Sean Maher's Quality Control

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Back to Back

Well, it's been busy. Not on the internet, exactly, but life is good.

Molly just minutes ago got a job offer for thousands more than she was asking, thousands more than the outfit was even offering before they met her. FUCK YEAH. My girlfriend is unstoppable.

*****

We saw Superman Returns yesterday, at the IMAX Theater in the San Francisco Metreon. As a general rule, I won't go to the Metreon. It's too expensive, everywhere you turn is another goddamn over-priced knock-off store, the popcorn is stale, the automatic radar flushers in the Men's Room toilets don't work. But that fuckin' IMAX thing is, I gotta admit, pretty pimp. Never been in one before, and this was the first movie there ever in 3D projection, too. It's not the whole movie (thank God), but it sure added some goddamn pepper to the plane saving scene, let me tell you.

All told, I enjoyed the movie. It was too long and too dark, but I thought Routh was charming, Spacey did more with Luthor than I'd expected (his opening scene was especially fun), Frank Langella was a lot of fun as Perry White, and Sam Huntington gave us the best Jimmy Olsen I've ever seen, really made the role his own - he really balanced the need to appeal to the "classic" Jimmy Olsen stereotype with the need for a twist of his own on the character, and delivered 100%.

You know who was surprisingly good? James Marsden. I haven't liked him in the X-Men movies at all, but I thought he was really genuinely charming as Lois Lane's new squeeze, and his moments of heroism were nearly as powerful as Superman's, especially when the ship was sinking. The strength of his character and performance kept the love triangle from getting boring. Usually they cast The Other Man as being some schmuck who doesn't deserve the girl anyway and there's no tension as a result - we're just waiting for everyone to come to their senses and for the two main characters to get together and leave the guy in the dust. As the end approaches in this movie, though, we still don't know what Lois should do. Whether or not Kate Bosworth has the gravitas to hold up her end of this, I won't bother to say, but the balance of Superman against a "normal" super-man is one of the best, most resonant parts of the movie.

Yeah, it's flawed. It's a two-and-a-half-hour Superman movie in which Lois Lane has a little kid, for Christ's sake - who didn't see some flaws coming?

So the hell what? I had fun.

*****

Jason Rodriguez drew my attention to this Newsarama preview for Empty Chamber by "the Harvey Nominated team of The Lone and Level Sands, A. Dave Lewis and Jenn Rodgers."

EDIT: Jason Copland is the illustrator on the book, so the art here is his - cheers to J-Rod for the correction and to Copland himself for dropping by!

When Mouse Guard creator David Petersen dropped by to level some praise on the book, I got even more interested. 'Course, the work stands on its own, too:



Five more pages and a cover at the link.

*****

Then Rick Spears dropped me a line to point out this Wizard preview for Rotting in Dirtville, the new Gigantic Graphic Novels book by James Callahan. Looks pretty promising, and includes an interview:



*****

Finally, while looking around for a good cover image for this week's Wasteland #1, I found several previews (this was the best). The new ONI book from writer Antony Johnston and artist Christopher Mitten looks amazing. Johnston's already proven himself as a writer on books like The Long Haul and Queen & Country: Declassified, and Mitten's preview art looks really incredible.





The first issue is out today, a double-sized 48 pages for a mere three bucks. Count on this one being good.

*****

So, aside from Wasteland #1, what else is coming? Well, we've got one bit of amazing good news:



NEW SHAOLIN COWBOY! Ah, always reason for celebration.

"But the delays are so long, I can't remember what's going on in the story!"

Uh, so the fuck what? If there was ever a book where that didn't matter, it's Geof Darrow's insane magnum opus. Just put yourself in the moment and watch him fighting a giant great white shark with a mummy head and a sword in its mouth fighting Shaolin Cowboy with a staff that's got chainsaws on both ends. Do you really need context to have fun reading that? If so, look at the pages up on Newsarama and change your mind.

All right, so there's that, the penultimate chapter of Mark Millar's surprisingly-good Ultimate Fantastic Four run, the next issue of Brian Wood's ever-improving DMZ, the first issue of new-status-quo Fables, the climactic end of the first major arc of Strange Girl, a new Walking Dead, Logan versus Captain America in Wolverine: Origins, and the first issue of Mike Carey's run with Chris Bachalo on X-Men. The first issue of Brubaker's run on Uncanny was strong enough to keep me excited for this one, even though I thought I was all done with X-Men comics.

*****

Oh, and I stumbled on a neat series of columns called Sequential Smarts, by a dude named Eric Adams. This week's column is about branding, which is what caught my eye - hanging around James Sime and Larry Young as often as I do, branding is something I hear a lot about.

As much as I've already heard about it, though, there's always somebody looking to make a unique mark on things, and while naming his publishing company Gen:Eric Publishing and his book Lackluster World doesn't exactly fire me up with enthusiasm for his comics work (marketing step one, Larry's often told me, is a salable title), I gotta say Adams' writing is strong, especially in moments like this:

Whatever you think of me - that opinion? That's my brand. It's the little piece of your cerebral territory that I've marked as mine.

Now, before you run off and start peeing in the corners of people's heads for yourself, you need to figure out who you are and what it is that you are marking as your territory.

Nice.

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