Monday, December 15, 2014

Penguin : Pride and Prejudice

Ever since I watched Batman on TV in the early 1970s, The Penguin has fascinated me. I've always wondered if he "succeeded" due to his drive to overcome his physical deformities or if his position was despite his condition. I want to make it clear that while not approving of his actions, I remain compelled to seek answers.

In my search for insight, I learned of the Penguin: Pride and Prejudice 5 part mini-series. My first comment about these issue is about the wonderfully dark and jagged artwork. This was straight from the pulp and noir stories that I love. The interplay of black and white contrasting with the brilliant sparkles of a devoted son's gifts to an aged mother establishes a dark and cold world.

This mini-series drew my compassion and respect for the Penguin to the forefront. As one who faces difficulty public interactions, I understand his daily struggle with the real and imagined slights from others. The first few pages of the first issue defines the overriding theme. Since these issues are readily available, I will not spoil them.

If you are a fan of the Penguin or psychological James Bondish stories, this series is for you. Since I am a fan of each, I am a definitely rating this a BUY.

Until next time,
Dane

Saturday, December 13, 2014

G.I. Joe Cobra Civil War Compendium

When I was a boy, my parents gave me a 12" tall G.I. Joe. Our innumerable adventures came to an end when I strapped two Estes D engines to his back and launched him into the sky. After two weeks of searching, I gave up.

In the 1980s, Sgt Slaughter adopted the G.I. Joe persona during a "face" turn in the WWE. I was vaguely aware of a cartoon series and an extensive toy line, but never indulged.

When I started reading comics again 42 months ago, an event called Cobra Civil War was just starting. I read bits and piece, but never learned the outcome. This compendium spans the G.I.Joe, Snake Eyes, and Cobra titles and places the issues in correct order. IDW really outdid themselves with this series. The artwork is the way I think action adventure comics should be drawn, The plot is strong with a detailed plot with many twists that kept me fooled until the end.

I am not going to spoil this incredible book other than to say that it begins with the Cobra Commander dead and starts a contest to establish his predecessor.

I highly recommend this wonderful book. I look forward to reading it again in six months or so.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Mouse Guard

Mouse-Guard-Legends-of-the-Guard-Vol-1 is an incredible anthology series in the spirit of Canterbury Tales. This is a fantastic read and as of today only $6.99 instead of $14.99. It is a bargain at twice the price. BUY BUY BUY.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Wynter #1

Today I read Wynter #1 by New World Comics. In the interests of full disclosure, I was sent a free PDF for following them on twitter.

In the distant future a teen girl struggles to find an identity in the mass of humanity. She is not special in any way. On the surface this seems like a very boring idea; however, the implementation is far greater. The concepts and interplay of science fiction with the mundane pieces of life weave a complex and very real 4D world ( I'm including time as the 4th Dimension). This World breathes and is on the cusp of great changes.

It is generally against my policy to give away the plot and I'm not going to violate that now. If you have ever been a teenager and get obtain a free copy, take a few minutes and read this. The storyline is crisp with artwork that matches the theme and feel. When I catch up more on my reading, I'll pick up issues 2, 3, and 4 (if available) from comixology. At only $1.99, it is a great value.

Until next time
-- Dane

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Captain Midnight 1-18

My journey through the lands of modern Pulp stories continues. After doing my chores and half-heartedly picking up some, I spent the rest of the day playing a game of World of Tanks then reading a Captain Midnight comic.

This series is a man out of time story. I can only describe it as if Captain America had Howard Stark's brain and did the time jump. The characters are wonderful. The story arcs are well crafted. I really like the artwork. I nearly forgot to mention that their are elements of the X-files present as well. A very strong element of this book is that the same writer has remained throughout it's run. Sometimes Dark Horse doesn't have the best artists but the four people style of the four people who have drawn this is comparable enough to allow a seamless transition from artist to artist.

This book is a must read for lovers of pulp and early superheroes. It is wonderful seeing the creation of this world and it's elaborate storyline.

Until next time
-- Dane

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Starlight

Has anyone noticed a theme to these past few posts? The books about pulp characters. I am currently trying to write a pulp novel.it is not going well so I decided to read some more pulp stories.

This post's primary purpose is to write about Starlight by Image comics. This six issue mini-series is the story about a middle aged man who lives on Earth. By the way, forty years ago he slipped through an anomaly and traveled to the stars. He rescued a planet and became their greatest and most revered hero. Then he returned to Earth and was labeled a kook and liar.

The arc of this series covers the transition of Duke from a beaten down man to a hero. This story reached me in many ways. The loneliness of being a widower and the isolation of being a person who is ridiculed is captured perfectly. And then the aliens show up.

The story is very reminiscent of Flash Gordon in tone and style. The hero shows up and saves the day. In between there are some extremely cool scenes. I loved this series. The artwork is not perfect but it definitely fits the time period of the story style. If you are a fan of pulp buy this series.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Man of Bronze Doc Savage

Hello,
Nearly a month has passed since my last post. So many things have occurred that it is difficult to list them all. At the end of this post, I'll provide a brief recap, but first there are going to be reviews on two comic book series that I've read in the past few days. These posts will appear over the next day or so.

The first is The Man of Bronze Doc Savage. If you don't know who Doc Savage is, stop reading this and look him up. My post will be waiting for you. For those of you who don't have time to research him, he is a pulp character who was the gateway/immediate parent to the earliest superheroes. He combines a perfect physical body with unparalleled intelligence and limitless compassion.

Dynamite just concluded an eight issue run of The Man of Bronze Doc Savage. This was one of my most anticipated books of the past year. Given the size of the run, I suspect that sales did not support the continuation of this great series. This is too bad. The stories were the classic pulp of my Father's generation. The science was over the top but the villains were people. The readers could see a logical progression and growth arc for the various characters. As the years passed, Doc's first group of companions age and are replaced with new people in the field.

What made this book special, is the treatment of Doc Savage himself. The man felt responsibility for every bad event that he could not prevent. He sees evil and crime as a disease and injury that can and should be cured.

Doc also tried to the best of his ability to do what is best for humanity. Oftentimes this meant shielding inventions from humanity until he knew they were completely safe or just waiting for humanity to be ready to use them. He seems to be acting almost like Doctor Manhattan or Adrian Veldt from The Watchmen but with an extreme sense of conscious the latter did not possess.

While I am among the first to admit that it would be nice to have a hero to save our planet from an asteroid the size of Australia, do we really want someone being a final arbitrator of right and wrong? This theme is the underlying subplot for the entire series. What if a gift to help all humanity is corrupted to use against it. These important ideas are explored at length in the series.

One final note about the artwork. Bilquis Evely, Daniela Miwa, and Rob Steen combine
 for a superior presentation that complements the incredible scripts by Chris Roberson.

Buy this book whenever you get the opportunity. You will not regret it.

Friday, October 24, 2014

More Comic Reviews

The only advantage I can see to being too sick to write is that I am catching up with my comics.

This time I am visiting two titles from Dark Horse Comics.

The Finest in Illustrated Horror: Creepy issues 16 and 17 and The Best in Illustrated Science-Horror: Eerie issues 4 and 5 made it to the top of my reading list. These titles take me back to my youth when black and white comics on cheap paper were readily available. I don't remember the titles from then but they were basically a creature of the month. These books are worthy successors to that wonderful legacy. I feel almost like I'm reading the old House of Secrets or House of Mysteries series.

The stories are very brief but contain insight into the human condition. The black and white rendering is being done by people who really know how to make it pop. I wish I could write a short script that would appear in either title. I think I will look into that. But don't hold your breath, I feel it is extremely unlikely that I will be published in them.

If you like horror comics that are full of splatter, read these. There is some gore, but the black and white somehow makes it more palatable.

Review of Dead Boy Detectives

I recently read Dead Boy Detectives Issues 5-9 from Vertigo. I first became acquainted with them while reading the excellent Sandman trade paperbacks.

This series does not disappoint. The first three arcs were wonderful. They introduced us to the world and keep adding details which make it seem real. The writing and pacing are worthy of these characters and the artwork is among the best that I've ever seen from a Vertigo book. It compliments the age and experience level of the teenaged protagonists.

I highly recommend this book.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Review of Grayson #1

Whenever the DC Comics Universe is mentioned, discussion normally turns to the "Big Three" of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. With nary a dissenting voice, everyone agrees that they are the foundation of the Multiverse.

That begs this question. Who is number 4? A few weeks ago Comic Geek Speak Podcast spent a considerable time making the point that Dick Grayson is number 4. I won't plagiarize their supporting arguments here. Go find the episode where Tom King is a guest.

Grayson takes the reader into an uncharted section of Dick's life. He is now a rookie secret agent working for an unnamed agency. Even better he is paired with Earth One's version of [Redacted]. This is an exciting development. I have been waiting for [Redacted] to appear in the new 52.

The book is extremely well written and I like the artwork. The arc is very intriguing and I can't wait for the next issue. I wonder about the long term viability of this ID though.

I urge everyone to go to their local comic shop and buy this book. It may also be available from Comixology for download.

I hope you enjoyed this.


Saturday, June 14, 2014

What is going on with life?

It has been an eternity since I last posted. I could almost say a lifetime ago.

My ex-wife was diagnosed with breast cancer a few weeks ago. She just finished the first four sessions of chemo. She is fighting with everything she has. The tumor is shrinking some, but it was very large to start. In a week or so, the weekly treatments begin.

I'm doing what I can to help. I've been taking the kids every weekend. They are handling things well. I am trying to put aside the resentment I still feel over the divorce. There are times when I relive every emotion I've experienced in our entire relationship. Divorced or not, our children will tie us together for life. I hope with every fiber of my being that she is around to see them grown.

Her illness has eliminated my option of just allowing myself to fade away. My daughter isn't quite 11, I must outlive my father if I want to her to see her grown. My boys are much closer to adulthood, I think they will be fine young men regardless of events. The youngest still faces puberty and everything that I don't know how I could explain. I would muddle through, but I would be a poor substitute for her mother.

Needless to say, there are a great many things on my mind, Even trying to write is an impossible task. To be honest, I doubt anyone will even notice my hiatus.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Review of Battlestar Galactica Starbuck by Dynamite

My review of the Dynamite Comics mini-series Battlestar Galactica Starbuck.

After the justifiably cancelled series Classic Battlestar Galactica, I had limited expectations for this series. While eating dinner, I decided to read the four issues.

The series kept the same creative team of Tony Lee, Eman Casallos, Davi Correa, Joshua Cozine, Sean Chen and Adriano Lucas for the entire run.

The covers were good but not spectacular. I found their style pleasing to my tastes. The palette was appropriate as well.

Eman Casallos did a fine job on the interior artwork. The scenes conveyed action when necessary and tension where needed. Characters looked like who they were supposed to be.

David Correa's color palette was very appropriate. Through a variety of settings, he enhanced rather than overwhelmed the drawings.

I'm not a fan of Joshua Cozine's lettering. A few times it was difficult to read the dialog in the correct order.

The story itself fits well into established Battlestar continuity. Tony Lee wrote the characters in the manner that I expected. I won't give away the plot, but as one can infer from the title, it features Starbuck. The arc covers 26 years before the attack at Cimtar.

BSG Classic fans will really enjoy this mini. It is substantially better than the last series. To use Comic Geek Speak ratings, this is a buyorrow. ( Not a typo) which translates into a low buy or high borrow.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I unpublished my short stories and novellas

Today I unpublished my short stories and two novellas. I don't think anyone will miss them. It was depressing to see almost no downloads and no reviews. People won't pay even $0.99 for a short story.

Instead, I collected what I consider my best into an anthology. Rough Drafts:The Collected Works of Dane Grannon is available through Amazon and CreateSpace. I've added my thoughts about each story. Perhaps the commentary is a little sappy, but I only published them for me. I'm also going to send a copy to Doris, my ex-mother-in-law, because I think she will enjoy it.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Ground Hog Day 2014

I'm sitting in bed with strep throat. That pretty much sums up how my personal life is going. This balances out how my writing is going. A few days ago, I received a completely unexpected royalty payment from Amazon and CreateSpace. Someone actually purchased a printed copy of Lucky Streak. I hope it results in a review.


This year has been fun in the writing department. I am active on CritiqueCircle.com again. I am privileged to be reading a wonderful YA novel  set it Missouri. I sincerely hope my friend completes the novel and shares it with the world. His last book was absolutely stellar.

I set a modest writing goal for this year. I will write at least a certain number of words on a story. So far, I have exceeded my goal every day. The Return of the Solar Phantom is a campy pulp western set in outer space. I am trying to keep the style of 1950s Science Fiction, think John Carter of Mars. Yes I know it was written 100 years ago. So perhaps I should have said early Ray Bradbury. Anyway it is fun to write. I have a high-level outline and a few beats I need to hit but, beyond that, I have very little idea what I'll write each day.

This is my update. I would say that I'll try to post more often, but I probably won't.

Until next time ...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

January 2014

Today is January 16, 2014. This is the sixteenth day in a row that I exceeded my writing goal. The Return of the Solar Phantom is going well.

I have created the absolutely most interesting villain in my entire writing life. The chapter I just finished practically wrote itself. This is the most excited I have been about my writing since I was writing Lucky Streak. I hope it will continue. At this rate, I'll have a rough draft by summer.