Luchadores in space

February 26, 2009

luchadores1My friend George Leon has been working hard on a new comic and it’s finally done. It’s called “Luchadores in Space” and it’s about luchadores who are down on their luck and working on a lunch truck to make ends meet.

When one has the idea to speed up their deliveries and garner more costumers by modifying their vehicle, all kinds of adventures ensue.

Those of you who know George remember he was always drawing and he tells me that his first comic was “a labor of love” in more ways that one. You see, his mom passed away from breast cancer a few years back and all the proceeds from the small print run of the first issue are going to charity for an organization that researches breast cancer.

Everyone is real proud of George for completing his comic, like many nascent artists, he wrote, penciled, colored and inked it himself. Little did I know years ago when we were going out to buy comics together at the Golden Apple in Melrose and variuos other locales around town that one day George would realize his dream of becoming a working comic book artist himself.

“Luchadores in Space” will be exhibited at the Stumptown Comics fest in Portland coming up in April where George will have a booth along with the other artists and vendors. Though not as big as say Wizard World or San Diego Con, Stumptown has been attracting big names over the years and is certainly a colorful stop for the industry with WonderCon just around the corner.  If you happen to be in the Portland area in April, come out and support local artists and say hello to George and get your copy of LIS from Palooka Press.

Hack Slash #20

February 22, 2009

hack_slash_20_by_theirison3There are some comics which you pay above the standard $2.99 cover price and you feel ripped off, but that never happens to me with Hack/Slash. I don’t mind paying $3.50 for a quality read. As a matter of fact, this weird, quirky little horror title from Devil’s Due has been truly excellent of late and writer Tim Seeley ups the ante with this issue as some of the sub plots which have been floating around for quite some time are finally addressed. For example, even though the psychic Mrs. Jaworski makes a brief appearance, she’s been around for a while now and her influence is a having a catastrophic effect on our protagonists.

Of particular interest is the strain Cassie’s relationship with Margaret is having on her partnership with Vlad. One can’t help but feel bad for the big monster as he thinks that he is being replaced by Cassie’s decision to stop going after the slashers and to attempt a semblance of a normal life. Cassie is oblivious to what Vlad has been experiencing and it’s touching to see Cassie reach out to him when she is in trouble, as usual.

The nature of Cassie’s troubles with the authorities has been established in previous issues. She’s wanted as a suspect in a multiple homicide case as a direct result of the carnage which went down in her previous adventures and Mrs. Jaworski supplying the police with leads about her.

Seeley blends all the plot points of the book seamlessly and manages to spotlight Vlad’s frustrations while crafting a story rich in intrigue and characterization.

Things get sufficiently weird (which for this title is the status quo) when Cassie is taken from police custody by the society of the black lamp, a cultish group of Slashers who drug her up and tie her up for their own freakish mechanizations. I haven’t even mentioned the otherworldly invaders from the Nerf dimension which have been running around since last issue. “Pooch” is always good for comic relief and it is a relief that he survived last issue’s attack.

Seeley is so in tune with his main character that he makes her strengths stand out during the abduction. Despite being incapacitated by drugs, Cassie is a survivor and she tries to think and fight her way out of every situation. She’s familiar with the nuanced idiosyncrasies of slashers. The comic ends in a fantastic cliffhanger which has me already salivating for the next installment.

Stylistically, this book always has a distinct look to it and artist Kevin Mellon seems to fit in with previous Hack/Slash artists such as Emily Stone, delivering not only on big panel action sequences but also on the facial expressions of the protagonists: Cassie’s look when she says she had other things on her mind while talking to the inmates in the jail cell is beautifully rendered, her troubles on display for the reader to absorb. Likewise, he makes you really feel for Vlad, as the big lug is feeling confused over Cassie’s relationship with Margaret.

Mellon also rendered the lesbian love scene last issue between Margaret and Cassie with the tenderness, respect and love both characters truly feel for each other, without it looking like a salacious, exploitative gimmick to hook in the predominant male readership. Having laid the groundwork, he continues by drawing some powerful scenes between Margaret and Vlad and then transitions into the comic’s big climax.

 Final word: This may not be a new reader friendly book in terms of where the pooch from the Nerf dimension and some of the other monsters and slashers running around fit in the current story arc, but as usual, readers can pick up the trades to catch up because I have a feeling that Seeley and company are just getting started and this comic is always highly entertaining.

Mutant Enemy returns

February 16, 2009

Over the weekend, I managed to catch the pilot to Joss Whedon’s new television opus Dollhouse starring Buffy alumna Eliza Dushku. By now, most fans know the premise of the new show: it focuses on a secret organization that employs “actives” a group of operatives who have their memories and personalities wiped clean so they can be imprinted with new ones, allowing them to take on various missions for hire.

So does it work? Does it pique my interest? The pilot was certainly trumpeted by the Fox hype machine but only 13 episodes have been commissioned, so the future of the series seems questionable. So what else is new right? Well, Whedon has a tendency to deliver well crafted story arcs so at the very least, we might get some entertaining stories out of this before the nextwork pulls the plug for low ratings.  FYI, the latest numbers from Geeking Out show that it did better than the lead in show, Terminator The Sarah Conner Chronicles. Will the marketing of both sci fi themed programs do anything to deliver a hit show? Only time will tell. I can’t help but to be reminded of another Fox show starring a hot, engaging female lead character with a sci-fi theme. That one was superior in my mind and lasted 2 short but memorable seasons. One thing I know, it was nice to see the little monster GRRRARGGGHING accross my screen at the end of the pilot episode. Check out the trailer if you haven’t seen it:

My latest rant: Hero Complex: worst “comic” blog ever?

February 11, 2009

watchmen-minutemen3Late last year I saw an ad for the LA Times Blog: Hero Complex which borrowed a lot of imagery from the comic book world. I thought I’d give it a shot and was supremely disappointed. Although I only scanned a few posts, most of them are not about comics but rather comics related movies in Hollywood, upcoming projects, graphic novels everyone’s heard of but not John Doe (You know like Watchmen, Y The Last Man, etc) and other pop culture stuff with The Dark Knight info ad nauseum.
They should rename this blog to Movie Hero Complex or something along those lines. This week’s edition for example, features info on Lon Chaney (WTF? OK maybe it should be called Monster Complex)

Now, I have nothing against Lon Chaney, I love classic horror movies just as much as the next guy, but horror has been a staple in comics since the 40s and 50s or even earlier, might be nice to read about some of the books inspired by Chaney and others of his ilk. There’s other stuff about the new Trek movie, Battle Star Galactica and Star Wars, all geek properties to be sure, but I thought this was Hero Complex, not Geek Complex or Nerd Complex.

The only info remotely connected to comics is nestled somewhere in the column with information about Rob Leifeld’s Youngblood being possibly made into another Hollywood train wreck. Great, it isn’t enough that they might actually ruin Watchmen by changing the ending of the graphic novel or that “Wanted” and “League of Extra-Ordinary Gentlemen” were butchered or that the entire premise of  “I am Legend” was changed,  now Hollywood is making adaptations of less known 90’s Image properties. What’s next? Savage Dragon meets the Hulk?? Actually that might make a good flick…

If you want to read a good comic book blog, check out Rokk’s comic book revolution and skip Hero Complex altogether. That is unless you want to watch the latest Watchmen trailer or read about how Dark Knight got snubbed for Oscar best picture considerations. Yawn!

Buffy season 8 #22

February 8, 2009

vampy cats, the latest threat to SlayersWhile vacuous teens were going crazy over the vampire movie and the “Twilight” book, the name means something altogether different to Buffy fans, as we know that it is the name of the latest big bad to menace the Buffy universe.
SPOILER ALERT: Issue #22 follows up on the Harmony story by revealing that in the wake of Harmony’s bid for fame with her reality TV show, public support of the Slayers may be turning thanks to media influence. I’m not sure how I feel about this development, while it was certainly funny to see Harmony return last issue and to read a spoof about the entertainment industry’s obsession with pseudo celebrities, the clandestine nature of the Slayers is no more, but people can’t tell who the good guys are and who the black hats are.
This would necessitate the overall public being aware of the existence of vampires, but if that is the case then wouldn’t there be a greater mobilization against the threat along the lines of the Initiative? Or would the converse be true with evil people trying to exploit the vampire powers?
Well, at any rate, issue #22 also seemed to be making a strong case that Buffy isn’t gay, perhaps to allay the fears of long time fans who worried about the repercussions of her dalliance with Satsu. I thought Kennedy’s long winded speech to Satsu was a bit of overkill, we get it, Buffy isn’t a lesbian and Satsu needs to move on because there is no future in a relationship with a straight girl, we don’t need Steven De Knight beating us over the head with this.
The strangest most off putting thing about “Swell” was of course, the Swell and the Vampy cats. I thought the Santorio Corporation was a hilarious send off on Sanrio which manufactures the Hello Kitty merchandise which girls have been fascinated with for years. As an adversary, the vampy cat seemed recycled, reminiscent of Gremlins or even the toys which once made an appearance in the Buffy Slayer annual from 1999. Anyone remember that story? However, I read in some blogs that their subsequent transformation into the monstrous Swell may be a nod to Japanese manga adversaries, and I don’t read mangas to be able to verify this. Satsu’s traditional Japanese garb early on in the comic would seem to corroborate this. However, this does nothing to change the fact that this was mostly a weak story and not what we have come to expect from this title. Perhaps Joss’ absence from the writing chores has something to do with it.
Soon enough there’s the appearance of a submarine in defense of the Swell’s intended invasion of the Slayers’ castle in Scotland. You gotta love a comic book in which a submarine is involved and it makes perfect sense in the context of the story. This wasn’t the best issue of issue eight but I like the new trend of having former writers of the show like DeKnight and Jane Espenson pen installments of issue #8, I just wish they were giving us stronger stories.

Closer to free

February 1, 2009

Posts have been few and far between on this blog. I was dealing with some stuff which prevented my usual blogging habits. Emotional attachments are the worst. Since the holidays I have been moping and down about someone whom I had a crush on and didn’t work out. I feel so empty, when you like someone and they don’t feel the same way, it can really wear you out. I was talking about this last night with a friend whom I had not really talked to in several years but we reconnected because of the internet. Damn facebook! Anyhow, she could empathize with what I said because she was apparently going through the same thing.

The weird thing is that I know I am going to remain friends with the person, but it’s going to take some time to get over the attraction and that is the part I never deal with too well.

I am ready to start the healing process and ready to move on but I have to retrain my heart and my soul to start to do so. Some of my friends who have heard me complain about this are probably sick to death of hearing me talk about this but all I can offer is that if I have seemed distant or weird to anyone, well know you know the reason. I keep listening to this song by the Bodeans over and over again, because I find it so true: Everybody wants to live how they want to live, Everybody wants to love how they want to love (even if sometimes it may not be the best idea) Everybody wants to be closer to free…

and so do I…so badly….