Don't forget to check out the classic Fred The Clown strips at the bottom of the page. Updated every Tuesday to Friday.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Personally for me this is one of the most wonderful times of the year even if it truly has been heavily commercialized. Every Christmas season I feel like a child again and even if not true, I feel that at least for one day everything is all right in the world. I just like the atmosphere.

To all my friends and readers here I greet you a happy holiday no matter what your cultural background is, I just hope you enjoy it.

I was planning on making a theme for the entries this year highlighting Christmas stories that I liked from different media, whether they be animation, comics, movies or storybooks. I even asked a few friends to contribute with their own selections. Alas time did not permit it as I became too busy this December to properly organize it. I feel tired but still comfortably happy regardless simply because of the season and I wish the same to all of you, after all 'tis the season to be jolly.

I'll just save doing reviews for A Very Charlie Brown Christmas and the likes next year and instead just give you two easy listenings for this one.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ghost Rider 2099 the first 5 issues

Writer: Len Kaminsky
Artists: Chris Bachalo, Mark Buckingham, Peter Gross and others

I remember fondly when this used to be my favorite 2099 title from Marvel. That didn't last and I'm reminded now after reading it again for this review. I don't think I can ever motivate myself to review the entire run of this series following it per story arc like I promised to do with Doom 2099. It isn't just that compelling anymore.

Looking back, it wasn't the gimmick cover of the first issue that convinced me to buy this comic like so many else did back when I was a teenager. It was the original art team. Back then my favorite artists in comics were Joe Quesada and Chris Bachalo. Later on through the years, I realized that it was actually more the tandem of Bachalo and Mark Buckingham that I liked. Both are very talented and good artists in their own right, but working together the art they produced were an amalgam of great artistry only possible when the strength of both artists are combined.

Now see the story in this arc was decently good and probably bordering on great at the start. The more it moved and was fleshed out, the more it's mediocrity was revealed. The premise was simple in that this new Ghost Rider is in no way related to the older iterations, more far removed from how the Danny Ketch version was from the Johnny Blaze one even. This newer version is technology based compared to the old mystical version. This is not a Spirit of Vengeance incarnate but a man turned robot by sentient computer programs in a quest for personal vengeance and trying to be a symbol of destruction for the current social inequality prevalent at the 2099 universe timeline. Basically it's just a new take on the property meshed with all the other established premises of the other 2099 titles of evil corporations running society, the cyberspace (internet) as some sort of a separate new world interlinked with the real world and the borrowed societal hierarchy from Magnus: Robot Fighter.

Now mind you, I really personally find this comic a blast to read. The somewhat mediocre story is negligible to complain about when the way it is presented blows your socks off with it's killer gritty art. Well at least for this story arc, and you can see it dwindling down until the fifth issue. As the original art team starts to depart from the series one by one, so did my interest. The first 3 issues were the most awesome simply for the fact that those were the ones done by the Chris Bachalo and Mark Bucking ham tandem. The 4th issue pencilled by Peter Gross was still satisfying because Buckingham still embellished it and the art still resonates enough familiarity with the first three. I was thankful enough that Buckingham almost did the majority of art in issue 5 which at least ensured the flow of the artwork until the closure of this initial storyline. No offense to Kyle Hotz who had since took over starting at issue 6, I know he is a talented guy and all but it was Bachalo and Buckingham that made this comic for me. Without them, it's just wasn't the same ever again.

I have to admit though, the tease at the end of this story is quite intriguing. The hinted conspiracy from the sentient programs' (AKA The Ghostworks) conversation that served as an epilogue, displayed that the events that had happened and triggered the origin of the main protagonist Zero Cochrane's transformation into Ghost Rider was not out of serendipity nor the noble pure intentions that they claimed to have. Still, as I've said too many times already, I can't muster enough of the enthusiasm without the original art team. Have I beaten that point to death already?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Monster Art!

3 pieces of monsters I drew while bored. Well actually the orange tentacle guy was an entry for an online design your own kaiju contest years ago for a tokusatsu site. It won me a 2nd place prize! The others were done out of boredom, I'm planning on doing more of this in the future. I like designing monsters it seems.

I would have posted this suckers back in October for my supposedly 2nd year of horror theme posting in anticipation of Halloween, but alas my old computer crashed and I only managed to buy one late November.

Click the images for a bigger view of the pic. Enjoy!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Doom 2099 the first 4 issues

Written by: John Francis Moore
Penciled by: Pat Broderick

I was honestly planning on reviewing the entire series in one big swoop, but then decided otherwise. I felt that it wasn't fair to all the contributors and creators of the entire run of this great series. Instead in the near future, expect more reviews for individual story arcs of this title. This effort is an attempt to raise awareness for this forgotten and under appreciated title and hopefully if possible, convince Marvel to release trade collections for this particular title.

When the concept of the 2099 line of comics was first announced, I was just about to become a teenager and I thought that this was a bad idea that would eventually flop. The fact that most cover prices of comics back then still enabled me to have a bit more elbow room with my impulse purchase, my curiosity still got the better of me and I still ended up trying some of the titles in it. Three titles particularly managed to impressed me big time (Spiderman 2099, Doom 2099 and Ghost Rider 2099) and one got my cursory attention (Punisher 2099).

Now to be more specific. The story of Doom 2099 was one great big elaborate tale who I'm guessing was not really much planned out entirely as with most cases of ongoing comic titles at the time. However each particular storyline was compelling enough to suck you in while the inherent uniqueness of the premise for its time piques the interest.

The comics was a series on the exploits of a villain, not an anti hero but an actual villain. A well rounded villain with logical motivation but a villain nonetheless and quite unapologetic at it. A story of a man whose resolve that his way is the only way, egocentric, ambitious, manipulative, power hungry and driven. It makes no bones in showing the ugly side of idealism granted set off in a backdrop of a futuristic sci-fi setting. Those along with the passion displayed and global political intrigue albeit a fictional one at that is what catches the audience.

The premise of the first and introductory arc is simply that, an introduction. It shows how a time displaced Doom arriving at his current setting with a slight amnesia preventing him from remembering how and why he got there. Seeing his future country in a sense of disarray and poverty he decided to make his primary mission taking the leadership back from those currently in power. Along the process seeds of doubt of whether he was the real Dr. Victor Von Doom are presented, but ultimately that did not deter him. Showing the resolve, cunning and arrogance of the actual 20th century villain, he successfully managed to accomplish his initial goals. Doom was once again ruler of Latveria, however plenty of mysteries are still left unsolved and treachery foreboding from all directions. It was a very simple but satisfying conclusion and set up for all the remaining stories to come.