Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Spider-man 3 or Sandman can fly?? WTF??


I saw Spider-man 3 last week and delayed posting about it so that it had time to sink in and so I had enough time for initial reactions to wear off. That being said, I did enjoy it and didn't find that it suffered from "Multiple Villain Syndrome" as much as I thought it would. Expect spoilers and some "quick hits" as to what was good and bad.

However, the movie did lack where it came to developing the villains in detail like the previous 2 movies did. In the first one there was a nice gradual buildup to the Goblin reveal and a similar scenario with Dr. Octopus in the second. Here though, because there are 3 villains, screen time is precious and each villain could have been fleshed out a bit more. The back stories that they did show did get the job done though and the audience can easily understand their motivations. The second Green Goblin, Harry didn't need much to get his story out there as it has been building for 2 movies. The nagging thing about the Sandman is that he didn't really need to team up with Venom as he had no real reason to want Spidey dead. It would have made more sense for his character to just run and hide.

Emo Spidey = annoying
Song and dance numbers = ditto

The special effects in the film were top notch and the Sandman scenes were particularly exciting (though why he can fly as a sandstorm is beyond me). The fight at the end where we have a good old fashioned comic-book team-up was really neat and I was pleased to see the redemption of Harry seen in the comics come through on the big screen.

The fight with Venom was great and it was especially rewarding to see Peter use his brain to defeat him instead of sheer brawn.

Basically, if you liked the first two, you'll probably like this one as well.

Monday, May 07, 2007

New Comic Book Day 2007

Man, did Elfsar comics ever spoil me on Free Comic Book Day (FCBD). For those that need a refresher, Elfsar was a wonderful little comic shop in the heart of Downtown Vancouver that I used to get my comics from. They made a huge deal about FCBD. They would have a barbeque, guest signings, prizes, a large selection of free comics and above all, excellent sales such as the buy-2-get-1-free that I took liberal advantage of during the previous 2 FCBDs here and here. As well, the proprietor Ethan, puts a big push on it for kids because he figures so long as you can get kids reading something, it's a good thing

That being said, I can never pass up a chance for free swag, so I ventured to Lightning Bolt comics to snag the goods. Though it was fine, I was somewhat disappointed with the selection as not all the comics sent out for FCBD were sitting on the table. If you go here you can see a list of the titles available and the ones at Lightning Bolt were mainly the Gold Sponsor Titles with a smattering of the Silver. I picked up a few items but nothing was fantastic. Here's a list of what I got:

Bongo's Free for All 2007 (the best one I read thus far)
Umbrella Academy Zero Killer Pantheon City 2007
Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century 2007
The Lone Ranger / New Battlestar Galactica Flip Book 2007
Transformers the Movie Prequel # 1 2007 (picked this up for Mark as I have 0 interest in Transformer comics)
Tokyopop Choose Your Weapon 2007
Amazing Spider-Man Swing Shift 2007 (this was actually not too bad either)
Owly & Korgi 2007 (very cute book)

I was very disappointed that they didn't have Comics Festival! - 2007 FCBD Edition as it supposedly had a Scott Pilgrim strip in it. No sales or fanfare either unfortunately. Maybe next year I can schedule a trip to Vancouver...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

An Update

Hi folks,

Sorry about the lack of updates. However, I am working on a Graphic N review and will hopefully start posting about some downloaded (Sshhh!) comics. As well, I have a growing interest in financial planning and increasing my personal wealth. My ideas, thoughts, goals, and actions about such matters can be found (soon) at my new blog. This will be a nice way to track the increase of my "financial intelligence" and any progress I make with acquiring more moolah. Or it will mean I have two blogs that never get updated.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Ghost Rider: A Pleasant Surprise


So as you might guess from the title of this post, I enjoyed the movie Ghost Rider starring none other than Nic Cage. Believe you me, no one is more shocked than I.

Maybe it was unfamiliarity with the source material that made me like what a die-hard Ghost Rider fan might have hated, or perhaps it was the fact that I had low expectations to begin with, but GR was a fun super-hero movie that didn't try to take itself too seriously. I mean come on, it's a friggen biker dude on fire for God's sake!

So short thought review time: the movie told the origin of the Ghost Rider legend as well as provided a solid backstory for our hero Johnny Blaze. The addition of the romantic interest fueled Johnny's fire (so to speak) and the elemental villains gave a good show, though they were snuffed out a bit too quickly in my opinion. The final fight with the main villain Blackheart was well done and the way in which Johnny thought to extinguish him was rather clever.

The special effects in the film were scorching for the most part, as they should be when trying to convincingly convey a person with a flaming skull for a head. The only slip was some of the villain shots which left me a little cold. I guess the CGI folks decided to burn most of the money on the Ghost Rider effects and it definately shows as all his scenes looked incredible (especially driving up and off the building - hot momma!).

So from this movie we have learned a few things: Nicolas Cage CAN pull off playing a super-hero (thank god they didn't choose him for Superman though), Eva Mendes HATES her top three buttons, and guys with flaming heads that ride flaming transportation (bikes and horses) kick major ass. And it was better than the Hulk movie, so that's at least worth something.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Great Way to End 2006

I write this after polishing off a bottle of 2005 Pieroth Riesling in celebration of the turning of the calendar. I was checking my gmail account and off to the side I noticed the names of the people I sent e-mails to. Surprisingly, there were different colored icons next to some of the names (I realized later that this was for people that had gmail accounts). The one next to Chris Sims of the Invincible Super-Blog fame was highlighted orange. I clicked on it and a chat window opened up. The face-kick master was online! I then sent a message as my inhibitions were a tad loosened from the aforementioned wine. Here is the chat in it's (almost) entirety (it has been edited for content and may not be suitable for all viewers.

me: what are you up to Mr. ISB?

Chris: Writing an article for Cracked.
(Which is code for watching a movie and making up jokes about it)

me: Wow! I can't believe I'm in a live chat with Chris Sims

Chris: Live and in person.

me: That's pretty fucking awesome
considering you likely don't know who I am

Chris: Don't let it go to your head, kid.
(This is where, in a movie, I'd put on aviator shades and spit an entire cigarette out or something)

me: and I just finished a bottle of wine

Chris: Yeah, I had to look it up real quick, I'll admit.
I haven't had a single drink yet tonight.
Keyword: YET.

me: so HAppy New Year
what time is is where you are?

Chris: 9:42

me: 10:42 here
thats something that i dont recall being made explicit on the ISB. where does it originate from?

Chris: It says it right in the sidebar.. Oh, no wait, I took that out.
It's there if you go to my Blogger profile, though. I'm from South Carolina.

me: do you have a tracking thing for the blog that shows where hits are coming from?

Chris: Like where as in what webpage, or where as in where on the planet?
Because the answer's yes to both, but I only pay attention to the former.

me: planet

Chris: Yeah, it's got a little map feature on it.

me: so if you ever DO look at the map, the daily hit from Prince Edward Island in Canada is from me

Chris: You're from Canada?!
Or possibly werewolf!

me: well I don't think i can defend the vampire claim, as Canada does leech one hell of a lot of shit from the states
but werewolves are only in northern alberta, jeez

Chris: Oh, right.
And as we all know, Newfoundland is the province of the Newfie, or EL CHUPACABRA.

me: a rare and elusive prey, they are. they can be captured with vassive amounts of alcohol and cod fish

Chris: It's a mysterious land in which you dwell.

Chris: I'm just funning about the vampire part.
I used to date a Canadian girl. It... ended poorly.

me: you just weren't into poutine and very low budget TV and movies eh?

Chris: She stole my Swamp Thing trades!
And no, poutine is utterly vile.
Gravy and french fries were never meant to lie in a foul union.

me: well we only get 10 shipments of comics for each province so her reaction was typical.
but my guess is she took them because you didn't like poutine

Chris: Well that's to be expected. $2.99 US is what, eighty, ninety CAD and a goat?

me: well, quite frankly yes, but you can leave off the goat and knock off 20% if you include your first born child

Chris: 1 Canadian Child = Goat + 40 CAD.
Got it.

me: we don't want to over populate

Chris: What?!
That means..

me: no, it's just americans that go into the wrong hockey rink

me: anyways, i'll let you get back to your movie (which one is it?). It was cool talking with you and keep up the good work on the ISB

Chris: Right now?

me: good lord

Chris: But I'm also writing about Night at the Museum and Starsky & Hutch.
Zoolander, sir, is a CLASSIC of modern cinema.

me: only if you're high while watching (or so I hear)

Chris: It's profoundly underrated.
Truly, it's THE PRODUCERS for our times.

me: well have a Happy New Year Chris. I look forward to the mind-blowing-awesomeness you have in store for 2007

Chris: Thanks!
Happy New Year to you too.
Go drink another bottle of wine and shout loudly about Etrigan the Demon.
That is the true way of the ISB.

me: should I shout in rhyme?
I don't do that all the time

Chris: Of course you should. If you don't, it's no good.
Sent at 11:11 PM on Sunday

me: well then, perhaps I will. The wine though, will have to chill

Chris: You should drink 'til you're purple.
And then you could..

me: haha
have a good one Chris

Chris: Happy New Year!

me: my resolution is to give people more kicks to the face

Chris: That's a good one

There you have it. My chat with Chris Sims, a great way to close out 2006. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Another Reason why Civil War is Stupid

For those not in the know, Civil War is Marvel's current "BIG EVENT" where tons of stuff happens but is ultimately unsatisfying. The premise is that after a large scale tragedy as a result of Super-human activity, the Gov'ment wants to introduce a policy (The Superhuman Registration Act) whereby anyone with super powers has to register as a super-human and receive training if they want to fight bad guys. If you don't register you go to jail. And not just any jail either. A secret jail in another dimension where you will be put without trial that was designed by Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four and built by Iron Man. Waitasec. Aren't Iron Man and Reed Richards good guys? Well that's a whole other kettle of fish.

I have not bought an issue of Civil War. Why? After the mess that was Infinite Crisis I decided not to be sucked in by company wide crossover events. The info I've learned about the event has come from the net as EVERYONE is talking about it. Either how good it is or how god-awful it is. In that respect, the event can be seen as successful: it has people talking about comics enthusiastically. It likely hasn't brought many non-comic fans into the medium, but at least it's generating some excitement within the industry, however short lived that excitement may be.

On to the point. In Civil War #2, this happened:

That's right folks, Spider-man revealed his secret identity to the world. Big news right? Cool shite right? Well, no quite frankly. Why? Well you can make arguments about how it's pretty irresponsible to do that because it's basically painting a target on you and your family. Especially coming from the super-hero who's whole shtick is being responsible. He must have had a brain fart or something because just two years prior (our time) we have the following panels during Brian Micheal Bendis's run on Daredevil where Matt Murdock was outed as Daredevil in the press. The ~55 issues Bendis worked on dealt with the ramifications of a super-hero losing his secret identiy. Spider-man made a guest appearance in a few issues. Here we go (click on images for large view):

and let's not forget

So there you have it. Spider-man basically saying he would never in a million years reveal his secret identity because he knows exactly what would happen if he did. That is why Civil War is stupid; not only did Peter Parker reveal his identiy, he did it willingly, which in my books is a big no-no.

And yes this post would have been more appropriate when Civil War #2 first came out, but I only got around to reading the Daredevil trades last week. Sue me. Or better yet, lock me in a prision that exists in another dimension.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Online Comics - piracy at its finest

I haven't really been one to download much media off the internet. Sure I have some mp3s but I'm not really a music guy. I have some TV shows that aren't available elsewhere, but I usually go for boxed set DVDs. Recently I have downloaded some comics, but I'm more of a staple-and-paper type reader. That being said, I stumbled onto a torrent site (the Pirate Bay) where a user named Devourer combines many scanned comics into one torrent so that you can download all the new comics that come out every week. I believe he collects individual torrents from many other users (as scanning 70+ comics in a day would be a lot of work) to provide this lump sum of issues.

So far I've download things that are expensive that I was thinking of buying (Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall and Pride of Baghdad) and some issues from new series that I didn't want to spend money on before I knew if I liked it or not (Pirates of Coney Island, the Escapists, and Dr. Strange: the Oath).

I think this use of torrents is worthwhile and justifiable. I prefer my comics as real, physical objects as opposed to images on a screen so I think the downloading is an excellent way to see if expensive items are worth paying for and whether or not a mini-series is worth getting in the trade. As well, it's a nice way for me to sample things I wouldn't get normally (like Pirates of Coney Island, which was pretty good) at no cost. Image Comics is a good example of a company trying to do this by offering many first issues of series as online freebies.

Of course there will be nay-sayers shouting that downloading comics is hurting the industry. That you're taking money away from small comic shops that are struggling as it is. Well I have a question for those people: do you enjoy spending money on things you don't enjoy? Do you regularly go into a CD shop and pick out random stuff because the cover looks cool? Of course not. You buy things that you like or have a good idea that you will like based on previous experience.

Even if you buy that CD, most of it is likely crap and you only like 2-3 songs. That's why I don't buy CDs. However, if you can sample CDs for free to filter out that crap then you ensure that you will have a quality listening experience. The same is true with comics. 90% of the comics out there (and there are a lot of comics out each month) are garbage. There has to be a filter there for the consumer to know what they will like. Thus downloadable comics. Items that would have passed through my real-world, in-store filter can now be trapped and viewed from the comfort of my faux-leather desk chair.

To sum up: I now download comics. If I like it, I will buy it. If it was something that I wouldn't normally have bought to try out, then an angel gets its wings.