Saturday, June 28, 2008


is so goddamn good its not even funny. Seriously. Go see. And if you're not blubbering by the end do not be troubled, for you are in Elysium...and you are already dead.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Robin Banks: She's Back

Okay, so we established that Robin's a she, she's a thief, and her world is the pre-Vietnam '60s, probably based out of Los Angeles, but she can travel wherever the gig takes her.

And she needs a crew. Gotta have a crew...what's a thief without a crew? Lonely, that's what. One of the things I'd like to play with is the idea of a woman who's tired of working in the world of men. Or, at least, tired of working for men. It's the '60s, after all, when the ladies were beginning to step out, when Women's Lib was gaining traction.

The first issue of this miniseries would have Robin on a heist that goes badly, for the most part because the men who brought her in on the job didn't pay attention when the details were laid out. And it was compunded by the fact that, during the gig, they were too focussed on her ass instead of the job at hand.

So Robin forms her own crew, a crew that's used to dealing with a female safe-cracker, made of thieves able to do the job without wondering if they're going to get "a job" when it's over. In other words, a crew made up of other women.

(Yes, I realize that it could have a Fox Force Five vibe, and I don't care. Superteams are awesome. Period.)

If Robin is the safe-cracker/lead planner, she'd need a couple of other disciplines to complement her: a driver, a pistolero, an electronics/communications wizard, and a legbreaker. Five beautiful, multiethnic women, all masters of their craft and all dedicated to a life of crime.

They need a name. Sort of like a girl group--this is the 60's, after all. At first I had Robin Banks and the Crackers, but that sounded both racist and salty.

Robin Banks and the Liberators. They "liberate" your hard-earned wealth. And it plays nicely into the Women's Rights theme.

Done. On to the proposal...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Strange Days

When the world surprises me, it does it in increasingly surprising ways.

I'm not sure how many of you know this feeling, but I've encountered myself in places I never expected to. I'm a geek, as previously stated. And, as a geek, there are people I'm a fan of, and have been following for some cases, decades. Neil Gaiman, for one. I discovered The Sandman in college--an artist friend was a devotee and all but forced me to read it. And I loved it, much like the rest of the English-speaking world. As time went on, and I got me some internet, I bookmarked Neil's blog/site, and made it one of my daily reads.

Flash forward a few years, and I'm at EW, editing our comics stuff, and I've an occasion to commission a piece on Neil's update of The Eternals. Written by Neil and drawn by John Romita Jr. Sweetness abounded. And Neil and I emailed back and forth a couple of times, got a little friendly, and thus as it ever was. One of the highlights of my professional career is the relatively frequent opportunity to meet people whose work I respect and admire.

Yesterday, I'm looking at his blog, as I do every day, and have the incredibly weird sensation of seeing my own name there.

I don't do this to name drop, or brag, or make it clear that not only do I know Neil Gaiman, but that he knows me. I'm just trying to get across how profoundly odd it is to come across yourself in the incredibly familiar place you still least expect.

Now, hearing Kevin Smith talk about me on SModcast was just fucked-up cool.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

'Genius' Review Roundup

Some more love from der intarwubs:

Pop Syndicate

Weekly Comic Book Review

And, finally, the top of Comic Book Resources' Buy Pile

The people, they seem to like it. And at the signing we held last Friday at Jim Hanley's Universe, we sold out of their entire shipment of 35 books in the first hour. Afua had to send her boyfriend to Midtown Comics to buy out their stash, and bring it on back—and by 9:00pm, we only had 5 copies left.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Genius: Some Love it...others, not so much

As always, in effort to be fair, here are two reviews of Genius, both with differing opinions.

From Ain't It Cool News:

There are some that may be intimidated by the content in this, one of Top Cow’s first issue “Pilot Season” issues. A brilliant military and strategic mind, much like the brainchild of Napoleon, Hannibal, Patton, is born and raised in South Central Los Angeles and starts an uprising against a corrupt system. It’s one of those scenarios that’ll be sure to make suburban white American readers cringe a bit. But this first issue seems to handle this heavy concept with a serious tone and never hams it up for shock value or preachy reasons. I like the imagery as our star genius, Destiny Ajaye, is able to see what’s going to happen three or four moves ahead of her opponents. The art by Afua Richardson is extremely strong here with Cully Hamner/Tony Harris-esque mixes of exaggerated body posturings coupled with minimalistic lines suggesting dynamic shapes and movements. The writing is crisp too, from the guys who brought you MONSTER ATTACK NETWORK; Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman. I haven’t read many of these “Pilot Season” books, and it’s up to the readers to decide which one moves on to become an actual series next year. All I know is that this is a strong candidate. We previewed the book in last Monday’s SHOOT THE MESSENGER Column. Check it out. -Bug

And from Comic Book Resources:

"Every generation has one: Hannibal, Alexander, Washington, Patton. We might just be dealing with the greatest military mind of our time. A genius." That's the paraphrased, PG version of the dialog from Reggie, a detective on the LAPD. The genius is a 17-year-old named Destiny who leads folks in her neighborhood with charisma and a quick pistol-hand.

And therein is the first small issue I have with this book. The main characters are not completely identified for us. Not that I need a flow chart or a program to read this story, but it would certainly help to know who the players are on the field.

The story, regardless of knowing the stats of the players involved, is straightforward and easy to follow. Sometimes, however, it seems to take itself a little too seriously and tries to stress its own seriousness through a liberal use of the f-bomb. Bernardin and Freeman offer a tale that, like all comics, asks you to suspend your disbelief, as an organization of gangs being able to escalate to this point without any notice, concern, or infighting seems almost as credible as a flying man with heat vision. This is comics, after all, so I suppose anything is possible, but I get the notion this story isn't quite complete with this issue.

And it's not. This is the Pilot Season event from Top Cow. "Pilot Season" is Top Cow's annual initiative to attempt to let readers take control and vote on which one shot they'd like to see made into a series the following year. The problem with this story hooking into the Pilot Season initiative is that it's not complete enough to truly leave me wanting more. It reads as an interlude. This story is a clip on the evening news that blows by, never to be revisited again.

Afua Richardson hits the pages with some artwork that is brilliant in spots and rushed or incomplete in others. Some pages are well composed, some are more traditionally composed, and some are experiments that try, but fall short. I'd like to see more of her art, as I appreciate the effort and the talent. I'm just not completely convinced that her arsenal couldn't be a little sharper.

Overall the story feels kind of flat. For an issue that needs to build excitement and generate some buzz, this title just shows up. Sure, it's a new take on an older concept. The art is different than a lot of art on the stands, but nothing in this book really blew me away. I'm sure some folks would enjoy an ongoing featuring Destiny and her efforts to bring her war to those who deserve her righteous fury, but this story just didn't hook me enough.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

More 'Genius' Love

From The Quarter Bin. And, let me say, I'm encouraged that people are receiving this book with an open mind.

Genius is a far cry from the futuristic fantasy of Lady Pendragon. The latest Pilot Season book takes place in a modern-day South Central L.A. neighborhood, a place where violence and animosity have long ruled the streets. However, things have changed as of late, with different gangs and rivals coming together and working as one, despite their differences. The reason? Destiny, a short, skinny young woman with the mind of a military genius. Under her tutelage, the residents of the neighborhood have been training for war with their one common enemy: the cops. This war, she believes, is the only way to take back her neighborhood.

I honestly wasn’t sure what to make of this book the first time through. It took a second read for me to really get into it. It’s not that it’s not a good, well-written story, because it is. Bernardin and Freeman have carefully crafted each line of dialogue and every move in this war for South Central. I just wasn’t sure about Destiny’s message, that the only way for her to makes the streets safe was to kill every police officer who dared come into the area. Sure, the residents are no longer fighting each other, but with the streets still running red with blood, were things really any better?

Of course, that’s the point–like the neighborhood men and women who have been instructed in the ways of military tactics by Destiny, the reader needs to trust her instincts. She’s a girl with a mind like Bobby Fischer and absolutely no formal training. However, she sees how everything is going to play out before it actually happens. That is who she is, and everyone else needs to get on board or get out. By the time I finished reading Genius the second time, I was anxious to find out what was going to happen next.

Richardson’s artwork really stands out as well, largely because of the different perspectives he gives the reader. Different points of view, like through a sniper rifle, from the ground, from a rooftop, make every frame seem unique. Without fantasy elements like magic and dragons, it can be a little harder to make your artwork stand out. Richardson gets the job done, however.

Genius #1 will be on sale tomorrow, June 18, so be sure to check out your local comic shop if you want to see more of Destiny’s war to take back her neighborhood. Man, if the rest of Pilot Season continues like this, it’s going to be really hard to pick favorites!

(I wonder why people think Afua's a he? Needless to say, they wouldn't if they saw her.)

Monday, June 16, 2008

'Genius' Review!

From Christopher Herbert at Comic Book Goblin:

From the dramatic first page, a Splash panel in which we see a cop being shot, blood flying, you can tell that this is something slightly different. Set in South Central, Los Angeles, Genius is centered around one ‘Destiny Ajaye’. A 17 year old girl, she has united her community with one purpose. War on the LAPD! The police are no longer welcome in her neighbourhood, Destiny has declared Martial Law, HER law!

This is a nice ‘Pilot Episode’ for a series. A simple premise effectively executed, Genius introduces us to the characters quickly, setting up the plot and direction of the story without bogging itself down with unnecessary exposition. Marc Bernardin and Adam Freeman are obviously very talented writers, as with seemingly little effort they have made the characters interesting and intriguing. I, for one, would like to know more about them (the characters, that is).

Afua Richardson has a simple, clean art style that I wasn’t sure about to begin with. I initially felt that the comic would have benefited from a darker, grittier look, with a bit more detail. However, as the story progressed Richardson’s style grew on me. It’s a nice contrast between the darker elements of the story and the art, which works quite effectively. The action sequences are particularly good. Richardson manages to give the comic a cinematic feel.

All in all, I would welcome Genius to return as an ongoing series, but I guess that’s down to the voting public. This is a comic as written by Spike Lee, with a little of TV’s The Shield thrown in. Highly enjoyable and a welcome change of pace….Recommended.

Ain't It Cool News: 'Genius' Preview

Seven pages, up at the house Harry built, complete with my favorite description of the book thus far: "This looks to be a pretty politically and racially charged story. It reminded me a lot of the BOONDOCKS stuff, but waaaay more serious." Nice.

Monday, June 09, 2008

I know...where am I?

Been crazy-busy, doing shit for, setting up pitchery and meetings pre-San Diego, doing press for Genius (out Wednesday, go buy—and then go vote!), and guest-blogging at Newsarama (go look, it's cool).

But I'll be back soon, with more Robin Banks development.