.

My wife never thought naming a kid Barnum or Giddeon was a good idea ... so I name my fictional characters after the cool names that I think people should have.

Anyhow - that's WAY more behind the scenes stuff than I usually divulge - ...

Graphic novel news

We've got another update from India as graphic novelists continue to transcend the boundaries of what's acceptable subject matter. It's demonstrating that in a marginalized medium like the graphic novel, the most severe issues can be challenged and discussed. It's fascinating, and it's definitely contrarian, which is exactly what graphic novels should be dealing with.

Followed by a Batman vs. the Undead review, which is a graphic novel about batman fighting zombies from New Orleans after Katrina. Yeah, it sounds awful, and the review says as much. Check it out.

As for stories with really cool names: Skull Kickers is right up there! I love it. The review heralds the idea of a graphic novel that is fun, not too serious, and awesome. Check it out, too.

Great set of stories this time around!

Graphic novelists shake up world of Indian comics
By Atish Patel

Characters from centuries-old myths and folktales have adorned the covers of children's comic books in India for decades, but a new wave of graphic novelists has emerged to shake up the art form.

Their quest for ultra-Indian superheroes has created new crossover comics aimed at both children and adults, while others have boldly gone further, tackling issues such as suicide and homosexuality -- taboo topics in much of India.

"We are the new recorders of history. That's how I consider myself," said Sarnath Banerjee, whose graphic novel "Corridor" is set in New Delhi and delves into politics and sex.

"I write, I see through my own eyes and I put it out."

Generations of young Indians have grown up with the Amar Chitra Katha series based on Hindu epics and mythology, and it remains one of India's best-selling comic books series.

But the success of Banerjee and others, such as the pioneering 1994 black-and-white "River of Stories" by Orijit Sen that dealt with the social and environmental impact of a controversial dam, are prompting changes even among such traditional comic publishers.
Click to read more.

Batman vs. The Undead – Graphic Novel Review
By Stephen McCarthy
Primary Ignition

Batman vs The Undead is sequel to the Superman & Batman vs Vampires & Werewolves which was a limited series. However, this sequel was published in the serial Batman Confidential, issues 44-48, which is baffling to say the least. Batman Confidential was supposed to be a series of stories that chronicled the early years of Batman. This is already a problem as this is a sequel that isn’t chronicling first meetings or anything of the sort. This is written as if Bruce Wayne has been Batman for many years and this comes off in the premise as well. The story starts out in New Orleans and Bruce Wayne is donating money to help out with rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. While Hurricane Katrina happen some years back and rebuilding continues to take place, it still seems like this even does not fit in with the spirit of Batman Confidential.

The story itself makes even less sense. It seems like there was something bigger and better to be told, but time is wasted and everything gets rushed to an unsatisfactory ending. Because this is a sequel to Superman and Batman vs. Vampires and Werewolves, Superman is in the comic for no good reason at all. Superman can’t fight against magic and they are doing nothing but fighting against magic, voodoo, whatever. Superman is just shoehorned into the story and not doing much of anything except for everyone telling him basically not to get involved. The way he eventually does get involved comes off as a huge copout, and it also concludes the story.

The other big problem that I have is the narration. You can clearly see Batman’s inner monologue. This is perfectly fine and I enjoyed it, but at some point there is another inner dialog that belongs to no one that is basically explaining everything about the new bad guys introduced at the start of the third chapter. This narrator does not seem to be any character involved and it comes off as the voice of the writer trying to fill us in on everything as there would not be enough time/issues left for exposition through the story. Instead we are basically told it in these narration boxes. It fills me in enough but it reeks of bad planning.
Click to read more.

Skullkickers: 1,000 Opas & A Dead Body – Graphic Novel Review
By Rob Siebert
Primary Ignition

From the day I first saw Skullkickers #1 at my local comic shop, I’ve maintained that there’s something incredibly satisfying about saying the title. SKULL KICKERS. It just sounds incredibly cool, which is fitting, because the book is pretty damn cool too.

The first Skullkickers book finds two freelance mercenaries, a dwarf and a big burly bald guy (their names aren’t given for whatever reason) set off to find the corpse of the freshly assassinated chancellor. Little do they know that their quest will lead them directly into the path of a warlock (NOT Charlie Sheen) his army of zombies, and even a soul-sucking giant.

In my First Impression of this series, I said Skullkickers seems like a book that simply isn’t afraid to be what it is. Thankfully, that tone is still present in this book. These characters live in a surreal World of Warcraft-type environment filled with dwarves, warlocks, goblins, fairies, etc. Their dialogue goes back and forth between medieval/old timey and modern English. This richly populated world, mixed with this not-incredibly-serious voice makes for a really fun read that spoofs the fantasy genre.
Click to read more.

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