First article printed for the Post. Woo-hoooo!!!!!
I work for a community newspaper part time. I also work for the journalism department at the college where I graduated also part time. This weekend most of the staff at the college paper where I work are up north in Sacramento at a journalism convention, an annual celebration of college journalism.
I’ve been there, done that. The state of communications has really changed in the last couple of years and not all the changes have been for the better. Many newspapers are unfortunately closing their doors or having massive layoffs. This isn’t news to anyone that is in the field of communications.
So in addition to the usal challenges of learning about their craft, the young journalists I work with are having to deal with an unsure economy. Will they even be able to find jobs after graduation in the craft they are so carefully training for? Most likely a lot will have to settle for freelance work or if they are lucky, they can minor in other related fields while they persue their journalistic dreams. My advice? Learn all you can now because you never know what you learn today can be your bread and butter tomorrow. Have fun in school now while you have the chance because the reality is that the world is a bitter and cold place where people starting out are treated with disdain and lack of respect. Worse yet, as the state’s financial status remains unclear, we aren’t sure if deep cuts to education will put more roadblocks in front of today’s students. Well, at least the student reporters I have been working with are a resourceful bunch. They are young, tech savvy and living in a new era where communications has been segmented and where more and more people depend on new media outlets to get their information and entertainment. I wish them luck.
part of me wishes I was up there with them, then the other part remembers how wiped out I felt after a long day at a convention. Earlier this week I covered a press conference regarding the NFL stadium in Industry. Tomorrow I am covering a protest over an apartment complex development in the SGV. Sunday, the annual Diamond Bar beauty pageant. Not exactly Earth shattering stuff, but we all have to pay our dues. Today in Sacramento, most of the states’ student journalists are paying theirs, what a thought to behold!
Usually I find Lisa Nova unfunny and annoying, but this one actually made me laugh.
Perhaps a lot of you have joined twitter, are on it or have been on it for a while. While in Sacramento covering a protest on budget cuts earlier this week I came across an article on one of the Sacramento freebies entitled “Why Twitter sucks,” it was an interest pro-con piece in which one user sang the praises of the site like a canary (ha, I could not resist the obviously bad avian-themed pun) while his colleague dumped all over the site.
Well, I have been using it mostly to keep up with updates from school friends and the school newspaper and find it pretty cool. My co-worker said to me yesterday, “I hate that website.”
Well, no matter, in my attempt to keep up with the new media trends, Behind My Byline has joined Twitter and you can follow on our page, appropriately titled The One Dollar Bin.
Over and out.
I’m really enjoying Joss Whedon’s “Dollhouse” and some people will probably say that would be a given since I am such a huge Buffy fan, but that isn’t necessarily true. I didn’t watch “Firefly” and even though I watched and liked “Angel” I thought it was inferior to Buffy in many ways.
Thus, it wasn’t guaranteed that I would like this show, but I do and I didn’t even like the pilot that much. However, the writing is good and they finally came around to giving us a major plot twist for the rest of the season in episode 5. In fact, both “Gray Hour” and “True Believer” have been really fun to watch, showing Eliza’s range at playing different personalities and moods. Topher is a little annoying and somewhat reminiscent of other characters and Eliza’s cat burglar persona in “Gray Hour” was somewhat derivative of Jessica Alba’s character in “Dark Angel” right down to the sleek leather black outfit. However, I am interested in seeing what comes next, from reveals about the mysterious active code named “Alpha” to the further characterization of the other actives.
The last episode moved the federal agent played by Paul Ballard closer to figuring out the whereabouts of Echo and the Dollhouse, or at least until the climax. I really hope that he isn’t reduced to a “Mr McGee” role, chasing down the elusive actives. Also, why is an active getting a physical reaction out of Sierra? Are there going to be any residual effects from Echo’s surgery?
Either way, you know the producers and writers are moving towards more complications. The best thing is, thanks to the internet, and modern technology, you can watch the episodes online any time you want.
After a couple of unusually off books, the Buffy train is back on track with issue #23 which includes an Andrew-Buffy story and has Buffy going up against a rogue Slayer.
Don’t want to say more than that and give away the plot, but it is comforting to know that we finally get a good script from a former Buffy writer (Drew Greenberg who also penned some Smallville, The O.C. and Dexter eps) in season 8. It’s not an outstanding installment, but definitely an improvement over the previous two.
Andrew steals the show this time around and his geek bonding with Buffy is the highlight of the entire comic. Whether he’s pontificating on Jedi knights fighting Superman or expressing his surprise at liking Daniel Craig as the new James Bond, what works about this marvelous exchange is that not only does it come across as natural unforced dialogue, which was always one of the strengths of the show, it is also totally in keeping with Andrew’s nerdy characterization.
That’s not to say the character hasn’t progressed, you don’t get to become a watcher and get bestowed with tremendous responsibilities and not experience some character growth and maturity.
Andrew is always good for comic relief. If there is one flaw with this comic, it’s a minor one and that is that it isn’t new reader friendly, and come to think of it, it isn’t even easy for long time readers of season eight because unless you remember Simone was mentioned back in issue #11, you might be hard pressed to recall who the character even was.
Artwise, this is a good looking comic book, Georges Jeanty continues to prove he’s the best artist this side of Cliff Richards to handle the cast as he expertly renders everyone’s likeness. Add to that another beautiful Jo Chen cover and you have a can’t miss comic book. Faith returns next issue! Can’t wait!
While the opening of Watchmen this weekend taking the top post in the box office at $55.7 million wasn’t a big surprise, it does continue the recent dominant trend of Hollywood scouring graphic novels and comic book material, once considered too lowbrow to mention in the same breath as Academy Award worthy fare, for commercial entertainment. So now that Watchmen has landed and Heath Ledger has won a posthumous Oscar for his portrayal of the Joker, what’s the next property or less known graphic novel Hollywood will try to cull and turn into box office gold?
It is surprising how much comic material from the modern era of comics has already been used by studios and production companies, from mainstream properties like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Sin City to less well know material like The Maxx.
So I present five graphic novels or lesser known comics (at least by the layman) which may make excellent films. So don’t be surprised to see these in the local cineplex.
DC Comics (Vertigo)
Fans of Neil Gainman’s Sandman comics will be familiar with this one as it is the spin-off concerning the adventures of the fallen angel Lucifer Morningstar on Earth. Touching on themes of redemption, free will, and predestination, the story at its core focuses on human foibles and emconpasses a collection of eleven tomes with a stand alone graphic novel named Lucifer Nirvana. The main character of course is the centerpiece of the entire narrative which can translate into a fascinating film similar to another DC Vertigo series, 2005’s Constantine. However, this could be a more nuanced flick with the right combination of actors and a visionary director handling the material.
Dark Horse Comics has already given the Hollywood execs a paranormal entity in the form of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, so it’s not too much of a stretch to envision a movie or two starring another Dark Horse property: Eric Powell’s The Goon.
With its cartoonish excesses and its distinct paranornal slant, the Goon and his sidekick Franky are primed for silver screen super-stardom, given the story often focuses on the typical comic book fare of zombies, monsters and mad scientists which can either be recrated through the magic of CGI in the same fashion Hellboy’s world was recreated, or spliced together in a combination of live action and animation a la Sin City. Better yet, characters in the B.P.R.D. including Hellboy himself are free to make cameos. The Goon at its core, is powered by the fertile imagination and genious of Eric Powell, but I can already see its protagonist making a jump into the big screen as effortlessly as his Dark Horse predecessor has done.
The Doom Patrol
The Doom Patrol would be a harder adaptation to execute given not many super-hero team flicks have been realized with the exeption of the X-Men franchise and to a certain extent, Watchmen. Hollywood is certainly behind when it comes to team books with big screen versions of JLA and The Avengers rumored but yet to hit the box office landscape. The Doom Patrol are a squad that is less known than X-Men but no less important to comic book lore. In fact, the similarities to Marvel’s team are evident even though the Doom Patrol predate professor X’s chargers by several months (they both debuted in 1963.) I have always found Robotman to be a fascinating character and this team book is one of DC’s best from the early days of comics. With a screenplay which honors the integrity of the series, this is one which has box office smash written all over it and an audience already in place, people who loved X-Men and Watchmen would certainly dig a movie based on this team comic book.
(Eclipse Comics) Eclipse’s Miracle Man is the perfect solo compliment to the more mainstream comic book movies with an eye towards re-creating the dark, post-modern deconstruction tone created by Alan Moore and later continued by Neil Gaiman. The only problem in translating this little known gem of a comic into the big screen is that the legal battles attached to the creative rights over the years may present a major stumbling block. A prolonged legal battle between Image’s Todd McFarlane and Gaiman has been well publicized and could stymie a feature film. This would be a pity because Miracle Man’s adventures are the stuff comic book movies should be made of.
The New Gods
Is it just me or does anyone else think that a New Gods movie incorporating Jack “King” Kirby’s masterpiece would make an excellent movie? It’s a no-brainer that a book which introduced the world to such amazing and iconic characters like Darkseid, Orion, Mister Miracle, Granny Goodness, Highfather and countless others would also translate into a kick-ass comic book movie. I’m a little leery of suggesting this one because I am afraid of Hollywood getting a hold of the concept and completely ruining it but I think any writer worth his salt could adapt the Fourth World into a compelling, dramatic and visually arresting motion picture. So there you have it, five suggestions for the next Hollywood blockbuster. Bring on the popcorn!
Ok so technically, this isn’t a retro-review, but I do intend to bring back my blog feature in which I reflect on seminal works on the comics industry. Is it too soon to look back at Mark Millar’s “Civil War?” I don’t thinks so. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 2 years since I was blogging about it, but while i was checking my archives on my old blog Back to Sunnydale I realized how far reaching and important this series was and it’s fun to look back.
First off, it’s worth noting that the comic featured some of Steve McNiven’s finest artwork of his Marvel career. Though big panel shots with multiple characters are hard to render and not everyone has the artistics chops of a George Perez to pull it off, McNiven did a fine job throughout this series conveying a lot of the conflict and rendering some fine action sequences. It’s also interesting to note that some of the far reaching events on the mainstream Marvel universe came about as a result of CW and some that I thought would come about turned out to be either temporary or not as far reaching as once anticipated. For example, Tony Stark as director of S.H.I.E.L.D. was fun while it lasted but it had the detrimental effect of portraying Tony as an authoritarian and as a total a-hole. I don’t think there was anyone I spoke to in 2007 that didn’t think this was a gross mischaracterization which could have proved costly had the Iron Man movie not been the huge success that it was. Another consequence was the formation of multiple Avengers teams. This mess is still something that Bendis has not fixed and now we have yet another Avengers team running around with the Dark Avengers. Most people were stunned to see that Captain America died shortly after this series, but most expected Steve Rogers to be resurrected.No way Jose, writer Ed Brubaker has proven that a character can be just as interesting in the grave if a fine story is crafted around the circumstances leading up to and following his death. Brubaker’s run on Captain America has been nothing short of brilliant and we have CW to inderectly thank for this.
One of the most satisfying results was the 50 state initiative and that led to the best Avengers title, for my money the Initiative has been more than worth it since the conclusion of CW. Lastly, Spidey’s return to his black threads, really did anyone think it would last? Not as long as Venom was still around. Still, CW was a great mini series and its repercussions are still being felt two years later, only time will tell if it can stand the test of time along with other great series like Crisis on Infiinite Earths and others of its ilk.