RATING THE DOCTORS: The Best & Worst Doctor Who Companions Pt. 1 of 2!

Update:

Okay waiting for my trusty photographer to send me the pictures from Wizard World Philly, and then the 2nd and final part of that convention coverage will go up. Part II of the Pulp article, and the Charles Saunders MONARCH OF MAYHEM are both being worked on.

And working on WEDNESDAYS WORDS for tomorrow, Have not missed a Wednesday yet! (Knock on pixels)

So in the interim of all that heavy lifting I’m doing, here’s an easy, breezy post…

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THE BEST AND WORST DOCTOR WHO COMPANIONS

This year I made it through watching all 30+ seasons of Doctor Who, counting the old (with the exception of lost episodes) and the new.

I first ran across Doctor Who as a kid watching the Tom Baker episodes on PBS. Incredibly low budget even by my childish standards of the time, it was okay. Quirky, not something I really made a point of following, but would watch if nothing else was on.

Re-watching the entire 30+ year series in a matter of months, I have a far better appreciation and understanding of the series as an adult.

There were some really smartly written and exciting and imaginative episodes in the show’s 30+ year history, and we’ll get into those. But in this post I wanted to discuss the barometer for what is best and worst in Doctor Who… namely the companions.

If you dislike the companion, or find them annoying, or their dynamic with the Doctor just doesn’t work, the show seldom rises above your assessment of them. ie bad Companions translating to bad and annoying episodes. This is very subjective of course, but informed by the context of watching 30+ seasons of Dr. Who. So informed subjectivity if you will. πŸ™‚

So without further ado the five best and worst Dr. Who companions:

We’ll start with the negative in this post, and do the best next time at bat.

WORST

Adric – played by Matthew Waterhouse from 1980 to 1982 with Tom Baker and Peter Davison – The character of Adric was an annoying whining and joy eroding albatross stuck on the end of Tom Baker’s tenure and throughout Peter Davison’s tenure by the long running and both creative and stifling producer, John Nathan Turner. John Nathan Turner was a hit and miss producer, responsible for an equal share of Doctor Who successes as he was missteps and failures. His choice of companions being one of his most obvious. Adric being the worst of Nathan Turner’s lot of disagreeable companions. “Wow we are getting to travel in space and time, so instead of being thankful or awed let’s just bitch and be upset all the time, and wear the same stinking clothes for no apparent reason”. The reason for wearing the same clothes, was another Nathan Turner misstep, wanting the companions to wear a consistent uniform, which just came off as stupid, and eschewed the fun brilliance of the first companions who every episode carried over pieces of clothing and garb from their adventures through time and space. Quite a fun idea if you think about it. So the character of Adric, was the most egregious of Nathan Turner’s bad decisions, but not, unfortunately, the only flawed bit of casting and character.

Turlough – played by Mark Strickson from 1983 to 1984 with Peter Davison, along with the characters of Nyssa and Tegan and Adric, he was part of Nathan Turner’s whiny, unlikeable companions. Which is a dig against the producer and writers rather than the actors. Despite Tegan being written unnecessarily combative and whining, and the character of Nyssa being completely underwritten, I didn’t find them too grating, or ‘turn off the show to avoid’ bad. However I did feel that way to a great degree by the character of Adric, and to a lesser, but still unsatisfying, degree, Turlough. So hence him making my worst list.

Mel – played by Bonnie Langford from 1986 to 1987 with Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy- In her defense she’s bubbly. But beyond that she just seems an odd choice that never quite works for me. She is not as bad as the others listed, I don’t dislike the character, I just don’t care for the character.

Amy Pond & Rory- I found her from the first incredibly annoying and uninteresting. Her whole pouty thing, and the Rory/Amy show… not remotely interested. Stopped watching after the first season with them.

Mickey Smith- Ugghhh. A Shakespearean trained actor and you have him doing a bitchy step&fetchit neutered character. Just annoying from the first episode of the revived Doctor Who series. I disliked the character so much, that it would not be until many years later, when given the chance to view the whole series cheap, that I would go back to Doctor Who. A character that defines the negative connotations of the term ‘Black faces, White messages’. Russell T. Davies who is to be applauded for reviving Doctor Who and making it a world-wide phenomenon had some very negative uses of male characters of color in his first few seasons, and Mickey Smith was that dynamic at its worst. Ironically with the character of Martha Jones, he would introduce a fantastic female companion, and a fantastic character of color; Davies issues relegated seemingly only to the male. Whatever the reason Mickey Smith was an awful character, redeemed only marginally in his last few appearances.

Those are the five worst companions in no specific order, though I think you can tell by my descriptions, my personal ranking of them. See my rating for the five best companions here!

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The Philadelphia ECBACC Con has come and gone! Verdict? NOT TO BE MISSED!!!!

Silly rabbit, comics aren’t just for kids πŸ™‚ !

I could never really figure out the appeal of a comic con, even being a comic reader. I mean I’m not into getting things signed, I’m not really a people watcher or someone interested in standing in line to say I met someone, and you can generally buy books anyplace, so the real need of a con was lost on me, until I started up this blog and got serious about writing again.

The New York Comic Con… Two months ago, my first con ever… showed me the beauty of a con.

I’m not a big people person, but there’s something great about being around like-minded men and women. I heard other people on various podcasts say that, but it’s true; it’s a great thing to be in a venue, to be among people who you don’t have to educate or justify or explain that comics can be for adults as well as kids.

Great to be around people, writers, artists, fans, that GET it’s a valid medium, like any other medium… as juvenile, as adult, as horrific, as funny, as romantic, as historic, as insignificant, as important as any other medium. So it’s beautiful to be in that environment with creator and fan, networking, sharing a common language and discovering new voices and new visions.

And as great as the NEW YORK COMIC CON was for all that, the EAST COAST BLACK AGE OF COMICS CONVENTION, sans the three days, and sans the Star Wars stuff, and the Video Game stuff, was just as great (and without the horrendous waiting in line, that was part of the NY con).

Hosted at the stunning Temple University in Philadelphia, I had a blast. The show stayed crowded and packed the whole day, with creators an attendees all sharing that common language and common love of a medium. The sixth year for the event the place was jammed, it is DEFINITELY going to need a bigger space next year, and they really need to consider making it two days for the con. Saturday and Sunday. And moving the award ceremony from Friday (when most people are working and can’t get there) to Saturday night.

That and the space issue aside (the aisles were too small, the space was too small, it often became bumper to bumper traffic. **Note to con, bigger space, much more room between tables**) the con was a hit. Many creators I’m happy to say sold out of books, and I think for everyone it was a great experience.

Everyone was in a good mood, fun approachable, nice, self effacing. That’s generally the thing about comic book people, creators and readers, specifically Indie Creators and Readers, they tend to be people I want to be in room with. Comes back to that common language.

A lot of California and New York Creators were represented, but also Baltimore, Detroit and everywhere in between.

And it was a great con for fans to meet creators, as well as for creators to network with each other.

The con offered me the chance as fan and blogger and always mild manned freelancer πŸ™‚ , to speak to well known greats such as:

Kyle Baker (NAT TURNER, THE BAKERS, KING DAVID fame) and Dwayne McDuffie (MILESTONE, STATIC, JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED fame),

As well as brilliantly talented under the radar creators such as:

Masheka Wood (DEEP DOODLE), Ayo (80 GUN), the lovely Mikhaela Reid (ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT MIKHAELA), Robert Garrett (GALTOW), Akinseye Brown and his beautiful wife whose name races away from me (SANNKOFAMAAN:PET THE BEAST), KENJJI and his beautiful Fiancee (sorry, me and names, if it’s not written down it goes in one ear and out the other) creators of WITCHDOCTOR, Tdreerah who introduced me to the work of Turtel Onli.

As well as other Amazing creators who cover all points and mediums in between, including art, toys, children’s books, games, and of course comics:

Keith Knight. His K CHRONICLES series continues to justly win awards and acclaim. I own DANCES WITH SHEEP and FEAR OF A BLACK MARKER and recommend them. Keith’s work manages to be funny, irreverent, smart, and somehow universal. As he with deft crosshatching, makes the moments of his life into a rich, funny, and often courageous mirror… of all our lives. This is a great age we live in when you have artists like Aaron McGruder, Masheka Wood, and Keith Knight all producing brilliant comic strips. And all available in collected versions direct from the creators, or from better bookstores everywhere.

Larry Fuller (aka A Christian White): Award winning, acclaimed and influential underground comic writer/artist, from the swinging early days of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. It was my definite pleasure and honor to stumble upon him, He’s a walking trove of information about the history of this medium.


And more than that he remains a vital proponent and active participant in the medium, and embraces the new technology of Wacom tablets, and various 3D programs. Check out some samples on his site: http://webs.lanset.com/lfuller

A site which I highly recommend. But make sure you’re a mature viewer, it does contain some sex and nudity, but it’s an invaluable look at the heyday of underground comix. Look at EBON 1, a very early effort, but there’s some strong storytelling chops there that holdup. And his adult comics, not typically my cup of tea, from the samples on his site are funny, and brilliant, and amazing.

And he has an art style, that particularly in his later adult work you see a nice, Toth like sensibility. Unfortunately the work is out of print, but it’s work I’m on a mission to collect. Like similar underground artists Crumb and Robt. Williams, Fantagraphics should collect Fuller’s work in one over-sized tome. His work is an important and influential part of the medium, that helped birth the current Indie scene.

As a struggling creator I’m definitely learning from his site, an definitely look forward to seeing more work from him. MARVEL/DC if you’re out there listening, you should be knocking on his door to write for you.

Also I was able to record, with Mr. Fuller’s permission, much of our conversation. It’s a very informative, and interesting audio interview. I’m in the process of cleaning up the audio now, but will be posting soon!

Eugene Randolph Young Has a great kids book and puzzle, which you can find at http://www.leslurn.com. A great resource for parents and teachers seeking positive, entertaining, and educational materials for all children, but specifically for children of color. But what floored me about ERY was the AMAZING!!! sketch books of art he brought out! Phenomenal artwork, and a wonderful vision that you can see samples of at http://www.eurayo.com and http://www.artwanted.com/artist.cfm?artid=7930.

Think Wayne Barlow meets Alex Schomburg (not his comic work, but his painted work, and book covers) meets Luis Royo meets Giger, but all filled, fueled with an aesthetic, a meaning, a story, a richness that is uniquely his.

If you need a GREAT comic or book cover, you would do well to snatch this guy up. highly recommended.

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So lots of detailed reviews and audio interviews to bring you, but for right now, some quick recommendations:

Masheka Wood’s DEEP DOODLE is a book collecting his extremely well illustrated, and extremely insane cartoons! I loved it. I was trying to think who to compare it to, and I really couldn’t. While the art has a little Jim Woodring in it, it definitely has its own voice, and the humor and sensibility is uniquely Masheka. Strong recommendation!

I also wanted to give attention to Masheka’s fiance the talented Mikhaela B. Reid who I mercilessly teased, and she has now put out a hit on me. The hit aside, pick up her book ATTACK OF THE 50FT MIKHAELA. Buy enough copies and she may drop the hit on me. Thanks!

For me, the find of the con is a tie between two books. The first is:

WITCHDOCTOR PROTECTOR OF THE PEOPLE is a 3 part 2002 Xeric Award Winning series that I somehow missed when it initially came out, but thankfully Kenjji the writer/artist was at the con with the whole series for sale.

About a Haitian Doctor coming to terms with ghosts of his past that still haunt him into his present, it is absolutely phenomenal story and art. This is the kind of fresh energy the medium needs, and the mainstream is lacking.

And I really look forward to more from Kenjji and GRIOT Publishing. He has an anthology in the works to address Japanese/Black relations and the stereotypes that are perpetuated in their media. Negative images of people of color, that are primarily there because those demeaning images have been, and continue to be… the number one export of corporate America. Images of Division, Derision, and hate. So I think Kenjji’s project is an incredibly important one, and will definitely do all I can to support it.

That said, I really want to see more WITCHDOCTOR from this creator. So people, publishers, everyone… please support this guy.

It’s a crime for an amazing talent like this to be unknown. It’s analogous to a world where Jack Kirby had never been given work at Marvel or DC, the loss would have been everyones.

Kenjji’s website is appropriately enough entitled http://www.kenjji.com and if Marvel and DC don’t run over there and hire this guy, they’re even more out of touch than I thought.

That said Kenjji, don’t take too many jobs, cause I have work for you. See it’s this comic with a lady in black, and… okay we’ll talk. But seriously, a Highly recommended book by a highly recommended writer/artist.

The other best of the con comic book, just may be the most important comic currently being published… by anyone!

The significance of this comic is pretty akin to someone in 1939 America (a period when much of America’s wealthy were in favor of Hitler), doing a comic addressing Nazi atrocities and concentration camps.

This comic I’m discussing deals with an issue as current as that would have been, and as horrific.

It deals with the continuing genocide in Nigeria of an entire people, to steal their oil. The hiring of paramilitary neo-nazi and south african death squads by oil companies, to enforce their theft of natural resources, enslavement of workers, and destruction of the environment.

The book is called AKINSEYE’S SANNKOFAMAAN: PET THE BEAST by Akinseye Brown, and it uses the familiar tropes of the costumed hero to address real world issues, and does it brilliantly, being didactic (which is a great thing, following in the footsteps of the Pan-African movement which did the same thing for film, using films such as HOUR OF THE FURNACES, BATTLE OF ALGIERS, GOD AND THE DEVIL IN THE LAND OF THE SUN, and even relatively recent films such as HYENAS and DARESALAM… to bring the continuing horrors of colonialism out of the shadows), while still managing to be entertaining and rousing and uplifting. Our fictions perhaps being the ultimate place to change our facts.

Akinseye writes and stunningly illustrates this series, and it boggles my mind that I had never heard of this comic or this writer. I’m going to do my best to change that.

I went to his site for more info, but couldn’t get in because his site must use Flash or Javascript, and as all long time readers know… I don’t surf with either one of those turned on.

I HATE Flash, Active X, and Javascript.

Sites need to offer a plain HTML entrance for those of us who don’t dig the bling bling and potential security issues of flash, active x, and javascript. My biggest pet peeve, sites that aren’t easily navigable.

But that caveat aside, the book is Highly, Highly Recommended!

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Stumbling across the work of Mr. Brown and Kenjji and Eugene Randolph Young and so many others, is one reason that this is a convention I will be attending every single year.

Talent like this should be sought out, and books like this should be supported.

Come back next installment for yet more reviews and interviews from the great ECBACC con!

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2007 NY COMICCON REVIEWS Are Finally HERE! (AND THE CROWD GOES WILD!)

Lots of reviews to get to from the NY Comiccon, but let’s start out with one non-con review.

CRIME SUSPENSTORIES

Just received my order, the complete EC Crimesuspenstories from Gemstone publishing, and I have to say… worth the wait. This series was much talked up… all over the web, as being a high point of EC specifically, and comics in general. Couple issues in and it is living up to the hype. A lot of the stories, given the 50+ years of adaptations and reworkings, are going to be familiar to noir fans. Take the first story… MURDER MAY BOOMERANG which has been adapted a couple of times, most notably on the TALES FROM THE CRYPT tv show.

But that said, even knowing the payoff the story still manages to impress and have its own voice; because the writing, surprisingly, is very, very good. I thought the actual story had a sense of cyclical damnation that wasn’t in any of the adaptations I’ve come across.

The stories are sharply written, and get you to endings, both telegraphed and not, with enough style and craft, to make the journey itself a joy.

Onto the reviews of the series thus far:

CRIME SUSPENSTORIES #1 (1950)- Four stories in this first issue. The first, written and drawn by cover artist Johnny Craig, MURDER MAY BOOMERANG is a strong introduction to the series and made a believer out of me. As well as giving me an immediate appreciation for the art of Johnny Craig. In eight pages you get a solid payoff. B+.

DEATH’S DOUBLE-CROSS– Wally Wood art, that I’m not as keen on, and you know where the story is going from panel one, but there’s a vibrant gall in how Albert Feldstein (writer and editor) chooses to end it, that works for me, and gives this old horse of a story… enough legs to cross the finish line. B/B-.

DEATH’S SNAPSHOT-The cover story, is evocatively rendered by Graham Ingels, you see in his line work… artists to come, such as Wrightson and Totleben. The story itself (by Feldstein who scripted all the stories in this issue except MURDER MAY BOOMERANG and HIGH TIDE) is one well known to fans of the genre, but the story manages to generate a real level of intensity despite the familiarity of the subject. Very impressive. B.

HIGH TIDE-Is an amazingly written/narrated piece of craft (I love that first paragraph), that really impresses me, like all of these stories not for its conclusion, as much as its overall structure. Like film noir, the ending is foregone, it is the style in getting to that ending, that makes the film (or in this case comic).

Nicely done, and Harvey Kurtzman who is a triple threat here as writer, penciler and inker, is indisputably effective. B/B+.

Add in a couple text pieces (the good DOUBLE INDEMNITY, and the not so good REWARD)… and you’re getting your money’s worth.

All in all, a book that 5 decades later, reads better than most of the stuff on the stands today, and that is no small feat. And just think, but for the tenacity of two men, Bill Gaines and Russ Cochran all this work would have been lost to future generations. Strongly Recommended. Thanks to the GCD [www.comics.org]for providing detailed info on who wrote, drew, inked, etc.

CRIME SUSPENSTORIES #2 (1950)-A great Johnny Craig cover (I love this cover!), highlights another quartet of criminal comeuppance. DEAD-RINGER-The cover story, opens with a splash page which is among the best I’ve ever seen. I opened the book and was like… “Wow!”. You don’t expect this kind of craft from a 50 year old book, sold for 10cents to kids. Johnny Craig writes and illustrates this eight page marvel, and it’s a page turning treat. B+.

A MOMENT OF MADNESS- Wonderfully illustrated by Gruesome Graham Ingels and scripted by series stalwart and editor Al Feldstein, about a brilliant surgeon who blacks out, and discovers carnage when he awakes. Great stuff in 6 pages. B/B+.

PERFECT MURDER-is a very enjoyable text piece by Feldtein. B+. And I have to say I love Russ Cochran’s letter page…CRIME TIME. Next up is THE CORPSE IN THE CREMATORIUM, another nail-biter dramatically drafted by Johnny Craig about… uh.. the title says it all. Good stuff. B. CONTRACT FOR DEATH-so I’m reading this story, and I know it like the back of my hand because I’ve listened to the audio drama from which it is based, and it’s good if by the numbers, but starts twisting into original territory, until it reaches a very satisfying, and suitably ironic ending. A ghoulish guffaw inducing ending. B/B+. Another great issue of CRIME SUSPENSTORIES.

More Crime Suspenstories reviews in future installments. Now onto what you’ve been waiting for….

NY COMICCON 2007 COMIC BOOK REVIEWS

CITY OF WALLS by Stand Alone Productions- Is my fav discovery of the 2007 NY Comiccon.

I saw these two morose looking gentlemen manning their table at the con (with few exceptions a lot of people at the con, were like that. I don’t know if Sunday was just a rough day or what, or it could be that creative people by definition are not the most social lot, but guys [talking to everyone who goes to the con to sell books] you’re there to sell your books, scowling at potential customers… not the best way to do that), but I’m the sociable hard to deter type, and the cover of the book, CITY OF WALLS grabbed me.

So I dragged a description of the story out of the creative team, and when they saw I was actually buying the book, they got down right affable. : ) They signed and even bagged the book for me.

The gentlemen were writer Shaun Noel and writer/artist Abede Lovelace, and the book… finally read, I have to say… impressed the heck out of me. The story about a self-contained city, is largely setup, and slightly mysterious, but it intrigues me, I like what is there and I’m really interested in learning more.

However, the standout feature of the issue is the visuals. The layout and pencils by Abede Lovelace are innovative, exciting, and experimental… and very, very good. This praise extends to the inking, by Mark Morales, and lettering by Latoya Burns and book design by Antonio Lopez.

The lettering is wonderful, clear and legible and presents ever-changing/fluctuating font styles, and I love the shadows on the word balloons, really helps to keep the look interesting. And finally the whole book, from cover to cover, looks wonderful. The inside cover pages, etc. It is a very pleasing to the eye and well designed book. Keep this team together and I will definitely be looking forward to future issues. STAND ALONE PRODUCTIONS looks to be a creative group to watch.

Now my recommendations to the creative team: Independent companies are a hard sell these days, so my recommendations would be for them:

1/ finish the story arc, even if you have to do it online. Put out the other issues.

2/Do a trade, and put it out through Diamond Comics and the usual channels. If you can’t aford color, may want to consider getting it grayscaled.

3/ Market the book to the book publishers, I think similar to ABADAZAD and TRICKED, collected this book, if it ends as strong as it begins, could do really well in bookstores.

4/ start work on the second story arc.

No, no, please no applause or payment for my unsolicited words of wisdom. But seriously, really glad I stumbled across this book, and hope the creative team keeps at it. I think they have stories worth the telling. B/B+. http://www.lonemanstanding.com

SAND STORM #1-2 by Newave Comics- I’m something of a fan of ancient Egypt, this subset of Nubia, their battles with the Hyksos, their grandeur and their greatness, this rich mythology but rarely touched on. So it was a given… that I would pick up this book.

Written by Keith Lovely, with story and art by Rashida Lewis, it has something to do with a power struggle, and a young woman’s struggle for survival and ascension. It’s a nice production job, full color, cardstock covers, a nice package, However I found the story in the first issue a little hard to follow, as was the art in places. In some places the computer coloring was too dark, or not enough separation/contrast, so sometimes dark brown characters, were lost against dark brown walls.

So a few problems with the first issue, that said I’m very happy to see more books about characters of color, and more creators of color.

Rashida Lewis shows a lot of promise in this initial issue by stepping up and doing, what others just pay lip-service to. So for that, Rashida is to be commended, and I look forward to her art improving by leaps and bounds, and with a stronger, less chaotic script; the story of Anumari should begin to take shape.

That said I’ve just read the 2nd issue written by Eugene Argent, and that is so much better than the 1st issue. “Sir, for my talents- I need only the word… and the word is given.” That rocked, and a lot of lines in this book rock.

However the flow of the story at times is still chaotic. Example, we leave the fight with the princess in mid thought, go to another subplot, and return to her finishing the thought. It’s a distracting, and poor choice for a cut. Also the coloring is still an issue. [though in newave’s defense (hold on is the company called New Wave or New Ave, if the former you guys need one more W, cause you’re killing my spell checker πŸ™‚ ) the scans on their site look much better and brighter than the printed version. Which leads me to believe everything is printing darker than they intend it]

Recommendations: Farm out the inking and coloring. A solid inker and colorist , could make a dramatic improvement in the art/storytelling. Ala Laura Depuy.

But recommendations aside, overall a very strong improvement over the first issue. Looking forward to future issues. C-/C. http://www.newavecomics.com

REVOLUTIONARY WARFARE by Alpha Godz Entertainment #1-2– Was one of the first books I picked up at the con.

An anthology book by Christian “Xian Trujillo” Montalvo and Antonio Montvalvo, anthologies are typically a hard sell, because of their hit and miss nature. I like the pieces accredited to Xian Trujillo, and the social conscience of the work, and probably the best thing in issue #1 is a short 3 page story called LOCKED OUT, but the stories do have a tendency to blend into one another. Still, definitely promising work. And these guys have an awesome logo.

INTERNAL FURY #1 by Vexed Comics– Written by Charles Dixon, Drawn by Jason Ross, and Editing/Production Art by De Ettra Wells.


Really great greyscale art highlights this tale of a jailbreak. Jason Ross the illustrator is a talent to watch. I thought the story moved well, however the main character’s monologues/soliloquies to himself just rang as false and forced. When the character wasn’t ranting, the book worked better. Hopefully future issues get better and better. But definitely worth checking out, the visuals by Ross are worth the price of admission.C+.

BRIELLE AND THE HORROR #1 by Loaded Barrel Studios [www.loadedbarrelstudios.com]- This easily has the best production value of any of the books I picked up at the con. Visually it’s incredibly impressive.

A photo-manipulated comic, with the “star” of the book at the con, taking pictures and doing a signing. These guys at LOADED BARREL are marketing the book hard, and they are doing a great job. They have an army of people pushing the book, it is a virtual class on marketing, and making an event happen. Really a high energy group, they and the CRAZEE COMICS guys know how to sell themselves and their books.

Now onto the book itself. It’s frigging impressive. You could put it on the shelves beside most of the output from the big two, and this book, just production wise, will take em. Absolutely gorgeous book, and possibly the future of comics.

That said it’s not without issues. The most glaring being the book visually gets darker and darker, and more muddled looking, until by the end I honestly could not tell you what the heck that is on the last page. Not good. Rule one of story telling, especially visual storytelling… make it clear. Don’t let substance get obscured in style.

Also minor typos, spelling, etc. But those minor issues aside, I really enjoyed the first issue, up until the last couple of muddled pages. Brighten the art up a bit, and these guys have a homerun on their hands.

Well written, strong and realistic dialogue and visuals, great use of lettering sans word balloons… yeah, I’ve seen photo-comics before, but never done so well. Looking forward to future issues. B/B+.

Wanted to give very, very quick shoutouts to the last few discoveries of the con, they are:

UVC #1- I was handed this magazine by the Editor Rich Watson, when we were both bending the ear of Reginald Hudlin.

UVC is a new magazine, published by Ron King it should be on everyone’s radar. Full color, glossy pages, high production values. It covers the world of Black comics, animation, and creators. Think WIZARD if it was good. Loved the first issue, looking forward to more. You can pick up issues at http://www.UVCMag.com.

BKF RAW #0- Is a sketchbook by Infinite Line comics, showcasing the artwork of David Quiles, Daniel Richards, Carlos Montanez. It’s a sketchbook to promote a new series called Bare Knucle Fighting, and mixes a sexy woman with said sexy woman punching people and getting punched. Not my sort of content. Now I try not to be a prude, and I like sexy, beautiful women as much as the next guy.

But I don’t like the idea of anyone hitting a woman, much less a guy punching a woman. That’s just me, I’m a dinosaur, I don’t think the idea of women getting hit in the face is a sport. I don’t watch women’s boxing, just not my thing. And I think the idea of making a bloodied woman look sexy, is perhaps a little disturbing, that maybe our society does enough mixing of sex and violence as it is.

That said there’s good art in this book. But it’s not a subject I’m too interested in seeing more of.

And to go out on a positive note:

SANFORD GREENE DEADLINES SKETCHBOOK- Sanford is a big dude, nice guy, and an amazing artist. There’s definitely an anime vibe in his work, and I’m not a fan of anime, but he also brings a level of detail and weight that goes beyond the anime label.

His sketchbook showcases an artist who can do scenes of near Geoff Darrow complexity. I’d love to see him move further from the anime style, but other than that… he’s definitely an artist to keep an eye out for. http://www.Sanfordgreene.com.

Finally the NY Comiccon Reviews are all in! Thank all of you for your patience. And swing by the links I provided and support these creators.

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The NY COMICCON 2007 Coverage Pt. 1: The Black (you talking about shaft? Hush your mouth!) Panel

I had a great time at the NY comiccon. I thought with the exception of the rat like maze, laughingly referred to as a line, that it was a well conducted event.

Being my first con, I was definitely a little overwhelmed. The sales floor really was too much for me. Navigating it on Saturday (and I tried), was a herculean task, and I couldn’t find anything.

So I mossied (I couldn’t find it in the dictionary, but you know mosying , that thing cowboys do when they can’t find a horse. It’s kinda like walking πŸ™‚ ) my way down to the panels.

The panels I had researched and knew what I wanted to hit. With one exception I hit pretty much every panel I was interested in, and on Sunday got to touch base with creators and personalities I’m a fan of.

Here’s a pic from the great Marvel Bullpen panel. Lot’s of fun, packed house. Sorry for the blurry pic, but I think you can pretty easily make it out. From left to right it’s Stan (The Man) Lee, Jolting Joe Sinnot, and Gracious Gene Colan!.

Stan was a riot! Panel also included Ralph Macchio and a lady they only referred to as Flo. Fun panel, full of reminisces of Marvel’s glory days. My 2nd favorite panel!

But in this installment wanted to talk about the panel that surprisingly was my favorite of the con. Michael Davis’ The Black Panel NYC.

Now, now… don’t give me that look, it was actually really good. :).

The unfortunate truth is you can’t say Black in this country without some idiot saying, “why it gotta be a Black thing” and the answer is always the same. For the same reason there is an Asian thing, or a Jewish thing, or an Italian thing, and let’s be honest America is a defacto white thing.

And for the absence of a strong sense of identity amidst that defacto standard, prisons are filled, and drugs go into veins. So it is very, very important to have a china town, or a little Italy, to have a language, and a country, and a history, and a culture, and idioms to call your own.

And a lot of that infrastructure is in need of building.

Not just for the good of the minority mind you, but for the good of the majority. It benefits the majority, for the pieces that make up the whole, to be able to bring their own identity, and strength to the table.

So trust me, a Black Panel, A China Town, a Little Italy…. these are good things.

Now quick thoughts on the panel:

Above is a nifty pic of the panel. From left to right you have:
Denys Cowan (You can just make out the tip of his hat, and his shoulder, but have a better pic below), Chuck Creekmur, Cheryl Lynn, Prodigal Sunn, Michael Davis, Reginald Hudlin, and Mark and Mike Davis of Blokhedz. I’ll get into who everyone is, and what they work on)

“I would love to work with (Christopher) Priest. Along with Denys (Cowan) he’s one of the creators I’ve reached out to.”
…Reginald Hudlin, Writer, Filmaker, Comics Pro, President of BET, and Renaissance Man, an excerpt from the absolutely was not to be missed Black Panel that took place at this years NY Comiccon. A panel decisively and brilliantly moderated by Michael Davis.

Because many times even when the panel is great, the questions are idiotic and insipid. As in the Stephen King panel, “well I haven’t read the book Mr. King, but a friend of mine told me….”

So it was great to not see that happen, and that Michael Davis steered the panel with a deft and strong hand. The panel was great, the questions were great, the vibe was stunning. You had a great Asian-Latin-Black lovefest and mutual admiration society going on, which is great and fitting, because Black really does encompass all those people, the mass media’s attempt to fractionalize that truth, aside.

Above is a pic of Prodical Sun, Michael Davis, Reginald Hudlin.

And I want to get further off topic here, Mr. Davis took flak from someone regarding using the term Black for his panel. Isn’t that amazing? You can have a Jewish Anti-Defamation League, or an Asian that, or a Korean this, or an Italian that, but noooooo… you can’t have a Black so and so.

But Luckily he told the guy go jump in the lake. Because honestly I frigging despise the term African American.

“OHHHHH!!” And the crowd gasps!

“No he didn’t just say that!”

“That Negro has lost his mind!”

Well actually I did say it, and I have as firm a grasp on my sanity as I ever had, which of course isn’t saying much.

But for you in the cheap seats, let me say it again so you catch every word: I frigging despise the term, African American.

Why?

Because it’s a very marginalizing, mass media term; that doesn’t encompass the rich vein of people and culture that word is tacked over, but segments them based on national/geo-political boundaries.

An idiotic way to define a people, painting them with a nationalistic brand or brush. And an inaccurate way.

60% (a low #) of what we consider Latin nations, Brazil/Cuba/Venezuela are heavily of African ancestry. So as a person whose blood line runs from Senegal to the islands to the Americas… Black works really well for me, hey I’ll even answer to Pan-African, Nubian, on an especially jovial day perhaps even colored(smile when you say that boy!) but you can take your African American and choke on it.

Because AA is a marginalizing divisive term taken out of the context it was first used in.


“Man that Negro is crazy!” “Pan-African please. πŸ™‚ ”

So getting back on topic, the fact that it was called the Black Panel, worked for me. And I think it worked for the people who were there.

Because unlike my tirades πŸ™‚ it was all about the creative process, and new projects, new visions, upcoming work, and generally just moving forward.

With Animation projects, comic projects, book projects, publishing ventures it was a really informative panel, bursting with networking goodness.

I should have recorded the panel, and hope someone did, because it was that good.

Here’s a better pic showing Denys Cowan and Chuck Creekmur.

Panelists were:

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Denys Cowan-Writer, Artist, Martial Artist. Very long, very brilliant comic career. Highlights for me being his work on the Question, Black Panther, Batman Blind Justice and his Milestone work, such as Hardware. Now VP of BETs new Animation Studio.

I’ve been a loud detractor of BET, since their sale to Viacom, my issue being how you can honestly call it Black Entertainment when it’s owned by a white company, you may be able to call it blackface, or propagation and fulfillment of black stereotypes but not necessarily Black entertainment.

But with names like Hudlin and Cowan at the helm I’m inclined to actually give the channel another look, and hope it becomes more than a station that panders to stereotypes.

Though I would love to see these men working on their own company rather than a subset of a larger company. Because end of the day as Michael Jackson, and Magic Johnson, and Prince have found working their projects under Sony, end of the day you are generating income for interests outside your community, making Sony’s name at the expense of your own, and end of the day when you stop generating income you will be discarded. As will your work.

That’s always the fear when talented creators of color invest their time, in properties they do not own. But again with Hudlin and Cowan in the game I’m inclined to be positive.

Check out Newsarama’s interview with him here:

http://www.newsarama.com/general/Cowan/DenysInt.html

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Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur- President of WWW.ALLHIPHOP.COM. I admit to being out of the hiphop loop, but the site looks like a fun, easily navigated, and thankfully Flash free site. I’d love to see him partner with creators such as Aaron Mcgruder and Keith Knight, to bring their respective funny endearing, and satire filled cartoons, BOONDOCKS and THE K CHRONICLES, to a hiphop audience.

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Ms. Cheryl Lynn- Unfortunately the only beautiful panelist (no offense guys) was not captured in any closeups. I consider myself pretty schooled on Comic/Cartoon history, but I was mistaken. As Ms. Lynn eloquently informed the audience about a wonderful female cartoonist who worked in the golden age of the medium, of whom I was totally ignorant… Jackie Ormes. She has a great site, and I urge you to do what I did, go to her site and get informed. And also it’s a great resource for cartoonists of color to join, or for finding great cartoonists to work with. http://theormessociety.com/.

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Prodigal Sunn of Wu Tang Clan– Wu Tang Clan is among the most effective musicians to use the comic medium as an expression and extension of the story their music told. And Prodigal with a solo CD about to launch, television work, animation, and film projects on the burner remains one of the busiest and most steadfast supporters of the medium of comics.

I’d love to see Prodigal’s website become Flash Free. πŸ˜‰ [Black people, can’t we stop using Flash. :)]

But seriously, what I would like to see is Prodigal’s Wu Tang Clan comics syndicated/reprinted on ALL HIPHOP. Also what would be great is if ALL HIPHOP offered a store where you could purchase the books, of WU TANG CLAN, BOONDOCKS, K-CHRONICLES direct from their site. A win-win situation for everyone.

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Okay all the time I have for this installment. Next installment we’ll cover the last 4 members of NY Comiccon’s THE BLACK PANEL! ([ feel like that should be in big lights, and the name echoing :)]

All in all a fun, fun panel.

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