Justice League Concerns

JL BannerHey. Ok, I need to get this out there. I’ve stated thousands of times previously that I am a DC fanboy. Tried and true. I don’t understand what the hell Marvel is doing with their comics and I cant find any enjoyment when I try to read their recent books.  But when it comes to the movie-side of things, I love what Marvel is doing and cant figure out what the hell DC is doing.

I’ve previously written about my opinion on the state of DC movies and my desires to see Warner Bros. make better movies, especially following Suicide Squad.  But in the end, I am a mark for all comic book movies. I want them, I eat them up and I will continue to drop my money on tickets.  I’ve been really looking forward to Thor: Ragnarok which drops November 3rd and Justice League, two weeks later, on November 17th.

However, I have some concerns about JL. It was recently announced that the run time for the movie is literally a minute-shy of two hours. Is this problematic?  Probably not but I do think its pretty short for a comic book movie, no? Granted, it doesn’t need to be three hours in length, but when it cant crack the two-minute mark?  That makes me question what’s up.

I have tried to champion this movie to anyone who threw shade at it (is that right? Is that what all the cool kids say now?  Throwing shade?) but its been difficult when the marketing hasn’t done itself any favours.  The most recent, and final, trailer dropped earlier this month and it looks alright but it hasn’t hooked me even deeper and it should have. It should have made me fucking pop with excitement. It should have made those who were on the fence jump off and say ‘fucking right!’ but it didn’t.

Visually, it still looks too CGI’d.  But the music in the trailer? Oh for fucks sake…”Heroes”? Seriously?  Come on, Warner Bros.  Did you not see what Marvel did with Thor and the might Zeppelin?  If not, check it out!  JL Flash

And don’t even get me started on what the hell they did to The Flash.  That’s for a whole other post.

In the meantime, I will enjoy the buzz and excitement of Thor; bought my tickets the day they allowed and I cant wait to go with my son. I am still looking forward to Justice League – which,  by the time your reading this, tickets have just gone on sale – but I have concerns.  I really want to love this movie. But I also have to realize…I cant keep making excuses to justify how great it could be. I just need it to be that great.

We’ll see…

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Jason Fabok

FabokThis past May, during Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) 2017, DC artist Jason Fabok was going to be appearing and signing at Gotham Central Comics located in Mississauga, Ontario. In the last couple of years I had become a Fabok fan, especially during his Justice League: Darkseid War run.

In the months leading up to FCBD, DC had published a 4-part crossover event titled The Button, which ran in Batman 21/22 and Flash 21/22.  Fabok had done covers for all four issues and was the artist for the two Batman issues.  Personally, I love Fabok’s rendition of Batman. I honestly hold it up with the greats who have drawn the Dark Knight such as Jim Lee, Greg Capullo, Neil Adams…actually, there are way too many to list.  But his depiction of Batman holds up to those greats and that’s not an easy thing to do.

In my former professional career, I had met a handful of celebrities, a mix of actors and button 1musicians. But I had never met any comic book creators (artists/writers) before and I wanted to get my copies of The Button signed by Fabok. As it turns out, the final issue, Flash 22, was delayed by about a week so I couldn’t get Jason to sign that cover. Fucking figures, doesn’t it?

Not that you overly care, but where I live and where Gotham Central Comics is…well, its a commitment to drive there.  One that my wife thought was way too much and considered whether she had made a grave error in accepting my proposal oh so many years ago. But off we went, with the two kids, and drove out to the comic shop and lined up with the hopes that we weren’t too late.

button 2I got there in the afternoon and was fortunate enough to get to meet Jason and chat with him for a couple of minutes. The guy was really down to earth and just…normal. And I don’t mean that in any derogatory way, just that he wasn’t full of ego and bluster. He was one of us…except with talent.  Jason signed my copies and was gracious enough to take a pic with me that day.  I also purchased two prints of his which he signed and they adorn my basement wall, as do the signed covers of The Button.

The whole thing was cool, he was cool and it was a great experience, if only for a few minutes.  I eventually was able to get Fabok to sign the 4th issue, Flash #22, during Toronto’s Fan Expo that took place this past summer, completing the run.

button 3Jason Fabok is a gracious and cool dude and he is really making his mark in comics. If you ever get a chance to meet him, I would suggest you do.

As an aside, my pal Sammy has a radio show and he interviewed Jason during Fan Expo and you can here it here .

 

 

Comics: Physical or Digital?

Physical_vs_DigitalComics (both single issues and trades) are available in two different methods of delivery (sorry purists, I’m not counting weekly/daily newspaper strips): Physical or Digital.  Physical was número uno for years and then digital bounced in about 10 years ago.

I came back into reading comics in the summer of 2011 when DC’s The New 52 was launched and I was really high on reading everything on my iPad. This was the future!  Fuck paper books!  I went through my library, kept only a few books and then ended up donating the rest.  I doubled-down on the e-pub versions of books that I had physical copies of.  And when it came to comics, I thought digital copies were the bees knees, as it were. I loved them and thought there was no turning back. ComiXology Library 2

Well…if you’ve been reading this blog, you will know that I am all about the physical issues so…I was wrong in 2011.  Big time.

After about a year of reading issues on my iPad, I had a conversation with my friend Sammy who had been chastising me since August 2011 about my decision to buy comics online. Sammy thought it was great that I had come back into reading comics but then also thought that I was being short sighted, ridiculous and plain ‘ol stupid for reading my comics on a tablet. Sammy is nerd for all things pop culture.  His DNA is built upon the four-coloured world of comics from the 80’s through to today. He’s a purist, plain and simple. And while we disagree about a lot of things (such as the DCEU movies and the often-needed requirement of wearing pants), he wasn’t wrong about digital comics.

Sammy made a lot of good points about why digital comics were to be shunned and not accepted: the formatting of the comics is all wrong, including the zooming of panels; they should be viewed as one page, not bit-by bit; the responsibility to support our local comic shops and finally – the feel of a comic in your hand is more rewarding that the glass screen of a tablet.

Of course, I had disagreed with all of Sammy’s points.  I essentially told him he was an old man living in an old world and his refusal to move with the times was mind numbing.  But fuck, he was right the entire time and I was 1000% wrong.  Well, maybe 900%.

After about a year and change of buying comics online, I walked into a local comic shop and was browsing, checking out what they had and talking with the guys who owned the place.  And in my conversations, I decided to pick up volume 1 of the Scott Snyder/Greg Capullo Batman comic in the trade paperback format (I wrote about my enjoyment of trades a couple weeks ago,  if you want to check it out).

It was in that moment that I then started to buy the physical copies of my comics and, essentially, got back into collecting.  I finished out the Batman (New 52) run starting with issue 32.  Side note: I’ve often thought about finding the first 31 issues and completing the run just because I’m a completionist but I also know it’ll cost me a fortune. But I digress…

From that moment on, I began purchasing and collecting the physical copies of my comics. I had a couple of long boxes in my basement with my comics that I had collected as a kid and now I’ve added an additional long box (or two).  When DC rebooted their universe…sorry, course corrected it….with Rebirth, I expanded my collecting to more titles. I have also expanded to other comics (non superhero) and imprints such as Image and those decisions were made based solely on the atmosphere that you get in your local comic shop.

Batman Trade 1See, you can browse the racks and overhear or talk to the other comic nerds about what they’re reading.  You don’t get this when you’re scrolling through your ComiXology app on your tablet/phone.

I’m not shitting on digital comics.  Not at all.  In fact, the other day I wrote about a sale that ComiXology/Amazon was having (and still do!) and that I had picked up a couple of collections to read off my tablet.  The titles/story lines that I chose were ones where I was interested in reading them but was unsure if I wanted to drop the $30 for the physical trade.  If it turns out that, after reading the digital copy, I love the story, I will go out and pick up the trade from my local comic shop.

And its here where I think there can be a healthy relationship with physical and digital comics.  Personally, I think that physical comics are the best medium in which to read comics. I also, though, concede that it can be costly and some cannot afford to purchase the issues/trades but can still download and read them digitally through their local library.  I get that and have no issues (zing!) with that…although most libraries do have physical copies of some great titles on their shelves.

When you go to your local comic-con, the vendors don’t have digital codes for sale.  They have physical issues.  And as I stated above, this method of commerce is where you can expand your reading library based on the conversations with fellow nerds and comic lovers.

At the end of the day, whether you’re reading comics your purchased from your local store or online, the fact that great stories are being read and looked at is the key for publishers to continue to put out great content.  I just prefer the feel of the paper as I flip from page to page, rather than swiping on a screen.

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When I said that my bud Sammy was nerd for all things pop culture, I meant it.  He has a passion for music and is the program director for Girth Radio where he hosts a show/podcast called My Summer Lair.  He also co-hosts a weekly podcast called Back Issue Bloodbath where they talk comics (new and old), creators and other comic-related topics.

Finally, if you’re on Twitter, follow Sammy.  His opinions and conversations will either infuriate you or make you laugh out loud. May or may not be best read while going to the bathroom, I leave that to you.

 

Summer Movies 2017

Summer Movies

Last weekend Wonder Woman was released in theatres and it’s amazing.  Seriously, you have to go see it if you haven’t.  My wife, who isn’t a comic or superhero fan at all (except Batman.  She has a thing for Batman, oddly enough) loved Wonder Woman.  I plan on taking my son in the next week or so as well.  Go see it.  You’ll be rather impressed.

As we are into the second week of June, I started looking at what was coming out for the rest of this summer and planning on what I was seeing next.  But first, here’s what I have seen thus far these last couple of weeks:

Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol.2 – Its fun! I liked it a lot, likely wont live up to the hype of the first one and I’m ok with that.  Its an impossible task to surpass the unexpected surprise of the first movie.

Alien: Covenant – Stay the fuck away.  Wait until it drops on Netflix. Seriously.

Wonder Woman – See above.  And then go see it.

And here are the movies that I want to see in theatres this summer:

June 9: The Mummy – I’m not overly hyped to see this movie but if a friend called and asked (and maybe bought the ticket), I would go.

June 23: Transformers: The Last Knight – Honestly, the only reason I would go is because you almost have to see it in theatres, it’ll be so big and loud.  I highly doubt it’ll be amazing, but it seems to follow the same logic (or illogical) as the Fast and Furious movies.

June 28: Baby Driver – Edgar Wright looks like he’s hit it out of the park.  I get a very early Quentin Tarantino-vibe off these trailers.

June 30: Despicable Me 3 – I have kids.  I’m going to be stuck going.

July 7: Spider-Man: Homecoming – I can’t wait to see this movie.  Seriously…after 5 movies, it looks like Sony finally got Peter Parker right.  Well, with the help of Marvel, of course.

July 14: The War for the Planet of the Apes – Yes!  YES!  Take my money!!!  This looks amazing.

July 21: Dunkirk – Thus far, the trailers haven’t really hit a home run for me, but so far Christopher Nolan hasn’t done wrong by me so I’m in.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – I just re-watched The Fifth Element and it didn’t really hold up for me, but it was still enjoyable. The visuals look amazing but, if I don’t get to see it, I wouldn’t be heart broken.

August 18: The Hitman’s Bodyguard – This just looks…fun!  At the end of a summer with huge blockbusters, I like having a plain old fun movie. And this will be it.

Summer Movies 2017

I know there are a lot of other movies within these months, like Atomic Blonde, The Dark Tower that are coming out.  But honestly, I don’t know if I would go to see those in the theatre. Shit, as I type this, I think I do want to see The Dark Tower.  So maybe I will.  Who knows.

So what movies are you going to be watching this summer?  Any sleeper movies I should be aware of?  Whatever you end up watching, I hope it was worth the money you spent.  Otherwise, that a kick in the junk.  Much like Alien: Covenant. Fuck….