Back in Black…or at least Khaki

It’s been almost a year since I last posted on here and I’ve come to the conclusion that Livejournal is pretty much dead (I prefer the design freedom and ease on WordPress) and that Facebook is more just for friends, not really for really serious writing. So I’m definitely going to be posting on here more and with a concerted effort to make it a more professional style of writing while still maintaining a sense of humor. I’m hoping to post about pop culture stuff in general (books, movies, music, comics, television) and try to spotlight somethings that get overlooked in favor of the things released by the big studios/publishers.

Well, I’ve been reading lots of comics lately and there’s some interesting stuff going on out there. I’ve been sticking mostly the old standards (DC and Marvel) but also picking up some small press books and finding some innovative stories.

Last year Marvel had a really interesting storyline that tied into most their titles called Civil War. The premise was that as civilian bodies piled up from confrontations between heroes and villains the government called for metahuman registration.marvel's civil war Iron Man (secretly billionaire industrialist Tony Stark) supports a bill to start registration while Captain America is strongly against it. Sides are formed among the heroes and what follows are some battles the alter the entire playing field of the Marvel Universe. I was impressed with how the creators behind this story pulled out all the stops and really shook up the status quo of these characters and made it so these characters couldn’t go back to where they were before. It played on lots of contemporary elements, especially the mistrust of the current administration. Writer Mark Millar did an excellent job not taking one extreme side but showing how both factions in the story had valid viewpoints.

DC has some interesting projects going on but they’re becoming a bit exhausting. Since 2003 there’s been a slow build-up to various major events. The build up has been comprised of dozens of mini-series, tie-ins to the ongoing titles, and one issue specials. One of the more interesting experiments was 52, a weekly series that ran for one year and was as close as comics have ever gotten to real time. dc's 52Each issue took place over one week and the pacing of the story was unlike any comic I’ve read before. 52 proved to be a big seller for DC and the week after it ended they started Countdown, another weekly series to run for a year. Countdown has been pretty abysmally disappointing in its first 14 weeks. There’s still plenty of story left to tell but the plot seems to be meandering for this first section with lots of inconsistencies popping up and character arcs seeming to have no direction. There’s still time for it to pick up and 52 even suffered from some draggy bits. I’m definitely parlaying my judgment till we have a substantial chunk of story to make a real critique about.

As far as the “indie” comics scene goes, I’ve really enjoyed reading The Walking Dead, an ongoing series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard. The story focuses on Rick Grimes, a small town sheriff who wakes from a coma to find the Southern United States overrun with zombies. He makes his way to Atlanta, reuniting with his wife and son and a small group of survivors. The series struck me as a lot like Lost, throwing a group of diverse character into a paranormal situation. walking deadAnd like Lost, in its first season, the emphasis is on character development over explaining away the zombies. This is one of the most well-written and paced comics out there on the market and if you’re not reading it, you’re doing a real disservice to yourself.

There’s also a new 12 issue series that start a couple months ago, Bad Planet, that has some intriguing ideas going on. A sort of intergalactic Noah’s Ark crashes on Earth and releases its bizarre insectoid cargo on humanity. There’s definitely traces of Mars Attacks but some much darker tones.

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~ by Seth on August 11, 2007.

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