Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Can You Keep A Secret?

I am gonna get killed for this. I almost don't even want to post it for fear of losing any and all credibility I have as a comic book fan, let alone someone who is attempting to entertain the masses as a comic book blogger!

I, Scott Edward do not like Batman: Arkham Asylum. (In the interest of laziness I will be referring to Batman: Arkham Asylum as B:AA from here on out) Now I am strictly speaking about the comic book or OGN (Original Graphic Novel, again laziness) if you will. I have not played the video game so I can't speak to it's merits as good old fashion fun. I can however state that without hesitation I do not enjoy any aspect of B:AA the comic book. This is not an indictment on the author. I am a huge fan of Grant Morrison! His Animal Man is my single favorite run of any comic book ever, hand down! There is just nothing about B:AA that speaks to me the reader.

**DISCLAIMER** Let me assure you that this is in no way an attempt to go against the grain and pan a not only critically acclaimed, but fan favorite piece of comic book history. I have been accused of such actions in the past. (It drives my wife mad that I hate everything about the movie Titanic. Which I will admit is a bit of me just being an ass and refusing to follow the lemmings off of the ledge, but don't tell her that!).

No, from the artwork (that I can only describe as sloppy at best), to the basic plot and tone of the story (which I find neither shocking or groundbreaking) I do not have much good to say about B:AA. As a child I was taught that if I had nothing nice to say I should just shit the hell up, but this is my blog so I'll say whatever the hell I feel like!

It is not as if I did not want to like the book, quite the opposite is true. I had wanted to read B:AA for years! I had read so much bluster and heard it spoken about with such regard that I was ready to sit it up on my mantle next to Watchmen, Long Bow Hunters and the aforementioned Grant Morrison's Animal Man my favorite comic book stories ever! Then it happened, in 2010 I finally won a copy on eBay and patiently awaited delivery. When it arrived it was a, "honey take care of the baby I'm going upstairs to read see you in an hour, I am taking my time with this"situation. An hour later I appeared in the living room feeling like Nick Lachey after a premarital date with Jessica Simpson, unfulfilled.

Years later I was listening to the Kevin Smith podcast Fatman on Batman and his guest was Grant Morrison. The passion of which Smith spoke about his experience reading B:AA actually made me feel guilty for not liking it! I thought that if someone who shared a similar passion for both Batman and Grant Morrison's craft felt this way about this story maybe I was wrong! Maybe I just went into the situation all wrong! So I did the only thing I could do, I reread B:AA.

This time I grabbed a glass of Diet Mountain Dew, kicked everyone out of the house and read in perfect silence truly taking it all in. You know what? I still hated it. So I did what any good fanboy would do, I admitted to myself that I could not stand a classic, NEIGH, legendary piece of comic book history. I then decided to never, eeeeeeever tell anyone about my new found deep dark secret. Because...

Who doesn't like Batman: Arkham Asylum?

Monday, April 29, 2013

What Would Marvel Do?

Anyone who read my 1st blog and since you are currently reading my 2nd blog I am going to assume you've read the 1st one (I mean what kind of maniac would skip 1 and go right for 2?). However, in the interest of fairness I will now pause so you Johnny-come-lately's can go and play catch up...

As I was saying, by now you all know I'm a DC guy. Comics, movies, cartoons, and live action series, I prefer DC to Marvel. This however, does not mean that DC always gets it right. Every once in a while Marvel does something that I believe DC misses the boat on. This particular blog entry is going to highlight where I think Marvel was way ahead of the game.

Page 1 recaps.

I'm not sure who the quote is attributed to but I remember reading once that a prolific comic book personality believes that a writer should, "treat every comic like it's someones first". In a business where most characters have been around 50+ years and the official canon of each character has been altered what seems like 50+ times this may seem like a daunting task. But it is exactly where the Marvel page 1 recap completely nails it!

What is the 1 page recap? Glad you asked. At the start of every issue of a Marvel comic the writer gives a 3 or so paragraph prose recap of the goings on of the characters who will be highlighted in the issue, main and supporting. DC however almost always just dives right into the story, dropping background hints throughout the issue.

I constantly find myself annoyed with the way DC approaches new readers. As a monthly stalwart I find it a bit distracting when characters give forced explanation of background info that reads, well out of character all for the benefit of a new customer. The old information is often jammed into the current issue and it always feels like less than organic dialogue tossed in an otherwise tightly told story.

The Marvel page 1 recap makes the practice of information overload painless for readers old and new. At the beginning of Superior Spider-Man for example, page 1 is a prose recap of the current happenings of the book in the guise of the front page of the digital copy of the Daily Bugle. I usually skip it, jump right into the issue and am in turn free of the nagging catch up dialogue that is force-fed to me mid-issue. This is a clever and unobtrusive delivery of the message by the House of Ideas.

I know the 52 News in the back of DC comics serves as a filler for the entire NEW52 and I enjoy it, but it does not serve as recap for any specific book. And this is where I believe DC is currently a little behind in the modern day comic book wars!

Come to think of it, I could have used a Marvel style page 1 recap at the beginning of this blog instead of making my readers go back, read my 1st entry and in turn hold up the rest of you. But like I said in the beginning, I'm a DC guy.

Allow me to reintroduce myself

Welcome to the world of Fandom! What is Fandom you may ask? Fandom is the land where people, young and old unite to express their love for all things Nerd. There are Gamers, LARPERS, Fanboys and Film buffs to just to name a few.

Even with Fandom's seemingly endless wealth of material, this blog is all about Comic Books! I have never been a gamer and am not at all familiar with LARPING, but from my earliest memories I have been a fan of comics books in a big, bad way.

Now that you know what you are in for, let me next explain to you the 3 types of fanboys that exist in our world today!

1. The Marvel guy - The Marvel guy is no longer awaiting the second coming of our Lord and Saviour, because they are convinced that he has already arrived and his name is Stan Lee. They believe that Iron Man is cooler than Batman(not a chance) and that Thanos is a deadlier villain than Darkseid(debatable at best).

2. The DC guy - The DC guy believes he is a comic book purest. He is most likely to fawn over Golden age books, because as we all know Superman is the grand daddy of all superheroes and without superheroes we would not have comic books. While this may not be 100% accurate The DC guy will fight to the death to defend it!

3. The Coolest guy in the room - The coolest guy in the room ONLY READS INDIE BOOKS! He wouldn't be caught dead with a Batman or Spidey book in his collection and has already stopped reading The Walking Dead because it's gone mainstream. He will find the worst book on the shelf and read it first because if it's ever made into a movie he wants to be the first to tell everyone how bad it is. Ironically, he will be the first in line for the Midnight showing of Man of Steel and then will write the first awful review of it regardless of the actual quality of the film.

I am here to tell you that I am a DC guy! While I will read the occasional Marvel title(I never miss a Spider-Man book), and do think that Stan Lee is the coolest guy walking the face of the Earth. The deep tradition of Aquaman, Batman, Green Arrow and Superman mixed with modern day creations such as Booster Gold, Tim Drake and Harper Row make DC the eclectic universe where I choose lay down my $2.99 an issue to magically transport these stories to my iPad every Wednesday.

Yes, I am a digital guy as well but that is another story for another blog.