Warrior Women Thursday!

Still busy, so don’t be surprised if I don’t update tomorrow, but I said I’d be back today with a Warrior Women post and I am. The illustration on this one is from Mike Cavallaro‘s contribution to this year’s Wonder Woman Day charity auction benefiting domestic violence shelters.

Wonder Woman

Jessica Beil is supposedly under consideration to play Wonder Woman in the JLA movie. But then, lots of people have been rumored for that role, so back up that dump truck full of salt to take this with.

If it’s true though, I won’t complain. I’d rather see someone Mediterranean in the role, but at least it’s not Sarah Michelle Gellar.

Rumor also has it that the JLA movie will be a hopeful launchpad for Wonder Woman and Flash franchises.

Black Canary

Thoughts on the Green Arrow/Black Canary Wedding Special:

  • Amanda Conner should draw every comic DC makes.
  • Apart from some continuity errors (particularly Barbara Gordon’s being excited about the wedding announcement when in Birds of Prey she was clearly the opposite of excited), not a bad story for a Judd Winick issue. I actually laughed out loud in a couple of places.
  • I don’t have the same problems with the end that some other folks do. Yes, it came out of nowhere, but that’s sort of the point.
  • I don’t believe that was Ollie. If it was, that’s the worst piece of writing ever because, yeah, why did Dinah resort to a lethal option when she had numerous, non-lethal ones available?
  • Since it was written by Winick, my confidence that this was completely thought through isn’t 100% here, but assuming a rational DCU, I can see the scenario playing out as it did if Dinah realized that it wasn’t Ollie and freaked out about it enough that she immediately went for the lethal attack.
  • But yeah, “rational DCU” might not be a safe assumption considering things like Amazons Attack. Still, I’m willing to keep reading and see where it goes.

Jungle Girls

I didn’t know about the real life jungle girl in Cambodia. Looks like she’s gone back home.

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Reviewing Image covers for December 2007

Another follow up from last week: I mentioned that it might be interesting to review monthly comics solicits to see how effective their covers are at making me want to buy the books. Since the Image solicits came out right after that, let’s give ’em a go.

I thought about reviewing every single cover solicited, but that would take way more time than I’ve got to give this, so I’ll just tell you the general reasons why the covers I don’t mention below were ineffective:

A) Too artsy. This is especially a problem with Jonathan Hickman’s books A Red Mass for Mars and Pax Romana. The cover designs are beautiful and serve Hickman’s brand by giving his books a distinctive look, but if you don’t already know his work, they don’t really tell you what the books are about.

B) Too pin-uppy. There are several with this problem, but Spawn #177 immediately comes to mind. All the cover tells you is that this is a Spawn comic. If you’ve already been buying the series, you’re informed that this is the next issue, but there’s no reason for a new reader to pick this up and give it a look.

C) Just not my taste. And there’s the hitch. Some of the covers give a good try at teasing you about what’s in the issue, but taste being subjective, I’m not going to be attracted to each image. Fearless #2, for example, shows the hero surrounded by syringes. That might be a compelling image for some, but it’s a turnoff for me. Same with the whatever-that-is coming out of dude’s mouth on the cover for Overman #1. Totally not fair, but there you go.

These are the ones that make me want to plop down my money:

Bonds #3: Even though it’s the last issue of a mini-series, the guy (oops; just realized that’s a woman) with the wolf’s head, the tatooed chick with the staff, and the gasmasked bodies are all interesting elements and make me want to at least flip through this book to see what I’ve been missing.

Cryptics #3: I’m a Steve Niles fan, but even if I didn’t know this was one of his books, those monsters and penguins make me giggle enough that I’d want to open the book and see if there were more laughs.

Fantastic Comics #24: I don’t know that this is for me, but the pulp-action cover makes me want to find out. Those red sandals are goofy though.

Steve Niles’ Strange Cases #3: Again, Niles’ name is a selling point, but even if I didn’t know who he was, the Yeti would have me.

Tim Sale: Black and White:This is a pin-up, but it’s for an art book, so it’s appropriate. Actually, even if it was for a comic, my jungle girl fetish is strong enough that I’d still want it.

So, what about you? Which Image covers for December make you want to buy the books?

Mini-series: RIP?

It’s funny (or not), but Jason Copland and I were just having a conversation a week or so ago about whether Kill All Monsters! would work better as a mini-series or a complete graphic novel. Almost immediately, Marc Bernadin asked his question about the failure of Highwaymen.

Although my thoughts went immediately to branding, others thought that the mini-series format was the key. Steven Grant, for example, said, “As many have pointed out (I did a column on the subject a couple months back) mini-series are now often dismissed out of hand by readers who fully expect any mini-series worth mentioning to show up sooner than later in trade paperback collection. (Though I realize it borders on fraud, if I were a publisher today I’d never again allow the phrase ‘mini-series’ to be used in conjunction with any of my books under any circumstances, regardless of the series’ intended length. From a marketing standpoint, stamping any series as a mini-series except posthumously is getting suicidal and the general level of mini-series success is such that publishers now may as well skip the minis and go straight to the trades, since that’s where all the money is now anyway.)”

One of the “many” he mentions who’ve pointed this out is Johanna Draper Carlson, who points out that the mini-series format was her reason for not buying. And though in the specific case of Highwaymen, my decision was based more on marketing and my not knowing whether or not it was a comic I’d enjoy, I agree with her that there are many comics that I do fully expect to enjoy, but hold off on until the trade collection comes out. So, should we be pitching KAM! as a graphic novel?

This isn’t a new question for us, and I had to think back to a conversation that I had with Josh Fialkov in San Diego last year when I was first pondering it. Josh experienced quite a bit of trouble selling his Elk’s Run mini-series only to have it picked up as a complete graphic novel by Random House. In spite of his adventures, Josh surprised me by saying that he was still for releasing single issues as a mini-series prior to collection.

But his logic was solid. All the promo work he did on the Elk’s Run mini-series and all the critical attention he got from it helped get Random House’s interest. And I dare say that it got readers who passed on the mini-series interested in buying the graphic novel too. I don’t know if Josh still feels that way, but it makes sense to me. I’m interested in seeing how Highwaymen does as a trade collection, and I’m curious about whether it would do better or worse had it not been released first as a mini-series. There’s no way for me to get the answer to that, but I suspect that the mini-series buzz (and all this post mortem attention) will only help the sales of the tpb.

So, maybe mini-series aren’t entirely dead, but should be thought of as loss leaders for the eventual collection? Just thinking out loud.

Pirats, Dark Crystal manga, and Lois Lane is an idiot

With the announcement that he’s writing a comic called Pirat Tales, it’s become obvious that Dan Taylor is now writing comics particularly for me. (And just what is this Buster Blaze he teases me with?)

Funniest Superman comic ever: “I only pretended to fall out the window.”

Remember that Dark Crystal manga I mentioned ages and ages ago? It’s still coming out in November, and Publishers Weekly has a preview.

Monster-Killing Monday!

For a movie like Dragon Wars, I don’t trust the critics’ opinions of it. I’m not looking for art here, so it’s fan reaction that I’m most interested in.

The Standard Online‘s review is by someone who claims to be a giant-monster fan, but warns us away because of a directionless plot, a lame ending, bad fight choreography, and ’90s-level CGI. But then he mentions “all kinds of things stomping around … with rocket launchers on their backs.” How is that incentive not to see it? In the end he admits that “maybe I’ve left my Power Ranger days too far behind me now.” Which makes me wonder if I’d enjoy it if I went in with the mindset that it’s going to be awful, but fun. After all, I liked the absolutely horrible Last Legion.

Sean Collins is much kinder. He defends the less-than-cutting-edge effects (“you could tell King Kong was stop-motion animation, couldn’t you?”) while admitting that the story is lacking and the acting is rather phoned in. But even with a sloppy story, “I mean, I wasn’t expecting Ursula K. LeGuin, I just wanted some basic set-up for the giant monsters, and that’s what I got.” So, I’m encouraged. Not “this-is-going-to-be-the-next-LotR” encouraged, but “I-can-see-not-hating-myself-for-seeing-it” encouraged.

Louis Fowler (who also reviews comics for Bookgasm) goes ahead and pushes me into the theater: “Seriously—if you walked into this fifteen minutes after the credits, you’d think it was Michael Bay filming a rather high-quality episode of Power Rangers. This film is no different, whatsoever, than his horrible Transformers from earlier this summer … Plus it’s seven hours shorter … D-War is by no means a ‘great’ film. But it’s a good enough film, and between this and The Host, it’s a reasonable enough request that the Koreans make nothing but giant monster films for the next twenty or so year, because they’re the only ones doing it right. They should just go ahead and do some giant robot movies as well, because it’s the only way I’ll be pleased.”

Speaking of Korean giant-monster movies, SciFi Japan takes a look at their first one, Yongary, Monster from the Deep.

In other giant-monster news, Dreamwork’s entry in the genre, Monsters vs. Aliens, is being pushed forward a couple of months in order to get a jump on the 2009 summer movie season.

Kevin Church clues us in on Johnny Hiro, a series about a fella who’s known to fight giant monsters.

Not exactly monsters per se, but Ron Mueck’s sculptures of giant humans sure are creepy!

Jason Copland, that sexy Canadian who’s illustrating Kill All Monsters!, has a three part interview at Indie Pulp. He talks about Kill All Monsters! and shares some pages and a look at his process, so definitely check that out.

You know what your baby’s room needs? A giant robot.

Lucasnews and Jungle Cruise

George Lucas was all up in the news this week.

First, he explained why it’s really okay that Sean Connery’s not in Kindom of the Crystal Skull: “In the beginning, he was just in a little bit of it, and I think with the strength of Sean Connery, people would’ve wanted him to go all the way through the whole thing, and the story really didn’t work that way. And so I think there would’ve been some disappointment that [his character] dropped out partway through the movie.” He goes on to explain that they re-wrote the story so that another character now fills the function that Indy’s dad would’ve. He also says that Connery thought about coming out of retirement to do it. “He was very tempted, you know, and we talked for a long time. But in the end, he just said, ‘Eh, I’m playing golf.'”

Next, Lucas gave an update on the Star Wars TV shows: “Well, Clone Wars has got all the characters in it — Yoda and Anakin and Obi Wan and the Emperor and all that — so it’s basically the movie. The live-action [series] is not the movie. It’s the Star Wars universe, but it’s characters from the saga who were [previously] minor, and it follows their stories. It’s set between [movie episodes] III and IV, when the Empire has taken over. It’s like Episode IV in that the Emperor and Darth Vader are heard about — people talk about them — but you never see them because it doesn’t take place where they actually are. There are storm troopers and all that, but there are no Jedis.”

Ah… “No Jedis.” Those magical words. Say what you want about how the acting or the dialogue or Jar Jar Binks was the prequels’ problem. I say, “Too much Jedi; not enough scoundrels.” I’m hoping the live-action series corrects that. Having Vader and the Emperor as background threats is a good move too. It’ll make them that much more mysterious and threatening.

And finally, remember how Lucas had approached David Lynch to direct Return of the Jedi? That’s not the only whacked out avant garde director he talked to.

And in one, non-Lucas item this week, the Blue Sky Disney blog posted a list of Disney movies in the works, including one that I’ve been curious if someone was thinking about making: a film based on Disney’s Jungle Cruise ride. That could be so cool.

According to the post, “The story involves a journey down a jungle river for a magical cure. No director is attached as yet. The screenplay is being written by Alfred Gough & Miles Millar (Smallville).”