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Matt Kindt writes his Valiant passion project with new ‘Ninjak’ series

Originally posted on Hero Complex - movies, comics, pop culture - Los Angeles Times:

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Nothing was going to stand in the way of Matt Kindt writing “Ninjak.” Despite a full plate of ongoing series (“Mind MGMT” for Dark Horse, “Rai” and “Unity” for Valiant) and the upcoming “The Valiant” miniseries, Kindt carved time out of his schedule to work on a pitch for a new “Ninjak” series, knowing that the opportunity would pass him by if he didn’t work fast.

“I basically begged Warren [Simmons, Valiant editor-in-chief] to let me do it,” says Kindt. “If there was one Valiant character I would want to do—if I could only do one—it would be Ninjak. And the only issue was would I have time to do it, because I had taken on ‘Unity’ and ‘The Valiant,’ and Warren was just worried about my time.”

“I told him to let me pitch it, let me work out an outline for the first few years. I’ll write…

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‘Death-Defying Dr. Mirage': Jen Van Meter explores love, horror, heroes

comicbookevangelist:

Jen Van Meter is as eloquent as you would expect from reading Hopeless Savages

Originally posted on Hero Complex - movies, comics, pop culture - Los Angeles Times:

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Valiant Comics’ latest superhero project, “The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage,” marks major steps for the publisher. It’s the first time a female character has been the central character of a Valiant title, and it’s also the company’s first book headlined by a female writer, with Jen Van Meter taking the reins to deliver a supernatural love story with rich emotion and a creepy atmosphere.

The five-issue miniseries debuting this week spotlights Dr. Shan Fong — known in more colorful circles as Dr. Mirage — a paranormal investigator with the ability to communicate with spirits. She regularly helps people deal with their grief thanks to her extraordinary ability, but the one person she really wants to talk to is the one person that is nowhere to be found: her deceased husband Hwen. A new case presents an opportunity for Shan to reconnect with her lost love, making Van Meter’s story a…

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Alan Davis is amazing !

Good Girl

Supanova has come and gone, and the comic fans have returned from their pilgrimage to this most important festival of comics for another year. For your humble Comic Book Evangelist, this year’s Supanova left me with a feeling that I had all but touched the divine, as I had the chance to meet one of my favourite artists of all time – and the artist whose work I have been enjoying for the longest time too !!

I first came across Alan Davis’ artwork when I picked up the Excalibur Special Edition in 1987, and spent many years in second hand bookshops and back issue bins hunting for everything he had done to that point, as well as buying everything released since then (in fact I am hanging out to pick up his latest work on the first issue of Savage Hulk, released this week !!!)
So, to say I was thrilled to have the chance to say “G’Day” and have some comics signed by the man is an understatement on par with “The Avengers movie made a bit of cash for Marvel”.

I could easily spend the entire blog talking only about Alan Davis (and will in a future blog), but will skim the highlights so as to
1.      Be able to spotlight other cool folk  I met at the show and
2.      Not bore you totally and utterly !

So, here are my Alan Davis highlights from Supanova Perth 2014 !

*       The Alan Davis master class on comics artwork kicked the show off for me and many other fans of his style.  In the class, the master discussed his technique, philosophy on art and drawing, provided tips on technical aspects of comics art such as foreshortening and his opinions on comics colouring, storytelling and the best way to render Batman. This was accompanied by a slide show of pencil and ink artwork, as well as an incredible series of slides showing the opening double page spread from Fantastic Four: The End in the pencilled, inked and coloured stages. I spent the whole time scribbling down as much of the presented wisdom as I could, and may one day post it all here (if you demand it !)

*       Saturday I had some issues signed….OK, I will come clean here. When I say “some issues signed” I do not mean three or four prized issues (as I could not choose which issues I prize most) but about 50 or so issues, trades and graphic novels ! Every time I came back to the table with another dozen or so comics to be signed Alan Davis was the epitome of a gentleman, and was happy to sign them all with a smile.

DR & Quinch
*       Also on Saturday I realised one of my biggest dreams in comics – I now have a page of original  art from Alan Davis (not that I wish to of course, but I can now die a happy man) ! The page I bought is from the creator-owned Clan Destine series, and features the “death” of one of the main characters from the series. It is a beautiful page, with some great moody shadows and the fine line work you expect from the great man !

*       Of course I had to show the artists I always harass at Supanova the page, and I loved watching them study the page as a craftsman would, noting where the inks were thicker to show weight, admiring the layout of the panels and the way the shadows in the work drew your eye to the figure in the final panel. It was a revelation to see briefly a whole new way to appreciate art, as a piece of technical brilliance as well as a great image.

Caln Destine page


*       The best moment of all occurred on Sunday, when I had the pleasure of taking my kids Jamie (5 years old) and Natasha (15 years old) with me to Supanova. Natasha was off getting her photo taken with John Barrowman, and Jamie and I were waiting for Mr Davis to do a sketch for us. Jamie had decided he wanted a sketch of Captain Britain, who is his favourite hero to play in the Lego Marvel Superheroes game we have on the Playstation.  I had told Jamie that Mr Davis had created the costume which Captain Britain wore in the game, and Jamie was suitably awestruck and was even more keen to have his favourite character drawn by the man Daddy had been talking about for the last few months !  Jamie was being ever so patient while we were waiting, happily chatting to me and Mrs Davis, who had travelled to Perth with her artist husband, and generally bending everyone’s ear about how cool Captain Britain was in the Lego game (“He can fly, and shoot cool blast that look like the Australian flag, and punches really hard and….”) !  Our time soon came, and when asked who he wanted a sketch of Jamie happily asked for “Captain Britain please Mr Davis”.  It was at this moment that Mr Davis proved himself to not just be the best artist in comics, but also the most friendly……

*       Mr Davis asked Jamie to sit next to him whilst he was doing the sketch, so Jamie was able to watch a master artist at work on a “commissioned” sketch ! Mrs Davis happily gave up her seat so Jamie could do so, and even then Alan asked Jamie to move closer so he could see what was happening.  Mr Davis did not just do a head sketch as he was for other fans, for Jamie he did a full body sketch of Captain Britain !! And when I tried to pay him for the sketch, he emphatically told me (a couple of times, as I was pretty insistent he take some money for the amazing work he had done) that he would not take my money as “He is a very polite boy, and a fan”.  So, in a matter of minutes Jamie had not only am incredible sketch of a favourite character, but also the memory of meeting genuinely wonderful human beings. Both Alan Davis and his wife Heather have my undying admiration !

Caln Destine page

Multiversity Musings

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Initially I was not that interested in Multiversity. While I like grant Morrison’s early work, I have not been all that impressed with his most recent output. His Batman run was okay, but not brilliant, and his previous big event comic (Final Crisis) left me cold.  Then I got sucked into the hype when DC published the map of the Multiversity (designed by Rian Hughes, one of my favourite artists) and suddenly there were cool mysteries to be explored.

So, like most of the comics community I read Multiversity #1, and of course have some theories as to where this is all going to go. Seeing the millions of reviews, articles and vivisections of Multiversity #1 all written so well I figured there was no need for me to add my two cents’ worth.  Then I realised that nobody had mentioned my theory and thought perhaps there was a niche for me to settle into after all. So, here is the one million and first blog about Multiversity.

I will admit now that I am in debt to all those bloggers whose work has fuelled my own speculations on the title, in particular the Deep Space Transmissions Annotations by Ben Hansom.

Other blogs I recommend for some great analysis of and/or information about Multiversity include those at Comics AllianceBleeding Cool and Newsarama (This one is by Vaneta Rogers, who is just amazing. I read everything she posts as they are always  well-written and thought-provoking.  Thanks Vaneta !)

Of course, the fine fellows on the Raging Bullets podcast had an entertaining discussion about the issue too, which can be found here.  If you are a fan of DC comics at all, please check out this podcast. Sean and Jim do an incredible job each week and I am happy to go on record and predict you will enjoy it.

OK, now that I have cited my inspirations, let’s see just what monster they have helped to create as I put forth my theory !

The reader will create the missing 51st hero and “insert” them into the story, thus fulfilling the promise in the solicitations for Multiversity that we will meet “the latest, greatest Super Hero of Earth-Prime: YOU! “

Someone smarter than me, I am pretty sure it was Scott McCloud in Understanding Comics, talks about reading comics being a two way street. He argues comics are a medium where the reader has to do a relatively large amount of work,  reading words and interpreting pictures, reconciling the concepts rendered by both the words and pictures, filling in the blanks which occur in the gutters etc. As a result, comics take place in your mind as much as they do on the printed page and the reader of the comic is more of a collaborator than a mere consumer of the story (which happens when you are watching a story on TV/in the cinema).

I reckon Morrison’s plan is to take this collaboration one step further and use the story and structure of Multiversity  to give us readers the tools to play a direct part in the story – he will give us the space within the story itself to create our own hero by extending our imagination just one step further than we do when we read a comic.

It will be us who design the hero by supplying their costume, powers, personality using our imagination and the examples we have already seen of alternate world heroes to guide us.

This hero will, in the Multiversity comic itself,  become our Earth 33 analogue (remember, Earth 33 is the “real world” we inhabit) and help the heroes of the other Earths save the multiverse from the evil Gentry.  We will thus play a vital role in ending the threat of the Gentry by “becoming” a comic book superhero !!

Sound too far-fetched ?  Here is some evidence which lends credence to my theory, taken from the pages of Multiversity #1 and quotes from Mr Morrison himself.

(Since this is speculation,  my “evidence” is much like that presented by a conspiracy theorist who has already come to a conclusion and is getting the “facts” that will fit this conclusion. Hmm, shouldn’t bad mouth conspiracy theorists here, as there have been quite a few “legitimate” scientists who have done the same thing, e.g.  http://www.boston.com/news/science/blogs/science-in-mind/2013/02/15/mit-investigation-finds-former-brain-researcher-falsified-data/M9urEvI8ksAAGrTWix15iL/blog.html )

Exhibit A:  Grant Morrison said at SDCC that Multiversity will “really f#$k people up” (as quoted in Vaneta’s article listed above) and talks about utilising a hypnosis induction technique throughout the issues. Given his predilection for exploring “reality” via Chaos Magick and mind-altering substances, why wouldn’t use the comic as another tool for exploration ? And why not bring the readers along for the ride, and help us experience the same sort of exploration ?

Exhibit B: In previous stories Grant Morrison has shown us that a world full of humans given super powers can and will defeat even the worst of cosmic baddies. Specifically, this was the way the JLA defeated the cosmic super-weapon Mageddon in Morrison’s final arc in JLA (JLA# 36- #40) – everyone on Earth was given super powers in order to act upon the universal collective desire to stop Mageddon and save the planet.

I think Morrison is upping the stakes by giving us 52 earths in peril, which can only be saved by the power of the reader’s collective desire to defeat the Gentry and maintain the multiverse.

The rest of the evidence I vivisected from the issue,  Multiversity #1. I will include the page numbers for each item so you can play along at home !

Exhibits C+-  Page 2:  The figure on the cover of Ultra Comics is not defined to the point where we can determine who it will be. I reckon this figure is a generic “Paragon” superhero, whose identity will be filled in by us the readers when we unleash our imagination’s “inner superhero”.  That is, this hero is not one we have seen before in the DCU at all, but will be a brand new one that we will create and inject into the story ourselves.

Page 11 – “Tell them there are things beyond Gods”. Like us, the readers, who are in fact above any of the gods shown in comics, and even above the Endless themselves. Interestingly, though, the Endless are expressions of primal forces like Death, Despair and Delirium and we too fall prey to them !

Page 13 – Nix awakes into ‘reality’ with some interesting “weapons”: comics, anti-depressants and a Rubik’s cube.

So far everything in Nix’s room has been important to the story, which is similar to the film Labyrinth.  In the movie this forms a link between the world of the Labyrinth and reality and leads us (or at least, me !) to ask: Which is the true reality and which the dream ? and Is it the real world influencing the Labyrinth, or vice versa ?

Are we (or again, just me ?) to ask the same questions of Multiversity ?  How will the story as a whole affect our “objective” reality ?

Page 24 – “The hour has come to summon the greatest heroes of fifty two worlds”. However, Nix says Thunderer can only summon another 50 to the House of Heroes.

The 51st hero will come from Earth 33 – which used to be called Earth Prime, and is the world in which we (or at least our comic analogues) exist.

Page 37 – Lord Havok cries “I SAW THEIR FACES!”. Whose faces ? Ours I think, peering in on the events unfolding from our vantage point outside of the Multiversity.

Page 39 – The black egg has hatched and birthed a new vampiric Nix (and an evil looking monkey), ready to destroy the entire multiversity.  Worse still, as the caption tells the reader “THEY’RE IN YOUR HEAD !”

And in a very real sense, they are!  We have read the book and the concepts and characters are indeed in our minds. So, to change Nix back to normal and defeat the Gentry we need to harness the power of our minds to create a hero to oppose them. That hero is the final hero we “meet” (in Ultra Comics) and who will tip the balance in the final battle.

So there it is, my theory on the purpose behind Multiversity and how it will end.

What are YOUR theories ? I would love to hear them, so lay them out below !

Psycomedia Episode 100 – Goodbye

comicbookevangelist:

A great farewell from a brilliant podcast !

Originally posted on Psycomedia:

Psycomedia Episode 100 – Goodbye

References:

  • Bennett, C. M., Miller, M. B., & Wolford, G. L. (2009). Neural correlates of interspecies perspective taking in the post-mortem Atlantic Salmon: An argument for multiple comparisons correction. Neuroimage, 47(Suppl 1), S125.
  • Orne, M. T. (1962). On the social psychology of the psychological experiment: With particular reference to demand characteristics and their implications.American psychologist, 17(11), 776.
  • Strohmetz, D. B. (2008). Research artifacts and the social psychology of psychological experiments. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 2(2), 861-877.
  • Wilson, T. D., Reinhard, D. A., Westgate, E. C., Gilbert, D. T., Ellerbeck, N., Hahn, C., … & Shaked, A. (2014). Just think: The challenges of the disengaged mind. Science, 345(6192), 75-77.

Our telegram:

Very Special Feedback

Brett’s blog and podcast episode:

http://comicbookevangelist.wordpress.com/2014/08/28/fortnights-favourite-five/

bit.ly/1uLoV8j

Drax the Destroyer, literally:

Tengger Cavalry:

http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/spiders-georg

Amazing MRI of Fruit and Veg:

http://insideinsides.blogspot.co.uk/

Ciaran’s submissions on metapsychology:

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Fortnight’s Favourite Five

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It’s a great time to be a comics fan. There are so many amazing comics being published that even though I read 25-30 titles each week there are still great books that I miss. Which had me thinking: If it is hard for me, a hard-core veteran comics geek with 30 years experience, to keep up with all of the awesomeness out there, how much harder myst it be for the casual fan ?

Which leads me to this. A new series where I let you know what I considered to be the five best comics released each fortnight. These comics are the ones that had the most witty dialogue, amazing art, clever plot twists and plain old “AW YEAH !” moments and are therefore the comics to which I give my highest possible recommendation.  So, if you only buy five comics from the last fortnight, these are ones to grab !

 

Oh, and since comics are released in US comic shops and digitally every Wednesday, my fortnights will run from Wednesday to the Tuesday a couple of weeks away.

 

So, without further ado, here are my five favourites for the fortnight 7th-19th August 2014:

 

  1. Earth 2 #26

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This issue is the climax to the epic story Aussie creators tom Taylor and Nicola Scott have been weaving for about 12 issues. So, it is probably not a great jumping on point, but then again you should be going back and reading this book from the start anyway ! So many great scenes in this book: Val Zod defeating the evil Superman while remaining a steadfast pacifist, Flash and Aquawoman kicking major ass, and the reveal of just what is going on with evil Superman.  As always, there was clever writing from Tom Taylor (Injustice: Gods Among Us, and launching Superior Iron Man soon) and beautifully detailed clean-line artwork from the ever incredible Nicola Scott (Wonder WomanSecret Six).  You MUST read this book !!

 

  1. Archer & Armstrong #23

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When it’s witty dialogue and hilarious situations I crave I pick up anything written by Fred Van Lente (Incredible HerculesThe Mocking Dead). His brilliant sense of humour is unbound in Archer & Armstrong, as an odd couple uncover all manner of kooky conspiracies. In this issue, the titular pair confront The Lizard King (yep, it is Jim Morrison), who is set to use the fan-worship of a Justin Bieber analogue to change the world.  Amongst the humour is a very clever plot which takes us across centuries to reveal the pair are more proficient at combatting megalomaniacal rock stars than would seem at first glance.  This again is the last issue of a story arc, but once again it is well worth picking up the earlier issues to fully understand what is happening. There is enough story here and a decent recap, though, so jump in with this story. When you enjoy the hell out of it, then go back and grab the early issues !   

 

  1. Mars Attacks First Born #3

 

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This is one beautiful, beautiful book. Sam Kieth (of Maxx fame), pencils and colours this book in pencil, and then inks various character’s outlines with a broad stroke to give them definition. As a result of this and his cartoony figures, the book looks as if it is being drawn by a 12-year child (albeit one with incredible artistic talent). As if that were not enough, the story in this issue sees dramatic character development as two characters see the light in an elegiac sequence. This book is the welcome flip-side to the usual large scale destruction and violence of the Mars Attacks, a small story about families trying to survive the destruction of their peace.  A beautiful story with beautiful art.

If you do not want to hunt for back issues now, the trade paperback is being released in November. Go to your local comic shop to pre-order it today !

 

  1. Usagi Yojimbo: Senso #1

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Usagi Yojimbo (Japanese for “Rabbit Bodyguard”)  has been appearing in comics now for 30 years, and during that time he has fought numerous enemies, gathered a handful of allies, and served as the springboard for incredible stories about Japanese Edo-period culture. All that said, the best thing about Senso #1 is that you do not need to know any of that history going in – the comic tells you everything you need to know as it weaves an awesome story.  Usagi is helping his friend Lord Noriyuki defeat the manipulative rebel Hikwi once and for all when the battle field is invaded by another force entirely. This is an element which harkens back to one of the earliest Usagi Yojimbo series, and is a welcome change to the norm. I will not reveal the surprise here (even if the back cover does), but whether you are a long-time fan of the rabbit ronin or new to his adventures it will delight.

Oh yeah, all of the characters are anthropomorphised animals, but to be honest I forget that when I am reading Usagi, such is the skill Stan Sakai has in writing and illustrating characters who seem real. Still, if you find “funny animals” annoying, this may throw you a bit at first.

 

  1. The Legendary Star Lord (man !) #2

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If you are one of the estimated 457, 826 people who enjoyed Chris Pratt’s performance as Peter Quill in the Guardians of the Galaxy film, then this is the comic for you ! (NB: Above figure may not be entirely accurate). This comic cleverly showcases the Star Lord’s power of persuasion and charm, his ability to plan and improvise when the plan inevitably goes wrong. The script is full of witty lines and  the artwork conveys the action perfectly. There is even a bit of pathos developed, as Star Lord explains to his newly discovered sister just why it is he is partying so hard across the galaxy. Buy two copies of this comic – one for you and one for the female Star Lord fan in your life. She will love you for doing so !

 

What were your favourite comics from the last fortnight ?

Please let me know in the comments below !

 

Can’t wait to Sin !

A quick post today. I have just finished watching the New Sin City:A Dame to Kill For trailer and after allowing the echoes of my insanely excited cheering to fade had to share this with you all. 

I had heard that the new film would have elements of a new story written specifically for it, and man does it look like it will be incredible ! It looks like (based on the trailer and my fevered speculation) “little” Nancy Callahan is going to wreak vengeance upon Senator Roark, likely teaming up with Marv and the Sin City girls to do so. AWESOME !!!!!!!!! (in fact that exclamation really doesn’t do justice to the depth of excitement I now have for this film). 

I had thought nothing would top Guardians of the Galaxy when it came to crazy levels of anticipation for the film – like many I was hooked from the “ooga chaka” moments of the first trailer – but with this trailer there is not just a new contender, but a new champion !

I am extremely excited about heading back to that rotten town of Basin City – bring on August 22nd !