Kingsman: The Secret Service: A Secret Surprise

Mark Millar movies and comics can be highly concerning and dangerous entities. There is an odd status where Millar chooses for his work to appeal to the hate in the audience while simultaneously judging them for liking it. Kickass for example was unrelentingly aggressive towards the people watching the movie and reading the comic. The nerd protagonist was a horrible person with almost no redeeming qualities beyond a skewed view of justice coupled with a penchant for violence. While some of his choices can be seen as Millar sticking to the pulpy roots of comics, there is a point where that adherence to old styles of violence, sexism and racism feels infuriatingly backwards. That is why it came as a surprise that Kingsman: The Secret Service (based on The Secret Service by Millar and Dave Gibbons) is a spy movie that does a fantastic job at avoiding the hatefulness of the genre that Millar’s work commonly holds. Instead we are reintroduced to that original Millar who grew up at the feet of Grant Morrison with a love for comics. This is the Millar that could write decent characters, craft a fun plot and still have some good over the top action. Kingsman: The Secret Service has the better Millar at the heart, or at least some very strong adaption work thanks to writer and director Matthew Vaughn (X-men: First Class, Kickass and Stardust).

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What A Comic Museum Should Be

I’ve been to a few comic museums – Toonseum in Pittsburgh, the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco and recently the Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum at OSU and so far I haven’t seen that perfect cartoon museum, or at least the one big feature I want to see. I mean all of the facilities I mentioned are very nice – but none of them are made for the comic medium itself and that is the biggest issue.

Comics are sequential art. Comics usually tell a story. Comics usually are not a static moment like paintings are, like photographs are, like statues are. Comics are a serial art form and while a single page can show a lot, it doesn’t capture what a comic is – a way to tell stories. If you only give part of a story, devoid of context, you loose a lot. It becomes all about the art and writing for that page, not how everything ties in, and it removed the comic as a tool to tell stories. When you start posting single pages of original sets of art on the wall for a comic museum, devoid of context, unless that page is an entire story, you’ve messed with the art form. You don’t cut a hand off of a full body statue and put it in a museum as a solitary piece of art. If you post a single movie still, that is not the same as showing the actual movie – and sure it may be helpful to illustrate a directorial style but you miss the context and the actual format of the art itself. A well shot still from a movie is not a movie itself. A single page from a multi page story is not itself.

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Interview with Beau Quijano

From The Lovers
From The Lovers

Nerdcenaries: Hello Beau Quijano, how is it going?
Beau Quijano: It’s going fine. Like this right?
Nerdcenaries: This works
Beau Quijano: Great
Nerdcenaries: So you’ve been posting comics on Tumblr for a while. Can you go over some of the comics you’ve done and what they’re about?
Beau Quijano: Uh, so makeoutpoint currently has a Luke Cage 2 pger I did for a Marvel Exhibition here in 2011, an unreleased manga project I took to SDCC with a group [and is the last time I do spec work LOL], the first chapter of my romcom spy-fi BS comic called The Lovers, and some fanart/etc for current/upcoming projects.

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You Didn’t Make Me Happy

Happy Cover Art By Darrick Robertson
Happy #1 Cover Art By Darrick Robertson

Happy could have been amazing. Teaming up a cartoonish sprite with a hardboiled killer can be good comics. Having a symbol of innocence floating around a hardened kill in a brutally dark setting – I’d like to see it done well and I say I’d like to see it done because in Happy, the series becomes so heavily mired with black despair and grime that it never recovers and ultimately reads like someone’s poorly conceived Sin City spinoff.

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Operation Minicomic Kickstarter

Minicomics on Kickstarter?

I’ve done a few comics fundraisers on Kickstarter now. The first one – I lost money on it in the end. The second one – still in sort of limbo but was only barely – financially speaking successful. But with ERAS: Parrish, while it didn’t pull in as much money as I’d have liked – it got the formula down for The Tomb of Naomi which has been a success so far and that is an important thing!

To a degree all it takes to run a successful Kickstarter minicomic are three things; the ability to do math, the ability to make quality products and the ability to call in an audience who supports you. After the jump I’ll go into each part and talk about what worked for me.

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Rules I’ve Learned About Collaborating On Webcomics

As a writer, I’ve learned rules about collaborating on webcomics. Something to understand that isn’t a rule is the fact that writers are a horrible and entitled bunch, especially when it comes to being a webcomic writer who is unwilling or unable to pay the artist. I say this from personal experience because without noticing it, I became what I didn’t want to be. I remember when I’d studied graphic design that I thought knowing how long it took me to draw would keep me from being a dick to artists. In the end I jeopardized some friendships, lost some contacts and learned important lessons that I’ll share with you. These aren’t all that I’ve learned, they don’t always apply but these are more important than most webcomic creations guides I’ve seen.

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The Underwater Welder Review

The Underwater Welder Cover, Art By Jeff Lemire

The Underwater Welder

Written and Illustrated by Jeff Lemire

Review by Luke Herr

The Underwater Welder is a book about fear and the power of isolation that it brings. Compounded with visually stark imagery, powerful metaphors and fear, Jeff Lemire creates an intense comic experience.

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Bandette #1 Review

Bandette

By Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover
Review by Arielle Sorkin

Bandette is cute. Cute, fun, and really leaving me in need of more issues. The story (so far) is simple enough: Bandette is an honorable thief for justice! The story takes place in modern France, and Colleen Coover’s loose brushwork set a perfectly Parisian tone.

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DC Announces Watchmen Prequel

In a sign of the now faster approaching Ragnarok, DC Comics announced a 4 part prequel to Watchmen, the classic series by Alan Moore generally regarded as the best series by people who don’t like to confess that they read comics.
With Moore still holding a vendetta with the studio the chances are that Moore will have no involvement with the series.
Moore, whose beard summons the blood rain in the final days has not yet commented but shit … okay we are supposed to make fake news but I can’t think of a realistically fake way to tilt this story. I mean the Ragnarok thing was close but if you have a goose laying golden eggs already – Watchmen still sells well – why are you going to disturb it.
If anything this just shows how bad off DC Comics is when they can’t come up with any new ideas.
Yes, Watchmen is a famous story but the story has a beginning and an ending. The story has all of the parts that it needs and there is nothing that needs to be added to it. If there were to be one thing that the story were able to add and if Moore at least consented to help or give notes – that would be fantastic and different but it doesn’t sound that way.
Also if you want to do something parodying conservatism at the extreme, get Bill Willingham on it.
But yeah, jeeze.

Nerdcenaries Reviews: Super Pro KO Vol 2

Super Pro KO Vol 2 Cover

I’ll say it right here – I am not a wrestling guy but I love this series. Super Pro K.O. vol 2 is the sequel to the highly enjoyable wrestling comic that picks up after Joe Somiano, the rookie wrestler, finished his first big wrestling match. With time passing and without any new screen time Joe takes it upon himself to get his name out. Meanwhile the complex wrestling politics lead to wrestler getting attacked and even more mysteries.

Part of the reason I don’t like wrestling is that when I see it, it goes too slow, it’s fake and I just don’t see it as exciting. Where SPKO Vol 2 succeeds is that the action is nonstop, it’s chaotic – battles fly across the pages and while the action scenes read so well there is an immense amount of fun things happening in the comic and in the background (such as the Oni Press staff showing up or the numerous Scott Pilgrim matches).

Creator and illustrator Jarret Williams shows immense tact in the story with something that could not work as a monthly title and what he is able to do with the book tops so many of the mangas I’ve read as far as action goes. I mean I was pulled in, heart pounding and I enjoyed myself.

The one shaky bit though is that the series had a very sequel-y feeling to it. There isn’t much that is resolved or at least, I did not find a satisfying conclusion like I did at the end of volume one. With that said though, the book did a fantastic job of making me look forward to the 3rd volume and it was a hoot to read through it.

Arbitrary Rating – A-