Review All Monsters! Please!

Special thanks to reader Andrew Schmidt who posted this awesome photo to Facebook. I love it!

And another very special thanks to the folks who’ve reviewed Kill All Monsters on Amazon so far. There are currently three reviews – all of them 5-stars; none of them by my mother – and Jason and I are so very grateful. Whatever the star ratings, it would be awesome to have some more reviews there. If you’ve had a chance to read it and wouldn’t mind leaving some feedback on the Amazon page, that helps a lot to let new people find the book.

Thanks again!

Pacific Rim review

By way of a disclaimer for my thoughts on Pacific Rim, I have to tell a quick story. My son loves giant monsters and giant robots. He’s a fiend for Godzilla movies and something like Pacific Rim would normally be right in his wheelhouse. But whenever someone’s asked him if he’s excited for Pacific Rim, his response has been to shrug and say, “I wish it was Kill All Monsters.” I can’t say I blame him.

Anytime I analyze a movie, I try to follow Roger Ebert’s advice about considering what the movie wants to be instead of what I wanted it to be. That can be difficult, but it’s especially so when I’ve already created my own take on the genre. By definition, Kill All Monsters is what I want from a story about giant robots fighting giant monsters, so to the extent that Pacific Rim mirrors that, I’m thrilled. To the extent that it’s different, I wish it wasn’t. That doesn’t mean that I think KAM is quantifiably better than PR, it just means that I’m too close to the genre to be an impartial judge and that you should take any of my criticism with a Jaeger of salt. It would feel more weird for me not to write about it though, so – as objectively as I can make myself be – here we go:

First of all, I really like the movie. There’s a ton of stuff it does well and some things it does extremely well. The world-building is excellent and I love the origin of the monsters. It marries a couple of common kaiju origins in a unique way that leaves room for further exploration if we want it. The look of the Jaegers is cool and I also dug Guy Davis’ monster designs (though I wish they’d been rendered in a way that differentiated them more: different colors or something). The two scientists are great comic relief and Ron Perlman’s character may be my second favorite role he’s played so far (after Hellboy). It’s an exciting movie with everything I wanted to see in giant robots fighting kaiju.

I didn’t totally love it though. Some of my problems were just aesthetic, like the silly-looking, synchronized movements of the mind-linked pilots. But there are story elements I wasn’t fond of either. We’re now entering SPOILER TERRITORY, so beware. It’s awfully convenient for Pentecost to be able to drift with anyone just by clearing his mind. And I never felt a connection between Raleigh and Mako. I wanted more than just a sparring match and someone telling me that they’re compatible. There’s no chemistry between them and their relationship doesn’t earn Mako’s reaction over Raleigh’s death. Mako’s relationship with Pentecost felt more real, but even that could have used more development. I guess the unifying element of my complaints is that the movie took some shortcuts and would have been better if it had added some run time to flesh out some characters and spackle over rough spots in the plot.

Overall though, Pacific Rim is an exciting, fun film that’s better – and certainly more original – than most other blockbusters. Had it paid a little more attention to its characters, it could have been great, but it’s still a worthy film and one of the best kaiju movies I’ve ever seen.

Kill All Monsters in comic shops tomorrow!

According to Diamond, Kill All Monsters, Volume 1 should be in comic book shops tomorrow (July 17)!

 If you’re a Kickstarter backer, keep watching your mailbox; I’m getting them shipped as quickly as I can sign and sketch in them. That’s right, each Kickstarter copy comes with a sketch by me. You’ll immediately understand why I turned my creative focus to writing, but hopefully it’ll be a fun, rare thing to have in your Kill All Monsters.

Regardless of how you get your copy, it would be completely awesome if you could go to Amazon and leave a review. We’ve got one already (5 stars!), but the more the merrier. I’d love to hear what you think and it also helps people find the book when there are lots of reviews.

Finally in this roundup of KAM news, Otis Frampton finished his Kill All Monsters piece and it’s so fantastic. Thanks again, Otis! This has to go in Volume 2!

Draw All Monsters | Otis Frampton

My friend Otis Frampton is an incredibly talented writer and artist who not only makes comics, but also works on a lot of the How It Should Have Ended videos. So I’m thrilled that he digs Kill All Monsters enough to want to to do a piece featuring the KAM characters. He recently posted this photo of the in-progress drawing and I can’t wait to see it finished. We’re definitely going to have to include a pin-up section in the back of Volume 2.

Kill All Monsters is almost here!

Kill All Monsters, Volume 1 shipped from the printers last week, which means a couple of things. First, it means that it’s available for pre-order on Amazon (they don’t list a release date yet, but stay tuned) and since Diamond should also be getting their copies, it should also be in comic book stores soon.

The good news for Kickstarter supporters is that I just got my copies, so I’ll be starting work on getting those out next week. They don’t really fit with my kitchen decor anyway.

While you’re waiting, enjoy this interview that Jason and I did at C2E2 with Robert Million and the fine folks at Con Men:

Start the presses! Kill All Monsters is ready for print.

I updated the Kickstarter page a week or so ago, but just realized that’s the only place I’ve mentioned that Kill All Monsters has gone to press. If all goes according to plan, it should be on its way to distributors (including me, for Kickstarter supporters) in another week or two. After that, it’ll start its journey to supporters and stores. I’ll of course keep you updated as we hit milestones.

(Image from the awesome Dateline: Silver Age)

Draw All Monsters | Frankie B. Washington and Daniel Mead

Frankie B. Washington (Robot God Akamatsu) went and colored that RGA/KAM piece he did a while back. It’s gorgeous and available as a print from Frankie’s DeviantArt page.

Also on DeviantArt is this great piece by Daniel Mead. I didn’t realize how excited I would be to see Dressen’s SkullBot standing next to classic giants from Mazinger Z and Ghostbusters. It’s the tenth in a series of giant-related pieces, so check out Mead’s gallery for the rest.

He also did a SkullBot solo

…and one of Spencer’s LionBot too.

Really cool work by both of these guys!

Review All Monsters | Pop Culture Hound and Comics Bulletin

There were a couple of reviews last week that I want to point out, but first let me thank Joseph Mallozzi and my pal Jay Mac, who gave shout outs to the Kickstarter from their blogs as we wrapped up.

Chris Thompson and Taylor Lilley of the Pop Culture Hound podcast talked about the book and made me cheer, especially when Taylor said that he’s not a kaiju fan, but was won over by the story anyway. Both gentlemen talk about the cast’s diversity and how they felt like that worked organically as part of the story without our calling extra attention to it, which was exactly how we hoped it would be. The Kill All Monsters discussion begins around the 25:00 mark, but be sure to stay tuned for Chris’ fantastic interview with Gabriel Hardman about his new comic, Kinski at Monkeybrain. It’s a wonderful podcast and I’ll be tuning in for future episodes.

Nick Hanover at Comics Bulletin wrote a great review too. He says that starting the story in the middle of a long fight is “a bold move, sure, but May’s got fight scripting down pat and with a partner like Copland, he knows he can trust the action.” He also notices that “May wants you to feel for the humans who have to deal with these creatures, since this is a story not about a first attack, but about a world after monster defeat.”

Thanks to Chris, Taylor, and Nick for reading and sharing thoughts on the book!

SpringCon killed all the monsters

SpringCon was great. For those who aren’t familiar with it, it’s the larger of the two Minnesota conventions put on by the wonderful folks of the Midwest Comic Book Association. FallCon is a one-day show in October, but SpringCon runs Saturday and Sunday, usually in May. The Minneapolis/Saint Paul area has a great comics scene and the MCBA goes out of its way to treat creators like royalty, so there’s always a lot of participation. Both conventions are fantastic, family-friendly shows and highlights of my year.

My wife’s out of town for a friend’s college graduation, so David and I hung out together all weekend. David made the second issue of Hulkasaurus, his series of mini-comics about his own giant monster, and I had several copies of Kill All Monsters left over from C2E2. KAM did very well and I sold out early on Sunday. A surprise hit for me was Hunt the Winterlands, a fantasy anthology of prose stories that I contributed to a year or so ago. I’ve had it at a few shows since then and sold some copies, but it sold like hotcakes this time.

David sold most of his copies of Hulkasaurus #2. A couple of other friends of mine were also exhibiting with their kids who also did very well all weekend. It’s great to see children getting into making art and comics so early, and even greater to see the local community support them so much.

David had an iguana puppet at his table, which is the model for a giant monster in Hulkasaurus, so he had a great time using it to attract people to the table. Or just playing with friends:

As usual, we sat near Grant Gould who’s always amazing with kids. He and David did an art trade, with Grant’s drawing one of David’s favorite characters and David’s drawing something Grant had mentioned earlier: a dinosaur/scorpion hybrid.

Otis Frampton was on the other side of our table nearest me and I had a great time getting to know him a little better. He’s a super-talented artist and was also really welcoming of David. My good friends Jessica Hickman and Darla Ecklund were nearby as well and David and I shared a couple of meals with them.

I also enjoyed finally getting to meet Ron Marz, who was visiting an MCBA show for the first time, and Trevor Von Eeden, who is – no lie – the sweetest person in comics. I had the privilege of being in the audience at San Diego Comic-Con last year when he received the Inkpot Award. Getting to hear him accept it and talk about his career was a highlight not only of that panel, but of the entire convention for me. Getting to tell him so yesterday was a highlight of this weekend. Comics people are the best people.

In addition to talking to people – and I know I’m leaving out so many of you; I’m sorry – I bought a bunch of comics of course and a couple of pieces of art, including this Godzilla silhouette by Jennifer Menken.

One final memory of the show was how humid it was. We had unseasonably hot weather at FallCon a few years ago and it was appropriately dubbed SweatCon. This year, I thought that MoistCon would be appropriate until the torrential rains started coming down on Sunday and it turned into something more like HurriCon.

Not that that “dampened” anyone’s fun. It was a great time and thanks again to the MCBA for hosting!

More reviews and fan art of Kill All Monsters

Well, the Kickstarter is all done. Or, the pledging part is anyway. Now’s the part where Jason and I go to work fulfilling rewards, which we’re thrilled to do. People chipped in $11,910, which is 476% of our goal. Absolutely amazing, so one last massive THANK YOU to everyone who pledged and helped spread the word.

Got a couple of more Kill All Monsters-related bits this week, starting with the awesome Skullbot drawing above by Vincent Kukua. Vincent is a talented production artist at Image Comics and you can check out more of his stuff on his DeviantArt page. Thanks, Vincent!

Next, a couple of cool sites mentioned us last week. Lonnie Nadler from Bloody Disgusting gave the Kickstarter a nice push and Greg Burgas at the Comics Should Be Good! blog wrote an amazing, really insightful review. He picks up on a lot of stuff I wasn’t sure if people would get (the significance of the date when the giant monsters first appeared, for instance). Here’s a taste of what he thought, but check out the whole review:

Kill All Monsters is an interesting comic, because it starts out as one thing and slowly changes into something better, and that’s always nice to see. It’s as if May thought “What if I made a comic with giant monsters fighting giant robots?” and once the “That’s AWESOME!” factor wore off, he realized he had to come up with something else. I’m sure he had it plotted out further than just the robots fighting the monsters, but for the first several pages, he just has Copland drawing that, and while it’s quite keen, you always need something more than that. So May settles into an interesting story that borrows liberally from plenty of sources, but still manages to be a compelling read.

Finally, I thought I’d point out that if you like art featuring giant monsters and robots, we’ve got a Pinterest gallery dedicated to that. I need to link to it from KillAllMonsters.com, so this is as much a reminder for me to do that as it is for you to go look at it. There’s some really cool stuff on there.