Thursday, February 26, 2021

In This Month's Zuda Comics Competition, Hypergeek Endorses The Hammer

Zuda Comics is a web imprint of DC comics. Every month they hold a competition where creators are invited to submit an eight page strip, to be voted on by readers of the website. At the end of the competition period, the comic which wins the popular vote becomes a new ongoing series, and the creators are given a contract with DC comics.

This month there are several great entries into the competition, all by wonderfully talented writers and artists. However, if I had to pick a favourite, and I actually did have to, I would pick The Hammer. The offical blurb for The Hammer says:

Calvin School's family saw something they shouldn't have. Bones Charlie sent his dogs to clean up the mess. But School is a mess that don't clean easy. When he catches up with Bones Charlie, we'll see just why they call him...The Hammer.

The comic has a giant pink bunny, with the attitude of Marv from Sin City, who runs around beating the shit out of mobsters, with a base-ball bat. How can you not love that?!

I am endorsing The Hammer in this month's competition, and I urge you to follow this link, and vote on the comic to win. The Hammer is currently at #1 in the rankings, but it is almost neck and neck with the #2 strip, Azz's Inferno. Azz's Inferno is also a nice strip, but it just didn't have the kick that The Hammer had. It was a little overly wordy and cluttered for the eight page format I think, but it was still really good.

Anyway, pick whichever you prefer, but you better get over there fast, because the competition will close at noon on February 28th!

Also, make sure you check out this interesting interview with Robert Barry, Inker of The Hammer.

Selected Links & Random Thoughts

I came across a few interesting things on the internet today, so I thought I might share them with whoever is reading this.

  • Comic Book Resources put up an interview today with legendary artist Kevin O' Neill. Kevin talks to CBR about the upcoming League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Series III, now published by Top Shelf. It's a really great interview, and has some beautiful looking preview pages from the book. Kevin is one of my favourite artists, and I've been following his artwork since I first came across Nemesis the Warlock in the early 1980s. Ahh, my young mind was shaped by his disturbing artwork.
  • Jock posted a page from his, and Jamie Delano's, upcoming Hellblazer: Pandemonium today, and it looks astounding. I can't wait for this one to come out.

  • It seems that a remake of Total Recall is in the works. This can only end badly. Total recall was a really terrible adaptation of Philip K. Dick's We Can Remember it for You Wholesale, but it was terrible in that charming 1980s way that we all know and love. It was an over the top sci-fi classic. The remake will likely be as unmemorable and boring as all the other PKD based movies that have come out in recent years. I tell you what though, I would love to adapt some PKD short stories into comic book form, anyone up for that????
  • The Hollywood Reporter just put up their review of Watchman, and it is really, really scathing. Their reviews are usually very trustworthy, so take from that what you will
  • My wife showed me some news yesterday about Spider-Man the Musical. The news was on Perez Hilton, so I sort of ignored it (yes, my wife reads Perez, grounds for divorce?). Anyway, the rumour was confirmed by Joe Quesada today on Twitter , who gave out a link to the official site. This sounds really stupid to me. It has music by Bono and The Edge. This indicates to me that the rest of U2 also thought this was too stupid. Damn, I hate U2, they just keep getting lamer, and now they are writing a Spider-Man musical score! I can hear it now:

    I want to run,
    I want to hide,
    I want to climb up the walls,
    Hang upside down,
    I want to reach out,
    And touch Mary Jane,
    Where the streets have no name.


Wednesday, February 25, 2021

Change of Plans

I said yesterday that today I would revive the A-Z of Canadian Comic Book Creators. I really shouldn't make promises I can't keep. Apart from going to work, I spent a lot of the day getting my other website ready for launch, so I haven't had much time for anything else. Then, of course, Lost is on at 21:00, so I have to watch that.

To keep yourself entertained, head over to Neil Gaiman's blog, where he has scanned and uploaded an old interview with Alan Moore, from 1986. Apparently he found the interview while he was going through a box of soft porn mags that he found in his attic. He swears he just hs them for the articles. A likely story :)

I'll get the list started again soon. Trust me!

Tuesday, February 24, 2021

Wired Interview With Alan Moore

Yeah, it's more Alan Moore news. There is a lot of it at the moment, in the wake of Watchmen, obviously. Wired magazine have just published a really big interview with Mr. Moore. It's not a bad interview. Some of the questions are not very interesting, and are pretty obvious and general, but Alan Moore always gives interesting answers, and talks for a long time, on many subjects. So he tends to make most interviews interesting, no matter what.

So, if you are interested, head over and check it out. Sadly, I haven't had the opportunity to interview Alan Moore yet. Sigh...

Come back tomorrow, when I hope to revive the A-Z of Canadian Comic Book Creators list. I started it a while back, and got all the way to 'B'. Man, I have some really staying power!

Sunday, February 22, 2021

Alan Moore Quotes About the Upcoming Watchmen Movie, and Why I will Not be Going to See it.

I have written on this site many times in the past that I am one of the very few comic book fans that doesn't really care about the release of the upcoming Watchmen movie. I do not plan to see it. The movie can either be one of two things: 1. A decent, and faithful reproduction of the comic book, in which case, I will have gained nothing from watching this movie; or 2. A dismal Hollywood bastardization of the original, that will just piss me off.

I don't think this movie should have been made. I think that Watchmen is the ultimate celebration, and perfect exploration of the possibilities of the comic book medium. I don't know why everyone want to see it made into a movie. It baffles me. Just read the comic for God's sake. Hollywood is a vacuous, insipid, wasteland where great stories and ideas go to die a long, slow, and painful, neon light covered, bullet-time death. Why must we see our favourite books and comics put up on a big screen. Does it make us feel smug because we have already read them? Do we feel like we get validation that comic books are cool? Do we have a vast emptiness in our soul that we must fill with the glitz and glamour of Hollywood? I just don't know!

That being said. Recently I have been hearing a lot of quite positive reviews of the film, by people who have seen advance screenings. Wil Weaton got to see a pre-screening last week, and says that it is "Fucking Awesome". I tend to trust Wil on quite a lot of stuff, because he seems to have very similar tastes to my own, and seems to be quite honest about such things.

This got me thinking that maybe I should see it. But then the cynical bastard part of my brain kicked back in. You know what they say, "A Pessimist is never disappointed." That is pretty much my Mantra.

I came across the quotes from Alan Moore last night, about the upcoming movie.

"There is more integrity in comics. It sounds simplistic, but there's a formula that you can apply to almost any work of modern culture. The more money that's involved in a project the less imagination there will be in the project, and vice-versa. If you've got zero budget, you're John Waters. You're Jean Cocteau, you're going to make a brilliant film."

"100 million dollars -- that's what they spent on the Watchmen film which nearly didn't come out because of the lawsuit. And that's what they spent on The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen which shouldn't have come out but did anyway.

"Do we need any more shitty films in this world? We have quite enough already. Whereas the 100 million dollars could sort out the civil unrest in Haiti. And the books are always superior, anyway."

I love Alan Moore's frankness. He just says what he really thinks, and doesn't feel the need to sugarcoat anything. I agree with him 100% on all of these points, and have said pretty much the same things repeatedly, either on the blog, or in conversation to fellow comic book fans, co-workers, my wife, and random people who run away from me. Generally this makes me look like a ranting crazy man, but really, do we need more shitty films in this World????!

I have also made the point about the insane budget being spent on the film. How the money being poured into this special effects orgy could heal the problems of a small country.

Alan Moore, if you are out there, I am with you 100% of the way with this. I am not planning to see this movie. There is no way that this movie can improve upon the original vision, and therefore, what is the point in seeing it. The amount of money being wasted here makes me feel sick. It is just an excuse for shitty screenwriters and a bad director to not come up with an original idea, and to take credit for someone else's work. Again!

Hypergeek Pick of the Week - The Zombies That Ate the World #1

This week's pick is The Zombies That Ate the World #1 by Guy Davis and Jerry Frissen.

I stumbled upon this gem of a comic completely by accident. I normally pick out the comics that I buy from Previews magazine months before they are released, and pre-order them all from my local comic shop. I did not notice this comic in Previews though, because nowadays my "crap-dar" is finely tuned to avoid pretty much anything with 'Zombie' in the title. Don't get me wrong, I love a good zombie story as much as the next guy, unless the 'next guy' is a flesh-eating zombie himself, in which case, I imagine he would like one slightly more than me. However, I think that the current zombie craze has passed its prime, it seems like every man and his dog is doing a zombie comic nowadays, and it feels like the demise of the 1970s/1980s zombie movie craze. Romero, Fulci, and others released some wonderfully gory classics, but there were so many terrible, terrible, low budget shlock-fests that the genre died an incredibly slow and painful death. The zombie craze was resurrected (pun VERY much intended) a couple of years ago, with movies like Shaun of the Dead, GAR's Land of the Dead and a few other decent attempts. But, it was the comic book medium that became the true home for great zombie stories, as they didn't have the budgetary restraints that could make or break a box office gore-fest.

There have been some wonderful zombie comics, like Robert Kirkman's Walking Dead (which is still one of my favourite titles every month), Raise the Dead, Marvel Zombies, and more. But there are so many titles out there now that the idea has become diluted, cheap, and disposable. Basically, you've got to try really damn hard if you want me to spend $3-4 dollars on your zombie book!

When I hit the store this weekend, The Zombies That ate the World was being promoted as the 'Manager's Pick of the Week'. A glance at the wonderfully illustrated cover let me know that this was something very special. Guy Davis was the artist on the title, so that just made it an instant buy for me. You may know Guy Davis from the countless B.P.R.D. and Hellboy related comics that he has worked on with Mike Mignola. He is a wonderful artist, and is my favourite B.P.R.D. artist (excluding Mignola of course).

So, what makes this zombie comic different from the thousands of other titles out there? The Zombies That Ate the World is set in a World where the dead have risen, and instead of bringing about the apocalypse, they are just being a royal pain in the ass! Zombies are not running around and consuming people's fleshy goodness, but instead are just being a general nuisance, hanging out of the streets like bums, going back the to houses they lived in before they died, retuning to their living families, etc. etc.

In the first chapter of the story we learn that the government has banned people from cremating their loved ones who have returned from the grave, as they are considered to have rights. They are not referred to as Zombies, but as the 'living-impaired'. We meet a family who's Grandfather has returned from the dead, and now just lounges around in their house, smelling bad, and getting in the way of their day-to-day life. They call in our protagonist, Karl Neard, to make him disappear, i.e. to perform an illegal, and secret cremation, because burial of the undead is not a permanent solution. Karl is a socially inept, acne riddled loser, who lives with his Mother, and dresses like Crocodile Dundee, and it seems that Karl and his sister run a black-market trade in Zombie handling and disposal.

In the Second story we meet Karl's sister Maggie, who is also socially dysfunctional, and has a killer over-bite. Karl and Maggie take on a job from an eccentric millionaire to unearth the remains of Franka Kozik, a deceased actress who appeared in many classic zombie movies. Why does he want these remains unearthed? Simple, he wants to add her to his menagerie of undead lovers that will do anything, and I mean ANYTHING, that he wants. Sort of redefines necrophilia really :)

I love the fact that zombies come back and the just become a nuisance to people, because let's face it, why would they need to eat people anyway? There are lots of wonderful little touches in the book, like that fact that all the Christians have gone nuts because they think it means that Christ is returning, and I mean literally, people think that Jesus is going to raise from the dead as a Zombie, and lead us to salvation. I also like the way that people aren't allowed to kill the 'life challenged' because the government has given them rights, and killing them is akin to murder. I also think that it is great that there is a black-market trade in zombified actresses and models. Because you know that is what would happen if the dead really came back to life!

The Zombies That Ate the World is a fantastically unique approach to the classic zombie tale. The book is part homage to the genre, part parody, and partially a bizarre touch-in-cheek sociopolitical commentary. the story was hilariously entertaining, and the artwork was top notch through-out. I'm incredibly glad that I stumbled across this comic, and I shall definitely be picking up the rest of the mini-series.

Wednesday, February 18, 2021

I got quoted in this week's "Lying in the Gutters"!

Hi guys! My friend Glen (Atomicker) just brought it to my attention that I was quoted in this week's issue of Lying in the Gutters (LITG). If you are a comic fan, you probably know this, but LITG is the most popular and longest running comics column on the internet. In its various forms, LITG has has covered rumours and gossip in the comics industry for fourteen years.

This Monday was Warren Ellis' birthday, and Rich Johnston, author of LITG, was asking people on Twitter what they would be doing to celebrate "Warren Ellis Day". I answered his question with a douchey, sarcastic answer, because that is pretty much what I default to :) Anyway, he went head and quoted me. Check it out:

If you don't know who Warren Ellis is, then you FAIL at life. Warren is a prolific, funny, sarcastic, and intense writer of fantastically good comics and novels. Head over to his site now and check out his blog, and go buy some of his stuff. You woun't regret it.

Friday, February 13, 2021

Book Review - The Tales of Alvin Maker, Book II: Red Prophet

I have realised that reviews on the blog have become less and less frequent recently. I used to do two or three comic book reviews a day, then I started doing daily reviews, then they just fell off the radar. It's pretty dumb really, because a quick look at the site stats shows that most of the hits I receive are for reviews that I have done. So, sorry about that! This is probably due to a combination of busyness, laziness, and procrastination. The trinity of bad blogging!

Anyway, less moaning, and more reviewing...

Today I am going to be reviewing The Tales of Alvin Maker, Book II: Red Prophet. This is only the second book review that I have done on Hypergeek, the first being Haunted Liverpool by John Reppion.

The Tales of Alvin Maker is a series that I have been meaning to read for a long time now. I first heard of the series in 1988 on Iron Maiden's seventh studio album, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. Several songs on the album were based upon the plot of the novel Seventh Son, by Orson Scott Card, and the rest of the songs on the album shared a similar folk law theme in common with the book.

It took me many years to get around to reading Seventh Son, and I finally read it last year, and I fell in love with the story almost instantly. The story is based on an alternative version of American history. What was historically Colonial America is divided into a number of separate countries, including a smaller United States, with much stronger American Indian influence in its culture and society, between New England and Virginia and extending westwards to Ohio (New England itself is still a colony of a republican England where the Restoration never occurred), and a monarchy on the Eastern seaboard founded by the House of Stuart in exile. In addition, many of the historical figures are either caricatures or bear only superficial resemblance to their real world equivalents. In this America, pagan beliefs and folk law tales are a reality. People uses hexes and wards to keep evil away, and some people develop "knacks", like the power to read and control minds, the ability to start fires from afar, the ability to see the future etc.

The series revolves around the life of a boy named Alvin Miller, who is born the seventh son of a seventh son. A unique combination of powerful arcane number which gives him incredible powers for creating and shaping things around him. In the first book, Seventh Son, we witness Alvin's birth, and watch him grow through his adolescent years, whilst coming to terms with the powers he has. We also learn that, as a maker, Alvin's greatest enemy is the "Unmaker", a creature beyond the concepts of good and evil, who wishes only to destroy all of creation. We also learn that whilst Alvin has command over Earth, Air, and Fire, the "Unmaker" is able to touch Alvin through Water, and Water is repeatedly a bane in his life. Alvin's pregnant mother was almost killed in a river flood on the night of his birth, water causes a beam to rot and fall on to him, and water tries to kill him many more ways throughout the book. In the first book we also meet some key players in the series, such as: the traveling bard, "Taleswapper", who helps Alvin realise his true potential, and importance to the world; Reverend Thrower, who is the town priest, and is manipulated by the "Unmaker" to think that God wants Alvin to die; and the shining man, who is an apparition seen by Alvin one night after he used his powers for ill, this encounter made Alvin vow that he would never again use his powers for himself. In the first book we also hear rumours of a town of "Reds" across the Wabash river, lead by a one eyed prophet. At the close of the first book, Alvin is sent away by his parents to learn to be a blacksmith's apprentice, in the town on the Hatrack River where he was born

With Red Prophet, Orson Scott Card takes a very unique approach, in that it isn't directly a sequel to Seventh Son. The story actually begins several years before the departure of Alvin from his hometown, and is centered around two "Red" brothers named Ta-Kumsaw, Lolla-Wossiky, based on real leaders of the Shawnee tribes in the 1800s. Ta-Kumsaw is a highly respected warrior who is determined to drive all of the white men from America, without exception. His brother however became severely scarred, as a young boy, after witnessing the murder of his father by Governor Bill Harrison. During this encounter he lost an eye, and also lost his connection to the "Green", or the land, which all true "Reds" have. At the beginning of the story he is a habitual drunk, forced to beg for liquor from Bill Harrison, the man who killed his father. After a confrontation between the Governor and Ta-Kumsaw, Lolla-Wossiky is forced to flee into the countryside, carrying only a barrel of liquor. His brother is disappointed with Lolla-Wossiky, but we soon discover that Lolla-Wossiky only drinks liquor because if he doesn't, black noise fills his brain and blurs his vision. This black noise is the same phenomenon that Alvin experiences in Seventh Son, when the "Unmaker" is close at hand. Lolla-Wossiky decides that he must go and find his dream beast, apparently all "Reds" must find their dream beast so that they can wake up from the sleep of ignorance, and really see the World. Lolla-Wossiky's search leads him North to the town of Vigor church, which is where the story crosses over with the story of Seventh Son. Lolla-Wossiky realises that he actually needs to act as the dream beast for a young "White" child, something unheard of, and the boy will also act as his. This leads to the scene in Seventh Son when Alvin encounters the "Shining Man". After this encounter Lolla-Wossiky realises his true purpose, and becomes the prophet, Tenskwa-Tawa, or, The Open Doorway. With his brother Ta-Kumsaw, he then begins gathering all the different tribes of "Reds" together to create the settlement of Prophet's Town. This is the point where the book really becomes a sequel, as we then follow Alvin after his departure from the town of Vigor church at the end of Seventh Son. Governor Bill Harrison, in a move to secure power in the region, and ignite hatred against Prophet's Town has paid some "Whiskey Reds" to kill and rape some white women and children and to pin the blame on the folks of Prophet's Town. As fate would have it, these "Whiskey Reds" encounter Alvin and his brother, Measure, on their journey out from Vigor Church. The boys are heavily beaten, and the names of Tenskwa-Tawa, and Ta-Kumsaw are carved into their horses' saddles, to be returned to the town people and incriminate Prophet's Town. Before they are killed though, the boys are rescued by Ta-Kumsaw and taken to Prophet's Town. Things then get very interesting as we see examples of Tenskwa-Tawa's prescient visions, and we find out that Alvin is half Red in spirit, and has a connection to the land that no other white has. The rest of the book is filled with lots of interesting semi-historical based politics, and a retelling of the actual historical event of the slaughter at Tippecanoe, and the War of 1812.

When I first started reading this series I found that it was a little hard to get into. Fantasy books are usually based in invented Worlds with completely fictional characters. The evil elements of the stories are usually played by sorcerers, Orcs, Trolls, gres etc. etc. This series is quite different though, as the books are set in the real American frontier and feature altered versions of real historical figures. Several actual historical events also occur within the plot, but they are slightly altered, in both setting and outcome. It takes a little getting used to, but once I got into it, I have to admit that I really enjoyed the originality of the story, and the way that the author plays around with history, folk law, and superstition. Orson Scott Card also replaces the magical system seen in so many fantasy novels with something much more folk law based. Instead of Wizards, Mages, Clerics etc. etc. we get entirely new creations, such as "torches", who can see the life forces of people, and under certain conditions, their myriad alternate futures; "Sparks", who can start fires from afar; "Makers" and many more. Historical figures appear in abundance, such as Alvin's friend, "Taleswapper", who is actually based on William Blake. Napoleon Bonaparte also plays a big part in the story, and has a "Knack" of his own, which makes Men trust every word that he says, and love and respect him.

If you haven't read any of this wonderful series, I would highly recommend you pick up the first book in the series and give it a go. I am planning to pick up volume 3 of the series, Prentice Alvin, very soon. The series is scheduled to finish this year with volume seven of the series to be titled Master Alvin.

This was a really magical story that captured my imagination, and surprised me with its amazingly fresh approach to the fantasy genre, and it's peculiar brand of originality. It definitely gets the Hypergeek seal of approval.

5 out of 5

Tuesday, February 10, 2021

J'onn J'onnz R.I.P. as Sketched by Michael Netzer

As part of his Facebook Comic Con idea, Michael Netzer has offered the first 1000 people that signed up, the opportunity to get a free sketch by him. I was the sixth person to make a request, and here is what I wrote, "Hi Michael, this is a wonderful idea. I would love a free sketch, please! How about a sketch of J'onn J'onzz, I really liked his old look, before DC made his head a weird shape, then of course killed him off :( R.I.P."

I picked J'onn J'onzz,the Manhunter from Mars because Michael is famed as being the man who gave J'onn his classic heavy brow look, and logo, which was reused repeatedly through the years, until DC tried a terrible revamp of the character in 2007. Michael was also heading a campaign to stop DC from killing J'onn, and wrote an open plea to DC to stop them from killing him.

Anyway, Michael took my request, and drew this absolutely stunning image:

J'onn J'onnz R.I.P.

This was greater than I even hoped for, and I will be printing this out, framing it, and hanging it on my wall. I have always loved J'onn J'onzz, and I think that DC just screwed him in recent years, with bad revamps, and terrible storylines. I would love to see him come back in a good Vertigo series, where he could be rebuilt from the ground up. In fact, I would love to write that. Ahhh, if only...

Coraline hits #3 at the US & Canada Box Office

I meant to blog about this yesterday, but I managed to fall asleep on the couch after dinner. I got a flat tire on the way home, and had to walk 5 miles back after work, so I was pretty much zonked. Well, it was either because of that, or that fact that I am getting old... sigh...

I did a review of Coraline last week on the blog, where I sang its praises, as being one of the best movies I had seen in years. Being a cynical bastard, and knowing that Paul Blart: Mall Cop had just topped the box office, I assumed the general movie-going public would flock to crap like Pink Panther 2, and overlook this Gem of a film. I was pleasantly surprised to see the following Box Office results this week:

Rank Title Weekend Gross
1 He's Just Not That Into You (2009) $27.8M $27.8M
2 Taken (2008/I) $20.5M $53.6M
3 Coraline (2009) $16.8M $16.8M
4 The Pink Panther 2 (2009) $11.6M $11.6M

That's a pretty good result really, beating Pink Panther 2 by over $5M. Unsurprisingly "He's Just Not That Into You" topped the box office. It seems that romantic comedies are just golden at the moment, so throw in a handful of big Hollywood names, and you can't lose.

Well done to Henry Selick, Neil Gaiman and co. for doing so well. Hopefully this will do well internationally as well.

Monday, February 9, 2021

Gottacon 2009

Hi folks, last weekend was one of the biggest comic book events of the year, New York Comic Con. Was Hypergeek there? No! You faithful readers must have forgotten to send in your donations so that I could afford the flight down. Shame on you! You know who you are!

Oh well, this was fine for me, because last weekend was also the weekend of Gottacon 2009, Victoria B.C.s first ever 24hr a day gaming event. Gottacon was held at the Pearkes recreation centre and doors opened at 19:00 on Friday the 6th, and didn't close till 19:00 on Sunday the 8th. That is some hard core gaming right there!

I was an avid gamer when I was younger, and was into lots of D&D, computer gaming, miniatures, and a bit of Warhammer. I've been thinking about getting back in to a little bit of role playing and stuff, so I thought the event might be worth checking out, see if there were any good local groups there.

For a long time, I have been chatting online with comic book writer, editor, blogger, and all round cool guy Steve Sauders. Steve, it turns out, actually lives in the same town as me, but we have never met in real life, odd I know! Steve is an avid gamer himself, and was also heading to Gottacon, so we arranged to meet up in the flesh for the first time ever, and check out the Con.

Being the fist Gottacon event, the scale was pretty small, 20000 sq ft, but there was quite a bit of gaming going on. There were lots of events being run, such as various boardgames, Magic the Gathering, D&D, Call of Cthulhu, Star Wars minis, D&D minis, Warhammer, Historical gaming, and more. There were also people in attendance who were demonstrating their own role playing systems, such as Elemental Axes, a group that were doing war gaming with Lego figures (which looked like great fun), local gaming stores, and there was a massive area dedicated to playing Team Fortress.

A friend of Steve's was running some games for the local store, Interactivity games, so we got in on a couple of his tables. First off we played the excellent WWII game, Tide of Iron. Which was great fun, and lasted for a good five hours, at the end of which, my American forces emerged victorious, and I won a free copy of the card game, Guillotine! The next game we played was a strange German trucking game called Auf Acshe, which consisted of carrying cargo around Central Europe in order to accumulate cash, and win the game. It was a weird concept, the rules were written in German, and at 2 a.m. I wasn't entirely sure that it wasn't a Red Bull induced hallucination!

We left at about 3 a.m. on Sunday morning, and returned the same day at 3 p.m. The second day I did a little bit of FPS playing, which just pissed me off, because I know my iMac will never play those games :( Lots of stuff seemed to be wrapping up at this time, because a lot of these people had been there since 7 p.m. on Friday night, and were packing up to go to bed. I got to observe a few other tournaments though, and Steve and I got in on a fun Western Miniatures game, which I won!

Gottacon 2009, whilst still being quite small scale, was remarkable well organized for an new Convention. The scheduling was run well, and the entry fee was pretty reasonable. I applaud them for being able to run something like this for 48 hours straight, that takes a lot of hard work and dedication. If you are an avid gamer, and live locally, or are willing to travel, I would recommend checking this even out next year. If next year is anything like this year, or better, you will be in for a damned good time.

Also, I am happy to report that Steve Saunders is a top bloke, and is not an Axe Murderer! When you meet up with someone that you have only talked to on the internet, you always run that risk :) However, all my limbs are still intact, and none of my body parts are stored in his freezer! In fact, Steve and I are thinking of heading down to Emerald City Comic Con in April, which would be awesome! I have never been to the states before, even though I can actually see the US from where I live on Vancouver Island. So, if anyone else is heading down, drop me a line, and maybe we can meet up. No axe murderers need apply!

Wednesday, February 4, 2022

Movie Review: Coraline

I just got back from watching a Premiere of Coraline, at Silvercity Cinemas, up here in Victoria B.C. Luckily for me, our theater was one of the select theaters in which the movie was presented in RealD 3D. A new-ish version of making 3D movies, which doesn't require the garish 3D blue and red glasses I remember from my youth. It seems the technique has been around a while now, but, well... I don't get out much :)

Nowadays, I tend approach movie adaptations of books and comics with quite a bit of trepidation. I have been burned many times by seeing books that I adore get ripped to shreds on the big screen (see: anything by Alan Moore). So, I was absolutely delighted that this movie stayed as close to the plot of the book as humanly possible. Of course, there are some added bits and pieces here and there, just to give it more visual appeal, but they fit perfectly with the spirit of the original.

I shall try to keep my review as Spoiler free as possible, for those of you who have not read the original book.

The film is about a young girl, Coraline (Dakota Fanning), who unlocks a mysterious door in her new home and enters into a parallel reality, a fantastical and thrilling imitation of her own dull life. In this world, Coraline finds new versions of her real mother (Teri Hatcher) and father (John Hodgman), her off-kilter neighbors Miss Forcible (Dawn French), Miss Spink (Jennifer Saunders) and Mr. Bobinsky (Ian MacShane). However, this other world soon begins to unravel and Coraline, along with her real parents, become prisoners to her Other Mother and must count on her resourcefulness, determination, and bravery to get back home.

The animation on this movie was absolutely amazing, some of the best that I have ever seen. Henry Selick and co. bring Coraline to life with a seamless blend of stop motion animation and digital wizardry, that looks like nothing you have ever seen before. The final effect is something akin to The Nightmare Before Christmas, but just vastly improved upon.

All of the voice actors involved in the movie were brilliant. Dakota Fanning is perfect as Coraline, Terri Hatcher is wonderful as Mother/Other Mother, and John Hodgeman was a truly inspired choice for the voice of Father. The film also features cameos from Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, and Ian McShane; all of whom do wonderful jobs bringing these quirky characters to life.

There are some wonderful musical pieces in the movie, that have beautiful mind-blowing animation. One that comes to mind is when Coraline goes to visit the "other world" version of her upstairs neighbour, Mr. Bobinski. She is treated to a show by him and his performing mice that just has to be seen to be believed. There is another great musical scene where Coraline's "other world" downstairs neighbours put on a show for her, in front of a packed theater of overwhelmingly cute Scottie dogs.

The film also has some deliciously dark scenes in it too, involving the incredibly creepy "Other Mother", who wants nothing more than to keep Coraline living in her nightmare world for ever, and ever.
She wants to pluck out Coraline's eyes and sew buttons in their place, like she has done to several other abducted children in the past. When her true form is revealed, she is seen to be a nightmarish spider-like creature that makes your spine tingle.

Coraline is at times incredibly cute, wonderfully magical, and nightmarishly dark. It is a great film for all ages. It is very appropriate for younger audiences, but that doesn't mean that adults wont enjoy it, as there is plenty to keep everyone interested. I recommend this movie wholeheartedly, it was absolutely wonderful, one of the best movies that I have seen for ages! Go out and see it as soon as it is released in your area, if you don't, you'll regret it... Mwahahahha

Oh yes, I forgot to mention the 3D effects. The movie will not be available in RealD 3D everywhere, so check your local cinema for details. Neil Gaiman recently told fans that it is only going to be available in 3D for three weeks, so you better see it soon! The 3D was quite dazzling, it has really evolved a lot since I last saw a 3D movie, in 1985. I found that it was really tastefully done too i.e. things just happened to be 3D, and there weren't many scenes were something jumps through the screen etc, just to get that effect. I expect this is partially because it is also viewable in 2D, so any effect design specifically for 3D would look pretty silly without the technology. The 3D was quite immersive though, and after a while you just seem to forget that things are floating around in front of your face. This is a good thing, because it doesn't detract from the actual movie. It just acts like the icing on the cake :-D

Tuesday, February 3, 2022

Final Crisis, the Final Verdict!

I have been rather busy lately, and subsequently I am quite behind on my reading list. Actually, I am about a month or so behind. The comics are piling up and I am worried that they could soon fall and injure me!

When Final Crisis was first announced I said to my comic store, "Just sign me up for everything, all the tie-ins etc. I trust Morrison, Rucka, et al, so just dump it all in my file each week." So last night I fished around in my piles of comics and found that I had the following Final Crisis issues left to read:

Final Crisis: Secret Files
Final Crisis: Revelations #5
Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #2
Final Crisis #5
Final Crisis #6

Quite a few issue right? Well, I just went and read the whole pile of them in one sitting. Knowing how confusing Final Crisis had been so far, I knew full well that I was putting my sanity at serious risk, but that is the kind of risk I take here at Hypergeek. I read the bad comics, so you don't have to.

Lets start out with FC: Secret Files. I have to say that this is actually the best of all the FC one-shots that I read. The story was essentially a re-telling of the origin of Libra, by Len Wein, who created the character many years ago. It also tells us what happened after Libra's conscience absorbed into the Universe, how he hooked up with Darkseid, and just what the heck he is doing making another lame-ass Injustice Society at the start of FC. It wasn't the World's greatest story, but at least it made sense, unlike the rest of FC! We could really have done with this issue as a prelude to FC, it might have made some stuff less confusing. Also included in the back of the book is a page from the crime bible that ties Cain to the New Gods, a short prose piece by Morrison about what anti-life is, and some sketches.

Next I read Superman Beyond. This two part mini series was just a complete and utter mess. We have no real explanation why the female monitor takes Superman to this abyss place, or why there is a war going on. Cheesy variations of superheroes from across the Multiverse just randomly show up and punch each other. Superman needs some of the Bleed to Cure Louis, for some mad reason, so Captain Adam and Captain Marvel send him to the (sic) Overvoid, which is where the Monitors live. Then Superman becomes some sort of robot, and has to fight some evil Vampire Monitor, who is feeding on the essence of the multiverse. Then, after Superman wins, he heals Louis in a cheesy kiss scene, and Ultraman gets turned into a vampire FOR NO REASON AT ALL!!!!! How does being a vampire make Ultraman stronger? He was already evil, so what is the damn point? ARRRGRH!

Final Crisis Revelation(s) wasn't too bad of a comic. It wasn't great though. I would have much preferred it if Greg Rucka was able to do a straight-up continuation to his Question/Crime Bible storyline from 52, and his Question mini-series. Instead we have abundant referencing of anti-life, Libra, Darkseid etc. etc. It really overshadows the actual plot of the comic. Much like Geoff Johns' Rogues miniseries and Legion of Three Worlds, the story is pretty much murdered by the Final Crisis banner. Other than that though, there were a few dodgy things in the story, such as Vandal Savage being revealed to be Cain, son of Adam and Eve, and the religious aspect of the story is just turned up to 11, which I found a little bit obnoxious. At the end of the day though, Rene seems to find peace, Crispus Allen gets his son back, and the Spectre is freed up to participate in the Crisis....

.... except that he isn't. We had five issues that were essentially about freeing the spectre up, because he is a Universal power great enough to combat Darkseid and all the other challenges facing the DCU, then in FC#7, the Spectre is only seen in one tiny panel, where he and the Radiant are seen slain at the feet of Vampire monitor man. What a waste of time!

Oh well, on the the main event. Final Crisis had a pretty rocky start. It emerged from the ashes of the all-round shit-fest that was Countdown and for a book that wasn't supposed to have tie-ins, it sure had a lot of tie-ins! There were loads of books with Sightings banners, or Darkside Club banners, all of which didn't actually seem to have a damn thing to do with the main comic. The first four issues of the title seemed a little shaky, especially between two and three, where the story jumped forward a whole month. I understand what Grant was trying to do here, but it was executed terribly! The first two issues were just full of people being confused, kicking around theories, and generally being useless, then BAM! The world was enslaved to Anti-life. This was particularly odd because Darkseid wasn't actually reborn until issue four!

Still, having read many Grant Morrison comics before, I know that he can sometimes get a little oddball, so I assumed this was all building to something good... I was wrong. The last two issues are just an incoherent mess. There are loads of pages devoted to battles between superheroes that no-one gives a damn about such as Supergirl and Gothic Mary Marvel (REALLY? I MEAN, REALLY???????), and we see lots of wasted pages at the Checkmate castle that seem to lead to nothing. Checkmate act like useless idiots, the Super-Young Team show up and mostly get killed. There was so much emphasis placed on them early on in the title, that I thought they were going to actually play a major part, but even though it is implied that they are the Forever People reborn, they and Mister Miracle (Shilo Norman) just act as panel-wasting cannon fodder. We are also treated to some really nonsensical bullshit at checkmate HQ, as Rene Montoya turns up to find that Brother Eye is back again, and is now called Lord Eye, and he is cloning copies of her to police new worlds in the Multiverse. This particular plotline is just brushed over and forgotten though, because later Rene is sent around the Universe to collect the many different cliched variations of Superman, to help in the Final battle.

Then, the real kick in the teeth... Batman turns up out of nowhere, no explanation of why he left Gotham after RIP, no idea of what the time frame is here. He has Darkseid's gun, and despite 70 years worth of Batman not using a gun, he shoots Darkseid with some sort of bullshit God poison bullet. Darkseid still manages to kill Bats in the most pointless death ever, as his dumb eye beams blow up Batman's brain. Forget that though, he have random actions scenes to draw!!!! Now Superman, fresh from the overvoid, or the 30th century, or bingo club, or fuck knows where, turns up and gives Darkseid a kicking. Blah, blah, blah.

Earlier on in the comic we saw Barry Allen and Wally West racing the Black Rider to get to the middle of the "personal singularity" that Darkseid inhabits. They then try to catch the bullet that Darkseid fired back thorough time at Orion, which causes Superman to say that Darkseid committed suicide.

If this wasn't already confusing, Aquaman is shown to have returned. No explanation! No reason! Roll with it! Lex Luthor then starts helping Superman, and Frankenstein from the Seven Soldiers mini is thrown in for luck. Superman then stores everyone's essences in a wish machine that Braniac made, and the Universe dies. I guess because Darkseid is dead, but to be honest, I don't really care. Vampire monitor show up. Many Supermen show up. CAPTAIN CARROT SHOWS UP. Fight. Green Lanterns put spike through Vampire's heart (WEAK!), Monitors realise they are lame, repent, Superman wishes the word back to life.

Sorry, I can't even be bothered to construct full sentences. This comic was THAT bad!

This whole series turned out to be a complete and utter waste of time. It felt like a bunch of random scenes glued together by the thinnest layer of plot possible. This is what it would be like if someone let Uwe Boll write comics. If I had to select one line to summarize just how crappy this comic was, it would have to be Nix Uotan's line when the Vampire Monitor and Vampire Ultraman were defeated, "Don't fuck with the judge of all evil!". Wow! Just wow!

Do you think I could ask DC for a full refund? I have calculated that if I got a refund for all my FC titles (including Countdown) I would get back $300 Canadian!

I feel dirty. I am going to shower in bleach now.....

Radical publishing named diamond's "best new publisher" for 2008

I just saw this news over on Steve Niles' Facebook page. I'm pretty pleased with it because Radical have some bloody good series. I loved City of Dust, and what I have seen of Shrapnel, and Hotwire looks like it is going to be pretty damn fun. They are definitely one of my favourite new publishers

Official Press Release

Radical Publishing is proud to announce that they have been awarded New Comic Book Publisher of the Year for 2008 by Diamond Comics Distribution, the major comic book distributor in North America. Voted on by the comic book store retailers, based on overall impact on the industry, sales performance, quality and creativity, the Gem Awards represent Diamond's annual recognition of outstanding suppliers in the comic book specialty market.

“To say that I am extremely proud of this award is an understatement,” said Radical’s President and Publisher Barry Levine. “It validates all the hard work and long hours that everyone involved with the company has put in for both launching and running Radical.”

The 19th annual awards recognized Radical for its publications of Hercules: The Thracian Wars and Caliber: First Canon of Justice, the company’s two flagship titles that debuted in May to sellout performances; along with the follow-up titles Freedom Formula: Ghost of the Wasteland and City of Dust: A Philip Khrome Story, both of which garnered rave reviews, and the deluxe hardcover publication Mateki: The Magic Flute, from international storytelling sensation Yoshitaka Amano.Both Hercules: The Thracian Wars and Caliber: First Canon of Justice have already been collected into hardcover omnibus editions; a City of Dust: A Philip Khrome Story collected edition, from celebrated horror writer Steve Niles (30 Days of Night), has already been scheduled, as has a sequel to the hit Hercules series, once again from veteran scribe Steve Moore and art contributions by comics legend Jim Steranko. All of Radical’s titles have featured painted artwork on deluxe, glossy paper, with some of the highest production values in the industry. Many of Radical’s titles have already garnered the interest of Hollywood, with noted directors and producers such as John Woo, Peter Berg, and Bryan Singer attached.

“I started Radical Publishing with the commitment to releasing only the best books in terms of both story and illustration,” Levine said. “Given that we were only in business for eight months for 2008 with just five titles, we definitely achieved that, and will continue to do so for this year and beyond. I want to thank all the retailers not only for their votes, but also for their overall support for this relatively new company. I would also like to thank the press for their write-ups for all of our books and to the comic fans who purchase and read them.”

Current series from Radical include Shrapnel: Aristeia Rising, a space opera that has received uniformly stellar reviews in both the industry and mainstream press, as well as Hotwire: Requiem for the Dead, from fan-favorite creators Steve Pugh and Warren Ellis, which the Philadelphia Daily News just hailed as “lightning in a bottle” and received its “highest possible recommendation.”Upcoming titles include Aladdin: Legacy of the Lost, a dark and epic retelling of the famous fable with art by Radical’s exclusive artist Patrick Reilly and story by Ian Edginton; FVZA: Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency, being written by David Hine; and The Last Days of American Crime created and written by Rick Remender.

About Radical Publishing

Radical Publishing is founded by BARRY LEVINE (Producer for HERCULES, CALIBER, FREEDOM FORMULA and Executive Producer for the in-development REX MUNDI movie from Warner Bros., written by JIM UHLS and starring JOHNNY DEPP); his protege JESSE BERGER (Executive Producer for HERCULES, CALIBER and FREEDOM FORMULA); and longtime writer/publisher DAVID ELLIOTT (Atomeka Press and Tundra Publishing).


Radical Publishing currently has production deals with Universal Studios, Spyglass Entertainment, PETER BERG's Film 44 and Radical Pictures for HERCULES; JOHN WOO's Lion Rock Productions, JOHNNY DEPP's Infinitum Nihil and Radical Pictures for CALIBER; and BRYAN SINGER's Bad Hat Harry Productions and Radical Pictures for FREEDOM FORMULA.

Monday, February 2, 2022

Press Release: Nightmera Comics imprint from Chimera Comics

This morning I was sent over a press release for Chimera Comics' new horror imprint, Nightmera!

It looks pretty cool, so I thought I would upload it to the site so other people could have a look. Enjoy!

For Immediate Gruesome Release...

Washington D.C. February 1st, 2009... CHIMAERA COMICS is proud to announce its newest Imprint Horror Line-- NIGHTMAERA!

"We’re incredibly jazzed about the new horror lineup we are about to unleash! There’s a lot of creepy, shocking and fear-inspiring tales about to be told by our talented NIGHTMAERA creators. Keep both eyes peeled as newly appointed Editor In Chief of the imprint, Stephen Lindsay (Jesus Hates Zombies, The Secret Cross, Ham & Eggs) and Chimaera Comics PR Director Steven Saunders (The Secret Cross) expand upon this newly launched enterprise," says George T. Singley (President/Publisher Chimaera Comics).

“We’re looking at a really impressive line-up of both established and up-and-coming creators who are bringing out a wide-range of books. The horror genre is really being explored in a number of different ways. And by horror, we’re not simply going for gore-filled books with no substance. We’re testing the genre and mashing it together with other genres to really bring out all of the great things that horror allows us to do. It’s taking us in a direction that I don’t think Chimaera has really gone yet, which expands upon the vast array of fantastic books we already have,” says Stephen Lindsay.

“It's difficult to describe just how enthused I am about this whole new Nightmaera development,” Steven Saunders adds, “I mean, the realm of Horror is an ever expanding landscape of ideas and creations driven by and filled with new directions and ideas constantly— unrelentingly, really. Add to this the expanded options available we can offer these extraordinary things in, like iTunes and Amazon's Kindle Book Reader-- two places Chimaera have already successfully delved into-- as well as storming the Internet and your favorite local comic shop, we hope to provide horror fans the world over with some down right terrifyingly excellent entertainment. Plus, it’s simply awesome.”

Look for the following Horror titles coming soon from Nightmaera Comics!: - Happy Panda Funtime Show (Stephen Lindsay, Daniel Thollin) - Robo Death (Stefano Cardoselli, Marco Della Verde, Bill Key) - Stillborn (Rolf Lejdgård) - A Violent End (Vinton T. Heuck, Eric Canete, Armando Gill) - The Secret Cross (Steven Saunders, Stephen Lindsay, Dominic Vivona) - Plan C (Michael D. Murphy, George T. Singley, Daniel Thollin) - Abraham’s Hell (Daniel Thollin) For more information about CHIMAERA COMICS and NIGHTMAERA COMICS please visit us at

Also, check out this 5 page preview of Happy Panda:

The press release also included some cover images for select titles: