Sunday, August 23, 2015

Greener Comic Pastures: Recommending Non-Superhero Comics (Starring Women)

If you frequent a  comics website or certain groups like EuroBloggers, then you will, sooner or later, come across articles on how comics lack female representation. They do not. Okay yeah, superhero comics seem to lack them, as do some of the movies, but as we should all know: superhero comics do not equal comics. There are plenty of female lead or female co-starring books out there and I might as well share some of them with you.

Alex + Ada
Have you seen Her or Ex Machina? Then this is not it, it's similar in premise. Guy falls in love with girl robot. I'm only two trades in at the moment but this is an enjoyable book. You can tell that neither the author nor the artist are terribly experienced yet but it's an impressive effort. Within a few issues, the book had set up multiple storylines, with each issue furthering the romance between Alex and Ada, the A.I. freedom movement that Ada and Alex are now part of, and the complex series of hiding Ada's true nature in a world that fears artificial intelligence. While some could probably read something offensive in the fact that Ada was freed or "unlocked" by a guy, it was never done for shady purposes and only because he felt uncomfortable owning what was essential a sexbot. It's only three trades in at the moment so you might as well jump on as the storyline is steaming ahead full.

I recommended this series over a year ago already and I can't stop loving this series. The story is summed up relatively easy: on an uneventful day in a small town somewhere in Wisconsin the dead rise one day. The city is quickly put under quarantine and now sheriff department Deputy Dana Cypress is put in charge by the sheriff as basically the main investigator to what the author himself called a "rural noir". Add in that it's quickly found out that Dana's sister is among the revivers, and who have quickly a lot of stories going on, dealing with government coverups, redneck survivalists, a mysterious burned killer going around, and of course how the city adapts to having their dead risen and maybe not back to the way they were. And how do these weird yellow ghosts play into all of this? Revival is a fantasy detective story where the snowy town is the only bright thing in it.

This had to come at some point but Saga is and remains the best comic published right now, after all, it is the newest book by Brian K. Vaughn, he of Y: The Last Man. The story is, once again, quickly summed up: guy and a girl, Marko and Alana, from opposite faction's of a generation long war fall in love and have a kid. Now hunted by bounty hunters and the government to surpress this message of love a bunch of weirdos have to raise a child in a living ship... okay I know this sounds stupid but it's better than it is, trust me. The cast of characters is all around excellent and well characterised similar to the other two recommendations, the show has a lot of storylines in the air but don't let that deter you, Saga handles all of them flawlessly, while diving into stories of so many characters but never forgetting the actual main character: the baby Hazel herself, who also serves as narrator, so you see how all of these stories tie into that character and how it impacted and shaped her. Is she, as some say and claim, the most important being in the universe? Or just a child who grew up in interesting times? Well, you'll have to find out by reading.

These are just some of the comics out right now that star female characters and it was just there to remind you that, while you may be disappointed by the lack of interesting female characters in superhero comics, there are always other books you can check out and support.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Fantastic Four (2015): A Mini Review

I think we will be talking about this film in great lengths yet on the podcast but I think it might be worth to get my take on it out. So here goes:

This is a movie whose greatest fault is not being a Marvel Studios movie, hated years in advance of it’s release for not being a Marvel Studios movie, thus taken away from it’s director’s original Cronenbergian vision and via executive mandate stripped of it’s character development and interesting aspects to be turned into a Marvel non-Studios film. What remains is a proof of concept where there should have been a proper movie. What remains is a serviceable adventure scifi flick that should have been a hard scifi film. It’s not worth praise but it’s not worth the outright bile thrown in it’s direction either.
At worst this is an uninspired scifi movie with good ideas. It's not a travesty, it's not a betrayal: nerds, get over yourselves. 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

A Day Late & A Dollar Short - 5 Reasons Why Big-Budget Movies Underperform

If you've paid attention to the movie industry over the last few years, then you will know that certain movies under perform and flop. Which makes sense after all. Not everyone has the time and the money or wants to put in the effort to watch all movies that come out each year. And as we all know by now by just looking at the upcoming movie schedule, or recent box office numbers, it doesn't always hit deserving films. Edge of Tomorrow, lauded as one of the best Tom Cruise films since the man went gaga? Underperformed. Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, directed by one of the best film makers of our generation and one of the best comic adaptations around? Underperformed. The-Movie-That-I-Am-No-Longer-Allowed-To-Name-Or-Argue-For-It's-Greatness-Anymore-Even-Though-It-Was-Genuinely-One-Of-The-Best-Comic-Movies-Ever-And-Butthurt-Fanboys-Need-To-Shut-The-F-Up? Underperformed. You get the idea. By time of writing even the new Terminator did not make as much as people wanted it to make, putting future sequel plans at risk. Now why is this? Well, let's take a look at the list.