Blog Archives

I’m Back, With Quick Musings

So, I decided to take a bit of a break from blogging over the past few days. Really didn’t feel like it. But now I’m back. There isn’t anything extensive I want to yammer on about, so here are some really quick musings.

Last Thursday, James Robinson did a press run discussing what is coming up in Earth 2. Honestly really excited for what he has up his sleeves.

The same is true for the latest teasers concerning the January relaunch of Young Avengers. Hot damn! I’m dying with anticipation! I have very good feelings about this one. And I have to say, the art looks really good. Especially the colors!

Moving on to television, the midseason finale of The Walking Dead was really good. Certainly better than some of the other episodes this season. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the show, but some of the problems that plagued the second season are still there. Just alleviated by the split narrative.

I don’t know if this is insane or not. I had the idea to explore whether or not the ideas expressed in Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine can also be applicable to the arts. For example, is Glee’s narrative style dependent on an artistic form of “the shock doctrine”? What does that say about the show? And about art? What other arts utilize similar “shock” tactics?

I want to cut this post short (given that I’ve had several really long posts recently). I have a few posts planned for this week, but I won’t spoil anything. Until next time.

I’m Back, with Random Thoughts

I’m back after taking a few days off. There is nothing really pressing today that I want to blog about, so I’ll throw out some random ideas and thoughts. Maybe they’ll provide the seeds for future blog posts.

So far, NaNoWriMo is a bust this year for me. The novel that I wanted to work on is just not gelling like I had hoped. So, I’m going to have to rethink the darn thing. Too many narrative voices and an unneeded secondary world, I think, are the main problems.

Plus, I’m getting the urge to work on more of my comic book ideas. Which I find more interesting and exciting. Though shouldn’t I aspire more to novels?

One good thing about today is Encore is airing Stephen King’s Storm of the Century. Apart from SciFi’s Dune. SotC is my favorite television miniseries. I haven’t seen it in years, though. I’m salivating for it. But, I’ve also got the Texans playing around that time. And Dallas tonight. Tivo is going to be getting a workout.

Speaking of tonight, I don’t know what it is, but I’m growing steadily apathetic towards The Walking Dead again. I don’t know. It just seems that the momentum from the first episode isn’t keeping my interest. But I’ll continue to watch.

Keeping on television, I wonder how “rigorous” or “thought out” much television criticism is? I know a lot of the academic stuff never sees the light of popular awareness. I just would like to see an increased willingness to critique television harder.

Maybe I just hang out too much in book and comic book circles. But now that I think about it, I wonder which great genre (prose fiction, comic books, television, movies, theatre, etc.) has the harshest critical culture in general?

Well, I think I’ll cut this post short. I should probably do a Critters critique sometime soon.

Here are some topics I may tackle in the coming week:

The possibilities of new media (I’ve been obsessing over this lately, and in ways I’d never expect).

Getting back into art (which might be a new series of posts).

 

31 Days of Post Day 17: My Favorite Television Mishmash

Before we begin, let me set up what I’m going to be posting over the course of the next two days. On Thursday, I’ve got a Hammer Horror post lined up. And on Friday, I’m going to make up for missing National Coming Out Day by talking about being a gay geek.

But that’s for the end of the week. Now, on to what I’m wanting to tackle today. My favorite television shows.

I made the mistake of watching Monday Night Football instead of the season premier of The Walking Dead. I finally got around to it yesterday. And damn, that was an awesome episode.

I had some issues with The Walking Dead’s second season. But I have high hopes that this new season will correct the problems revealed last season. 

Mythbusters also had its season premier a few weeks ago. I’ve always enjoyed this show. I’ve kind of dropped off routinely watching because  Discovery has played havoc with the schedule over the past few months. I’m glad its back, though, and hope it has a few more good seasons in it.

Indeed, I need to remember to look for more Mythbusters appearances on Fora. There’s a video from a few years ago where Adam Savage discusses his attempts to create a dodo replica. It is awesome.

In sadder news, the next few weeks will see the end of No Reservations. I’ve always enjoyed this show, though I think some episodes are far better than others. And I’ve detected an increasing focus on food to the detriment of everything else. However, what is Globe Trekker for?

I will miss No Reservations though. I just have to wonder if Anthony Bourdain’s new show is going to basically be a retread of No Reservations.


I’m still into Market Warriors. Some elements of the show are just bizarre and wacky. But hey, it is great fun. Especially watching experts trying to make a profit and often failing miserably.

Looking to the future, I’m looking forward to the new season of Shameless.

In addition I’ve recently discovered the Youtube channel called Geek and Sundry. I just love Tabletop. Maybe I’ll do a dedicated write up to it in a few weeks?

Anyway, that’s it for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with a new post.

 

Another Post of Random Thoughts

Thought 1: The television adaptation of The Walking Dead is better than the comic book.

Thought 2: What does the title “Sins of the Star Sapphire” mean? I cannot find anything resembling a sin (either present or past) that the Star Sapphires committed. So, did the alliterative title sound cool? Is that why it is used?

Thought 3: I’m getting tired of the whole Bakker fracas. But I’m also fascinated by it. I get that Bakker feels that he is being grossly and unfairly criticized. But, does his intentions really matter. Is he, as the author, a determining factor in how his work is interpreted by others?

Thought 4: Hell no. Remember- the author is dead. A work of literature does not have a single reading, a single  meaning. There are countless readings and interpretations. Now, Bakker’s intentions, influences, etc. can play an informative role, but Bakker himself does not own the “right” interpretation.

Thought 5: Maybe getting rid of my Lit Crit books is a bad idea. Damn it, I really need to do some research papers here.

Thought 6: I read “7 Reasons Why OEL Manga Falters in the US” by Deb Aoki for Manga.com (July 13, 2009). On the whole, the panel synopsis is very interesting and illuminating. To a degree, I think the problem is how Japanese comics are marketed in America. Is there a fetishization of Japanese comics that prevents non Japanese series from succeeding? Also, the argument that publishers mishandled (and abused) young artists is on the mark. The Japanese comics industry is built around apprenticeships (what the assistants are). Editors actively work to foster talent. Now, traditional American comics utilizes art schools in a similar fashion, but there is a demand for immediate return on investment. How many series need to build up before they become successful? Are comics companies (particularly those focused on “OEL”s) really patient enough for those series to be successful?

And as an aside, I find that the argument that young manga style artists are little more than fan artists more than a little insulting. If they are that bad, why even accept them for publication? The issue is marketing.

Thought 7: And damn, maybe I need to do a research paper on this subject, too.

That’s it for today.

The Walking Dead Season 2 Finale

Wow, from a rather lackluster second half premier to this amazing season finale, The Walking Dead has been a roller coaster this season. But, the season finale is perhaps one of the best season finales I have seen in a long time and builds up a level of excitement for the fall that I have not had in years.

Now, in a previous post, I point out my hypothesis that the problems the series faced in the second season are related to the episode count. Each season is likely going to cover one story arc. Was Herschel’s Farm a little too long? Yes, but the series kicks it up when it needs to. Which is a strength. Hopefully, it can keep it up into a third, fourth, and however many seasons it has.

The last three episodes of the season are excellent and reminded me why I enjoyed the series in the first place. And the finale had me absolutely enthralled. From the barn burning to the final shot of the looming prison, it is all excellent storytelling.

And kudos to Laurie Holden and Andrew Lincoln for their acting.

But, there are some issues in this finale as well. Lori is increasingly becoming about as annoying as Shane becomes. And what is up with Carole? Yes, this confrontation needs to happen, but it could have been executed better.

That is, however, my only complaint about the episode.

Now that this season of The Walking Dead is over, I want to read the comic series. Hopefully, the local library can get more copies in.

The Return of The Walking Dead

Last night, The Walking Dead returned for the second half of its second season. Strangely, I felt rather underwhelmed by “Nebraska.” So, I’ll give a brief review and then discuss a few other things.

I think my biggest concern is that the narrative has slowed to a crawl over the course of the second season. The first season, having only six episodes, progressed along a very quick and interesting story arc with the climax at the CDC. But the second half, having double the number of episodes, has more time to focus on the characters.

Now, focusing on the characters is not a bad thing, in fact it is a very good thing. But, the problem is that so much character development is retrograded then repeated. I understand that these characters are emotional wrecks with several of them approaching sociopathy. That said, do we really need more episodes of Rick et al. repeating the same emotional arcs and never quite getting anywhere?

And speaking of repetition, how many missing group member arcs is this?

Besides the general lack of progress in the episode, the killing of the two douche bags comes off as a little problematic. Yes, they were douche bags and they were more than likely going to bleed Hershel and Rick dry had they and their group been allowed in. But did he really have to kill them? Yes, it makes Rick more and more the man he becomes in the comics, but killing them just comes off as stupid. Such is drama, however, that Rick’s actions can be milked for the rest of the season, most likely (and result in the expulsion from the farm).

Maybe my view is colored by the fact that I watched Shameless immediately after The Walking Dead. I mean Grammy Gallagher was a complete hoot during that episode. And so much progression takes place in each episode among so many different characters. So maybe I’m enjoying one less because the other one is so good?

I mean, I still enjoy The Walking Dead immensely, but it is going through growing pains. This situation reminds me of Battlestar Galactica where the first and second seasons were phenomenal (baring the second season finale), the third season was okay, and the fourth season was a serious let down. I hope that The Walking Dead can maintain itself for however many seasons it finally has, but often the first few seasons are markedly stronger than later ones.

Postscript: It seems that Kirkman is being sued by Moore according to Comic Mix. What effect this has on the series (both television and comic) remains to be seen. However, it does raise questions for me about entering the comics industry.


Remember Me??

I’M BACK!!!! I’m not going to try to explain my extended hiatus in too much detail, all I’m really going to say is I got extremely burnt out on trying to justify my football predictions, not to mention the ridiculous state of professional wrestling from the past few months or so. I have decided that I am going to drop any filters I may have had on myself, and just start writing my honest opinions and thoughts toward certain subjects. But that can all start next week, this post is all about celebrating the greatness that I didn’t cover, and looking forward into this new year.

I would like to talk for a minute about the greatest thing that has happened to television in a very long time, and no, I’m not talking about Oprah’s ego-trip network. I’m talking about The Walking Dead. If you would have told me this time last year that a zombie apocalypse survival horror television show was coming, I probably would have laughed in your face, and said that it would never work. And boy would I have been wrong. The Walking Dead is now the measuring stick to which I will judge any new show. If I can’t say “Wow, that hooked me like The Walking Dead did.” then I probably won’t be tuning in for episode two.

Boy was I wrong about my NFL picks this year! I honestly hope no one took my advice to Vegas, because you’d probably would have had to take out a second mortgage on your house to pay the bookies. I still haven’t given up hope that I can still pick a winner, so here it is…..Philadelphia and Kansas City all the way!!! And before you say WTF!! Just let me say this, I picked a few of the favorites during the season ( I’m looking at you Dallas) and they’re now picking in the top ten in the draft…

The DC Universe Online beta was released a few weeks ago, so that also distracted me for awhile. You’re going to hear more about this later on today from my gracious and very knowledgeable co-writer in crime, who stepped up and took control of this here blog when I decided to take my hiatus. Where was I? Oh yeah, DCUO…I have never played an MMO, and I have little experience with the RPG genre of video games, but I felt like this game was extremely approachable, even for people with minimal experience, as my co-writer will touch on a bit more in his beta review. Also, the graphics were decent enough for me, and the create a character was quite deep, although it could have had more costume selections, but for the beta I was happy with the selection. I did find it frustrating at times, but I attribute that more to the lack of any shred of patience I have, especially when it comes to gaming. Overall, I found it to be quite enjoyable, both to play and to watch.

This concludes my happy fun time for all post about good things, next time you see me, it’s no more Mr. Kind- of- nice- at -times- guy. The gloves are coming off and going in the closet, I’m going to go bare knuckle on the things that I didn’t like during my hiatus, and there was a lot.

Three Reviews: The Walking Dead, The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane, and X

For Thanksgiving, I have three reviews that I want to do. In ascending order, I’ll review my least favorite and finally my favorite. So that means I’ll review AMC’s The Walking Dead, Robert E. Howard’s The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane, and X.

After watching the first four episodes of AMC’s adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead, I am pleased to declare it my favorite new show of the year (keeping in mind that I do not watch a lot of television).

Taking place in a near present in which something, some virus, has caused the infected to rise again as decaying zombies. The series is amazing with its realistic depiction of the horror of a zombie inspired apocalypse, the struggles of survival, and the conflict of hope and despair.

The acting is superb with even minor characters having wonderful scenes. My only real complaint is that it seems too short.

I know, I know, I said I would not do another Robert E. Howard post for a while, but this is a review and I can’t control when my local library will have a title I want available. Anyway, reading The Savage Tales of Solomon Kane were a joy. Robert E. Howard is a master of the short adventure and fantasy short story. I found myself enjoying all of the tales, although some engrossed me more than others. “The Moon of Skulls,” “The Hills of the Dead,” and “Wings of the Night” were all amazing and enthralling. The pacing, the plot, the characterization, all of it. Reading these short stories reaffirmed my faith in Howard’s work.

But there is a problem. If you are sensitive to racial issues, the Solomon Kane tales may not be for you. While racism plays a part in the Conan tales, it is no where near as prevalent as in the Solomon Kane tales. Kane is a racist character (although one can argue that the events of “The Hills of the Dead” force Kane to reevaluate his opinions of Africans and wizards due to the heroic actions of N’Longa- indeed N’Longa is the real hero of that story).  There is a lot of racist imagery in the stories set in Africa, so keep that in mind.

Finally, X, the anime adaptation of CLAMP’s manga X/ 1999. Over the past few months, I have watched the English dub on Hulu. And I have loved every minute of it. I want this series. I want to buy it. The characters are amazing. The plot is enthralling. All around, I love it. From the visuals to the music, wow.

X is the story of Kamui, a high school student who discovers that in his hands lie the destiny of the world. Will he be a Dragon of Heaven, seeking to preserve the world as it is by leading the other Dragons of Heaven in protecting the barriers of Tokyo? Or will he be a Dragon of Earth, seeking to destroy humanity and bring a revolution to the Earth? It is this tragic choice that provides the impetus for the events to follow as Komui makes new friends and loses his childhood friends to both his and their own destinies.

Komui is initially an unlikeable protagonist, concerned more with getting the Divine Sword than in his duty either as an (initially unwilling) Komui or reconnecting with his friends. But when his destiny can no longer be ignored and he must chose, he steps up and becomes more approachable. But it is not Komui who is the sole focus of the series. The other Dragons of Heaven, and the Dragons of Earth, all have their own moments to shine. All in all, a great and highly recommended series.