Monday, March 27, 2006

Last Week, This Week, Whatever

Last week was pretty good, though a little hectic. Most notably I had my first class under Ty Templeton.

Dunno if I mentioned this earlier. For my birthday my mother signed me into a class on writing comics taught by writer and artist Ty Templeton. It was FUCKING AWESOME! I mean...jesus christ, I learned more in one class that I have in a YEAR of script writing. I mean, all the nitty gritty shit that I don't normally think about. And that wasn't the end of it!

After class Ty gave me a lift to the subway, since it was on his way home. And we chatted. I talked about DELIVERY and SUICIDE YAKUZA. He said that zombie comics were SO 2004, but I still might stand a chance, and that SY sounded cool. He talked about the time he pitched something to an editor by accidnetally saying "I'd love to see this in a book some day", and the fact that you CAN do pitches without art.

I'm really looking forward to class this week. We had a homework assignment for scripting another two, 4 panel pages (composing Establishing Shot, Close-Up, Action Shot, and Important Panel as the basics of any page). And somehow I ended up having Matt Noblem in it. Yeah...Excelsior makes yet another cameo appearance.

I'm feeling better today. I think I may have just needed a really good sleep. I dunno. But I'm feeling ten times as good as yesterday. Body is much less tender.

I picked up Marc Andreyko's "Manhunter: Street Justice" today. Its a trade compilation of the first 5 issues of his new superhero book, Manhunter. Really, really good stuff. A superhero in LA. Who arms herself by stealing from the FBI's supergadget evidence room. Its a lot more gritty, I think, than some of the recent Green Arrow stuff, and the art's real nice. I highly recommend it.

Similarly, I recommend picking up the Read or Die manga that came out from Viz this week. If you're a fan of the RoD OVA, I HIGHLY recommend picking it up. Among other things, its got the secret origins of The Paper...which are REALLY FUCKING COOL! The Paper's origins are like something out of Unknown Armies. Just really funky. For those NOT familiar with RoD...shame on you. Superpowered agents of the British Library. TAKE AND READ! TAKE AND READ! (possibly my favourite St. Augustine quote EVAH!)

Also, the 5th pocket-TPB of Runaways is out. For those who haven't read Brian Vaughn's comic about the life of the superpowered kids of supervillains, on the run from the law, I HIGHLY recommend picking it up. The trades are nice and pocket sized, and contain a full six issues each. There's some very nice plot development across them, and the stories are quite compelling. Easily one of my favourite superhero books coming out ATM.

Now I go and watch The West Wing, season 5. More on last week's DVD purchases later.


Sunday, March 26, 2006

Evil plague

Last week was busy. Lot of interesting stuff. Recap tomorrow maybe.

ATM I feel really shitty. My flesh is tender for no perceptible reason. I have a feeling that I'm coming down with something. Dunno. I really hope not, as I have two essays due next week and really can't afford to miss a couple days.

HopefullY I shall feel better tomorrow.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

V for Vendetta (film)

Not sure if I reviewed the book before on my blog. I don't think so, as I must have read it the year before I started university.

The movie isn't as good. The book was unbelievable. It was just fucking outstanding.

The thing is that the movie is good on its own. Standing by itself, ignoring the book, it works pretty well. Not as bad as Constantine, but there were some definite and major changes to things.

Overall it was a good flick. I'm torn as to whether or not I should call it "great". On one hand I want to, becuase it was pretty damn cool. But on the other "great" begins to infringe on the book. And the movie was NOT as good as the book.

Really, I think, in terms of adaptations, V for Vendetta ranks up there with Hellboy. Not spot on, but pretty good and touching on most of the themes.

Nicely done, though. Visually speaking, most of it was spot on. V's costume was spot on, I gotta say. Just perfect. The Shadow Gallery was done nicely. Not quite the same as in the book, but it was pasasble. Evey in the little girl's dress waiting for the dirty priest worked, thought it was a bit more modern and, to be honest, fake looking than the way they had it in the comic.

Now, some of the scenes were taken wholesale from the book, and I agree with a poster over on Barbelith that those were the best. The "Valerie" autobiography in Evey's cell was quite well done, as was the scene with Dr. Delia. Similarly, the little girl spray painting "V" on the wall.

Then again, there were things that just didn't happen in Moore's telling of the story. People dressing up in V costumes at the end to march on Parliament, Creedie's people killing V instead of the cop, etc.

My one big problem with the film was that they whitewashed the setting. Instead of a post-WWIII world where only Britain remained strong we were given a world where the British government engineered a plague to kill tens of thousands of its own citizens as an excuse to declare martial law. It was a bit extreme, and it just didn't have the same oomph as the government just pulling Nazi tactics and rounding every non-white, non-straight, non-right wing person in the country up and shipping them to concentration camps. Not that the book's take on things wasn't extreme...but...I dunno. Government's instigating states of emergency to have an excuse to declare martial law just doesn't have the same punch it as a government just straight out declaring it because, essentially, the people elected the Nazis.

Now, the film did have some new scenes that were quite nice. The talk show sketch making fun of the Chancellor was quite funny, to be honest. And nicely done.

The scenes with Evey in prison were VERY well done. As was the opening scene with Evey, V, and the Fingermen, though I kind of missed the exploding hand gag.

Speaking of that opening scene, right from the beginning the movie diverged from the book's plot. In the opening scene of the comic, V blows up Parliament. He blows up the Old Bailey later, but after giving a speech to it about how fickle and whorish a mistress Lady Justice has become in a fascist world. The TV broadcast was kept, but it was no longer V's actually humorous monologue where he pretends to be God, acting as a CEO and adressing humanity as the employees of a corporation. Instead its a more direct broadcast talking to people about what is wrong with their world. Not bad, but really a little bit too Matrix for me.

Similarly, V's planning didn't work quite as well in the movie. In the books V had everything figured out to a level that was damn near precognitive. He had everything planned out and it WORKED. In the movie his plans fell apart a bit too readily, and he had to improvise. It was more than a little dissapointing.

Overall, worth watching. I'll probably grab it on DVD when it comes out, though they may release a Special Edition, so I may just wait. I still regret only getting the first Sin City disc when it came out. Missed out on plenty of stuff.

Speaking of movies, I've got $125 in Futureshop gift cards waiting for me at home, courtesy of the Royal Bank and VISA. Gonna grab CSI Season 5, The Harry Potter Collection (Philosopher's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire). Been waiting on it for a while, but the first and fourth are damn good films, and Prisoner has its moments. Might just grab Goblet and the Stone, though. Dunno. I'll have to check prices (I'm willing to shell out an additional $20 for two movies that I'm not so fond of...dunno). Probably also get Corpse Bride, which was good but so short I can't bring myself to spend real money on it. Dunno what else. Maybe another season of SG-1. Ah, yes! That's it! Immortel! Grab that as well. Heh. Should be fun.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Ok, so I was wrong

It wasn't a parade.

Apparently some guy on the 6th floor has his radio cranked on constnatly repeating the same tracks of "Irish" music.

And apparently if said room puts out music at full blast it sounds identical to a parade marching up or down Avenue/University. Weird. And kind of annoying.

Its Happy Hour in Ireland (seriously)

It just hit Happy Hour in ireland about 15 minutes ago.

The parade outside has been going on since I woke up TWO hours ago.

Warren Ellis has asked not to be emailed about today, but if you do I bet he'll send you a Humoros Prize. Possibly involving semtex.

I generally don't pay much attention to St. Patty's Day. My one concession to recognizing that it even exists is, typically, watching Boondock Saints and drinking some Irish beer. This year its Guinness, because while in the UK I was introduced to HOW you pour Guinness, and the beer suddenly was actually palatable, and actually pretty damn good.

So there's a bottle of Harp and a can of Guinness in my fridge. There's also a green pear, and the only clean shirt I have today is the color of a dead cocktail olive. These are my concessions to this most drunk of days.

It doesn't appear that the parade has moved onto the Irish Rovers yet. When they start ringing out "Come Day, Go Day" I think I might start paying attention. They've somehow, however, managed to go through god-only-knows how many renditions of "Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ra", which when you think about it actually sounds like some form of ancient Egyptian sun ritual.

Now they're doing "What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor". Sounds like the Great Big Sea rendition. Which is actually pretty good.

If they stay on the same album they'll eventually hit "Irish Paddy", which for those who don't know is all about a shifty footed Irishman who goes to New York, goes into a bar, refuses to pay his tab, and kills the landlord when he's told to pay up. Then the Americans chase him around, but then Paddy runs into some Irishmen who figure out whats going on, and the Irishmen chase the Americans away.

Moral of the story? So long as a signifigantly large crowd of your countrymen are nearby, you can get away with murder.

...I'm being really cynical, aren't I? Its because the Bard hasn't eaten yet. He's hungry and dehydrated. ANd will fix that soon.


Thursday, March 09, 2006

Avengers, Assemble!

For those of you who haven't seen the Marvel animated movie Ultimate Avengers, I highly recommend it.

Based on Millar's Ultimate-retake of the Avengers, The Ultimates, the movie condenses the first two arcs of the comic (forming the team and fighting the Hulk, then fighting the Chitauri/Skrulls) into one, compressed 70 minute piece. Its slick, honestly. They had to cut out some plot threads, which regretably means that they removed one of the best Cap-Fury scenes in there (when Cap and Fury first meet and Cap's response is "Nice try, Fritz! But its 1944, and the highest ranking black man in the United States military is a Colonel!"), and lost a few really overt aspects of the characters' personalities.

But there are still some nice nods back to the original writing. Iron Man/Tony Stark is shown holding a glass with a half empty bottle of...something...beside him after their first mission failure. Giant-Man/Hank Pym still seems to have an, at least emotionally, abusive and/or controlling relationship with his wife, Wasp/Janet. And Captain America and Wasp still have the hots for each other.

One of the biggest changes was in the Bruce Banner-Betty Ross relationship. Betty's no longer an ice-queen/uber-bitch, sleeping around on Bruce because he can't be man enough for her. Instead she seems to have more emotional issues than anything else with him...which was OK, I suppose. But "HULK KILL FREDDIE PRINZ JUNIOR!" is one of my favourite Hulk lines of all time. So I was sad to see it go.

I'm unsure of how they're going to handle Thor. Whether he'll be a thundergod ala regular Marvel-U, or whether he'll be crazy, ala Ultimates Universe.

(See, now I want to write a Hulk single about the Hulk on the Planet of Cute and Fuzzy Bunnies. Then some alien comes along and steps on one, and Hulk goes nuts. "HULK KILL BUNNY KILLER!". Then again, I just want to see a book where the Hulk evidences only 20 words of English, and most of his dialogue consists of "Hulk like bunny".)

The animation was slick and quick. Very nicely done. The characters really looked like they did in the comics, which was nice. Thor looked especially good. They really got his look down. Giant-Man, however, looked like someone out of Aeon Flux (the MTV show, not the movie). Maybe its just how tall and gangly he was drawn, but in the outfit he was wearing he could have worked for Trevor Goodchild. Seriously.

Looks like the Ultimate Avengers movies are going to be direct-to-video (OVA-style), 70 minute animated movies coming out quarterly. Actually not too bad. I'm interesting in seeing how that goes for Marvel. They certainly set the price low enough (its worth every penny of its $15 CDN cover price) to make it affordable, and included sufficient balances between action and story to make it fun for both kids, teens, and adults, as well as fans of the Avengers, fans of the Ultimates, and folks who've never read either.

At the very least, go rent it. But at the price its at, you could buy it or rent it three times. I'd suggest just flat out buying it.

Its worth it.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

New Job

I found a new job. The hours are better, the location is better, the pay is better, and all my bosses there speak English as a first language. I'm not racist, but the less I have to try to decipher what my boss is saying, the better.

Its at The Abbey Grill in Oakville. Pay is a quarter again of what I'm making now, with the option of increasing a month after date of employment if they're happy with my work. They're willing to give me a variety of shifts, and they have an active interest in their employees.

It'll be like Sharkey's, except I won't be running around a rather large three story building to get from place to place and job to job. And, unlike Il Posto, they actually seem to want me as something other than just a hanger-on kept out of sentiment.

So, as of next week, I'm going to go to Rocco and tell him to take this job and shovel it.

(catch the Demolition Man reference?)