Archive for the cw

odds and ends

Posted in odds and ends with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 7, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

Before I started using my job in my comics, I did a bog standard journal comic. Relationship woes, comics about my cat, lots of navel-gazing… if you’ve ever read one of the hundreds of journal comics out there, you know what I’m talking about. Occasionally I would get bored and do “Missed Connection Comics” based on the Craigslist postings wherein hopeful folks will post brief messages about people they barely met, in the hopes of running into them again.

If you enjoyed those comics, you will love the paintings of Sophie Blackall. 

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Last week, I wrote a fairly drippy obituary for my ability to enjoy television ironically, specifically the CW reality series America’s Next Top Model. I was being a tad maudlin when I wrote what I did, but I was also being honest. It bummed me out to find I no longer could experience ANTM in the same way I did years earlier.

I thought I’d never be able to crack wise at a silly television ever again… but thankfully, The CW came to my rescue with their new soapy drama Hart of Dixie.

Rachel Bilson is woefully miscast as a heart doctor forced by contrived circumstances to move from the hustle and bustle of New York City to the laid-back hills of Alabama. There’s a bitchy cotillion. There’s an alligator named Burt Reynolds. The first episode show made me laugh more than any situation comedy I’ve seen all year… and I don’t think it was supposed to be funny. The second episode (yes, I stuck around!) was a nice improvement on the ridiculousness… but still.

Thank you, CW. Thank you for disproving my sad thesis. I’ll be able to laugh at and not with Hart of Dixie for as long as its’ on the airwaves.

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I went to the comic store for the first time in about a month. Skipping September means I missed out on all the craziness of the DC Comics’ relaunch… but I’m more or less fine with that. The books I’m reading are not DC’s quick sell-out issues. I’m on the hook for Grant Morrison’s run on Action Comics and Scott Snyder’s Batman book. Besides that, I could be up for Swamp Thing and All-Star Western, if I could find a copy of the books… but alas and alack, they were nowhere to be had.

I wanted to quickly mention a book I picked up as a nostalgia read, but ended up enjoying quite a bit- IDW’s new ongoing Ghostbusters.

I don’t know if it is possible to recreate the tone of Ghostbusters in a comic. The movie so expertly blended horror and comedy with the very specific personalities and quirks of the actors who played the main characters. The handful of Ghostbuster comics I have read have been altogether too hung up on plot with an abundance of awkward likenesses of the main characters.

To be frank, no one’s going to accurately capture Bill Murray in 22 comic pages.

That being said, I believe IDW made a smart move in hiring Dan Schoening on art duties for this book. Schoening eschews photo-realism for a more cartoony style and the choice is a smart one. His slick designs of the four Ghostbusters put one in mind of an animated series take on the characters and those drawings really bring the fun into the book.

It’s a bit soon to tell about Erik Burnham’s story, although the writer is laying some groundwork here for the future which I can appreciate. I did love the first scene in the book, an extended dream sequence with Ray Stantz. Burnham does something quite interesting with this scene, using it as a recap page as well as teeing off the rest of the book. He also creates a really nice homage to John Belushi in these pages that needs to be read to truly appreciate.

In short, IDW and this creative team has me on the hook for the first arc of Ghostbusters. I was already a fan of the property, which makes me an easy get… but I feel that this book has the potential to be something really terrific for fans and casual readers alike.

odds & ends

Posted in odds and ends with tags , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2011 by Christopher Pearce

Tomorrow is the Cincinnati Comic Expo and I will there indulging my nerdier vices. I was in attendance at last year’s Comic Expo and I thought it was terrific, especially as a “first year” show. The focus was clear, the guests were engaging, and I found a bargain or two in the long boxes. That’s a prescription for a fun comic book show if I ever heard one.

The guest of honor for this year’s show is Jim Steranko, the legendary artist best remembered in comic circles for his run on Nick Fury in the 1960’s. Steranko also did a ton of concept art for Raiders of the Lost Ark. I could be wrong, but I believe Steranko is the first guy to take George Lucas’ ideas for a fedora wearing archeologist and create an image for the character that would become Indiana Jones. I can’t say I’m a great fan of Steranko’s myself, but it’s impossible to deny he’s an influential creator and I am sure many folks are going to be jazzed to meet him. Personally, I’m more excited to meet Mitch Breitweiser and his wife Bettie. I’ve been enjoying both of their work on the Captain America titles in the past year… but to each their own.

As far as shopping goes, I’m going to be on the lookout for any issues of The Batman Adventures I find.

Based on the seminal mid ’90’s animated series, The Batman Adventures is a gorgeous comic I stupidly passed over when I was younger because it was a “kid’s book”. Imagine my surprise, years later, to find that instead of being kid’s stuff, The Batman Adventures was the showcase for some of the best Batman stories of the 1990’s. I’ll run across an issue or two here and there when I hit up Half Price Books, but I’d love to start filling in the gaps of my collection.

…and it goes without saying that I will be on the lookout for ALF comics.

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The 2011-2012 TV season begins in earnest next week, but there were a couple of early premieres over the past few days. As I mentioned last week, I’m not much of a TV watcher anymore… but not for lack of interest. I’ve just found it hard to find a lot of television to be excited for. As such, I’m going to audit a couple of new series in the next couple of weeks to see if I can’t find something that grabs my attention. This past Tuesday, I gave The CW’s Ringer a shot.

Ringer’s something of a big deal in that it’s a return to television from Sarah Michelle Gellar, best-loved as Buffy Summers on The WB’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Her take on that character demanded that she be tough and vunerable, funny but serious… all while dealing with the physical demands of a weekly action/adventure series predicated on a joke. I was a tremendous fan of her work on that show and that had everything to do with my tuning in for Ringer.

It’s a bit hard to judge the show on the pilot, which spends the bulk of 40 odd minutes bending itself into knots trying to plausibly set up the premise of the show. Gellar pulls double duty here, playing twin sisters, one of whom ends up, by a confluence of events, masquarading as the other in her glitzy, mystery-filled New York lifestyle.

Ringer is set up as a noir story with a lot of twists and turns and I will admit that I found some of the pilot engaging. Unfortunately, there was also a tremendous amount of hokiness about the show. The plot rests on a lot of coincidences. Some of the green screen work on the show was truly hideous; the boat scenes in particular were hard to watch.

I’ve been seeing a lot of Internet complaints (the best, most productive kind of complaining) that Gellar is miscast in this role. I honestly don’t think that’s the case. There are scenes in the pilot that ring quite true. The problem is that Ringer is not yet playing to Gellar’s strengths as an actress. She’s asked to be morose and serious about 90% of the time in the first episode of Ringer, which denies her the chance to deploy any of the good-naturedness or humor that distinguished her in my eyes as an actress worth following. Ringer shouldn’t become Buffy Redux but I hope that facet of her talents can be somehow worked into the show.

I am, at the very least, on the hook for next week’s episode.