Thursday, November 27, 2008

Event Fatigue

Like many others, I'm experiencing what folks are calling "event fatigue". With Marvel and DC running major events back to back where the stakes are always universe shattering and the repercussions semi-permanent, even a person who doesn't read every tie-in or tertiary title (heck, even if they don't read the main title) seems to be suffering from burn-out. It's like exhaustion by proximity. The two current events, Final Crisis and Secret Invasion, I thought I would give a try: the first because it is/was supposed to be the big finale to a string of crises, and the latter because it looks kind of fun, if maybe a little drawn-out.

In the beginning, I thought I was going to give up on FC because the storytelling was so opaque, and the stuff Morrison was constantly referencing were things I don't think I was in on. Granted, I didn't read 52, Seven Soldiers of Victory or Countdown before picking up FC #1, so I think that had a lot to do with the alienation I felt. Secret Invasion, on the other hand, looked like another Secret Wars to me. Big event, a whole bunch of Marvel characters fighting each other but not like in Civil War where it was all doom and gloom, this one promised to be fun. Finding out who is/was a skrull, how deeply they had infiltrated the Marvel U and discovering why they had targeted 'us' sounded like an interesting plot line to follow. After the third or fourth issue, however, I realized that Bendis essentially crafted an 8-issue slugfest with some exposition in-between characters punching each other. To its credit, Leinil Yu's art is great and likely the reason I hung on for as long as I did, but I think I only bought three issues.

Somewhere in the middle of all that brouhaha, I grabbed a copy of the FC#1 Director's Cut with the Morrison annotations and script pages. I also read an extensive interview (I think on IGN) where he talked about his Batman R.I.P. storyline and what he's trying to do with FC as a storyteller. These two things essentially showed me that I was reading the books wrong and, to their credit, they were right. FC is unwieldy at the best of times, but the way Morrison has paced this event's central book is different than your average super-hero comic book story. He's chosen to show the reader just the big moments of the story and not many of the interstitial moments that you would normally get in a 22 page comic. It was jarring for me early on, but I've got the rhythm now, I think.

I have since tracked back and read Batman R.I.P., 52, Seven Soldiers of Victory as well as the first book of Countdown, and I'm starting to get more out of the series than I did previously. Seven Soldiers especially seems to have some ties to FC what with the Mister Miracle connection and the red skies and Frankenstein of S.H.A.D.E. making an appearance in #3. There are still things I'm mulling over, but that's sort of the point, isn't it? Grant wants us humming and hawing until the last frame of the last page of the series. At this point I think I'm okay with that. Batman R.I.P. may have had a crap payoff in the end, but I think Grant will actually pull something out of his hat with FC so I'm going to hang in there and see.



Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hey Kids, Comics! For 11/26/08

Another pull-list for the week. The legend, as always, is as follows:

Bold is what I will grab for sure.
Italics mean it's something I want, but won't necessarily pick it up right away.
Regular text indicates something that has caught my eye but is either too pricey to be reasonable, or I would only pick up as an impulse buy.

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UMBRELLA ACADEMY DALLAS #1 GABRIEL BA CVR (Been waiting for this one!)

BATMAN #681 RIP (Having read but not purchased the previous issues, I would like to see how it all ends. Still, this event has been pretty lackluster from the beginning so I am not expecting much.)

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER #19 (I still like this series but the need to have every issue as it comes out is dwindling.)

LEGION OF SUPER HEROES #48 (Almost done. Just counting down to 50.)

Have a great Wednesday, folks!



Monday, November 24, 2008

It's Like I Made It Happen

Did anybody else see Coldplay on the AMAs last night? What was up with that performance? I got the impression that everyone was having some trouble with their audio but Chris Martin looks drunk and out of key, nobody seems to be entirely in time, and the audio mix is just awful. Observe:

I've seen them do this song on several different occasions (via YouTube, of course) and it has never been quite this odd. Here's another version. Not perfect but quite a bit better:

Considering how I was just slamming the guys for looking and acting like goofballs, I feel as though I may have willed this to happen just to prove my point to the world.

The argument for not having anything to do with the band visually keeps getting stronger and stronger.



Monday Morning, 11:53 A.M.

Flipping through some of my podcast subscriptions I noticed that I had downloaded a Barnes & Noble One-On-One interview with Paul Simon. I guess he is on tour promoting the new Lyrics 1964-2008 book that presents the lyrics for every song for that he wrote for that time period. Since I like listening to interviews while I work, I hit play.

The next hour was a relatively enjoyable one with Simon talking less about his book and giving listeners more of a trip through his early career and songwriting process. I always find it interesting how older artists can ride both sides of the fence when talking about music. They touch on the whole "I don't know where it comes from" idea but they can also intellectualize it like nobody's business. Listening to Simon talk about how the second you hit your first chord while writing a song you've already committed yourself to a certain pattern. The first note you sing will inevitably be a note within that chord and it will also affect your word choice when you write the lyric.

In some respects, breaking it down like that might be a bit of an artistic killjoy, but I love the insight it gives me as a non-musician and, really, I don't think it takes any of the 'mystical' aspects of songwriting away.

I've always been a listener of Simon & Garfunkel but never really gone through their catalogue beyond the Greatest Hits album that everyone has and the odd non-single track here and there. So, I've decided to do some proper exploring and have gone back to Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. and will be working my way up through the years until I hit Bridge Over Troubled Waters. As of this writing, I'm actually a little surprised by the religious content in many of the songs (although I would assume for folk music at that time having a song like "Go Tell It On The Mountain" was nothing unusual) but I have singled out "Bleeker Street" as a fast favourite and find that I prefer the non-electric version of "Sounds of Silence" over the second, better known, version the label released.

Anyway, I highly recommend checking out the interview which can be found here, and I'll post a follow-up on the music when I get a little further in.



Thursday, November 20, 2008

Next Trek

Not entirely sure how I feel about this:

But it seems to be generating more positive responses than I expected it to, initially, so I'm intrigued as to how this will play out for the franchise.

Anybody have any opinions on this one?


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What's Up With Chris Martin?

Jen bought me the latest Coldplay album for my Birthday in September and I had a lukewarm reaction to it at the time. There were definitely songs on there I liked a lot, and it was a definite improvement over X&Y, but it wasn't until a couple of weeks ago that I really embraced it sort of put it into regular rotation on my iTunes while I'm working.

Around the same time that was happening, iTunes offered a free download of their new video, "Lovers in Japan". I like the song so I snagged the video and hoped it would be better than the previous two which I had difficulty watching. Of course, it wasn't. I don't know what's up with Chris Martin and the other guys but the look they've chosen for this album is not working for them. I know it's supposed to fit into the French Revolution theme of the album but they just come off as total poseurs. And the stuff they have them doing in the videos is 20 steps back from the minimalist brilliance that was "Yellow", or anywhere near as conceptually strong as "The Scientist".

I've finally come to the conclusion that, while I have decided to let Coldplay back into my life, I just can't look at them anymore. Chris, you're not Bono so stop trying to be him. And find something less silly to wear.

Here's the offending video, by the way:



Hey Kids, Comics! For 11/19/08

Another pull-list for the week. The legend, as always, is as follows:

Bold is what I will grab for sure.
Italics mean it's something I want, but won't necessarily pick it up right away.
Regular text indicates something that has caught my eye but is either too pricy to be reasonable, or I would only pick up as an impulse buy.

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AMBUSH BUG YEAR NONE #4 (OF 6) (In for a penny, in for a pound)

ROBIN #180 (Starting to lose interest with all this event tie-in stuff, but hanging in there for the time being)

SPIRIT #23 (I'm glad that I'll be able to stay home and read these when that abomination of a film finally comes out)

X-FILES #1 (OF 6) (I've been waiting for this puppy for a looong time)

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #578 (The cover was enough to suck me in on this one, and I'm dying to see Martin's take on Spidey)

FANTASTIC FOUR #561 (This remains an enjoyable ride)

ANGEL AFTER THE FALL #14 (I'm still missing Franco Urru on this book)

Have a great Wednesday, folks!



Monday, November 10, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Army of the Dead

The cover art has been released for Indy's latest literary adventure to be written by Steve Perry and looks like so:

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Not as cool as the Drew Struzan covers from the previous 12 books, but if the stuff inside is half-decent I can't complain.