Thursday, September 30, 2010

I'm swimming in the comic book blogosphere!

Update-A-Tron lists more than a thousand active comic book blogs. That doesn't count the number of mainstream blogs from sites like IGN, Newsarama or Comic Book Resources, nor the sheer number of free hosted blogs by comic book geeks with enough free time in their hands to blog about comics. It's still a pretty big number...that is, until you search for 'comic book blogs' on Google and stare slack-jawed at the 10,000,000 results.

That's okay, I can't find myself in that number either.

When I decided to turn this shindig into a comic book blog, I found myself thrust in a world that has guys like Bully and Chris Sims rocking faces clean off everybody with the kind of insane blogging rivaled only by the craziness of the Silver Age. It's like joining the varsity basketball team where everyone's no shorter than 6 feet and you're the runt who can't even run for 20 seconds without choking on air.

But slowly and surely, people came around. The comments rolled in, industry people thanked me for reviewing some of their comics, and I even got myself quoted in a newspaper for my Tekken movie review.

I'm not bragging, you guys. This is just me being completely awestruck at where I am right now and what I've accomplished because of this blog. It's a pretty exciting ride, I tell you what. Now it's not so bad swimming in a freakin' big sea of killer comic book bloggers...I'm just glad I'm blessed enough to play in it!

Thanks for sticking around and making this blog a humble success! Join us as the days count oh so quickly down to the sixth anniversary of Behold the Geek!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bruce Banner...

...has had enough of your shit.

Don't take no crap from anybody today like Bruce Banner from Hulk #25.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What kind of comic book fan am I?

I've met my share of comic book fans in the net and in real life. My experiences run the gamut from the casuals to the die-hard collect-every-issue kind, from the normal people to the just plain weird.

And I just realized I'm the weirdest comic book fan I've ever met.

Why? It seems I can't quite place myself in the world of comic books. I can't decide whether to be a casual observer or an elitist, or whether to laugh at cheesecake art or to discuss its merits, or even whether to keep a comic book bagged and boarded or not!

I swear by mainstream, cape n' tights kind of superhero comics, but I absolutely adore stuff like Stray Bullets, Wasted and The Sixth Gun, and I'm not afraid of picking up stuff from indie publishers I've never even heard before.

I freaking love cheesecake. Frank Cho is my personal god of art and I admit to owning full runs of Jungle Girl and Fathom. But then again...I also actively seek out strong female leads in my comics, and I bemoan the fact that Wonder Woman doesn't get the respect she deserves in her almost 70 years running around saving the world.

I get Joker boners seeing Batman kick perps in the face via Chris Sims, but I get just as giddy with the verbose comic book punditry of, say, the Hooded Utilitarian.

I walk the fine line between afficionado and wide-eyed fan, and I've never seen or met anyone like me. Am I alone here? I really hope not. I'd like to think I'm the kind of fan comic books shell out good money to chase after. I'm a little bit of everything!

So what's a comic book blogger got to do to stand out these days? Find out next week as we count down to the sixth anniversary of this bountiful blog, same Geek time, same Geek channel!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Glee S2 Ep 1: Now with more Charice!

You'll be seeing a lot of these posts now that Charice is on Glee, so deal with it!

Anyway, yeah. First episode of Glee S2. First time I've ever laid eyes on this series, and I admit it's pretty exciting to watch but oh my god you guys, Charice in glasses and ponytails have got to be the cutest thing in the universe next to white kittens.

Charice on Glee
Pretty bummed by the ending, and Charice's arm swinging in her mind-blowing solo could have been turned down a notch...or three. But it feels pretty good to see her on Glee. What's in store for Charice next? Only time, and the next episode (she better be there!) will tell.

Still...dem glasses, man!

Street Fighter Legends: Ibuki #4 Review

I was pretty stoked when UDON sent me a PDF copy of Street Fighter Legends: Ibuki #4 to review. I’ve been enjoying the heck out of this series, and I've been itching to see what happens next. Now the final issue is set to hit comic shops today. Is this Ibuki’s finest hour? Read on to find out!

Last issue, Ibuki and the gang are ambushed by a rival ninja clan, and now it all comes to a head as the Geki invades the Glade of Ninjas! It’s up to Ibuki, Makoto, Elena, Sarai and some unexpected allies to stop the invasion and finish this war once and for all!

Writer Jim Zubkavich ends the series in a pretty high note as he ties up the underlying plot of the series in a flurry of kunai throws and ninja strikes. The book races on a fast clip, with every panel counting down to an epic temple showdown between Ibuki’s clan and the Geki. It's a pretty intense issue, with Zubkavich laying the action thick in every page. I especially liked the face-off between Ibuki’s master and the head of the Geki clan, with their lines cheesy but surprisingly epic. When lines of dialogue give me chills up my spine and put a smile on my face, you’re onto something good.

If there’s anything I could fault this book, it’s that it feels a bit too fast. Ibuki doesn’t get much of a chance to really shine on her own in this ish, with our ninja sharing the spotlight with the awesomeness of Makoto and Elena. Which is a shame, as I think this could have been UDON’s last chance to show how much of a badass Ibuki is, even in this rookie state. Also, most of the book feels like just an excuse to get Omar Dogan to draw some wicked fight scenes.

But then again, it’s as good an excuse as any! Dogan is fast becoming my favorite penciller. His style is pretty accessible and just fits the mood and theme of the series. And though some panels lack the excitement and clarity I expected from Dogan, it’s a minor quibble at best and you’ll be lost in the eye candy in no time.

Street Fighter Legends: Ibuki #4 is a satisfying end to Ibuki’s own miniseries and a perfect introduction to a really fun character. I’ve grown to like Ibuki thanks to Zubkavich and Dogan, which to a non-video gamer like me is a feat in and of itself. And with the last few moments of the book promising more adventures for our favorite ninja, you can be sure I’ll be there to read more about it. The book is available now, so pick it up! You won’t regret it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Robert Kirkman, X-Force, and violence in comics

A quote from a GQ interview with Robert Kirkman last month just gave me a spark.

I think that's the most obvious part. When I was reading comics when I was 15, Superman didn't deal with rape so much, you know? There weren't a lot of dark elements to mainstream superhero comics. I think that it's pretty obvious that one of the things that's hurting comics is that the subject matter is so inappropriate for a mass audience. You know, Marvel just did an intercompany crossover which was supposed to be something all of their readers can read, and it had guys ripping each other in half and intestines were flying all over the place. That's the kind of thing that you would see in a Walking Dead comic. I don't want to see Spider-Man swinging around, tripping in intestines going, "Aw, crap! What a mess!"

I know some may liberally stone me for this, but personally it's a stance I wholeheartedly agree with and support. While I appreciate the irony of the guy who writes about superpeople punching the intestines out of each other and formerly heroic zombies eating human flesh lamenting on violence in comics, I think people are missing the crucial point: mainstream comics have become a brutal place.

Kirkman opines that popular and established characters that could become 'stepping stones' for people (kids, even) wanting to get into comics, shouldn't be tackling too much mature and violent themes. Just look at the stuff that's happened in the past few years...Superboy punches someone's head clean off. Sentry rips Ares in half. Sue Dibny is raped right before our eyes. Arsenal's arm is cut off and shown in gory detail. Archangel shreds people to bits with his blade wings on-panel, leaving the colorist the hand-numbing job of filling up all that red in one page.

Is it a problem? Some people might think so, and it seems a fair amount of people don't. But I feel there's a disconnect that happens when gore meets cape comics.

Kate Fitzimmons, in an article in the Comics Beat, put it succinctly:

I’m going to come right out and say it — when you don’t know if a heretofore demure superhero title is going to dissolve into an orgy of rape and disembowelment in the next issue, it makes it that much harder to recommend to a new reader.

Now, violent and mature situations have been used as long as anyone can remember, but not in the level that some of today's comics have been quick to use to bring home a point, especially with well-known characters. I'm not arguing for a sterilization of comics, that's just dumb. I happen to love my stories with a dash of comic book violence. I love it when a villain gets his comeuppance with a swift jetboot kick to the face, or when a bad guy turns a woman's body into a decomposing Rubik's cube. I mean, I bought the X-Force trade to see X-23 cut people up, for goodness sake!

Which reminds me. Uncanny X-Force, Rick Remender and Jerome Opena's take on Cyclops' former wetworks team, was unveiled recently. I was a fan of the last incarnation of the team, and the fact that it's got guys like Fantomex and Deadpool, people who are actually stone-cold killers, intrigues me so much that I'll be picking it up once it comes out. I mean, their first mission is to kill freakin' Apocalypse. How boneheaded-ly awesome is that?

I had no problems with X-Force before, and thought of it as a welcome change to my comics reading. But the very fact that guys like Uncanny X-Force exists illustrates what I've been meandering for since the first paragraph. The state of mainstream comics necessitates this team, encourages it. The world is a deadly place now and a sissy-punched approach just wouldn't cut it anymore, so people just have to be deadlier. There's a place for guys like X-Force in comics today, I won't argue that. They're there for a purpose, for a deadly reason.

Unnecessary, gory violence? Especially in comics that don't particularly demand them? There's a reason for it, but for the life of me I just don't see it.

Friday, September 17, 2010

My Week in Comics: September 17, 2010

I had a thirst for comics that needed to be quenched. Thankfully my pull list arrived early this week! What did I get myself into? Read on to find out!

You know what? I don't think I've ever read a hero as clever as Zatanna, especially in her current ongoing series. Seriously, in Zatanna #5, Zee's got half the mind to take a Las Vegas priest and a pool and use it against the elemental demons from last issue in a way that lesser heroes wouldn't even begin to imagine how. Sorry if I'm going to sound a bit cheesy, but this is a hero being a hero, and it's such a refreshing sight in all the madness of mainstream comics.

We also see Mammon, the demon lord of Avarice for the first time, as well as the big bad plan he's setting up with slimy casino owner Benjy Raymond in their quest for Zatanna's tasty little soul. Too bad for Zee, who promised to watch cousin Zachary's magic act but may soon find herself in a different and altogether unpleasant act on her own. It's a good, tightly-written story, if not a little fast on its feet as we soon find ourselves in the climax of this particular arc. But you know what? I'm enjoying these short bursts of adventure. Makes it easy for newbies to pick this up and enjoy it right away.

I was a bit apprehensive over the loss of Stephane Roux from the book, but it seems that the book is in good hands with Chad Hardin, who manages to be just as dynamic with the action, and draws Zatanna just as beautifully. Zatanna's creative team should be commended for making what is simply a fun comic, and I couldn't ask for anything more...except maybe more Zatanna! This is a great 4 out of 5.

X-23 #1 coming out the same day as the announcement that she's one of the playable characters in Marvel vs Capcom 3? A fortunate coincidence, since people wanting to know more about X-23 will have a pretty good comic as a jumping on point.

Marjorie Liu tackles what makes Laura Kinney (the eponymous X-23) tick, in short but satisfying character moments with Storm, her former New X-Men teammates, and the lonely environs of Utopia. Her scripting is tight, and says just what needs to be said while at the same time throwing a bone to the readers unfamiliar with X-23. Laura here is paranoid, scared and probably a little bit angry after all the things she went through, what with being a member of Cyclops' wetworks team X-Force, and it shows. But Liu suggests that anyone can change, even X-23. Hell, even Cyclops, who in a surprising twist says sorry to Laura for that little X-Force fiasco. Has Cyclops really changed? Only time will tell.

Will Conrad's art here is pretty good and serves the story well, and I personally can't wait for some slicing and dicing to happen in the next few issues to see how he handles action.

Granted I don't know jack squat about the connection between this ongoing series and the current Wolverine in Hell storyline supposedly running through all Wolvie related books, but whatever it is, I guess I have to have faith in Liu and making it clearer for peeps like me. This is a good first issue, no contest. This one's a 4 out of 5.

Girls are bringing it this week! Let's hope the streak continues! Agree? Disagree? Which X-23 mini was your favorite? Let me know by hitting the comments below. Thanks for reading!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Today, always remember...'re better than this.

So be awesome today and remember that you'll never do anything as silly as last week's Thor #614.

Friday, September 10, 2010

You Should be Reading: The Sixth Gun

I've been looking for books that could fill the void of Marvel and DC in my pull list, what with their lackluster showings and altogether lazy approach to storytelling these days. It was then that I heard of a book coming out called The Sixth Gun, a supernatural western title from Oni Press. I was desperate for anything that isn't superhero soap opera, so I picked this up on a whim.

Oh whim, remind me to take you out on a dinner date sometime.

Follow me as I review the first four issues of this amazing series and learn why you should be reading this book right now.

The Sixth Gun #1 introduces Drake Sinclair, a no-nonsense man in search of the eponymous gun. Unfortunately, another altogether shady group is after the same gun too, and when the Sixth Gun is found in the hands of Becky the preacher's daughter, it's not only hell that breaks loose. A Confederate madman is unearthed from his tomb and is dead (hah!) set at retrieving his 'property' (i.e., the Sixth Gun) no matter the cost!

Writer Cullen Bunn seems to be one of the rare types of writers that can balance action, character moments and story in such an effortless way. Seriously, it's like he's showing off. Right off the bat we get a satisfying glimpse of a world where gunslingers mix it up with the supernatural, coupled with small character moments that give you more insight into the characters than pages and pages of text.

Brian Hurtt's art sets the standard for issues to come. I like his simple, cartoony style, and it fits the story pretty good. Character designs are cool, the bad guys look downright menacing, and the style makes the action a bit more frenetic. Good stuff all around.

And did I mention the priests kicking ass with Gatling guns?


I've said time and again that a good first issue should be accessible to new readers and must have that 'hook' that gets people buying the next issue. This #1 has all that and more, which is the reason why I was more than happy to buy The Sixth Gun #2.

The second issue points the spotlight at the bad guys (as much as they probably hate the spotlight) as the big bad General Bedford Hume is reunited with his motley crew of hoodlums while Sinclair sets off to rescue Becky from the clutches of Hume's insane wife.

Again Cullen Bunn displays his strengths, with the story unfolding exactly as it should. Nothing is decompressed here, nothing hurried, the story beats falling into place like the best game of Tetris ever. We get a little bit more info about the magical guns, with one of them being able to summon spirits to do your bidding while another makes the wielder see visions of the past and the immediate future. It's those kinds of trivia that gets me hooked. What do the other guns do? What's in store once the Sixth Gun is found? You bet your ass I'll be buying the next issue to find out.

Not to mention we get a good ol' fashioned bar fight as only Brian Hurtt can render. And boy can he render.

This is my second favorite issue out of everything released so far, as the saloon showdown in this ish is worth the cover price alone.

It gets meatier in The Sixth Gun #3, where we learn about the history of big bad Bedford Hume and story behind the magical guns. Sinclair, his friend Billjohn and Becky try to get as far away from General Hume as possible, as they lay a deadly trap for the crazy General who's right on their tail!

This issue is a little bit more over the top than the last two episodes. Okay, maybe even more over the top than anything you've seen so far. Even if you can accept the concept of cursed guns and bloodthirsty Confederates coming back to life to raise hell on earth, you still won't be ready for the surprises Bunn lays out for you here. I especially love how Bunn manages to ratchet up the tension by introducing a hidden threat in the shadows, letting the characters react to the mystery and impending doom around them, and you can't help but be as scared as they are. That's good reading right there.

And for those who wanted to see Hurtt really stretch his penciling muscles, you won't be disappointed here. As the chase takes our heroes and villains out in the open, Hurtt gives us sprawling desert and majestic rock formations worthy of an Arizona postcard.

If you're itching for some more of those, look no further than The Sixth Gun #4, which came out this week. This time, it's our heroes that get thrown into the loop. Dark pasts are uncovered, the kind of pasts that make girls like Becky make like a tree and hightail it outta Dodge...unfortunately, straight into the waiting arms of General Hume!

Bunn takes this opportunity to showcase Becky and General Hume, who up until now were generic damsel in distress and crazy old coot characters, respectively. Becky gets a few levels in badass, defiant in the face of death at the hands of flay-happy General Hume. And when a raging mad Thunderbird is causing hell for his troops, Hume throws out the old geezer routine and raises his sword high in a staredown with a primordial beast that gets even Mrs. Hume all hot and bothered! Brian Hurtt keeps up with Bunn's storytelling, knocking it down page after page, with face-rocking splash pages and kinetic action sequences that just immerses you in all the madness. This is easily my most favorite issue, and I like that if this keeps up, the next issue could be my next favorite of them all.

In four issues we know about the characters, the setting and the history of The Sixth Gun better than any mainstream comic, and Bunn and Hurtt leaves just enough out to reel you into this crazy tale. If you're looking for a book with an interesting premise by a creative team competent enough to not just make it work but to blow your minds out, The Sixth Gun is for you. The Sixth Gun #4 is out this week, and it's pretty easy to pick up the earlier issues. Trust me, the search is worth it. Highly recommended!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Nendoroid Arch Bishop Preview

A Good Smile Company blog unveiled preview pics for their latest Nendoroid: the Archbishop from the very popular MMORPG Ragnarok Online!

The Archbishop here is one of the third job classes from Ragnarok Online, and I think it's pretty cool that a company like GSC made a popular toy out of such a niche character. Isn't she a cutie? I might break down and buy her when she comes out, since she's from a game I actually played and all.

And guess what, she comes with a Poring! An honest-to-goodness, well-made quality Poring! Anyone wanna bet how long it takes for someone to buy tons of this Nendo just to make a Poring army?

Coincidentally, Philippine Ragnarok Online is about to roll out its Renewal update, where 3rd jobs like Archbishop will make their big debut in the Philippines soon. I love how the previews of this Nendo came out just in time for pRO's 7th anniversary!

For more pics and info, visit the blog: Mikatan's Blog (Japanese language site)

Monday, September 06, 2010

Do Comic Book Reviews Work?

I love comic book reviews. I LOVE them. I can’t count the number of times reviews have either saved me from 22-page personifications of buyer’s remorse or pointed me in the direction of a comic book gem that made my life as a comic book fan complete. It’s why I do comic book reviews myself. I want people to know which comic books to have and which to avoid like the biblical plague. And I’m not alone in this.

Thanks to the Internet, comic book geeks now have unparalleled access to what’s hot and what’s not when it comes to their monthly addiction in the form of comic book reviews. Every Wednesday, the internet lights up with thousands of comic book reviews from comic book experts to armchair critics to guys like me that just want a better product.

But does it work? Do comic book reviews shake things up, or are we preaching to the choir here? I'd like to think I'm doing something of a service by reviewing comics every Friday here, and I'd like to think it works. That is, until you get comics like Jeph Loeb’s Hulk.

Hulk was where Loeb introduced the Red Hulk, the guy who punched the Watcher in the face, slapped Thor around with the Thunder God’s own hammer, and kicked off what probably was a year long storyline about Red’s identity. Sounds awesome? Well, considering that the reviews for Loeb’s run hovered between "It's silly but fun!" to "It's ridiculous, period." to “What the hell happened?”, it’s hard to say. I wanted to try it out for myself to see what the fuss was all about, but when some people say they love it, others say they want to stab their eyes out after reading, and the middle ground is littered with the bones of discontinuity and ‘stupid fun’, I courteously avoided it. But despite the amount of online vitriol spat in Loeb's direction, Red Hulk was a consistent best seller in comic book sales charts, with some issues selling more than 100,000 copies and often necessitated multiple printings.

Old example, I know, but one that illustrates what piques my interest. Despite the reviews, people lined up to buy Hulk as if it had dollar bills stuffed in between the pages. What happened here? Did the reviews not matter? Or did no one care what IGN or Newsarama thought as long as they were enjoying the comic? I know of one comic book I loved that would have needed that kind of blind devotion to.

Captain Britain and the MI: 13 spun off of Secret Invasion with the kind of quality storytelling and comic book fun that was sorely lacking in modern comic books, and a good number of people agreed. However, even the sheer amount of internet noise for this series wasn't enough to save it from cancellation, and the book folded by issue 15 due to low sales.

This was a good comic, and just like me, a lot of people did their best to hype this book. Well, we all know how that worked out.

But then again, are reviews to blame? Is the responsibility of making or breaking a comic book solely on the shoulders of comic book reviews? I'd like to think so, if not for the single reason that the layman has nowhere else to go. Nowhere else to know if a comic book sucks balls or is worthy of being preserved in the National Library but from someone who's read it, who's been through it's pages and decidedly judged what's inside, subjectively or objectively. For me personally, in today's $3.99 comic book world, it’s bad business for people to fly into this hobby blind, or to continue blindly following a comic book title not knowing when it's going to get good.

But let's hear it from you guys. Do comic book reviews matter to you? Do the people ranting and raving online have some sort of bearing (and I say some sort, since in the end the decision is up to you) on whether you'd want to check out certain comics? I'd really love to know.

The countdown begins!

Are you ready?!

It's time once again for a bit of private back-patting as we count down to the inevitable, irrevocable anniversary of this blog on October 16!

What does that mean for you, dear reader? For one thing, every week starting on the 16th, I will be rolling out some anniversary posts that look back at where the blog began and where it's all headed. Expect fisticuffs, tight spandex, broken toys and lots more in the spine-tingling, adrenaline-pumping countdown to the 6th anniversary of Behold The Geek!

Don't say I didn't warn you!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Teen Star Turns Gamer Geek...and How!

Remember Lisa Foiles? She was that girl from Nickelodeon's sketch comedy show All That a couple years back, where she did hilarious sketches with guys like Amanda Bynes and Jack DeSena. You know, the girl who would do sketches like this?

Well, time must be really good to guys from All That because now she looks like this:

Heavens to Metroid, Lisa just blew up! Not only that, she runs her own video game site called Save Point and writes for gamer sites like Kotaku. Who knew she would turn into this sexy video game geek? The world just keeps turning into a better place! Are there any other teen stars that grew up to be smoking hot female avatars of geekdom? On second thought, don't answer that...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...