Monday, January 31, 2011
Alien is one of my favorite science fiction movies ever. Ridley Scott struck the perfect balance between sci-fi, suspense and horror and it just has so many memorable scenes. Plus, H.R. Giger gave audiences one of the best designed creatures in cinema history. I found the absence of noticeable eyes on the alien to be a great creepy choice. While I also love James Cameron's sequel, Aliens - the first one I feel is in a class all its own. I found the concept of one unstoppable monster lurking somewhere on a spacecraft to be more frightening than a planet full of them that you could blast away with a big enough gun. The latter sequels didn't do much for me, but I have high hopes for the next installment because once again Ridley Scott will be directing. I've read that it is a prequel and I really look forward to what Scott has in store.
Friday, January 28, 2011
This is one of those covers where I got lucky and the images really fit well together. Even so, it was kind of a shame that I had to remove Jonny and Hadji's lady friend to make room for Bashful Benjy. Dave Stevens really did draw some of the most beautiful women in comics (not that his talents were limited to females). When he passed, comicdom truly lost one of the all time great artists.
I'd still love to see a live action Jonny Quest feature someday. It's a property that has all the elements to make an exciting tale full of mystery, action and cliffhangers. Maybe some day...
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Well, the Jonah Hex movie proved to be one of the bigger flops of last year. Hopefully, that will be a lesson to the studios that when they alter the source material so much, the results are bound to be disappointing. They can hardly blame the western genre, as we are now seeing the remake of True Grit garnering critical and commercial acclaim. I did quite like the Jonah Hex animated short that DC released. Hopefully folks who were turned off by the movie will get a chance to see that so they can see that the character has true cinematic potential.
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
I can't imagine Ben would have much patience for Jimmy and his antics, which is why this would be a fun pairing. Just keep that kid away from the Negative Zone portal! Superman Returns had its share of issues, but one thing that I really liked was the casting of Sam Huntington in the role of Jimmy. Of all the actors that have portrayed him, I felt that Huntington was closest to the comic character. It will be interesting to see the take that director Zach Snyder has on Superman's pal with his upcoming reboot.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Hawk and Dove have recently been given a new lease on life (literally!) in the pages of Brightest Day and Birds of Prey. I always liked these characters so I am glad that they have been brought back. It will be interesting to see where writers like Gail Simone and Geoff Johns take them. Currently Dove has started up a relation ship with Deadman, Boston Brand - I wonder if that is something that will stick. Whatever happens, I will continue to follow these characters, their interesting and conflicting personalities as well as their cool costumes make for enjoyable reading.
Monday, January 24, 2011
I was one of the fans that was not happy when DC decided to make Hal Jordan evil and later kill him off, but I didn't automatically dislike his replacement because of that. I had to admit it was cool to see Kyle Rayner as the sole Green Lantern for a while, learning on the job. I also liked how Kyle was an artist and how that influenced his ring's creations. Kyle's run on the GL title was an interesting take on the Green Lantern mythos, I just wish they didn't feel like they had to tear down Hal to tell it. Fortunately, Hal is back on the side of the angels and the living these days and Kyle can still be found in action in the Green Lantern Corps title.
Friday, January 21, 2011
I remember being completely blown away when I first saw Raiders of the Lost Ark, I don't think I had ever seen such an action-packed film up to that point. I watched it again recently and it holds up amazingly well after all of these years. A lot of people have given the fourth installment a lot of flack for not living up to its predecessors, but I think that's a bit of a bum rap. Yes, they probably waited a decade too long to make it, but most of the other complaints I feel can be equally levied against the second two adventures as well. I didn't find the refrigerator scene to be any less believable than jumping out of an airplane with only an inflatable raft. Were the inclusion of aliens a bit far fetched? Maybe, but not more so than an immortal King Arthur looking dude hanging out in the cave of grails. Some took exception with Shia LaBeouf, but was his performance worse than Kate Capshaw? I think time may have softened some of the rough edges of those earlier films in many viewers' eyes.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
I don't think I am alone when I say that Calvin and Hobbes is the greatest comic strip ever created. Sure, there have been other fine examples, but C&H really had the whole package - an excellent hook, fantastic artwork, hilarious gags, endless invention, and even touching moments. Couple that with the fact that Bill Watterson made the decision to end the strip when it was still at the apex of its quality and you have a true classic. Watterson has also amazingly resisted the urge to merchandise his characters, which has maintained the integrity of the strip. I can't imagine how much money he could have made off of toys of Calvin and both versions of Hobbes, or licensing the characters out to animation houses or commercials. You have to hand it to Watterson for sticking to his guns on this matter. Still, I would love it if the reclusive Watterson decided to give us another year or two of their adventures one of these days...
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
I must admit that I was a bit skeptical when Impulse first appeared in the pages of The Flash, as I have an aversion to the trend of insta-kids in comics (offspring that appear out of the blue, fully grown). I soon grew to like the character, as the fact of his rapid aging was not just a means to an end, but truly informed the character and how he perceived the world around him. His self titled series was the kind of humorous superhero comic that we don't see enough of anymore. I also liked the character growth that Bart Allen was given upon his graduation to the Kid Flash role. I did not, however, like when he was given yet another instant growth spurt and became the next incarnation of The Flash. Not too many other readers liked this either, and that decision has thankfully been reversed.
I used a Thing image here by the great Scott Kolins - here's a Kolins-illustrated page from the Thing: Freak Show mini-series:
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
I'm sure Mike Mignola drew from many influences when he created Hellboy, and I would be surprised if The Thing wasn't somewhere in the mix. These two cigar chomping straight talking monstrous guys have a lot in common. I'd love to see The Human Torch try some of his pranks on Hellboy, though - his resistance to fire would take care of Johnny's one edge! And Ben has dealt with enough minions from the Negative Zone and the center of the earth that he could take anything that The BPRD throws at him. Yup, this is a buddy team just waiting to happen.
Monday, January 17, 2011
I hadn't thought of Conan as a guest star for The Thing because I have always considered him a Marvel Character, as that was the first place I had encountered him. I don't think he ever ran into Ben or the FF, though, so that's a good enough reason to include him. For some reason this cover took forever, there were a lot of little bits and pieces to it.
We have now finally seen some stills and quick footage from the upcoming Conan film. Well, the guy they got for the title role is certainly big enough, that's for sure. The question is, can he act?
Friday, January 14, 2011
This is a team up that I might not have done on my own, as the Masters of the Universe cartoon began airing a little after may Saturday morning viewing days ended, and I never really got caught up in the craze. Still, I got a lot of requests to include them so I thought I would give it a shot. I am glad I did, because I was fortunate to find images that meshed very well together and I think this is one of the more successful covers.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Freddy Freeman has had an interesting few years. I am thankful that he dropped the silly CM3 moniker, that just seemed to be trying too hard to be hip. In the wake of the Trials of Shazam mini-series, he was poised to become the central member of the Marvel Family, but I don't think that will (or should) stick. I'm not sure what the status in now, however. The last time I checked, Billy and Mary were still powerless and Freddy nowhere to be found. Hopefully DC will get this property back on track and everyone back in the correct identities.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Hawkman, particularly when drawn by Joe Kubert, can be one of the most visually impressive characters around. I have always loved his mix of alien culture and ancient weaponry. That, along with his married status to Hawkgirl and job as a museum curator made him stand out as a character for me. It's been cool to see a live action Hawkman on Smallville. I wasn't bowled over with his appearance the first time around - for one thing, it is hard to make bare arms look impressive onscreen unless you have someone of Schwarzeneggarian proportions. Also, the wings looked off. Fortunately, when he returned in a later episode the wings were fully CGI and I think they tweaked the costume as well, because he looked a lot more impressive. I hope we see a JLA film one day because I would love to see what could be done on a feature film budget.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
I have been enjoying the renewed adventures of Hawkman and Hawkgirl in the pages of Brightest Day. While I liked the Kendra Saunders version of the character, I did miss Shiera Hall and was sorry that she had been shunted out of the way - so I am glad that current incarnation utilizes the whole reincarnation concept and had aspects of both characters intertwined. It is cool that through her appearances on the animated Justice League and Justice League Unlimited shows, Hawkgirl has become a strong character in her own right, and not just an appendage to Hawkman. Even so, I prefer to see them working together and hope a new series featuring them both with be forthcoming after the conclusion of Brightest Day.
Here's an animation cel I picked up featuring Hawkgirl from her days on The Superfriends:
Monday, January 10, 2011
When Harley Quinn was first introduced in Batman: The Animated Series, I had my misgivings. A love interest for The Joker just didn't seem like something that would work. I should have had more faith in Paul Dini, Bruce Timm and company. Between the twisted relationship the pair was given and Arleen Sorkin's memorable vocal performance, she rightfully became one of the standout characters on the show. They were smart not to over-use her, so when she would appear it was a treat. The transition to the comics continuity was done well also, and she is a welcome addition to Batman's rogues gallery. Heck, I even got a kick out of her appearances in the great Batman: Arkham Asylum video game.
Friday, January 7, 2011
Ah, Han Solo - one of the greatest characters ever created for the screen. The prequel trilogy for Star Wars certainly had it's share of problems which have been discussed over and over, but one thing I don't hear people bring up is the absence of a lovable rogue type character. Harrison Ford played the part so well in the original films and he brought a much needed humanity to them. Here was a character who could play the skeptic and say a lot of the things the audience was thinking. You have to love Chewbacca, too. My eight year old eyes thought he was about the coolest thing ever when I first saw the film... although I still wonder how the heck a mercenary like Solo had the patience to learn the Wookie language!
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Here's another character that would fit right in with The Thing's poker nights. I got a kick out of Guy when he was first brought back and became one of the headliners of the revamped Justice League comic. I loved his personality which set him apart from so many other heroes. For a while though, writers began to focus on his more boorish aspects and he started to become a little too unlikeable. On top of that, his changing status quo (losing the ring, becoming half-alien, wearing garish armor, etc.) made it tough to stay invested in him as a character. Fortunately Geoff Johns and others did a nice job of bringing him back to the Guy we all liked - a brash yet heroic Green Lantern. I think he has one of the best GL costume designs as well.
This cover took a lot of futzing with because there was a lot of clutter on the original MTIO cover that I had to clean up. It's what you don't see in the final product that seems to take the longest with these things! I am happy with the results though, Guy's pose worked out better than I had hoped.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
I remember when I first encountered John Stewart, it was in a Christmas-themed issue of Justice League of America. Hal Jordan was out of commission (from slipping on soap in the bathtub!), so Stewart was called upon to take his place. Nowadays stand-in and replacement heroes are very common, but back then it was something very rarely seen, and I thought it was just the coolest concept. I dug the character and was a bit disappointed that he made only sporadic appearances in the years that followed. So when he fully took over the role and became the headliner in the main Green Lantern title, I thought it was great, despite being a Hal fan. I was even happier that upon Hal's return to the role, John Stewart did not fade into the background as he did before. I enjoyed his short lived solo title, Green Lantern: Mosaic and I did not like it one bit when they killed off his love interest, Katma Tui. These days, with his animated appearances John has almost as much recognition as Hal and with three ongoing GL titles, there's plenty of space to include him. Hopefully the GL movie will spawn a sequel and we will see a live action John Stewart grace the screen in a few years.
Here's a page featuring John Stewart by longtime GL illustrator Joe Staton:
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
I can't wait for the Green Lantern movie coming out this summer. I have always thought that GL should be the next big franchise after Superman and Batman - it has the superhero aspect mixed with epic science fiction and a dash of Top Gun thrown for good measure. GL also has some great villains, including one who is also his main love interest. It really has all of the elements of a good blockbuster. The trailer received mixed reviews, but I am still optimistic. Some have complained that Ryan Reynolds trademark schtick shows through too much and that Hal Jordan comes off a bit too jokey. I am hoping they included those moments to attract Reynolds' female fans to the film - they know the GL fans will show up anyway and want to reach as broad an audience as possible. Reynolds is very good when he dials the smarm down a notch like he did in Definitely, Maybe and I trust that the director Martin Campbell will not treat the property as a joke. The thing that I am most looking forward to are the alien GL's - Tomar Re, Kilowog, Salakk and so forth. It's gonna be really cool to see them on screen. The costume looks good in some shots and only so so in others. They may have overthought things a bit with making it all cg and glowy and I do miss the white gloves. Sinestro looks perfect at does Oa and Hector Hammond, and the story looks very close to the comics. I am Sure Captain America, Thor and X-Men: First Class will be fun, but this it the most anticipated film of the year for me.
Monday, January 3, 2011
I had heard great things about the series, so I picked up a copy of the massive one-volume edition of Jeff Smith's Bone. I don't think I have ever devoured a TPB so quickly before, I absolutely loved it. Smith draws beautiful scenery and is a master of facial and body language which make even his more simply designed characters extremely expressive. The writing is just as strong, featuring lots of moments of action, humor, suspense, and even romance. I still laugh when I think of the parts with Bone writing his love letter to Thorn. This is a great book that you can hand to anyone regardless of their age or if they have ever read comics previously.
The Thing image is from a FF pic by Evan Shaner, who I think has a fantastic style all his own. You can see more at: http://www.evanshaner.com/
Here's a Bone sketch by Jeff Smith: