Sunday, August 25, 2013

Do You Have a Minute to Talk About Our Lord and Savior Ben Affleck?

I've lost count at the number of articles linked from my reading list of websites referencing the recent casting news that BEN AFFLECK is your new Dark Knight. "Why Batfleck is the Worst Casting Ever." "Why Ben Affleck is a Brilliant Choice as Batman." "Obama is a Muslim and Other Secrets the Liberal Media Isn't Telling You." It all runs together.

Even more so than the number of articles I've seen is the number of people who have asked me what my opinion is on the casting. And yet, I always have a simple-yet-eloquent answer for them: "I could not care less."

This is a picture of people installing floor tile.
I care about it more than Ben Affleck.
Now, it's not that I have anything against Ben Affleck. He's shown us that he has acting ability, and the Oscar speaks for his talent as a director. No, this article isn't about how him being Batman will turn our children gay and destroy our crops. Furthermore, I think we can stop hating on him by now, especially about Daredevil. There were other people involved. And if it brought Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner together, it can't all be for naught.

Daredevil's other superpower is true love.
Actually the reason I have an insane amount of apathy for this development is that I have absolutely no interest in where DC's cinematic universe is heading. Most people know by now that I hate Man of Steel more than most members of the Taliban. Zack Snyder created a world that was way too dark for its own good and managed to take all the fun out of superhero movies. That being said, I simply don't have any interest in spending any more time in that world than I already had to. Adding a "Dark Knight" to an already dark Superman sounds like the most depressing two hours I could spend in a theater.

I've also been thinking recently of something a friend of mine said. He told me that he hopes Hollywood stops making superhero movies for at least a decade. While that sounds weird, let me explain on his behalf. What he meant was that superhero movies are on overdrive right now - anyone could see that. He believes that if they continue to be made, they'll never be made again after this phase of filmmaking is over. No new, imaginative director or writer will get to try his or her hand at making a Spider-Man or a Wonder Woman, and the public won't get to experience it.

I agree with him, to a degree. Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox should definitely take a hiatus. I throw in Fox there because the constant stream of X-Men films has been decent, but nothing mind-blowing. I saw The Wolverine this summer; it was good, but it really didn't need to exist. Nobody wanted another movie where Hugh Jackman is angry.

On the contrary, Disney's Marvel Studios should continue full steam ahead. The team there is on a roll, and for once, characters like the Avengers are finally being put onscreen in the right way. And, oh yeah, those movies are actually fun to watch.

No, I won't boycott the new movie - I might even see it. I just can't get excited for it. It won't be a fun experience, either as a team-up movie or a springboard for a JLA film.

But hey, I'm willing to be pleasantly surprised.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Jumping Into Obscurity

It's no secret I spend way too much money and time on comics. My summer job literally gave me no more than four shifts in the past three months, and yet every single paycheck went straight to catching up on my chosen series. And when it comes to series, I could definitely do with fewer. I have my DC mainstays Batman and Justice League, my Marvel team books like X-Men and Guardians, and my critical darlings Hawkeye and Saga - you know, when Brian K. Vaughan feels like putting out an issue.

C'mon, dude. It's not like you're busy growing hair.
Okay, that was mean. Nevertheless, Saga's been my go-to source for the weird and out-there, and its hiatus is starting to take its toll. So this week, I chose to go out and grab some indie series, and the results have been, well, pretty weird and out-there. Here's a few series that just debuted and are definitely worth checking out.

First up is Josh Fialkov and Joe Infurnari's The Bunker. I absolutely adored Fialkov's recent handling of the gone-too-soon I, Vampire, and he definitely shows his effectiveness with this new digital title. His usual sense of humor is still present, even if the subject matter is much darker than what he usually portrays. While I haven't seen any of Infurnari's work, he does a fine job with cartoonish yet gritty illustrations here. The Bunker revolves around a group of friends hanging out in a forest (Is that what friends do?) when they come across a mysterious bunker underground. What follows is a great mystery with some time travel and an apocalypse thrown in for good measure. The jump into this world can be a bit jarring, so I recommend giving the issue two reads so you can get your bearings. The Bunker's first issue is available digitally for only $1.99, so it's not that much of a gamble to get into what seems to be a promising story.

The next title I'd actually recommend not reading digitally, but rather in print, like our Amish brethren. Trillium, written and illustrated by Jeff Lemire, features a gimmick that doesn't feel that much like a gimmick: The book asks that you read one of its two converging story lines and then turn the book upside-down to read the other. I love it when creators take advantage of their media, and seeing this in something as simple as a print book doesn't happen as much as you'd think. As I mentioned before, Trillium involves two plots and two different characters coming together in what's been advertised as a time-travelling love story.

Love it.
A friend of mine recently turned me on to some of Lemire's work. I absolutely loved what I've read so far of Sweet Tooth, another book in which he's also illustrated. Jeff Lemire's artistry may appear strange at first glance, but it definitely grows on you - also, watercolors are pretty.

Finally, I have for you a little something that you may find stranger than the last two. I give you Burn the Orphanage. This one's been on my radar for a while, because it's called FREAKING BURN THE ORPHANAGE. However, this is not only the best band name of all time. It's also a great homage to classic games like Street Fighter and Double Dragon which you either grew up playing or (if you're my age) lied and told everyone you totally played them even though you were in no way old enough. Burn the Orphanage also has a sense of melodrama with its story you can't help but love. Characters and dialogue are exaggerated, and the action even more so. The plot isn't that involved, but that's why I gave you the last two comics. If you wanted thought-provoking stories, you grab Trillium and The Bunker. If you want kick decapitations, a guy named Bear with the literal heart of a bear, and stripper ninjas, you pick up Burn the Orphanage.

There's just a few indie series for you to try. I chose them because these issues that just released are the #1s, and thus a great jumping on point for interested readers. If you guys have any indie series for me to read, I'd love to dive into something a little more obscure than my regular superhero title. Put your recommendations in the comments.