favorite comics of all time

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Remembering THE CROW (’94) by Susan Doll

As super hero films clean up at the multiplexes, I cringe at how such uninspired, colorless CGI-fests could do so well at the box office. But, don’t get me wrong. Despite this remark, and others I have made in the past, I don’t dislike the comic book genre. I dislike what it has become under the iron grips of Marvel and DC and their devotion to a single demographic.

I can single out favorites in the genre going all the way back to THE BAT (’26), a silent film directed by Roland West that was likely an influence on Batman creator Bill Kane. Speaking of Batman, I greatly admire Tim Burton’s interpretations of the brooding, cowled superhero in BATMAN (’89) and BATMAN RETURNS (’92). I also like Christopher Nolan’s reboot of the Batman character, though I prefer Burton’s. One of my all-time favorite comic book films, THE CROW (’94), is currently streaming on FilmStruck. What all these films share in common is an understanding of the artistic aesthetic of the original source material—a stripped-down, graphic quality that exploits angles, lighting and composition. These films are dependent on mise-en-scène, a traditional cinematic technique referring to the look and feel of a film controlled by the director, production designer and cinematographer. Further, the directors of these older comic book films knew and appreciated the visual language and symbolism of cinematic mise-en-scène, which is based in German Expressionism. On the other hand, the most recent examples are awash in computer-generated imagery (CGI), giving them a brassy, hollow look that makes many of them indistinguishable from each other.

THE CROW was based on James O’Barr’s graphic novel, a darkly romantic tale of violence, poetry and rock ‘n’ roll. Brandon Lee, son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, stars as Eric Draven, lead singer in a rock band. Eric and his girlfriend, Shelly (Sofia Shinas), plan to marry on Halloween, but on the night before—called Devil’s Night in the Midwest—they are brutally murdered by a gang of thugs working for Top Dollar (Michael Wincott). A year later, a crow ferries Eric from the land of the dead to seek vengeance on the men who perpetrated the double homicide.

Director Alex Proyas amplified the novel’s melancholy tone with one of the darkest visual designs I have ever seen. Every scene is shot in high-contrast or low-key lighting; there isn’t one shot rendered in high-key lighting. The lack of gray scale recalls the graphic nature of comic books and graphic novels but also gives depth and richness to the images. The darks are not merely negative space but pools of shadows that seem to sculpt the buildings and alleyways that make up Proyas’s version of Detroit. THE CROW was cinematographer Dariusz Wolski’s second feature film after a decade of music videos and commercials. Born in Poland, he attended the renowned National Film School in Lodz, which specializes in acting, directing and cinematography. His talent for expressive lighting and striking imagery is evident in the films of directors who have consistently sought out his skills, including Gore Verbinski in his PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN (’03, ’06, ’07) trilogy and Ridley Scott.

Web commentators have compared the visual style to film noir, a valid comparison because THE CROW is a dystopic interpretation of the big city. The corruption associated with the urban world in noir is magnified tenfold in THE CROW: Nothing is left in the city but decay, decadence, and drugs. There is no art, no culture, no refinement. The large Gothic church that anchors the neighborhood is empty of both priests and parishioners. Only a hot-dog stand frequented by the last good cop in Detroit looks inviting, with its warm interior lighting and rich colors. THE CROW was produced and released in the early 1990s. By this time, the inner-city decay that had begun in the 1970s had turned into urban blight. The film reflects a widespread negative view of the big city just before a return to urban centers began to restore neighborhoods and focus attention on urban growth and renewal. No city was more affected by urban blight than Detroit; it’s very name was synonymous with a dystopic view of the inner city. Proyas and production designer Alex McDowell played on that reputation by offering a hellish interpretation of Detroit, where burning buildings constantly lit up the night sky.

THE CROW makes effective use of German Expressionist symbolism, adding considerably to a film in which dialogue is minimal and characters speak in melancholy phrases of portent or despair. The first image of Eric Draven is a bird’s-eye view of his dead body splayed on the sidewalk, a hint that fate or God is looking down and has something else in store for him. Visual clues of Draven’s doppelganger status are in most of his scenes. A doppelganger means a character has two sides to him; in this case, Draven is both living and dead. His large shadow is cast on the alley wall as he stumbles through the streets after rising from the grave; it is a literal depiction of his “dark side.” Close-ups reveal his face half lit and half in shadow. Most telling is the shot when Eric looks into a mirror, seeing his dark side for the first time. He cracks the mirror with his fist, distorting his reflected image. Draven’s abandoned, dilapidated apartment, which he shared with Shelly, looks like a set straight out of THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI (’19). Bars and bar shadows tell us that Eric is trapped in his fate; collapsed beams and destroyed furniture created a set design filled with diagonals and sharp shapes, reflect the chaos and instability of Eric’s twisted mind. That kind of direct connection between set design and narrative is missing from many contemporary superhero films, in which producers are more concerned with the bells and whistles of CGI than effective visual storytelling.

Older readers will recall that THE CROW was notorious because of the accidental death of Brandon Lee on set. The exact account of what happened is available to read in detail online: The short version is that a prop gun with a partial live round was accidentally used in the scene in which Eric Draven is shot. In a horrible version of art imitating life, Brandon Lee was shot dead in the scene in which his fictional character was shot dead. The film was near completion, with only a few production days left on the schedule. The producers decided to complete and release the film, using an early version of CGI to meld Lee’s face onto a stunt double’s body for the one scene that could not be rewritten. Lee was just beginning his career in action-driven films, revealing the charm and charisma of a bona fide movie star. THE CROW would have likely propelled him into superstardom and elevated him out of the shadow of his famous father. If ever a film was haunted by the performance of its star, THE CROW is it.

But, that was decades ago. Younger viewers are likely unfamiliar with Brandon Lee and the circumstances of his death. Ultimately, that tragic event does not weigh as heavily on the film like it once did. THE CROW stands on its own as a beautifully crafted comic book film with a heavy atmosphere, moody mise-en-scène and a serious treatment of the material.

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What has been your funniest moment on the set of Doctor Who?

From the Montreal ComicCon panel featuring David Tennant, Freema Agyeman, and Alex Kingston

ComicCon source [x]

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ok but his bed hair must be impossible to fix

I thought I’d finish at least one thing in between studying ;w; 

someone please burn down my uni 

also:

..though her hair isn’t any better

anonymous asked:

What are your thoughts on Justice League flopping so badly?

my thoughts on justice league flopping? well. *cracks knuckles* shall we? we shall.

let me start just off by saying that i love the dceu. i’ve grown to love zack snyder, what his vision was for these characters. his films are deep, his films have MEANING, his films are smart, they’re full of heart and depth. they feel realistic. he’s handled these characters AMAZING in mos and bvs. man of steel is one of my favorite comic book movies of all time. i haven’t been a fan of dc for very long, i’d say around a year in a half but in that time i have grown to love these characters and care about them very dearly. 

also, those are just my thoughts and my thoughts alone, but i know A LOT of people, dedicated zack snyder fans feel the same way. go on twitter, search around in the dceu community, you’ll find that most of them share my opinions or some of them. 

you might not want to continue reading if you haven’t seen justice league as im about to get into spoilery territory. the rest is going to be under the cut because there is A LOT i have to say. 

Keep reading

Commissioned Epilogue to Man Out of Time

One of my ALL TIME favorite Captain America comics is “Man Out of Time” - a fantastically written miniseries by Mark Waid and GORGEOUSLY illustrated by Jorge Molina ( @jorgemolinam ) that retells the story of Cap coming out of the ice.  It deals with the weight of loss of his removal from his own time, grieving over Bucky’s loss (and remembering him after the Brubaker soft retcon of being about 20 when he “died”).

One of the most striking moments to me is at one point in a flashback, Cap is talking to Bucky about what they want to do after the war is over.  Bucky says that he always wanted to visit the Grand Canyon - he never saw it - and it is a part of/represents what they’re fighting the war for.

At the end of the comic, as Cap has some time to himself, he travels to the Grand Canyon for Bucky, as a way to deal with his loss, and this moment happens:


And, well, this moment always gets me.  Steve going there, drawing Bucky, and “showing him” the Grand Canyon in the only way he can.  It’s his way to try to start to move forward.


It was always a dream of mine to see an epilogue, of Steve being actually able to take him there in person after he finds out he’s still alive.  This weekend, I was able to make that a reality.

I had the distinct privilege to be able to commission Jorge Molina himself (the original artist of Man out of Time), at Wizard World New Orleans for just that scene, and here it is:



I am BLOWN AWAY by the work he did - this is a traditional media piece, done in inks and copic markers, and the values he worked in, the expressions, the dynamic pose that conveys the awe of the location, and yet still have it be a tender, quiet moment between the two of them.  in the Grand Canyon, Steve with the sketchbook, hand squeezing Bucky’s shoulder, both masks off and taking in the natural majesty of the canyon.


And God, to see Bucky looking honest-to-god /HAPPY/.  

;__________;


Thank you SO much, Jorge, this is everything I could have wanted and more.

Maybe I’ll be able to (ditigally) color this some day :)

EDIT - I have digitally colored the commission with Jorge’s permission, and posted it HERE :) 

My Top 10 Favorite Comics of All Time

Hi guys,

I’ve been getting asked a lot on and offline what are my favorite comic books? That’s a loaded question. I had to think about it. There are some great runs in comics. Some great story arcs. But I had to dig down and see what I really liked. What books have I read over and over and over. These are what I enjoyed the most, I’m not saying these are the greatest comic books ever, I’m just saying they appealed to me. So here are my top 10 favorite comics.




10. Identity Crisis
The DC Comics crisis events. Mostly just okay stories. Too much going on and not enough time to invest in any one character. But Identity Crisis stands out above the rest. Instead of a multiverse changing, massive story, Identity Crisis focuses on the mystery of who killed Sue Dibny. The wife of the Elongated Man. More and more of the heroes civilian loved ones are attacked and the heroes have a ticking clock to solve the mystery before another loved one is murdered. Written by Brad Meltzer this book focuses on the cost of living a double life. Highly recommended.



9. Young Avengers: volume 2
Not to be confused with Young Avengers volume 1. Volume 2 by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie is nothing short of awesome. A multiverse hoping, teenage super hero daydream. It’s a really great story about teenage love, magic, pop references, LGB, and Loki. Lots and lots of Loki. So if you ship Wiccan and Hulkling, love Kate Bishop, and cannot get enough of America Chavez, you’ll want to read this book.



8. Superman American Alien
A lot of people have mixed opinions on this book, but I really enjoyed this unique take written by Max Landis. Focusing on the early years of Clark Kent, it felt more grounded in what Clark would actually be going through on his journey to becoming Superman. Each issue has a different artist which is fitting because each issue focuses on a different year in Clark’s child to teenager to young adult to man journey. It’s a mini series that should be pretty easy to find and I highly recommend it.



7. DC The New Frontier
A book paying tribute to the Silver Age of DC Comics. Focusing on the Macarthy era, A time where America couldn’t be less trusting, the story focuses on the super heroes once praised for their services, now find themselves ridden off as outlaws. Multiple perspectives from Hal Jordan (Green Lantern), Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman, Flash, etc, as they fight for truth, justice, and the American way, accumulating to the upcoming battle with “The Center.” Darwyn Cooke tells an amazing story that you all should check out.



6. Scott Pilgrim Vol 1 through 6
I cannot recommend these books from Bryan Lee O’ Malley enough. 6 graphic novels in total, focusing on Scott Pilgrim’s desire to date Ramona Flowers, his journey to defeat her 7 evil ex’s, and the challenge of being a responsible adult. This book is filled with post high school confusion, punk rock, video games, anime style action, and heart. If you liked the movie, I promise you, you’ll love the book.



5. Ultimate Comics Spider-Man volume 2
My favorite super hero is Spider-Man. In 2011 when they announced they would be making a new Spider-Man of color I was ecstatic. As a person of color it’s been great to have a Spider-Man that fills that need for minority characters. Obviously just having a minority character isn’t enough but Brian Michael Bendis’s run on Ultimate Comics Spider-Man makes you really love the character of Miles Morales. The story of what happens after Peter Parker dies and a new clueless Spider-Man must fill the void, is nothing short of great. It puts you in the shoes of a new character trying to figure out who he is, all while trying to keep the memory of Peter Parker alive. 



4. Paper Girls
If you like the show “Stranger Things,” you’ll love Paper Girls. Taking place in the 1980s, 4 middle school girls, on their morning paper route get caught up in the strangest day of their lives. To ninjas, dinosaurs, time travel, clones, to apple products, Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang hit you with a sci-fi nostalgia story that will keep you guessing where the next turn is.




3. Justice League International
The late 80′s had one of the greatest Justice League runs of all time. Keith Giffen and J.M. Dematteis pumped out some of the funniest and most entertaining comics to date. Focusing on the Justice League as a work place comedy, this massive run follows the adventures of a newly formed Justice League made up of mostly second string characters. The satisfaction of Batman punching out Guy Gardner, the comedy duo of Blue Beetle and Booster Gold, GNORT! If you want your super hero books to be fun and hilarious, this is the book for you. Starting in Justice League #1 through 6 and transitioning to Justice League International, then splitting between Justice League Europe and Justice League America.



2. New Avengers
This comic book run written by Brian Michael Bendis is what got me back into comics after an 8 year absence. 6 months after the Avengers disbanded due to the Scarlet Witch killing some of her fellow teammates, a massive prison break, orchestrated by Electro forces Spider-Woman, Luke Cage, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, and the Sentry to come together to put an end to the riot. The book follows the newly formed team on their mission to track down the 42 escaped prisoners, all while trying to solve the mystery who hired Electro and why? New Avengers also brought some of the best characters in Marvel including Wolverine, Ms. Marvel, Hawkeye, Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, and more, to join the team. The book became the center stage for Marvel Comics from 2005 until 2012 running through events like House of M, Civil War, Secret Invasion, all the way to Avengers vs X-Men. It’s a fun super hero book that really throws you into the world of Marvel Comics.



HONORABLE MENTIONS
Black Science
Sex Criminals
New Teen Titans (Marv Wolfman)
Batgirl and the Birds of Prey
Uncanny X-Force (Rick Remender run)
Batgirl: Year One




AND NUMBER ONE….




1. Saga
If you’re not reading Saga, you are missing out. A Romeo and Juliet story set in a sci-fi fantasy space adventure. In the middle of an intergalactic war, Alona and Marko leave their worlds behind to risk everything for the survival and protection of their newborn Hazel. Hunted by both sides of the war, the two travel across the stars and encountering creatures from all over the galaxy who either want to help them or want them dead. Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples take a story about the ups and downs of parenting and throws it into a cosmic and crazy story of awesomeness. Look out for Izabel, Prince Robot the IV, and Ghus. You will smile every time they are on the page.

every once in a while i remember the tf2 comics and I’m hit with a wave of reliving how fucking amazing and hilarious their storytelling is

honestly those have to be my favorite comics of all time

anonymous asked:

Hello!! I'm officially done with Prime Earth after this week. Which title would you recommend for someone who's only focused on books with Dick as a main character before? Preferably New Earth & Batfam related :)

Yeahhh, it looks like the general consensus is that this week sucked for comics.

But alright. If you want something light, casual, happy, and easy to read, I’d recommend Li’l Gotham. It has a [Vol 1] and [Vol 2]. It’s affordable, very cute, and has a Batfamily focus.

Otherwise, my favorite era of comics is the Dick!Bat era. I think Dick had a solid couple years in the cowl, and his relationship with Damian is one of my favorites due to the dramatic character development Damian undergoes. I made [this trade guide], because it’s honestly pretty confusing figuring out how to collect runs. It’s definitely not intuitive to new readers, but you can purchase those trades in chronological order with some confidence. I already mentioned [The Black Mirror] in that post, but I really feel that it deserves to be mentioned again because it’s probably my favorite comic of all time. The story is so thoughtful and symbolic that I would consider it a literary masterpiece, which is not something I say about most comics.

Next, I’d recommend [The Batman Files], because I’ve actually bought it five times. It’s not a ‘comic book’ so much as it’s a personal scrapbook of Bruce Wayne’s life. I think it offers an invaluable insight into the Bat mythos, and I [ramble about it a lot here].

If you’re interested in Dick as Robin and Babs as Batgirl, we have [Robin: Year One and Batgirl: Year One]. One of my favorite comics of all time is [Teen Titans: Year One]. I’ve read it at least six times, but I definitely recommend it for its emphasis on Dick’s roots with the Titans since they’re like a family to him. We also have [Scarecrow: Year One], which features Dick as Robin. I want to be clear and say that I’m not recommending the Scarecrow story so much as I’m recommending this comic for its insight on Dick and Bruce’s relationship. Most Scarecrow fans that I know aren’t impressed with this origin story in terms of Jonathon Crane, but I feel the rest of the comic makes up for that (minus the womanizer angle) because I’m a biased Dick Grayson fan and it should be illegal for Bruce and Dick to be this cute. 

Let’s see, what can I throw at you next… The Nightwing Dixon run. Here’s [Vol 1] and here’s [Vol 2]. [Vol 3] will be out in January. [Vol 4] comes out in April. I really wish DC would release these faster, but unfortunately we’re stuck waiting. This era is where we see Dick gaining complete independence as Nightwing to protect his own city. It’s a story about his growth as a character, and it’s where you go if you want to see Dick as a police officer. (I said the Dick!Bat era was my favorite, but Officer Grayson actually holds my heart and soul.) This is where you go if you want to read about the DickBabs relationship, because Oracle features in this title frequently. What’s more, Tim Drake drops in every now and then, so you get some exposure to him and Dick being bros. Nightwing trades from the 90′s do exist, and I’d definitely recommend searching for them on Amazon or E-Bay if you’re impatient for the next volume. While you’re waiting for the other trades to get released, you can always check out [Nightwing: The Target]. Another random comic I want to recommend is [Birds of Prey #8] for Dick and Babs. That link goes to the kindle edition because the actual comic sells for over $40+ (which should give you an idea of how good it is).

The 1980′s isn’t for everyone, but I’m fond of New Teen Titans, and I think it’s a great era if you’re open to it. The Titans had a profound impact on Dick’s character growth, and Marv Wolfman is the co-creator of Nightwing. He’s one of the most influential writers of this character, hands down, and spent over a decade shaping Dick’s characterization. [Vol 1], [Vol 2], and [Vol 3] were recently reprinted. [Vol 4] comes out in January. This is where you go if you’re interested in the DickKory relationship. It’s also a title I’d recommend to people who were fans of the Teen Titans animated show, since that show was heavily based off of this era of comics.

I often talk about how Donna’s death had one of the greatest impacts on Dick’s life, and I do recommend this era for anyone who wants to see this play out. I think it’s nice if you read some NTT first in order to get exposure to Dick and Donna’s relationship as friends, but this isn’t required. You can start with [Graduation Day] and then move onto Outsiders [Vol 1], [Vol 2], [Vol 3], and [Vol 4], which are written by Judd Winick. Some highlights of this era are Dick and Roy’s relationship (definitely go here if you’re interested in that). This title is also strong in terms of LGBT and PoC representation. Anissa Pierce is a black, lesbian woman. Grace Choi is bisexual, a bad ass, and Asian-American. They end up living together, and I really think this title is underrated in terms of how progressive it is. Be aware that this title explores a lot of dark themes (tw for sex trafficking).

I’m going to move away from Dick Grayson now to highlight some other Batfamily members. [Lost Days] and [Under the Red Hood] offer a quick and easy introduction to Jason Todd, written by Judd Winick. Unfortunately, it’s harder finding the trades for Stephanie Brown and Cass Cain. Cass is getting her trade reprinted in January, starting with [Vol 1], but it’s a ways away. Until then, I’d recommend No Man’s Land, which is really the way to go for Cass anyway since it covers her first appearance. You can find [Vol 1], [Vol 2], [Vol 3], [Vol 4], and [Vol 5] here along with a nice introduction to Helena Bertinelli (For more Huntress, you can try [Huntress: Cry for Blood] and [Huntress: Year One]. Cry for Blood is more highly recommended for being in character, but it’s also more expensive). Oracle is another major focus in NML, as well as Bruce. Dick and Tim both make appearances too. If you find that collecting No Man’s Land in print form is too expensive or too much to read, then I’d like to direct your attention to Graphic Audio, where you can listen to the novelization of this story with voice actors for over 11 hours. [Part 1] is here and [Part 2] is here. I honestly cannot recommend this enough, because it’s an amazing experience to listen to. The voice actors are spot on (you will melt at Dick Grayson’s voice just because), and the music and sound effects are seamlessly integrated as well. If you have to spend your money on one thing on this list, I’d say this is your best investment, particularly if you’re looking for a story that involves the entire Batfamily. Moving on, I’d love to offer some Tim Drake stuff, but DC is lagging here. [Vol 1] of his Robin solo goes into reprint this November, and [Vol 2] comes out in March. This is also where you’d go to see Steph as Spoiler. Finaaaally, to draw this to a close, I want to offer another Bruce Wayne focused story. [Bruce Wayne – Murderer?] comes first, followed by Fugitive [Vol 1], [Vol 2], and [Vol 3]. Dick, Tim, Cass, Steph, and Babs all feature here.

-deep breath- Okay. So this definitely isn’t everything New Earth has to offer, but I feel like I hit a lot of the major stuff, especially from a Dick Grayson / Batfam centric viewpoint. I did my best to focus on stories that are affordable, well-written and easy to collect. <: I hope these characters devour your soul.

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I thought about posting these separately, but they relate to each other so I guess I’ll post them together.

A few things I’ll talk about with this I guess:

-Dipper is 17 in the top comic. He is 18 in the bottom comic.

- In my head, Dipper is one of the last to turn back into a human (and Mabel is one of the first). This is because he feel responsible, etc. for the Fluvius getting spread and puts the needs of the others before his own. Ironically, each person to change back drops his confidence levels (along with Mabel not always being around, Wendy going off to college…), which means it continues to take longer for him to find the “cure” for himself.

- There’s a whole story to this and these images, which I’m debating on running down here because Idk how much I will draw of it. Some things I feel cool discussing tho; Gargrunk gets attacked, there are other certvitaur involved. They don’t like gargoyles very much for reasons and they are super weirded out by Dipper wearing clothes. 

Other things to come I’m sure! These probably would have given me less grief if I just looked up deer anatomy.