Archive for alan moore

odds and ends: impossible omnibus, misfit toys, lions witches and wardrobes

Posted in odds and ends with tags , , , , , , , on January 18, 2013 by Christopher Pearce

Starting tomorrow, I’m trying out a new weekly feature!

MisfitToys

I’m going to be looking at weird, silly, and otherwise strange toys and writing about why I think they might not have been successful. Hopefully it will be kind of fun.

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This past September, I was at the Cincinnati Comic Expo, waiting in line to get my copy of Saga of the Swamp Thing hardcover signed by artist Rick Veitch. Veitch is a well-known collaborator of comic writer extraordinaire Alan Moore. Although I like what they did together on Swamp Thing, my absolute favorite paring of Moore and Veitch was their work on Supreme.

A very general rip-off of Superman both in look and name, under Moore’s pen Supreme became a deconstruction of the Silver Age Superman mythos contextualized in a post-modern superheroic world. If I just made Supreme sound like a graduate student’s term paper, I apologize because at its’ core the comic was wild; smart and exciting with a sense of humor. The Alan Moore Supreme was true imagination fodder, the kind of comic I’d happily hand my sons and say “THIS is why superheroes are fun.”

There have never been well-produced collections of Supreme and it’s quite likely there never will be. The character was published by Image Comics, then Awesome Comics… and the collections that do exist were published by Checker Publishing and they are awful. I guess a lot of the production materials were lost somewhere along the way and the scans Checker used weren’t ideal. I’ve always wanted to have a nicely produced collection of Supreme and I thought that was never to be…

until, while waiting on line, I saw a guy with THIS BOOK.

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I couldn’t help but ask him where he’d gotten this massive omnibus collection. The dude seemed pretty pleased with himself and explained: This hardcover was a custom-bound collection of EVERY issue of Alan Moore’s run on Supreme, including every guest appearance written by Moore featuring the characters from the Supreme universe. Further, included in his professionally bound hardcover was an exclusive copy of Supreme #41, signed by Alan Moore himself. Moore’s somewhat of a hard “get” when it comes to signed comics.

I felt two ways about this book. On the one hand… it seemed absolutely insane to me that this fellow had spend so much time and money assembling this impossible collection. On the other hand… ME WANTEE! Going through the trouble to craft a hardcover collection is not something I’d ever do myself, but I can understand the impulse to create something like this.

I came across this eBay auction this past weekend and I’m reasonably sure this is the same collection of the guy I met at the CCE. It ended at over $200 dollars, a sum I wouldn’t be able to afford if I had six months to save for something frivolous. I hope whoever bought it appreciates its’ obsessive beauty.

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Over the last three weeks, I’ve read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis to Elliot and Henry… or, as Elliot thinks it should be called, The Wardrobe, the Witch and the Lion (in order of appearance). Elliot in particular has fallen in love with the book as I remember doing when I was his age. I decided to hunt down the 1988 BBC adaptation of the work I remember watching ad nauseum when it played on PBS. I didn’t want him to see the newer movie, which I also liked but seemed more concerned with inflated spectacle than adapting Lewis’ story.

Anyhow, I found a copy and we watched it this week. I thought it held up, more or less… although there are some aspects which NEVER worked, even in 1988. The BBC’s solution to the many fantastic creatures was to use a mix of animation, animatronic puppets, and actors in costumes. Some of this is impressive, even by today’s SFX standards; this version’s take on Mr. Tumnus the fawn looks quite a bit better than the efforts of the newer movie. Some of it is so silly, like the full-sized beaver costumes which more closely resemble giant burritos.

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The best part of the entire production has nothing to do with effects, either practical or special. The best part of the TV version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is Barbara Kellerman as The White Witch. Kellerman’s manic choices in her portrayal of the witch is broad and crazy… but it’s also quite effective. I think it still works.

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Oh, and the girl who plays Lucy has the craziest, best overbite I’ve ever seen on a child.

Lucy_Pevensie_BBC

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odds and ends: cincinnati comic expo 2012

Posted in odds and ends with tags , , , , , , on September 21, 2012 by Christopher Pearce

Fast becoming an annual geek tradition, I’ll be spending Saturday and Sunday at the Cincinnati Comic Expo.

As regional comic shows go, the CCE has been growing like crazy in the past three years and 2012 promises to be the biggest yet. The Guest of Honor include four of the artists (Steve Bissette, Rick Veitch, John Totleben, Thomas Yeates) who worked with Alan Moore on Saga of the Swamp Thing, a comic I loved as a teenager. It’s a nice get for the show and I’m looking forward to getting all four gentlemen to sign my hardcover collection of these comics.

Geoff Darrow is also going to be in attendance at the show. Darrow’s probably best known for his work with Frank Miller on Hard Boiled or his own creation, The Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot. Back in 1995, I met Darrow at a comic convention in New York where he signed a “suitable for framing” poster print for me.

Now, this print’s been through a LOT in the past seventeen years. It’s hung on walls in Western New York, Boston, and Ohio. Ellen and I hung it on Elliot’s wall when he was a baby! I’m pretty attached to it, and my kids are too. I’m hoping I can get Darrow to add Elliot and Henry’s names to mine at the margin at the bottom.

Of course, those of you who read here regularly already know, the real reason I like going to comic shows is the shopping; those dollar back issue bins are like catnip for me. I’ve also a few “holy grail” comics I’ve been looking to acquire for years. They’re always ridiculous things though, with no real monetary value. For example, this CCE, I’m hoping to locate a copy of DC Comics Presents #67

…the issue where Superman teams up with Santa Claus. I realize that is a pathetic “holy grail” but it fits perfectly within my spectrum of interests, no?

I will, no doubt, regale you with my finds next week.

odds and ends: ipad comics, alf comics, lego haunted house

Posted in odds and ends with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 29, 2012 by Christopher Pearce

I wanted to make two awesome recommendations to those of you who read comics on your iPad or tablet devices.

Cartoonists Kevin Cannon (Far Arden) and Zander Cannon have launched Double Barrel, a digital comics initiative where the two are serializing their new comics along with a bunch of sketches and letters from readers. Double Barrel is effectively a streamlined comics magazine and it’s AWESOME.

I’ve already written here about my love of Far Arden; it was hugely popular with my students two years ago and I’ve been anxiously awaiting Kevin Cannon’s follow up, Crater XV.

For $1.99, you get 122 pages of content. This thing is gigantic and the creators are crazy talented. As much as I was looking forward to Crater XV, I think I enjoyed Zander Cannon’s oddly sentimental horror riff Heck just as much as the new adventures of Army Shanks. Download through whichever comics app you like (I prefer ComiXology, but there’s iBooks and the Top Shelf app, off the top of my head)

Also from Top Shelf, this week sees the release of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: 2009 by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill.

The summation of Moore and O’Neill’s Century storyline, this book has a bunch of people up in arms over Moore’s appropriation of a certain incredibly popular boy wizard character, refashioned by the author into the Antichrist. As far as I can tell, the work Moore does is all above board and not legally compromising, but I love the tightrope he and O’Neill walk with every new installment of LoEG. I get that a lot of folks are a little tired of the “winky winky” allusions to popular media, but I’m not and 2009 is my favorite book in the series thus far.

I opted to read 2009 on my tablet for three reasons. One, like I said, I’m a sucker for this series and when Top Shelf inevitably collects the first two books in the Century series (1909, 1969) with 2009, I’m going to buy that big collection. I don’t need the individual trades and the big collection. Two, for a book like League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the “on panel at a time” format most comic readers use is ideal, because Kevin O’Neill packs SO much detail and hidden jokes within his pages, it’s nice to be able to appreciate each one up close. Three… you get 84 pages of content for $4.99; the print version is $9.99.

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Folks who follow my Twitter feed might already know this, but I happened on a great Half-Price Books find this past Monday.

Fifteen issues of Marvel ComicsALF! I did a comic/sketchbook page about my love of ALF comics and how elusive they are to me. I’ve been looking for two years and I’ve happened on two… maybe three ALF comics in that time. To hit the motherlode like this? What a great day. I wish I was being sarcastic there.

I’m not going to go into any depth about my love of ALF today, opting instead to save those accolades for a later post… but I thought you’d want to see these comics in all their majesty.

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I am seriously considering dropping $180 dollars on this.

Set for release this September, the Haunted House LEGO playset is a thing of wacky beauty. Part of the company’s Monster Fighters series, this is exactly the LEGO playset I wanted when I was a kid, but at that point the LEGO was just getting around to making castles, not elaborate Addams Family style abodes.

I can justify this purchase by saying it will become an annual Halloween decoration in our house, right?

odds and ends

Posted in odds and ends with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

With 2011 coming to a close, I’m working on the final installments of two long-running series of novels I’ve enjoyed over the past few years.

The Night Eternal is the third and final book in The Strain trilogy by Chuck Hogan and Guillermo Del Toro. An apocalyptic vampire story by way of CSI, I enjoyed the first book of the series quite a bit. Although Hogan and Del Toro aren’t doing much new here, at the very least the authors are cognicent of this fact and they pay homage to their influences in a fairly obvious, enjoyable way. The human protagonist’s characterization is a little thin, but they service the plot and The Strain series are page-turners.

I must confess, I had a slight problem with The Night Eternal’s scope and pacing. While the first two novels have rather successfully focused solely on Manhattan and its’ place in this vampiric outbreak, The Night Eternal broadens out from New York City in a way I felt was uneven. Considering this vampire plague was a worldwide threat, it felt strange to spend so much time in the first two thirds of this story in New York and then have the solution to mankind’s problems be located elsewhere. Please note that “problem” is not the same thing as a “complaint” and the finale works regardless of my quibble.

I’m also staring Out of Oz, the presumably the last book in Gregory Maguire’s Wicked series.. but more on that one when I finish it.

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Here’s something interesting: In the past week, folks on the Internet have been getting all riled up/excited about the swirling rumors that DC Comics is going to be producing a sequel to Watchmen, the seminal 1980’s revisionist superhero opus written by Alan Moore and drawn by Dave Gibbons.

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