Posts Tagged ‘comics’

The Sky is Falling!

Posted on December 4, 2008 by

Last week a comic book character died.

Every time the opportunity presented itself, I would say to whomever I was hanging out with, “So do you wanna know what happened in comics this week?” Every time, my friend would laugh, shrug and politely allow me to continue.

The Invisible Woman died.”

“What? Are you serious?” Genuine surprise, possibly even a bit of concern as is unavoidable when speaking of even a fictional death, would roll across each face.

For some reason, the big comic companies have decided to start killing their heroes. It’s certainly not the first time this has happened. Heroes have been dying since forever, but the concentration over the past year is, if nothing else, surprising.

Last September, Captain America died. Now the Invisible Woman.

Last week was also the end of a Batman story entitled R.I.P. Batman in which the Caped Crusader bites the big one. No one (well, by now I’m sure fans have picked up the book, Batman #681) knows whether Bruce Wayne is actually taking up residence in a coffin, or if it’s just “The Batman” who is dying, but one thing that’s for sure is that it’s leading a storyline in the new year: Battle For the Cowl. It’s a story where other characters from the Batman universe, including Nightwing, Robin, and presumably others, will battle it out to take up the mantle of the Dark Knight. More… »

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BEST FRIDAYS: with Faith Erin Hicks

Posted on November 28, 2008 by

What’s Worst Mondays without a dark and villainous foil? That’s the kind of thinking that forced us to create Best Fridays. So for all our weekend warrior brethren: Wooooo, T-G-I-F, right? Herein we hope to bookend your awful week by quizzing our previous Worst Mondays candidate about slightly more encouraging things. Every Friday!

When we were looking for an image to toss on this little guy, we found this. If you need further proof that Hicks’ Zombies Calling is awesome, the proof is in the pudding/baked goods. Oh boy that was brutal. Enjoy!

Best injury
I was bitten by a dog as a child. Six stitches across my upper lip. I was very proud of those stitches, and was sad to see them go.

Best historical figure
Laika, the dog shot into space. When I was a kid I had a picture book about her that I really enjoyed. And then I grew up and learned that her alleged happy fun time in space was a complete lie and she’d died during takeoff. It was a harsh lesson. Poor doggy.

Best shirt
I like anything that can double as weaponry for fighting the living undead.

Best thing to do with $20
Spend it on sushi. Or a graphic novel. Both.

Best party trick
I think anyone who can do flips in a small space is automatically awesome. I’m generally impressed by feats of physical prowess. All I can do is look awkward and hold people’s coats.

Best monster
I’m a big fan of John Carpenter’s The Thing, and I love that disgusting, gooey alien monster. Especially at the end of the movie when Kurt Russell faces it down one final time, throws dynamite at it and yells “Oh, fuck you!” I don’t know why but I love that scene. [Ed.’s note: You love it because it’s OBVIOUSLY INSANELY AWESOME! Man let’s go watch The Thing]

Worst Mondays/Best Fridays | | 1 Comment »

WORST MONDAYS: with Faith Erin Hicks

Posted on November 24, 2008 by

At JUICEBOX HQ, we’ve never really had a case of the Mondays because we don’t have real-people jobs. But for those feeling a bit garfield this A.M., feel free to wallow in other people’s most hated things. Every Monday!

Faith Erin Hicks is a self-made woman in the world of comics. Her first published comic, Zombies Calling, is a story about surviving a zombie attack by following the rules of Zombie films (“Rule 1: Don’t leave the mall”). It was released last date to much acclaim (she was named Favourite Canadian Comic Book Creator at the Joe Shuster Awards), but truth is that it’s not her first comic.

Demonology 101, a five volume, 700+ page story that she wrote and drew (for free!) and still has posted on her website. What’s particularly impressive about D101 is that she purposely used this comic as her personal training ground. You can see a clear progression in style that gives a unique perspective on a comic creator’s formative years.

Her new comic, The War At Ellesmere is due out December 3rd. And just like Faith’s Worst Mondays answers, it promises to be great.

Worst day-job
When I was in university, I was a receptionist at a veterinary hospital, something that doesn’t sound that terrible, but boy, my co-workers sure made up for it. The vet that I was working for can only be described as the anti-christ, and would have screaming fits at me daily. He’d then be rude to the customers who came in to have Fluffy fixed, so they’d call up and scream at me because they were upset. I lasted a month. I’m a shy person, and getting berated on a regular basis was not worth the $6.85 an hour.

Worst haircut
I used to hack at my own hair with a pair of dull scissors, for who knows what reason. It was pretty terrible. Also, when I was really little I had the Susie Derkins bowl haircut.

Worst subculture
I have no idea. I can’t say I’ve ever thought about that. Are popped collars a subculture? Because I’m generally against those.

Worst date
Once I was taken to a car show, but the entire point of it was to see who had the loudest stereo. So not only was I bored out of my skull, but I had a horrible ringing in my ears for days later. I didn’t go out on a second date with the guy, so let that be a lesson to all car stereo aficionados: wait a while before introducing that world to a girl you like.

Worst invention
Plastic.

Worst purchase
Brand name clothing. I’ve never seen the point in paying insane markup for a label. Unless it does the dishes or cures cancer or something.

Worst way to die
Eaten alive by the Abominable Snowman. I don’t know why I have such a fear of it. Seems like an exclusively Canadian fear.

Worst Mondays/Best Fridays | | 2 Comments »

What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown?

Posted on November 20, 2008 by

Via the Huffington Post:

P.s. It’s no secret that I love me some Peanuts. Do you know how many relevant Charlie Brown TV special titles there are for this post other than the one above? No? I will tell you:

Sigh. Charlie Brown. So prolific.

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Captain America: Period Piece?

Posted on November 19, 2008 by

Big news… if you’re me.

Remember Iron Man? Remember that bit after the credits that made nerds lose their minds / blow their loads? Well lately, there’s been a bunch of buzz about the next few years of movies based off of Marvel characters. Highlights:

  • Kenneth Branagh (!) has been slated to direct the Thor movie. No actor has been tapped to play Thor yet.
  • Robert Downey Jr will reprise his role as Tony Stark/Iron Man not only for Iron Man 2 & 3, but also for the Avengers movie.
  • There will be an Avengers movie!
  • Terrance Howard who played Rhodey in the super successful Iron Man movie, will not be back for 2 & 3. Instead, this character will be played by Don Cheadle.
  • And, of course, there will be a Captain America.

It’s obvious that all these movies are being put into motion with the idea of having an all-star line-up for The Avengers movie (the order will be Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America and The Avengers).

Here’s the exciting part.

The Captain America movie, titled First Avenger: Captain America, will be a World War II epic, telling the story of scrawny Steve Rogers and his transformation into Captain America. I’m not a big Captain America fan, but I’ve been quietly hoping that those movie people would take advantage of all the hype orbiting around Marvel’s properties and do something TOTALLY AWESOME. I’m being 100% serious here. No sarcasm. Just nerd-love.

I’m not going to go wasting my birthday wishes on this. Already, I’m being forced to be cautiously optimistic. Joe Johnson has been tapped to direct the film. Who? According to the IMDb, he directed The Rocketeer, Jumanji and did the special effects for Star Wars IV, V and VI, among other stuff. All cool movies, no doubt, but I just worry about putting this man at the helm of CAPTAIN AMERICA.

Of course, we all know how the movie will end (unless you don’t know about Captain America’s origins!) and I can’t get over how much potential there is to make a really good movie in a way that really can’t be done anywhere else. I can’t think of an example of a period piece genre film with a legacy as important and longstanding as Captain America. I mean, yeah, he’s a comic book character who throws a (fucking awesome) shield at Nazis and super villains, that might sound ridiculous, but it’s Captain America. No suspension of disbelief required. Its already been ingrained into your subconscious since he first appeared in March of 1941.

Anyway. Stay tuned for more comics related news at JUICEBOXdotcom, a comics and other stuff website.

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BEST FRIDAYS: with Jeph Jacques

Posted on November 14, 2008 by

What’s Worst Mondays without a dark and villainous foil? That’s the kind of thinking that forced us to create Best Fridays. So for all our weekend warrior brethren: Wooooo, T-G-I-F, right? Herein we hope to bookend your awful week by quizzing our previous Worst Mondays candidate about slightly more encouraging things. Every Friday!

Yes, it’s Friday. Which means it’s time to hear about some of internet award winning comic strip writer/artist/wonderguy Jeph Jacques’ Bests.

Best injury
I was opening a pocketknife when it slipped out of my hand and I instinctively tried to catch it before it hit the ground. The blade went through the webbing between the ring and middle fingers of my left hand and severed an artery. Blood EVERYWHERE. I ended up getting stitches and drew a comic that night with my hand all bandaged up (I’m left handed). I felt like a badass. An idiotic badass.

Best historical figure
Einstein.

Best shirt
My grey Hum tshirt from their 1997 tour. I can’t actually wear it anymore because it’s too beaten up but it has a little shrine in the bottom of my dresser.

Best thing to do with $20
You can probably buy a couple books with 20 dollars. Or a bunch of comics.

Best party trick
I’m really good at drinking too much and regretting it the next day. G-good times?

Best monster
The Blob.

Best question ever asked of you in an interview. Now answer it:
Too much pressure to come up with something clever aaaaugh sdjektllsckrnnwjxjfk//////

Worst Mondays/Best Fridays | | 3 Comments »

WORST MONDAYS: with Jeph Jacques

Posted on November 10, 2008 by

At JUICEBOX HQ, we’ve never really had a case of the Mondays because we don’t have real-people jobs. But for those feeling a bit garfield this A.M., feel free to wallow in other people’s most hated things. Every Monday!

The internet is a beautiful place, isn’t it? As if animals riding other animals weren’t enough, there’s this great comic strip you may have heard of called Questionable Content. Haven’t heard of it? Shame on you. Basically, it’s about romance, indie rock, and the occasional robot. If you haven’t read them, you really should. I read it, like, everyday.

Jeph Jacques is the mastermind (aka writer/artist) behind this strip, which began on August 1, 2003. Originally published 2 days a week, Jacques eventually quit his job (!) and began publishing 5 days a week. A member of the Dayfree Press, an independent webcomic collective (along with previous best/worster Ryan North), Jacques is one of those successful few who has made a business out of his art, openly commenting on how the comic strip is his only job. Lucky guy! More importantly, lucky us for having free access to the QC archive of over 1200 full colour strips! Enough waiting:

Worst day-job
My last real job involved sitting behind a desk and answering phones for a local alternative newspaper all day. The pay was shit, it was monotonous as hell, and somehow I managed to make it two years before getting fired. That was the really scary, awful part – those two years went by so fast, I can totally see how people end up working jobs they hate for their entire lives. You just get up in the morning, try not to flip out and kill everyone all day, then go home and go to bed. Repeat 20000 times. Eeeeeeek.

Worst haircut
I routinely give myself homemade Mohawks. Worst haircut… OR BEST HAIRCUT???

Worst subculture
Juggalos. I know I am not being very original here but come on.

Worst date
Back in high school I was supposed to go see the remastered Star Wars with this girl I was really into. Only the theater was in DC and I was a stupid kid from the Maryland suburbs so I got completely lost trying to find the theater and meet up with her. I ended up finding the theater just in time to catch the end of the movie, but I never did manage to meet up with the girl. She dumped me a week later. Then we started a band together. Awkward?

Worst invention
Cassette tapes.

Worst purchase
My iPhone, because now I CANNOT FUNCTION WITHOUT IT.

Worst way to die
Hyenas. They basically start eating you before you even lose consciousness.

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BEST FRIDAYS: with Ryan North

Posted on October 31, 2008 by

What’s Worst Mondays without a dark and villainous foil? That’s the kind of thinking that forced us to create Best Fridays. So for all our weekend warrior brethren: Wooooo, T-G-I-F, right? Herein we hope to bookend your awful week by quizzing our previous Worst Mondays candidate about slightly more encouraging things. Every Friday!

Ryan North, yep, still awesome nearly a week later. Just check out the image below lifted from his Wikipedia entry (“My brother Victor took this picture of me. I am being pulled in a canoe behind a motorboat. It was pretty extreme.”)

Best injury
I leaped from a fence to a vertical pole, caught it just long enough to swing 90 degrees, and then fell straight down about 4 meters onto a sidewalk. I fractured my elbow but, man, you should have seen the other guy. There were radial cracks in the sidewalk beginning at where my elbow hit and spreading out for meters, and car alarms were going off down the block.

Best historical figure
Gandhi and James T Kirk are tied in a dead heat.

Best shirt
I made myself five shirts in different colours that just say “WHAT” on them, no punctuation, just like that. They are my favourite shirts but I forget I’m wearing them and then I ask someone for directions and they say “WHAT” in a really loud voice and I get confused and uncomfortable. This has happened SO MANY TIMES.

Best thing to do with $20
2,000 gummy bears. When I was a kid I explained to my younger brother how much money was worth by how many gummy bears it would buy. I’m not sure how that worked because I kept the penny/gummy bear conversion ratio solid at 1:1, so it was really a way of making money more delicious and, eventually, perishable.

Best party trick
Asking people what the worst thing they’ve ever done is and then remembering it forever.

Best monster

Whoever James Bond has to fight in the movies because then it means James Bond will be there soon!

Best question ever asked of you in an interview. Now answer it:
Well, it’s a little personal, but – three, I think. With more on Sundays?

Worst Mondays/Best Fridays | | 4 Comments »

WORST MONDAYS: with Ryan North

Posted on October 27, 2008 by

At JUICEBOX HQ, we’ve never really had a case of the Mondays because we don’t have real-people jobs. But for those feeling a bit garfield this A.M., feel free to wallow in other people’s most hated things. Every Monday!

Who is Ryan North? First, he is the mastermind behind the hugely popular Dinosaur Comics. Published online, as well as in various free not-for-profit newspapers/campus newspapers, it’s about talking dinosaurs, and specifically a talking T-rex.

As if that weren’t enough, make sure you pay close attention to the art in every comic. Yes, I know. Brilliant! Second, he is a solid dude who lives in the solid city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Third, talking Dinosaurs!!

I think the question you should be asking is Who isn’t Ryan North?

Worst day-job
The closest I had to a day job was working for the company my dad worked at one summer in the early ’90s (maybe late ’80s?). My job was to duplicate floppy diskettes: put in a disk, hit return, and when it’s done, put in a new disk. It was boring but I figured out how to get a TSR MIDI program to load (this was all DOS, remember), so I could listen to my MIDI version of Axel F and it only slowed down copying by 5%. GOOD TIMES.

Worst haircut
I was growing out my hair for Cuts For Cancer, where once a year they show up and you can donate your hair and they make a wig for a child undergoing cancer treatment. A classy thing to do! Except that after a year my hair was down past my shoulders and I forgot my appointment. It would be TRULY TERRIBLE for me to cut the hair off then, so I had to wait another year for them to come back again. My hair was down past my waist and when I rolled over in my sleep I could get caught in it. It was too much hair. I did not forget my second appointment.

Worst subculture
People who don’t have Asperger’s, but self-diagnose themselves with Asperger’s, and then use Asperger’s as an excuse for behaving like a dick on the internet. THAT IS NOT HOW THIS CONDITION WORKS, GUYS.

Worst date
I have only ever been on good dates! One time I got lost with my girlfriend in the moors in England and we both fell into a bog/river thing and then after we got out without drowning I stepped on a cow patty that was somehow baked and under pressure. Anyway, bright green liquid cow poo sprayed all up my leg and my shirt and then we had to hitchhike back home to our hotel. But that, my friend, was Good Times.

Worst invention
Autodialers. And the people who use them. And spammers. Who invented spammers, man? Screw that guy.

Worst purchase
I was going to say my purchase of hotforthecock.com, but that turned out to be awesome, because now I can make hotforthecock.com point to any website I want. Sometimes it points at some friend’s Facebook page. Sometimes, it points at my own.

Worst way to die

Drowning, oh god.

Worst Mondays/Best Fridays | | 7 Comments »

REVIEW: Fan Expo 2008, Metro Toronto Convention Center

Posted on August 29, 2008 by

So this past weekend was Fan Expo, the biggest annual convention Toronto sees for all things relating to comic books, science fiction, anime, horror, and gaming. Basically a lot of geek in one place.

What follows is a report of the few (there were just so many!) events I was able to attend over the course of the weekend when I wasn’t haggling for discount comics.

BUZZ ALDRIN
Every year, Fan Expo tries to outdo the previous year’s slam dunk of guests. This year, many thought the organizers “dropped the ball,” as it were. Those people are idiots for one reason and one reason alone:

Dr. Buzz Fucking Aldrin!

Ever hear of the moon? Yeah, the moon. Buzz Aldrin’s been there. He and Neil Armstrong were the first two astronauts to walk on our planetary satellite’s surface! And 40 years later he is still awesome. Why?

Because he was on the moon!

There are actors who pretend to go to the moon. There are dorks who write about spandex-wearing, mommy-issue-laden douchebags (note: I love comics) who go to the moon. Then, there’s this guy. Went to the moon. Still not impressed? What is wrong with you?

BRENT SPINER
Another of the panels I went to was the Brent Spiner Q&A. For you geeks who don’t know, Brent Spiner played Data, the infamous android of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame. Unfortunately, the talk wasn’t overly impressive. Spiner, while very comical and great at talking, spent most of the hour not answering the questions or avoiding them by saying things like, “You know that I’m not really an android, right?” No, Mr. Spiner. I did not know that.

However, so as not to be a big downer on one of my favourite science fiction characters, the panel started on a great note. As fans were filing into the packed room, Spiner spent about 5-6 full minutes plugging Burrito Boyz, a Toronto institution that makes the best Burritos. Everyone who has ever had one agrees. Including Brent Spiner. Hearing an android talk about Burritos for 6 minutes made the experience totally worth it.

More… »

Hits & Misses, Live | | 5 Comments »

WORST MONDAYS: with Bryan Lee O’Malley

Posted on June 9, 2008 by

At JUICEBOX HQ, we’ve never really had a case of the Mondays because we don’t have real-people jobs. But for those feeling a bit garfield this A.M., feel free to wallow in other people’s most hated things. Every Monday!

Bryan Lee O’Malley is a twenty-something, award-winning Canadian comic book (or graphic novel, if calling it that makes you feel better) author/artist/guy. His first book was 2003’s Lost At Sea. If you haven’t read it, you should sit down and think long and hard about your life and what it means.

omalleyworstmondays.jpg

Right now, O’Malley is just a bit famous for his critically acclaimed Toronto-based Scott Pilgrim series (2004 – present). Pilgrim follows the life of the 23-year-old title character who meets the Amazon.ca delivery girl of his dreams. In order to date her, he must fight–and defeat–her seven evil ex-boyfriends. Just like real life. There’s even a battle in Honest Ed’s.

In the past few years, O’Malley has won several big-timey comic awards (including a Harvey Award, a Joe Shuster Award and a Doug Wright Award). And Publishers Weekly named the third volume, Scott Pilgrim & the Infinite Sadness, one of 2006’s best comics. When he’s not busy receiving awards, O’Malley finds time to do some solo-ish lo-fi music stuff that you should listen to.

Anyway, he’s a big deal. Right this very second, Pilgrim is being adapted into a big Hollywood movie by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead), with Michael Cera (Arrested Development, Juno) as Scott.

But enough about people whose last names aren’t O’Malley.

Worst day-job
I’ve only ever had a couple of dayjobs. They were all pretty okay, to be honest. I mean, they were temporary, and most of them were pretty low-stress. Yeah. Not an auspicious beginning here.

Worst haircut
Every haircut I ever got in Toronto was the worst haircut of my life. I was unable to find a good hairdresser, not that I tried very hard. Plus, I was constantly broke, so I always ended up at the sketchy place on the corner, spent ten bucks, and looked like a moron for the next three weeks.

Worst subculture
The really gung-ho fans of… anything. Sci-fi, Buffy, whatever. I see a lot of these people in my line of work, and it’s both charming and completely depressing. I can’t even find the words to explain. This might be because I usually see these folks at comic book conventions, which are, of course, their preferred habitat, and where they tend to come out of their shells.

But actually, pretentious 21-year-old music snobs and independent record store clerks are the worst subculture. The nerds are fucking awesome compared to them.

Worst date
I went on a blind date off the INTERNET one time. In university. It was easily the most mortifying night of my life. God, I was such a tool in university.

Worst invention
Organized religion. No, organized sports. No… just… just organization itself, maybe?

Worst purchase
I get major buyer’s remorse. I think I have real anxiety attacks about purchasing things that are more than, like, $40. I seriously get a little panicky just thinking about it. Anyway, the worst thing I ever bought was a Volcom t-shirt at Pac Sun in California, summer 2001. Probably $20. It was hideous. I returned it like a half hour later, but I’ll never forget the shame.

Worst way to die
I think maybe being gutted while tied to a stake in the desert. And scorpions are crawling up your legs? Or, you know, the gradual breakdown of the human body. Dying of old age is possibly the worst. I used to be obsessed with death when I was a gnarly teenager, but now I believe I dislike it.

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REVIEW: Justice League – The New Frontier (Dir. Dave Bullock)

Posted on May 9, 2008 by

jl-newfrontier-dvd.jpgI was genuinely excited as I unwrapped my copy of Justice League: The New Frontier. As the comic book loving, cartoon watching handsome devil that I am, anything targeted at people 10 years younger than me is generally something I’m going to love.

About ten minutes into the movie, an American pilot (Hal Jordan, voiced by David Boreanaz) who was just shot out of the air (despite the Korean War having ended, literally minutes ago) is fighting against a Korean kid who wants to kill him. Then Hal Jordan shoots him and we see his face covered in the kid’s blood.

Despite its PG-13 rating, and following all the regular cartoon violence rules (don’t actually see bullets hitting people, etc.) I decided it would be best for that 12-year-old personality of mine to take a back seat on this one.

Justice League: The New Frontier is a re-imagining of the world’s most famous Super Team, set against a post-Korean War back drop. It’s based on what is widely acclaimed as one of the best Superhero comics to come out in the past long while.

Personally, I have mixed feelings about the film.

First: the good. It was a great story with a lot of characters interestingly woven into one another. It doesn’t focus on Superman or Batman like every other DC motion picture initiative seems to. The opening hooks you. The conclusion is great, and opens the door to more stories. And the character design (with one exception) and animation style is just lots of fun.

But, truth be told, the adaptation felt as though they had left things out. I looked it up and I was right. There are sections missing from it. There are gaps in that middle section of the film that would have done a lot to fill out the story. That’s not to say the story doesn’t work. All the pieces fit together in the very clever fashion that usually comes with well thought out re-imaginings, and to say the story left me unsatisfied would be a flat out lie. But it could have been… you know… more?

The special features were alright, too. With a few bonus episodes of an unrelated Justice League cartoon and the usual smattering of ads disguised as cool content, you get some nice extras with this package.

All in all, the film feels like a solid 7 out of 10 on the arbitrary scale of whatever the hell I feel like, and knowing that 12 year old, I’ll probably watch it again. (Warner Bros. subdomains . Animation)

DVD, Hits & Misses | | 6 Comments »