A Letter to Zack Synder

Dear Zack Synder,

There were doubts when the first trailer for The Man of Steel debuted. You were the director of Watchmen, which I liked. But you were also the director of the zombie abomination remake, Dawn of the Dead. 300 was too homoerotic even for me (and I love me some good homoeroticism), and, from what I saw, it seemed like an ok movie. A lot of my friends seemed to love it, so maybe it was good. But you were also the director of Sucker Punch, which marked the first movie I walked out of since Corky Romano. But I wanted to believe. I hoped you would take a subject as sensitive as Superman and unleash something beautiful to the world. After all, DC/WB was losing a legacy with the closing of Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. Who would take up the mantle with Nolan’s departure? Who would bring forth a new era of DC comic superhero films that will remain in the nitty-gritty realism of the Nolanverse?

There were a few issues. I wouldn’t be a fan of comic books if there weren’t a few issues. Aside from the obvious father-killing tornado, the main issue was the overuse of power. I praised the use of Kal-El’s power on Earth. You showed the world that a Superman based in reality would be terrible for the world, especially if other Kryptonians survived. The battle in Metropolis left the entire city in a pile of rubble and destruction. And the finale showed us just how far Superman would go to save its people (you know, if you ignore the leveling of an entire city) by snapping Zod’s head. He didn’t want to; he had to. Otherwise, Zod would continue. He’d kill again and again, and no prison on this planet could hold him. And sending him back into the Phantom Zone was out of the question because the other survivors were sent back, and that idea only worked once.

Superman destroyed a city, killing and maiming thousands. That’s how we saw it. Even though the Kryptonians were at fault for most of the destruction, we only focused on the final battle as Zod and Kal-El threw each other into building after building, using their powers to level buildings; we focused on the mayhem. And what did you do when we called you out on altering our favorite boy scout? You sniveled. You whined. You shouted how you couldn’t understand how we still held onto the idea of a Christopher Reeve Superman when your Man of Steel was way better.

And as if a love letter to yourself and a testament to your awesomeness, you decided that you wanted to ruin more heroes by dragging them down to a Michael Bay level of destruction. You focused more on what these heroes and villains could destroy and only glossed over their humanity. With Ben Afflect’s Batman firing at will, killing bad guys, blowing shit up, and Superman’s inability to see past Lois Lane, doing whatever he can to prove himself a human while failing to do so time and time again, your ultimate stage match is falling on deaf ears. While superhero flicks are no strangers to violence, most still focus on the story. Most still focus on how the heroes are relatable. Most don’t level cities and hope the civilians below forget.

Two years after the events of The Man of Steel, the only person who remembers the battle of Metropolis is Bruce Wayne, but he’s too busy trying to infiltrate Lex Corps and crack the mystery of these so-called Metahumans. You were giving an opportunity to one up the folks at Marvel, and you lost sight of the goal. You figured that if Captain America and Iron Man were going to put up their dukes against each other, why not DC’s greatest gladiators?

You throw CGI sequence after CGI sequence to tell a story that falls flat. It falls flat because it’s a huge middle finger to your critics. Rather than listening, you continue to insist that you’re growing Superman’s character and reintroducing the world to a Dark Knight no one recognizes while you jam a clusterfuck of information and prophecies that get lost in translation. It’s like you took a cue from the folks who ruined The Amazing Spider-Man movies by building something much larger than we can imagine and fail to deliver. The only problem being, of course, is that you’re set to deliver. Warner Bros. is up against Marvel, and they’re not going to back down. My only fear is that you’ll remain attached as director and set fire on the DC universe one character at a time. At least Joss Whedon knew when to call it quits.


Another Post about Comic Books & Comic Book Accessories

Library finds

The Perks of Working at a Library

Penny pinching isn’t my trade. Tomorrow is pay day, but the bills are waiting for me to send in their payments. So there are perks when it comes to working a library. The most important being that I’m surrounded by books that I don’t have to pay to read. The added bonus is that I get to see what books are coming into circulation before they’re processed. Late April or early May, the library received several comic book trades and graphic novels. This includes the Before Watchmen books, a slew of Hellraiser books, Suicide Risk Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, and a lot of Batman titles. Coming home with me today were the Hellraiser titles and Suicide Risk. Both of them are published by Boom! Studios.

Heavy Ink Subscription Issues: Value vs. Values

Back in March or April, I decided to drop shopping at Myth Adventures on new comic Wednesdays (or later in the week). After the careless handling of my purchases, I couldn’t bare it. I’m under no illusion that any of these books are going to skyrocket in price (unless they’re a variant cover), but they’re still my possessions. I’m courteous enough not to manhandle the books in their collections, so I expect the same thing when they become mine.

After researching shipping prices, I concluded that Heavy Ink had the better deal. Then I read that the owner/president/whatever of Heavy Ink is an extreme right-wing, gun nut who praised the Tuscon shooting. I’m a bit wary knowing that my money is going to this hate monger. Conflicted, I’m still debating whether to cancel my subscriptions with Heavy Ink. It’s better if I just pay extra for shipping with Midtown Comics.

Now his statement was made three years ago. That still doesn’t change the gravity of his words. It doesn’t make him any less of an asshole. I’ve never boycotted an organization or business because of words before. When Chick-fil-a’s CEO came out against same-sex marriages, I didn’t bat an eyelash. When Duck Dynasty jerk-wad spoke his mind, I didn’t write a letter to  A&E. There’s a difference, to me anyway, about being ignorant and supporting a terrorist. Makes me wonder where the money I spend is going to.

Tough decisions ahead, I’m afraid.

The Great Divide(rs)
I'm gonna need a bigger box. And more dividers. And possibly a girlfriend...
I’m gonna need a bigger box. And more dividers. And possibly a girlfriend…

Last night, I decided to make my own comic book dividers. I brought home several pieces of cardboard from work. That’s another perk, if you’re not paying any attention. It’s not stealing, by the way. The boxes they were a part of were on their way to the recycle bin. Whatever scraps I had left are destined for the same ending.

After fouling it up with the first one, I almost called it quits and just order them. But I’m not one to quit on something that feels impossible. Sadly, I didn’t have enough for each title, so I improvised.

Things to Come (Maybe, Probably, Perhaps….Sure, why not?)

In attempt to reach out and communicate with other readers/bloggers/etc., I plan to spice things up again. Instead of focusing on journaling and reviewing, I’ll discuss my book hunting skills. I’ll talk about my superpowers (yes, we all have a superpower). I’ll discuss the comic titles I’m currently reading. And hopefully I’ll get Ashton to help me out with old ideas that never came to light. If not Ashton, then someone else. Until next time. Keep on…well, huntin’ I guess.


Batman: Knightfall Vol. 1

Back in the early 1990s, I started reading comic books. My mom would buy whatever issue I wanted from the local grocery store. I wasn’t an avid collector. Direct edition or direct sales or direct whatever wasn’t top priority. Story arcs were prominent during those early days of my comic book appreciation. In 1992, the world watched as Superman died fighting Doomsday. But killing Superman wasn’t enough for DC. In 1993, the comic company introduced Bane and sent him to Gotham to overthrow its dark knight. 1993 was the year Bane broke the Batman. And I never read anything that came as close to it.

When I decided to introduce Angela to comic books, I wanted to collect the titles that effected me most as a kid. Batman: Knightfall (at least the first volume), was on top of the list. However, I didn’t own it. Nor did I want to show her the crippling of Barbara Gordon and Batman in the same go. I biding my time, purchasing the first volume as a gift to myself. She’s still stuck reading the first Batman titles, anyway.

Knightfall-Vol.-1Reading the pages after 21 years, I catch the subtle differences between how writers and artist made comics then and now. Nothing that would lessen my appreciation for the titles I’m reading now. Just that reading something from my childhood turns on the nostalgia. Reminding me that kids and teens in this age of comics will never appreciate the thought that went into such story arcs. The gruel decisions. This comes during the week when the first issue of Batman: Eternal hits the stands. In the first page alone, we see a broken Bruce Wayne tied to the Bat Signal. On his chest, the bat insignia carved and bleeding. “Watch Bruce… Watch as you lose everything,” the caption teases.

Still, nothing can inspire me into reading—into writing—as Knightfall did in 1993. I wouldn’t be where I am now in my path of creative writing had it not been for the books I read then.

Batman: Knightfall Vol. 1
by Doug Moench, Chuck Dixon, et al
Paperback: 640 pages
DC Comics (May 1,2012)
ISBN: 978-1401233792
About (from Amazon):

The villainous Bane breaks the Bat in one of the most popular and well-known Batman tales! The inmates of Arkham Asylum have broken free and Batman must push himself to the limits to re-apprehend the Joker, Poison Ivy, the Riddler, Killer Croc and more. Pushed to the limits, he comes face-to-face against the monstrosity known as Bane, who delivers a crippling blow destined to change the Caped Crusader forever!

This volume collects Batman: Vengeance of Bane Special #1, Batman #491-500, Detective Comics #659-666, Showcase ’93 #7-8 and Batman: Shadow of the Bat #16-18.

Batman: Knightfall is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. An e-book edition is available for Kindle. Until next time, keep on huntin’.


Three short reviews & a book

A few years ago, I bought a book published by Angry Robot. That’s how I learned about the Angry Robot Army. Joining their “army” allowed readers to gain access to advance copies of their upcoming novels. This included both printed copies and e-books. From this offering, I only gained one novel (a disappointing novel, at that). After that, I stopped visiting the page. I could blame apathy or just my usual forgetfulness. Whatever the case, it wasn’t until last year that I paid the website another visit only to learn things had changed. They were no longer offering their eARCs through the page. They jumped ships and joined the NetGalley bandwagon (is it a bandwagon?). That meant another account that I would forget in the end. And I did. Right after I opened it, I never visited it again. That is until a few nights ago when an e-mail appeared on my phone. Honored, someone chose me to read The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon. I say someone because I haven’t a clue who decides which books go to which reviewers. I sent a copy to my Galaxy Tab 3‘s Android Kindle App and started it after I finished The Walking Dead novel.

I should add that The Word Exchange is not published by Angry Robot Books. You know, just to clear up any confusion as that was the subject opener. You can preorder at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Preorder for your Kindle or Nook now.


The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman & Jay Bonansinga

Zombies is where it’s at. Thanks to a lot of things, they’re thrust into the foreground. And people are riding the waves until they crash. None more than Robert Kirkman whose comic book and TV series of the same name are excelling. Now with the fourth and final book of the Governor trilogy on shelves, I decided to pick up the first one. (Just a note, I dislike series books because of the wait, so I usually wait until it concludes.)

The Internet spoiled the ending of the first book, so I won’t add to it. Still, I knew what to expect before I got there. What I didn’t know were the events that lead to the rise of the most hated (yet, beloved) bastard in the zombie apocalypse.

Much like the comic series, the book didn’t attract me at first. This being the second time I tried to read it, by the way. Something about Robert Kirkman’s style distracts me from the story. Caveat, though, for those of you who never picked up an issue: This is not the same universe as the TV series. Do not expect to see the same mild temper—yes, mild tempered—Governor of TV fame. The events that happen are not for the weak of heart or those who don’t like chauvinistic plot devices. I may write more about that later.

Over all, the book is worth the read.

The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. An e-book edition is available for Kindle and Nook.

Night of the Living Deadpool by Cullen Bunn (writer) and Ramon Rosanas (artist)

Now Marvel is no stranger to zombies. So when I saw Night of the Living Deadpool, I grimaced . That’s what we needed, another Marvel Zombies story arc. Only, this isn’t that. Deadpool awakes from a food coma to find that he’s the last living superhero alive in the world. A world taken by a plague. A world ravaged by bloodthirsty, flesh-hungry zombies. Zombies that still have thought. The story is marvelous. It’s hilarious. It’s everything you expect from a Deadpool comic book plus zombies. And the art? Well, let’s just say it’s printed in fabulous black and white and red.

Zombie fiends and Dead(pool) Heads will love it. The four-part series will hit trade form later this year. You can pre-order now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore (writer) and Brian Bolland

As I mentioned in the previous post, I started working on Angela’s comic book education. Starting with three Batman stories, I’m introducing her to the great writers Frank Miller and Alan Moore. It’s Moore’s book that I managed to read for the second time. The first time I picked up The Killing Joke, I didn’t pick up at all. I downloaded a copy online and read it off the computer.

Having it in my library for the first time reminded me just how different the story art pops. How it aids in the story telling. The book sent chills down my back. And while I know better, I still like to think that I understand the ending in the sense of Internet rumors go. No spoilers, I promise.

The Killing Joke is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. A digital edition is also available for Kindle and Nook.

That’s all for now. Until next time, keep on huntin’.


New Comics, Ideas, King of the Nerds & the (Comic) Education of Angela (May Contain Spoilers)

I sit here before laptop as I watch the season finale of King of the Nerds. And I’m pouting. Neither Brian or Katie made it to the final-two showdown. The only two contestants that sparked my interest this season, and neither of them were nerdy enough. So here I sit, pouting. Tears streaming down my face. I care for neither Kayla or Jack (even though he defeated Zack). I can’t let this little slip up ruin my day. I won’t let it. Nope. Moving on.

My Purchases
My Purchases

Yesterday (being Wednesday) was new comic book day. Much to my disappointment, I found myself at work rather at the new comic book table. But I closed with Angela and I prefer closing with Angela than closing without Angela. Something occurred to me during our few hours alone together. (If you can consider a library filled with kids basking in Spring Break glory alone together.) She doesn’t get a lot of my references because they’re comic book related. Angela doesn’t read comic books. In the spirit of evil mastermind, I swiveled in my chair. “I’m going to make you a list,” I said. “A list of the essential comic story arcs you need to have read. It’s okay. I can lend you a lot of these.” I’m starting her off with Batman. I’m starting her off with Year One, The Killing Joke, and The Dark Knight Returns. However, my library lacks two of those titles. Lucky for Angela (and me), Barnes and Noble had both titles. I bought them without a second guess. I took a gander at Knightfall (also on my list), but opted I’m better off not spending the extra $30. (Trades are expensive, yo!) Maybe next week, after I find it for less online.

This is the picture
This is the picture

To make up for missing new comic book day, I ventured out with my family (Shaun in tow) to Myth Adventures. This wasn’t before stopping at some thrift store near by the house first. Now this place bought out the late local comic book store (I forget its name), which closed a while ago. So the comic books I expected to see here were from my youth. And I was right. It broke my heart to see the mishandling of these books. In all fairness, these are books from the 90s. Most of these haven’t risen past cover price in worth. Still, the manhandling of these issues appalled me. Several issues shoved in a single bag. Some lacked proper boarding. And their only copy of The Uncanny X-Men: Day of Future Past (see photo) brought a tear to my eye. The owner further smashed my hopes of owning this book by stating that it wasn’t for sale. “I don’t know how it got there to begin with,” he muttered as he snatched it from my grip. That motherfucker. That mook. That schlump. I did walk out with X-Men issue #80 and Webspinners: Tales of Spider-Man issue #1. If worth anything, the nicks and dings diminish their value. Jay’s Discounter Emporium (not its real name, well, not the last word anyway) lost a costumer with me.

Skipping ahead, I took my niece to Myth Adventures to buy her first comic book. After much attempts to sway her vote toward The Powerpuff Girls, she chose a SpongeBob Square Pants comic. Me? I left with a killing. From IDW, I purchased The X-Files Conspiracy: The Crow, The Crow: Pestilence, and Monster & Madman. From Marvel Now, The Superior Spider-Man #29, Captain Marvel, Avengers Undercover and Secret Avengers. And the lone Antarctic Press book, Steampunk Red Riding Hood. Afterward, we went to Barnes & Noble where I bought The Killing Joke and Year One (the titles missing from my library).

My return to comic books is proving that I need another job. Or rather, a full-time job. Although, the past few days and idea has crawled into my head. Wouldn’t it be nice to open a business of my own? In fact, why not a business that amalgamated the things I treasure the most? An establishment that acts as a safe place for nerd, creative, and book fiend. It’s something that needs some looking into.

I finished Night of the Living Deadpool last night. But I surpassed seven hundred words already and I can feel your eyes growing heavy. Besides, I’m disappointed with the King of the Nerds finale. Not that I disliked the winner (no spoilers here, folks!), it’s neither Katie nor Brian (fuck, that’s a spoiler!). Until tomorrow.

I typed and edited this post with the Hemingway App.


And Even More About Comic Books

I mentioned—ad nauseam, I’m sure—my return to reading/collecting comic books. This is after a fourteen-year hiatus. This is after meeting girls and learning how to talk to them. This is after sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. Comic book reading is, after all, my first love. My first plunge into literary works. Literary works, yeah. I don’t care much for the smug academia that disregards Watchmen as a literary work because it’s a graphic novel.
Since I started, I managed collect thirteen titles. They include: Harley Quinn (DC/the New 52), Magento (Marvel Now), Wolverine and the X-Men (Marvel Now), Dexter Down Under (Marvel), Batman: The Joker’s Daughter (DC/the New 52), Evil Empire (Boom!), Moon Knight (Marvel Now), Revenge (Image), Veil (Dark Horse), Justice League 3000 (DC/the New 52), Auteur (Oni), Empire of the Dead (Marvel), and Night of the Living Deadpool (Marvel). Most of these are either new series, one-shots, stand-alone story arcs, or rebooted series. I find it easier to start off from scratch than it is to play catch-up with ongoing story lines. It’s also easier to weed out what isn’t going to work for me.
I took an interest to Harley Quinn, for obvious reasons. Because she’s the Clown Prince of Crime’s girlfriend. Though, she’s his ex now. And after the abysmal final season of Dexter turned me on to the comic heralded by his creator, Jeff Lindsay. The Joker’s Daughter, well, need I explain? George A. Romero’s Empire of the Dead takes place in the same realm of his movies (vampires added for garnish, I’m sure). I picked up Justice League 3000 for nostalgic reasons. It reminded me of the Marvel 2099 series. However, this book fell short of my expectations. Same goes for Auteur, though I’m still on the fence about what I expected from it. The artwork is reminiscent of the Adult Swim series, Super Jail. Moon Knight captured my attention. Magneto reintroduced me to my childhood. Although, I’m still having troubled accepting the bald super-villain-turned-antihero-turned-whatever-he-is-these-days.
However, this revisited venture is costing me money (who would have figured?). My last visit to Myth Adventures cost me $42; I purchased seven titles plus a storage box that cost me $8. The storage box, by the way, was a scam as I see no difference between the one I have and a regular white box. Well, outside of the aesthetic realm, anyway. I discovered Midtown Comics online. I ordered the first three issues of Night of the Living Deadpool from them (revising the first issue for the 1st printing). I learned after the fact that they have questionable shipping practices. I’ll cross my fingers in hopes that my comics come unbent. Along side them, I also found Heavy Ink (thank you online forums!). I subscribed to Harley Quinn and purchased the first four issues of Sex Criminals (Image) and Batman #28 (DC/the New 52). I hope their shipping practices are better. We’ll soon see.
I also have to learn how to bag and board my comics. I noticed some nicks on my Harley Quinn issues. I will have to replace them because my OCD won’t let it rest.

This post was written & edited using Hemingway App.