Invincible – Comic to Cartoon Show – Season 1

I finished watching the last episode of Invincible last week and can speak to the series so far in comparison to the comic. Generally, I think they are doing a great job with the cartoon show and the pacing is solid. The Invincible comic starts slower and then ramps up a bit quicker when it does get going than the show–then it starts to cover a LOT of ground. I’m over halfway through the comic series and unfortunately the writing quality really starts to drop, I THINK due to the tie-ins with the other Image comic heroes and what looks like some sort of cross-over event? It was an interesting plot line that seemed very phoned in as it didn’t mesh well with the overall metaplot of the series at all.

But that’s far, far in the future for the Invincible cartoon show and I’m sure they will clean it up (or even skip it).

In terms of the show’s pacing, the cartoon did the Omni-man plot much slower than in the comic, but did the ‘guardians of the globe’ plot much earlier. The Mauler Twins/ Robot incident doesn’t happen in the comic until long after the main ‘twist’ to the series is revealed. So we got more time with Mark and his dad and less time with development of the Guardians (the new ones that is, I’m trying real hard not to have any spoilers).

The coolest ‘added’ part in the show which isn’t in the comic is when Omni-man goes to the other dimension where the invaders keep coming from and fucks them up, big time. This was eluded to in the comic but never directly shown (as it would reveal too much about Omni-man at that time in the story). That was great.

The battle in the very first episode and the team battle in episode 5(?) vs Machine head were both superb. The comic handles the first Omniman battle quite differently and the Machinehead fight just hit all the numbers with even more intensity than the comic. Image comics (the good ones) have always had solid fight scenes, especially Savage Dragon, and I think Invincible deftly pays homage to Eric Larson’s masterwork.

Of course, there’s shit I didn’t like. I do not like the show’s version of Amber. The girl that Mark was protecting from that bully guy in the comic was not Amber, it was another girl and that girl had no interest in Mark at all. The issue has nothing to do with the fact that they changed her to a different character/skin color, it’s that Amber in the comic LOVES Mark, and it takes a really long time for things to go south because of his duties as Omni-man v2. Comic-Amber doesn’t ever tell him to fuck off and frankly, the way he’s treated by cartoon-Amber in comparison– she has no value as a girlfriend at all compared to the Amber in the comic book. It’s very strange. It’s like they wanted to make this empowered woman that won’t take any shit but that’s not at all what Amber in the comic is about, and Mark really tries to be a nice guy (albeit with anger management issues) and doesn’t ever give her any shit to deal with except the fact that he has to run all over the place to save the town/city/world at times.

Multi-hued Viltrimites. In only one scene there are darker skinned Viltrimites. Typically the Viltrimites are pale with black hair– they all look pretty much the same except for a couple I’ve seen in the comic with different hair colors (usually older ones). While I’m not going to spoil anything about what they actually are, seeing them with different skin colors was very strange and didn’t make a lot of sense. Part of what makes the Viltrimites.. uhh… what they are is that they are all the same and if they aren’t the same, part of a plot later on that’s critical doesn’t make a lot of sense. Let’s see where they go with this one. I saw three of the main Viltrimite characters in the short cut scenes in the last episode and they all looked like they did in the comic.

Final episode pacing. After the big battle, there was a very long period of mellow scenes to roll the episode out. Frankly I would have left it with Omni-man flying away, then cut. I don’t think they knew they would get another season (they did) so maybe that’s why they ended it a bit like a movie.

Anyway, these are minor quibbles to a really awesome series with incredible violence and a compelling meta-plot to hang everything off of. I loved that the lines that Omni-man was saying to Mark in the last episode were things that many dads would say to their teen-age sons. I certainly heard such phrases from my dad, basically “I should have raised you differently, you don’t understand what you are supposed to be doing, you’re not listening, none of the things you think are important now are important at all when you put things in perspective.” Etc. Just like dad’s saying those things…. the eerie part is: many of those things end up being true for many sons. Let’s see if that’s so for Invincible!

One thing you can absolutely count on if you haven’t read the comic is that the level of crazy superhero graphic violence will continue on and on and on.

“I suspect that we are ill-formed for the path we have chosen. Ill-formed and ill-prepared. We would like to draw a veil over all the blood and terror that have brought us to this place. It is our faintness of heart that would close our eyes to all of that, but in so doing it makes of it our destiny… But nothing is crueler than a coward, and the slaughter to come is probably beyond our imagining.”

Invincible Series debut Friday

While my daughter said “this looks like it has a 2$ budget” from the trailer, she will be forced to watch at least the first episode of Invincible on Friday.

I passed the comic up at the comic store based on how…. lame the main character’s uniform is. It’s striking, but looks like Elastic Man with different colors. However I gave it a try and the comic is good, easy reading, especially after I’ve been on the Alan Moore stuff for so long that is both text and artistically dense as hell (mostly due to Kevin O’Neill–wow) and let’s see how the show follows suit. There is a BIG twist in the series that doesn’t suck at all, mostly because when the twist happens, that’s when the story really starts– If you find it slow at first, stick with it early on until, well, you will know.

There are some parts that get tedious, but when the fighting starts it gets good in the same vein as Savage Dragon (who is in the series as well). The super hero battles deliver on a level rarely seen in DC or Marvel stuff and because the characterization and development is so strong outside the fights, they don’t turn into just your standard early Image constant battle comics (see 90’s Cyber Force, Brigade, Youngblood, Supreme, WildCATS, Stormwatch… did I miss any?).

New Mutants, what happened!

Maaaaattt and I tried to go to the movie theater Friday and it was great: we were just spaced out and had to wear masks when going into the theater itself. If we skip the masks, it would be a fucking AWESOME experience as it is a completely non-crowded theater by design. I recommend going to see movies now before things get back to normal as you will not have crowds.

However, our attempt to see New Mutants failed as Mother Nature had other plans. A GIANT supercell went over the top of the movie theater before floating angrily out over the lake and knocked the power out all over the area, including the theater.

And, of course, it was right when the movie was starting to get interesting.

As far as I can tell seeing only about half the fim, New Mutants is a horror movie with super heroes, which due to my love of BPRD (Hellboy), Call of Cthulhu and CMON’s The Others, is right up my alley.

And who is not a fan of Magik?

FUCK OR FIGHT.

Justice League – The Giffen/DeMatteis years

I found the video below and wanted to post it for those of you that may have an interest. Even though I was a little kid, I was definitely OFF normal superhero comics by the mid-80’s, especially the DC ones who seemed super cheesy next to the Xmen– that is until Crisis on Infinite Earths, which was amazing beyond compare. Note: generally people think Marvel got WORSE after Secret Wars, and DC got BETTER after Crisis and set shit straight that DC was and is better than Marvel. Out of that came a new Justice League comic that was pretty much one of the best –and certainly my favorite— comic runs in the history of (standard) superhero comics.

This series takes a bunch of second run heroes, many of which were acquired from other comic companies over the years, and mixes them up in some high-stakes trouble while following many of their domestic lives. The core series with the writers lasted for 60 issues and is collected in trades. Like Swamp Thing, Groo, the Claiborne Xmen and Byrne Fantastic Four, JLI is a must read series even today and has had a huge influence on the direction of DC. The also excellent and much more recent Mr. Miracle series is almost a sequel to this work.

Books of 2018

I read a bunch of stuff in 2018 so far.  Some of these you should read, some maybe not.

I started off the year LIGHT because I had just finished a heavy history of the early American Colonies that took months for me to get through (The Barbarous Years).  Heavy history is the real deal compared to the pop stuff most people read that I also, shamefully, like, but if you’re not in a scholarly mood, they can be rough.

The first book of the year was a Dashiell Hammett that I hadn’t gotten to yet: RED HARVEST (not the bullshit starwars novel).  Cool name?  Well that’s what the fuck it is.  The first half is excellent and then about the middle end, when one of the main characters gets knocked off, it feels a bit rushed to me, like Hammet didn’t want to revel in the final carnage and high body count (or felt it would be unrealistic for his protagonist to survive if shit got too crazy).  Overall a strong book in the genre and a fun read.  Recommended.

this is the worst cover of any of the printings…

Second, I stayed the course on the Pulp Crime but got into heavier, more nihilistic stuff with Jim Thompson’s Pop. 1280.  This is a classic untrustworthy narrator style book with a self-proclaimed idiot Sheriff of a small town who turns out to be quite different than he tries to lead the reader to believe.  This is one of Jim Thompson’s best.  Highly Recommended.

Since I borrowed it from a dude at work, I was obliged to read Guns, Germs and Steel next.  This is on the poppy side of history books but the author’s experience and angle through the narrative is unique, though I think the full extent of it would take many volumes.  What he sets out to answer to his Polynesian friend is why the white folks have all the good “cargo” and he does so by showing that development of different foods, domestication of certain animals lead to people in Northern Europe to become the dominant group (until they ended their dominance via WW1 and WW2, like all groups do, by annihilating themselves in internal conflicts— just like the Mongols and Romans did). While “guns” is in the title, it’s really about FOOD, DOMESTICATION and GERMS– but that ain’t a sexy title.  I disagree with his assessment that leader’s decisions do not truly influence the course of history of humanity.  Caesar and at least three of the Mongol conquerors changed things beyond recognition, yet he may argue in turn that they were playing with the same set of germs and steel where Polynesia and the Native Americans were not.  Recommended.

After this, I planned to read Twain due to promptings from Maat, but I realized I had not read the entire Border Trilogy yet and plowed through All the Pretty Horses in about a week, and then started on the beastly The Crossing, which is a much longer work.   All the Pretty is an excellent read and not too heavy, much like No Country for Old Men (a Jim Thompson novel if I ever saw one!) and The Road.   The main character, while incredibly capable at everything he does, is still believable and the mess he gets in with his friend Lacey is as interesting as it is horrifying.  This book was hugely influential on a lot of SCHLOCK films and books that got way more attention (Horse Whisperer, Brokeback mountain which shamefully steals lines of dialog DIRECTLY from All the Pretty Horses). Leave those aside and experience the real deal instead.  Don’t watch the movie.

The Crossing is more along the lines of Suttree (which is on par with Blood Meridian) but it doesn’t seem so at first, and I think the first 120 pages or so are astounding (the wolf part).  After the first act of the book, you realize that this is going to be a picaresque and not as tight as All the Pretty Horses story wise.  The book reminds me most of Stuart Little, except with a lot more violence and overt philosophy.   While All the Pretty deals with an amazingly talented cowboy, the Crossing deals with a much less ubermench as the main character, Billy, in fact you could say he’s not all that great at what he does, so is more relatable to the reader (like Suttree).  He gets in bad troubles after some really bad things happen to his family and his brother and then there’s a nuke (yes a nuke), but Billy is more of an observer than actor (like Suttree). In fact, his brother seems to have a much more exciting and book worthy existence than Billy does, and I think that’s one of the lessons of the novel.  While All the Pretty Horses is the most popular of these, some people really love this book out of the trilogy.  The beginning is so sad, I had to put it down for awhile, and then it gets worse.

Cities of the Plain is the sad ending to the Border Trilogy as it closes out the cowboy (and even rural) era of the United States in the wake of the Second World War and the rise of the Military Industrial Complex.  The book involves characters from both of the previous works and is a pretty rough ride at times.  The core plot revolves around the All the Pretty Horses guy and things go terribly wrong for everyone and the story ends in 2002, so the whole Trilogy goes from 1940 to then.  The best part of the book for me is when the cowboys go hunting for a pack of dogs that have been killing calf on the range, you want to find out how people should write stuff, look at that part.  This is a sad book as the end of the characters is also the end of a way of life.  What happened to Lacey?

I recommend these highly, and if one has never read McCarthy, probably start with All the Pretty Horses or Suttree.  I will need to read The Crossing and Cities of the Plain again to really assess how these fit into his whole body of work.  Obviously these books are an absolutely surreal experience and the prose is unmatched and not to be taken lightly.  I read these on the bus and would get to very important parts when people were talking or playing their shitty songs on their shitty phone speakers.

So next is Twain, lots and lots of Twain (then probably Blood Meridian or Suttree again, YAY!).

Comic stuff 2016!

Sheet. I haven’t posted in a long time here. Work has been kick me up inside the backside and I pretty much come home, do stuff I have to do and then veg out in Fallout 4 then it’s up early and back to the grind.

First, I found on drive thru a  FREE updated version of FASERIP.  This is that old yellow box Marvel game TSR put out that we tried to play instead of Champions or TMNT for once… and at 12 years old or so, failed utterly.  I owe it to myself to try it some time as I tossed the yellow box and contents into the garbage about 10 years ago.

I’ve read some comics recently, some good, some bad, some in the middle. Needless to say, the superhero genre is only loosely represented in what I like to read.

Legacy of Luther Strode

traddmoore

This was an interesting series, 6 issues, and the very end of the Luther Strode series (really?).  Tradd Moore’s art is unique and very clean. The first few issues were excellent, though light, fare.  However, near the end and especially the last issue, It was a bit of a let down, just not dense and at the end of the last issue, I was like: why did I pick this up?  I felt like I missed everything and had no idea what the characters were talking about when they were talking and not throwing down.  However, many of the fight scenes in these are fantastic.  Maybe you had to know all the characters first?  Looking forward to more Tradd Moore stuff though after this taste.

 

low1

LOW

I liked this book a lot, until the mutant mice appeared and then… I just kept plodding along with issues. I’m hoping it concludes.  It had moments of absolute brilliance early on. Tocchini is amazing.  Read about the first 12 issues.  Then stop.

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HEAD LOPPER

Adventure Time style art and Ultra violent viking shit.  What’s not to love?  It’s a lighter book (what did you expect?) but quality through and through.

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BPRD

This series has been going strong for awhile now.  I picked up some of the older trades in a used bookstore a few weeks back and was very impressed.  BRPD is an offshoot of HELLBOY: this series is the fish guy, the fire girl and some others who are paranormal investigators and destroyers.  It’s a bit like THE OTHERS board game or Xmen vs Cthulhu, and of course, could be compared to League of Extraordinary Gentlemen with a lot less tracking of allusions! Recommended.

The FUTURE

Looks like fans of Moebius and Numenera/The Strange has another friend in Rick Remender with his upcoming comic: SEVEN TO ETERNITY. First issue looks like it’s out now.

seventoeternity

Comic Recommendation

Head Lopper.  Get it.

While I think LOW, one of my current favorites, may have jumped the shark with sentient MICE, I was happy to find issue 3 of Head Lopper sitting on the shelf and it’s superlative.  Think viking violence mashed in with adventure time.  I also picked up Miracle Man Olympus from the Alan Moore period where he teams up with the soon-after-to-be Swamp Thing artist.    Also just finished Junji Ito’s UZUMAKI, which I had only read parts of on the internet in the past.  Highly recommended.

lopped
lopped

IDW lands Micronauts and ROM

micronauts1

Two big comics from my errant youth may be back in action– both TOY BASED and should have been total shit, but both the early Micronauts and the middle run of ROM were excellent.   Yes yes, the endings of both series were quite bad, but at that point both had been handed off to various other teams and artists and it just naturally turned to shit.  I’m very interested in what IDW does with these two.  The plot of ROM was fantastic for one, and Micronauts wasn’t too shabby either.

The only worry for me is that Micronauts has had at least one reboot (not including Micronauts Voyages which killed off all the characters in the end) and it was awful, so we’ll see…  Go Baron Karza Go!

Pinterest’s new zoom search feature

It’s terrifying and awesome. Basically you see a picture you like and you can click on it, then you can search for more images LIKE that one by zooming in on a part of the image. While this could be very useful for just about everything, the obvious use is obvious.

of course I'm just searching for a camel-toe style bathing suit for Spring...

of course I’m just searching for a camel-toe style bathing suit for Spring…

 

Seriously though, it’s pretty great for other stuff as well– really it is.