Monday, May 28, 2012

The Cut List part 1 of 2: Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

Well, it has been just about a year since I first started reading comics. I started my exploration of comics with 5 DC subscriptions: "Animal Man", "Birds of Prey", "Green Arrow", "Green Lantern", and "Justice League International". It would be silly to assume I would continue with all these series, considering I picked these titles almost randomly I was hoping to find a single series worth sticking with, and I have. Of all five I am only sticking with "Animal Man". Of course, I have begun following other series since last August and I will be writing about that in part 2. I have compiled my reasons for dropping the 4 series, and reasons for keeping "Animal Man".

The Lone Survivor-

Animal Man- Jeff Lemire has knocked this series out of the park. "Animal Man" combines the darker side of Vertigo titles with the DC universe. "Animal Man" has been battling a force of death called the rot, and I have looked forward to every issue so far.

The Cut List-

Birds Of Prey- Although this book isn't "bad", BoP certainly leaves me wanting more. the issues feel disjointed and the title lacks a good hook to keep it really interesting. If I had unlimited funds, I would certainly continue reading this title, but right now there are plenty more titles more deserving of my $2.99.

Green Arrow- This series has been my biggest disappointment. While GA has always been at the top of my heroes list, I can not continue to support sub par storytelling. The series had a weak start with a run by J.T. Krull and the next two writers failed to bring a quality start to the ongoing series. If "Green Arrow" ends up turning it around, I would love to see some good GA arcs, but it is hardly worth the subscription cost.

Green Lantern- Despite Geoff Johns' work on "Blackest Night" and "Brightest Day" was pretty good, his work on the New52 has left me more than a little disappointed. "Green Lantern" is not bad, but it is a continuation on the lengthy "Green Lantern" arcs from before the New52.

Justice League International- JLI falls into the same category of "Birds of Prey". It is not bad, but it hasn't grabbed me. As a side note, it features Guy Gardener, who may be my least favorite DC character.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

The S**t continues to get real: A review of Morning Glories Vol. #2

As this is a review of the second volume, before I begin, I would like to urge checking out the first review I did of volume #1 and potentially reading the trade paperback.

Morning Glories, which is currently slated to hit its 19th issue, is confusing and awesome series that takes place in the prestigious and mysterious prep school Morning Glory Academy. Shortly after following six new students to the school, things start to get weird as people start dying and school is clearly hiding something sinister. The first volume covers some interesting events with few answers, and it comes as no surprise that the second volume is very similar. Morning Glories is written by Nick Spencer and drawn byJoe Esima.
As the series progresses, the school administration continues to leave mysterious hints to their motives and methods while pulling strings to continually freak out the six new students. Despite the crazy happenings and murders, the students start to go about their normal routines. Friendships, romance and of course bullying occurs regularly between the six as we are introduced to more back story of each character. There isn't much I can say without giving away anything but Morning Glories is an intriguing and strange thriller that is certainly worth reading if you are looking for a series you have to follow to the end.

My one concern about Morning Glories is that from what I have read so ar, the ultimate quality of the story will rely heavily on how it ends. As this series seems a little too strange to be a continuous book, I look forward to the conclusion and hope it is deserving of such a good build up. Once again, check it out and get ready for the third TPB which is supposed to be released in June.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Free Time is for Suckers Vol. #3: The Strikeout

I probably should have planned this better, but I have been so far unsuccessful in finding a shop looking for summer employees. A couple said I could drop of my resume off, so it is time to stick to the positives. I might still have a chance and if this plan ends up failing, I still have plenty of other stuff to do this summer.


Free Time Is For Suckers Vol. #2: The Resume

So, I quickly realized I didn't know how to make a good resume. However, my older sister, wonderful person that she is allowed me to use the layout she made. My resume is all typed up and I am ready to get out in the part time comic book world. I am going by Chicago Comics today, and hopefully my first stop will be my last one.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Longshots: Why are archers everywhere, and why are they so angry?

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen
Isn't it strange how pop culture starts the strangest trends? Pirates, vampires, and so called "nerd shows" a la The Big Bang Theory have all come to the forefront of pop culture at one time for no apparent reason. What makes these trends? I am sure psychologists and advertisers have some idea, but I prefer the simpler approach, brash speculation. Nothing can better predict or foster resentment for a trend than someone pointing it out, and I intend to do my part.

Archery is quickly gaining prominence in the public eye, what used to be the sport of choice for Ted Nugent and summer campers trying to impress the girl from cabin 5 is now the next big thing. Within 2012, two major movies and TV show will feature a main character who is quite handy with a bow, "The Hunger Games", "The Avengers", and the CW's "Arrow". Along with their projectile prowess, from what I have seen from these characters, Katniss Everdeen, Hawkeye, and Green Arrow respectively, all characters are incredibly moody. I seek to answer two questions: Why is archery on the comeback, and why must every movie or TV archer be so grumpy?

I believe the answer to our first question lies in the cliche "When it rains it pours", especially when three different companies have clouds floating around. It seems evident that these were all just one big coincidence or acts of evening the playing field so that everyone gets an archer to make money with. The truth remains to be seen as to why these archers are pooping up across film and TV, but I hope it doesn't go much further.

Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye
Our second question lies in what is probably happenstance, but looks a lot like a pattern. Why are these archers so grumpy? Katniss was but in a kill or be killed situation, Hawkeye was controlled by an evil norse god and Green Arrow is Batman/Robin Hood knockoff, but they could try smiling once in a while(CW released this video showing Green Arrow training). Perhaps they are saddened by their own personal dramas, or perhaps they are bummed that their weapon of choice has been out of date for centuries. Archery is nifty, but I have always wondered how it could be so effective at fighting crime, killing aliens and murdering teenagers. Perhaps somewhere in a D&D manual I will find the answer, but until then I'll just chalk it up to being a fun gimmick to play into the scfi/fantasy mindset.

"The Hunger Games" was the first to be released and for that reason I will give it the title of trendsetter. The story of one poor girl in the future fighting for her survival with a bow is both intense and pretty bad-ass. I must admit that when I exited the theater I was sure girls' archery lessons would skyrocket in popularity. "The Hunger games" is based on a book by the same name and was produced by Lionsgate.

"The Avengers" features Hawkeye, the bow-wielding SHIELD agent as a prominent character after introducing him via cameo in the Thor film. While Hawkeye does some pretty nifty stuff, he really didn't have to be in the film. He wasn't one of the original Avengers, and I haven't found any specific reasoning behind having him in the film initially. Of course this lack of necessity is countered by the fact that Jeremy Renner did a marvelous job with writing and direction from Joss Whedon. "The Avengers" was produced by Disney.
Stephen Amell as Green Arrow

Our final Archer of 2012 is the Green Arrow of the CW's upcoming show "Arrow". "Arrow" is based on the DC comics character Oliver Queen who has a remarkably similar M.O. to Batman, except with less tragedy, more earth tones, and propensity for  far left politics. The show begins this Fall and will hopefully be truer to the source material than CW's Smallville was.

To conclude, I would like say that trend or not, it is a strange coincidence when some random theme or topic throws itself forward in pop culture. Also, if you ever question the bad-assness of a bow wielding hero, imagine they have an arrow pointed right at you, you'll quiver.


Reading With Pictures Kickstarter Fund Successful!: The "Graphic Textbook Is Coming

Reading With Pictures, an organization based in Chicago dedicated to using comics as an effective learning material, has completed their kickstarter fundraiser. Their kickstarter sought to raise at least $65,000 in order to complete and publish a "Graphic Textbook". The book seeks to combine fact and fiction in the medium of comics to create a school book that kids would actually enjoy reading. The book will include sections like "Action Presidents" which are factual but fantastic accounts of our most prominent heads of state. While the kickstarter was only looking for $65,000, the fundraiser was successful in getting  $77,420 in pledges from 970 sponsors. As per kickstarter rules, all fundraisers must offer rewards for donations, the smallest being $10 for a digital version of the book when it is released. The "Graphic Textbook" is set to be released in early 2013, and will hopefully be successful spreading the comic medium to a more academic area.

As a comic fan, I am glad that the medium I favor is being put to use in different areas. Superheroes are nice, but being able to break out of the fantasy only stereo-type that often surrounds the comic medium. While I cannot judge it until I see it, expect a review in 2013, I suspect that the "Graphic Textbook" will be a interesting presentation of child academia.


(final note) kickstarter is filled with interesting comic projects. If you are curious, check out the kickstarte comics site and help an artist get their work out there: Link

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Review: Marvel's Augmented Reality App

Despite having bought Avengers v. X-men for the past month, I have been unable until now to try out the augmented reality app that was launched with the event. This unfortunate occurrence was caused by my personal lack of an Ipad and the fact that I could not get the app to work on any smartphone I could get my hands on. Now that I am home and AvX #4 has ben released, I got my first taste of Marvel AR, and I am fairly pleased with it. The content is evenly spread through the book and varies greatly from panel to panel. The app is available for all IOS and Android products.

The AR cover delivered a recap of what had happened in the story so far through a motion comic and a hokey narrator voice. This wasn't very surprising and was actually quite handy as I was able to skip past the recap page. Inside the book, there were two panels that showed the artistic process of drawing a page from sketching to shading. While these two panels were interesting, they seemed like a waste of time given the potential of AR. One panel depicted the locations of the current battles of AvX while giving no additional information, which was rather tedious as it kept making a beeping sound.

Although there was some disappointing material, one AR panel of AvX #4 put me back on the band wagon. The AR triggered a video of a scientist explaining how something would actually go about destroying a planet. Since AvX is centered around the return of the Phoenix Force, an entity notorious for destroying planets, this AR clip fit right in. The video was informative, strange, and just about everything I wanted out of a gimmick like Marvel AR. As I have often tried, rather unsuccessfully, to explain comic phenomena, this video was much appreciated.

In summation, Marvel AR still needs to find exactly what it wants to do and stick to it. The current assortment seems a little scattered and I believe that with more focus, it can become an interesting part of future Marvel comics. I would like to compare Marvel AR to the beginning of special features on DVD videos, paltry but on the right track. Marvel AR is small but can grow to be something fans look for to expand their knowledge of the work. If Marvel continues this program, it could easily help keep people interested in the print medium rather than completely abandoning it for digital. I give the current Marvel AR a 2 out of 5 and the potential for the future a 4 out of 5.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Free Time Is For Suckers Vol. #1 or: How I Chose to Make This The Busiest Summer Ever

So, this is the first summer since I really got into comics. In about nine months I went from having a passing interest in the medium to wanting to become a part of the industry. I realized I was heading home for the summer and should use the resources of being in Chicago to get more acquainted with what hopefully will become my career. I assembled a list of a few comicy things I would like to do, I added non-comicy activities, and my summer job that takes about 40-50 hours a week for six weeks. This list may be rough, but I think I got this, check it out:

  • Get in touch with Reading With Pictures the future publishers of "The Graphic Textbook" (check their kickstarter here.)
  • Work part-time in a comic-shop (I would settle for an "internship") 
  • Keep this Blog running and hopefully making it bigger/better
  • Sketch regularly ( I currently suck but I am working on it)
  • Keep reading comics, because what else am I going to write about
  • Plan the founding of a comic book society for Hendrix College ( Nerds unite!)
  • Work on a proposal that will get Hendrix College to send me to San Diego Comic-Con in 2013

  • Job
  • Get a driver's license (20 seems old enough to drive)
  • Try and find an internship for the school year
  • Family/friend time
  • Breathing
Looks like fun right? I also just bought my own copy of Skyrim, so focusing might be a bit of an issue. Check out the next Volume where I try to make a resume!


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Hey, Remember When I Used to Do That Blog About Comics?

I have not forgotten about about Nerd in the World, but I have taken a hiatus. Did I have time to post? yes I did, but I thought it best to wait until the Summer to get back into the blogging realm. I have a lot planned for this summer and I hope to continue improving upon what I have already done with Nerd in the World. My last final is tomorrow, the 7th and after that prepare for a 2 month deep backlog of opinions, articles, and regular posts. I was surprised when I saw I was still getting views despite my lack of content, and that was just the push I needed to want to get back in the game. To everyone who has viewed this blog, thank you.