I read a lot of super-hero comic books growing up in the 60s and one of my favorite characters was the X-Man, Cyclops. You know, the guy who could shoot red laser beams from his eyes, functioned as team leader (in the absence of the crippled Professor X), hooked up with the only girl (Marvel Girl, natch aka Jean Grey) in the team and possessed all the qualities that I looked up to as a young pre-teen child.
Of course, in the subsequent years, Cyclops’ life got a whole lot more complicated and his character has been revised to such an unrecognizable extent (as with most comic book super-heroes) that I have lost all interest in him (and super-hero comic books in general).
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER OFFICIAL TRAILER
This is already looking like an AMAZING year for superhero movies. Based on the trailers of Thor and X-Men: First Class, it appears that directors/producers are pulling out all the stops to make superhero movies work on every level – for the geek and casual movie-goer alike. Finally, Captain America is given a proper trailer and it looks like yet another winner. Every comic book geek knows Cap’s origin story and I am hoping that the promise shown here is fulfilled and justice is done to the vision of creators Joe Simon (now in his late 90s!) and Jack “King” Kirby (rest in peace). The movie opens on 22nd July.
The Homeland Directive by Robert Venditti & Mike Huddleston (Top Shelf Productions)
Robert Venditti’s previous work was a sci-fi piece, The Surrogates, which was made into a rather watchable movie starring Bruce Willis.
With a title like The Homeland Directive, Venditti’s new graphic novel is quite clear from the beginning about what you’re going to get inside its pages. Rather unpredictably, Robert has chosen to show his versatility by churning out a fast-paced thriller filled with action and plot twists and a believable story worthy of a Jason Bourne installment.
Dr Laura Regan is a research scientist who’s partner is murdered and she’s the prime suspect. Forced to go on the run, she’s caught up in a conspiracy which seems to involve every government agency you can think of. It may sound entirely formulaic, but instead, Venditti’s crisp and witty dialogue strings together each and every scenario in an entirely plausible setting. Throughout all this, Venditti manages to touch on current issues we continue to confront daily such as the loss of personal privacy in the face of modern technology.
Beautifully illustrated by Mike Huddleston, the painted borderless panels give a cinematic feel to the story. Mike’s art conveys perfectly the changing tension and atmosphere as the scene dictates.
All in, an exciting story and a great read, don’t miss it!
A lil while back, we reviewed the Vesha Valentine Story graphic novel and was struck especially by it’s old world glamour motif (the good girl art – think of the late Dave Stevens). So I thought it’d be interesting to share with PoP visitors some pictures sent by Vesha Valentine creator, Des Taylor of a book party he held recently. Enjoy…
Amity Blamity Book One By Mike White (SLG Publishing)
Mike White brings you his first book in a planned series of graphic novels about the daily shenanigans on a family farm. Four year old Gretchen, Chester the talking pig(!), Uncle Downey and Grandma make up the cast in this black & white offering about life on the farm.
At first glance it brings to mind Bloom County, Liberty Meadows and a little Calvin & Hobbes. Ok, Calvin & Hobbes may be due to the art. Unlike those examples, Amity Blamity has a storyline which follows a linear path reading like a traditional comic rather than a “comic strip”.
It isn’t laugh out loud funny but it is accessible. Like Jeff Smith’s Bone, Amity Blamity is an easy read to pick up and get right into. What made Bone a success was its ability to work on more than one level hence its appeal to all ages. Unlike Bone, I don’t see any kids finding this an enthralling read anytime soon. I think that the art & story would really pop if only it were in color.
Story wise, you will be rewarded with some interesting and funny situations. Be warned though, you’ll want to know what happens next when you get to the last page but you’ll just have to wait patiently until November for Book Two.
Initial images have been released for the upcoming Matthew Vaughn-helmed X-flick (above). The picture shows the early X-Men in costumes resembling the original comic books (although why is Mystique part of the original X-Men is beyond me). Also prominent are Jennifer Jones’ Emma Frost and Kevin Bacon’s Sebastian Shaw (as the Hellfire Club plays a key role). At front of both “sides” are Magneto (Michael Fassbinder, left) and non-bald Prof X (James McAvoy, right). Is that the Beast or Nightcrawler lurking in the middle? Frankly, I am not looking forward to this at the moment. I will need to see the first trailer to allay my fears.