Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Unjust Tuesdays

Nana Spider speaks in riddles and rhymes, but Alex finally learns something about her true nature: http://www.wattpad.com/62506189-unjust-cause-part-18-said-the-spider-to-the-dragon

That's right... the new installment is up on Wattpad for your enjoyment.

It's a little short this time, and I have to apologize.  My morning was eaten up by my son's 5th grade "celebration" (read: faux graduation).  He's left behind Elementary School and is now officially a middle grader... it was kind of a big thing, so I couldn't miss it.  But, that meant I got going far, far later than normal.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Comics & The Digital Age

Marvel is giving away some digital comic books for free this week.  There are three titles (Deadpool, Iron Man, and Wolverine) and, for each, you get two issues at no cost (if you follow the links I've provided to the series, be sure to scroll down to the listing of the individual books and you'll see the first two offered for free).  For me, this is a win-win situation because: free.  I have a hard time not enjoying the heck out of anything I don't have to pay for--this was a serious detriment when I used to review movies for a small, local newspaper.

So far I've read Deadpool: Gauntlet Infinite #1 & #2 and Iron Man: The Fatal Frontier Infinite #1 and, guess, what?  I enjoyed the heck out of them.

First of all, I haven't had a lot of previous experience with digital comics and I had no idea the extent to which the Marvel Comic Reader app-thingie made the experience far more like watching an animated short than reading a comic book.  Panels appear and disappear in a way that give you a sense of movement.  This is particularly impressive in the scene in Deadpool: Gauntlet Infinite #1where Deadpool is slashing through some bus exhaust, trying to hit what he thinks is a vampire who has turned invisible (the vampire actually hopped on top of the bus.) Also, the way that the opening "credits" were done in Deadpool was a very obvious James Bond movie nod.

Really well done (plus, I like Reilly Brown's art tremendously.)

So, if you've never read a digital comic book before, I might simply recommend any one of these as a 'just try the experience' kind of recommendation.  Because, it really is quite nifty.

As for the stories... one thing I LOVE about comic books is that they tap into my willingness to suspend all disbelief and roll with Soviets on the moon and vampires in London.  You know, sometimes as a writer, I get really caught up listening to that internal editor who is always so busy telling me that my ideas are ridiculous and silly.  Then, I pick up a published issue of a Marvel comic and I think, "Yeah, no, I'm good."

That's not to say that I thought the stories were stupid.  No, just the opposite.  The writing entertained a very secret part of me that wants to go back to the Moon, even if it's to fight a disgruntled Soviet machine who feels we stole the moon from them, or that would like to raid Egyptian tombs for living mummy brides for Dracula.  I mean, yes!  So much yes!  These are the stories that, if I think about them too hard I will find problems with, but my inner thirteen year old is like, "Go!" and that ignite and rekindle my sense of wonder.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

MangaKast 18 (With Bonus Fan Art)

I drew Renji last night because I felt like it.  If you're ever curious about my crappy fan /art you can feel free to browse my deviantART account (which is under my secret fan name): http://junko222.deviantart.com.

Here's the link to the MangaKast, if you're interested: https://mangakast.wordpress.com/2014/07/23/you-are-my-sunshine-eighteen/

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Newest Installment

The newest installment is up on Wattpad.  In this exciting episode, tool-welding magpies stage a jail break!  Part 17: The Cleverness of Birds

I wrote this latest bit while watching the birds in the feeder just outside my sunroom window.  If there's a lot of repetition of the word "fluttering" it because those noisy little so-and-sos were doing just that.  We have a lot of trees around our house, so there's a been a plethora a squawking babies demanding beak-feeding at the feeder as well.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Manga Madness

Mason and I actually recorded our MangaKast #17 early because a number of the weeklies came out early.  There is much silliness, accidental poetry, squee, and spoilers for Bleach, Toriko, and Ao no Exorcist/Blue Exorcist.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tuesday with Tate!

Yep, it's that time again.  There's another short adventure for you to enjoy up on Wattpad:

There's a lot of magic happening in this bit, as Alex finds herself arrested for assault and tossed into a holding cell that seems to have been built to hold a very specific thing....

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hella History

So, I think I posted here that I got an e-mail inviting me to try out "Blogging for Books," which, when I went to check it out, appears to be a Random House thing where you get free books if you post a review about them somewhere.  Free books is never a bad deal and they had a graphic novel check-box, so I thought, okay, what the heck, and had them send me "The Harlem Hellfighters" Max Brooks/Caanan White.

So, here are my thoughts:

The Harlem Hellfighters follows an all-black regiment in WWI and showcases the racism they dealt with and their astounding bravery in spite of it.  This is typically the kind of tale that I never get tired of, the against-all-odds heroes who go above and beyond duty—all while being spit on (and worse) by their fellow soldiers.  This story gets an extra boost because the regiment is real and many of the characters that appear in the pages come straight out of history.

The author, Max Brooks, is best known for his World War Z comic book, which, admittedly, I haven’t read yet.  And, while I enjoyed The Harlem Hellfighters, I’m not sure that this book would make me seek out his other work.  I feel that maybe because Brooks was trying to hit all the history, he missed out on a stronger narrative opportunity or two.  The Harlem Hellfighters would make a great addition to a junior high/high school library because it’s really more a ‘fun’ way to read about history than a graphic novel for comic book fans, you know?  I didn’t leave this graphic novel thinking, “Wow, this was a great story! I loved Edge’s character!” so much as, “Wow, I learned a lot.”

Which surprised me, because there are some amazingly moving scenes and we, for the most part, follow a single character.  I can’t quite put my finger on why I was never able to sink my teeth into this.  It might be the skipping through history; it might also be the art.

Like a lot of graphic novel/comic book fans, I need to have both working for me to get the ultimate experience.  I can enjoy a book where the art is better than the story, and visa versa, but it’s a far better ride for me when both are hitting the same notes.  I wonder if I’d have felt differently if it were an affordable option to print all the pages in color.  Regardless, at this point it comes down to preference and stylistic bents… and, thus, to each their own.  My experience with the Caanan White's art might be completely different than yours.

So, I guess, ultimately, I’d give The Harlem Hellfighters a recommendation to anyone interested in World War 1 history, African American experiences, or the history of racism in America (and Europe.)  For comic book/graphic novel fans, it could be hit and miss.  I would still say check it out if this sounds like your kind of thing. (I should note, the cover price is $16.95, not too steep for a graphic novel, many Marvel collections for instance are much higher, though you do often get full-color pages in those.)