I read an article about Berkeley Breathed ending the “Opus” comic strip. I really haven’t followed his work much since the end of bloom county in the early 1990’s. The “sequel” strips, Outland and Opus really didn’t have the draw for me that Bloom County did. But it was always reassuring to know that they were out there, they’re kind of like old friends that you don’t talk to much anymore.  I do remember my parents having the big collections around the house when I was a kid. I think I’ve read “Bloom County Babylon” 10 times (the one with Opus in a top hat on the cover) and I remember making a Bill the cat name tag for my desk in 5th grade. I’m not sure if I knew what the comic was really about when I was little, but I knew it was funny. I think it’s done a lot to shape my view of politics and fame in general.

I’ll miss you Opus.

via NPR

“Liberal, shmiberal. That should be a new word. Shmiberal: one who is assumed liberal, just because he’s a professional whiner in the newspaper. If you’ll read the subtext for many of those old strips, you’ll find the heart of an old-fashioned Libertarian. And I’d be a Libertarian, if they weren’t all a bunch of tax-dodging professional whiners.” – Berkeley Breathed

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Mark this date. This is the date that the Watchmen trailer came out.

This is definitely going to be my “Dark Night” next year. I’m not sure that it has the following that Batman has so I’m not counting on the box office. Actually I’m sure that it doesn’t but It is definitely the graphic novel that got me into comic books. My friend Brian was always into comics (Spiderman, Spawn, and X-men mostly) and I liked them too, but I was never really a fanboy.

Then I found “Watchmen“.

It was the first time I realized that there were comics out there that were written for adults (not talking Fritz the Cat here). Comics that delt with real issues. I mean what would happen if people really started taking to the streets and dealing out beatdowns vigalante style? Who would be in control of them?

Who’s watching the Watchmen?

I hope this is the movie that makes Alan Moore proud. Moore has been vocal about his hatred of the other movies based on his properties (V for Vendetta, League of Extrordinary Gentlemen) and he’s actually taken his name off of them. The artist, Dave Gibbons, has been involved in the process from day one, which I hope bodes well for the production. I’ve heard that the director, Zack Snyder (300, Day of the Dead) is taking everything very seriously, which is how I think you have to do it with this subject matter.  What I really want is for this film to be so bad ass and frame by frame accurate that Moore will shrug his shoulders, stroke his giant beard and say “Not Bad Guys”

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It happens all the time, I’ll forget about a website or comic for a long time and then when I go back there’s so much new content that it’s like I’ve found it all over again. Yesterday the database went down for the last two hours of the day and I decided to go over to Perry Bible Fellowship. This is definitely my favorite web comic. It’s like some of the things I draw in my sketchbook, just way funnier.

For $20 bucks you can get a signed print, I’m really want one. I just can’t narrow it down to which one. One that I think captures the tone of the site is “no survivors”. But it might be hard to explain that to visitors when they see it framed on the wall.

I’ll have to make a list.

Later!

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In a recent post I talked about buying several new graphic novels and getting a new book that I was really excited about. Well I was so excited about it that I actually finished it, which brings my average up to about 70%. (damn that wine book!) I’ve also finished most of the graphic novels. But I’m starting to think that reading 3 series at once is going to get expensive, with them going for about 10 bucks each. I only like the Trade Paperbacks (TPB) because I like to collect them.

Well anyway, here’s the reviews.

Fables: I like it, but it seems a little forced, maybe that’s just because it had to introduce so many characters it didn’t have time for a strong enough story. a little like the first X-Men movie.

DMZ: A strong first book. It drops you in the middle of an occupied NYC and just hits the ground running. It has certain cinematic elements, so much so that I can really see this being made into a movie at some point.

Transmetropolitain: Spider Jerusalem is one of the best characters to come along in a long time. The book has certain elements that also made DMZ a good read, like the city setting. But being a futuristic novel it takes things to the extreme. Spider reminds me a lot of Tank Girl, which is exactly why I hope they never make a movie out of this comic. Well live action movie anyway.

World War Z: This book was absolutely amazing. Well for me anyway since I love Zombie / Post-Apocalyptic movies. But I don’t think the zombie genre has ever been done on this scale, I should know, I’ve seen a lot of those movies. It’s always set in some small town, a single farmhouse, or at most you get to see the story of one group of survivors from all over the place. The notable exception being Land of the Dead, but for some reason that movie really didn’t do it for me. just something wasn’t there. But I digress…
In this book you get to see the story from all sides. The narrative is set up as the author interviews survivors of the war 10 years after victory has been declared. Most of the interviews are only a few pages long, he uses them to widen the scope of the story. Not that it doesn’t have some of the cliched zombie movie parts, rich people paying for protection, greedy people looting. But those are balanced out by the depth of the story.
But what really makes this book different is that the author (Max Brooks) has thought of everything. I mean what would happen if the US army set up in New Jersey to fight the 10 million Zombies that came pouring out of NYC? (it doesn’t end well for us) How would the governments of the world really respond if their people started dying and returning to life? Japan? China? North Korea? Cuba? Russia? You get a glimpse of all those places through the course of the story. What happens when zombies walk/fall into the ocean? (They just keep walking) The story also goes on after we start to win the fight against the zombies, on to the cleanup and reclamation of the world.

What I’m really interested is that this book is being made into a movie. But the problem is that they’ll never be able to get all this story into one movie. I trust the writer that they have in charge now, J. Michael Straczynski who wrote the show Babylon 5. He has a history of being able to weave in a lot of details in one story.

Here’s my final word on the book. I like it so much I might start reading it again.

Later!
Mark

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So the other day I was reading some posts on Boing-Boing about new/old graphic novels that are supposed to be good. I was looking to get into another one because I’ve caught up to ‘Y the last man’ and I hate to be waiting 6 months in between sets. (yes I know I could get the individual issues, but they wouldn’t look as good on my shelf.) So I went a little crazy on Amazon and ordered issue one of 3 titles. DMZ, about a second civil war in america set in present day. Fables, about famous fairy tale characters living in NYC in present day. Transmetropolitain, which I honestly forget what is about, but it looked good at the time. I’m about halfway through the Fables book, it seems to be written well. I’ll get to the others sometime.

But the book I really really like, doesn’t have pictures in it at all (shocker!). It’s ‘World War Z : An Oral History of the Zombie War’ and it is totally bas ass. It’s set 12 years after VZ (Victory over Zombies) day, this reporter is traveling around interviewing survivors, through their stories you learn how it went down.

I’ve always been a fan of Zombie movies, it’s no secret. The George A. Romero ones have always been my favorites, even the remakes. The difference in this book is the scope, this is the Gettysburg of Zombie stories. After watching the original ‘Dawn of the Dead’ I always wondered how other places around the world/country would react to the coming of the UnDead. Even though it was mostly terrible ‘Land of the Dead’ did shed light on some of those things. So far I’m only about 1/3 through the book and every chapter brings something that I’d never thought of before. For instance: How the plague was partly spread when zombies fell off boats and then eventually just walked out of the water hundreds of miles later. How ineffective conventional military strategies would be against an horde of a million zombies pouring out of New York City.

Every chapter in the book would make an awesome scene in a movie, luckily for me I also heard that they’re going to make it. I wouldn’t want to be the one deciding what parts have to get cut. But at this point with Brad Pitt in talks to star, hopefully they’ll have the budget to keep the good ones.

I read book!
Mark

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