While I was playing the final episode of Telltale Games' first season of its Fables prequel game, The Wolf Among Us, I was struck by just how many genres it cycles through before its conclusion. It's a locked-parlor mystery. Then it's an action movie. There's melodrama in there. One scene is straight-up horror. Then it's a legal drama.
Previous episodes covered even more genre territory, from noir to surreal fiction to police procedural, but it wasn't until this episode that it dawned on me that Telltale was honoring the storytelling style of Fables, which started as a whodunnit and quickly became beyond categorization in its genre-hopping. Fables isn't just a series about storybook characters, it's a story about stories, and Telltale gets that. This final episode, "Cry Wolf," absolutely proved it.
I'm not even close to kidding when I say that one of the most exciting things about life in 2014 is that we're experiencing an amazing renaissance of Sailor Moon. Not only has the manga been reissued in its entirety from Kodansha, and not only is the classic series being released uncut with two episodes every Monday on Hulu, but Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal, a new series based on Naoko Takeuchi's original series, made its worldwide premiere last weekend.
This is, for someone who loves Sailor Moon as much as I do, a pretty big deal, and Crystal's first episode lived up to the hype by being an absolutely gorgeous new version of Usagi's first outing as Sailor Moon. The thing is, Crystal was designed to be a far more strict adaptation of the source material, and while it definitely succeeds on that front, that's also its biggest problem.
Internet privacy is easily one of the most confusing realities of life in the 21st century. It's the best ongoing story in collective awareness, complete with heroes, villains, victims and martyrs, turning points, and insane plot twists that regularly put The Good Wife to shame. PRISM, Wikileaks, Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, XBox One, social engineering, News International, Anonymous, and even our stupid Facebook updates are all involved. Every player and plot-line are all tangled up in a worried knot that gets bigger and more complex every year. It's all one story, and we're all living it; spectators, beneficiaries, victims, and contributors. It's one of the defining issues of our age, a still-forming zeitgeist that could be explored for years to come.
Just not in comics. Because nobody's going to top Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin, and Muntsa Vicente's The Private Eye.
This week, Chris and Matt dig deep into Superman Unchained #7 by Scott Snyder and Jim Lee, and how it compares to last week's Superman #32. After that, they discuss the first issue of the new Legendary Star-Lord series by Sam Humphries and Paco Medina, and then they talk about the very weird new Robocop series by Joshua Williamson and Carlos Magno.
As part of the marketing blitz for the movie, the comic version of Batman naturally sold batloads [Editor's note: we apologize for nothing] and is a fixture of many a 30-something's comics collection. In an effort to extort as much as they could from the fanbase, DC Comics made the book available in two formats: a newsstand-friendly comic that set readers back a mere $2.50 and a prestige format version) with a painted cover and spine) that retailed for $4.95. Personally, the cheaper version’s cover has always appealed to me more, but I’ll admit that Batman kicking a clown has a visceral appeal to me than Batman standing on a gargoyle, even if it's nicely rendered. No matter what version you bought though, the interiors were the same, and they were among the best drawings of Jerry Ordway's already distinguished career.
Unfortunately, even with scripter Denny O'Neil's bonafides as one of the people behind the 1980s version of the caped crusader that inspired the film and Ordway's extraordinary ability to render likenesses, the comic is inert and suffers from a complete inability to be compelling on its own. That's something that can't be said about Burton's movie, as scattershot and disorderly as the final product is. Even if you're not a fan of the movie (and I'm not), if it's on a screen, you're going to watch its weirdness unfold — you can't say that about the comic version, no matter how pretty it is.
We're only a few weeks away from the debut of a brand-new Sailor Moon Crystal animated series, and folks, I could not be more excited. I love Sailor Moon, ever since I saw the original anime during its run on Cartoon Network when I was a kid, and I've been looking forward to the debut of Crystal from the moment it was announced. In fact, in order to prepare for the debut, I've even gone back and started reading through the manga.
The thing is, while I've read a lot of Sailor Moon, there's one piece of the franchise that I've never been all that familair with: Naoko Takeuchi's Codename: Sailor V, which I only picked up recently. And it is fantastic, if only for the story where Sailor Venus beats the living crap out of some MRA gamer dork at the local arcade.
Despite the fact that he's been floating around the Marvel Universe for the past 38 years, Peter Quill aka Star-Lord has always been a bit of a blank slate. His costume, origin, powers, and personality have seen numerous iterations, depending on where he appeared and which creators were steering the ship at any given moment. He's been portrayed as an emotionally unstable hothead, a space-faring zen master, and a fun-loving scoundrel. He's been guided by such talents as Steve Englehart and Steve Gan, Chris Claremont, John Byrne, Keith Giffen, Carmine Infantino, Doug Monech, Gene Colan, Bill Sienkiewicz, Dan Abnett, and Andy Lanning. And despite being a cornerstone of Marvel's cosmic sagas for the past decade, and serving as the leader of the modern iteration of the Guardians Of The Galaxy, he's remained a steadfastly second-string character in the publishing line and broader media.
But now that's about to change. The Guardians Of The Galaxy are moving to the silver screen in just a few short weeks, and this week the first issue of a new ongoing Star-Lord series hits comic shop shelves and digital storefronts courtesy of writer Sam Humphries and artist Paco Medina.
There's a funny thing about superhero movies: Structurally speaking, they're fundamentally different from superhero comics, just by the very nature of how they're presented to the public. Or at least, they used to be. Until fairly recently, the appeal of comics had always been in the continuity, the ongoing sagas that built on each other and were designed to run indefinitely as a long-form narrative. The movies -- even when they were designed to kickstart a run of sequels -- were always meant to be self-contained stories.
That's flipped around the other way over the past ten years or so, with comics often looking to provide low-continuity, self-contained stories to readers picking up paperbacks and hardcovers even as the movies build billion-dollar franchises by creating a shared universe that stretches across multiple forms of media. It's no surprise, then, that if you really want to see where that trend got its start, you can trace it back to Batman '89 and the influence that came to the comics when screenwriter Sam Hamm was tapped to craft a story for Detective Comics #600 and provided the blueprint for the modern Batman event in the process.
I love my job. I make Transformers vs. G.I.Joe comics on a monthly basis (with the help of my co-writer John Barber). As part of due diligence, it's my duty to see Transformers: Age of Extinction. My ticket is a business expense. I'm making my comic not just for fans of Transformers and G.I.Joe, but for the rest of planet Earth, too. As a Transformers author I need to know how the larger world percieves Transformers so that I can play up to certain expectations and run counter to preconceived notions. In that capacity, I documented my observations about the film.
I promise I mean this in the best possible way: Writer/artist Skottie Young and colorist Jean-Francois Beaulieu's Rocket Raccoon #1 reads like a comics version of a LucasArts computer adventure game.
I realize that comparisons like that can be a backhanded insult. Saying that one piece of media is like another is an indirect way of saying it's derivative or wears its influences too clearly on its sleeve. That isn't what I'm trying to say here. What I mean is that Rocket Raccoon has a particularly appealing sense of humor to it, a specific style to its art, and its characters -- even those that appear in the margins -- feel alive.
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