Thursday, November 28, 2013

Saga Issue #16

I'll say it again - I love Saga. Lucky for me, most people agree. It's not very often people agree with me, or so my facebook recently tells me (I'm waiting for the result of that pole). When it comes to Brian K. Vaughan, seven time Eisner Award winner, most people agree that his stories are as amazing as his politics timely. Although I'm not forgiving him for working on television series Lost anytime soon- six seasons and not a single fucking dinosaur! SHAME! Anyway...

Issue #16 starts off with our gargoyle-esq reporters (see image) attempting an impromptu interview with a member our winged heroine's race. He attempts to rectify the situation by claiming that Alana is simply a spy who is merely acting as a turncoat soldier and moonie lover (I'm not buying it).  Meanwhile on Quietus, our cyclops author and horned mother figure attempt to trick the happy couple into accepting a livelihood in acting. There's is a great scene that looks a lot like Maury Povich. On a side note, not many people know that I was a HUGE fan of Maury growing up including watching it every lunch hour (we use to live across from the elementary school so we came home for lunch and shitty day time talk shows).

Finally, The Will is saved from slave girl who is infected by this mind-suggestive organism that tries to convince non-terrestrials to stay on the planet. That's the quick run-down. I don't want to give too much away. As always, this issue is full of vibrant colors and action packed panels. It makes me feel bad that there isn't an issue more than once a month.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Trillium Issue #3 & 4 by Jeff Lemire

Look at me slowly catching up on things! Sadly I suppose I'm sinking into a little of the winter blues less affectionately known as depression. Winter is coming, fire and ice.. yadda yadda. Without making reference to long-winded novels and bastadized television productions of such sagas, I will attempt to bang out a little blurb about Trillium.

I can't help but get a little depressed when I read an issue, as the characters have so much hope yet their situation is all so hopeless. Genocide tends to win. In addition, for something so full of sci-fi awesomeness, which generally implies more technology than spirituality, this story is awfully spiritual. I don't want to say this is like Avatar because it's not. It's not Pocahontas in space. There is an alien race being threatened. There is a love story between two different cultures, two different languages, but they are not trying to wipe each other out. Instead an entire other race is facing annihilation at the hands of humanity who faces annihilation at the hands of Caul. Yet two people falling for each other are separated by time. You could make a parallel to the above stories mentioned, that the female love interest is in a technologically advanced age compared to the male.. so that makes it the opposite of Avatar (and Pocahontas). Ah damn, look what I did!? I said I was not going to compare and I did anyway. Well I said I did not want to compare… so technically I did not lie.

Normally I don’t read other people’s reviews of the material I decide to write about. In this case I might take a look because I have a sneaking suspicion that people are just going to dismiss Trillium as Avatar-fan-fodder. I really hope that is not that case. I’ll check in about it at a later date. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Berserk Volume 8-10 by Kentaro Miura

I've been slowly making my way through Berserk. It's got to be my favorite manga ever but I'm slow to get through it considering it's nearly 50 volumes long now. I really feel like I know and understand the characters in the story. I find it the easiest story to get lost in. At this point in the story a lot has happened. Guts and Caska have grown close and both have acknowledged (to some extent) their feelings for one another. At least, they've had sex a few times and made little attempts to hide their emotional connection from their comrades.

I think the most interesting plot development was the imprisonment of Griffith and his subsequent mutilation. The idea of this beautiful man being torn up and tortured for a year... well apparently most of the skin was removed from his face although, the author has not allowed the reader to see it at all! Instead he wears the Hawk helmet/mask...(thing???) Not to mention the fact that his tongue has been removed. For whatever reason Princess Charlotte (moron that she is) thinks that Griffith is a good person and wants to save him. Everyone wants to save him but ultimately, Griffith's true nature has yet to be revealed to them. This is the past remember. The first 4 books take place in the present, following that it's the Golden Ages for Gutts and the Hawks which is a retelling of past events.

I'm anxious to see how Caska deals with the situation and just exactly how Griffith gets his creepy necklace back. There was a few hints that the Godhand have already contacted Griffith but we don't know how much. So many questions.. I love it when an author chooses to tell you parts of the ending but leaves out all the details and how it all came to pass. The mystery is killing me.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Saga Issue #15 *spoilers*

Delay, delay! Usually my favorite comics are delayed in release but no, this time it's me having issues (get it?) getting my work done! I read this the day it came out but was steadily drowning in software manuals and thesis papers. Let me start this little blurb by saying that I absolutely love the cyclops novelist! I love his character even though cyclops of past comic books made me wanna yack (Scott Summers)! However I really like this alcoholic novelist.

The Will is of course, my favorite character. He's rough and tumble but still possesses a soft spot. The end of the issue is really fantastic. We knew something strange was going on because Will was seeing his spidery, dead ex-girlfriend everywhere. She was telling him to abandon bounty hunting and settle down on this random planet he crashed on. Turns out that was the result of a parasite that likes to convince foreign organisms to settle into the ecosystem. Guess they can't properly reproduce or something, I dunno! Maybe they just like diversity, you know it's like aggressive immigration!! ....or something. God, what a concept.

Anyway, I'm dying for the next issue. I'm also dying to finish this semester of school and get some heavy comic reading/blogging done. Not to mention the fact that I need to start drawing again. Till tomorrow.. I swear! I'll update tomorrow! Don't hit me!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Hal-con Implosion of 2013

In Theory:

I always want to say positive things about independent local events. I think it's important to be a supporter of your city and anyone in it who is trying to make things happen which are new, different, culturally diverse or hell, just plain fun. Nova Scotia itself is a province sitting on the poorer end of the Canadian money train (not that there really is a Canadian money train..but we'd be sitting on the end if it existed). If we were on the Titanic, we would be sitting in the bottom of the ship in steerage. Unfortunately when it comes to creating a successful comic-con, we are a lot like the Titanic. We ran out of life boats so people ended up wading in the Atlantic Ocean (okay not literally but people were turned away!). I truly want to support Hal-con and  I was really excited to be granted a press pass. I had requested interviews with two guest speakers. Neither of those happened. After several attempts on my part to contact coordinators and have the interviews set up, I finally threw in the towel. It was becoming clear that there simply was no interview schedule, at least none that considered independent journalist such as myself. I suspect the local news got their interviews scheduled although I suspect it was with some degree of difficulty.

Yet this is a simple gripe that I am willing to over-look and does not make or un-make a successful comic-con. However inconvenienced I was, a lot more people were inconvenienced in a very big way on Saturday at Hal-con 2013. It was clear to me early on that the Con wasn't executed properly. With Eastlink being Hal-cons largest sponsor, advertising hit all over the Maritimes. This meant more people from PEI, NB and surrounding areas were now aware of Hal-con. People booked hotels, arranged accommodations with friends and family in the city to be a part of Hal-con. Attendance of course was at an all time high.

At the Con:

When I reached the Con on Saturday morning around 11 am, the line was all the way around the Metro Centre and down to The Palace. My first reaction was: wow, they've come so very far in such a short time. My second reaction was: this isn't good. Although it was fairly simple for me to get my press pass despite the lack of signage within the building, everyone else suffered the massive line-up of registration. It was when we finally got up to the second level that the real problems showed. The space in the WTCC was misused to such a point that the hallways suffered from bottleneck behind every corner (and sometimes straight ahead). Proper consideration had not been made for the disabled in wheelchairs. Additionally, someone had the great idea of allowing strollers into the convention. I counted at least five double strollers. I know what it's like carting children around, I always used a sling so that I wasn't running people down with my baby SUV. But even this can be over looked. What needed to be addressed was the placement of information tables and advertising. Placing Eastlink's advertising table at the base of the escalators was the first big mistake.

After fighting my way out of the convention for some air, we were told that people were not being readmitted and that the Fire Marshall had done away with the line. I can only imagine the disappointed people. In addition, I over-heard the worries and concerns of volunteers who were mistreated by the angry Con-goers. I suspect the only really happy people were my friends up in the game room who had planned to spend the day with the board game library.

Possible Solutions:

Perhaps I could offer some possible solutions, if I may be so bold. I made sure to see my friend Patrick, owner of Quantum Frontier Games & Comics on Robie St in Halifax. When talking about the line-ups he mentioned a possible solution that I think would solve most of the problem. Selling Con tickets at a lower rate as day passes for Friday and Sunday. By doing this it encourages people to go on the lesser attended days rather than everyone trying to pile in at noon on Saturday. We'll just skip the part about market research, understanding advertising and event planning 101.

Obviously I mentioned the poorly laid out floor plan. A lot of major issues could have been solved by taking more time to evaluate the space. Placing tables near the escalators showed poor judgement.


So, in the end I didn't get an interview and I didn't get to see a single presenter. I decided to make the best of it by speaking with the vendors. Down on the first floor you could find all the vendors. It was also open to the public, after all, who wants to pay money to go spend money.

I had a great conversation with Jay Paulin with Ink'd Well Comics. He told me all about their comic Infantasy drawn by Ariel Marsh which looks fantastic. It is a comic told from the eyes of an infant. You can check it out at ! Dominic Marco was present with his awesome pin-ups and wicked Dr. Who art! You can check out his artwork at I also got to look at some amazing fantasy art work displayed by Shawn Orne! He had two tables of beautiful pieces and prints. There were plenty of local handmade costume boutiques including Indigo Lily Designs and Romantica Nocturnis.

All in all, I think artist Ben Jeddrie said it best when he suggested coining the word Hal-controversy. Although, I think the real controversy is between the people waiting in line for hours hoping to get into Hal-con on Saturday and Sunday and those waiting for hours in parade square for their tickets to be refunded. In the end, I'd like to speak to someone about the financial impact the event had on the Hal-con and it's future. Maybe it's true that any press is good press.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Wolves by Becky Cloonan

My good friend Jesse Hanlon passed this to me when he came back from a stint of living in Montreal. Cloonan, is an American comic book artist who produced a series of one-off stories in a smaller than traditional format. They are beautifully produced. A lot of love has gone into these and they have been re-printed several times due to demand and sales. I of course have a great respect for females in the comic book industry and a tremendous amount of respect for Cloonan. She was the first female artist to write for DC's main Batman title (issue #12).

Wolves was one of her self published works from 2011. It is a haunting story narrated in reflection to past events and embittered with the after taste of regret. The dark and sometime provocative images are especially appealing to me personally. It is not a long tale but it is a complete tale with a poignant ending that will be remembered. If you see this in any shop, pick it up without a second thought.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

New Stuff to Come!

So sorry all my lovely comic book readers! In light of Halloween, I have been noticeably, well... backed up in the writing department. As I write both for a living, for Blue Raven and write for school (I'm an English Major), I have found myself with very little time this past week. But, reviews to come this week are Trillium #4 (out tomorrow) and Saga which actually came out last week.. that's how busy I've been. I haven't even had a chance to look at Saga!! sigh.  Also, hoping to get a few interview responses back so I can post those! So much to do and Hal-con is this Friday !! I will be taking pictures and posting an article all about Hal-con for The Frog Queen & Blue Raven Comics. :D Until then, here's a little piece from Jeff Lemire!