Dienstag, 10. September 2013

Time is ticking away ... What's going on?!

Hello comic-friends,

so what IS going on? I'm working on different subjects right now. Really busy with HyperGeeky.com and preparing a short planned Trekking-Trip to Ireland. So a lot to do for me and right now I am not very pleased with my time writing articles and reviews about comics. My normal life takes his tribute and there is almost no time left to read, enjoy and to analyse comics. The pile of unread comics is growing into dangerous dimensions and I assume soon it will start attracting things like a black hole. Reading them just away would be an easy task but really read and appreciate them is a whole different kind of fulfilling my job. So I've got a lot I want to do but everything wants to be considered. But don't panic. Everything goes step by step and here are the latest articles I've written for HyperGeeky.com.

Panel of the Week - Trillium

Panel of the Week - The Dark Knight Returns

Panel of the Week - Kick-Ass 3

Open the Gateway: The Manhattan Projects #4 Review

Of course I am always working on the Panel of the Week articles and The Manhattan Projects is also in my focus. Too, I work on a very difficult article about Digital Comics and the development of Comic-Art in the last years. So stay tuned.

Andy

Donnerstag, 25. Juli 2013

First article on HyperGeeky.com - The Manhattan Projects #1

Hello comic-friends,

I was given the opportunity to write on an other blog. www.hypergeeky.com. This step is quite important for me to spread my articles in the web based comic community and I've got the direct inspiring exchange with other writers.

My first article published is "The Manhattan Projects #1". Enjoy it!

Greetings Andy

Mittwoch, 24. Juli 2013

All-Star Superman -- Übermensch

A panel is usually the smallest part in a comic book. Sequences need them to work together, and here lies, like Eisner pointed out long ago, the strongest potential to perform art in comics. To craft a good sequence you need the right panels arranged in a meaningful and harmonic order. But like music, you can achieve a more interesting approach by building tension using a dis-harmonic interval in a chord or scale. In comics and sequences, it can be achieved by inserting a panel that may seem like it doesn't fit and has no connection to the story. It isn't comfortable for us to stop reading because we doesn't understand the just seen. Like in a song with dis-harmonics you want to know why the musician decided to disrupt your hearing-pleasure with a, in you ears, unfitting note. The most time, the artist wants you to listen (or in our case read) mindfully. It's a trick to say: "Are you still listing? There's something important happening here!" So the intention to interrupt our reading-flow lies hidden deeper in the panel and you've got to dig a bit to access his real meaning.

6

This panel is an example for an element to break up a story and fill it with something that should be focused on. The panel is out of "All-Star Superman" a award-winning comic of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. The story is no part of the regular DC Universe and focuses on the last days of Superman. By saving a team of astronauts crashing into the sun Superman overloads his cells with solar radiation and receives new powers. But this new powers demand a high tribute of him. He's got only one more year to live. In this last year Superman masters twelve tasks which are the core story-line of the book. This panel takes place in the seventh labor: The creation of life. In his laboratory he created a small universe around a tiny earth containing a mankind without superheroes. Earth -Q. The panel we are talking about is set in this new created earth and mirrors our evolution.

The transition from the sequence on mars, where Superman deploys the people of Kandor to be save after his passing, to the chosen panel is very hard. There seems no connection between the  story-line and the displayed panel. But right now it is time to get a shovel and start digging. Here we see a middle-aged man sitting and writing at a table. The clothing, furniture, and a shining gas-lamp suggests the scene takes place in a long gone time. Looking closer, we can read the title of the man’s work: Also sprach Zarathustra -- Friedrich Nietzsche's book about the idea of the Übermensch -- translated as superman -- the parousia and the will to power. Nietzsche, a german philosopher who lived in the end of the 19th century was convinced by the thesis that only the creative man can overcome himself and the burdens of life. The term Übermensch was often misunderstood and used in political or harming ways and the  interpretation of "über" as super is delusive. The primal thought was of a "hinüber" what means across or over to (sth.). So the "Übermensch" should be translated as "man who overcome himself".

The direct connection to Superman in the story around the panel from Earth-Q is obvious. Superman is facing the death but his primal task is not to find a cure and safe himself but rather create a model of a world without him, and be assure that mankind will survive in his absence.  By accomplishing all his labors he overcame himself and finally stated that he is an Übermensch - the Superman. Also creating life in the seventh labor is not a usual task and Morrison subtle and subliminal levels Superman near to a god-like being. In Nietzsche’s work, the Übermensch is the next human stage of physical and mental evolution and Morrison uses this ideas to project their virtues on Superman. Overcoming nihilism and the denial of dreaming or philosophic ideas by stand the ground for a life-affirming sight on the world is a core-idea of Superman's character and Nietzsche's view on the real man within man.

So we explore this panel to the heart of his meaning (of course in context with the story) and now we are at the level of awareness Morrison wanted us to have. He wanted us to listen and interrupted us on mars with a dis-harmonic panel and we experienced that even an aged character like Superman can still be used to teach us higher concepts of philosophy and life itself. That is what art is supposed to do.

Greetings Andy

Post edited by ClumsyG

Sonntag, 14. Juli 2013

Batman #19 and #20

Hello comic-friends,

the retold origin story of Batman just comes down the road. For me, therefore I get and read my issued with
a monthly delay, it is still some time to wait for this storyline. But that's no reason to lean back. Issues #19 and #20 with the small tie-in story "Nowhere Man" was quite entertaining. I appreciate a shorter story frame than the nowadays used five to six issues "graphic novel" approach.

And the winning team Snyder and Capullo are still in charge of this title. That's awesome. In almost every book of the DC relaunch the creative team has changed but this one is still assembled and we've got the reason why just laying in front of us. They tell a great Dark Knight with such a positive, and well-earned resonance by the readers away of a just fan-serving storytelling. Greg does a great job in each issue and I'm (how often have I said this?) a long time fan of his art and his development.





But back to "Nowhere Man". Issue #19 comes up like a body-snatcher / doppelganger story. The introduction scene in the front of the Gotham National Bank is quite good after a second glance. The speaking of Wayne just got me caught to think about how he would be if he really would be bad. Like a villainous Batman. Would he rob a bank in this here shown classic style? I guess no. So for the reader the point is crystal clear: this isn't Bruce Wayne. The art includes some "hidden" cool gimmicks. The frame of the last panel on page one consists of the trigger of Harv's gun. This brings in another layer of depth in the ordinary way to transport a sequence from one panel to the other. The second gimmick is the falling shotgun shell on page four. It's is drawn a little transparent but cast the same shadow like Jim Gordon and creates a great diagonal sequence of shot, hit , and slowly falling shell. This collage remind me of a mixing picture style like in movies of the '70 to connect different viewpoints of one event. The shadow of the shell, displayed on the same level like Gordon's shadow, give it a massive weight and amplifies the scene.


The following fight with the Reaper is a nice example of Capullo's very detailed work. Luckily he's got a sense for reducing to support the impact of a panel like in the "Dead Men Walking" Panel. By the way: Greg draws the best Damian. The detailed city streets and flowers enrich the scene and the violet foul colors in the van gives the hole sequence a wonderful stench. The upcoming detective part of this book is a good mixture of investigation and a little bit of action. The revealing of clayface's evolution and his new ability to copy a person's DNA with the sacrifice of loosing his connection to his real himself is a nice character development. Today's villains doesn't alter this much anymore and it is refreshing to see, that writers still try to bring them on new levels.


Starting the issue #20 with the fight in the research & development laboratory reveals the plan of Clayface. Clayface himself is a rewarding task for Greg to draw. The chance to use his new ability to unveil Batman's secret identity just by touching him brings much more tension in the relationship between Batman and Clayface and is a great hook for upcoming story lines. The doublepage of the fleeing false Bruce Wayne works very well almost without any words and underline the sequential work because you just focus on the art and the arrangement. The fight in the Wayne Tower works very well and I love the presentation of Clayface with multiple mouths and the great appearing of other villains. This also lies out new plotideas for the future if Clayface can truly appear like anyone he has touched, even the Joker.


The outburst of Batman at the end of the fight, because Clayface mimics Damian is really significant for displaying his state of mind and his feelings. This time it will be a very long way to overcome the death of his Robin and son. Too, it's great to see how Alfred supports his Master in this hard times. I'm definitely looking forward for the arc after the origin story where the Batman maybe can develop in so far other ways.

Samstag, 6. Juli 2013

Action Comics #19

Hello comic-friends,

so the long Grant Morrison run has ended. Some people are disappointed, some people are speaking of
great two years in Action Comics. Maybe I will write a longer post about the Morrison run. We'll see.

But lets face the new team for Action Comics. Tony S. Daniel and Andy Diggle. Andy Diggle is new for me and so I can relax and judge his work without any preconceptions. Mr. Daniel is another point. I know him of the series "The Tenth" and I didn't liked this title. The pencils were horrible and the story wasn't worth a penny. But Tony developed a nice style since then and his work nowadays is much more appealing than in the late '90. And he delivers a quite good work in this one.

Lets get to the cover. It's a folded double-page with a surprise: Jimmy Olsen is the opponent of Superman in this issue. But this is just a very boring wannabe hook for the issue and lasts just one page in it. Much ado about nothing. The story it divided in three parts and the first and second part takes place "One year ago..." in Qurac. Lois and Clark are reporting from an "arabic spring" and Clark praises Lois up to the skies which is so annoying  that you can throw the book right in the can. But just two pages later it's starting to get interesting. You could say, when you aren't good at writing an interesting story between two characters without using the worst and oldest clichés and doesn't even try to go deeper, you are forced to kick in the f**ing door with a big fight. And this was well done by Diggle.

The upcoming fight with three biomechanic, by "War of the Worlds" inspired, giant human controlled robots is well paced and entertaining. Tony does a good job on them and some panels got a very cinematic look. The panel where one of the robots launches the Hellstreak-Missiles is very patient and takes his time. The sequence in your head easily creates the picture of the slowly starting missiles, the expanding smoke, the swarm searching for his target: the floating Superman in the foreground. One little example of a good composed comic panel. Dear artists: more of that. Regarding the development of faster and faster cuts in movies and tv-shows, which inspires the comic genre too, we need more time for recognize what is really happening in the moment and feel what the author and artist wants to show and tell us. Of course we expect that the action in superhero comic is dominating but many independent publishers showed long ago new ways for superheroes. The more space (and in comic, space is time) and depth you reserve for a panel and his content the more attention it will get.

Another good action filled panel is the one in which Superman smashes one robot with the other. Its full of force and movement without loosing the focus of what is happening. Maybe the "sound-effect" is a little big and dominant but it still looks great. There is no need for a background because you are right in the middle of it all and the red tone of the page transports the rage and anger subconsciously to the reader. It's a big bang in this final panel of the fight.

The next part takes place in Luthors hideout / secret lab. The analysis of Dr. Lagarde is a nice read but why does Luthor hold her captive? What is he searching for and what does he expect of his own psychologic examination? Right now it just looks like a flat (and boring) way to show the reader the evil-genius of Lex and his uniqueness. The only way to put it out just more strikingly is to draw it right on his forehead: I'm the mastermind of evil! And again we need more of in deep character writing in this title. Lets hope that the upcoming issues will hold a lot more of good writing. After the Morrison run this is a shameless reduction of demanding content and does no justice to this series.





Dienstag, 2. Juli 2013

Avengers #1 - #3 - Marvel Now!

Hello comic-friends,

today I will write my first lines about the Marvel Now! campaign of Marvel. I will start with the first three
issues of "Avengers" and I must confess this series picked me up for Marvel. But lets do it step by step.

In fact I didn't like the Avengers movie and in the atmosphere of the hype I was really sceptical about the "R"evolution of Marvel with Marvel Now!. Nevertheless I like characters like Thor and Captain America and I was fancy about the upcoming group titles like "Avengers", "New Avengers" or "All-New X-Men" but wasn't brave enough to invest in those series. But, lucky me, I had the opportunity to borrow the "Avengers" title. And it was awesome.

The first statements of Marvel that in "Avengers" will be dealt with the really big problems turned out to be true. The first pages of issue No. 1 give a short flash-forward overview of what to come and starting the first two panels with "There was nothing. Followed by everything." was like writing down the hole creation and set a god-linked and inspired meta-plot. What else do you want?

The mainframe of the story is quite simple but a classic. A super-villain on Mars(!) wants to shape earth by his own conception and the Avengers have to stop him. This is combined with a big "Avengers" group lead by Iron Man and Captain America. The relationship between those two characters is great and the flashback-picture of frozen Cap catapults a long history right in the present. The idea to "We have to get bigger" isn't just a set phrase. For the events to come you need the best of the best. But to write a good story you also need a great foe. This is an unwritten law of a good comic book or modern fantastic film and in this case the opponent is well designed. Ex Nihilo is a incalculable being and virgin in comic history. You can espect nothing and everything of him and the omega on his chest is a direct sign for divine origin or omniscient which gives him a mysterious aura. He is a creative character, less destructive and congenial and in the first place you can't think of him as a threat. Also his golden, yellow skin and the wise speech supports this first impression but also gives a bad taste of worshipping a golden calf.

So we've got a powerful opponent, the hole world on the razors edge and a big group of Avengers but
where is the touching, the real good of the story? It is, like I said, an old formula but it is told and drawn very well. Jonathan Hickman takes his time to introduce little glimpse of a meta-plot and lays out thin strings which (hopefully) will form a strong final at the end of his run. Nowadays it is art to wire a story this way and satisfy (and surprise) readers with the turnings and spins in a plot. It's always easy to lay out something mysterious and state that it will culminate in a big all exegetical end. But some people have LOST the faith in this kind of storytelling ;). Building a story in comic books this way hooks on the reader and the "Previously in Avengers" is another indicator where the inspiration came from. So is it really written well? Yes. The sequences work very well and are building enough tension to keep reading. But also the detailed art slows you down to explore this Avengers World. Combined with a colourful, but not flashy colouration almost each page invites you to stay a little longer or to take the book again in you hand.

I don't want to spoil this book so I will keep this short. The first three issues build a brief introduction of "The Avengers" and is very good composed. Luckily the level of writing and art continues in the further issues and the story is still appealing. You've got my full recommendation to read this series. And I will further explore the Marvel Now! Revolution.

Andy




Mittwoch, 1. Mai 2013

The hero

During my Friday traditional getting stuck in the weekend traffic jam I had some thoughts about heroes. Especially comic book heroes.

Today the most common hero need to be a good guy with some dark or bad habbits. A good example is Batman. From day one he was a guy with the intention to frighten his foes and make the encounter with him a terrifying event, so they would never ever follow the path of crime again. Many other heroes followed this example and especially during the dark age of comic history the Anti-hero mastered this appearance (maybe with a bit more violence).

Nolan's Batman, serious and in a very "realistic" setting, laid a new path for the modern thinking of what a hero should be and how he would look like. The Marvel movies are the perfect opposite of this movement and they are much more affiliated to comic and the young-readers. Which way you prefer is a matter of taste and isn't the topic but we recognize that all those media-dominating heroes are subordinated to the premise of a mix of good and bad habits of a character. A character like Wolverine wouldn't work without his bad-ass stamping nor a Tony Stark without his arrogant and playboy attitudes.
So all those comic-book heroes has been tuned a bit darker since their birth. Even the Man Of Steel was updated with a more alienating appearance and thinking. But what am I looking for?

I'm looking for the ultimate hero. Not a martyr, who even gives his life for the good cause, but a real righteously character who is cocksure of his destiny to fulfil an entire life for the greater good. The archetype of the white knight without the ridiculousness of a "Prince Charming".
This character would be the hardest to write, because the connection between the reader and the character has to work on a very high level of idealistic understanding. His, or of course her, inner impulse to do good equals a strong religious belief and those kind of creeds are damn hard to transport.
In comic-books I never experienced such a kind of character nor in fictional books or films. Of course never in real history.

In my opinion this "real" hero will never exists because nobody can write an acceptable and believable character and story which won't force the writer to create a compromise between the high standards for the ultimate hero and the need to make the character appealing to the reader. It's so much easier for us to embrace our own inadequateness in a character then be inspired by higher concept ideology transported by a pure vessel. Sad but true.


Montag, 22. April 2013

Time passes...

Okay. A lot of water has run down the river since my last post. But that is absolutely okay. Maybe you wondered: "Is it all over now? All this will to communicate about comics has vanished?" And honestly I must confess: yes. To face the truth there hasn't ever been a great amount of communication around this blog or interaction with readers. I lied to myself about the part of writing a blog and meet people who share my interests. No offence. There has been nice people writing comments and reading my blog. But I was really focused on this "readership", watching stats of my blog so I lost the point of it all. I had to find it again:

It's about comics. And it's about my view on comics.

So I reduced the design in order to simplify the reading and writing. It spares your and my time and supports a distraction free reading. But that is just a visual aspect of simplification. I will break down the routines of "New comic book - new review ... new week - new "Panel of the Week"" and so on. There is now need for pressure. So I will try to write and post more liberal without any frames or restrictions I inflict on my posts.

So? What have I done all the time? I've read comics. And books. A good friend of mine lend me a lot of TPB of "The Walking Dead". Now I have arrived at No. 15 and my high regards for this series has obtain some cracks. Here and there I've spotted some indications of a TV-soap-stile behaviour between the characters. That is really worrying and I hope it will become again a little more entertaining on a sophisticated level which was so awesome all the time.

And there was the "Death of the Family" event in the Batman series. All good and fine, but what the heck suddenly meant Requiem for Robin? When did Damian died? And why? I was really upset, when I finally read in the web, that Damian died in Batman Inc. Just a millisecond I thought of buying the issue but than my anger on this totally wrong placed death (right when the Death of the Family event takes place) it should have been part of the event. To continue the Batman title this way isn't satisfactory. Nevertheless the event itself was really good and I enjoyed it.

But all along there has been too much events and crossovers for my taste in the last couple month. Please give me one book with a storyline without buying all the other sideseries just to get rid of the feeling to miss something. Thats really annoying.

Hey, but there is a light at the end of this consumedriven industrytunnel: the new "Man of Steel" Movie. ;) Okay, it will end up (like all the Hollywood works) in a big merchandise explosion but nevertheless I am totally looking forward for this film. Everything I've seen to this date looked very appealing to me and to point something right out of the third trailer: the "S" isn't a "S". It's a symbol and means "Hope". And I really hope that this film brings Superman back to his former glory.

So, it is time to focus again on the main aspect: Comics. Dear reader, maybe there will pass some time till the next post, but be sure of that, I will write again. And don't forget: there are much more important things than to read one comic blog of thousands. Quit surfing the web, grab a good comicbook or book. There is nothing more important than you own experience.

Andy

Montag, 28. Januar 2013

Panel of the week #12

Hello comic friends,

it's time for another panel of the week.The last two weeks i've reread the 52 crossover. These four books are quite good, but inhabits a lot of rush artwork. The focus lies on the sometimes twisted story and with the big task to produce an issue every week the quality in the art suffers. But there are still some gems hidden.

One of my favorites is the panel of the week displaying Black Adam holding dead Isis in his arms looking in the rainy sky. Black Adam is one of the most important characters in this series and I love his cold blooded nature. His slowly social recovery forced by the black marvel family works very well and you're really feeling lucky for this guy. But it just makes the fall higher. This picture defines the last moment of goodness in him. It's the unspoken prayer to higher forces for justice just to realize that he is at the mercy of fortune. In the next panel Black Adam is trapped deep down in his inner rage with the cruel desire to see the whole world burning. This also is a great sequence. Just a little gap represents the entire fall of one of the mightiest characters in the DCU.

What is your favorite panel or sequence in 52?

Montag, 21. Januar 2013

Modern comic book culture

Hello comic friends,

nowadays comic books are a high invest and wide spread pop cultural media. The big movie production in the last years, and the popularization of the "nerd-culture" have reignited the market. It seems that now it is getting "in" to read comics and nothing to be ashamed about. Even for adults. So I asked myself: is it really cool to read comics without all those influences and marketing tactics of the industry? Is it the art I appreciate or am I swimming with the tide?

First I have to confess that about three years ago in 2009 I also saw "The Big Bang Theory". In this Sit-Com the comic-culture is directly connected to those real intelligent characters. It is a charter for all readers of comics to say "Hey! Those dudes are like me! They're just high-flyer scientists but we have something in common." So it gives all of them a push to their self-esteem. Around this time I met people who shared my long forgotten passion for comics. They brought me Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, Jim Lee and all those other great artists and writers and a dozen stories with an intelligent plot. In this time I focused once more on this media and started again to read. At work we build up a kind of reader circle and spoke at lunch about Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns. It was really great and I explored new titles, writers and artist.

So there were the upcoming Nerd-culture, big film adaptions of comic books and a history of good works in this media which waited for a new generation of readers. And a really big bunch of crap. In all those surprisingly good titles there were bad periods of uninspired and ugly art and stories. All of it was worn out and there was nothing worth to be deeper explored. After reading those stories I nearly lost hope to find other good stories in the mainstream. But going backwards in comic history I found "Man of Steel", "A   Death in the family" or "Secret Wars" and was surprised that every era has good comics stories. A new hope. And I learned that you must carry this hope with you, when you want to read good superhero stories in the mainstream.

Today we've got a much better quality of mainstream comic books. A good example is the big DC reboot and the following Marvel Now! revision. Bad titles were canceled short after start or the creative team was recasted. We've got a very good Batman run and Morrison revived the Man of Steel right in time for the next movie in 2013. The Avengers and X-Men titles are on top positions in sales stats. The pressure on the "big two" publishers in the market is high. Readers are expecting complex and deep writing of those leaders of the market and not only of the independent publishers. That's good for both fractions and builds up a win-win situation. Also the independent publishers are gaining more ground like Image proved with the outstanding "The Walking Dead" title. Too the other media support those trends.

So comics works. But please don't misunderstand me here. Not every title out there is the next Watchmen. And it doesn't need to be! The spectrum is very wide and goes from dumb action titles to lyric and visual stunning peaces of art. Like in every other media too. And in my comeback to comics I realized the first time, that comic books are a way more than meets the eye. So I finally came to the conclusion that all this buzz about comics in other media shouldn't be worried about. Maybe without it I never would have rejoined the hobby and when you really like comics you can focus on them and ignore the rest. Like listening to the music you like without caring about the charts, gossip and films around the artist. What counts is the art.

So what do you think? Is the comic media going to change a lot under the influence of other media and the intensive marketing about it? Is the comic community changing in a hip-nerd culture with a fable for childish retrodreams on the wave of a soon fading hype?

Comments are very welcome.

Greetings Andy


Sonntag, 20. Januar 2013

Worldwide reading Sequenz

Hello comic friends,

like you might already have noticed, newly I'm writing in English only. It's less work for me to create new posts and I can reach a wider readership all around the world. I hope this is well received by you.

But there is another question. Many of my old post and reviews are in German. Would you appreciate it if I would translate them into English so you can grub in the whole collection of articles?

Please give a short response if there is a demand for this.

Bye for now,

Andy

Samstag, 19. Januar 2013

Panel of the week #11

Hello comic friends,

this panel of the week is from Batman #13. The beginning of the "Death of the Family" event. Given that I'm running behind the actual issues this could be a little vintage for some readers. But so I still have some issues to be excited about ;).

After the "Night of the Owl" story line everybody has been waiting for the next major Joker appearance. And here it is. The hole cinematic introduction with the rain in the night and a broody grim Gordon are perfectly staged. The first panel of this issue, just the dropping rain on concrete, said to me: there's something bad to happen. It was very close to end up as my panel of the week but the foot of the Joker into the rainy street exceeded it. I love Capullos style to draw and the use of digital blur and light effects work very well in this hole issue. Especially in this panel. It sets a perfect dark mood for the upcoming story. By now I think this could become one of the best Batman tales ever told.


Samstag, 12. Januar 2013

Action Comics #13

Hello comic friends,

quite some time has past since my last post about a normal comic issue. But the vacation of a friend of mine in an English-speaking foreign country provided me with "fresh" stuff. Action Comics #13 is again, like #9 a standalone story. Only the twist on the last page connects the story to the main plot of Morrison. I will really miss him on this title when he quits writing after the 17th issue.

I really liked the introduction of Jor-El imprisoning Doctor Xa-Du. It's dark, cruel and a historic incident because it's the first time someone has been locked up in the phantom zone. In the first place the story develops into a classic plot of an unconsciousness Superman trapped in the phantom zone without a possibility to break free. With the help of the Phantom Strange, who is trapped in the zone too, and his dog Krypto Superman success to break free. After Superman has rescued Krypto from the Phantom Zone too, Dr. Xa-Du enlist into the group of superman-enemy and the bow to the main plot is laid out. The implied Halloween theme doesn't work a second an is really annoying. The book would have worked fine without this, too.

The drawing and coloring is wonderful and a welcome change to Rags Morales "normal" art. Travel Foreman works really good on this title and I liked him as well as in the Animal Man books. His clear, edgy and thin lines are great on Superman and i would welcome him to take over a superman title.

The introduction of Krypto, a character i never really liked and which was in my opinion at all ways a little cheesy, was great. In this form of expression and without the damn cape (a dog with a cape..?) he put down this dusty "Superman-Family" heritage and stepped into the future. I hope Krypto will become more of a serious character than a cute Superman sidekick with fur.

The backup story is not worth to be mentioned here any further. Please DC, stop to spend your money on this crap at the end and invest it in the main-plot or put down the price for the issue.










Sonntag, 30. Dezember 2012

Panel of the week #10

Für die deutsche Version bitte nach Unten scrollen.


Hello comic friends,

this time, the panel of the week comes from "The league of Extraordinary Gentlemen" Volume 2. I own this volume for quite some years but I am impressed again by its lovingly and carefully drawn art and coloration. I dont have to loose much words about the volume, because it is a standard work which every comicreader will encounter in his life.

This panel of the week is full-page and an eye-catcher. The prelude on mars and the battle for the city of the mollusc with his archaic and oriental touch is a great mix of different styles, emotions and idea. It has the potential for a monumental film with visual stunning pictures. For a brief extract i choose this panel.



// Deutsche Version

Hallo Comicfreunde,

das diesmalige Panel der Woche stammt aus "Die Liga der außergewöhnlichen Gentlemen" Band 2. Ich habe diesen Band schon einige Jahre, doch beim nochmaligen Lesen am vergangenen Wochenende war ich wieder beeindruckt wie sorgfältig und liebevoll er gezeichnet und koloriert ist. Über den Band selber muss ich nicht viele Worte verlieren, da er wohl zu einen der Standardwerke gehört die man sich als Comicleser früher oder später zu Gemüte führt.

Das Panel ist mal wieder seitenfüllend und ein Blickfang. Das Präludium auf dem Mars und die Schlacht um die Basis der Mollusken mit seinem archaischen und orientalischen Touch ist ein genialer Mix aus verschiedensten Stilen, Emotionen und Ideen. Es hat das Potential für einen monumentalen Film der bildgewaltig in Szene gesetzt würde. Als kleinen Auszug, und weil es so wunderbar bedrohlich wirkt, habe ich dieses Panel herausgesucht.

Samstag, 29. Dezember 2012

From Hell: Chapter Two: A state of darkness

Hallo Comicfreunde,

es geht weiter mit meiner "From Hell" Serie. Nach längerer Pause widme ich mich heute Kapitel Zwei "A state of darkness". Da dieses Kapitel fast doppel so lang ist wie das erste, werde ich es aufteilen in zwei Posts. Zum Glück ist es inhaltlich auch separierbar und diese Unterteilung bricht die Struktur nicht allzu sehr auf.

Die erste Seite stellt verschiedene Punkte aus dem Leben von William Gull dar. Beim ersten Lesen wirken sie wie Flashbacks und ergeben keinen Sinn für den Leser. Vollständig erleuchtet wird man erst nach dem kompletten Kapitel, aber das soll uns nicht stören es getrennt zu betrachten. Besonderes Augenmerk sollte man auf die vier Eckpanels mit den "What is the fourth dimension?" Sprechblase legen. Hier wird ein optischer und inhaltlicher Rahmen gesetzt, den wir aber erst im zweiten Teil des Kapitels behandeln werden.

Die folgende Doppelseite ist ein Weg aus der Dunkelheit hinein in die "Erleuchtung" oder Zukunftsfindung des jungen William. Es werden die Ursprünge, die innere Einstellung und die Gottesfürchtigkeit von William dargestellt. Eine herausstechende Zeile ist "Something that flows like the ocean... something salt, and old" als Beschreibung für den Wunschgegenstand seiner Arbeit. Und final sein Wunsch nach einer großen Aufgabe, die von ihm alles abverlangt und vor Gott und ihm selbst den Wert seines Daseins rechtfertigt. Sukzessiv werden hier Akzente gesetzt, die retrospektiv betrachtet Grundsteine der Jack the Ripper Geschichte werden. Mehr und mehr kommt man in die Verlegenheit, jedes Panel genau zu betracheten und zu analysieren, um keinen Hinweis oder leichte Anspielung zu übersehen.(Was mir garantiert nicht gelungen ist)

Darauf folgt der Tod seines Vaters. Es ist vermutlich Williams erste Begegnungen mit dem Tod und sein Umgang mit der Leiche des Vaters veranschaulicht seine Unbefangenheit mit dem morbiden Thema. Im Hintergrund wird das Binnenschifffahrtsgeschäfts des Vaters besprochen und die weitere Zukunft der Witwe sowie ihres Sohnes erörtert. Die Szene fängt auch das Kindhafte und die Schüchternheit Williams ein und plaziert ihn in ein wohl situiertes Umfeld mit guter Erziehung. Es folgt ein Umzug in die Nähe des Guy's Hospitals. Dort wird in einer wunderbaren symmetrischen Montage über zwei Seiten die Zukunft von William parallel auf zwei Arten dargestellt. Das Gespräch zwischen Rector Harrison und Mrs. Gull beschäftigt sich mit der Ausbildung von William und die abwechselnden Panels zeigen, aus Williams Sicht, wie er eine Ratte systematisch auseinander nimmt. Beide Wege stellen die Weichen für Williams Zukunft und man spürt förmlich wie die Zahnräder aus seltsam ausgerichteten Forschungsdrang und den zufälligen Ereignissen und Entscheidungen seiner Umwelt ineinandergreifen und das Schicksal formen.

Auf der nächsten Seite wird William von Mr. Harrsion, der Vater von Rector Harrison, sehr gelobt und er stellt Williams Leistungen in der Klinik über die letzten Jahre heraus und läd ihn ein den Freimaurern beizutreten. Die letzten beiden Panels sind besonders interessant. Hier erklärt Harrsion dass William sich diverse Gebräuche aneignen muss um dem Orden beitreten zu dürfen; unteranderem gewisse Handschläge. Der beschließende Händedruck ist mit Blut besudelt und symbolisiert den dunklen Stern unter dem diese Mitgliedschaft von vornherein steht.

Die folgende Initialisierung als Freimaurer ist weitgehends unspektakulär. Hier wird mit dem Begriffen der Dunkelheit, dem "state of darkness" und der daraus zwingend folgenden Illuminierung durch den Orden gespielt. Es ist der grobe Rahmen für das Kapitel und läst auch einen direkten Verweis auf die Tunnelfahrt des jungen Williams zu. Offensichtlich hat Moore viel Wert auf den Ritus gelegt und ihm viel Platz eingeräumt. Die Mitgliedschaft Williams im Freimaurerorden ist der entscheidende Aspekt wieso er später in die Ereignisse hineingezogen wird, die noch kommen werden.

Ein weiterer Zeitsprung bringt uns zum dreizigjährigen William. Er wird von einem Kollegen, James Hinton, besucht und von ihm beglückwünscht zu einen seiner vielen Preise die er gewonnen hat. Sie  absolvieren zusammen eine Visite bei den geistisch verstörten Frauen im Hospital. Sie sprechen über die tiefgreifenden Störungen und deren Irreversibilität. Die dort aufkommende Analogie zu Wasser, Dampf und Feuer [purifying spirit of fire] entspricht auch wieder dem wiederkehrenden Thema der Erleuchtung. Zudem wird auf den durch Syphilis auftretenden Abbau des Rückenmarkes eingegangen, was zu demenzartigen und degeneriertem Verhalten führt. Dies ist besonders erwähnenswert da William Dull sich sehr intensiv mit diesem Symptom der Krankheit auseinander gesetzt hatte.

Die letzte Seite des ersten Teils dieses Kapitels beschäftigt sich mit dem offensichtlich ersten sexuellen Zusammentreffen zwischen William und seiner Frau Susan. Es ist durchtränkt mit der Furcht und Unsicherheit Susans und es gipfelt im Ausbleiben des Verkehrs. Das letzte Panel ist eine Wiederholung aus vorangegangenen Panels und auch ein Element aus der Fahrt im Tunnel mit der Barke und schließt somit einen Kreis der Zurückhaltung Williams.

Hier werde ich nun das zweite Kapitel aufteilen und den kommenden Post hoffentlich auch schon in naher Zukunft in Angriff nehmen. Leider benötigt, gerade so ein Graphic Novel wie "From Hell", viel Zeit und intensives Lesen um adäquate Beiträge zu schreiben. Ich hoffe ihr seht mir die niedrige Kadenz der Posts in der "From Hell"-Reihe nach. Doch bis dahin viel Spass beim Comiclesen!

Gruß Andy



Montag, 3. Dezember 2012

Panel der Woche #9 / Panel of the week #9

Hallo Comicfreunde,

kurz und schmerzvoll: das Panel der Woche. Nun kam ich doch endlich dazu mir Kick-Ass und Kick-Ass 2 zu Gemüte zu führen und ich bin einfach weggeblasen. Der Film hatte mich wirklich überrascht, doch der Comic funktioniert auf einer anderen Ebene deutlich besser als der Film. Erst dachte ich, dass das ganze Blut viel zu übertrieben sei und hier einfach nur Bauernfängerei mit Brutalität betrieben wird. Doch das Rot ersetzt den Rahmen; das Element das alles zusammen hält. Es ist entfernt vom Splatter eines Horrorstreifens; es transportiert das bildliche Resulatat von Gewalt und Schmerz ohne dass es Selbstzweck wird.

Das Panel der Woche markiert den Auftakt zur Klimax. Hit Girl und Kick-Ass haben bis zu diesem Zeitpunkt schwer gelitten und ihr Zustand, alles durch einen blutroten Vorhang betrachtend, ist aus Sicht des Lesers gut nachvollziehbar. Ab hier ist jeder Tropfen Blut Genugtuung und das Panel umfasst die berühmte Ruhe vor dem Sturm. Zudem ist es ein wunderbarer Cliffhanger zum nächsten Heft/Kapitel.

Sonntag, 4. November 2012

72. Intercomic Köln - Aftermath

Hallo Comicfreunde,


 Kid reading comic / Time & Life Pictures / Getty Images
so, die Messe ist vorbei und zurück bleiben zwei ein wenig enttäuschte Comicleser. Ein guter Freund und ich hatten uns nach der 71. Intercomic dazu verabredet die nächste Intercomic wieder zu besuchen. Der große Vorteil einer Comicmesse ist, dass man viele gleichgesinnte Menschen trifft und günstig an Comics in jeglicher Form heran kommt. Doch diesmal war das Angebot von US-Comics so dramatisch schlecht, dass wir die Messe nicht mehr zweimal im Jahr besuchen werden. Dies lag vor allen Dingen daran, dass der Fantastic Store aus Köln nicht vor Ort war. Zufällig trafen wir jedoch den Betreiber des Fantastic Store privat im Messetummel und konnten ihn flott zur Rede stellen, wie er sich erdreisten könnte uns sein Sortiment vorzuenthalten. Kurz und knapp hat er uns eröffnet, dass der Fantastic Store in Zukunft voraussichtlich nicht mehr auf der Messe erscheinen wird, da der Aufwand gegenüber dem Gewinn leider zu schmal für ihn ausfällt.  Die Unterhaltung fand am kleinen Stand von Alcatraz, einem weiteren Comicladen in Köln, statt. Dieser hatte wiederrum ein paar Longboxes mit div. amerikanischen Comics, wo ich auch das eine oder andere für mich entdecken konnte, aufgestellt.

Wie man so ins Gespräch kommt kamen wir auf das Importgeschäft zu sprechen und die Preisbildung bei US-Comics hier in Deutschland. Wie ich leider schon feststellen musste, setzen viele Comicläden ihre Preise sehr stumpf mit einem Wechselkurs von 1:1 um. Das heißt ein $3,99 Comicheft kostet 3,99€. Wir rechnen das mal eben durch: Bei dem aktuellen Umrechnungenskurs von ca. 0,78 EuroCent / US-Dollar ergibt das ca. 3,11€ direkter Einkaufspreis. Das sind auch ungefähr die Preise die Archonia.com angibt. Das ist ein faires Angebot, weil man den Betrag in Euro bezahlt, den der Comic auch in Amerika wert ist. Wenn man jetzt aber auch noch so charmant wie der kölner Laden Alcatraz ist und zusätzlich nochmal bis 10% Rabatt auf US-Comics im Preorder gibt hat man in dem Rechenbeispiel 2,80€ für ein $3,99 Comicheft. 2,10€ bei einem $2,99 Heft! Über den Daumen gepeilt sind das ca. 30% Einsparung insgesamt gegenüber einem 1:1 Laden.

Ich weiß nicht wieso in Raum Köln das Angebot dementsprechend gut ist, aber es ist definitiv ein Grund die Läden dort zu unterstützen.

Ansonsten war die Messe für deutschsprachige Comics ein kleines Paradies. Wer deutsche Panini Comichefte oder TPBs suchte konnte aus dem Vollem schöpfen und sehr viele Schnäppchen machen (selbst ich konnte bei dem ein oder anderen deutschen TPB nicht widerstehen). 6€ für ein neuwertiges Superhelden TPB von Panini ist einfach verdammt günstig. Die Auswahl an Klassikern wie Falk, Tarzan, Disney und Bessy (ein Comic für schlappe 280.000€?! Bitte sagt mir, dass ich mich da verguckt habe!) war riesig und für die Sammler ein Wunderland. Doch leider, leider ist dem US-amerikanischen Comic nur ein kleiner Teil vorbehalten. Daher werde ich nur noch einmal im Jahr die Messe besuchen. Aber wer weiß? Vielleicht wird sich das Konsumverhalten der kommenden Generationen, wie schon bei Fernsehserien und Filmen, in Richtung original Sprache verschieben und englischsprachige Comics wieder mehr gefragt sein. Who knows?

Gruß Andy