These are two just must listen podcasts.
Great Stuff! Enjoy!
Great Stuff! Enjoy!
I’ve done the hunting, so you can do the enjoying. Hands down, below are the five best Music Podcasts…. IN THE WORLD!!
No hyperbole here.
VINYL, LIVE, LOCAL- Vinyl, Live & Local is hosted by Josh Gellman on Thursday’s from 3-8PM. The show always includes music from vinyl records, live recordings, and local artists. Featuring a range of music from Funk, Latin, Jazz, Indie, Classics, and a few surprises. It’s gonna be a party!! – This is an absolutely wonderful podcast of nothing but great music cuts. Radio as it should be, but unfortunately isn’t. Hosted by Josh Gellman, the show appears to have gone dark, but use the feed and for right now you can access the back shows, and I HIGHLY recommend it. If anyone has the inside scoop on this program let me know if it will be coming back. It’s that good.
CBC RADIO 3- The home of Independent Canadian Music – CBC Radio 3 is a weekly hour of 100% Canadian music from new and emerging artists. It’s one of the most popular podcasts in the country, playing the best in new rock, pop, singer-songwriters, hip hop, and electronica. Updated Fridays.
300+ episodes in and this Podcast/indie Radio Show is going strong. Wonderful selection of music, a nice range of feels, and moods. Great music to listen to while creating, for those artists and writers out there. I’ve only listened to a few of the shows so far, but my clear favorite is episode #311, their International Women’s Day Special. Lot’s of lovely music.
THE ZRO HOUR – I’m depressingly out of the loop when it comes to what the kids are listening to. But mostly because I don’t like the garbage the mainstream is pumping out. This hiphop show comes from the performers however, and as such, so far, I’ve found it a lot more listen-able. Show has gone on hiatus, but there’s a huge archive of shows to catch up on, and hopefully it will return so keeping it on the feed for a bit.
GILLESPETERSON WORLDWIDE- And the sceptered isle, not to be outdone, Gilles Peterson of the BBC, keeps our eyes on the prize with this podcast coverage and discussion of the once and future music, the greatest music that was, and will be again.
This royal throne of kings, this sceptered isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,–
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.
—William Shakespeare, “King Richard II”, Act 2 scene 1
And wrapping it up, here are today’s recommended CDs:
Mysterious Traveller- “Weather Report’s greatest album – Following their previous breakthrough album ( “SWEETNIGHTER”), which established the “Weather Report sound”, “MYSTERIOUS TRAVELLER” (1974) contains a number of interesting compositions that give the recording the feeling (if not the formal unity) of a “suite”, an extended journey through varying musical landscapes. Even more than in prior albums, individual improvisation is eschewed in favor of an “orchestral” and textural approach, an aspect of style distinguishing Weather Report from the Mahavishnu Orchestra ( the other great fusion band of the era”–Ian K.Hughes@Amazon
-Considering the original CD is selling for 3 figures, this import CD is a bargain at under $14.
Concrete Love – Julia Fordham“Fourteen years and six albums into her recording career, British thrush Julia Fordham hasn’t quite earned the following one might have forecast for her when she arrived with a bit of fanfare in the late ’80s. That said, she’s persevered long enough to have garnered the admiration of a core of devotees and more than a few notable musicians, including this collection’s guests, India Arie and Joe Henry. That Fordham has become something of a singer’s singer is not surprising given the cool intelligence of her phrasing and the versatility of her husky-to-piercing range, which recalls trilling ’70s singer-songwriters Minnie Riperton”—Steven Stolder@Amazon.com
Well that’s all for this installment. If you dug this post, and my selections, do three things:
1/if you’re a fellow blogger press ‘like’ on this post, that’s always helpful and
2/ definitely leave a comment and let me know if you dig the selections or tell me if I’m on crack, and left out your favorite music podcast and
3/ Support this blog by purchasing today’s item of the day via the link above. Each purchase gives this blog 2 cents to keep kicking.
Enough shilling, thanks for supporting. And in the immortal words of a wiser man than I… Peace, Love, and Soul!
SFF Audio presents ‘Beyond Lies The Wub’ by Philip K. Dick. Listen here.
HORROR ETC Episode 239 – Cursed Films- Posted by Horror Etc on April 3, 2012- A look at the legends behind supposedly cursed films through history. Listen here.
That is just a staggering amount of work, and a staggering labor of love, particularly when you factor in they are providing all this great entertainment free to you the listener. But for them it is definitely costly in terms of time, energy, and expense.
I realize the massive expenditure of time and energy and effort, and yes expense, that a blog can take, so a multi-cast pod-cast is an even more staggering commitment of time and energy, that you have to try and juggle in between your pay the bills jobs, and responsibilities of hearth, home, and family.
So yeah, the crew at CGS deserve much appreciation, and respect for their work ethic, because it is a massive undertaking. Made all the more impressive because not only are they prolific, one of the most prolific pod-casts of any kind, but they do it while also putting out a consistently excellent and fun to listen to product. And here they are in 2011, years later, still going strong. And still gaining new listeners.
Now all that said, a 174 episodes could could make it daunting for people coming in to CGS in 2011 and trying to decide where to start. The obvious question to most newcomers trying to get a handle on a new show is… ‘What episodes are the keepers?’.
Well that’s going to change depending on everyone’s interests. Some people like to start from the first episode, some people from the latest episode.
But most everybody at some point wants a best of list.
Recently needing to free up some drive space, I had to delete some episodes, which gave me a good excuse to go through 2011 and determine, which episodes for me were keepers. Which episodes did I see myself listening to or referring to again?
So it was a good bit of house cleaning I’ve just completed (freeing up gigs of Data), and I’ve decided to share the results with you.
As far as which type of episodes factor most prominently in my too-keep list?
Well, for purchasing reasons I find the ‘Previews’ episodes good ones to revisit, as they help me when I’m looking for stuff to pick up in trade or collections, that I might have missed the first time around. So the bulk of the episodes I’ve saved from 2011 are ‘Previews’ episodes ( A preview episode is, as the name implies, an episode where they look at upcoming books to be released).
Also the ‘Drunk Cap’ and ‘Uncle Sal’ episodes figure high on my to keep list. So I’m going to give you a string of numbers, and your mission if you choose to accept it is to head over to the CGS site (link below) where they give you the description and download link to the episodes I recommend.
So without further ado my biased list of the essential Comic Geek Speak episodes of 2011:
It’s worth noting that a lot of the podcasts that I was a fan of, have given up the ghost or are giving up the ghost.
Particularly if you go back and look at my Welles Award Winners, quite a few of those shows have moved on. Which is, to be fair, only natural that what amounts to a hobby, something you started to have fun, should be stopped when it stops being fun, and/or becomes a drain on you… time or money wise.
That said I do worry when the landscape of podcasts is shorn of the people who started it for the love. I think that will only leave the people, and big companies, that use it solely as a form of marketing.
So here’s a roll call of the fallen dead:
MONDO MOVIES -Welles Award Winner
FREQUENCY OF FEAR -Welles Award Winner
Q & A with Jeff Goldsmith
WATCHING THE DIRECTORS
COMIC BOOK SAVANT
GEEK SYNDICATE (closes shop in September, will be missed, easily in my top 3)- Welles Award Winner
So if those are the ones that are gone, what remains? We’ll cover that… next installment. See you then! .
I mean seriously, my blog is eclectic enough without adding webcomics to the mix, but hey, my core impetus for this blog is to bring you, in nearly real time, the things that are interesting me. And today that means… web-comics.
So this first BWOTD selection goes to:
ANTS by Julian Lytle.
I’ve heard Julian Lytle on various podcasts (thanks CGS) and am just, at the time of this posting, getting around to reading his webcomic. Let me start by saying, at risk of losing any potential cool-card, I seldom know what Julian Lytle is talking about when I hear him on podcasts, and some of his cartoons are similarly… frantic to the point of in-discernibility for me.
And no doubt I’m way too square for his hip dialog, However, my out of touchness aside, for the most part I find his cartoons work extremely well, and the best (the Video Music Awards, The Tiger Infidelity cartoon, and the great Eggos war!) are rich and funny and insightful. Go over and see the above selected cartoon at full size here, and if you like what you see then start at the beginning and read them all (I’ve finished all of 2009 so far, I’m at the cliffhanger of the Asgard War. ).
I think you’ll enjoy.
A picture of how the Academy Award losers really feel!
THE HEROIC TIMES 2nd (kinda) Annual Welles Awards!
Nifty title huh. I wanted to create an award show for this new generation of audio shows, podcasts and streaming radio. And while I toyed with a few people to name it after who had extraordinary voices, the great Paul Robeson, Paul Frees… I settled on naming it Welles after Orson Welles. Listening to Welles’ SHADOW episodes pretty much single-handedly got me hooked on audio dramas and Old Time Radio, and thereby New Time Audio Dramas and Podcasts.
So without further ado, let’s give out…. THE WELLES AWARDS!
1st Category is Top Ten Podcasts of 2010, I won’t bore you with the hundreds of nominees I went through to compile this list (and this section is strictly for podcasts that are hosted, and or referential/review based in nature, be that movies, music, books, whatever. If you have a podcast, but it’s basically just an audio drama, it will be in the audio drama category. There’s some bleed over but that’s basically the division). So let’s get to the ones who made the Podcast list, these are in no particular order, but suffice to say if you see them below the shows were the best most entertaining podcasts I came across in 2010 (notice that “I” if you don’t see your podcast, it doesn’t mean I don’t love you, maybe I just didn’t come across you in 2010— how’s that for being a politician ). The best of the best ( And keep an eye out for next installment Top Ten Audio Dramas of 2010, and yes, you’ll find THE RED PANDA there):
1. COMICBOOK GEEK SPEAK- This US, Pennsylvania based show cracked a 1000 episodes this year, a staggering achievement, and speaks for itself of the dedication and crazy work ethic, that makes them a shoe-in for everyones favorites list. That and just the camaraderie they have, and the community they have created makes for an always compelling listen.
They are one of the oldest, one of the longest lasting, and one of the most popular podcast shows and for good reason. For current fans of comics, lapsed fans, and curious newcomers this show is like hanging out with good acquaintances and is just a great way to stay in the loop on a hobby that needs all the inroads it can get. And again this show admirably illustrates the ability of the passionate amateur to be more in touch with the medium then the so-called professionals. In an age when the major comic companies are losing readers in droves due to bad will and poor public relations skills (particularly at a time when they should be taking advantage of the current Hollywood spotlight), this podcast has without doubt done more to introduce new and lapsed readers back to comics than all the corporate ‘suits’ and gimmicks and stunts combined.
Due to these guys I purchased sight unseen the BLACKSAD HC (excellent, as advertised) put out by Darkhorse. And I think they had a lot to do with that book’s 1st printing selling out, since after they covered it the issue became quite scare and expensive for a bit there, until the new printing came out.
I also tried (thanks to my local library and their recommendations) books from Matt Kindt including SUPER SPY, REVOLVER (ehh) and THREE STORY (very good). Jeff Lemire’s ESSEX COUNTY (okay), got caught up on Incredible Hercules (most of the run is forgettable, exceptions being the very good LOVE AND WAR storyline and the 3 part THOR/HERCULES storyline), As well as SHIELD 1-5 (1st issue good, other four, not so much) and got introduced to the great web-comic WORLD OF HURT.
Highlights of the year were the introduction of Drunk Cap, Batroc The Leaper, Strip Club Bachelor Night, Wedding, Super-Show, and more. You can try the podcast here.
2. MONDO MOVIE- This British podcast on all things cult film, is probably the first Movie Podcast that hooked me. I heard one episode and became a committed listener. The two hosts do a fantastic job of covering genre films from the obscure to the well known. From the blistering to the bloody. As of this writing they are on episode #111, but really all the shows are great and recommended. Real life intruded a bit in 2010, with them only putting out a few shows, but great shows that I always put on my radar… films I would otherwise miss. Even when I don’t agree with their reviews, I find their take on film, interesting. Based on their mention, in 2010 I rented/purchased the following: TRIANGLE(looks beautiful, it stops being good after the first 15 minutes), MOTHER (from director of MEMORIES OF MURDER), KING OF THE HILL (Spain-looks great, loses steam through the middle/end), RED CLIFF(John Woo, Great). Go listen now, but don’t blame me if you become addicted. Highlights of the year: Best films of the Decade. – You can try them here.
3. GEEK SYNDICATE- I became aware of these guys at the end of 2007, and have been a fan ever since. A two-man British podcast covering all things pop-culture, David and the Nuge are very much, in terms of listenership if not construction, the CGS of the island England, having created quite a community around them, and spurred the creation of quite a few podcasts, two of which have also made this list. These two have a fantastic chemistry, and their show is excellently structured to bring you a fantastic array of news, reviews, feedback, nonsense, interviews and just plain fun. And this extends to their website, which was for most of the year my goto site for entertainment news, from movies, to comics, to TV shows.
This year these guys and their crazy PLANETARY love, reminded me to purchase the 2nd and final ABSOLUTE PLANETARY volume, as well as Bryan Talbot’s GRANDVILLE and ALICE IN SUNDERLAND, and to put on my buy list JUDGE DREDD CASE FILES, And they’ve put quite a few TV shows on my radar to pick up in box sets, such as: HARPER’S ISLAND, DR. WHO, FIXER, SPOOKS (full British/PAL versions not the truncated BBC America versions), BEING HUMAN, PRIMEVIL, MERLIN, as well as keeping me informed on less than stellar TV shows (cough— Smallville). including: and were the first to discuss such topics as the Guy Ritchie ‘Lobo’ movie and the insane sounding plot to Rambo 5. Great show. Check it out here.
4. 11 O’Clock Comics- Is a new introduction to my podcast list, that I started listening to in 2010. With ISRs downtime I began looking around for another podcast, and this one with their 2 hour shows and eclectic range of topics filled the bill. It’s an odd show that brings a lot of good, informative talk/reviews, with a bit of belligerent, crazy talk. (Kyle Baker, comes to mind. As this show seems to take pains to (repeatedly) tell him what style he should, or should not be working in. A CG program or a pencil, it’s all a tool I figure. )
But luckily the informative talk outweights the crazy. . Since I’ve been listening to them they’ve put on my radar much, quite a few of which I’ve bought. Among them: MCSWEENEY’S #33 (the huge honking newspaper edition), ART OF MCSWEENEY’S HC, JOE THE BARBARIAN, DUNCAN THE WONDERDOG, XFORCE, SIXTH GUN. So the show, definitely is one of the most diverse, they do a PHENOMENAL job, introducing people to a lot in terms of comics, books, films, tv shows, and even drinks. It’s definitely a labor of love, and that currently rises above everything else, to make it a podcast I think is definitely worth your time. And I think another strength of this show is its familial nature, these are all men in their 30s and 40s who bring a perspective of wife and children and responsibilities, and when you toss that into the mix of comics and popculture talk… it makes for, the most part, an intriguing take.
5. FREQUENCY OF FEAR- Great Arizona, US based variety horror/anthology/comic/music show. It is really tailored to fans of old time radio and those old horror records, but if that’s you, you’ll love this show.- Visit them here.
6. HORROR ETC- http://www.horroretc.com/index.html- The Canadians toss their hat in the ring, with this always entertaining two man podcast, covering horror films from classics to current hits. They can be found here.
7. COMIC BOOK OUTSIDERS- A brother podcast to GEEK SYNDICATE, this 2-man Brit show (do you see a trend here) is right up there with GS, but concentrates on under the radar, and Independent comics. Definitely Recommended- Try them here.
8. B-MOVIE CAST- True to its title, this podcast covers classic B-movies, with a leaning toward horror, scifi, cult flicks. Well produced, it includes news, DVD releases, and the main course which is usually a pretty thorough interview of one or two B movies. Recommended! – Try them here
9. ISR- Indie Spinner Rack was awol most of the year as real life intruded, but the episodes they did release were always entertaining. Try them here.
10. THE LOST PICTURE SHOW- This Two-Man Brit Podcast (Nooooooo! Not another one! ) each episode explores a, if not lost, definitely under the radar film. But unlike other podcasts the films selected belong to no specific genre. They go from comedy to classics to cult. Visit them here.
Well that’s it folks, the HEROIC TIMES WELLES AWARD Podcast winners for 2010!! Jolly Good Show (that’s my brit speak. Yeah I’ll keep working on it)! And here’s wishing all those podcasts a great 2011! And if you haven’t already received your really hokey award just keep bugging me till you get it.
WATCHING THE DIRECTORS- A wife and husband duo each show tackle a different legendary director. A great show, that unfortunately came to an end in 2008, however you can for now still sample their old shows online here… http://watchingthedirectors.com/
BATTLESHIP PRETENSION- Well produced show, with two friends giving their views on films and filmmakers. The reviews are hit and miss with me, but the shows are well produced. http://www.battleshippretension.com/homepage.php
RADIO FREETOWN- A streaming audio show, that covers classic African music of the 70s. It’s a must listen. Unfortunately went on hiatus in February, but old shows for now are still up. http://www.wfmu.org/playlists/RF
Other shows I tried in 2010: Image Addiction, Chemical Box, Geek Brunch, Chronic Insomnia, Deconstructing Comics, Wednesday Warriors, Next Issue
Best Individual Podcast Episodes of 2010:
DOLLAR BIN EPISODE- Christopher Priest is one of my favorite creators, and in 2010 with Marvel spending a lot of energy to invalidate all the great work he did on characters such as BLACK PANTHER (who has been stripped of his nation, status, and kicked out of his own book for a dame) and POWER MAN (who has been stripped of his title), it was just nice to have him discuss the medium, his time in it, and the personalities he dealt with. I didn’t care for some of the questions asked, but Priest’s answers were always gold. Just to hear this fount of history, discuss the books I grew up on, including such still pivotal books as SPIDERMAN VS WOLVERINE (my favorite one-shot), as well as talk of his time as Editor of the Spider-man Books, Jim Shooter, Quantum and Woody, Batman and much more.
Horroretc Episode 154 Give Lance A Chance.mp3- This interview conducted by the guys of Horror Etc, with movie and tv stalwart and legend Lance Henriksen is fantastic. One of the best episodes of 2010
Thanks for looking! And feel free to let me know your favorite podcasts, or recommend any you think I might have missed. Thanks!
Okay I just made it all the way through THE SWORD. All 24 issues, I have both the issues and the collected edition but I do feel you get something out of reading the letters-pages, plus I like the sense of temporality (yes I did just invent that word ) it gives to the story, the definite sense of cliffhangers and pacing, that is felt when you have to close one book and transition to the next. I think it works surprisingly well in those 22 page chunks. So my first time through I’m reading the issues as opposed to the big honking collected edition.
I have to say as good as GIRLS is, and it is very good, THE SWORD is head and shoulders better.
Well, I just finished all 24 issues, and gone through the collected edition(I love that they include the original covers to break up the chapters… take note Robert Kirkman, that’s how you’re supposed to do a collected edition!… definitely helps with the sense of temporality), over two years of story and art… my verdict?
Well first, let’s back up and be petty for a bit.
The title, brilliant title, very simple, very to the point… THE SWORD.
How can you mess that up?
Well you’d be surprised! I need to call a couple people out, while it is spelt SWORD, the W is silent, it is pronounced ‘sord’. So unless you’re effing Arnold Schwarzenegger, you don’t pronounce the damn W. When in doubt check the effing dictionary! Damn podcasters! I’m looking at you!!! You know who you are! . (Oh and don’t get all riled I love podcasters. In fact my 2010 Best of Podcast Retrospective will probably be up next posting!)
And it’s not ‘supposibly’, the word is supposedly. I swear everyone who comes from a certain close by state, that will remain nameless, pronounces it ‘supposibly’, drives me up the frigging wall.
Do you feel the hate? I Know, I’m sorry, I’m usually in such a good mood when I do these blog updates.
But I’m in really an odd place right now, after reading THE SWORD.
Okay for those who haven’t read it, all you need to know is… it is brilliant! Go buy it now!
I do highly recommend reading it, because it is one of the most brilliant works in its construction and its audacity, that you are going to find. And because they offer the original covers to denote chapter breaks, the collected edition will work brilliantly as most peoples first, and only, introduction to the work.
I appreciate if you use these links as they help make a few pennies for this blog. So it’s a great way to get a great item for yourself or a loved one, and also help me continue bringing you these mad blog posts! So thanks in advance! And if you do buy via the links drop me an email, or leave a comment here saying you bought it or what you thought of it, and I’ll send you a freebie for supporting. Now back to our regularly scheduled program…
So go, buy the collected edition, say uncle HT sent ya, then come back and read the rest of this. Because beyond this point there be Dragons! Spoilers abound as I give a play by play of my run through the series, to the ending, to the odd place I am right now.
You’ve been warned. Okay, without further ado…
The Annotated Sword 1-24 or how these issues kicked my ass!
#1- If you’re not familiar with the Luna Brother’s the art can at first seem simplistic, stiff. But trust me it is anything but. What you’ll get in-tuned to, almost immediately, is the brothers are masters of conveying emotion through these lines on paper. The facial expressions are amazing and convey an almost palpable sense of who these characters are. And that emotion transcends the seeming minimalism of the artwork. Also they make the art breathe, mostly Jonathan in terms of the finished art, Joshua is credited with Layout and Lettering, and they both do the story. A big part of why the artwork works is the coloring and lighting and shading and perspective and focus and variety of other effects Jonathan uses to imbue these 2 D images with life. Another part is shot selection, and the use of panels against a black background. You become that much more funneled in, due to the images of light bound by that darkness. I’ve heard cinematic used to describe the effect, it works as well as any, though sensual is perhaps more accurate. This issue introduces us to Dara Brighton, a nice introduction, a meaningful one, before all meaning leaves her life; or more accurately, before her life becomes hijacked, forfeit, to greater meanings. It’s a great first issue with a cliffhanger to set the stage, for many to come.
#2-2nd issues can often be difficult, as they are oft the exposition heavy portion of the story. The great thing you learn in this issue, and that continues throughout the series is the Luna Brothers ability to make their talking scenes as compelling and captivating as their action sequences. The silences in the hands of the Lunas are as deafening as the explosions.
#3- Speaking of explosions this is where we learn what the Sword, and a young woman called Dara Brighton, picked by fickle fate to survive… can do. Phenomenal, jaw-dropping (in more ways than one) issue! The first “shout-out-loud” great cliffhanger of the series. A+.
#4- What amazes me is the Luna Brothers art. No one is going to mistake their art for Kevin Nowlan, or Art Adams, or Alex Ross or Gil Kane or JH Williams III or any of the masters of the medium, technically they are not draftsmen of that level, however what they are is masterful storytellers. I said it before it comes down to expression and shot selection, and using those two tools, they’ve created an issue that moves, and compels you to turn pages! They rivet you with just how masterfully they invest their characters into the story, and you into the characters. Add to that their ear for dialog, the naturalistic amidst the absurd. This issue is a chase, and at the end of it Dara Brighton, wielder of the sword… makes a choice that puts her at the mercy of a world that cannot understand her. B+.
#5 The thing that strikes you about this issue is just how solid and strong the storytelling is. From Dara waking up to see herself chained in a mirror, to her breakdown as the agent makes her consider her father’s culpability in her family’s murder, to the perspective shot of her leaping over the agents. Just great visual storytelling to go with a great story. A-.
#6- Dara is reunited with her fugitive friends, and a history lesson is told. Very engrossing. B+.
#7- This issue flows between riveting storytelling and laugh-out loud moments. “Girl pants”, “bus trip”. And the Luna Brothers are masters of the final page. Of that iconic last image/line that makes you go “Damn!”. I own the SWORD COLLECTED EDITION but the best way to initially read this series, and the way I’m doing it, is reading the singles with letter pages. You really need that moment between issues, to recognize that down-time, that transition. Great issue. A-.
#8- Another winner “Reached into the bowl” Great issue, but you know what I said previously about the Lunas being the masters of the last page. If this last page doesn’t make you cackle out loud, there is something wrong with you. Masterful cliffhangers. Plus that’s a fantastic cover. A-.
#9-If the ending of this issue doesn’t make you go…”Aww Sh*t!!!!” , then I repeat… There is something wrong with you. Yeah bring it!!!! Frigging awesome storytelling. Dara at the mercy of the monster that killed her sister.A+.
#10- Woah. Like the protagonist you suddenly realize this is a lot harder than you thought it was going to be. A-.
#11- It’s a LOT! LOT!! HARDER! Man, what a throwdown, and it’s getting worse. You can almost say shes on her last… legs? Doh! It’s compulsive page turning entertainment. A-.
#12 The first year or thereabouts of the SWORD comes to an end, and the Luna Brothers could not have ended it better. Dara is 1/3rd of the way through her ordeals, and it has taken much. It primes you, as does the last page, primes the remaining two thirds with simple question… what next? Great issue. A-.
#13- Coming off the powerhouse first 12 issues, this issue was more a lull before the storm. Didn’t really captivate or emotionally resonate with me like previous issues, on first read, but still good. B.
#14- Is back on stride, as Dara and friends… storm the house of an elder god. Great “Bring it!” Cliffhanger! B+.
#15- Efffing INSANE! There are no words! Just read the audacious lunacy that is this issue! Man! They are putting this girl through a lot. A+.
#16- Dara goes toe to toe with an elder God. Nuff said. A+.
#17- Dara vs Giant Rock Elder God! More, more, more. B+/A-.
#18- What a frigging AWESOME final page! Cackling my head off like a loon. Absolutely brilliant. And just the expressions the Luna Brothers put on everyone, but especially Dara as a woman driven beyond all limits of man or god, to exact revenge. Brilliant. A-frigging +.
#19- Wow. How is it possible the Luna Brothers can follow up one of their most action packed issues, with a contemplative one, of mostly talking heads and make it one of the best issues of the run? I’m in awe, as Dara and Friends discuss the future and the past on the way to meet the last of the gods. A+.
#20- Dara lands in New York… and mayhem ensues. Absolutely great series. A-.
#21- Do you know what it is that makes these issues, this story so great. The Luna Brothers have an unerring grasp of both the naturalistic, who we are in our everyday failings and strivings to succed, and the iconic, and their ability to switch between those two poles of our existence… powers what is best about THE SWORD. Once again the last few pages made me go… OH YEAH! And that by itself deserves an A+.
#22- Ouch! That was effing harsh. I don’t even have that particular organ, and it hurt me to watch. I can’t even grade this issue, kinda painful. Double ouch.I go into the last two issues, and I who have known the world… am afraid, That’s pretty damn good storytelling.
#23- Okay. Did not see that coming at all—- brain overloading– too much data! Danger Will Robinson! Danger! Series is blowing my mind.
This is MAJOR SPOILER territory, so read only after reading the whole series.
#24- And now we come to the end. God that was fucking depressing. Talk about a crucifixtion. That’s no way for anybody to die. To go through all that pain, save the world, and then to end like that. Man you Luna Brothers are some cruel SOBs. Uhhh… so depressed, must open vein now.
Over 2 years of story… brilliant, but why oh why would the Luna Brothers let the story of Dara end so brutally, so… unfairly. I know, I know… cause life isn’t fair. Efff that!!! You save the world multiple times you should get more for it than… that. I’m on record as wanting an epilogue to this story to give Dara the happy ending she deserves. I’m looking at you Luna Brothers! I’M LOOKING AT YOU! Call me a hopefull romantic, but I like to believe in happy endings.
“When you strip everything away from the Batman, you’re left with someone who doesn’t want to see anybody die!”–from Ross and Waid’s KINGDOM COME
Unlike the above quote I understand that all life ends in death, but I guess if you strip everything away from me you’re left with someone who doesn’t want anyone to die badly. Who believes that lives of honor, should warrant a little bit of happiness or at least deaths of honor.
It is a dark end to a brilliant book. However I would like to imagine an unseen end to Dara Brighton, where she was acknowledged for her great deeds, and given a gift for those deeds. A boon.
It’s a dream… I have.
And who knows, much like David Peterson of Mouse Guard… who let famous writers and artists do a take on his characters, maybe the Lunas could do a similar one-shot epilogue issue where various creators give their take on Dara Brighton’s end or resurrection or salvation, etc.
Well that’s it for now. Luna Brothers’ are taking a break from joint work, to pursue individual projects, so nothing on the horizon (beyond possible movie talk) to followup THE SWORD. But whatever the future brings for these talented young men (have you seen them? They look like they are ten. To be that young and that talented is mind blowing!) they have left a body of work that will long be admired, enjoyed, and ultimately emulated.
The ending did not make me a happy camper, but the ride is not to be missed. THE SWORD by The Luna Brothers gets my highest recommendation… A-.
I saw this poster, and this young lady would make the perfect Dara Brighton. The combination of beauty, a certain foreboding, a certain vulnerability, and a certain resolve, all captured in a look. Her face is impossible to look away from. With lips that men in ages past built temples to. Alluring on levels that words do barely touch.
New York Comic Con 2010 News!!!
Unfortunately because my butler with the bat-helicopter is too lazy to get me out to the con on time, I am not not going to be making it!
I’m so annoyed that i could scream….
Feel better now.
Not really, however the good news is a lot of people with reliable butlers are on the floor of the con, and bringing you the love!
Most of them of course, not being me, do a pretty bland job at it.
I mean come on, there is only one Lex Luger of blogging!!!
However, I search out the guys who are bringing the news with some personality and fun! I’ve searched and saved you time, by finding the best current coverage on the NYC CC 2010! and they are all pretty damn great!
So without further ado… Here are sites bringing the news on the mania that is NYC CC 2010!
Comics Beat is ROCKING the NYC CC 10 News! Dark Horse announces $1.49 comics via new app! Marvel Cutting back titles! (About time. See my earlier posting on DC flooding the market with titles). There has never been a harder partying comic con than NYCC 10. Comics Beat is much easier to navigate than Newsarama! Recommended!
And for sounds from the Con, Comic Timing recorded a podcast at the show!
And IFanboy also is a must stop for all the con news you can use!
Eff it. I’m buying my airline tickets to New York Comic Con 2011 Today!!!! Alfred… YOU’RE FIRED!
Plan is to head out in the AM so I can crash the Sunday Convention doors when they open. We’ll see how well that plan pans out.
But what I can bring you in the interim, is a bit of feedback on the first 2 days of the New York Comic Con (coverage/news has been surprisingly light), and following that offer a slightly sleep deprived, yet heartfelt questioning on what’s going on with DC Comics. Okay… onto the ranting :
ComingSoon.Net- Has a 5 page gallery of pictures from the con. Uhhh— don’t know who their photographer is, but you are at one of the nations biggest cons and all you can think to take pictures of is toys and props???? Wow. Either that’s the most boring con ever, or ComingSoon needs a new photographer. . Judge for yourself.
Newsarama- True to their name is on the ball with coverage of various panels. Though the bit of news that got my attention was DC’s price drop, dropping their price from the insane $3.99 price point back to the nearly as insane, but just this side of acceptable $2.99 price point.
Now the following stance is primarily regarding the physical form of comics. But drop a $1 off the pricing and the stance is valid for the digital form of the product. For more on my take on tangible versus digital, go here.
I guess their shrinking sales figures woke them up to the fact (a fact that just about everyone told them before they embarked on the path) that $3.99 (ie $4!!) for a couple dozen pages of paper that will take you ten minutes to read… is not good value for your money.
Ideally I’d like to see the big two comic book companies (Marvel owned by Disney and DC owned by Time-Warner) pick up and run with Warren Ellis’ Slimline/Fell model of pricing… $1.99. That’s the price-point you need, particularly in this economy where the Average person’s salary is stagnant or decreasing, to not only maintain existing reader interest, but to create a viable entry price point for new readers.
Now I’m not crazy that DC is cutting 2 pages of story, 20 rather than 22 pages, to bring the price-point back to $2.99. So they are pretty much screwing the people who were just getting $2.99 books, which was pretty much everybody. So to look at this another way you’re still forcing an across the line price increase by reducing the content for the regular $2.99 books, while still asking a $2.99 price tag for them.
Crap! That makes me mad.
Leave it to DC, to make a necessity, lower prices or lose market share, yet another way to screw the consumer.
I think it reeks of unhealthy quibbling from one of the more public faces of a multi-billion dollar conglomerate. I mean seriously, you’re going to stiff us across the line for 2 pages.
Johns, Dido, Lee, Wayne… (a company with entirely too many titles, and too few people really willing to steer the ship), are you watching this?! Great Caesar’s ghost! If we’re losing 2 pages across the line, kick the darn price down to $2.50!
I was taken in by this announcement until I really started thinking about it.
I mean don’t get me wrong it is a start. It’s a start… an underhanded, devious, greedy, backstabbing, slimy, smarmy, odious and stinky start. But it’s a start.
Now all they have to do is publish some books worth buying, and I might jump back on the DC bandwagon.
Oooh, riled a few of you huh?!
Here’s the thing, I’m not a DC basher. I like DC.
While Marvel was the comic company that, like most kids my age, galvanized my attention in my youth; heading into my teenage years it was DC who had picked up the coming challenge of the direct market and a more mature customer base and gave us a very sophisticated and yes literate body of work, in an amazingly short amount of time.
Wolfman and Perez’s NEW TEEN TITANS (look at that great cover! We’ll discuss in a minute how current day DC comics have a hard time producing great covers), Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen’s LEGION OF SUPERHEROES, Moore, Bisette and Totleben’s SWAMP THING, Miller’s DARK KNIGHT and YEAR ONE, Baron and Guice’s THE FLASH , Englehart and Joe Staton’s run on THE GREEN LANTERN, O’Neil and Cowan’s THE QUESTION, DeMatteis and Giffen’s JUSTICE LEAGUE, (preceded by the equally good run by Gerry Conway and Luke McDonnell on the closing issues of the JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA) and of course Wolfman and Perez on CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS. All those books in relative spitting distance of each other and in many ways they still define what is best in this medium we call comics.
Those runs are memorable touchstones to a lost holy grail, that to this day, companies are still mining for, still trying to recapture. Not least of all DC itself.
Here’s the thing I’m aware from podcasts that DC has quite a few talented creators out there, and some are doing good books. Some are doing FANTASTIC books! DC has one of the best creators, in my opinion, working in comics today in Mark Chiarello, Art Director (as of this writing) of DC Comics. His SOLO and his WEDNESDAY COMICS, in a time where the height of creativity or thinking outside the box in comics, was Zombie variant covers, or killing/resurrecting characters, are two projects, that continue to blow my mind. Just inventive, thinking out the box audacity. And that he’s also am amazing writer and artist (His Negro League cards are STUNNING!) in his own right, just makes it all the more odd that DC doesn’t just turn over the keys to him.
But they don’t.
Instead DC seems to be retreating from very innovative concepts and growth, growth that seemed to have been building up to a watershed of creativity perhaps akin to that 80s period I mentioned, but seemingly forestalled in what can only be seen as a homogenization of what was becoming an ethnically diverse line.
DCs problem today is the same problem that has always been an Achilles heel of comics. Braindead marketing, and over-saturation/flooding of the market.
“Oooohh. One Batman book is good. That mean’s 16 Batman titles would be great!” No you stupid, stupid men. Multiple titles of the same character introduces confusion into your consumers and into the brand. While you will always capture the one moron, with too much disposable income, who will buy, and probably not read, all 16 titles. Historically, and today currently, what happens instead is for that one who will buy into your gouging ploy, you have 600 people like me who will look at these 16 different Bat titles, scratch their head, and say I can’t be fucking arsed to figure out what title is the ‘good’ Batman title.
And I understand, that with so-called 2nd string titles not selling as well, the impetus is to go with a name, go with a name, go with a name. The problem with that is at $4 a pop, no one is going to experiment on a 22 page comic. At 60cents and 75cents I could take a risk on something called SWAMP THING or $1.25 on something called THE QUESTION. But DC, all comic companies have largely priced themselves out of the impulse buy market. At $4 the book has to offer a definite great experience for the reader’s money. In terms of both story, art, character, and payoff. And typically that’s a lot to ask of a new character where the first several issues is about building the character. And that’s a lot to ask of Dc, in particular, because DC cover artiist, for the most part, not very good. Anytime DC gets a halfway decent artist, Marvel swoops in and steals him away, till you look at today, and DCs covers for the most part look like garbage. The tradedress, the actual art, it’s just not something that wouls impel me to stop, pickup the book, and flip through it. If the cover artist sucks, I can only imagine how bad the interior art is.
I refuse to believe Mark Chiarello is signing off on these covers. But whoever it is, needs to tighten up the ship, because fault Marvel for what you will, but their books, their cover artists… are AMAZING! Like I said, I don’t even buy Marvel Comics with the exception of Brubaker’s CRIMINAL, but if I did I would be drawn to these marvel books.
Why is CRIMINAL the only Marvel/Icon book i buy?
Well, because I don’t buy individual issues that don’t come with a letterspage and/or backmatter/ additional conversational type material. One of the reasons I was such a huge fan of books such as FELL and GUTTSVILLE (Holy Hell I miss that book! Two of the most innovative, beautiful and brilliant books of the 21st, smothered to death by that little flooding the market thing I’m talking about) is because they offer this deeper insight into the material. in the case of Brubaker’s CRIMINAL it’s even more amazing material.
So yeah that’s why. If you can’t be bothered to put together a Stan’s Soapbox style bit for your readers, or do a letters page, I can’t be bothered to pay for your effing book.
However all things being equal, if Marvel and DC were to reinstate letters-pages/back-matter, and get the ads out tof the story, based on the quality of the Marvel artists and to some degree writers, I would clearly be buying Marvel comics.
While it’s inane to let a cover be the sole judge of a comic, this is a graphic medium, so the cover means a bit. It’s the resume that gets you in the door, or the hands of the reader, and it should impress.
Marvel Comics, from trade dress to actual artist, typically rocks.
DC typically sucks.
Damn take your pick of nearly any DC comic released this month. Such as:
This is your flagship title, right? You couldn’t tell it by this cover. You could barely tell this is a JLA title. You make the title all but invisible? Really? It’s just piss-poor trade dress design. And the central image conveys and illicits no interest what so ever. No art director should have signed off on this.
This is a good artist, however the central image doesn’t really convey much. The Rebel’s title and trade dress doesn’t help to give any kind of interest to the cover. It’s the type of cover that in the old days would have been saved with a word balloon or caption, but evidently DC can be bothered these days with little things, like making their covers sell-able.
Honestly do I even have to point out how bad this cover is. And me not reading DC comics, this is my first time seeing the costume all the podcasters were talking about. I really have no stake in the character, so change away. But make it good, that costume is utter garbage. Beyond that the art just looks… awkward. I’m not sure if she’s preparing to fight or having some type of hemorrhoid attack. .
Here are 3 more cover images, that just don’t cut it.
The DOOM PATROL central image is actually good, but the trade dress just does nothing to make it exciting. It’s just floating in a sea of boredom. The FLASH image is busy, but busy in a bad way, it’s just not engaging or interesting, but at least the Trade Dress, typography brings some interest to the image. Just not enough to overcome the weakness in the central image.
THE FLASH has some of the best covers ever, it has to do with artists with a great sense of design and placement, as well as a great color scheme, and finally fantastic typography, captions, and word balloons, a life and energy that is mostly missing from this modern issue.
So DC has only itself to blame that it’s new characters find a steep slope to acceptance. Even at $2 I’m open to dropping $5 and picking up 2 books a week. But when $5 will barely get you one book/story, and typically that $5 experience of piece of story is unsatisfying at best.
SUPERGIRL- I’ve heard nothing but good things about this Super-Girl run, but based on this cover alone, I would never pick up the book. Again the central image itself isn’t particularly bad, it’s just not particularly anything. And once again DCs lack of trade dress, typography, just calls attention to the fact that something is lacking.
How is it with nearly 80 years of comic covers to learn from, people still can’t get it right?
Marvel however, really has not only great artists, but as importantly they understand typography and the effective use of typography and cover organization. Bendis was well known for this with his POWERS work. Some examples of Marvel getting it right? (these are from the same month as the DC ones above):
The above Marvel images speak clearly for themselves.
Marvel just kicks ass on these covers (and this statement comes from me Heroic Times, someone who for the most part has turned his back on Marvel monthly comics)! Marvel has those stunning, painterly artists, such as Simone Bianchi that DC simply can’t hold onto.
Marvel is no less culpable than DC with their 6 THOR or 8 AVENGERS titles, but each issue looks orders of magnitude better than their DC counterparts. And Marvel seems, to come to each cover witn a sense of design and layout, for the most part lacking in the DC titles.
George Perez is still cranking out some masterpieces for DC. Relative newcomer Sami Basri , is knocking it out of the park with POWER GIRL (And if DC doesn’t pay this guy, I predict he’ll be the next artist Marvel takes away from them. He’s that good. Look at his cover to issue #16 of POWER GIL, a great use of negative, a great understanding of creating images that speak), as well as Alina Rusa’s attention grabbing cover to BOP.
But these are exceptions to DC’s rule of rather tired, boring, uninspired covers. Marvel on the other hand, while no less event heavy, and just as guilty of flooding the market, you get the sense it’s a rather cohesive vision driving the Marvel machine, and for the most part it really is creator and quality driven. With DC you get the sense it’s mostly editorial mandates, that tend to be a scattershot approach, and that quality across the board is more miss than hit.
Yet given all this, DC still looks to the consumers for the reason their books aren’t selling. The books aren’t selling first and foremost because they are too expensive. And two because, the DC comics I’ver read in the past few years, individual issues, just aren’t very good, even if they were $2, for giving you a good reading experience. The JLA is supposed to be the flagship title for DC, and in the last few years, they’ve been unable to get anyone excited or interested in these comics.
Part of this, most of this is, particularly with Dwayne McDuffie… editorial interference. I have yet to interview Dwayne McDuffie, but the sense I get was he was courted by DC, following his HUGELY successful JLA UNLIMITED series (which got the JLA absolutely right and is the best they’ve been in any medium in years) and given JLA, mainly to weasle the rights to MILESTONE away from him (more on Milestone in a bit). And once that was done he was pretty much saddled with crippling editorial interference, and a less than stellar art team, until he was pretty much shooed off the book.
So when a company’s flagship books are saddled with high prices, and poor, unsatisfying story and art, very few are going to risk dollars with secondary characters or untried characters from this company. It’s why I think ideas like Chiarello’s SOLO and WEDNESDAY COMICS, somewhat of a reinvention of the company’s SHOWCASE roots, are potentially the future of the medium. A monthly flagship title, containing a mix of classic and new characters, with letter pages, and back matter, and a real conversation like comics of old, with popular characters being spun off into their own titles.
The alternative is the diminishing returns model of current comics.
To be continued….