Thursday, February 28, 2013

Quick Comic Reviews - Castle: Richard Castle's Storm Season

Castle: Richard Castle's Storm Season - What a lengthy title, yeesh! I have to admit that these Richard Castle comic "adaptations" really haven't blown me away. There's nothing really bad about this book (although a couple page layouts could have been improved) but as a fan of the show, I just have high hopes for it and it's not coming anywhere close. And when you're releasing a hardcover comic like this, I also get my hopes up for something a bit better. Again, they aren't bad stories, but it's just okay stories with okay (or maybe slightly better than that) execution. I probably won't be picking up any more unfortunately.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Quick Comic Reviews - The Sixth Gun Volume 4

It's getting harder and harder to review the books that are consistently good so I might need to figure something out there. But here goes the Sixth Gun Volume 4.

The Sixth Gun Volume 4 -- I'm going to have to go back through my blog to see what it was that made me decide to try out this series. It doesn't seem like something I would seek out but it's been a great series so far. Volume 4 continues that trend of solid writing and artwork. There were two things that popped up for me though. First, the silent chapter. I get that it was connected to having one of the characters temporarily lose their hearing and it made sense for parts that were told from their perspective (more or less) but it also felt weird as the whole chapter wasn't from her perspective. But I guess that's an artistic choice they made, so kudos to them for trying, it just didn't work 100% for me. And sometimes I wonder if we could have a short story, a chapter or two, that wasn't so focused on the six guns. Have them go somewhere where nobody has heard of the guns and they have to do something that's not directly related to them. I don't know, I just wouldn't mind a bit of a tangent story of some sort. But that might just be me and right now the series is at such a high pace with everything going on that inserting such a story may break the narrative so I'm probably wrong to want this. But overall, a great volume. Looking forward to volume 5 now.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Digital Comics Revisited... Again

I've been trying to stay away from the whole "future of comics" discussion lately, I'm just rather tired of it. But I decided to watch Mark Waid's talk on "Reinventing Comics and Graphic Novels for Digital" (found on YouTube here: ) to see what he had to say. I won't go into it in too much detail. I will say that I admire what he is trying to do with Thrillbent. One way or another, digital is here to stay so talking about what can be done (storytelling wise as well as money wise) instead of just ignoring it (or going in blindly) makes sense.

But in terms of the storytelling, here's where I have some issues. I wouldn't call them serious issues, they may only apply to me, but I've found some of the storytelling tricks/techniques to really not work for me. One in particular that I've grown a dislike for is when you keep the page/panels almost the same when the reader goes to the next "page", only changing little things (an expression, a gesture, some dialogue, or whatever else). And sometimes it doesn't work for me when even big things change. To put it simply, when this is done I feel like I'm doing one of those "spot the 8 differences between these pictures" games. I stop focussing on what exactly is happening and focus on going back and forth trying to spot the differences. I can't seem to help it. And even when I do spot the differences, I keep looking through every background detail to see if there's something I'm missing. It completely takes me out of the story.

So maybe it's just me but I actually prefer it when the visual hits me in the face with what I need to know instead of appearing to play games with me. So if the changes are significant enough, it's less of an issue for me, but as I said there's still something in me that isn't sure. It sort of reminds me of scenes where we see two characters fighting only to have one character stab the other with a dagger that seems to appear out of the blue. I wonder where it came from and have to go back two pages to see that the character picked it up while other stuff was catching my eye. Or, other times, I can only guess the character had it hidden somewhere as its origin is never quite revealed. In my mind, unless you really want to keep it from the reader, make it clear. Slide in a quick panel showing the character's hand snatching the dagger or pulling it from their pocket. This is different than the other scenario where two characters are fighting and one retreats only to reveal to the reader later that they pick pocketed the thing they were fighting over. Basically, the scenario where you really want to surprise the reader. But think carefully over which you want to do. Surprising the reader with the dagger may work in some situations but you should really think about whether that makes sense for the story you want to tell. And  if you're thinking "Ha! I'll outsmart my readers by hiding these things from them" then you might want to rethink your approach. This isn't really what's happening in the video, just something I was thinking of about visual storytelling.

But there are tricks that Mr Waid shows that do work for me (some better than others and some I feel could use some tweaking). I think the piranha page works to some level. I think the page where two people are talking in the kitchen while the flashback panel between them has some merit but I wouldn't have minded some change in the talking characters (raising a glass to their mouths from time to time, actually moving away from filling the pot at the sink, etc).

In the end, it's an interesting talk. But of course, I almost always find comic talk interesting. :)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Quick Comic Reviews - Atomic Robo: Flying She-Devils of the Pacific

I know it's been a little while since I posted a review. I've been reading "The Cartoon History of the Universe" Volumes 1-7 and it's taking me a while to get through. But I took a break from that to read the latest Atomic Robo volume so...

Atomic Robo Volume 7 -- It's getting rather difficult to review this series (among others) because I don't want to just keep saying "This series is awesome!" But really, this is series IS awesome. So I'll have to try to find a negative. Well, I wasn't really a big fan of Robo's reaction to the She-Devils in the beginning. He seemed a bit too "You're all women???"-y. But I guess this is 1951 Robo and it's not like he's always been the most progressive character (not that he's horrible, he's just not perfect). Plus, it is a group of female pirates flying around the Pacific in jetpacks so the whole thing is probably somewhat unnerving.

I know there were other complaints about this volume. Some of it was about the change in art style and I think some of it was about something else entirely. Clearly, I didn't bother reading too much of that stuff but as for the art style, I don't get it. I probably wouldn't have noticed had I not read about it, I don't often notice those changes unless there's something clearly wrong with the new style. Part of that may be due to reading the trades, it's been a while since I've read Robo drawn by Wegener. But this story read well and the characters had unique looks so I was happy with the art. But I probably would have been happy with the old style as well so who knows. And as for the writing, great as usual.

So, in the end, this series is awesome!