Sunday, April 04, 2010

In Review Of: Doctor Who - The Eleventh Hour

From the costume, I thought that we might be looking at a performance quite a bit like Patrick Troughton, the second Doctor.

But I would have been wrong.

Watched the new Doctor Who episode last night at Wonder Con and was blown away by a couple things. Given that I've been with this franchise since 1980, I wanted to share a few thoughts on the new direction of the series.

First - it feels different with Moffat in charge. Just as "Rose" was such a departure from the JNT series with Sylvester McCoy, and the abortive TV move from the 1990's, this is a departure in tone from the RTD era. After 5 years, its time. Doesn't matter that Moffat wrote most of the best episodes during the RTD era, they were shot with Davie's sensibilities in mind. Makes me wonder how much better the series could have been if JNT had left at the end of Davison's run, instead of being pushed to stay. Colin might have been, would have been a completely different Doctor.

The episode spins in a number of different directions, almost too many, as if, with the biggest and best toy in the universe to play with, Moffat can't help but doing a few spin-outs in the parking lot now that he's been given the keys. That's ok, I like the energy.

Second - Matt is out of the box great as the Doctor. Eccleston is a Doctor that i enjoyed tremendously, simply because he's such a good actor that his emotionally scarred Doctor is all kinds of manic and unpredictable. Much in the same way that Tom Baker was in his first couple seasons, you never knew which way he was going to turn, or how he was going to react. He is, after all, an alien and i prefer him to be unpredictable. Tennant's Doctor, while given some excellent scripts, took a while to grow on me. His early turns in the Christmas Invasion and New Earth weren't quite my taste.

Matt works for me right out of the Tardis... er... box. Now, I'm trying to remain spoiler free, so we'll see how the rest of the season plays out, but right now Matt has something that I've not seen since the second episode of Robot: someone who looks like they've dropped right into the role so quickly that they're already doing all the small things that sell the part.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Waiting for the second showing of matt smith's Doctor Who at wonder con. Just missed getting into the first showing by 13 people in an 800 person room.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Dick Giordano and Wonder Con

When Dick passed away last week I found myself thinking back to the slightly sepia toned days of Valiant Comics/Acclaim Comics and of Dick coming by to hold impromptu inking/advice clinics up in the bullpen area.

As naive as it may seem, it really sounded like fun when Shooter decided to remake a comic company with a bullpen area that might actually be like Stan used to make Marvel sound in his Stan Lee soapbox pages. Naive in that artists now live all over the country as opposed to being cloistered into the few square miles of Manhattan, but in the pre-internet being everything days it rather was a good idea.

Being an inker at Acclaim was a little scary, since Bob Layton eventually took over the EIC chores, so you knew that every page he looked at he must have seen with a, "Oh I can do better than that." Bob never particularly liked my work, although there were times on my best jobs that he did come through with a nice compliment or two.

It was a big deal when Dick would come into the office since most everyone there knew his reputation, who he had worked with, what he had done. (He was one of the few that Andrew Wendell would get off his high horse and talk to.) So what was nice is that no one was defensive about his or her work, after all you couldn't be with Dick his resume was impeccable, but he was simply so nice and affable to deal with that the criticism always came off as helpful. It was great to listen to old school comic fans now professionals ask Dick, "What is the secret of getting that Wonder Woman sheen on the hair?", "Why did Sekowsky do this on his pencils?", "How did Joe Orlando get that look to his brush work?". Dick answered all of the questions to best of his ability and was thoroughly entertaining really. Layton was usually in a good mood those days as well, they seemed to get along well.

Do I recall any one thing that i learned from Dick's visits? It wasn't a specific brush technique (although, now that i think about it, he did show a certain pen line out of a spotted black that i think i do use), but it was more about giving back and sharing the wealth of skills and approaches that can work in comics. He was a great guy and, like Archie Goodwin, one of a few guys who were very good at getting the best out of the people around them. We'll miss him.

I'll be at Wondercon on Sunday wandering around, hope everyone has a good time there. I won't be sitting and signing but I'm hoping that Radical Publishing might have some of the TimeBomb work at their booth! I'll be live blogging any good stuff that comes up. Saturday night, however, is the big deal: the premier of Matt Smith as the new Doctor! I'll be surprising my two daughters by bringing them in to watch the episode... and they have no idea its coming. Should be fun.

Will we finally get a new Red Tide?

Neil comments on my long ago post on Steranko's Red Tide that the originals were recently exhibited in the Geppi Museum, and that a new version might finally be in the works.

That is good news indeed.

i know that Mike Richardson of Dark Horse was talking about a new version as long ago as 1999, and that, somehow, nothing ever came of it. So it would be something if it were to finally happen.

For one thing, I could finally replace these crappy scans with crisp new scan of Steranko artwork properly colored and separated. Hopefully without breaking the spine of my new book.

This is Steranko at his game changing best folks. This will be a revelation to people if given the same treatment that Dave Steven's Rocketeer was just given. In the era where it was finally time for someone to step and take the next step after Jack Kirby at his 1966 heights, not one but two people came up: Neal Adams and Jim Steranko. The two of them came at the work from different approaches and, like rock and roll in the post-Beatles era, divided all who came after them. Neal, with his highly illustrative approach, took Batman into a new level of iconography by going the opposite of Kane: his Batman, and Green Lanterns, were populated by real people, with clothing that folded realistically over forearms containing arm hear and fingernails that needed to be trimmed. Steranko took Nick Fury to new heights of symbolism, bringing in pop art influences and different production techniques, but more inportantly, taking the vocabulary of comics to a further extreme than Jack did. If jack's Captain America leap with his feet 6 feet apart, Steranko's Captain America was almost 12 heads tall and had his feet 8 feet apart. All while defeating the hordes of Hydra while a jet black dyed Madame Hydra gesticulated hypnotically in the overlay.

Yes, Chandler was Steranko reigned in, but in service of the story, and adapting his prodigious talents to the form that he himself set up: 8 lines of text broken to under two panels per page.

A Big Little book for adults.

Haiku detective fiction.

And unlike other artist whose blank canvas projects stare back and defeated many an artist, Jim had a work ethic and brought his storytelling talents to bare and nailed the book. Even for a conservative 1976 audience.

Hopefully he will restore the text to the original form that had been intended before, as i understand it, moderate censoring by original publisher Byron Preiss.

More info as we go...