Saturday, February 28, 2009

Star Trek: Countdown #2

I'd like to do a little mini-review of IDW's Star Trek: Countdown now that I've read the first two issues in the series. In the course of this review I'd like to compare the upcoming Star Trek and Watchmen films and their respective directors JJ Abrams and Zach Snyder. In the course of doing so I may be revealing minor spoilers to the Star Trek film and a major spoiler in Watchmen if you're not already aware of the Big Change from the book at the end of that movie that's consumed comic fans on the net over the course of the past year.

If you've managed to remain blissfully unaware about the details of both those films and want to go into them cold then read no further.


I like to search the net for pre-information about upcoming genre films. This includes set photos from spies, designs and interviews with the creators. So if I had to summarize the "feel" I've gotten for the Watchmen and Star Trek films coming out shortly I'd have to say that I've felt for awhile that Zach Snyder, a director I haven't had much use for, "gets" his material better than Star Trek's Abrams.

In interview after interview Snyder has displayed a demonstrable love for the source material that makes it clear to me that the film's in good hands. In fact: if Snyder's recent comments on the film are true he's already saved the film from what the studio was planning before he took the director's job.

When it comes to the infamous missing giant squid at the end of the film Snyder has a pretty good reason for reluctantly removing it from the story. As they plotted it out the story was already three hours long before they even got to the climax. The squid would've taken about 15 minutes to explain, which was 15 minutes they didn't feel they had.

JJ Abrams, on the other hand, has done nothing but make comments such as "this film is not for Star Trek fans" and admits that as a child he loved Star Wars more than Trek. Blasphemy in Trek circles.

On the other hand Abrams also talks about Star Trek being about the characters and about Rodenberry's optimistic world so he does have some understanding of Trek's appeal. Whether that translates into the finished film is up in the air.

Which brings me to the Star Trek: Countdown comics. I wasn't going to read these as it seemed more like an attempt to cash in on the film than they had some story to tell. Then I came across the first 8 pages online and read them but only for a pretty geeky reason: I wanted to see if the Romulan ships that Abrams, Roberto Orci, and Alex Kurtzman designed for the film and would be included in the comic looked like the ships I loved from the original television series.

What I found was that writers Orci and Kurtzman, who are also the screenwriters for the film, have an obvious reference for Trek and can tell a good story. Forget the alternate timeline stuff we've heard about. None of that is here. Instead we have a story set solidly in "our" Star Trek universe some years after the last Next Generation film.

There's so much they get right but let me just point out one little part out of the second issue that I just finished that had me chuckling. At the end of the first comic Data appears and he's now in command of the Enterprise. If you're one of the five people that saw the last Next Gen film you know that Data was killed (he had to be since they were ripping off Wrath of Khan.) In a meeting with Spock and a throwaway line it's mentioned that they haven't met since his memory engram was installed on his double.

In one small frame of the comic they sent a delicious "fuck you" to the Braga/ Berman team that so many of us think killed Trek on television by casually undoing one of their biggest mistakes. I love this.

As for the story itself it's centered on Romulan miner Nero, who will become the villain of the upcoming film, and his attempt to stop a disaster from befalling Romulus. He's an extremely sympathetic character in these books. He's falls strongly into the Trek hero tradition of bucking the powers that be to try and prevent very bad things from happening.

Of course this won't work for poor Nero, which is the point. We get to see why he's angry and why he blames the Federation and some of it's greatest heroes for what happens.

The bottom line is that these comics are actually making me a little more confident about the upcoming Trek film, which is not what I expected. If the film's as good as the comics then we have nothing to worry about. That's still a pretty big "if."

- Dean

Thursday, February 26, 2009

My New Comics

This week’s best cover is The Dark Tower: Treachery #6.

She-Hulk #38, Marvel Comics. The last issue. I hope Peter David’s run on She-Hulk will finally convince folks that he’s actually not that great of writer after all. I never liked his Hulk run.

The Dark Tower: Treachery #6, Marvel Comics. This mini ends so the next one can begin… but I’m done with DT.

Sgt Rock #3, DC Comics.

The War That Time Forgot #10, DC Comics.

I dropped more titles before this week’s shipment came in. Of note is the fact that Conan is no longer part of my box. I’m getting the trades so what’s the point.

For the comics I bought today… the total price was $13.99! Good grief… $13.99 for four comics, what an f-ing rip off. I’m finishing up current mini-series and I might be done for good in a few months but I’m not sure. I think the only regular titles that I’m still signed up for are: Jonah Hex, Red Sonja, Doctor Who Classic Series, Army of Darkness, Walking Dead, Brothers In Arms, and Back Issue (which is bimonthly). I also added the new Warlord series for look-see. This means for the first time in my life (while buying comics on a regular basis), I am not getting a regular Marvel book.

The mini-series that I’m finishing up are:
The War That Time Forgot, Jungle Girl, Age of the Sentry, Sgt. Rock, Ambush Bug, Kull, Last Reign, Fall of Cthulhu, Star Trek The Next Generation: The Last Generation, and The Twelve (which I hope finally finishes up soon).

A few books that I ordered before I dropped Previews are:
Supermen!: The First Wave of Comic-book Heroes (1939-1941). a collection of never-before-reprinted oddities from cartoonists working at the dawn of the comic-book format.

Essential Ambush Bug. Does my want for this really need to be explained?

Savage Sword of Conan Volume #5. SSoC is a gift that never stops giving.

You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation! More Fletcher Hanks goodness. I didn’t order this one but I gotta’ get it after the first volume, I Shall Destroy All The Civilized Planets!

At some point I plan on getting The Boys in trade paperback too.

Well that's my forecast along with my new comics


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I watched Mad Max 2 this last weekend... I hadn't seen it in awhile and I was reminded of what fantastic movie the Road Warrior is.

I was stuck by two things that seemed odd though. The first was that several scenes are sped up to make the action more exciting but to me, with my 21 century eyes, it just looks silly.

The second is the total lack of people who aren't white. I guess we just had to wait for TIna Turner in Mad Max 3.

Mel is great in this film but I realized why his character Max is such a disturbed loner... it's because the The Apocalypse occurred and Jesus didn't come back....


This Is What I Think Hell Looks Like.

All that's missing is the Bearded One himself- George Lucas.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

He Can Shamble Over Tall Buildings in a Single Bound.

If you haven't seen this then you might be unaware that DC Comics will be ripping off honoring Marvel's "Marvel Zombie" universe this summer with their "Blackest Night" line. Earth 2 Superman will be zombified.

It's going to be tough to match the dark humor and creativity that the Marvel series had reached with their own zombie heroes.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Future Hotties

Here's another arbitrary list - The Revised Top 20 Sexy Science Fiction Costumes.

I don't think there's a geek alive that wouldn't agree with picks at #1, #5 and #19, but once again these guys have managed to compile a list with conspicuous absences.

Notably missing-

Okay, that last one may not count technically as a "future" hottie but I really don't care. It's Raquel Welch for God's sakes. She will rule the past, present and future.

UPDATE - I meant to add this one for Swiney.

- Dean

I thought it was really weird that five past Oscar winners came out and gushed over each of this year's acting nominees. I like the traditional way with one winner from the previous year introducing and presenting the acting award for the opposite sex. Being nominated for an academy award is already a huge honor without the extended on-air love fest, plus the whole thing unnecessarily eats up more time. I mean come on... these actors wouldn't even be in the room if they didn't have SOME talent right? So why the hell do they need more praise heaped on them with millions watching... increadble...

OK, maybe I'll admit that Mickey Rourke needed slap on the back...

but other than that it was too much...

It's also cool to note that a "COMIC BOOK" movie has won a major acting award with Heath's Joker... It makes me wonder about Watchmen and next years Oscars...


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Friday, February 20, 2009

My New Comics

This week’s best cover is Solomon Kane #5.

Star Trek The Next Generation: The Last Generation #4, IDW

Solomon Kane #5, Dark Horse Comics.

Red Sonja Annual #2, Dynamite Entertainment.

Jungle Girl: Season 3 #2, Dynamite Entertainment.


Dean's New Comics

I hit the comic shop every two weeks and all they had in my box was 3 comics and not a scotch n'cigar book in the lot? Wtf?

Zombie Tales #11, Boom Studios - I was going to cancel this series but this was the last book. A waste of money, in my opinion. Not very well written at all.

B.P.R.D. The Black Goddess #2, Dark Horse Comics

Sonic The Hedgehog #197, Archie Comics

Funny story about that last title which demonstrates why it's not always a great idea to take your wife that doesn't read comics with you to the comic book shop you frequent. My middle daughter has been begging me to add Sonic to my box, so when I was in there last time I told the clerk to add Sonic to my list. As it's a kid's title I made a big deal out of letting the clerk know it was for my daughter.

My wife then piped up with a sarcastic "Oh, please. Like it's any more nerdy than the other comics you're buying."

Thanks, hon.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Remember Cosmic Monkey's 24-hour comic day last year? No? See here

Shaun Huston has a short doc out about that event. It's a teaser of sorts for a longer project he's been working on about the comic book culture of Portland. Here's his youtube channel and his sporadically updated blog

Can't wait to see the finished product


No Hurm, No Foul

Watchmen's visionary* director Zack Snyder went into some detail about the DVD release of his pending film based on the classic graphic novel. The running time of the DVD will be a whopping 3 hours and 25 minutes. Mostly because it will include the Tales of the Black Freighter which will not be in the theatrical release.

Of course Black Freighter will be released on it's own DVD to coincide with the release of the film but I can't imagine how fans of the book would want to see it any other way than included in the overall story since it parallels and complements the larger Watchmen narrative.

Here's the trailer for that DVD if you haven't seen it-

(*Warner Brothers requires under pain of broken fingers that you refer to Zack Snyder as "visionary" whenever you mention him in writing.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

PC Magazine's Lousy 10 Best List

Top 10 lists are often arbitrary but by any standard PC Magazine's 10 Best PC Games Ever is saddled with some glaring omissions.

Sure, they get Civilization, Starcraft and Doom* but they also include the far less impressive Trade Wars 2002, Rogue:The Adventure Game and most notably World of Warcraft on that list. (If you're wondering why I'm hating on WOW- I like MMOGs but consider them more social chat rooms than games. There are better online gaming experiences, IMHO, including the recent Left 4 Dead zombie shooter.)

Just some of the games that should have been included-

Ultima 3

As a role playing game this was unsurpassed at the time. It had a strong sandbox flavor that made the game seem much bigger than it actually was.

Monkey Island 3

Actually all the Lucasarts adventure games were sublime, but the Monkey Island games had a wicked sense of humor and beautiful background artwork.

Wing Commander

It may have been a rip off of the Traveller rpg world but it was still a great space shooter. I can still hear the midi music when you took off in your fighter.

The original Castle Wolfenstein

My favorite bit was stealing nazi guard's uniforms.

Not to mention Might and Magic, Fallout 2, Grand Theft Auto 3, Planetfall (Infocom), Half Life 2, The Bard's Tale, Pirates!, Zoo Tycoon, Leisure Suit Larry, Oregon Trail, Tie Fighter, Test Drive, Interstate 76, Star Trek 25th Anniversary and about 100 other games I can think of off the top of my head.

Those guys at PC Magazine were just phoning it in.

(* If Snabalus reads this- I haven't forgotten the time you hacked Doom and stuck my wedding pictures in there. Having to look at yourself in a tux kind of distracts from killing mutants.)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Battlefields: Dear Billy

Just a quick mini comic review right out of the gate. I picked up "Battlefields: Dear Billy" on a lark, mostly because of the evocative cover pictured above. Without any idea about the history of the title I pictured a throwback story to the old Sgt. Rock comics. I was pleasantly surprised to find something completely different within it's covers.

This is a well written war story told from a woman's perspective. It's 1942 British nurse Carrie Sutton finds herself suffering unspeakable horrors at the hands of the Japanese when she's caught behind enemy lines. The emotional baggage she packs once she's rescued is considerable and very moving. Nevertheless, in British stiff upper lip fashion she hides her scars from the "Billy" of the title. Of course he has scars of his own...

The only complaint I had about this title (other than the horrible cursive font they use for her letters to Billy) was that the Japanese were written as very one-dimensional bastards, bordering on monsters . The last page of the book changed my perspective on this. If this story goes where I think it's going than this setup is going to pay off big time.

This comic is worth reading.

Hello true believers!

It was so very cool of Swinebread to ask me to contribute to his blog. While we don't always agree on everything (*cough* JJ Abrams' Star Trek *cough*) we most certainly share a love of comics, cartoons, movies and pop culture. I love Swinebread's Atomic Romance and am happy to be a small part of it.

Just a bit on my geek creds so you know where I'm coming from. As a boy my imagination was consumed with all things fantasy and science fiction. I read Tolkein, Moorcock, Asimov, Lovecraft and Adams. I played Dungeons and Dragons, Gamma World and Traveller. I spent many a sleepless night on our old Commodore 64 computer adventuring my way through Richard Garrett's Ultima series. I watched Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers (mmm Wilma) and Space 1999 religiously.

On my 9th birthday my parents rented a van and took most of my grade school class to see Star Wars on the big screen. It was a wonderful, out-of-body experience. I lost complete track of the theater and the other people sitting around us munching popcorn. I was IN that movie. I've spent the last 32 years of being a film fan trying to replicate that experience.

When I was growing up comics were a reward. I have wonderful memories of serving as an alter boy and having my dad stop on the way home at 7-11 to get me a coke flavored Slurpee and a copy of "House of Mystery" or "Haunted Tank" as a thank you to me for working through a boring mass. I've expanded this idea tenfold with my own kids by the way. They got comics in their comics on Christmas morning, in their baskets on Easter and to cheer them up when they were home sick from school.

I'll say this outright- Swinebread is a genius when it comes to comics. I have nowhere near the encyclopedic knowledge he has of artists, authors, titles, etc. that he has. I don't subscribe to the previews. I don't always know what's going on in the comics industry. I do have a box at the local comics store. I subscribe to whatever titles interest me when I walk in the door.

I am not a comic "collector" I'm a comic "reader." To the extent I bag and store my comics it's not so I can sell them at a profit 10 years down the line. It's so I can get them out and rediscover them 10 years down the line when I've forgotten the stories. When I think about the CGC company and what they do with comics it makes me sad. Sure, they're putting aside a Picasso for forever but put aside the value of that particular comic and they're also removing forever the chance that some kid will open up that old comic and have their imagination exploded.

So, with Swinebread's blessing I'm going to post stuff here about comics from a layman's perspective. At the same time I'll also be posting stuff that isn't necessarily comics related but will always be geek-centric. I still occasionally play rpgs, computer games and will always be on the hunt for that Star Wars out-of-body fix at the movies. All of that is fodder.

Until next time guys,


Monday, February 16, 2009

It's Time For Some Pop Culture Discipline: Dean Wormer Joins Atomic Romance

That's right kids! Get ready to be geek schooled in all things as Dean accepts his post as the Grand Imperial Poobah of pop. He's gunnin' for tenure, so look out!

With the demands of Swinebread Jr. (who is now a rugrat for gosh sakes), I've felt for awhile that I'm unable to provide any real analysis on this blog as well as keep up with consistent posting. By asking Dean Wormer to join AR, I hope to rectify this. I know he's been wiggin' to rant and rave a lot more about some of his geekier hobbies but the Dean's Office is just too respectable of a place to engage in such banter.

So join me in welcoming Dean!

I'm sure life is about to get a lot more interesting around here with the Wormermeister on board.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

My New Comics and Hitting the Wall

Last week’s best cover is Last Reign: King of War #3.

Doctor Who Classic Series 2 #3, IDW.

The Walking Dead #58, Image.

Last Reign: King of War #3, Boom Studios.

On the Rack Back Issue: I noticed that Booster Gold #16 had Enemy Ace so I picked that up too… a month late

Trade Paperbacks:
Classic Invaders Vol 3, Marvel Comics. Reprints Invaders #22-23 and #25-34. It’s funny because my store forgot to keep putting the Avengers/Invaders in my box so now I’ve missed a few issues and I don’t feel like hunting down what I missed

In other news
I’ve hit a wall. I’m really quite fed up with the price of comics. Recently I opened up Previews and noticed that Marvel had a few new titles that I wanted priced at $3.99. The first thing that went across my mind was “fuck this” We are going into a great depression here folks and Marvel expects us diehard fans to shoulder more and more of the burden. I’ve had it. Comics thrived during the 1930’s because they were a cheap form of entertainment and fucking four bucks per title is not cheap. Simply put, it’s a rip-off. I’m spending so much money on comics I can’t spend it on anything else irregardless if the cover price is four bucks or less. Fool me once shame on you, fool me every week year after year… well you get picture…

I’ve cancelled a slew of titles and I’ve cancelled a of bunch future orders as well. Hell if I really miss something great it’s gonna come out in a trade anyway right? There’s a few series I’ll continue with for right now but most are gone. Also, I’m gonna let the current mini-series I’m following run out and not pick up the next iteration. And that’s it.

Titles I’ve dropped:
Terminator: Revolution, Dynamite Entertainment

Crossed, Avatar

Conan: The Cimmerian, Dark Horse Comics (I’ll pick up the trades at some point)

Northlanders, Vertigo/DC Comics

The Man with No Name, Dynamite Entertainment

Secret Six, DC Comics

Star Trek: Crew, IDW

Star Trek: Mission’s End, IDW

Astounding Wolf-Man (I’ll pick up the trades at some point)

Previews, I can’t order what I don’t know is coming out right?!

Oh Man I just remembered I gotta drop the Hulk too!

I guess this is really gonna screw up next year’s Atomic Romance Awards heh heh


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day...

Nothing says Romance like a nice gal and her horse...

uh... yeaaahhh...

It says Don't Take Less right there on the cover for gosh sakes!


Happy 150th Birthday Oregon!

My Home State is One Hundred and Fifty today!

Oh and just in case you might not know, those Native folks on the cover... they have nothing to do with Oregon... but Classics Illustrated #72 was the only comic I could find with the word "oregon" the cover.


Friday, February 13, 2009

Name This Character

UPDATE: The WInner is Dean Wormer with Potsie (because it made laugh really hard)


Portland Comics Part 5

image by Michael Russell

In Part 5 we get a taste of the DYI/zine scene in Portland Via the IPRC and we learn little about Excalibur Comics

Oh and here's the credits... there might be a small surprise at the end if you wait around for it.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Today, Honest Abe was born 200 years ago. That's pretty cool.


Portland Comics Part 4

In the Part 4 we get to know three different comic artists and some of their artistic output: John C. Worsley, David Hahn, and Nicole Georges.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Portland Comics Part 3

In part three we are introduced to Brett Warnock of Top Shelf Comics and we learn a thing our two about Craig Thompson's Blankets.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Portland Comics Part 2

In part 2 more of Portland's Comic Culture is revealed and Dark Horse Comics is introduced.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Portland Comics Part 1

This is part one of a short documentary about the comic book scene in Portland Oregon.

It was made in 2005 and shown at the 2nd annual Stumptown Comics Fest.

on Youtube you can watch it in High Quality


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Name This Character

Leave a comment and name this character!

I will update this post with the best suggestion.

UPDATE: The Winner is matty321654 with Commander Pete


I'm late on this but if you haven't read The Onion's article on President Obama being upset with his Cabinet's lack of Conan Comic Book knowledge, then you gotta' check it out. See here!

Here's an excerpt:
Obama, whose upcoming challenges include organizing a massive effort to rebuild the nation's infrastructure, was reportedly unprepared for the confused silence he received upon suggesting that his cabinet "team up with Taurus of Nemedia" to secure the necessary funding from Congress.

"If my inner circle of advisers can't even communicate about the most basic issues, how are we going to tackle the massive problems our nation faces?" Obama said during a press conference. "When I tell my cabinet that getting bipartisan support is exactly like the time Conan got Taurus to help him steal Yara's jewel, they need to understand what I mean."

After receiving no reaction from the assembled reporters, Obama added, "Because a giant spider is protecting this chamber full of precious jewels, just like Congress is protecting its…. God, how are you people not seeing this?"

Yes Virginia, there is a geek in the oval office!

and thanks to The Ultimate Conan Blog for bringing this to my attention.


My New Comics

This week’s best cover is Cthulhu Tales #11.

Fall of Cthulhu: Apocalypse #3, Boom Studios

Man with No Name #7, Dynamite Entertainment

Kull #4, Dark Horse Comics

Cthulhu Tales #11, Boom Studios

The Age of the Sentry #5, Marvel Comics

Red Sonja #41, Dynamite Entertainment

Jonah Hex #40, DC Comics

Trade Paperbacks:
Avengers: Nights of Wundagore, Marvel Comics.


Monday, February 2, 2009

The L League

I was watching the L Word the other day when I realized that I would enjoy this show even more if it was about lesbian superheroes.


Happy Groundhog Day!

Groundhog Files by Joe Wehrle, Jr.