Random Rants, Images, Comics, and Movies: JUSTICE, ATOM EGOYAN, FELL

This is some random images of items currently on my overloaded radar. Either films I’ve watched, or books I’ve read, or music listened to:

I’ve just finished the first 2 books in the 3 book series that is JUSTICE. You can find expanded details about what I thought of it by checking out my 100 GREATEST GRAPHIC NOVELS posting, over in the menu to your right. But in brief, I thought it was a very effective collaboration. Particularly the melding of Doug Braithwaite’s inventive layouts with Alex Ross’ sublime paints, creates a final product to be lauded. The dialog, by frequent Ross collaborator Jim Kruegar, particularly at the start of the 2nd volume, doesn’t always ring true, seems at times forced and stilted. But these moments are brief, overall the story is everything it sets out to be, an engaging, if darker version of the Saturday Superhero cartoons that Alex Ross grew up on. All twelve issues deserve to be collected in the publisher’s over-sized Absolute format.


While on the comics topic. There is really very little out there that interests me. Two of the best, most interesting comics in a long time GUTSVILLE and FELL look like they are on permanent hiatus. Simon Spurrier is paying the bills over at Marvel Comics, doing Ghost Rider or something. What a waste. I guess it comes back to that Kirkman Brouhaha, of guys spending their careers maintaining the old order, rather than creating the new.

Similarly SPECIAL FORCES and ZEROKILLER are to be delayed.

So with the best comics on hiatus, what does that leave?

Well I’ve been looking around and seriously… not a whole hell of a lot. First and foremost I’m not paying $4 or $3.99 as they like to call it, for a comic book. Hell most people are on the fence, and rightfully so about paying $3 for a comic. So at the $4 price point, it makes more sense to say f**k new comics; and just read back issues. You can pick back issues up for as low as 25cents (there’s enough old comics, that if you tried you couldn’t get through a tenth of em in your lifetime, so who needs new), or do more cost effective collected editions such as offered through Manga, or Trade Paper Backs, or Original Graphic Novels… all available easily through your local bookstore.

Warren Ellis had, and has, the right idea with FELL, a $1.99 book that is 2nd to nothing on the stands. But it does suffer from catch22-I-tis…. not enough people are buying it for Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith to do it regularly, but if they don’t do it regularly the people who are interested in it can’t buy it (and may stop looking for it), and it can’t build momentum and an audience.

See? Catch 22.

With the big two generally releasing diabetes inducing soap opera fare (SECRET this, FINAL that, who gives a good damn) an irony becomes clear. As shown by cinema receipts the mainstream is open to adopt comics, but the comics market has a/ very little of any quality for them to adopt and b/ no mainstream distribution in place. It is an idiotic oversight. At every theater that sold Batman tickets there should have been comic book spinner racks, loaded with comics, strategically placed not too far from the popcorn. 🙂 .They could have moved millions of comics, as opposed to being happy to break 30,000 issues.

I keep hearing how shrewd Marvel Comics is, but like Microsoft they are only shrewd in fleecing their customer base.

Like Microsoft, Marvel would rather burn money in safeguarding what is broken rather than actually giving their customers something that works.

Microsoft once upon a time made an operating system for customers to use. Can you imagine that? It was a bold operating system, nowadays Microsoft makes products with an eye to their limitations, with an eye to what you can not do with it. Those are two very, very, different mentalities and it shows in the quality of the product. One is an adventurous, explorational spirit which put Microsoft on the top, the other is a scared, protectionist, antagonist mindset that threatens to drag them to the bottom.

Marvel Comics has that same mindset. They are protecting the old, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but they are doing it at the expense of the new. And that is a bad thing.

It is, therefore, an age ripe to topple old men and old doddering companies.

It is an age for the new.

New items such as RETURN OF THE SUPER PIMPS! This series published by DIAL C FOR COMICS, is closing in on issue #6 and is the kind of book that is the victim of a poor distribution market. Meaning it should be selling millions, and would be great to sell to kids, but the distribution model is aimed at whispering to the choir rather than shouting to the crowd.

Which is a shame because it is a great comic… and I recommend it. It is that rarest of things in a very cookie cutter market… it’s fun, it’s original, and it’s not Eurocentric. All things I consider very welcome, and very refreshing, and very needed. So bother your retailer for issues and if he can’t help you do a search, find the website of the company and order books direct from them. And just tell them HEROIC TIMES sent you.

Okay enough of that rant. 🙂 .


What do the above have in common?

They are all films by director Atom Egoyan. The first film I saw by him was the brilliant and devastating THE SWEET HEREAFTER. There aren’t many movies I rate as an A. THE SWEET HEREAFTER just may be an A+. I’ve been going through the rest of Egoyan’s work, and it appears so far that THE SWEET HEREAFTER is clearly his best film. That said his other films have much to recommend them. I’ll do a full breakdown, similar to my earlier overviews of Directors Jess Franco and Tsui Hark (you can find those also in the column to your right); so check back often.

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