Monday, April 23, 2012

Review Explanation

Here's a little breakdown of my review writing process, dear reader.

When I review something I'm going to relate it to my life, if I can. If this is an issue for you, well, then that's reason number one not to read my blog.

My ratings scale is five point. It's the Pentagram of Righteousness!

1 = Horrible. It no longer exists for me.
2 = Not great. There's really no reason why anyone should be excited over this.
3 = Fine. I can't go nuts over it, but I won't say it's crap.
4 = Fantastic. I could go on about how neat this is and probably will.
5 = Perfect. Why are you reading this post when you should instead be committing your time to this thing!

The Bliss of Spring and Dynamite Comics' The Shadow

Ah, Spring. It's wondrous power has taken hold of me. All I want during this season, as its cool breezes waft in through the open windows of my home, is to find a good read and a comfy blanket. No matter how good the read, though, a nap tends to follow. 

Recently, before succumbing to unconscious bliss I decided to read the first issue of Dynamite Comics' The Shadow, penned by Garth Ennis, featuring the artwork of Aaron Campbell with a variety of cover art by several big names in the comic book industry (my cover of choice featured the work of Alex Ross). I'm very much a fan of The Shadow and have been for a long time. I grew up listening to audio cassettes of the old radio episodes and had several family members who knew and would often dramatically recite the familiar line (especially after the Baldwin film from the 90s), "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!"

This new version, not the first comic to feature the classic hero, sets up what is sure to be an exciting and exceptional arc. Set in the period of old WWII, the book opens on an account of the savagery of the Japanese towards the Chinese, and in the flashback/exposition the Asian ties to Lamont Cranston/The Shadow are somewhat laid out. From there Ennis goes on to bring us into Cranston's life after some Shadow action on the docks of his city home.

Ennis didn't stray far this issue from the original form of the character, like Kevin Smith chose to do with Green Hornet. He even kept characters like Margot Lane, who apparently is more than just a mere gal Friday to our hero. Regarding Ms. Lane, I'm certain that in my youthful ignorance I failed to see that Lane and Cranston were more than chums. This world and its characters are given a sort of form through the respectable artwork of Campbell. He depicts a Shadow who fits perfectly alongside the character my mind's eye beheld throughout my childhood.

This issue was a great introduction/reintroduction to the world of the master of minds, the wielder of nickel-plated twin .45s, the man with knowledge of the evil of men's minds. I very much look forward to reading this series, and I hope that Ennis and Campbell continue to remain faithful to the world of this beloved crime fighter. The Shadow #1 shall be given four stars out of five. Now to pass out for a while as Spring again wafts in through a nearby window.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Zine...the product of my nerdy life

Science-fiction, fantasy, and horror have all had a tremendous impact on my life. From my early youth up till now I've delighted in the escape and dream-enriching content they provide. I've spent time writing about space and monsters, drawing creatures and warriors, and planning films which would feature a smashing combination of all of the above. I love these genres with all my heart.

I've spent quite some time honing my skills in illustration and writing, and I've had the fortune of meeting some incredibly talented individuals who share many of my interests. Considering all of this and my feelings for my favourite genres I've decided to go against the weak advice of a pseudo-savy comic book guy and declare my intent to publish a zine. My first attempt at self-publishing resulted in a comic book that should have been called a zine. I chose to go with the former description after the poor advice given by previously mentioned comic book guy. Now that I have a focus, some experience, and a great stable of talented friendlies I'm going to make a go of it for really reals!

The zine I'm planning will feature artwork from many talented fellow fans of horror, sci-fi, and fantasy in both single illustration and comic form. It will also feature fiction and non-fiction which will tell tales from and give critiques of the above listed genres. As of now there is not a title for this project, but I'm working out the themes and details as I go along.

To be perfectly honest, while this is a typical fanboy project I find that I can in no better way honour those things which I so greatly love. Self-publishing is as fantastic as it is powerful. I hope that the efforts put forth by all involved will combine to show the love held for the genres I've mentioned and also inform and entertain our readers. Hopefully you'll be amongst that group of folks who will page through our collection of the best we talented few can possibly offer in tribute to our beloved fantasy, science-fiction, and horror.

Stay tuned, friends. There's some quality stuff coming your way!

-J. Sample, humbly signing off!